Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Guest Post

I'm so excited to have been able to do my first guest post "Lending My Son to the Lord".  Anne over at Moms Spiritual Thoughts asked me months ago to do a post about my feelings of being a missionary mom.  Thanks to her patience and a little reprieve in our crazy-busy life it's done and posted to her blog. BTW, She's a great writer with such a sweet testimony.  Check out some of her other posts while you're there...and then go like her facebook page!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I'm Watching You

     Creepy sounding I know.  But I admit.  I’m a people watcher.  Not in a ‘be careful because I’m a stalker’ way but in a “what makes you tick’ way.  I’m interested in people’s stories, their different life-styles, and personalities and recently, hearts.  Did you know you can see into people’s hearts by watching their behavior?  There’s a certain behavior that’s caught my attention the last few days.  Besides nose picking that is.  Yes, I see a lot of that- and I’m a little disturbed.   I don’t always see this other behavior but it’s around.  And, like nose picking it’s not attractive.  Let me tell you a couple situations where someone’s behavior has not shown them in a very good light.

     A couple weeks ago my husband and I went to the Broadway show Wicked!  Which I might add was so amazing I went back again with a friend.  Anyway, I sat next to a lady who struck up a conversation with me during the intermission.  She introduced me to her daughters who were sitting on the other side of her.  They were beautiful.  Both, in their mid to late twenties, had long blond hair, pretty features and slim builds.  The woman told me about her work in hospice and some of her recent experiences.  I was impressed that she was a caring, kind woman.  As she told me her stories I noticed her daughters doing something in complete contrast to what I saw in their mother.  They were using their phones to film people not dressed as well as them or tripping over people’s feet as they tried to get in and out of the tightly spaced rows.  It was like a scene out of “Mean Girls.”  It was a little ironic considering the musical we were watching is largely about someone being judged because of her appearance.  I felt shame for them.  I’m sure they aren't all bad, we all make wrong choices but sometimes our behavior tells a story about us, our character, our hearts.  I felt so bad for these girls.  Instead of seeing the beauty in the little girl with the pink dress and huge smile, they saw a chunky girl whose hair was disheveled.  Instead of seeing the adorable couple in their 70’s (ish) holding hands and flirting like they were on their first date they saw a bald man with dry flakes on his head and a woman who must be too blind to notice.  I’m glad their mom was busy talking to me or she may have been quite ashamed and embarrassed. 

     Another situation happened just a few days later.  I went to the high school to watch my daughter play a tennis match.  When I got there the score was 4-1 her favor.  I sat across the court from the family of my daughter’s opponent.  I noticed her father mostly because he was much more vocal than most of the spectators at a tennis match.  Something that struck me was that when my daughter would make a mistake he’d cheer, “Good job, Susan!” (Not the opponent’s real name.)  I thought it odd just because I cheer for my daughter when she does well, not when her opponent does poorly.  We aren’t all alike and while I noticed it, no red flags really went up.  Darn!  I wish I’d paid a little more attention to that family.  My daughter lost the next set bringing the score to 4-2 and then she went down-hill.  She didn’t win another set.  I kept thinking she was psyching herself out more than usual which was surprising because she’s typically very level headed.   I’d not seen this happen before.  Man, that red-flag should have been obvious.  Hindsight.

     When we got to the car tears welled up in her eyes and she asked, “Didn’t you hear them?  They were so rude!”  The family of her opponent had sat in their lawn chairs making degrading remarks about my girl.  Instead of being supportive of their daughter, they were critical of mine.  They made comments like, “You’ve got this Susan she has a crappy backhand.” And, “Look at her fumbling all over the court.  She doesn’t even know what she’s doing.”  And, “Wow, what a loser.”

     Now, before I move on I should mention that we talked about what we could have done in the situation and what we will do if it ever happens again.  I honestly can’t believe that I had to have a talk with my daughter about ADULT bullying. But these situations have brought up some questions.  How often are we caught at our worst without realizing it?  What kind of heart does my behavior reflect?  What have people heard me say or do?  What kind of heart do others think I have?  What kind of heart DO I have?  Fortunately, not all I've seen lately has been negative.

     Let me tell you about another incident that I witnessed.  I was job coaching at a local middle school, overseeing a couple of awesome special needs people who are in charge of making sure kids throw away items into the correct recycling bins.  Just before approaching the bins a young man juggling his tray while trying to undo his milk bottle, dropped an apple on the floor and it was obvious that if he bent over to get it his tray and all its contents would join the apple.  Immediately, another young man, upon seeing the other’s juggling act, jumped up from his table picked up the apple and then grabbed the milk, undid it and dumped it for the boy.  Then he ran back to his own table and sat down to finish his meal.  The act was simple but telling.  This is a boy with a great heart.  

     I want to be like this boy.  I want others to see me in a good light.  I want to make others feel good.  Not only the person I’m directly effecting, but I want to be a good example to those people I don’t know are watching.  I want to show that I have a good heart. 

     So here’s a question.  In your own people watching, what evidence of a good heart have you seen?  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Strength From the Atonement

Often the Lord sends us help through others.  Maybe you have been succored by someone and felt that they were the answer or help that you needed.  Perhaps you have been our Father's tool and helped someone else.  This is a beautiful way for the Lord to accomplish His purposes.  I'm reminded of Moses who, as long as he held the rod of God in the air for his armies to see they prevailed.  When he lowered his arms the tables would turn and their enemy Amalek prevailed.  Of course we know Aaron and Hur stepped in and helped hold up his arms.   Periodically, the Lord finds it necessary to not send help but rather allow us to push ourselves to our limits and then increase our capacity.  What does this have to do with the atonement you might ask?

In my favorite devotional of all time, The atonement and the Journey of MortalityElder David A. Bednar spoke of the atonement:  '"[Grace is] a word that occurs frequently in the New Testament, especially in the writings of Paul. The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.
'“…. It is through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.”
Grace is the divine assistance or heavenly help each of us desperately needs to qualify for the celestial kingdom. Thus, the enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity."  

The atonement is our gift from the One who loved us enough that he would "tremble because of pain, and bleed at every pore." D&C 19:18.  He wants us to take advantage of it, not just the repentance part but of the enabling power also.  I think many don't fully understand this area of the atonement or realize we can call upon the Lord through the atonement this way.  Because Jesus Christ suffered for us individually- experienced all our pains, infirmities, flaws, sins, losses and hardships he understands completely.  But it's more than just understanding our feelings, pains and desires.  Partner this with his knowledge of the bigger picture and he knows HOW to help us.  He knows what we need to manage and endure our trials. He knows what we need to learn and grow and be strengthened.  He knows how best to bring us back to him and our Father.  He truly is the best friend we have.
A few months ago in the Ohio, Columbus mission 6 new Amish converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints touched the hearts of a congregation and those of us who've since been privileged to hear their story.  Imagine for a moment the reaction to their decision to join the LDS church.  They must have known their community wouldn't take it well.  But these faithful, brave men and women were more concerned about pleasing the Lord than pleasing their family, friends and community-a lesson for many of us in and of itself.  Because of their choices they have had to withstand major persecution and could possibly lose "their employees, their businesses, their extended family member’s friendship and support, their children’s schools, etc."  

On this particular Sunday, one of the six, a man named Paul was giving the closing prayer in Sacrament meeting and said these humble words, “Help us stay strong. We don’t want a lighter load, we just want help to carry it.”  What a courageous, inspiring plea.  I've thought a lot about this story over the last few months.  This is a not just a call for help from the Lord but a desire for personal growth and strength not unlike Alma who with Amulek had been imprisoned and tortured for many days when finally "Alma cried saying: How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord?  O Lord, give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance.  And they broke the cords with which they were bound;" 

For the past few years I've been enduring the trial of my life.  Because it involves someone else I won't go into detail but I've had occasion to need strengthening from the Lord.  Sometimes he's sent another person, mostly he's sent peaceful and comforting feelings from the Holy Ghost.  Enduring for so long has been a trial all on it's own.  Recently I decided to take Paul and Alma's examples and put them to use.  I prayed for strength to handle this trial in a Christ-like manner when all I really wanted to do was crumble.  My experience was amazing.  I can't pin-point an actual moment that it happened but soon after I started praying for this strength my burden seemed lighter.  Not in an "I don't care anymore" way but more in a "The Lord has things under control" way.  It has left me not just able to function but able to do more of the work the Lord wants me to do.  My capacity to handle things has grown and I feel peace again.  I liken it to a cup that is completely full of water, even another drop of water would make it spill over.  Then that cup is replaced with a quart and that cup of water isn't such a burden anymore because the actual vessel is bigger.  The Lord said, "Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden and I will give you rest" Matthew 11:28.  I love this way of accomplishing it.

Some day this challenge will be over and the outcome will be wonderful. I look forward to that day.  Let me quote Alma again.  "And Oh, what joy and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain." Alma 36:20  That is what the Lord has in store for us.  He's done much of the work for us.  We just need to call upon him.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What's Inside a Mormon Temple?

 I LOVE the temple and so when I was asked to take a temporary calling (a responsibility) as a tour guide to the Boise, Idaho temple open house I was ecstatic.  What an honor!  When a temple is first built or renovated (which is the case with the Boise temple) it's opened to the public so all can see inside.  A few weeks later the temple is dedicated to the Lord and then only worthy members of the church will be able to enter.  If you ever have an opportunity to go to an open house, I recommend it.  Temples are not only beautiful, made of the finest quality materials and workmanship but there is a special feeling inside.  You'll feel peace, the spirit of the Lord as you tour.  You may not have that opportunity though and so I thought I'd take you on a tour of the Boise, ID temple- virtual style...and you don't even have to get out of your seat.

Boise, ID LDS temple
     Temples are different than meeting houses which are for Sunday worship as well as other meetings and activities for youth and other members.  They are reserved for our highest sacraments or ordinances such as marriage.  For us temples are the most sacred place on earth.  We dedicate the temples to the Lord.  On the front of each temple you'll see the words, "Holiness to the Lord - The House of the Lord".

     Also on the outside of temples you will see the statue that represents the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni.  The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.  The plates that contained this record were delivered to the Prophet Joseph Smith by Moroni.

     Temples vary in their architecture but they are similar in that they have the same types of rooms.  They are similar in purpose to ancient temples.  The ordinances performed in them were restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

      Christ taught the need for all to be baptized to enter His kingdom.  John 3:5  And Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee except a man be born of water and of the spirit he can not enter the kingdom of God.   So what about those people who die without baptism?  Baptisms are performed in temples by the living on behalf of those who have died without baptism.  The deceased have may accept or reject this gift.  We seek out names of our own ancestors and take their names to the temple so their work may be done.

Brides Room
     A bride needs to feel beautiful on her special day.  Bride's rooms are beautiful to compliment the her.

     There are also locker/dressing rooms where we change from our street clothes into white clothing which signifies purity and equality before God.  I love that in the temple each of us are equal in the site of God, he loves each of us the same.  Women wear white dresses and men wear white pants, shirts and ties.

Sealing Room

Peter was given the authority by Jesus Christ, to bind on earth and in heaven (Matthew 16:19)
Each temple has at least one sealing room.  Sealing means to join a man and a woman in marriage not just for this life but for eternity.  Children can also be sealed to their parents to form an eternal family.  Yes, families can be together forever!  Is there anything more wonderful than that?  Each sealing room has mirrors facing so that when a couple or family is sealed they can look into one of the mirrors and see themselves forever and ever.

Ordinance Room
The ordinance (instruction) room is where we learn.  Some of the things we learn about are that before we were born we lived with Heavenly Father as His spirit children.  He created the world of us so that we could obtain a body, gain experience outside of his presence and learn to walk by faith.  Here we learn truths that were known anciently and restored in our day through the Prophet Joseph Smith such as the purpose of life and how to prepare for life beyond the grave.  In the temple we learn of Jesus Christ's love for us.  His atonement and sacrifice on our behalf are central to the teachings in the temple.

Celestial Room
I can think of no other place I'd rather be than the Celestial Room.  It is symbolic of Heaven and the feeling inside is warm, peaceful and inviting.  The room depicts the serenity and joy we are promised when we live in the presence of God and Jesus Christ.

I'm grateful for the blessings of the temple.  I love that I feel closer to my Heavenly Father when I'm there.  The day I was married to my husband, not just for this life but for eternity was one of the greatest days of my life.  I'm grateful that my family can be together forever.  Because of that we try a little harder to form bonds, to love each other and to strengthen our home with God at our head.

Thanks for taking my tour of the Boise, Idaho temple.  I hope you enjoyed it.

(The pictures used are of the Boise, ID temple released to the press by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hickory-Dickory-Dock...My Grandmas and a Clock

For years I wanted a grandfather clock.  Not only are they beautiful but I loved the idea of hearing that rich chime fill my home every hour.  One of my favorite memories of my paternal grandparents home is waking up to the sound of their clock and the smell of bacon.

Right when I thought I'd never find one in my budget a miracle happened.  My husband and I came across one at Walmart, of all places, for $84!  We started our inspection to see why it was so cheap.  It didn't take long to figure out that it was about the same weight as a small kitten and it ran on batteries rather than electricity.  But it was pretty and I loved the dark cherry wood color.  Knowing it was probably the only chance I'd have to get one in the next decade, I jumped on it.

I've never regretted that decision.  That clock has added much to our home.  Beauty, sound and humor.  Yes, you heard me, humor.  As the life of the batteries comes to an end our clocks chime starts to slow down as well as slip into a lower key.  The first couple notes are fine and then it just seems to peter out.  By the time it starts to sound the hour there may be a good 10 seconds between each bong and if the batteries are really low it may never chime past 7 o'clock.  I can think of more than one occasion where we sat around laughing at the poor thing trying to do its duty and communicate the time.  And I love it.  I look forward to it running down for some reason.  It gives and gives and gives then starts to run down but still keeps giving everything it can.

One time my husband tried to get rid of it.  I about had a conniption fit.  I had to convince him of my attachment.  He had a hard time getting it.  He gets it now.  Keep your hands off my grandfather clock!

A few weeks ago we were able to see my grandmothers.  One not far from her 90's the other not far from her 100's.  I noticed both of their hands.  Wrinkled, lined with veins, knuckles gnarled, thin-skinned absolutely beautiful.  I've been thinking of all that those hands have been responsible for.  The list is long but I have to mention my favorites.  Both grandmothers showed love and worked with their hands in different ways.

One of my earliest memories with my grandma Anderson was her response every time I said, "Oh shoot." (which was often) she pulled out her finger guns and yelled, "Bang-bang."  I thought she was so funny.  She had the tiniest hands.  She could fit her whole hand into a pint sized jar and wash it comfortably.  She always liked to wash dishes.  I didn't take after her in this.  Her hands knit countless sweaters, afghans, wash cloths and Christmas stockings.  Each of her posterity has received their own personalized hand-made stocking and most have received gorgeous sweaters, afghans for weddings and newborns, and wash-cloths with a $25 check for Christmas.  I love those checks because of the hand writing.  I saved my last one, I wasn't sure if I'd ever get another.

My grandmother Jenks used to make the most beautiful posters for her Relief Society lessons.  I used to sit on the couch watching as she was on the ground with lace, glitter and glue.   By the time she was done she'd created a masterpiece I was in awe of.  She also made gorgeous desserts.  Everything was decorated so perfectly it was almost a shame to eat it.  Of course once you tasted these creations you realized the real shame would have been NOT to eat it.  Everything she made tasted better because it was her hands that made it.   When I was in junior high school there was a group of girls who were very mean to me.  The bullying I suffered was severe to say the least.  My grandmother taught me at her knee that the best and most Christ-like way to handle our enemies was with love.  She offered to make her famous juicy, huge cinnamon rolls for me to give to the girls who were so mean.  I'll always remember their faces when I delivered those cinnamon rolls to them in their classes.  Priceless.  Although we never became friends they did back off and things became tolerable.  All because my grandmother served me.

The other morning as my clock struggled to say, "It's 6:00, time for scripture reading," I realized that it is much like my grandmothers are in the most important ways- Giving me loving reminders to do those things that are most important.  Full of love and dedication, diligence, hard-work and long-suffering and absolutely beautiful to me.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Lesson at Walmart

Usually the lessons I learn at Walmart are not lessons I want to learn. (see What Happens at Walmart Shouldn't But once in a while I'm caught off guard.  Like this time....

A while back I drove into Walmart's parking lot.  When I opened my car door I heard a woman screaming the most insulting, heart-hurting, ear-burning language you can imagine.  Expecting to see the boyfriend/husband she was abusing I turned to see a little boy probably 3-4 years old.  The woman was mad at him for something and wanted him to get in the car while she loaded her groceries.  He wasn't as fast as she'd wanted and she was letting him know what she thought of him because of it.  Honestly, I got ticked and decided to give her a piece of my mind.  How dare she talk to her child like that.  Clearly he couldn't stand up for himself so I would.  Someone had to stop her after all.  I bet she wouldn't talk to her dog that way.

There were only a couple cars between us - I started marching toward her.  I wanted to rip her vocal chords out and choke her with them.  Just then, when I was still a car away an older gentleman approached her and said, "It looks like you're having a hard time.  Please let me help you."  He started to unload the rest of her groceries into the trunk and said, "Why don't you help that sweet little boy into the car, I'll finish this."  Guess what her reply was?  Absolutely nothing.  She was speechless and so was I.  And that state was much better (especially for the little boy) than how she'd have been if I'd have handled it my way.  I realized that not only did he diffuse the situation between her and her little guy - she actually handled her son quietly and much better, but he taught me a lesson - and hopefully her, too. 

If Christ was to witness the same situation I think he'd have handled it the same way as that gentleman.  With love.  Just like he did so many others.  Humbled...lesson learned.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Still feeding the multitudes

I love when great teachings we've learned in the past come to help us in the present.  A few years ago I was serving in the Young Women.  During a presidency meeting our president, a really cool lady whose initials are CP, reminded us of the story of Christ feeding the 4000 (or it may have been the 5000- there are two similar stories).  In the story the Lord had compassion on a multitude of people who'd been with him for three days and were hungry.  He asked his disciples to pull what they had.  The 7 loaves of bread and a few fish they came up with weren't sufficient to feed the people, but that didn't matter.  The Lord filled in what was needed and his purpose was met.   All he asks is that we give what we can and then he takes care of the rest.
For almost 2 years I've taught Gospel Doctrine classes at church.  I LOVE this calling.  Part of the reason I love it is that I've had more motivation to really dive in and study.  I got into the habit of spending at least an hour or two a day preparing and studying.  I've averaged 6-10 hours a week on each lesson.  What a great way to spend my time!

A couple months ago my time became much more occupied when I started a full-time job outside the home.  Fitting in that plus the responsibilities of running a home, active kids and care for a disabled person who lives with us has really taken it's toll on my gospel studies.  Some days all I can do is read a chapter or look over the lesson manual.  I've prayed about how to manage my time better so I can be prepared to teach my lessons and really study like I should.  Throughout July I took time from my husband on Saturday nights to prepare lessons... which feels like procrastination and scrambling-that really bothers me. 

At the end of July it was announced that our ward would be meeting at a new building and time.  Two hours later than normal.  I jumped on the opportunity for more time and created a new study schedule.  It's not ideal but it seems to be working.  I've been reading the scriptures during the week, the lessons on Monday so I can think about it throughout the week and get ideas for an object lesson.  I start extra readings on Saturday night and then get up between 4:30-5am on Sunday to finish planning it out.  I've still had a problem with leaving my lessons until right down to the last moment.  And I've still been praying about it.  Then yesterday I remembered the lesson learned from our young women's president.  It was what I needed.  I realized the Lord's hand was in the extra time given me and all I need do is all I can.  He is filling in the rest.  

Matthew 15:32-38

Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?

And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.

And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

And he took the seven aloaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

And they did all eat, and were filled: and they atook up of thebbroken meat that was left seven baskets full.

And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Giving My Son to the Lord

I wanted to record some memories of our last few days with Kalten before he entered the MTC.  This isn't my typical blog-entertaining and writing aren't my purpose.  Recording some memories during an important time of our lives is-but I don't mind sharing with you...if you can hang out for a while.  These memories are precious and from experience I know they won't last as long as I'd like if they aren't written down.

Kalten was made a missionary by President Gabrielson the Friday before he entered the MTC.  He would spend the next 4 days as a missionary, having family members be his companions until he entered the mission training center in Provo where he'd receive his "real" companion.  That Friday was emotional for me.  I think it's the day I realized how close his mission was.  It was also very real in my mind what an amazing young man I have, that was not only willing but excited to serve the next two years of his life for the Lord.  No video games, facebook, college, girls etc.  Just him giving himself to the Lord.

I'd been able to choke back tears all day.  Then President Gabrielson asked me how I was doing?  Of course, cry-baby-mom had to let loose.  That day I was just thinking about how Kevin and I won't be there to protect him...I know, he's big enough to do this on his own but something about having him so far away, and remembering stories although few and far between about elders who've died on their missions was plaguing my mind, although I didn't say it out loud.  Pres. Gabrielson read a scripture to me, he was already armed with it.  I'm guessing he's listened to other moms with similar feelings.  He read:
D&C 84:88  And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face.  I will be on your right hand and on your left and my spirit shall be on your hearts, and mine angels round about you to bear you up.

Can I really provide him with that here?  Not necessarily.  I am totally okay with angels and the Lord there to protect my son.  President G. said statistically these young men are safer on their missions than at home.  Interestingly enough, this came on the heels of Kalten showing a video recorded of him being drug behind a tractor driven by our nephew Logan.  Kevin said, "Get that boy on his mission quick before he kills himself."

In the car on the way home Kalten kept singing the song by the Eurythmics, Don't Mess With the Missionary Man:  My mother told me good, my mother told me strong 
She said, "Be true to yourself and you can't go wrong 
But there's just one thing that you must understand" 
You can fool with your brother but don't mess with a missionary man"  
Oh the missionary man, he's got god on his side 
He's got the saints and apostles backin' up from behind 
Black eyed looks from those bible books, he's a man with a mission, got a serious mind 
There was a woman in the jungle and a monkey on a tree 
The missionary man he was followin' me 
He said "Stop what you're doing 
Get down upon your knees 
I've got a message for you that you better believe".

When Kevin asked him if he was supposed to listen to that kind of music as a missionary Kalten replied that he was singing it not listening to it.  Turkey.  He also made sure I knew he loves that I'm an emotional basket case.

The next morning we left for Pocatello for the baptism of my niece Becca.  Kalten was able to stand in on the confirmation which was cool for him.  After the baptism we went to the park where Neicia was running around with the younger cousins and twisted her ankle.  She was clearly in pain-our tough Neicia, so I took her in and found she'd torn 3 ligaments.  Icing and elevating is not exactly convenient away from home...just sayin'.

Later that day on our way to my sister Kim's, going through some mountains Kalten said, "When I get back I'm going to be able to move a mountain."  Assuming he was talking about faith we told him that would be cool to see.  And then he requested we have a pick and shovel ready for him when he gets back and asked, "Can you imagine how buff I'd be if I moved a mountain by hand?"  Cracked us up.

We had a lot of fun playing games, badmitton, volleyball and going down a water slide.  Earlier that day Kalten was able to see my grandmother Anderson, very possibly the last time they'll see each other since she's 97.  I was grateful for that visit.  I'm sure my grandma and Kalten were grateful for it too.

The next day was Sunday.  We went to church with Kim's family.  In her ward 2 missionaries had just returned during the week.  Kalten was able to talk to them.  I could tell he was starting to wish he was already in the MTC.  He made the comment, "I bet they wouldn't turn me away if you just dropped me off tomorrow."  We got together for a family picture.  That was awesome.  We are rarely all in the same place to do that and this was pretty close to everyone there.  We were just missing Trevin.  Later that evening we went to the train tracks and placed coins on them then we watched as my brother Shane drove by on the train waving out the window.  It brought back memories of my grandpa who was also an engineer on the railroad.  He used to lean out waving at us the same way Shane did.  He used to tell me that when I heard the trains honking it was him sending me the message that he loved me. That's one of my favorite childhood memories.  I would lay in bed and hear the trains and know it was my grandpa sending me messages.  I loved seeing my brother following in his footsteps.  I loved that my kids got to experience a little of my own childhood.

The next morning we went to Lagoon, sort-of.  Kalten and I dropped off Kevin and the girls.  Then we took Tim and checked into our hotel in SLC and then hung out with my dear friend Linda and her daughter Lindsey.  Poor Kalten wasn't able to go to Lagoon as a set apart missionary.  We'd told the kids months ago that we'd hit Lagoon on the way to the MTC.  This was before we found out they don't set apart in the MTC any longer.  I know it was hard on Kalten to not go, to have to be companions with his mom.  To tag along with me and my friend at the new City Creek mall- Kalten hates shopping!  We ended up on temple square later that evening.

While we were waiting for Linda to get there Kalten was VERY bored.  We heard commotion outside our window and looked out to see a big group of young women.  Kalten let me know that if he wasn't already a missionary he'd be there instead of inside our room.  Lol.  During this time he told me not to worry about not coming home.  He said he can't die until he's kissed a girl.  He's had 2 goals since middle school.  1.  Go on a mission.  2.  Don't kiss a girl so he could ensure he'd complete goal number one.  He also said since hope comes from our heart or brain he can tell people, "your face doesn't have hope."  Kalten started to get very antsy.  He asked me to call and see how far out Linda was.  I told him he could call but I didn't feel the need to rush her.  He called and said, "My mom is getting really impatient and wants to know where you are." Lol.  He has always tried to do what he can to embarrass me.  Later they said they didn't catch that.  That was one of those moments I realized I shouldn't have said anything, they'd never have known, lol.  At one point they called us and Kalten answered in Spanish.  The poor kid was dying for entertainment.  A few hours with me and Tim knowing he could have been in Lagoon was tough on him.

We had another experience that I won't share all the details.  It would be a TMI moment.  Let me just say that I ended up with Tim in the bathroom right as Linda got there and it was not pretty.  It was one of those timing moments that are shocking.  There was no way I could let Linda and Lindsey in our room.  I decided I trusted my dearest friend and her amazing daughter and my son and told Kalten to go sit with them outside without me (his companion).  He threw me his bottle of cologne and said, "Please use as much of this as you need and chuckled as he went out."  As it was, I decided it was a cry or laugh moment.  I laughed hysterically, did what I needed to do in a bathroom the size of a postage stamp and then threw away a pair of Tim's shoes, used half a bottle of cologne and rushed out to recompanion (Like that word?) him and see my friend.

After our visit we had a few hours before picking up Kevin and the girls from Lagoon.  Kalten was not able to do much.  His creative juices were working though so he edited his Superhero picture to hold a Book of Mormon and wear a name tag and I posted it on his facebook profile.  Not the typical 'I'm going on a two year mission' photo but it's very Kalten.

The next day we all went to temple square and the mall (again for me and Kalten though we saw much more the 2nd day).  Kevin, Kalten and I had wanted to do a session at the SLC temple but it was closed for renovations.  Kalten got a lot of comments because he was in a suit.  Evidently, many families end up on temple square on Tuesdays before dropping off their young men to the MTC.  One sister told us that she can always tell which young men are prepared and excited to serve because they're in their suits and ties instead of civilian attire even though they don't have the name tag yet.  Neicia was more supportive than the rest of us.  She wore a skirt so Kalten wasn't the only one dressed up.  She wore the tie-skirt she made.  She also got a lot of compliments.  The two of them had a contest to see who could score more comments.  I believe it was Neicia. Lol.

That night the girls went swimming at the hotel pool and Kalten and I vegged.  We were both very caught up in our thoughts of him going to the MTC the next day.  I had found a chapter in Alma 38 where he talks to his son, Shiblon while serving a mission.  The words were so much of what I was feeling as a mom that I knew I'd want to use it in a "going away" letter to Kalten.  I wrote him a letter as we sat there, using much of that chapter, substituting his name for Shiblon's.  I especially loved how the chapter ended:  "And may the Lord bless your soul and receive you at the last day into his kingdom to sit down in peace.  Now go my son and teach the word unto this people.  Be sober, my son, farewell."  I think sitting there, writing that letter, it hit me hard.  No longer would I have him like he is.  This was really it.  The apron string, what was left of it, was going to be completely severed within a few hours. I wouldn't see him for 2 years.  It was the first I'd felt sadness.  Not a feeling I'd expected.  I knew I'd miss him, I knew my paranoid self would fear for him, I definitely was thrilled for him.  In fact my joy was on overload.  What a mixed set of emotions.  Another feeling that would catch me off guard was depression.  That didn't hit until after we dropped him off.  I'm still feeling waves of it.  I don't know if that's normal.  Part of me is filled with happiness and joy yet, I'm depressed.  I'm not sure how to make sense of it.  Hopefully it's normal.

Anyway, after our thoughts and letter(s) Kevin and I took him to the Olive Garden.  We walked about 5 city blocks to get there.  I loved that time with him.  Kevin and I were able to just enjoy him.  He was more somber than usual.  The reality of things was definitely settling over us.  Kalten told us how ready he was.  He said he had no fears or anxieties, just anxiousness.  He also talked (this had come up a few times) about being sick of all the advice he was getting.  Mainly because there was so much of it, it was all different, and it seemed to come from everyone.  We left the restaurant with our food.  None of us ate as much as we usually would.  Kalten filled up on breadsticks and salad and didn't even touch his entree.  As we were walking back to our hotel we passed a man with a sign that read, "homeless, hungry, please help."  Kalten walked up to him and offered the food.  The mad laughed at him and said, "I need money for clothes, not food!"  I realized that Kalten would soon be faced with things he's unfamiliar with, things he's been sheltered from.  I know on a mission there is still some sheltering but there is also a realization of how other people live, a different reality than our own is a good way of saying it I guess.

In another block or so we met up with some missionaries.  One was from back east.  I want to say West Virginia but I may be wrong.  He told Kalten he'd like to give him a piece of advice.  We chuckled.  He said that from here on out he'd be a Buckeye fan.  Kalten laughed and said finally some advice he'd be ignoring.  He said he brought a BSU t-shirt and blanket and he'd always be true to BSU, lol.  He tried to give his food to the elders and they wouldn't take it either.  They recommended strongly that he eat it before going into the MTC- we wondered what that meant?  Eeks.  In case anyone is wondering, that food was accidentally left in the hotel room.

The next morning we left in time to see more family.  We made a quick visit to my Grandma Jenks, Kalten's other great-grandma.  We very rarely get to see her so it was a real treat.  She let the kids ride "Jazzy," her hoveround.  She told them to go in the hallway (that all the entrances open to) and see how fast it could go.  Did I mention Kevin considered himself a kid as well?  I'm the only one that didn't take a spin on it.  Those babies can move.  Another older lady came out and got a bit crotchety with them.  The kids loved that their grandma was the cool one, lol.

After grandma we had a very short visit with our niece Tosha.  It would have been nice to spend a little more time with her.  Luckily, we'd seen her just a couple weeks before at her sister, Kaitlyn's wedding.

We arrived at the MTC with about 10 minutes to spare.  We parked at a park across from the MTC- as did a TON of other families, to say our goodbyes.  As I got out of the car I broke down.  The family all laughed at me.  Kalten gave me a hug and the girls scrambled to film me making a fool out of myself.  We took a couple quick pictures - Someone remind me to get the girls into some photography lessons please.  Kalten, Kevin and I were looking at different cameras, had terrible expressions etc.  I forgot to mention earlier that I had forgotten my camera, so no decent pictures of the entire trip.  We have pictures taken with the tablet and a phone.  Kalten's camera had the battery in a separate/ packed place for most of the trip.
Kevin and Trina

Not pretty but these are all we have.
After our sufficient but quick goodbye we got in the car while I continued to cry.  I told Kalten how proud of him I was, that my tears weren't only out of sadness but out of joy because of his choices and how he is living his life, as the Savior would want.  We were guided through the parkinglot buy some overly zealous but very funny elders guiding traffic.  The next thing I knew we pulled up to a sidewalk, an elder approached when Kalten and the girls jumped out of the car.  Kalten gave us all hugs again while Kevin grabbed his bags then he hugged his dad and smiled big.  I think by this time Kalten was ready to RUN inside.  After one last quick hug for me he was off.  I watched him as far as I could- those darn square pillar things robbed me of a good 10 seconds of the back of his head!

Then it was over.  The whole MTC scene lasted about 3 minutes. Our world will be forever changed.  We drove off and I cried.  Trevin texted just a few minutes too late, "Tell Kalten I love him".  We put it in a letter the next morning.  I wanted to cry harder but I knew my family was watching and had probably had enough of my boobing over the past few days.  As we drove through Provo McKenna handed me an envelope.  I opened it to find a locket that said, "Missionary Mom" and a letter, that told me he loved me and appreciated me but it was mostly about how he knew I'd be bawling like a baby.  A couple years ago I was quite emotional one day and he made a joke that I'd cry at the word zebra.  At that point I started crying and it's become a personal joke with him.  The PS. in the letter at the MTC simply said, "Zebra."

We all put letters to him in a box with soda, an air freshener (we thought that might be a good idea with all those boys on a new diet) some soda, Twinkies, a bunch of other stuff and shipped it to him.  We wanted him to get his first care package within the first couple days.

If you made it through this I'm impressed!  If so please do comment below.  Let me know if you actually found it interesting or you were desperate to kill time.

Friday, August 3, 2012


What a busy week!  I've had very little time to think of the fact that I'll be dropping my son, Kalten (Call- ten) off to go on a church mission for two years.  That might be good or I'd be in tears constantly.  I have no doubt that once we hit the car the tears will come, and more than once.  Sometimes out of pride.  I'm just so proud of my 19 year old that has chosen to serve the Lord for two years before he worries about himself.  I am proud of a son who loves the Lord.  A typical boy of this age would usually be concerned about girls, college, career, video games etc.  I think it's rare to find a young man who loves the Lord so much that he's willing to put his own life on hold to serve others.  The Savior taught, "When you are in the service of your fellow beings you are only in the service of your God."  He also taught, "For whosoever shall save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."  When he returns I know his life will be much richer because of the things he finds in himself and those things that he learns that will enrich and strengthen him.

I will also cry tears because two years is a long time.  I love him so much!  We've been very close from day one.  He'll be the first to tell you he's a mama's boy.  I do feel like part of me is getting ready to detach a leg or something.  He's part of me.  Yes, two years feels like forever.  Speaking of forever, I have no doubt that us giving him up for this two years will help us on our path to being a forever family.

I will also cry tears because of the unknown.  He really doesn't need me around to take care of him anymore but I still worry about all of my children's safety.  For some reason this scares me.  If something happened to him on his mission I wouldn't see him again in this life.  I can't think about it much more than that.  My heart may explode.  But I do find comfort in knowing that a prophet parent once felt the same, Mosiah 28: 5-7 "And it came to pass that they did plead with their father many days that they might go up to the land of Nephi.  And king Mosiah went and inquired of the Lord if he should let his sons go up among the Lamanites to preach the word.  And the Lord said unto Mosiah:  Let them go up, for many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life; and I will deliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites."
Mosiah too was nervous for his sons to go on a mission.  For those who aren't members of our church it's helpful to know that the sons of Mosiah were Nephites,  Lamanites were their enemies and their desire up to this point was to rid the world of Nephites.  King Mosiah had much more reason to worry than I do.  I would imagine the people in Ohio are wonderful and will help to take care of my son.  It does warm my heart the sentence spoken to Mosiah, "Let them go up, for many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life: and I will deliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites."  My son will be protected.

My emotions are swimming near the surface.  Most are amazingly good emotions.  I love the Lord, I'm grateful that this son of mine does too.  All our lives will be blessed by his service in sharing this love with others.  Does it get better than this?  I doubt it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Parent's Sweet-Revenge

I am very aware that I posted my son's mission call on our family blog Browning Dirt but not here.  Why?  I have no idea.  I could have posted on both.  I guess maybe I thought people with a personal interested in it would go to my family site.  It has been brought to my attention though, that it's "the funniest thing" at least one person, "has ever seen" and it should have also been posted on Youtube for the whole world to see Kevin and I get back at our son for all the years of teasing, joking, embarrassing, pranking etc.  What was I thinking? Lol.  So even though some of you may have already seen this, and because it was strongly advised by my friend Heather, I'm sharing our FAKE mission call prank we pulled on Kalten, here on Tidbits For Trina.   Also it's fitting since his farewell is this weekend.

Here's the short background.  Everyone who knows Kalten can attest to the fact that he'll do anything for a laugh, including but not limited to hiding from his school teacher on top of a cabinet, writing an essay about his hot mom, eating an entire box of Twinkies in about 3 minutes for his senior talent show while his class sang the Twinkie song and constantly putting yellow food coloring in the toilet to make me crazy.

My husband and I have been looking for a way to get back at Kalten (for years), but he's always a step-ahead of us.  Then we got creative.  I wrote a fake mission call thinking it would be funny if he and all who came to hear him read his call thought it was real then slowly realized it was fake- as we added a bit of Star Wars.  We looked at a real one then copied the way it looked enough that it would pass...right down to the letter head and a postal stamp on the envelope.  When his real one came we hijacked it and switched it out for the fake, keeping the real one aside for after the joke.  I've posted what the letter actually said after the video.


Here is what it said:

Dear Elder Browning,

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the Las Vegas, Nevada Mission.  It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 24 months.

You should report to the missionary training center in Provo, Utah on Wednesday June 23, 2012.  You will prepare to teach the gospel in the Calmarian language.  Your mission president may modify your specific call according to the needs of the mission.  

You have been recommended as one worth to serve in the City of Sin.  Because of your diligence in keeping the commandments of God you will serve as a special missionary called to help cleanse this Sodom and Gomorrah like city of its great iniquity.  It will take a superior amount of study and being on guard of the ways of the adversary, to not fall prey to the evil ways of your surroundings.

Your purpose will be to seek those souls who've been tempted and fallen to the dark side and help them come unto Christ.  As you serve diligently your mission president, General Ackbar, will be a strenth and guid to you.  We wish you luck with your future endeavors as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  May the force be with you.


                                                     George Lucas

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Leading With Laughter

I've been substitute chorister in church for the past couple weeks.  Each week I've had to force down giggles.  It's just not the appropriate time to break into laughter.

The first time I won't say much about. (Only that which others were there to witness, without names.)  I'll only say that out-of-the-blue one of the men who's singing voice I've never heard before was singing above the rest of the congregation, in a somewhat off-key operatic voice.  Really, what was funny was just that it was so unexpected.  Who knew he had those pipes?  I actually handled it quite well.  I kept a very straight face and pretended nothing was out of the ordinary, but the woman in front of him threw her head back then almost doubled over with laughter when she couldn't handle it any longer.  What is it about seeing another person react that makes it so much harder to contain ones-self?  I caught myself before I got past a small smile, which wasn't easy, then kept my eyes focused on the other side of the room.  I'm happy to say I don't think anyone knew I was fighting my own giggles.
Conductor of the Tabernacle Choir - Mack Wilberg
(I can pretend right?)

Sunday, my own daughter had me trying not to giggle.  My family was sitting on the second row of the chapel.  I was up in front and had just started to lead the opening hymn.  My daughter whispered loudly, "What page are we on?"  Seriously?  I was wondering if she'd been hit in the head or something.  Did she actually think I was going to yell it down to her?  Did she want me to stop the organist and congregation while I said, "Jessica, the hymn number is 30," wait for her to get to the correct page then start up again?  She definitely wanted to know more than the nothing I was giving her because she kept it up.  I was honestly trying not to laugh at her ignorance of the position I was in.  I started moving my head in the direction of the wall behind me where the page numbers are posted.  Did you know it's difficult to bob your head in the direction of behind you while trying to lead to a hymn that changes from 4/4 timing to 3/4 timing every 2 measures?  I found that out the hard way.  Anyway, after my head bobbing, Jessica then whispers loudly, "You're in the way!"  Was I to shuffle to the right or left for her?  Nope.  Time to learn a lesson in preparation.  Next time surely, she'd have to look at the page number before the chorister is standing in her way, or listen to it announced at the pulpit, or read it in the bulletin.  What a turkey.  Surely, she'd learn from this.  Right?  Wrong!  I'm the one that learned.  I learned that she didn't learn anything.  I stood up to lead the next song, the sacrament song and she whispered up to me, "You're in the way again!"  I learned a few other things about her too.  I should probably not say them publicly.  I'll let you figure them out on your own. Lol.

It did bring back a memory that I may or may not have mentioned before.  When my boys were just little I ended up at church, leading the music without my husband.  I let my 3 year old son join me on the stand to sit, thinking he could sit nicely while I led the music.  It was an old building.  The sacrament table was a few feet to the left of where I stood on the stand rather than below it which is more typical for an LDS church building.  As I was conducting I noticed my little guy standing next to me.  That was fine until he scooted to the left, just out of reach.  He then scooted some more and reached up and snagged a piece of bread the young men were breaking.  Leading with my right hand I tried to grab him with my left.  Too far away.  He snagged another piece of bread.  The young men just smiled.  The people in the congregation who were actually looking up from their hymnals just snickered.  No one to the rescue.  Trevin snacked on bread while I finished leading the music, looking like a tomato with eyes.  I was holding back some giggles that day too.

What have your kids done to embarrass you at church or during an inopportune moment?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Now THAT was customer service!

I just had, what I think, is a phone call that will never be duplicated in my lifetime.  Maybe that's going overboard but it's a first for me, and I'm well into my 40's (shhhh!).  So chances are if these calls happen every 43 years or so I'll be at the end of my life or dead the next time one comes around.

Let me tell you the background, not to go on a tangent about the mistake in one company and possibly incompetent employees of another but to just help you understand the end of the story (which is why I'm blogging about this).  Wednesday, my husband and children left town to our family reunion.  I was unable to go.  The morning they left my husband was concerned because during the night a charge hit our checking account from TiVo.  A company we haven't done any business with for a year.  I told him I'd take care of it after work and sent him on his way.  Later that day I went to our Wells Fargo branch and they said I'd need to work it out between their 800# and TiVo.  I went home and called TiVo who realized the mistake, apologized and issued credit.  I called the bank to see if they would reverse the fees, a $35 charge for overdrawing the account with the TiVo charge and an overdraft fee of $35 for a Redbox. (I refuse to spend $36.20 on an overnight movie rental that was so unimpressive I can't even remember the name- Call me cheap.)

Wells Fargo said they'd be unable to reverse those charges until the credit showed up from TiVo and that is typically 10-14 business days!  Unacceptable!  I need access to my funds.  The WF associate then said if I had them call the merchant line so they could hear from TiVo first-hand that the fees were being reversed they could issue the $70 credit and a temporary credit of the TiVo charge of $129 so I'd have access to all my money.  Good deal- that's what I wanted/needed.  I asked for the number to the merchant line and he replied they can't give it out but to have TiVo call the 800# and ask to be transferred.  TiVo agreed to call.  That was Wednesday evening.  Yesterday I was gone most of the day and evening.  There was no time to make sure the credits were showing.  I knew I needed to give it a couple days anyway.

Today after work I checked and noticed no credits still.  I called Wells Fargo to ask why and they let me know that Tivo hadn't called in.  The WF associate looked over the account while on the phone and didn't seem to have any problems with what we were trying to do. It was when I called TiVo that I found out they'd tried to no avail.   TiVo needed my pin # to my card and my checking account # and the last 4 of my SSN to get through the auto dialer.  I wasn't willing to give them that info (I've already dealt with identity theft- not going there again!) so we did a 3 way call so I could push the buttons and get the info through the system without giving private info to an associate at TiVo.  

Longer story shorter, a very nice TiVo associate named Chelsea helped me.  We talked to 3 associates in 2 departments who kept passing the issue to each other.  One department wasn't allowed to speak with me, the other wasn't allowed to speak with her.  One even went so far as to make me repeat everything Chelsea said on the 3 way call since she couldn't communicate with Chelsea even with my permission- forget the fact she could hear her.  WF let me know this could have been  resolved if  "I" had handled things properly and called WF before TiVo issued the credit....I should have known.  How silly of me.  The final word, Wells Fargo said I could wait until Wed. then if the credit hadn't shown up (which it probably wouldn't) I could file a complaint against TiVo, which would get me my temporary credit 2 days after that!  They got a little hard to deal with for both me and Chelsea.  At one point on our call they made her disconnect from me and call them again alone.  They caused her a lot of time wasted- I've worked for call centers before.  I know in most companies your call length and volume can directly impact your pay and reviews.  She didn't seem to be bothered at all, even after we'd been on the phone for almost an hour.  She made such an impact on me that I said a quick repentance prayer for my unkind feelings and shortness with a couple WF associates.  

By the time we were done I was almost in tears.  Chelsea was absolutely sweet.  When I wanted to be short with the WF associates Chelsea was Christ-like and kind and reminded me through her example that she's above that, certainly I could be as well.  When we hung up Chelsea was very apologetic for her company's mistake that caused this problem for me.  It's not over here though....And here's the part I wanted to blog about:

Two hours later I got a call from Chelsea.  She told me that she couldn't get the call out of her mind and asked if we could call WF and talk to someone different.  (Was she really up to another hour on the phone?  TiVo was closing in only 30 minutes.)  She didn't like knowing that I was in a bind.  I couldn't believe it.  Surely, she could have just moved on, taken more calls upped her stats, know that she'd tried.  And hard.  It wasn't enough for her though.  She cared more about me than she did any ill affects these calls may have on her job, let alone her sanity.  I was impressed with Chelsea.  I think her manager will get a very nice letter about her.  I thanked her, let her know I'll be alright and that we don't need to do that.  I also let her know I've never been called back by an employee of any company, wanting to go the extra mile.  I want to be more like Chelsea.

May we resolve from this day forward to fill our hearts with love. May we go the extra mile to include in our lives any who are lonely or downhearted or who are suffering in any way. May we “[cheer] up the sad and [make] someone feel glad.”   President Thomas S. Monson May We So Live.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Angels on Earth

Not long ago I announced I'd be going back to work Will Work For Food.  This week I did it- as a developmental therapy tech.  I was a bit apprehensive to say the least.  I'm a stay at home mom all the way through the heart- but it's mostly for mom reasons we are finding this necessary.  Now I see it as a blessing.  No, I don't mean a financial blessing.  I'm talking about the fact that I get to go to work with angels every day. Two sets of them.  I am very impressed with the facility I work for.  The staff's rapport with each other is great, everyone is positive and happy to be there.  They treat the clients with the utmost respect.  I watched for an hour and a half as one of my associates, after constantly questioned, reminded a client of the time and how much longer until it was time to go home approximately every 2 minutes- no exaggeration (35-40 times).  You'd never know if it became annoying to her.

That brings me to the greatest part of my work- the clients.  They are the true angels, special spirits from heaven paired with simple minds and complicated bodies.  I get hugs, high-fives and smiles everywhere I go.  In the lunchroom they all beg me to sit by them.  Someone accomplishes something and everyone claps and cheers.  It takes very little to entertain them.  One comment like "Fire in the hole" and they all crack up.  They don't need much, just a little love, patience and guidance and they're thrilled.

I can't help but think it's how we all should be.  Easily satisfied, non-judgmental, happy to help, happy to be alive, no matter the hardships we have.  As frustrations arise when I have too many things to do in my day I only need remember that I have these responsibilities because I've been given MUCH- things like two working legs, a mind that although somewhat flighty has the ability to calculate 1+2, the ability to get a drink by myself without getting lost walking across the hallway.  Yes, I'm fortunate, I'm lucky, I'm blessed.  I have a working mind and body......And I'm working with angels.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Perilous Duck Crossings

Ducks crossing highway
A few weeks ago our family was driving into Boise, ID.  We were travelling in the left lane of the freeway, a concrete barrier on the left side of us, cars on the right.  Suddenly a mother duck and her babies following behind started across the freeway.  The car just ahead and to the right barely missed the little ducks.  I had to do some good maneuvering to miss them as well and everyone in the car inhaled sharply as I came within just inches.  I'm sure the mother didn't realize that she was leading her family toward a concrete barrier which would stop their progression and complicate keeping her family safe even further.  But certainly she had to know that crossing a busy street was potentially hazardous.  The only way out would be to backtrack that treacherous and possibly perilous road before they could reach safety.

I wonder how often we, as parents, lead our children into dangerous ground thinking nothing about it.  Possibly we watch inappropriate TV shows with less than virtuous messages.  Maybe it's music.  Perhaps we lead them into dangerous ground with our attitudes or negative language.

It is more important than ever that we realize our children follow us, whether we want them to or not, they're watching and most likely will emulate our actions.  From the time they're born they learn by watching and imitating us or doing those things we teach them- everything from talking to eating to dressing to running.  It doesn't stop once they hit elementary and have other teachers and friends to follow.  They continue to watch us.  To imitate.  What a terrible feeling when we realize our kids have followed us into dangerous territory and we have a lot of fixing to do.  What makes it worse is that there are no guarantees that our children will follow us back across that treacherous ground and into safe territory again.

The best option is to just keep ourselves in the safety of the Lord's commandments in the first place.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Accidental Overdose

Have you ever been going through motions, not really paying attention to what's happening and WHAM!  You make a huge mistake?  This was me last night.  My back has been out since last Saturday.  After quite a few days of not getting any better I decided it's time to hit my hard core meds.  I hate taking these because they've been known to make me hallucinate (creepy old men looking at me from behind a curtain that isn't there, momma duck and her babies strolling through my kitchen) and they make me sleep hard but when I wake up I feel like I'm in a fog.  It was time though.  I decided to alternate my meds.  One soma, then 3 ibuprofen, one soma, 3 ibuprofen... Last night I went to take my soma, apparently in the ibuprofen mode, and took 3 of them.  I realized this just as I swallowed.  I immediately went to the bathroom and threw up (shudder, ick, eww!) everything I've eaten in the past month but no sign of the pills.  Next step, call poison control.  The good news was I probably wouldn't die.  The bad news was my husband had to keep me up until 3am just to make sure.  Poor guy, constantly shaking me, "Trina, wake up!"  Needless to say, this morning we're both miserable...I think.  I could be hallucinating.

The fog is starting to clear.  I was thinking that it's similar to going through motions in life, not really paying attention to what's important, not worrying about our actions then WHAM!  We realize we've let the adversary get a hold on us.  Maybe we realize because we do something stupid that sort of wakes us up from our stupor.  Maybe it's someone else or a life event that makes us aware.  In either case we have to do what it takes to get back on track and change our behaviors so it doesn't happen again.  I think it's also important to be aware that just because our choices are ours, doesn't mean they don't affect those around us.  Ask my husband this morning.  He'll back me up.

I have no idea how to end this post I'm not quite that cleared up enough.  More good news though.  I didn't hallucinate!  Weird.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I'd like a burger and three regular sized sodas, please.

Sunday night was the Miss USA pageant.  We love watching the interview section of pageants.  How the ladies handle themselves under pressure.  Whether they answer the way they feel or answer the way they think the judges want them to.  Their answers can be very telling.

Miss Georgia, Jasmyn Wilkins, was the first of the top 5 to answer an interview question.  This is what she was asked, “The Mayor of New York City plans to ban the sale of large, sugary drinks. Does this go too far?”  This was her answer, “I don’t think it goes too far, you know.  Those drinks have so much sugar in them, and they are unhealthy for you. They are kinda delicious. I love to have my Big Gulp when I go to7-11. But I think that it is a little bit too much, and I’m glad that they are putting some sort of restrictions on it. So. I think it’s a good thing.”

I'm becoming more and more amazed at the amount of people who think force is the best way to handle things.  When my kids were little I worried about them touching the stove top.  I took precautions to help their safety.  Put the handles toward the back of the stove rather than hanging over the top where little fingers could grab at it for instance.  I also taught them about hot and cold.  When the stove was on sometimes I'd pick them up and carefully put their hands just close enough they could feel heat without getting burned, but so they'd feel and understand that the stove was hot.  Then I'd explain that we don't touch things that are hot or we get burned.  As they got a little older and they could see over the top of the stove, I taught them in more detail such as if the burner is red it's hot, don't touch it.  If the oven door is warm it's probably hot inside etc.  Then when they got even older I taught them how to use the oven and stove top using safety measures.  

Never once did I move the oven out to the garage door.  Never did I build a wall around the stove and forbid my kids go near it.  I educated them and yes, I let them learn from natural consequences.   There were a couple times that a child reached up and touched the hot plate...none of them ever did it twice.

What would have happened if I'd have just taken the temptation away?  Moved the stove out to the garage, protected them from making the wrong decision?  Where would they be now?  They would be adults who haven't learned about hot ovens and stove safety.  They wouldn't be as informed and educated and they'd probably be burning themselves every time they made Ramen noodles, which is probably all they could cook too.

What about God?  Didn't he give us agency?  The right to choose wrong or right.  I'm grateful that he allowed Adam and Eve to eat that apple.  Yes, because of it they were kicked out of the garden, but because of it you and I are here as well.  Free agency is a beautiful thing.  If we are forced to choose someone else's way how will we learn and grow?  We can't.

Do you recall a time in your life when someone wouldn't allow you to make a choice you wanted?  It probably didn't go over well.  Possibly, you were even more tempted than when you had the option.   Look at how well prohibition went over.

Back to the large sugary drinks.  It's pretty well known that a 64 oz. soda is bad for us.  But by banning large drinks will that stop people from drinking lots of soda or other sugary drinks?  I say no.  Instead of drinking a can of soda can't someone drink 3?  Instead of getting the large cup at the restaurant can't someone just refill their small cup over and over?  I know that if I eat or drink ANYTHING in large quantities it's going to be bad for my body.   But does that mean that because I may not choose the right someone else should just take the option away so that I don't fail?  Of course not!  

As adults, do we really want people determining what's good for us, what's okay for us, what's allowed-and then enforcing it?   What if the next politician that comes along says ice cream is bad for us and bans it?  Then chocolate cake?  Then fried chicken?  Should restaurants only be able to serve one serving size courses?  Should you only be able to purchase a 4 oz. steak at your local steak house?  Certainly that would help this country's percentage of obesity improve.  What happens when food isn't enough?  When some politician says we're overweight because we're too idle.  Will televisions have auto turn-off timers?  Will certain religions be banned because someone decides which ones are right or wrong?  

Wherefore, men...are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death.
2 Nephi 2:27

We have to allow people to make decisions, even if they're wrong.   That's God's plan.  Who are we to say there's a better way?  If this life is a test then we must be allowed to succeed or fail.   It's often through our failures that we succeed.   Look around.  Who do you know that is strong and successful?  Do you think they ever made a wrong turn that got them to where they are now?  I'm guessing yes. 

I know what you're thinking.  They may not turn around though.  They may just keep going down the wrong road.  This is why we have such an obesity problem.  You're right.  They may not.  But that's their choice, they'll reap the consequences whether it's weight, health or both.  I guarantee that they know why their overweight or unhealthy- and taking away large sugary drinks isn't going to fix this.  If someone wants temporary pleasure instead of long-term rewards of health then that's their choice.  Why is this so hard to see?  Force is Satan's plan!

Moses 4:3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

BTW, Miss Georgia was 4th runner up.  Last place of those who answered questions.  

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