Truth

Sometimes the world lets us meet fantastic people. I am blessed to be related to this talented girl. I had to share her post because it spoke to me. Often her posts are beautiful. I follow her on Facebook. She is on an amazing journey of love, strength, beauty, empowerment, and purpose.

Here is her post.

Kirsti’s Thoughts

I’m sitting here trying to think of a post to make tonight… feeling agitated. Not sure why?

Maybe because my new neighbors stopped by unannounced and asked to take a peek at our floor plan, but my house is trashed after 3 days of the kids home.
–Embarrassed.

Maybe because I have a dentist appointment in the morning, will need to be numbed and get so nervous for procedures.
–Anxious.

Maybe because I am leaving in 4 days and I need to do like 100 loads of laundry and 10 loads of dishes to get caught up.
–Stressed.

And I realize… these are my triggers. Not feeling tidy enough. Not feeling strong enough. Not feeling in control.

Which all leads to a limiting self-believe I feel often, which is that I am not “enough”. I seem to have this nagging feeling that no matter how many people I help, or how I spend my time, I’m still falling short of my potential. And as I recognize those thoughts, I remind myself where they come from. Satan. “He attempts to focus our sight on our own insignificance until we begin to doubt that we have much worth. He tells us that we are too small for anyone to take notice, that we are forgotten—especially by God.

God. The most powerful Being in the universe is the Father of your spirit. He knows you. He loves you with a perfect love.

No matter where you live, no matter how humble your circumstances, how meager your employment, how limited your abilities, how ordinary your appearance, or how little your calling in the Church may appear to you, you are not invisible to your Heavenly Father. He loves you. He knows your humble heart and your acts of love and kindness. Together, they form a lasting testimony of your fidelity and faith.

God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season—He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him.” –Dieter F. Uchdorf

And those were the words from the talk I began reading on Sunday morning but didn’t finish until just now. A topic I chose on Saturday night, after randomly flipping through my study book. It’s no coincidence. I needed to hear those words. They bring me comfort and perspective during my daily trials. I struggle often with anxiety, stress, and feeling like I have to prove my self-worth. Tonight I’m going to take a deep breath, a hot shower, and say a long prayer that I will be able to fight off Satan’s influence of discouragement.

We are special. We are perfect just the way we are. We are more than enough…. We are DIVINE!

 

Advertisements
Truth

My “New Normal”

Each month I want to write at least one blog post. My problem is my mind has all these ideas but my body lacks the motivation to change my thoughts into actions. This then signals a guilty chord that sounds too familiar and reminds me of one other area of my life that isn’t quite measuring up.  I remember studying in a psychology class that this procrastination curve was a phenomenon. The only way that one could get out of the depression and anxiety dip that naturally flowed from procrastination was to work. (Even with this knowledge I still find it difficult to start.)

Here is my blog.

I have been struggling with finding my “new normal.” It was recommended by my doctors at the Tom Baker Cancer Center that if I was done having children that I  have a complete hysterectomy and remove all the organs that seem to kill most female members of my family. I did consider, read and weigh out the options. I found it best to follow their advice and have the preventative operation.

I had no idea that early menopause would push my mental breaking point. Not being able to exercise and have sex for six weeks showed me how much I relied on these experiences for the endorphin releases. When they were taken away I could only eat my releases. So one bite at a time I tried to create happiness. Eating is never the answer but it seemed to be a quick fix.

Dancing has always been a huge joy for me and when I could no longer do it I felt depressed. I was praying and admitting my defeat to Heavenly Father. I said something like, ” I just want to feel normal, if I need medication to realize that then so be it.” I was running the idea of going to see the doctor about medication by my mom when she said to me, “The first question the doctor is going to ask you is what are you eating and how is your exercise.” I knew she was right and so I decided to take control of those two factors. I started to think of my body as a temple and think about the fuel that I was putting into it. I had to start exercising again too. The problem was I felt so nauseous and dizzy.  I discovered I had to show patience towards myself on this journey. This journey to my new normal. I decided to enroll in an aquafit class. If you ever wanna feel like a rockstar

I decided to enroll in an aquafit class. If you ever wanna feel like a rockstar start exercising with 70 year olds! I have never liked water and the chlorine itches my skin but I needed a starting point that was gentle and this was it. I recruited a friend to come with me to keep me motivated and she has been a blessing.

Eating has proven to be a much harder obstacle. I love the calming effect that sugar has on me. I like the instant gratification found in a cookie than the self evaluation and reflection needed to know why I am so upset. I love the euphoria of salty buttered popcorn and welcome the relief I feel it gives. Now don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with eating but when it’s used to alleviate stress and controls me more than I like than I have to think through a new game plan. I don’t have a permanent plan yet but I am aware of the problem and that is the first step to change. Honestly, I am overwhelmed by the size of this obstacle and must admit that my willpower is not enough to overcome this.  Perhaps this is one of those weaknesses that the Lord was referring to when he said. “I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them.”

I am hopeful about finding a solution and am encouraged by my sister’s great efforts in this area. As we spend the next week together I am looking forward to her good example rubbing off on me again.

Without my own natural source of estrogen, I am trying to find a good balance of hormones. I probably use this too much as an excuse but taking a pill every day has never been a forte of mine, and I do notice when I skip. Perhaps the Lord is teaching me about consistency and small daily efforts.

Life is constantly changing. I feel like we are all trying to find our “new normals” Whatever life throws at you, whether you choose it or it happened to you, you can find a new normal… put it takes time, a lot of prayer and lots of self-love.

Last night as I expressed regret about my decision my mother brought some peace, clarity, and perspective when she said, “I wish I would have had this option than giving up a year in chemotherapy.”  It was a nice reminder why I had made the decision in the first place.

 

My “New Normal”

Covet

 

freeimage-13578489-web

Elder Holland states, “It has been said that envy is the one sin to which no one readily confesses, but just how widespread that tendency can be is suggested in the old Danish proverb, “If envy were a fever, all the world would be ill.”

Really? I don’t feel like a jealous person. But if I quietly reflect on the critiques I make of people it is often rooted in jealousy. It is not an easy thing to see but when my mind is quiet and I develop ideas back to their origin I can see that I am human and there is jealousy.

A friend taught me that she told her daughter, “If your joy is only for yourself than your joy can only be as big as yourself. And that’s not a lot of joy. But if you can sincerely have joy for others than your joy can have an infinite capacity to grow.”

So how do we avoid this universal trait? I believe the first step toward change is always rooted in recognition.  I wasn’t jealous as much of people’s possessions but I looked longingly at people’s family situations, partner relationships, and opportunities. Sometimes when a friend tells me some particularly good news I will respond, “I’m 96% super happy for you and I am four percent jealous, but I am going to focus on the 96%!” Just even admitting that out loud seems to diffuse it.

Why is there so much jealousy even when we want to avoid it? Elder Holland offers this as a suggestion, “I think one of the reasons is that every day we see allurements of one kind or another that tell us what we have is not enough. Someone or something is forever telling us we need to be more handsome or more wealthy, more applauded or more admired than we see ourselves as being. We are told we haven’t collected enough possessions or gone to enough fun places. We are bombarded with the message that on the world’s scale of things we have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.6

But this has never been nor will be the way of God. Our Father does not mercilessly measure us against our neighbors. He does not even compare us with others. “His gestures of compassion toward one do not require a withdrawal or denial of love for the other. He is divinely generous to all. Toward all of his children he extends charity.” (Holland, 2002).

That is a beautiful thought but it is so far from the message that screams in our ears daily. But could it really be true that “his gestures toward on do not require of withdrawal or denial of love for the other?” Of course it is! But I need to constantly remind myself of this basic truth. Someone else succeeding is not about me failing.

I have enjoyed taking Yoga classes over the years. One of the truths that the instructor would repeat is there is no competition. As I opened my eyes and looked around the yoga class I would want to lunge deeper or reach higher. But as I closed my eyes and centered myself, I wanted to listen to my own body and move to where I could comfortably challenge myself. I was not longer concerned with keeping up to the class but could celebrate everyone accomplishment in attending. Someone else succeeding is not about me failing.

I know that God is not a respecter of persons. I know that “no one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another… He loves each of us—insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all. He doesn’t measure our talents or our looks; He doesn’t measure our professions or our possessions. He cheers on every runner, calling out that the race is against sin, not against each other”(Holland, 2002). May we always encourage, love, and have true joy for each other.

 

Lots of my thoughts were pulled from Elder Hollands talk, The Other Prodigal, in spring 2002. Here is the link:

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2002/04/the-other-prodigal?lang=eng

 

 

 

Covet

Tears

Image result for thirteen tears

When I was a little girl, before age eight, I used to beg my parents to put on the Carpenters record. I only wanted to hear one song- Hurting Each Other. I used to listen to that song and just weep and weep. I used to ask my parents, “Why are they hurting each other?”

My parents would not always oblige to my desires because it confused them to see one so young crying. I would promise that if they played the song this time there would be no tears. But the song was too much. The water would flow freely from my eyes. Eventually, I was cut off from the song.

One of my favourite scriptures, and (I really like the Byrds song), “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:..

“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;(Eccl. 3:1, 4, ).

So why do we fear the weeping? Why do we not let freely out what is bursting inside? The Lord knew when he sent us to mortality that there would be a time to weep. For one who was blessed with the gift of weeping it was a new idea that people would hold in tears. You physically can’t cry forever. You will reach an end. When the snot and tears are all blended into one mess, you will stop and feel the calming effect.

It is strange that tears are the physical expression for intense joy and profound sorrow.  The same physical reaction for the two extremes in emotion. Perhaps that is why an eternal perfected being like God can still weep. I think weeping is an eternal truth because it is so intertwined with love. Without caring deeply situations would have no effect.

I want to be a safe place where friends can cry. Why would we even hide our tears from each other? Did Mary and Martha hide their tears from Jesus when the death of their brother hurt them so? Did He, our Exemplar, try and hide the tears back? Maybe we need to stop hiding our tears and start sharing them. Then we may feel the healing power that comes through releasing them and letting others help dry them up. I do look forward to the day when the Savior shall wipe away all tears. God shall wipe away all [the] tears from [our] eyes. ( Revelation 7:17)

I want to be someone who weeps. Often we cry because we love so deeply. I think tears are courageous and beautiful. I don’t ever want to stop sharing them and won’t ever stop shedding them.
Besides, God still weeps ( see Moses 7) and if our goal is to become like Him, than we must endure weeping. But we are promised “weeping may endure for night but joy cometh in the morning (Psalm 30:5)  The challenge is to try and love God for giving you the opportunity to weep… or to love… which ever way you look at it.

Copy and paste the link to hear the Carpenters song and see if it makes you cry too

https://www.bing.com/search?q=carpentors+we+go+on+hurting+eachother&form=EDGNTC&qs=PF&cvid=d9710d58861a435dafc0dfcbd8d1a3de&pq=carpentors+we+go+on+hurting+eachother&cc=CA&setlang=en-US

 

Tears

Soli Deo Gloria!

Image result for Handel messiah how he wrote it SGD

The Latin term, Soli Deo Gloria, conveys glory only be to God. The letters appear on Handel’s Messiah and was used by Bach and Graupner as well. These words signify that the work was created to honor and praise the one true God. I guess these men saw their accomplishments as what they truly were; gifts from God. They recognized that they were instruments being played and rehearsed that light, and love could be imparted to all God’s children through them.

 I was introduced to a scripture that portrays this same message. It’s found in the second book of Nephi, thirty second chapter verse 9. “But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.”

This is one truth that I wish I had known earlier. I try and teach it to my children often. “Ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father… that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.” Imagine how much more perspective I would have had before and after a basketball game. All the sudden the worldly outcomes wouldn’t have mattered as much as the act and in what intent it was given and received.  

I first heard this idea used as Jenny Oaks Baker described her parents encouraged her to memorize this verse.  Before any concerts or recitals she would recite it to herself. It become very literally a soli deo gloria, or a prayer that her performance would be for the welfare of her soul. I remember printing this off for one of my basketball girls too. Imagine what difference it would make if you weren’t hung up on outcomes but just in the simple act of your performance being a testament of your love for God.  

As a doctrine, soli deo gloria, means that all actions are to glorify God to the exclusion of our own pride and self-gratification. Can you imagine if every performance on the stage of life was offered in that humility, how much would our confidence grow?  

 

Image result for Handel messiah how he wrote it SGD

I found this story on a website at the bottom of the page.

“In April of 1737 at 52 Handel seems to have suffered from a stroke which incapacitated him, making it impossible for him to perform (he played the spinet or keyboard) or conduct, because it had paralyzed his right arm and he was right handed. He also complained of blurred vision. The truth was as well, that falling in and out of favor with royalty left him alternately in and out of money, and because he was not a wise businessman he in fact lost a fortune in the opera business and, depressed and in debt, gave it up in 1740.

It was only shortly after these calamities in Handel’s life that he came across a libretto composed by Charles Jennens. Composed entirely of Scripture portions, mainly from the Old Testament, Handel was deeply affected when he read this libretto.  It was divided into three parts: 1) prophecies about the coming messiah (largely drawing on Isaiah); 2) the birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection of Christ; 3) the End times with Christ’s final victory over sin and death, largely based in the book of Revelation. Inspired,  Handel decided he must compose an oratorio based on this libretto. The story of the composition of this most famous of all Christian musical works has been told variously. What we can say with certainty is that he composed the work in a short period of time during the summer of 1741, and when he got to the Hallelujah chorus, his assistant found him in tears saying “I did think I saw heaven open, and saw the very face of God”.  Today of course it is the first two parts of this work that mostly get performed.  The Hallelujah chorus is in fact the conclusion of part two, but in performances today it regularly is used to climax and conclude the Christmas performance of the first part of the oratorio.”

Image result for Handel messiah how he wrote it SGD

“Fortunately for Handel, King George decided that this work was worthy of being attended and supported, and this in turn led to one of the most interesting traditions connected to this masterpiece. When the Hallelujah chorus began to play in the performance the King attended he abruptly stood up, apparently as a way of indicating he recognized that Christ was the King of Kings. Now it was normal protocol that if the King stood at any time, no one in his presence sat, and so the entire audience stood for the performance of the Hallelujah Chorus.  This tradition has been maintained even until today.  This morning in Estes Chapel we did our annual Messiah singalong complete with fine soloists and a small chamber orchestra. And sure enough, everyone knew to stand when we got to the Hallelujah chorus.  Handel could never have anticipated that this work would become perhaps the most performed piece of classical music in all of history, all to the glory of Christ.  And he certainly could not have anticipated the many and various versions of the performance of Messiah.”
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/bibleandculture/2009/12/handels-messiah-the-story-behind-the-classic.html#Ic6KQL7WwALga1DI.99

This is what I hope my blog may become. I am not a composer of music and I do not play any instrument, but I hope every entry on my blog may end with the same three letters SDG. 

Soli Deo Gloria!

Fresh Flowers

Image result for fleuriste

I have always loved receiving a fresh bouquet of flowers. The beauty, the aroma, the mise-en-scene… everything about them is rejuvenating. It’s no wonder when we are sick that people want to bring us something beautiful that reminds us of life and it’s absolute beauty.

Being sick these past few weeks I felt showered in flowers. I had two beautiful bouquets in my bedroom. One bouquet sitting in my living room, two on the kitchen table and even a bouquet in my bathroom. When I saw them I sincerely smiled and felt the love of those who has offered them.

I am always puzzled when I hear, “Flowers, what a waste of money.” Perhaps we see too much as wasted. Is it not better to say, “Welcome flowers, I know we only have a short time together; but I want to savor this time?” Each petal and each color is going to remind me of the magnificence of God creations. To remember that the measure of their creation is to bring me joy and remind me that winter will end, bodies will heal and I am loved. Doesn’t it only make sense that we offer them in times of grief and recovery?

I have since had to bid adieu to all those lovely arrangements. The joy the memory of those flowers created reminds me of the beautiful frailty of our own mortality. I love how God states, “the good things which come of the earth, … for orchards, or for gardens,…Yea, all things which come of the earth, … are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;… for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:17-19)

 

To love something …even for only a short season… is enough. These flowers come quietly radiating joy and love and ever so quickly bid farewell. This is the pattern of many wonderful things in this world.   As James Barrie, the Scottish poet, declared, “God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the December of our lives” (paraphrasing James Barrie, in Laurence J. Peter, comp., Peter’s Quotations: Ideas for Our Time [1977], 335)

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Flowers

Smiling Jesus

Related image

Today this picture was shown in the gospel study womens group, Relief Society, I attend each Sunday. As the teacher asked people to express what they saw and how they felt there was beautiful discussion and comments. The room was full of the spirit. Although, I was unsettled because I do not care for this piece of art. Don’t get me wrong I love my Savior but somehow this picture doesn’t speak to me like other ones do. That is the beauty of art. It speaks to us in different ways. I hesitated and wondered if my comment would be of any benefit but I thought maybe there are others in the class who think what I do. I shared for them.  So, I raised my hand and said something like, “The beauty of art is that it speaks to us all individually just like two people can read the scriptures and each take home different messages. I love that women can see this picture and pick up beautiful qualities of the Savior. I can appreciate their sentiments and love the Spirit in the room. Although I agree with comments that are made and love the attributes of the Savior that have been expressed, I do not like this painting and I wouldn’t put it in my home. I prefer a more reverent image. ”

Usually I don’t mull over in my mind what I say in Relief Society. If I feel prompted to say something, I just say it. Often, when I am preparing for the lesson, the Spirit will remind me of moments that I can share, or the Spirit will prompt me to ask a question and I’ll try and be brave enough to ask. But today was different. I felt alone and isolated in my comment. Maybe it’s not okay to express a countering point of view, maybe I should have kept my mouth shut and just went along with the discussion. Does it really benefit others to hear a different perspective or are they offended if we don’t all agree?

Ironically my daughter came into the room as I was composing this blog post and saw the picture and said, “Oh, creepy.”

Well, I can’t change the past but I can move forward. It was our ward conference and the Stake Relief Society presidency was visiting. After the meeting, one of the women approached me. She thanked me for my comments. She told me of the story that their womens group was changing the art in their room and she brought this picture for consideration. The group voted and they were equally divided for and against the picture. She also showed it to her family with the same results. I appreciated her kindness and concern for me. Today she was a tender mercy for me and reminds me it’s okay to speak your mind. God created me with all these wonderful ideas and insights and desires and it’s okay that we don’t all agree. As long as we respect and listen and learn from others. That is why we meet and learn together.

I prefer this picture… even though it is quite similar

Image result for del parson christ in red robe

Take a look at the left half of the painting:

Posted Image

The coloring is darker. The lines are harder. Notice the broad, squared shoulder, the set and focused eye, the determination in the mouth. This is a just God who fights the battles of those who follow Him and keep His commandments.

Now look at the right side of the painting:

Posted Image

Smiling Jesus