Monthly Archives: November 2012

Crucible experiences

One of the things that I have learned this semester is that we all face challenges.  Challenges have the ability to shape us and refine us and ultimately make us more like our Heavenly Father.  We read about crucible challenges.  In order to understand that term, we need to look at what a crucible is.  A crucible is a bowl or container that can withstand very high heat.  For a learning activity for my class, I discussed crucible experiences with my husband and 10 year old son.  We talked about what crucible experiences are and how if we weather them well, they have the ability to shape us and mold us into better, more christ-like people.  We talked about various challenges that we have faced and we talked about how our attitudes and response to those experiences can either make them more or less challenging.    Our response to them can also determine how much we grow through our experiences.  Most of the time we cannot control what challenges we will face, but we can in response to those challenges seek guidance and strength from our Heavenly Father, look for tender mercies and have an attitude of gratitude for the blessings that we enjoy even in the midst of our trials.  My son reminded me that
we can allow our families to help us through our struggles, we don’t
have to go through our trials alone.   He also reminded me that we will
be blessed through our obedience to do what the Lord asks of us even if
it is hard.   We discussed that often times we fight our challenges and like the scriptures teach us we often kick against the pricks, but instead of fighting them, we should ask God for the strength to overcome them.  We discussed the people of Alma and their challenges of being in bondage.  I have always been impressed that even though their challenges were difficult, they did not ask God to take them away from them.  Instead they prayed for the strength to get through them.  I think that this is a good
reminder for us that we shouldn’t always pray for our challenges to be lifted, because there is value to our challenges.  We all need to be tried and tested, but Heavenly Father will give us the strength to overcome if we put our faith and trust in him and then remain obedient to his commandments.  One last way that we discussed how our response to challenges can help us is through gratitude.  We have a lady in our ward who has been battling
breast cancer.  Her survival rate is pretty low, but she is strong and
faithful and a wonderful example to me of someone who controls her response to her challenge.  In the midst of her very difficult trial, she has faithfully posted updates on facebook recognizing her blessings.  She has chosen to look for the things in her life that she is grateful for rather than focus on her challenges.  It has been an amazing lesson for me that no matter what we may be facing, there is always something to be thankful for.

This is a really great talk about adversity.  In response to some gloom and frustration Elder Baxter was feeling about a particular trial, his son reminded him that we can choose to be happy.  He stated: ““Well, Dad, I have always thought that happiness is a decision.”  I think that that is an important thing for us to keep in mind.  Even though we may face trials and difficulties, we can still choose to be happy!

Another great article about crucible experiences.

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Marriage

“…marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” The Family: A proclamation to the World

We all want a happy marriage.  But marriage takes time and effort and dedication.  As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we believe that marriage and families can be eternal through the blessings of the temple.  As such, marriage is a covenant, not just an act or a social custom.  Elder David. A Bednar spoke about The Covenant Marriage Relationship.  He states:

We have been counseled strongly by the First Presidency to devote our best efforts to the strengthening of marriage and the home. Such instruction has never been more needed in the world than it is today, as the sanctity of marriage is attacked and the importance of the home is undermined.

How do we devote our best efforts to strengthening marriage and home?

Elder Bednar teaches that a covenant marriage includes The husband, the wife and the Savior.  He states:

The Lord Jesus Christ is the focal point in a covenant marriage relationship. Please notice how the Savior is positioned at the apex of this triangle, with a woman at the base of one corner and a man at the base of the other corner. Now consider what happens in the relationship between the man and the woman as they individually and steadily “come unto Christ” and strive to be “perfected in Him”

*marriage covenant

Couples must be committed to each other and to God.  As couples remain connected and devoted to one another and as they individually strive to draw nearer to the Savior, they inevitably draw closer to one another.  I believe that we need to intentionally focus on our spouse and seek for ways to make them happy.  We need to be willing to listen to them and make changes in ourselves and in our relationship for the benefit of each other.  Gordon B. Hinckley said the following:

If every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion, there would be very little, if any, divorce. Argument would never be heard. Accusations would never be leveled. Angry explosions would not occur. Rather, love and concern would replace abuse and meanness.

There is no room for selfishness in marriage.  We need to love and care for one another.  We need to develop a strong friendship and create positive interactions with one another.  In this talk by Douglas Brinley from the Ensign he outlines 10 things that we can do to strengthen our marriages.  I highly suggest that you read it with your spouse and look for ways that you can implement these things into your relationship.

  1. Have positive conversations
  2. show affection
  3. Remember that you are each other’s therapists.
  4. Be humble and cultivate Christlike attributes.
  5. Date frequently.
  6. Enrich your intimacy.
  7. Spend time with children and grandchildren
  8. Seek feedback and help each other.
  9. Eliminate anger.
  10. Be sensitive to each other’s stress levels.

He then offers a few additional things:

  1. Kneel together in prayer morning and night to call down the powers of heaven to bless your marriage.
  2. Study the scriptures individually and as a family.
  3. Attend the temple together regularly.

A happy marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion.”If you want a happy marriage, do what happily married couples do.–Gordon B. Hinckley

Equal partners in marriage

Husbands and wives each have specific roles within the family.  While they are different, they are each of great importance.  One is not more important than the other.  Husbands and wives must work together as equal partners.  “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” states:

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. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.

Let’s take a look at what our individual roles are and how we can help one another as equal partners.  I discussed this with my husband, and we came up with a list of responsibilities that we each have and then we discussed ways that we can help each other. I encourage everyone to do this with their spouse.  I realize that every situation is different and it really is beneficial to see in your own relationship how you can help each other in with your duties and roles in the family.

The roles of the husband:

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.

How wives can help their husbands:

  • Pray for them.

“I give counsel to husbands and wives. Pray for the love which allows you to see the good in your companion. Pray for the love that makes weaknesses and mistakes seem small. Pray for the love to make your companion’s joy your own. Pray for the love to want to lessen the load and soften the sorrows of your companion.”

Henry B. Eyring,

  • Treat them with mildness, love and affection.  We can be a refuge from the stresses of the world.  We can be a smiling face and a warm embrace when they walk through the door at the end of a busy day.

President Joseph Smith counseled the Relief Society to “Teach women how to behave towards their husbands, to treat them with mildness and affection.  When a man is borne down with trouble, when he is perplexed with care and difficulty, if he can meet a smile instead of an argument or a murmur-if he can meet with mildness, it will calm down his soul and soothe his feelings; when the mind is going to despair, it needs a solace of affection and kindness.

  • Take time to cultivate a relationship with your husband.  Put his needs first.

“I know it is hard for you young mothers to believe that almost before you can turn around the children will be gone and you will be alone with your husband. You had better be sure you are developing the kind of love and friendship that will be delightful and enduring. Let the children learn from your attitude that he is important. Encourage him. Be kind. It is a rough world, and he, like everyone else, is fighting to survive. Be cheerful. Don’t be a whiner.”
Marjorie Pay Hinckley, Small and Simple Things

  • Encourage and as for Priesthood blessings
  • Make time for Family Home Evening, scripture study and family prayer.
  • Be careful with the family finances.
  1. Exercise restraint
  2. Don’t be wasteful (eat or freeze leftovers, use up food before it goes bad)
  3. Don’t expect things that you can’t afford.  Work together to live within your means
  4. Do things for ourselves if we can to save money, i.e. haircuts, home improvement, home decor, preschool at home (saves money and provides nurturing time, thus strengthening both parents roles.)
  • Be respectful of their priesthood authority.  Listen to their concerns and ideas regarding the family and the raising of children.
  • Say thank you often

The role of wives:

Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.

How Husbands can help their wives:

  • Pray for their wives
  • Help manage and keep up the home.
  • Help discipline the children
  • Spend time reading with their children
  • Help the children with their homework
  • Play with the children
  • Take time off of work to spend with their families
  • Be available
  • Seek for teaching opportunities with their children.  Offer fatherly advice and counsel
  • Provide opportunities for their wives to take a “break”  encourage her in her hobbies and provided opportunities for her to take care of herself.  (hobbies, exercise, time alone to regroup)
  • Take her out on dates
  • Counsel with her about the children and what is going on in the family.
  • Say thank you often

While our roles are very different, they are both necessary and important for the good of the family.

I really enjoyed this talk by Elder Bruce C. Hafen.

In it he states:

equal partnerships are not made in heaven—they are made on earth, one choice at a time, one conversation at a time, one threshold crossing at a time. And getting there is hard work

He then asks this question:

Young wife, do you see in him someone who has worked all day to bring sustenance to your table? Young husband, do you see in her someone who has worked all day to make nourishment of that sustenance? Can you both see beyond the doing of the day and remember the inestimable worth of the being to whom you are married?

Equal partnership is about love and concern for each other.  It is about being selfless and striving to strengthen and care for one another.  It does take time and effort, but as we follow the counsel of the Proclamation, our families and marriages can be strengthened.  It is worth the time and effort.

Equal Partners worksheet

Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership with God

Reflections on parenting

I have found that my parenting style often times falls into each of the three parenting styles.  Sometimes I am coercive, sometimes I am too passive and other times I am authoritative.  I would rate my effectiveness as a parent as pretty good with some room for improvement.  I encourage my children to be independent.  I tell them what needs to be done, and then I try to let them decide for themselves how that will happen.  For example, with my 13 year old, he needs to practice the trumpet for 90 minutes per week for homework.  I let him pick the days that he wants to practice and the amount of time he needs to each day to meet the requirement, then I let him do it.  We try to do the same thing with chores by giving a time that they need to be done so the children can work on them as they choose.  I try to point out the good things that my kids do.  I also try to apologize when I have been too harsh.  We read scriptures each night as a family and talk about how our days went.  We always tuck our kids into bed each night and most of the time it is a positive experience were we hug and kiss our children and tell them how proud we are of them.  I try to talk to my kids about problems that we are having in the home, but sometimes I scold or reprimand for too long and I am often too quick to anger and forget to give my children the benefit of the doubt.

I can improve my parenting by:

  • keeping my cool and giving my children the benefit of the doubt.
  •  giving my children choices and involving them in the rule making and decision of consequences.
  • acting without reacting.
  • modeling respect.
  • Not being permissive.  Sometimes I don’t want to get into power struggles with my toddler, so I become too permissive.  I need to do better at giving him choices and following through with leading him to make a choice.
  • Be explaining why we are saying or making the decisions so that they can learn and understand.

My husband and I also discussed that we want to make sure that each month we do something together as a family.  Spend the day going on a hike or bike ride or something where we spend a good portion of the day having a shared experience versus working in the home all day and each person doing their own thing.

The importance of family in our society…

“But whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change: Fathers and mothers, if you have children, they must come first. You must read to your children and you must hug your children and you must love your children. Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House but on what happens inside your house.” (Washington Post, 2 June 1990, p. 2.) –Barbara Bush

Mother’s the nurturers of the home

The Proclamation states: “Mother’s are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”

Motherhood is a hard job.  It requires patience, strength, organization, the ability to multi-task, endurance, faith and love.  Our role in the family is very important.  Our Heavenly Father has entrusted his choice spirit children to our care and we will be held accountable for the manner in which we cared for these children.  Spencer W. Kimball said this of motherhood

To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age.  To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on the earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling.  The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times.

We have great potential as women and mothers to care for and raise our child despite the wickedness that exists in the world around us.

I often feel that my days are repetitive and sometimes mundane.  The laundry never ends, I am constantly stepping on Legos, as soon as the kitchen is clean, it is a mess again, mealtimes come around 3 times a day…everyday!  But I wouldn’t change my role as a stay at home mother for anything.  I know that there is no other work that I could do that would bring me more joy or be of more worth.

Motherhood is more than bearing children…It is the essence of who we are as women.  It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us.–Sheri Dew

How can we be better mothers and nurturer?

In thinking about this question, I wanted to find answers to two questions:

  1. What does it mean to nurture?
  2. What can I work on to help me be a better mother?

To answer question #1

To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers who know create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes. Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most power and influence; therefore, Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world. Working beside children in homemaking tasks creates opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate. Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a “house of order,” and women should pattern their homes after the Lord’s house (see D&C 109). Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work. Helping growth occur through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women.–Julie B Beck

Our roles as a nurturer include:

  • homemaking
  • spending time with our children
  • teaching them
  • listening to them
  • being organized and having routines in our home that are predictable.
  • being supportive and available.
  • showing love and affection
  • provide meals

President Ezra Taft Benson suggested these 10 things to help us become better mothers (as quoted by Thomas S Monson):

President Benson’s 10 Suggestions for Successful Parenting

“Thinking of the example of his own mother and that of his beloved and faithful wife, Flora, President Benson has offered ten specific suggestions for mothers as they guide their precious children:

1. Take time to always be at the crossroads in the lives of your children, whether they be six or sixteen.

2. Take time to be a real friend to your children.

3. Take time to read to your children. Remember what the poet wrote:

You may have tangible wealth untold;

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

Richer than I you can never be—

I had a mother who read to me.

4. Take time to pray with your children.

5. Take time to have a meaningful weekly home evening. Make this one of your great family traditions.

6. Take time to be together at mealtimes as often as possible.

7. Take time daily to read the scriptures together as a family.

8. Take time to do things together as a family.

9. Take time to teach your children.

10. Take time to truly love your children. A mother’s unqualified love approaches Christlike love (see Ezra Taft Benson, To the Mothers in Zion, pamphlet, 1987, pp. 8–12; see also Ezra Taft Benson, Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990, pp. 32–36).”

Thomas S. Monson, “Memories of Yesterday, Counsel for Today,” Ensign, May 1992, 4–5

What can I do to be a better mother?

  • Pray for daily strength and guidance
  • prioritize, place family and God above all else.
  • Love
  • make time to feed my soul through daily prayer and scripture study
  • take care of myself so that I can properly care for my family.  This includes exercise, time for hobbies and eating properly, and getting plenty of sleep.

Elder Ballard stated:

There is no one perfect way to be a good mother.  Each situation is unique.  Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children.  the choice is different and unique for each mother and each family…What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else.

Daughters of God, M. Russell Ballard