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.

The ability to work hard

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 home is not perfect, it is always cluttered somewhere, but when I get down to really deep cleaning it, the place looks amazing!

2. Leave a place better than how you found it.

My family was always the last to leave any church activity because we were always focused on making sure that everything was clean and put away. I still have a strong desire to do this, but find that I have the ability to let others focus on being the last one out of the door.

I take this into any job that I work because it makes things much better in the workplace.

3. Having a job shows responsibility.

I had my first babysitting job where I was paid $1 per hour per child. I was getting so good, that the mothers found that instead of fighting over me, they had sleepovers that I was in charge of while they left to go and play. I would walk out in the morning (yes sometimes I would be watching the sunrise because they stayed out so late) with quite a lot of money for both the children I watched and healthy tips for the quality of the job. I would not sleep while being there, but found that I did chores around the house to keep me awake. Therefore when they returned, they found dishes done, house clean…

When I am looking for a job, I do not give up. I treat the job hunt as if it is really a job. I work at it full-time. Normally, I have never gone longer than 2 months without finding something. I normally have some opportunities coming up, so I never worry.

Why is working important in a relationship? We are watched by our future partners as to how we spend our money. We watch them as well. If you do not agree, look again. When you are paid, do you have a strong desire to go out and get that great shirt/top you saw for sale or do you first pay your tithing and your bills?

We are also watching each other concerning how we do our chores around our homes. Do we take out the garbage? Care for our children well? Maintain our vehicles? Clean our homes? Everything that we do, we will be taking into a relationship.

I admit that this was one issue that I had difficulty with concerning 1 of my relationships. I would be working, paying the bills, taking care of my children, etc and my partner would be at home sleeping or eating, waiting for me to get home for his entertainment. The imbalance was too difficult. We did not share in the work that needed to be done, so we were not as happy as we could have been.

My wish is that we all learn to be happy with the work and responsibilities that we are in charge of. If not, then change ourselves or the job and responsibility so that we are finding joy in what we do.

A look at our own family

It is time for us to look at our family.

The way we are brought up, the way our extended family acts and reacts to situations tells us how we act and react to any situation. If you have something that you do not like about a member of your family, maybe it is something that you need to change within yourself.

While growing up, my children showed me very strongly that this is true. They would be acting up and I did not like it, but when I looked at myself, I found that they were mirroring my feelings. It gave me much opportunity to change my own feelings and actions.

Of course, they also loved to find and push my buttons (what children could resist this temptation?) I found that when they did, I would immediately look at what created my frustration and other negative feelings and change them. The next time that they pushed the same button, they would not get the same reaction. It drove them crazy! The bonuses were that I became a better person and they became better because of it.

What does this mean to those of us still looking for our Eternal Companion? Well, meeting his (or her) family tells a lot about the person you choose to spend eternity with. If they are encouraging, then the person in question can also be encouraging. If they show love to each other, then the person in question has the ability to have and show love more easily to you and your own children.

Remember, this is a two-edged sword. As you are looking at their family, they are looking at yours. How do you act and react in a family situation? Do you need to make changes? Are you ready for them to see you?

Please remember, we are all a work in progress. Take time to make changes. Love yourself and those around you. You will be amazed at what happens when you do.

Nurturing

Nurturing is a wonderful gift. I am sorry that it took me almost all of my children’s lives with me for me to figure out how to be nurturing enough for them. I will not say that I was a bad mother, just not a wonderful one. I did my best with what I had, but did not have enough understanding to be better.

Sadly, I was pregnant with my first child 10 days after getting married. I did not get to take the time to work on my relationship with my husband before hormones kicked in and life became difficult. The day that our child was born was the day I realized that my husband did not love me. It was a shocking revelation and one I should have heeded. But, I stayed with him another 13 years in hopes that I could soften his heart, take down his walls. We had trials and difficulties that should not have happened if I was staying in tune with my heart.

For the rest of my life, I have been working on the relationships with my children to let them know that they are special in my heart. That the difficulties in our lives were not theirs, but my own, that there is such a thing as a good relationship.

My children had a difficult time with my dating and even getting married, but I was trying to give them what they needed. Now that they are no longer so strongly needing me, I am finding that I have the perfect relationship for me. They see this and they encourage it. They appreciate having someone who is interested in their mother and is willing to take an interest in their own lives. Sometimes it takes me a few years to figure things out.

I am hoping that I can give a short-cut to others in understanding what is right for them. To help each of us heal within our hearts on a faster level than years. If I can help even 1 person change their concepts and lives for the better, I have succeeded in writing my messages.