Sunday, January 25, 2015

Early Sunday Mornings...

Two Things I am Grateful For:

1)  Covenants!  I am very grateful for the covenants I have made and kept throughout my life and the blessings they have been for me and my family. 

2) The Priesthood in my life!  I am very grateful I live in a day that we are blessed with the power of the Priesthood in our lives!  I do not know how people lived on this earth without it when it was taken away.  My life would not be what it is today without the blessings of the Priesthood.  

From the Camera:

From the Heart:

In keeping with out theme, acts of kindness, here is another idea.....
Did you know that your brain needs exercise just as much as the rest of your body? Although physical exercise like running or biking can be good for your brain, it’s just as important to give your brain mental exercise, like reading a book or doing a puzzle.


If you’re a student, reading can also help your memorization skills and your vocabulary. According to educators Peggy Gisler and Marge Ebertsm, teens who read are more successful in school and are better able to handle complex issues. Reading is also a great way to learn without the stress of having to get good grades. Studies have shown that reading something you enjoy can actually be a stress-reliever! Reading on your own can be much more enjoyable than reading at school because you can choose to read something you’re interested in!

Step It Up

Make it a goal to read at least one book a month. Make a list of books you'd like to read and one by one, start to conquer that list. Ask friends and family to give you recommendations based of their favorite books. If you really want to step it up, consider starting a book club! You'll be doing your mind a favor!

Keep It Simple

Make reading a book an alternative to playing video games or watching television when you’re bored. You’ll find that reading can be just as much fun!
From the Kitchen:
I've been running through my recipes again looking for something new or something we haven't had in a while.  I found this that I will be making soon.   We make these every once in a while and my family loves them.  I buy the packaged meatballs and put them in a crock pot with this over the top.

Cranberry-Orange Meatballs
1 Cup BBQ Sauce  (any will do, but we prefer the Bill Johnson's yellow label)
1/2 Cup Cranberry-Orange Sauce
1/2 teas. ground mustard
1/2 teas. ground ginger
1/2 teas. salt
2 pkg. (16 ounce) frozen meatballs
2 Tbsp. Chopped parsley

When I can't find cranberry-orange sauce I substitute with cranberry juice and orange juice.  The sauce seems to be a little more liquid like, but it still tastes good.  You should give them a try or keep these in mind for your next party.  They will be a big hit, I promise. 
From the Spirit:
Do you remember the day you were baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  I do.  I remember it as a happy, cherished day.  One I will never forget.  As I have gotten older, I have gained new insights into the covenants I made that day I was baptized.  As my husband and I raised our children our attention has turned to helping our then young children place their feet squarely on the covenant making path as well.

What is the covenant path?  Bishop Gary E Stevenson said, "In our lives...certain things are absolutely essential...These spiritual markers are the essential God-given...ordinances of the gospel, "which include: baptism and confirmation, priesthood ordination, and temple ordinances.

Recently, in General Conference someone suggested that we make a list of the upcoming essential ordinances that are needed by our family members in order t help our children progress in the gospel.

As I thought about this, I realized I have a great example to follow of this very thing.  And since I am a visual person, I thought it would be fun to have a visual reminder of the covenants that our family has made over time.  You see, the reminder I am speaking of comes from my husband and his brothers and a gift they gave their mother.  Many years ago three young boys decided to give their mother a gift that she has cherished now for many years.  That gift was a visual reminder of a promise they made to her.  They presented their mother with a color picture of the Mesa, Arizona Temple.  At the bottom of that picture were three school pictures, one for each of the boys.  Their promise to their mother was that they each would later attend the temple to make covenants with their Heavenly Father and also be sealed to their spouses in the temple.  As each boy later entered the temple the date was added below each of their photos.  That visual reminded still hangs on the wall of my Mother-in-laws home.  It is a cherished reminder of the promises her three young boys made to her.  

I too wanted to have that same kind of visual reminder.  I have always loved those homes that have displayed the blessing outfits of each of their children and some have even displayed the photos and white clothing their children have worn after being baptized.  BUT, I simply do not have enough wall space for all of those pretty little outfits.  So, I came up with something a little bit different.  I decided to keep track of the temple covenants each of my children have and will make.  Here is what I came up with.....

This is my "Covenant Path Wall" in our home.  So far, I've only gathered one photo for my wall.  (Kyle's day in the temple).  I know we are just getting started, but I really love this!

Soon, we'll have Curtis and Danielle up there, and Lexi too....and hopefully a photo of the
"Covenant Temple Picture" of my husband and his two older brothers, or a photo or two of Kevin and I, will surface so we can hang that along side of ours too.

Even with just one photo, it makes my heart smile every time I walk by this wall, and I can tell that it will help us all to focus on and rejoice in the covenant path that we are so blessed to be traveling on together.

Last fall, Sister Burton shared some lovely hints about helping to prepare children to make and keep temple covenants in her talk "The Power, Joy, and Love of Covenant Keeping."

I have included her list below as a reminder to myself of her suggestions:  (even though my children are not small, I need these reminders)

What are some ways we can create such a home to prepare our children to make and keep temple covenants?

     We can discover together what it means to be worthy of a temple recommend.
     We can discover together how to listen to the Holy Ghost. Because the temple endowment is received by revelation, we need to learn that vital skill.
     We can discover together how to learn through the use of symbols, beginning with the sacred symbols of baptism and the sacrament.
     We can discover together why the body is sacred, why it is sometimes referred to as a temple, and how modest dress and grooming relates to the sacred nature of temple clothing.
     We can discover the plan of happiness in the scriptures. The more familiar we are with Heavenly Father’s plan and the Atonement in the scriptures, the more meaningful temple worship will be.
     We can learn the stories of our ancestors together, research family history, index, and perform vicarious temple work for deceased loved ones.
     We can discover together the meaning of terms such as endowment, ordinance, sealing, priesthood, keys, and other words related to temple worship.
     We can teach that we go to the temple to make covenants with Heavenly Father—we return home to keep them!12
Let us remember the concept of “good, better, and best” as we teach.13 It is good to teach our children about the temple. It is better to prepare and expect them to make and keep covenants. It is best to show them by example that we cheerfully cleave to our own baptismal and temple covenants! 
From the Schmidt's:

I'm sitting here typing while all of my family is still sleeping.  All I can hear is the clock ticking the seconds away.  I wonder, is this what life is going to be like when all of my children have grown up and moved out or got married?  It could be.  Am I ready for the quiet?  Some days I would like to think I am, but I know better than that.  I will miss my children in our home.  I know I will. Sure, right now they argue, tease, and make fun of each other, and even Kevin and I from time to time.  But, when it comes right down to it, I will miss these times.  (as I try to hold back tears just thinking about it)

Life has a funny way of letting us see things sometimes before they really happen.  Probably as reminders to cherish every moment you have.  Before not too much longer, our lives will change a little more.  We have a missionary preparing to leave our home again.  These are exciting times and they are hard times too.  Sure, we want our son to serve a full-time mission, but at the same time, we will miss him a lot.  As I said when Kyle was getting ready and was serving...."He is doing exactly what the Lord wants him to do, Who am I to stand in the way?  Why would I ever want to stand in the way of him doing what the Lord wants him to do?"  The same thoughts are running through my mind as we work to get Curtis ready too.  

The one who seems to be having the most trouble with Curtis getting ready to go is Lexi.  She is really having a hard time thinking about her brother being gone for two years.  In fact, I think Kyle and Danielle will have a hard time too.  Curtis is Kyle's best friend.  Curtis is Danielle's crazy nerdy little brother.  Over the next few months or years they could get married and Curtis will not be here for that.  It's going to be tough making these life changes without Curtis front and center to be a part of it all. So, the question is, how do we help Lexi during this time when she is really taking this whole mission thing hard?  How do we help our older children when the time comes later on?  My brother-in-law and his family made a cardboard cut out of their little brother and included the cut out in all of the family photos at weddings and other big events.  It was really quite funny.  I guess that is NOT the direction we want to take it, but that was a good one for them.  Make it fun.  

We are blessed with technology to help us keep in contact with Curtis while he serves his mission.  We can Skype on the big two, Mother's Day and Christmas.  AND we can email each week IF he goes to an area where email is readily available.  Plus there are other wonderful technological advances that will help us keep in contact with Curtis.  BUT, I guess my question is, How do I help Lexi feel that she is not losing a brother but gaining a new and improved brother after he serves his mission?  That will require some conversations now, during and after the mission.

One thing we have seen that has really helped Lexi lately is her desire to get involved with the deaf missionaries and their teaching.  She really enjoyed herself when she helped out at that baptism in Phoenix a few weeks back.  In fact, she has been asking and asking to attend their weekly meetings at one of the church buildings here in Mesa.  She even wants her Mom to go with her.  I think her involvement with this will help her self-esteem and help her serve others, as well as help her get involved in missionary work.  I love that!  This is a good thing!

Well, I need to go.  Please share any suggestions you have with me on how to help Lexi not miss her older brother so much.  I would love to hear from you.  Take care and we will talk again soon.

Quote of the Day:

One other word is equal 
in importance 
to a Latter-day Saint. 
Put the words 
holy temple and home together, 
and you have described 
the house of the Lord!"

—Boyd K. Packer

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