Sunday, February 12, 2012

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Jonathan Livingston SeagullJonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jonathan is continually learning and seeking to be better than he is. I identified with that and can see how it will take me not being afraid of what the rest of the world will think of me as I follow the path that I think is right. The flying lessons could equate to the lessons I am learning about how to best raise children, write music, and improve my love and patience for others. It could also be more literal. It could mean physical things I am learning like strategies in planting a garden or what abuse my body is really up to taking from exercise and physical training. Whatever I decide to spend my time and energies on, I should give it all of my attention, do my best, and see how far I can improve.

The part of the book that influenced my decision on making this a 3 star read is the reference to figuring things out over many lives. If the author is talking about reincarnation then I heavily disagree. We are here on the earth with one shot. I believe in the plan of salvation and that our loving Heavenly Father knows us for who we are. He will give us all equal opportunity to learn about his gospel whether it be in this life or the afterlife to come, but that is it. It would give too much leeway for me to think, "Well, I'm not doing so good in this life, I might as well just give up and try harder next go round." No. That is not what I believe and know. Who I am becoming is for the here and now, not to be spread out over many lives. I do believe however that we will continue to progress after we die in the spiritual realm. What we learn here on earth is the only thing we will take with us. I think it is probable that we could choose to be the seagulls who do nothing with their lives and it could take much longer to progress, or perhaps we won't be given the chance to progress in the next life if we don't do anything with what we have been given now. That reminds me of the parable of the talents. We can choose to bury our talents or to use them and multiply them.

This was a book worth reading, but I have read better.

View all my reviews

Friday, February 10, 2012

Beginnings of a Family Mission Statement

 This is the beginning of our family mission statement. I have been hearing from a couple of different sources how important it is to have your family be working on something together and that  a mission statement unifies the family. We started out last week by having everyone start thinking of words that describe our family. This week I stood at the white board as everyone fired off word after word that they think describes us. The above picture is what we came up with together. 

I noticed the next day that some clever soul added 'sneaky' to the list. :) It is a correct addition apparently. 

The next step we take will be to narrow the list down to the 10 most important words that we want our family to be described as. Then we will discuss those words and see what their deep meanings are. Then the plan is to narrow the list down even further. I'm not sure at this point how many words will be left. When we have our narrowed down list of words, then we will put them into sentence form to define the core values of our family.

This process will take several weeks so it will be well thought out and not just a spur of the moment thing. My plan is to then have an ongoing dialogue of what we can do daily to keep our family in line with the statement. I will blog again and let you know how it goes!

A View Of My Day

Today went like this:
   Up at 5:30 to walk a mile, did T-Tapp and started a load of laundry (every other day it is walking 3 miles.)

  •    Made almond milk for our whole grain cereal and did other chores.
  • My husband read the Bible to the boys at the table while I unloaded the dishwasher and did other kitchen chores.
  • Dad went to work, the boys got going on their chores and I on mine. 
  • We came together to eat breakfast and have a devotional which consists of memorizing a song and a poem, a prayer from our prayer list on the white board, we read and discussed 2 pages from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, and I read a chapter from the Book of Mormon.
  • We all did our after meal chores.
  • The younger boys took a play break while I took a shower and the scholars took off on their studies.
  • The younger boys and I did our 30 minute deep clean.
  • We made the shells for our piĻ€atas.
  • My 13 year old made lunch and we ate. (Broccoli with garlic oil, leftovers stirfry, and ugh - taters tots).
  • While the boys started eating I read 2 chapters from the Life of Fred math book and the younger boys did the problems on the white board. (They loved it)
  • We did our after meal chores.
  • We went to the family room and read for an hour from Island of the Blue Dolphins.
  • The younger boys and I sorted and folded laundry.
  • I am here now for some quiet time to work on my goals, one of which is to write in this blog. The younger kids are playing and the older ones are getting things ready for a scout camping trip.
That is our day so far.The rest of the day is for working on individual goals. I am thinking of making the morning play break into more of a goal reaching time instead of in the afternoon.  I'll try it and see how it goes.  The outline is pretty much the same every day. Instead of the pinata, on most days we read from a science or history book, or do some sort of activity. This is what flows for us and seems natural. 

Beloved Enos

Beloved EnosBeloved Enos by Denver C. Snuffer Jr.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absorbed this book rather than just reading it. It gave me new insights I hadn't considered before, opening my mind to new possibilities. Since reading it I have pondered how I can become more meek. I do have more questions now that I will have to research and pray about considering second anointings, but I love having a direction to put my studies rather than just going with the flow.

I already liked reading Enos' account in the Book of Mormon before reading Beloved Enos, which is why I was excited to read it in the first place. Now I am even more awed by his meekness and love for his people and his enemies. His example is even more precious to me now. Reading about such a great man humbles me but I am glad for that because I think it is a step closer to being the meek and humble person I want to be. I have a ways to go I know. It makes me even more grateful for the Savior's atonement which gives me room to improve. My wrongs are erased through His loving sacrifice and I want to be better because I love Him.

Beloved Enos is probably a book to be read by someone who is already on the path to wanting to follow the Saviors footsteps and who already has a burning testimony of the restored gospel. Without a testimony of a church set up exactly like the church Jesus set up in His day, and that has been followed through the Old Testament with Prophets, Apostles, Pastors, Teachers, and the Priesthood, this book would not be the uplifting experience that I experienced. Beloved Enos is for those who already know and believe the simple truths of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and want to know more.

I am anxious to read Denver Snuffer's other books because I like the way he thinks.

UPDATE 5/3/12
   I do not suggest that anyone read Denver Snuffer's books. I have done some soul searching about the feelings I have had when reading his books, and I feel confident in saying that I do not believe that they are 100% correct. There are things in his books that cause stumblings, and have caused them in people dear to me. Thank goodness some of those people have seen it for what it is and have gone back to their scriptures for truth rather than man's interpretation of truth. I am always led back to the scriptures. I believe that all truth can be taught to us through them. It doesn't take studying imperfect humans to understand the scriptures.
Respectfully, Elisa

View all my reviews

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ownership Spirit Review

Ownership SpiritOwnership Spirit by Dennis R. Deaton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I practiced my speed reading skills on this book not because I wanted to be through with it, but because I forgot to read it until the day before the discussion with my book club. Even with the speed reading I got a ton out of this book. Almost every page has yellow highlighter on it, marking things I definitely want to remember. Here is an example of something that stuck me as something that should be ingrained in my soul. "Pessimistic people do worse than optimistic people in three ways. First, they get depressed much more often. Second, they achieve less on the job, at school, and on the playing field - much less than their talents would suggest. Third, their physical health is worse than that of optimists. So holding a pessimistic theory of the world may be a mark of sophistication, but it is a costly one."

Ownership Spirit reaffirmed what I have been studying in the 7 Habits books. I am in charge of how things affect me. Even the worst things that can happen to me, I can decide if I am going to be changed for the worse or the better and the more often that I choose either one, the more often that particular path will naturally be chosen.

"Things are never as bad as they seem to be." That is another quote that I liked out of the book. I am going to apply these things along with the Stephen Covey books, and see how my view points change. Ownership Spirit told me that if I do this, the changes in my life will be remarkable. I could handle that.

View all my reviews

65 Signs of the Times by Ridges

65 Signs Of The Times Leading Up To The Second Coming65 Signs Of The Times Leading Up To The Second Coming by David J. Ridges

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I liked the readability of this book. It helped me to erase the fuzzy line of what signs have happened and what things are still going to happen before the Second Coming of the Savior. It also took away the fear that I have had because of my lack of knowledge of what is going to happen. This book is one that I will be reading again every so often.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Proactive Chain

I have been studying the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, along with the books on kids, teens, and families from the same series. In the books, the first habit is to be proactive; to choose how things affect us instead of letting things be in charge of how we react. Another spin on being proactive is to see something that needs done and to do it instead of waiting to be told to do it. In other words we are taking control of our lives, our surroundings and how we take things in.

The boys and I made a paper chain with 100 links. We hung it on the wall where we see it often. Every time the boys do something without being asked I tell them to take a link off of the chain. When they have an argument and they can figure it out on their own they can take a few links off of the chain. Whenever I see them do something that I think is proactive I have them tear a link.

I have seen so many great things since the inception of the Proactive Chain. My boy came in the other day with a handful of garbage he picked up and I made him smile by letting him tear of a link of the chain. Quarrels are being figured out with out me, and chores that aren't even that kids responsibility are being attended to. It is magical!

I forgot to mention that when the chain is gone we will all be going swimming. It is a goal we are all working towards and one persons victory is every one's. It is beautiful.

In my Thursday study group someone made the comment that taking apart the chain is like unbinding ones self from being reactive. The more things we do to be proactive and choose our responses to things around us, the less reactive we are and thus the more free we are. Taking a link off the chain with each proactive thing we do is like breaking the binding reactive chain.