Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Creative Side

I've been feeling too uninspired for too long, and began to think that if I had an outlet for my creative pursuits it might give me that extra push. Melanie's invitation to join in a book review blog got some of my creative juices flowing again (you try taking a three-hundred page book and condensing it down to a few paragraphs in such a way as to inspire others to read it and see how creative you feel afterward).

Take a look at the section titled "My Other Blogs" and you'll see one titled "Mel's Book List." You might find something you'd like to read...or be warned against a few. If you'd like to suggest a book to read please feel free to let any of us know.

I also invite you to take a look at my newest project, the blog titled "Laurie's Creative Side." Every few days or weeks I want to start posting something about the things my Heavenly Father inspires me to create. He gave me the desire to bring beautiful things into this world, and a bit of talent to make all the effort worth it. I hope you'll take a gander at what I'm up to, give me some good insights, and feel free to share the things I've created with others.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Worst Thanksgiving Ever

I love Thanksgiving. I adore Thanksgiving. The delicate aromas wafting throughout the house of tender turkey, groovy gravy, marvelous mashed potatoes, and r- uh, r- hmm. I can't think of a word that starts with r to go with the incredible object of my heart's desire - the roll.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm a carbohydrate addict. You can keep your green bean casserole and your yams! Don't try to tempt me with a bite of ham. Relish trays are simply not relished by me. I'll even pass up the pies, just so long as I have the bare essentials.

Now that you know all of this about me, perhaps you might understand why my version of a worst Thanksgiving ever does not include any huge disasters like accidental fires or burnt food. It has nothing to do with inadvertantly dumping the platter of turkey on the floor. No, my idea of a worst Thanksgiving ever includes two simple words: stomach flu.

I don't recall precisely how old I was, but I'd spent most of the day in the bathroom, lamenting the delicate aromas wafting throughout the house. Come that night, I sat on the couch in the living room sipping on broth. BROTH! I ask you. Where is the justice in broth while in the next room over you can see your beloved mashed potatoes being gobbled down by insensitive brothers (sorry guys, but I have to call it as I saw it), and your delicious rolls mopping up pools of gravy.

That should have been my gravy.

At least this is not the case today. In a few hours we'll be joining my hubby's family for a delicious meal (one which I now vow we will never say no to doing the potatoes again!). I look forward to the afternoon...especially so we can hand the youngest off to others in the hopes that by the time she finds her way back to us she'll be too tired to make life for us miserable.

To anyone who reads this, have a wonderfully Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Is it Too Little, Too Late?

This thought crossed my mind today as I passed by our local Holiday Oil where people lined up to get gas for only $1.69. I remember thinking gas hasn't been that low since before war was declared on Iraq, and I wonder when they'll start rising again.

Unfortunately it looks as though the massive drop in gas prices is too little, too late. The government has put a frieze on hiring. Too many businesses are going bankrupt and closing down. People are being fired left and right.

I've been wondering over the last several days if these gas prices had dropped earlier in the year, say before summer, if things might have been different. Would just a few months have made a big difference? I suppose it's hard to say.

In any case, I know our family is still feeling the effects, both personally and on a church basis. Too many out there are in dire need of help. Our own children have been told that they will receive only one present (besides the one from "Santa") this Christmas from Mom and Dad. I'm trying to be as honest with them about money matters so they'll appreciate all they have received. I also count my husband's recent promotion an added blessing knowing his place of business has also placed a hiring frieze.

The president elect certainly has a large load placed on his shoulders. There's a lot to try and fix, and the way will not be easy. Let's continue to pray that he will be guided in the best course.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Votes are In!

Okay so after an astounding number of votes on my poll (and by astounding I mean...4), the results are in.

Three out of four people would rather keep the same quality product even if it means paying a higher price!

Of course, it might depend on just how high the price goes ;)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Inspirations November 23, 2008

We had a different Sunday School lesson in church today, one which started talking about Mormon (of the Book of Mormon), and how he was able to maintain a righteous state of living when everyone around him was so very wicked.

Four of our Young Adults joined us today (as their teachers were on a family trip), and they got a bit picked on. Not mean, of course, but having them come in today seemed an added blessing in helping us understand how hard it is to make right choices in the word today.

Any of us who have seen high school/college come and go have had our own trials, tribulations, and brands of wickedness to deal with. Those who are teenagers and young adults now are experiencing wickedness we adults may not be able to comprehend.

Just two or three years ago I had one young woman who came to me repeatedly in the hopes of just having someone to talk to and share ideas with. Many of her friends were experimenting with sex while others had severe gender issues. I distinctly recall as I sat there listening to things she struggled with in regards to her friends, I couldn't help but think what an extraordinarily strong and special girl sat next to me. I was literally in awe.

The young adults that attended our Sunday School meeting today were invited to talk about things they deal with every day. One young man said many of his co-workers do drugs, at the workplace, right in front of him. Another deals with such extreme profanity, even from his boss.

Again I post the question: how to we maintain our righteousness when everything around us is drenched in wickedness?

Go back to the basics. From the time we are young those of us in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormon Church) are taught those things that can lay down a firm foundation: pray daily, read from the Bible and Book of Mormon, attend all church meetings, and do all of this with a sincere and humble heart. If we are able to make these simple things a habit they will remain as a strength in times of trouble.

Set aside time for family. This may seem strange, and for some it may sound like the surest way to torture each other, but making the choice to spend time with your family is always a good thing, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time. I'm frequently telling my children and the youth I teach, friends really do come and go, but your family is with you forever.

To parents I especially say, keep the lines of communication with your children open. If you believe a type of music or movies or television shows need to be kept out of your home tell them why. When they're old enough to be making their own decisions give guidance, not orders. Set up with your children punishments, ones that are proper for the child's age as well as for the infraction. Teach them as early as possible that when they make mistakes, it's okay. You'll support them through the punishment, but they must serve the sentence if a lesson is to be learned.

I would also remind you that the lessons you teach will be remembered. They are not always obeyed, but they are remembered. Yesterday my darling husband took me to see one of my favorite musicals, Into the Woods. One of my favorite lessons in this book can be seen through the eyes of the witch. Near the beginning of the second act she sings words of lament, as she's just lost someone very dear to her. "No matter what you say, children won't listen listen. No matter what you know, children refuse to learn. Guide them along the way, still they won't listen. Children can only grow from something you love to something you lose..."

Of course these words were born out of horrible grief. Each one of us will pass through a time when we feel that no matter what we say, no matter how many lessons we've learned through our own experiences, our children will refuse to listen. By the end of the play, all have gone through their trials, they've learned that what their parents have told them were indeed the right ways to go after all. And at last we hear the witch say, "Careful the things you say, children will listen. Careful the things you do, children will see, and learn. Children may not obey, but children will listen. Children will look to you for which way to turn, to learn what to be.

"Careful before you say, 'listen to me,' Children will listen."

Keep in mind we all make mistakes. We all fall. But like a parent to a toddler who is just learning to walk, we must remember our Heavenly Father is there to pick us up when we fall. Lessons will be learned, and unfortunately too many of us will choose to learn these lessons the hard way.

And when we come to realize the right path to travel, like Mormon we can find ourselves able to hold strong to the basics of Christ's gospel, to keep His Holy Spirit to be with us always, even when no one else around us thinks it's important.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm About To Take My Life in My Hands

Okay maybe it's a good thing my closest friends have moved recently, as they might not take too kindly to these next words:

I have no desire to go see the new Twilight movie!

Seriously. Not joking. Fingers are not crossed behind my back. I'm far more excited about my husband taking me to the Hale Center Theater to see Into the Woods (my b-day present) than I would be if I'd received free tickets, had the theater to myself, and got a chance to meet all the stars. That's how much I am not looking to go see the movie.

I can't tell you exactly why. Perhaps because it has to do with such a intense feelings, and to see it portrayed in teens makes me squirm. Maybe it's due to not liking almost any movie based on a book, as they invariably change things too much. It could have to do with the fact I'm not a fan of vampire movies, and struggled with reading this dark side of the books.

It's probably all three reasons with a few other things (like Jacob's character) mixed in as well.

Therefore you will not see me anxiously sitting in the movie theater, giant box of popcorn in one hand, oversized cupful of Diet Coke in the other, waiting for the lights to dim and the half-hour of previews to hurry up and get over with.

(All right. Let me have it. Are any of you ladies out there still talking to me?)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What Are You Bringing to Thanksgiving Dinner?

This question was posed on a radio poll this morning. I laughed when one young woman commented, "I bring the relish tray. I always bring the relish tray. I don't think my mom believes I can cook!"

For the last several years my hubby and I have brought the mashed potatoes and gravy. Dear hubby violently objected to doing so this year. Okay maybe not violently objected. He did get a bit wild-eyed at the thought of peeling more potatoes (I think it goes back to his military days).

So we settled on rolls, butter, and a pumkin dessert instead. Think that'll make up for it?

In any case I began wondering two things. First, what are you bringing to Thanksgiving dinner this year? And second, what's your least favorite thing to bring?

Monday, November 17, 2008

My 100th Post

It was a bit surreal, looking at the 99 next to number of posts, and realizing this would not necessarily be a happy celebration. Had I been "on schedule" the 100th post would have been my usual Sunday Inspiration thoughts. I didn't feel up to it, however.

Saturday night we received a visit and a phone call that brought us to a bit of a halt. To our door came one of my Young Women along with a neighbor of hers (our current Primary President). The father of the Young Woman had fallen from their roof. This man is the 1st Counselor in our bishopric. He is a good man. A remarkable man. He never hesitates to give help when needed, and has one of the biggest hearts I've ever known. My husband jumped up and left to go see him.

For the most part our friend is okay, he didn't need to be hospitalized, but he's having a lot of nasty after effects.

A few minutes after my husband got back home the phone rang. My father was hospitalized for pneumonia. We'd just spent the morning with him raking up leaves, and suddenly he's so sick he could barely work his hands. At first we thought he'd be able to come home today, but not yet. Not yet.

Perhaps you can now understand why I haven't felt very inspirational.

My post today is not to entertain. My post today is to ask for you to stop a moment and think of someone who may be in great need today. I encourage you to offer a prayer in behalf of those who may be sick, mourning, or otherwise in distress. We can all use a few more prayers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Halloween Pictures

I figured it was probably about time :)

Here's J as Batman (I'm telling you I couldn't get him to actually face the camera without a hand in the way!).

Here's our little Elmo

Our lovely Prom Queen. It took a while for M to figure out what she wanted to be. She started out wanting to be scaaaaary, but practically beamed when we decided on this.

B as a "Dark Ninja!" He had a hard time deciding on what type of ninja he'd be: Dangerous Ninja, Midnight Ninja, Dark and Dangerous Ninja...
Just wanted to let you see the back of M's hair. Grandma W worked pretty hard to make this gorgeous concoction. M truly felt like the most beautiful Prom Queen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One Problem with Being a Writer

Obviously I love to write. One can see that from the sheer amount of posts I've managed here on just this one blog. I also love to read. It's a passion I've had since I was young. There were nights I'd stay up reading so very late, even though I knew I had school in the morning.

In recent years, since I've become much more serious about the tone of my writing, I've noticed a rather disturbing trend: I pay a lot more attention to the quality of the books I read. Why should this be disturbing?

Have you ever sat at a concert and noticed the singer/instrument was slightly off key? Or have you sat down to play a game where you know someone is cheating?

Maybe this will make it a little clearer. I could liken it to my first doctor's appointment when I found out I was pregnant with M. They called down for someone to come take my blood. I didn't know until too late he was fairly new, and I have really sneaky veins. They don't like to come out and play. I watched as he started on my right arm, dug around a while, couldn't find anything, and went to my left arm. Same thing happened. I distinctly recall thinking to myself as I watched the needle swivel inside my skin, "Well, that can't be good."

He went from there to my right hand. Those are sure painful. He managed to fill about two vials when the vein pooped out (neither of us realized I just needed to move my hand around until things started flowing again). So he tried the other hand. Eventually we had to call someone else up. In one swift poke she had all the necessary vials filled (I was real pretty when I went to work after that fun experience).

There are times when reading a book is like watching needles swivel around in my arm, or hearing someone sing slightly off-key, or knowing the person with whom you are playing a game is cheating: painful, annoying, irritating, and grating. You know that in the hands of someone more professional, the deed could be done beautifully.

A few years ago someone sent my mom a book, one this woman highly recommended. My mom read it and then passed it on to me with a comment like, "You'll have to tell me what you think." She said this in an uncertain voice. I quickly figured out why.

It was so bitingly awful I've blocked the author and name of the book from my mind. I couldn't help thinking, "And a publisher actually allowed this out of their company????"

Fortunately I don't get books that bad too often, yet neither do I find myself with fantastically written books a lot these days either. I can say the mark of a great book for me is one I'm not mentally rewriting at the same time I'm reading it, nor am I skipping over boring passages in an attempt to further the story along (or if I do, I have to go back and read it anyway because it contained pertinent information!).

This is certainly not to say I'm tooting my own horn. I find myself rewriting everything I put down on a constant basis (you have no idea how many times I've gone back over it before posting, lol). The only reason half my posts are still here is because it takes sooooo long for my ISP to let me post in the first place, lol.

I'm reading a book right now by an author who has some great ideas, and a good bit of talent, but seems to think her readers are idiots! She explains everything that comes naturally to mind. She also spends a lot of time describing clothes, rooms, and scenery that bore me to death, while skimping on her character's feelings and how situations impact the character, something I'd like to know more about. I've figured out "whodunnit" and what the "major" clue was within the first few pages. What truly strikes me as sad is these could have easily been taken care of by a competent editor. This book just needed a little tweaking.

Yes, I'm sighing now.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Inspirations November 9, 2008

In October of 1978 Neal A. Maxwell, a late modern day apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormons), gave an address to the students at Brigham Young University (BYU). It was election time back then as well. Though I don’t know what the issues were back then, from his words we can glean there was a moral issue at stake, just as there was now in 2008.

His words were of such import they were printed the next February in the Ensign Magazine (published by the Mormon Church for it’s adult members). I’d like to share them with you today. Though I’ll be putting in a few portions of the first part of his talk, I’ll copy the link to his talk in its’ entirety at the end of my post.

If you are a careful student of the statements of the modern prophets, you will have noticed that with rare exceptions – especially when the First Presidency has spoken out – the concerns expressed have been over moral issues, not issues between political parties. The declarations are about principles, not people; and causes, not candidates.

Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions (1 Kgs. 18:21).

President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had “never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1941, p.123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ!

We are now entering a time of incredible ironies. Let us cite but one of these ironies which is yet in its subtle stages: We will see a maximum, if indirect, effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion. It is actually a new form of paganism which uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of western civilization to shrink from freedom, even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage…

Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. M.J. Sobran…said, “A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it” (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 58-59).

This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortions will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution ofthe family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened (emphasis added).

In its mildest form, irreligion will merely be condescending toward those who hold to traditional Judeo-Christian values. In its more harsh forms, as is always the case with those whose dogmatism is blinding, the secular church will do what it can to reduce the influence of those who still worry over standards such as those in the Ten Commandments. It is always such an easy step from dogmatism to unfair play – especially so when the dogmatists believe themselves to be dealing with primitive people who do not know what is best for them – the secular ‘bureaucrats’ burden, you see.

…There is occurring a discounting of religiously based opinions… If people, however, are not permitted to advocate, to assert, and to bring to bear, in every legitimate way, the opinions and views they hold which grow out of their religious convictions, what manner of men and women would we be?

Our founding fathers did not wish to have a state church established nor to have a particular religion favored by government. They wanted religion to be free to make its own way. But neither did they intend to have irreligion made into a favored state church.

Notice the terrible irony if this trend were to continue. When the secular church goes after its heretics, where are the sanctuaries? To what landfalls and Plymouth Rocks can future pilgrims go?

If we let come into being a secular church which is shorn of traditional and divine values, where shall we go for inspiration in the crises of tomorrow? Can we appeal to the rightness of a specific regulation to sustain us in our hour of need? Will we be able to seek shelter under a First Amendment which by then may have been twisted to favor irreligion? Will we be able to rely for counterforce on value education aided in school systems which are increasingly secularized? And if our governments and schools were to fail us, would we be able to fall back upon and rely upon the institution of the family, when so many secular movements seek to shred it?

It may well be that as our time comes to “suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41), some of the that special stress will grow out of that portion of discipleship which involves citizenship. Remember, as Nephi and Jacob said, we must learn to endure “the crosses of the world” and yet to despise “the shame of it” (2 Nephi 9:18; Jacob 1:8). To go on clinging to the iron rod in spite of the mockery and scorn that flow at us from the multitudes in that great and spacious building seen by Father Lehi, which is the “pride of the world” (1 Nephi 11:36) – is to disregard the shame of the world. Parenthetically, why, really why, do the disbelievers who line that spacious building watch so intently what the believers are doing? (See 1 Nephi 8:33.)

...If the challenge of the secular church becomes very real, let us, as in all other relationships, be principled but pleasant. Let us be perceptive without being pompous. Let us have integrity and not write checks with our tongues which our conduct cannot cash.

Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel.

There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself.

Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, “summer is night” (Matthew 24:32). Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat!

Can you feel the power of these words? Can you see the relevance of something spoken 30 years ago to what has occurred within these last few weeks? I am, of course, speaking on the proposition against gay marriage.

Even within the walls of the Mormon Church has there been dissent. More often than not those members who were against the proposition had close friends or family members who have chosen the homosexual lifestyle. Their hearts have been in a struggle between loving, supporting, and showing tolerance (as we’ve been taught to do by our Church leaders), and following those they have sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators.

There comes a time in many lives when they have to make a decision between the two. They have to look into their hearts, do some serious fasting, praying, and studying in order to decide whether or not they truly have a testimony – not just of the Church, but of God’s will.

Not once in the Old or New Testaments, nor in the Book of Mormon for those who believe it to be another testament of Jesus Christ, has the Lord ever condoned the act of homosexuality. Not once.

But does this mean we shouldn’t be supportive of those who have chosen this lifestyle? Does it mean the activity in passing proposition 8 by the Mormon Church (and many other Churches and organizations) is their way of coming out against an entire people? I don't believe this to be true.

“Hate the sin, not the sinner.” We’ve heard it many times. When I earnestly prayed that the proposition would go through, I wasn’t praying against those who have chosen this lifestyle. I was praying against an act I believe is wrong, even if we all have the right to choose it. I was praying that marriage between a man and a woman, something God has told us again and again is of Him, would be strengthened.

The crazy thing is, I understand where those who are homosexual are coming from. I can see how this would seem hurtful, demeaning, discriminating, and unenlightened. A part of me aches for those who are most affected by this. Yet I cannot deny that I have a firm and abiding testimony that God leads my Church through a prophet, and this prophet has told us this is not what God wants. I believe His hand has touched the hearts of other religious leaders, helping them to understand the same.

Yet those who cry and protest for us to understand and accept them as they are, to give them rights we "straight" couples have, seem to have no tolerance, nor understanding, nor acceptance for our own beliefs. They carry signs and willingly frighten people in their attempts to make us more tolerant – something they cannot seem to do themselves. I can’t begin to tell you how upset I’ve felt when hearing about their acts of intolerance against those they are desperately trying to find acceptance with.

If only they could understand it is not them we are against, it is the sanctity of marriage as described by God that we are for. Had the proposition passed, any church that refused to perform a marriage between two men or two women could have been brought under state law. They could have been sued. Marriage by religious leaders could have been taken away altogether. So much more was at stake than a lifestyle choice.

For those who have stuck around through what (on Word) has turned out to be almost four full pages of writing, I thank you. I hope something in Elder Maxwell’s words, or my own, have touched and/or softened your hearts, has clarified in your mind words you couldn’t put together yourself, or has strengthened that which you already knew. I also hope you know every word of this was written with great and abiding love.

~ Here is the link to Elder Maxwell's talk: A More Determined Discipleship

Friday, November 7, 2008

My First Poll

I've really been thinking about how the quality of some products has really gone down since the economy began to struggle (and I've been forced to do an almost daily load of laundry so the baby will have a pair of pj's that hasn't been leaked in during the night by faulty diapers). The truth is I appreciate good quality, even if it means paying just a little bit more.

Using the above example, I switched to using Luv's a few kids ago. Pamper's is simply too expensive, and Huggies always leaks (no matter how fantastic their 'leak guards' are purported to be!). Luv's was a reasonable price without have a bad quality, which tends to happen when you go with store brand diapers.

With the last batch of diapers I bought, the quality of product went drastically downhill. It's still the same price, but not worth the money! I still use them during the day, but have taken to buying Pampers for baby to wear at nighttime (it'll be a good day when all the kids are potty-trained!), as I know they won't leak everwhere.

Thus came the idea for my very first poll. Would you rather a company raise their prices and keep the same quality, or reduce their quality/quantity to keep the same prices? Or do you not care what the company does, as you'll just go find something to replace it?

I'll keep the poll going until the 21st. Invite friends/family to vote as well. I'm really interested to see what everyone thinks.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Need to Empty My Spleen! (a.k.a Laurie's On One Again)

And no, it has nothing to do with our new (gulp) president.

I haven't even been up a whole 46 minutes and my day's heading down the toilet. Of course I'll have to take the kids to school in a few minutes, but I needed to at least make a start in getting out the baddies!

I was having bad dreams up until the time my alarm rudely told me it was time to get up. Bad dreams seem to be spreading throughout the house these last few days. So even before I delved into the land of the conscious I was being affronted with annoying things. Knowing it would be snowy this morning I informed my beloved children they would need to get a move on when I woke them up. Too bad M didn't listen to me.

Of course the child is only a year or three away from teenagerdom, so I realize she's going to be more difficult to wake up, not to mention the time she spends in picking out an outfit. In any case, she took so long getting up and going the boys were done with breakfast before she made it to the kitchen. This translates into: no time to read scriptures.

So I donned boots and coat and headed outside to scrape out our car and warm it up. In the middle of it all, my boys come out sans coat, hat or gloves, asking to play in the snow. They were promptly informed to head right back in the house to find said objects (I didn't yell loud...the neighbors might hear). They came out a few minutes later to inform me they could find coat, but not gloves or hats (which were brand new as of two days ago!).

We spent a few more minutes cleaning up their room just enough to discover they really were all lost. (Insert heavy sigh here.) Sometimes being mom isn't fun.

One last rant - I hate it when companies skimp on their products so as not to raise prices. There are certain things you simply can't skimp diapers. My youngest has had leaky diapers the last week ever since I bought the "newest" version of diapers. I went with Luv's in the first place because they were cheap without leaking. Now I might have to do back to Pampers. Either that or plan on a daily bath and laundry load.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Refuse to Acknowledge the Media Today

That's right. No radio, no television (aside from kids PBS shows and movies), no newspapers, no nuthin.

My stomach has been tied in knots every time I think about this year's election. I'm insanely grateful the day has finally come and can't wait until it's all over tomorrow!

Our voting precinct happens to be at my children's school, so after dropping them all off I went right in to vote. Got it done early so I won't have to stress about it the rest of the day. The school itself is participating in the voting process. They're giving all the kids a chance to vote for the person they want for president and such. My oldest was excited to have the chance to vote. She kept asking me who I was voting for. I told her, and made certain to let her know why as well. The kids know their votes won't count in the actual election, but I really believe it has lit a fire in some of them.

Politics is never pretty, though. I can't stand the debates and the ads and the fighting that erupts because of differing beliefs. It brings out the best and worst in people (and I'm not just talking about those in the running). There's so much injustice and backbiting, which literally makes my stomach turn.

This is why I've decided to keep myself free from all other influences. I will not check in throughout the day to see whether my guys are winning. I refuse to give the media or other invested businesses/groups/parties/etc a chance to press their opinions on me, or make me feel as though what I believe is old fashioned or too prudish (I recently read Lehi's dream - and the laughing/mocking people in the great and spacious building flashed in my mind this morning). I will not be ashamed for holding my standard high.

In any case, if I don't pick up the phone until after you leave a message, don't be offended. I'm just avoiding political phone calls too :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Inspirations November 2, 2008

I like to think of myself as a happy person. For me joy can be found in making others laugh, feel loved, and find the good in themselves. I like to give to others in the hope they recognize the spirit in which the gift is given. When others do the same for me, I try to let them know how grateful I am for their thoughtfulness. I truly enjoy making the world a little brighter.

With this in mind, I woke up this morning ready to cry. I started crying once I got to Church and my tender husband took one look at my face and said, “Is everything okay?” I promised myself long ago I would always do my best to be honest with him about my feelings, and so I shook my head and fought back the tears. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to talk (the poor guy is still at the ward building wondering what’s up with his wife).

I cried all through Relief Society, then calmed down a bit during Sunday School. The moment I settled down with all the kids in Sacrament Meeting the tears began again. I got myself under control until hubbs bore his testimony, and said some beautiful words about me. The end of the meeting drew near so I once again wiped aside the tears, and after the closing prayer they started up again with one concerned word from a dear sister who noticed I didn’t seem to be doing very well three hours earlier at the beginning of all our meetings.

I suppose, when you spend so much time being happy, a day spent in sadness comes through loud and clear.

About half an hour ago another sister stopped by. I’ve known Sister A____ for twelve years now, was her visiting teacher for about a year, and she has been our Gospel Doctrine teacher for many years now. She is a spiritual giant who is never afraid to acknowledge her faults, and I think she’s about to become my ward mother. She has taken me under wing, so to speak, and given me a huge blessing in the process, by reaffirming a message from my Heavenly Father and my Brother, sent to me through another friend.

I mentioned this message last week before relating my talk. He told me I was like a pen without any ink. I still had many words to write, but hadn’t refilled myself. Sister A_____ compared me today to one of the 10 virgins, though in an unusual way. She said I’m good at sharing my oil, at things spiritual. But my oil is getting thin and I need a refill.

Does this sound like any of you? Are you so willing to give and love and share and bless, but you don’t know how to refill your own pen or lamp?

I keep thinking there’s something I’m supposed to be doing right now, but am missing the mark. I’ve either pushed it aside thinking ‘not now,’ or I wasn’t paying attention and skipped it altogether. My hope over these next few weeks is to put things back in their proper order, and to figure out what I need to be doing.

The second reason for my overly emotional state was also pinned down by Sister A____, but it has a wonderful trigger. My husband and I have been married for twelve years. For most of those twelve years he’s worked two jobs, as well as accomplishing to the best of his abilities whatever calling (job) in the church that’s been asked of him. Translation: not a lot of time together. By the end of the day we’re both tired. I try so hard to pick up whatever slack I can around here when I know he’s exhausted. He tries to pick up whatever slack he can when he notices I’m done in. Our main concerns have always been making sure the other isn’t feeling too overwhelmed.

A huge blessing was given to us this last week. For about a year his bosses have been rearranging things. They came to him and offered the position of Head Chef, with a raise big enough for him to (with faith and confidence) quit his second job! We’ll get daddy home at a decent time of the day. He’ll be there to help with dinner, dishes, homework, and kids. Neither of us can wrap our minds around this concept, as it’s been far too long.

When Sister A_____ heard this, first she offered a prayer of thanks, then she looked hard at me. “You’re like me,” she said. “We’re strong women, good in a crisis, ready and willing to do what needs to be done. It’s when the crisis is over that we finally fall apart.”

You have no idea how light I felt with the truth of those words! I feel like the crisis is over! My husband will be home! My children will get to see their daddy for more than just half-an-hour before bedtime, and he’ll actually have energy! The blessings far outdistance anything we’re being asked to give up. So now I fall apart :). Hopefully when my wonderful spouse gets home from his last meeting I’ll be able to give him a reason to smile.

What would I say is the message behind all of this muddled mess? I don’t believe you have to look too hard.

Heavenly Father loves us. He knows us. He is ever aware of our thoughts and feelings, and will send others to bless us with all we need. I now have a little angel sitting above my head with my new ward mother’s name etched on it, given to me so I might remember how much I am loved. There is so much more for me to think about when I see the little smiling face: I see my Heavenly Father reaching out to me through the words, hugs, and service of one of His beloved children.

I know that when I’m done falling apart, I’ll be ready to pull myself back together, looking for a way to be such a blessing to someone else.