The Old Fashioned Date – an opportunity for practice and for service

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This post is to my dear young friends that I  have been so privileged to teach. And though my primary audience is my students at BYU-Idaho, I hope some of these thoughts might be helpful to others. For those who do not share my faith, some background on why families are important, guidelines for dating, and commitments to the laws of chastity and fidelity will help you understand this piece.

Because our world has become so sexually charged, and because personal devices have made social situations awkward, and because getting married is so important in our culture (that it causes extreme anxiety in some of my students), I want to speak in favor of the old-fashioned date.

By this, I mean an inexpensive social outing in which you get to know a member of the opposite sex for a period of a few hours and one in which there is no expectation of physical intimacy nor is there expectation of life-long commitment. The point of the old-fashioned date is to get acquainted with others so that you can know for certain which personality traits work with yours and which don’t.

Another part of the date is the expectation that it is paired off (see note # 1). It should be just your date and you. Don’t invite a bunch of your closest friends along while you text them a play-by-play, or update all of your social media sites. There will be plenty of time for updates afterwards. Be present. Enjoy the moment. Give your date the gift of your company for a few hours. Practicing this rule will bless  your life for years to come!

If you date a variety of individuals (without the expectation of physical intimacy) you will be able to see the characters of the people you date. You will see which personalities you get along with and the attributes that you don’t care for. If you only date people that you are physically attracted to, and push physical intimacy too quickly, that dependence on physical gratification might mask some character flaws that would not work well with your personality. And as wonderful as sexual intimacy is in marriage, it is only a small part of marriage, and life (contrary to what the world’s fascination with sexuality teaches). It is important that the foundation of friendship, spirituality, humor, service,  hard work, etc, etc. is a major part of your choice to ultimately marry.

To my dear young brothers, yes, the expectation of dating is on your shoulders, by culture and by revelation. I once had a young seminary student who said, “Why would I want to waste money on someone elses’ wife?” My answer to him, and to you is that you may not get a wife unless you have practiced the simple social skill of dating!

Please understand, young men, that by dating, you are practicing caring for a woman. You are showing that you are able to provide and protect her for the time that you are in her company. You are responsible for her safety and well-being: spiritually, mentally, socially and emotionally. The more you practice, the more you will be able to care for your future wife and children.

I also encourage you to look at dating as a service that you are performing for these young women. You’re giving them the chance to practice their social skills and responsibilities in turn. You are allowing these young women to feel that they are acceptable enough for someone to want to be with them (please see # 2) and, by practicing, you are also serving your future wives and daughters. Not all dating will lead to marriage. But healthy and wholesome dating will lead to treasured memories and friendships and the ability to have normal and natural platonic (i.e. love or friendship that is intimate and affectionate but not sexual) social connections that will serve you well into the future. You must learn to have these platonic relationships so that you can work with, and live in communities with, and serve in wards with members of the opposite sex now and in the future.

To my dear young sisters, please allow these young men to serve you. Saying yes to a date or to a dance that lasts for three or four minutes doesn’t mean an eternal commitment! I just talked to a young man the other day (an amazing, brilliant, spiritual brother) who confided in me that the last three or four times he has asked a woman out, she has said “no”. I was totally flabbergasted, completely gobsmaked!!!! (A British phrase meaning – surprised and utterly astonished.)

Yes, sisters, we live in a bright age in which we are able to do many wonderful and amazing things for which I am truly thankful. However, just because we can open a door for ourselves doesn’t mean that we should. If you are training men not to serve you, then in the future, you will do everything yourself (which, though you have the ability, can be quite difficult when you juggle in babies, work, school and all the other wonderful demands that the world tells you that you can do perfectly.  Just a note. As amazing and brilliant as women are, the reality is that it is quite impossible to do it all perfectly! )

When you allow others to serve you, you are also serving them. Remember that the Savior, the greatest of all, served others, and it was for those others to allow Him serve them (see John 13). So, serve the future girls they date and their future wives by allowing them to practice social skills on you. And serve your future husbands by learning how to communicate, serve, and socialize with men. Of course, follow promptings if your gut tells you that something is wrong! However, if you must say no, please make it the exception rather than the rule. As I stated before, one or two dates doesn’t mean an intense or eternal commitment.

For those sisters who are not being dated. You are wonderful and brilliant! Please continue to make time in your schedule for social activities to continue to practice making and developing friendships. Also, if the men aren’t asking you out, it’s okay to  take the initiative and invite them to be with you on occasion. Here’s an idea, something that my friends and I did in our ward at BYU to invite the men out and to encourage reciprocal (i.e.- done in return) dates, we created, “The Date of The Month”. Each month we would plan out a fun group dating activity, for example, in December, we went to the Christmas Choir Concert on campus and then we went back to our apartment and had a gingerbread house making contest in which each couple would work together to decorate a pre-made graham cracker house.  Monthly, we would create a series of activities that would allow us to work with and talk with the person that we invited, but the dates were also simple, and comfortable because they included other couples.

To both my dear sisters and brothers who are so focused on your studies or your career that you don’t make time to practice these important skills (dating, socializing, serving, and caring for others) then you may not have the skills necessary to be able to have the blessing of family. Please consecrate (i.e. to set something aside for a sacred purpose) time in your busy schedules to date and socialize. Serve your future families now by making the effort to practice. Please learn the skill of making time for your family right now.

I know that it can be scary to put yourselves out there. But remember that creating families is a faith-based work! Ask the Lord to help you in your dating. If you sacrifice time and means for this important work, He can help and bless you. Ask the Lord to inspire you with ideas about whom to ask and what to do. Pray for the Holy Spirit to be part of your dates. Be brave like a student of mine who just asked a girl on a casual date. I loved that he invited her out and communicated that phrase (a casual date) to help take the pressure off. I know you can do this! Father in Heaven didn’t send you down on earth at this important time to fail in the sacred work of building families. Start today. Ask someone that you feel comfortable with on an old-fashioned date and begin now to practice and to serve!

 


NOTES:

  1. About being paired off – remember that I am talking to single adults, not teenagers. Teenagers, please see the guidelines in For the Strength of Youth on Dating.
  2. In this statement, I mean this – women are very hard on themselves and a date goes a long way to help with that! Often, when I was single, I would pray in loneliness and Father would raise up a kind young man who (I believe) would feel prompted to take me out. I have such genuine gratitude for the men that dated me, and for such happy memories of our times together on dates (fun and spiritual conversations, laughter, and good activities) before I met and married my husband.
To Nurture and Teach – thoughts on my role as a woman.

To Nurture and Teach – thoughts on my role as a woman.

I’ve been reflecting deeply on my role as a teacher lately, not only as a teacher in a professional or church setting, but as a mother. I watched this “Happy Families” message the other day and it struck me how simply this mother taught her children from a very young age and the fruits that it bore.

After watching it, I began to invite my older daughters again to help me in the kitchen (something I had done before, but not continued) and they were thrilled to help me make smoothies and grilled cheese sandwiches and spaghetti and salads – simple things, but they were so happy to help. Actually, I ask one at a time to help (taking turns helping cook and play with the baby) and that seems to make things go a little more smoothly in my house.

I also have been trying to teach the baby (she’s 16 months old) to help as well. Every time we clean up toys, I show her where the toys go and give SO much praise if she can catch on to the simple task of putting the items in the bin. I’ve also started to have her help with the laundry. I place the wet clothes from the wash into a basket and she puts them in the dryer for me (and of course I praise her for her good work and efforts).

But it doesn’t stop there. I’ve been reviewing my role to be a teacher of the gospel in the home. I was a full-time seminary teacher for seven years and so I’ve always known that I could teach them, but for some reason, I thought that it was my hubby’s role to be the teacher (you know as the “presider”, see the Family Proclamation). I always assumed that we’d share the teaching responsibilities, (and in some ways we do) but I guess I’ve been waiting for him to get up and take charge with family scripture study, etc. Please understand, my husband is a good man, but I’ve been the one to remind the family to pray, read, and have FHE on a consistent basis.

So I’ve been pondering a lot lately if I am usurping a role that will help him to grow as I continue to insist on religious family activities. I’m not sure. But the more I insist on the activities, the more he becomes involved – yay!

Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that part of my role as a mother as the primary nurturer of our family is that of teacher and that it shouldn’t be one that I can neglect or delegate away or my children won’t learn basic things like laundry or dishes or meal prep or spiritual things like having a personal relationship with the Lord. And, I’ve been wondering if other women in the church are having the same struggle.

Years ago, I wrote my master’s thesis on the Spirituality of women and conducted some primary research to see how confident LDS women felt in giving talks, teaching lessons, and speaking about gospel doctrine (making comments in class, etc). The results were that women who had experience with testifying (i.e. serving a mission) or daily experiences with personal study of the scriptures were much more likely to feel confident discussing the gospel, and I assume feel much more confident teaching the gospel at home. Well, maybe we can’t be a missionary now, but we can have daily experiences in the scriptures!

Right before I had my baby, a dear friend asked me for ideas on how to study the scriptures. I began to compile some ideas, which I will now post as these ideas about teaching and studying are becoming more fresh and clear. To begin the next several posts, I want to quote from a talk by Elder Bednar which discusses the VITAL need for teaching in the home.

Brothers and sisters, think of the total amount of time in a week devoted to doctrinally based, spirit-filled instruction for our young people through the programs of the Church. Let’s assume they go to seminary. That might yield three or four hours of quality instruction during the course of the week. What would they receive in church on Sunday? Thirty minutes in sacrament meeting; thirty minutes in Sunday School; and thirty minutes in Young Men’s, Young Women’s, or Gospel Doctrine. A total of maybe five, six, or seven hours for the entire week, if we are optimistic. Think of the evil influences in the world. Will the Church and its programs alone safeguard you and me and our children in an increasingly wicked world? The answer is no. Please do not misunderstand this statement–I would not trust my children exclusively to the programs of the Church. I love the Church, but the Church operates as a support to you and to me as we create a home that is a house of learning. First and foremost, the responsibility is ours as parents to create a Christ-centered, spirit-filled home environment where the Holy Ghost can teach and testify to our children. If they know the why, they will quickly learn the how.

Take a look a the full talk – Teach them to Understand from a  1998 (then) Rick’s College Education Week address. I have sent it to my husband and we are going to study it together and try to find ways to make our home a better place of gospel learning.mormonad-unlimited-text-messages-1118424-gallery

Finally, I’ll leave with a couple of ideas for daily personal scripture study and a challenge. My sister is an amazing spiritual woman. When she had a lot of young’ins running around the home, she went to the distribution center and picked up a bunch of the cheapy copies of the Book of Mormon and placed one in every room in her house (bathroom included). Then, if she found herself with a moment or two in the bustle of mommy life, she would read a verse or two. She said that just by giving those few minutes of time, she had given a sacrifice to God and was taught from the scriptures.

Another idea is to listen to the scriptures (digital formats can be found here) while you are folding clothes, doing dishes, or being a taxi cab.

The challenge is to study this week. Everyday, study something in the scriptures (not someone’s thoughts of the scriptures) and ask the Lord to teach you. I know He will bless us in this endeavor in our own lives and we will find ways to teach our children as well.

Please feel free to share your thoughts, questions, ideas, experiences or scripture reading tips!

Scripture Study: Steadfast and Immovable or How Do I Study Scriptures with Children?

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Our scripture reading as a family is slow. Very slow.  Most nights we get through two verses.  Why so few? Because I really want my school-age children (presently aged 9 and 6) to get something out of them.  (We just finished watching the children scripture videos – but, more on that later) and so, now that they can both read, we began at 1 Nephi.  Tonight, we read 1 Nephi 2: 9-10 (Yes, I know, we’ve come so far! 😉 )

We began with one child reading, and dramatically yelling out – “I don’t understand ONE word of that!”

To which I calmly replied, “Do you understand the word, river?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, let’s start there.”

We discussed what Lehi wanted Laman to be like –

And when my father saw that the waters of the river emptied into the fountain of the Red Sea, he spake unto Laman, saying: O that thou mightest be like unto this river, continually running into the fountain of all righteousness!

(A river.)

What does a river do?  (It runs constantly.) 

Into what?

She didn’t know, so we talked about who the Fountain of Righteousness could symbolize  (The Savior).

How can we constantly run to the Savior?

She was mildly interested. 😉

Then the other child read.

And he also spake unto Lemuel: O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord!

What does Lehi want Laman to be like? (A valley.)

What three things is a valley like? (firm, steadfast, and immovable).

What does that mean?

At this point, I had my former football playing husband stand up and asked my 6-year-old to try and push him over. Well, that was fun! We tried having each girl, and then the two together try to push Daddy over and when he was in his stance, there was nothing that they could do.

Then I asked what did we need to be immovable in? (Keeping the commandments.)

Now, being immovable in keeping the commandments –  that’s hard! We discussed the fact that everyone had commandments that they were steadfast in and other commandments that they were movable in.

My six-year-old wanted to know what commandments are (yikes! but at least she asked! 😉 )  We said that they are the things that God has asked us to do (like keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, paying tithing, keeping the Word of Wisdom, not telling lies, etc).

We each shared something that we needed to work on being more immovable in and then committed as a family to work on it this week.

I bring this up because I had a dear friend ask me how to study the scriptures.  I started writing some posts, but then I had a baby, and it’s been hectic since. So, as a start, I will say this – it can become easier to do scripture study if you are consistent and engage everyone in the event.

If you only need to get through a couple of verses, doing it nightly is more manageable, and if you look for things in the scriptures to talk about and ways to “liken” it to yourself and your circumstances (1 Nephi 19:23) it will involve the family in the process.

Here are some thoughts that might help.

  • What are the concrete words and ideas in the verse? Maybe to get to the concrete idea you need to read over a few more verses than two, but move to the next one that you can find and begin the discussion there.  With little kids do ONE idea and then stop for the night.  Older kids can probably do more, unless you’re just getting started (then maybe all they can do is one idea as well.)  By ALL means start with that!  Don’t mourn the past.  Just begin today.
  • What questions can I ask that will make my children look into the verse to find the answer? Make them read the words and find the answers (they’ll shout out “pray, read scriptures, go to church, etc.” and act like they know everything already.  You need to say, “no, look in the verse!” Directing them back to the specific phrase or idea.)  They need to learn the foreign language of the scriptures, so, by directing them back into the verse they have to engage with the phrases.  Also, be excited – for example, Who do you think is coming down in the sky? Who could the twelve be that are coming with Him? see 1 Nephi 1: 9-10 .
  • What is going on (i.e. who is speaking and why)? Keep the thread of the story – for example, “Remember that Lehi and his family have just left from Jerusalem.”
  • Talk about how those verses can apply to you.  For example, on the verses about Lehi’s vision (see above 1 Nephi 1:9-10) we discussed dreams.  Have you ever had a dream from the Lord? What was it like? How did you know that it was a dream from God and not a regular dream (what’s the difference?) Does everybody have dreams from God (Joel 2:28-29)? Are there other ways that the Lord communicates with us, not only in dreams? etc. That was a REALLY good discussion.
  • Remember this should be simple.  No handouts, no bells and whistles. I’m serious ladies – no treats, no elaborate displays.  Save those for FHE!

Say a simple prayer for help and then trust that the Lord will help you by giving you ideas in the moment (Luke 12:12) of what questions to ask and what ideas to talk about (the idea to have my hubby be steadfast was pure inspiration in the moment!).  Trust that what you’re talking about (though simple, and maybe not what you think they need) in the hands of the Lord and the Holy Spirit will be effective in the lives of your children (see James 5:16).

 

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  I’d love to hear about you and your experiences.  What do you do when you read as a family? Which strategies work, and which don’t? What is frustrating to you? Have you had a “high five” moment that you want to share? How do you need to modify for young children, older kids, youth, a mixed family with children of all ages?

 

Thou Shalt … Judge?

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The other day, my daughter came to me and told me about a YouTube video that she was shown at school.  She didn’t know what to think about it, whether it was a good video or a bad video. Whether to like it because everyone else seemed to, or to shun it.  We watched it together and immediately I made up my mind about it, but I wanted to have a teaching moment about the importance of judgement.

As an aside, society seems to know one phrase only from the bible, and that is, “don’t judge” (though they don’t seem to know any of the myriad of other verses about judgment from the scriptures).   It seems to be the way to crush a conversation, or walk defiantly away from guilt with a quick “don’t you judge me”. It’s what the critical social police throw at you when you comment on strange behaviors and consequences of those actions, though their criticism for judging you is never thought about as they walk off feeling the moral victor. (I’m sure I sound petty right now, and I freely admit that it is a pet peeve of mine).

Yet in all of our conversations about not judging (which, despite all of our lofty “judge not” talk, we do all the time) there should be conversations about how to judge and what to judge  – because we are supposed to judge, but we are to judge righteous judgement (John 7:24).  How do we do that in a society which calls evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20)?  Let’s look into that.

Let’s begin by getting back to my daughter.  We watched the video together and then I shared these scriptures with her (Moroni 7: 15-17 emphasis added) –

For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

Good – For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

Bad – But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

So we took the video and discussed it.

Was there a good message? (Yes, it was trying to get the kids to be safe). 

Was the information leading up to the message good? (No, it was creepy, about a bunch of ways to die).

How did it make you feel? (Scared, disgusted, creeped out, felt strange inside).

How did the song make you feel? (The same as above). 

So, we have one “good” and a bunch of “bads”.  Should we judge the video to be good for kids or bad for kids? (Bad).

Even though the message was a good one? (Yes, because there was too much bad to get through to get to the main message). 

Now she knows perfectly that she doesn’t need to pretend to like it just because everyone else did.  It took away her peace and made her feel creeped out inside.  Then we talked about strategies of what to do if it were ever shown again (which thankfully, it wasn’t).

Notice that we didn’t judge whether the people were going to heaven or hell.  We judged situations, the media, and consequences.  People make mistakes and people can have bad judgement.  I can allow her teachers and friends to have an “off” moment. We made decisions about how this child could effectively judge and use her agency to decide what to listen to and what to watch in the future so that she could continue to have peace in her heart (Jeremiah 6:16).

Now are there times when I can judge a person’s actions? Yes.  Should those actions have a detrimental effect on me or my loved ones, I can again determine whether I want to be around that behavior (as can my children). Do I forgive, do I hope that they will be better, do I show forth love? Yes. But the scriptures are full of examples in which the good moral people left bad circumstances (Joseph fleeing from Potiphar’s wife [Genesis 39:9-12] for example).

Am I allowed to talk about the consequences of actions?  Is that judging?  In Joshua 8:33, the prophet was told to separate the people into two groups, one standing on Mount Gerizim and the other group on Mount Ebal.  There they read to the people the blessings and cursings that come from the obedience or disobedience of following the law (see Deuteronomy 28).  The scriptures are FULL of laws and their fixed blessings and cursings.  Which is why it is important to study them, because if we want to be possessors of righteous judgement, we need to understand what the Lord deems as righteous and what He deems as wicked.

We do our children a disservice when we cut off communication and shroud the discussion of consequences with the pacifying doctrine of “don’t judge”, or worse, the insidious teaching of “that will never happen”.  If the costs of actions are not discoursed, our children will be spiritually crippled by the heavy burdens brought on by uneducated desires and uniformed choices.

Yes, we do and must judge – actions, circumstances, media, choices.  We must teach our children to value actions which lead to blessings and be wary of actions which lead to consequences that would be detrimental to their futures. Even if that means, at times, that we may preach doctrine that is full of “hard things, more than [some] are able to bear” (1 Nephi 16:1-2).

 

For further study, see this amazing talk by Elder Neal A. Maxwell – Lessons from Laman and Lemuel. (Laman and Lemuel became rebels instead of leaders, resentful instead of righteous—all because of their failure to understand either the character or the purposes of God.)

Oh Utah! Such a Bitter Battle …

Mom and babyTwenty years ago, I was at BYU as a freshman.  I was on the threshold of adulthood, fresh and barely tested in life’s most difficult trials, and I sat down with a dear friend (we’ll call her ‘friend A’) to discuss polygamy (please don’t shut down – this is not the topic of this discussion). 😉 Anyone who knows the history of the LDS Church comes across this topic at some point and at some level or another, and needs to deal with it.   This friend had no problem with it, which was shocking to me!  So, I began to study the topic and mentally and spiritually ‘deal’ with it.  As with everything, I went to the scriptures and prayer first and was taught by the Spirit and lead to sources that helped to shape my own opinions and ideas.  Excitedly, I ran to share everything that I knew with another dear friend (we’ll call her ‘friend B’).   I had no idea that this issue was, for her, a Doctrinal “Abrahamic Trial” (See Doc. & Cov 101:3-5). 

The more I shared with B, the more she “shut down”.  I finally got to the point, where I had to stop talking about the issue with her because it caused so much anguish.

Let me try to put this idea into a parable (certainly not a perfect one). Have you ever tried to comfort a crying and screaming baby? Sometimes, you just can’t do it and you have to turn the baby over to the Mom (or the Primary Comfort Giver, as the case may be). Have you ever been the mom and watched as someone tried to comfort your baby? You smile and watch, knowing that when they get tired of trying, they’ll give you the child.

I’ve watched B over the years on her path. She chose to go to the Primary Comfort Giver, who constantly says, ‘Come unto me and I will heal you’ (see 3 Nephi 17:7).  She had to get her witness after ‘the trial of her faith’ (see Ether 12:6), and she continues to work with the Great Physician.

With some situations, the only thing that you can do is give the baby back to the mom.

That is not to say that we should not have doctrinal conversations in the fear that we are going to open wounds.  Friend A engaged in a conversation with me that opened up the discussion and put me on a path of spiritual knowledge and understanding that has been a blessing.

Utah, is REELING right now, because of the recent events dealing with SSM and the rule of law (please don’t shut down! 😉 ) – those from this great state open their Facebook accounts or turn on the news and are bombarded with ideas and opinions.  These conversations need to happen.  Yes, we need to discuss with civility on all sides, (which can be difficult with an issue so charged, so personal and so painful) but these discussions need to happen!  And, as we get better and better at communicating and listening, both with the public and, most importantly, with the Father, those conversations will change lives and hearts.  (We will learn, like a grandparent can, how to comfort a baby that is not necessarily our own).

All over this state (and in other areas) people are having opportunities to speak. To bear testimony. To share their ideas and experiences.  They are able to talk about their spiritual journeys.  They are talking about the journeys of their friends and loved ones. Some are experiencing their own Abrahamic trials, and some are excited because they have been taught by the Spirit (which AMAZING and miraculous and they need to be strengthened and share their testimony of it!)  Don’t shut them down by constantly saying  –  “Jesus said love everyone” or “don’t judge” every time a difficult doctrine comes up.  We NEED to talk about the doctrine. We know that some will have hurt feelings (no matter how we phrase things) because it is their Spiritual Abrahamic journey.  We need to hand them over to the Savior.  He will know what to do.  He will know how to “feel after them“. Just as I know how to hold my child exactly right.

Father in Heaven wants us to talk.  He wants us to discuss.  To share our logic. To share our feelings. To share our joy and our pain.

When my children have an experience (going to the dentist, falling off the bicycle, learning to jump off the couch) they want to share it.  I want them to share it, too.  I want them to learn how to express their ideas. When Daddy comes home I say, “Child A, go tell Daddy about your bug bite!” This allows them the ability to think through and process the experience.

We are Spirit Children; we need to talk about our moments in life, the happy, the sad, the nightmares, the triumphs, and the joys.

My children fight, they hurt each other, and they cause pain to each other.  We talk it through together.  My children also love each other, and play together, and need each other, and are learning to be loyal to each other.

In all of the human drama, it is VITAL to talk about eternal families – but it is just as VITAL to talk about THE Eternal Family, because, just as my daughters are learning to hold their newborn sister, we can help Him do His great work.  If He could, if it were possible, if we would let Him, the Savior would bring all of us back to the Father (see John 17).

Just A Little Humor To Brighten Your Day!

This is a video from a comedy sketch TV show that I am pleased to say, I can watch with the whole family! I love laughter, absolutely love comedy, but it seems that there are so few comedians, shows, and especially movies that don’t wind down a really crude road.  I mean seriously, when did all of the comedic films suddenly become -R rated and the creepy horror flicks become -PG-13?  Is it me? OR is that just really messed up?

There are some of course that are wonderful (please post your favorites in the comments section – I want to find more to laughter!) and Studio C is one of those rare shows that can make me gut laugh and not feel ashamed at having watched it!  Now bear in mind, some of it can be a little cheesy (like the last line in this sketch, but it did provide a talking point to the girls).

Enjoy Studio C’s  Shoulder Devil

My favorite line is “behold the awesome power of temptation!” when the shoulder devil is in a precarious position. So funny! 😉

Tithing, Hard Work, and An American Girl Doll

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My daughter (age 7) has been begging me for an American Girl Doll for the last two years. The dolls, though beautifully made, are quite expensive. We tried buying the knockoff doll, but her hair got really messed up. So my daughter has been insisting on the American Girl Doll with great forcefulness (you know how girls can put on the pressure!)

About one month ago, we had another “discussion” about the doll and I put my foot down and explained again that we couldn’t afford it. She said, “well then, I’ll buy it myself!”

I told her that if she wanted to do that, then I would help her. We made a deal that if she got $100 and paid her tithing on the total that I would pay the taxes and shipping and handling.

Then I told some friends on Facebook and family members about her goal and she offered her services to them. For the last month she has done the following:
•pulled weeds
•cleaned and organized toy rooms
•entertained children so that moms could get a task done
•yard work
•housework
•taking in mail and putting out trash
•you name it, even memorizing the articles of faith (a very kind friend paid her a dollar per article.)

She thought she’d earn $100 in a day, I thought she might make it for Christmas. We were both wrong.

It took about a month and many wonderful and kind friends and family members hired her to do these odd jobs. It’s been amazing to see her learn about money and saving.

The miracle comes in the fact that my husband is out of work. I was worried about how to even pay for the shipping and handling. Then my bro-in-law called with a free shipping code. We were so blessed and ended up paying only about $10 for her doll.

Another sweet miracle was the day that it came in the mail. She had prayed in school that it would come that day. 🙂 It’s wonderful that the Lord cares about the little things as well as the big.

At one point, J. offered her money for us to use. I asked her how she would get her doll if she gave us the money and she said with a shrug that she’d earn more. I love that girl!

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For Mother’s Day – Love your daughter’s Mom

Happy Mother’s Day!

Just found a beautiful message for this holiday, based on a talk by Elaine Dalton.

Here is the transcript of the entire talk, and one of the quotes that I love the most –

You are your daughter’s guardian in more than the legal sense. Be present in your daughter’s life. Let her know your standards, your expectations, your hopes and dreams for her success and happiness. Interview her, get to know her friends and, when the time comes, her boyfriends. Help her understand the importance of education. Help her understand that the principle of modesty is a protection. Help her choose music and media that invite the Spirit and are consistent with her divine identity. Be an active part of her life. And if in her teenage years she should not come home from a date on time, go get her. She will resist and tell you that you have ruined her social life, but she will inwardly know that you love her and that you care enough to be her guardian. (Love Her Mother, Sister Elaine S. Dalton, General Conference, October 2011)

HALT: A Helpful Acronym in our Daily Battles

I’ve just heard an acronym that is used in substance abuse recovery programs, that I think is powerful for use in our everyday fight to become our better selves.

HALT –

Hungry

Angry

Lonely

Tired

Have you every noticed how Satan is just able to “slip into” the cracks when you feel any of these things. Ever notice the dis-chord in your home when you or a family member are feeling hungry? I know my husband is a bear when his stomach is empty. My daughters are absolutely unreasonable and inconsolable when they are tired. If I’m lonely, or bored, I get into all sorts of mischief, wasting time playing solitaire for hours on the computer, and no one is happy when a family member is angry.

It’s like the evil shoulder angels are waiting for your body to feel down. Then he squeals with glee – “Go time! Green light!” to all of the other buddies and suddenly the peace and love that was previously in the home is swept out the window.

Gotta watch ourselves!

And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them. But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not (Mosiah 4:29-30).