Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A House of God

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing,
and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting,
a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory,
a house of order, a house of God;
D&C 109:8

This is the scripture I'm using as a guide in managing my home during my 2015 rebuilding year and beyond.  It was revelation given to commence building the Kirtland Temple in late 1832/early 1833.  And since home is the only place on earth that can be considered as sacred as the Temple, I think it's good pretty darned good advice for making home into sacred ground.

The Kirtland Temple, Kirtland Ohio USA
Photo courtesy of Russ' Photo Journal.  View more pictures here:

I've been thinking a lot about what the phrase "home as sacred ground" means.  Some days I will just read through this verse and see which words catch my attention and other times I'll follow those thoughts and see if they lead me to personal inspiration about how to apply the advice.  One thing that got my attention early on in that thought process was that all of keywords are verbs; they direct the reader to take an action.

Organize, Prepare, Establish, Pray,
Fast, Faith, Learn, Glory, Order

But how do you do this?

From the footnotes in my scriptures, study notes jotted in the margins from past religion classes and Sunday School, more study now, prayer, and lots of thought I've come up with the following list of specific actions I can take in my own home.
  • Manage finances to meet current needs and plan for the future.  Work to free myself from being a slave to debt.
  • Magnify my Church callings within the home.  Show respect for those called to authority positions, do my Visiting Teaching, welcome my Visiting and Home Teachers into my home as treasured guests, hold Family Home Evening, hold family prayer and scripture study.  (Those last 3 need some tweaking since it's just me... but you get the idea.)
  • Keep a clean and orderly house.
  • Come and go in the name of the Lord.  Pray for peace and safety for guests and family.
  • Have uplifted hands always.  Go about doing good and looking for ways to help my fellow man.
  • Cease lustful desires.  Learn to be happy with what I've got, because it's really quite a lot!
  • Stock my home with good books and other media.  Refuse to let the bad stuff in.
  • Have food storage on hand as we've been asked to do for decades now.
  • Get to know my neighbors better and seek ways to serve them.  Let my actions teach them the gospel.
  • Read from the scriptures daily.
  • Display pictures of the Savior, Temples and scripture quotes in each room of my home as visual reminders of what I hold most important.
  • Play uplifting music.
  • Pay tithes and offerings.
  • Pray over everything.
  • Be a good citizen.  Be involved in the community.  Make my values known.  Make them count.
  • Attend Church and Temple services.

In some ways that seems like a daunting "To Do" list doesn't it?  And, yet, in others it's just plain common sense for any Christian who is truly living what they believe... things we should all be doing already.

Maybe that's the problem.  These are all things that sound good and right and worthwhile.  But it is just so hard to fit everything in with jobs and family and everyone having a different schedule and there's never enough money to satisfy what everyone thinks they need.  And pretty soon all that stuff that sounded so good on Sunday isn't getting done in the hubbub of daily life.

Guilty, here.  2013 and 2014 saw my finances spiral out of control.  Yes, I had "help" digging that pit but it's still a deep hole that I allowed myself into by placing trust in the wrong person.  And I haven't done a real good job with those other things in any recent time frame, either.  It's way past time for me to get myself together and get it done.  And trust me... if I can do it, so can you!!

And I'm going to do it!  No more excuses here.

Join me in the challenge?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Welcome To My Home

I wrote a short poem today.  Well, actually bits and pieces of it have been floating around in my head for a couple of weeks, but today is the day I got all the parts down on paper and decided it said what I wanted it to say.  And actually I'm kind of proud of it!  One of my great grandfathers was a superb poet and I always wanted to have inherited a latent poetry gene...  Maybe I got lucky and that wish came true?

Welcome To My Home

Welcome to my humble little home!

It’s not fancy, just some sticks and stone.

It’s known poverty and a bit of wealth,

And sheltered me through sickness and in health.

I've filled it with thoughts and people and things I love

As I begged for God’s blessings from above.

I’ve tried to learn from the bad to simply enjoy the good

And found it’s not about could, or should, or would…

But taking whatsoever I do have and sharing,

That is the best way to show my caring.

So come on in - you're fine just as you are

Friends always welcome from both near and far!!

My plan is to print it in a pretty font and put it in a $1 store frame that I've decorated with flowers and ribbons and such to make a rectangular wreath for my front door.  I think it's the perfect accompaniment to my 2015 goals, don't you?

2015: The Year of ME

Does it seem a little early for the New Year's Resolution/goal setting blog posts to begin?  Yeah, probably.  Guess, I'm just a little out of sync...

I posted this a day or so ago on Facebook, both to my own page and the blog page, as my personal theme for 2015.  Then I started thinking about how it might be taken as a threat and added a little extra explanation.

Photo credit to  https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheMotivatedType

In the coming year, I am going to continue to tell my story.  There are people who may not like how they are portrayed.  I'm still going to tell my story... MY story.  And if anyone is worried about their part in it then maybe they should have treated me better when they had the chance.  I'm not going to lie just so they can feel good about themselves or skip over events that are very formative to who I want to become.  A lot of horrible things happened in 2013 and 2014 and I learned so much.  While some of it is completely unexpected, I feel like God is going to use it somehow.  Really curious about how... But if telling it can help even one other person, then my story needs to be told.

Photo credit to the blog at FreePeople.com
The explanation I added talked a little about the New Beginnings program held each year for the Young Women in my Church where girls turning 12 are introduced to the program and the goals and achievements of the teens already participating are showcased. Impressive goals achieved in addition to school, extracurricular activities and often a part-time job. (You can satisfy your curiosity and learn more HERE.)  And that's what I want to do. Use the idea of New Beginnings to set some big goals and focus on fixing what's broken in me... trusting that every ending is followed by a new beginning.

Epic endings deserve equally epic beginnings.  And with that said 2015 is going to be the year I rebuild me!

In order of importance, but not likely achievement, here's what I want next year to look like:

  • I have a date set to get me back to the Temple.
  • I have my own home that is clean, safe and comfortable.
  • Food in the cupboard has replaced worry about the next meal.
  • I have a way to support myself.
  • I have a reliable vehicle.
  • My debts are being appropriately addressed.
  • I have access to quality medical and dental care.
  • My dogs are healthy and happy and have food and adequate veterinary care.
  • I'm able to pay back, pay forward and offer meaningful service as was offered me in my need.
  • I'm gardening and crafting and collecting antique silver again.
  • I'm drawing and writing and making cooking an adventure again.
  • I'm entertaining in my home and going places to meet new people again.
  • I'm involved in my community.

Photo credit: Rose Hill Design Studio on Etsy
It goes back to my deep need for stability and security.  I'm not a person that thrives on the edge... Adventures are wonderful as long as there is a safe haven to come home to afterward.  I've come to realize just how much I need that to feel like I can relax and be happy.  It's doing the simple things in life that I know to be right.  Right for me.

And who better to do that for me than ME?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Redeemed From the Poo Pit

For those who have felt concern for me the past few months, here's an update on what's going on to keep me away from doing the things I want to share with you here.  Hang with me on this post and read the whole thing because it does finally get around to the start of a happy ending!

A couple of days ago, I was stretched out across my bed reading scriptures.  I was working through a challenge to complete the Book of Mormon before the year ends, in particular.  Now... I've read these verses thousands of times before but on that day different phrases caught my attention and spoke as if they were written just for me.

Mosiah 27:28 says (emphasis mine): "Nevertheless, AFTER WADING THROUGH MUCH TRIBULATION, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God."
Mosiah 29:20 says (again, emphasis mine):  "But behold, he did deliver them because they did humble themselves before him; and because they cried mightily unto him he did deliver them out of bondage; and thus doth the Lord work with his power IN ALL CASES among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in him."
Photo courtesy of Dairy Carrie.
I had a picture of the "poo pit" at Cannon's Dairy Farm come to mind when I read about wading through much tribulation.  (If you don't know what I mean, follow the link under the photo for a good explanation and more pictures of her farm from Dairy Carrie).  I imagined being called on to go muck out the poo pit and so I put on my tall rubber waders and it was still too deep and flowed right over the top of the boots.  That's a pretty accurate mental picture of how my life has felt most of the last year... no matter what I tried to do about it I was just wading deeper and deeper into poop (equate poop with tribulation) until it completely overwhelmed me.

One of my tribulations is knees with arthritis that suddenly and severely advanced... more in 6 months than the previous 6 years combined... and has now caused a curvature in my spine because I had no money and no insurance and therefore no way to see a doctor for treatment.  I also had some issues with my thyroid replacement drugs and a slow descent into a horrifyingly bad clinical depression triggered by the medical stuff and what was going on in my relationship with Derek. When our problems first started I told myself it was a temporary stress and that we'd find a way to work it out if for no other reason than commitment.  Sadly, it seems we weren't equally committed.

Now I'm trying to wade out of the poo pit instead of allowing myself to dwell in bitterness over it all.  I guess that equates to the scriptural phrase above of "repenting nigh unto death" and hoping that God will deliver me out of this bondage... hoping mine is numbered among ALL cases in His sight.

And I think it just might be.

This past week I received a packet from a former employer and have a small window of opportunity take a distribution from their pension plan.  That hasn't been an option before.  I know there are tax ramifications but in my case, I think it's worth it.  This will enable me to get a basic transportation kind of car come mid-January and possibly begin to address the debt situation.  That's some big stumbling blocks toward recovering my life knocked down to a more manageable size!!  There are a few more things that still need to fall into place and I am beyond excited to tell you about them when they do.

So... See?  My story is going to have a happy ending!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Fry Cutter Incident

Since Derek and I are in the midst of splitting but are still sharing the house this may seem a little like sour pickles to be posting stuff about him.  Oh well... I can live with that.  Besides I want to preserve these memories as much as a reminder of how miserable he made me sometimes so I don't ever make this mistake again as for the comic relief that a life stranger than fiction can sometimes provide.

A couple of nights ago we had an incident involving a french fry cutter.

You know I'm a die-hard Idahoan in my heart and nothing but fresh cut potatoes make real french fries... those over-processed garbage things from the freezer aisle are not real.  They are plastic fries.  And we do not eat plastic at my house.

Mine isn't this fancy but it works the same way.  It's
just a $10 "As Seen on TV" jobbie from Walmart.
The cutter pictured is from Rawsie.
A little before bedtime Derek poked his head in my office and asked me where the fry cutter was.  I went down and pulled it out of the cupboard because that was just easier than trying to explain...  Never thinking that he needed remedial fry cutting lessons, I went upstairs and did my thing and got ready for bed.

Around 2 am some loud banging from the kitchen woke me up.  Followed by a little cussing...  While I was still trying to decide if I should get up and see what he was doing or let it go, he came and poked his head in my door and said "I broke the fry cutter."

I was incredulous and asked "how?"  I don't know if he answered or not since even in my half asleep state I was thinking "how the H. E. Double-Toothpicks does one break a fry cutter?" but I followed him back down to the kitchen to see what mess he'd left for me this time.

Sure enough.  Remedial lessons should have been given.

The insanely obvious take it out of the box, set it on the counter, lift the top, put your potato inside and push the top down... I guess was somewhat less than obvious to him.  He took the whole thing apart.  Even parts I didn't know came apart!  And then jammed the top down over the base an inch farther than it should go and without the blade inside.  And it was stuck together.  I mean stuck!!

I tried pulling it apart and wedging a knife between the parts to get some leverage to wiggle them apart.  A table knife, not a sharp one.  I may be reckless but I'm not stupid!  Before I could get any movement, he took it away from me.  Just grabbed it out of my hands... same as the time he grabbed the new breaker thingy out of my hands and electrocuted himself on the breaker box because he took too much of it apart and touched an exposed wire.

Heaven forbid that I might know just the tiniest bit about what I'm doing...

Anyway, he still couldn't get it apart.  And he started wailing about the lack of assembly instructions on the side of the box.  I was miffed because he grabbed it out of my hands.  And he was angry and frustrated because he wanted fries and couldn't make them.

Yes, I said "couldn't."

Go ahead.  Roll your eyes.  I did as I said I'd just cut them with a knife and figure out the cutter in the morning.  So he hands me a big butcher knife.  The biggest one out of the drawer.  Like I'm gonna clean up potatoes and slice them into french fries with a gargantuan knife meant to hack a side of beef into all those different cuts?  Right...

I asked for a smaller knife.  And he handed me the next one down.  Again, too big for the job.  But... I took it and did what I needed to.  Nicked my thumb and it bled all over the kitchen.  I wrapped a clean dishcloth around it and cut his fries and then went and put a bandaid on my owie and crawled back in bed.

No thank you was proffered.  No inquiry if the cut was bad enough to need attention.  Nothing.  How rude, right?

The next morning it took me less than 10 minutes to work the fry cutter pieces apart.  It really didn't need all the cussing and pounding and wailing in the night.  So, yes I am going to refer to him as "dumber than a fry cutter" from here on out.  Maybe only in my imagination, but still!