Wednesday, February 6, 2019

For the Strength of My Youth

You might remember that last year we spent a number of weeks in family home evening studying the different topics addressed in For the Strength of Youth (which is a guide for standards that youth and all of us should follow to remain spiritually strong & happy!)

One of the things that came out of our discussions is the idea that my children need to let their friends know what their standards are, and that they need to start gathering friends around them NOW who want to live good standards as well, because in the coming years a lot of kids will start to decide how they want to live.  So now is a good time to start building friendships with those who want to support them in righteous living and vice versa.

We realized that as parents we need to actively help them form those friendships and practice keeping the standards in our home with their friends before they have to do it on their own out in the world. (We also need to do this because we just recently moved here and they need opportunities to keep solidifying friendships outside of school!)

To that end we started having "game nights" where they invite their friends over to socialize in our home.  As parents we give them something fun to do and something to eat and then give them space from us and the responsibility to be good hosts and hostesses and uphold our family's standards.

The first time few times we did it, the kids mostly played games.  Another game night we had was so silly and fun and ended with kids doing back flips in my living room!  I really thought, this was so delightful...and a new experience for me, as a parent of tweens.

So, last week, I wanted to have another fun evening for my kids and their friends, but wanted to do something other than a game we decided to have an art night, and it was a huge success.

My kids weren't too excited to paint on canvases because we had just recently done that, so I got the idea from my Art Camp Teacher sister to make "wearable art".  We used the art of Tiff Manuell as our inspiration to make clutches.  Using some canvas material that I already had on hand, the girls painted directly on the canvas material.  When it dried, we sewed them into little clutches or pencil cases.

It's really neat to connect with friends who are so kind and good and to see these girls (and boys) building each other up in friendship and making good choices together.  I could see that these friends had just as much by way of kindness, thoughtfulness, and tenderness to share with my children as I thought we had to share with them.  That is a blessing!

I will be looking for more fun ideas to do on "game night" in the future, so if you have any suggestions, leave me a comment, please!  Thanks!

Continue reading... »

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Remember When It Was Warm Outside

Time passes so quickly.  I have been trying to be careful not to let moments to have fun with my children pass me by.  I am also *trying* to get more physically fit so I can keep up with my two little boys who are getting more and more active and capable by the minute.

The other week, we had 65+ degree weather for a few days in January!!  I dropped everything and took the boys outside to explore the woods near our home.  Coy (age 1) looked at me like, "Mom's letting me out of the house!"  He took off walking and didn't stop.

It was really fun because this was Coy and Val's first time exploring outside together in earnest.  Previously, in the Fall, Coy wasn't yet able to walk, so they couldn't really interact.  

They sure made the most of our day together! did Honor!

And the next day we were back to regular winter temperatures!

Continue reading... »

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Seek, Feel, Act, Know

Is there a formula that leads to testimony? 

I've been thinking a lot about this as I prepared for my talk on the topic of "receiving in faith." 

I believe there is a basic pathway. 

First we seek for truth, then we feel it is right, then we must act in faith on that principle, and THEN comes the witness of that truth, the evidence or the testimony. 

Many people make the mistake of thinking that they need to know first, but in my experience knowing and understanding fully comes last. 

It comes after seeking, feeling, and acting in faith...acting being the key. Another mistake we can sometimes make when trying to build a testimony is trying to understand things only academically or logically and not giving room for our feelings or spiritual promptings to teach us.   Other ways we trip up is placing caveats or time limits on the step of "act in faith".

What do you guys think? Is my theory correct? Have you experienced this yourself? 

It's definitely been taught to us in scripture and by living prophets, but how diligently do we put this into practice? 

I'm going to try harder to actively do this in my life and to teach my children to do this for themselves! 

I hope you're having a great day! 

And no I didn't get to give my talk because we got snowed it but we talked about it on Sunday for #ComeFollowMe.
Continue reading... »

Thursday, January 31, 2019

What you do in the morning could shape your whole year.

I'm still really enjoying singing primary songs with my little ones in the morning. If you're not sure what to do with them for #ComeFollowMe, start with a song and see what doctrine is taught that can be explored together. 

(Today, we sang, "Can a little child like me, thank the Father fittingly"...and we talked about how Joseph received revelation from God on how to protect Jesus as a child and that parents still can do this today.) I also love how the songs we sing have followed us throughout the day. I'll sit down mid-day and try to play it on the piano or an older child will come home singing it as soon as they enter the house. This makes me happy.

Also, do you have a spot to keep important references such as church magazines, the manuals, etc? I was using this organizer (pictured at the top of this post) for our scripture journals before the new year but for now it's housing those little Personal Progress, Faith in God and For the Strength of Youth booklets a nursery manual, song book, True to the Faith etc, that I want to be able to pull out exactly when needed.

One last thing, I keep one dedicated journal where we write down our goals each year, personal and as a family. We chart our progress there too. 

Lately, I've been reading and reviewing our goals with the kids each day and checking in with how they/we are doing. I think it's becoming a useful practice as it lead me to print out worksheets to help Autumn meet her goal of memorizing the Articles of Faith. I keep my planner handy also, so I can quickly jot down important things to do that day to help us with our goals. In this way scripture study really truly shapes our day.

Continue reading... »

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Teach Whoever Is Around to Be Taught

So one of the first mornings of teaching #ComeFollowMe lessons did not "take root" shall we say? 

My oldest stayed up too late and despite repeated (kind of me) helps waking up, he only got out of bed five minutes before he had to leave for the bus. So all he had time for was me showing him the white board (with notes on the parable of the shower, continuing on yesterday's comparisons of seeds and faith) and urging him to prepare himself to be "good ground" by going to bed early and get up on time so he can eat and study and nourish his testimony. 

So what do you do when things don't work out with one child? You teach whoever is around and ready to learn. And today that person was my two year old, potty training son Val who has been up since 4am. I made him some oatmeal (it was 6:15 am at that point) and he asked me to light a candle, because he knows that's something I normally do. So I lit the candle and Val asked to blow out the match. So I lit five more matches and he enthusiastically blew them each out. I told Val that the little light of a match is like a little testimony. We have to feed it so it can become a strong 🔥 that can't be extinguished. Then I turned on the gas flame on my stove top and asked Val to blow it out. Of course he couldn't. I said this is how strong we want our faith to be and it gets this way by supplying our testimonies with enough fuel to burn bright each day and over a lifetime. That fuel for our faith is scripture reading, serving others, keeping commandments, and having experiences where we rely on and trust in God and in His promises, etc.

I'm pretty sure Val finally fell back asleep poor little fella...and it's time for the next round of "students" to arise...
Update: I'm adding this as it goes with my experience today. From E. Bangerter: "Every parent faces moments of frustration and varying levels of determination and strength while raising children. However, when parents exercise faith by teaching children candidly, lovingly and doing all they can to help them along the way, they receive greater hope that the seeds being sown will take root within the hearts and minds of their children."

I have to remember not to get disheartened when one child is not ready to learn.  My job is to nourish and to love.  Their job is to learn.  The Holy Ghost's job is to teach.
Continue reading... »

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Let Them Teach

One of my favorite principles that helps me teach my family is "Let them Teach".

My children get so excited when I asked them to teach a lesson.

Scarlett taught our #ComeFollowMe lesson today. She chose to use a storybook we have called "Oskar and the Eight Blessings" to help us think of ways we can make our scripture study more meaningful. The child in the book, a recent immigrant, has a goal to get to his family before the first candle is lit on Hanukkah. Along the way he experiences 8 blessings that help him meet that goal. Scarlett drew the parallel that if we have a goal to make our scripture study more meaningful, and we work diligently towards that, the Lord will bless us in unexpected ways like the boy in the story.

Scarlett had us each draw a picture of a menorah in our journals and write things we each will do to help our scripture study be more meaningful.

It was a really unique idea and opened up a discussion about Christ being Jewish, about ancient Israel, about the Law of Moses pointing people to the Messiah, about covenants and the way Christ has dealt with man through each dispensation, about how Jesus Christ is "Jehovah" of the Old Testament, and how one of the main purposes of the Book of Mormon is to convince both Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the whole world.
Autumn especially enjoyed and seemed to want to know more about this, which helped me to know that I need to give my kids a reference point and some more historical and religious background as we move forward so that the scriptures we read can be better understood and put in context for them.
But for now, we'll focus on doing the things we listed to help our study be more meaningful moving forward. And those things will take dedication and practice.
Continue reading... »