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







Monday, July 21, 2014

Voices

I live in a world where there are many voices. At times it is difficult to know which voices one shoild listen to. Some voices are loud and noisy. Some are more subtle and soft. At times it can feel like I am swimming in voices, telling me what to buy, where to go, and who to be. Voices come from good sources and bad. But again, it can be difficult to decipher truth.

Voices come from the radio. They suggest songs one should like, activities to participate in, and products one must purchase. The television is also loaded. Most stations fill the airwaves with commercials. But also with images. Commercials are loaded with images that can make one feel inferior to the expectations of the world.

A conversation with a friend really got me thinking about voices. After our conversation, I feared that something that I had said may have sounded hurtful to her. I had definitely not intended that, and had in fact been trying to spare her an unneeded challenge. But I was concerned about what I said, and how it might sound.

So, I went to talk to her again, to make sure I apologized to her. She explained that she knew exactly what I meant and was not offended in anyway. I was grateful that I had not upset her. She explained that she did not think it was possible for me to offend her. My reply was that if that were so, it was because of the condition of her heart. My friend then said something so very kind to me that a few tears slipped down my cheek. She said that she did not think it was possible for me to offend her because I was a good person.

Hers was a voice that I want to listen to!

So often the voices that I seem to hear send different kinds of messages. I am never smart enough. I am never kind enough. I never have enough money. Some voices tell me that I am not a good person. They say that is am selfish and unkind. Other voices seem to scream that I do not look beautiful because I do not look like a model. Because I do not use certain products or wear certain clothes or have an expensive haircut, I am less than everyone else out there.

Voices tell me that I do not have an opinion worth hearing or any good ideas or that I am not smart enough to make my own decisions. There are voices that tell me that my time is not as important as other people's time, because I am not as important as they are. Voices tell me that I am not worthy of spending time with or being included.

Sorting through the voices can be painful and challenging. Who does one believe?

I am grateful to my friend who told me I was a good person. I do not think I hear enough of that kind of voice. But I do not think I am that kind of voice often enough either. I am grateful to learn from her.

I am also overwhelmingly grateful for the Still Small Voice of The Holy Ghost. I do not think I hear enough of that voice either.

It is a great time for me to work more at hearing This voice of Inspiration. It is a great time for tweaking my life a bit more to invite and encourage the presence of The Holy Ghost more frequently into my life. But it is also a perfect time to also be more aware of the voice that I share with others.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Crystal Ball

I often wish I had a crystal ball at my immediate disposal. There are so many difficult decisions to make. Research can help eliminate some choices or clarify my thought processes. But often the answer is still not clear to me. It feels a bit like we face the 'darned if you do and darned if you don't' scenario.

Seems like this has been one of those seasons. We move one step forward and two steps back. Or maybe even more. It seems difficult to relax and rejoice in one conquered problem, because it is immediately replaced by another or even by several.

I find it challenging to face so many financially costly decisions in this season, but they do not seem to be ending. We sort of made big progress with one yesterday, to be faced by a new, unexpected one this morning. Again, it feels like one step forward and two step backwards.

There are occasions when eventually one can actually see the blessing afterwards. But not so much, yet. Just continually swimming through the quagmire of breaking, wearing out, leaking stuff that we own.

It started in February, I think. Our furnace quit working. This is not the first time of course, but was definitely more serious. And of course, it was the coldest week of the winter. Several hundred dollars later, our furnace worked enough to make it through the winter, but with severe warnings. If it quits again, it is terminal. Should we have put in the new parts? Should we have replaced the furnace? Who knows?

I need a crystal ball!

With winter facing us in a few months, do we take the chance that the furnace may make it through the winter? Do we replace it at our own convenience, now? And, if we replace the furnace, is it a good time to acquire central air conditioning? Should we spend the money? Should we wait? Who knows?

I need a crystal ball!

I have already mentioned our dinosaur computer. So we spent hours looking for a new computer. Our children with computer expertise avoided our calls after awhile. They were just as sick of it as we were! What brand should we buy?  How much money should we spend? What kind of processor would serve us best?  How much memory do we need?  Who knows?

I need a crystal ball!

So we ordered the computer. Next day the ice maker in the fridge stopped creating ice. Should we spend the $150.00 plus for a new ice maker? Should we use ice trays for the rest of our lives? Could we try to fix it ourselves?  Who knows!

I need a crystal ball!

The computer arrived yesterday and is now functional. Yippee for a moment and a half, before we find we have water coming onto the floor under the freshly painted baseboards in our bathroom. Two weeks we have struggled over getting the paper off the walls, repairing,  and repainting... (well mostly my husband) with all the decisions, that go with it. Now, water is coming from somewhere. Is it from the sink? Is it from the toilet? Could it be from the outside faucet or the washing machine on the other side of the wall?  Who knows?

I need a crystal ball!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Birth of Our Nation

The Fourth of July has just passed us by for another year. It is a great day to celebrate the birth of The United States of America and to remember the prices that many have paid over the years for the freedoms we take for granted most of the rest of the year. It is a day celebrated in many different ways. Food, fun, and fireworks are fairly common denominators. But one of the great things about living in The United States of America is that we can celebrate as we choose. There are no mandatory requirements to follow to honor the birth of this nation. We can celebrate as we choose.

I remember many years ago when I was a youngster, my parents choose to celebrate the Fourth of July by painting the living room of the new house that they were having built. I was totally confused by their choice to paint while we went with other relatives to the parade in a nearby city. Why would you not want to go to the parade? And an even bigger question; why would you want to paint the living room?

I did not understand that then, but I do now. You see we worked around our house on the Forth of July this year. We could have gone to the parade in a nearby town, but we did not. We carried on with projects and normal house cleaning chores. My vacuum cleaner had threatened to go on strike because it was being neglected. My kitchen sink was screaming loudly at me every time I came near with words of criticism for letting it become so dirty. But even louder were the words of 'filthy' I heard when I walked into the bathroom.

So I cleaned my house!

We did choose to eat a typical Fourth of July meal which included hot dogs, chips, and watermelon. Our lawn wore a large American Flag for the day, telling anyone who saw that we are proud of our country. We did spend some of the day in relaxation. We watched a movie and played some games; my husband and I. We made the local fireworks part of our celebration. We also watched and listened to the celebrations of others as we located a spot to see the enjoyable display our city provided. We saw even more on the way home because traffic sent us on an alternate route.

Though we did not spend a cent on fireworks, no one cared. Because we did not fire up the barbecue grill, we were not condemned. No one knocked on our door to make sure we were celebrating according to someone else's rules or guidelines. We did not have to dress in specific attire or gather anywhere. We were not required to listen to a speech or patriotic music.

It seems easy to find fault with our country. So many things are not being done my way! If I wanted to, I could spend hours every day listening to talk radio so that I could know what everyone else thinks is wrong with our country. I could join the conversations taking place anytime and anywhere that point fingers at who is to blame and what changes need to be made.

But instead I want to be grateful that I live in a country where I can celebrate the birth of that country in anyway that I please.

I believe that Our Heavenly Father guided the creation of this land for the benefit of religious freedom. Many have given their lives for  the freedoms that I so often take for granted. I believe that God wants to keep this land free so that we can worship Him according to our desires. I believe that though this country may not be perfect, it is better for me than any place else on this earth.