Farnsworth Sisters

Jill

Is the Sacrifice Great Enough?

This summer during a family scripture study, the story of the 2,000 stripling warriors was brought up.  During the course of the conversation, it struck me that the 2,000 warriors were kept safe in battle because of the sacrifice of their parents.

The parents of the warriors were at one time, Lamanites living in a culture of wicked traditions.  But when they heard the gospel, they changed and came to the Lord with their whole heart.  They gave up the wicked traditions of their fathers, they left their homes and land to go live with the people of God, many gave their lives when the Lamanites chased after them and slaughtered many of them in war, and they buried their sins deep in the ground, made covenants with the Lord, they never unburied or broke their covenants, and they taught their children the gospel, some as single parents from the slaughter of the men in the war.

Heavenly Father was so pleased and accepting of their sacrifice, that when their young sons went out to defend and protect their families and homes in war, God’s power and protection went with them. The sacrifice of the parents was a protection upon their children.

I have benefitted from a similar sacrifice.  My ancestors were early members of the church, and their sacrifice sounds very similar to that of the people of Ammon.  They were taught the gospel in far away lands, and when they heard it, they changed and came to the Lord with their whole heart.  They gave up the wicked traditions of their fathers, they left their home and countries to go and live with the people of God, with faith in every footstep they journeyed to the place God wanted them to be, many gave their lives on that journey and through severe persecution by others, they made covenants with the Lord, they never broke those covenants, and they taught their children the gospel, some as single parents from the sacrifice of the journey and persecution.

Heavenly Father was so please and accepting of their sacrifice, that when their children and grandchildren were born into this world, God’s power and protection went with us.  The sacrifice of my grandparents is a protection upon me.  I have felt their legacy of love and faith protect me in this life.

Sister Julie Beck said, “Children are being born into a world where they “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).”

I believe it!  I feel it!  I see it!

I would sacrifice anything to give my children and grandchildren the power and protection of God!

So what can I sacrifice?  There did seem to be a pattern in the people of Ammon and the early pioneers of the church-maybe I should start there- Have I given up the wicked tradition of my fathers and the wicked traditions of the world?

With faith in every footstep, am I journeying to a place where God wants me to be- physically                                                       and spiritually?

Am I giving my life to the Lord, in spite of persecution from family, friends, and society?

Am I making and holding fast to the covenants I have made with God?

Am I burying my sins?

Am I teaching my children the gospel through word and deed and is that teaching permeating                                                     every aspect of our lives?

Am I turning myself and my children to the Lord even in circumstances that are difficult?

And I also know there is a personal element to the sacrifice.  Somethings that will only be felt as I humbly kneel in prayer and listen to the suggestions of my loving Father in Heaven.

These sacrifices by parents are not a magical spell that fall upon unsuspecting children.  They are deliberate physical and spiritual actions that are given by parents out of love for God and for their children. These sacrifices will be burned into the hearts and minds of the children and turn them to God.  Could this be why the stripling warriors were exactly obedient?  Could this be why the children of the pioneers had the faith and strength to built temples and cities in the mountains and deserts?  And because of this faith and love, Heavenly Father will pour down His power and protection upon the children as a blessing and acceptance of the sacrifice of the parents.

 

 

 

The Leaving Begins

Why is the leaving so painful?  From the first child going to kindergarten to the last child going to college- I don’t think it gets any easier.  Is it so painful because they will be gone, or because I instantly and clearly can see all of the things I did wrong or missed teaching and loving during my time with my child?

Even when you are pregnant and you have a baby leave you during labor, it is painful.  But it all  gets better after the leaving is over– you get to start a whole new experience filled with challenges and love.  And it is always worth every moment of the pain.

When Dad left us, I kept thinking of the familiar story that he told of when Mom and Dad took Beth to BYU for the first time.  After getting her all settled in her dorm, they drove away.  A few blocks down the road, they pulled over and cried.  They knew this was the beginning of their close family group leaving. That is one of the feelings I had when Dad died.  And I wondered how I could say goodbye to someone I loved that much and I wouldn’t see for 60 or more years.  It was too long and too much pain.  So I never said goodbye.  A few weeks ago I was in the temple and I remembered that question- how do I say goodbye to someone for 60 years?  But for some reason that day in the temple, 60 years seemed like just a small moment and I knew I could make it.

So as the leaving begins from our home, I hope I can remember those few things.  It gets better on the other side of the leaving.  We have eternity to be together.  And it is worth every tear that falls just for the chance to be their mom.

World’s Happiest People- Moms!

A few weeks ago I heard a story on the news that said that a new study found that couples without children were happier than couples with children.  This caught my attention, so I looked up the study.  What the headlines didn’t tell you was that in the same study, they also found that out of all groups of people, mothers were the most happy and content with their lives.

This seems a little contradictory, but what society and science cannot understand and explain, mothers can.  Its not that mothers weren’t happy before, it’s that after having a child, their definition of happiness changes.

Happiness isn’t staying up all night partying with friends.

Happiness becomes staying up all night with the warmth of a feverish child laying on your shoulder, and sometime in the darkness hearing a little voice say, “I love you”.

Happiness isn’t getting all geared up to go to the gym and sweat for a few hours.

Happiness becomes filling up a stroller with a half eaten loaf of bread, a sippy cup, a cup of fishies, baby wipes and diapers, a blanket, and oh yeah, a toddler and jogging until the toddler calls out a word that you can understand! “Duck quack, quack!”  Then trying to let your toddler toss the pieces of bread out to the ducks without falling in the pond!

The definition of happiness changes.

The happiness that comes in the moments as a mother is not skin deep.  It is happiness that soaks into your soul and is as deep as your DNA.

It is the kind of happiness that when felt and recognized, inspires, and empowers mothers to raise the next generation to greatness, one child at a time.

One inspired and empowered mother is Sonya Carson.  She was born into poverty, had to quit school in 3rd grade, and was married at age 13.  Then she had two sons, Curtis and Ben and her definition of happiness changed.  Although her husband left the family, and she had to raise her boys alone, she did whatever it took.  She worked 3 -4 jobs at once.  She put her boys in the best schools she could.  And as her boys grew, she paid attention to their grades and school work.  Because of the many hours she worked, she didn’t see her boys much after school.  She didn’t want them just hanging out with friends after school.  So along with their homework, she required them to do math facts everyday.  Sonya also required them to read two books each week and give her written book reports of the books at the end of the week.  And although she could not read herself, she would take their book reports and mark them up with pen, and then give them back to her sons- so that they would not know that she couldn’t read.

This inspired mothering opened the world to her boys.  They began to love to read and learn and they became the top in their classes.  With a lot of hard work, her son Ben became Dr. Ben Carson, John Hopkins director of pediatric neurosurgery at age 33.  He is not only world famous for his medical skills, but also for the thousands of young people he has helped with scholarships.  He has authored many books, spoken around the world, and motivated students and people everywhere to become better.

Sonya Carson is an inspired and empowered mother, that raised the next generation to greatness, one child at a time.

The happiness that a mother feels as she looks into the eyes of her child does not distinguish between economic status, skin color, nationality, or educational background.  And when this true happiness is felt, recognized, and acted upon, an inspired and empowered mother begins in her own individual way, unique to her own circumstances, to raise the next generation to greatness, one child at a time.

I feel blessed and humbled to be a part of the world’s happiest group of people, mothers.

What Christian Parents Need to Know About Pornography

Pornography does not affect only Christians.  In fact, every one in our communities will on some level feel the effects from pornography.  But recently, as I was visiting with a Christian pastor about the devastating, lifelong consequences of pornography use, he asked me to write an article that he could send out. This is the article:

Everyday I wake up and jump into the routine of getting my children ready to go out into the world.  I begin by making lunches for my children to take to school. I use organic peanut butter on 100% whole wheat bread with all fruit preserves.  I wash the organic strawberries.  I grab a handful of whole grain pita chips- baked, not fried, and put with them some hummus for dip.  For a little treat I add some dark chocolate covered pretzels.  Then I gently (I don’t want to bruise the strawberries) put all of the food in a BPA-free lunch box.

After tying the children’s close-toed shoes with the orthotics in them and slipping a backpack with hand sanitizer attached to it on each child, we head to the car.  Then every child is snuggly buckled into the appropriate buckle… or booster seat…or five-point car seat.

Parents have been called by God to protect their children and prepare their children from the dangers of this world.  And so everyday we strap on the bike helmet tighter and put knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, ankle guards, and smear any remaining exposed skin with sunblock, in order to keep them safe.  Parents do all of this because we love our children and we want with all of our hearts for our children to grow up safely and live happy, successful lives.

But an insidious threat to our children’s happy and successful future has quietly invaded our homes, schools, and even the devices we carry in our hands.  Pornography is not only a real physical danger; it is an emotional, mental, and spiritual danger.  The plague of pornography that has engulfed our families has devastating, lifelong consequences. It is critical and urgent that we address this in our homes, communities, schools, and churches if our children are going to grow up safely and live happy and successful lives.

In the past, pornography was viewed as a bad, embarrassing habit, but something that really didn’t hurt the viewer or others around.  Boys will be boys, right?

Now mental, medical, and social science have proven those attitudes are dangerously wrong.  And we are reaping consequences all around.  Families are crumbling.  Divorce rates are high and the new generations interest in marriage and family is low.  Young people are moving away from God at alarming rates.

The battle for our children’s safety and happiness is taking place in a technological world, and their brains are the battleground.

The time has come for parents to strap their children into another kind of protective gear.   This gear is described by Paul in Ephesians, “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood…but against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”[i]

When our children are armed with truth and righteousness, they are ready to conquer the battle of pornography.

Here are 5 simple truths about pornography that will give you and your children power on the battlefield.

  1. Pornography is everywhere– posters in the mall, commercials on TV, mainstream TV shows, music videos, cable, video games, movies, books, magazines, schools, churches, homes, and even in the devices we let our children carry in their hands.  In fact, there is so much pornography that if a young child began looking at a new pornographic web page every 10 seconds, he would be almost 200 years old before he would finish looking at all of them.[ii]
  2. Pornography is available to everyone and targeted especially to children.  The multi-billion dollar pornography industry uses every tactic it can to trick, lure, and trap children into looking at pornography.  Pop-up windows, web addresses that are closely linked to popular child websites, elicit cartoon and video games, advertising on game sites, are just a few ways that they are directly targeting your child.  The average age a child sees pornography is 11 years old, and that is a conservative estimate.  There is almost no barrier between a child and pornography.  If a child can tap a screen or click a mouse, she can access vile and dangerous content.
  3. Pornography is as addictive as a hard drug and harder to quit.  University of Pennsylvania Mental Heath Department says: “Porn is one of the most concerning things to the psychological health of the human being existing today.  Pornography addicts have a more difficult time recovering from their addiction than cocaine addicts since coke users can get the drug out of their system but pornographic images stay in your brain forever… The internet is a perfect delivery system because you are anonymous, aroused, and have role models for these behaviors.   Thus it’s the perfect delivery system if you want to have a whole generation of young addicts who will never get the drug out of their mind.”[iii]
  4. Pornography physically changes and damages the brain.  As children look at pornography, their brains create and release chemicals that give them the same kind of high as a drug.  The behavior is rewarded on a chemical level, causing them to want more, even though they instinctively know that it is not good for them.  Pathways in the brain are formed and cemented due to the powerful emotional and physical reaction to pornography.  As the addiction progresses, the frontal lobe of the brain shrinks.  The child then has damaged the reasoning, cautionary, and stabilizing part of the brain.  Pornography literally changes the structure of the brain and affects a child’s ability to reason.[iv]
  5. Pornography desensitizes and objectifies women causing serious problems in real life relationships.  Social science from the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia, give us some of the shocking effects of viewing pornography.  Here’s just a few:  decreased sensitivity toward women- showing more aggression, rudeness and lack of respect toward them; increase risk of becoming sexually abusive to others; decrease desire to marry and have a family; increase risk of cheating on your spouse; increase risk of separation and divorce if you are married; increase risk of being fired from your job.[v]

Technology can seem daunting sometimes.  But the battle for your child’s mind and spirit are raging everyday.  Are you going to sit by the side and send your child off to battle without being armed?

Remember Gideon, a man who was called by God (much like a parent) to lead an army into battle. The Lord wanted to show His might and power through Gideon and his army, so he told Gideon to make his army smaller by sending those soldiers who were afraid home.  22,000 soldiers left.  Then God put the remaining 10,000 to a test.  He instructed Gideon to take them to the river to get a drink.  Any soldier that bent down and drank the water like a dog was sent home.  Any soldier that bowed on his knees to drink was sent home.  But those soldiers who remained completely alert and aware of their surrounding at all times, by bringing the water up to their mouths, were the 300 soldiers the Lord used to win the battle.[vi]

Being “completely alert” as a parent in the digital age takes effort and time and energy.  It means learning new technology before you give it to your children.  It means having constant and strong conversations about what pornography is, where it is, and the consequences of pornography with our children.  It means checking and rechecking social media, texts, and images your kids are sending and receiving.  It means reading, learning, and making a plan with your children about what to do when they see pornography, because it isn’t if, it is when.  It means finding parental control software and using it on your computers and mobile devices.  It means taking computers, smart phones, TVs, video games out of bedrooms. It means all of these things and more.  God will tell you what “more” means to you and your children as you pray and diligently try to help them put on the whole armor of God.  Remember, those who were completely alert, won the battle.

All of this might seem overwhelming, but remember, we are the parents that conquered, pesticides, high fructose corn syrup, and BPA in plastic.  We know the right SPF level of sunscreen for each child; even our pets are hypo-allergenic.  And with God’s help, we can become families that conquer pornography.


[i] Bible, King James Version, Ephesians 6:11-17

[ii] J.C. Manning, “What’s the Big Deal About Pornography?” 20

[iii] Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2004/11/65772

[iv] D. L. Hilton Jr., “He Restoreth My Soul,” 49-72

[v] J.C. Manning “What’s the Big Deal About Pornography?” 39-41

[vi] Bible, King James Version, Judges 7

Empty Jars

 

images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wish I could have taken empty jars and scooped up the feeling that was thick in Mom and Dad’s house the last three weeks of Dad’s life.

I would tighten the lid on each jar, tie a beautiful ribbon on carefully, and then give them as wedding gifts.  Each jar would also have a note attached.  This is what it would say:

“Congratulations on your wedding.  You are at the very beginning.  When you open this jar, you will feel what it feels like at the very end of your journey; if you:

  • Love God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength
  • Live true to your spouse
  • Preside, provide, protect, and nurture your children
  • Allow people to know of God’s love and God’s plan because of how you treat them.
  • Throw your head back and laugh
  • Have children
  • Pick clover with your kids and then take them to Dairy Queen
  • Ride tandem bikes
  • Plan and participate in rook, shuffleboard, horseshoe, softball and other great competitions
  • Start Christmas music the day after Halloween – or a few weeks before Halloween
  • If you fall down, pick yourself up, count your blessings, and try again
  • Pursue a steady course
  • Do good— clothe the naked,  feed the hungry,  liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted
  • Sing with your dog
  • Be grateful
  • Adore your grandchildren
  • Be a doer of the word
  • Pray like everything depends on the Lord and then get to work
  • Share love, testimony, wisdom, support, money, and friendship
  • Be humble and repent
  • Teach your kids the gospel, how to work, to love each other, and how to throw a ball
  • Follow through and follow up
  • Fight for the underdog
  • Stand in holy places
  • Be converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Love the scriptures
  • Get involved with good causes that help the community, country, and the world
  • Stay committed to your spouse through heartache, adversity, and conflict
  • Be with your family
  • Sing your way home
  • Do the best you can and trust God

Open this lid when you need a reminder of what is real and what really matters.  Open when you have nothing left to give.  Open when your heart is broken.  Open when you want to quit.  Remember, the feeling in this jar isn’t the reward for a perfect life.  It is the love that comes from a lifetime of pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ and faith in the Great Plan of Happiness, a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.”

Then I would save a jar for me and for each of my children.

To feel the end from the beginning is sacred.  Thanks Dad and Mom

IMG_3556

How old is Papa?

>

Dad’s Birthday

We are born one fine day, children of God on our way

Mama smiles daddy cries

Miracle before their eyes, they protect us ’til we’re of age

Through it all love remains

 

Boy moves on, takes a bride, she stands faithful by his side

Tears and sweat they build a home

Raise a family of their own, they share joy they share pain

Through it all love remains

 

Kingdoms come and go they don’t last

Before you know the future is the past

In spite of what’s been lost or what’s been gained

We are living proof, love remains

 

I don’t know baby what I’d do, on this earth without you

We all live we all die but the end is not goodbye

The sun comes up, and seasons change

But through it all, love remains

 

An eternal burning flame

Hope lives on, and love remains

“What I Have Written I Have Written”

Because it is Easter, I want to share my love of Jesus.

I hope these words will always motivate every action of my life and not just hang lifeless on a blog…

The things I write here I know through experience, mistakes, prayer, study, and the Holy Ghost.

  • I know that Jesus Christ came into this world as a baby and that His Father was so happy about His birth that he announced it with a new star in the sky.
  • I know that as Jesus grew, He became the man His Father wanted Him to be.  I know that He didn’t give into sin.
  • I know that Jesus loves the little children.  I have felt that love in my own home with my own children.
  • I know that although I can’t understand it, my brother, Jesus atoned for my sins, died, and was resurrected so I could be as well.  I know He did it because He loved me.  I have felt Christ’s love and it has changed me.  I can get a tiny glimpse of This love when I help any of God’s children.
  • I know that the atonement relieves my pain and sadness as well paying for my pride and sin.
  • I know that the only thing that will give me lasting peace and happiness and now and forever is if I repent and turn my heart to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ on a daily basis.  My personal relationship with Them gives the rest of my life meaning and happiness.
  • I know that I have to seek, search the scriptures, desire, ponder and work to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father.  But the reward is eternal.
  • I know that because Jesus atoned for my sins, I can make covenants with God.  I know when I actively live these covenants they give me power and bless my life and my children’s life everyday.
  • I know that forgiveness is another beautiful blessing made possible through Christ’s atonement.
  • I am eternally thankful that Jesus Christ is risen!

Thank You, Sister Julie B. Beck

As I listened to Pres. Uchtdorf release Sister Beck, I couldn’t help a tear from falling.  I just had to say thanks – somewhere.

Sister Beck did a marvelous work in bringing the worldwide Relief Society as a whole to the place it is now: an organization with history, covenants, clear goals, understanding, expectation, and vision.

Sister Beck reminded the world of the divinity and power that comes from motherhood.

Sister Beck ensured that the doctrine of the family is a central part of what we are teaching our youth.

Sister Beck reminded us of the importance of the priesthood and that we need to work with the power of God in our calling as women.

Sister Beck called for the women of the world to fight against pornography in their homes and communities.

Sister Beck did much more than I can list.  But what I appreciate most from her during the 5 years she served, was the personal insight, knowledge, and guidance that I felt as I listened to her speak and studied her words.  I was always touched by the Spirit as I listened to her and that Spirit helped me change things about myself and the way I fulfill my covenants and divine callings.  Even as I was reviewing some of her talks right now, I was taught by the Spirit and giving guidance.

In Alma 17:2-3, the lives and teaching ability of the sons of Mosiah is described.  I think it describes Sister Beck.

“…and (she) had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for (she was a woman) of a sound understanding and (she) had bsearched the scriptures diligently, that (she) might know the word of God.

3 But this is not all; (she) had given (herself) to much prayer, and afasting; therefore (she) had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when (she) taught, (she) taught withbpower and authority of God.”

I am so grateful for the eternal impact Sister Beck’s faith and teachings have had on my life.

Here are a few of her landmark quotes.  I only put two because I could put 2 because there were way too many for me to go on.

“Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power.”

“The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.”

Here is a link to her talks and articles.

Remember to search for her BYU Womens Conference talks too.  They are outstanding.

 

Top 10 for the Family in 2011

10. 8 new babies born, including a family first – twins! Emma Asbhy, Eliza King, Autumn Stubblefield, Lincoln Coons, Penny Turk, Walker Watts, Sawyer and Piper Ainge (please forgive me if I’ve missed anyone – just add them!)

9.  Weddings! Mikey and Jordan, Little Joe and Jessica, Brad and Emma.

8.  Cannon Jake Collins and Riley Farnsworth returned from their missions.

7.  Back to school for La Mesita! Thanks Amy!

8.  Zach received his mission call to Jaoa Peso Brazil mission and is now serving there.

7.  Veva’s powertap girls went to Nationals and were champs!

6.  Mom and Dad hosted the successful and loved teenage manners dinner.

5.  The Junior Suns beat out the Toros again this year – sorry Rock!

4.  Another great Thanksgiving- thanks Gurrs!

3.  Mom made her 9,349,211th cookie this year, and if you stop by she has 2,303,544 in the freezer!

2.  Dad turned 80 years old and had few small parties.

1. Dad enjoyed Christmas Eve and Christmas in the hospital – can’t we take a hint, he is tired of the talent show…!                                                                                                          We are thankful Dad is home now and ready to enjoy 2012!!  Happy New Year!