Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Reverend Jim Jones

My friend Jim, who in spoof calls himself The Reverend Jim Jones, recently learned that he has a brain tumor. Very, very recently. He's actually in surgery right now so it can be removed and/or so the doctors can learn more about it to determine a prognosis and treatment plan. Not much is known right now... he had a seizure on Sunday and his wife took him to the ER where they admitted him and started doing tests. Apparently the tumor is just smaller than a grapefruit near his right forehead. It's all very scary and I'm so concerned for him. For his whole family.

Jim has a daughter on a mission and a son getting ready to go. He also has a younger son who is profoundly handicapped. It can't be easy for them. And if I remember correctly Jim's dad has terminal cancer. I know he spent part of the last holiday season recording his dad's personal history. It was a big job, but he was so thrilled with how it came out and how touched his siblings were when they got copies of the CD for Christmas. It was pretty inspiring to get started saving some of my own family history.

Part of why I like Jim is his boundless enthusiasm. He gets more tickled over a silly email joke than anyone I know. And invariably if there is one with even a hint of innuendo, I hear "Oh... that's bad! Kathy you gotta see this one!" I even hear that in my head when someone else sends me a joke now.

Well Jim, even though you may never see this... I'm pulling for you! You are in my thoughts and prayers. I'm gonna try to get out to see you on Thursday evening so be awake and taking visitors, okay?

(And for those of you who didn't understand the reference, here's a brief story of the real Reverend Jim Jones: http://www.gbs.sha.bw.schule.de/jim_jones_history.htm. You can easily see all that's shared is a name.)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pondering the Pomegranite

I was reading earlier that pomegranites are one of nature's "super foods." Chock full of vitamins, fiber, high powered antioxidants and all kinds of other good stuff. And you never even thought to wonder why they are so good for you, huh?

I have a different theory. I think, after just eating one, that it's because it takes so dog gone much work to eat one!! I mean think about it... first you have to pry the thing open, then figure out how to pick out the little seeds one by one, and chase the dropped ones all over the kitchen. It's got a full plethora of benefits - you get a workout for mind and body and a tastey snack to boot. The vitamins, fiber and antioxidants are like frosting on the cake.

Umm.... Cake.

Okay, okay... enough of the drooling. Here's a cold hard slap of reality from Divine Caroline: http://www.divinecaroline.com/article/22178/53765-nine-cold--hard-weight-loss.

(By the way, I didn't ask for permission to post this link so if they notice it and complain, I'll be taking it down.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Homework from Church

I didn't go to Church yesterday. We had some unexpected company drop by and decided to stay home and visit with them. My mom and her brother are both well into their 80s and not in the greatest of health so this seemed like a worthwhile and important thing to do. Afterward, my Visiting Teacher dropped by all worried because I wasn't there and to give me a copy of the "homework assignment." Yesterday was the 5th Sunday of the month. In my Ward, on 5th Sundays the Relief Society and Melchizedek Preisthood Quorums meet together and usually have a message from the Bishop.

He asked us to begin a personal study on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is the second time that I remember hearing this counsel from Bishop Lewis. And this time it is stronger and more formal which I find notable. I've been studying since he gave this same assignment early this year. I will certainly up my efforts now.

Specifically, he asked us to prepare a written study plan by September 7 and to track our progress and complete the plan by December 25, 2008.
  • Use the index from the Book of Mormon under the various headings for "Jesus Christ" (especially "Jesus Christ -- Atonement of").
  • Read or listen to General Conference talks about the atonement of Jesus Christ.
  • Consider re-reading the Book of Mormon by December 25 focusing on the passages of scripture relating to the Savior and His Atonement.
  • Share your study plan with a spouse, family member or friend and let them know your progress (consider sharing what you have learned and how your feelings for the Savior have been affected).
  • Consider developing an action plan to go along with your study plan -- seeking inspiration for things you feel the Lord would have you personally undertake because of your increased faith in Christ and His Atonement.
  • Keep a notebook with entries of things you learn.

I pulled out my notes from my previous, though less focused, study and boy do they seem disorganized. Some of the thoughts are profound and I want to keep exploring them, but I don't know how to fit them into this new plan the Bishop has put forward. As I was laying on the bed pondering all of these things, I started thinking about the ways the Atonement applies to my life in a personal and intimate way. And I was surprised at some of the things I could come up with.

Recently I've been struggling with some fears of being hurt. I've fallen completely in love with some of the neighbor kids and as their dad's divorce is finally nearing a conclusion he's starting to think of his future. One night I was completely overcome by the thought that he will get married, move away and I will never get to see those kids again. That will leave a gaping wound in my heart and I wasn't sure I could bear that kind of a hurt. I spent a lot of time thinking about it and praying about it and I finally felt a comforting touch in my soul. Maybe almost a confidence that whatever happens I will be okay and able to move forward richer for the experience of having loved this deeply. Last night I realized that the swallowing up of this pain and fear is an application of the Atonement in my life... real and tangible and meaningful and personal. My own little miracle. I am so thankful for this manifestation of God's love and awareness of me.