Honor father and mother

Today we read scriptures about the stripling warriors obeying with exactness and discussed honoring father and mother. My oldest boy had a very difficult time going to bed and obeying last night. I thought this was a good thing for us to review.

What did you read today?


Starting anew

General Conference this past weekend has given me a new desire to do better with family scripture study. It doesn't have to be long -- it just has to be consistent.

This morning, I read the scripture in D&C about going to bed early since the kids have been struggling with bedtime. (I made my oldest do chores last night when he wasn't tired enough for bed. Con: He went to bed after 9:30. Pro: my laundry and dishes were put away!)

So. That's today. Read one pertinent verse, discuss. Pray.

I hope someone reads this so I feel accountable to post tomorrow.


Joseph and Potiphar's wife

Last night for Family Home Evening we had a talk about "stranger danger," though we made sure that our kids were wary of people they knew, too. We talked about yelling "NNNOOOOO!!!!!" as loudly as possible and running away. Telling mom or dad. All that stuff.

Each day for my kids to earn Otter Pops, they have to get dressed, make beds/clean their room, and read scriptures. (I got the idea from her.) It's really more of an incentive for me, but it works. So we pulled out eh Gospel Art Kit for me to tell them a scripture story. And what's one of the first pictures I see? Joseph running from Potiphar's wife. And I realized it was EXACTLY like what we had discussed for family home evening.

I told them about the good guy, Joseph, and how there was someone who wanted him to take off his clothes and touch him in a bad way. I told them that Joseph said, "NNNOOOOO!!!!!" and ran away. Again, we practiced yelling "NNNOOOOO!!!!" at the top of our lungs. The kids laughed, but I think they got the point, too.

And that, my friends, is how the scriptures help you teach your kids about innappropriate touching.


Personal Progress

I confess that I haven't been great about having my own personal scripture study lately. But I have been good at doing it with my kids. Every weekday since the beginning of the year, we've read scriptures over breakfast. We pull out the new Gospel Art Kit books, pick a picture, and I tell them the story about it. Ammon and Captain Moroni are almost always chosen, but I usually get to sneak in another story as well.

I just hope that I can keep this habit up once the baby comes! I worked hard to establish this as a habit for that very reason -- I knew I needed to start it now rather than later.

I've also been able to keep a fairly clean house since that time. It's kind of embarrassing that that's a big accomplishment, but it is. We deep cleaned all the bedrooms at the beginning of the year and I've been working hard to "maintain" ever since. I've made beds every day (!) and kept the floors clean. I try hard to make sure the kitchen counter is wiped off at least once a day and the kitchen table kept free of clutter.

I love the feeling that it brings to our home. It's so much more peaceful, and walking into the bedrooms doesn't fill me with dread.

We have a new Relief Society presidency and they have introduced a theme for RS for the year. It's D&C 88:119:

"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house; even a house of PRAYER, a house of FASTING, a house of FAITH, a house of LEARNING, a house of GLORY, a house of ORDER, a house of GOD."

I am so excited about this. They will be addressing the theme on the first Sunday of every month. I'm anxious to think about/learn/discuss ways to make my home more like a temple.


A Walk with Christ Day 7

A Walk With Christ: Day 7
The Childhood of Jesus Christ

Pray for the Spirit to guide me to know specifically how I can be a righteous influence to protect and train the children I love.
Song: "Home Can be a Heaven on Earth" Hymns #298, "I Am a Child of God" Hymns #301
Scriptures: Matthew 2:12-23, Luke 2:52

Proclamation on the Family:
"Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve on another, to observe the commandments of God, and to be law-abiding citizens."
Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome recreational activities."
Thought: Pres. Thomas S. Monson: "Let us earnestly follow His direction: 'Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.' (Mark 10:14) A popular song includes the words, 'There are angels among us.' These angels are quite frequently the precious little ones God, our Father has entrusted to our earthly care. To them may we teach prayer, inspire faith, live truth, and honor God. Then we shall have heavenly homes and forever families. For what higher gift could we wish? For what greater blessing could we pray? None!"

Questions and Thoughts to Ponder and Apply:
How can I be in tune with the Spirit to hear the spiritual promptings I need to protect my family? Where can I go to flee from the evil facing the children I love? What can I do to protect them from things that would harm them?
How can I strengthen my home to achieve the balance necessary for children (and all of us) to thrive mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially?
Am I achieving happiness in our family life? Am I establishing my home on the foundation of the teachings of Christ? Am I teaching and inspiring the precious little ones entrusted to my earthly care?

To receive the Spirit I need to guide my family and me, I will worthily partake of the Sacrament each week (take upon me the name of Christ, always remember Him, and keep His commandments) so that I may receive the promise that I "may always have His Spirit to be with" me. Prayerfully study the Proclamation on the Family. Choose one principle to focus on and make a plan to improve it in your home.

Other Resources:Luke 2: 40-52, the 12-year old Christ teaches in the Temple
Oct. 2004, Ensign pp. 2-7, Pres. Thomas S. Monson,: "Teaching Our Children"


A Walk with Christ Day 6

A Walk With Chirst: Day 6
Wise Men Seek Him Still
As you go through your day today, pray to recognize the other children of our Heavenly Father seeking to find truth.

Song:"With Wondering Awe" Hymns #210

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-2, Matthew 2:3-12

"From the Bible dictionary under the word "Magi" we read, "Their identification is not made known in the scriptures, but it is certain that they were righteous men sent on an errand to witness the presence of the Son of God on the earth. Their spiritual capacity is evident: They were able to see the star when others could not; they knew its meaning, and brought gifts to the young child; and they were warned of God in a dream to return to their home by a safe route. Their knowledge was precise and accurate. It seems likely that they were representatives of a branch of the Lord's people somewhere from east of Palestine, who had come, led by the Spirit, to behold the Son of God, and who returned to their people to bear witness that the King Immanuel had indeed been born in the flesh. We are not told how many wise men there were, but tradition usually speaks of three, because the three gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. If they were serving in the capacity of witnesses, there would of necessity have been two or three."

Questions to Ponder:
What am I doing to seek Christ in my life?
What am I doing to help others seek Christ?

1. Make sugar cookies in the shape of a star and give to a neighbor or someone you visit teach. Share with them the story of the Wise Men.
2. Make paper stars and place them in different areas of your home or car to help remind you to follow the Star of Bethlehem to seek the Savior.

Other Resources:
Bible Dictionary look under Wise Men
"Twelve Witnesses of Christ's Birth" Liahona, Dec 1992


A Walk with Christ Day 5

A Walk with Christ: Day 5

Pray to know specific ways that you can improve, to strengthen your testimony and that your testimony will allow you to act with courage and without hesitation when you receive spiritual promptings to share the gospel or serve others.

Song: "Far, Far Away On Judea's Plains" Hymns #212

Scripture: Doctrine and Covenants 100:10, Luke 2:8-20

"These shepherds bore their special witnesses to family, friends, and neighbors. Their experience was retold in the courts of the temple, and from there was to be told among all nations of the earth. Luke tells us that after the shepherds had seen 'the babe lying in a manger..., they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child; (Luke 2:16-17). such was the declaration of the angel who stood before them that holy night, that these 'good tidings of great joy; should ;be to all people' (Luke 2:10)." ("Twelve Witnesses of Christ's Birth", Joseph Fielding McConkie, Liahona, 1992, December)

Question and thoughts to ponder:
What characteristics/ virtues did the shepherds possess as portrayed by their actions upon hearing the "good tidings"? How should we act when we receive spiritual promptings or counsel from our prophet?

Application: What can we do each day, so that "good tidings of great joy" can "be to all people"?

1. As you receive answers to your prayer, record it in a journal.
2. Prayerfully set small goals for improvement-write them down.
3. Pray to keep these goals uppermost in your mind throughout the day.
4. Periodically evaluate your progress.


A Walk with Christ Day 4

A Walk With Christ: Day 4
Christ's Birth - Nativity

Isaiah 9:6
Matthew 1:23

Other Scriptures:
2 Nephi 17:17
Luke 1-2
Matthew 1-2
Alma 7:10
3 Nephi 1:19-20

"Joy to the World", Hymns #201

"Let us in our lives give to our Lord and Savior the gift of gratitude by living His teachings and following in His footsteps. It was said of Him that he "went about doing good." As we do likewise, the Christmas Spirit will be ours." President Thomas S. Monson, Church News, 14 Dec. 1996

Prayer, Questions to Ponder, Actions to Take:
Today in your prayers ask, How can I show the Joy and gratitude I feel in knowing that Jesus is the Savior of the World? Ponder: In what ways have I felt our Savior's love for others or me today? How is Jesus both Wonderful and a Prince of Peace in my Life? Record your thoughts in a journal or share them with someone or your Heavenly Father in your evening prayer. Or other action: Find one way to "do good" today through an act of secret service. Share a special verse in the scriptures with a friend, family member or in family scripture study that has helped you more fully celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Other Resources:
Merrill J. Bateman, "A Season for Angels," Ensign, Dec 2007, 10-15


A Walk with Christ Day 3

A Walk With Christ - Day 3
"Mary - Blessed Art Thou Among Women"

Make a commitment with the Lord to be more worthy. Be specific in what you want to repent ofr change in your life. Adopt the motto "I can do hard things."

"Teach Me to Walk in the Light" Hymn #304
"Mary Lullaby" Children's Songbook" #44

Luke 1:28

Mary was found "Worthy to be the mother of Jesus.
1. What were her qualifications to be the mother of Christ?
2. What did the Lord look for in the mother of Christ?

Do you remember what you felt as you gazed into the eyes of a newborn baby? How clean and so pure and so recently from heaven. Just as Mary gazed into her baby's eyes, we can identify with her thoughts and prayers for her little son. We want to teach our children to become worthy to remain clean and pure and to make right choices.
Luke 2:51-56 Mary taught Jesus as a young boy to walk in the light. In the Ensign Nov. 2006, Look Toward Eternity - Elaine S. Dalton writes; Each one of us need to feel and know the importance of living a worthy and pure life. It is our personal worthiness that will qualify us to fulfill our individual earthly missions

1. Choose one thing that will help you be more worthy. Make a plan and ask Heavenly Father to help you. Be specific and pray and repent.
2. Teach your children to choose to be worthy. Ask them what Mary might teach Jesus when he was a boy.
3. List the qualities of Mary. What would God look for in a mother for Jesus? (read Luke 1,2)
4. Read Elaine S. Dalton's article in the Ensign and choose to help a mother with a newborn baby by having your family do something for them. "They shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy," Elaine S. Dalton. Talk with your children and make this your slogan for the family.


A Walk with Christ Day 2

A Walk With Christ - Day 2
Pray to develop a deeper faith in Christ through the study of the lives of Elisabeth and her Family.

Hymns:"Let the Holy Spirit Guide" #143 LDS Hymns
"The Still Small Voice" #106 Children's Songbook

Scriptures:Luke 1:40-41, 46-47

"Long years ago and distant miles away, a marvelous miracle occurred. In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there lived a priest named Zacharias and his wife, Elisabeth. "They were ... righteous before God." However, long years of yearning had returned no reward - Zacharias and Elisabeth remained childless. Then appeared to Zacharias the angel the angel Gabriel, who proclaimed: "Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. He shall be great in the sight of the Lord." Preparing the Way, by Pres. Thomas S. Monson, Ensign Feb 2002

Questions and Thoughts to Ponder and Apply:
How can we remain faithful and avoid discouragement when our sincere prayers are not immediately answered in the way we desire? Do I recognize my answers when I get them? Do I really search for the answers that may not be obvious?
How can we follow the example of Elisabeth and Mary, who had faith enough to know in their hearts the great importance of their children? Am I raising my children to know of their potential in the eyes of God? Through the Aaronic Priesthood and living righteously we are all deemed eligible to the "ministering of angels." Am I listening?

Like John the Baptist, we should focus our service on helping others come to Christ.
*Bear your testimony to non-member family or friends
*Invite someone to attend meetings or activities with you
*Magnify your calling, big or small. It is an offering to the Lord.

Other Resources:
Luke 1; Lesson 2: "My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord", New Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, 5; Thomas S. Monson, "Preparing the Way", Ensign, Feb 2002, 2; Elder Merrill J. Bateman, "A Season for Angels", Ensign, Dec 2007, 10-15


A Walk with Christ Day 1

Tonight is our ward's RS Christmas Dinner. I'm on the enrichment committee (or whatever it's called now) and decided to do an activity I'd done in another ward -- a Walk with Christ.

Each day there are reading assignments to help you focus on Christ. After about 2 weeks worth of reading, you hold the activity. I couldn't remember exactly what I had seen done before, but decided to have women from the ward read little parts as though the were women from the life of Christ. Elisabeth, the woman at the well, Mary and Martha, etc. The evening concludes with a keynote speaker who further addresses you on inviting Christ into your life.

So for the next week or two, I'm going to post the reading assignment here. Here's day 1:

A Walk With Christ - Day 1
Jesus Christ – Always Remember Him
Prayer: Each week on Sunday we have the privilege and blessing to renew our baptismal covenants. We promise to always remember Him in exchange for the blessing of having His spirit with us. As you kick off your walk with Christ – sincerely pray to remember him more often, improve your relationship with Him, and take full advantage of having His spirit to be with you.

Hymns: “I Need Thee Every Hour” Hymns, page 98“ He Sent His Son” Children’s Songbook, page 34“If the Savior Stood Beside Me” Friend Oct 1993, page 14)

Scripture:2 Nephi 25: 26, 3 Nephi 27:27, 3 Nephi 18:7, 11, Moroni 10:32-33

Thought: Thoughts of Jesus (should) be far more frequent and much more constant in all times and seasons of our lives. How often do we think of the Savior? How deeply and how gratefully and how adoringly do we reflect on His life? How central to our lives do we know Him to be? (Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, May 1993)

When you choose to follow Christ, you choose to be changed. . . . Can human hearts be changed? Why, of course! It happens every day . . . It is one of the most widespread of Christ's modern miracles. If it hasn't happened to you—it should. (Ezra Taft Benson, “Born of God,” Ensign, Jul 1989, 2)

Questions to Ponder / Personal Application
*If you could see the Savior standing by your side, throughout the day, would there be a change in you?
*Would you have more courage, show more kindness, be more humble, be more careful of the words you use.
*What would you have to change to be comfortable in His presence?
*How can I follow in Christ’s steps today?
*In all my decisions today I will ask, “What would Christ do?”

Action: In your daily activities, think about how you can focus more on Christ.
Hang the word “REMEMBER” in a place in your home that you often look. Every time you read it, evaluate yourself and how you are doing in remembering the Savior. Is there anything that you need to change?
Spend time over the next two weeks diligently learning about Christ and how to become more like Him.

Other References: www.lds.org.


Scriptures with the kids

I didn't have a deep and meaningful study today, but I did have a study with my kids. They're 3 and 4, and their boys, so scripture time can be a struggle. (Mostly, they eat before I get out of bed, so making them sit at the table while I eat and try to read to them is hard.)

But I decided I just have to get in the habit. I pulled some Book of Mormon pictures from our Gospel Art kit and we talked about Lehi and Nephi. It was short and I didn't really testify, which I should have. It would've been easy to talk about Nephi "going and doing" and whatnot. I'll have to remember that for tomorrow.