How to Keep the Sabbath Day Holy

How do you keep the Sabbath day holy? This is different for everyone and each individual and family will have to choose what will be best for them. For me personally, I’ve struggled with this one. Especially with having 10 kids. I’ve limited the types of movies and tv shows that they can watch on Sundays, cut out activities that they can do any other day of the week but probably shouldn’t do on Sundays… like homework. But I’ve felt like this isn’t enough.

I really love what this article said about the Sabbath day.

“The word Sabbath comes from a Hebrew word that means rest, and the word holy means something that is sacred or dedicated to God. The Sabbath is a holy day, a day that’s supposed to be different from the other days of the week. On this sacred day, you should rest from your normal daily routine and dedicate your thoughts and time to God.”

So how do I do this with 9 kids ages 14-4?!

Well…. here’s some ideas. I read through them all and like a few of them. What I’ve basically decided is that it all is going to come down to being more organized. Which is actually pretty difficult for me. It’s just something I have to really try and focus on.

With this pregnancy, my “nesting” has been to really minimize what comes into the house and to declutter what is here. I’ve gotten rid of big items and lots of little items already and it feels like I’ve barely made a dent. I’ve decided that the only way to feel like I’m not living in clutter is to figure out a way to make this home of 11 (12 when this baby is born and 13 when Jordan gets back) is to organize it and make it a home of minimalism. Which again, is going to take some organizational skills… and maybe not sick kids to actually be able to get stuff done!

I feel like the next thing that needs to be done is to go through all of the clothes in the house which is daunting just by itself!

Anyways, back to the Sabbath day… some things that are going to take organization is going to be getting items that will be only Sunday items, like puzzles that we can work on together and maybe a few small puzzles for the younger kids. But then they get put away until the following Sunday. Printing pages to color and activities to do that are Sunday only. Basically, being on top of things to make Sunday feel more special that doesn’t involve just sitting on the couch vegging out on movies that “aren’t bad”.

I mentioned the minimalism thing because this is something I’ve been thinking about but it involves bringing in a few more items to the house. This feels… icky to me while there’s so much stuff already crammed into drawers and on shelves. The clutter drives me nuts. So I need to get this house under control before I feel like I can implement these other things successfully.

I really loved this article too.

The last thing it says is –

“Be consistent.

It won’t do you or your family much good if you do something one Sunday, then don’t do it the next. Children are quick to sense hypocrisy. If you want your Sabbath day activities to succeed, you must do them every week, or else they will become meaningless.”

THIS. This is what I don’t want. I want to create a home where everyone can work together. Where things don’t feel so crazy. Where the kids can expect certain things to happen… and they do. Where good things become routine.

This seems too hard but I know it isn’t. I know it can be done.

This is my goal before this baby is born. To organize this house and family in order to make our Sabbath days truly holy. Not just lazy, or boring, or alright. But holy and family centered. Without the clutter.

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Happy Fathers Day

I’m lucky to have some really great fathers in my life. First, my dad. Who taught me to be strong and fearless by his example. Who never gave up on me. Who always hoped and prayed and believed that I would come around to the gospel again someday. Who is an example of leadership, entrepreneurship, and being bold in the face of adversity. Who taught me and continues to teach me that making mistakes is human but coming to Christ heals all. My dad who has loved me since day one. Honestly, I firmly believe we loved each other before we came to this earth. I’ve always loved and admired this man with all my heart and know of a surety that we were meant to walk this life together. I couldn’t do it without him and wouldn’t want to.

Thank you dad, for all that you are.

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my dad

My step dad. Who taught me that forgiveness is Christlike. That we all make mistakes but that family is forever. This man taught me that people change, even me. That even if we don’t understand our parents that someday, we just might. This man who loves my mother, who took on 3 kids in his early 20’s with no parent manual on how to be a step-parent but tried his best regardless. His example has taught me perseverance. sacrifice, and humility.

Thank you and Happy Fathers Day.

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My step dad with my mom

I have to give a little shoutout to my father in law as well. I actually met him a few weeks before I met my husband in person. He came over to my house to meet me and loan me a book John and I had talked about over the phone. When I met him, I automatically liked him. He is kind, smart and easy to talk to. Since getting to know him better, he constantly impresses me. He loves God, Christ and his family intensely. He pushes me to be a better person. I’m thankful for his example, strength, and love that he adds into our family and into my life already and our journey together has only begun.

Happy Fathers Day!

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my father in law

I also want to say Happy Fathers Day to my husband. The man who already had 7 kids yet opened his heart to 3 more. Who tries so hard to connect with them and love them when he’s home from work. He is an amazing father. A father who loves and listens to his kids. Who stays hours after he should have left for work to make sure they’re all okay. This man who is a powerful priesthood holder. Who has given me blessings whenever I ask for them, who prays for and with our family every day that he’s home, who teaches and talks about the gospel with excitement and love. This man loves God and our Savior Jesus Christ with all of his soul. He is the strength and center of our home and family, even though he has to work away from home for weeks at a time. Who makes me laugh. Who I can talk to endlessly about anything at all. Who already knows me so well and can crack my stubbornness with his persistent love. I couldn’t have asked and prayed for a better father for all of our kids. I’m lucky to walk this journey with him by my side, leading our children through this life.

Happy Fathers Day my love, my soul mate, my husband.

 

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Testimony Sunday

When I knew that I wanted to come back to church, I worried that I would be judged because I have tattoos. There are LDS people that have tattoos, especially nowadays. But I still worried because I have noticeable ones. Ones that I can’t hide unless I wear long sleeves all the time and shoes that cover the top of my feet. I worried, until I found the Tattooed Mormon’s blog. Her name is Al Carraway. When I found her blog, my thought was – “If she is this popular with mormons, I can walk into one church.” My point in telling you this is that she has also posted that everyone should bear their testimony every fast Sunday – even if it’s just to yourself. Ever since I read that, I’ve thought it’s a great idea. Because our testimonies should be growing and changing and evolving all the time.

So here’s my first one –

I know without a doubt that this Gospel is true. When talking to my mom last week, one of the things she said was “exciting things started happening the moment you committed your life to the Lord”. Boy, was she ever right. I was thinking about my life since I made the decision to come back to church. I knew I wanted to before I made the real commitment but that commitment has seemed to open a door to the Devine that I really had never thought possible. There is no doubt in my mind that God is real, Christ is real and risen, and the adversary is very real.

I have had numerous experiences in the last year that has proven this to me time and time again. One of those was when I had the flu, I was stuck in the bathroom (tmi, I know) for hours in the middle of the night. I felt awful and I was so tired. I finally said a prayer telling my Heavenly Father just that. That I was tired and I just wanted to go to bed and sleep. I immediately felt this real physical calm wash over me from head to toe and my whole body calmed down. I felt fine. I stopped and paused and thought “maybe I should just sit here for a while and make sure” and then my next thought was “nope, I’m going to go lay down while I feel this good and if I have to get up again, I have to get up again” but I didn’t. I slept the rest of the night and felt just fine by morning.

God’s grace is real. God’s grace is amazing. And a lot of times, most times, it’s not a big flashy thing. It’s as simple as – now I feel well enough to leave the bathroom and finally sleep.

We all have this grace in our lives. I see it in mine all the time. It’s when we get too busy, too distracted, too caught up in the world that we don’t see it for what it is. Because most of the time, it is these small things. People tell me all the time how overwhelmed I must be with 10 kids. And I do get overwhelmed. I get stressed. I feel really busy most of the time. But it is only by God’s grace that I really don’t feel overwhelmed most of the time. I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I know that I can find joy in the busyness that comes with having 10 kids. I know that I can teach my kids to find that joy in their lives no matter what – because of God’s grace.

I love this Gospel. I love my God and my Savior. I love what this Gospel has brought into my life. I know that my life has been guided by God since the moment I was born and I am (maybe slowly) learning to let God have the reigns completely. My job in this life is to be still. To listen. And then to act upon what I know and feel to be true and to let God decide and lead me where He wants me to be.

I say these things with all the love in my heart, in the name of Jesus Christ – amen.

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Can’t hide the tattoos. And that’s okay!

Sundays Are My Favorite

I woke up this morning and remembered that Tahlia was supposed to give a talk during primary at church today. The talk was supposed to be on how Prophets teach us to live the Restored Gospel. I did a little googling but didn’t really find what I thought I was looking for. I decided to play some music while I got ready for church and went to turn on Pandora. When I unlocked my phone, I had a thought that I should listen to an old conference talk instead. I almost ignored the thought and then thought to myself “no, I told myself that I would listen and act on any promptings no matter how small”. This has been taking a lot of effort. I mean, you wouldn’t think so right? But man, it’s so easy to just jump right into habits – like listening to Pandora. It takes real effort to stop, listen and make that choice. Even with these seemingly tiny things!

Anyways, getting way off track here. Back to the point. I brought up my LDS Library App instead. I went to the conference talks section. I didn’t really want to listen to any recent ones since I’ve been listening to those pretty often lately, so I just swiped up on my phone and let it scroll down. As it scrolled, I randomly touched my finger down and stopped it. I stopped on October of 1999. I clicked on that and scrolled through the talks. “Spiritual Hurricanes” jumped out at me. So I clicked on that one and hit the “play” button.

Wouldn’t you know it… here was everything I needed for Tahlia’s primary talk. I quickly wrote out her talk while I was getting ready, went and talked with her about it and we were all set!

Here’s how it went –

Just like weathermen and storm watchers who keep people safe from danger, our prophets are our spiritual watchmen. They help teach us to be like Jesus, to protect our spirits, to prepare, to read our scriptures, to pray, and to choose the right.
They tell us what our Heavenly Father wants us to know.
Amos 3:7 says – surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
If we follow the prophet and listen closely, we will know what to do!

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my shy girl!
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love her!

Yep, I snuck a few pictures while waiting to help her give her talk. I tried not to get other kids in the photo, that’s why it’s so off-center. I never know how other parents will feel about me posting photos with their kids in them so I always try my best to get photos with only my kiddos in them. It usually works!

Today, this same little girl told me that she wasn’t sure if she believed in Jesus because her dad keeps telling them that he doesn’t. This broke my heart. I told her how much Jesus loves her, that He is very real, that He lives and that He can’t wait to see her again someday.

If anything, this definitely strengthened my resolve to focus our lives on Christ as much as possible. Sometimes, it’s one comment, one negative moment, etc that will stick in your mind more than a hundred positive ones. We know this to be true with everything else in life. It doesn’t matter how many people tell you that you’re capable, brave, strong, fearless, pretty – anything! That ONE person who says you’re not. Who puts those thoughts of doubt, negativity, or sadness into your mind – our minds latch onto those. We play them over and over in our heads. We focus on them. On why they would say those things. Why they would believe those things. The negative always feels bigger than the positives a lot of times. And for kids, this is so hard. I am determined to override my children’s minds with Christ. I want them to know without a doubt that He lives and loves them so unconditionally that no comment will ever cause them to doubt this fact. Don’t worry, we will get there.

Sundays are my favorite. I love getting my kids into church. I love going to church. I love singing the hymns. I love being able to participate and take the sacrament. I love sitting in Gospel Doctrine and Relief Society. I love coming home and making (okay sometimes forcing) my kids to take a break, relax, watch inspiring movies, read the scriptures. I love reading my scriptures throughout the day and being interrupted by the kids while I read. Because this means that they see me read my scriptures. Does everything always go perfect on Sundays? Of course not. I mean, there’s a lot of bribes that go into getting so many kids to sit and be quiet during sacrament meeting (and jokes aside  – the bribes don’t even work half the time) but we go. Till the end of my days, I will thank my Heavenly Father for the opportunity to take my kids to church. Because going from being inactive and raising kids outside of the Gospel to coming back and seeing them in the Gospel. It’s different. It’s good. And I’m so so thankful.