Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Something to think about...

"The sacrament prayers have to be given word-perfect. Everyone knows that. But when the priest flubs it, what happens? Even though the expectation of perfection cannot be lowered, the person giving the prayer gets a second chance, and a third, and a fourth, if he needs them. No matter how many mistakes he makes along the way, when he finally does get it right, that outcome is counted as perfect and acceptable.

"God, like the bishop, cannot lower the standard that we ultimately become perfect, but He can give us many opportunities to start again... Perfection is our long-term goal, but for now, our goal is progress in that direction--continuous progress that is possible only through the continuous Atonement."

This is an excerpt from our book club book of the month, "The Continuous Atonement", by Brad Wilcox. Beautiful excerpt, don't you think?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Idaho Falls T.E.A. Party

On April 15, thousands of Taxed Enough Already parties/rallies were held all over the country. We had the opportunity to attend the one here in Idaho Falls. It was a worthwhile event, despite the freezing rain and Rex Rammell rantings. The cool thing was that Josh's 3rd grade class discussed the Boston Tea Party in school, so he raised his hand and mentioned he attended the Idaho Falls Tea Party earlier in the week. He said his teacher was surprised and asked him to share something about it. Anyway, we sang "The Star Spangled Banner", said The Pledge of Allegiance and then Former State Senator Mel Richardson spoke. Then a few people from the audience shared their reasons for attending that night (volunteers), and then people were invited to sign a copy of the Declaration of Independence, which was sent to Washington, and a retrievable, mock tea bag was thrown into the river. Democracy in action...peaceful rallies nationwide coming together to send a message to Washington that we're not okay with all of this unprecedented spending. "Freedom can be killed by neglect as well as by
direct attack." ---Ezra Taft Benson

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Highlights 2009

Easter is one of my favorite times of year...chocolate cadbury mini eggs, deviled eggs, the hope of spring and especially the reminder of the Empty Tomb. Some of our Easter family traditions included the "12 days of Easter". This is 12 plastic eggs, each holding a scripture and symbol detailing the Savior's last week prior to the Resurrection. We have this mini devotional right before bedtime and family prayer. Each child takes a turn opening an egg and showing us the object in the egg. Josh and Emma were our designated scripture readers. If you want to see a grown man cry like a baby, you should have joined us the evening we opened Egg #6: the small thorny branch. We had a discussion about the mocking and suffering the Savior submitted Himself to. It was kind of interesting to hear the kids ask questions like, "If Jesus is all powerful, why did he let the 'bad guys' hurt him?"

Here is the Easter Scripture Eggs info:

1. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people waved palm branches. Matt. 21:1-11
item: plastic leaf
2. Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus' feet. John 12:2-8. Item: small perfume sample.
3. Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples. Matt. 26:17-19. Item: Chex cereal or piece of bread.
4. Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Matt. 27:3. Item: 3 dimes
5. Jesus carried His own cross. John19:17. Item: popsicle stick cut and glued in a cross.
6. Soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus' head. John 19:2. Item: small thorny branch.
7. Soldiers parted Jesus' garments and cast lots for His coat. John 19:23. Item: dice.
8. Jesus was nailed to a cross and soldiers pierced His side. John 19:18, 37 & John 20:25-29. Item: a nail
9. They gave Jesus vinegar mixed with gall on a sponge to drink. Matt. 27:34. Item: a small sponge.
10. Spices to prepare Jesus for burial. John 19:40. Item: 7 or 8 whole cloves.
11. The stone covering Jesus' tomb ws rolled away. John 20:1. item: a small rock.
12. The cloth around Jesus' head was lying separately from His linen clothes. He was not there. He had risen! John 20:6-7. Item: leave the egg empty, or use a scrap of linen-type fabric.

We also participated in the Easter egg hunt at the church, colored eggs Saturday night and the Easter bunny came and put some treats and small gifts in their baskets. Before bed Saturday night, Josh left carrots out for E.B...??? One of the gifts each child received was a soft wooly lamb. I had bought these at B&B Works back in November for a buck and had intended to put them in stockings at Christmas, but had hidden them so well, I had forgotten about them. I found them doing some spring organizing and put them in the Easter baskets. A short while before church, Josh ran in the house from playing outside and out of breath, he said to me, "Mom, I know why the Easter bunny brought lambs! It's because Jesus is the Lamb of God!" I smiled gratefully that 'out of the mouth of babes', he had taught me a lesson Easter morning. I had not placed the lambs there with the symbolism in mind. (Yes, all 4 children still believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny...) That Saturday night, we also witnessed a sweet tender mercy: there was the most incredible rainbow I have ever seen in my life to the East. It had to have been so close because it was so vibrant and wide. We sat and watched it out of our front porch for a while. It was spectacular! Did anyone else see that???

I had to teach the lesson in Relief Society about the Prophet Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. It was a really perfect topic to have on Easter. Despite the adversity in our lives, we have hope because the Tomb is Empty. And because the Tomb is empty, our lives are full.

Sunday for dinner, we ate fish, just as Jesus did after He was resurrected. Then, to close our week-long Easter celebrations, we invited both sets of grandparents to the Temple Visitor's Center and looked at the Christus statue. I love the Spirit there. The sister missionary gave a wonderful testimony and invited the kids to touch the statue and observe the scars in His hands and feet. We had dessert afterwards at home.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away...I guess I'll go eat worms!

My 9-year old son loves worms and bugs. Last summer he caught a preying mantis and put it in a glass quart jar with a long stick and some live grass hoppers. The pm ate the grasshoppers alive! He politely left the heads. Sick.

The last couple of days have been rainy. After school, Josh proudly reported that he collected worms all the way to the bus stop on the way to school. "Where did you put them when you got to school?"

"You don't want to know, Mom."

You betcha. The kid is a natural mind reader, I tell ya. ("Survivor-Idaho Falls", anyone?)

On the way home, he did the same thing. And he put all the unsuspecting worms together in one clump for the corresponding picture. And then he put them in the garden. He did wash his hands before eating dinner. Thankfully.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Conference Tidbits

*We may be able to afford it, but we don't necessarily need it.
*Reverence invites revelation.
*In times of distress, let our covenants sustain us.
*The Lord always suits the relief of the burdened individual.
*You can't text message faith!
*Remove your watch when you enter the temple.
*Spectator discipleship: it is not enough to observe gospel living from the sidelines. You can't plant a seed in the morning and expect corn-on-the-cob for dinner.
*I'm trying to become what my spouse already thought I was!
*Keeping the commandments in these latter days will be a badge of honor in the eternities.
*Divine compassion is never absent, no matter how abandoned we may feel.
*The future is as bright as our faith!
*You can't be a lifesaver if you look like everybody else on the beach.
*You're never alone when you can see the temple: Home + Holy Temple=Holiness to the Lord.

We had a great Conference weekend. It was very quiet and family oriented. Luckily the weather cooperated, so Sunday's sessions were listed to outside in the sunshine. Josh listened to all 4 sessions reverently! Yea Josh! Emma lasted for 3 sessions! The two toddlers...not so much of any. Emma at one point said to me, "I'm too bored to do anything!" Oxymoron if I ever heard one.

I had an interesting exchange with Josh and Emma following President Monson's closing remarks. When he said, "Now, a word of caution..." and preceded to talk about interent dangers, I asked my kids, "do you know what pornography is?" Emma said, "Is that if someone does a handstand and their shirt comes up a little?" I tried not to laugh. On a serious note, they didn't really know what it was specifically. Josh asked, "Is it like that game 'Club Penguin' game online?"

"Well, it can lead to unsafe people online, but pornography is when people take their clothes off and touch private parts of the body inappropriately for pictures or videos. It is dangerous because it puts images or pictures in your mind that you won't be able to stop thinking about or erase from your brain's hard drive. It is extremely dangerous to your spirit and mind. Because people can accidentally come across pornography on the computer, this is why your Dad and I do not want you using the internet at other people's houses, and only at home if Mom and Dad are around. This is what President Monson is warning people against because is so dangerous and destructive. If you ever see pictures that are confusing or gross, please, PLEASE come tell us!"
(Even the best filters are not full proof:( )

When the prophet says "Now a word of caution..." we better sit up straight and listen. Pornography is a subject we hate to have to discuss with our children (it's hard to discuss delicate issues like sex and addiction with kids, I think), but too many families mistakenly assume it will never be a problem for them. We are trying to make them aware of the dangers of the internet in an assertive, proactive, yet age-appropriate way. Heaven help our children's generation with all the evil swirling around them. How grateful I am for a Prophet to help guide our efforts to raise up a righteous posterity and find peace in our lives and in our homes.

When the choir was singing "We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet", I felt a strong witness (one of many during this wonderful Conference)that President Monson is indeed the Lord's mouthpiece. I asked the kids, "Do you feel in your heart that President Monson is God's prophet on the earth today?" And they confidently answered, "Yes!" And I tried to identify the Spirit for them by saying, "That's your testimony! When you know something in your heart!"

I needed Conference. How is it possible that it gets better each time and trumps the last one?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's and a Happy Birthday to sweet Emma!

This morning, the kids came down to breakfast to dine on 'ostrich eggs.' At first, they stared blankly at their plates, then finally they started poking and then tasting. At last, they cracked a smile:) (Thanks for the idea Melissa!)

For lunch, JP and I met Emma for lunch at the school cafeteria. Since chicken burger with mushy fruit cocktail didn't wet my palate, I brought Arctic Circle happy meals for all of us. Tonight she had her two favorite friends over for cake and ice cream and her grandmas and grandpas and Aunt Nancy from Missoula. We had Tres Leches cake (so yummy) and white cake with cream cheese frosting.
Today is Emma Ann's seventh birthday. She came two weeks early so when we made calls from the hospital to let family know we were in labor, nobody believed us, given the date.:)

Emma was born weighing 7 pounds and 18" long. She had a fine crop of BLACK hair. She has been a wonderful daughter. Emma, I love how you are so unique. You do cute things that make us laugh, like last fall when you wore your swimming suit underneath your clothes to school for weeks because they were your 'garments.' Or last year when you used to smell things to tell if they were waterproof or not. Or like yesterday when you were four layers of clothing to school, including your Halloween socks. My nickname for Emma is "Punky Brewster." Anybody remember that sitcome from the late '70's and early '80's? That's Emma's sense of style and spunk. I also love how she is a hugger. She gives lots of hugs. She is a very smart student. She is a good peacemaker and babysitter. She is a talented little violinist with better technique and tone than some of my advanced students. Her favorite food is noodles and grilled salmon with butter sauce. She is playing soccer with a lot of confidence this year! And I love that she tells us she has "the power of speed." My favorite quality about Emma is her relationship with the Holy Ghost. She often tells me that she can feel the Holy Ghost because she is happy or she is sharing, or she told the truth. She also has a genuine faith in her Heavenly Father to pray anywhere anytime. She recently told me that she prayed 'silently in her head' that a certain thing would be okay when she was at school. And it was. How happy she makes me because she has learned at an early age how to identify the Spirit and that she has power to pray because she is never alone. We love you Emma! You are a joy!