Monday, December 17, 2007

Home teaching and Priesthood blessings

It's been a long time since I've felt inspired to write on this site. The holiday season is in full steam and my Christmas knitting is my priority right now. But this week we've been hit by illness in the form of the cold and the boys are sick. Baby Boy is the worst right now and I took the day out of work to take him up to see his doctor because he's been running a low grade fever and coughing so hard that he made himself vomit. I prayed today that I could get him in for an appointment and that he would be okay. I prayed that I could get him into the car without falling on the several inches thick sheet of ice that flanked both sides of my car. I prayed that I would be sure footed taking him from the car into the doctor's office. Then after we had him fully worked over and they said that he would probably be fine and sent us on our way, I went home and called my Home Teacher. Usually my first thought is to call the missionaries but I just felt that I should call my home teacher and I called Brother Mack. He was home, and came right over, alone as he couldn't reach his companion, but he came just the same. He gave a blessing for the sick to both boys, The Boy first, followed by BB who was feeling better before Brother Mack could finish the blessing and was already squirming to get down off my lap for the first time in 48 hours and run the house. I've never seen a blessing work so quickly! It was wonderful to have that time with him to cuddle and sooth him, but it was more wonderful to have him running and trying to push his big brother around.
Brother Mack is a High Priest as well as a 70, so I knew that his blessing would be special for both. And I know that he loves us because every time he sees the boys, he's never without something special for them. Today he brought over candy bars for the boys, but usually he gives BB a match box car. He even left us a lesson to use for FHE today about the 17 points of the true church. I'm truly thankful for him and how much he cares and shows that love and concern for us. It's an example to me on how to perform my own Visiting Teaching calling. I've lost track of one of my sisters. I should say that all 3 of my sisters are inactive and 2 are hard to visit for reasons of lack of family support. One I work with and see at work. She deals with depression and has long stretches of time where she's hardly able to leave her home. I finally got her out for dinner with a mutual friend last Tuesday and it was wonderful. I'm glad I didn't give up. The other I catch at her jobs, but I haven't been able to find her there lately. Her number isn't the same and her second job closed down so it's gotten tough but I feel very intensely that I need to find her. The third is usually home and wants to get back into the church again. My companion usually calls her and takes her to the enrichment activities that I can't ever go to. We're a motley pair of teachers but we keep trying. I have to say that I've never been successful as a visiting teacher and this coming year, I'm going to try harder to be the difference maker in my sister's opinion of the church and how much we all care.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to say Happy Turkey Day to all, and say that I'm thankful for my health, my family, and my testimony. It carries me through my day-to-day and my calling keeps it fresh. So I guess I'm thankful for my calling as well. Hope you day is full of things to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Be Still My Soul

Today was truly a challenge. I spent the better part of my day trying to work through my mounting frustration with my bosses, and the branches who support us. I really struggled with my mounting urge to hit something. I'm just having a really hard time with dealing with a team leader who acts in a totally different manor when my team leader is around, than she does when he's gone, and I don't like the treatment she gives to our team when our leader is away. I was so angry that I barely made it out without bursting into tears.
BB is working right into the terrible two's and I'm very grateful for one of my LDS knitting blog friends. She posted a link to a page of a man who writes extremely well on many topics, including how to train children to behave in sacrament meeting. Well, I've had to employ the tactics that he recommended now, several times. Today, BB had a raging fit, and I had to hold him until he calmed down which wasn't for about 15 minutes. He cried and struggled, and raged, and so on. I tried to stay calm and kiss his forehead and tell him that when he calmed down, he'd get down. I really started to think that we were at a stand still, but just then I started to hum my favorite hymn, "Be Still My Soul". It amazes me sometimes, the power of a simple hymn, but doesn't it say somewhere that a hymn is a prayer in song? I hadn't finished the first verse before he finally settled down, and I was able to put down a contented happy baby. What simple, powerful message it is that is contained in that song, that was able to calm a small child so quickly.

Monday, November 5, 2007

1 Nephi, ch 16

Just a little blast from the past. I remember waking up after a particularly difficult night where I had to take Baby Boy down stairs and hand him to his daddy... It's hard to believe now that he was ever that size.
But down to business! Today for FHE, The Boy and I walked with BB down to the library and turned in some stuff, and took more stuff out. We came home and ate dinner, and then read 1 Nephi, chapter 16. It was nice to be back in the action after so much prophecy stuff.
So the family picks up and moves on in the wilderness with the Liahona to guide them. I didn't remember this the first time I read it over, but when TB and I got to the part where Nephi breaks his bow and they go hungry for a day or so, we were truly shocked to see that even Lehi started to complain against God, and only Nephi stays true and faithful at that time. It's a dark time for him. His brothers and brothers-in-law are complaining and his wife, and her sisters are trying to get them to go back. Ismael dies during this tough time and it's almost too much for his daughters to bare at that time. They are alone, other than their husbands, and siblings, with no friends and no modern conveniences and they're hungry. Now they've lost their father and the grief must be more than they can take. It's at this time that Nephi calls on his faith to talk to his father and the rest to call them to repentance. They discover the "secret" of the Liahona, where as it will only work as long as they have faith, and then only to the degree of that faith. Lehi asked forgiveness of the Lord, and was chastised by the voice of God. Afterwards, Nephi makes a new bow and asks the Lord where to go to find animals to hunt. Then he goes back to camp with plenty of food, everyone is happy again, and all is well... for a while.
This is a running theme in the early chapters of the BofM. Laman and Lemuel started to work up the sons of Ishmael. They tell them how they should kill Lehi and Nephi, and go back to Jerusalem. They deny the spiritual experiences that they have had in the past. They hear the voice of God and they see an angel, but they ignore all that over their hurt pride that their little brother is the ruler over them. Keep in mind here that the sons of Ishmael have not had these experiences. They have be going on pure faith and trust in the will of their own father, so when the brothers of Nephi start up with these lies, they naturally fall in. Their brothers-on-law try to paint a picture that Nephi is leading them out into the wilderness to set himself up as a king over them. It's at this time that the Lord takes over, and squashes their plans. "The Lord came and did speak many words unto them, and did chasten them exceedingly" After this, the repent and the Lord blesses them again with food. This won't be the last time that they ignore all the personal interactions with God and try to go against his will. Kind of makes you wonder what it is in a person that can make them deny the truth so much, even when it's right there in their faces.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Signs of the Second Coming, Lesson 41

No, this is not one of the signs...

Today was another touch lesson. There is so much that can be covered and so little time to do it in. When I was about 10, I remember watching The Omen with my mom. It made me wonder what everything was about, (and I still don't quite know why all the end-of-the-world stuff is always being battled out by Catholics and Priests and Nuns, but what ever), and I went to my room and pulled out the Bible, and turned right to the book of Revelations. Lets just say that I was in no way prepared for that I found written in there, and was scared to death! Was I really going to have to be baptized by fire? Would there really be a giant beast who comes with several heads? I had no idea that the words within were metaphors for what was actually to come.
It was with this in mind, that I tried to teach this lesson today. We covered the scarier of the signs first, as it's listed in the book, and I made sure to try to stress the point that we may not personally be affected by these happenings but we'll surely see them and it still can be frightening, but if we're trying our best to be physically and spiritually ready, we have nothing to fear.
We did spend the majority of the time covering the more joyous signs of Jesus' coming, like the restoration of the Gospel and the teaching of the Gospel to all peoples in their native language. However, it strikes me how little some members know or seem to understand. How is it that some who are raised in the church and have always had these teachings in their lives, could understand so little? It seems impossible that a person who has been married in the temple, would not grasp the concept of what it means to be prepared. But maybe that's partly due to the very general nature of some of out study materials. Perhaps its that the lessons cover the very basic points, and it's left to the rest of us to study, and ponder the lessons before we go in to teach them, hoping that the Spirit will guide us in the direction that will best help our students to learn. And perhaps that's not always the way things are done. What ever the reason, it seems to me that it shouldn't be this way. And maybe that's my own ignorance, thinking that years in the church translate to a perfect knowledge and understanding of it's principals. I guess that shows that all of us, no matter how we look to the outside world, have our struggles and trials of faith, and that if we keep these close to our hearts all the time, instead of sharing them, it leads us all to feel alone. Like we're the only ones in the ward who are struggling with something and that there's something wrong with us. I think we're afraid to show the darker side in fear that we will be judged by everyone who we see as so much more perfect than we are. But I've always respected those who have shared their own failings, because it humanizes them, and makes me feel like I, too, can get to where they are.
On that page, I am not fully prepared. I don't have our 72 hour kits together. I don't have our food storage. I am struggling just to keep food in the house and lights on at this time. It's not easy on my income and my husband's money goes to his education, which is our top priority for now. I have been doing my best just to pay my tithing every pay period, and have yet to pay a fast offering. I just never have it to give after paying what I can on the bills, putting gas in the car, and buying groceries. I still can't seem to work in family prayer, and family scripture reading into my daily routine, and I haven't fit in the solitary scripture study either. The most I've been able to work in is daily personal prayer, usually in the morning, in the car on the way home, and right before my head hits the pillow at night. I still miss coffee in the fall, and sometimes I miss having a little Irish Cream in my hot chocolate. I have thoughts that are less than Christian almost every day. Why am I putting all this out there? Because I want to let everyone know that they're not the only one, even if they think they are. I was a member of the church for 7 years before I was ready in any way to enter the temple. I have made some big mistakes in my life, both before and after my baptism, and I've straightened myself out for the most part. And I know that Heavenly Father loves me and is just as proud of me as if I'd never made a mistake, ever. And the point of this? To say that I may not be as prepared physically, but I'd like to think that I'm doing my part to make sure that I'm ready spiritually for the Savior's return.
It's not about having done everything that the scriptures tell us to do. It's about making our best effort to do what we're capable of doing, in our time and moving constantly forward. If you are a new member, and haven't gotten to the Temple yet and Jesus was to show up tomorrow, I don't think he would hold it against you. I think that we are responsible for doing what we know we should, as we learn what those things are, and are able to do so. Just strive to move forward, and (this is just my opinion) I believe that Heavenly Father will be satisfied with that. I don't expect Baby Boy to read yet, but I do expect him to be able to do so in the next 4-5 years. As long as he progresses toward that goal, I will be just fine with it. I don't expect The Boy to be able to do Algebra, but in the next few years, he should be able to and I expect him to do so. I do expect him to be able to handle the work that is put before him that is age appropriate and I think that our Heavenly Father thinks of things the same with us. So do that which you are capable of doing, and strive to be able to do more, and if Jesus comes and catches you doing it, I think you'll be just fine.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

halloween costumes

The Boy is a phantom, and Baby Boy is a monkey. He did great for his first time out trick-or-treating, and even though he got wiped out pretty quickly by all the stairs he had to climb to get to the candy, he still made out great because big brother made sure to grab candy for him from every house.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

the light before my eyes

BB hates the flash of the camera, and this is the resultant photos that we end up with most of the time.
Yesterday we went out for our costumes, and to get TB a pair of sneakers as he's fast outgrown his shoes this summer. Talk about seeing the light! He's in a men's 8 now. That's equal to a women's 10. That's what I wear. He's only 10. Are you following me on this? His father said "he's going to be a monster!" and I just wanted to either go somewhere to cry, or just die and get it over with.
Funny how little time we get with our children while they're little. Time slips away so quickly that it's like you blink and it's a whole new week. We have so little time to prepare them for their missions, and for temple marriage. And before you know it if you're not careful time will have gone out and your life is over. Have you managed your time well? Have you finished all o the work that you were sent here for? If you haven't, then this is where family history, genealogy, and temple work come in.
I haven't been lucky enough to have the time or means to research my family. My mom has put in about 500 hours on her own and traced my family back 15+ generations. I haven't been able to get the names temple ready yet, but I have been able to do some temple work for a couple other sisters who's family submitted their names. The first sister waited 300 years for her work to be done. It felt so special to be there fulfilling her hope after such a long wait. And how much better will it be when the sister's work that I do is my own?
All this from a size 8 shoe.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Law of Chastity

Today I covered the always controversial Law of Chastity. Its a touchy subject and the one thing that tends to scare off investigators the most. It was the one commandment that I struggled with the most when I was contemplating becoming a member, and the one I struggled with just after my baptism. I didn't really have the grasp of the law and its purpose that I have now, and I broke it not long after my baptism. I had struggle after struggle enter my life at that time, and I swear that as soon as the act was done, I literally felt the Holy Spirit leave me. I was in tears after and I knew that I had done something that I was going to have to work very hard to recover from. I know now that I had set my own spiritual growth back several years and cheated myself out of the countless blessings that Heavenly Father had in place for me.
I was stuck in the mindset that most young women are living under. If i didn't have sex, then my boyfriend who I loved wouldn't stay...or so I thought. I was afraid to trust in the Lord that it would be okay, that I would be okay. So I gave in, and paid dearly for it. Fast forward many years full of struggle, adversity and heartache later, and I finally decided to live the principals that I promised I would at my baptism. I cut off all sexual relations from my boyfriend (same one), and started going back to Sacrament Meetings. I prayed and decided that I wanted to ready myself for the temple. After 6 month of regular attendance of sacrament meetings, prayer, repenting and living the covenants that I had made, I went to my Bishop to council with him. I confessed my wrong doings, and he advised me as to the Lord's will for me. I moved forward, knowing that I had been forgiven and from that time forward, I did my best to live the law of chastity. I dressed modestly, and made sure not to put myself in positions that could tempt me beyond my ability to resist. When my boyfriend and I started to talk again after our breakup, (just about the time that I went back to the Gospel) I decided that I would show more respect for myself by telling him that I would only date him again if he was willing to date within the law of chastity that I was bound to, and only if he planned on marrying me. If not, I wasn't interested. To my surprise, he agreed, and we were married 3 months later. He loved me, and it was my own fear that kept me from following that commandment earlier. It might have been different if I'd had that courage before. Before I chose a man over God, and lost both. When I finally chose God first over all else, he gave me the man too.
It's tough to cover this lesson with a group of strangers. It's even tougher when some of the more active members have issue with the weight of this sin in the eyes of Heavenly Father. Its considered the worst sin one can commit, second only to murder. When I was asked about this, (and I'm in no way the expert) I gave the example from my own life and how I found myself a mother before I was ready for that type of responsibility. I told about the adversity that I had to face, and how I was too busy trying to provide physically for my son to have the time to see to his emotional and spiritual need. I said that I believe that God organized families as the way for his children to be brought into this world to learn and grow, and how much of a disadvantage they are at compared to their brothers and sisters who are privileged to be born into the family structure. I talked about how this sin leads to other, greater sins. It seems to me that this one touches so many areas of our growth and development that if we break it, we throw off so much. So much to fix. And that is why it carries so much weight. One of the Elders said that its one of the things that you take, but can't give back. Murder takes a life and you can't give it back or fix it no matter how much you say your sorry. Breaking the law of chastity involves you and the other party who you have helped to commit a great sin, and you can't take that sin back from them or fix the damage that you have done to them or yourself.
I didn't get to cover all of the important points as there were children in class for some reason, but I did my best. I pressed on the point that there is forgiveness for those of us who have broken this law, but that it's not easy. I said that I was an example of this forgiveness, having finally made it to the temple this March. I begged the class to read this at home to get what I didn't have time for, or couldn't cover for the sake of children in the room.
This is the first time I've ever told anyone about that part of my life. I felt compelled by the spirit to share it because I wanted my new members and investigators to know that no matter what state they might currently be in, it can be fixed. They, too, can make it to the temple and start fresh, and have all the blessings that our Father has in store for us.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Saying goodbye with bowling

Angelo Quattro was laid to rest yesterday in the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter. He served in the Army during WW2. He was loving, had 2 children, 2 grand-children, and 3 great-grand children. He cooked, bowled, and made 5 lamps in his lifetime out of Popsicle sticks (one of which my husband helped with). He was a long time member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and was very strong in his faith, and I respected that.
This past week I've been praying really hard that Heavenly Father would open up a missionary opportunity to my family with the passing of Angelo. It seemed like the perfect time to share the plan of salvation and talk about Heavenly Father's plan for us. I don't know how well the seed is taking, but for the last week I've been talking to my husband about my beliefs and the Mormon faith. He listens more, and has been asking more questions but I don't know if he's ready.
Yesterday we talked after the first service, on the way to the cemetery about the talk that one of the Brothers had given, and about how little sense it made, and how bleak it all sounded. I felt hollow, and the Spirit was noticeably absent from the procession. The talk was glaringly un-inspired. I was a bit afraid of how these teachings would settle with TB. In the car, we talked about what we know really happens after death, and about the real council in heaven and what took place there. I went into how much was answered by the restored gospel and how the pieces just fit, you know? They just fall into place.
Well, it was a really tough day for my husband, who viewed Angelo as his real father, the man who taught him what he knew of how to be a man. I understand the pain of losing a father. My father (step-father actually but i didn't think of him that way) passed away about 4 years ago and it was the single hardest time of my life. But it helped me draw closer to Heavenly Father and deepened my testimony. I prayed all day that this would turn out to be one of those situations, and not one that causes him to lose faith.
So yesterday after we'd been home for only about an hour, just trying to settle in and relax, there was a knock on the screen door and I thought it was TB coming home from the bowling alley where we had the reception (per Angelo's wishes). Instead I opened the door to find the missionaries standing there! I was so grateful for them just "stopping by", and it worked out because I was able to tell them about the questions that my husband had asked me, and they were better able to answer them. They asked if they can come over tomorrow evening and teach him the plan of salvation. He didn't really say anything and I couldn't tell if he didn't want to have the lesson and just didn't want to tell them no, or if he was still just feeling grief so much that he couldn't speak. So I just told them that they were welcome to come over, and hopefully it will be the seed that takes roots and brings forth good fruit.
Now, on an unrelated note, I was left an anonymous comment directing me to a website about Jehovah's witness and some of their court dealings, and a general overview of their beliefs. The idea was for me to forward that on to my MIL. I spent about 3 hours reading over the info contained there, and I found it very enlightening, but I didn't feel that it would be in good taste to send that to her at this time. I don't think that shining a light in the dark corners of the Kingdom Hall would be the best missionary tool I could use, to try to bring her to the restored gospel. I think this would be better done with love and kindness, serving and example, and finesse. I will pray hard for the best approach in this situation, but I thank you for the insightful information. It does explain some earlier dealings I had with her a few years ago in family court over the custody of our oldest son. (And in fairness to her, she was unknowingly suffering from menopause, and I was suffering depression and anxiety, so neither of us were thinking very clearly at the time.) I will continue to discuss our beliefs openly with her, as that seemed to work just fine earlier in the week, and continue to try to serve her in what ever way I can during this time. I think that would be best.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Family bonding

Today I was hoping to help my MIL and UIL to make their arrangements and get some things together, but instead we ended up spending the day together for some family bonding time. We went over and set up the play pin for the baby, got him fed and down for a nap, and then hung out and watched football while they ran a few errands. I washed the few dished in her sink and when they got back we visited as much as we could between the phone calls of well-wishers and chasing a baby around the house and away from the cats.
I really enjoyed my time there and got to know my husband's Uncle much better for the first time. He's fascinating and tells the best stories. We all talked over dinner at the table as a family. We ate Stuffies, beef brisket and brats, and just hung out listening to him and my MIL talk about the old days. I got allot of knitting done on the back of the baby bolero and worked on BB's hat until I couldn't work anymore (decreasing and didn't have my double-points with me). I spent time cuddling with her cats and just being with family. It felt warm and safe and wonderful, and for the first time, like I completely belonged and was at home. I'm glad that we have all come together, but I wish it could have been over a different event. But I think that Angelo would be proud and happy to know that we have come together in support of his children and have become a more loving family after his passing. I see know how wise Heavenly Father is, and how beneficial his commandments are to us. We're lucky to have a Father who cares enough to leave a "guide" on how to live and how to get the best use out of our lives, and maximize our potential.

Gospel principals lesson 37

Today I'm home instead of at Sacrament meeting because TB woke up feeling sick, and today is my GF-in-law's birthday. I think that the whole family is going over to my MIL's house to spend time with her and her brother. I think that if I can't be in Sacrament today, that Heavenly Father would be glad that we've chosen to spend our Sabbath with family, supporting them in their time of grief. But the lesson today was to be, (and will be thanks to a friend who is covering my class), on Eternal Marriage.
Eternal marriage is something that I'm striving to achieve in my own family. It's something that I pray for at least 3 times a week if not every day. I pray that my husband will chose the gospel and that we can be sealed in the Temple with our children. It seems harsh when you realize that marriage is only thought of now as a "legal arrangement" between a man and a woman to live together. Satan has managed to change our views of something that is the most holy of callings, and necessary for our exaltation. The scriptures tell us that we can't reach the highest level of glory unless we are married for eternity in the holy temple. It's about more than just living together and having children. It's about a partnership that will last for ever.
I was married in the Relief Society room in the Scituate RI ward by my then Bishop, Craig White. It was a beautiful little ceremony that lasted about 15 minutes, with a witness couple, and TB as the ring barer. I never thought that day would come for me but I prayed on it over and over. I had prayed that Heavenly Father would bring me together with my eternal companion, who ever that may be. After much prayer, by then ex and I began to spend time together again and he had done some changing during the year that we were apart. I prayed hard as it seemed that we were on our way to getting back together again and I was afraid that it might be a distraction of the Adversary to keep me from my eternal companion. But after much prayer, I realized that he was my eternal companion and a few months later we were married.
I still believe and know with all faith, that my husband is meant to be my eternal companion, but I pray hard all the time because I know that free will is a big factor in this process. I try to live my principals in full view of my husband now, instead of trying to keep it from him as it might make him uncomfortable. I got myself to the temple finally, and I've tried to fulfill the covenants that I made there, every day. The thought that he or I could pass away and that when we meet again in the spirit world, we would have no claims on each other, or our children just scares me. I want to keep my family together, now and then especially. I think the fact that my children would no longer be my own scared me the most. I know that I can always have my marriage sealed by my children after my husband and I pass on, but I also know that it's my responsibility to prepare for my exaltation in my own time, and that I don't want to depend on anyone else to take care of it for me. I want to enjoy the blessings of an eternal marriage in my life time!
I was reading the chapter last night and it stood out to me that I have to teach my boys to prepare for a temple marriage. They have to be willing to sacrifice to get there, and be unwilling to accept less than the highest blessings that Heavenly Father has in store for them. There is still the call to temple marriage for those like myself who were married outside of the temple, but its tough to reach that if one doesn't prepare themselves to get there from the outset. If a couple got married outside of the temple, it's because one or both of them weren't worthy to get there, and so there is work that needs to be done and for some, that work is a greater challenge than for others. It took me 7 years to finally be prepared for the temple, but it can take more or less time for others. I don't know how long it will take for my husband to accept the gospel, if he ever does, and then how much longer it will be before he's ready for the temple, but I continue to pray every day that we'll make it there!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The time is near

Today my MIL came over, and we talked about what needs to be done. My work involves calling many of the companies that she will have to deal with, and helping customers set up or change their direct deposits and automatic payments. I know how to navigate the automated system for Social Security like no body's business. So I'll be sitting down with her soon and making some calls to let everyone know about her father's passing and handle the business. It feels nice to be able to do something for her for once.
I had a few minutes to talk with her this afternoon, and I let her know that I'd spoken to TB and that he'd taken it well. I told her that I felt that church and our faith had been a huge support for him. She told me that even though she know that he's in a better place, she doesn't feel comforted by it. I was a little confused and felt really bad. She had said something about us having to suffer and deal with the things we do, while the Powers look on, to prove a point. I didn't understand what she was talking about and it stayed with me all day. All I could do was think about how bleak that seemed and how much harder it is to grieve if that was where her head was at.
It wasn't until later that I spoke to my husband to ask him what that was about, as she is a Jehovah's Witness and he studied it in his teen years. He told me the basis of their beliefs and that they believe that Jehovah and Satan had an argument about power, and when things didn't go as planned, Satan was jealous and decided to leave and see how many people he could get to go with him, and Jehovah was said to go along with it and allow this contest. They believe that there were only angels and God in heaven, and that we didn't live there. Our souls don't come into existence until we're conceived. In this point of view (if I'm understanding this correctly) we are pawns in a larger struggle for power. If this is true, then our Father allow us to struggle and suffer to prove that we will obey him regardless, and he doesn't interfere as Satan torments us to try to get us to rebel against God. What a depressing view of our purpose, or lack of purpose in the world. It leads her to ask, as a parent herself, how God could allow his child to suffer on principal, and all for what?
I realize now how lucky I am to know about the restored gospel and what it means to me. To know that there is a Prophet to guide us and that Heavenly Father still talks to us to this day. That we lived with him in the pre-mortal world and that he loves us. That we have to suffer some adversity in our lives to be able to grow and progress towards our goal of being like him. To be polished through the trials, and to be able to have compassion towards others because of our experiences. It was made to perfect us, and for us to choose for ourselves what is right. That little thing called "free will" makes it so that bad things happen to us, because he can't stop someone from drinking and getting behind the wheel of a car, or taking drugs, or going into a bank with a gun to hold up the place. Sometimes acts of Nature or "acts of God" cause us adversity, but that only allow others a chance to serve and He know that those of us affected are strong enough to handle it. We are all tested, and we agreed to, and looked forward to being tested and tried in this life. It is so sad that there are so many who don't have the benefit of the true and restored Gospel to guide and comfort them.
And so I think that I will continue to pray on this, and that maybe this will be time for me to give my spare copy of the BofM to my MIL and ask her to look it over. She's searching for the truth, and finding her faith lacking. Maybe it's time.

i'm thankful for the gospel

(This is a rescue kitty that my MIL saved about 6 months ago)
Yesterday me grandfather-in-law passed away. It was both sudden and expected. He was 87 years old.
When my MIL came over to tell us, she and my husband decided that TB should go busy himself upstairs. I hugged my MIL, and held my husband's hand while the news sank in. After they left to go back to the hospital, I talked to TB, and was very thankful for the church and the gospel. TB understood, and didn't cry. You could see that he was saddened by the news, but he understood where Grandpa had gone, and that his work here was over, and that he was greeted by his wife, and the rest of is friends and family that have passed before him. He understood that Grandpa wouldn't ever be sick or in pain again, and that he will see him again. He was okay with it, and at peace. I was grateful that I could explain what had happened to Grandpa, and that he found comfort with it, as I have seen this day coming all year and I've been dreading it. At least when it did come, it wasn't as hard on this family as I feared it would be.
My husband's grandpa was a good, church going man and he lived his beliefs. He wasn't LDS, but he lived his beliefs to the letter and for that I know that he will be greeted by Heavenly Father with a "welcome home, good son." This also helped my husband to accept things. He's known that this was probably the end but it didn't make things any easier. His grandfather was like a father to him. I was glad for the teachings of the gospel that told us to visit with the sick. We took the entire family over to visit last Monday for our FHE, and his spirits were really high. It was wonderful to see. And I was able to comfort my husband with the fact that we had made sure to visit as a family several times, and brought over the t.v. and meatballs, as well as bringing the boys over to visit, and those things had helped to lift his spirits and let him know that he was loved. I told my husband that he has no reason to feel guilt. And in that matter, I don't. I feel at peace. I feel good, like I left things in a good place and that my GF-I-L knew that he was special and loved. Now I have a greater appreciation for the gospel's teachings. Heavenly Father know what he's doing.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

General Conference

This weekend was the General Conference, (for anyone who didn't know) and I missed the entire Saturday session as usual. I have worked every Saturday since I was 18 years old. I tried to stream the audio and video at work, but it's blocked by the company. I also pulled up the site so that The Boy could watch the Saturday session at home while I was at work, but he couldn't get it to play, and instead of asking his dad for help like I told him to, he just said that it wouldn't play and my husband "assumed that it wasn't supported by mac". So, the best laid plans...
Today I didn't get to see the first hour of the first session because it's Sunday and my husband is in a Fantasy Football league. He spent the entire time on the computer looking at Yahoo sports. Lucky for me, he went to a buddy's house to watch the game so I was able to have the computer, and the house to myself. Nothing really went as I had hoped, but it seemed to work out just the same.
I had hoped that TB would watch Saturday, and that I would get out of work on time, an be able to catch the last part of the afternoon session live. That didn't happen. Because I worked so late on Friday, TB went to spend the night with his grandparents on Saturday instead of the planned Friday and so he missed the larger part of the Sunday sessions too. After I finally got my husband away from the computer, I was able to watch the last half of the early session, and caught a wonderful talk by the General Relief Society President. She talked about the role of "mothers who know" and how we teach our children that's important, and how "home making" plays a large roll in who our children turn out to be. It teaches them order, and the value of family, and how to provide a warm, loving environment, and how all of this is crucial to the development of strong, self confident children.
What stood out most of what she said was that mothers who know, learn to be content to live on less, and to focus more on doing what will allow us to spend more quality time with our children and families, and less focus on the "things of the world". They don't get caught up in the rat race, trying to buy and have, and get, and do. They don't forget that what their children need more than a big house and fancy clothes are parents who care and spend time with them. This got me thinking about my own situation where I find myself at a cross road. My husband is going to graduate from NE Tech in February with a degree in web design. They have job placement and I feel pretty secure in saying that he will be working by the Spring. I'm climbing the corporate ladder at work, and find myself in a position of middle management. I go back and forth about whether or not I should take a leave of absence from my job until my baby is ready for school, or if I should just keep pressing onward towards a Team Leader position that I seem so close to.
I've prayed on this, and until today I felt like I should stay at work, and keep pressing forward toward my goal. I realized that we could afford a home much faster and I could have a new car, and I could finally have my food storage, and 72 hour kits that I worry at night over not being able to provide at this time. I could knit anything I want and not have to substitute clearly inferior quality yarn because I can't afford what the garment is actually knit from. I could buy the new clothes that I so desperately need. We could get that new t.v. to replace the one that we've had for 11 years that's on the fritz. The list goes on. But today I watched that talk and I realized that if my husband gets a job making what we are told he can earn, that we can still afford a home, and if we're frugal, I can stop working even if for only a short time, and be home with my children. I could get TB to his scouting meetings, and attend my own Enrichment meetings. Maybe I could even go back to school and get my degree so that when I'm ready to go back to work, I won't have to start off back at the bottom again. My husband is afraid that I'll lose all the momentum that I've gained, and I worry about this too, but after today I realize that there are more important things and that even though I may not do it right away, I now plan to leave my job to be home with my family after my husband gets settled into his job. Especially with the way that my current job has been taking away from my family.
So, back to the day. I fell asleep on the couch between sessions and missed the first hour of the afternoon session. Then my boys both came home and and I got the baby up. I pulled up the rest of the session, made TB sit in front of the computer to listen, got dinner on, and sat down to hear the rest of the conference live. My husband was present for the first time ever. I had hoped that he would "accidentally" hear the entire thing, both days worth, but this was better than nothing. The talk was about choosing the greater things over the good things and making priority in our life. It talked about father's responsibility to their family, and about not over scheduling the children or ourselves. It talked about eating dinner together as a family and how kids do better in school and avoid drugs and alcohol if they eat dinner with their families. That is the one thing we probably struggle with most, as my husband is out the door on the way to school when we're getting ready to eat so we don't get to do that very often. We get so used to not eating together that when the opportunity presents, we overlook it. Well, today I decided that I wanted to eat at the table. I made dinner. I put our plates on the table, and had TB bless the food. We made BB wait until after the blessing to eat even though he was fussing and hungry. I told TB that it was how he would learn what was expected of him, and to pray through the crying. We did, and BB quieted down and ate when it was time to do so. My husband wasn't hungry because he had eaten when he came home from being out, so I asked him to feed BB so I could eat. And he did, at the table with the rest of us, away from the t.v. with the game on. That was something! And I could see the small difference made by him just being with in ear shot of the conference talks.
Tomorrow, we're going to do our FHE a little early as he has somewhere to go in the evening. He's been great about participating in some sort of family activity when he's home for FHE. It's a small step, but one in the right direction. I'll keep praying, and I'll keep posting so my few friends who read this will be able to witness God's hand in this.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Visiting Teaching, and being taught

Today is a big day for the visiting teaching. My teachers stopped by today with their little ones and some home made peanut butter cookies. It was really great to spend some time with them and let our kids play together. We got to talking about family values again, and how the non-LDS world views families and children. My friends both have a boy and a girl, and one of them is expecting another. She gets alot of flack from the general public about why she would want another child, and what the point of it all is, since she has one of each. My other friend wants another, and says that she gets the same questions and treatment. They both also say that they don't get much appreciation for the fact that they are stay at home mothers. I envy them for their ability to do just that. I wish every day that I didn't have to go to work and could stay home with my boys. My husband refers to my few days off as "mommy day" and lately they've been infringed upon by my duties at work and in seeing to the needs of the family. I struggle daily with my need to advance and be fulfilled in my career, climbing the corporate ladder, and wanting to spend every spare second with my family. I'm finding it hard to balance the two, but the church helps a lot with our Family Home Evenings set aside one day a week, and family scripture reading/prayer. I don't get the last two in every day but I try to fit them in a few times a week and it helps to have that little extra family time.
And while my friends are made to feel like they're foolish for wanting another child when they have one of each, I find that people think it's perfectly normal for me to want a 3rd child because I have same-sex children. Instead of the focus being on bringing souls to Earth and raising good Christian, God-fearing's on having one of each and calling it a day. Anything more or less is looked at unfavorably. It's like you're not a real family if you don't fit into that perfect little package. When did the focus on family shift so much from our Father's plan?
Later today my companion and I will be going to visit one of our 3 sisters, (the only one who we can actually visit in person) and hopefully we'll leave her feeling the urge to attend the next meeting. We haven't seen her or her family in months. It makes me wonder what it is about new members that makes them so vulnerable to inactivity? Many of the newly baptized who had the most Spirit and faith up to and through their baptism just drop off the face of the LDS Earth shortly after. We had one young couple who attended all the time, came to my class early on when I was a newer teacher, and were baptized. They live near me and we talked about the neighborhood, and getting together. I never got a chance to call them, and maybe I should have gone out of my way to make the time because the rumor is that someone got ahold of them with anti-Mormon literature, and they called the missionaries and asked them not to contact them anymore. They just fell away so quickly. It reminds me of the Bible talking about casting seed on the ground. Some is rocky and the seed can't ever get into the ground. Some is sandy soil and the seeds never get very deep roots, and the plants wither die quickly, and some ground is very fertile and the plants flourish. I guess you just can never tell which type of soil a person will be, and that's why we're commanded to spread the gospel to everyone. It just really hurts and feels personal when you see someone getting it, and really accepting the truth of the restored gospel, only to drift away within weeks of their baptism. I know that visiting teachers and home teachers have kept me tethered to the gospel, even in my most inactive times and I hope that my companion and I will be able to do the same for these sisters.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Family Responsibility

In my lesson this week we covered Family Responsibility. I really liked the very first line in the chapter...that we all have a purpose in our family. We all have a roll, and we all are placed in our family for a specific reason. Heavenly Father organized it all before we came here, and I know that my children are here for a purpose. When I was young, I always knew that I was here for a reason, because my mother was pregnant with twins and lost my twin, but I made it full term. I'm the only child she was ever able to carry full term, and for that reason alone, I knew I had something that I was meant to do. Now I know that it's more than that. I also know that I was put in my family for a reason, and that we were meant to be close, but due to free will, that didn't happen.
Anyway, we had a small group in class yesterday. All ladies so we were able to focus on the women's roll in the family. I have to say that I love my class and I love teaching it, and there's only been one week that I was asked a question that I didn't feel qualified to answer. I've been in the trenches in my personal life many times so when I talk to the people, I can speak from experience.
One of the girls was talking about how she was worried that her kids were acting up in Sacrament meeting (although I hardly noticed they were there) and I told her that it's definitely not only her children and that the best thing to do is to keep bringing them, and they'll learn what's expected of them and find that they enjoy it. We were also able to talk about how many times we find ourselves having to fulfill both the mother's and father's roll in our lives. She is a single mother of 2 and is expecting another in a few months. She is a sweet girl and I really love her. I just want to take her under my wing and tell her everything that I've been through that she's going through right now, and how she's doing a wonderful thing for herself and her children by taking this step.
We talked about how the church is structured so that there is a male presence in her children's lives if their father can't or won't provide one. We talked about home teachers, and missionaries, and young men's, and scouting so that she would have peace that her son will have positive male roll models in his life. I know that one of the biggest reasons that I joined the church in the beginning was because of it's focus on the family, and because of how much of a support it had for single mothers. No other church I've ever been to cares so much for it's members, or had more members actually living their values during the week and not just on Sundays. We also talked about what our rolls are, and that it's so hard to be both father and mother because we're not made for that roll. It's not part of the natural order of things and so it's a struggle every second. It's another example of why we're commanded to only have sex with our husband or wife, because it was meant to bring children into the world, and we were meant to share the duties of bringing up those children.
Fathers are providers by nature. They are meant to spend separate time with each child and form a loving bond with them. Mothers are nurturers. We are meant to provide emotional security for our children and teach them how to create a loving home. It's so because this is the way we were designed. Heavenly Father created us to be two halves of one whole and to work together. It's just too hard for a father or a mother to do it alone. And if we do our best to fulfill our rolls in our families, we will be blessed to be a part of that family for all eternity.

Monday, September 24, 2007

1 Nephi, ch 13

Today TB and I read Nephi 13 and again I had one of those light bulb moments while reading it to him. I picked up on the details that I missed every other time I've ever read it. I've only read the Book of Mormon all the way through once. Last year I got pretty close, when we were told to try to read it before the end of the year. But I've read the first few books over again, many times and I'd never realized that Nephi's vision was about the coming of the Catholic church, and about the loss of many of the simple truths that were once in the Bible, and about the coming of the Book of Mormon and how it would restore those truths as well as serve to prove the Bible as true.

Many people think that we don't use the Bible and only pay attention to the Book of Mormon. They think that we dismiss the Bible or that we don't even use it. But I really liked that this chapter points out how the purpose of the Book of Mormon was to bring back the things that were lost from the Bible, and to prove the Bible as true.

Now many of us know that early European Kings took things our of the Bible to allow them to do what ever they wanted, like divorce their wives and marry another woman for no valid reason other than their lust. They threw out anything that didn't suite their purposes. I really liked how this chapter discusses that. I love when scriptures can be supported by history. And I also liked that this chapter talked about how important the Bible was to the Gentiles and how it's distortion caused so many to stumble, but how the "other book" would come forth and restore all that was lost.

But something else that stood out was that the Lord went first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles, but when he comes back he'll come to the Gentiles first and then to the Jews. I've heard before about the last being first and the first being last, but I never knew what that meant. It said that he'd come to the Gentiles first and but that He's go to the Jews after.

This is a really long and detailed chapter, and it broke things down in a simple way that I'd never understood before. I'm starting to see why we are advised to read together as a family. I feel better about my child's choices, and I've had the ability to understand in a way that I never did before, because I have to explain what we've just read to my child. It's really exciting and I can't wait to read the next chapter just to see what I can uncover next.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Official Kids Owners Manual!

Today, the lesson on families went really well. I had a chance to tie it into the Law of Chastity lesson from last weeks relief society lesson and to also tie it into some of the earlier lessons from our class. We talked about how the Home is where we will do the most important of the Lord's work and how we can set an example to our children that will shape our whole lives.
One of our newer members is a wife and mother of two teenage daughters who are not active in the church. I was giving an example of how I did make some mistakes in my earlier years, but how I stayed away from the biggest problems that plague most teens because my mother let me know in no uncertain terms that certain things were not acceptable to her or to God. I broke what I considered to be the lesser of the rules but stayed away from the ones that my mother stressed to me because it was always with me, and not only did I not want to disappoint her, but I didn't want to face "the Wrath of God". So, this sister talked about how she told her girls very straight forwardly, what Heavenly Father expected of us (as far as the law of Chastity is concerned) and that it was sacred, and meant to be shared between Husband and Wife, and to bring souls of our brothers and sisters to Earth. She talked about how her daughters friends asked the same questions of their mothers and how they were given the wishie-washie answers that most parents give their children in the hopes of not having to talk about it again..."wait till you really love someone" or "wait till college". She said that her daughter's friends weren't satisfied by those answers and they asked her what she thought, and she shared Heavenly Father's will with them, and said that they seemed to be satisfied by that answer.
When another student asked her if she would have known what to say to her daughter if she wasn't in the church, she said "no." And so there you have it. We have all heard, or maybe even said that old saying "children don't come with an owners manual" but that's not at all true. We have the scriptures and we have the study guides that are provided by the church. And I have had the opportunity to have tried parenting before the church came into my life, as well as after and I've got to say, it's way way easier with the Gospel. The church puts family first and stresses how we as parents and spouses, should treat our families and each other. It guides us on how to become closer to each other. And they're right! The lessons are inspired and come right from Heavenly Father. I've made an effort lately to try to incorporate the activities like Family Home Evening, and family scripture reading into our daily lives and I've seen an immediate difference in how close we have become, how patient we are with each other, and how much more we show outwardly that we care about the others in our home.
What that sister learned was that when she tried to preach to her children, they pushed back. But when she just spent time with them and showed them by example the way that our Father expects us to treat each other, and to conduct ourselves, they responded to it. They have opened up and asked questions of her that has allowed her to teach them our Father's plan in a way that they can accept. She has made an effort to be involved in their lives and they have softened to her. We can't preach to our families, but we can lead by example. And that's how our children will learn what is acceptable. They will chose their future spouse based on the examples that we set for them, and will learn how to treat their spouses and children by watching us do so. So remember to be the kind of mother and wife, or father and husband that you hope your children will be.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Loving Thy Neighbor

Today, I went over to my Grandfather-in-law's nursing home, right after work and brought him a huge container of angel hair pasta and meatballs, that I intended to get to him yesterday. He and I haven't always been close. We were building our relationship when it was strained by events that were uncontrollable, and I was left feeling hurt and like he couldn't stand me. The issues that caused the rift have resolved, but things were just never the same.
So we had a lesson about service about a month ago, and it talked about how one should perform service with a glad heart, and about the different forms of service that we can do for our brothers and sisters. I heard about him being in a nursing home until his health improves, and when my MIL said that he has no phone or t.v. in his room, and that he was feeling down and hadn't been eating. I just felt like there had to be something that I personally, could do. So I prayed on it. And I prayed on it. And then I came home from work, loaded my kids into the car and drove over to the home for a visit. My MIL was there, and was happy to see us, and I could tell that it lifted his spirits if only for a little while to see the boys.
We couldn't stay long because BB was up way past his bedtime so I left, but the next day I got up and pulled some hamburger out of the freezer and made meatballs and angel hair because I know he likes it, and he hasn't really been eating so I was hoping that he would like this enough to eat. I didn't get it over there yesterday like I had intended, but I brought it to work with me today and re-heated it and drove it over on the way home.
I couldn't stay because my husband had to go to school so I just dropped it off. But when I got there, he was just sitting in his chair with his head on the over-bed table and I knocked on the door, but it took him a second to notice me. He looked like tears fell from his face when he put his head up, like I had intruded on a very vulnerable moment, and the best I could do was pretend not to notice so he could keep his pride. I chatted with him for a quick minute about how I got the recipe from a cookbook that he and my MIL both have, (she gave me her copy) and that if he didn't care for them, it was the books fault. (haha.)
I have to admit that when I left there, I felt like I hadn't done enough and prayed to Heavenly Father to tell me what more I could do to lift his spirits in this tough time. I just felt really down because I could feel what he was feeling and was helpless. The best I could do was try to swing by, and bring over meatballs. So when I got home, I had my husband take TB and bring over the extra t.v. in our bedroom that we don't really get to use anymore because BB still sleeps in our room in his crib. The residents are allowed to have t.v.'s but the home doesn't provide them. I wanted him to have one in the room so that he's not trapped in it all day with nothing to do and no one to talk to all. day. long. When the boys got there, he was asleep so my husband set the t.v. up, wrote a note and put the remote on top of it so that he'll have a nice surprise when he wakes up tomorrow.
I got an email from my MIL thanking me for my simple act and told me that he actually ate some of it, (and said it was good) and telling me how much it meant to both of the. See, right now she's the sole person responsible for his care and is carrying the load alone. And I decided 2 days ago that I can take up some of the slack for her. So I will.
I don't tell you about all this to make myself look good, or for anyone to leave comments on this post about what a good daughter-in-law I am. I decided to share this because I wanted to impress how important it is to look in on the sick and elderly. To make time for them, and to take that time out of our busy lives to stick our head in the door and bring over "meatballs" so that they will know that they haven't been forgotten. Heavenly Father answers prayers through us! And if we don't do our part, and follow the promptings of the spirit, whether it be because we're afraid we'll be rejected or we're holding a grudge, we miss our on the blessings that come from doing those good deeds. We miss out on being the answer to someones prayer, and on seeing God's hand at work in another person's life, and we miss out on the blessings for ourselves that come from doing His work. I can go to bed tonight and sleep easier knowing that I've lifted someones day just a little bit, and it will make it easier to be kind and to "love my neighbor as I love myself", which is the 2nd of the "big two" commandments as Jesus answered the Lawyer who tried to test him. He said that everything hangs on these two laws...all the laws...hang on these two. I can see after today that it is true, and I hope that you all test it for yourselves.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

1 Nephi, ch 12

This was taken earlier today. He just came up and made himself at home while I finished knitting the replacement blanked for BB.
So anyway, it was TB's turn to read from the Book of Mormon and we were on chapter 12. It's funny how every time one reads from the Book of Mormon, one finds things that they didn't find before. It's almost like it wasn't there! But of course it was.
So this time, we're reading along and we come to verse 7 where Nephi is talking about the Heavens opening up and seeing the Lamb of God come down and show himself, and then the Holy Ghost fell upon 12 others and they were ordained of God and chosen. They were to minister unto his people. I had always taken this to be the 12 disciples that were with Christ in Jerusalem but after I read a little closer (and paid better attention) I caught in verse 9 where the angel tells Nephi that the 12 apostles of Jesus are the judges of the 12 tribes of Israel at the Second Coming, and that these 12 would be judged by the other 12 as they were a part of the house of Israel. I just never caught that before. But is says that the 12 ministers will judge his people. So there's delegation. It's us being judged by the 12 ministers, and the ministers being judged by the 12 apostles.

Then it all seems to go wrong about verse 15. I realize as I read this book closer, that these are real people with real problems just like us. Here's Nephi, getting this huge gift. He's seeing all of his posterity down to the Second Coming of The Lord, and only 4 generations into his descendants, they start messing up. By the 5th generation, his and his brothers' children are now at war with each other. Then in verse 19, his seed are overwhelmed by the seed of his brethren because of the pride of his seed and the temptations of the devil. They have fallen to his temptations and are so proud that they forget what the Lord has done for them and that made them weak and vulnerable. He sees the Lamanites over take the Nephites, and multiply and spread over the whole land. He sees them become a dark and loathsome people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.

It just makes me wonder again, what kind of extremely strong faith these people had. And it served as a wonderful example for me, and probably everyone else out there, who are trying to live the principals of the Gospel and have beloved family members who don't believe, or aren't living as faithfully as they could be.

When I first joined the church, I struggled with how I was supposed to receive a fullness of joy when my Step-father (who raised me from the age of 3), whom I loved very much, didn't believe in God and wouldn't be in the Celestial kingdom with me (as I hope to be)? How does one have a fullness of joy when their spouse isn't a member and the one goes to the temple and fulfills all of their necessary requirements for full exaltation, but they know that their spouse won't be there with them? What about all of those parents who's children have strayed from the teachings of the church? Well, I guess this is a pain that we share with our Heavenly Parents. I imagine that he hurts more than we do when he watches us just wipe our feel all over sacred places and things, or when he sees how we've contorted things like the institutions of marriage and family. How Satan has been able to convince us that the Law of Chastity isn't really a big deal, and in a perfect world we would wait for marriage, but if we're "in love" then it's okay. So I guess I'm not the only one hurting and wondering why. And I have to see this as proof that people way before me had these same feelings, and that I'm not alone. And maybe if I read chapter 13 tomorrow, I'll find the words of comfort that our Father must have had for Nephi, and will be able to be comforted by them as well. And if he loves us as much as we love our own children, then he must have something in mind for issues just such as these. And I'll just have to have faith, and wait, and see.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Gospel principals lesson 36

Today my post almost got derailed by blogger's new live photo slide show they have. You can click on it and see any photo that's been published on a public site, just scrolling by. It was awesome and I had to shake my head like a puppy to wake up from the stupor I was falling into.
Anyway, today I had hoped to continue with some Book-o-Mormon stuff, but TB didn't clean his room as I asked earlier and I sent him up to finish, and he just ran out of time for us to get into any. It's his turn to read. So I decided that for once, I'd pull out my Gospel Principals manual and go through the lesson way in advance. The weeks just fly by so quickly for that that it's like I come home from Sacrament meeting, go to sleep, wake up and it's Wednesday, and then I wake up and it's Saturday again and I haven't had a chance to even crack the book to look at the lesson.
Well, today I got it out and went over it. Chapter 36, families are eternal (if anyone wants to review it). So, I read over it and what jumped out to me was the section where it says that we are given families here on Earth to show how we'll treat them, and to learn all that we need to know to be heavenly parents. Now, I remember reading before about being basically loaned a family to see how we'll treat them and if we're faithful, and we're sealed in the Temple, then our families will become ours forever. I guess I didn't catch the part about learning to be heavenly parents. Nor did I catch the part where we're commanded to marry and have children so that we can help Heavenly Father carry out his mission in bringing souls to Earth so that we can each work out our salvations.
What's funny about this is that when I first joined the church and was a single mother with one child, I thought that I would always have just the one, and be the only Mormon in history to only have one child, voluntarily. Well, then I got married several years later to the father of that child and we were married for about a year and a half when the method of birth control I had been, until then, successfully using suddenly gave out on me and we found ourselves expecting BB. I wasn't really happy about it, and neither was he considering that he had lost his job only weeks before. (As if he didn't have enough pressure.) And so with time I came to accept the coming change, and even embrace it. I saw it for the blessing that it was. I saw Heavenly Fathers hand in this. After 18 months without incident I now was expecting a child. This time around I was married to a man who I loved very much, and had a child old enough to help around the house. I had a huge amount of support both from friends and from family (biological and LDS). I had a job with great benefits. It was all falling into place, and it was a chance for my husband and I to finally experience the joys of pregnancy and parenthood in a way that we had been cheated of the first time, or rather, had cheated ourselves of. It was a healing experience and this little boy has served to bring our family much closer to each other and to the Lord.
When I had TB, I felt the draw to find a church and teach him about God. He is what lead me to the path that I'm on now. But since I had BB, I realized that I needed to do more, be more active and a better missionary example to my own family and not just strangers. I needed to get to the temple, and since I went (March 18th 2007) I've felt closer to Heavenly Father and more in tune with his plan. It's been since I went there that I've felt the urge to have more children. My husband isn't where I am as far as that goes so it's up in the air right now as to if I can convince him or not, but there has been prayer. I now realize that all those Mormons I used to shake my head at and wonder why they would do that to themselves (even though they always seemed to have no trouble providing for all their children). I didn't want to be the Mormon wife and mother of 5+ children driving the "Mormon Assault Vehicle". I didn't understand what it was that would drive them to it...and now I do. I'm one of those women now. And it's all because I am starting to better understand the larger picture and want to be part of it. I want to have my live blessed by the sweetness that is another baby.
And finally, what also stood out is the quote that the most important work we can accomplish in this life will be done in the home. Raising good, kind, God-fearing children who care for others as much as themselves and show love and concern for all people will change the world, and prepare them with the tools they need to make it back into the presence of our Father in Heaven.

Monday, September 17, 2007

9/17 Family Home Evening

Today was a nice day and it turned into an impromptu FHE. Aaron skipped class today as they usually just do homework in class and as he said "I can do that from here". So we decided to take the baby out for a walk to the library since The Boy had to check out a book for a report he has due next week. It was really nice to go out in the fall weather in our warmer clothes and walk in the neighborhood to the library. The Boy took some extra time to find a book at this grade level that he hasn't already read, so we took Baby Boy over to the kids section to check out the fish in the tank. We even got to use the self check-out scanner, which impressed The Boy.
On the way home my hubby and I talked about our neighborhood, which he happened to grow up in, and how we'd like to buy a home there. He said that he often wonders what I think of Riverside and I think it's a nice quite little place for a family.
When we got home, we put Baby Boy down for bed after feeding him dinner, and then we pulled out the Book of Mormon for some family scripture reading. We've been trying to incorporate it into our daily lives as we're told all the time how important it is for us to read not only on our own time, but as a family. So The Boy and I have been reading to BB and he reads a chapter and I read one. Well, when he went to get his book (cause we've been using his) he lost the bookmark and we lost our place. The last thing I remember us covering was 1Nephi, ch4 so I picked it up in chapter 5.
This chapter jumped out at me this time around and it makes me wonder if Heavenly Father didn't have his hand in TB's losing of our place, because as I read it again out loud I really got it. (By the way, we're really on ch 12.) Anyway, in this chapter, Lehi's wife Sariah is upset with him about the state they find themselves in and is really worrying about her sons. They are living in the wilderness after leaving Jerusalem on God's orders to avoid being carried away into captivity when the Babalonians invade. Lehi has a vision and tells his sons, lead by Nephi who is the youngest son, that they need to go up to King Laban (a distant relative) and get the plates that contain the record of their family geneology and the scriptures and commandments that amount to what we now know as the old testament. They will need this when they travel to the promised land, to have it to guide them in keeping The Lord's commands.
So, they've been sent off on a really tough mission and Sariah as a mother and a wife who didn't have her own testamony yet of Gods plan, is along for the ride. She has left her home of great wealth and privalige to flee 3 days journey into the wilderness. She's having to make due and live in the harshness of the wilderness and I doubt that fresh food is just readily available to them. She has her oldest son's complaining all the time about what they gave up, and trying to rebel against her husband. Now, as if that isn't enough, add to the mix that her sons...all of the...have been sent off on what could be a suicide mission. Her sons have to go back into the city, convince the King to give them the record that has been in his family for generations and contains the sacred record of the gospel, and come back all without being followed.
Now ask yourself, as a mother...what kind of mental state would you be in? So now I imagine that Nephi and company had to travel 3 days back into Jerusalem. Then go to see the King only to be told in no uncertain terms, "no". They leave and try to regroup and figure out what to do next. I imagine that at least one day goes by while they try to figure it out. So they decide to go back to their home, which they abandoned earlier, and gather all their money and jewels and anything of value to see if they can get the King to sell the plates to them. This probably took some time to do so lets just say there's a good chance that another day has passed. They go back to see King Laban, and he tells them "no" but takes their treasures and sends servants to have them killed. They flee, and again try to regroup. Nephi is attacked by his older brothers and an angel has to intervein to keep them from killing him. They pray hard on it, and are prompted by the spirit to go back and told that The Lord will deliver Laban into their hands. I assume that another day went by, and went into night as that is when Nephi goes back and comes upon a drunken Laban. So I would guess that about a week has passed since Sariah's sons left their wilderness camp to go on their mission.
Now that you have an idea what she's dealing with, you can imagine what's going through her head by now. She starts to panic and starts to doubt her husband. She starts to chew him out and complain to him that he's made her leave her home, family, friends and comforts to hump it 3 days into the wilderness, only to starve and die. And if that wasn't bad enough, he's sent their sons on a mission that could easily result in their deaths. She's imaging the worst. She's fallen into the position that we all find ourselves dealing with, where we get caught up in the worldly grind and forget that our Father has a plan and will watch after us when he sends us off to do the impossible.
But what I loved is that she took comfort in Lehi's promise that they were doing The Lords work and that they left Jerusalem to survive its destruction. Then after her sons return, she gains her own faith and testimony of Heavenly Father's will for them, and never doubts again. She's a strong woman, a good wife and mother, and a great example of how each of us needs to gain our own testimony in order to endure to the end and have the strength to follow Him in every little thing he asks us to do.
I loved this chapter! Feel free to read it at the LDS website.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Maiden Voyage

This is my first post on this blog and I hope for there to be one every few days. I'm a 7 year member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a wife and a mother of 2 boys. I teach Gospel Principals in the Central Falls RI ward, and it's been a real learning experience for me.
Our ward is really small but very spiritual. There aren't any classes to prepare us to teach like most other wards have so I had to get set apart and just dive right in. So far, so good I guess cause I haven't been smote by the hand of God so I guess I've been doing okay. Some lessons are of course better and more inspired than others.
This week we talked about obedience which dove tailed nicely into our Relief Society lesson on the Law of Chastity. Lets just say that the discussion got derailed a bit and in the middle there, it got pretty heated. Its the first time in a long time that I've actually felt tension in a meeting and wished that I was somewhere else. There is a sister who I'm pretty sure is an investigator and she comes every now and then. She's really a sweet person who's had some real challenges in her life like the loss of a dear family member and the end of a relationship. Anyway, she doesn't always understand what we're trying to convey in the lessons and often takes offense. I've made it my own mission to break things down in my class in a way that she and a few of our other "greener" investigators and new members can understand. Well, she didn't understand a comment made by another member and got really offended, and said how she disagreed with everything that she said. That didn't go over very well because she basically was talking about the actual law of chastity and the parts of it that our teens don't grasp and it came off like the sister was trying to say in class that she didn't agree with the teaching of the church and it was just really tense for a minute. Thankfully, we had a few sisters that tend toward leadership, who got us back on track. I was, however, inspired to talk to my first born about chastity and what is expected of us, and why it's important both to our salvation but also in the secular world where it can lead to heartache, disease and unwanted pregnancies.
Now, I realize that many of the people who may read this don't know me so I want to take this opportunity to say that I an in no way a saint. My husband and I met when I was 19 years old, and our 1st born is now 10, and I'm I'm sure that you can do that math. I, as I mentioned earlier, have been a member for 7 years so I wasn't living the principals that I'm now charged with teaching, in my earlier years. But I think it is for this reason that I was asked to take this challenge on. I have a perspective that many of our members don't have as they have been in the church for most of their lives, and I can identify a little more with the new members as I still remember the things of the church that I struggled with, or still do. This doesn't make me better, just more able to communicate with my audience and really, that's what it's all about.
So for now, I'll end by saying that I welcome any and all questions. Please be kind and respect that these are my beliefs (if they don't happen to be shared by you) as I do my best to do the same. Come on back now, ha hear?