Thursday, June 1, 2017

A guiding gift for your and my children

I recently read the General Conference talk by Sister Mary R. Durham titled, "A Child's Guiding Gift."  With expecting another baby boy and thinking about all the temptations my boys will face in their life, I have felt a little burdened.  This talk was an answer to prayer and has really comforted me and given me hope.  This gospel just makes so much sense!  Of course our loving Heavenly Father would only send us into this world full of dangers, distractions, and lures of the devil with a gift..a guiding gift...a a gift that will guide us back to Him.

Sister Durham shared a story about a father who was drowning.  He realized his shoes were making the situation worse, and he was able to kick them off and rise to the surface of the water.

She then states, "How do we follow the example of this father and kick off some of the weight of the world we carry, so we can keep our children’s heads and our own worried minds above the water? How can we, as Paul counseled, “lay aside every weight”?2 How can we prepare our children for the day when they can no longer cling to us and our testimonies—when they are the ones swimming?

An answer comes when we recognize this divine source of strength. It is a source often underestimated, yet it can be used daily to lighten our load and guide our precious children. That source is the guiding gift of the Holy Ghost."

Children have a natural desire to do good and to be good. We can feel their innocence, their purity. They also have a great sensitivity to the still, small voice.

How do we as parents increase the spiritual capacity of our little ones? How do we teach them to kick off worldly influences and trust the Spirit when we are not with them and they are alone in the deep waters of their lives?"

First, we can bring to our children’s attention when they are hearing and feeling the Spirit.
Samuel in the Old Testament did not recognize the voice of the Lord until Eli pointed it out to him and helped him recognize it.  Samuel was "feeling, recognizing, and hearkening" to the voice, "but didn't start to understand until Eli facilitated this recognition.  And having been taught, Samuel could become more familiar with the still, small voice."

*Jared and I need to help our children recognize when they are feeling the Spirit.  What the Spirit feels like, sounds like, that it comes in moments of peace, quietness, and when we are making good choices and being obedient.  They won't know what they are feeling until it's taught and pointed out to them.  Jared and I can share personal experiences of how we feel the Spirit and how we know we are feeling the Spirit.

Second, we can prepare our homes and our children to feel the still, small voice.
“Many teachers of foreign languages believe that children learn a language best in ‘immersion programs,’ in which they are surrounded by other speakers of the language and called upon to speak it themselves. They learn not just to say words, but to speak fluently and even to think in the new language. The [best] ‘immersion’ setting for a spiritual education is in the home, where spiritual principles can form the basis for daily living.”6

“Thou shalt teach [the Lord’s words] diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”7 Immersing our families in the Spirit will keep our children’s hearts open to His influence."
*There is no better place for our children to feel the Spirit than in our home.  They will feel it at church, sporadically at school and other places, but they will feel it the most at home.  I need to keep my home clean, orderly, filled with pictures on the walls of Christ and his doctrines, filled with consistent, daily gospel teachings, and with love.  By creating this environment, the Spirit will be more present in our home and our children will have more opportunities to feel and recognize it.

Third, we can help our children understand how the Spirit speaks to them. 
"One mother discovered that since children learn differently—some learn visually, auditorily, tactilely, or kinesthetically—the more she observed her children, the more she realized that the Holy Ghost teaches her children in ways they each learn best.9
Another mother shared an experience of helping her children learn to recognize the Spirit. “Sometimes,” she wrote, “[children] don’t realize that a recurring thought, a feeling of comfort after they cry, or remembering something at just the right time are all ways that the Holy Ghost communicates [with them].” She continues, “I’m teaching my [children] to focus on what they feel [and act on it].”10
Feeling and recognizing the Spirit will bring spiritual capacity into our children’s lives, and the voice they come to know will become clearer and clearer to them. It will be as Elder Richard G. Scott said: “As you gain experience and success in being guided by the Spirit, your confidence in the impressions you feel can become more certain than your dependence on what you see or hear.”11
*One time a missionary in our ward bore her testimony and said something that has always stuck with me, "It takes time to understand the language of the Spirit and how it communicates with us."  For me, over time, I have learned that the Spirit speaks best to me when I am reading my scriptures or pondering after I pray.  My most opportune times for this are in the morning before my son is awake (or during his nap).  My mind is fresh, I'm not overwhelmed with responsibilities yet, I am calm, and I am better able to recognize the Spirit.  Throughout the day I have received promptings that come in the form of a thought, or a warm, reassuring feeling that a doctrine I hear is true, or that a service I'm performing the Lord is pleased with.  Our children won't know until they are taught--that they are feeling the Spirit when they feel a warm fuzzy feeling, may start to cry, feel a good feeling in their chest, have a desire to do good, and feel peace and joy.  It is our responsibility as parents--especially as mothers--to teach this to our children.  Our children will then become, as Elder Scott stated, more confident in the impressions they feel than their dependence on what they hear or see.  They will become more certain on what the Spirit is teaching them than on their dependence of their senses!  That is amazing.

I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost.  It is what will help me, my husband, and our children return to Heavenly Father.  What a precious gift!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

My heart is so full today.  Because I am a mother, and because of the mother I have been given.  I want to cry and shout for joy all at the same time.  The body, soul, and mind's ability to love is incredible to me.  If I feel so much love for others for my hubby and two boys right now, I can only comprehend a small part of how much I am loved by my Heavenly Father and Savior.

I loved this video.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

April 2017

I have to start off by sharing this hilarious video.  So funny!

"Momma?  Pants on?  Head?"
Anything for you, sweet boy.

Discussing our Girl's Camp Krispy Kreme fundraiser

Loved these visuals of keystones I found while preparing a YW lesson

A friend sent me this one

Love all these thoughts:

When you think your heart is about to burst

Loved this production so much!

Can't believe this!

I love this tradition the YW president has made with the YM. 
One or twice a month they go to the temple grounds and study and discuss.
Jared says the spirit during their discussions is incredible.

This is to be a reminder to me that Heavenly Father answers our prayers, even ones that seem like they would have little significance in his eyes.
My dad gave us this card before we left Utah.
I hurriedly packed it away when I was packing up our suitcases, 
and couldn't find it anywhere when unpacking in Orlando.
A few days later, I was getting activities out of the church bag for Ollie during sacrament meeting, and low and behold, I found it :)

Mikele posted this and I can't wait to check it out!

Love Red Robin!
Bonsai burger forever

This handsome man won the weight loss competition at work!
33 pounds in 3 months.
I am so proud of him.

I loved using this study guide in the weeks leading up to Easter.

Our Personal Progress leader hosted a great activity on Knowledge.
She invited a panel of female speakers to explain what their occupations are.
There was a lawyer, social worker, nurse, and teacher.

Ollie modeling his new firetruck jammies. :)

Our neighbor hosted a fun Easter egg hunt for the little kids in the neighborhood.

Issaic, Milana, Shivani, and Ollie

Our sweet neighbor, Nancy

Laughed SO hard at this!

Love these simple days

This activity was awesome!
The YW were able to pass off a lot of their camp certifications and the youth had a fun time being together.

Easter 2017
So much joy!

The Easter bunny brought us the REAL goods. :)

We had dinner and an Easter egg hunt with the Barwicks.  Love them!
Ayden, Tayli, Ollie

Note to self - do a dinner like this in the future?

We found out the BEST news!
Another boy!

I am so excited to meet him!

Two years ago when we had Ollie's anatomy scan, we celebrated that night at Cici's.
So we decided to make it a tradition. :)

The best

Telling our families!

Loved this girls night.
I love ALL these girls so much!  I am so grateful they are in my life and I can learn from them.

My mom had a symbolic Easter egg lesson like this when I was growing up, and it's one of my fondest memories.
I was so happy when Lindsey & Emma and I decided to make our own!

He randomly would ask me to wrap him up like a baby in a blanket and "rock a bye" him.
I had the BIGGEST flashback to when I would bounce my swaddled babe around the kitchen trying to get him back to sleep after nighttime feedings.
Although exhausted, those were precious memories, and I can't believe how big he is now.

Not sure what happened to my pictures, but human fooseball was a really fun activity!

The YW threw me a gender reveal party :)

Beth made a cake where the very middle was blue.  
As I cut into it and slowly pulled the piece out, they saw the color and SCREAMED!
I thought their screams were going to raise the roof!

These were yummy.

We love when daddy comes home!

He wanted to wear all three shirts Grandma Ruth mailed him :)

Love my ward family!!

Every time, immediately once we walk into the grocery store, "Momma, snack please?"

Our stake president issued a challenge to our stake to read the Book of Mormon from Easter to Christmas this year.
Our Personal Progress leader followed up by challenging us the same thing to for the girls to fulfill their Virtue project which is to read the Book of Mormon.
Then our prophet a few days later in General Conference encouraged us to read the Book of Mormon every day.
Inspired counsel.

Love this new tradition we've started in YW.  Each week we pull a new name out of the box and pray for that YW that week.

This carrot cake was delicious!
Next time I'll try adding coconut and nuts.

Love these quotes.

Especially this one. ^^^

This is a funny story.
I'd had a cold for a week and a half, and had taken Afrin the max amount of times.  I was not sleeping well at night because my nose was so stuffy.  I tried taking sudafed one night to clear my nose since it's a decongestant.
Normally I fall asleep soon after my head hits the pillow.  But this night my brain would not shut off and I couldn't fall asleep for hours!
I was so frustrated.
Then I finally found out that sudafed is a stimulant...


Our sweet patriarch passed away.  He was such a humble and gentle man.  I remember him telling his conversion story from 33 years ago in Puerto Rico.  He and his wife have been so steadfast ever since.  What a valiant couple.

A fun egg drop mutual activity

"Momma, go high in the sky?  Like airplane?"

Love our weekly playdates with friends

Our friends have started doing a twice a week/two hours preschool.  
This was my day to teach on "1, A, red, and square." :)

Loved this girls night.  
These two are my saving grace here!
And sooo happy Lindsey is expecting!

"Momma, picture please?"

4/9/17 - 21 weeks!  Baby the size of a 7-inch carrot.

4/16/17 - 22 weeks!  Baby the size of an 8 inch, 1 pound spaghetti squash.

4/23/17 - 23 weeks!  Baby boy the size of a papaya.

4/30/17 - 24 weeks!  Baby boy the size of an ear of corn.