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Monday, February 24, 2014

"The Words we Speak" Raising our families with an eternal perspective.

Two weeks ago, our bishops councilor asked me to come talk to him after church, I thought for sure they were going to release me from my calling! I have been the Primary Secretary for over a year now, and they just called a new Presidency a few months ago, and kept me.
 I was dying inside. I did not want to be released. I seriously love my calling, and enjoy every moment of it! I tried to mentally prepare myself, for the loss, and for what a new calling might be. I was heartbroken, at the thought of it.
When I went in for the meeting, the bishops councilor, asked me how I liked my calling. I wasn't sure what to say. Was he giving me a chance to beg to keep my calling? ha ha
I told him it was going great, and that I enjoyed it.
Then he said, "Well, we would like to ask you to speak in church next week."
:) What?
I said "o.k.", and felt a huge relief!
Then he said "We would like you to speak, from the talk that sister Wixom gave, called "The Words we Speak." "I know its not your favorite thing, to speak in church."

If he only knew how relieved I was, that I wasn't getting released! I answered him and said "I can do it." I think I caught him a little off guard with this reply.

lol, Ask me to speak in church, (something I used to be terrified of doing,) and I will be more than happy, but release me from my favorite calling ever, and I will most likely have a huge panic attack! :)

The last time I was asked to speak in church, ( about 6 months ago) I was to a point in my emotional, and physical health, that I just did not believe it was a good idea for me to do, because of anxiety issues. I initially told them, I couldn't, but then asked if they would let me think about it. I knew I could do it, with a lot of help, and decided I should try. I took a leap of faith, because, I cannot stand to turn down a calling either, and accepted the next morning. I had a full month to prepare, and some amazing changes came over me. I learned some things, from having to increase my faith. It was an incredible experience, that left me feeling like, I need to be asked to speak often, so I wont lose my ability to do it again.
When my husband asked me that evening two weeks ago, why I had a meeting with the bishop's councilor, and found out that I was asked to speak again, he asked me "How do you feel about that?"
I told him "I am actually kind of excited about it!" He looked at me strangely, and said "What have you done with my wife?" :)

I can't explain, why it doesn't scare me anymore, I didn't even feel nervous this time, just peace, until about an hour before, and quickly released that with a prayer, and some energy healing techniques. 

I used to love speaking in church, growing up. Then I got married, had kids, and my hormones and health became very unbalanced. Anxiety was growing on me, and I couldn't get up to speak, in front of even a very small crowd, of 2 people, without becoming a basket case first. Now, I love to speak in church! Weird?

Anyway, I would like to share my talk. The subject was hard for me a little, to put my thoughts into words, but I enjoyed learning from Sister Wixom, and Helamans words.

What words would you write to your children if you had 25 words or less?
We can influence our children through the words we write and speak to them.
"President Thomas S. Monson shared the experience of Jay Hess, an airman who was shot down in Vietnam in the 1960's. For two years his family had no idea whether he was dead or alive. His captors eventually let him write home, but limited his message to 25 words."
He wrote: "These things are important: Temple marriage, college, press on, set goals, write history, take pictures twice a year.
President Monson asks us: "What would you and I say to our families if we were in the same situation?"

What can we say to our children and families, that will sink deep into their hearts?

I often tell my kids the following, because I want them to know how important they are as children of a Heavenly Father.

"I am so glad you are mine", "Heavenly Father and Jesus love you" "I love you" "You are perfect the way you are". Of course it must, be said in our actions too, for the full meaning.

When we are in the presence of our children we have many opportunities, to build them up, and teach them about the plan of salvation, and what is important eternally.

We can teach them many things to get by in this earthly life, like reading, writing, and arithmetic. They need to know those things to get by in life, and to support themselves and their families, for when they grow up. -But what about the things they need to know, for a more eternal way of life?

What are we teaching them about our Savior, character, self discipline, work, endurance, sacrifice, love, and humility?

Sister Rosemary Wixom said, "Unfortunately, the distractions of this world prevent many children from hearing encouraging words that could shape their view of themselves. Dr. Neal Halfon, a physician who directs the UCLA center for Healthier children, Families, and Communities, refers to "Parental Benign Neglect". One example involved an 18 month old and his parents.

"Their son seemed happy, active and engaged, clearly enjoying time and pizza with his parents"
After dinner, the mother got up to run an errand, and left the toddler in the care of his father. The father started reading things on his phone, and the toddler tried to get his attention, by throwing pieces of pizza crust at him. The father re-engaged his attention to the toddler, but after a little bit, resorted to watching videos on the phone, with the toddler.
"Dr. Halfon observed a dimming of the child's internal light, a lessening of the connection between parent and child."

I often wonder, what the world would be like, without these distractions. How would we spend our time, without television and video games, and phones and computers. The technology is great to have, but it can occupy so much of our time, that we are led to feel that we can't have a break without it. Would we have better communication between family members? Would we spend more time interacting, playing with each other, growing relationships, and would we have more gentle teaching moments?
My kids and I have been reading the little house on the prairie books together. There are so many great values displayed in the ways they lived. Work and time together, were so important.
We read , and then we discuss, and I find my children applying the things they learn from these books.I find myself applying them too!

When we have a foundation to support us, to build our lives on, it is something we end up applying all throughout our lives.

I once read that everything a child experiences and learns between the ages of 0-3 and 8 years old, will be a foundation for them that will shape the rest of their lives.

So what are we doing to build a good foundation for them?

The love they learn at home, and in primary, are so important, to how they will perceive themselves throughout their life.
They are spirits, righteous and innocent, who come into our families, ready to be taught.
They soak up their experiences, positive and negative.
How often are we careful with the way we teach them?

I have noticed, how much my kids, pick up on my attitude about things. Sometimes, they are mirror images of how I let things affects me. I have realized, that if I want happy kids, then I need to be happy. If I want responsible kids, I need to be responsible. If  I want kids who love learning, or service, and speaking kindly to each other, then I need to make sure, I set a good example of doing those things first.

The way we speak our words, can make a big difference, in how they learn too.
If we were to always yell "loving" words, they would likely not be heard as anything loving, but when a gentle, calm, loving voice, is used, even in moments of discipline, the message is not only heard, and understood, but it is felt, and positive learning comes from it.
Yelling, really only frightens, and teaches a child, they are not good enough for some reason. Then they carry that belief, and it gets harder to teach them.

Sister Wixom, told of another story of a young boy, who got separated from his mother in a fabric store.
The mother was panicked, and was starting to yell his name over and over.
She became more and more frantic, as several minutes passed.

"One patron, after saying a silent prayer, had a thought that maybe the boy was afraid, because he could hear his mother screaming his name.

She told this to another person, and they began to go down each isle, quietly repeating "Connor, if you can hear my voice, say "Here I am".
As they continued to do this, sure enough, they heard a soft, timid voice, say "Here I am".
Connor was hiding between the bolts of fabric under a table." Sister Wixom said "It was a voice of perfect mildness that encouraged Connor to respond."

In primary, when the kids are getting restless during singing time, or sharing time, our teacher says in almost a whisper "If you can hear me, fold your arms", and you will see a few kids fold their arms. Then she will say "If you can hear me, touch your nose", and will go on with a few more, and sure enough, all of the kids will soon be following her quietly. I just think its interesting, that you can catch their attention so easily this way.

She also said "To speak to a child's heart we must know a child's needs. If we pray to know those needs, the very words we say may have the power to reach into their hearts.
When we seek the direction of the Holy Ghost, our efforts are magnified."

Can you imagine how our homes would be, if we prayed, to know what to say, before every conflict? or before every teaching moment?

I testify that, a gentle voice, and silence for a prayer, before you react, make a huge difference.

The trick is making it a habit.

The Holy Ghost teaches with a quiet voice. I feel he is this way, because it leads us, to be quiet too, in order to hear him. A certain high frequency is present when the Holy Ghost speaks to us, and learning to listen and be quiet ourselves, allows us to be in tune with that higher frequency too, so that we can be aware of the things, that are on that level, that will help us.

In a certain event, in the book of Helaman, theses words from Heaven were heard "Repent ye, and seek no more to destroy my servants."

They were not loud or tumultuous, "but behold it was a voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did peirce even to the very soul."
It gave firm direction, while giving hope. Even Heavenly Father speaks quietly from Heaven, to get the best message across.

This last year, I have been working personally, to create a temple environment in my home. I knew that it was most important for me to change, to accomplish this.
So this last year has been one of, simplifying my home.
Simplifying my home, consisted of simplifying each room, down to having only what it needs, and a few decorations that have a positive spirit about them.
Its interesting that doing this, also encouraged me to simplify the responsibilities I have as a mother and wife, and a daughter of God.

This, overtime has led to me wanting to be more simple in my voice too. I feel more peace overall.

 I was encouraged recently, by a friend who speaks very quietly, naturally, to have a day of only using mild voices. I wanted a challenge for my kids and I, so that we could all see, how peaceful our home would be if we never raised our voices.
So, one morning I challenged my kids to join. We decided that if I raised my voice, I would have to clean up 10 things in their room, and if they raised their voice, they would clean in the kitchen for me.
I was tested several times that day, but I loved it!
The kids would start to argue over something, and I was forced to go over to them, kneel down by them and gently teach, or help them problem solve.
It was such a peaceful day, and I went the whole day almost whispering to them, for worry that I would accidentally speak to loud. My gentle voice kept theirs gentle too!
I did actually mess up once,at the end of the day, for a split second until I caught myself, and I felt awful, because we had not had such a peaceful day at home, for a long time, and I almost ruined it!
I did clean in my girls room, and they both cleaned in the kitchen once too, because they each messed up once too, but one reminder was all it took. I have tried to do this on a daily basis, since, and it has really changed things for us. My kids remind me often of the need to not raise our voices.
Being in a 3 level home, makes it easy to want to call throughout the house, when we quickly need someone, but when you are not allowed to raise your voice, you are required to go to the person, which also, encourages good relationships, and bonding.

I am hoping, that by creating a peaceful place in our family and home, that it will create a foundation for them, so as they are tried and tested as they will get older, the peace will be something they always carry with them.

In Helaman chapter 5, it says "And now, my sons, remember that it is upon the rock of our redeemer, who is Christ, the son of God, that ye must build your foundation."

"These were the words Helaman taught his sons."

Even though the sons of Helaman were persecuted and put in prison, the words Helaman taught them, never failed them.

Helaman taught them many things, and even named his sons Nephi and Lehi, so they would remember their ancestors, and the work they did.
I love what he says to them in Helaman Chapter 5:6-12

" Behold, my sons, I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God; and I would that ye should declare unto the people these words. Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first aparents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were bgood.
 Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them.
 And now my sons, behold I have somewhat more to desire of you, which desire is, that ye may not do these things that ye may boast, but that ye may do these things to lay up for yourselves a atreasure in heaven, yea, which is eternal, and which fadeth not away; yea, that ye may have that bprecious gift of eternal life, which we have reason to suppose hath been given to our fathers.
 O remember, remember, my sons, the awords which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the batoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to credeem the dworld.
 10 And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, ain the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins.
 11 And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath asent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls.
 12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the arock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

Then in verse 14, it says "And they did remember his words; and therefore they went forth, keeping the commandments of God."

I love the rest of this chapter too. Because of their faith, some pretty incredible miracles of conversion were performed, that you can read more about in this chapter.

At home each day, we hold a morning devotional. At first it was a prayer, and a song, and memorizing and reciting a scripture and poem. One day I decided I would share a spiritual thought too. It turned into each of us, including my 16 months old taking a turn to say something. My 8 year old and 6 year old, will often tell us things, that they learned in their primary classes. 

I am so grateful for the primary teachers! Even when you might not think your lessons are heard by your class, I know they are. My kids will bring up gospel principals that we haven't talked about at home yet much. Even in nursery, these kids do hear what your are teaching. Your calling as a primary teacher, is sooo important!
I am surprised at how much they can talk about it, being so young.
My 3 year old will usually say something random, spiritual or not, and then my 16 month old will nod his head and mumble something serious. :)
Then I take a turn, and talk to them about something the spirit directs me to talk about. 
This sets a great mood in our home for the rest of the day. Not only do I want to take every moment I have, to teach them while they are little, but I want them to be inspired to talk about things too. I want them to feel free to say what they feel in their hearts, so they can also be inspired to "do" what is in their hearts. 

I hope we can all remember how important it is to speak, what the spirit prompts us to, to our children and families. Speak it with love, and firmness. Be an example of it ourselves, and don't give up. They are listening. They will apply it, and they will use it throughout their entire lives. 

I bear testimony that if we make it, an important priority to take time away from the distractions of the world, to teach the things of our savior, to families and children, they will keep it in their hearts. 
They will remember it, and apply it, and will also teach it to their families. 
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

How do you use your words, to teach, inspire, and uplift your families? Please feel free to share!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Birthday muffins-steel cut oats, flax, hardy and fulfilling, and nutrional.

Today is my cute little boys birthday! Love you buddy!
We don't do normal birthday cakes around here anymore. I just can't get myself to use a mix from the store, that is full of sugar and corn syrup, not to mention the corn syrup filled frosting too. So we usually end up having something homemade, like cookies, or pie. My sister used watermelon as a cake once, and that worked great too!

Something I have been learning to do a lot lately, is to be sufficient with all natural ingredients.....and my blender, haha. I think its great to be able to know how to make things from scratch, and straight out of the garden. :) (o.k., o.k. my garden didn't produce diddly squat this year, but I still buy everything from Whole Foods market. ;) and use stuff from my sweet neighbors who are willing to share.)

 Anyway, the foods I can eat have been restricted for the last month, so I have been figuring out all kinds of fun recipes. I could have just made a normal cake, but then I wouldn't be able to eat it too, so I googled for recipes with things that I can eat, and then tweaked it.

I found a muffin recipe, that called for wheat flour and oats, and eggs, and milk and sugar. I can have oats, but not the rest, so I changed it to this instead, and I am happy to say, they turned out fabulous!
So fabulous in fact, that my girls and I ate them all and now we have to make another batch. :)

1 and 1/2 cups of steel cut oats, blended in the blender to make 2 cups of flour.You may want to make a little extra to flour your muffin tins with.
1/3 cup of coconut sugar (or you can use a banana, or 1/4 cup of maple syrup or honey)
 1/4 tsp of salt
1 3/4 tsp of baking soda
1 tbsp of flax, mixed with 3 tbsp of water (egg replacement)
3/4 cup of water
1/4 cup warm coconut oil

Mix your dry ingredients
In a seperate bowl, mix your wet ingredients, a long with the flax mixture and coconut oil.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir only enough to mix it all gently. (They will turn out harder the more you mix).

grease and flour your muffin tins with coconut oil and a little oat flour
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

The first batch I made, turned out wonderful, and they stuck together, yet they were crumbly enough to melt into hot butter.

We used maple syrup as frosting. :)

I will be making a little extra for this next batch, in case I get hungry again. :)

I would also like to try a few different versions of this in the future. While I was munching on my second helping, I couldn't help but think it looked like pumpkin bread. I can have pumpkin as long as its fresh from the actual pumpkin. I am sooooo going to make this into a pumpkin muffin recipe, sooon!

I also want to try adding some zucchini. I think 3/4 cup of chopped zucchini should do it well.

You could also add shredded carrots and zucchini too.

Pears and applesauce are great sugar replacements also, so I can't wait to try them too!

Let me know if you try the recipe, and if you tweak it somehow, and you like it, I would love to hear about it! :)


If you are looking for something gluten free, these are great-however read this article from Livestrong.com before deciding. I do not gain anything from sharing, except a happy heart, that I can help someone else with eating clean. :)

I apologize for no pictures, I am having issues with my sd card :( I will try to update as soon as I can though!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My life Binder-Daily Schedule Template

I have a binder that helps keep me organized. I call it my "Life Binder". Its much like a planner, only it has my own customized categories in it. My sweet sister at http://www.inthegardenofeatin.com/ gave me the idea, and I have loved it since.

In my Binder I have have a "planner" section. It has my daily schedule in it.
I am going to share the template to this for Free! I will have more templates available on my website soon too, for more sections of my "Life Binder".

Feel free to download this PDF file, for your own use! :)

Daily schedule "My Life Binder" Template

Print it out on Card stock, and hole punch it, to go in your binder. Fill it out to the half hour, with a pencil in case your schedule changes. :) Each line next to the time, represents a half an hour time slot. 

Remember to keep things enjoyable throughout your day, "Structure your time, but not the content!".

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What a moment? I was at the park this morning with some friends, enjoying some social time for me, while my kids got to play with their friends too. It is a small park, and I hardly ever see any one else there.
Today was different though, and the park was busy with other mom's taking a relaxing break with their kids also.
One particular young lady, showed up with her beautiful Doberman dog, and immediately started throwing a frisbee for it. The dog looked as happy and excited as her master did, to be at the park together playing.
I watched them for a few minutes, and then my attention turned back to my kids and the ladies I was talking to.
About 5 minutes went by, when a strange scene caught my eye.
The Doberman was laying on its back, and a woman was giving it chest compressions!
My first reaction: "Are they playing?"
I didn't even recognize what was happening!
My friends saw it too and their commenting, brought me to the realization of the seriousness of the situation. She was performing CPR, and it was real.
My next thought was "Am I really just sitting here? What can I do?" I started to pray inside. I prayed that the dog would come back, and then my feelings directed me to pray that they would all have comfort instead.
I felt like gathering my friends around to pray to bring the dog back to life, but instead I found myself grabbing my son, and going to them, to see if there was anything I could help with.
When I reached them, I realized they had given up. Everyone was in disbelief at what had just happened.
She was a healthy dog, but for some reason her heart just gave out on her. She was so full of life at one moment, and then...........
I felt tears well up in my own eyes, because we had just lost such a beautiful animal so suddenly, and also because of the helplessness that everyone felt.
I couldn't believe it.
In a situation like this, I am always reminded of my testimony of the spirit world being a loving place. I know there is life after this one. I know we will see our loved ones again, and I know that those who pass on, even our beloved animals, still can dwell near us in spirit, while they wait for us to achieve our own potential in life.
I know that through faith, even a little bit, miracles do happen. I question myself on why I was afraid to show my desire to pray for the situation. Something I will work on for sure, but I somehow sensed that it was meant to be otherwise.
My heart breaks for the sweet girl and her husband who lost their loved one today. I will keep them continuously in my prayers today, that they will feel comfort, and have healing in their own hearts.

I ask myself:

What can I learn from this?

Why did I need to experience this today?

How can I be more aware of what is going on in others lives, that I might be able to help somehow?

This is what will be on my mind all day I am sure.

How can I make sure it sets a spiritual tone for my day, rather than dwelling on the loss.

What would you have done?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Kindergartener Mommy-

One of the great things about having my home be my children's primary location of education, is I get to learn along with them! In fact, I get to be an example to them, of learning to love to learn, so that they will see how its done first.
I really feel like I am starting the beginning phase of the Thomas Jefferson Method, for myself. I am in the phase of learning how to love to learn. Pretty much the Kindergarten stage :)
I am really liking it too!

I can just pick any old subject of my choice, and then study it out as much as I want, by googling it, or finding books to teach me about it.

The greatest way we can teach our little pupils, is by example. If I want them to learn to love to study things out, then I must first, show them that I love to study things out. (I really do love to. I am a huge fan of facts, and history, and non-fiction information, and documentaries. Yep you can say it, I am a nerd.)

So, the other day, I was thinking about clocks and how they work, and why we have clocks, where they came from, how they were invented......all those sorts of questions. I naturally assume, they are in direct connection to the sundial :) I decided I want to know all about sundials now. :) I have already googled "where was the first sundial invented", and got a brainful of reading material to indulge in. I learned there are several different kinds of sundials, and up until the medieval times, they used a sundial with uneven hours. They would plan events around their shadows being in a certain position to their sundials. The sundial that intrigues me the most is a "gnomon" style. Apparently it is a universal type, that can be taken anywhere on earth to be used. Here is a fun article about one from Egypt.http://www.wijzerweb.be/egypteengels.html I am dying to look up a blue print to make my own homemade sundial. :) I love, love, love the freedom of learning that homeschool provides!! I am going to blog some more about this new subject, if anyone is interested in following what I discover! :) 
 Other ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_sundials and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundial
 A simple question, of how something is done, can turn into a whole new world of fun and learning, if the answer is sought out and worked for! When you ask a question, and then study it out, the answer can be as big or as small as you want it to be. :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

How can we strengthen the family unit?

My Husband and I were asked to speak in Sacrament meeting, last Sunday. Here is the talk I gave. I went to LDS.org and found about 5 talks about the family that I liked, and then pieced it all together from there. I used a lot of quotes from other talks, that I loved. As a reference to where a lot of my material came from, you can read from the talks here: Click on this link

How Can We Strengthen The Family Unit?

"All human beings-male & female, are created in the image of god. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of Heavenly Parents, and as such, each has a Divine nature and destiny.

One of the reasons we were sent here, is to build an eternal family.
In these last days-there are many forces against keeping the eternal family together. 

The greatest help we will have in strengthening families is to know and follow the doctrines of Christ."

Sister Barbara Thompson; a councilor in the Relief Society General Presidency, also works as a social worker for families. In a general conference talk she quoted the following:

What Is Happening to Families?

"Satan is working overtime to attack the family. He tells us that marriage is not important, that children do not need a father and a mother, and that strong families are not important. He tells us that moral values are old-fashioned and silly. When challenges come, Satan tells us to abandon our beliefs and go with the ways of the world. He entices us with fame and fortune and tells us where to find the easy life. He attacks our faith in God and tries to discourage even the strongest and most loving families. Satan is delighted when we give in-even just a little."

Neal A. Maxwell, said in one of his talks on the family-

"As latter day Saints, we need to do better in our families-much better! There should be less wringing of hands and more loving arms around our families. 

Of all the work of "perfecting the Saints" none compares to that done in healthy families. President David O. McKay taught, "The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place, nor fulfill its essential functions."

Instructively, after the resurrected Jesus taught the Nephites, He said, "Go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said," and pray and prepare "for the morrow" (3 Ne. 17:3) Jesus did not say go to your civic clubs, town meetings, or even stake centers!" He said "Go ye unto your homes."

Attending to all family duties includes really teaching our children "to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God" (D&C 68:25). What a different view of parenting from that of the world.

When parents fail to transmit testimony and theology along with decency, those families are only one generation from serious spiritual decline, having lost their savor.

In addition to our having loving family "sociality, " which, one day, will be "coupled with eternal glory," we stress again and again the available remedies of family prayers, family home evenings, and family scripture study (D&C 130:2). Moreover, personal revelation regarding parenting can provide customized guidance and reassurance!

Applying basic remedies will take some time and will not fix everything immediately. What could be more basic, however, than "Love at Home,"

In the face of such challenges, we need more mothers who know the truth, whose children do not doubt their mothers know it. We need more kind and thoughtful fathers who also carry the authority of example. 

In the healthy family, first and best, we can learn to listen, forgive, praise, and to rejoice in the achievements of others. There also we can learn to tame our egos, work, repent, and love. In the families with spiritual perspective, yesterday need not hold tomorrow hostage. If we sometimes act the fool, loving families know this is not our last act; the curtain is not rung down."

"What Are Some Simple Things That Will Help Families?"

Sister Thompson quoted:

"Remember, children are precious. They are spirit children of God." 

"Dear sisters, love and nurture your children. Tell them you love them. Put your arms around them. Appropriate affection will accomplish miracles. Express kind words. Show them by example how to work. Teach them to pray. President James E. Faust said, "Praying together as a family is a bonding experience. Younger children can learn how to pray as they hear the prayers of their parents and older sibling. Individual prayer and family prayer are indispensable to personal and family happiness."

"Read to your children. Read from the scriptures. Help them learn that the scriptures will guide them throughout their entire lives. Have family home evening with them. Let them know that family time together is very important to you."

In our little family, since the time my oldest was a newborn (7 1/2 years), we have had a tradition every night, to hold a night devotional. Rarely do we miss a night. My husband reads a story, then we all kneel in a circle & hold hands to have a family prayer. Then we read from the scriptures together, and then we give hugs and tuck the little ones in to bed.
 Sometimes this can be done in as quick as 15 minutes, but more often than not, it can take us over an hour, from just enjoying our time together and talking.

I didn't mention the following in my talk on Sunday, but wish I had-

[I remember Elder Oaks saying in one of his talks, that they didn't have to have "Family Home Evening", because everyday was "Family Day". 
I feel like this is how we are at my home too. We hold our Family Home Evening's, but they aren't much different from what we do at night devotional. We add a lesson and some songs, and a planned activity. In our nightly devotionals, and all throughout the day, we keep a spirit of teaching the gospel too, and we play, and laugh, and we try to make sure that our kids understand that family is the most important thing we have. 
When ever there is quarreling, (and yes we have our fair share of that too, we are not perfect by any means), we remind each other, that "we are loving and sharing", and "we are best friends, and always will be", to help regain harmony. We make sure to teach our kids an eternal perspective of things, and why family is important that way.]

While we are reading & praying, rarely is it completely reverent, and I feel like I am always trying to get the kids to be "respectful and reverent", and some of miss out on the doctrine part of it quite a bit- but what counts, is that we are doing it! I remember a general conference talk, that mentioned they did this too, and that it often felt like no one was listening to the scriptures, or the lessons, but when the children grew up, they talked about how they loved it! That sort of time spent together as a family, was important to them. They will now teach and apply that principle with their own little families. 

Our kids will grow up knowing that family time, scripture study & praying are important values that our family keeps. 

The traditions of doing wholesome things together, can train the children for when they get older and can make more choices for themselves. 
They will have a foundation of values to fall back on, when difficult life circumstances come upon them.

"No better advice can be found than that given in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." Read it. Study it. Adopt it as your family standard. Make it the topic in several family home evening lessons so no one in the family has any misunderstanding about how your family operates."

John H. Groberg said:

Our Father in Heaven wants us to have strong, loving families. One of the great helps he has given us to achieve this is family prayer. 

All of us, single or married, are eternally part of some family-someway, somehow-and much of our joy in life comes as we correctly recognize and properly develop those family relationships. We come to this earth charged with a mission: to learn to love and serve one another. To best help us accomplish this, God has placed us in families, for he knows that is where we can best learn to overcome selfishness and pride and to sacrifice for others and to make happiness and helpfulness and humility and love the very essence of our character. 

We learn that friends and neighbors come and go but family is forever, and as we learn this, we find that we are eternally our brother's keeper and we begin to realize how much help we need. How we should thank God for the opportunity of family prayer!

Third Nephi: "Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and children may be blessed."

Can you detect that if we do not pray in our families always they may not be blessed-or at least not so fully? If we truly love our families we will constantly pray for them and with them. I know of no single activity that has more potential for unifying our families and bringing more love and divine direction into our homes than consistent, fervent family prayer."

This was from my husband's talk he gave, but I wanted to share it in my words, because when he brought it up, it struck a memory in me of the experience, and how precious it was. 

[ When my 3 year old little girl was just a couple weeks old, she gave us all quite a scare. 
I had just nursed her for the morning, it was about 6:30 a.m. and my husband would be getting up soon to go to work. As I was burping her, she spit up a whole bunch. When she tried to catch her breath from it, she started coughing and gasping. Her spit up was caught in her throat, and blocking her airway. I tried everything I could think of. She would cry out, and then go silent, and wouldn't take a breath in. Her skin, after a few minutes, was turning purple from not breathing very much at all, and she was getting tired. My husband, hearing the panic in my voice was awake by now, and trying to help. He gave her a priesthood blessing (I am soooo thankful to have the priesthood in our home), and we tried to figure out what we should do. I wanted to take her to the E.R., but I was hoping she would overcome it before we had to do that. I also, wondered if she would even make it to the E.R. In my mind I was preparing myself, if we lost her. Even though it was very scary, everything was so calm at the same time. Our older daughters heard their baby sister crying, and my worried voice, and woke up and came in to join us. They were very concerned about her as well. They were 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 years of age at the time. I remember my 4 year old asking about what was happening. I told them they should pray for their little sister. I remember my 4 year old saying "o.k.", and then kneeling on the bed with her 2 year old sister, next to us, to say a prayer. At this time, I thought, "is this it?", are we going to lose this sweet baby right now, while we are all together?" I was strangely comforted, in knowing that we were all together, in that time of worry and unknowing and helplessness. I had an eternal perspective of our family being together forever no matter what, so the thought of losing our little girl, was sad, and scary, but not hard. I am sure I also had the sense that it would all be o.k. too though, and that she would be fine. I know that angels are always helping out in these sort of circumstances, and comforting us too. It seemed like her gasping for air lasted for so long! It was probably all about 10 minutes of trying to help her, hold her and comfort her, and we then decided we had to get her to a hospital. When we took her outside though, my husband had a feeling to put her in the sun. Somehow, the sun settled what ever she was choking on, and she started breathing normally. Her cheeks returned to a normal color, and she was o.k.! I was still worried about her after that, so I did take her in to her pediatrician a little later, but she was fine. It's incredible to think back about how comforting it was to have all of my family in the room, during this time, and how that was all that mattered to me, (besides getting my daughter to breath normally again) my family and our opportunity to be together eternally. ]

"We all want more love and unity in our families. We all need more help with some who may be wayward or in special need. We all desire more assurance of divine guidance and direction. 

I promise you that as you consistently and fervently pray as a family, and as each member takes his or her turn and sincerely prays for others, impressions will come as to what you individually should do to help others. Thus, you can, in a family prayer, receive personal and family revelation as to how to love and serve one another."

In our daily prayers, I see my 7 & 5 year old even doing this. 
We have made it a habit, whenever we drive any where, to have a prayer first, for safe traveling. My kids usually take turns saying the prayer. In the morning when we would take my oldest to school, my 5 year old would often say "Please bless Adria, to have a happy day at school." It's a really wonderful feeling to hear your children pray for their siblings or parents, or friends.

" Now, Satan will do everything he can to keep us from family prayer, or at least to see that our prayers are only intermittent and mechanical and without sincerity. In Daniel's day, Satan influenced evil men to pass laws against praying. In our day, Satan's efforts seem a little more subtle (although he is trying a little of that law business, too).

But remember, the greatest schools on earth are individual homes. Yet how many homes voluntarily give up family prayer by allowing other less important things to take priority. 

Satan doesn't care how he stops us-just so he stops us. Ask yourself: How many times did you have family prayer this last week? Who is winning in your home? What's the score? Don't let the evil one win. You can overcome him with God's help. 

The greatest help we will have in strengthening families is to know and follow the doctrines of Christ and rely on Him to help us. 

Christ has suffered everything we could possibly imagine. He knows how we feel. He understands. He will help.

Sister Thompson shared some of her favorite examples of how Christ has helped and will help. 

  • "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
  • "Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day."
  • "Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers."
  • As often as thou hast inquired thou has received instruction of my Spirit."
  • "Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love."
President Hinckley said, "It is imperative that you not neglect your families. Nothing you have is more precious....When all is said and done, it is this family relationship which we will take with us into the life beyond."

Remember the great love of our savior. He said in Isaiah 41:10, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee." Then in verse 13 He says again, "I will help thee." And once more in verse 14 He says, "I will help thee."

Elder Robert D. Hales said, "Strengthening families is our sacred duty as parents, children, extended family members, leaders, teachers, and individual members of the Church."

M. Russell Ballard also says-
"I believe the mission statement for mortality might be "to build an eternal family." Here on this earth we strive to become part of extended families with the ability to create and form our own part of those families. That is one of the reasons our Heavenly Father sent us here. Not everyone will find a companion and have a family in mortality, but everyone, regardless of individual circumstances, is a precious member of God's family.

As members of God's family, we have a responsibility to strengthen our neighbors, family & friends. To be examples, and to show service & unconditional love. 

In "The Family: A Proclamation to the world," the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declare that "successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, work, and wholesome recreational activities"

The principles that we choose to incorporate into our lives will determine the spirit that we contribute to our relationships with others. It is especially important for our children to feel the influence of these principles.

Moroni 7:28 it says-
Claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing."

That faith comes from hearing the word of God, the word of God is heard more powerfully in the home, with family home evening lessons & scripture study. 

There is no better place to build faith than in the home, where the lessons and practical applications are realized and lived day to day. 

"The person who obtains meekness and lowliness of heart and who enjoys the company of the Holy Ghost will have no desire to offend or hurt others, nor will he feel affected by any offenses received from others. He will treat his spouse and children with love and respect and will have good relationships with everyone he associates with."

I encourage us all to evaluate how we are doing in our homes. Do we have unity in our faith. Are we taking the time to build our family relationships, and centering them around our eternal family?
Are we having family councils, and one on one interviews with our loved ones, to see where their faith can be increased? Or even just to inquire about what is important to them at this time in their lives?

Are we allowing our busy schedules to run the home, or the addicting distractions of the world? Or are we allowing the precious moments we have together, to bring extra joy & closer relationships between us.

Do we judge each other in our home, or allow selfish feelings to dwell, or are we understanding & supportive of each other, and continually forgiving?

As parents are we being living examples to our children & spouses, of the kind of people we hope for them to be?

I am learning more and more, that if I want my family to learn to love something & embrace it & set it as their own standard,.... that I must first love it, embrace it, and set it as my standard & be an example of it, in a loving, and patient, and non forcing way. 

Do we have our own personal relationship with our savior and Father in Heaven, and what kind of relationship is it? Do we trust them, and go about our work diligently & joyfully? Or do we complain and murmur through it?

Do we keep our marriages sacred, and strive to show our children the importance of eternal marriage, so we can all be together in the life hereafter?

Do we show them the joy a marriage can have, by being patient and understanding to our spouses. 

How do we handle situations that need to be worked out, between a couple? Our children watch, so we should be especially careful of this!

Do we show them the close relationship that is possible between a Mother and Father?

Although Circumstances are different for everyone, we can still make our goals, and standards clear by the way we live our daily lives, especially in the Home.

Let us make our Homes, a place where our families love to be, a place where the Savior can dwell. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  

What are some ideas, that you use in your home to help strengthen your family? Please share in the comments below! Thanks!


  Don't forget to vote on my poll, on the right side of this page, for your favorite virtue from Proverbs 31!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Her Children rise up-and call her blessed

Lds.org is a great place to find old general conference talks, about any subject you want to learn about. I found a couple of really great talks by Barbara Smith, that give enlightenment and encouragement about being a woman of proverbs, and the family. This is the one I listened to tonight to get me ready for bed. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1982/04/her-children-arise-up-and-call-her-blessed?lang=eng