Saturday, March 06, 2010
Eve’s Daughters tells the story of four generations of women - their lives and their relationships, but with an underlying message about how our choices affect the lives of others, most especially those who follow us. The story itself is actually a ‘mystery’ which is solved in the end. But on top of that, it’s a story of forgiveness, which not only makes it a mystery which is ‘solved’, but also ‘resolved’.
Reading this book reminds me that Lynn Austin is one of my favorite authors, right up there with another favorite of mine, Karen Kingsbury.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
This morning Ed Pinegar and Jeffrey Holland were two of the speakers that I listened to. I was impressed with points made in both talks, and would like to share one point from each.
Brother Pinegar talked on twelve ‘weak areas’ wherein we’re easily led astray. One of them was pornography. He made several points about the subject, but the one that impressed me the most was that which he explained when he told about how he had once mentioned in a meeting how strongly he had felt the spirit. After the meeting a young man came up to him and said, “I didn’t feel the spirit at all” and wondered why, when Brother Pinegar had. He responded by asking the young man if he’d ever been involved in pornography - to which the young man finally answered “yes”, adding that he was having a difficult time getting the images out of his mind. Brother Pinegar then reminded him that the spirit cannot dwell in unholy places.
In Brother Holland’s talk, entitled “Pray for the Children”, he talked about how parents sometimes feel it’s okay - for various reasons - to ‘relax’ in their commitment to church activity and Gospel principles, regardless of their testimonies. He reminded parents that the children would follow their actions and that a ‘deathbed confession’ to their child, wherein they admitted that they really knew all along that the church was true, wouldn’t be near as helpful as a life of righteous example. He talked about examples of a parent who ‘slacked off’, followed by a child who considered himself agnostic, followed eventually by a grandchild or great-grandchild who had never heard of the church, but was ‘searching for something’ - not knowing that his family had once possessed the very thing that he had been looking for.
This was topped off by a re-broadcast on television this afternoon, of the Tabernacle Choir’s program of Spirituals, which featured a cool soloist. So in addition to the snow, Spanish Fork does have some things to offer that I didn’t get in Hawaii!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
“Then said the Pharisees unto him, Why will ye not receive us with our baptism, seeing we keep the whole law? But Jesus said unto them, Ye keep not the law. If ye had kept the law, ye would have received me, for I am he who gave the law. I receive not you with your baptism, because it profiteth you nothing.”
I was impressed with that last phrase. It seems to underline the Savior’s motivation in all He does. He could have said, ‘because it profiteth ME nothing’, or ‘because you didn’t obey me and I’m getting even’, or ‘because I’m in charge here and I can do whatever I want’, etc., etc. The reason he didn’t accept them was because it would be meaningless to THEM! Therefore, he didn’t want to reinforce a behavior that was worthless to their well-being and eternal progression. He doesn’t make random rules just to show His power. Rather, He uses His power to enable our exaltation.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
WHY has the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) become so involved in encouraging the passage of California’s Proposition 8?
I can’t officially speak for the church, but as a life-time member, I’d like to offer some thoughts that might give you some insight into the ‘WHY’. My remarks aren’t meant to win your agreement with the church’s position, but rather to help you understand the WHY. To do so, you will need to understand some basic points of Mormon doctrine:
- First, you should know that the Church has officially stated: “The focus of the Church’s involvement is specifically same-sex marriage and its consequences. The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference.”
- Sincere men and women faced with the challenge of same-sex attraction may well ask, “Why would God make marriage to be only between a man and a woman?” The Church offers this explanation: “For divine purposes, male and female spirits are different, distinctive, and complementary . . . . The unique combination of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional capacities of both males and females were needed to implement the plan of happiness.” And, "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." Thus, marriage between two people of the same sex is, by its very nature, limiting.
- One must also understand that the church teaches that marriage is meant to be eternal and families are meant to be forever.
- It also helps to understand that Mormon doctrine, as well as scripture, speaks not only of ‘heaven’, but of several degrees of glory within that heaven. The Church’s focus tends to be on encouraging people to aspire to the highest degree of the glory, where people have the opportunity to eternally progress in terms of learning, growing, and continuing to work towards one’s potential. In addition, their marriages can be of an eternal nature - as opposed to ‘until death do you part’.
- Consequently, eternal marriage, along with the subsequent rights to the powers of procreation (providing mortal bodies for God’s spirit children who are waiting for their turn at mortality), are held in high esteem. They are necessary for the highest degree in the Celestial Kingdom. Anything that detracts from that opportunity is limiting to a person’s progress.
- To anyone who believes as Mormons do, it would be selfish and uncaring towards others to agree with government condoning an alternative form of marriage. This is why the church is involved in Proposition 8 - to foster a society wherein people can be open to reaching their highest potential according to our Heavenly Father’s plan. It is not done out of a wish to limit anyone’s personal freedom. To the contrary, by this way of thinking, government validation of anything less, actually takes away freedom, rather than providing it.
Now, consider this analogy: A concerned and loving parent encourages a child to go to college. It is not because people who don’t go to college aren’t as good, or that they could’t possibly be happy without a college degree. People who don't go to college are still of just as much value as those who go to college, and they may also be happy. But that parent wants to assure that the child has as many opportunities as possible for personal growth and to pursue his potential. Not going to college could close doors and limit options. Earthly parents want only the best for their children, as does our Father in Heaven, for us.
But what if - for example - the ‘state’ allowed the selling of college degrees? Would it really be worth anything? Or would it simply deceive a lot of well meaning people into thinking that there’s a viable option to the hard work of going to college - only to find out later that their degree was of limited value (it looks good) but was otherwise meaningless? Additionally, the fact that the state condoned it, could potentially mislead a lot of good people into thinking it was something of value, when they might have otherwise made better choices.
Perhaps there would be no harm in the degree, itself. The harm would be done by the fact that it would take the place of something of greater value.
(For additional information, or to read about some of the legal consequences to society, of legalizing same-sex marriage, check out the following website: http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/the-divine-institiution-of-marriage.)
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Amid the sometimes overwhelming number of ‘coincidences’ and perhaps overly beautiful men and women (but hey, it’s a novel), Kingsbury’s books always include a lot of good messages - even profound thoughts - which is why I continue to keep reading them. But in addition to what I learn directly from her books, this one has helped me to expand my perspective on depression.
I remember a Family Services social worker once saying that depression often stems from expecting too much from oneself. As Christians we’re taught that our goal should be perfection - and we too often take that to mean that we should BE perfect - not just strive towards it. We may grow up with ‘this is how I should be’ and then when we’re unable to meet those expectations, we become depressed. We feel we’ve failed!
But is what we expect of ourselves really what God expects of us?
Kingsbury’s books all carry the underlying message, ‘God has a plan for my life’. When I combine that thought with the social worker’s suggestion that depression comes from expecting too much of oneself, I come up with the possibility that maybe what I expect of myself is not what God expects of me. If that’s the case, then if I fail to live up to MY expectations, maybe it doesn’t matter!
Maybe instead of spending so much time beating myself up for ‘failing’ to meet MY expectations, I only need to seek from HIM, what HE expects from me.
NOTE: Just FYI, it’s been decades since I’ve felt really depressed. Nevertheless, there are times when I let something get to me, and with these thoughts I’m more readily able to handle them.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
where our job is recognized as well done and
our just rewards will be bestowed upon us.
But especially as Latter-day Saints,
we need to remember that
our goal is eternal progression
and that there is no such end of the journey.
Therefore, if we haven’t enjoyed ourselves
we have missed the only joy
- Norma B. Ashton*
as quoted in the book Woman to Woman
Sunday, September 30, 2007
by James L. Ferrell
This is another excellent book that I would highly recommend to anyone. But I'd particularly recommend it if you're struggling with putting up with another person's behavior or with feelings that you're being wronged! This is fiction, but with a point - sort of an allegory, I guess.
ONE TUESDAY MORNING and
AFTER TUESDAY MORNING
by Karen Kingsbury
You'd think she would run out of stories, but she often mentions how a story comes to her, or how 'God put it on (her) heart'. This set of two volumes is centered on the September 11th tragedy and the months and years following. Kingsbury says that most of the story had come to her by the afternoon of the 11th! A great (if somewhat fantastic) story, including the follow-up. It could have happened though it seems it would require a great deal of coincidence. But the lessons learned are not unrealistic and are great reminders of the 'big picture' - God's plan and His love.
by Karen Kingsbury
I read this awhile back, but it's well worth mentioning here. It's another one of Kingsbury's excellent novels. The story is about a woman who as a young girl was forced into prostitution, and how hard it was for her to overcome her negative view of herself. But the story reveals how she finally 'conquers' great challenges and is able to help others. Some of Kingsbury's characters are 'bigger than life', but the principles that are highlighted in her stories are real life and valuable and the stories always excellent.
Monday, July 02, 2007
by Karen Kingsbury with Gary Smalley
Reunion is the 5th and final book in the Redemption Series. Like all of the books in this series, it contains several quotes which I particularly liked. Following are a few of them:
o When an adult daughter was on the verge of being overcome by some bad choices she’d made in the past, but decided she needed to change her attitude. “Never mind the mistakes she’d made in the past. God was bigger than all of them . . .”
o The mother had learned from her own mistakes, and resolved to teach her children what she'd learned. She showed them the scripture about fleeing temptation, rather than sticking around to try to bargain with it. “God doesn’t want you to be stronger than temptation. He wants you to be smarter than it.”
o Later, the mother was having a hard time praying that God’s will be done, rather than just begging for what she wanted. She remembered her father's teachings about God's will: “God’s will is a little like taking a Sunday drive with God behind the wheel. God’s driving. He might turn where you don’t expect a turn or go through a valley that feels too dark. But you don’t have to worry about a thing, because you’re just the passenger. Whatever happens, God will get you home in the end as long as you let him drive.”
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Part of the story line in this novel involves a 3 year-old who falls in a pool and is under water long enough to cause severe brain damage. Her parents, both doctors and both Christians, were already having difficulties and had drifted away from each other and from God. On top of that, Peter, the father, was supposed to have been in charge of his two daughters when the drowning took place. He blamed himself - as did his wife. Eventually, he moved out of the family home and tried to numb his pain by taking opiates (which he had access to as a doctor) in order to function in his medical practice. He becomes addicted and after some time, attempts to end it all by taking an overdose, but survives. His brother-in-law, Ryan, visits him in the rehab center and tries to talk to him.
After listening to Peter, Ryan tells him, “Pain like you’re feeling is part of living. The solution for it will never be found in a bottle of pills.”
Peter, who is really broken at this point, replies, “I don’t know how to do it, Ryan I’ve never hurt like this.”
Ryan then reads to Peter from the 23rd psalm, and says “You’re not supposed to know how. God says he’ll lead the way; he’ll walk beside you through the valley. It doesn’t say he’ll take us on a detour around the valley of the shadow of death. It says he’ll stay beside us while we walk through it.”
Ryan continued: “For you, the valley is this pain you’re feeling. You have to walk through it, to the next place along the road of life. You can’t mask it or run from it. Or even die to escape it, Peter. You have to walk through it, and the only way to do that is with God.”
This little excerpt really struck me - as have many parts of several of Kingsbury’s novels! I almost hesitate to publish this, because my retelling of it doesn’t do it justice. But I’ve loved her books, not just for the interesting stories about people who are really trying to live a Christian life, but for the many ‘illustrations’ of real life types of people who face real life types of problems, but try to solve them by exercising their faith and relying on Christian principles. The illustrations serve as examples and reminders to me, which I seem to sorely need since, though I understand and believe what Christ and the Prophets have taught, I often find it hard to apply. Sometimes I don’t even remember to try - and these novels work as both a reminder and an example to me.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Since we don't all grow up in ideal homes (does anybody?), with an ideal father with whom we have a close relationship, I find it comforting to know that we do all have an ideal Father in Heaven who is a perfect 'role model' for us.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I really would like to know the backgrounds of all the people that commented. It was obvious in the cases of the General Authorities and the Church Historian and a few others, like the Black woman who told a bit about her history. Then there were a few that admitted that they’d been excommunicated or were no longer active. There were others that I guessed that was the case for them, also. And that was my biggest concern: that the people who were telling the world about ‘the church’, as though they ‘knew’, were people who obviously (to me*) didn’t really understand, or they wouldn’t have left the church.
I don’t mean that as a ‘put down’ or criticism. Several of them were generally very positive, even expressing sadness in missing their church activity and I sympathized with them. I could even see where they were coming from, according to their own perspectives. I do realize that there are several things that are difficult to understand, and even harder to accept, depending on the circumstances of one’s life. And as one man pointed out, if we’re really true followers of the Savior, their not accepting the church should have no bearing on our accepting them. (And for those of us that would never dream of leaving the church, that very willingness - or lack thereof - to accept those who do, may be our test in life. Our failure to pass it may be far more damning to us than the act of leaving for those that have left! For to not accept anyone, is to judge them without the understanding that only God is in a position to have!) Nevertheless, it just seemed a little sad that those who didn’t seem to understand the church were put in a position to explain it to the world as though they were authorities. I’m guessing that, in a way, it was done on purpose, because if the story had been told only by strong church members, it couldn’t have been considered ‘objective’.
The other thing that seemed a little strange was that they referred several times to the church as though it was a business that had to ‘keep up with the times’ to continue being ‘successful’. It seemed kind of like offering a critique on how God handles things! But then, I realize, not everyone sees it that way, unless they truly believe - as I do - that this is Christ’s church and really not open for criticism in the way that man-made things are (keep in mind, I’m referring to Christ’s organization of his church, not the people who happen to be members!)
On the whole, though, I saw the four hour special as a positive thing. I remember back in the late ‘70s, when we first moved to Hawaii. I heard someone on the radio say something about the church that wasn’t true. I called the mission president, all alarmed and thinking he’d want to do something to correct this grave situation of the world being told an untruth about the church! He laughed and explained that there was no need to worry. He said there are a lot of people brought into the church from hearing such things, that otherwise might not have ever given the church a second thought. It makes them curious enough to investigate whatever ‘shocking’ bit of information they’ve heard, and they end up being baptized.
“The Lord works in mysterious ways, . . .”
* I do understand that understanding the ‘ideals’ of the Gospel and living all of the principles in the reality of one’s circumstances, may be two different things and take more than a lifetime to accomplish. I trust that the Lord understands my limitations and my heart, even if others may not. That’s why it’s important for me to remember that only the Lord has all the facts upon which to judge. He also allows me a lifetime to prepare and improve. If he can be patient with me, I trust he expects me to give others a little space, as well. :)
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Tension headache > Migraine:
1-2 Excedrin Tension OR >
1 Ex Tension + 1 Ex Migraine OR >
2 Excedrin Migraine for more severe headache
Combination Sinus/Migraine, ADD AS NEEDED:
warm damp cloth over nose/eyes
6,000 mg garlic caps
1-2 probiotic caps
Fluticasone nose spray
*cucumber / yogurt drink
Perrier water, room temperature, over a glass full of ice
Severe Migraine, ADD:
AS A LAST RESORT > Maxalt (this melts under your tongue, so can be tolerated even when you're too sick to swallow pills) - follow directions carefully, as this is a strong medication.
I’ve also found the following to be foods that I can usually tolerate when I have a migraine, or at least when I’m starting to come down off of it enough to be able to eat:
o Cream of Wheat, with a little plain live culture yogurt and/or milk (NO sugar!)
o Vegetable broth (no salt)
o Sour dough toast (no butter)
If I’m not too sick to do it, it also helps me to walk a little after I take the meds. It seems that this gets my circulation going enough to get the meds into my system and working. I believe it also helps to flush them out when they’re no longer needed which helps to avoid a ‘hangover’ from all the meds.
I try not to take medication unless I feel like I really have to, but as most migraine sufferers know, if you wait too long the migraine progresses to a point where you get too nauseated to take anything. So, it’s a delicate balance and a risk either way, due to the side-effects (over time) of medication.
After about 30 years, it seemed that my migraines started to leave me with a sinus-type of headache after the severe migraine pain left, which wasn’t helped by pain meds. About 5 years after that, most all of my migraines seemed to start as combination migraine/sinus headache. I had the feeling that it was kind of like an allergic reaction to all the migraine meds.
I’ve recently come to the conclusion (from both reading and trying candidiasis remedies) that the sinus headache, if not the entire migraine, is related to candidiasis. I won’t go into a discussion of candida here, but you can look it up on the internet (I may post a simple explanation later.) Hint: If you’ve ever had antibiotics, steroids, or oral birth control pills, and crave sweets and/or simple carbs, you’re a likely candidate.
Please feel free to comment, sharing what works for YOU. I think we’re all open to ideas!
*Cucumber/Yogurt drink: Liquefy in blender ½ c. chopped, peeled cucumber; 1/3 cup plain live culture yogurt, 1/3 cup milk; 12 fresh mint leaves; squeeze of fresh lime juice. Pour over a glass full of ice cubes.
Monday, April 16, 2007
I loved this book. I’d both read and watched the video’s of two of his other popular books, Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Both are very good but in my opinion, this one surpasses them by far. To sum it up simply, I guess I’d call it a book about life, parents, marriage, and forgiveness of self and others. I particularly enjoyed it because it was written from a man’s point of view. But I could probably make a long list of all the other things I especially liked about it, too.
There were several statements in the book that I found quotable, but my favorite was the following. The main character is telling about his parents’ divorce and the effect it had on him. He had mentioned how his mother was so loving and always supported him in spite of his behavior, but how nevertheless, he ‘followed’ after his father who didn’t treat him very good. He said, “You see, here’s my theory: Kids chase the love that eludes them, and for me, that was my father’s love. He kept it tucked away, like papers in a briefcase. And I kept trying to get in there.”
I particularly noted this because I’d observed it in my own life, regarding my own father from whom I never felt love or acceptance.* Since I was never at all close to him and often found things he did, irritating, I often wondered why I would end up doing a lot of those same things, myself - when I got older. I finally came up with the conclusion expressed in the quote. Just to clarify with an example: My father used to talk incessantly, which irritated everyone to no end! Hm-m-m – do we know anyone else that does that? :)
Bottom line is, I thought it was really a great book, from a lot of perspectives. I felt there were a lot of profound statements in it about real life. But at the same time - and this is the really interesting part that I won't explain, because I don't want to spoil it for you - it had a lot of 'not-real-life' in it too - which created some intrigue. And there is also a bit of a surprise at the end. It was a relatively short book - which seems to be Albom's style - and certainly makes it worth the investment of the little bit of time it takes to read it!
* Note the words 'I' and 'felt' - I admit that I don't know that that's how he felt or what he meant to convey!
Sunday, April 08, 2007
About a week ago I finished reading the three volumes of the Kingdom and the Crown series, by Gerald Lund. (I generally read at least one chapter from the scriptures every day, but am often reading another book at the same time.) Lund's novel centers around a fictitious family, but is staged against the historical background of Christ's ministry on earth. Lund doesn't change any of the known facts; only fills in the 'blanks' with real life possibilities in terms of the story and accurate information regarding the geography and culture at the time of Christ. He does all of this in the form of a most intriguing novel which is really enjoyable to read and at the same time, a tremendous help in understanding better the teachings and life of Christ.
The value of any good book is what you learn from it and/or how it makes you feel. To me, the biggest 'pay-off' when reading the scriptures is being able to feel the spirit as I read, which helps me to keep other things in perspective. Learning and understanding follow that. I once heard someone say they prefer to do their daily scripture reading early in the morning because it sets the mood for their day. I've found that to be true, so I try to fit it in as early as I can, often while eating a meal.
I had similar experiences when reading The Kingdom and the Crown. Many times I was reading through my tears because I felt the spirit so strongly. The book greatly increased my understanding of the scriptures and therefore increases my enjoyment of reading the scriptures. In addition, the novel is really enjoyable and intriguing reading. I would strongly recommend it to anyone interested in learning about the Savior's life, regardless of religious orientation - or even if only interested from a historical perspective.
I'm anxious now to continue on with my reading of the New Testament.