Monday, December 29, 2014

Driving in the Clouds






What a blustery night. The wind's bitter flurries swarmed around the car and across the road, giving the feeling of driving in the clouds. It was an awesome experience and unsettling at the same time when a gust would suddenly rise, covering the guiding lights and lines surrounding us. What a blessing it is to live in this magical place. I just hope that the sickness besetting so many of the little ones at this time will pass so that peace can be restored to the hearts and homes (and hospitals) where the virus is attacking and making victim its little hosts. Hold on and be strong! I hope that the medicines and medical care will adequately supplement the prayers raised up in behalf of the little ones most susceptible to the virus' attacks. <3


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

On My Way & Merry Christmas!!!



On My Way

On the one hand this photo feels a little off-centered, and it is. On the other, I love the lines from the waves to the sunset. I absolutely love it. I hope you enjoy it too. I took the picture with my phone's camera. The quality could be enhanced by a better lens; I'm so glad though to always have a 'decent' camera with me now, and can settle for an occasional sacrifice in quality as long as the beauty still enraptures my heart.




My family's first Thanksgiving Tree

Courtesy to my sister Emily for the idea/initiative, and to my niece also for her creative partnership in designing the tree.

Christmas is this week, though the theme of Thanksgiving carries over and I have so much to be grateful for, hence the Thanksgiving Tree. I'd just like to say that I am really grateful for my grandparents--my Mom's parents, and I guess more specifically her dad and step-mom. They are just the best. They bring me so much joy--ever since I was a young girl I have so many memories of barbecues, camping, boating, baptisms and other special days, recitals, concerts, chili, Christmas, bread and soup, hugs, candy, cards, so many cards, for every special day throughout the entire year, every year, every single year. That's kind of a big deal because who does that? My grandma does. I love them <3 I am so lucky to have them.

I am so lucky for my Mom that she knows what love is, and she has shared that with all of us; it's because of her too that I have all of these memories. It's easy to cut others off when the going gets hard; I am grateful that my mom still loves my family though--all of us, through the thick and the thin of it. Life is not perfect but it is sooo worth it. Relationships are not perfect, and sometimes they are so wrong in so many ways, but oh I am so grateful that my mom loves and that because of her I have so many wonderful memories of family throughout the years. Nothing can replace it.

And then of course there's my Dad. He is always there. Always. I am so grateful for him too, and for the priorities he has set in his life. It really is something.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and that whether or not you are with family that you can think fondly of the memories shared and look forward to many more to come.

Merry Christmas!





Monday, December 15, 2014

Can you find the beavers?

Hint: There are two. 
I am too tired to write anything else up, or to share one of my pretty pics, so this is it for the day. Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

There can be miracles, if you BELIEVE

Recap of the week (copied & pasted from my letter to my brother):

I know that in order to have hope for achieving something you must do something about your goal and be determined in reaching it. Faith without works is dead. However, without the atonement such hope would yet be futile for we are yet inadequate. All of us. With faith in Jesus Christ, in His atonement, then there is actually substance to our hope, for that which under no conceivable circumstances would be possible or achievable becomes so through Him. He is our only hope, if you will. Any other focus than the atonement of Jesus Christ will take us away from the beauty of His love and grace, and ultimately destroy our hope, turning us into bitter and unhappy persons, though you may find a certain measure of contentment for settling, if you will, for something which may require less of you--less time, less stress, less thought, less expectations--thinking that perhaps less is actually better, when you really have just given up ... hope ... that in spite of you, the Lord will pull through, if you will just believe and continue in faith.

Today's picture is of a turtle. Can you see it?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Perfect Mountain Bumps!


Oh I love this picture. I love it! I love it so much! There is so much beauty around us! Today I was thinking about it, about all of the things that I love. I think that as children we are in tune with what we love, and that which we love and are inspired by is not hinged on others as much as it comes from within. There is so much joy to be had in living! And looking forward to the beauty that surrounds us. And there is so much of it! Even in the desert lands I traversed on my way to California to visit my sister and her family for the Thanksgiving Holiday.


"If there is anything virtuouslovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, . . ." I ". . . seek after these things" (The Articles of Faith verse 14). Oh do I! It is what fills my cup to overflowing.


Have a wonderful week everyone! I hope that you will see the beauty in the life you live and in the life all around you. What a gift it is to live and to love and to explore all the gifts from Heaven above!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Today I Set a Bird Free


I was out for a walk to the ponds with my dog and as we passed a flowerbed on the right I noticed a little ruffle among a few of the brown leaves in the bed. I paused to see a cute little bird flitting about, fly-hopping maybe a couple inches or so to protect itself. I thought it odd that the bird didn't just fly away so I bent down to have a closer look at what its trouble might be. There was a small piece of wood near its foot that followed the bird where it hopped to. When I reached down to see how the wood was attached, the bird hopped away from my hand..taking the wood with it. The wood turned over in one of the bird's futile hops to reveal a mouse trap on the other side. The bird had been caught in a mouse trap!

I still couldn't see if it was the tip of its wing or the bird's foot that was clamped, but I saw what looked to be blood near the edge of the wood where the bird was caught. Of course when I reached down to pick it up the bird hopped away again, this time stranding itself near the plants. Standing in a crouch in the flowerbed now, I lifted the wood up slightly so as not to cause more injury to the bird. I now saw clearly that the bird's foot was caught in the trap and had bled onto the board. Feeling for the bird, I lifted the metal trapping pinning its foot, expecting the bird to fly right off. It was several seconds, however, before the bird took lift. I don't know how a bird's system of recovery works, but I hope that since the feet are so tiny that it will survive the injury and make a complete recovery. The bird will likely need to learn to cope with standing on one foot. Poor bird. I am glad that I heard it fluttering. And to think that the residents of the house were just trying to catch a pestering mouse--or who knows what--but instead injured a little bird. How unfortunate.

I did not capture any of this on video or camera, though I had my phone with me. Yes it would be interesting to view, but I couldn't make the bird suffer any longer for my own pleasure, or the pleasure of others who may be reading this. I'd rather attend to the bird, which I did.

I wonder how many of us are like the little bird, though, and get caught in traps that are intended for other people, or things. It's really sad. (I suppose I have a bias for birds over mice and other vermin. Oh well. Vermin are vermin, and birds are birds. But for the analogy ...) I feel for those who get caught in traps made for other purposes, and I hope that recovery and healing will come to ease the wounds and injuries incurred. I hope that there will be those who will notice the little birds fluttering about in the corner of our eyes, making futile attempts to hop away for safety.





Monday, December 1, 2014

Road Trip Takes


I'll be opening up a new page for road trip pictures. I'm not one for taking pictures much, except for when I'm traveling. I don't know why. I just like to enjoy being with people, I suppose, and living in the moment. When I am with people I feel like having a phone or camera out is more of a distraction--unless taking pictures is a joint activity and is done more for comedic effect.

This picture was taken near the area of Battle Mountain, Nevada. I absolutely love these mountains! I love the folds! Maybe someday I'll draw or paint the image. Maybe :) It is so beautiful!

I won't always have the location of the pictures I post. That's something I'll have to work on. This just happens to be a lucky example, I suppose.

Have a wonderful Monday everybody! Good luck getting a great start to the week ahead of you!


Side Note:

The new page (to be created) is partly owing to all the other artists who have shared their pictures on social media pages. Pictures can really open your mind to a whole new world of beauty and wonder. I am grateful to the inviting artists I have come across who have captured the gift of life in its many different shapes and forms, and then opened their treasures to share it with the world. I have desired to give back for some time, in somewhat of a similarly personal way. Facebook collections just don't cut it for me. They're a bit impersonal for my tastes, so you won't find much there from me. I hope you enjoy the artwork, most of which will be unedited/unaltered by photoshop or other such programs, and I don't own a fancy shmancy camera so the quality won't exactly be pristine! I really just don't have the time or money for that kind of editing or work, and I believe that, when viewed in its best light, mother nature doesn't need that kind of editing to capture us with her beauty. I have seen some magnificent edits, though, and I do appreciate that form of artwork as well--especially when the photos are old or in decay, or need an improvement in lighting, etc., in order for its beauty to reveal itself :)



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Some Say Love ...



"... it is a river
And that it drowns the tender reed
And some say love, it's like a razor
And that it leaves your soul to bleed.

Some say love, it is a hunger
An endless aching need ..."

"The Rose" by Amanda McBroom


Today I attended sacrament services with my sister and brother-in-law's family--A very young member of their congregation, or ward, had passed away the week previous; the members were in mourning. Talks were given on the plan of salvation and on grief. My brother-in-law, bishop of the ward, spoke a few words on the godliness of grief and mourning. It was comforting to me, to be in the room and to embrace the feeling of mourning shared by all. Normally it seems grief is experienced in a lonely and misunderstood sort of way. It was a beautiful thing to step into the environment they had created where it was safe to feel; it was even relieving, and very touching.

I am grateful for that experience, and to have been there with my sister's children who, previous to my arrival, were sitting alone. Their dad was at the front on one of the seats behind the podium, and my sister was at home attending to the youngest ones who are ill with the flu. What a trooper my sister and her husband are. I could say the same of any of my siblings, really. What an amazing bunch of people.

One of the sacrament meeting speakers taught that when you open yourself to love, and to love deeply, you also make yourself vulnerable to grief, profound grief, should something come between you and your love. But it is worth it. Grief can be wearing, but should one succumb to overwhelming grief it is comforting to know that the grief is itself an expression of profound love. Contrary to the belief that "if I had more faith I would not suffer so," it may just be that the expression of our loss endears us all the more to those we love and our Father above.

Though bitterness and anger are normal parts of the grieving process, I have found that ultimate healing comes only when I am willing to acknowledge the love I have for the other person, or whatever it is I grieve the loss of. This can be difficult, and sometimes even counterintuitive, depending on the context. I know of no other way to access the healing balm of Gilead, however, than to seek for that love which overcometh all things.

I just want to thank my brother-in-law and his family for being a part of my life, and for sharing their love with me. I want to thank both of my brother-in-laws, actually, and their families, and my sister-in-laws as well and their families, for the love and examples they share as well. Families may operate on a wave of emotions more often than we like, or are comfortable/capable of coping with at times, but they are also the only entities that function and will support one another, for better or worse, during better or worse, and in spite of our/others' better or worst. Where there are exceptions, there is God.

I am so grateful.

"When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been to long
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong

Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose..."

"The Rose" by Amanda McBroom

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Refiner's Fire




Key Notes From The Video


Patterns:

My plan ... I wanted ... so that's what I was/am doing

Then suddenly ... My plans/goals are altered, or need to be altered


The Lady's Response To The Change In Her Plans ...

"I began to think: 'Maybe I couldn't do this. Maybe I wasn't strong enough.' I began to think that I might fail."

"It's not always about us, like we're not going through this because we need to change, or we're not good enough. I became someone ... more capable of helping others, and of having compassion, and of understanding at an intimate level ...what other people go through."

". . . I find a great deal of joy in using the things that I've learned to help other people--especially families who have children with cancer. One of my missions in life is to comfort others who are going through cancer. And I know how to do it because I've been through it."

"To me it's like Newton's law: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Equal. and Opposite. So I think the greater our sorrow is, the greater our capacity to feel joy."

"I've been surprised. I feel a great deal of tenderness toward my Savior because he really is so sweet. He really does provide what you need."


My Belief/Response To The Video


I believe that God loves each one of us--no matter what we are called to go through in life. No person on this earth has suffered more for others than Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer. And it was in love that Christ was called to suffer the "pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind . . . that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities" and "that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance . . . And . . . take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people" (Alma 7:11-13).

I believe that it was love, profound love for us and Heavenly Father, that inspired the Savior to accept his calling to pass through an immeasurably hot furnace of fire with faith, hope and diligence--in order to redeem us from sin and from sorrow.

I agree with Peter's perspective on enduring suffering in patience, no matter the cause: "...What glory is it," he said, "if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. . . . For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully . . ."

". . . For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously . . ." and bore "our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness," that by his stripes we may be healed" (1 Peter 2:19-25).

I find it significant that Peter who teaches of enduring suffering patiently was the one who first rebuked Jesus Christ for prophesying that "he must suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes" in Jerusalem, "and be killed, and be raised again the third day" (Matthew 16: 21-24).

Peter's rebuke, "Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee," was an offense to the Lord, for it demonstrated that Peter "savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men," for the Lord's mission on this earth could be accomplished no other way. Whereafter the Lord counseled Peter and the rest of his disciples, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

Thus, in order for the Lord to fulfill his mission on this earth--to bring about the salvation of mankind--he also was called to pass through the the refiner's fire.

It is my prayer that when I am called to endure, and pass through the refiner's fire, and anyone else reading this post--be it in the present or in the future, or the way reflect on our burdens of the past--that we will seek to do so patiently, with a grateful heart, and that we will find peace and strength in the Lord--not the peace that "the world giveth", but in the love of God and the love of our fellow men (John 14:27).

May ". . . the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen," and "settle you" (1 Peter 5:10). This is my prayer. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Other Resources:

Adversity, by President Henry B. Eyring (2009, General Conference, April)


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bathroom Tile Treasures



Can you find . . .

  • A Woman's Face (a few women's faces, actually)
  • A Miniature Doxen (Dog) Running 
  • A Bunny's Head (or a dog's head if you were to ask my niece and nephew lol)
  • A Scottish Terrior (Dog) Looking Back (from Lady and the Tramp
  • A Woman's Eyes (just a eye shot)

I love tile, so much! When my dad updated some of the rooms in the house and put tile in the bathrooms upstairs I found aesthetic appreciation for tile beyond its wonderfully earthy feel. I love playing eye spy in the bathroom, lol. Oftentimes I'll find objects without even looking for them. They'll just pop out. For a few years now I've thought about capturing them, but now I'm actually doing it! Haha. Happy searching! 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Lord, is it I?"



I meant to share this early this morning. I'll have to go back and share some other video that I think is amazing and had the same desire to share it with everybody, but I wanted it to be separate from the normal feed. So I figured out the technical stuff this morning to create a separate feed for the things I feel so inspired by that I just cannot keep it to myself anymore, and am just now putting this up! Yay! I hope you love it as much as I do!
...
Now that I've published this post I've discovered a few bugs and realize I haven't really solved my problem with creating a separate feed for these posts. I knew the home page would show all the posts, of course, but I'd prefer to get a separate feed working and I don't have time to fix the bugs right now. It's late and I have other things to do. Sorry it's not working yet! Eventually I'll come up with a design that's not super annoying. Until then, WYSIWYG :) It's kind of annoying, but hopefully you can get past that! Thanks for your patience!

Monday, November 10, 2014

More Faces







More faces I drew yesterday. I'll get back to writing soon...

Monday, October 27, 2014

In the Meantime ...

The Dragon Game

My thoughts that were baking a few weeks ago are, unfortunately (or fortunately?), still baking. I write a little bit more on the topic each week. Aaand I just haven't drawn any pics because I've been putting the time into that. This is why I originally intended to prepare blog posts this year, and then start posting next year. I guess there is something to be said for 'real-time' posting though.

But in the meantime...

I spent a few extra minutes tonight to take a picture of my nephew's artwork to share with you. I really should be asleep. I am getting over a cold and still have a respiratory infection to conquer, but here I am. I can't help laughing, I love his dragon game so much, but it hurts my throat to laugh--every time! Oh well. The price one must pay for love <3 Worth it.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Baking Girl






Thoughts Baking Today: 



I spent the evening talking with my Sister-in-law. And so . . . I'll have to finish this tomorrow :) I really don't have a clue how the mommy bloggers stay so consistent. I guess it's just not as high on my priority list. Sorry!





Monday, September 22, 2014

Faces II

Hope has many faces, showing itself in a number of ways. A web search for the word ‘hope’ brings up images of a small light shining in the depth of musky darkness, of a bright light shining in wide-open beautiful blue skies—a candle, a light, new life, birds in flight, sapling seeds, miracles, and words. Quotes appear to reveal that hope is real. It changes everything. It whispers ‘maybe’ when it seems the entire world is shouting ‘no!’, and doesn’t give in or give up, for it makes the impossible seem reachable. 

It is a fire, a voice, a touch, a choice—that inspires belief, trust, and expectations of a desired state or end—whereby the beacon becomes real in one’s heart and mind.

An anchor to the soul, it is a saving grace. It sets the will to move forward without looking back. It is the belief that the pain will end, and the future will mend. Hope lifts the heart and the mind to aspire to one’s brightest dreams, and continue midst thick and thin, failures and deceit, till the goal has been reached and success achieved. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Faces



Can you tell the difference between the two faces? :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Art, Joy, & Making Way Through Darkness



Sometimes I find it difficult to write. I think the first time I felt too overwhelmed to write was when I returned home from serving an LDS mission in northern England, where I helped bring people to Christ. I had so many feelings upon returning home, when I put my pen to the paper nothing would come. After sitting in a stupor of thought, waiting for some inspiration, I would set the pen back down. It is not as if I felt especially agitated or ill at ease, I just could not write.

The next time I recall the stupor of thought occurring was while dating my first boyfriend. 

I find it difficult to be consistent with writing when my feelings are so strong and overpowering--a little frustrating when I enjoy having control over what I do when, and I prefer to be consistent. Perhaps it is shock that stops me from writing. That would make sense. The culture shock from integrating back into society post missionary service; the shock of actually being in a relationship for the first time--of trying to figure out what that meant, how to love, to work through feelings I hadn't experienced since childhood, and how to communicate about really important things and set boundaries that I'd never had to really worry about before. 

And so, in another stupor of thought, I have unfortunately left the blog hanging for the past couple of weeks. Maybe I should just plan on writing every couple of weeks rather than every week :) After listening to a Mormon Channel episode, live with big name Mommy Blogger's, it sounds a little lame to weasel my way out of a weekly if not a daily post. However, I am generally pretty good at not comparing myself to other ladies and so I am sure I will be perfectly content to continue as I started and to try to find a balance that works for me, as a beginner/novice to the world of blogging. Becoming consistent with either a weekly or biweekly schedule is the first task I want to hurdle.

I find sketching to be a source of inspiration. I began sketching for my posts because I appreciate other's artwork, and I really enjoy an attractive post with catching art and a splashy intro (Remember, mine is still a work in progress--early progress--I know ;). However, I am happy to have found that when I cannot write to express my thoughts or feelings, I can draw. I am so grateful for art! What a blessing to have another medium of communication that can draw out feeling and expression while my pen is stopped from forming words. 

Initially I thought this post would be nothing but pictures, but as I thought about the pictures a story began to form and hence you are reading this post, not just looking at it. I suppose you can still 'read' a sketch, but when there are words to be had I'd rather not leave everything up to the imagination--in reference to the interpretation of the art :)  


Through Clouds of Darkness



Sunshine Tears



Stuck in the Music


TBC

I know I have left these incomplete in the past, but I hope to get to it this week. Just to get me started I am leaving an outline to finish. I have several journals with incomplete TBCs in them--which I find annoying because I would really like to know what I was planning to fill the empty space with (normally a page or two). I'd like to not make that a continuing habit though :)

The big black cloud reminds me of a conversation I had with my nephew last weekend as I was putting him down for bed. I had just shown him and his brother and sister an animation about Lehi's dream--the dream about the rod of iron leading through mists of darkness and treacherous gulfs to what he called the tree of life with fruit "desirable above all other fruit" (1 Nephi 8:15), but which was near a great and spacious building from which all kinds of mocking and harassments came toward those at the tree to cause those partaking of its delicious fruit to feel ashamed. 

I asked my niece and nephews what their thoughts were after watching the short animation, because I think what is most important is what comes to their minds and hearts. When I asked my little nephew what he was thinking during the animation he said: "the people that let go of the rod of iron in the mists of darkness never got to taste the fruit did they, so they didn't know what the fruit tasted like." (Unfortunately I don't remember his exact words, but that was basically it). It was so thoughtful; I was really amazed. I felt saddened to think that some may never know what the fruit tastes like because when fear and confusion come they let go of the rod, never to find their way back to it, or see the tree and taste of the fruit which is "desirable above all other fruit". 

Mists of darkness are scary. By nature they can be very scary, confusing, and disheartening. I can understand the desire to find a way out into the wide open sunshine that will lift one's spirits and warm the body and soul. People who struggle with seasonal affective disorder know that a cloudy sky can sink their spirits. And if you have ever walked around Wales in the United Kingdom on a bitter cold evening you'll know the feeling of the damp air sinking into your skin and freezing you to the bone. Even when it is not cold, thick mists can be beautiful yet very disorienting. Without the right equipment, and even with it, the thick mists can be somewhat foreboding--causing you to doubt that you are safe, or headed in the right direction.

Many people choose to escape extreme weather conditions and live in more temperate climates--some earlier on in life, and others at retirement. Those who enjoy the inclement weather must prepare themselves with warm layers of clothing and special equipment to provide warmth and orientation. . .



My gratitude for the prophet Joseph Smith & faith

rm???


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gratitude for Family--(Unfinished & unedited thoughts that are not up to date)














My dad and I saw Wicked last week for our birthdays. Thanks to my Mom for thinking of us! Boy was the musical different than I had imagined--after all the hours I'd listened to the soundtrack! It's even better! I guess this abstract picture is a sort of tribute to that. It is kind of funny how something like this picture here can come out so different on paper (computer) than in my mind--just as in communication I suppose. It's pretty cool that what came out went along with the post though :) It's a better fit for the post than what I initially intended to draw :) Maybe one day I'll draw what I had in my mind. Maybe one day I'll design my blog space too :) This'll do for now though--it's enough to get me started.












Hi. this is a very special, awesome, and spectacular.....post! So lucky I am very happy and pleased and excited and (really?) and

(My niece is writing this post with me. Every other word is hers. We're playing add on :) Sorry about not posting last week. This post should more than make up for it--once she and I are able to finish it...but she is in another state now so it may be a little while.)

My heart hurts every time my sister's visit ends. I love her and her family very much :)









Today was a special day though. My youngest brother gave a talk in sacrament meeting. He's leaving for two years to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was really impressed by his talk and I wish him the best. I am amazed at how much I learn from my younger siblings, at how many talents they have in greater abundance than myself, and at how much I have to learn from them :) It really is a beautiful thing to discover others' strengths, beside your own, especially when they are hidden strengths--it is somewhat of a miracle to discover gifts not as easily perceived, though equally precious.

I don't know why I should be amazed. It is not as if older siblings have an advantage over their younger siblings in developing their talents. We all have unique talents, and we can all learn from each other. I have always admired my older siblings and loved them regardless of anything that might be considered a flaw. It was natural to look up to them and to learn from them, and still is. 

But for some reason I am always surprised at how much I learn from my younger siblings as well, as if I am not expecting to learn from them since they are younger than I. Silly isn't it? But if the hope is that the younger generation will supersede the older generation in wisdom and talent and whatnot, then perhaps it is natural to expect to be surprised by my younger siblings.








Of course there would be more to learn from my younger siblings, of course, and of course I will learn and continue to learn from them when least expected. Each and every one of my siblings has unique gifts and talents. I feel very blessed to have them in my life. I know we are all different, but I hope that love will conquer all, always. And with so many siblings, I hope that I will love everyone individually, and appreciate everyone uniquely without comparing strengths and weaknesses to any other sibling. I believe that is something I can improve on. In some ways I do a great job, but in other ways I am lacking.

With the family all together, we just are. And we are all wonderful together. As we go our own ways and progress on our own journeys through life our individualities become more distinguishable. We are our own individual entities, as well as a family entity. I hope I can be a support to all of my siblings (and parents) individually, as well as in the intermeshed family unit.










If you can't tell already, sometimes I spend a little too much time over analyzing :) It makes things interesting though.

I am grateful for my family, one of God's greatest gifts to me, aside from the blessing of His Son's life, and the Holy Ghost's influence in teaching me truth as I am willing/ready to receive it. And also for prophets past and present--for their individual and collective witnesses of Christ, for their examples of faith, and for their priesthood. I am grateful for the foundation I have been given. It is priceless, and there is no way I can repay. It is all worth it.





Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bubbles & Thoughts



Be a friend to vs. Be friends with. (mutual)

Dependent only on love for the other person vs. Dependent on mutuality

Isaiah 9:18, 21
For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke. Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Isaiah 9:13, 
 For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts. The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail. Therefore the Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day. For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed. Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Isaiah 10:1-4
 Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
Isaiah 5:25
 25 Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Exodus 6:6
Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:

2 Kings 17:36
But the Lord, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.

tbc

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Power in the Priesthood (General Conference Power)




Sometimes I take for granted the blessing of having a bi-annual General Conference for my church. I have been guided and enlightened by the talks on countless occasions; they have guided my thoughts and heart closer to my God and my Savior. I acknowledge the man behind the mouthpiece. The delivery may be imperfect, in one way or another, but I will not, nor cannot, deny the power of the word.

There have been a couple poignant occasions when I have specifically turned to the General Conference talks, looking and hoping for the power to curb my temptations and unrighteous desires that I might redirect my thoughts and feelings toward God and away from the shadows. What a blessing the General Conference talks are! What a protection! It is not as if it causes the temptations and the battle over my desires to cease immediately or even entirely--though sometimes this is the case. The peace and power I receive from the talks, however, is undeniable--in spite of the instrumental imperfections :) And I am so, so grateful for the power therein!

I am so, so grateful that as I see more of the imperfections in myself and others, that my experience with the power of the priesthood increases as well--in addition to my appreciation and admiration of its unparalleled beauty.

I have come to appreciate the irony of perfection in imperfection--in myself and others. I really do believe that in this life we were meant to experience opposition in order that we might know joy. How can one develop faith, the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and receive his or her reward, if there were no reason to trust in Christ--to trust that by the atonement of Jesus Christ, that which is wrought in imperfection may be made whole, and be given power wherewith to enlighten and sustain through redemption of the soul?

What is more of a miracle?
  • To experience the power of the priesthood as shared by a completely perfect mouthpiece of God? When the power can be just as easily attributed to the instrument itself--man?
  • Or to experience power in the priesthood as shared by an imperfect mouthpiece/instrument of God? When the power can only be attributed to a higher power--God.
What charity does God have to share His power with imperfect people, with sinners who humble themselves before Him, to faithfully live His gospel, making and keeping holy covenants--that they might have His Spirit to be with them? Faithfulness is more than belief, but it is daily loyalty to God through exercising the faith to keep His commandments, and to repent and give up sinful entertainment, actions, habits and thoughts as one becomes aware of--or is reminded--of them, and to make and keep sacred covenants with God to take upon the name of His Son and live as a disciple of Jesus Christ that one might enter into the gates of His peace and love, where they can be guided and protected by the gift and power of His Holy Spirit, as they remain worthy of His power through their endurance to the end.

Perfection is in the process. of becoming. like God, and His Son Jesus Christ. in becoming Saints and disciples who are worthy of the name they bear--the name they take upon themselves when they enter into a covenant with God to serve Him and to keep His commandments that they might have His Spirit to be with them. Herein lies perfection. The perfection of God's grace and His mercy and judgment, whereby His charity is exercised that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we who imperfectly strive to learn of Him and become as He is, are helped and saved again, and again, and again, and again, until the perfect day when we will have conquered all, and will be, as He is, the Great I Am.

Perfection is seen as those who sincerely, albeit imperfectly, strive to become as He is, are deemed worthy instruments to bear His priesthood, and to use His power to heal, to comfort, and to save, as Christ asks them to do as His disciples--having the example of His life here on Earth, and of His servants, the prophets. The more I see, the more I am grateful for His charity and love on our behalf.

Without witnessing His power, the power of His priesthood, I would surely be lacking in the faith necessary to understand and appreciate all He provides for me and for His children here on this Earth--for I tend to have selective hearing for that which is apparently and wholly logical and respectful and/or sensitive of myself and others. And I would surely be lacking in the faith, perspective, and desire necessary to take up the cross when it would be easier to succumb, or to continue to succumb, to temptation and sin. It is because of the power of His Holy Priesthood--to enlighten my understanding, to encourage, correct and empower me, to change my heart, bit by bit, and fill it with Christ-like love--that I believe. Otherwise we are all just imperfect men (and women :), and everything else becomes a nice, albeit intangible and thus somewhat/really annoying, thought.

In closing I would like to share some inspiring words from Linda Reeves--the Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, the church's charitable organization for women--spoken at the last General Conference in April, 2014, in Salt Lake City. The intent of her talk was to help us develop better internal filters to discern and sift through that which is harmful and helpful--in order to protect ourselves from the immorality in media that is more prevalent and accessible today than ever before.

Said Sister Reeves: "Filters are useful tools, but the greatest filter in the world, the only one that will ultimately work, is the personal internal filter that comes from a deep and abiding testimony of our Heavenly Father's love and our Savior's atoning sacrifice for each one of us."

Sister Reeves described that as she and her husband came to understand this better in their marriage, they chose to change their focus "and tried not to worry about the less-important things"--following instead the example and counsel of ancient and modern prophets: ". . . We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins" (2 Nephi 25:26).

"Our focus became to talk, rejoice, preach, and testify of Christ," she said, "by striving to daily pray and study the scriptures and have weekly family home evening."

"These are the very practices that help take away stress, give direction to our lives, and add protection to our homes. Then, if [when]. . . challenges do strike our families, we can petition the Lord for help and expect great guidance from the Spirit, knowing that we have done what our Father has asked us to do."

It is my testimony that this is true :) I would love for everyone to know it too <3 Of course, so far as others desire to know :)

Happy Pioneer Day! Thanks to all the pioneers, past and present, who sacrifice to create a better way for themselves and others. I love you all!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Marriage and Government









It makes sense to me that government marriages would only be for time: "until death do we part". The order of society in the next life is unknown to most. Governments can only really make and keep contracts for that which they have a certain amount of control. A government would only make a contract for both this life and the next if it was truly believed that it will have some sort of continuing power in the afterlife.

If a government is man-made, it seems a bit presumptuous for it to assume such power. I do believe that God can and does have influence in man's governmental affairs--though there is a difference between an institution of God that He designed to be eternal, and man's temporary institutions in which He has influence--for the good or bad of the institution. In this regard, it makes sense that only the marital contracts made under the authority of an eternal government would prevail beyond the veil of this life to the next, for the same authority would exist there to protect and nurture the marriage there as on this Earth.

But why only in the Celestial Kingdom would marriages exist?--the highest kingdom, the kingdom of the sun. Why in other kingdoms of glory would those 'marital' relationships be torn apart? Well, as I understand it, and as it makes sense to me as well, only in the Celestial Kingdom will married couples have continued children and posterity to raise up as God has raised/is raising us up. In the other kingdoms the inhabitants will enjoy blessings of a world far more wonderful than the one we cherish now, though there will be an end to their 'family making' powers, so to speak. I imagine that will come as a relief to some, though maybe not all, to be relieved of that responsibility. It is a rather large responsibility if you think about it. In many ways it is not glamorous to raise children and posterity--people who have their own identities, personalities, preferences and desires, etc. It can be really rough. I really don't know how God does it. How does He keep going? How do my parents keep going? I believe it's through the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ, through faith on His name.

Still I would imagine that in the other kingdoms of glory there will be relationships, and even intimate and devoted relationships--but if marriage is defined as the one relationship whereby man and woman are responsible for producing their own seed--for multiplying and replenishing the earth, so to speak--then it makes sense that only marriages contracted by God through His appointed authorities will continue beyond the veil. I've really no idea what name the other relationships will go by, where the couples choose to remain devoted to one another in the other kingdoms.

I imagine I would remain committed to my partner if I were in a lower kingdom and could not continue to raise seed, or create families. I imagine that if that were the case I would be content, if that were my choice. A better world, free from the heavy responsibilities that try us more than anything else. That doesn't sound all that bad. Though I hope to become the kind of person that can handle such responsibility well in this life, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, and I hope to have the opportunity with my (future) spouse in the next life to continue to create seed and raise people up as God raises us up. Some day. I have a looooong way to go. I feel so far from where I want to be.

Sometimes you're cut to the core where your greatest weaknesses are most easily revealed to you. Since I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ (I really do, despite my many questions :), I find myself at the core pretty frequently, but thank goodness God sees more in me, I hope, than that which I lack. I believe He does, and it is my belief in His love for me, and for all His children on this Earth, that propels me forward. Without this hope my religion would be pretty miserable indeed, but with love as the motivator, or at least a hope and firm belief in that love, well, anything is possible--and my heart is open to receive the joy that comes through following His word.

Where do the questions come from this week? Well, I did a topical guide search on "Marriage and Government" on lds.org, and discovered I had some pretty interesting questions as I was reading one of the references in the Doctrine and Covenants 132. The whole section is interesting, and brings a lot of questions to mind. I'll copy a verse or two here just for reference:

14 For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed.
 15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.
I hope that in the other kingdoms the partners will be allowed to stay together, though I really do not know very much at all. The afterlife is one of those things that though, through revelation, we have many answers, those answers lead to many more questions. But I suppose the answers we have are enough to keep us moving forward on the path back to God.

And as a side-note, I just want to make sure that whoever reads this understands that the thoughts expressed in this post and the rest of my blog are my thoughts and ponderings, and that I am not claiming to know for a surety. But what I have written, in this post especially, is in many cases my attempt toward understanding the scripture that I have been given--in context. I do believe. And I believe very firmly in God and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. And I do believe in the restoration of His gospel in our day through modern prophets--Joseph Smith being the first in our day to restore the gospel as well as the authority to act in God's name and establish His government in preparation for the return of His Son, Jesus Christ, in all glory. I believe it and cannot deny. I do have a lot of questions. But I believe it. And that is enough to keep me going on this path I choose, I suppose. :)



BY ELDER HUGH B. BROWN
Of the Council of the Twelve

This concept of marriage, with its divine perspective, gives new meaning and adds importance, dignity, and glory to the idea of marriage. With this concept the thoughtful person will be more careful and selective in the choice of his eternal companion. Certainly before entering into such an eternal contract both men and women should be humble and thoughtful and should prayerfully seek for divine guidance.

When one accepts the conditions and obligations of this eternal partnership, he must realize that failure here is almost total failure. Whatever his successes may be in other fields of activity, if a man fails to discharge the obligations imposed by the eternal covenant, the appalling penalty will be the loss of celestial glory, accompanied by responsibility for the losses sustained by those with whom he made the contract and for whom he is responsible.


Follow-up:

Many governments have assumed power into the next life in one way or another. This is so intriguing to me. And if I had a wide enough readership, this is where I would invite people to contribute comments on various marital ceremonies and contracts throughout history. I find it intriguing to learn about them and to analyze them. If I had time I would do all the research myself :) I did do some research into Byzantine marriage contracts and ceremonies and discovered some interesting information. If it weren't 3:07 in the morning I might share, but I think I'll have to do that another time :)