OK so this is how I SHOULD be feeling. I should feel excited about General Conference today and tomorrow. Nothing should get in the way of that. To think that there is literally a prophet who speaks with God and Jesus Christ and is commissioned to take that message to the world is super cool; as my son would say.
Christ has also called, as in olden days, 12 apostles to help guide His church in these latter days and we’ll hear from them too. Amazing!
But this is more how I am feeling this morning…
Poor Mr. Crabs…about to flip at any moment…I understand my little crustacean.
Why this morning? Why today do my kids drive me absolutely insane?
Or is it my problem? Why do I have zero patience and peace right now? Why does a spilled pancake and raspberry sauce all over the floor put me close to the edge when on other days it wouldn’t!?
Could it be something trying to destroy the possibility of my having an inspirational, positive experience? Probably. Or maybe I just need to grow up.
Here is THE link to hear these prophetic messages that will be happening today and tomorrow…Praying that I’ll be able to change my attitude before it starts.
We are reading chapter 2 of second Nephi with the boys and to sum it up in Ben’s words, ‘that’s weird’.
It’s kind of a complicated chapter, especially for little boy minds. But this single verse and concept is as simple as it gets.
Vs 25. “Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy.”
The plan of our Heavenly Father is perfect. When we have moments in our life that are full of darkness, they are only moments and the true purpose of this life always makes the most sense…JOY. Joy is what can fill our life if we let it, if we let Him.
Today in church our Relief Society lesson (all the women together) was about service. Second week in a row the topic was on service. Hint anyone?
I’ll be honest and say that a lot of lessons from church don’t have me pondering them for long afterwards or should I say have a lasting effect on me. This one was different.
I have long since desired to serve in the way I did while I was a full time missionary. I guess more specifically I have desired the same feeling I had as a missionary. I know that being in the capacity that I am now that it will not ever really happen that exact way. I can’t set aside the responsibilities of the world and focus on proselyting everyday. The opportunity is not there in front of my face everyday.
So, I have to search and work hard at it.
If you know me you’ll hear me say that as a missionary I was the happiest I’d ever been up that point and though I now have and have had experiences and times in my life since then that give me joy and happiness, none were quite like that one. Simply because that’s what happens when you give your life in service.
So what to do? This has been my quest the last 10 or so years of my life. Boy, am I a slow learner.
I’ve felt that I don’t have much to offer as just ‘Anna’ OR I have no idea what to do. I’ve made attempts with justserve.org, I try to visit with the ladies I’ve been assigned to look after. I accept and do my best at callings in the church that are extended. I try to serve my family and be a good mom and wife. I try to be a good friend.
Yet I don’t necessarily feel different or better. Is it working? Am I looking for one ultimate act of service that I can do that will make me feel like I’m making a difference? Am I waiting for the means to be able to do it?
The lesson today helped me see that ya, it is working. The little ways that we live our lives and serve don’t go unnoticed. But with this video I also learned that I can’t wait around until I feel like I’m in a place that I can serve better, with better resources or means. No, I need to look at what I can give right here and now with what I have even if it looks like it’s next to nothing. There’s always something I can do for somebody else.
I may not be Sister Stephenson anymore but I can still testify of Jesus Christ everyday. I can still share my testimony of Him everyday. I can still act as though I have His name on my shirt. I can pray and ask God to guide me to those who could use my help.
I don’t know right now what it is I can do but I know I can do something. I’m grateful for the lesson today in teaching me these things.
And duh Anna, maybe if your goal wasn’t to get that feeling back for yourself and instead just searched for ways to help others things would naturally fall into place!
Wow, what a slow learner.
Hopefully you can take a minute to watch that video, it’s really good. And so is this one. When I was watching it the first time thru and the lady showed up at the door and asked if she could watch her kids, I was like, “No! She has plans! She’s not selfish to say no..she doesn’t want to!” By the end I understood and could see a little bit more clearly. I love Gordon B. Hinkley’s words too at the end.
“You never know how much good you do.”
I truly know that by serving others we are serving God. And that makes us happy. Happier than we could ever be by not serving. And like the teacher today mentioned…try looking out the window instead of into the mirror.
In my last post I mentioned writing in my journal about something that was profound for me. I feel the need to share it here as I know there are others who are like me and may be struggling with the same questions. I can’t say that I have it all figured out and that it’s made everything 100% better because it hasn’t. It’s a daily struggle but I’ve at least been shown the right path to take.
I have ALWAYS struggled with the reality that while I live my comfortable blessed life there are others who suffer tremendously by no fault of their own….simply different circumstances. I constantly wonder, “Why was I given this life I have and not another? Why are there so many who are given more unfortunate lives and not one like mine?” “This is too good to be true” has been a mantra of mine; sub conscience as it may be.
Just take a stroll through the internet and you’ll not just read about the suffering but you can actually SEE IT. It’s horrific and shocking. It naturally makes those of us sitting in immense comfort ask, “How can I sit here and enjoy the blessings all around me?” It’s a fair question…I have been asking it forever. Seeing those things makes it’s near impossible for another caring human being to carry on like normal.
This last week, these thoughts were bringing me to my lowest state. I felt lost and worried and angry and confused. For some reason I even came across this on Pinterest. What?!
I felt all these things and more. I got more and more confused. I am not a depressed person but I felt that true happiness was something that I would never have! How could I when there was so much suffering. This stupid picture I saw that day just took me down lower.
Which is what brought me to my conversation with my husband David.
When I unloaded my thoughts to him he lovingly listened and then simply said, “You’re right, you don’t deserve this life. You get what you get and it’s what you do with it that counts.” Nobody deserves anything they get…to say that means those innocent people suffering deserve that life and that’s very untrue. We are all beggars and can only look towards the Savior for redemption. We don’t know the particulars behind the reason why the Earth is the way it is but we all get what we are given and it’s how we live that life that matters. Every soul has that journey to take with God no matter their circumstance…we are not the judge…He is.
“Duh” I thought to myself.
I haven’t been on Facebook for months but since logging on a few times in the past week or so to check on my daughter Lucie I have realized something. These things we SEE on Facebook are not productive. I feel strongly it is not the right way to be informed. They instantaneously transfer us to the other side of the world to an area we otherwise would never see or were MEANT TO SEE. SEEING the destruction and the blood on little people’s faces do nothing but horrify us and make us sick to our stomachs. At least this is the case for people like me, people who tend to think this way and sort of get into a funk when they see these things. To explain more there are also people like my husband who don’t waste time worrying about why things are the way they are but instead are driven to do something about it.
Before you jump all over me…I believe that if we are meant to do something to help that specific person or child or cause then the Lord will guide us through that journey. We would know and be inspired as to the next step to take and we would shut off our medias. I am saying that this is what we SHOULD BE doing. Serving, helping, crying with these people because then the destructive thoughts of, “Why me?” are swept up in service….in DOING something….not just witnessing it over the World Wide Web. That is destructive, not productive.
So next time you SEE something horrific on Facebook that makes you wonder, “How am I supposed to go living my life in such peace?” I want your next thought to be, “By using my blessings and gifts to make a difference. That is why God gave me this life…to help others.” Whatever and however you make a difference is your own journey and process. It’s different for everyone but I promise you that Heavenly Father wants us to be HAPPY. There is no shame in being happy. There is only shame in not spreading that happiness by service. Most of the time that service is mostly needed and intended for the world that is found immediately around you. There are those who will be blessed to take their talents and happiness across oceans or states to affect a greater population but big or small, local or foreign it is the same in the eyes of our Savior. He did not die for us to live in worry, shame and hopelessness.
As we serve more locally around us there will be a domino effect that spreads across the world. I am not so naive as to think we can rid the world of all suffering and evil but I know there can be a real difference made.
But first…LET’S GET OFF FACEBOOK and step back into the REAL world where our natural emotions can be put to good use with the help of our Savior and instead of wondering what our purpose is, we can know that we are fulfilling our purpose.
Today I had to teach the lesson in Relief Society. Yes, had to. I don’t really enjoy it much. I can’t figure this one out. I LOVED teaching on the mission….absolutely loved it. When I came home and received my calling to teach in our singles ward relief society and it was a total disaster the two times I did it I was taken aback. Not that I expected to be amazing but I guess I figured since I had become an OK teacher as a missionary I could do relief society easy.
Wrong. What is it about teaching members that is so difficult for me?! I have genuinely turned into a HORRIBLE teacher. My ability to form words for the purpose of portraying my thoughts is null. I’ve gone through it all…I care too much what others think, I don’t care enough, I don’t have the spirit with me, I don’t prepare enough, I prepare too much. I’ve tried all of these things and tried changing things but I still have much to learn.
I wish I could say I am grateful for the opportunity to grow and learn but I really can’t. I do love the time that I get to prep my lesson and the things that I learn personally during that time but when it comes time to teach those things I get lost.
It’s ironic because today my lesson was about how we can make sure to return to Heavenly Father and what the purpose of our weaknesses are. I know what the answer is and I know this is a weakness of mine that I should be excited about being able to overcome and turn into a strength. But why is it so hard! Gah!
Also I just feel so terrible that so many innocent sisters have to suffer through it with me by listening to me ramble.
I love 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.
I just need to remember to keep coming unto Him in prayer and study to help me turn this weakness into a strength. I need to remember that being aware of weaknesses and a desire to improve them is a sign that I am on the right path. If I’m just floating along thinking that I’m doing pretty good then I probably wont progress as much as my Heavenly Father intends.
I also need to remember to not be so hard on myself. If I keep trying…I’ll get there.
As a preface to this post I have to say that I do not claim to be a genius on this subject. Although I’ve been married to a genius who has taught me A LOT the last 7 years I cannot claim to know everything.
However, I do feel strongly that my passion for this subject has led me to greatly broaden my knowledge and driven me to live a certain way. And experience is usually a great educator. So I am going to share my experience and what I’ve learned.
First, to understand a bit more maybe I can let you in on one of my dreams…..
If I had a billion dollars I would start a non profit company that made healthier ‘processed food’ options. They would be offered at a lower price so that they would be the first choice of all ranges of people. Eventually I would also start a fast food chain that offered homemade healthy choices at a lower price. My goal with these is to get nutrients down the American population who are consuming these products anyway but that are essentially void of nutrition.
You are probably thinking, ‘aren’t there already options out there like that?’ Yes there are but not to extent of what I’m thinking and not for cheap…usually when you go out to a nice healthy place it’s a bit pricier. Right? Because of that a vast majority of Americans choose the unhealthier option. This would help me sleep better at night. Knowing people who have busy lives and have to choose ‘fast’ options are at least getting good nutrients.
OK but for now since I do not have a billion dollars, I want to do what I can to help people make better choices with what we have available to us.
Let me tell you what I believe.
I believe eating healthy IS OF GOD.
I believe that when we strive to do so He will help us just as He helps those striving to follow other laws and commandments.
It’s more than just the Word of Wisdom (if you are not familiar with this LDS commandment it’s a law given to us from God about our bodies and how best to take care of them easily found in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 89). It’s about learning what that means for our day.
Back in 1833 they didn’t have to worry about processed food and diet cokes. If there were these foods I am certain they would be written in the Word Of Wisdom.
Refined and processed foods are not really food. Too much sugar is harmful and addictive. You know this. We all know this. But making it a part of who we are is a different more difficult story.
Eating healthy is often termed ‘too expensive’ and left at that but can I suggest some food for thought?! Pun intended. If you believe in a God who created you and gave you your body as a gift doesn’t it makes sense that He would encourage and help you in your quest to take care of it?! And if you don’t believe in God well then I’d love to have a conversation with you. 😉
I announce that He does. As a person steps forward with faith (and it takes a lot!) to take better care of their body they will receive divine help both temporally and spiritually. I’ve seen it.
Maybe He helps free up some of your day and makes things go a bit smoother. Maybe in way we don’t understand His hand reaches in and supports us.
My little family has been living at the poverty level for almost 7 years. My husband is finishing up his PhD and has started a business on the side. It’s been a crazy several years… one for the books and another story altogether but the point is if you looked at us based on how we ate, things would not match up. More than half our budget goes to food. The Lord has been supporting us somehow to keep up with our ‘expensive’ eating habits. Because I believe it’s important.
I believe God is on our side.
Some people would look in on our life and finances and say “You could be living middle class if you’d just cut your grocery bill and settle with what food you buy! It’s no big deal!” Well here’s the truth…to us, we’d rather stay at the poverty level than compromise our health. We know someday we wont be at the poverty level and we’d rather show up at that glorious day shining and healthy as can be!
So what do I mean exactly?! What do we do differently?
Make real recipes for every meal. Or better than that alter the recipes I do use to make them healthier! Everything offered to us on the grocery store shelves can be homemade and is always better, not only nutritionally but in taste too. There are limits of course to what we can make depending on our circumstances for instance if you live in an apartment like we do you can’t keep cows and make your own milk and cheese products. Someday hopefully. 🙂 For now learn what a roux is make your own cream of chicken soup. Your own broth and more.
2. It means grinding my own flour and making my own bread with said freshly ground nutrient rich flour and getting rid of that worthless and probably poisonous white powder ‘they’ try to pass as flour. It’s absolutely nutrition-less and a waste of your money, space in your belly and calories. Did you know that in every way you use white flour you can use whole wheat flour? Your buds get used it quickly and eventually prefer it over the tasteless gluey white stuff.
3. It means making better choices with the things I do have to buy from the store. I’ll be doing a more comprehensive post on just this topic but for now a few examples are this Jif Natural PB and Barilla Whole Wheat pasta. The ingredient lists are short and you can pronounce everything in them. Take a gander at other pasta’s and PB’s (maybe your own pasta and PB) to see how it compares.
4. It means controlling our sugar intake. The truth is our bodies can’t tell the difference between what sugar we put in it. Honey, table sugar, high fructose corn syrup or fructose etc….our bodies react in the exact same way. Shocked? I was too. So no matter the source…just control it. Sugar is not evil. This is what I try to teach my kids…but too much sugar will start to harm you so let’s just keep it minimal and really enjoy it when we do!
5. Vegetables accompany every meal. It’s HARD teaching kids to appreciate eating healthy but it’s possible. Just like we have to teach them to sleep and use the potty we have to teach them to like and appreciate good food. Ok I can’t say they accompany EVERY meal but pretty dang close!
6. Yes! We use full fat ingredients for heavens sake!!! I’m sure you know they can’t just take out the fat and wa-la! We have a delicious less caloric healthier food…right?! Wrong! They have to fill it back up with un-necessary fillers and usually more sugar. Natural is better. I promise. Fat is not your enemy. Full cream, real butter, natural cheeses and whole milk. All wonderful and healthy.
7. I’m going to contradict myself here for just a second. It’s for all you diet coke drinkers or whatever diet 0 calorie drink you use. Obviously my first thought would be to just stop drinking these drinks altogether but I have too many friends ‘addicted’ that I know it’s almost impossible or too much to ask. When it comes to sugar it’s always a better choice than ingesting the sugar substitute used in those drinks (or foods). That stuff is not food. Please just switch to the real stuff. I guarantee if you were taken to the plant or warehouse or wherever it is that they make the stuff and saw what it was and where it came from (who knows?) that you would start to question the sanity of the world. It’s just not food. Do we need to define the word food?!!
8. In our world, the consumption of red meat is controlled as well. Fat can become a problem (although I might add emphasis that it’s still not as deadly as sugar and other things found in low fat/no fat ‘foods’) when sausage and bacon and high fat meat cuts are eaten frequently. But at the same time these things can be extremely beneficial and nourishing when needed and eaten sparingly. Yum.
How do I feel these sacrifices/steps have helped my family?
At the risk of sounding boastful I’ll just say that I know my kids do not get sick as often as the average American kid. They are bright, capable and able to understand the effect of food on their tiny bodies. They feel the difference on their own.
As for me and my husband we couldn’t really give you any real comparison because we don’t really know any different. When we do eat white flour on rare occasions and not by choice, our digestive systems freak out for a while which makes us feel icky. It’s noticeable.
I feel blessed to be able to eat the way we do and I feel so strongly about it I am compelled to share it with others.
Have you heard the phrase, ‘If your great grandma wouldn’t recognize it as food then it probably isn’t food’. Next time you are in the store look past all those bright well designed marketed bags and boxes and try to decide if it could really pass as food. Did it come from the earth? And then what did it’s journey from the earth to your mouth look like? How long was it? What did it come in contact with? Who did it come in contact with? What did it loose in the process? If this journey makes your head hurt or you have to get a pen and paper out chances are it’s not the best choice for food. This goes for simple deceiving ingredients like white flour…it’s journey was long and gruesome and it came out the other end hardly recognized by its fellow wheat berries. You can definitely do better yourself.
This journey is HARD. I know. But again I promise you will receive help. Not only from God but I am here to help as well. Another dream of mine would be to move in with somebody (everybody) who is wanting to change their lifestyle and become their sidekick as they start the process. Show them how to make bread. Go to the store to buy the grinder and show them how to use it. Buy recipe books, make lists and go grocery shopping with them. Watch the satisfaction they have as they realize they can do this and how great it feels. Or we can just text. 😉
Every time we eat is an opportunity to nourish and heal our bodies. We should do our best to not waste those precious opportunities.
And just so you have proof that we do eat sugar and white flour though they may be rare occasions here is William enjoying a doughnut.
ps. If you are looking for a fabulous chef who has multiple recipe books, Betty Rosbottom is it. I LOVE her recipes. She actually knows what she is doing and she uses real ingredients (save for the use of white flour – easy switch!). I’m a little obsessed with cook books if you have any you love please share!
I’m back. It’s strange how our lives go through ebbs and flows isn’t it? The last 9 months or so I couldn’t even dream of writing on my blog. I didn’t have once ounce of desire. And now it’s changing.
I’ve been going through what I like to call a social media identity crisis. Let me try to explain. Me and Social Media (FB, Instagram etc) just don’t really ‘get’ each other. We’ve been trying to make it work but mostly it just ends up giving me the finger. But this is because I was judging it for what it wasn’t. I thought it was a friend, a confidant and no one likes being something they are not so why wouldn’t we be butting heads?
Well I’ve come to realize what SM really is…TO ME. And we are getting along better now. Mostly because I am trying to ignore it and it’s… well it’s always ignored me. Things in my life have changed because of this new found info.
I have some hypotheses.
Do you ever miss the 90’s? The 80’s? The aspects of it that didn’t include SM, smartphones and being so connected? Having to call someone’s home to get a hold of them and if they weren’t there leaving a message? Maybe needing to use a payphone in an emergency? Don’t they seem like simpler times? I miss them.
My theory is that Facebook and other social media platforms (whatever you call them…I don’t know!!) will one day be the thing we (humankind) look back on and say, ‘oh ya that was why this happened or got so bad. This probably wasn’t the best way.’ I don’t know maybe I am crazy or wrong or both.
But there is something to be said about being so connected with a WORLD that we once weren’t capable of being connected with. It wasn’t something that we were prepared for. Our minds, hearts and spirits weren’t coded to take on such a load of information, feelings, opinions, of an entire WORLD! (This obviously will be different from person to person but I believe it to be true for most people even if it’s masked by the pride of ‘being informed’ or whatever.)
Not long ago it wasn’t so easy to touch a screen and see the HORRIBLE THINGS going on across the world. It doesn’t make it any less horrible if you don’t see it but it does make living YOUR life a bit easier. Selfish? No, I say it’s SMART. Because then you are in a better place to actually do something about it…if that turns out to be what your calling is.
Sure, we are supposed to be there for others, help others. I realize there is a balance between being educated and informed and being ignorant and it’s important for each of us to find that balance. I believe however that most of what goes on in Social Media serves no purpose…meaning no one means to do anything about it other than just spread the news and tag their opinion on about it. What does this do? Nothing but spread fear and dispel hope.
Just until about 20 years ago we all lived in our own sphere and that’s what we knew and that’s what God intended. He put us there after all. He wants us to better that sphere and if our sphere extends further out into the world then what an amazing experience it would be! If not, at least we have lived in our sphere the best we could. But somewhere along the way our spheres got all screwed up.
I believe we’re here for each other, to lift and serve others, to care for, be concerned for and share memories with people…here’s the kicker…. IN THE FLESH. In OUR spheres. That’s where our influence is needed and means the most. SM is a sphere messer upper. Suddenly our spheres become as big as the world’s sphere, the same as everyone else’s and blurry. Do you see it? Suddenly we are bombarded with too many emotions, information, duties, callings, problems, etc.. The list goes on and our little sphere that was once there is gone.
The people who you find yourself immediately around, the neighbors around you, your coworkers, your family, the people from your church or community project, the ones you even see and associate with around town. Flesh. Not fabricated, incomplete images and words of someone. They need you. Right now they need you. If your life leads you to helping and solving the political problems of of this nation other nations or states then that’s amazing but chances are right now your little sphere needs you more. IN THE FLESH.
What’s going to happen when we don’t have flesh to flesh connections anymore? What happens when there are no individual spheres being taken care of?
And don’t sit there and think this will never happen because of course it will. It already is.
We may be inclined to use Facebook because we do YEARN for a connection with someone. It’s a natural desire. And FB has made it so easy to do so. But it’s not real. We need to break free from it and make the connection real. CALL that person. RECONNECT with them. GO TO LUNCH with them. TRAVEL a few (hundred) miles to do so. Plan, save and look forward to it. IT MEANS SO MUCH MORE. Don’t you think?
God didn’t intend us to be so disconnected with those who are immediately around us so that we can be falsely connected with everything and everyone else. We need each other. Your neighbor needs your assuring voice, your cousin needs your warm hug, your brother in law could use a playful gesture and your body language, your friend needs to hear and see your tears with them.
I’ve noticed in myself that the use of SM can cause loss of confidence, loss of reality. It can cause a deep loss of hope that I’m pretty sure is not natural. Being exposed to the worlds every crisis and tragedy so easily can be very damaging.
I am all for helping but no help is being dealt by sitting at our phones and computers and sharing our opinions. We need to get up and step OUT INTO our WORLDS, RECREATE OUR SPHERES. To our homes, to our communities and find ways to accomplish what we believe will HELP. Let’s help make the REAL WORLD a better place..ONE SPHERE AT A TIME.
I fear if the world continues to use SM the way it is now, we are on a bad path. Can you see it?
Please don’t mistake these opinions and words as something that I’ve mastered and am somehow now qualified to teach the rest of the world. I still need help and practice and I can’t do it alone. SM is addicting and is going to be very hard to break free from. And maybe breaking free from it completely isn’t realistic or the whole answer but I do know that Social Media is not the way to the answer. And may even be blocking it from our view. If we can make subtle changes and bring it down significantly I believe new things will be brought to our sight.
I am going to continue this thought process and see what additional ideas and solutions I can come up with. When I have some I’ll share them. Please share any ideas/thoughts you have as well. We need to get back some of the pre-SM aspects of life. We need to take out the ‘media’ of it and just be more social.
The other day I had Celine on in the house and this song came on. I felt many emotions while listening to it even though it was probably the millionth time I’ve heard it.
First I was completely grateful for the mom I am blessed with. Then I was filled with gratitude for the gospel and the life we know of after this. Now I am not saying that I know what Celine Dion’s beliefs are because she very well could believe in life after death and probably does. But does she and the rest of the world know her mom and can be her mom for eternity? That the sweet relationship doesn’t have to end at death?
This song made me mourn for those who have loved ones pass while not knowing what’s happened to them, to their spirit. What a confusing, scary and awful experience.
I know that we will all be together again as resurrected beings because of Jesus Christ… that thru the Temple’s our families are bonded. I know that when we die our spirit lives on. I know that the world has been gifted with some extraordinary knowledge and power thru the Restoration and that the knowledge and power desperately needs to be shared.
I am grateful for my mom. She is extremely strong and genuine and an amazing example to me. If I knew that the day would come she would pass away and it would be the last time I saw her, I just couldn’t handle it. I don’t know what I would do. That’s why I am SO grateful that it’s not going to be that way. Share the news!!