Friday, April 5, 2019

In Laws

At the time that I am writing out this post, we are 22 days away from celebrating our 10-year wedding anniversary. 10 years. A lot has happened in that time and I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, the relationships that have been strengthened and the family that I’ve gained.

Unfortunately, it took me a while to realize just how much I love my in-laws and I find myself wondering if I hadn’t been so insecure in my standing with them at the beginning if we would be closer than what we are right now. I feel like I am trying to play catch up and make up for time when I may have been cold or unfriendly when really, I was just young and insecure.

I wanted to share a quote from President Russell M. Nelson that he shared when he was an Elder. He stated, “Above all, don’t be selfish! Generate a spirit of selflessness and generosity. Celebrate and commemorate each day together as a treasured gift from Heaven.” I know that this is advice given to couples, but it can be related to all relationships with others. When we are generating selflessness and generosity, we are more likely to give each other the benefit of the doubt and charity.

I know that not all in law relationships are ideal, and that not all in laws are easy to get along with, but I do know that we are promised that as we treasure our families and we keep our promises that we will be blessed to spend eternity with them. That includes our parents, siblings, children, and extended family. Eternity is an awful long time to spend with people you don’t get along with. If it’s possible, learn from my mistakes and start now at building those happy relationships now, it is so worth it and awesome to gain more family. 


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Family Councils

Have you ever heard of a family council? If so, have you ever held one? What do you do as a family to facilitate them?
If you are new to the concept of a family council, I will tell you what it is! It is no strange concept that the family is central to Heavenly Father’s plan and to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is our ultimate goal to be with them for all eternity. The adversary knows this and is launching a full-blown war against the family.
Elder M. Russell Ballard presented an excellent way for families to touch base with each other. See how the members of the family are doing, and figure out what is going right, what’s going wrong, and what can either be continued or fixed. He recommends that families hold a weekly family council.
I’ve attached a cheat sheet that can be found here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.that effectively breaks down what should be covered in family councils.
There are four different types of family councils that should take place. The first is a full family council consisting of all members of the family. This should be held weekly. The next is an executive family council. This should take place between husband and wife. This should also be held weekly. The third is a limited family council. This is between both parents and an individual child, this should be held monthly for each child in the family. The last is a one-on-one family council between an individual parent and individual child. This also should be held monthly. The cheat sheet I’ve attached gives a great guideline for effective questions to ask to get the conversation going.
Elder Ballard stated, “Children desperately need parents willing to listen to them, and the family council can provide a time during which family members can learn to understand and love one another.” Family councils can provide protection to both families and couples as we seek to fortify ourselves against Satan’s attacks to break down our family.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Let's talk about fasting...

Recently a dear friend and I were talking about our kids and how you go about discussing sexual relations with them and why we wait for marriage. She brilliantly told me that with her children she tells them that like abstaining from food while fasting, even though it is delicious and we love it, we are choosing to fast to show Heavenly Father the willingness of our hearts and that we love him, it is the same with saving sexual relations for marriage. Sexual intimacy is good, and wonderful but we must choose to wait to show Heavenly Father the willingness of our hearts and that we love him. 
I was incredibly impressed with how she worded it. Instead of stating that it is a sin, or bad which can lead to Inhibition. Sean Brotherson explains Inhibition in this sense that it "refers specifically to an avoidance of dealing with one's thoughts, feelings, desires, or behaviors related to sexual functioning in marriage. Many husbands and wives who have an adequate understanding of sexual matters in marriage still struggle to overcome negative thoughts or feelings associated with the expression of sexual love." He went on to state, "The happy news is that the vast majority of challenges that couples may encounter in their sexual relationship are usually able to be resolved by a combination of patience, effort, knowledge, skills and motivation. Yet there must first be a willingness to address issues together, particularly if there are challenges with inhibition or avoidance of dealing with feelings or specific issues." 
I know that when the time comes, and it is coming sooner than later. It is going to be key to have an open dialogue regarding sexual intimacy with my children so that they don't come to incorrect conclusions regarding sex. I will teach them the fasting analogy. Heavenly Father blessed us with this incredible expression of love to our spouses, and though it may seem old fashioned, I know that saving it for marriage and between spouses can bring us closer together as couples and closer to eternity. 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Most Important Lesson

I can’t believe that I’ve finished the book I’ve been reading for my marriage course, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by Dr. John M. Gottman. It was amazing, and eye opening. I am not over exaggerating when I say that I think that everyone should read it. If you’re like me though, and are incredibly short on extra time at the moment I wanted to share the most important lesson that I learned from this book. With 91% accuracy and after observing a couple for fifteen minutes Dr. Gottman could predict whether or not your marriage will work. What it comes down to is friendship.

Dr. Gottman shared some good news when he says, “Partners don’t have to achieve a perfect relationship to succeed at love. The key is learning how to better attune to each other and make friendship a top priority.” A question that Dr. Gottman shared to ask yourself is if your partner makes a mistake are you as quick to forgive it as you are a guest who just spilled red wine on your white carpet. That really gave me pause because I have to admit, that I’m not! Sometimes I want my pound of flesh. Instead of responding how I would respond to a guest, which is akin to saying “no big deal”. I want amends made, apologies uttered, chocolates delivered etc. This thought process is completely skewed and I need to take the example of Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast when he invited Belle to “Be Our Guest.”

Another lesson that I learned from my study of this book is that it is by the small and ordinary acts, our day to day that we can really nourish and build our relationships with our spouses. I was never one to carve out a weekly date with my husband, now that we have I feel closer to him. I enjoy the time we spend together. Even if it's just perusing the aisles of Walmart trying to remember our kid's shoe sizes. It's how we spend time in the ordinary that makes our marriages extraordinary. 


Saturday, March 9, 2019

It's Not About The Nail

This week we are talking about conflict. Each marriage has two different types of problems: solvable and perpetual. The majority of them are perpetual, meaning that they aren’t going to be solved and the couple will need to figure out a compromise in order for them not to fester and cause disgust which will eventually rot the relationship. I don’t know about you, but I usually prefer to avoid conflict. Then other times, I’m feeling froggy...sometimes, I’m just in the mood to fight. It’s not good, I know. At those times, it’s usually over a perpetual problem that has been festering. Thankfully Dr. John Gottman shared some ways to successfully navigate conflict and advice on how to make repairs in order to lower the tension from said conflicts.

The underlying key to successfully address conflict according to Dr. Gottman is "Communicating basic acceptance of your partner’s personality. Human nature dictates that it is virtually impossible to accept advice from someone unless you feel that that person understands you. So the bottom-line rule is that, before you ask your partner to change the way he or she drives, eats, or makes love, you must make your partner feel that you are understanding.” I also think that we need to remember another important lesson that I learned from Dr. Gottman, “in all arguments, both solvable and perpetual, no one is ever right. There is no absolute reality in marital conflict, only two subjective realities.” This was something that really shook me. I have always had such black and white thinking when it comes to marriage and conflict.

I wanted to share a youtube video that makes me laugh every time I watch it because it’s so true and applies to most conflicts between husbands and wives and backs up the quote I shared above about addressing conflict by Dr. Gottman. I think it would do all of us well to remember that it’s not about the nail.


Saturday, March 2, 2019

We Can Do It!

For this week’s topic in my marriage course we are learning about Pride and how it can and often is detrimental in a marriage, but what is Pride? President Ezra Taft Benson said that, “Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.

The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.”
I found it so interesting that we have so much focus on the elements of the sin, but at the heart of it, pride is so much deeper. Pride destroys marriages because in our hearts there is hatred, hostility, or a state of opposite. Those aren’t exactly the feelings that we promised to have when we chose the person to love and to cherish for all eternity, or for some, at least until death do you part. With pride, it is likely you will be parting a lot sooner.
So what can we do about it? How can we fix it? President Benson thankfully shared that answer as well when he stated, “The antidote for pride is humility—meekness, submissiveness. It is the broken heart and contrite spirit.”

How can we be humble? He shared wise council on that as well:
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by conquering enmity toward our brothers and sisters, esteeming them as ourselves, and lifting them as high or higher than we are.”
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by receiving counsel and chastisement. We can choose to humble ourselves by forgiving those who have offended us.”
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by rendering selfless service.”
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by going on missions and preaching the word that can humble others.”
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by getting to the temple more frequently.”
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by confessing and forsaking our sins and being born of God.”
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by loving God, submitting our will to His, and putting Him first in our lives.”
Let us choose to be humble. We can do it. I know we can.”
Just as President Benson knows that we can choose to be humble, I know that we can too. It’s hard, but it is so worth it when it comes to forming lasting, eternal relationships with those whom we love. They are worth it, and so are we.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Love Map

It wasn't until reading Dr. John Gottman's book The Seven Principles of Making a Marriage Work, that I realized that if I didn't change some things, my marriage could be in some real trouble. I feel fortunate to have gained some really neat insights that I'd love to share as I pick up on them. The latest that I am going to apply to my marriage is the Love Map. It almost sounds like something that a pirate would use, and it really is likely to lead to booty, we're talking about treasure here folks, the greatest treasure being a lasting marriage that can withstand the storms that life has to throw at us. 
So, what is a love map? It's basically a mental map where you've kept the small things, and sometimes big, that make your spouse who they are, their likes, dislikes, desires, dreams, love language, etc. Basically anything that you can retrieve to let them know that you love them. Little things to follow so that when life gets tough, it will lead you back to them. A solid foundation to a deep friendship, which is exactly what Dr. Gottman says leads to a happy marriage.

I was intrigued by the idea of a love map, and had no idea where to begin, thankfully Dr. Gottman is all about sharing the baby steps it takes to make a solid friendship and a love map that will lead to the greatest treasure of friendship and a lasting marriage, it is quite simple, take the time to get to know your spouse all over again, and express gratitude to them. Look for the good in them, and you will find it. I'm learning that like the gospel, it takes simple steps to have lasting results. What are some of your favorite ways to get to know your spouse? How are you making a love map to make your marriage last?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Book Recommendation...Trust me on this one!

I am always on the lookout for good books, especially ones that will help me in my life. If you are looking for a book that will help you in your relationship with your spouse, I’ve found it for you. In the book “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by Dr. John M. Gottman he delves into different things that you can do to safe guard your marriage. Dr. Gottman has a 91% success rate at predicting divorce. While there are things we are doing wrong in our marriages, and he goes into those a little. The main concept of the book is to tell us what we can do right.
What shocked me as the basis of safeguarding your marriage against divorce wasn’t something like fighting less, getting rid of conflict, etc. etc. It was something even more simple, yet I feel so often overlooked. The strength of your friendship with your spouse directly influences the strength of your marriage. If you and your spouse are solid B.F.F’s you are likely to have a solid marriage. Conflict is normal and to be expected, but your friendship will help you navigate through the conflicts. Dr. Gottman said, “To make a relationship last: couples must become better friends, learn to manage conflict, and create ways to support each other’s hopes and dreams. What do you do to keep your friendship solid with your husband?  

Friday, February 1, 2019

Are you in it for the long haul?

After a substantial hiatus, I decided to go make to school and get my degree. At first I wanted to go into teaching because I love working with children. After realizing that I love my current job teaching children to read and that is what I wanted to do when I grew up. I decided to declare my major to a Bachelor of Science in Home and Family Studies. I have been blessed to take a marriage course and have been pondering some things that I have been learning and wanted to share with you.
As mentioned in my previous post, what I want my blog to be has changed. I survived a disease that was meant to kill me, and my whole focus changed. I have so many creative blog friends who put out the cutest tutorials every single day. While I will share something create once in a while because that’s who I am, this blog as its header states has become a Survivor’s blog, and I really want to share with you things I’ve learned that truly matter and will bring you Joy in your life. I’m all about bringing the joy. If you were here for the crafts and feel like it’s time to unsubscribe I completely understand, but I do wish you’d stay.
In reading a talk from Elder Bruce C. Hafen titled “CovenantMarriage” he shared the illuminating lesson that our Savior shared when he taught about contractual attitudes. Jesus taught about the hireling and the Shepherd and the difference in vigilance when wolves came to attack the flocks. While the hireling who simply signed a contract to watch over the sheep would choose their own lives over those of the sheep, opting they weren’t worth the risk. The Shepherd who had a vested interest in those sheep, dare I even say the Shepherd loved them enough to try and protect them at all costs, even at their own safety and possibly their own lives. This type of attitude can directly translate into marriage. Are we like hirelings in our marriages who simply signed a contract and when trouble comes take the opportunity to bow out, or are we like the Shepherd’s who are bound to those sheep in love and willing to do whatever it takes to save and protect that Sacred Marriage? Wow, I don’t know about you all, but that certainly made me stop and think. I know for a fact, I would do anything to protect my little flock.
At the end of his story, he shared an example of his wife, who had spent quite some time working on a science project with one of their more challenging kiddos. This was the child that they were certain God had sent to them to “make Christians out of” them. Can any of you picture any of your children that are like that? I know I can. We love them to pieces, but boy do they send us to seek Jesus real fast!
Here’s the story he shared: “One night Marie exhausted herself for hours encouraging that child to finish a school assignment to build his own diorama of a Native American village on a cookie sheet. It was a test no hireling would have endured. At first he fought her efforts, but by bedtime, I saw him lay “his” diorama proudly on a counter. He started for his bed, then turned around, raced back across the room, and hugged his mother, grinning with his fourth-grade teeth. Later I asked Marie in complete awe, “How did you do it?” She said, “I just made up my mind that I couldn’t leave him, no matter what.” Then she added, “I didn’t know I had it in me.” She discovered deep, internal wellsprings of compassion because the bonds of her covenants gave her strength to lay down her life for her sheep, even an hour at a time.”
There is so much to be learned about us if we simply look deeper. Elder Hafen gave some solid warnings about the specific wolves that are ready to attack our flocks in this day in age. I encourage you to go read his talk, it’s a good one. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me. I truly wish you joy.


Friday, January 25, 2019

Saturday, January 19, 2019

What About Ohana?

It sure has been a hot minute since I've last posted. Almost two years. A lot has changed. I've changed. While the purpose of my blog hasn't changed, what I am going to blog about has. Why? Because the world around us is changing. 
Day by day it truly feels like time is speeding up, my children are growing quickly, weeks feel like days, some hours feel like minutes and at the center of it all, I find myself wishing that time could stand still just a little longer so that I can catch my breath and be the best Mom that I can be for my children, and the best wife I can be for my husband. Even more than that though, I just want to help ensure that my family will be together forever. 
Years ago, the Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at that time named Spencer W. Kimball, once said: "Many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing. The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us." 
Can you believe that he said that back in 1980? I truly think that time is quickly approaching as the importance of family is dissolving in the society around us. Yes, I know I'm going to get some flack from some of you for speaking about these things, but years ago I made you a promise, that I would help you create joy. 
The deepest joy in my life has been felt as I've committed to loving and strengthening my family. I promise you, that the deepest joy you will ever feel in your life will come from doing the same. 
For me, I am going to take a more active role in building my family by ensuring that we spend more quality time together. We have started and will continue to hold weekly family councils. This is a time where we can all plan out the following week, talk about things that make us happy and sad, and just be together. There's an awesome little "cheat sheet" that can be found here  that you could use if you would like to hold family councils. We will also hold a weekly family devotional time where we will spend time talking about the Savior and learning about His life from the New Testament. We will also have a night every week where we do an activity as a family, that's just plain old fun. Something that will get us laughing and enjoying each other's company. I encourage you to do the same. 
Family is so worth it, I know that for me this life is about preparing to spend forever with my Heavenly Father and my sweet family. Until then, I'd like to create a little bit of Heaven on Earth for them.