Thursday, October 22, 2009

You're There...



In the ordinary aspects of life:
When I wake up
As I walk to class
While I sit at my desk

You're there...

As I seek to do the things I love to relax:
Horseback ride
Drive
Read

You're there...

When I attend the things that make me think:
Church
School
Work

You're there...

Thanks.

Friday, October 16, 2009

17 Pounds

Don't worry, this post isn't a musing over weight loss; although 17 pounds would be nice to lose :).

Instead, 17 pounds refers to the weight limit the Mormon Pioneers had when they crossed the plains by handcart. This included pots, pans, blankets, clothes and special possessions (music boxes, inherited vases, china, etc).

A description of this experience from Gerald Lund's novel, Fire of the Covenant, touched my heart as I was reading it last night:

"Maggie had known about the seventeen-pound limit before they ever left Scotland. She thought she had culled out everything that she could bear to leave behind. But now as she eyed the two stacks she had mad--one for discard, one for taking--the one looked pitifully small, the other unbelieveably large. Taking a deep breath, she started through the larger stack one more time. Out went her favorite dress. She had bought a year ago, one of the few times she had spent her wages on herself...after another five minutes of agonizing, it came down to two things. There was a brass looking glass that James [her boyfriend] had given her for Christmas last year...or the plain wooden music box, a gift from her
decesased father."

As Maggie went to weigh her things "The scales reversed with a heavy thud. The pan with the weights swung slowly back and forth in the air. The other pan rested heavily on the ground" revealing the weight of her precious possesions was too high. "She reached for the handle of the looing glass and pulled it out
from between her clothing. For a moment she thought the scales might come in balance. The lower pan lifted for a moment, but then hung silently about an inch above the ground." She was still too heavy. "Her shoulders lifted and fell, but without hestitations she reached out and took off the music box. The scales did not come into perfect alignment but the weigher declared, "that's enough."

Could you imagine traveling thousands of miles from Scotland, giving up your native land, home, friends and family; and then sitting on the edge of the wilderness and told, "No, you cannot take the precious music box your father gave to you."

Oftentimes, I believe we think we know what it means to sacrifice. Yet, after reading this story I have realized sacrifice means more than giving of your time and talents. More importantly, sacrifice is to give up the things you love the most, to obtain the greater unseen things God has for you.



It's never easy, but always worth it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Culture

Experiencing culture...who defines it? what makes it a true culture?

Perception. Interpretation. Context. Meaning.

During my communication theories class today we examined the barriers often imposed because of culture. The poor say there are too many rich, the rich say there are too many poor--the whites have too much power, the blacks too little. Men work, women work and then cook, clean, etc....

Or so they say. Who says? They: a generic grouping of people who we blame life's confusions on--an answer as easy to give as blinking subconsciously.

My answer however is different, and its my question to the world:

WHEN ARE WE GOING TO LET PEOPLE JUST BE PEOPLE?

From my international experience in Brazil, I realized people are different but very much the same. Parents still worry about their kids, teenagers are well versed in the latest movies and bands, church leaders are worried about helping their congregations become better individuals.

I guess whenever I hear these defining attributes of this or that, I am sadden because it pulls us away from our true identities. Paul said in the New Testament, "The Spirit itself bearth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God."

That includes all the people on earth--we're family, brothers and sisters. God is our Father, we are His children. Such a view brings a greater light and hope to a stereotypical world and banishes the heartless "they" syndrome.

The fact of the matter is, it is also better to listen and to seek to understand, then to pass judgement and be indifferent.

Just a truthful thought for ya'll.

Monday, October 12, 2009

To Be or Not to Be:

SELFISH

1. devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

2. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives.

Since President Monson's amazing What Have I Done for Someone Today talk, I have found myself in the realization of how easy it is to become selfish in day to day activities:

  • Get up
  • Eat Breakfast
  • Go to Work
  • Study for School
  • Go Home
  • Eat
  • Sleep

Yet the truthful thought of such a lifestyle is that is it ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE. Such a life is lived with no motive, love or desire for good.

Consider the following scenarios:

  • An honor student with an notable GPA claims the Summa Cum Laude award vs. an honor student who helps his/her friend pass a chemistry test.


  • An employee who is concerned about getting to the top vs. an employee who seeks to build up a positive work environment by fostering good employee relations


  • A Christian who knows of Christ vs. a Christian who lives a Christlike life.

You see, selfishness is a result of a natural tendency to live life, "just because." President Monson said, "We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step back, however, and take a good look at what we’re doing, we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the “thick of thin things.” In other words, too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, neglecting those more important causes."

I have found that life have so much more meaning when it is spent in the service of others. I love the scripture found in Proverbs 3:27


"Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it."


So the question becomes, to Be or Not to Be:

CHARITABLE

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