Saturday, January 30, 2010

End of January 2010

It's the end of the beginning. I can hardly believe that this year is one twelth over. But that's how it goes. The Lord has hastened His work, and He has hastened the clock. I'm certain of this. Every year passes a bit more quickly than the one before. We may not notice it day by day, but I am certain that the time value of a second is quicker than it used to be.

Even though time passes more quickly, we seem to be able to fit ever so much more into it. You may think you haven't done much this year, but if you think so, I can almost guarantee that you are not keeping a journal. Look over your calendar. What did you do each day? Amazing, isn't it? Some seemingly large tasks that you've wanted to get done are finished, or you've put a mighty dent in them. The seemingly small things that you have done each day have amounted to a great deal, too. Bit by bit, chunk by chunk, you've started the year!

What an age. I'm glad to be alive. I do not have to wash clothes on a scrub board. I no longer have to pin clothes on a line to dry. In fact, I haven't done that in years. Even though I think time is going faster, technology has given us all a present: we have way more time to do the things that we want to do. One of those things that I want to do is write. So I'm thankful for my computer and for this blog and for the few of you who read it and make me feel published.

It's funny though that we have to make up programs to help us exercise. Life has become so sendentary that we forget how good it is to be outside, walking with a gentle breeze at our necks. We forget how good it feels to dig with a shovel and work the land. We forget how fun it is to play real outdoor games that help us stay fit. We forget how noticing the changes in the world around us helps us feel creative and thankful.

So I dedicate myself to more time outdoors. Even though I have a car, I can walk. And while I can walk, I will choose to walk more and choose to notice the colors of the mountains and the sky more, not just the pavement under my feet.

I love home schooling Christine. I enjoy reading and learning. But I want Christine to have a love for nature. I, therefore, promise myself and her that we will set school aside periodically to enjoy the great outdoors. Time is passing much too quickly. In a few more winks, our children will all be gone with children of there own. What is it that I want them to remember? What is it that I can help Christine remember? I would like to help her develop a love for life and this beautiful world God created for us. She already has a three R's education that surpasses the majority of the world. But I'd like to help her learn to love God's creations and God's children. So these next few months will find us out and about much more than we have been.

Hello world. We are home.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Excuse me, I Mis-Spoke

Excuse me,
I misspoke.
I spoke when I shouldn't have
About what I shouldn't have
About what I couldn't have
About what I didn't do
That I said I had done
About what I'd done
That I said I didn't do
Excuse me,
Now I am really confused.
Am I confusing you?
Because if I really do
You might believe me when I say
I misspoke
And think that it's okay
When we both know that I really told a lie.

Indecision: Self -talk about Leaving the House

I need to get ready. Am I already ready? For what am I getting ready?
Maybe I need to stop getting ready.
Maybe I need to just get going.
Where is it that I want to go?
I need to put on my shoes.
I like being barefoot.
I like to think about getting ready.
I like to think about not getting ready.
I like to think about staying.
I like to think about going.
Where is it that I am going?
I need to brush my hair.
I need to brush my teeth.
My smile is the first thing you'll see.
It's the first thing I see on you.
It's what makes your face special;
It's what lights up your eyes.
Your face.
I just saw you on facebook.
I like to see you on facebook.
I need to get ready.
I'll see you in person.
Have you been outside?
What do I need to wear?
Is it cold today? Is it sunny?
I need to get dressed.
Will I meet you today?
Where will we meet?
What will we do?
I need to get ready.

(This is just a silly poem; it is not a reflection of my state of mind or of some neurological disorder.)

She Finished Semester 1

My daughter is finishing her first Semester of high school. I'm really proud of her. She is learning so much and is handling a little more each day. I can't believe that this is our 7th year of home schooling. It isn't always the easiest decision for her or for me, but it's the decision that we both have made, and it's been a good one.

She still loves to socialize. She attends an early morning religion class four days a week. But once those students leave the class, some of them are back in public school mode and promptly turn on their potty mouths and bad attitude. Some of them may even retain the attitude for Seminary. I know. I taught it for three years. I can appreciate the sacrifice of the teachers in preparing to teach a daily lesson and the effort that they put forth to provide the students with a good start to each day. Hats off to her teacher; my daughter loves her class and leaves energized and happy about life.

She has enjoyed visting with her friends after Seminary, but she has noticed that most of the teens she has seen on their way to the high school do not seem happy. They are swallowed up by their hoodies and walk with head down in a dejected fashion. Some have ipod connections in their ears, closing themselves to the world around them. And this is how they face a day of education.

I've heard stories from my other children about the things that happen at school each day. I'm glad that they didn't participate in all the alternative educations that are provided in the public school setting. But I am sad, too, that they had to be exposed to such promiscuity, indulgence, and wickedness. Unfortunately, it is our generation that has exposed them to it and made it so readily available. And so children are continually sent to public schools, and all of them are learning; it is just a question of what they are learning.

My children have had some wonderful teachers. If your children are fortunate enough to qualify for G.A.T.E. and honor's classes, they tend to be among other top students that come from homes where parents actively care. So their learning environment is a cut above what is available to most of the student population. Teachers like to blame the students and their home environments for their lack of progress; parents like to blame the teachers and the poor environment provided by the schools. But there is never enough real care about improving the problems. That would require too much work. It would require more time from teachers and more time from parents. It would require working together. It would require the schools allowing the parents to own the roles of teaching and disciplining and the teachers the roles of teaching and informing the parents of the child's progress, or lack of it, and the child's behavior and attitudes. More money will never fix public school problems any more than a bandaid would stop a puctured artery from bleeding.

On-campus suspensions are useless. The schools want to punish, not help the student, and they want to retain each day of funding they can in connection with each pupil they can. If there is a proper reason for suspension, the child should not be on school property.

Lunch detentions and after school detentions are a lame excuse at obtaining total control. The students are given so many detentions before a parent is required to attend a conference. Although, if there are problems with a child not finishing work or having behavioral problems, the parents should be promptly informed so that some solutions can be sought and some goals made. Instead, the school would like to continue to punish children, sometimes just for being children. It makes me wonder why some educators chose their profession.

These are things that I have observed first hand, not things that I am making up. My oldest son had to serve an after school detention when he was 6-years-old because he forgot to sit on a bench outside while all the other children were playing. Ridiculous? Yes. Unfortunately, I allowed it. Parents, we need to take back the responsibility of our children's well-being and not allow the schools to take over our job of parenting. My son was "benched" during recess. I don't remember why. (But just to inform you, workers are given two fifteen minute breaks during the day and at least one 1/2 hour lunch. Our children are entitled to the same thing....EVERY day. It really is against the law to take away recesses.) Anyway, I don't know if he knew that being benched meant a time out, or if he knew he was required to stay there the entire recess. When he heard a bell, he got up. Recess wasn't over though; there were still children playing, so he joined them. And because of that, he was given an after school detention.

I just wanted to let you know that you do not have to sign every form that the schools give you at the beginning of the year. For instance, if you disagree with detentions, write that you disagree with them on the form, and then sign that. If you disagree that the adults at the school should be absolved of any responsibility for what your child views on a school computer, write that you disagree on that form and then sign to that. If you aren't at the school, you cannot monitor everything you child does. The public schools consistently want to hold our children to a higher standard than they are willing to accept for themselves.

I just noticed that I took a large detour from my original purpose. I am proud of my youngest daughter. I am proud that she has done well in our home environment, and that I have chosen to put her education first in my life. I am also proud that she has accepted the challenge and has blossomed and excelled and done extremely well with a highly demanding curricla. Home schooling is a wonderful opportunity and a huge challenge. If it is done correctly, it is anything but easy. I'd appreciate you never telling a home schooled child how easy they have it. And I'd apppreciate it if you never asked the parent if they'll ever let the child go to school. My child is in school. I guarantee it.

I am also proud of my four survivors from public school. I wish that I had been more aware of what was going on and had intervened more diligently on their behalf. I did once I learned. I am also proud that they were all good students and that they chose to forsake the many alternative educations they were exposed to constantly by other children, teachers, and other school personel. I'm glad that they have gone on to do good things with their lives, and that they are continually making good choices.

Whether your children are schooled in public or private school or at home, make sure that you know what is going on in their education, and make sure that you support them in the things that they are doing. Know what is going on. If you listen, they will tell you. Believe them. And let them all know that you are proud of them and that you love them. Education should be a positive thing.

Back to the beginning. We are at the end of the first Semester of high school. Daughter, you did fantastic!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Creation 3

Moses 1:27-42; 2-3; Abraham 4-5; Genesis 1-2

I was privileged to go to the Redlands temple this morning. Our Bishop challenged our ward to have someone in the temple or at the temple grounds each day that the temple is open during January. We all responded so well, and the Spirit has been prompting everyone to attend, that Bishop Lomenick has extended the challenge for all of 2010. I am thrilled. This was the third time I've attended this month, and I hadn't even signed up on the calendar.

I have the opportunity to teach Gospel Doctrine this year. This past week the lesson was on the Creation. An account of the creation is found in Genesis, and it was written by Moses. Joseph Smith also wrote an inspired translation of Moses's account which we can find in the Pearl of Great Price. One more account of the creation is found in the Book of Abraham, also found in the Pearl of Great Price. This account is taken from ancient papyrus that fell into the hands of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints. And then there is the account that unfolds before our eyes as we participate in an endowment session within the holy temples. We are blessed to have four accounts of the Creation. But without modern day revelation, the account would be limited to the creation itself. Modern day revelation answers the question "Why?" This answer is found in Moses 1:39: "For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

The scriptures truly teach us that we are children of Heavenly Parents. We learn that Heavenly Father commanded Jesus to create this world on which we dwell. We are sent here to gain bodies and mortal experiences that will help us become like our Heavenly Parents. We are here to be tried and tested, to see if we can learn to have faith in Jesus Christ, to repent of our sins, to be baptized by immersion, to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and to continue on a righteous path obeying the commandments of our Heavenly Father.

We are all creators to some degree, as well. Some of us are good artisits; some are good writers; some are great at scrapbooking, etc. The thing is that even though we have minds that can conceive and plan wonderful things, we cannot breath life into them. God, who is all powerful, and the Sumpreme Creator and Master of the Universe, did not just draw blue prints. He took the elements and the materials needed to organize this planet and the universe beyond it. He set everything in motion and he created life. What is amazing about this is that our Father lets us share in creation by giving us procreative powers. He loans us His spirit children to be our children, so that we can learn how to be parents. Life is certainly a miracle, and the perpetuation of life is a miracle.

Who can doubt God's most perfect plan? If God can create life, certainly he can restore life. Because of the resurrection of His Holy Only Begotten Son, every person born on this planet will also be resurrected. That is part of His work and His glory: we will all gain immortality.

His plan included a pre-mortal counsel. God truly chose Jehovah to be born into this world as Jesus Christ. He gave Him the mission to be our Savior. His plan included the glorious resurrection. This is a beautiful world that we live in. We can feel awe and reverence and perfect love as we enjoy the beauties of nature all around us. His plan included the Fall of Adam and Even, and the redemption of all mankind from the Fall through the sufferings, death, atonement, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His plan includes ordinances that will prepare us for exaltation. He is the way, the truth, and the life. We can return to the Father only through Him. And baptism is necessary. And once we have gotten onto the straight and narrow path, we must press forward, feasting upon hHs words and doing His works, and then the Father will grant unto us Eternal Life through the mercy and justice of His Precious Son, our Redeemer.

God looked upon all his creations, and He saw that they were good. He wants all of us to fill the measure of our creation and have joy therein. What is the measure of your creation? You will need to know that God's plan for you is to be happy and to return to Him? He does have a mission for you to perform while you are here in a tabernacle of clay. Pray to Him. He will guide you and give you understanding; he will let you know what is true and what He wants for you to do. Serve Him. He is the true and living God. By loving our fellow men, we are showing Him our devotion and our love. He created this earth for us to enjoy and he created each of us to be brothers and sisters. Let's help each other find truth and happiness and a righteous way of life that will lead to the peace of His Spirit which surpasses all understanding. "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thankful for My Marriage

I just had to take a minute before getting ready for bed to say I'm thankful. Yes, I am. I have a pretty great life. I married a man that's honest and true and works hard. And best of all, he love me, and I love him. We aren't perfect by any means. But we kiss each other good-bye every morning. We greet each other with a kiss in the evening. We pray together and we talk to each other. When we are away from each other, we miss each other. I thought that all of this was fairly normal. But in today's world, we actually seem to be the exception. Thanks, Bob, I'm glad that we are on the good side of the statistics. I was going to say, thanks for breaking the rules with me, but I think we are doing okay because we are keeping the rules.

It makes me sad, and a bit crazy, to see all the sadness that couples cause each other. Stop, stop keeping score. Decide to be happy, and try to find happiness in pleasing your spouse. It works. Go out of your way to do something nice, something kind, something little that will bring a big smile. Why not? Don't you want to be happy? It's fun to do kind things for that person that you fell in love with and wanted to be with forever. Why did you stop doing the fun, happy things? Didn't you notice that when you stopped thinking about and giving to your spouse, you stopped caring like you should? Forget about it if you don't have enough money. You can't hug your money, or sleep with it, or kiss it hello or good-bye. Good grief. If you got rid of your spouse, you still wouldn't have any more money. In fact, you'd probably have a lot less.

I need to stop worrying about other people's problems so much. But afterall, you are my family and friends, too. I can't fix anything for you. But the Lord can heal the wounds you've caused each other if you let Him; He can teach you how to help each other, too. He can even give you a portion of His Spirit every day if you just ask Him and tell Him that you need His help. With that Spirt, you can be taught and learn how to do better. You can live in a more excellent that you and your spouse are creating together...a happy home.

I hope that you will stop being selfish. Love your spouse. The Lord said to cleave to him or her and none else. Don't you realize that because of the covenants you've made, you and your spouse are one and the same. If you hurt your spouse, you are hurting yourself even more. Plus, you are hurting your children, and your parents, and your siblings. The people that love you all want you to be happy; they want to see you succeed. So I've vented to my Blog. I do hope that these thoughts can actually help someone. Now I'm going to get off this computer and go spend the closing minutes of my day with my husband. I am so blessed. I love him, and he loves me.

Another blog about love:

What Love Means to Me Now

Friday, January 22, 2010

Respecting others and being True to Yourself

I posted a reply to a friend's facebook status this morning. She is driven by her concern for her country. Here is her status:

Sometimes I like to be a naysayer but then I lose facebook friends. Maybe I should just keep my feelings to myself about Twilight, the government, giant headgear bows for babies, photography, typography, personal blogs...

Here is my reply:

Leah, you could no sooner quiet your opinions than roll over and play dead. I enjoy reading what you have to write. I'm sorry that some have dropped you as a friend. I have found that politics and sports are just as strong as religion for many people. There is so much emotion involved that sometimes it blocks people from being open to see any other view. With that being said, I have also found that many forget the first two great commandments in connection with the identity they find in holding true to "their political party" or "their sports' team."

We read in the scriptures that a Zion people "see eye to eye." I really don't think that that means that everyone will be republican or democratic, or like the Lakers or the Celtics. But I do think that it means that they are willing to work together and to uphold principles that are true and just. I also think that it means that, in spite of diversity, they can still be united in a common purpose. It also means that people can communicate for understanding, even if they do not agree. Unfortunately, there is too much division in this the "United States," and many define themselves solely on dividing issues. I love you, Leah. I know that you are true to God and your faith and want the best for your fellow man. Stay true to yourself. :-)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

San Bernardino Stake Conference: Sunday Morning Broadcast Session

Bishop Edgley (1st Councilor in Presiding Bishopric):

Bishop Edgley spoke to a couple whose 5 year old daughter had been killed in an accident. They wanted to speak to a general authority. He visited with them, but mostly he listened to them. This couple had waited for a long time to have this little girl. She was the light of their life. She was the one who brought them back into church activity. She made sure that they took her to Primary. This couple expressed their grief and anger.

Bishop Edgley asked why they were angry. The mother was angry at herself. She felt guilty that she had not watched her daughter closely enough. The father was angry at God.

Bishop Edgley read some scriptures with them. He discussed the Plan of Happinees and the Council in Heaven. None of us would likely have been excited about the plan, knowing their would also be heartache and sorrow (along with happiness and joy) if One hadn't spoken up to say, "Out of pain and suffering, I'll give you hope. Upon covenants, I will sestore famlies." Christ indeed made it so that everything would be all right.

Another family, the Bastians, were in a car accident. Two of their children died. As the parents were sitting on the lawn of the hospital, they made some promises to each other. First, they would never blame God, and second, they would never ask why. Instead, they would have gratitude to our Savior. First, they would praise God who made it all okay. Second, they would seek to bless the lives of others who needed their help. They would reach out to others.

When Bishop Edgley came across two other families who had lost a child, he directed them to speak to the Bastians, only to find out that the Bastians had already visited with these families to offfer them comfort and hope. These were families that the Bastians had not previously known.

Then Brother Rick Bastian died of a heart attack when he was 55. Bishop Edgley wondered, How much is enough for this family?

Sister Bastian said, "While I've temporarily lost my children and my husband, I know what I know, and that cannot be taken from me.

The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord. (Job 1:21)

Do we face tragedies with anger, or do we give thanks to the One who made it all right.

How will these challenges define our remaining lives? (Who can we reach out to help?)
Touch the lives of others. Often these challenges will increase our capacity for love, for adversity, and for understanding. Reaching out to others provides the greatest capacity for healing.

Bishop Edgley promised the couple whose 5-year-old died that their anger could be turned into gratitude. He told them that as they would get on their knees, thank God for the great gift of His Son, and reach out to others, their own burden would be made lighter. He prayed with them and gave them Priesthood blessings. He thanked God for the One who made it all right.

Vicki Matsumori (2nd Councilor in the General Primary Presidency):

Sister Matsumori's New Year's resolutions that focused on her physical heath (weight) and on getting more organized (decluttering and dejunking) are not the most important of her resolutions.

This world is not our real home--it is temporary.
Our real home is with our Heavenly Father.
We need to take stock of where we are currently. Now is the time to prepare to meet God.

Eternal Resolutions:

1. Live what I believe
We need to "stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places."
(Mosiah 18:9)
We need to be continually progressing. We need to press forward and endure so that we may
gain Eternal Life.
2. Always be worthy to attend them temple
If we live what we believe, we will be worthy. President Uchtdorf said that the temple is the
binding link between generations. The House of the Lord helps us to see the ennd from the
3. Leave a legacy of faith to our children and to future generations
There was a family who didn't have any means to buy Christmas gifts for each other. But
someone came into their home and left a room full of presents. Years later, this widowed
mother still didn't have much as to worldly possessions. She was a school teacher and the
sole provider for her family. At tithing settlement the Bishop was startled by the generosity of
this woman's fast offering. He was going to counsel her to save the money instead of donating
it, until the woman related the story of the Christmas presents. She said she'd probably never
know who had given to them so generously and never be able to repy them, but as long a she
was able, she would give a generous fast offering. The Bishop was humbled by the lesson
taught, telling her that her offering put him to shame, and that he had resolved to do better.

Elder Holland said that we should live the gospel conspicuously. We need to let our children see us living the gospel.

There was a family whose little son was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus. The pressure in his head caused him much pain. When one night, this 5 month old boy awakened, the parents were decided who would get up to help him this time. But then all was quiet. They walked into the baby's room to check on him. There was his 2 1/2 year old sister. She had climbed into the cradle with him; she had her hands on her little brother's head, and she was giving him a blessing.

Our children need the experience of seeing us live the gospel.

Elder Holland (of the Council of the Twelve):

This year let's work on resolving instead of resolutions. Resolving is the verb form of resolution, and it implies action.

Let's work on resolving issues in our lives. We will discover principles of blessins.


I. Forgive yourself of something. Often we are more forgiving of the mistakes of others. Let's be forgiving of other's past mistakes and of our own. Let's resolve some issues once and for all.

The Path of Repentance (for serious sins):
1. Seek forgivenss of others.
2. Meet with the Bishop. Seek forgiveness of the Lord and of His Church.
3. Get it resolved.

Analogy with dental decay:

We have to get the decay out and let the healing begin.

Mistakes and Errors (the dumb things we do that we wish we didn't do):
1. Stop berating yourself
2. Keep working, praying, and striving.

Don't keep berating yourself. When one has a negative view of self, it often leads to negativity towards others and negativity towards life.

We have heard that the Lord is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.
1. Start with pleasing.
2. Every good thing we do pleases Him.
3. Deal with sin properly; when repentance is complete, forgive self and move on.
4. Move on--move up.
5. Be kind to yourselves.

Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more. (D&C 58:42) Shouldn't we follow the example of our Lord?

II. Forgive someone else.

1. The work of the atonement is forgiveness.

2. "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:2)

It is the Christian's duty to share in the work of forgiving others of their sins.

3. True disciples are pleasant, patient, and forgiving on all days. We need to soldier on and do as He did.

4. Is there someone who needs forgiveness from you in a personal way? Forgive them. It is as important to yoru progress as it is to theirs.

A Scottish minister said that it may be worse to not forgive than it is to murder. To murder is an act of passion; whereas, to not forgive is the heart's choice.

The greater the provocation, the more the reason to forgive and to be delievered from anger and hate. By so doing, we will be happier and more spiritually healthy.

5. Think regularly and often about the Savior of the world.

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

With the atonement, Christ bore the pain and suffering of all sins, so that we, or our neighbors, need not carry them one more step.

Isaiah 53:3-9:

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Elder Holland left us with a blessing:

He blessed us to have an absolutely wonderful, marvelous, blessed New Year; that every need will be met; that every burden be lifted. We have the chance to be free from sin and sorrow. Let's participate in the great, loving work of the Lord.

President Uchtdorf (2nd Councilor in the 1st Presidency):

Heavenly Father loves you and He knows you.
His Son, Jesus Christ, is the Head of the Church. We have a prophet of God on the earth today, President Monson, and he holds all of the keys. He cares about you individually and as families.

The Savior is the One who made it all right. He is the One Author of the Great Plan of Happiness; He is the One who made possible the great miracle of forgiveness.

California is truly the United Nations of the Church. Our stake conference is being broadcast to many stakes in 15 different languages. We are united becuase of our faith in Jesus Christ. We are knit together through our covenants and our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. The Church of Jesus Crhist of Latter-day Saints is such a world wide village. In the gospel of Jesus Christ, we find the answers and solutions for today's problems. Our faith will help to grow the world wide Chruch. Our faith will help to grow our communities. Our returned missionaries will help in this growth.

There are 1800 missionaries serving from our stakes. President Uchtdorf met a few young men from California on the ski slopes in Utah. There they committed to turn in their papers and serve a mission.

It was a California missionary who brought the gospel to President and Sister Uchtdorf's families.

Youth, prepare yourselves to serve a mission and save for a mission. This is an eternal investment with eternal rewards. Study Preach My Gospel, especially chapter 3. Here you will find the lessons that the missionaries teach. This will help you build your testimony and help you be ready to teach. This will help you recognize your true identity and to see what you need to change. It will help you understand the miracle of forgiveness and the blessings of the atonement.

Decide today to go on a mission. Make a commitment to yourself and to Heavenly Father. You are truly sons and daughters of Heavenly Father. He'll help you to become and to remain worthy. You will be a blessing for generations to come. Don't miss out on this divine experience.

"O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ. Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee." (Alma 31:34-35)

I. Power and wisdom to touch those who are not yet members.
Bring them to our meetings.
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God." (Eph 2:19)

II. Reach out warmly to non-particpating members.
There are members on the sidelines. Don't judge them; be forgiving. Invite them to come with you to church. Be a friend to them.

You are part of a great and marvelous work. Actively participate. Internaliz and practice divine teachings. Satan wants to distract us and keep us from the goals that put us on the right path.

If we have good intentions, that is a good start. But we need to have and keep commitments. Use time wisely; set goals in terms of outcomes, not just what we wish to acheive. Engage in calm assessments. Choose what you will do with your time. Have financial goals; but, more importantly, have spiritual goals. Have clearly defined destinations with points and goals along the road so that you can meet the destinations.

The gospel of Jesus Christ gives us defined goals. Evaluate where you are on your journey back to Heavenly Father. Adjust your course; forgiveness will help; repentance is the path. Commandments are not restrictions or obsticles; they have a purpose. Keeping the law of tithing will open the windows of heaven. (See Mal 3:10)

The commandments of God are an important part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are our flight plan. A loving Heavenly Father wants us to succeed in this life and eternally. If you don't think you have the money to put food on the table, still pay your tithing first. Trust in the Lord; be faithful; go to the Bishop for help you need. Tithing will bring greater blessings than food on yoru table. It will bring blessings for generations to come; it will bring eternal blessings.

Avoid those things that are traps set to destroy us, especially pornography. Pornography and violence will tear you down. "Letbvirtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven." (D&C 121:45) Look for helps on the church website: Also, check out the new website for the youth: Make the extra effot to learn what help is available and use it.

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." (Luke 22:31-32)

The atonement allows us to change the natural man and to become sanctified, born again, a new creature. Our own conversion and the conversion of our loved ones is a life-long task.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16) We should not be ashamed. We should never be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ or of being members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We can gain spiritual strength and power by accepting and living the principles of the gospel, and we will boost the level of our conversion.

Re-light the fire of your personal conversion. Increase yoru faith in Jesus Christ by living the gospel, declaring the gospel, and by standing up for your values. Refresh and deepen your own coversion. Develop greater faith in the Savior and strengthn your families.

1. Have a current temple recommend.
This is a precious assett. Go to the temple as often as possible. Youth, go to be baptized for your ancestors. CTR does not only stand for Choose the Right, it also stands for Current Temple Recommend. The standards which are found in Strength of Youth are a reliable benchmark for your worthiness.

2. Study the word of God daily.
The scriptures will help your testimonies become stronger; you will be spiritually strengthened. Also, read the General Conference talks.

3. Speak with your Father in Heaven daily.
Nothing can take the place of prayer.

The world needs the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel provides us with a spiritual backbone. It gives us direction.

Your faithfulness is needed. The rising generation needs to see and feel that it is a joy to live the gospel.

Invitation--Have a current temnple recommend; study the word of God daily; Speak with your Heavenly Father daily. God wants you to succeed.

Blessing--Miracles happen: peace, spiritual strength in our families and in our individual lives. Trust God; follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

San Bernardino Stake Conference: Saturday Evening Adult Session

Sister Sanchez (Mission President's Wife):

Develop a desire to be a missionary.

What is the purpose of a missionary? This is found in Preach My Gospel.

1: INVITE others to come unto Christ
(Not coerce, trick, or force.)
We can invite people to our homes, to parties, weddings, and to dinner.
The word "inviting" means that we will be doing something good with them. We will be there
with them. We will be including them in our joy.
Jesus is our Exemplar in all things. He showed love to all. He invited everyone to come unto
2: By HELPING them receive the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ
The restored Church has prophets, the Book of Mormon (which is our greatest tool in
helping others receive the gospel), and the Priesthood of God given to men to act in His name.
3: Through
a. FAITH in Jesus Christ and His Atonement
(Teach them what the atonement means in our lives),
This constitutes a change--the atonement provides a way for us to come back to Him,
c. BAPTISM by immersion for the remission of sins (with this ordinance being performed by
one who has the Priesthood authority to do so),
d. Receiving the GIFT of the HOLY GHOST,
(We are not cleansed merely by baptism, but through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance,
baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost),
e. And ENDURING to the end.
We need to perserver; we need to move forward.

Refocus--look past the list and focus on the purpose: bringing souls to Christ. We can learn more about this by studying Preach My Gospel, which some have renamed Living My Gospel. We will find joy in our missionary labors. The principles found in the Book or Mormon will strenthen us--we will not go astray.

President Sanchez (Mission President):

In each stake, there is a more actively participating half and a less actively participating half. If we want to bring about positive change in our stake, we need to begin with the Primary and Young Men and Young Women's programs.

We need to increase our efforts in reaching out to part member families. One-sixth of the baptisms this past year in the San Bernardino mission were among part member families.

President Sanchez and his wife were presented for a mission by Elder Wirthlin and Elder Cook. They were issued an ivitation to serve as mission president and wife by President Faust, and then they had to wait for their call to come in the mail.

President Sanchez had a confirming witness about their call to serve in the San Bernardino mission. He saw an image of a green field. In the southwest corner there was a great mulotitude of people. He was called to find these people and bring them into the church.

This year is San Bernardino's 200th anniversary.

We are here to build and establish the church in San Bernardino.

When church membership dropped in Southern California, and some buildings only had one ward meeting in them, President Hinckley did not want to sell these properties. Instead, he resolved to send more missionaries to California and to fill those buildings.

There are new converts to be found; there are lost church members to be found. We need to grow the church here in San Bernardino. To do this, there must be increased help from the members. If we continue to do what we have been doing, we will continue to get what we have been getting.

We need to help fulfill President Hinckley's vision. The Savior wants us to find His lambs, to find His sheep. Our convert baptisms need to double.

Jeremiah 16:16 :
Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt for them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.

Even though we have 7,000 less missionaries serving in the world than we did 10 years ago, we still need to double convert baptisms. We need the help of the members in order to accomplish this.

D&C 20;59:
[We] are, however, to warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ. There were 500 lost members in the San Bernardino Mission that were found last year. President Sanchez has never before seen things happen as they are happening now; he has never seen so many have dreams and visions.
(See Joel 2)

Missionary work is expanding. This church is properly organized according to the order of heaven. We need to exhort and invite. See what the Lord has done for you and what he is doing for others. Become involved in missionary work.

President Ewell:

Show of sharing the gospel
Alma 29:1-2:
O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of my heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.

The three Nephites and John the Beloved preferred sharing the gospel to anything else.

Missionaries each have a different style and unique talents. Missionaries find talents on their missions that were not developed prior to their missions.
"Go out and do the work."
When President Ewell was on his mission, sharing the gospel became as natural as talking to his best friends.
Weigh missionary work: joy verses fear and trepidation.
We have all experienced akward moments, but we need to figure out how to share the gospel now, not just when we are called as full-time missionaries.

President Ewell is in counseling and therapy. When he first began seeing patients, he had awkward moments as he tried to do and say everything he learned in the books. He had to learn to develop his own style, trust his own instincts and relax. There is a similar dimension for us in sharing the gospel. By being yourself, you will help others to be comfortable. Your natural gifts will lend themselves to your sharing the gospel

When you hear messages about missionary work and sharing the gospel, do you cringe? Do you feel guilty? Sharing the gospel should be a joy.

President Ewell's family has become good friends with another family on their street. They have shared the gospel more naturally. They have served them, gone to their parties, and invited them to their son's baptism.

How cna we share the gospel? President Ewell's family has prayed about this; they have served their neighbors; they have asked the missionaries for help.

Once President Ewell's friend asked for some help when President Ewell wasn't available to help. He had to be to a conference meeting. But the Spirit told him to call the missionaries. The elders helped this man, and since then, this family has had the elders in their home many times. They have come to know many sets of missionaries. They feed them often and have bought them new clothes. They are learning the gospel.

Do not become so hooked on what doesn't work and on guilty feelings, that you stop doing what does work. (Here I made a list of things I can do presently. This list involves how I can help members in our ward and get to know neighbors on my street.)

President Ewell says:

Follow promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Use your gifts.
Be yourself.
Some good tools are pass-a-long cards, the Book of Mormon, and welcome baskets.
Learn how to use the right tool for the right job.

We can invite our friends to all of our church activities. Use non-threatening ways to include our friends in the gospel. There is much more to sharing the gospel than being a good example. We each have some talents that help us in sharing the gospel. Here are some of these talents:
Being a good listener
Being out-going
Being a mechanic
Being a hard worker.
How can these talents help us share the gospel?

When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (Luke 22: 31-32)
Be a missionary

Alma was converted through the teachings of Abinidi. Alma and his descendants included 6 generations of missionaries as recorded in the Book of Mormon. Many thousands were brought to the truth and to the waters of baptism as a direct result of Alma's conversion.

How's your family doing in sharing the gospel?

President Poulson was absent because of the death of his brother-in-law. President Avarell shared these words from President Poulson:

1. Remember to continue to have morning devotionals.
2. Read the talk (given as a handout) by President Packer. It is entitled "Prayer and
3. Each adult member to pray and ask Heavenly Father to receive His promptings to better live
the gospel and to be able to bless the lives of his or her spouse and children.

President Avarell:

The redeeming power of the atonement works minute by minute, not just at the judgment day.

Heavenly Father is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.

Christ comes to the bottom of the hill and brings us living water.

Our growth and change and progress are gifts of the atonment.

God is more concerned with our growth than with geography. (Our progression is more important than our present location.)

Jesus said, "Follow me, and I will make your fishers of men." (Matt 4:19)
The words in the children's song were changed from, "Teach me all that I must know" to "Teach me all that I must do."

Some people think that they can just worship in their own homes without going to church. If you don't go to church, how do you know who needs your service? Service is the fiber of an exalted life in the celestial kingdom. Charity is not an act, but a condition, a state of being. Individual acts help to build charity within us.

President Avarell shared a touching story of a young man who lost his footing and fell over a cliff. His drop was stopped by a plateau, but then a boulder also fell, hitting him in the head, and his fall resumed. His father witnessed his fall and made his way down the hill as quickly as he could to find that his son's fall was caught by one lone branch on the mountainside. His son was doubled over this branch unconscious.

After getting help for the son, the father and the son were transported to the hospital. The son was in a coma for many days. The doctor told his mother that he was physically progressing, but the doctor wasn't very hopeful about his mental progression, and he wanted him to be transferred to a permanent care unit.

The father was home with the other children, and the expectant mother was alone with her son. In deperation, she found an empty room in which she could pray. As she prayed she heard an audible Man's voice reassuring her that she should not fear. These are the words that she heard: "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27) And then she hear these words, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you." She shared the experience with her husband. Their anxiety was over and their faith was restored that all would be all right.

A few days later, the son awakened and spoke with his mother. Ten days after that, he returned home. Although he has some scars, he fully recovered and has no lasting implications from his accident.

Jesus is the One Lone Branch that catches us. We need our Savior's grace always (before, during, and after).

(I hope that you find these notes helpful in your life. This conference was held 16 January 2010. I will post my notes from the Sunday session soon.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Little Mountain

I've seen eagles circling on Little Mountain.
My home is a home to eagles.
Majestically they rise and tip,
Glide and circle,
With eye so keen, they circle the land.
I can't see all the eagle can see,
But my home has been good to me.

(Written 16 March 2005)

Little Mountain from Kitchen Table

The sky is blue today. There are birds on the tree in the front yard. I'm sitting at the table looking out our kitchen window, over the hedge to springtime outside. It is a beautiful day.

A car just whizzed past. But now everything is still and quiet again, except for the song of a spring bird.

(Written 16 March 2005)

Fog on the Road

The sky was cloudy,
The air chill but clear.
Fog fingers quivered and shivered
Lightly dancing on an invisible screen
Floating slightly above the freeway.

(Written 2 February 2005)

Alliteration (Tongue Twisters)

Purple planets pursue perfect paths in Priscilla's planetarium.

Wicked witches watch water well wondering why water is wet.

Magic mattress makes Mark mystified.

Why wonder why wet wheat withers?

(Written 3 Marcxh 2005)

Oak on the Hill

Stately stands the oak upon the hill
Around the bend:
She's been there to greet me each day
As I walk to school to learn
And run home to play;
She's seen me dressed for Church
And dressed for fishing;
Surely she knows all my secrets,
She's been watching me so long,
But I know she won't tell;
She holds herself so high and proud
Against the sky;
Sometimes when the wind blows
She lets go of just a secret or two
And they are carried far away
To her sister friend.
No ears can hear them yet
But the windsong sings them by
I'm glad
When I see the great oak tree
To see her stand so tall and straight
As if she knows nothing at all;
I'm glad too
When I hear the windsong
Whisper that I am part of
Her story,
Always sitting on that hillside
Around the bend.

(Poem written 24 February 2005)

Storm's End

Earth wet with rain;
Sprinkle of dew drops yet gently fall;
They glitter as the sun peeks through the clouds.
All is still and quiet now;
The storm so loud
Has ended.

Poem from 17 Feb 2005

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Thou Wast Chosen Before Thou Wast Born" 2

Moses 4:14; Abraham 3 Our Father's Plan

Our Heavenly Father had a plan: we would all come to earth to gain mortal bodies, be tested, and see if we could follow directions and return home to Him. He would provide a Savior for us. In the pre-mortal world of Spirits, there was One there who was like unto God. Jesus was Heavenly Father's Firstborn and Beloved Son, chosen from the beginning. Under the direction of God, Jesus made the earth, a place for Heavenly Father's spirit children to gain mortal experience.

We attended the counsel in heaven, where we listened intently to our Father's plan. We shouted for joy. We heard His plan and were happy to accept it since our greatest desire was to become like Him. When Heavenly Father asked whom He should send as our Savior, there were two individuals that answered in the affirmative. There was Jehovah (Jesus), the Firstborn, and there was Lucifer (Satan), a son of the morning.

"Whom shall I send?"

"Here am I, send me."

Satan volunteered to be God's son and to save everyone; he said he'd make sure that not one soul would be lost, and he asked for God to give him His honor. Satan rebelled against God's plan and sought to destroy the agency of man. He thought he could do better than the One God had foreordained, better than the Lord's Anointed. In essense, he rebelled against God and Priesthood authority.

Jesus, Heavenly Father's Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said, "Father, Thy will be done, and the glory be Thine forever."

Heavenly Father said that He would send the First.

Satan was angry when our Father said that he would send the First. He did not keep his first estate, and many of God's spirit children rebelled and followed Satan. Satan was cast out of God's presence by the power of the Only Begotten.

Moses and Abraham both talked to God face to face. Moses and Abraham both saw this pre-mortal counsel in vision. They saw our world from the beginning to the end. Abraham learned that there is order to our universe, and that Kolob is the governing star, and the star that is nearest to where God lives. One day on Kolob equals a thousand earth years. This is according to the reckoning of the Lord's time. Many planets besides our earth belong to the same order to which our earth belongs.

Abraham learned that he was one of the noble and great ones in the world of spirits. He was chosen before he was born to be a ruler and a father of many nations. He learned that our spirits are eternal. He learned that there are varying intelligences and that the Lord is more intelligent than all of them. He learned that Jesus was like unto the Father and that He was the Savior of all mankind. The Lord covenanted with Abraham that his seed would be multiplied like unto the stars in the heaven and the sand on the seashore. This covenant is passed on to Abraham's seed as they repent, our baptized, and make and keep sacred covenants with our Heavenly Father in holy temples.

I'm thankful for the restored truths of our beginnings and of our eternal heritage that have come through the records of Moses and Abraham. (The words in the Book of Moses were lost, but were revealed in these latter-days to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The words in the Book of Abraham were recorded on anciet papyrus.) We have a loving Heavenly Father who loved us so much that He would send His Son to atone for us. We have a loving Savior who loved us so much that He would be obedient to the Father's will and both live and die for us, and then live eternally so that we might also have Eternal Life.

In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Old Ties

I attended a marriage and family class tonight. Session one is titled, "Parenting Principles and Practices." Here's the first paragraph: The need for loving, effective parents has never been greater. President Gordon B. Hinckley observed that families are "falling apart all over the world. The old ties that bound together father and mother and children are breaking everywhere....Hearts are broken; children weep."

Old ties jumped out at me. The following material is what I've thought for a long time and not material presented in the class.

What are the old ties that bound families together?

Locality--There was a greater network of extended family. Parents had the help of granparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Church--More families attended church together. There was the support of clergy, Sunday school teachers, friends, and family.

Schools and Community--We all saw more "eye-to-eye." Parents and educators worked together for the best good or in the best interests of the children. There was a rapport; there was more trust.

Stay out Home Mothers--Although many women work out of necessity, women in the work place has presented many challenges to marriages and families.

How can we strengthen the old ties?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My collage

I am a light bulb.
I am a taxi.
I am the breakfast and dinner bell.
I am a school.
I am a hospital.
I am a police station.
I am a courthouse.
I am a computer.
I am a comforter.
I am a heart.
I am at home.


I needed to write a paper for my English 313 class, so I revisited a paper that I wrote a year and a half ago for MFHD 210. I scanned the old paper, so if there are errors, please ignore them. Here are the papers:


I tutored Sammi a couple of years ago. She was a delightful 7-year-old girl. Sammi didn’t turn 7 until well into her second grade year. I don’t think that she was significantly behind developmentally, but her school performance needed a boost. Although Sammi was extremely verbal, her language development seemed to lag. Even though she could decipher words phonetically, her vocabulary base was not as strong as it could have been. I also was home schooling my 11-year-old daughter, Christine. Both Sammi’s older sisters and Christine’s older sisters were grown and had moved far away from home. So this tutoring arrangement benefited both Sammi and Christine by giving them foster sisters. I had plenty of time to observe Sammi as her tutor and as my daughter’s playmate. Through these experiences I have come to recognize how important it is for everyone to experience self ownership: ownership of one’s feelings, one’s learning, one’s development, and one’s possessions.

I tutored Sammi on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Sammi was often disappointed when I picked her up from school instead of having her mother there to greet her. After a long day at school, I think she just wanted a mommy-pick-me-up. She was never hesitant to let me know that she’d rather be with her mom. I knew that it was important to validate her feelings, but also to keep the goal of tutoring intact. So it became important to develop a familiar routine. With that routine (which include walking home together, toiletry time, and a snack before we began tutoring), Sammi became comfortable with knowing what to expect. Also, because Sammi loves art and music, I would use those things as a reward after our tutoring sessions. I witnessed Sammi’s growing independence as she was soon interacting with other students after school and as she sometimes wanted to stay and play with Christine before returning home. She also developed stronger emotional self-regulation.

Like the majority of children, Sammi was extremely desirous to do well. Even though she had trouble with distraction issues, I had witnessed her working through her problems and finding happiness in a job well done. Once I unintentionally offended Sammi. In my exuberance over seeing her making new connections in math, I said, “We are going to rewire your brain. We are going to make you really smart in math.” Even though I was excited about seeing the lights come on, this statement caused her to feel some resentment and embarrassment. Sammi’s response was, “I am already smart in math.” Looking back now, I know that I wouldn’t make that mistake again. Each of us grasps concepts when he or she is ready, and Sammi’s work was paying off. I was not rewiring her brain. I was just there as a facilitator of new material. The knowledge was Sammi’s.

Sammi and Christine often drew pictures or painted together. Sammi would ask Christine to help her draw or paint a certain animal. Christine was happy to do this for Sammi. But one afternoon, when Christine, Sammi, and another friend, Rebecca, were in the back yard painting on butcher paper, Sammi took the liberty of painting on Christine’s picture. This was not a picture that Sammi had asked Christine to do for her, but Christine’s personal artwork. Sammi enjoyed Christine helping her with her artwork, and she probably didn’t think Christine would mind if she added to Christine’s picture either. But Christine did mind. She went up to her room and pouted.

After finding out why Christine was sad and talking to her about it, I also talked to Sammi. I explained to Sammi that she was not in trouble, but that next time she should ask before she paints on someone else’s picture. Sammi hid at the side of the house and looked remorseful. She had difficulty accepting adult correction, and, besides, she hadn’t meant to do anything wrong.

I was glad to see that Sammi used her quiet time alone to take ownership of what happened. Sammi quietly demonstrated understanding and empathy. While everyone was painting a new picture, Sammi painted one especially for Christine with hearts on it. She wrote the message, “I am sorry.” She was able to modify her emotions by painting the picture for Christine. Incidentally, it made Christine feel better as well.
Then the above event turned back again full swing. Another time, Christine and I were visiting Sammi’s mother, Carri, while Sammi was still in school. Carri allowed Christine to color on a pencil-by-number sheet that was part of a set she had just purchased for Sammi. Christine really enjoyed working on that sheet. The set was quite detailed.

When Sammi arrived home, she grew angry that Christine had colored on her sheet, even though Carri had said to Sammi earlier that these pictures would be fun to do with Christine. Sammi had an emotional meltdown and did not know how to respond. Because Christine enjoyed the sheet so much, and because Sammi was angry enough that she may have destroyed it, I assured Sammi that I would purchase an identical set, and then I would replace the sheet that Christine had taken from her set.

Sammi had the right to feel ownership for her color-by-number pencil set. But after a long day of school, she was not able to control the intensity of her emotional outburst. She went to her bedroom and returned to the living room angry a number of times. I recognized that Sammi just needed proper validation for her feelings. She wasn’t just intentionally misbehaving, but she felt that her property rights had been violated. On top of that, she was probably hungry, tired, and thirsty as well. She needed a big hug. Carri gave her that. Because Sammi was treated with kindness and love, she was able to calm down and know that the situation was not so enormous after all. She even asked Christine if she would help her on one of the other art sheets.

Christine saw the similarity of the above two events. I think she even sympathized with Sammi’s outburst because she had felt so sad herself when Sammi had painted on her picture. Although Christine didn’t realize at first that she was trespassing on Sammi’s art page, this is exactly how Sammi perceived it. I learned a valuable lesson on being more aware and sensitive to the property ownership of others, particularly children.
Then one day, when Christine and I went to pick Sammi up from school, we couldn’t find her anywhere. The school staff thought that she walked home with friends. But when I called Carri, she said she wasn’t there. Shortly after, Christine found her and told me where she was hiding. When I approached Sammi, she clung to the school fence and refused to let go. I called Carri to let her know that we had found Sammi and that we would be walking her to their home. Then I told Sammi that we would be walking her home and that she wouldn’t be going to our house for tutoring. Sammi was repeatedly apologetic on the way to her house, and she feared that she would be in trouble. Although I accepted Sammi’s apology, I told her that I would not be tutoring her anymore unless she asked me herself. It had to be her desire, and not just her mother’s. Carri was a bit sad when I told her that, but I knew that Sammi needed to feel ownership for her own learning. After another year and a half, Sammi did ask for me to be her tutor again. She has become more mature and more independent. But she is also willing to accept help more readily because now it is her choice.

It was an invaluable experience to tutor Sammi. The greatest lesson learned by all of us was recognizing the need for self ownership. Sammi needed to feel that she was being tutored because it was her choice. She needed to own the rights to her own progression and achievements. She needed to feel ownership of her own emotions and her own belongings. When she felt ownership, she was then able to share who she was and progress more readily I am the one who learned the most. I am still home schooling my daughter, Christine, but I am more sensitive to her need for ownership of her schoolwork. I recognize that she needs privacy time and time away from school studies. I recognize that she needs space for herself to grow and develop. No matter how good a gardener is, ultimately, he has to leave the soil alone sometimes and let the flowers sprout, grow, and blossom. It’s no different with parents or educators and children. We need to allow them to bloom and give them credit for it.

Child Observation

I have been trading babysitting with Sammi's mother for some time now, and I have been tutoring Sammi in mathematics and reading skills. I have observed Sammi as a delightful 6 and 7-year-old girl. I have observed her as her tutor, as my daughter's playmate, and as her caretaker. I have chosen to write about her, even though she has turned 7 now. I don't believe that she is significantly behind developmentally for her age, but she is behind In some areas of school performance, since she began second grade as a six year old, and didn't turn 7 until well Into the school year. I do believe that she is behind in language development. I think that her reading suffers, not because she cannot decipher words phonetically, but because she does not possess a strong vocabulary base. I believe that she is not entirely out of the pre-operational stage as seen in her approach to mathematics. In this paper we will address her emotional and social development, her cognitive development, and her physical development.

On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, when I pick up Sammi after school, she is often disappointed because it is not her mother that is there to greet her. She looks forward to returning to her secure base after a long day of school. There have been times that she seems dejected that her mother is not there to pick her up. These times are more noticeable after she has been off track and needs to re-establish the school attending routine. She is never hesitant to let me know that she'd rather be with her mom. Her mother is definitely still the most important caretaker in her life. Other times, she shows her growing Independence by wanting to visit with her friends before she is ready to head home with my 11-year-old daughter, Christine, and me.
She is developing stronger emotional self-regulation as time goes on. Since she has become accustomed to and comfortable with the routine of being tutored in my home two afternoons a week, she has been able to feel confident with me as a teacher and a caregiver in her life. When I pick her up from school, we talk about her day as we walk to my home. She knows that the routine is for her to use the bathroom and have a snack; and then we begin with math practice, followed by reading practice. Because she enjoys art and music, I allow her to engage in fun ways with these activities after we have had our tutoring session. My eleven year old daughter is also a mentor and a friend in Sammi's life, and this is a positive force for good for both of them.

Sammi is extremely desirous to do well. Even though she is an extremely active individual and is considered highly distracted by other adults, I have witnessed her working through her problems and finding happiness in a Job well done. She is able to concentrate for appropriate periods of time for her age. Once when she was grasping new connections in math, I made the mistake of saying, "We are going to rewire your brain. We are going to make you really smart in math." Even though I was excited about seeing the lights come on, this statement caused her to feet some resentment and embarrassment. The statement caused too much attention directed personally in her direction and she felt self-conscious. Her response came in a self-defensive remark, "I am already smart in math."

Sammi enjoys drawing and painting. Her artwork shows good progression of cognitive skills. She will often ask Christine to help her draw or paint an animal. This has been something Christine has been happy to do for her. But once when Christine, a friend Rebecca, and Sammi were outside painting on butcher paper, Sammi took the liberty of painting on Christine's picture. This was not a picture that Sammi had asked Christine to do for her, but Christine's personal artwork. I believe that this was somewhat of an egocentric thing for Sammi to do. Because Sammi likes Christine to add to her pictures, she probably also thought that Christine would like Sammi to add to hers. Christine went up to her room and pouted.

After finding out why Christine was sad and talking to her about it, I also talked to
Sammi. I explained to Sammi that she was not in trouble, but that next time she should ask before she paints on someone else's paper. She hid at the side of the house and acted very sad. Although she is usually able to conform to emotional display rules, she has a difficult time accepting adult correction or instruction at times.
Later, when everyone was again outside painting, Sammi quietly demonstrated understanding and empathy. I have seen that because her parents show her love and understanding, she is also learning to respond to others with love and understanding. While everyone was painting a new picture, Sammi painted one especially for Christine with hearts on it. She wrote the message, "I am sorry." She was able to modify her emotions by painting the picture for Christine. Incidentally, it made Christine feel better as well.
Another time, Christine and I were visiting Sammi's mother while Sammi was still in school. Carri (her mother) had been watching Christine for me that day. Carri allowed Christine to color on a pencil by number sheet that was part of a set she had just purchased for Sammi. Christine really enjoyed working on the sheet, as the set was more age appropriate for Christine.

When Sammi arrived home, she was very angry that Christine had colored on her sheet (even though Carri had said earlier that these would be fun to do with Christine). She had an emotional meltdown and did not know how to respond. Because Christine enjoyed the sheet so much, I assured Sammi that I would purchase an identical set, and then I would replace the sheet that Christine had taken from her set.
I believe that Sammi had the right to feel ownership for her color by pencil set. But after a long day of school (and she had barely returned after being off-track), she was not able to control the intensity of her emotional outburst. She went to her bedroom and came back angry a number of times. She even picked up the pencils and in frustration was ready to scribble with them on her own face. She was out of control and upset about that as well.

I recognized that she just needed proper validation for her feelings. She wasn't just
misbehaving to be bad, but she was tired after a long day at school, and she was probably hungry and thirsty as well. She needed to be hugged Instead of punished; this her mother sensed also. Because she was treated with kindness and love, she was able to calm down and know that the situation was not so enormous after all. She even asked Christine if she would help her on one of the other art sheets.

Christine saw the similarity of the above two events. I think that she sympathized with Sammi's outburst because she had felt so sad herself when Sammi had painted on her picture. Although Christine didn't realize at first that she was trespassing on Sammi's art page, this Is exactly how Sammi had perceived it.
Sammi's need to build a stronger vocabulary might stem from the fact that Carri baby sits infants and toddlers and much of the language Sammi hears at home is directed to this younger group. Her vocabulary development could be strengthened greatly through her parents reading aloud with her and discussing the things that they read. She will be able to make stronger assumptions through contextual clues and Increase her understanding of words. As her word store increases, she will be able to understand more words in her own reading, she will be able to follow written directions more Independently, and she will be able to use more words in her speaking vocabulary. Beside the cognitive growth that will come with added language development, Sammi will be better able to identify and convey her feelings.

Because Sammi has younger daycare children in her home, she has learned to communicate with the younger children in child-directed speech. She enjoys having them in her home and becoming an "older sibling" for the hours that they are there. She has had to learn to share, not only her toys, but her mother's time and attention. She has learned to love and care about these babies and toddlers, and because of her mother's loving example In taking care of them, she has learned to value them, too. I have never noticed resentment. She speaks of them with the same pride as though they were her younger siblings.

Sammi can do her second grade math, but she still relies heavily on finger counting. I am working with her to develop her understanding of even and odd numbers and of counting by various numbers, other than Just one at a time. Until she has an automated ability to add and subtract numbers, she will continue to rely on finger counting. Rehearsal of simple math facts will help, especially as she sees the connection between fact families and the transitioning back and forth between addition and subtraction. Her class is heading into simple multiplication, and she is capable of grasping the concepts, but still needs to memorize her addition facts. Until these become so automatic that they are part of her long term memory store, she will struggle. Once Sammi more fully crosses Into the concrete operational stage, these math operations will become easier for her to picture. The developmental ability of mental rotation will also come in handy.

As I noted earlier, when I was talking about emotional development, Sammi is able to appropriately adapt her attention when it is time for us to work on her math and reading skills. It does become apparent though when we have crossed the time frame that is productive. At some point her ability to stay focused is diminished and her ability to answer questions appropriately or read correctly Is proportionately diminished. Also, Sammi needs adult supervision In order for her to keep on task. She will become more self-regulating as she becomes older and as she learns more problem solving skills, and as she reaches a new zone of proximal development.

When I have read with Sammi, I have noticed that she relies heavily on the pictures to follow the story. Speaking about the emotions that the pictures convey is Important to Sammi. The pictures are an important part of her growing understanding of the world and her cognitive development. Therefore, the pictures, as well as the story Itself, present a basis for much communication that will also enhance Sammi's vocabulary development.

Christine and Sammi engage in make-believe play with different stuffed animals and dolls. Even though this is a skill that develops at a young age, the Interplay becomes increasingly advanced. They act out scenes from movies and add new flourish. Because Sammi interacts with Christine this way, she also becomes the recipient of a scaffolding adventure, and her make-believe and her vocabulary development are enhanced in this way.

Sammi is a physically healthy child. She is tall and slender. This is partly due to genetics, because her parents are also tall and slender. But her mother is actively making sure that Sammi eats a variety of healthful food.
Sammi is an active child by nature. She loves to walk and run and be outdoors. There are many play areas in her own back yard to support her physical interests. There is a trampoline for her to jump on. She is daring and adventurous and can do flips on the trampoline. There are also kitchen play areas and different Little Tyke toys that Sammi can explore with alone outside and help the daycare children with as well.

Sammi has been able to ride a two-wheel bike for over 2 years. She can hop, skip, and jump. Her balance and coordination are more than adequate for her age. Her mother even tells me that she could ice skate the first time she tried. Her gross motor skills are wonderful.

Sammi finds writing for school work tedious, and she struggles to make her writing neat and legible, So her fine motor skills lag some behind her gross motor skills. But this is normal. Yet Sammi loves to write her own creative stories, and she loves to paint and draw. She demonstrates better skills when involved in an activity of her choosing.

I would recommend that Sammi's parents support her in her growing abilities and interests. I would recommend that they have many art and writing supplies, and that they help her in journal keeping and creative writing. I would recommend that Sammi be allowed to help cook and measure in the kitchen, so that she can make more connections with addition and fractions. I would recommend that her parents validate all her talents and abilities. But more especially I would recommend that her parents praise her in all of her efforts and encourage her in her schoolwork and her individual pursuits. Her active play time will be the best means to promote growth in all areas.

I have recommended that her mother read to her more often, and not just listen to Sammi's reading. When they do read together, there should be turn taking. Sammi's minor mistakes should not be corrected, unless they harm the integrity of the message or when she is struggling with an unfamiliar word. It is more Important to let her feel the flow of the story and to feel confidence in her growing ability to read independently. It is Important that Sammi be allowed to choose books that are interesting to her. Audio tapes and video sing-a-longs will also provide a means for Sammi to work more independently at times.

As Sammi's schemata and vocabulary develop further, she will find it easier to decode the written words. Therefore, I would recommend that Sammi's parents take time to discuss the stories they read (including the artwork) and the movies they watch with Sammi. I would also recommend that they continue to take her on outings and fieldtrips and actively discuss the things in which they participate. It would also help for Sammi to make some of her important adventures part of her memory store through journal writing. Her parents can help with this through question prompts, or by allowing her to dictate those things she wants recorded, or by allowing her to record her memories on a tape recorder.

Sammi Is blessed to have wonderfully supportive parents. I feel blessed to be involved In her life, and to be an adult that she can turn to for help and understanding. Because Sammi is being tutored, she is having some needed one on one time during this stage in her life. Sammi has grown much in every area discussed since the beginning of this school year. She has grown in her abilities to focus on tasks at hand. She has grown In her overall comprehension. She has grown in her abilities to communicate and get along with others. And she has grown in her fine motor and gross motor skills. Sammi is one wonderful child.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back to school. Back to work. It feels good. I arose early this morning eager to accomplish those things that I set out to do. It's a new year, and I want this feeling to last. It was a productive day, filled with teaching and learning; a little serving and cleaning fit in there as well. Plus, my half hour with Wii Fit, and then dinner as a family and family home evening. We had a lesson yesterday in Relief Society to be very specific with what we plan to do. So last night I once again reverted to writing a list to plan my day. Some people would call that spiritually creating your physical day ahead of time. Here I am on the second evening of this new year (not counting the holiday weekend), and I am going to commit to plan for tomorrow. Ask me how I am doing in two weeks or a month. Hopefully, I will be becoming more organized.

The best thing is that I will be getting back on track in my English class, and, ultimately, in working towards my Bachelor's degree. I've been putting that off for ever so long now, and I'm glad that I've picked it back up. I read a chapter from my text book and reviewed a lesson that I'd read earlier. Now I need to work on the assignment, turn it in, and keep going.

So with this new year, I am trying to be more diligent in my commitments to the Lord, to my family, and to myself. I'm beginning each day with a devotional time, and that is a blessing. If we all invite the Lord into our lives this year, He will definitely come into our lives and make our efforts turn out great. I know it. My main goal this year is to be more fully converted. I know the Lord loves all of us, but I want to live like I believe that all the time. That is what truly be the best thing. What's your main goal?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"This is My Work an dMy Glory" 1

Moses 1 (The Pearl of Great Price)

The Lord talked to Moses face to face, and He called Moses "my son." Moses learned that he was created in the image of the Only Begotten. He learned that God has created worlds without number. He learned that God is a God of glory and that Satan doesn't have glory. So although Satan has power to tempt, if we are faithful, God will deliver us. Moses learned that God's purpose is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man.

What does this all mean to me? Not only is Moses a son of God; I am a daughter of God. I am created in His image. Even though there are billions of people that have been assigned to this world, and even though there are worlds made by God that man cannot number, I am important to my Heavenly Father. He loves me. He loves all of us so much that He provided His Only Begotten Son so that we do not have to perish, but if we believe on Him we can return to Him. Because of Jesus's sacrifice, if I am repentant and keep my covenants, if I serve in my callings and assignments to the best of my ability, then He will make me equal to Him. Yes, I do stand all amazed and in awe I wonder. You and I are not insignificant, but we are part of our Father's plan, and it is His good pleasure to offer us Eternal Life.

Satan referred to Moses as "son of man." He wanted to devalue Moses's sonship to God. He wanted to persuade Moses to leave the path that will lead us back to Father. Many times Moses told Satan to depart. Then he commanded Satan to depart in the name of the Only Begotten.

Satan seeks to tell us that we are not important. He seeks to break our link to our heavenly Parentage. He would like us to believe that we are only dust, that we do not have spirits that resided in a heavenly sphere before we were born to our earthly parents. He wants us to lose hope of our glorious future as children of the God. He knows that if he can demean us that we may lose our footing. We have the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and we have physical bodies. We were created in the image of God. As we seek our Heavenly Father's help, as we hold to the rod and ingnore the lies and temptations of Satan, as we seek to do Heavenly Father's will, we will be blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and Satan will have no power over us. We should never accept the lie that we are beyond our Savior's reach, for no matter what our sins or shortcomings are, the Savior through His atonement has power to stretch forth His hands and save us. We are not alone.

Old Testament: Lesson One

Saturday, January 2, 2010

She's leaving us; bye, bye.

Bob and I took our oldest to the airport this afternoon. She's left us yet again. Tears came to my eyes as soon as I got back into the car and looked at my husband. But am I sad? Not really. She has a fantastic job, a single's ward that she loves, many friends, and my side of the family all live close. I am so happy that she is doing so well. She asked Bob to give her a blessing before we left for the airport, which was a great privilege for all of us. She'll be back to her ward tomorrow and back to her job Monday. Bob will be back to work; our oldest son will be starting a master's program this next week; our missionaries are busy missionarying; and my youngest daughter and I will be busy schooling with CAVA. She will also be back to early morning Seminary. Plus, I need to start working on the on-line English class that I am taking. Being busy is a beautiful blessing.

Bob and I ate dinner at Dickey's. We'd never eaten there before, but it is a great little barbeque place. It reminded me of eating at Bill Miller's in San Antonio, Texas. Brisket is the best! Then we did a little shopping at Costco and Winco. And we ate bridge mix. The round jelly ones are the most awesome.

Thank you, Ladybug, for your friendship and for being our firstborn. You have brought great joy into our lives. Thanks for taking the time to come be with us for my birthday in October and for this past Christmas season. Have a wonderful year! I know you will.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Author Responsibly

I received two novels for Christmas: My Sister's Keeper and Julie and Julia. I was so excited to receive these. I had already seen the movie made from the latter title, but I really wanted to read that first book before I saw the movie. So in just a few days I read it. Lovely book.

Now I am not a paid published writer, but I was really disappointed about unnecessary language and a couple sex scenes in My Sister's Keeper. I understand that there needs to be different character development and maybe some readers even relish the "f" word and spicy scences. But truly, does everybody you know use the "f" word? I doubt it. So if Jesse, the 18-year-old deliquent son periodically used that type of language, that was in character and believable. But when the lawyers did and the fire-fighters, it made me wonder if Jodi Picoult lives in a different world than I do, or if I am in a comfortable soundproof bubble, or if possibly Ms. Picoult could come up with something else to express what she wants her characters to convey. I'm hoping the last of the list is the most true. I think she is a really gifted writer, and I think that the book was amazing. For those who haven't read it, I've heard that the movie is much different, but I have yet to see it. The ending is truly a heart-wrenching surprise, but it made the story so much more poignant. I admire the skill with which Jodi Picoult delivered the central plot from beginning to end.

Now I have already begun reading Julie and Julia, and my finding so far is the same: unnecessary language and sexual references. But it seems that Julie Powell felt the need to dish the language out quickly in the first few pages. I hope that this is not what authors believe we all want to be fed. I really loved the movie and I am hoping that the book measures up to the expectation that I had for it, but I'm not sure if I'll make it past the sexual references and language. There was just too much of it in the first chapter. So I find myself ambiguous about the appetizer, reluctant to head into the main course, wary about the presentation of the meal, and wondering if the dessert will be enough to redeem the blemishes of the entirety. I know if the next few pages don't convince me, that I will leave the book unread and move on to something else. That will make me sad, because I still believe that most books outshine the movies that come from them. We will see.

Maybe I'm being unfair to the second book because I had my fill of the being dished language and sexuality for which I was not seeking in a few short days. Be that as it may, I hope that there will be more novels of quality produced, and that the authors will be confident enough in their cleverness to leave out those things that they know would be offensive to their mothers or grandmothers, their own daughters or nieces. After all, many mothers, grandmothers, daughters, and nieces are reading their books.

The movie made me want to be a better cook and a better wife. It made me want to devour life and love and live with greater passion and zest. It was so tastefully done.

New Year's Reflections

How blessed I am to see this bright new year! 2010. I was born in 1961, and I am living now in the 21st Century. Hope, bright hope looms ever before us. How can there be darkness for very long when there is always hope...each new child enters the world with the Light of Christ shining in his or her eyes, and because of that it is Christmas every day. Christ's Light is born anew continually lighting our way and giving us hope. And so we can cling to this Light, this Love, this Hope.

How blessed my family has been. I've been married to Robert since 1982. Great choice. He continues to surprise me with this intellect, his love, his capacity to work and excel, and his plain goodness. He is a decent soul. Everyone should find a decent soul to marry. I'm glad that I did. We've traveled through schooling years together, through working years, through parenting years; and now we are returning to the schooling years. But this time, we're getting paid for it. Bob recently sold his dental practice and is now teaching at Western U in Southern California full time. Since 1982, my hopes and dreams have included Bob..."to infinity and beyond."

Our greatest gifts are truly our children, God's children on loan to us. They are doing great things with their lives. They are making good choices. They are decent souls. What more could a parent hope for? Two of them have served LDS missions and graduated from BYU; two of them have interrupted their college studies and are currenly serving missions; one of them was only here in mortality for a brief hello, and he is serving incognito; and our last is studying with K12 High School. Our one daughter told us that we have a Humanities' home. This was a great compliment to us. All the family nights, scriptures read, and hymns sung have paid off; all the books and music, the trips to museums, mountains, and zoos have paid off; they have complemented our children's education and given them a zest for life and learning. And so there is a brightness of hope that they will also teach their children "in the language of their fathers," and have a Humanities home. Hopefully, we will all graduate with the Humanities Degree of Mortality with an emphasis in Charity.

We've had this two weeks' break to be together and re-energize. Monday we'll be back to work and back to school. Our oldest will be back to SLC and we will miss her. But this is the greatest age of communication! With cell phones, we can use our free minutes and talk to each other. We even get to receive email from our two on missions every week, and we got to speak to both of them on Christmas day. Sitting around the breakfast table with those at home and those far away for a couple of hours brought us joy on Christmas day. The growth and happiness of our missionaries brings us great satisfaction and happiness. These children on loan to us, we can gladly loan back to our Father so that they can serve His other children. Sometimes there are partings "in such sweet sorry," both the joyful returns make it all so worth it. And Father wants us all to return.

So "Keep Christmas with You all through the Year."