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I love the idea of getting rid of everything I own, well almost everything.  That is exactly where the problem starts. I can’t get rid of that because I paid x amount for it. I can’t get rid of this; it has to much sentimental value and on and on. I give myself excuses to keep what I don’t really need and I end up keeping most of my stuff, even though I want less stuff!

Yesterday I got rid of about one-fourth of my closet. It felt good, I wanted to get rid of more, but I just couldn’t part with it. Tragic! It’s just stuff. Why do I keep it?

After the closet, I moved on to books. I have actually bought books at the DI that I gave away! (I’ve done that with clothes, too. But only once.) I gave away about 20 books. It was super easy!

I’m going to go through the kitchen later today. I’m sure I can find 20 unused\unwanted kitchen items.

Why am I doing this?

I don’t want things to matter. I want to live my life free enough that most of my stuff doesn’t matter that much to me. I want to be free from the pull of STUFF.

It takes a ton of will power to NOT buy. It takes a ton of discipline to keep your house pared down to what is necessary. Stuff has a way of expanding when you turn your back. For me, clothes and books are things that just keep coming in. I will admit that I bring them in. At the time, I think I need them.

I have been really inspired over the years with the idea of less. Once I gave away most of my closet, and most of my kids toys. It was a great time in my life. But over the years we’ve gotten more, and now I’m ready to set it all free again. I don’t need it.

I need the peace that comes from empty space. I need the peace that comes from drawers that shut easily. I need the peace of a closet with 30 things in it. I need the peace of not having anything stored under my bed. I need the peace of bookshelves that hold pictures of people I love or meaningful things, not crammed with books, books, books.

I need the peace that comes from having less.

And the only way to get that is to actually have less.

Less stuff = more peace.

Here are some blog posts that really inspired me:

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/wear-one/

http://into-mind.com/2014/10/01/rebuilding-your-wardrobe-on-a-budget-what-to-buy-first/

http://spontaneousjane.com/stop-storing-stuff/

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/15-clutter-busting-routines-for-any-family/

Happy reading! And I wish you much success in your journey of decluttering.

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Women in the LDS church have been the subject of the media lately, but the voices that sound the loudest aren’t necessarily proclaiming truth. I think women’s role is to be a mother, a person who nurtures and loves by instinct. Women are natural mothers.

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Elder Ballard gave a wonderful talk on what the Lord needed from women in His church. He covers it so beautifully that I will give you his words to read.

The role of women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, according to Elder Ballard:

‘Just as the Savior stepped forward to fulfill His divine responsibilities, we have the challenge and responsibility to do likewise. If you are wondering if you make a difference to the Lord, imagine the impact when you make commitments such as the following:

“Father, if you need a woman to rear children in righteousness, here am I, send me.”

“If you need a woman who will shun vulgarity and dress modestly and speak with dignity and show the world how joyous it is to keep the commandments, here am I, send me.”

“If you need a woman who can resist the alluring temptations of the world by keeping her eyes fixed on eternity, here am I, send me.”

“If you need a woman of faithful steadiness, here am I, send me.”

Between now and the day the Lord comes again, He needs women in every family, in every ward, in every community, in every nation who will step forward in righteousness and say by their words and their actions, “Here am I, send me.”

My question today is, Will you be one of those women? And will you men who hold the priesthood answer the same call?

Now I know most of you want to. But how will you do it? How, in a world filled with deceptive messages about women and the family—and the significance of both to the Lord—will you perpetually respond to the Lord, “Here am I, send me”?

For those who really want to live up to who you are, for those who at all costs want to repent if necessary and who want to see through Satan’s deceptions, I have two suggestions: First, listen to and follow those whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. Second, learn to hear the voice of the Spirit, or the voice of the Lord as communicated by the power of the Holy Ghost.

I cannot stress enough the importance of listening to and following the prophet and the apostles. In today’s world, where 24 hours a day the media’s talking heads spew forth conflicting opinions, where men and women jockey for everything from your money to your vote, there is one clear, unpolluted, unbiased voice that you can always count on. And that is the voice of the living prophet and the apostles. Their only motive is “the everlasting welfare of your souls” (2 Nephi 2:30).

Think of it! Think about the value of having a source of information that you can always count on, that will always have your eternal interests at heart, and that will always provide inspired truth. That is a phenomenal gift and guide.’

This is a fabulous talk that can be found here.

My goal is to be the kind of woman that Elder Ballard is talking about, the kind of woman that Jesus Christ can rely on. I think of myself as a good mother, but I have areas that I can improve on.  I have recently felt the need to be more modest in my dress, and I have come to realize that dressing modestly is a form of protection. It also offers comfort not found in dressing immodestly. I have found that just asking myself if I feel comfortable is an indicator of my modesty. If I am not comfortable, it is almost always because my clothes are not modest ie. to tight, to short, to low. I did not realize that I didn’t dress modestly, and I think by most people’s standards, I was completely modest, but there is always room to grow, and room to learn, and the Lord showed me that I could be more modest, and I needed to be.

When I read Elder Ballard’s call, I realize that there are others areas of my life that need to be trimmed up/overhauled also, but I am thankful for the Lord showing me those things, because how could I change, if I didn’t know I needed to?

I want to be able to answer the call, “Here am I, send me!!”.   10516583_10152676387305358_4619828826786809414_n

How about you? What about this talk makes you want to change? What do you need to do to heed the call?

From my Facebook post:

 

On Wednesday, my five year old, Henry, was hit by a car while riding his bike. He is fine, and only skinned up. No broken bones or anything of any lasting nature. He flew over 50 feet, and he was completely covered in blood, and sitting in a pool of blood when I got there. The only thing on his face not bloody were two round eyes looking at me and crying and asking to go home.
A man at the scene handed me a little piece of sterile cloth with four of Henry’s “teeth”. I carried them carefully with me in the ambulance trip to the hospital. During the ride I ask the EMTs to check his which teeth were missing, and thankfully it turns out I was carefully protecting four white pieces of gravel, not teeth at all.

I know that Henry’s life was divinely preserved, and I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for watching out for him, and allowing me to keep him. I thought I could do exactly what Jesus Christ would have me do, but while I was running to the scene (faster than I knew I could run), I asked a thousand times to keep him, and forgot all about the “Thy will be done” part.


I am thankful for a knowledge of Jesus Christ in my daily life, and thankful for his tender mercies and for his divine protection of my child, and thankful for my trials because now I know how weak I really am. Nothing like a good dose of humility.

I just finished reading 21 Principles by Richard G. Scott. It is basically a collection of conference talks. Some of them are longer than the original, and most include personal stories that illustrate the principles. I really enjoyed the book, and I highly recommend it. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book:

So that you will be fore warned, I will show you how Satan works.  Let us imagine a boundary line, and assume that on one side of this boundary are all the good things that can be done in life.  They are arranged so that they get better and better as one moves farther from the boundary. On the other side are all the wrong things that can be done.  They go from bad to worse. At the boundary it is difficult to discern what is right and what is wrong.  That is where you cannot clearly discern between what is good and what is bad, so it is easy to become confused.  Live well within the area of good, and you won’t have any problems with temptation

I think that quote will greatly aide me in the search for truth. I hope to stay safely away from the boundary line.

On reading…

I love to read. I want my children to also love to read. I think the way to do that is to read good books, and plenty of them. There actually is a list of “good books”. It was made by John Senior. Of course book lists are completely arbitrary. They change with us, so they are always changing and that is good, but some books would also make the list.  Even if you know what the good books are, it is hard to find time to read them. We are just to busy doing other things.  Here is a quote from an article I read about the “good books”:

The length of the classic children’s books ranges from roughly a hundred to eight hundred pages (e.g., some of Dickens), averaging about two hundred pages. We suggest what we believe is a reasonable goal: to read one book every two weeks, thus averaging twenty pages or so a day, excluding weekends if one chooses. Of course, it is not possible to keep this schedule with frequent television viewing or Internet browsing and chat.

This is going to be my reading goal for myself, and for my family:

 20 pages per day.

The article is very interesting and informative.

As a general rule we don’t read the great books because we never read the good books, and this article includes the list of the “good books”. Mr. Senior says that you should read 1000 good books before you read the 100 great books. I completely agree. But I have a had a hard time getting my people to read that much. But with a goal of 20 pages a day, we should be getting more reading done. Right?

Here is a link to Mr. Senior’s book list (of course I know that’s what you really want, the coveted book list! Scroll down for the list if you like, but the article is also excellent).

Here is yet another one, broken down by grade and age.

We have been sick around here. Luckily, it is a fast moving thing. It only lasts one day, but for that day, it pretty much knocks the person out. Yesterday was Sarah’s turn. She laid in bed for most of the day, and when she wasn’t in bed, she was in the bathtub.

When evening came, she was found laying in my bed. When I entered my room, she said, “I feel like Colin from The Secret Garden.” That one sentence contained vast amounts of emotion for me. We had read The Secret Garden together as a family, and I knew who Colin was, and I knew how Colin felt, and I now knew how Sarah felt, and she had been able to communicate it in one small sentence.

That is one of the reasons I read to my family. It gives my family a common language. We can communicate so much when just mentioning varies people from books. I can understand her more completely. I can feel how she feels, because we speak the same language. The various authors have put their heart and soul into their books, and we as readers can benefit from that. We can use the characters that they have created to demonstrate a way of feeling, acting or being, in just one short sentence.

“Stop acting like Eustace.” is another favorite family quote. Nothing more needs to be said. If you know who Eustace is, then there is no need to say more.

I love reading together with my family. It is one of the most bonding things we do together.

I could not make a very long list of the books we have read together because we keep reading the same ones over and over. If I read it to my oldest when he was 12, half of my family wasn’t even born yet. So, I read the best ones over and over.

Which is why I have read Little Britches three times out loud, and some of my children have never heard it.

Reading together is the most important part of my day. If all else falls apart; if the school day was a train wreck, we can still salvage the day by reading together. We always read right after lunch, that has worked really well for us. It is part of our family culture to read together, and it is probably one of the better parts.

I love to see my kids get ready for reading. They have been know to bring  blankets, pillows, art supplies, knitting, puzzles, hot wheels and dolls, just to name a few.

When we read Little Women as a family, one girl (to remain un-named, but she is mentioned above), said, “Marmee would never do that.” regarding something I had just done.

Such is life.

That is why reading is part of my family culture, because I want us to be refined by what we read, and to be able to speak a common language, and be bound together forever.

A New Year!!

I love the New Year. I look at it like it’s a big chance to start over, to re-do, to become more… more than I was, more than I am (shouldn’t be to hard). Over the years, I have changed. I no longer believe what I believed before. I guess I have joined the masses in the search for truth. To be completely honest, I wasn’t searching for truth before, because I thought I knew what was true, but I was mistaken and mislead. Which leads me back to the big question:  What is truth? Where do you find it? I love the definition of truth found in the Book of Mormon and in The Doctrine and Covenants  which says truth is things as they really are.

So, the opposite of truth is error. Error comes in many forms, but the more error we have in our lives, the harder it is to know truth. I will freely admit that I have had error in my life. Looking back I can see that. But, that is the key phrase, “Looking back”.  Hind sight can be 20/20, and the further away we get from error, the better we can recognize it for what it is.

Well then, what is true? What is “things as they really are?” And how do you find it? I have no intention of answering any of those questions, but I would say that prayer is number one on the list! And number two is STUDYING the scriptures.  I do know that when we have a lot of confusion in our lives, we also have a lot of error in our thinking. Lately I have had a lot of my questions answered, but I still have questions, and I hope to always have questions. Questions, to me,  mean that a person is thinking, so questions are good. But if you have A LOT of questions, and you can’t seem to find truth, it is time to back up and re-think what you believed before. But here is where truth gets tricky. That is what I believe NOW, currently. It could change when I change, and I learn to see differently, and hopefully more clearly.

But for now here is a short list of what I no longer believe:

  • Waldorf (research the founder, and “The Christ” that they refer to)
  • ANYTHING that has anything to do with “New Age”.  I wouldn’t go near anything that has to do with the new age religion with a ten foot pole.
  • Thomas Jefferson Education (sorry people).  Some principles are good.
  • Dress Your Truth. (Again, sorry people).  You can get this information from a cleaner source. Same as above, some principles are good.

Here is a list of things I’m not sure of but leaning towards removing them from my home:

  • Grimms’ fairy tales (maybe most fairy tales).  Albert Einstein said,  ‘If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.’ But do I want to turn out children like Albert Einstein? No. I am just thinking that instead of having my children know all fairy tales, what if they knew all scripture stories? Wouldn’t that prove from more valuable to helping live a good life, the stories that have been approved of by God?  But, I love Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales.
  • Anything that does not proclaim Jesus as the Christ, right up front. Why not? What is their motive?

That is the list for now. I hope to add to it as I can see more clearly.

For the New Year:

  • I am planning on making sure that I am consistent and diligent in reading and studying the scriptures daily.
  • I plan on becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ this year. I am going to do everything in my power to become more like him.
  • I am going to try to serve him with all my heart, might, mind and strength.

So, as a lover of truth, I am seeking for it. Sometimes is seems elusive. False ideas are EVERYWHERE!  I know that truth can only come from one source, but truth and error are often found together.  There are probably thousands of quotes from apostales and prophets on truth but this one is currently my favorite:

President [Joseph F.] Smith tells us, “When I as a boy first started out in the ministry, I would frequently go out and ask the Lord to show me some marvelous thing, in order that I might receive a testimony. But the Lord withheld marvels from me, and showed me the truth, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, until he made me to know the truth from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, and until doubt and fear had been absolutely purged from me. He did not have to send an angel from the heavens to do this, nor did he have to speak with the trump of an archangel. By the whisperings of the still small voice of the Spirit of the living God, he gave to me the testimony I possess. And by this principle and power he will give to all the children of men a knowledge of the truth that will stay with them, and it will make them to know the truth, as God knows it, and to do the will of the Father as Christ does it. And no amount of marvelous manifestations will ever accomplish this. It is obedience, humility, and submission to the requirements of heaven and to the order established in the kingdom of God upon the earth, that will establish men in the truth. Men may receive the visitation of angels; they may speak in tongues; they may heal the sick by the laying on of hands; they may have visions and dreams; but except they are faithful and pure in heart, they become an easy prey to the adversary of their souls, and he will lead them into darkness and unbelief more easily than others.”

What changes are you planning on making for the New Year? What are you planning to leave behind? What are you planning to add?