Monday, April 30, 2018

Bearing Record

Every time I read the Book of Mormon, different things stand out to me. I love that book! I've been reading 3 Nephi to learn more about ministering and how the Savior ministers. I've learned some awesome things, but the following verses stood out to me as well. These verses made me think of the scripture in Philippians 2:10-11 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord." This won't happen because people are forced to do it. It won't happen because people are just going along with it. It will happen because each one of us will someday know of a surety for ourselves. Physically. Here is the record of the Nephites who had the opportunity to personally greet the Savior after His resurrection.

3 Nephi 11:15 "And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth ONE BY ONE until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come."

3 Nephi 17:16-17 "And after this manner do they bear record: The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father; And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.

3 Nephi 17:25 "And the multitude did see and hear and bear record; and they know that their record is true for they all of them did see and hear, every man for himself; and they were in number about two thousand and five hundred souls; and they did consist of men, women, and children."

I have not yet experienced greeting the Savior in the flesh, but I have had very real, personal, spiritual experiences that allow me to bear record of Him. I know He lives.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Book Review Ratings

Since I review books once in a while, I've decided to have a rating scale because I would hate to recommend a book that isn't right for someone. So, here it is:

FF is for Family Friendly. Good for all readers. You can probably read this out loud to the young and old without any problems.

BR is for Brave Reader. Recommended for 13 and up if reading alone or 9 and up if reading with a responsible, trusted adult. These books may have some tough things to read and bring up thematic topics of discussion.

PWTYAA is for Probably Wait 'Til You're An Adult. These books contain specific material beyond thematic elements, and I only recommend them for the mature reader if I recommend them at all.

That's it! I hope this will help my blog readers discern which books I review are right for them.

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Reflections on the Resurrection of Christ

Easter Sunday is almost here. As I read the Book of Mormon this morning, a few verses stood out to me. I love how Jesus Christ is infused into ever page of that book. I love the experiences I have while I'm reading: the thoughts that come to me, the inspiration I receive, and how my understanding is deepened more and more. Verses 7-9 reads:

"And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection. 
therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. He is the light and life of the world; yea, a light that is ENDLESS, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is ENDLESS, that there can be no more death."

I also love how every single day, without fail, there is a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Just as the sun lights the world after night, He gives us the sure hope of life after death. He is my shepherd, my rock, my joy, my peace. I hope everyone has a joyful Easter Sunday.

This is a painting by Matt Warren that hangs on my wall.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Bad Dreams and Bed Time Routines

My kids become vampires at bedtime.

After a long day of giving my all, I find they still want to suck the life out of me at the close of day.

Let's look at it from their perspective. It's dark. They've been with people all day and now they're expected to stay in their beds by themselves.  IN THE DARK. There are shadows, and noises, and possibly some unresolved emotions from the day. They wonder who--or what--is in the closet, under their bed, or outside their window. No wonder they are often unsettled at bedtime. No wonder they resist, whine, act out, cling, etc.

I'm going to shift gears for a minute and share what my husband and I have done to help our children deal with bad dreams. Parenting is not an 8 to 5 sort of thing. I consider myself on-call 24/7 as a mother. Early in our marriage, we decided on a procedure for nighttime visits from our children and it has worked quite well for us.

I write this blog post the day after our youngest came to our bed in the night because she had a bad dream. To give some context, I'd like to include that we've lived in a new house for a short period of time. She is ten and sleeps in a downstairs bedroom, which she hasn't done for five years. On top of that, because of a problem with carpet in our new house, she's actually sleeping in a bedroom that is not her own, still surrounded by boxes. For the first two nights in the house, she wouldn't sleep downstairs at all.

She came to my bedside around 3 AM because she had a bad dream. I let her get in bed with me and held her. I let her cry. I asked her what the dream was about and she told me. We were all trapped in a room and were burning to death. Pretty bleak. I comforted her and let her stay in my bed for around 20-30 minutes. Then I asked if she was ready to go back to her bed and she said yes. I told her I'd take her back and even stay with her in her bed for a bit. Just after 4 AM, I returned to my bed.

Here is the procedure: Our kids are always welcome to come to us, even in the middle of the night. Even when we're groggy, sleep-deprived and dead tired. They are always welcome. We take the time to give them what they need: companionship, comfort, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or whatever the case may be. The second part of the deal is they always return to their own bed. We take them back to their room, tuck them in, kiss and hug them, and say goodnight once more. If they have had a particularly unsettling dream, or if there are special circumstances, I will stay with them in their bed for a bit as well, but I will always go back to my own bed.

What made us decide on this procedure? We wanted our kids to know that we are always there for them, but we also wanted to protect our boundaries and help them find the courage to face fears. For us, this works well. Our kids don't complain about going back to bed. I don't think they stay in their beds afraid either, wondering if they should come to us. They know they can come to us. The time we spend consoling them does the trick. They know what to expect, which empowers them. They feel connected, watched over, listened to, and taken care of. Their needs are filled and they can return to their beds and try again to get some restful sleep. Even with all the special circumstances of the last late-nigh visit, our daughter knew what to expect and had the courage to go back to her temporary room in a new house.

So back to the vampires. Kids love to have their parents present at bedtime. I know the days are long, and I'll admit sometimes all they get is a hug and kiss goodnight because I've got nothing left. But I have found it is best if they have some one-on-one time with each parent at bedtime. I like to have them tell me three things they're grateful for, or something good and bad from the day as well as something they're looking forward to. I try to listen (sometimes I zone out), I try to give a bit more. One of their favorite things is for me to sing them a song. They also love a little back scratch or shoulder massage. I like to give when I can. Why? Because they deserve to feel safe, loved, important, even cherished.

Challenge: Establish a bedtime routine in your home as well as a procedure for what to do when your kids visit you in the middle of the night. (Note: while my husband and I both participate in the bedtime routine, I almost always do the middle of the night thing. They always seem to come to me. I'm pretty sure it's because my husband is dead to the world. And maybe they just prefer mom in times like that. If there is puke involved, however, it's more of a team effort.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Book on My Mind

Three weeks ago today, my family and I moved into a new house. A week before that, we said goodbye to our home in Maryland and began trekking across the country. Two thousand and sixty-six miles of pure fun. ;) The first person I met here invited me to a book club. I got to thinking about books and suddenly wanted to read a particular story. I soon made a trip to our new local library and found this old friend.

I had read this book years ago and remembered loving it, but I couldn't imagine how it would affect me now. The story begins with Sarah making a trek with her family to a new place. When they arrive, they discover it's not that great and return home. This mirrored my own current circumstances in a way. My family had moved to Maryland five years previous. It's not that it wasn't great, but we just felt like it was time to move home. So we did. I love how books can provide that rare connection sometimes if you read the right book at the right time. 

I hope you've got one of those treasure troves on your mind right now. And if not, I hope you find one soon.