Would you like to translate this into another language?

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Never-ending Three-Legged Race

image: freepik.com
As I mentioned, the Warden and I created a list of qualities we could envision for a couple that would make it through eternity. Here is that basic list. Bear with me on this, though. I took notes as the Warden and I each contributed our ideas. Some things aren't clear, but I will try to explain as best I can.....

image: waystomakealiving.com
There is a level of consistency; not monotony, but some agreed upon practices or behaviors that are just accepted and expected (ex. scripture study, prayer, Family Home Evening, service--not just for others but for each other) - This was one of the Warden's ideas. I LOVE that he mentioned the idea of monotony as he knows that that's one of my true weaknesses. I like life to have some amount of variety to it.

image: isobmba.com
Physical symbols of solidarity - This pertains to things like holding hands in public, you know, that kind of stuff that falls to the wayside when children come along and your hands are filled with other people and things.

image: racebridgesforschools.com
Civility and courtesy - This was something I was counseled about by my dad before the Warden and I were married. He explained that there were some things that, no matter how familiar you become with your spouse, need to be continued--pleases and thank yous and other things along those lines.

image: biblebonds.org
Anticipation of the other's needs. Trying to fill those needs before the other says anything - I must say that the Warden is VERY good at this, but I also must say that this, for some reason, is so much easier to do for people you don't live with everyday. Don't get me wrong. He does fine. It's the other partner in this companionship that sometimes loses focus.

image: addictivetalksource.com
Time set aside that is committed to the other person - This will be a fun one to do--date nights, nightly chats, those kinds of things.

image: ngo411.com
Consistent communication. It locks in things like goals. Expressions of gratitude - I honestly can't remember what this one was all about. I'm sure it could go together with #5, but communication is such a HUGE factor in the ol' three-legged race that it needs to have a place to itself.

image: highestfive.com
Affection - again, this could go with physical symbols of solidarity, but this one goes a bit further. This is more personal affection; #2 is meant for the public.

Open and honest dialog - Huh, what do you know? Another communication trait. We, with many of these contemplated combining them, but they were important enough to mention the first time through, and we can definitely work further on similar things in a different way. This aspect is meant as full disclosure.

image: wallsave.com
Being together whenever possible. A desire to be together - Okay, I look at this now and think how do you set goals to control your inner desire to be with each other? To be honest, I really do think it fits in with my dad's words "act as if." I remember the Warden and I going our separate ways off to work when we were first married, and I'd think about him at any point during the day and get instant butterflies. I'd love to have those feelings again. I wonder if adding these things we did when we dated and were first married back into our relationship will bring those feelings back. I hope they do.

image: davidmixner.com
Gentleness. Concern for the other's welfare.

image: themindfulword.org
Recognizing that neither of us are perfect. Forgiveness and understanding.

image: http://b4u2c.hubpages.com

Charity--patience, long suffering, forgiveness, kindness, keeping the long-term vision - In charity, it seems that many times we have to look past the here and now. We need to be able to see what eternity holds--things far better than this world can offer.

After completing the list, one thing seemed very clear to me. More than anything else, we need to be able to picture ourselves as this kind of couple. There needs to be a continual renewal of the vision we're trying to attain.

I am starting to understand that the part of something that exists in your brain is more than half the battle of seeing it through. What is it they say? "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve" (Napoleon Hill). Yup. That's a true statement.

At this point, we're working on the tasks that will fit for each trait. Those will be the next to come.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Eternity Starts Now: My 2013 Goal

I was born when my parents had been married for 21 years. I never saw them fight that I can remember. By the time I came along, most of the bugs, I'm sure, had already been worked out of their relationship. That, and I'm pretty sure that if they were unhappy with each other, they were smart enough to express their feelings away from us kids.

When I got married, I knew I hadn't gotten the whole picture of just what marriage is. Marriage, to me, seemed effortless.

My cute niece posted the above picture on Facebook yesterday. I saw it and laughed. This is me and the Warden. I really married a good man. He loves me and treats me like a queen. Maybe, because of him, my children get a fairly blissful view of marriage at this point in their lives too.

I was speaking to my brother a number of months back. He told me that as he sat around church one Sunday, he looked around at the couples sitting together and noticed that not one of them looked truly in love. He shared that if he was going to be with his wife for eternity, he wanted to be in love with her right now and everyday from now until then (although, we all know there is no "then" where eternity is concerned--eternity is now).

This idea has been percolating in my mind all this time.

image: chestofbooks.com
Finally, about a month ago, I shared this with the Warden. He said that marriage is a three-legged race and that, in order to cross the finish line successfully (just a little truth for you...there is no finish line), we have to be in sync. We have to be working together at all times.

We tried to envision just what we thought a celestial couple might look and act like. We, ironically, ended up with twelve characteristics. We are devising a plan so that each trait has a simple act that can be performed during each week of 2013.

In March, the Warden and I will have been married for 21 years. I really wonder, will my children think the way about us that I pictured my parents? Will they think marriage is all sunshine and roses? My hope is that they will become aware of the little changes that we'll be making this coming year. I hope they will get to experience a marriage of sunshine and roses brought about by small daily and weekly conscious choices.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Why "Mormons?"

I just had the hugest a-ha moment.

I'm sitting here reading this morning, and I come across this verse:

image: rebeccahjamison.com
"And behold, I am called Mormon, being called after the land of Mormon, the land in which Alma did establish the church among the people, yea, the first church which was established among them after their transgression" (3 Nephi 5:12).

So, no biggie, right? So what? I mean, seriously, how many times have my eyes gone over these words, and eh, okay, whatever. That's nice.

However, this verse led my mind to something earlier in the Book of Mormon. This verse:

image: scripturenews.com
"And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever" (Mosiah 18:30).

image: distilled.net
I have often wondered how we, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were dubbed as "Mormons." I always thought it was because of the Book of Mormon, and I always thought the Book of Mormon was called the Book of Mormon because the prophet Mormon abridged the Nephite records, and so this was to honor him.

Today, I have decided something else....Maybe this book is not so much named after the man Mormon, but after the land Mormon where so many came to the truth and committed to follow the Savior. That makes so much more sense. When we call ourselves "Mormons" it's not so much that we follow the man who abridged the plates, but we follow, like those who, in the land of Mormon, changed their lives.

This is the record that gives us the experience that those people had (see Mosiah 18 ).

Oh my goodness, this makes so much sense now. Why hadn't anybody ever told me this? I mean, when you look at Mosiah 18:30 (above), look at how many times it says "Mormon" in that verse alone. Is there any chance that that message was trying to beat itself into my head the many times I've read it, and I just didn't get it? And, why in the world, would they tell me why Mormon was named Mormon in the verse I read today? Well, I guess now I know.

That's pretty darned awesome!

Here....want a copy?
It is now clear to me that the Book of Mormon is the handbook to making commitments to God--to changing a life. Just like the people did in the place of Mormon, in the waters of Mormon.

Now, I get it. Oh, how I love this book!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Leveling the Playing Field

image: factsanddetails.com
As I watched the special about Chiune Sugihara yesterday, there was a little background to his experience and what may have caused his great compassion. It spoke of his time spent in China and about the Japanese invasion there. Mr. Sugihara resigned his post at that time, it was said, because of the inhumane way the Japanese treated the Chinese. Of course, following this, was World War II and all of its atrocities.

This really got me thinking about war and even minor wars that take place everyday between individuals--here I'm referring to my children. Here's a very minor illustration of what I'm talking about.

image: sears.com
Two children in our home received really cool Star Wars slippers for Christmas. A younger child put them on while the owner was asleep and wore them around for a little while. I warned this child that the owner might not be too thrilled with that. The wearer wore them around for a bit longer but was sure to remove them before the owner woke.

The funny thing was, an older child grabbed the same slippers and wore them right under the owner's nose and nothing was said. This really made me sit up and take notice.

What does this have to do with Japan and China, you ask?

Here's what hit me. There is a sense of superiority we have with those that we feel are under us. There is a lack of compassion a lack of desire to share. Japan, at that time of war, had the upper hand. China was "below" them. During World War II, anyone on "the list" was at the mercy of Hitler and his Nazi regime. These may be extreme examples when I share the story of the slippers and my children, but the same principle applies.

image: lauramaly.wordpress.com
It is so easy to share with those who are above us. There may even be a feeling of being compelled to treat our superiors with care, but what about the others?

I guess this has me all riled up. Why are there superiors? Why do we treat some people so differently than others? How do we level the playing field?

Here's what I finally decided--you can go here and scroll down to the highlighted section.

image: gatheringlex.org
I figure, if I picture myself as better than anyone else, I'd better get to serving a little bit more and a little bit better. That's the only way to bring everyone on equal ground.

A New Hero

Yesterday I was introduced, though Facebook, to this man....

image: dennischeatham.com
His name is Chiune Sugihara. I had never heard of him before. I searched further and found out why he was so significant as I watched this:

There is a longer (six-part) report on this on You Tube if you want to see more. This is just a short clip of that program.

The most amazing thing about Mr. Sugihara is that he went against his own government. With the understanding of Japanese honor, that is truly shocking. He really took a risk.

One of the things he said touched my heart....

"If you have an opportunity to help someone in your lifetime, do it. In life, do what's right because it's right, and leave it alone--no ulterior motive. Do what is right. Don't make money from it. Don't write an article about it. Don't publicize it. Do what's right because it's right."

Sometimes I think we get so wrapped up in policy. We allow these things to talk us out of doing the right thing for others around us.

What a great man! Such an amazing example to the world!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Tragedies in Our Children's Lives

I went to a headache specialist the other day. This has been long overdue, and I finally, after decades, feel like I can plan and proceed with my life.

While there, he asked me many questions to get to the bottom of my headaches so he could make an accurate diagnosis. One of the things he asked was "Have you ever been physically or sexually abused?"

I looked him straight in the face and said, "No."

The look on his face was a bit telling. He seemed shocked. He sat there for a moment, and it seemed that he was waiting for me to change my answer, but of course, because I'd told him the truth, I didn't.

His response really caught my attention.

This morning, upon logging into Facebook, a friend had written "This is what came to mind as I turned away from my work to pray for those affected by the Sandy Hook massacre: "Jesus wept." (John 11:45) The shortest line in the Scripture, as well as one of the profound and tender. God is with us, in and through our tears. It may be about more than Sandy Hook for you. No matter, He is with you and all of us. Emmanuel: God with us!"

Sandy Hook is one of many symbols of the tragedies that touch our children's lives. Children's hearts and lives are broken every day. This is the real tragedy of our world

I had a very blessed childhood. I had my own trials and struggles and things that tore me down, but these things, physical and sexual abuse, were not part of my challenges, and for that, I'm grateful, but as the world becomes more wicked, there are things that the children around us endure that we cannot even fathom.

My friend's status brought my mind back to a discussion we'd had in ward council a few weeks ago. The bishop turned all of our minds to 3 Nephi 17.

In this chapter, Jesus has come to the Americas and is with 2500 of the people. He calls their little children to him. Prior to that discussion at ward council, I had, honestly, never looked deeply at the words in this chapter. As I did so, I was so surprised at what I saw and how much I felt it related to the current situation with our own children.

Jesus asked that the children be brought to him and "they brought their little children and set them down upon the ground round about him" (verse 12). He stood in their midst. What happens next should have been something I noticed because it's such a strange reaction from the Savior. He "groaned" and then said, "Father I am troubled because of the wickedness of the people...."

It wasn't the children's wickedness He's groaning and weeping about. It's the wickedness of the people who affect the children's lives. We are sent here to earth to use our agency--to make our own choices--ALL of us. Sometimes that agency takes away the agency of others.

image: ipcaftermath.org
When we discussed this chapter, the significance of the groaning and weeping on the Savior's part hit my heart. Christ arrived to this place at the most wicked time this people had ever known. They were choosing things that were destroying their society. I realized that he groaned over the children because they were simply pawns in this wickedness. The agency of others around them were destroying their innocent lives. It is so sad that it had come to this point.

In the words found in these chapters, we find the cure to our illness. Our hearts are broken over the major occurrences of the past couple weeks, but there are daily things that happen in children's lives that damage them. The fear is that as we, by using our agency poorly, damage their souls, they can never be reclaimed. If this is the case, these damaged souls will become the terror of our future society.

Some complain about "children [or teenagers] these days." We are creating our own monsters. It is our selfish choices--those things we choose to do that we think only affect us--that will have the biggest repercussions. Nothing that we do only affects us. To think they do is foolishness

I am grateful to my friend for sharing that very simple scripture: "Jesus wept." I needed my mind brought back to this lesson I was in the process of learning. Timing is so interesting.

Our only hope is in Jesus Christ. As we each turn toward Him and seek healing, we can be healed, but it really is up to us.

image: lds.org
It is reported that He prayed great and marvelous things. No one had ever seen or heard the likes of them before, and joy filled their souls. He finishes, speaks to the people, weeps, and takes the little children one by one and blesses them. After he finishes, he weeps again. Then angels descend from heaven, encircle and minister to the children.

These things are ours for the asking. I firmly believe this, but we must ask, and sometimes we must ask over and over again. Sometimes we even need to beg and plead for them and more than anything else, we must seek to change ourselves and conclude that the decisions we make affect everyone--even those things we do "in Vegas."

If we think He has deserted us in our time of need, we are wrong. Just like any parent, He allows us to make our choices and to make our mistakes. He groans and weeps for us as we choose wrongly, but He is still aware of us. He still tries to gather us back to Him. These tragedies, can bring us to the source of healing....and should.

We are not left alone.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Do You Know an Angel?

We have a friend who goes to the same high school as my kids. He's in the neighboring ward. Anyone who knows him will figure out who I'm talking about rather quickly, but I'm choosing to keep him nameless because I didn't ask his parents' permission to write about him today.

I'm sharing this because yesterday, he was the highlight of my day.

This young man has special needs. I believe he is somewhere on the autism spectrum. I don't mean the Aspergers Syndrome end of that spectrum. I mean another part. Not knowing the entire spectrum, I can't tell you much more than "another part."

I first met him while sitting at church one evening. I sat in the foyer. I'm sure I was waiting for my children to be done with their youth activities or something, but here he came. He walked up to me wearing his Cub scout shirt, said hello, and gave me a hug as if I were his best friend. That was when we was about 9-years-old.

I had never met this boy before, but I thought his hug, upon first meeting me, was sweet, and I hugged him back. He seemed to be lost, so I tried to help him find those he was supposed to be with. He was quickly reunited with them, and I went back to waiting for my kids.

As time has gone on, we've become better acquainted with this young man's family and have now interacted with them all from time to time through both church and school activities. They are FABULOUS people. The kind that are blessed to raise this kind of child. The kind who are entrusted to love and care for children with special needs.

This young man runs track and cross country. He sings in the school choir. His parents love him deeply and allow him to build his God-given talents even though I'm sure there are many things this boy struggles with.

Yesterday morning, bright and early, I found a post on my Facebook wall. It was a surprise, and I thought for sure he must have posted the message on many walls, and it didn't matter if he did. I still felt special that he felt it important to tell me: "Hi Julie Today's my Birthday and I'm 17 Years Old."

I quickly replied and moved on with my day, and a very busy one it was. Near the end of the evening was #3's choir concert. Two people over from #3 was this young man--singing his heart out with his Santa hat on his head.

I love how this kid lets his light shine, and no one is a stranger to him. He loves everybody--even the complete stranger sitting in the foyer at church.

After the concert, I caught up with my daughters and before I knew it, there was this young man. He gave us each a hug just like he always does. I wished him a happy birthday, and the next thing I knew, he was handing me two pieces of paper. One was a menu to a restaurant. I didn't really look at the other at that time. I said, "It's YOUR birthday, and you're giving ME a present?"

His response: "Yah." His tone was as if he was saying, "Of course."

I told him how thoughtful that was of him. His dad took a picture of him, my girls, and me (his dad's great for that--always has a camera in his hand. Many of the photos of have of my kids at sporting events are thanks to this man), and we left.

It was much later when I got home and found what I'd been handed. #2 was in the room as I was looking at the menu and the other piece of paper. I told him what I'd been given. He explained, "Mom, that's his favorite restaurant." On the front, written in his very careful handwriting was:

To: Julie Hess
From: [his name] (with a smiley face)

The other piece of paper was very carefully written instructions on how to get from my house to the restaurant. He must have taken the time to look up our address on mapquest or something, as our address had an "A" in a circle, and the restaurant's address had a "B" in a circle. Again, at the bottom was written:

To: Julie Hess
From: [his name] (with a smiley face)

I was so touched that I have somehow fallen into this sweet boy's radar. With a friend like this, I know I'll have one for life. I was so overcome by his gesture.

I guess we're going to have to go check out this amazing restaurant now. We don't really have an excuse anymore; the directions are all there. Maybe his family will have to come along.

There are souls that walk this earth that are so pure and good. Their intentions are without guile. This young man is one of these. I feel blessed to be among his friends. I feel like an angel took the time for me. I wonder if someday he'll vouch for me and tell Heavenly Father that I was his friend. Do you think that'll give me an in?

I am grateful to know an angel.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Someone on Facebook today asked if anyone had a tough time sending his/her child to school today.

Day after day, I send my entire family off to public school. I make myself vulnerable everyday. I trust the world to be kind to each of them everyday.

A few years back, my husband left extremely early in the morning to go to an appointment he had with an "irate parent." I hate this kind of situation. I almost wish he wouldn't tell me when that's what he's heading to. It's one thing to send your family off during the day, but when you know they're stepping right into the lion's den, that's a terrible feeling.

That morning, I realized that all it takes is one over-the-top parent, and I'm without a husband; my children without a father. But, when you think about it, I've walked into a Walmart and then heard over the loud-speaker that we were to leave the store because there had been a bomb threat. Truly, we are at the mercies of others at all times--any time we walk out our door.

Another person today on Facebook commented on how everyone seems so angry right now. This is human nature, or maybe part of the grieving process. We become so self-absorbed and worried that we forget that we're injuring others.

Then, I found this....

I was so impressed. I admired Mr. Parker's courage, first and foremost. When he showed love and support for the families and individuals that were affected including the shooter's family and when he encouraged us to have compassion even for complete strangers, my heart was deeply touched. What an incredible individual he is.

This is the message I needed to hear today. We are truly all hurting. When such things happen, we somehow place ourselves in their shoes, and we hurt as if the pain were our own.

Robbie Parker knows the key to healing. It is in having compassion--not just for a select few, but for all around us. It is in taking personal responsibility for our own choices--one of those being in choosing how we interact with others, and always, always choosing to be kind.

I am grateful for the reminder I received today. I am grateful to know that there is Someone who can restore our peace, Someone who always shows us kindness and restores us to where we need to be and directs us in the way we should go no matter what part of the path we're on or how far we've strayed.

Yes, I will continue to trust. I will continue to send my entire family out into the world each day. I will trust that they will treat the world with kindness and compassion. I will trust my fellowman because I have no other choice, and I will trust that each of us will personally choose to be kind, and I will make those choices in my own life. But, more than that, I will trust that where that trust for mankind fails me, I will trust my Heavenly Father who will never, ever fail me and will someday make all things right.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Remove the Rot

image: csharpprogrammer.com
Once upon a time, about 20 years ago, some friends of ours bought a log house. It was a beautiful home that looked out over a valley. In the distance, you could see three mountains. It was truly breathtaking.

They had the home inspected, as one does before one purchases a home, and everything passed. After they'd moved in, they decided to have it inspected again (this is how I remember it; though, I'm not sure if I'm right). Anyway, I recall that there was a second inspection after they'd closed on the house and had moved in. The results were shocking!

In one of the main walls of the great room, there was dry rot in a number of the logs. The deal was done, the house was theirs. Although there was a court case, they lost, and the repairs were theirs to make.

image: ehow.com
It was hard to believe. Even to the trained eye of an inspector, who had inspected many, many homes, it had gone unseen. The previous owner had sand blasted those logs just to the point that the rot was undetectable. Needless to say, he'd done well in the cover up.

Our friends hired a man to come up to the hill that December. He agreed to brace the remaining, non-rotted walls so that they would stand while the rotting walls could be removed and replaced. He would get just the perfect logs and hand chink them so that they'd fit into the empty space.

This process took weeks, and again, just in case you missed it, it was the dead of winter up on top of a mountain. This could not be avoided, though it was an enormous inconvenience.

image: camryndarkstone.wordpress.com
As I recalled this experience, I found that it has a much deeper meaning. Sometimes we build relationships with people. Some of these are very meaningful and life-changing. We, in a sense, buy a house. These "purchases" bring us joy, and we feel that we're better when we're near these people. We have a new outlook on life opened to our view. We're at the top of a mountain.

As we start a friendship, we build a foundation. As time goes on, it's that foundation that we continue to build on.

image: inspirational-friendship-poems.com
Sometimes, with the twists and turns of relationships, we have to stop and assess. We, in effect, have to inspect this home and make some decisions--is it fit to stay, or is it better to count our purchase as a loss and move on.

image: restorelogs.com
At times, in relationships, we find dry rot. Sometimes, on first inspection, we don't see it. It's been sand blasted just to the point of covering the truth. It's imperceptible. Upon closer inspection, eventually, that rot reveals itself. We have to decide if, in the middle of winter, we're going to take the time and effort to figure out how to remove the rot and replace that wall. Do we have the skills? Are we willing to give it the time needed? Is this relationship worth the inconvenience and discomfort of bracing up the other walls to replace them with something better, sturdier; something that will endure and bring years of security and comfort?

From the other side of the wall, are we willing to brace ourselves and remove our own rot, so we don't have to hide our sand blasting, hoping that others won't find what we're hiding and that we tried to hide it in the first place?

As I pondered on this, I realized that there isn't one of us who is without dry rot, and there isn't one of us who doesn't, from time to time, try to sandblast and cover up our imperfections and mistakes. That being the case, how much dry rot are you willing to endure in others and in yourself? How much are you willing to stand in the cold, while things are braced, and allow the new logs to be chinked and put in place?

image: pacificnorthwestrealty.com
I have to admit, sometimes, I'm not very patient in these kinds of cases. This is sad as I have so much dry rot myself, but those I've waited through and supported have become my strongest relationships. After allowing the repair, I've been invited to sit and enjoy the view.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Similar Thinking

So, this whole past year I've had little catch words and phrases that have entered my brain and refused to leave. Such things as "upward spiral" and "entropy" and things such as that. I've blogged about many of my thoughts on these topics.

The other day, I was searching on a topic and ran across this article. In the big paragraph that sums up the article with one of its own quotes are the words "downward spiral." Later on, the author mentions entropy. I love it when I run across something that brings what's been going on in my brain together into one place.

Plus, I think this article has so many valid points in it for married couples. Check it out when you have a minute.

Friday, December 7, 2012


My boy lost his folder. He went to his teacher and told her. She responded that if he lost it, he would need to replace it.

image: actionenvelope.com
I searched the garage for one of the many, many folders I purchased when the back-to-school sales were on. I searched and searched, but the only one I could locate was a black one. Black.

I took it into the house declaring that I'd located one.

He took it from me and said, "Alright! I can write on it." I guess that since it's ours, he feels he can deface it all he wants to. I couldn't argue, so I let it go. Plus, he's in one of those moods.

I warned him, from my own experience, that it might be difficult to do because it is black. His response: "Ever heard of white?"

He's mad because he expected me to have to go out and spend money on that folder. For some reason, spending money makes it a better folder.

image: dailymail.co.uk
Currently, there are crayons of every color flying around my kitchen. Literally. They're all broken; they don't work. He's mad. "Dumb crayons!"

He's digging himself an emotional hole. A hole that just keeps getting deeper and deeper, and no matter how hard I try to pull him back out, he won't be pulled. It's pointless.

And, no, I'm not going anywhere near that kitchen.

So, I tell him, "Go ahead and dig. Just don't do it near me." Sometimes, it seems that permission makes it die down--just knowing that someone knows what you're up to. Granting permission means I'm not joining you in that hole.

image: telegraph.co.uk
Some days are like this, and as I'm watching it all unfold before my very eyes, I see that it all started with black. Black that will not accept any other color no matter how hard you try to make it accept something, anything; no matter what you do. Black is that way, unchanging.

And so, I write this because I know there is so much more to this than meets the eye....Points I need to ponder.....Lessons I need to learn.

....About black.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fork or Napkin?

image: picklesandthings.com
#3 came in eating a pickle. As she approached me, she asked, "Would you like a pickle on a fork?"

"Yes, please, but wait. I would like a pickle wrapped in a napkin. That's how my mommy used to do it."

"That's how your 'mommy' used to do it? Well, you're in my country now, chica. Pickle on a fork!"

She returns to the kitchen, and I hear her open the fridge. Next thing I know, she approaches me with a pickle on a fork, and the fork is...

image: yaymicro.com
...wrapped in a napkin.

I guess you can have it both ways.

Playing on One of Her Strengths

image: blaine.org
"I Have a Daughter who knows the art of spinning straw into gold" (Zelinsky 1996:9).

These are words taken from the book Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky--a definite favorite in our house. In the book, the miller is foolish. He tells the greedy king that his daughter has a gift that she does not possess. I am finding that, unlike the miller, I have a daughter who does posses this talent, and it's so fun to watch it develop.

image: remodelista.com
#3 lives in the room that we call "the cave." It is termed this, not because it's dark and damp and gloomy but because it has a bed built into the wall (If I can get my camera to work today, I'll take a picture of it for you, but it's somewhat similar to the one on the right). Whoever the cave dweller is, he/she ends up having his/her own bathroom--the one just off of the family room, but only because all of the other bedrooms in the house are upstairs.

Because of where it is situated, this is also the "public" restroom in our house. When someone visits and needs a restroom, that is where we direct them. Not a problem--until recently.

image: clusterdesign.blogspot.com
When we moved into this house, that bathroom was Pepto pink. It's a tiny room, so it was a bit overwhelming. Being a first time home owner, I was enthusiastic about redoing some things. This is where I started. Since that time, I've now redone that same room three times (the two others were out of necessity--water leak, etc.). To be honest, I've run out of ideas. Needless to say, my enthusiasm has waned.

#3's room is gorgeously clean and cared for. When I want to be inspired, it's her room I go to for an uplift. Really. So, a couple weeks ago, an idea occurred to me.

image: nothirst.com
When I put the budget envelopes together for the month, I always lay aside some home improvement money. Why not use that money to redo that bathroom? But, instead doing it myself, why not give it to the person who uses that bathroom the most? The one with the beautiful room.

I approached #3 with the idea and gave her a $75 budget. She was more than enthusiastic. She set the goal to have it done before #1 gets home for the holidays.

image: jenniferhess.scentsy.us
The project all started Thanksgiving morning and is progressing well. It all started with a candle holder that we found on clearance and has grown from there. We purchased one can of yellow paint, and she has used some green paint we had on hand. The room has white trim, so she will paint that today. She's using the valance that was already there but has taken it down to wash it. There are now new lightbulbs in place, and she has purchased new hand towels, a Scentsy warmer, and a new rug for the floor. The room has become cheerful.

A few years back, my dad gave me a picture that hung in his grandparents' home. The glass in it was broken. It ends up having the perfect colors in it for this bathroom. #3 also found some decorative shelf supports in the garage. They will go on the wall above the toilet. She just needs the "shelf" part. She has found all kinds of things around the house to put on the shelf.

image: wn.com
I love the way this girl thinks! More than that, though, I love the way this girl works! She comes home and gets her homework done as quickly as she can, so she can get into the bathroom to work her magic.

She is taking straw and turning it into gold right before our very eyes.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Little Something Learned from the Physics Department

I finally did it! I took some pages of my blog and made them into a book. It's been something I've wanted to do for a long time. It took me two days, and it ended up being around 60 pages long. As I reviewed it, I ran across a few things I'd forgotten about.

image: kneebouncers.com
We had stake conference in April of 2008. At that time, a woman in our stake said something along the lines of pride cannot exist where gratitude is. Those weren't her exact words, but regardless, the idea was what was important.

This morning, I went searching for a quote from a General Conference or something so that I could find the exact quote. I was unsuccessful, but I found a very interesting source of similar information. I found the notes from a discussion that took place among the physics staff at BYU-Idaho. Did you get that? The physics staff. I LOVE that! 

Here is a link to the site where I found it. I've copied portions of it here because I feel that there is much to be learned from it....

  "How do we avoid pride?"

  • Associating with "different people outside our bubble." Pride is building oneself up compared to others. Reaching out to everyone keeps us humble.  
  • No one is above another.  Teachers are not any better than students. We are all equal in God's eyes; shouldn't we be in our own eyes too?
  • We are here to serve. When you serve, it means you love your fellowman and want to see him/her succeed. 
  • "Keeping an attitude of gratitude will help us avoid getting prideful."  Sometimes we need to step back and remember where we came from and be grateful for just what we have in life.
image: lastdaysigns.blogspot.com

The steps of the pride cycle (The physics department only touch on two of these steps, but the other two are pretty self-explanatory):

1st step - Prosperity

When  people prosper and do well, pride creeps in, and we forget the Lord and where our  blessings really come from.                
In reality, with extra blessings comes the responsibility to share more.  Give to others more freely.
Each day, I need to step outside of myself and serve someone else unselfishly. I need to keep this perspective and pray for these opportunities. When I feel that tug, I need to just do it and not question it. 

2nd step - Lifting ourselves above others

As we prosper, we start lifting ourselves above others, we forget, and we even grow to despise those who need us. Remember to praise the Lord, and "recognize how much he helps and blesses us everyday."  When we treat each other this way, "we can more fully feel His love."

"The antidote of pride is charity....The scriptures teach that charity has a number of characteristics ([1] Corinthians [13]:1-13; Moroni 7:44-45).  We can tell if we have charity by how the feelings of our heart and our actions match up with the characteristics noted in these scriptures":

  • Suffer long - be patient, endure well
  • Be kind
  • Don't envy or be jealous of others
  • Don't brag
  • Don't become big headed
  • Don't act or think inappropriately
  • Be unselfish
  • Seek out others that are different from you. Love and serve them.
  • Choose not to be provoked by things that might make you angry or frustrated
  • Dwell on all the good that surrounds you
  • Don't delight in sin or the failure of others
  • Be grateful for the truth and seek out more of it
  • Believe, knowing that all good things come from God--recognize His hand
  • Hope
  • Do your best no matter what circumstances you might find yourself in
  • Be grateful even in the hardest of times
  • Be meek (easily imposed on) - be ready to jump in and help anyone at any time
  • Have a "broken heart" and a "contrite spirit" - continually seek to do better than you did yesterday.
image: kymberleefenn.blogspot.com
"...Humility is not the only cure to pride, but that charity, or the pure love of Christ, is a better cure...When we exhibit the characteristics of charity, we cannot be prideful.  The two cannot co-exist."  We need to constantly reevaluate our actions and keep things in the proper perspective. 
We need to identify pride and its effects in our daily lives.  Work together with and encourage others. Together, we can help each other achieve great things and help others grow and feel the Lord's love as we serve them.  

Of course, I took a lot of the BYU-I physics department's ideas and edited them here, but I thought they were SO good.

I know when I'm being prideful. I feel like I get a little warning in my heart, but I, at times, ignore it and do the prideful thing anyway. I'm going to work on heeding those little tuggings in my heart better.

Like it? Share it....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...