God’s Favorites. Wait… you mean He has them?

1 Nephi 1:1

“having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days”


Hang on. Did Nephi just say he was favored of the Lord? Isn’t that the same thing as favorite? Does the Lord have favorites, or am I just reading this wrong? What does it mean to be favored of the Lord?

1 Nephi 17:33-36

33 And now, do ye suppose that the children of this land, who were in the land of promise, who were driven out by our fathers, do ye suppose that they were righteous? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.

34 Do ye suppose that our fathers would have been more choice than they if they had been righteous? I say unto you, Nay.

35 Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God. But behold, this people had rejected every word of God, and they were ripe in iniquity; and the fulness of the wrath of God was upon them; and the Lord did curse the land against them, and bless it unto our fathers; yea, he did curse it against them unto their destruction, and he did bless it unto our fathers unto their obtaining power over it.

Interesting. I guess that makes sense. Would the Lord have the Israelites go in and take over the land of Canaan if the native Canaanites had been righteous? Of course not. In fact, the Lord had tried to help them become righteous. He had done all He could for the native Canaanites. But they had rejected all His words, and proven that under no circumstances would they improve their lives. I suppose from the Lord’s point of view, the best chance they had was if He were to destroy them and then work with them on the other side of the veil. Where they stood now, they were getting into deeper and deeper trouble – not to mention forcing their children (by not allowing them to be exposed to the truth) to live lives of iniquity also. That’s hardly fair to the children.

So he had them destroyed so there could again be righteousness on the earth, giving future generations a chance for happiness.

Do you know what this reminds me of? Parenthood. Tell me if this sounds familiar:

Two kids are playing. Kid #1 is playing peacefully with a toy. Kid #2 comes and pushes kid #1 to the ground and takes the toy. Parent scolds kid #2 and gives the toy back to kid #1. Kid #2 complains to parent and throws a temper tantrum, earning a time out. Kid #1 goes on playing, and kid #2 spends the next ten minutes writhing in the unfairness of the whole situation. Why doesn’t he get to play with the toy? Why does he have to go in time out? Why is the parent favoring kid #1? He’s not better than me! Why is he treated like a favorite?

Etc, etc.

Or how about when the two are told by the parent that if they finish their homework, they can stay up late. Kid #1 finishes homework, and kid #2 puts it off and doesn’t do the homework. Kicking and screaming, kid #2 goes to bed normal time, and kid #1 gets to stay up late.

Kid #1 is not ruffled. Parent isn’t ruffled. But kid #2 is bouncing on the floor in fury, ready to call the ACLU.

Alma 28:13

13 And thus we see how great the inequality of man is because of sin and transgression, and the power of the devil, which comes by the cunning plans which he hath devised to ensnare the hearts of men.

I guess it’s not God who’s making things so unfair down here. It’s us – with the help of ol’ scratch, of course. mr. angry-pants just can’t let an opportunity go to feed us with the claim that if there was a god, he would love us all the same and treat us all the same no matter what we did.

Of course God loves us all. He’s just being a good parent.

My New Life

This is one of those videos that just makes you want to keep going…

Life and love really can and should be forever.

The LDSF Society

While it’s true that I belong to the LDS church, some weeks, with the kids crawling on the bench, and the floor, and each other, and me, and the baby,  I feel more like a member of the LDSF society. Not to be confused with the fundementalist church, this is the Latter-day Sunday Fiasco society. In the LDS church, the family gathers for sacrament meeting and all listen and enjoy the spirit in the meeting. But in the LDSF society, kids jump on benches, and parents do sweet sixteens up and down the chapel, racing kids in and out of the meeting, wails drowning out any and all audio reception.

Just today I woke up about halfway through the meeting (yes woke up – It was a long morning for the parents of said munchkins), I woke and discovered marker markings on my hands. What the?!

That’s when I noticed my kids coloring with markers and eating cereal next to me. Where did they get markers? We don’t even allow those in our house, let alone at church! And cereal? We had oatmeal for breakfast because we’re out of cereal!

Then the culprits revealed themselves as the kids belonging to the family sitting next to us on the bench. Ah. Well, they’re a great family, so I guess it was okay, but it did help me realize the importance of staying awake at church… especially as I remembered the marker markings and got self conscious about my face…

I only had to take Tootles out once – well, I guess you could say it was twice, since we had to go back in after he calmed down in order to fetch the diaper bag, since his foyer tantrum had released an ominous unpleasant smell. I would have had Jenni fetch it for me, but by then, she was out with another kid.

Making Moments: Biathlon

Today I was in my room, working on a Sunday project, and I could hear Tootles reeking a bit of havoc in the other room, so I went out and scooped him up and brought him into my room. I cleared the bed of blankets and pillows and started bouncing him on it.

Jumping on Mama and Baba’s bed is one of his very favorite activities, though we usually try to discourage it. Well, he went straight from frustrated anger to excited laughter. I wrestled him, and even got out the video camera.

I suppose stopping him from one inappropriate activity and getting him doing another slightly inappropriate activity probably isn’t the best approach in terms of discipline, but it brought a big smile to his face – and mine.

Popcorn and Podcasting: Kiddoes

Kiddoes

Jenni and I have been doing our Popcorn and Podcasting LDS podcast for awhile, but we’ve been out of it for the past couple months. We’ve decided to try various topics, though, instead of having many podcasts on one topic – just to see how that goes.

This time we focused on Children

James E. Faust:

If parents do not discipline their children and teach them to obey, society may discipline them in a way neither the parents nor the children will like. Dr. Lee Salk, child psychologist, said: “The ‘do your own thing’ trend has interfered with people developing close and trusting family relationships. It tells people that they are neurotic if they feel a sense of responsibility for the feelings of other family members. People are also told to let all their feelings out, even if it is very hurtful to someone else.”

(Special Section Families, U.S. News and World Report, Inc., 16 June 1980, p. 60.) As Dr. Salk states, this is, of course, patently wrong. Without discipline and obedience in the home, the unity of the family collapses.

Anne G. Wirthlin:

Recent research on the development of a child’s brain has revealed new insights into how and when a child learns. I quote from a recent study: “From birth, a baby’s brain cells proliferate wildly, making connections that may shape a lifetime of experience. The first three years are critical” (J. Madeleine Nash, “Fertile Minds,” Time, 3 Feb. 1997, 49).

Anne G. Wirthlin, “Teaching Our Children to Love the Scriptures,” Ensign, May 1998, 9

Anne G. Wirthlin:

When first we love the Lord with all our hearts, then we can lead our children to Him in all of our interactions. They will grow in their devotion to the Lord as they see our devotion to Him. They will understand the power of prayer as they hear us pray to a loving Heavenly Father who is there listening and answering our prayers. They will understand faith as they see us live by faith. And they will learn the power of love by the kind and respectful ways that we relate to them. We cannot teach truth to our children apart from the trusting, caring relationships that we have with them. President Howard W. Hunter said, “A successful parent is one who has loved, one who has sacrificed, and one who has cared for, taught, and ministered to the needs of a child” (Ensign, Nov. 1983, p. 65).

Anne G. Wirthlin, “Touch the Hearts of the Children,” Ensign, Nov 1995, 81

Neal A. Maxwell:

Children often have the “thoughts and [the] intents of [their] hearts” focused on the Master. Though not full of years, such children are full of faith! Too young for formal Church callings, they have been “called to serve” as exemplifiers, doing especially well when blessed with “goodly parents” (1 Ne. 1:1).

Just as the scriptures assure, “little children do have words given unto them many times” (Alma 32:23). For example, the resurrected Jesus revealed things to the Nephite children, who then taught adults and their parents “even greater” things than Jesus had taught (3 Ne. 26:14).

It has been a privilege to seal several adopted children to Nan and Dan Barker, now of Arizona. Some time ago Nate, then just over three, said: “Mommy, there is another little girl who is supposed to come to our family. She has dark hair and dark eyes and lives a long way from here.”

The wise mother asked, “How do you know this?”

“Jesus told me, upstairs.”

The mother noted, “We don’t have an upstairs,” but quickly sensed the significance of what had been communicated. After much travail and many prayers, the Barker family were in a sealing room in the Salt Lake Temple in the fall of 1995—where a little girl with dark hair and dark eyes, from Kazakhstan, was sealed to them for time and eternity. Inspired children still tell parents “great and marvelous things” (3 Ne. 26:14).

Benjamin Ballam is the special spina bifida child of Michael and Laurie Ballam. He has been such a blessing to them and many others. Also spiritually precocious, Benjamin is a constant source of love and reassurance. Having had 17 surgeries, resilient Benjamin knows all about hospitals and doctors. Once, when an overwhelmed attendant became vocally upset—not at Benjamin, but over stressful circumstances—little three-year-old Benjamin exemplified the words of another Benjamin about our need to be childlike and “full of love” (Mosiah 3:19). Little Benjamin reached out, tenderly patted the irritated attendant, and said, “I love you anyway.” A similar episode occurred recently in an Israeli hospital, where little Benjamin, going through a necessary but very painful procedure, used the same loving words to reassure a physician. No wonder, brothers and sisters, in certain moments we feel children are our spiritual superiors.

Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Becometh As a Child’,” Ensign, May 1996, 68

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“The most important work we can do is to help God’s children come to a full understanding of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. This I know to be true…”

(Ensign, Nov. 2000 pg. 77 – 2nd to last sentence)

Barbara B. Smith:

It might be a temptation for a working mother to plan special outings and play times as the so-called “quality” time she has with her children. But many are aware of the danger this poses in giving them a distorted picture of life by using all their time together in recreation. It is important for children to see the balance that is necessary between work and play. They need to know that special events are more meaningful when daily routines are established and when assigned duties are completed.

One grandmother helped her grandchildren learn this truth. When they came to her house she was careful to have jobs they could do together; then afterward, they played a game. Then another task was followed by another game. The children learned, as she hoped they would, the relationship between work and play and the comfortable sense of playing after work is completed.

Barbara B. Smith, “‘Her Children Arise Up, and Call Her Blessed’,” Ensign, May 1982, 79

Patricia P. Pinegar:

The blessings of parenting and helping to care for children are many. President Hinckley said: “Of all the joys of life, none other equals that of happy parenthood. Of all the responsibilities with which we struggle, none other is so serious. To rear children in an atmosphere of love, security, and faith is the most rewarding of all challenges. The good result from such efforts becomes life’s most satisfying compensation” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 74; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 54).

Patricia P. Pinegar, “Caring for the Souls of Children,” Ensign, May 1997, 13

Elder Harold G. Hillam:

Many, perhaps most, adult members of the Church, however, find themselves in a position to teach in a more direct manner. Leaders, parents, and called teachers have the specific responsibility to constantly improve their teaching abilities so they can prepare, train, and edify those who fall within their stewardship. President David O. McKay reminded us that “the proper training of childhood is man’s most important and sacred duty” (Gospel Ideals [1953], 220). The Lord has made it clear that parents shall “teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord” (D&C 68:28).

There is power in the doctrines of the Church—hence the need for us all to be ever learning and constantly fortifying ourselves spiritually. President Hinckley has said: “The forces against which we labor are tremendous. We need more than our own strength to cope with them. To all who hold positions of leadership, to the vast corps of teachers and missionaries, to heads of families, I should like to make a plea: In all you do, feed the Spirit—nourish the soul. … I am satisfied that the world is starved for spiritual food” (“Feed the Spirit—Nourish the Soul,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1967, 85–86).

Harold G. Hillam, “Teachers, the Timeless Key,” Ensign, Nov 1997, 62

Anne G. Wirthlin:

President Kimball shared vivid memories of his home when the family knelt before meals to pray, their chairs turned back from the table, dinner plates upside down. He remembers night prayers at his mother’s knee. He said, “I feel sorry for children who must learn these important lessons after they are grown, when it is so much harder” (Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball, Jr., Spencer W. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1977, p. 31). Home can be an oasis in the world. It’s a place where every child has a right to feel safe.

Anne G. Wirthlin, “Touch the Hearts of the Children,” Ensign, Nov 1995, 81

Elder Joe Christensen:

Remember family prayer every day. With schedules as they are today, you may need to have more than one prayer. Sending your children out of the home without the spiritual protection of prayer is like sending them out into a blizzard without sufficient clothing.”

Elder Joe Christensen, Ensign Nov 1993

Making Moments: Squeaker

Such a sweet little thing. So tiny, so perfect, so dependent. She has the cutest little cry, which after each wail has a quick little squeak, not unlike that of a squeaky toy. It’s hard to get annoyed at a cry that is separated by high squeaks. I think for the purposes of this book, I’ll call her Squeaker.

Squeaker is a cuddly little girl so far. She calms down quickly when you pick her up. Seeing her next to two year old Tootles, I am reminded how tiny newborns really are. She is only a little smaller than he was at birth, but wow, what a tiny little thing. And though Tootles has thinned out some in the last year, he has still grown so much!

Making Moments: New Arrival

Okay, so I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted entries for the Making Moments project I was working on for nine months, but this week my new baby was born, and I decided that if I wanted to start it back up to complete the last three months, this would be a good time to do it, so here I go! I think I’ll post them more often this time, too.

New Arrival:

What an awesome experience! I got to deliver my own baby! Jenni was in the final stages of labor when the doctor turned to me and said, “Oh, by the way, would you like to deliver your baby?”

“Me? Really?”

“Sure. I’ll help you out.”

“Yeah! That would be awesome!”

So they dressed me head to toe in sanitary garb and the doctor coached me through catching the baby. My favorite part of the whole birth experience is the moment the baby is out and moving on its own. It’s even more amazing when you get to be the first to experience that.

Wow!

Pills, Punkins, and a Trip to the ER

Oh. my. kids.

If I had a nickel for every time they get into something they shouldn’t, I’d be dead – buried alive in nickels.  Lunch Bucket is potty training (which could merit its own blog – not blog entry, blog).  We stayed the night last night at Jenni’s parents’ house.  They do a decent job keeping the house toddler-resistant, but toddlers find a way.  Oh, they find a way.

Lunch Bucket went and used the potty and then washed her hands, and from the kitchen I could hear that the water running, and running.  Worried that she might be flooding the bathroom, I called out to her, and Jenni went in to check on her, and found her happily washing her hands – which of itself was fine, but there were two half-dissolved acid relief pills in the sink.  Then she saw the empty bottle on the counter and a few spilled about in the shelf above the sink.  Jenni immediately began examining Lunch Bucket for signs of ingestion.  Lunch Bucket insisted she hadn’t had any.

Jenni called me in, and we looked for any evidence that she might have eaten some.  We couldn’t find any, other than the half dissolved pills (does water dissolve pills like that?) in the sink, but wanted to be sure, so we called poison control.  I think I have their phone number memorized now.  Our kids each have a record, and all their files involve ingestion: Tylenol, neon light bulb powder, diaper cream (yuck!), and now acid relief pills.  They suggested that we’d better take her into the emergency room – just in case.

Jenni took her and I stayed back with Tootles.  About ten minutes later, Jenni came back worried that perhaps Tootles might have been the culprit earlier in the day.  So off we went on our family adventure to the increasingly familiar emergency room (mind you, we’ve always had healthy, albeit very curious kids).

They started out with the typical procedures, sign in, weight check, $150 co-pay (good grief… Obama’s health plans are looking better every day).  Then we were assigned to a room.

Three hours later we were released with no signs of any problem.  Three late night hours, mind you.  Three sleep-deprived hours, with a rambunctious Tootles (have I told you of his restless tendencies at hospitals?  Or about Jenni getting yelled at by an old lady for not letting him play with the fun rattly bottles in the pharmacy?  Oh, he’s a BIG fan of hospitals…).

In the end, there was no problem.  They hadn’t taken anything.

All I can say is thank heaven for the movie Ratatouille.  Love that show.  Great for food appreciators.  Only trouble was, when we finally got home, I couldn’t go to bed before enjoying a tasty midnight snack.

tootletrouble1

Look at those faces.  How could they NOT be up to something?

lbtrouble