Friday, May 27, 2011

Anchors and Thank-you's

I was going back over some of my posts from last month and it looked like I had messed up this post with the music video from Mindy Gledhill. This is her cover song from her new CD, Anchor. It is so very beautiful both in music and in imagery. I feel like her words echo many of my sentiments.

When a thank-you card cannot do justice to your feelings, say it with a song. So this song is dedicated to my husband who fits the title "Anchor" in my life. I love you.
This is also for the women in the Beryville Ward Relief Society...even if you're not in Berryville anymore (all you apostates in Shenandoah Valley and Winchester <3 ). I have to give a shout out to Tanya Groll and Melinda Topham and Demere Knecht and Lisa Read...and Melanie and Joan and.. okay, I can't list you all.

But I especially want to send this to my super good friend and walking partner Emily Willson. I don't dare call her right now, because I will bawl on the phone. I love you Emily. You kept my spirits up during the hardest year of my life. You let me know that the Lord was watching over me and guiding me and blessing me. You helped me remember my faith when it was the darkest time... spiritually I mean...even though it was pretty dark at 6am in November! Haha!

I love you all! Enjoy this beautiful music and I hope each of you have an Anchor in your lives to bless you.  Many would be even better.

I also hope each of you feel anchored by the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is there when all else fails.

He is always there.

Washed Clean

My boys have enjoyed the new park by our house. My 2 year old and 5 year old especially love the shallow rocky creek that runs through it. They love to cross back and forth, to toss pebbles in and to balance on the rocks in the middle. But so many days when we come home from the park, we have muddy kiddos in the backseat of the car. It seems I have given more baths since we moved here than any other time!

(And I still keep forgetting to buy a plug for that tub when I am at Wal-Mart. Why is that!)

So when, for my scripture study this morning, I was reading an article about Jesus Christ by Elder Boyd K. Packer, I was reminded of a poem he wrote and shared in General Conference several years ago. I have read this many times and shared in a talk and a couple of lessons since then. It is great for all of us living in this wonderful, but messy world.

Perhaps we don't suffer from 'spiritual leprosy', but there are other ways of being spiritually unclean. Whether we just need a daily bath of repentant prayer or we need a long lasting cure for 'spiritual cancer', we need the Savior. Because "all are fallen, all are lost."

We can't help but become dirty and soiled. We all need to be cleansed.

I so need to be cleansed.

Washed Clean

In ancient times the cry “Unclean!”
Would warn of lepers near.
“Unclean! Unclean!” the words rang out;
Then all drew back in fear,
Lest by the touch of lepers’ hands
They, too, would lepers be.
There was no cure in ancient times,
Just hopeless agony.
No soap, no balm, no medicine
Could stay disease or pain.
There was no salve, no cleansing bath,
To make them well again.
But there was One, the record shows,
Whose touch could make them pure;
Could ease their awful suffering,
Their rotting flesh restore.
His coming long had been foretold.
Signs would precede His birth.
A Son of God to woman born,
With power to cleanse the earth.
The day He made ten lepers whole,
The day He made them clean,
Well symbolized His ministry
And what His life would mean.
However great that miracle,
This was not why He came.
He came to rescue every soul
From death, from sin, from shame.
For greater miracles, He said,
His servants yet would do,
To rescue every living soul,
Not just heal up the few.
Though we’re redeemed from mortal death,
We still can’t enter in
Unless we’re clean, cleansed every whit,
From every mortal sin.
What must be done to make us clean
We cannot do alone.
The law, to be a law, requires
A pure one must atone.
He taught that justice will be stayed
Till mercy’s claim be heard
If we repent and are baptized
And live by every word. …
If we could only understand
All we have heard and seen,
We’d know there is no greater gift
Than those two words—“Washed clean!” 

I love this poem. It speaks to my inner self in ways that normal words cannot. But then there was this section of Elder Packer's article that was very illustrative of the great power Jesus had within himself. It helped me see the Atonement in a way I had not yet seen it before. Perhaps it will bless your life too. I just had to share.

Atonement of Jesus Christ

Before the Crucifixion and afterward, many men have willingly given their lives in selfless acts of heroism. But none faced what Christ endured. Upon Him was the burden of all human transgression, all human guilt. And hanging in the balance was the Atonement. Through His willing act, mercy and justice could be reconciled, eternal law sustained, and that mediation achieved without which mortal man could not be redeemed.
He by choice accepted the penalty in behalf of all mankind for the sum total of all wickedness and depravity; for brutality, immorality, perversion, and corruption; for addiction; for the killings and torture and terror—for all of it that ever had been or all that ever would be enacted upon this earth. In so choosing He faced the awesome power of the evil one, who was not confined to flesh nor subject to mortal pain. That was Gethsemane!
How the Atonement was wrought we do not know. No mortal watched as evil turned away and hid in shame before the Light of that pure being. All wickedness could not quench that Light. When what was done was done, the ransom had been paid. Both death and hell forsook their claim on all who would repent. Men at last were free. Then every soul who ever lived could choose to touch that Light and be redeemed.
By this infinite sacrifice, “through [this] Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” 
(from "Who is Jesus Christ?" by President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ensign/Liahona magazine, March 2008)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Need a Hero

I discovered a new song on my Christian music CD that I absolutely had to share. It is a little more heavy metal than I usually (ever) go for. But it has a desperate edge to it that really speaks to me. Of course, since it's Christian the hero that the song talks about is Jesus Christ. But the singer keeps saying, "I'm not a super-hero" and "I need a save me now."

Soooo many times I have felt the weight of my children's needs, my church responsibilities, my husband's expectations and all the demands of the world weighing on me. And as the mountainous burden grows, I begin to cry out, "I can't do it."

Maybe I can do some, but definitely not all.

 I am only one person. And I fail so very easily.

I need a hero to save my life.

So, I hear the desperation in the singer's ragged voice and hear the echo of my own cries. "Oh, Jesus! Save me who am in the gall of bitterness...oh wretched (wo)man that I am!"

Isn't it wonderful that he loves us enough to make up for our failings, our weakness, our mistakes and our oversights. I know I am.

I need a hero. I need my Savior.

So, with that said, I'll share this youtube video with you. It has the song (Hero by the group, Skillet) with footage from several Star Wars movies paying homage to Obi Wan Kenobi.

[Oh, if I could only figure out how to get that video to be right here. I thought I knew how to do it, but it's not working! Augh! *frustrated growl* Okay, copy/paste the link here. ]

Now I like Obi Wan, but what I really love is all the sword (ahem) light-saber fights in them.

Because, when I first really listened to this song, the time that I realized I LIKED this song, was when my mind played scenes from the novel I'm writing. And I knew I wanted to make youtube-like video (even if only in my mind) of my hero in his various sword fights throughout the book.

When I hear the song, It opens with the guitars running rhythm and there are Henri and Cornelius riding along the forest road. They see the brigands and pull up the horses. Then the cross-bow bolts come flying and one thunks into Henri's chest and the horses are shot out under them. The guitars are heavy thrumming now as they stumble, running through the forest. They break through the trees and almost go falling off the cliff (appropriate for the opening lines of the song). Then, Cornelius is clambering down the rocks, helping his wounded cousin, only to be faced with the same men who tried to kill them earlier.

SWORD FIGHT! Oh, yeah!

In the next verse, we skip ahead to when Anna is about ready to be executed for her 'treasonous' crimes against the usurping tyrant. She is bound to the pillory post in the square, trying to speak out before she is gagged. She is about to be killed...then, in rides the mysterious knight (Cornelius!!!) ready to fight trial-by-combat to prove her innocence.

SWORD FIGHT! On horses this time. Awesome!

Then as the bridge comes in (Anakin & Obi-Wan in their last battle in the video), we skip ahead to the big seige of the capital city. Anna and her men have distracted the badguys enough so the townspeople could risk getting the gate open. Cornelius and his men, the Duke and several other knights & lords introduced at the beginning of the story are riding forth across the plain towards the gate with their soldiers running behind them, the colorful banners snapping in the wind. And then, they're in the city, fighting with swords, knives, staves, alongside the townspeople trying to kill or drive off the tyrant and his mercenary henchmen.

Mwa ha ha ha ha!

It's brilliant!  

And it is all in my head...sigh! Back to work. It's so hard waiting for your favorite movie to come out when you are the one that has to write the novel first.

Okay, okay. I'm signing off and getting back to the manuscript.
* sound of nose to the grindstone*

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Site for Books & Readers - Shelfari

The Site for Books & Readers - Shelfari

Love you can tell.

Check out my bookshelf on Shelfari.

Recommended Book

By the way, I failed to mention the book that Brother Goddard wrote. It is entitled : "The Soft-Spoken Parent: 50 Ways Not To Lose Your Temper With Your Kids."

Yeeeeeeah! I saw the title in a Deseret Book catalog and knew I NEEDED that book. I had been screaming a lot that day. *blushes at her true confessions*

Here's a link to Amazon.

Also in the way of full disclosure, the author's wife is the RS president and invited our family over for dinner on Friday night. We had tacos. (Muy Delicioso.)

But my my kids remember them as the cool people who have a pet squirrel and a zipline in their backyard. True Story. The boys were on that thing for at least a half an hour... probably closer to an hour. Best. Fun. Ever. (I was informed).

I even had a turn. Pretty fun. But I really enjoyed watching the boys.

They now have very elaborate plans for the treehouse/zipline combo they want Dad to build in our sloping, wooded backyard. Heh, heh, heh. I believe it will only be a matter of time. :)

Parental Compassion

I went to my new ward for the first time today and went to a really great Sunday School class.
It's a marriage/stronger families class taught by a brother in the ward. Welllllllll, it turns out he has a PhD and wrote a book about parenting.

...Which I happen to have on my bookshelf. Well, if my books were unpacked it would be on my bookshelf. Right now it's in one of the towers of boxes that looks like the NYC skyline....

Anyhoo, Brother Goddard shared a great example (that I also remembered reading in his book) about his daughter and her little friend going across the street to play at the elementary school playground. They often went, and they were reminded each time, as permission was given, to stop and look both ways for traffic before crossing. One day, their daughter's friend ran out into the street without looking and was struck by a (thankfully slow-moving) car. As she lay in the street, in pain and with multiple scrapes, Brother Goddard contacted emergency personnel and went to comfort her. He asked if it would be appropriate at the time, while she lay there bleeding to berate her for her foolish forgetfulness?

No, of course not.

But how often, in our parental omniscience, do we say to our children, "I told you so."

That is a natural, human response to say, "See, stupid. If you hadn't done that, you wouldn't be in this fix."

But, he pointed out, with a paraphrasing of scripture, "the natural parent is an enemy to the child and has been for all eternity".

We have been commanded by Jesus Christ to become like he is. And how is it that he responds to us in our times of need and distress? Does he respond with, "I told you so!"


Then he followed with a couple of scriptures that brought home his point. First is Alma 7: 11-12.

"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (emphasis added)

And next Hebrew 4:14-15

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

He KNOWS us. He knows our deepest hurts and our greatest needs. And he has gone through the hellish experience of Gethsemane. Why? Not so he can sit back on his throne and say, "Yeah, yeah. I know. Life stinks. I've felt it too. Stop whining and get on with it already."

But so that he can say, "I understand. It hurts, doesn't it. I felt it. I remember. But I'm here with you. It will be okay soon. Just trust me. We'll get through this together."

The next verse in Hebrews (4:16) gives Paul's conclusion:

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

Jesus Christ is ready and waiting for us to come to him in our time of need. Not in our time when we deserve it. Not when we've cleaned up our act and have gone through a long enough 'time out'. We may find grace in our time of need.

Brother Goddard reminded us that so much of the time, words and behavior are a plea for emotional connection. We want to be recognized, accepted, appreciated,  loved and understood. When a child is coming to us whining or grumpy or says something outrageous, what will our response be?

Will we turn away? Ignore, put off or diminish their needs?

Will we turn against? Become irate and irritated that they are inconveniencing and hindering the very busy parent?

Or will we turn toward? Embrace and listen and seek to understand why they are coming to you.

That doesn't necessarily mean to do whatever they may demand.

A child may want to have all the flavors at the ice cream store. Instead our typical response, could we reply, "I know. That would be so fun. I wish we could too. But what one/two flavors would you like to try today?"

Then if the child can't decide on a flavor, don't lose your cool. (No pun intended) "It's hard to decide. Do you think you can pick one now? If you can't we will have to move on to another errand. Perhaps we will have time to come back when you have decided. But there is a chance we will not be able to come back. Do you know which you'd like to have."

Hmmmm. I'm not that mature, patient parent yet. Sometimes I am. But definitely not when I'm stressed or in a hurry.

Thank goodness for repentance. Thank goodness for the atonement. Thank goodness for a loving Heavenly Father and his plan. Thank goodness for a gracious Savior who walked the path before and walks with each of us throughout our journey.

So, when my son comes to me boldly asking for my love and attention and I turn him away, I may go to a loving Jesus, my Savior, and boldly ask for his forgiveness. I will ask for his grace and his guidance to become a better parent, a better guide for my own children.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Remember The Name

Okay, so the title of the song is appropriate, since I'm moving and I want my friends to remember me. Yeeeeeah, that's a given.
But this week is the week to pack the rest of the house and I need motivation and good music that can help me 'Busta Move'. So this is the one I picked to represent the get up off the couch (or off the computer) and get m.o.v.i.n.g.!!!
Well, at least its fun to listen to and has a great beat. (I hear that there are some naughty words in the longer, original version. But this is G-rated.)

And it has very cool Avatar: The Last Airbender video with it. And for those who know, the original Avatar/Airbender is VERY cool.

And happy making.

And a little spoonful of sugar helps the hard work seem more fun.

P.S. for those who are into those things...If I was a character from Airbender, I would be...probably Katara. Hopeful, always trying to keep everyone together and happy, a little maternal, but ready to fight for the good stuff. Yeah, go Katara!

How 'bout you?