Gratitude for Boredom

bored dog

When I was young, my mom told me, “you can’t be bored if you have a brain.” Undoubtedly, she told me this after getting sick of my repeated complaints of boredom. Fearing that I wasn’t using my brain well enough, I took her admonition deeply to heart. So much so, that I never say, “I’m bored” anymore, not even to myself.

I can look back and see how I have used her advice to avoid boredom while doing repetitive tasks. The most routine of these tasks is daily scripture reading. This is a task that could easily be seen as boring.

Fortunately, I have learned that pushing through the initial reluctance for this repetitive task, has kept my faith strong and endows me with copious blessings. Not only faith-based, but also in knowledge gained. My capacity for understanding the mysteries of God increases every day that I delve into the same scriptures again. It is truly thrilling to gain new and deeper insights into these outwardly mundane verses. I am grateful for a God who challenges me to push past my procrastination and discomfort, and guides me to expand my mental ability as well as my spiritual strength.

Blessings,
Sarah

Our Typical Homeschool Day

our school table

Hi there!

It’s 4:30 pm in our household, and the school day is over. I’ve planned something quick for dinner, so I happen to have a few minutes to write this post. Today was a good one as far as getting all our school work done (this doesn’t always happen), so I figured I’d walk you through our day.

We started this morning pretty lazily (ok, that was all me). The kids had some new coloring books and other goodies from their visit to the police station yesterday, so they started playing and reading as soon as they woke up. I was still recovering from some very short nights earlier this week, so I half-slept in a bit more than usual.

Once I got going, I asked the older 2 kids to go get dressed while I got myself ready, and my preschooler continued playing on the floor. Then I asked them to set the table for breakfast while I got my youngest dressed.

After breakfast, I asked them to unload the dishwasher. As they did that, I sat down to update our accounts and check to see how our spending was matching our budget (we’re doing much better, but we still need to rein in our dining-out a bit). Realizing it had been more than half an hour and the dishwasher hadn’t been touched, I asked the kids again. They usually do this chore happily, but not today. Once they started though, they finished quickly and we were ready to start school.

We started with a quick lesson from “Manners Made Easy” by June Hines Moore. Then we did a few lessons from “First Language Lessons For The Well-Trained Mind: Level 2” by Jessie Wise. I tend to only do each subject once a week (except Math, which I do twice), so today I taught 5 of the lessons from “First Language Lessons.”

I found early on that I don’t do well teaching the same 5 – 10 subjects every day. So I learned that I would rather have one or two longer lessons, once a week. And my kids seem to respond better to that as well. During this time I gave my preschooler a busy box (or two) so he could play without interrupting. This never goes perfectly, but it does work well enough.

After we finished my 2 subjects, the kids have independent study in Reading, Memory work, and Piano. For the next 3 hours they worked on those and other softer skills, like working together, communicating clearly, and building and creating. All this activity included a break for lunch and recess, during which they proudly built a snowman, without adult help, by working together. I’ve found that sending them outside for recess before lunch works well for me. Today I made soup and hot chocolate to warm them up once they came inside.

building a text

Around 2:30 pm, I put my preschooler down for a nap and the other 2 did a little more reading and playing independently. They had already finished their other subjects, so I didn’t mind what activity they picked as long as it wasn’t TV. Realizing that he had finished his schoolwork early, my second grader asked to go on to Khan Academy and practice his computer programming. He’s really enjoying this “extra” schoolwork and gets so excited about his animations.

Now it’s 5:00 pm and I need to get supper going. My husband is usually home just before 6:00 pm, so we’ll eat around then.

I hope your day was great and filled with Blessings!
Sarah

Small Steps Can Heal the World

boy climbing stairs

Hi there,

Do you struggle, like me, to know if you’ve helped heal the world at all today?

There are great and terrible evils afflicting us in these days, and I wonder often if I have done anything to help. And even more, I wonder if my small deeds and small prayers have made anything better.

These are troubling times we live in, the world around us is seeming to go mad, even our own loved ones in some cases (like mine). The attacks of our adversary are hitting closer and closer to home.

I don’t know about you, but visiting with my loved ones over the holidays was a discouraging experience. I have family who used to be my closest allies, who now throw nasty little jabs into our conversations. Worst yet, I worry that I am guilty of the same. After all, can’t they see that their position is just plain crazy?! But of course they can’t see it, in fact, they think the same thing about me.

The fundamental divide that is wedging itself between us, encompasses every aspect of life. Once upon a time, not that long ago, you could have a civil conversion with anyone about anything as long as you steered clear of politics and religion. But now nothing is safe, not sports, not the weather, not what you had for supper, and not your little girl’s favorite color.

The constant debate is exhausting. I’m worn out. I want to reach across the divide and draw my estranged family members closer to me, but I also want to run away to a quiet farm in the middle of nowhere and not emerge till the Savior comes.

So I do what I can, I ignore and forgive the snide comments. I overcome the urge to avoid my relatives. I attempt to walk with Grace. I try to help us heal, even if it’s only a little bit. Maybe if we all do a little bit, we can close the divide a lot. After all, “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.

Blessings!
Sarah

 

How Quickly We Fall Prey to the Spirit of Contention…

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Hi there,

My heart is heavy today. I have fallen prey to the spirit of contention. This article is a personal spiritual chastisement for allowing my self to get upset over something so trivial.

I have a dear sister in volunteer work that, unintentionally, has made it very inconvenient for myself and a couple dozen other volunteers to complete our latest project. My reaction initially grew into outrage and contention. I was so angry at her for making it so difficult for us to do our job, and for slowing down the service we were trying to do. Grrrr!

And then a small voice whispered that perhaps she was doing the best she knew how. Which, of course, is the truth. And then I started thinking of ways that I could help her to eliminate the inconvenience for the other volunteers. And though I’m still working past the emotional flooding that comes from all that anger, I’m working in the right direction now. This scripture runs through my head:

For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. 3 Ne. 11:29

And I realize that if the father of contention can stir me up, it means I have the power to overcome it and reach for the Prince of Peace. I am grateful for the power I have to turn away from our adversary, and I am grateful for the whisperings of the Spirit that remind me of that power.

Repent means to turn towards Christ, which also means turning away from sin. I can turn towards Christ and humbly ask for his help to reject contention and seek after peace. I know that this is a small matter, but we know that through “small and simple means” can hearts be changed and nations be saved.

One of the vices that comes with building a public following is that I spend more time on social media than I had previously. I am trying reach out to and get to know people of all walks. Sadly, digging through the media sites, I run across terrible happenings, wildly biased reportings of current events, and attacks on anybody and everybody who doesn’t agree. I am brought down in sorrow reading all the contention in these public forums.

My hope and prayer is that each of us, individually, can be strengthened to forgive, repent, turn from contention, and seek diligently after peace. As we do so, I know that our nation and our world can be healed.

Blessings!
Sarah

 

Divided We Fall

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Hi there!

I’m going to try to keep this as neutral politically as I can, since, really, this article is more about division within self. But I would be remiss if I didn’t use as an example the political division happening within our country (United States) right now.

So enough disclaimer let’s jump right in. Our country is falling apart around our eyes. Every “side” knows it, though the reasons quoted are different. But I think it’s safe to say to you that it’s a conspiracy from all sides. The over-arching, supreme leader of this conspiracy is the Adversary himself. He is exploiting our weaknesses and egging us on in anger and hatred of those who believe differently than us. We have all fallen prey, at one moment or another, to thinking cruel things about those on the “other side” of the conflict; I know I have.

And we know where this is leading, for Christ taught us in Matthew 12:25: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand”

The thing is, this is not just happening on the global and national and local scales, but this is also happening in our own hearts. He is stirring us up to anger against our parents, siblings, spouses, and even ourselves.

Be honest now, how much do you beat yourself up?

I know I could beat myself up over how often I beat myself up! Heheh. But this is not Christ’s way. Did he lecture and destroy the confidence of the woman accused of adultery? No, of course not. He knew she was repentant, she didn’t need a lecture. He simply told her: “Neither do I condemn thee.” Then he followed with the best part, “Go, and sin no more.”

That’s all. As they say in Meet the Robinsons, “Keep Moving Forward.”

Christ wants us to Forgive as we have been Forgiven. That means ourselves, our spouses, our parents, our siblings, our Mayors, our Judges, our Police Officers, our Governors, and our President. Also we must forgive our church leaders, and all those who basically drive us nuts. But this isn’t an admonishment, this is to let you remind you that you are allowed to move forward.

You are allowed a second chance. You can restart, renew, refresh your growth and discipleship. You can be forgiven when you stumble, and you can learn to let go when someone else stumbles.

You are loved dearly by Our Father in Heaven, and, perhaps annoyingly, so are they. They are human, and so are you. Maybe they should know better, and maybe they’ve forgotten, and maybe they are just being swept up in the tide of discontent. Don’t follow.

Let the world go by, because you are blessed.

Blessings!
Sarah

 

I Can Learn From the Trees – How to Bend, How to Sway

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There’s an old song by Ani DiFranco that runs through my head when I think about my parent’s mistakes. My parents separated when I was 4, and we stayed with my mom. My mom and dad were very bitter toward each other, and my sister and brother and I often felt that we had to pick sides in the war. I was the oldest, so I felt responsible for my younger siblings and my mom. I sided with her on everything and sadly grew up hating my dad. So here are the lyrics that repeat in my head:

growing up it was just me and my mom against the world
and all my sympathies were with her when I was a little girl
now I’ve seen both my parents play out the hands that they were dealt
as each year goes by I wonder how my father must’ve felt
and I just want you to understand
that I know what all the fighting was for
and I just want you to understand
that I’m not angry anymore
no I’m not angry anymore

every time we fight a cold wind blows our way,
but we learn like the trees
how to bend, how to sway and say
I, I think I understand
what all this fighting is for
And I just want you to understand
that I’m not angry anymore
no I’m not angry anymore

This song has taught me over the years to recognize the valuable lessons that both of my parents had for me. And I’m happy to say that in seeking to understand my father better, we have developed a very strong relationship. I love both my parents dearly and am so grateful for the attributes and lessons I have learned from them through the years.

Now as I sing this song, I hope that my oldest son, who lives with his father, can forgive me for my mistakes as a mother and noncustodial parent. I hope one day that he can see me as the strong tree, who did not fall when the rains and snows came, who did not break when the winds of the hurricane howled around me. Though I did have to bend nearly to the ground, and I had to sway and give up much. But I hope that he can see that I worked constantly to stay rooted in his life, to show him my love; to shade him, when he was near, from the heat of the world on his little shoulders.

One day I hope that he can be like the tree, as I imagine Our Savior to be, standing firmly rooted in what is right, and when necessary, turning the other cheek.

Do you struggle to remain Christlike in the storms of life? What have you found that works for you?

Blessings,
Sarah