Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sister Beck – General Relief Society President visits Colorado Springs

Sister Beck – General Relief Society President visits Colorado Springs
Last night, I had the privilege of being part of a women’s choir to sing for the Fireside featuring Sister Beck, the General Relief Society President. We sang, “Write Thy Name Upon My Heart” by Sally DeFord. Sister DeFord certainly has a wonderful gift for writing uplifting songs and especially lyrics.

One funny note, we were not told what to wear as a choir. So, even though it had been snowing, I wanted to wear a spring color. It was a great chance to wear a coral long-sleeve shirt. Unfortunately, almost everyone else was wearing dark colors, either brown, gray or black. I think I may have stood out a little too much.

Another note about the snow, we were supposed to get a major snow storm, with 2 feet in Monument, 18 inches in Briargate, 3-6 in inches on the south side of town. Colorado Springs was really spared (Denver got 3 feet!). I can’t help but think it was a little miracle on behalf those who worked so hard to get her here, that it wasn’t cancelled.

Sis. Beck’s talk and answers to questions really helped me. For a few weeks, I have been increasingly frustrated with my daily life. It is truly living up to the title of my blog, “Life is a Blur.” Often, I can’t remember anything from my day, and I frequently find myself forgetting what I am doing. Some days, it feels like I have the memory of a goldfish. She said many things that seemed to address what I have been feeling lately and how to overcome it.

Here are some of my notes from her talk. Remember, these are notes, and not necessarily quotes (although there are a few).

There are three purposes of Relief Society. 1) Increase faith on the earth. D&C Section 1; 2) Strengthen home and families; and 3) Provide relief. Just as the YM are being prepared for Priesthood responsibilities, YW are being prepared for service in the Relief Society.

Everyday, we should ask ourselves, today, how can I help increase faith, strengthen family and provide relief. The Lord will inspire us.

She quoted Pres. Monson (April 2009), “the future is as bright as your faith.”
Strengthening families is not just the job of married women. Every woman needs to defent dthe doctrine of the family. Sis. Beck said she memorized the Proclamation on the family and reviews it once a week. We should know and defend and be able to say the words of the Proclamation.

Then, she opened it up to questions.

When preparing to visit with Priesthood leaders, she offered this advice (works for all situations I think): Go prepared with 1) a list of your observations, 2) a list of your concerns, and 3) your recommendations, your best thinking on the matter.

She related a story about Eliza R. Snow crossing the plains. Her husband, Brigham Young, was the prophet and wasn’t available to help her. She asked, who is going to help me? Brigham Young told her, Eliza will help Eliza. She explained the meaning was, I trust you to be strong enough and figure this out. You can do it.

She used the story of the Mormon Battalion to emphasize the point. All these men were being asked to leave at a very difficult time. Their women did not complain about getting across the plains by themselves, but instead told them, we’ll meet you in the valley.

There are times when we need Priesthood help, and times we need to be like Eliza R. Snow.

In response to another question, she called pornography and “avalanche of evil.” I thought that was a great phrase. She also warned that boys are first exposed to pornography around age 10-11 (scary statistic), and that the newest target group for pornography is women. She quoted Pres. Monson from April 2009 Conference, his voice of warning to ALL, about the many pathways of destruction and the destruction of the Spirit.

We are in a war with evil and we need to declare war back. Don’t permit it, don’t tolerate it, don’t take the blame for it, don’t concede for we are not shrinking women. We need to take steps to protect our homes and family. We need help from angels, miracle, and we need to call down power from heaven. This is a call to action in our homes and families. If we don’t do it, who will? We need to approach it as a faith-based work.

As far as strengthening our homes, she gave examples from her own family. Need to have daily family prayer and scripture study, FHE. She would review the seminary scripture mastery cards in the morning with her children until they memorized them. When their children were older, they had a contest between the boys and the girls to see who could read their scriptures every day. Whichever side missed first had to buy the others ice cream. They went months, before a miss, but it established the habit. They did family vacations – no electronics allowed. Talk and share together. Teach our children to work. Write down what the culture of your family will be. Teach hymns (hymns teach doctrine) to children on the way to school.

As far as worrying about difficulties with our spouses (activity in the church, repentance, unequally yoked, etc.) she gave some good advice. We have enough to worry about with ourselves. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of repentance, the gospel of change. Our choice is to go forward in faith, to forgive, and to teach the gospel of repentance. Too often, we give up on the Atonement. Divorce is never final, referenced a talk by Elder Haight where he combined divorce and its effects to nuclear waste. Often divorce only changes one problem for others and it is always painful.

Elder Funk (Area Seventy) added we often have a mortal and temporal perspective. We need to strive for an eternal perspective and develop patience and love.

Sis. Beck talked about Rebecca from the Old Testament as a woman who knew her worth. She talked about the covenant with Abraham that his seed would be as numerous as the sands of the sea. Yet, he and Sarah only had one son for all these blessings to come through. How important was his wife? So important, a servant was called on a mission to find the right wife. Then, Rebecca had twins, and only one son was living righteously. Yet again, only one golden boy to bring these promised blessings. Rebecca used her influence to ensure the blessings went to the righteous son.

We cant know our worth if we don’t know why we were born, or our place in the gospel.

Balancing Roles and Responsibilities

We think there are women who can – it is a MIRAGE

Trying to make things work out on paper doesn’t work. We have to turn it over to the Lord. This is a faith-based work. The Lord makes it work. Balance is the Lord’s job. We do the best we can.

There are 3 shifts a day, the day shift, swing shift, and evening shift. Woman can really only do 2 shifts a day, and only 1 really good. We should do what we need to, to conserve on other shifts for the swing shift (afternoon, dinner) when the everyone is the neediest. Plan dinner early, do scriptures in the morning.

She told a story about her mother. She married her father who was a 30-year old widow with 3 children and was Bishop. Within a year, he was Stake President, and when they were married 5 years, he was called to be a Mission President in Brazil. She had to move with 6 children and one on the way (she delivered 10 days after arriving in Brazil). Three children in cloth diapers in an area where they never dry completely because of the humidity, her husband was gone 20 days of the month, a huge, old house without all the tools to clean, the dog would kill rats that came into the yard. One day, she decided enough was enough, and she went upstairs to have a good cry, “always feel better after a good rainstorm.” Her husband discovered here and talked with her. He said twenty years from now, the experience will be over. We will enjoy talking about it, so let’s enjoy it now.

We are all having an experience. When we signed up for the plan, we signed up for an experience. Moses 5 – Eve was having an experience. An experience the world says we should be striving for, perfection, ease (Garden of Eden). She realized this isn’t what we signed up for (Moses 5:10). The experience is to prepare for the dream (eternal life).

We need to increase in personal righteousness day by day. The most important skill is to seek, receive and act on inspiration.

I hope these notes have touched you in some small way if you weren’t able to be there yourself.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Adventures in Potty Training


I thought potty training DD2 would be easy, since she has such an awareness of wanting her diaper off if it is even slightly wet. I thought we were starting a step ahead. But no, this time potty training has been worse than the other three combined.

She loves to take off her own diaper. She won't even come to me at all, unless she has a problem. For example, she will take off her diaper, wipe herself, and then come to me for a new one. After a doing this a couple of times, I decided it was time for actual potty training. My earliest ever, just before turning 2.

You would think with this early "readiness" it would be easy, but her independance is its own problem. I am sure I will appreciate this independance when she is 18 and ready to leave the nest, but for this adventure, it is frustrating.

Example #1: She takes off her diaper in the morning and climbs out the crib herself. She gets poop everywhere - in the crib, on the floor. A lot of little pieces everywhere. Well, DH is cleaning it up (I was teaching Seminary at the time). But, since the carpet in the girl's room is dark brown, he misses as spot. He steps in it and doesn't know it, and tracks poop all the way from the girl's room to the laundry room. On the stairs and everything. This clean-up was so bad, I had to rent a rug doctor.

Example #2: I can smell the poop somewhere downstairs, but I can't find it for 2 days. Turns out, she had pooped into one of her toy bowls. While it is not the floor, and she had some effort in mind, it was not exactly the toilet either.

Example #3: Today, she pooped on the floor (right after being on the potty, of course). The other kids come running up telling me about it. I gather my supplies and head downstairs, but the poop is gone. I asked Lydia what she had done with it. She pointed to the toy kitchen. She had put it in the "microwave." Gross! It's not like we don't have plenty of real "fake food" to play with.

My mom says, as she is laughing, that it will be over soon, and I won't really even remember it. I may even be able to laugh about it. While I am not there yet, at least you can have your laughs now.