Friday, September 30, 2011

Five Things For Friday, 18th Edition

-1-

I am so excited for General Conference this weekend! Anyone else? My husband translates for Conference and so this time of year our home is filled with the words of the prophets-- and I love it. He translates a language called Papiamento which is a mixture of Dutch and Spanish and is spoken on the islands of Aruba, Curacao, and Bon Aire. He learned Papiamento during his mission in Venezuela because he served part of it on Aruba (which is just off the coast of Venezuela). He has been translating Conference for as long as I've known him and so there is nothing that gets me in the Conference spirit more than to hear him walking around the house practicing his talks. He never tells me which talks he is translating but every once in awhile I am able to guess which talk he has done. Like the year the Elder Bednar gave his talk "Ye Must Be Born Again" about how cucumbers become pickles I knew it was the one Jon had done because I'd been hearing him walk around the house saying "cucumbernon" (which I guess is how you say cucumber in Papiamento) all week! I have probably already heard several of the talks for this year all the way through already but haven't been able to understand a word of them. Still, I have definitely felt the spirit of the words and it has gotten me excited. He tells me that there are some really good talks this year and that I am going to love Conference. I'm sure I will.

-2-

I was so excited to see an article by Diana Webb this week in the Meridian Magazine. It is called "Eve as a Help Meet-- What Does That Mean?" If you aren't familiar with Diana's work or with the REAL meaning of the term "Help Meet" make sure you go over and read her article. It is so enlightening! Here is a just a tidbit from it:
"Most of the stories in the Bible follow the “wife and mother” model and reinforce the idea that God most often is seen as doing his work through men. When women in the Bible don’t fit into this “wife and mother” definition of what it means to be a woman, they experience great personal pain and social ostracism. Other women have seemingly ideal lives until the premature death of a husband causes them to be at the mercy of a society where they do not fit in.

While pondering these questions, I was impressed to consider the vision that God had for women when he created them. Although the Bible strongly validates the role of women as wives and mothers, it also shows that “God values them just as much when their lives follow other paths. Women bring different questions as well as a different point of view as they consider the stories from the scriptures in a new light...

... As Carolyn Custis James has asserted, God created the woman to be an ezer to man. To strengthen and to save. She is his greatest ally. This is Eve’s legacy for all women, not just within the bonds of marriage, but wherever she touches the lives of others in the world at large." Read the whole article

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Two weeks ago I got a speeding ticket. I was going 45 mph in a 30 mph zone and wasn't paying attention. I think I must have looked really pathetic (I was having a bad day and on the verge of tears anyway) because the officer only gave me a ticket for going 5 over the limit rather than 15. Well, somehow I lost the ticket and totally forgot all about it until last weekend when I got a notice from the police saying that if I didn't pay it there would be a warrant out for my arrest! Yikes! When I went to go pay the ticket online I was shocked that it was for $140! I haven't had a speeding ticket in a really long time and so I wasn't sure if this was just how much speeding tickets usually are of if they fined me a ton extra because I was two days late in paying it. Does anyone know? Because if you get fined $140 for only going 5 miles over the limit then I am definetly going to start paying more attention-- I'd hate to see how much the one for going 15 over would have been. Ugg.

-4-

I have always carried my babies and toddlers in slings and wraps. I have quite the assortment of different sizes, colors and styles and can't imagine motherhood without them. I have one that I use with Rose every once in awhile (mostly when I am making dinner and she is cranky) which allows me to carry her on my back and keep my hands free. I haven't worn her in it for awhile because my belly has gotten too big but for the last few weeks she has been telling me that when the baby is born that she is going to wear it on her back! I thought that was really cute and so a few days ago when I was playing dolls with the kids I pulled out a long scrap of material that I had left over from one of the moby wraps I'd made. I showed them how to wrap it and how to carry a baby in it. Rose loved it and it was so sweet to see her carry her doll around in it. It sure made my mothering heart proud.



I just hope that she isn't too disappointed when she isn't able to carry the new baby around for real!

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Oh, and I just wanted to thank those of you who have been linking up your own "Five Things For Friday" posts. It has been so much fun for me to read them and to get to know some of you better. Keep it up! Also I thought that I'd mention that even though the linky tool says that you should enter the "link title" of your post you can really enter in whatever title you'd like. My hope with having the link up is that it will encourage my readers to get to know each other better (and to let me know you better) and I want to encourage traffic to your sites. I think that if you use your blog name or blog alias as the "link title" it might get more people to click over to your site then if all the posts are labeled "Five Things For Friday". For example if your name was Bertha and your blog was "I Love My Life" you could label the link something like Bertha@Ilovemylife or I Love My Life and that would give people more idea of whose blog they might be hoping over to read. Just an idea :)

If you want to link to your own "Five Things for Friday" post you can use the tool below to add your link. 1) Please link to the URL of your blog post and not your main blog and 2) Please include a link back here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Master's Wheel

For the last week I've been mulling this post, by Kels at Empowering LDS Women, over in my brain. In the post Kels shares some of her thoughts about, and enthusiasm for, the new Relief Society book "Daughters in My Kingdom." I really loved reading all of her thoughts but it is this part of her post that has really been making me think. She said:
I have had the opportunity to work with an amazing woman who has done exceptional work serving the children of God and also raising a family in the gospel. Her life is not perfect of course, but I consider her to be a role model because she has made it a priority to discover and fulfill all the responsibilities she has as a daughter of God... She described to me how people often try to categorize women that work, and women that stay at home, and women that do this or that or the other thing, when in fact these categories are completely wrong. She said that instead we ought to think of our work on a spectrum:


... If we think of the example set by our Savior, we can see that charity in its fullest form is to serve every group represented along the spectrum, and our Savior did in fact make his way across the spectrum serving every individual... With that in mind, and taking into consideration whatever our personal circumstances are, we ought to constantly be pushing ourselves across this spectrum with whatever gifts, talents, and capacities we have. This could be as broad as college aged sister who volunteers her time working with those in poverty abroad, to a young mother who brings her children to visit with residents of a nursing home. The Spirit will dictate how, given our unique circumstances, we can use our time, talents, and abilities to fulfill our responsibility of service.
As I was reading this I just laughed because hanging on the board above my computer is something that looks remarkably similar:


I made this little sign several months ago when I was feeling SO overwhelmed by all balls I was trying to juggle in my life. I was trying to maintain my relationship with God, be a good wife and mother, keep tabs on my extended family, fulfill my church calling, care for my neighbors and friends, and do the other things that God had guided me to as well (like serving women as a doula, working on my book project, and writing my blog) all at the same time! I felt like I was drowning and the truth was that I wasn't really doing a very good job at ANY of those things.

Then one night as I was praying for help I remembered a part of a movie I'd seen years and years ago. The movie was called "The Mask of Zorro" and in it the main character, Alejandro, who masquerades around as "Zorro" is set on revenging the death of his brother. In his quest he stumbles on to a man named Don Diego de la Vega who takes him under his belt and teaches what he needs to know to reach his goal. The first thing Don Diego does is to give Alejandro a blade and put him in the "Master's Wheel" where Alejandro has to learn handle the foes that come at him one ring at a time. Don Diego instructs him to remember that at first NOTHING exists outside of his inner most ring and that for the time being that is his whole world. Once Alejandro masters that inner ring his world gradually expands to include the other rings. Until, eventually he is able to defend and protect himself even at the very outermost ring which includes the man he is seeking revenge on.

While it is really sort of a gruesome and violent premise the idea of the "Master's Wheel" really resonated with my soul. I realized that I was trying to tackle all the rings of my life at the same time. As a result I was being attacked on all sides and getting cut up pretty bad in the process. I knew that if I didn't change something soon that pretty soon I'd no longer be able to defend myself and that "foes" might find their way into my inner rings. So the first thing I decided to do was to "narrow my world" (hence the phrase on my sign) by first focusing on defending my inner most ring-- which deals with my relationship with God. This ring includes things like prayer, scripture study, fasting, temple worship, and personal development. I know that "mastering" this ring will be an ongoing process but I also know that if I don't give this ring the time and respect it deserves then I will be ill equipped to handle my other rings.

The next ring on my sign is "Family" and includes the responsibilities I have as a wife, a mother, a sister and a daughter. These are what in her 2011 BYU Women's Conference talk Julie Beck called the "non-negotiable responsibilities" and I know that I've made sacred covenants to my husband, to my children living and unborn, and to my family that God will hold me-- and no one else-- accountable for someday. I don't ever expect to master this ring but I know that by giving these relationships highest priority in my life that God will bless me and magnify my ability to handle whatever comes my way.

The two outermost rings are "Church" which includes my church responsibilities, callings, and Christian service to those around me, and "Society" which includes serving and improving the lives of all of God's children. I know that there is much that the Lord would have me do in these outer rings and that He wants to be able to use my talents and strengths to move His work forward. In fact, each one of God's daughters has an important work to do in these outer rings. Joseph F. Smith once taught sisters that,
" It is for you to lead the world and to lead especially the women of the world, in everything that is praise-worthy, everything that is God-like, everything that is uplifting, and that is purifying to the children of men. You are the head, not the tail."(Daughters in My Kingdom, pg. 66)
All over the world righteous women should be at the forefront of every good cause and the loudest voices for what is right and true. It is part of our responsibilities as women and the Lord expects us to be involved and engaged in society and in the world just as much as He expects us to be dedicated and committed to our homes and families. Yet it is important that we do things the right way and in the right order. If we try to tackle the outer ring of "Society" before we are dedicated and grounded in our inner rings of "Self, Family and Church" then we leave these vital rings open to attack and we loose power (as Julie Beck said here) and aren't as effective in any of our rings. Eliza R. Snow, the second president of the Relief Society explained this well when she told sisters,
"Let your first business be to perform your duties at home. But, inasmuch as you are wise stewards, you will find time for social duties, because these are incumbent upon us as daughters and mothers in Zion. By seeking to perform every duty you will find that your capacity will increase, and you will be astonished at what you can accomplish." (Daughters in My Kingdom, 59)
I can bear strong witness to the truthfulness of what Eliza R. Snow said. It has been amazing that as I've learned to "narrow my world" and focus on my most important circles first how the Lord has magnified my abilities and I've accomplished so much more than I ever dreamed possible. God knows the deepest desires of my heart and He has always found a way to make them realities... often in ways I never imagined. I know now-- and the little sign above my desk reminds me-- that the more grounded and secure I am in my inner rings of self and family the more powerful I become in the outer rings of church and society. It seems counter-intuitive at times but I've learned that the Lord rarely does things after the manner of the world.

I just need to remember that He is the Master and that, even though His training methods may seem strange at times, He knows what He is doing and who I can become.

Thank you Kels for giving me a lot to think about!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Winners!

I am excited to announce that the random number generator selected 6 lucky winners from among the comments I got for my 3rd "Blog-iversary" giveaway! If you won a prize PLEASE email me at heatherlady at gmail.com with your address and contact information before Friday to claim your prize.

Grand Prize Winner of Cody Miller's painting "Stand" is



is Sus who said, "If I could spend an hour with a woman in history, it would have to be Eve. What an amazing conversation that would be!"

The two 1st Prize winners of a custom scripture cover from 4Bs Creations are:




Amy who said, "I would want to meet Eve. I would love to hear her take on what it means to be a woman. She got her info from God, uninfluenced by society and man's craziness."

and

Rachel Williamson DeVaughm who said, "I have always liked Ruth in the bible. I'm not sure why-I guess because she was brave and loyal to her family."

The 2nd Prize winner of a $25 gift certificate to the Nauvoo Store is *LaUrA* who said she'd want to meet Naomi and Ruth.

and the two 3rd Prize winners of the vinyl wall decals from It Is Written on the Wall are





Kels who said, "I would want to meet Deborah from the Old Testament, and I would ask her about how she came to be a judge in Israel and about her experiences in general."

and

Laura@livingabigstory who said, "The first woman who comes to mind is Abish. I want to know more about her conversion and her ability to stay valiant alone for so long."

Congrats to the winners and PLEASE email with your information as soon as you can!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Five Things For Friday, 17th Edition

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Why does it seem like everything always happens at the same time? It seems like life is either super relaxed and boring or super crazy and hectic... but rarely somewhere in between. For example, my husband is finishing his Master's thesis in the next few months which means that he will be starting a new job before the start of the year. We are very blessed that he already has a job lined up but unfortunately it means that we are going to have to move. So, that means that before January we need to get our house ready to sell, sell our house, find a new house to buy or to rent, move out of our house, move into a new house, finish a Master's thesis, celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, start a new job, and oh yeah... have a new baby somewhere in the middle of all that! I have faith that things will work out for the best but I just really wish that things were all figured out right now. Does anyone have any good advice or tips for selling a house? Or for moving when your baby is only a few weeks old? Ack! Don't think about it... just don't think about it.

-2-

I have really loved the Celebration on the Family that has been going on the last two weeks. There are have been some incredible posts and I feel like my understanding of the Proclamation has really grown. So thank you to all the wonderful people who helped make it possible. It was great. I thought I'd link up to some of my favorite posts from the Celebration:

The Family Proclamation Includes Everyone by Because Life Moves On

The Rights and Entitlements of Children by A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman

Tarzan, Vines and Forgiveness by Middle-Aged Mormon Man

Oh, and Middle-Aged Mormon Man also linked this one up to the blog hop "We Are at War " and it made me laugh so hard that I have to share it. It would be really sad, because it is so true, except for the fact that we know we are the winning team. So too bad little minions.

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On Sunday afternoon we took a walk up the canyon by our house. It is starting to feel and look like fall and I love it! This is my favorite time of the year. The best part of the walk though was that Asher found a caterpillar. He was so excited about it and carried it all the way back to the car-- which was a good 45 minute walk. He kept talking to the caterpillar the whole time telling it, "Caterpillar, you are my best friend. Heavenly Father sent you to me and I will take good care of you. You make my heart feel good Caterpillar. Don't be scared. You are going to be a butterfly." It was adorable.

We put the caterpillar in a jar when we got home and he carried it around all day. He even drew it pictures and hung necklaces on its jar so that it would be happy. On Monday morning I woke up to a mason jar being pressed into my face and a little boy telling me "Mommy, my caterpillar is sleeping". Well, it "slept" most of the morning and I was starting to get worried that we had somehow killed his caterpillar. I didn't know how to break the news to him... but he was undaunted and about mid-morning we realized that the caterpillar wasn't dead but that he was spinning a cocoon! By Tuesday morning this is what we found in the jar.



I am so excited about this... maybe even more so than Asher. I can't wait to see it hatch and open up and am so excited to see what type of butterfly we are going to get! I hope we don't get a moth, though I guess that would still be neat.

-4-


I thought that this article "10 Reasons Why The New NIV Bible is Bad for Women" was super interesting. It addresses the fact that the new version of the New International Version of the Bible has been changed to make the language more gender- inclusive. The author argues that changing the language in the Bible to be more gender-inclusive (ie. saying "man and woman" when the Greek or Hebrew translation only says "man") actually hurts women rather than helps them. Here is part of what she says,

I care about women. Deeply. I long to see them experience healing and wholeness in Christ Jesus. I do them a disservice when I apologize for the Bible, fail to embrace its unvarnished beauty and power, and shrink back from sharing the Words that are perceived by some as foolishness and a stumbling block, yet are actually the power and wisdom of God for righteousness and sanctification and redemption. I fail women when I try to make God or His Word more palatable. I empty the cross of its power (1 Cor. 1:17-30).

Gender and gender language is important. It touches on the essence of a woman’s identity, the essence of the character of God, and on the essence of the gospel. We get things so very wrong when we think we can improve on the Bible’s teaching on gender or the gender language it uses. The big picture informs us that from the very beginning, God’s plan for gender has very little to do with us and very much to do with Him. And we need to trust that even if we don’t fully understand them, the words, images and means He has chosen to display His glory are not only right, they are also good. Very good! And also very good for women! Read the rest

I know that there was quite a bit of discussion about gender-inclusive language in the scriptures when I posted the article "Women in the Image of the Son: Being Female and Being Like Christ" and so I thought this might be of interest to some of you. I'd love to hear what more about what your thoughts are about gender-inclusive language and what this author has to say.

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If you haven't entered the giveaway for the celebration of my 3rd "Blog-iversary" it isn't too late! The giveaway will be open until Sunday at midnight. So make sure you go over and enter, there are some really great prizes... if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guardians of the Hearth


"In Favor With God" by Simon Dewy
(Image Source)

I've been devouring my copy of "Daughters in My Kingdom" and have been loving every chapter. I've had so many "ah-ha" moments while reading, but one of the most powerful ones came to me while I was reading Chapter 9: "Guardians of the Hearth: Establishing, Nurturing, and Defending the Family". Somewhere in the back of my mind I've always known that the "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" was first given at the General Relief Society Conference but the significance of that act never really penetrated my psyche. Yet after reading eight other chapters of Relief Society history, and gaining a clearer picture of God's mission for women, the full significance of that act really hit home to my soul.

Just think... how incredible is it that when God had a revelation-- which was of the most supreme importance to the success of His eternal plan and the happiness of His children-- He instructed his prophet to give it to the women first! God's daughters have been given an important stewardship over the family and over God's children. They are, as President Hinckley said, the "guardians of the hearth" and anything that degrades or downplays the importance of the family degrades and downplays women. So it is so beautiful to me that God would want the Relief Society to hear the plain and simple truths about family, gender, marriage and children before the rest of the church. It helps makes the purpose and mission of the Relief Society so much more clear for me and reminds me how important ALL women are to the success of God's plan.

I was also curious to know what President Hinckley said in his address to the Relief Society before he gave them the Proclamation. As I went back and read his talk my heart started pounding in my chest and it made me remember just how much I love President Hinckely. I'd really recommend reading his whole talk but here is just a bit of what he said before giving the Proclamation:

What a mighty congregation of women you are. There are three and one-half million of you. You live in many lands and you speak with a variety of tongues. But you understand with a single heart. Each of you is a daughter of God. Reflect on all the wondrous meaning of that one paramount fact. He who is our Eternal Father has blessed you with miraculous powers of mind and body. He never intended that you should be less than the crowning glory of His creations.

...I believe this is the best season for women in all the history of the world. In opportunities for education, for the training of your hands and minds, there has never before been a time when doors were so widely opened to you as they are today. But neither has there been a time, at least in recent history, when you have been confronted with more challenging problems. I need not remind you that the world we are in is a world of turmoil, of shifting values. Shrill voices call out for one thing or another in betrayal of time-tested standards of behavior. The moral moorings of our society have been badly shaken. So many of the youth of the world, and likewise so many of their elders, listen only to the seductive voice of self-gratification...Stand strong against the wiles of the world

...It is the home which produces the nursery stock of new generations. I hope that you mothers will realize that when all is said and done, you have no more compelling responsibility, nor any laden with greater rewards, than the nurture you give your children in an environment of security, peace, companionship, love, and motivation to grow and do well... You are the guardians of the hearth... No other work reaches so close to divinity as does the nurturing of the sons and daughters of God. May you be strengthened for the challenges of the day. May you be endowed with wisdom beyond your own in dealing with the problems you constantly face. May your prayers and your pleadings be answered with blessings upon your heads and upon the heads of your loved ones. We leave with you our love and our blessing, that your lives may be filled with peace and gladness. It can be so.

What a powerful blessing from a prophet of God! The full weight of womanhood sometimes overwhelms me, especially when I realize how much trust and faith God has in us. Yet then I remember all that God has promised us and it makes me so grateful and so excited to be a woman and a member of Relief Society in this dispensation. It makes me want to shout, like Emma Smith at the first meeting of the Relief Society, "Sisters, we are going to do something extraordinary!"

I am also curious to hear from women who have been members of the Relief Society longer than I have been--- do you remember when President Hinckley first gave the Family Proclamation? What sorts of thoughts went through your head and your heart? I would love to hear.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jehosheba/Jehoshabeath



2 Kings 11:2
2 Chronicles 22:11

Background:

Ahaziah, the King of Judah, was a wicked King because he was advised by his mother Athaliah, who was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel (2 Kings 10). He accompanied his uncle Jehoram, king of Israel, in a war against Hazael, the king of the Arameans. Ahaziah got caught up in a revolt of Jehu, one of his cousins, who wanted to be king of Israel. Ahaziah was wounded when he and Jehoram went out to greet Jehu. Ahaziah fled for his life, but was wounded and later died (2 Kings 10). When Athaliah, Ahaziah's mother, learned that he had been killed she murdered all of the remaining royal seed (her grandchildren) and claimed the throne of Judah for herself (2 Kings 11:1). (To read more of Athaliah's story go here).

Facts About Her:
  • She was Athaliah's and King Joram's daughter and was a sister to Ahaziah (2 Kings 11:2; 2 Chronicles 22:11);
  • When she saw her mother killing all of the royal seed she took Joash-- one of Ahaziah's sons-- from among the pile of dead bodies and hid him and his nurse in a bedchamber so that her mother could not kill him (2 Kings 11:2; 2 Chronicles 22:11);
  • She was married to Jehoiada, the high priest of Solomon's temple (2 Chronicles 22:11);
  • She hid Joash in the temple for six years while Athaliah sat on the throne (2 Kings 11:3-4; 2 Chronicles 22:12) ;
  • When Joash was seven-years-old Jehoiada constructed a plan to crown and anoint Joash as king of Judah in front of the people (2 Kgs. 11: 4-12 , 2 Chr. 23:1-11). When Athaliah saw what was going on she was furious but was forced out the temple, pursued by soldiers, and killed ( 2 Kg 11:13-16, 2 Chr. 23:12-15);
  • Joash was a righteous King and under Jehoiada's supervision he tore down all idol worship in the country and attempted to repair the temple which had been damaged by his father and uncles (2 Chr. 23:17-20). Yet after Jehoiada died Joash was flattered by the princes of Judah and began to forget the Lord. He built groves and altars for idol worship and rejected and stoned the prophets of the Lord. He was eventually assassinated by some of his close associates (2 Chronicles 24:17-27).
Speculations About Her:
  • We know that Joash's mother's name was Zibiah of Beersheba but we don't know anything else about her (2 Kings 12:1). Joash was very young when Jehosheba rescued him (under 1 years-old) and since it is mentioned that "his nurse" was hidden along with him it indicates that his mother may have been dead. Zibiah would have been Jehosheba's sister-in-law and it makes me wonder what sort of relationship these two women had. Part of me really loves to imagine that they might have been good friends and that by rescuing Joash and raising him as her own Jehosheba was honoring the memory of a beloved sister-in-law. Or it may have been that Zibiah was as wicked as her husband and mother-in-law and Jehosheba was grateful for a chance to raise the child without her influence. Still, no matter what the situation was it is still neat that we have Zibiah's name!
  • In 2 Chronicles 24:16 it mentions that when Jehoiada died the people buried him "in the city of David among the kings". This is a remarkable honor for a man who was only the high priest in the temple and not the king. It gives us insight into what sort of couple he and Jehosheaba must have been and how respected they were by the people. Since wives were often buried next to their husbands it is possible that Jehosheba may also have been buried in a place of honor.
  • After Jehoiada's death Joash started giving more attention to the flattery of the princes of Judah and began to turn from the ways of the Lord. He even went so far as to allow the people to stone and kill Zechariah, who was Jehoiada's son, when he preached repentance (2 Chronicles 24:20-22). It is possible that Zechariah was also the son of Jehosheba and it makes one wonder how she must have felt (if she was still living) to see the man she had raised as her own kill one of her sons and make such bad choices.

My Thoughts:

Jehosheba is one of my all time favorite women in the scriptures. There are two reasons I love her. The first is that her actions made it possible for the Savior to be born through the line of Judah. Joash was the last living heir of the Davidic line and if he had died then David's (and Judah's) lineage would have died with him. She showed great bravery, compassion, and faith and deserves to be honored along side other great women-- like Ruth and Tamar--who also made hard choices in order to preserve the Savior's lineage.

The other reason I love her is that despite having a horrible grandmother (Jezebel) and an even more horrible mother (Athaliah) she herself was a righteous woman of God. Instead of getting tangled up in the goddess and idol worship her mother and grandmother practiced she tied herself to the temple (it helps if you marry the priest) and to the True and Living God. Her life was much different than that of her grandmother and her mother because she was able to recognize truth and embraced it with her whole soul. Her story is a powerful testament to the fact that we don't have to allow the choices our families made shape the type of person we become. We each have the ability to choose and by staying close to the Lord we can construct a different sort of life and future for ourselves and our posterity than the one we grew up in.

Jehosheba's story also reminds me of how precious each daughter of God is and how vital she is in God's work. Gordon B. Hinckley once said,
"When you save a girl, you save generations. She will grow in strength and righteousness. She will marry in the house of the Lord. She will teach her children the ways of truth. They will walk in her paths and will similarly teach their children. Wonderful grandmothers will be there to lend encouragement."( "Standing Strong and Immovable", Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 10, 2004)
Each woman holds the fate of generations in her hands. All it takes is one woman who choose to make a good choice and follow the Lord and it can change the future for generations upon generations. Unfortunately the opposite is also true, that it only takes one woman who chooses to turn away from the gospel and from the Lord for generations to wander in darkness until another "Jehosheba" emerges and chooses to embrace the light again. It is so important that we remember we are tied to future generations and that the choices we make, for good or bad, will impact their lives!

Questions to Think About:
  • How do you think she managed to keep Joash hidden for seven years? What sort of challenges would she have faced? Why do you think she did it?
  • How do you think Jehosheba's influence helped shape the type of King and leader that Joash became?
  • Do you know any women that remind you of Jehosheba? Women who grew up in homes that were not conducive to the spirit of God but who were still able to embrace truth and break free of unrighteous traditions? How have their choices influenced their children and grandchildren?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Celebrating My 3rd Blog-iversary!

I am always astounded at how fast a whole year can go by. It seems like I was just celebrating the second anniversary of this blog a few months ago! Yet as I think back on the last year I am overwhelmed with such gratitude for all the wonderful women and men I have "met" through my blog. I have learned so much from you this last year and my testimony of the gospel has increased more than I ever imagined. You have been such a blessing in my life... and you probably didn't even know it!

In celebration of my third "blog-iversary" I have the great opportunity to give away some beautiful gifts to 6 of my lucky readers! I am so grateful to the artists who are donating their products so that I can say thank you to you all in such a fun way.

So without further ado, here are the prizes...

Grand Prize



The grand prize winner will win a 18" x 13.5" print of Cody F. Miller's painting "Stand". I stumbled onto Cody's art work when I was writing my post about Gomer and Lo-ruhamah and fell in love with it. He paints beautiful pictures of women in the scriptures and has many women from the more obscure stories. When he offered to give away a print I had a hard time deciding which one to choose. Yet I love this one because of what it represents. Here is Cody's explanation of this painting:

"We all must stand, first and foremost as servants of the One who came to serve us at our lowest point. The woman holding the child stands firm on who she is as a follower of Christ. Nothing or no one will be able to separate her from this great reality. She may be surrounded by trouble on every side; she may be very weak on top of that; but she will stand, for the Lord is able to make her stand. It is theLord’s power which upholds us and defeats evil, not our power. The battle belongs to the Lord, and many times He simply asks us to stand."

To see more of Cody's incredible art work you can visit his online gallery. I also especially love his paintings of Sarah and Deborah. They are stunning and so unique.

First Prize



TWO lucky first prize winners will win their choice of a custom scripture cover from 4BsCreations! They make beautiful covers to help protect your scriptures and will make them to fit any size scriptures that you want. I SO need one of these for my scriptures. They get hammered being carried in my church bag and since they are so precious to me it would be nice to have a way to protect them!

You can visit them on their etsy shop or "like" them on Facebook to see more of their beautiful work which includes everything from children's clothing to scripture cases. Monogramming is available on all their items.

Second Prize

One second prize winner will win a $25 dollar gift certificate to the Nauvoo Store.
"The Nauvoo store is an online store that brings together unique and high quality goods for the modern pioneer. We carry Book of Mormon and other Scripture covers, leather journals and bags, Young Women jewlery, Sunday clothing for children, baptism and mission gifts, soaps, candy, chocolates and art for the home. Come see us at http://nauvoostore.com/ or like us on Facebook."
They sell the most incredible leather journals. This is one of my favorites.




One of these would make the most perfect scripture journal! It would be such an heirloom to pass onto your children, or just something to feel really important writing in!


Third Prize

TWO lucky third prize winners will win one of these beautiful vinyl wall hangings




from It's Written on the Wall
"We have over 400 vinyls designs for every occasion and every home... funny, whimsical, romantic, or inspirational. And if you can't find the perfect quote, we will custom-make one. Choose from 61 colors, make it smaller or larger. It’s all about you. All orders arrive gift wrapped. So they make great gifts because they can be mailed directly to the recipient!"
I had such a fun time browsing through their website. They have some really cute things! I'd highly recommend you go and take a look at their esty shop or their blog and if you like them on Facebook you can stay abreast of their latest products!

How to Win

You can do one, two, or all of the following-- each one will give you an extra entry into the giveaway. Please leave me a comment letting me know which ones you did (you don't have to leave a separate entry for each).

#1- Leave a comment telling me which woman from the scriptures you would want to spend an hour with (if you could go back in history) and what you would talk to her about.

#2- Mention this giveaway and link to this post on your blog, Facebook, or twitter.

#3- Become a "follower" (on the right hand side bar) of this blog (must be new).

#4- "Like" Women in the Scriptures on Facebook (must be new).

#5- Add my blog button (found on the right hand column) to your blog

#6- Pin your favorite post from my blog on Pinterest (if you aren't on Pinterest you can share it on Facebook)

#7-"Like" 4Bs Creations , Its Written on the Wall , or the Nauvoo Store on Facebook

The giveaway will end on Sunday, September 25th at midnight.

I wish I had the means to give all of you a gift but please know, whether you win something or not, how much I appreciate your friendship and support. You have really made the last three years wonderful!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Five Things for Friday, 16th Edition

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In case you missed it I had a guest post this week over at Chocolate on My Cranium for the celebration on "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." I so appreciate Cocoa for giving me the opportunity to put into words some of the thoughts that have been jumbling around in my head! Here is a little snippet from the beginning to get you to go over and read the whole thing. It is called "Stand as a Witness."
Several weeks ago my husband and I took our two little children (3 and 2) on a road trip to “middle of nowhere” Nevada. It was a long trip and, since my 6 month pregnant body desperately needed a break, we broke up the trip by stopping for the night in Wendover, Nevada. Wendover is a little city just barely over the Utah border whose economy consists almost solely of gambling and prostitution. We were there on a weekend night and every time we walked through the casino to get to our hotel room we had to pass through groups of drunk young men who were obviously hanging around for lewd and immoral reasons. As I walked past them with my two small children clinging to my hands and my belly bulging out in front I felt their eyes bore into me. Their stares, their laughs, and their openly crude remarks about my condition made me feel filthy and exposed. When we got back to our hotel room all I wanted to do was curl up and cry; I’d never felt so degraded. Link
Later I realized that the reason I’d felt so humiliated by this experience was that my husband and I, with our little crew of children... Read the rest

-2-

This song has become my anthem. I love it. I never used to listen to the Christian Rock station on the radio but lately it seems that there aren't any good songs on the other ones. I head this song for the first time a few days ago and the message keeps replaying over and over again in my head.



No matter what you do, do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you!

-3-

I don't know which is more disgusting. The fact that every single tube of chapstick I have in my house is totally unusable because they have little teeth marks in them. Or the fact that I was so desperate for something to put on my painfully cracked lips last Sunday that I resorted to putting diaper cream on them! It was the clear kind mind you-- not the white creamy stuff-- but it sure made my husband think twice about kissing me!

-4-

My three-year-old and I had a full out war of the wills a few days ago. It was epic. I was exhausted after a long day and he was... you know I actually can't even remember what his problem was, but what ever it was it was really important at the moment. He threw the tantrum to beat all tantrums and I didn't have the emotional or mental strength to cope with it. After a good hour of arguing, yelling, and threatening (which always work right?) I ended up bawling and crying on my bed and he ended up bawling and crying under the kitchen table saying that his heart was broken. Luckily my husband still had his wits about him and was eventually able to calm thing down. When we were both recovered enough to hug and say sorry Asher put his little hand on my heart and looked up with me with his huge blue eyes and said,

"Mom, it is okay because Jesus can fix your heart when it is broken. He fixed mine. He can fix yours too."

Sometimes he astounds me with his wisdom and it reminds me that there is an ancient and mature spirit dwelling inside that tiny little body. If I could just remember that... and see him as God sees him... it would make things so much easier!

-5-

Last Sunday I got my copy of "Daughters in My Kingdom" the new history that the Relief Society just put out. I am the first counselor in the RS in my ward and so I got to go pick them up from the Bishop's office and deliver them to the women serving in Young Women's and Primary. It was torture for me to have to look at them during Sunday School and Relief Society and not be able to open one up and start reading. I was so excited. What a treasure this book is. I still have a bit more to read through but I am itching to chat about it already! If you haven't gotten your copy yet (they should have been distributed to all the English speaking wards) you can download the PDF here or read it online. I sure hope that the women in the church actually open this book and read it. It would be such a shame if it just sits on their shelves!

Have a beautiful and wonderful weekend!

If you want to link to your own "Five Things for Friday" post you can use the tool below to add your link. 1) Please link to the URL of your blog post and not your main blog and 2) Please include a link back here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Becoming Equal Partners: Holding a Family Executive Council



In
"The Family: A Proclamation to the World" it states,
"By divine design, 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. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners"
In a world where equality is such a volatile subject it can be hard to figure out how men and women actually go about becoming equal partners in a marriage. The world teaches that to be equal there should be no differences between the work men do and the work women do. Yet it is important to remember that in God's eyes being equal doesn't mean that men and women have to do the same job. Instead, being equal means that equal value is given to both the man's contribution and the woman's contribution to the family. Being equal partners means that both a man and a woman realize that even though they have different jobs they are working towards the same goal-- an eternal family-- and are willing to step up and help the other partner fulfill their responsibilities especially, like the Proclamation teaches, when "disability, death or other circumstances... necessitate individual adaptation."
I know that for my husband and I learning to be equal partners has been an evolving, and sometimes challenging, process. Yet one thing that has really helped us has been a concept I learned from LDS educators Oliver and Rachel DeMille in their book "Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning." They said:
“It is our belief that the basis of our society is the marriage relationship—specifically the sovereignty given to married couples to prayerfully determine what is best for their family. We call this process, and the body that carries it out, the Family Executive Council, or FEC. The FEC consists of the husband, wife, and divine inspiration as an executive trio; each is a voting partner and all decisions are based on consensus of the three….a family where the core unit—the married couple—is not regarded as sovereign has little defense against the things that threaten it, no matter what their source or intention. … married couples [should pray] finding out and implementing what’s best for their family…trusting instead of worrying what society thinks…and not second guessing the sovereignty of someone else’s Family Executive Council…”
When I first read about the idea of Family Executive Council (FEC) my husband and I decided that it was something we wanted to try in our own family. A normal FEC at our house is conducted on Sunday afternoons or evenings when our children are napping or in bed. We begin by kneeling in prayer together to ask the Lord to be present with us and to give us direction as we make decisions about our children, our family, and our marriage. I usually write up a simple agenda in which we talk about the plans for the upcoming week, plan topics for future family home evening lessons, discuss each of our children’s individual needs, report on our personal goals, discuss how we are each fulfilling our family responsibilities, and talk about what we are doing to strengthen our marriage relationship. Sometimes it lasts 15 minutes and sometimes it lasts 2 hours (or however long our little ones sleep) because we find that we have so much to talk about and work on together. We try very hard to not let the meeting get contentious and if it does we stop it right away. Yet no matter what we always end our meeting by kneeling in prayer to discuss with the Lord some of the things we have talked about.

My husband and I have found that regularly counseling with the Lord concerning our stewardships has made us better parents and has helped us to recognize our children’s physical and spiritual needs. It has also strengthened our love for each other and for the Lord.
Some of our most meaningful conversations as a married couple have happened during FEC and it is a time we both look forward to. More than anything, regularly counseling together with the Lord has helped us both realize that even though we may be doing different jobs in the family both of them are crucial, and we don't value one above the other. Instead we work together with the Lord to find the best way to build and strengthen our family.

We’ve also found that regularly counseling with the Lord has increased our ability to respect other couple's choices about their families, especially when it isn’t what we have chosen for our own. We don't have to feel threatened by other people's choices because we know that God is giving us revelation and direction concerning our family and that it doesn't necessarily apply to others. In fact, God may tell the family next door something totally different that He told us because their needs are different than ours. It is not our place to judge the choices another family makes nor is it our place to assume that what is right for our family is right for everyone else’s. Yet we can feel confident that the course we are on is the one that is right for our family... that is the beauty of personal revelation.

The world does a good job of making the concept of "equality" between men and women a confusing subject, so much that there are many people who believe that equality between men and women in marriage is impossible and advocate for alternatives. Yet the Family Proclamation makes it clear that even though God has given men and women different stewardship in the family it is very possible for them to be equal. Equality may not always look the same for each couple and each family, yet that is because each marriage and each family is different. The important thing is that we are including the Lord in our decision making processes and are working together to make sure that all the needs of the family are being fulfilled.

I'm linking this post up to the Celebrate Family blog hop going on this week! Make sure you hop over and read the rest of the wonderful posts!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

When I was little I heard my parents talk about how they remembered exactly where they were and what they were doing when they found out the news that the US president, John F. Kennedy, had been shot. At the time I didn't understand how news could be so life changing that the very moment could be engraved upon your soul.

That changed after September 11, 2001

I was a senior in High School and I was doing my hair in the upstairs bathroom when my younger brother ran up and told me to come down immediately. He said that someone had just bombed the Pentagon (we still didn't have any idea what had really happened). I thought he was joking and told him to leave me alone. Yet when he persisted I finally went downstairs and saw that the TV news was saying the same thing. The two of us couldn't take our eyes off the TV. While we were watching we heard the news that the second plane had flown into the World Trade Center and we watched the horror unfold before our eyes. My parents were already at work and I remember feeling so hopeless. I didn't know what to do, but somehow we got in the car and drove to school.

Link
My first class of the day was US Government and I remember what a somber feel there was in the room when I walked in. The TV was on and everyone's eyes were glued to it. No one really spoke we just watched, and watched, and watched. We knew that something life changing was happening but we didn't quite understand it. It is remarkable but somehow that moment in my US Government class was caught on film. On Facebook a school mate recently shared a news broadcast from my home town where they ran a re-run of the news broadcast from September 11th, 2001. The news clip features my US Government class (I am sitting close to one of the cameras, but I don't even remember them being there!) and it was really an incredible moment for me to go back and watch it. That moment and that class are so engraved upon my memory. When I think of where I was on September 11th, besides doing my hair and watching the news with my brother, that is the only place I remember being.

It is crazy to me to think that 10 years has already passed.

So much has changed.

Yet I loved what President Thomas S. Monson said in his essay in the Washington Post about September 11th. He said,
If there is a spiritual lesson to be learned from our experience of that fateful day, it may be that we owe to God the same faithfulness that He gives to us. We should strive for steadiness, and for a commitment to God that does not ebb and flow with the years or the crises of our lives. It should not require tragedy for us to remember Him, and we should not be compelled to humility before giving Him our faith and trust. We too should be with Him in every season.
I think that is a lesson we are still trying to learn.

Where were you and what were you doing when you heard the news on September 11th, 2001?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Five Things For Friday, 15th Edition

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For my scripture study the last few months I've been using the "Preach My Gospel" manual as a study guide. It has been really helpful, especially because lately I've been feeling like I need a "quick and easy, hold my hand and tell me what to study" guide to the scriptures-- which is what this is. I am working my way through the whole book but if you need some direction for what to study in your personal scripture study chapter #3 'What Do I Study and Teach" and chapter #6 "How Do I Develop Christ-like Attributes" would be great place to start (If you don't have a copy in your home you can read it online here). I just thought I'd pass along the idea because I know that using "Preach My Gospel" as a study guide has helped me a lot on those days when I know I should study my scriptures but don't really want to. Which, yes, does happen to me... quite often.

-2-

I've had several people request my recipe for pickles and so I thought I'd post it here in case there are more of you who are interested. It is sort of a conglomeration of a few pickle recipes I found on the Internet and in books. I've made them two years in a row and they have turned out great. They are bit stronger tasting than store bought pickles but in my opinion are much better!

Heather's Dill Pickle Recipe
Start with FRESH cucumbers. If you want them to be crisp even after you can them it is important you pick them and can them the same day. If you are just putting them in the fridge (not processing them) then it is okay to use older ones. Soak the cucumbers in an ice bath for a few hours to make sure they are nice and crisp before you slice them. You can slice them in spears, in rounds, or if you have a big enough jar and they are small enough you can keep them whole.

In a large pot combine the following and simmer it on a low heat.

6 cups of white vinegar
3/4 cup pickling or natural sea salt (if you use iodized salt it turns your pickle water cloudy)
1/4 cup sugar
9 cups water (turns out best if you use distilled water)
2 Tbsp pickling spices (tie it up inside cheese cloth)

You want to simmer it long enough that the flavor of the pickling spices comes out into the mixture. Usually you can tell that the pickling spices have released their flavor because the mixture turns a little darker and it smells REALLY good! While that is boiling prepare your jars by adding the following to the bottom each jar:

2 tsp whole mustard seed
1-2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp dill
1 grape leaf or oak tree leaf (they contain alum which keeps your pickles from going mushy, this is a must! You can also use powdered alum if you can't find oak or grape leaves. )

Add your washed and sliced cumbers to your jars. Then take the pickling spices out of the water mixture and pour the boiling mixture over your cucumbers, leaving a 1/2 inch of headroom. You can keep them just like that in your fridge or if you want you can process them for 20 minutes in a water bath or a steam caner. It makes about 7 quarts. It takes them about 2 weeks to pickle well. So even though it is tempting to open them right away and try one, make sure you wait about 2 weeks before you try them!
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I've noticed that one of the Beauty Redefined billboards (that I mentioned in this post) is up along the main street in my city! Every time I drive to my friend's house I pass it and it makes me smile. I sure hope that this campaign spreads! Our society needs these messages so badly.



Here is what the Beauty Redefined website said about their campaign:
"You’ll notice there are no bodies on these billboards. We decided to take bodies completely out of the equation. For women, bodies tend to hog a lot of the attention not only in media but in our lives. We need to expand the conversation about women, about beauty, about health and about happiness AWAY from sizes, weights, shapes and looks. In a media landscape that regularly cuts women’s faces/heads/eyes completely out of images, we’re doing just the opposite! We’re making eye contact, asking for attention to the truthfulness of these messages — not the looks of the girls/women holding the signs."
I am curious if other people in Utah have noticed billboards up where they live?

-4-

I really am NOT very crafty but I am sort of proud of this twin-sized quilt that I made for my son's bed. It is an "inside out" jean quilt that I made out of all our old denim jeans.



It took me FOREVER to make. It turns out that cutting and sewing denim is really tough. Both of my sewing scissors are now dull as rocks and I broke two whole packages of sewing machine needles making it, and it clogged our washing machine up with denim fluff when I washed it... but it is finished! I even made a pillowcase to go with it. I really love how it turned out but it might be awhile before I undertake a quilt again, it was a lot of work!

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I've been contacted by several business in the last few months wanting to advertise on my blog. Most of them have been from wonderful companies that I like and think fit in with the theme and message of my blog. Yet I haven't responded to any of them because I am unsure about how I feel about making money from my blog. The reason I started this blog, and the reason I put so much time into it, is because I can't ignore the prompting from the Lord that this is what He needs and wants me to be doing. I consider it part of my personal ministry and part of my service to the Lord, and so accepting money in return for doing it seems sort of wrong... like practicing a "priestcraft" of sorts. Yet, on the other hand I do put a lot of time into this blog and it would be nice to get some sort of monetary compensation (no matter how small) from it.

So I guess I am wondering how other bloggers have made the decision to accept advertising or not. I'd also be curious to know from my readers if having ads on my blog (they would certainly NOT be in high profile places) would change or cheapen the feel or message of my blog. I realize that my blog is sort of unique-- it doesn't really fit into any of the "normal" blog genres-- but I'd love to hear how others have reconciled this question for themselves or what your opinions about ads are.

Have a beautiful weekend!

If you want to link to your own "Five Things for Friday" post you can use the tool below to add your link. 1) Please link to the URL of your blog post and not your main blog and 2) Please include a link back here.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

To Everything There is a Season

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."
- Ecclesiastes 3:11



It is canning season in my neck of the woods and now that I've finished my pickles and peaches it is almost time to move onto the apples and the pears! I am feeling especially blessed to have pears this year because last year we had a late frost and our pear tree froze. We didn't get a single pear. Yet this year our pear tree is bursting at the seams with fruit. In about a week I am going to be up to my ears in more pears than I know what to do with.

Last year it was apples. Our neighbor's apple trees produced enough apples to feed half the neighborhood. By the time I was done canning applesauce (almost 40 jars!) I was quite literally sick of apples. This year though the trees are hardly producing and I think we will be lucky if we get a few jars of applesauce... if any.

I know it is such a simple thing but these fruit trees have really reminded me that I need to be grateful for what I have when I have it.

If I have a tree full of apples then I better enjoy them and put up as much applesauce as I can, because next year I might not have any. If my pear tree doesn't have a single pear on it, I shouldn't complain because next year I might have more than I know what to do with. If I have a house bursting at the seams with dirty laundry I should be grateful because it means I have a house full of dirty people to love. If I start wishing for more time to myself, I shouldn't complain because only a few years ago I had too much time for myself and yearned for someone to share it with.

Life is full of seasons and in every season God blesses us with abundance... it is just the type of abundance that varies. In some seasons God gives us an abundance of snow and moisture, while in others He gives us an abundance of fruit and labor. Similarly, in some seasons of our lives we are blessed with an abundance of noise, family, and work while in others we are blessed with an abundance of silence, solitude, and free time. It is all abundance and it is all a blessing. The challenge is learning how to recognize what abundance God has blessed you with at a particular season of life and then choosing to enjoy it.

I know that for me this season of my life brings an abundance of pears which I am going to enjoy and store up for next year, because I don't know if God will send them again. I am also blessed in this season to have an abundance of housework, children, noise, and laundry which I am going to to enjoy, because one day my house will be far too quiet.

Even though it is hard work, I know I will miss this season of my life when it is gone. It is just too bad I can't can it all and preserve it as easy as I can the pears.