Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Month: October 2017

G: Family Goals

As we are coming to a close on our M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E. acronym series, we must cover the importance of setting goals in a marriage.

Here is my most important piece of advice: make goals as a couple, and keep making goals. Life constantly changes. The unexpected always happens. So, it is important to adapt when necessary.

Where do you start? Well, if you are single, consider making personal goals you would like to implement with your future spouse. Then, once the future spouse becomes less futuristic, you can discuss those goals with him or her. If you are dating someone, consider learning more about that person and what types of goals he or she has for their future marriage relationship. If you are engaged, take this time during your engagement to really make sure your goals for the future are in line with each other. It’s better to figure out sooner rather than later if you are both on the same track. Finally, if you are married, choose now to sit down and make some goals together. There is no time like the present.

I have a friend who mentioned she and her husband spent many times on their honeymoon discussing and making goals for their marriage and family life.  This a great idea! If goals are made in advance, then when life brings you lemons, you will already have the recipe to make the lemonade!

Try breaking down the goals into topics.

  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Emotional
  • Family
  • Couple relationship

Then consider breaking down those general topics into subtopics.

  • Spiritual
    • Have FHE weekly
    • Morning family scripture study (or evening, whichever you feel will work best for your family)
    • Couple prayer
    • Family council each fast Sunday

These are a few ideas of goals that you can make as a couple and as a family.

I know it can seem daunting. But remember, we do not have to be perfect now. Our quest to perfection will not be completed in this life. We get credit for trying, and that is what goals are all about. Life happens; things happen. Sometimes paths change, and we need to reevaluate. I know that when we are diligent in keeping the commandments, and we work in our families to follow the council of living prophets, our lives will be blessed.

BY REBECCA CASSANAVE

Killer Recipes: The Best Bread EVER

Let me tell you a little story.

I am a little bit of a cheapskate . . . or maybe a lotta bit.

Sometimes, as a result, my husband and I eat some foods of questionable quality, because why would I spend 20 more cents per ounce on the name brand?

But sometimes, it results in some really great things.

Ever since getting married, my husband and I have been buying the cheapest bread we could find at the local supermarket. It was 89 cents a loaf, so we thought it was worth the slight stale-ness, and overall cheap-o flavor. I soon started to get sick of it; never wanting to pack a sandwich for lunch because the bread was THAT bad. Food, in my opinion, is all about the pleasure factor, and this bread scored about a -12 on a scale of 1 to 10.

But I wasn’t about to buy the most delicious bread in the bread aisle! No way, José!

So I thought to myself, “How can I have a more pleasurable experience eating cheap bread?”

And then it came to me.

I would just make my own bread. Who doesn’t love homemade bread?

I’d never made homemade bread before—at least, not without the help of a pre-packaged mix—but I figured that buying a mix would defeat the purpose of saving money, so I started my search for a delicious bread recipe.

Since this was my first attempt at the bread making business I decided to go the fool-proof route and save the internet searches for delicious and fluffy bread recipes for another time. That was my first mistake.

I came across this recipe for no-fail Amish bread, and the picture looked yummy, so I trusted it. Ha.

Anyway, I did know at least one thing about baking bread, and that was that it’s different in high elevations, like Utah. I wasn’t sure where this recipe came from, so I looked up what adjustments you could make to bread recipes for high elevation, and I did all of those things, just to be sure. That was my second mistake.

The bread came out of the oven a little stumpy looking, but it looked like bread, so success! Right?

Wrong. It was dense, crumbly, and all around not so delicious. I figured that’s just how bread was going to be, so I kept making that horrid bread recipe! Why, oh why did I do that?

Weeks later, as I began my bread-making, I thought, “Why am I even making this? It’s not even that great.” I slumped down and berated myself as a baker, telling myself I was a failure because my homemade bread didn’t taste nearly as delicious as literally everyone else’s.

But YOU, TOO CAN BAKE. I promise you, if it’s not working, just try a new recipe. You’ll see.

I finally searched for a fluffy bread recipe, because the denseness of my bread was the feature I most disliked about it, and I found the winner, folks.

This recipe is from Connie Armstrong, and was featured on deliacreates.com. It is already adjusted for high altitudes, so don’t worry about it not working (unless you live in a lower altitude than Utah. I haven’t tried it anywhere else, so I don’t know).

Here it is, friends: The tried and true Best Bread EVER

Makes 2 large loaves, 3 medium loaves, or 1 large loaf and 2 mini loaves

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups HOT water

1/3 cup oil

1/3 cup sugar or honey

1 T salt

3/4 cup flour and about 5-7 cups of flour (divided) *I give flour notes and tips at the end.

1 1/2 TBSP yeast (any kind)

Spray oil

Directions
  1. Whisk water, oil, sugar/honey, and salt together in a large bowl.
  2. Add 3/4 cup flour and whisk for 30 seconds, then yeast and whisk for 30 seconds more.
  3. Add 2-3 cups of flour and mix together with a spoon. If using a mixer, add the rest of the flour.  (The total flour should amount to about 5-7 cups, not including the flour used in step 2.) Let the mixer knead the dough for about 5 minutes plus. If mixing by hand, add the rest of the flour and mix until shaggy looking and hard to work with a spoon. Knead in the bowl a few times and then turn the dough out onto a floured counter. Knead for 5+ minutes. The dough should be soft, but not really sticky.
  4. Let rise in a clean, greased, covered bowl for about* 30 minutes. You can let it rise on the counter, but it will rise nicely in the oven. Set your oven for 450 degrees for a minute or less, then turn it off before placing the oven-safe bowl inside.
  5. When the dough has risen, remove from the oven and heat the oven to 175 degrees.
  6. Grease your bread pans and the counter with spray oil. Divide the dough.
  7. Roll out the dough into a long oblong shape until all the air bubbles are gone.
  8. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder, tuck the ends under or squish them, and place it in a greased bread pan. Repeat with remaining dough.
  9. Place loaves in a warm oven (175 degrees) for about* 1/2 hour, or until the dough has risen to fill the pan.
  10. Turn the oven up to 350 degrees, and cook for about* 30 minutes. The bread is done when you hit the top and it sounds hollow. Don’t worry about time as much as this indicator. The bread isn’t done until you hear the hollow sound. If you are worried that the crust is getting too brown, cover it lightly with a piece of foil.
  11. Turn out on a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting. Smother the top of the loaves with butter if you desire.

* The times listed for rising and baking are approximate. Weather, altitude, your oven, the moisture content of your flour, etc. can all affect how quickly your dough will rise and bake. Make sure that you check to see that the dough has doubled for the first rise, filled the pan for the second rise, and that you hear the hollow sound to know when it is done baking. All these indicators supersede any time estimates given.

BY CARI AVERETT

A: Aspirations as a Married Couple

You spend your whole life planning what you want to do and be for the remainder of life, and then . . . BAM! You get married, and everything changes. It’s a challenging experience to try to take two lives with two plans and merge them into one. In some cases, there has to be a lot of compromise so that the two partners can live their idea of a fulfilling life.

When I was deciding to marry my husband, Tyler, I thought integrating my plan into his life would be pretty easy. My plan in life was to grow up, go to my dream college studying the thing I love, marry the love of my life, have some cute little kids, and otherwise insert myself into his plan. I thought my plan was very conducive to married life. This plan would have worked out great, except that life doesn’t always go as planned, and I didn’t have a back-up plan.

Shortly after I married Tyler, I realized that the thing I was studying was not something I loved. This was problematic because I was almost done—and if I wanted to insert myself smoothly into Tyler’s plan, I had to graduate when he did, or not at all; so changing my career track was not an option at that point.

Another problem we encountered was the fact that Tyler’s plan wasn’t fully developed. Sure, we knew the basic outline: graduate from college, get a master’s degree, get a job. But, all of a sudden, we started figuring out that the track he was on would not lead him to the career he thought it would. We applied for internships, but he didn’t get any because he just wasn’t in the right field (even though he’s brilliant, and any company would be lucky to have him).

These problems led to many nights of stress for Tyler and worrying for me. Sometimes we’d lie in bed about to go to sleep, when I would start worrying out loud and end up in a fit of tears. Why aren’t things working out for us? I’d ask. Why didn’t everything go as planned?

Now, I still don’t have the solutions to our problems, but I have a formula for dealing with aspirations as a married couple that I recommend to anyone having similar issues.

First, you have to talk to each other. You have to get together and write down the things you enjoy doing, the things you could see yourself doing as a career, your ultimate dreams and goals.

When you’re done with that, I recommend that you rank the things on your list in order of importance to you. Talk about the things that you feel are non-negotiable, and things you wouldn’t mind doing without. Work out possibilities for the future, and how those things might affect your relationship and your family.

Then you have to make a plan together. And not just one plan, but several that range from broad to specific, from semester to fifty years, from ideal to worst case scenario. This could take several hours, so make sure you have a block of time set aside for doing this, or else you could end up scratching things out at 3 o’clock in the morning.

The last step is making a plan of action for right now. What will you do today to set you on the right path? Even if it’s just research, it will help you out in the long run. Decide on a timely plan for both of you, and help each other out. Remind your husband when his internship application is due. Encourage your wife to look for opportunities to acquire new skills. Take it day by day—if you always make sure you’re on the right trajectory, you will eventually end up where you want to be.

BY CARI AVERETT

5 Ways to Study The Family: A Proclamation to the World

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a document titled “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” that discusses the role and importance of the family. This beautiful document intends for the whole world to benefit from it, not just those of the LDS faith. We invite all to read and study this inspired document regularly.

Reading a religious article is easy, but studying a religious article can be difficult to do. We often find ourselves reading the scriptures or religious articles on a “repeat” motion as we might feel with waking up, showering, and eating every morning. Daily routines are good for us, but what can we do to make them better? We could exercise after we wake up, listen to some pumped-up music while in the shower, and start reading that new book we just bought while eating breakfast.

We can also enhance our personal religious readings by finding new ways to study the words of God. Here are five fun and different ways to study “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” to enhance our routine studying of this precious document.

  1. Make it Personal – While reading the Proclamation, insert your name into every place appropriate, along with the name of your spouse if you are married. For example, I would read the opening sentence as, “We, The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between Joshua and Elizabeth is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of Elizabeth and Joshua’s family.”
  2. Highlight Your Part – Highlight every section that applies to you. If you are a woman, highlight all the parts pertaining to a woman’s role and a mother’s role, even if you do not have children. The same goes for men. Knowing what the Lord desires for each of us specifically, will help us improve in these roles or prepare for them.
  3. Discuss the Worldly Differences – It is no secret that the statements made in this Proclamation are very different from the world’s opinions of what gender can be and how romantic relationships can look. Don’t shy away from these topics. Mark the differences between the Lord’s words and the world’s words and discuss them with yourself and your family. Be prepared to know and stand up for what you believe in.
  4. Live what you Read – When we practice what we learn, it truly becomes a part of us. The Proclamation contains nine paragraphs. Starting from the beginning, read one paragraph from the Proclamation each week for nine weeks. Each week, pray for and look for experiences in which you can practice what the specific paragraph you read teaches. Even if the paragraph talks about the roles of the opposite gender, look for ways to sustain and respect the roles of that gender.
  5. Make a Plan – We are more likely to fulfill our goals in life once we have written them down. Write down a plan of how you intend to incorporate and continuously live the principles taught in the Proclamation. Revise this plan as necessary and return to study it often. Nobody and no family are perfect, but this Proclamation gives us the guidance and tools to strive for perfection.

BY ELIZABETH HANSEN

Make Decluttering a Joy

I was going to write about new and creative ways to organize, but while I was looking for inspiration, I saw this phrase: “Why organize when you can declutter?”

When I was a senior in high school, my mom read a book about decluttering. The following Family Home Evening on decluttering was traumatic for all of us, a family of pack rats, but it was especially traumatic for me, as I knew that going off to college soon meant I would have to do some serious decluttering.

I remember cradling each of my books (more than 120 in total) in my hands, bawling, and asking myself, “Does this spark joy in me?” and if it didn’t, I hesitantly placed it in a pile destined to end up at the local thrift store.

Now, I’m terrible at decluttering (I only threw about 6 books out), but I can see how necessary it is when space is limited, and things are just getting too hard to organize.

I think that one of the problems I encountered when attempting to declutter so long ago, was that I only had the one question to base my decluttering on, “Does this spark joy in me?”. Joy is defined as a feeling, source, or cause of great happiness, not just something that you’re used to having. This makes things hard, because some things you just have to keep, even if they don’t bring you joy. Conversely, some things that you may think bring you joy just have to go.

William Morris said, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” So how can you decide what is clutter and what is not, with so many vague parameters? I have compiled a list of questions you can use to evaluate.

  1. Do you know what it is? (I’ll give you a hint on this one: if the answer is no, just toss it.)
  2. Does it have sentimental value?
  3. Does it work?
  4. If not, can you fix or repurpose it?
  5. If you can, do you have a realistic plan to do so?
  6. Does it take up a lot of space?
  7. Have you used it in the last year?
  8. If you were shopping right now, would you buy this?
  9. Do you have a similar item that serves the same purpose?
  10. Does it spark joy in you? (If your item answered yes for 6 and 9 and no for all the others, be very strict about the definition of joy in this question.)

I encourage you to use these questions to aid you in your decluttering. And maybe if you do, decluttering won’t be as much a traumatic experience (like it was for me), and more of a joyful experience.

BY CARI AVERETT

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash