Sunday, May 28, 2017

A New Family Sabbath Activity: Hymn Podcast and Coloring Time

If I have one spiritual fear in my life, it's that I'll preach more than I practice. As a blogger, this means I often don't do a post on something new that we've done, because I'm afraid we won't continue doing it. If it is something we've done for a while, I forget to do a post about it. 
This time, I'm posting on something we've only done once, that I hope becomes a weekly tradition.

I recently enjoyed a class on family music at the LDSHE 2017 Homeschooling Conference, taught by Kimberly Blackwell. One of her many suggestions was to listen to the podcast The Evolution of LDS Hymns. As I pondered and discussed with my husband when we would fit this into our lives, I came to envision this as a Sunday activity. My husband asked if I meant to play the podcast in the morning as the children were coming down to breakfast, like I do with conference talks. If we did it that way, I think most of the children wouldn't hear most of it, but I didn't want to force them all to sit down in the living room and quietly listen. Often when I push hard on something, the kids push back.
Well, I waited until after church this evening (and after I enjoyed an hour of quiet time during Q's post-church nap, and people had made themselves PB+J sandwiches) when the inspiration finally struck: coloring time!

When I went down and announced my intention, there was some grumbling. I'm pretty sure I heard "stupid podcast" in it. I cleared off half the table (some people were still sandwiching at the other end of the table). M brought out the coloring books and a gallon bag of colored pencils (don't ask). K asked if it would be okay if he brought down his Harry Potter coloring book, and I began podcast #1: "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet."

That was the most connected half hour of the day. It felt like what Sunday should feel like. K and M colored, S drew, T sought out the New Era, and I helped Q build a train with the Kid K'nex, all while enjoying various renditions of that hymn. It turned out my grumbler thought I was expecting them to sit through another conference talk, and was pleasantly surprised by what we actually did.

I noted in my planner which hymn we enjoyed today, and strongly desire to repeat the experience next Sunday: Hymn podcast and family coloring time!

A Talk a Day . . .

Two weeks before General Conference, we went up to the temple. This is something we often do, but this time felt extra special. Maybe because it was the fifth consecutive month in a row, or maybe because of my determination to put more effort into it, but the week following felt amazingly peaceful. Then we had two weekends of General Conference, with a wonderful week between them, too.
Then things fell apart. I had expected that feeling of peace to go with me the week following Conference, but it wasn't there. Toward the end of the week, I looked back in frustration and wondered, "What went wrong?"

The answer: I got casual in my prayers and scriptures. I thought (without admitting I thought it) that I could keep that feeling by resting on my laurels and giving a skim effort to prayers and scriptures.
Well, that was an easy fix. I began to listen to General Conference talks every morning in the kitchen. I would get through at least one, sometimes two. At first, I had to push myself a bit. I've kept it up, and it has been well worth the resulting peace I have felt.