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!

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...