Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Trouble With Porn

Sometimes my life speaks to me in themes.  For instance, one week I'll get these thoughts about improving my prayers and I'll see a ton of post on Facebook or memes on Instagram that really speak to the part of my soul that is looking to improve.  It's happened with so many different ideas: scripture reading, compassion, self confidence, patience, service, etc.

Well this week the thing that keeps slapping me in the face is pornography. Nope, don't worry, I'm not struggling with pornography, but lately there have been many signs pointing me to discuss pornography and it's harms with my children.  My husband and I have had discussions with our children before and our kids are pretty open with their questions and honest with images they see and can easily call out pornography in lines at the store or with commercials on TV.  We also do not shame our children for asking questions or feeling curious about things.  We want them to know we love them no matter what and that we are here to help them stay strong.

It all started Sunday after church, Michael was on his way to California so the kids and I watched some uplifting church videos from the LDS church's YouTube Channel. One video called What should I do when I see porn? is catered to children, we've seen it before but this time more information stood out to me like how porn can distort someone's view of what love is and for a child to be exposed to porn at a young age, it will make it harder for them to know what a healthy loving relationship is.  So it's very crucial and important to teach them that any images they see (it's no longer a matter of if they see it, it's a matter of when because our children WILL see some form of pornography in their childhood) is bad and not what real love is.  A lot of the information in the video is from this book which we own Good pictures Bad pictures.

Since Sunday, so many different things have popped up in my newsfeed on Facebook regarding pornography and it's harmfulness.  Yes, I follow a lot of anti-porn pages so naturally my newsfeed would include some of those posts but, either I've not noticed them lately or this week has been heavy posting for these sites.  Here are the ones that have popped up this week:

Penthouse Attacks LDS church in latest issue
Hey, Cosmopolitan! Stop telling Snapchatters That Watching Porn isn't cheating (which is why I left snapchat)
Ozzy Osbourne in therapy for sex addiction
And this blog post I wrote three years ago popped up on my Facebook memories (I share a situation in which I found a pornographic book within a child's arm reach at Barnes and Noble and how I took it to their corporate office)

I even shared a status update on my reason for leaving Snapchat, and it started a small conversation (another trigger for me feeling the need to talk to my children about porn)

My point of this blog post is to say pornography is harmful, it's addictive, and it ruins families.  I've yet to know of anyone who has praise for pornography strengthening their marriage.  In fact, I've seen the opposite,  I've known of women who watched pornography with their husbands to "spice up their marriages", and none are still married now.  But hey, even if there was that one couple that swore pornography saved their marriage, I'd still rather not take that road.

One thing I've learned this week, is that having the talk about pornography with my children isn't a one time thing, it's a constant need to remind them of the difference between good pictures and bad pictures and how they make us feel, and that they can always come to us, their parents who love them and who care for their well being more than anyone else in this world.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

All things new

So here is my new blog design, I love it.  Tiffany Kuehl helped me with it and she did a wonderful job.  Anyone who knows me, knows how indecisive I can be.  Take me out to dinner and I have trouble deciding on what to choose, I'm even known to change my order just before the waiter/waitress leaves the table (that's better than once they walk away, right?)  She did such a great job with my ideas that I had a hard deciding what I liked best, finally I told her to surprise me.  I love it.  She was also very kind and patient with my indecisiveness.

I also received a new calling this past Sunday.  I'm Second Counselor in the Primary program at church.  Primary is the program for children between the ages of 3-11.  I'm so very excited because I get to be with my children.  Even though we homeschool and I am with them all the time, I can't seem to get enough of them, they might feel differently though.  Sunday was my first day in my new calling and I was already put to work by conducting, it was fun.  Now that we are in July, I am responsible for Sharing Time, so I get to come up with a lesson for the kids each Sunday this month.

Aside from sewing, I've developed a new hobby, genealogy.  This past week, I found eight new family members from my mother's side of the family.  I already had my great grandmother's information but I found her parents and siblings information, and marriage information for one of her brother's.  I cannot find my grandfather's birth parents or if he had any siblings.  I hope to find more about him soon.

This new endeavor in genealogy has me a bit emotional, especially not being able to find out more about my grandfather's family.  I remember him, he was a big teddy bear and I remember a doll he gave me as a little girl before he passed away.  Her body was crocheted in pink and white yarn, in one  of her hands was a bottle attached that fit perfectly in her mouth.  There was also a blanket crochet to the back of her so that the blanket wouldn't fall off, it wrapped around her to keep her warm.

It would be nice to find out who his parents were or if he had any siblings.  All my mother's family has already passed away, so there is no one to ask.  I wish I would've asked more questions when everyone was still around.  But now I can find puzzle pieces along the way and put them together to create a bigger picture of my genealogy.

My patriarchal blessing mentions that there will come a time in my life when I will be engulfed in genealogy, it seems like that time has arrived.

UPDATE: So I talked to my father and I remember hearing the name Dotty as a child, Dotty (Dorothy) was my grandfather's sister.  During the great depression, it was common to send boys to live in an orphanage because families were having a hard time.  My grandfather was one of those boys.  His parents kept his sister.  My father said that my grandfather would often speak of the nuns who took care of him.  One more step closer.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I will give away all my sins to know thee

With four littles in the home, family scripture study can be difficult.  My husband and I read three to five verses of scripture each night with the children and then say a family prayer before tucking the littles into bed.  It's going to take us a while to get through the Book of Mormon, but we are making progress and instilling the habit of daily scripture study.  We are currently in the book of Alma.

The other night, while my husband was reading aloud to us, a scripture jumped out at me and was embedded into my thoughts: "And I will give away all my sins to know thee."  It was Alma chapter 22 verse 18.  This is when Aaron teaches King Lamoni's father (Ammon had taught King Lamoni) about the reality of God and the atonement and being redeemed of one's sins, Lamoni's father is converted and is willing to, as he says: "I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy." Alma 22:15  (emphasis added)

I immediately thought of all the things in my life that distract me from the Savior, the small vices that won't necessarily keep me out of the temple, but don't help bring me closer to the Savior.

I know the Savior, I have felt His love and have felt His comfort blanket me during times of trials.  But I have also had moments where He felt distant, not from His doing but from mine.

I have vices, we all do.  I tend to think of sins as those huge heinous ones that are serious and will keep me out of the temple, but there are also the small ones that usually get overlooked, or maybe even rationalized.  For me it's usually music, movies, or television shows, and even how I spend my time; things that aren't always obvious but at times contain content that goes against my beliefs.    

I also thought of the young fellow in Mark Chapter 10, the one who ran to the Savior and knelt at His feet and asked what he could do to inherit eternal life, to which the Savior asked him if he had observed the commandments and the young man answered yes.  To this the Savior responds:

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me
 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.  (emphasis added)
The Rich Young Ruler
I'm not using this example to say that having possessions are a sin (though they are when we choose them over the Savior).  But the contrast between King Lamoni's father who was willing to give away all that he possessed and all of his sins to know God, compared to the young rich man who was already obedient to the commandments but couldn't give up the things he loved because they were more important than knowing God, that difference is what I'm pointing to.

Are there things in our lives that are "not so bad" and don't necessarily keep us out of the temple, but get in the way of knowing our Savior?  Are these things, things that we would participate in if He were in the same room with us?  Would we still watch that movie, that show, listen to that song, drink that energy drink, partake in that conversation or use that language?  Would we ignore His presence, His advice, His love as we sat attached to our mobile devices? 

My vices have been troubling me lately, especially since reading Alma 22:18,  my vices aren't things that most would consider to be bad habits, in fact, most would probably chuckle and say, "Oh it's really not that big of a deal." but for me they are distractions from feeling my Savior's presence and from getting to know Him better.

We are all at different stages in life, especially in spirituality; that's the beautiful thing about this life.  The things I feel the Spirit guiding me, telling me I need to improve on might be things others have already mastered, or things that others don't have trouble with.

So though I'm already doing my best at avoiding the "big sins",  I'm resolving to give away ALL my sins so that I can really know Him.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The cold never bothered me anyway

I found this picture of Elsa as a brunette
Isn't she just lovely?
Granted I live in southern California where the winters rarely drop below 50 degrees fahrenheit, so my version of cold is a lot milder than most folks in the United States.  But I love my SoCal cold.  Often times during winter, I'm walking around with short sleeve shirts, and yes I am cold and it does sting a bit, but I love that feeling.  Some people think I'm insane, but I love it.

That being said, I'm not a fan of summer.  No way José!  Let me tell you why.  First and foremost is the fact that skin cancer runs in my family.  One of my aunts passed away when she was 25 years old, leaving behind two young daughters.  A few of my other aunts have had cancers removed just before they became problems.  I've had pre-cancerous spots removed as well.  So while most women are looking forward to getting tan during the summer, I'm constantly slathering SPF 50 or greater on my skin in hopes of preventing any sort of burning; that's another thing, I burn easily.  My sunburns turn into nice tans, but another crazy thing about me, is I love being pale (I liked it before it was cool by the way, is it even cool still?)

I get hot quickly as well, I'm talking about heat stroke hot. I won't mention the fact that I also sweat a lot too. Maybe that was too much information, but being uncomfortably hot when it's only 80 degrees and melting as soon as I step outside, doesn't make for much fun.  I'm like Olaf from Frozen, I melt (sweat) at the slightest exposure to heat.
Me during summer LOL
I love the frigid cold of winter and the sweaters, scarves, and hot cocoa that come with it; the chili noses and rosy cheeks. The cold against my skin reminds me how alive I am. We have a swing set and my favorite time to sit and swing is at night when it's cold. When I get home from dropping off the babysitter after one of our date nights, I sit on one of the swings and feel the cold wind sting my cheeks as I swing back and forth and look up at the clear starry night (have you noticed that the winter night sky is much clearer than the summer night sky), alone, just me and the winter night.  I love it.  Now the days are getting longer and the nights stay warmer, so it's not as enjoyable for me.
Winter Love
If I could have my way, in my own little Lavinia world, my year would only consist of three months: October, November, and December.  But it's a good thing we all don't live in the Lavinia Universe.

I said I'm not a fan of summer, but that doesn't mean I hate it, it's just uncomfortable to me, very uncomfortable.  But I try not to ruin it for everyone else who LOVES summer.  There are many things I love about summer:
The beach
Playing in the sprinklers with my littles
Fresh fruits
Lazy days
Independence Day 
Independence Day Parades
Shave Ice

No, I don't hate summer, it's more unpleasant for me than for others, being with my family makes it so much more fun and enjoyable, the ones whom I love dearly.  After all,  as Olaf says, "Some people are worth melting for.

When summer is in full effect, I am secretly counting down the months until October arrives.  My kids and I were already just discussing Halloween costumes yesterday.  It's never too early to plan, right?
Halloween is in five months, just a friendly FYI ;) 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Service of Motherhood

I never thought of motherhood as service.  I guess because feeding my children and doing their laundry is something I'm supposed to do because if I don't do it, who will?

The season of life I'm in right now: a homeschooling mother of four young children doesn't allow me to do much service.  You know, the kind of service where the sisters in the ward get together to help clean someone's home during the day, or helping at the bishop's storehouse, temple service, etc.  I even hate to admit that I'm not a very good visiting teacher.  Needless to say, I often feel that I am lacking in the service department which makes me feel pretty horrible.

Today in Relief Society one sister said something that changed my point of view.  She shared an experience she had years ago as a mother of four young children herself, wondering why she even went to church (we've all had that thought cross our minds as we try to get to church on time and sit with little wiggle worms).  She said the lesson she was sitting through was on visiting teaching and service, she felt horrible because she wasn't able to serve the way the topic had been discussed.  Then her bishop got up to speak on the subject of service and she prepared herself to feel even more horrible as she anticipated hearing even more ideas of what she should be doing but wasn't.  To her surprise her bishop began by saying things like, "Service is getting a child a glass of milk or changing a diaper."  He said everything that mothers do in the home is service.  I have never looked at it that way.  Maybe I'm slow and the light just turned on for me while many other moms already got it.

Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying, I love motherhood and what I do for my children, I don't look at it as a burden but a blessing.  Sometimes we get caught up in the day to day and don't see the importance of what we do, the service we are giving to our children.

I shared my thoughts about how I never looked at motherhood as service because it's something I'm supposed to do.  Another sister responded with, "Lavinia, who else is going to love and nurture your children and teach them the way back home to Heavenly Father?"  The answer was no one--no one else will do that for my children but me.

Or you.  YOU.  All you other mothers out there who may or may not be stay at home moms, but are mothers none the less.  Who else is going to teach your children the gospel?  Who else is going to teach them love and kindness?  Who else will teach them to pray?  To read their scriptures? To follow the prophet?  Who?  Certainly not the world, have you seen the world today?  The world doesn't have much regard for motherhood, particularly stay at home mothers, or anything that is virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy.  The world is LOUD.  Sometimes we fall for the lies the world feeds us about what kinds of mothers and women we should be or that there are more important things to do than being a mother; because as I said, the world is loud.

But Heavenly Father is peace, He is quiet.  He speaks to us in the still small voice that we know as the Holy Ghost.  We need to escape the loud of the world so that we can listen and feel his peace, feel His comfort when the house is a mess, when our clothes are stained, and laundry is piled up.  We need to feel Him by our side as He supports us in our calling as mothers.  Those moments when we feel we are lacking and aren't doing much, but then look at our children and see their happy faces. We need to see what they see, not what we or what anyone else may see.   They see a mommy who is  available for help them; to teach them, and to love them, to answer questions about the Gospel; not a mountain of laundry or the piles of dishes in the sink.

What we do in the home is so important, it is a noble.  It's more important than any other career.  We may not get much recognition and are looked down upon by some, but our children see us for who we really are and what we really do, and that is all the reward we need.  We are also the only ones who can see them for who they really are, we can see their potential and all the wonderful that is in them.

Our efforts are seen by our Father in Heaven, who smiles down each time we stop what we are doing to wipe a nose, change a diaper, read a story, help a child with homework, or simply just sit and snuggle a child who is in need of a hug.  Sometimes this service is more important that any other service we can give to anyone else.

I now look at service and motherhood differently.  I will be more joyful about my service as a mother, about the four little miracles that are in my care, the calling that no one else can fulfill but me.