"...but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer." 3 Nephi 22:8







Thursday, August 29, 2013

Walk in My Shoes

We make decisions and judgements dozens of times every day, carefully considering our options. We base those decisions on our knowledge, experience, desires, and needs. Sometimes we only see two choices before us, but often there are a multitude of options to consider. At times we may feel stuck as we ponder on all the options and the ramifications sitting before us. There may be moments when we feel our only choice is to smile and be happy with what we must choose or to be disappointed and unhappy.

It may be the multitude of choices that paralyzes us as we wrestle with a decision. Yet even with only two choices before us, it may feel like an impossible spot to be in, caught between a rock and a hard place. But we forge ahead with courage and the hope that the consequences will be ones we can live with.

Sometimes we are not able to see all our options clearly standing before us. Seeking counsel from others may become part of our decisions making effort. And we move forward. We make the best choice we can see, but on hindsight wish our sight had been broader. We may suffer from "buyer's remorse" even if we have not spent a dime. We are unhappy with the choice and want to exchange for something else.

There are also times when we think we have all the information. We feel confident to move ahead because we have seen enough, or studied enough, or learned enough. Or so we think.

Recently a friend agreed to something, believing she had a pretty clear understanding of the situation, forging ahead with faith, courage, and a smile. After several weeks, she has come to understand that this decision had ramifications that she never imagined existed. It has puzzled her to see how different the situation looks from the inside than it did on the outside. She thought she knew all there was to know. Yet, in reality she was in many ways clueless.

My friend made a good choice. She prepared in every way she could possibly prepare to be able to make the best choice. She did not jump blindly into the fire. Yet, she is starting to feel unexpected heat. I do not believe she is regretting her choice in any way. I believe she would make the same choice again, knowing what she knows now. But the fact remains that this was a situation where she could not possibly know what it would be like, until she was there.

Many of us find ourselves in similar situations. We have done all we could to prepare, study, and learn before we make a choice. We may pray and fast and ponder. We may wait for the confirmation of the Holy Ghost before we move forward. We may sacrifice things we need to sacrifice in order to accept the responsibility that comes with the decision that feels right.

Then, we discover things are not what they appeared from the outside. Shell shocked we move forward ratcheting up our faith and courage, doing the best we can. We plant a smile on our face, determined to present the best facade we can that all is well and we are happy. But in private moments it may be hard, disappointing, and frustrating. It may make us feel cheated, angry, or even try our faith. We may feel that someone has sold us an albatross.

My friend has not changed, but her situation is different. But she feels others around have changed because of her situation. They look at her differently. They talk to her differently. And she is beginning to feel a bit of avoidance and isolation coming her way.

This too may be our experience. Others who have not walked in our shoes my see and treat us differently, thinking that they know what our situation is like. The may make comments and judgements based on what they think they know, but do not. Because they think that they know all there is to know and have seen all there is to see, they feel their judgements are accurate and reasonable. These may not only be not helpful, but can be hurtful. Sometimes what they do and see is difficult to accept with a smile.

They do not mean to be unkind or unsupportive. They just don't have all the facts. It has never been their situation before. In essence, they really are clueless.

Sometimes that would be me, on both sides of the fence. I have been the judgee and the judged. I am working on changing that every day. While it is true that we must make judgements and decisions every day, I need to learn to be much more careful in looking at the lives of others.

Thankfully there is a God in heaven who is merciful, kind, and wise who understands all this far better than I am capable of. He knows the end from the beginning and will make it all come out right. I hope that He will help me in my quest for change.

I also hope that He will help my friend who is right now thinking you really do not know what it is like, until "you walk a mile in my shoes."

Monday, August 26, 2013

Raspberries

Raspberries have been a part of my life for many years. When I was in junior high and high school my family owned a very large raspberry patch. The thorny bushes required weeding, watering, and picking frequently. During raspberry season, my family spent many hours decked out in long pants and long sleeved shirts, fighting through the thorns to pick the luscious red berries. We picked mostly every other day for several hours, early in the morning or in the evening to avoid the blistering summer heat. The raspberry patch was across town from our home, and on the ride to the patch I dreaded every single moment.

My mother taught me how to pick the berries, carefully inspecting every cane from stem to stern, as we combed the patch. We wore belts tied around our waists to hold a bucket by the side, freeing both hands to gather fruit. She taught me how full was too full for my bucket, so I would know when to dump the bucket into another container, resting in the shade. Raspberries crush easily and warm weather and water increase the ripening and mushing qualities. Raspberries were always very, very carefully washed immediately, mostly by my mother I might add. Many were given freely to neighbors. Some were frozen and others canned. I am sure we also ate a few.

Sometimes it was truly a family project and we all picked. But, sometimes I was dropped off alone to pick or weed. Sometimes my sister and I worked together to clean the fruit from the canes. When driving privileges were acquired, we drove ourselves.

Raspberries sure seemed like a lot of work!

Most of my current family consider raspberries to be almost worth their weight in gold, and sometimes it seems that is what they really cost. We have eaten an awful lot of raspberry freezer jam. Sometimes when times were tough, we only had it for special occasions and holidays. It is not everyone's favorite jam, but almost. We have a small raspberry patch now, which we are trying to enlarge. We added a dozen new canes this year hoping to increase our yield.

We basically have one row of berries along a fence line. The berries are thorn-less; thank heavens, and relatively easy to pick. They escape through the fence occasionally and send new canes into our lawn. If trimmed before the season, they seem to give their all to produce. It is never enough and sometimes we supplement generously from other sources.

Our raspberries were producing well when our families arrived this summer and for me the yield was better than ever. I showed the fruit to our grandchildren. We talked about how a raspberry should look before it is picked and tasted the little gems. I picked some for the little people who were too small to pick their own and the berries began to disappear. I told them they could eat all they wanted, if they were ripe. And they did.

Several times I picked a bowl of berries and some of them actually made it into the fridge. But the berries did not have a chance. They were quickly eaten. I saved enough to make one jello salad laced with raspberries.

The berries are nearly through now, just a few here and there. It seems so sad that there are no little hands to pluck them or hungry mouths ready to devour them. I miss my family so much!

I have no idea how many gallons or pints of raspberries were produced by my little patch. But they sure yielded a lot of red lips, smiles, and memories.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Who is really the Teacher?

None of our grandchildren live very close to us. It seems very unfair, but they choose to live with their parents. Ok, it is right that they should live with their parents who love them and teach them and bless their lives. Distance creates a challenge in getting to know not only our children but our grandchildren. I do not mean to complain because today's technology opens doors that did not exist a few generations ago, and I am grateful for the connections we can try to create over the phone and Internet.

I adore my children and their children. I admire the parenting skills and styles I see. I am grateful that my grandchildren are being raised by their mothers and not in daycare centers. I truly believe that the parents of my grandchildren are better, wiser, more patient, and more skilled than I am.

And I am grateful.

It is often the desire of a parent to see more success, wealth, and wisdom in the rising generation. That is why service, sacrifice, and sleepless nights are given.

It was such a blessing to spend time with much of our family this summer, to connect, reacquaint, share, and learn from them. I feel very blessed by Heavenly Father to have children who have kind hearts, faith and testimony, love and responsible attitudes. I have witnessed much sacrifice, service, patience, courage, and fortitude. I am in awe of my children and who they are.

Once, long ago, an educator commented on the quality of several of our children. I proudly told her that these children came here with their glory. They are who they are because they came with God given talents, qualities, skills, and abilities. They are smart beyond their years and experience and they have always been so, even before the world began.

When we come to this earth, we have no way of knowing how old our spirits really are. Parents may have older, more experienced spirits. But they may not. It may be that the spirits of the children are actually older, more educated, and wise. I believe that in this case, that is so. My children are smarter, more patient, more wise, and so much more than I am. I have said for most of my parenting life that I hope my children get me raised. I think that they are trying!

I see who they are and what they believe. It radiates in the way they act and talk. It shines when they are making choices. It glows when they parent. They are filled with love and patience.

Many things did not go as planned, hoped, or expected during this time we spent together. Sickness invaded and adaptation was required. And it happened with the love that family members should have for one another.

My children are great teachers and examples within their young families.

And to me!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Courage

I would not say that I am a very courageous person. I have done plenty of things that were very hard for me to do and required me to dig up a modicum of courage. But none of that makes me courageous. Kind of similar to the fact that I like to read does not make me wise. They are both things that I do, at times, but not something that I am.

My children are courageous, however, in spite of my lack thereof. I see if often in the way they live their lives and in the choices they make. I learn from them and appreciate their example. They face new challenges with smiles and courage as they plow forth to conquer. I may not see some of the trials and struggles and disappointments that they face along the way, but I know that they are there. None of us gets through this life without things that block our paths. 

Sometimes a road block is a blessing in disguise, forcing us to back up, look again at the whole picture and rethink the possibilities. We may find new ideas helpful as we try again to find a solution. We may find new resources and more people who are willing to help us out. We may also find that the road block totally stops the forward progress, because what we are thinking about doing is not the right course of action, at this time.

Early this summer, my husband and I began to take a look at something that we thought we wanted to do this summer. We talked about it and began collecting information to enable us to make some decisions and plans. We hit a road block, backed up and began to take a look at the situation from a whole different angle, trying to see what the possibilities were and what they were not.

As time passed, we wondered if there was any way to make things work out the way that it appeared that they needed to. And the days of summer were going and the ideas were not coming. I think in my heart that I had really given up and decided that it just was not going to work. 

One phone call changed everything and put wheels into motion to again change the way the picture looked. Again we stepped back to wonder what needs to happen? How can it be possible? How can we help?

Because of the courage of two of our children, the picture fell into place, piece by piece. And it happened!

When I say piece by piece, I mean that literally. The puzzle looked unrecognizable as things began to happen. Then there was the first piece that fell into place. It did not look very good yet, but then another piece came into play. We offered some ideas that sounded bizarre to me. I felt crazy to even suggest them. Our child agreed that it sounded totally crazy. Then said, "It feels right." Day by day pieces were examined and put into place. The last piece did not fit into the puzzled until the end of the adventure, literally.

Keep in mind that I like to have a plan! I know that is not the way many people are. Flying by the seat of the pants is totally fine. I do not need every detail, but a skeleton plan feels more comfortable. There was not ever even a skeleton of a plan. And what little was planned was changed every day, along the way. But it worked and it succeeded and it blessed my life.

All because of the courage of two of my children!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Trampoline

Many years ago we lived in a rented house that sat on a little hill in the country. We had four children and grandparents who watched over us and cared for us as they watched us struggle to provide for our family. They did the same for their other children, helping out whenever and however they could. Even though their lives were full and busy, they made time to drive to the country to visit, encourage, and share what they had.

One evening my parents arrived at our place looking as if they had a great, exciting secret to share. Happiness was definitely their companion as they presented us with a trampoline. We were all so surprised! Never once had I ever even considered the possibility of owning a trampoline. Our meager income did not even always cover the necessities of life, let alone such a luxury.

We were also very thrilled to have such a toy and such parents who saw a need that they could fill and chose to do so. Ours was not the only trampoline that they delivered that summer among their children.

Putting the tarp on the trampoline was a huge challenge. It took forever. Or at least it seemed like it did. But once the tarp was on and children began to jump, it was instant friendship. When there was nothing to do, there was always the trampoline to jump on. You could jump alone or with buddies. Games were invented and reinvented again and again. In the heat of the summer, water and trampolines are a good match. The black tarp gets painfully hot baking in the sun. A sprinkler running underneath not only cools the tarp but the hot, sweaty, little bodies on top.

We moved that trampoline with us, setting it up as quickly as was possible. It was a neighborhood magnet, drawing playmates like flies. Once I counted twenty five neighborhood children in my backyard, laughing, and loving life.

Once our trampoline decided to fly away from home. It sailed over our house and dropped into the street below, just moments after all the morning school bus riders caught the bus for school. In my bathrobe, I helped my husband drag that heavy beast off the street, back where it belonged. One leg was rather injured in the landing, but later kindly repaired by a backyard neighbor. To my knowledge it never left home alone without us again.

Twice the stitching on our trampoline was replaced. We have purchased new rings and springs. We have removed and replaced the tarp with sheer guts and brute strength. (ok, we struggled a lot). But it has repaid us immeasurably.

Last spring the tarp gave out. I did not see it happen, but knew that once it tore open, replacement would be the only option. Our children are gone now, and we mostly live alone. We had chosen to ignore the lonely trampoline frame in our backyard.

Until a month or so ago when our daughters and their children were planning a visit. Then we began to ask the question, "Should we buy a new tarp, or get rid of the frame?" Purchasing a new tarp cost way more than I expected. It was a tough decision.

It was even more difficult to put the new tarp on the trampoline. Two strong burly men sweat bullets as they tugged and pulled, stretched and worked. It took hours! On line instructions gave them new hope and a new method was begun. The grandchildren stood around impatiently waiting for a quick jump. They tried to help. Supper waited until darkness chased us all inside.

Up with the sun was the desire to get the tarp on. The two strong men seemed far less anxious than the younger bunch, but tackle it they did. First a little research and then a great deal of hard work accomplished the task.

Again the backyard smiled as little bodies jumped upon the tramp. Water cooled the black tarp and the swim suit clad bodies. They begged for others to come and play with them on the tramp. And we did. Yes, I jumped with my grandsons on the trampoline. I had forgotten the jelly-leg feel that follows quickly.

Mom and Dad thanks for the many years of joy that your gift brought to our lives. Though you are not hear to see the pleasure it brings or hear my words of appreciation, I am grateful.

I think our trampoline is happy again.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Diversity

I live in a small community which seems to change very little from year to year. Businesses come and go from time to time. New buildings are built. Yet, in many ways, the ideas and the culture seem the same. I think that it is likely that outsiders may consider our town quaint. Others might say narrow minded. It could be that some might call it backwards or slow. I have heard it said that people in our community do not have much vision and compromise the future, because of an unwillingness to spend money to promote growth. Some say our community lacks diversity. Others thrive in this town and its apparent stability. In all reality, there is probably some truth in all of this diversity of opinion.

Many people really thrive on and celebrate diversity. They love the vibrancy of new ideas and opinions and embrace the cultures and traditions of others. While some of us cling to the safety of what we know, others go to great lengths to learn of other countries and worlds through education and travel. Their imaginations are fueled by their travels and limited only by their wallets. Each opportunity seems to create a hunger for more.

My Mother loved to travel and was able to see a great deal of the world in her lifetime. I think my Father also enjoyed seeing the world. But, I think he traveled because he loved my Mother. He appeared to really be anxious to get home. But they both seemed to love talking about their adventures. My Mother could strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. She would find a way to communicate with others in spite of any language barriers. She could make others feel at ease as she openly embraced any situation.

Sometimes I find myself more resistant to embrace diversity. I lack my Mother's confidence and skill. It is difficult to open the lid of the box I live in and peek outside. But I am trying. Last year I not only opened the box, but climbed out, and walked into a new experience filled with diversity. This group of people come from many different walks of life. There are differing opinions on almost everything, because we are all so different in age, experiences, backgrounds, religious beliefs, likes, skills, and on and on. Some are very quiet and reserved while others have something to say about everything. Yet, somehow it feels comfortable, accepting, and kind.

I recently met someone new who began a discussion about diversity with me. She has lived in many cities and small towns. She thrives on the diversity filled life. At times I think that living where everyone is supposed to be the same was suffocating to her. But she is now content.

This conversation reminded me of an experience I had not so long ago. As we drove away from our home to accomplish some much needed tasks, we passed a large church building for a group of followers of Jesus Christ. I am not even aware of what denomination this building represents,  but I am aware of some of the good works that they do within our community and around the world. My heart filled with love and appreciation for those good works and tears filled my eyes as I pondered others in my community who serve and bless the lives of others. Many of them believe differently than I do when it comes to religion, but their hearts are filled with love for others and a desire to improve our world.

Some feed the hungry and find a place for the homeless. Some make quilts and blankets to warm those who are cold. Others care for the neglected and abused. Our community, though small, is riddled with needs. Yet together hands of diversity lift, build, bless, and serve those in need.

Community members spend their time and money as well to serve around the world, providing similar service to people in impoverished lands. They provide medical care, religious instruction, and education as well as hope to the hopeless. They are sad to leave those experiences behind.

For a few moments as Heavenly Father kindly taught me, I gained an insight and appreciation for diversity that I am grateful for. He loves all who serve Him. He is grateful to any who serve others in this world. Our work becomes His work, if we do it in the right way and for the right reason. There is no corner on the goodness in our world. It does not come from just one church or one faith or one country or one race. It comes from many good people in diverse situations.

Just as I believe Heavenly Father is grateful to all who honor His name with good works, I am grateful.

Thank you to you all!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Contention vs Cooperation

Been thinking about contention a bit lately. Seems like there is always the opportunity to find or create contention around us, if it is what we want to find. Some people seem to attract contention wherever they go. Some people seem to be able to spread contention wherever they are. There are those who love a good 'debate' and will intentionally take the opposite stance on any topic with any person. It almost seems like a sporting event to verbally battle a topic to death in an argument. It is the thrill of the chase that drives the heated discussion.

Then there are those who cannot be wrong. It does not matter the topic. It does not matter what the opinion of anyone else is. Logic is unimportant. Facts and figures are immaterial. The only thing that matters is that someone has to be right and someone has to wrong and since one person is not ever willing to be wrong, that leaves a predetermined outcome. The other person will never be right. Sometimes in these contentious battles it even becomes obvious that the person who is never wrong does not even listen to anyone else because the only opinion that matters anyway is theirs.

Some are simply not willing to battle wits with anyone over much of anything. Contention is a poison that they are not willing to taste. They may be in total disagreement, but their motto is 'peace at any price.' They develop great skill at gracefully exiting from any contentious situation. The contentious person may not even recognize how it happened, but the battle is over before it even began.

I have even associated with people who have said that they despise contention while they carried around a bucket filled with contentious words and behaviors, spreading them thickly wherever they go, leaving anger and misery in their path. When questioned the astounded response is to feign total ignorance or innocence.

Many of us may fall somewhere in between these categories. Some of us are more concerned about what is right than we are about being right. Even someone who is totally opposed to contention may not be willing to back down from near and dear principles.

Some time ago a dear friend confided to me a concern that there were far too many marital arguments in life. It was pushing the comfort zone. My friend confided that arguments occurred about every three weeks or so. It seemed that by the time one argument was over and healing had begun, another argument was brewing on the horizon. Peace and contentment seemed fleeting or nonexistent. My friend wanted to put an end to the contention in their marriage, but really did not know how to do that.

Following this conversation with my friend, I mentioned to another friend my concern that a major disagreement in a marriage every three weeks seemed too often for me. I thought perhaps another opinion could be helpful for me as I considered how I might help my frustrated, fighting friend.. I was surprised to learn that to this friend it seemed perfectly normal and acceptable. Perhaps this couple found frequent contention totally acceptable. The discussion ended almost before it began.

Because of awareness and willingness to work on it, I believe my peace seeking friend's marriage is much healthier today. Skills are developing to resolve conflict more quickly and less painfully. More peace and contentment seem evident and love seems to be more abundant. I think both spouses are happier, more giving and caring. Whatever they have discovered seems to be working.

I read a definition of contention the other day and found all the words that describe contention sound like what it is. They sound ugly, hard, difficult, and demeaning. It made the word contention sound even yuckier to me. But then I read a word that sounded so different, peaceful and comforting to me soul. It was the word "cooperation." Cooperation is the antonym of contention. It is the opposite of contention.

I pondered about these two words: contention and cooperation for awhile, letting them sink into my heart. I thought about their meanings and savored the understanding that came to me from my Heavenly Father. I learned a lesson from Him that I am sure I needed to learn and for which I am grateful.

Contention and cooperation can not exist together. Sometimes it is difficult to know how contention begins and how to make it end. I learned that where there is no cooperation, there is contention. Therefore, when we want to get rid of contention, we need to invite cooperation.

I know that one person cannot control the thoughts or behaviors of another person. We cannot force someone to choose to cooperate instead of contend. But maybe I can carry the tool of cooperation in my tool belt more often and offer it us as an olive branch of peace.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fruitcake

It isn't even close to Christmas time and that is when the big discussions come up about fruitcake. I am pretty sure you can buy it all year round, if you want it. There are no rules that say it can only be made at Christmas time either, but typically I only hear about fruitcake around Christmas.

Everyone does not love fruitcake. I have heard lots of discussions about fruitcake over my lifetime. Most of them have not been positive. I have heard it compared to a brick, cement, doorstop, etc. Some consider it to be heavy and even disgusting. I have heard that it takes forever for it to go bad, which makes some wonder how it could possibly be good for you.

But some people love fruitcake. It is their favorite treat at Christmas. They wait anxiously for their first piece of fruitcake. They look forward to it all year. It makes their holiday.

There are many recipes for fruitcake. Some fruitcakes include nuts and some do not. Some include gum drops. Some are made with Rum or some other alcoholic beverage. Most include butter. Dried fruit in any variety is also an important ingredient. It can include any combination desired including dried cherries, cranberries, pineapple, citron, mango, raisins, etc.

Most fruitcakes were homemade when I was a little girl but now I think store bought fruitcake has become the norm. It typically comes in varying sized loaf shapes or round. It can have a whole in the middle or not. It can cost as much as forty dollars a cake. Mixes can also be purchased.

A friend shared a fruitcake story with me from many, many years ago. She laughed as she told me of the 'hi-jinks' of her now grown daughters. It reminded me that children are children in any generation. They are creative and think outside the box. They experiment and learn about the world day by day, choice by choice.

My friend's husband worked for Continental Bakery for many years, building up a very successful franchise with his partner brother. They moved to a new community and started from scratch in a new territory. A new house was purchased for my friend, her husband, and their young children. As Christmas approached, my friend decided that it would be a nice gesture to give a fruitcake to the previous owner of their home. She told me how delicious the fruitcakes baked by Continental were. She was happy to share this yummy treat with this man.

As Christmas approached, my friend got busy as is often the case during the holidays. Her plan to deliver a fruitcake to this man was shoved to the back burner. The round fruitcake, tucked safely in its decorative Christmas tin sat idly in the kitchen cupboard, waiting. Several months passed as my friend got life back on track when she remembered that she had a fruitcake still to deliver. She had kind feelings for this man and knew he would really appreciate this yummy treat, even though it was past Christmas.

My friend gathered the wrapping paper, ribbon, and tape to turn this fruitcake into a present. She reached into the cupboard and retrieved the tin and prepared to wrap it. As she began the process, she decided to take one quick peak at the beautiful fruitcake, decorated with pecan halves and dried cherries.

To her surprise, she found a bag of dried pinto beans resting in the tin. The fruitcake was gone. She learned that two of her daughters had innocently discovered the fruitcake in the cupboard and could not resist tasting it. Apparently these two girls liked fruitcake just fine. Soon they could not resist another taste and then another. Until the fruitcake was gone.

These girls also recognized that the fruitcake had filled the tin and was a bit heavy, weighing several pounds. They realized that they had to do something to disguise their choice to devour the cake on the sly. So, they replaced the cake with the bag of pinto beans, hoping no one would ever discover what they had done.

My friend said she always wondered what this man would have thought if she had failed to open the tin and discover the bag of beans. She could have wrapped up the tin and delivered it to him and he might have been thrilled to receive the beans, never knowing that a fruitcake had been intended.

I do not know if my friend laughed about it at the time, but she sure did now. For her it is a cherished memory of her daughters, both now grandmothers who have now experienced first had the 'hi-jinks' of their own children.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Lie

Many years ago a friend really got her "dander up" at her husband. She told me she was a "real stinker." Even though I was not there and I only heard her side of the story, I have to admit I liked how she handled this situation a great deal.

Her husband bought a boat. They could not afford it at all and they both knew it. She was way less than thrilled to make monthly payments on his toy. It was not a decision made in unity. He continued to spend money on this and that for the boat and its use, including fuel for every outing. She tolerated it but that was about all. The husband purchased a new motor for the boat, again failing to discuss it with her. She was rather upset at this large expense and his justification that the boat just needed more power than the current motor could provide.

The agreement was made that he would take the motor back to the store and he told her that he had done exactly that. Sometime later when it was time to do the laundry, she found the receipt in his pocket for the motor and discovered his lie. He had no intention of returning the boat motor.

"It was the lie," she said, "that upset me so."

Once she got over the initial shock and upset, she went to town. She shopped carefully and purchased a nice new sofa and chairs. She purchased a comfortable recliner, and she purchased three end tables and two table lamps. Additionally she purchased a floor lamp and a nice wall decoration. Then she had them delivered.

"It was the first time we ever had nice furniture," she said. "Everything we owned was just junk until then."

I asked her what her husband had to say about the furniture and she told me that there really wasn't much that he could say, under the circumstances.

And again she said, "You see, it was the lie that upset me."

I totally understood. She had already tolerated him spending money that they did not have on an expensive toy for himself while they did not even have nice things in the house. That did not move her to action. But the lie did.

Her husband has been dead for more than ten years now and she lives alone in a cozy apartment, feet away from her daughter's home. Most of those furniture pieces are still with her. The rest are in a family cabin for all her family to enjoy. They made monthly payments on that furniture which has lasted long and served well. It still looks really good.

I could see several lessons to be learned in the boat versus the furniture battle. There are lessons about unity, coming together to make a decision that everyone can live with. Lessons of selfishness come to mind. Owning a boat does not necessarily constitute selfishness. But owning it at the expense of someone else's agency or happiness could come under the selfish category.  Prophets of God have taught for generations that selfishness is a huge factor in marital breakup.

But it is really hard to ignore the lie. Dishonesty in any form is inappropriate in relationships. It is poison to trust. If we don't have trust in relationships, what do we have?

My friend loved her husband and together they created a good life and raised a good family. They have willingly served many. I don't think it makes her a stinker at all when she could tolerate the boat, but not the lie.