Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Simple Living - Dream

(I just bought a fabulous collection of e-books called "The Ultimate Homemaking e-book Bundle."  The books cover all aspects of the home, from cooking to parenting to marriage to budgeting to beauty to the home.  One of the first books I've cracked open is called "Simple Living" and I'm going to try and go through, lesson by lesson, in an effort to embrace a little bit more simple living.  The book encourages the reader to journal their thoughts, and so I figured this would be a great place to record my feelings as I turn inward and uncover my own thoughts about home, cleaning, possessions, and simple living.)

Simple Living - Lesson 1 - Dream

What do you want your house to look like?
I want my house to have an open, airy feeling.  I like lots of light, open spaces, and as few things as possible in each room.  I want art and decorations on the walls that are meaningful to our family.

What do you want your schedule to look like?
I want lots of time (when the weather is good) for outdoor play and physical activity.  I want to leave time for hiking and biking.  I want to commit to no more than one scheduled activity per child, and no more than two per day.  I want to leave time for meeting with friends and connecting instead of rushing from one thing to the next.

What about your emotional and physical health?
I want to dedicate naptime every afternoon to scripture study and a short nap for myself, if I need it.  I want to commit to kayaking once a week during the summer.  I want to teach the boys to hike/bike longer distances.  I want to bike or walk to as many things as I possibly can and leave the van at home.

What are things you wish you had more time for?
I want to jump start some writing projects I've had simmering for a while.  I want to play a musical instrument once a day.

What is most important to you?
Acknowledging that as an introvert, I need time alone in order to recharge and meet the needs of my family.  Without those brief moments of silence, I am apt to lose my temper at the constant demands for my attention.

How would you define success in your life?
Balance between the different areas in my life.  Feeling joy throughout the day, even in the seemingly mundane tasks of household chores.

What would you need to do or accomplish to feel successful?
Have a gentle flow to the day that does not rush me from one thing to the next.  Have a creative outlet (through music or writing or photography or digital art).  Be the calm eye of the storm in the middle of the chaos that young children (and accompanying responsibilities) can bring.

Are there people whom you admire?  Why?
I admire K.G.  She is cheerful and positive.  Her home has the feel that I am striving for.  She has a similar family make up to mine and so she inspires me that what I'm after is both possible and achievable.

How big a house do you really want?  Why?  What about location?  How settled down do you want to be?  Whom do you want to be with?
I dream for a property in the country that allows my children a safe place to move about more freely without the confines of a fence.  But I want to be close enough to town that it doesn't feel like a day trip to pop in on a friend.  I do not want a big house where everyone can scatter to separate spaces; I want a space where the fluid movements of everyone intersect with one another.  I want a home that my children will be raised in, and then love to come back to when they have children of their own.

(Some images that inspire me)

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Praying for our children

When we are raised in a particular denomination, I think we get comfortable with certain ways of doing things.  We are used to organ music or a drum kit, dismissing the children from the main service or having them sit with you, hearing a minister preach or congregational members.  There aren't any right ways or wrong ways, just the ways we are used to.  I'm always fascinated with seeing the different ways people worship.  It helps me to keep my own methods of worship from becoming rote, stale, repetitive.

Something I came across a few years ago has really left a deep impression on my heart.  Prayer was always an area I struggled with.  I could easily "say my prayers" at all the right times, and I even knew what a desperate plea was, and the typical "popcorn prayer" of a busy mother.  But I never really understood when I heard people saying they could spend a half hour in prayer.  What on earth are they praying for during all that time?  If I sat in one place for that long, my mind would be sure to wander, and I would simply be trying to fill "x" number of minutes instead of engaging in a real conversation with God.  Prayers, as I had been raised, were prayed from the heart, without any prompts.

Then I came across the idea of praying scripture.  This involves finding verses in the scriptures, promises from God, that you then personalize to yourself, your loved ones, or for whomever you are praying.  Wendy Blight put it this way:

"Hebrews 4:12 tells us that as we pray the Scriptures, we are praying God’s living and active Word into our circumstances and into the lives of our children.  Praying God’s Word is what makes our prayers powerful and effective.  Why?  Because we’re laying God’s promises before Him and and appropriating them for our [loved ones]."

What does this look like?  Here are some examples from Wendy's blog:

Maybe you want your child to know and love God’s Word.
- Hide Your Word in Grayson’s heart so his desire is to please and obey You in all he says and does.  Psalm 119:11
Help Betsy to trust in You with all her heart and lean not on her own understanding and to acknowledge You in all her ways.  Proverbs 3:5-6
Give Tyler wisdom beyond his years, Father, keep him pure by leading him to live according to Your word.  James 1:5, Psalm 119:9
Maybe you want your child to experience the deep love of God.
- Father, penetrate Christina’s heart with Your love, help her to love who You have created her to be, and ensure that she knows how long and wide and high and deep is Your love.  Psalm 139; Ephesians 3:18

Maybe your child needs freedom from anxiety and worry.
- Father, help Maddie to not worry about anything, but instead to pray about everything with a thankful heart.  Help her to understand that it is then that she will experience Your peace that passes all understanding in a way that will guard her heart and mind. Philippians 4:6-7

Maybe your child needs to learn humility.
- Clothe Spencer in humility and teach him to put others first.  Help him to see that it is when he humbles himself that he will be exalted. Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:12-13; Luke 18:14
Maybe your child is fearful.
- Father, teach Ellen to understand that You do not give a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
Maybe your child struggles with despair.
- Father, return to Ellie, the joy of her salvation.  Teach her to say, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it,” no matter what her day may hold.  Psalm 118:24; Psalm 51:12

Monday, 22 April 2013


Juliette has learned her first sign language word: "all done."  This motion is made by holding up your hands and twisting them back and forth at the wrist.  (Again with the wrist action - she loves it!)  So different than the boys, who basically only learned "More" "Food" and"Milk."

She can also pull herself up to standing, and is probably days away from starting to creep around holding onto the furniture.  My guess is that she'll be walking by her first birthday.

I've also pinned down a grain allergy for her.  Everything from baby cereal to oatmeal to Cheerios to crackers to pasta, and even products that have "may contain wheat"warnings even when it isn't an actual ingredient.  Her nose gets stuffy and crusty, her eyes get blocked up with mucus, and she gets severe stomach cramps for about 6 hours.  She even reacted just from putting a piece of cracker in her mouth and sucking for a second, even though she didn't actually eat it.  The doctor will send her at 12 months for an allergy test so we can pin down exactly what it is.

I find it interesting that this discovery comes on the tail of my looking into the Paleo diet.  We didn't end up eliminating grains completely, but we did try to cut down how much we eat.  Now it might be that Juliette has no choice but to eat nothing but fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy.  The "good" thing about it is that she can't even have gluten-free or specialty flour products.  All of people who can't eat wheat try to substitute with expensive and time-consuming alternatives.  In Juliette's case (if the allergy continues) she will simply have to avoid them altogether.

She is still firmly entrenched in the clingy, separation-anxiety stage.  We've tried a babysitter a couple of time but she generally just cries the whole time we're gone.  If I manage to leave her with James, and escape undetected, as soon as I reappear she's waving her hands and starting to fuss for me.  It's endearing and frustrating at the same time.

She still melts everyone's heart that she sees.  Those big blue eyes just twinkle and mesmerize people.  She is such a joy every single day.

Friday, 19 April 2013


Benjamin brought home a little plant from preschool.  They had planted seeds in some dirt in a little plastic cup.  Over the weekend, the seeds had sprouted a 2-inch green stem.  He was so excited, staring at the little plant growing before his very eyes.  Caleb joined him in wonder.

Caleb: I wonder what it will be?  Maybe it will grow into a flower?  Or maybe it will grow into a tomato?
Benjamin: Or maybe it will go into a construction truck!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


Last week I stumbled on a link to a website where Richard and Linda Eyre are self-publishing all their books (30+) online to make them free to anyone who wants to read them.


On their webpage (link here), they talk about why they are doing this, after having published for many years with all the major US publishing companies.  The nuts and bolts of it is that they were able to make a good living off their books, raising their large family, and now they just want to get the helpful parenting/relationship/marriage/life books into the hands of all those who might benefit from them.

They are just starting, and have about 18 books available already.  I loved their "Teaching your Children Values" book, and we use it monthly for our Family Home Evening lessons.  I scanned down the list and couldn't decide where next to start, so I started at the beginning, with "The Discovery of Joy."  Boy, am I glad I did.

Richard Eyre has a really neat philosophy about joy.  But what I really love about the book is that it's a philosophy book written in the form of poetry.  In the forward he wrote that he left lots of blank space on each page so that the reader could "co-author" with him, writing their own notes and ideas in between the lines.  (Doesn't work so well reading online, but just that notion is enough to get your mind rolling and interacting as you read.)

It's not the kind of book you sit and devour in an afternoon, or even a week.  Instead, you take it a few pages at a time, to taste, to ponder, to savour, to reflect.  So this past week I've been reflecting on joy.

When you think of joy (not happiness, but God-gifted joy) as a goal in life, it changes how you look at nearly everything in your day.

Suddenly, nothing in your life retains its original purpose.  Choosing a career isn't about picking something you "love" (thank you "me generation" I was raised in, the "you can be anything you want to be" and the "you can do anything you want to do" mentality.  I think we all fully expected to be actors and pop stars and famous.)  Choosing a career is about how your days are going to be spent, how it will provide for your family, if you will leave the job at an office or bring it home with you, what boundaries it will require you to make, what time commitment it will demand, what sort of people you will pass the days with.  Each of these areas is so important and can bring joy or deplete it.

Parenting isn't about raising your children, it's about joyful moments.  Getting them dressed in the morning isn't a frustrating waste of 10 minutes, it's discovering how your body parts work and how they develop coordination and the feel of material covering your skin and the delight of colours of fabrics to the eye and the smell of soap (or dirt) on your child's skin.

Chores aren't about getting the house clean, it's about hard work, sweat beading on your forehead, muscles tightening from use, working together with a family member to tackle something that takes two, the mental workout of solving a problem, and the pleasant feeling of physical exhaustion at the end of the day.

Scripture study and prayer aren't just daily habits to be established, but a moment to experience the sweet peace and joy bestowed from God.  It's the spirit reaching for something familiar beyond this earth, a time when the physical cares of life are suspended and the longing and hunger we have for something greater than us is fulfilled.


I have thought lately about someone I know who seems to have lived much of their life without joy.  this is not a moment for me to sit in judgement, but just to ponder on what a life lived with joy can be, as opposed to using my agency to make choices that don't bring joy, or times when I don't accept the free gift of joy just waiting for me to take it.  It brings me a sense of urgency to make sure that I'm not making decisions that will rob me of those feelings of peace and joy in which I want my life to be saturated.

I can feel my mind moving toward joy, that natural and unforced movement that means true change within.

Monday, 15 April 2013


I turned to Benjamin, dressed up as Batman and lying in bed, and asked:

"Excuse me Batman, usually my son Benjamin usually sleeps in this bed.  Have you seen him?"

Replied Benjamin, pointing to his costume:

"This might be Batman, but you can see my Benjamin eyes."

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The words came to me

"Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man."  - Doctrine and Covenants 84:85

I had a neat experience in Primary Sharing time today (children's ministry at our church.)  I was teaching the 7-12 year olds about the doctrines Jesus Christ taught during his mortal ministry, and how many of them were lost during the Great Apostasy.  I had already taught the lesson once to the 3-6 year olds, but I always try to challenge the older group a little more, wanting them to search their scripture themselves so that they can see that I'm not speaking my own words, but the Words of God.

I had a great visual aid - a bunch of cardboard bricks each labelled with a different piece of doctrine that was present around 33 AD, contained in either the New or Old Testament.  My plan had been to simply explain the ideas to the younger group, but have the older group look up the bible verses associated with the doctrine.

But I forgot to find the verses and write them down.  I didn't realize I hadn't done it until I was standing in front of those 7-12 year olds.  I didn't panic, but I also didn't change my plan.  I knew I wanted to reinforce to those kids that these ideas were all found in the bible.  So I opened my scriptures, asked for their patience and grace (and help from the other leaders, if necessary!) as I would try to find each verse.

Miraculously, each verse came, without any searching or stumbling.  I would stare down at my labelled bricks, and my eyes would focus on a piece of doctrine, and the associated scripture would jump into my head.  There were 18 concepts, and 18 times the bible verse came to me, clear as day.

For many years I never had a great recall when it came to the scriptures.  I knew all the stories were in there somewhere, but I could never keep them all straight.  I've noticed, however, in the past 5 years or so, things have dramatically changed.  You see, I heard someone say once that if we do the work of putting the scriptures into our minds (ie: reading and studying) then the Holy Spirit will pull them out when we need them.  Now, when I find myself wanting to make a comment in a lesson, or teach something to my children, my mind is flooded with the scriptures I've studied in the past.

Also notable are the 100 verses I memorized in Seminary (early morning scripture study class, taken every school day morning during the high school years.)  I knew those verses like the back of my hand (over 15 years ago now!) and today it was many of those key verses that paired with the gospel doctrine points I was trying to teach.  What a fantastic testimony building experience about the power of scripture study.  I'm so grateful to my ever-faithful Father in Heaven for the beautiful promises he makes and keeps.

Friday, 12 April 2013


This week, I was an organizing rock star.

It all started with some inspiration last weekend to make my days more purposeful.  I remembered a friend who wrote about a Home Organization package she purchased to help organize her life/home/kids.  The one she bought was no longer available, so I started browsing online (thank you Pinterest) to find some other templates out there to use.

Eventually I found a few templates for things I wanted, but then ended up using those to make my own based on what I wanted to see on each page.  Essentially I wanted 4 things:

1) a weekly calendar
2) a meal plan
3) daily chore list
4) birthday list

I have never been so focused and productive with such purpose.

The weekly calendar I printed had the idea of putting priority ideas on the bottom, so you could choose what you wanted to focus on that week.  For example, under "Kids" it said "one on one" "shopping" "homework" and "medical".  This week I circled medical, because I wanted to get the kids in for doctors and dentist appointments.  Under "Household" I circled "organizing."  Under "Marriage" I circled "date night."

You know what?  Every single priority I circled actually became that priority for the week.  And as I filled in my weekly calendar and daily chore/to do list, I made sure all those priorities were covered.  My biggest problem is that I remember everything I need to do at 11pm at night while lying in bed, and completely forget in the chaos of the day.

I was worried when I started out on this project that it would become "busy-work" - something I filled in for the sake of filling it in, and that it wouldn't actually improve my day to day.  Not. At. All.  And bonus: just being organized in my mind helped me be so much more productive during my days.  Meal prep happened before 4:30pm when the kids are usually at my heels, starving.  I organized the basement where clutter had piled up to the point of having to climb over things to get around.  I made those elusive doctor and dentist appointments.  I was caught up on laundry and got to each daily chore. I even booked the babysitter (we missed out last week because I kept remembering at 11pm at night.)

Yes, this week I was an organizing rock star.

(Lest you think I've actually got it all together, I will report back again in a few weeks, if I remember.  Better put that on the calendar...)

Thursday, 11 April 2013

A long walk

My friend and I were talking about diet yesterday, and the different ideas out there.  Most recently we have both been experimenting with cutting back on wheat products in an effort to keep our bodies healthy and combat the gaining of weight.  (She read a book called "Wheat Belly" that had some really interesting viewpoints on our consumption of wheat.)

Both of us have a passion for healthy eating, and she noted her struggle in finding more things to cut out, since neither of our families regularly consume any type of junk or processed foods.  Something I read a while ago jumped into my mind:

"We sit in cars all day to go to work, shop, school, etc.  Then we pay outrageous fees to go to a gym and sit on a stationary bike to exercise."

I'm pretty sure that is one definition of insanity.

Our world has become so reliant on the car that I'm not sure the old adage of "diet and exercise" will ever really help.  Because exercise these days is a specific time set aside in which to use our bodies and muscles.  I'm not even talking about a proper gym membership (because who can afford that these days!)  Our day to day life has been sucked out of all the natural exercise that the bodies of our ancestors used to get, and that I truly believe our bodies need.

Think of their lives: if you wanted to talk to the neighbour, you walked across the farm fields because you couldn't write and email or even make a phone call.  And houses weren't crammed in so close, so it really was a good walk.  When you needed water you had to go and draw it from the well.  Eating required daily farm chores.  The one school was built central to everyone, so that everyone likely had a good walk to get there.

Every single thing involved the use of their body and its different muscles.

I posited, then, that what if we revamped our thinking?  Because we both live near to each other, church is about a 7 minute drive for us.  Or a 20 minute bike ride.  Or a 45 minute walk.  "What if we walked to church?" I asked.  Our boys are up by 6am, which would give us at least 3 hours before we had to leave.  45 minutes of walking is not unreasonable.  And, at one time in history, would not have been thought twice of.  But these days, we drive, because 7 minutes is so much faster.

But so what?  What am I going to do with that saved 38 minutes?  In this day and age, probably not a whole lot of anything that productive.  But a walk would mean enjoying the air, using our legs, conversing with my children.  I don't want to think about it that way.  Instead of feeling like 38 minutes wasted, I want to think about it just another part of our day.

The more I write about it, the better it sounds.  My only regret, as pointed out by my friend, is that the walk is not a very lovely one.  I might be that much more excited about the prospect if I was wandering through a rolling field or green grove of trees.  Sadly the path goes through nothing more than neighbourhoods and industrial buildings.  But I won't let it discourage me!  Be sure to honk if you see me (or better yet, join me!)

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Baseball through the window

Luckily, it wasn't actually a baseball through a window (that's mighty expensive!) but it was the same type of lesson learned for my boys.

A friend and her children were visiting.  While I was preparing dinner, the boys and their friends (aged 5 and 9) were upstairs.  Colin eventually came down, in tears, having gotten hurt.  His next comment was "Mom, you should see what they're doing up there."  James went to investigate and promptly expelled all the kids downstairs.  He murmured to me "They destroyed our bedroom."

After dinner I ventured up.  As I peeled back the layers, I discovered it wasn't too bad.  A mattress that had been leaned up against the wall had been used as a slide, or rather, a ramp that kids were pushed down.  Some picture frames had been thrown to the floor, and I couldn't tell yet if the glass had been shattered.  I peeked around the mattress and discovered a lovely wicker basket had been crushed.

I all but knew it hadn't been the idea of my boys - they aren't yet at the age of this kind of mischief.  But as I washed dishes and pondered over what had happened, I wondered what sort of lesson (if any) needed to be taught.

(I myself was taught an important lesson - I did not jump into the pool of accusation too quickly, but rather gave myself a good couple of hours to appropriately think about what had happened, what role my boys played, and what consequences, if any, should be meted out.  I will take a page from this one in the future.)

My dishcloth swirled in the water as I mulled it over.  Then the image of the "baseball through the window" popped into my head, and I knew that this experience had the potential to be a much less costly version of that lesson.  In the baseball situation, young children playing baseball too close to the house results in the ball smashing through the window.  Although the intention to shatter the glass was not there, the result happened nevertheless, and the children must pay for the replacement.

That evening I called the boys to my room and showed them the basket.  I asked what happened.  They provided the explanation.

"Was it your idea?"
"No, it was (the older friend.)"
"Did you have an idea it was not a good idea?"
"Well, now those boys are gone, and only you two are left here.  My basket has been broken and you will need to buy me a new one."
"How much will it cost?"
"About $20."

Bless his heart, Colin jumped in right there and exclaimed that he knew he had exactly $20 in his piggy bank.  Caleb also offered everything in his.  I gently refused, saying that I wouldn't take the money they had right now, but that I would come up with a list of money chores they could complete until they had worked off the equivalent of $20.

Finally, we spoke for a minute about the consequences of participating in something, or even being in the vicinity of something going on that is inappropriate.  I cautioned them to beware when friends suggest an activity and something in their heart tells them it's not a good idea.  Listen to that spirit, I warned.

Three days later I asked them both to work together to hand scrub the kitchen floor for $4 that would go toward the basket.  The funny thing is, they were having such a good time doing it together that even Benjamin joined in.  But remember, this isn't about making life miserable as compensation; seeing them work together in such a way was just as rewarding for me as the $4 they handed over.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


"Juliette drinks milk (nurses).  I don't like that milk.  I eat ham and hamburgers and french toast and I play with Hudson and I eat ketchup."

(he hasn't had any of those to eat in the last 2 weeks, at least!)

Monday, 8 April 2013


This morning Benjamin, Juliette and I cuddled in bed.  The two of them were lounging over my pillow, peering out the window, watching, well, not much since it was 6:30 in the morning.  Out of the blue, Benjamin pronounced:

"Juliette, I will protect you from dogs and horses and tractors and chickens.  Don't worry."

So nice to start the day with a laugh.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Professional Parenting (part 2)

Ha ha ha ha ha.

That's the sound of my only slightly crazy mind laughing at me.

After writing the post and thinking about the 13 different aspects of professional parenting, I thought "I should get a notebook."  Some sort of home management binder.  I've seen lots of them around, that have cute little boxes for meal planning and straight empty lines for a to-do list and curly-cues around a place for deep, inspirational thoughts.  Yes, a planner is exactly what I need to make this more purposeful, more professional.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Then the following thoughts came to me:

"Yes, when you were a professional in advertising, you rose to your alarm at 6:30am to arrive at work at 8:45am to be ready to go for 9am.  But my job then didn't involve being up until 4am with a cranky baby."

"Yes, when you were a professional, you juggled a to-do list with the last-minute tasks dropped on your desk.  But you didn't have to do it all to the soundtrack of the incessant whining of a three year old."

"Yes, when you were a professional, you motivated others to aspire to high standards of success.  But they were adults with similar goals in mind, not children with the irrational expectation of eating candy  for breakfast every day."

"Yes, when you were a professional you had to juggle a crisis.  But it never, never, never involved someone pooping their pants 60 seconds before the school bus comes.  Never."

Just a good dose of reality amid my lofty goals.  I love having purpose, but it's good to stay grounded.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Professional Parenting

I've dropped in and out of a blog called "Large Families on Purpose."  While I myself don't have a very large family (not by that standard, anyway!) I am intrigued by the author's ideas, since in my books, having that many kids makes you much more of an expert on child-rearing than most child psychologists with one or two children who choose to do a lot of research and then write a book.  From my own experience in other areas, you cannot truly know your field unto you are dropped in the middle of it and learn from the trenches.

So I clicked into an article she wrote about "professional parenting."  The short time I had while both young children were napping was but a blink of an eye, but I was able to glean the following list that the author compiled about what it looks like in her mind to be a professional parent.  She likened being a stay at home mother to the ideas and standards we afford to out of home workplaces.  Here's the list:

1.  Prepare for the day
2.  Be purposeful
3.  Focus our attention on our work place (our home)
4.  Invest in the atmosphere
5.  Apply self-discipline; others are relying on us
6.  As a manager, motivate others
7.  Have a vision
8.  Budget our finances
9.  Study to improve skills and knowledge
10. Requires our whole person
11. Practice team unity
12. Recognize our responsibilities
13. Don't just survive but embrace it to achieve success

There are lots of thoughts in each of these areas from the author on her blog, but I find that just reading down the list and thinking of each item in terms of my own mothering career is eye-opening.  Too many days I feel like my only goal is to make it through with my sanity intact.  And yes, there are days in the professional workplace that are also like that.  But in my work experience (thinking specifically when I worked in film and advertising) each of these ideas were key factors to determining success.  Without some adherence to this principles, the product of our work would have either been sloppy or non-existant.  Those are harsh words when I apply them to myself as a mother and my home as my workplace and my children as my "employees," but I am realizing I cannot shy away from such a critique.  Because failing in my career as mother is not an option I want to consider.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Wisdom of God

I participated in an interesting discussion the other day about the different between the "wisdom of the world" and the "wisdom of God."  It called to mind a quote from a book I read last year, one that I've often repeated the concept of to others, but had never looked up the exact wording since:

"The scriptures repeatedly invite the reader to inquire about and receive an understanding of the mysteries of God.  Mysteries are spiritual realities that can be known and understood only by revelation because they exist outside man's sensory perception; but our scriptures record them, our prophets teach them, and the Holy Ghost reveals them to the diligent seeker.  In fact, the whole gospel is a collection of mysteries - truths pertaining to salvation that would not be known be men in the mortal probation did God not reveal them."

I am an avid learner.  I love to read and learn new things.  I love to hypothesize and experiment and prove and conclude.  I love to relearn, redefine, discover a hole, and figure out how to fill it.  I devour books and essays and radio programs and documentaries.

But I have discovered that this strength is also my weakness.  I trust too deeply on the scientific method, the learning method of the world.  I have always been determined that, even in things spiritual, there must be a way to prove it, to back it up, to match up a scripture verse, to lay it all out plainly.

While God has not left us with nothing but a requirement of blind faith, He has introduced us to another  conduit of knowledge: the Holy Spirit.  In the past I understood this simply as a way to receive an answer to a prayer, more as a form of guidance than a form of knowledge.

The above quote helped me realize that learning through revelation is equally valid to learning through books.  If I want to learn how to make a cake, I must read a cookbook.  If I want to learn what the Sacrament entails, I must receive the answer through revelation.

This notion really became clear to me a few weeks ago as I sat waiting in the van to pick the boys up from their school bus.  With Benjamin and Juliette in the back seats, with traffic rushing by, and without the preparation of scripture study, quiet pondering, or personal prayer, it certainly did not fit the standard definition of a place and time to receive revelation.  But, as I sat there, a single thought entered my mind:  "You do not have to convince anyone of the truth of the Gospel.  That is up to God alone."

The clarity of the thought was staggering, and I immediately knew of its truth.  Quite simply, this was a "spiritual reality" or truth, of which the true understanding happened through revelation.  This experience led me to believe this statement in the same way I would believe how the law of gravity works if I read it from a physics book.  Both statements came from one who knew and understood that truth - the wisdom of the world from a human who wrote it in a book, and the wisdom of heaven from God whose power is over all.

Suddenly I have a newfound understanding of the power of revelation.  I don't feel the same urgency to be able to prove every detail through man-made methods.

"Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
     - John 20:29