Monday, January 23, 2012

My Ugly Little Secret Past

Most people don't know much about what my life was like a few years ago. I rarely talk about it. Even among friends. In fact, I bet my mother doesn't even know all of it. Even now I feel like I'm airing my dirty laundry, and I hope you'll forgive me. I hope you'll understand, I needed to write this. I needed to let this go. Maybe somewhere, this post will help someone else, but even if it doesn't, it helped me. Now it's all here, and not inside me. Now I have room to be who I want to be. I have room to carry my life because I don't have to carry my burdens. You don't have to read it. It's kind of long. I just had to write it. I just had to put a bit of my soul into this blog so that I could let it go. I'm grateful for a way to do that.


Below you will find a really long and tedious post... with no pictures.

He was always a charmer. He knew how to say exactly what you needed to hear. And it was easy to believe him.

I fell for him in high school. We had a youth activity about learning how to dance. He asked me to be his partner. As a teen I was not really concerned with what people thought of me, but didn’t have high expectations on actually being “picked” quickly, either. I was unique. I danced to my own beat. I seriously expected to just wait until everyone paired up and go with who was left. But he asked me. And I saw a literal twinkle in his eyes as he asked. Honestly, that twinkle was all it took to fall for him. Looking back, that is one of the few times I’m sure he was genuine. Before we practiced any new steps, he would ask if I was ready. I’d say, “no, but let’s do this anyway.” I thought it was so sweet he’d wait for me to really be ready. That night made history.

I later asked him how he remembered meeting me. He said we sat in front of his family the first Sunday we moved to town. He noticed me right away. His first thoughts? Oh, let me tell you they were romantic... “She’d be really pretty if she’d just brush her hair.”

We ended up in the same seminary class next semester. Brother W. always had some clever way of picking seats. My crush would look at the chart early, and tell me what number to say so we could sit together. We’d eat lunch together, too. I was in heaven.  An older boy was interested. In me.

His home life wasn’t so great. We spent lots of time talking about it. His dad had remarried, and he didn’t think his step mom was what she should have been. He’d tried to talk his dad out of marrying her. He said she treated him like a baby and assigned him chores. He made a split decision on his 18th birthday to move out, and his parents didn’t like that idea too much. They found out the day before he did it. As he was preparing to skip out on Family Home Evening. Then, all of the sudden, he wasn’t around any more. He worked all the time, took home free pizza to eat for every meal (said he’d call in bogus orders so that he wouldn’t have to go hungry), slept in his car during lunch, went home early from everything but Auto, and generally wasn’t around. He showed up for an early morning devotional, though. I  made sure to end up in the same car as him. Naturally, I overheard his conversation with another car-mate. She told him she’d heard about his new girlfriend. You can imagine I was in shock. I saw him with her later that day. PDA in the high school was usually no big deal. But it IS a big deal when the guy participating had been leading you on less than a week before. In all fairness, he never asked me out. But the only reason he didn’t, according to him, was that I was too young and my mother would have killed him. I called him later that night to get the scoop. He said I was more of a person he was looking for in a wife, and was afraid if he dated me now, he’d mess it up, and this girl was just someone to be with. I asked how they started going out. He said it’d just happened. And I fell for it! Fell for all of it.

He graduated after that, and headed off to boot-camp. He still had my heart, but in an unsettled sort of way. More because he still made promises than anything else.

I think I would have gotten over him eventually, if he hadn’t have come back. I was a Junior, then. We were in the middle of an oh-so-exciting pep rally (Actually, I didn’t mind, except I was a “band groupie” so every single friend was in the band or the choir or dance, and I usually sat alone for assemblies.) I looked over by the door, don’t know why I did, and lo and behold, there he was! He came back to visit seminary and all his old hangouts. I honestly said (quite loudly, in fact), “Oh man, I’m dead!” ...If I’d have only known.

Ironically, something happened that day that meant a lot to me. A girl in my seminary class had rallied up a few people to decorate my car. Just because. And she’d just randomly picked that same day. And he helped decorate it. And then he met me at my car after school. It was like nothing had ever been amiss between us. I see now that that was mostly because I ACTED like nothing had been amiss, but I was so ecstatic that he had come to see me! Then we started dating in earnest. My mom had this dumb can’t-go-on-a-date-with-the-same-boy-twice rule that I secretly thank her for (kept me out of so much high school drama and gave me the dating experiences all high school kids should have, while not getting serious beyond a teenager’s mentality. My daughters will hate me for it when they’re teens, too), but we still found enough time to be together. He’d come over to my house, I’d go over to where he was staying. And then it was time for him to leave for a two year mission for our church. And I was going to graduate high school and start college. I wrote him the whole time, but did not wait for him, per se. I was only 18, and didn’t think that’d be in my best interest. Or his.

In college, I had my fair share of dating experiences. And drama. Seriously, if I could redo it, I’d avoid college drama just like High school drama. It’s worse. I actually started dating this one guy pretty seriously, but somehow I was never good enough. And he had girls hanging all over him, but got jealous if I even hung out with a boy. I made a pretty great puppet. I almost wrote the missionary off for him, but the missionary ended up coming back early. The military needed him. When he came back, things got over-dramatic and confusing for me and although I still don’t like how it all went over, I ended up telling the college boy I was going to date the missionary while the missionary was sitting next to me. Never really gave the college boy a chance. Part of that is that I suddenly realized how unhealthy my relationship was with the college boy.  And the missionary had just gotten back, so I guess I still had blinders on for how unhealthy THAT relationship would be. Looking back at my journal, he must have been perpetually late, because I wrote that a lot! And it made the news, journal-wise if he was on time. But he was still charming and melty and made me feel good. It only took about a month for him to propose. He says I forced him into it, and for the longest time, I believed it. I took him to pick out rings, but it was more for fun and to help him understand my style than to actually MAKE him buy one. I wasn’t there when he purchased it, so he had to have gone back. He had it in his pocket when we went to the dance, and I didn’t make him put it there. Nor did I set out exactly how he was to propose to me! I admit I gave him plenty of opportunities, and I regret being so young about it, but I can’t still believe I MADE him do it. It’s more that I regret making it so EASY.

So we were engaged. And then married. He told me he liked my hair at our wedding. I remember that compliment, because later he would refer back to how pretty my hair was when I actually did it. I wanted to remember that day, so I wrote about it in my journal, and had him do the same. He wrote about how now he had so much responsibility, he had a wonderful bride and some amazing covenants. He said he looked forward to the challenge and that he was anxious to see how the future would pan out. I wrote that it was a long and exhausting day and that he got so frustrated at all of the family taking pictures so long. Ironic. Later, when everything had hit the fan, he told me that the day had meant nothing to him and that he’d taken it as a sign that he hadn’t done the right thing. That he shouldn’t have married me. He expected some grand epiphany, I guess. At the time, I was devastated. But now I look back and realize he shouldn’t have needed some grand epiphany. He should have known he was “supposed” to marry me long before he ever bought a ring! I felt good about marrying him! I know because I wrote it in my journal a lot! I really had a good feeling about it. And I had prayed unceasingly to know, even before he had come home, since I was “lucky” enough to be faced with options. I wasn’t making a blind choice. Or a naive choice. Innocent, yes. But not naive.

He didn’t have a really good job when we got married. He worked 2 days a week, for about 4 hrs a day. That was the only job he could get. He didn’t have a place for us to live until about a day before the wedding. I told him I’d call it off if he didn’t. I’m glad I put my foot down for something, at least. He used all of my savings as the down payment. If I’d have known better, I would have come up with some other option, but silly me thought life would be easier. We lived off of welfare and credit for a bit. Then he got a decent job. And quit it shortly after, because there was no growth in it. He DID have a stable job for about 9 months. He worked at GreaseMonkey as a manager. It’s because of that job that he almost didn’t make it when our daughter was born. My grandma who lives an hour away made it to help me. He almost missed it. If it hadn’t have been the worst labor ever, he would have! (26 hrs...) But I’m skipping ahead. Let me back track...

It’s funny, because shortly after we got married, my journal writing stopped. I said it’s because I couldn’t find a balance in when to write, because I wrote in it at night, before bed, and I was keeping my husband awake. The entries I did write was about how I wished he’d even act like he loved me. How I needed to be a better wife, so he’d be happy. How he’d come home from works and sleep all the time. How sometimes he’d come home so happy and glad he had a wife, and how other times he’d come home and act like he wished I weren’t around. And then there is this one entry that stands out to me. It sums up everything I struggled with my entire marriage. I wish I could have seen it, then! It is 3 pages long! I was 4 months pregnant at the time. It’s all the stuff I wish I could tell my husband, but can’t...

Things like “please notice that I’m here. Recognize Valentines Day.”

“Stop telling people I’m not a good wife. Stop insulting me to my face”

“Act like you believe what you say you believe.”

“DO something! Don’t just talk about it!”

“I need him to be okay with a girl baby, not his boy.”

“I need him to recognize how much I do for him! I’m giving him all I have, and it’s not enough.”

“I need him to not tell me how many girls hit on him all the time.”

The next post is a plea to the powers that be to not let my husband think I’m an idiot for doing yet another dumb thing. How he didn’t even want to have anything to do with me. He wouldn’t even kiss me. I always felt stupid. He’d call me things like lazy and moody. Every time I’d ask for a blessing for comfort, he told me I didn’t need one. I felt so alone. I had a pretty good friend, at the time, but she’d never want to do anything with me. I couldn’t understand it. The state I was in, I thought I was doing something wrong. I distinctly remember my birthday. She stopped by with a cake, and I invited her in. She asked if my husband was home before she’d come in. When “I said no, but he’ll be home in an hour. Would you rather come back then?” she was relieved, came in, but left quickly. Yeah, I was a dunce... turns out later, when she heard about my divorce, she said he’d make her feel uncomfortable all the time. Like he’d hit on her. And she didn’t know how to respond. I wouldn’t either. It probably would have ruined our friendship. Instead, we’d moved and that presented enough of a barrier. She wasn’t the only friend to confess that to me, either. ps, that was the only birthday gift I got that year.

Things got better for a while, once we bought a house. He got fired from the only job he’d ever had for more than a month, but somehow, we still made it. It was the last consecutive job he’d ever held. To this day, I wish I knew why he got fired. Now I’d find it intriguing. before, I was shocked that anyone could do somethiong like that to such a great guy (yeah, seriously. That’s what I thought!), and how no one could see how amazing he was and jump at the chance to hire him.  I’d spend hours on my knees saying, “Please let people see how great he is! He could really use the self esteem of a job!”

The true downhill started when he went to go to Pennsylvania to sell security systems. He only made it there a month. He told me to stop calling him to talk to him while I was there, because I just made him get discouraged. It hurt, but I figured I’d honor his wishes. So I didn’t call much. He never called me. I still don’t know what all went on while he was gone, but I know he didn’t come back the same man. He was darker inside. I constantly prayed to know what to do. I started having to really walk on egg shells with him.

And then he introduced me to someone that went to our church. He had met her husband a week earlier and thought I might get along with the guy’s wife. I still have a hard time talking about her, actually. I can’t believe I was so duped into being her friend! I spent every waking hour with her. We’d go shopping. She always seemed to have money, but never had enough to pay bills. I watched while she shopped. We’d watch TV. Even shows I knew I didn’t need to be watching. Shows with poor morals. My ex would come watch, too, if the girls had skimpy clothing (a couple of Dancing With the Stars dancers had him pretty intrigued). She let me have fun, though. And my life didn’t have much of that. She also WANTED to be with me, which I’d had even less of.

But I wasn’t capable of always being over at her house (she’d never come to mine. She had more kids. I only had one) and getting all I needed to done, so I would start stressing out. I was getting emptier and emptier. Truth be told, a month before my life changed forever, I started praying I’d know how to end our friendship. It was draining everything out of me. And her daughter was not a good example for my girl. She’d boss her mother around, and my child would start bossing, too. And my friend would give in to any whim either child would have, even if it wasn’t in the kid’s best interest. The strongest example of this is drinks after bed time. My girl was potty trained during the day, but had to stop having liquids (even milk) about an hour before bedtime, or she’d have an accident. My friend knew this, and she’d still give her a drink. And then I’d have a guilt trip when my girl would fall asleep at their house and have an accident on their floor. We brought pull-ups, but unless I was the one to put it on, she wouldn’t end up with it. My husband never even changed a diaper, let alone a pull-up. My husband started expecting more and more from me and our daughter, and I was getting emptier and emptier. He’d start holding our child down when she’d disobey, locking her arms in his so she couldn’t move. She’d go to some sort of trance. I hate to admit this now, but I seriously thought that was some sort of problem she had. That he HAD to hold her so she couldn’t move or she’d never listen. I can’t believe I didn’t see how dangerous that was! It happened all the time when he was in our lives. It’s happened only twice since then. One time when I was trying to give her medicine and had to hold her head to get it in her mouth, and one time when I should have known better and held her in her chair so she’d finish her vegetables. She’s got too much scarring for that. And I’ll never make that mistake again. It brought back WAY too many memories. Probably for both of us.

I knew that my friend and my husband were getting too close before I found out about the affair, but I didn’t know how to stop it. And I trusted them. I wrote that in my journal. I trust them. They both would have enough respect for me. I mean, shouldn’t you expect that from a friend and a husband? Plus, I had just helped her work through her feelings for another man, anyway! She’d almost run off with a kid from high school, and I’d talked her out of it! There’s no way she’d fall for my husband!

But then he’d start finding things out about her before I would. And I’d raise even more eyebrows.

The first distinct day I knew something was up that needed some addressing, there was a whole group of friends at her house and nothing to eat. No one wanted to go to the store. I said I’d go, but my husband refused to go with me. My friend couldn’t go because she had all the kids. My friend’s sister almost came with me, until another sister pointed out that we’d be leaving my husband and my friend alone in the house and that just didn’t sit well with her, so she decided to come with me, and we left the other sister there. When we walked in the door, I could tell that something was different. The “babysitting” sister had a funny look on her face, like she knew some new exciting secret. My friend seemed happy. And so did my husband. The kids were all playing elsewhere. I just remember a distinct feeling like I was missing something. I was getting that feeling more and more, trying to hold on to things slipping away from me, and altogether missing the REALLY big picture.

Stuff really hit the fan one normal afternoon. My husband said he was going to go get the car washed. He’d been doing that a lot lately. He had an image to keep up. He’d also been having a lot of meetings with a company he said he was signing up for. In fact, I had to take our kid with me everywhere because these meetings kept interfering. This day was just a normal day in my crashing life. Until I got a phone call. It was my friend’s husband. His exact words were, “Do you know what your husband and my wife were doing at a car wash.” That phrase changes history. Apparently he’d gone to hang out with the sister who knew, and my friend was there too. They were going to wash his car together. The other sister showed up, had a bad feeling about it, and asked my friend’s husband to just drive by, just because the situation wasn’t sitting well with her. I will forever  be grateful to that sister. I haven’t talked to her much, since, but I will never be able to express how much gratitude I have that she stood up for what is right.

Obviously, I had a hard time for a while. I can honestly say I was the perfect wife for two months. I had everything ready when he got home, our child was on best behavior, our house was spotless. Seriously, June Cleaver had nothing on me. And he’d still say he loved his girlfriend more than he ever loved me. I was the only one working on it. He’d use anything I said against me. Every step further away was something I had done. He never stopped seeing her. Nothing was his fault in any of it. He had no remorse whatsoever. Even the bishop could see that.

I was having trouble letting go, though. I kept praying to know what to do. One day, when he was out mowing the lawn, I looked out the window while I was thinking and praying. There he was. And over his head, I literally saw a black cloud. It was physically there. Then he came back in and our daughter was cranky and whiny and he got really frustrated with her. He sat on her to hold her down until she would calm down. It finally dawned on me how dangerous it was to keep him in our house and in our lives. He packed up to take off to his sister’s for a few days, and I called my mom. She dropped everything and came down. I told her I’d give him one more chance, if he came home penitent, I’d let him in. Otherwise, we’d change the locks the next day. Then I noticed that things were missing from our house. That was all it took to help me realize he’d never be penitent.

He took another month before he filed divorce. He said I drove him to it. Truth is, he got out of paying child support if he filed. He held off on that child support for a whole year. The paperwork came on our anniversary. Isn’t that a line for a storybook? He tried to stick me with all the debt and no car or means of support. He only stopped fighting everything a month before his girlfriend’s baby was due. He was married the day after our divorce was finalized. Believe it or not, that was more of a relief than knowing our decree was signed. I was done with him. He was someone else’s problem.

And then there was a year of bliss while he was overseas and had no contact with us. He completely ignored us for 9 months. Even when he came back into town on leave. Now he’s trying to be a “good dad.” And it frustrates me. His daughter has forgotten all the negative stuff and wants to love him. I’m learning to let her go in hopes that some day she’ll see what I see. I’m learning to stand up for myself when he tries to push me around on visitations and child support. I’m learning to let go of the negative thoughts I still hear in his voice. I’m learning what REAL love is with someone who REALLY loves me. I’m praying that some day I’ll be all better, that I can love my new husband with all the love he deserves. I’m learning not to say he deserves so much better than I can give him. But the truth is, He DOES deserve better than I can give him, especially because it’s so exhausting carrying so much baggage. I wrote this post to be one step closer on ditching all of it and healing all the scars. My husband deserves it. I deserve it. Our daughter deserves it, too, but it’ll be a lot longer before she ever understands it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

FHE: I can Pray to Heavenly Father

Possible Materials: A paper bag/box that says “I am Thankful For” and a paper bag/box that says “Please Bless That...” along with papers that say “Heavenly Father,” and “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” A picture of Enos, praying figurine (or this one), Parts of a prayer craft or Ponder Pray Listen craft

FHE Lesson 4

Sunday, January 15, 2012

FHE: God the Eternal Father

Purpose: To teach that we can come to know God, that he has a body, and is a perfected being who loves us.

Reminder: Do not use all of the material presented in this lesson. Pick which stories and activities work best for your family and your ages.

Possible scriptures:John 14:9; Doctrine and Covenants 130:22; Moses 2:27; and Joseph Smith—History 1:14–17.Acts 7:55–56 (Son at the right hand of the Father) D&C 88:41–44 (attributes of God) Psalm 24:1 (the earth is the Lord’s) Moses 1:30–39 (Creation) Alma 7:20 (God cannot do wrong) Joseph Smith—History 1:17 (Father and Son are separate beings) Alma 5:40 (good comes from God) John 14:6–9 (Son and Father are alike) Mormon 9:15–20 (God of miracles) Amos 3:7 (God of revelation) John 3:16; 1 Nephi 17:36 3 Nephi 27:13–22 John 3:16–17 2 Nephi 9:6 D&C 38:1–3 Acts 17:27–29 Mosiah 4:9 D&C 130:22 Romans 8:16 3 Nephi 12:48 Moses 1:39 Hebrews 12:9 3 Nephi 14:9–11 Matthew 5:48 1 John 4:7–9

Possible Songs: A Child’s Prayer,” Children’s Songbook 12; “My Heavenly Father loves Me,” Children’s songbook 228; “I Need my Heavenly Father,” Children’s songbook 18; “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” Hymns 68; “Because God loves Me,” Children’s songbook 234; “God’s Love,” Children’s Songbook 97; “Dearest Children, God is Near You,” Hymns 96; “I am a Child of God,” Hymns 301 or Children’s Songbook 2; “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer,” Hymns 26; “Our Saviour’s Love,” Hymns 113; “The First Article of Faith,” Children’s songbook 122a;


Creation picture from Gospel Art Book
First Vision picture from Gospel Art Book, or this one
Puppets of Ammon and Aaron

word art for quotes. (If not linked, I made my own. I haven’t shared them yet, because I don't know if anyone wants them. Solution: let me know you'd be interested.)

Introduction: Have everyone pretend we’re on a camping trip in the middle of no where. There are no lights besides our warm and cozy fire. Lay down like we’re all in our sleeping bags looking up at the stars. Ask how many stars there are. How did they get there? Was it an accident? Do you think that our universe could have happened by chance? Show a picture of what it’s like in the universe. Now sit up and look at the “Forest” around you. Have people tell you what they “see.” Talk about how it is so amazing that God created this earth for us. Read Alma 30:44, starting at “yea, even the earth.” Then read this quote by President Thomas S. Monson:

If there is a design in this world in which we live, there must be a Designer. Who can behold the many wonders of the universe without believing that there is a design for all mankind? Who can doubt that there is a Designer? (source)

{Because of the nature of this lesson, most of it will be discussion. Start by asking “Who is God? What are some of God’s attributes? ” This will help lead your discussion. For younger children, focus on that God has a body of flesh and blood, and that he is a loving Father. For older children, discuss Divinity, perfection, love, mercy, truth, justice, goodness, glory, creation, or any other characteristics that come up. It will help in your discussion if you have read all of the “Possible Scriptures,” the talks listed in “Resources,” and have made this lesson a matter of earnest prayer.}


For us the truth about the nature of God and our relationship to Him is the key to everything else. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, February 26, 2010
God is perfect. He is a God of righteousness, with attributes such as love, mercy, charity, truth, power, faith, knowledge, and judgment. He has all power. He knows all things. He is full of goodness.All good things come from God. Everything that He does is to help His children become like Him. He has said, “Behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). From Gospel Principles, Lesson 1
God is the Supreme Being in whom we believe and whom we worship. He is all-powerful and all-knowing, and He is full of love, mercy, charity, and compassion. He is the Author of the plan for our happiness... God is perfect in His love, wisdom, care, and concern for us. He knows us individually and loves us more than we can comprehend, and He wants us to find happiness. (Source)
He is “the Great Parent of the universe,” and He “looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 39).
Joseph Smith taught, "If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves" (TPJS, p. 343) (From The Encyclopedia of Mormonism)
I know with surety that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live. The Atonement is real. God the Father and Jesus Christ are distinct, separate, immortal beings. They know us as individuals, and They hear and answer our sincere prayers. The Savior testified to the inhabitants of the New World, “I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me.” The Holy Ghost has testified to me that these things are true. Robert D Hales
“It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God” (History of the Church, 6:305).These tremendously significant and overarching declarations are in harmony with the words of the Lord in His great Intercessory Prayer:“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3)...I believe without equivocation or reservation in God the Eternal Father. He is my Father, the Father of my spirit, and the Father of the spirits of all men. He is the great Creator, the Ruler of the universe. He directed the Creation of this earth on which we live. In His image man was created. He is personal. He is real. He is individual. He has “a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (D&C 130:22). Gordon B. Hinckley
“God is a spirit, and so are you in the combination of spirit and body that makes of you a living being, and so am I.”Each of us is a dual being of spiritual entity and physical entity. All know of the reality of death when the body dies, and each of us also knows that the spirit lives on as an individual entity and that at some time, under the divine plan made possible by the sacrifice of the Son of God, there will be a reunion of spirit and body. Jesus’s declaration that God is a spirit no more denies that He has a body than does the statement that I am a spirit while also having a body.I do not equate my body with His in its refinement, in its capacity, in its beauty and radiance. His is eternal. Mine is mortal. But that only increases my reverence for Him. I worship Him “in spirit and in truth.” I look to Him as my strength. I pray to Him for wisdom beyond my own. I seek to love Him with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. His wisdom is greater than the wisdom of all men. His power is greater than the power of nature, for He is the Creator Omnipotent. His love is greater than the love of any other, for His love encompasses all of His children, and it is His work and His glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His sons and daughters of all generations (see Moses 1:39). Gordon B. Hinckley, same source.

From Church History: Show picture of The First Vision. Tell the story of the First Vision, as found in Joseph Smith—History 1:14–17.How did Joseph Smith know what Heavenly Father and Jesus look like? What kind of bodies do Jesus and Heavenly Father have? What else do we learn about the nature of God from this story. Explain that because we are spirit children of Heavenly Father, we also look like him. We have bodies like his. That what it means when it says “created in Heavenly Father’s image” (see Moses 2:26-27; 6:9). Our bodies are like His body. His eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones (see D&C 130:22). God’s body, however, is perfected and glorified, with a glory beyond all description.

From the scriptures: Hold up Ammon and Aaron finger puppets. Ammon and Aaron, two missionaries in the Book of Mormon, knew that it was important to start our faith with an understanding of who God is. They taught people who did not grow up knowing about God or Christ. They taught simple truths and invited their investigators to pray. Two kings, Lamoni and his father were converted. Read Alma 18:24–40 and 22:4–23,.

Further discussion: Ask, “why is it important for us to understand the nature of God? How can we come to know God?” some possible answers include:
  • Knowing God is so important that the Savior said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
  • The first and greatest commandment is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” (Matthew 22:37).
  • The more we know God, the more we love Him and keep His commandments (see 1 John 2:3–5). By keeping His commandments we can become like Him.
We can know God if we will:
  1. Believe that He exists and that He loves us (see Mosiah 4:9).
  2. Study the scriptures (see 2 Timothy 3:14–17).
  3. Pray to Him (see James 1:5).
  4. Obey all His commandments as best we can (see John 14:21–23).

Closing Application: Have the children stand. Help them memorize the
first article of faith. If too young, just help them memorize the first part: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ.” Practice all week.

Resources:   Sunbeams Manual Lesson 2;  Gospel Principles Chapter 1; Preach My Gospel Chapter 3, part 1 (You'll have to scroll down); Fundamentals to our Faith by Elder Dallin H. Oaks; In These Three I believe by President Gordon B. Hinckley; Gaining a Testimony of God, the Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost by Elder Robert D Hales; Encyclopedia of Mormonism: God the Father; LDS Study Topics, God the Father; Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, lesson 2

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My New Home Planner

2 little known facts about me:

  1. I love to research. Just about anything. My Sister-in-law kind of likes it because she has someone to talk to about what's going on in her life. I kind of like it because I can talk about what's going on in her life, too. Plus I like researching things. And her life is interesting.
  2. I love making lists. I like to tell myself I'm organizing, but truth be told, I'm really just DREAMING of organizing!
  3. NO wait! There's 3 facts! I can finally tie my hair in a knot! This is good news! Now I dont have to stop what I'm doing to go get something to get my hair out of my face! ... Dang. Just came undone. Maybe next time it'll really work...

Anyway, back to the lists and researching, I have been wishing I could find a planner recently that could cover all of my disorganized-yet-dreaming-of-organization needs. And I've been looking. And looking. And looking some more. I tapped out all my resources on research, Google, more Google, and Pinterest. And I got nothin. I was highly disappointed. Never do my sources fail me so! I'm thinking it's just because no one has the exact same needs as I do. So, I made my own. I wanted something like the household notebook/binder/organizer thingy I had seen in my research, while still being flexible and customizable for my many, many lists.

This is what I came up with:

Jan 2012 0182

To solve the problem of "What do I even WANT for Christmas?" and "What do I get everyone for Christmas?" I put them in envelopes in hopes it takes a while before anyone notices what it is. And because the lists are removable, when it's actually time to christmas shop. 


I've got a weekly schedule with menus, blog ideas, things I need to clean, and weekly to do's. All the little squares are other goals I have for myself, that I can just check off! Like pampering myself, exercising, etc. I scanned it into my computer and printed off each page (this is the original, so it's not really complete yet.)

Jan 2012 021

As part of one of my goals, I need to know how much of what we eat each month, so I can get an idea of what we would need for a 3-month supply. It'll also help me know what seeds to buy to grow what we eat. It's a trial thing. We'll see how it goes.

Am I missing anything? Do any of you have household binders? What do you think? What type of pages do you have in yours? I thought about adding a cleaning page. Thoughts? I'd love some feedback. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

FHE: I am a child of God

Purpose: To teach that each of us is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents. We lived with them before we were born. Our Heavenly Father knows us personally and loves us.

Reminder: Do not use all of the materials presented in this lesson. Pick which stories and activities work best for your family and your ages.

Possible scriptures Psalm 82:6 (In the nursery manual, it replaces "Most High" with "God" to aide childhood understanding)Malachi 2:10; Acts 10:34-35Acts 17:28–29Hebrews 12:9; Doctrine & Covenants 76:23–24Doctrine and Covenants 138:55–56; Moses 1:1–7. 

Possible Songs: O My Father,” Hymns 292;“I Am a Child of God,” Hymns 301, Children’s Songbook 2; "I Lived in Heaven,” Children’s Songbook 4;  “I Know My Father Lives,” Hymns 302Children’s Songbook 5; "My Heavenly Father Loves Me," Children's Songbook 228

Possible Materials: Family portrait(s); 
Wordart with "Our Heavenly Father"; 
Picture of Heavenly Father
"Parents" puzzle; 

Moses Figure;

 poster about each child; 

Coloring page "God Knows..."; (If not linked, I made my own. I haven't shared them yet, because I don't know if anyone wants them. Solution: let me know you'd be interested.)

Introduction: Hold up the family portrait or separate pictures of each family member (for a twist, use baby pictures), and ask, “Who are these people? In what ways are the members of our family different from each other? (Facial characteristics, age, talents, etc.) In what ways are members of our family alike? (Facial features, interests, desires to learn, etc.)” Talk about how we inherit some of these characteristics from our parents. Hold up the paper on which you have written “Our Heavenly Father,” or use the clipart found here (please take into consideration that not all people are comfortable with using a cartoon picture of Heavenly Father). Ask, “Who is Heavenly Father? How are we related to our Heavenly Father?” Use the responses to give you direction in explaining the lesson on the appropriate level. Make sure they understand that Heavenly Father is the father of our spirits, and we are his spirit children.
Explain that your children will always be members of your family and that you will always be their father and mother. Nothing can change that. 

Cultural connection: In Lilo and Stitch, Lilo teaches us about ‘Ohana. “ ‘’Ohana’ means ‘family.’ ‘Family’ means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten. But if you want to leave, you can. I'll remember you though.” We always use this concept in our family because we did have someone that left. We point out that it’s a choice, but we don’t have to forget them when they make that choice.} The same is true of God’s family. He will always be our Father. We will always be his children. But to return to him we must live his commandments. Remind your children that their worth, like their family membership, is unquestionable. Ask them what if someone were to tell you that you are not a child of God? After listening to their answers, reinforce the fact that regardless of what others may say, they are still children of Heavenly Father.
From the Friend: “We grow to be like our parents” The Friend, April 1984 This is a GREAT hands-on activity from the friend. The puzzle pieces only fit together with the right parent, showing that babies always grow up to be like their parents. Try to include dialogue like, “What is a baby frog called? What will that tadpole grow up to be?” 
(On the blank puzzle, you could take a small picture of each child or a family picture on one side, and tape a picture of Heavenly Father on the other side). Explain that just as animals grow up to be like their parents, we will grow up to be like our parents. Ask older children what qualities they have developed that are like those of their parents (sense of humor, patience, talents, etc.). Heavenly Father is the father of our spirits, so we can grow to be like him. Heavenly Father is loving, good, and kind, and he wants to help us. When we are loving, good, and kind, we are being like Heavenly Father. Explain that we should try to become more like Heavenly Father every day. Discuss what qualities we would need to develop for us to be more like our Father in Heaven. Explain that when we do kind and loving things, we are being like Heavenly Father.

From the Scriptures:  Read Moses 1:1-22, or read the summary from the friend for younger children. Point out how many times God says, “my son.” Was this an important concept? Explain that Heavenly Father has important things for us to do while we live on the earth, such as being a mother or a father, a missionary, a teacher, a helper at church, or a helper in the community.What important work might Heavenly Father want you to do?
Explain to your children that because they are God’s children, they are worth very much. What is it about us which Heavenly Father would love so much? (First of all, he loves us because we are his spirit children; we are his family. Secondly, he loves us because of what we are capable of doing and becoming.) How does your knowledge that you are a child of God influence your thoughts, words, and actions?

Further discussion: As you discuss the idea of worth and potential, have your family members analyze Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 and Moses 1:39 together so that they will get a feeling of how important we are to our Heavenly Father as his children. Emphasize to them that it does not matter what we look like or where we live, that their love is unconditional and very real. We should always remember that not only are each of them specifically children of God, but also the annoying kid from school, their teachers, and their family members and that this knowledge should affect the way we treat one another. Briefly bear your testimony or share a personal experience about how remembering to treat others as the children of God has changed or affected you (or the other person).

Closing Application 1: Explain that Heavenly Father is the king of heaven and earth. Because we are his children, we are princes and princesses. We have the book written by Rachel Ann Nunes titled Daughter of a King. I highly recommend it. It's about a girl who knows she is a princess and will one day return to her father in his castle. If you don’t have access to the book, I suggest you take time to make up a story of your own about princesses who are returning to their Father the King. Make a simple crown for each child and write the words I am a child of God on each crown. Let the children color the crowns.
Media: Daughter of a king by Jenny Phillips
Closing Application 2: To emphasize that Heavenly Father knows and cares about each child, have the children color pictures based on sentences like “Heavenly Father knows I am sad when _____,” “Heavenly Father knows I am happy when _____,” “Heavenly Father knows my favorite thing to do is _____,” and so on.

Assignment: Explain that Heavenly Father knows about Each child’s admirable characteristics. For example, you could say, “Heavenly Father knows that Emily is a loving daughter.” Make a personal poster for each family member that lists some of their admirable characteristics and the sentence “I am a child of God, and I can become more _______.”  Explain that each morning before prayer the family member looks at the card and identifies a godly quality he could develop to fill in the missing word, such as loving, forgiving, educated, or accomplished. He should use whatever quality he may feel he needs to develop at the time. Encourage family members to seek the Lord’s help in being true to their capacity to become like him. In the evening, they should ponder the chances they had during the day to work on their potential. Challenge each person to examine the experiences he has had each day and share with his Heavenly Father what he, as one of God’s children, has learned from them.The Resource manual strongly encourages this part of the lesson for teenagers and adults.  
Resources:  The Family Home Evening Resource book lesson 5; Sunbeams Manual Lesson 1; Nursery Manual lesson 1; Gospel Principles Lesson 2 (Part one)