Monday, July 26, 2010

Faith and Prayer

The purpose of this blog is two-fold.
1) To share current events for family and friends who live far away.
2) To be a family journal for us.

The blog today is simply for family journal reasons. If you choose to continue reading...just know that nothing exciting or funny will be shared. There's no punchline or profound statement embedded here. If you get bored--it's your own fault. :)

Tonight, Karen taught the FHE lesson (in part to achieve her Young Womanhood Recognition award as an adult leader). She tied in the principles of faith and prayer with the scheduled topic of Solomon. Solomon prayed for wisdom to be a better servant of the people and he had faith that his prayer would be answered. So we all took turns sharing our personal stories.

Anya went first and shared that she had lost her word search puzzle book and couldn't find it. So she decided to pray. She looked some more and found it. Karen and I were able to point out that answers to prayers sometimes requires action on our part. We can't pray for something and then just wait for the answer. We have to continue to search after we pray.

Then James reminded us of the time when Peter and Luke were especially fussy and cranky one night. It was keeping him from falling asleep. So he prayed that they would settle down. And Heavenly Father answered his prayer for a few minutes. Then they got fussy again so he prayed...again. And they calmed down...again...and this time fell asleep. We testified that perseverance is an important quality when praying for an answer.

Mark said that he recently lost all of his "business" papers for a venture he has developed. He told himself that if he couldn't find them, he would pray. Well, he couldn't find them so he prayed. And he had a good feeling for about 5 seconds. But he still couldn't find them. Karen encouraged him to clean his room today. When he was about half way done, he found his business papers. It was an opportunity for Karen to point out that because he was obedient and cleaned his room, Heavenly Father was able to answer his prayers. Sometimes prayers aren't answered immediately like they were for James and Anya. But all sincere prayers are eventually answered.

Karen talked about how she lost a horseshoe when she was about Mark or Anya's age. She looked everywhere but couldn't find it. Then she prayed. And she looked in the very same spot she had looked before...but this time she saw it. That provided us an opportunity to help the kids realize that sometimes prayers are answered by Heavenly Father helping us to see things differently.

And then I shared how my prayers were answered about when to serve a mission. And the spirit testified to me of that sacred event in my life. I had been praying about when to serve during my first term in college. I happened to tell my mom and dad about my search for the answer during conference weekend. My mom joked that maybe the answer would come during the Priesthood session of conference. I remember walking to the building where conference was being broadcast. I remember sitting down on a folding chair in the back row near the door. And I remember the feeling I had as the Missionary Training Center choir was introduced...and the continued feeling as talk after talk after talk focused on or mentioned missionary service. My answer was clear. We were able to emphasize to the kids the importance of being in the right place as we desire answers to our prayers.

It was a wonderful night filled with personal accounts of faith-building testimonies. Karen is an incredible matriarch for this family. Our prayer tonight is that this little family will continue to be protected, strengthened, and blessed by the tender mercies of God.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Spiders Aren't Invited

Sorry--no pictures for this post. My stomach couldn't handle it. Plus, if you saw the size of this spider, you'd realize it doesn't take much to make me squirm.

Sometime between sitting down on our bedroom floor to change Luke's diaper and getting ready for family prayer tonight, I sat on a spider. But the story is a little better than that.

After I changed Luke, Anya shared her first written story with me and Karen. And that got us into a discussion about sentence structure and components of a sentence. If you knew me while in school, you would know that I absolutely LOVED dissecting sentences in English class. That and geometry were my two favorite subjects before discovering music theory and history.

Anyway, as I was energetically talking about sentence structure, Peter called my attention to a spot on the carpet that had the looks of a squished spider - you know, the ones with the body intact but legs curled. I backed away like any protective patriarch would...and Peter calmly went to get a tissue and pick up the "dead" spider. But when Peter picked it up and looked at the tissue, his eyes got wide.

And I backed up further...leaving my 4 year old to fend off the spider alone.

What kind of a father am I?!? I left Peter in a time of need. Fortunately, Karen was close and grabbed the tissue to finish what I had started when I sat down.

The kids wanted to know how to dissect my colorful expression: Oh my holy freakin' cow!

I'll never like spiders. I'm glad Peter is brave.