Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kids- gotta love them!

I've always wanted to be a mother. At 36, I can very confidently say that desire is over 30 years old. As a lover and observer of children- their wonder at the world, their fascinating logic, their innocent assumptions, their utter confidence in themselves- I want to share some of my experiences with children, my (0 experience as a parent, although lots of experience with others' children) thoughts on children and child rearing.

I was at the thrift store a while back. A little boy (he was probably 3 or 4) had found a trophy and was showing his dad. They each took "pictures" of each other with it! Then the little man wanted to show his dad how fast he could run.. (maybe to win and earn the trophy?)... up and down the aisle where I was looking at pants, LOL! I totally didn't mind (How could I possibly be irritated by a little boy being a little boy? He even said, "Excuse me..." before he started!), but his mother scolded him for disturbing me :(

Little kids are wired to have such complete confidence in themselves. Sadly we lose that as we grow up and it's squished and stomped on by the grownups in our lives. Don't tromp on that! Let them explore their boundaries, please??

Recently, a friend took his trumpet to the park to play. His words:
"Allison" - a 3 year old girl - came up and told me she wanted to try and then took the trumpet from me (while still in my hands) about and proceeded to try to "play" while squealing through it and pressing the keys. It was adorable. Her father apologized for the slobber but - what's a bit of slobber among trumpet players, right? It was endearing though. She came back like 5 times to "play."

In working with the new Scouts in my ward, yesterday we were talking about drugs and the dangers, how to handle situations where drugs are offered.. that kind of thing. One of the boys said, "I have a question about weed... now, is that like just weeds from your yard?" Oh, it was so funny- I'm so glad he's still that innocent!

In the fall, with the words "Back to School" on the lips of every marketer, it always gives me food for thought. It seems that so many of my mom-friends on FB are thrilled to have the kids back in school. They will have the kids out of their hair- they'll have time to themselves, able to get things done. What are they thinking??!?
Psalms 127:3-5 "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them..."
Oh, to be in the shoes of these mother! Yes, I'm fully aware that I'm jealous.. and yes, I probably don't quite know what it's like. But as a mother, especially a stay at home mother, you have such an opportunity to know and teach and guide your kids.

Cherish it. There are those of us who would trade places with you in a heartbeat.

Monday, April 23, 2012


I came to realize something yesterday:

God answers prayers, even when they're not spoken..

or even formally thought through.

See, I've been in pain of spirit for a while now. From past posts, you know I'm single and I don't like it. The ache can become (and occasionally has been) overwhelming- the loneliness and the sorrow at what seems like missed opportunities and passed-up blessings has brought me to literally water my pillow in heartbreak.

Saturday evening, I was reading in a book that was recommended to me by my (now ex) in-laws: Spiritual Survival in the Last Days. The first couple chapters discuss God's wrath- the nature of God and how that relates to His wrath, what behaviors in us brings it on, who gets that wrath poured upon them, and what His intent is when pouring out that wrath. The upshot is that everyone who "ripens in iniquity" gets it. His intent is to bring cleansing.. either by destroying those who do not repent or compelling those who would repent to do so. Nobody is safe from receiving at least a little of His wrath, as "we all sin and fall short of the glory of God." In addition, I was reminded that the Lord chastens those he loves."

This reading reminded me of my favorite scripture passage:
11- And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12- And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, 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.
Then yesterday, my ward's sacrament meeting began with "Where Can I Turn for Peace":
Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart, searching my soul?

Where, when my aching grows, where when I languish
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand? He, only One.

He answers privately, reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind, Love without end.
When I languish... in my Gethsemane. So eloquently describing the aching spirit!

The first two speakers (mother and daughter working on Personal Progress) spoke about the value of trials and tribulations, that they are indeed for our benefit and growth.

The rest hymn was "Master, the Tempest is Raging." This song never really caught my attention until yesterday. The second verse in particular got to me.:
Master, with anguish of spirit I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled. Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish sweep o're my sinking soul,
And I perish! I perish! dear Master. Oh, hasten and take control!
The third/last speaker addressed the reality that Father sends/allows trials and hurt to help us build faith in Him, to purify us.. and that there is One who has descended below us all.
 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.
I have a confession to make- I have been kinda hiding from Him. I know I should pray daily... multiple times each day, even. But I haven't. Because of various things, I've felt unworthy to receive an answer to my questions, to receive the blessings my heart aches for.. or to even talk to Him. So I haven't.

I haven't "called" my Father. I've even ignored the "phone." But yesterday, He called me and left a message on the answering machine. "I know you're hurting, and I know what needs to be done to heal that hurt. I know you don't feel worthy to get answers, to receive help or to even talk to Me. But talk to Me anyway, let Me help you."

I guess I should call.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

"Life is Pain, Highness..."

I love that movie! There's something for everyone- there are sword fights and kissing, political intrigue and secret plots, best friends and selfish users, "science" and Miracle Max!

There's even applicable-to-real-life philosophy:
“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."

These days, with the presidential election coming in November, each candidate has his sales pitch.

"I will help the poor and fix the welfare system!"
"I will cut taxes and revitalize the economy."
"I will balance the budget and get our nation out of debt."
"I will create jobs and help the working class."
"I will blah, blah, blah."

In an ideal world, we would hardly need government at all. In an ideal world, I think the Libertarian ideology is wonderful, but that only works when everyone is on the same page in regards to the roles of government vs self-government- "The government and all legislation should be as limited as possible, allowing as much freedom of choice as possible. I will govern my own choices and I'm fully willing to take accountability for ALL my choices. I will never presume to push my ideals on anyone else."

The problem is, we don't live in an ideal world. Some people make choices that have costly consequences that they're not always willing or able to shoulder. Others have illnesses, disabilities, or other issues that don't allow them to support themselves. And while some things are pretty clear (murder, rape, theft), very few people agree fully on the finer points of the definitions of right/wrong (civil rights, personal lifestyle choices, etc).

I have a friend who has ADD pretty badly- he can't multitask to save his life. If I ask, "Whatcha thinking?" he looses his train of thought! He doesn't want to be on state assistance, so he enrolled in a local college to study, and eventually work, in computer engineering.

I have another friend who has a number of health issues that pretty much eliminate her options for any kind of steady employment. Her husband also has things going on that make it very difficult for him to find/keep employment. She has been writing since high school, and watches her nieces/nephews for her sister. He volunteers at the local animal shelter to compensate for vet care for their pets.

Welfare has its place, and I understand that.
The thing is, I know there are options.

I heard recently of a woman who was on welfare and disabled. She lived in DeRidder, Louisiana in 2001.  She sold sandwiches to the kids coming home from school in little after-school lunches. She also scraped together her welfare checks and literally bought one tool at a time and was outside scraping paint on a home with her can of paint. She owned the house and the one next door and was going to own the entire street.  She was buying wrecks of bombed-out shells and, one board at a time, was rebuilding them and then getting ready to sell them. She was on welfare and disability and had time... and decided to better her life.

She didn't want to be on welfare but was going to use welfare to build something better.

The native Americans were a great people... until someone in DC got a guilt trip and decided the white man owed them. Now, when a NA reaches his majority, he gets a big lump sum of money (because he couldn't receive it while he was a minor). He'll go out and buy a car, a boatload of booze and he and  his buddies will drive around drinking ‘til someone gets killed/they run out of money to buy booze... and then he will spend the rest of his life sitting on his fanny whining that the white man took his way of life. There was one very wise young man in the Sho-Ban tribe (just north of Pocatello ID) who chose instead to take his lump sum and go to college. He made something of himself.. and then called the rest of the tribe on the carpet for their indolence... and he got booted from the tribe. According to them, he's no longer a member of their tribe.

The government quite literally created a nation of people "unable" to work... and who bristle at anything else.

There was a boy in my neighborhood when I was a kid. He came from a horrible place. For some reason, they'd chosen to starve him and carry him everywhere. Thankfully he'd been adopted by a wonderful family who fed him.. and taught him to walk. When I knew him, he was 7 or 8, unable to talk, but he walked, albeit with an unusual gait. His birth family's choice to carry him, was an odd one. While this may have saved him from falling and hurting himself (as all toddlers do), it ultimately crippled him and affected his entire life.

Little Colin Cravin in the story, The Secret Garden, was much the same. He had been coddled from birth and was unable to walk at age 10... but ONLY because he'd been coddled. In reality he was completely able-bodied.. or at least had the ability to be such... and proved it!

By their fruits ye shall know them.

Benjamin Franklin is attributed with saying this nation will last until the citizens figure out they can vote themselves a raise. With this last election, I think we have. We as a nation voted for the guy who promised the most benefits- health care, increased minimum wage, increased welfare benefits, etc.

Socialism is soul-destroying. It takes away the initiative to work, to better oneself, to improve one's circumstances. It fosters the idea that the world owes something to the individual. In reality, the only thing the world owes anyone is the opportunity.

Back in the day, people didn't immigrate to the US for the benefits. They came here for the opportunity. This is "the land of opportunity".. not the land of benefits.. or is it?

This life is about work. We all have so many opportunities. There may be a million and one reasons that it won't work... but all you need is one good reason that it will. Don't let the salesmen in this coming election con you into believing that they have the magic pill to take away the pain.

Because life is pain. It's work- hard work. It's pain, and work, and frustration, and heartache, and sweat, and fear.

But it's also joy, and accomplishment, and relief, and love.

Yes, Highness, life is all these things. And that's how it's supposed to be.