I wish that I had these ideas when I was growing up!

Dresses 'n Messes

For those that don’t know by now, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or a Mormon. I believe in living prophets. Why would God have had prophets all through the ages, and not have them now? They speak to us, guiding us on how to raise our families through the craziness of this world. Their words makes sense! This weekend, I get the incredible opportunity to sit in my living room, turn on my TV, and listen to their counsel (we call it General Conference). It’s the most inspiring weekend!

Because I have a large audience who also believes how I do, and many of us are young moms, trying to instill this belief in our children, I like to share ideas to help keep our children engaged.

With that being said, Emily is here as my guest today, sharing a fun tradition…

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What I have taught my children.

marysilverwhite

This is near and dear to my heart…This one is very difficult at this time for many of us. It is the ability to work hard. It is near to my heart because there were a couple of things that I was taught when I was a child:

1. No play until the chores were finished.

My mother wrote long lists for each of us kids to do each Saturday. This was beyond the basic chores that we did each day after school. It was frustrating, but we worked hard for a couple of hours (yes, she truly detailed each item for each room so that we had no excuse to miss anything) and then the rest of the day was ours to play with. This experience taught me to focus on taking care of the needs of my family before we even would consider the wants. Ok, so my…

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A flower girl

My parents were always giving everything that we had to give to other people. They even took in foster children to help those children have a better chance at life.

We had a girl that lived with us for a short time. I believe her name was Sylvia She was about 18 when I met her and I worshiped her because she was so in control of herself. She had a series of books that I loved to look at, and she gave me one to treasure.

We did not have a church building at that time, it was still being built, so we met in the upstairs and back of a department store in the town.

When Sylvia was married, we held the wedding in the department store.  I was her flower girl. I was dressed in a little white lacy dress and had a little dark-red velvet muff to put my hands in. There were flowers pinned to the top of the muff to make it look right.

We were to go down the staircase slowly and I remember waiting for my cue, but did not hear it, someone pushed me and I almost fell down the staircase.

When we were all lined up in front of the branch president, I did not like the man that Sylvia was marrying, so I would stand between them trying to keep them apart. The people behind us were laughing, but they were trying to not let it upset the ceremony.

I know that I made the wedding difficult for Sylvia, but I am sure that it was all about a 4 year old little girl who for a short time, had a big sister and all of a sudden, that big sister was leaving.  I had always hoped that Sylvia would remember me with fond thoughts.

Mrs White, the pears and the valentine’s box

When I was a little girl between the ages of 4 and 7, I lived with my family in a big house which was across the street from some railroad tracks. We had a cherry tree, a walnut tree, roses blooming near the fence, a chicken house in the back yard, a huge hydrangea bush growing next to the house(I always called it the popcorn ball tree and loved it!).

During the time I was growing up, we were able to roam around the neighborhood without parents getting upset from not knowing where we were. As long as when they hollered for us and we answered, we were close enough.

I had met our neighbor 2 houses down. Her name was Mrs. White. I had always thought that the name White was such an unusual name to me. It was so simple and easy to remember-which mine was not.  She was alone and (from my point of view) a very small and old woman. She had white hair and always wore those no-shaped dresses that were loose and always looked square on a woman. She had a pear tree growing in her yard. I could smell the fruit ripening and was always drawn to see if I could have some of them. If she was there, she always let me have some because I asked nicely.

One day, she invited me into her home. It was very quiet in there (especially for a girl who had 4 brothers and parents at home-it was always a good noisy at the house). She took me to her kitchen table and I spotted a valentine’s heart shaped box with ribbons and an artificial flower pasted on top. To me, it looked beautiful! I told her so, and to my delight, she let me have it.

I kept that box for many years. It held a little girl’s treasures and dreams. When the box disintegrated, I kept the flower and the ribbons until one day, I felt I had outgrown the memory.

Now that I am much older and have seen many boxes and eaten many pears, I remember that wonderful little old lady who was willing to give something just to see the light in a little girl’s eyes.

There were times I wondered who had given her the box. Who had cherished her. I regret that I am unable to go back and ask her about her life, to become a true friend. But I do know, that while I was there, I always felt welcomed in her home(it also did not hurt to go get a pear now and then as a treat).

Was it a dog or a horse?

When I was around the age of 2 years old, my family owned I believe it to be a German Shepard. This dog was my companion at all times. I rode that dog as if it was my horse. If I was to be punished, the family had to be careful because the dog was protecting me. If I was punished too harshly, the dog would growl to make sure that they understood that I was under it’s protection. It has been many years, but I have always found that I have an affinity with animals. They talk with me, they react in unusual ways and always I feel that they share their love with me. Because of the time that has passed, my connection has become tenuous, but I have always wanted to take the time to reconnect with the animals as I did when I was a very young girl.

I am blessed to have a zoo that I can visit for free and that it is within 10 miles of my home. I have visited a number of times and each time, the connections with the different animals have been quite an experience for me. Most have been subtle, but even so, they have been fun.

I need to go more often…

I am thankful that Heavenly Father loved us so much that he gave us so many ways to tell us!

I am here for a reason

I believe that I am on this earth for a reason. I have had a very remarkable experience when I was much younger that tells me this.

When I was a young girl, I was with my family visiting my grandparent’s dairy farm in the middle of the summer. My grandfather had electric fences to keep the cows from crossing the fields until he was ready to let them. He had the electricity running through them a little high and did not think that it would harm anyone.

My brothers were playing with cousins out in one of the fields and I wanted to join them. I could see them through the fence playing on one of the large rock piles that were created in the field so that the grass would grow. This place was known as a “Rock Farm” because there were so many of them. The kids were playing on the rocks playing games and I, as a small girl, wanted to join them. So, I did what most kids would have done and proceeded to widen the fence wires so that I could crawl between them and then be in the other field. I did not realize that this section was the electrified fence until it was too late. It would not have been a bad thing, but there was a puddle of water that I was standing in because grandfather had flooded the field recently. The electricity immediately jumped from the fence to my hands, running down my body and into the water which was sending the electricity back up and back into the fence.

I was screaming because as I pulled one hand off of the fence, the other was pulled onto it. I could not break the connection. My hands were switching back and forth, but I could not let go!

My grandparents had a small house that was in the field that they rented out to students that were going to the university nearby. There was a student there at that time.

He heard me screaming and began to run at me. I saw him coming. He pushed me down from the other side of the fence and he broke my connection.

After looking back and thinking of what he did, he saved my life with no thought of his own. He should have pushed me with a stick so that he would not have been shocked himself, but it was with his bare hands that I was pushed and I remember that it was as if he tackled me through the fence as if we were playing tackle football.

One of my uncles was on horseback and was on his way to get me because he heard my screams. He pulled me up onto the horse and took me back to the farmhouse where I was promptly put into a bathtub to remove the mud from my body. It took a couple of bathings to get it all off because it was so thick.

My grandfather was shook up because of this incident and immediately brought the electric fence charges down and I know that he had never forgiven himself for what happened. I have never blamed him for this. I loved my grandfather and have always used him as a wonderful example in my life.

From that time on, I have always heard electricity when it is on around me. I am ultra-sensitive to static and do my best to keep grounded.

I know that I am blessed. That I have much to do on this earth and that I was saved from the electrocution with only a small side-effect.

I love my Heavenly Father and am glad he has given me many opportunities to grow and to become a better person.

The heart of a child

Matthew 18:2-5
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of
heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

Have you ever wondered about these scriptures? Have you wished that you might be just like the child that our Savior was referring to?  There is much strength and understanding in a child. More so than is appreciated by those around him or her.
Just think, they were with Heavenly Father more recently than us. When you look in the face of a recently newborn baby, you automatically love that child. Why? What is it that pulls our eyes to this
child? Why do you want to protect this child? Why don’t others feel the same way with me? What can I do to change other’s perceptions about me so that they feel the same? How can I put that light that they have in my face?
I painted a painting. This particular painting I knew that it was to be on a large canvass, I knew what it
was going to look like and how I was going to paint it.  This was to be a sword with a gold hilt with a small hand on it. This represents the fact that only a child could wield the sword. The flat of the sword was encrypted with symbols. These symbols were to represent life and what to use to get into the next
life.  There was a light shining off of the sword in a flowing manner, the background was pink and the
light cascaded outwards. This painting is called “The Sword of Truth and Light” and I find that all children
who see it, love it! I even have children who have decided that the painting is theirs. They cannot get
enough of looking at it because of what they understand from it.  I gave that painting to a child who had great strength in his heart and I wanted him to remember that strength throughout his life.
I find that when I need guidance to become like a little child, I look at this painting. I try to let go of all of those negative thoughts that hound me and be more childlike in my perspective of the world. If there is something that is wrong from the point of view of an innocent child, I need to remove it out of
my life.  Doing this actually makes me feel like a child! I do not act my age and those around me cannot believe my age when I tell them. I have decided that I want to live for quite a while, so therefore, I need to be like a child to have the opportunities that a child also has.
Their world is new! They can do anything! I love these concepts!
I combine the fervour of youth with the wisdom of the ages and find that I am a dynamic person. I love who I am and look forward to getting to know myself even  better.
Trust the Savior. Know that he is on top of things in your life. Let him be in charge. You will be blessed
constantly and with much enjoyment if you do these things.

What is a friend?

Friendships

What is a true friend?
This is a question that needs to be brought up more so now than even a few years ago.
A true friend will be there for you whenever you need them. In both the good and the bad. They will not
judge you and will not try to hurt you.  This true friendship is becoming more and more rare these days. A lot of the reason is because of all of the media that is surrounding all of us all of the time.
Sit back and list your friends. How many do you have? How many do you know very well? How many of those “Friends” are real and how many of them are on the TV, radio, Facebook game friends? Do you know more about someone who’s “Lives” you have been invited to watch weekly or daily than a real person who you can go out for a conversation with? If this is the case, it is time to go beyond your comfort zone and make a real friend.
How do you make a friend?
A friend can be of any shape, color or size. You can meet them at any moment at any place in your daily
lives.
What brings out that friend more than just someone that you meet?

It does take 2 people, but it is the efforts of both people to go beyond the normal “Daily” world and share insights. It is time that each spends with the other person.
When a person becomes interested in you, the choice that is before you is to trust them or not. Look into their eyes. Look into their heart. These places will tell you how much you should give of yourself.
If you feel you can trust them, do not overwhelm them with all of you all at once. Take the time to share. Make sure that your friendship is not one-sided. Listen to them and encourage them in all of their
endeavors.
Let me tell you about one of my friends:
I met my friend Thea at a meeting for parents of new Seminary students. We began to talk because we were thinking of car-pooling the kids so that it would eliminate an extra car on the road at that early time of the morning. This was not going to work because of circumstances, but that did not stop us. The next time that we met, was in Relief Society. She had her granddaughter with her and had to leave quite often, so she had a seat close by a door so that she could come and go. She wanted to be there, but because of the little girl, she had a difficult time. I began to distract the little girl so that Thea could spend just a few more minutes in the class than if I did not do anything. Because Thea was a new member of the church, she came to Sunday School, but was confused by the deep discussions that were being talked about. I began to sit with her at these times and she decided to ask questions. I would begin answering her questions so that she could keep up with the class.
This could have been a shallow friendship and would have not gone any further, but Thea gave me her number to call when I needed to talk. She needed someone to help her with her daughter’s wedding. I had done weddings in the past, so I offered to help her. From that point on, we went to many places and had lunches together and worked on the same goals together.  I shared parts of my life and she understood that I was having a difficult time because it was during a hard part of my life. She would give me money so that I could keep going, I would give of my time and efforts back. This became a deeper friendship through daily contact and sharing of each other’s feelings. At this point in time, I have been by her side when she has been ill, she has been there for the good and the bad times in my life. My children love her as if she was a second mother. I cherish our friendship and it has taught me to spend
more time with other people and deepen my friendships with them.
I have many friends, but I find that my friendships are on different levels with each person. This is as
it should be, but I am finding that I need to deepen friendships even more than I have been.
To do this, I pray for the person in question. I let Heavenly Father know that I care for this person and
am hoping to deepen my friendship. I also ask for guidance as to what I should say because there are
times that I feel that the words that come out of my mouth may make the person run the other way. I then try to get out of my comfort zone and let them know that I am interested in deepening our friendship.  I truly cherish each of my friends. I appreciate each of them and what they have done to my life. I pray for their happiness and joy.
I really believe that if you look into your lives and see who you have around you, you can always add more friends into your own life. They will be there for all of the good and bad that comes along.
Remember, you are not alone. You have someone who cares about you. The greatest friends that you have are: Heavenly Father, our Savior and the Holy Ghost.
They will always be there for you not matter what.

Abuse

I have been abused, what do I do?

There are many different types of abuse. Mental, physical, spiritual are the 3 main categories.

Sometimes the person being abused is too young to be able to say anything and because they trusted the person they were with, did not realize what the abuse was.

At other times, the person feels helpless. They do not know what to do. They may love the abuser, they may feel violated and do not understand what to do when this happens.

Heavenly Father has never approved of any violation of any of his children in the past, in the present, or in the future.

As a matter of fact, until I realized these words were really true, I allowed abuse in my life: “I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father and I am to be treated that way.” At one time, I wrote these words on a board by the front door and changed who was either a daughter or a son for my children so that they understood that they were special people as well. This is very powerful and is very encouraging.

After realizing that I was being abused, I began to go back to the scriptures and praying to Heavenly Father to help me realize the extent of the abuse. I had no clue how bad it was until I was out of the situation. I had pictures that were taken of me during the abuse time of my life and then much later, I had other pictures of other events taken of me. I found that I had become an old woman. That I was a middle-aged, overweight, dumpy, did not care about life, woman. I had lost all personality and did only what needed to make it through the day. I took care of my family, but had no joy.

I found someone who would help me find who I was to be. She was a great counselor and also guided me to become one as well. She guided me almost daily because she also knew that I was a daughter of God and was willing to help me find my way to true happiness within myself. I do admit, I tried to go to my bishop for help, but at that time, he was not able to understand what my need was. This experience was totally alien to him and he had a difficult time supporting me. I realized this, was not angry with him, but did go find help where I really needed it.

Each day after realizing that I was abused, I began to see how it affected me. I began to realize that each thing that was told to me, each thing that was done to me, was false. I began to stand up for the very little things and change them. Then each of the bigger issues I began to stand up for. This progressed until I was able to stand up for myself again. The important part of this experience, was to blame no one, not the abuser, not the bishop, not my family, not my friends(or who I thought were my friends),not even myself. For when I blame, it creates more negative feelings and does not allow any healing to happen.

I realized at this time that I had a right to live. I had a right to be. I was an important person and should be treated as such. I can give love, I can receive it, but I had the choice to do so.

I also found that when I forgave my abuser, whether it mattered to them or not, it did to me. I also found that if I forgave someone, I did not need to allow them to continue the abuse. I had to stand up to them. I had to accept my feelings about them. I knew in my heart that I loved them, but that I had to let them go. They did not have the right to hurt me. This was a part that I had to learn on my own. No one had ever taught me this.

I had empowered myself! I look at the pictures that were taken later and I find that I look much younger, much happier, much more at peace! No one believes that I have teenage children. They really did believe that I am my children’s older sister. I act young, I feel young and I look young. This is just a side effect on my letting go. The main part of this is that I have loved and I have begun to love myself once again.

I know that with the support of the scriptures, the comfort of prayer, the knowledge that Heavenly Father really does love me and that I am not alone are all important keys to healing that which was taken from me.

I found that I have strength. That only I allow others to affect my feelings. I can love and it has taught me what true unconditional love really is.

Follow the councils of our leaders, they really do love us and wish the best for us. The hard part was, was that I was not receptive to their councils until much later. I did not even realize that they were really in tune with what may really be going on inside of my soul. I did not hear them. Try to listen to them. They do know us.

Peace-When do I need it?

Peace amongst times of turmoil

Abraham Lincoln states:
When I do good, I feel good and when I do bad, I feel bad.

According to President Benson in his talk of “Do not
Despair” he states:
“We live in an age when as the Lord fortold, men’s hearts are failing them, not only physically, but in
spirit. Many are giving up heart for the battle of life. Suicide ranks as a major cause of the deaths to
college students. As the showdown between good and evil approaches with it’s accompanying trials and
tribulations, Satan is increasingly striving to overcome the Saints with despair, discouragement, despondency, and depression.”

This talk was given in the 70’s and still applies even more so today.

He also gives 12 ways to overcome this to create the Peace we all crave in our hearts. You do not need to do these in order and you will find that different ones come into effect when used at different times.

The first one is Repentance. I found that not only Repentance is necessary, but forgiveness of self is
very important. This took many years for me to understand this. I find that with my children, they
have no illusion of my perfection and so they call me on anything that is not right so that I can take care
of it before it becomes a real problem.

Second is Prayer.  Make Heavenly Father your friend. Spend a lot of time on your knees to know what it
feels like. Then get used to the feeling that is present as you pray. Keep that feeling with you at all
times. This way, you have a constant channel into Heavenly Father and he always is there for you. This
gives a feeling of comfort when you do this.

Third is Service. This can be something as simple as listening to someone-being there at the right moment.

Fourth is Work. I love this comment because I have never thought of it to be this way: “Work is our
blessing, not our doom”. If you have something to do, it will keep you from worrying about something that you cannot do about anyway.

Fifth is Health. We should not run faster than our strength. I really believe this. When I do press
myself beyond what I should do, I am not happy. I do not feel peaceful. Instead, I feel exhausted and
cannot function. I have run faster than I have strength and it takes a lot of wasted time to recover
just to be able to do what I could have done if I was healthy.

Sixth is Reading. I find that when I read my scriptures, even just opening them and reading a few
words, gives peace to me. Other books need to be read in moderation. This is not good if you overdo it, and I did. I found that when I was in times of stress, I would escape in worlds that were not my own so that I could cope. This was not real, so the feeling was empty.

Seventh is Blessings. Blessings are great for comfort, for guidance, for inspiration. I found that I was
given a blessing that told me that I was not asking for enough blessings. That I was to use the gifts that
were present by asking more often. A blessing is a wonderful gift. To be able to hear the words of
Heavenly Father directly to you and know that he really cares is very important.

Eighth is Fasting. If you read Matthew 17:19-21, you will find that there is a bad spirit that will only go
away if you fast and pray. This really works! I have felt more at peace and a removal of what feels to me a bad spirit that had been in my home. I have prayed and fasted specifically concerning issues that
were answered immediately during the fasting period. This happens if you do it with a singleness in your
heart. Put away your fears and concerns and let Heavenly Father talk with you. This is when the good
things happen.

Ninth is Friends. You need friends. They are always good for things such as when you want to talk
something out. To have as a support when you are down, they may be up at the time and they will help you find ways to pull yourself out. They are people to cherish and have close to you. I have a friend that is there just for me to call when I am having something happen to me. She cheers when the good things happen and is a shoulder to cry on when bad things happen. She loves my family and wants the best for us. I appreciate her and her friendship so much that it would hurt not to have her there when I want to talk. I also give as good as I receive, so am there when she needs me as well. This is a good relationship.

Tenth is Music. I have found that if you put music that is playing up against your heart without hearing
it, it can weaken or strengthen you depending on what it is. You do not even need to hear it to be affected by it. This was done to my child and he was more fascinated by it than he showed at the time. Try this. Play some music without the headphones on. Put the player against your heart. Then put your other arm out straight in front of you and try to keep it steady, have someone else gently, but with steady pressure, press down. If the song is a good one, the arm will stay strong, but if the song is not good, the arm will weaken and drop.  Does this tell you anything? It did to me!

Eleventh is Endurance. That word always used to seem like a bad word. That it would take forever to happen. I have found that this is not the case. That it is not a bad word. That it is strength given and received. My mantra that kept me through my first divorce and gave me a better perspective in my life was “Each day is an Adventure, whether good or bad, it is still an Adventure.” This gave me hope in the worst times possible and it also let me know that I am here for good reasons, not just the bad ones.

Twelfth is Goals. When I was much younger, I did not understand goals. I did not think that I needed to
look any further than the day that I was living in. I was not taught that a goal would give me more open
doors in my life than what I had already. I made choices in my life that were not the best because of
missing this key element. I found that I did not have the education that I need now because I did not have a goal in mind when I went to college. My goal was to see what it was like to be around people of my own beliefs. I played instead of working on my future. I have suffered much because of this simple choice that I made. I do not have a degree. I have been unable to get the jobs that would pay well because of this. But instead of moaning about it, I find that I am becoming more goal oriented and things are working out better than they had been. If you look at those people who are over 100 years old, you will find that they are living longer because they have goals. They do not give up just because they are older, but are wanting to learn, to find out what they can do. These are wonderful
goals!
Ok, that is it for what President Benson believes are great steps, but I found one more that needs to be
applied to create peace:
Trust in God. You can do everything that is in this list, but if you do not have trust in God, then all is
a waste of time.  Peace is earned through following the Gospel of our Savior. It is strong and can withstand turmoil if nurtured through each of these areas described. If an area becomes weak, then peace can be easily withdrawn. Look within, it will guide you. Know that you have a Heavenly Father, know that you have a Savior, know that there is a Holy Ghost and that they are always with you as
long as you let them be there.
The Gospel is really simple and active!
Learn each small precept and add upon it. You do not need to try to thoroughly  understand such a concept as the Atonement if you do not start to understand a simple concept such as prayer.
Accept the truth. To know the truth, close your eyes and see the decisions before you, the one with more light bringing you closer to Heavenly Father will be the right one. Ask for confirmation and EXPECT and immediate answer. I know that this is true, I have experienced this and know that it is right. Try it out!