Tag: hope

Faith and Loneliness

I have lots of different readers who enjoy my posts for different reasons. I love every last one of you! This is a religious post probably best suited for my Mormon readers but hopefully encouraging to anyone of faith. If religion isn’t your thing don’t worry will be posting about your favorite topic soon. It’s a huge part of my life so it will come up on the blog from time to time. Love you!

missionLately I’ve found myself thinking a lot about my mission.  This year marks 10 years since I came home which has given me pause to think about the decade which has come and gone. Plus, I recently played host to my favorite companion Julia Graves and spent time with a sister who also served around my time Lisa Luddington.  We’ve shared stories and looked back on all we learned during those very intense 20 months (I extended).

Today I went to a homecoming for a friend and it touched my heart to see how strong she has become. I hope she can keep that strength and faith for a decade as I have striven to do however imperfectly.

Called to Serve Him.  No greater work.  No greater chance to become more Christlike
Called to Serve Him. No greater work. No greater chance to become more Christlike

As I’ve been thinking about my mission I realized something special it taught me I hadn’t put my finger on before.  It taught me how to deal with the loneliness of faith.

Let me explain.  There was a time on the mission I was given a companion who was bi-polar and thought that a mission would cure her mental illness. When it obviously didn’t she took her anger out on me and was emotionally and verbally abusive. I was berated as the worst missionary, ugly, stupid, inept, you name it.  Then she would go days with the silent treatment which was better but hard when you have to spend 24 hours a day with a person.

It was an especially hard time because I was trying so hard to be a good trainer and obedient.  We were opening a new area to sisters so I didn’t know anybody and we were far away from the mission home.  On LDS missions you are not allowed to call home, just weekly letters (although my parents did send me flowers. Love them!).

Got to love Indiana corn!
Got to love Indiana corn!

I’m not saying I was perfect because I wasn’t but I was trying to be obedient and I seemed to be punished for that where other people had great training experiences. Plus, how many times can you be told your a terrible missionary before you begin to believe it.

It was one of the loneliest time of my life. That may be surprising because I was with someone all the time but it just goes to show a person can be lonely who is surrounded by people.

pres quist
President Quist helped me so much through that lonely time

Anyway, I thought about coming home but I didn’t want to let my family down especially my younger siblings who needed an example missionary in their lives. I had to call the mission president every night and he helped me to get through every day.  I had a sister swap with my MTC comp Sister Noyes and that also helped.

But in the end I had to turn to my Heavenly Father in a way I hadn’t done to that point. He was all I had to really lean on. I read my scriptures and I prayed so hard my knees hurt. And you know what? He filled me up.  He let me know I wasn’t a bad missionary.  He helped me to forgive her, which was incredibly hard to do.  He loved me and I was not the same after that.  I was in 100% to the mission and while again I was far from perfect I know I was the missionary He needed me to be.

purdue
Purdue campus was the new area with tough companion but it was the site of many sacred experiences too

As hard as that experience was, and it was brutal, it gave me a gift.  In the 10 years since I came home there have been lonely times.  I don’t need to go into all of them but just trust me there have been lonely times. I’ve felt attacked, disappointed in the choices of others, angry, frustrated, confused and alone, as all humans do from time to time.

But I’ve always had that time on the mission in my pocket to carry me through.

I had discovered God’s ability to strengthen me during the lonely times and have never forgotten it and never will.

If you are feeling lonely or life is giving you a shellacking (we’ve all been there!) maybe it’s a moment God is trying to turn you into something better, like He made me the best missionary I could be?  Maybe he is trying to make you strong?

I absolutely believe moments of loneliness are essential to understanding the atonement of Jesus Christ and really applying it to your heart. We need it so bad in those moments and only then are we teachable and humble enough to make the tough choices and rely on His mercy completely.
me-in-snow-on-missionNever forget the scripture says

“I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”

Spiritual Holes

(This is one of my more LDS related posts but I think any person could find ways to relate to it).

So it’s late and I should probably be asleep but what else is new!  Today was another amazing day.  It started out unpleasantly dealing with Comcast from 7-12 (the whole morning).  Nothing was working and I traipsed up and down all 3 levels trying to get a read from technician on what was wrong.  In truth he was clearly applying a wack-a-mole approach to fixing the problem.  Try one thing, hit down the problem, whack the next one, until hopefully they were all whacked.  Hopefully…

Anyway, they were finally done and I was tired.  An early morning wake up does not have any effect on my go to sleep time.  I wish insomnia worked that way!  I would tell myself I had to wake up early every day!  So, I crashed and woke up about 2 (I never take naps so you know I was really tired to do that). I had missed church and I felt a little bad about that but I know I will be there next week so it’s ok to have a moment of sleep induced truancy.

Fortunately I was not left spiritually adrift for long because my wonderful friends and home teachers came over for a visit.  I think they both might have missed their callings as psychiatrists because they are so pleasant to talk to.  I’m afraid I take up way too much of their time when they come but I enjoy it so much.   We chatted about the Olympics, my fun weekend, my job etc and then they shared a prayer and spiritual thought.

These thoughts remind me of my Grandpa who I love, so you can imagine I love them.  Today’s topic was one I have been contemplating lately- the unanswered prayer, the seemingly unexplained tragedy, the leaps of faith, the almost unforgivable act…the really tough stuff and the stuff that confuses, troubles us, or that we simply do not fully understand.

In an ideal world all of us would have 100% testimonies on all parts of our faith all the time, but unless we are Jesus, that is impossible  There is always going to be something that at least for the moment you struggle with accepting.  Things that don’t make any sense.

I think of those moments as spiritual holes.  It’s just like standing on the edge of a deep pit and if you let yourself take too large a step you will fall.

spiritual holesI don’t know if it was just Indiana but I met a number of people on my mission who struggled to feel the Book of Mormon was true.  They had strong testimonies of the priesthood, restoration, prophets but couldn’t get into scripture.  This could be very troubling.  Others struggled with the priesthood, marriage, judgement, prophets, and even the atonement.  They’ve thought and thought about it and just haven’t been able to take that leap yet.

I’ll be honest and tell you mine.  I’ve never had a great experience with fasting.  I believe in being obedient but it’s a bit of a mystery to me.  If I let it, I could focus on that spiritual hole and my faith would get submerged by it. Instead I hope that it is true, I fast and I remember the things I do know including my relationship with God, love of the temple and testimony of the Book of Mormon.

As someone who has struggled with anxiety I know more than most, a small problem, thought or issue can creep inside and get larger and more troublesome. This can happen with spiritual holes as we allow them to get bigger.  At times they can seem almost overwhelming and all-encompassing.

So what do we do about it? Well to start, focus on what you do know and build on that.  Then try to face your fears and always be obedient.  Most importantly recognize that everyone has testimony holes.  That’s why we need each other so badly.  Where I am weak, you are strong, and vice versa. Maybe that’s why God doesn’t take away the holes?  He knows how badly we need each other. I’ve had friends who have fallen into their spiritual holes, letting them consume their faith, and I miss their testimony strengths..

One of the best talks I have ever heard was in a Sacrament meeting on my mission.  We were visiting a ward so I didn’t know the couple well but they started telling their conversion story.  They were on a military base in Germany when they learned about the gospel and became converted.

Being on base, they didn’t have a car so a member family picked them up for church each Sunday.  One day a little girl asked the new convert why he “smelled funny?”  The truth was, he had started smoking again (very common after baptism to relapse.  It’s ok), and he was very embarrassed.  At first it was laughed off, but the father of the little girl knew hurt had occurred and this was a crucial faith moment, so he acted.

He called up the convert and said ‘Look I don’t care if you have to smoke a pack between meetings, we need you with us’.  Instead of feeling ashamed of his testimony hole, the man felt love and acceptance and started coming, eventually kicking the habit completely.  He did not allow a testimony hole to ruin all the good he did have and his family will be forever grateful to that brother who noticed and acted.

Sometimes I feel as a single woman I have to face holes by myself.  Anxiety grows when I am not able to deal with my anger, fear, hurt, and resentment well, and the hole gets bigger and more ostracizing from those wanting to help me.   Fortunately, however, I have always been able to lean on God and remember my convictions on so  may things and become stronger.  I’ve always been amazed at how many people God gave me that love me.

So, please friends if you are feeling like ‘how can I believe when I’m not sure about …..’  remember we need the holes and solid foundation.  Both make you strong.  Even the Savior briefly asked to have the bitter cup removed.  Even He had a hole He felt momentarily was beyond him and that’s when God sent down an angel to give Him strength.  He certainly overcame all for us.

In the end, you have to pick something to guide your life by, and I know I have chosen the right way for me to be happy and feel close to God- holes and all.

There is a great example in Nephi.  He is conversing with angels and later Christ, seeing visions and dreams and yet he says ‘I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things’.   Even faithful Nephi had holes, but he did not let that hold him back or allow him to forget the greatness he did have.  He knew that God loved him and that has power.

I love a talk by Elder Holland called ‘Lord I Would Believe’ where he talks about the man hoping his son can be healed but lacking the faith he says ‘Help thou my unbelief’.  In other words help me with this hole.  Help me to not slip and fall:

“Observation number one regarding this account is that when facing the challenge of faith, the father asserts his strength first and only then acknowledges his limitation. His initial declaration is affirmative and without hesitation: “Lord, I believe.” I would say to all who wish for more faith, remember this man! In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. In the growth we all have to experience in mortality, the spiritual equivalent of this boy’s affliction or this parent’s desperation is going to come to all of us. When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.

Hold fast!  Everyone is needed to help us bridge our testimony holes.  We all need each other so don’t give up.  I’ve known far to many who have.  Don’t.  A relationship with Christ and His happy plan is far too worthwhile.  I know that is true of my self, independent from any other person.

Love you guys.  I love my Heavenly Father, and I really do have a testimony of Jesus Christ and His church being restored to the earth.  So let’s help each other out of our holes.  🙂

Just want to remind the trolls out there if you post unhelpful, unconstructive, attacks on my faith they will not be posted, so don’t waste your time.

Blessings

Recently on pandora I came across my new favorite song.  Its written by a singer Laura Story who is a grammy nominated christian contemporary singer.   She describes writing the song:

“Blessings is just a bunch of songs about worshiping when life is hard”. Her husband Martin Elvington was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and she wondered “Why didn’t you just fix it, God? You’re all powerful and all loving… just fix it.” Later after mentioning her desire to return back to normal, her sister said “You know, I think the detour is actually the road.” She realized that “Spending time with [husband] Martin obviously makes me happy, but it makes me a better person. That’s the blessing of it”

Why didn’t you just fix it, God?  Why does it seem hard to get an answer when I’m trying?  Why is the answer no when I want it so bad?  Where are you?  All of those questions are felt by every believer from time to time.  I’ve even known people who let these questions take away the faith they do have.  Can’t they see that God does not weak Saints?  He wants us to be stronger than the greatest trials, even cancer in the case of Laura.

Here are the lyrics.  I love it so much:

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

I certainly haven’t experienced the trials of some but the one’s I’ve had were still hard for me.  I love the line ‘what if the greatest disappointments or the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy’.  I get choked up a little when I sing that line.  The aching of this life is to reveal a greater thirst for everlasting glory . How beautiful is that?

I also love “When friends betray us. When darkness seems to win. We know that pain reminds this heart. That this is not, This is not our home It’s not our home”   Who has not felt betrayed and darkness seeming to win?  The pain does remind us that this is not our home, that God wants us to come back to him.  He loves us more than we will ever know.  Enough to give us ‘a thousand sleepless nights’.   He doesn’t want us to believe only when it is convenient.  He wants us to believe when it is hard.  That’s why faith is so powerful.

I love CS Lewis’ take on this concept “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”

I just wish everyone could believe and get through the tough times.  It’s so worth it.

Anyway, I don’t wish to preach to you but I just love this song.  I made a weak attempt to sing it.  Here you go.

https://smilingldsgirl.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/2013-07-17-12_35_41.mp3

Here is the real deal.  Laura Story Blessings

Mormonism and Pain

judaskiss

Last night I had a spirited discussion on twitter about trials.  The statement was made “In the present, we call them trials; in the future we will call them tender mercies of The Lord.” .  I took issue with the statement because trials are still trials even if they serve a noble purpose in the end.  To me calling them tender mercies from the Lord is like giving people permission to cause pain because in the end the Lord uses it to do good.  As my old seminary teacher used to say

‘Judas is not off the hook’. 

I actually heard someone argue once that rape victims should be grateful for their experience because it made them strong and turn to the Lord.  The person last night was not inferring this but isn’t it a necessary stretch of the argument that if trials are truly blessings from the Lord than when we are victimized (the worst kind of trial) it is secretly a blessing and we should be grateful for it.

No! Now, we shouldn’t be bitter and allow it to control our life but call evil, evil, call trials, trials and be grateful for the Lord helping you through the evil and the trials. Just because you are able to clean dirty clothes does not mean the dirt didn’t exist!

This goes to the question of forgiving and forgetting- a question of much debate in the church, can you really forget?  Some claim that through the atonement you can forget sins and move on.  I’d say you can forget the pain but not the event itself.  We are humans and I don’t see how you can just erase such trauma from your mind and I have about as intimate and close a relationship with Jesus Christ of anyone I know.  So far no forgetting but the pain is lessened.

In fact, I have found that those moments of pain are sometimes the most clear, the most distinct of my life.  I’ve always found it ironic that the memories of being bullied and harassed as a child are clear as day in my mind but the happy times like Christmases and family vacations are a blur.  Why is that?  Why do we remember the tough times so clearly and not the good?  I’m not sure.

In any case, I have not been able to forget my pain; nor, do I necessarily want to.  I learned a lot of hard lessons through God’s walking me through the pain.  I grew close to Him as He helped me see the higher purpose and that I was loved by Him.  Does that mean he sent down the bullies so that I would be close to Him?  Of course not!  Judas is not off the hook and neither are the bullies or rapists or whatever hurts us in this life!

Perhaps we cannot forgive and forget because time does not stand still and we can forever live with effects of even repented sin.

The reason I wanted to title this post Mormonism and Pain is I thought I might explain why some things seem to be particularly painful to Mormons compared to other Christians.  You see, we believe in an eternal growth cycle.  We believe the things we do here on this earth have eternal consequences and that a mistake now while always redeemable still can have eternal results.

For example, I met a family on my mission who years before decided that paying tithing was too hard and fallen away from the church.  Eventually they came back to full fellowship and restored their temple covenants, which was great, but it could not take away years of inactivity when they were raising their children.

In addition, the family found no suitable replacement for teaching their children right and wrong (as many who leave Mormonism are able to do quite successfully) so they were without much of a moral compass and certainly far away from the teachings of the church.  Zoom ahead to the present and the children are way off track with prison sentences and illegitimate pregnancies as examples. So, yes they came back to Jesus and His grace, which is fabulous but their eternal family could be forever damaged because of choices they had already made. They cannot after all raise their children over again. It is that eternal gravity that can make us sad.

Another example can be seen in marriage. While divorce is never a pleasant experience for anyone of any faith or persuasion, think of the added pressure for Mormons where an eternal family is being dissolved.   Even a break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend can be all the more devastating because for at least a moment the individuals involved could see them as part of an eternal union.  When things don’t work out its brutal because of the potential.  Of course, when they do the eternal covenants make things all the more sweet and happy but there is that darker, more morose flip side to our beliefs.

So, when you scratch your head and wonder ‘Why are they making such a big deal over this?’  Remember that for Mormons we are seeing things through a longer and larger telescope than you.  To us, we can see eternity and have it as our goal.  There is nothing more important to a Mormon than eternal families but that is not a guarantee.  Human action does affect whether we will be with our loved one’s again.  The song after all says ‘families can be together forever through Heavenly Father’s plan’. Pain and trials are an essential part of getting there but still more weighty than just a ‘hard time that will pass by’ especially when they are the result of sins, whether our own or sins of others that can, even if repented and forgiven, have eternal ramifications.

We also believe in covenants made on earth have massive importance.  In fact, they can only be made here or via proxy.  That’s how important our behavior and life on earth is to Mormon theology.  Mortality really matters, and the behaviors of human beings can have consequences for forever which can make us feel an eternal sadness (and joy!), and the sadness is sometimes shared even by God Himself:

Moses 7: 28-33 (this doesn’t sound like a God who is glad for trials/sadness of his people)

28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the aresidue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?

 29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst aweep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?

 30 And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of aearths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy bcreations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever;

 31 And thou hast taken aZion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity; and naught but peace, bjustice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst cweep?

 32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own ahands, and I gave unto them their bknowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his cagency;

 33 And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should alove one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they bhate their own blood;

btw- I’m not necessarily saying this pain is right or wrong, it just is, and so if you puzzle at why certain things are so painful for your Mormon friends this is the lens that many I know are looking through.  Just thought that might give a little empathy when you see the tears! Thanks

https://smilingldsgirl.com/2013/04/01/a-god-who-weeps/

Not Smiling All the Time

Sometimes I’ve wondered if I am doing myself a disservice by declaring myself as a ‘smiling lds girl’. Some who do not know me very well think I am perpetually cheerful but the truth is much more complicated.

The germ of the name started when I set up an email after my mission.  I was on such a high then that I really was smiling all the time.  I felt like nothing could be harder, nothing more intense than my mission, and I had done it, done it for God.  In many ways I felt invisible.

But such bubbles are made to be burst and they sure were.  It took just 2 years to get to one of the lowest times of my life.  I’ve talked about it many times but in 2007 I left a job that was like a black cloud in my life.  The details don’t really matter. All that matters is I was in a low spot and I had the courage to claw myself out of it.

With a renewed vision of my potential for happiness a smile was back on my face.  All of the sudden the moniker of ‘smiling lds girl’ seemed appropriate.  I also had a bit of time and decided to join the blogging world and gave it my email name smilingldsgirl.  My first entry was in May of 2008. The freedom of Joblessness.  Back then I said:

“my first foray into the world of blogging…It is hard to describe my last 6 months but let me just say that I am in the job hunt and I couldn’t be happier. I honestly think I will be a bit sad when I have to go back into the work force. There is something wonderful about living my life the way I want to without regards to supervisors, bosses or routines. I have always been a big one for planning but after a bit of a breakdown last year I needed a change more than anything.”

It was so strange because in the eyes of most people my situation might have appeared quite pitiable (no job, no man, overweight, etc) but I was happy as can be.  I knew that I had done what God wanted me to do.  In many ways it was the same feeling I felt after my mission.  I had survived and new adventures awaited me.

So I was smiling again.

I had a period of peace and then in 2010 the crazy health challenges started and really I spent a lot of the next 2 years surviving again.  I don’t mean to seem ungrateful because I have been incredibly blessed during this time but let’s just say it was harder to smile for a little while.   It was rough and I remember going to Hawaii and just thinking ‘ why can’t I be this happy all the time?’.  But I kept pressing forward and smiling in spite of it all.

Then I found open water swimming and boxing and started smiling again.  Now I can hardly envision my life without it.  What did I do with all my time before?  It takes up so much of my time and yet I do most everything (with the exception of grad school) I did before. I wish that everyone could feel the way I feel when I’m in the water.  It is joy.  It is smiling.

Honestly it makes me a little nervous because I feel like I’m smiling again.  What does God have in store for me? I am certainly going to enjoy every season of joy I get and try to store it up for the testing that will inevitably come my way.

I suppose I had my mind on this because I am thinking of buying/building a house.  It is overwhelming and I can’t help but feel it will make my life more complicated.  It’s just one of those seminal moments of life so it seems appropriate to feel a bit introspective.  I never thought I would buy a house by myself. It makes me excited and nervous for the future.  Can I do it?  Will I keep smiling?

The answer is yes, but it will be interrupted by periods of tears; and, I believe that is how God wants it.  If we think about Jesus and His life He was not always smiling.  He wept with his followers.  He mourned with those that mourned and comforted those that stood in need of comfort.  He even got angry on occasion when it was appropriate.

We are told to have a broken heart and contrite spirit.  I’ve had broken hearts in my life and each time I have come out of it smiling because I learned in those crucible experiences that God loved me.  That is why you need a broken heart and a contrite spirit because you simply need Him more in those moments than ever before.

So in the end, I am smiling deep down inside even in the tender moments because I know God is turning me into what He knows I can be.

Thank you to everyone who has loved me in the low times. Kept me smiling. 🙂

2 Quotes

So recently I came across two quotes about love/friendship.  They couldn’t be more contrasting.

A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise.
~Richard Bach

and

“Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. And intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.”
― Janet Fitch, White Oleander

I used to believe more in the Bach quote but now I’m firmly planted in the Fitch. Sigh…

What do you think? Which idea of friendship is right or are both wrong? What is your idea of a great relationship?  What is the ideal? What should we be striving for?

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts VI

So I’ve tried to write this post tons of times but for some reason wordpress keeps erasing it.

Here goes again.

Pain- Day 2 of hypthoroid pills has come and gone and so far I am cautiously optimistic.  No major side effects and today I actually felt pretty energized.  Still have the pain but there are things to feel good about (I have learned to be grateful for a good day no matter what the cause of it is).

Something about this photo I really like

I was thinking today of the scripture in D and C 122:7 when God tells Joseph Smith “that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”  That I idea of giving us experience is so interesting.  Every trial I have gone through has helped me relate to a new person in a new way.  It has literally given me experience. (In my new ward I’ve met like 6 people who have chronic pain in some form or another and I can relate to them. My experience gives a connection). Something to think about…

Breakfast- One of the things I have really struggled with is eating a good breakfast.  Lately all food looks gross to me, all the time, but especially in the morning.  Things I normally like such as eggs produce the gag-reflex. Plus, it means I have to get a pan dirty and chop stuff and I’m tired (you get the idea).

I would say more than any other category, aside from maybe dessert, it is hard to make breakfast healthy.  All of my favorite things I can never have- french toast, toast, fluffy pancakes, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, most cereals (the hardest of the list), donuts, bear claws, etc.  Any ideas you have for a healthy, quick way to do breakfast that would be great.

I recently made this breakfast quinoa that was pretty good.  In the rice cooker 1 cup quinoa, 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup water.  Then I put nuts and dried fruit on top.

breakfast quinoa. It would be really good with half and half or cream...

Books- I’m on the lookout for cheerful books. I’m talking fun, even silly, happy books. Not the type of inspirational overcome challenges type of books but just overtly happy books. For example, the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency is bright and funny (Alexander McCall Smith is kind of the king of the happy series), or Sophie Kinsella’s books I really love in this regard. Especially The Undomestic Goddess. Is it great literature? No, but it makes me laugh without fail and actually has a few things to think about on the side.

Food- Recently I came up with this list. What are your top 5?
Top 5 Foods I miss:
1. Mashed Potatoes (Potatoes in general are a rarity)
2. Non whole grain cereals.
3. white bread with honey and butter
4. most yummy breakfast foods- french toast, fluffy pancakes, cinnamon rolls, donuts, honeybuns…sigh
5. Pies and fresh hot cookies (and the cookie smell)

On the plus side of food I am finally getting a bountiful basket!  http://bountifulbaskets.org/.  It is this organization that combines farmers produce to get fresh produce at a discount price.  My friend Kate and I are splitting it and it should be delicious! This is what the baskets look like.  Yum and since we are splitting the cost it will only be $20 each including the organic and citrus package!

I am told this is what a typical bountiful basket looks like.

So I might take boxing lessons! I just found out about this club in Salt Lake just for women and boxing. Looks awesome. I’ve always wanted to learn. I took a self defense class in college and it was really fun! It will be fun to spice things up a bit. Lately in my training we’ve been using the punching bag and I love it! (Get out all that angst!). Did I finally think of something that suprises a few of you’all?

Living alone- So in my new ward I am the only never married single person. Isn’t that kind of amazing? Still, things have gone very well. One funny thing is that everyone is so surprised I live alone. I’m kind of used to it. Its really not that big of a deal to me. Yes, friends I live alone and love it! The only time I wish I didn’t live alone is when I’m sick and someone could go to the pharmacy for me (and listen to my moaning and groaning!).

New Calling- So it finally came. I got called into primary.  I was actually quite disappointed because I have loved teaching Sunday School.  I will miss the gospel interaction with adults….However, it will be a new challenge and I am sure I will learn a lot.  It is teaching the 9 year olds so if any of you have suggestions for engaging that age group please pass on.  I’ve heard bring treats from a lot which is hard because I don’t really eat treats but I will see what I can do.

Diabetes- One comment on the Paula Deen controversy.  I do think it is strange that she didn’t come out with her diagnosis for 3 years until she is a victoza spokesperson.  Seems shady to me.  However, I don’t really care about her.  The thing I noticed in the coverage is who the ‘experts’ kept talking about diabetes as this horrible awful thing, and it can be that.  Never do I seem to hear that it is a treatable condition.  I was a borderline diabetic at best but I got my A1C’s down in a year and am no longer a diabetic threat.  When I was first diagnosed I thought I’d have diabetes my whole life and that I was going to die.  That’s what I thought.  I had no idea it was treatable.  Maybe that’s just my ignorance showing but I wish more ‘experts’ would point that out when they discuss the issue.

Here’s a great flyer on the subject. http://physical-therapy.advanceweb.com/sharedresources/Downloads/2009/113009/pa_dec2000.pdf

So, there you go.  That’s my thoughts on a bunch of issues.  The most important thing is I am feeling hopeful in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.  Thanks so much to everyone for all your love and support.  I’m sure there is still a long road ahead but to feel hope is grand thing. 🙂

Hopeful Poetry

I haven’t done a poetry post in a long time.  The concept of hope has been on my mind lately.  We all have our little disappointments in life, where things don’t turn out as we had wished. Experiences where people disappoint us or even God seemingly lets us down.  We have to remember that He knows the path and knows what will purify us the most.  He loves all of us more than we can understand.  Hope and trust in His mercy is what gets us through it. I liked how these poems express both the disappointment and hope that we often feel.

I wish I was more of a poet but at least I can enjoy and be uplifted by the gifts of others. I was particularly thinking about this with some challenges of late but especially with my friend who has a very little one in the NICU (1.8 lbs!).  To hope and pray is sometimes all you have, and that’s a lot.  God be with little Sara Elizabeth.

Hope by Emily Dickinson (who has a lot of poems on hope!)

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

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Hope is a strange invention — by Emily Dickinson
Hope is a strange invention —
A Patent of the Heart —
In unremitting action
Yet never wearing out –Of this electric Adjunct
Not anything is known
But its unique momentum
Embellish all we own —
———————————-
The Hope Of My Heart by John McCrae
I left, to earth, a little maiden fair,
With locks of gold, and eyes that shamed the light;
I prayed that God might have her in His care
And sight.Earth’s love was false; her voice, a siren’s song;
(Sweet mother-earth was but a lying name)
The path she showed was but the path of wrong
And shame.”Cast her not out!” I cry. God’s kind words come —
“Her future is with Me, as was her past;
It shall be My good will to bring her home
At last.”
——————————-
Perfection Eluded
This morning I woke up,
Bursting with confidence,
Overflowing with excitement,
I was convinced I’d done it,
Convinced I had succeeded
When I heard the news,
I was crushed,
Feeling empty and broken,
But somehow I managed,
To pull myself together,
Determined not to cry
Determined to be fine.
Disappointment can be bitter
You feel as if you have lost your worth
But without disappointment
We have nowhere left to go
Hope can be amazing
You feel lit ready to face a better future
Because without hope,
We are forever lost
This morning I woke up,
Grasping for perfection,
Tonight I fall asleep-
Perfection eluding me,
But hope residing in my heart.
———————————-
The Disappointment by Jane Taylor
In tears to her mother poor Harriet came,
Let us listen to hear what she says:
“O see, dear mamma, it is pouring with rain,
We cannot go out in the chaise
All week I have longed for this holiday so,
And fancied the minutes were hours:
And now that I’m dressed and all ready to go,
Do look at these terrible showers!”
“I’m sorry, my dear,” her kind mother replied,
The rain disappoints us today;
But sorrow still more that you fret for a ride,
In such an extravagant way.
These slight disappointments are sent to prepare
For what may hereafter befall;
For seasons of real disappointment and care,
Which commonly happen to all.
For just like today with its holiday lost,
Is life and its comforts at best:
Our pleasures are blighted, our purposes crossed
To teach us it is not our rest
And when those distresses and crosses appear,
With which you shortly be tried,
You’ll wonder that ever you wasted a tear
On merely the loss of a ride
But though the world’s pleasures are fleeting and vain
Religion is lasting and true;
Real pleasure and peace in her paths you may gain,
Nor will disappointment ensue.
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