Featured Post

I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Meditation Monday #15

Meditation continues daily.  I've had to get up early a few times to make sure it happens, but it has.  I'm grateful for this tool of "peace integration" in my life.

Today is day 155 of meditating.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Preach It

Much of time has been on my mind. Time spent. How was it spent? Did I spend it as the Lord would have had me spend it? My mind has been pondering time.

So the stream of thoughts I felt I almost observed flowing in my mind was particularly interesting to me.

I think I need to set this up more.

First, I believe most of us are way too dang busy. Our calendars are ordered by the hour with various appointments, dates, and to-do lists.

Second, I believe that most folks believe that the full calendars equate to fullness and satisfaction in life.  They see a full calendar and believe that this means they are doing something especially well and right.  This may be, but I think, more often than not, it just means that we are too busy.

Third, I believe that the most important things we can accomplish are things we can readily and easily do within the confines of our own homes – almost all the time.  Obviously, church and Temple attendance are two important exceptions for most folks.

Back to the stream of thoughts I was interested in that I felt myself almost apart from and observing:

It was a day a couple weeks ago in which I felt particularly happy and peaceful as I sat down absolutely alone, in a Chick-Fil-A with only one lunch to deal with, after visiting the Temple earlier.  It was the very first time in, literally, years that I’d been out by myself for any length of time.  While I was preggie with Jmy I went to the Temple alone a few times, but I never spent any more time away than the time it took to get there, work and get home.  So, this particular day a couple weeks ago was special and quite nice.

If someone had told me ten years ago that I would relish and be happy to sit alone to eat in a restaurant, I would’ve likely laughed them to scorn.  But, I was truly enjoying the feeling of having accomplished very little (but good things were accomplished) and probably not accomplishing much more upon returning home, other than the normal routine of straightening the house, milking the goat, eating dinner, and the bits preceding going to bed.

A pair of women took up the seat to my back.  They immediately began comparing the busy-ness and activity of their day.  Before one even finished a sentence, the other way chiming in with the things that she did that made her morning or the hour just prior busier than the other woman’s morning or hour.  It was not only one of them who did this.  It was a back-and-forth exchange.  They communicated about the busy of their lives like it was the most important thing they could possibly discuss.

Although it is contrary to who I desire to be and the life I am cultivating, I found a part of me wondering if maybe I wasn’t doing enough.  I’m speaking symbolically when I say that the strange stream of consciousness began small enough and was rather curious, so I paid a little attention.  As I paid it some heed, it seemed to surge and gain strength… it began to grow and I started to actually feel a concern that maybe my life was going in the wrong direction… perhaps I should be doing more, earning more, making more of myself.  I almost started to feel sad and unhappy with my quiet life when I realized what was happening and I slammed a wall in front of the head of that stream and quickly shoveled as much dirt on top as was necessary to staunch the flow of that stream.

One could easily begin to think that a life cultivated in quietness and worship is wrong and foolish if streams such as those are allowed to cut paths into belief and eventually become torrential and life altering rivers.

The following are a few memes I’ve run across on facebook that are particularly pertinent to my point:

Do you have any experiences like this?



Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy #7

Japan: Part 1

My trip to Japan was actually before my trip to Australia.  I’m glad, for the most part, but the awesomeness of Japan definitely outshone Australia as a result.  I think if I went to Australia first, I might not have been so disappointed with it.  Who knows.

So, I left for Japan in August of 2000.  I was only there for three and a half months, but those were some amazingly full months!

I wrote a newsletter about my experiences there, which I sent to a few people.  One of those people is my Mom… I rather hope she has copies of what I wrote.  I need to ask her.  However, I’m going to initially, at least, write my story of Japan as I would be left to tell it… from my memory now.  Since my children, especially Ria, ask me regularly to tell about my time in Japan, this really is the best way to do it.

Perhaps I should start before the trip with a few details.  First, it is important to know that my Dad’s limited time in Japan as a result of a Navy cruise definitely influenced my decision of destination to Japan as a foreign exchange student.  However, if I had not been taking Japanese with Ishibashi-sensei, I may not have seriously considered Japan when I started to think about doing exchange trips.

Ishibashi-sensei is such a spunky, smart, amazing lady that I wanted to be in her presence as much as possible.  So, I decided to add Japanese to the Education minor, which was necessary for me to become a teacher.  As a result of this choice, Ishibashi-sensei convinced me to go to Japan to complete the majority of the course requirements for my Japanese minor.  She conveyed how much more amazing and wonderful it would be to learn about Japanese religions and be able to visit shrines and temples IN Japan.  Because I was seriously planning to go SOMEwhere as an Exchange Student anyway and my Dad had such a great experience there, I was an easy sell on going to Japan.

As a result of getting all of my information submitted first, I won a travel scholarship.  That’s how my plane fare was paid.  What a huge blessing that was to me!

I worked full-time during that summer break and saved up somewhere around $1000.  Thankfully, at the time I went to Japan, the exchange rate was quite in US currency’s favor.  So, my $1000 US became a little bit more in Yen.

I honestly do not remember where I ran into them, but somewhere and somewhen I was out and about I happened to see and speak with some LDS Missionaries.  To be completely honest, I do not remember the meeting at all.  I only know it happened because I retained the business card of one of the missionaries I met.  His name was Elder Triplett.  As an interesting connection, these many years later, I am currently (2012) in DeLand 2 Ward with a brother of Elder Triplett.  Amazing, right?  Regardless, I know that this “chance” meeting that I don’t even remember was orchestrated by our loving Heavenly Father.  It was one of His Love notes to me.  He was showing me in a very real and concrete way that He knew where I was and that He was mindful of me… and wanted me to know that ministers of His Church would touch my life wherever I went (remember me meeting Elders in Sydney and then Perth, Australia!?).  This is a precious gift to my heart now, though I didn’t get it then.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Five Things For Friday

Things rarely go as I plan.  I was hoping to accomplish some grocery shopping on Monday, in preparation for the big week ahead.  Tea went ahead and climbed up and then subsequently fell off of a pretty low (but high enough) shelf in the toy room. Unfortunately the Shoenhut piano broke the impact of her head and left a nice 'T' shaped gash in her scalp. 
As a result of Tea's fall, I calmly and firmly directly Ria to place an emergency call to her Daddy.  She did is much better than last time... and last time she did a terrific job.  The gash had pretty much stopped bleeding on its own by the time Jessie arrived home (within 5 minutes of the call)... so long as I held it together.
Jessie applied skin glue, while I held the gash in place.  He then got excited and got Tea excited about a non-stick tape he'd seen (and wanted to buy) at Tractor supply.  If I'm correct, I believe they use this "tape" to tape up horses' forelegs.  Anyway... he bought pink zebra, which Tea was thrilled with... though she did say it was too bad there was no orange zebra... which is particularly funny since she asked for pink.  She ended up looking quite the punk rocker by Tuesday morning (this all happened Monday early afternoon, of course).  So, needless to say... the grocery trip (and mostly everything else, too) was put off.
Is it somehow true of everyone... or just me?  That when I have the most to do (or would like to get done) the least is accomplished?  *sigh*  That seems to be the case for this week... big birthday coming up... so of course it's uber difficult to accomplish what needs to be done!

I've now been blessed to visit the temple six weeks in a row.  The visit during the second week was just that, but it's still a visit to the temple!  :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for Tea!  Today is her fourth birthday.  I can hardly believe she's been in this world that long... and short.  I feel like she's always been with me and don't know how we could've ever been a family without her!  She's a wonder and a pleasure.  She's smart and considerate.  She is a super finder (and this is especially helpful for times like lately when I misplace things frequently).  She usually loves to help and do what she's asked.  She wants very much to learn how to do EVERYthing her big sisters know how to do.  She is usually a loving little AND big sister.  She is quite a proficient reader, for her age, and improving daily.  She is just wonderful and amazing!  I'm grateful our Heavenly Father chooses to preserve her with us each day she is!

My Mom has come in to town to celebrate Tea's 4th birthday.  I sure am thankful she's able to make it!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tricky Tuesday #4

The chicken coop has been completely finished!  It looks amazing!!!

The underneath part, which is a goat shed, is also mostly complete.  It still needs a holder for hay and a couple holes covered up.  But the goats use it regularly, which is lovely to see!!!

The chickens, on the other hand... I hope we'll shut them up in it very soon (the Wyendottes, only) so that they learn to stay there and lay their eggs there for me!!

Jessie did a fabulous job executing my vision for the coop above the "shed"!  We don't have the sheckles (money) to buy hinges currently, but that didn't stop Jess from numerously hinging this beauty!!  Seriously!  It's awesome!!!

You want pictures?  Well, they'll come next week.  I've been rather busy and quite tired.  So, everything takes more time when those two combine!

I'll tell you a little, at least, for now:

So, the entry way for the goat shef faces the yard... so that we can see them enter/exit from the house if we look out.

The entrance for the chicken coop faces the opposite direction.

On both sides of the coop there are four nesting boxes that slightly jut out, thus not taking up valuable floor space.  On each side there are two levels of nesting boxes, each level has two boxes in it.  Thus we have 8 nesting boxes.  Since we have 8 hens currently, it seems to work out perfectly.  Of course, it's unlikely that they will lay in different boxes, but we're giving them plenty of room for it AND setting!  I sure hope the Wyendotte return to the broody behavior they exibited before moving here!

Each of the 4 levels of nesting boxes is hinged.  We had no money for hinges, so Jessie made hinges out of a pair of old leather shoes!!!  It looks amazing and works VERY well!!!

On the back of the coop there is a large hinged access door.  This door is so that we can add food and water and clean the floor.  To keep this door closed, Jessie installed a piece of wood with screws for stops on each side.  They flip up when I want to open the door and flip down to hold it closed.  Very nice.  Very resourceful!  Perfect for Tricky Tuesday!!

Oh, and ALL of the wood for this structure was free!  It can be tricky to save money... but it IS possible to make things happen even when resources are limited.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meditation Monday #14

Meditation continues steadily.  Still daily, but I have switched things up a bit recently.  For the past week, I've been doing Kirtan Kriya almost exclusively.  I've done Meditation for Addiction a couple times, but I've done longer KKs most days.  It's been quite nice.  :)  Oh, and a couple times, I've done more of a guided imagery/breath meditation (without a recording), which has also been very nice.

Today is day 149 of meditating.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Preach It

I was reading, not so long ago, in The Book of Mormon.  I felt an absolute clarity, as if I could see the truth of what I was reading super-imposed on our day.  I could see that it was absolutely and completely true for us here and now.  I've had this experience, to a lesser degree, while reading the Bible, too... but I'm going to share what I came across in The Book of Mormon because it was so much more clear and easy to understand.

If you know much of anything about fractals, The Mandlebrot Set, and other such phenomenon, you'll know that the past and the present are all the same and in it's place as a part of the greater picture it is also different.  It's all the same while still maintaining differences.  Doesn't it make perfect sense?

The situation long ago, in the ancient days that were contemporary to the authors of The Book of Mormon, was writing and to which he was referring were certainly different compared to now.  However, the subject about which he was referring is exactly the same, regardless of how it manifests itself: sin.

What I include next is going to be a bunch of verses from The Book of Mormon.  I'm going to link to the verses for you, too.  They will appear as though I am randomly copying and pasting, but their order is purposeful.  I see these verses direct applicability for now... our day....

"Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.
"And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.
"Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem [homelands] shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritancce; and they shall dwell safely forever.
"But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.
"Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten.
"Yea, as one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodsheds, and great visitations among them; wherefore, my sons, I would that ye would remember; yea, I would that ye would hearken unto my words.
"O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.
"Awake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth." (2 Nephi 1: 7-14)
"And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
"Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
"Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
"Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.
"Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.
"And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement —
"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
"Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
"And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away." (2 Nephi 2: 5-13)

"And, in fine, wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.

"O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.
"O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.
"O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
"And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves folls before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.
"But the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever—yea, that happiness which is prepared for the saints.
 "O, my beloved brethren, remember my words. Behold, I take off my garments, and I shake them before you; I pray the God of my salvation that he view me with his all-searching eye; wherefore, ye shall know at the last day, when all men shall be judged of their works, that the God of Israel did witness that I shook your iniquities from my soul, and that I stand with brightness before him, and am rid of your blood.
"O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation.
"Prepare your souls for that glorious day when justice shall be administered unto the righteous, even the day of judgement, that ye may not shrink with awful fear; that ye may not remember your awful guilt in perfectness, and be constrained to exclaim: Holy, holy are thy judgments, O Lord God Almighty—but I know my guilt; I transgressed thy law, and my transgressions are mine; and the devil hath obtained me, that I am a prey to his awful misery.
"But behold, my brethren, is it expedient that I should awake you to an awful reality of these things? Would I harrow up your souls if your minds were pure? Would I be plain unto you according to the plainness of the truth if ye were freed from sin?" (2 Nephi 9: 38 - 47)
"Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blamelss before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?
"Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.
"Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.
"And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?
"Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he must repent or he cannot be saved!
"Yea, even wo unto all ye workers of iniquity; repent, repent, for the Lord God hath spoken it!
"Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.
"Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely;
"Yea, come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire—
"For behold, the time is at hand that whosoever bringeth forth not good fruit, or whosoever doeth not the works of righteousness, the same have cause to wail and mourn.
"O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice!
"Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.
"And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil.
"For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil.
"Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him; but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.
"And whosoever doeth this must receive his wages of him; therefore, for his wages he receiveth death, as to things pertaining unto righteousness, being dead unto all good works.
"And now, my brethren, I would that ye should hear me, for I speak in the energy of my soul; for behold, I have spoken unto you plainly that ye cannot err, or have spoken according to the commandments of God."  (Alma 5: 27-43)

"Now Alma, being grieved for the iniquity of his people, yea for the wars, and the bloodsheds, and the contentions which were among them; and having been to declare the word, or sent to declare the word, among all the people in every city; and seeing that the hearts of the people began to wax hard, and that they began to be offended because of the strictness of the word, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful."  (Alma 35:15)

"O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?

"Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.
"Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.
"I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled.
"And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled.
"I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
"And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.
"And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.
"Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.
"Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved." (3 Nephi 9: 13-22)

"And now, I speak also concerning those who do not believe in Christ.

"Behold, will ye believe in the day of your visitation—behold, when the Lord shall come, yea, even that great day when the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, yea, in that great day when ye shall be brought to stand before the Lamb of God—then will ye say that there is no God?
"Then will ye longer deny the Christ, or can ye behold the Lamb of God? Do ye suppose that ye shall dwell with him under a consciousness of your guilt? Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws?
"Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell.
"For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.
"O then ye unblieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.
"And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;
"Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.
"For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?
"And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.
"But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.
"Behold, he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.
"And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death.
"And then cometh the judgement of the Holy One upon them; and then cometh the time that he that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still.
"And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.
"Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?
"Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?
"And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.
"And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
"And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.
"Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.
"For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;
"And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;
"And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;
"And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.
"And now, behold, who can stand against the works of the Lord?  Who can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ? Behold, all ye who are despisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish.
"O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need.  Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.
"Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.
"See that ye are not baptized unworthily; see that ye partake not of the sacrament of Christ unworthily; but see that ye do all things in worthiness, and do it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out." (Mormon 9: 1-29)

"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
"And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
"And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
"And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever."  (Moroni 10: 3-7)

That's it for the Book of Mormon quotes. 
If you're still 'thirsty,' feel free to continue on!

Next, I'm including a whole talk by Marion G. Romney (from way back in October 1975, but even more pertinent today than it was then!) because it's totally pertinent to the subject of this whole post.  I'm going to highlight parts and also write my own commentary as I desire in a different color from the standard black of the type in the talk.  It's a bit long, and if you've made it this far... I'm super impressed.  I hope you will continue with me and see what we can see:

America’s Destiny

Marion G. Romney

My beloved brothers and sisters, I invite you to join in a prayer that while I speak you and I may both enjoy the Spirit. I will give you a lesson today that the Lord has taken great pains to bring to us.

Among the questions frequently raised in connection with our upcoming national bicentennial is “Can we maintain our basic freedoms, peace, and prosperity for another 200 years?”
The answer to this question is yes, if we shall individually repent and conform to the laws of the God of this land, who is Jesus Christ.
He has stated the basics of his laws in the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and in the two great commandments:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. …
“And … thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 22:37, 39.)
Millennia ago he declared: “There shall none come into this land [he was speaking of America] save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.
“… this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them.” (2 Ne. 1:6–7.)
Another ancient prophet said,
“This is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ.” (Ether 2:12.)
It is my purpose in making these remarks to point out from the record of ancient inhabitants of America that the foregoing decrees have been carried out.
In the western part of the state of New York near Palmyra is a prominent hill known as the “hill Cumorah.” (Morm. 6:6.) On July twenty-fifth of this year, as I stood on the crest of that hill admiring with awe the breathtaking panorama which stretched out before me on every hand, my mind reverted to the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries ago—events which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation.
You who are acquainted with the Book of Mormon will recall that during the final campaign of the fratricidal war between the armies led by Shiz and those led by Coriantumr “nearly two millions” of Coriantumr’s people had been slain by the sword; “two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children.” (Ether 15:2.)
As the conflict intensified, all the people who had not been slain—men “with their wives and their children” (Ether 15:15)—gathered about that hill Cumorah (see Ether 15:11).
“The people who were for Coriantumr were gathered together to the army of Coriantumr; and the people who were for Shiz were gathered together to the army of Shiz. …
“Both men women and children being armed with weapons of war … did march forth one against another to battle; and they fought all that day, and conquered not.
“And it came to pass that when it was night they were weary, and retired to their camps; and … took up a howling and a lamentation for the loss of the slain of their people.” (Ether 15:13, 15–16.)
This routine was repeated day after day until “they had all fallen by the sword, save it were Coriantumr and Shiz.” Shiz himself “had fainted with the loss of blood.
“And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, [and] rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz.
“And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised upon his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.
“And it came to pass that Coriantumr fell to the earth, and became as if he had no life.” (Ether 15:29–32.)
Thus perished at the foot of Cumorah the remnant of the once mighty Jaredite nation, of whom the Lord had said, “There shall be none greater … upon all the face of the earth.” (Ether 1:43.)
As I contemplated this tragic scene from the crest of Cumorah and viewed the beautiful land of the Restoration as it appears today, I cried in my soul, “How could it have happened?”
The answer came immediately as I remembered that some fifteen to twenty centuries before their destruction, as the small group of their ancestors was being divinely led from the tower of Babel, the Lord “would that they should come forth even unto [this] land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.
“And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared [their prophet-leader], that whoso should possess this land … from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.
“And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land,” wrote the ancient prophet-historian, “that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.
“For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God.” (Ether 2:7–10.)
Pursuant to this decree concerning the land of America, the Jaredites were swept off in the manner we have reviewed, because, rebelling against the laws of Jesus Christ—the God of the land—they “ripened in iniquity.”
Nor were they the only people who anciently were divinely led to this choice land to grow in righteousness to be a mighty nation and then to deteriorate in wickedness until they ripened in iniquity and were, pursuant to God’s decree, swept off.
I emphasize “divinely led” because, as above indicated, the Lord told them that they were being so led, and “that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.
“Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.” (2 Ne. 1:6–7.)
This second civilization to which I refer, the Nephites, flourished in America between 600 B.C. and A.D. 400. Their civilization came to an end for the same reason, at the same place, and in the same manner as did the Jaredites’. From the account of their death struggle, I quote:
“And now,” says Mormon, their historian, “I finish my record concerning the destruction of my people, the Nephites. And it came to pass that we did march forth before the Lamanites … to the land of Cumorah. … And when … we had gathered in all the remainder of our people unto the land of Cumorah, … my people, with their wives and their children, did … behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they await to receive them.
“And it came to pass that they did fall upon my people with the sword, and with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the ax, and with all manner of weapons of war.
“And it came to pass that my men were hewn down, yea, even my ten thousand who were with me, and I fell wounded in the midst; and they passed by me that they did not put an end to my life.
“And when they had gone through and hewn down all my people save it were twenty and four of us, (among whom was my son Moroni) and we having survived the dead of our people, did behold on the morrow … from the top of the hill Cumorah, [230,000] of my people who were hewn down, …
“Even all my people, save it were those twenty and four who were with me, and also a few who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had dissented over unto the Lamanites, had fallen. …
“And my soul was rent with anguish, … and I cried:
“O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! … How could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!
“Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. …
“O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, … how is it that ye could have fallen! …
“O that ye had repented before this great destruction had come upon you.” (Morm. 6:1, 4, 5, 7, 9–11, 15–19, 22.)
Moroni a little later wrote:
“Behold I, Moroni, do finish the record of my father, Mormon. …
“… after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, … the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed.
“And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people.” (Morm. 8:1–3.)
The tragic fate of the Jaredite and the Nephite civilizations is proof positive that the Lord meant it when he said that this “is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.” (Ether 2:9.)
This information, wrote Moroni, addressing himself to us who today occupy this land, “cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles” (now, Gentiles is the term used by the Book of Mormon prophets to refer to the present inhabitants of America and to the peoples of the old world from which they came), “[this] cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.
“Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ.” (Ether 2:11–12.)
In 1492, in harmony with the Lord’s statement heretofore quoted, “that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord” (2 Ne. 1:6), Columbus was divinely led to America.
Away back between 590 and 600 years B.C., Nephi, looking in vision down the stream of time, “beheld a man among the Gentiles [that is, among the nations of Europe], who was separated from [this promised land] by the many waters; and I beheld,” said he, “the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto … the promised land.
“And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth … upon the many waters.
“And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise.” (1 Ne. 13:12–14.)
Columbus himself corroborated the fact that he was divinely led to this land.
“In the royal presence of Isabella, Irving [his biographer] says: ‘He unfolded his plans with eloquence and zeal for he felt himself, as he afterwards declared, kindled as with a fire from on high, and considered himself the agent chosen of heaven to accomplish the grand design.
“His son Fernando, in the biography of his father quotes him as saying on one occasion: ‘God gave me the faith and afterwards the courage so that I was quite willing to undertake the journey.’
“And the will of Columbus reads:
‘In the name of the … holy trinity, who inspired me with the idea and afterwards made it perfectly clear to me that I could navigate and go to the Indies from Spain, by traversing the ocean westward.’ ” (Nephi Lowell Morris, Prophecies of Joseph Smith and Their Fulfillment, Deseret Book, 1945, pp. 289, 294–95; italics added.)
Because Columbus was led, we are here in this choice land.
God gave us victory in the Revolutionary War. We are indebted to him for our nation’s independence. He has prospered us in every righteous endeavor. He established the Constitution of the United States “by the hands of wise men whom [he] raised up unto this very purpose.” (D&C 101:80.)
He himself with his Beloved Son appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith to open a new dispensation of the gospel of Jesus Christ here in this land. He has established his Church here and has sent and is sending representatives thereof into every nook and corner of the land—and as far as possible to all the earth—to declare and teach the laws of Jesus Christ, the God of this land.
He has revealed anew and repeated over and over again the ancient decree: “This is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God” concerning this land. (Ether 2:10.)
This knowledge has been revealed to us that we “may know the decrees of God—that [we] may repent, and not continue in [our] iniquities until the fulness come, that [we] may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon [us] as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.” (Ether 2:11.)
We are living in the dispensation of the fulness of times, which will be climaxed by the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. Concerning the approach of that event and what is in store for the inhabitants of the earth between now and then, the Lord said 144 years ago:
“The wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure. …
“Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear.”
And this is his message: “Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;
“And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth. …
“The hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.
“And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon … the world.” (D&C 1:9, 11–13, 35–36.)
Now my beloved brethren and sisters everywhere, both members of the Church and nonmembers, I bear you my personal witness that I know that the things I have presented to you today are true—both those pertaining to past events and those pertaining to events yet to come. The issue we face is clear and well defined. The choice is ours. The question is: Shall we of this dispensation repent and obey the laws of the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, or shall we continue to defy them until we ripen in iniquity?
That we will repent and obey and thereby qualify to receive the blessings promised to the righteous in this land, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy #6

Temple Square
because Ria asked (October 7, 2012)

I know the Temple at Temple Square in SLC, UT is beautiful.  I’ve been there.  I’ve even got a picture or two of me in front of it.  However, I don’t really remember anything at all about the Temple or the surrounding grounds.  I went there pretty often.  I remember at least three distinct visits.  I think, honestly, it was probably more.

The only thing I really remember of Temple Square are the sweet Sister Missionaries who were such a blessing and comfort to me.  As I reflect upon those visits to Temple Square now, I think I was seeking Christ in my own limited and rebellious way.  Although I did not find Him in the way He must have desired, I found His Love in those sweet Sister Missionaries.

Their names are gone from my mind.  Their faces are erased.  Beauty is the only thing about their physical appearance that I can remember.  Each one was radiant.  I wanted to BE them.  I wanted to BE a missionary (even though I decried any belief in the LDS Church at the time).  I wanted to feel love for everyone the way they so obviously did.

I knew they felt this amazing love for everyone, you see, because it was so very obvious that they loved me.  Steeped in sin as I was at that time in my life, they loved me.  They listened.  They accepted me.  The comforted me.  And it was just perfectly clear and obvious to me that they loved me.  And I wanted to BE that.

So, even though it took me around 8 years after those sweet visits to Temple Square in SLC, UT to return to church attendance… even though it took me that long to return to Christ overtly… I had found Him in those sweet Sister Missionaries on Temple Square.

Whenever I meet a woman in the Church who inspires me or who I aspire to be like, I feel compelled to ask them if they served a mission.  Whenever I meet a woman who seems to radiate Charity, I question without even considering: “Were you a missionary?”  And ya know what?  I cannot think of an exception, there may have been one, but I cannot remember it.  As I recall, every woman I can remember admiring or desiring to emulate has, indeed, served as a missionary.

Though we cannot change our past and I am mostly happy with who I am (my past is part of that so I have to accept it), there is a small part of me that wishes I would’ve been courageous enough to stick to the restored Gospel of Christ and served a mission.  There is a humungous part of me that wonders what and how I would be (and my life with it) different if I had been the woman our Father surely desired me to be: Faithful.

A potentially positive result of these almost wishes and musings, I desire very much for my girls, my daughters, to become like those sweet Sister Missionaries who worked at Temple Square.  Heck… maybe one or more of them will be such a missionary!  Wouldn’t that be something!?  It sure would do my heart some wonderful good.  But to be missionaries...  THAT is the most important aspect of one of my greatest goals for my daughters; all of my children.

Will I think them a failure if they do not serve a mission?  Certainly not.  If they grow up to know that their life is a mission that should be dedicated unto the Lord… then I will have accomplished something marvelous in them, for the world and, most importantly, for Heavenly Father!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Five Things For Friday


Let's see... this week was pretty quiet.  I did experience a marked improvement in my experience of milking Tulip.  Tulip is the last doe we added to our "tiny farm" just nine days ago.  She had a kid on her, so she's in milk.  YEAY!  You would've laughed till you cried if you'd've seen me milk her the first few times!  Seriously.  No stanchion is a serious hold-up, yall!!
My Mom will be here in less than a week for Tea's fourth birthday.  The fourths are big deals around here (4, 8, 12, 16).  Those are the birthdays that we celebrate with family PLUS friends (whomever the child wants to invite, within reason.  It should be exciting!  Thankfully, the whole not-really-having-big-birthday-parties-every-year-thing has it's side benefits.  Like, for instance, when my children are given the opportunity to tell me all their hopes and dreams for their birthday party, they are actually (almost all) really reasonable and doable!  :) 
 I made my first batch of goat's milk soap (today, actually).  It didn't turn out as well as I was hoping.  Must try again ASAP since I'm SERIOUSLY hoping to use the soap as end of the year gifts to my family!  We've never been able to give gifts all around because we simply cannot afford it... but there is the possibility this year and I SO hope it works out.  If not this year, I'm definitely shooting for something canned, some honey and some soap to give next year.  Of course, it may not be the end of the year, which would be just great, too.  :)
 I have a friend.  We've known each other for around two years now.  She is amazing!  We've been spending a bit more time together recently and I've come to love her very much.  The last time we were able to spend time together, as I was leaving, I felt this surge of love for her and almost told her I loved her.  I stopped myself, though, because I didn't want to freak her out.  Well, today, when I was getting together to depart she told me she loved me!  I felt super happy - especially in light of the way I feel Heavenly Father has been telling me He loves me through people this week.  They haven't said those words, particularly, but He's been SHOWING me... well, this dear friend of mine was someone I wanted to be friends with before I received my assignment from Heavenly Father TO BE friends with her... I sure am thankful!!!
 I gave two guys haircuts this week.  It's so funny when we buzz Jmy... the girls all say some version of, "Oh, look how much he looks like JJ!!"  I think Jmy does look a little like JJ, but mostly, I think JJ is the primary young boy in our extended family upon whom the girls can compare and reflect (they haven't been around his younger brother as much).  Anyway... fun/funny stuff.  :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for my children; both those who are here and those I hope will yet join our family.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tricky Tuesday #3

Here are some pictures of the almost complete pallet fence Jess has been building.  One gate is made from a salvaged gate I bought for $5 at a local fence place that sells salvages fence panels.  SUCH a great deal (with hardware, too!).  The other gate is almost complete.  It's missing its chicken wire top.  They'll probably open seperately, which I rather like.  :)

Do you see Kiara, our goat, resting in the old chicken tractor?
This picture shows the gate we already had that Jessie installed so well.
The new chicken coop/goat shed is WAY in the back left of this picture, too!
She's visible here, too... to the left of the picture.
This picture shows the use of a couple pallets that are both vertical.  Nice, right!?
I know this might look like a mish mash to some,
but to me it is beautiful!  I'd love to paint it, but we'll probably leave it be.

This is the end of the longest part of the fence,
which is parallel to our house.
This is looking at the shorter section,
which is perpendicular to our house and
almost meets it at the corner.
Here's the pallet gate Jessie created.
Dang, I shoulda taken a close picture of the hinge.
He used some hinged hasps without the looped part
to make the hinge for this door.  Great, right!!?
Here is the pallet gate closed.
This is the only unfinished part of the fence.
Above the pallet fence there will be a
hinged frame of chicken wire.
We would rather keep out goats and chickens,
thank you very much.  ;)
A view of the gate and into the yard.
You might've noticed that my gardens are a bit... overgrown.  Well, my friends, that's what happens when a hard worker like me is laid low.  The unwellness of my body after the miscarriage took a long time to heal.  Thankfully it's all healed up now.  Just have to straighten things out a bit more IN the house and then I'll be able to spend more time out of the house again.  Unfortunately, I haven't gotten a fall/winter garden in and it's looking less and less likely.  :(  ahwell
Jess did finish the half gate, I just haven't made time to take a picture yet... will do.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Meditation Monday #13

Meditation continues daily.  It has been more difficult to continue because I have been vociferously attacked with such phrases as, "If you think meditating is doing you any good, you're in fantasy land."  or, "Meditating is just a waste of time.  It's obviously not doing you any good."  The first such attack came merely moments after I experienced a major breakthrough.  Amazing.

Today is day 142 of meditating.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday: Preach It

I'm going to try to post something each Sunday that pertains to "preaching" truth - or aspects of the truth.  This first one is a bit lame.  But it matters to me.  And since this is my blog... well, you can skip it if you prefer.  :)

At the first session of the General Conference for my Church on Saturday of this past weekend, there was a rather historic change announced.  It's exciting and wonderful and I immediately knew that the change was inspired of our Heavenly Father.

In my experience, when I happen upon or experience something exciting, I want to talk to others who may feel similarly about it.  I want to talk about the implications... how the new thing/experience will alter the future and impact me and others like me.  This is true of all aspects of my world from homeschooling, to Motherhood, to my religious practices, and so forth.  I also believe humans need to communicate to enable the process of synthesis more fully.

While I immediately felt the surety of heaven's guidance in the announcement of new, younger, ages that men and women could potentially serve missions, I also very much wanted to communicate with others about it.  Not because I doubted the validity of the Revelation the world's Prophet, his counselors and the 12 Apostles had received, but simply to process through the exciting change more fully.

I was excited and happy to see so many folks posting about it on Facebook (since I really do not enjoy phone conversation and don't live all that near anyone in real life with whom I might discuss this subject at length).  I was especially happy to see the line of comments posted as a result of one particular friend's posting of another person's tweet.  Almost all of the feedback to that post was really wonderful.  It was just the kind of communication that reveals thinking people sythesizing new information into their current paradigm.  This is necessary and good.  Laudable.  Beneficial.  God desires His people to be a thinking people.

One person, however, posted some comments that astonished me.  This particular commentor has become somewhat of a "nemesis" to me.  I refer to her as my nemesis mostly in jest.  Jessie counseled me to unfriend numerous folks from my former Ward (church group) when "my nemesis" and a couple others were commenting in reaction to my Facebook postings in ways that reveal they do not know me or understand how I communicate at all.  Their comments were arguementative and even, a few times, inappropriately condemning because they did not understand my tone and had interpreted my words incorrectly.  I have had this problem all too frequently in the recent past.  And not just among those who don't really (and couldn't really) know me since they never took the time when they had the chance and I just don't roll with the high rollers (meaning I don't "do lunch" with the women of the Ward for lack of funds and desire).  Anyway... I refrained from commenting on the wall of the facebook friend to whom my "nemesis" had commented because I am simply done with being targeted and beat up by her.  (Hereafter I will leave off the quotation marks around nemesis because I hope you get the point that she really is NOT my nemesis... just someone with opinions very different from mine who does not understand me at all.)

Even though I did not comment on my fb friend's wall, I wanted to respond to my nemesis in a non-confrontational way.  I'm relatively certain she doesn't read my blog.  And anyway... I get to do what I want here.  And I don't have to deal with her being nasty to me in response.

After much discussion of implications and reactions to the Revelation about the new ages  for missionary service (none of which was condemnatory or negative at all... just sythesis-type communication, really), my nemesis questionsed why everyone was trying to disect revelation given by a Prophet of God.  She asked if it was just too difficult to say we believe in revelation.

A couple of people responded to her, including my fb friend who originally started the line of discussion.  They responded totally appropriately.  Additional comments were made.  Yet, my nemesis didn't get it.  She didn't comprehend that no one on that line of discussion was trying to pick the revelation apart or doubting the reality of revelation.  They were simply thinking through and synthesizing new information.

She then posted, "Stated twice and repeated as an answer, 'His is God hastening His work. This is not about the youth.'"  I'm sure this comment was one made in the press conference immediately following the session of the announcement.  Regardless of who made the comment, I think it is limiting and short-sighted.  You see, God acts for all who are affected.  When evil is perpetuated against someone, God's sight is set on the perpetrator AND the person acted against.  Not one or the other.  God has in mind that his youth will be prepared more diligently by their parents and the Church to potentially serve Him as missionaries AS WELL AS to hasten the missionary work itself.  Surely anyone with eyes that see can see this.  Right?

She then posted a longer piece to which I desire to respond as if I were speaking to her, yet am not.

"As a convert of over 40 years, a Primary president, a Young Woman's president twice, a Relief Society President, and a Seminary teacher of many years, Elesha there is a vast difference in someone asking questions and someone immediately trying to place a defining statement as to 'why a revelation was received are very different. One example, in the late 60's early 70's here in the USA the word of wisdom started to be defined as a caffine issue, while at the same time in Brazil it was that hot drinks were the offenders since the Portuguese often drink drinks at such a high temperature burned the mouth tissues so much it became like leather. Both discussions omitted simple obedience as the why. The Word of wisdom is one of the issues you speak of, if it had been placed as a commandment when given most of the brethern would have been on the outside looking in. They needed time for simple obedience, which is where you will find the word of wisdom in most indexes. Also in the 70's when the blacks received the priesthood, the issue was the church coming around to the world. Asking questions is good, but no one has posted questions. These are comments and opinions. Seek the guidance of the brethren and if you don't agree with their verbage pray to either adjust your will to be in aligh with the Lord. It is dangerous to be giving reasons for a Prophet's revelation."

I find it interesting and upsetting, nemesis, that you would list the offices of your service to God as if these works that should have been consecrated to the Lord make you some sort of authority in His Kingdom.  If your words cannot stand on their own strength, the fact that you try to bolster them with you resume of Church service is only sad and prideful.  Given that I know you rejected the opportunity to be a temple worker with your husband because you'd "already done that" and told whomever was offering you the calling that you needed to do something different... well, the potentially impressive list of callings is drastically diminished in my esteem.  I wish you could know that rolling out your resume decreases your stature with every "star" you attach to the list.

It's not just questions that are good.  Thinking is also good and highly esteemed by our Father in Heaven.  He is pleased with obedience for obedience sake, I am absolutely certain.  But how much more pleased with us would He be when we are obedient and know WHY we choose to be obedient... Perhaps He is especially pleased when we step out in obedience even though we may step away from our own position to BE obedient.  I imagine that our Father in Heaven and His Angels rejoice when we work to change our own heart TO BE obedient by BEING obedient.  Stepping off a cliff, as it were, not knowing how we will be all right, but knowing that He has commanded it.

How is it dangerous to synthesize new information into your current paradigm?  This simply doesn't make sense!

Another commentor responded beautifully to this part of my nemesis's silliness.  I quote him, "People need to understand why - it is the basis of mental reasoning, and in our case, encourages faithful support through personal revelation and group discussion. I don't like following things from the "Because I said so" mentality. Never have, and I am glad my Heavenly Father understands that about me. So, he provides me reasoning through my own pursuit and his perfect revelations to my heart. There really is nothing wrong with having a desire to explain in logic what is revealed in Spirit - both are a part of us as a human soul."

I know in my own experience, as I attempt to fit something that is God's into my own mind and life (especially when it is in opposition to how I have been), it has helped me greatly to give myself reasons to do it or endure in it.  Are the reasons always Gods?  I don't know.  I don't think they are against His ways.  I think they are lower than the highest of His thoughts, but how does one climb a ladder but by starting on the first rung?

Finally, my fb friend who originally started the discussion responded to my nemesis and I conclude this post by quoting a few of her words, "I believe God wants us to have our own opinions and thoughts and be flexible and teachable by the Spirit. I have found that the Spirit usually teaches me only when I’m mentally engaging in particular content. If I don’t think about something, I get nothing. Respectfully, it looks like you saw a dangerous situation when only good things were happening."

Well said.

copyright notice

© 2008-2016 Tori Gollihugh All Rights Reserved