Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On Trial

Have I mentioned, and you know that I have, that I don't understand why my life is so good? I mean, aside from being old and fat and creaky, my life is really good. Sure, I'd like to be rich and semi-famous, thinner, more gorgeous and with a mind like a steel trap, as I was when this picture was taken. Oh, yes, and with the best selling novel in the bag.

Other than those superficial things, there is very little I would change about my life. Ronald darling and I are getting older, but then, so are you! But we had a head start, so we are getting closer, in 30 or 40 years, to the end. But, I look at other people's trials that are so difficult, and wonder why my life does not seem to be a trial. I have friends with grave health problems, without work for months, dealing with deaths in their families, with wayward children and sin.

And I don't have major issues. I'm not going to confess my sins; I have them, but I'm working on them. We could be healthier, but we are working on that as well. So why don't we have major trials? Not that I want them, mind you. I just keep asking, "Why not me?"

Maybe the Lord won't give me huge problems because he knows I couldn't handle them - or because I could so I don't need them. Maybe I'm so good that I deserve a care-free life. Yeah, right! Or maybe I have trials, but I'm coping with them so well that I don't realize that they are there. Possibly the Lord is helping me carry them, so that I don't feel the weight.

So what is the purpose of trials? To strengthen us, to teach us and to encourage us to lean on the Lord. I found this poem that gives some insight. It's written from the perspective of a man, in the 19th century, trying to decide why he had been born black, when his race was a trial. It is from a play called I Am Jane, written about early members of the LDS church.

"I feel, Sister Jane, that ours is:
Not a curse but a gift t'us,
The best path we could seek
A place where God can lift us
We kneel; our knees is weak

And when one of us is kneelin',
We understand his fears.
We know what all us is feelin'
We cry each other's tears.

That's just what Jesus done
For all us human folk.
He agreed to come get born
To feel ev'ry pain and poke.

So's he could understand us,
What it is to be a slave.
So's he could get beneath us
And push us outa the grave

Would you rather be the massa
or the Roman with his whip?
Would you rather nail the Savior-
Put vinegar to his lip?

Or learn the lessons of sufferin'-
How we nothin' without grace.
Jesus, he give us a callin'
He gifted us our race."

The Lord has gifted us all our trials, even the ones that we don't recognize as trials. And they are blessings, even though they may not feel like blessings.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Who Leads the Lambs Away?

Isn't it strange, I've had this poem since last May. It was used in a Relief Society lesson by my visiting teacher. I was so struck by it, that I asked her to get me a copy. It was from a talk given by Elder Banks in 1999. It's interesting that you can hear something over and over, and then at some point you get that Ah-Ha moment. So this scripture, Matthew 18:1-13 inspired this poem by C C Miller.

Twas a sheep not a lamb that strayed away
In the parable Jesus told,
A grown-up sheep that strayed away
From the ninety and nine in the fold.

And why for the sheep should we seek
And earnestly hope and pray?
Because there is danger when sheep go wrong;
They lead the lambs astray.

Lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
Wherever the sheep may stray.
When sheep go wrong, it won't take long
Til the lambs are as wrong as they.

And so with the sheep we earnestly plead
For the sake of the lambs today,
For when sheep are lost, what a terrible cost
The lambs will have to pay.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Facebook Friendliness

I have 285 Facebook friends. Really!
I have friends that are family, friends in my ward (congregation), former missionaries who served in my ward, friends in my former wards, friends who serve with me at the temple, friends from high school, friends from work, friends from my former job, people who I barely remember, and a few that are in the"how did they get on my list" category.
I use Facebook primarily for church work and family contacts, but for some reason, I read all of the wall posts that pop up every day. It's interesting, fun and sometimes sad.
Like many of you (however many of you there are who read my blog and do Facebook), I have heard about engagements, breakups, marriages and constant relationship upheavals. I've read about births, deaths, pregnancies, miscarriages, illness, surgery and accidents.
I am amazed at the personal details people are willing to put out for all the world to see. They fight with their significant other, and all the details are there. They go out and get snockered, and all the details go right on the wall. Pictures of new babies, new cars, new pets, new toys and surgical scars.
I share some of those things as well, but only in private messages, not posted on the wall for 285 friends, Romans, countrymen and strangers to see.
And then, a couple of weeks ago, I saw this wall post.
"When ur elbows have fat rolls u might have a problem."
Now that's a true statement. I understand, even though my elbows have fat rolls. But did this person really intend to hurt my feelings? She didn't, by the way. Hurt my feelings, I mean. But she has 185 friends, surely some of them are not svelt. One shot back a little - I'm heavy but I'm going to LOL response, and one of her friends 'liked' her post.
Face book feels anonymous, even though your name is right there for all the world to see. The world is a very out there, reality show kind of place. Perhaps if we want privacy, we should keep things a little more private. Just sayin'.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

He Just Gets Better!

You know I've got this guy, right? Ronald darling? Yeah, him!

He has some good qualities, a few anyway. He makes the best brownies in the world. He cuts roses for me from the garden. He does most of the cooking and cleaning and laundry. Of course, he's retired and has a little more time for it. But he doesn't particularly like the way I dress, and he was brave enough to say it.

Actually, he's been saying it for a couple of years. Something about everything I wear looks like every other thing I wear. And he's right. Saturday he just insisted that I go shopping and replace my wardrobe. I didn't want to do it, I hate shopping! I don't like the way I look and I don't like looking at myself in the mirror. Most days anyway. But I agreed; I was going shopping, but for some reason, he didn't trust me. He expected that I would come back with more stuff that looked exactly the same. Probably right. He went with me. We shopped for four hours. Four hours, for crying out loud!
So this is what we got. Two dresses, three skirts, five blouses and two jackets. And two pair of shoes. Now I have to go through what I have, figure out what needs to get pitched and then shop for the rest of the wardrobe. Who knows, maybe I will learn to like shopping. And spending money!

So, when you see me and I'm wearing something different, remember, it's Ronald darling's fault! And if I look good, try not to sound surprised when you say it. LOL

Sunday, May 22, 2011

This May Have Come Up a Time or Two Before

I love to sing. Really? Yeah, really! You may have heard it a time or twelve before; I love it.

A few weeks ago, six sisters sang in Sacrament meeting. I loved hearing them, loved the feeling that they brought to the meeting. It was sweet and lovely. I'd been watching them practice for weeks. They wanted to make sure that the notes were right, the harmony was right, the words were right and that the spirit was right. Also, they wanted to make sure that they didn't make any major mistakes or look foolish in front of friends and family. Trust me, I know. I've been there and done that!

As you know, I've been around for decades. The first time I ever remember going into a church, was when I was nine; a friend invited me to go to church with her. Who knew Presbyterians did missionary work? My folks weren't thrilled with the idea, but couldn't think of a good reason to refuse, so I went. I don't remember anything about the church service, but my friend sang in the children's choir and asked if I'd like to sing, too. Again, see my parents response two sentences ago.

And then , one Sunday, the children's choir sang. I thought my parents would love to come, but they did not want to come hear me sing for the first time in public. Not because they didn't love me - they did! They just did not want to go to church! They did come to hear me, but reminded me before and after that they would not be coming whenever I sang. Just so I'd know!

And that's the way it's been; I've been singing in choirs, school and church, ever since. Holy cow, that's more than 50 years! And for many of those years, I also sang with a group of five other sisters in the church. We'd sing at Christmas, in regular Sacrament meetings and at funerals. If a special musical number was needed, we did it. We were the go to gals. The sisters who sang a few weeks ago reminded me so much of that earlier crew.

So Jane, Mabel, Rosemarie, Laurie and Mary - sure miss you!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Up the Down Elevator

Really? Two months since I last blogged? Blogged, is that even a word? How long can I keep asking questions? An interesting experience on the elevator the other day. The building I work in has the most modern tech-y elevator in town. There is no Up or Down button to operate the thing. You approach the elevator and push the floor number that you want to reach. This might be a little tricky if the building had 140 floors, but it only has 11, counting the lower level and the lower lower level. So you push the button to make the elevator take you to your floor. The panel tells you which elevator is going to take you there, A, B, C or D. The door opens, you get on and you don't push anything else. The elevator is going to your floor. Of course, if you got on the wrong one, just following the crowd, it is going to take you to the floor it planned all along. There is nothing you can do to change it. So, when you are starting out the day, riding with people you don't know, you have a choice. Complete silence, or meaningless chit chat. I usually go for the latter. You know, the weather, enthusiasm for the new week, the yearning for the weekend. Strictly bland stuff. And then there is the bon mot to those you leave behind as you step off the elevator. I try to rotate the following: have a nice day, have a great day, have fun. But the other day, I wanted something different. Optional phrases were whipping through my mind and we were approaching my floor. What to say, what to say? And then it came to me! "Once more unto the breach!" I was so proud, I knew that it was worthy of the literary brilliance award. I mean, who quotes Shakespeare at 8:00 in the morning? But, no award. I may have literary brilliance, but the woman who followed me onto the floor had me beat. She said with a huge smile, "It's show time!" Drat! For that moment, it was more brilliant! My intellectual snobbery was crushed again! Next time, I'm going to say, "Have fun storming the castle."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Something Else I Want

It's silly, but sometimes I want what I want, even though I don't need it, don't have to have it and already have one that's almost as good.

For some reason, appliances fall into this category. I bought a hugely expensive, excellent vaccuum cleaner that can suck the dust mites out of your innersping mattress and make your furnace filters as good as new (maybe). It was in my house, in the possession of a door to door salesperson and I had to have it. She demonstrated, it was wonderful, I didn't have a vaccuum and didn't pay attention to the fact that it weighed a ton and didn't have power steering. So I bought it, persuaded Ronald darling that we really really needed it and now he's the one who uses it. Sigh. I didn't really need it.

When I got married, a few decades ago, I wanted a mixer - not a hand mixer, but a stand mixer. I got a Sunbeam Mixmaster, just like my mama's and it was great. Except I kept letting the spatula slip into the beaters and bending them a bit. But they straightened out, pretty much and it was great. It had clear glass bowls, so you could see if you were done mixing. But eventually the bowls broke and the beaters bent beyond repair and I went back to the hand mixer. Eventually, I got a KitchenAid and thought I'd died and gone to heaven. The bowl is stainless so it won't break... although I can't see through it to make sure that I'm done mixing. Like my vaccuum, I'm sure it will last until I die or sometime thereafter. It is strong, it is invincible, it is (ideal for a) woman.

But I want a new one. A new KitchenAid. Actually, I want this KitchenAid.

The Pioneer Woman gave two away this week and will give two away next week. She only had 66,222 entries last week, surely all of them will have given up, and I'll be the only entry, right?
But if I win, what will I do with the one I have now? I suppose I could give it to Ronald darling, he does most of the baking anyway. But somehow, his and hers KitchenAids seems just a little over the top. His and hers Jags make complete sense, but mixers? Nyuh-uh.
So here is my solemn promise. If I win one of these mixers, I will take my fully functional mixer to the next Nickel Auction that my friends have and sell it there.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Have I Told You Lately...

That Ronald darling is a prince among men? No? Really? Huh. Go figure.

Okay, perhaps that is a bit over the top; but he is really great.* We have been having a very cold winter, you may have noticed. It is exactly the kind of winter I expected we'd be having back when I was in grade school. The teachers were very clear; we should expect cold winters as adults. The reason, of course, was the advancing glaciers, the ice age that was coming. So, we've had a cold and precipitous winter. Our car sits on a concrete slab next to our home, not garaged and not even car-ported. The snow and sleet and ice all hit it, while it just sits there shivering and cowering. And every morning, Ronald darling goes out and warms up the car before I leave for work. See, I told you he was a nice guy!*

This morning, it was worse... about 8 steady hours of sleet and freezing rain landed on our car during the night. I woke up during the night, about 12:30 or 1:00 and it sounded like a summer rain storm. We have a metal roof, so the sound reverberates in the house. It was pouring down freezing rain and/or sleet, just like a summer gully washer.

This morning, the car was encapsulated. Ronald darling asked when I planned on leaving. Forty five minutes prior to that time, he went out to salt the walks, scrape the car windows, and warm up the engine and interior. When he had every thing cleared off, he got in the car and drove it out to the highway to make sure that the streets in the complex and the roads to the highway were passable. And it took him all of that time, three quarters of an hour to make it possible for me to leave safely. Scraping and shovelling and all. See?*

And then I got the lecture. "Be careful, watch out, check your brakes, don't follow to close, watch out for the other guy, don't go too fast, keep an assured clear distance. And be careful!"**

*Don't tell him I said so!
**But, he's still terrific!*

Monday, January 3, 2011

Key Boarding

I took piano lessons when I was a kid; I almost remember my teacher's name. She was a very nice woman and very patient. She had to be, trust me! I had a couple of recitals and used to play while my sister sang in family talent shows. I liked it, but the piano did not go with us to Morocco when I was 10. I continued to play when possible, and when we got stateside again, we had another piano, but few lessons after that. So, I am not great on the piano or the organ. Utilitarian at best. I can play most of our hymns if they don't have too many moving parts, sharps or flats.
We were in a branch a few years ago and for much of the time I was the only person who could play any keyboard for any purpose. We had a piano in the primary room and a sort of organ in the chapel. The organ had two manuals, but no foot petals. There was an instruction booklet that came with it. Helped me set the tones and had fingering suggestions. Since I was also choosing the hymns each week, I managed not to embarrass myself too much.
I loved playing the sort of organ and really got fairly good on technique. Fortunately there were no foot petals.
I would do anything to play better.... except practice. sigh

But here is someone who has spent a little bit of time practising. He is absolutely amazing!

I know, it's a Christmas song, but I'll make it the last one for this season.