Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tithing and our economic crisis.

My husband e-mailed me today to tell me that everyone in his department at work besides him and his boss had been laid off. Evidently, the whole company had a 25% reduction in force. Effective immediately. The people were handed their checks and walked out of the building. Can you imagine? I'm sure some of you have felt it first hand. All I know is that what was once a slight fear in my mind is now a huge weight on my shoulders. I am terrified.

My DH is ever so strong. He keeps telling me that it will be okay. He is not in denial, he wants to think positive and reassure me that he will take care of all of us and seeing as he does quite a good job of caring for us, I should just trust him. Still, there are a lot of good people that happen upon hard times, especially with our economy like it is.

Anyway, the double whammy was that I realized that we had not been paying tithing for the last few months. This made me want to crawl under a rock and die for a few moments (until a child or DH called for me). In my Patriarchal Blessing I am promised that if I pay my tithing I will have enough for my needs and more. I do know Heavenly Father well enough to know that what He considers needs and what I consider needs may be completely different.

My husband and I have struggled endlessly since before we were married. Yes, it has all been our own doing. Some life circumstances have stunk but we could have been prepared had we don't things wisely during good times. Still, I do not know if I can take another dunk in the economic dunk tank of life. I have felt like I live there, maybe I'll pick out curtains for the tank.

What I do know is that I am not missing on anymore tithing payments and I am preparing myself and this household to be as prepared as possible in as short a time as possible. For once in my life, when the rug gets pulled out from under us, I want to know that I did what was right and can pull my family through the hard times.

Sorry that this varied from the homeschool topic. Perhaps we could all ask our children pointed questions about how to be prepared and why. This could be a great family learning experience.

I'm glad we homeschool, I am learning so much! LOL

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Finding inspiration and resources

Aren't all parents, homeschoolers, moms in general and other people all looking for more inspiration to keep plugging away at their daily jobs? I know that I am. I can always use new ideas, resources, and tools to make me a better mother and a better homeschool parent. It's a rare day when you find all of those put together and have the luxury of it being applied with my religion in mind.

Homeschool Helps (Help for the New and Veteran LDS Homeschooler) is a great resource for homeschool parents. It truly has something for everyone and I love it that it is for new and seasoned homeschool families.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Teaching our children about gay people and gay marriage.

Yes, I know we are not supposed to be gay. Or should I say, act upon those urges. I fully believe this doctrine. I am perplexed lately about Proposition 8 in California. Why? Because I think it is a civil rights case and nothing more. I don't believe that by allowing gay people to enjoy the same privileges that I have for being married is condoning their behavior, it is simply treating them equally.

My husband is a little worried about my opinions here and that is fine. I am not out to convert anyone to my way of thinking but I think that the more ideas we listen to, the more informed we are and the more angles we see in things.

It just occurs to me that while acting on gay urges may be a sin, it is also purely evil to take away the agency of people on some levels. I feel that if the gay people want to be married let them. They will meet their maker as we will and we will all be held accountable for what we have done.

In the meantime, I want my children to know from me and my DH that there are gay people, even if they don't know any first hand, they probably will in time. I want them to know what we believe about this and that we know it to be right and true. I also want them to know that they have no business pushing their beliefs on others. Most of all, they should be taught to not be judgemental and to love everyone equally. Sins come in all shapes and sizes, we all have our fair share. None of us (unless given the authority) are in a place to judge someone else.

Thanks for hearing me out dear readers.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Spirituality and schoolwork.

I have a girlfriend who I believe is Baptist. I know for sure that she is Christian through and through. Although we have some differences in what we believe, she is positively one of the most spiritual people I have ever come across. Her name is Marsha and her blog is great! I hope that you will visit it and if you are LDS as I am try to appreciate the fact that this sweet lady is always praising our Heavenly Father and always grateful for the good in her life. Even when times get tough.

Marsha studies the Bible more than anyone I have ever known and I consider her quite a scholar. She also reads many books (not of an LDS type) regarding salvation, scripture study and more. Her commitment is awe inspiring. She makes me think about the amount of study that I do for myself.

If I do in fact believe that we (LDS people) hold the True Church and that we have scriptures that we have been blessed with to accompany the Bible, then why do I not show the same desire and devotion as Marsha. She is always striving to be closer to her Heavenly Father. I wish I could say the same.

What I do know is that while I am teaching my children reading, writing and math, they also need to be getting a spiritual education that sometimes takes a backseat after all that we do for "school" during the day. The spiritual things should come first and even though I know this, I struggle with putting it into action. I suffer from the heart being willing and the weakest flesh.

Thank Heavens for Marsha, her insight, her devotion and her example. I am so glad to have this person that I haven't even met face to face who inspires or impresses me daily. Here is hoping that she rubs off on me and I can put what I have learned from her into action with my own family and my own heart.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Answering vampire questions

Today wasn't my finest moment as a homeschool mother. I think the most information my children got into their heads was at dinner where they all picked my brain for the facts on vampires in the Twilight books. Not my favorite topics.

I don't want the subject of vampires to be completely off limits to my kids but I don't really want to encourage it either. It feels like if I tell them that vampires are off limits, they will just want to read more books about them or see movies about them. On the other hand, I don't want them to think that it is something worthy of their time and focus because by all means, they are horrible fictional creatures no matter what. Drinking blood just doesn't work for me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Teaching right and wrong along with acceptance.

One of my great parenting worries is that we are pretty good at teaching right from wrong but I want my children to know what is right for them without being judgemental of others.

For example, this evening we were watching Extreme Make Over, Home Edition. My 10 year old pointed out that they say the Lord's name in vain a lot! I have noticed this as well. Our family enjoys seeing the good that this show accomplishes and I like that it teaches the kids to be happy for others and what they receive. I have noticed how often the Lord's name is used in vain though and it does bother me. I use certain swear words quite often but nothing bothers me more than this one.

What my 10 year old pointed out to me struck me pretty hard and I immediately tried to teach him that most people in the world do not believe the way we do on this and so they may not know that there is a problem with it. Nonetheless, I worried the children can become desensitized to hearing this phrase. Then if they hear it so much, will it become part of their vocabulary too? I would imagine that it would be hard to hear something so much and not have it be in your head.

I am now rethinking our watching of this show. The show is not evil, that is not what I am trying to imply. I just wonder how great it is for kids to hear this phrase.

In the end my worry is mainly that my children will not be able to stand strong and still love others for what they are. I also want them to know that they don't always have to focus on someones perceived faults. Enough rambling for now!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Morning devotionals.

Last year (I think I blogged about this before) we did a morning routine where we had some scriptures study, discussion and prayer before we started on our other curriculum. I would like to implement something like that starting next week. One thought that I had is that I have four children which means that they are in four different Primary classes. Perhaps I could use the lesson that they had on Sunday at church as a starting point. This way it allows us to be more involved in their Primary learning as well as reinforcing what they learned. I have most of the Primary manuals as I find them priceless for Family Home Evening lessons. With five days in a school week I thought that we could cover each lesson that was taught on Sunday and then do something different on Fridays. As soon as I get more organized I can post more on what we do.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Suze Orman on Oprah October 13th, 2008

Suze Orman was on Oprah today talking about what people can afford and what they can't afford. A lady was on who has one child and is pregnant (due in April 2009) with her second child. She currently works four days a week. She has an excess of something like $2400 per month after all bills and day care are paid for. If she quits working she will have an excess of over $800 per month. Suze Orman told her that she basically had no business staying at home with her two kids.

Now I get that this is strictly from a financial stand point but I'm hoping that the LDS people listening were aware that the Lord does provide for those who choose to follow a Prophet's counsel. I don't usually get really spiritual or preachy on this blog but I would beg more mothers to realize that maybe if all women made an effort to stay at home and find satisfaction in their work at home then possibly the men's wages would increase, day care costs would drop.

I realize that some women without question have to work. I am not trying to judge anyone. Those without children or who have met horrible circumstances have to do what they have to do. I am talking about mothers like me who may have to simply save the pennies that they can, do without what they can, live in more affordable homes and drive more affordable cars or simply use public transit wherever possible.

All things are a trade off. I was so worried to hear someone try to tell someone that their newborn would rather hear the beating of a mother's heart who was not stressed about money rather than being able to hear a mother's heart all day long when it was held. All mother's will have some stress somewhere. What if the baby can pick up on the guilt that the mother may feel by working through the baby's infancy.

Here is hoping that more mothers will realize that as President Hinckley stated: If anyone can change or improve the world it will start with Mothers!

Faith in God award.

My son is turning 12 in about six weeks. I am really stressed as I have not always kept up on the Faith in God booklet. Cub Scouts overwhelmed me and now Boy Scouts is really overwhelming and Faith in God has taken a back seat. Actually, not just a back seat but out of sight, out of mind.

I am hoping that I can get him ready to receive this award within this six week period of time and if he can't get it in that time frame I am wondering how we explain it to him that it isn't a big deal, even though all his friends will probably get theirs. These are the times that, as a parent, I am guilt ridden!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

So church didn't happen.

I woke up at 2 am with a migraine of course. Somehow my poor body knows when it is Sunday and decides without fail that we are having a migraine! It is a bloody curse. No matter how many blessings I have, no matter the lifestyle changes I make, no matter how hard I pray, there are Sunday migraines. Why?

I frequently read a friends blog that is called "Sufficient Grace for Suffering Saints". The author is not LDS but she is really spiritual. I'm sure that Marsha could find some purpose in my suffering with migraines. I cannot. She has me beat.

A member of the Elder's Quorum (possibly a member of the new Bishopric) came by to see how we were doing. I guess that he had noticed that our records had not arrived in our new ward. Weird. The old ward said that they would handle it when they took our new information but no big deal. I don't think that they can give you a calling until they have your records and I could use one more week to get on top of things here before worrying about something new. (Please don't think that I hate serving!)

Anyway, my 10 year old was bummed that we missed out on church and I had to apologize once again for not being able to go. Perhaps I should start sending them even if I can't make it. My son loves all things social and I want it for him.

So, hopefully I can do something this week that will help prepare and help me for next Sunday. If I am really prepared for Sunday perhaps there won't be the underlying stress and therefore, no migraine.

I have complained enough now for several months. Sorry!

Same old problem, new house, new day.

Tomorrow will be tricky. I found that our new ward starts at 9 a.m. This isn't really a problem except that I am blogging at 3:30 a.m. and have been at it for over an hour. My boys both need haircuts before they can even think about putting on their suits for church because I have hang ups about being well groomed, not just well dressed. Hopefully I can just get up early and trim the hair around the ears and neck line and make them look a little more presentable and go with it.

To be honest, right now it sounds like I can do it and I'm motivated and looking forward to it. My fear is that it will be like every other Sunday and I will lose all motivation and nothing will happen except us staying home. I hope that I can overcome my weakness about Sunday mornings and make this what it should be for my family. My kids need this so badly. They have a lot of other extra activities but this is the one that truly should matter the most.

If you read this please wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

General Conference packets were a huge hit!

I wish I knew who created the General Conference packet that I had for each of my children for this Conference. It was the best General Conference ever for my family! We did not miss one minute of either day. We sat together as a family with our packets for each moment of the televised Conference. Of course, we did not get the Priesthood Session but the kids loved learning more about it and what it is and why it is held.

My five year old loved coloring the ties of the Quorum of the Twelve. The boys loved the games, codes, puzzles and listening for keywords during the talks. Tonight I am going to have them finish a matching game with the scriptures.

Hope others who had this packet or just watched General Conference had a great experience.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Missing President Hinckley

As Conference draws near I still cannot believe that President Hinckley is not with us. It seems so odd to not hear his voice at Conference. While I completely, without a doubt, know that President Monson is our true prophet it still does not help with the feeling of loss. I'm sure that all church members and even some non-members feel the same. President Hinckley was truly one of a kind.

My hope is that I can grow to love President Monson and help my children to do so as well. They have really had a hard time with the death of President Hinckley but I guess that would be hard if you only knew one prophet during your whole life. I just want them to know that President Monson is just as wonderful, just different. Hopefully they will see that change is okay and part of the beauty of our gospel.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Guilt, guilt, guilt. I love the word(s) "NO (thank you)"!

So, nothing new, we are still unpacking. This was my DH's last day off of work to help me so we really had a full agenda. Wouldn't you know that at around lunch time some missionaries from another church showed up at our front door. I don't like people who are mean to any missionaries because I think that basically we are all good somewhere in side.

These men asked if they could share a message with me from the Bible. Here comes the guilt! I told them "Look, we are just moving in and have so much work to do, I am just not interested right now." They actually just said thank you and have a nice day and left. Amazing. So many of them try to keep you talking at the door for some crazy reason.

For those that know me they know that the guilt lasted two seconds and then the relief for having said "no" took hold. What a powerful word. Even in the church, where we are taught to serve and to do it cheerfully, it is okay to know your limits and say "no" when needed. Don't get me wrong, I am all about service. I think that church is where we go to learn to serve and love one another.

I'll give you an example. About five years ago I was in the Relief Society presidency in my ward. I was Education Counselor so it was a pretty fun calling. Christmas came around and one of my friends in the ward asked me to play the piano for the ward Christmas party. Now, I play the piano pretty well. The problem here is that I have health problems that keep me from being able to practice the way one should for a performance. So, years ago I decided that I could not perform. I play for choir, Sacrament Mtg., or other meetings because I don't really have to practice much to make do.

So, I said, "NO". I said it nicely too. Finally my friend got off the phone and I knew she wasn't all too pleased with me. The following Fast Sunday we were bearing our testimonies in Relief Society and I said something in my testimony to the effect that "I would do anything for any of you sisters". After Relief Society this sister came up to me and said "No you wouldn't, you wouldn't even play at the party when I asked". I never feel the need to explain my decisions to people and I'm sure that is part of what frustrated her. In general, in my daily life, I don't like people to know that I have health issues and I certainly don't want to talk about it. I just want live and be happy.

For all of you who have been told "no", try to see where the other person may be coming from or best of all, don't take it personally. After all you asked a question and you know going in that there is a 50% chance that you will get a "no". And boy when you are the one who finds the strength to say "no" to something that is too much for your plate right now, it is the best feeling ever!