Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Three Easy Ways to Save Time

1. Switch from doing regular exercise to doing intervals. Intervals burn more calories than exercising at a set pace, so you don’t have to exercise as long. See
http://www.noexcusesworkouts.com/community/


 
2. Switch from results-based cleaning to time-based cleaning. For example, instead of mopping the floor until every inch is spotless, mop for 10 minutes. Your house will look cleaner in less time. See
 http://www.flylady.net/pages/FLYingLessons_CrisisCleaning.asp

 

3. No time to read? Listen to audiobooks on Ipod or mp3 or CD while driving or working around the house. You can get audiobooks for free on sites like
http://librivox.org/

Monday, April 25, 2011

Snow White and the Seven Values LDS Young Women Skit

I think skits are a great way to teach values to youth.  Here is a skit I wrote for the young women in my ward.  It has all the values (including virtue) and does not require memorization.  A narrator reads the story and the girls act out their parts.  It is great for New Beginnings, Young Women in Excellence, and Camp.

Snow White and the Seven Values
by Rebecca H. Jamison

Once upon a time, there lived a princess named Snow White. She was named Snow White because she was as pure and beautiful as new fallen snow on Christmas Eve. Like most princesses, Snow White spent her days singing about Prince Charming, talking to birds, and dressing up in fancy gowns. Unlike most princesses, Snow White had a wicked queen for her stepmother. Her stepmother’s one goal in life was to be more beautiful than Snow White. Since the wicked queen could not make herself any more beautiful, she put all her energy into making Snow White less beautiful.
On Snow White’s twelfth birthday, her stepmother gave her a spinning wheel, shampoo that would make hair fall out, and a poisoned apple pie. Snow White didn’t touch any of the gifts, instead she packed her bag and escaped to the forest.


After an hour of wandering through the brush and another hour of napping, Snow White awoke to find herself surrounded by forest animals. They led her to a beautiful little cottage in a glen called Personal Progress, where seven values lived together in happiness. They were Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, and Integrity.


Even though Snow White lived far from the palace, the queen was still jealous. One day the queen asked her magic mirror why Snow White was so beautiful. The magic mirror answered, "Snow White has very good hygiene. But the real secret to her beauty is that she is pure. Her purity gives her a beautiful glow." So the queen came up with many different schemes to take away Snow White’s purity. Each time, however, the Values rescued Snow White from doom.


The queen’s first wicked scheme was to take control of all television programming in the kingdom. She wrote documentaries entitled "God Does Not Exist" and "Church isn’t Any Fun." She also made movies and shows about people who lived happily ever after even though they didn’t keep the commandments. Snow White, not knowing who was in charge of the television programming, wondered if the righteous choices she was making would really lead to happiness. Faith came to her rescue. Faith taught Snow White to read her scriptures and pray every day. This helped Snow White to have the Holy Ghost with her, which gave her true happiness.


The queen, frustrated that Snow White was starting to ignore her television shows, decided on a new tactic. She decreed that all clothes sold in the village shops had to be either too low, too high, too short, too tight, or too transparent. Snow White thought that since all the available gowns were immodest in one way or another, she didn’t have any choice but to wear an immodest dress. That’s when Divine Nature reminded Snow White that she was a daughter of Heavenly Father and that Heavenly Father would help her to dress modestly. Divine Nature then taught Snow White how to make her own gown.


The queen was so angry about Snow White’s modest gown that she became even more devious. She paid some girls at school to tease Snow White for her high voice and for wearing clothes that looked like they’d been washed by chipmunks (which, in fact, they were.) Individual Worth reminded Snow White that she is a daughter of God and encouraged her to join the choir at school, where she became a soprano.


Snow White was doing very well in school, which frustrated the queen. So the queen’s next scheme was to whisper into the ears of all the young ladies, telling them that they didn’t need to work so hard at school because some day they were going to marry a prince. One night, Knowledge helped Snow White make a list of all the skills she would need as a queen. She would certainly need to learn math—after all, a castle has a lot of expenses. She would need to learn to write speeches and argue in debates, especially if she was going to have teenagers. She would need to learn to read—all queens need to learn to read. She would also need to know some science, history, psychology, government, art, political science, and computer technology. Snow White got busy and did her homework. She also realized that if she had a good high school education, she would be free to choose from many different careers in the future.


Fed up with Snow White always doing the right thing, the queen published a self-help book about blaming other people. She got her self-help book on the best seller list and made sure all the teachers at school read it. Instead of reading the queen’s book, Snow White read "For the Strength of Youth" (a gift from Choice and Accountability.) It didn’t matter that her step-mother was a wicked witch, Snow White could still make good decisions that would lead to a happy future.


Around Snow White’s sixteenth birthday, she got a job and became very busy. Around this time, a mysterious package arrived in the mail with a beautiful watch for Snow White. Snow White thought this new watch was just the thing to help her keep up with her busy schedule. The only problem was that every hour, the watch chimed, "Too busy to help others." Good Works heard the chime and introduced Snow White to Old Mother Hubbard down the street. Snow White offered to help walk Mother Hubbard’s dog and sometimes ran errands for her. It was funny that once Snow White started serving her neighbor, she seemed to have a little more time every day.


One day while walking the dog, Snow White met a little frog, who asked her out on a date. Snow White had a fun time on the date and thanked the frog. When the frog asked her out again, she declined, explaining that she wanted to avoid steady dating. The frog responded that he needed her good influence to become a prince and pleaded with her to be his girlfriend. Snow White was torn. She didn’t know that the wicked queen had sent this frog straight from the swamp. She thought this frog might become Prince Charming. Integrity reminded Snow White that she needed to do what she knew was right, no matter the circumstances. Snow White took the frog a plate of cookies and told him she could not be his girlfriend. It was very hard for Snow White, but she felt peace in her heart, knowing she had done the right thing.


The queen’s final wicked scheme was the worst of all. She decreed that the law of chastity was old fashioned and was no longer in effect. Most people agreed with the queen. Snow White knew they were wrong. As the princess, she was responsible to set things straight. Snow White summoned all her moral courage and began to say what she felt in her heart. She explained to her friends at school that the law of chastity would help everyone to have happier families, better health, and greater self-confidence. When the newscasters interviewed Snow White, she told them that she kept the law of chastity and that it made her happy. When Snow White arrived home that evening, the values gathered around her. "We have a new value in our home," they said. "It is you. Because of your great moral courage, you are the eighth value, Virtue." From then on, Snow White was also known as Princess Virtue.


The values were so proud of Snow White for all the things she did that they awarded her a Young Womanhood recognition necklace. Many years later, when Snow White finally met Prince Charming, she was still wearing her beautiful necklace and still living the way the values taught her. The End.

What's it like to be the bishop's wife?

Photo by Rachael Nelson
The Apostle Paul said that anyone who desires the office of bishop desires a good work.  My stake president said that anyone who desires the office of a bishop should have a psychiatric examination.  I certainly never hoped to be the bishop's wife.  But here I am, and now people are asking me "What's it like to be the bishop's wife?"  Followed by, "I don't know how you do it."

My husband was called to be an LDS bishop in August of 2009--two months after our sixth child was born and one month after my father-in-law passed away.  I thought things couldn't get any busier, but they certainly have.  Being the bishop's wife is kind of like riding a surf board.  You have to be constantly watching and preparing for the next wave.


People often assume that I know just about everything that goes on in the ward.  On the contrary, I know very little.  My husband keeps confidences and rarely tells me much of what goes on in the ward.  He especially doesn't mention anything that would reflect poorly on others.  He would rather have his own reputation compromised that ruin anyone else's reputation.  I don't ever recommend people for callings or releases (as some have assumed.)  Also, we don't sit around talking about people in the ward unless they've been in the hospital or are in need of prayers or service.

One thing that has surprised me about being the bishop's wife is the phone calls.  I guess I thought I'd answer a lot of calls from people I know in the ward.  On the contrary, most of the phone calls during the day are from people I don't know.  There are a lot of tragedies that go on around us that few people know about.  People are struggling with finances and illness all the time.  Sometimes we don't find out about it until it's too late to help much.

So, how do I do it all?  What's my secret?  When my husband was called, I felt very overwhelmed. I realized that if I didn't take care of myself, I would get sick and my husband would have to take care of me instead of doing his calling.  So I try hard to get enough sleep, do some scripture study, keep up with my prayers, get good nutrition, and get some exercise.  I have tried to let go of perfectionism.

People have high expectations for me, but I've tried to lower my own expectations for myself.  I live by the principle of "good enough."  I often hear people make excuses that they can't do things because they can't do them as perfectly as they should.  Yes, you can exercise without a treadmill or a gym membership or a babysitter.  You can do family home evening without preparing ahead of time.  You can say a family prayer in the car.  For me, good enough is great. 

I also try to have the same lower expectations for my children.  I tell my kids they need to be good examples, but I also try not to go overboard.