Today was the day.
Sis, the Bro-in-Law, and G took E to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. It was a beautiful ceremony, even it would have been better if the sealer had talked to my sister’s family before hand–he was honestly confused as to why E needed to be sealed, when Sis and the Bro-in-Law were married in the covenant. That is, until G and E came into the room, and he could see how little they look like Sis and the Bro-in-Law.
Okay, I tried to take the easy route, and find a page that would explain sealing. I couldn’t–at least, I couldn’t find a page that explained it in the way I wanted to.
We believe that temples are quite literally the House of the Lord. They are the holiest places on earth. We go to the temple to make sacred covenants and ordinances with the Lord. (Covenant: A two way promise between man and God. Ordnance: A ceremony with a sacred purpose–like baptism) When a man and a woman are married in the temple, if they both live worthy, they will be married for time and all eternity. Any children born to them are considered “Born in the Covenant” and will also be a part of their family for eternity. If a couple is married outside the temple they can later go to the temple to be sealed together. If they have children, or, in the case of my sister’s family, if their children were adopted, then those children can be sealed to their parents as well.
When G was a baby, he was sealed to Sis and the Bro-in-Law, so he wasn’t part of the ceremony, but was still able to observe. This surprised me a little–the age of 12 is usually the first time a child is allowed to enter the temple, unless, of course, they are being sealed to their parents.
E’s biological grandmother was in the temple with us this morning, and his birth mother was waiting outside. This surprised me–both women have a lot more guts than I do. I’m afraid that in their situation, I’d be sitting alone in my room crying. G was glad to see them, though, E has a biological half-brother who’s only a week older than G, and they are best friends.
It didn’t take long for them to start running around–including literally running circles around random people. Which of course happened all the way back to Sis’s house.
Which was a trick, because they were both strapped in car-seats in different cars.
The party was a success, but we learned a few important lessons:
- A corgi, or a mostly corgi mutt may look like a small dog, but when she stands up on her back legs, she’s tall enough to steal food of the table.
- White plastic table covers and bright sunny days aren’t a good combination. At least for those who like to see.
- If the recipe for your cookies tells you to store them in the freezer, there’s a reason for it. And they shouldn’t be left out on the buffet line on the bright sunny day with the blinding tablecloths.
Five of my dad’s eleven siblings were there–including an aunt who lives in Western Nevada, and an uncle from Wisconsin. (If I missed anybody when I was counting, I’m sorry.) It was good to see the family we don’t get to see all that often, even if after I ate and had a few minutes of conversation, I went to check on Max and Lulu and “forgot” to go back.
I have an uncle who’s in the hospital, he had a bad car accident a few weeks back, and while his injuries were being examined, the doctors found kidney cancer that had spread through his body. Most of the family had lunch here, then went up to the hospital in Ogden to see him. Dad says he’s in better shape than he was expecting, but still in rough shape.
Um, what else? I know I skipped yesterday, and it feels like a ton of stuff has happened since I last wrote, but I suppose I’ve covered all the important stuff. I don’t even really have anything on my mind–except the fact that I don’t want to do any baking for a very, very long time.
The lemon bars were a hit. I’d share the recipe, but that would require getting up and finding the cookbook.
One of the unplesant truths about life is that every decision we make has a consequences.
Granted, some of those consequences are so small as to be negligible–for instance, choosing to wear a certain outfit or eating a certain meal means that those clothes are dirty for the next day, or that food has been used up.
The consequence of choosing to live a solitary life is loneliness.
I’ve realized that my lifestyle is a choice–and one that most of the time I’m happy with. This April, though…life’s just gotten hard.
I’ve been depressed recently. Well, more depressed than usual. I’ll turn 29 on Friday, and that has a lot to do with it–I’m feeling old and alone. Which is stupid, I know, I’ll still be in my 20s, but I am absolutely not where I thought I’d be at this time in my life.
Talking to my mom the other day, she reminded me that it’s better than the alternative.
I was praying today for strength, and a tune came into my head. I recognized it as a hymn, but I couldn’t tell which one it was. When I started to hum it, I figured out it was “Through Deepening Trials”. Which then, I could only remember the first two lines–
Though deepening trials throng your way/press on, press on, ye saints of God!”
I went about my day, every once and a while singing those two lines to myself. After running a few errands, (note: If you’re feeling sorry for yourself, and stop at the RedBox and pick up a couple of movies that you’ve been wanting to see, “Precious” and “Julie and Julia” are NOT a good combination, and will end up making you feeling more sorry for yourself. They were both good movies, though.) I came home and straightened up the house a bit. In the process, I found my pocket hymnbook, so I sat down and looked up Though Deepening Trials. And then started to cry.
First, the mood direction of this hymn is “cheerful”, while I’ve always thought of this as a somber hymn. That was even before I got into the lyrics:
Though deepening trials throng your way
press on, press on, ye saints of God!
Ere long the resurrection day
will spread its life and truth abroad
will spread its life and truth abroad
what if our rights have been assailed?
what though by foes we’ve been despoiled
Jehovah’s promise has not failed
Jehovah’s purpose is not foiled
Jehovah’s purpose is not foiled
It’s not supposed to be easy. I know that. I also know that Eliza Snow, the author of those words went though trials that would break me.
I can be strong. I can do this. Whatever happens, happens. I just need to trust in the Lord.
I’ve spent the last 18 hours battling the natural (wo)man. And not the good “You make me feel like a nat-ur-al-woman” natural woman, but the natural (wo)man King Benjamin talks about:
“For the natural (wo)man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless (s)he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural (wo)man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon (her), even as a child doth submit to (her) father.” Mosiah 3:19
I posted on Easter Sunday some pretty harsh things about my extended family. Upon reading that post, my mom rightly criticized me. At first, I was outraged–this is my blog, and those were my feelings–surely I have a right to post whatever I want?!
Well, yes I do, but, as Bishop Keith McMullin, the Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric reminded us in the Sunday Morning session of General Conference, (the text won’t be up until Thursday, but you can find an audio version of the talk here) it is my duty to act as a Christian, and this duty isn’t just doing what is legal, but doing what is virtuous.
So, here’s the thing. And I don’t offer this as a way of excuse, but as a way of explanation.
I’ve spent a lifetime believing, no, knowing, that my thoughts, opinions, feelings and ideas were less important than those of everyone else around me. It always struck me as strange when someone would follow my advice, or use my idea for, say, where to go to eat or how to do something. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve learned to recognized that I am just as valid a human being as anyone else, and this blog has help bolster that opinion–not only are there people out there who are interested in what I have to say, but they are interested enough to come back day after day.
With this new-found sense of self-entitlement, I examined the feelings of anger that I had over Easter Weekend. Were they valid? Yes they were. Would what I had to say hurt feelings? Probably, but this is my blog, and my feelings, and I don’t see any need to censor myself, my thought and feelings to spare the feelings of someone who may or may not even read my words.
It only took a little bit of thought to realize that I should, though. Censoring oneself is what differentiates people you actually want to be around from the jackasses who populate the reality TV shows on networks that used to be dedicated to showing music videos.
At this point, the natural (wo)man reared her ugly head. Why should I apologize? I don’t even know if anyone’s feelings were hurt. And no one has ever apologized to me for hurting my feelings, or acted in such a way to avoid hurting my feelings.
Again, a moments thought proved myself wrong. For instance, I remember a mission companion telling me that she felt like she had to walk on eggshells around me so I wouldn’t get my feelings hurt, or wouldn’t get angry. I also remembered a half dozen instances in the past year alone where someone apologized for hurting me (I’m not saying there weren’t more, that’s just what I could remember off the top of my head.)
So, if anybody was offended by what I had to say on Sunday, I’m deeply sorry. I was wrong to share those feelings with the world. I’m just coming to grips with my temper, and Angry Corianne, and I’m not sure I know how to control her yet. Saying bad things about family members, the ones I should be supporting and standing behind no matter what obviously isn’t the right way.
I have family members on the other side of the family who pride themselves on being caustic and opinionated. They are not fun to be around, and, frankly, family parties are much nicer when they are not there. (I hope that this doesn’t lead to another apology post) I don’t want to be that kind of person. I want people to be uplifted and inspired because of who I am.
I feel like I failed at the party, because I spent more time hiding in my room than not–Lulu was acting as the official ambassador for our house. I let the natural woman overcome me, and she brought anger at myself and others, depression, and obviously took away my sense of good judgment.
So, dear family, I know better, I really do. I should be happy that you enjoyed yourself, and that I could help facilitate your family gathering. I hope you’ll forgive me. I hope your still speaking to me.
I KNOW that every fourth Sunday I have meetings starting at 8am at the church. I prepared for it, I went to bed early, even though I couldn’t sleep, and Lulu kept me up even more than she usually does. I showered chose what I was going to wear–including accessories, the night before, and set my alarm for 7am. I woke up at 8:30. Crap. The last five minutes of my first meeting were really good, though.
I talked briefly with my Bishop, and he complemented me on what I had done in my capacity as the Temple Committee Co-Chair, I thanked him, then commented that I should be doing more. He just smiled at me and said, “Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t.” Later, he repeated that over the pulpit to the Ward, and added “and you will be happy.”
Happiness tends to be a fleeting thing for me. For everyone I suppose. The depression makes happiness harder to come by, and it doesn’t stay as long as it would for a normal person. But Bishop’s comments made me think: focusing of shortcomings and failures, as well as thinking about what we can’t do is a surefire way to become depressed.
I was feeling anxious during Sacrament Meeting, and would have slipped out to go home, except I had to teach the Temple Prep class in Sunday School. So I pulled out a piece of paper, and started making a list of the things that I can do. It included things like temple and volunteer work, helping my family, gardening in my little patio garden, and taking care of the dogs. There wasn’t anything too big or amazing, but it was a nice little exercise.
While I was writing this, a few other things came into my head–writing, and artwork. My writing has gotten better over the past few months–I always knew I could write, but have felt self-conscious about what I’ve put out. This blog has helped me overcome some of those feelings, and my writing has improved for it. My artwork–painting, drawing and photography, might not be that great, but I can do it. And with practice, those things will get better.
I have an eye for layout and design. I can create wonderful things that catch people’s eyes, and that they enjoy. I can cook and bake, I can sing, just not well, I can memorize songs and scripture and poetry. I can be happy.
Sacrament meeting was a little surreal today, I got the distinct impression of being told to work on my family history. I wish that such revelation would tell me where to start.
Okay, so the opening hymn. It’s not one we sing often enough for me to have memorized, so I pulled out the hymnbook. I noticed that it was written by a fifth great-grandfather on my mother’s side. Interesting, I didn’t know he had a hymn in the hymnbook.
So, sit through announcements, sing the sacrament hymn, then listen to the first talk, which happens to be about families–specifically, don’t do stupid stuff because it can affect your families for generations, but, if and when you do mess up, things can be made right through the atonement of Christ. And, even if you do mess up, if you’ve been sealed in the temple, you’ll still be a part of your family forever. (The concept of forever kind of freaked me out at this point. Not the being with my family part, I love my family, but existing forever–but that’s another post.)
Rest hymn. One I know, so I don’t need the hymnbook. One that also happened to be written by a fourth great-grandfather on my father’s side. Okay, that’s a little weird…
Now, it’s not like I’m descended from WW Phelps or anything–I checked, and Edward Partridge (the grandfather on my mother’s side) has only the one hymn in the book, and Joel Hills Johnson (the grandfather on my father’s side) only has two.
I know it’s not the connections to these two men I need to work on–frankly, I can rattle it off in my sleep (Edward Partridge had two daughters, Eliza and Lydia, who were sister-wives, both married to Amasa Lyman. Lydia had a son named Edward Leo Lyman Sr. Who had a son, Edward Leo Lyman Jr, who had a daughter, Eleanor, who had a daughter Louise, who is my grandmother. Joel Hills Johnson had a son, Seth, who had a daughter Mary, who married George Hyrum, and they had George Hyrum Jr, who had a son Ellis, who is my grandfather)
Did I mention that every single one of those individuals were/are Mormon? (at least for a bit. Some [okay, one] of them apostatized…) Family history is a big deal with Mormons, and we tend to have large families. What I’m driving at, is that I’ve had many faithful aunts and uncles (though I’m going to go out on a limb and say mostly aunts) who have plucked most of the low hanging fruit. While tracing my ancestry, most lines have been completed to the 1500s. I know I need to do this work, but starting in medieval Europe is more than a bit overwhelming.
I guess the best thing to do would be to talk to the family history coordinator for the ward and stake, and have them help me figure it out…
Somehow, I got talked into going to my parent’s house for a couple of days. It’s like they read this blog, and saw that I was going crazy(er) sitting around my house just talking to the dogs.
My parents bought the house they are living in now from my grandparents–it’s been in the family since it was built. Because of this, I know a ridiculous amount about the history of the house–I know that the bedroom that I say in when I visit was built for my mom’s two youngest brothers to share, I know which of my uncles was stupidly playing with a shotgun inside, and put holes in the rec room ceiling–and that those holes didn’t get patched to serve as a warning/reminder long after that uncle moved out, had children, then his children had time to grow up.
Over the years, the tree with the bolt in it fascinated me. It has not only survived the last thirty years, it’s thrived. The tree has “eaten” the bolt, to the point now you can tell there was something there, but not what it is.
I was thinking about this tree last night, and a scripture from the Book of Mormon came to mind, specifically, Ether 12:26-27
And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
I always wondered how weak things could become strong. I never doubted, because I know that with God, all things are possible.
The split in the tree was possibly fatal to it, but after it was bolted together, it grew fast and strong and tall, and is now one of the healthiest trees in my parent’s yard. What once was a weakness is now a strength.
I feel like there are so many weaknesses in my life, and so few strengths. I have so far to go–but I guess that I’ve come a long way too.
Okay, I can do this. I can.
I’m 28 years old. I turn 29 in April.
I’ve never been in a serious relationship. I’ve never been in a relationship period.
I’ve been on three dates in my entire life–the first was a girls-choice dance, the second was a pity date. (Sis, I know what you’re going to say, and it was a pity date. He only asked me after he heard me say I didn’t have a date to the prom, and the group I went with was all the popular guys with all the unpopular girls. It was a pity date). The third was a blind date set up by a roommate.
I’ve never been kissed.
Shocking, right? You’d think the shy, fat, depressed girl would be beating the guys off with a stick.
The thing is, men and relationships just haven’t been a priority in my life until lately, and I’m painfully aware that I’m about 15 years behind the game. In high school, I was more concerned with trying not to kill myself, and in college, well, I just didn’t care.
The desire to be in a relationship has come about largely since I lost my job, which freaks me out a little bit. Yes, a boyfriend or a husband would be nice, but a way to keep a roof over my head and food in the fridge is essential.
I’ve had crushes on guys in the past, but it’s mostly been the “oh he’s cute, I wish he’d come and talk to me” type of thing, followed by a feeling of slight disappointment when I learned he was dating/engaged to someone else. I’d then forget about whats-his-name and get on with my life (or lack thereof.)
A few months ago, I realized that I was talking about a particular crush a lot, and the more I examined my feelings for him, the more I realized that it might be more than a crush, I might actually be in love with him. I really didn’t know–again, 13-15 years behind the game here, and falling in love is something I have absolutely no experience in.
I realized, yesterday, that this guy probably doesn’t have the same feelings for me as I do for him, and I’m heartbroken. I think. At the same time, I’m feeling like a silly teenage girl–and I wasn’t a silly teenage girl even when I was a silly teenage girl.
I keep trying to convince myself that if it happens for me, great, but if it doesn’t, well, that’s okay too. I can still be a good person, a good daughter, sister, aunt and friend. I look at women like Sherri Dew, Mary Ellen Edmunds, and Barbara Thompson and remind myself that even though the church puts such a high priority on family and motherhood, a woman can still accomplish great things while remaining single–and all of the priesthood general authorities, all of the men, are either married or widowed.
It doesn’t make it any easier.
Yesterday, one of my mission buddies posted a link to Hark, a vagrant, specifically, a series of comics dealing with Canadian stereotypes. It made me remember an incident on my mission, when I was in Winnipeg.
I was in Canada from August of 2002 to January 2004. In 2003, America invaded Iraq, and Canada wasn’t happy about it. There were many protests, and Anti-American sentiment rose dramatically.
There were an average of 150 missionaries in the Canada Winnipeg Mission when I was there, and all but a bare handful came from the US. During this time, we had a Zone Conference (missions are divided into zones, and once a transfer, or once every 6 weeks, each zone would have a conference, or a meeting with the Mission President. We would be instructed as a group, then have individual interviews with the President) in which we discussed what to do if things got out of control and we had to evacuate the country. It was also stressed that this was a long shot, and probably wouldn’t happen, but the Church is really big on being prepared.
Basically, the evacuation plan was for all of us to go to Fargo. Except Elder Slyman from the UK. (And probably Elder Hastie from New Zealand, but he wasn’t in my zone at the time, and I remember Elder Slyman being singled out) Elder Slyman would go to Toronto, because Canada is a British Commonwealth, and his visa wouldn’t allow him to enter into the US.
I posted this on Facebook last night, and went to bed. As I was going to sleep, I thought it kind of sounded like something I had made up. This morning, I checked, and had a couple of replies from missionaries I served with saying, basically, they remember the protests, but not the evacuation plan.
Now, it’s fully possible that I’m connecting two unrelated incidents in my mind, and the evacuation plan could have been for any major disaster, like, say, if a meteor hit Winnipeg. And it was just because I was dealing with Anti-Americanism on almost a daily basis I connected it to the protests. To make sure I wasn’t TOO crazy, I pulled out my mission journals. I didn’t make it through one entry before I was sobbing.
A mission is like your entire life condensed into 18 months or 2 years. All of the problems, all of the joy all of the trials, all of the heartache are condensed into a very intense time frame. Well, if you’re not sure what the big trial is in my life, then you haven’t been paying attention.
It was on my mission that I discovered that I really would need to take an anti-depressant every day for the rest of my life. I struggled with many of my companions, and, if the rate at which I went through them is any indication, they struggled with me. Reading my entries, I was reminded of investigators that we thought were golden–who we knew felt the spirit, and knew it was true, but eventually dropped us. I remembered petty quarrels with my companions, and feelings of being excluded. I remembered the despair, the heartache, the stupid early mornings struggling to stay awake, the struggle to find motivation to get out and do the work.
I should mention that writing, for me, is a panacea. I would write more about the heartache and the problems I was having then about the fun I would have with my companions. In a series of a week, I would talk about the frustration I had with certain investigators, but not about Marjorie, who was planning on baptism. When I look back, I see the good times, the fun and remember how much I loved it. When I read my journals, I remember the struggle.
Basically, I don’t want to scare anyone considering a mission. Yes, it is hard work, but it is worth it. I count myself lucky that I’ll be able to go again when I’m old–whether or not I find a husband. Men don’t have that option.
It’s been a hard day for me. The emotional aftershock of dealing with E hasn’t been too bad–but the head cold I’ve been fighting for a week has kicked into high gear. Combined with the mission flashbacks…
I’m trying to cheer up before Institute tonight. Hopefully, the topic isn’t something else that’s going to kick me in the butt.
Things have gotten a little preachy lately, and maybe I should apologize for that. This blog was always meant as an aid to help me write every day, or almost every day, and has become a record of my thoughts. I’ve been trying to get my life back on track, and have started going to church, praying and reading my scriptures more, so naturally, my thoughts have turned towards God.
I went to institute last night. President has a way of opening up my soul, and forcing me to take a good look at what is really inside. We talked about overcoming the natural (wo)man, because,
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
We talked about how we can do what our body wants to do–the natural man, or how we can follow the counsel of the Lord–to put of the natural man, and become a saint. And, hey, look at that! The name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
President mentioned, almost in passing, that we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. If we are hard on ourselves, we’ll be hard on our spouses and children. A quick reminder–the title of this class is “Marriage and Family Relations”, and is being taught for singles–really a range of people with me at one end–no hopes of marriage in the near future, and at the other end, engaged couples who will be wed in weeks or months.
Anyway, that struck me. I’ve had friends, family members, mission companions, and psychologists tell me that I’m too hard on myself. The immediate (if rarely vocalized) response to that has always been “If I’m not hard on myself, then who will be?” President talked about how men tend to elevate themselves up above their true position, and women tend to be too self-deprecating.
I realized that I need to get to the place where I can see myself the way the Lord sees me. So when I got home, I hit the scriptures, then hit my knees. After a heartfelt prayer, I needed to read my Patriarchal Blessing.
Um, Mormonism note. There is a calling in the church, on a Stake level, (a stake is a collection of wards, a ward is the congregation that meets together each Sunday. A calling is a [unpaid] job or position in the church) of Patriarch. Among the duties of the Patriarch is to pronounce a special blessing upon the heads of the members of his stake, one by one, as Isaac blessed Jacob, (Jacob may have tricked Isaac, but he was the rightful recipient of that blessing, or else the Lord would not have honored it), and as Jacob blessed his 12 sons. A Patriarchal blessing is deeply personal, and shouldn’t be shared with the world.
Okay, back on track. There were two parts of my Patriarchal Blessing that really struck a chord last night. The first was in a section that I though discussed a portion of my life that had already past, the second was describing blessings yet to come. Before the second part were the words “in time.”
In time. Two simple words, but they left me sobbing. The blessing that follows these words is something I’ve ached for for a long time. Those two words reminded me to be patient. The part of my life described thereafter may not come when I want it to, but it will come when I am ready. I had wondered if I had missed the time frame in which that portion of my Patriarchal blessing could be fulfilled, if I was off following my natural woman, doing, as President is fond of saying, dumb stuff that was keeping me from feeling the Spirit of the Lord when that blessing should have happened. I wasn’t. It isn’t my time yet, but it will be, someday.
I woke up this morning at peace with myself, which hasn’t happened in a long time. Never mind that it happened at 5:30, and I didn’t make it to bed until close to midnight, then spent time disagreeing with the dogs over who got to sleep on the bed.
I hope I can make this feeling last. I’m actually starting to feel like I’m getting my life squared with the Lord. It’s a good feeling. I wish I could remember that when I start to wander.