Saturday, January 31, 2009
A Desire to Be Led in All Things
"Closely related to this example is the person who has a strong desire to be led by the Spirit of the Lord but who unwisely extends that desire to the point of wanting to be led in all things. A desire to be led by the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. Personal decision making is one of the sources of the growth we are meant to experience in mortality. Persons who try to shift all decision making to the Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will soon find circumstances in which they pray for guidance and don’t receive it. For example, this is likely to occur in those numerous circumstances in which the choices are trivial or either choice is acceptable.
We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creator has placed within us. Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it if we receive it. If we do not receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment. Persons who persist in seeking revelatory guidance on subjects on which the Lord has not chosen to direct us may concoct an answer out of their own fantasy or bias, or they may even receive an answer through the medium of false revelation. Revelation from God is a sacred reality, but like other sacred things, it must be cherished and used properly so that a great strength does not become a disabling weakness."
Friday, January 30, 2009
I will write a tip a day.
CURTAIL ACCUMULATION AND CONSUMPTION: Avoid putting twenty-five pounds of stuff in a twenty-five pound house. And remember: you do not need to keep everything that comes into your house or buy everything you see.
"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
-Daryl Hoole and Daughters,"The Ultimate Career, The Art of Homemaking for Today"
Thursday, January 29, 2009
"I repeat: The healing power of charity, bestowed by our Father, made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and delivered to us by the Holy Ghost, can make it virutually impossible even to feel emotions common to the natural man. In fact, charity can drop-kick the natural man (and woman) right out of play."
"Now, becoming like the Savior--meaning, having our natures become like His--is not a quick or easy process. But we are admonished to "covet earnestly the bets gifts" (1 Cor. 12:31). The pure love of Christ is the best gift. It is to be coveted, sought after, and even craved. As we pray with all the energy we can muster to be filled with His love, our nature will gradually change, we will slowly become more and more like Him, and our actions and feeling will increasingly be manifestations of pure charity."
"So on those days when we're not ready to stop being offended about something, not ready to forgive someone, still determined to give someone the silent treatment , and so on, what we're actually saying is, "Wait! I don't want to become more like the Savior today. Maybe tomorrow when I' m able to let go of some irritation or injustice." Perhaps those are the times when we need to pray the hardest, the times that make it clear that a change in behavior is not enough--that we must have a change in nature. As the Father applies the balms of charity to our hearts and souls, everything from emotional wounds to personality flaws can be healed and even transformed."
President Ezra Taft Benson described the process this way: "The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of the people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature" (in Conference Report, October 1985, 5).
-Sheri Dew, "If Life Where Easy Then It Wouldn't Be Hard"
I have been concentrating on charity so much because I know it can change any miserable situation in our lives. If we are struggling in our marriages--pray for the gift of charity, if we are having trouble being the mom we want to be--pray for the gift of charity, if we are having trouble making our home what we want it to be--pray for charity, if we are having inner turmoil--pray for the gift of charity. Remember, like Sheri Dew said, it is not a quick, easy process but over time we will each slowly change and become like the Savior. I have heard some say that it was a slow process until all of a sudden one day they noticed a huge difference in themselves. It is a process that can lead to an event.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
So, for the past few years I have been focused largely on weeding out my false beliefs that the eating disorder created and trying to focus on doing what it takes to receive the gift of Charity. Although, I have not yet received the "gift" in the way Paul, Nephi, Elder McConkie and many others have defined it, I know that the focus on it has helped me in ways I could never have imagined. I know that as I hold as tight as possible to the Iron Rod, I eventually will be led to the Gift of Charity (the "Tree", 1 Ne. 11:22). I believe this is what our Relief Society motto, "Charity Never Failith" really means... you can be healed from ANYTHING when you strive to receive the gift of Charity.
Sheri Dew puts it this way, "Very simply, put without Charity we cannot enter the celestial kingdom, because if our natures have not become defined by charity, then we won't be like our Father and His Son. It's as simple, and profound as that.
For charity changes us. It transforms us. It is as a healing balm. When we plead with all the energy of our hearts to be filled with the pure love of Christ, the increasing, continual bestowal of charity not only changes our natures, it heals us from the emotion and other wounds created by the buffetings we experience in this lone and dreary world--wounds such as insecurity and jealousy, resentment and fear, a propensity for anger and an unforgiving heart. The healing power of charity, bestowed by the Father and made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, can make it virtually impossible for us even to feel emotions common to the natural man."
-Sheri Dew, "If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard"
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I think this week each post will be about charity because it is so important and essential! Paul says: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my good to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."(1Cor:13:1-3)
Sheri Dew has a wonderful chapter about Charity in her book, "If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard" so I am just going to tell you what she says because she states it so straight forward and beautifully.
"Charity is a bestowal, a gift from our Father. The gift of Charity is bestowed only upon those who follow the Son. It is the greatest of all the gifts of the Spirit. But it may be the most underestimated and even the least understood. We tend to define charity as something we do or feel, but in our Father's vernacular, charity means much more. It is the word He uses to describe the character, the nature, the very essence of His Son.
Charity is not an emotion or an action. It is not something we feel or do. Charity is who the Savior is. It is His most defining and dominant attribute. It is what enabled Him to endure the Garden and the cross for you and me. It is one of the things that makes Him God. Thus, when we plead for the gift of charity, we aren't asking for lovely feelings toward someone who bugs us or someone who has injured or wounded us. We are actually pleading for our very natures to be changed, for our character and disposition to become more and more like the Savior's, so that we literally feel as He would feel and thus do what he would do. That explains why Mormon says that when the Savior appears, those who have been gifted with charity "shall be like him," for they shall "see him as he is" (Moroni 7:48)."
-Sheri Dew, "If Life were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard"
Charity literally changes us from the Natural Man to a Spiritual Man
More to come tomorrow on Charity.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Elder Bruce R. McConkie's definition of Charity:
Above all the attributes of godliness and perfection, charity is the one most devoutly to be desired. Charity is more than love, perfect love, the pure love of Christ which endureth forever. It is love so centered in righteousness that the possessor has no aim or desire except for the eternal welfare of his own soul and for the souls of those around him. (McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:378)
Charity is much more than doing service...MUCH MORE!
Charity is the "Tree" in Nephi's vision: ...Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things. (1Ne. 11:22)
Moroni says this: And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot in inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father. (Ether 12:34)
Charity is the love of God for us, not the other way around.(John Pontius, Following the Light of Christ into His Presence.)
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. (Moro. 7:48)
And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace. (D&C: 88:125)
Wherefore, there must needs be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity. And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if you have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope. (Moro. 10:20-21)
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Today before you say an unkind word - Think of someone who can't speak.
Before you complain about your husband or wife - Think of someone who's crying out to GOD for a companion.
Before you complain about the taste of your food - Think of someone who has nothing to eat.
Today before you complain about life - Think of someone who went too early to heaven.
Before whining about the distance you drive Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.
And when you are tired and complain about your job - Think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning,
Satan shudders & says..."Oh no! She's awake."
I ask that anyone who would like to share things that have helped them in their marriage please do so by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will then post it on the blog. We can all help each other. Each one of us has been through different struggles and maybe the advice you have will be just the thing someone needs. I would also be interested in books or articles you have read that might help. Thank you.
"Humility is a major ingredient of a happy life and a happy marriage." -C. Richard Chidester
My sister-in-law, Sarah, just sent this in. She said it is a wonderful Ensign article on marriage from about 4 years ago. It is called, "Falling Out of Love...And Climbing Back In"
Please read it by going to the sidebar under the section titled "Marriage" and click on "Falling Out of Love...And Climbing Back In"
(I have posted some links to articles on the sidebar title "Marriage")
Saturday, January 24, 2009
"There is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood."
As a Church, we have enormous respect and gratitude to you mothers of young children. We want you to be happy and successful in your families and to have the validation and support you need and deserve. So today, let me ask and briefly answer four questions. While my answers may seem extremely simple, if the simple things are being tended to, a mother’s life can be most rewarding.
The first question: What can you do, as a young mother, to reduce the pressure and enjoy your family more?
First, recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.
Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: “The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. … I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” (Loud and Clear , 10–11).
Second, don’t overschedule yourselves or your children. We live in a world that is filled with options. If we are not careful, we will find every minute jammed with social events, classes, exercise time, book clubs, scrapbooking, Church callings, music, sports, the Internet, and our favorite TV shows. One mother told me of a time that her children had 29 scheduled commitments every week: music lessons, Scouts, dance, Little League, day camps, soccer, art, and so forth. She felt like a taxi driver. Finally, she called a family meeting and announced, “Something has to go; we have no time to ourselves and no time for each other.” Families need unstructured time when relationships can deepen and real parenting can take place. Take time to listen, to laugh, and to play together.
Third, even as you try to cut out the extra commitments, sisters, find some time for yourself to cultivate your gifts and interests. Pick one or two things that you would like to learn or do that will enrich your life, and make time for them. Water cannot be drawn from an empty well, and if you are not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give to others, even to your children. Avoid any kind of substance abuse, mistakenly thinking that it will help you accomplish more. And don’t allow yourself to be caught up in the time-wasting, mind-numbing things like television soap operas or surfing the Internet. Turn to the Lord in faith, and you will know what to do and how to do it.
Fourth, pray, study, and teach the gospel. Pray deeply about your children and about your role as a mother. Parents can offer a unique and wonderful kind of prayer because they are praying to the Eternal Parent of us all. There is great power in a prayer that essentially says, “We are steward-parents over Thy children, Father; please help us to raise them as Thou wouldst want them raised.”
The second question: What more can a husband do to support his wife, the mother of their children?
First, show extra appreciation and give more validation for what your wife does every day. Notice things and say thank you—often. Schedule some evenings together, just the two of you.
Second, have a regular time to talk with your wife about each child’s needs and what you can do to help.
Third, give your wife a “day away” now and then. Just take over the household and give your wife a break from her daily responsibilities. Taking over for a while will greatly enhance your appreciation of what your wife does. You may do a lot of lifting, twisting, and bending!
Fourth, come home from work and take an active role with your family. Don’t put work, friends, or sports ahead of listening to, playing with, and teaching your children.
The third question: What can children, even young children, do? Now, you children, please listen to me because there are some simple things you can do to help your mother.
You can pick up your toys when you are finished playing with them, and when you get a little older, you can make your bed, help with the dishes, and do other chores—without being asked.
You can say thank you more often when you finish a nice meal, when a story is read to you at bedtime, or when clean clothes are put in your drawers.
Most of all, you can put your arms around your mother often and tell her you love her.
M. Russell Ballard, “Daughters of God,” Ensign, May 2008
Friday, January 23, 2009
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “You cannot today remotely imagine what that decision to be unwaveringly obedient to the Lord will allow you to accomplish in life. Your quiet, uncompromising determination to live a righteous life will couple you to inspiration and power beyond your capacity now to understand” (“Making the Right Decisions,” Ensign, May 1991, 34).
My sister-in-law, Sarah, has a wonderful quote from Elder Eyring about the importance of visiting teaching called "Now and Then Isn't Enough"
Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
vs 7-11 are great also
This scripture could be saying that a fast doesn't just have to be going without food, it could also mean fasting from burdens or sins that we are carrying such as: a fast from yelling at our kids, a fast from berating ourselves, a fast from berating others, a fast from nonessential things, a fast from fights with husbands, a fast from anger, a fast from negativity, a fast from a scowling...the list could go on and on. Of course, as with most things, the best way for each of us to determine the proper fast for ourselves at any given time is through prayer and inspiration. (These types of fasts may also last longer than the traditional 24 hours)
**Check out the comments on this section for more fasting tips
Thursday, January 22, 2009
And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
Many of us don't commit what we would call "major" sins but we often commit sins we may or may not be aware of that WILL affect our happiness. Here are some things that we can use to evaluate ourselves: Do I have pride, envy, judging, small lies, anger, resentment, bitterness, not supporting and sustaining church leaders (often times would go along with pride), being down on yourself, etc...
So, if we are ever feeling down we can do a small evaluation to see if there is something in our lives that needs to be repented of and changed. Sometimes we may not see it. If this is the case we can go to the Lord and ask if He will show us where we need to improve so that we can live a happier life (see Ether 12:27). He is always more than happy to show us where improvement can be made.
Poem: By Catherine Doherty
You have just received "joybear" on your doorstep. She is adorable and so soft. You don't know who brought her to you, but you are happy someone is thinking of you. How sweet! You enjoy the cuddly teddy bear for several days, then start to think about who else would benefit from having "joybear". It's so much fun to think about, you wish you had more than one teddy bear to give away. But in the end you decide (with inspiration, perhaps) on THE person who needs her most, then you go deliver Joybear and feel the smiles.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
-Elder Jeffery R. Holland, Broken Things to Mend
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
-From Sarah- thank you
I got this from my sister-in-laws blog http://www.spirituallythinking.blogspot.com/. This is from a book you can buy at Deseret Book.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I asked mothers to write in and tell me some fun things they do with their kids. It is always fun to hear what others do. So here are some of the responses.
1) READING: I got a lot of mothers saying they read to their kids everyday. Here is what Nathalie, a mother of 7 wrote about reading: The first thing that comes to my mind, of course, is reading out loud to my kids - not just little story books, but novels.I've been reading novels out loud to my family for years. They love it. I would recommend starting out with the "Chronicles of Narnia" for all ages. 4 & 5 year olds up to teenagers and adults enjoy this series. The biggest tip I have about reading to the kids is this: DO NOT make them sit quietly with their arms folded when you read out loud to them at home!! This is not church! In the past, I've told mothers how much I read to my children, and the response has sometimes been "but my kids won't sit still and listen". Let your kids build with blocks or legos - or have them color or draw while you read out loud to them - let them play! You'll be amazed at how much they learn and remember from the book as you let them do other things while they listen to the story. And as the mom, it's fun to peek at them and see what they're doing while you're reading. Many times, they're building, drawing, or acting some part of the story. It provides them inspiration for their imagination! The only rule we have is that when mom or dad is reading, you must be quiet. If you talk, sing, yell, or make other sound effects (which boys are famous for!), you may leave the room. That's it! Make it fun for the family. Every once in a while during the winter when it gets dark early, we turn off all the lights and get out our candles and oil lamps from the storage room. Then we light them, and have a fun night of popcorn and reading to candlelight - the kids love it and pretend they're in old times. We also like to discuss the books we read at mealtimes. Reading is a wonderful way to create fun family time together!
2)STORY TELLING: Kori, a mother of 2, wrote this: One simple thing I did that captured Jake's attention (he's 2 1/2) more than I thought it would was to tell scripture stories in my own words. I was trying to feed Christian (11 months) and Jake was running around distracting him so I started telling Jake the story of Nephi. He just stood there listening. When I got done, he said, "Tell it again!" So I told him another one. "Tell it again!" So I told one more. . . and one more after that. I really thought he needed pictures to pay attention, but he was spellbound at the simple stories. I was amazed.
3) WRITE LETTERS: Cherie wrote this great idea: I love to write a letter to each child on their birthdays. I have done this since each of their first birthdays and it's been a treasure.
4) ONE-ON-ONE TIME: Many mothers wrote how important one-on-one time is. Cherie says: Also, I take each child on a date night about every other month (and my husband does the same). That way, they get a date night with one parent once a month. I absolutely CHERISH this time with them because they feel so special and loved---having that personal connection. One time my daughter Savannah and I went mini-golfing and I hit a hole in one and started doing a funky dance, while all the bells and whistles went off. She still laughs about that and tells all her friends, and it's been 2 years now. Focused one-on-one ANYTHING is a treat for a child. Kori wrote: I've found, as probably every mom has, that my kids just want my attention. Doesn't matter what we're doing, they just want me to be with them as much as I can.
5)ART DAY: Ashley wrote: each week we have one day that is Art day. For us it is Thurs after school. Last week we drew our favorite toy and this week we made salt dough and made hand molds. I have a 7 year old and a 1 year old and they both love and look forward to it every week. In the summer we plan to do fun stuff like tie dying. (On a side note, Ashley's husband also teaches their kids music and piano.)
6)COOKING: Ashely also gave this: we are going to start around the world cooking and my kids are going to help me create different dinners from around the world (ie: Mexico, Japan, Italy, Greece, America, France etc...)
7)JOURNAL: Another great tip from Ashley: I have also started my son his own private blog but we just call it his " CharLee News Journal".
8)DONATING: More from Ashley: Every other month we give our kids a bag and they fill it with toys, clothes they don't use and we make a healthy treat( ie. flax seed balls) and give them away to someone we know would like them and then we organize what we have left.
9)Great tip from Heather: I think I have just found that you just have to enjoy the journey, find whatever your kids are interested in and support them!Be at everything! let your not being at an event an exception and not the rule.
10)Outside: In the summer when I was growing up Mom would have us find pictures in the clouds and then draw them. While we drew, Mom would teach us about clouds or whatever it was we were drawing. "Women's Devotional Bible"
12)House Boat: Pretend that your house is a giant boat on an imaginary journey. Travel around the world and learn about new places. "Women's Devotional Bible"
13)Make a Family Song: We made a fun family song that is to a catchy tune. The song has 6-7 short verses but each one is something that we hope our kids will remember when they are at school or away from home. Ex: Our family reads scriptures everyday, obeys quickly, loves to share and help others, resists temptation, listens to the prophet and follows Christ. This has been a lot of fun. We sing it at least once a day and they jump around, dance and clap. -Baker's
14)Outside: Fill a bucket with water, and use paint brushes to paint on the driveway and sidewalks.-sent in by Jeffan15)Outside: Go to the local lake and feed the birds or ducks with cheap breadfrom the day old store or with bread ends saved over a period of time and kept in the freezer.-sent in by Jeffan
16)Outside: Picnic in the park with sanwiches and foods made with the children. They always like food they helped prepare better than food made for them.- sent in by Jeffan
Thank you everyone! Please keep sending me things as you come up with new ideas. Thanks.
We have found in our family that when we have scripture study around the kitchen table every night that the kids listen and sit still better than when we used to do it in our room or one of the kids rooms. Dad is also the initiator of it and we call it Daddy Scripture Study Time. We also try to incorporate songs and games each night.
Look up the Home Organization and Chores website
I just got their books, "Managers of their Chores" and "Managers of their Homes." So far I have only read about half of "Managers of their Chores" and done the ChorePacks it talks about and it is really helping! This is the same program that the Duggar family uses to get their 18 kids organized and helping around the house. It is designed for homeschooling families but anyone could benenfit from them.
What Latter-Day Stripling Warriors Need
By, Ardeth Green Kapp
We learned that today's stripling warriors feel secure when they have specific guidelines, rules, policies. They want someone to follow up and reinforce their confidence, to reassure them that they're doing well. We learned that sometimes they need to suffer the consequences of wrong choices and learn-often painfully-from their mistakes, knowing all the while that love and acceptance are unconditional. We learned that they need reminders during the early stages on bad habits they need encouragement and direction by example. It is important to praise in public and counsel in private, and to help them understand the difference between sin and error. We learned that stripling warriors have fears that are real. Their response of support and loyalty seemed strengthened when we acknowledge some of our own feelings of inadequacy and dependence on the Lord. Working with theses young men and women, we learned that genuine love and understanding, combined with clearly defined, consistent boundaries (not strong as steel. We learned that the making of a man or woman begins in a mother's arms and at a mother's knee.
At least once a week have personal interviews with each one of your children. We do ours on Sunday. My husband does them and asks how their week was, is there any thing bothering you, what did you learn this week, how are your friends, etc... These interviews each last 15-20 minutes and they begin and end with a prayer.
Set Family Goals
These can be prayed about to see what will work best for your family. However, one that we all have in common is to Return Back to the Celestial Kingdom as a Family and Live with Heavenly Father and Jesus through the eternities. Then, as you are teaching your kids throughout the years, be reminding them that you are teaching them these things so that they can help in accomplishing family goals. You can also remind them as they are making choices in their everyday life that each choice should help bring them closer to accomplishing the family goals.
Set these goals up together, then write them down and if you can hang them on the wall to remind all of you what you are working toward.
2) Library of Learning: always have the best books around. He says that the scriptures are a Library unto them selves...STUDY daily with your children!!!
3) Legacy of Love: basically just being a good example of love. Loving towards children, spouse and involving your children in service to others.
4) Treasury of Testimony: we need to make sure that as our children grow they aren't only leaning on our testimony but truly gaining one of their own. We need to teach them to reverence Christ.