Dr. V on the “C”-ituation

This sounds so interesting! Attend if you can!

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Doctrine and Covenants 93 Cuts the Philosophical Gordian Knots

This video goes with Doctrine and Covenants 93, which was the Come, Follow Me reading for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Sunday School lesson over a week ago. I love this section! In the video above, Sister Lynne Hilton Wilson points out that we can increase our ability to worship by increasing our worthiness to stand before God. Fascinating idea! Section 93 also has so many answers to tough philosophical questions, like, “Can something come from nothing?”If you want to dive deeper in Section 93, here’s Sister Wilson’s handout to go with it.

This is what philosopher Truman Madsen said about Section 93, “[It] defines beginningless beginnings, the interrelationships of truth, of light, of intelligence, of agency, of element, of embodiment, of joy. Every sentence, every word, is freighted with meaning. In one fell swoop it cuts many Gordian knots” (Steve Harper, Making Sense of D&C, 348).

Here are some of the questions that Section 93 answers as quoted from the handout linked above, rearranged from the list compiled by Truman Madsen in Joseph Smith the Prophet, p. 33. To find the answers search Doctrine and Covenants 93 or check the handout.

1.How can something come from nothing?

2.How can Christ have been both absolutely human and absolutely divine at the same time?

3.If man is totally the creation of God, how can he be anything or do anything that he was not divinely pre-caused to do?

4.How can man be a divine creation and yet be ‘totally depraved?’

5.What is the relationship of being and beings, the one and the many?

6. How can spirit relate to gross matter?

7.Why should man be embodied?

8.How is it that people err and abuse the light, if they are naturally susceptible to light and truth?

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The Joyful Joyce on Letting Virtue Garnish Your Thoughts

You have to watch this! This is my dear friend Joyce of my Veggie Gals girlfriends’ group. It is one of the best sacrament meeting talks I’ve ever heard as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! She will tell you how to let virtue garnish your thoughts unceasingly, or as Joyce says, “How to Live the High Life”! You will laugh and love this! I have known Joyce for over 25 years. She continues to delight my friends and me every day. Go Joyce! She’s also the Joyce of my blog post “Joyce’s 7 Tips to Marital Bliss” over here. I hope you enjoy all this joy from Joyce! You will want to listen to her talk over and over.

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August 2021 Back to School Sale on Tuttle Twins Books

Here’s a message from Connor Boyack, the author of the Tuttle Twins books:

“Millions of kids are now returning to school… but what will they be taught?

Our view is that most schools have two major problems: sins of commission and sins of omission

Sins of commission are where teachers and textbooks are committing misinformation—bias, propaganda, and more. They’re teaching bad ideas, like Critical Race Theory or that capitalism is a problem, and that government is the solution.

Sins of omission are when these groups omit important ideas that kids need to learn—like the morality of free markets, how entrepreneurship works, sound money, what our rights are, and more. This stuff simply isn’t taught

Which is why today we’re launching a huge Back to School Sale

Through Friday night, get all of this for $89.77:

  • All12 award-winning children’s books
  • All 12 PDF activity workbooks to keep your kids learning after they read the books
  • All 12 PDF parent guides so that mom and dad are fully up to speed on the ideas taught in the books
  • All 12 MP3 read-along audiobooks so your kids can listen as they learn

Oh, and we’re throwing in another fun mystery item, but you have to click here to see what it is. 😎

Many of you homeschool, and for you the Tuttle Twins can be a kind of “curriculum” to teach your kids economic, civic, and historical ideas.

But many of you have kids in public, private, or charter school. For you, the Tuttle Twins is a “supplement” to help make sure your children are well-rounded and exposed to these ideas, since they’re typically not taught in school.

And if anything, they’re likely being taught opposite ideas in school… so then the Tuttle Twins becomes a kind of “antidote” to false ideas they’re exposed to.

Last year’s back to school sale was a HUGE hit, and so many parents emailed us in the weeks following disappointed they missed it. 

So take advantage today and get this screaming deal.

More importantly, share the link with your friends and neighbors so they can grab these for their kids. We need to reach more families, and you can help!

Reminder, deal ends Friday night. Here’s the link: Tuttle Twins Back to School Sale!

Let’s spread the word and help get the Tuttle Twins into more homes across the country!

—Connor”

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How to Be Married for 30 Years: Tree of Life Mama’s Advice for a Celestial Marriage

I have the most amazing children! The two oldest, ages 27 and 25, realized months ago that my husband and I were headed to hit 30 years of marriage this month of August 2021. So they said they wanted to send us on a second honeymoon vacation to celebrate. We had a hard time deciding the destination but finally chose the Florida Keys. So we named the place and my older children bought the airfare, lodging, and gave us money to spend on the trip. Wow! We went to Key West and found the end of the rainbow, a tropical paradise full of all the beaching, swimming, romance movie watching, seafood eating, snorkeling, bicycle riding, sleeping in, journal writing, reading, lighthouse touring, flora and fauna watching, museum and bookstore browsing a girl and her man could enjoy in 3 days.

It never even crossed my mind when I was their age to send my parents on an anniversary trip. Maybe children are being born brighter and less selfish as the decades go by?! Here’s looking to what my grandchildren give me for my 50th, LOL! Actually, I sure hope the second coming of Jesus Christ has arrived by then and I can just teleport to any beach any day I want to, and bring my grandchildren with me!

It’s hard to believe that just a week ago I was on a tropical island, eating conch fritters, sipping pink lemonade, and snorkeling in the Gulf of Mexico. We had sooooo much fun! So here are some photos of our trip of a lifetime plus a dozen celestial truths on how to build a marriage that gets to be 30 years old, like mine, and hopefully lasts into the eternities.

I feel victorious! We have reached 30 years weathering all sorts of challenges: unemployment, debt to the point of feeling tempted to declare bankruptcy, 7 children (LOL!), homeschooling, personality differences, different views of child discipline, illness, etc. The typical things that most/many couples face. So yeah, it’s a victory to get to 30 years of marriage. On top of that, we also didn’t even have one argument on the trip. Whew! My husband and I are definitely two different, opinionated, strong-willed, imperfect people and have had our share of arguments, even heated debates. Over the years I have learned though to lessen the contention, mostly by biting my tongue and listening more.

My heart aches for those who have marriages that don’t work out. I hope anything in this blog will help to increase the harmony in your marriage or give you hope for harmony and joy for a future marriage.

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Years ago, I shared my girlfriend Joyce’s “7 Tips to Marital Bliss.” Here are my dozen tips:

  1. Have your marriage based on Jesus Christ. If God is your third partner, then as you grow closer to our Savior Jesus Christ, you will grow closer to each other, as I learned from Elder Bednar’s talk on marriage years ago. If your marriage is based on the Savior, you are more likely to view it as a covenant, not a contract. That means God is involved as a third party. When you got married, you made a commitment to your spouse and God that you would build your husband and marriage. You know you can ask Him for help in the sacred name of Jesus Christ and He will give it to you. Even if your marriage does end, if it was based on God on your end, you will know you and God gave it everything and the ending was not because of a lack on your parts. So that allows you to have peace at some level, even if the marriage ended.
You’ll see a diagram of the marriage triangle with God Jesus Christ in this video.

2. As part of believing God, pay your tithing. When I was married for less than 10 years I read this talk by Dr. Janet Smith. She gives the $100 challenge. She tells her married listeners of her speech to commit to two things: 1. Pay tithing, and 2. Use natural family planning as your “birth control” (I don’t like that phrase, I prefer “fertility awareness.”) If you get divorced after doing those two faith-based behaviors (and they do take faith!) then she says she will pay you $100. She says so far nobody has asked her for the $100. OK, so that leads me to my next truth to build a marriage on.

3. This one is not popular, but I’m saying it anyway since this is my party and my blog. I’m sharing what has worked for my marriage. Please don’t feel guilty or offended if you haven’t done this. I’m not saying you can’t stay married if you don’t do this. As part of believing God, trust that your fertility is from God. After all, that is something we have on earth, the power to create life, that God has as well. It is a divine power. So this divine power deserves to be treated very sacredly. The way to do that is to use natural family planning, instead of artificial contraceptives. This allows you and your husband to appreciate that a woman’s body has seasons, and therefore the marriage relationship rightfully has beautiful seasons of enjoyment and abstinence. It allows you to feel cherished by your husband and not used. After 10 years of marriage, I finally convinced my husband for us to rely on natural family planning. It has been such a blessing to our marriage. We haven’t looked back. I love that the word “husband” literally means that he is like a steward of fertility, like a farmer who is a steward of the earth’s soil. If you want more about this topic, click here to read Chapter 6 from my book Tree of Life Mothering Vol. 1 about Getting Off the Birth Control Conveyor Belt.

4. Pray every night as a couple. Take turns with each of you praying vocally. You may be steaming mad when you kneel to pray. The prayer does help to to lessen the steam. You might still go to bed angry but you just won’t be as much angry as you would be if you hadn’t prayed together :-). If you absolutely can’t sleep write out all your angry feelings on paper.

Crocs are the best water shoes! Move over aqua sox!

5. Have a weekly planning meeting, what we call Family Executive Council. I learned to do this from Oliver and Rachel DeMille’s book, Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning. This is a time to go over the upcoming week’s calendar, talk about finances, your needs and the children’s needs, who is driving who, when and where, etc.

treeoflifemothering.com

6. Get counseling from a professional counselor if needed. We have and I’m not ashamed of it. Counseling helps you learn how to communicate respectfully and talk about differences.

7. Stay out of debt. We didn’t and it caused lots of problems. I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps plan to get out of debt. We used it and it works.

8. Have a weekly date night. The date doesn’t have to be fancy or away from home. If all you can manage is getting the kids to bed and then watching a movie on the laptop in your bed, or reading a book aloud to the other until one of you dozes off, that’s OK. It’s so much better than nothing. (I’ve got a list of date night movies here.)

9. Listen without interrupting. Say, “Hmmm….that’s interesting,” when you disagree, instead of reacting emotionally to something that you think is disgusting, horrible, dumb, or stupid, that your husband says. I learned this from Ramona Zabriskie, author of Wife for Life. Repeat back what he said so he knows your listening. Ask unemotional questions if you want him to realize something. Give him space to figure things out as you expect him to do the same for you.

10. When you do want to call your husband out on something he did that was any of the adjectives I just mentioned, esepcially if it is hurtful and/or abusive, do so in private, and use “I” statements, such as, “When you did that, I felt this way, because…” Then ask for the change you want without whining or complaining. If the problem persists, then it is time to get counseling.

11. Read marriage books and apply them. Some that I’ve enjoyed are:

Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman

– The Proper Care and feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura

Wife for Life by Ramona Zabriskie

What Makes Love Last? by Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Gottman (I like everything in this book except the part where it says it’s OK to have porn in the marriage as long as you both view it together. I absolutely disagree with that. Porn is evil, because it objectifies people and is addictive, whether you view it alone, as a couple, or in a group. It is like a rattlesnake that should be completely avoided. )

12. Fill your own bucket of needs, or romance your own heart, so that you don’t depend on your husband to “make” you happy. Accept the fact that he can never meet all your needs. Only God can. God can inspire you on how to do this. This is what Ramona Zabriskie calls giving yourself “delights,” “drops,” and “dazzles.” See the video below at the 4:39 mark. For me these things include: doing family history research and temple work, bike rides, other physical exercise, nature walks and hikes, with taking photos along the way, bubble baths, thrifting, reading picture books aloud to my children, buying some new thing for my kitchen like a pretty new hand towel or potholder, listening to podcasts, reading chapter books, getting with girlfriends in person or over Zoom, reading the scriptures, playing the piano, going out to my garden in the cool of the evening to weed, eating chocolate, watching a great movie, playing a board game with friends or family, blogging, and serving others. As Ramona says, it’s anything that gives you a boost of oxytocin, without a lot of time or money.

That’s it! May you apply these to your marriage or hold them in your heart to apply when you do get married.

I believe in marriage and in your marriage, like Ramona does as seen below!

P.S. The same week I celebrated my 30 years, I got an email on marriage tips, to celebrate her 34th anniversary, from fellow Christian mommy blogger Jennifer Flanders. I love her idea of decorating their car every year, like most people do after a wedding. This year she wrote on her husband’s car window, “Still married after 34 years and the honeymoon isn’t over!” Maybe I’ll do that next year!

I’m sharing her tips from her blog on how to build marriage below.

Free resources for nurturing your marriage (from Jennifer Flanders of flandersfamily.info:

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Fall 2021: Back to School Picture Books that Foster a Love of Learning

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Fearless World Traveler: Adventures of Marianne North, Botanical Artist - Lawlor, Laurie

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library
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It’s Not About Germs: Review of The Contagion Myth by Dr. Thomas Cowan MD and Sally Fallon Morrell

The Contagion Myth: Why Viruses (including

A few weeks ago I got to meet some wonderful people, Angie Law and her husband, Larry, who run this website over here, called Angie’s Option GRM. They also do a podcast, The Elephant in the Room: Hidden Truths in the Science of Health. In this podcast episode here, (scroll to the July 5, 2021 episode, called, “It’s Not About the Germs”) Angie and Larry talk about this book, pictured above. I saw it in scribd.com months ago and I started it but haven’t finished it. It’s fascinating! I’ve been waiting to see if some blogger or podcaster out there would review it. The book confirms what I learned from reading Paola Brown’s book, Evie and the Secret of Small Things, which is involved in her Teach Me Health and Homeopathy Curriculum. The truth revealed in that book is that Louis Pasteur was a fraud, and that the germ theory is not true. Angie asks her husband how we can say bacteria or virus aren’t contagious when she saw a germ-based illness spread through her family. Read the above book or listen to the podcast to understand more.

So, in other words, it’s more important to strengthen our terrain than it is to stress about fighting germs. Listen to the episode to hear the reasoning based on examples from the book. If you want to learn more about the terrain theory, which I call The Law of the Terrain, click on this link: https://treeoflifemothering.com/2021/05/12/the-law-of-the-terrain-and-is-the-germ-theory-a-hoax/.

Image Credit: Robert Scott Bell
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8/21/21 Tree of Life Mama’s Picture Book of the Week: Up the Mountain Path by Marianne Dubuc, with Discussion Questions

This is the perfect book to kick off a new homeschooling year! Especially if you subscribe to the Thomas Jefferson Education and/or LEMI (Leadership Education Mentoring Institute) philosophy. It’s all about the mentor’s path.

Mrs badget and lulu in a field of tall grass
Image Credit: amazon.com

It starts out with Mrs. Badger going on a hike to Sugarloaf Peak. Along the way, she finds a friend, Lulu the Cat, who isn’t sure if she wants to join Mrs. Badger in the journey. Will Lulu hike with her or not? How does Mrs. Badger inspire her? What does Mrs. Badger do as a mentor when Lulu hesitates in coming?

Lulu and Mrs. Badger watch a family of hedgehogs cross the path
Image Credit: amazon.com

If you want to remind yourself of how to be a great mother mentor, or you want to inspire other moms to be mentors to their own children or other children, read this book. If you are part of a commonwealth or any kind of homeschooling cooperative, I highly recommend you read this aloud in a group and discuss it for training for your new school year. It gives much food for thought.

At a recent training that my commonwealth did for the moms as mentors, we had enough copies of this book that we could read it in mostly pairs, with one threesome. Then we discussed it in those smaller groups. Then we reconvened in a larger group and discussed it all together. Here are some discussion questions:

  1. What did you learn about how to mentor from Mrs. Badger?
  2. What did you learn about the mentor’s path?
  3. How can you apply what you learned from this book to your own children?
  4. How can you apply what you learned from this book to relationships outside your home?
  5. What do you feel inspired to do differently after reading this book?
  6. What do you feel inspired to keep doing after reading this book?

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars! The text is concise and the illustrations are so simply charming. They remind me of Fumi Kosaka, the BYU college roommate of my artist sister, Emily, who has the same kind of sweet, cheery style. (You can read an interview Emily did with Fumi here.) Enjoy!

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The Hearts of Conspiring Men to Trap Us In Addictions

So I visited Florida last week to have a second honeymoon with my dear husband and celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary. Yep, I’ve been married 30 years! We had an absolutely divine time! More on that later! Now I’m back in real life and catching up on the missed podcasts and videos that make up my weekly listening fare.

I just love the above video by Taylor and Tyler about the Word of Wisdom. Check out the nugget of truth at time stamp 9:30 about “addiction” really means. Fascinating! How does that apply to life today? Lots to ponder about!

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God’s Orchestrations of Social Constellations

I absolutely loved the above video by David and Emily. Section 88 is one of my all-time favorite sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. It is just chock-full of priceless gems. I love that they referred to a talk by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Encircled in the Arms of His Love,” which you can find here. They mention that talk, at the 33:42 mark, when they refer to these verses from Section 88:

42 And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a alaw unto all things, by which they move in their btimes and their seasons

43 And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.

44 And they give alight to each other in their times and in their seasons, in their minutes, in their hours, in their days, in their weeks, in their months, in their years—all these are bone year with God, but not with man.”

I agree with David and Emily, people can give off light as well as planets. We give off light in our times and seasons, according to where God has placed us, in our social constellations. Here’s what Elder Maxwell said in his talk that relates to this:

“Recall the new star that announced the birth at Bethlehem? It was in its precise orbit long before it so shone. We are likewise placed in human orbits to illuminate. Divine correlation functions not only in the cosmos but on this planet, too. After all, the Book of Mormon plates were not buried in Belgium, only to have Joseph Smith born centuries later in distant Bombay.

“The raising up of that constellation of ‘wise’ Founding Fathers to produce America’s remarkable Constitution, whose rights and protection belong to ‘every man,’ was not a random thing either (see D&C 101:77–78, 80). One historian called our Founding Fathers ‘the most remarkable generation of public men in the history of the United States or perhaps of any other nation’ (Arthur M. Schlesinger, The Birth of the Nation [1968], 245). Another historian added, ‘It would be invaluable if we could know what produced this burst of talent from a base of only two and a half million inhabitants’ (Barbara W. Tuchman, The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam [1984], 18).”

I love that! Yes! I think the “invaluable” thing is God’s hand, to produce that talent. He inspired the parents of those Founding Fathers to raise those men a certain way. I have seen God working in my life, to place me next to people who I can help with my light, and to place me where I can see better because of other people’s light. It reminds me of Elder Rasband’s General Conference talk, “By Divine Design, ” below.

I’m not sure how agency fits into all of this, if we are chess pieces on what Elder Rasband refers to in the talk as the Lord’s chessboard. I guess it’s basically, as He says in the talk, that He gives us promptings to act, and if we respond, we are moved by Him as pieces on the board. I’ve seen it play out in my own life. Our years in AZ, nearly 5, were for certain social reasons. God wanted me to hear some things from people down there, and also to get away from a social situation in the place we moved from. Then when we moved back to Utah a year ago, it was because God wanted us to meet new people up here. I’ve felt the Holy Spirit witness to me that this is true. I invite you to ponder your own life. I believe you will see evidence of God inspiring you to meet people and then avoid other people, all ultimately for your good.

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