#LDSconf thoughts

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Conference Weekend

It was a whirlwind weekend. Saturday morning DH went out riding motorcycles with a friend. Five minutes before conference started, I tried to move the computer out to the living room so we could all watch. But I didn’t know how to set up the wireless internet connection, and daddy wasn’t home yet, so we listened to primary songs and worked on cleaning the house instead. Once our chores were done, we went over to Grandma’s house to watch the Saturday afternoon session with extended family.

Watching conference as a family is my favorite way to spend conference. Some Sundays get harried and hectic by the time we get ready for church and do all of our assignments. On Conference Sunday, we can just be together. I love it. And whenever there is a family gathering, there is good food. Since it was Saturday, I asked my kids to watch one talk plus watch if President Monson spoke. The rest of the time they spent playing with their cousins.

On Sunday we stayed home and watched conference as a family. By this time our computer was all set up and ready to go. We turned on the Tabernacle Choir broadcast and enjoyed the Easter Sunday concert. Sometimes it can be hard to watch conference with little kids, but mine were pretty good this time. My daughter had the Friend magazine out and played bingo on the board in the magazine. My son sat and read a book, pausing to pay closer attention once in awhile. The little ones played in the room with us.

I love the messages presented at conference. There is always a smorgasboard: messages of personal improvement, testimonies of Jesus Christ, gospel application, missionary work, and the plan of salvation. Usually there is a balance between calls to repentance and consoling our efforts. For example, Elder Oaks helped us evaluate our soil in the process of conversion. He has spoken many times on the theme making eternal goals our highest priority. Elder Bednar spoke about fear: how the fear of God can actually help us feel peace in a troubled world. For those of us who get over-anxious about the challenges we face, his message was soothing.

Video quote: Source of Enduring Peace — David A Bednar

My favorite messages were the back to back talks on Grace. First, Elder Holland’s talk about how Jesus Christ’s mission was the greatest expression of love ever known. Christ gave us “the gift of victory over every fall we have ever experienced, every sorrow we have ever known, every discouragement we have ever had, every fear we have ever faced—to say nothing of our resurrection from death and forgiveness for our sins.” Then Elder Uchtdorf gave a beautiful and concise explanation of grace. It is the power that erases sin, raises us to a level beyond our capacity to reach, and pours into our lives the power to accomplish all we strive for. Without understanding grace, Latter-day Saints get depressed when we try to achieve perfection and fail (every time)!

Video quote: The Path of Discipleship — Dieter F Uchtdorf

I also appreciated the talks about Returning to Faith and Waiting for the Prodigal. Because there ARE casualties in the trials of life. Living the gospel is hard. Some of us fall away, become inactive, etc. Yet even for those of us bogged down with difficult doctrines or difficulty living the doctrines can find peace in the gospel. And those of us who are strong can extend love and help to those who need it. Because none of us are strong enough on our own. We need each other and we need Jesus Christ.

I’m grateful for conference. It gives me a chance to take my spiritual temperature and evaluate where I need to improve. I know our leaders are righteous men who are in tune with God’s direction for the church. I also feel the camaraderie of the worldwide Saints. There are people like me who are also trying to live this glorious gospel and feeling its blessings in their lives.Pres-Monson-exiting-conference

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10 tips for a happy marriage–How they apply in my life

My husband and I recently celebrated our twelfth anniversary. It seems like just the other day AND a long time ago that we tied the knot! I’m excited for this Valentine’s day, not because I’m looking forward to getting fancy gifts, but because I love being married and I know I’ll get to spend a little extra time with my hubby.

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The wedding day… just the beginning of happily ever after. Image source lds.org.

In 2012, the Ensign shared some tips of what happily married couples do. I know what they are talking about, because I’ve learned to do these things. I’d like to share their ideas in my own words. Because real-life true love can best be found in a vibrant happy marriage. So, here are 10 tips for a happy marriage.

Positive conversations. a happy marriage is full of happy conversations. “What are you doing today? What do you want to do? What tasks are on your to do list? How can I help you with the things you are working on?” These are the kinds of conversations we have all the time. One thing that has helped our conversations is planning out our week together every Sunday night. We look at the calendar together and write what’s happening on a wipe off one-week calendar in the kitchen. We’ll add to do lists that we need to get done. It really helps to mutually plan out our goals for the week. When we sit down for meals, we can see the calendar and talk about what is coming up that day.
Know details. A couple knows and cares about all of the details of each other’s lives. I know everything about my husband, from the names of his pets to the name of his best friend in high school.

“In marriage the big things are the little things.”

-Elder James E Faust

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Image source lds.org.

Show affection. Physical affection reinforces other forms of love in a marriage. For some, including many men, physical affection says “I love you” stronger than words. A healthy marriage includes holding hands, sitting next to each other, hugs, and kisses. I’m not as naturally affectionate as my husband, but I love it when we walk around the back yard together holding hands or sit on the couch together.
Be each others best friends. You know your spouse better than anyone else. You are able to understand them best. Know their desires and talents, challenges, weaknesses and strengths. I like to think about how my husband has to put up with me. Before I get annoyed that he didn’t do dishes when I asked for help, I remember all the times I haven’t done dishes or been available to help him. Often the things I get annoyed at are things I do. If I remember that, I don’t get annoyed as easily. He’s already putting up with me and not saying anything about it.
Have a gospel perspective. Be humble and charitable. We know we’ll never be perfect in this lifetime, so we have to accept that in ourselves and family members. When I have a weakness or problem, I don’t want someone to constantly remind me of it and pester me about changing. I hope for love and acceptance and help to change as I am able. As a woman, I tend to be the one to fall into the “nagging” trap. Really the time to be picky about a spouse’s traits are before you marry them. Once you make the commitment, you need to accept them for who they are and love them no matter what.
Keep dating. When you do things enjoyable together, you enjoy being together. Of course it’s important to continue nurturing our most valuable relationship. If my husband and I have lots of work to do, perhaps we will spend time together working on a project together, but it is still time spent together. Sometimes I have a hard time spending money on “fun”, which makes me a stick in the mud for dates. Yet it is a lot cheaper to keep my marriage healthy than to have to pay for counselling. Some things we do for dates include grocery shopping, eating at a restaurant, exercising together, hiking, working in the yard, and looking at the night sky.

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I love riding bikes for a date! It combines exercise, the outdoors, and time spent together. Image source lds.org.
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Image source lds.org.

Share intimacy. A healthy relationship includes intimacy. We believe this is a sacred and God-given means of enriching a marriage. Like all other aspects of marriage, there is balance to meet the needs of each spouse. Intimacy is a natural outcome of a happy marriage relationship.
Spend time with children. As a couple matures, children join the family and add to the demands on both spouses. Caring for children is a major joint goal, with contributions from each parent. When I have a new baby, I am often tired and less interested in intimacy, yet so grateful when my husband is willing to nurture me and our new child. He may give me a break by holding the baby, or have a conversation with me to give me attention. I love watching him bond with our newborn. When I see how wonderful and loving he is with our children, I love and respect him more and want to do things to show love in return. It motivates me to want to cook nicer meals, go on dates, and show him affection. So once I adjust to the routine with the new baby, I am often even better at doing my own work and making time for him.

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Image source lds.org.

Ask for feedback. When you are in a position to make improvements, your spouse is the person who knows you best and can help you accomplish your goals. I like to talk about what things I do and don’t like about how a situation went and hear his opinion. Likewise, a good spouse is sensitive when the other is having a hard time. Usually I am the one having a hard time and venting my frustration and my husband is patient and tries to help me out until I feel better. Thanks, honey.
Trust. A marriage relationship is the closest relationship possible between people. Your spouse knows everything about you. In order to feel safe and happy in your relationship you must be able to trust each other. You must trust that even when your spouse sees you at your worst, they won’t hold it against you. They will keep on loving you and helping you be your best self. Anger and contention are Satan’s favorite tools for dividing us. When allowed into a marriage, they can destroy the trust so essential to the relationship. Even small things like sarcasm and criticism can damage a relationship.

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A mature couple: comfortable with each other and happy just being together. Image source lds.org.

I love being married. As time goes by, it seems like our ability to accomplish things together grows. I hope to continue to nurture my marriage and enjoy the fulfillment that comes with a happy marriage.

New Year’s Resolution

This past few months, the words of a scripture keep running through my mind…

“organize yourselves”

This is from Doctrine & Covenants 109:8, which talks about the Saints preparing to build their first temple. After my recent visit to the Phoenix Mormon Temple open house, I have wanted to make my home more like the temple. Not by getting expensive furnishings, but by keeping it more orderly. I feel like any home, no matter how small, can feel pleasant and peaceful if it is clean.

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Remember criteria for setting achievable goals! source tekkek.com

So, my resolution is to organize my closets and storage areas.

I realize it is practically impossible to have the entire house clean at one time when we have a young family. Yet I feel like I can bring my home a little closer to the ideal of being like God’s house.

My New Year’s resolution gained momentum when my Darling Husband (DH) suggested we paint the boys room. DH knows how much I like painting, and he NEVER suggests it. I  have only painted the entryway since moving here five years ago (that is extreme self-control!) His reasoning was the boys room looks shabby. It has flat paint, which over the past few years has accumulated lots of scuffs and dings. Their roof had leaked and been patched, but the drywall patch had never been textured or painted. Time for some sprucing up.

Progress

So, we got the boys room painted. Our neighbor came over and helped us texture the ceiling patch. Then I painted a nice pale beige on the walls. With everything smooth and fresh again, it looks like a new room! DH bought a few more plastic totes and sorted all of the toys.

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Boy’s room. Red and blue quilts with beige walls.
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another shot showing the crib and totes underneath

Next, I organized my closet. Our newborn had been sleeping in there in his pack-n-play, but we had just moved him to the crib in the newly painted boys room. Time to put away all my maternity clothes and get out my regular clothes. I realized I have never actually pulled out my clothes and sorted them into outfits to see what pieces I could add. I am planning on sewing a navy blue skirt to help pull things together. DH organized the desk and cleaned the office.

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clean closet
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Clean desk. This took a bit of work, done by DH.

Next I plan to organize my pantry. This will help me see which of our food storage items I have used and need to replace. Finally, I would like to build a new towel rack for the bathroom.

I have all year to work on these, but really my time frame is to finish within a couple of months. It is amazing how much more calm and in control I feel with just the progress I have made. My kids have an easier time picking up because usually only one type of toy is out at a time. I enjoy sitting and feeding the baby in the fresh boy’s room.

I plan to go to the temple often this year to feel the inspiration that originated my goal. I think that will also help my goals stay on track. My beliefs help me stay organized. That’s a new kind of organized religion.