Friday, October 31, 2008

working thoughts

I have had an interesting desire lately to move away from the computer and do real things- things with my hands and heart. Things that are part of the God- made world- the real world- and not the virtual one.

Having an online business has seriously kept me trapped in this virtual world way to long. And the world is so beautiful and so alive if we can get out in it. I want to do work, daily chores that require my hands and heart and physical movement.

Nothing is as life affirming as doing your daily chores- knowing that you are really making a difference- even if it is as small as cleaning a toilet seat or churning butter.

I want to have an excuse to be outside. I need things out there that need me attention- an excuse to go outside and work that can not be excused. I want to drink in the beautiful day and bask in the physical sensations of it all.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I just came back from stake conference this weekend- and there one talk that really touched me.

Our mission president's wife was speaking and she talked about her daughter Lori-Beth.
Lori-Beth was diagnosed with downs syndrome shortly after birth and her mother sat there praying day and night the blood test that would confirm the downs syndrome would come back negative. But over the course of the next day she was reminded by 4 different people of an experience she had 5 years before.

5 years before Lori-Beth was born her mother was listening to a talk on Jesus and the blind man- the one where the people asked "Who sinned , that caused this man to be blind, him self or his parents." And Jesus answered "no one sinned." At that point the mother had a revelation that the blind man had a pre-exsistant assignment to glorify God.

The mother came to accept that Lori-Beth had a pre-exsistant assignment.

When they were called as mission presidents they were set apart- Lori-Beth was set apart and afterwords the one setting them apart looked directly into her eyes and told her that her presence there would change lives, lives of the missionaries, investigators and others.

Then she brought Lori-Beth up to sing "I am a Child of God." Most people would not call her performance musical. But that didn't matter to us. What mattered to us was the incredible spirit we felt. Lori-Beth had changed my life.

Now when I look at the angels in my care- 1 with autism, 1 with spinal bifida, and another yet undiagnosed- I can recognize that no only does their affliction help them achieve their spiritual needs in life- but also that they have a pre-exsistant assignment to help glorify God.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Contrast with the world

I read an article today calling Sara Palin's lifestyle "Model, on the Last Frontier."

What is interesting is this article doesn't talk so much about how she lives her life, but about what toys and stuff she has.

It contrasted sharply with General Conference today and what would be considered a "model Mormon's" lifestyle.

Let's play the contrast game:

Palin, according to the article, is into snow mobile racing and sport hunting, loving the competition.

A model Mormon should be into chasing children and hunting down potential investigators.

Palin, according to the article, Sara has all the toys...including an airplane

model Mormons should have all the love and charity- toys only seem to figure into it when we learn how not to swear, or even get angry, when we step on legos at 3 am.

The Palins have a "large lakeside home" with all the trimmings.

A model Mormon worries less about the physical home and strives for a spiritual home. We are taught to create a spiritual home by having family prayer, family scripture study and family home evening.

A model Mormon knows it is not what we have, but what we do, and how we treat others that matters. Having THINGS is not important, but having CHARITY is required. And helping people is really so much more rewarding then things.

Now, I am not trying to dis on Palin here. I have no need to do that, her interviews do enough of that for her. But just the way the article was written got me thinking about how screwed up the view is that stuff= lifestyle.

I just hope that if anyone writes about my lifestyle that they talk about what I do, and not what I have. But if 5 possessions were selected to some how represent me and my lifestyle they might end up being:

1. my cars- one pruis and the mini van (the most gas efficient family car). I would hope that these cars would represent my commitment to energy and family.

2. my house- it is peculiarly small in comparison to the modern McMansions and it is full to the brim of children, and their stuff. It is in no way decorated with anything other then children's pictures, scribbles, and remnants of Family Home Evening lessons. Of course, we do have many walls of family pictures. It has all hard floors, for easy cleaning, and not thread of it attempts to be "pretty". But it is a hard working shelter, where many prayers are said, many scriptures are read, and many hours are spent playing games with children. If anything makes my house beautiful it is what is done inside of it. It is the love.

3. my garden, an attempt at growing food- providing lots of cabbage and never enough tomatoes. maybe they would even be so kind as to talk about my aspirations for a greenhouse to expand our growing season here from 75 days to maybe 100? My garden represents one of our steps towards self sufficiency. It also represents that we are trying to connect with mother nature and the bounty that the earth offers, as a partner and not a dominator.

4. our bookshelves- stuffed with layers and layers of books, Books for children, books for learning, books on almost every subject imaginable- and of course a fair variety of classic lit and fiction. our books would represent our love of learning, exploring new ideas and expanding our minds.

5. our scriptures. Mine are mobile and move from room to room with me through out the day. The kids often end up being our kitchen table's centerpiece. They end up there after scripture and snack time at night. Some have notes written all over them. Some are losing their covers, some live hard lives lost in our laundry piles between scripture studies (the laundry pile shares our kitchen), but what matters is that they are used, and we love them. We teach from them. We learn from them. We liken them unto us and even get chocolate cookie crumbs on them- but we've learned not to eat anything too sticky for scripture snack.

With the right eyes possessions can tell a lot about someone, especially if you see how they are really used. But please don't count on them telling the whole story.