Showing posts with label meetings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label meetings. Show all posts

Friday, September 19, 2014

Great Reads for Girls: Mother/Daughter Book Group

During the summer Jenna kept on hounding me, “When is the next reading club?”

Not until September.

I LOVE the line-up of books we get to read this year.  I’ve actually read half of them already.

Our first meeting was  last night.  We had checked the book out just the week before.  Fortunately for us, it was easy reading and we had finished the book on Tuesday morning. 

I was happy as we read that what we read had historical truth – meaning the book “Riding Freedom’  I did not realize until just before the last two chapters that Pam Munoz Ryan had written this historical fiction about Charlotte Darkey Parkhurst  or one-eyed Charley –

Charlotte was an orphan who lived at a poorhouse along with several other orphans – all male.  Charlotte was needed in the kitchen and those in charge made certain that there would never be an opportunity for her to be adopted.  When Charlotte’s best friend, Hayden, is adopted, she decides to run away.

The story takes place in the mid 1800’s when women didn’t travel alone and were not given the right to vote among other things.  Charlotte disguised herself as a boy and worked like a boy and eventually would pass herself off as the greatest stage driver and vote as a man. 

After the story is an account of the real Charlotte or Charles Darkey Parkhurst – which is the name she used on the registrar to vote – over 50 years before women were allowed to vote.  It was not discovered until after her death that she was indeed female.

Next month’s book is ‘The Great Ivan” – which we’ve already read.  You can read some of my review on this post. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Another Sunday

          When I was younger I remember having only two meetings on Sunday then.  There were three for priesthood holders – but for the first fifteen plus years of my life I recall there being only two meetings.

            I don’t recall the specific times or the length of time that took place between the two meetings.  I remember Sunday School being first, coming home to have dinner and returning to the church at a later time for Sacrament meeting.

            The other meetings were spread out during the week.  (e.g. Relief Society was on Tuesday nights, Mutual on Wednesday nights and Primary was on Thursdays after school.) but as the growth of the membership had taken place outside of Utah, the meetings were changed so that all meetings would take place on Sunday.

            It wasn’t until my last year of mutual (Young Men/Young Women formally called MIA – Mutual Improvement Association) that the meetings were changed to three in one block.  Relief Society (or Young Women’s – though I don’t believe we called it that then) was first followed by Sunday School and then Sacrament meeting was last. 

            So until I got married, I remember Relief Society always being first and Sacrament meeting being last.  But in Kearns in was the opposite.  Sacrament meeting was first.
            I think most wards have Sacrament meeting first – or at least that is my belief.  Currently I attend a ward in which Relief Society is taught first and Sacrament meeting is held last.  The stake President says as long as he is president that is the way it will remain.

            So here is my church experience for today:

Combined Meeting

(every fifth Sunday the RS and Priesthood meet together)

            Bishop gave the lesson.  His prepared lesson was to get us motivated for General Conference which takes place next weekend. 

            He started off by asking questions about “Why do we have general conferences?” “What are some things that can be learned?” and “What was your favorite talk from 1985?”  1985?  Is he serious?  He would have been in primary.
First I had to visualize where I was.  April 1985 was the last General Conference in which Bruce R. McConkie would give an address.  I knew when I watched him give his speech that it would be his last. 

I also remember the opening prayer being the absolute longest prayer I’d ever heard in my entire life.  No, I did not time it, but it felt like it had been somewhere between eight minutes and an eternity.

            I was on my mission.  It was a hard area.  Neither my companion nor I were in the right frame of mind to even receive instruction.  I don’t think a lot of the elders were overly thrilled with the area either.  I looked around to see how many had the same attitude as my companion and I shared.

            Bishop had asked for participation by asking us to share what Conference talks had made an impact on each of us.  I must admit that I do not retain things very well.  I remember last night’s session was quite beautiful and I remember thinking, “This is a great talk.”  Sadly I can’t tell you anything about what was said without referring to it again.  And I’m so grateful that we have ample opportunity to do so.

            So as I was trying to think of an example in which I could actually name the speaker and come up with enough words to paraphrase my mind wandered to General Conference October 1992.  That was the longest weekend of my life.  That was the last weekend that dad was upon the earth.  The TV was turned on to Conference but I don’t think I got anything out of it.  And even if so, I can’t remember any of it.

            General Conference April 2004.  My water broke on Friday.  My mom and my sister and my husband were all in the birthing room with me.  The TV was turned on to Conference on Saturday.  Jenna still hadn’t come and I KNOW I don’t think I got anything out of it.  I was exhausted Sunday.

            I’ve had some really nice Conference weekends – unfortunately those are not the ones I thought about.

Sunday School

            The classroom was full!  First time ever we had run out of chairs.  Six youth and four leaders.  I love it when the Young Men leaders sit in.  They participate and add thought provoking ideas and wisdom.  There’s one youth who will participate by answering questions.  I love the participation.

            The theme this month has been on commandments.  Some people have left the Church because they have found that the commandments are too restricting – which they’re not.  But sometimes freedoms aren’t understood until the restrictions have been removed and then there’s that “a-ha” moment.

            Wade shared his upbringing with family rules in addition to the commandments – restrictions that he didn’t understand as a youth but certainly appreciates right now.  One of those restrictions was that he couldn’t hang out at the mall.  Everybody hung out at the mall.  Was this for real?  It was mortifying.  But now he understands.  Two of his “mall friends” are now in prison.  And he just recently attended the funeral of another.

            I shared an experience that happened to me when I was fairly young.  The weather had turned from warm summer to breezy fall and mom said that if I wanted to play outdoors I had to wear a sweater.  Well that was humiliating.  None of my friends wore sweaters!  I had a sweater on when I left the house.  I intended on removing it before I played with my friends.

            One friend, who had heard my mom’s “command”, said that she was “lucky” because her mom didn’t care if she wore a sweater or not.  I don’t know how old I was, but her words hit me hard – “My mom doesn’t care . . .” and I thought myself the lucky one, the blessed one.  I had a sweater on because my mom cared about me.  And it stayed on.  And I tried not to question her commands because I knew that she did it out of love.

            James talked about the Word of Wisdom – which is a commandment for LDS members.  James reminded each of us that we all have the freedom to choose.  Each of us could smoke if we wanted to.  But the smoker doesn’t necessarily have the option of NOT smoking – it has become an addiction.  The smoker has become a slave to his or her habits and although they think they have freedom – for most it’s a long painful road to finally quit and remain smoke free.  (That is just one example) 

            Participation usually always makes for a very great lesson

Testimony Meeting

            The second counselor made the announcement that the bishop’s wife would be released from teaching Sunday School.  A chorus of groans could be heard by many members who attend her class and are not anxious to see her leave her teaching position. I for one am excited as she has accepted the position of activity’s day leader and that will be helpful to Jenna.

            After the counselor bore his testimony, he opened up the meeting for the rest of us who would like to bear our testimonies. I felt impressed to bear my thoughts of gratitude – to my family and friends and Heavenly Father, for the support, for the celebration of mom’s life, for goodly parents – for the bishop’s wife’s new position.  I went up to the stand.  But Brother Cole beat me to the pulpit.
            I think every ward has a Bother Cole – the one who drones on and on endlessly and the Spirit seems to have left the room.  His talk did start off as testimony but after two minutes he started rambling the same words over and over – even after the bishop told him to sit down.  He just doesn’t get it.

            The ironic thing was that his focus seemed to be on sharing testimonies and not wasting one’s time.  How about following your own advice and stop wasting the time that belongs to all of us?

            I should have stayed seated when I saw him walking up to the stand.  I don’t know how long he was at the pulpit – his head was in the way of the clock.  By the time I stood up there was only thirty minutes left and I had lost my train of thought.  If I hadn’t already been on the stand, I would not have gotten up.  I think my heart must have hardened when Brother Cole rattled on endlessly, wondering if I would even get a turn.

            I’m not the only one who lost my train of thought.  The sister who’d come up behind me said only one sentence before she returned to her seat.  I think the 11 to 14 people behind us eventually returned the Spirit back to us.  Still I was a bit upset about the way I had handled the situation and wished I could have a do over.

            Actually I will have an opportunity to bear my testimony after Conference – provided that the weather is drivable and I actually have a working car.  I plan on returning to mom’s ward where my testimony will be more meaningful (to me at least) as I still have a connection with so many of the members of that ward – the ward I still consider family.  For that I am grateful.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Thin Coat of Paint

I wouldn’t say that I’m a “friend” of scouting

I think Hannah is the one who made the announcement that “you are not an acquaintance of scouting, but a “friend” of scouting” 

“No I’m not,” I thought.  I have truly never been a friend.  I’ve actually had regrets about it.

I think the scouting program is a great program for those who truly want to be involved.  I guess the thing that has always bothered me the most about scouting is all the hoopla and fuss that seems to go with it.  It would be fine if there was an equal amount of hoopla given to those not even associated with scouts – if that is what’s desired. (Some of us don’t like hoopla and fuss; my brother Patrick and his oldest son truly loved scouting and were heavily involved.  My brother Corey and nephew Brian appear to have reached a point where they almost loathed it)

The boy scout program was adaptedby the LDS church in 1913 and cub scouts were adopted as a part of the primary in 1952. None of the other Church organizations require a uniform or guidelines from outside of the Church.

My mom had been a den mother to the boys when Patrick was in scouts.  I was involved in many of their activities.  It didn’t seem to be a big deal for non-scout members to participate when their parents were the leaders.  I enjoyed hanging around with them and meeting with them once a week and I especially enjoyed activities such as climbing the trail to the Timpenogous Cave or visiting Pioneer Village (located in Sugarhouse at the time) and stopping off at Snelgroves for an afterward treat.  As a recall, the majority of the boys got double scoop cones with blue bubblegum and black licorice flavored ice creams. 

I don’t remember ever feeling envious that the focus on the boys seemed to outshine the focus on the girls.  I usually always had a better time with boys than girls anyhow.  I suppose I did feel left out at times when cub scouts would earn rewards and there was always a ceremony for their achievements – not that I felt the need for a badge or material satisfaction.  I just remember sometimes wondering why so many thought the boys were so great and allowed the girls to sit on the back burner or barely be mentioned.

We didn’t have activity days – which may have been created to run parallel to the scouting program.  I don’t know.  With the girls – be it Activity Days or Young Women – the leaders focus needs to be on the girls.  Leaders should be without children when serving the girls.  So why can the scouts include non-scouts in their activities but the girls cannot? So perhaps it’s okay that they hold scouts every week while the girls hold Activity Days only twice a week.

When we moved into our current ward, I would have Jenna with me while attending Relief Society.  The scout leader invited her to participate in the activities that were planned the same night as Relief Society.  And so Jenna happily believed she was a scout.

I tried enrolling Jenna into the girl scouts program as she was not of age to participate in Activity Days – but was not successful in finding a good fit.  Oh, she enjoyed the few activities we had gone to, but we have always done things as a Juliette.  I still haven’t been able to find a good troop for her. I don't believe it is ever something I had wanted for myself, but Jenna and I have our differences.

Jenna has since had the opportunity to attend activity days and would love to attend every week.  In her mind it isn’t fair that boys get to meet every week.

We had gone to the Church Museum the day before school started.  There were two exhibits featuring the boy scouts – both of which she refused to attend out of rebellion.  She’s nine years old.  She doesn’t understand that boys (in general) seem to need more structure and may be in scouting  their entire lives and still not “get it”  whereas there’s a compassion or understanding or structure that seem to come more naturally to most girls.  But still . . .

Fund Raisers with the boys scouts happen with or without the church.  The boys go from door to door trying to raise money for their organization.  And certainly the girls will have fund raisers when they get into Young Women, but it’s not going door to door collecting money with only a receipt that may or may not be a tax write-off. 

The girls work hard and may involve others to donate baked goods or other items.  They sell product.  

Recently I read a post in which permission was given to share a post from a closed blog.  The following was brought up:

• meeting frequency- scouts are advised to meet weekly, while activity day girls are directed to meet NO MORE than twice a month

• activity types- scouting is a structured program with a clear directive to have activities of many differing types, activity days has no directive whatsoever other than "work on Faith in God for girls." The boys also have this program, but just happen to have scouting as well.
• recognition and awards- cub scouting is famous for its intricate advancement and award system, AD has no such system
• budgeting- do these programs have equal budgets?
• leaders- would a couple ever be called to lead AD groups? Why do boys have access to leaders of both genders, while girls do not? Also, cub scouts have a much higher ratio of leaders to boys than AD girls do
• formal, parent-attended pack meetings- there is no similar equivalent in the AD program.
• the Church's website- there was tab after tab on the church's primary page devoted to explaining and promoting Cub Scouting, but barely a mention of the AD program. You have to click on 'leader resources' and if you scroll down to the bottom, there's a SINGLE LINK that takes you to the SINGLE PARAGRAPH from Handbook 2 that gives direction on AD programs for leaders, and there's not much in that paragraph either.

I know that boys and girls are different – and my interpretation was not that the opinions are to treat both genders as equals but allow equal time, equal budgeting, equality in organization – not in person.  We’re all individuals who hopefully support and lift one another.  “Scouting” does not “lift” me however – or at least the political aspect and blown out manner that might send the message to some girls that they are lower class and not as important.

It is said that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent, and yet there are some members of this church who feel discrimination because there seems to be a lack of equality. And not just with our attitude towards scouting. (I've actually mentioned the feelings of discrimination in several posts.)

These are just some of my thoughts.  I have more.  Lots more.  But I had to borrow somebody else’s words to get this post. The ideas I have (or had) are so disjointed still.  I apologize that this entry may not sound polished at all.

Monday, November 26, 2012

It is Okay to Dismiss Early . . . at least in My Opinion

          Whenever Roland and I were asked to speak in our last ward, l the subject was often missionary themed.  A couple of talks we’d given were in reference to Mothers’ Day, but I think for the most part it was missionary work. 

          Roland and I were the ward mission leaders for four years – and must have been called to speak at least twice during the time we were serving in that calling.  And also after our boys were out in the mission field we had been called to speak.

          With each talk I prepared, I tried a new approach from the previous talk.  One of the talks that I’d given I have posted here.   But the first time I was called to speak was before we had gone to see “The Guardian which seemed to speak to me with the analogy of comparing missionary work to the coast guard. 

          Not wanting my talk to sound like a plug for “The Guardian” I went to the library to do some research on the coast guard.  I also found some scriptures to go along with my talk.

          There were five of us scheduled to speak.  I still don’t know why it was that we were unable to fill up the entire time – but we did end up running short and whatever counselor was conducting that day felt obligated to recap our talks and add his own experiences and although I did enjoy his talk I wondered if it was really necessary to fill the time rather than dismiss from the meetings early.

          I’ve been to several wards in which the bishopric always feels obligated to fill that void.  But not in my current ward.  Yesterday we got out half an hour early.  Thus my husband was able to finish up with his responsibilities in staying with the bishopric and was home at 4:30 (I don’t think he’s ever been home this early since our ward moved to the 1-4 schedule;  come January we will be attending 9-12)

          I enjoy dismissing early once in a while.  And I enjoy the privilege of giving talks in Sacrament meeting.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Third Petal of the Forget-me-not

          Roland had been in charge of putting together the  Mothers’ Day program last week.  It was AWESOME – one of the most amazing Mothers’ Day programs that I remember.
          It was based on Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk from the September 2011 Relief Society Meeting.  The theme of the talk was based upon the “Forget-me-not” and five pieces of advice that we should not forget.

          Roland introduced the theme of Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk and introduced those who would be speaking.

The first speaker shared with us a bit about his childhood.  He has seven siblings.  All eight children were expected to play a musical instrument. The first petal was to “forget not to be patient with yourself”.  No one is perfect, even though there are many who may appear so.  The first speaker reminded us of patience.
I unfortunately don’t remember a lot of what the second speaker said.  His assigned topic was to forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice.  He related experiences from his childhood in which his mother had made sacrifices for one reason or another – for the good of the family.

Then there was the musical number.  Practically every Melchezedik Priesthood holder in attendance came up to the stand and sang a medley of songs dedicated to mother.  It was awesome!

My most favorite talk – perhaps because of the way it was delivered – came from the third speaker.  Forget not to be happy now.  The speaker related Pres. Uchtdorf’s comparison of the “golden ticket” sought after by so many children in the story of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” – so busy with trying to find the gold that they’d forgotten to enjoy the chocolate.

          We need to be happy in the moment in which we’re living instead of constantly looking ahead with the decision of becoming happy for what’s ahead.  We may never be happy if we continue looking to what might be instead of rejoicing in what we have now.

The forth speaker put enthusiasm into his delivery as well.  Forget not the “why” of the gospel.  Sometimes – perhaps often – in our daily routines, the vital aspects of the gospel are unintentionally overlooked. 

As with the first speaker, this one was also “forced” into piano lessons – though he did not appreciate or pursued.  He loves listening to his mom play the piano.  He says he and his dad will turn the television down or off just to hear her play.

The last speaker summarized Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk.  Forget not that the Lord loves you.  There may be times when we may feel insignificant in comparison with others.  Retold the story (or legend) that Pres. Uchtdorf related about the forget-me-not flower.  What a beautiful talk. 

You can find Pres. Uchtdorf’s entire talk here.