January 11, 2010

January Giveaway . . .


At the beginning of each year we try to choose a phrase or motto that we will focus on as a family.This is our new family motto for the year, posted in bold letters on the refrigerator where we will see it every day. We've challenged our children {and ourselves, of course!} to really think this year about WHAT MATTERS MOST. The inspiration for this motto comes from a talk given by Russell M. Ballard in 2005. A specific passage of this talk struck me as I was contemplating what I hoped to accomplish with and for my family this year {I've highlighted especially meaninful parts in green}:

"Now, one may ask, How do we protect and preserve and strengthen our homes and families in a world pulling so hard in opposite directions? Let me make three simple suggestions:

1. Be consistent in holding daily family prayer and weekly family home evenings. Both of these invite the Lord’s Spirit, which provides the help and power we need as parents and family leaders. The Church curriculum and magazines have many good ideas for family home evening. Also consider holding a family testimony meeting where parents and children can express their beliefs and feelings to each other in a private and personal setting.

2. Teach the gospel and basic values in your home. Establish a love for reading the scriptures together. Too many of our parents are abdicating this responsibility to the Church. While seminary, auxiliaries, and priesthood quorums are important as a supplement to parental gospel instruction, the main responsibility rests in the home. You might want to choose one gospel subject or a family value and then watch for opportunities to teach it. Be wise and do not involve children or yourselves in so many activities out of the home that you are so busy that the Spirit of the Lord cannot be recognized or felt in giving you the promised guidance for yourself and your family.

3. Create meaningful family bonds that give your children an identity stronger than what they can find with their peer group or at school or anyplace else. This can be done through family traditions for birthdays, for holidays, for dinnertime, and for Sundays. It can also be done through family policies and rules with natural and well-understood consequences. Have a simple family economy where children have specific chores or household duties and receive praise or other rewards commensurate to how well they do. Teach them the importance of avoiding debt and of earning, saving, and wisely spending money. Help them learn responsibility for their own temporal and spiritual self-reliance.

My turning to this talk was a result of recognizing a flaw in my own person - the ability I have to cast aside the truly important for meaningless and trivial things that fritter away my time.  I'm here today accounting for it and tell you that it is going to stop. I want to be a more attentive and involved mother and wife.  I want to spend more time building relationships - and especially those within the walls of my home - because they are what matters most and will last the longest.

If I asked myself what matters most, would I speak to my children in an angry way?  Would I tend to a child in need of some attention instead of checking facebook?  Would I put my book away in order to read a book a child wants to hear?  Would I say the hurtful words I sometimes say to my Hubby?  Would I put my interests and desires aside, even just for a moment, to help someone in need?

These are the things I'm wrestling with.  These are the things I want to change.  And we've committed to doing it as a family this year.

I'd love to hear what matters most to you, my blog readers.  And, if you're willing to leave a comment, you'll be entered to win my January giveaway, which is this beautifully distressed sign that says "Peace" and another like it but in mineral green that says "Hope".  I think these two words embody something we're all looking for in the new year.

So tell me, What Matters Most to you? {Giveaway closes Thursday at 5 pm EST.)



dragonfly signature

24 comments:

travislee06 said...

You are amazing! Your willingness to learn, grow and refine is one of your great qualities and one of the reasons I am blessed to be married to you.

Tobi said...

For me it's "no more excuses." Just do it. Do all the things I need to do to draw closer to Heavenly Father and his Son. If I don't have the spirit about me then how can I expect to instill that same spirit into my children? I don't want to be a "do as I say, not as I do" type of parent.

Tobi said...

And I wholeheartedly agree with Travis. You are AWESOME!

Christy said...

While we were visiting my dad and stepmom over Christmas I kept passing a frame filled with pictures surrounded by this poem:

When my children look back and think of today
Will they remember a mother that had time to play?
There will be time for cleaning and cooking
For children grow up while we are not looking.

That poem has reminded and inspired me for the new year, for that's what truly matters most: family.
Also, I have recommitted myself to doing the important things FIRST before I allow myself to check email, facebook, blogs, etc. It's so easy but so hard. I know you understand. :)

chelsea said...

For me it's FAMILY! No one else will ever be there for me like family. I will do anything and everything for my family.
No matter what any of us do, our parents accept us and love us. It's always a good feeling to always have support no matter what.

TracyS. said...

Family. Living 3,000 miles from my relatives has taken an unfortunate toll on relationships. My goal this year is to tighten my family circle and bind the generations together despite the distance.

Stacey Gerlach Moe said...

What matters most to me is working hard and the love of my family: both my husband and my little boy (they help to make me who I am today) and also of my other family which I was a part of first: my mom (whose spirit lives on in me), my dad whom I adore and to my brother,sister and their spouses and children. I shudder to think of what life would be like without any of them.

Millertime said...

I think what matters most to me is my small family and I would do anything to help them.

Emily@notionsonnesting.com said...

Wow! You about summed up what matters most to me and things I need to work on as well. Thank you!

The Queen Vee said...

What matters most to me....Family, Faith, Friends.

I want to improve relationships in all three of the above mentioned most important things in my life.

Saw this on Facebook today, for some reason it seems applicable to my desire for improving, "Forgive all who have offended you, not for them but for yourself." Harriet Nelson

Apis Melliflora said...

That 7th paragraph, I think you took the words right out of my mouth!

Relationships matter most.

Sparcam said...

I want to be a good example for my family. Mothers wield incredible power on the earth. I just want to do it right.

Lfree said...

Hey Sam!
I came across your blog randomly via Design Mom and knew I knew that cute face! :) I used to live next door to you.....the unforgettable Jolly House! Small world! So fun to see your adorable family!
Love,
Laurie (Donahoo) Freeman

~*Jenn*~ said...

Your matters really spoke to me personally as I've been absolutely know to pour more of my attention into the things that fritter away my time (ahem, hello? Facebook? Blogland? Babycenter?) instead of tending to things I always have on the list of 'to do' with the kids. I'm going to make it a point (after this comment) starting tomorrow to start crossing off the to do list with my kids because it matters most!

Sue said...

Being a complete person. Finding balance. Making sure my children and husband feel loved. Writing more personal notes and thank-you's... Those are a few things that come to mind as I think about who I want to be in 2010, as I try to set goals according to what matters most.

Love you!

Emily said...

I appreciated your words on this post. I have decided my word for this year is "Listen." Listening to my husband and family, listening to spiritual promptings, listening after I pray, etc. I have a tendency to zone out.

Jennifer said...

My family is by far the most important. I have learned this lesson the hard way over the last couple years. It isn't about my house but all the happy spirits that live under that roof. I have committed this year to bettering myself. Once I have a worthy spirit and an open mind I will become a better mother and wife.

Jessie said...

What matters to me is the bonds of family and becoming a celestial one together. We are trying to be consistent w/the points emphasized in the talk you quoted. Daily family prayer, scriptures, and weekly FHE. It's takes a lot of effort, but we hope will pay off! Like you said, it's so important to try and focus on what matters most instead of all the little distraction that can divert our attention.

Susan said...

Love this post! What matters to me most is my relationship with my daughter and how she feels about that relationship. There are things in this post that I need to work on as well. Thanks for sharing. You are aweseome!

Burton's blog said...

A crazy year also lead me to think about what matters most. Real time together as a family. Whether it is running away for a weekend with no distractions or sitting on the floor all day with a husband and dad that had no choice but to be on the living room floor! A much happier home than when we are running in seven different directions, passing briefly at bedtime.

Tracie said...

Yes to all points in that wonderful talk! In addition, I'm trying to be sure I have a quality moment each day with each person in my house - kids, hubby, myself. A moment where they feel my full attention on them and feel my love. All this has to be deliberate and I appreciate what the effort will require and its rewards! Bring it on 2010!

Janie said...

I haven't been on the computer much lately as I've been trying to organize my new year too. So, as I'm catching up with you, I love your "What Matters Most" question. As we've tried to figure out our direction this year we thought about "Good Better Best" from Dallin H. Oakes but ultimately ended up with, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God." Matthew 6:33. All of these are basically the same question aren't they? All good guidelines to ask yourself each day. Have I attended to what matters most, did I partake of the best things today, did I seek after the Lord today with my family? Happy New Year!

Kiasa said...

Lately I've been trying to focus on creating great memories. In some ways that means keeping things simple so we can enjoy a day at home and other times that means get out and take advantage of the amazing place we live. Looking at the good, thinking positive, enjoying the moment. I have so much to be thankful for...I just need to always count my blessings!

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

FAMILY definitely matters most! Did you know it's the 15th anniversary of The Family: A Proclamation to the World? I can't believe it has been that long since Pres. Hinckley first read it. We're celebrating all year long on my blog and with my family through FHE lessons, memorizing the Proclamation, studying it in depth, etc.