November 30, 2012

Let the children of the kingdom first be filled.

It is easy to serve others before my family.  When life gets fast, it is easy to run from deadline to deadline and to give to those who are looking when your own hidden life is neglected.  Often those you love the most are the last on your list.  I remember as a younger mother, many evenings where I would plan grand events at church or PTA and leave my own family with mac n cheese and a house in disarray.  Often after a long day of smiling and consoling and being a happy, hopeful leader, I would return to my own family and give them the cranky, tired, lazy leftovers.  I remember wondering if my children even knew the funny, happy, girls camp leader person I was?

I have come to recognize that Satan knows he can not usually get good people to do bad things, so he tries two more deceptive attacks.  1)He gets us to feel guilty for the good that we do and the list of good that we haven't done.  2)He distracts us with good things so that we neglect the better things.  Often, even daily, we have to firmly choose the better part and neglect many good things.  We must discern and prioritize.

It is hard for good people to prioritize.  Good people know that service is rarely ever easy.  We are always sacrificing something good for something better.  (I use the term sacrifice temporarily.  We all know that when you sacrifice for goodness, you are blessed and ultimately it is no sacrifice at all.)

It is not always best to say no to an opportunity to serve outside the home and it is not always best to focus all your time and energy on your home.  I love the song "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief"... it is full of examples of a man who serves amidst his own need.  I know this principle and I believe this principle.  We must give but there must be a divine order in our giving.  I feel this in my soul. 

I feel prompted to share with you something that I learned in my scripture study recently.  I'm hesitant to do this, because it references a scripture that I don't love.  Honestly, this scripture rings in my ears and makes me cringe!  It has stuck with me for years because it bugs me so much.  It seems to go against everything that Christ teaches.  And yet, with His help, I have learned to LOVE this verse.  
Here goes...  

Christ was with his disciples and a Greek woman from Canaan approached him asking for Christ to heal her daughter who was possessed of a devil.  "But Jesus said unto her, Let the children of the kingdom first be filled:  for it is not meet to take the children's bread and to cast it unto the dogs."  Mark 7:27
And she said, "Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which that fall from their masters' the master's table.
Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.
And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.  Matthew 15:27-28

(Joseph Smith translate the bible and made some minor edits.  I love that he changed their masters' to the master's.  I think he is pointing out that this woman did not serve the master to whom she was requesting a miracle.  I think his initial response was more a reflection on her heart than her lineage.)

I have felt God telling me over and over recently to "Let the children of the kingdom first be filled:  for it is not meet to take the children's bread and to cast it unto the dogs."  Christ challenged the woman at first... but He did heal her daughter eventually.  He discerned and then blessed.

It is good to feed my family first.  It is good to give my gifts, my talents, my power, my blessings... to my family.  This is not natural to me, but it is good.  I do not want to be someone who is cranky with my family and then kind when I answer the phone.  I want to give my family my BEST wine.  I want to give my husband my best, not my worst.  If I love and nurture my own children, if i am temporally and spiritually self reliant, then I can serve others honestly.

My favorite part of this lesson I'm learning came later on in Mark.  

Christ is with his disciples on a ship and they are worried that they only have one loaf of bread.  They didn't plan ahead and they are worried.  Christ reminds them of the AMAZING miracles they had just witnessed!! He asks, "Why reason ye, because ye have no bread?  Perceive ye not yet, neither understand ye?  are your hearts yet hardened?  Having eyes, see ye not?  and having ears, hear ye not?  and DO YE NOT REMEMBER?
When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, HOW MANY BASKETS FULL OF FRAGMENTS TOOK YE UP?
They said unto him, Twelve.
And when the seven among the four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven.
And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?

I am those disciples!!  So many times I find myself at sea with one loaf of bread and a multitude at my feet.  I think-- How did I get here AGAIN?!  I worry that I didn't plan better.  I wonder what I did that was wrong?  I don't need to worry.  I DON'T NEED TO WORRY!  Because, Christ is in my boat!!  He is with us. We can just have faith and know that He wants to bless us-- again and again and again.

God, is a God of miracles.
He is real.  
He blesses us.  He feeds us.  He clothes us.  He takes our burdens.  He makes us enough.
He is always enough... with leftovers!!
His yoke is easy and His burden is light. 
He is the master at our table.  We just feast upon the power and bounty that He gives us.

Grace- (as defined in the LDS Bible dictionary) It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by his atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.

God endows us with HIS power to accomplish all that He wants us to do for good.  All we need to do is give him our list of possibilities and let HIM pick the order.
I purpose to you, that God's order will be, Feed the children of the kingdom FIRST... and then use the baskets FULL of fragments to feed others.  

Christ's first miracle was turning water into wine at the wedding.  I love John 2:10-- When the ruler at the feast tastes Christ's wine and says in surprise, "Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now."

I absolutely know something about the Savior-- He can and will turn your water into wine.  Give your BEST wine first and then watch and see what He can do with your fragments.

Isn't that a beautiful, beautiful lesson?!!  

Right now I am going to go prepare a simple, worshipful, Christmas feast for my family, I am going to give them my best wine.  I'm going to do this all month long and I am going to watch as Christ helps me to feed others with our bountiful, blessed baskets of heavenly crumbs. Let the children of the kingdom first be filled... and praise God for the fragments!! 

My mother-in-law reminded me of this beautiful talk about the Savior's grace.
Brad Wilcox, "His Grace is Sufficient"- watch it here. read it here
It is so good.  Watch it with your families!  Remember Him!!  

When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, HOW MANY BASKETS FULL OF FRAGMENTS TOOK YE UP?

How many times in your life has He already blessed you... with fragments left over?
Faith in His love and His grace and His mercy is not even hard... it has been proven again and again.  
I can wait three days for more heavenly bread. 
I can endure some waves before the miraculous calming of the storm. 
I can wait on the Lord, because He will never forsake me.

As I feed my family, He will multiply my few loaves and fishes and will make them enough for us and to share. 
This is HIS way.  He is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and even in the month of December!!
CHRIST is real.  He is a God of miracles and He loves you, your family, those around you, and even the dogs!!

O Come, Let Us Behold Him.  
Merry Christmas friends!!

November 29, 2012

Christmas Gifts that TEACH as they entertain.

I analyze and evaluate everything that I do in life. Christmas is no exception.  Materialism disgusts me even as it sucks me in; gratitude pours from my soul even as want creeps into my vision.  I love Christmas, because i love to give gifts.  Oh how i seek for the proper perspective when choosing what i'm going to spend my money on and what i'm going to introduce my children to.

Every day I recognize how lucky my children are.  Unlike the millions that live in poverty each day, my children are fed, they are sheltered, they have a mother and father who love them and they know their Father in Heaven.  My children have so much.  Why do I even need to buy more?  The answer is, i don't.  I tend to think of my children as investments.  I tend to think of Christmas as a time to ponder what gifts i could give them that could help them become all that God intends them to be.  I love the tradition of the wise men.  I believe that they gave gifts that they thought would be helpful.  I also want to be a wise giver.

Every dollar that I spend is sacred.  I am the steward for what enters into my home.  If i do not want my children to waste their time, then i will not spend my money on things that will promote waste.  THERE IS SO MUCH GOOD IN THIS WORLD!!

We live in a day and age where our children can be ANYTHING.  Our children can learn to play any instrument, they can learn any language.  They have access to a myriad of books and skills and hobbies and people.  Our children have incredible access to tools and machines and technology.  They can do so many things with their time.  They can be anything they want to be.  It is overwhelming the opportunities that we have on the earth at this moment.

I feel this sacred stewardship to KNOW my children and to DIRECT them.  I try to buy gifts that achieve a goal I am trying to promote. What message am i sending to my children when I gift them a house full of toys?  I hope we spend more time helping our children become than we do having them look through catalogs designed by marketing professionals to lure children in and asking them to write lists and lists of things they WANT.  I do love reading letters to Santa, but I'm not a big fan of teaching my children to write long lists of wants to Santa and wake up Christmas morning to all their dreams coming true.  Blah.  I love Santa, I love Christmas morning, but I hate the gimme's.  Christmas can be magical even when it is not extremely materialistic.  (Honestly, Christmas at my house is still pretty materialistic.)

Is our job as parents to entertain our children or to provide them with opportunities to grow?  Sometimes my mind is boggled by the effort we put forth teaching ourselves and our children how to NUMB OUT.  Life is not about being entertained.  Life is about LEARNING and GROWING.  We can enjoy the time we are spending becoming something better.  I know we can.

We all love to give meaningful gifts.  I like to think more about what I want my children to DO more than I like to think about what I want my children to GET.
I want my children to love good music and develop their gifts and talents.
I want my children to be exposed to art and to learn to create.
I want my children to be smart, to read, to love learning.
I want my children to be scientific, to be active, and to have fun together.
I do not want to fill my home or my children with so many distractions that they are never bored, never have time to think, and are constantly entertained.

Christmas is a great time to choose what things I want to bring into the world my husband and I are creating for our children.  It is a time to be WISE with the gifts we give. Please, do not decide what you will get your children by the advertisements you see on TV or as you walk down the isles of the stores.  THINK ABOUT YOUR CHILD.  You will know what is best for YOUR child.  Our children are all different and there are so many possibilities!  Santa's bag is HUGE!!  Give gifts that are REAL for Christmas this year.

Here are some ideas... my list is messy and full of typos.  Sorry.

-- The Gift of Music.
Oh, there are so many things I would love to give my children musically.  (I wish I could buy Anna a harp this year.  Wouldn't it be amazing to wake up to a harp on Christmas morning?)  There is so much good music in the world!!  Please, consider giving your child a REAL guitar before you buy an updated Rock Band toy.  Consider ways that you can promote real, good music in your home.

[Note to grandparents-- As I advocate a gift of music, I am not advocating electric, musical toys.  They are annoying.  I do love wee sing cds for the car, but please grandparents, before you buy an electronic toy imagine it playing 80 times in a row in your home.]

I wanted a Bose Radio this year and I wanted to download more classical music for my children to listen to.   I also want more recommendations for "happy" music that can help me set the tome in my home. There is so much good music in the world.  I want more in my home.  

Piano Music- Have you walked through a music store?  It is full of fun music.  Your children will LOVE the instruments they play more if you fill your home with music they want to play.  I'm sure we can always expand our collection.
Here are some of the books I found on the top of my piano as i was typing this...
Something for the Boys by Dan Coates (Harry Potter, Star wars, etc.)
Viva La Vida by Coldplay (they colored a shirt onto the naked lady on the front of it.)
A Gift of Love by Marvin Goldstein
Christmas by Dan Coates
Storm Mountain by W.T. Skye Garcia
Contemporary Disney, 50 Songs, piano/vocal/guitar
I Can Play Primary Songs, by piano kids
Rachmaninoff the World Loves by The Willis Music Company
Jon Schmidt, New Age Classical Piano Solos Volume II

-- The Gift of Art.
My kids are always making things.  Every year we gift art supplies.
I love to give my kids BLANK BOOKS from, and empty canvases from Michaels.
I love to give them paper and new crayons.
The Klutz Paper Airplane Book is one of our all time favorites.
We love any Klutz kit and have gifted many.
Oragami paper and oragami books!  So fun.  (Just get some fun paper and write some youtube links!)
We love calligraphy pens and calligraphy books.
New paints and brushes.
A frame to frame some of their art.
Go to a Hobby Shop and look at the advanced paint by number kits.  They are so fun!!

My kids doodle a lot, I think they are ready to learn more than smiley face scribbles.  Did you know that most schools no longer teach ART?!!  This year we have invested in some real sketch pads, some charcoal pencils, and some great art books.  (I checked out some of the books from the library to see if my kids would like them and they have been drawing non-stop.)
Here are some of our favorites...
Draw 50... by Lee J. Ames  (Lee Ames is great!)
Kids Draw Animals by Christopher Hart
Cartoon Cute Animals by Christopher Hart
Just search "How to Draw" books and you'll find a lot of fun ones!

--The Gift of Craft.
I can't talk too openly about specific gifts this year, i'm never sure who will read this, but we LOVE to give gifts of possibility!
A tool kit full of tools and a pile of wood.
A sewing kit full of sewing stuff, fabric, patterns, yarn, crochet hooks, knitting needles... and possibilities.
A fishing kit with a pole.
A cross-stitch kit or a pillowcase to embroider.
Fabric to make a quilt or a rotary cutter and a gift card to JoAnn's.
A box of glitter and glue and wooden letters and felt.
Beads and wire and stuff to make jewelry.
Really-- what you are giving is a gift of TIME.
There are SO many possibilities!!

--The Gift of Knowledge.
Books!!!  Can you imagine life in the olden days when only the most wealthy owned books?  Can you imagine?
Children who do not want books for Christmas are children who have not found the right books.
We own so many books that I don't even know where to begin.

We bought the beautiful set of Laura Ingalls Wilder Books last year and have read the whole series aloud this year.  I love them.  (Note, you can not buy them as a set... you have to buy each one individually.)  We love to buy the kids beautiful leather books or hardback series.  Books that are not classics, we tend to let them check out from the library.  I don't mind if they read junk books, but i will not spend my money on them.

The boys love to read and reread the Lord of the Rings Series, and the Inheritance series by Chistopher Paolini.  Even my younger girls are trying to get through The Hobbit before the movie comes out.
My little girls love animal books, like The Great Animal Search.
I love the classics learn to read books, like See Jane Run, and The Curious George Collection, and Harold and the Purple Crayon, and Little Bear.
I love Go Dog Go, My Nest is Best and Old Hat, New Hat.
Old Hat, New Hat is probably my favorite book ever!!
What?  You don't think Old Hat, New Hat is an example of a completely edifying Christmas present?
bah humbug.
Old Hat New Hat
Well, that and Bears in the Night.  Love that one too!
The Great Brain is a fun younger boy series.
I love Children's poetry and Mother Goose Rhymes.
There is nothing like a beautiful book of Mother Goose Rhymes.
And, don't you love the real Grim's Fairytales?  They are fun and gruesome!
Aesop's fables.
Any book that teaches virtues.
Sigh.  i love good books.
The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook: 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America's Most Trusted Cooking Magazine
One of our FAVORITE things to give is a cookbook!
Last year we gave Jakob, the Cook's Illustrated Cookbook.  This really is the best cookbook out there.  I love it.  It EXPLAINS each recipe, so it is teaching you WHY not just telling you how.  I love it.  So does Jakob, he is a great little chef.  Wouldn't a cookbook and a new apron and even a set of mixing bowls be a fun gift to give one of your children?  i love Christmas!!

--The Gift of Science.
I love snap circuit electronic kits.
Microscopes, telescopes, model airplanes, rocket, rock collecting, coin collecting, magnets, robots...
Just walk into one of those weird, crowded hobby shops... you'll discover a whole new world!!
We love to give learning gifts.

--The Gift of Exercise.
So many fun things to do outdoors.  Warm gloves, a new hat, a bike helmet.
We love to gift sleds and bikes and skates and all my kids love this bike that i got for my six year old.
i love wrapping up a new basketball or soccer ball with a new exercise outfit.  A pedometer would be fun for a child who runs or a new water bottle.

--The Gift of Family.
Most of the games and toys i buy are bought with the idea of "Family" or togetherness.  I like blocks and trains and i love legos-- because they promote unity.  We have a huge closet full of games to play.  A new deck of cards or some dice are always fun stocking stuffers.
I especially love games that help combine young and old.  (I think Legos do that very well.)
Last year we got a foosball table and a ping pong table.
I loved getting my older boys a nice chess set or buying a family set of nice dominoes.

Yes, my children have toys and they get new pajamas and clothes for Christmas.  But, i have to ask myself how I am spending my money?  (I wrote this in first person, but really it is never just me deciding... it is Todd and I together... with input from our children and with thoughtful, prayerful pondering.)  Am i buying them things of no worth or am i investing in things that will help them be the people they can become.  We can help them be their best selves.

Christmas is about so much more than what our children WANT... it is about what they can BECOME!!  Christmas gifts can help our children become what they are destined to become.  They will become what they are exposed to.  Any time we spend money, we should be doing it with an eye single to the glory of God.
Matthew 6 says is well...
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Christmas is a great time to expose your family to goodness!!
It takes time and thought, but it is so fun to be a purposeful parent.
I hope we can all use our money WISEly this season!!
i love Christmas!

November 26, 2012

thanksgiving 2012 in review.

Did you all have a nice Thanksgiving holiday?
It was fun to have Todd's parents visiting and some friends joined us for Thanksgiving dinner.  I enjoyed the quiet of just a few extras, but i think i'm craving the hustle and bustle of aunts and uncles and cousins... i missed that.
we had lots of helpers int he kitchen.
and one, not so helpful.
We went out on black Friday and got most of our Christmas shopping done.  {Shopping for clothes for kids in that not a kid, not quite mens size is difficult!}  We played lots of games together.  My husband just loves games, and I love him.  So, we play games when he is in vacation mode.
anna and drew gathered leaves for our table.
It is always fun to visit with Todd's parents.  They are easy and so very helpful.  I'm glad my kids get the chance to know their grandparents, what a blessing!
todd and grandpa were the gravy experts.

i covered my built-in "china" cabinet with pictures...  cute or tacky?
To be honest, I'm not feeling well.  I threw up Thanksgiving dinner (it wasn't bad, because my toilets had been freshly cleaned), and I have a slight fever and runny nose.  I know I should just tough it up, and i do tough it up, but sometimes i just wish i could curl up in bed with a book and have my mom bring me some chicken soup.
the kids table.
more kids table.

Our company left this morning and we have some more visitors coming in a week.  I want to wave a magic want and transform my house from Thanksgiving to Christmas...  We are going to spend Christmas in Idaho, so it is is tempting to not even decorate my house... but, you can't have December without Christmas can you?  No.  Not even if you have a case of the sniffles.

{don't you think eve looks like todd's mom?}
Hope your holidays were great and full of thanksgiving!!
{I forgot to get a picture of the adults sitting around the table.  i hate that.}

November 22, 2012

Thankful 2012

Today I am thankful.

As I type Drew is playing the piano behind me.  My house is never quiet.  Jakob is on Todd's laptop at the kitchen table.  Anna and Ellie are coaxing Eve into a new outfit I bought her.  They are all squealing with delight, "Look at your pretty new shirt."  i love them.  Leah is naked.  She has decided she is going to take a bath every night and a shower every morning.  As I'm getting ready she always peaks out to show me her hair covered in shampoo.  "Don't i look like a funny boy?" she asks.  Lily is laying on the couch, sucking her thumb, with her silky blanket.  She takes a few minutes to warm up in the morning-- like her mother.  Todd is starting steal cut oats for breakfast. My mother and father in law are stirring in the basement- i have to stop writing to run down toilet paper and dove soap.

My home is clean and my list of things to get done before company comes is abandoned, only half completed.  The fact that i always try to squeeze too much into my day concerns me more than the fact that i didn't get my garage cleaned out before visitors arrived.  My list is always greater than my stomach.  ha!

Today I am grateful for family that is near and far.  I wish we could all be together and happy on this holiday.  I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Because I am VERY grateful and because i love produce.

Last night we had missionaries over for dinner.  They called at the last minute and said they didn't have plans.  I laughed.  It was our traditional "Starvation Dinner".  We ate beans and rice and read stories about starving people around the world.  This year I used the book "Our Heritage" and read stories of Mormon pioneers.  I  could hardly read because my eyes brimmed with tears.  This life is a good life.  Trials make us stronger.

I hope today as we feast physically we remember to also feast spiritually.
God is good.  He loves us.  He is real and He wants us to feast on His word and be FILLED with joy.

Happy Thanksgiving!!
I'm thankful for you.

November 13, 2012


do not be deceived in the name of God... or in the name of anti-God...
Today I feel calm and hopeful.  Since writing this blog, "Run, Little Red Riding Hood, Run!", I have been thinking and reading some interesting commentary.  Just in case you are wondering, I prefer being a mommy blogger to being a political consultant.  Ha!  Yet, these issues are swimming strong in my mind and I feel compelled to share them.

The nature of ANY communication is such that you can only portray a small part of what you know to be true.  That day, I was NOT afraid for the world... I was afraid for ignorant mothers.  Mothers who might have the mistaken idea that "all is well in Zion" and mothers who are fighting against religion while ignoring true evil in the wold.  I still feel that.  My call was for mothers to open their eyes and teach their children.  I still want that.

A self proclaimed "agnostic Mormon" wrote the following about my blog... "Several women in my ward have blogs like this one and post things like this all the time. They make comments about how awful it would be for their kids to be taught secular teachings by others, yet completely disregard the fact that some of us don't want them teaching kids their brand of hate and fear. And then they wonder why I say that if I have kids, I will be attending Primary with them. Sorry, but there is no way that people like that will ever be teaching my kids that the world is a scary place and unknown and unseen people (Satan) are out to get them. (Actually, my kids won't be attending Primary, so it doesn't really matter...)"

This quote makes me cringe and smile.  I don't like being "people like that", and I don't feel I was teaching "that brand of hate and fear."  While I acknowledge the danger of hate and fear and it's misuse in religion, I believe those on the left are too quick to attribute hate and fear to every true and sound moral guideline.  I absolutely feel that Satan and addiction are real and that our children need to understand that so they can protect themselves from his grasp. She is wrong, however, that I am ignorant of the idea that there are some secular teachings we should protect our children from.

I do have to say though, that the WHOLE point of that blog post was advocating AWARE mothers.  Although not yet a mother, this woman is advocating the SAME thing!!  She is exactly talking about doing what I suggest mother's need to do.  "I will be attending Primary with them."  GOOD!! This mother is willing to raise an AXE in defense of false principles.  She seems more quick to attack at church than at school or in society though.  Teach your children. Secular or non-secular we DO need to ensure that our children are taught correct principles.  But, do not be deceived.  Religion is NOT the enemy.

I have spoken before (here) about church lessons that disturb me.  One good friend of mine taught that a girl who has sex before marriage is like a licked Oreo.  She repeated over and over, "Who would want to eat a licked Oreo?"  AHHH!!  NO WAY!!  Christian churches are HOMES for licked Oreos.  We are ALL licked Oreos. Christ can take ANY licked, eaten, broken, hurt Oreo and make it completely whole again.  I would NEVER teach my young child that if she made one mistake she was lost forever, gross or unwanted.  This is dangerous doctrine taught with good intention.  IF this doctrine were accepted and preached globally it would prove destructive to ALL of us and undermine the VERY core of our belief system.  The atonement of Christ, at it's core, is about making clean the sinner.

We must be parents who are aware so that we can correct gentle mistakes before they are adopted into harmful policies.  We must be careful not to teach false doctrine.  It is important to check ourselves- we are ALL prey to deception as gentle as flaxen chords that may lead to misguided strong chains!

I believe in a country of CHECKS and BALANCES.  The idea of checks and balances is not a guarantee against corruption, but it is a necessary safety net.

The FOUNDATION of evil is DECEPTION.  The core power to do wrong is derived from people thinking they are doing right.  Religious saints of ANY denomination who think that religion should not be checked are putting themselves in a position to be deceived.  Almost EVERY major evil in world history was instigated by "religious zealots".  MUCH evil is done in the name of God.  Hitler's army held signs saying, ""Gott mit uns!" (God on our side!).  Modern Muslim extremists die with prayers to Allah on their tongue.

Can't you imagine our loving Father in Heaven cringing as He watched Hitler's army?  Can't you hear him shouting...  you are deceived!!  God is NOT on your side.  YOU should seek HIS side.  Most Anti-Gay propaganda makes me SICK...  God does NOT hate fags.  God, by very nature, loves ALL.  America is doomed if we forget this guiding principle.
We DO need to check ourselves.  We do need to be sure that our actions MATCH our doctrine.  We need to be AWARE lest we are deceived.  Do not deceive yourself into thinking that organized religion is the only corruptible system.

Because I believe in God and I know there is such thing as devils, I am NOT surprised or shaken to see that MANY use the name of God for evil.  OF COURSE THEY DO.  This does not make religion bad.  MUCH GOOD, indeed ALL good has come from God and belief.  The answer to all of life's problems lie in good men choosing to love their neighbors.  The answers to all of life's problem lay not in the arm of man, but in the arm of God.

Truthfully, students of history will find that most corruption comes from government or government's manipulation of religion, not the core of religious belief.  Peace is the core of most religious belief as is the underlying sanctity of life.  Government uses God as an excuse for wrong, but they are motivated by power not true belief.  Big, unrestrained, immoral government has killed MANY in the name of God or in the name of 'right'.  We must keep our governments in check.  [If I were to debate the late Christopher Hitchens, I would argue that it was both corrupt religion and CORRUPT GOVERNMENT that was responsible for much ill in the world. (I'm refering to this debate here.)]  You can take sentences from this paragraph to suggest I HATE and FEAR government.  I do not.  I do feel that we must CHECK our government and be sure that the policies voted by the masses are moral and ethical.

Modern-day progressives have erected a very real "Civic Religion".  Their holy land is Washington.  Their temples are big government.  Their tithing is taxes.  Their proselyting missionaries are media.  Their pastors and preachers are government officials trying to grow government.  Most of their core doctrines undermine the traditional family.  They claim to be AGNOSTIC, but in practice they are persecuted ALL who believe.  They tout the refrain "free choice" while they work to limit the choices of those who oppose them.  They preach tolerance for those who believe with them and attack as "hateful and fearful" any who disagree.  They take from free men with the INTENT to do good.  This religion MUST also be checked.  Do not follow Hitler just because he claims to be progressive and enlightened and anti-religious.

This is current, but it is NOT progressive or new.  "This situation follows an eerily similar pattern to that of the old Holy Roman Empire.  The Roman Empire loved to tout its tolerance for any and all faith systems. One common adage at the time was that "there are as many gods in Rome as people." So tolerant was Rome for myriad religious beliefs that it even constructed an altar to the "UNKNOWN GOD," for fear that it may have neglected to honor someone's obscure god.

"Why was it, then, that the Roman Empire took delight in publicly persecuting, torturing, and executing Christians? What happened to tolerance? What happened to pluralism? In direct contravention of its own laws and policies, Rome singled out Christianity for public repudiation. And that is exactly what the U.S. government is currently doing. I'll say it outright: the U.S. government has become patently anti-Christian."  (source)

Wise people on EVERY side MUST open their eyes to see.  Hate is wrong when directed to both those who do believe and those who don't.  Charity withheld is wrong, and charity misused is crippling.  Choice is wrong when forced and also wrong when valued above safety and life.  Faith that blinds men to do evil is dangerous, and completely denying the need for faith is just as dangerous.  Excessive modesty can lead to false teachings that sexuality is sinful and wrong.  A lack of morality can lead to promiscuity and free sex that is just as damaging to the human soul and just as crippling to one's ability to enjoy physical intimacy.  Education withheld breeds ignorance.  The sophistry of men leads to a dangerous trust in the limited arm of science while ignoring truth that man has yet to measure.  Tolerance withheld is hurtful and damaging.  Tolerance preached in excess negates the teaching of essential principles and foundational morality.

Every good in the world has an equal and opposite evil.  We MUST check ourselves.

Those who vote Pro Choice MUST see the harm in 40 million abortions last year worldwide.
Those who vote for a strong military MUST see the harm in unrestrained military action in other countries.
I do not believe that there are ANY who believe we should eliminate the current welfare program entirely or that we should allow children to die of poverty or disease.  But, I will say people who preach responsibility and fear entitlement MUST see governments responsibility to help those in our midst who are struggling.
Similarly, those who desire government aid for the poor among other enlarged public programs MUST acknowledge the danger in government programs so large and helpful that people can never provide a better life OFF of these programs.
Can we value diversity without destroying the strength that comes from unity and principle?
Schools that dictate belief in one absolute religion are just as harmful as schools that teach freedom from belief and morality.

We MUST judge, and we must judge correctly.  We must raise our voices in defense of TRUTH and right.  We must fight against popular belief that is WRONG and destructive.  We must TEACH truth and goodness, love and peace.  How do we judge?  Christian and non-christian alike can feel the truth in these scriptures... You do not need to believe in God to judge goodness.  HERE IS AN ACCURATE MEASURING STICK for all of us...  Moroni 7: 12-17

12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

 13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

 14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

 15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

 16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.e

 17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do aevil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

IT IS GIVEN UNTO YOU TO JUDGE!!  Judge wisely!!  Politics and life applications can seem to be right and wrong, from both the left and the right.  BOTH sides can be deceived.  We must be aware.

I feel the same way in politics as I do with parenting...  There is wrong in being too strict and wrong in being too permissive.  There is wrong in being inconsistent and wrong in being too set in your schedule.  Yes, we should love our children immensely, but we should also teach them.  We should take care of ourselves as mothers, but we should also loose ourselves in serving our families.

Families who kick their children out of their homes for getting drunk are just as dangerous as families who invite youth to get drunk in their homes.  To be a closed, antisocial family is not good, to spend all your time with friends without a strong family bond is similarly unhealthy.  I find danger in excessive health, exercise and infatuation with body image, and danger in laziness and gluttony.  Yes, we should put God first in our lives.  But, if we spend our whole day reading scripture and never feed our children, we are NOT true disciples of Christ.  Yes, we should preach the gospel.  But preaching with out practicing is hypocrisy.  Checks and balances are a good thing.

I believe right and wrong tends to be WRONG-RIGHT-WRONG.  This is NOT saying that I am a moderate or that I think right always lies in the middle of the political spectrum.  THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT DISTINCTION!  Those who did not fight FOR Hitler or AGAINST Hitler were still VERY wrong.  Moderation is not always the right way.  But, there IS a right way and there are TWO wrong ways.  GOOD principles taken to an extreme or ignored to an extreme are dangerous.  I think we need to be aware of the extremes to the right and the left of our ideologies.  We need to be AWARE lest we are deceived.  Most evil lies in deception, hate and pride.
"O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.  But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God."  2 Nephi 9:28-29

Be wise, my friends.  Be wise.  May God be with us... or more importantly, Let US be with God.

addiction and the housewife.

choose wisely the path you take.
Let me tell you about a SMALL change i made this week that has made all the difference.  After talking with my wise sister in law (you can read about her experience here) I decided to take a more active role in CHOOSING my priorities.  I recognized an addictive tendency that I have to get sucked into the computer before I have set my house in order.  I recognized the internet was taking precedence over my family- and I changed things.

As I gently recognized this pull, I used my choice to pull against it.  I decided I would not turn the computer on, or answer the phone, before I had accomplished a few goals each morning.  I began to hear the subtle deception in my mind trying to dissuade me from my choice.  As I stood firm in my resolve, I felt a peace settle on me and my home.  I felt one step closer to creating a home of order.

There is great wisdom and power in personal choice.  Ralph Wald Emmerson said, “That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased."

We ALL have addictive tendencies.  They may be great chains of addiction-- pornography, same-gender attraction, depressive thoughts, laziness, gluttony, hate, materialism, alcoholism, prescription or non-prescription drug addiction, eating disorder, theft, worldliness, greed, etc.  Or, they may be smaller threads of addiction, substances that alter your mood or other forms of escape like caffeine or reality television, reading, selfishness, chocolate, the internet, sleep, complaining, gossip, pride, laziness, etc.

The GREAT test of this life is learning to CHOOSE for ourselves.  To ACT and not be ACTED upon.  Any act where your body rules your spirit is a sin.  Happiness and joy will come in this life as we learn to bridle our passions and be filled with love (Alma 38:12).

In my mind, I have THREE voices.  The voice of the Spirit, the voice of the adversary, and my own voice of CHOICE and reason.  President Packer taught, "As the old man a generation ago said, “The Lord’s votin’ for me, and the devil’s votin’ against me, but it’s my vote that counts!” And that is good, solid doctrine.  You will have just what you want. On one hand, you have inspiration from the Holy Ghost, and, on the other hand, you have what President Ezra Taft Benson called “sinspiration” from the angels of the devil. They are with you all of the time."

There are MANY in the world today that do not believe in God or Satan.  With claims of "enlightenment" they advocate a life free from ethical bounds, they denounce warning signs as "fear tactics", they promote nature over choice.  I do not believe these people are evil... but, I do believe they are deceived.  Beware lest you are deceived.  I love the description of the devil in 2 Nephi 26:22, "he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever."  Addiction begins as a flaxen chord-- but it can quickly become a strong chain.  Do not be blind to the cords that have power to ensnare you.

I do not believe that our body or our sexual urges are evil.  I do not believe that seeking wealth is evil.  I do not believe that the internet is evil or that knowledge is evil.  Brigham Young said, "Show me one principle that has originated by the power of the Devil.  You cannot do it.  I call evil inverted good, or a correct principle made an evil use of it."  Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 69).  Any good or even any REALLY good principle, taken to an extreme, is EVIL.

LOOK at the evil that religion has inflicted throughout history.  We are not immune from Satan's deception.  Every good principle has dangerous boundaries to the right and to the left.

Let's talk about sex.  What an awesome, beautiful, unifying, pleasurable experience.  I would say, except for the experience of actually delivering a baby, sex is the best physical experience we can have on this earth.  The physical urges that draw us in and bond our bodies and souls to another person are divine, powerful and amazing.  Sexual intimacy is a great gift from God.

It is WRONG for ulta-conservatives to condemn human sexuality as lustful or suggest that sexual passion is sinful.  It is just as wrong, however, to believe that there should be no bounds placed on the exercise of our sexuality.  It is ignorant to believe that our thoughts and appetites are "who we are".  It is ignorant to not realize the power man has to choose to act or not act on physical urges.

EVERY parent has felt the physical urge to beat their child.  I really believe this.  I remember the first time.  My baby had screamed ALL NIGHT LONG.  I was tired and I was rocking and rocking and rocking while he SCREAMED.  In one moment, my love and concern for him changed to anger.  I did not hurt my child, but I felt this urge to shake him quiet.  Immediately I recalled warnings we had read in the hospital about "shaking baby syndrome."  It was as if a light bulb went off in my head.  I remember thinking, THIS is what they are talking about.  Warnings are good.  Incidentally, that urge to shake him, shook me.  It was only moments later that I felt another feeling, urging me to turn on the lights.  To my horror, I saw that my baby was covered in hives.  Todd and I rushed him to the ER and found he was having an aller,gic reaction to penicillin.  Please discern the thoughts and urges that come into your mind.

In an article called, "Bridle All Your Passions" the author asks, "Is self-denial wise because there is something wrong with our passions, or because there is something right with our passions? Alma taught his son: “See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.” (Alma 38:12; emphasis added.) He did not say we should suppress or eliminate our passions but rather bridle them—harness, channel, and focus them. Why? Because disciplining our passions makes possible a richer, deeper love."

Did you read that?  It is an ETERNAL TRUTH!!!  Teach THIS to your children!!!  We must lovingly teach them to disciple their passions WITHOUT teaching condemnation for our passions!
"disciplining our passions makes possible a richer, deeper love!"

This married couple goes on to quote, "President Spencer W. Kimball once said that “marriage can be more an exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive.” (Speeches of the Year, Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1976, p. 147.) There is some kind of mysterious magnetism that draws us toward one another, like homing pigeons looking for home. And when we have paid the price of patient preparation, self-discipline, and an irrevocable commitment to another person’s happiness, we can taste the sweet joy of authentic human love. To be encircled about eternally in the arms of such love is to fulfill our deepest longing for security and belonging."  We ALL have this innate desire for family.

I have been married for almost 15 years.  During that time I have been pregnant 12 times and have given birth to 7 children.  I have nursed all of my children.  It is safe to say, that I understand the very real, very powerful impact of HORMONES.  I do not, however, subscribe to the idea, that sexuality is determined by our hormones.  ANY monogamous couple has learned that passion does not dictate action.  Similarly, action does not always dictate passion.  A mutually fulfilling relationship is one that combines both physical and spiritual.  As we CHOOSE to love, spiritually and physically, we are filled with a greater capacity to love.

Beware of a society that teaches sex is about self.  It is not.  Sex is an act of giving-- when two people unite in giving, they are both edified.  Beware of a society that teaches pregnancy is a mistake or an unwanted side affect.  It is not.  Pregnancy is a miracle and a gift.  Beware of a society that teaches you to explore the edges of self pleasure to discover who you are and what you want and indulge in whatever makes you happy.  This is dangerous.  Choose the home you want to create.  Choose the life you want to create for your children and work towards that goal.  Sure, you can engage in survival of the fittest.  I suggest that, even in the wilderness, FAMILIES tend to survive better than individuals.  Check yourselves.

You can fail to identify the influence of evil in your life.  But that does NOT make you more enlightened.  It makes you easier to deceive.  It puts your children at risk.  Beware.  Knowledge does NOT make you afraid, it makes you wise.  You who don't believe in cliffs can ski through unmarked mountain slopes, with or without fear.  But, as for me and my family, I hope we will ski down the well-lit paths in safety.

“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. … It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. … Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts” (The Screwtape Letters, New York: Macmillan, 1962, p. 56).

Brigham Young stated: “Many think that the Devil has rule and power over both body and spirit. Now, I want to tell you that he does not hold any power over man, only so far as the body overcomes the spirit that is in a man, through yielding to the spirit of evil. …
“The spirit is pure, and under the special control and influence of the Lord, but the body is of the earth, and is subject to the power of the Devil, and is under the mighty influence of that fallen nature that is of the earth. If the spirit yields to the body, the Devil then has power to overcome the body and spirit of that man, and he loses both."
“Recollect, brethren and sisters, every one of you, that when evil is suggested to you, when it arises in your hearts, it is through the temporal organization. When you are tempted, buffeted, and step out of the way inadvertently; when you are overtaken in a fault, or commit an overt act unthinkingly; when you are full of evil passion, and wish to yield to it, then stop and let the spirit, which God has put into your tabernacles, take the lead. If you do that, I will promise that you will overcome all evil, and obtain eternal lives. But many, very many, let the spirit yield to the body, and are overcome and destroyed” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 69-70).

To overcome temptation you and I must control our thoughts. Exit from your mind bad thoughts. Avoid the wrong way of unrighteous thoughts. Stop thoughts that lead to behavior unbecoming to a Latter-day Saint. You do not have to yield to temptation! Discipline what you allow your eyes to see, your ears to hear, your mouth to speak, and your hands to touch.
Yielding to temptation can lead to the addiction of both body and spirit. Addiction can be overpowering and lead to enslavement, and enslavement leads to loss of freedom and inner peace.

 Elder Melvin J. Ballard (1873–1939), a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
The body that has been given to us was for the purpose of allowing the spirit to exalt itself to a nobler condition. The lightning that is seen flashing from cloud to cloud, from mountain top to mountain top, is an electrical force that may tear down buildings, set fire to property, and destroy life. Conduct electricity through the dynamo wire, and motor, and behold its wonderful results working for the service of man, accomplishing something under the control of a physical instrument, it thus becomes a power for good. So with steam, if allowed to evaporate freely it does little good, but restrain it in the boiler, send it through the engine, and under its power you may travel across the continent or sail from shore to shore. And so, too, with this highest, most potent of all spiritual forces, the intelligence that is in man; enshrine it in a spiritual body, that it may have the experiences of spiritual life; and then give it a physical body, that it may enter into and obtain the joy and experiences of physical life, and you have enlarged its powers immeasurably” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1912, 107).

I LOVE THIS LIFE!!  I love the opportunity to choose.  I love the opportunity to teach my children and to share my beliefs with you.  I know that there is a God.  I also know that there is evil.  I pray that all of us will choose good!  Choose good.  Choose to be pure.  Cleave unto that which is holy inside of you.  God loves you.  He wants us to be happy.  He wants us to experience a fullness of joy.  He blesses us every day.

"He is our Heavenly Father; he is also our God, and the Maker and upholder of all things in heaven and on earth.  He sends forth his counsels and extends his providences to all living.  He is the Supreme Controller of the universe.  At his rebuke the sea is dried up, and the rivers become a wilderness.  He measures the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meteth out heaven with a span, and comprehendeth the dust of the earth in a measure, and weigheth the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance; the nations to him are as a drop in a bucket, and he taketh up the isles as a very little thing; the hairs of our heads are numbered by him, and not a sparrow falleth to the ground without our Father; and he knoweth every thought and intent of the hearts of all living, for he is everywhere present by the power of his Spirit- his minister, the Holy Ghost.  He is the Father of all, is above all, through all, and in you all; he knoweth all things pertaining to this earth, and he knows all things pertaining to millions of earths like this."  (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 19).

You are known and you are loved.  May we all live to the goodness and potential that is inside each of us!!
To ACT and not be acted upon.  Thank you for reading my thoughts and the thoughts of those who are more wise than I am.  Understanding the power of addiction DOES NOT make us hateful, unenlightened or ignorant.  Recognizing and acknowledging the power fighting against us makes us stronger and WISER.  Wise to choose a better way.  


Great talks about overcoming temptation... PLEASE READ THEM.
They say it so much better than i do!

"Beware Concerning Yourselves"

November 12, 2012

You can LOVE, tolerate and teach.

There is ONE principle that every mother must learn quickly and completely-- it is THIS...
Everything we do must begin with love and kindness.

These are foundational principles that proceed ANY teaching, any discipline and any relationship.  If you can not love someone as he is, you can never teach them to become better.  If you do not love, you cannot even SEE who someone really is.  Without love you are blinded by your own defensiveness and prejudice.  Learning to love and be loved is one of the primary purposes of this earthly life.  We become more like Christ as we LOVE others and we become darkness as we hate or condemn others.

As I've learned about loving, I've been humbled.  Often the child behaving the worst is the child hurting the most.  Hurting children need more love not more condemnation.  Love them!

If we teach our children right and wrong principles and fail to teach them the underlying principle of LOVE, we have ultimately failed.  Christ ate with sinners, he loved them.  Everyone Christ associated with was a sinner-- we ALL are.  He was the most condemning of hypocritical church leaders.  Christ also taught men how to live.  He said to the women caught in adultery two things.  First, that he did not condemn her.  Second, that she should go her way and sin no more.  You can love and teach.  Mothers armed with knowledge are useless without hearts filled with love.  Nobody can hear what you say when what you are screams so loudly.  But there is much you can say with a heart full of love.

In my recent posts I have spoken out against what I view as harmful, yes even evil, principles and ideals.  I was not hateful or condemning or unkind.  I was talking about evil principles NOT evil people.  I think it is important that we are able to discuss these things.  I have spent YEARS writing about the importance of loving our children and our neighbors.  I would hope that whatever your political or religious leanings you would agree that abortion is too common, and that it is important to teach our children to be careful with their sexuality, to be careful of the chains of addiction, to watch for deceptive advertising in all of it's most clever forms.  We all teach these principles to our children.

I would stand right beside you and support YOUR right to discuss issues that important to you.  I would not call you hateful because you disagree with me.  Most people in America today understand and appreciate dialog on both sides of the issues.  I hope YOU tolerate those who disagree with you as readily as you tolerate those who walk beside you.  (Matthew 5:43-44)  I find GREAT hypocrisy in some "tolerant" people.

I APPLAUD modern-day advances in tolerance and kindness.  As a society we have come far!  Thank God for the civil rights movement.  Thank God for women's rights.  Thank God that so many of yesterday's hidden evils are being brought forward and talked about.  We have come a long way.  Child abuse, domestic violence, racism, sexism, addiction, and yes, even sexual discrimination are all evils that we have fought against in our society.  "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  Let us continue to embrace these principles.

Believing in tolerance does NOT mean that I must endorse all behavior.  It is possible to love the sinner and still believe in SIN.  We are ALL sinners and yet, sin is real.  It is possible to boldly teach correct principles and gently embrace difference.  We must be firm in our understanding and gentle in our application.

I have a large family.  My days are spent learning to love imperfect people, myself included.  There are many times throughout the day that I show compassion while holding firm to my values.  I understand the toddler who is sobbing because she wants a certain toy.  I love her, but I would still teach her to share.

My children are not evil because they want to stay up late each night or spend all day on mind-numbing video games.  I am not HATEFUL because I teach them principles of health and encourage them to spend their time wisely. I am not condemning or hateful of other children who play violent M rated video games, when i teach my children to avoid them.

I will teach my children to brush their teeth, I will stand firm in principles of hygiene, and I will still love them with fuzzy, yellow teeth.  My four year old just told the dentist, "Sometimes I'm tricky.  I tell my mom I did brush my teeth when really I didn't."  I adore that child.  I can love her where she is and continue to teach her healthy principles.  Of course you can teach principles and still love people who don't embrace those principles.

Being firm in principle DOES NOT equal hate.  You can love and teach at the same time.  I have said MANY times on this blog- if you cannot teach kindness and hard work, pick kindness.  Kindness and love are values that trump.  If you can't be kind and firm-- just be kind.

I practice what i preach every day of my life.  I am not perfect at this yet, but I see my weakness.

Someday, perhaps, I will have a daughter who gets pregnant at an inconvenient time.  Perhaps she will consider abortion.  I hope I hold her close.  I hope I hold her closer as she struggles with her decision.  I hope by that point we have a relationship that is gentle and defined enough that she would come to me.  And, if ultimately she does decide to abort, I hope I am there for her-- to comfort and to love and to help her heal.  Not to stand by pointing a condemning finger.  If I had a child who struggled with same-gender attraction I would love them just the same.  Life is all about choices.  Although I feel strongly that we MUST teach, I feel even more strongly that we must LOVE first.

Honestly, I believe that evil is tricky and deceiving.  I believe that it hurts those tangled in it's web MORE than it hurts society as a whole.  Perhaps this is an offensive analogy, but I believe those who are caught in the web of addiction (substance abuse or sexual in nature) are similar to people caught in abusive relationships.  These friends return again and again to lifestyle choices that leave them bruised and hurting.  I feel compassion for these people, not hate.  I feel anger towards the abuser.  I hate addiction.  I think we should teach our children the REAL affects of addiction so that they can choose wisely.

Similarly, I see the victims of abortion as both the fetus and the mother.  Yes, I am Pro-Life, but I am not advocating less choice.  I am advocating INFORMED choices, supported choices, TRUE choices.  Women who choose abortion should feel like they have a choice.  They should know the REAL effects of their choice and they should see REAL alternatives.  Knowledge is powerful.

I can teach my children, but I cannot force them to live the choices I choose for them.  I learned that trying to dress my daughters for kindergarten-- they have minds of their own.  I love that about my children!  I will teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves.  I hope that as they choose they will feel me CLOSE.  I hope that I have taught them FIRST that they are loved and that they are good.

I wish that i could open my heart to you, that you could see inside.  I wish that you could feel how honestly I love others.  It is intrinsic in my nature and something I have spent years developing.  As an observer of people, I have noticed that loving families last.  Strict, condemning, military like families seem to have more obedient toddlers, perfectly reverent teenagers and absolutely rebellious young adults.  I advocate love.

If you have a child that is straying from the path of life you would choose for them, I would say-- JUST LOVE THEM.  Hopefully by now you have taught them what you believe, stop teaching and pray for more love.  We all could use more love.  I believe that love changes people.  Charity never faileth.  I believe in a Savior who inspires by love.  I believe in Satan who condemns and rejects.  Christ says, "You are so good you can be better."  Satan says, "You are worthless, you are evil, you are ruined."  I pray that as mothers we have eyes to see the goodness in our children and our neighbors, no matter the blaring weakness.

I'll say it again-- I believe that there is right and wrong, good and evil.  I believe that there are absolute principles that we must teach our children.  But, i do not believe that there are very many people that fall into the absolute category.  We are all a mixture of good and bad.

I have a friend that cautions against using the words black and white because of the horrible connotation they suggest leading back to slavery and white supremacy.  I have thought much about his caution and concluded-- there may be black and white principles (maybe not) but I have yet to meet ONE black or white person.  We are all different shades of tan.  It is important that I do not condemn you for your beliefs and it is just as important that YOU do not label me as a hateful bigot because I advocate caution and teaching.

Love is foundational, but love is NOT all we need.  We MUST love first-- and we must teach correct principles.  We can do both.  We can tolerate without endorsing.  We can love the person and hate the sin.

Have you ever had a friend that struggles with addiction?  Have you looked into their eyes and have you seen their suffering soul?  I have.  Have you ever felt an overwhelming love pour over you?  Have your eyes filled with tears and have your arms longed to pour love and comfort into their very beings?  I have.  And, as I have seen my struggling friends, as I have been filled with overwhelming love, I have also been filled with HATE for the evil that was strangling them.  I HATE addiction.  I hate drugs.  I hate evil that rips at men's souls.  You can hate evil and love people at the same time.  I know it.

November 11, 2012

Teach Your Sons (and daughters).

Boys need to become men- we need to encourage them to be the valiant, courageous protectors of the home that they once were.

So much of our society focuses on the power of women.  Birth control, abortion, equal pay- these were all major issues in the recent campaign.  It is true, women have great power and influence.  I worry that focus on women is depriving boys the motivation to "man up".

One of my favorite humanitarian, micro-credit ventures is the Nobel Peace Prize winning, Grameen Bank.  Where lenders grant loans (usually under $30) to people in poverty to help them climb out, without requiring collateral.  The Grameen Bank grants 97% of it's loans to women.  "Studies have shown that the overall output of development is greater when loans are given to women instead of men, as women are more likely to use their earnings to improve their living situations and to educate their children.  They are more likely to benefit families and in turn society." (source)  While at the same time, loans given to men were more likely to be squandered on alcohol or selfish endeavors   This is a sad commentary on today's men.

I believe that families are ordained of God.  I believe that by divine design, fathers should provide for and protect their family.  It is good for men to be motivated by the welfare of their family, to work hard and provide.  It is a heavy burden they carry and one that in this day and age is very difficult to do.

My thoughts are not aimed at current situations where women might be required to work to supplement income for their families.  My thoughts are aimed at what we are teaching our sons and daughters.

1.  Teach young men to PROTECT their children.

I loved this quote from the book, Manning Up.  (I want to read that book-- out loud to my children.)
“It’s been an almost universal rule of civilization that whereas girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity, boys had to pass a test. They needed to demonstrate courage, physical prowess, or mastery of the necessary skills. The goal was to prove their competence as protectors of women and children; this was always their primary social role. Today, however, with women moving ahead in an advanced economy, provider husbands and fathers are now optional, and the character qualities men had needed to play their role—fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity—are obsolete and even a little embarrassing.

Surprisingly, I return again to the subject of abortion.  (I do NOT understand why my mind continues to stray to this devastating trend.)  In 2011 over 1,200,000 babies were aborted in the US (source).  In years past, couples were more careful when engaging in sexual intercourse.  When women did become pregnant, social stigma was such that men were encouraged to step up and take responsibility for the life they created.  Because i believe that any two people, committed to the same goal, can create a happy life together, I believe that those societal pressures were a good thing.  I believe that it was good for men to feel pressure to provide and protect their families.  It is interesting to me that men protecting their families may have been able to save 1,200,000 of our young from brutal death.  In the recent 9/11 attacks on the NY Trade center, a staggering 2,753 Americans died (source).  We feel pride sending our men to protect our national liberty but feel shame in encouraging men to step-up and protect their own offspring from a more certain death.  I am Pro-Choice for men.

My friends and family who support the Pro-Choice agenda all claim they are not Pro-Abortion. They repeat the slogan, "We are for a women's right to choose."  Insisting, nobody is really pro-abortion.  I beg to differ.  Obviously 1,200,000 couples (I hope it was a joint decision) ARE pro-abortion.  That is ONE MILLION TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND of America's young that were murdered last year alone.  It is staggering.  What a cruel form of birth control, what a sad commentary on society.

    Nyu Nicu
Was it interesting to you to watch images from hurricane Sandy, as NJ nurses worked bravely to rescue baby Nyu born at 28 weeks gestation (source)?  Did you think, like I did, that if he were just a few weeks younger, our same nation would be fighting to protect his mother's "right" to kill him?  We need to protect our children.  We need MEN to step up and provide for and protect the families they are creating.

There are TWO parts to this equation.  Boys need to provide and protect and girls need to learn to be CONTENT with less.  In our society we value FINANCIAL SECURITY, SELFISHNESS, MATERIALISM and WEALTH more than we value strong families, morality, sacrifice or hard work.  This is dangerous.  Families are not more successful when they are wealthy.  There is much goodness that comes from the struggling years.  Children who may not have every worldly pleasure have compensating qualities.  In exchange for Nike shoes they are developing gratitude, humility, patience, and learning to be content with little.  These are great lessons.  I believe that we are killing our children because we are afraid we can not give them Disney World or fancy clothes.  Be careful.  Men, provide for your families.  Women, teach your families to be content with less, don't be afraid of the struggle- it is good.

2.  Teach your sons to GUARD their thoughts and remain sexually pure.

 I love this quote (from here)--
"You adult men—fathers, single adults, leaders, home teachers—be worthy models and help the rising generation of boys become men. Teach them social and other skills: how to participate in a conversation, how to get acquainted and interact with others, how to relate to women and girls, how to serve, how to be active and enjoy recreation, how to pursue hobbies without becoming addicted, how to correct mistakes and make better choices."

"Commenting on the survey, a former U.S. cabinet secretary stated: “This year’s survey reveals a new kind of potent peer pressure—digital peer pressure. Digital peer pressure moves beyond a child’s friends and the kids they hang out with. It invades the home and a child’s bedroom via the Internet.” The demonstration of righteous courage will often be as subtle as to click or not to click. Missionaries are taught from Preach My Gospel, “What you choose to think and do when you are alone and you believe no one is watching is a strong measure of your virtue.” Be courageous! Be strong! “Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved.” (source)

Current ideology suggests that sexuality is genetic and that we should listen and act on the thoughts and urges that present themselves on the stage of our mind.  Contrast that with modern-day religious teaching that encourages us to CHOOSE what thoughts we entertain.  I am not suggesting that there is no genetic component to our sexuality.  But, I do believe that we each have MANY genetic tendencies.  Like the parable of the talents.  Some we can bury and some we can invest.  It is ultimately our CHOICES, not our tendencies that create who we will become.

President Packer describes our mind as a stage (source).  He says,
“The mind is like a stage. During every waking moment the curtain is up. There is always some act being performed on that stage. It may be a comedy, a tragedy, interesting or dull, good or bad; but always there is some act playing on the stage of your mind.

“Have you noticed that shady little thoughts may creep in from the wings and attract your attention in the middle of almost any performance and without any real intent on your part? These delinquent thoughts will try to upstage everybody. If you permit them to go on, all thoughts of any virtue will leave the stage. You will be left, because you consented to it, to the influence of unrighteous thoughts. … When they have the stage, if you let them, they will devise the most clever persuasions to hold your attention. They can make it interesting all right, even convince you that they are innocent, for they are but thoughts. What do you do at a time like that, when the stage of your mind is commandeered by the imps of unclean thinking, whether they be the gray ones that seem almost clean or the filthy ones that leave no room for doubt? If you can fill your mind with clean and constructive thoughts, then there will be no room for these persistent imps, and they will leave.”

I have a friend who insisted that she could never make herself a lesbian.  I whole-heartily disagree.  As a society we KNOW this is not true.  We have all watched Super Bowl commercials.  Companies spend MILLIONS on 30 seconds of ad time.  Because they believe that a THOUGHT when given only half a minute of your attention, can influence you.  "The price is going up. The 2011 game on Fox averaged $3 million per 30 seconds and the 2012 game on NBC averaged $3.5 million." (source)  Advertisers are spending 3.5 MILLION dollars for 30 seconds of your thoughts.  They KNOW thoughts influence behavior.

THE WORLD KNOWS THIS IS A FACT-- DO YOUR CHILDREN KNOW IT?  Of course we want to protect our children from common homosexual propaganda  from pornography and from the transitional soft-porn.  Exposure to sexual erotica CHANGES people.  Protect your children- teach them to guard their thoughts and to avoid evil.  Teach them what they do when immoral thoughts or images are presented to them, BECAUSE THEY WILL BE EXPOSED TO IT.  Repeated exposure desensitizes us.  Let the initial coughing fits of an experimental smoker serve as ample warning.  Avoid any type of addiction.  Teach your children, as President Monson counseled, “To make [decisions] wisely, courage is needed—the courage to say no, the courage to say yes. …
“I plead with you to make a determination … right now, not to deviate from the path which will lead to our goal: eternal life with our Father in Heaven.” (source)

I believe you CAN influence your very nature by what you expose yourself to, by the company you keep, by the thoughts you entertain, and by the acts you engage in.  I believe that a young girl who is modest and chaste, can become promiscuous and desensitized by repeated exposure to sexually explicit situations.  I believe that young children exposed to abuse or dysfunction are changed.  Their very natures are scarred and their sexual identity is marred.  I believe it is possible to return to virtue no matter how far you have walked down different paths.

There is DANGER in teaching our young people to discover who they are by listening to their thoughts and urges.  Instead we need to teach them to CHOOSE who they want to be by carefully replacing dark, immoral, selfish thoughts with thoughts and actions that lead to edifying, wholesome, productive activities.  Too much of today's view of sexuality is centered on self-pleasure.  We need to teach our children to use their sexuality to LOVE others, to focus outside of themselves on creating a family or serving a spouse with their sexual urges.  Yes, sexuality can be a beautiful gift.  But it is a gift that must be bridled to enjoy it's highest power.

3.  Teach your sons that THEY decide who they are.  Do NOT let society convince them that they are something they don't want to be.

I have one more thing to say concerning same-sex attraction.  Do NOT allow society to equate traditionally feminine and masculine characteristics with one's sexual identity.  This is dangerous.  I believe sexual gender is one of the few absolutes in life.  I believe that our body's gender mirrors the eternal gender of our spirit.  We are intrinsically male and female and it takes both MALE and FEMALE to create life and both male and female to give children the best foundation for life.  While we may be able to change the appearance of our bodies we cannot change the nature of our spirit.  Botched circumcisions do not change the DNA of the soul.  (read this story).

Saying that, I want to scream to society.  Men, who are kind, sensitive, caring, creative, dramatic, fun, physical, nurturing, domestic... are not inherently female.  Some of the BEST men I know have these creative tendencies.  These qualities make strong men, not just gay men.  Females who are not concerned with primping and gossiping and typically girly things are not inherently lesbian.  These are the strong, pioneer women who have built the foundation of our country.  Protect your children from the damaging messages that  society is sending.  BOYS are still boys even if they like to paint their fingernails as a child.  TRUST ME. ALL BOYS LIKE THAT.  These androgynous social characteristics make better men, better fathers, better women and better mothers.  Many of the best marriages I know seem to link more masculine women with more feminine men.  My husband makes better bread than I do and I am a strong, bold woman.  Don't let society convince your children that their gifts and talents disqualify them from a healthy, happy, family life.

Thanks for reading my daily wanderings.

I don't know why I feel so strongly about these social issues.
Abortion and same-gender attraction are issues that affect my family and my friends.

My soul is compassionate.  I want people to be happy.  My heart aches for those of you who are battling with your thoughts and past choices.  This is a HARD battle, but one that we can win.  (read about Josh Weed, and Ty Mansfield- these are men that are winning the battle they continue to fight.)  I believe with all of my soul that true happiness DOES NOT come from indulging in behavior that is selfish, lazy, or even natural to man.  True happiness comes when we CHOOSE the type of home we want to create FOR OUR CHILDREN.  True happiness comes when we work every day to become the type of parents THEY DESERVE.  Beware lest you be deceived.  Teach your children. Save your children.  Fight against the trends of society that will destroy our children and destroy our homes.  This is the fight of our generation-- we are in the final battles.

Let's teach our girls to be women and mothers, teach our boys to be men and fathers.  As we protect our families we will be protecting our nation.

Read these talks-- they are WONDERFUL.
1- Brethren, We Have a Work to Do.
2- Be Valiant in Courage, Strength, and Activity.
Read them, even if you are not LDS.
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