FAML300

L13: Transitions in Marriage: In-Law Relations

This is just a great topic, for me at least.  I imagine that there are those people out there that fit the stereo-typical role of in-laws, but the family I married in to (twice) and the family that I gave to my husband are pretty much wonderful.

I will state that we did have a bump in the road a few years ago, however.  My husband and I were married in Oregon and then we moved to his hometown in Texas a year and a half after we were married.  His dad flew to Oregon for our wedding, but his mom did not.  I had also met his dad prior to this when we had vacationed in Texas.  My husband’s parents are divorced and he does not have a great relationship with his mom.

When we had our little one (she is now 4 1/2), his mom started making contact with my husband and then with me.  On one occasion when we were in Texas, prior to us moving here, there was a fantastic gathering that was held in our honor when we were here to visit.  Friends and family gathered and the event was a great time.  During this, there was an alleged incident involving my mother-in-law’s husband and our 15 year-old niece.  He-said, she-said and it was left at that.  Fast forward to the time that we move to Texas.  We had three daughters and a son living with us.  My mother-in-law called up and volunteered to come and babysit our little one so that we could take the older kids to homecoming… and if you know anything about Texas, homecoming is a BIG deal.  We were excited and accepted her offer.  Two days before homecoming, she called to confirm that she was still coming and instead of saying for “me” to come babysit, she said “us” to come and babysit.  I was stopped in my tracks.  I then questioned her and asked if her husband was planning on accompanying her to our home.  She said that he was, and I then explained to her that we were more than happy to have her in our home to watch our little one and to spend time with her, but that we could only have her husband present with our daughters if one of us was there as well.  We just couldn’t risk it.  We don’t know this man, and given the previous event a year and a half earlier, it was not a risk that we could take.  From this moment to today (it’s been 3 1/2 years) she chooses not to talk to us.  For the safety of our children, that’s acceptable for us.  I know at times, my husband wishes that the relationship that he has with his mother were better.  But it’s been 25 years since it started going downhill and it’s a struggle for both of them.

Let’s talk about some happy stuff now.  I have the most awesome mother, ever!  You can’t even try to argue with me on this.  My mom has four sons-in-law and she reaches out to each of them and loves them as if they were her own sons.  She encourages them to reach their goals, to improve themselves, to lead their families, and to love as fiercely as they can.  My father-in-law is my next-door neighbor and he is in our home almost daily.  He is welcome any time day or night and we know that when he gets a bit older, that he will be ours to care for.  We love him, and he’s flexible, dependable, half-deaf, and tons of fun.

As you can read, incorporating families can be difficult.  I had a bit of a hard time when I first moved to Texas – especially around the holidays.  When I had lived in my hometown, the rules were well established and it was clear who would be where on what holiday and when.  Today, the rules are also well established, but it took us a little while to get there to where everyone was happy with the arrangements and how all would flow.  Communication of expectations and feelings are a must when incorporating new families together to make a bigger, happier family.

Families are for joy, they are for support, they are for love.  When you reach the point in your life of blending with in-laws, make sure that you – the newly married couple – talk about what you want for yourselves and your new family, and then explain to both sets of your parents where you stand and figure out what will work for all.

I pray that none of my readers go through what I have with my mother-in-law, because I’m certain she is a wonderful woman and one day, I hope to get to know her!

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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FAML300

W08 FAML300 Beware of Pride

Beware of Pride… I don’t like the saying, but it is true.  I have never before thought of myself as being prideful.  I have (and still do) see myself as a wife that is proud of her husband and a mother who is very proud of her children.  But is that what it speaks of in the scriptures as being prideful?  The truth to the answer is no.

imagesAs I read this week, I learned.  I cried.  And I prayed.  In Drawing Heaven Into your Marriage by Dr. H. Wallace Goddard, he writes “In fact, any time we feel irritated with our spouses, that irritation is not an invitation to call our spouses to repentance but an invitation to call ourselves to repent.  We are irritated because of our own lack of faith and humility.”  This statement had profound effect on me.

I was sitting here, at my desk, reading the material to ponder over what to write for my blog this week when I read the above words.  The instant I read them, I remembered sitting on the couch yesterday afternoon irritated with my husband.  I was irritated that he wasn’t answering me.  I feel that he does this frequently, and that he does this knowing that it irritates me.  Clearly, it is me with the issue.  I am the one irritated by my husband’s natural tendencies.  Maybe he really does not answer me quickly because he wants to irritate me, but who am I to read his mind?

So how do I fix the problem?  As Alma fixed his, as the Publican did, as the people of Mosiah did.  I must repent and turn to Christ and ask for mercy and forgiveness.  I am but Children.1a human and I need Him, Jesus Christ to help me lose my pride.  Pride in thinking that I need an answer now.  Pride believing that I can make my husband answer me.  Perhaps my husband not answering me is my lesson from Heavenly Father in patience which I have yet to learn.  Perhaps this is my big picture lesson so that I can see that I am indeed prideful and I simply need to repent and get over myself.

So, instead of spending hours at the computer today, I intend to finish writing up this blog …get a couple more homework assignments off my plate and go lose myself in service.  I need it.  I need time to quietly reflect and to ask of God to teach me the ways of humility.

Have you had eye opening moments when Heavenly Father has taught you about your own pride?  What did you do to overcome these trials?  Let me know in a comment!

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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FAML300, Winter 2017

W07 Staying Emotionally Connected

Dear Readers,

Let me first start out this post by saying how much I loved date night last week!  It was seriously a simple date.  We went to a restaurant that neither of us had been to before but had been wanting to go to and then followed it up by a little dessert at a favorite spot down the road from where we were.  We brought the Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work with us on our date and we asked one another questions from in the book and it was FABULOUS!  According to Dr. Gottman, my husband and I are in pretty good shape, but when you read some of those questions, you are pretty much disappointed in yourself for not knowing the answer… for example: neither my husband or I could tell you what each other’s top 3 movies of all time are. How lame are we?  Well, not any more!  We asked and answered questions, we ate crab and clams and shrimp. It couldn’t have been more splendid.

Now, let’s talk a little about this week’s topic: Turning Towards Each Other.  What the heck does that mean anyway?   I like to sleep facing the opposite direction….

With all seriousness, Dr. Gottman explains that all of us have what are called bids for attention.  True story.  Here’s an example in our home (this one happens a lot):

me:” Does anyone else know how to do laundry around here?”

Crickets…. crickets

Apparently no one else in my home knows how to do laundry.  When I die, they will all be wearing dirty clothes or perhaps this is when they will hire that maid I’ve been asking for.

What was I really saying when I asked that snarky question?  I was really saying/asking “I’m overwhelmed with chores right now, can someone please help get the laundry finished?”

Now, that would probably make more sense, but we don’t work that way, do we?  How often do we sit down on the couch with a heavy sigh or just hint at what we need/want without really saying it.  These are the bids that Dr. Gottman is talking about.

He then teaches us that we need to turn toward one another, not the bed time snuggling, but the reality of answering those bids.  So when I make another comment “why is there dog hair all over the rug?”  My husband instead of ignoring me, would go grab the vacuum man-vacuumingand get it all cleaned up.  Doesn’t that sound just like heaven?

I tell you, it is a little slice of heaven.  When my husband and I are communicating well and really listening to one another and the bids that we put out, life is pretty darn good.

I’m sure that as the semester continues, I’ll have more to say about Dr. Gottman and the middle chapters of his book, but I’d like to skip to the end… not a spoiler though it is such an important aspect of loving one another.  When I read this next section, I was happy and this is what I really wanted to focus this post on, even though my words may not be lengthy, they are important!

Rituals… not the sacrificial kind, but the really good kind.  I know there are other families out there that share this ritual with me, but I want to focus on it.  Eating dinner.  Not just scarfing down food that you barely taste, but really eating a meal together.  It doesn’t happen every single night around here, and I am grateful for that, because if it’s not happening then there is something special going on.  However, six nights a week we have a meal plan at our home and six nights a week we sit around the table together.   We have no electronics at the dinner table, there is no television on and we enjoy the company of cartoon-family-dinnerour family.  We bless the food, we serve the food, we eat and converse.  Each night at the dinner table, each person at the dinner table (guests included) have to share a good deed that they did during the day.  This is the ritual that I am most proud of in our family. It makes my heart warm and it’s a moment in our day that we share a little bit of the light of Christ that fills our hearts and our home.

Many years ago, our pediatrician told us of a study that was published which stated some horrible facts about children.  It scared me and at the time I was a single mom with four children.  She taught me how important it was to have regular family meal times, and I immediately went into action.  She told me that having regular meal time with your children is the number one preventative measure that can be taken to keep your children from dabbling in drugs, having premarital sex, and delinquency in general.  I took a step forward that day and I haven’t looked back.  I now relish each night at the dinner table and hearing the good that my children do in the world, even if it’s just loaning someone a pencil.

I challenge each of you to make it a point to have meals as a family around the table with no TV and no electronics.  Talk to one another.  Learn about each other’s lives and build a ritual that can keep your children safe with so little effort.  I promise, the rewards you will reap are worth it.

Share with me what rituals that you have with your family that I need in my life!

With love,

Samantha

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FAML300, Uncategorized

W05 Behaviors that Negatively Affect Marriage

Affect … effect … I will probably never ever learn how to tell these two words apart.  I have tried over and over again across my almost 40 years to learn the difference and it never makes sense to me.  So, if any of my readers out there have a good idea on how to actually help me learn this… please leave me a comment at the end of the blog!

So, what behaviors negatively affect marriage?  That’s what this week’s material is all about.  I have read five chapters in books, watched a clip from The Great Commandment given by Elder Wirthlin while he had a flare up of Parkinson’s disease, and watched several clips from the movie Fireproof staring Kirk Cameron (for those of you as old as me, that was a little treat) all of which made my allergies flare up.  Okay, really, my eyes were filled with tears at many of these intersections as I studied the material for this week.  Is it because it’s almost my birthday and I’m feeling sentimental?  Is it because yesterday was the Sabbath and I am feeling closer to the Spirit as I write on Monday instead of Tuesday or Wednesday?  Or is it because the lessons and messages that I read and viewed this week touched my heart and ring true on some level for me as an individual, a wife, a mother, and a disciple of Jesus Christ?

For those of you that know me, I’m a list maker.  I love to make lists.  There are eleven lists sitting in from of me as I type.  Each of them on a sticky note.  There are nine more as sticky notes on my desktop and at least three more in the planner that I use each day.  I love lists; so for the love of lists, here is my list for you on behaviors that negatively affect marriage:

  • Criticism
  • Contempt
  • Defensiveness
  • Stonewalling
  • Emotional flooding
  • Rejection
  • Bad memories put to current day events
  • Loneliness
  • Selfishness
  • Lack of charity, compassion, and empathy

While the list is short, relatively, it’s not like the grocery list… these are the particular items that were brought to my attention during my studies this week.  The list is made up from topics covered in Dr. John Gottman’s book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and from Dr. H. Wallace Goddard’s book Drawing Heaven into your Marriage.  If you’re committed, who doesn’t want to make their marriage work?  If you’re committed, who doesn’t want a slice of heaven in their marriage?  I say, even if you’re not so sure that you want to make your marriage work, or maybe you don’t believe in heaven…. Well, I say you’re pretty silly; what have you got to lose, other than your eternal happiness? If you’re willing to bet the future of your eternity – throw in the towel, if not please keep reading:

Clearly, I am not an expert on marriage, I have been divorced for goodness sake.  I can only say that I want to be an expert on family and home.  I want to be an expert in my own marriage.  I want to be an expert wife and mom; so I study and I read and I let it all soak in.  Hopefully there is a morsel for you to relate to.

Criticism

This doesn’t mean “your hair is a bit frizzy today” or “I’m not sure that shirt looks good on you.”  This means “why don’t you ever brush your hair, you always go about looking like you just got out of bed” or “that shirt looks terrible on you, how did you make it 36 years in life and never learn how to dress yourself, you can’t go in public like that!”  Can you see the difference there?  The always and never statements, the harshness of the second two statements.  It is one thing to file a complaint, it is another to criticize your partner with harshness and certainly with always and never statements.  Yes, I do have frizzy hair – the humidity makes it even worse, but I do brush it every day and I don’t ALWAYS go about looking like I just got out of bed.  That shirt may not look great on my husband, but telling him it looks terrible just isn’t kind and in his 36 years, 30 before he ever even met me, he managed never to go out into public naked – he’s fared well enough.  Does this make sense?

While I don’t recommend filing complaints every day about every little thing, that can pile up and become overwhelming, but when you truly feel like you need to file a complaint with your spouse, do it with kindness.  Leave those always and never statements at the door, lock them outside – none of us ALWAYS or NEVER behave in a specific fashion.

Contempt

Eye rolling, scoffing, sarcasm, and skepticism are all contemptuous.  What this really boils down to is respect.  When one behaves in manners like this toward their loved ones, you are displaying disrespect for them.  If we aren’t kind and respectful of our spouses, what is it that our relationship is built out of?  Do we love them? Think on that…

Defensiveness

When he tells me about that frizzy hair, even if he does so kindly, do I grumble back at him and say “I can’t help my hair, why are you so mean?”  Does he shout back at me when I complain about his shirt “I’ve been able to dress myself for 36 years without you, I am not a complete idiot.”  These are examples of being defensive.  Think about the defensive line on a football team, their job is to shut the opposing team down, to not let them score. Are you on the same team as your spouse, or are you just trying to make sure they don’t score any points?

Stonewalling

This is pretty much shut-down from my perspective.  I’m talking to my husband about his shirt and he’s not making any eye contact or even giving any cues to me that he’s listening.  He has shut down and shut me out.  Do you ever just keep talking when your spouse is non-responsive?  Take a step back and see what he or she looks like, what is their body language telling you?  Have you over stepped your bounds?  Have you helped them to give up hope in communicating with you?  If you find this happening, you have got to get some help!  You need to take a step back, apologize to your spouse and find a way to open that line of communication again – this is an urgent need.

Emotional Flooding

Why did he shut down when I talked to him about his shirt? Because he is flooding emotionally.  I have criticized too much, he is so used to be run over by me, that in order to preserve his dignity and to not blow up at me, he simply shuts down to avoid the confrontation.  When he finally does start to talk to me about his shirt, I then talked over the top of him complaining more that he wasn’t talking to me when I was talking to him, he shuts down again.  Flooding… and too much of this circular pattern simply leads to divorce.  It has to stop.  The pattern must be broken.

Rejection

I’ve noticed that I have totally messed up here.  My husband does know how to dress himself!  I come to his side as he’s lying in bed reading a book.  I sit on the edge of the bed and lightly touch his arm.  He looks at me but says nothing.  I then say to him “I am so sorry that I was critical of your shirt and how you dress yourself, that wasn’t kind of me.  Will you forgive me?”  He looks up again and continues to read his book.  Rejection.  Don’t do this people!! When your spouse offers you a genuine, heartfelt apology, make the time to listen.  I’m not saying you have to forgive immediately, but listen and respond appropriately.  Put yourself in the being rejected shoes, no one likes being there, don’t put the one person that you should be able to count on every day for the rest of forever in those shoes intentionally.

Bad memories put to current day events

We have all had bad days, and most of us bad fights.  Those bad days and bad fights need to stay right where they were left.  Sure, there may be some unresolved issues from those days or those fights, but bring them to the table for resolution without the horrible day along with it.  I mean, it’s okay to talk about and discuss overspending on clothes for the month, but we don’t need to bring up “that one day when you spent $300 dollars at the mall and took no thought to the remainder of the budget and we stood in the kitchen yelling at each other.”  What good does this do?  Instead try “Is there a way that I can help you keep within the allotted budget for clothing?”  Leave those horrible fights where they were, there is no point digging up old fights and bad memories to serve the current moment and help cultivate a great relationship.

Loneliness

From all of those topics mentioned above, when these tactics are employed in a relationship, loneliness is the result.  Do you go to bed each night wondering who is that lying next to me? Do you wonder where that (wo)man you married is at, when they are sitting opposite you at the dinner table?  Being lonely within a marriage is a direct result from lack of good communication.  The spirit of any person gets to a breaking point when constantly barraged with overwhelming feelings of incompetence.  When I am told over and over again that I am a horrible housekeeper, I begin to really feel this way.  If my husband then begins to tell me that I am a deplorable cook (this might be true) I may begin to believe it.  When we are constantly under attack from our loved ones, how can we preserve ourselves, by being defensive, stonewalling, and shutting down.  Henceforth, we become lonely.  I certainly don’t want to be in bed each night lying next to my husband in a state such as this, do you?

Selfishness

I’m going to dig a little on this one and throw myself under the proverbial bus.  I am generous.  I give to my husband, I give to my children, I give to those that I visit teach, I give to those in our ward, I give to the community, I pay a full tithe, I sincerely put forth effort to give of myself to others.  So, I am not entirely selfish, but… I certainly have areas of my life where I am.  I am selfish with the budgeted money for clothing.  Do I really need to spend it all each month?  Certainly not, but I almost always do.  I believe that we can each improve in this area to focus on becoming more Christ like.  Never a moment in his mortal life did he take time to please himself before helping another or doing the Father’s will.  Jesus Christ should be our example, not only in being selfless, but in each and every aspect of our relationships that I have written about.  With words on the Savior, this leads me to the last point for this really long blog post:

Lack of charity, compassion, and empathy

“What lack I yet?”  Do you lack charity, compassion, or empathy for your spouse?  Do you think “well, that’s what you get!”?  When your spouse is in bed sick, do you make a tray of food and go sit by their side or do you ignore that they aren’t well?  Do you have a pang of sadness when you know your loved one is having a rough day at work, or do you brush their bad day off to deal with your own?

Charity is the pure love of Christ (you saw that coming, right?).  When we have charity for 3 Nephi 16others, compassion and empathy are right alongside.  Is this aspect of your life missing?  You have got to put up a lost and found poster immediately!  There is no time to waste, stop reading and go.

Just this morning, my husband was in bed with a migraine.  While this is frustrating because it’s going to be a missed day of work and no income, I went to my husband’s side and asked what kind of medication he needs?  I got the medication, I got a glass of water.  I made sure the kids were staying quiet, I got a cool rag for his forehead because I know he likes it when he has a migraine.  Charity, compassion, empathy.  Each of these is a must in every marriage across the planet.  If you are lacking in this department, I’d like for you to get some help.  I implore you to get help.  Your marriage is worth it, your spouse is worth it, and more importantly, you are worth it.  Each of us is a child of God, and He wants you to return to live with him.  He wants you to have these qualities in your life that you once had.  You deserve to have them, and if you have lost your way, you have lost these precious gems from your pocket, you have got to go and find them.  Open your scriptures, open your heart, repent, ask for forgiveness from those you have harmed and work to better yourself each day.  Charity is indeed the pure love of Christ, and without charity, we can in nowise inherit the kingdom which He has planned for us.

And while after writing this super long blog, I still don’t know the difference between effect and affect, I have a sense of peace that has washed over my being.  I feel those tears welling up in my eyes.  Tears of gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father who sent His only Begotten Son to atone for my sins.  I am able to be forgiven for those snarky comments and overspending.  I am able to be loved by Him and am able to move forward trying each day to be better while I work on perfecting the love, charity, compassion, and empathy that I hold and distribute to those that are in need … my family.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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FAML300

W04: Doctrine of Eternal Marriage: Try, try, try

This week I found that I appreciate a couple of prompt questions that were provided for us in our Marriage course.  I appreciate the simplicity of them, and that they motivate me in regards to my marriage.  I pray that they can enlighten you a bit as well.

What things in particular are you going to implement into your life to ensure that your marriage is a covenant marriage and not a contractual marriage?

Well, first things first…. My marriage is indeed a contractual marriage at this time.  My husband is not a Melchizedek Priesthood holder, but we’re working toward that elder-bednarand I know in my heart that someday this will happen.  With that being said, I live my life and my “half” of our marriage as if my husband is my companion from eternity to eternity.  I read a talk for this week’s reading material from Elder David A Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles titled “Marriage Is Essential to His Eternal Plan.”  In this talk, I was reminded of several things, but most importantly his reminder that we need to treat our marriages for what they are – sacred.  Am I doing this?  What do I need to change?

I try to treat my marriage as if it is sacred.  My marriage is the most valuable thing that I have outside of my relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ.  BUT, I am not caring for my marriage as I should.  I do not make time each day, each week, or sometimes even each month to spend one on one time with my husband growing together, laughing together, or enjoying one another’s company.  I intend to fix this immediately.

I will say that I had a little heads up from a classmate that took Marriage last semester that we would be able to start having weekly dates with our spouses as part of our course work.  This excited me.  I haven’t had time to have a date, or really I haven’t made it a priority.  My husband and I are both guilty.  When I shared with him the idea, he participated with me in making a list of places we’d like to go together and restaurants we’d like to eat at – by ourselves, no kids!  I don’t want to rekindle what I have, we have a little fire going, but I’d love to see our affection for one another grow as we spend time with one another.  I want to have a great big bon fire.  Isn’t that the idea?  I don’t simply want to grow old on this earth with my husband, I want to grow old and be feisty and love one another like no other husband and wife ever have…. Isn’t that what we should all be striving for?  We are reaching for the temple so that we can have all of the earthly enjoyment of being eternal companions.  I like him that much – in all of his stubbornness, in all of his kindness, in all of his sweet caring ways – I like him just enough to want to be by his side each and every single day for all of the eternities. So, I’m going to start dating him.  This week!  I am so excited!  Thoughts on where we should go first?  Please feel free to share.

 

Next, I want to talk about some big bad wolves.  You know the story of the three pigs and the big bad wolf.  Well, according to Elder Bruce C Hafen, there are really three big big-bad-wolf-at-the-doorbad wolves.  And they are:

  • The wolf of natural adversity
  • The wolf of our own imperfections
  • The wolf of excessive individualism

These wolves are horrible.  We can’t really avoid the first wolf, as it tests our marriage, we have to get on our knees and pray and have our Savior yoke with us so that we can overcome the trials that are put before us in this life.  We all have trials to overcome, and we must.  Remember that no trial that we are given is too much for us to endure.

The world of our own imperfections, however, we can avoid this one.  Elder Hafen tells of a woman who was so belittled by her spouse that she felt invaluable and worthless.  This is unacceptable on two levels.  First, no human deserves to be treated in this manner, and I am confident that her spouse will be dealt with justly on judgement day.  Secondly, and even more importantly, each and every one of us are a child of God.  He made us in His image.  We are made just how we are supposed to be.  Sure we can learn to do more things, we can expand our skills and our knowledge.  We can learn to control our patience level and learn to love deeper, and we should do all of these things that are praiseworthy and of good report.  We have got to remember that are made in His image and we His children.  Each one of us has great value in his eyes.  If you aren’t a parent yet, you maybe don’t quite understand this… but sometime in the natural progression of attempting to be the best parent you can, one learns that there is nothing you wouldn’t do for the benefit of your child.  I mean, just this morning, my daughter was begging me to pay $45 to send her on a field trip.  $45 are you kidding me?  I mean, I don’t normally mind $5 or $10, but $45?  That’s not a field trip, that’s an expense line for the budget.  Nope, she’s not going.  I’m certain it would be beneficial for her, I’m sure she’d learn some great things, and yes, she will be the only one from her class period not in attendance, but I am not paying $45 for a field trip.  I want her to be able to go, I want her to have the benefit of the cultural experience she has been promised from this outing, but I simply can’t afford it right now.  There are a lot of things in life that I want for my children that I can’t provide, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want what’s best for them.  Heavenly Father wants what is best for us, and that is a covenant marriage and a strong family.  We have got to remember the value that we hold in His eyes and never let anyone strip us of this.

Lastly, the wolf of excessive individualism.  I used to know this wolf.  We were even intimate.  He and I may as well have been conjoined twins.  After my divorce, I went searching for me.  I thought I found me, and boy was I wrong.  I went several years with putting my career in front of my children.  I worked hard to provide for them, and I was successful in doing so.  But I had too much time to myself making me who I was – the provider, and not enough time being mom and loving on my kiddos.  I have since remarried and am now blessed with being a stay-at-home mom.  I wish I could turn back the clock and stay a struggling single mom instead of a financially set single mom. I am saddened by the field trips, snotty noses, owies, and meal times that I missed working overtime because I thought that I needed money in order to give my children what they needed.  I was wrong, and here I am now, blessed beyond belief to stay home and finish watching some of them grow into beautiful young adults.  I get to drive them to school, pack their lunches, and attend every single event that they are involved in – because that’s what moms are for – at least this mom.

So, what am I going to do?  I’m going to beat these wolves away.  I’m going to teach my nice-big-bad-wolfchildren of their worth in the eyes of God and I’m going to always strive to be the mom that I was meant to be – divinely appointed to be.  I am going to kiss scraped knees and hug girls with broken hearts and I am going to go to the marching band practices for the next four and a half years.  I am going to love with all of my heart and focus on the gifts and blessings that I have been given from above.  And I pray whole heartedly that you find a way to fight those wolves that are at your door – pray them away.  Yoke with Him.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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FAML300, The Eternal Family

Week 3: Threats to Marriage: Defender of Marriage

I wrote a discussion board post earlier a couple of days ago for my class, and I want to share it with you in its entirety.  I want each of you readers to know, that without any doubt in my mind that you are a child of God.  The topic for this week is same-sex marriage and with that, I will stand in defense of traditional marriage, because that is what I believe God planned for each of His children.  He has also given us agency, and each of us get to choose for ourselves everything from what pair of socks to wear today to whom to marry and even if we will accept that Jesus is the Christ.  Agency is part of the Plan of Salvation and as such, I respect the fact that we can each exercise it according to our own decisions. Here is my discussion board post:

“It took a lot for me to get through the reading material this week.  With 14 credits, three children in the house, dogs, chickens, and a husband … 100+ pages of reading material for one course in a week makes for a challenging week for me.  But I did it!  I finally escaped and went to get a pedicure and during that fabulous 90 minutes with no children, I got through the rest of the Supreme Court ruling and all of Chief Justice Roberts‘ dissent.

This morning (it’s Tuesday) my mom called.  As I read somewhere as a reminder this photobooth_0533week that we have to keep the human element in mind… my mother lives with her same-sex partner and lives in a state that same-sex marriage was allowed prior to the Supreme Court ruling.

I am always very mindful of topics such as same-sex marriage and I have once walked out (maybe stormed out) of a Sunday School class in which the teacher was insisting that we treat those that live homosexual lives as second class citizens.  I have not, nor will I ever. “A person is a person no matter how small” is my favorite Dr. Seuss quote.  I learned this when I was small, and I have practiced it my entire life.  Unless our Prophet stands up and tells me that is what God wants, then I’m not ever going to treat another human as if they are of lesser value in the eye of God than I am.  I am a sinner, my mother is a sinner, and so is each person reading this.  We should not judge one another because we sin differently than our neighbor.

With that rant, I had a great conversation with my mom today.  We talked at length about Moroni 60the Constitution.  We talked about my belief (which she already knew) that leading a homosexual lifestyle isn’t acceptable in the eyes of God.  We talked about what liberties we are given by the Constitution of the United States.  We talked about the snow that has fallen in the Portland Metro Area.  We talked as mother and daughter talk, we each learned some.  I taught my mom about what liberty means, as intended by our Founding Fathers, and she taught me that even though she lives a homosexual life, she isn’t sure that the Supreme Court had the authority to make same-sex marriage a constitutional right.  She believes as I do, that this right belongs to the people as intended by the founders of this nation.

Samantha”

I truly believe that marriage is intended by God to be between a man and a woman.  This is how we create families biologically – which was his intent from Adam and Eve down to Samantha and Aaron.  We read in The Family: A Proclamation to the World issued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on September 23, 1995 that “The family is ordained of God.  Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. ”  This is fundamental.

As I was reading other classmates discussion board posts, I read in one that marriage is second to family as a foundational unit of society.  I would like to address that here, as I did when I replied to her post.  Please, feel free to write me back and post here what your thoughts are….  If we were building a house and we put family down first (as suggested by data collected by society) and then we stood marriage on top of that, what was this family founded upon?  The sand, I say.

On the other hand, if you have a marriage that is solid and then you create a family, you have built your house upon a rock.  A church magazine article written by Adam C. Olson titled Built on the Rock can remind us really what it means to build upon the rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ.  Take a minute to read the story and have a little reminder of how truly important it is that we live by the precepts taught by our Savior and through his word by way of the leaders of His church today.

“Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” –D & C 1:38

Remember that we all sin differently, and never forget the golden rule.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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The Eternal Family

Yesterday, my almost 8th grader got a text message from her National Junior Honor Society sponsor looking for volunteers to come and help the 8th grade assistant principal at the school today.  I, of course, immediately responded and said that my child would be there.  Why?  First, because I am a horrible mom.  Second, because as a NJHS member, she is expected to do service hours.  Third, kids have got to stay busy or they just watch too many Netflix shows over the summer.  And finally, and most importantly, because when you are in the service of others, you are only in the service of God.  I firmly believe this.

Now, how does this fit into the ideal of an eternal family?  Service is the glue that binds a family together.  Each night at the dinner table (okay, 6/7 nights a week), we ask each other what act of service we provided for someone else during the day.  Sometimes the answer is that a child loaned a pencil to someone or gave someone a sheet of paper.  But, there are moments that shine.  Moments, sitting there at the dinner table where my husband will share of pulling over his work truck and giving his water to a homeless man under an overpass or moments when I have taken someone a meal or someone to a medical appointment.  There are even bigger and brighter moments, when one of the kids actually went out of their way to do something kind for a sibling…. make a bed, read a story, do their chore.  Something.  And it is these moments, that I get to realize, as the mom, that these little acts of service are the glue that holds us together.

Now, as the mom, I get to do little things each day for everyone.  It’s pretty much the normal mom stuff, but it’s still service.  So for all you moms out there that work your tails off at home, pack lunches, wash dishes, and load after load of laundry remember that you are not only doing your “job” as wife and mother, but you are providing a service for your family.  Giving service is sometimes thankless, and I know for me, when someone actually thanks me for providing service, I will always say “no problem.”   It usually isn’t a problem, but even when it was hectic to figure out, I still say “no problem.”  What I need to do is remember to say “you’re welcome.”  I mean “you’re welcome,” it just never comes out of my mouth that way.  Anyway…. the point here to this blog post is service.

My NJHS member is excited to go and work today, but that excitement stems from hanging out with her “Bae” all day and knowing that the boy she has a crush on is going to be at the school volunteering his time too.  However, service is service, and she’ll be working all the same, and getting to enjoy herself.  I am proud to have kids that are happy to go work in the community and serve others, even if it’s just moving text books and stacking them up in a closet.  It’s great to be a mom in these latter-days and it’s great to serve ones family and those in the community.  Go and do.  Be a Nephi, be an Amulek, be yourself and serve God.

 

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