Thursday, March 28, 2013

Service Just Makes It Better

I used to hate going to choir.  Well maybe not hate.  Really-really-didn't-look-forward-to.

Five of our six kids are part of a choir that meets every Friday for about 2 1/2 hours.  They are all off playing with friends around the house and yard we meet at, and a few of the moms hang out in a back room.  Since it's far enough away, I've been one of those moms, sitting there feeling those 2 1/2 hours slip away from my life.  Anything I tried to bring with me to work on wouldn't get done for one reason or another.

I asked the choir teacher at the beginning of this year if there is anything I could do for her while I'm there.  "Clean your house?"  (She thought about that one.)  One day I did it - cleaned as many windows as I could find, trying to not let her see me.  (I don't think she did.)

Another day I went thinking I really could get something done this time since Madeleine was home with her daddy.  I ended up with 5 or 6 (more?) kids on my lap, my sides, and behind me while I read to them.  One of them was a giant "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" book, that we joked made the wind blow every time we turned the page.

About this time I decided I was done with ME and went looking for ways to serve.

One day I decided that rather than sit in the "mom area," I would hang out where some of the kids hang out while waiting to head into the choir room.  They taught me a few funny tricks that they then performed on me over and over and over, and I taught them one that they in turn spread to some of the other kids.

Another day shortly after a lot of snow had melted and there was mud and muck everywhere outside, it somehow magically found its way inside.  I became the floor nazi, and swept it all up.  Then I grabbed a washrag and started wiping down the kitchen.  Then I asked where a mop is by one of their youngers who I figured wouldn't remember that I had asked long enough to tattle on me (shhhh, keep my secret!), and she instructed me on their family's way of doing that.  After the floor was clean and shiny, I REALLY became the floor nazi.  I set sentries at the door, and anyone that somehow made it through and created new footprints was quickly told to wipe them up.

Another day there was a microwave nachos disaster, and I cleaned that up, did my very best trying to get all he burn marks off the plate, and did a bit of other tidying.

All of this while my children and our lovely choir teacher were happily and beautifully singing away.  I've decided that I'm the substitute mother while the choir teacher is busy serving all of our families.

Choir is way more fun now.  Service just makes anything better!

(Fun tidbit - they even call it a service choir because they have four performances, three of which are at rest homes and one for family and friends.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I LOVE My Study Journal

About a year and a half ago I discovered scripture journals (info links at the end).  Even after using it for a short time, I wished I had been doing it for years.  I've had other study journals, but they weren't organized at all - just a place to write great things down in for future reference.  This one has a topic for each two pages, and when I'm studying I like to have it close.  If I don't, I usually have to go find it anyway to jot down a powerful idea or two.

I don't limit myself to just scriptures or general authorities, thus why I don't call it my scripture journal.  I have quotes from books, from people I've studied, from friends I've learned from.  Anything that has spoken to my soul.

Talking about study journals once, a young woman I know mentioned that she'll record something and they write her own thoughts after it.  I've done it a few times, but I think my jottings would be more meaningful to others if I added that.  I guess I just want to get back to whatever I'm studying, and in my hurry, don't want it to say, "I LOVE THAT!" after each one.

It's been interesting to see which topics are filled more than others.  I have never sat down and thought "Today I'm going to study about [whatever topic]," but as I'm studying anything I'll come across something that I just HAVE to write down.

But check these out . . .

. . . four things for parenting . . .

. . . three for motherhood . . .

. . . a ton for prayer (counting the two pages I keep in there from a lesson I taught on the difference prayer makes using examples from the Book of Mormon) . . .

 . . . a ton for trials - about ready to start two more pages for that.

 Makes me wonder why I need to know so much about trials and so little about mothering.  ???

I use a plain-old-lame-old composition journal.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money, not sure if I would continue it at first, but if I were starting again, I think I would do the same thing.  I like the size, it's decently sturdy, and again, not pricey.

It's such a treasure to me!  I doubt mine will ever become something as incredible as the ones in the examples below, but I love having it all.  I record so much more because I feel like it's something I can access easily, and I feel like my study goes towards a more directed purpose.  Here and there I'm adding things from my old study journal, so someday those things can be in a nice organized place too. For ease of access, I've thought about making them google docs, but haven't made that move yet.

For information on starting your own:

Scripture Journals:

Scripture Journal Set-Up:  (I looked over her topics, took off some, and added some of my own.  Topics I added:  Becoming, Blessings, Callings, Children, Enduring, Exactness, Fasting, Gifts, God's Perfect Love for His Children, Happiness, Hope, Judgement, Justice and Mercy, Love, Mentoring, Mission, Peace, Personal Revelation, Pride, Relief Society, Sacrifice, Scouting, Self-Reliance, Trials, United States of America, Unity, Vision, Work)

Scripture Journal Ideas:


Friday, March 15, 2013

Quarters from Heaven

Yesterday Melanie offered to clean out the little van, and took quite a while gathering garbage and vacuuming it really well.  I was working on something else and didn't go down to check on her, but had to pick up the boys later from something and noticed immediately how nice it looked.

As I pulled out of the driveway I called her to let her know how great it looked and to thank her for her hard work.  Just as I hung up, I heard a sound I quickly identified as a coin, then felt something hit my shoulder and land in my lap.  A quarter had somehow fallen from a coin holder that is mounted on the ceiling of the van.

I had to laugh.  Though it should have fallen on Melanie for doing such a great job, it made me think of how quickly we probably get blessed for doing the right thing and being kind, even just by being grateful and saying thank you.  Stronger relationships and willing service are definitely great blessings.