The Family: A Proclamation to The World. (FAML 100 Project Topic #1)

I will be posting blog posts about every week (on Fridays) to discuss different issues with the family. The main text I will be using is Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives by Alan J. Hawkins. I will also be using General Conference talks, personal experience and most importantly, scriptures! I hope you enjoy the next couple weeks as I discuss marriage and family!

My first topic I want to write about is The Family Proclamation. This was given at a General Women’s meeting in Salt Lake City by former President Gordon B. Hinckley in 1995. Although it was given at a General Women’s meeting, it is important to point out that this was titled “A Proclamation to The World“. Not just to active, LDS church members but to every single person in the world. I would also like to point out as well the most important principle in this Proclamation;

Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, 1995)

We must understand the importance of each and every one of us, and how beloved we are to our Heavenly Father. Because we are beloved, we each have a purpose and destiny. When we understand that principle, of God’s love for ourselves, and those around us, I think we treat people a lot more differently.

With that truth; I want to quote from the book; Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives 

From the beginning, God organized the human family and reveled that marriage and family relationships are intended to be eternal.

The love that God has for us is eternal and never ending, he loves us and wants us to return to him, to help us continue on that path to return to him, he created families and intended them to be eternal. With eternal families we are able to learn, grow, and ultimately be sealed and return back to our Father in Heaven. The truth that Families are Forever is something that Ben and I needed to understand when we were told, William would not survive birth. In one of my past blog posts titled My Testimony I shared this;

I wanted to share William’s birth story not as a “look how everything turned out so great” thing, but to express how our faith in the Lord’s plan and in Jesus Christ is not because everything turns out great and wonderful, but because its true. No matter the outcome. We must have faith even when things are really bad, even when we may not see the end or understand whats happening. I don’t think I felt peaceful before William was born because the spirit was telling me he would live, it was because during my pregnancy Ben and I made a choice to rely on the Lord, to believe in His plan, and to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The family is so important, but it is not something that is intended to be easy. That is why our loving Heavenly Father blessed us with his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to help us along the way to eternal life. Our journey here on earth was intended for us to grow and learn, to experience life so that we can become more like our Savior, and Heavenly Father. The Proclamation to the World states;

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.

The Proclamation to the Family gives us a lot of guidance in such a short message. One of the biggest messages, next to God’s love for us, is how families help us to “gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and eternal life.” I know that in my family, with my siblings and my mom, I have gained a lot of experience with them and they have helped me to progress. It has helped me to have my own family, as a wife and a mother. Family is so important in our lives, how we progress and develop. God intended families to help us and allow us to have support, love, and guidance during our lives. I believe the family to be ordained of God, and that Jesus Christ helps guide our families and helps support us through hard times.

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My 3-Day Facebook Fast

Because of the negativity of politics on facebook, and my own weaknesses and addiction to facebook, I took a 3 day facebook fast, and learned so much in just 3 days. I hope to continue these little “facebook breaks” as I call them, to help me become less and less dependent on facebook. I seriously had a problem, and I took the initiative to fix it.

I noticed how angry, jealous, and upset I was getting and I noticed it happened every time I got off of facebook. Once I noticed that I started to keep track of how often I was on facebook, I checked facebook more than 50 times a day, isn’t that insane? I would spend hours on facebook scrolling. I would vent, fight with people, and be so obsessed with people “liking” my posts. I was obsessed and it was messing with my emotions.

At the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted change my habits about facebook. I made a goal to only check it once a day,  by day 2 it was already in the crapper. I knew this wouldn’t be an easy thing to do. I tried many different things to stay off of facebook, and to limit my facebook access, I deleted apps, shortcuts on my laptop, I tried picking up other habits, but nothing worked. I was addicted. It wasn’t until the Women’s March on Washington and Trump’s inauguration happened when I finally knew I had to tame my facebook addiction. My news feed was full of fighting, violence, people being mean to each other and I couldn’t handle it. I looked up on google anyone who has done a “facebook fast” and I read a lot of blog posts about people who have done 30 day facebook fast, I thought 30 days was a good goal to reach, but not something I would accomplish on the first try. I decided 3 days was perfect for me.

My 3 day fast started January 23 at midnight and ended January 25 at midnight. I had an exception to use the facebook messenger app because thats how some people need to get ahold of me, and to use Will’s facebook page in order to update on Will’s page. With only those exceptions, I made myself committed to not go on facebook. I wanted to help my addiction by making facebook less and less of a priority. I wanted to focus more on Will, Ben, school work, and myself. I wanted to really try reading more books, and doing things that benefit me, my family, and our time.

Overall I learned a lot, a lot more than what I expected. I learned about having real conversations with people. My volume of people I talked to was less, but the quality of conversation was simnifically better. I was more aware of what was happening around me, I met some new nurses and parents here at the hospital, I made conversation with people in the elevator, while waiting in line, and I started attending more activities that were held here at the hospital. My relationships got better, my social skills improved, and I felt more confident in myself.

I learned how to keep my personal life, personal. I used to put a lot of information on facebook in order to have justification, sympathy, or whatever it may be. I did get those things, but at a price. When I posted my opinions, life situations, anything personal people felt that because I put it on facebook that they had the right to tell me whatever they wanted. I didn’t like that. I had a lot of changes in my life during the last week or two, and it has stayed between Ben, me, and certain people I talked to face to face. It wasn’t public. Many decisions Ben and I needed to make were made through prayer, and talking with each other. I felt more confident in my decision making, and I felt better about myself. When you’re making decisions I would recommend seeking advice from those who you look up to, a mom or dad, spouse, close friend, religious leader, teacher, or whoever it may be, instead of posting it on facebook.

Positivity! I had so much positivity in my life when I wasn’t on facebook! I didn’t see a single thing about Trump, the Woman’s march, people shoving their opinions in your face. I simply had my own life, minded my own business and it was glorious. I was happier, I was able to get more things done, my life was over-all more positive. Being positive helped me to accomplish more useful things in my life, like my school work, my relationship with my husband, spending time with my son, and getting to know the people around me. I was able to take on my challenges better.

Overall, facebook is a wonderful thing. I think it can really help us stay in contact with people from all over the world. I love seeing wonderful updates from friends, birth announcements, engagements, weddings, gender revels, new jobs, graduating, promotions, and much more. But facebook, to me, is something we need to be smart about. When I posted my opinion on facebook, that meant someone else had the right to give me their opinion, which is fine, but, if you don’t want someone else’s opinions then you probably shouldn’t have posted in the first place. With facebook we are all up in each other’s business and it bugs the crap out of everyone but we continue to do it! Keep your personal life personal. Keep your big decisions to yourself and people you admire. Don’t use facebook as a way to only communicate with people, go out and enjoy life.

I plan on doing more facebook breaks, my next will be a week of no facebook, it has really benefitted me, and I hope some of you can try the same!

Lessons From Will: Service

Ben and I have learned a lot of lessons since we were told William had his birth defect. We learned more about each other and ourselves. But this one is one that has been a constant lesson, and one that has changed. Ben and I were good people, we served others, but it was the bare minimum. I didn’t think it was bad, I thought I was such an amazing person. It wasn’t until I was put in the place where others have served my family when I realized I wasn’t doing the absolute best I could.

Just a couple days ago Utah got a couple inches of snow, we woke up around 8 am and Ben needed to go out into the parking lot and shovel the ground to get his car our so he could get to work. I stayed inside and got William ready for the day. It was hard work, it was cold, but Ben was determined to get our car out of the snow so he wouldn’t get stuck, he also shoveled our second car so I would be able to take Will to his therapy appointments. Ben came inside after about an hour to take a break. we were upstairs I was getting Will’s food ready and our bedroom window was open. Behind our town home you see another apartment building. There was a girl, trying to shovel herself out with a broom and only getting more and more stuck in the snow. Ben, after shoveling two cars out of the snow by himself, stood up and said; “be right back, I’m going to let her borrow our shovel.” He went downstairs and handed her the shovel, then talked with her for a bit. She explained how she has never lived in snow before and really have to get to work because she missed work the day before and couldn’t afford to miss another day, or be late. After a little while I looked out the window again to see Ben deep in snow pushing this lady’s car by himself. It took almost an hour but someone else came by and helped them. Ben got that lady unstuck from the snow and then returned back to his own shoveling by himself.

I was very impressed and touched by this. Ben has always been a selfless person but it went to a new level since we had Will. Once, we were right down the street from our home, coming back from the hospital, when Ben got a message from a friend who needed someone to help with a blessing at the hospital which was 30 minutes away. Without saying anything, Ben turned around and headed back to the hospital. He never told his friend that we were close to home, but instead thanked his friend for allowing him to be apart of a wonderful blessing for his son, and thanked him for asking him to help with the blessing.

Ben and I were driving home from the hospital one night, it was when William had a 2 month hospital stay. Ben looked at me and said; “I want us to raise our kids to just serve. If they have a thought or a feeling to help someone that they will just do it and not think so much about it that they end up not doing anything. I want our kids to stop asking if someone needs something but to pray and let the spirit guide them in what they should do. And I want our kids to know that they should never post-pone a prompting.” I agreed, and we decided that later down the road we were going to do more service projects, visit hospitals, and do more good for people. Buying someone dinner out of the blue, giving someone a present, visiting someone in the hospital.

Many of our church leaders have addressed many times the importance of listing to the spirit and making sure we act on it. One of my favorite quotes is from Elder Rasband;

“Paxton’s family has learned they are surrounded by countless heavenly and earthly ministering angels. Some have quietly slipped in when needed and silently slipped out. Others have been at the door with food, doing the laundry, picking up the siblings, calling with encouragement, and especially praying for Paxton. Thus another special lesson learned: If you come upon a person who is drowning, would you ask if they need help—or would it be better to just jump in and save them from the deepening waters? The offer, while well meaning and often given, “Let me know if I can help” is really no help at all.”

Dallin H. Oaks talks about the concept of good, better, and best.

“We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives.”

It is good to pray for someone, it is good to let them know you are thinking of them, it is good to like a picture or comment on facebook. It is better to offer to help, it is better to ask if someone needs help, it is better to comment and call frequently. It is best to visit, it is best to listen to the spirit, it is better to act, it is better to do some service to help them without asking or without them expecting it.

In our lives, we focus on Will. So when someone says to is; “please let me know if you need anything.” Is wonderful, but since my attention is on my son and all that he is going through I don’t often think about asking people to do things for me. That is why praying and listening to the promptings of the spirit are so important. Heavenly Father knows everything we need, and because of that he is the best source to go it when asking what someone needs. Or, if you have a random impression don’t post-pone it or shrug it off. Pay attention to it.

During our adventure with Will, we have had people who we barely know give us presents, give Will blankets, bring us dinner, and just send uplifting and happy letters of encouragement. My family lives in Texas, so Ben and I don’t have family support near-by. Its hard on us, but to meet people who are like family is wonderful. The Lord has put certain people in our lives to help us when others have fallen through. He watches over us and helps us. Our ward, the PCH branch, and many friends have stepped in where we needed help. Doing out laundry, watching our dog, doing our dishes, visiting us, or checking on us every day. It have kept our spirits, and hopes up. We are grateful for the spirit that guides us and the people who are willing to listen.