This past Sunday was dear husband’s birthday. So I made him the two-layer cake above, entirely out of ice cream. (Here are the directions for an ice-cream cake.) In the midst of the panic going on right now, it was nice to have a Sabbath Day where I could stay at home all day and have a cozy family celebration. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I had received an email earlier in the week that our church was cancelled because of the pandemic and that was actually a relief. It meant I got out of accompanying the ward choir’s performance which I was just a lee-tle stressed about because based on past experiences of accompanying in sacrament meeting I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to see the chorister and she has certain pauses in the music that I hadn’t fully marked on my copy of the sheet music. I had thought about calling her to ask her more about that and hadn’t so when church was cancelled, I thought, whew, I got out of that one. Now the regular accompanist (I was filling in as a sub) can take over. Also having church cancelled meant I could get extra sleep and relax a lot more than I usually get to do on Sundays. I did end up taking a hot soak in my tub and a two-hour nap in the afternoon, something I hardly ever get to do, and that was glorious! After the nap, the kiddos and I worked like busy beavers to make dear husband his requested birthday dinner of lasagna. It was so yummy!
It’s the Pioneer Woman’s recipe on her site. You can read my take on it and get the link for the recipe here. I highly recommend it. I always get rave reviews when I serve it! I was feeling too lazy to make my low-carb, grain-free version of the Trim healthy Mama lasagna here so I indulged in the wicked pasta.
As homeschoolers, we are already used to using our home for more than just a motel, an entertainment center, and a place to eat. We use our home as a place to study and learn. We use it as a place to get to know each other. We use it as a place to create. So I am not freaking out about being home more in this pandemic. (I am soooo happy about it! Almost as happy about the Church leaving the Boy Scouts! It means we get to push the “pause” button on the treadmill of life! More than just the Sabbath-day pause button. I get to have a week off of driving to seminary that starts at 7:25 AM and driving to Mutual and Primary Boy activities on Tuesday nights!)
This was a welcome opportunity for “homechurching.” I insisted the kiddos dress up in Sunday best as we usually do for the Sabbath Day. I invited my adult children to join us via video chat and we had a mini worship service, minus the passing of the sacrament. Two of my adult children and my three littles were there in person. I shared my sacrament meeting talk that I gave the Sunday after last Christmas because some of my children left the day before to go back to Utah so hadn’t heard it. After one of my sons shared a story from his mission to Argentina, the two adult children had to leave so I did some “Come, Follow Me” study with my littles.
Earlier, in my personal study, what I call my “PoWeR Actions” for Pray, Read, and Write, or what Becky Edwards calls Heaven Journaling. I got this amazing revelation from using the question in the Come, Follow Me Study Guide for Jacob 1 that says the following:
Think about your own “[errands] from the Lord” as you read Jacob 1:6–8, 15–19 and 2:1–11. Why did Jacob serve so faithfully? What does his example inspire you to do to magnify your Church callings and your responsibilities at home?
As I pondered that question, I realized, that “Hey, my roles of wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, sister-in-law, and cousin are callings too! How can I magnify those? and what does it mean to magnify them?”
I immediately thought of this example of a little girl who magnified her office as a daughter. It is from the January 2012 issue of the Friend, called, “Chocolate Cake.”It basically tells the story of a little girl who earned a whole dollar by babysitting a non-family member for a whole week. This story obviously took place a looooong time ago, LOL! AS a kid, I earned a dollar an hour, over 30 years ago. Anyway, after she earns her dollar, she wonders what to do with it. She thinks about all the things she’s been lusting after, a hair ribbon, a drawing pad, and pencils. She goes to the store to decide what to buy. As she’s walking around the store, she remembers it’s her dad’s birthday tomorrow. She realizes that she wants to use her money to please him, by surprising him with a chocolate cake. That’s another way we know the story is old, is that she can buy all the ingredients for just a dollar! So she buys the ingredients, gets up early the next morning, and has the cake all cooled and frosted by the time he comes home. He is definitely thrilled and pleased by her surprise birthday gift. She feels satisfied that she spent her hard-earned money on something to please her dad. Ahhhh! So sweet! It brings tears to my eyes. I want to be more like that little girl, willing to sacrifice for my dear family members.
So in honor of that little girl who magnified her calling as her father’s daughter, I am showing pictures of the various chocolate cakes I have made through the years (the good ones- they haven’t always turned out, LOL!) and then my recipe for a grain-free, sugar-free chocolate cake over here.
I read this story years ago and loved it. It really drove home to me the point that as family members we can go out of our way to do special things for our family members and that’s important. Even if nobody else sees it. Even if it doesn’t get shown on social media. Even if the result isn’t perfect and/or pretty. After all, “The most important work will be within the walls of your own home,” said David O. McKay.
I realized that to magnify means to “make larger.” It means to make the role or calling more visible. Doing so makes a greater vision of that role, so that when people think of that calling, they know more of what it can involve, because the picture of what it can look like, the vision, has increased. Not to glorify the person doing the work of the calling, but to glorify God. Our most important callings are that of family roles.
So I’ve been thinking of examples/stories of what I’ve heard of people magnifying their “callings” as family members in the following roles:
Whew! Then we have all the “half”, “in-law” and “step” modifiers you can add to all of those which “round out” to be the same roles, actually. I couldn’t think of examples for every role but this is what I came up with:
-brother: I have a friend who says that one of her sons helps his little four year old sister say affirmations each morning to help her start her day on a positive note.
-aunt: My sister, Emily, would take my older children swimming when they were 7 and under, when I was a young mom, giving me a much needed break.
-father: I’ve heard Pres. Henry B. Eyring talk about how he lovingly would create gifts for his children that he hoped would inspire them to do great things and aim high
-grandfather: I have a friend who said that her children’s grandfather had a standing weekly date to call his grandchildren and read stories to them over the phone.
-grandmother: My own grandmother was a high school home economics teacher. She loved sewing for her granddaughters. She sewed anything she could think of for us, elegant velveteen, lacy “Nutcracker” type dresses for us at Christmas, pillowcases, even underwear! In the summer when we would stay for a week when my parents went away for my dad’s work, she took us to her classroom and taught us, meaning my sisters and me, how to sew. The first article of clothing I ever sewed, was a pair of shorts, under her tutelage during our “summer sewing camp.” I was so proud of those shorts!
-extended family member: a woman in a previous ward had a Sunday tradition of getting out her collection of blank birthday cards every Sunday to write Happy Birthday greetings to all her extended family who had birthdays in the coming week and then she would mail them out, of course.
-I’ve heard of a grandmother who takes her grandchildren for a day so parents can go to the temple
We have so many chances to magnify our “homemade” callings of wife, sister, mother, niece, daughter, granddaughter. I hope these examples give you some ideas. I would love to hear any examples you have. Please share them in the comments below. I especially want to hear about magnifying the “uncle” role.
As it says in the song, “Have I Done Any Good?” by Will L. Thompson