Well, today's Monday, and for some reason I've got the Monday blues. Sigh again. I bet if we were up skiing I wouldn't have the Monday blues. . . Oh well. Back to the grind. Babysitting, and house cleaning, and all of that kind of stuff. That man of mine had better be planning some crazy cool kind of date for this weekend. . . Mama! I've got cabin fever.
p.s. We were asked to speak in church Sunday, yesterday. Here's a synopsis of my talk, which of course I added to during my most eloquent delivery. Lots of ad-libbing. Didn't entirely stick to the script. It went over pretty well. We had the whole family up there. All the kids read or recited something. . . (we had to bribe them of course) except Laena, that stinker, who was safe at Disneyland with the Choir kids. Bratzville personified, she is. Can you tell I'm jealous? : ) Well, sort of. I didn't envy her that long bus ride. . .
Well, here you go:
March 30th, 2008
Well, here we are. . Bro Dave Richards showed up on our door step Monday night, and asked if we would speak in church . . Laena must've overheard because she took off for California. I called Charlie at work, and he said, “Sure, I'd love to speak, if I wasn't going out of town.” I think he planned to stow away in the luggage compartment of one of the buses. Ha ha ha.
It has been a while since we've spoken in Sacrament meeting. Last time one of us was supposed to speak, about a year and a half ago, we decided to have a baby that week, so it's been a little while.
I'm gonna start out with a little bit of background info about our family. . . Charlie and I have been in the ward/our present home for 12 years. We have 7 children. We met in Provo. I had just come out here to Utah, and I was at the University Mall looking for a job. He happened to be in one of the stores, and I thought he worked there, so I asked if he was hiring. Now I take care of his kids. : ) About a year later, we were married. We immediately had our first baby, Laena, who is now 17, and then a year later we had our twin boys, Clint and Eric. I sometimes call them 'our triplets'. We've learned to space our children a little better since then. . . We have Tommy, Aleia, Jeffy, and Lincoln.
After we were married, we lived in Provo for a couple of years. Then we moved up here to Salt Lake. . Charlie works as a programmer/analyst for Coca-Cola, after driving truck for 14 years, and I stay at home. Of the 15 years we've been up here in Salt Lake, I've worked in the Primary for about eleven. (I'm not complaining.) (Well, maybe.) Charlie's been in the Scouting program for about 8 years. Cub Scouts, Blazer scouts, Boy Scouts. . . he does a lot of camping. Charlie went to school for a couple of years in Provo. He took a few years off, and then went back. Sorta had to start over. . I think he's been in school for a total of . . 9 years now, and he's still working on it. . .
There was a brief moment a couple of years ago where I was privileged to work in the RS. My favorite part about being in the Relief Society was the visiting. We went visiting every week. We were able to drop by and see how people were doing, and get to know them a little bit better. It was lovely to get to know everyone, to learn more about them; their interests, talents, challenges that they were facing. I really felt a sense of . . ward family.
We were asked today so speak on Families. I figured that was doable. I'm the oldest of 8 children, my mother had 8 kids, my grandma had 8 kids, I think her mother had 9. I can't imagine not centering my life around . . a family. One of my greatest fears as a young adult was that maybe I wouldn't ever be able to have any children. : ) Evidently those fears were unfounded. Now I should probably have accumulated at least some conventional wisdom by this time. . about families, and raising a family. . But the more I've learned, the more I've learned . . that I need to learn more. Pretty much, with the day-to-day struggles of having and raising a family, you just do the best you can, you keep on keepin' on, you listen to the brethren, try to follow their council, keep the commandments, and most of all, I'm learning to treasure every moment, because, over the years, I've learned that childhood doesn't last very long. Babies grow up really fast, life is fleeting, and time speeds on.
There are things that we can do to bring our families together. I've taken some quotes from a couple of talks that I foun, written by some of the apostles. When I was growing up, my parents tried really hard to have Family Home Evening, dinner together every night, family prayer, and scripture study. . And they pretty much pulled it off. . They did a really good job of making it happen. Charlie and I try to emulate this example with our own family. We probably don't do quite as well as grandma and grandpa, but we're working on it.
Elder Russell M. Nelson, in his talk “Set in Order Thy House”, said:
“Our family is the focus of our greatest work and joy in this life; so will it be throughout all eternity. . . And this is from the first presidency. 'We call upon parents to devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church. The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this God-given responsibility.'
To set our house in an order pleasing to the Lord, we need to do it His way. We are to employ His attributes of “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness”
With the Lord, families are essential. He created the earth that we could gain physical bodies and form families. He established His Church to exalt families. He provides temples so that families can be together forever.
We try in our family to have FHE, dinner as a family, bedtime stories, etc. We could probably do better. It's important that we all do our best to make these things happen, so that our families and our children can come together, and be strengthened, as they go through their everyday lives and face their own personal challenges.
In a letter signed by Presidents Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, and James E. Faust, they also described what parents might do: “we counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be , they must not be permitted to displace the divinely appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform”
Thursday afternoon, I went out to get the mail, and learned from a neighbor that there had been a bomb threat at the middle school. After a while we learned that the situation was under control, but it was still rather disconcerting to hear news like this. At moments like this, everything comes clearly into focus. Priorities right themselves, and everything else shrinks into insignificance. You have 2 thoughts: Family and home, home and family. You want to bring your family home, make sure everyone's okay. . .if you've had a disagreement, you want to reach out and fix it right then. Things become very clear. Nothing else matters. Everything else is just stuff.
Again from President Russell M. Nelson:
Brethren and sisters, material possessions and honors of the world do not endure. But your unions as wife, husband, and family can. The only duration of family life that satisfies the loftiest longings of the human soul is forever. No sacrifice is too great to have the blessings of an eternal marriage. By making and keeping sacred temple covenants, we evidence our love for God, for our companion, and our real regard for our posterity- even those yet unborn. Our family is the focus of our greatest work and joy in this life; so will it be throughout all eternity, when we can “inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, . . . powers, dominions, . . . exaltation, and glory.”
“These priceless blessing can be ours if we set our houses in order now and faithfully cling to the gospel.”
Well, I'm not quite over the hill, but I can sort of see over the other side. . . and I can look back, and again, I cannot imagine not centering my life around . . family. The alternative seems kinda lonely. I haven't been alone a lot, so I probably take some things for granted, and I know some people aren't necessarily right in the middle of raising a family, but regardless of your circumstances, even if you're not currently a husband and father, or a wife and mother, you can be a good daughter, brother, sister, nephew, grandson, a good friend. Making your family a priority, (immediate family, ward family, friends, neighbors, even your temple family, if you will, when you do work for our kindred dead) where ever a person might be in life, this gives them a sense of belonging. A sense of community, purpose, identity, unity.
This week we've had a few significant things happen in our family. Monday, my brother Mark and his wife had a new baby. A new little cousin. : ) Tuesday, Jeffy actually let me drop him off at a birthday party without throwing a fit. Wednesday Eric had a track meet, and Laena left for Choir Tour. Thursday Clint started working at Pizza Hut, and then there was that problem at the school. . . It usually works out that way. . We'll be going along with our lives, trying to take care of our day-to-day responsibilities. . . then something happens that makes us remember what's really important.
In th May 2003 Ensign Elder L. Tom Terry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:
“May it be our resolve this year to build a gospel-centered home, a safe harbor from the storms of the adversary.
We need to make our homes a place of refuge from the storm,, which is increasing in intensity all about us.
In a world of turmoil and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to make our families the center of our lives, and the top of our priorities. Families lie at the center of our Heavenly Father's plan.”