Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"A House of Order" : Organize Yourselves Part Two

"There was a time when I needed to prioritize, and in one of those sacred meetings between me and the Lord, He gave me three categories that I have worked from, and they have been a guide in my life. The categories are the essential things, the necessary things, and the nice-to-do things. I started writing those things down." ~Sister Julie B. Beck
In my last post on organization, I quoted Sister Julie B. Beck's talk at BYU Women's Conference in 2010. I will be using this great talk on women making priorities in their lives as a guide for my next few posts. (I highly encourage you to read the entire talk! The link to it is above.)

Last time, we talked about making an "Essentials" list. Today, I'd like to share some of my thoughts and ideas on "Necessary" things.

Here's my personal list:

The Necessary
  1. Make our home an environment that welcomes and nurtures the Holy Ghost; model my home after the temple.
  2. Make creating "A House of Order" more of a priority in my life. Put more effort into cleaning, de-cluttering, and beautifying my home this year. I've done okay, but I could definitely improve in this area!
  3. SMILE at my children; hug them, kiss them, read to them more often, sing with them daily
  4. Become a better mentor and teacher to my children. Make our Gospel study together even MORE of a daily priority.
  5. Comfort and support my husband. Date him, flirt with him, consider his feelings; really LISTEN to him.
  6. Become more self-reliant; plant a garden, try pressure canning (I need a pressure canner!), inventory our food storage and keep better records of what we use, and how often we use it. Get our 72 hour kits in order and ready to go.
  7. GET OUT OF DEBT!!! We are doing better about following the Prophet's counsel to avoide debt, but we still have some things to pay off.
  8. Study great books and set a better scholar example for my children to emulate. Study when/where they can see me!
  9. Fill all my Church callings with more dedication and joy! (I work with the 8-11 year old girls in my congregation, and also direct our ward choir.)
I am really excited for my "Necessary" list, because I have recently cut it waaay down, and moved a lot of GOOD, but not "Necessary", things off of it and on to my "Nice to Do" list.

Now I'm looking at my list, and comparing it to Sister Beck's. (And YES, I did copy hers quite a bit! That's legal, right? ;-D)

I want to share her list of "Necessaries" here:
I started thinking about my home and family and what was necessary to create an environment or climate where the Spirit of the Lord would be. There were some necessary things to take care of. Homemaking took on a new meaning for me. I wanted to make a home where the Spirit of the Lord was present. That meant that even mundane tasks like picking things up and cleaning, became necessary to keep a house of order. I wanted to model my house after the temple. Though that is the ideal, it has never been that perfect. We have to live there after all. A house is peopled with people. People make messes, and we can’t be little soldiers, but it made a difference to me to know that I wanted a house of order. It became a priority to make a place where the Spirit of the Lord could come.
Cooking meals for my family took on added meaning because I needed a place to teach and gather and have the Lord’s Spirit there. It was important to invest my effort in making a home.
At one time I was going through some challenges, and one of my daughters came home from school and put another item on my necessary list. I said, “I don’t feel like I’m contributing what I should or what I could,” and she said, “You could smile. Mother, you could smile.” I thought, “That is a great service.” Smiling took on added meaning for me. Being happy around my family and other people was necessary.
I learned some things from the scriptures—that it is necessary to teach my children to pray and walk uprightly before the Lord. Things like family home evening and time recreating with our family became more necessary and more important. I thought more about my husband and supporting him, and I studied Doctrine and Covenants section 25, in which the Lord tells Emma Smith to be a comfort to her husband with consoling words and a spirit of meekness.5 That took on more importance, and it was more necessary to me to be kind to my husband and to support him in his heavy responsibilities. I also learned from that section in verse 10 to “lay aside the things of [the] world, and seek for the things of a better,” to not ask him to provide things for me we couldn’t afford but value the things that were important for our family—to “seek for the things of a better” and not be tantalized by “the things of the world” that were glamorous.
Becoming self-reliant became more important to me.
I have been reviewing Elder Hales’s words in his talk on provident living and self-reliance about debt.6 When we go into debt, we give away some of our precious, priceless agency and place ourselves in self-imposed servitude. As our freedom is diminished by debt, increasing hopelessness depletes us physically, depresses us mentally, burdens us spiritually. Our self-image is affected, as well as our relationships with our spouse and children, with our friends and neighbors, and ultimately with the Lord.
Becoming self-reliant temporally affects our spiritual self-reliance, and we are going to need to be more temporally self-reliant in the days to come in order to have strong spirits and help the Lord.
Loving one another goes on the necessary list and a few other things. You can make your own list of what is necessary, but there are things that are essential and things that are necessary in order for us to fulfill our responsibilities in the house of Israel and to fulfill our mission.

My little (?) list is really helping me breathe easier and sleep better. I am so excited to see the good this will do in our family!

What's on YOUR "Necessary" list? I'd love to hear all about what goals you are making this Spring! :-)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Apologize...

"Reading by the Window" by Charles James Lewis

I'm sorry that my plans to post again this week got railroaded by life (sick kids, dance recital, helping friends), but I will try to post again tomorrow. I think a Sabbath afternoon will be a lovely time to ponder on priorities. :-)


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"A House of Order" : Organize Yourselves Part One

"Mary" by Howard Lyon
"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;"

This past week has been one of "house recovery" and organization for me-- and I'm nowhere near "done," (Are we EVER done? I have suspicions that there's no such thing...) but I see improvement, and that's encouraging!

But in the midst of the dust flying, and all the attempts at establishing "Order," I realized that my heart is not yet in the right place. And if my heart and priorities are not in order, then of what benefit will my clean house be? So, I asked the Lord for His help and guidance, and what He sent me has given me great peace.

THEN, as I sat down to write this post, I found that prioritizing is not a quick, once-a-week topic to cover! So, please bear with me as I post a few times this week on the subject of "Organize Yourselves."

Sister Julie Beck's address at BYU Women's Conference in 2010 went right to my heart. The second I read it, I knew that the Lord had placed the help I need right in my hands. I printed it out and marked it up, and I'm excited to share what I've learned!

Sister Beck said:
 I have said lately that women are like lionesses at the gate of the home. Whatever happens in that home and family happens because she cares about it and it matters to her. She guards that gate, and things matter to that family if they matter to her.
Sisters, you are each like the lioness at the gate. This means that there has to be some prioritizing. I was taught years ago that when our priorities are out of order, we lose power. If we need power and influence to carry out our mission, then our priorities have to be straight.
She then shared her system for prioritizing her life, and I decided to try it in my home, too.

She said:
There was a time when I needed to prioritize, and in one of those sacred meetings between me and the Lord, He gave me three categories that I have worked from, and they have been a guide in my life. The categories are the essential things, the necessary things, and the nice-to-do things. I started writing those things down. I asked, “What has to go in the category of essential?” What things must be taken care of, and if I don’t take care of them, the blessings of eternal life won’t be mine nor will they be my family’s?
Her entries in the category of "The Essential" was a perfect guide for me. (Her direct quotes will be written in italics below.)
The Essential
  1. Revelation: What does Heavenly Father want me to do?  "I have to be able to know the mind and will of God. therefore, I have to do the things in my life that put me in a position to hear His Voice."
  2. Scripture Study: In order to stay in tune to the will of the Lord, we MUST spend time every day studying the scriptures.
  3. Personal Prayer: "I have taken a paper and pencil with me most of the time since then to my prayers. I don’t always receive an answer or instruction, but I am ready. I want to be ready to learn what the Lord would have me do in my day. Who needs my help? How can I increase my faith this day? How can I strengthen my family? What things do I need to correct in order to be worthy to receive His Spirit? He will tell me." 
  4. Taking Time to Ponder and Fast with Sincerity: I often forget how important pondering is in my life. And I sometimes inwardly grumble about fasting-- at worst-- or I simply go through the motions-- at best. I realize I need to fast with more sincerity and humility.
  5. Making and Keeping Covenants
  6. Going to Sacrament Meeting and Repenting Every Week
  7. Going to the Temple: I know that my sporadic attendance has not been done with a spirit of service. My baby is weaned, my older children can babysit, and so I have decided to attend a temple session once a week.
  8. Sharing the Gospel: This is not an easy one for me, and I too frequently tell myself that I am doing my best "by setting a good example." But I know in my heart that I am not doing all I can to bring people-- especially those I love and care about-- unto Christ.
  9. Service: Am I caring enough for those who are in need? Am I serving my family with love and patience, or with feelings of resentment or indifference? "The Lord said if you want eternal life, give all that you have and follow me."
Prioritizing in this way has previously been in the back of my mind, but when I actually sat down and categorized all the things in my life, I became amazed at the way this list could literally change me and my home for the better. I'm far from perfect, or even finished putting my heart and life in order, but I am excited to open myself to the Lord in this way!

See you tomorrow for Sister Beck's next list: "The Necessary."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Series: A House of Order

Dear Friends,

After a few months of chaos and stress from being too busy, I am excited to start on a journey of renewal and retrenchment in my home this summer, and I thought it might be helpful to share my experiences here on the OFM blog. I think I need some help in the accountability department, and maybe I can inspire my readers through my own struggles.

Today is an outline of my new series of posts, and then I will be posting about my progress weekly on Tuesdays. Please feel free to comment and ask questions. I look forward to having your companionship as I work to improve my home and life for the better!

  For my non-Latter-Day Saint readers, the scriptures I am using as an outline are found in the LDS scriptures Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) 88:118 and again in D&C 109:7-8, 14.

"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;"

PART ONE- Organization

PART TWO- Being Prepared

PART THREE- A House of Prayer and Faith

PART FOUR- A House of Learning

PART FIVE- A House of Glory and Order

PART SIX- A House of God

I can't wait to report back and share what I'm doing! See you next Tuesday!
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