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

As a Healer’s Blueprint Certified Practitioner, I think a lot about the subconscious mind, and how it relates to the conscious mind and the higher self, and also how all these concepts relate to the scriptural terms of the spirit, the body, and the natural man.  What exactly compromises “self”?  And how do we learn to love and accept that “self”, no matter what?

As we all do as practitioners, we work with a lot of people who speak very negatively of themselves, and we work on discovering the underlying sources and releasing them, so they can love themselves.  In that process, I have come back to the first question, “What exactly is ‘self’’?”  Because I care deeply about truth, and believe there is a universal truth that does not change with the whims or philosophies of men, I wanted to find the truth of what the self is, and how do we come to love our “self”?

Interestingly, other than the verse about loving your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39), there isn’t a whole lot in the words of ancient or modern prophets having to do with loving yourself.  Actually, hardly anything.  All the talks and scriptures I could find 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 general lack of reference from words of the prophets about loving yourself, because it makes total sense to me that one should love oneself.2  We are children of God, and his creations, are we not? And how do we love others if we don't love ourselves?  Asking questions about this started me on an intense journey of scripture study and prayer.

I was led to a talk by F. Enzio Busche from Oct 1993 entitled Truth is the Issue.  I read this talk and everything started to make sense.  He explains that in mortality, we have the "real me", created in innocence and beauty3, in a life and death battle with "the flesh", or the natural man.  In time, through fighting this battle, we come to the place where we discover our weakness and realize that we can do nothing without Christ.  

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.

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."4

As I continued studying, I read a talk by Neal A. Maxwell from Oct 1990 entitled Put Off the Natural Man, and Come Off Conqueror.  Almost the whole talk, 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".  Busche said that the flesh, in its unredeemed state, is enticed and influenced by the enemy of God.  One of the enticings that the flesh falls prey to is a scarcity mentality, which Satan espouses.  This scarcity mentality 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, which by definition is selfishness.  The root of selfishness is that somehow, in some way, there is a sense of not feeling safe, not feeling secure.  This is exactly in line with what we learn about the subconscious mind as well.  The subconscious mind is all about survival and security.  

So how do we overcome that?  How do we overcome that feeling of not feeling safe?  How do you teach your subconscious mind that it can be safe?

Here is what I am learning to do. I follow the admonition of 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."  In the depth of self awareness we become aware that our subconscious mind is running the show, or in other words, the natural man is working in us.  The Healer’s Blueprint and muscle testing give us added insight into the workings of the subconscious, or the natural man.  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!

To me, having faith in God means being connected to Jesus Christ.  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!

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.  

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 - the two 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 fulness of joy” (D&C 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 beautiful and innocent 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 terrestrial 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 D&C 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.” (D&C 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.

1 I have since been presented with a speech by 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"Knowest thou not," 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).

4 This quote is from a talk that Thomas gave at a BYU Devotional that brought together all the elements of what I had been learning.  I was thrilled to find i!  The talk is called The Doer of Our Deeds and the Speaker of Our Words.

Happy Birthday to Josh!

Josh and Joseph flew out to Virginia this week to work with their friend Jeremy.  They are contracting with a power company to install energy saving things in people's homes.

The morning they left, we had a an early birthday celebration for Josh.  Andrew and Russ were here and we had a French Toast breakfast.  Josh is 24 years old!  It really doesn't seem like I'm old enough to have a son that old.  Jesse gave this picture to her ward mission leader to send to Josh.  Happy Birthday son!

Thankfully we will get to see them briefly in a few weeks when they fly home for Mary's wedding!

I snapped a random photo of this "sibling hangout".  Things like this add to the joy of life.

We had Peter's 16th Birthday party this week.  He and his friends ate pizza, played lots of games, including Dwarves, Knights and Wizards - a favorite family game, and then ate cake and ice cream.  They ended up with a game of fugitive, sardines, and who knows what else.  It was a great group of kids to have over at our house.

Mary & Kevin made their first major purchase in buying a washer and dryer this week!

Jill got married to Justin!  We went to their reception on Saturday night and had fun there. (Sorry this picture is so blurry.)

We went to visit our former next door neighbors in their new house.  Sharon designed the home herself, so it was fun to see her design mind at work.  They built a masonry fireplace right in the middle of a great room, and it will heat their whole house in the winter.  It was awesome - we are really interested in doing something like that.  When we went into Tori's room, Sharon pointed out this picture frame on Tori's shelf:

Of course that made me cry!

Today we went over to Jay and Leah's while the house was being shown, and had ice cream with fresh peaches, raspberries and blackberries.  Wow - so yummy!  We sang lots of songs around their piano and visited and talked.  Jay, Leah, Bruce and I went out for a walk on the dirt road behind their house to see the new little calf.  We got to see the sun setting across those beautiful fields, and smell the fresh scent of the country.  Oh, how I love that.

I taught Relief Society today.  It was all about seeking to love the Lord and feel his love for us, instead of the cheap substitute of trying to have our "self" take care of "our self", and loving our self. Not that we shouldn't love ourselves, we should, but instead of seeking to "love ourselves", it comes much easier as a byproduct of first loving the Lord and letting His love fill our hearts.  And we retain this love by staying in meekness and lowliness of heart through the day, recognizing our nothingness before the Lord.  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."

Monday, August 1, 2016

Joseph and Becca are Engaged to be Married!

What an incredible week we've had as a family!  But first the highlights:

Peter turned 16!

We had our annual Family Pack Trip this week.

Joseph and Becca are engaged to be married!

And the ward mission leader in Jesse's ward sent us this photo today.


And what a post!  Each of these deserves an individual post on this blog, so I'll just add a few more pictures for each and then dedicate some more time later on.

On Monday morning, Peter got up at 5:30 and went and picked up his friends (Seth, Jacob, Sarah, Eliza, Peter, Sarah, and Addley) to go watch the sunset on the roof of Sarah K's house.  Then they came over and had French Toast for breakfast at our house.
Fun group to have at our home!

On Wednesday morning early, we left for our Family Pack trip!  We had Bruce & I, Josh, Joseph and Becca, Peter, Libby and Nic with us. 

Mary & Kevin came the next day.

This is the first time we've ever had anyone else on our pack trip besides our family.  The long-standing tradition was that before anyone got married, they had to bring their intended up on the pack trip - just to make sure it would be all right!  And it was wonderful to have Becca and Kevin with us!  Nic got to come along because he helped Joseph so much with the proposal - and because he is pretty much a part of our family anyway.  He was wonderful to have along too!

The highlight of the pack trip was that Joseph proposed to Becca and she said yes!

Joseph and Nic hiked in the week before and brought in a guitar, a picnic basket, a blanket, etc for a beautiful picnic!  I'll have to post more pictures later, but it was a beautiful proposal and we're so happy that they are engaged!  We love Becca like our own already, and to have it be one step closer to being official brings us great joy!

The only person missing on our pack trip was Jesse, and I am so grateful to the Lord for this tender mercy - that she was having a very rewarding weekend herself!  Jesse has been talking about Jose and Kyla for some time now.  These are some of the things she has said about them:

July 4 Sister Clegg and I went and taught the S________ family. They are wonderful! At our lesson earlier in the week they told Leah (7) to tell us what she said about primary. At first I thought it was going to be a bad thing because Jose said that she said she felt a little weird. But she said, "When I was singing the songs in primary I felt something inside me tell me that I was doing a good thing." YES! It was awesome. Her mom, Kyla, started to cry. It was awesome- they said that she used to go to a church with her Grandparents but she never came back as happy as she did when she went to church last Sunday. They weren't able to come yesterday because they were out of town, but they were so, so sad and they are really looking forward to next week. Jose's only real concern is about having modern prophets. Because of that I've been studying a lot about prophets. It's amazing to me that the answers are always there, but they only come to those who ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK. They come to those who truly search. God doesn't give them on a golden platter- he wants us to seek them out for ourselves. So many people claim that they didn't find the answers that they were looking for, when really they just didn't truly search for them.

July 11 The S_______ family is doing great! They all came to church Sunday and they looked so happy! 

July 18  Kyla and Jose came to church again today. He is really struggling with his testimony of the Book of Mormon and Prophets. I'm having such anxiety! I feel like it's going to be Randy all over again, where it seemed like they were so prepared and then all the sudden everything falls apart. It's been really hard for me to accept the possibility of that happening. I have to remember and realize that everything needs to happen in the Lord's time. He knows what's best. 

July 25 Jose and Kyla were getting interviewed to be baptized!! Kyla passed and is getting baptized this Saturday! We are so excited for her. Jose needs more time, but I have no doubt that he'll feel ready very soon and then they can be an eternal family!! They love the idea of being together forever. It's refreshing to see a father and mother-led family in a world where marriage is becoming just something you do when you feel like it and it's convenient! They are great.
And Jesse sent this picture on July 25th of her and her companion playing with the two little girls:

And then this pictures this week on July 31!

What a wonderful end to a wonderful week.  We have been wonderfully blessed of the Lord and we acknowledge his hand and tender mercies in our lives!