Two Stories

Almost jokingly, I suggested to Peter that he could go to the nearby grocery store and pick up the Redbox movie we just reserved. And much to my surprise, he agreed. So my young child hopped on his bike with my credit card and a walkie-talkie in his pocket and off he went. He had a bit of a hiccup entering the zip code on the machine, but a random stranger helped him out and he returned home in less than ten minutes with a movie in his pocket.

success

I want to encourage my children to do hard things, things that are new and a little scary. And I am glad for the people around them that help them out, even if they are strangers. I could worry about everything that could go wrong with a scenario like that, but in reality, the risks are low and it will help my child grow.

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We hiked to the top of a giant rock, and my niece’s hat flew off her head in the violent winds and disappeared over the side of the cliff. She was heartbroken. We couldn’t see it, and there wasn’t a great way to get it. It was seemingly gone forever. More to offer her some hope and comfort than any real faith that she would find her hat, I suggested that she could pray.

We hiked back down. My niece, Peter, and Joe went a different way down, close to the rock where the hat had fallen. Later on, I saw Peter and my niece running down the trail, and she had her hat on.

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They had found it wedged in a hole in the face of the rock, and Joe climbed up and grabbed it. Peter and my niece both said they prayed about it. And God heard their prayers, the hat was quickly found and everyone went home happy.

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I am Enough

I think I’ve got it all together. I know, many people say no one has it all together, and in many respects they are right. No one is exempt from challenges, no one has figured out the answer to every question, and everyone makes plenty of mistakes. But instead of saying that I don’t have it all figured out, I would rather change my definition of what that means.
I am a responsible person who meets almost all of my obligations in a timely manner.  I set goals and I achieve a lot of them. I’m improving as a person. So I think I’ve got it all together. Now, sometimes my house is a disaster, my kids are snarky, I cry, I let my husband do all the dishes and I don’t help, and I forget something rather important. I’m not perfect. But I feel better and do more if I feel like I’m top of things and like I’ve got it all under control.
***
We will never live up to the all standards that we can set for ourselves. There’s always someone better, more popular, cuter clothes to wear, and better ways to do makeup.  Sometimes I feel I don’t commit to a lifestyle enough. I’m awkward, interested in all the wrong things, and don’t agree with the right politics. My house isn’t pretty, my garden is weedy, I have too many kids or not enough, my career interests are foolish, my crafts messy, I am never good enough.
That’s just a rotten way to live. A Facebook post from a while ago reminded me of a better way. A woman was lamenting that she was very far from the lifestyle she wanted for herself, and the comments filled up with really good advice:
  • Don’t compare yourself
  • Go slow and be patient
  • Just do what you can
  • Life can be hard
  • Do what works for you, it doesn’t have to match anybody else
  • Slow and imperfect progress is still progress
  • Just pick one thing you can accomplish every day
  • You can get burned out if you try too much
  • Find help from others

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The gospel does not direct many details of my life.  Instead, it says, come as you are. Let God know all your works, all the efforts of your heart, and He will direct you. He believes that you are good enough, He had a work for you to do. And with him, and only Him, my life is molded and shaped for good.

Timing

the view

I’m the primary music leader for my ward, and I was recently teaching the children this simple song:

Listen to the still small voice!
Listen! Listen!
When you have to make a choice.
He will guide you always.
It’s meant to be sung as a round, and the children actually did pretty well singing it that way. At the end, I was trying to be spiritual and talk about how we need to listen to the still small voice and make sure we are listening to the one we are supposed to be following, and not the other group.
Just a bit later, it struck me how much I needed that little message. The funny thing about a round is everyone is singing the same thing: but the timing is drastically different. God tells us much the same things: that we need to serve other, have a family, be righteous. And I’ve always strived to do good, listen to God, to have Him as my guide. But I don’t always get the timing right, and sometimes I look at other people’s timing and think that is the right one for me.
I look at people who have a lot of children and wonder why I don’t have more myself. I look at people who have a lot of success or cool jobs or hobbies or lots of friends and wonder why I don’t. I could go on…but if I’m looking at other people and what they are singing, I’m going to miss the timing that God has for me.
God does have a unique plan for me if I’m paying attention to Him and not anyone else.
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(And I have the best view from my front porch sometimes.)

Eclipse

The day of the eclipse, I decided to drive up and see it. I was worried about crowds and traffic. Although I saw way more Utah license plates in Idaho than Idaho plates, it wasn’t too bad at all.

We found a country park to go to and randomly ended up sitting right next to my Mom’s neighbor. It was an absolutely amazing experience that Peter said was just as good as Minecraft.

watchingglasses

This video is horrible. But I think you definitely see the excitement in it.

While I was enjoying the whole experience, it reminded me of church, and I actually used the experience to help teach my son about baptism.

When I heard about the eclipse, everyone who had actually seen one said it was worth about any effort to go. They said it was indescribable and amazing.

We also hear from people, through individual testimonies and the scriptures, how indescribable and amazing are the blessing from being baptized, going to church and enjoying the fullness of the gospel.

It’s easy to not believe the testimonies or to get discouraged by the things we have to do to get there. I almost stayed home from the eclipse because of traffic. Many people do not go to church or get baptized because of lifestyle decisions or indifference.

I went to the eclipse and it was so much more than I expected and well worth the effort. It turned out it wasn’t that hard to go after all: and the experience was incredible.

The gospel is worth the effort: it isn’t that hard, and the blessings I’ve experienced from the gospel are indescribable and amazing.

My son went to the eclipse very reluctantly. When it actually happened, he was the most excited I have ever seen him. I challenged him to get baptized and told him that it would be just as good as the eclipse.

Rainbow

In the morning, I said a simple prayer asking for many things. I asked for help with my role in primary at church, that my garden could grow, and that my testimony would be strengthened.

After getting ready, I decided to read my scriptures on the front porch. It was raining pretty hard, which was wonderful. Rain would help all the plants in my garden that I had just planted yesterday, and I wouldn’t have to go out and irrigate.

As I studied the scriptures, I notice the sun coming out from behind the clouds, while it was still raining. And sure enough, there was a fleeting rainbow.

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I love morning rainbows, and it was a reminder of God and His love. But more than that, I remembered the song I planned on teaching the children today at church had the following lyrics:

I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain
And ponder on the beauty of an earth made clean again
I want my life to be as clean as earth right after
I want to be the best I can and live with God again

The Lord directly answered my prayers. He provided rain for my garden. He gave me an experience I can share with the children to help teach them the song. And He strengthened my testimony of His presence and love.

Good

“Cry nothing but repentance.” I’ve been thinking lately how all the advice I can give others is in some ways flawed: I don’t follow it myself all the time. I think that is why talking about repentance is so important. I am not perfect, and I do strive to live a righteous life. But I occasionally lose my patience with my children. I judge people too harshly. I complain about good things. I’m too casual in my worship.  I am very far from being a perfect person, and sometimes when I think I’m doing pretty good, the Lord opens my eyes and I see I have much room to improve.
Repentance is a powerful principle. I think we all make mistakes that we want to change. And repentance gives us the way to change them. Through our own efforts to improve ourselves, and relying on God and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can change. We can be forgiven of our sins, and become more than we can by our own efforts. It is the most joyful news in the world!
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I firmly believe that our world is not full of evil people fighting against good people. It’s full of people desiring to be good, but often not knowing the correct path to change. Our world is filled with good things. We have so much potential for good, and I don’t think we are living up to that potential at all. If evil fills the world, it isn’t as blatant as we often think. Often I find it in my own heart, in my own misperceptions, and little sins that I try to get away with.
But God is a merciful God. And He blesses me with good in my life as I try my best. He provided a way for good to overcome evil, and I’m grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that teaches me that way.
It’s conference! I’m very excited this year, and I have a goal to sit and listen more…six hours is a very long time to just sit and listen without falling asleep, but I know I won’t regret it if I do.