Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Primary Questions: Follow the Example of Jesus

April 11, 2017                

What does it mean to love your enemy?
It means that you need to learn to love everyone. Mommy and Daddy still struggle with this every day. Loving people who make us hurt, or make bad choices- is very challenging. That means that it is hard. Loving them does not mean that you like it when they hurt your feelings, or are mean to you. It also, does not mean that you accept the hurt or pain that is caused by them. You give the pain and hurt to Heavenly Father and Jesus in prayer. It means that you learn to forgive them, so you can be more like Jesus. You learn to pray for them and keep them in your thoughts- hope they are doing well. In the scriptures it says to pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you. Pray for them. Try to be kind to them. But, remember to keep yourself and your family safe. Jesus was hurt a lot physically and spiritually in his life. In one instance, he healed a man who was taking him away to be crucified, because, an Apostle had cut off his ear. Jesus got a little upset at the apostle and healed the soldier’s ear. Jesus is the perfect example of loving your neighbor. Your neighbor is everyone. Not just the people you live next door to. 

Tell me a story of when you followed in Jesus’s footsteps? I followed Jesus by choosing to be baptized and confirmed a member of LDS Church, just like you did, when you turned 8 years old. I had my sins washed away, just like you- so I could be all clean, fresh and new. And I became a witness of Jesus Christ. That means wherever I go, and whatever I do- I will be representing Jesus. I am one of his followers. Whether I am at work, school, home, vacation, play or at a friend’s house. Just like you, Christopher. You are a follower of Jesus, wherever you go. When we take the sacrament every week, we remember our promises we made to Jesus and the promises Jesus and God made for us. They promised that they would protect us, and guide us to holy places. When you were confirmed a member of the church-You were given the Holy Ghost to help guide your thoughts and your feelings. To help you know when a choice is good, and when a choice is wrong. If a choice is good it will feel warm, fuzzy and happy inside, and sometimes feel like a warm hug in your heart. If a choice is wrong, you may be confused and that’s how you know not to do it. Sometimes, you just know- when something is bad, and you choose not to do it. Like Jesus would want you to. That is called having the Light of Christ. 

 The Holy Spirit is our friend and whispers to us.  It tells us sometimes how to keep away from trouble. It tells us when we should visit a friend, or ask someone new to sit with us at lunch. The Holy Ghost helps guide me and Daddy, and even you. Even Mommy’s, Daddy’s and Grandparents make mistakes and do wrong things every now and then. We say our prayers and apologize to the people we hurt, or people who’s feelings we’ve hurt. And ask Heavenly Father to forgive us for making mistakes in our prayers. This is what you should do too, when you might make a wrong choice. Tell the people you’ve hurt sorry, and give back what you may have taken from them, and try hard to not do that again.

How can you follow the Example of Jesus at Home?
By listening to music that makes you feel happy, sacred and holy. Reading your scriptures, writing in your journal, praying to heavenly father in your heart whenever you need to, and praying at night to him before you go to bed. 

What has someone else done for you that helps you, to feel the Savior’s love?

When our Ward Family at Church has been praying for me and for Christopher to get better. When friends and family go to the temple and fast and pray to help my brother Howie, to respond well to his treatments. When my sister in law’s brother, in Hawaii prays and goes to the temple for Howie’s Chemotherapy treatments to go well. When the ward sisters brought me food after my surgery. When the sisters in the ward got me a soft blanket to help me sleep better.

Friday, February 26, 2016

What is it like for students or adults with challenges?

I have been meaning to write this post for weeks now. It's going to be probably pretty lengthy so this is your warning.

I work in Special Education as a Teacher's Aide in a Cluster classroom. All that means is, I am a part-time Teacher Assistant/Aide that helps teachers and students with behavior and with academics, or learning. I do quite a bit of teaching as well. 

I have been thinking a lot about what it might be like for some of our students with various challenges. I do not have Autism or ADHD. But, I have been watching the students’ behaviors and trying to deduce what they may be thinking or feeling like. 

When I first started work in Special Education about 2 and half years ago in 2014, I did not initially understand some of the reasoning behind certain behaviors. Many students with A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. exhibit similar symptoms. I am not a Psychologist, Therapist or Doctor. This is just what I have seen in many of our students. Students with these conditions may need to do something with their hands in order to better listen to the instructions given. Like build Lego’s, or draw. You may think they are not listening, but their bodies or hands need to be moving in order to learn better. However, this is not always the case. Of course, there are many students who just have a hard time focusing on a given task for a set period of time. They become distracted easily, and lose their train of thought, or their focus. Both of these symptoms need to be taken into consideration when dealing with students with these particular challenges. 

Students on the Autism Spectrum differ greatly. My Mentor my best friend Ms. P says; "Once you've met a student with Autism, you've met a student with Autism." It is very true. There are some similarities between these students though. The number one similarity is that they like to talk at you or to you. It is very hard to carry on a 2-way conversation with someone whom you cannot get a word in edge wise. So, one of the basic skills we try to teach these students are, appropriate social skills. Like how to have a polite conversation with another student or teacher: without just talking non-stop, not allowing the other person to speak. This is one of our challenges daily. 

Many of our students on the Autism Spectrum have extreme differences in mental reasoning, or cognitive learning skills. We have some that are higher functioning, and some that are on level functioning, and a few that are low level functioning. All this means, is they function, or work at different mental levels than most of their peers. They still feel, they have strong emotions, they have friends, they want to go to school and have fun, and they want to be accepted. They may not always act, walk or talk like many mainstream students do, but most of the time they do. 

One think I have noticed with many of our students in our cluster, is that they function better with lower student to teacher ratios. In a traditional classroom you may see up to 30 students in a Middle School or Junior High for 1 Teacher. In cluster classes, you see one main Teacher and up to 6 Assistant Teacher's or Teacher Aide's like myself, and sometimes a Cluster Leader who is in charge of the whole group of cluster students in the school, and acts a lot like the Clusters' Principal.  You will see smaller class sizes and more teachers. This is because, that is how the students learn best. 

Most of what I help do is teach and reinforce appropriate social skills between fellow students, and between students and teachers. There is quite a bit of behavior intervention and de-escalating students in my position every day. When I first started out a few years ago, it was a little intense.  It got me a little worried. Now, that I have gotten a little more use to it- I hopefully handle escalations of students with a calm and collected demeanor. I think that I do. 

I happen to have Bi-Polar Disorder also known as Manic Depression and I also happen to have Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Many who work with me, do not know that I have O.D.D. As a child I struggled quite a bit with it, because positions of authority threatened my own individuality and what I wanted to do. So, I often disagreed with them, because I wanted to make my own choice- not because I actually disagreed with the positions of authority. O.D.D. Students are all very different. For me, it was like I wanted to be in charge of myself all the time and I'd fight some of the positions of authority verbally, when I was younger, to try to let them make my own choices. I hardly ever got sent to the Principal's office ever in my youth though. Maybe once in 4th Grade for drawing on a cement bench with a crayon. I had to clean it up. 

I think more than anything I disagreed with my Mom, who was the authority figure at my home and I fought her verbally most of the time, and not my Teachers. She tried homeschooling, but because she was my Mom and she seemed just bossy and mean to me and I fought her that was a pretty hard year. I think it was like 3rd Grade or something. She moved me all around during elementary school. I can't even count how many schools I went to. I had no idea why. 

Anyways, with our students some of them also have O.D.D. and want to be in charge of themselves. Being someone who struggled with that in my youth, I can sort of get a sense of what they are going through. They seem to hate being bossed around. They are very defiant and often have sharp and witty comebacks in their belligerence. They want to choose what they do, and not be told what to do. They don't want to be bossed around, or guided into doing anything. Although, as amazingly as I've found out these types of students make great: Tutors, Teachers, Mentors and Leaders. At least I hope I do, now that I have learned how to deal with my condition and taught myself how to act appropriately in social situations.  

When these students get older, if they can find their voice and channel their defiance into some sort of art form, or something they love doing, they can be amazing leaders. I love to; Sing, Write, Read, Act and Teach. I use these outlets as cathartic treatments for my challenges. I don't call them disabilities, because I am able to do things that everyone else can do, and sometimes more. Students, Teachers, and all People with challenges or diagnosed disorders are not their disorders or conditions! They may have a certain condition. But, it has nothing to do with who they are and what they can do. Attitude determines Altitude!

Thanks for Reading!

Chelsea Merkley

Saturday, June 27, 2015

How I feel about Recent Events Regarding Marriage

An Asian Traditional Marriage
jpg obtained from wikipedia

I believe that God wants marriage to be between a Man and a Woman and God. However, I understand that many others do not agree with me, and I do not have a problem with them living how they choose, as long as they are honest and happy in their relationships and true to one another. And kind to others regarding their choices and know that others have differing opinions and values.

And do not try to force others to do things they don't agree with like a pastor to perform a marriage between gays that doesn't agree religiously to do so. I believe the Pastor, Church has a right to decline on the basis of conflicting beliefs. I Can believe that God has commanded for marriage to be between a man and a woman. And each person has the right to believe snd worship; how, where, or what they may. According to the dictates of their own consciences. I know others makes different decisions than I do. I do not condone their acts, and I do not agree with them. However, this does not mean I treat any of these people differently. I try to show kindness and love to them.

I affirm that I believe marriage to be a union instituted by God between a Man And A Woman. However, that does not mean that I treat LGBTQ or Gays or Lesbians differently than I treat my fellow Men and Women in this World. I try to treat them with kindness and love.

They do not want my religion, values or philosophy on life instituted upon them. I do not want theirs instituted upon me. We have differing opinions and choices. That does not mean we cannot be kind, and loving. We are all a part of the human race. Our biggest need in this life is to be loved, accepted, to have meaningful and poignant relationships. I affirm that every person living today needs this and has the right to seek their own happiness. Even if it differs from mine.

Part of my soul feels that even if others disagree with me on values, morals and the way they live their lives; that I should still be compassionate, kind, understanding and human in my response. I'd like to think that my best, I am a very empathetic, for almost every person I have ever met. Of course, there are certain exceptions, but, I want to respond to this ruling as a Christian. How would a Christian person respond? With love, compassion, understanding and empathy. Regardless of Religion, whether profess to be; Christian, Atheist, Hasidic Jew, Hindu, Islam, Episcapalian, Catholic or anything else- I think we can all respond in a similar way. With love and understanding. We might not understand completely what each LGBTQ situation is or how they feel, but we can try. And we can show kindness. Let them be who they choose to be, and make their own decisions.

My views may be somewhat progressive for many in my faith. Actually, they might not be. I was raised in an Ultra-Conservative Republican home. That home was shattered when my parents had a very bad split up, divorce, (gasp), I felt somewhat ostracized and so did both of my parents to some extent. This gave me so much empathy for many in differing and similar situations. Or, who may have had to live with abusers. Regardless of gender, creed in a marriage or any relationship; no one should have to live with an abuser.  Or a broken home. That was healing, coming to that realization.

Persons who identify themselves as LGBTQ are not that different from you and I. They are people trying to live life the way that feels right to them, regardless of what I think. I can remember that we have more in common than we have different. I might not agree with the way they choose to live, but I can respect it. Just as they respect my heterosexual marriage and union, I can respect their need to have rights that are similar to mine. Maybe I am Libertarian, I had always thought I was a Republican. Personally, I don't think my Political Affiliation really matters at all.

I know that people have a right to make choices that makes them happy. I make choices every day that I think are the best for me and my family. Those in LGBTQ Families are making choices every day that are just a little different from mine. I still believe marriage is between a Man and a Woman and God. I know this. However, this does not mean that others do not have the right to believe otherwise. In 2 of the articles of faith I believe in it states what I am thinking very well. Articles of faith 11 and 12.http://www.mormon.org/beliefs/articles-of-faith

11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
 12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
I also believe that Gender is a Divine Charachteristic.  I believe in the Family a Proclamation to the World as well.  I can believe in all these things at the same time. I want the world to be happy. And the inhabitants to be happy. Satan's plan was to not allow us to choose for ourselves, that we would all be made to come back to God in the end, but we had no choice. Heavenly Father and Jesus want us to choose them, not be coerced, or be forced to live among them above. Our decisions and our actions, our will was given to us from God. I feel that each person on the earth has a right to choose what they will do with their life. 



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 a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
WE DECLARE the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). 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, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society

The Proclamation was put forth By the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I have used its contents, but the Church owns the work, prayers and revalation that this document came from and everything it is.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Love That Lasts

I found a beautiful new book called; "Love That Lasts" By the Lundburg Couple- Joy and Gary.  I have really enjoyed it thus far.

Here is a list they cite in their book, about ways to reconnect with your spouse. They are mainly questions which can be gone over together, and answered by each party, without interruption or correction from the other. The goal is to spark deep, meaningful conversation that is peaceful and happy, and find new ways to have fun together. To contemplate on what about your spouse makes you content, and what things you are thankful for regarding past experiences you've had with your spouse.

I was also thinking that some fun Couple Games could be played with this list. Like putting the questions in a hat or a jar and picking one, and answering it about your spouse and vice versa.

1.Where did you first see each other?  How did you get introduced?

2.  When you first met what attracted you to your spouse?.

3.  What caused you to ask for the first date?

4. What feelings did you have when you first kissed?

5. What were the most endearing acts or words that made you realize that this relationship was intended to be a lasting one?

6. What Physical Features do you love most about your spouse?

7. Which of your spouse’s charachteristics brings you the greatest feeling of security or comfort?

8. What charachteristic has his or her  brought from their childhood family to your  home, for which you are grateful?

9.  What is at least one area of knowledge or expertise which has been improved by your association with your spouse?

10. When was a time, when you felt especially close to your spouse?

11. What were your most fun and memorable dates during courtship?

12. What activities would you enjoy doing now for a fun date?

13. If you could have a day alone together, how would you want to spend it?

14.What could you do to make your next Anniversary Celebration fun and memorable?

What Does Your Spouse Like?

1.     Food, Main Dish(es)?   
2.     Meal?    
3.     Dessert?
4.     Beverage?
5.     Candy?

Category: Movies

Favorite Type of Movies

Favorite Actor/Actress(es)


What Type of Music?

What Song is their Favorite?

What Singer or Band is their Favorite?

Category: Sports




Category: Relaxation








Listening to Music?


Favorite TV Show(s)

Favorite Category of Books

Favorite Books or Series

Favorite Writers or Authors

Hobbies and Interests

What does your spouse love to do?

Favorite Car?

Favorite Flower(s)?

Favorite Color(s)?