Jun 10, 2016

Doctrine Thoughts

For my BYU-Idaho Pathway class we take turns teaching.  One of the things we teach in the religion class is a Study Skill.  This week it was my turn to teach.  I taught about searching the Scriptures for Doctrine and Principles.

Here is a VERY limited outline of some of the things we talked about:  (These notes are compiled from teachings by Elder Bednar.  You can find references both in conference talks and in his books, beginning with Increase in Learning.)

Doctrine     WHY  (Why we do the things we do, why we believe the things we believe)
                  ETERNAL…does this still apply when we live with God?
                  Saving truth

9 Basic Doctrines  (for more information on the 9 Basic Doctrines see  )
Plan of Salvation
Atonement of Jesus Christ
Dispensation, Apostasy, Restoration
Prophets and Revelation
Priesthood and Priesthood keys
Ordinances and Covenants
Marriage and Family

Principles    WHAT  (What we believe, What is important,  What is truth)
                    Doctrinal based guidelines for the exercise of agency
                    Truth that can be applied to anything/any circumstance (portable)

Application   HOW  (How I live the gospel, How I use my agency)
                    Righteous applications are based on principles 
                    Righteous applications are based on doctrines
                    Righteous applications can vary according to needs and circumstances

After I shared these thoughts, I gave them the big wammy:   Is Thou Shalt Not Kill a doctrine?   Always leads to a good discussion :)   

Take a minute and think about it, in regards to what is taught above.

If you are like me you might think:   Well it is a commandment, and commandments are doctrine so it must be a doctrine.  But then I always think...but in eternity we will not be able to kill, so it is not an eternal commandment, it is a commandment for right now, so perhaps it is not a doctrine.  

It must be a principle then. I definitely believe that I should not kill and that this is important and a truth, so it must be a principle.  It is based on a doctrine(commandment) but then I think...has it been applied in every circumstance?   Obvious the answer is No,   just read the Old Testament, or First Nephi.  There are times and places the Lord has commanded people to kill.   So perhaps it is not a principle.

It must be an application.   It is how I live my life.  It is how I use my agency.   However when I think about the commandment, Thou Shalt Not Kill, being something that varies according to needs and circumstances I really don't feel comfortable saying that!  (Although we do often make the ten commandments seem like applications--   I don't have to keep the Sabbath day holy this week, I am on vacation.   Or I don't need to honor my parents, I am a teenager.  etc.)

I used to skip over the story of Nephi killing Laban when my kids were little because I didn't know how to deal with the contradiction.   How do I teach them the ten commandments and then tell them...well some people don't have to obey these commandments all the time.

And this is the cool thing about studying and seeking to understand doctrines instead of applications.   We can know Why.   

Here is my personal answer:  I do believe that Thou Shalt Not Kill is doctrine.   And this is why.    God has commanded me to not kill anyone.  God's commands must be obeyed in order for me to have salvation.  God's commands will also be obeyed in Heaven.   God's commands are a doctrine.   We are to obey whatever God commands.  

Sometimes in our limited mortal thinking we think "these are the 10 commandments I must keep"   If we pick the ten commandments apart we may say they are applications, since some of them seem to be laws that only apply to earth life.  But the doctrine is to obey God's commandments--whatever they are (10 or 10,000).    God may give us continual commands or personal commands.   The doctrine is to obey God's commands.   

Sometimes, and in some instances and to some people, God has given commandments that are contrary (or more) to previous commandments.   Christ gave one that applies to Thou Shalt Not Kill in His sermon on the mount and in 3rd Nephi. Christ commanded us that we not even be angry with our brother.   This commandment does not take away the fact that we should not kill, but adds that we should not even be angry...Yikes!   Still working on that one.    

In First Nephi, Nephi was given a command from God to kill Laban.  This commandment clearly violated a commandment that Nephi already knew.   What a faith testing experience for Nephi!  However, let us ponder on some things that are not specifically shared in the scriptures.  Murder was NOT something that Nephi desired or sought.  He certainly had just cause...Laban had already thrown him out, stolen his property and tried to kill Nephi and his brothers.   I think many would cry self defense and justified.  But Nephi did not seek to kill out of his own feelings and thinking regarding Laban.  It was not a solution he came up with and then asked God for permission.   It was a foreign idea to him.  His idea was always to keep God's commands--including Thou Shalt Not Kill.    When the spirit constrained him to kill Laban, Nephi shrunk back from the task.  It was only after gaining further understanding that Nephi was willing to obey this new commandment.

Another thing to ponder, not specifically shared in the scriptures, Nephi went right back to obeying the commandment, thou shalt not kill, after obeying the single command to kill Laban.  Certainly Nephi could have justified killing Laman and Lemuel.  They abused him physically, they sought his life, they tied him up, they mocked him on every hand.   He could have even used the same reason that the Lord gave for killing Laban--that Laman and Lemuel might cause a nation to dwindle in unbelief.  In fact he had seen visions of that very thing happening!  But he did not. He did not justify that because God had commanded him to kill one time, that he was now at liberty to take any life he wanted.   In fact Nephi laments at one point during his writings that he is wicked..and what does his wickedness stem from? Being Angry with his brothers!   Nephi already understands (600 years before Christ gave the command) to not be angry with his brothers.

A person in our class also asked about the Word of Wisdom.  If it was just an application that could vary on personal circumstances.   Another tricky one.  The Word of Wisdom has not always been around.  The age old argument:  Jesus drank wine, so why don't we, etc.   The Word of Wisdom is a command.   God has often given his people laws regarding diet, even from the beginning with Adam and Eve being commanded to not eat of the fruit of the tree.  The Israelites had an extensive law of health for their time.  We have a law of health for our time.   While the law of health may change from time to time I do believe that it is a doctrine--not because we will only be able to eat certain food in heaven, but because in heaven we will be required to keep all of God's commands.   It is a command from God, and therefore it is a commandment until God rescinds the commands, issues a new command, issues a further command, or gives you a personal command.   He is God and may do any and all of the above.   (BUT...a caution, my own feelings are that He does not change commandments for our own personal gain.   He did not change Nephi's command because Nephi asked him to.   He did not change Nephi's command because that would make Nephi's life so much easier if he didn't have to deal with Laban.  We must always be mindful and not justify our own desires.)

I used to get scared to teach my kids the Nephi killed Laban story because I worried that the contradiction would shake their testimonies.   But the world around us is full of contradictions.  We must teach ourselves and our families how to find the answers to the seeming contradictions. We must seek to understand the Lord.  Once I gained this small understanding about the doctrine of commandments, I was able to change my thinking from "The commandments" to "God's commands".  It opened up a whole new understanding for me about that doctrine.  It brought peace, comfort and even joy.   

 I believe that as meaningful as the Proclamation on the Family is for us today.  That is how meaningful an understanding of these nine doctrines will be for the youth of the church in 20 years.   I hope that as you study that you are able to find His doctrines and His why's and find peace and joy in His gracious plan for each of us.

Dec 20, 2013

God bless us, every one!

Often during the past 10 months of unemployment I have had the opportunity to reflect upon having faith in the Lord.  We have often been blessed by answers to prayers almost before they are even uttered. 

A few examples...there are many others, but these ones stick out in my mind. 

We all came down with whooping cough in August.  Our little baby boy got it first, and when our little toddler came down with it we decided that it was better for us all to go on anti-biotics.    Anit-biotics for 8 people is not cheap.  Especially when you are trying so hard to live on savings and a prayer.   (Savings is nice to have, but prayer works!)  As I sat pondering and worrying over antibiotics, money and sick little ones, my husband received a call from a neighbor asking if he could help with a side job he needed done.  The pay? The exact amount we needed to buy anitibiotics for 8 people.   I have faith in the Lord.

As few months ago as we sat planning the meals for the week, we looked at the pile of rice, beans and wheat which we have faithfully stored and felt a little disheartened. ( Now, I am going to have to preface this story with a disclaimer that it is a huge blessing to have piles of rice and beans and wheat!   We are truly grateful for the Lord's hand in inspiring us to work hard to have food storage.  But some days a hamburger or some cheese could place your palate firmly in heaven.  This was one of those days.)   As I lamented and despaired about the challenges of eating the same onslaught of meals again this week, the doorbell rang.  Standing there was a good friend who was getting ready to move.  She asked if we would like all the extra food from her freezer.  In her bags were all the little goodies we needed to make beans, rice and wheat palatable for another week.  It truly was no big deal to her, just odds and ends and extras that they were not going to have time to eat, but to us it was an answer to prayers.  It was exactly what we needed it, and it came exactly when we needed it.  I have faith in the Lord.

There have been so many little needs met, just when we need them met.  And while it has been a trial to go almost a year without employment.  It has hardly felt like a trial.  Because the Lord has given us everything that we need, in the very moment that we feel we need it.  He has taught me what love and faith and hope truly mean.  He has taught me the need to never fear and to always walk forward with faith.

But there is something else the Lord wanted me to learn.   You see, it has been easy for me to trust in the Lord.  It has been easy for me to believe that the Lord can take care of all things.  The Lord is perfect,  He is pretty easy to trust.  But I have had a bit of bitterness in my heart.  I have had a bit of bitterness in my heart for those who we trusted and considered friends but who chose to put our family in this position.  I have had a bit of bitterness towards those who have interveiwed and interviewed and interviewed my husband and then never even called back to let us know their answer.  I have had perhaps a bit of bitterness towards mankind in general trying to grow in my heart. 

As we watched Christmas Carol a few nights ago I realized I had been a bit like scrooge in my faith in humanity.  As I sat watching, Marley's ghost seemed to be talking to me instead of  to Scrooge when he said; the purpose of life is to learn to love others and to spend your life in giving that love.  It really struck me that this is exactly why I have felt a little like a Humbug this year.  I have lost a little faith in mankind.

And so, the Lord, always the perfect teacher,  has given me the opportunity this Christmas season to have faith, not only in Him, but also in His children.  Words can not express the faith and love in my heart for those who have so selflessly and so graciously, and even of their own want, have served our family so lovingly the past week.  

I have truly learned from your example what it is to have love and kindness and thoughtfulness and the spirit of Christmas in your heart.  I have learned how to say, "I love you" in a million different ways.  I have learned how to truly care for those in need and how to lift hands that hang down by your example.  I don't know who all of these "elf's" are.  But I have felt of your love, your understanding, and your Christlike charity.   The Lord has meet all of our needs, and good neighbors, friends, and family have met so many of our wants. 

A few examples....there are many others, but these ones stick out in my mind.

A brother in law who calls from the BX and asks if we need anything the very day we run out of conditioner.  Have you ever raised three daughters with no conditioner?  Trust me this is one of those desperate wants!   Thank you for being inspired

A good brother who comes to visit for his vacation and ends up watching all my children while we go to court for two days. He even mops my kitchen floor  (which has not been moped for several months) without my asking or even expressing my overwhelming frustration that I just cannot seem to find time to mop the kitchen floor!   Thank you for noticing and giving me exactly what I need!

Good Friends who remember our favorite ice cream and drop it by just because. Good friends who have us over for dinner so many times in the past 10 months that I could not even count them.  Good friends who bring us fruit and vegitables to bottle.   Good friends and true sisters who give some money to make sure the kids have something for Christmas.  Good neighbors who pay my boys exhorbinent amounts of money to shovel their walks  (my boys are NOT that good at shoveling)  Kind neighbors who bring us a turkey.   Do you know how good turkey tastes...especially with rice and beans!   just kidding...potatoes are cheap  :)  Thank you for teaching me what true friends are and how valuable they are in my life!

Good Christmas Elfs who leave gifts on our doorstep that are exactly what we would ask for it we were to ask for anything in the world.  Good Christmas Elfs who give food and fun and funds.  Thank you for your generosity and for being our little Angels.  We have felt your love and it has changed our life.

So, if you, like me are tempted to loose your faith in mankind.   The Lord can teach you that kind of faith too.   The faith that makes your heart grow three sizes in one day.  Because that is what has happened to me today.  My heart has grown and is overflowing with Faith.   Faith in the Children of God who have taught me what it truly means to have Charity.   Faith in good people with good hearts and willing hands.   Faith in the goodness of others who are sharing the Light of Christ.  Faith in you!

May all your of your hearts find faith in the Lord and faith in each other, this Christmas season!

Ps.  My husband was offered a job today at a Law Firm in Salt Lake City.  (thank you again, good friends for the recommendation)   I know this is big news and should be at the beginning of this message, but it is so small when you consider the big things you have done in our life.  You have touched our hearts in our time of need.  You have walked beside us and borne our burden with us.  We are praying for each one of you to have the continual blessings of Heaven in your own lives and with all of God's children.  Thank you for teaching us how to love and be loved.   God bless us, every one.

May 19, 2013

Waiting for the Sun to Shine

I have been pondering on faith lately.

Faith, for me, is like Humility.  
Once I think I have it, I usually find out how wrong I am...and how much further I have to go in my quest to become what I am supposed to become.....

And so I have been becoming....
This past week we finished up our V.I.P. (Vanguard in Production) Shakespeare Play, Comedy of Errors.   We were scheduled to perform at an outdoor amphitheater.   We had spent a dress rehearsal baking in the hot sun, and we were ready to perform!

But, alas, the weather man said Rain.   Rain, and Rain, and Rain....oh my!   All day Friday it was cloudy...not a ray of sunshine in the sky.  And ALL day long in my heart I prayed, please don't let it rain, please don't let it rain, PLEASE don't let it rain.   And every five minutes I checked the weather, and ksl, and and the hourly play by play.   And everywhere told me that it was going to Rain through our WHOLE performance.

But it wasn't raining, and it wasn't raining...and (drum roll please)  it DIDN'T rain!
We had a lovely performance.  And the youth were shining, and the audience was laughing, and the concession stand nacho's were delicious, and it was just about as close to perfect as life can be in any given moment.   Ahhhh!

We finished our performance, took everything down, and started loading up the truck when, drip, drop, splish, splash the first inklings of water started to fall from heaven.   We hastened to finish our job and drove merrily home whilst all around us the torrents poured and poured.   It rained so hard that we didn't even unload any props, just sprinting into the dry abode.

And I said thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!   for holding the rain.   And the weather man even said, "it was so strange.  The storm system we told you was coming today just sat all day out to the west"   And I said,  Thank you AGAIN!     And I knew in my heart the Lord had given me a blessing.   And I knew that He had stayed the rain for me!   And I knew my prayers were answered.

And then....AND THEN...came Saturday morning.    And that rain that waited all day the previous day was still here with a vengance.   And, alas, the weather man said Rain.   Rain, and Rain, and Rain...oh my!  And all day Saturday it was pouring...not a dry patch of ground on the earth.  And ALL day long in my heart I prayed, please don't let it rain, please don't let it rain, PLEASE don't let it rain. And every finve minutes I checked the weather, and ksl, and and the hourly play by play.   And EVERYTHING I heard, saw and read told me that it was going to Rain through our WHOLE performance.

And it Was raining, and it Was drenching, and it Was Soaking.  And I got scared!   I looked at the puddles forming outside my window, and I looked at the gutters overflowing with streams of liquid, and I looked at the cardboard props getting soggy and I wondered... and my faith wavered.   And I thought...where is the line when you trust the Lord to solve your problems and when do you have to solve them yourself?    And I I worthy to have two miracles in one weekend.   And I doubted.   

I frantically spent my lovely afternoon....which I should have spent packing for our Outdoor Adventure... sending emails and texts and fliers and phone calls trying to make sure that everyone knew about a change in venue.  I finished.   I sat for a deep breath.   And then...AND THEN...the Sun came out!   And the SUN that wasn't supposed to be here was shining with a vengance.  And I said...please, can't you make it rain, I'm sure it's going to rain, it just has to rain, WHERE is the rain?!? And every five minutes I checked the weather, and ksl and and the hourly play by play.  And eveywhere STILL told me that it was going to Rain through our whole performance, but the Sun was Shining!  

And WHY couldn't it just rain, so I won't feel so foolish for my lack of faith.  And the sad part of that thought was....Heavenly Father...who is the only one who matters....already knows how foolish I am, and how much faith I lack, and how much humility I still need to learn, and how weak and frail and unfaith-full I am.   And He shared with me my need to repent, and learn, and try again...and again....and again.   And I pondered, and I was humbled, and I thought..."Oh me of little faith...wherefore did I doubt...especially when yesterday I was given a great miracle"  

And then I was blessed with a bit of insight.....I'll share it with you....       
  It is so easy to have faith that the Lord can stay the storm and that He can delay the weather, and He can be involved in the minute details of my insignificant life....when the sun IS shining.     

It is so hard to have faith that the Lord can send the sun to shine and that He can dramatically change the weather, and He WOULD WANT to be involved in the minute details of my insignificant life....when the rain IS pouring...and I don't believe the sun will shine again.  

I learn how much more I HAVE to become....  

Once I used to believe I had faith. ...But I am ALWAYS wrong; and I have much, much farther to go in my  quest to become what I am supposed to become.....

And Faith is JUST like Humility.   And I need lots more of both (thus the blog post ;))  

And I am still pondering on Faith.....

Mar 11, 2013

He is There

The other day, I thought I should start blogging again, lest anyone think from my last post that I was offended or swayed by emotion :).  I mentioned to one of my best friends how I didn't feel I had anything to write about....however, I am not sure I am glad that I have something to write about now.
Last Thursday I was preparing to go to a DCFS team meeting regarding my nephews...long story, for another day..... I stepped out of the bathroom and some papers fluttered to the floor.  I stopped to pick them up and read...Separation Agreement.  Not something you ever want to me.  There are no good separation papers.
As I read further the realization began to set in, after thirteen years, my husband was being let go from his job.   Immediately that deep dark pit formed in the recesses of my stomach.   I turned around and my good husband came around the corner.   What a tender mercy from the Lord.  He didnt have to explain, he didnt have to think of those devestational words to say, he didnt have to answer my questions.  We just shared a long hug and many tears.
I asked him, "What happened?"   He said, "I don't know."  We still dont.    I dont know that we ever will. 

It kind of felt like when you break up with your girlfriend/boyfriend....It's not you its me,  I just need a change.  Can I have my ring and letter-man jacket back?  Except it was more like.  You didn't do anything wrong.  This is due to corporate restructuring.  Please clean out your desk, and usually we would escort you out of the building at this point. 

After the long hug and many tears, thats when the miracles started.  The first one was peace.   Just peace.  Really.   I had imagined this moment many times--in my nightmares-- The husband comes home with the bad news, the devastated wife wonders how she will possibly feed eight people on nothing...the worry, the fear, the desperation.   But there was none of that.  None.  Just peace which filled the deep dark pit in my stomach.

I never imagined that the Lord could just take it away.  I never imagined that you could come to a place filled with uncertainty, worry, emotion, fear and that you could face that place with love and peace and faith and even a little joy. And then when those little fears and doubts and worry start to creep in they always do...I can remember.  I recall that peace.  He is still there.
But that is not the only miracle.  

I have learned the miracle of God's love.   When that peace came I knew I wasn't worthy to have such a heavenly gift.   I had a full understanding that there are so many ways that I need to be better in my life, more willing to serve, more quick to prayer, more gentle and soft hearted, more in just about every way that Christ is.  But God still loves me.  I have learned that God loves all of us. He doesn't judge me based on income, job skills or personality.  He doesn't love me based on my ability to cook with food storage (or lack thereof), my understanding (or lack thereof) of the scriptures, or my blog posts. (or lack thereof)  He just loves me.   He is there.

I have learned that money causes stress.  There is a joy that comes from only thinking of the things that we absolutely need.  We need a pair of shoes.   That's it.   I don't NEED anything else.   I feel free from the burden of money.   The first thing my dad said to my husband after the loss was, "Remember the first rule...Money is emotional." But it isn't.  The Lord has taken that away too.  He is there.

I have learned that when there is no other explanation is Gods why.  As my husband has asked many it money?  is it me?  did I upset someone?  did I make a mistake?  and the answer always comes back no.  No, no, no.  And, there is no answer why.   It is God's why.  He is there.

I have learned that you never know how many people love you, and how many people you love until something like this happens.  Choices and consequences do not just affect me.  This job loss has touched my family, my friends, my ward family, my neighbors, people near, and people far.  Some have dropped off ice cream...our favorite kind.  Some have sent little thoughts via email.  Some have given great advice from being here themselves.  Some have come with a listening ear and the spirit so the Lord can give greater revelation through thoughts and words.  And with each little piece of their love I feel a great depth of love for them and for Him.  He is there.


I have learned that there is STILL always something worse.  As I look around there are so many suffering, so many with burdens to carry.   Sick children, unfaithful husbands, wayward children, abuse, death, loss.  As I said to a friend.  This is hardly a trial.   I remember when I had my twins.  I knew something was wrong...this was not how being pregnant felt!   I was sure I had cancer or was dying.  When I found out it was twins, people would ask how I was going to do it...what a trial.  To me it was not a trial, it was a blessing.  I had imagined all those things that were trials, but twins was a blessing.  I remember feeling with my four year old, two year old and two babies that if I had to pick a trial I would pick the one I had.   I feel this way again.   This is hardly a trial.  When the Lord fills you with His love and His peace and His hope any trial is hardly a trial.  Because He is there.

I have learned that sometimes you just need a listening ear.  What a blessing to have good friends.  I have had many good friends stop by or call during this time.   I appreciate their love and guidance but mostly I appreciate their ears.  I needed to pour out of my heart all those thoughts that God has been giving me.  They were blessed in my heart, but sometimes you need to hear His words.  Sometimes you need His words to be spoken in your own voice, or from someone elses voice.  Sometimes you need to hear He is there.

I have learned that sometimes (always) you have got to write it down....thanks to a good friend.  What a blessing to have good friends who give great advice.   So many wiser that I have said again and again to write these things down...and I usually never do.   But just like a listening ear, I need to pour out of my heart all those thoughts that God has been giving me.  Sometimes you need to see His words.  Always I need to remember His words.  Then I will always remember that He is there.

I have learned that there is something you can always say....I love you.  I never know what to say when something bad happens.  What do you say to someone who has lost a job, a spouse, a friend, a child, a parent?   I didn't know how to comfort them.  I do now....I love you!  Or you could try are amazing, you are wonderful, you can do this,....etc.   all those positive thoughts lift your spirit when it is sitting in the bottom of the barrel.   There is power in someone believing in you and then verbalizing those words.  The words bouy you up and carry you on.  Words have such amazing power.   Especially Gods words.  He is speaking them to us.  Those little thoughts in our hearts and minds.  Saying He is there.

I have learned that all of us need to grow.  A month ago a few members of my family gathered for a baby blessing.  During this time my brother was deciding if he should remain in the Air Force.  He mentioned, "If I stay in I won't grow.  In three more years I will be in exactly the same place I am today."   I felt the truth of his words and I felt so proud of this amazing younger brother for the maturity and the wisdom to see this truth.   His words came rushing back to me in our own time of deciding and pondering.   If we stay here we won't grow.  In three more years, or five more years, or ten more years, or when we retire we will be in exactly the same place we are now.  We won't be rich, but we won't be poor.  We wont be miserably, but we won't be joyful.  We wont be growing.   Good job, Good ward, Good friends, Good family.  But the Lord knew it was time to grow.  Growing because He is there.

I don't know that I will start blogging again.  Maybe I am offended or swayed by emotion :)  But I know that in all I do and say and feel; in all the trials and blessings; in all the growing and changing and becoming that The Lord is there.   And with God nothing is impossible.

Nov 7, 2011

Emotion and Assumptions

My beliefs have been attacked recently. My beliefs about the Lord Jesus Christ, my beliefs about the way I educate, and even my previous blog post :)

It has been a week full of thinking and pondering and reviewing. (That is a good thing)

As I was reading the scriptures this week I was pondering anew about disappointments, and sorrow and weakness, emotions and assumptions. I was reminded again how I have often pondered how Lehi could witness the future destruction of his home in Jerusalem and keep prophesying. How he could view in vision his oldest children rejecting the fruit of the tree of life and then continue teaching them the gospel. I would think he had some disappointments and sorrow. I have often pondered how Nephi could see the destruction of his people, of the entire civilization of the Nephites and keep going, keep preaching, keep giving. I would think he had some emotions and humbling. And this week I was impressed by Jacob in Second Nephi when it is revealed to him that the Messiah will be crucified. He goes on to say, "Cheer up your hearts." How can these men, these prophets, not be swayed by emotion and by assumptions, by their own fears and guilt's and weaknesses'? How can they seek and testify of truth when it is so hard to hear and obey.

Because they have put off the natural man and received the spirit of the Lord!

Unlike Lehi and Nephi and Jacob my first natural-man reaction to these attacks this week was to be emotional. To get upset, frustrated, cynical. My second natural-man reaction is to the lack of emotion; to have apathy for these people and their choices. Neither of these choices is correct. The answer is to be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. Am I deceived in things that I do and say? Yes. We all are, we are all flawed, we all make poor choices, we all do things incorrectly, we all are selfish, we all sin....the people and prophets in the scriptures are great examples of this.

The problem here-in lies in the fact that when we are emotionally attached to an opinion or and idea we cannot seek truth. Truth seeking is done through the spirit of the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord cannot help us seek truth when we are angry, dismayed, bitter, or in the throws of sorrow. Nor can the Spirit lead us to truth when we are lacking in charity for others, when our hearts have waxed cold, when we have sought dominion over others.

Another natural-man reaction to attack is to make assumptions. I can assume then that my neighbor must hate all Mormon's and view them as inherently evil since he believes that I am entirely incorrect in my beliefs about the Lord. I can assume that others are sleep deprived and have become bitter and biting in their opinions and blog posts, condemning others for a word. But actually I don't believe that any of these things are true. Assumptions are based on lies. They are based on truths that we tell ourselves. When we make assumptions about people, places or things they are based on our own limited knowledge, opinion and thoughts. Almost all...nope, I'm going to go with ALL assumptions are in some way false. They are false because they stop our seeking for truth. If I make an assumption about someone I have already chosen to believe who they are, what they are saying and their motivation behind what they are doing. Most likely I am wrong on all three counts. Again, the answer is to be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. The Lord does not assume. He knows! He knows who I am. He knows what I intend to say. He knows my motivations behind the things I do. He also knows all of the other flawed humans around me. When I ask Him for His love and His charity I can know them also. I can seek for truth...truth about who people are and about their own character, but not if I am making assumptions. If I am making assumptions I have stopped seeking for truth. I have begun the path to fault finding, evil speaking and being offended for a word.

When I am emotional or making assumptions about someone it is a red flag for me that I am in the wrong spirit. When I feel defensive towards an idea or a thought or a person it is a red flag for me that there is something in my heart or mind that is not true.

Do I believe in a different Lord than my neighbor? Yes. He believes in the trinity, he believes in different attributes, character and purposes of God. Can I get emotionally upset and choose to dislike my neighbor, can I become hurt and offended and hide from my neighbor? Can I make assumptions that I have all truth and he has none? But none of these answers lead me to seek truth. Because REALLY we do believe in the same Lord. We believe in the Lord that answers our prayers, that directs us to do good, that leads us to find truth.

Do I have flawed education ideas? Yes. Some of the things I have done and believed and studied in my life have been false. Some people I have believed in and sought counsel from have been flawed, even dishonest. Can I become emotional, choose to be offended, seek retribution or retaliation? None of these answers leads me to seek truth. Because REALLY every human is dishonest, every man is flawed, every educational "ideal" has gaping holes and errors. I believe in seeking answers from the Lord, in following His counsels and guiding and in His ability to lead me and guide me to do good and to find truth.

Do I write blog posts that are deserving of attack? Yes. Although my husband said this I'm learning a lot about you from this read best sellers? you exercise? ...unfortunately, or fortunately, neither of those assumptions made by the person who attacked me are true (just ask my husband) Nor is the assumption true that I have used this "new invention" to keep my kids occupied while I do what I want to do. These are just assumptions about me and my home from someone who doesn't know me and has not asked the Lord to know me and my heart. Because REALLY I am not an expert in education, study, field, science, art or religion. I do not have qualms about admitting that I do not have all truth or even much truth. I occasionally make assumptions and am sometimes swayed by emotion. I make assumptions that others who may read my blog are also seeking for truth and can see that what I say and write and believe is not all reflected in this blog.

I have been learning about the importance of leaving emotion aside, not making assumptions and turning to the Lord. He is the source of all light and truth, not someones blog, newspaper column, or yahoo post....certainly not my blog, newspaper opinion, or posts! I am just a seeker of truth. I understand that the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of all light and truth and that my quest is to seek His light and His truth and His way.

Oct 4, 2011

Workin' Boxes

Workin' Boxes?!?

I have heard about these....these work boxes for a while now. I never paid much attention to them. Previously I had visions about moms putting science projects together in a box and millions of beads and crafts and games and pages and pages of math worksheets on and on and on. And if I was one of those good mom's I might do that :)

But as usual, I have to tweek a system and make it my own . So wala.... Work Boxes

When we began I gave my kids each three boxes...I'll be honest I didn't want to spend a small fortune buying everyone a box and then have them sit there unused like so many other "systems" I've tried.

The first box is church box. They put their scriptures in here and their journals and their strength of youth books, etc. We talked about the importance of doing the Lord's work first so the first box is always used to serve the Lord and His knolwedge and His work. I don't dictate how much or how long they choose to read or to write. They each choose for themselves.

The second box has to be Math. I laid out all the math workbooks and textbooks and said...choose. I don't tell them how much to do or how long to go I just showed them the books and let them pick. My 10 yo does one problem a day. My 8 year old does three pages...go figure! I talked to them about the importance of doing the hardest things first when our brains are fresh and ready to learn so that is why we do math second.

The third box is their reading box. They are allowed to put anything in here that they would like to read. My boys have put their reading books for their boys club and my girls have picked books they would like to read. Chipper is reading The Wizard of Oz. Since this is the first chapter book she has ever read I think it is pretty ambitious.

Each day after 2nd devotional I simply say, "Time for boxes"...and the cheering commences. Well....., sometime the cheering commences, but there is never "booing"!... so I take this as a good sign. I even get away with saying things like "Hey, it's Saturday! Let's do boxes" and they do. And when they are bored I say..."Hmmmm, Have you done all your boxes" and if they say yes then I say get to say nice things like, "wow! That's awesome! Tell me what you learned." And sometimes they get so excited they work on their boxes again!

Since things went so well the first two weeks of boxes we decided to upgrade everyone to 6 boxes. And I love it because now everyones "stuff" has a place.

My boys boxes are: Gospel, Math, Reading, Scouts, Karate, Piano.

My girls have Ballet and Violin in theirs.

My oldest who is in Vanguard this year has 12 boxes. She has her Gospel, Math, and Reading, as well as Ballet, Piano and Violin and she has one box for her Writing Class and one box for her TFT group and the rest of the boxes she uses for her scholar group.

(For some of the mom's who also have children in Vanguard I'll share how I do these boxes) At the beginning of each month when we receive the newsletter she goes through and highlights which activities and inspirements she would like to do for the month. Then I go through with her and we talk about them and I find out how I can help her to get them done. Then I put supplies or books or sometimes just a note reminding her what she picked to do, or what the assigment says. For example, This week she has a play to practice so that has it's own box, She wants to make something from Poland for geography projects so there is a polish cookbook in one box, She also has a box with her books to read and their bookmarks full of activities. This week she has one empty box which she has filled with her things I lovingly call "junk."

At the end of the week, usually on Saturday I go through everyones boxes collecting library books and spare bits of paper that seem to collect themselves during the week and sometimes I put little surprises in the boxes like a Yummy Organic Sucker or a bookmark or a treat coupon. Something to make the boxes exciting and fun. It is also helpful for me to see where they are at and what they have been working on the past weeks.

When they finish something during the week in their boxes they put it on top of my box and then I know that I need to help them find something else to put in their box. For example my 10 yo does not love to practice the piano...shocking! I know! And for a year I have had to encourage him to play. But not anymore with boxes. He looks in his piano box and it tells him exactly what to practice. There is a little piece of paper that says...practice book 1 and the new song. When he has done that he puts the paper on top of my box and I never have to say did you practice today? Then I put the next little paper in his box which says...practice book 3 and the new song.

So I also have to say how much I love my boxes! You know that pile of books that all homeschool moms have that never goes away! Yes, yes, we all have them. It piles up and up and up and then the books on the bottom never get read. Well between Vanguard , my Speech Class, the 5 Pillar Class, My friend book group, and my TFT group I am reading 7 books a month...and that's not including all the books I want to read! If I just kept my books in a pile I would be in BIG TROUBLE. With my boxes each has a book in it. Then when I have a minute to myself I can open a box and start reading. No more piles! and I even have a few fun boxes for me the bills, (that box is soooo fun) and other books I want to read, and church articles, and one that reminds me to practice piano and guitar and violin and even to lift some weights and stretch.

I also have my devotional boxes. We have our gospel devotional each morning where we read from the scriptures and sing songs and read a scripture story from the Bible and memorize a verse and a poem. All of this goes in one box. One box has our value for the month. This year I am teaching about "The Leader in Me" By Covey. We talk and do activities about beginning with the end in mind and being proactive.

Then each month I teach about a scientist and we do some science experiments or study about the things he/she studied about. I also teach about a famous person from history and we do some stories and activities out of the Story of the World by Susan Wise Bower. Then each month we study a famous Mathmetician from Mathmeticians are People too and we do an exercise from Family Math. And finally we study a famous Composer and listen to his music for the month. Each of these subjects have their own box and it is so convenient to find everything and to grab it, whether we are on the couch or on the run.

I empty the boxes once a month and fill them once a month and then they always are ready when I need them and I don't wake up in the morning fretting about what I am going to teach that day.

I'm so loving workboxes!

ps. If you decide to try work boxes you might be interested to know that I purchased mine from Office Depot when they were buy one get one. They ended up being around $14 each. They are the plain black and clear ones and that works well for me since I'm into white and black. A good friend recently bought the really cool colorful ones..which I'm sure my kids would love if their mom wasn't so black and white :).....she got them from Shopko for under $20. So you can find some good deals if you look around.

...this is for you RaNae! :)

Sep 29, 2011


My eldest child is becoming a scholar. She has joined with a group of other scholar youth to learn and grow together. One of the mentors creatively coined the term Inspirements:

(my own definition) Inspirements: (n) a learning activity similar to an assignment, except it is meant to inspire.

Each week several of these inspirements are given and the youth are encouraged to pick any inspirement that they would like to do. The inspirements are very diverse and meant to meet every learning style. It has been a joy to watch which ones my eldest has picked and which ones she has profited and learned from.

So this past week in our home we were going to learn about Mormon as our "ancient history biography" So in the spirit of inspiring and inspirements instead of giving a lecture or reading a book about Mormon (which would have been amazing btw :) ) I gathered all my resources about Mormon, laid them all out on the floor, and said, lets learn about Mormon.

Everyone picked their own resource or not (dude asked if he could just make a list of all the things he already knows in his head about Mormon) and after 30 minutes we all came back together to share. Everyone had something different that they learned about Mormon. And as a homeschooling mother I thought that was pretty cool.

But the REALLY cool thing was that we REALLY learned about did you know that his father was named Mormon? And did you know that Mormon in Nephite language actually means "More Good" and so when we refer to ourselves as Mormon's we are actually saying we are "more good"? And we are not saying it in a prideful more good that others.... but that we are striving to do more good. And that Mormon was 10 when he found his mission (the same age as dude)? And that it was a huge mission...keep all the records for an entire civilization! And that when he was 15 he actually saw Jesus Christ and that Christ changed his mission from just make your own record, like Ammaron had told him to do, into the mission to abridge all of the plates from the whole history of his people...oh and btw lead an army while your doing it all :). And then that he was commanded to not cry repentance to the people for a time because they were so wicked. Our learning went on and on and on.

After we were done my kids all said, Mom, that was so much fun...can we do it again tommorrow? Can we do Alma?

What more can a homeschooling mom want? peace :)...yea, that would be nice too!

ps. Thanks to great homeschool mentor mom's who are so wise and inspired and are still helping me after 5 years of homeschooling to figure out there is a better way then the way I keep on using :)...silly me

Apr 4, 2011

Fear vs Faith

General Conference is always a highlight at our home. My 7 year old started last Monday counting the days left till is even more exciting than Christmas. After it was over my 10 yo says...I wish every day was too! But I guess we can give the prophet and apostles some slack and let them counsel us every six months...besides it will take me more than six months to perfect all the things I have to work on from this last conference.

Fear vs Faith....I know that no one at conference spoke directly on this subject, but it was the resounding principle that the Lord wanted me to learn. Faith not Fear. Too many times in my life I do things out of fear instead of out of faith.

For example, there were several least three... that talked about young men getting married. I think that many young men are not getting married because of fear and a lack of faith. Fear about how will it impact my schooling, my social network, my silliness, my finances, my freedom, my friends? They may fear rejection, divorce, committment, ability to provide, fatherhood, or choosing the right person.

In my opinion faith takes care of all these concerns. When I was a recently returned missionary I had no job, no car, no schooling. The man I would marry worked part time at a computer lab for the school district. He had a car that was 20 years old and would break down on the same exit off the freeway every single time he drove past it...thanks to Spencer for rescuing us many times!....He had one...yes ONE....year of schooling completed. Would getting married impact our schooling, our social interactions, our care-free lifestyle, finances, freedom and friends....YES!

We were engaged within 3 weeks of my returning home and married within 3 months. Could we have feared rejection...3 weeks? divorce...3 months?....committment, providing, parenting, or is this THE ONE? YES!

But we didn't, we looked forward with faith. I got a job, we bought a car together so I could rescue him, he enrolled in school with my encouragement...okay, my demands :) We didn't go into debt we both worked sometimes two jobs and went to school. And....drum roll please...we were happy. We were full of faith and hope. We were together...well for atleast 2 hours a day from 9 to 11 before sleep, and oh how we loved the Sabbath...a day free from work and from play and from school.

We didn't worry about all of those other things. We knew the Lord could fix them. We knew He would bless us for staying out of debt, we knew He would bless us to get into a house someday, we knew He would help us to love one another and to keep our covenants and we knew that it required a lot of work from us...A LOT of work.

Did it impact our finances? Yes, we had no money! We look at what we lived on each month making 8 dollars an hour, paying rent and paying for school but we always had enough. Did it impact our friends? Yes, we had no friends! We relied on each other. We spent every spare minute together and when we weren't just together we were with our families enjoying them and learning from them. Did it impact our freedom? Yes, we were buzy all the time working for each other. We spent three years just working to finish school we had no other objectives, no plans for a big home, no plans for a fun vacation, NO PLANS...just a focus that we could keep going with faith and patience. Did impact our silliness? Um, yup! When you have no one else to rely on besides the Lord and this person sitting next to you it impacts your care free life style...your silliness. I remember one of our first "fights" and I remember distinctly the spirit telling me. Do you want to behave this silly way your whole life or are you ready to grow up and work together. Really my silliness was selfishness. A desire to hold on to childishness and to "get what I want" Yes my silliness was impacted that night in a way that I will always be grateful for. Did it impact our social life? Absolutely..what social life? I always like to tease my husband about all the super fun dates he went on before we got married. He took girls to the Harlem Globe Trotters and to fancy dinner dates and did all the fun things that young couples are "supposed" to do. Our first date was breakfast at my house with my family followed by my accompanying him to some of his college classes.....Heart stopping fun! Our second date was a talk on the trampoline....costly! Our third date was a homemade meal on an overpass of the freeway....let's give him some points for creativity! In his defense he did propose after a lovely meal at the Roof accross from Temple Square and it was beautiful. He even had a spectacular firework show...okay it was spectacular, but he didn't plan it. It was just one of those beautiful gifts from the Lord. Did it impact my schooling? Yes, I never did finish school! But I am getting a great education now educating my kids which I love and it inspires me to be better every day, not just to get a grade.

We had faith. The Lord blessed us every day in every way. He blessed us to be happy, He blessed us to have peace, He blessed us with abilities beyond our own, He blessed us with all the things we needed and He blessed us with love for each other and for Him. Was everything perfect...nope.... but that didn't stop us from having faith and from working hard and from looking forward to many more blessings along the way.

Another example, there were several talks.....atleast three.....that talked about paying tithes and offerings and giving generously to those in need. I think that many times in my life I give reservedly out of fear instead of out of faith.

I know the importance of paying tithing. I learned that while I was a young college student who didn't know how I would make ends meet up, but paid my tithing anyway trusting that I would not attend another semester if I couldn't work it out. The very next day my employer at the college invited me into his office. I was sure this was the end of my job as well, but instead he commended me for my efforts and gave me a scholarship that would pay my tuition and books for the remainder of the year. I don't have a problem paying tithing anymore.

I know the importance of fast offering. We always try to think of our favorite restaurants and how much it costs our family to go there and then we donate that much money as our fast offering contribution. I sometimes wonder that enough? I do not know what it feels like to go hungry. I truly have never been starving. How much would it be worth to me to never have to feel this way. I could be more generous in my fast offerings.

I know the importance of giving to the other programs of the church, we give when there is a natural disaster, a missionary in need, or a request for funds.

But...and for me this has been a point of pondering I give enough? We are not rich. In fact in my neighborhood we would probably be considered poor...although it's really all perspective. I feel rich. I have a comfortable home with everything I need. I have healthy happy children whom I can provide for...and even help a few extra's. I have two + years worth of food storage that I use and rotate. I even have a little in savings. comes the fear....I don't save for my children's education or their mission funds as I know my parents did for us. I have several home improvement projects that really need to be done for safety reasons as well as asthetic beauty. I save some every month, but wish it was much much more. I need to buy a reliable car that will fit our expanding family but don't know where that money will come from. I am extremely thrifty every month and try to always live within my means and I rarely buy anything extra that I would like and I always think well, maybe next month I'll get to buy that.

So then I listen to conference and I desire to do much more. So which one will I choose...fear or faith. I loved it when Elder Eyring said, " You can not give yourself poor." Those words were solice to my fearful soul. The Lord will bless me in many ways for having faith. For trusting in the words of a prophet that if I give I will be given, that if I help I will be helped.

Last month a friend of my husbands called and needed money to pay rent so that they wouldn't loose their home. I informed him of our shortages for the month and then invited him to pray and make the deicision and then I would trust his judgement. He decided to help this friend. Even though I had given my consent I must admit a bit of bitterness. Just a bit of wondering what we would go without so that this friend might not loose their house. As I pondered on it I was given a great feeling of peace that it was the right thing to do and that we would make it by on less.

I know that Faith does not always bring temporal blessings, but I need all the blessings of the Lord that I am worthy to receive, temporal, physical, spiritual, and emotional. Faith in giving of our want and need is a powerful the widows mite. When we go forward with faith and give the Lord will bless. It will probably take some extra work on my part. I won't be able to get all those groceries on my list. I probably will have to stay home instead of driving out and about. I probably will have to cook instead of going out to dinner....bummer, I really don't feel like cooking when I am nine months pregnant :) But the Lord will bless me and the people who truly are in need will be blessed and that is truly the work I am to do....His work.

There are so many other good things from conference that I could relate...desire, missionary work, sabbath day, temple work, forgiveness, "being". All of these things take faith. It is easy to fear our desires to do good, to fear to become a missionary, to fear not having a day of "fun" if we keep the sabbath, to fear sacrificing our time to go to the temple, to fear forgiving others, to fear trying harder to be a better parent. After all, all of our efforts and giving and trying may fail, they may make our lives more difficult, they may cause loss of frienships, we may appear peculiar to our family, friends, and neighbors, we may get hurt, injured or lonely.

And yet,......there is Faith. When I turn my heart, my wishes, my will over to the Lord to do with it as he pleases when I have faith that I can give to others even when I feel like curling into a ball and waiting out the next four weeks of pregnancy, when I have faith that I can share the gospel by my words and my actions and by being cheerful in all I say and do, when I have faith that I can tweek even more our sabbath day observance to make it an holy day unto the Lord, when I have faith that even if this is the only date night I get with my husband this month that we used it to serve someone else by going to the temple, when I have faith that I can truly in my heart and mind forgive someone for something that deeply hurt and caused much pain and doubt in my own heart because it is what the Lord wants me to do, when I have faith that my small efforts will make some difference in the lives of my children I feel closer to the Lord. I feel light and revelation touching my spirit. I feel my faith grow.

I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me. Christ never feared. During conference I tried really hard to imagine a time in Christ's life that he felt the garden, on trial, on the cross, cleansing the temple, healing, raising the dead...nope, I could not do it. He did not fear! Christ did not fear his mission, or his preparation, his trial or his purpose. He did not fear what God asked Him to do. He always walked forward with faith and encourages me to do the same. I have much to do and become. I have much faith to grow and strengthen.

Mar 24, 2011

Doing it Right

Recently a good friend told me about a "system" that she was implementing at her home. It has been so beneficial to our family that I wanted to share it with others.

My children have many jobs that they are required to do, and this I feel good about. The problem is that they like to do them fast, get them over with and move on to doing the things that they want to do, and I feel good about this too. But, this can lead to 100 dishes soaking in the sink because truly there is food on them so they must need to soak a little longer... or how about this one...yes, I'm sure I cleaned my bathroom today (I'm staring at the toothpast in the sink and thinking..... no way!)

So, now for the brilliant plan: Good, Better, Best (sound familiar)

A few weeks ago we all started out in Good.

Good means that it is time for mommy to teach you how to do your job the right way.

Mom takes each child by themselves and instructs them how to do their job, reminds them of things they are missing and basically waits in close proximity while they complete their job and then checks off the job to make sure that no parts were skipped...purposefully or accidentally

In order for me to teach I needed to know that additional messes and problems were not being created so when my children are in good they must take turns sitting on the couch without book, pen, paper or toys. They were told that this is not a punishment it is what we do when we are in good. I would take one child at a time and we would work on a job together. It took us a LOOOONNNNGGGG time to finish our jobs. But when we were finished the house was spic and span. That has not happened for quite some time

After two days of tortured sitting on the couch for several hours a day the girls were freed to move to Better.

Better means that you are free to do your job without supervision.

You are also free to do your jobs in any order and at any time that you choose (in the alloted job time) Better means that when you are finished you must come and find mom, lead me showing me each of your jobs that is completed.

The boys I found were dragging their feet a bit and doodling so they had to stay in good and take turns waiting for each other. This only lasted two more days because they saw how the girls were done more than an hour before they were because the didn't have to be supervised by mom.

After a full week the boys had moved to Better and the girls were freed to Best.

In Best children return and report that their jobs are done.

I do not have to review their jobs or check on their completion.

I trust them that when they tell me their jobs are done that they are done in the right way.

I have really enjoyed this simple system. There are no treats or silly rewards or charts to keep up. They know what they are to do and they know how they are to do it, and they know if they are trustworthy that they earn more free time and if they are sloppy and careless then they will loose freedom and have to be supervised again. The children know that they may move up and down from good to better to best at any time depending on if I have to remind, reprimand, conjoul, or encourage quickness.

I also must admit, I am requiring quite a bit from my children.

Here are my lists for my four children..age 7 to 11: (they rotate lists on a monthly basis so each child does one list for a whole month and then everyone gets a new list)


Cook...all three meals...younger two children under 10 are aided by mom

Set and Clear Table...we find this job goes good with cook since the chef needs to put away all food and preparation before and after dinner. (kitchen job)

Garbage...gather, empty, reload liner

Cleaning Room...make bed, sweep floor, pick up

Kids Bathroom....wiping down sink and toilet and sweep

Sweep 2nd Floor


Laundry...starting washer, hanging up clothes to dry, sorting socks, emptying dryer and fold and put away

Counters, Fridge, Sink (kitchen job)....clear and wipe

Chickens...feed and water

Cleaning Room

Master Bathroom

Vacuum all of the upstairs


Dishes (kitchen job and regular job) rinse, load dishwasher, unload dishwasher


Cleaning Room

Downstairs Bathroom

Sweep downstairs


Pick up....all of the upstairs, the stairs and the "mud" room

Table and Chairs...wash all parts including legs


Cleaning Room

Upstairs Bathroom

Sweep upstairs....and shake out rugs

We start our morning with a devotional and scripture study at 7:30-8:00 and then our chef for the month is free to cook and everyone else works on all of their jobs...except their kitchen job. Mom is avaliable and working on her own my room, doing extra jobs, cleaning out closets, etc. We all gather together for breakfast usually by 9:00, then we all work on kitchen jobs and any other jobs that have not been completed yet...usually sweeping and garbage are the only other jobs remaining. Our alloted job time is to be finished by 10:00 at which time we have another devotional...more secular knowledge and family reading. At 11:00 we have family work time until 12 or 12:30 or 1:00 depending on the job and how much energy the mama has.

All jobs are required to be done once a the morning, except kitchen jobs which are done three times a day...breakfast, lunch and dinner. Laundry, Cook and Pick up may also be required to do more than just once in the morning.

I have noticed a large difference in requiring that the job be done well. My children were doing all of their jobs before, but they were only half done jobs and I was finding that I was picking up the slack....changing the laundry, picking up things left on the floor, washing the counters off better etc. I have noticed that my children are very capable of doing a job well and that I was short changing myself by only requiring a half of a job. When my children are older I want then to know how to do a thing well, and to put in the hard work and effort to finish it the right way and in the right time.

It may seems is. It may seem like a was, especially for the first two days when we literally spent the whole day working on our jobs. It may seem like a lot of jobs to require but they do a great job and are becoming proficient in many areas. I am glad for wise friends who share their wisdom with me. This has come as such a blessing in our home at this time, especially during this last stretch of the pregnancy when my abilities and capabilities are reduced. It has been a blessing to see these sweet little spirits step up and be truly responsible and wise stewards over a few things in our family.

On a side note, we also have Saturday jobs. They are still required to complete their daily jobs but in addition the person on cook (#1) plans the meals and goes grocery shopping with a parent. They also vacuum and wash off the benches in the kitchen and family room. The person on laundry (#2) is in charge of counters so they are in charge of helping put the groceries away and and prep of any food...veggies and fruit. The dishes person (#3) is on washing all the fruits and veggies. They must make sure the dishes are all out of the sink so that the fruit has a place to be washed...#2 and #3 work together to finish these jobs. This person also sweeps or vacuums the stairway. (#4) is also in charge of sweeping or vaccuming the stairs. Each person also is in charge of cleaning out their cubby...the area where they keep their school work and other items stored during the week. And we all take a level of the fridge and clean out the fridge each saturday morning before the weeks shopping comes home and needs to be put away. Doing these few little extras has made the week go by so much smoother.

As with any "system" this plan is of course not for everyone, maybe you can take some little gem and make it your own. I love working from principles. It is a principle to do something and do it right. This is dating me...but I still remember that song that good ol' Mr Rogers would sing about if your going to take the time to do it, take the time to do it right. I think this is a powerful principle to teach children as they are growing up and learning wisdom in their youth...To Do It Right.

ps. I do have a 3 year old living at my house as well. He does not have a list of jobs but he sweeps his room...very poorly....each morning and he follows me around and helps me with all of the extra's that I am working on for that day. He is also very helpful in wanting to help the other kids to complete their jobs so he will help with the laundry and help with cook...if he can get away with it :) and help with sweeping. The kids know that he doesn't get passed off for doing their job but they can allow him to help and usually enjoy having a little buddy to do things with. I do not feel that at his young age it is the appropriate time to require him to reach perfection in the few jobs that I am giving him to do. I sometimes will show him how to do something a little better but mostly I just smile and give him hugs for trying. To everything in life there is a season, he will have his turn someday to learn to do it right.