Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Strengthening Families!!

I love this talk by Robert D. Hales from the April 1999 General Conference. Please take time to read this article or listen/watch it. Strengthening Families: by Robert D. Hales There is a huge list of things that Elder Hales gives us to strengthen our families. I encourage all those who read my blog to take time for your family and learn how you can help strengthen your family. Here is the list and link from Elder Hales' talk:

"Countless things can be done within the walls of our homes to strengthen the family. May I share a few ideas that may help identify the areas that need strengthening in our own families. I offer them in a spirit of encouragement, knowing that each family—and each family member—is unique."

  • ·      Make our homes a safe place where each family member feels love and a sense of belonging. Realize       that each child has varying gifts and abilities; each is an individual requiring special love and care.
  • ·      Remember, “a soft answer turneth away wrath” (Prov. 15:1). When my sweetheart and I were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple, Elder Harold B. Lee gave us wise counsel: “When you raise your voice in anger, the Spirit departs from your home.” We must never, out of anger, lock the door of our home or our heart to our children. Like the prodigal son, our children need to know that when they come to themselves they can turn to us for love and counsel.
  • ·       Spend individual time with our children, letting them choose the activity and the subject of conversation. Block out distractions.
  • ·         Encourage our children’s private religious behavior, such as personal prayer, personal scripture study, and fasting for specific needs. Measure their spiritual growth by observing their demeanor, language, and conduct toward others.
  • ·         Pray daily with our children.
  • ·         Read the scriptures together. I remember my own mother and father reading the scriptures as we children sat on the floor and listened. Sometimes they would ask, “What does that scripture mean to you?” or “How does it make you feel?” Then they would listen to us as we responded in our own words.
  • ·         Read the words of the living prophets and other inspiring articles for children, youth, and adults in Church magazines.
  • ·         We can fill our homes with the sound of worthy music as we sing together from the hymnbook and the Children’s Songbook.
  • ·         Hold family home evening every week. As parents, we are sometimes too intimidated to teach or testify to our children. I have been guilty of that in my own life. Our children need to have us share spiritual feelings with them and to teach and bear testimony to them.
  • ·         Hold family councils to discuss family plans and concerns. Some of the most effective family councils are one on one with each family member. Help our children know their ideas are important. Listen to them and learn from them.
  • ·         Invite missionaries to teach less-active or nonmember friends in our homes.
  • ·         Show that we sustain and support Church leaders.
  • ·         Eat together when possible, and have meaningful mealtime discussions.
  • ·         Work together as a family, even if it may be faster and easier to do the job ourselves. Talk with our sons and daughters as we work together. I had that opportunity every Saturday with my father.
  • ·         Help our children learn how to build good friendships and make their friends feel welcome in our homes. Get to know the parents of the friends of our children.
  • ·         Teach our children by example how to budget time and resources. Help them learn self-reliance and the importance of preparing for the future.
  • ·         Teach our children the history of our ancestors and of our own family history.
  • ·         Build family traditions. Plan and carry out meaningful vacations together, considering our children’s needs, talents, and abilities. Help them create happy memories, improve their talents, and build their feelings of self-worth.
  • ·         By word and example, teach moral values and a commitment to obeying the commandments.
  • ·         After my baptism and confirmation, my mother drew me aside and asked, “What do you feel?” I described as best I could the warm feeling of peace, comfort, and happiness I had. Mother explained that what I was feeling was the gift I had just received, the gift of the Holy Ghost. She told me that if I lived worthy of it, I would have that gift with me continually. That was a teaching moment that has lived with me all my life.
  • ·         Teach our children the significance of baptism and confirmation, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, partaking of the sacrament, honoring the priesthood, and making and keeping temple covenants. They need to know the importance of living worthy of a temple recommend and preparing for a temple marriage.
  • ·         If you have not yet been sealed in the temple to your spouse or children, work as a family to receive temple blessings. Set temple goals as a family.
  • ·         Be worthy of the priesthood which you hold, brethren, and use it to bless the lives of your family.
  • ·         Through the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood, dedicate our homes.
  • ·         Resources are available outside the home. Wise use of them will strengthen our families.
  • ·         Encourage our children to serve in the Church and community.
  • ·         Talk to our children’s teachers, coaches, counselors, advisers, and Church leaders about our concerns and the needs of our children.
  • ·         Know what our children are doing in their spare time. Influence their choice of movies, television programs, and videos. If they are on the Internet, know what they are doing. Help them see the importance of wholesome entertainment.
  • ·         Encourage worthwhile school activities. Know what our children are studying. Help them with their homework. Help them realize the importance of education and of preparing for employment and self-sufficiency.
  • ·         Young women: Attend Relief Society when you reach your 18th birthday. Some of you may be reluctant to make that transition. You may fear that you won’t fit in. My young sisters, this is not the case. There is much in Relief Society for you. It can be a blessing to you throughout your life.
  • ·         Young men: Honor the Aaronic Priesthood. It is the preparatory priesthood, preparing you for the Melchizedek Priesthood. Become fully active in the elders quorum when you are ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood. The brotherhood, the quorum instruction, and the opportunities to serve others will bless you and your family throughout your life.
  • ·         Every family can be strengthened in one way or another if the Spirit of the Lord is brought into our homes and we teach by His example.
  • ·         Act with faith; don’t react with fear. When our teenagers begin testing family values, parents need to go to the Lord for guidance on the specific needs of each family member. This is the time for added love and support and to reinforce your teachings on how to make choices. It is frightening to allow our children to learn from the mistakes they may make, but their willingness to choose the Lord’s way and family values is greater when the choice comes from within than when we attempt to force those values upon them. The Lord’s way of love and acceptance is better than Satan’s way of force and coercion, especially in rearing teenagers.
  • ·         Remember the Prophet Joseph Smith’s words: “Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 240).
  • ·         While we may despair when, after all we can do, some of our children stray from the path of righteousness, the words of Orson F. Whitney can comfort us: “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 [mother’s and] father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for [our] careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with [our] faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God” (Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, 110).
  • ·         What if you are single or have not been blessed with children? Do you need to be concerned about the counsel regarding families? Yes. It is something we all need to learn in earth life. Unmarried adult members can often lend a special kind of strength to the family, becoming a tremendous source of support, acceptance, and love to their families and the families of those around them.
  • ·         Many adult members of the extended family do much parenting in their own right. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, cousins, and other family members can have great impact on the family. I want to express my appreciation for those in my own extended family who have guided me by their example and testimony. Sometimes extended family members can say things parents cannot say without starting an argument. After a long heart-to-heart discussion with her mother, one young woman said: “It would be awful to tell you and Dad I had done something wrong. But it would be worse to tell Aunt Susan. I just couldn’t let her down.”

Monday, July 3, 2017

How Should We Treat One another?

There are many people who get so busy they forget how to treat one another. How true is this statement for you? For me, this is true depending on where my time is spent. I have been praying and asking for help in this area due to the way I have seen my children treating each other.

The other day while watching The Voice with my family, I realized that my children are mimicking the way they have been taught. They have been mimicking what others do and say that are around them. My children have been copying  me.......

In Doctrine and Covenants 108:7 it says, "Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings." There is a way to treat the mad woman in me. I need to go by the teachings written in this scripture. I need to strengthen my children by speaking to them (all conversations: even when correcting them.) that can make them better. This is usually done by being a positive role model. I not only need to speak to them kindly but also pray. I need to try to strengthen them in all I do with them. 

Teaching our Children

           We had a family home evening on this subject. I was a little worried it would make everyone uncomfortable but I really felt like we needed to discuss this as a family. Pornography can destroy families and lives. I want to educate my children on what to do and I like how this video helps! It ended up being a really good family home evening lesson and the kids asked questions. This is a subject that should not be avoided in families.To find this video you can search for it on

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Family Prayer Strengthen Families

Elder Robert D. Hales states that including family prayer as part of a daily routine is something parents should give highest priority to. When we read The Proclamation to The World we learn that we must "Strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society" because families are central to God's plan. There are three steps that are set out as a focus on the Mormon channel that I find are really helpful.
Step 1 is to Build your family's foundation on the teachings of Christ. Part of this step is prayer. Children learn by example and through family prayer it enables children to participate in praying for the whole family. In these prayer gatherings there can be teachings expressed by the Spirit. The feelings and experiences of having family prayer can lead to less contention in the home and will invite the Spirit to dwell. 
Challenge to my Family was to have family prayer morning and night. 
We have been practicing this for 4 years now. There have been times where my husband or I would forget and our children would remind us. I know prayer is powerful and can lead to change, love, and unity in a home. 
President Hinckley spoke of family prayer and says that " family prayer in the homes of the people, is one of the basic medications that would check the dread disease that is eroding the character of our society. We could not expect a miracle in a day, but in a generation we would have a miracle." If you get a chance you should read this talk.

Spiritual Decisions

     I believe that we can all make spiritual decisions when we seek answers from our Heavenly Father. We learn to do this throughout our lives. It doesn’t just come to a person, it’s a process. I have shared this belief with many and hopefully my story has brought hope to those seeking guidance with their life decisions. I want to share with you my process in gaining what I know to be true.
            My story dates back to a time when I was a very young woman. It was the year 2002, just before summertime. I was working two jobs and was engaged to be married. When I first found out I was pregnant I felt my world turn upside down. I was abandoned and left alone.  The reality that I had directed my life to a remote destination left me paralyzed. I felt the absence of the Holy Ghost and Heavenly Father. My soul ached.
            When I found myself in a difficult situation, I turned to my family for help. Everyone in my family had a “say” in what they thought I should do. Not only family but complete strangers would make their declaration of the decision at hand. I knew I had to do something. I decided I would start doing the right things in my life. I started going to church, reading the scriptures, and praying with real intent. I knew that I would have a difficult decision to make in eight months.
            I met with my bishop often and he advised me to receive counseling through LDS Family Services regarding my pregnancy. I agreed and met with a counselor every other week. With my bishop and the counselor I discussed the First Presidency letter from July 2002 that offered counsel to those in my situation. The First Presidency encouraged marriage first and foremost. I knew marriage wasn’t an option for me. If marriage was not a possibility, the First Presidency counseled, the baby should be placed for adoption.
            The counsel in the First Presidency letter came to my mind one day while I was studying 3 Nephi 28. Verse 34 struck me when I read it, “And wo be unto him that will not harken unto the words of Jesus, and also to them whom he hath chosen and sent among them; for whoso receiveth not the words of Jesus and the words of those whom he hath sent receiveth not him; and therefore he will not receive them at the last day.” I thought, “Then I don’t have a choice to keep my baby!” I spoke to my bishop about it, and he told me I still had my agency and could choose. At that moment I resolved that I would make the right decision, whatever it was. I committed to do everything in my power to receive an answer as to what I should do.
            Slowly, I began allowing myself to consider adoption. It seemed every time I tried to get an answer about whether to parent my child or place for adoption neither of them felt right. I was getting so frustrated. My family went out of their way to find a family for me to place my child. This family sent an introduction letter with pictures. I thought it wouldn’t hurt just to look at it. When I did, I had such a wonderful feeling. Their oldest child was a light to me. She looked familiar. I told myself, “If I ever decide to adopt, this would be the family.” I was in love with them after reading the letter and seeing the pictures they had sent. I had a feeling of closeness toward them even without even meeting them.
            Still, I decided I would keep this baby. I even moved to a different state to keep all the pressure of my family and friends to a minimum. While living with my aunt and uncle and their family, I saw every day how an eternal family should be. Four months later I had a dream that woke me up at 2:00 A.M.! It was a dream that my child was 5 years old. She was crying and calling for her mother. I couldn’t understand why she was calling for her mother when I, her mother, was standing right there. Only when she looked up at me and said, “No, I need my mommy. Why didn’t you let me go?” did I understand.
            There it was! I knew what I was supposed to do. I knelt and prayed to my Heavenly Father. It was revealed to me in a way I could never deny that I should place my daughter for adoption. I had committed to do the right thing. Now was the time for me to do my part. I felt so much peace in knowing that adoption was what the Lord wanted for both my child and I.
            Everything fell into place after that. The moment I saw her for the first time all I could do was cry. I couldn’t help myself. Everything was just too beautiful. To be able to create life is such a sacred power, and to share the gift of a child with another family has been a great blessing. I believe that my baby and Heavenly Father knew long ago which family I was to choose.
            I could not have done it without my Heavenly Father. He had revealed to me that He has a better purpose for us both. He knows more than I do about the road ahead, and I will put my full trust in him. While words can never explain all the pain and heartache I’ve felt, neither will words ever capture the love and joy I have experienced knowing that I did what was right. Making the right decision has given me the most comfort.

            She gave me a chance to be the mother to bring her into this world and to get her to her eternal family. I love her. It was so hard to let her go. I can’t help but think of what Heavenly Father went through when He had to give up His Only Begotten Son for our sake. It was for a greater purpose that Heavenly Father gave up His Son. A sacrifice that blesses all of us!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Wholesome Family Activities

Our family got together for Family Home Evening to come up with some wholesome family activities that we can do as a family to help strengthen our bonds and relationships. This could not include any electronics and little to no money.

1 Have a picnic
2 play at the park
3 Go swimming
4 play card games
5 bake a cake
6 play a board game
7 Go on a walk
8 Walk the dogs
9 play charades
10 Hiking
11 camping
12 Go to the river and skip rocks
13 reading books
14 cook dinner
15 have an indoor picnic
16 have a dance party
17 look through old photos
18 write letters to loved ones
19 have a bonfire
20 build an indoor fort
21 play favorite music
22 learn to knit or crochet
23 bake muffins
24 do easy crafts
25 color
26 make something for someone else
27 family bike ride
28 play tennis
29 yard work
30 laundry folding
31 volunteer in community
32 wash the cars
33 family slumber party
34 create a scrapbook together
35 set up a lemonade stand
36 have a garage sale
37 attend church together
38 go rollerblading
39 create busy bags for kids on a road trip
40 create a home version of a popular game show
41 bake cookies
42 make decorations for home
43 play flag football
44 play hide and go seek
45 create homemade birthday or holiday cards
46 take a dance class together
47 search for constellations/stars
48 have a family BBQ
49 create emergency plans/fire escape
50 create first aid kit
51 create a family tree
52 create and practice a family play
53 test drive cars
54 go visit open houses
55 create a family recipe book
56 learn a home repair
57 start a collection (rocks, beads, coins)
58 make a grocery list and shop
59 have a scavenger hunt
60 work on a puzzle
61 create a local list of kids eat free locations and attend one
62 create a family handshake
63 create a family mission statement
64 label all the things in house with a new language to learn
65 have a bubble blowing contest
66 have a water balloon fight
67 have a pushup contest
68 have a home professional photoshoot
69 write a family song
70 go to a museum
71 go to a local splash park
72 visit the library
73 create a time capsule and bury it in the back yard
74 collect pictures of a dream home
75 perform magic tricks
76 collect and paint rocks
77 collect leaves
78 play four square
79 skype out of town family
80 start a garden
81 play  kick the can
82 donate things to D.I.
83 have a formal dinner at home(including  servers, menu, dressing up)
84 have a karaoke night
85 go fishing
86 hang pictures in house
87 paint a bedroom
88 have a family house party
89 fly kites
90 set up a recycle system in home
91 make snow angels
92 make a snow fort
93 snowball fight
94 sledding
95 make a fireplace fire in home and roast marshmallows
96 play with outdoor chalk
97 make homemade popsicles
98 make homemade icecream
99 go to the beach
100 water gun fight

Importance of Teaching Work

Dreaming of Raspberries
The need and value of work was taught in my family from a very young age. We were all expected to help out in the home with chores, dinner, yard work, and shopping. Work came first, and then we could play. The expectations of my parents became my own and at a very young age I was able to exercise my knowledge of work and see the blessings play out in my life.
            The very first job I had was when I was 12 years old. It was during the summer and while all my other friends were playing sports, having parties, and swimming I was picking raspberries. My mother found me a job of picking raspberries at 4:00 am every morning. The only morning I had off was Sunday morning. Four in the morning came so fast too. It was so hard to wake up and get going, but I learned that being up so early I felt refreshed. We had to wear long sleeved shirts and gloves with finger holes so that the raspberry bushes didn’t scratch my arms up.
            I remember how hard my mother worked picking raspberries. She would try and compete with us to make working more fun by racing to see who could pick a flat of raspberries the fastest. I think I had only beaten her at her game once. She was so fast and thorough. She took time away from picking raspberries to come and show me her secrets. She said, “Tamisha, after picking from the top and middle of the bush you have to get down on your knees, and while lifting up the bottom limb of the raspberry bush, you find the gold mine.” I was so wide eyed to find that bunch of humongous berries where you can’t even see them! My mother did lose more of her raspberry picking speed games after that!
            Picking raspberries every morning wasn’t easy. I had my ups and downs. I really hated the green flat stink bugs and working in the dirt. My mother and I would pop a couple raspberries in our mouths every once in a while. She accidentally popped a raspberry with one of these green nasty stink bugs into her mouth. It stung her tongue and I always checked my raspberries after that happened!  After picking raspberries until 11 am, I still had my home chores, room and laundry to do. I remember every time I closed my eyes I would see raspberries, raspberries, raspberries! It filled my mind and crept into my dreams! If working in the raspberries this hard would make me see raspberries and dream of raspberries, would it also be possible to work so hard reading scriptures that you could see them and remember them just as well?
            I began putting this thought to the test that summer. I read my scriptures and told myself that I was going to read my scriptures and try to finish the Book of Mormon by the end of the summer. I felt spiritually fed and while I was working in the raspberries at 4:00 am I would think, remember, and reflect of the things I was reading while I was working. I invited my mother to do read the scriptures too. We worked on the same row of raspberries, but on opposite sides and just talk about our experience with reading our scriptures. This was also precious time with my mother. After all these years I believe that this was the one time where I was able to get to know my mom the most.
            At the end of the week we collected our checks for what we had picked. We were paid 75 cents a pound. That doesn’t seem like a lot because raspberries are pretty weightless. It does add up. I was able to cash my check, learn the importance of paying tithing and instead of spending that money on anything I wanted, my mother had us pay for our own school clothes and supplies.
            I had learned more about the importance of work and the blessings that come from working hard. I learned a great deal about my mother too. These are not only working experiences but precious memories built with my mother. I will never forget how hard I worked and challenged myself. I will never forget these memories and life skills budgeting out what I could spend. I paid my tithing and I was greatly blessed by my Heavenly Father. I was able to grow spiritually and bless my family as well. I look for opportunities now to parent my children as my mother did to me.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"Protect the Children"

I love the talk "Protect The Children" by Elder Dallin H. Oaks. One of the questions that I would like to explore deeper in the article is, "why does the relative stability of marriage matters to children?" My response to this question is in Elder Oaks talk. "Of utmost importance to the well-being of children is whether their parents were married, the nature and duration of the marriage, and, more broadly the culture and expectations of marriage and child care where they live." Also, Elder Oaks states, "Children need the emotional and personal strength that come from being raised by two parents who are united in their marriage and their goals." And  "The most powerful teaching of children is by the example of their parents. Divorcing parents inevitably teach a negative lesson."
I want to make sure that my marriage is a partnership with not only my husband but with God. When my children can see what a good marriage should be they will have those expectations in their own future spouse and marriage. 
Here is the link! Comment and let me know what your thoughts are!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Teaching our children the importance of Gender and Eternal Identity

            In Our Identity and Our Destiny by: Tad R. Callister. He explains, “They teach that we are more than creations of God; they teach that we are literal spirit offspring or children of God our Father. What difference does this doctrinal distinction make? The difference is monumental in its consequences because our identity determines in large measure our destiny.“ This quote tells me that we must know who we are as sons and daughters of God. After we understand who we are as a son or daughter of God we learn that “gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” (The Proclamation to the World) And then in The Family by President Eyring he states, “And we know that in the premortal world we were men and women, with unique gifts because of our gender, and that the opportunity to be married and to become one was necessary for us to have eternal happiness.
             “Since the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith until September 23, 1995, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued a proclamation only four times. It has been more than fifteen years since the last one, which described the progress of the church had made in 150 years of its history. Thus you can imagine the importance our Heavenly Father places upon the subject of this most recent proclamation.”( Elder Eyring, The Family)

God's Will

            In Elder David A. Bednar’s talk, “We Believe in Being Chaste,” he states, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only between a man and a woman in the marriage relationship prescribed in God’s plan. Such relations are not merely a curiosity to be explored, an appetite to be satisfied, or a type of recreation or entertainment to be pursued selfishly. They are not a conquest to be achieved or simply an act to be performed. Rather, they are in mortality one of the ultimate expressions of our divine nature and potential and a way of strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife. We are agents blessed with moral agency and are defined by our divine heritage as children of God—and not by sexual behaviors, contemporary attitudes, or secular philosophies.” This clearly tells us how we should treat our intimate relationships. Families are central to God’s plan. We learn this in the Proclamation to the World. We also learn that when married, “sexual relations are divinely approved not only for the purpose of procreation, but also as a way of expressing love and strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife.” Elder Spencer W. Kimball points out that, “Even marriage does not make proper certain extremes in sexual indulgence."
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called “Children”, because this talk explains how it is a crowning privilege of a husband and wife who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for these spirit children of God. We believe in families, and we believe in children. Elder Andersen continues to express that, “When a child is born to a husband and wife, they are fulfilling part of our Heavenly Father’s plan to bring children to earth. The Lord said, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Before immortality, there must be mortality.”
We also learn from the Proclamation to the World that the commandment given to Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the earth is still in play today. Elder Andersen states that, “This commandment has not been forgotten or set aside in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We express deep gratitude for the enormous faith shown by husbands and wives (especially our wives) in their willingness to have children. When to have a child and how many children to have are private decisions to be made between a husband and wife and the Lord. These are sacred decisions—decisions that should be made with sincere prayer and acted on with great faith.” And that “If you are concerned about providing financially for a wife and family, may I assure you that there is no shame in a couple having to scrimp and save. It is generally during these challenging times that you will grow closer together as you learn to sacrifice and to make difficult decisions.”
            I discussed this topic with my husband. We have always wanted to start a family and the words from Elder Nelson really helped us understand our purpose as a married couple. The quote was, “We cannot always explain the difficulties of our mortality. Sometimes life seems very unfair—especially when our greatest desire is to do exactly what the Lord has commanded. As the Lord’s servant, I assure you that this promise is certain: “Faithful members whose circumstances do not allow them to receive the blessings of eternal marriage and parenthood in this life will receive all promised blessings in the eternities, [as] they keep the covenants they have made with God.” This brought my husband and I comfort. We have tried everything to have children in our marriage. We have continued to do all we can on our part and left it in the Lord’s hands. We are now 7 months pregnant after 2 surgeries and 16 months of trying!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Praise to the Mother's

I'm not so good at expressing how much I care
for all the mothers I have met out there.
I love you mother who held me so tight
while singing and rocking me through the night.
I love you mother who hoped and cared
who loved and raised the baby I shared.
I love you mother and you are my friend
who has been there to carry me to the end.
I love you mother who I've loved so long
who I've grown with and loved me even when I've been wrong.
I love you mother who calls every other day
who lifts my burdens while I'm on my way.
I love you mother who wants to be one now
who has tried and struggled to figure out how.
I love you mother who might not know
who have touched my life and taught me how to grow.
I love you mother who helps me be
who I couldn't be if my babies didn't stay inside of me.
I love you mother who is old with time
who brought me a mother that will always be mine.

By: Tamisha Schetselaar

I am very full with love today as I reflect on all the women I know and love and who have touched my life, even for a brief time, I do remember you all and how my life wouldn't be the same without you. Special thanks to my mother Sharee Burt, my Grandmother's Nancy Burt and Betty Jones, my mother in laws, the mother who adopted my first child, the mother's who serve me in my wards, and the mother's I call friends. Take a moment to reflect on the mother's in your life. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Get to know your loved ones! This is for you DAD!

My mother passed away back in 2012. There have been multiple times where I have found myself crying because when I have a question or want to learn something from her, that I know she knew, it's too late. If I could give advise to any young woman or young man, it would be to learn all you can from your parents and grandparents AND all those you love before there isn't a choice. I went to and printed off a 30 life questions to ask your grandparents, so that I could call and interview my Grandpa and Grandma Burt. I found out that my grandmother was in the hospital. They are getting older and time is not their friend. My husband and I have decided to make a trip over there soon to visit with them. My Grandpa turns 89 this fall! Since we are making a trip to see them, I called my dad to interview him so that my kids could learn more about their Grandpa Jones. Here is the result of my questions and answers: ( I kind of switched them up a bit according to the website I shared)
1. Tell me your full name
Hyrum Derald Jones
2. Do you know why you were given that name?
I was named after my great grandfather Hyrum and after my dad's first name Derald.
3. Tell me about your parents
My parents grew up spanking as discipline, dad always felt bad after spanking us and came back to have a talk. We would rather be spanked though because his talk always made us feel bad. He would always say, "It hurts me more than it hurts you."
4. What was your home like growing up?
Typical farm family. We had to do chores before school and after school. It was an uphill, three mile walk to school and back. We didn't have a lot of money.
5. Did you have a nickname growing up?
No nickname
6. Tell me about your friends
In elementary school, in Montana, my best friends name was Phil, and in Washington during High School my best friends name was Joe.
7. What was the first trip you took-that you can remember?
My parents drove me to Salt Lake City, Utah to see relatives when I was really young. Grandpa got pulled over for speeding and Grandma was upset saying that Grandpa was going to get a "pinch" (get a fine).
8. What was your first car?
1973 Chevy Nova
9. What was your favorite subject in school?
Advanced math
10. What was your first job?
I was 14 years old and worked all summer for a farmer. I was  a farm hand and got paid $100/ month plus room and board and I could go home on the weekends.
11. What was your favorite job?
Hyrum Farm Service
12. When you were my age (35) what were you doing?
I was working for New Holland in the Tri-Cities.
13. What's your earliest memory?
Earliest memory was when I was 4, maybe 5, and we celebrated my birthday at the fish hatchery and had a picnic.
14. What kind of music did you like?
I like all music except opera and rap.
15. How did you meet your spouse?
At choir practice, at church
16. How did you know you were in love?
She liked me and I liked her.....
17. What was your first date?
We went to a movie in Spokane
18. What did you find challenging during the first year s of your marriage?
Mom was a slob and I was a clean freak.
19. What was your secret for staying together?
Forgiveness, Perseverance
20. What were your children like when they were little?
21. What were holidays like when you were young?
Christmas: stayed home, opened presents, ate and played with toys. Sometimes we would go to grandpa and grandma Barns' place-which was boring and we always just got a shirt. Thanksgiving: big meal at home. Easter: we were lucky if we got a napkin filled with some candy. We did a lot of boiled eggs. 4th of July: We bought a lot of fireworks and tried to blow our fingers off (joke).
22. What were some of your hobbies growing up?
When I was young I loved building stuff. I built a great big dog house for our two German Shepherds. Grandpa asked why I didn't build it a little bigger for a garage. When I was older I liked to work on bikes, cars and mechanics.
23. What do you enjoy now?
Hanging out with my kids, kayaking and traveling.
24. What are your hopes for your family?
That they all do better than I did with their families.
25. What is the most important thing you've learned during your life?
It's better to be serving others than trying to make yourself happy.

“Work before play and early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy and wise” (Ben Franklin) Does this really make a man healthy and wise? According to Hyrum Derald Jones it’s the only way to live.  “I know because I lived it!” says Hyrum.  Business owner, worker and Farm Equipment Specialist for the Northwest region of the United States are just a few of Hyrum’s titles. Facing the bone colored building from the dirt road reads the sign painted by Hyrum’s daughter, “HYRUM FARM SERVICE-JUST BAIL IT!” This business is located forty-five minutes North of Pasco, Washington, and placed strategically amongst fields of green alfalfa, orchards of blossoms and pretty much any crop you can think of.
 Hyrum is known well in the area, which is why he has even been summoned to many different parts of the United States to help teach farmers how to fix and prevent issues with their farm equipment. “The average farm equipment mechanic doesn’t know how to do it and it’s really a specialized field. You need to know what you are doing,” says Hyrum.  He can be found with his plaid button up shirt and wrangler jeans strutting the fields in his steel toed leather boots fixing issues on the spot as farmers are harvesting and planting their crops. Hyrum’s silver hair and farmers tan testifies of the hours he’s spent out in the fields working.
Hyrum was not always sure of what he wanted out of life. He dreamt of joining the Navy and being a submarine captain in the deep blue seas in 1963. when Hyrum turned eight years old this dream changed. His parents had relocated the family from St. George Utah to the outskirts of Bozeman, Montana, that had a farm house standing in the shadow of a big red barn, surrounded by fields and logging. Hyrum shares a time where, “Dad had a bailer that didn’t work so he stuck me on the back of it and said, “make it work!” I figured out the problem myself and fixed it.”  There were three other sibling brothers but Hyrum was the oldest. Expectations were high. Hyrum was named after his father, Derold Hyrum Jones, he explains, “I looked up to him and wanted to be like him. My dad taught me but he never really taught me, he just had me watch. He never talked to me about what he was doing I just had to pay attention to what he was doing to learn. That’s what was expected.” Yes, expectations were high yet they had to be to survive a winter in Bozeman Montana. There were cows and a family of five to feed.  Hyrum had 12 cows he had to milk every morning and night. “It only took me an hour each time milking, but that was because I had a milk machine!”, Says Hyrum.  “The hard part was not milking but going to school right after to face the kids who made fun of my boots covered in cow manure. That’s when I knew that my father was right about city boys. This is the whole reason I decided never to live in the city.” Thayne Jones, Hyrum’s son, states: “I learned the same way from my dad. He had me watch. I learned from observing my dad and that’s what made me become the hard worker I am today. I do live in the city though! I’m not that old fashioned.”
Hard working attitude and demeanor runs deep in Hyrum’s family roots. “When Hyrum was young, I taught him by example as my father taught me”, says Derald Jones, Hyrum’s father. “Back in my day we did everything by hand! I was 8 years old when my father,  Alvin Jones, took me out to plant watermelon seeds in a huge one acre field.  We watered, cultivated, and grew those babies so big!” (Derald Jones). All summer father and son worked hard and were about to harvest their hard work when…. “city boys thought it would be fun to take their truck through that field. The next morning that field was painted red. I had never seen people so ignorant and selfish. I decided at that age to be hard working and appreciate all things in life, especially hard work!” This is Hyrum’s father, Derald’s reasoning to raise his family outside the city. And so, the line of hard working men literally run through the blood of the Jones’.
Hyrum feels really good about his work. “Anytime I’m helping someone it makes me feel really good. Like I’m useful in the world. Not being selfish.” Hyrum explains, “It’s not always in the education you get but it’s in how you use the education you have. Continuing. If you aren’t learning something new every day you are going backwards. To be a good worker it’s basic knowledge, then……. experience, experience, experience!” For a person to become a hard worker, they must learn from someone. In Hyrum’s case that someone was his father, and his father’s father, passed down from generation to generation and observed by the next.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Transitioning into Marriage

I was able to interview a couple that I found inspiring; a couple I look up to, about transitioning into marriage. I loved putting this together and was able to learn a lot from them. I would love to interview many more couples with similar questions. Here is the first interview with amazing advise and a glimpse of equal partnership between men and women in families. 

James and Karen
         James (34 years old) and Karen (33 years old) are part of the Draper, Utah ward. They have been married 11 years and have six children. One of their children is disabled and confined to a wheel chair. James was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. They own a home that functions as a multiple family home. They have two apartments upstairs. One apartment they have James’ parents stay in and the other they are renting to a newly married couple. James and Karen have been living in this home for 5 years. I was able to interview them and get their insight and knowledge on their transition to marriage and advise.
        Some of the early issues in James and Karen’s marriage is Karen had unrealistic expectations that their marriage had to be perfect like her parents of 45 years married has. They also had troubles combining their schedules at first. Since they were able to date and spend so much time together before they were married it was easy for James to live with Karen after marriage.
        James and Karen said it was easy for them to divide the responsibilities because they already knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses. James loves to cook, so if Karen started cooking, James would usually step in and finish it. Karen can function off of little sleep better than James, so when they started having children Karen volunteered to get up with the children during the night and James picked up the slack the next day when Karen was tired. James says, “I am a fire breathing dragon and not too pleasant to be around if I haven’t gotten’ a full eight hours of sleep.”
        Karen along with James were both able to express how one should prepare for marriage and what they should do to have a good marriage. Karen says, “Having expectations that are realistic for each other can be huge!” Also, Karen goes on to say that if both people are willing to compromise and look to understand one another, they are able to solve problems faster. The main things that make their marriage successful is they focus on the eternal aspect of their covenant marriage, incredible sex, communication patterns, and date nights weekly.
        Some pitfalls that Karen mentioned that people should avoid in transitioning to marriage, fall back on your own personal expectations and communicating those early on. James agreed and mentions that some red flags to watch out for before you marry a person is to make sure that person is communicating properly and about everything. James says, “they should always put you first!”
        The only boundary issues James and Karen had to work through were with the in-laws. James suggested that you should never use your parents as a therapist to complain about your spouse. Advise from Karen about this subject is that you should always just respect your in-laws by following their rules at their home. Karen says that you should invite in-laws to important events to include them in your life. Karen also spoke of a time she was trying to understand James and went to his mother to talk to her about him. Karen said that it helped a lot because James’ mother was able to help her understand why James does things a certain way.
        The main shocker for James after marrying Karen was maintaining that “me time”. He knew he still needed it and was able to communicate this to Karen. James also noticed that before marriage he had a lot more freedom. He chose to be married and knows that he has responsibilities now and loves them.
        While looking at James, Karen expressed how she loves that she was able to marry her best friend and see him every day. James feels the same way. After knowing what they know now, James and Karen would do it all over again and get married.
        When interviewing James and Karen I was able to get first hand feedback on their views and ideas about transition to marriage. One thing that I have learned with this interview is that communication is huge especially before marriage. Another thing I have learned is that one must maintain their individualism to avoid fusion. We must celebrate our differences and learn to compromise.  Marriage is something that couples should always be working on. Communicating the expectations early on can help the transition into marriage.
Cited Work
James and Karen. Personal interview about transition to marriage and marriage. 2/18/2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How to Find an Eternal Companion

There are a lot of single adults trying to find "the one", but who sets those bars on who that right one for you should be? I remember listening to my parents on what kind of characteristics and traits the "right one" should have. "The person you date should be LDS, hold a temple recommend, know what they are pursuing in a career, and be a returned missionary. That's great and all but as a single young woman was I really ready to look for "the one"? Are people searching for someone that will fit all of the requirements they list and want? Are people concentrating on the divine qualities of a spouse they have been taught to love and look for? I'm not going to try to argue about knowing what kind of spouse you want and have dreamed of, but I do want to ask you a question....... Are individuals stuck being single because of the high demands on their list? I would answer that with a "no", unless there is some unrealistic expectation like, "their name needs to start with an "R". I believe that the first part in trying to find that right one needs to not start with a list of what you want them to be like or have, yet, the first part of finding that right one should start with you! What do I mean by this? I'll explain.....
There is a talk given by Elder Lynn G. Robbins, of the Seventy, called Finding Your Sweetheart. This was published in the New Era magazine back in September 2003, that has the focus on "Being the right one". I love how Elder Robbins says, "Your success in marriage will depend largely on your ability to focus on improving yourself, rather than trying to reshape your spouse. It will depend more on being the right one than finding the right one. There is greater power in giving than in getting." I love this talk because it teaches what we must do within ourselves to become the right person for someone. If we dedicated in this concept we can have the Holy Ghost guide us in knowing who we should eternally be with. If one practices Christ-like love, and that is the purest love we can come by, we can better prepare ourselves to know who also loves the same way.
Elder Robbins goes on to listing the behaviors to apply to eternal relationships.
Here is that list pulled straight from his talk:

True love—charity—suffereth long.
  • Is patient instead of impatient and tolerant of imperfections instead of intolerant.
  • Is helpful instead of being critical of weaknesses. Charity does not criticize, is not cranky, and does not complain.
True love is kind.
  • Is happy, thoughtful, helpful, interested in others, a good Samaritan, merciful, and true love gives comfort.
True love envieth not.
• Is content, frugal, and grateful for blessings; is not covetous, resentful, jealous, or greedy; avoids unnecessary debt; and is a full tithe payer. Charity is not selfish or vain, and it lives within its income.
True love is not puffed up.
  • Is humble and teachable, does not seek attention, praises others, does not murmur or belittle.
True love doth not behave itself unseemly.
  • Is courteous, well-mannered, reverent, respectful, and mindful, as well as clean, neat, and considerate of other’s property and feelings; is not crude, indecent, or improper.
True love seeketh not her own.
• Is tenderhearted, caring, sharing, sensitive, compassionate, generous, and united; thinks we, not I; listens; seeks to please God; is not demanding, controlling, or manipulative; does not blame; and says, “I’m sorry.”
True love is not easily provoked.
  • Is forgiving, patient, calm, gentle, and respectful; is a peacemaker who does not get angry, irritable, or vengeful; is not abusive in word or deed; does not swear or quarrel.
True love thinketh no evil.
  • Is not judgmental but respectful and trusting, pure and obedient; does not think evil of others by gossiping or finding fault; is modest in thought, dress, and speech; is not deceitful, cruel, or dishonest; avoids inappropriate music, pornography, and dirty jokes.
True love rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.
  • Has a temple recommend and wants an eternal marriage; stays close to the Spirit through regular scripture study and prayer; is responsible; is not light-minded.
True love beareth all things.
• Is bold and patient with affliction and trials (this does not mean that abuse victims should silently bear cruelty or follow a spouse who is disobedient to God); is grateful; does not insult others; is not defensive, irritable, touchy, or grouchy; is not weary in well-doing.
True love believeth all things.
  • Is cheerful; sees the eternal potential of a spouse; makes the least of the worst and the most of the best; shows by actions that there is a firm belief in eternal families; holds fast to the iron rod; has goals, dreams, a vision, and plans for a happy, successful life together.
True love hopeth all things.
  • Is an optimist who looks for the best; praises, builds up, and expresses affection.
True love endureth all things.
  • Doesn’t complain or murmur, is steadfast, accepts responsibility, and is industrious while showing initiative.
True love never faileth.
The Lord is describing a love that deals with our behavior. And behavior isn’t something you fall into or out of. Behavior is something you control and decide. Agency is involved here. —Elder Lynn G. Robbins Of the Seventy

Strengthening Families!!

I love this talk by Robert D. Hales from the April 1999 General Conference. Please take time to read this article or listen/watch it.  Stre...