Wednesday, November 7

Study Journals Crush

I, of myself, am not creative, but I do like to copy stuff I find and love. I often wish that extended to the cute crafty stuff many talented women in my life are apt to conquer! Perhaps in another season of my life, or maybe not - we'll see! Our ward held a crafting Super Saturday last weekend which left me satisfied with my one creation, but deeply happy for the four hours of great conversations I had while not leaving my chair, even for food!

For the past couple weeks, my juices have been flowing about scripture study. How can I get excited about it? How can I make it more meaningful?

I stumbled upon a fabulous website a few weeks ago - I initially landed there to check out her General Conference Journal. I enjoyed using it to take notes at Conference, but I am seriously in love with her Journals! She's got chapter or topic scripture journals, ones about scripture heroes, and so forth. I needed these simple ideas of how to break down and search the scriptures, recording insights and questions along the way. While I waited for my journals to arrive, I was emailing a couple dear friends to rave about them and one created her own and asked what we'd start on. And it hit me, Why am I waiting?! I decided I just needed to dive in where I am and stop waiting. I too often make excuses and reasons why I can't start something I desire TODAY! Not this time.

I used some of the Red Headed Hostess' headings to prompt my thoughts as I began:
- Words I looked up
- People in this chapter
- Significant doctrines and principles I found
- Questions I asked
- Other scriptures I looked up
- Insights from Study Guides
- My personal thoughts and insights

Day 1
I began with the readings for the next lesson I will be teaching in a couple weeks in Primary. Mormon, chapters 1-5. Essentially it's the beginning of the real end to the Nephite people. All because they allowed themselves to be lifted up in pride and then descended into all sorts of wickedness. This is 200-350 years after the Resurrected Christ visited them. I opened up my laptop and in Word, I recorded some recent favorite scriptures shared at church on Sunday and experiences I've had as I felt prompted. I dissected a scripture to define words and phrases. I found a fabulous talk to study the next day when I wanted to flush out what it means to be "meek and lowly in heart." Printed the talk and the two pages I'd typed and stuck them in my 3 ring Journal.

I had to stop myself because dishes needed to be done, desperately! Told myself I needed to wake up earlier to get in some study time because I need serious chore time too. You see, Morgan is now a full-fledged German kindergarten goer every day and Jake takes a 3 hour nap every morning once the kids are all gone. Ahh, sweet solitude! Perfect study or chore atmosphere!

It was a glorious beginning for me! So imagine how deflated I was when within a half hour of having Morgan home, I totally snapped at a very 4-year-old-something lil' Morgan did. I snapped! Mortification! I let myself cool down and then held her in my arms and asked her to forgive me for losing it over spilled yogurt and tantrums. Felt just a tiny bit of redemption.

Day 2 
Hard to get up a half hour early, but was glad I did once I began reading. Only got 4 pages into the 10 page talk given by the late Apostle, Elder Neal A. Maxwell in a 1986 BYU Devotional entitled, "Meek and Lowly." Decided a half hour just isn't enough time to really dive in like I want to.

Favorite quotes:
"Meekness is needed, therefore, in order for us to be spiritually successful -- whether in matters of intellect, in the management of power, in the dissolution of personal pride, or in coping with the challenges and routine of life."

He enumerated a good long list of meek, serious disciple virtues concluding with -
"In the midst of all these things they are given a Sabbath day for rest, during which they do the sweetest but often the hardest work of all." -- A resounding AMEN here!!!

"This is a high-yield, but very severe form of learning." -- Oh, how I have felt that lately!

I had a busy day out and about with the kids, chores were still neglected, and overwhelmed-ness kept creeping in. I'd had my friend Helen with me all afternoon and can I say how much better a parent I am with her around?! Apparently I need a real life shadow to help me behave as I know I should when I can't control circumstances around me! Seriously, being a grown-up is so hard sometimes! Add kids and you've got yourself a perfect petri dish for testing how to be meek and lowly in heart. Yet I think whatever life circumstances we're in, God gives us minute-by-minute opportunities to participate in this "stretching journey."

This evening after a pathetic attempt at giving the kids some dinner, I tackled just a one-room pickup with the kids so there'd be no Lego injuries and subsequent screaming in the next 12 hours. Then I sat down and happily shared my excitement over what I am starting/learning with Ryan. It's silly how great it was to hear him be happy for my two days of effort! And it's silly how not having a single clean wash cloth can make me okay with taking the time to share this with Ryan. Seriously, it's been two days now without a clean wash cloth to wipe down counters and the dining room table! And I'm out of paper towels. Ugh. I blame the wet beds around here taking up my laundry consciousness. I didn't journal today until now because Ryan said, "why not blog this." Perhaps someone else is stuck in the same study rut and this might be helpful. If not, I'll enjoy having a record of this.

I'm currently listening to two very different histories while I do my chores - Washington: A Life, and Charlie Wilson's War. As I'm pondering what it means to be meek and lowly in heart like the Savior, I feel like I'd like to have a record of the fascinating people I read about in all sorts of literature, not just the scriptures. I love to understand these great individual's strengths and weaknesses to use as illustrations for lessons I give at church and at home. I love to learn through examples and stories and my kids love a good story. I'm no good at making up fun stories to tell, but I sure do get excited to tell them about real ones!

Now I'm trying to decide how I want to record all this? Typing it up in Word makes it easily searchable and quickly printable, but how to tag and link uniformly? I don't do anything uniformly, my brain is too creative for that . . . or forgetful. A great guy I once dated in college used Word to link all his reading notes, stories, and whatnot with cross-references, it was amazing. He teaches Seminary now, go figure! Hmmm . . . questions to ponder and answer with a fresh day tomorrow.