Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Relief Society -- "The Beginning of Better Days"

The Beginning of Better Days: Divine Instruction to Women from the Prophet Joseph Smith

February has been a good month for reading good books.  I just completed The Beginning of Better Days:  Divine Instruction to Women from the Prophet Joseph Smith.  It shares the counsel the prophet Joseph gave to women during, and after, the organization of  The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo.

This organization still exists.  Its name has now been shortened to Relief Society and it is the largest women's organization in the world. According to Mormon.org "Its purpose is to build faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and help those in need." I am honored to be a member.

One quote given from the prophet Joseph is:  "The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more are we dispos'd to look with compassion on perishing souls -- to take them upon our shoulders and cast their sins behind our back.  I am going to talk to all this Society -- if you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another."

I am thankful for those who have had compassion and mercy on me, and hope I will always remember to extend that compassion and mercy to those around me.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Skating on Ice

Photo by Susan M.
Last week I went ice skating with the young men and women from our ward.  I hadn't been for 11 or 12 years, and my first couple of trips around the rink made my legs so tired that I was afraid three times around would be my limit!  Fortunately, my skating skills came back to me, and being a bit more relaxed made it more exhilarating than exhausting.

I was really impressed with the young women. Some bravely tried something that was hard for them.  Some spent the majority of their time helping those who didn't have much, if any, skating experience. The helpers were kind, patient, and they didn't fall down!  When someone did fall down, everyone was generally nice, and tried to be helpful.

I was so afraid me helping would result in falling that I tried to be encouraging instead.  Still, I was pretty proud of how well I was doing.  Pride goes before the fall!  Sure enough, I caught the tip of my skate on the ice and was face down before I had much of a chance to react.  Ouch!  I hopped up as quickly as possible so that hopefully nobody would see me, and so that nobody would trip on me.  I have a couple of bruises, but I still thought the skating was worth it.  It was fun to speed around, skating on ice, trying to keep up with Jake who got to come too.  Maybe I'll go again without waiting another 11 or 12 years!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Who Is Listening?

I needed a picture, and Dan was kind enough to pose for me.

A couple of weeks ago it struck me that God can hear what I say -- and would I want Him to?  Do I say good things?  In fact, He knows my thoughts too, and shouldn't that help me to think and say better things?  Then this past week I was listening to the Christian radio station and a lady called in with a story about the words we say, and who is listening.

I'll call the caller Ella.  She was at home, and her step daughter and baby were there. There was a baby monitor set up, which Ella had forgotten about. When her step daughter went to check on the baby, Ella started gossiping about her to the other person who was there.

Pretty soon the step daughter came out and said, "You know, the baby monitor is on, and I can hear what you are saying".  You can imagine the horror that Ella felt.  She knew already that she shouldn't be gossiping, and now she had been caught doing just that -- by the very person she had been gossiping about.  The words could no longer be unsaid, or unheard.  The relationship was damaged. Over time, the relationship has become good again, but it isn't as close as it once was because Ella betrayed her step daughter's trust, and is still working to earn it back.

Ella said that this experience has served to remind her not to gossip -- ever.  She tries harder now to think, and to say good things.  We may think only one person is listening, but God always is, and He wants us to be kind.  Good words and bad words can easily travel farther than we intend -- I'd much rather accidentally send good words travelling far!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Jake is 14!

Jake chose to have brownies for his birthday -- with orange chicken for dinner.  He opened presents after dinner.  He had to wait all day long.  The Amazon box with his new giant ball didn't come until his birthday afternoon.  He brought the box in himself.  Now people can come to see him do scary amazing things on a ball again. (After watching they invariably warn their children that they won't be trying those things -- and they ask how many times Jake's been hurt.)  He's been hurt once -- when Dan unexpectedly crashed into him.  There was no blood, and no stitches were required.

14 glowing candles

Jake trying to finish blowing out the 14 candles

I like this smiley face!

This is the best of the opening present pictures.  He was reading a card from his grandparents Fuller, who were sitting on the couch -- just out of view in the picture.  His Uncle Ray and Aunt Lori were there too.
I love Jake.  He has a great sense of humor, and he is kind.  He and his siblings all went to Kung Fu Panda 3 on his birthday evening, and it was fun to hear him chuckling over it with Trisa the next morning.

The picture above was Dan on Jake's birthday.  Dan's been sick for a week and a half and I had asked him to take down this fort so Trisa could use the mattress at the bottom that night.  Dan was sad and started crying because "Jake loves this fort".  So, we took a picture.  Dan hasn't seemed to be too sick this week, but while he was at the movie, we got a call that told us his long strep test was positive. We got medicine, and he seems all better today, and he should be safe to be around by tomorrow.  

Dan wrote Jake a poem for his birthday that was pretty great.  He signed it "BY POLICE OFFICER DAN'S AMAZING RITING MUSTACHE".  Dan loves a good mustache, and using his police officer Dan accent.   He really loves Jake, who plays with him more than anyone else.

Jake loves his family, and seemed to enjoy spending his birthday with all of us.  Happy #14 to Jake!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Following the Trend of Tidying Up

Image result for the life changing magic of tidying up

I first heard of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo from my sister-in-law Laura.  Then I kept hearing more and more people talk about it.   So, out of curiosity, I bought the book, and have been having a jolly good time tidying up ever since.

The way the author talks about some things sound funny to me.  She talks about how we give our socks pain by folding them wrong, and if we hold something in our hand, and no longer love it, we thank it for its service, and out it goes!  

I still cause my socks pain by folding them wrong, but I got rid of a whole Walmart bag full of socks that I didn't want to wear.  Every morning I would pull out a pair of socks, look at them, and think "oh, these don't have good elastic, my shoes will eat them", or "these aren't very comfortable", or "these are getting a hole in them", and I would put them back and fish for another pair until I found a pair I liked.  After reading the section of the book on clothing I went through my drawer and got rid of all of those socks that I really just didn't want to wear.  Now I get good socks every time I reach in the drawer!

After sorting my socks, I cleaned out the closet.  Against the authors advice, I kept some things I don't love, but for someone who cleans out her closet constantly, I was able to find more than a garbage bag full of stuff to give away.  Somehow this book made me feel okay about giving away the things I have to talk myself into wearing, and helped me see that I still have more than enough clothes to wear, and they are the ones I like.  I did adopt her folding method for clothes, and have enjoyed showing off my interestingly neat closet.  Theoretically the clothes stand on their own, so I can pull one out without messing up the rest.

I started going through papers yesterday too -- including my music.  I had made very organized notebooks full of music years ago, but I rarely used them.  They were full of music I couldn't play, or didn't want to, and it was too much work to find the ones I liked!  Now the songs I like are in the notebooks, and the other songs are gone.  I was really pleased to discover a few old favorites that I had forgotten about!

All in all, I am finding that less can feel like more -- more of what I like, less of what I don't like.  Less of what I don't need, and easier access to what I do.  Who knew that tidying up could be so interesting and fun?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Adam's Baptism

On Saturday we climbed in the van at 7:00 a.m. to head towards Logan to attend our nephew Adam's baptism.  Derek's parents came with us.  It was nice to visit with them, and to attend the happy event. It was fun to see Trent and Michelle, and to tour Adam's Grandparent's house (Michelle's parents). Adam's Grandma W. designed the house herself, and it is very beautiful.  We were glad we could go.

Here are some pictures:
This is our J.D. (Jake Derek) with his cousin J.D. (Joseph Duhn)
Both were named with their great grandpa J.D. (Jensen Duhn) in mind
Jake goes by Jake.  J.D. actually goes by J.D.
J.D. saw Jake and exclaimed "Oh!  I missed you so much!"  J.D. knows how to make people feel good!
Jake spent most of his time with J.D.  He loves his cousins and is really good with the little ones.

This is Adam looking handsome on his big day.

I thought I'd get a selfie with Adam.  He is a good boy!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February's Romantic Read

Image result for courtships of the prophets

I thought "Courtships of the Prophets" by Mary Jane Woodger & Paulette Preston Yates would be a fun choice for February and so I put it on my list.  I finished it January 31st!

This book was a gift from Derek's parents.  It has 11 stories of the courtships of modern day prophets.  I enjoyed all of the stories, but especially the ones about Joseph Fielding Smith.  He was really shy, and not very romantic, and I found his idea of how to go about courting humorous.  Still, he was married three times because he outlived his wives, and how he found each wife was interesting. They were all good women and he had 11 children.  I loved the description that his 2nd wife gave of him.  He may not have been "romantic" but she described a wonderful man who loved his family!

This is a quick read, with interesting glimpses into the lives of 11 remarkable men, and the women who married them.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

There is Hope Every Day

Derek gave me these for
taking care of him when he was sick.
They are beautiful.

Just in case the words of the song do not say this clearly, I know that we will only have a perfect body when we are resurrected, and we can only be resurrected because of Jesus.  I also know that there is no way to keep from making mistakes.  The only reason we have any hope of making it back to live with Heavenly Father is because of Jesus.  I love Him.

Finally, if you go to this link to listen to me trying to sing, those who are very familiar with the LDS Primary book will no doubt recognize that the beginning of the verses sound very much like Mother, Tell Me the Story.  I in no way intended to steal Janice Kapp Perry's work!  I admire her.

There is Hope Every Day

Children of mine, here's a song just for you.
A song from your mother, I love you, I do.
These are the things that I want you to know
At all times and all of the places you go.
You have a Father in heaven divine.
You were His child, before you were mine.
He knows your name and all you can be,
And loves you a lot.  Even better than me.

Father sent you here to become just like Him
He knows us all well, and He knew we would sin.
It takes lots of practice to get things just right,
We'd need to be perfect to get back to his light.
The Way would seem hard, and the journey seem long.
It would be hopeless, but we have a brother,
Who loves you more surely than even your mother.

He came and He suffered for every mistake
That all of His brothers and sisters would make.
He did it so we could get better each day.
He did it so we would all know the way.
When you fall down He won't give up on you.
We'll get back to Father through all He did do.
He was resurrected, so you will be too.
With a perfect body, a free gift to you.

So when life feels heavy, or you're feeling sad.
When you're feeling broken, or think you are bad.
When you've lost a loved one, and your heart seems sore.
When you think that you cannot take anymore.
When friends don't seem friendly, and you feel alone,
When you want to laugh, but it comes out a moan.
Here are the things that I want you to know,
Every time and in all of the places you go.

There is hope every day.
There's a light for your way.
There is love that won't end.
There is a perfect friend.
There is help when you fall.
Father hears when you call.
Jesus came just for you.
And I love you too.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

When Only God Sees

from Google Images

A few years ago I read a book by Nicole Johnson called Invisible Woman:  When Only God Sees.  In it she talked about the building of some of the great cathedrals of the world.  She shared a story of a monk working on one of the beams that would go in a cathedral. On a part of the beam, the monk was carving a beautiful bird.  The person who was watching realized that after the beam was placed in its position, this beautiful work would be completely hidden from view.  He asked the monk why he was doing it, when nobody would see it.  The response? God sees.

I really like people to notice the good things I do. If I made dinner I want to hear that it was good.  If I served someone in some way, I like it to be acknowledged, or to at least know it was appreciated. Quite frankly, sometimes I worry that I do good things not to be good, but to be noticed, or to be liked.  I really want to be like this monk.  I want to do good things, and be content that only God sees.  I want to do good things not to please other people, but to please God, who gave me life, and a purpose, and a Savior.  At the end of a busy day of doing good things, even if nobody else noticed, I want to be confident that God did, and that He is smiling at me for my efforts no matter how small they were.

Today, like the monk, I can do some beautiful hidden work.  Mine will not be a carving, but it can be a work of love or kindness, and I will know that God sees.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Dan's Secret Identity

Last year was difficult in some ways.  We had been switched to a very nice new ward (church congregation), but the change was still hard -- especially for Jake.  So it was that I found myself with a couple of hours on a Sunday to spend with just Jake while the rest of the family was at church.  This happened more than once, and I prayed and prayed to know how to help Jake.  I felt like my prayer was answered on more than one occasion with inspiration.

This particular Sunday the thought came to mind that I should have Jake help me write a song.  I gave him a choice of who he wanted to write about, and he chose Dan.  Jake is a very good big brother for Dan.  He loves him.  This is the song that Jake and I wrote.  You will understand the song better if you know that Dan has an excellent imagination, and has played his own made up game for years where his secret identity has occasionally changed.  I sang the song for Dan when he got home that Sunday.  He loved it.

Secret Identity

There is a boy in our family, who has a secret identity.
He fights robots and evil men, shooting, exploding, and hurting them.
But when he is with the family, he plays the piano repeatedly,
And smiles and laughs and twirls around.  A happier boy could not be found.
His secret identity's not always the same.  He's trying to find the most awesome name.
He started as Super Duper Dan, but was also cool as Dan the Man.
Robotic Destroyer -- a scary name, he could have helped Batman to defeat Bane.
Falcon #4 added magic and more.  Watching those battles would not be a bore.
The last of all of his secret names, Used in his totally awesome games,
Is Swordsman now, the winner of all, causing all kinds of bad guys to fall.
All of those secret names are great, and many a criminal has met his fate.
But regular Dan, with his super smile, helps our family through many a trial.
Defeating the grumpies is a good thing too,
And Dan is ready with a smile for you.

Jake was very helpful with writing this song.  He is good at rhyming, and he was aware of a lot more of Dan's secret identities than I was!  If you'd like to hear it sung click here.
Dan and Jake