Friday, March 27, 2015

Saving Power

        The temple is our we can obtain the blessings that Heavenly Father wants us to receive. Covenants are made in the temple, to help families be together forever. We have to work to be worthy of those blessings and to keep our covenants throughout our lives so that we can be together with our favorite people forever, our families.
        "We can trust Heavenly Father...." I love all that Elder Gong says. Becoming an eternal family means change. We have to change and become what our Father wants us to be and we can put of fear and have faith in Him.
        Elder Orson F. Whitney said,
                                    The Prophet Joseph Smith declared----and he never taught
                                     more comforting doctrine--that the eternal sealings of faithful
                                    parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant
                                    service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves,
                                    but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may
                                    wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or
                                    later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching
                                    out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this
                                    life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay
                                    their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread
                                    a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal,
                                    to a loving and forgiving father's heart and home, the painful
                                   experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and
                                   disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on,
                                   trust on, till you see the salvation of God.
      Now, there is a lot said in that quote, but the most important thing that I get from it is that we, ourselves, need to be dedicated to the Lord and to our families. Parents, do good, do things in the goodness of your children. Know that it is not your "fault" how ever they decide to live their lives. Stay strong and always, always be sure that your children know that they are loved by their parents. Siblings, be sure that your brothers and sisters always, always know that you love them. If it is 'hard' to love them, find something to love and be sure that they know that you have found love for them.

    What is a covenant and what are covenants that we make with the Father?
    I am so grateful for covenants and grateful that Heavenly Father trusts us with eternal truths and with the blessings of the gospel. I am so HAPPY that I am a daughter of God and that I am able to find Him and follow Him. I want to be known as a Covenant Keeper.

                                                       Just one last thought!

(In regards to Chapter 16 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

"A Ladle Full of Love, Everyday!"

       Ok, I know I have shared this video before, but it tells so much! Marriage changes throughout the years; kids come and then they leave! So many couples are shocked and ill prepared for that time when the children are no longer under foot and needing constant direction. "The last third of marriage can be a time of strengthening marital bonds and solidifying spiritual resolve." (Chp. 9).
       So many married couples have had similar experiences in which they find that they don't even know the person to whom them are married. They have let their expressions of love dwindle and get lost in the whirlwinds of the years. Couples need to take the necessary time daily to hold each other, yes, embrace. Talk to one another about one another! Your marriage is so important and it can and should just get better and better.  President Ezra Taft Benson has stated, “Man is at his best when complemented by a good woman’s natural influence”. You can't influence each other if you aren't communicating!
        Share some hobbies and have some separate hobbies, but don't put your hobbies ahead of being there for your spouse, your eternal companion, your best friend. The empty nester stage may be more difficult or more of a life change for the wife, as she most likely spent a lot of her time at home, in constant worry of her children. Be patient in the adjustments and work together to find what will be best to fill that time.
        I truly believe the best way to have a smooth transition and smooth transitions throughout marriage is to continue courting and dating the person to whom you are married. That shows value to your marriage partner. Don't get lost in the bustle of life and forget to spend time loving.

 (In regards to Chapter 9 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

Friday, March 20, 2015

To Be a Father, Be Present

            Of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives" Chapter 13, it talks about how being present in the lives of children should be organized into categories. The categories mentioned are: "to be there(physical), to be aware (psychological), and to give care (practical). 
           After going through and learning about father involvement and its importance and the lack of father involvement there seems to be in society, I realize even more that I had a seriously super dad. I have been reminiscing about the many things my dad did that I just knew as normal and never gave much thought to, but observing children and families a lot recently I have seen that it was quite a novelty.
            My father figured out implementing the truths in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, as it reads, “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” I just don’t remember too many other fathers that I knew or have known to take responsibility for certain aspects of care of their children. I remember as a small child having my dad come in and help me with a bath and teaching me that it is important to wash our bodies and it was no “shottie” job. He made sure that all of us kids had clean ears. That is one specific thing that stands out to me.
            I knew without a doubt that my dad loved me. He told me, a lot. Both of my parents were wonderful in loving and rearing their five children, but as much as my mom was the “nagger”, my dad always backed her up or was the one encouraging us to do better and be better in everything we were involved in. It was dad who always asked if my homework was done or would find us doing homework with a television on and turn it off and get us back on track. He was the one that I ran to with my report card in hand to show how great I had done in the last term.

            Dad understood another principle that I want to point out from The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.” He understood and understands the great responsibility it is to be a husband and a father and that he is accountable to his Eternal Father.  One amazing thing is when a man can be a father to more than just his own children. There are many examples that I saw while growing up of how my father filled that role for many different children at different times. My dad was a friend, a support, an encourager, and more than I will ever really realize I owe to him. 

(In regards to Chapter 13 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Equal Partnership

         Equality does not mean the same, but it is equally yoked; not one having more control or power over the other. In God's way of marriage, spouses should be equally yoked, lovingly caring for one another.
        Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, "Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve's act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall." I think this is so beautiful, because we all know that "the Fall" had to take place in order for us to be able to return to Heavenly Father. It was through that experience that Adam and Eve were able to bear children, and thus for all of us to receive bodies and come to Earth.   Elder Oaks continues by saying, "Eve's act, whatever its nature, was formally a transgression, but eternally a glorious necessity to open the doorway toward eternal life...The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that Eve did not "sin," because God had decreed it."
       Eve had courage, she wanted to be able to obey the commandments of God and to experience the joys of life.
       Now, in marriage, partners are to be equally yoked; partners in family life. In my own marriage so far, I have come to love the phrase "my better half", because truly, my spouse is my other half, he has the skills and ability to do all of the things I can't do or that I am not very good at. He truly completes me. We work together, both trying to bring our best selves to the relationship. This can be hard! It is so easy to get into a rhythm of life where we are our worst selves to those we love the most. We drop all of our worries and our pain on our family, on our spouse.
        Each day, we need to make conscious effort to treat our spouse fair and with love. In a talk by Elder Bruce C. Hafen, entitled "Crossing Thresholds and Becoming Equal Partners", he says, "In the little kingdom of a family, each spouse freely gives something the other does not have and without which neither can be complete and return to God’s presence. Spouses are not a soloist with an accompanist, nor are they two solos. They are the interdependent parts of a duet, singing together in harmony at a level where no solo can go."
You can view the full talk here. It has some great stories of how we need to work on our equal partnerships and our expectations of our spouse. 
        I think it is so important that we council with our equal partner and learn how to help each other in our various callings and responsibilities of life. W. Cleon Skousen and Henry B. Eyring share great stories of how council's should work and how they truly do work.
       Elder Richard G. Scott has said, "In some cultures, tradition places a man in a role to dominate, control, and regulate all family affairs. That is not the way of the Lord. In some places the wife is almost owned by her husband, as if she were another of his personal possessions. That is a cruel, mistaken vision of marriage encouraged by Lucifer that every priesthood holder must reject. It is founded on the false premise that a man is somehow superior to a woman. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
       I think this is all so important, because as we realize that there are no boundaries of our responsibility, we will come to love and serve more fully in our home. Yes, there are certain responsibilities that may seem to weight heavier on one spouse or another, but they both hold those burdens together, enjoy things together and support one another.
      President Boyd K. Packer said, "There is no task, however menial, connected with the care of babies, the nurturing of children, or with the maintenance of the home that is not the husband's equal obligation."
     In the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley, we can all "try a little harder to be a little better", as we learn to better love our spouse.

Image result for equally yoked

(In regards to Chapter 4 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Love and Encouragement

Don't we all just need some love and encouragement? I know that the best thing I received from my parents and my family growing up was love and encouragement. There were also expectations and I knew that they had expectations for me, because they loved me!
President Hinckley has said, "As Children grow through the years, their lives, in large measure, become an extension and a reflection of family teaching. If there is harshness, abuse, uncontrolled anger, disloyalty, the fruits will be certain and discernible, and in all likelihood they will be repeated in the generation that follows. if , on the other hand, there is forbearance, forgiveness, respect, consideration, kindness, mercy, and compassion, the fruits again will be discernible, and they will be eternally rewarding. They will be positive and sweet and wonderful...I speak to fathers and mothers everywhere with a plea to put harshness behind us, to bridle our anger, to lower our voices, and to deal with mercy and love and respect one toward another in our homes." I love this quote, because you realize that you are wanting to allow growth, understanding, independence, but that this is achievable through acceptance, proper and loving rearing, not through control.
We all need to realize what our parents are trying to accomplish, in whatever tactics they use and understand that if we respect them and what they are trying to do, we will better be able to understand their needs as well.
So, how do we become the type of parents that President Hinckley has described? We have got to love the Lord and use the tools he has given us to constantly change and improve each day. Change is important, because none of us are perfect.
Dallin H. Oaks said, "The purpose of the gospel is to transform common creatures into celestial citizens, and that requires change." 
I love that the gospel is the key in helping us become all that we are meant to be. We have help along the way as we learn to bridle ourselves and see the world the way that Christ does.
"The key", Elder Robert D. Hales has taught, "to strengthening our families is having the Spirit of the Lord come into our homes."

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has said, " devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church. The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this god-given responsibility."

(In regards to Chapter 11 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")