Tag Archive | scripture

Life and more

Oakland California Temple Grounds

Image by B Evershed via Flickr

It’s currently 6:51 am.  My alarm clock is going to go off in ten minutes, but I woke up an hour ago, and was unable to get back to sleep.

I started my intermediate algebra class this week, and am feeling overwhelmed.  Math–well, I understand why people like math.  I’m not one of them.  I could be, but I tend to be careless with things like negative signs and distinguishing the difference between, say 34 and 43, then get frustrated when the problems I’m working on don’t turn out.

Because it’s a second block class, we have to move at double-time, which, at the moment is more than a little overwhelming.  I got back from class at about seven last night, walked the dogs, had some dinner, then worked on my math homework for three hours.  How did you spend your Friday evening?

I know that the feeling of drowning in a sea of integers is, like when I started school at the beginning of the semester, stemming from me being in a rut for so long, and not dealing with change well–as well as having to re-learn how to think in math again for the first time in more than ten years.  I think I’m getting the hang of things, though.

Maybe.  I’m behind on my homework, and it could be that when I get to the stuff that we talked about yesterday, I’ll be just as lost as I was on the first day.

It’s been a momentous week–one that feels like it’s lasted much longer than seven days, and I’m trying to think of the best way to segue without turning into a travel log (is such a thing possible if I only travel between my house and campus?)

Tuesday, upon checking the mail, I found a check from the federal reserve.   Upon opening it, I discovered it was for…wait for it… $37.


Okay, so it was significantly less than what I was expecting, but obviously, I made a mistake on my taxes or else I would have gotten them back in May or June.  Which also explains why my grant got hung up on the “how much did you pay in taxes last year” question…

At any rate , while I was disappointed in the amount, thirty-seven dollars is thirty-seven dollars, and, upon combining that money with the money I’d been saving for weeks, if not months, gave me enough to buy a nook–which I absolutely love.  And I love that I only had to pull three dollars and change out of my bank account to purchase it.   The books to go on the nook on the other hand–

No, that’s not really fair.  While I have purchased books, most of the ones I’ve downloaded came either from the library or public domain, and thus were free.   I’m limiting the amount of money I can spend on books each month, and am going to have to force myself to stick to my very small limit–I could easily go way overboard when I can buy books from anywhere with just a few clicks.

On a more serious note…

Back in May, one of my uncles was in a serious car accident.  While undergoing surgery to repair the damage, it was discovered that he had terminal cancer.

He recovered from his injuries, and began treatment for the cancer.  For a while, he seemed to be doing quite well, but last week, he went downhill, and quickly.  Last Sunday, he enrolled in hospice care, and Thursday, he passed away.

How do I put this?  I’m sad to have lost George, but at the same time, I’m glad he’s not suffering anymore.  There’s a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants: (Section 43: 45-48)

Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection.

And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them; And they that die not in me, wo unto them, for their death is bitter.

And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed.
I hope to be able to go to the funeral, but I also need to be realistic about the struggles I’m having in school–I don’t think I can afford to miss a class.
Things seem to go in cycles–a couple of weeks ago, I had one of those weeks when everything went my way, this week, it seems that everything is going wrong.  I guess the best I can do is muddle through, and know it’ll get better, eventually.  Right?

Knowing what I should do doesn’t make doing it any easier.

I am a spoiled and selfish girl.

What right do I have to complain?  I have a supportive family, a nice house, two dogs that love me, I’m moving forward with my life, finally.

So I’m sad a lot.  So I have to take medicine to keep me from killing myself.  What do I have to be depressed over, really?

I mean besides the fact that my brain doesn’t process chemicals correctly.

I woke up to a bit of a surprise–today, before I’d even gotten out of bed, I’d received more visits than I had for the past week.  Okay, I wasn’t expecting that one to be a big post…

I think my problem is that I am impatient.  I guess we all are.  After I wrote that post, and while in the process of crying myself to sleep last night, I remembered a scripture from the Book of Mormon that I should have been thinking about all along, specifically Ether 12:27

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.

My new friend, William Wallace (FREEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDDOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!  sorry, just had to get that out my system.) reminded me in the comments yesterday that I need to turn to God.  I know this.  I’ve always known this.  I know that my trials in life are those that He knows I can handle.

This is hard to remember, though when you’re feeling to agoraphobic to go to church, and to distracted and scatter-brained to study scripture.

School should help.  It’ll get me used to being around people (I’m surrounded by dogs, so I just used the word “socialized” in my head) so I’ll feel more comfortable at church.  The first little bit, anyway, should help with the self-esteem crap too.

I don’t know, I feel like I’ve been such a downer lately, but then I’ve been pretty down.  I want to have something happy to write about, but I really don’t.

You’d think I’d be good at apologizing by now, I’ve had lots of practice

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.

The Gift of Being Happy

Momentum is a powerful thing.  Writing yesterday’s post was enough to get the ball rolling–I had a good cry and an even better talk with my parents.  I’m feeling much better, and, at the moment, am even probably going to go to the Easter Party.

I was thinking about the people I know who always seem to be happy, and I wonder if they realize what a blessing that is.  I’m not naive enough to think that their lives are free of pain–in fact, they seem to have gone through some of the worst trials–everything from abuse to a brain tumor, to losing everything they own, building a life again, then losing it all again and more.  And I know that their happiness isn’t a 24/7 thing–I once saw one woman I would place in this group break down into tears when talking about her first marriage–her husband had been abusive to her, and she only found the courage to leave after he started hurting her kids too.  This messed up her eldest daughter to the point where she’s in worse shape than I am, Michelle (not her real name) would get misty eyed whenever she would talk about Robin (also not her real name),  but within the hour she would be sunshine and smiles again.

As I was thinking about happiness as a blessing, I had a realization.  Happiness really is a gift of the spirit, even if it is not one specifically mentioned in scripture.

This led me to think about my situation in a new light.  Depression isn’t so much a trial I have to face, as happiness is a gift of the spirit that I wasn’t blessed with.  It may seem like the same thing, but in reality, it turns everything on its head.

I know that the only true path to happiness is though the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I taught on my mission that the plan (I kinda feel like I should have capitalized that; The Plan) our Heavenly has outlined for us is called the Plan of Happiness. I also know that if we seek after spiritual gifts, that we will receive them as the Lord sees fit.

I think it’s easier to seek to gain something, than to seek to be rid of something.  And maybe the serotonin receptors in my brain will never work correctly, and I’ll always have a hard time feeling joy that others feel in the same situations, but I have faith in the Lord that if I do what I should, and seek after the spiritual gift of happiness, that I can achieve it.

Making weak things strong

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.

At my parents house, there is a honey locust tree that has been there since before I was born.  This tree split in a storm in the early 80’s, so Grandpa bolted the two parts of the trunk together.

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.

In Time

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.”

Mosiah 3:19

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.

Trusting God

I had an interesting weekend.  And, because I’m unemployed, when I say weekend, I mean from Thursday to Sunday.  I guess today is Martin Luther King day, so technically, I could throw today in there as well.  I’d be much more excited about a 5-day weekend, if I wasn’t in the midst of a multi-month weekend.

Anyway…events lined up this weekend to have me asking the question “Do I trust God?”

Do I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that he said and did everything he claims he did?

Do I believe the Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and all the rest to Gordon B. Hinkley were prophets?  Do I believe that Thomas S Monson is a prophet?

Do I trust that the quorum of the twelve were divinely called?  Do I believe that my district, stake, ward and priesthood leaders are men of God?  Do I trust that they are  inspired of God?

Do I believe the scriptures?  Do I believe that it was God, and not Joseph Smith who said:”…Be not troubled, for, when all these things come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled.” (Doctrine and Covenants 45:35)

Do I trust in the promises that were made to me by Stake Presidents, Mission Leaders and the Patriarch?

Do I trust in God?

For those of you who know me, don’t worry, I’m not having a crisis of faith.  I think that blind faith is almost as dangerous as no faith, and that Heavenly Father wants us to ask questions. (James 5:1-6, Moroni 10:4-5, there are many more, you can search them out yourself) I just needed to sit back and re-evaluate where I am on the faith scale.

For the record, I do trust God.  I do believe that Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet of God, and that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles et. all were divinely called.  I do believe that God will keep the promises He’s made to me, I just need to have patience and faith.

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