Friday, July 22, 2016

Plates vs. Wives

What if Lehi's boys approached Ishmael like they approached Laban?

"I'm not going in there."
"Me either!"
"Why did we have to come all this way back?"
"Come on guys, Dad said need wives.  Let's just cast lots and whoever loses goes in."
"Fine. Let's just get this over with."
"Aw man, it's me! I'm nasty from the journey, but I'm not showering for that old man. Wish me luck!"

*Angry father tosses out Laman.*

"Geez Laman, what happened?"
"I could tell he didn't like me the moment I stepped in there. Maybe he remembered the night I had a date with his daughter and yelled for her from my camel outside their gate.  What does he think this is? The -700th century?"
"No kidding. What do we do now? Go back and tell dad we failed?"
"I've got an idea - let's go get all the gold and silver out of our house..."

Thank goodness they were thinking a little better retrieving the ladies than when they were getting the plates.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Commitments

"God's role is a constant, not a variable.  He always keeps His promises.  The only variable is whether we have the faith that we will be blessed with miracles if we make commitments to God and then obediently do what we said we would do."  --Clayton M. Christensen

Christensen made that statement regarding member missionary efforts in his inspiring book "The Power of Everyday Missionaries," but this is an eternal truth.  If we choose to be obedient and act, we will received the help we need.

Case in point - last year I took a good chunk of the year to read the Book of Mormon.  My initial goal was to finish before Adam left on his mission, but I really wanted to make it a deep study, summarizing what I read and adding my thoughts.  That took a lot of extra time and effort, but I did it, and it's a treasure to me.

The first Sunday of the year I was sitting in Primary, and the Primary secretary handed me the Relief Society newsletter and a 90 day Book of Mormon reading chart that had apparently been passed out in Relief Society.  My initial thoughts came fast and strong, "I can't do that!  It just took me most of a year to just read it.  There's no way."  And I shoved the chart in my bag.  A couple days later I had the gentle thought, "Just listen to it when you drive kids to and from seminary."  "Okay, I can do that," I thought back.  In less than 80 days I finished the Book of Mormon doing not much more than that, just adding in other times I was alone in the car, which really wasn't a lot.  It was a wonderful reminder to me that with Heavenly Father's help, I can do things I didn't think I could.

From just the page before, "When we engage in a covenant with God that we will do something that one of our leaders has asked us to do, [and I would add, things we received personal revelation to do], and we are desperate to do what we have committed to do, God truly comes to trust us."

I love the word desperate in there.  In the chapter he is teaching about setting a date to have someone take the missionary discussions.  Not just invite, but to actually have it happen.  He shares that though his dates are set a year or several months out, it's a casual commitment until the date gets closer and he starts to panic, and that's when he gets serious, desperate even, about making it happen.

Makes me think about my own commitments, and if I am casual or serious/desperate about them.  Daily scripture study?  Personal prayer?  Temple attendance?  Visiting teaching?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Booklet Sequence Ordering for Double-Sided Printing

This is completely for my sake and sanity, one of the random things I find myself doing and stressed over that could have been easier, and I don't want to forget when it comes up again.

In the last few weeks I've made two programs for two different plays in our area put on by homeschoolers and directed by amazing mothers of some of these kids purely volunteering their time.  The first one I had kids in the play and it was my way to help make it happen.  The second one was a favor for a friend (and we get free tickets because of it - bonus!).

I know there is a way to print it and have it come out right, but the place the first one was done just printed it double-sided so things were out of order.  It wasn't horrible, but I knew it was wrong.

I couldn't send off the second to be done the same way in good conscience, so I sat with the single-sided pages in the right spots on my lap, flipping back and forth.  Of course when I had fiddled and messed enough, I finally figured out there is an easy pattern to it all, as seen in this graphic.  Follow the black arrows down and the blue arrows back up, and voila, in the right order.

Like I said, for me next time.  I have a feeling I will get to do this again.

Sorry this is so random...


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wolf Scout Leader Files

Now that I'm a Wolf leader, I had to get myself all file organized for that too.

Wolf Adventure Tracking - The basics for this file were passed on to me by the former Wolf leaders, but I did some tightening so it fit on two pages, or one front and back.  They used colors to differentiate boys, but I've got a color and a black and white version to share.

You'll notice the numbers next to the Adventure name.  The number on the left is the number of Adventure (1-6 required, then 1-13 electives), and the number on the right is the page number in the Wolf book.


Wolf Adventure Tracking Color PDF

Wolf Adventure Tracking Color Excel


Wolf Adventure Tracking Black/White PDF

Wolf Adventure Tracking Black/White Excel




Wolf Adventures At-a-Glance - I didn't want to flip through the book every time I needed to see the requirements for an adventure (for marking it off on records or planning).  I know the font is small, but it fits on one page front and back.  Maybe someday I'll made one with a bigger font...


My one tip for this so far (since I'm still pretty new) is about the Paws on the Path adventure.  After working with the Boy Scouts and encouraging them in gathering their 10 Essentials, I thought it was cool for the Wolves to need to gather the 6 Essentials.  On the first week I had our Den Chief (you're missing out if you don't have one!) bring those and teach the boys about them, then when we went on our hike I made sure the parents knew with plenty of time that the boys needed to bring them along.

One of these items is a whistle...

I currently have 10 Wolf scouts.  Ten 8 year old boys, with WHISTLES.  As much as I encouraged them to not blow them so we could see the wildlife we were supposed to see, a noise making device is just too much for boys that age.  I didn't want to confiscate, because they were seriously feeling super cool packing around their 6 Essentials (eating their snacks, drinking their water, hoping someone had an accident so they could use their first aid kit).  A friend suggested maybe before beginning, or maybe another week pre-hike playing a hide-and-seek game at a park where a boy would hide then blow their whistle to be found.  Then maybe they would be plenty whistled out and realize the purpose of the whistle (to be found if lost, not to give their awesome den leader a headache).

Maybe one more tip.  Have a blast and love the boys!  It's what all the best den leaders do.

If you know an 11-year-old Scouts leader that needs some good tracking documents, I've got those as well, right here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

11 Year Old Scouts Leader Files and a Knots Tip

I have this special OCD with scouting, that I need to have the right tracking documents at my finger tips or I just can't function. With all the work I've put into them, I've decided I need to share them further than word of mouth.

For your scouting pleasure, here are my EYO scout files:

Rank Requirements Tracking Sheet - I had something very similar to this with the old requirements passed on to me from another leader, so I HAD to have it with the new requirements.  You're welcome!



Activity Tracker PDF - When I first became an EYO scout leader I did a lot of research on schedules.  I found quite a variety, but none that were what I figured I could work with and still be flexible enough to work with boys coming in and going out throughout the year (the way we roll with scouting in the LDS Church).  I finally found one I mostly liked, then I took it, messed with it a lot (and changed it more as I used it), and made it my own.  This is the latest version with the new 2016 requirements.  The requirements are all grouped by subject, so you can plan to do a month of First Aid, then some hiking, some orienteering, and so on, passing off requirements at each rank at the same time.  When I was making my calendar for the next few months, I would make sure this was updated, and plan in the things that were blank.  If just one or two boys are missing something, if their birthday was getting close work it in quick with something else we were doing, or plan it in later when we could hit it again.  Using this, we could do most of the requirements twice during the year, having the boys who already passed it off help teach, or give them a great review.



Activity Tracker Excel - in case you want your records looking nice, or want to mess with it like I did when I found the similar one (actually very different now), here's a version you can edit.

Examples of my schedule/scout newsletter --->  Oct-Dec and Jan-Mar  This was as much for me as it was for the boys.  I needed to be planned ahead so I wasn't wondering every week what we were going to do.  The boys and parents liked knowing what was ahead, and I could put things on there (like bring a personal first aid kit), and they would magically show up with them.  I like the half-sheet size - not too big for the fridge.

Now just a fun tip on teaching knots.  I learned this from one of my great scouting heroes, Kathee from the Snake River Council (if you're from up there, you know who I'm talking about).  She was a Scoutmaster for a community unit and would take her boys to scout camp, where those that didn't know her wondered why a girl was there.  By the end of the week they would be asking her how she got her boys to know and do the things they did.  For knots, she had a different color of paracord for each knot, and once they could pass off the knot (not just tying it once, but maybe learning it one meeting and passing it off the next), they would earn the rope for that knot.  If every they couldn't show her or the patrol leader the knot, they would lose the rope.  YIKES!  I guarantee no boy wants to lose a rope he's earned.  Plus, with a rope in hand, they can go home and practice, and they do.  They get their first rope when they cross the bridge from cub scouting to boy scouting - I have them tie a square knot when they get to me, and when they do it, they get a carabiner (to hang their ropes on and clip to a belt buckle) and a red rope.  Colors really don't matter.  For the basic knots I cut them about 4 feet long.  They have to do all 3 lashings to get the rope for that, but that rope is 7-8 feet long.  Paracord is cheap - we have a store locally that sells it by the foot for 7 or 8 cents per foot, depending on the quality.  Works out to be less than $3/boy for a set of ropes.

Here is a list of fun game ideas to reinforce the knots they learn.

I hope the files are helpful!  Feel free to share this page with other 11 year old scout leaders.

If you know Wolf scout leader that needs some good tracking documents, I've got those as well, right here.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Eyes to See

The last two general conferences the question I've had in my mind is how our family could be more loving and united. It just seemed there was always so much contention here over one silly thing or another.
Two Sundays ago I was being set apart as the Wolf leader in our ward, and during the blessing the words "the love that permeates your home" jumped out at me. Has he been in our home?!? Then I thought of where that blessing was really coming from, and what He knows and sees. What was I missing?
During the next week I was sometimes shocked, amazed, and humbled at the things I saw happening in our home. The little kindnesses, the laughter (one night crazy wild what-did-I-feed-them-for-dinner-this-is-so-weird-they-are-being-so-fun-together laughter), singing while they sort laundry together, smiles, and happiness.
I don't know if the miracle came from the blessing, or from my eyes being opened, but it's been two weeks now and I'm still seeing it. I love my wonderful family! (Even when they are contentious, because that still happens too.)



Someone is missing . . . 



Sunday, January 31, 2016

Liahona Chocolate

Prayers can be answered in funny ways. My primary lesson today was on 1 Nephi 16 - the liahona. I had been thinking about an object lesson (didn't love the one in the manual), but no ideas were coming. Grabbed some Dove birthday chocolate to read over the lesson again this morning, glanced at the message inside, and inspiration struck. The world's messages are everywhere, and may sound lovely and enticing, but not God's way to get things done and bring us the most happiness.

In class I passed out chocolate to everyone and we enjoyed the advice inside, some good, some bad, and talked about all the places we can see for counsel and advice the world's way.  Then we talked about 1 Nephi 16 and likened that to us using Alma 37, then talked about the kinds of liahonas we can have faith in and really trust - scriptures, prophets, the Holy Ghost, patriarchal blessings, etc.

Thank you Dove!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Gifts

In a letter from Adam this week he asked, "Also, what do you want for your birthday? I already have one thing set (you'll love it). And maybe I'll send something for you to share with the whole family (spicy hot chocolate). But any wishes?"

The morning was busy enough (working for him actually - in the first letter he sent he asked me to e-mail him some talks he could add to a USB) that I hadn't even seen that to respond, so when I had to run pick up one of the kids I sent a quick message telling him I would send more talks if I got back soon enough.  When he replied to that I finally saw the question when he said again, "I need birthday wish on Monday. So I can get it sent. So think hard about it this week."

My response (thought I don't think he saw it yet) -  "Oh my son. Just you being you is gift enough."
Logistics-wise, he's on a mission.  He doesn't have a lot of money, and he doesn't have time to be wandering looking for anything, and really, what am I supposed to tell him?  "There's this book I really would like..."

But really, every letter is a gift.  Every picture he sends.  Every experience he shares.  Every testimony he bears.  Every bit of him I get to see growing and becoming stronger and stronger in the gospel.

It's been a perfect reminder of what really can we give our Heavenly Father, but I've still been trying to think of what I could tell him.

Maybe...
Say a prayer with me in mind and say "Thank you" a lot.  ;)
Write a letter telling me what you learned from me.
Watch for an act of service you can do that day and tell me about it.

???

Friday, October 16, 2015

Exceptions

(Since it's been almost a year since I last posted here, I found this post I started way back then and never shared.)

I want my kids home before dark.  I don't care what the clock says, especially in the winter, I want them home and in my house so I know they arrived safely and I don't have to worry about them possibly walking home alone.  If I have a little one away, I send one of the bigger kids to get them or go pick them up myself, before dark.

When my children have friends over, I make sure their friends are home before dark, even if it means one of us walking or driving their child home.

And yet, my kids don't always see it that way.  They think that just because they are right across the street, it doesn't matter.  That the short distance makes it okay. Here and there one will communicate with me beforehand, and I might okay an exception for a really good reason, but normally if one of them wanders in after dark, they will hear about it from their mom, and there may be other consequences.

I realized a similar phenomena in church recently.  It happens all the time during lessons, but the ah-ha came Sunday during a lesson on being "In the World, But Not of the World."  The lesson could be taken very broadly, but  it specifically mentioned four subjects - keeping the Sabbath Day holy, obeying the Word of Wisdom, respecting the name of Deity, and dressing modestly and keeping the law of chastity.  The night before teaching the lesson, I read the story of Eli Herring, and his choice of declining an NFL contract because he would have to play on Sunday.  (Here's a New Era article about him, and another article I really liked.)  I was very impressed by how seriously and spiritually he sought direction, and shared the story during my lesson.

Immediately a hand was raised, and stories were shared about others that work on Sunday and the opportunities that have come, and others that have chosen to play ball on Sunday.

I didn't feel prompted to share it during the lesson, but during my lesson prep I had written at the top of my manual, "We need to stop looking for the exceptions, and seek to better follow the rule."

Why do we do that?  Why can't we sit through a lesson on, for instance, keeping the Sabbath Day holy, and listen to the spirit about how we can personally make adjustments to better follow that?  Why is there a need to defend?

I love what the other article author said in the comments section to someone giving exceptions:
I want my sons to go on a mission and to keep the Sabbath day holy throughout their lives because I know that the Lord will bless them immeasurably for doing so. And to help make that happen, I want to give my sons examples of people who keep those commandments even if they are under extreme pressure to do otherwise. Going on a mission and keeping the Sabbath day holy is the rule. That’s not to say there aren’t inspired exceptions at times. But I wouldn’t hold up the exceptions as examples to my sons. I hold up as examples those people who keep the standard regardless of temporal consequences.
I don't know if we're afraid of setting a bar and shooting for it, or of offending others by showing we're shooting for it, or... or... what.

Get Thee Hence!

As of today, Adam has officially been on his mission for exactly a month!  Every letter glows with his love of learning his role as a missionary, meeting new people, and growing in testimony.

Which is what brings on this blog post.  The adversary discovered he could use my wonderful son against me.

It started small.  I couldn't even say exactly what the beginning point was, so I'll just jump to the point of realization, which was last Monday, his most recent prep day.  It went like this - I hate my phone making noise at me all day, so I leave off the notifications.  One of the first things I've started doing Monday morning is turning on e-mail notifications so I'll see when his e-mail comes in.  Anticipation for a few hours, then hooray, it's arrived!  This week Jamie was even home, so we gathered everyone together and read his message.  So so exciting to read!  As we e-mailed short response letter back and forth for a bit, the thoughts started coming...

He didn't say anything about the letter you wrote him.
You aren't important to him.
You shouldn't spend so much time thinking of good things to write him, it doesn't matter.
Nobody cares what you have to say.
And on and painfully on.

Jamie headed off to work and the thoughts continued.  I started to wonder, did he even get my letter?  I had attached some pictures from the week.  Maybe that's not allowed?  Maybe he sat and read letters from everyone else and is wondering why I didn't write.  I imagined him confused, wondering why so early on in his mission his mom already isn't writing.  I sent Jamie a text about that, and he called (probably realizing something was up).  About 5 seconds into the call I was in tears, so consumed with all the negative hurtful thoughts I was having.

Poor Jamie is not used to having a fragile, weepy wife!  He did his best, and even sent Adam an e-mail (which I still need to delete) solely to say, please mention your mom it would do a lot of good.  I'm chuckling now as I write this.  He married a tough gal, and had no idea what to do with the person he was talking to at that moment.  I'm very grateful he was trying!

That wasn't the first episode, but it was certainly the worst.  Satan found a golden opening to derail me, using my motherly desire to be important to my children, and I was so consumed by it that my children at home got a cruddy mother.

Maybe the voices were getting louder and easier to see for what they are, but thankfully this time I recognized everything for what it was, and that night I went to bed drained from it all, praying for a miracle to help me close it all out.

The next morning I wrote this in my journal:

"Satan doesn't know who he's messing with.

I am a daughter of God!  I have made covenants that bind me eternally to His work.  I know He loves me, and that my Savior loves me.  Without them I am nothing.  With them, I can do anything.  My life is in their hands, to further their great work on this earth.

I may still discover chinks in my armor for Satan's fiery darts, but these will be quickly discovered and strengthened.  But still the armor is there, every day.

I am enlisted.  Battle on."

The adversary is real and always watching for a weak point. It's one thing to love my children, and quite another to base who I am on them, what they do, and if they tell me thanks for what I do.

The seriousness and strength of it all seems so stupid and weak now.  But I also recognize this battle might not be completely over.  We shall see.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Generosity Backfired, or Why Did They Learn What I Was Teaching?

It's always been a goal to have our children be service-minded, good workers, and generous.  We've followed what those smarter than us have said works to do that - be involved together on service projects, take them to deliver meals and treats (Melanie is excellent at making cinnamon rolls, as several ward members would testify), and just generally be on the watch for opportunities to do good and do it.

Well guess what.  They learned it.

A few weeks ago Adam went to a dance and ended up giving 5 people rides home.  Two lived within about 5 minutes of the dance, two were about 15 minutes away, and one was about 20 minutes away.  Mom and Dad didn't feel quite so generous when we discovered the closest to the dance went home first, the closest to home went second, and the furthest away last, which put them more like 30 minutes away.  In an awesome parenting gesture, I asked him why he didn't stop in to say hi on his way past.  Yes me, the one that should be encouraging good, kind, generous behavior.  Yes, he got home late, past Holy Ghost bedtime late. And he heard he needs to plan better if that's going to happen again.

But I realized later that I should be happy he's willing to be helpful, because really that's what was at the heart of it all.

Yet when another child showed similar lessons learned (that's three sentences in a row I've started with a conjunction), I was again similarly irritated.  I got a text yesterday saying the Beehives were taking dinner in to a family for their activity, and reminding Melanie that she offered to bring soup.  I was grateful for the notice since I hadn't heard, but the immediate thought that ran through was, Really?  Nothing cheaper/easier?  At least this time it all stayed in my head (until now), though I did mention that I'm glad her leader let me know so I didn't hear about it a half hour before it needed to be done.  She did a great job today making it all by herself.  Sheesh, if she can rock cinnamon rolls, of course she can throw some soup together!

Trying to repent a little, sending this out so that when someone else's child learns the great lessons you want them to, maybe you'll remember better than I have to take note, enjoy, encourage, and be grateful.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Error...

Went online to research some family history and got this . . .



Call me weird, but I thought it was cool.

A few minutes later (after posting that first half actually), I refreshed the page and got this instead.



Pretty fun to belong to a world-wide church.  :)