Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Best Gift

Christmas was great!.. although I feel badly- I thought I had Mom.. but apparently I had Mom AND Dad! *facepalm... Sorry, Dad :(

But I think I aced my other gift-giving, though.
I may be crafty-capped, but I can paint and
lay down stickers in a line ;)

BF got an ornament that made him laugh- Point!
BF also got some rail-clips to organize his sockets, said they'd help out his tool bag- Point!
BFF's hubby got ramps to make car repairs a little easier and he smiled about it- Point!
BFF.. Eh, she's known for a while what I was going to get her, and she's needed it for a long time. Maybe we'll go cash in that gift card together? Yeah, we'll call that Point!

I think this year, though, I had two favorite gifts.

In the last couple years, I've had to do a lot more of my own car work. And I have had absolutely NO tools to do that work... until Santa gave me a beautiful set! Woot- full set of sockets, open-end wrenches, alen wrenches (all in both standard and metric!), screwdrivers, pliers, etc.

But I think my favorite gift was given to me by my sister-in-law, Tristina.

I left home about noon on Christmas Eve, getting there about 2:30. I could only stay one day, and had to head back Christmas evening after dinner. When my brother and his wife came back over for dinner, Christmas evening, he came in right away, but she took a while to come in the house. I thought may be she was having a tough time waking up (she'd had to work the night before and had slept all afternoon) or something.

I finished my dinner, and started gathering my stuff up to take to the car. When I went out, I found her scraping my windows so I could see, and brushing the snow off the top so it didn't slide down and block the windows.

“Oh, Tristina- you’re cleaning off my car!!.. You’re wonderful, you’re gonna make me cry.”

“Oh, don’t cry!”

“No, no- it’s a good cry, lol.”

I don’t think she knows how much that means to me. You see, I heard once that there are five basic ways we communicate and perceive love, ways that are more effective than others in letting people know we love them… Love Languages.
Quality Time
Acts of Service
Words of Affirmation

When someone speaks your love language, it means so much more. Sure, I’m grateful for that tool set- it will give me the opportunity to save money and learn new skills. And I love the clothes my best friend gave me- they’re beautiful... even the electric-blue cheetah socks!

But doing something for me, even if it’s spur-of-the-moment… That kind of thing means more than I can think of words. If you know your own love language.. and you’ve had someone unexpectedly speak that language to you, then you understand what that’s like.

Thank you, Tristina- I love you!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Christmas Playlist

I heard once that there are three levels of Christmas.

Santa Claus

Baby Jesus

The Resurrected Lord

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then?
Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this
end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world,
that I should bear witness unto the truth.
Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Whole Men, Whole Women

Jada Pinkett-Smith:
“How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplete woman? The woman who has been stripped of Goddess recognition and diminished to a big ass and full breast for physical comfort only. The woman who has been silenced so she may forget her spiritual essence because her words stir too much thought outside of the pleasure space. The woman who has been diminished to covering all that rots inside of her with weaves and red bottom shoes.
"I am sure the men, who restructured our societies from cultures that honored woman, had no idea of the outcome. They had no idea that eventually, even men would render themselves empty and longing for meaning, depth and connection.
"There is a deep sadness when I witness a man that can’t recognize the emptiness he feels when he objectifies himself as a bank and truly believes he can buy love with things and status. It is painful to witness the betrayal when a woman takes him up on that offer.
"He doesn’t recognize that the [creation] of a half woman has contributed to his repressed anger and frustration of feeling he is not enough. He then may love no woman or keep many half women as his prize.
"He doesn’t recognize that it’s his submersion in the imbalanced warrior culture, where violence is the means of getting respect and power, as the reason he can break the face of the woman who bore him 4 four children.
"When woman is lost, so is man. The truth is, woman is the window to a man’s heart and a man’s heart is the gateway to his soul.
"Power and control will NEVER out weigh love.
"May we all find our way."

I've been trying to put into words the sneaky insidious backlash on men, and really on society as a whole that happens when women are diminished, and vice versa- the damage done to womanhood when we trash-talk men.

Neither can truly be complete without the other.. and in order for either to be what our Father intends, both have to be whole in their own right. As a woman, the full breadth and scope of the feminine experience includes things that can only be experienced in the context of an eternal relationship with a man.

And while that may sound sexist and like I think I'm inferior, that I think I need a man to be whole, the reverse is also true- A man needs that eternal relationship with a woman in order to have the opportunities that come with being a husband.

See, I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but men and women are different. We were never designed to fit the same mold. Our Father designed us for different functions, different roles. Our bodies and minds and hearts reflect that design.

Men and women were never meant to be the same. Sure, when we have to we can each fill  the other's roles- we are capable of that stretch, but in an ideal world, the men are masculine are honored for the heroes, protectors, providers, and leaders they are in their homes. And women are valued and revered as nurturers, comforters, and homemakers.

I guess my point is...

Different is good!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


1 Corinthians 12:8-11:
 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

For some, faith comes easy. They "just know." Others have this ability to take testimony of others and use it to light their own lamps. But there are others who don't have either.

Some simply don't have the experiences or exposure to know what faith feels like. They think too much. They don't have the ability to shut their brain off enough to just listen and feel.

In a way, I envy these people- their lives seem so much more simple. WYSIWYG- What you see is what you get. The world is exactly as it appears on the surface. Nothing more, nothing less.

But then again, I don't. I'm so grateful for the knowledge of the gospel. I'm grateful to know that I will see and be with my family again. Some of them I may not like, or they may make me feel inferior.. or superior. Some are goofs, some are somber. Some are pretty rough around the edges and others are refined and genteel. Some are young and naive, others are wise beyond their years, and some are so full of wisdom they are beginning to loose the ability to remember all they know.

But they are mine. They are my brothers and sisters (in law). They are my aunts and uncles, my cousins )and in-law).

I'm sealed to them- They. Are. Mine.

And I am theirs.

I an a daughter, a sister (in-law), a cousin, an aunt, and a friend.

Our faults and flaws- bossy, irreverent, rebellious, selfish, lazy, judgmental, paranoid, arrogant- those are all covered by the Atonement. The faults and flaws and sins inside each of my family members are accommodated for. Through the At-one-ment of our Eldest Brother, each one of us can return to Father.

We can return to Him in the greatest family reunion ever! Our brothers and sisters who came to all the corners of this earth for a body, through all the history of mankind- each of us can tap into the sacrifice our Brother made and repent, become clean each week through the sacrament, become refined and polished gems- the great and noble ones He knew us to be so long ago.

I know I'm flawed. I'm bossy and arrogant. I'm selfish and lazy. I don't always have all the answers... but I can make it. We all can.

The peace that brings, the confidence the knowledge of who I really am, the comfort this brings cannot be found anywhere else.

I'm unspeakably grateful for the wisdom that created this plan, the love that allows this plan to function, the work and sacrifice that brought that knowledge to this day, for this gift.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

In Which my "Lady Parts" Respond

"Vote like your lady-parts depend on it!".. Yeah, I know what my "lady-parts" want--

No more Planned Parenthood with their disproportionately high rates of abortion-related fatalities.
Did you know that one of the primary founding principals of PP is eugenics? Yes, please look it up. This makes it all the more ironic that a man of mixed racial heritage supports it. By the ideals of eugenics, he should have been aborted.
No more forcing me to fund (via my tax dollars) these deaths- both the deaths of the women and the deaths of the unborn. Yes, I'm pro-choice. But I'm also pro-consequence. If you're grown up enough to be doing the things that cause pregnancy, then you're grown up enough to put someone else's right to exist over your discomfort and inconvenience. Besides, is it really worth dying for (see above)??

No more chauvinistic patronizing about "lady-parts." Seriously, if this had come out of the mouth of a Republican, it woulda blown up in his face! But it was a Dem who penned this, and the only repercussion has been minor scoffing from various quarters.

No more 8% unemployment- so I can afford my own health care vs his costly bureaucracy-driven "health care." Before Obama-care, we couldn't afford doctors, diagnostic tests, pharmaceuticals, etc.. but with Obama-care, we can afford doctors, diagnostic tests, pharmaceuticals, etc.. AND a big bulky bureaucracy to manage it, right?

No more gas prices over $3./gallon so I can afford more than just gas in my tank. As the meme says, $3.79 gas prices are a lot less economic collapse-y than $1.98, right? *facepalm!

No more pussy-footing around other nations' delicate sensibilities. Leave that for the tourists to do, not leaders of nations.

Yeah, I know who me and my "lady-parts" (like my lady-brain) are voting for. Thanks for the tip, Obama.

And also, my lady-parts would be comforted to know that at any time I like, I can purchase a gun and sufficient ammunition to become proficient in protecting them. The reality is that 99% of the men in this world are bigger, heavier, and stronger than I am. Stop and think about that for a minute- If a man attempts to hurt me, he will most likely be successful. I'm not ok with that. My having a gun at my side brings an equality to the table that isn't exactly possible otherwise.

Yes, Mr Obama, your advice to vote as if my lady-parts depend on it is most wise, indeed.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bribery.. It Works!

I've been staying with a friend, and I occasionally "steal" her children and take them with when I go on errands. The munchkins love it, and I get a little buddy (or two or three) to visit with on the drive. The other evening, I needed a couple things from the store.

"Do you mind if I steal one of the girls to go with me to the store?"


"Which one has been the best, most obedient, most helpful?"


Daddy interrupted, "None of them."

I thought a moment and then headed in to the play room. "Did either of you do your homework?"

In stereo from the older two: "No..."

"Hm, well, I need to go to the store, and I was gonna take whoever did their homework."

Ensued the hilarity- the older two came tearing past me to get their homework done. Number 2 paused, to beg, "Wait for me?"

Good thing 1st and 2nd graders don't have much homework, eh?

Mom watched the hustle and bustle, wondering. I sat down by her, and explain what I'd just told her little ones.

I know kindergarteners don't generally have much homework, but I felt Number 3 needed to have the chance to earn the privilege, too: "Do you have any homework?.. anything you can do for school?"

Number 3: "Read a book?"

"Good deal- find a book and you can read it to me."

So while Number 1 and Number 2 worked fratically to complete worksheets, Number 3 read a book with me, Number 4 looked for shoes, and Mom and Dad.. and I just laughed

Once the three older ones had done their homework and everyone had shoes and a jacket on, we piled into the van, and went to the store.. to get all of three items I needed for a project the next day.

Moral of the story:
Bribery works!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I'm in.. Like?

After the fiasco that was last week's blog (seriously, some people.. *sigh).. I thought I'd go with something a little lighter. So here's a comedic look at love-



Yeah, that's about all I have for now....

Unless you know what comes next.. Suggestions?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Don't Compromise.. Unless it's in my Favor

I've talked a little in the past about the difference between dating as a grown-up and dating as a teen.

One of the many differences I've noticed- The Deal Breaker.

By definition, a deal breaker breaks the deal. True deal breakers aren't just pulled out of the air, or made up to be difficult. They are a product of our preferences, values, and tolerances.

Some women find body hair on a man completely revolting!
Hairy chest = deal breaker

Some men simply can't handle a high-maintenance woman.
Hair extensions, nails more than likely indicate a deal breaker

Some women are natural mothers and desperately want children.
Vasectomy = possible deal breaker

Some guys gotta have a girl as passionate about adventure as he is.
Home-body = deal breaker

The reality is that we all have deal-breakers, for every relationship, not just the romantic ones. We know on a visceral level when we have reached a limit.. and each time we come up against something we just can't cope with- that's where we discover our deal breakers.

The trouble comes when someone else doesn't like your deal breakers. They take offense, or get judgmental, or start calling names. There are broken hearts, frustration, anger, and tears. Sure, they love you and want you to be true to yourself. Some eventually accept where you are coming from, even insist you not compromise. But some insist that compromise is necessary for any kind of relationship, but only in their favor-
You're just as broken as I am...
Well, you're just being discriminatory...
But that's not fair- (insert some excuse for why it's unreasonable to ask that).

The thing is- trying to change deal breakers is easier than getting a tiger to change his stripes, but not by much. Changing deal breakers requires changing the very nature of the person- their bone-deep values, goals, and dreams.. changing who they are. Yes it can be done, but its not simple, easy, or quickly... and to be honest, its not really fair to ask someone to change like that.

What are your deal-breakers? What responses have you gotten to your own deal-breaker issues?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Come Listen to a Prophet's Voice

So yeah, this is what I'm doing this weekend- 4 hours yesterday, 4 hrs today. Feeding my soul- good stuff!

Come, listen to a prophet's voice, and hear the word of God,
And in the way of truth rejoice, and sing for joy aloud.
We've found the way the prophets went who lived in days of yore.
Another prophet now is sent this knowledge to restore.

The gloom of sullen darkenss spread through earth's  extended space
Is banished by our living Head, and God has shown His face.
Trhough erring schemes in days now past the world has gone astray;
Yet saints of God have found at last the straight and narrow way.

'Tis not in man they put their trust nor on his arm rely.
Full well assured, all are accursed who Jesus Christ deny.
The Savior to his people saith,"Let all my words obey,
and signs shall follow living faith, down to the latest day."

Then heed the words of truth and light that flow from fountains pure.
Yea, keep His law with all thy might till thine election's sure,
Till thou shalt hear the holy voice assure eternal reighn,
While joy and cheer attend thy choice, as one who shall obtain.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"I Want Your Money..."

ObamaCare- the term sends shivers down the spines of so many Americans... and for many different reasons.

Some see the Affordable Care Act as the panacea for the disaster our health care system has become.

Others see it as one more violation against the Constitution, one more tax added to the list of taxes Obama promised to NOT implement.

I don't like state-managed anything.. state assistance/state welfare, public education, and yes- healthcare.... Not because I think everyone shouldn't support themselves.. although I do. There are people whose situations simply don't allow that. Some disabilities simply make it impossible for a person to support themselves.

My objections to state assistance are with the "state" part, not the "assistance" part.

See, there are basically two kinds of people who are on government support/assistance.

1- Those who truly need it. Those whose disabilities are prohibitive to supporting themselves. These people really do need it. Without outside help, these people would most likely be dead, unable to work to feed, clothe, and house themselves... let alone be able to afford their own health care for said disability.

Their disability isn't something they chose, or something they caused to come upon themselves. They don't want to be on welfare, but they have no other options. I don't begrudge these people the support they desperately need.

2- Those who see state benefits and support as the ideal to which they aspire. Women who bring in their pregnant daughters, celebrating that Little Miss can now qualify for benefits- Yay! Career and generational welfare recipients who really could support themselves. These people rub me wrong in so many ways, there are words to describe how I feel, but they're not used in polite society.

Anyway, back to the original topic-
My problem with state assistance programs is with the idea that the government should be doing it.

See, there are 3 basic kinds of spending:

First-party spending is when I spend my own money on something I will use. I'm interested in value because it's my money. I'm interested in quality because I will be using it.

Second-party spending is when I spend my money on something someone else will use. I'm interested in value because it's my money.. but I'm not so worried about quality b/c I won't be using it.

Third-party spending is when I spend someone else's money on something I won't be using. I'm not too worried about value because it's not my money... and I'm not too worried about quality because I won't be using it.

By definition, all government spending is third-party. Legislators are using tax money (not money from their own pockets) on things they may or may not be using.. like infrastructure, education, health care. They're not too worried about value because it's not money from legislators' pockets. And they aren't as bothered by quality because they aren't home as much to use the infrastructure, they can afford to put their kids in private schools, and they're exempted from ObamaCare.

Do you see where I'm coming from? I, as a tax payer would like my taxes to go to those who actually need it.. not the girls who have been slutting it up so they could get pregnant and can finally join the family business of living on the dole.

I've never had a problem with those receiving help who truly need need it. I don't like those who abuse the system. I don't like other people deciding where and how my hard-earned money is spent.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Analogies, Parables, and Teaching Stories- Part 5

I've always had a thing for analogies, parables, and the like. As teaching tools, they use every-day situations and ideas to explain complex principles, making those complex ideas a whole lot easier to understand. Often, they can explain ideas that would otherwise be nigh impossible to explain accurately.

Jesus Himself used parables all the time in His teaching. Sometimes this was to make the teaching of a certain principle easier. But often He didn't give an explanation. He simply allowed people to take from the "nice story" what they would- an act of mercy, given that we are each held accountable for following the doctrines we understand.

The first in this series was about ducks. The second one was about medicine.. and salvation. The third was about math class. The fourth was about engines and society.

This time, I'd like to talk about dirt--

A seminary teacher was trying to teach a rather delicate topic and not making any headway. He finally took the class outside, asked the kids what was the cause of all the life around them- the trees, flowers, grass...

Dirt? NOOO, NOoooo, Nooo... it's Soil.

With the nutrients in the soil, the plants could grow, bloom, and produce their various seeds and fruit.

He then took the kids back inside, and he took a handful of soil from a potted plant and crumbled it, scattering it all over a desk, a student's lap... making a massive mess...

He asked his students what it was now... Just filth.

Just as sex in the right context and place is a beautiful live-giving thing, when it's scattered all over or in the wrong place/time, it's just filth.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Algebra of Marriage

I took algebra in middle school, calculus in high school... so I like formulas. Here's one I've been working on for a while:

H = husband
W = wife
T = history or past, cumulatively variable with time
C = Choices- actions, words, attitudes
E = environment- work, in-laws, kids, the economy, bills, ex's...
P = present
M = Marriage

Wp = W (T + C)
Hp = H (T + C)

M = E (Wp x Hp)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mind Control???

Once upon a time... ok so it was probably 8 yrs ago or so, I started a new job. They were big on co-worker relations-  they did personality tests in training, work games, department parties, etc. One day during training, I was pulled out of class by the HR woman who had recruited me. In a private conversation, she addressed a behavior I had that wasn't necessarily bad, but it bothered the others in class.

She said, "You need to manage other people's perceptions of you."

That pissed me off!! That's not possible- how can I possibly control what others think?

But I knew she wasn't a stupid woman- she didn't get where she was by demanding the unreasonable.

"You need to manage other people's perceptions of you."

Ok... what is this "other people's perceptions of you"..?

It's your reputation... and that IS your business. There are a lot of industries where everything is about reputation. If your reputation becomes sullied, you're out!

And what is reputation based on?

What you do, what you say.. and how you do it, how you say it... and that is TOTALLY under your control. You decide what your standards are. You decide if you act w/integrity to your chosen standards and values. You decide how you interact with and treat others. You decide what words you use with others, what tone you employ.

Your business, your responsibility, your control.

These were the thoughts went through my mind over the course over the next couple days, weeks.

Since then, I've thought about this a lot. I try to look at myself and try to see what others see. If I can see that, then I have a starting point for managing what others think of me.

Do I come across as a know-it-all? Sometimes. Am I ok with that? If not, what can I do about it?

Do people think I'm mean or abrasive or harsh? Again, sometimes. Is that ok? If not, how do I soften my approach?

Do I see any other qualities in myself that are off-putting? Am I ok with it? What can I do to fix it, to change my behavior or mindset to be less awkward, less harsh, less selfish, more kind, more pleasant, more capable, more humble.

What kinds of things are you working on?

(PS- And please post comments here, so that other readers can see it. Thanks!)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Analogies, Parables, and Teaching Stories- Part 4

I've always had a thing for analogies, parables, and the like. As teaching tools, they use every-day situations and ideas to explain complex principles, making those complex ideas a whole lot easier to understand. Often, they can explain ideas that would otherwise be nigh impossible to explain accurately.

Jesus Himself used parables all the time in His teaching. Sometimes this was to make the teaching of a certain principle easier. But often He didn't give an explanation. He simply allowed people to take from the "nice story" what they would- an act of mercy, given that we are each held accountable for following the doctrines we understand.

The first in this series was about ducks. The second one was about medicine.. and salvation. The third was about math class--

This time, I'd like to talk about engines.

In an engine there are all these parts that move and do things, and pretty much none of those parts are interchangeable-- you can't really put motor oil in the transmission and expect things to work right for very long.. and vice versa.

The same thing applies to society- men and women are different (I know, big surprise there, right?). God created us to be different- to think and act differently.

Even our perceptions and communication styles are different. Sure, equality in the workplace is a good thing, but we are still different from each other. There are things that men do better than women, and there are things women are better at than men. You can't expect to mix things up for equality's sake and expect society to function effectively for very long. 

Our Father created men to be physically stronger so they would have the strength to work and provide for their families. Men- husbands and fathers are also charged with providing for and protecting their families. This protection isn't just from the physical dangers that can break down doors and invade, but the more discreet and insidious dangers that can filter in through the seemingly harmless avenues of media and social influences.

My amazing baby brother
and his family
He also created women to be strong- in very different ways. Women- wives and mothers have an amazing capacity for emotional and physical endurance and giving. This endurance and giving is needed as women become mothers and teach their children both the basics and niceties of life... while maintaining a home- cleaning, cooking, laundry, mending, child care/education.

Sure, men can fill women's roles in the home.. and women are capable (thanks to our modern society and technology) of being the breadwinners, but there is still value in starting with the traditional template:
(if this isn't legible...)