As for me--I've been reading lots of picture books about China (my children are obsessed) and slavery. We're starting slavery and the Civil War, and while it is not a pretty topic--it is a fascinating one. I'm reading Slave Dancer out loud to my kiddos, and I'm a little worried that it will be too much for Miriam's delicate feelings to handle, but yet I forge ahead. What does that say about me?
I read a book called Impossible. The characters, except the bad guy, were lame. Annoying.
I've mostly been reading a collection of Elder Eyring's talks called, "To Draw Closer to God." So far (and I'm not that far into it) I've found a lot of food for thought. For example, President Eyring (hereafter PE) talked about a man who home taught him when he was the president of Ricks College. The home teacher would bring a notebook and take copious notes during their visits. PE said he was very flattered that the man would care so much about what PE had to say. Then, he went to a meeting at which a primary child spoke and PE was surprised to see that very home teacher taking just as copious of notes from the primary child's talk. The lesson PE learned is that God can speak through anyone to those who have ears to hear. What we need to do is practice listening so we hear what Heavenly Father wants to teach us through any of his servants, no matter how humble. Describing another young deacon who knew how to listen, PE wrote: "He wanted to hear, he knew how, and he had the faith he could." The first step, therefore, is wanting to hear.
Anyway, I think I've found the first few talks interesting because PE was talking about how we need to learn to listen during all of our church meetings because it is up to us to hear what God wants to us to know and he often communicates through his servants. I guess I've been thinking so much about communication coming during scripture study or in the temple, or during a personal prayer, that I hadn't given much thought to the effort I was putting in at church to "hear." PE wrote: "God has said that if we are going to make it home again, we must not only hear his voice privately by our own effort, but also through the voice of His servants."
PE also stressed that you have to pray with "confidence" and "faith." I liked the word confidence because it has really become clear to me lately (through my mother's example during the time of crisis when Ethan said he wasn't going on a mission) that I am, as always, MUCH more like my father than my mother. I figured, Ethan did things he shouldn't do, he wants to play football, the mission dream is over. But mom went the opposite route and refused to give up (much to the annoyance of all us doubting Thomases) and she pled with the Lord. In a real way. And now, Ethan has changed his mind and says he is absolutely going in July. It really is a miracle. We've always called Mom to pray for us when we needed something because we all know her prayers are answered because she has faith like you would not believe (ha, that was funny but I didn't mean it to be). She also has confidence too--that God really can work miracles. It is something my cynical self needed to reminded of. Prayer has power and when we pray to have two-way communication with God more often--it will happen. We can pray for better "ears that hear" and if we mean it, it will happen. Sometimes I forget that.
To end this strange collection of rambling thoughts, I was reading in the new Gospel Principles book and found a great mantra (I actually do chant it in my mind throughout the day to help me refocus on the important things). It was in chapter one in the section talking about how we can come to know God. It said be believing, reading the scriptures, praying and obeying. In other words:
Believe, Read, Pray, Obey
I'm going to teach it to my kids and start our day chanting it. It really sums up everything important for us to be doing in a catchy little way.
I'd love to hear from people. I'm not sure when or if Kami is ready to jump back into this but we both agreed that we need to read War and Peace. Me for the first time, her for the second. I also need to reread Les Mis. I also got a bunch of Winston books for Christmas and they are calling my name. My point--I'm not very excited about our reading list at this point. Anyone interested in War and Peace??