A Bug Day...

I spent most of the day with Bug today. We had a lovely time eating sausages (Bug's new favorite food) and winter slaw and Bug was very insistent on introducing me to the Shrek films. I sat through the first 'Shrek' and then 'Shrek Forever' and I did manage to survive the experience... which is good because he says he has two more to watch with me next time. I will confess I am a bit lost trying to figure out all the characters and how they matter in the story. I do like the cat though... oh course I love Puss In Boots.. I am so silly about cats.

I am a bit tired, but I am ready for my very busy week. I had running water today and I have a clean house with no dishes that need to be washed. I feel mostly recovered from my SVT last night and I am hopeful that I will sleep well tonight and have lots of energy to start the week. Here's to hoping ;)


Gratitude - 1/20/18

1. I volunteer every Saturday for about six hours at the local thrift shop. There is a large bin that is filled with bags of clothing to go through and every week, I struggle to get the bags as low as I can... to come back and do it again the next Saturday. Every time I make a dent- sometime quite a large one- but I rarely create enough of a dent to have it remain throughout the week. Today, alone with another volunteer, we emptied it. It was completely empty with no work to be done. That is an amazing feeling. It feels a bit odd to look at the work and realize that there is no more to be done. While there will be plenty more next week, it felt lovely to see that empty bin and recognize it for what it was- a job well done.

2. I hadn't been able to take the time around the holidays to watch all the Christmas movies that I had been hopeful to watch. I had a few new ones to watch and the one I was most hopeful to enjoy I had missed. Therefore, I thought it prudent to enjoy my spare time this evening to enjoy "A Christmas Carol" with Sir Patrick Stewart. It held all the promise I had hoped for and more. I haven't sat and 'just' watched a film in ages. It was wonderful. A few parts of it gave me cause to ponder, but one particular piece of a line caught my ear and has held it after I have turned off the film.

.... the torture of remorse... - Jacob Marley

Definitely something to think upon...

3. When I fed all my companions last night, I manged to get a picture of all of them together except Footie. It is a bit awe inspiring to see them all together and realize how many there are and how much 'mass' they seem to take up together. I am so blessed and so grateful for each and everyone of them. Like an attached parent, I can not imagine my world without each one of them and I am aware that the loss of even one would feel horrible. To watch them together is to smile and , when I tuck into bed at night, I never go alone. I awake in the morning hearing a quiet rumble of purrs and I feel content.

4. I was able to get an amazing deal on a 100% wool queen size blanket. The warmth I felt the few minutes I used it was wonderful and I am looking forward to using it all winter!

5. I found a really interesting pair of pants in my travels today. I recognized the seal before I read the words and as I looked at it, I thought of my Uncle Rick and I missed my family in Utah. I have some amazing relatives out west- in Utah, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Las Vegas_ and I do not see them as much as I would like. This symbol reminded me of my desire for good things for them, my love for them, and the hopes of a peaceful week for each of them.

A good evening to all. :)


A Conversation With a Friend

I spoke with an old friend a little bit ago. That conversation has been turning around in my head for days. A small piece of it was the casual sorrow that no one had been availed to dress her partner in his temple garments before he was cremated. I have heard so many stories of people who haven't been allowed to help because other family didn't wish it or even the possibility that so many people were available that some would simply be usable to help due to the quantity of volunteers. I have never heard of a church member passing who was unable to be dressed in his temple garments because there was no one who was willing or able to serve. To say that I am appalled suggests a simple emotional response whereas what I feel is much more complex and difficult. As I ponder on that thought and recall experiences of asking for blessings and being unable to get them because priesthood holders were too busy and watching others ask for help and not able to get it either. It's a bit disheartening to see it still happening. I'm a woman and can not given blessings so I can only watch others not get what they need. I am a woman and am limited in what roles I can have in my church. So here I sit and think about all this and wonder when will change happen. When will the church culture stop pulling people in so many different directions so that important service is unable to be performed or even seen as unimportant while decorating for church activities takes more precedence? When will a ward community itself look into each of their hearts and determine that what they want is not to focus on the minutia of culture details and calling desires, but the pure surrender to service. To set aside perfect sacrament programs and instead make sure that shut ins and those in nursing homes get the Sacrament. To have fewer exclusive events that focus on teaching about service and charity... and instead have events that ARE service and ARE Charity. How amazing would it be it the local organizations that support the most impoverished found themselves with no need of volunteers? That families in need were 'adopted' by other families who helped them to get basic needs met, but also mentored and worked with them to find the resources to become more stable on their own. there are some programs that do this- the program in Canada for Syrian refugees comes to mind- what can we as a community of Christ do to create the same amount of successful service? Instead of 'love bombing' people who start to fall away or shunning and ignoring others, what if our focus was pointed so strongly into understanding their needs and to love them that we lost ourselves in the joy of service and love?

I can't change the direction of a culture myself, but I can determine how I respond in it. My response at this point is to move my service and my focus into local groups that are focused on the impoverished.... something I understand a bit to well for my taste. Working with groups that are focused on trying to understand and meet immediate needs for those in my community has been wonderful and I have been amazed at how valued and needed I have felt and how much I have learned. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I have understood about specific topics and I hunger to learn more. This is the service that I feel called to perform. I can't make others see things the same way that I do, but I must confess that I am weary of hearing the stories of people who are not being served in the religious communities that they worship in and I am weary to think that I was one of them.

Dare I ask for all of us to do better... to be better... to reach out to someone everyday and to be the person they need that day? It is the resolution I have for this year and one I feel compelled and called to do. I have hope for a future where I don't hear so many stories of people who are unable to get the help they need. I intend to work as hard as I can to serve better and to seek out those who need me this year. Here's to a focused New Year for all of us!


Zombie Debt

There are many different ways to discuss and label debt- student, credit, medical, etc... One form of debt that isn't talked about much is Zombie debt. I ended up spending a few hours on the phone today between hospitals and insurances and have found myself the new and proud owner of medical debt... from 2015. So two months ago it didn't exist... and now it does. It certainly messes with your budget to have to reconfigure how you spend money based on information that you couldn't have had when you made it. Learning that more of these unknown expenses are probably headed my way as my health insurance *still* hasn't paid on these bills for the last two years doesn't really feel great. And while I thought about it and what choices I need to make, I thought about the term 'zombie debt' and how I originally had heard it. So here is a clip to the show "Last Week Tonight" discussing medical debt and debt buying organizations.


Paying off my 'new' medical debt won't be fun, but it could certainly be worse. I could have the experience of many of the people mentioned in this episode. I guess it might be a valuable thing for everyone to remember- even if you have insurance and they should pay the bill.... if they don't, you are still on the hook. There are no exceptions. Medical debt also is treated as bad debt by credit reporting companies even though people can not help becoming sick in the vast majority of cases. I wish I had fewer health problems and I confess... even though I have insurance now (and had at the time of my 'new' debt) my gut reaction is to stop going to the doctor because I have no idea if in two years I will have to pay for the visit, procedure, etc... I dearly hope for single payer/ universal healthcare for the next generation. It is needed for so many reasons.

Sigh... maybe someday.


Quotes From the Silver Fox

Today, the leaders of the Church held a press conference to officially announce the new President of the Church and his counselors. While today's announcement held no surprises for me, I can't pretend that I am satisfied and feel good about the direction that the leaders of the church appear to be heading toward. I saw and spoke with many who are hurting (and I am now one of them) who do not understand why certain choices were made and were dismayed by some of the language used at the conference as well as the non-answers to questions asked. I can't make any changes to the leadership nor is my opinion of any import for many reasons- one reason including the fact that my gender has almost no voice in church hierarchy and decision-making. So this evening I sit quietly and reflect on the changes and apparent direction of church policy and I found myself focusing on President Uchtdorf - now Elder Uchtdorf- and the wonderful things that he has said over the last several years that give me hope, focus, and a renewed desire to keep working towards better charity, understanding and joy within my life. Here are many of the talks and quotes from those talks that sprang to mind this evening. Where I can I have provided links to the full talk for those who wish to enjoy more than the small blurb that I have focused on. Over the next few weeks, rest assured I will find myself focusing on the wisdom in this talks as I look at a future that, for at least awhile, will have fewer talks like these.

Compared to God man is nothing; yet we are everything to God - "You Matter to Him", October 2011

When it comes to living the gospel, we should not be like the boy who dipped his toe in the water and then claimed he went swimming. As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we are capable of so much more. For that, good intentions are not enough. We must do. Even more important, we must become what Heavenly Father wants us to be. - "Of Regrets and Resolutions", October 2012

But I also recognize that there are some who have a less-than-fulfilling experience—who feel that their membership in the Church sometimes isn’t quite what they had hoped for... We do not need to be 'more' of anything to start to become the person God intended us to become. - "It Works Wonderfully", October 2015

...love...it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our church callings, and our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk. - "The Love of God", October 2009

I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says "your testimony must be this tall" to enter. - "Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth", October 2014

Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely. ... He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.
- "The Love of God", October 2009

When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: Stop it! - "The Merciful Obtain Mercy", April 2012

We must realize that all of God's children wear the same jersey. Our team is the brotherhood of man. This mortal life is our playing field. Our goal is to learn to love God and to extend that same love towards our fellowman.
- "Pride and the Priesthood", October 2010

Don't judge me because I sin differently from you. - "The Merciful Obtain Mercy", April 2012

He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you
. - "Living the Gospel Joyful", October 2014

And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine. - "Come Join With Us", October 2013

We sometimes confuse sin with sinner, and we condemn too quickly and with too little compassion. We know from modern revelation that ‘the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.’ We cannot gauge the worth of another soul any more than we can measure the span of the universe. - "You Are My Hands", April 2010

Without this transformational work of caring for our fellowmen, the Church is but a facade of the organization God intends for His people. Without charity and compassion we are a mere shadow of who we are meant to be—both as individuals and as a church. Without charity and compassion, we are neglecting our heritage and endangering our promise as children of God. - "Charity is Core of the Gospel", December 2015

...I wonder if sometimes we misinterpret the phrase “after all we can do. We must understand that 'after' does not equal 'because.' We are not saved 'because' of all that we can do.
- "The Gift of Grace", April 2015

Brothers and Sisters, as good as our previous experience may be, if we stop asking questions, stop thinking, stop pondering, we can thwart the revelations of the Spirit. Remember, it was the questions young Joseph asked that opened the door to the restoration of all things. We can block the growth and knowledge our Heavenly Father intends for us. How often has the Holy Spirit tried to tell us something that we needed to know but couldn't get past the massive iron gate of what we thought we already knew?
- World Leadership Training Video 2012

Tonight I would like to use this little flower as a metaphor. The five petals of the little forget-me-not flower prompt me to consider five things we would be wise never to forget. First, forget not to be patient with yourself. Second, forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice. Third, forget not to be happy now. Fourth, forget not the “why” of the gospel. Fifth, forget not that the Lord loves you.
- "Forget Me Not", October 2011

picture and links from LDS.org