Category Archives: Parenting

Guest Post: Not “Just a Mom”

“The troubles of the world may largely be laid at the doors of those who are neither hot nor cold; who always follow the line of least resistance; whose timid hearts flutter at taking sides for truth.

As in the great Council in the heavens, so in the Church of Christ on earth, there can be no neutrality. We are, or we are not, on the side of the Lord.”

– John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1941, p. 117

This quote by Elder Widtsoe is one of my favorites. He perfectly sums up the fact that in these Last Days there can be no fence-sitters. “We are, or we are not, on the side of the Lord.” It is obvious that Satan’s influence is strikingly powerful in the world. Assuming we have the desire to take a stand, where do we even begin? It can be overwhelming. About four years ago I had an issue that I wanted to become involved in; however, I felt completely inadequate. I was just a mom with no important title and little college education. How could I possibly make a difference? A dear friend shared with me this quote from Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, He will increase our capability.” With this reassurance, I decided to dive in.

The issue bothering me was education. I saw some trends that were concerning to me and I was able to join with like-minded people to try and make a difference in our area. Talk about being thrown out of my comfort zone! It was a whirlwind of new experiences, from community presentations to media interviews to legislative efforts. It was the first time in my life I had really taken a public stand on anything, and it turned out to be an incredible growing experience. I did things I never thought I could do, and I felt the direct influence of the Holy Ghost as I was able to write and say what was needed at times when my shy, introverted self would normally come up empty. Continue reading

Guest Post: Standing for Righteousness in a Movie Theater

Free stock photo of person, lights, architecture, roomLast spring break my children and I were going to a movie at our local theater.  I bought the tickets while they were watching an animated movie preview on a screen nearby.  When I headed over to get them, the screen switched to a different preview, one with very inappropriate images and themes. My kids stopped watching and I was grateful that we had taught them to look away or shut down anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or was inappropriate.  However, I started thinking about other kids and people who would be subjected to that preview and how I felt that this was not right.  It bothered me throughout the whole movie and I felt angry by the end. We try hard to filter what comes into our home and keep out anything destructive or damaging to our kids’ minds and hearts. Yet, here was this preview, available to anyone early in the morning, when mostly children were in the theatre.

When we got home, I emailed the theatre about the problem and explained that I thought it was inappropriate. They claimed to be a family friendly theatre but this preview proved otherwise. I told them we wouldn’t be attending their theatre anymore unless they could change the previews.  This was hard to do because we live in a pretty small town with little theatre options but I was determined to stick with what I had said.  A few days later, I heard back from the theatre. They apologized for the preview and that it was so readily available for anyone to see it, whether they wanted to or not. They said that they wouldn’t play those types of previews until after 9:00 PM, when there were likely to be less children.  Though I don’t think anyone should be watching these types of previews, I did appreciate that they took me seriously. Further, that they cared enough about other children seeing something damaging. I’m not saying I am a movie preview hero, but it only took a simple email to make a change. I don’t know if anybody else had been bothered by that preview but I hope I could take away the awkwardness for other people. Continue reading

Teach the Children About the Christ in Christmas

baby-jesusGrowing up, one of my favorite Christmas stories was commonly titled, “Teach the Children.”  * In the story, the narrator comes across Santa Claus in their house. Santa requests that the narrator teaches their children the true meaning of Christmas. In this story Santa teaches that the popular symbols of Christmas like candy canes, Christmas trees, and stars all center around Jesus Christ, his love, and his sacrifice. I believe that these spiritual meanings for our Christmas symbols are vital for our children to know and pass along. We must teach our children about Jesus Christ and how he is not only the center of Christmas, but the center of our lives.

The Star – Stars are commonly placed on top of Christmas trees. Heavenly Father placed a bright star in the sky when Jesus was born. It was so bright that when the sun set, there was no darkness. In the New Testament (Matthew 2), the star led the wise men to Jesus; and in the Book of Mormon it was a sign to the world that Jesus Christ, our Savior, had been born (Helaman 14:1-2,5 and 3 Nephi 1:21). In the story, the star represents God’s promise being fulfilled that he would send us a Savior. We can also teach our children that because the star was recorded in both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, we know that Jesus Christ truly was born. Continue reading

What does it mean to be an “intentional parent”?

Woman in White Shirt Kissing Baby With Black and White Stripe Knit CapMany years ago, I heard Sister Marilyn S. Bateman share her testimony of parenthood.  I was holding my fourth child in my arms as I watched the BYU devotional broadcast from the comfort of my small home with three children playing nearby.   Her words pierced my soul as I realized that my work as a mother is actually Heavenly Father’s work and glory!   Sister Bateman shared the following:

For the last 42 years my major interest and focus have been the creation of an eternal family. I believe it is the most important mission a man or woman can pursue. When one realizes that Heavenly Fathers work and glory is to raise and educate children, one can understand why I believe that my work has been in partnership with Him and why it is the most exciting work on earth. If earthly parents are wise and desire a fullness of joy, they will strive to emulate our heavenly parents. Many of the lessons needed in this life and in the next are learned in the family setting.[1]

I don’t know why this idea came as such a shock to me. I have always known that my role as mother was a partnership with the Lord, but it wasn’t until this day that the Spirit witnessed to me just how important my work truly was and how much Heavenly Father cares about my role as a nurturer.  Over the past 14 years, I have managed to forget this great insight from time to time.  It’s easy to do, especially when life gets busy.  I tend to assume that going through the motions of parenting is enough, but in the process I miss out on the intentional parenting that will help me “strive to emulate our heavenly parents.”  Sometimes I have to stop what I am doing and ask myself, “Is this the best thing I can do to raise and educate my children to the Lord?”  Unfortunately, most of the time, my answer is no. Continue reading

Ten Things I Said to My College Freshman

college 1Tis the season.  Not for decking the halls and trimming the tree (though that is right around the corner) but for our daughters and sons. They’re leaving the structure and security of our homes and venturing off to the halls of ivy covered buildings to begin not only their college career, but also their lives as autonomous adults.

We raised six children: three girls and three boys.  We have pushed six baby birdies out of the nest. It got easier and we got better at it with each one spreading their wings. Below is a list of ten things we talked with our daughters about before they left our home. Continue reading

Pornography: Fortify Our Line of Defense

mormonad-just-looking-1118418-galleryThis past week, I attended a meeting on how to protect our families from pornography, hosted by LDS Social Services. It was a great meeting that gave valuable information without dwelling on the overwhelming weight of this depravity.


I went home encouraged that we can all overcome this. We may become as the stripling warriors, who came back wounded, but not one was lost (Alma 56: 55-56). I particularly appreciated the vision of fortifying my home as Moroni did all of the Nephite cities.


As a child, I remember hearing people complain how long and boring the book of Alma was. The war chapters were often skipped, or casually glanced over. Today, I have discovered that there is much to learn in these chapters. We are in a war and Moroni shows us in great detail how to fight, how to protect, and how to win. Captain Moroni was fearless when it came to defending his liberty, his wife, and his children.

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12 Family Home Evening Ideas to Review General Conference

The October 2015 General Conference was one week ago. How well did you and your family pay attention? Can you remember what was taught, what stories were told, and who spoke on certain subjects?

In his Sunday morning talk Pres. Russell M. Nelson spoke to the women of the church and said in part, “Attacks against the Church, its doctrine, and our way of life are going to increase. Because of this, we need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation.”

What better time to review the teachings and counsel of church leaders with our family than in family home evening? It can be a powerful way to reinforce doctrine and our families’ understanding of it. We can use this special time to help our children become sin-resistant.

Here are 12 ways to review the October 2015 General Conference in family home evening.

Family home evening ideas to review General Conference with your family. Start planning your next lesson now!

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Living in the World Without Becoming Worldly

As disciples of the Savior, we are expected to plan and prepare. In the plan of happiness, moral agency is a central organizing principle and our choices matter.

“As disciples of the Savior, we are expected to plan and prepare. In the plan of happiness, moral agency is a central organizing principle and our choices matter.”

General Conference seemed to be full of urgings to look hard at our lives and evaluate where we stand. As a member of the Church, I have to admit I struggle living in this world without becoming worldly. There are all kinds of things that get me off track. Though they aren’t all bad, they are definitely distracting.

Every six months we get a reminder to check our footings, to see where we are and where we need to be. Sometimes we simply need a wake-up call. Elder Quentin L. Cook compared it to getting “shipshape and Bristol fashion”, which means we need to have our testimonies in place so that we are prepared and strong enough to get through it without having lost any precious cargo. He gave us three ideas to consider that will keep our minds and our hearts temple worthy and safe every time:

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7 Ways to Have a Gospel Centered Home

Familyproc2Teaching our children truth is one of the most important edicts given to Latter-day Saint parents. As we teach our children gospel principles, we give then the armor and tools they need to fight off the temptations and false philosophies of our time. The Family Proclamation declares:

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations. (The Family: A Proclamation to the world)

President Boyd K. Packer further taught that:

True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior…The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. … That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel. (Boyd K. Packer, Little Children, Oct 1986)

Some parents find it challenging to get their children to listen and learn the gospel. Yet it can be done. These are some ideas to get you started on making your home a gospel centered home: Continue reading

What is a Mormon Parent Expected to Do?

Utah Stand for Marriage Rally My husband and I attended our first rally last night. Really, it was our first rally—ever. We had no idea what we were doing there, or what we would see, but as Mormon parents we chose to make a stand. It was exciting to be on the front lines.

As we took our seats, we were handed signs to hold up. There were a few empty seats around us, and the balconies were clear, but overall, the rotunda at the Salt Lake City Capitol Building was pretty full. As the meeting began, we opened with prayer from a local minister, we said the Pledge of Allegiance (which I haven’t had the privilege to say in a long time), and our National Anthem was sung. On our feet, with hands over our hearts, we all felt like patriots and fighters.

This rally was in support of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. As each speaker voiced their strong opinions, they declared that religion should not be political. Commandments are based on God’s will, not the will of the people. For that matter, why is the minority voice so intolerant of the majority voice? We were reminded of the importance to stand up for our rights as citizens, and as a Godly people. We were encouraged to teach our children so the next generation, who would surely be fighting this same fight, would know and understand the difference between right and wrong, truth and error, freedom of religion and uncensored choice. Continue reading