Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Religious Freedom - LDS Newsroom

I really liked what Elder Oaks had to say about this subject. People may think he is over-reacting and that the Church is over-reacting; one thing to remember is that the leaders of the LDS Church are not just talking about current effects. They are also talking about long-term effects that science will never be able to prove until something happens.

Religious Freedom - LDS Newsroom

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thanksgiving Came Early!!!

General Conference was absolutely incredible! It was a huge spiritual feast. Unfortunately, I ended up having to work Saturday and Sunday, so I was only able to catch the two morning sessions. However, thanks to the internet, I was able to catch up with the sessions I had missed. I wanted to just talk about some of my highlights. It was hard to choose which ones. These ones were the first to come to mind.

First of all, I really enjoyed Elder Ballard's talk in the Priesthood Session (about how sons should relate with their fathers and how fathers should related to their sons). While listening to it, I realized just how lucky I was to have a father who did what Elder Ballard was suggesting. My dad was a faithful member of the church who served where he was called, magnifying whatever calling he held. My dad made it a point to talk to us. My dad made it clear that he loved us children, that he loved our mom, and that he loved the Gospel. My dad always put our needs above his wants. Even though we may not have had the latest and greatest accessories or taken extravagant vacations, we had a strong family united in the Gospel. We children grew up in a home where the Priesthood was exercised on a regular basis. We grew up in a safe, constant, and structured environment. And our vacations were the best! Everywhere we went, we were together as a family, listening to fun vacation tapes with everything between The Rascals, The Association, and Chicago to Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Olivia Newton-John. Our top favorites were Sweet Dreams, Holiday by the BeeGees (I hated this song, but we still have fun memories), and many many others!

I believe he also spoke about showing our family members that we love them and not just saying we do (without showing it). This made me remember my brother's wedding and how I missed everyone after they all left. I realized I need to be better at showing my family I love them instead of just saying it.

Second talk: Pres Monson's talk during the Priesthood Session. The line that stood out the most to me was a quote he used that went like this: "'he who takes offense when no offense was intended is a fool!'" That was some great food for thought.

Another talk that I really enjoyed was by Elder Holland. He spoke with such power and authority that I was amazed! It was great to hear such a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. I have always enjoyed Elder Holland's talk, but this one was absolutely amazing! I know I need to be more diligent in reading and studying it than I have done in the past.

Needless to say, I really enjoyed conference and was very sad that I could not enjoy it with my family. I am anxious for the Ensign to come out in November so I have the chance to read the talks again!


Well, what can I say. Again, it has been quite awhile since my last post...and boy do I have a lot to report on! Let's start where I left off...

I returned home from DC, jobless and school-less (not complaining about the second). At first, it was nice to be able to come home and relax. I was able to reunite with my old friend Harry (who also introduced me to Jim Dale...HILARIOUS!!!!!) While searching for jobs, I read HP 1, 2, 3, and 4 and then listened to 5, 6, and 7. While listening to the last three, I worked on a quilt (which I really enjoyed! If you ever want a relaxing activity, I highly recommend it!) Anyway, I enjoyed that. So, while students everywhere were preparing for the beginning of another school year (high schoolers loosing all their extra free time to cause trouble; college students loosing all their hard-earned summer money on books and tuition), I was quilting/running/reading/searching for jobs. It was all very pleasant (except for the searching for jobs).

Anyway, highlights in the job search began to pop up when different agencies called me for interviews. This really made my day; I felt positive about my prospects. I had interviews at a few different IHC locations as well as with Valley Mental Health. All I knew was that I wanted a full-time job doing something that I liked (full-time because I did need money and I really wanted benefits...especially with the piggy pukes--thanks Ben for the name--on the rise and my fun little tradition of getting the flu/food poisoning on Thanksgiving). To my consternation (he he) the majority of my interviews were for part-time/on call positions. Even with the full-time job interviews, the first question I was always asked was "are you applying for the full-time or the part-time position?"

Well, the interviews went well, for the most part. One interview included a Spanish speaking portion. Because I was not prepared with the vocabulary aspect, I scored what my friend Harry would call a D for Dreadful (maybe even a T for Troll!) It was horrible and I am in no way being too hard on myself. I left that job interview (which was the one I really wanted) convinced I would not get the job. When I told my parents, they responded that I should always be hopeful. Interestingly enough, I got the job I wanted with IHC!!!!!! I cannot tell you how excited I was about that. The offer came within 5 minutes of another job offer (which was only part-time). I consider myself very blessed! I also give a shout-out to my parents who put up with a very grumpy son.

Anyway, with the new job came a lot of changes. First of all, I moved (and now I really miss being home!) Second of all, I HAVE INSURANCE!!!!!!! I am so excited. Third, I have a paycheck that allows me to meet my needs (none of this $8/hr business). Fourth, and for the first time, I have my own car insurance! This is all so interesting and new for me. My parents are also experiencing some change. It's like they had a rich uncle die and leave them an inheritance ;). All I can say is that I am a very lucky person to have parents who are willing to help me with my needs. They are willing to sacrifice their own wants to help myself or my siblings!

Other big brother got married! It was an exciting time! He married a fantastic bride and we are all excited to have her as part of our family! (I'm going to see if I can write this entire paragraph with exclamation points!) It was really fun because my sister and her husband came out from back east and my brother and his wife and family came up from down south. The only drawback was my other brother and his family were unable to make it. While we missed them, we still enjoyed being with the rest of the family. I do admit, though, that Sunday morning, after everyone had left and it was just me and my parents, all the excitement and anticipation turned into nostalgia and homesickness (even when I was at home! Interesting, I know!) Frodo said it best when, after going back home to the Shire, he says in his monologue "How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back?" Even when all of my siblings (minus one) were all here, together with their families (again, minus 4), things will never be like they were when we were all growing up. I guess that's one of the reasons God provided the way for memories. However, as much as I miss life growing up with my siblings, and as much as I would love to go back in time and spend more time with them than I did, I would never take that chance. I've gained two more brothers and three more sisters, along with 12 nieces and nephews (and more on the way). Our family is still not complete! Instead of "pick[ing] up the threads of an old life", I go on weaving those old threads with the threads of a life that is improving and progressing. My biggest support is the knowledge that I will be with my family forever, even if we don't get to be together now. It also helps that my family and I have strong ties that keep us unified no matter how far away we are from each other.

Wow, that was a long, long narrative!

Anyway, the wedding was wonderful!

Well, I do believe this post has gone long enough. I am going to have to write another one to finish everything I wanted to share. I'm sure I've lost the majority of readers at the beginning. Anyway, all I have to say is don't loose time; spend it with those you love! You'll never regret spending time with those you love and those who love you.


"[Confucius] taught that the country which develops the finest music, the grandest poetry, and the noblest moral ideals--that is, the country with the most exalted culture--will always yield the greatest power in the world."

-Letters from the Jade Dragon Box by Gale Sears

"Who is such a reprobate as I! And yet it seems that even I am in Somebody's hand!'

-Mr. Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge

"...[T]he magnitude of [life] is not as to [one's] external displacements, but as to [one's] subjective experiences."

-Thomas Hardy in Tess of the d'Urbervilles

"...I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed--because 'Thou mayest.'"

-Lee in East of Eden