Monday, December 12, 2011


Step-families can be a royal pain. Let's face it: who really wants to live with a stranger who you hardly know? Who wants to live with someone who is "threatening" your family? This person could change your family traditions. They could potentially turn your parent against you. They might even have different techniques of discipline that you aren't used to.'s just a sticky situation. But, with some "Goo Gone", it is possible to make it the best situation for you and for your step-parent.
Think about this: how do you think the step-parent feels? They probably don't really know how to act. They've never been your parent before. They don't know what you're used to and what you're not. They want to make a good impression, but it's kind of hard when you're probably judging them on every front. 
So, how can we make the best of this situation? I believe the key ingredient is selfless sacrifice. Giving up our selfish wants and needs to make the transition that much easier. We watched a few videos for our class assignments this week that helped display this behavior. One step-family was decorating their Christmas tree. The step-mom was being a bit harsh toward the step-son because he wasn't used to their family traditions. Normally they would get a real tree. This year they purchased a fake tree without including him in the decision. Because of his reaction to the situation, the step-mom got upset--forgetting that it was his first Christmas with the family and that perhaps it was something he wasn't completely comfortable with yet. When she decided to change her view on the matter, it was much better for both her and the step-son because she was adjusting her needs to meet his and he was able to develop a better view because she apologized for not including him in their decision.

This is a picture of my family with my Step-Mom: Carole and Step-sister: Kelsey.

This is me right off the mission with my siblings and both sets of parents.

I feel like situations like the Christmas tree story from above has happened with my step-family before. Things like this are very difficult. A lot of times, people involved like to focus on how the past used to be. They tend to approach situations with a resentful attitude. If everyone involved is willing to take a breath of fresh air and look at both sides, the situation would be less messy and you'd see several smiles rather than frowns or furrowed eyebrows.
Another thing to remember in these situations is that you can't expect things to change overnight. Things that are worth something take a lot of attention and effort--and a LOT of time. You cannot expect immediate results. I believe the text said it takes about two years to adjust at a comfortable level.

The thing that I learned the most from this week (as in last week since I'm posting this late. I'm really sorry Brother Williams!) is that having a step-family takes selflessness and sacrifice of our feelings and our natural wants and needs.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Because I Said So

This week was great! We learned about the different parenting styles that come with having children. I liked the parent assessment that allowed us to see what type of parent we would be. 
Four things we need to remember as parents:

·         Respect
·         Cooperation
·         Responsibility: ability to respond (accountability) = choices + consequences of those choices
·         Courage = Risk – outcome (the ability to step out there and do what is right, even though it may be risking your own well-being). 

My favorite technique from this week's lesson was on active listening. I'm not sure if that was what it was called in the movie, but the scene where the daughter doesn't want to go to school because of the boy that got upset with her from the yearbook council. The mom on her first approach got frustrated and didn't take the time to ask what the situation was--why didn't she want to go to school? What was the underlying issue?
The second approach, she asked if her daughter wanted to talk about it. Instead of getting frustrated and walking away, she asked her what was going on and looked at her daughter's situation. 
So often, parents get into the mindset that their children are being irrational--forgetting that they too may have had similar situations when they were their teenager's age. As children, they see things differently--their minds are still maturing and they haven't had the experiences their parents have to help them understand certain situations. 
Parents need to be merciful and learn their child's needs by talking to them, showing true concern, showing that they trust them to make wise decisions, and showing them respect. 

Parenting can be a complicated task. What kind of parenting style are we going to be? It may change from child to child. It may change over the years as the children get older. It is a continual learning process and we need to remember that it takes time and patience and a little nurturing and loving. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Do This, You Do That, and I'll Take Care of The Rest

Strength in Counsel:
First, focus on fundamentals
Second, focus on people
Third, promote free and open expression
Fourth, participation is privilege
Fifth, lead with love

These are a few of the key points from the readings this week that I enjoyed. I enjoyed this week's lessons and discussions. These are things that I needed to hear as a single and even more so when I am married with my own family. I feel that so often, we get caught up in how "we like things to be" and don't take the time to ask others how they think things could be or should be done. I am very guilty of this, for which I am grateful that we had the discussions we did in class. I loved the diagram of the Prophet with the quorum of the twelve as well as his counselors and the discussion there. The scripture from Ephesians 4:12-13 - “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. …But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. …And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it” 
This is how it should be in the family unit - equal opportunity for all to help, give their input, and speak up where needs be. 

I also enjoyed our discussions on women working and not spending much time at home. There were a few sensitive spots I think we touched on. It is completely accepted in our society for a woman to work full-time while "neglecting" chores or tasks or relationships that are left at home. It is hard for a woman in this time to stay at home due to dissatisfaction or comparison to those around them. They feel the need to get out into the workforce for feel more "accepted" and perhaps more useful. Women compare themselves. I think every women needs to listen or read every single talk that President Uchtdorf has ever given on women and their divine worth. Maybe then we wouldn't have that constant need to get out and work all the time. Should the work at home not suffice? This is the most important role of all. Only in situations where it is completely necessary (financial issues or other problems) should a woman go to work, leaving her divine calling at home where is is almost forgotten. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

ABC Easy As 123

This week we learned about family crises and how our family of origin have dealt with these crises in the past. 
The family process model helps us understand how families deal with crises. 
A - actual event
B - behavioral responses
C - cognition(s)
X - experience
(This is Brother Williams' version :) )

This week helped me to reflect on ways that my family dealt with crises over the years. There are times when we are better equipped to handle a crisis and other times when it an be more difficult. I really enjoyed the stories that Brother Williams shared in class this week. The story about his son who was shot in the eye with an arrow was a great example of a way that we can respond calmly in an unexpected crisis. Think of the consequences that could have come if he had not responded in the manner that he did. 

There's a really nice quote that I remember from Preach My Gospel that is a nice reminder to me of what important value to remember when we come upon trials:

"Life is full of difficulties, some
minor and others of a more
serious nature. There seems to
be an unending supply of
challenges for one and all. Our
problem is that we often expect
instantaneous solutions to such
challenges, forgetting that
frequently the heavenly virtue of
patience is required.”

Family crises are a learning process for everyone. Just as Brother Williams told us the story of his parents when they were first married and experienced the loss of a child....they were much better prepared and able to deal with the next loss of a child years later. They are learning experiences that in hopes will bring us together as a family unit and help us  to better understand how to deal with each crisis that we come across each time we experience one. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friends, Facebook, and INfidelity

I really enjoyed our discussions this week in class. I think we had to touch on a few touchy subjects, but they were things to help open our eyes and further our knowledge of the things taking place in the world today. Essentially these are issues that we need to be aware of to know what we will be facing when we reach certain stages of our marriage and parenthood.

For starters, I feel like a lot was gained from Brother Gardner's article. He touched on the causes of infidelity, what infidelity is, and how we can avoid it in certain aspects. I think my favorite story/insight that was shared, was the story about the woman who kept feeling an attachment to her best friend even though she was married. She made sure that she would run into him on campus and eventually came to the conclusion that what she was doing was wrong. I have a friend who I am so emotionally attached to that sometimes I feel like this could be a red flag in future relationships. I loved what she said: "I want to have the greenest, most beautiful grass is on the side of the fence where my husband is, and I will not let anything in to harm that." She recognized that her friendship with her best friend was on the verge of becoming an emotional affair. When we see the smallest signs, it is our duty to push any idea that might lead to this completely out of our minds.
A few key points I want to hit on:

  • "Thought is the father of an act." This means that the second we begin to think something, we immediately become more susceptible to committing that act than had we not had the thought at all.
  • Venting is something you do with heating and exhaust systems. You do not vent to someone or confide in someone even if you think you may never have any "feelings" for them.
  • Even pornography is considered infidelity. This is the most common form. We begin to categorize physical instead of emotional arousal. In my own personal opinion: I have done research on this particular subject. It is poisonous to a marriage, the individual committing the act, and anyone that person is emotionally attached to. Just over a week ago I found some disappointing information about a friend who has been viewing this material. I am very emotionally attached to this person and can attest to how it can poison all parties involved. It is mocking the temple that God has given us, it is offensive to the Spirit, it is offensive to your significant other. It is Satan's mockery of sexual feelings. In the long run, it will not bring any happiness to the table...only grief, sadness, loneliness, and doubt. I love this video from on Mormon Messages.
This video portrays the good and bad that can come from a person's choice to partake or push away from the viewing of pornography.

I hope that we can all take away the different things that we touched on in class and through our readings. I feel very strongly that these are things that Heavenly Father wants us to be aware of so that we can shudder at the thought of infidelity.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Baby Mama Drama

This week the thing that stood out to me the most was about the transition from the "single" married life, to the life with little rascals. Although babies are a joy, blessings, and a commandment from our Heavenly Father, for some it can still be very difficult to make this transition. Much more time is spent with the baby, and much less is spent together.

My favorite slide from the presentation on this subject:

Wise young parents anticipate the additional work-load and decreased time alone. They plan and implement means of sharing the work and the pleasure of early parenting. This begins before birth.
Involving husband in pre-natal checkups.
Engaging father in the kicks and other pre-natal bonding events (as minute as this may seem, it is the small things that make the difference. Line upon line, small things will make a big difference)
Assuring father takes precedence over others during birth.
Resist the temptation to make it a mother-grandmother event

I like this slide because it is emphasizing a good start to the process of becoming parents. If you begin practicing these principles from the very get-go, it will become a constant in the new parents' lives more so than someone who doesn't practice these steps. There are many other things you can do as new parents to make sure one another are involved. I think the most important thing is to be sure you are conscious of the others' feelings so they are constantly being involved. Make it as equal as possible (in the sense of inclusion). This picture about sums it up:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Are Those Really Butterflies in There?

Did you know that when you have butterflies in your stomach, it is actually a disturbance in your digestive system?

Aside from that random snippet of information, this week was great in the aspect of learning new things in class. 

What is the meaning of love? How do we know what kind of love it is?
Storge: the kind of love found in the affection between parents and their children.
Philia: the kind of love that exists between friends.
Eros: love between a man and woman--romantic love.
Agape: love that is independent of one's feelings for another. (To me, this kind of struck me as a "love thy neighbor" type love.

We were asked in class to break down each love into what percentage we thought it would be in our lives. It was hard for me to do this because I don't have a spouse, so I'm not sure what kind of level my eros would be at, but the rest of them seemed pretty simple if I were to eliminate that one. I believe Philia is about 50%, Storge was hard as well, but I compared it to my nieces and nephews as 25% and the other, Agape, would be about 25% as well. 

We talked about cohabitation in class on Friday. This is one of my favorite discussions because I like picking apart the ideas about why people want to cohabit. I feel that people in our society today are scared of the marital commitment because they have seen so many failed marriages over the years. I myself have this same fear. But in the article we read for class this week (Hanging Out, Hooking Up, and Celestial Marriage), it clearly says, "Satan is giving special attention to you, my young friends--both single and married --to create doubt in your minds about marriage and your being ready to marry, increase your fear of failure to find the right one and your fear of divorce, and heighten your concern about having children." This sums it up in a very simple sentence: People are scared to get married, they're scared of the permanent commitment it entails, so what do they do instead? Well, isn't it obvious? They move in together, they imitate everything a marriage should be, but they do not make vows (or covenants in the LDS culture) because that would be much too scary. Satan is the master imitator. He gives people that feeling that what they're doing is okay, there's nothing wrong with it, and it's basically the same as being married anyway. So, why get married? In my mind, the question is this: Why NOT get married then? If you are already doing everything a married couple does, what is the purpose? Again, the underlying problem is FEAR. 
However, not all couples that cohabit have a failed marriage. Of course, the divorce rate is higher if you live together beforehand. There are different types of cohabiting couples:
1. The precursor to marriage: these cohabitors have definite plans to marry and express a high degrees of satisfaction with, and commitment to, the relationship.
2. Coresidential daters: These individuals basically disliked living the single life and opted to move in with someone even though they were uncertain about how long term the relationship might be. 
3. Trial Cohabitors: these individuals intend at some point to marry, but they are not sufficiently committed to their current partner to expect the cohabitation to end up in marriage.
4. Alternative to marriage: these individuals are interested in a long-term relationship with their current partner, but they are not interested in getting married. 

These are the main thing that stood out to me in class this week, however I could ramble on. These are good things to keep in mind.