Friday, December 4, 2015

Do you hear what I hear....

Two Things I am Grateful For:

1)  Good neighbors that watch out for us all the time.  I really appreciate them.

2)  Our mailman, UPS driver, and FedEx Driver.  They are working so hard this time of year and I appreciate all they do.  Thank you.

From the Camera:
We have a new family board game.  It's a new variation of one of our long time favorites.  Here it is......

Check out the board.  It includes railways and mineral rights.  We can't wait to play it!  Kyle is having a hard time wrapping his head around all the rules, so this should be fun learning to play this together.  Kyle has been reading the rules over and over again.  We might get it out tonight depending on how everyone is feeling.  I know sitting in a regular chair is hard or me right now and might be rough on Kevin too.  We will see how it goes.  If we play I will let you know how it goes.  The rules say it takes 2 to 2 1/2 hours to play this, so this should be fun.  
From the Craft Room & Other Things:

I think these are super cute and had to share the instructions.  I can't wait to try this sometime for one of our dinners.  Maybe for our family Christmas Eve get together or something?  Take a look.

From the Heart & Spirit:

I read this and had to share. Enjoy.

Bearing One Another's Burdens

This is something we covenant to do at baptism.  Bear one another's burdens.  I've been thinking a lot lately how this commandment is to the person to help, but it presumes that the other is willing to share.

I was thinking about how we are all tempted.  There is nothing wrong in being tempted.  The perfect, holy Savior of the World was tempted.  It is not a sin to be tempted.  There is no shame in temptation. But it seems like we are so ashamed to admit to temptation, so afraid of having others view our weaknesses, that we keep the temptation to ourselves.  We hide it  We don't want people to know.

I think that often the reality is that if we would tell someone, "Hey, I'm having a hard time with this right now", they could strengthen us.  They could help us be accountable.  They could help us.  Whether that was a priesthood leader, a family member, a spouse, a trusted friend, a counselor or therapist.  But we are often so dead-set on not admitting to our weakness, that we leave ourselves even more vulnerable.  I'm reminded of when Moroni is fortifying cities for the Nephites.  And he takes the weakest cities with the least fortifications and puts the most men there.  We have these soft spots in our defenses but instead of putting more people there to bolster the defenses, we just hide it and leave ourselves wide open to the fiery darts of the adversary.

And of course, the irony is that there is nothing inherently wrong in the weakness or temptation.  That's mortality.  There is no sin in it.  On the other hand, when we yield to the temptation and commit a sin, that is wrong.  And the New Testament is clear that these hidden sins will be made known.  Some of these sins will require confession to a priesthood leader or disciplinary council.  And ultimately we will be judged for them.

It seems to me, that it's better to nip these things in the bud.  That when we are first facing a temptation, we should find someone to help us bear that burden and withstand that trial.  I think it's pride that gets in our way and tells us that we should be ashamed to admit to this weakness.  It's the weakness that God allows to keep us humble.  But so often we just hide the temptation away in the dark and hope that no one finds out and hope that we are strong enough on our own to overcome.  But the darkness and the pride and the shame that now surround the temptation are powerful tools of the adversary.  So the very fact that we have hidden the temptation, draws Satan to it like a magnet.  Now the likelihood of the temptation leading to sin has increased.

Whereas if we had shined a little light on that area and called in some spiritual troops (priesthood leaders, family members, friends, people who have covenanted to strengthen us), we actually could have reinforced that soft spot and made it stronger.  So that the likelihood of temptation turning to sin was decreased.

But temptation/sin is not the only manifestation of this phenomenon.

I see this pattern happening in life and with relationships as well.  For instance, the prevalent thought on marriage is that you are never supposed to say anything negative about your spouse to another soul.  Not to their family, not to your family, certainly not to your friends!  As a last resort, it is acceptable to talk to a professional counselor.

And I went along with this line of thinking for a long time.  But lately I wonder at the wisdom of only telling a problem to someone who is paid to listen to you.  Especially when you have friends and family members who love you and have made covenants to God to help you bear your burdens.  It seems a little crazy to me to bypass those people in your life who care most about you when you face challenges and to only rely on someone who is only helping you because you are paying them.  Also, over the entire history of man on earth, we have only had professional counselors for the past...what?....250 years.  So what were people supposed to do before we invented the profession?

Obviously, there is a fine line to walk.  Because some family and friends might not be helpful.  They might say or do things that could be destructive.  And you also don't want to fall into the trap where you are ratting your spouse out all the time and telling your business to your friends.  I just think there is some safe middle-ground in there.  I don't even know enough to say what it is or where the line should be drawn.

Now that my kids are older, I feel the pull of conflicting needs in those relationships as well.  I want to respect my kids' right to privacy in their lives and the choices they make and the things they are doing.  At the same time, as a mom those things affect me and I have to figure out how to teach and direct and react to the things they are saying and doing.  So it's about them.  But it's also about me, too.

So if my husband and I subscribe to the philosophy that we never say anything negative about our family to anyone, that means that if a child ever makes a choice that breaks our heart, we can't talk about it.  Or if a child ever says something that hurts our feelings, we can't share that pain with someone else.  Or if a child is really on the verge of something spiritually or emotionally dangerous and we're at our wits' end for how to handle the situation, we just need to suffer alone.

This is important because OTHER PEOPLE HAVE EXPERIENCES THAT COULD HELP.  But if they are too proud or embarrassed to share the stories of their difficulties and pains and ultimately the mistakes they made and how they eventually overcame or the peace they found in the meantime, then all of that wealth that could possibly help me, is unavailable to me.  And on the other hand, there are so many difficult and challenging experiences that I have had.  Some I have faced well and I feel good about how I handled.  Others are embarrassing and my behavior shameful, but I learned from those, too.  But if I follow the guidelines of not admitting to anyone about any of the negative things that you face in life, then my ability to comfort others, to help them feel that they are not alone is severely limited.

It was through the Atonement that the Savior's bowels were filled with mercy and because he experienced everything that we would ever experience, he would know how to succor us. (Alma 7:12)  We are made in the image of God and we have our own personal Gethsemanes.  Through those experiences we gain wisdom and compassion and it seems to me to be complete waste to let a brother or a sister suffer alone through the refiners fire that you have passed through  without testifying that you have been through that fire and come out on the other side.

There are times when I hear of someone going through a difficult time and I want to tell them that they are not alone and that I have had a similar experience and share with them my feelings or give them my comfort.  Not as some clueless bystander, but as someone who has been in the midst of it.  And there are other times when I am feeling lonely and confused and afraid and feel like I am not allowed to actually name the thing that is tormenting me, either through my own pride and shame or because I feel like for the sake of others I must keep the thing private.  And so in the very hour of my need when I desire comfort and want to reach out and find support and love and understanding, I hide the need.  There are others around me who may have experienced the same thing, but out of pride and shame or out of privacy, they stay silent and I continue to think that I am alone in the darkness.

Obviously, we can always turn to God and the Savior who is always there for us has been through this.  I know that.  But we were also commanded to bear one another's burdens.  But how can we do this if we aren't willing to share our own burdens?  God can do everything.  He can do it on his own.  And yet he gives us commandments and asks us to share in his work.

I just wish that we didn't have to pretend so much that everything was fine in Zion.  I wish that we could rely on our brothers and sisters to hear our pains and that they would share theirs so that we might all be edified and strengthened.  I wish we didn't have to keep these dirty secrets about mortality.

By: Wiyah of

I have to say, I need to work on this.  I need to learn to share more with those around me.  I don't think I do primarily because I am afraid of being judged, looked down upon, or talked about behind my back.  It's a hard thing to show your weaknesses to others.  Something my Mom has always tried to remind me of is that the experiences I have will be for my benefit sometime in the future.  Meaning:  Because of the things I have been through, I will be able to help others in the future.  My Mom is right.  It's just hard sometimes to remember that.  What can I say, I have a lot to learn still.   

From the Kitchen:
Chocolate Sauce
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 square unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla

Cook milk and chocolate in microwave on high for 2 minutes. Add vanilla.  Beat with hand mixer until smooth.  Refrigerate sauce.  Can be reheated before use.

Cranberry Butter
1 pound of butter
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 - 1/2 cup honey
zest of one orange

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Or chop by hand and mix in a bowl.  Process until smooth.  Serve on anything from warm bread to crackers!

From the Schmidt's:

We received a text message early this morning from my SIL telling us that Kevin's Aunt was rushed to the hospital Tuesday.  Kevin has two Aunt's that live together and are a lot of fun to talk to.  I love spending time with them because they make me laugh and share some great stories about my husband and his brother's when they were little.  The Aunt that is sick was rushed to the hospital because she passed out.  Apparently she has lost a lot of blood and has an ulcer.  I called and talked to both of them tonight and I guess she has been moved to Intensive Care and has been given quite a few pints of blood since Tuesday.  Not good!  Kevin and I will have to try to get out to the hospital to see her soon.  That all depends on how Kevin is feeling.  He has had a pretty rough week himself, but we will see how it goes.  

As promised, here is one of the items from the list I posted yesterday....

Colored lights or white lights on your house or not at all?

I use to think I loved a house all decked out with colored lights until I saw how pretty a house looks with all white lights on it.  We have only put up white lights on our house and each year, in my opinion, our house looks like a beacon on the street.  I love it!  This year I decided to go along with the lighter side of things and included light green bows on the light fixtures by the garage and white and light green flowers on the arrangement on the front door too.  I am loving it!!!  I've been eying Poinsettia's lately, but haven't bought one yet.  If I were to buy one it would have to be a white one to go along with the lighter side of things on the front porch and around the outside of the house.  On the inside we have lots of color though.  

  See.  This is the house from the end of our street.

Please excuse the garbage can in the photo below and the blurry photo below.

Danielle came by tonight and we talked a bit, she talked with Kevin, we took a drive around the block just to look at lights, and then she left for home again.  She really came over to let me use her printer.  I tried printing something on our printer the other day and it just wouldn't work, and since I had an extra printer cartridge for her printer I asked her to come over.  We use to have an HP Printer that bit the dust about a month ago, or at least we think it has, and that's the kind of printer Danielle has.  I'm so glad we could get this printed.  I found a cute nativity I wanted to print out for myself and a friend.  Tonight I was about to get that done.  Yay!

Tonight I am just letting my knee rest.  I did too much tonight I can tell.  Not good.  I am dreading the thought of another cortisone shot in the knee, but that really did help.  It's a weird sensation, but it works!   

Lexi has a busy night planned tomorrow.  She has another date.  They were going to go out tonight, but her parents insisted on the date being a double date and not everyone is free tonight, so tomorrow night it is.  Parents can really throw things off can't they?  Actually, everyone is taking it really well.  Besides, now Lexi gets to go with one of her good friends.  This will be her friends first date and we can tell that she is pretty nervous about it, but it will be good.  We are excited to hear about the date tomorrow night and hear how the friend felt after too.  I'm just glad Lexi is getting out of the house a little more.  She needs this.  I'll let you know how it went in a future post.  Well, maybe not everything. {smile, smile}  

I should get going.  Take care friends and we will talk again soon.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend.  

From the Missionary:

Curtis sent me a message yesterday and I thought I would share it with you.....

Hey Mom,

Something awesome happened tonight I thought I would share it. One of our members took us to Costco to eat. We got there a little early so we looked around, and I overheard a lady talking to her kids saying "they have to have pickles here somewhere" it was super awkward but I walked up to her told her where they were. She walked around some more and she seemed a little confused so I walked over grabbed some pickles brought them to her and she was very happy. We then went to eat with our members when we saw the lady again but with her husband he said thank you and said that he had a roommate in college who served a mission and he liked the values of  LDS people. We shared the new video with them and set up a time to meet with them. They are super solid and it was the coolest thing. I could just picture them in the church, they just fit so perfectly and seem so prepared. I will tell you more when we meet with them. Just goes to show you that the Lord is always going to put people in our path to hear the gospel 😊

Quote of the Day:

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