Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gospel Study - See Others as They May Become

President Thomas S. Monson's talk See Others as They May Become touched me.

This week I am doing missionary week in seminary.  This morning we talked about how missionary work included helping those who struggle to gain or keep a testimony.  We talked about how everyone needed to feel needed, have a friends and be nourished by God's word.

Then I came home and read this talk.

"There is absolutely nothing in this world that will provide more comfort and happiness that a testimony of the truth... [we must] labor to keep it."

I see the truth in this every time I look at these students.  I see the truth in this every time I see my wayward son.

Today I taught my students that share their testimony was one of the strongest tools they have in sharing the gospel.  Baring testimony invites the holy ghost into a conversation giving Him a chance to touch hearts.

Everyone "needs to be told that we are amount to something, that we are capable and worthwhile.  We need to be given a chance to serve."

Everyone needs a chance... even if it looks like there is a snowballs chance in you-know-where that they will change.  People change.  I love the story President Monson shared about the prison warden.  I might even put the quote on my wall.  "I don't work with leopards.  I work with men, and men change."

I hold hope in that.

They will change when we "give them opportunities to live as they should... help them to overcome their shortcomings... and develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present but as they may become when they receive testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

I know my son has expressed that he feels judged for his choices, not loved despite them.  I , too, pray that we all will "develop the capacity to see men not as they are but as they can become..."

I will take courage.  Every time I am growled at I need to remember that.  Meanwhile, I need to remember to see all the way God sees them.  REMEMBER!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Week at the Boyacks - Week 33

Monday came with a repair.  We haven't even begun rehearsing with the set and already things are breaking.  It serves me right.  I should have checked the castors before the kids flipped the set.  I just didn't take the time. While we were trying to paint the floor it got harder and harder to push the big set piece around.  Once I got on the floor I realized that 4 of the middle castors had fallen off.

Jeff and I crawled under the set while 20 kids held up the set and kept the set piece from crushing us.  Talk about trust. The rest of the week it all held up.  Thank heavens!  Of course, much of our time is consumed in rehearsals. The show opens soon.  There is so much work to do!

 At least the set is functional and all that is left is to paint the floor, hang a few lights and set light cues.
 I also tried harder to clean my house.  I clean it everyday and it never looks like I lift a finger.  This week I took a picture to prove that I actually get something done in my week.  Sadly, most of the people that live at my house don't see the beauty of a clean house.
 I also finished my set for Robert's play - Seusical the Musical.  Lillian and I went to the school and she helped me put it all together.  I looks awesome!  Now I just need to collect the money and pay down some bills.
I spent all day Saturday working out sound issues at for the play.  I have to say it turned out to be the smoothest sound tech I've ever run.  The band could hear the actors and the actors could hear the band!  Sweet!  Everyone is happy. I tried something new and moved the sound board to the center of house.  It really should be run from in the house.  But I haven't done it before because the auditorium is so new.  However, Saturday night I have to change it all for a surprise concert.  I had heard mentioned that a Gospel Choir was coming to perform, but no one had asked me to help out.  Then I learned that they had scheduled the performance on a tech day!  Hello!  What were they thinking?  I ask Jeff about it and he said that I shouldn't worry because he made them schedule it for 7 pm... long after tech and that they didn't need anything for us.  I was reading Facebook the next day and learned that it was to start at 5 - one hour after tech.  GRRR!  Tech finished and I realized everyone had disappeared and the choir was coming in and asking for all kinds of sound.  I struggled to carry all the equipment down the stairs while 30 people watched me.  All my sound levels were changed to accommodate the concert.  Hours of work were erased   By the end of the night I was very mad.  I can't believe that selfish people a) don't bother to ask for help and just assume I will make magic happen b) that people believe that sound tech is as easy as turning on a button and c) hours of work meant nothing.  Monday I had to start over with levels because nothing was as it was.  The singing was ok, but I've never been to a church service like that.  I really didn't enjoy any of it because I was so mad about the situation.  Oh.... and then I learned the school decided one more sports banquet was more important than the spring play.  Even though the spring play has been on the calendar all year it was cancelled because of sports.  I have a few choice words for that, but none of them should be said in the presence of children.

Gospel Study - Help Them Aim High

Today I repent.

It's been a couple of days since I last read a Conference Talk or made an effort in my personal gospel study.  I have studied for my seminary calling. However, I haven't made the extra effort to feed my soul for me.

It is time to get back on the wagon.  I read President Henry B. Eyring's talk Help Them aim High.

This talk struck me with deep meaning as I started Missionary Week at seminary.  I worry about these kids. I worry even more about my own kids.  Apathy is the mood of the day.  I long for them to catch the Gospel Fever and spread the gospel because they can't help it.   They love it that much.

I was inspired by President Eyrings's comment that he was able to accomplish great things because his teachers and leaders "saw things in [him] that [he] couldn't see."  That is how I feel about these kids.  I see great things in their futures.  If only they could see it too!

How can I help them?

President Eyring calmed my worried heart.  He promised that god would "bless [me] to help them recognize the spiritual gifts with which they were born.  Every person is different and has a different contribution to make.  No one is destined to fail."


This includes my son!  I will hang on to that.  Some day.  Some day he "will be able to see, want, and believe [he] can achieve [his] full potential for service in God's kingdom."  I want to see that day.

I believe I can if I keep trying to follow this counsel   "Your habits of family prayer and scripture reading will create more lasting memories and greater changes of heart than you may realize now.  Even temporary activities, such as attending an athletic event or watching a movie, can shape a child's heart."

Focus on potential.  Focus on creating moments of awakening.

Ways Being a Theater Major Set Me Up For a Successful Life

The Arts in our public schools are disappearing at an alarming rate.  The town next to us has cut the vocal program from their class schedules.  The schools in my town have moved to offering ½ of the music program they had a few years ago.  They don’t offer a theater program.  The only theater available for students to experience is the 3 plays volunteers dedicate their time and energy to give to the students in my area.  It won’t be long before the Arts will be removed completely from the public schools in my area.


I do not believe this will be good for my community’s  future.  The ARTS ADD to life and help students prepare for success in the future as they become contributing members of the community.
I have a confession to make. I was a theatre major in college (yes, complete with the snooty but appropriate ”re” spelling). I’ll wait for you to stop snickering. Alright.  I know it comes as no surprise. My passion boldly declares what I spent my educational dollar on.

When I chose my major, I had no pipe dreams about becoming a professional actor. (Actually, I wanted to be a director).  I did it because more than one wise adult had advised me that my actual major in college would have less impact on my eventual job search than having the actual degree. “Study what you love” I was told, “not what you think will get you a job.” I listened for once and chose theater because I’d done it all through my secondary education, I had relative success doing it, and because I simply loved being a part of it.
Fast forward 25 years and, like many people, I am nowhere near the way point on life’s road I envisioned I’d be back in college. I am a mom of 5.  I volunteer at my local high school so in an attempt to support the arts.  I have come to realize how much being a theater major set me on the road towards success… even to be a successful mom and community member.

1.       Improvisation. The great thing about the stage is that when it’s live and you’re up in front of that audience anything can, and does, happen. Dropped lines, missed entrances, or malfunctioning props or costumes require you to improvise while maintaining your cool.  I am the queen of wing-it.  Theater taught me how to focus, think quickly and make do while giving the impression that you've got it all under control.
2.       Project Management. A stage production is basically a family project (that would be my current reality) or a business project (my husband is currently working in project management). You have teams of people making up one team working to successfully accomplish a task on time, on budget in such a way that you earn the applause and an occasional standing ovation. Being taught to stand at the helm of a theatrical production was a family management or project management practicum. (I can juggle and multi-task like no one’s business!)
3.       Working with a Limited Budget. Everybody who has worked on stage knows that it’s not the road to fortune. Most plays are produced on a shoestring budget. This forces you to be imaginative, do more with less and find creative ways to get the results you want without spending money. That completely describes my life, not to mention the lives of nearly every person I know. 
4.       Dealing with Very Different Human Beings. The theatrical community is a mash-up of interesting characters. It always has been. From fringe to freakish to frappucino sipping socialites and everything in between, you’re going to encounter the most amazing and stimulating cross-section of humanity when you work in theater. Life is like that.  Once you leave the controlled environment of public school you are forced to be friends with, work with and live near people of all ages and all personality types.  Not one of my friends is the same age as me.  I can be dealing with teens in the morning.  By lunch I've come in contact with a few crazy adults and a couple hyper toddlers.  In the evening I am surrounded by emotional artist types.  Nothing is predictable and yet I am able to interact with people of all ages, religious beliefs and personalities.  Theater taught me how to appreciate, understand and effectively communicate with a widely diverse group of human beings.
5.       Understanding the Human Condition. Most people have the mistaken impression that acting is all about pretending and being “fake” in front of others. What I learned as a thereat major was that good actors learn the human condition intimately through observation and painfully detailed introspection. The better you understand that human being you are portraying from the inside out, the better and more authentic your performance is going to be. In my life I am constantly using the same general methods to understand my family, my students, as well as myself and my co-creators in theater  I believe that having a better understanding of myself and others has ultimately made me a better (though far from perfect) mom, wife, artist, employee, and ultimately friend. I didn't learn methods of observing and understanding others in Advanced Math or Sports for Life, I learned it in Acting I & Acting II.
6.       Doing Whatever Needs to Be Done. When you’re a directing you have to learn to do it all. Light design, sound engineering, acting, directing, producing, marketing, PR, set design, set construction, ticket sales, budgeting, customer service, ushering, make-up, and costuming are all things I had to do as part of my college career. Within our merry band of theater majors we all had to learn every piece of a production because at some point we would be required to do what needed to be done. I learned that I can capably do just about anything that I need to do. I may not love it and I may not be gifted or excellent at it, but give me a task and I’ll figure it out.  The experience, can-do attitude and indomitable spirit I learned in the theater have been essential to success in any situation I am in where I am asked to participate in a wide range of tasks.
7.       Hard work. I remember creating an authentic hut on the side of a mountain at Sundance Theater.  We worked for days mixing grass with lye.  (I learned about chemical peels then too!)  I added the finishing touched to the roof while standing precariously on a rickety ladder high enough above the stage that it would make an OSHA inspector soil his boxers. Sleepless nights, burnt fingers and a few brushes with tragedy were needed to get that house done. But, we got it done. It was fabulous. And a few weeks later we tore it down, threw it out, and got ready for the next production. C’est la vie. In life I have periods of time with unbelievable workloads in which there are sleepless nights, seemingly endless days and tireless work on projects that will be presented and then will be over.  C’est la vie. I learned all about that as a theater major… and it is satisfying.
8.       Making Difficult ChoicesYou've got four parts and twenty four people who auditioned. Some of them are your best friends and fellow theater majors. Do you choose the inexperienced jock because he’s best for the part or the friend and fellow theater major who you fear will never talk to you again if you don’t cast him? A few difficult choices must be made in real life (sadly – the extinction of the Arts in public school)  This is particularly true in businesses.  The higher the position the harder the decisions and the more people those decisions affect. Being a theater major gave me a taste of what I would have to digest in my family and in career. (I gave up theater for a very long time in order to raise my children).
9.       Presentation Skills. From what I've experienced, individuals who can stand up confidently in front of a group of people and capably, effectively communicate their message while even being motivating and a little entertaining are among the rarest individuals in the business or teaching world. Being a theater major helped me be one of them.
10.   Doing the Best You Can With What You've Got. I remember an Acting I class in college in which a pair of students got up to present a scene they’d prepared. They presented the scene on a bare stage with no lighting, make-up, costumes, props or set pieces. It was just two students acting out the script. It was one of those magic moments that happen with live theater  The rest of the class were transfixed and pulled into the moment, reacting with surprising emotion to what they witnessed. You don’t need Broadway theatrics to create a magical theatrical moment on stage. You don’t even need a stage. The same is true of life. You don’t always need the latest technology, the best system, or the greatest whiz bang doo-dads. Give your best.  That is all.

I’m proud to be an alumnus of Brigham Young University. I am proud to be a Theater Major.  Some may argue that sports teach life lessons the best.  I disagree.  For me it was the arts.  I’m saddened that school’s theater and music programs are waning. How will our future be weakened without the Arts as a part of educational choices?  I believe it will change things. 
What can I do?  I can volunteer.  I can fight to keep the Arts in schools.  What I have learned I've tried to pass on to my own children. Study what you love. Follow your passion. It will serve you well wherever life’s road takes you. 
What have you learned from the Arts?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Gospel Study - The Joy of the Priesthood

I had a harder time getting something out of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk The Joy of the Priesthood.

Most of the talk was directed to men.  I don't have the priesthood... I just enjoy the blessings of the priesthood.

Priesthood or not I can follow the counsel to "serve, to bless, and to act in all things for the good of everyone and everything entrusted to our care."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gospel Study - Beware Concerning Yourselves

Priesthood session talks are always a challenge for me to apply to myself.  Sometimes, they bite.  Elder Anthony D. Perkins talk, Beware Concerning yourselves held just a little bite.

"Satan is an actual being who seeks to drag down our souls into the gulf of misery."  This reality is oh, so real.  "The natural man" is "prone to wonder."  Putting on a "new man" through "faith, repentance, saving ordinances, and daily gospel living," takes effort... work.

Elder Perkins reminded us of King David.  Once a valiant, faithful servant, David fell.  He "squandered" eternal blessing.  Once able to slew giants, David was spiritually vulnerable.  "His failure to beware concerning himself and to act on promptings of the Spirit led to the loss of his eternal blessings."

I know this is real.  Warning signs are there for a reason.  Warning signs are there to protect.  Guardrails are meant to keep you safe.  More than "the driver" can be harmed when careful attention to safety is ignored.  The risk of taking loved ones over the edge with you is all too REAL.  "Conversion-crushing and family-fracturing boulders DO cross... our path."  The consequences are overwhelming and often take years, and maybe even eternities, to repair... even for the passengers effected by our choices.

Elder Perkins' talk focused on six principles that deepen conversion and strengthen family so that tragedy can be avoided:
Praying always
Studying scripture and modern prophets
worth participation in ordinances
showing genuine love... and avoiding contention, especially in the home
paying tithes and offerings
live the law of chastity

The word CHOOSE jumped off the page for me.

We MUST and CAN CHOOSE for ourselves.  We choose to beware.  We choose to follow promptings.  We choose loyalty over momentary pleasure.  We choose integrity and honesty.  We choose love.  We choose to control anger.  We choose to control anger.  We choose to seek earnestly the best gifts of the Spirit.  We choose to change.  WE CHOOSE HAPPINESS.

All around me I see the effects of Satan's war against the family: keeping families busy so they don't find time to study or to pray, fighting, quarreling, belittling, issues with money, but mostly infidelity.  "Pornography is like a raging storm, destroying individuals and families, utterly ruining what was once wholesome and beautiful."

Elder Perkins reminded the listener to repent and to return.  I know the effects of the Atonement will help the repentant to to restore themselves.

However, I think we often forget the victims that are left on the roadside or in the gulf after leaders have avoided warning signs and have been swept away in dangerous landslides of sin.  I have noticed that we look at these bystanders and expect them to be instantly "repaired" when the person repents.  I wish people remembered that healing takes time.  Many wounds leave permanent debilitating scars... the wounded may be able to get up and move again, but they may also be left with a limp.  The Atonement works for them too...  even if the scars are left as a reminder that we MUST proceed with careful awareness.

The story of David serves as a biting reminder that all really can be lost.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gospel Study - Be Valiant in Courage, Strength, and Activity

Today I read Bishop Gary E. Stevenson's talk, Be Valiant in Courage, Strength, and Activity.

What a great talk on being courageous!

"... they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also strength and activity; but behold, this was not all - they were men who were true at all times."

I'd like someone to remember me that way.... except for the men part.  Clearly I'm a woman.  :)

I loved how he said some of the greatest courage we need to muster may be behind doors and screens.

Something to think about.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gospel Study - Brethren, We Have Work TO Do

Today’s talk really got me thinking.  Bare with me as I ramble about all the things that have been rolling around in my head since I read  Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s talk, Brethren We Have Work To Do.  It’s a long winded rant.

I am all about progress. I like the progress that society has made for the equality of women in a historically predominant male hierarchy.  I am not a wimp. I will take apart a vacuum or a drain… I will wield a drill and use a chop saw.  I've even scraped an engine block before.  I grew up when “I can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan ‘cause I’m a woman” was THE catch phrase.   I think the sexes should be given equal opportunity and power… equal yet different.  That being said, there is another problem beginning to lurk in the doorways of social structure. With women on the rise, men are being emasculated.

That’s right ladies.  If you are asking “Where have all the real men gone?” you need to look at yourself as much as you look to men.

Back in the day, men were made to be bold, strong, leaders.  However, our society has attempted to repress these traits. Where there was inequality before, there is inequality again. But it has just flip-flopped positions.   If you look at the way men (especially dads) are portrayed on TV, you’d think most men were all a bunch of irresponsible, befuddled, nincompoops, who can only function with the help of a “smart” female partner, friend, or spouse.  I see men depicted as incompetent, self-absorbed and immature. 

It hasn't been enough for women to be on an equal plain as men. Society takes one step more and puts down. For example, it’s not enough for women to join the workplace as equal career partners being mothers. They have to make men seem incapable of performing their former duties in the home.

I seem to recall a Huggies commercial that caused a lot of controversy for this very reason. Men were portrayed as being incompetent at raising children, particularly at changing diapers. They were also shown as self-absorbed, consumed with watching sports and neglecting their babies. Why can men and women have equal place in the workforce, but only women can be good at raising children? Why is a father’s role being downplayed and degraded to make women feel more equal? Both sexes should be viewed as being competent in both work and parent roles. That would be true equality.

However, society has the notion that for women to achieve true equality with men, they must be one step ahead, slightly raised on the pedestal of power. Elder Christofferesen  spoke to men and encouraged them to not give themselves an excuse to mold into these portrayals incompetent, self-absorbed or weak men.

“In their zeal to promote opportunity for women, something we applaud, there are those that denigrate men and their contributions. They seem to think as life as a competition between male and female. That one must dominate the other. And now it’s the women’s turn . . . this cultural emasculation of men is having a damaging effect,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson said.

Ladies, I do think we are contributing to this problem.

I have observed that many boys are confused and have no idea what it takes to be a real man. They seek inappropriate role models and emulate the bad behavior that they see on a regular basis.

It is our duty as mothers, wives, and responsible citizens to counter these negative images and raise a new generation of men who are respectful, loving, and willing to contribute to society in a positive way.

It’s not only a problem with our sons.  I believe we are propitiating the problem with our husbands. We complain about income.  We step in and take over spiritual responsibilities of the family.  We whine about our place in the family, rather than rejoicing in the equal, yet separate roles GOD HAS GIVEN US…. BOTH.

Trust me.  I learned this the hard way.

Every woman wants her man to a man but modern ladies struggle to allow him the space to do just that.  Worse yet, in an effort to be his equal, we woman have made this a competition… which means there are losers. And we are all losers when the competition gets rolling.  While seeking to be “partners” we may be rob him of his manhood altogether.

Author Harvey C. Mansfield opined, “We are attracted to the manly man because he imparts some of his confidence to everyone else.”

Ladies, are we raising men or are we raising boys?

Manly men—past and present—have captivated the world with their talents, leadership, oratory skills, and virility. They are strong, protective, and brave.   We honored men of integrity filled with supernatural discernment and strength.  They are fathers, gentlemen, husbands, friends, and neighbors. They are innovators, pioneers, and model citizens. Simply put, manly men are invincible.   confidence and guidance. They make us feel safe and comfortable. They lead us and represent us. They protect us from harm’s way here and abroad. Without them, civilization would cease to exist.

What makes a real man?

There is a common misunderstanding that manhood is like a spectrum. On one side you have the macho guy barking orders from his garage, demanding another beer. He thinks his family exists to serve him. He takes the first and best in every situation because he thinks he’s entitled. He demands respect while refusing to earn it. His children despise him and his wife fears him. That’s not a man.

On the other end of this distorted spectrum is the cowardly guy who won’t take responsibility for his life. He waits for others to do things for him. His failures and shortcomings are someone else’s fault. He won’t step up, stand up, man up, and grow up. He’s not a man.
I know both.

Somewhere in between these two distorted views, we have a real man. He avoids both extremes. He works a steady job, but it’s a safe and boring existence. He doesn't make waves, because he’s not moving. He’s considered pleasant because he isn't hot or cold about anything. He sits in the mushy middle, which is right where he’s told to be. He doesn't offend or inspire. He doesn't thrive or wither. He just sort of… exists. 

I know this guy too!

This idea that a real man is someone who falls in the mushy middle is simply wrong. A man is not a hybrid; a passive ogre. He’s a different thing entirely.

Seriously!  What is a REAL man?

Mulan would say,
 “(Be a man)
We must be swift as
the coursing river
(Be a man)
With all the force
of a great typhoon
(Be a man)
With all the strength
of a raging fire
Mysterious as the
dark side of the moon”

A real man is a man of integrity.  Integrity is more than being honest. It’s a lifestyle set on striving towards moral excellence. Real men say what they mean and mean what they say. They are the same person whether or not others are watching. They are trustworthy, dependable, and unwavering.

A real man has compassion.  Compassion is sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. In other words, you feel compelled to help someone who is hurting. Men aren't often viewed as being compassionate, but it is a trait that helps us to become more connected to the people around us. Real men turn their compassion into service and work to make the world a better place.

A real man is confidant.  Many people confuse confidence with arrogance and self-centered-ness. Real men know the difference. Confidence is about being self-assured and self-aware. Confident men have faith in their abilities and knowledge. They don’t need to tear others down in order to build themselves up. They earn people’s trust with their radiant, inner strength. When a they walk into the room, everyone takes notice.

A real man has self control.   Hardly a day goes by without a news report about some high-profile man who has been destroyed by sex, money, and/or drugs. Too many men lack self-control, but it is the foundation of a virtuous life. Self-control starts with focus and ridding yourself of distractions. Doing this isn't easy because temptations lurk around every corner. Real men are able to tame their desires and channel that energy into positive pursuits.

Real men persevere.  Perseverance is the product of self-control. It is courageous resistance against difficult circumstances. Perseverance is only developed through trials. Real men endure the trials and emerge stronger. They never give up, never surrender. J

Real men are brave. Bravery is the courage to do what is right regardless of the circumstances. Nothing is ever accomplished with an attitude of passivity. Real men stand up in the face of adversity.

Real men are humble.  Today’s breed of young men loves to let everyone know how much swagger they have. They thump their chests and proclaim to the world, “I’m a Big Deal. Look at me!” Real men understand the value of being humble and letting someone else’s light shine. They realize that humility is more endearing than self-importance. Humility indicates that you are ridding yourself of the poison of self-centered-ness. Besides, humility softens the blow when someone knocks you off your pedestal.

Real men create margins in their lives and the lives of others around them. They don’t weigh people down, but lift them up. This extends to all areas of life. They make more money than they spend. They accomplish more work than they create. They encourage more than they discourage. Others are better for knowing them. That’s a man.

Real men are tender. When a man’s nine year old daughter gives him an I Love You valentine — in September — it affects him. Deeply. He realizes there are times to be tough, and there are times when toughness would be out of place. He gives her the biggest hug he can muster, and he may even shed a tear, because that’s part of manhood, too.

Real men are always improving.  Men keep pushing themselves in all areas of life, striving to improve. They have a stack of books they’re waiting to read, and a larger stack they've already tackled. They can run farther this year than last. They are more knowledgeable now than ever before. They are more skilled in their trade than in any point in their life. Improvement doesn't stop until their heartbeat does.

Real men know what to fight for.  We've all known a guy who will fight anyone, any time, for any reason. Bump into his shoulder in passing and you’ll have a fight on your hands. Real men know some things are worth defending, while other things are trivial. They don’t confuse the two. That doesn't mean that punches fly.  Words are the weapon of our modern culture, and men know how to use them to defend these they've sworn to protect. They use this weapon in unjust situations against abusive people. They wield their weapons with patience, cunning, and great skill acquired through practice.

Real men do hard things. This includes a whole host of things. They control their desires, work hard, sacrifice, demonstrate honesty, and take correction. They do the right thing, even when it’s the hard thing (which it usually is). They don’t shy away from discomfort, but embrace it and are all the better for it.

That means men need to receive a vision and acquire a dream of bringing deliverance.  We need to assist them.  It may mean that some men will need to give up spending all their time on things that only bring satisfaction and pleasure to themselves.  It means that some men will dedicate themselves to a cause far greater than themselves.

1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

I am guilty of giving in to my son’s whims and lazy attitude in the name of peace.  Today I stepped up my efforts.  I asked him to help with chores.  I expected his school work to get done.  I promised myself to do better at teaching him and expecting him to be a man.

Today I will let my husband bring home the bacon.  I’ll fry it up in the pan.  Work is some much easier when it’s shared.

I sure hope my girls find REAL men in their lives... the alternative hurts and is hard.  I hope my son makes it to becoming a REAL man.  I'd hate to know I contributed to the heart break of someone else.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Week at the Boyack's - Week 32

Most of this week was the same old thing everyday... school... work... teach lessons... Legally Blonde or Once Upon a Mattress rehearsals...That is until Friday!

 This week has been a ROYAL week.  Remember how I said Hannah was elected as the Freshman Princesses for Snowball?  Well, Friday there was a big assembly where she got to walk down the stairs to music and everything.  My phone camera isn't the best so I didn't get a picture of her walking down the stairs to Fix You by Exit 245.  Trust me.  She was a vision of poise as she glided down the stairs.  I wanted her to come down to Can't Touch This by MC Hammer.  I was vetoed.

Noah bombed our picture.  He was at the assembly because he still hasn't seen the light and is dating the same not-so-nice girl... also on court.

We are lucky to have Megan as an adopted family member and Princess expert.  Not only did she get elected to Princess duties in High School, but she was a Disney Princess!  She was super sweet and not only took Hannah shopping (I hate shopping and she was wiling to go shopping for Snowball stuff but for Hannah's birthday present of a fancy non-Wal-Mart bra), she took on the task of helping Hannah with make-up and hair for the assembly... and later the Dance itself.

Saturday was spent on Once Upon a Mattress set.  It was a big painting day.  I had the girls use a temp-let and mark out all the bricks.

The the kids went crazy painting the base color for the bricks.  It was a paint by number kid of thing.

Most of the time I got comments about how it didn't really match.

Don't they trust me?  Meanwhile... the men put on a few guard rails, attached lights, and added a little bracing

Mostly, we all painted.  Eventually we added high-lights to all the bricks.

Per my tradition, the kids that worked the longest and the hardest got to have their names in the paint design.  somewhere in all these rocks are these kids names: Kaeli, Alexa, Zane, Hannah, Lilli, JaNay, and Katrina.  They stayed all day... for 9 am until well after 6 pm.  Actually, I think it was a way to get a "date" in for a couple of them.  They weren't allowed to go to the dance together due to family feelings, but they could spend the day together if we were working on the set.  Works for me.  I got  help!

I'm excited about my torches that will even light up!

Before we left I even got the floor painted!

I even got to run up to the light board and try the set in a couple different light colors and looks.

I couldn't be more pleased!  It looks completely different under different light.  It's perfect for establishing different areas of the castle!

We also got to work on the human sized bird cage.

... and added the bed rails to the bed.  I'm not to excited to about how the establishments turned out, but I know that Jeff will help me with that.  Next Saturday is tech and I will get to focus on sound because the set is virtually done.  I just have to add the white squares for the parquet floor!

I also heard that my box made it to McKay and Myles.  Look!  He even likes his new tie!

Saturday night was the big dance.  After working on the set all day with me, Hannah cleaned up real nice...

Thanks to Megan.

Hannah went to the dance with Sai.

Megan even taught Hannah the REAL Princess poise... toe pointed and hands out.  LOL.  She'll be extra ready for her role in Once Upon a Mattress.

Anyway, the girls had a great time.  They are pretty silly.  They wouldn't get out of the car for dinner.  At first they had John drive around the parking lot while they couldn't decide what to do.  Finally, he parked and got them Fro-Zone before they realized they could have dinner.  So he got them some Mexican food to eat in the car.  but they changed their mind while he was in the restaurant and decided to eat the Mexican food at the Tapasa house before going to the dance.  Hannah said the dance was fun... because she decided to have fun.  She danced around with her friends and had one slow dance with the Freshman Prince, Rex Omlid.

Sunday was Hannah's birthday.  I made a cake from scratch.  Hannah said it was the best cake she ever had.  Chalk one up for me.  We also had Dinner in a Pumpkin   John forgot to ask what she wanted for her birthday dinner.  Lucky she likes that.  We also watched West Side Story because she wanted too.  Other than that turning 15 was nothing special... only a bra and the promise of new glasses for a presents.  We are lame.

Gospel Study - Protect the Children

As I read Elder Dallin H. Oaks' talk Protect the Children I couldn't help think of the sweet little eyes drinking  in the Primary Sharing Time lesson yesterday.  They were a little chatty, but their large brown or twinkling blue eyes  were fixed on the teacher.  These children have faith.

Then my thoughts turned to similar faces with hurt in their eyes that I've seen in the media, schools and in my community.  These eyes long for peace.  These eyes long for good nutrition... of stable family life... or understanding.

I think I can only make a difference in my own house... and I've got a ton of work to do there.  but I sometimes fail to see what I can do for other children.  The odds are increasingly mounting against us.

The truth is protection for children starts in families... families with a mom and a dad that love each other, are married and work towards common goals.  As the family continues to be attacked, the safety of children dwindles.


What to do next?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gospel Study - Trial of Your Faith

Today I read Elder Neil L. Andersen's talk Trial of Your Faith.

I am impressed with this list of words regarding faith: treasure, work, pray, do, protect, defend.  Things in this world would be very different if we all practiced this list and applied it to our faith in Christ.  I guess that is what rials are for.  Trials help us to practice and strengthen faith... "fiery trials are designed to make you stronger."

Still doesn't make it easy of pleasant.  It's hard!  I can't think of one of my trials I'd sign up for.  Still... would I be where I am today without trials?  I don't think so.

I have found that Elder Andersen is right.  "You [need] to immerse yourself in the very things that helped you build your core of faith: you exercise, faith in Christ, you pray, you ponder the scriptures, you repent, you keep the commandments, and you serve others."

I'd like to hold onto the thought that " no trial is so large we Can't overcome..."

Sometimes it helps me to remember that I am a work in progress.  I am not perfect but I am giving it all an honest effort.  I often feel judged for what I believe.  Perhaps it would be best to remember the words of Moroni, "Condemn me not because of mine imperfection ..; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfection, that ye may learn to be more wise that we have been."

I was impressed that Elder Andersen told us that he needed "... to turn to God for help almost daily over an extended period of years..."  If an apostle of the Lord needs to go daily I can guarantee that I NEED to go daily too!