Monday, August 23, 2010

A Success Story

In 41-and-a-half hours, I will have three kids in school for seven hours a day. They'll all shuffle out the door at (roughly) 7:30 and come home at (roughly) 2:30. While they are gone, I'll have one fairly docile child at home, at least until she starts preschool in September.

Can you smell that? It's the sweet scent of freedom. It smells like oranges and happiness.

Now, I don't normally spout long, self-congratulatory harangues on this blog (at least, I don't think I do - but it's been a long time since I posted and I might have forgotten my self-congratulatory tendencies, in which case I apologize.) I am proud of myself for my behavior this summer. Until today, I never once mentally calculated the days remaining until school started. I tried very hard not to complain about the heat. I stayed busy, mostly by attaching myself to my friend Luisa's schedule and doing all the fun things she did. I tried to enjoy the summer.

That's not to say I was the perfect summer-loving mom. I didn't complain about the heat because I stayed in my air conditioned house a lot. I didn't calculate the days remaining because I knew it would depress me. I stayed busy because every time Luisa called to invite me somewhere, I heaved a big sigh and said, "I don't want to, but I ought to." So basically, I can attribute my good summer to Luisa and air conditioning.

Whatever. In the end, though, I did have a good summer, and that's all that matters. It feels like a successful summer.  I'm happy about the way summer went, a stark contrast to last summer's three-month-long torture session.  I love it.  I'm happy.

That being said, summer's almost finished and I can start fantasizing about the beautiful, glorious school year that lies ahead.  Everything I'm looking forward to falls into two categories:

- Peace.  I think the kids want to go back to school as much as we want them to, if only to escape the constant companionship of their siblings.  We all need some absence to make the heart grow fonder.  And absence doesn't bruise the way a brother's "accidental" full-body slam does.

- Quiet.  The noise level in this house approaches that of a turbine engine.  Ryan wishes the "hard of hearing" years happened in your thirties and forties, when a person desperately wants to be able to just turn off the hearing aid for a while.  And then your hearing magically comes back when the kids are teenagers, so you can hear them sneaking in the house past curfew.

That's it.  That's all I want out of the next nine months, peace and quiet.  Cliched, I know, but still true.  I want to appreciate the peace and quiet of having only one (relatively benign) child at home.  I vow to enjoy the weather in the fall, the crystalline snow in the winter, and not to whine too much about the horrid, miserable, wet and cold and entirely-too-long spring.  I will attempt to get Zack to turn in his homework at least 80% of the time.  I may, at some point, most likely, be at least semi-successful at potty-training Darcey, although I'm not getting my hopes up.

I'm afraid to say this too loud, for fear that I'll jinx myself, so I'll whisper:

I think I'm going to have a very good year.

Education Week: Friday

I took a day off to fulfill various obligations and to prove, by my behavior, that I still need more Ed Week before I become a perfect parent. That could be the most disappointing part of the whole week - my spiritual well is overflowing, and yet I still find myself getting short-tempered with my kids and irritated when things don't go the way I want. I feel like I shouldn't be bothered when Darcey smears a brand-new chapstick all over her face, or when the boys spend their free time sniping at each other.  I've spent a week learning about how wonderful and important families are, but you'd never be able to tell. Hmph.

Here's my list of the day's classes:

Increasing Personal Effectiveness: Living a Balanced Life - My favorite of the day

The Art of Communication: Resolving Conflict - Also excellent.  I'll take any class by this teacher.

Making Marriages Better the Lord's Way - What do happily married people actually do? - Not bad at all, and less list-y than I thought.

How to Be A Better Wife:  Be a Fun Living Wife - It was okay.

Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet - Snoozefest.  Could have been due to my headache, but this is the one I'd skip if I went back.

The Anatomy of High-Trust Relationships: Listening With Love - Still very good.

Here goes, my third and last day of Ed Week.

Increasing Personal Effectiveness: Living a Balanced Life - Kevin Miller

The future does not belong to the learned and the wise - it belongs to those who can learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Learning keeps you young.
Bumper sticker: "life is hard.  it's harder when you're stupid."

The Whole Soul/Person
Everyone is physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual beings.
The body needs to live.  We need to have food, money, safety.
The mind needs to learn.
The heart needs to love.
The spirit needs to leave a legacy.  My life is doing something meaningful.  (The 8th Habit - Steven Covey)
When you do those things in balance, we're happy. Stress, sin, and contention disintegrates us - splits up the four things.
D&C 38:27 - I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. - Be one in your self.

If you spend hours a day exercising, or if you are all about family history, you are one note, not a chord.  The spirit can tell you what your chord is supposed to sound like.  We are not all the same.  Members should not judge each other based on behavior.  "Why judge me when I've chosen a different type of sin than you've chosen."

The lord called his people zion, because they are of one heart and one mind.  "Create Zion" as a family mission statement.

Mark 12:30-31Christ talks about the importance of balance.

When we are physically ill, our spirits hurt.  When we are suffering mentally, it effects the rest of us.  When one part of us is stuck, the rest of us is stuck too.  It's all connected.

The Lord's promise is peace, not stress, pain, misery.  Why do we have long-faced saints, when we have the joy of the gospel? - Maxwell.  John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you...

"Urgent to Marilyn" - by Carol Lynn Pearson (Poem about running faster than we have strength.)

If the Lord were here at Ed Week, he'd tell us Peace, be still.  Don't try to do it all, everything we've learned.  Pick one or two things, and change them.

If we start with Christ as our foundation, he promises us abundance
John 10:10
2 N 9:51 - let your soul delight in fatness
Helaman 5:12

The eagle that chases two rabbits catches neither - Arab proverb.  What rabbit should you be working on right now?

Jesus The Perfect Leader - talk by Pres. Kimball
"Jesus saw sin as wrong but also was able to see all sin as springing from deep and unmet needs on the part of the sinner...We need to be able to look deeply enough into the lives of others to see the basic reasons for their failures and shortcomings."

A Victory Plan: Filling my unmet needs
Physical - my body needs
-good nutrition
-water 8cups/day
- stress management
-exercise - 30 min3x
-Arise well on time

- Uplifting reading
-stimulating learning
-ondering time daily
-manage plan time and organize my day

-Friendship and belongs
-someone to listen to me

(this was a handout he showed but I didn't have time to write it all down. I emailed him to get a copy, so hopefully I can get that if anyone else wants it.)

Many times we give the wrong counsel because we assume all the problems are spiritual.  We can't solve our problems with more service if our body is ravaged.

SMART goals;

Think of the three biggest obstacles you face in achieving a peaceful, balanced life.
Almost always start with physical - our body is the bag that holds our emotions, spirit, and mentality.  The church tends to start with spiritual answers, which is nice, but it could just make your life more out of balanced, more stressful and make us more guilt-ridden.  Start with physical, then move to spiritual answers.  From there, emotional stuff might take care of itself.

Three pronged attack:
Reality check our expectations
Obtain more energy
Transfer energy within us.  Sometimes we can have more mental energy and we can distribute it to our physical

Reality check:  most putts don't drop.  LIfe is like an old time rail journey..
There must needs be opposition in all things.  ALL things - even in sunday school.  that is what life is, and if we expect that it's not, that leads to unhappiness.  A conflict in our marriage doesn't mean we have a marriage just means we have opposition in all things.
Life is not a straight line, we set ourselves wrong if we say "if you join the church, or get married in the temple, or keep the commandments, life will be wonderful."
At best, life is ups and downs.  It's okay to have a bad hair day, just try not to have a bad hair life.

Try not to make major decisions and commitments at the high or low points.  Keep a long view at your overall goals.

We have self-inflicted wounds.  In the church we have culturally-inflicted wounds.  Are you comparing yourself to a composite person that doesn't even exist?  (Picture of a cow jumping through the ocean - "I know I'm not a very good swimmer, but maybe if I just keep trying...")
Don't make yourself feel bad if you're not Julia Child.

Justification and Sanctification - Our long term goal is to become sanctified, but our for right now all we can hope for is to be justified.  In your life right now, you are okay and the Lord is happy with you.  He is happier wih you than you are with yourself.  HE knows what you're dealing with, what struggles you have, the way you were raised.  You don't have to be perfect, you just have to be justified.

If we are trying, if we can ask for his help, then we are on the straight and narrow path.
Grant - gospel standards 184-185
Mosiah 4:27 - be diligent but do not run faster than you have strength

Ed Week can be a whole boatload of guilt on you.  Stay peaceful.

Second prong:  Increase our energy any way we can

Exercise gives you more energy than it requires, unless you go overboard.
Diet and Water - Book - "your body's many cries for water"  Eat well, drink water, exercise
Emotional - Associate with uplifting people and not depressing people.  Don't spend your time with eeyores, and don't be an eyesore - be a tigger.  Humor helps emotional energy.
Mental - ed week
Spiritual: go out in nature, read the scriptures etc

Acitivity in the gospel - it's possible to be active in the church without being active in the gospel - the gospel is a relationship with the savior, a deep love and peace.
When we are drained its because we are too busy with our church activity and not our gospel activity.

Thes. 4:1

The church is supposed to bring people to Christ - not everything in the church is of equal value. Much of what we do is fluff.  Simplify it, and your'll feel the spirit more.  The temple is not fluff.  Scouting is fluff.

Plug the holes that are draining our energy
Book - Clutter's Last STand - Don Aslett
The more junk you have, the less energy you have for relationships, the less energy we have for the meaningful things.

You are not required to abuse yourself with things that drain you, even in the name of service.

Third Prong
We are a house with four rooms: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual - spend time in each room every day. Men especially are emotionally constipated - they need to learn to talk about their emotions
Watch your feelings  -you don't want to be "high" or "low" you want to be centered.
When his son was out of whack emotionally, it was because he wasn't sleeping enough.  If our kids are behaving badly, maybe he needs more sleep - it does no good to harp on his behavior if he is lacking physically.

Oaks Ensign, 94 - My social conscience should no cause me to coerce others to use thier time or eans to fulfill my objectives.  We are commanded to love our neighbors, not manipulate them, even for righteous purposes.
- an EQ pres who spends the whole lesson guilt-tripping about home teaching

D&C 124:120 - "more or less" scripture - it is possible to exceed orthodoxy, Oaks Oct 94 Ensign p. 11

We sometimes feel like we have this thing that we love so much that we preach it, making other people feel like they have to do that too.  Instead, ask yourself if you should be doing this, or doing it right now.

Nothing about Jesus allows us to imagine Jesus as a sad, gloomy, fatigued, depressed, and overburdened.  Or robes flying as he rushes helper-skelter, trying to accomplish 20 things at once.  He walked where he went, stopping to pick figs and to talk to the people he saw.  - "The Perfect Leader"

Mosiah 4:10 - If ye believe these things, see that ye do them.

The Art of Effective Communication: Resolving Conflict

When we have conflict with someone, it's because they have a need to be met and they choose to meet it in a way that maybe we disagree with.

Ghandi - You must be the change you wish to see in the world.  Instead of fixing everyone with all the things we learned at education week, change yourself.

What is your style of conflict?

A hammer - my way or the highway.  i'm the mom, that's why.  If the only tool you have is a hammer, you look at everything as a nail.

Doormat - let people walk all over her, never expressed herself.  if you ask what they want, they say, It doesn't matter what I want.  They stuff their feelings, it gets unhealthy (and the hammer person gets away with treating the doormat badly.)

The avoider - would rather avoid conflict.  "I see nothing, I know nothing."  He knows it exists, j

The denier - I don't even want to know about it.  Denies there is any problem at all, isnt' willing to see it.

The Pollyanna - Everything is so wonderful in our family - we get along so beautifully!  Our ward is so perfect!

The compromiser - "Let's make a deal" - I'll give up some, you'll give up some and we'll make a deal out of it.

The boxer - they like arguing.  If things get too peaceful, they rile things up a little.

A lot of where we get our style is from our parents, some is cultural.  New York is filled with hammers, Utah is filled with doormats.    Utah Valley is the passive-aggressive capital.

Your style is situational.  As a boss, you might be a hammer, but at home I'm a doormat.  There are times when each style is appropriate.  Make sure you make a choice because you feel it is the right style for the situation.  Don't react just because you lose it - make a conscious choice.  Each style has consequences.

When someone treats you with a hammer, you feel powerless and take it out on someone else.  If you kick your employee, your employee will kick your customers just as hard.

Being a doormat can disturb your physical body.  "Feelings Buried Alive Never Die" - has a list of different ailments and what kind of feeling has created the hurt.

When you think of conflict - you think of fight, anger, disagreement etc
Conflict is not the same as contention.  Conflict carries negative connotations.  We need to see conflict as a positive things.  This land was founded in conflict, the gospel was born in conflict.

If there is no conflict, I cannot gain a victory; if there is no victory, I cannot gain a crown of reward. - Joseph Smith

New definition of conflict:
The consequences of difference that exist and need to be managed.

What good can come of this conflict.  In each conflict, there is an opportunity to turn the situation for good.
The Lord never warns us against conflict, just contention.  Contention has a negative effect on relationships.  3 Nephi 11:29
Mosiah 4:14-15 - teach children to love and serve one another, teach them to deal with conflict in a positive way.  When kids have a problem, reply "Good!  You see it differently"  I'm glad you're thinking on your own.

Second Key - act on conflict in a positive way, not react negatively.
Leaders see conflict as an opportunity.  Once everyone sees it that way, they won't feel threatened.  When they don't feel threatened, they see it as a challenge.
Isaiah 50:8

Conflict resolution model:
1. Recognize person's feelings - right brain, emotional - don't try to problem solve during emotional, men tend to use meat cleaver to cut through emotions and get right to facts but it's not time.  Book: "I don't have to make everything all better" - Lundberg
2. Define problem
3. Clarify expectations
4. Explore alternatives
5. Assist with action plans

At the same time, build constructive relationships, Focus on the problem, and maintain self-esteem for all.  As soon as someone doesn't feel of worth, you need to stop and rebuild that relationship/self-esteem/self-worth.

Passive people either avoid or deny - out of concern for themselves.  Accommodators are passive but are more concerned for others than himself.  Compromisers are in the middle.  The better option is to be a collaborator.
A compromise is a low form of win-win - both people leave something behind to get there.  Neither person will be completely happy.
Collaboration gets a perfect answer for both people. Listening is the key to collaboration, hearing each others feelings.

The Spirit defines the style.  The spirit can tell you to use a hammer, or to let something go.

Have the spirit with you and wear the lenses of charity.
Seek first to understand, and then to be understood. - being a great listener is the most important key to building relationships.  If you don't listen long enough, you'll keep working on the wrong problem.  You need to find the deeper issues so you can work on solving the right problem.
Men uni-task - when their wife comes up to him with a problem, he needs to stop what he's doing - Stop, Look, Listen
Women also need to stop, look, and listen to their husbands - it's too easy to try to keep multi-tasking when you should be listening.

Book:  "You Just Don't Understand"

How to be an empathic listener.
-A wound heals quicker when it's exposed to air.

James 1:19 - let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath

Frequently we listen for what's important to you - instead listen for what's important to the other person and validate that.

Why do we find it easier to be a better listener with total strangers than with those closest to us?  Because you aren't part of the problem. You aren't emotionally involved.  You are my child/spouse and I know exactly what you're going to say.  Learn to listen even though we know what they are going to say.

When you have a discussion, are you a:

You need the spirit because people will test your sincerity.
You can listen intently for a few minutes, while you are listening for the gist of it.  Then your attention drops to zero because you are preparing your response.  Then your attention goes back up because you are listening for a place to interrupt - a period, comma, semicolon, breath.

Because they sense we weren't listening they aren't receptive to what you have to say.  Plus you might be on the wrong issue because you weren't listening.

I hate school!
Oh, you hate school?
No, I like school, I just hate math.
Oh you hate math?
No, I hate having three hours of homework on the weekend.
It's frustrating to have so much homework.  Why don't you get started now?
- validates feelings.  If you jumped on "i hate school" and attacked - school is important,etc - you would have missed the whole thing.

The thought -speech differential
I can think 10x faster than you can speak.  You have to stop that and slow down your thinking.

Validation is being able to listen to a person without having to change their point of view.

I'll bet that's hard
That must be frustrating
I think I might have felt the same way  (You have NEVER felt the exact same way)
What a difficult position to be in.
What a good way to handle that situation.
Oh, no! I know how much that meant to you.
That's got to be a real challenge.
I'll bet you miss her.
What an awkward situation to be in.
I'm so sorry that happened to you.

Making Marriages Better the Lord's Way - What do happily married people actually do? - Brinley

I went to Brinley's other class on Tuesday, but skipped it in favor of Miller's personal effectiveness classes.  Which, btw, is a totally good choice.  I'm expecting this class to be another very long list, which isn't my favorite kind of class, but whatever.  I'm at least hoping it's not "happily married people go on dates, pray together, etc. - stuff I already know."

(I should mention that he's quite amusing, so whatever happens it won't be a waste.  He says his wife has as many pillows on his bed as all the tribes of israel)

wearing the temple garment is symbolic, similar to jewish phylacteries - it would be nice if we remember as we put them on that we are grateful for and will remember to keep the covenants we made in the temple.

Bro. Brinley's schedule is to wake up

A barometer for your marriage.  Are you:
1.  Kneeling to pray as a couple 2x per day?
2.  Reading scriptures/Ensign/good books?
3.  Temple attendance?
4.  Intimacy? Frequency? Enjoyment?
5.  FHE - with dad taking responsibility to teach the kids the doctrines of the church?

If a person you baptized on your mission ends up inactive, you know they probably stopped reading their scriptures, praying etc

The first element of a great marriage is to have an eternal perspective - understand our origins/purpose of mortality.
1. we came to earth to marry and experience family life - not possible in premortal life; to experience parenthood.  Moses 1:39 We don't want to disappoint Them.
2. Your spouse was your choice to help you gain exaltation; you learn how to be a spouse from him/her.  What kind of teacher/student are you?
3.  Your spouse has never been a spouse before.  Be gentle, patient, kind, charity.
4.  Your husband or wife is not just your spouse for this life; not just the parent of a few children in mortality.
5. This life - apprentice in marriage and family stewardships.  We find out what kind of husband/father/wife/mother we are.

1st solution - almost without exception, the divorced couples haven't been living the gospel.  FHE, family prayer, attending sacrament meetings and Sunday School - Pres. Benson 1974
Get the saints to live the gospel - get troubled couples to live the gospel.  First thing troubled couples do is stop praying together, also stop reading together, going to temple etc.  Marriage counselors are trained in the doctrine of the world, not the doctrine of the gospel.
2nd - opposite of love is not hate, it's apathy.  for them to feel that we are not interesting in their lives, expressing our love and showing our affection in countless ways.  We need to be loved and to give love - Teachings of Harold B. Lee 241.

Shaping - comment when spouse does something good/they like.  all women have a list of something their husbands should be doing, so they don't compliment/thank husbands - they don't want their husbands to think they are off the hook, that there's no list for them to live up to.  You can invite the behavior you want by appreciating the good things they do.

Apathy - you can't shape this.  This makes roommates out of what should be loving spouses.

3rd - A happy marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for comfort and well-being of your spouse.

Sarcasm - so destructive of a person's worth and value.  Avoid it.

Eliminate selfishness, Pride, Apathy

Proclamation on the family - 9 suggestions
1. Faith.  Marriage requires faith - faith in oneself, faith in one's marriage partner, and faith in the Lord. - Faust, leadership training Jan 2004.
2. Prayer - 3 kinds - personal, couple, family
3. Repentance - "I'm sorry. I can/will do better.  I'm learning."  A genuine apology can encourage the other person to recognize their fault as well - a couple that can both apologize to each other improves marriage.  Selfish, proud people won't apologize or take responsibility (selfishness and pride lead to divorce.)
what is something I'm doing that is causing frustration in the marriage? do I apologize?  what is an example of something I'm not perfect in in our marriage?  What is one thing I could do to improve this marriage?
4.  Forgiveness - I forgive you.  I could have been more helpful. I could/should have done better myself.
5. Respect - Males and females are different - hallelujah!  Respect each other's opinions/feelings/thoughts/ideas.  Most decisions in the family will be joint decisions you make together - a priesthood holder should not dominate.
6. Love - affection and intimacy.  Intimacy drops off when upset - who wants to go to bed when someone's been rude, ornery, angry, upset?  Men don't mind, but women do.  Intimacy improves marriage.
7. Compassion - understand spouse's response; "I make mistakes too." he/she tried their best.  Hate to see their spouse cry - do your best
8.  Work - income, money management, finances.
9. Wholesome recreational activities - play/recreate together to build healthy relationships

Notice that communication isn't on the list.  This isn't an omission-communication without changing your heart or understanding the doctrine,you just make clever fighters.  It's a heart issue, not a skill issue.  When we're in love, it's easy to communicate.  When we don't like each other, we don't want to talk.

1.  Enjoy talking/being together - personal and validating levels of communication.  both are comfortable risking personal feelings and ideas.

2. Touch, embrace, physical contact, hugs, kisses, non-sexual

3.  Mutual therapists - each one of us marries his therapist.  its the person who helps you resolve issues. therapy comes through exchange of personal ideas and sharing emotions.  What does a good therapist do?
provide new eyes
encourage different couches
complimens on success (shaping)
is patient, kind, non-judgmental (encourages talking)
helps you ink things through

4.  Date frequently - a babysitter is cheaper than a divorce.  the kids need a break, too!  Both of you need renewal to maintain love.  New perspectives come from time off.

5.  Frequent intimacy - Sexual relations were designed by the lord.
- therapy - not to be used or abused by offering amere pittance, nor on demand.  this is your spouse, companion, confidant, lover, and therapist.  Pornography makes men want to do what they see, be demanding.
- sex is not to punish or reward
Elder Holland - intimacy is a sacrament
Self-control required
Kindness - an anxious concern
Intimacy - therapeutic dimensions of marriage:  men - love=sex

6.  Time with children/grandchildren.  Work together.  Be gentle and kind.  You were young once too.
*Hard for wife to love husband when he mistreats "her"/their children.  Husband must be a good father for wife to love him.*

Husband claims they are "not compatible" - asks if he should divorce now while they have time to find someone else, or is this something that will be fixed in the millennium?  Bro. Brinley gives man list of 12 suggestions, but says "I don't know if you are humble enough to do them."

TEachings of Harold b. Lee - 249 - if a couple os tiring of each other, it is an evidence that either one or both are not true to their temple covenants.

7.  Women want husband who love children; husbands want wives who enjoy motherhood.
1st principle of good parenting -

8.  Seek feedback and help each other - being right is not as improtant as bing united.  Seek and take counsel from each other.  too many of use get defensive too easily.

9.  Eliminate temper/anger - great destroyer of families.  Penaty of anger is that they won't risk feelings and personal thoughts with you. superficial relationships.

10.  sensitive to each otters stress level
dads, get involved in the family enterprise - be the family ceo.  Don't be a grouch.  Make homecoming a fun experience for kids.

11.  Husbands - willingly and cheerfully help with housework, help with children, don't come home grumpy
Wives - greet husband, stop what you are doing, embrace, be more excited to see him than the dog

12. Money management system
- one in charge of paying bills
- both need money to manage
- know where the records are

Kimball - marriage partners must be quick to forgive, cleanse souls of sin bitterness, forgive all real and fancied offenses before asking for forgiveness for our own sins.

How to Be A Better Wife:  Be a Fun Living Wife - Merrilee Boyack

Book: "Stand for the Family" - Sharon Slater
We are here to defend the family.  Do not be weak and quiet - we need to be fearless.  Our children need to see strong women, train your children to be that way.  They need to be so strong that they can lead the forces for good.

Quiz: Top Ten Clues That You're A Boring Wife
10.  The last treat you bought for your husband is a big roll of garbage bags.
9. You don't have any girlfriends, really, unless you count your visiting teacher.
8. Your bathing suit is at least a decade old and the elastic is shot.
7. You tell your husband you love him once a year on New Year's Eve
6.  Your idea of a good time is to clip coupons.
5. Your idea of a fun date with your husband is to cruise the aisles at Wal-Mart.
4. You quit flirting cuz you already got your man.
3.  The last time you went on a date with your husband was in the millennium.
2. The last time you went on an overnight with your husband was to attend a funeral.
1. The only reason you're sitting in the class is because you're too tired to move from the last one.

A fun-loving wife sits on the beach, watching the family play while she hides under her towel.  A fun-living wife is splashing in the waves with her kids.

A fun-loving woman sits in the house while the family goes on a bike ride
A fun-living woman is on the bike too.

1.  Date night - the key to having fun - the #1 thing to do to improve your marriage

Lame excuses -
-No time -your #1 eternal relationship is not important to you - I choose not to devote my time to this.  You are training your children to see that this is not important.
-He won't go
-No money - the best dates are when you are broke.  With money, you do dinner and a movie.  With no money, you take walks, you get Frosty and go to the park. Check some of the creative dates books meant for youth.  Babysitting costs are cheaper than marriage therapy. has great deals for things you can do on a date.

It's preventative medicine, the way to fall in love every week.
How can you expect your marriage to run on no gas?
No more than half the conversation about the children.  You don't want to stay in mommy mode.
-go dancing - chaperone youth dances
-take a random road-trip
-do local community event
-visit your local tourist stuff
-ski, snorkel, swim, skate, hike, bike
-take computer to the park and watch dvd
-go to high school musical or concert
-serve at a soup kitchen
-go on a picnic, play board games
-go to the mall & play hide and seek
-go to a public place and say "what's their story?"
-watch sunset and kiss
-shop at the dollar store
-put ideas in a bowl and pull out random date ideas

It is not enough to do an adequate job of being a father and mother.  Don't just celebrate children's birthdays, don't just give children Christmas presents.  Neither spouse should feel (or act) like one of the children.  We need to take care of each other.

2.  The couple that Plays together, Stays together
-write down three things you do together
-what did you do when you were courting?
-have you established connections that have nothing to do with your children? what have you established in your marriage that is unique to the two of you?
-what's wrong with football? i.e. what's wrong with doing something that your spouse likes?  A parallel marriage can develop if you fail to develop connections to each other.
-do you do something together that is physical? you don't want to be the fun-loving wife that stays home while he does physical activities.
-what interests do you share? history, travel, tom clancy novels - if you don't have any, it's okay to start now.
-when the kids are gone, what will you talk about? What will you do together?
The couple that doesn't not play together, does not often stay together.

3.  Take responsibility for your own fun - it's not his job to entertain you.
-Do you expect your husband to meet all your emotional needs?
We have put our family's needs so far in front of our own that we think it's fun to go to Target by ourselves.  We need to know what we find fun, what interests do we want to develop.

4.  Keep being alluring.
Practice the Elizabeth Taylor method - be mysterious, be unpredictable, be spontaneous.
Occasionally say, "I want to go to the football game with you" or "
Stop-drop-and-roll - stop what you're doing, drop (um, something I can't remember), and roll with whatever your husband suggests.  Be spontaneous even if you have to plan it out.  Flirt shamelessly.

5. Go on a Honeymoon - again!  Who says you only get one?
At least once a year, go away for at least 24 hours.  Don't be one of those people that never goes on a vacation without the kids.

6.  Be a fun-living wife every day.
Have the awareness - are we having fun in our marriage?  Is it stale? Add spice.
Be silly.  Wear a silly hat/outfit, make funny body part noises.  Kids want a silly mother, stop taking yourself so seriously.  Wear a funky costume, feather boa, tiara for no reason.
Treats.  We buy them for our kids but not our husbands.  Try a new pen, a gadget, card, etc.
Do something sweet.  Make breakfast in bed, brownies and ice cream,
Surprises.  Meet him for lunch.  Have all the kids gone when he comes home.  Surprise party.

7. Shared "codes" - what connections have you developed?
What's your code for "i love you?"  What are the rituals around arrivals and departures, how do you say it's time to go, I'm bored, you're embarrassing me.
Parable of the see-saw - intensity goes up an down - just stay on the seesaw and enjoy the ride.  Sometimes you'll be up, sometimes down, and that's okay.  If your butt is on the ground for too long, stand up and give it a push.  Put in some effort.

Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet - Victor Ludlow

Ch. 19:5-10 After 1970, Aswan Dam changed life below the dam changed in drastic ways
16-17 - Fear of Judah in the land of Egypt.  Egypt was never afraid of the Jewish people - Jews were always more afraid of Egypt - until June 1967, 6 Day War, Oct 1973, Yom Kippur War.  Israel and Egypt are very close to each other.  From Jerusalem to Cairo is about the same distance as Salt Lake to St. George.  Israel is so small that it is very vulnerable to today's warfare.  A given jet could complete a mission and be ready for the next in 3 hours (turnabout time) - can fly 8 missions a day.  In the 6 Day War, Israel had so many more jets than Egypt that Egypt complained to the U.N. that the U.s. and France must really be the ones attacking Egypt.  In fact, Israel had taken their U.s. and French planes they had bought and altered them to change the turnabout time to only 57 minutes and made 25 missions a day instead of 8.

19 - "In that day" = the last days.  An altar to the Lord in the midst of the Land of Egypt.  Jewish temples in Egypt - in ancient times there were two Jewish temples in Elephantine and Alexandria.  When the Book of Mormon came out in 1830, Jewish and Christian scholars said that Joe Smith must not have known his Jewish history.  There was supposed to be only one place for a temple to be built - only in Jerusalem.  They said Jews wouldn't build temples anywhere other than Jerusalem, and here are the people of Lehi building a jewish temple in the Americas.
During the Babylonian conquest, some Jews ended up in southern Egypt (elephantine - now called Aswan, by the Dam.)  One of the communities built a temple there.  Other temples were found in other locations in the Holy Land, built with the same pattern as the temple in Jerusalem.  "Canaanite temples built in a period of Jewish occupation" was how some people described it, but now some scholars will say any group of Jews far from their home who wanted obey the law of moses, they would build a temple.
Egypt is today where Mexico was 50 years ago - they are looking for something, not liking the radical Islam, alliance with Moscow and communism didn't work - they want something to help their families and know not where to find them.  Egypt is not nearly as fanatical as other areas.  The Lord is preparing those people and softening their hearts to receive the gospel.

Ch. 18 - What is the strange land?  bulrushes = hollow tubes
April 1844 - last conference were Joseph and Hyrum spoke, theme was missionary work.  Hyrum was patriarch and in 1st presidency, said North and South america are the lands in the shadow of the wings.  The Lebanese/Phonecians had people as early as 800 BC in the Americas, also the Vikings had people in the Americas.  Isaiah didn't need to have contact with the Phoenicians that had contacted the lands beyond the waters of Africa, because of the Lord's revelations.

Style of Isaiah - oral, repeated, poetry

Most delivered orally originally.  The written copies were not something the regular Israelites would have been able to own.  Scriptures were transmitted orally, memorized through repetition. We could sing many hymns without the book because of repetition.  The structure is poetry.  Average poem takes up less space than an average essay.  Format is parallelism - a pattern of ideas instead of a pattern of sounds, rhyme schemes, stressed and unstressed syllables.

Chapter 1 verse 2 - hear, heavens - ear, earth synonymous parallelism
antithetic parallelism verse 3- (dumb, stubborn) domestic animals know who takes care of them, but Israel doesn't not know the Lord.
Synthetic parallelism - where the first line and the second line are not the same, brought together with a connection.  A question and an answer, an idea and a conclusion.  2nd half of verse 2 - nourished and brought up children - what about it? - and they have rebelled against me.
verse 8 - emblematic parallelism - "like" or "as" - this is compared to that
verse 18 - how do we reason with the Lord? faith and the companionship of the Holy Ghost.  sins are red as scarlet - symbolic poetry.  color red is more gospel symbolic than black (the normal opposite of white) - represents blood, is the color we need to purge from ourself by turning to the SAvior and his accompanying sacrifice.

The Anatomy of High-Trust Relationships: Listening With Love

To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved. - David O. McKay

The amount of contention is an indicator of low trust, being willing to be vulnerable is an indicator of high-trust.

Television teaches our children that most problems can be solved in 30 minutes.
If you see something going negative (in FHE for example) the goal should not be to teach that particular lesson or to have the perfect FHE with no fighting - the goal is to build trust, so switch what you're doing to something positive.
Our goal should not be to have perfect children (or as close to perfect as they can get).

High-risk activities:
Critical feedback
Lasting change/reform
Eternal Love

One family had a special time when a child could say anything they want without the parent getting mad.  They might have still had consequences for what they did, but it was a safe time to talk with trust.

Being positive is not an attitude, it's a fruit of patience.  Of saying what's my real goal, what am I really after

Being consistent in living the gospel.  Never ask your kid to tell someone on the phone that you're not home. You're teaching them to lie.  How would they trust you?

The way you treat the worst child is the trust level of the whole group.  If you talk about someone when they're not there, every child knows that you will talk about them when they aren't there.

Be a Listener
Unconditional trust emerges when people move beyond a simple willingness to deal with each other (provided each behaves appropriately) and comes to identify with each other.  There is empathy with the other people's desires and intentions to such an extent that you can effectively act in each other's place.

How do you understand someone's desires and intentions to such an extent that you can act in their place?

To Lead - to show by going in front, to direct
To Guide - To model and supervise
To Walk Beside -

Story about a man trying to teach a colt to be led with a rope.  He pulls, the colt resisted, he pulls, the colt resisted, until he pulled the colt over.  They did this again until he trained the colt to fall over every time they put the rope on.  (M. Russell Ballard - One More)

The best way to lead a teenager isn't to pull, but to walk beside him through frequent, positive, personal interaction.

Levels of Listening
5. Does not register.  You might notice they are talking to you, but you didn't hear any of it.
4. Ignoring.  You have to hear someone, but you're ignoring them.  You have to hear so you know when to stop ignoring.
3. Casual listening.  Lots of "uh-huh" , you could repeat back what they said.
2. Active listening.  Giving feedback, asking questions - this is great listening.  Paying close attention, nodding, positive body language.
1. Compassionate listening.  John 11:32-36  Lazarus died, Mary was come weeping, fell down at his feet, Jesus saw her weeping and wept himself.  Why would he cry if he knew lazarus was coming back to life shortly?  Jesus was crying because Mary was crying.  The Savior was able to put away what he knew and understood and was able to become what she knew and understood.  He felt what she felt.  Imagine how that would go between a dad and her teenage son.  What if Jesus had said, "You just wait right here, I'm going to fix it!  You don't even have to cry or talk about it, I'm going to fix it!"  What if you could put yourself if the body of your 4 year old who got pushed by his older sister?  That's when you could communicate.

Ask yourself, If that was me, how would I feel?

What air is to the lungs, listening is to the soul.

No other success can compensate for failure in the home. McKay April 1935 -
Did he mean it to be thrown at church members in guilt?  No.
Failure - not all of my children went on missions or married in the temple, so I'm a failure
That is the wrong definition of failure.  The right definition of failure is - to fail to listen, to not care enough to listen.

No other success can compensate for a failure to care enough to listen to those in your home.

Dismiss the destructive, and keep dismissing it until the beauty of the Atonement has revealed to your bright future and the bright future of your family.
- BYU jan 13, 2009 - "remember lot's wife"  (I've heard this is an excellent talk)

Joshua 1:8 - make thy way prosperous and and then thou shalt have good success.  All success is good.  Is there such a thing as bad success?  When success comes at the expense of trust or the feelings of your child is bad success.  The Lord wants us to have good success.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Education Week - Wednesday

This is the second in a series of lecture notes from Education Week at BYU.  Hope you like it.  :)

Today's classes:

Increasing Personal Effectiveness: Living Happier, More Productive Lives - Kevin Miller

The Art of Communication - Kevin Miller (*has possibly taken over as my favorite class)

The Divine Gift of Righteous Influence - Sheri Dew

How to Be A Better Wife in 4 Easy Lessons: How to Combine "He" and "She" and Not Lose the "Real Me" - Merrilee Boyack (*an excellent class again today)

Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet- Victor Ludlow (possibly the least interesting class of the day, but that could have been because of my headache)

The Anatomy of a High-Trust Relationship: The Power of Being Positive - Hank Smith (*I particularly loved this class today)

Increasing Personal Effectiveness: Living Happier, More Productive Lives by Kevin Miller

I decided to jettison the first class that I took yesterday (Resolving Marital Issues in Practical Ways) in favor of a class on feeling joy by the same teacher of the communication class that I enjoyed so much. My dad calls this "calling an audible" which I guess is a football term? I think it means (or at least, I've cobbled together from the various times he's used the phrase) that I changed my play spontaneously; I abandoned the playbook and went out on my own. It was a good call; the teacher is Kevin Miller and I really like his energy and enthusiasm.

That We Might Have Joy - Kevin R. Miller

Gospel of Jesus Christ is a source of joy.  Men are that they might have joy, not stress, etc.  Joy is a fundamental purpose of life.  We are hardwired to experience joy.

Study of joy since the 1950's - as affluence increases, our joy decreases.  You can never get enough of what you don't need, because it will never satisfy you.
Joy is decreasing because we spend more time/effort accumulating stuff.
We have access to so much information that we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders.
We have become too dependent on technology that we forget that we can be dependent on ourselves.  (Youtube - stuck on an escalator video)

Happiness is the object and design of our existence if we pursue the path that leads to it - virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, keeping the commandments.
He sees more joy, contentment, peace in non-members than in members sometimes. With our increased joy sometimes we focus on our increased responsibilities, focusing more on what we're not doing (that we should) instead of focusing on the things that bring us joy.

Richard G. Scott april 96 - Sadness, disappointment, severe challenges are events in life, not life itself - they should not be the confining center of everything you do.
Peace of mind is temporary.  Peace of conscience can be permanent, a general feeling in life that life's okay.

Alma 26:17-18 - Joy of Ammon was so great
Alma 29:16 - soul separated from body (as it were) because of joy

People choose sin because they are making the best choice to meet their need, it was the best option that they could think of.  All sin springs from deep unmet needs on the part of the sinner - physical, emotional, spiritual - that's how you can love the sinner and not the sin.  Meet the unmet need and sin no more.

Pleasure and happiness are superficial, a deeper joy is always possible.
Have a a higher J.Q. (joy quotient) than I.Q.  Teaching Children Joy by the Eyres.

The answer to joy is not to run faster.  If I just get up earlier, work harder I can be more perfect, I'll get everything done and be happier.  The Lord says, Peace, be still - feel, be.  The greatest tool we have for achieving joy is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We feel genuine joy when our value and worth is affirmed or when we affirm he value and worth of others, through our behaviors, choices and words.  Every contact with another person should cause them to feel that they are of worth.

The world shall perish not for lack of wonders, but for lack of wonder. - JBS Haldane
We suffer for lack of woodier, and not a lack of wonderful people. - Emerson
Our capacity for joy is inwardly driven, not outwardly provided.

Close your eyes and think of a recent joyful moment: a moment where you experienced pure contentment, delight and joy.

Joy comes from relationships, not from things.  Not from buying a CD or a new dress - that is pleasure.  Joy comes from people.  Being in nature also brings deep contentment - you can't speed it up or slow it down, we step into nature's world.

"The Molecules of Emotion"
Emotions are molecular/chemical.  The chemical triggers the thought.  You can't talk someone out of an emotion - you should not invalidate someone because of their emotion.  Some chemicals can take 3 days to leave, so even when the situation changes you can still be feeling the emotion for a long time.

There is a physical place in the brain that is designed solely for experiencing joy.

Andehonia - difficulty in finding pleasure in activities that should be pleasurable

Wanting More - the challenge of enjoyment in the age of addiction by Mark Chamberlain

Phenylethylamine (PEA) When we are infatuated, PEA is released into our body giving us a high, which doesn't last, so we seek the pleasure again, thinking that we must have chosen wrong in the first place.
The more we seek intensity, the less we are able to enjoy the more natural doses.  We cannot enjoy life by accruing more goods.  Our expectations seem to float upon our rising prosperity and shut down our pleasure with each step we take. - Chamberlain

Things can present new opportunities for experiencing joy, but it is up to us to choose to feel joy.

Harvard - the ideal income level for maximum happiness in life is $40,000 - enough to meet needs without the temptation to accumulate stuff.

Affluent children have lower ratings of happiness than children at the lowest economic levels.  2nd generation wealthy, as they grow older, fail to enjoy their abundance, driven by fear of losing their wealth and the desire to maintain the status-quo. - The Millionaire Next Door

Realtors say people buy dream homes and sell them within 4 years because it doesn't satisfy.  Utah leads nation in personal bankruptcies, loan defaults,

Joy is not a destination, but a reward for the journey.

Begin each day with joy in mind.
-joy is a  mindset. There are two ways to live life.  One is as if nothing were a miracle.  The other is that eveything is a miracle. - Albert Einstein
Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees -confuscious
write it in your heart that every day is the best day of the year - Emerson

I slept and dreamed tha life way joy, I awoke and saw that life was duty, I acted and beheld duty was joy. - Tagore

Make a joy list of things that bring you joy.  things you could do any day, any time of day to bring you joy.  (Less than $2)
- Laugh with my family
- Hug my kids
- sit outside in the shade
- unplug and appreciate where I am, what I'm doing, who I'm with

- deep breathing
- hug someone until they let go
- take a walk

Do five every day.

The Joy of:
cool water
being touched
the sky
waking up in the morning
learning - stop and drink what is there, enjoy being in the chair where you are.
being childlike - matthew 18:2-3
enjoying what you have
postponing, denying, fulfilling a desire
repairing and reusing
feeling boredom
not judging someone
forgiving someone
waiting patiently
tv-free times
spending time in nature

14,000 things to be happy about - Kipfer

People dependent upon their eyes and ears seldom understand the wealth of life that is tangible. - Helen Keller

We can more fully appreciate the simple experience isn life by appreciating them more often.  Stop gobbling down food on the run.

2.  Choose relationships over things.  Don't use people and have things.  Use things and have people.  Things will never bring you the joy we're talking about.
A joyful heart is the result of a heart burning with love. - Mother Teresa
Marketing and advertising makes us feel like what we have isn't enough and that what they're selling will make us happy.  Joy is not in having what you want, but wanting what you have.  Enjoy what you have?

Are you wealthy?
1. In addition to walking, another mode of transportation
2. more than one pair of shoes
variety in your diet
more than one set of underwear
Better than 90% of people who have ever lived.

3. Watching our expectations.
Anyone who imagines bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed. The fact is most putts don't drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most marriages require a high degree of tolerance. Life is like an old-time rail journey - delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.  The trick is to thank the Lord for letting us have the ride.
Jenkins Lloyd Jones

4. Don't take life too seriously.
Laugh every day, make other people laugh every day.
5. Keep balanced

True joy seems to have a deeply spiritual component - our capacity for joy grows as we increase our spiritual nature.

There is a god-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person that cannot be satisfied by any created thing, but only by god the creator - blaise pascal
let us remain in as empty as possible so that god can fill us up - mother teresa

6.  Model and teach joy.  Let people see us as a tigger, not an eeyore.  Validate their life, let them feel more joy from meeting us.

The Art of Communication:  Between Brothers and Sisters-Tips and Tools for Communicating with the Other Gender by Clueing in to Physical, Mental, Spiritual and Cultural Differences

Feelings Buried Alive Never Die - (I want to get this one)
If you stuff a feeling, it erupts in other ways in your life.  Passive communicators have more physical ailments than aggressive communicators.

The Savior used Aggressive, Passive and Assertive communication styles.
Aggressive - John 2:15-16 - he didn't lose it, he sat down, made a whip, tried it out a few times, then took care of business.  Made the choice to be aggressive.  Matthew 23:27-28
Passive - 3 N. 12:25, John 19:9 - he wasn't afraid, but passive is how he needed to be
Assertive - Ether 2:23 - allowed Bro. of Jared to figure it out on his own, respected him and invited respect
Alma 38:12

Use "you" messages and not "I" messages.  When you label someone, they get defensive.
Instead say, "I feel...when...because" messages. You can say "I feel...when you...because..."
"I feel discouraged, sad, or used when the counter is left so messy after snack time because it makes more work for me."
Then ask "How do you feel about it?" and "What can we do to solve it?"
Allows the other person to be involved, to make their own choices.

No one is "never" or "always"
If you continue to do what you've always done, you'll continue to get what you've always got.

Understanding One Another - Communicating With The "Other" Gender

Genesis 2:24 - cleave unto his wife - adhere, cling, or stick fast, be faithful to.

What we are tallking about today are generalizations - they may be completely opposite in your relationships.

What are the common stereotypes of how the other gender communicates?
Men do "report" talking - so, how's the boat, etc?
Women do "rapport" talking - creating bonds, doesn't want to fix anything

Men have a goal in a conversation, they want bottom-line up front - they want to fix things.  By nature, if you bring a problem up to a man, they want to fix it.  It's the way they say "I love you."  Men don't need to make eye contact in order to listen.  They grow up playing baseball, football, where the person they are making eye contact with is the opponent.
Men can compartmentalize - they can have all the problems in the world and can go to sleep, knowing that the problems will still be there.  Women can't go to sleep until the problems are talked out.

Men love facts and want to be factually understood, women want to be emotionally understood.  Men need to listen to women not just to understand but to make the woman feel understood.  Even if it takes only a minute to understand the problem, a man should listen to a woman until the woman feels understood (even if it takes an hour.)  Once a woman feels understood, they are incredibly capable of solving their own problems. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT, just as much for women as for men.  Men fall in love deeper than women, they feel deeper than women, but they are denied their feelings.  If a topic has an emotional component at all, you need to listen until the other person feels understood.

Women gossip, chit-chat, relationship-building talk.  They are subtle and indirect.
If a woman needs to use the bathroom, don't say "Do we need to stop for gas soon?"  Just say, "I need to use the bathroom, can we stop at the soonest place?"  Give the man a loving problem to solve.

A woman speaks 5,000-20,000 more words a day, they are more

"Men are Like Waffles, Women are LIke Spaghetti" by Farrels.  Waffles are little compartments, each in its own place.  Spaghetti is all mixed up in one bowl and needs to talk in order to figure it out.

You know, I don't think I do a lot of the requiring Ryan to read my mind.  I think I'm fairly straight-forward, mostly.

Why gender differences?
Gender is spiritual, and essential characteristic of eternal identity and purpose.  There are male and female spirits, not uni-sex.
Mena dn women are given different roles, and are given different gifts to help.
Men tend to be more process oriented, relationship oriented
men tend to be more of a problem solver, always work with a goal in mind

Physiological differences - no human organ is more sexually different than the brain.  Male and female sex organs are more similar than male and female brains.  Women have more cross-lateral connections in the brain, able to use both sides of the brain better.  A woman's brain is like a swiss army knife - given a problem, they look at all the different blades to look at the problem and approach it.  A man's brain is like a meat cleaver - bring him a problem, and he just chops, even if it creates more problems.  Women want to solve things in the best way, men are not afraid of collateral damage.  Solving the problem (with a meat cleaver) makes them feel manly.
Women want to talk about a problem because they aren't always sure if the screwdriver or the can opener is the right tool - they don't need it to be solved, they need to be listened to.

Tomorrow's topic - testosterone and estrogen.

The Divine Gift of Righteous Influence - Sheri Dew

D&C 33:3 - it is the last time to call laborers v.6 - will gather mine elect, reap with might, mind, strength, open your mouth and it will be filled

The elect cannot ignore truth when they hear it.
We have so much information, guidance, knowledge of the Lord
We underestimate our potential to have a righteous influence.

Having righteous influence is a gift of the Spirit and is something we should seek.  D&C 46:8-9 Seek earnestly the best gifts.
Desire to do what we are sent here to this world to do.

Pres. Monson - the sweetest experience in mortality is to know that our Heavenly Father has worked through us.

A lot of things prevent us from having righteous influence - apathy, sin, etc

May 2009 Christofferson - we need strong christians who can preserver against hardship...who can defend the truth of Jesus Christ against moral relativism and militant atheism.

The principle of the trim tab - the rudder on a cruise ship is pretty small, relatively speaking, but the rudder is guided by a tiny piece called the trim tab.  Often with influence you can't see how important such a small thing is.  By small and simple things are great things brought to pass - Alma 37:6

Unique Influence of Women
Women are leaders of leaders
Who has more influence on a man than his wife? Or a child than his mother?
Mother is a word that describes leadership or influence.
Women are gifted with an innate spirituality.
The church provides unusual leadership opportunity for women.  In the world there are more than 40,000 female leaders of auxiliaries.
LDS women ought to have more influence than any other women in the world.
It is not for you to be led by the women of the world, it is for you to lead the women of the world...Joseph F. Smith

Pres. Kimball November 1978 - The righteous woman's strength and influence today can be tenfold than what it might be in more tranquil times.

Unique Influence of Men
The priesthood makes a man a leader of leaders.
Father best describes the influential role of a man.

Monson - we have been entrusted to act in the name of god, we are the erecipients of a sacred trust.

Truths of Influence
1.  We all have more influence than we think we do.
2. Righteous influence is a gift of the spirit
3.  Influence is often exerted in small ways.
4. It is not possible not to have influence , the question si what kind of influence you will have
5.  No one can replace your influence.

Satan has diverted the view of womanhood and manhood.  We have to pass on the legacy of what it means to be men and women of covenant to the next generation.

Maxwell - the highest compliment I can pay you is that god has placed you ere and now at this time to serve in his kingdom, so much isa gout to happen in which you will be involved, which you will have some great influence.

What does a leader actually do?
As leaders we:
Mentor (teach)
Make decisions (judgment)

With each principle ask what have I learned, and how can I apply it?

1.  Influence depends upon trust.  Without trust you can't have influence, only strategy.
If you can't be trusted, you can't lead.
Trust has three critical elements:
-judgment - trust that they had fairly good (not perfect) judgment
-motives - trust their motives are pure
-telling the truth (to yourself and others)

We will not follow someone we do not trust!
D&C 6:18 - admonish him and receive admonition - only can be done with trust

2.  Leaders must communicate, but they must do more than talk.
Leaders speak the language of those they lead.  For example, in dealing with teenagers, send texts because that is their language.  Speaking their language shows love.  It is not insignificant that Moroni spoke to Joseph in english.
Talk isn't enough!
If a leader relies solely on talking, his/her relationship will have limited results.
Personal experience is the most persuasive teacher.
Great leaders create experiences.
Experiences are the key to changing beliefs.

We believe in order to get results, we need to change some actions.  This doesn't work in the long-term.  We need to have experiences that create beliefs which influence our actions and create results.

For example, to get girls excited about going to temple to do baptisms, the ward changed the baptism experience.  Changed time to make it convenient, prepared them to make it more meaningful, that experience changed their beliefs about baptism, led to the results they wanted.

Listen to how many times "experience" is used in the temple.  Experiences are how the Lord teaches us, how he leads us to beliefs and actions.  Attending the temple, experiencing the temple, can help us learn about doctrine and power of the kingdom, designed to help us create beliefs.

An experience that can help us feel the Spirit will change us.
Pres. Lee promised that your testimony will grow if you have a spiritual experience every day.  The Spirit will testify to you that Jesus is the Christ.

How to Be A Better Wife in Four Easy Lessons

I'm halfway through the second day, and my brain is on the verge of exploding. Is there a limit to the amount of new information that a brain can take in in one sitting? Because I think I'm at my mental threshold. Maybe that's why, during any mental downtime during the day, my brain kicks into endless repetitions of "Copacabana," the words of which I don't actually know, which makes an already annoying song about a thousand times worse.

How To Combine "He" and "She" and Not Lose "The Real Me" - Merrilee Boyack

Book:  Satan's War on Free Agency - Greg Wright, excellent book about choices and includes some about parenting

Things we can do as an individual to make our lives better.

Marriage is like being assimilated by the Borg.  We get married and have to deal with the pressure of the expectations of yourself, your husband, your parents, in-laws, neighbors, etc.
We need to learn how to stay "me" and not be assimilated.

Will the Real Me please stand up?

We spend so much time feeding and taking care of everyone else, that we forget to take care of ourselves.
Marion Hanks - Every girl, every woman is a somebody, apart and aside from anyone else, husband, or family, or otherwise.
Self-respect and self-esteem are the products of good self-image.

Do you think Jesus Christ had self-esteem problems?  No, because he knew who he was.  That he was a son of God.  Do you know who you are?  Who you really are?  You are a valiant, incredible, amazing daughter of God.  Never say "I have self-esteem problems." We understand that we are divine, powerful women - don't ever lose sight of that.

Hinckley -   We are too prone to be satisfied with mediocre performance.  We are capable of doing so much better.

Nourish Your Body
1. keep active, build a strong base of good and vibrant health, to work hard and conditioning and developing a healthy and attractive body - Hanks
Never lose sight of the importance of your body.
-Physical activity is essential to good health-find your own way and mix it up.
-Goal is movement every day.  It has to be a conscious choice to move every day, even if it doesn't come naturally.
- Applaud yourself when you're done and you'll be more likely to do it again.

2. Watch what you eat
- Brain first - attitude is the most important part of watching what you eat and the way your body is behaving, wait until your head is in order
- Pick your strategies.  Compare your diets to the word of wisdom.  The Lord created us, he might know what he's talking about.  Incorporate strategies into healthy living.
for example - drink a glass of water every morning, go organic, eat fruits and veggies, etc. - pick top three and focus on those
- Structure a supportive environment - if it's not in your house, you won't eat it.  Have supportive people
- Pick your motivation.  This needs to be a lifestyle change - why are you changing?  Pair of jeans, picture of yourself, motivational CDs or talks, make a promise to the Lord that you will eat well that day then report back

3.  SLEEP!  #1 key to healing is sleep.  To stay cancer-free, sleep is critically important.  Fight for your eight hours a day

4.  Take a break.  Every hour, take a break.  30 seconds of deep breathing, 10 seconds of looking out the backyard, etc.

5.  Keep clean.  Meticulous care of ourself and our living place and possessions is a hallmark of self-respect and wisdom.  You will feel better about yourself if you keep yourself clean.
Consider detoxing your homes. - environmental working group - evaluates items for toxic levels, cosmetics etc. also
Be aware of the chemicals we're surrounding ourselves and our family with.

6.  Smile.  Cheerful attitude.  A smile brings more joy and beauty and attractiveness than anything else.

7.  Head and hands.  The two things that are almost always visible.  Take care of the way your hands look.  Take care of your hair and face.

8.  Clothes.
-Repaired - don't wear clothes with holes, etc.
-Modest is hottest - even if clothes cover what they're supposed to cover, it might still not be modest.  Be careful of "oversharing"
-Attractive for your body style
-Color and style - just because it's in fashion doesn't mean it looks right on you.  Dress your age, don't wear clothes your teenager would wear.
-Ask an expert

9.  Nourish Your Mind
- Rule for your sons:  No dumb chicks.  Some women feel that when they finish their education or get married, that's it.  At that point, their brains began to shrink.  Excuses like "I don't have time, I have kids, what am I supposed to do, read a text book?"  What you're really saying is "I am refusing to learn."
- What is our greatest potential?  Is it not to achieve godhood ourselves?  And what are the qualities we must delevop for greatness?  - KImball

Gain intelligence, light and knowledge
Read - ask if it's virtuous, do you want this garbage in your head?  Read 5 classics a year, or 4 gospel books a year, whatever - even if it takes you an entire year to finish a book.  Carry a book with you. - major speeches available online.
Take a Class
study an interesting topic
Education is never a waste and it's NOT just for our kids!
D&C 25 (?) - our time should be given to writing and to learning much

10.  To develop leadership.  Hinkcley 5/01 pg. 93 - The whole gamut of leadership is available to women.
11.  Extend, exemplify, and teach in compassion and love.
Our gift and our strength is to bring our nurturing abilities to the world.  We don't lead like men.
Teach with confidence.  It is mothers that are teaching children to be effective leaders.  Our experiences are to teach our children how to lead, so teach them with confidence.

12.  Nourish your spirit
D&C 25:110 - lay aside the things of the world an see for the things of a better
Without the devotion and testimony of the living god in the hearts of our mothers, this church would die.

Quiz:  Scale of 1-10
1.  my relationship with the savior is growing.  My love is deepening, my understanding of the atonement is growing.
2.  I have regular prayer habits - deep communication.  Sometimes it's hard to have prayers that aren't "bouncers" i.e. bouncing off the ceiling.  It takes time and solitude to have meaningful prayer - search for those two things so that your prayers are truly talking to and with Heavenly Father and not just repeating the same things every day.
3.  I study my scriptures regularly.  I go beyond just reading and study and ponder.  I read the Book of Mormon every year.
4.  I ponder my covenants.  Temple, baptismal or both - I try to gain a deeper understanding of them and live them.
5.  I attend the temple frequently, beyond what is easy.

Work on internal spirituality and not external spirituality.  Be humble, repentant, faithful follower o the SAvior who is filled with love for others.  There are saints who can check off lots of boxes but are critical and obsessive.

Remember the greatest way to gain the respect and love of your husband is to respect and love yourself.  We are too important to starve ourselves any longer.  We are somebody.  We are worth time and effort.

Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet

King Manasseh destroyed the temple, the scriptures, gave one of his sons as a human sacrifice to the god Molech (the Canaanite god of war), expected his subjects to do the same.  He ordered Isaiah put inside an old, rotten hollow tree trunk then sawed through it with a hard wooden saw to kill Isaiah.

His message wasn't just for his contemporary audience.  Isaiah was quoted more than any other O.T. prophet by Jesus and Paul (under "quotations" in Bible Dictionary to see what O.T. scriptures were quoted in the N.T.)  Isaiah was referred to as "the prophet."  The Dead Sea Scrolls has more Isaiah than any other O.T. prophet, including the earliest known record of the book of Isaiah, on one entire scroll.  During the medieval period the books were put into chapter/verse order.  The Essene's reader read a scroll while 8-10 scribes hand wrote the text.  The hebrew language is consonantal, usually just the consonants were written, leaving a lot of room to make mistakes about what each word was.  150-200 BC is the earliest written book of Isaiah.

As far as we know, there are no original biblical documents anywhere, not even a little piece.  All we have of anything of the bible (even N.T.) is copies of copies of copies etc.  The Dead Sea Scrolls are among the earliest.

The complexity and diversity of Isaiah's language means that people don't always know if they're being offended or not, so it was left more or less intact.

Isaiah addressed five major topics:
1. To Israel, the northern kingdom of his time.  Israel was about to be destroyed and scattered by the Assyrians
2. To his own kingdom of Judah.
3. To other nations.  Egypt, Babylon, Syria, the Ammonites, other groups in his time and in other ages.  Isaiah the Seer - read chapter 19, dealing with Egypt and realize that this was written by Isaiah 2700 years ago, a few of which had not been fulfilled as of 50 years ago.  In 1960 these things still had not happened, two of the three and part of the third have happened in the last fifty years.
4. Messianic prophecies - the Savior's first and second coming, his service in the Atonement.
5. His most dominant topic was the last days.  He saw things in the last days that even though we are living it, we aren't seeing it as clearly as he did.

Context and Application
Eastern, Oriental, Semitic, Rural society
Chapter 1 of Isaiah - Expresses first principles of the gospel
-Trust in the Lord = Faith
-Turn, turn back, return = Repentance - the world will take us away from the Lord, we need to turn back - stop doing evil, start doing good
-Cleansing, washing, purifying = Baptism - before becoming an Orthodox Jew one would participate in a washing, in a mikvah watched by 3 witnesses, one of whom is a cohen/a priest, they witness that you go completely under the water.  This is closer to what we identify as a baptism than what other Christian religions perform.  Baptism is the form, washing is the purpose.
-Spirit, Holy Spirit, gifts of the Spirit, manifestations of the Spirit = Gift of Holy Ghost

1. First principles and ordinances of the gospel - the same as what Adam, Moses, Enoch taught is what Isaiah is teaching.

Bible was Old Covenant and New Covenant
Book of Mormon is written that they may know the covenants of the Lord and not be cast off
Covenant appears 150 times in Book of Mormon, most between God and us - located in 3 books - 1st, 2nd, 3rd Nephi.  1/3 of Isaiah is quoted in Book of Mormon, in 1st, 2nd, 3rd Nephi.  The book fo mormon writers are quoting Isaiah to teach covenants, in order to help us understand covenants

Prophecies - (Thursday's class)

The Anatomy of a High-Trust Relationship: The Power of Being Positive

Trust - a willingness to become vulnerable (in the short term) in order to reduce vulnerability (in the long term)

Why does the Lord want us to study the creation?
The Lord is telling us that things with meaning take time.  There are certain steps involved that must be done in order.  Can't skip to Day 6.  We try to skip steps in relationships all the time - pretend to be a Day 6 family in church, when we're really a Day 1 family at home.  But we really can't skip ahead.  Some people only care that it looks like they have a high-trust relationship than if they really have a high-trust relationship.

Very few people can show you your blind spots.  Only you can come to those realizations of what you do wrong.

Being Positive

A stake patriarch said that in 998 blessings he's given, they've all been positive.  Look at what the Lord could say (to a 15, 16, 17 year old) versus what he could say.  How likely wold you go back to the blessing if it said, It doesn't look good, or to the parent who says, Why can't you be more like your sister?

Joseph F. Smith - If you wish your children to love the truth and understand them.  Prove to them with every word or act...don't speak in anger - you can't force them to heaven, but you may force them to hell.
Improvement Era, Jan 1910, 276-79

Joseph Fielding Smith - No friendship was ever gained by attack upon principle or upon man, but by calm reason and the lowly spirit of truth.  If you have built for a man a better house than his own, and he is willing to accept yours and forsake his, then, and not till then, should you proceed to tear down the old structure.  Rotten though it may be, it will require some time for it to lose all its charms and fond memories...therefore let him, not you, proceed to tear it away.

Let someone tear down his own house.

A seminary teacher tearing down the tv show "friends" ended up with the kids defending the show to the death.  Create for them a better house and let them tear down the old one on their own.

The same works for children - "Why are you watching so much tv?"

Joseph Smith - a human relations master - Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness.  When persons manifest the lest kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind.

this is why the church doesn't defend itself with harshness against it's enemies
If a therapist denigrates an abuser, it puts the victim in the role of defending the abuser.

Ceaseless pinpricking can deflate almost any marriage...Generally each of us is painfully aware of our weaknesses, and we don't need frequent reminders.  Few people have ever changed for the better as a result of constant criticism or nagging.  - Spencer W. Kimball

A low-trust relationship does not allow for criticism.  If criticism is taken defensively, it's a sign that you might be in a low-trust relationship.

A positive attitude is not always the answer.  Running a marathon in shoes that are too small, having a positive attitude isn't going to help.  To be positive includes a patience factor.

If you want something done by your children (i.e. clean your toys) , that's your goal - to achieve your goal we usually start with patience, then start threatening, then get scary.
What if your goal changes to a trust-building interaction - you are less likely to get frustrated and upset.  The toys still need to be picked up but changing your goal in the interaction will keep the relationship intact.

Proverbs 16;32  There is need of much discipline in marriage, not of one's companion but of one's self.  Cultivate the art of the soft answer.  It will bless your homes, it will bless your lives, it will bless your companionships, it will bless your children.
We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly.  It is only wen we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention....The voice of heaven is a still, small voice; likewise, the voice of domestic peace is a quiet voice. -  Pres. Hinckley

Boyd K. Packer story - son stole and wrecked the family car.  At the police station he said, I want to talk to my dad.  Clearly there was a high-trust relationship in place before the crisis.
In high-trust relationships we share information, in low-trust relationships we protect ourselves.  In high-trust nurses group, the more high performing group had more mistakes reported - not that they had more mistakes, but because they felt comfortable reporting their mistakes.  Do we want our kids to tell us when they screw up?  Then we need to create a safe relationship.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Education Week - Tuesday

Normal college students, when they have a mere ten days between the end of the summer semester and the start of fall classes, they go on vacation.  A trip to Disneyland, or camping with their friends maybe.  Not me.  In my ten day break, I'm spending four of college.

It's a different college, if that makes it better at all.  I'm attending Education Week at BYU, something I've done a couple of times before.  Every day (well, Tuesday through Friday anyhow) there are hundreds of classes to choose from, and I try to cram as many in as my brain can possibly allow.  I usually hit mental meltdown after the 5 pm session, and I always regret not making it through the last three or four sessions in the day.  Crazy, yes, absolutely.

This year I vowed to take more religious and doctrinal classes instead of the psychology and self-help I usually take.  You know, the "how to be a better mother/wife/teacher/friend/religious person/etc in just four easy lessons!" type of class.  I figure if it's a topic a therapist would normally charge $90 an hour to coach me on, I ought to take advantage of the lesson for free.  This year, I told myself, I was going to focus on the spiritual side of my life.  I was feeling disconnected spiritually, and I wanted to aim for a more spiritually-intensive week.

Which is how I ended up in "Resolving Marital Issues in Practical Ways."  Sigh.  This old dog isn't learning any new tricks, apparently.

Even though my classes might have the same tenor as all the other years, something has changed - technology.  The last time I was here was 2008, I typed my notes on a Palm with a separate keyboard.  It was pretty cool, and enabled me to take some killer notes.  This year, though, I have abandoned the Palm in favor of my new iPad.  It has a built-in keyboard on the screen but typing with it is a challenge.  It's slick and you can't feel the edge of one button versus the next.  I took notes in the first two classes this way, and I got used to it, mostly.   But you know my dad, if there's a cool gadget available, it's got his name on it, especially if it means he gets better-quality notes from Ed Week classes.  So at lunch I apprehended his new iPad keyboard, and the last four classes, the notes were substantially better.  So everyone say, Thanks Dad!  :)

Here's a list of the classes I attended, plus my opinions of them:

Resolving Marital Issues in Practical Ways - okay, lots of lists of problems and not many solutions.

Effective Communication - really interesting, I liked it a lot

Burying Our Personal Weapons of Rebellion - meh.  Won't go back tomorrow.

How To Be A Better Wife In Four Easy Lessons (I told you that's the kind of class I go to, right?) - *Favorite Class of the Day*

Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet - lots of history, easy to understand.

The Anatomy of High-Trust Relationships - pretty good.

Without further ado, here are my notes for Tuesday's classes.

Brinley - resolving marital issues in practical ways  (this one is lots of lists)
15-17 percent divorce rate in temple marriage, 25 in non-temple lds marriage

Problems in marriage:
Unwilling to apologize or repent
Hard hearted
Lack of self discipline-pornography is killing us. If not for that problem, I wouldn't
have a job (he's a therapist, I think.)
1/3 use porn, 10percent addicted in utah valley
Lack of positive communication, validation
Role expectations
Tempermental, angry, easily offended
Meanspirited, ornery
Don't handle stress well
Differences in beliefs
Money management
Use of leisure time
Physical limitations, depression, illness
Differences in child rearing
Domination, smothering, overpowering major factor in divorce
Sexual incompatiblity/frequency
Slobs, sloppy housekeeping
Gender, personality differences
Decision making, power issues

To enrich marriage, solve those problems.

Why do lds couples get divorced?  Is it...
Ignorance of communication, social skills?
Easy soft life, not tough enough, willing to quit?
Marry too young, need more maturity?
attitude about marriage in culture, we glorify marriage, yet people are unprepared
Unwilling to forgive faults, harping on mistakes?

A small measure of repentance and forgiveness would heal many wounds
Know how to lift and bless each other
Selfishness is the root cause of problems in marriage.
Should have Anxious concern for the comfort and well being of spouse
Selfishness causes adultery, money problems, is the antithesis of love

Too many that come to marriage have been coddled, spoiled, expect everything to be right all the time, that life is a series of entertainments, Appetites to be sated.

Divorce is not a cure, merely an escape.  Every divorce is the result of selfishness on the part of one or both parties.
The acceptance of divorce as a cure is a serious sin of this generation.  Marriage never was easy, it never will be, it demands great selflessness.
The lord does not condone abuse, adultery, etc - there are justifications for divorce.

True doctrine will change behavior faster than psychology, pres. Packer

You can always see pride in someone else, but it's hard to see in yourself.
Every time people get riches, leisure time, easy life, it leads to pride.

Maxwell: selfishness activates all the cardinal sins, it's the detonator in breaking the ten commandments.

D&C 116:11. Be ashamed of littleness of soul.

Examples of selfish/unconscious behavior
Flaky people do not make good marriage partners

(this is a sampling of some selfish behavior, not all apply to everyone, obviously.)
will not home teach, visit teach monthly
Unviersity faculty-teach what they want, phd egos
Husband complains meals are not ready when he gets home
Cut across lawn instead of sidewalk
Watch too much tv
Overweight not due to genetics 1/2 of Utah are overweight.  There are no heavy old people, don't leave your spouse a widow
Boys won't serve missions - 1/3 of ym are serving missions.  If more men served missions, it would solve a lot of the marriage problems - maturity, activity in church, learn to be selfless in service.
Brings books to sacrament meeting
Don't want more children when age, health ok, or anxious to delay family
Leaves clothes on dressing room floor
Monopolize remote control
Children won't go to mutual, scouts, or only go when treats, fun
Sleeping in church meetings, temple
Opinionated beyond good sense
Keep walking during national anthem ( byu students)
Driving habits
Talks during movie
Sucks joy out of life on a daily basis
Hold grudges
Defensive behavior when confronted
Not "into" family history, but really into tv
Humble only during crisis
Won't share gospel with nonmembers
Wont accept/fulfill church callings, doesn't show up for primary/ss, no call to leaders
Wants sex on demand, but not kind in non-sexual ways
Anger, temper displays
Wife won't participate in intimacy after menopause.  intimacy is to strengthen marital bond, not just for procreation
Public image inconsistent with private behavior
Moody, irritable, hostile
Watches R rated movies, despite leaders' counsel
Won't  vote
Go into debt for items to impress others

Selfishness and pride are killing marriages.  These small indicators of selfishness can be warning signs of larger pride problems.

Love is one of chief characteristics of deity, ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be sons of god
HC 4:227

If you want to improve marriage:

Sensitive to neighbors, new converts, inactive
Sensitive to singles, single parents in ward
Compliments sacrament speakers genuinely youth speakers
Shovel sidewalk
Make tentative comments in class - leave room for new ideas, thoughts.
Attend evening sessions of stake conference
Pick up litter
Never criticize
Turn off tv, spend time with family
Spend time one on one with children, correct them in private
Speak highly of spouse and children in public
Thank people for service
Listen to what others say, write things down
Anonymous gifts, generous with money
Help children with reverence
Be on time for meetings

Selfishness in husband
Critical of wife's appearance
Critical of wife's driving
Critical of wife leaving lights on, on phone too long
Fussy about everything
Is sloppy
Seldom expresses appreciation, gratitude but demands intimacy
Tirades against kids when they spill something, but wouldn't treat neighbor that way
Hoards money
Wife has to exchange sex when wants money
Criticizes children to wife, she is expected go fix it
Teaching kids though ger
Irritable when doesn't get his own way
Not a companion to wife.
Critical of church leaders
Wife has to arrange spiritual activities-does not ask wife or children to pray with him
Critical of wife's weigh etc. after pregnancies
Publicly interrupts wife, criticizes etc
Treats other women better than own wife.

Can you imagine our heavenly parents not speaking to each other for three days?
Prosperity is as much a test as poverty is.

Effective communication - what is your style

To live with saints in heaven is glory, to live with them on earth is another story - brigham young

We're all striving to understand or to be understood

What was Christ saying when he said let all your speech be yea yea, nay nay - be clear, simple.  Silent treatment doesn't work.  Say what is bothering you instead of guilt trips, grouchiness, resentment.

Men are driven by objectives, they tune out metamessges.
Speech should be:
1 Peter 3:10
Moses 7:18
Colossians 4:6

Nothing you do or know takes away your worth
Our communication should always support the worth of a human soul
Believe that people are making the best choices they can make in that moment.  Don't tie people's behaviors to their worth.  We can talk about their behavior and leave their worth intact.  No one has more or less worth than anyone else.

All communication should build unity and trust.  Even correcting behavior should be done by building unity and trust.  Communication gets us from understanding to unity and trust.

Seek first to understand and then to be understood.

Three parts of the brain:

The "lizard brain" only asks three questions.  Can I eat it? Can it eat me? Can I mate with it?
The "monkey brain" feels emotion.  Read When Elephants Weep about how animals feel emotion.  Monkey brain communicates through emotion.
The "angel brain" - the neocortex - invites us to think with our values. Rational decsion-making.

When the mind goes blank, remember to turn off the sound.

Crucical conversations
You just don't understand
Men are from mars
I don't have to make everything all better.
When Elephants Weep
The Art of Giving and Receiving Criticism

We must become the change we seek in others - ghandi.  If you want more love in the family, be more loving.  Be a better listener.  If you want your spouse to listen to you, spend a month being a great listener, then your spouse will be more able to listen.

All men listen to fix things, even when the person doesn't want to be fixed.

Five Basic Needs of Every Person
1. I am of worth.  Intrinsic and unconditional, unconnected to their behavior.  If you can communicate with that in mind, they will accept what you have to say.  Otherwise, they will feel rejected or of less worth, it will not help them change their behavior.  If you want your child to do better, why would you make them feel worse?  Don't make them feel chastised or diminished.

2. My ideas, feelings, thoughts, and perceptions matter and have been considered.
3. Someone really cares about me.

4. What I do is making a difference in the world. A negative difference if not a postive one.  I would rather be wanted for murder than not be wanted at all.  (um, that's not me, it's just something the teacher said.)

5.My agency has been honored.  I am not being forced, I am free to choose.

Communication is any connection between human beings.
Nonverbal speech is half of what we say.  People will believe a nonverbal over a verbal any time.

Parkinsons third law
The void created by the failure to communicate is soon filled with poison, drivel and misrepresentation.

If I don't talk it out, I'll act it out.  Talking behind someones back is acting it out, they should be talking it out.  The other person can feel when you're acting it out.

Step out of your autobiography when you're listening to someone else.  Listen to the other person instead of preparing your autobiographical response.

Have the spirit with you.  Wear the lenses of charity.  It never faileth.

A sender sends a message, encoded through the nders experiences, emotions, culture, attitudes, language.  The receiver has to decode message thought the receivers own experiences, etc.

Covey. You don't see things as they are.  You see things as you are.

Dc 50:21-23

If our communication does not edifying, it is not of god.

The spirit is the common communicator.  It takes the message from the sender to the receiver.  Pray before an important conversation.

Hebrew 13:16

Four types of communication
Aggressive - aims to invade, control, take advantage of another
Passive - aims to allow others to invade, take advantage, and control withnspeakers consent
Passive-aggressive- aims to manipulate others with indirect, dishonest messages.  Silent treatment, guilt trips, sarcasm.  Utah is capital of passive aggressive communication, smiling on the outside with other feelings on the inside.
Assertive - aims to express thoughts, feelings, beliefs, open, honestly, directly and appropriately.

Burying Our Personal Weapons of Rebellion
Tuesday:  Recognizing our weapons of rebellion and raising shields of faith - lessons from Alma 24

d&c 84:45 the word is truth, what is truth is light, what is light is the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Pres. Monson - is there a goliath in your life?  does he stand between you and your desired happiness? he might not be ten feet tall, but it will be just as formidable.  laziness, fear, lust, selfishness, discouragement.

- why liken the scriptures unto us?
1 Nephi 19:23  For our profit and learning.
Mormon 9:31 that we may learn to be more wise
Moroni 10:3 - To remember how merciful the Lord has been.
Read, ponder, pray - to receive the spirit of the lord

Anti-Nephi-Lehies valued their bright, clean swords more than their lives.  Instead of staining their swords with the blood of their wicked brothers, they buried their swords in the ground, then made a covenant (Alma 24) that instead of killing to defend themselves, they would rather die.

In the attack, 1,005 faithful are killed, but the hearts of their attackers are touched.  That day, more repent and join the gospel than those who are killed.

What swords/weapons are used in our personal battles today?  Not the physical kinds of swords, but the weapons that come from being a carnal, natural man.

A weapon is any tool, device, attitude, or characteristic designed to do harm, injury, destruction
Wielded with malice, anger, violence, with selfish intent
These are negative in our lives
not necessarily physical - words can also sting  (Proverbs 18:21)

Jeffery R. Holland, April 07 -  A woman's words can be more piercing than any dagger ever forged.  (Read whole talk about bridling the tongue. If you can handle it.  I can't.)

Identifying the weapons we use
*by recognizing them, we can bury them and raise shields of protection
What is in your sword closet?

1.  Weapons of social warfare - those we use against our neighbors, children, friends, in social situations, relationships.
Impatience - the inability to wait
Anger, unkindness - let go of our emotions and lash out
Judgment, prejudice, gossip - jumping to hasty conclusions, based on inadequate information
Dishonesty & deceit - withholding information, distort and twist, white lies to deceive

I the lord would forgive whom I would forgive, but you must forgive all men.
Ephesians 4:26
D&C 101 - in patience possess your souls

The weapon of anger
road rage - anger unraveled
No one makes you angry - it is you who are in control of your emotions.  We don't need to focus on the wrongs around us.  Instead, focus on the positives.

Shields against social interaction weapons:
Lifting and building others
thinking of someone else
follow the Savior's example - What would Jesus do?

2.  Weapons of internal conflict - when we beat up ourselves.  They are not always easily seen, but very deadly, and come in all shapes and sizes.
Apathy - I just don't care.  Loss of ambition, that which prevents us from doing something.  leaves us stuck in a rut.
Procrastination - So often the things we procrastinate are the most important to be done now.
Habits/Traditions - the ingrained actions that pull us down, pull us further away from Heavenly Father.
Fears - what we dread or try to avoid
Addictions - traps we can't escape, the worst forms of habits.

Many of our conflicts have to do with relationships and how we perceive ourselves.

Self-Defeating Behaviors - (for example) requiring the house to be perfectly clean for visitors is self-defeating behavior, causes more stress than necessary, a little dirt is okay

Shielding from internal damage:
personal values and congruency - do what we say, be the same on the inside as on the outside
focus and face them - seek for outside help
seek peace which passeth all understanding - Phil. 4:7

3.  Weapons of enmity - "hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition" - Benson
the weapons of - comparing, contrasting, and competing

Pride - the universal sin
Selfishness - excessive concern with self
Unrighteous dominion - dictatorship
"Me" versus the world - how can I get ahead of you?  How can I knock you down, or get in your way?  I know more than you, I am better than you, I can direct you better than anyone else.

Pride - when everyone else is wrong and I am right.
(*side note - how often do I hear lessons like this and evaluate everyone I know, instead of looking at myself?)

Benson's talk on pride:
Pride is the spirit of "my will and not thine be done"
the proud aren't interest in changing their opinions to agree with god's
From CS Lewis - pride gets no pleasure of out having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.
Pride from the bottom looking up: hating the fact that someone is above you.

Shields for the weapons of enmity:
Apply gospel patterns in every day living.  Set aside the natural man, become a person of Christ
Humility is the antidote
serve others with love and charity

Raise shield of faith
Be submissive to God
Be thankful for the truth
Allow a higher power to protect us (the essence of faith)
See things in an eternal perspective - the big picture.
Actively raise our shields.

Shields are protective measures.  They are the positives that bring the Spirit into our lives
The single most important thing you can do on a dily basis, is feel the influence of the holy Ghost.

As in overcoming addictions, remember
1. you cannot do it alone
2. you must have a higher power's help
3.  The Savior completely understands you (Alma 7:11-12)
4. Daily you must build patterns of heavier to become more like the Savior - obedience and devotion are linked to this
- daily devotions - prayer, scriptures, humility
- listen for His voice (D&C 18:34-36, 68:4)
- Serve others (Mosiah 2:17)

Raising our shields centers around understanding Jesus.  As we become more like him, we raise more shields and choose not to use our weapons.

Put on the whole armor of God to stand against the devil, the adversary.  Ephesians 6:11-18

Loins girt with truth
Breastplate of righteousness - guarding the heart, the heartfelt feelings
Feet shod with gospel of peace - walk down the straight and narrow path (*walk gently in the world)
Shield of faith - a belief, knowledge, trust that there is someone who knows more than I know, who can guide me because I don't know all things, but He does.
Helmet of salvation -covers the head where we have intellect and understanding.  Care about what goes inside our brains, bring in only knowledge and wisdom that comes from God and not from the adversary.
Pray always

We all have weapons that must be laid down.  Replace them with shields of faith.

Merrilee Boyack - How To Be a Better Wife in Four Easy Lessons!
Tuesday:  Ten Do's and Don't of Wifehood

I saw my dad in the hallway as I waited in line for this class to start.  We joked that this class couldn't be held in a room on the second floor, because the combined weight of wifely guilt would crush the people below.

Okay, disclaimer before the class starts.  It takes a lot of guts to come to a class like this and then to publicly announce the Do's and Don'ts where my husband might read it.  After all, I certainly don't want HIM to know exactly what standard I should be held to, right?  I want him thinking that he's got it good - the last thing I should do is let the cat out of the bag that I am merely a sub-par wife, and hand him the list of things he needs to start grading me on.  To that end, if I find that this class is too unrealistic (read: that I am unlikely to ever do all of the things on the list) I intend to write my own list of Wifely Do's and Don'ts.  And I don't intend to tell anyone if this is the real list or my made up list.  (Of course, it'd be a dead giveaway if #3 is "Keep up-to-date on technology, specifically hand-held gadgets made by Apple."  In that case, I'm just going to hope that Ryan doesn't bother reading this far into the post.)

"I know you're just here to take notes for your daughters-in-law."  Also, she made the men in the room take a no-poke pledge - they can't poke their wives and say, "Pay attention to this part!"

Ask yourself, If you were dead and gone, would your husband pick you again?

1.  Thou shalt have no other gods before your spouse.  Don't have any intimate partner other than your spouse.  Not sex (although, that too) but emotional and mental intimacies should not be confided to other people.  Not your parents, not your best friends, not your children.
Pres. Kimball - "Oneness in Marriage" 9/76 - People continue to cleave unto their mothers and fathers and friends.  To cleave does not mean merely to occupy the same home; it means to adhere closely, to stick together.

Security comes when a child knows that her father loves her mother.
D&C 25 - how to be a glorious wife.  Let thy soul delight in they husband.
Sometimes we don't make husbands our top priorities. - marriage preceeds children and is meant to succeed them.  When a child is the center of his paretns attention, their relationship is in jeopardy.

Quiz: Are you married to your husband or your children?
1.  Do your children stay up past 9 or 9:30 in the main family area?
The importance of putting a child to bed is so daddies and mommies can become husbands and wives again.  Bedtime is an exercise in separating the child from the marriage.  When the children are around, you are a mom.

2.  Do you go out with your husband and without your children at least three times per month?
This is the most critical thing you can do.

3.  Have you gone on an overnight without your children in the last year?

4.  Compare the last time you bought the kids a treat, versus when you bought your spouse a treat?

5.  Analyze the conversation when you are with your spouse.  Is your conversation about the children greater than 50% of the time?

Sometimes we let our wifeness get consumed in motherness. How much time in a week are you just a wife?  The Lord asks us for 3 hours a week - your husband should get at least that much.  This all is so important because once the kids leave, you will be staring at this man and realize you have no marriage.

2.  No graven images.  Do not put money, house, job, stuff before spouse or replace spouse.  D&C 25:10 - lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.
Thank your husband.  Don't fixate on bigger, better things (house) that tells your husband he isn't doing good enough.  You don't need a fancy house, clothes, car - a great gift we can give our spouse is contentment.  We already live in opulence.

3.  Don't take his name in vain.
Respect spouse and privacy.  Don't gossip about spouse, don't participate in husband-bashing.  Allow them the privacy that they deserve, and the time to change.  How would you feel if your husband talked to his friends about you the way women talk about their husbands?
Have the integrity to be able to say to your spouse, "Your name is safe in our marriage."

"I have to talk to my friends, because my husband doesn't talk to me."
"Does your husband know what you're saying about him?"
"Then he'll never talk to you."

You don't build feminine causes by tearing down masculine roles.  Let every mother understand that if she does anything to diminish their father, it will do irreparable damage to her children and their sense of security.  Women are so superior that you demean yourselves when you tear down your husbands. (Pres. Kimball?)

4.  Don't burn out - rest from labor
Schedule cave time - for each of you!  It is critical for each of you to have time to yourself
Respect his rhythms and don't fight your own.  Give them 15 minutes after work to transition. If you're a morning person and he's a night owl, respect the differences instead of fighting against them.
Have healthy friendships - so we can talk about things that we don't neccessarily have to talk to our spouses about.
Take fieldtrips.  Take trips on your own, individually.  Support your spouse in taking a trip, he'll come home happy and loving.

5.  Don't kill what worked at beginning of marriage.
You looked good - a lot!  No one wants to come home to sweats and ponytail.  Take care of yourself, be attractive. He is surrounded by attractive women all day, make sure he comes home to one.
You talked to each other.  Now we talk AT each other.  When you were dating, you talked to and listened to each other.  Talk with him and listen.
You did things together.
You complimented him.  Call your husband and tell him "You're a stud!"  How would he walk around after you say that?  Great outfit, nice hair, have you been working out?  Men are like a parched desert - one tiny compliment will work wonders.
Flirt - shamelessly.
Spent time together.
Continually fall in love.
"There must be continued courting and expressions of affection, kindness, and consideration to keep love alive and growing."  Pres. Kimball

Date Night - #1 Marriage Saver

I know of no couples who had weekly date nights who ended up divorced - not one.
How can you expect a marriage to run on no gas?
Rules - less than 50% of conversation about children.

Five Do's

1.  Honor Parents
Keep them out of your marriage intimacy
You love them more thanever, you cherish their counsel, but live your own lives.
Emulate what worked well
honor him as father of your kids/honor her as mother of your kids - tell your kids they have the best dad on the planet.

2.  Do value your spouse - don't covet another
Are you still pining for what you didn't get?
If we are wishing for something else, our husbands feel it.
When we wish we had something/somebody else, they feel like they never measure up.  He knows it.
Treat your spouse at the level of divine nature.  See him as a beloved son of God.  It will change your interactions with him.
Pres. Hinckley said, "When you are married, be fiercely loyal to one another."
What do you want to end up with?  Focus on who he is at the end, focus on your end goal, see the progress instead of the distance to where you want to be.

3.  Do value yourself.
Equal partners working together, you get oneness.  1x1= 1 1x0=0 You must be an individual - husbands do not want weak wives.  If your spouse is controlling, be strong with him.  If we respect ourselves, he will respect us.  I am a wife, I deserve respect.  The children do not always come first, and that's important for our children to know.

Choose to be a partner.

You will have repsect when you take care of yourself and respect yourself.

Develop your self.
Best spouse is a true person
one of the great mistakes spouses make is to stop growing.

Being a wife - Ann Reese, Ensign 9/84 - it is the duty of each woman ot come to know and accept and enjoy being herself.  she must respect her own inner strengths.

4.  Do Gain an understanding of what a man/woman is
Our perspectives are different.  You can't see clearly through someone else's prescription glasses.
Our brains are different.
One of the biggest insights gained in my marriage is that he is a guy.

5.  Do Value your commitment - gain a testimony of your marriage.
This may take time.
Pray for your spouse specifically and daily.  Show me the things I can do to bless him.  Pray for his calling, work, fatherhood.
Ask your Father in Heaven for this testimony.
Go do sealings and listen to your promises and blessings.

Victor Ludlow - Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet

Words of Wisdom D&C 88:118
Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job - the wisdom literature books of the Old Testament
They talk about "wisdom and understanding"
Job asked, What is wisdom and where can it be found?  Sometimes we'll need to put in the same kind of effort as when searching for precious gems.

Job 28:28 - The fear of the Lord-that is wisdom. (not college degree, or test score, or mastery of a subject.)
"Fear" in Bible Dictionary - has to do with reverence, worship, awe, respect, veneration - to respect the Lord, to worship the Lord, that is wisdom

What is "wisdom" to Latter-Day Saints?
D&C 76:5 - I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me.

"Understanding" is to depart from evil, to choose to do good.  Wisdom and understanding is a belief and a practice.

Ten rings to unlocking Isaiah
1.  Appreciate the historical setting and context.
Isaiah was born about 775 BC, 100 years after Elijah and Elisha.  He was born in upper-middle class or upper class Judean Jerusalem society.  Extremely well educated, brilliant in his mastery of the hebrew tongue.  As a teenager or young adult, a prophet was called to go to Ninevah to call Assyrians to repentance.  Babylon and Assyria were striving for domination of Mesopotamia.  Assyrians had stronger imperialistic desires; they used propaganda, fear, and intimidation.  If Assyrians wanted to conquer Utah Valley, they would give communities ultimatum - we're the big power, we're going to take over - if you submit peacefully to our rule and keep paying taxes (to Ninevah instead of IRS) then everything would be just fine.  If you don't, there will be terrible consequences - slavery, destruction, etc.  If lands banded together against Assyrians, Assyrians would pick one city and destroy it.  Women would become prostate slaves, children sold as slaves, men would be kept alive as a lesson - torture, seriously gross torture.  Decapitated heads would be piled in a major public area as a warning to those who might rebel.  That's what Jonah faced when he was called to bring Assyria to repentance.

There was usually more than one prophet at a time.  Perhaps Job, definitely Hosea, Micah, Amos, Jonah.  Usually one of them tends to be the "head prophet" - Amos and Isaiah held that role.

Isaiah was raised in the time of Uzziah, a teen who became king and ruled for 50 years.  Wealth power and influence put on a teenager usually does not turn out well.  Uzziah wanted to be more than a king, wanted to burn incense in the temple.  He was told no, then when he did it anyhow, he was struck with leprosy.  Great political power, but was considered the least of the least of the people.  Everyone kept their distance - a mere touch of a leper would make you unclean.  Uzziah ushered in Silver Age of Israelite history.  (David and Solomon 300 years before was Golden Age.)  Uzziah ruled in Southern Kingdom of Judah. Egypt, other countries were dealing with internal conflict and basically left Israel alone.  Avergae people were doing badly morally, economically and the prophets addressed that.

2.  Isaiah was a prophet, seer, and poet.
95% of Isaiah's writing is in poetry, mostly parallelism.  Looking at two things side by side, natural tendency is to see things that are similar or things that are different.

Most of the words of ancient prophets were transmitted orally, much more frequently than in writing.  Writing materials were too expensive, each sheet of paper was handmade.  It helps if a speaker in an oral society packages the information easier.  If you're not trained to listen you might miss the nuances.  We need to be disciplined to learn how to listen.

929 chapters in O.T., 66 in Isaiah.  To memorize a chapter, it needs to be repeated, over and over.  A mathematical formula takes between 100-200 repetitions before it is memorized.  Most of what we hear in the church is familiar to most of us, but repetition is the key to learning.  A lot of things are repeated in Isaiah.  If we hear it once, it might be interesting, if we hear it 2 or 22 times, we know it must be really important.

Often messages are short and structured.  Our conference talks are much longer than a typical "talk" by Isaiah.

3.  Philosophy.
Pay attention to Isaiah 6 and 1 Nephi 16.  Isaiah has a vision in the year king Uzziah dies.  He saw the lord, hears seraphim, is struck with fact that he's in the presence of the divine.  He feels impure, unworthy, imperfect - no unclean thing can enter the presence of God.  Seraphim touches a coal to his lips (why his lips?  I don't know) and cleanses him.  Then he hears the voice of the Lord asking for someone to volunteer for something.  Isaiah immediately says Here am I, send me.  The Lord gives him the charge to go out and teach these people what I'm telling you, they're not going to listen to you so make it difficult for them.  That way they can listen but not hear, see but not see.  Similar to Jesus starting to teach in parables.  The Savior used simple parables, Isaiah used symbolic poetry.  In both, you can hear but not understand the message.  Isaiah is to hebrew like Shakespeare is to English, like Goethe is to German, a genius of his time.  What if both Apostles and anti-mormons were listening to this talk?  What if it was also being broadcast to 18 million?  It would be terrifying.  Isaiah taught prophets and haters, the enemies to God were in the audience.  Highly diverse people (for 3000 years) have been reading this.

4.  Witness.
Isaiah is writing what he was told to write.  98.6% of the gold plates was written by 4 people - Nephi, Jacob, Mormon, Moroni.  Mormon was the editor, but Jesus was editor-in-chief - all four men saw Jesus Christ personally, and they wrote that which they were commanded to write.  This wasn't their personal agenda, it was given to them by the Lord and they wrote it as a witness.  Isaiah was also a witness - even though it was originally oral, it was commanded to be written to be a witness to the House of Israel.

Read Chapter 1 of Isaiah, it 's the preface to Isaiah, verses 2-20.  Read it as homework, see if you can find the first four principles and ordinances of the gospel.  Won't be in the same vocabulary.  How did Isaiah in a Semitic hebrew environment teach teh exact same principles and ordinances of the gospel?

The Anatomy of High-Trust Relationships - Healing With Humility

To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.  David O. McKay
Sin attacks trust, one of the most damaging effects of sin.  pornography, adultery, dishonesty destroys trust.

If a car is a relationship, trust is the oil.  Without it, nothing works.  The relationship will go nowhere.  Trust is the lubricant in relationships.

People naturally seek to reduce vulnerability and uncertainty.  Uncertaintly and vulnerability increases stress.  Trust reduces vulnerability and uncertainty.  Women are not allowed to attend this class and then judge their past, how much better you should have been.  It's not right to judge yesterday's mistakes with today's knowledge.  Elder Holland - It's not right to go back and open up an ancient wound that the Son of God died trying to heal.

Teenagers need predictability - they need the certainty of what mom and dad are going to say every time.

5 facets of trust:
Benevolence - the person who wants me to trust them cares about me, not just about themselves
Competence - you can trust someone who is skilled (i.e. surgeon)
Openness - how much I am going to share with you
Reliability - predictability, I can count on you every single time

Building trust in a low trust relationship:
1 on 1 & Group Interaction
Low-risk - no one is vulnerable in the interaction

Family Home Evening is the best place for these interactions.  The hardest part is keeping interactions low-risk - people tend to make it high-risk too quickly.  Teens have more interaction with their friends (and therefore more trust) than with their family.  Rules and consequences should be set unemotionally, before the problem occurs, when everybody's calm.  Don't get mad about an unknown rule.

false assumption - 30 year marriage doesn't make high trust, or they're my child, we have high trust

Why do we want high trust relationships?
High-risk activities:
Critical feedback
Lasting change/reform - in a low-trust relationship most time is spent protecting themselves, looking for failures as proof of low-trust.  in high trust relationship, you don't feel vulnerable and you can improve.  low trust is a cycle - I feel vulnerable, I find things that make you untrustworthy, I trust you less.
Eternal love

You can never stop doing the low-risk strategies.  Date night for married couples is an example.
You always need to be having frequent, personal, positive, and low-risk interactions.

How to go from low to high trust?
Be Humble
Be Positive
Be Consistent
Be a Listener

We assume we can't be the problem because we care, we have good intentions.
Matthew 7:3
Luke 6:41
Why beholdest the mote in thy brother's eye but considers/perceives not the beam that is in thine own eye?
What is scarier, to not consider or to not perceive?

Matthew 26:20-22 - One of you shall betray me, they were sorrowful and said, Lord, is it I?  If I find a problem in a relationship, the best thing is to ask first, is it I?  You aren't always the problem.

Blame can't be the concern here - you can't say "Honey, your half of the boat is sinking."  We're not about blame, we're about solutions.  Teenagers aren't ever going to take the blame, so trying to put the blame on them (or to show them their problem) isn't going to work.  be a good example, look at yourself first - is it I?

J. Smith had heard a scandalous story told about him.  he let his mind run back and thought if he had laid the building blocks for the false story and if he had, he forgave his enemy and thanked him for showing him a weakness that he hadn't already known.

Homework: Helaman chapter 1 - who is humble, and what does the proud one cause?  what does being right
and having to be right cause?