Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Becoming Extraordinary

"..and we hope you'll never change..."
"...Oh, but we simply must change--mustn't we?...If we aren't changing and growing every day--if we aren't always becoming instead of just simply being--well, wouldn't that be a terrible thing?"

"But let me tell you a little secret...Even the ordinary people are extraordinary. They just don't know it."

--Enchantress of Crumbledown by Donald R. Marshall

The Morning Inside of Us

"...what dear Henry David once said is so true: morning is the most memorable season of the day, the awakening hour. That's the time when we're most alert to sounds, to smells, to tastes--to the world around us. There is something awake in us then that sleeps all the rest of the day--and when we're most awake, then, of course, that's when we're most alive. We must always remember to listen to the morning inside of us."

"No more words tonight, please. There are little night demons who can appear from nowhere after midnight to twist our words and warp our thoughts. Wait, please--wait until morning and see how different everything will seem. Bombs bursting all around us at midnight can be transformed, in the clear light of day, into nothing more than delicate little bubbles vanishing into the air...Please, little dove. Please...Trust the morning."

"Always, dear children, always remember to keep the morning and the springtime in you."

--Enchantress of Crumbledown, by Donald R. Marshall

Friday, August 17, 2007

Question 41

Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire; after saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Unity in Marriage

For background and context, read Lee's Blog first.

The most important thing to remember whenever this situation arises is that righteous unity in a marriage or companionship involves three parties, not two. I recognize three possible scenarios concerning the unity of the three involved parties and unity with the spirit is directly related to unity between spouses.

1: Spouses not united. Result: no unity with the spirit

2: Spouses united in an unrighteous cause. Result: no unity with the spirit

3: Spouses united in a righteous cause. Result: unity with the spirit

Of the three scenarios, only one will allow the spirit into a marriage. The odds are against us. From my experience in the mission, there were two contributing factors to the threat of unity.

1) Culture/background: affecting our individual perspective on ideals such as work, obedience, study, etc.

2) Language: affecting our ability to have clear communication

In a marriage, these two components apply. We have all been brought up in a unique family culture and may differ from that of our spouse. Anything from how to load the dishwasher to Sabbath activities has potential to cause discordance in a relationship. The only way to overcome these differences is through communication. This, however, can also be a barrier. I have found that even though we both speak English, misunderstandings still exist. We must patiently, prayerfully, and with the spirit strive to overcome these road blocks. We must take their hand and follow them to their viewing point.

On my mission there were times when I just could not see what my companions saw. I had little to no knowledge of their background and culture and I just couldn’t make the leap to their side of the mountain to see what they saw. Through various experiences, I learned that I needed to love them and trust them, knowing that they had the same righteous goals that I did and if their actions were best for them to accomplish our righteous goals, I needed to be willing to accept that and support them. When they felt that trust, they were much more careful about the decisions they made, sorting between what was necessary and what wasn’t. I too did the same. When I felt strongly about something, influenced by the power of the spirit, I was able to effectively explain my feelings with the help of the spirit and prayer. Because it was done with the spirit, it touched my companion and testified to her what was right. Because they had the same righteous goals, the righteous path was always accepted and unity resulted.

Lee mentioned something about assuming the best in your spouse. To me this means assume that they are also looking toward a righteous end. For whatever reason, what they are doing is their way to meet that goal. We need to trust them and support them. If we truly feel that what they are doing is not taking them to the righteous end, it is important to communicate. We cannot support them in an unrighteous cause or else the spirit will not be with us. But first, we must assume that it is a righteous cause and try to understand how their actions are leading to the righteous end. If it isn’t, the spirit will testify of the right path and since both are seeking righteousness, both will feel and accept the teachings of the spirit. We will know we are doing right because the three-fold unity will result.

As President Hinckley has counseled: Be grateful. Be smart. Be involved. Be clean. Be true. Be positive. Be humble. Be still. Be prayerful. I add: Be united in righteous causes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Teaching Reverence

Today in church the lesson was on Reverence. The sisters shared some ideas of how they have taught or helped their children learn reverence, particularly at church. I thought I'd share them here and ask for any other tricks and ideas that others have tried or heard of.
  • One mother kept Tabasco sauce in her purse at church. The misbehaving child would promptly receive some on their tongue! She said that she rarely had to use it; it was more of a threat.
  • If reverence was not practiced at church, then it was practiced at home. The children sat on fold-up chairs with arms folded listening to church music until the parent felt the kids had enough practice to remember how to do it the next week!
  • Avoid sitting by children's friends! Having a friend near encourages talk and play.
  • Holding the kids on you lap helps soothe them and feel loved.
  • Sitting on the aisle keeps them more easily contained!
  • Too much stuff makes for more noise. One mother allowed only one Friend magazine for each child. No pencils, toys, etc. They could only sit quietly and look at their magazine, beginning after the sacrament.
  • Lee's family would have three scoops of ice cream Sunday evenings. If a child decided to misbehave at church, mother would simply tell them they were down to two scoops! (Apparently it rarely went much further than that).
  • My dad would rack us! He would take us in the hall and sit us on top of the coat rack so we couldn't run around and enjoy being free of the service. He made our experience inside more enjoyable than the one outside so we weren't rewarded for poor behavior.
That's all I can remember right now. There are some pretty good ideas. I know that there is not one sure trick to this since every child is different and responds to individual consequences. The real trick is continual guidance and practice, the parents being the example.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Help us decide please!

Go to Lee's blog; he has a new poll. We want a little help in deciding which comforter to keep. It will determine the colors we use in our bedroom (specifically the curtains we get). Your vote is anonymous, but don't feel bad if we don't choose the one you vote for! (And we won't get our feelings hurt if you don't like either of them or think there are better colors for the room). We probably won't make our decision based on the outcome of the poll, but it will be fun to get some input. Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Happy Quote

"Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you, but on what happens inside of you. It is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life."

--President Harold B. Lee