If I could have made a video representing the most important message of my blog, this would be it! Thanks to lds.org for creating and sharing this video! To go to the blog post from which this video originated on the click here.
Sarah texted me from Greece asking for Grandma’s syrup recipe. Everyone LOVES Grandma’s syrup, but it’s not exactly healthy. (It’s kind of like having caramel syrup on your pancakes.) But we usually have some in our fridge that Lane has made. After all, it is his mom’s recipe, and it is well-loved! I’m sure this is one recipe that will continue to be passed down through the generations…😋
I purchased this new book that Phonetic Planet recommended on Instagram recently, and I love it! I look forward to sharing it with lots of children, including my own. (Phonetic Planet is a group whose goal is to nurture literacy in children through experiences in nature.)
In this story, a young girl’s grandfather invites her to make the world more beautiful before she dies. She helps people as a librarian, travels the world, and lives by the sea, but she still is searching how to make the world more beautiful. Then she discovers one way that she can.
A lovely tale with a lovely purpose! And not just because I happen to love lupines…😉
I woke up not feeling very well and wasn’t sure what the day would bring. I climbed out of bed into a chair and my husband brought me socks and my computer, Anna brought me a piece of toast, Rebecca said she would drive Anna somewhere for me, and Eliza brought me some cereal. I feel very loved!
It is surely the little acts of kindness in life that are so sweet and make home life so much happier. I am so grateful for a husband who models Christlike kindness every day. He inspires me to try to be better, and he doesn’t even say anything. He just is kind and serves sincerely, and that kindness and service make me want to be better.
“Love one another:” 3 of the most powerful words on earth!
(P.S. I saw this video on the Mormon Channel blog. Click here to go to the article!)
I have had some ideas floating around my brain for our family summer, but as today is the last day of school, today is when the rubber meets the road. I have got to at least begin to wrap up my thoughts and prepare my plan for next family night. Since I have a date with Lane tonight, we can go over my ideas and see what we think needs changing so that we can be united in our plan. Sunday after family council, I can cement it all together before Monday’s FHE.
How do I begin planning?
I begin with prayer, with pondering, with scripture study, with discussions with our family and my husband. Here is a page I created to facilitate this process:
I ask myself what areas of focus I see that we need to work on. Summer can be a great time for learning new skills, earning money, gardening, improving the yard or home, adventuring, subject area learning, and of course, relaxing and making wonderful, fun memories.
As I begin
Here is some of the thoughts I’ve had as I begin.
Because we don’t have an endless budget for vacationing, we spend nearly all our summer at home. This means the children have a lot of time on their hands. So choosing some areas of focus and a way to activate the goals they have really impacts how they spend their time.
We had a family council last Sundays in which I asked the family WHAT is it that really matters to us right now? Time is short, and there are people to love and help, skills to learn, talents to improve. We only have 1 more year with Rebecca at home, and this is most likely our last summer all together as a family. How do we want to spend our time and other resources to make wonderful memories and do things that will really matter to us in a hundred years?
We didn’t come to any distinct conclusion right then, but rather brainstormed ideas. We are going to revisit that question on Sunday so that I can be sure our summer plan will allow for us to accomplish our dreams.
There are “nuts and bolts” of everyday living that need to be divided up. So I’m thinking about how I’m incorporating the college students into our family jobs rotation for the next 2.5 months, including laundry days, housecleaning, and yard work jobs. I’m also thinking about how I want to coordinate meal prep and clean up. We are trying to reintegrate the college students, with their employment and social lives and later nights into our family scripture study and family home evenings and councils.
We’ve got a wedding coming: we have a yard and home we’d like to clean up a little before that. We also have a family reunion coming up at the end of the summer, and the children are on committees to help with that. Sarah will be heading off to graduate school right after that, so we have to plan for the end of summer transitions. We will also be having family come to town, as Utah and Grandma’s house is a destination place for our family. So we need to consider accommodating our out-of-town company.
We also have summer learning that needs to continue: reading, writing, math, or maybe an online class or camp. We need to learn how to prepare foods that are better for our digestive systems and to help us sleep at night, so we are working on some food planning and prep goals. What do we really want to accomplish?
We want to grow spiritually this summer: we’ve got a child who is preparing to make temple covenants, since when we get married in the temple, we get married for eternity. It is a serious commitment. We want to keep all of that in mind. We also have older children who are preparing to go to the temple for the first time and our family goal to go to the temple each week. We have children preparing to serve missions, so that’s an ongoing goal as well.
We have personal needs as well: I need time to think and write
We also have a pioneer handcart trek reenactment that our teens are going on. And student council retreat, EFY, Hope Squad training…I know! This is summer, folks!
More than anything, I want to help our family just have the Spirit in our home and in our relationships. I want to slow down and breathe and do what makes for peace. So I’m seeking inspiration from heaven as I pray and council with my family to create a plan to do that.
I have more prayer, study, thought, and discussions to have.
I’ll share what evolves from this…next week!
For more ideas about summer planning and themes, look under my “Organize ‘Em” tab and select the “Summer” link.
Well, actually, we didn’t see the Queen. We didn’t even see the crossing of the guard or anything like that. We DID have an amazing time in London, Manchester, Chorley, Lake Windermere, and then Paris, Brittany, Normandy, and Giverny. Those 2 weeks in England and France–just me, my husband, and our oldest daughter–were a dream come true.
People have been asking me what my favorite part was. My answer? Being with Sarah and Lane for two whole weeks, away from the normal distractions of home and work. Just one-on-one time with our daughter, talking, laughing, eating, trying new things, seeing new places, sharing stories. After 5 years of college packed with work and school, we had some catching up to do!
I hope we have the opportunity to do something with each child when they graduate from college, even if it’s not traveling the world!
I have some fun details to share–later, in another post, when school isn’t ending and I don’t feel so tired! 😂 (You can see lots of photos already on my Instagram account: find me @raisingamazingchildren)
P.S. I was just in heaven getting to speak French for a week. I returned totally motivated to improve my vocabulary and brush up on grammar. Here is a French learning resource page I have started to share with you some of the resources I have used in the past and some of the new ones I’m hoping to use now.
My life is blessed everyday when I study the scriptures. I particularly feel the power that comes from reading, pondering and trying to apply the verses in the Book of Mormon. I keep a scripture study journal when I study, and I’ve decided that I’d like to share a little bit of my studies on my blog.
This study notebook is my life workbook, because it’s how I discover answers to my self-care, marriage, and parenting questions and problems.
I study the scriptures whenever I can, but I try to study them first thing every day. This year I am reading the Book of Mormon in French, in preparation for traveling to Paris to attend the Paris temple open house. Having discovered more French roots this year makes my heart rejoice and adds to my love of the French language. Reading the Book of Mormon in French really gave me a feeling of connecting with my ancestors who came centuries ago to fulfill their missions on earth. I wonder how they are celebrating on the other side of the veil with the preparation fo the temple in their earthly homeland.
A quiet block of time
I haven’t been able to read the Book of Mormon in French, because it requires a block of quiet time to do it, and finding a quiet block of time isn’t as easy as I had thought, when other daily needs take priority. So I’m reading smaller snippets of longer chapters, when that is what I have time for. I’d like to share, when I can, some of my study thoughts.
Today’s verse is 2 Nephi 9:3:
Behold, my beloved brethren, I speak unto you these things that ye may rejoice, and lift up your heads forever, because of the blessings which the Lord God shall bestow upon your children.
This is a huge promise, right? I mean, if I wake up in the morning and feel heavy and tired and like all I want to do is roll over in bed and go back to sleep, rejoicing and lifting up my head forever isn’t exactly on my mind. So I had to ask: does this prophet (Nephi) really mean what he is saying here? Is there a key to joy that has power to move us from a place of heaviness to a place of optimism, hope, ane even rejoicing in the future?
I know the answer is yes, even though I haven’t gotten there yet. I have had enough experience with faith to know that the scriptures are true, that God doesn’t lie, and that we can take him at his word.
Tapping into power
But I haven’t tapped into that power that he is describing yet very much. I have had tastes of this power to move me from a place of unhappiness, fear, or stress, to a place (mentally, emotionally, spiritually and sometimes even physically) of peace, happiness, good cheer and joy. So I believe there is more that I can tap into.
I think the key might be hinted at in the part where it refers to the future, and God’s promises. If we know God and his character, then we know that He keeps his promises, right? He does! He has kept all of his promises to me, and the ones that are in the future I truly believe he will keep. Someday I should go through my journals and make a list of promises He has made me in priesthood blessings and how they came to pass.
Sarah’s college graduation
Yesterday was one of them. A long time ago, Lane gave me a blessing that told me I would have joy in my children’s successes and see them succeeding, but that I would be feel the greatest joy when those successes were in spiritual things, such as remaining faithful. Yesterday when we sat in the Marriott Center and saw Sarah’s name on the commencement program, receiving her bachelor of science degree in physiology and developmental biology, my heart swelled. She had done it! With God’s help and our help and lots of professors’ help and other students’ help with whom she worked and studied and with the faith and prayers of her siblings and grandparents and extended family, she did it. She worked very hard for five years, studying, working, sometimes failing, picking herself up after challenges and pressing forward. She put in thousands of hours of service as a volunteer EMT. Imagine going to work day after day and never getting paid a cent! That’s what she did for 3.5 years. Because she had faith in the Lord that this opportunity would help her help others and help her prepare for her future education and service.
As I sat there in the audience, thinking of Sarah in the EMS office and having just heard that she was officially graduated, and I thought back to my graduation, and how Sarah was born before I finished my schooling, and I was pregnant with Nathan as I walked through my convocation ceremony, I sat in wonder of how God brings about gifts and blessings in our lives. I couldn’t foresee what would come, and how wonderful and hard and stretching motherhood would be, nor could I taste how sweet moments like yesterday would be back then. I just had to trust. And work. And wait.
And then to see her ministering (as an EMT) to someone who fell and got hurt at the very end of the commencement service, that was really the icing on the cake for me and Lane. She got to help someone in the last minutes of her last shift on campus. It was so appropriate! And that promise that God made me was fulfilled, again.
Boy, I’m just scratching the surface on promises that God has made to me personally and to us in general as mothers. Those promises are found in the scriptures. So when I search the scriptures daily, it helps me to review the ways God has kept his promises to generations past. And the Holy Ghost brings to my remembrance ways that God has kept and is keeping his promises to me now, which strengthens my faith that He will keep his promises to me in the future. That really does have power to encourage and lift my heart. I can figuratively lift up my head and go forward in faith. He’s got my back!
Seriously. God is so good. He helps our dreams come true. He promises that if we put our trust in him and work our best, he will make up the difference that we need and help the things that matter most eternally come to pass in our lives. It’s not a dangling carrot; it’s a reality. It’s not a charade.
“Diligent, focused work”
I’m recalling right now that the work he invites us to do is our most dedicated, sincere, stretching work. President Russell M. Nelson just taught us last month that “there is nothing easy or automatic about becoming such powerful disciples. Our focus must be riveted on the Savior and His gospel. It is mentally rigorous to strive to look unto Him in every thought. But when we do, our doubts and fears flee….
Faith in Jesus Christ propels us to do things we otherwise would not do. Faith that motivates us to action gives us more access to His power….Drawing the Savior’s power into our lives is to reach up to Him in faith. Such reaching requires diligent, focused effort….When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do” Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into our Lives(“,” April 2017 general conference).
Just to wrap this up, I recognize that one of my challenges, on those mornings when I have moments of fatigue or frustration or hormonal roller-coaster days or whatever it is that makes me want to stay in bed in the morning, turning to the scriptures is a great way for me to climb out of that heavy place and lift my thoughts towards God who never breaks his promises and renews my faith in the future. I’m reminded of another verse I love:
For he will fulfil all his promises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promises which he has made unto our fathers. (Alma 37:17)
I have spent an hour on this post! Time for me to get back to my day. I certainly can’t post every day about my scripture study; I like to use the time to study more than write! But I’ll look forward to sharing a few of my thoughts with you again in the days to come.
I was looking for a photo this morning while preparing something for my myself and daughter. I loved the radiant smile on this woman’s face, and I wanted to find out why she was smiling. The article I read surprised me!
This elderly woman from Latvia had a tragic childhood:
“My mother was divorced,” Skaidrīte says. “She became an alcoholic. I had a father, but he was sent to Siberia. We had lived in a village but the government sent us to live in an apartment. We were often without food. I was holding my younger sister’s hand when she died of starvation. We were in such a poor situation that my mother sent me to the countryside to become a shepherd.”
She was 8 years old and started to work full-time. Working at the farm was akin to slavery and included beatings. She started to wonder if suicide wouldn’t be better than living out her life.
Other events in her life continued to test her determination to live. Finally, at about 54 years old, she was looking for a church, searching for God. She saw a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and met a sister missionary who smiled at her. She began learning about the church. People warned her not to go. She said, “But there was nothing good to find.” She kept going and learning. That was 17 years ago. She says, “When I first saw that sister missionary, when I found the Church for the first time, since that day all the thoughts of suicide were gone. There were no thoughts of life being dark. In spite of everything, I am positive. Life is beautiful to me.”
Going to my church and learning more about the gospel also makes me smile! I am so happy Skaidrīte found the missionaries and the gospel and joy in her life!
To read the article, go here.
To help prevent suicide, go here.
To read more “Info Bites,” click here.
I’m excited about a new page I created on my blog for “info bites” from newspaper and magazine articles I have read that relate to nurturing children, women, marriage, and families. I decided that this is one of the ways I can reduce clutter in my home while maybe helping others: I can choose one article that inspired me and share it before passing the magazine along to someone else or tossing the newspaper into the recycling bin. (I still like getting hard copies of most newspapers and magazines. It is also a memory tool for myself, so that when I want to refer back to what I have read, I can find it digitally instead of hanging on to the hard copy. I hope to also starting doing this with books!)
This week I read “A Bridge to Hope and Healing” from the April 2017 Ensign magazine. Here is my quick summary:
Sexual abuse is terribly wrong, serious and painful:
“ ‘There is the terrible, vicious practice of sexual abuse. It is beyond understanding. It is an affront to the decency that ought to exist in every man and woman. It is a violation of that which is sacred and divine. It is destructive in the lives of children. It is reprehensible and worthy of the most severe condemnation…. Shame on any man or woman who would sexually abuse a child. In doing so, the abuser not only does the most serious kind of injury. He or she also stands condemned before the Lord.’ ”1
We can help free others from heavy burdens by–
- listening without judgment,
- understanding the hurt caused by abuse, and
- helping them find the resources that will help them replace pain with peace.
Forgiveness is critical for victims to be able to heal,
- but friends and family members of victims need first to listen and express empathy and support for the victim.
There are links in the article to other resources for help as well.
I had never considered Doctrine and Covenants 123 in the context of helping victims of abuse!
I also appreciated knowing more about behaviors that commonly can result from those who have suffered abuse.
I believe that all of us have people in our circles who have suffered from abuse of one kind or another, and the chance of someone we know having been sexually abused at some point in their lifetime is high. I have prayed before and will continue to pray to know how to help those around me to access healing. Life can be very complicated, so I’m grateful for the information in this article in learning to nurture those with wounded hearts around me.
To read more “Info Bites,” click here.
A mathematician from India comes to Cambridge University and claims that the equations he has created come from God: will anyone believe him?
Our family (ages 11 + up) watched this compelling biopic during spring break, and Lane and I really loved it. Some of our children loved it, while others just liked it. I was inspired by yet another pioneer that I have never heard of who sacrificed much and dedicated their life to doing what they felt inspired to do. There are so many untold stories of people who have contributed to our global knowledge base and quality of life! Srinivasa Ramanujan became a fellow at Cambridge and made lasting contributions to mathematics, after all the ridicule and persecution he received for his race, his ideas, and his culture.
I would not recommend this movie for families with young children. There is some persecution violence, a little swearing, and it would most likely not keep their attention.
If you want to show your family a movie, but would like to get some background on the film content before viewing it, I recommend these two resources: Common Sense Media and Kids-in-Mind. Here is the review of this movie on commonsensemedia.org.
And here is more good news: Common Sense Media also reviews children’s books! So you can get a sneak peak into appropriate content before checking out or purchasing a title for your child! 🎉🎉🎉