Friday, August 29, 2014

FFF#33--Prepared for the journey

Yesterday, my oldest and my youngest were standing in front of the open refrigerator foraging for food.  I sat at the table eating my lunch.  I heard Spike say, "Ugh!  I don't know how to make wunch!"  I started laughing.  It was so very cute.  Slim then said, "Me either.  Let's go ask Mom."  For the record, Slim does know how to make lunch.  He is a returned missionary and college graduate for crying out loud!  He just doesn't like to make wunch.  We worked together and got those boys some lunch, which Spike still didn't eat and then had a melting fit later which is a story for another day.
not quite like this, but close

Stick with me for a moment, I'm going to divert, but I'll bring it back around.

I recently began my Book of Mormon study again by starting over in first Nephi (because I finally finished reading the Doctrine and Covenants!!).  Yesterday I read the chapter where Nephi is commanded to slay Laban.  As I read that chapter, it occurred to me that Nephi was hesitant to follow the commandment to slay him.  And who wouldn't be???!!  Really?!  You want me to kill the guy?  I know he hasn't exactly been kind to us, I mean he did try to kill us and he took all of our stuff.  But seriously?  Kill him?

But as Nephi ponders it and questions his instructions, the Spirit teaches him and directs him.  I have had a similar experience, multiple times (not being instructed to kill someone, mind you).  But when I have questioned my instructions the Lord knows exactly the right sentence to say to get me to do what He needs me to do.  Here is a fairly harmless example:

When Spanky was engaged, his father and I were concerned.  It felt that though he expressed his happiness and excitement of his upcoming nuptials, some little comments he would drop indicated that he may not be listening to the Spirit about whether or not this was the right choice for him.  After several such comments, my husband pulled me aside and said, "You have to talk to him.  He won't hear it from me.  But he is not listening to the Spirit."  Great!  I hate those assignments!

I began pondering how and when to speak to Spanky.  These were the thoughts in my head:  When you talk to others about sensitive subjects that you are not sure will be received well, where do you do it?  Oh ya!  Over food.  I need to take Spanky out (it was the morning) to breakfast.  Drew will never go for us splurging on breakfast with the way our budget is.  He wouldn't think that was cool.

Then I heard this:  Well, you can either spend $30.00 on breakfast, or $2000.00 in November for wedding travel.  Drew's the accountant.  Let him figure that out.

I'm taking Spanky to breakfast!!!

But see??!!  Succinct and to the point.  No beating around the bush.  Decision to act made.

As I pondered Nephi's experience, it occurred to me that killing Laban was only the first time Nephi was required to kill someone.  We do not have any record of his other experiences there, except for when he is getting ready to die, Jacob says, "The people having loved Nephi exceedingly, he having been a great protector for them, having wielded the sword of Laban in their defense and having labored in all his days for their welfare...." (Jacob 1:10)

We know that after Lehi died, Nephi took his family, sisters, Jacob and Joseph, Zoram and his family, Sam and his family and anyone else who would listen with him as they fled from Laman and Lemuel and their families.  And we know that they had continual battles with them.  So who was Nephi 'wielding the sword' at?  Oh, right, that would be his nieces and nephews, probably mostly nephews, but it was against his own family!  Probably not just once, either.  Killing Laban was actually a preparation for other things that Nephi would be required to do later.  The Lord had prepared him.

We know that the Lord prepares His people.  He tells us so.

1st Nephi 3:7
...I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded for I know the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men save He shall prepare a way that they may accomplish the things which He commandeth them.

In Ether, chapter 2:6, we learn that the Jaredites built barges to cross many waters.  How many did they build?  We do not know exactly.  But when it was time to build the barges to cross the ocean waters, in v16, the Lord says to them, "Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built."

Do you think they learned one or two things in the first and second and third barges they had built about what would be successful and what wouldn't work?  I think they learned plenty, enough so that when they built the barges for their ocean crossing, it was successful!  Their barges were 'tight, like unto a dish'.  I'll tell you what, if I were in one of those barges I would be exceedingly grateful for the practice barges that weren't required for the ocean voyage!

But then in verse 25 of Ether 2, the Lord says, "And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea and the winds which have gone forth and the floods which shall come...."

So the Lord prepared them.  But if you read the verse before that, verse 24, you'll read: "...for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth."

Did you get that?

The Lord prepared the flood and the storm that was going to carry them to the promised land.  He prepared the trial for them, and he prepared them against the trial.  He prepared them to accomplish the thing which He commandeth them.  He prepared them for success.  He knew what that would take because He prepared both sides of the equation!!

And He will do the same thing for us.  If it feels like you are facing the same trial again, and again, and again, but it just looks a little bit different each time or it is a little more difficult each time, if you look closely, you can recognize the hand of the Lord in preparing you for your journey to your promised land.  He is preparing the way for you to accomplish the battle, challenge, journey in life that you need to take to bring about your eternal exaltation.

He does that because He loves us, because He knows who we are, and He knows what we need.  If we are willing and will listen, He will prepare us for what lies ahead as well.  Just like some day, my little Spike will know how to make 'wunch', and Slim has already been taught, even though he doesn't like it, the Lord will teach us all things that we need to do to be successful in the tasks He lays out for us.  It all ministers to our growth and development.  It is all a part of our personal journey, which is really why comparing ourselves with others is ineffective.  They are on their own personal journey, specifically tailored.

We can all have faith that the Lord is mindful of us and has our best interests at heart.  He has not only prepared us against the waves and the floods, He sent the waves and the floods.  He knows exactly what they look like and He will prepare us for them.  We can trust that!

I pray that you and I both will be able to withstand our waves and floods and successfully reach our promised lands, that we will have faith in our Father in Heaven and know that He has prepared a way for us to do what He asks of us!  In the name of His son, even Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Air, Water, Fire, Earth

Life has been crazy busy at our house this week.  It isn't so much with school beginning but just all of the end of summer, beginning of fall, stuff.  Drew, as an accountant, closes out the fiscal books for the court in July and then in August has all of July's regular work and budget planning in August.  So he is totally busy and is working extra hours to take care of all of the extra work.  (Summer family vacations are out!)
Copyright: Karen Larsen photography.  This is what I want the day to be like

This week alone, I have had three extra visits (to other people), a couple of child-care services (where the kids were dropped off here), a couple of extra appointments, and four evening meetings, and extra unplanned driving for the older boys---pretty much since Wednesday of last week.  It is just exhausting.  Tomorrow the calendar is empty.  I am looking forward to that.  This morning I looked on the calendar and realized that I had forgotten a scheduled appointment.  Crazy!  (Anyway, that is why there hasn't been much blogging activity.)

I am glad for fall and school, but some weeks are just ridiculous!

About three weeks ago, I found Carol Tuttle teaching us to Dress Your Truth.  Actually I read it in Heather's blog and listened to what she had to say.  It was awesome!  And though I cannot afford to buy her program, which I would just do if I could justify the expense, what I did learn has helped me a ton!!

If you haven't watched her videos, you won't know what I am talking about, so go a watch them first!

But here is what I learned:  I am definitely a Type 3 woman.  I am organized, succinct, irregular (though consistency is something I have worked on for years and am fairly good at now), bold, textured, rich woman (rich as in deep, not financially wealthy).  I am constantly thinking in my head when I talk to people 'and the point is???'.  Occasionally, I have even said to my children when they are telling me a story, "Skip to the end, tell me what you need/want me to do about it and why you are upset."

I have learned that most people cannot manage my bold, aggressive style.  It is too much for them, so I have tried to soften it.  Type 2 is my second nature.  I mask my Type 3 personality with Type 2 because I feel more people will be more accepting of me if I am a Type 2 person.

Well, I'm not!  I'm a Type 3.  As I have dressed more true to my nature and embraced who I really am inside, I am more at peace.  I am happier.  I have also had to just let go of the fact that some people are put off by Type 3 individuals.  And that's OK.

Drew is a Type 4.  When I realized that, oh my goodness!  The world changed.  I can embrace his nature also without taking offense at his ability to think critically and analyze everything and find all of the holes and then want to fix them because Type 4 people seek perfection.  My Type 3 personality moves just a little too fast for him.  But together, we have some balance in that he slows me down and keeps me from jumping too quickly into something and I spur him on so things actually get accomplished.
The children are all a mix.  We have some fire boys (Type 3), a water girl (Type 2), a few earth men (Type 4), and maybe only one air man (Type 1).   [The kids are Avatar watchers, so the air, water, fire, earth analogy makes more sense to them.]  The first day I listened to the four different types and realized they matched the Avatar, the Last Air-bender series, I sat the kids around the table and we each got a piece of paper and labelled everyone in our family.  It was a pretty fun activity.  The kids really got into it.  Then, of course, we had to all discuss why we put some people in certain labels and defend our choices.  Some of us compromised, and some of us just agreed to disagree.  But it was amazing which ones were completely consistent!  Everyone pegged the Type 4's and Type 3's without question.
As we talked, like Carol does, about embracing everyone for their gifts and their natural abilities, relationships in our home have improved.  And it is totally funny to hear one of the kids say, "Oh well they are (fire, water, earth, or air bender) which is different than me and that is why they are like that."  And when one of us fire benders is on the war path, watch out!  But now we just say "My fire personality is going to burn you up if you don't back off."  (And when two fire benders in our home are at each other, it isn't pretty).  But if we take the analogy just a little further and try to embrace each one's personality, we provide balance and then our little world can be in harmony.

But for now, we are all just learning to live together, some days in harmony, some days praying for harmony.

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of School!!!
 Last night we had our back to school blessings, at least for Shorty and Smilely.  Speedy had his a couple of weeks ago and Sun will have hers tonight (probably Spike, Spike too).

The boys had such a great day!!  They both got the teachers they wanted, and teachers who love our family and have had almost all of the other kids, at some point.  We LOVE them!!  So much fun!!

I wish I had photos!  This being without a digital camera kind of stinks, especially since for some reason, my phone will no longer send stuff to my email.  Geesh!!  Definitely first world problems!  Sorry for my complaining.

That's all for today!  Now I'll go and make dinner and maybe have something wise to say tomorrow, after FHE tonight....

Friday, August 22, 2014

FFF#32--To Obey, or Not To Obey

That is the question, ay??

Believe it or not, all of us struggle with this question in one way or another.  Some of us struggle on a very basic level.  Am I going to church, or not?  Am I going to drink alcohol today, or not?  Am I going to read my scriptures today or not?

Some of us are struggling with things that we know we should do but maybe don't want to do.  Should I invite my friend to church, or not?  Should I write that letter, or not?  Sometimes we have definite impressions and instead of saying, "Hey, that's a great idea!" we say, "Oh Heck No, I am not doing THAT!"  (This is usually me....)

Because that is my typical response to many things asked of me, obedience has been a learned art.  Forever, my favorite scripture has been 1st Nephi 3:7:

And it came to pass that I Nephi said unto my father, I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded for I know the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

And why is it my favorite, you ask?  Well, because I tend to have a major attitude problem.  My heart's desire is to do what the Lord asks of me.  That is the innate desire of my heart.  But many, many times, I am asked to do something I do not want to do, or something I am afraid to do, or something I feel I just cannot do.  When I have those feelings, I remind myself of my favorite scripture.  I remind myself that if the Lord is asking it of me, then He has already prepared a way for me to do what He asks of me.  I just have to figure out what that looks like and align my attitude with the task at hand.

I LOVE Nephi's faith!  I love that he does hard things.  His brothers were saying, "Heck no, I am not doing that!"  But Nephi said, I will go and I will do.  At those times when I have the 'heck no' feelings, I look at some of the things the Lord asked of those men and women in the scriptures and compare what He is asking of me.  It isn't usually to do things anywhere close to what He asked of them.   Then I try to tell myself that I am not being asked to walk back to Jerusalem to get the plates, or live in the wilderness for eight years, or build a boat, so maybe I can just do what He is asking??!!  I try not to compare what I am asked to do to what my neighbor or Susie Homemaker or Peggy Perfect or even Loafing Lucy is asked, because, let's be honest, those aren't really fair comparisons.  I do not completely know what is going on in those women's lives, and even if I am close enough to them to know, I don't know the deep places in their hearts and how what is being asked of them affects them.  I really, only know how being asked is affecting me.  In those circumstance, the Lord tailors each person's learning curriculum.  In other words, we all have our own IEP (Individualized Education Plan).  It doesn't matter what Peggy Perfect is asked to do, because what is asked of her is for her IEP.  What is asked of me is for my IEP.  We cannot really compare, because we are on different tracks and usually in different places, learning different principles.  Let's face it, comparing ourselves with others is not a tool the Lord would encourage, even though we all do it at different points, for good or ill.

If the behavior asked of me is difficult or undesirable on my part, then I recognize a couple of principles:

  • The Lord loves me.
  • He wants what is best for me and what will make me happy.
  • He knows the results of what He is asking me to do.
  • He knows why it is important for me to do whatever it is.
  • He knows what growth and development is necessary for my eternal salvation (That would be the I [individual] in IEP).
  • He is incapable of giving bad gifts.  He doesn't give stones and serpents, only bread and fish.  When He asks something of me, it is because He desires to bless me in some way and my obedience to His request is necessary for the blessing He has in mind.
  • Sacrifice and obedience are the first laws of the gospel.  They go together.  Always, sacrifice is involved in obedience.  It is only when I have made the sacrifice of obedience that the Lord is then allowed to bless me with the oil of testimony.
  • Sacrifice hurts, that is why it is called sacrifice.  If it doesn't hurt, it wasn't a sacrifice.
  • I do not like pain.
  • If left to myself, I would never do anything that caused me discomfort.
  • Then I would never grow.
  • There is a certain amount of pain and suffering (and a lot of obedience) involved in growth.
  • Heavenly Father will not force me to participate.  He suggests that I do what He asks.  If I do, He blesses me.  If I do not, well, sometimes there are consequences and sometimes I just do not receive the blessing.  Sometimes I forfeit the blessing.  (That is something I try really hard to consider when I am trying diligently to change my attitude so that I conform my behavior to obedience and willingly make the sacrifices necessary.  Much harder to do than to say.)
And finally:
  •  One day it hit me.  Heavenly Father is God because He obeys the laws perfectly.  He is perfectly obedient.  There are laws, eternal laws, that govern the universe and beyond, laws like agency, opposition in all things, sacrifice, obedience, all blessings predicated upon obedience, etc  (and many more I do not apparently know yet) but Heavenly Father knows them and has shown that He is not going to violate them, ever, which is why He is allowed to be who He is.  
  • If I want to be like Him, I have to learn to have that same kind of obedience, which is why my favorite scripture reminds me that anything He asks of me, I can do----because He already made a way for me to accomplish it.  He wants me to succeed and He has planned the way for me to do so.  
Now I just have to trust Him, make the sacrifice and be obedient.

Friday, August 15, 2014

FFF #31--The Youth of our Day

We have heard many times that the youth today are stronger and more stalwart than those of previous ages.  I think one of the things that solidified my testimony and kept me coming back to church even when my parents weren't coming was the constant uplift I felt when the leaders would speak about the strength of the youth and how our Father in Heaven felt about us.  I really don't know how long they have been telling the youth how amazing they are, but it has been at least 31 years because I have been hearing it for that long.
Here are a few of the things they have been saying:

Young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, you have been born at this time for a sacred and glorious purpose. It is not by chance that you have been reserved to come to earth in this last dispensation of the fulness of times. Your birth at this particular time was foreordained in the eternities.

You are to be the royal army of the Lord in the last days. You are “youth of the noble birthright.” (Hymns, 1985, no. 255.)

In the spiritual battles you are waging, I see you as today’s sons of Helaman. Remember well the Book of Mormon account of Helaman’s two thousand stripling warriors and how the teachings of their mothers gave them strength and faith. These marvelous mothers taught them to put on the whole armor of God, to place their trust in the Lord, and to doubt not. By so doing, not one of these young men was lost. (See Alma 53:10–23; Alma 56:41–56.)  President Ezra Taft Benson, Youth of the Noble Birthright, April 1986.

“I have said many times that I believe we have the finest generation of young people that this Church has ever known.  They are better educated; they are better motivated; they know the scriptures; they live the Word of Wisdom; they pay their tithing; they pray.  They try to do the right thing.  They are bright and able, clean and fresh, attractive and smart.  These are very substantial in number.  More of them go on missions than ever before.  More of them marry in the temple.  They know what the gospel is about, and they are trying to live it, looking to the Lord for His guidance and help.”  President Gordon B. Hinckley, November 2000, Your Greatest Challenge Mother.

Elder Anderson in April of 2010, gave this counsel:

President Thomas S. Monson has described the rising generation as “the very best ever” 1 and has said to our youth: “You have come to this earth at a glorious time. The opportunities before you are nearly limitless.” 2 But he also warned, “We have been placed on earth in troubled times.” 3 “It is a time of permissiveness, with society in general routinely disregarding and breaking the laws of God.” 4 We are surrounded by so much that is designed to divert our attention. “The adversary is using every means possible to ensnare us in his web of deceit.” 5
We hold in our arms the rising generation. They come to this earth with important responsibilities and great spiritual capacities. We cannot be casual in how we prepare them. Our challenge as parents and teachers is not to create a spiritual core in their souls but rather to fan the flame of their spiritual core already aglow with the fire of their premortal faith.

Just last week, I spoke with our primary children.  I told them of some of the comments the Brethren have made about their generation.  I wanted them to feel the power of who they really are.  I wanted them to have courage and faith, that if they would do what the Lord asked of them, He would always stand by them and uphold them in whatever difficulties they may be called to face.  I LOVE what Elder Anderson told us as leaders of the youth:  Our challenge as parents and teachers is not to create a spiritual core in their souls, but rather to fan the flame of their spiritual core already aglow with the fire of their premortal faith.

I recognize that it does not always feel like these kids are those kind of people.  But the Brethren have told us they are.  Amazing things happen when you speak to them at that level.  The Holy Ghost testifies of your words, or the Brethren's words to them as you explain the truths of their spiritual identities.  When the Holy Ghost comes, the atmosphere in the room changes.  You no longer have to get their attention, you have it.  They are riveted to your every word.  Once they know who they are, then you can teach them the doctrines they need to hear and they are listening.  This would be the fanning the flames part that we play.

When we try to teach the doctrine without the Holy Ghost, we might as well be herding cats into the river.  When we don't speak to them (the youth and the children) in the Spirit of love and truth and doctrine, we are wasting their time and ours.  I really haven't found anything that brings the Spirit quite as quickly as helping them to see and believe in the premortal fires of their faith----whether you are speaking to an individual or a room full of people.  When you can catch the vision of who they are and what they can do and you can share that information with them, through the power of the Holy Ghost, you can inspire them to do difficult and amazing things.

I mean, listen to the words of President Benson:

Give me a young man who has kept himself morally clean and has faithfully attended his Church meetings. Give me a young man who has magnified his priesthood and has earned the Duty to God Award and is an Eagle Scout. Give me a young man who is a seminary graduate and has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon. Give me such a young man, and I will give you a young man who can perform miracles for the Lord in the mission field and throughout his life.

Don't you love it?  Boy language---straight forward---do this and here is the promise!  And that goes for the Young Women too, only President Uchtdorf explained it in 'girl language'!
My dear young sisters all around the world, I am grateful and honored to be with you today. President Thomas S. Monson and all the leaders of the Church love you; we pray for you, and we rejoice in your faithfulness.

Over the years I have been exposed to many beautiful languages—each of them is fascinating and remarkable; each has its particular charm. But as different as these languages can be, they often have things in common. For example, in most languages there exists a phrase as magical and full of promise as perhaps any in the world. That phrase is “Once upon a time.”

Aren’t those wonderful words to begin a story? “Once upon a time” promises something: a story of adventure and romance, a story of princesses and princes. It may include tales of courage, hope, and everlasting love. In many of these stories, nice overcomes mean and good overcomes evil. But perhaps most of all, I love it when we turn to the last page and our eyes reach the final lines and we see the enchanting words “And they lived happily ever after.”

Isn’t that what we all desire: to be the heroes and heroines of our own stories; to triumph over adversity; to experience life in all its beauty; and, in the end, to live happily ever after?

Today I want to draw your attention to something very significant, very extraordinary. On the first page of your Young Women Personal Progress book, you will find these words: “You are a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father, prepared to come to the earth at this particular time for a sacred and glorious purpose.” 1

Sisters, those words are true! They are not made up in a fairy tale! Isn’t it remarkable to know that our eternal Heavenly Father knows you, hears you, watches over you, and loves you with an infinite love? In fact, His love for you is so great that He has granted you this earthly life as a precious gift of “once upon a time,” complete with your own true story of adventure, trial, and opportunities for greatness, nobility, courage, and love. And, most glorious of all, He offers you a gift beyond price and comprehension. Heavenly Father offers to you the greatest gift of all—eternal life—and the opportunity and infinite blessing of your own “happily ever after.”

But such a blessing does not come without a price. It is not given simply because you desire it. It comes only through understanding who you are and what you must become in order to be worthy of such a gift.

Notice that there are a lot more words, a story and a fluffy feeling....  If you are speaking to boys (and some Type 3 women), get to the point, do this, be this and/or this will be the result or consequence.  If you are speaking to girls, appeal to the emotions---light and fluffy and connected.

But whichever group you are speaking to, the point is the same, they are amazing, testimony-filled, Latter-day warriors.  We need to understand who they are in order to remind them of who they are so they can become who our Father in Heaven intended them to be.

Take just a few moments and think about your own children, or the ones who you have been called to teach or lead.  Pray about who they are and begin to see the gifts our Father in Heaven has given them.  Take some time out of your busy schedule to sit down with that child and explain to them the things you see in them, and then teach them of what our Father expects of them in terms of their current behavior and where it needs to go and what it needs to be.  Remember that 'Satan desires to sift us as wheat,' which means to make us common.  Teach that to our youth if it is necessary.  Remind them that they are not common.  They have a premortal fire burning in them.  They are youth of 'the noble birthright,' saved to come forth in this day and age because the Lord knows who they are.  He knows He can trust them to lead out in righteousness and be a light to the world growing more and more into darkness.  This is their eternal heritage!!!  And as their leaders and parents, we need to fan that flame and keep it moving in the right direction!

Have a great weekend fanning those flames!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Rise of the Russian Saints!

Last Saturday my husband and I went to a fireside in our ward.  A former bishop and his wife just returned from their mission in Russia.  They came to tell us all about it and share their love for the work, the culture and the people.  It was amazing!!  I had been following their blog about their adventures just because they are close to my heart.  Bishop and Sister Childers served as the bishop of our current ward, while my husband was bishop of the other ward in our building.  Then, when they were released from that, they served as Seminary teachers for my two oldest boys.  Then they served as institute directors for the young single adults in our area.  Then they were called as CES missionaries to Russia!!!  They are amazing people and I love them dearly!!

Before I tell you about the wonderful things they shared with us, you should read this article in the February Ensign about the growth of the church in Russia.  Go and do that won't take you long.  Go, go!!  (Remember to change those last three letters at the end of the link so you can read it in your language!)
Wasn't that amazing?  (That is my new word for this post---amazing----I can't seem to use another one.)  So the reason I wanted you to read that first is because the things they told us tie in quite nicely with the article.  Remember in the article where it talks about Elder Nelson rededicating the land?  Well, when the Childers first arrived, they were taken to that very garden, and stood in that very spot where Elder Nelson rededicated the country.  They told us that when they were so new and didn't know anything, they thought it was a nice place.  Later, they learned the story, which was that when Elder Nelson and the member of the 70 (I think) went to go dedicate the land, they wanted to return to the very spot where it had originally been dedicated, by Elder Francis Lyman.  When they arrived, it was fenced in and under guard.  The member of the 70 said to Elder Nelson, "Looks like it is closed."  To which Elder Nelson replied, "It is never closed to the Lord."  They told the guards that they would like to go in and pray.  The guard pushed the member of the 70 and said, 'Nyet' or no.  As he walked away, the guard called him back and said, "You touched me."  Confused the member of the 70 apologized.  "No," said the guard, "when you touched me, I felt something."  Then he told them a place down the fence, where there was an opening where they could enter the garden.  When they arrived at the right place, there were two female statues.  Elder Nelson then shared how important the opening of Russia was to two deceased prophets, Spencer W. Kimball and Ezra Taft Benson, and their wives.  Then he said that those two couples were there with them as they rededicated Russia for the preaching of the gospel.  And evidence to that fact was that the two statues in the garden had names etched into them.  The names were Camilla and Flora.  The same names of President Kimball's wife and President Benson's wife.  (That story blew me away!) 

Then in the article, it says, "[Elder Lyman] offered prayers in St. Petersburg and in Moscow on August 6 and 9, asking the Lord to bless the rulers of the land and the many peoples of the empire, 'in whose veins the blood of Israel flows generously.'"  Elder and Sister Childers told us their mission president told his missionaries, to go and find the blood of Israel because it is out there!!  The ten tribes who 'went North', he indicated, were there in the land of Russia.

Here is a tid-bit I came across yesterday:  The World Congress of Families that I follow because I love all things family, was suppose to be held next month in Moscow.  Because of the unrest in Ukraine and Crimea, the Congress was suspended.  In 2010, the Church built a temple in Kyiv, Ukraine, making it one of the closest temples for the Russian saints to attend.  I do not think it is an accident that there is so much tension in the area.  I do not think the adversary wants the Russian people to experience the blessings of the temple and the gospel.  And he probably does not want them to hear of the amazing blessing of the traditional family by listening to scholars around the world proclaim how strong, traditional families strengthen communities and economies.

Elder and Sister Childers told us that they needed two stakes in their area to be considered for a temple.  She said they are 24 more Melchizedek priesthood holders in the stake where they were serving to become a stake.  When they are a stake, then they have access to local priesthood authorities, other keys of the priesthood, and they will be able to have their own patriarch.  Currently, the patriarch comes only once a year.  During that time, he gives patriarchal blessings to only the very, very old and the very young who are preparing to serve missions.  If your age falls in between those two groups, then you have to wait.  One of their friends had been waiting for 20 years before she received her blessing.  Can you imagine waiting that long?  Or having to get a passport so you could attend the temple?  We have to drive four hours and I complain!  I think I had better shape up!!  The other thing they told us was that the patriarch in their area had given blessings to a member of each of the tribes of Israel.  How would you like to have his calling?  (That blew me away too!!)

Elder and Sister Childers told us of the severe persecution some of the saints there receive.  One of them had been fired from three different jobs because of his faith.  Sometimes the missionaries are followed or have 'incidents' where people try to rob them or beat them up.  Elder Childers said those young missionaries have to proselyte every day out in the ice and snow (in the winter) because the buildings are locked and in order to proselyte there, someone in the building would have to let them in.  So most of their contacts are street contacting in the weather.  I just cannot imagine that.  What faith!  What dedication!  What devotion!! (How does that look!!?  Brrrr!)

One of the requests the Childers asked of us was to add the Russian saints to our prayers.  To pray that they would remain strong and faithful (apparently as the Russian saints are released from a major calling, it is not atypical for that member to then go inactive---they said it was a cultural thing).  So even though they are only 24 Melchizedek priesthood holders away from becoming a stake, they have to fight the cultural norm of attrition.

One other note, I remember reading from last year's World Congress of Families, that the younger generation of Russian citizens had lived through their parents divorces, and alcohol and drug addictions and negative patterns of behavior.  They didn't want those things for their families.  They were much more open to the traditional family and laws and morals that protect that institution.  They want something better for their children than they had.  The Childers validated those statements.  That makes those amazing Russian peoples prepared and ready to open their hearts to the messages of the gospel.

I think if we would all be willing to add them to our prayers, maybe we could help the Russian saints realize the miracles they are hoping and praying for.  What do you think?  Is that something we can do for them?  You know, I for one, can be just a little more faithful knowing some of the issues they are struggling with.  My heart and prayers are with you!!  And I will send you my love too! :-)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Hope of God's Light

I saw this on Friday and just really, really liked it, so I thought I would share it :-)

So many times we have specific questions and need specific counsel and guidance and we put conditions on our relationship with God.  But there are rules about our ability to interact with Him.  There are things we need to do and places we need to be---not physically, but spiritually in our hearts.  We have to bring ourselves to a place where we can hear what God is trying to say to us.  That will happen when we are willing to listen, which means, not just to hear, but also to obey.  That may take us a while depending upon where we are starting from.  This story is a good illustration of that. 

It isn't that God wasn't there, or wasn't interested, or didn't care, or didn't hear.  It was that Todd wasn't in a place where he was ready to hear what God had to say.  Many times, we get the relationship backwards.  We want God to do and be certain things for us because that is what we need or want.  In reality, God is waiting for us to be and do certain things for Him, so He can bless us.  But we have to be willing to bend our will to His so we have the correct understanding of how things really work :-)

Happy Sabbath!!

Friday, August 8, 2014

FFF #30--Raising Children of Light!

Earlier last week, our Primary President used Elder Christensen's article, Becoming Children of Light from the August 2014 Ensign as her spiritual thought for our presidency meeting.  Elder Christensen said this:

We have been given the light of the gospel through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We know what God expects from us, His beloved children. We have His Spirit to guide and direct us. To become children of light means to reject the power of the adversary and to choose daily to follow the Light of Christ.

The phrase “children of light” describes a people in whom the light of the gospel shines brightly. It describes a people who seek the light and are drawn to that which is virtuous, clean, and pure. There is an expectation that children of light are alert and watchful—not sleeping, in a spiritual sense, when they should be awake (see 2 Nephi 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:5–8). Children of light do not sit passively in darkness; they have the courage to stand up and stand out. When the adversary comes looming, children of light know when to fight back, when to say no, and when to simply walk away.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught:

“Jesus cautioned that Satan desires to sift us like wheat (see Luke 22:31; 3 Nephi 18:18), which means to make us common like all those around us. But Jesus taught that we who follow Him should be precious and unique, ‘the salt of the earth’ (Matthew 5:13) and ‘the light of the world,’ to shine forth to all men (Matthew 5:14, 16; see also 3 Nephi 18:24).

“We do not serve our Savior well if we fear man more than God. … We are called to establish the Lord’s standards, not to follow the world’s. Elder John A. Widtsoe declared, ‘We cannot walk as other men, or talk as other men, or do as other men, for we have a different destiny, obligation, and responsibility placed upon us, and we must fit ourselves [to it]’ [in Conference Report, Apr. 1940, 36].”1

Children of light let their light shine so that others may see their good works and glorify our Father in Heaven (see Matthew 5:16). They “arise and shine forth, that [their] light may be a standard for the nations” (D&C 115:5). What does it mean to be a standard to the nations? A standard is a model used in comparative analyses. If we let our light shine, our friends in the world (who have the Light of Christ) will measure their light against what they see in us.

Our primary president then asked us as we teach the children to help them learn and know that they are 'Children of Light'.  She knows that if they understand who they are and what God expects of them, they will internalize those values and help others to learn of their divine nature and individual worth.

As I pondered her words, I realized that as mothers, teachers, and leaders of children, we cannot teach them to be 'Children of Light' if we are not also 'Children of Light' or if we do not understand what that means or are able to share that light with our children.  If we are 'mothers of darkness' who do not transmit love and light to our children, how will they ever become that?  We must do all that is within our power to become 'Mothers of Light' to raise 'Children of Light'.  Now I realize that Elder Christensen intended all of us to be 'Children of Light'.  But I wish to distinguish between the mothers and the children because we (as parents and leaders) need to understand our role in developing the personalities and characteristics of our children.  If we want them to treat others with kindness, forgiveness, respect, generosity, etc.........we need to be the ones who treat our children (be they the ones we are raising or the ones we are teaching) with kindness, forgiveness, respect, generosity, etc....
copyright:  Karen Larsen photography

As I have spoken with several of my 'mother' friends, I have realized that as mothers, one of the things we struggle most to do is to make time for our independent spiritual learning.  This is not intended to be judgmental.  I have struggled with this too at various times in my motherhood.  When the children were so young and so close and we had so many little ones, I don't think I had a complete night's sleep for about six years straight (maybe 7).  Getting up in the early morning hours was a joke!  (Secret information:  I do not function without sleep---it is really kind of ugly.)  And I wasn't very good at reading my scriptures regularly.  I was, however, a faithful Ensign reader---every month, several times a week, if not every day---I'd read an article here or there.  It took me several years, but I realized that counted as scripture study.  It just wasn't the actual four standard works.

When we moved to California, and church was not as spiritually sustaining as it was in Utah, I realized I would have to 'step up' my efforts in spiritually nurturing myself or I wasn't going to be able to sustain my testimony.  You know when the climate changes, you have to adjust the water settings---it is the same thing with your spirituality.  When things in your life change, or the trials increase, sometimes you need to up your efforts to get the spiritual nourishment you need to sustain yourself.  But then, the goal isn't to sustain, right?  It's to grow.  That means, increased effort over time.  And things change.

That is life.  So our scriptural feeding isn't always going to look the same.  It is going to wax and wane with our lives.  The trick is to recognize when things need adjustment, repent, and get yourself back on track.  Honestly evaluate where you are and where you need to be and set some realistic goals to get there.

If you are worried about your abilities and time, consider these words from Elder Christensen:

At times we may consider all that is expected of children of light to be beyond our reach and abilities. Painfully aware of our own shortcomings, we may wonder why anyone would look to us for light and inspiration—particularly when we are in need of such help ourselves. If you ever feel this way, remember that your Heavenly Father knows all about you—your strengths and your weaknesses. He knows perfectly who you are, but He also knows who you can become. And with that knowledge, He has placed you here, now—at the exact place and time in which you can do the most good with the talents and gifts He has given you.

You don’t have to wait until you are perfect before you can be a light to the world. Becoming children of light is a process, much like the process of conversion, which Elder Oaks described as “a profound change of nature.” He explained that we have the gospel of Jesus Christ to help us “become what children of God are supposed to become. This spotless and perfected state will result from a steady succession of … right choices, and from continuing repentance."

That last sentence in the 1st paragraph:  'He has placed you here, now---at the exact place and time in which you can do the most good with the talents and gifts He has given you.'---hit me so hard this week.  I have been having a hard time feeling like I am not making a difference or doing enough (the truth is I am not making a difference in the terms I want to make a difference).  But when I read that sentence, I realized, I am doing what the Lord has asked of me.  I am doing it where the Lord has asked me.  I just want a different assignment.  (Which isn't really my choice, is it?  Not if I truly want to do what He wants and I am willing to submit my will.  See this post for more information.)  Now I just have to be willing to do it for as LONG as He wants me to.  If I just do what He asks, it will be enough.

Elder Christensen continues:

As children of light, we have the obligation of making this world a holier and happier place for our having lived in it. Heavenly Father relies on our influence to help bring all of His children home to Him. We should become an influence for good wherever we go (see 1 Timothy 4:12).

As we cultivate the Lord’s light by following the promptings of His Spirit, He will use us as instruments to bring about much righteousness. 

As we do what we can to become 'mothers of light' we will increase our ability to raise 'Children of Light'.

Have a  great weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A quick review of yesterday's craziness

Yesterday Slim and I had a few errands to run.  Among them, stopping at the grocery store to pick up a few things for Speedy before Trek, heading to Staples to print resumes (for Slim), dropping off a resume, and mailing a few things for Spanky and Sport.

We got to the grocery store.  Finished there and put things into the car.  Walked over to Staples.  Finished there.  Got into the car to head to the next errand and the car wouldn't start.  At first, I thought it was just the battery.  I called Drew and asked if he wanted to take work off early and come and help me.  He said, 'I really can't come right now.  Call our home teacher (HT) and see if he can help you out.  OK fine. 

We made the phone call and waited.  We were totally boxed in, (had cars all around us in the parking lot) and I didn't know how we were going to get the jumper cables to reach anyway.  It probably took half an hour before our HT got there.  We made the decision to roll the car into the lane between the parked cars to reach the battery.  Our HT drove in the wrong way so that our engines were next to each other.

I don't know what was going on in the parking lot that day, but it was chaos.  Probably 20-25 cars drove by us in the parking lot!!  It was crazy!  When we got our hood up, the battery was under some giant fuse box and almost unreachable.  We could hook up the red cable connector, but had to ground the black one because we couldn't reach it.  After we got that figured out, we just needed to hook it up to our HT's car.  Well, our HT couldn't figure out how to get his hood open.  Seriously!  After about 10-15 minutes, I decided to take a look at it.  I couldn't figure out how to get his hood open!  (There was no little button inside the car that showed the hood or even said pull!)

Just as I decided that I couldn't find it and stood up, closed the door to his car, the car across the parking lot backed into his car and munched the back end!  Literally........I stood up seconds before she hit the car!  Scary!  I kind of went to my own car and let her and my HT work out the details and in my mind I just prayed, "Please let me be nice, please let me be kind....."  My HT and the other lady worked out their details (the whole time we are blocking traffic and having people try to drive around us and others in the parking lot who have witnessed the accident are now just standing around watching).  We decided this was more than we were bargaining for and I made the executive decision to call the tow truck.

I had our HT and Slim push my car back into the stall (because now the lady who had parked next to me was at her car and was patiently waiting until we moved so she could get out).  I called Drew to get the tow truck number.  He, of course, wanted an update and was assuming that we couldn't get the car jump started.  I told him:  Just give me the tow truck number, I will talk to you about what happened later.  He pushed just a little and I said, Look, this is what happened, just give me the number now!  (Secret information:  I manage a situation, and I manage it and I manage it and I manage it until I cross this line of no longer managing and then I explode at whoever happens to be around.  I have to really, really, really work at being kind in a situation where I am frustrated and irritated, thus the prayer above...)

I got the phone number and sent our HT and Slim to the car shop where we were going to tow the van. (More secret information:  Slim is just like me, only he doesn't have the same level of patience I do.  He explodes earlier, which is why I sent him away with our HT.)  The tow guys were really nice and it only took them 45 minutes to find me in the parking lot.  While I was waiting I called the car shop and let them know I was coming.  I have had plenty of car issues and so their number is just a permanent part of my cell phone.  The tow truck driver knew his stuff!!  I was so very, very grateful!  He had me lift the hood and then he whacked my car engine a couple of times with a long metal stake and sledge hammer.  I have no idea what he was doing, but my car engine tried to turn over instead of just giving me a 'click'.  Then he tried the jumper cables.  But there still wasn't enough juice. 

Finally, he rolled the car into the aisle, hooked that baby up to the wench and pulled my van onto his truck.  Then, sweet man, he opened the door for me and closed it after I was inside the cab.  Then we drove to the shop!  None of the other errands made it off the list.

Oh and did I tell you we were suppose to have company for dinner last night?  I got home at 3:30, had dinner ready by 5:30 and they didn't show!  And they didn't call??!!  Ya--it was that kind of a day!

Then, this morning, was emotionally worse.  But I am not going into those details because people who live here with me read my blog.  So that is that!  Maybe tomorrow will be better.  (And yes, I did read my scriptures and say my prayers both days.  Good thing or some of those people would be repeating some of the nasty things I had said to them.  So very glad that I didn't do that!)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Obedience......My favorite subject.

Forever, my favorite scripture has been 1st Nephi 3:7,

I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.  For I know the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save He shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which He commandeth them.
I think this has been my favorite scripture because the desire of my heart is to do what the Lord asks of me.  I often know what He wants me to do.  I am just doubtful that I can really do that.  (In my experience, the Lord asks a lot of me!  Probably because He is trying to prepare me for something I am as yet, far away from obtaining!)  So I love this scripture because it reminds me, in simple terms, that if the Lord has asked it of me, He will also prepare a way for me to accomplish what He is asking of me.  This scripture promises me that if the Lord asks it, I can do it, because He will help me.

I have been told that I can accomplish any goal that I set for myself with the help of my Father in Heaven.  I still have trouble believing that sometimes.  I try to set realistic goals, achievable goals.  But sometimes they seem impossible and I have to really fight to remind myself that I have the ability within, with His help, to accomplish my goal.

Recently, the Lord has been asking something of me I have felt was completely impossible and I have pretty much had a major attitude about Him asking it of me.  I intellectually know it is possible for me to do what He asks,  because of the above scripture and because He is omniscient and omnipowerful and if He really want to accomplish something, even in my life, I have the faith and knowledge in His ability for Him to accomplish His objectives.  The line I have been fighting, is bending my will to His, my choosing to obedient follow His request.  I have been fighting the bend for a few years, not in outright rejection of His request, but just 'I really don't know how that can be possible' or 'how I can possibly do what you request'. 

I make feeble efforts to comply.  I pray for help.  I fast for help.  I continue to try, though I feel like I am failing more than I am succeeding and my measuring efforts show that is the case.  Within the last couple of months, I have really begun to embrace the desire for obedience in this area.  It has taken all of this time and effort to bend my will to want to do what He is asking, and not just to say 'That is so hard!  Why are you asking that of me?!!' which is where I have been for more months than I care to share.

This morning, I read Elder Hales conference address, 'If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments.'
In his address, Elder Hales discusses three 'types' of obedience.  The first he calls 'natural man's obedience' where we "disobediently reject God's law in favor of our wisdom or our desires or even popularity."  The second he calls 'selective obedience' where we "claim to love God and honor God while picking and choosing which of His commandments and teachings---and the teachings and counsel of His prophets---[we] will fully follow."  The third type, I will discuss in a moment.

Being a student of morality, I have studied the theories of men in regard to why and how people obey.  It has been too many years since those college classes and I do not want to take the time to dig them out this morning so I will not share who said what, since I cannot tie specific theories to specific people.  But I can generally remember some of the categories.  One was obedience so as not to get in trouble---a person obeys only because they do not want the consequence of disobedience.  This would be the category of those spirits who came to earth to receive bodies, only because they knew Lucifer's plan was going to leave them without one.  Cain may fall into that category, maybe Laman and Lemuel.  It is not obedience out of love, or because one wants to be obedient.  It is simply to avoid the consequences of not being obedient.  A child who obeys simply because they do not want to be spanked, or sent to their room, or whatever the consequence of the behavior would be would fall into this category as well.

Another category of obedience is because you want to be like someone else.  You choose behavior that identifies you with another person or group.  If you choose positive role models, you have positive behaviors, but if you choose negative ones, then you have negative behaviors.  Your behavior simply mimics a person or group you admire.  When teenagers are trying to define their identity, many will do so through mimicking another person or group.  There is no internal regulation of behavior other than to appear like those they are trying to be like.

Then there is behavior based in knowledge of right or wrong.  Internal compassing begins here.  Situations and behaviors are defined by the individual's belief in their right-ness or wrong-ness.  Based on a person's education, experience, teaching, or examples, morality at this level is extremely eclectic (different based on each individual person).

There may be other steps in between, but eventually morality is based in love, love of other people (what helps and hurts them) and love of God.  Morality at this level comes because one wants to do what is best for others and because of what they believe God wants them to do.

As I think about these various ideas, it is interesting to me that Elder Hales, a prophet of God, labels one of his types of obedience as 'natural man obedience' --rejecting God's laws in favor of our own desires or wisdom.  Natural man obedience can be practiced at any one of the 'theories of men' stages of obedience, except maybe the love of men and love of God one.  We can be obedient in one or two areas of our lives, (go to church, say our prayers) and be completely disobedient in another area (love our fellow men).  Is that crazy??  Obedience and its intended change of heart, for different areas of our lives, can be at different levels.  This is where Elder Hales 'selective obedience' comes in.  We pick and choose what levels and what teachings we will be obedient to.  We may be obeying all of the laws of the land and still not show kindness or charity to our neighbors or family members (but still not be breaking any of the laws).

Elder Hales third type of obedience is 'the Savior's obedience,' spiritually mature obedience "motivated by true love for Heavenly Father and His son.  When we willingly obey, as the Savior did......."

Elder Hales says this:

As our understanding of obedience deepens, we recognize the essential role of agency.  When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed three times to His Father in Heaven, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:  nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."  God would not override the Savior's agency.....

 In my current fight in obedience, that is where I have been struggling.  It helped me to realize that the Savior would have really like it if the atonement could have been completed 'some other way' than what He needed to experience.  But His will was always in submission to the desires of the Father.  It has taken me months and months and months to be willing to say OK I will do that, even though I do not want to.  But PLEASE help me because I am struggling to do what I need to do to be obedient.  I have been struggling to bend my will and submit my agency to allow the Father to help accomplish His desire in my life.
Part of Elder Hales discussion will help motivate me to continue along my path.

In choosing whether we will obey, it is always helpful to remember the consequences of our choices.  Did Lucifer and his followers understand the consequences of choosing to reject Heavenly Father's plan?  If so, why did they make such a terrible choice?  We might ask ourselves a similar question:  why do any of us choose to be disobedient when we know the eternal consequences of sin?  The scriptures provide an answer:  the reason Cain and some of the children of Adam and Eve chose to disobey is because 'they loved Satan more than God.'


I do not want to be counted in that group with any category in my life.  I do not want to love Satan more than God.  None of my sins are worth that to me.  Part of my current resistance, is knowing the process will be hard, harder than anything I have ever done.  Knowing that, the Lord is asking me to submit to it.  That has been a true and honest struggle for me.  Personally, I really like it better when the trial blind sides you so you are already in the middle of it before you really understand what you are dealing with.  Maybe that isn't true, I do manage better when I know it is coming and I know it is the Lord's will but not knowing does not require my consent.  I guess this is just one of the places where the Lord will not override my agency and is asking me to be on board with His program.  So much bending!!!  I am a strong-willed person!

Elder Hales goes on to say, "Our love of the Savior is the key to Savior-like obedience."  So today, like other days, I am fasting for 'Savior-like obedience.'  Wish me luck!  No, just PRAY for my continued obedience over time and my willingness to continue to bend.

Friday, August 1, 2014

FFF#29-Ode to Dust-Bunnies

Well, if everything has gone as planned, my computer should be getting ready to be put back together and we should have put in new carpet yesterday.  So this morning, we will be moving all of the furniture back into the family room.  If it didn't go as planned, all of my house is in chaos and in the next few days we will settle things down and get back to work.

Next week is trek.  (Pioneer handcart reenactment for the youth ages 14-18.  Drew and I are not going this year, but Speedy is.)  Then I learned that school for Speedy begins the next week.  Where has the summer gone?  We have spent the time remodeling.  Though it has been very busy, we have done a lot of cleaning and getting rid of a lot of junk and rearranging how things function in our home.  Everything feels a lot cleaner.

This is going to be kind of a super scattered post because, well, that is how my brain is feeling right now.  I have cleaned things over the last several weeks, that I didn't know needed to be cleaned.  Ugh!  Being on top of and organized in my house cleaning is NOT my strength.  You want me to run an organization?  Motivate and inspire people?  Organize work or time?  Sure.  Write a blog?  Write the primary program?  Give a talk?  Tutor math, science, spelling, reading, writing?  Bring it on.  Help someone with their marriage or parenting skill?  I am all over that.  But you want me to wash the window?  Clean the blinds?  Dust behind the dryer?  REALLY? Can't those things wait another five years?  Apparently not when you have children who are allergic to DUST!

My friend  has shared this theory about dogs with me:  You don't get the dog you want, you get the dog you need.  Since I don't have dogs, (because, oh ya', some of us are allergic to them!  And it would just be one more thing for me to clean and take care of!) I wonder if it works the same way with kids.  I am a horrible, horrible duster, so let's send her a kid who is allergic to dust and then she'll have to learn to fix that whole aversion to cleaning she has.  Seriously, I think sometimes Heavenly Father has that kind of a sense of humor.  (I would, so I guess I think He would too.)

Plus, with Slim home for the next year.... (I didn't tell you:  He is postponing law school for a year to heal from his concussions.  A few weeks ago, he couldn't read a book or work on the computer or walk for too long without getting dizzy.  He is doing better.  So that is good.)  Anyway, Slim is allergic to dust too, I think.  He really cannot tolerate it in any degree.  So with two dust allergy people at our house, dusting is going to have to improve.  Lucky me.

I have learned, however, that caring for your home is a way of showing love for your people.  Helping them learn to clean and take pride in their surroundings is very beneficial to them, as well.  Not to mention that when all the laundry is done and in their drawers, it makes finding church clothes on Sunday morning (or Saturday evening for the ultra-prepared) so much easier and less stressful!!!  As we have gotten older and older, cleaning has been easier and easier.  Probably because I am getting sleep, and I am not spending hours nursing and changing diapers and trying to decipher toddler speak, usually all at the same time.

But I have to tell you, when Sister Reeves made this comment in General Conference, I wanted to give my husband the 'death' glare and say, SEE!!!  I did it right!!  Dust bunnies can't go to heaven anyway!

Some of you have heard me tell how overwhelmed my husband, Mel, and I felt as the parents of four young children. As we faced the challenges of parenting and keeping up with the demands of life, we were desperate for help. We prayed and pleaded to know what to do. The answer that came was clear: “It is OK if the house is a mess and the children are still in their pajamas and some responsibilities are left undone. The only things that really need to be accomplished in the home are daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening.”

Anyway, he just turned to me and said, "That's why we shouldn't have women speak in General Conference." 

Now, before all of you behead him.........he was joking!  He was trying to be funny.  And because it was only said to me, the rest of you should not be mad at him.

OK so I should really wrap this up.  I need to go and move furniture!  The point:  Cleaning our homes, to the best of our ability (without making our homes the priority above our families, doing all things in wisdom and order), considering our time, energy, and other responsibilities, will bless our families and is a form of service.  That is my crazy blog post, just free writing without thought to the consequences. Scary!

Have a great week!  Hopefully, if I remember how to connect the computer, I'll post again on Sunday.  If there is no Sunday post, you can assume I couldn't figure it out :-)