This may seem like an odd topic for a blog with a name like "The Provident Homemaker".  However, part of the meaning of 'provident' is 'preparing'; and we have some serious mental and spiritual preparing to do.  So what is this about?

There are a number of words that are no longer understood to mean what they used to; words that have been intentionally corrupted.  I've been watching for them; they include emotional trigger words like
"liberal", "rigorous", "liberty", and "discriminate".    After reading this article about a possible ban in Cincinnati on reparative therapyI got wondering about the word choice in the phrase 'sexual orientation':  (Turns out, this law proposal was sparked as a revolt against parental rights, not only retaliation against God's word. Read the article.)

Turns out that I now have another word to add to my "words co-opted" list: 
"Orientation". 
"the act or process of orienting" or " the state of being oriented".
(Dictionary.com)

At i.word.com, "orient" includes this: 
1 a :to cause to face or point toward the east specifically :to build (a church or temple) with the longitudinal axis pointing eastward and the chief altar at the eastern end
c :to ascertain the bearings of

2 a :to set right by adjusting to facts or principles
b :to acquaint with the existing situation or environment

3 :to direct (as a book or film) toward the interests of a particular group

4 :to cause the axes of the molecules of to assume the same direction"


In other words, orientation is a PROCESS of getting your bearings, setting a course, getting every molecule of your being to align, facing a particular direction. This contradicts the claims that one is born this way and unable to change that. It denies the human ability to grow and adjust, and especially denies the power of the Savior and his Atonement. In addition, the origins of the word actually point to Christ:

orient (verb)-
etymonline.com  "c. 1727, originally "to arrange facing east," from French s'orienter, literally "to face the east" (also the source of German orientierung), from Old French orient "east," from Latin orientum (see Orient)
The east, as you may know from one of the earlier definitions above, or from the common LDS ("Latter Day Saint"/"
Mormon")  practice of having the angel on our temples face that direction, is emblematic of facing and welcoming Christ. Not only does the light of the world rise each morning in the east, but that is the direction Christ is to come from at his coming in glory as our king.

As phrased by Elder Lynn G. Robbins at a recent LDS Conference,
'Which way do you face?'

Do you face towards the family as created by God and Nature?  A mother, a father, bound together by covenants and promises, determined in their loyalty and support to each other and to their children.  It is the basic unit of society, the intended privilege of every child, and when it fails, neighborhoods, cities, and nations are left trying to pick up the pieces; pieces that cannot be completely picked up and mended by human hands.   Does the traditional family matter?  Yes!  It is at the core of God's plan for our happiness. He commanded our first parents, Adam and Eve, to multiply, to provide bodies for His spirit children, and then to teach those precious spirits in the Lord's way: the way of growth and safety.  

What about our day?  Paul warned that "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." - 2 Tim. 4:3-4

As a modern apostle, Dallin H. Oaks, once said, “followers of Christ [must] think differently than others." 
 (“As He Thinketh in His Heart,” 8 February 2013). Jesus' response to the mocking Pharisees was, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts:  for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).

Humanism says there is no right, no wrong and no God. Instead, I assert that this life is Act 2 in a 3-act play, and God gives inspired commandments to enable us to have real happiness now and the best possibilities in that next, much longer, Act 3.  As we learn to think like God, we can develop the ability to see the genuine truth of all things, and will tap into the power to align our wills and actions to his Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 
 
Cleanliness is next to godliness.

It seems that most of us translate this statement as "cleanliness is a form of godliness".

Well, maybe.  Maybe not.  

CLEANLINESSnoun

1. Freedom from dirt, filth, or any foul, extraneous matter.

2. Neatness of person or dress; purity.
(1828 Noah Webster's Dictionary)



Cleanliness and order can be synonymous, and 'order' can be defined as 'priorities'.  Proper priorities are definitely a form of godliness: sometimes 'proper priorities' means leaving a mess behind so I can focus on my children, or my neighbors, or my husband (not necessarily in that order).  And usually proper priorities means cleaning the SLOW way by teaching my children to do it.  It's easier, and cleaner much sooner, if I do it myself, but one of my God-given jobs is to train them.

In other words, I often have to choose between being godly and having cleanliness; and 

cleanliness is 

NEXT TO 

godliness.


 
 
Picture
"The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth", 1914, Jennie A. Brownscombe, public domain
First, a bit of trivia:  
Did you know? While pumpkins were certainly a part of the first feast of thanks-giving,  they were usually roasted or stewed.  And eaten very, very often!

For pottage and puddings and custards and pies
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies,
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon."


Pilgrim verse, circa 1633
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Please take some time this week to gather your children, grandchildren, neighbors, or whomever you care about, and teach them of our nation's heritage of gratitude.  Some great resources are below, including what George Washington said in his Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving.  Each generation must learn this, or it dies out, leaving a gaping hole that entitlement and selfishness rush in to fill.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.
— Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC-43 BC), Pro Plancio (54 BC)




The following is from the Providence Foundation's Nov. 2013 newsletter.  (Thank you to them!)

Celebrating Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an uniquely American holiday. We have been giving thanks to God in private and public from the foundation of the nation. In fact, governments regularly issued official days of Prayer and Thanksgiving from the planting of the first colonies up until the present. Over 1400 Days of Prayer, Thanksgiving, and Fasting were proclaimed by colonial, state, and national governments from 1620-1815, and hundreds more have been issued since then.  

A few items to help you remember and pass on our heritage of thanking God include:

Why We Celebrate Thanksgiving

You can use this article to share with your family the origins of Thanksgiving Day.

Some Early Government Thanksgiving Proclamations

1.       President George Washington, Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 26, 1789

2.       Governor Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Thanksgiving Proclamation, December 9, 1779

3.       Proclamation for a Public Thanksgiving, New Hampshire, December 10, 1778

4.       Proclamation for Thanksgiving Day, Continental Congress, December 18, 1777
Issued during the American Revolutionary War by the Continental Congress, this was the first national Thanksgiving Day in America. The explanation of the proclamation is from W. DeLoss Love, The Fast and Thanksgiving Days of New England (1895). Love lists over 1400 days of prayer and fasting and prayer and thanksgiving observed by civil governments (colonial, state, and national) from 1620-1815.

5.       Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, Massachusetts, June 29, 1676
On June 20, 1676, the Council of Massachusetts appointed June 29 as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, in response to the colonists’ victory in King Philip’s War. The broadside of this proclamation is the earliest printed thanksgiving broadside known. At the top is the seal of Massachusetts, which shows an Indian speaking the words, “Come Over and Help Us.”

 
 
I began homeschooling January 2013, starting with just one child, a fifth-grader.   I'll maybe write more about what started that, another time.  This school year I have three children staying at home to learn, from Kindergarten through sixth grade. 

We've started out our homeschool year by starting at what we know as the 'beginning'- the premortal existence, which gives context and purpose to everything from that point on:

Where did we come from?
Why are we here?
Where are we going?

The book of Genesis starts with "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth". This coming week we'll cover what is known here as "in the beginning" which is different than what's above, the latter being the beginning of mortal life here.  The book of Moses not only talks about what Genesis does, but also shows some of what was before, "worlds without number".

So far I've taught what we know of pre-mortality, the Plan of Salvation, the War in Heaven, and the universe and galaxies (this coming week will be the solar system as part of this earth's Creation)- and I found some absolutely stunning things to teach with.  You will be amazed!  My 11-year-old cried as she watched and told me that the Holy Ghost was telling her this is true.   Here are links:

I Am A Son of God (Moses' vision of the earth and everything in it)

The Hubble Deep Field: The Most Important Image Ever Taken

The Scale of Everything

Scriptures I used with these:
 (really, all of Moses chapter 1, and if it's scripture study, eventually the rest of Moses for the second part of his vision)

Moses 1:32-33 (32-35)
Moses 1:37:39
Moses 7:30

We also made glitter galaxies

Have any of you found or used the NASA educational website? As is typical of any information on the Internet, things need carefully reviewed before using them- but there are some pretty great things there.  This week we'll do the "Jump to Jupiter" activity, which will help carry on the idea of better understanding the scale of things (which you get in the videos and links above)
 
 
Upcoming 2014 Utah Legislation-
Ending Compulsory Education

Utah state senator Aaron Osmond has announced that in 2014 he’ll sponsor a bill proposing to end compulsory education in Utah. The announcement got national attention, as Utah would be the first state to have this in a hundred years if it passes.  

There is a bit of panic and a lot of misunderstanding about this. 

“Compulsory education” is not the same as “public education”, and under his proposal, public education would remain solidly in place.  What would change is the parents’ ability to determine what is best for their child, would give teachers more respect by not forcing those who don’t want to be there on them, and would return the role of the state as a supporter of the family—the basic unit of society-- rather than the current view of the family being the supporter of the state. 

The principle involved here is whether or not we will allow parents to make decisions based on their own projected outcomes, or whether they’ll be compelled to do what bureaucrats think best for their children.  I believe the purpose of life is for each person to learn from their own choices and learning and the consequences that naturally follow.  We are much less likely to learn –or value the chance to learn- when we’re forced into anything.  Our current system’s promise is that every person will turn out to be ‘educated’, without regard to individual preference, agency, or voluntary dedication.  They fail, as they must.

I have children in public school, in a charter school, and homeschool.  Even though I’m ‘allowed’ to homeschool, the state requires me to get their permission to take care of my own children’s education, to promise to have them in ‘school’ for a certain number of hours and days, and to teach them the same topics the state Board of Education determined were most necessary.  This is wrong for a few reasons. 

  • Do individuals and families exist to serve the state, or does the state exist to protect natural rights of individuals and families?  
  • My children, not having to compete for attention with 30 other students in a class, can get their work done in fewer hours.  
  • There are multiple reasons for education- and the UBOE’s objectives are not the same as mine.
  • There’s never enough time to get everything done that anyone would like; I want to spend the limited time with my children teaching them things I think most important in helping them be hardworking, loving, responsible people who search for wisdom and reach out to others on their own initiative.

Before acting on your fears that Utah will suddenly be a hotbed of juvenile delinquents and welfare recipients if this law passes, please research the history of compulsory education and what the alternatives yield.  Some good places to start are (please at least watch the video! the same one as embedded above):

________________________________________________________________________
In addition, this will help relieve the huge financial burden that comes with our local student population predicted to double over the next 15-20 years.

  According to http://boostup.org we currently have a 24% dropout rate in Utah. I think that this will not change much when ending compulsory education.  Others are worried that some parents are lazy and will not have their children attend- but I believe these parents are highly motivated to have the children at school where others take care of them and leave the parents with free time during the day. 

What about those who worry that children not educated at a school (home-schooled) will end up on the welfare rolls?

Look at the track record of those who ARE in public education!  Two years ago (2011) we had about 32 million households who receive means-tested government assistance like school lunches, Medicaid, and food stamps, and 49% of American household have at least one member who receive some sort of government assistance.  And the numbers continue to climb.  We have a government that discourages personal initiative and effort, and protects us from the natural consequences of our actions, which would yield growth, understanding, and drive.

Here's something else that Oak (the guy from the vid above) has said:
"Why don't parents parent? Because once the state takes that authority from a parent, they are absolved of responsibility. If you want parents to parent again, give them back the authority and responsibility so they are empowered. If their child doesn't want to go to school, it's not the state's job to call the child a criminal and force him/her to school, it's then the parent's job to teach the child (perhaps with the help of concerned family and neighbors) the value of an education. If the child doesn't see the value, he/she won't learn. You can't teach someone who refuses to learn and you only hinder those who are there to learn. Removing compulsory education will help children become self-motivated just like we expect of them in college. It's not going to introduce child labor and sweat shops. It's going to open up new paths in education as educators innovate to provide a reason for those children to be in school."

 “Many people want the government to protect the consumer.  A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.” –Milton Friedman

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." — James Madison

In the War in Heaven, some were willing to trade their agency to choose, for promises of security. Christ’s plan is for agency, personal effort, and learning from natural consequences-- the path that leads to personal, meaningful growth; Satan’s plan is of control and coercion.

"We must be careful that we are not led to accept or support in any way any organization, cause or measure which, in its remotest effect, would jeopardize free agency, whether it be in politics, government, religion, employment, education, or any other field. It is not enough for us to be sincere in what we support. We must be right!” -Marion G. Romney


Summary of my thoughts- I see this as an issue of whether the parents or the state is the ultimate authority over each child, and also as a perfect example of the continuation of the War in Heaven. In addition, scaling back the arm of government to its proper role here will have cost benefits.

 
 
The video above is collaboration from several faith groups- to everyone who has a mother, is a mother, or who simply 'mothers' others!

For Mothers' Day, my Primary counselors and I compiled some things from Primary this last year, below.  I hope you enjoy them!
_____________
Overheard in our Primary:

v  In the opening prayer on February 3:  “and please bless the Superbowl.”

v  “Choose the person with the blue shirt and the purple & black tie!” (said the boy with the blue shirt and the purple & black tie).

v  Family rules they’ve volunteered:  “No jumping on the bed” (then four others exclaimed, “Hey, that’s a rule at my house, too!”), “Laugh a lot”, “No dropping food on the floor for the dog”,  “Don’t run through the house and scare the cat.”,  “No wasting time”.

v  “I know my mom and dad love me ‘cause they play Monopoly with me even though they hate it”

v  “Why are you so old?”  (When Crystal told the children she might not always remember their names because she’s old.)

v  On a counselor's first Sunday in the presidency, one boy offered, “Smell my feet.  No, really, smell my feet!”

v  During a lesson on praying:  “Yeah, you can send smoke signals too because they go up to heaven.”

v  “But I don’t want to be a cow!”  (assigning roles for the Nativity)

v  Right after saying the prayer in Opening Exercises:  “That was fun!  Can I do it again?”
                           
-  -    -    -    -    -    -

The children have been writing down ways that they know Heavenly Father loves them and watches over them- come see our bulletin board! It’s covered with these paper hearts.  Here’s what some of them say:

v  He helped me…

…be thankful for my presents…

…feel better when I crashed

…be OK with having to pick up dog poop

…find my special pen

… be kind at my birthday party

… pray and be good so I won’t get mad

v  He comforted me when I was locked out of the house this weekend

v  He answers my prayers- my aunt was safe in surgery

v  We can be resurrected too

v  He created me

v  I’ll get to see my fish again

v  Jesus will come back

v  He watches over my cousin on a mission

v  I can live with Heavenly Father again

v  He gave me my baby sister

v  My hermit crabs

v  He helped my mom when she lost her finger

v  Having...   …a sun   …my teacher  …my family   …missionaries   …my pets   …life   …Jesus

Happy Mothers’ Day!




 
 
Tonight I stood in the kitchen with my 10-year-old daughter; I kneaded bread rhythmically on the counter while she prepared pumpkin for the first time, scooping out seeds, cutting carefully into cubes to be steamed.  We had music playing in the corner, Handel's masterpiece "Messiah" emanating from a  pink Barbie CD player.   Nevermind that my daughter was in charge of the pumpkin because she'd poked holes in it with a pencil (a smiley face, but now it wouldn't store through the winter) or that it was 11pm and both of us would have liked to been asleep.  Some days the schedule just goes out the window.  But as I showed her what to do - and not do!- then watched while she eagerly and carefully cut the pumpkin- I had the feeling I think every mother gets every now and again.  The feeling that this  is what life is about.  Joy in learning.  Joy in being with family.  Joy in seeing abilities and confidence bloom in someone you love.  Joy in working together, in passing skills on to the next generation, and in helping them see the results of honest effort.  Joy in beautiful music and gratitude for those who created such uplifting works.  Joy in my Savior, his life and example.    
Joy to the world!  -for all these joys are available to everyone to some degree.
If you'd like to hear the whole Messiah- which is the best way to hear and understand its message- here you go.
Notice the music above is over two hours long... it's the entire work.  Handel wrote this in only 24 days- hundreds of pages of music for choir and instruments. It was written to help the listeners understand more about Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  The lyrics are taken directly from the Old and New Testament, and go through His life, from before his birth, clear through his sufferings, Atonement, resurrection, and glory.  A good, short video giving some of the background can be found here, or see a fantastic blog post here.  I love to feel the power of the music and the message.    At one point while this music was being composed, a friend came to visit and found Handel sobbing with emotion after writing the Hallelujah chorus. Handel is quoted as saying "I did think I did see all heaven before me and the great God himself."   It is customary to stand while that chorus is sung... but did you know the chorus is referring to Christ's Second Coming?  The scriptures this chorus comes from are Revelations 19:6, 16, and 11:15.  It, like the "Christmas" song Joy To the World (which Handel wrote the music for), are really a celebration of the future day when Christ rules as the righteous King of kings. (You can read more about the background of the custom of standing here.)
  He signed the work "S.D.G":  Soli Deo gloria, or "glory to God alone".

Most people claim the best-known bit, the "Hallelujah Chorus", as their favorite, but the two below are my favorites.
 
 
Picture
Cute as a button!  My mother-in-law sent this today.  As far as I could find on the Internet, the source is unknown.

 WHY GOD MADE MOMS
Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house...
3. To help us out of “there” when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of a little girl was your mom?
1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs?

Why did your mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else.
3. My grandma says that mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms and dads?
1. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them...
2. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friends.
3. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?
1. Moms don't have spare time.
2. She pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.
 
 
When looking for the "Cookie and a Kiss" poem I posted last week, I ran across some excellent, related, prose.  Considering that this week is  our ward's annual "Primary Program" and I'm in charge of it, and that I'm trying to get my cookbook file sent to the publisher, here's an easy post: a list of the 'recipes' I loved:
Picture
Recipe For Preserving Children


1 large grassy field
1/2 dozen children
2 or 3 puppies
1 brook, and some pebbles

Into the field pour the children and puppies allowing to mix well. Pour brook over the pebbles until slightly frothy, into which all are dipped at regular intervals.
When children are nicely browned, soak in a warm bath. When dry, serve with milk and fresh baked gingerbread. 
-Author unknown
__________________________
Best Cake

1 heaping portion of true love
1 heaping cup of perfect trust and confidence
1 heaping cup of tenderness (the most tender available)
1 heaping cup of good humour (a little extra won't hurt)
1 tablespoon of good spirits (the more spirited the better)

Blend with:
1 heaping cup of unselfishness
a dash of interest in all He does

Add:
1 good helping of work - to avoid this would spoil the flavour.

Mix all ingredients with a pint of sympathy and understanding combined. Flavour with loving companionship. Bake well all of your life. Frost with kisses, fond hopes and tender words.

This cake keeps well and should be served often.

_________________________
Recipe for Happiness:

Take a cup of kindness
Add a dash of charity
Mix with understanding
And a bit of courtesy
Top it off with patience
Sprinkle liberally with cheer
Serve generously to everyone
You meet throughout the year
-Author Unknown
__________________________

A housewife, no matter how big the family is can always find some time to be alone....by doing the dishes.
__________________________
Images of a Mother

4 years of age:
My mommy can do everything!
8 years of age:
My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!
12 years of age:
My Mother doesn't really know everything.
14 years of age:
Naturally, Mother doesn't know that, either.
16 years of age:
Mother? She's hopelessly old-fashioned.
18 years of age:
That old woman? She's way out of date!
25 years of age:
Well, she might know a little bit about it.
35 years of age:
~ Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.
45 years of age:
~ Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?
65 years of age:
~ Wish I could talk it over with Mom...

~Author Unknown~