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 I consider myself to be an obedient person when it comes to matters of a spiritual nature. I want to live the laws of God and I want to do what my Father above wants me to do. You could say I’m a rule follower.
The scriptures tell us to pray so I pray. But I think in my obedience I have been missing out. In my desire to only ask for what God wants for me I have been hesitant to ask for what I might truly desire. I had become a passive pray-er. I was afrad to pray for someone to be healed, what if it’s not Gods will. I was slow to ask for specific things because I didn’t want to be contrary to what is best.

Maybe I’m alone in this. But hopefully my struggle will help someone out there.

I prayed every night and morning asking for safety for my kids and guidance in parenting them. I prayed for insight into His will for me. At times when I felt very strongly that it was ok to pray for specific things like where to move or when to have our next child, I felt comfortable praying for that. I even felt comfortable asking for help when I was weak in a certain area.

I just didn’t feel like I could ask for what I really wanted that didn’t have lasting impact. Like owning our own home or help getting together the money to take the trip I have always wanted to Nauvoo or even how to help my daughter find clothes that help her feel amazing about herself. Could I plead for help with these things?

Then I come across statements such as these

Little children, young people, and adults alike, please believe how very much your loving Heavenly Father wants to bless you. But because He will not infringe upon our agency, we must ask for His help. This is generally done through prayer. Prayer is one of the most precious gifts of God to man.” J. Devn Cornish

He wants to bless me with all kinds of joy and guidance throughout this life. Even guidance on how to get to Nauvoo.

I am led to believe that our Heavenly Father loves us so much that the things that are important to us become important to Him, just because He loves us.” J. Devn Cornish

As a parent I greatly understand this. My kids will ask and ask for things that matter to them, over and over again when it’s really important or they just really want it.

For example my son really wants a play station 4 for his birthday. I don’t usually spend that kind of money on birthdays though. So he has started coming up with new ways to ask. “What if it’s Christmas and birthday.” “What if so and so goes in with me to get it.”

What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:9–11).

My eyes are open even further as I begin to truly understand that scripture. I have read it many times before but I am starting to really grasp the meaning for me. It’s not only ok but good to ask for things I want. Not as I would a magic lamp hoping whatever I desire falls into my lap but with hope that the things I truly desire can be available to me.

With that said I still firmly believe that after I ask I should always follow it up with “thy will be done.”  Hoping for my prayer to be answered, while recognizing His ways are better than my ways. Always He has my best interest in mind.

The other prayer mistake I have made in the past is to pray sincerely and truly for something and then forget to act. I do nothing but say a prayer or two. No action to help that desire come to pass. Just wishing at that point.

Often as I pray, the Spirit nudges me to admit that there is more I should do to receive the help I am asking from the Lord. Then I must commit and do my part. It is contrary to the economy of heaven for the Lord to do for us that which we can do for ourselves.” J Devn Cornish

Ultimately what I am learning is how much my Father wants to bless me. Just as I want to bless my children. And with that He also wants us to learn how to put in the effort needed for the greatest potential of growth. I don’t hand my children everything they want when they want it. But I strive to give them what I believe will be best and hopefully what in time will bring the greatest joy. I see now how Heavnely Father wants to do the same for me. I need to simply ask.

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Move forward with faith

Several years ago, I went to seek marriage counseling for the first time.  But what I really needed was some guidance for myself.  And luckily, that’s what I got.

The therapist told me to make “faith cards.”  She instructed me to create a set of small cards, that each have a statement of faith on them, to keep in my purse and pull out to look at whenever I am having a difficult moment. As she asked me to do this, it made absolutely no sense.  I didn’t have faith in my husband and that was why I had come to see her in the first place.  Why was she asking me to remind myself of faith?

I couldn’t think of anything that I could write down on these cards, so she gave me some places to look for help.  She told me to search my scriptures, hymns, talks from trusted church leaders and other personal trusted sources. This wasn’t about finding faith in my husband or any other person. This was about finding faith in my Heavenly Father and faith in myself enough to trust that I could endure the difficulties that were coming my way.

Some of the things I came up with are these.

Thy God doth undertake to guide the future as he has the past.

If ye will enter in by the way and receive the Holy Ghost it will show unto you all things what ye should do.

If God be for me, then who can prevail against me?

Faith is an interesting thing.

When your family members say they love you and are there for you, you trust that they mean it, and have faith in that relationship.

If a doctor tells you that you need to take a certain medicine, or make a certain lifestyle change to benefit your health, your faith in his knowledge and education is what leads you to action.

You have faith that the bank will safely manage your money and you can access it whenever you want.

When you go to the grocery store, you have faith that they will have milk and bread.

But the most important type of faith is faith the you have a Heavenly Father, that he truly loves you and that he is watching over your life, and is ready and willing to guide you.

I think that any type of faith leads you to action.

You wouldn’t put your money in the bank if you didn’t trust them to keep it safe. You wouldn’t run over to the store for those last-minute things that you need, if you didn’t trust them to have the items in stock.  Then, when the store, person or institution does what they say they will do, your faith in them is strengthened.  It’s a cycle of faith.

Faith in earthly things has to be tried. As a small child you trust your family members until someone lets you down (and let’s face it, as some point everyone lets us down.  We are human after all and we do make mistakes.) Then you learn to trust them again when they continue to love you.  Your faith in the Doctor has to be tried, by your listening to and obeying his advice.

Faith in Heavenly Father has to start with our actions also.  Search. Come. Knock.  These are all action words. God is there, but we have to do something in order to allow his love into our hearts and minds.

Developing faith in God starts with listening to his words by attending church, or reading scriptures.  Faith in God is not free. It isn’t automatic. If it were, there would not be any atheists in the world.

Faith is a choice.  Faith requires action.  Through scripture study, worshiping & attending church services, prayer, and expressing gratitude for our blessings, we can begin to witness the little miracles that are sent to our lives to help us through our trials.  Through these recognitions, our faith will increase.

President Gordon B Hinckley once said

“It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. … If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers”

By creating the “faith cards” that my therapist recommended, I have been able to refer back to them over the years, during low points when I needed a little reminder that God is aware of us. By reading and praying, I have been able to keep my life on a slightly higher plane, making the low points less challenging to overcome.

I have faith that Heavenly Father is there for me, and that he is constantly sending me little helps along the way to help me with the challenges of life.  But the greatest gift that he has given to me and to all of us, is the gift of his son and the atonement.  Without the ability to repent and turn over my sins and weaknesses to him, none of the  other successes in my life would be meaningful.

Have a wonderful weekend, and keep the hope of Christ with you and the Faith the God will watch over you in all your trials.

 

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Our Destiny

I sat in Sunday School pondering over the last few days. I have not been myself. A little on edge. A little grouchy. Ok even a lot grumpy at moments. I felt overwhelmed and frustrated. “Why can’t I just be the person I am meant to be?”  The lesson moves on and I hear these words

“What is the great gift of the atonement?”   Quickly my mind is coming up with answers.

Forgiveness

Eternal life

Love

The great gift of the atonement is that we get to be wrong”

Wait, what?  It was as if my mind quickly moved into hyper drive trying to figure out what that meant for me?

My Savior suffered for me so that I could be perfect. That answer I’m familiar with. He suffered so that I don’t have to feel pain. I get that. He atoned so that when I make mistakes I can be forgiven. Yes.

So that must mean then that He felt all that agony and pain so that I can be wrong and still be loved. I can fall short and still find glory and grace. My wrong doings are part of His perfect plan. It has to be so. Huge sigh of relief and comfort is felt in my heart as I strive to further understand this principle.  This might be so obvious to some of you but I had never thought about it in this way.

He suffered so I can be wrong.

If being wrong is part of the plan then am I meant to be wrong at times?  For I could not learn and grow and become compassionate and understanding of others unless I know what it’s like to struggle.

The failing part of me is in fact also the glorious part of me. The two are intertwined and need each other. As I fall flat on my face, I feel how much it hurts, and I do what I am able to stand up again. And when I am stronger, I potentially won’t fall so hard in that same area. Thus, because I am weak I am able to become strong.

Dieter F Uchtdrof put it this way

Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off, and move forward.”
We mortals do not become champions without effort and discipline or without making mistakes.”

I can either pick at the painful wound I received, sitting in self pity wishing I was different, feeling sorry for myself that I was to messed up to prevent myself from falling.

Or

I can turn my heart to the Lord pleading for guidance. For strength beyond my own.  I can cry out asking to know His will and for the power to proceed in His direction.

One will cause me greater pain; the other will lead to greater strength.

Walking this long road of mortal life alone is more than I can bear. But walking with the Savior by my side gives me the courage and comfort and joy even in my wrong doings. Even in my many mistakes.

I now see why the greatest gift truly is the ability to be wrong. For when I am wrong, I see how much I need the Savior with me, taking the hard steps, showing me the way. For in my wrongness I see more clearly His beauty and grace.

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His hand is stretched out still

During our family scripture study, we have been reading the words of Isaiah recently and this phrase seemed to come up several times.

For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

It stuck out at me this time in a way that it never had before.  It seems as if the Lord is expressing his anger at the evil that exists in men and the poor way that we sometimes treat each other.  He is angry at the witnessing of dishonest and wicked things that we humans can do.

BUT HIS HAND IS STRETCHED OUT STILL.

No matter how bad we mess up, He still has his hand outstretched to take us back, as soon as we are willing to go up and take that hand.

I would certainly hope that the things that I and my family have to repent of, or change, in our lives are not on the level of the “abominations” that are talked about in these Isaiah chapters, but even small habits that we want to change, or that we can feel the Lord guiding us to change, can feel big when we are in the middle of working on them.

Changing a habit can be really hard, and sometimes it can take a long time.

In the book “Changing for Good” by James O. Prochaska, It is pointed out the just a short time ago, 50% of people were smokers, and now only 25% of people smoke.  What was amazing about this study is that a large majority of these people (about 20:1) quit smoking using their own methods or helps, as opposed to using some type of program.  (Doing it on their own, does not mean that they didn’t have friends or family members helping. We all do better with the support of those who care about us.)

I personally know several people who have quit smoking.  The interesting thing about each of them is that they all tried to quit smoking several times, (sometimes quitting for a period of time and then going back to it) before they were able to quit for good.  I don’t think these few people are isolated in this pattern of quitting.

The most important part of their stories is that they were eventually successful at attaining their goal of being a non-smoker.

Why do I bring up smoking statistics in a post about making change?  I think that quitting smoking is probably the hardest habit to break (maybe outside of other drug addictions.)

Each person that I know finally quit because of a different reason in each of their lives.  There was no quick fix or automatic tool that works for everyone.  They each simply kept at it until they found a way to be rid of an undesirable habit.

Getting rid of a bad habit, or trying to develop a good habit, takes time.  That’s because habits are associated with time.  We developed them over time, and we continue them in specific times.  We often do the thing that is a habit at the same time each day, or week, as the individual case may be.  Perhaps, understanding this will help in the changing of habits.

The most important thing that we can each keep in mind, as we are working to make any change in our lives, is to know that it is okay if we fail the first several times. If we are doing something really important, a few falls (or relapses) can be expected. If it were easy, you would have already made the change.  After all, the only real failure is giving up and not trying again.

Satan wants all of us to fail for good, he wants us to give up.

When you are trying to change and do something that is truly important, that is when Satan is going to come down hard on you.  He really wants you to give up, feel bad about yourself, and be as miserable as he is.

That is when we need to remember what Isaiah taught us,

But His hand is stretched out still.

It’s okay if what you want to change takes time. It’s okay if you fall and have to get back up.  It’s okay if the thing that you need to change takes all of the strength that you have, and you need to rely on added strength that comes from turning to God, because His hand is stretched out still.  He will be there for you… always!!

Change can be good, especially change for the right reasons. But change that takes all of your effort to be successful can be the most rewarding change of all.

We only have a small amount of time of this earth, and we should be working to improve a little each day.  As long as we care enough to keep trying and remember to turn to the Lord for help and forgiveness when we need it, we can each become the joy-filled, wonderful person that God wants each of us to be.

 

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mature love
As we walked hand in hand often older couples would smile and tell my new husband and I to never lose that love and wonder we have for each other.

In the beginning of our marriage I had no idea what was ahead of me. Both good and bad. I couldn’t foresee the deep bonds that would be forged through trials and heartache. Almost 18 years walking life together and with every passing year comes greater understanding and deeper love.

Boyd K Packer put it this way

If you suppose that the full-blown rapture of young romantic love is the sum total of the possibilities which spring from the fountains of life, you have not yet lived to see the devotion and the comfort of longtime married love. Married couples are tried by temptation, misunderstandings, financial problems, family crises, and illness, and all the while love grows stronger. Mature love has a bliss not even imagined by newlyweds.”

This last week I imagined I saw myself standing in the middle of a bridge. I was acting like a little child with my arms and legs outstretched so as to stop anyone from passing by. The direction I had come from was dark and cloudy. I was facing that way and so it was easy to see. Behind me however was sunshine and white fluffy clouds.

I could feel that peace and happiness were to be had if I simply continued on my way, but instead I was just standing there. Frozen.

In life I think we all have moments of personal hardship. Moments we don’t measure up to what we want to be. And it can be difficult to turn and walk towards the peace and happiness, leaving behind the sorrow and heartache. Even though we long so much for the bright sunshine, it can feel like too far of a walk.

What I then pictured was my husband standing and waiting for me. Encouraging me. Telling me he would wait patiently for me so that we could walk hand in hand towards that eternal happiness.

What at first felt so difficult now seemed doable.

I believe God helped me see this picture to remind me of what some of the joys of marriage are meant to be. Often times (it’s what we aim to do) when either I or my husband struggle the other is there to offer support and encouragement to turn towards the Lord.

I cannot return to live with God without the help of my Savior. No matter what I do. I need Him to help me find true happiness. So when my husband and I both strive to make God our first priority and then our marriage second, we are more loving and kind. We make mistakes and we strive to forgive because we know how much we need forgiveness.

After seeing us walk together towards happiness, stopping along the way to struggle and try to figure out life together, I understand another piece of the true joys of marriage. For when we walk together the Lord can put His hand on ours, and we can walk into eternity.

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5 dangerous things

As we go through the packing list for Scout camp, in getting my youngest son ready, I recognize that we need to go buy a pocket knife.

All of my boys have owned pocket knives (some of them have owned several knives), and each of them had to earn that right to carry a pocket knife by obtaining a totin chip from scouts. 34234B_sm

I’m sure there are a lot of “fun” things that happen at scout camp that a mom doesn’t want to know about.  Scout camp is the highlight of each of my boy’s summer once they have reached scouting age. They always come back full of stories of the adventures that they never could have had at home.

I heard this talk on the radio a few days ago, with one of my sons, and we thought it was entertaining, but we also agreed with the concepts. It was fun to have this experience with my son, and see his reaction to the recommendations.  I’m not sure I would let my kids do all of these things, but I think my kids have somehow experienced most of them throughout the years.

Having watched the video and heard the talk, I decided that my kids needed just a little more freedom.

Today, they asked if they could take apart a few older computers and put them together to create a more powerful, faster computer.

I thought, “they’ll be spending time exploring, tinkering, and possibly researching how to do what they want to do. How bad could it be?  I was going to throw out the old computers anyway, so why not let them see what they can do?”

They have grand ideas of what the final result is going to be. And who knows, maybe it will be awesome… maybe it won’t… but at the very least it will be a fun learning experience.

If anything exciting comes of it, I’ll let you know.

I hope we can enjoy a little more exploring of our world this summer, and step a little more out of our comfort zone, inspired by these 5 dangerous things that Gever Tulley suggests.

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Parenting shiftOne of my children once told me that he grew more, and learned to become a man, because he “had to, to take care of me and his father after the divorce.”

When he said that, I was hurt. And I felt guilty.

Parents are supposed to take care of their kids, not the other way around, right?  I struggled to try to figure out what I might have done wrong.

My conclusion?  NOTHING.

Why? Because he turned out to be a pretty awesome young man.

I didn’t fall apart after the divorce.  I didn’t need anyone to pick me up and make sure I was okay.

But I did expect each of them to help the family and learn to be responsible.  And because each of them are amazing young people, they rose to the challenge of helping out their mom.

At the beginning of this summer, we had the opportunity of helping out a young man who, at the age of 13, had spent most of his life being the caregiver for his mom.  Once again, I found myself saying, parents are supposed to take care of their kids, not the other way around.

But what if I’m wrong…. or at least not quite that accurate.

Hundreds of years ago, for families that lived on a farm, the kids had very real responsibilities (chores) that were necessary to the success of the entire family.  Was that hard work and responsibility bad for the kids? I don’t think so. I think it strengthened them and prepared them for adulthood. I think if the kids were encouraged to go to school and get good grades, and still had a little time to play, that hard work probably made them better adults.

So how does this apply to me and my family?  I may not live on a farm or have that type of hard work to give to them, but I want my kids to grow up to be responsible, capable adults.

Is there a shift in my parenting thinking that needs to happen to encourage this?

When I got divorced, i started working outside the home, AND I was running an at-home business.  I did need them more than ever to help the family out.  It was time for everyone to do their own laundry, help with dishes and cooking.  My kids with drivers licenses had to help with drop-offs and pick-ups of brothers.  This change happened out of necessity, and I’m so glad that they were all so wonderful about being more responsible.

I’ve read several books and articles lately, and watched a few TV programs about families, and I think I have come to a conclusion that there are a lot of parents out there like me, who want to love and care for their kids, (and do everything for them) to make their lives easier, so they can just be kids.

I guess for most of my life, I felt like my job was to help my kids make it to adulthood in one piece, no scars or permanent damage.  As the stay-at-home mom, I often felt like it was my job to make sure everyone had clean clothes, a hot meal every evening, and well cared for pets ready to play with when they all got home from school.

But does that really prepare my kids to be adults.

My change in thinking or “PARENTING SHIFT” has turned into this. As their parent, my primary responsibility to them is as a teacher not a caregiver.

Of course they count on me to care for them also.  I make sure there’s food available, and they have a home, clothes and bedding. I provide all of the necessities, but now it is time for me to teach them how to care for all of these things.

In my life right now, I have a smaller home, and I work solely from my home, so in a lot of ways, it would be easier to just take care of all the home and family responsibilities myself. I think most parents would agree with me, that we do things because it’s faster, easier and more efficient to just do things ourselves.

I also think that we tend to do things ourselves because it makes us feel needed… important.  Especially as a full-time mom. Especially as a mom with a little OCD.

Too many times in the past, I’ve done things myself because I wanted them done a certain way, or I felt like it was my responsibility, or I needed to feel valued because of the work that I did.

None of these excuses is more important than the value of teaching my kids, and having them learn to do these things themselves before they go out into the world on their own.  I’ve had to shift from the view of getting something done, to teaching and raising kids so that they can do these things once they are on their own.

I may only have 2 of my 5 kids still at home with me, but I continue to learn new things about myself and my parenting.  I want to be a better parent because I want my kids to be prepared to be the best adults that they can.

Life is hard enough for me as an adult, I need to be careful not to give my kids unrealistic expectations of how the world will treat them.  The world isn’t going to take care of them the way their momma did.  We each have to pull our own weight.

The truth is that the people who work the hardest and are the most innovative and care about the success of “the company” as a whole (just like they did in their family) are ultimately the most successful in their jobs.

And isn’t that what I really want for my kids, for them to find success out in the world?

— Laura

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IMG_3294

 

What should have been 12 hours slowly turned into 13 then 14. Eventually 16 hours on the road with my crew driving to places I have never been. For the most part the drive was relatively quiet. The kids played on their devices while I listened to talks and sang loudly to songs of my choosing.

As I looked at my GPS for the 20th time just to make sure I was on the right road and hadn’t missed my turn, I wondered how people made these crazy trips through small towns without these little GPS systems reassuring them at every turn. And if I did miss a turn I was quickly told how to get right back on course. Even when I intentionally made a detour, I was given directions on how to get to my final destination.

This little system gave me peace of mind and I had no reason to stress or worry about which way to go. As long as I did exactly what I was told to do, I drove on in confidence.

I began to see the parallels of this drive and my journey here on earth. My earthly destination is to one day return to my Father above, having learned all that I could while here. I want to grow and become stronger. I desire to become better than my natural self would settle for. It’s a long road. And sometimes a hard one. But the destination is clear.

How do I “check in”, so to speak?  Where do I look to find that constant peace of mind and confidence?

The answer hit me like a ton of bricks. Daily read our scriptures and say our prayers. As we “check in” with God multiple times a day we can rest assured that He will guide us to our final destination. Peace will be found knowing that He won’t let us get too far off track, if we remember to look to Him. Confidence is found in the reassurance that we are doing what God wants us to do.

Over the last year I have finally gained a real understanding of the importance of these things. I used to read my scriptures, most of the time. I said my prayers (often while falling asleep). Slowly (I can be so slow to learn at times), I have come to understand how to study the scriptures and not just read. How to talk to God and not just say the same words

Your needs are great and varied. Each of you is a unique child of God. God knows you individually. He sends messages of encouragement, correction, and direction fitted to you and to your needs.” Henry B Eyring

I did not foresee by constantly striving to really check in that I would have gained greater trust in the Holy Ghost.

That sounds like such an odd thing to say.

Of course I could trust him, right?  But when I would not listen to the promptings and quiet whispering, I showed that I knew better. When I didn’t even try to understand what he was impressing me to understand I was in essence saying I didn’t believe in his ability to help me.

Being too busy to study and too busy to pray, I showed I didn’t really care what he had to say. I was trusting myself. Trusting what I could see.

Just like following my GPS showed my trust in the system, following my God and the impressions He would give me through the Holy Ghost shows my trust for them.  Never have they lead me astray. Sometimes I don’t understand why I’m being guided in a certain direction. But if I remember to consistently come to them, I am given reassurance and peace that they are walking with me on my journey.

And ultimately I pray that they can now trust me just a little bit more. Trust that I will do what I’m impressed to do. Trust that when I get off track I will follow their voice and come back to them.

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constitutionAfter something has been around for over 200 years, you might start to take it for granted.

As I read this article by Dallin H Oaks, a former state supreme court justice, I discovered some of the amazing events that took place, that lead up to our living in this free country.

The first thing noted was

The United States Constitution was the first written constitution in the world. It has served Americans well, enhancing freedom and prosperity during the changed conditions of more than two hundred years. Frequently copied, it has become the United States’ most important export. After two centuries, every nation in the world except six have adopted written constitutions, 2  and the U.S. Constitution was a model for all of them.

I think that fact alone should show how important and blessed we are to have this as the basis for our government.

Something else I didn’t understand was the conditions the people were living in at that time.

Economically and politically, the country was alarmingly weak. The states were in a paralyzing depression. Everyone was in debt. The national treasury was empty. Inflation was rampant. The various currencies were nearly worthless. The trade deficit was staggering. Rebelling against their inclusion in New York State, prominent citizens of Vermont had already entered into negotiations to rejoin the British crown. In the western territory, Kentucky leaders were speaking openly about turning from the union and forming alliances with the Old World.

It’s no wonder that George Washington used the word “Miracle” in describing the drafting of the U.S. Constitution.

It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the delegates from so many different states (which states you know are also different from each other in their manners, circumstances, and prejudices) should unite in forming a system of national Government, so little liable to well-founded objections.” 3

In expressing his views in relations to the challenge of coming together as delegates in agreement to the drafting of the constitution, Benjamin Franklin said.

When you assemble a number of men to have the advantage over their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests,and their selfish views. From such an assembly can perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good.”

Think on the words of James Madison in the preface to his notes on the Constitutional Convention

There never was an assembly of men, charged with great and arduous trust, who were more pure in their motives, or more exclusively or anxiously devoted to the object committed to them.” 

This holiday weekend, as we celebrate our U.S. Independence Day, let’s take a moment to appreciate the miracle that came about so that we could truly be free, and feel gratitude for these men who were willing to work and compromise and eventually to ratify our U.S. Constitution.

For more information on this subject, I encourage you to read the article The Divinely Inspired Constitution by Dallin H Oaks

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Change is part of life

I have a confession to make.  I’m scared of change… and I embrace it.

I know that’s a total contradiction.

Change is inevitable.  The only thing constant is change.  This commercial constantly reminds me of this concept.


I’ve made some big changes in my life, and for the most part, I’ve enjoyed the adventure of it all.  Oh, there were plenty of scary and uncertain times, but I plowed right through the big stuff…. moving across the country, sending 2 sons on missions for 2 years, getting remarried.  For some reason the big stuff isn’t the problem.

It’s the small day-to-day stuff, that needs to be changed that is just so hard, and sometimes scary.  Maybe these small things are habits that need changing, or sometimes it’s something that is a part of my personality that I wish were different.

I spent 3-4 sleepless nights worrying about my mothering.  I knew what I needed to do… and I was unsure at the same time.  Unsure if this is going to work. Unsure if it will produce the desired results. But even though I was scared to make this move, I knew that I had to do something if I wanted to be able to sleep again.  What was the scary thing I needed to do, you may ask?  I needed to limit my children’s summertime TV and video game time. (It’s not really so scary once you say it out loud.)  My fear of conflict was the thing that made me scared and kept me from doing what was best for my kids.

I beat the habit of procrastination and had the conversation with the kids. I told them the new rules. Now I have to learn to overcome the bad habit of not following through.

I have to face my weakness: laziness (or busyness, depending on how you want to look at it) that may keep me from being on top of the TV and gaming time.  (I just now had to leave my blog post to go turn off the TV.)

I’ve been reading a great book that has been helpful, called Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement, by Kay Wills Wyma.

Kay reviewed the steps to changing a habit.  The one step that stuck out at me and has stayed with me was “Go for consistency rather than performance” or “consistency over perfection.”

I may not be perfect at keeping track of their time on TV and games, but as long as I stick with the rules and make sure they are turning off their devices when I tell them too, or providing a consequence if they don’t, the new rule, or household habit, will stick.  Even if I have weak days and don’t follow through, as long as I don’t throw the rule out because of my weakness, it will eventually be a success.

So many times in the past, I have failed to follow through with some family rule, or responsibility with my kids, and then blamed the problem on myself and my lack of follow through.  Then I just gave up what ever the program was, feeling that it can’t be a success because I’m a failure.  Whether is was study time, chores or whatever else.  Once again my fear of conflict kept me from teaching my kids responsibility.

So maybe this is the real habit that I am trying to change currently.  I want my love of my kids to be big enough that I’m willing to have the fights with them that are absolutely necessary, so that they can learn how strong and capable they really are, when I make them do something they don’t want to do.  This is going to be harder than it sounds.  And consistency over perfection is going to have to be my mantra for a while.

Change is hard, especially when it involves doing something differently than what I’m used to or comfortable with.  There will always be something that I’d like to be better at or improve in. And there will always be something that tries to get in the way of making that change.

The good news is that I never have to do it all alone. My very best resource for making lasting positive change comes from my Savior.

Through prayer and study of the scriptures and modern prophets, I get the strength that I need to carry me forward.  The “mighty change of heart” has helped me to overcome so many problems in my past and I live in trust that He will always be there for me as I strive to make righteous changes in my life and in the lives of my kids.

In Alma 5:13 it says

a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God.

As long as I have trusted God in the past, good change has been very real in my life.  God will always help us in our desires for good. The beautiful gift of the atonement was given to help us as we make those changes for the better and leave the old self behind.

We have this one life to learn and grow and become the best that we can. It is possible. I know that I will be able to improve with my Lord’s help, and I know He will help you too.