Tuesday, December 17, 2013


This past week in class we talked about the dreaded "D" word, divorce. Originally I had always thought of it as a "bad" word, one that I didn't really want to think about or deal with. And although I still hope I never face divorce personally, I have now realized it's not something I can completely avoid. Throughout my life I will probably know several couples that have divorced, and several children of similar couples. So I think it's important to understand because like it or not, we're going to have to deal with it at some point.

One thing that I found really interesting was that there are stages or "stations" of divorce. They include:
  • emotional - detachment from your spouse and from the marriage in general
  • legal - when the court says it's officially ended
  • economic - division of resources
  • co-parental - custody of children
  • community - division of friends and other relationships
  • psychic - becoming your own person again
I think these are important to understand for a few reasons. First of all, if you can recognize detachment in  your marriage early you can work to correct it. Perhaps you can even recognize it in a friend's or co-workers marriage and try to find ways to help them. Also, detachment is important when divorce actually happens. Sometimes divorce is necessary, and regardless after divorce both parties need to detach emotionally to have closure and move on in life. Another reason I think it's important to understand the stations of divorce is because many people get a divorce because they think it will be easier. When you look at all the changes that happen and things that need to be figured out, it doesn't look so easy. I also think it's important to understand the changes the couple is going through as they divorce. It enables you to better help and support them, and if they have children it gives you an idea of the different stressors the might be experiencing. Children also have to detach themselves emotionally from the idea of their parents' marriage. Their economic status will change, and so will their community. They'll have different living arrangements and see different friends, peers, and role models. And they too have to redefine their individual person a little bit.

There's a reason divorce is a topic most people like to avoid. It changes a lot of things in so many people's lives, and it's usually a pretty painful experience. But when we understand divorce a little bit better, I think we can not only prepare to help people who have gone through a divorce, we can also work to avoid it. So here's to my "some day" family! I hope we never have first-hand experience with divorce, but I also hope we can help and encourage those around us who do.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


I believe there are purposes for everything in life. A vast majority I think we probably don't understand, or maybe we just don't know yet, but that doesn't mean there isn't a purpose. This week in class we talked about parenting, and we discussed the purposes of parenting.

Michael H. Popkin said that the purpose of parenting is "to protect and prepare our children to survive and thrive in the world they are going to live in." My teacher Brother Williams defined the purpose of parenting as, "to help children to be successful in this life and to prepare for eternal life." I think both definitions are worth mentioning because both contain very strong points. I think it is significant to mention that parents are responsible to teach their children not only how to survive, but also to thrive. Personally I don't want my children to just "get by" in life. I want them to be happy and to feel like they contribute and are successful no matter what they choose to do. The second noteworthy point which is mentioned in the second definition is that we are not only preparing our children for this mortal experience but also for eternal life. I hope that I will be able to instil an eternal perspective in my children as we progress through life together.

Parenting helps parents to prepare for eternal life because parents must learn to sacrifice and develop selflessness. They learn to discipline and teach, and to try to be more like Heavenly Father as they do so.They come to understand and know God through their experiences as parents, and they learn better how to love. Children are prepared for eternal life through their parents' instruction, guidance and discipline. They learn how to contribute to the world and benefit society. And they too learn to love and come to know God as they develop relationships with their parents. Parenting is such an important part of life, and truthfully it has so many purposes. But most importantly I think it helps us become like our Heavenly Parents. So here's to my "some day" family - I hope we can learn some of the purposes of life together. And I pray I will be able to fulfill my purpose as a mother some day.


I remember when I was a kid, we used to sing this song (I'm not sure if it originated with Barney or not, but it was at least part of the show.) whenever we were going to pick things up. If you're and 80's or 90's kid I'm sure you've heard it, if not - it went like this: "Clean up, clean up. Everybody everywhere. Clean up, clean up. Everybody do your share." and you'd repeat it a few times as you cleaned. I know it's just a silly song, but I remember it some twenty years later. But in reality it's not about the song, it's about the values it taught me. I feel like I learned to work and to contribute. As I'm getting older I'm realizing what an important lesson that was.

Today it seems like work has become such a bad thing. Most people seem to do anything they can to get out of work. But I think work has very real benefits, especially family work.

  • Work teaches you to contribute - to your family, your community and to society in general. Seeing the effects of your contribution can teach you of your worth and value as you see how what you do makes a difference.
  • Work teaches you skills. Most work requires that you work with others, so you have to learn communication skills and cooperation. You usually learn from other people so you learn how to listen and to obey for lack of a better term. Sometimes you get to teach others and then you learning teaching and leadership skills. Work can teach patience as well as perseverance.
  • Work teaches you responsibility. You learn to help and care for others. You learn to be accountable for different chores or tasks. You learn that some things need to be done, and sometimes they're tedious and repetitive but still important.
  • And SO much more.
Work can teach us so many things that really are important to life. When we work together as a family we can learn together. Parents have an opportunity to spend quality time with their children - to talk and make memories, as well as to teach and instill important values in them. It's a great bonding experience and a significant opportunity for growth. So here's to my "some day" family - whether we're cleaning the kitchen or weeding the garden I hope we can learn to the value of work together.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Loose Connections.....

When I was in high school I was in a play called "Loose Connections." Essentially it was about all the barriers to communication there are in our lives. It was pretty funny, but also very accurate. This week in class we talked about communication. And one thing we specifically talked about was having councils. We talked about how the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have councils, and so here is a model we can pattern our own family councils after.

  • Meet regularly - weekly if possible. Set aside a specific day and time to gather together and discuss important topics. Make it a priority.
  • Set aside a place to meet - gather together in a quiet, private place where you can really focus and give your attention to the needs of your family.
  •  When you meet:
            1. Begin by expressing love and appreciation for each other. It helps to remind each other
                that you love each other. It also helps to reduce contention as you counsel together.
            2. Open with a prayer. This invites the Spirit to inspire you, and gives you an opportunity to
                for the will of the Lord.
            3. Discuss to consensus. Give everyone a chance to speak, and make sure to listen to them.
                Consensus means that everyone comes to the same decision. Opinions are not important,
                but you must truly seek what is best for the family, and what the will of the Lord is.
                *Once a decision is made everyone  must go forward wholeheartedly with that decision.
            4. Close with a prayer. Seek confirmation from the Father, ask him to help you go forward
                with faith, and thank him for his guidance and the many blessings which he as given you.
            5. Share refreshments afterwards. This helps to loosen any tension that may have come up,
                and to bond the family together through shared experience.

If we can truly learn to counsel together after such a manner we can better make decisions as a family, and we can grow together through all we face. Communication really is key to family success and happiness. So here's to my "some day" family, and learning to communicate and counsel together so that we can eliminate as many loose connections as possible.


So last week in class we talked about dealing with challenges. The reality of life is that we will all face challenges and difficulties. It is in how we react to those situations that determines what our experiences will be. So how can we  prepare our families for life's challenges effectively?

     1. Develop relationships: as you develop your relationship with your family members it fosters
         problem solving and conflict management. When you know that you are loved it is easier to
         handle challenges and even conflicts within the family.
     2. Celebrate and spend time together: celebrating special events helps to build emotional
         strength between loved ones. Shared activities help you to bond together, and learn to
         go to each other for support and comfort.
     3. Accept each family member for who they are: learn to love every individual and to accept
         their personality and behavior. Love is essential to coping with challenges.
And how do we cope with these challenges?

     1. Take responsibility: don't deny or avoid the problem, don't blame others or play the victim,
         and work to chart a new course to overcome the challenges you face.
     2. Affirm your own and your families worth: sometimes you may have to remind yourself
         that you and your family are important, and that you are capable of coping.
     3. Balance self-concern with other-concern: it's easy to become self-absorbed in the face of
         challenges, but it's important to remember that your family members are also struggling
         and they have needs too.
     4. Learn to "Reframe": change the way you look at the situation. Try to see the challenges
         you experience as an opportunity for growth and an obstacle to overcome.

I truly believe that we can get through all of life's challenges successfully. That is the purpose for which we are on this earth. We came here to have experiences - to learn and to grow, and to overcome challenges. If we learn to over come the natural man and consciously work to put our family first. If we can build our relationships and strengthen our families, challenges can help us to grow closer together and closer to our Heavenly Father, and can ultimately be a blessing in our lives. So here's to my "some day" family. I know there are a lot of challenges ahead, but I also know we can overcome them, and we'll be better for it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


So this week in class we talked about fidelity and there were some pretty interesting insights. Infidelity is a slippery slope that is much easier to fall down than we like to think. It can start small but it will fall rapidly if we aren't consciously avoiding it. So here are some safety precautions to keep in mind:
   1. Control your thoughts. Really this is important for living a chaste life anyways. But especially
       when you get married don't let yourself think about, fantasize about or lust after people of the
       opposite sex. This includes fictional characters and actors. If you're going to be completely
       faithful to your spouse they should be the only one you're thinking about.
   2. Don't be alone with people of the opposite sex. The issue isn't trust, it's safety. Why put yourself
       in a risky situation. If you really love your spouse you should be doing everything you can to
       protect your marriage. So don't be alone in a private place with other people. Don't confide in
       people other than your spouse - it forms emotional attachments. Share your hopes and dreams,
       as well as your concerns and fears with your spouse, it'll help you grow closer together and
       strengthen your marriage.
   3. Avoid pornography at ALL costs! Again this is important for living a chaste life, but
       pornography can come in so many different forms. To really be safe, chase and ultimately
       faithful to your spouse avoid anything that arouses those emotions intended for procreation and
       marital intimacy. That could mean "chick flicks,"  and books in addition to marketed
       pornographic materials.
If you do those things you'll never have to worry about the more serious forms of infidelity, and you'll be able to avoid the pain and grief that are associated with it. The easiest way to steer clear of infidelity is to think of it this way - the only thing that should come before your spouse is God. Those two things are thing only things we are commanded to love with our whole hearts. If that is where our hearts are, we will be safe and happy looking forward to eternity with our spouses and children, and most importantly our loving Heavenly parents. So here's to my "some day" family and staying as far away from the slippery slope of infidelity as possible. Because even now "some day" is that important to me. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Journey...

So this past week in class we talked about preparing for marriage. I like to think of it in stages of a journey. It begins with dating. Dating is the "variety" stage where you attempt to go on lots of dates with lots of different people. This type of dating allows you to learn how to relate with people, and to determine what you value, and it's a great opportunity to just have fun. After dating there's a filtering process where you have determined what you value and you select a person you would like to get to know better and possibly pursue a relationship with. Assuming, you are in mutual agreement you can proceed to the "exclusive/marriage potential" stage, courtship. Courtship is intentionally stepping into higher commitment. During courtship you continue going on dates, but now it's just with one person. You seek more experiences with the person so that you can get to know each other better, determine if you are compatible together, and see how they measure up to your (mental list of) values. Dating and courtship are both potentially "revision" processes. You may go on  several dates with the same person before potentially proceeding to courtship or deciding not to pursue the relationship further. Also, you may court someone for a period of time and then decide to end the relationship, or you may continue on your journey to engagement. Engagement is the prepare for wedding and marriage stage. During your engagement you get to continue establishing your relationship begin to practice decision making and  problem solving skills that you will use throughout your marriage. If all goes well engagement is followed by marriage and you continue your journey together for the rest on your lives and throughout eternity.

It's important to understand that patterns developed during courtship and engagement, and established early in the marriage will usually last throughout your lives. So how do you establish good patterns in your relationships? Here are just a few ideas:
   - Start learning to communicate with people as early as possible, preferably in the dating stage.
     And develop good communication skills with each other as you pursue the relationship further.
   - As you become engaged plan your wedding together. Practice and learn how to work together. It
     helps you learn to problem solve together, and to work through stress together. And it can be a
     great bonding experience.
   - Also, (especially as you are newly married) learn to confide in your spouse. You need to transition
     from discussing problems, goals, hopes, etc. with your friends or parents to reserving those things
     for your spouse. You need to learn to rely on each other.

So here's to my "some day" family! Right now I'm still in the dating stage, but some day we'll begin the courtship stage and we'll get to the engagement and marriage stages too. But I look forward to traveling this journey together.