Monday, June 14, 2010

Curiouser, and Curiouser

Continuing in my audio-book from the LOST book club list, I "read" Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking glass today. In case you don't know, that would be two non-sensicle books in a row for one day. My brain is fried. I never really liked Disney's (I know) Alice in Wonderland so I don't know why I thought the book would be any different, but I did! I thought there would be all these deep meanings and deep metaphors but it was just nonsense. I can see why they would be good children's books for bed time because there are a lot of lists and details for children to fall asleep to, but for me there's no other use for these books.

To end on a positive note though I liked the dutchess' "morals" where after everything Alice would say, the dutchess would say "and the moral of that is...". In Through the Looking Glass I liked that when Alice was told to speak when spoken to she suggested that that advice doesn't work because if everyone spoke when spoken to everyone would be waiting for the other person to speak. And the closing line of Through the Looking Glass which was the only thing in these two books which reminded me of LOST (after all that's why I'm on this reading treck) asked "Life, what is it but a dream?". Hmm.. Indeed.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Injun Jo and Co.

I finally finished Tom Sawyer! I'm not a slow reader, and I actually enjoy reading, but it's the last thing I want to do after I get home from work, cook dinner and eat it too. So I'm getting into this whole book on tape thing and I finished the book in one day!

Tom Sawyer was cute- not much of a review here since most everyone has most likely read it and there isn't any deep message to disect. Just a fun read. I got a good insight into little boy's minds and had to smile a couple of times when I found PJ has done things similar to what Tom liked to do. It is a pretty short book so if you're interested in it I can give you the audio file or you can do it the old fashion way and read it yourself!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lessons from Broadway

We had the opportunity to go to the temple last weekend and I couldn't get the lyrics "Don't we get to be happy Cathy" stuck in my head! In case you don't know, it's from The Last 5 Years which I've talked about forever, I know. I was thinking I was being so irreverent singing that in my head over and over and so I tried to hum some hymns (I mean I didn't even listen to that song for at least a couple days before we went and all morning I was listning to old EFY CD's and hymns) but it kept comming up in my head especially while I was waiting for PJ afterwards. So I sat there and let it in. I kept singing it over and over and stopped trying to fight it. Part of the song plays out like this:

"If I didn't believe in you, We'd never have gotten this far.
If I didn't believe in you And all of the ten thousand women you are,
If I didn't think you could do Anything you ever wanted to,
If I wasn't certain that you'd come through somehow,
The fact of the matter is Cathy, I wouldn't be standing here now...
Don't we get to happy Cathy? At some point down the line...
If I'm cheering on your side Cathy, Why can't you support mine?"

And if you know Jason Robert Brown you know this is just a blip from his song (if you're curious, look it up!) but I couldn't shake it from my head. So instead of thinking of a husband saying this to his wife, I started thinking about if God was saying this to me. If He didn't believe in me, I would have never gotten this far. If He didn't think I could do anything I ever wanted to (with His help), If He wasn't certain I would come through, He would not be with me now. I understand I'm pulling insperation from an Off-Broadway show, but God speaks to us all in different ways. In the last post I talked about our past baggage and this was a nice reminder that I am allowed to be happy. That I can let go and let the "neosporan scar" heal. Then lastly If He is cheering on my side, why wouldn't I support His in the sense of spreading His gospel. I have always been really shy about sharing my testmony because it is something so personal I feel as though sometimes other people won't understand but that's not what God wants. He doesn't want us to only share our testimony when it's convenient or when we think people will understand, "if you've got it, flaunt it". And so with that: I love our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Once I stopped trying to do life my way and committed myself to doing life their way (after all, they created life) it has been great! Sure there have been bumps in the road, but like the Footprints in the Sand poem says they have and will continue to carry me through those times. I know that the gospel is true and that Thomas S. Monson is the world's prophet today. I know that Jesus died so that those before and after us may live. I love going to the temple and can't wait to continue geneology to find where my heritage is from. I am grateful for all the blessings we have in this life and also for the trials (gotta have one to have the other...). I hope that everyone will come to find that God is fighting for them to be on His side and does this because He believes in each and every one of us and wants us to be happy or better said joyful. Oh the lessons you can learn from (off) Broadway!

Friday, June 4, 2010

To Bag, or Not to Bag?

I had a "what about me" moment a few Sunday's back when PJ and I ventured into our new ward. A woman was talking about how new the gospel was to her and how the excitement affects (in a positive way) her family when someone spoke up and said "And it's been, what, two years since you and your husband went to the temple?" I wanted to raise my hand and talk about PJ's wonderful journey and how we just went to the temple only 6 months ago, but I thought why is that important? Why is it we want to share our past stories with other people? A popular montra in society is to "just let go" but any time you sit down with a person the first question you ask them is usually about their past. What I've come to find is our past stories make us who we are. I know a woman, who, after having four children can still remember the pain of struggling to not be able to have any. I asked my boss at work a question about her opinion of two story houses when she told me how she came to be able to buy hers thanks to her father-in-law and an accident that happened years ago. I also know my grandmother loves to talk about when we were young, or even when her own kids were young and what we all used to do. Are we just supposed to say "move on", "get over it", or "yes, I've already heard that story"? I know I still think about my past a lot. I run the same years through my head over and over like dectetives watching a crime scene video looking for the slightest bit of evidence. After putting some distance between my past stories and I, I've realized our pasts are what make us who we are. Our pasts are what helps us form opinions about situations and give us perspective. I will probably be 50 years old and still tell people vivid memories I had while trying to teach PJ the gospel. I will talk about our early marital relationship, and how we lived off of pancakes for a short while. ( plain pancakes, strawberry pancakes, chocolate pancakes, peanut butter pancakes...) I think our "baggage" is what makes us interesting. What would American history be without the stories of Columbus or the Civil War? What would LDS history be if we left out the part where hundreds of saints crossed the snowy western plains barefoot or how Joseph Smith was martyered? I'm not saying if we have a hard time in life to not grow afterwards, but surely we should remember to at the very least keep ourselves from going through it again and especially to warn someone else from going through it. Instead of ripe wounds, maybe our baggage could be Neosporan scars: if we look hard enough, we can see them and remember how they were formed to make excellent dinner time stories. Like the scar on my right knee. I was riding my bike down a neighbors' driveway when my brother in his skates wouldn't get out of the way. I flipped my bike over his foot and landed face first on the pavement. I'm not still mad at my brother (and if you asked him it would still be my fault for not moving..) but everytime I see my knee I know not to try to ride over people's skates with my bike. I'm learning to like my past time stories and to also like the person they've shaped me into. I think I'll keep my baggage.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'll Always Remember...

Do you remember the story of Moses? How he was hid in a river, then found by Pharoh's daughter's servant, raised in a family of royalty, and then ran away into the wilderness after killing one of Pharoh's guards? Do you remember how after establishing himself with another family he was called to go and free the Isrealites from under Pharoh's reign? Do you remember the plagues? Do you remember how they got away? Do you remember when they got to the promised land? Wait, we missed a part: Do you remember how and why they wandered for 40 years in the wilderness murmuring all the way? After having taught this story in Sunday School, I realized how this middle part is often left out in order to go on to the rest of the story. The Isrealites, under Pharoh's reign, were forced to gather and crush straw, mix it to make bricks, carry the bricks and build shrines to the Pharoh. They had to gather and grow their own food and also fear for their lives. Once they were freed though, they never stopped complaining! When they were thirsty "O that we were in Egypt!" then the Lord through Moses provided them water. When they were hungry "O that we were in Egypt!" and the Lord provided them food they didn't even have to grow, harvest, or cook! All they had to do was gather it and eat it. But they got sick of "manna" and once more longed to be in Egypt to eat of the honey and garlic that was so abundant in the land.

What sticks out to me most about this story is how much the Isrealites were willing to sacrifice to be back in the bondage of which they so longingly wanted to be out. The Isrealites get a pretty bad rap for these stories along with the "Look and Live" story, but I have to ask, are we any different? What freedoms are we willing to sacrifice? I hope we wouldn't say things like "Oh that I didn't have to buy this extra tub of water so that I could buy a playstation" or "Oh that the government was bigger so they could take care of us" or "Oh that I had another credit card so I could spend more money I don't have"... Freedom to me is synonymous with ability and when you halt some one's ability you are taking away one's freedoms. In the examples I just used: We are asked to store food, medical supplies, and anything else we would need if, say, a hurricane came and shut off the power to a whole city for a week, we would be able to live and not risk our salvation by looting other's homes or stores in the chaos. Some would also say the Feds should make more laws and "create" more money and "create" more jobs but a wise economist would know this is impossible and only harmful to the economy and the job market and will result in high inflation, even more job loss, and less money flow resulting in higer taxes of which we, ourselves, only hundreds of years ago, longed to be free.

To get to the point: On Memorial Day, it is wise to not only think of the great and courageous soldiers who are in Iraq trying their best to protect our freedoms, but also to remember all the people all the way back to Moses who have fought hard and usually died so that we can surf the internet all hours of the night, drive any make or model of car we choose, eat steak every night with out having to slaughter it ourselves, wear what we wish, say what we like, read articles which might oppose the popular belief of the country, and of course worship with out being mocked or stoned. I hope we aren't stuck saying "Oh, that we were..." and instead be grateful for all that we have and all that we have the ability or freedom to become.