Friday, April 4, 2014

Five (and half) Things for Friday, Birthing a Book Edition

-1-

My kids are so excited for General Conference that their enthusiasm is like electricity in the air. They LOVE General Conference and it ranks as a "holiday", right up there with Halloween and Christmas (except even better because it happens TWICE a year). They have been saying cute things all day like, "When we wake up in the morning it is going to be  General Conference!" followed by whooping all around. Or "I can't wait to go to sleep because it means it will be General Conference!"

It is down right adorable.

I give ALL credit for their love of General Conference to my mother-in-law. When we lived in Utah we would always watch Conference with them and, from the time they were little, she started having them play "General Conference Bingo", but with awesome prizes. Not only would they get candy to mark their squares with, but she would also have four or five brown paper bags for each child with surprises inside. When they got a Bingo they could open one of the bags. Evidently, they really love it. She also started the tradition of having the kids go run around outside whenever the choir started to sing, which they also love. It is cute to see them bolt out the door at the first sound of the organ. I think listening the the choir sing, while watching them run around the yard, might be my favorite part of conference.


Though, since we are in perma-winter here (and it just snowed again last night) I don't know how much running around outside there will be this year!

-1.5-

Speaking of General Conference. I LOVED the General Women's Meeting on Saturday. I had been a bit skeptical about how it was going to work having the Primary girls there, but I thought it was incredible. There was such a strong spirit of unity and love in our Relief Society that night. It really struck me hard how much women-- from age 8 to 88-- need each other. It was also neat to hear one of the speakers (forgot who) talk about how Satan is targeting girls younger and younger and how we need to teach them who they are at younger and younger ages. I thought that was a really powerful message, and it made me realize why our leaders had been inspired to include the Primary girls. These young girls are going to need lots of spiritual power and they need it young.  They are incredible women in embryo, and it makes me really excited to see them grow up! They are going to be a great force for  good in the world.



-2-

On a sadder note, about three weeks ago my car started acting funny. It started to shake and lunge. When Jon opened up the hood to see what was wrong he discovered that some squirrels had built a nest inside our engine compartment! There was a huge nest with two (dead) baby squirrels in it. It was so weird, especially because I had been driving the car everyday. It is strange to think that I have been driving around town with a car full of baby squirrels!

We noticed at the time we took the nest out that they had chewed several wires and figured that was the reason our car was acting strange. The day after we discovered the nest Jon had to go on a trip for a week, and since the car still worked, I drove it all that week. It was still acting funny but it was working, so I didn't complain. In fact, I gave the sister missionaries rides almost every day that week, and I told them that  the only reason my car was working was because I was getting blessing for helping them.

I said that jokingly, but when Jon got home he took a better look at the engine and couldn't believe what he saw. The squirrels had eaten through almost EVERY wire and connection in the engine; the battery wires, the harnesses, the spark plug wires, the compression hoses. Everything. There was NO way our car should have been working. I really must have been getting blessings for serving the missionaries! 

Jon fixed most of the wires and it was working for a day, but then it stopped working again for some mysterious reason. He has done just about everything he can think of to get it going again and nothing is working. It has been about two weeks that I have now been without a car, and it is getting old. Hopefully, we get it  fixed soon or find a replacement we can afford.

The kids, after I had a bit of a break down about it yesterday, told me that they think we should make the squirrels fix it. They are the ones who broke it after all!

If only.

-3-

Not having a car has been really hard, but we have been making the most of it. On Tuesday we bundled up in our winter gear and made a long walk to a friend's house to pull an April Fools joke on her. She is a sweet older woman in our ward who has been a bit like a Grandma to us out here. April Fools is her birthday and so we wanted to give her a fun surprise for her present. We found out she was going to be gone all morning and her husband let us in the house to decorate her fridge like this...


We had a lot of fun doing it, and she called later and told us that she had laughed and laughed about it.

It was definitely worth the long walk!

-4-

Asher has been really interested in video games lately. We don't have a gaming system but he loves to play Angry Birds and Bad Piggies on the iPad. He started asking me how to make video games, and I had NO idea. Luckily one of our home school friends has a 9 year-old son who is really into computer programming. They told us about a website called SCRATCH that teaches elementary school kids to program. It is a bit like building with Legos as it has blocks of computer code that you "click" in and arrange to create programs. You can download instructions for projects to make or you can buy the  really great book that goes along with it. The book is a story that has projects you have to complete to help the main characters accomplish their mission. It is a bit advanced for Asher (he can't read most of it yet) but we have been doing it together and he has loved it.


It is also really fun because I am learning how to computer program. Which is awesome, because to me computers might as well be magical creatures from Oz. It has been neat to see how it all works! 

In fact, as I have been doing SCRATCH with Asher I have realized how important it is going to be for him, and all my kids, to be fluent in "computer language." They are growing up in a world that is just getting more and more digital and I want them to be empowered to create with computers, instead of just having technology be something that happens to them. When they understand how the computer works and can manipulate it and create with it then video games change from a passive activity to an active one. They are acting on  the technology rather than being "acted upon" by it. I think that is going to be a very important difference in the world that our kids are growing up in.

They are suppose to have a SCRATCH iPad app in the next few months for pre-readers, and I am really excited about that. This is something I look forward to learning along with my kids.

Also, this is an awesome TED talk about Scratch and teaching elementary schools kids to code.

-5-

And last but not least... an update on my book!

I am SO close to being done that  it hurts... literally. I feel like I am in "transition" phase of birthing this baby. I currently feel like I am never ever going to be able to finish it, like it was the stupidest idea in the whole universe to undertake it, that no one even cares about women in the scriptures, and it is going to be a royal flop.

None of that is true, but that is what my oh -so- positive self talk has been saying lately. Luckily Jon keeps me grounded and laboring onward.

Today or tomorrow I should finish my last woman (did you know there are 85 women in the New Testament!) and then I just have my Introduction pieces to write and the appendix to organize. Also, there should be a cover very soon! I'll give you a peek as soon as I see it. The photography is turning out so beautiful!

I can do it! I just have to keep reminding myself that this baby is worth it... right?

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy General Conference! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why You Won't Want to Miss the General Women's Meeting this Weekend


I am so excited for the FIRST ever General Woman's Meeting this Saturday. For the first time women from the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary will all be meeting together for the first session of General Conference.

It is going to be a historic meeting!

When I heard that that they were going to change the meeting to include all women (ages 8 and older) it made me so happy. About a year ago I was asked to give a presentation on women in the scriptures to a group of Young Women. As I was praying about what I should speak to them about it really struck me that these young women needed to know that they were already  a part of Relief Society. I felt really strongly that they needed to know that Young Women's was NOT something separate from Relief Society but that it was preparing them to assume the responsibilities that God expected them to perform as members of the  Relief Society. I also felt that they needed to know that  the Relief Society-- like the priesthood quorums of the church-- was an ancient organization.

As I have been studying the New Testament I have realized that we have lots of evidences that when Christ organized his church on the earth he also organized the women-- an ancient Relief Society-- whose purpose was to develop holy women and to help bring forth the great priesthood mission of the earth. In fact, the prophet Joseph Smith taught that,
“The Church was never perfectly organized until the women were thus organized.” (Sarah Granger Kimball, “Auto-biography,” Woman’s Exponent, Sept. 1, 1883, p. 51.) 
Sister Eliza R. Snow, the second president of the Relief Society, repeated this teaching when she said,
  “Although the name may be of modern date, the institution is of ancient origin. We were told by our martyred prophet that the same organization existed in the church anciently.” (Eliza R. Snow, “Female Relief Society,” Deseret News, Apr. 22, 1868, 1)
Not only is Relief Society an ancient organization, patterned after the way Christ organized women in his church, but it is, in fact, the female quorum of the church.  President Spencer W. Kimball taught that ,
“The Relief Society is the Lord’s organization for women. It complements the priesthood training given to the brethren.”  
and Sister Julie B. Beck taught,

"The word society has a meaning nearly identical to that of quorum. It connotes “an enduring and cooperating . . . group” distinguished by its common aims and beliefs. When Joseph Smith organized the sisters, he told them that “there should be a select society, separate from all the evils of the world, choice, virtuous, and holy.” President Joseph F. Smith taught that Relief Society has its own unique identity and that it was “divinely made, divinely authorized, divinely instituted, divinely ordained of God to minister for the salvation of the souls of women and men.” (from "Why we are Organized into Quorums and  Relief Societies")

The Young Women's organization is the preparatory program to enter Relief Society, just like the Aaronic priesthood organization is preparatory for the young men to enter Elder's quorum. In fact, if you think back to what the ancient Relief Society would have looked like it certainly would have included young women. Right now our definition of when a young women enters Relief Society is based off her turning 18, the age in many Western societies when children are considered adults. Yet, anciently women were married around age 14, and by the age of 18 might already have had a husband and several children. This means that Relief Society of Christ's time probably would have included both young women and mature women.

So it is exciting to me to see that General Conference this year is expanding to include both the Young Women and the Relief Society women (and the primary girls!) in one meeting-- and unified under one purpose.

 It will truly be a meeting of all God's holy women. 


I promise you won't want to miss it! 

If you want you can watch it live on Saturday by following this link

Friday, March 7, 2014

Five Things for Friday, Book Update and Neverending Winter Edition

 

 





-1-

I am convinced winter is never going to end.

It has been a long and oh, so very, very cold winter.  And I don't know if I can take much more of it. I thought I was tough, but this winter has been so cold. We've had almost two months where the temperature has hardly risen above zero!  Last week I looked at the forecast and just about bawled. The high was 10 degrees! This week has been a bit better. Today it hit 30 degrees and it felt like a tropical paradise, which is kind of sad.

I am so ready for spring.

Still, I do have hope that it might not be too far away because I have noticed that the birds are back in our trees. We now have the most delightful group of robins living in our front yard, and a family of sparrows are now inhabiting our barn and the bird house in our yard. Also, the kids and I opened up the car doors yesterday and the waft that reached our noses told us that spring really must be right around the corner because... the skunk is awake.



A fragrant reminder that winter won't last forever.


-2-

I had a few people ask me how my book on New Testament women is coming along and I am happy to report that I am about  2/3rds the way done! It has turned out to be a bigger job than I first expected. Mainly because my editor and I decided that, since I have written about so many of the women in the New Testament,  it would be a shame not to just write about ALL of them.

So I am.

My book is going to be called, "All the Women in the New Testament" ... or something close to that. I am really excited about it! I have gotten so much inspiration and guidance as I have been writing about these women, and I know it is going to be such a blessing to people to have all these women's stories in one place. It is going to be a great resource for anyone studying the New Testament. Also, the pictures are turning out SO beautiful. Mandy is working on the cover images right now, so hopefully in a few weeks we will have a sneak peak to show you. I am getting really excited to see the finished product.

Now, to just to get it all done!  The Lord has blessed me with a big burst of energy the last few weeks, but I just hope that it keeps up because I still have about 15 more women to write!  If you want to say a little prayer for me I wouldn't mind getting all the help I can.

-3-

A few weeks ago I started taking pictures for a  post about our homeschooling routine. For the last four or five months we have had a really great schedule going, and I was feeling so good about how our system was working, that I couldn't wait to share it. Then all of sudden everything fell apart. About mid-February the kids didn't want to do anything even semi-school related. Our schedule went out the door, their were tears, arguments and "I'm bored" became the most common phrase in our house. I wasn't too worried though, I'd been warned by veteran homeschoolers that this burnout happens to EVERYONE in February, so I was prepared for it. I decided to reign back our schedule, toss out academic stuff, and just do activities. 

A topographical map of Mexico out of paper and glue
Scaling back seemed to work pretty well. We spent a few days going through dinosaur books and classifying and naming all he dinosaurs in the boy's collection. We made passports and used the Friend Magazine's Friends Around the World activities to study new countries. Asher and Rose started taking piano lessons. We put on a few puppet shows. We painted, drew, sculpted, and scribbled. We cooked and baked. We read "By the Banks of Plum Creek". We played in the snow. We watched movies.  We made up stories. And we played with LEGOs.

Lots of LEGOs.

But I am running out of ideas, and I still have several more weeks till this endless winter ends. We are getting bored. I'd love to hear what other people have been doing to beat the "cabin fever" and "homeschool funk"!



-4- 

Like I mentioned we have been playing lots of LEGOs. In fact, can I just say that who ever invented LEGOs should be knighted, maybe even sainted. I honestly don't know how pioneer moms made it through the winter in one room log cabins without LEGOs. They are just about the best toy in the world.

One of our favorite things has been to make stop-motion LEGO movies with the Lego Movie Maker App. It is a really awesome app... and it is free! Asher and I have made some pretty epic videos together. These two our our best I think.

video

video


-5-

Oh, and look who can sit up now!


Isn't she a doll?  I'm totally addicted to kissing those little cheeks.

I hope you have the most wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Lost Teachings of Jesus on the Sacred Place of Women


I was recently invited to review Alonzo L. Gaskill's new book "The Lost Teachings of Jesus on the Sacred Place of Women." The title really intrigued me and I figured that this book would be right up my alley.

And it was.

This book isn't very long, only 112 pages. The first part of the book is Gaskill's introduction and the historical background behind the "Lost Teachings of Jesus." Out of everything in the book, I loved the history part the best. In fact I would have loved to have twenty more pages of the book dealing with it, but that is just the history nut in me. The text that Gaskill shares is taken from a manuscript brought from India in the late 1800's. A scholar named Nicholas Notovitch visited a Buddhist monastery there and learned of the existence of very old documents they had which contained the teachings of Jesus. In his book Gaskill explained:
"According to the monks, the content of these ancient texts was acquired by some Indian merchants who had been in Judea during the last year of Jesus's mortal ministry. Shortly after Christ's crucifixion, these itinerant importers returned to their homeland and told of the truths they had seen and heard. Within three or four years of Christ's death, the testimonies of those eye witnesses regarding Christ were recorded. Consequently, if their reports are true, then their record of Jesus's teachings was penned before any of the four Gospels." (Pg. 6)
This was just fascinating to me because I have often thought that there must be other accounts and records of Jesus Christ scattered across the world that we have yet to discover, or which have been lost. In fact, as Latter-day Saints we know there are additional records about Christ's teachings that we don't have yet, but someday will (see 2 Nephi 29:11-14). This book gave me a little glimpse into what those other books might contain, and it was exciting to see that among those teachings were beautiful truths about women.

These teachings were even more meaningful for me because for the last few months I have been engrossed in writing my book about New Testament women. As I have been studying and writing about the women in the New Testament I have felt, several times, that we must have lost something really important about Christ's interactions and his teachings about women.  There are many beautiful truths-- and  many more "bread crumbs" of truth-- about women throughout the New Testament, but it seems like there is something big missing. So reading these Lost Teachings was a great validation of my feelings, because I think they indicate that Christ probably did teach much more about women than just what we have in the New Testament. Which was really exciting to me.

The second half of Gaskill's book was his commentary on the content of the Lost Teachings. I enjoyed many parts of his commentary and appreciated how he drew on quotes from the prophets and apostles to show that, whether or not Jesus actually said these things, the truths contained in the Lost Teachings are supported by modern day revelation. I felt that was a really powerful part of his book. I also appreciated his attention to how these teaching apply to both women and men. Too often when we teach about women we forget that those teachings also apply to men. I appreciated that Gaskill made it a point to speak to men, as well as women.

On the other hand, I felt at times his commentary lacked the depth I was hungering for. There were a few times when he seemed to skim over the surface of the teaching, peppering it with quotes from General Authorities, when I would have liked to have dove deeper into the meat of it.  For example here are some  of my favorite verses from the Lost Teachings,
" The wife and mother are the inappreciable treasures given unto you by God. They are the fairest ornaments of existence, and of them shall be born all the inhabitants of the earth... 
...woman being for you the temple wherein you will most earnestly obtain perfect happiness." (verse 16, 18)
How awesome is it that Christ calls women a TEMPLE, through which we obtain perfect happiness! That just made my little heart about jump out of my chest. I felt like this was one of the times where I would have loved to have seen more in depth analysis from Gaskill, or hear more of his own ideas. For me the verse brought up a myriad of ideas about what it means to me-- as a woman-- to have  Christ call me a "temple" and say that it is IN me that perfect (which is often the word that God uses to mean "eternally complete") happiness is obtained..

That just made a whole bunch of happy buttons go off in my heart!

These Lost Teachings really did more for me than just validate that modern day prophets teachings about how important women are in God's plan are true. Instead, they really helped illuminate and deepen my understanding of how God sees women.  In fact, when I first read through the Lost Teachings I had little light bulbs going off in my head left and right, and made Jon sit down and listen to me read the whole thing to him (there are 21 verses) and listen to my excited rambling.

Poor Guy.

But I guess he is used to it....

Overall, I enjoyed this book and loved learning more about the Lost Teachings of Jesus. I also appreciated how it acted as a spring boarded to help me think about Christ's interactions with women differently.  I am looking forward to reading some of Alonzo Gaskilll's other books. My friend promised me I would love his other book, "The Lost Language of Symbolism", and so I will have to round up that one soon.

If you are interested in getting a copy of  "The Lost Teachings of Jesus on the Sacred Place of Women" you can  buy it on Amazon right now for only $11.99! It would also make a great Mother Day's gift... because it is only two months away ;)

You can also keep abreast of all of Alonzo Gaskill's latest news by following his blog, and if you haven't read this post by him... you might just be fascinated.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Teaching Children Patience


This is a lesson for my Mom's MTC. If you want more specifics on how I use these lessons in my home read the start of this post.

Patience

Includes:
  • Accepting God's will and timing
  • Endurance
  • Accepting personal weaknesses and faults 
  • Flexibility
  • Contentment
Memory Verse:

 “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” Ecclesiastes 7:8

Song:  

“ I will Follow God’s Plan for Me.” Children’s Song Book, pg. 164

Chapter Books to Read-a-loud:

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Blue Willow by Doris Gates

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick


Week 1:  Patience Takes Time

Scripture Stories

Simeon and Anna

Luke 2: 22-38

Simeon had been promised that he would not die until he saw the Christ child. Even though the Lord had made him a promise he didn't know when it was going to happen and he had to learn to wait. Anna came to the temple everyday to serve the Lord. Both Simeon and Anna were very old and had waited a long time to see the Savior be born. Sometimes God has plans for our lives that we don't understand. We need to have faith that he knows the right time for everything and go forward, trusting, that

How do you think it made Simeon and Anna feel to see the Christ child?
How long do you think they had been waiting?
Have you ever had to wait for a long time?
What helped you be patient?

Activities

Be Flexible

Every morning have the children work on a set of stretches (touching their toes, seeing how far they can reach on a stretch board, doing the splits, etc…) The first day you do the stretches measure them and mark how far they can reach. Then as the subsequent days go by mark every time they get further and further. By the end of the month have them look back to where they were when they started and how far they have stretched themselves. Find moments when you are stretching (not every day) to talk about sometimes when we start out stretching hurts, but that that more we do it the more flexible we become and the easier it gets. Talk about how sometimes God asks us to wait or to do things differently than we normally would, it can hurt at first, but the more we persist at them and work at them the more flexible our souls become and the easier it is to follow God’s will and not our own. One day you might even read Mosiah 3:19 about the natural man, and talk about how overcoming our "natural man" requires patience and daily work.


Watching Nature 

Choose something from nature this month to observe and record how it changes over the month. What you will choose will probably depend on the time of year, but some examples might be watching a tree in the spring or fall and watching how it buds or how its leaves change color. You might also chart the phases of the moon (here is a good chart) or grow a plant, watch the snow melt, hatch tadpoles, grow chicks, or some other nature related activity. You don't have to make an observation every day, but make sure the children are observing it on a regular basis so that they can see the changes and get an idea of how long it is taking for the change s to happen. The point is help kids understand that somethings can't be rushed. We have to wait on God's timing for many things and learn how to enjoy the process.



Books to Read

This Monster Cannot Wait! by Bethany Barton
Betty Bunny loves Chocolate Cake by Michael Kaplan
Play With Me By Marie Hall Ets
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Week 2: Accepting God's Will

Scripture Stories 

Sarah and Abraham

Genesis 18, 27 (can paraphrase the story if you need)

Sarah and Abraham were very old and didn't have any children. The Lord had promised Abraham and Sarah they would have a baby, but they got older and older and still didn't have a baby. When Abraham and Sarah were almost 100 years old they finally had a baby boy named Issac. They were so happy when they finally had a baby that they laughed and celebrated. Even though they had to wait a long time, and it was really hard for them, they knew that God would always keep his promise. Sometimes God makes us wait for things and even though we don't know why. When we have to wait a long time, and we don't know why, we can follow the example of Abraham and Sarah and have faith that the Lord will help us wait and keep his word.

Has anyone made you a promise?
How long did you have to wait for them to keep it?
How did you feel when they kept it (or didn't keep it)?
What do you think helped Abraham and Sarah to have patience?
Do you think that waiting a long time made Abraham and Sarah spirit's stronger or weaker?

Job

Job 1, 42

Read part of Job's story and then explain to the children that Job had to go through a lot of hardship and suffering before his life became happy again. He lost all his money, his family, his health and all his friends. Even though Job's life was hard he had faith that God had a plan for him and that everything would be okay in the end. Job had to have a lot of patience in order to go through what he did. He is a good example to us of how, when hard times come, if we will just keep going and have patience everything will get better.

How would you feel if you lost your family, your friends and your home?
How do you think Job felt when these things happened to him?
How do did he show patience?
How can you be patient when hard things happen to you?

Activities 

Can't Rush It

Give each child an ice cube (all the same size) and then have a race to see whose ice cube can melt the fastest. They are not allowed to touch the ice cube or to use anything else to help it melt. Breathing on it is okay, but they can't touch it. Cheering on your ice cube with fun cheers is encouraged. It is also okay to leave the ice cubes alone  for a little while if your kids get bored of watching them and came back later. You might even want to set a timer to come back and check on them. Use this activity to illustrate the point that there are some things you can’t just rush. They take time.

Ripening Patience 

Buy some VERY green fruit (bananas are perhaps the easiest but pears and other fruit can work just as well). Have your children taste the fruit when it is green. Hopefully they won't like it very much. Tell them that if they will wait a few days then the fruit will be ripe and ready and will be much better. Have them check the  fruit every day and remind them that often times the best things in life require us to wait until they are ready. When the fruit is ripe have them eat it and compare it to how it was before. Was it worth the wait?

Combining Forces

Make gak or silly putty and have the kids look at the ingredients before hand. Are they very stretchy? Not really. But when you put them together they are. Tell them that this is kind of like us. When we are just by ourselves, we aren’t very patient but when we are combined with the Holy Ghost and pray for God’s help to be patient... then we become really stretchy! Our very nature can be changed when we allow the Holy Ghost to help us. After talking about it, have fun playing with it!


Books to Read

The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen
Remy the Rhino Learns Patience by Andy McGuire
Patient Rosie by Mary Morgan-Vanroyen
Umbrella by Taro Yashima


Week 3: Being Content

Scripture Stories

Joseph in Egypt

Genesis 37, 39-41 (can paraphrase if needed)

Joseph didn't know what God's plan was for his life. He must have felt really frustrated when his brothers sold him as a slave and it looked like all his plans for his life were ruined. Nonetheless he tried his best and became the best slave in Potiphar's house. So he must have felt even more frustrated when Potiphar's wife lied about him and he was put in jail even though, again, he had done nothing wrong. Yet, just like before Joseph did the very best he could and became one of the best prisoners. He had to wait a long time until he free, but he tried to the best he could in every situation Eventually God helped him become a great man and help all the people of Egypt get ready for the famine. Sometimes, like Joseph, things don't quite like we plan. But if we remember that God is in charge and is watching over us it can help us be patient and have faith that everything will work out for the best... even though we don't know how that will happen.

How do you think Joseph felt when his life wasn't going as he planned?
Did Joseph know what God's plan was for him?
What plan do you think that God has for your life?
Do you think things will always go how you plan?
Have you ever been dissapointed?
What do you do when you are dissapointed?

Activities

The Right Order of Things

There are two ways you can do this activity and you can do both of them or just one. The first way is to create or have your kids help you create pictures of everything you are going to do that day. For example, have a picture of someone waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, etc... You could draw pictures, print some off online or (if you have time beforehand) take photographs of your kids doing the things. Once you have your pictures have your children help you make a timeline for the day. Throughout the day keep coming back to it to see what you have done and what comes next. If one of your children is tempted to skip ahead remind them that sometimes patience means being able to wait and do things in the right order instead of what you want to do right that moment.

The second way to do this activity is to print off photographs of your children from when they were younger to the age they are now. Help them create a timeline of their life and as you make it talk about how much they have learned and changed. Growing up takes patience you can't ride a bike before you learn how to walk! Help them identify times when they have been patient. Encourage them to learn to be happy right now, and not always be looking to the future to be happy. If they seemed interested you could also have them extend their timeline into the future. Have them draw pictures of some of the things they will have to be patient for like getting baptized, driving a car, getting married, etc... It is also fun if Mom and Dad make a timeline too!


Patience Pays

In the morning before the children wake up set up a tent in the living room (or another obvious room in the house).  Put one small piece of candy (or another treat) inside the tent for each child. When they wake up and see the tent they will probably be excited and want to go in. Tell them they must wait until everyone is up before they go in ( I made my kids wait till after breakfast and they were dressed). When you are ready to start let the children look inside the tent, but do not let them go in. Once everyone has been able to see that there is candy inside, ask them "Who would like to go inside now?" Remind them that, "You can go inside now if you want, but if you wait until the end of.... (whatever you want to specify), it will be much better." Some of the kids may want to go in, so let them. Tell them they only get one piece. Also make sure at least one child doesn't go in right away or this object lesson on waiting will fail :)

Go about the rest of your day and after a good amount of time has passed (we waited about an hour) put in another treat for each child who waited. Have the children who waited look inside and ask them,  "Who would like to go inside now? Remind them that if they wait till the end of (whatever you specified) it will be even better.

Keep going on with your day and towards the end of the time you specified add one more treat for every child who waited. This one can be more special like a candy bar, or a toy, or-- in my kids case-- a package of Jell-o.  Have everyone who waited look inside and then let the kids who waited the whole time go in and get their treat.


If your kids are like mine there may be tears shed along the way during this activity when people don't think it is fair that someone got a better treat than they did. Remind them though that they had a choice, and they chose to go in when they did. No one forced them. Reinforce the idea that sometimes when we put off what we want right now, for what we want in the future we are happier. Sometimes God makes us wait, not because he is mean and does't want us to have something, but because he knows there is something coming in the future that will make us even more happy.

This is an activity that can be done more than once-- with  a good amount of time in between-- to help kids practice waiting.

Books to Read

Babushka's Doll by Patricia Polacco
Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney
Can't-wait Willow! by Christy Ziglar
Wemberly's Ice cream Star by Kevin Henkes.


Week 4: Patience with others

Scripture Stories 

Jesus is Patient (from Kids of Integrity)

1 Timothy 1:15-16 and 2 Peter 3:9.

Paul talks about how Jesus displays unlimited patience, waiting for people to confess their sins. God has a lot of patience. Every day He waits for people to tell Him they are sorry they have sinned. God is so patient that He keeps waiting. He loves us all so much that He doesn’t want anyone to miss out on having his or her sins forgiven (2 Peter 3:9).

Questions for discussion
How hard is it to wait for a special visitor to come and visit?
What happens if they are late?
What is Jesus waiting for people to do?
How is Jesus patient with us?


Activities

Patience Like a Penguin

Read a book or watch a movie about emperor penguins. March of the Penguins is wonderful if you want a longer show or this clip is also good if you want a shorter piece. My children also enjoyed this book. After reading or watching a show have the children practice walking with raw potatoes on their feet like father penguins do with the egg. Try to see who can go the fastest without dropping their “egg.” Talk about how penguins have to be patient to hatch their baby eggs and how it takes patience to take small steps. You can also do a tobogganing race and have the kids race across the floor (tile or wood works best) only using their feet and hands.


Interrupting Game

This is a game to help kids learn how to interrupt politely. Start out by demonstarting what it looks like when someone interrupts. Have the kids pretend to have a conversation (or if there is only one child have them talk on the phone) and keep interrupting them rudely as they talk. Then do the role play again and demonstrate how they could interrupt politely. Some ways they might do this is to quietly wait to one side waiting to be noticed. They could touch someone on the shoulder or leg and polety say, "Excuse me, I have something to say...". Another way that I have found works really well with my children is to have them come (silently) and put their hand on my shoulder or arm and leave it there while I am talking. I acknoweldge them and their need by placing my hand over the top of it, letting them know that as soon as I can I will give them attention. This method has worked really well and we often do role plays to keep the idea fresh in their minds!

Creating A Soft Heart 

Demonstrate to children that when we really love others one way we can show it to them is by being patient with them, especially when they make mistakes or demonstrate weaknesses. Have the children cut out two hearts. Talk about how the Lord is patient with us and that we need to be patient with other people as well, but that it requires our hearts to be soft and full of love.

On the first heart talk about things that happen that might make them impatient, annoyed or angry with other people. When people don’t listen, when they push in line or cheat, when they won’t share, when they are slow to get things we want or need, when things don’t happen just like we think they are going to. Talk about how if we choose to get angry or impateient about these things it makes our heart hard.

Write words like “impatient”, “angry”, “annoyed” on the heart and then have the kids cover the heart with small rocks (gravel or some other similar substance).

Pull out the other heart and talk about how if we respond to these type of situations with love it makes our hearts soft. Write words like “patience”, “understanding”, “love” on the heart and then cover it with cotton balls.

Books to Read

Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus
Harriet, you Drive me Wild by Meme Fox
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein 
Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
"Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," said the Sloth by Eric Carle


Final Program

Put on a program for parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends, or stuffed animals and review what they have learned. Include the song and scripture they have learned as well as some of the stories they have learned over the month. Instead of doing a lesson the day (or two) before the program we spend it getting ready for the program. It doesn't have to be anything big, just a chance for them to teach what they have learned... because when you teach something you learn it the best.

If you have any other good ideas for scripture stories, activities or books that go with honesty please leave a comment. I plan on using this same lesson plan again with my children next year and it would be great to have some new ideas! 



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

MARRIAGE IS DEATH

One night when Jon and I were engaged we were sitting on the couch in my apartment. He was studying out of his human anatomy book and I was working on a paper for my Women's Literature class. In my class we had been discussing archetypes and had just read the book "She" by Robert A. Johnson. In his book Johnson examines the Greek myth of Psyche and Eros and how those archetypes teach us important lessons about marriage and women's spiritual development.

As I was working on my paper I started to think out-loud about what I was writing about. I told Jon the story of Psyche and Eros; about how, because Psyche is the most beautiful girl in the whole world, Aphrodite becomes jealous of her and decides that she is going to be married to Death, a horrible creature who lives on top of the mountain. Psyche's family has a huge funeral procession for her and leaves her chained at the top of the mountain. Then Aphrodite's son Eros, the God of love,  is suppose to go and kill her, but instead pricks his finger on one of his arrows and falls in love with her. He marries her and takes her to his palace to live, but he only comes to her after dark and makes her promise never to look at his face. Eventually Psyche, spurred on by the curiosity of her sisters, sneaks into Eros' room and holds a lamp to his face. When she sees that her husband is a God she is so surprised that she spills oil on to him and burns him. When he wakes up he is enraged that she has broken her promise to him and leaves her. The rest of Psyche's story is spent following her as she performs the impossible tasks that Aphrodite sets before her in order to win back Eros. Eventually, against all odds, she completes them and is reunited with her love. Not only that, but she is welcomed into the God's realm as a Goddess.

After telling Jon the story, which he enjoyed, I began explaining that the argument that Johnson makes in his book is that the story of Psyche is the archetypal story for women's spiritual growth. That all women, in order to develop their Goddess nature must have their moment of darkness on the mountain and must face the death of their maidenhood. As Johnson wrote in his book,
"In truth the maiden does die on her wedding day; an era of her life is over and she  dies to many of the feminine elements she has lived thus far. Her wedding is her funeral in a sense." ("She", 12)
I told him how in my Women's Literature class we discussed how a modern wedding ceremony has resemblances to a funeral.  I said, " Just think about it... the bride is  dressed in white, like a ghost. The husband and other men wear black, like a sign of mourning.  The bride even carries flowers and has flowers around her as decorations, reminiscent of funeral flowers. And traditionally a woman was veiled during her marriage which was a symbol of burial. It is like on her wedding day a bride has to allow the woman she once was-- her maiden self-- to be killed."

I was jabbering on about all of this to Jon as he studied his anatomy text, unaware that underneath he was beginning to fume. Oblivious I went on...

" But, even though the bride is veiled, at the end of the ceremony the husband lifts her veil which is a symbol of re-birth and new life. Her maidenhood has just died and now she is being re-born. She is now on her way to discovering her true power and the true depth of her womanhood. Here let me read you this quote from Robert Johnson:
 "All husbands are death to their wives in that they destroy them as maidens and force them into an evolution toward mature womanhood... A man rarely understands that marriage is death and resurrection both for a woman." ('She", 16-17) 
It was at this point that Jon couldn't hold it back any longer. He silently gave me a sharp, angry look and then with furry in his pen drew a HUGE skull and cross bones right in the middle of his anatomy book. At the bottom of the page, right through the middle of  the page on the anatomy of the ear, he scrolled the words MARRIAGE.... IS.... DEATH in black marker and then threw the book angrily in my lap.

"Well, if that is how you feel about getting married to me, you don't have to! "

Needless to say,  I was shocked at his reaction and promptly broke into tears. Once we both calmed  down we ended up having a really good talk about marriage and the sacrifice that it was going to require  from both of us. We talked about how parts of us were going to have to die and be re-born in order for our marriage to work. Our selfishness, our pride, our greed, or anger, our defenses, and our fear were going to have die in order for love, compassion, joy, selflessness, peace, and unity to be born.  Like Psyche and Eros we were going to have to struggle through trials and at times allow our weakness to be un-masked, and admit that we were not perfect. We decided that that growth and unity was something -- no matter how hard it was going to be-- that both of us were willing to work for.


It has been nine years since that night on my couch and last week Jon and I celebrated our eighth year of marriage.

It has been an incredible journey.

As I look back at how much both of us have grown I see that in many ways our marriage does feel like a death. Many of the things we brought with us, those selfish and narrow minded  parts of us, have died.  Yet, I can see that our marriage has also been a birth. A birth of not only 4 new lives, but a birth of some of the most beautiful parts of ourselves-- of kindness, self-sacrifice, patience, long suffering, charity, and unity. And seeing those attributes grow and bloom makes every trial and every struggle we've gone through together SO worth it.

This year I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that I have this wonderful man in my life.  I know him better than I know anyone else in the world. He is as much a part of me as my eyes or my ears are,  and there are times I think that if he was ever gone... I would die.

Yet, then I have moments when I look in his eyes and I see depth that scares me.  I look at him and realize I have no idea who he is.  Like Psyche holding her lamp, I realize that I have married a God--an imperfect man no doubt-- but a man whose true self is so much greater than I can even comprehend.  It makes me deliriously happy to think that I have eternity to figure him out.


This year, as we were talking about how far we have come together,  Jon reminded me of that night on my apartment couch.

"You know, " he said, "I sold that anatomy book back to the bookstore at the end of the semester. That means that somewhere there is someone who bought that book and then opened it to study about the anatomy of the ear  and found a huge skull and cross bones with the words "MARRIAGE... IS ... DEATH" written right through the middle of it. I hope that didn't ever scare anyone away from marriage...because it really is nice."

So, just in  case you ever open up an anatomy book and see a skull and cross bones across the center fold, just know that even though marriage is death--- that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Because out of that death, comes beautiful-- BEAUTIFUL-- life.



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Baby's Blessing
















The days my babies were blessed have been some of the sweetest in my life. 

This time with Tabitha I have been thinking how, for nine months, I carried that sweet baby inside of me, sharing everything with her. The burden of her pregnancy was hard, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It challenged every ounce of strength I had. I know it was hard for Jon to watch me go through it. At times he wished he could  trade me places, but he couldn't. He could rub my feet when they were swollen, he could watch the kids in the morning and make breakfast, and hold me when I cried, but he couldn't carry my burden for me. It was something I had to do alone. 

And it was really hard. 

So as I watched him take my little Tabitha in his arms and give her a name--a name she will carry for eternity-- my heart was full. I was so grateful that this time I didn't have to carry the burden of creating new life alone. So grateful for this incredible man who shares in my joys, my sorrows, and my burdens. 

His responsibility as a father is to give our children the ordinances-- the spiritual re-birth-- that will allow them to be born again into the Kingdom of God. That is a big burden and I can't carry it for him. Yet, like he did for me, I can ease the weight of it and stand beside him. I can love him, encourage him, sustain him, and together we can teach and lead our children. Even though there are times when the burden of creating new life-- physical and spiritual--will rest solely on one of our shoulders, parenthood is a partnership and we are in it together.  
The name we choose to give her is Tabitha Lily Farrell. At this time we would love to give her a blessing. We pray that Tabitha can begin to know that she is she is surrounded by people in the world who want her to be successful and will help her return to thee. As she goes to church and reads the scriptures she will discover her true identity, as a child of God and as a woman. She will be filled with love and light and will be able to ignore Satan's messages and the voices that the world will throw at her. 
We also bless her that she will be able to, when the time is right, be sealed to an eternal companion and have an eternal family. We bless her that she will continue on the path and be protected and have angels around her. Help her be an influence for good  and help bless others. We bless her that she will recognize the light of Christ. 
Her blessing was short because she started to cry loudly-- Jon said she was just adding her own words in-- but as I looked up and saw her encircled by righteous, good men I got a big lump in my throat. In a world where so many women suffer because of the wickedness of men, I am so grateful that my little girl has so many righteous men surrounding her with love and power. Men who will teach her, love her, respect her, and watch over her. Men who will help her recognize her worth as a daughter of God and to accomplish her mission. 


As a mother I don't have to do it alone. 

I have the help of righteous men--some of the best men on earth-- and that is a beautiful partnership. 

Oh, and as a side note, several months ago my mother-in-law helped me turn my wedding dress into a temple dress. We cut off the train and I used the fabric from it to make Tabitha's blessing dress. It turned out so sweet! 


Saturday, January 25, 2014

When Nurturing Doesn't Come Naturally



In The Family: A Proclamation to the World it states that, " Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children."

That word " nurture" bothered me for a really long time.

I did not see myself as an innately nurturing person. As a young woman I didn't really have a desire to be a mother. I hated to babysit and didn't really enjoy being around children. I remember once having a conversation with one of my high school friends in the corner of the drama room. I made her promise that if I ever chose to be a stay-at-home mom that she would hunt me down, hit me over the head with a bat, and remind me that there was nothing I dreaded more than being tied down to a baby and a husband. I was certain that I just wasn't cut out for motherhood, and that my talents would be better used else where.

Then I had a baby.

And all of a sudden I was filled with a crazy, intense love. It was a type love I'd never experienced before. It didn't manifest itself like other types of love I had experienced; it wasn't giddiness, tears, excitement, or passion it was just... fierce.

I loved that little baby like I loved myself; completely exasperated and critical of him one moment and then head over heels in crazy love the next. That kind of love scared me and fascinated me at the same time. I found myself pouring everything I had into him--my time, my body, my thoughts, my dreams, everything. Yet I still didn't feel like a nurturer.

I felt like the same old me, but with a baby.

Then, slowly, I began to see that nurturing wasn't just something that was going to magically happen to me just because I had a baby. It was something I was going to have to learn. 


It is funny how I had assumed that nurturing was something that was suppose to come natural when I didn't expect fathering to come naturally to my husband. In the Family Proclamation it also says, " Fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. "

Presiding, providing the necessities of life, and protecting are not things that come naturally to all men. Some men are more talented or adept at say providing, when another might struggle with that. Some men may be naturally talented at presiding or protecting, while for other men that may be something they have to consciously work at. The responsibilities of fathers are certainly not things that just happen because they are male. They are things that take work and time to develop correctly.

I think the same is true of nurturing in women. I know many wonderful nurturers, but there are only one or two that I would say are "naturally" that way. Most of the women I know whose nurturing skills I admire have developed it over time. And none of their nurturing looks or feels the same.

I believe that, in our eternal identity as women, we are created after the image of our Heavenly Mother and thus have inherited some of her divine aptitude for nurturing. Yet, just because we have those seeds within us, doesn't mean that they will grow without work and effort.

If someone has really musical parents, they have probably inherited good "music genes". But if they don't ever pick up a musical instrument and work hard to master it they will never become a musician, good or bad. I think the same thing is true of nurturing. Our heavenly genetics give women "the nurturing" gene, an innate aptitude and ability to nurture the human family. It is deep within our souls and housed within our bodies. Yet just having that "gene" doesn't mean that nurturing will come naturally or that one will even have the desire to.

I know that for me nurturing is a challenge. It is something I have to work at daily-- okay lets be honest-- hourly. But just because it doesn't come easily to me isn't any reason to run away from it or limit my opportunities to practice it. If it is hard for me that is all the more reason to embrace it and learn to become better at it.


I think that this was one of the reasons that the direction to homeschool my children came so strongly. Homeschooling forces me to be with my children-- to think about them, to plan for them, and tests my nurturing skills to the max. Homeschooling has turned my heart to my children in a way that doesn't come naturally for me at all. If I had it my way I'd be off running an NGO, teaching in a university, or having some sort of career, but that wasn't the path the Lord had for me. He knew that nothing would challenge me more than staying at home with my children and learning how to nurture them.

And he was right.

I have never done anything harder (or more rewarding) than staying home with my children.

I love them with that raw fierce mother love, but I sometimes struggle with wanting to be with them, or wanting to nurture them. There are days when nothing sounds more appealing than sending them off to boarding school for a year. But I don't. Instead I let them fill my life with their noise, their love, their excitement, their arguments, their tears, and their joy.

I feel like motherhood has been my crucible. The place where all my weaknesses-- my pride, my vanity, my selfishness-- has been exposed and is slowly getting burned away. It is often a painful process, but every once in awhile I get a glimpse of the woman I am becoming and I am speechless.

She is beautiful... and she is a nurturer.

She is learning how to let herself be hugged and snuggled when she'd rather be by herself. She is learning how to slow down and not pass by the small things. She is learning how to answer the same question for the 1,000th time with patience. She is learning how to pray for guidance and how to act on promptings. She is learning how to listen and how to curb her tongue. She is learning how to look on the heart and to see people for who they really are. She is learning to love children, of all ages. She is learning how to sacrifice, how to serve, and how to put another's needs above her own.

Mostly, she is learning how to love like the Savior loves.



And that certainly hasn't come naturally.

How have you learned how to nurture?



Friday, January 17, 2014

Being Called Woman

"Behold thy Son" by Lester Nielsen

Several times in the New Testament Christ calls his mother, Mary, by the term "woman." He does it at the start of his ministry, when he performs his first miracle at the wedding in Canaan. When she expresses concern that there is no wine he responds,"Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come." (John 2:4). Then at the end of his ministry, as he was dying on the cross and his hour has come,  he looked down at his mother and exclaimed, "Woman, behold thy son!" (John 19:26)

In modern English the use of the word "woman" sounds derogatory and coarse, or as one commentary I read said, "Like a motorcycle biker calling his girl." Yet, Jesus obviously uses this word with respect for his mother. In fact, he uses the word more as a title than a pet name or a term of endearment. He calls her "woman" much in the same way that we might call someone "lady." To us the word "lady" indicates a woman of nobility, influence and power which is what the word "woman" would have meant to Mary when Christ called her by it. Go back and re- read those scriptures in John again but this time substituting the word "lady" for the word "woman." Can you see and feel how that illuminates what Christ is saying to her?

There is so much meaning tied up in that one little word... woman. Yes, Mary is his mother. Yes, she is his friend. Yes, she is his follower... but mostly she is a Woman. It is not a coincidence that he addressed  her by this title at both the start of his ministry and at the end of his ministry. He recognized in her the nobility, power, influence, and glory that there is in being a woman- and even in his final moments on the cross--there was no greater title he could call her by.

"Christ King of the Jews" by Mark Mabry

Another interesting place where the word "woman" is used as a title is in Alma 19. The wife of King Lamoni approached Ammon with great faith, asking him if he could tell her if her husband was dead or not. When he examines Lamoni and finds that he is not dead, but "sleepeth in God" and will rise in the morning she believes him without question. Ammon is so impressed by her  faith that he states, "I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites." (Alma 19:10) It is easier to see here, where Ammon is a servant addressing a queen, how the word "woman" is not a belittling term but rather one of honor and deference.

She is again called by the title of woman when, in Alma 19: 12,  Lamoni wakes up. It reads,  "...he [Lamoni] stretched forth his hand unto the woman, and said: Blessed be the name of God and blessed art thou. For as sure as thou livest, behold I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth and be born of a woman,." 

"Lamoni" by James H. Fullmer
The parallel here to Mary being called "woman" and the wife of King Lamoni being called "woman" is powerful. Lamoni has just seen his Redeemer, God of the entire world. Yet, not only has he  seen God but he has learned that God himself will be born of a woman. From Lamoni's exclamation to his wife "blessed art thou" we  see that Lamoni is recognizing, perhaps for the first time in his life, the worth of women. He now knows that even God himself will have enough faith in a woman to come to earth as a baby, to have her create, nurture, and teach him. He is seeing his wife with new eyes, recognizing the exalted role that women play in God's plan. He truly is seeing and understanding for the first time that being a woman is not inferior, but one of extreme importance and even, as he tells his wife, is  "blessed".

Obviously this new perspective was a bit more than either one of them could handle. Alma 19:13 says that after these words both of them were sunk down with joy and were "overpowered by the Spirit." I guess sometimes new ideas that shake your worldview take some getting use to!

I have been pondering on these scriptures in Alma and in the New Testament for the last few weeks. The more I reflect on them, the more I begin to see that my identity as a daughter of God -- as a woman-- is far grander than I currently comprehend. There is something innately beautiful and powerful in the female body and female soul that garners respect. Something within us that is innately noble and makes men rise to their feet in honor.

This isn't to say that women should be put on a pedestal or that men are in some way inferior. I am simply saying that there is so much more to us than we realize. So much meaning, so much power tied up in that one little word.... woman.

There are perhaps few titles more grand.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Face Cards: Yea or Nay?

My husband was doing a search on LDS.org tonight and happened across this article that my grandfather wrote for the New Era in 1984. My grandfather was a great man but I hardly new him because he had severe Parkinson's disease for most of my life. He died when I was nine. It was a really sweet treat to stumble across these words of wisdom from him.

It was also nice to discover the reason why my parents never allowed us to have face cards in our home. My family are BIG game players (it is our love language) and so it always seemed a bit strange to me that face cards were off limits. I have carried over the tradition of not having face cards in our home with my little family, but until I read this I didn't really know why.

I don't think there is anything inherently evil in face cards, but I do think my Grandpa has some good points.

“How should I feel about playing cards?”


Answer/Brother Boyd R. Thomas 

This question is really a double one. It may be asked either as “How should I feel about playing games with cards?” or “How should I feel about playing cards?” There is a substantial difference between playing games which use cards to give directions and instructions and playing games which use the ancient, double-faced cards, sometimes called “playing cards.” The nature of the cards used is an important distinction.

The playing of games in the family setting—both the active, outdoor type and the more sedentary, indoor kind—I view as great teaching aids. By this means personality traits may be developed and children learn acceptable ways to interact with others. For example, it has been important to me to teach my children how to handle defeat or disappointment. Games have been invaluable for this.

The two most common criticisms of card playing have been, first, that it is a waste of time, and second, that it tends to end in gambling. Both criticisms are valid because, while extremes, they too often occur. Writing at a time before the advent of excessive TV viewing, which is the modern time waster, and before the coming of extensive state-sponsored lotteries, which today enhance the tendency to gamble, some of our General Authorities have spoken out against card playing. Let us consider what President Joseph F. Smith said:

“While a simple game of cards in itself may be harmless, it is a fact that by immoderate repetition it ends in an infatuation for chance schemes, in habits of excess, in waste of precious time, in dulling and stupor of the mind, and in the complete destruction of religious feeling. … There is the grave danger that lurks in persistent card playing, which begets the spirit of gambling, of speculation and that awakens the dangerous desire to get something for nothing.

“One’s character may be determined in some measure by the quality of one’s amusements. Men and women of industrious business-like, and thoughtful habits care little for frivolous pastimes, for pleasures that are sought for their own sake. It is not easy to imagine that leading men in the Church would find any pleasure that was either inspiring or helpful at the card table” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939, p. 329).

Elder John A. Widtsoe has given a useful perspective:
“It must be added that relaxation from the regular duties of the day is desirable and necessary for human well-being. Wholesome games of recreation are advocated by all right-minded people. Moreover, the … objections [to card playing] are not directed against the many and various card games on the market not employing the usual ‘playing cards.’ Most of these furnish innocent and wholesome recreation, and many are really instructive. It is true that they may be played to excess, but in fact it seldom happens. This is true even when such cards are used in games imitating those with ‘playing cards.’ It is true that such cards may be used for gambling purposes, but in fact it is almost never done. The pall of evil seems to rest upon the ‘playing cards’ handed down to us from antiquity” (Evidences and Reconciliations, Murray & Gee, 1943, pp. 218–19).
While it is best to avoid the use of “playing cards,” my personal experiences indicate that our family has enjoyed many benefits from playing games with cards. At a time when amusements are generally enjoyed alone, for example TV viewing and video game playing, we in our family like to play card games together. It has been both unifying and has provided the arena for much give and take. All in all, playing card games has given us many delightful moments.

Yes it has.

Especially Rook

Oh, we play mean games of Rook. 

You'd be proud Grandpa.

Okay,  now let the debate begin! 
How do you feel about face cards? Do you allow them in your home?