Monday, August 22, 2016

Soccer Games and a Bridal Shower

Peter and Libby had their first soccer games of the year.  Here's Libby suiting up for the first time in her High School uniform!  Yeah!!
They each had two games this weekend:  they creamed and got creamed!  Peter had a sweet goal.  He shot from the right side, just outside of the penalty box, a high shot that went over the head of the goalie.  It was sweet!  I wish I had a picture of it!

Becca and I put on a shower for Mary this week.  (Well, it was mostly Becca - I just did the invitations and the house.  She did everything else, and it was amazing!)  We had the theme "Mint to Be".  We had a great time, and Mary got some wonderful presents!

Pictured here are Kevin's two sisters Katherine (the one that looks so much like Mary!) and Karinna, his Grandma and his mom, Linda.  They are wonderful people!
 Best friends!

That evening, we went to pick up Libby from a team bonding party, and this was the view from the house where the party was:
It was fun to see this barn, because it was the marker back in 2000 that we could see coming down the State Highway that told us we were almost to where we were building our house.  We love living in a semi-rural area where there are beautiful views like this.  Bruce wants to build a barn like this, with this type of roof line.

On August 9th, I started posting about a new Independent Candidate that is running for President, Evan McMullin.  I volunteered to be a candidate, and got a Petition on Thursday afternoon to get him on the Idaho state ballot.  I made phone calls, sent out email and texts, and ended up with 28 names by today.  Overall in the state, we gathered over 1100 names in 3 days.  Awesome!

One more video that should have gone on last weeks post.  I love their smiles!


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Soccer Tryouts!

Peter and Libby had "two-a-days" this week.  That means trying out for soccer, practicing twice a day - from 6-8 am, and 6-8 pm.  They both made the JV team, which they were really happy about!

They put on OrthoSport, RC, took Ning-Xia Red, BLM and Balance Complete every day.  Thank goodness for our Young Living products!

Libby really had a miracle happen.  Last Saturday morning at Ballroom dance practice, Libby fell on her backside and injured her tailbone.  Saturday night, it was painful even to the touch, and when I put a tuning fork on it, she said the tuning fork hurt before it even came in contact.  She was yelling!  This is the classic sign of having a broken bone.  This was pretty daunting, especially with soccer tryouts starting Monday morning.  The first thing she did was determine to add prayers into fasting about the injury.  Then we worked on the Healer's Blueprint to see if there were any underlying sources in the subconscious for the injury, and release them.  To that we added an Interface canopy, and also added some essential oils that came up on the Zyto Compass.  By Sunday evening, Libby said it hardly hurt at all.  We did the tuning forks again, and they didn't hurt!  She ended up going to practice on Monday morning, doing well the whole week, and making the team.  Not everybody is healed when they desire to be, but in this case, Heavenly Father saw fit to bless Libby!

Grandpa sold the farm, so we met with Gary & Heidi and Michelle to clean out the rest of the shed at the farm.  Bruce found an old childhood toy, a stuffed elephant.  Classic!

This brought back memories of three years ago, working together for a week to clean out Bruce's Mom and Dad's house.  This was much easier - this only took a few hours.
 These guys are good working companions!

On a serious note, it is sobering to say good-bye to the last physical place where we have a lot of memories of my mother-in-law, LuJeanne.  Actually, we still have the trailer for a few months until it can be sold, so that reminds me a lot of her too.  Good!  But still hard to say good-bye to the farm.  We have many, many good memories there.  And hard ones too - pulling hay in while the fireworks are going off on the 4th of July, being hot and tired, struggling to bring in hay or pull or lay pipe between activities at home.  And also over seven years, for six months of the year, Bruce has spent at least one night a week out at the farm irrigating, and hours and hours in general time taking care of the property.  Goodbye Thunder Creek Farm!

Yesterday we had company work party!

Mary, Peter, Libby and I went into Bruce's work and had a really fun time.  They had  food and games in a carnival style.  One game was a relay race  - pushing an old printer around, laying out some stacks of paper, and throwing some old boxes into garbage cans.  They set the record for the fastest time, twice!  Good work done!

Mary and I have been deep into wedding preparations this week!  So many details to take care of, but it's been fun to be with Mary.  She thanked me yesterday for not micro-managing her wedding, which was good to hear because I have tried not to do that, but it creeps in once in awhile, unawares.

I have found a new Independent Presidential Candidate that I like - Evan McMullin.  I'v spent some time researching him and seeing what he's all about.  I feel heartened that there may be someone I can vote for in good conscience.  Yeah!

We watched Inside Out last night (yeah for Vid Angel!), me for the first time.  I liked it, especially since I work with people recovering from trauma, and am intensely interested in how the brain works, and how emotions affect us.  I agreed with a lot of it, but did anyone else catch the fact that there was no room in Riley's life for God and religion?  There was a platform for family, friends, hockey, being goofy, but nothing about Jesus, nothing about Heavenly Father or the Holy Ghost.  What a loss!  It's completely incongruous to think that all Riley has to depend upon for her joy is some random emotions and memories.  No, it comes from the care of a loving God.  To find out more about him, click here.

I'm grateful beyond words, and want to share it with everyone, that we do having a loving Heavenly Father, and that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.  I love these verses from John, Chapter 5, verse 15, "I am the vine, ye are the branches:  He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."

Monday, August 8, 2016

Reflections on the Love of Self

I started out two months ago thinking I was going to give a lesson in Relief Society on loving yourself, because it breaks my heart to hear women speaking negatively of themselves.  I trumpeted this doctrine frequently - we need to love and accept ourselves, no matter what!  But, being a Relief Society lesson, I wanted to back it up with scriptures and Conference Talks, or in other words, the words of both ancient and modern prophets and apostles.  Wow - I couldn't find hardly anything about it - one little paragraph from Richard L. Evans in the 1960's and one verse in Psalms.  Other than the verse about loving your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39), it just wasn't there.  All the talks and scriptures were about loving God and loving your neighbor.(1)   Paul even went so far as to describe one of the evils of our day as, "men shall be lovers of their own selves (2 Timothy 3:2)"  I was so surprised by this, because it makes total sense to me that we should love our self.(2)  We are children of God, and his creations, are we not? And how do we love others if we don't love ourselves?

On the morning of my Relief Society lesson, I thought, "Well, I'm just going to have to pick another subject, because I'm beginning to suspect that loving yourself is a 'philosophy of men, mingled with scripture.'"  But the spirit whispered, "Look up self-worth or self-esteem", so I did, and that started me on an intense journey over the next two months! (3)

I was led to this talk by Elder F. Enzio Busche from Oct 1993 entitled Truth is the Issue.  I read this talk and everything started to make sense.  We have the "real me", created in innocence and beauty (4), in a life and death battle with "the flesh", or the natural man.  And then we come to the place where we discover our weakness and realize that we can do nothing without Christ.  I have returned to this talk over, and over and over during this two month journey. 

As I continued studying, I read this talk by Elder Neal A. Maxwell from Oct 1990 entitled Put Off the Natural Man, and Come Off Conqueror.  Almost the whole talk, Elder Maxwell talks about the natural man in the context of selfishness.  It led me to pondering about selfishness.  Selfishness means that we are trying to take care of "self".  The flesh, as Elder Busche said, in its unredeemed state is enticed and influenced by the enemy of God.  Satan espouses a scarcity mentality, which is that there is not enough to go around.  There are only so many pieces of the pie, so we have to take a piece before someone else gets it.  In other words it's the mentality that Korihor taught - a man prospers by his own genius and the "management of the creature (Alma 30:17)".  Being, therefore, enticed and influenced by this scarcity mentality, the natural man wants to take care of self.  Selfishness comes from some how, in some way, not feeling safe, not feeling secure.  So how do we overcome that?  How do we overcome that feeling of not feeling safe?

Here is what I am learning to do. I follow the admonition of Elder Busche when he says, "a disciple of Christ is therefore constantly, even in the midst of all regular activities, striving all day long, through silent prayer and contemplation to be in the depth of self awareness to keep him in the state of meekness and lowliness of heart."  When I become aware that the natural man is working in me (I am being acted upon, instead of acting - see 2 Nephi 2), I go into this space where I ask myself, "What about this is making me not feel safe?"  It's very interesting to see what I discover in that meditation.  And then the next question I ask myself is this: "Is there a higher way to meet that need?"  In other words, I have a need to feel safe, and my options are to have "self" take care of "self" - selfishness; or I could look higher and have faith in God that he will take care of me, and he will provide that safety and security that I need. When I break it down like that, the choice is a no-brainer!

When we come to an understanding of our nothingness before the Lord (because of the Fall and being connected to the natural man to test our agency), how easy it is to understand that only through Christ is this safety and security possible.

Jesus is the true vine.  He said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 5:15) Nothing!

M. Catherine Thomas, a former professor of ancient scripture at BYU put it this way, "What does the Lord mean by the nothingness of man? We recoil at the nothingness because we try so hard to overcome our feelings of unimportance.  But nothingness refers to man's state in this mortal sphere.  Nothingness describes not man's lack of value, but rather his powerlessness during his mortal probation and , especially, his all-encompassing need for the Lord.  Nothingness reminds us of the reductions we voluntarily subscribed to before the foundations of this world in order to come to earth and learn how to be taught from on high."  This quote is from a talk that Sister Thomas gave at a BYU Devotional that brought together all the elements of what I have been learning for the last two months.  I was thrilled to find i!  The talk is called The Doer of Our Deeds and the Speaker of Our Words.

Once we are connected to the true vine (through obedience to commandments and covenant making/keeping), then we are able to receive our nourishment, protection, and security from the vine.  And over time, we are able to bring forth much fruit.  In other words, we can produce - we can become something, even to where we can become powerful, using God's power.  Ammon in the Book of Mormon understood this kind of power.  Elder Maxwell said at the end of his talk Putting Off the Natural Man, "The Prophet Joseph promised that when selfishness is annihilated, we 'may comprehend all things, present, past , and future'."  What a promise!  He also says this in a talk given in April 1985 entitled Willing to Submit, " God's counsel aligns us and conjoins us with the great realities of the universe; whereas sin empties, isolates, and separates us, confining us to the solitary cell of selfishness.  Hence the lonely crowd in hell."  The ability to comprehend all things is a god-like power, which is at once a natural consequence and an exquisite gift, of overcoming the natural man with faith in Christ, and in time, becoming like Christ.  We will retain our own individuality, just as the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost have their own individuality, but we will become one in purpose with them.  We will become one with the gods.

This is the end goal, after all, to put our trust and faith so fully in God, that we are able to "lose our life" and then find it (Matthew 10:39).  Step by step, we choose God to take care of us, instead of trying to take care of ourselves - "self taking care of self".  
Step by step, we choose to receive God's perfect love for us, instead of trying to figure out how our "self" can love "self".  Elder Busche describes this beautifully in Truth is the Issue, "This is the place where we suddenly see the heavens open as we feel the full impact of the love of our Heavenly Father, which fills us with indescribable joy.  With this fulfillment of love in our hearts, we will never be happy anymore just by being ourselves or living our own lives.  we will not be satisfied until we have surrendered our lives into the arms of the loving Christ, and until He has become the doer of all our deeds and He has become the speaker of all our words."  

Eventually in this state, the subconscious mind will hold no secrets from the conscious mind - they will be in a state of harmony and resonance; there will be no hidden agenda, no false beliefs or any manner of being "acted upon".  We will fully act, and not be acted upon.  In addition, either through translation or resurrection, our spirits will be able to fully integrate with our bodies.  The Lord has promised, "spirit and element, inseparably connected receive a fullness of joy. (Doctrine & Covenants 93:33)"  And that joy comes from God being able to dwell in us.  Our being becomes a temple in which God can dwell.

On the other hand, those who do not overcome the natural man through Faith in Christ, are "acted upon" and their spirits change over time and become filthy, such that when they die they will remain "filthy still" (2 Nephi 9:16).  Since these spirits still need to be connected with the elements for a fullness of joy, Heavenly Father has arranged a telestial or a terrestial body for them, according to what their spirit has become.  A celestial body  awaits those who overcome the natural man and whose souls - body and spirit together - are ready to become a temple (see Doctrine & Covenants 88:28-31).

The ultimate give and receive cycle is the giving of our will, our instinct for self-preservation and carnal security; and then the receiving of God's love and his nourishment through the true vine, and the receiving of his power, such that we can produce good fruit.  The Lord instructs us in these words, "that which is governed by law is also preserved by law, and perfected and sanctified by the same. (Doctrine & Covenants 88:34, italics added)"  

In the end, the Lord says that after we are quickened, we will return to our own place and enjoy "that which we are willing to receive. (see D&C 88:32)"

To conclude, I no longer see loving myself as something that I seek after.  It is a natural byproduct of loving God, so it is present in me because he loves me, but I will no longer teach that it's necessary or use it as a marker of progress.  What I will seek after is becoming aware of my own nothingness, and me being a branch, connected to Jesus Christ and his Atonement as the true vine, and thus producing good fruit through his power.  I am willing (with a lifetime of practice needed) to give up my "self" loving "self" and let God do that instead.  He is, after all, much better perfect at it.

I have since been presented with a speech by Sister Cheryl C. Lant at BYU entitled God's Love in which loving yourself is specifically referenced.  I am in alignment with what she reflects in this talk, but I feel like the approach that M. Catherine Thomas takes in this talk is closer to how the scriptures speak of it.
2 I did understand that we should not love the natural man or be selfish, but I did not understand the extent to which that natural man was present in my life until I undertook this study.
3 At the time, I was doing searches in two apps: Gospel Library and LDS Citations.  I know now I need to include
4"Knowest thou not," the Prophet John Taylor wrote, "that thou are a spark of Deity, struck from the fire of his eternal blaze, and brought forth in the midst of eternal burning?" ("Origin, Object, and Destiny of Women,"The Mormon 3 (28): 3, 29 August 1857).