Monday, October 19, 2015

A Thousand Words...

I have always enjoyed writing and often found comfort in expressing my feelings through my writing.  If I am filled with emotion, positive and negative, taking the time to write them down brings me the greatest peace.  My favorite gifts have been the heartfelt hand written notes and cards from Charley.  I had noticed that the oldest daughter had inherited this love for writing, but I recently noticed that the second daughter also is a talented writer.  Shhh...  she doesn't know that I know this yet!

We had family friend turn 40 this week and her husband asked us all to write letters of memories, appreciation, or thoughts about her so he could print them all in a book for her gift.  My older girls each wrote their own letters and emailed them without sharing them with me.  When I had the chance to preview the book I was curious and I read their letters.  I was not surprised to read the first letter and the lovely thoughts that were shared, but when I got to child #2 I discovered that she has a beautiful talent that she has been hiding.  It made my heart happy to read her carefully constructed words that allowed you to see right into her heart.

These girls are so full of creative expression and I love the messages that they send me.  Tonight I received this message: "Are you awake?  I wish to discuss getting temporary hair dye in the red color for me.  I am willing to let you help pick out the color so it is acceptable.  But I want to try something new with my hair.  And it's temporary so it won't last that long."  This young lady is skilled at asking for what she desires by acknowledging any argument or concern she knows that we will have up front.  FYI - teaching kids to negotiate will back fire on you and often be used against you....

These girls are dangerous when they combine their powers.  They have mastered the art of putting together a well done PowerPoint presentation that includes back ground music to pitch ideas the Charley and I to request girls night parties, sleep overs with friends, and even family vacations.  They write the sweetest notes and text messages that make my heart happy.  I have often walked into their bathrooms to find love notes they have written to each other on their mirrors with dry erase markers.

I listened to a speaker talk about the Ripple Effect at the conference I am attending this weekend. The thoughts that he shared about how we interact with others and the impact it can have on our life and other people was something that really resonated with me after reading my girls kind words.  It reminded me of the importance of taking the time to truly appreciate those we love and sharing our thoughts and feelings with them.  I am blessed to have a husband that started writing me sweet notes when we were dating and still leaves them for me a few times a year.  I am thankful these girls are beginning to understand the richness of their words when they use them to share the feelings in their heart.  A thousand words could not adequately describe the love that I have for my family, but I have an eternity to keep trying.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Church Porn for FHE

One of the blessings/curses of being Mormon is that there is not a preacher that gives a sermon each week.  Instead, members are asked to give talks on topics that are assigned to them by the local church leaders.  They try to include the youth, kids 12 and up, and this week it was Sydnee's turn to give a talk.  She was assigned the topic Family Home Evening, which we refer to as FHE.  Church leaders many years ago (1915?) encouraged families to set aside one evening a week to spend time together as a family, and that is when FHE was born.

Sydnee gave a great talk about the benefits of FHE and talked about her favorite family activities.  One of which is our nightly tradition of "best and worst."  We go around the table and share the best thing and the worst thing about our day.  It starts fun conversations, we laugh with/at each other and find perspective through gaining a better understanding each other's day.  There are many times that we have learned more about our girls and what is important to them through these simple conversations.

FHE was also a topic that I was reminded of during my grandfather's funeral this past week.  He always made time for family home evening and valued family time.  I listened to my aunts and uncle talk about how important and special that was to them.  With these little reminders, I was feeling extra guilty for not taking the time to properly plan family activities these past few months.  I know that I should try harder to take time for planned family activities, discussion topics, and service.

That is when I remembered that I started watching a new Mormon Messages video that I saw on Facebook that talks about how to protect children from porn or talk to them about porn.  I meant to share it with the girls and forgot.  At dinner tonight, I thought it would be a great time to share the video and talk about it.  I borrowed one of the girls iPads and told them that we were going to watch the church porn video.  Speaking before thinking is a bad idea.  They looked at me like I was super crazy and a little terrified, then made fun of me while I kept searching to find the video.  Charley's friend came over and the girls told him that I was searching for church porn on the internet....   And we ended the discussion with "we'll have to watch church porn another night."  Another FHE failure in the books, but points for trying?!?

Two lessons were learned tonight:
1. Think before you speak to children, they will use your words against you.
2. Properly PLAN for FHE

Disclaimer:  I didn't actually search the phrase "Church Porn" so I can't vouch for what that really is.  Google at your own risk folks.

Update: A friend shared the video link.  If anyone else wants to see it and share it with your family, here you go: What Should I Do When I See Pornography?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Power of Music

Having three young ladies in the house means that we rarely have a dull or quiet moment.  They make us laugh, sometime make us want to cry, but mostly make our hearts overflow with joy and love.  The amount of singing and dancing that happens in this house probably qualifies us as a music studio instead of a residence only we can't vouch for the quality of talent.  This weekend we had a girls night (a.k.a. Charley left us home alone) and the 18 year old was the kitchen deejay while we made some homemade mac and cheese.  "Ok, this is a throw back song way back from 2009!"  Did I mention that they make us both laugh and cry?!?

Music is a blessing in so many ways and we were reminded of that this weekend as we listened to our church's General Conference and the beautiful music that accompanied the inspired words.  My grandfather passed away this past Friday and I have had him on my mind all weekend.  As I listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing, I was reminded of a very special experience that has impacted my entire family.  My grandfather, many years ago, would listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Spoken Word program in the barn while he tended to the cows on his farm.  The music touched his soul and he contacted the church to learn more.  He and my sweet grandmother, Norma Jean and the Flying Machine, joined the Mormon church when my mother was a young child.  Because of the music that touched his soul, my grandparents joined a church that believes in eternal families sealed together for time and all eternity in the temple.  Because of the music that touched his soul, I grew up to have these truths close to my heart.  I feel incredibly blessed to know that Charley and I will be together forever with our daughters as well.  Because of the music that touched my grandfather's soul, he taught his family to be prayerful and faithful and loving.

My Grandfather, Harvey Shrack, talked openly and honestly, with kindness and compassion, and didn't hold back (I might have inherited that trait....  sorry guys!)  He gave me the only taste of beer (non -alcoholic, relax!) when I was in 16 and I have never had the desire to drink again.   The love and compassion that he showed me when it often meant that he went against the wishes of his own family taught me that doing what is right is more important than doing what is easy, even when it means that the ones you love most may not understand.  The love that he showed me when I needed it most helped give me the strength to stick to my values and become the wife and mother that I am now.  I never properly thanked him for that, and I should have.

Music fills our home often and is something that we enjoy as a family.  This weekend I was reminded that music has the power to touch souls, inspire minds, guide us through trials, and change lives.  Every time I hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir I will think of my grandfather and the power of music.  And on that note (pun intended) please enjoy a beautiful and inspiring song from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.