Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Tag: family (page 1 of 5)

Gilmore Girls Family Lessons

Do you perk up when you hear the words, Gilmore Girls? Are you still hoping that Netflix will put out a season two of A Year in the Life to answer all those loose ends we were left with? I know that I am.

Gilmore Girls is loved by so many people. It has its hilarious, as well as touching, moments that so many people can relate to in their own lives with their own families. The Gilmore Girls may not live within a traditional home of a married father and mother, yet they are still as much a family as any other family. Rory and Lorelai are truly the ultimate dynamic duo between mother and daughter. They have their rough moments, but they always come back together in love and unity, while making countless, unforgettable friends along the way.

Since we could truly write a book about the different family dynamics in the Gilmore Girls series, the following are just three of the amazing family lessons we can learn from the Gilmore Girls:

  1. Eat Together: One might wonder how the Gilmore Girls can consume so much sugar and take-out while remaining in great health and how they can afford the take-out in the first place, but they can! So many wonderful memories are made for Rory and Lorelai over take-out from Luke’s Diner, Pete’s, and more. It gives them time to bond and have meaningful conversations with each other. Take time to have a special meal or take-out with your family to just enjoy some good junk food and conversation.
  2. Always Apologize: Let’s admit, Rory and Lorelai, especially, do not have the best communication skills. Lorelai and Luke should have been truthful all the time and spoken their true feelings to each other! Lorelai and Emily should have taken the time to communicate their feelings in a civil manner when Lorelai was a teenager. Rory and Lorelai could have even used better communication in their many disagreements over boys, college, and more. No family is free of arguments or explosive communication, however, the Gilmore Girls always make up in the end. We can take this lesson and apply it in our lives—the importance of saying sorry, asking for forgiveness, and never loosing the close bond between family members over a dumb argument or harsh words said in a moment of frustration.
  3. Home is Home: One final lesson to learn from the Gilmore Girls, is that you can always come home. Despite all the craziness that happened in the family dynamic of the Gilmore’s, there was always a home to go to. Despite Lorelai’s struggles through her teenage years, she and her family are always welcome to Emily and Richard’s house. The love was always there; it never left. When Rory struggles through her issues in high school, college, and even post-college life, Lorelai is always there to welcome her home. Sometimes discipline is necessary or advice must be given on a questionable decision, but this does not mean the love is gone, but rather that the love is strong. Let’s remember the family we love in our lives and always have a home for them to come home to in hard times.

BY ELIZABETH HANSEN

Is Mint by Intuit Right for You?

The word finances makes many newly-married couples cringe in fear. While everyone recommends budgeting, saving, watching credit scores, and tracking financial growth, these tasks bring with them extra time and energy demands that are often unrelenting. New and old families alike know they are supposed to do those things, but often do not know how to get started. And that is where the age of technology comes in! Over the past few months I have been using a very popular mobile app called Mint by Intuit to help me wrangle in those pesky tasks and hopefully plot a course of financial security. I will be going through some pros and cons of this service and hopefully allow those looking for a way to budget efficiently decide if this product is the right choice for them.

Pros:
  1. The user base is huge! To be honest, the reason that I am reviewing Mint is that it was one of the first apps that showed up when I searched for budgeting tools on the iOS app store. The good news is when an app has a large active user base, the company that manages that platform is more likely to keep the app up-to-date and to respond to suggestions and emerging technologies. This puts users in a good spot since they know that they are syncing their personal financial information with a widely used and respected service and not some shady back-alley app.
  2. It is free! This has to be on this list. An app gets put in many people’s good graces, including mine, when it can be downloaded for free. And the free train doesn’t stop there; the service does not have any premium or “pro” features that require a subscription service, meaning it is a truly free app—not one of those sneaky mostly-free ones.
  3. Automated! Using technology is supposed to make life easier, right? Well in this case, the answer is yes! Once you sync your bank account to this secure application, Mint does the rest! It creates charts and tracks spending patterns automatically and religiously. Before using this app I did not know to the exact percentage point what I was spending on entertainment, but now I do. With the information that is ready at your fingertips immediately after signing up, it is simple to start making plans and adjusting habits to align better with your financial goals. My wife and I were able to see that we were doing super well on some categories (food, clothes, and movies) but could use some work on others (eating out).
Cons:
  1. Ads. While the service is completely free, we do live in a world where money, unfortunately, does not grow on trees. As such, Intuit has decided to display banner style ads throughout the app and saturate the “Suggested Investment Products” feature of the app with its own systems. So while I revel in the app’s freeness, I do note that purchasing any other services strictly from the in-app recommendations without any third party advice is probably not the most recommended course of action.
  2. Automated. I know this appears on both lists, but for good reason. The automation does wonders on productivity, but I kept feeling like I was missing out on truly learning how to budget and plan the family’s finances. When the system was doing everything for me I realized that while I had great information now, I hadn’t learned anything. For those that want to learn budgeting, and not have it done for them, there may be better options explored in the future.


All in all Mint is a great product. It looks clean, it is easy to set up and use, and it has provided me with wonderful information that my wife and I have begun to use to our advantage. It truly is important for every family to budget and work toward financial security. With that being said, Mint just may be the right app for you to get on that road to financial success.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

BY JOSHUA HANSEN

Killer Recipes: Mississippi Pot Roast

I’ve never been to Mississippi, but I am oh so grateful for all of the amazing people that live there now, thanks to this pot roast. IT CHANGES LIVES.

I was on Pinterest, looking for fast, easy meals and this blessing popped up on my screen. As with all my Pinterest meals, I was a bit hesitant, but after the first bite I was sold. It’s honestly that easy and good—so good that my husband volunteers to make it for dinner at least once a month.

Some people serve it over mashed potatoes, others take leftovers to make a sub sandwich with a slice of mozzarella cheese and a diced up pepperoncini pepper. In the end, you do you, and enjoy! (But in my house, the only way we have leftovers of this particular meal is if we buy a 5 lb chuck roast . . . for the two of us. Anything less is eaten in one sitting. Oops.)

If you’re worried about the peppers burning your mouth off, there’s no need to stress. The peppers are more of a background flavor that make everything that much better. However, if you’re like me and love a meal that has a kick to it, you can also pour some of the pepper juice into the mixture to cook and then slice up the peppers into the meal when serving.

Ingredients:

(1) 3-5 lb. chuck roast
2 tbsp. olive oil (or vegetable oil)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) – REAL salted butter, not margarine
8 pepperoncini peppers

Directions:

*If you’re in a hurry you can skip steps 1–5 and just season the meat before putting it into the crockpot*

  1. Heat up oil in a large skillet on high. You want it really hot to brown the beef quickly.
  2. Dry both sides of the pot roast with a paper towel.
  3. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper and add the roast to the hot oil.
  4. Allow the roast to cook for 2–3 minutes.
  5. Flip the meat over and sear the other side of the roast for another 2–3 minutes.
  6. Transfer meat to slow cooker.
  7. Sprinkle packets of dry ranch dressing & onion soup mixes over pot roast
  8. Top with a stick of butter then place peppers on and around roast.
  9. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4.5–5 hours)
  10. Slice or shred meat before serving. Be sure to throw away any fatty pieces.
  11. ENJOY. ENJOY.

Cook’s Notes: If you are sensitive to sodium, you could use unsalted butter for this. Be sure to use butter and not margarine. Margarine is basically oil. We did not find this recipe salty at all if you use this exact recipe, but be sure to adjust to your preferences.

Credit to “The Country Cook” at https://www.thecountrycook.net/crock-pot-mississippi-pot-roast/

BY CARLY CALLISTER 

Fitting Christ into Your Family

My husband and I recently attended a Sunday school lesson that opened our eyes to how these doctrines of the gospel are truly one and the same. In the lesson, the teachers asked us to get in groups and discuss how two documents are related to each other. One was The Living Christ, a testimony from the leaders of our church discussing Christ’s life and His importance to our lives. The second was The Family: A Proclamation to the World, a declaration of our church’s beliefs about family and the plan of salvation.

I loved the comparisons we drew between the documents, and I’d like to share a few of them with you. In each point I will explain how a quote from The Living Christ relates to the doctrines found in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

1. “He ‘went about doing good’ (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example.” The Living Christ

When Iooking back on my family, I think of all the good things my parents did for me, but sometimes I resented those same things. I hated being disciplined for arguing with my siblings. Sometimes I really didn’t want to stop what I was doing to read scriptures as a family or join in family home evening. But in retrospect, the lessons I learned from those activities are really meaningful to me now. I love my parents even more now because of the love they showed for me, even when I despised their actions and decisions. The Family: A Proclamation to the World says, “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, [and] observe the commandments of God.” My parents’ discipline and commitment to the gospel taught me in word and deed the things that Christ taught. These things they taught are the good things in my life, the things that have eternal value.

2. “He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our pre-mortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.” The Living Christ

The Family: A Proclamation to the World teaches that “The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” In other words, the family is the eternal basic unit of God’s plan. God is our Father, and all of us are His spirit Children; He wants us all to come back to him. This is the purpose of life on earth. “Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.” Our divine destiny is to live with God and our families forever, eternally progressing to become like Him. God is the ultimate example of fatherhood, and He lays out the example for how he wants our families to be in the words of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

3. “His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.” The Living Christ

The Family: A Proclamation to the World affirms, “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” There is no other path that can give you as much joy as the path that is led by our Savior and Friend. He loves you. He wants the best for you. He gave His life for you.  I testify that if you abide by the teachings of Jesus Christ, and strive to live your life like He did, you will be happy. And this happiness, not the brief strokes of pleasure of the world, will last into the eternities.

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

Get Pumped (and Prepped) for General Conference

It’s that time of year again, folks! Six months of sunshine and warm days are nearing an end as we say hello to changing leaves, all things pumpkin spice, and the excitement of a new school year and new possibilities. With fall on the horizon, General Conference is on its way! This year’s October session schedule* is: 

September 30 at 6:00 pm: The general priesthood session for priesthood holders

September 30 and October 1 at 10:00 am. and 2:00 pm: The general sessions for individuals and families

*This schedule is set according to MST time*

With conference just a few days away, we thought we’d give you a few helpful suggestions to prepare for it. Being prepared and willing to feel and hear what the Spirit is saying to you is key to having an amazing experience!

1. Pray for questions and answers to those questions

Now I know this might sound silly, but if God knows everything, then He knows what we are struggling with now and what we will need help and guidance with in the future.  He will help if we’re willing to listen! Praying to know what kind of topics to seek out for General Conference or what questions to ask Him (during any time of our lives) is a great way to practice listening to the still small voice as we search for answers.

Already feel like you have some questions that you would like some answers to? Take those to the Lord and ask for help in listening and understanding what each speaker is saying and how it relates to you and your questions personally.

2. Invite a friend

Do you home or visit teach anyone that is less active or a recent convert? Have you gone on a team-up with the missionaries lately? Do you have a friend that you think would really appreciate and benefit from the messages being taught? Do you have that one friend that is always down for a GNO or a bro’s night? Feel free to invite someone to be uplifted and help them understand that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them. If you’re inviting out of love, they will be honored that you asked them. (Plus, some ice-cream afterwards never hurt anyone.)

3. Bring a notebook and (your favorite) pen

Long ago, my EFY counselor told our group, “An open pen is a satellite to the Holy Ghost.” I have carried those words of wisdom with me ever since. As you listen to these inspired talks, take notes on how you feel and the thoughts that come to your mind. You don’t need to bother taking notes on what the speakers are actually saying because you can have your own copy of the talk in a few weeks. Just focus on the thoughts, feelings, and impressions that you receive.

4. Get a good night’s sleep before conference so you can be awake and alert!

5. Study and ponder the scriptures, attend the temple, fast, and serve

These suggestions are all things we can do throughout the year so we can always have the Holy Ghost with us and be constantly prepared for General Conference. Study scriptures that relate to the questions that you are thinking about. If you can’t attend the temple, walk around the temple grounds or go on a nice walk to admire all of God’s creations and silently say a prayer of gratitude. Fast and ask for guidance on the questions you are pondering. Service is a great way to show our Heavenly Father how much we love and appreciate Him and all of our brothers and sisters.

If you would like, here are all of the talks given in last April’s session of General Conference. Staying up to date on the words of the Lord’s anointed servants is always a good way to prepare for conference (and life!).

For many of us here at Stance, General Conference is one of the most wonderful times of the year. We hope you prepare to receive and enjoy all that our Prophet and Apostles have to say to us. Feel free to share your experiences on how prepping for General Conference helped you this year!

For more tips on prepping for this weekend, check these out:

- A Family Home Evening lesson all about general conference

-General Conference activities for children

-Ideas to Prepare

 BY CARLY CALLISTER

Home Sweet Home: More Than a Location

home1

Why did I take this class?
It was a question I hadn’t stopped asking myself for the previous 48 hours. I asked it when I lay shivering in my soaked sleeping bag, when I stood in dripping wet clothes as snow came down in large flurries, when they separated me from class and left me to survive on my own in the wild. Why did I take this class?
 
The survival class sounded like a good idea two months ago when I signed up for it. They told us the final would be four days long, that they would separate all of us and survive based off the skills we had learned. I could be home! I thought.
Home.
At the time I was sitting by my homemade shelter made from branches and bark. Home. I stood up and searched and found a large piece of bark and then started carving that very word: Home.
 
Later, in charcoal I would add below the poorly carved “home” the words “sweet home” to read “Home sweet home.” This little signed changed everything. I began to “tidy up” camp, brushing away the dead leaves and twigs, dragging a large fallen branch over to sit on, creating little tables for my tools and food.
 
Suddenly, I wasn’t just surviving: I was thriving, and it was all because I had created a “home sweet home.” So many times even in my own, snug, cozy life I had been living moment to moment, simply trying to  get by to the next day. In the back of my mind, I knew that I would be leaving that makeshift shelter in just a day or so, but that didn’t matter. This home had become a place that I thrived in, and I knew coming back from the final I would do everything in my power to make my little apartment a place where I could continue to thrive.
 home3
They say home is where the heart is. I used to see that as a passive phrase, that home would just happen to be wherever my heart was and that where my heart would be was completely out of my control. I know now that you can make a home by working to put your heart and love into wherever you are.
By Jessica Olsen

A: Articulation Makes all the Difference in Marriage

couple-1838940_640In addition to merging traditions, articulation is another important aspect of the transition to marriage. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines articulation as “the action of putting into words an idea or feeling of a specified type.” Articulation can create some of the most beautiful conversations in a marriage, but it can also create some of the most destructive conversations in a marriage. A husband or wife can form a mixture of words to express their undying love to their spouse; a husband or wife can also form a mixture of words to express their frustration or anger with their spouse’s shortcomings or honest mistakes. A spouse holds the greatest potential to not only lift up their spouse but also to hurt them and put them down.

The saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is a nice concept but is not true in reality. Sometimes I poorly express an idea or concern to my husband, leading to an argument that is simply a huge misunderstanding. Before relaying a vital message to my husband, I try to remember to think through what I am saying, and what it really means. It is necessary to bring up concerns and have difficult conversations in a marriage, but these things can be done tactfully. Think about what you are going to say and how that will make your spouse feel. Even concerns and requests can be made in an uplifting manner. Build up your spouse with a compliment or praise before trying to make a compromise on a specific subject. For example, I tell my husband how fashionably he dresses before asking him to put his clothes away when he changes instead of throwing his clothes in a corner; I tell him that this will help keep his fashionable clothes in good condition. Take a deep breath before thickly laying down all your personal frustrations that might otherwise come off as frustrations toward your spouse.

There are many ways to develop the art of articulation, but one last piece of advice that I will share is to learn from others and their mistakes and triumphs. Ask your parents, grandparents, friends, or any person that you trust how he or she has achieved effective communication in marriage. Different methods work for different people. Keep working until you have found the method of communication that works for you and your spouse.

Language is a beautiful blessing from Heavenly Father. Language is what allows nations and people to learn from each other, to grow, and to thrive. Learn from your spouse, grow with your spouse, and thrive with your spouse. The art of articulation is learned through a lifetime of practice; but don’t give up, because the best things in life come through lots of challenges and lots of practice.

 By Elizabeth Hansen
This is the second post in a series about making the transition from single life to marriage. Each post will highlight a topic about marriage that begins with a letter in the word. As we work our way through M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E, whether you have been married for a while, are a newlywed, or are just preparing to get married, we hope that these posts will help you to make a smooth transition. 

M: Merging Traditions

wedding-443600_1280

A lot of the struggle that comes with married life is the transition from being an individual to being in a family setting where traditions are foundational. Growing up is chock full of traditions, and these traditions shape you as a person. Since no two families have the same traditions, clashing can happen when your foundational traditions don’t line up with your spouse’s.

Here are some things to consider when merging your traditions:
  1. Explain to each other those traditions that have been most influential in your lives and why you would like to continue practicing them. Think about the effect your family’s traditions had on your life and rate them on a scale from neutral to highly beneficial. Talking about this with your spouse will solidify feelings you have about these traditions, and indicate to your partner how you feel toward them. This discussion will help you to ease the merging of your traditions without having a potentially destructive argument when things don’t pan out as you expected.
  2. Make new traditions. If you and your spouse don’t agree on a certain tradition, your best course of action might be to create a new one for just your family. And who knows? Maybe you’ll like this tradition better than the one you grew up with. It’s always good to take a minute to re-evaluate your traditions and tweak them to better suit your needs. Also, I’ve found that compromise is always a good way to go in your marriage; not everything can be just the way you are used to. Now that you are a ‘we’, you have to look out for your spouse and make sure you are accommodating their wants and needs as well.
  3. Remember that no amount of traditions is too many. Just because you’ve established the amount of traditions your family had doesn’t mean you have to stop there. You can have as many traditions as you want, as long as you can handle them. For example, my husband grew up memorizing hymns to sing as a family as they drove to church each Sunday, whereas my family didn’t do anything like that. Even though there was no compromise that needed to be made because there weren’t any conflicting traditions there, we can still add it to our tradition list. Small traditions like that can benefit your family greatly, so don’t leave them out just because your family never did anything like them.

There are many ways to merge traditions in your new family. Just be sure that however you go about doing it, you’re not being insensitive or stubborn. Go into your new family with the mindset that a lot of things will be different, and that’s okay— keep your mind open to new possibilities that will enrich and enhance your life. But with all this change, don’t forget the experiences you had with your family traditions that made you who you are today. Those memories will always be priceless to you, and no amount of change or compromise should take those away.

By Caroline Averett

This is the first post in a series about making the transition from single life to marriage. Each post will highlight a topic about marriage that begins with a letter in the word. As we work our way through M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E with you, whether you have been married for a while, are a newlywed, or are just preparing to get married, we hope that these posts will help you to make a smooth transition. 

4 Steps that Got Me into Family History

generations

Getting into family history usually takes overcoming one of the greatest obstacles around: the sheer difficulty of an unfamiliar, complex endeavor. It can be a little daunting, but here are some ways to ease into family history work.

 

Start by Indexing

Indexing is a great way to start because it is a well-defined task. All you need to do is figure out how to read old handwriting and enter that information in the program. Furthermore, it will give you a good basis for finding your ancestors later, as you know very well which letters are likely to have been confused and incorrectly entered by someone that indexed the record you seek.

Research a Particular Family

Start with a family that is easy to research. If you have the option, research one of your ancestors that lived in the US in the 1800s. Online records are abundant for such ancestors. And don’t even worry if they have been researched before. It is probably better if they have been anyways.

This approach will help you familiarize yourself with how to find records (for example, notice the different spellings of your ancestor’s name from record to record), how to evaluate records (learn tips for evaluating records and see how they compare with your family; you may even find something that was missed before), and how to love doing family history work (see the next tip).

Find the Human

Focus on finding the human—not just records—when doing family history. If you only see text on pages, family history can be dull, but discovering insights into your ancestors’ lives is likely to be fascinating. Stories are especially valuable finds. One of my favorites is about my great, great grandpa Andrew. He made it to Utah as a seven-year old boy, and was asked if he had crossed the plains on foot. He responded that he had not; he had ridden his stick horse. With research I found that, later on, he was a great horse rider that managed to stay atop a wild, bucking horse, he bought a car and was determined to tame it as well, and he was very disappointed when he became older and his grand kids managed to beat him in a foot race.

Do It with other People

The final step that got me into family history was an expression of interest in family history by a cute girl I want to impress. This is certainly the best way to get into important and challenging things, as little can beat the motivational power associated with it. But you don’t need a cute girl or boy to motivate you; doing family history work alongside other family and friends can be a great motivation.

As I do it with my mom (and the cute girl) I find that we can bounce ideas off of each other, take advantage of each other’s strengths, correct each other on occasion, spend less time wondering why our search gave us no results, and overall just have a blast as we interact with each other and tackle together a great task.

By Austin Tracy

Older posts