Friday, April 24, 2015

Do You Have Your Ticket?

Every foundation stone that is laid for a Temple, and every Temple completed according to the order the Lord has revealed for his holy Priesthood, lessens the power of Satan on the earth, and increases the power of God and Godliness."
—George Q. Cannon

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is hosting public tours of the Payson Utah Temple starting today!
My family and I for the past 5 years have been waiting with anticipation for this day to come.
Almost every Sunday, since the Temple was announced (clear back in January of 2010), my family has driven by the temple site to check out the progress. 
I can't begin to tell you how excited we are.  My little girls call this THEIR TEMPLE and they cannot wait to see the inside.  You too can tour this gorgeous edifice.
Just go HERE to reserve your tour tickets.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I'm in the Club

the Soccer Mom Club that is.

#5 is the only one (so far) of our children to play soccer.  She loves it!
Clint is her coach (it was the only way to get her on a team).  He knows nothing about soccer, but he's a natural athlete and anything to do with sports - any sport- just comes naturally to him (lucky guy!)
So now I can officially brag that "yeah - -  I'm a soccer mom." (rubbing my knuckles on my shirt)
Except I haven't exactly figured out what there is to brag about.  But once I find out, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Prom 2015

After months of planning and shopping, the big day finally arrived.
 #2's sweet friend came over to help her get ready (cause it's like totally not cool to have your mom help you.)  Her friend does good work!  She was stunning.
 I love taking pictures of how awkward everyone is when it comes time to pin on the boutonniere (yes I had to google how to spell that.  We usually just call it a booty-neer), and slip on the corsage.  Being that close to your date, trying to pin on a flower that doesn't want to go on, with your whole family watching is pretty nerve-wracking for the couple, but we sure enjoy watching it!
-No wardrobe malfunctions, dinner, dancing, and ice cream- The night was a huge success!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Fresh Air, Mountain Breezes, and Family

A couple Saturdays ago, we loaded up the wheelers, a picnic lunch, and our camping chairs and heading up into the mountains for the day.  
20 years ago, I never would have dreamed this would be something I would choose to do much less enjoy.  I can honestly say that spending time in nature with my family makes me happy.
 We talk, and laugh and spend quality time together with no distractions.
I love it!
This crew even did a little spelunking.
 This was our 'Last Hurrah!' before my parents left (last Monday) to spend another year as service missionaries at HVC (Heber Valley Camp).
 The day was perfect - not too hot and not too cold, sunshine, blue skies, and amazing views.
(Can you spot the temple in the background?)
Family Time = the Best Time

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Plan of Happiness

The conference quote graphics I have created are free for your own personal or Church use.  Just click on the graphic - it should enlarge.  Then right click and "save image as" onto your computer. 
by President Boyd K. Packer

My kids refer to this talk as "The Birds and the Bees" talk, and rightfully so.
What I got out of this talk:
BEE Happy
- that is the #1 Goal
 ". . .The end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed together for time and for all eternity. . .The greatest reward we have received in this life, and the life to come, is our children and our grandchildren."

It means everything to me to know that the relationships I have with my family can continue for eternity.  What an amazing blessing.  As a parent, I need to make sure I'm teaching my children what it means and how to be an eternal family. 

BEE Fruitful and Multiply and Replenish the Earth
"The commandment to multiply and replenish the earth has never been rescinded.  It is essential to the plan of redemption and is the source of human happiness.  Through the righteous exercise of this power, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fullness of joy, even godhood.  The power of procreation is not an incidental part of the plan; it is the plan of happiness; it is the key to happiness."

I heard a quote that said, "A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bank accounts smaller, homes happier, clothes dirty,the past forgotten, and the future with living for."

There is nothing like a sweet little baby!  What a wonderful gift it is to be able to procreate - create another human being, a little baby- with God.  From experience, I can say that bringing children into your family (whether by natural means or adoption) makes you happier than you ever thought possible.

BEE Loving 
-No Matter How Long You Have Been Married
"Mating begins with Romance. . .and if you suppose that the full-blown rapture of young romantic love is the sum total of the possibilities which spring from the fountains of life, you have not yet lived to see the devotion and the comfort of longtime married love."

Share together your procreating powers.  Continue to date and do the same sweet loving things for your spouse that you did while you were dating. 

". . .two essential ingredients to a successful marriage are a cookie and a kiss."
Keep kissing and serving your spouse.

BEE Careful
The power to procreate is very strong.  It's that way for a reason.
"When lawfully used, the power of procreation will bless and sanctify." 
Satan knows this and "temptations are ever present.  Because the adversary cannot beget life, he is jealous toward all who have that supernal power.. . .He will tempt, if he can, to degrade, to corrupt, and, if possible, to destroy this gift by which we may, if we are worthy, have eternal increase."

Pornography is a huge tool Satan is using to exploit this power.  It is known to ruin and destroy a person's sex drive.  (Read more HERE)

I also recently read an article (HERE) in an LDS Living magazine listed the rewards of waiting until you are married before participating in physical intimacy. 

BEE Sure to Repent if Needed
"The Atonement, which can reclaim each one of us, bears no scars.  That means that no matter what we have done or where we have been or how something happened, if we truly repent, He has promised that He would atone.  And when He atoned, that settled that.  There are so many of us who are thrashing around, as it were, with feelings of guilt, not knowing quite how to escape.  You escape by accepting the Atonement of Christ, and all that was heartache can turn to beauty and love and eternity. . .the Atonement. . .can wash clean every stain no matter how difficult or how long or how many times repeated.  The Atonement can put you free again and move forward, cleanly and worthily, to pursue that path that you have chosen in life."

Friday, April 17, 2015

Filling Our Homes with Light and Truth

The conference quote graphics I have created are free for your own personal or Church use.  Just click on the graphic - it should enlarge.  Then right click and "save image as" onto your computer. 
By Cheryl A. Esplin

"Strong eternal families and Spirit-filled homes do not just happen.  They take great effort, they take time, and they take each member of the family doing his or her part.  Every home is different, but every home where even one individual seeks for truth can make a difference."

We all desire to have a strong family and a home filled with the Spirit.  It would be nice if that could just happen, but, as with all things worthwhile, it takes time and effort.

"Satan knows that in order for us and our families to withstand the pressures of the world, we must be filled with light and gospel truth.  So he does everything in his power to dilute, distort, and destroy the truth of the gospel and to keep us separated from that truth."

"When filled with the Spirit and with gospel truth, we have the power to withstand the outside forces of the world that surround and push against us." -WE HAVE POWER!  "If we not filled with spiritually, we don't have the inner strength to resist the outside pressures and can collapse when forces push against us."
image source and handout idea from HERE
(I'm planning on doing the soda can object lesson tomorrow for our FHE!)

 In her talk, Sister Esplin lists three things, that if we do them, will 'fill our homes with light and truth'.

1.  Inspiring MUSIC
"Inspiring music is just one of the many ways we can feel the Spirit whisper to us, filling us with light and truth."

Many years ago when my children were little I attended a Homemaking Meeting(remember when it was called that?) where a class was taught on music in the home.  The instructor shared a personal story about good music in her home that has stuck with me and made a huge difference in my home as well.  She had two sons that were rebellious.  They made some bad friends and some even worse choices.  Talking to them and trying to correct them had had no effect.  She decided that she would try to influence them through music.  She filled her home with classical music.  She always had a record playing.  The music was never loud, but it was always on especially when her sons were home.  The Spirit was felt in her home through this music.  Through the grace of God, Her boys were able to feel and recognize it, and they eventually settled down, and turned their lives back over to God.  That is the power of music!  

This powerful experience has stuck with me.  I have always tried to have good music playing in my home.  In the mornings while my kids are getting ready for the day, I have music quietly playing.  There is power in music.   The spirit can be felt through inspiring music.

"We are continually counseled to increase our spiritual knowledge through prayer and through studying and pondering the scriptures and the words of the living prophets"

There are many ideas on how to do this in President Uchtdorf's October 2014 talk -"Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth".

3.  SHARE your Testimony
"Do not bury your testimony in the ground"

"The answers to our prayers may not come dramatically, but we must find quiet moments to seek greater light and truth.  And when we receive it, it is our responsibility to live it, to share it, and to defend it."

". . . As we fill our hearts and homes with the Savior's light and truth, we will have the inner strength to withstand in every circumstance."

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Letters to the Tooth Fairy

 #6 lost another tooth last week.
(Why is that once your kids start loosing their teeth, they seem to grow up overnight?)
She looks so cute I just want to smoosh her.
(Why is it that little kids look so dang cute with missing teeth, but old people . . .not so much?)
 Of course, we had another letter.  These letters are all my fault.  I should have never told my children about the time the tooth fairy forgot about me for months and months.  She (he?) tried to make up for it by writing typing me a letter informing me that she had been on an extended vacation to Disneyland.  Some how, this gave them the impression that the tooth fairy likes to correspond with her toothless patrons and they have been leaving little love notes for her ever since.  As if the tooth fairy doesn't have other things to do with her time (like sleep).
After this particular note was found, I overheard my girls chit-chatting about how pretty the tooth fairy's handwriting was.  That compliment made me feel good- for some unknown reason (WINK WINK).

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring Break 2015

 Last week was Spring Break for my kids. We did a mini staycation.  
Each day we did something fun .  We hung out with friends, went to the movie (we saw the new Annie movie which I though was cute), went hiking, shopping, and swimming.
While we were at the pool, #4 finished the requirements for his swimming merit badge, which was a huge feat since I, being the awesome mom I am, never signed him up for swimming lessons. (whoops-

All in all, I think it was a good week.  My children enjoyed the break from school, and I enjoyed hanging out with them.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Farewell FHE

Today, my parents are officially Elder and Sister again.
They are returning for their second year as service missionaries at Heber Valley Camp (HVC)- a camp created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for young women, families, and church groups.  It is a beautiful, peaceful, and really fun place. (More Posts about HVC HERE)
Last week, we had a family FHE hosted by my sister, Kimberlee.
My dad taught a lesson on family unity which reminded me of this Vietnamese folktale.  (He used toothpicks instead of chopsticks.)  

Once there was an old man who lived with his three young sons in a small village in Vietnam. Though they all loved each other very much, the boys seemed to always be fighting and quarreling.
One day the father called them to him. “My sons,” he said, “I want each of you to bring me a chopstick.”
“Yes, Father,” they said, and each ran to get a chopstick.
When they stood before him again, he said to his oldest son, Ta, “Can you break your chopstick?”
“Yes, Father. That’s easy.” He snapped his chopstick in two.
The father asked his middle son, Hai, “Can you break your chopstick?”
“Yes, Father. That’s easy.” Hai snapped his chopstick in two.
“Can you break your chopstick?” the father asked his youngest son, Thu.
“Yes, Father. That’s easy.” It was harder for him, but he was able to break his chopstick in two.
“Now,” the father said to his youngest son, “bring me three unbroken chopsticks.”
Thu ran to get them.
“When you hold them together, can you break them?” asked the father.
Thu tried as hard as he could, but he could not break the three together. Hai also tried, but he couldn’t break them.
Ta, being the oldest, thought he might break the three, but try as he would, he could not do it.
“I hope you have learned from the chopsticks,” said their father.
One day soon after that, Thu was taking his new ball to a friend’s house to play. At the end of his street, a bully, much bigger than Thu, jumped out and took the ball away from him.
“Please give it back,” Thu begged. But the bully would not. Thu went home and told his brothers what had happened.
Ta and Hai looked at each other. “Chopsticks?” they said, and they went to find the bully. “What are you doing with our brother’s ball?” they asked.
“Aw, I just borrowed it,” said the bully, looking nervously at the brothers. He gave it back at once and didn’t borrow it again.
Some time later, Hai got sick and had to stay in bed for a while. He became cross and restless. “My sons,” said the father. “Have you noticed that Hai is getting very tired of having to stay in bed day and night? I wonder what can be done about that.”
“Chopsticks,” said Ta and Thu, and they began bringing things to their brother and entertaining him while he was sick. Soon he was feeling much better.
Years passed, and the boys had grown into fine young men. Each had a farm and a family of his own.
One spring a terrible rain lasted so long that the river flooded. Hai and Thu lived on high ground, but Ta lived near the river, and his entire rice field was swept away by the flood.
Hai and Thu got together to talk about their brother’s loss.
“Chopsticks?” asked Hai.
“Chopsticks,” answered Thu. And until the next rice harvest, a bag of rice appeared on Ta’s doorstep every week so that he and his family never went hungry.
When the old father, who was very old by this time, heard of it, he was sitting in front of his house in the sun. “Chopsticks,” he said, and he smiled a very happy smile.

The moral of the lesson being that if we all stick together as a family, we will be stronger and unbreakable.
  We also sang songs, had treats, and played games.
Clint and I were in charge of games.  We played Boo-lah, which is basically a fancy way of playing the Hot and Cold game (No idea where the name came from.  This is something Clint played with his family growing up).  One person leaves the room while another hides a designated object.  Once the "It" person returns, you says Boo-lah loudly or softly to lead them to the object.  The closer they are, the loud you get.
During the lesson, this little girl (#6) got the back-scratch of a lifetime by Gram.  She was in heaven!  

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Until We Meet Again

This is the last talk from October's conference.  Starting this week, we will move onto April 2015's talks.  YAY!!!!
by President Thomas S. Monson

There are some very profound words of advice in this short talk.

"May we return to our homes with resolve in our hearts to be a little better than we have been in the past.  May we be a little kinder and more thoughtful.  May we reach out in helpfulness, not only to our fellow members but also to those who are not of our faith.  As we associate with them, may we show our respect for them."

"There are many who struggle every day with challenges.  Let us extend to them our concern, as well as a helping hand.  As we care for each other, we will be blessed."

"May we remember the elderly and those who are homebound.  As we take time to visit them, they will know that they are loved and valued.  May we follow the mandate to 'succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees'."

President Monson owns a home by where my late grandma use to live.  My grandma also owned an eating establishment in that same small town that President Monson would often visit.  A few years ago, after my grandma became sick, President Monson took the time to come to her house for a visit.  He came to see how she was doing and what he could do to help.  If President Monson can take the time to do these things, then I definitely can.

"May we be people of honesty and integrity, trying to do the right thing at all times and in all circumstances.  May we be faithful followers of Christ, example of righteousness thus becoming 'lights in the world'."

All these things President Monson asks us to be and do; he is and does.  
I am grateful for a prophet of God on the earth today.  I am grateful for President Monson and the 'light' that he is.  

Come and See

by David A. Bednar

"My message is directed specifically to individuals who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

Elder Bednar addressed why Latter-day saints are so eager to share what they believe and why we are always inviting others to learn more about The Church. 

He says, "The Church of Jesus Christ always has been and always will be a missionary church."

"A missionary is a follower of Christ who testifies of Him as the Redeemer and proclaims the truth of His gospel."

In this talk, Elder Bednar share a personal story about his two sons.  The younger of the two was slightly injured while playing.  His older brother consoled him and then brought him into the kitchen of their house where he scrubbed the wound clean, rubbed ointment on it, and lastly applied a clean bandage.  Once all better, the injured brother gathered up the remaining bandages and ointment and went outside seeking his friends, where he then proceeded to put ointment and bandages on their arms.

"Why did that little boy do what he did?  Please note that he immediately and intuitively wanted to give to his friends the very thing that had helped him when he was hurt. . . "

"Many of us as adults behave in precisely the same way when we find a treatment or medication that alleviates pain with which we have long suffered, or we receive counsel that enables us to face challenges with courage and perplexities with patience.  Sharing with other people things that are most meaningful to us or have helped us is not unusual at all."

This is why Latter-day Saints are so eager to share their faith and beliefs with others.  When we discover something awesome, something that works for us, or something that makes our life better - maybe a recipe, a good book, a product we love, a diet that worked, etc- we yell it from the rooftop and share it with others.  Social Media is full of of people sharing messages like this.  Why shouldn't we do the same with the gospel? We have found something that changes lives, alleviates pain, and is totally awesome!  We want everyone to have and experience what we have.  That is why we share.

When I think of missionary work in this context, it no longer frightens or overwhelms me, but excites me!
"Our desire to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. . .is a reflection of how important these truths are to us."

Friday, April 10, 2015

Trifle Not with Sacred Things

by Elder Larry S. Kacher

In life, we have many choices.  Elder Kacher refers to them as currents.
"There are many currents in this earthly life -- some safe and others not. . .These forces are real.  We should never ignore them."

We must also remember that "the decisions we make in this life, greatly affect the course of our eternal life."  They also affect others - "On this mortal journey we must never think that our choices affect only us."

A good example of this would be the experience Elder Kacher shared about swimming out to the sandbar and getting caught in a riptide.  Because of this choice, he almost killed himself and his wife, who was following behind him.

What choices am I making?  What current and I allowing to pull on me when I make that choice?

We also create a "current of life" in our homes.  Elder Kacher refers to the example of his in-laws who, "In their home they established a pattern where the priesthood was respected, where love and harmony were abundant, and where the principles of the gospel directed their lives. . . Side by side, [they] demonstrated what it meant to live lives patterned after Jesus Christ.  Their children could clearly see which of life's currents would bring peace and happiness."

As a mother, are my choices setting this kind of example for my children.
Elder Kacher quotes several times from a talk given by President Spencer W. Kimball who taught,
"If we can create. . .a strong, steady current flowing toward our goal of righteous life, we and our children may be carried forward in spite of the contrary winds of hardship, disappointment, [and] temptations."
I loved this talk by President Kimball.  A little further down in this same talk, President Kimball elaborates:
"Youth and adults are subjected to so many swirling winds that we sometimes wonder if they can survive. The winds of fashion push those about who are insecure and who require the feeling that they are in step with the crowd. The winds of sexual temptation drive some to destroy their marriage or to dash bright prospects or to degrade themselves. Bad companions, addicting drugs, the arrogance of profanity, the slough of pornography—all these and more act as influences pushing us, if we are not being carried forward by a strong, steady current toward the righteous life."

"Examine your choices (which current you are in) by asking yourself the question, "Are my decisions firmly planted in the rich soil of the gospel of Jesus Christ?"  
"Have we set our course firmly in the eternal current of the restored gospel?"
"I invite you to make whatever adjustments are needed, whether small or large, to ensure the eternal blessings of Heavenly Father's plan for you and those you love.

If you have tried to create a steady righteous current in your home, but you, like me, have a family member who has fought this current, and maybe they're caught in a riptide that is pulling them away from the safety of the beach out into the dangerous sea, so to speak.  Take heart in these words by President Kimball (found in the same talk mentioned above):

"I have sometimes seen children of good families rebel, resist, stray, sin, and even actually fight God. In this they bring sorrow to their parents, who have done their best to set in movement a current and to teach and live as examples. But I have repeatedly seen many of these same children, after years of wandering, mellow, realize what they have been missing, repent, and make great contribution to the spiritual life of their community. The reason I believe this can take place is that, despite all the adverse winds to which these people have been subjected, they have been influenced still more, and much more than they realized, by the current of life in the homes in which they were reared. When, in later years, they feel a longing to recreate in their own families the same atmosphere they enjoyed as children, they are likely to turn to the faith that gave meaning to their parents’ lives."