Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"REMEMBER" on a daily basis

1 Corinthians 11:2 -- Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

Mark 8:18 -- Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?

Psalms 63:6-7 -- When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.

There are so many different ways to put yourself to the task of "remembering." One way that I've found to be especially positive in my life is taking the time to ponder each night and to rehearse the events of the day in my mind, considering all the things that went well and that I am grateful for. I always find a lot, and I always discover God in the day -- and often times as I remember I am surprised at how often (this is especially important because I usually do not notice/think of it at the moment, only in reflecting does it become obvious).

I want to be better at this. And I guess this is a little invitation to anyone who reads this to do the same...Look at your day and ask yourself "what did God do for me today that he wants me to see?"

Moroni 10:18 -- And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ.

Monday, November 29, 2010

reading over notes from an old ysa conference

i re-learned some important things:

1. You don't "get happy" in marriage -- you SHARE happiness in marriage. If you aren't happy now you won't be then and you will instead drain each other and end up frustrated and unhappy. (Find happiness now and then find someone to share it with.)

2. The rest of the world has a pretty messed up idea of love. We don't "complete" each other -- Christ completes us. Christ is the light of our lives -- not a another imperfect human being, however much we love them.

3. The Atonement works in relationships; trust God, not yourself.

4. A lesson of Nephi's efforts to get the plates first and then Ishmael's family: Before you are a fit candidate for a relationship you have to get the word of God in your life.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard

I read Sheri Dew's book If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard and turned down the corners of enough pages to warrant a post all for itself. I've tried to string together some of her words and ideas into this one post.....

We have been exposed to more and more evil every day since we were born and this has had a devastating effect as "familiarity breeds normality" and we've begun confusing "unrighteous behavior" with  normal behavior (15).

Once example of this is how "being single has been made to appear normal" and weakens the most important institution God has ordained for this life: the family (84). For as many opportunities, "joys and rewards" that a single person has there is "no adequate compensation for not being married" because when you are single you are inherently incomplete (85).

Another example is the "erosion of female attitudes about sacred things, beginning with their bodies. Immodesty in American society and even among our own people has reach epidemic proportions. PArticularly during summer months, an increasing percentage of woman attend church and partake of sacred ordinances -- including in the temple -- in what could only be considered beach or picnic atire...young women (and too often their mothers) arrive wearing tight, second-sking clothing and flip-flops" (111). Again, behavior becoming familiar and regard as acceptable and normal when it is NOT. "Perhaps the problem is that we haven' stopped to think about what actually happens, for example in sacrament meeting...where we present ourselves before the Lord to renew our covenants with Him...If we were to have a personal interview with the Savior, what would we wear?" (111).

Perhaps it IS difficult to live amidst so many voices "calling evil good and good evil" (2 Ne. 15:20) but power comes in living in the midst of evil by knowing "of the goodness of Jesus" (Mormon 1:15) the way the prophet Mormon, who lived in a time where "there never had been so great wickedness" (Mormon 4:12) and was able to maintain his standards when everything around him fell apart.

We've been told over and over again that we live in a time great evil -- but we have never known anything different and must not let the degradation of the world pull us down. It will be difficult...but Life is meant to be difficult. It is mean to test us to the limit. Joseph Smith was reported as having said our trials are meant to wrench our heart strings "and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God" (124).


So we must come to know Christ -- be converted. Sister Dew explains that the the surest way to know if someone is converted to Jesus Christ is by how that person treats others. Unfortunately "our charity sometimes faileth" (43) as we are pressured to focus on ourselves and on our 'needs' and often become selfish and lazy. But this of course is the opposite of what will make us happy. Joseph Smith taught -- that we "must enlarge [our] souls towards others if [we would] do like Jesus" (44) and by doing so we will find true happiness. When we commit to charity and service our lives change:

We need each other. We need each other to be the Lord's comforting. We need to be the answer to each others prayers. We others to love us and remind us of God's love. He is always there for us, but the physical presence of another person is also important because "sometimes we just need to hug someone, reach out to someone, or have someone reach out to us" and be there with us (78). ((Especially mothers because as Joseph F. Smith taught, "the love of a true mother comes nearer to being like the love of God than an other kind of love" (108) which is why family love is one of the greatest sources of joy and contentment)) 

 We have to learn to lay aside the things that keep us apart. Here is a corny but true illustration:

The Fable of the Porcupine

It was the coldest winter ever.  Many animals died because of the cold.  The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together.  This way, they covered and protected themselves; but, the quills of each one wounded their closest companions even though they gave off heat to each other. After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen.
So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or perish. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. This way they learned to live with the little wounds  that were caused by the close relationship with their companion.

Therefore: The best relationships are not the one that brings together perfect people, but the best is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can support each other through life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

the sabbath

God created the earth in six days, and on the the seventh he rested. If there were nothing else said on the importance of the Sabbath, this should still be enough. What better example to follow that the master and creator of all the earth? If he set a day apart from the others and hallowed it-- shouldn't we?

In Genisis 2:3 it states that "God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it" and in Exodus 31:13 the Lord explains to the children of Israel that the Sabbath "is a sign between me and you throughout your generations that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you." God has made the sabbath holy and set it above the rest as a sign of our cleansing -- if we keep it holy. The sabbath is a perpetual covenant and as we honor that covenant we show for a sign that we are His. Elder Bruce R. McConkie remarked that our Sabbath observance is the great test dividing the righteous and the wicked. So on the Sabbath, what do I do? Which sign do I show to the Lord? You really can tell what a man worships by how he spends his time on Sunday…

The Sabbath day is reminder of God's plan for us, of our opportunity to worship (emulate) him and be cleansed and made holy by him. The symbols of the Sabbath are woven deeply into the scriptures, reminding us time and time again of this doctrine.

The children of Israel were slaves while captive in Egypt and as such did not have the choice to rest on the Sabbath. When their captivity ended they were especially thankful for the Sabbath and their opportunity to honor it.

Through the Atonement of Christ we are delivered from the bondage of death and transgression -- and since Sunday was the third day, the day he came from the tomb, it is the day of the Risen Lord. This is our holy day of remembrance, of the day we were set free. Elder Holland has said that when we do not put away the concerns of the world and honor this day, we show ourselves to be terribly ungrateful. Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “Our observance or nonobservance of the Sabbath is an unerring measure of our attitude toward the Lord personally and toward his suffering in Gethsemane, his death on the cross, and his resurrection from the dead."

We are sanctified by the Sabbath when we show for a sign that we are Christ's by making Sunday the best day of the seven. It certainly helps me to think of it this way when I need to weed out the "not quite sunday appropriate activities" from my day. I hope I can be better.

Monday, November 1, 2010

a home

i think i may be "nesting"

at least that's the joke behind why i keep buying more and more of the odd little thrift store whatnots and knickknacks i hope to fill a house with; stacking them up on each other and into all the corners of my tiny little basement apartment.

it's my justified packratism -- that i will used these teacups someday and those pillows are just awaiting the advent of a guest bedroom. so it accumulates.

which makes it more and more of an impossible (but imperative) task to move... and also seems to settle me here even more concretely. weird. tho, i don't think it's so much the things that do it as the feeling they connect me to of the home i will someday make... it's nice to have the dreamy image of my someday kitchen filled with a jumble of colored-glass bottles and plants and the library overflowing with a medley of books and curios.

speaking of books, emerson said of his house that he hoped to "crowd so many books and papers, and if possible, wise friends, into it that it shall have as much wit as it can carry."

along with wit, an inviting ambiance and charismatic ornamentation. that's not too much to hope for is it? tho i might just be excusing my collecting urges :)