Saturday, December 26, 2009

My late Christmas letter...

Over the course of the last week, I’ve managed to catch a cold and many of the things I was intending to do for Christmas have gone by the wayside as I’ve fought off the stupor of Nyquil-induced sleep and coughed so much and so hard that long unused muscles now ache in complaint. This forced inactivity did give me time to reflect on Christmas and even though I’m a day late, I do want to share some of these thoughts with you.

I’ve been thinking lately about our beloved scripture stories and how they, and all scripture, have a dual meaning. One way to look at them is literal, and another is figurative. Looking at them literally it is easier to be entertained by the story but I think that only hints at the potential we can learn. When we look at them figuratively, we can place ourselves in each of the roles in the story and learn a great deal about our beliefs and actions and if they are congruent with each other.

Perhaps most beloved is the story of the first Christmas. As written in the 2nd chapter of Luke, it is engraved on each of our hearts. We know well the opening words, “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” Caesar was a very powerful man, perhaps the powerful of his time. He could command armies on a whim and cause masses of people to move in a return to their ancestral homelands to be counted and taxed as a measure of his power. Our influence probably doesn’t extend quite that far though I would bet there are many things over which we each exert our will. And that’s okay… this lot was given to man when God commanded Adam to subdue the earth and granted him dominion over the other animals. God gave us this stewardship but also commanded that we bend our wills to match His.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)” In Joseph we find an example of a kind and tender man who agreed to raise a child not his own by going forward in marriage to an already pregnant young woman. He faithfully plays a quiet background role. In him, we glimpse into the heart of men who we might call unsung heroes who do their best to live an acceptable life and give meaningful service to those they love but do not seek the notice and praise of the world.

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.” And we have the exemplary Mary… a willing instrument in the hands of God. Even while the inexplicable swirled around her, she calmly served while keeping “all these things, and pondered them in her heart”. You have to imagine her fellow villagers counting off the months and clicking their tongues in disapproval. People are not that much different now than those living in her time. Her role was not an easy one. Do we, like Mary, serve and nurture through all tests? Do we do all we are asked even without fully understanding God’s purposes? Do we stand undeterred by the criticisms of our peers?

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” The role of the innkeeper is, I think, one of the most derided and misunderstood of all. Most of assume money is at the heart of Mary and Joseph being turned away. I think it was because Mary was so very pregnant and none of the innkeepers wanted the responsibility of a strange child born in their home. I think it is by design that Christ was born outside of any one man’s home so that He could belong to all of us, but I also find it symbolic that He was rejected and despised here as well as later in His life and in so many hearts now.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy; which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Here we find simple shepherds greeted by heavenly messengers. The unenlightened brought suddenly into the presence of those who knew with all faculty the central importance of the coming of Christ and rejoiced with all their might. There are so many parallels you could draw from this meeting of shepherds and angels… gaining a testimony of Christ, the endowment, or the joyful meeting with the past generations of our family when they rejoice over us finally being able to see the purpose of our life with perfect clarity.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which has come to pass, which the Lord has made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told unto them concerning this child.” They acted promptly on the invitation to go and see Him. And they did more than just go… do we, with the shepherds, readily spread the good news with glad hearts?

The central figure in the story, of course, is our Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ. Are we following the invitation in the scriptures and repeated by modern prophets to turn to Him? To come to really, truly, deeply know Him? To become like Him?

This is my goal and challenge for the new year… to learn of Christ, to speak of Christ, to be more Christlike. I hope you’ll join me on this quest.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

If it only snowed on the grass

Been snowing here in Salt Lake nearly all day. Snowing, I guess, is an overstatement because in all that time we've only managed to accumulate a little more than an inch. And it's more wet slushy glop than real snow. From what I can see (and imagine) I'd bet the mountains are getting pounded. Should make lots of people very happy... those with asthma and such will be thrilled that the storm cleared out the inversion, skiers will be happy with the new snow at the resorts, it's end of month and the ticket quotas are coming due so the cops will be happy with the extra accidents as will the doctors and mechanics from all the extra business that brings in as people need their ouchies fixed. Me? I could live without the slippery gloppy streets and sidewalks... my butt isn't nearly as happy about suddenly meeting up with the ground now as it was when I was 12! Yes, the world would be perfect if it only snowed on the grass!!

Besides it seems like even a single snowflake throws the Utah recessive idiot gene into full gear and people get downright stupid. It's like, "Wow... the whole street is a sheet of black ice. Let's drive extra fast this morning!" Or, "See that car in the far left lane? How about we swerve right into it? 'Cuz you know how I love the crunch of a good crash!" I've marveled at this phenomenon for years. Take a person who seems perfectly normal one day, throw in one tiny little snowflake, and, suddenly he's a dribbling idiot. Kinda fun to watch as long as you can manage to stay out of their way...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Symbolism and the Sacrament

Just found the following in an introduction to a book named "Symbols & Shadows" by Donald W. Parry and Jay A. Parry. Also added, in italics, are some of my own thoughts and observations. The is food for thought...

"Once as I sat pondering during the sacrament, my eyes on the sacrament table, I suddenly realized that I was looking at a shroud! Under that white linen covering, used in some cultures to cover the remains of the dead, were placed the emblems, or symbols, of the body and blood of Christ. As I thought further about it, my understanding rapidly deepened, as I saw the table as an altar of sacrifice—both His and ours—and the hands that gently broke the bread of sacrifice and served the water of sacrifice as representing other hands—both His and ours.” I've had a similar thought over the years and sometimes found myself wondering if the young men breaking the bread and blessing it and the water truly appreciated that they were tending to the body of Christ. I guess that wonder should also extend to those of us partaking of the bread and water... We hear every week that they are symbols of the body and blood of Christ, but how often do we consider the meaning of literally taking Christ inside ourselves? Of making Him a part of our being? Then again, I really can't wonder for all of the congregation... I can only wonder what it means for, and to, me. And then I must act on it.

"Of all the ordinances, the sacrament has the most obvious symbolism of the atonement. When Jesus introduced the sacrament to his apostles at the Last Supper, he said regarding the bread, “Take, eat; this is in remembrance of my body which I give a ransom for you.” And regarding the wine, he said, “This is in remembrance of my blood of the new testament, which is shed for as many as shall believe on my name, for the remission of their sins” (JST Matt. 26:22, 24).

When he visited the Nephites, he said after providing the sacrament to them, “He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled” (3 Ne. 20:8).

The emblems (the word emblem means “symbol”) of the sacrament point clearly and directly to the atoning sacrifice of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. As we partake, we have the remarkable opportunity of taking into ourselves symbolic food and drink that represent the very atonement of Jesus Christ—­and by taking it into ourselves, we signify that we make that atonement part of us."

What does that mean to "make the atonement part of us?" I think we could write volumes and never touch on all the ways that the atonement can, and should, touch our lives, our actions, our thoughts, our beings... We learn in our relgious schooling, and careful observation proves, that all things testify of Christ. ALL THINGS. Notice the details around you and see if you can find the patterns that make up types and shadows of Him.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Remembering the Thanksgiving just past

Over the past 10 days, we've celebrated Thanksgiving twice at my house. Yes... that means that I've cooked two twenty pound turkeys. Two of them. And got stuck with all the leftovers. Whatever happened to guests taking something home for turkey sandwiches later? My freezer is so totally stuffed that I'm afraid to open the door!

Alas, it wasn't all bad. We had two separate occasions to formally ponder all the things for which we are thankful. And there is so much! I asked each of my guests this year to help me start a new Thanksgiving tradition. New to my family, anyway. After the food was blessed, and before we started passing the food around, each person took a turn to name something they were thankful for. The thoughts were interesting and touching and sometimes even funny. It ran the gammit from a free country, a warm safe home, a lifetime of good memories, boys (cut her a break, she's just about to turn 13. And right now, boys are her world!).

I found myself thankful for each of the people seated at my dining room table... whether we were connected by blood or by love, they were all people who are important to me. They enrich my life and expand my heart and for each of them I am truly grateful!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Some people should be removed from humanity

Can you even imagine pimping out your sweet little 5-year old? Can you imagine the kind of perversion that would allow someone to find a child sexually attractive?

I am saddened and apalled and disgusted. People never cease to amaze me with the horrid things they can imagine doing to each other. This makes me so sick, I can't even form coherent words about it...

This little girl was 5. And her mother prostitued her out to some equally twisted individual who killed her. Her own mother did this to her! Her mother!!

The death penalty is hard thing. I can't fathom the mental and emotional torture of being the one to decide or carry out the punishment. Sometimes, however, I think it is warranted. Sometimes people cross a line where their actions are just so antisocial that they need to be removed from humanity. If even half of this news story is really true, this is one of those times!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My favorite Gooseberry Patch cookbook

Gooseberry Patch is having a giveaway for 3 free cookbooks if you'll blog about your favorite. Check out this link:

If that link doesn't work (and it doesn't for me) just go to the Gooseberry Patch main site at:

My favorite (so far) is Mom's Favorite Recipes. Love the recipes, artwork and craft-ideas. These are the kind of cookbooks I wish I could write and illustrate. Maybe someday...

Friday, November 6, 2009

The blessings of less than perfect health

"My patriarchal blessing promises me the health and strength I need to live to fill my life's mission. It does not promise me the strength to win the Olympics or run marathons or even work at the cannery — but to fill MY life's mission. The Lord knew perfectly the genetic weaknesses and super sensitive nervous system of the body he was sending my spirit to live in. He also had foreknowledge of the accidents, illnesses, and emotional traumas that would affect that body. What if all those things were not obstacles to me filling my mission, but part of it? What if each illness, limitation, and emotional challenge has given me the exact experiences I needed to learn what I need to learn in order to do what the Lord wants me to do?

In response to Joseph Smith's prayer of pleading from the Liberty Jail. the Lord said, “All things shall give you experience and will be for your good.” Can I think that my experiences are exempt from that promise?

D&C 122 profoundly describes a time when Joseph Smith was imprisoned and kept from carrying out his work by the bars and walls erected by his captors. It is a passage of scripture that I have always found highly and personally meaningful. But I had always looked at these verses in terms of some current event that presented me a challenge. Things like relationships, money, job woes. I’d truly never thought of health in this way even though it has (and sometimes still does) present very real challenges. Instead I’ve always thought of it as, at best, an inconvenience, or worse, an unfair punishment. And I have resisted it and, at times, railed against it fiercely.

What if, instead of obstacles, limitations are part of the tutoring process, part of the humbling process, part of the refining process that make us more fit to do the work He has assigned us? Joseph was a different man when he emerged from Liberty Jail. Deeper, stronger, more humble, more aware of the Lord's constant care in spite of circumstances. I am a different person when, after all I can do, I accept life on the Lord's terms and trust the Lord's plan for me.” (both quotes by Darla Isackson, Serenity Prayer for the Chronically Ill, Meridian Magazine 11/6/09)

Maybe there is something I need to learn instead. I’m not sure I’m ready to embrace a chronic illness as a blessing, but maybe I will calm down and look for something good to take away from it. After all, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

So what could I possibly learn from sickness and pain that will be for my good?

Perhaps there’s a lesson on humility and not only professing to rely on the Lord, but trusting Him enough to rely completely and unreservedly on His mercy, might and wisdom. To stop trying to control my environment and force it to be what I want and instead learn to enjoy what God created it to be. To seek understanding of my life’s mission and step forward confident that I will have whatever I need to fulfill it… not necessarily all that I want, but what I need.

That punishing and hating my body and thinking of it as defective are not only harsh, but counterproductive and wrong. Darla makes the point, if I “lack compassion and love for myself, I disrespect the Savior.” I need to forgive my body for its perceived wrongs and learn to love myself in a way that I feel convinced that it’s real and deserved before I try to reflect that love toward anyone else. Otherwise, it feels fake because it is insincere. And in that I disrespect myself, my Lord and everyone else with whom I come in contact.

That, perhaps, a better way to look at the times when I feel kind of cruddy is to see them as an opportunity to slow down and have meaningful prayers coupled with enough quiet time to really listen for answers.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

House For Sale

This is a big step for me... I've bought houses before, but this is the first time I've ever sold one and part of me feels nervous and uneasy with the whole situation. Part of me doesn't really want to do it and is at war with the part of me that knows it is needful in order to move forward with the next part of my life. And it's a part I'm really looking foward to with excitement. I think the part of me that doesn't want to do it is still feeling some emotional ties to the place I lived for 16 years and put blood, sweat and more than a few tears into repairing and redecorating. Even as much as I was thrilled to be moving into my new place two years ago (and I LOVE it here!) leaving there was difficult. Much more so than I ever imagined it would be. And this feels like I'm reliving that whole trauma. Even as I write that, I feel kind of silly about it. I mean it's just a house...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Today dawned gloomy and wet. We are having our first snowstorm. Kind of fits. I woke up with a sore throat, headache and stuffed up nose so I decided to stay home from work sick. Right now I'm watching it snow out the front window. Much as I'm not a fan of snowy cold weather, the accumulation looks very pretty coating the dark red leaves of the plum tree out front.

Makes me think about Christmas. Less than 2 months away now... I have one gift. Well, actually what I have is the stuff purchased to make one gift. And other than that, I don't even have any good ideas. And need some I do... this Christmas is going to be pretty tight financially so if I can find ways to repurpose some of the raw materials I already have that would help. Easily doable for neighbors and some adult friends, but not so much with the little boys on my list. Ideas anyone?

Towards dealing with the financial strain, I've decided (pretty much) to sell my little house. The renters are moving into a bigger place at the end of the year and I'm just not thrilled with the prospect of having to find new renters and dealing with all the problems they can present. Maybe if there was a mister around to share some of the responsibilities and work, my decision would be, could be, different. But there isn't. I get to make the hard decisions in life alone. So my thought right now is to mull it over for another week and be sure, then call in the realtor. It won't be easy, but the cash infusion will certainly be welcome.

Sick, broke, cruddy decisions to make, gloomy day... it would sure be easy to throw myself a real pity party right about now!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rover cake

Yesterday afternoon I went for a short walk. One of those idiotic gangster taggers had left his mark on the sidewalk down by the Baptist Church. It said "rover" and then below that, what looked to me like "cake" all in big red spray-painted letters. Hmm... rover cake. Doesn't that sound like something you'd politely call dog poo?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Clutter dumper

I have a friend who has lived in her current home for 16 years now. In that entire 16 years, she has never (not even once) been able to park in her garage or use her patio. They were stuffed to the rafters with clutter. It didn't matter what it was or whether she needed it, if you were giving it away or she found it in a thrift store and it looked it might have some use to someone somewhere that she might come across she took it.

Suddenly she's unloading...

And unfortunately, some it is finding it's way to my house. Some because she thought I would like it and use it and some because if I "didn't want it, surely someone at Church would." In all fairness, some it is pretty good stuff... like the bug zapper and brand new flagpole she brought me today. Those I will actually use.

But there's a lot more that I simply don't want. Don't want the stuff, don't want the responsibility to find someone else who does. I'm having some discouraging thoughts about being "the conduit" as this friend puts it in finding some of her cast offs a new home.

I've been working hard on decluttering my own house and have only recently been seeing some very positive results. And I don't want the garage and the storage room to get all junked up again! But at the same time, I don't want to hurt her feelings and they would be if I told her to not bring her "junk" over here. It's kind of a delicate spot to be in and I don't know quite what to do.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sheer black dresses and 5 o'clock shadows...

I love to sit somewhere like a park bench or a busy restaurant and watch people. Last night we decided a treat was needful and went to Cafe Rio... always a busy place that attracts a fairly eclectic range of patrons.

No matter which direction I looked last night, I was greated by one of two sights: A tall leggy gal in a short and very sheer black dress or a big boyish-looking woman with a noticeable 5 o'clock shadow. There are lots of unique people in Salt Lake, so seeing a person of either description wouldn't be cause for wonderment. What amazes me is the sheer numbers of both that were out last night.

There was one woman who was easily 6-feet tall on her own. Then add the 4-inch plus stilletos and even I found myself in awe. I am pretty much the polar opposite in build and style. Where she was tall and ultimately trim, I am short and fat. Where she wore tight, sheer clothing that left no doubt that she had a great figure, I dress much more modestly.

Sometimes I find myself wishing I had the body confidence to be able to wear some of these outrageous outfits... it's not that I would, just I wish that I could.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

This poem made me smile today!

Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better
to paint a picture, write a letter,
bake a cake, or plant a seed,
ponder the difference between want and need.

Dust if you must, but there is not much time
with rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
music to hear and books to read,
friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world's out there
the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
a flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
this day will not come round again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
old age will come and it's not kind.
And when you go, as go you must,
you, yourself, will make more dust!

...Author Unknown

Friday, October 9, 2009

What you can see on 2nd South...

Ever see something that makes you look a second time wondering "Did I really just see what I thought I saw?"

I had one this afternoon on my way home from work.

There was a man at the bus stop on 2nd South and Main. Guessing he was probably 60-ish with kind of long light gray hair and a full beard that was quite neatly trimmed. From the bottom of his beard UP he looked like your average commuter headed home from work. From the beard DOWN... not so much. He had sheer hosiery and some women's sandals (the kind with wider staps and a chunky square heel - sorta granny-like) denim shorts and a pale pink tank top poking up out of the neck of a red t-shirt with white polka dots. You could also see the quite obvious lines of a very well-padded bra...

Not offended, just a little astonished. And still wondering if i really saw what I thought I saw...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Biblical Ideal Woman

While I've never before heard of The Message Bible (my Church relies on the good old standard King James Version) I came across this description of the Biblical ideal woman and liked the simplicity, virtue and deep respect it evoked.

Proverbs 31:10-28 The Message Bible

A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds.

Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it.

Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.

She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing.

She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises.

She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.

She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.

First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.

She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.

She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.

She's quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor.

She doesn't worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.

She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks.

Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers.

She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.

Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.

When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.

She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive.

Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Urban Homesteader

Somewhere back in history, I ran across a website called On it many people blog about their everyday life on small somewhat independent farms. They talk about homeschooling their children, raising gardens, milking goats, county fairs, preserving food, making bread, hatching new chicks, etc. Much of it does not apply to my life in the heart of the city, but it is fascinating. I think the biggest commonality I feel with all these folks is the desire to be self-sufficient. I may never be able to take it to the same level that they do, but there is certainly much I can do with my 1/3 acre lot.

I can, and do, grow a fairly large garden. It produces more than I can keep up with for a good part of the summer. And I think I can make it even more productive with a bit of experimentation. I'll blog details of my spring 2010 plans later.

I can't grow a traditional orchard, but I've figured out that I can have 7-8 fruit trees running across the back of my property. The big nasty Ponderosa Pine tree has to go... not that it's a bad thing, just expensive to get a big tree downed in a backyard where fences, powerlines, garages and other trees are in the way. And then there's a lot of prepartion to clear the area and dig holes and bring in the new trees and get water to them consistently. All that stands between me and having this happen is a lot of money and even more labor. It will take a few years, but I'll get it done. My tree dreams are peach, nectarine, Italian prune, pear (as yet undecided variety), and MacIntosh and Jonathan apples. That makes seven including the apricot that's already there. Conceivably, I could get eight trees into the space so maybe I'll go with a second peach since that's my favorite or, if we can figure out what it is, maybe one of those incredible plums like Mary has in her yard. (It came up from the rootstalk after a Satsuma plum died so it wasn't an intentional planting. Just a superb accident!)

I have a place to put a lean-to type greenhouse along the side of the one garage. This is going to take some thought about how... It can't be really wide, but it can be nearly as long as the garage. This also opens up the learning experience of how to save seeds and starting my own vegetables and flowers. That's something I understand the importance of but need to learn a lot more about what I'm doing.

There's also a place where I could tuck in a... whatever you call the thing that chickens live in. Again I have interest, but also hesitation. The hesitation comes from my tendency to make everything into pets. And also the number of cats on the loose in the neighborhood. And the occasional hawk. I guess they could be penned and not have free run of the yard, but there goes the bug control benefits. I know other people have chickens in their yards and have lost some to cats, dogs and hawks. And yes, up to 8 hens are legal with our city code. It says no roosters, but that's not enforced. Again, something to study and really think about.

These things also open up the possibility of an income stream and that's attractive. With vegetables, fruit, plants and eggs to spare, I should also look into the possibility of selling them or bartering for other things I need. More to research so I understand the legalities.

Moving inside, I already do a little canning and some freezing and dehydrating with the produce from the garden. As I can convince myself to do more and actually eat it rather than leave it on the shelf looking all pretty, I will. I have the equipment, just need more bottles.

Though I don't do it a lot, I also know how to sew, crochet and knit. Even now, it's not that I don't enjoy doing these crafts but more that I don't have need of the things I can make or outlet to sell them. That... and the ever present issue of time.

Even some of the things on my list for Santa fall into this homesteading/self-sufficient train of thought... wheat and a grinder and a dutch oven. Maybe I have more in common with these other homesteaders than I first thought!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Charity = Love in Action

For awhile now, I've been reading Larry Barkdull's series on Meridian Magazine about becoming a Zion person. Frequently he leaves me much to ponder. The latest installment surely did. He wrote:

"Charity transforms a natural man into a sactified Saint - a Zionperson - someone who by nature seeks to comfort the downtrodden, redeem the oppressed, heal the sick and afflicted, and console the brokenhearted.

"If charity is the defining characteristic of Jesus Christ, it is also the defining characteristic of His people. When they, like their Master, encounter need, they confront it. They will not allow lack and suffering to exist in their presence. They are willing to consecrate all that they are and have to blessing the suffering and underpriviledged. For this reason, consecration, the foundational law of Zion, has no need to legislated; consecration, like charity, is a condition of the heart.

"Jesus gave us two tests of charity:

1. If ye love me, keep my commandments. (see John 14:15)
2. If ye love me, feed my sheep. (see John 21:16)"

And then a couple of paragraphs later...

"Keeping and feeding are to stand proxy for the Savior and do as He would do if He were present."

Still later he quoted President Hinckley, "One of the greatest challenges we face in our hurried, self-centered lives is to follow the counsel of the Master, to take the time and make the effort to care for others, to develop and exercise the one quality that would enable us to change the lives of others -- what the scriptures call charity... Best defined, charity is that pure love exemplified by Jesus Christ. It embraces kindness, a reaching out to lift and help, the sharing of one's bread, if need be."

It gives me pause to think about how I'm doing and what selfish attitudes and habits I need to rid from my life. That was most especially a prominent question in my mind when I came to his quote from Joseph F. Smith... "we may give without loving, but we cannot love without giving." I think I'm pretty much kind and giving and willing to help others, but I also will admit to walking past the transient on the street begging for change while wishing that he weren't there and in some ways condemning the choices that led him to that point. That's a situation I'm not really sure how to handle... It appears that many people doing this have made it a conscious lifestyle decision and often it seems they are preying on the rest of us to feel a little squeamish about walking past them without handing out some change. It's hard to leave someone truly in need, but panhandling has become so common that it's hard not to be cynical and wonder if the need is real or just a show. I guess I need to spend more time examining my own soul about this one.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Domestic Goddess

Today I was a total domestic goddess. And I've got the tomato splotched t-shirt to prove it!

I've had a cold pack canner for about 10 years and today I finally used it as a canner for the very first time. It's been used before to cook corn at a backyard barbeque and to cook a load of spaghetti for a Church party, but today was its maiden voyage into canning. I made salsa. Red and green... and they are so good! I'm chalking this one up as a success.

And I've got my freezer filled out of the garden. It's packed with ziplock bags containing chopped tomatoes, diced zucchini and onions, shredded zucchini, 4-cheese mashed potatoes, and crumbled cooked hamburger. Found burger on a good sale. Add this to the few other essentials in there and the strawberry and raspberry jam I made this past Spring (and the peach and apricot still left from last year)... and I've only got the side-by-side in the kitchen. By this time next year I hope to have an extra freezer in the basement just for this kind of stuff, but not right now.

Also tried a new recipe for chocolate chip zucchini bread today. Pretty tasty - hence the shredded zucchini in the freezer.

I think I'm about done with the garden for this year. Our growing season still goes for about another month, but I've got what I wanted from it. Except for corn which I planted but it never set ears. Corn was such an abysmal failure that I don't think I'll ever waste the time and space on planting it again! But I digress... I'm tired of garden. I netted hundreds of tomatoes, more zucchini than I could even keep given away, 130 cucumbers (I only planted 2 hills!) and an easy 30 pounds of green beans. Some days I feel like I'm turning pink from eating so many tomatoes and others it's a lovely shade of chartreuse from all the green stuff. I watered tonight, but there's a very good chance it's the last time. I may ask a few people if they want to keep it picked for a few weeks but if not, then I'm going to start pulling it and getting stuff cleaned up for winter.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Greased Eggs

Randomly wandering the net a few nights ago, I came across this interesting tidbit of information. Admitted... it's not very practical to my life but it was interesting all the same. Apparently you can grease eggs as a way to preserve them, as fresh eggs, for up to a year.

I know, I know... wow! Life just wasn't complete without that little factoid tucked away in your brain right?

As I understood it, you generously rub lard all over the surface of very freshly gathered eggs - it said within 2-3 hours of when they were laid - and then store them in the bottom of the refrigerator for as a long as a year. The author said she'd tried it as an unbeliever mostly to prove her husband wrong when he brought this information home. (By the way, this family lives on a homestead-type farm where they are trying to be totally self-sufficient in what they can do to provide for themselves so they have several chickens. Chickens, who - and I have no experience to confirm or deny if this happens - lay loads of eggs in the summer months and next to nothing in the wintertime.)

What you do is take your very fresh eggs, slather them with lard and stash away in a carton in the bottom of your fridge until needed. She said some of them will get a little mold on the outside that is easily washed away with running water. The lard coating seals up the pores of the eggshell so that oxygen cannot get in and start to dry up and decay the inside edible part of the egg. In this lady's experiment, she broke a greased egg in one bowl and a freshly laid one in another at about 6 months. Her family couldn't tell the difference. The color, texture and smell were identical. Sounds pretty incredible, huh?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where Jesus lives?

Money magazine has apparently found the living quarters of Jesus Christ... And they want Him to subscribe! I saw the soliciation today addressed to Him, personally, and addressed to 20 E North Temple, Salt Lake City UT 84150.

Do you groan and shake your head or just go ahead and laugh right out loud?

Monday, September 14, 2009

One Solitary Life

A work friend forwarded the link for this short movie earlier today. It's touching. It's thought provoking. At least it got me thinking...

Sometimes I feel really insignificant because I compare what I have, where I go, how I look to the people around me and what I see in their abundance is my lack. And that's dumb! If I'm not looking outward and judging what I have against my seemingly more cosmopolitan friends, I'm actually quite content with my lot in life. It's only in the comparing that I feel like a simple bumpkin. And it inspires want and jealousy rather than humble thankfulness so it's a place I try not to dwell.

In Helaman 12:7-8, we read: "O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth. For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing assunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God."

Oh to be more like the dust...

Monday, August 31, 2009

What would I say to Brenda?

This morning when I logged on to Facebook I found that my friend, Brenda, had added this image as her profile picture. After I read it, I started thinking about what I'd say to Brenda if I thought she was willing to hear it...

I'd like to tell her that God loves her enough to give her the choice to believe whatever she chooses. And that we should all thank Jesus, our Lord and Savior, for His willingness to preserve that ability to choose because there was another who wanted to deny all choice and force us back to Heavenly Father's presence.

I'd like Brenda to understand that choice is a key principle to our existence. And that good and evil have to coexist in order for there to be choice. If you've never known evil, how do you even recognize what is good? This idea is so universal that it's a "law" of physics... For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I wish Brenda knew that God doesn't choose evil for us, we quite readily choose it for ourselves. And we do it despite His ever present invitation to choose good... to choose light... to choose Him. He doesn't force us to do, say, think or choose anything. We choose whether to live according to the precepts the world or to accept His plan leading to life everlasting. Christ "stands at the door and knocks;" he doesn't come at it with a battering ram. Have you ever noticed that illustrations of this scripture from Revelations 3:20 show a door with no knob? He waits on someone on the other side to choose to open it to Him.

How she doesn't know all of this, I'm not sure. Brenda is intelligent, capable, curious, passionate and kind. After I think about it more and carefully choose my words, I think I'll say all of this to her. Even if she won't hear it now, I don't want to be in the position of someday having her come to me and say "You knew. Why didn't you tell me?"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Garden Observations

This past spring, I planted a garden (at least as much of a garden as I did) specifically because Bishop Lewis asked everyone in the ward who could to do it and promised there would be blessings for doing so. I knew and accepted that there would be considerable work in planting, cultivating and harvesting. For the most part, I've kept up with all of that pretty well.

What I didn't count on, and what's got me feeling a little burned out right now, is that I've actually put in more work in giving away the excess (and not always sucessfully) than combined in the planting, cultivating and harvesting. I can't say that I'm willing to do this again next year.

I've gone all around my block begging people to take some of the fruit and vegetables from the garden. I've taken it to church and given it to the Senior Center. I've taken it to people at work. And if you go by the price at the grocery store, the value would run in the hundreds of dollars. And then what I couldn't give away has fallen on the ground and gone to waste. It could lead you to believe that people aren't as needy as the economy suggests.

And yet I don't want to become hard-hearted and cynical about it. I really want to be generous and giving. I see it as a blessing that I get to live in an amazing home on a huge lot with all kinds of fun stuff to play with. I really feel a responsibility to share those blessings with others as a way of radiating Christ's love for all mankind.

Maybe it's that tonight I'm feeling a little like I've been made a fool. A family in my ward who by all appearances seems to to qualify as "the least among you" was offered a big bag of fresh vegetables. It included green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, onions and tomatoes as all of those are ready to harvest in abundance right now. They agreed and seemed to have some excitement about it. They even promised to come help harvest... and yet no one showed. I called a second time and left a message telling them it was all ready; all they had to do was stop and pick it up and that I needed to be gone for a few minutes so I'd leave the bag out on the lawn near the driveway. When I came in for bed, I moved it up on the porch and if it's still there in the morning when I leave for work -- and I fully expect it will be -- I'm taking it to someone there who I know will use it.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring a fresh perspective and renewed hope that even this little thing is bringing some good into the world. I'm working too darned hard for it to all amount to nothing!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Looks like Bud Light

On Saturday, a couple of my younger friends were playing at the house and drinking their favorite apple punch. It's one of Walmart's knock-offs of Crystal Light. And it does smell and taste very much like real apple juice. With a few ice cubes floating in the glass, one of them observed, "It's the same color as Bud Light." Then after a few seconds added, "But it tastes a lot better." That he knows this at age 10 makes me very sad.

But then, many things about this little boy's life leave me feeling sad. Mostly I'm sad because it seems I have no ability to effect any change that will make things better for him. The best thing I can do is to keep him in my daily prayers and trust that Heavenly Father has a reason for letting the bad things happen in this young life and a plan for it to all work out. I can just stand ready, waiting and anxious to do whatever He would ask of me.

And actually, that's a pretty good spot to be in... standing ready to do whatever the Master asks.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ice and Sun

Today I came across a little quotation that really struck a chord in my heart. It was included in an article in a daily ezine written by the editors' daughter who is studying at the BYU Jerusalem Center this semester. She didn't include a citation, so I have no idea where it originated. I even tried googling it but still came up empty-handed. Here it is anyway.

"Write your hatred on ice and then wait for the sun to come out."

I loved the imagery of problems melting away and the analogy of bringing all of our sins and other burdens to Christ who will wipe us clean from them if we allow it.

As I pondered on that thought most of the day, I realized I've been holding on to a lot of my worries instead of turning them over to the Master. And that's really a dumb thing to do! It takes my focus off radiating His love to all mankind and strengthening my personal relationship with Him and puts it solidly onto what I can't solve on my own anyway. I'm going to work on this... I pledge to do my best and then stop worrying about if it's enough.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blessed, Honored Pioneer

I was asked to talk about the pioneer journey west in Church today and as I was looking around for a great story to include I felt impressed to retell Rachel Fielding Burton's story. I think it's a fairly common story... in my own family history documents I found two slightly different versions and that made me curious enough to google it where I found several more. I've tried to edit some of the details together into a unified voice here.

Rachel was the oldest of the 3 Fielding sisters who were married to my great grandfather. She was the only one old enough to remember and write about the experience of coming to Salt Lake as part of a wagon train. She celebrated her 9th birthday while crossing the plains. Her story, in as close as I can approximate today, her own words:

“I was born in Preston, Lancashire, England on the 27th of June 1839. My father’s name was Joseph Fielding and mother’s name was Hannah Greenwood. I left England and came to Nauvoo with my parents before I can remember, when I was near two years of age.

In Nauvoo, father bought some land (at $8.00 per acre) and planted a garden and a dug a well. He planted some raspberry bushes. When they got big enough to bear fruit Ellen and I were delighted. One morning we got out of bed and stole out the back door and ate our fill of raspberries. We got some juice on our dresses and mother reproved us, so we did not do it any more.

Once after we went to a Church meeting, we went home with Uncle Hyrum’s family. The children, our cousins, had a little wagon and we had a good time with a rocking horse. I fell down the stairs and it left a scar on the back of my head. “Uncle” Joseph used to enjoy a romp with the children and played with us many times. The day I was 5 years old, the persecutors killed my Uncle Hyrum and his brother Joseph Smith. I remember well the sorrow and excitement at that time.

When the mobs were raiding Nauvoo, the men were often gone, and my mother and Aunt Mary were alone with us children, so they brought the pitchfork, hoe, rake and axe into the house, filled the stove with hot water and put the cayenne pepper on the table ready to use if it was necessary to defend our home and family.

After our enemies drove us out of Nauvoo our parents had many worries and a great deal of hard work. We had two heavy covered wagons – a span of horses on one and two cows pulled the other. At Winter Quarters we were often hungry. We ate pig-weeds and cornbread, our only food until our vegetable garden grew. There my little brother, Hyrum Thomas, died as did Auntie’s baby John. They were buried together in the same grave.

When we started for the Salt Lake valley we were rather destitute for my parents had spent all they had in bringing us from England to Nauvoo and then to Winter Quarters.

Still we had many enjoyable times on the plains as well as sad ones. Some nights we camped early and in the evenings we had immense bonfires and the Saints would gather around the fires, sing hymns or dance and make merry. The bigger the fire, the better it seemed and spirit with which the hymns were sung was an inspiration.

When we camped, our wagons were placed in a circle thus forming a corral for the cattle for the night. Some nights we had to travel late before we found a good camping place, for in many places the grass was scarce or else water was inadequate. We often saw large herds of buffalo and then the men would kill one and we would all have a little meat. Once we saw a herd of deer and it pleased me so much to see how nimbly they ran.

I remember one time we came to what seemed a large lake of saleratus (naturally occurring kind of crystallized sodium bicarbonate) and all the women gathered some. I helped my mother and we both filled our aprons full. It was in cakes. Mother took care of it so we were supplied with saleratus for a long time. We used it for baking soda, so we were glad to have it when our bread was sour, which was quite often owing to the way in which we had to neglect it on our travels.

Once while traveling on the plains, one of Aunt Mary’s oxen became sick, so sick it seemed it would die, but my father poured oil on it and administered to it. It lay perfectly still a few minutes, got up, shook itself, ate a little grass and it was alright after that. So father hitched it up and we were on our way rejoicing.

We had lost one of our horses, but we had a couple of oxen on one wagon with a horse in front of them forming a spike team and two cows on the other wagon. The third ox and one of Aunt Mary’s made a yoke of cattle. Mother and Aunt Mary drove the first wagon with all the children in it, until the lines broke and then I had to lead it. Father drove the other with all our earthly possessions in it.

I was bare-footed and I walked most of the way from Winter Quarters to Salt Lake (nearly 1200 miles) for our harness was old to start with and we had not gone far when the lines gave out and I had to lead the horse by the bridle. It was difficult sometimes on the rough roads for the horse stepped on my heels so often it kept them sore.

When we reached Big Mountain, Mother and Aunt Mary happened to be walking behind with my little brother Joseph and sister Mary in the wagon. I remember the descent looked long and steep, but I went down without waiting for my parents. The hill seemed worse than I’d first thought for the wagon pushed the oxen so that they hooked the horse and I had to run to keep up. I called to the children to sit and we came down Big Mountain rather fast. The people at the bottom were very much alarmed and shouted, “That child will be killed, that child will be killed.” However, we arrived at the bottom in safety. I would not think of letting go of that bridle because the children were in the wagon. But my feet were dreadfully cut and bruised and my steps could be traced some distance by the blood.

We arrived in Salt Lake on the 23rd of September 1848. I remember feeling so glad that we were in Zion and that we did not have to travel any more. I ran up onto the temple square and all over; my parents could scarcely keep track of me.

For awhile we lived with my Aunt Mercy Rachel Fielding Thompson, who came to the valley the year before us. Then my father obtained a piece of land in South Millcreek. There was no house on the farm, so we lived in our two wagons. Aunt Mary had one and my mother the other. This was in the fall. Father went to the canyon for logs and our old horse dragged the logs home. Then my father notched them together and soon we had the walls for a one room house. Someone let us have some straw and this was our floor and then father stretched the tent over the top and we had a living room, the wagons still being our bedrooms. Father plastered the cracks between the logs forming the walls with mud and making the room warm and comfortable.

In January, Aunt Mary had a little daughter, Josephine, and my mother was her doctor, nurse and housekeeper. In May, my mother had a little daughter, Hannah Alice, and Aunt Mary did everything for her.

In the spring, as early as possible, Father ploughed and planted a garden and some wheat. As soon as the wheat ripened in the fall, he cut it and thrashed it with a flail then took the wheat to Brother Neff’s mill and had it ground into flour. When he brought it home, mother made some hot biscuits and cooked some green peas from our garden. I am sure I have never eaten anything since in all my life that tasted so good. When this meal was cooked, I was about a mile and a half away from home watching the cows so mother sent my meal to me. I never shall forget that delicious meal. We had been on rations so long while crossing the plains, for during that time our food was divided out to us to make it last until we reached the valley. Then all winter we had been using as little as we could, waiting until we could plant our crops and get returns. Often I had just one half of a pancake to a meal, so I had been hungry so long I could scarcely get satisfied.

There were no stores here at first and they developed very slowly, so it was difficult to get the necessary food and clothing. We were entirely on our own resources and had to do everything for ourselves, even to making our shoes.

In place of the matches of today, we used to keep a tinder box – which is a tin box full of scorched cotton cloth. We would strike our flint rock with a steel and let the sparks fly on to the cloth, which we put in paper and fanned into a flame. If we ran out of tinder, we borrowed fire and red coals from our neighbors.

We made lye from wood ashes. The strength varied. If the lye would not eat feather fiber, it was not strong enough to make solid soap. Often we saved the grease that collected on our dish pans in order have enough grease to make soap. We counted ourselves rich if we could get enough grease to make two or three kettles of soap and enough tallow to make two or three dozen candles.

We scrubbed our floors with sand instead of soap and brushes. The cry was “Use plenty of elbow grease and spare the soap.”

Ragweed often served for brooms, until we could raise broom corn to make our brooms.

Sugar was so scarce that we used a syrup made from frozen squash and beets for anything sweet.

We grated potatoes and thoroughly washed the pulp, strained it and let the water settle. The settlings was our starch. If potatoes were scarce and we had green corn, we used that for starch.

We saved our straw and braided it to make our own hats.

We made yellow dye from the blossoms of the rabbit brush. We used indigo for blue dye and to get green, we dyed the article first with the yellow and then dipped it into the blue. For red, we used sour bran water madder.

We saved all ravelings, especially the long ones. These we twisted into thread and used it in our sewing.

We prepared our own yard goods and knit our own stockings, gloves, shawls, scarfs, etc. if we were fortunate enough to have them at all."

There are a number of things about her story that I find striking. First the degree of hardship is nearly unfathomable but I was also struck by their resourcefulness and ability to make do with what they could find. What impressed me the most, however, is that she still found joy in the journey. Here she expressed it many times and I am so impressed that she saw all of the tiny gifts in the everyday that Heavenly Father gives us as evidence of His love for us.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Handwriting analysis

Today, waiting for some computer issues to resolve, I took a quick and simple handwriting analysis test. The instructions were to write, in cursive, "She sells seashells by the seashore." Then based on how you loop your l's and if the e's are closed or open and if the s's come to a point or are round on the top and a few other factors, you come up with a list of personality traits that are supposed to describe you.

My list of traits:
Open to the world
Likes to socialize
Finds it easy to express self
Unswayed by emotional arguments
Intellectually probing
Likes to study new things

Overall, not a bad description according to my view of myself and my world.

I know, I know... there are some (including me some days!) that would argue the well-adjusted part and I've always thought I was quite trusting. At least I'm willing to believe people until they violate that trust and then it's pretty hard to win it back. And lest we gloss over it, it doesn't take much to turn me into an emotional mess! Maybe I'm just hoping my display will sway someone else more than theirs changes my mind...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Random Observations on a Saturday

Headed off to the grocery early to get the shopping over with, but found myself sitting in the pharmacy waiting on a prescription refill. At this particular Smith's Food & Drug, the waiting area faces the display of 'sexual products' so I found myself unwitting staring at condoms and KY jelly... mindlessness must have got overly boring because the Passion Cherry intimate massage oil branded as 'Play' caught my attention. Apparently it heats on contact. Hmm... not sure whether to be intrigued or grossed out by the combination of flavor, heat and 'intimate' in the description. When I got bored with that thought, I started counting the variety of condom brands: Trojan, Lifestyle, Skyn... and several more I've forgotten now (or anyway forgot how to spell). Impressive selection. I'd never really thought about all the brands or the different features available. Guess I've never needed to know.

Later, we took a little bus adventure to go out for lunch. Every now and then I cross paths with a young man in a wheelchair. Just guessing, but I think he has MS. He's a very pleasant, friendly and outgoing person and he works as a greeter at Walmart. Whenever I see him, he always thanks me profusely for being such a good caretaker for my mom. He's the only person who's ever really done that and the recognition is nice. (In all fairness, several people understand and have commented on the difficulty of doing it... but that's just not quite the same.)

Lunch was at La Frontera on 4th South. Dang!! I still want to learn to make Chili Verde.

I stuffed down an entire Smothered Taco and felt the nauseous and gassy effects all night. But yum! Well worth the pain. Never heard of a smothered taco? It's your basic soft shell taco made with a chorizo filling and then covered in chili verde. Add a little cheese and chopped onions to the top and you are in Mexican heaven.

The rest of the day was pretty much filled with mundane stuff like laundry, watering the garden, watching tv until so late that it was hard to get up for Church the next morning...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The story behind The Star Spangled Banner

Several months ago a friend shared an audio clip with this story as a dramatic reading. It was touching and I filed it away to listen to again on Independence Day. On this most patriotic of our holidays, I was reminded of it while singing our National Anthem and as I listed to the clip and re-read the words to the song I found myself sobbing in thanksgiving for the gift I'd taken for granted for so long. To quote another less famous but more modern song, “I believe we will answer each to Heaven for the way we spend our priceless liberty.”

Francis Scott Key, author of The Star Spangled Banner, was an attorney in Baltimore who was chosen to negotiate a prisoner exchange. Both the young United States of America and Britain had accumulated a large number of prisoners in fighting the Revolutionary War. The American prisoners were held on British ships about 1000 yards off the coast. When arrangements had been made, he went out to one of the ships in a row boat and commenced negotiations with the British admiral. Finally they had an agreement to exchange prisoners one for one.

Mr. Key went down into the belly of the ship where the prisoners were held and told them that they were going to be released but as he went back to the deck, the admiral pulled him aside and said there was a complication. He said that they’d still honor the agreement to release the prisoners but after tonight it was going to be basically academic. The he directed Mr. Key’s attention to the horizon where he could see the tiny specks of the approaching war ships. The admiral went on to explain that it was the entire British war fleet. Then he pointed to the coast and Fort Henry saying that all of the ships would be directing their fire at the fort. The stated goal was to remove it from the face of the earth. Mr. Key tried to dissuade him as the fort housed mainly women and children and was not a military installation. The British admiral insisted that there was no need to worry because he’d left them a way out. The he pointed to the flag on the rampart.

He said if the colonists would just lower the flag, the shelling would stop immediately. That’s how they know the colonists had surrendered and agreed to be under British rule. Mr. Key went back down to the prisoners and related this new information. Dusk came and night fell and the flag remained in place. And the shelling started. It went on for hours and was continual and merciless. Mr. Key related that all he could hear from below, in the rare moments of silence as guns were reloaded, was the sound of men praying “God, keep that flag up.”

Eventually the British repositioned and brought all their firepower to bear on the flag itself. Mr. Key said that the men being held prisoner kept yelling up, “Tell us where the flag is. Is it still up?” And amazingly every time he could see it in the glow of bursting bombs, it was still standing. Finally morning broke and he went ashore. The flag itself was in shreds; the flagpole strangely askew.

But somehow it was still standing.

He learned that it had taken repeated direct hits. But that every time it had fallen under the heavy bombing, men had rushed forward to hold it in place. Fathers, sons, brothers… knowing with complete certainty that they would die in the act willingly went forward. They held the flag up humanly. As they fell, their bodies were removed and others took their place. In the end, what held the flagpole in place were patriot bodies… remains of men who gave all because they knew what it would mean if that flag came down.

For the most part I think these men - men who knew, and paid, the price of liberty - have been forgotten by history and remain nameless and faceless. But they are heroes none the less. At the very least they are heroes to me. They truly made a difference in the world!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A choice land

Last week in Church, the Sacrament Meeting talks were somewhat patriotic. They focused on our rights and responsibilities as Americans and as God-loving Church members. In one talk a fairly common quote referring to "a land choice above all others" was used. He went on to discuss the phrase "choice land" and finally said that maybe there's another way we should also consider it... a land of choice. Perhaps that ability to make choices is what makes us consider America a choice land. It's been an interesting thought to turn over in my mind.

Part of what set my frame of mind to be especially receptive is a chat with an old friend from High School. Brenda is a big fan of a man named Christopher Hitchens. I haven't studied what he has to say very closely but in chatting with her and making a quick perusal of his Facebook page (, I think that he may present a pretty accurate picture of our current political state. He seems to be enough of a Washington insider to know the difference when our politicians are actually telling the truth and when they still have a bit of BS to wipe from the corner of their lips. In what I read, my only 'problem' with him is that he is so full of vitriol. I prefer rational solutions to simple hate mail.

Which isn't to say that I have a lot of real and lasting solutions to offer... As just one person I know that I'm somewhat limited in what I can do to save the world. But I can reach out to one person. I can help my neighbor. I can smile at a stranger. I can take a picture of a tourist in front of some local attraction so they can take it home to show their friends. I can let someone in front of me in traffic. I have a friend who, speaking of missionary work, says they are out to save the family of man one person at a time. Kind of like the starfish story that's been retold so many times it's almost cliche...

A man was walking along the beach when he saw another man wading into the surf picking up the starfish that littered the beach. An especially large amount of them had washed ashore and the man was picking them up and throwing them back in the water. The first man approached him and told him that his job was too big... there were simply too many starfish washed ashore for him to make a real difference. He bent, picked up another and tossed it back out to sea saying "Made a difference to that one."

Of course reading Mr. Hitchens entries also reminded me of what I think is truly the cause of our difficulties in America. We are a nation built of fundemental Christian values, yet we've allowed Christ to be removed from our public consciousness. We've become a nation of selfish individuals, each more intent on having his/her desires filled than working for the common good of all. We are more interested in the monetary value in suing someone who has offended us than in repairing relationships. We continue to institutionally care for both our young and old while complaining about the decline of family values. We reward those who do wrong - both individuals and large corporations. Call it God's wrath pouring out on us if you wish. But whatever label you attach, I think it boils down to one simple fact - we've brought this on ourselves.

And if there is a solution to be had, we have to be the ones to find it. In my life, learning and living God's will plays an important part in the solution. I want to see His hand at work in my life now so that someday I will have the ability recognize His face because I already know Him.

I was recently reminded of a story from the New Testament that illustrates this idea. It's that of the disciples on the road to Emmaus shortly after the crucifixion. Somewhere along the journey they are joined by a man they do not recognize. He inquired as to why they were so downcast. In reply they asked where he had come from to not know about the death of the prophet that so many had believed was come to save the Jews.

Continuing on, he expounded scripture... prophesying and explaining what had been fulfilled. It was only after they had stopped for the evening and asked him to stay on with them that they discovered his identity as the risen Savior. 'Did our hearts not burn within us?' they asked each other.

How often have we read that story and wondered how they did not recognize Christ? These were His associates in life and would have been well versed in His teachings, manners and mission. How could they not know Him well enough to recognize Him?

I ask myself, am I sure I know Him well enough to not make the same mistake? And as I work to make sure that I do, I think I will find my own solution to the problems of the world.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Seattle-like summer continues

We had 6 straight days of rain last week. Normal if you are in Seattle, but kind of weird for the desert of Salt Lake... Yesterday we caught a little break in the storminess and it was mostly cloudy all day, sometimes ominously so, but it didn't rain. Yes, that one rainless day I was hoping for actually happened right on cue!! I, and several of my neighbors, took advantage of that little window of opportunity and got the lawns mowed. It looks so good right now. I wish I could just freeze-frame it and have it look exactly like this all summer long.

This morning I got outside early enough to get the planter boxes on the patio planted. I chose sweet potato vine, asparagus fern, big pink petunias, salvia and marigolds. I love the color palatte! The chartreuse against the pink shades and dark greens with specks of blue-ish purple and yellow-orange is gorgeous. Glad the gardeners at Temple Square came up with it so I could copy it.

The garden is sure growing good with all the rain. The potatoes are blooming and some of them are pretty close to hip high. Hopefully there will be some good potatoes underneath this year. These are some I 'forgot' to dig last fall and they were just from some that had sprouted in the fridge and I decided to see if they'd grow rather than throw them away. They did, but not great. Commercial potatoes are treated with something that supposed to keep them from sprouting very much. It worked out so well to leave them in the ground over the winter, I may just do that purposely this fall... pick out the place I want to grow spuds next year and plant them before winter sets in.

The tomatoes are trying hard to catch up those that have been in the ground longer. It's amazing but I swear you can see the difference in their size every night when I come home from work. And the raspberry plants I moved to create a row from the 'clump,' it looks like they've all survived and are coming out of the shock and sprouting new leaves. The clump has lots of berries this year so I've left it in place for now with the plan of taking it out late this fall. The corn and beans are both up and growing fast. Unfortunately so are the weeds!

And yes, the rain started again today. And it's in the forecast for the entire coming week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A purely graceful move

Yesterday and today I've been living with a painful nose. Doesn't hurt so much to breathe, just when I touch it. Which is surprisingly often! Maybe it's a subconscious thing because it is injured...

Monday evening, I decided to finally pound the nail to hang the picture in the kitchen. That fake beadboard must be some tough product. I bent 3 nails over before I got one to go in straight enough to hang the picture. So you can imagine, I was pounding a little hard. And I forgot about the plate rail, or more precisely the stuff on the plate rail, up above.

Directly above where I was standing, I'd placed this big cutting board. It's sort of a kidney shape and has an aluminum rooster head and tail. It came down right on the bridge of my nose.

Yes, the cartoons are right. When you get clonked like that you do see stars!

Friday, June 5, 2009

National Doughnut Day

This morning when I turned the computer on for that final 10 minutes before I left for work, MSN proudly proclaimed that today is National Doughnut Day. It was complete with delectable pictures... glazed and frosted. With patriotic sprinkles no less. Yum!

Remember the first time you bit into a Krispy Kreme? It was freshly fried and glazed and still warm when you were handed your sample waiting in line to buy a box. Think about the delightfully delicious way it melted in your mouth. Mouth waters at the thought, doesn't it?

A couple of days ago, Yahoo! ran a teaser for a food blog on their front page. Before checking the financials (a holdover obsession from my banking days) I clicked on it. It was all about the cost, in workout time, of the calories in some of our favorite treats. A doughnut was the very first thing on the list.

Make sure you're sitting so you can take the shock!

You would have to walk at a 3 mph rate for 59 minutes to burn the calories in a single doughnut. Yeah! 59 minutes.

As that started to sink in I calculated that it would mean walking home from my office in roughly 45 minutes. I've walked that before. And I was very tired and sweaty and grouchy by the time I got home. And since it took me just about an hour, I wasn't walking nearly as fast so I probably didn't burn off a whole doughnut!

Suddenly a doughnut doesn't seem so yummy... In fact, it sounds downright awful!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Financial freedom is on the horizon

Woohoo!!! I just realized that I can have my credit line paid off by the end of the year. Last fall I had to put a substantial chunk of the payment for my new roof (the one that the insurance company mandated even though the contractors said it would hold for another year or two) on the credit line. And with its 29% interest, it's felt like a ton of bricks hanging over my head ever since. It threw everything about my finances off kilter and I've really had to scramble some months, but by cutting back on expenditures and doing things like taking my lunch instead of eating in the cafeteria it has started to ease up and I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is the first time I can remember in recent history when I've got a paycheck coming tomorrow that isn't totally spent before I get it! Man, it feels good!!

I literally sat and looked at the balance in my account for several minutes and could hardly dare to believe what the numbers were telling me. I have $1100 dollars left and payday is tomorrow and the bills that absolutely have to come out of this check total just under $300. Of course, I won't spend it all as mortgage has to come out of the next one even though that seems really early... the days fall this year so that my June paydays are the 5th and 19th.

But then there are 3 paydays in July.

Gloating isn't usually my thing... but wow!!!! This is so cool! I love not feeling poverty stricken!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Neighborhood Happenings

There's a group of boys, ages 10-13, who like to come play basketball on my driveway. I like that they comfortable being there and that there is a safe, off-the-street place for them to play. Being boys, and tweens, sometimes they get a bit rowdy and rough but overall they seem like really good kids.

On Monday afternoon last week one of my backyard neighbors was robbed. They are in Florida on vacation. Someone went in through a window, ransacked the house, stole some video games and equipment and found the keys to their brand new car... Totalled in a high speed chase through the construction zone out on State 201. The lady who lives next door to them on the south started telling people around the neighborhood on Tuesday that it was one of the boys who play ball out here and that he'd scoped the place out by climbing on top of my playset and got into their yard by climbing the fence. She didn't say it to me; just my other neighbors started calling and telling me about it. Tempers were flaring and everyone was angry with the boys, and, to some degree, me for letting them play out there. To give everyone time to cool down and sort the issues out, I asked them to stop playing for a few days. Part of the reason was for me to sort it out, part was that I feared for their safety. I could almost imagine an altercation coming out of all this... Turns out she was wrong. It wasn't one of our homegrown Rose Park thugs at all. The burglar was a 14 year-old gang member who had also hit several other houses in this general area. How come is it that when there's older folks and teenagers around the assumption is always that the kids did something bad?

Anyway, I made up some 'rules' for play out here that I'm going to post in the next day or two. Then I'm going to let them come back. First I want to talk to the boys about why I asked them not play there for a few days. Right now they know it has something to do with the burglary but I don't think they know that they were being implicated and that there was practically a call for a lynch mob. I also think one of my next projects is going to be build a firepit (or if that's against city code, conveniently excavate one that's been here for years) and periodically invite these same boys to stay around after we light a fire to talk, tell stories, make s'mores. I think it would be one way for me to influence them, and hopefully lots of other kids, for good.

While I was trying to find out what had really happened Monday and what the real situation was between these boys and a couple of neighbors who seemed to have the most problem with them, I was outside talking to people. One time my guy friend from down the street a few doors came ambling up kind of full of bravado and talking about how he was going to enforce some discipline with them and that they were getting too comfortable out there... I was thinking to myself, "Dude, you don't need to fight my battles." But I'm really glad I bit my tongue because after I thought about it, I decided it was pretty cute that he wanted to.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh! My Aching Knees

The great season of yard work has arrived! And with it the first time some of my muscles have been used since last season. For this first few weeks every year, those muscles are not happy! This year it seems to be the ones around my knees that have taken the major hit. Luckily it is the muscles, rather than the joints, that hurt so I do have hope they'll get better with passing time and work.

It's been a busy week or so with garden prep, weeding flowerbeds (mighty piles of weeds!), trimming a couple of bushes back, cutting grass, pulling field bind weed, vinca and crab grass from around the foundations of the house and garages and dragging the hose around to give the lawn and new plantings a drink. Wow! Makes me tired just to list it...

I kind of wish it would rain - just not today. I'd love some for tomorrow. It would be the first in two weeks so things are getting kind of dry. I don't want rain this afternoon because we are going to a Relief Society activity and I was planning on walking the two blocks to the Church with a big pan of brownies in my arms. Rain today definitely wouldn't be a good thing. But as Elder Wirthlin said in his last Conference address, "Come what may and love it."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Certain Miss Emily Dow Partridge

The following is a quote from a recent email from a very distant cousin in England.

"Now here is something else to "wind you up " with . According to what I have gathered together Joseph Smith Jnr approached a Emily Dow Partridge aged 19 with this proposition. "The Lord has has commanded me to enter into a plural marriage and has given you to me. " He married her Sister Eliza aged 22 four days later . "

My first thought was "so what?" The second, not much kinder... "If he's digging all this crap up just to wind me up, I wish he'd quit." Actually, my wish that he'd quit digging up the dirt, so to speak, isn't that the questions annoy me. It's the suspicion in the back of my mind that his purpose is just to get me upset about something. On some of these subjects, I feel a bit like Rhett Butler (Gone With The Wind) when he says "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"

But just to humor my dear cousin, I googled Miss Emily Dow Partridge. She apparently did not have a pleasant life. Click here for a picture and autobiographical sketch: And here for a very sympathetic treatise on her life by Todd Compton: As I dug around, I learned she later married Brigham Young and also found him to be a disagreeable husband. Was she mistreated by these two men? Possibly. Over and above the fact that they are regarded as prophets, they were men and as prone to sin and error as any other man. Was her marriage experience all that different than other women of the time, plural or not? Probably not. The history of women in America is not a pretty picture. Too often and for too long, women were regarded as possessions much as one would regard the family dog or a new ox to pull the farm's plow. I'm glad times have changed... I think I like the battles I need to fight better than these!

So what do I think of Ms. Patridge's marriage to Joseph Smith? I think that when we focus so much on the frailties and inconsistencies of those long dead (and therefore not here to tell us what they really thought or did or said) and expect to be able to reconcile and figure it out as a condition for having a testimony of the Church's divinity misses the big picture. This focus makes you concentrate so much time on the trees that you miss, entirely, that there is a forest.

Is Joseph Smith, polygamy, or the Church itself on trial here? I would have to think, instead, that we are. Will we accept God's truth even when it comes to us via a flawed man? Or when we have unanswered questions about some of the details? I've always learned that faith is the hope of things that are true but not yet fully understood. What does it say about my faith if I struggle against these ancillairy details to the point that I won't allow myself to believe in the larger body of good works?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

One Big Bug

This is my boss's brother-in-law on a recent trip to Australia. The bug he's holding is called a Goliath Walking Stick. I think it's an over-sized cousin to our common Praying Mantis. We were guessing the thing must be a foot (or more) long from toe to tail... When he first sent this around the office, I said something like "Wow, don't think I'd be picking that up." Ever quick-witted, Mark dryly responded "What? The bug or my brother-in-law?" Hmmm.....

Thursday, April 30, 2009

First Steps on a Journey

Off and on for years I keep finding myself drawn to the modern day homesteading idea. No, I'm not thinking of moving off to an isolated spot in the country to grow all my food and have heat from a wood stove and hot water from sun. One of the foremost hinderances would be that any animal there would turn into a pet so there's no way I could kill it and eat it. And I just wouldn't make a good vegetarian... Going all or nothing on this, I'd die.

But one of the interesting things I've discovered lately is a trend called 'Urban Homesteading' where you continue to live in an urban setting while incorporating many of the homesteading ideas and ideals. I find this concept very appealing and I think I'd like to incorportate it into my lifestyle.

We (basically me and a neighbor fella) are planning a big garden for this summer. I had already decided to plant corn, green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions thinking this would be about all I could find the time and energy to take care of with a full time job, a big house to take care of, all the meals to cook, plan and shop for, yard work, church responsibilities and my mom to care for. Not sure what all Alan wants to plant but he's fixing the pipes that run water out to the garden and getting it tilled. Yay!!!

Would it be pushing my luck too much to think he might also help me get the raspberries into order? I'd share.

I also have a big ugly pine tree that he's been talking about helping get cut down and chopped up for fire wood. Where will I put that much more fire wood? I already have oodles. Guess I'll have to start using those fireplaces more often... Once that tree is down, I want to put a peach tree there. And an Italian Prune between there and the apricot tree (that looks like it's going to be in overproduction mode again - too bad apricots make me gag!). A friend is going to give me the runners off his strawberry patch this summer and I'm thinking about planting them between these trees. Then there's a place up front between my driveways that I can put a couple of dwarf apples and a pear tree. And I saw blueberries at the nursery last week... maybe I can find a spot to tuck a few of them in either along the front fenceline on my east or in with the herbs and flowers along a section of the back fence.

It's a little much for me to take on right now but the city allows you to have up to 6 (or is it 8?) chickens. Wouldn't that be awesome for fresh eggs? Had some recently from a friend of a friend who has chickens in her yard and they were so much richer and more flavorful that those sad white things you get at the store. The shells were thick and colorful in shades of brown, green and blue. Almost too pretty to break and use! Maybe this can be a year two project.

Here's a link to a whole bunch of great ideas and information:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What I Learned About Cognitive Therapy

Monday at work we had a lunchtime presentation about helping your moods by controlling your thoughts... basically cognitive therapy. It was very interesting. The premise is based on this quote from the philosopher Epictetus, "Men are disturbed not by things themselves, but by the views which they take of them."

The speaker used this model:

Not all people react to the same events and situations in the same way. That's because they have different thoughts and beliefs which they filter them through. One very simple example of a negative thought process uses getting a "B" grade in school. The statements then became: I must always get an A. If not, then I am a failure. Therefore, I deserve to be punished.

The problem with this is that you are using an event or situation to measure who you think you are and that is a false measurement of worth. Your worth can never change or be measured by man. He then tied this to several scriptural references that are worth noting. It sure sounds like God thinks we are worth something!

"Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?" (Matthew 6:27)

"They measuring themselves by themselves... are not wise... but... our measure [is] according to the measure of... God." (1 Corrinthians 10:12-13)

"What is man, that thou are mindful of him?" (Psalms 8:4-5)

"For ye are bought with a price..." (1 Corrinthians 6:20)

"The worth of souls is great in the sight of God." (D&C 18:10)

"Thou wast precious in my sight." (Isaiah 43:4)

That puts the focus of the battle right on our thoughts. If we can use correct thought processes we can direct our feelings toward positive things. The presenter used the following quotes to illustrate why this is so important.

The premortal war was "a terrible conflict for the minds and loyalties of God's children." (Hinckley, Ensign May 2003, p. 28)

"Satan with his angles will try to capture your thoughts and control what you do." (Packer, Ensign November 2003, p. 25)

"Thus he whispereth in their ears until he grasps them with his awful chains." (2 Nephi 28:22)

And to further elaborate on these "chains of hell."

"Satan... the father of all lies... to lead them captive at his will." (Moses 4:4)

"Creeds... lies... confusion... [become]... the very handcuffs, and chains, and shackles, and fetters of hell." (D&C 123:7-8)

An interesting side note on "the father of all lies" is that try as we might we can never have a false thought that is original. All lies originate with the devil.

Maybe what we all really need to do is change our thoughts to something along the lines of... I must always strive to get an A. If not, I know that I did my best work. Therefore, I can be happy with a B.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Problem With Being Perfect

Have you ever read something and had an idea hit you so hard you could almost call it a physical force? That happened to me today. I was reading an ezine article about addiction recovery out of pure boredom and avoidance of work I really needed to be doing. After all, what could addiction recovery possibly have to do with me? I’m not a drunk or a crackhead. I don’t look at pornography or even want to. And yet, there it was… undeniable evidence that I have out-of-control behaviors and attitudes.

There was also an explanation. And I think it’s the explanation that convinced me of the truth that I, too, have addictive behaviors just like every drunk or druggie I’ve looked down my nose at. Two short quotes:

“No one would ever see a drunk, passed out in the gutter, and say, 'There lies a perfectionist!' But that's exactly what I was! If I couldn't do life perfectly, then I wouldn't even bother trying."

“I was bowled over by the way the Spirit (of Truth) likened this man's -- this alcoholic man's -- story to me. I heard the following thought go through my mind, "No one would ever watch a 300 pound woman walk by and think 'There walks a perfectionist,' but that is exactly what they would be seeing -- a perfectionist!" And I knew the thought was for me and I knew that it was true for me. "Humble," self-depreciating, self-loathing me -- I was a perfectionist. How could I tell? Because if I couldn't eat in the strictest, healthiest, most perfect way possible and be the perfect size ASAP, then forget it! I wouldn't even try!" (Link to full article: )
A light bulb went on in my head! How many times have I told myself that it doesn’t matter what I eat because it’s going right to my butt anyway? How many times have I thought carrot sticks, Cheetos… what’s the difference? They’re both orange, finger-shaped snack foods. Suddenly I was squirming uncomfortably in my seat. I don’t think I like this label.

Yet at my core, I know it’s true. And maybe, to overcome it, I must first embrace it. So here goes:

I am a perfectionist. I spend too much time, money and effort on trying to create MY vision of a perfect life. And when I fall short, I get angry and give in to defeatist thoughts. I compare how I look, what I possess and where I live to others and when I come out on top I feel superior. When I come up short, I’m fat, ugly and too stupid to ever make anything work right.

Yikes! That’s an ugly truth to try to hug.

‘They’ say recognizing the problem is the first step toward solving it. And when I look at it in these terms, I can see that perfectionism is a big stumbling block on the road to who I want to become. It undermines an essential trust that God will be willing to forgive my screw ups. It tells me that I will never be enough. It saps my power and effectiveness in sharing His love with all of His children. Trying so hard to be perfect is distracting me from actually doing anything of real or lasting importance. When did I forget that failing and trying again define the learning
process? And when did I forget that the very reason I’m here on Earth is to learn?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taming My Inner Grizzly Bear

This past weekend was exhausting! It was filled with things I was unprepared to hear and have no idea how to handle. I feel caught between the conflicting emotions of wanting to run far far away saying it's not my problem to deal with and that of a raging momma bear intent on killing the one who hurt her babies.

I suspect the three kids who spend a lot of time here are being abused at their mom's house. It's been a niggling thought for quite awhile as there would an unexplainable bruise or a comment that was so far off as to make the hair stand up on the back of my neck. But the things that they said and did this past weekend have tipped the scale to where I am nearly certain they are being hurt.

The littlest one, age 6, is normally very boisterous and chatty. This time he was sullen, fascinated with death and had a total potty mouth. It was freakishly morbid to hear such a young child say "I want to die" and "I wish I was dead" and "things would just be better if I was dead" over and over again. I haven't heard it before, but their dad tells me this isn't the first time there's been talk about wanting to die. And the cussing wasn't the normal "hell" or "damn" that would give a little one such a rush... it was much worse.

At one point I asked "Where'd ya learn to swear like that?" The answer was "My mom." The next older sibling chimed in then saying that she doesn't mean to swear but that's how she was raised and sometimes she just gets so mad that she can't help but swear. Later this one told me that the "bi word" meant a female dog. We stopped then and talked about how it was also used to disrespect a woman and that it was a very naughty and hurtful thing to say. And while it wasn't said outright, I was definitely left with the impression that the kids get called this (among other equally awful things)... and not infrequently. There was some talk of the consequences of the kids swearing at mom's house that ended with "beat the holy crap out of him and throw him in the corner."

The next day they were going to watch a movie with me but the little one wanted to play with my new Wii instead and had the worst meltdown I think I have ever seen when I said no. It was so far out of proportion to the situation and more intense that any previous tantrum that I've witnessed that I was flabbergasted. There was no appeasing, no distracting - it just got worse and worse and worse. The oldest child, 12, started threatening a spanking and asked me for a wooden spoon to do it. I said no, that noone was going to get hit and especially not with a wooden spoon. And then it escalated even farther with this child dragging the littler one upstairs and the little one screaming and grasping for the stair railing in fear of getting beat. I called their dad to come get them because I was afraid someone was going to really get hurt at this point.

That left just me and the middle child to watch the movie. Before it started, I learned that spankings with a wooden spoon are commonplace. Sometimes they are hit so hard the spoon breaks. I know they have had bruises in this approximate shape and size before...

There's more. A lot more. But I'm going to get upset again if I continue.

And the thing is I don't have any rights in this situation. The kids have a happy little family life all planned out for us, and I know in their minds they have bedrooms all picked out in my house, but their dad and I have no such agreement. I'm not their parent, I'm not even their prospective parent. I can't document anything that happened with dates, times, pictures. Nobody is going to listen to what I say. So, basically, I am powerless to effect any change whatsoever and it just makes me sick.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I want to get married

I want to get married... I really do.

I know that a big part of it is the fantasy every little girl has about Prince Charming riding up on a white stallion, falling madly and passionately in love, and then riding off with him into a sunset of happily ever afters. However much I think I've grown up and given up on that particular fantasy, if I'm really honest I have to admit that it's still there hiding in the deep recesses of my psyche. Which isn't to say that I'm not a realist. I fully realize that the Prince Charming fantasy isn't part of my current reality.

Another part of this desire to get married, if I'm really being honest, is that I'm lonely and more than a little bored with life. I don't want to always be alone in this big empty house. I'm tired of sleeping alone. I'm tired of making expensive and/or life changing decisions by myself. I want someone to snuggle with, to talk to, to do things with... and for. I want someone to share in life's adventures. I want someone to tell me that it's going to be okay when it feels like the whole world is crashing in on my head and then make it really be okay.

And still another part is filling unmet needs. This is a big house and a big yard. More than I truly can do by myself. Some things I lack the physical strength, skills or knowledge to do, some things are just so big they need two sets of hands and, selfishly, some things I just want someone else to do... like change the burned out flourescent light bulbs in the kitchen and basement (at least until they can be done away with and put up something that's actually attractive and a little less in the 'shop light' motif) without being a paid contractor.

Another part is the desire for a family. I feel like I don't have a family right now and I'd really like to be a part of one. If I could meet a 'Mr. Wonderful' with 2 or 3 kids, it would be ideal. But I'm also very open to the idea of adopting. 'Cuz heavens knows I'm not going to be shooting out any babies at this stage in life!

Are these good reasons to want to get married? Are they even adequate? Am I analyzing it too much without doing something about it?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Big Love? No Love!!

Like everyone else, I've heard the rumblings about the HBO series Big Love airing a portion of the Endowment Ceremony held in LDS Temples. I know some who are furious about it. I'm not. I don't agree with their decision, but trusting that somehow God will use it to bring about His purposes, I'm not overly concerned. I think that HBO and the series creators and producers are showing an extreme of bad taste and disrespect. And sadly, in today's world that doesn't surprise me.

I guess for me, the crux of it is, what you hear in the Temple isn't something new and shocking. It's the same basic principles of why man exists and his relationship with his Creator. Everything there is uplifting and edifying. You get out of it exactly the preparation you put into participating.

This recently released video clip from the Church does a good job explaining the purpose of Temples. I like the different perspectives that are offered by clergy of other faiths. I encourage you to watch and if you have questions, ask.

Why Mormons Build Temples