Are Ye All One in Christ?

man sad, alone, in water with gray skies overhead

A couple days ago I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I ran across a tweet that saddened me greatly:

I just deleted my tweet about my question about the book of Revelation. I have never gotten anymore hate or ignorant comments than from Christians!

That is very telling.

What a terrible example we are setting? Do we say we are Christian and yet attack those who seek assistance interpreting scripture?

I have seen more Christians attacking Christians than ever should be. How are we living our faith if we are adding to the contention in the world? The sad fact is, we are allowing our fears and differences guide us.

  • Does it matter which “image” of Christ we carry in our minds? “No!”
  • Does it matter which “aspect” of Christ our group of disciples focus on? “No!”
  • Does it matter which “name” of Christ we use most often? “No!”
  • Does it matter how far along the path of discipleship someone else is? “No!”

What matters is that we made the choice to follow Christ. In following Christ we should have compassion for those on a different part of their path. What matters is that we act as brothers and sisters to every other disciple along the way.

Perhaps we could use a reminder from our Exemplar, I like this one from Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, chapter 3 verses 26-29:

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

When we remember that we are all one in Christ, then we can better act as examples of Christ to the world, as we are commanded in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 16:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

When we act from fear instead of glorifying our Father in Heaven, we push away those who may be new to their path of discipleship, and what’s more, we bring down upon our heads the hatred and persecution of non-believers.

I pray that we, as disciples of Christ Jesus, will remember to Fear Not, that He may be with us and we with Him.

May God bless you in your discipleship,
Sarah

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

This Semi-Quarantined Kind of Life

Summer 2020 Daily Activities checklist file in use

Hi There!

I hope the adjustment to this new normal finds you well! As I focus on the positive, we have been enjoying several aspects of this semi-quarantined kind of life, mainly more quality family time.

With summer officially upon us, I figured I would share how we keep our kids active and engaged, without major or constant parental oversight. See I am the kind of mom who wants their kids to learn and grow as independently as their ages allow. So I tend to provide them with a framework and let them choose how to play and explore within that framework. The framework this summer is a weekly checklist that they use to track their chores and learning. I’ve included it as a free download at the end of this post, just in case you want some ideas.

The kids enjoy using this framework and respond well to the freedom of choices they have. Some days, they finish up their minimum number of tasks quickly (before lunchtime), so that they can earn screentime. Other days they go through it slowly, where every task becomes a gateway to a whole creative world. Either way, they are content and playing and learning, and I am content and working, or guiding them, or doing the million other tasks required of a mother.

God Bless You and Our Nation and World,
Sarah

Continually Seek Secular and Sacred Education

I recently read a message from a teacher who was celebrating what she called the “Last Day of Learning.” This simple phrase hit me hard and highlighted a frustration with the worldly view of education. The world’s view of education is that learning is only for children and young adults, and that becoming educated is so difficult that “breaks in learning” are required for each season. The world tells us that once the desired level of education is reached, that we have “completed” our learning and entered our work phase in life.

However common sense AND the Lord teach us differently. Common sense shows that even in the “working world,” we need to continue learning new things. Whether it is learning how to make a new product, learning a more efficient tool, or learning a new computer program for orders. Learning continues constantly. Even as children, during the so-called “breaks” from learning, many are learning new skills, like sports, or scouts, or chores at home.

The Lord goes a step farther than common sense. He has instructed us, nay, Commanded us to continue learning. In D&C 88:118 He tells us, “seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf says, “For members of the Church, education is not merely a good idea—it’s a commandment.” We are to learn “of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad” (D&C 88:79).

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life … he will have so much the advantage in the world to come” (D&C 130:18–19).

President Russell M. Nelson taught,  “Your mind is precious!  It is sacred. Therefore, the education of one’s mind is also sacred. Indeed, education is a religious responsibility.  Of course, our opportunities and abilities will vary a great deal. But, in the pursuit of one’s education, individual desire is more important than {the institution}.”

He continues, “Our Creator expects His children everywhere to gain an education as a personal endeavor. … When you leave this frail existence, your material possessions will remain here, but the Lord has declared that the knowledge you acquire here will {go with you to Heaven}.”

Elder Uchtdorf also taught, “In our learning, let us not neglect the fountain of revelation. The scriptures and the words of modern-day apostles and prophets are the sources of wisdom, divine knowledge, and personal revelation to help us find answers to all the challenges in life. Let us learn of Christ; let us seek out that knowledge which leads to peace and truth.”

We have been told that “the glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth” (D&C 93:36). We are separated from the animals of this earth by the simple fact of our spirits. Our spirits are often referred to in the scriptures as intelligences. Our intelligence is our inheritance from our Father in Heaven, it is our divine gift. And He has asked that we do all we can to learn and become more like Him every day. There is no end to learning, any more than there is an end to loving. Learning is another way to say that we are seeking truth. How many times do the scriptures refer to Christ as Truth and/or Light? These terms are interchangeable in the scriptures, and they are repeated hundreds of times.

To become like Christ we must continually seek Him. To seek Him we must continually learn. It is never-ending, it is eternally rewarding, it is endlessly fulfilling. In this house, we are life-long learners.

Blessings,
Sarah

Our “Social Distancing” Spring Break Plan – Free Download

Hi There,

Well, our governor closed schools for a 3 week long spring break thanks to the CoVid-19 coronavirus. Tons of fun. Since 3 of our kids are still in our home, I needed to put together a plan for them so they didn’t drive me nuts. Fortunately, I homeschooled for 3 years, so I was able to quickly pull up some older resources and 24 hours later, our home is in a home-learning routine.

Ironically writing this blog post has taken me more time than getting our system up and running. So first, some background, I have no desire nor ability right now to stand over my kids for hours and make sure they are doing what I’d like. So I based my quarantine routine on a checklist system that I put together during my first homeschooled kid’s first grade year. I wanted him to be able to independently know what he needed to do and get done as much as possible without me (this method could be especially helpful for parents who now have to balance working from home and babysitting kids). Then I adapted it for part-time learning, since we don’t yet have remote learning set up from the kids’ schools, and they are technically on an extended spring break. Fortunately, my youngest is in Kindergarten and can read a good deal, so I was able to explain this system to all 3 of my at-home kids, and they are now in the rhythm.

Unfortunately, I’m not as good as explaining things to adults, but I will do my best. I am also including the file I used at the bottom of this post. I’m not charging anything for it, I don’t even get any advertising or affiliate income off of this blog. I just thought that with all the chaos out here right now, maybe I can inject a tiny bit of peace and harmony in some homes.

Let me explain- no, it is too much, let me sum up: I made a list of my priorities, what I wanted the kids to be sure to do every day. I put these priorities on a spreadsheet as topics that they can check off when they complete the task. I set it up so they re-use this checklist every day for a week (to save paper). I also added a short description or instruction for each topic, right now this description is the same for every day of the week, but it can be altered later to focus on a specific subject or lesson each day. With a little Excel savvy, many can tweak this file for their own needs and priorities.

Now we all know that setting up a list of things for kids to do is only half the battle, getting them to ACTUALLY do it can be a bear as well. So I created a system of rewards or incentives tied to completing the checklist in a timely manner. This incentive system was based on a similar system I had to implement with one of my older (not-at-home) kids who has been diagnosed with ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder).

Part of my incentives are set out in the “Incentives” sheet/tab in the file, another part is built into the order of the checklist. The last topic on the list for each day is titled “Brain Work,” this could also be called “Online Learning,” but that doesn’t fit as well. As time goes on, and we transition to remote learning, this topic will expand into 1 or more lines. But for now, they only have to keep up a “learning momentum” as their school calls it. This doesn’t sound like an incentive, but most of the online “educational” resources lately seem to be more game than actual work. So the kids are super-excited to get to pull out their school-issued Chromebooks and spend 20 minutes on PBSKids.org, or other such website. One note here, to keep them from getting too involved in an educational game like Prodigy, I have told the kids to pick a different online learning site each day throughout the week.

Another thing I should explain is what is a “School show” vs. “Candy Bar show.” So we don’t have cable TV, we have Netflix and Amazon Prime, that’s it. So I have had the luxury of previewing each of the shows they watch on the TV. Years ago, I started using the term “School show” for any show that has some actual educational value, like Magic School Bus or Sid the Science Kid. I’ve told the kids that they can only watch this category of show during school hours (awake to 3 pm). Lately, they have been trying to push the boundary of what qualifies as a school show. So a discussion with my 9-year-old a couple weeks ago led to the term “Candy Bar show.” These are shows that have no educational value, like Ninjago or Boss Baby.

Well I’m sure I’ve missed something in my explanations, so feel free to comment. I’ll do what I can to make more sense of it if necessary. So without further ado, here’s the Surviving Spring Break Quarantine Checklist:

As ever, May God Bless You and Yours!
Sarah

I Remember

I remember the things that happened to me, the things I saw, the things I did. I can see the spiritual darkness encompassing my early life.

I remember Baptism as well. When I was immersed in the water, the darkness was pulled off of me, cleansed. And when the water drained down, it took all that darkness and flushed it underground, where it belongs. I walked out of those waters clean, new. 

The memories remain, but they are not me anymore. That was Someone Else’s Story.