Friday, December 5, 2014

i was going to post tonight

In fact, I was writing it in my head all afternoon. I got around to one of my Pinterest crafts. It was going smoothly. I was taking pictures and feeling all Martha-ish. And, by the time the craft was done I had a nice little review going, in my head. I wanted to write it all out right now, but two things have happened. One I have a crying baby who hasn't left me alone since early evening. Even now, he's crying at my feet. Two, I can't think of even one of those pre-composed sentences. SO. Maybe another day.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

the book of mormon book club, chapter eight


1 Nephi, Chapter 8: The Tree of Life


 

Let’s begin with the first 9 verses.

 

Did anyone else notice that after hours of traveling in darkness, the scene for Nephi didn’t change until he had begun to pray? Maybe he didn’t think to pray sooner because he was in the middle of a vision? I don’t know because one, I’m obviously not Nephi and two, I don’t have visions –but this I do know, prayer is powerful and it can change everything.

 

Now, let’s plow through the rest of the chapter –all of it- and then wax artistic.

 

Draw the full scene below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Now, I hope you bothered to draw it all out because now I’d like for you to draw yourself into the picture.

 

Where did you put yourself?

  

 

 

 

    Recently I was given the challenge to write down how I spent my time every day for a week. After the week a few things really stood out to me. One, I spend way too much time in my car. Two, I don’t spend near enough time in scripture study, and three: my life is so routine that unless I make deliberate, quality time for my child and for my husband it doesn’t happen.

     My point is that I am always hopping around from here to there to the next place. As much as I’d like to claim that I am perpetually standing under that tree, eating the pure, white fruit the fact of the matter is that I’m not. I’m more often found clinging to that rod. Or wandering in mists. Or standing in that great and spacious building. Here is an opinion of mine. Anytime we’re judging someone else, or thinking we’re better than someone else, or having mocking feelings or thoughts towards another child of God, we can be pretty sure we’re standing in the building and not under the tree.

 

Now for fun, and so we don’t feel too bad about our weaknesses, let’s focus on verses 30 and 31.

 

There are two multitudes here. One is pressing forwards towards the rod and the other is feeling their way towards the great and spacious building.  We make our choices based upon the desires of our hearts. Let us keep a close watch on our personal desires and motives, keeping in mind when we choose yes to one thing, we are also choosing no to another.

 

Verses 33 and 34.

 

Ready for a real principle? The closer we are to God, the less the opinions of others matter to us.

 

Who are you heeding?

 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

after a bit of introspection...

I think I might be mid-midlife crisis. It's been an amazing year for me. Maybe one of the best yet. BUT the other day while I was working on making my face presentable, I happened to notice a gray hair. Then another one. And all the sudden, weirdly, there was this fully, middle-aged woman staring back at me. I should have noticed it before, but I didn't. Not really. It's like when you look at pictures of your kids from a year ago and think, Wow? When did they get so big? It was the same thing, only: Wow? When did I get so old? How did this happen? When did this happen? It's a little on the depressing side.

I think between this, and all the other things that have happened this year ( Like having a baby, and finally having the courage to go with a pixie, and starting crossfit, etc.) I'm feeling a little shifted. I'm not the Heather that started this year. I feel like I'm totally different. More confident in myself, and less apologetic for my personality quirks. I feel more self-aware, with a take me or leave me kind of attitude.

And... at the same time I've had a couple little incidents recently that served as giant magnifying glasses and I've decided I need to live more authentically. For example, Facebook. All these years (what three or four of them now?) I've been showing up for people on Facebook, reading their statuses, commenting, and the like. I feel like I've invested my interest in their lives. I suppose this is a good thing in some ways, but then a couple things have happened and these moments were moments of clarity. I can't shake off the feeling of falseness. I guess I was just hoping for reciprocated friendships, but it's like the curtain has been pulled back and I've learned the Wizard of Oz isn't what he presented himself to be. And I won't continue to nurture false friendships. I have too many other things to do with my (limited) time.

At the same time... I want connection. I want an online community. I felt like blogging was exactly that, and now it isn't. Also I fully realize that my desire for an online community is also because I have every hope and intention of publishing a book (or two) in the next couple years and I know that publishers want to see a healthy, active presence in social media. It feels so self-serving and I'm at this crossroads trying to figure out how much of this desire for an online community is fueled by one and how much the other. Because isn't the second one false? And exactly what I'm trying to avoid? I want to live authentically. I want to be genuine and I don't want to have self-serving intentions when it comes to friendships. That isn't friendship. That's the man pretending to be the Wizard. Right?

So, I started this instagram thing, to fill the void of facebook. Which seems silly, but... there IS something inexplicably satisfying to me about scrolling through snapshots of other people's lives. Something about it makes me feel like we (women. mothers.) are all connected because we're all so much the same.

I don't know if any of this makes any sense, but it's nice to write these thoughts out.

I hope you have a fantastic week.






Saturday, November 8, 2014

the book of mormon book club, chapter seven


1 Nephi, Chapter 7: Mission Accomplished


 

 

Let’s begin with the first five verses.

 

Notice the word “gained” in verse 4, and the word “softened” in verse 5. What do these words make you think?

 

 

 

 

Here’s what I got. One, Ishmael must have been righteous, or at the very least a more righteous man for the Lord to hand select him to accompany Lehi’s family. Two, I don’t get the idea that he was jumping up and down about the thing that was being asked of him. Three, he did go. I find all of this strangely comforting. Mostly because when new callings come my way, I am rarely (if ever) jumping up and down about what I’m being asked to do. But I do it. And it’s good to know I’m not alone.

 

What happens in verses 6 -8?

 

 

 

 

 

Now verse 9.

 

How is it that ye have not harkened to the voice of the Lord?

 

Let’s take this, just for a second, out of the context of Nephi and his brothers, right into the context of our own life and our day. It reminds me a bit of a recently conference talk given by Jeffery R. Holland.

 

Do you agree? Are we harkening to the Word of the Lord?

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s continue: verses 9-12.

 

How many times does the phrase “How is it ye have forgotten” show up in those verses?

 


What are they each followed by?

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the pattern:

How is it ye have forgotten [a miracle/a tender mercy].

 

We have miraculous experiences in our lives, we experience the tender mercies of the Lord. How do you keep them in remembrance?

 

 

 

 

Summarize verse 12 in your own words.

 

 

 

 

Now verse 13.

 

Faith and obedience precede blessings, just as disobedience and rebellion precede destruction. We reap what we sow.

 

Verses 14-19.

 

     I have a personal story to share. I have to dig deep into the archives of my life for this one, all the way back to when I was 18. I had a boyfriend. He had been my boyfriend for two full years. We were going to get married. We were going to do this, that, and the other. We had plans.

     One day my mom told me, “Heather, you love him, but you aren’t in love with him. He is going to leave on his mission, and you are going to fall in love with someone else and it’s going to break his heart.”

Immediately I was filled with rage. How dare she make such a declaration! I didn’t speak to her for probably three whole days. In the meanwhile, that scripture about the guilty taking the truth to be hard settled around my heart and I realized, horrified, that she was right. I hated that she was right. It was part of why I couldn’t even bring myself to speak to her. I hated the whole truth of all of it. I knew what that truth was going to require of me.

     Point is, the truth can hurt, especially when it requires us to change. We’re human beings. Our natural-man instincts are wired to avoid pain and discomfort. When our immediate reaction is anger, let’s do our best to stop and


 


evaluate ourselves, look for the truth, and be willing to change –even if it hurts a little. Even if it hurts a lot.

 

Verses 20-22.

 

What motivates Laman and Lemuel?

 

 

 

 

What motivates Nephi?

 

 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

it's november. or mo-vember

and I'm seriously hoping Hubs doesn't decide to grow a stache this year as he has in years past...

That aside -October came and went in a half a blink, which is even shorter than July. How that happened I'm not entirely sure, but it happened. The leaves burst into flaming colors and have burnt out. Mostly they're scattered all over the place and are everywhere but on the trees that gave them existence.

In other news...

I gave up facebook recently. In the void, I've been thinking I need to blog more, but it seems like my brain has been programed to think in tiny three to five sentence instant thoughts. Also, my blogging network of yesteryear has (more or less) died... Or, at least google reader died and then I lost track of all the people who hadn't posted on their blogs since 2009. I'm a little jealous of those women. Blogging hit its high when their kids were babies and preschoolers and now that I'm in these years, they've moved on. They're working on science projects and sweating out on soccer field sidelines. I'm wiping bums.

Speaking of wiping bums. Hubs woke me up this morning with a "Help!" Little Guy had blown out of his diaper (third time this week) and it was an easier with two sets of hands kind of event. Then there was the (also poopy) incident with Pirate a few minutes later. I'll spare the details though it was rather comical (in retrospect). Sometimes I come down too hard on him three minutes too soon. As I was helping him wash his hands it hit me how tiny his hands are -still. I forget that he's still so little because he just seems so big.

And on that note... goodnight.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

the book of mormon book club, chapter six


1 Nephi, Chapter 6: The Intent of Nephi


 

Okay friends, I’ve read these six short verses over and over, and this is what I’ve got.

 

Read verses 1 and 2.

 

Just for fun, go check out the second chapter of 1 Chronicles. No need to read it, just skim. If you weren’t counting (or you didn’t bother to go find the reference) there are 55 verses worth of family history and “begats.” I like how Nephi doesn’t bother writing it all out, instead he says, “It sufficeth me to say we are descendants of Joseph.” It resonates so very male to me. I don’t know about you, but if you haven’t noticed by now, I tend to squeeze in all sorts of details and back-story. Nephi, like my husband, likes to get right to the point.

 

Now, verse 3.

 

He leaves out ___________________________, in order to have room for

 

_____________________________.

 

Does anything about that hit you?

 

 

 

 

In my world there’s this thing I call The Law of Displacement. I first became aware of this when I was studying nutrition. When we eat one thing we are also choosing to not eat something else, often something better for us, like a carrots or spinach. Then I kept noticing this principle popping up in places other than my kitchen. My budget. My time. My energy. My to-do lists. When I chose one thing (like TV) I’m simultaneously choosing to not do another thing (study my scriptures, play with my son, exercise.) Verse three is Nephi keeping his priorities straight.

 

What does the Law of Displacement look like in your life? Go ahead. Be thorough.

 

 

 

 

 


 


Whew! That’s kind of a hard one, isn’t it? Sometimes the choice between good, better, and best are far more difficult than the choice between right and wrong, don’t you think?

I hope you aren’t feeling guilty. Please don’t feel guilty. We’re all working on our own stuff. We are not expected to be perfect –that is why we have the Savior and His amazing grace.

 

Now, let’s look at verse 4.

 

What is Nephi’s intent?

 

 

 

 

What is your intent? For this book club? For your life?

 

 

 

 

Some days, I’m not gonna lie, my intent is nothing more than to get the floors clean. I’ll think, if I can just manage this one chore today I will call the day a good one. Life is hard and days get hairy, but on a more serious note my intent is to do good and to be good. I want to keep the roots of my faith sunk down deep. I want to help other women really feel the Lord in their lives, to know His promises are sure, and His grace is sufficient.

 

Onto verse 5.

 

What is pleasing to the world is not pleasing to God.

What is pleasing to God is not pleasing to the world.

 

Here it is again, the Law of Displacement, do you see it? You can choose one or the other, but you can’t choose both. It doesn’t work that way.

 

Verse 6.

 

Now let’s reword that one a little bit. Go ahead. Fill in the blanks.

 

“Wherefore I give a commandment unto _________________________, that I

 

 

shall not occupy __________________________ with _________________________

 

 

___________, which is of no worth unto____________________________.