Sunday, April 29, 2007

On a more spiritual note . . .

I love being surprised by the Ensign! As a young girl, the Ensign was a "grownups" magazine. Then I was eighteen, but it seemed to be a "married woman's" magazine. So I didn't read it. Not until Caleb was called as EQP did we even opt to recieve it. A few months ago I was struggling with pride and having the printed words of General Conference proved invaluable in overcoming that issue.

Today I was eating some delicious leftovers for breakfast and needed something to read - to get me in the spirit of the Sabbath Day. I went to the bookcase, and sticking nearly two inches out (our bookcase is a bit of a mess) was the January Ensign. I opened immediately to a talk given by Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. The title is "Living Right," but that's not what first caught my eye. I began reading in the middle, as I normally do, and read this:

"Wherever you live, whatever your occupation or focus in life, you will be drawn into the battle for the souls of men and women. Be valiant in that struggle. It is waged on the basis of character. Satan and his troops have defined their character by resolute opposition to the will of our Father and consistent violation of His commandments. You solidify your character by consistent correct choices.
Neither Satan nor any other power can weaken or destroy your growing character. Only you can do that through disobedience."

The feeling in my heart testifies of the truth in these words. Satan cannot destroy me. He can tempt me to destroy myself, but he can do nothing to hurt me.

"There are two patterns for making decisions in life: (1) decisions based upon circumstance and (2) decisions based upon eternal truth. Satan encourages choices to be made according to circumstance."

Principle 4 (as outlined on Perpspective determines action.
So what is Scott telling us? Maintain God's perspective and take action in that way. God's perspective, or TRUTH, is the perspective that will lead us to make the best decisions, eternally speaking.

"The pattern of the Lord is for His children to make decisions based upon eternal truth. This requires that your life continue to be centered in the commandments of God. Thus, decisions are made in accordance with unchanging truths, aided by prayer and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. In addition to your own strength and capacity, you will enjoy divine inspiration and power when needed. Your actions will be predictable and will bless the lives of all in the circle of your influence. You will have a meaningful life of purpose, peace, and happiness. "

Here comes the part that set me on fire this morning:

"As an exceptional son or daughter of God, you are sorely needed. There is an urgent need for men and women who will stand for principles against the growing pressures to compromise those very principles. Men and women are required who will act nobly and courageously for what the Lord has defined as right, not for what is politically correct or socially acceptable. We need individuals who have the spiritual, righteous influence that will motivate others to enduring good. We need politicians of integrity, businesspeople who are honest and morally clean, attorneys who defend justice and the legal system, and government officials who preserve principle because it is right. Above all, we need mothers and fathers who will preserve the sanctity and safety of the home and the integrity of the family, where faith in God and obedience to His commandments are taught as the foundation of a productive life.
You can be an essential part of that shining light, that righteous influence to increase the moral fiber of your country and home. " (emphasis added)

We are always told how important we are as INDIVIDUALS. And although it's true coming from a teacher, a parent, or a man ordained of God to recieve His revelation on earth, it's sometimes nice to hear it coming straight from the latter.
Then there was this part about truth, here, just read it:

"There are some things that are wrong because God decreed they are wrong. Truth is not determined by what people think, no matter how influential they may be. Truth was determined by an Almighty God before the Creation of this earth, and it will exist forever."

How comforting to know that God is the same throughout eternity. Truth, His law, will be the same forever. I can trust in a God who is the same: whose word is the same, whose laws are the same and whose love is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Friday, April 27, 2007

My Birthday Party

Yesterday morning I awoke to the sound of my son rustling around in his bedroom. "Mom, I have a surprise for you," he said. This is what I found: All the puppies in his possesion arranged in a semicircle facing the door from smallest to largest. I walked into the room and he yelled, "Surprise! It's your birthday party!"
Then he was kind enough to name all his puppies for us.
There was Black, Roofus, Boba Fett, Lucky, Baby, Frank, Hair, Spots, Walk-n-Run, Big Eyes, Mush, Sleepy, Christmas, Luther, Brown Spots, Kip, Jaque, Underdog, Black Stripes, Standing Up, Heart, Brown Sugar, Creme, Mollasses and Cocoa. I only had to help him with Frank, and the last four. All the others he knew and knows every day. Boba Fett he named all by himself, btw.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Missing something?

Once upon a time I was a performer. I sang. I emoted. I twirled around in pretty skirts with my hair all done in curls. I remember the nights when I wasn't sure I was good enough. I recall with perfect clarity some of my more frightening auditions. But I have forgotten something . . .

I don't remember what performing feels like. In my head are the images of me in blue dresses with blond hair, in a white dress with black hair or in a pink dress that showed too much cleavage, but I can't remember what what any of it felt like. All those moments on stage, under the lights and under the spell of creation are a big bright blur. The longer I go without it, the less I can feel it.

For someone who has never experienced that singular rush of theatrical creation, it is difficult to explain the loss. Still in my mind is the memory of my final note in Brigadoon, when I played Fiona. My arms were outstretched to my unknown love, and I couldn't see the audience for the bright lights shining in my face. Then I heard the applause. At least i think there was applause. I don't remember that part. I can't hear it anymore. I can't call up the rush of acheivement.

So what brought this on? I saw my brother in a play tonight. My brother is a super talented person. I love watching him do what he does, because he does it better than anyone I have ever seen. And I realized while watching him sing and dance and emote that I was no longer a part of that world. During intermission, I began talking to the woman next to me. She knew my brother. Her daughter-in-law was the lead in this particular production. My father talked about how much my brother does. She asked if I performed. I was proud to tell her of my children and my school ventures, and in the back of my mind I felt something begin to ache. Through the rest of the show and on the trip home I couldn't put my finger on the cause. Then I recognized the pain . . . I was going through all my past roles and parts and couldn't remember what it felt like to be that other person.

You ask me what plays I've been in and I can name the character I played. I can tell you what I learned from each one. I can even tell you what I wore, what color my hair was and two people I loved in the cast. But I can no longer call up the emotional reaction that I enjoyed while on stage. It has been three years since I have performed. I haven't gone that long since I began theater. Imagine: begin at the age of ten and after the age of thirteen, I averaged three plays at a time three times a year until I became pregant with Liam.

I don't regret on any level the three years I have spent in other non-performing pursuits. I don't think to myself on some tiring nights when River is screaming and Liam won't go to bed, "What if I had not had children?" For although there is an emotional void that theater used to fill with excitement and wonder and rush and thrill, it is small in comparison to the halls of my heart which are now filled and echoing with the voices of my children.
As I lift my daughter over my head and see her nose wrinkle in laughter, as I kiss Liam's nose while he softly snores, I may miss the theater thrill but am reminded every day that the choice I made was the best choice for me. And I would not trade a single giggle, squeal or bath-time fiasco for the "what-coulda-beens" of a theatrical career.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dead Weight

If I put my fists to my mouth, and breathe through my nose, an amazing thing happens. The steam of my breath dances like an Aurora Borealis on my glasses - right before my eyes. It's remarkably comforting this morning, when inside I feel the dead weight of what I used to call anxiety.
Dead Weight.
Those two words are striking an emotional chord in me this morning. Anyone who knows me can probably figure out why. But that is compounded by the string of dreams I entertained last night while I slept. All my major fears were 'addressed', and by that I mean "acted out with terrible accuracy and lunacy." I was thrown out of the Playhouse for spying. A guy I know decided to kiss me (I stuffed him in a drawer in retaliation.) Another guy chased me to my car crying that I had led him on and now it was my duty to fulfill my unspoken promises. I would not, so he stabbed me with a pen. My husband bought a house without consulting me and it was a dump. Two dear friends of mine left their current relationships and chose to be a homosexual couple together. Three big dogs ate my keys. My mom told me I couldn't come into her house ever again. I asked my brother in law for help and he pushed me away, saying, "No."
This reported, I don't need anyone who made appearence in my dream to post an console me. I know none of this would actually happen. Except maybe the three big dogs eating my keys.
But I realized some things, trying to scrape all this negative energy off myself this morning:
*I have come leaps and bounds from where I was emotionally just three months ago.
*I still carry more than my healthy emotional share of dead weight.
*Triggers and buttons weigh me down.
*I respond so deeply to the emotion of a conversation, that the words don't even register in my memory three minutes later. What's the deal with that?


Friday, April 6, 2007

Easter Pics

Today we took pictures of the kids for Easter. I couldn't pick just one because my kids have so much character. And they resemble so many people. Like this one: Liam looks just like my brother, John. It makes me want to hug that big lug (if he were around.)

Liam here looks like his Grandpa Bob, while River bears a remarkable resemblence to her Great-Grandmother, Betty.
Caleb is a great photographer: check out the light on the blanket!
Then Liam is just so adorable with his arm around his little sister . . .
We're going to have to watch River like a hawk as she gets older. She's such a flirt! Already at the store - or where ever I go - I have at least half a dozen people stop to tell me how beautiful she is.
And here's my boy, sucking on his big toe. I suppose I should just be happy he's so flexible, right? Eww.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Seeing through new eyes . . .

Paradigm shifts in March:
OLD PARADIGM: It was Caleb’s ("the Man’s") job\duty\responsibility\physical measure of worth to get me a house.
NEW PARADIGM: If I want it, I can achieve it. My desires and the achieving of them are no one’s responsibility but my own.
OLD PARADIGM: A home is worth it’s equity and therefore a better financial decision than renting.
NEW PARADIGM: A house has no intrinsic value. The emotion I invest in a place is all the worth that place holds. And I can invest it in a cardboard box if I want and be happy. I have learned that what I actually VALUE about owning a house is not the ownership or the "financial freedom" that is promised, but instead the privacy and the fenced yard for my children to play in.
OLD PARADIGM: The prophets and apostles don't know what I recognize as the 14 principles of prosperity – or better said, the governing principles of the universe.
NEW PARADIGM: They know, live and teach all fourteen principles of prosperity. It makes sense, when I finally looked at their teachings instead of assuming they couldn’t possibly know what I do because I didn’t know it three months ago. I mean, how many super poor, victim minded, money grubbing socialists do you see sitting on the stand at General Conference? None. Because they are all living the Principals of Prosperity. They may not recognize it by those terms or words, but I know if I listed the principles to them, they would all nod their heads and say, "Yeah, that’s what we’ve been trying to tell you for years, in fact, since the world began!"
OLD PARADIGM: My children’s happiness is my responsibility.
NEW PARADIGM: My children’s well being is my responsibility. They have agency in their emotions and reactions just as much as an adult.
OLD PARADIGM: If I pick up a book and it "looks like Greek to me," It must be a dumb book and not worth reading and therefore I will rally with picket signs against the obvious pride and stupidity not only of the author but of his wordy ideas.
NEW PARADIGM: Some books are written poorly. That doesn’t have anything to do with the core ideas they are written about. I was just upset that I felt stupid and felt that I was being excluded from knowledge.
OLD PARADIGM: Teachers who won’t accept another view of a piece of literature when it’s offered to them must be stupid and prideful.
NEW PARADIGM: It’s prideful of me to go into a learning situation assuming I already know more than the teacher. It isn’t easy to look at something with double vision when you have been seeing it in single vision all your life. And it’s their choice.
OLD PARADIGM: There are certain things you can and cannot say to someone – particularly if you are married to them.
NEW PARADIGM: What on earth are you together for if you can’t talk to each other? If my vices are clear to my husband, and not to me shouldn’t I desire him to let me know and help me work past the negative and destructive behavior? I have decided. Yes. He may say it’s like I’m emotionally vomiting on him, but he also describes my moment of realization as "Ahh . . .there you are." I’m so proud of my husband.
OLD PARADIGM: If I can’t lose weight like other people, governing principles do not govern and I am broken.
NEW PARADIGM: There are all sorts of governing principles. I happen to practice the spiritual ones with great ease, and have all my life. The physical\health one’s . . . not so much. But if I learn them and practice them, they will work for me. It is inevitable and indisputable that if I live by governing true principles, I will prosper.
OLD PARADIGM: If I don’t understand something and I get angry, it will go away or it will get fixed merely because it is afraid of my power (doesn’t make sense, yet I believed it.)
NEW PARADIGM: Anger is an emotion that constrains the angry person to find something to blame. "Why am I feeling this way?" Anger is my way to not take responsibility for my part in whatever is making me mad. "Making me mad." Hear that? That’s the sound of my brain being scrubbed of it’s destructive thought patterns.
OLD PARADIGM: There are things I cannot say to my mother.
NEW PARADIGM: If I respect my mother and love her as much as I say, cowering from her does no good. I have always known my mother and I are alike. If this "call me on my junk" junk works on me, I have a high enough opinion of my mother that I believe she will see it and pull out of it. I have heard my mother say before that we are sisters and that when we leave this life, we will return to that state. I choose not to be afraid of the mother/daughter relationship anymore. If this woman is my sister and I see her struggling and unhappy I will not make that world more comfortable out of fear of her.
OLD PARADIGM: I want to help my mother because I want her to be happy.
NEW PARADIGM: I want my mother to be happy not solely for her to be happy. Basically, I realized what’s in it for me. Which is great, because then I can image it rather than sitting here thinking how I wish she would change . . . This said, I hope everyone caught the above paragraph where I talk about respecting my mother and loving her. I think I’m beginning to look at her the way Caleb looks at me . . . and I see hope of her returning whole to herself.

These are a few of my shifts. Oh my head!