Friday, September 30, 2011

An Idea for General Conference

Last April I discovered the "General Conference Book Club" and I've loved participating in it for the past six months. Now that we're preparing for a new round of studying the conference talks, some of you might enjoy participating as well. It's a great way to keep the messages of conference fresh in our minds until the next one comes along. And because it's supposed to be fun and enjoyable, along with uplifting and motivational, I'm going to be looking for answers to the following questionnaire as I listen this weekend. Feel free to join us!

(Oh, and I'm adding one more question, in honor of my cousin and her Primary - How many speakers wore red ties?)
This is a fun idea to let us all share our personal highlights from General Conference. A meme is a questionnaire of sorts that is a little bit “viral”– it gets passed around among several people online. Stephanie from Diapers and Divinity teamed up with Lesa from Notes about Music to create eleven questions that might help you pay more attention and learn more from both the music and the spoken words at conference.
Okay, so… instructions. Look for answers during conference (obviously, there are no “right” answers – this is all about your personal experience and thoughts.). When conference is over, post all your questions and answers on your own blog, at your leisure. Anytime after Sunday afternoon/evening, either go to Lesa’s blog or Stephanie's blog, and you will find some fancy-linky-collector-thing where you can share the link to your blog post. Then we can all read what you had to say and just have a big post-conference testimony-and-goals fest. I really hope that made sense. Without further ado, here is the meme:

General Conference Highlights, October 2011

1. Who were your three favorite speakers?

2. Which talk spoke to you the most?

3. What was your favorite Hymn and why did it move you?

4. Which speaker was the best dressed? (Come on, we can have a little fun.)

5. Were there any topics that you felt like were repeated often? Any conference “themes”?

6. Share a few of your favorite quotes from any of the talks (paraphrasing is fine).

7. Name something(s) that made you smile or laugh during conference.

8. Was there any evidence that your children paid attention?

9. What doctrine did you learn as you listened to the choir(s) sing?

10. Did the music enhance your General Conference experience? How?

11. What are some of your post-conference goals?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Preparing for Conference

Works for Me Wednesday
Preparing in Advance

It's hard to believe we've been "moved" for three months now. One room that hasn't received a lot of attention was the computer room. Here's what it looked like on moving day:
In the weeks since then, it's been kind of a catch-all room and the boxes were just getting piled higher and higher. I realized on Sunday that it would NOT be a very peaceful room to sit in for 8 hours watching conference next weekend, so my goal this week was to make it feel more serene.

I still have some more things to do, but at least now we don't have to walk around a maze of boxes and the three of us will be able to sit comfortably while we watch conference on the computer. (Next time we hope to be able to get it in our family room with the really comfortable chairs!)

While making our physical space ready is important, even more important is preparing our minds and hearts to receive God's word. We're doing that through our individual and family prayers and study. A good place to start is President Uchtdorf's message here. We'll always be grateful to a home teacher who shared basically the same message years ago; it's really helped conference be more meaningful. We love general conference and I'm grateful our children do too.

We'll be content with just some note paper and M&M's, but if your kids aren't quite at that point yet, there are a LOT of ideas around to help make this weekend more enjoyable for you and them. My favorite is my cousin's "conference boats" but here are a few more:

Stephanie's ideas - with links to conference packets

Being LDS link party

Preparing in advance, which includes helping your family get excited about something important - whether a meeting or an anniversary or the first day of school or whatever - works for me.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's a good thing they have their own laundry rooms!

How half our children spent their Saturday morning -- Successful families are built upon gospel principles. I guess "wholesome recreational activities" can include some mud. Mud or no mud, making memories is the key!

(Thanks Linda for taking pictures for us. For more information about the Dirty Dash event, go here.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Sixteen years ago today, President Hinckley presented "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" during the Relief Society broadcast. I'm so thankful he did. It's an amazing and prophetic document.

I think two of the phrases that have stuck out to me over the years are "marriage between a man and a woman" and "gender is an essential characteristic." I remember thinking, "That's so obvious; why would it be included?" However, in today's society, those aren't obvious truths. Satan is working overtime to confuse people and it seems like he's succeeding. I'm grateful we have prophets on the watchtowers who warn us to be prepared for Satan's attacks.


The proclamation was also confirmation that my husband and I were heading in the right direction. That's extremely comforting. One of the phrases in my patriarchal blessing mentioned always having love and unity and harmony in my home. Being aware of D&C 130:20-21, which states that any blessing we receive from God is predicated upon keeping the corresponding law, I knew that if I wanted the blessings of love and unity and harmony, there were certain things I'd need to do first - things like get married in the right place at the right time to the right person, keep the commandments and live worthy of the Spirit's guidance, teach my children so they would want to do the same, (doing the little things over and over like personal prayer, family prayer, and family home evening), etc. etc. etc. All of these principles are stated in the Family Proclamation. There IS love and unity and harmony in our home and that is an incredible blessing. It's an even greater blessing to see our sons use these principles to establish their own families and homes built on a foundation of Jesus Christ and his gospel.

2011 - the Utah kids and grandkids

None of these truths were new when President Hinckley presented the proclamation, but it's been wonderful having these doctrines all in one place. And I love that it's for the whole world. Families are important. Families are eternal.

In honor of this anniversary,

Shannon from The Redheaded Hostess and

have hosted a special celebration over the past two weeks featuring blog posts and link ups to spread the word that “the family is ordained of God” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World). Visiting these various sites is definitely time well spent. But even better would be putting into practice in your own family some of their wonderful suggestions.

Have a wonderful day enjoying your eternal family!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Using Waiting Time Productively

Works for Me Wednesday
Productive Waiting Time
Maybe it's because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I actually enjoy the time I have waiting in the car for one of the kids. It gives me an opportunity to do some things that probably wouldn't get done if I were at home. Here are ideas for some things you might try if you're a typical mother/chauffeur with periods of waiting around in your daily schedule.

There's a reason this is first on the list. I don't normally feel like I have time to just sit and read, so long ago I made it a habit to have something available for the inevitable waits. It doesn't really matter what it is. In the past couple of weeks I've read magazines, scriptures, coupon inserts, the occasional novel, and skimmed "the school-required reading books" so I know what they're being taught.
Sitting in the car for a few minutes is a great time to plan the week's menu, prepare the shopping list, or write a quick note to send to a friend. On occasion, I've even used this time to write in my journal, or plan a blog post.
Nothing wrong with taking a short nap!
If I plan ahead, I can bring along a crochet or cross-stitch project to work on while I'm waiting. Those little bits of time eventually add up to a finished project.
I don't really do this often, because I'm not a regular cell phone user, but I imagine a lot of you use your waiting time this way and I think it's a great idea.
Family History
This doesn't really work in the car, although it could if you had a phone with internet access. However, some of my waiting takes place at the church (during Mutual) or at the library (next to our old high school) and that gives me time to work on family history. I loved, loved, loved the times I had to wait for an after-school practice to be over because I actually made progress in finding new family members.
Sometimes there's time to do a quick errand after dropping someone off for an activity, especially when it's not practical to return home before picking them up. Depending upon the time of day, and location of the activity, this could be the perfect time to run to the cleaners or the post office or the grocery store or to drop off a treat for a friend.

What do you do when you have to wait for something? What will I do when Michelle finally gets the hang of driving (she's just about there!) and I don't have to be chauffeur any more??

Remember that there are a lot more ideas of things that "work for me" over on Kristen's website!

Monday, September 19, 2011

FHE Lessons from the Family Proclamation

It's another "Celebrate Family 2011" blog hop - this time with ideas for FHE lessons relating to the Family Proclamation. There are some wonderful suggestions, so if you're looking for new ideas for family night lessons (and I am constantly), I'm sure you'll find something that you can adapt. Have fun surfing!Here are the ideas from the four blogs sponsoring the party:
Memorizing the Proclamation

Here are a few posts of family nights we've done in the past that relate to principles taught in The Family: A Proclamation to the World:
Repentance and the Atonement

Finally, while cleaning out the closets this summer I came across a little pamphlet that one of the boys brought home from his mission. It was something that the Murray Utah South Stake put together about 10 years ago - a series of ten family night lessons taken from the Proclamation. I've been wanting to go through it and adapt it for our family, and eventually I'll do that (probably on my Whisperings of the Spirit blog), but it needs to wait for the proper season. Each lesson contains hymn suggestions, scriptures, Ensign articles, quotes from general authorities and/or discussion questions. I'm looking forward to taking the time to study them. However, for those of you who want to do your own study now, here are the ten subjects:
  • Marriage is Ordained of God
  • Divine Nature
  • The Plan of Salvation and Happiness
  • God's Plan for Parenthood
  • The Sanctity of Life
  • The Responsibilities of Parents
  • Finding Happiness in Family Life
  • The Roles of Fathers and Mothers
  • Why We Must Fulfill Our Responsibilities
  • Promoting Measures that Strengthen the Family
One of the references used repeatedly is a talk that President Henry B. Eyring gave soon after the proclamation was given. (It can be found in the February 1998 Ensign.) I loved these thoughts:

The title of the proclamation on the family reads: “The Family: A Proclamation to the World—The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Three things about the title are worth our careful reflection. First, the subject: the family. Second, the audience, which is the whole world. And third, those proclaiming it are those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. All this means that the family must be of tremendous importance to us, that whatever the proclamation says could help anyone in the world, and that the proclamation fits the Lord’s promise when he said, “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38).

This is truly an inspired document, and definitely worthy of a few family night lessons. Thanks everyone for sharing your ideas. And have fun teaching and enjoying and loving your families.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Birthday Celebration

Saturday birthdays can be a lot more fun than Wednesday birthdays. Just ask Wayne. Instead of spending the day doing projects around the house, we decided to go to the beach. Our beaches face east, so sunrises are prettier than sunsets. And even though it meant getting up at 5 AM, Birthday Girl was okay with having a breakfast picnic instead of a dinner one. (Good thing, because stake conference and babysitting were on the evening calendar. Besides, since the seminary alarm goes off at 4:30, she still got to sleep in!) Nature cooperated and provided the clouds for a gorgeous sunrise, which we enjoyed while eating donuts and chocolate milk. Simple is good.Then there was time for some exploring and swimming and reading and relaxing before those beautiful fluffy white clouds decided to turn into ominous gray rain clouds. We got soaking wet before everything was loaded in the car, but that just turns an ordinary outing into a memorable adventure!At home it was time for presents and cake. Unfortunately, Princess really doesn't care for cake (a trait she inherited from her dad). Fortunately, we discovered a few years ago that cream puffs make excellent candle holders, because you still need to blow out candles on your birthday, even if all your brothers have left home and the birthday chorus has diminished in volume.
We hope she had a wonderful birthday! We're definitely going to enjoy the next year. We love you Michelle!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It's Her "Golden" Birthday!

It's the 17th and she's turning 17. How did the time fly by so quickly? It was just yesterday that she was a newborn!
And now she's all grown up!
With a wonderful personality to boot!
Happy Birthday to Michelle!

I had grand plans to write a beautiful post in her honor, but instead we're actually celebrating her birthday! If you want more pictures, here are the past birthday posts: #14, #15, #16

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Sneak Peak

My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this month. I've been working on a project to honor them, and today as part of the "Celebration on the Family" (where the link-party is photo essays relating to The Family: A Proclamation to the World") you get a sneak peak at all the wonderful photos I've been discovering. Enjoy!

And don't forget to follow the links at the bottom to see what others have posted. Families are wonderful!

The quotes from the proclamation are out of sequence because I wanted the pictures to stay in chronological order.

"Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God."
"Spirit sons and daughters . . . accepted [God's] plan by which His children could obtain a physical body . . .
and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection . . .
and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life."
"We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."
"Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity."
"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of . . . work . . . "
"and wholesome recreational activities."
"Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally."
"Extended families should lend support when needed."
"In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."
"The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave."
"All human beings - male and female - are created in the image of God."
"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness . . .
and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families."
"Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other."

The wonderful ladies hosting "Celebration of the Family"-

Monday, September 12, 2011

Family Mission Statement

Last week I came across some blog posts on "Celebrating the Family." Since this is a subject near and dear to my heart, I'm looking forward to reading what will be written, and participating myself. Today's subject is family mission statements. Sue gives an excellent example of how to write one here. And I can attest to the value of mission statements. Almost 25 years ago Wayne and I wrote personal ones and I still go back and look at mine on a regular basis. One of the things that makes it so valuable is it doesn't change; what was important to me then is still important to me now.

While we never officially sat down to write a family mission statement we did purposefully come up with a family motto, and I think it has done a marvelous job in helping us be successful in achieving our common family goals. Here's the story of how that happened (a repost from a couple of years ago):

Memorable Monday Moments
Family Motto

This weekend Wayne was assigned to give a talk on reverence and respect. That reminded him of one of our "memorable family nights." As he remembers it, the suggested family night lesson was to come up with a family motto. The kids were young (I'm thinking the oldest was about 8) so we wanted something short and easy to remember, and after much discussion we decided on "Show Respect". At that time we just posted it on a paper on the fridge, but several years later we made a wall hanging that was a bit more permanent.It's interesting, but I remember coming up with "show respect" a bit differently. I thought the idea for that early family night lesson was to come up with some family rules. The same parameters were in place - the rules needed to be short, simple, and easy to understand. We also wanted them to be positive affirmations instead of a list of don'ts, and we didn't want to have a giant list of rules. Sounds like a tall order! We talked about how we needed to obey Mom and Dad, we needed to be kind to brothers, we needed to keep our rooms clean and help with chores, etc. And we figured that that one phrase - Show Respect - covered all those things. Then later, one of the kids had a kindergarten assignment to make a family coat of arms which included a family motto. At that family night we decided our one family rule equaled our family motto.

It really doesn't matter whose version is correct. The important thing is we have a family motto and it really works!

Here are links to the blogs that are hosting this celebration. All of them share great ideas that will help you have the best family ever!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Quick Trip

Just like Megan, I have way too many pictures that need organizing, but there was a little bit of time today to at least upload some of them, so now you can all have a taste of our quick weekend trip to Virginia.
First on the agenda was replacing a kitchen table, with one that would fit a wheelchair. The new "counter top" tables are perfect for that, and a nice bonus was swivel chairs for those that don't need wheelchairs! It's perfect for both game playing and eating breakfast.
Next was a trip to the local flea market. Michelle and Nicole had fun looking at all the fun trinkets, and we had fun watching them. They even each found something they wanted, and got a special surprise for Aunt Holly as well.
The purpose of our quick trip was to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary, so we did that by going out to dinner. Any place that decorates the plates, and stands the cake on end, is "fancy" and we had a wonderful time, although we did miss the brothers and sisters (and grandchildren) who lived too far away come. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. Thanks for being a wonderful example to all of us. (And thank you, Louise, for being a terrific hostess!)
Finally, just for fun, we hit the milestone of 55,555.5 miles on the truck on the way home! (The brothers may be wondering why we didn't take the car. It hasn't reached 1,000 miles yet, so is not ready for extended freeway driving. Hopefully it will be by Thanksgiving, because that truck is NOT comfortable when you're sitting in it for 13 hours!)
We hope your Labor Day weekend was as much fun as ours was!