Monday, November 11, 2013

Missionary Mom

I'm now in that category of being a "missionary mom", I was able to send off my eldest Cameron to Alabama and my next eldest Brandon to Chile. It's been pretty exciting receiving emails and even letters from them each Monday. Monday has become my favorite day for that reason alone. It's been exciting to see the growth that occurs when one is left to depend on God. The testimonies of these my two young stripling warriors has made me a very happy mom. I couldn't be more proud. But, there are times when it can be crazy worrisome. I sometimes feel helpless, except for the spiritual advice I can give to help. There are times when my boys have had to really look inside themselves and decide if they want to progress or slip back as they call  it. It's hard to listen to them struggle, but at the same time exciting to hear the struggle, which means they are being polished. God is helping them in their schooling of being here on this earth.

We all of course are faced during trials or those hard moments when we need to look inside ourselves and decide if we will be strong and faithful in letting God mold us, to polish us into something more or if we will stubbornly sit still or slip backwards in our progression. Our main purpose of being here, to progress, to prove ourselves faithful unto the end. How can we prove ourselves if we don't have trials or hardships to prove that we will keep the faith even during these moments that make us want to cry and shake with fear, that make us stretch ourselves into something more. It's never easy, but each of us need to remember that we are not here alone. We are never alone. We can stand taller while on our knees. When we have Christ as our Savior and our focus, we can accomplish anything even hard things. We are here to be schooled, taught by the best.  If we ever want to win the prize (eternal life with Heavenly Father and Christ) we need to go through hard things. Just as I need to allow my boys to be tested and to grow, Heavenly Father watches us. Will we keep the faith? Will we endure to the end? Yes, we will!!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Summer Agenda

Well, it's here again, summertime, school's out and kids frolic and play until they can't anymore. So what's in store this summer? Good question, the kids think they want to play on their gadgets all summer, yeah right, like that's happening, not. I don't want potatoes for kids, it's okay to do that, sit around and do those types of activities that mean sitting and doing nothing like watching movies, playing anytype of game machine or kindles, etc. but, come on, let's get creative, let's get active and really play and enjoy the summertime. So, that's why children have mothers, to help them have the fun we know they can. And let's face it it's fun to have fun all the time but, we don't want them to lose what they have already learned. There needs to be balance in a day. So, here is what we or should I say I'm planning:

Sleep in a little
Family Prayer and Scripture Study
Playtime (yes with the evil gadgets and gaming type machines)
Study School Subjects (English, Math, Keyboarding, Writing and even Geography)
Summer Chores (yard work, they are all in charge of a part of the yard for the whole summer)
Playtime (more vegging around)
Dinner and Being Helpful (the kids are in charge of making their own dinner during the summer with my help)
Family Time
Family Prayer
Bedtime Reading with Kaydon and others who join us

Certain days are going to have other activities added to it:

* Mon. --Swimming at the Helgesen"s pool (we are so grateful for her service of allowing the kids in the neighborhood to come and swim for a time)

* NO TECH TUESDAYS-that's right no gadgets allowed for play, no gaming machines, etc. (last summer we did a whole month without, the kids thought they were going to die, so I thought I would lighten a little although they are still foaming at the mouth at this suggestion (thanks Ron for the suggestion)

* Day of Service - I bought those yellow Mormon Helping Hands shirts thinking that would motivate and add some fun. I'm trying to stay positive so I won't mention my true feelings of what my kids are going to say. Anyone is welcome to join us on these adventures and my kids thank you up front. I will be adding our service adventures on Facebook the day before so stay tuned. I have a few extra shirts, but, maybe everyone could buy one too. For less than $4, you can find them on the store page. 

* Vacation, Cub Day Camp, Trek, Father & Son Adventures are among some fun to add to summertime.

Just get out there and play with your friends, do something active. They want to plan their own ways to be active but I have a few up my sleeve if they forget.

This should be fun, again I'm trying to be optimistic about this whole thing. Trying to figure out my own solace moments, I've come to love my time with the scriptures uninterrupted. Here's hoping this summer can be fun for all of us including mom.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A New Kind of Party

Not long ago, anytime my husband went out of town I used to get excited and tell people yeah, I'm going to party which meant: I didn't really have to cook, kids are easy to please or do anything, I could watch movies or my TV shows all day and night if I wanted (which I didn't by the way) or read a book. Most of the time I would play catch up on all the normal stuff I did the day he was to arrive. I looked forward to it. Sometimes I didn't have a choice but to do whatever was needed, we did have 8 children and I still needed to get things done regardless. It wasn't a total party but more of a relaxed atmosphere.

Now, that has all changed. This year has been different for me all the way around. I have better goals and expectations for myself. A new pattern of living. We now have 6 of our children still at home. One is grown and the other is on a church mission. My husband has been going out of town a lot this year because of business. Today, I have mixed feelings when he goes. I still like only making one meal for dinner instead of two, but, I spend my time differently more organized than I did then. I have been writing my agenda for the day up on my white board all year since the new year began and it keeps me on track. I don't forget to add things like watch my show (The Voice or American Idol) because it's not fun to have all work and no play. I only write things up there I want to accomplish for the day. I like to think it is pretty darn balanced. I'm happy with my new way of living, I don't have any remorse for what I do during my day anymore.

An example of my To Do:  on the board my look like this:

To Do:  (Mon. - Wed.)
* family scriptures and prayer (I don't usually write this up there because we do this before I write my agenda up for the new day. This is just to verify that I start my day off with a spiritual lift.

* morning chores (which include: make breakfast, empty dishwasher, dishes, counters, floors if needed, after exercise I get ready for the day, make up my bed, straighten my room, start a load of laundry, because I gave my daughter a spiritual gift for Christmas to clean her room for a year I also include this in my morning chores)  Some days I may switch things around a bit like start a load of laundry while exercise instead of dishes. There is a lot under the title morning chores but it is better to write that up there instead of all the listed things under its title. It isn't that bad and doesn't take long to do even though it sounds like a lot.

* exercise (40 min. --first 20 minutes with music and last 20 minutes with Ensign talks being read to me. This is when I receive a lot of personal revelation while listening, I love it especially General Conference talks)

* family history- 30 min. (I write this up if only I'm feeling it that day)
* Mon.- make family home evening treat (one for kids and one for Ron to enjoy all week)
* Dinner prep ( I might have to start something early or chop and dice something ahead of time)
* Watch Show (American Idol, The Voice, Americas Got Talent)
* clean bathrooms (upstairs on Tuesdays and downstairs on Wednesdays)
* read and study scriptures (I like to read from all four standards, sometimes I can't pull away from what I'm reading to read from all four but, I spend it seems lately about 2 hours on not only reading but really pondering what is being said. I love my time with the scriptures, or I might need to study my lesson to teach in Relief Society. I can't seem to get enough, but other things need to happen)
* Volunteer (only Mon. and Thurs. when school was happening)
* I might have things like call this or go Visit teaching or create Family Home Evening lesson or create kids assignments to read for the week.
* Dinner
* Family Home Evening (only on Mon.)
* Family Time (play a game, go outside, go to a child's performance at school, do homework, etc.)
* Write in journal (I only put this up every other day or so, when I have enough to write)
* Family Prayer (I don't usually have to write this down, but, I will here)
* Bedtime Reading with Kaydon (I let him choose what we will read by choosing from one of the doors I have up on the wall, I have already put what I would like to read behind it. This has been a special time and sometimes the other kids will join in which is what I was hoping.)

To Do: (Thurs.)
* morning chores
* watch show (result show for American Idol)
* clean appliances (stove-oven, dishwasher, microwave, washer/dryer)
* clean out fridges (I have 2 fridges and I throw out stuff I don't want anymore -leftovers, etc., this also gives me a chance to see what kinds of foods I have left to use for the following week).
* create menu and grocery list (this usually takes longer than I want, kids they are so picky)
* read and study scriptures
* dinner prep
* family time
* bedtime reading

To Do: (Fri.)
* morning chores
* grocery shop/errands
* put away groceries
* watch movie (It's Friday, yeah!)
* datenight (if Ron is in town)

I don't do a To Do: list on Saturday but we do clean the house and any yard work that needs to be done along with soccer games depending on the season and fun family activities or watching a movie. I do write jobs up on the board for the kids to sign up to do or sometimes I will assign them so they don't fight or pick the easiest one to do.

To Do: (Sun.)
* dinner prep (I might need to start a roast or beef stew ahead of time)
* write a missionary
* write Cameron (my son on a mission)
* Preach my Gospel (do a section, I usually look up all the scriptures that are given to do and I thoroughly read the section and ponder. A lot of time I am inspired during this time)
* Church
* Dinner
* Goals with kids ( I usually have the kids step into my office the kitchen table and we go over what they have done and what they intend on doing for the next week. I also have Kaydon and Dallon learning their Articles of Faith by memory for only 10 minutes each.)
* Play a game
* write in journal (if I feel the need)
* Home Teachers, Firesides or Meetings with regard for church (this varies from each Sunday)

Anyway this is a good showing of what I do these days. I keep myself busy but not too busy. I don't want to overdo it, keep it balanced and simple. It's a new kind of party. I find myself keeping with my To Do: even when Ron is out of town. I feel good about the partying I'm doing lately. I'm grateful for goals and for To Do lists that keep me in line and balanced throughout the week. There are always things that need to be added to these lists like dental appointments, or maintenance guys coming out  or taking people to soccer or what have you. Not your kind of party, maybe some day it will be. I couldn't be happier and more spiritually prepared.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Advice For A Happier Life

I've been reading John Bytheway's book I Hope You Know How Much I Love You!  There is a whole load of great advice to be had and that has given me great food for thought. I wanted to share a small amount from this book:

Do your best, and learn to be content. Be good and keep the Spirit. Be nice and choose happiness when things get hard. Don't worry, God love you, and he is near. Keep your eternal perspective. Simple? Yes. But simply true.

I love the quote he shared from Elder Jeffrey Holland:

"The future of this world has long been declared; the final outcome between good and evil is already known. There is absolutely no question as to who wins because the victory has already been posted on the scoreboard. The only really strange thing in all of this is that we are still down here on the field trying to decide which team's jersey we want to wear!"

For me I know which team I'm on, when once you decide, life becomes a little clearer and happier. We need to let Christ in our lives to make room. When we put God first, everything else follows that should, everything else just falls away.

Also something I liked that was said in the book:

A Dr. Charles Beckert had written three words on the blackboard at a BYU education week class;   
Appreciate/Expect/Demand. He mentioned that when we are first married we appreciate everything that our spouses do and then somehow our attitudes turn into we expect them to do it and then turns into why haven't you done this? kind of attitude and more demanding tone. The question is, where are we in our relationship with our spouse?   We can leave a little note or even vocally mention to our significant other that we appreciate them and what they do. We can't assume they know. Everyone needs encouragement that they are doing well.

We need to ask ourselves too, What is it like to be married to me?  If I were married to me, would I be happy? Would I love being around me? Am I fun to be with?  Good question. I know I can improve here.

 I guess we could also ask the question, What is my tone to my children? Do my children still know I love them when I ask them to do something? Do I appreciate my children or do I demand them. I almost think we should have expectations for them and then be sure to let them know how we appreciate what they have done. Praise is best. People are emotional beings and if we have a good tone about us most likely they will respond positively hopefully. We can't forget to be thankful and to let them know that we are thankful for their doing what was asked.

These are great questions to think about.We can be more delightful to be around. It will  take effort. But, our spouses and our children are worth it and so are our relationships with others around us, our friends, extended family members, neighbors and yes even to those driving in other cars around us. We can choose to be courteous and kind. It's okay to let others in front of us. We can make a difference in the world around us in how we act and respond.

In the book John Bytheway mentions: Today, you can change your part of the world. You can add a little kindness, a little caring, a little note to a friend. And when things get rough again, and you're getting fatigued and overwhelmed by what you see in the world around you, remember the little things Mom taught:

Do your best, and learn to be content. Be good and keep the Spirit. Be nice an choose happiness when things get hard. Don't worry, everything will work out, God loves you, and he is near. Keep your eternal perspective. Simple? Yes. But simply true.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The ABC's + K

For a more abundant life we learned this week that we need to follow the ABC's and then when we add K it makes it more complete.  

A= positive attitude, 
B= Believe in yourself
C= Courage to face our challenges and trials
K= Knowledge of truth 

There is only one truth in this life that is Jesus Christ. He has given us what we need to make it in this life, to be happy. Witnesses (prophets) he has given teach us that he lives and loves us; creation of this beautiful earth and all that lives in it, scriptures that lead and teach us truth and He himself came to show us the way by example. It's time to believe and to climb to higher ground for the tide that will come and consume is soon at hand, all those who are not prepared for his coming may be destroyed with that tide. He will not be coming quietly in the night but in all his glory he will come for his children who will have him be their Savior. Prepare ye quickly! Jesus is mighty to save, all we must do is come unto him, be baptized, make sacred covenants and keep his commandments, endure to the end in faith. While we wait we can enjoy life more abundantly and have peace and joy that comes from doing the right thing. Come and be converted unto the Lord and teach your families that God is the only way. I know this to be truth and you can too. Challenge: get on your knees and ask with real intent and faith and you shall receive.

John 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal  and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.

1 Cor. 2:9   But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Scripture Reading Charts

Reading charts always keep me on track on where I am in the scriptures and great motivators to keep going. I have recently found some great scripture reading charts.  I have really enjoyed using them, they are simple and small enough to keep in scriptures. I have made one for each of the four gospels. Hope this helps you too. My Book of Mormon reading chart that I like the best is here.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Goals

I like to set goals twice a year, one of those being the beginning of a new year. I think making goals for yourself helps give you something to look forward to. It always gets me excited and motivated.

My New Year's Goals are:

Read the Four Gospels --I made me reading charts for each to help me stay on track if I should lose my place. In Gospel Doctrine Class we are studying the Doctrine and Covenants, I finished reading the Book of Mormon recently so it's time to start again, I like the idea of starting with the Old Testament the beginning of days and working my way to today. I am actually reading a couple of chapters from each of the four gospels every day.

Finish Preach My Gospel manual- I'm only on Chapter 2, but, I really wanted to read this awesome book that is published mostly to help missionaries but, there are lots of treasures in there for everyone.

Attend temple once a week-  I love to be in the temple, it gives me the feeling of being home. And I could use a good distraction and strengthening for the challenges that are mine. This also gives me the opportunity to do family names. I guess that means I need to do more Family History Adventures.

Create "I'm A Mormon" account- Our Bishop has asked us as individuals to do this, I think our Bishop is awesome.

Read "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Ring Series"- Now that I've seen the movies, I think this will help me know who, where and what I'm reading about. Hopefully, we shall see.

Build Family Relationships - This shall be accomplished in a number of ways.
  1. One on One interviews with the kids about goals and life. 
  2. Every two weeks invite a child to go on a date with me and Ron.
  3. Once a month, date night with sibling and their spouse.
  4. Once a month, game night with a sibling and their family.
  5. Once a month, invite a sibling and their family for Family Home Evening.
  6. Once a month, invite a sibling and spouse to attend temple with me and Ron.
I'm hoping this will bring us closer and will build lasting relationships. Their is no room for doubt, family need to know we love and care about them. This will help us keep up with them and their lives. Each family member is important.

Fortify My Home and Family- This is really important to me. I know it is my responsibility to nurture and love my children. It's also my responsibility to teach my children what's right and wrong by teaching them by example. Being more careful on the music and movies we participate in and following rules. Providing my family opportunities to serve and to love one another and their neighbors. Giving them a foundation to build their own testimonies, preparing them to live on their own when time comes. For some it's now, for a few it's this year. With two of my boys going on a church mission it's more critical to make sure they are ready. Of course they will have plenty of time of growing up and learning to do it on their own out there. Also important, creating an environment where the word of God and the Prophets are taught and practiced. This is when my extended family and ward family will be of most help, being there, being an example and a teacher will be important when children learn best from others than their parents. And lets add a lot of prayer to help me do this task. I can only hope this will be a success.

This should get me started on the new year. I'm looking forward to each one. Happy New Year!

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