Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reaching Our Family Potential by CaMarie Hoffman (Blog Hop)

As a very young girl, I learned how powerful a clear picture can be in helping us achieve our dreams. For Family Home Evening one night my parents ignited our imaginations by asking each of us to share the hopes our hearts harbored. In fact they asked us to find or create a clear picture of that desire and post it.

My parents taught us that the word desire meant 'God given', meaning our Heavenly Father gives us righteous desires and wants to bless us according to those desires. We spent the evening perusing magazines and books to catch a clear picture of what we hoped for in the future. In the end we had a poster picture of our family goals and yearnings.

Most amazing to each of us was how quickly those dreams came true. That part was unexpected, even a tender mercy of the Lord. Our family was greatly blessed with deeper love, greater memories, and rich experiences that seemed to come out of clarifying and focusing on what we hoped to have happen.

Years later, my husband and I decided to continue that tradition. We gathered our children and created a poster of pictures of our fondest dreams, big and small. What an amazing thing for us, as a family, to watch before our eyes the poster pictures become a reality, little by little, in a relatively short period of time.

When my husband was called to be the stake president, our visiting general authority set him apart and offered words of counsel. One piece of advice: take time to gather as a stake presidency and with prayerful consideration, prepare a poster, a clear picture of what they desired to see happen here in our stake. What a wonderful idea!!

I had a poster that hung in my room all my growing years. It had a picture of my FAVORITE thing, a horse, and it read "If you can dream it, you can achieve it, If you can imagine it, you can become it".
As a young girl, I dreamed daily of having a horse. The impossible dream! How my 'city-slicker' parents would ever consent to that, or where we would keep it, or how we would pay for it I did not know, but my heart kept on picturing it.

Believe it or not, at age 10, I visited my grandpa's farm in British Columbia, Canada and upon arriving, Grandpa said he had a surprise for me. And there she was. A brand new filly. Mine. I named her and spent every day with her that month I spent on the farm. The next year Grandpa and I brought her the thousand miles to my home. She lived down the street from my house in a little field and changed my teenage world. 

As young as my life was, one thing I knew, Dreams DO come true!

What do you desire more than anything in the world? What do you hope for daily? If you could have anything in the world what would it be? When it comes right down to your heart, what makes it the very happiest, deeply, wonderfully, satisfied happy?

I have pondered these questions and the answer for me in the end, and for you I am sure, is FAMILY. Those precious people and extraordinary relationships we get to share with them. That is where love is. That is where happiness lies.

President Hinckley has said, "How wonderful a thing is marriage under the plan of our Eternal Father, a plan provided in His divine wisdom for the happiness and security of His children... The sweetest feelings of life, the most generous and satisfying impulses of the human heart, find expression in a marriage that stands pure and unsullied above the evil of the world." 

Do we have a clear picture of the family life that we desire? We have been given The Proclamation on the Family. This article, now framed with a mat of my own family pictures in our entry hallway, is a clear picture of what God intended family to be, of what I desire most for me and my family: ...To remember that I, and each member of my family, have divine identity, purpose and worth; to protect and partake in the sacred power of procreation; to rejoice in our children, 'an heritage of the Lord'; to raise our children in love and righteousness; to provide for their needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to keep God's commandments and obey the laws of the land; to be faithful to our marital vows and to our children; to build our family on the foundation of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome recreational activities; to honor husband and father as the provider who presides in love in our home; to remember as mother to nurture and love my children; and ultimately, to return to the presence of God and let our family relationships be perpetuated beyond the grave, indeed for time and all eternity.
In a talk given by Richard G. Scott, a modern day apostle of Jesus Christ, he states, "Through the restored gospel we learn there is an ideal family." He goes on to describe it, and then challenges us, "Do the best you can while on earth to have an ideal family. To help you do that, ponder and apply the principles in the proclamation on the family." We have been given a clear picture to promote our success. The Proclamation on the Family.

My brother, who has served in the Marine Corps and is now studying at BYU to be a Chaplain, recently taught me that in the army an ordinance is basically a command, a direction given to clarify where to aim for success against the enemy. Ordinances must be followed in order to overcome and gain victory and freedom. The Lord has given us an ordinance, a clear picture of where we are to aim in order to reach our fullest potential and gain the greatest victory of all! Elder Scott mentions, "Satan and his hosts will do all in their power to keep you from obtaining the ordinances required for the ideal family. He will attempt to distract you from centering your mind and heart on raising a strong family by nurturing your children as the Lord requires." 

And we learn from Sister Beck, the General Relief Society president, "...Strong families are not an accident. Living the Lord's plan with precision, intention, and determination is a conscious, faith-filled choice in today's world."

We read Elder Robert D. Hales, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in the latest Ensign telling us, "If we live the laws pertaining to celestial marriage, we will, with our spouse and with our family, be able to have a little heaven on earth...And when we live those laws, we are practicing the same laws that are practiced in heaven." 

Let us, you and I, hold that precious picture we have clearly set before us in highest priority, close to our hearts and visible in our homes. The ideal family, the way to greatest happiness is a "banner now unfurled; ye nations now look up it waves to all the world".

The Lord has made the picture of greatest happiness clear to help us acquire it. May we study it, work toward it, dream of it, PRAY for it, and eventually ACHIEVE it!- partaking of the divine plan of happiness in our own ideal family.


CaMarie Hoffman is the oldest of 6 children who grew up on family, babysitting, music and horses ;).  She graduated from Davis High and went on to graduate from Utah State University in Family and Human Development with an emphasis in early childhood education and a minor in marriage therapy.  She says this, " I married my knight in shining armor! (That's what he was the first night I met him.  A mutual friend had arranged our first 'date' at her Halloween party at USU- I was an exotic princess just so you know - hee hee.  I'm forever grateful for Heidi!)  Mike was just finishing up a degree in metallurgical engineering.  We were soon expecting our son Isaac and just before he was born had a complete change of plans - on to medicine!  (14 years and 7 children later we finished the road of preparation it takes to be a surgeon and settled down in Williamsport, PA).  Mike was soon in the bishopric, bishop, then stake president as we delivered our 8th baby.  It's been an amazing ride and very challenging at times but I must admit my joy is full.  I LOVE being a wife to Mike, developing children, reading, writing, music, and right now a highlight for me is teaching early morning seminary!  19 students this year!  Hurray!"

Please share your testimony about The Family: A Proclamation to the World in a blog post of your own...and then link up below for others to read.  

SC - I Heart Family
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  1. Wow, great read. And great photos!

  2. Those covers are WAY cute! What a fun, unique idea!

  3. amazing family, completely focused...on eternity!

  4. What a wonderful idea to write it all down. A few years ago we wrote our "Family goals" that mostly focused around time spent together. It is amazing how quickly they all got checked off (except one). I think this is an amazing idea to do, now that we are almost done our goals, I think we may make a poster! :)

    Your family is beautiful. I always wanted many children. Your photos were beautiful, and your post was inspiring. Thank you.

  5. We'll do this for FHE soon! Thanks, CaMarie!

  6. LOVED THIS POST! Creating visual posters, whether through writing or pictures, really helps us to reach our goals as the poster acts as a daily reminder.

    Shows how important whatever we put on the walls of our home is. No wonder Pres. Monson has asked us to place a picture of the temple in each child's bedroom!

  7. Great idea for FHE! I love the covers, btw.

  8. great post-and beautiful family!

  9. I loved this post! I'm thinking of a way to incorporate something like this in my family. Thank you for participating in the family series.

  10. Thank you for this wonderful post, and the great idea. Best of luck to your brother too, we sure can use him!

  11. This was a great post. I loved reading it and enjoyed the family pictures.
    Blessings to you and keep on enjoying the moments!

  12. I am ending my night with this post and am so glad that I did! This post says exactly what has been on my mind lately. Thank you for articulating it so beautifully. I have been praying for focus because I find my mind wandering and have had a difficult time concentrating. When I read this - "Satan and his hosts will do all in their power to keep you from obtaining the ordinances required for the ideal family. He will attempt to distract you from centering your mind and heart on raising a strong family by nurturing your children as the Lord requires." It brought it all into, crystal clear focus! I also love the poster idea...thank you so much!

    I am so grateful for these past two weeks and all of the wonderful posts. Jocelyn, thank you for putting this together!

  13. I really enjoyed this. I think my family will need to make a poster!

  14. I loved this post, it really solidified the same things we want as a family. Thank you so much for this!

  15. I loved this post. The FHE idea in the beginning is a fabulous idea-thank you.

  16. What a totally and completely WONDERFUL post! I think that creating a clear picture is one of the most powerful things a person can do to make his/her life what they want it to be. Excellent exercise which I did recently, and am already wanting to do again. Thank you for the reminder! :D PS Where is this author's blog? I would love to peak in on it! :)