Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Back-to-School Family Theme

Oh, man, it's the night before the first day of school for us, and as I said before, we've just had a wonderful summer together.  That wasn't really the case last summer.  And the last two years of moving, growing, and adjusting to our new lives hasn't been easy, so this summer was a welcome break from the stressful times and a time to heal and relax a little and just feel like "us" again...but a new and improved us I'm sure! :)

Anyhow, I ran most of my errands yesterday, so I could block out today for family time only!  I've decided that the last day of summer *at the pool* is my favorite day.  I love how the children are so confident in their swimming by then and how they want to show me all of the tricks they've mastered over the summer months.  That is what we were up to today.  And it was glorious.

But I had at least one more thing I wanted to do before I sent them back to school, and that was to share this quote with them that I read in a General Conference talk by Bishop Gerald Causse called "It's All About People".

Here is the longer version of the quote:

"We take the Church with us wherever we go: to work, to school, on vacation, and especially in our homes.  Our very presence and influence can be enough to make wherever we find ourselves a holy place."

I heard the quote while listening to Conference and then again in a Relief Society lesson, and I thought, "I need to teach this idea to my children.  We should make it our family theme for back to school."

So today, I wrote it on my kitchen chalkboard and my daughter provided the illustrations.  And tonight, while we were eating dinner way too late, I read them the quote and we discussed different ways that they could make the place they are in holy by their choices, by how they treat people, by keeping their covenants, etc.  

We then talked about scenarios they might face tomorrow as they enter a new classroom, meet their new teachers, and interact with new potential friends.  It was really fun to role-play.  I think that put them at ease and helped them feel empowered instead of nervous about their first day at school.

I smiled to myself as I looked around the table seeing the happy interaction we were having.  Everyone was laughing and sharing and learning together and encouraging one another and being silly.  And Steve and I were counseling each child.  I thought, oh, this is family home evening (just not on a Monday night)...And I thought how neat it is that our Monday night ritual has morphed into an every night thing that we just do pretty naturally (mostly!).

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is amazing.  It does transform lives and heal hearts. It does strengthen families.  I know that it is the Lord and his inspired programs that are part of His Church that have supported us and helped us make it through the hard parts of the last two years. And I know that He will continue to do so.

And that knowledge and testimony is enough to get us not just back to school, but back to everything else we want to do in life.

Besides starting a new tradition of a "back to school theme" we accidentally started another new tradition.

Because it was so late when we were eating dinner, I attempted to calm everyone by eating by candlelight.  My two-year old Val spent the whole dinner attempting to blow out the candles--his favorite thing to do!  We made it to the very end of dinner and I said, "OK, now we're ALL going to make a wish for our first day of school, and then we'll all blow out the candles at once."  Of course, all three Yankee candle tumblers were blown out at once and my daughter exclaimed to me, "We did it!  It's a miracle, Mom!"  It was a bit magical, and I'm sure next year they'll be asking to do that again.

Well, that's all, folks.  Tomorrow, I will send my babies out into the world again.  There will be tears, but not from them, I'm sure!

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OH, man!  Summer is finally wrapping up for us!  It has been an amazing time of family and sibling bonding, and I am so grateful for that.  We're just trying to make the most of this last day of summer, but I can feel the time slipping through my fingers and I am powerless to stop it.  So forward, we will go!

Now for a quick FHE report.

Last night, we hosted a little Sidewalk CHALK WALK in our neighborhood for Family Home Evening, and besides the fact that it was like 95 degrees out, it was totally awesome and fun.

We always attended a Sidewalk Chalk Festival "back home" in Lewisburg, so we had to keep that tradition are part of our new lives here in Cranberry/Pittsburgh!

We asked neighbors to join us in writing positive messages on the sidewalk for the children to see as they returned to school on Wednesday.  We also asked all the kids to draw and make creations of their own liking.  Then at 7pm, neighbors came out and admired everyone's drawings.  It was just a lot of fun.

I was impressed when one neighbor write Proverbs 22:6 ("Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it") on their sidewalk and included actual "footsteps" for children to walk in.  I really appreciate that so many people are religious and have faith in God here in our new town.  It builds me up.  And I love that my kids get to grow up around people like that!  People who, as President Nelson would say, "Let their faith show!"

So, one more thing of note is that after President Nelson's announcement that we need to drop the usage of LDS and other nicknames, I changed the address for this blog.  

To be clear the name of my blog has always been "We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ," however when I started my blog, that site address was not available, so I ended up with "BeingLDS.blogspot.com" as my blogspot address, however I have always called my blog by it's name "We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ."  

Funny thing.  When I went online to see if there was another domain I could possibly use, sure enough "https://www.WeTalkofChrist.com" was now available.  

So, in case you were wondering, I am now directing my site to this address.  If you click on old links it will simply redirect you to this new address without a problem.  However, if you link to me and would like to change the link to the new website, that would also be cool.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm thrilled to hear this re-emphasis on using the full, sacred, revealed name of the church.  And I fully support it.

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Church that Sets Up Their Own Chairs

I really like introducing my friends to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  So I'm always looking for ways to include it in conversation when appropriate.

Recently, my girls started taking Tae Kwon Do classes.  Normally, when we come to class, we find that a few rows of folding chairs have been set up for parents to sit in to observe class.

One evening, when we arrived, the class instructor seemed rushed.  He explained that his assistant hadn't shown up and was apologizing profusely for the fact that the chairs were not yet in place.  "I'm sorry," he said, "You'll have to set up your own chairs tonight. I hope you don't mind..."

For some reason, the scene I saw before me of the instructor passing out folding chairs made me think of just about every time I go to church.  

So I said with a laugh, "Master Gavoli, you don't have to apologize. We're used to setting up our own chairs...We're Mormon!"

He kind of looked at me for a moment, surprised by my comment and probably even more so by the correlation I had made, and then he said, "Thank you!  I could probably win a bet with that information some day."  Which I think is his customary way of responding politely to completely useless, unsolicited information.  Ha!

I have thought a lot after the fact of how easy it was to draw a line back to the church.  As a long-time member missionary, I felt good about that.  However, I found myself wishing since then that I had followed my comment up with something like, "You know, the church that is lead by a prophet and 12 apostles," or "You know, the church that believes families can be together forever..." etc.

I have made a goal for myself to have three or four subjects that are my go-to, follow-up items to mention about the church, so that I can start by talking about folding chairs, but open up into something they can really ponder long after our conversation ends.  Something that might actually lead to questions of their own...

If you had to make a list, which three gospel principles would make your "go-to" gospel-sharing one-liners?

Let me know in the comments!
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Thursday, August 16, 2018

THE Name of the Church

The church released a statement today reiterating that we are to use the full, revealed name of the Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and not to go by other common nicknames. 

Because I recently had a bit of a testimony-builder about this, this announcement made me really happy.

So here's the quick little story: 

A little while ago I noticed that I was avoiding saying the full name of our church, because it is so long, and honestly, I wasn't comfortable saying it all. It can be a mouthful! And I didn't want to stutter or stumble on my words in front of my friends!  That's lame.

I pondered what I could do to fix my problem, and I feel the Holy Ghost prompted me to do the following.

I challenged myself (and my kids) to practice saying the full name of the church aloud until I/we got to the point where I could say it with confidence...every time.

I find this has really helped me in my missionary work. 

Now when someone asks me "What church do you go to?" I smile-take a deep breath-and say the full name of the church. 

I feel good about making this change in my personal interactions with my friends. 

My next goal is to be able to follow that up with, "You know, the church that is lead by prophets and apostles" or a quick "You know the church that believes families are forever," etc! 

Here is a link to a talk by then-Elder Nelson that I really learned a lot from which dissects each part of the official/revealed name of the church as well as the updated style-guide from the church's website:


And here is the updated style guide:  
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