Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Inspirations August 31, 2008

This day was inspirational specifically because I felt so blessed.

A few days ago I received a phone call from the musical chairperson in our ward (local congregation). As part of today's Sacrament Meeting she'd been asked, by my husband no less, to put together a special musical number.

The song was, "The Spirit of God."

I joined six other ladies yesterday to practice, and strongly felt the Holy Spirit even then. Today was unbelievable. I almost couldn't sing for emotions felt so high. I don't know about those sitting in the congregation, but for myself it was an extraordinary experience.

Afterward my husband, as bishop, stood to give a special talk (sermon). There were many subjects to cover in a rather short time, and all of the subjects had been provided by the Stake Presidency. I began to joke that I wished they'd sent a talk along with it. Yeah, I know. My hubby didn't think it was so funny either.

At first we couldn't figure out how to fill up an entire meeting singlehanded. Normally speakers give 10-15 minute talks. Once we began researching and putting everything together, we began to wonder how to fit everything into just thirty-forty minutes.

It took a little over a month, but between the two of us we managed to put together a really (in my opinion) great talk. It was loooong, and today he even had to cut some of it out. There was no doubt in my mind just how powerfully the Holy Spirit was there today. At one point even the children and babies in the meeting quieted, and I couldn't believe how silent everyone was. Of course, a few adults were napping, but for the most part I watched the faces of those around the chapel as they paid apt attention.

The talk spoke most of being in alignment with our Heavenly Father. We can only do this by listening to His prophets, apostles, area leaders, stake and local leaders, on down through teachers. If we are following what they say, we are in alignment with Heavenly Father and His plans for us. If we ever doubt, we are encouraged, even as Moses himself was told to do by Jethro, his father-in-law, to go to the Lord and inquire if these things be true.

This one simple act seems too often swept under the rug, tossed in a corner as though unimportant. We rely too much on our own thoughts, and become a few degrees off course. How vital can even those few degrees be in staying on course? President Uchdtorf, of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, used to fly planes. He explained in a talk that if we were to fly around the world, intending to come back to the same place we started, and we were just one degree off course, we'd find ourselves 500 miles off of our original destination. That's about an hour flight.

It's a little frightening to think about, isn't it? Yet, if we recognize this mistake and make the proper course corrections (think repentance), we will once again find ourselves back in alignment with God. Sometimes we'll realize our mistakes quickly, other times we may think the path back to our Heavenly Father seems like too far to travel.

Of this I'm certain. Getting back on course will always be worth it.

Today I ask you the same question proffered in my husband's talk: Am I in alignment with Heavenly Father?

Think about it.

(Anyone who'd like to read a copy of the talk, feel free to e-mail me at

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Woo Hoo!

I logged onto Faith Writer's this morning, all excited but pretending nonchalance (to no one but myself). I kept saying it didn't matter if my most recent entry didn't place at all. And to be honest it didn't.

Until it did!

My story "Shedding the Day" on the topic of 'charades' won second place in the Master's section, as well as second place in the Editor's Choice. I'm WAAAAAAAY happy.

Here's the link if you'd like to read it: Shedding the Day

I've been a little frightened to start writing again, outside of various blog entries. It's been so long since I last did anything for creative purposes (my last FW entry was back in April!). I think this, above all else, was a heavenly reminder that there's a purpose I need to fulfill.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Getting Off This Guilt Train

I'm guilty for a lot of things: things I've done and shouldn't have, thing's I should have done and haven't. I know, I know, aren't we all?

What's crazy is I tend to feel guilty for things I have no control over.

For over a year I've been feeling guilty over the separation from a friend. This is someone I've known since 7th grade and had over the years found to be one of the greatest companions one could have the privilege of knowing in this life. She loved me on days I didn't love myself.

Things became distant the year after high school. I left for a year of college, immersing myself in a world where she existed mostly through letters, e-mail (back when it was brand new), and I think she may have visited once. I can't remember.

There was one particular e-mail where I think she may have tried to hint that something was not all right with her, though she never followed up on it. I put it out of my mind, as I was dealing with a few problems of my own. Still, when I came back to Salt Lake, we were still close friends.

Fast forward a few years.

I married a remarkable man, who has blessed me with some extraordinary children. We came through the death of our son and the passing of his mother stronger in our marriage and in our faith. We've never been what the world would consider rich, but there's always been enough money to help us pay our tithing, the bills, and keep our kids from running around naked (even if they would prefer that method!). Though my health went downhill in odd ways (Bells Palsy, skin rashes, depression) I was intensly happy with my life and the person God was molding.

My friend could say many of the same things. She and her husband were a little more well off financially, they have had some beautiful kids of their own, and a home built precisely to their liking. After many years of part-time participation she was able to graduate from college (for which I was infinitely jealous). On the outside her life looked marvelous. On the inside I discovered things were not so good.

Seeds of doubt relating to the church we belonged to had been sown many years before she came to me one day with the words, "I no longer believe this is the true church." Since that day, over a year ago, she and her husband have had their names removed from the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormon Church).

Her reasons for leaving had nothing to do with her belief in the Book of Mormon. She told me she still believed it was true. I'll not go into those reasons as they are hers to declare, and I cannot share in her beliefs. I wrote her back, trying to tell her that I didn't understand. Things that made so much sense in my head seemed only to make her angry, and she cut off all communication, refusing to respond to my e-mails. I knew I had hurt her deeply. It took a few months until the Spirit told me it was time to write and apologize. I did so, and though she made a small effort for a few weeks, she eventually let go of our friendship.

Over the last year I've been angry about a lot of things, and sorry for so many others. I've been angry at the priesthood leaders who were supposed to help nurture and support her faith, instead of encouraging her in these doubts. I've been angry at her for shoving this huge thing in my face and then getting mad when I didn't say, "It's okay with me that you're rejecting everything I've ever been taught in my life." I've been angry at myself for going off to college when obviously I could have stayed home and helped her through everything so that she could stand here today feeling whole.

I've talked about this with my parents and my husband, all of whom say the same thing: you can't feel guilty about the choices she's made. But, I cry out in my head, I should have been able to fix things!

I'm a fixer by nature. Most of the guys I was attracted to were broken in some fashion, and I wanted to fix them (it's a miracle I came into marriage unscathed). So when I couldn't fix this, when she wouldn't let me fix this, I felt helpless. That feeling turned quickly into anger mixed with guilt. I understand there's no use thinking I honestly could have fixed things had I been home, and today I think I've finally come to understand why.

I was folding my boys' laundry when a small and simple truth came to me: in a fashion, I was set up. By her, by me, by forces we couldn't understand, it doesn't matter. Over the last year as I reevaluated our relationship I began to see she'd always kept me at a distance. Even when we seemed so close, that feeling was all from my end. I started to see where she'd do things to help keep herself separate from whatever our plans were. In my heart there could never have been a better friend for me to have, I just never thought she didn't feel the same.

Every once in a while she'd come to me, share a small portion of the hardships in her life, but to this day I don't know if she ever took my advice to heart. I realize I don't know a whole lot about this woman I've known for so many years.

Things became even clearer this morning when I saw her declaration of disbelief in the Church in a new light. The truth is she could have come to me years and years ago with her doubts. She could have kept me in the loop, allowing me to struggle through this with her. Even if she'd come to the same decision, I would have at least understood so much more of where she was coming.

Instead I felt blindsided. She came to me after the decision was made. She didn't want to discuss, or find different answers. She threw a bomb in my lap and didn't understand why I tried to throw the bomb away.

Later, when I apologized, she laid all the blame at my feet. My reaction had hurt her. I knew it had. But today I realized she didn't once acknowledge how I had felt. She said she lost a friend. So did I. She said she cried. So did I. But now I wonder if I hadn't lost just a little more. Since then she cut off all communication.

In any case, today I'm getting of this guilt train. My friend has made certain decision, even in how she handled things with me, and I'm done feeling responsible for things in this relationship I have no control over.

I still pray she'll look me up one day. I pray her heart will be softened enough to at least try being friends again. I pray my own heart will be ready and willing to receive any little thing she has to give. But I'm done feeling guilty for her decisions.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Inspirations August 24, 2008

The truth is I've been feeling fairly inspiration-less the last few days. I struggled to think of something solid I could write about, and couldn't even hold out hope for Sunday School when all the kids woke up feeling under the weather.

It was my second week of the month to teach the young women. Last week the lesson was on agency, this week it was on obedience. After giving them a challenge last week, and promising a treat for those who followed through, I could not fail to show up. Seeing none of the kids were feverish or throwing up, I brought them to class with me.

The challenge given last week rang true through most of today. I asked the girls to take a moment to really, sincerely stop for a moment and analyze a choice they needed to make. They were to look at which choices they could make and recognize the decision as being full of trust in the Lord and His ways, or to choose the ways of the world.

The girls came up with some remarkable insights. One had to choose between a movie that was PG and PG-13. Another realized her family hadn't done Family Home Evening in quite some time, and chose to put one together and got her family to join in. One had a heartbreaking decision between following what might be best for her family and not talking to her estranged mother, or giving into some enormous pressure. There was a lot of prayer over that one.

I thought back over my week, and a lot of the decisions I had to make. Perhaps the hardest was the simple choice to go and teach my lesson this morning. I had not slept well, my kids were feeling sick, and an opressive spirit was hanging over my head. Yet I knew I needed to give this lesson. Not for the girls, for they could have had the lesson from someone else. This lesson was for me, to be a reminder of why obedience is so important.

Because I did this, I was blessed. I listened to the testimonies of some remarkable young ladies. I showed my children how important it is to follow through with the tasks set before us, even when we're not feeling 100%.

We left for home after the first meeting, and spent a few hours tending to the ill. After putting the baby to bed I thought I'd try to catch up on a bit of sleep. After a really solid five-minute nap the kids told me someone was at the door. It was one of my young women. She had brought over a surprise for my kids. The blessings were still coming.

We don't always know why we need to obey the Lord. But one thing from the lesson has not left me for the last several days: our agency was given freely by our Heavenly Father. He gave us the ability to choose for ourselves if we will obey Him. Obedience is the one thing He will never demand from us, yet it is only through choosing to obey Him that we will find the greatest freedoms.

Clear as muddy water? It doesn't matter. It only needed to make sense to me.

In any case, though this was not the Sunday I had hoped for, it is the Sunday I needed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Playing with Pictures

Earlier this summer we took the kids to Red Butte Gardens, where there is a bridge you can walk underneath in the kids section. My daughter was standing at the top and caught me taking pictures of her. The one I'm posting was one of my favorites.

I was playing with some of the programs on my computer, and came across a long lost photo shop where I decided to see if I could make this pic black and white, just to see how it might translate with a little change. I hope you agree it was every bit as stunning (some other pics didn't translate as well).

Then I did something I haven't done in a long, long time. I picked up my almost forgotten drawing pencils (from when I decided to try drawing back in March...or May), printed off the black and white copy, drew in some helpful boxes to guide me, and had some fun drawing. Though you might not see my daughter in it the first time around, I think it still carries the same essence. It took a few tries to get the mouth right, but I'm pleased (it's a huge improvement over the first try. Trust me).

In any case, she sure is a beauty!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Kid's a Friggin' Genius!

Okay so I might be just a smidge biased, but it's safe to say he did an amazing job on his Kindergarten assessment today.

His teacher started him off spelling his name, and reading off capitol and small letters. He aced the big letters, and ended up with two little p's and two little i's. All in all pretty awesome. He could read numbers up through 13 and recognized 22, but can count up past 50!

Just look at that kid go!

But what surprised both me and his teacher was his sounding out skills and spelling skills. He was able to sound out all the words put before his adorable eyes, and spelled all the three letter words she asked.

At this point she turned to me and said, "I've never had a kid do that before. Never. They always struggle."

Cartwheels in my head! Fireworks in my heart! My kid's a genius!

Oh all right. It's not like I have anything to do with his intellect, nor did I have a hand in him learning all these fantastic abc's or how to sound letters out. If he'd been at home for the last year he'd barely know how to count to five, let alone spell his name. We owe all of that hard work to his pre-school teachers.

His teacher seemed really excited to have B in her class, and from that short 1/2 hour meeting I'm excited she's teaching him. I have a good feeling about the two of them. Not to mention my ego's been stroked so thoroughly I could have been a cat in a previous existence.

Still, he really could be a genius.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Changing Focus

I received my blessing last night, and it was as vague as I thought it would be. Some good things came out of it though.

The most peaceful for me is knowing I'm dealing with this depression right now for a reason. I don't know what that reason is, but I don't need to know. It's enough for me to recognize there's a purpose to it all, and that it will pass.

I also came away realizing I've been putting too much pressure on myself, which I'm notorious for doing. When I was counseled several months ago to get back to school, I took it to mean NOW! Dave was counseling me yesterday, and as my bishop, the priesthood leader in my home, and my husband, I feel the counsel is well worth listening to. He said, "Maybe Heavenly Father didn't mean now. Maybe he meant within the next few years."

I can't begin to tell you the peace I've experienced with the decision to follow this counsel. School is still meant to happen, but there are too many other things I need to focus on at this time.

One of the big things I want to refocus on is my writing. I've let it go over the last several months, really since I took on the LDS Blogs job. I mean, I've been writing still, but not on the projects I had going before choosing that new path. I'm excited to get back to the book I was working on so many months ago. Part of my depression has given me a wonderful idea of where to go with one of my main characters. So there's another blessing.

There are other things I want to get back to, and to discover. I baked last week. Really baked! Loaves of zucchini bread have been lining my counter (and there's not a whole lot of room there in the first place!). It's been a long time since I baked for the mere pleasure, and it felt wonderful. As I begin to recover I hope to do more of it. As the tomatoes are beginning to ripen I hope to teach myself to do a bit of canning. I figure I'll start small, then try doing more as my confidence in canning grows.

This week is crazy busy, and I keep adding more things to accomplish before it's out, but I feel like if I can just make it through next Sunday, life will calm down. Three kids will all be in school, my hubby will have been back at his second job for several days, and I might actually be able to settle into some sort of dependable routine.

Above it all, I have had the knowledge of my Heavenly Father's love for me, of His awareness of all I've got going on right now, and that He will be there to help me understand it all one day reinforced.

Even though there is no doubt about all this, I sometimes just need to hear the words.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Inspirations August 17, 2008

First and foremost, thank you to everyone who has responded to my last post. Your words have meant the world to me. I also appreciate the offer of help, but, as I said to Dave, I'm not sure how to help myself just yet. I'm hoping to receive a priesthood blessing before the day is through, which will hopefully help give me some guidance as to where to turn.

Now on to some spiritual inspirations.

I chuckled when one woman in our Sunday School class today said, "I read this week's assignment and couldn't for the life of me figure out what we were going to get out of it! All it contains is wars and more wars."

We all laughed and nodded our heads. Though I hadn't read the assignment myself, I knew going in there was far more to the last 21 Alma chapters of the Book of Mormon than talk of wars and strategy. This woman, as well as the rest of us, came away with a better understanding of what we, and those who lead us, need to remember in times of war. These are the principles that should govern our attitudes and actions.

No matter how much we absolutely hate the idea of going to war, there are times when war is necessary. There are times when bloodshed is unavoidable. What's important is the reason behind the war.

In the Alma chapters we are dealing with two different factions: Lamanites, who wanted to rule unrighteously over everyone, and the Nephites, who were God's people. As we read in Alma 43:9-11,

9 And now the design of the Nephites was to support their lands, and their
houses, and their wives, and their children, that they might preserve them
from the hands of their enemies; and also that they might preserve their
rights and their privileges, yea, and also their liberty, that they might worship God according to their desires.

10 For they knew that if they should fall into the hands of the Lamanites, that whosoever should worship God in spirit and in truth, the true and the living God, the Lamanites would destroy.

11 Yea, and they also knew the extreme hatred of the Lamanites towards their brethren, who were the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, who were called the people of Ammon—and they would not take up arms, yea, they had entered into a covenant and they would not break it—therefore, if they should fall into the hands of the Lamanites they would be destroyed.

The Nephites were fighting for their families, for liberty, and for the chance to worship God according to their own wishes. Sound familiar? Is this not one of the main reasons the first immigrants to the Americas revolted against the King of England? If we are to go to war, let it be for righteous reasons. Not for gain, not for unrighteous dominion, not for power or money. Let it be in behalf of those things we, as mankind, are entitled to: freedom from oppression.

I wish I could recall exactly where the quote had come from, but our teacher related to us words spoken by one of our latter-day apostles, saying there are times we will be called into enter in to war. Why is this significant? There is a big difference between entering into something someone else has started, rather than starting it ourselves. We cannot be the instigators. This is not the Lord's way.

Neither should we shed blood when it is not necessary. At one point the Nephites had the Lamanites surrounded. They could have finished the wicked men off, knowing they probably wouldn't have to deal with going to war again for at least a while. They could have remained in peace. Instead they chose to offer a deal as we can read in Alma 44:1-2, 6.

1 And it came to pass that they did stop and withdrew a pace from them. And
Moroni said unto Zerahemnah: Behold, Zerahemnah, that we do not desire to be men of blood. Ye know that ye are in our hands, yet we do not desire to slay you.

2 Behold, we have not come out to battle against you that we might shed your blood for power; neither do we desire to bring any one to the yoke of bondage. But this is the very cause for which ye have come against us; yea, and ye are angry with us because of our religion.

6 Yea, and this is not all; I command you by all the desires which ye have for life, that ye deliver up your weapons of war unto us, and we will seek not your blood, but we will spare your lives, if ye will go your way and come not again to war against us.

If the Lamanites were willing to deliver up their weapons of war, return to their own families, and not come against them again, the Nephites would set them free. These men did not want blood on their hands. They did not want to fight. They didn't set their hearts in anger and hatred against those who came against them. How many of us can say the same?

By simple numbers the Lamanites should logically have been able to do away with the Nephites, but this was rarely the case. The reason for this is stated plainly in Alma 44:3-4.

3 But now, ye behold that the Lord is with us; and ye behold that he has delivered you into our hands. And now I would that ye should understand that this is done unto us because of our religion and our faith in Christ. And now ye see that ye cannot destroy this our faith.

4 Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith.

These men had such great faith in their Lord, they knew He could and would sustain them and strengthen them in this time of need, so long as their desires remained righteous. Those who have the Lord behind them will ever come out the victor.

My favorite came from the last verses we specifically pointed out. They are found in Alma 48:11-13, and speak specifically of Moroni, the captain over the Nephites. I believe this man represents the perfect example of what a righteous leader is.

11 And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery;

12 Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.

13 Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.

How many of our government leaders do you know who'd gladly give up their lives in the pursuit of our countries rights, people, and religions? Can you imagine what an extraordinary force this country would be if we were led by such men and women?

War is never wanted. It is sometimes necessary. Fortunately we have a Heavenly Father and Brother who are ever looking after those of us who enter into a war for the right reasons.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Getting Good at Faking Happy

These last two months have been difficult for me on an emotional level. I've been slipping slowly into a depressive state, though it has not been as bad as many people I know who suffer from it. This last week has been especially difficult, made more so as we receive more and more bad news from those around us.

For most of the year I do really well. I have no problem handling life, and can do it with a sincere smile. Twice during the year, however, I find myself having to fake happy. I put the smile on my face, but if someone looks close enough, they'll see it doesn't stretch quite far enough. For the sake of my husband, for the sake of my children, I push myself to appear normal, but all too soon my neatly stitched quilt of sanity begins to unravel.

My wonderful husband is always the first to recognize the signs. I can tell he's seeing cracks in the carefully crafted glass wall I start to put up when life becomes too overwhelming. He begins to ask me if I'm okay...a lot. He notices my hesitation to leave the house, my inability to laugh at simple things, and the need to spend endless hours losing myself in books where I'm taken away from my own life for a little while. He begins to volunteer to do my own self-imposed chores around the house, as I have no energy nor desire to do them myself. Then he asks me more what he can do to help.

I don't know if I'm your typical depressive, if that's a word. Instead of withdrawing completely, as is my natural instinct, I push myself to seem okay. I'll do things with the kids I normally wouldn't think about doing during my normal days just because I'm worried they'll feel neglected. I end up placing so much pressure on myself to "shake it off" and throw myself into doing more, more, more so that no one will worry. This, of course, is out of character and so people worry regardless.

Another thing that's hard to cope with is the fatigue. I could sleep nine hours and still wake up exhausted. I could go for a few hours during the morning and need to take a nap during the afternoon. I hate naps. When I take one several days in a row, something's not quite right.

This last week I had a pretty big break down. I spent most of the week weeping with occasional sobs flying through the day. My poor children don't know what to think during these episodes. My darling husband is at a loss to know how to help me feel better. Heck, I don' t even know how to help me feel better. But talking about it helps.

I've talked with several people about it over the last few days, and I feel my mood lifting. Is it because I'm finally acknowledging what I've spent so much time hiding? Does it have to do with allowing others to take a small portion of the emotional load off my shoulders? I don't know. Though I'm feeling pretty good right now, I'm fully aware that tomorrow I could break down all over again. I can feel how hard I'm working to hold it all in right now. But it is better today.

I do find, during these times, my Heavenly Father knows how to help me in little ways. I get phone calls from friends and family I don't normally hear from. I get surprise visits like I did this last Sunday from a good friend, who was visiting from California (it was so good to see you Brent! you have no idea what a blessing you were to me that day. And we missed seeing LaDawn and Brook!). My husband comes home from Sunday meetings with compliments from church members, who say they love to sit next to me when I sing, or some kind words from a former youth who asks if I'm still writing amazing letters as I wrote to her during some difficult times.

At the same time I recognize Satan is working hard to keep me down, as he did when my oldest had a horrific experience because of the choice of three girls who were just "having fun" at the swimming pool. Just when I think I'm at my lowest, he finds a way to bring me lower, to snatch the brief moments of genuine happy I have grasped in my white-knuckled fists.

All through it, though, I'm ever aware there is something more to look forward to. There is joy I know will be given to me in spades. Every time I go through these awful spurts of despair, there is something more to be gained when it finally passes. It is written that "Men are that they might have joy." Happiness, pleasure, these can be fleeting. Joy - the joy promised to those who remain faithful even through the horrific parts of life - is what helps me cling to the end of my rope and swing.

I have no doubt in my heart, my mind, or my soul that one day soon I will experience great joy. If it means I have to deal with periodic depression, the sort that leaves me recovering for weeks when it finally lifts, then so be it. I also realize I'm blessed to be able to help others who may suffer from this same affliction. There's nothing like knowing someone's going through something similar to your own experiences.

It certainly won't stop me from appreciating all the prayers you can send my way.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Girls Hittin' on My Hubby

My husband joined the young single adults in our ward (local congregation) over this last weekend for a big conference being held at the University of Utah Institute. For those who are unfamiliar why a married man would choose to do so (I'm laughing inwardly at the thought), my husband is bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormon Church). A bishop in our Church is the equivalant of a Pastor or Reverend, only they're called for a few years at a time and are not paid.

I will also insert here that though we've been married over ten years he's never had a wedding ring. As a chef he's always been worried about losing it, and we've never really looked into getting once as there have always been more important things to put our money into, like clothes for the kids.

Friday found them having a little dinner and concert, where they all received their bright orange wrist bands required to enter all other activities.

Saturday they had the opportunity to attend several different workshops over the course of several hours. My darling hubby lost track of the others in his group, and ended up sitting on the grass to eat his lunch.

This is when two lovely young ladies came to join him. They giggled, they simpered, they asked if he was going to the dance later on that night.


My significant other said he felt really bad that he had to inform them of not only his marital status and progeny waiting patiently for him at home, but of his being a bishop as well. He is pretty young for a bishop, being in his 40's, and he's always seemed younger than his age.

Still, that man needs a wedding ring.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Inspirations August 10, 2008

How Important is Your Faith?
This was the thought brought expressly and forcefully to my mind today as our Sunday School teacher taught us from Alma chapters 40-42 in the Book of Mormon (another testament of Jesus Christ).
In the previous chapters Alma had been counseling two of his sons, who had been righteous men, helping their father to further the work of the Lord. Alma's third son, Corianton, had been swayed by worldly ways, and choose a path of immorality. Alma took this son of his, and began to tell him of the great Plan of Salvation, which he also refers to as the plan of happiness, of redemption, of restoration, and of mercy.
I won't go into the Plan of Salvation here, but feel free to click the link provided if you'd like to learn a little more.
What struck me hard was the moment our teacher pointed out that Alma told Corianton he didn't know all there was to know about the Plan. The details were not given to him. He was not an encyclopedia to be opened up and have every single fact given to all. Yet he did not deny his faith that every part of the Plan the Lord granted him to know was true. He didn't need to know everything to comprehend the truth of what had been given him.
Our teacher gave an example of a friend of hers who was vastly interested in how the world was first created. He searched and searched, but was never able to come up with a satisfying answer. His faith wavered. The more he looked, the less satisfied he became, and he eventually stopped believing in God altogether. All because he could not rely on faith.
This example echoed in the words and choices of a friend of mine. A little over a year ago she e-mailed me, telling me she no longer believed in the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormon Church). She told me if it was just the Book of Mormon we were talking about, there was no problem. She fully believed in the sacredness of the book. It was Joseph Smith, some of his actions, and some of the revelations he was given that she had so much trouble with.
She could not believe he was called of God. She refused to believe that the answers to these troubles she so desperately sought were all she would ever get. Didn't she deserve to know they whys and wherefores of every single detail so there would no longer be any doubt?
I'm certain these thoughts ring true for many of us out there, but we're forgetting something important, just as Corianton did all those years ago: we don't have to know every single detail in order to have faith, and it is faith that builds our testimonies. Faith is a strong motivator, it is an active power in our lives. It's what inspires us to new levels, to greater knowledge, but we have to act upon it first.
For some giving up our questions and relying strictly on the Lord to know the answers, even if He doesn't decide to share those answers with us, is the hardest thing in the world to do. Is it possible? Of course. But it takes practice. I can also say, because I've been there myself, that it is completely worth it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Morning at the Dentist!

It's not often you hear about three children who wake themselves up early in overwhelming excitement over somewhere they get to go every six months. This is especially true when you're talking about going to the dentist.

I recall my first dental experience. Unfortunately it shaped my unconscious view of what all things tooth related should be, and sadly I was not disappointed in many instances. I was about four or five my first time. I don't remember much about the doctor, only that he was a beastly man. Okay so maybe he'd been having a really bad day, but it's still no excuse.

It was time to take my x-ray, which in and of itself was terrifying. The doctor the told me, "Now don't move. Not one muscle. If you do, the x-ray is going to hurt really really bad."

I WAS ONLY FOUR! I was terrified! No way could I stay that still. What if I had to sniff? Or sneeze? Or cough? Could I blink my eyes? Did I need to hold my breath? It was too much! I began to cry.

The doctor attempted to shush me, but that only made me cry harder. Then he got mad. I don't remember much of what went on after that, I just remember being terrified, and wanting my mother desperately.

I never did get my teeth cleaned there, and we never went back.

Compare that to my own children. Dentist day is one of the best! There's a special "Winnie the Pooh Corner" with a painted tree house, and toys, and where movies can be shown. They're called in one at a time and get to sit in the big chair. The moment they've "assumed the dental position" they put some headphones over their ears and pick any fun show or movie to watch on the screen in the ceiling. That's right. They have television sets in the ceiling above each chair. Brilliant!

The only one to have a little cavity was B, and he was so great about having it filled he got to pick two prizes. We were out of the office in an hour. That would never have happened all those years ago when I was a kid.

Of course, I still shiver a little at the thought of the needle...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Slacker Poster & a Hodge Podge of Information

I've had so many fantasmic ideas running through my head on things I could post about, but running seems to be as far as I get. The moment I sit down to put something on the screen I either go a complete blank, or my inspiration runs dry.

I'm blaming it on the heat. There's just too much of it. I keep offering to switch places with my friend Herbie over in England with his highs in the 70's and 80's, but he hasn't taken me up on it just yet. He'd take my 90+ degree weather any day.

Last week our family took the very first vacation that involved all six of us, and it seems to have wiped me out. I'm still trying to catch up on laundry, and the house was only cleaned yesterday. Of course with the whirlwind I lovingly refer to as my children, you certainly can't tell. Such is life.

I offered my house up for a woman in my ward (local church congregation) to host a Lia Sophia party. I am completely in love with this jewelry line, I just wish they made a little more available in gold rather than silver. But I do love to look at the silver. I used up the very last of my LDSBlogs paychecks, and will still have to switch a bit more money over, but it's worth it if this woman can get some nice sparklies. She doesn't get the chance to have nice things that often.

My youngest, A, has an intense love for sparklies. At only two years old this can create a problem. She also loves cell phones (which we don't have), iPods (which we don't have), and giant calculators (which I learned only tonight). Most of these items are provided every Sunday by her "Church Mom" Errin. We learned just how much she loves these items one Sunday when A wouldn't go to Errin since Errin didn't bring the cell phone. Hmmm. Fickle child.

My Brishfish photo has gone down to 199th place. If anyone here is reading this post, when you're done click on the link to the right and you can vote every day or so. I want to keep up near the first, as those photos are noticed more. Just a shameless plug. I think I'm allowed to have those every once in a while.

I shredded 20 cups of zucchini today, and used only two of those for a zucchini chocolate chip cake. It was yuuuuuumy. I'd save you a piece, but, you know. I love chocolate.

All in all it's been some good weeks. I can hardly believe the kids are almost back in school, and that my darling hubby is preparing to return to his part-time job. Most of me feels like I blinked and the summer ran past. Not fair, people. Simply not fair.

Okay I have a friend to e-mail and I really feel like I'm done with this post. Have a lovely day.