Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas: Small things, big things and an experiment/invitation

First, have you heard about the Candy Bomber?  Gail Halverson was a soldier helping deliver flour and other staples to the West Germans after World War II had ended.  To keep the story short, he shared the two pieces of gum he had with a group of children, who tore the wrappers into strips and passed them around to let all the children enjoy smelling the minty smell.  That led him down a path that ended with the dropping of tons (literally) candy to West German children.  His father had told him that from small things, big things can happen.  Those two pieces of gum led to a change in the feelings of the West German people toward the US  troops and gave hope to a generation of children.

Second, on the back of the December New Era is a quote:
"Please accept this conference invitation.  We are simply asking all members to pray, knowing that if every member, young and old, will reach out to just "one" between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And what a wonderful gift to the Savior."  Elder Ballard, Oct 2013 conference.

Thinking about these two things, I would like to try it out.  I wonder if our reaching out to to just one person, to help them feel the love of the Lord could lead to big things.  A few smiles, a few kind words, a few hugs or acts of service.  Could it be as awesome as a giant domino thingy falling?   Of course these small things can take time to grow into something big.  You might not actually get to see what develops,  but that isn't the point , I guess.

So, if you are interested, try this with me.  Pray about someone you can help feel the love of the Savior, and then follow through on the  prompting you receive.  Write down what you did in your journal. Or don't if you have a thing about journals. Then all together we will have done something big!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Don't blink. It's dangerous.

I have a lot of thoughts that I think would make great posts, but by the time I get to the computer later, I don't even remember that I had something to post about. Sigh.

Tonight I was driving home from taking dinner to Hayden at work.  "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" by U2  came on the radio (a strange occurrence itself).  Suddenly I realized that I must have blinked and 20+ years have gone by.  I have three kids, I drive a mini van, and I live in Utah.  How did I get here?  Where did the time go?  I got a degree, a husband, became a mother, played with toddlers and suddenly I have teenagers, one of whom will leave home in the next 2 years.   It felt very existential and I felt small and insecure and not a whole lot different than the girl who drove  an old toyota  and listened to the same song.  Which I am, but am I an improved version or not?  What am I supposed to do with the next 20 years of my life? I already gave up my identity of being a mother of young kids.  On the next blink, I will have no kids at home.

Here is where the wheels can come off for some people.  Thank goodness I have the gospel to be my lug nuts and keep my wheels on.  Heck, it's been keeping the wheels on for as long as I can remember.  I know why I'm here and where I'm going.  My life should always have  purpose if I understand and remember the Great Plan of Happiness.  So I guess it's Satan who whispers in our ears that we are only one thing and when that ends, we are nothing.  So don't blink.  Or just tell Satan to shut up.  :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Avert your eyes!

That last post really kicked up my OCD.  Also made me grateful for my awesome husband, children, parents and siblings. and my friends. :)  Can't have a steady diet of that, so today I am shaking it up.  Now without further ado, I give you:


Last week we had the privilege of attending a session of General Conference at the conference center.  That was a great experience and I am not ready to talk about the awesomeness that was General Conference.  Because all the talks were so good and so for me, I don't want to make you feel bad by telling you that they were talking to me and not you. But I saw some stuff that cried out for help.

I really don't feel as judge-y as I know I will sound.  I would want someone to tell me, if I were the one who needed to wear a slip but wasn't wearing one.  Yes, it can be surprising how see through some fabric can be, especially in the sunshine.  If you don't have a husband, parent, roommate, sister or child to help you, please use a mirror.  If you don't own a slip, check back with me at the end of this post.

If you are wearing a sheer top with something underneath, please move about a bit and then ask your appearance checker to make sure the underneath piece is still where it should be.  'Nuff said.

Patterned hosiery does not make it better if your skirt is too short to start with.  Sitting on the aisle, I was exposed to more thigh at my eye level than I wanted to be.  Glad my boys were inland by a few seats. I am going with the premise that it's all you had. It's how I cope.

This last little bit is just my own bias, not anything anyone should take seriously, it just makes me roll my eyes:  wearing tube tops, halter tops, halter top dresses, strapless dresses with a white tshirt underneath.  Of course the tshirt is preferable to skin, but it's always struck me as trying to dip your toes in the Babylon hot tub without getting in. Awkward.

Lastly, if you love someone, don't let them leave the house with a too sheer top or skirt, without a slip if they need it, if their slip is hanging below their hem, if you can see undergarments.  That is why they call them UNDERgarments.  ;)  It is a kindness, in my thinking, to whisper to someone that their dress is inside out or any of the things mentioned above.

Now, if you don't own a slip and can't find a half slip that works for you, send me your waist and the length you need (from waist to hem) and I will whip you up one.  Because I love you and don't want you to be embarrassed. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. But don't flame me.

It's not that I am "ashamed of the gospel of Christ", it's that I fear internet fire-bombing. I don't like to be yelled at or ALL-CAPPED or have people not like me.  I (mistakenly) feel that if I keep my beliefs to myself, it will be ok because I hate conflict so much.   I have started feeling badly about keeping one particular belief to myself.

I feel fine talking about temples, the atonement, tithing, the Book of Mormon, prophets, personal revelation, etc.  I am scared to type out loud that I believe in traditional marriage, between a man and a woman.  I have seen the backlash others have suffered.  As public opinion shifts away from God and creates a divide between new "moral standards" and eternal (no beginning and no end) commandments from God that do not change, the dialogue has become less civilized and more threatening.  I do believe with all my heart that every person is a child of God and has the right to be treated with kindness and respect.  I do not go to the posts and pages of gay marriage supporters and write unkind or argumentative statements.  In fact, I don't go there at all.  I also believe that God gave us all the power to choose for ourselves.  However, these are commandments that when disobeyed, bring consequences.  You can choose to do the opposite of what He has commanded, but your ability to choose doesn't magically make your actions right.

The Savior loves every man and woman on earth.  He does not change the rules for each individual based on what they want.  The rules are the same and they are to help us return to Heavenly Father again.  So again, I believe that all people should be treated kindly.  Kindness does not mean I agree.  It means I am kind.

I wish that both sides of this could be kind.  The winner will not be the ones who are loudest. The winner will not be the one who persuades the most people to his or her side. There will not be a winner, in the traditional sense.  In the very very end, we will all receive the eternal reward we feel comfortable with.  I want the reward of being with my family and my Father in Heaven for eternity.   I want all the blessings He has for me.  I could be comfortable and happy with nothing less, knowing it was within my reach.

So now I get to the question, why bother defending traditional/eternal marriage? Those who argue against it wonder why we just can't let everyone do what they want?  As my husband pointed out, we are not haters--we are all about the love. Let me explain:  we existed as spirit beings before we came to earth.  We came to earth to get bodies and learn and eventually become like our Heavenly Father; Gods. We believe this is the only path to true and lasting happiness.  Because we love our fellow brothers and sisters, we stand by His definition of family because it will bring unimaginable joy in this life and the more in the next.  We want that for all.  See the end of the above paragraph; if we know more, we hope for more.

I also stand for traditional marriage because there are consequences, lots of them, and even ones we can't see yet.  Because I believe that children ideally need a mother and a father to help them be the best they can be.  I believe that children deserve this, even though they have no legal rights or ability to articulate that need.  Because I can see changes in our societal fabric coming.  Those in social science who say that studies show no problems with gay marriage and parenting are denying the rules of science--there simply is not enough data, collected over a long enough period of time, to really prove them right.  Because I don't think that shouting the loudest means you should get your way.  Because I see the fear-mongering that is growing; people feel that they have to say homosexuality is fine  to avoid censure, to avoid unpopularity, to get votes, to avoid being called a bad person.  That isn't fair. The giant elephant in the room irony is that some gay rights activists treat anyone who disagrees with them the same way they are protesting being treated.
By suing florists and photographers and ministers who object, they are denying others the right to choose.

I have been watching and waiting for the Supreme court, holding my breath, worrying about consequences of these decisions. In the midst of all this, my teenager chased away the darkness by declaring that our solution is to say, "I am going to be over here, living my church (centered) life, doing my thing." and pointing out that the church is growing and spreading to all nations, increasing the number of those "who be with us".   The saints are done fleeing, and we are making Zion where we are, he said, reminding me of Elder Holland's words (http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ces-devotionals/2012/01/israel-israel-god-is-calling?lang=eng).

So now I feel better. Don't hate on me, because I am not hating on you.  I am standing up for what I believe in because I love. And yes, I do have the comments set on approval first.  And I love my kids. It's really cool when they make me feel better. And, be kind. But kind doesn't mean I agree.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Journals. wahoo. I mean, WAHOO!

First, let me say that in my last post, my plea for you to praise a woman was not meant for you to praise me. I know I am awesome. hahah. I just meant any woman. or anybody, for that matter.  Compliments are easy and cheap to give.

I must thank Middle-Aged Mormon Man for the idea for this post. It's not really what he meant, but this is where my mind went. Journals.

Journals. Bah. Another thing to feel guilty about, I have felt, from time to time. Other times, I think, I am so awesome because I am writing in my journal!  I have had cycles of regular writing in my life.  One of the longest was in college.  It has been cool when I've gone back to read those journals--I see very clearly how the Lord keeps His promises.  And how often I saw His hand in my life.  There are sporadic entries over the last 5-6 years, some detailing how unpleasant parenting can be, some lamenting the passage of time.  There are big chunks of time missing, big events missing.  I realized today what my biggest block is.

I feel deeply.  I am uncomfortable with the depth of my feelings.  I am also unable to adequately write about some of these things with the depth of feeling they seem to deserve.  It is easier to complain and make lists and make excuses than try to properly record important events and epiphanies. It is easier to be silly and sarcastic.  Also, you may have noticed that I am verbose. I don't know how to say things concisely. Isn't it more fun to read details? Not as much detail as Dickens, though. THAT is a lot of detail.

I am in activity girls.  This week we are making journals/pseudo smash books. Journaling has changed so much in the last 10 years.  We can blog, we can art journal, we can photo journal, we can 365 (a picture a day), we can smashbook ( journal/old school glue-in scrapbooking), etc. As fun as all of this is, it really is no substitute for recording in private the spiritual experiences and personal revelation we  receive.   Elder Scott is right about this. I just have to do it. It was easier when we wrote in journals together as a family on Sundays.  Now my kids keep their journals in their rooms and write when they feel like it and won't be compelled to write when I say to.  I pick my battles.

So I have a new goal for spring: write. in. my. journal. I am not going to try to catch up, I will just start from now. And if I want to throw in a few stick figures, I will. :)  Do you have things you are starting over this spring?

Monday, January 14, 2013

O snap! Did I just check my religion at the door?

Point One: I am of the opinion that I lose my temper less and less as I have gotten older. I didn't think I even had a list of things that set me off. But I do. One of those is meanness, more specifically when women are mean to each other. Satan is after women, and it shows when we compare ourselves to other women, when we judge each others' use of time, when we try to assign motives to each other' actions. I get riled up about it. It is bad enough when we do it to each other, but if a man appears to be jumping in to stir the pot....hoo boy.
Point Two: I have never felt like I completely get the story of Mary and Martha in the New Testament.  I know we need spiritual nourishment, but SOMEONE has to make dinner. Is it about timing? Dinner could wait a few until the teaching was over, maybe?  I cringe when I hear the story being used as a blunt object to bash categories of women on the head.  I know that isn't what the Savior wanted it used for.  I got some studying to do, I guess. Does it mean anything that at the top of one staircase in the Brigham temple there is a painting of Mary and Martha and across from it, at the next landing is a painting of a woman picking peaches???
Point Three:  If you haven't read or watched Elder Holland's CES fireside from the fall of 2012 titled, "Israel, Israel, God is Calling", you really must (Mormon Channel). It is a "best" use of a mere 40 minutes of your time.  Even my teenagers loved it.  He talks about how someone excused their rudeness by saying they "check their religion at the door".  Elder Holland said he was so angry he thought about putting his hands firmly around the young man's neck--until he realized his anger was about to cause him to "check his religion at the door".
Point Four: I hate people that get all angry on the internet, especially if it is because they misunderstood or didn't know the facts.  I tsk, tsk them all the time.  But recently, on facebook, I deserved the tsk tsk.  I thought I was defending the better part.  But I realized very quickly that I had "checked my religion at the door" and caused escalation.  Gasp, not everyone needs to be corrected by me???? (sarcasm) It is hard to know when to let stuff go.
Conclusion:  I should stay out of comment sections.
Conclusion Two: I should stick to cute cats and victorian era people saying sassy things on facebook.
Conclusion Three:  Giving people the benefit of the doubt means all people, not just people I think agree with me.
Conclusion Last: How do I get rid of that deep down secret idea that I am actually always right but will hide it to keep the peace? ;)   Ah, humility, I wish I could buy you at walmart. :)

PS conclusion: praise a fellow woman today. Tell her her kids are great, she is great, whatever as long as it's true.  You'll be glad you did.