9.27.2013

And the Winner is...


Congratulations, Natalie!  
And thanks again to all my friends, family and readers!  

"In the moments when our senses are overwhelmed by the details, it can be so helpful to have a clear understanding of our role, our influence, and our commitment.  Motherhood is one of the most important opportunities we have to become like Jesus Christ.  The service we do for our children, even the simple things, is  a symbol of the service Jesus Christ performs for us."   
- - Stephanie Dibb Sorensen - - 

9.25.2013

Free Book Giveaway!!

Spiritually Minded Motherhood just reached over 10,000 hits! 

To celebrate and to thank all of my friends, family and readers I have a gift!

Stephanie Dibb Sorensen, creator of Diapers and Divinity has graciously offered a copy of her new book, Covenant Motherhood to one of my lucky readers!

All you have to do is spread the word! 

FIRST: 
TODAY or TOMORROW simply tell your friends about this site. Share it on Facebook, send an email, post it on Pinterest, share it any way you like!  

SECOND:  
Post a comment telling me how you spread the word. 

FRIDAY, Sept. 27th  I will announce the lucky winner!


About the Book:


What time more than now do we need strong others raising a righteous army to prepare the way of the Lord?  This book is so timely and full of doctrine and principles that will sustain any family. I love how the author takes each characteristic of Christ and applies is to our role as mothers.  Through the humorous and simple stories she shares from her own life story as mother I learned that all mothers have the day to day struggles of life but can persevere through faith in the Savior.  This book is a must read for any mom.  I wish I'd had this when I was just starting out. 

9.24.2013

Light in the Wilderness Discussion #1

We had our first discussion yesterday.  It was so great to reconvene with everyone.   I would say the two main themes that came out of our discussion yesterday from Light in the Wilderness were mindfulness, agency and light.

Mindfulness
"Human tendency [is] to make gospel experience less labor intensive, to routinize it...The mind needs to be engaged spiritually in order to stay with spiritual development....The mind must not only be fed but filled with the things of God in order to withstand the crowding tactics of the Adversary (pp. vii, ix)."

How do we do that? How do we exert our minds spiritually so that we can crowd out the Adversary's distractions?  How do we keep ourselves from routinizing the gospel, and is a routine really that bad? 

In our discussion these are some thoughts we came up with in answer to the questions above. 

Routine is important.  Making a habit of daily study, for instance, is important in order to be sure to study every day.  God is a God of order.  However, we need to be sure we're not just checking it off our list so to speak.  It's the intent in our heart that needs to be checked to see where we are on the path of true discipleship.

Why do we not exert ourselves spiritually?
It's hard!  It's overwhelming to think of becoming like Christ.  That is a seemingly impossible goal to reach.  Sometimes we also, however, use "I can't become perfect in this life" as an excuse for not becoming who we need to become.

We also don't take the time to become spiritually minded.  Our culture is such that we are busy.  We're afraid of becoming idle.  It's essential that we learn the art of being still.  But, we don't want to be still because then we might learn things about ourselves we don't really want to know! 

We must, however, attune ourselves with the mind of Christ by truly giving of ourselves in prayer and scripture study daily.  This requires a proper use of agency.

Agency
A frequently asked question in the Church is, "How do I know if it's me or the Spirit?"  Or, in another way, "How do I know if it's my will or the Lord's?" 

Sometimes I think we put agency in human terms rather than God's terms.  M. Catherine Thomas talks about the "language of the Spirit" and how our human language serves as a barrier against spiritual things.  We see things through mortal eyes rather than spiritual.  I believe agency is less about the mortal choice we make (i.e. turn right or turn left) and more about the one question we know about in the premortal existence:  will I follow Christ or will I give in to the Adversary? 

President Monson has recently said, "The Lord is involved in the details of our lives."  That means more to me than He is following me and will comfort me when I fall.  He is guiding our footsteps, placing in our paths the needed people, places, experiences, trials and moments that will purify us and lead us to becoming true disciples.  Agency is about our WILL.  The fact that the Lord is creating a pathway for each of us individually does not take away our agency because we are still choosing what we make of ourselves. 

Light
How much light can we withstand in this mortal existence? 

"The antidote to the problems of language, then, is personal spiritual experience, because without that, spiritual teachings remain theories and hearsay, lending themselves to distortion and misunderstanding.  That is, whatever we think we know likely has some degree of distortion in it until we actually 'gaze into Heaven,'  whatever form that experience may take (vii)."

I love that phrase, "gaze into heaven."  We have the opportunity to gaze into heaven every day.  Our scripture study can be a glimpse into heaven.  Our prayers.  Literally gazing into the heavens as we watch a sunset or look up at the stars can lead us to spiritual thoughts.  Our minds can be continually turned heavenward, leading to better choices of discipleship and light.

We need to be aware of the brightness of our light.  Some days it may be dimmer than others.  Some days there may be more light that we can even fathom pouring into our souls!  Sometimes the light is fleeting glimpses into heaven.  Either way, we can check ourselves throughout the day to see how bright is our light.

One friend expressed a simple guage we can use to see how well we're doing.  She said, "Pay attention to how you feel when you walk in the door of your home after attending the temple.  How stark is the difference?  If it's a slap in the face back to reality, maybe there's something that needs to be fixed."

Conclusion
"When [Christ came] among men to fulfill the ends of His ministry with them, he first [took] care of physical distractions and temporal needs...Once the physical needs and the spiritual preparations are attended to, as Hugh Nibley says, 'That is where the gospel begins;  that is where other activities end...then the teaching begins' (p.10)."

What can we do to become more spiritually minded?  What distractions can we get rid of in our lives to be more focused on discipleship?  How can we allow ourselves more opportunities to gaze into heaven?  Share your thoughts with us.

___________


Join us Next Month:  
Oct. 28th, Chapters 2 & 3  

9.20.2013

MY A+

Today Addie is 11!!

As excited as she has been to have her birthday coming up, she also keeps repeating, "I don't want to be 11.  I like being 10!  I want to be 10 forever!"  Then she adds, "Well, I want to be 16, actually."  I remember ten being a very good and fun age.  16 was pretty cool, too. 

So, my A+ girl, let me tell you what these last 11 years have meant to me:

Growth.  Lots of growth!  :-)

Together we have learned to roll with the punches, communicate, eating a little chocolate once in awhile ain't gonna hurt, smiling changes everything, and it's okay to cry. 

You have brought into our lives a beautiful array of artwork unlike any other...both physically and in theory. 

You are a ray of sunshine in our home. 

Your nurturing spirit is evident in how you take care of your surroundings and your siblings. I hope you have those 15 children you so desire!!

Your attention to detail puts the rest of this family to shame!

We love you and hope you have a fabulous day! 

9.18.2013

ETERNAL Marriage

image from commons.wikimedia.org

At church on Sunday the Relief Society teacher said something that struck me, something I think I knew already but I liked how or that she said it.  She said, "Eternal is a way of being as much as a length of time, isn't it?" 

Interestingly, the hour before I had just taught a lesson on eternal marriage.  The last two weeks of study on that topic, along with her statement, gave me some more great insight on this seemingly simple subject. 

In D&C 131 we read that in order to enter the highest degree in "the celestial glory" one must enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage.  Why?  Why is it so necessary for marriage to occur in order for that placement to occur? 

Well, the obvious and most quoted answer to that question would be, "Without marriage you cannot procreate."  Verse 4 of section 131 hints at this as well saying that if one does not enter into this covenant, 'he cannot have increase;" increase often being referred to as posterity. 

But I have to say, as essential and true as that principle is, there has to be a more to it than just that.  I mean, marriage here on earth is more about having children, right?  And we know that whatever is bound on earth is bound in heaven (D&C 132:7). 

In D&C 132:6 we read, "And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory... (italics added)."   What is the fulness of His glory? 

Moses 1:39 tells us it is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." 

How do we does the marriage covenant help in bringing about the fulness of God's glory? 

Well, further in section 132 we read:
For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.  But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation;  that wehre I am ye shall be also.  This is eternal lives - to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent  (vv.22-24, emphasis added)."  

ETERNAL:  A away of being as much as a length of time.  

I cannot imagine any other relationship more sacred than marriage and yet I cannot imagine any other relationship where character is tested more profusely!!  In marriage we learn in no better way how to forgive, how to repent, how to respect and listen, how to compromise and serve.  In essence, marriage is where we truly learn to LOVE as. 

"But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation."   We have the choice to make our marriages eternal NOW.  It's not truth when we say, "I'll just muddle through and everything will come out all right in the end."  What we bind on earth is what we will receive in heaven.  If we are to know and receive our Savior we must know how He loves.  We practice that kind of love in our marriages.  Our marriages must be progressing to this kind of love and oneness in order to receive our exaltation. 
_ _ _


"Wherefore...pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hat bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ;  that ye may become the sons of God;  that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is;  that we may have this hope;  that we may be purified even as he is pure.  Amen."  
 - - Moroni 7:48 - -

9.16.2013

Let's Talk Pirate!

Thursday, Sept. 19th, is Talk Like a Pirate Day!  
Let's celebrate together...

Literature:
There are some great books about pirates out there!  I love these ones:

amazon.com

Pirates Don't Change Diapers by Melinda Long
image from cindyvallar.com

amazon.com

amazon.com

amazon.com

History:
Use this book to start off a discussion on the history of pirates!  True or False??
image from tomlichtenheld.com
Discuss the 7 Most Terrifying Pirates in History!

Math:




Add some Great Pirate Math Worksheets  into your day!

Science:
Okay, I am totally going to do this with my little boys!  I'm so excited for them to watch their treasure chests explode!  I wonder if I could get some sort of candy or something to put in them?  I'll have to do some more research.

This would also be a good time for as Sink and Float unit.  Just fill a plastic bin with water and have the kids guess if different items will sink or float.

Art:
You can't be a pirate without a hat and sword!
Try this one to simultaneously celebrate felt hat day (the 15th).

OR

Print off this hat template for the kids to decorate and make themselves!

Swords are easy with some cardboard and tin foil!

AND, finally... A simple pirate ship craft
image & idea from greenville.macaronikid.com



9.10.2013

Common Core: What's Your Take?

I'm not so excited about the Common Core Curriculum that has been pushed into our school system.  In short, my reasoning is simply that I think localized control of education is the best answer for the KIDS  (who should really be our #1 concern, not funding).  At first glance it just seems like a bunch of "normal" standards but overall it gives federal government too much control over what our children need to be learning.  It is simply a gateway, in my opinion, to pushing socialized agendas into our schools.  I'm still trying to read more about this and to learn more ways in which to combat the idea of a nationwide curriculum.  I'd love to hear your thoughts...pros and cons  (because I know there are some out there who are more savvy on this subject than I).

Also, here's a survey you should take!
Common Core:  Good Idea?

9.09.2013

Cookin' in the Kitchen

"All Hand on Deck!"

This is what I yell every night when it's time for the kids to join me in cleaning up the kitchen and making dinner.  I discovered early on that I LOVE having the kids in the kitchen with me.  I'm only now reaping the many benefits of this wonderful tradition!

Well, FRIDAY the 13th is "Kids Take Over the Kitchen" Day!!  Let the kids make dinner for you that night and then sit down to watch a family movie, Freaky Friday perhaps.  :-)  

Here are some tips for getting kids involved in the kitchen:

Menu:  If you're not one to have them right along side you, have them help you create the menu for the week.  This will also help those picky eaters to not be so picky because they chose the meals!

Reading Recipes:  As the kids learn to read they're excited to read anything.  If they can't yet handle a knife but are willing to read, have them be the reading chef to guide the rest of the crew through each step.

Expect messes!  I'm a messy cook anyway, so this wasn't so hard for me to get used to.

Fun Jobs: For some reason the kitchen is the only place where my kids feel like they "grow up" once they get put on the dinner making assignments.  They are thrilled when they're old enough to grate the cheese or use a knife (ack!).  Give them the fun jobs, the jobs they ask for rather than only the mundane tasks.  They'll rise to the occasion...eventually.  :-)

Great Meals to get Kids Started
Tacos:  grate the cheese, chop tomatoes and lettuce, cook the meat (for older kids), heat up the tortillas.

Lasagna:  just start by having them make the layers...you can't really mess that up!  Little hands can grate the cheese, mix the white sauce, and fill a pot with water for the noodles.

Fajitas:  cut up meat with kitchen scissors, slice green peppers & onions, toss in some oil and saute.

Pizza:  again just more chopping of vegetables and then all those fun layers.  It's even more excited for them to make their own individual pizzas.

Not ready for a meal?  Just have them bake cookies with you for awhile.  Kids love to help when they know they'll get a special treat at the end!

9.06.2013

Powerful Lessons from 1 Nephi 12-14

When I first read these chapters in preparation for teaching last year I thought, "What am I to teach from this?  It's just an overview of history."  Well, I found some exciting stuff!  And since I didn't get to teach this lesson because of illness, I will write some thoughts here instead.  :-)

First, take a moment to create a timeline of your life.  Just something brief with significant dates and moments that have occurred.

Now, we all know this timeline began much sooner than when we were born.  We know there was a war in heaven and that that war continues even today.   In this war there are two sides.

And he said unto me: Behold there are save atwo churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the bother is the church of the cdevil; wherefore, dwhoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the ewhore of all the earth.

In studying different wars throughout the history of this earth, we see that each war is made up of smaller battles.  Some of those battles include the Nephites and the Lamanites (1 Ne. 12:15-18; 15:28-30), the Revolutionary War (1 Ne. 13:17-18), the wrath of God vs. the Spirit of God (see 1 Ne. 13:12), and the battle of the churches (1 Ne. 13:5-9).  The war still continues and we are in the final battle.   What are some smaller battles in your life that have shown you the Lord will help you to overcome?

In Doctrine and Covenants 93:53 we read, "And, verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should ahasten to btranslate my scriptures, and to cobtain a dknowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of elaws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen." 

How is it that obtaining a knowledge of history can help us to build up the kingdom of Zion?

Weopons of War
We know from studying history that the Lord protects the righteous and those who choose to build up Zion. 

And ablessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my bZion at that day, for they shall have the cgift and the dpower of the Holy Ghost; and if they eendure unto the end they shall be flifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting gkingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall hpublish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.  (! Ne. 13:37)

We have been given other weapons as well with which we can fight this battle.
1) The Book of Mormon contains plain and precious truths with which we can rely on in bringing forth the kingdom of God upon the earth (see 1 Ne. 13:38-40).

2)  We have made sacred covenants with the Lord which will sustain us and strengthen us in this great and final battle (see 1 Ne. 14:17).

3) We also have the Lord's own power to protect us as we call on Him.
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were aarmed with brighteousness and with the cpower of God in great glory.

How to Win
What must we do to win this great battle?  
1 Ne. 14:1 - And it shall come to pass, that if the aGentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in bpower, in very deed, unto the ctaking away of their dstumbling blocks— 

1 Ne. 8:33-34 - And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of ascorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not.

1 Ne. 14:5 - And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, Nephi, saying: Thou hast beheld that if the Gentiles repent it shall be awell with them; and thou also knowest concerning the covenants of the Lord unto the house of Israel; and thou also hast heard that whoso brepenteth not must perish.

I tell my kids all the time, "The Lord is going to win.  It's up to you to decide which side you're on."  We are small in number , but if we heed to the counsel of the Lord, repent and obey His words we will be armed with power and righteousness.  As we look at our own lives, let us recognize the Lord's hand in the battles we have won and as we search for ways to continually win the future battles that may arise.

For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the awrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous.  Wherefore, he will apreserve the brighteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire. . . . And the righteous need not fear, for they are those who shall not be confounded (1 Ne. 22:16-17, 22).

9.04.2013

I Love my Letters



Lately it has been quite common to find my six-year-old son working on his handwriting.

The other day I just had to laugh when I heard him say, "Whew!  I just love my letters."

Love of learning at it's best!

He went to kindergarten for his first time alone yesterday.  I think I shed all the tears I could last week, though.  However, my two-year-old cried the whole way home.

"Ethan!   I do it!  I do it, Mommy!"

A few more years...

9.03.2013

Read Along with Us

For the past four years I've been leading discussions with some dear friends of mine.  We call this "Mentoring Mothers."  It started out as a way to discuss principles for teaching our children in the home.  This year, however, we're changing course and will be focusing on how to become more spiritually minded mothers.  A few weeks ago I thought, "Why not invite others to join in on the discussion?"  And so....

YOU are Invited!

We will be reading and discussing Light in the Wilderness by M. Catherine Thomas.  Thomas was a professor at BYU in the Ancient Scripture Department.  Converted at the age of 19 after a somewhat abusive childhood and exploring many religious options in her life, Thomas has an insight into gospel principles I find inspiring and beautiful.  

How this will work: 
I've added a "Read Along with Us" tab above so you can follow the schedule.  The 4th Monday of each month (unless otherwise noted) we will take two chapters of her book and discuss them in depth.  Then, the following Tuesday I will post the main points of our discussion on the blog and YOU can add to the conversation by posting comments and thoughts you may have had while reading.

I feel it is essential that women discuss great ideas together.  Principles and doctrines bring us closer together and help us to stand strong as mothers striving to prepare our homes and families for Zion.  I hope you will join us and share your insights as we become more spiritually minded mothers!

______________________________

Small minds discuss people.
Average minds discuss events.
Great minds discuss ideas. 
 - - Eleanor Roosevelt - - 
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