Thursday, June 27, 2013

Late Laborer in the Vineyard

"This parable—like all parables—is not really about laborers or wages any more than the others are about sheep and goats. This is a story about God’s goodness, His patience and forgiveness, and the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a story about generosity and compassion. It is a story about grace. It underscores the thought I heard many years ago that surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it."  -Jeffrey R. Holland
I've always loved the Parable of the Laborers found in the Book of Matthew.  Perhaps because considered myself an early laborer in the vineyard.

Early, and ever so willing to welcome the late laborers, particularly the ones hired in the eleventh hour.

"Come on over here," I imagine myself beckoning.  "You are more than welcome to work right alongside me! And I am so happy and overjoyed that you and I will receive the same pay!"

Not too long ago, however, someone suggested that each of us, sometime or another, will arrive late to some part of the Lord's vineyard.

"Late?" I mumbled to myself. "Me?  I am not a late laborer, I come early!  I've always been early."

Then this sweet woman explained that she had just discovered the vineyard of family history.

She had only been laboring for three months but the blessings and miracles of finding dates, stories, and information far surpassed her 12 week labor.  "Why would I receive such incredible blessings in just a short amount of time?"  She  asked. "I'm late in coming to this part of the vineyard.  So very late and yet, the blessings of God have filled me beyond capacity."

That's when I came to the stark realization that I AM A LATE LABORER! I'm more late than on time!

And even in my late comings, God is still merciful . . . to me.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tidbit Tuesday - Attention to Placement

"That same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well."

-Neal A Maxwell
That My Family Should Partake p. 86

Monday, June 24, 2013

Family Home Evening - Home Teaching Teaching

Tonight our family had a special treat!

Our home teacher and his wife came and joined us for Family Home Evening and gave us our lesson.

Our home teacher took his lesson from HERE.

He brought a bag filled (literally filled) with toys that would represent things that we enjoy or would want or things on which we place importance.  He tossed each object across the room members of our family as we raised our hands, vying wildly for that object!!

After we each had a nice stash, we talked about those things and why they bring us the feelings they do. And then we talked about things that REALLY are important: God, family, and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

He left this quote for us that is now displayed on our refrigerator as a reminder to us, by a people far away, of those things that should matter most to us!

"The gospel in Africa is going to a happy people, very unencumbered by the trappings that affect the lives of many in the West. They are not concerned about having endless material possessions.
"It has been said of Africans that they have very little of that which matters least and a great deal of that which matters most. They have little interest in enormous homes and the finest cars but great interest in knowing their Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and in having eternal families. As a natural result of their faith, the Lord is lifting them in meaningful ways."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Greatest Teaching in the Church . . .

Today, along with many Saints around I world, I was instructed, enlightened, challenged, inspired, prompted, invited and spiritually fed during the World Wide Leadership Training.

For me, the most powerful statement came from President Boyd K. Packer when he said,
"The greatest teaching in the Church is done by the mothers."

Which has caused me to cherish, even more, the power and the importance of receiving personal revelation.

As I have been pondering the eleven empowering words from President Packer, this thought has been pressing on my mind.

"The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life." - Julie B. Beck
If the greatest teaching in the Church is to be done by mothers, I need to better qualify to receive and act upon that revelation I will be given!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I'm the "Im" in my ImPerfect Family!

" . . . be kind regarding human frailty - your own as well as [your family's].  Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect [families] are all God has ever had to work with.  That must be terrible frustrating to Him, but He deals with it.  So should we." Jeffrey R. Holland

I've known for a while now that I'm the Im in my Imperfect Family!

I've been made aware because my husband and my children are always so good to remind me that I'm so NOT perfect!

And for the record I'm not behind them one whit in reminding them that they aren't either!!

We're good that way.

But I've come to a very glorious realization!

Although our family is all about imperfect (for now), we do have One Perfect Member who is helping (and being patient about) us becoming perfect.

And I figure, if He's still in the business of dealing with us . . . so should we!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Fathers in my Life

Father's Day is a time to reflect upon and show gratitude for the fathers and father figures in our lives.  I hope you will reflect upon the men who have blessed your life for good.

I am grateful for Bishops.  
I've had many a bishop in my day, Fathers of the Ward, to which they are sometimes referred. I've visited with these "fathers" on numerous occasions: for temple recommend interviews, for callings and releases, for tithing settlements. And while I have always had a great deal of respect and admiration for these men, I've never had cause to visit specifically with the bishop.

Not too long ago, however, I found myself in a situation that I could not reconcile.  Even after discussing it with my husband, I still felt unsettled and anxious.  I prayed for an answer from Heavenly Father.  And the answer came, "You need to see the Bishop."  The bishop?  But I knew the matter was NOT a bishop matter.  Stubbornly I insisted to myself that I would not bother the bishop on something I felt I could resolve on my own. But the feeling to visit with him was so persistent that I knew if I didn't I would be rejecting an answer from the Lord.  So finally after dragging my feet for a full week, I went to see the Bishop.

Immediately, upon seeing him, the peace and comfort I prayed to have was rewarded to me simply because of my obedience. My bishop gave me the counsel and direction my soul needed. That single experience enables me to testify that the Father of the Ward, the Bishop, is there for each one of us in our hour of need and we will be directed by the Spirit to seek his help and guidance.

I am grateful for my earthly father and his love for the gospel.
Growing up, my father saw to it that we had family prayer, family scriptures, family home evening.  We attended church together, and every six months we sat down as a family and watched General Conference together in our living room.  His guidance always led me to search the scriptures  and teachings of latter-day prophets.  I remember vividly the fireside talk President Benson gave in February 1987.  It was about mothers staying home.  Honestly, that talk would have been erased from my memory if it hadn't been for a high school teacher, who, the very next morning who singled me out and asked me in front of the whole class,  "So, what are you going to do with what President Benson counseled?" I marveled at his question because he didn't even go to church!!  Why would he care?  Except that it was his class that was the catalyst of what I wanted to do for the rest. of. my. life.  

I began pondering my teacher's question and pondering President Benson's talk for days.  Heavenly Father certainly wouldn't expect me to choose between a family and a profession!  Couldn't I have two cute kids and a great career?  When my pondering mind wore out I took the matter and discussed it with my dad.  He knew how much I loved this career choice . . . but he also knew there were blessings to be had by being obedient to the prophet.  My dad's final words on our discussion were these, "When the time comes, you'll know what to do.  Heavenly Father will let you know what is right for you."

I am forever grateful to an earthly father who directed me to my Heavenly Father . . . and I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who gave me my answer.

I am grateful for my husband, the father of our children. 
This year will mark 21 years of marriage for us.  It was that long ago when, kneeling together at the temple altar, that we were admonished of Heavenly Father's commandment to "multiply and replenish the earth!"  If anyone would have told us, even ten years ago, that we would parents of nine children, we would have completely doubted their competency! 

When our oldest was two and a half and our twins were a mere FIVE months, I found out that I was expecting . . . again.  While I was very apprehensive of what others would say about our fast growing family, I was even more concerned on how my husband would respond.  

I broke the news to him a few days later at a gas station, while he was pumping the car with gas.  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath as I awaited his reaction.  And to my utter surprise not only did he smile, he glowed.  "We're going to have another one?" he asked with pure anticipation.  How blessed I felt at that moment to know that it didn't matter what anyone else would say about the number of our children or how close together we had them. I knew that in our little world of family, all that mattered was that my husband was happy to be a father!

The most important Father in my life is my Heavenly Father.
As far as earthly fathers and earthly father figures are concerned, I have found none to be perfect.  Even those for whom I have deep love and respect have fallen short on more than one occasion. Those occasions have caused me to drop to me knees in humble prayer to receive counsel, direction and peace from my Heavenly Father.

In his book, As the Father Hath Loved Us, Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone wrote, "Imagine the Father amidst the worlds without number, plans for redemption, the work of the atonement, and His eternal ministry, which we know so little about.  And yet in all His majesty, He hears the tiniest whisper of a prayer from the least of all His creations and cares and responds with an Answer."

During the most darkened times in my life - times when I have felt hopeless or lonely; afraid or forgotten; unforgiving or angry, I have always been able to offer every, last ounce of my soul to my Heavenly Father. Knowing that even in offering up my very worse self, He not only will listen, He will not only understand, He will still love me. I have no doubt that Heavenly Father loves me as His daughter. Heavenly Father is the most important Father in my life.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Butt of the Devil and Other Happenings the First Week of Summer Vacation

On our first day of the first week of Summer Vacation, we went BIG and switched all the boys' bedrooms around, which, I should mention, is not for the faint of heart! Because it means laundry up the wazoo (including bed linens that haven't been washed for HOW LONG?!?!), bags and bags and bags of clothes to take to the thrift store, and more than just a sneak peek of what was really hidden under their beds.

This week we hit Costco several times.  For food samples.  Right around the time I should have been feeding them lunch. Costco always does such a great job on bringing the variety - and the clean up was so worth it.

We all signed up for the Summer Reading Program at our county library.  The younger children were totally motivated by the food prizes. The teenagers finally consented when they found out that they had more options than just reading for 20 minutes a day (like downloading music and watching a DVD).

We found time to make some family favorites for dinner: Navajo Tacos, Crepes (with vanilla pudding/chocolate powdered sugar and chicken salad/white sauce as fillings); Pancakes (with eggs and sausage), S'mores, and hot-off-the-grill Hamburgers!

And conveniently interspersed throughout this perfect sounding first week, we've dealt with CONTENTION  or, as we unaffectionately refer to it in our family, the "butt of the devil." This absolutely repulsive phrase came about, on accident, during a Family Home Evening, when one of our sons planned a scripture chase for our activity.  After giving us clues to about five or six scripture references and getting frustrated that we were finding them too quickly, he decided to give us clues that were not so apparent. For example, instead of saying "I will go and do" as a clue, he gave "He shall prepare a way."  Instead of  saying "born of water and spirit," he clued us with "he cannot enter." And, for "contention is not of Me" we got "but . . . of the devil."  And with a houseful of kids it was immediately translated to "butt of the devil." And it stuck. like. glue.

So in an effort to rid our home from this awful plague, I've had to individually sit down with each child and help them recognize the triggers that cause them to contention.  Each child has made a list of things they can do when the inkling of the spirit of contention begins to move upon them and another list of consequences they will undergo if they are found contending.  SIGH!  We will see how it works.  Along with a lot of prayer on my part.

Because as much as I love summer vacation, I despise the butt of the devil.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Family Home Evening - Covenants and Ordinances

Our children learned about covenants and ordinances on Sunday.  As we had a family discussion,our children could readily define what a covenant is, but it took a while to be able to define and better understand what an ordinance is.

So, I drew this picture and here is the summary of our discussion.  (To be honest, it wasn't much better with a crayon, but it illustrates our discussion.)

Heavenly Father's Plan
We lived with our Heavenly Father before we were born.  Before we came to earth Heavenly Father created a plan.  That plan, if followed, would help us return and live with Him again.  That plan included keeping His commandments and making and keeping covenants.

What is a covenant?
A covenant is like a contract or a promise.  Instead of being between two people, it is a sacred promise between God and you and me!  God sets the conditions or the rules of the covenant.  We promise to obey the conditions.  As we obey, we are blessed.  When we disobey we cannot receive the blessings that can be ours.

What is an ordinance?
An ordinance is the way we to say to Heavenly Father, I want to make a covenant!! On earth, when two people enter a contract they usually sign have an important document, witnessed by someone with legal authority.  In the gospel of Jesus Christ, we don't sign a document to say we are making a covenant.  Instead, individuals perform a special sacred act, usually during a ceremony.  These ordinances must be performed by the authority of the priesthood. An ordinance is like signing a contract with our Heavenly Father.  Ordinances also come with set prayers. These prayers must be said exactly - word for word - for they are the covenants the Lord has made for us!

Baptism and Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost - The First Ordinances of the Gospel
The very first covenant we make with God is the covenant of Baptism by immersion.  It is the first ordinance we perform in order to make it back to our Heavenly Father's home.  In the scriptures it tell us that baptism is the GATE which opens up to the path that leads to eternal life.  This is followed by the ordinance of receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Sacrament
Each week we partake of the sacrament.  The sacrament is an ordinance.  We must partake of it weekly in order to return to our Heavenly Father. The sacrament reminds us that we have covenanted to 1) take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, 2) that we will remember Him and 3) that we will keep His commandments.  If we do our part, we are promised that the Holy Ghost will always be with us.

The Temple
Keeping our baptismal covenants prepares us to enter into the temple, or the House of the Lord.  In the temple we make additional covenants.  The covenant of eternal marriage is the highest of all the covenants we make in the temple.

Enduring to the End
After we have made our covenants, the most important thing we can do is LIVE them.  We must live them every day - until the very end of our lives - even when things in life get hard.

Celestial Glory
This is where Heavenly Father and Jesus dwell.  This is the place from where God's love emanates and where families are forever.  Making and keeping sacred covenants - by having sacred, saving ordinances performed - qualify us to live here forever and ever.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thank you!

Thank you to my dear blogger friend who HELPED me figure out my problem! :)

I can blog again!

Saturday, June 1, 2013


So I'm posting with my PHONE because I can't create a post using my PC!! I've tried for days and days and days. All I get is a blank screen