Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Great Article on Marriage

Dear Friends,

One of our readers, Amy H., sent me a wonderful article about protecting traditional marriage.

Three states will be voting on adding amendments to their state constitutions next week, and I hope all my readers in Arizona, California, and Florida will get out there and vote to keep marriage a sacred union between one man and one woman. Our vote does count, and we can make a difference in the world our children and grandchildren will face.

(It was written by an anonymous lady residing in California-- if anyone knows who we can credit for it, please e-mail me at libermama at gmail dot com. Thanks!)

The issue of same sex marriage is heating up, and the camp campaigning against has spilt ink decrying the practice as an “abomination” against decency. This is a shame. Homosexual couples are not an abomination. They are self centered. 
It’s not that they are alone. The entire modern American culture has become consumed by self centeredness, convinced that any tradition, law or practice was created solely to fulfill the personal desires of the population. Translation: It’s all about me and gay couples are no different. They speak passionately about equality to marry, the need to proclaim their love in front of friends and family and present their arguments as a rebuttal to the past practice of forbidding mixed race couples from marrying. It’s all very rousing, but ends by missing the point of marriage. Equality has little to do with it - we do not allow children or blood relatives to marry. Proclaiming your love in front of an audience is touching, but marriage is not your personal fulfillment factory. 

Marriage has a very narrow job-description, but in doing that job, it has a wide effect on societies that respect it. It answers the question “Who will take care of this child?” by 1) removing the man from circulation so he cannot get other women pregnant, 2) creating a safe space for a woman to give herself to a man and 3) ensuring that a woman will not go through her pregnancy and raise the child alone and poor. In short, it sanctifies the sexual act by forcing a man to pay for the offspring that might result from his sexual activity. The benefits - the child gets two parents to support and protect him or her, the man has his energies engaged in a worthwhile project, and women are cherished. You must admit this is better than the current craze of disposable sex, where women and their children get dumped into poverty because the man has moved on. 

America’s unfortunate history of forbidding mixed-race couples from marrying fully supports the application of marriage as a protector of women and children. If anyone needs the legal and economic protections of marriage, it would be the woman marrying outside of her race. If society, her family, and her new in-laws frown on the relationship, she and her children will still be supported and protected by the bonds suggested by her marriage. Marriage is blind to color, social status or economic level. Its main job is to make certain the man is bound to protect and support his wife and children, and turns a deaf ear to any secondary arguments regarding the suitability of the match. It doesn’t give a hoot what the Country Club will say. If the couple is married, that is all that matters to the law. The wife and the children are blessed as legitimate, primary family members that deserve protection.

Obviously, homosexual couples do not have the same need of this protection. A household made up of two men will not suddenly find itself scrambling to provide for a new baby in nine months. Gay adoption is indeed an issue, but should we weaken the description of marriage in order to accommodate children that are largely available only because of the dissolution of their own families?

There is no magic tool that will perform every job. It is best to get the one tool that is specifically made to perform the exact job you are attempting to do. Marriage is just such a tool. It is designed to link sex to a protective environment that does not exploit women. Let’s keep it that way. It really is NOT all about you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Safely Gathered In-- Part Two

Today, while perusing The Prudent Homemaker (a wonderful site by a wonderful lady), I found a link to a very inspiring "you-can-do-it" talk on food storage given by Vaughn J. Featherstone. I wanted to share an excerpt from that speech with you today:

This morning I would like to discuss food storage. Let me suggest three or four things we can do. Start by taking an inventory—take a physical count of all of your reserves. This would be a great family home evening project if you’re prepared. If not, it may be terribly embarrassing to you in front of your family. Imagine how the powerful testimony you bear concerning a living prophet must sound to your children, who know that as a family head you have been counseled for years to have a year’s reserve of food on hand. We need to know where we are. Every family should take an inventory—get all the facts.

Second, decide what is needed to bring your present reserve levels to a year’s supply. Then make a list and prepare a plan. Consider first, what are the basics?—wheat (or grain from your locale), sugar or honey, dri
ed milk, salt, and water. Most of us can afford such basics. Buy them from your monthly food budget allowance. The Church discourages going into debt to buy for storage.

Now that you know where you are and where you need to be, the third step is to work out a time schedule for when you will reach your goal. I suggest that one year from today we ought to have a year’s supply of food in all active—and many inactive—members’ homes in the Church. Where food storage violates the law of your land, then abide the law. However, even in those cases we can plant gardens and fruit trees and raise rabbits or chickens. Do all you can within the laws of your community, and the Lord will bless you when the time of need comes.

Now here are some suggestions how: 

 1. Follow the prophet. He has counseled us to plant a garden and fruit trees. This year don’t just think about it—do it. Grow all the food you possibly can. Also remember to buy a year’s supply of garden seeds so that, in case of a shortage, you will have them for the following spring. I’m going to tell you where to get the money for all the things I’m going to suggest.

2. Find someone who sells large bulk of grains, depending on your locale. Make arrangements to buy a ton or so of grain.

3. Find someone who sells honey in large containers and make arrangements to buy what you can afford on a regular basis or buy a little additional sugar each time you go to the store.

4. Purchase dry milk from the store or dairy, on a systematic basis.

5. Buy a case of salt the next time you go to the store. In most areas, 24 one-pound packages will cost you less than $5.

6. Store enough water for each member of your family to last for at least two weeks.
Where the foods I mentioned are not available or are not basic in your culture or area, make appropriate substitutions.

Now you ask, “Where do I get the money for these things? I agree we need them, but I’m having a hard time making ends meet.”
Here is how you do it. Use any one or all of these suggestions, some of which may not be applicable in your country:

1. Decide as a family this year that 25 or 50 percent of your Christmas will be spent on a year’s supply. Many families in the Church spend considerable sums of money for Christmas. Half or part of these Christmas monies will go a long way toward purchasing the basics. I recall the Scotsman who went to the doctor and had an X-ray taken of his chest. Then he had the X-ray gift-wrapped and gave it to his wife for their anniversary. He couldn’t afford a gift, but he wanted her to know his heart was in the right place. Brethren, give your wife a year’s supply of wheat for Christmas, and she’ll know your heart is in the right place.

2. When you desire new clothes, don’t buy them. Repair and mend and make your present wardrobe last a few months longer. Use that money for the food basics. Make all of your nonfood necessities that you feasibly can, such as furniture and clothing.

3. Cut the amount of money you spend on recreation by 50 percent. Do fun things that do not require money outlay but make more lasting impressions on your children.

4. Decide as a family that there will be no vacation or holiday next year unless you have your year’s supply. Many Church members could buy a full year’s supply of the basics from what they would save by not taking a vacation. Take the vacation time and work on a family garden. Be together, and it can be just as much fun.

5. If you haven’t a year’s supply yet and you do have boats, snowmobiles, campers, or other luxury possessions, sell or trade one or two or more of them and get your year’s supply.

6. Watch advertised specials in the grocery stores and pick up extra supplies of those items that are of exceptional value.

7. Change the mix in your family’s diet. Get your protein from sources less expensive than meat. The grocery bill is one bill that can be cut. Every time you enter the store and feel tempted by effective and honest merchandising to buy cookies, candy, ice cream, non-food items, or magazines—don’t! Think carefully; buy only the essentials. Then figure what you have saved and spend it on powdered milk, sugar, honey, salt, or grain. The Lord will make it possible, if we make a firm commitment, for every Latter-day Saint family to have a year’s supply of food reserves by April 1977. All we have to do is to decide, commit to do it, and then keep the commitment. Miracles will take place; the way will be opened, and next April we will have our storage areas filled. We will prove through our actions our willingness to follow our beloved prophet and the Brethren, which will bring security to us and our families.

I LOVE this talk! Sisters, I really think that we CAN be more prepared, if only we take it one step at a time. I admit that I have a long way to go, but I'm working on it. That's all we can do, right? :-)Here a link to the entire talk: Food Storage by Vaughn J. Featherstone

P.S.-- Please feel free to post about your progress in the comments!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Power of a Loving Wife

Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
(From The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare)

Many, many women I know react with a shudder when they hear the speech made by the character of Katherina in the final act of Shakespeare's “The Taming of the Shrew.” Because of current society's view of men and women and marriage, I was once a woman of a similar mind. Throughout the sixteen years of my marriage, I have done much study and reading on the subjects of womanhood and what it means to be a good wife. I have found for myself, that Katherina's words are not only accurate, but that if they are applied in a marriage, greater happiness can come to the home and family.

When we, as wives, ask ourselves how we would like to be treated, can we honestly say that we would enjoy being nagged or corrected? Why has “shrewishness” become the normal state of wives in the media, and even in our homes? As women, we have the role of mother to play, but we should never begin to use those methods with our husbands. If we expect marriage to be an equal, loving partnership, then we should never overstep our bounds and push our husbands in to the role of a child. Nagging, complaining, and correcting our spouse places them lower on the family hierarchy, and serves only to erode and destroy the relationship between husband and wife.

Some might say that when a wife plays the feminine role and submits to her husband, that she is becoming the “child” in the relationship. The difference I see, is that when one chooses to become humble and meek like a little child, they are following the path that Christ has set when he said, 
“... Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4 KJV) 

We can choose to stand, arms crossed, and insist that the other person is the one who needs to change. The result of that experiment would manifest itself rather quickly in the form of hostility, resentment, heartbreak– but never can produce change, love or respect. We can choose to be “right”, or we can choose to heal that most important and precious of relationships—our marriage.

In the play, “The Taming of the Shrew”, Shakespeare points out a great truth of human nature: People live up to the expectations others have of them. And that truth reverberates not only in the Bard's work, but also in Proverbs, “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV) I feel that the role and story of “Sly” in the beginning of the play open our thoughts up to the logic behind the above philosophies. Then later, Katherina changes of her own free will and choice into a person that can have much more influence and power in her home and marriage than being a shrew ever could give her. (And more than it ever gave her in her childhood home.) To my mind, Katherina saw the opportunity to turn over a new leaf, and found the love that always had evaded her in the past as a result of her choice to be humble.

Over time, in the midst of my study and pondering on the role of wives within a marriage, I came to the conclusion that I contribute more to my marriage, home and family when I fill the role that God has given me. I love my husband, and I want to stay happily married. If I were to try and take on his role, or to attempt to reduce his role to that of a child, our relationship would strain, then crumble, then die. Love begets more love, and sarcasm, complaints, and general “shrewishness” creates hard feelings and avoidance. 

I have asked myself, on several occasions, “Do I allow my husband to fill his God-given role as provider and protector? Do I treat him as a MAN, the head of our family, or do I follow the trends of society at large, and leave my husband feeling useless? Do I expect him to step in and take over my work, when what he needs from me is soothing, loving care that will give him the courage to face another day outside our home “slaying dragons”?

Men want to provide for their families. They want to protect us, and they want us to let them be who God designed them to be. We can show our love and appreciation for all they do by creating a haven for them at the end of a long day of “painful labour both by sea and land” for us and our children. 
One of my favorite stories portrays this idea beautifully. I want to include an excerpt from it here:
Men are such queer things, husbands especially. For instance, they want us to be economical, and yet they love to see us in pretty clothes. They need our work and yet they want us to keep our youth and beauty. And sometimes they don’t know themselves which they really want most. So we have to choose. That’s what makes it so hard.”
Just after we were married, my husband decided to have his own business so he started a very tiny one. I helped my husband in the store, but we would both be tired and discouraged after a hard day at the office and we didn’t seem to be having any great success. The house got run down and dinner was always a hasty affair, and soon we both started complaining and bickering with each other.”
Finally, we decided that maybe I should stay at home and let him take care of his work at the office as best he could. And then I worked in my house to make it a clean, shining, happy place. My husband would come home dead tired and discouraged, ready to give up the whole thing. But after he had eaten and sat in our bright little living room, and I had told him all the funny things I could invent about my day, I could see the change in him. By bedtime, he had his courage back, and by morning he was all ready to go out and fight again. And at last he won.”
There was a queen once, who reigned in troubled days. And every time the country was on the brink of war and the people ready to fly into a panic, she would put on her showiest dress and take her court with her and go hunting. And when the people would see her riding by, they were sure all was well with the government. So she tided over many a danger.”
And I’ve tried to be like her. Whenever a big crisis comes in my husband’s business, or when he’s discouraged, I put on my prettiest dress and get the best dinner I know how, or give a party! And somehow it seems to work. That’s the woman’s part, you know, to play the queen.”
(“When Queens Ride By” By Olive White Fortenbacher, published by Walter H. Baker, Co., 1932, Agnes Slight Turnbull, editor and compiler.)

I also want to share one last quote that I came upon the other day. It was given by a woman I admire very much, who was married to her sweetheart for well over 60 years before she passed away:
I know it is hard for you young mothers to believe that almost before you can turn around the children will be gone and you will be alone with your husband. You had better be sure you are developing the kind of love and friendship that will be delightful and enduring. Let the children learn from your attitude that he is important. Encourage him. Be kind. It is a rough world, and he, like everyone else, is fighting to survive. Be cheerful. Don’t be a whiner.”  
(Marjorie Pay Hinckley, Small and Simple Things [2003], 31; emphasis mine)

I hope that I am the kind of wife my husband needs most. I try to put his needs before my own, and build him up to my children. I strive to make our home a haven where his efforts are loved and acknowledged. I show him affection in the ways that he needs and appreciates. I do my best to be frugal and careful with the hard-earned money he provides for our family. And though I have a way to go, I try to let him occasionally see me at my best, and not always at my worst. (*grin*)

I sincerely hope that I am becoming more like the reformed shrew, Katherina, from “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Monday, October 20, 2008

Making People, Not Things, a Priority

Today I read an article from the Christian Science Monitor, and found it so nice and refreshing to read another article why children should be valued and welcomed into families. Below is a quote or two, and the then a link to the actual article:

"I've heard the argument that children use up precious resources. But as far as I'm concerned, my children are a resource."

"When, later in life, we parents will be the ones who need constant care, it's our children who will be providing it; let's hope there are enough of them to go around."

"Despite world population growth trend lines, birthrates are falling in Europe. Even here in the US, the number of births per woman hovers right around replacement rates. A relatively small number of couples choosing to have four or five or even 12 kids isn't likely to skew those numbers much."

"My kids aren't status symbols, but to me they are a symbol of sorts: Children represent opportunity for the love, compassion, and support that's learned within families to be shared with the rest of us."

"It's time our entire culture shifted its priority away from things and back toward people." http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/1021/p09s02-coop.html

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Where do we stand?

So did you do an evaluation? Is there room for improvement in your food storage? I know there is in mine!

This weekend, I cleaned out my pantry and-- after a trip to the store-- organized our dry goods. I found that I was storing too many non-food items in the pantry (like canning jars and grocery sacks). So I had to make room for the actual food! (duh...) But it's okay, we're learning, right? We're making progress and that's good!

In my last post, I got a comment from a great lady named Hannah who has an AMAZING preparedness blog at http://safelygatheredin.blogspot.com/.  They are doing what I was starting to do in a much more organized manner. I highly suggest you check it out! They give clear, step by step instructions on how to get prepared for whatever is on the horizon in these troubled times. They have a multitude of recipes, and free printable lists.

And now, some suggestions from Sister Wendy DeWitt's booklet on food storage, for adding on to the LDS Church's One Month Food Storage Kit ( link here) :  

If I were to begin adding items to the one month kits they would be:
1) Sugar, Dry Milk, Salt, and Macaroni
2) Yeast and a wheat grinder
3) Basic pantry items: baking powder, unflavored gelatin (mixed with water this is an egg substitute in baked items!!!) dried onions, cocoa, vinegar, vanilla and spices (garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, crushed red peppers, seasoning salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pepper) Now the flour can be used to make things like wheat and oatmeal muffins, cinnamon bread, spice and chocolate cakes, and rice pudding.
4) Bottled meats
5) Dehydrated  or canned fruits and vegetables
6) Soup bases (like boullion)
7) And don't forget the WATER!!!
Happy preparing!
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