Thursday, February 28, 2013

Line Upon Line

Little Ah-ha . . .

We learn "line upon line, precept on precept."  Right?

A very simple and true principle when you think about it.  After all, can you understand Calculus without basic math or algebra?  Can you understand great literature without knowing how to read?

The ah-ha -- there isn't a speed limit on that.  If someone is capable of learning and understanding math principles, if they have the opportunity, work ethic, and support to do it, they could race through a whole lot of math.  Likewise with anything else.

The more time and effort you put into something, the more "lines" and "precepts" you can keep adding to that.

Almost 6 years ago I was at my first homeschool conference, and the keynote speaker mentioned that we have a choice for the the next 5 years.  We can keep doing what we're doing and stay the same that we are, progressing as we have been.  OR we could decide a direction, set goals, and progress in huge amounts, all in the same 5 years.

Incredible the difference a few years can make.  (Pondering more about that now.  Feel free to do the same.)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Joe Hutto - Turkey Mom Extraordinaire

I can't imagine the patience and dedication it would take to do this!  Check out this Nature film on Joe Hutto.  Simply amazing.  Now I want to read the book.

My Life as a Turkey

But if he could do this with turkeys, what can this teach me about mothering?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Just Follow

While reading a friend's blog this morning I was reminded (again!) that in seeking guidance in my life, I need to remember that God is my ultimate mentor.  Sometimes that is so easy, and other times, I don't know, a little scary?

Back in September at roundtable (if you don't know, that's a monthly meeting of scout leaders in your area where you can get and give ideas, be trained, and learn with other scout leaders) I was very jokingly asked to take over the Boy Scout portion of that since the person over that realized the evening before that he had a conflict that evening for the next several months.  That would mean being there every month and planning the 45 minute section specifically for the Boy Scout leaders.  I very jokingly said, "Absolutely!" then told them later that there is no-way-no-how that I could fit that in my world right now.  They know me, and they understood.  And I put it out of my mind entirely.

Two days later Jamie and I were at the temple.  While we were sitting in there, I suddenly had the thought that I could help them out for a couple months, just while they found someone else.  Okay, I thought, that wouldn't be too bad.  As that settled in, I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling of, "You need to do this."  Then ideas started coming - things we could talk about, and how I could easily share the responsibility.  As soon as we got in the car I was on my phone sending the roundtable commissioner an e-mail telling her that if they still needed someone, then I'm her gal.

I guess because the feeling was so strong, it really has never been scary for me, even though there is great potential for that.  Why?  Picture this - little ol' me and about 30 men, every month.  Once in a while a female committee member or two shows up, but normally it's me and the guys.  I know a lot about scouting, but ALL of them have more experience than me since I've never delivered the scouting program to boys older than cub scout age.  What am I supposed to teach them?

Even potentially scarier, the second month I did it I knew I needed to talk to them about youth protection (an online training every scout leader is required to take and every parent should take, especially if they attend an activity).  It can be a sensitive topic, especially when you get into specifics of potential problems.  Since the training is online, you can't ask questions or share experiences, and I really felt like we needed to do that so they would understand the policies and procedures involved with youth protection.  The night before roundtable I heard from the Venture roundtable leader that his plans had fallen through, that the Varsity group had been planning on meeting with them as well, and he asked if it would be okay if they all met with us.  Sure, why not!  So that already potentially scary evening turned into little ol' me and over 50 men (several came in after we passed the roll around, so it could have been more than that).  The whole drive over I kept reciting "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  :)  At one point the conversation got "sensitive" enough that I jokingly offered to leave so they could talk more frankly for a few minutes, then let me know when to come back.  Thank goodness for a great district executive that joined in and helped me.  I learned a lot myself, and I had several of the scout leaders thank me afterwards (guys, it wasn't me).

I know it was personal revelation to me from God to take this position, for whatever reason.  Time has never been a problem, and the men quickly warmed up to having me there leading the group.  It really has been a great experience.  One of their wives told me that her husband looks forward to roundtable again, so with that bit of feedback (and the fact that they keep coming), I guess it's good for them too.

But there was another whisper that same day at the temple as well.  A month later when we went again I felt good about the fact that I had started working on it, but as more time has passed my "started" really hasn't amounted to much effort.  Not the kind of effort that direction from God should have.  But this one is definitely uncharted territory for me.  While the beginnings are easy to see, I think the unknown of taking this project further has me scared to work on it much.  I guess I need to start chanting again, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind," and listen for ways that He can help me make it happen, too.  Sadly, it's easier to shirk when you don't have a deadline or appointment to be to, but this is the stuff that integrity is made of.  Right?

I had most of that written up before church, then during sacrament meeting today one of the speakers made a comment along the lines of, how can we be instruments in God's hands if the instrument is trying to do the instructing?  Maybe in this case the instrument was deciding it didn't want to be played right now.

Thanks, friend, for the reminder this morning to have more faith and just follow.  Hopefully all ya'll will be hearing more about this.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Bread Lady

A couple weeks ago our Stake Relief Society put on an activity with a variety of speakers we could choose from.  If I had attended the last class first, I think I would have stayed there the whole time.  It was a bread class, and each of the 3 hours the instructor taught a different variety of bread, but from the moment I sat down and started watching her and her 12 year old daughter, I no longer cared about french bread.  I wanted my girls to play at their house!  This mother was gentle, joyful, centered, happy, and on and on, and her daughter was sweet, kind, beautiful, helpful, etc. etc.  Turns out that they live a ways away (yes, I asked), but just by watching them I could tell that she was an incredible woman and an intentional mother (Sister Beck talks about that, and I need to be better at it), and that her daughter was much the same.  I've only practiced what she said about bread a little, but I've thought about the two of them and their example a lot.

When studying Ralph Waldo Emerson this past week, this quote reminded me of them and the many others I get to call my family and friends.
"I count no man much because he cows or silences me.  Any fool can do that.  But if his conversation enriches or rejoices me, I must reckon him wise."
I hope you have people like that in your life, people that by just being around them make you want to be more, because I feel like my world is full of them.

By the way, "The Bread Lady" has a name, and she's a writer too, which I was happy to learn.  Since meeting her I found some articles she wrote, and this is my favorite, mainly because the night after I read it I had it in mind, and I ended up not eating ice cream, but did enjoy a great conversation with my son.  I want to start sending her topics for her to write about so I can learn more from her.  :)

What Am I Thinking?

"If you’re just in this meeting with me—this one we physically see—you’re not in the meeting yet.  The real meeting is the meeting between you and the Lord.  And if you want to really get in the meeting and have the Lord work upon your heart, that will be up to you."  --Gene R. Cook
During church today someone mentioned that when she is pulling weeds or doing other gardening activities she bears her testimony to herself.  That one little statement threw me into a wonderful "meeting" with the Lord.  I'm not a big fan of gardening (though it's one of those things that I would like to enjoy more), so in relating myself to her experience, it brought to mind other repetitive tasks that are necessary but don't make me feel joyful, like folding the laundry and doing the dishes.

And then I wondered, what am I missing because of my poor attitude?

I realized I have a whole lot of choice during those activities.  I could be bearing my testimony to myself, or several other things that would be a better use of my mind than grumbling about what I'm doing.  Another reminder to "cheerfully do all things that lie in [my] power" (D&C 123:17).  I really need to get better at that . . . 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Satan's Touche

If you haven't realized, there is a war going on.  Anyone that wonders why we have the war chapters in Alma needs to read it again in light of our day, and the fortifications and creativity we need to have to keep ahead in that war.

It especially seems that boys are under attack.  Google "war on boys" and you'll find article after article.

I wrote this post a few months ago regarding the LDS church's announcement lowering the missionary age by a year and pointed out that I image Satan was surprised and angered by that announcement.  "I'm sure he's pulling out all the stops, and will be doing all he can to get our kids even earlier.  Time to be far more watchful, prayerful, and careful than ever."

This week it was announced that the Boy Scouts of America will be voting next week to make a huge policy change.  Let's just say I was surprised and angered by this, as I know a lot of other people that love scouting were as well.  I had an ah-ha this morning - this is Satan's touche!  I wish I had all the amazing statistics in hand, but scouting is a huge benefit to boys.  In the LDS church we even go as far as calling it the activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood.

One of my favorite musicals, "The One and Only Genuine Original Family Band," has a song at the beginning that includes the words, "Twas a time for a man, and he was a man for the time."  That song as been in my mind regarding the fact that Thomas S. Monson is the current president of the LDS church and is the longest serving member on BSA's executive board.  He will be at the deciding meeting.  I love that, knowing that whatever decision is made there, he will come home with the proper direction for the church.  I'm currently the Webelos leader in our unit, and if the LDS church stops its association with the BSA, I imagine I would become the Faith in God for Boys leader and do many of the same things we do now.  And if he says we stay, I will definitely support that too.  Incredible how the Lord works, having President Monson in place there for this current battle.  We've had prophets that support scouting, but none that love it as much as him.

One of the stickier issues involves all the amazing employees of BSA in our area.  If the church pulled out of scouting right now, our district would have one scouting unit left.  I don't know the statistics for the other districts in our council or for councils in the area, but in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming I imagine that BSA membership would become comparatively almost non-existent.  What that means for all the great paid scouters, I don't know.  Maybe sent to another area?  Maybe laid off?  Regardless, it stinks, and a really awful side effect.

I've had people tell me, "Each unit will be able to decide for themselves, so it would be fine, right?"  I don't think it would.  When you have units holding to the historically strong values of scouting, and others that . . . don't . . . there would be plenty that would take it to the total extreme in the opposite, and the face of scouting will be tainted.

This isn't about money.  This isn't about support.  It's about boys.  And OUR future.  Remember, the boys today will be our leaders tomorrow.  Without leaders that make strong moral and ethical choices based on the Scout Oath and Law, the war on boys will be even more in the hands of those that wish to tear boys down.

Pray.  Write.  Fight.  HARD!

  Oct. 2012 conference - missionary age lowered
  Jan. 2013 - announcement about the 1st BSA membership change
  July 2015 - another BSA membership change announcement