Archive for the ‘home’ Tag

House Rules

Reading: “More Diligent and Concerned at Home,” Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 2009 October General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

The Mormon religion holds at its center the family.  We spend a lot of time at church talking about how to make our homes better places.  In this talk Elder Bednar talks about three ways that we can be more diligent in making our homes a special place.  These are:

  • Express love – and show it.
  • Bear testimony – and live it.
  • Be consistent.

In our house we do our best to read scriptures every day, even when the toddler is fussy and grumpy.  We do this because I know from my own life that consistency in prayer and scripture study is better than inconsistent spurts of diligence. However, there are other areas where I could strive to be more consistent. For example, while I try to be clear with my daughter about rules of the house, sometimes when I am tired or stressed or over busy I will not think about the house rules and either punish her for things that she didn’t know she shouldn’t do, or let her get away with things that she really knows not to do.  I believe very strongly that consistency is important in all aspects of parenting because it creates a safe and known place for your children, and it was good to be reminded of this by Elder Bednar.

Which of these areas that Elder Bednar spoke of  could most help your home life improve?  Have you seen how greater love, testimony, and consistency have improved your home life in the past?

Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples

Reading: “Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples,” Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Seventy, April 2009 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session

I remember as a college student reading the Bible Dictionary definition for temple and finding the statement that only the home can rival the temple as a place of holiness.  This piece of knowledge came a time when I was pondering what I would do with my life and how to prepare for the future. It helped me to realize the importance of home and family at a new level, and commit more to nurturing a home and family centered on the Savior.

In this talk by Elder Stevenson he bring up the same phrase from the Bible Dictionary definition of temple.  He encourages us to make our homes a sacred place.  He says,

Recently, in a stake conference, all present were invited by the visiting authority, Elder Glen Jenson, an Area Seventy, to take a virtual tour of their homes using their spiritual eyes. I would like to invite each of you to do this also. Wherever your home may be and whatever its configuration, the application of eternal gospel principles within its walls is universal. Let’s begin. Imagine that you are opening your front door and walking inside your home. What do you see, and how do you feel? Is it a place of love, peace, and refuge from the world, as is the temple? Is it clean and orderly? As you walk through the rooms of your home, do you see uplifting images which include appropriate pictures of the temple and the Savior? Is your bedroom or sleeping area a place for personal prayer? Is your gathering area or kitchen a place where food is prepared and enjoyed together, allowing uplifting conversation and family time? Are scriptures found in a room where the family can study, pray, and learn together? Can you find your personal gospel study space? Does the music you hear or the entertainment you see, online or otherwise, offend the Spirit? Is the conversation uplifting and without contention? That concludes our tour. Perhaps you, as I, found a few spots that need some “home improvement”—hopefully not an “extreme home makeover.”

This talk reminded me of my earlier commitments to building what I have always called a “temple home.” It inspired me to treat my home with greater sacredness.  Our homes are at the center of our lives so it is good to invite the Savior to be there with us as much as we can.

Today I am going to pick a specific spot to do my scripture reading and make sure it is ready for me to study scriptures every night.  With a curious toddler that can be difficult because I have to keep my scriptures where she can’t reach them, since she loves to flip pages on books and she has not yet learned to handle the thinner pages in my scriptures and she easily rips them. I’ll look for a place where I can both study without distraction and keep my scriptures safely.

What makes your home special?  Have you ever been to someone’s home that seemed to be filled with the Spirit?  What can you do to make your home more like that?

What Makes a Home

Reading: “Cornerstones of a Happy Home,” President Hinckley, pamphlet, 1984

Yesterday I was very dissappointed to find out that the townhome we are currently renting is going up for sale in June, so that we will not be able to renew our contract.  Since we are going back to Provo for Spring Term, and our contract ends before we get back, we will most likely need to move twice: once into storage and to Utah, and once out of storage when we get back. All this after having already moved a scant four months ago.  Since I got this news I have been feeling rather depressed about the whole thing.

So, today I wanted to re-focus my attention on what really makes a home.  It is not the physical trappings, but the heart of the family that makes a house a home.  President Hinckley recommends four cornerstones a home should be founded on:

  • Mutual Respect
  • The Soft Answer
  • Financial Honesty
  • Family Prayer

Although I am sad to be losing a house that we really love, and I am not looking forward to all of the extra work this will mean for me, the truth is that where we live doesn’t really matter.  It is how we live as a family that will have the greatest affect on our happiness and our children.

Tonight I am going to have family prayer with my husband.  Since we often go to bed at different times it has been hard to establish a nightly prayer habit.  Today, though, a family prayer is definitely in order.

What makes your house a home?

Standing in Holy Places

Reading: “Holy Place, Sacred Space,” Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Liahona, May 2003

In the past week I have been thinking a lot about how to make our new home more clean, organized, and beautiful.  I have a lot of ideas, but I’m not sure how to tie in those ideas with my desire to make my home a more sacred space.  In searching for advice I found this talk by Elder Neuenschwander.

Elder Neuenschwander says that what makes a place sacred is the sacrifices you make:

The words sacred and sacrifice come from the same root. One may not have the sacred without first sacrificing something for it. There can be no sacredness without personal sacrifice. Sacrifice sanctifies the sacred.

He also applied this principle to making our homes more sacred.  He says:

Such a home does require personal sacrifice. To the Prophet Joseph Smith the Lord said, “Your family must needs repent and forsake some things” (D&C 93:48). Each of our families is confronted with a broad menu of activities and entertainment, not all of which is wholesome and good—and much of which is certainly not necessary. Like the Prophet’s family, do our families also need to repent and forsake some things to help us maintain the sacred nature of our homes? The establishment of our homes as holy places reflects the depth of sacrifice we are willing to make for them.

While lately I have been thinking more about the physical aspects of our house, such as how to organize closets, or what pictures to put on the wall, it is clear from this talk that what makes our home sacred is the choices we make inside it.  When we make choices that put the Savior above our more worldly desires, our home becomes more sacred.

Today I am going to think about a few ways that I can make our home more sacred and write them in my journal.  I’ll also talk to my husband about what he thinks.

What kind of sacrifices do you make that make your home a more sacred place?

Home Making

Reading: D&C 88:118-126, especially verse 119, and BD Temple

We moved.  It was a lot of work.  It still is a lot of work, as I try to get my home unpacked and organized.

So, as I am getting settled into a new home, I am lead to ponder about the role of the home in our lives.  In the Bible Dictionary under temple, it states that only the home can rival the sacredness of the temple.  It always amazed me that our homes are comparable in sacredness to our most sacred place.

So, how can I make our home more like a temple, and honor its sacredness?  In D&C 88:118-126, the Lord instructs the early Saints on what a temple should be like.  In those verses the following things are listed:
– Seek learning
– Organized (literally in the sense of making an organization, not organizing your stuff, but it seems that is also good)
– Prepared with every needful thing
– Prayer
– Fasting
– Faith
– Glory
– Order
– God
– Incomings and outgoings in the name of the Lord
– Salutations in the name of the Lord
– Cease from light speeches, (loud, rude) laughter, lustful desires, pride, and light-mindedness
– Let one speak at a time
– Love one another
– Learn to impart to one another
– Not idle, unclean, or critical
– Arise early and go to bed early
– Charity
The one verse that is truly dealing with temples is verse 119, which talks about the house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, glory, order, and God.  But, all of these things I listed seem like good qualities of a good home.  A home where people work hard, love and respect each other, and are learning about God seems to me to be the kind of home God would want me to have.

So, how can I encourage these things in my own home?  Two things come to mind.  First, I can make my home a house of order by making things orderly and tidy.  I believe strongly that there are many things more important than having a spotless house, but I also have observed that when my home is in good order everyone is happier and everything seems better.

Second, I can be more positive about things.  I can do this by growing my testimony and by focusing myself on Jesus Christ.  As the homemaker of my house, I also have often observed that when I am feeling down and depressed, everybody else gets grumpy too.  When I am happy and positive my attitude seems to rub off on others a lot more than their attitude rubs off on me.  Maybe that is just my house, but there is the saying, “When Mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy, ”  so there must be some truth in other homes too.  As I have observed in several entries a few weeks ago, the best way to be happy is to focus on Jesus Christ in my daily life.

The two things I listed are what I feel would be most helpful for me, personally.  What do you do in your home to help it be more sacred?  What could you do to improve the sacredness of your home?