Thursday, July 22, 2010


I can tell when I'm not feeling good because I tend to slog and blog more. I haven't been doing my typical blogging and commenting for a while, but I've slipped back into it. And I at once hate it because it's indicative of my current state and I feel like a flake. But also in a way enjoy it because I really do enjoy chewing on ideas. And sometimes something of this speed (as in sit and think and that's it) is all I have energy for.

Blech. Chronic illness is hard. Is that just a whine? Maybe, but sometimes I just have to say it anyway.

That's all for today.

Monday, July 19, 2010

All things point to Christ

I finally sat down recently and spent the ten minutes needed (yes, I'm rolling eyes at myself that it took me so long) to download schtuff onto the little 30-dollar MP3 player that I bought for myself on clearance during the holidays. Consequently, in the last week, I have listened to all four general sessions of General Conference as well as the General Young Women Meeting. Priesthood session is on my list to complete in the next day or so.


It's been wonderful to listen to all the sessions again in succession. I love seeing what themes weave throughout the talks. I love how Elder Christofferson explained how the Lord works through such patterns to help us know what He wants us to hear.

There are no assigned subjects, no collaboration of themes. The Lord’s way, of course, is always the best way. He takes the individual prayerful efforts of each speaker and orchestrates a spiritual symphony full of revelation and power. Repeated themes, principle building upon principle, prophetic warnings, uplifting promises—the divine harmony is a miracle! I testify that in this conference we have heard and felt the mind and will of the Lord.
Speaking of Elder Christofferson's talk -- it prompted the Family Home Evening lesson tonight. The plan was to talk with my children about how all the commandments, both the big and small things, can help point us to Christ. The scriptural text that was the focus was from 2 Nephi 25:
24 And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we akeep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.
25 For, for this end was the alaw given; wherefore the law hath become bdead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.
26 And we atalk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we bprophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our cchildren may know to what source they may look for a dremission of their sins. 
I wanted to give them some background on what Nephi was talking about, so we talked about the law of Moses. And the discussion just sort of took on a life of its own. I was able to share with them how the Jews who understood the plain and precious things (things not found clearly in the Bible) about the law of Moses knew that all the 613 commandments and the rituals they practiced (such as animal sacrifice) were there to point their souls to Christ. We talked about how their tabernacle parallels our modern-day temples in important ways -- ways that in both eras were/are designed to point our souls to Christ.

Likewise, the commandments and rituals we have in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are there to help us "come unto Christ and be perfected in Him."

The Spirit was strong as we discussed this very important truth. All things we do in the Church, if we let them, can help point our souls to Christ.

This is a truth that even a child can understand, and it thrilled me to see and feel my children understanding tonight. How I love the gospel and how I love talking about it with my children!

I am grateful for Elder Christofferson's reminder to remember and talk about Christ more. He is the center of all we do, and should be the center of our teaching and living and listening and worshiping and studying of scriptures and words of the prophets. I am recommitting to talk more of Him at home and here and elsewhere.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


When I was in college, jogging was pretty much everything to me. It was my sanity, my health, my connection with heaven (I used the time to pray and ponder), my stress release, my time outside. My so much. The worst thing I could think of happening was to blow out a knee or something and not be able to run.

I haven't run since my first pregnancy. Three children in three years pretty much was worse to my running career than a blown knee would have been. Add to three children the two bulging discs in my neck and I'm just never again going to be a runner.

And you know what? I'm ok. I miss it, and I was in much better shape back then, but it wasn't the end of the world.

You can probably tell from my blog that I loooooove tennis. I was raised with a tennis racket in my hand. I played tennis in high school. My first date with hubby was on the tennis court. (My first kiss as a teen was on a tennis court, but I digress cuz that just popped into my head and I found it funnily fitting.) Our summer family time has been spent largely on the tennis court.

And it was just suggested to me last night by my physical therapist cousin that when it comes to taking care of my messed-up neck, even running would be better than tennis.


I felt kinda sad last night as I thought about the possibility of having to give up tennis to preserve my body.

My husband's compassionate response was:

"Well, at least you can still play tiddly winks."

Ah, yes, the options are still so broad and exciting.

(But he is funny. He makes me laugh every day.)

IMNSHO, why we should let polygamy go

(If you read that title just right, it has a little poetic lilt to it. Clever, huh?)


In this month's July Ensign, a talk by Elder Ballard has been reprinted. In the article, we read his counsel about not being defensive while sharing the gospel. One of the things he touches on is the issue of polygamy -- a topic that gets a lot of people riled up (and makes some want to be defensive). ;)

Our Church members have often allowed others to set the conversational agenda. An example is plural marriage. This ended in the Church as an official practice in 1890. It’s now 2010. Why are we still talking about it? It was a practice. It ended. We moved on. If people ask you about polygamy, just acknowledge that it was once a practice but not now and that people shouldn’t confuse any polygamists with our church. In ordinary conversations, don’t waste time trying to justify the practice of polygamy during Old Testament times or speculating as to why it was practiced for a time in the 19th century.

I'm seeing people get riled up about this comment by Elder Ballard, too.

I've been involved in discussions about the Church on and off for 15 years. Polygamy is an inevitable topic in many circles, such as those passionate about feminism. But discussions always include an inordinate amount of focus on frustrated (sometimes desperate) speculation and personal opinion -- much of which is, imo, potentially very problematic.

In my view, if people try to speculate or explain or justify or apologize for polygamy, there is a huge risk of creating folklore -- false foundations and perspectives on which people could wrongly build their understanding -- which can later bring disappointed and disillusionment when such faulty explanations are shown to be misguided. I really haven't seen anyone who is upset about polygamy be able to come up with something to explain it -- or explain it away -- in a satisfactory manner. I infer from Elder Ballard's counsel that explanations in support of it are also often insufficient or at least unnecessary. 

Do I understand wondering about the topic of plural marriage? Sure. I don't think there are many who don't at some level. But to me this counsel from Elder Ballard is very wise. We can show others that there is so much more to Mormonism than polygamy.

Part of why I appreciate his counsel is because there are so many opinions about topics like this. Again, discussions about it usually lead to little or no resolution but a lot of speculation.

In short, we can spend precious time and energy "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). And we can lead ourselves and others away from the beautiful core doctrines of the Church.

Most importantly to me is this: A testimony of the gospel can and should be independent of opinions or unauthorized speculation about the practice of polygamy. We don't even have to like it and definitely don't have to understand it all to fully embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm not talking about being a blind sheep here, I'm talking about digging roots of faith that run deep because they are focused on the truths that bear the most fruit: the Savior, the Atonement, God's character and the plan of salvation, principles and ordinances of the gospel that bind us to God. Wringing hands over the whys and wheretofores of polygamy does not, in my experience and observation, yield the spiritual fruit that the pure and simple (and at the same time very deep) doctrines do. (Some may suggest that is because because polygamy was wrong, but I submit that it could be because the focus on it is.)

All of this reminds me of Sister Beck's recent counsel (and other leaders' counsel as well) about avoiding distractions. Distractions can come in the form of activities and how we spend our time, but also in the form of ideas and where we let our mind and heart focus. Elder Ballard has reminded us to focus on the core of the gospel. There is power in truth. Speculation is not truth, and at some point is just a waste of energy at best and a potential source of false doctrine and even deception.

And now...remember, remember that it is upon the arock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation;  ... Hel. 5:12

Saturday, July 10, 2010

More Summer Snippets

I'd dare say this may be one of my favoritest summers as a mom. Maybe it's because I have dropped some measure of the problem of trying to measure my mothering "success" which has often translated into nothing but unmet expectations and frustration/depression. I'm just trying to enjoy each day, go with the flow a bit (including cutting myself slack for what I can't do, like do mornings), and keep our schedule as simple as possible.

Here are a few more snapshots of our summer:

Today, I had one of those rare scheduled meetings. I got a somewhat frantic call from #3 saying a glass plate had broken. "Just stay out of the kitchen," I said. "I'll clean it up when I get home."

"No," she said. "It was in the microwave!"

Note to self (and to you): If Corelle gets hot enough, it can explode.

- - -

After a day of errands, #1 says to me, "Mom, just so you know, those are the pants that have the hole in them." Let's just say the hole wasn't in the knee. (I'd checked for a hole there, but not there.) Yeah, well, I'm getting better at laughing at myself. Or with myself. Or with my kids as they laugh at me. Or with me.


Tennis. And more tennis. I can't run very fast with neck and head issues, but I can still get some good swings in there. I love making hubby run a little. ;)

This activity has been a great way to end the day spending time as a family. The kids seem to be enjoying it.


Too many late nights. And too many times of saying, "Tonight we'll get the kids to bed earlier." It's just too fun to soak up all the daylight having fun.


A couple of middle-of-the-night moments with #2, reading until she gets tired to go back to sleep.


Watching #1 do some serious housework in three days -- voluntarily. He was working to earn money to pay for half a Kindle. I'm such a stingy mom when it comes to trendy technology and schtuff like that. But this purchase made sense for my little man. He reads like crazy and this saves us space and I think my favorite part of all of this (besides him taking initiative and working like a madman to earn money) is that he's going for free books right now (I think he's downloaded 70 or so), which means that he's reading classics that he might not have read otherwise. He does his scripture reading on his Kindle, too, which is fun.

It's also been a great experience, I think, for him and his sisters to see that efforts to build trust with Mom and Dad can have dividends. Because he has been trustworthy with certain things, he has the privilege of having this cool tool.


For our holiday this past Monday, in one of those spur-of-the-moment moments, we decided to go to a 'fun center' with mini golf, arcade, batting cages, and go carts. Our children ended up cleaning house on 'tickets' on one of the games in the arcade. It was almost embarrassing. Their reflexes were lightning fast and twice, two of them hit the 'bonus' on the spinning lights game and earned over 500 tickets.

Needless to say, I didn't have any takers for a round of mini golf. Once we did go-carts, the arcade was the focus of their time. Next time, I'll probably make them spread their time out a little more, but it was fun. 

We came home and I made a quick red, white, and blue dinner (pizza bagels (red sauce and white cheese), garlic toast with blue garlic butter, berry smoothie parfaits with tinted plain yogurt). My kids think I'm a little weird, but it was fun. (And did I mention quick?)


I think one of my fave things is just watching my kids play. Most of my greatest childhood memories are simply of enjoying childhood in play. We live in a great neighborhood with lots of children around, and I love the happy chatter, especially when they are playing outside, creating worlds of their own, playing outdoor games like kick the can (seriously one of the greatest games ever invented), having water fights, playing at the park.

I'm wondering how on earth I'm going to want them to start school again. I suppose they might get bored eventually and I might be ready then, but golly gee, I love having them home. And I love the lack of structure. I know such lack of structure drives some people crazy, but there you go. Just another evidence, perhaps, of the fact that I'm a little weird. ;)