Tag Archives: Family

The Glorious Little Stream that GIVES!

When my girls were young, we would hike around a beautiful reservoir, surrounded by tall grass and towering pine trees. As we made our way around this man-made lake, we took notice of the many streams that fed into it. We walked among the wildflowers in the path of the stream and we spotted all of the deer and moose who grazed on the grassy marsh. It was glorious and inspiring, even to my youngest child.

Our hike always ended on the dam that contained the reservoir. On one side was the beautiful lake with the wildflowers, green grass, and animals surrounding it. On the other side, there was a small, trickle of water that escaped the man-made dam. The trickle wandered it’s way through a dry landscape of sage and yellow grass. It was at this viewpoint that my children and I would discuss the cause and effect of having our progression stopped…. or dammed. We pondered on what we do in our lives that would cause our progression to stop. The girls would then imagine the power that comes when our personal progression joins the personal progression of others…. in the same pattern of  the many streams join forces to create this small lake.

As Children of God, we have endless abilities and potential. We become even more powerful when we join with others.

The Lord knew that His children would be at their greatest when they become of “one heart, and one mind”. But how does He teach us this pattern? In God’s infinite wisdom, He sent His children to this earth by way of the most fundamental unit… The Family!

A family grows much the same way that a large body of water is formed. It just takes one drop of rain to join with other drops to form streams, then multiple streams form rivers, rivers combine to create lakes, seas and oceans…. This pattern of combining forces will continue in this same manner throughout the eternities before us, just as they have in the eternities that preceded us.

Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t that glorious? Continue reading

Fun Family Road Trip or Self-Induced Torture?

“Stop talking! Just be quiet for a minute!” I yelled from the front seat of the car. “The next one to talk gets to walk the rest of the way.” This empty threat came from pure desperation. I just couldn’t handle another moment of bickering, whining and fault-finding from my children. Our family trip was suppose to bring us together, not tear us apart. Yet there we were, living in our own version of self-induced torture because my children couldn’t stop arguing!

Weeks before, as our family prepared for our trip, my husband and I painted our children a picture of all the wonderful things they would see, learn and experience. We took special care to pack treats, games, books and movies to keep them entertained and peaceful while traveling. We wanted them to have a unique experience that bonded our family and created treasured memories for the years ahead. But in spite of the many plans and preparations, we found ourselves battling over issues such as… “Her knees keep touching mine!” “She won’t stop humming.” And… my favorite… “I can’t stand listening to her breathe.” They had obviously forgotten the bigger picture.

Why do my kids do this? Why are they so quick to find fault with each other at one moment and then be best friends at another? Why can’t they perceive the bigger picture that I can see? Why is it so hard to use their family journey to strengthen and serve each other?

Will they ever grow out of it?

The answer is, yes! They will grow out of it as they mature enough to put those little things like knees touching, humming and breathing in perspective.

Perspective. Isn’t that what love and understanding are all about? When we see our world as our Savior sees it, we can take hold of a deeper truth that allows us to better assess, or judge what we are experiencing in ourselves and others. The old idiom, “the devil is in the details” is quite true. When we focus on the small details instead of perceiving the big picture, we become like siblings on a road trip… finding faults and taking offense… just for the fun of it.

How do we learn to perceive the Savior’s perspective in order to judge ourselves and others in a righteous manner? Elder Ronald A. Rasband taught:

Remember the Lord’s promise: “I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy.” I love that assurance. Joy that fills our souls brings with it an eternal perspective in contrast to day-to-day living. That joy comes as peace amidst hardship or heartache. It provides comfort and courage, unfolds the truths of the gospel, and expands our love for the Lord and all God’s children. Although the need for such blessings is so great, in many ways the world has forgotten and forsaken them.

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Stop Running and Hold On!

Before the birth of Christ, the Greek influence of Alexander the Great’s Empire permeated every part of the Hebrew society. Increasingly, there was a struggle between those who wanted to live by the word of God and those who wanted to incorporate the Greek philosophies into their lives. Even some of the priesthood leaders of Israel were swayed into mixing the philosophies of the Hellenistic (Greek) influence with the law and priesthood of God. Not all Israelites were so eager to adopt this new blend of philosophy. Among these faithful were various groups of Hebrews who wanted to be found living God’s law when the Messiah came. These faithful groups fled to the wilderness, just as the ancient Israelites fled Egypt, in search of their own promised land.

In more recent history, we see this same pattern repeated by many of the reformers and separatists who left the religion of their country to seek after a more perfect way. America was founded by the families who wanted to have the religious freedom needed to live a more perfect way and our Mormon pioneers left their various homelands to build Zion in the desert.

If you haven’t noticed, the philosophies of men have not ceased to infiltrate every aspect of our modern lives. So, how do we keep our families from falling victim to these lies? Elder Jeffery R. Holland has the answer, “In these last days, in this our dispensation, we would become mature enough to stop running. We would become mature enough to plant our feet and our families and our foundations in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people permanently. Zion would be everywhere—wherever the Church is. And with that change—one of the mighty changes of the last days—we no longer think of Zion as where we are going to live; we think of it as how we are going to live.”  Continue reading

Guest Post: Standing to Positively Influence the Rising Generation

I wish I could say I have some powerful, testimony-building experience of “standing,” but I don’t. I’m not an incredible wordsmith or talented debater like so many I know on social media who are able to eloquently and gracefully state facts and defend beliefs, but as I stopped to ask myself if and how I “stand,” I read something that President Russell M. Nelson stated in his 2015 General Conference address:

“Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly.”

I stand when I defend my home against the adversary with regular Family Home Evening, regular temple attendance, dedicated Sabbath worship, daily prayer and scripture study, both personal and family. It is in these small and simple daily moments that I am trying to make important things happen, courageously defending morality and family, shepherding my little ones along the covenant path, striving to receive personal revelation, seeking to call down the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen my family, and trying to teach fearlessly. This is how I stand. Continue reading

Let’s Hear it for the Giants!

Mormon Women Stand is celebrating three years of standing strong for marriage, faith and family.  Today, I would like to take a little detour and give a shout out to all of the amazing men in our lives who do plenty of “standing” of their own.

President Nelson explained, “In the work of the Lord, we all learn one great lesson: Each of us stands tall on the shoulders of giants who preceded us.”  When good men work hard to become the giants on which the next generation will stand, they help support strong generations that can stand tall against the rising evil in this world.  It is usually by small as simple means that these giants and their powerful shoulders do this important work.

Over the years, I have seen my husband’s shoulders look gigantic when gently holding our tiny newborns, but they seemed to grow even stronger when holding his father as he took his last breath.  These same shoulders held his daughter tight as he whispered, “I love you, be good!” before she bravely left for a long 18 months.   And they were coated with mud when he worked long into the night rescuing everything from furniture to treasured family photos from neighborhood homes during the flood.  Year after year, my darling husband has kept his “shoulder to the wheel” as he meets his many, daily expectations.  He gladly takes upon himself the command to provide, preside and protect his family.  His family is blessed by his humble service. Continue reading

Answer the Call to Defend the Family!

family with many childrenThere is no question there is an attack on the family. Just scan the headlines of any news outlet and you’ll find startling evidence of the strategic ways the adversary is trying to destroy this most beautiful and basic of human relationships.

How do we counteract all of these attempts to redefine the traditional family out of existence? The Family: A Proclamation to the World tells us: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

We start right where we are: in our own homes, in our schools, in our communities. We teach the truths, live the truths, taught in the Proclamation.  Our examples will speak louder than any words we might say but at times words are necessary to defend truth. If we have our examples to back up our words others are more likely to listen. Continue reading

Guest Post: Loving the Choice of Motherhood

I was a young girl in the 70s, a teenager in the 80s, and a young mother in the 90s.  I have seen a lot of changes when it comes to how women view motherhood and are viewed in the world.  I started taking a stand early on.  As we were asked what kind of career we wanted in Junior High and High School my reply was always the same.  I wanted to be a wife and mother.  The reply was, no really what do you want to have as a career?  Even then my choice was not a popular one.  I have raised a son and two daughters to adulthood and I currently have a 6-year-old girl at home.

“ The Family A Proclamation to the World”  made the Church’s position on motherhood quite clear and that council has not changed.  President Hinckley stated that he hoped mothers who were working were working for financial necessities like food and clothing and not luxuries like nice cars and such. This position is not a popular one in the world or in many instances for members of the Church.  As a mother and as a member of the young women’s presidency I have emphasized this teaching.  Yes, it is good for young women to get an education, but do not go deeply into debt doing it.  If you are heavily in debt and your husband is heavily in debt once your education is completed then you will have no choice but to work to repay the debt instead of focusing on being a wife and mother. Continue reading

Guest Post: Three Ways You’re Already Standing Strong

I used to think that I had to do something amazing to help our loving Father in Heaven. It didn’t matter if this “amazing act” was done in the church or in the world. But it had to be done. I just didn’t know what.

Sisters and friends, let me save you your sanity and tell you a secret: this isn’t true. Important things are good and need to be done. But, those who have a lasting and eternal impact on standing for our Father in Heaven and His plans do so quietly and within their sphere of influence. They are the unsung heroes that the angels watch over.

You don’t have to change the world to change someone’s life. No organization you lead or leadership role you hold will have a greater impact on the world than that of the roles you hold dear in your heart.

Mother. Sister. Daughter. Friend. A daughter of God.

These roles are eternal where others will have an end. These are the roles that truly matter where all others will fail.

Let me share with you three ways how you are already standing strong in your life. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that they aren’t as difficult as you might think. Continue reading

I Marched Last Weekend, Too.

 

I did a lot of marching this past weekend, and I’ve heard many other women did, too.

 

 

It all began Saturday morning and my MARCH went like this:

  •  I MARCHED downstairs early that morning and went straight over to my husband bent down and interrupted his DIY Network viewing with a great big toe-curling kiss.  I rubbed my hands on his head as we smiled at each other.  I’m thankful that our love is still growing and that he wants to hurry home each night after work to be with me.
  • I MARCHED out the front door, with my husband beside me, for a lovely fast-paced three-mile walk. We talked about all sorts of things and enjoyed some good exercise.  I’m thankful for my body and try to do what I can to keep it healthy and strong.
  • Next, I MARCHED outside to do some yard work.  The rain we had during the week had stopped and the wind had dried things pretty well.  We trimmed our roses together and talked some more.  I love making our home a beautiful place inside and out.  I think it shows the Lord, and my husband, that I’m grateful for the things they have both provided for me.
  • After that, I MARCHED into the kitchen to make us a delicious fajita lunch.  I love cooking.  I especially love cooking for my husband and family.  I find joy by serving them that way.  I’m lucky he’s not a fussy eater
  • I cleaned up and  I MARCHED off to the movies with my boyfriend – who also happens to be my husband – where we sat hand in hand watching the show. We are very protective of our relationship. Date nights, or afternoons, have been a must for us.
  • Home again I MARCHED into the game room where we played several rounds of our family’s favorite card game Nertz with our youngest daughter. Her beautiful family of five are temporarily living with us before they move.  They’ve been with us for a couple of months now.  It’s wild, and crazy, and loud, but I’m happy we have the extra time with them and the ability to help. I’m even more glad they felt comfortable enough to ask us.

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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