Tuesday, July 31, 2012

August 2012 Mini Mission: Do My Duty

" Most of us don’t mind doing what we ought to do when it doesn’t interfere with what we want to do, but it takes discipline and maturity to do what we ought to do whether we want to or not." ( "Learn Your Duty" by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, August 2012)

What is my duty to God? Myself? My family?
Are there any specific duties under my varied stewardships which I need to take more seriously?Change my attitude toward? Be more diligent in?

Be Inspired,
Janelle Joy

Monday, July 30, 2012

Return and Report to Receive Further Counsel and Direction

When a young person is called to serve, the responsibilities that go with the call are outlined. With this stewardship comes the responsibility to give an accounting. That is, we receive direction, we carry out our responsibility, or we “do it” as President Kimball says, and then we return and report what we have done and receive further counsel and direction. This accounting is scheduled at regular intervals with a member of the bishopric but should also be a daily accounting with the Lord who will bless and magnify those whom he calls to be his leaders.(http://www.lds.org/new-era/1977/06/exceedingly-young?lang=eng&query=%22return+and+report+%22) z

And so today youth are being called, set apart, provided with training materials and dedicated leaders to assist them in magnifying their sacred callings. And when the historical records of youth leaders of this dispensation are reviewed by those who will follow, it might well read: “They were called of God; they were exceedingly young; they were directed by the Spirit; they carried each others’ burdens; they were servants of the Lord.”

I found these quotes after making a search on"return and report " on lds.org I realised that every experience, including family and church assignments, have given me the opportunity to return and report and to receive more counsel. Each time I failed to return and report, I lost the opportunity for that greater counsel and learning even if I had successfully completed the assignment. It was really incomplete without reporting it at minimum in my daily prayer. Now I believe I will know to think carefully and report what I have already been doing with my stewardship before asking for additional help in that stewardship.

Be Inspired,
Janelle Joy

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Capri Sun Super V Juice: "Every Super Mom's Secret Weapon?"

I don't give juice to my girls very often. I prefer water. However sometimes sick little girls get juice to encourage them to drink more fluids. I chose Capri Sun Super V fruit and vegetable juice. As I opened the box, I noticed the ad on the back. In bold letters it said:"Every Super Mom's Secret Weapon." That made me stop and think. I know juice is definitely not a true secret weapon for raising children, so what is? Instantly one very important answer came to mind, "The Holy Spirit of God." Now that is a true secret weapon.
"I pray that that Spirit which keeps us in the pathway of truth and righteousness may abide with us, and I pray that that desire that comes from the inspiration of our Heavenly Father may direct us on that pathway of life."(Teachings of the Prophet George Albert Smith, Chapter 11).
Be Inspired,
Janelle Joy

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Simply a Supermom: "Jo March's Marmee"

It has been a very fun experience to listen with  my daughter at night to Louisa May Alcott's highly autobiographical novel: "Little Women" and share its beautiful stories.
I was touched by this little speech by the heroine, Jo March, having a discussion with her mother about how her mother felt when the father of the little family left for the War:

"I gave my best to the country I love, and kept my tears till he was gone. Why should I complain, when we both have merely done our duty and will surely be the happier for it in the end? If I don't seem to need help, it is because I have a better friend, even than Father, to comfort and sustain me. My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning and may be many, but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother." Jo's only answer was to hold her mother close, and in the silence which followed the sincerest prayer.

I was touched with the supermom example of this mother as she patiently took time to help and listen to a daughter who wad struggling from the consequences of her temper. This mother listened well and then used wisdom gained through her own experience. To counsel and guide her precious daughter.

Be Inspired,
Janelle Joy

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wise Women Understand and Support Priesthood Power

I am thankful that I have started to learn more about the importance of the Priesthood in my life.  As a woman, I still have responsibilities to understand and rely on priesthood power.

“We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood. The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.

“The power you receive will depend on what you do with this sacred, unseen gift."

“Your authority comes through your ordination; your power comes through obedience and worthiness. …"

“Power in the priesthood comes from doing your duty in ordinary things: attending meetings, accepting assignments, reading the scriptures, keeping the Word of Wisdom.”
  President Boyd K. Packer

Hmmmmm. Now how do I encourage and support (not nag or control) those characteristics which bring more priesthood power to the men around me?

Be Inspired,

Janelle Joy

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Spiritually Saving: Return and Report my Stewardship

I believe this list of basic guidelines for how we should take care of our visiting teaching stewardship is also how I should take care of my neighbors and friends and especially my family members and then return and report my service and the temporal and spiritual welfare of each person in my prayers to God each day. Then I know I will grow in charity and understanding of how I can serve others and also become a more Christlike person.

How Visiting Teachers Love, Watch Over, and Strengthen a Sister

Pray daily for her and her family.
Seek inspiration to know her and her family.
Visit her regularly to learn how she is doing and to comfort and strengthen her.
Stay in frequent contact through visits, phone calls, letters, e-mail, text messages, and simple acts of kindness.
Greet her at Church meetings.
Help her when she has an emergency, illness, or other urgent need.
Teach her the gospel from the scriptures and the visiting teaching messages.
Inspire her by setting a good example.
Report to a Relief Society leader about their service and the sister’s spiritual and temporal well-being.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Simply A Supermom: All Who Continue Despite Depression

There are many who struggle with internal conflicts that others around them can't begin to fathom, and yet they keep going, struggling to remain as positive and helpful as possible in caring for their responsibilities.  These people are truly courageous.  As more and more people have shared some of their stories with me, I realised that a large number of people facing depression, or mental illness in some form, whether clinical or not, are looking for answers. Often it is caused by things which are not the fault of the person experiencing them.  They are simply the symptoms of a very real, physical illness. I am also one of those people and I know that there is a way to keep going even if it is only one minute at a time.  I also know that eventually the eternity-like  minutes really can turn into joyfully happy days.  I know because I am finding more and more of them for myself.
I have suffered from mental illness (in the forms of panic, anxiety and depression caused by chemical imbalances in my body) since I was a child. It was not diagnosed for many years, I only knew there were times when it was very hard to work through my emotions enough to go through my normal day, almost like I was in a cloud that kept me separated from the others in my family somehow. Yet it seemed to only be a cloud around me and not around the individuals around me.  Then finally, a couple of years after the birth of my first child, the short periods of despair became longer and longer until depression and anxiety were normal and almost constant. I became severely depressed and was having trouble continuing on with my daily tasks in taking care of a family, church service etc.

I kept trying to go on and act as normal as I could despite what was going on inside me. Despite my strugglings to work through, family members came to the rescue and poined out to me that something was wrong and I needed outside help.  It was not something I could work through on my own.  Doctors researched and gave their recommendations. Counsellors and church leaders gave their counsel and support. Especially my husband loved me unconditionally and always showed me that love through his words and his actions. Also my daughter gave me another reason I needed to learn to cope and continue with my life to help her grow up with a happy mommy.

But my struggle didn't end. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I cried and cried and cried some more. I tried to have hope and strength to keep going even though I couldn't actually feel the emotions of peace, hope or strength because those positive emotions were all clouded up in the illness which covered up all things positive with a vapor of despair, darkness, weakness, guilt, lack of confidence, and lack of knowledge which became thicker and thicker until it became almost too thick to see through at all.

Somehow I knew those feelings were not the real me, but yet they were me. They were a part of me that I couldn't avoid and did not know how to control. I felt split in half, and yet felt like two people in one and the one person I felt was my "real" true self felt completely blocked off by a strong wall which was too tall for me to climb over and too thick for me to break through. I could only catch glimpses of the other side once in a while and for only short periods of time. I knew that over that barrier waited the person I really was: confident and talented; happy and loving; thankful and peaceful--but the glimpses through the tiny cracks in the wall became harder and harder to find until I began to fear that I had no more strength to look.

There was a veil covering my real happy and confident self just as surely as there was a veil separating me from any memory of my life before I was born here on earth. As Paul said, "For now we see through a aglass, bdarkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12) My deep desire to stay strong and believe I really could see over the wall, and maybe even climb over it eventually, kept me going. But barely.

At the time I felt that even my strong desires to get well in order to care for those I loved and to do my Heavenly Father's will for me were just not going to be enough. I just didn't see how I could prevail when I couldn't see my Heavenly parents and had no memory of that wonderful life in Heaven with them and now I could no longer see the person I knew I should be here on earth. Two veils just seemed to be too much. The lies in my head telling me things like "you can never make it through," "every day would be just as dark as today" and "You will just hurt those around you, why do you keep trying at all?" "It is your own fault you have this problem because you don't ________(many different things were inserted here in my head.". . . etc were just getting too hard for me to shut out.

There were many angels helping me through and two of the most powerful experiences which led to receiving the strength I needed came through the words of Hymns. The first came as I watched BYUtv and was led to find a special program just for me: "Living Essentials: Understanding Mental Illness" which hosted Jolene Meredith. I listened as Sister Meredith described experiencing herself, what I was feeling. She told of her experience composing the hymn"Where Can I turn for Peace" with Emma Lou Thayne, who also suffered from mental illness. She said "we lovingly called it the mental illness hymn." Music sometimes seems to be the best language for me to hear. I grasped onto that hymn, read it over and over again and sang it. I claimed it as my personal guide to find the peace and power which can only come through Christ.

The next experience came through my Dad (my Husband's Dad) who stopped me in a moment of venting my overwhelming fears. He just looked at me almost as if he was dissappointed in me and simply said these words from another hymn: "Fear not though the enemy deride; Courage for the Lord is on our side." (Let Us All Press On, Text and music by Evan Stevens 1854-1930) I am sure Dad really did say those words in his voice, but another voice shot through me like a lightening bolt wakeup call. I knew that God had sent me the answer I had prayed for for years: "This challenge is not a punishment for your sins. This challenge is not a sign that you are too weak to go on. What it is is a battle you must face with courage. Your life was not meant to be easy, but I will give you the gift of courage to win if you choose to accept it." That voice was not a voice I heard; it was a voice I felt within so strongly that it finally overpowered the voices caused by my mental illness.

Those two changing points, or epiphanies, began to turn the battle around.  The battle was not taken away from me.  But I now knew that it was alright that I needed to fight it and that made all the difference.  I have had many wonderful breakthroughs as doctors and counsellors have been able to find out more of the specific imbalances in my chemical make-up and help with solutions.  The battle may continue the rest of my life, but I have more knowledge now. 

That knowledge gives me more power.  Now I don't just wonder if I have the strength to keep going; I actually know that I don't have it--only God can give me the strength.  Now I know that I can choose to accept the gifts God gives to help with the battles, because the battle itself is not a sign that I am doing something wrong.  Now I know that fear is a choice, not an inevitable human condition and that happiness is also a choice.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

exchange rags for robes and robes for rags

President Kimball taught: “There are many sisters who are living in rags—spiritual rags. They are entitled to gorgeous robes, spiritual robes. … It is your privilege to go into homes and exchange robes for rags. (Daughters in my kingdom chapter 7)

I believe that includes being willing to give up earthly robes, in other words, sacrifice for others and seek robes in heaven instead of on earth. Those around us, especially. Our families need us to be there for them with energy to listen and preparation to counsel in wisdom because we are worthy to have and recognize the promptings of The holy spirit. Of course we must work for our temporal welfare, but only work outside the home if it is Gods will for us to do. Not because we are seeking to earn worldly things.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Truly Tender: MG Teaches Me

I woke up to a wonderful sight this morning:my Morning Glory was happily sitting on the couch in our music room/library reading the illustrated Prophets books (by Della Mae Rasmussen).  We try to read a few pages together each morning, but she is getting way ahead of me and then is able to teach me about what she read about.  Sometimes I miss when she runs into my room to say "I can't do scriptures without you , Mom!" and we have spent hours reading together.  But I can't deny the wonderful reward it is to see her wanting to do it on her own.  What a wonderful blessing.

Be Inspired by many of your own truly tender moments,

Janelle Joy

Note:  I wrote more about this fun experience this morning in my letter to my daughter on Stripling Scriptures.

Friday, July 13, 2012

SuperMom in the Kitchen

Here are some of my favorite recipes this month:

Brown Rice and Beans cooked "Together but Separate" in a pressure cooker.  Two dishes in one and I can still serve them separately if I want to.  It is so easy that way--I don't even need to soak the beans.  It is also very inexpensive.

Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free Gingerbread Waffles I found this recipe when craving a treat at night but trying to be good.  It still has a little sugar but is made with brown rice and tapioca and fresh ginger and can be served with pear sauce so I feel it is at least a fairly healthy alternative.  It is also allergy friendly.

Best Ever Whole Grain Bread and Pizza Crust doesn't work for me to eat right now, since I am trying to stay gluten free, but it is really good to make for my family and is one of the few whole grain homemade bread recipes I have tried that my family also really loves to eat like they would store-bought bread.  I figured out it only costs about 1.80 if you have to buy all the ingredients but if you use items from your storage like I did it only costs pennies a loaf (because I needed to buy butter) so it helps me greatly reduce my food budget by making this bread every other week.

Be Nutritiously Inspired,
Janelle Joy

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Who Am I Raising in My Home?


It is possible, my brothers and sisters, that among the little ones in your homes and in your care are spirit children that were sent to you to be trained and prepared to fulfill callings as General Authorities, stake presidents, bishops, Relief Society or Primary presidents. In someone’s home there is a little one sent from our Heavenly Father that someday will be called to sit in the seat where our great prophet now sits. Whoever is training our prophet of the future generations, please train him well. Teach him to love the Lord, the scriptures, and his fellowmen...

Oh how important it is for parents to understand the eternal plan of our Heavenly Father, as he sends his spirit children here and entrusts them to us for a few short years. Just think of it! . . .We could ask how well are we feeding, nurturing, training, and exercising the spirits of our children; or how well have we taught, trained, loved, and inspired our children to build their spiritual muscles and strength? We are given many teaching moments. . . Remember, eternity is now, not a vague, distant future. We prepare each day, right now, for eternal life.

Be Inspired,
Janelle Joy

July 2012 Monthly Mission: "Return and Report"

"I did it, Dad!"

I have really struggled with feeling "set" on what goal I wanted to do for July.  I have almost posted some other goals but just a little while ago while my Visiting Teacher was visiting with me in my home, I felt very strongly what my focus should be for the rest of this month.  What is very interesting is that it is something I have already been feeling impressed to work on myself, and have been doing it somewhat, without having the focused and specific title to it in my mind: return and report.

As my Visiting Teacher taught me, there are many ways we are asked to return and report in the Church.  I have been feeling especially drawn toward the need to return and report to God through prayer each night--and to do it more intentionally. We should report our tithing to the Bishop at Tithing Settlement. We should give a detailed  Visitin Teaching report to our Supervisor regarding how the sisters under our stewardship are doing spiritually and temorally and what service we have given them during the month. . . .

I hope to learn more about how this sacred doctrine to Return and Report helps me to become closer to God, learn more of what His will is for me personally, and therefore find more joy.  

Be Inspired,

Janelle Joy

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Simply a Supermom: Any Woman Who Teaches Through Good Music

I have really enjoyed sharing my love of music with my daughters and also with my students and the children I teach music to at church. Throughout my years of teaching music, I have especially noticed how it is a simple but powerful way to have fun at the same time as learning and teaching valuable lessons in principles, values and also academics.

 I am currently working on writing lesson plans geared for Moms and toddlers-preschool children that can easily be shared with individual families or in a mom and me playgroup.   These lesson plans focus on particular musical concepts (based on the Kodaly level 1 curriculum sequence) through scripture mastery verses, primary songs and hymns, and also incorporating folk songs, rhymes and important classical pieces. No musical training is required! I just completed my first Mormon Mom and Me lesson plan.  If you are interested see Joy4allmusic.

Also watch for other music tips for primary music at church as well as for older children in the home.

Be Inspired,

Janelle Joy

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thankful Thinking: President Dieter F Uchtdorf's "Always in the Middle"

I love these quotes form the July 2012 First Presidency Message:

"By many world calendars, July marks the middle of the year. While the beginnings and endings of things are celebrated and remembered, the middle of things often goes unnoticed.

"Beginnings are times for making resolutions, for creating plans, for bursts of energy. Endings are times for winding down and may involve feelings of completion or loss. But with the proper outlook, considering ourselves as in the middle of things can help us not only to understand life a little better but also to live it a little more meaningfully. . .

"Yes, there will be moments of beginnings and moments of endings throughout our lives, but these are only markers along the way of the great middle of our eternal lives. Whether we are at the beginning or the end, whether we are young or old, the Lord can use us for His purposes if we simply set aside whatever thoughts limit our ability to serve and allow His will to shape our lives.

"The Psalmist says, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we [should] rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Amulek reminds us that “this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors” (Alma 34:32; emphasis added). And a poet muses, “Forever—is composed of Nows.”1

"Being always in the middle means that the game is never over, hope is never lost, defeat is never final. For no matter where we are or what our circumstances, an eternity of beginnings and an eternity of endings stretch out before us.

"We are always in the middle." (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

Be Inspired,

Janelle Joy

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wise Women Pray Secretly and With Those They Love

"We [as family members] will not always see alike; men will not always reason as their wives do and vice versa, but if you will pray together, with a real desire to be united, I can say to you, you will agree on all important matters." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church : George Albert Smith page 100)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Spiritually Saving: There is a Difference Between Church and Gospel

"I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sometimes we use the terms gospel and Church interchangeably, but they are not the same. They are, however, exquisitely interconnected, and we need both."( Converted to His Gospel through His Church, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, Ensign May 2012)

See also: 
Supermom ABC's: Gospel and Church


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