Saturday, October 28, 2006

Masters of disguise

We went to a costume party tonight. I wish we would have taken more pictures so you could see how cool we really were. Though neither of our outfits were completely homemade, we both had homemade elements that took a good portion of my week. All in all I'd say we had the best outfits there. Unfortunately you can't see my 6 in. high red Chinese hooker shoes...Velcro and all. You also can't really see Matt's sword holder we spent 3 hours on last night. It turned out splendidly.

Fred and Wilma Flinstone were pretty good though. There were also "drug dealers" (they didn't dress up), "white trash" (they both wore trash bags), a flapper and old school detective, and Kerry before his face lift. He had a "Vote for Kerry" button on earlier, but had thrown it away by this picture.
We'll probably dress up for Halloween, so maybe we'll take more pictures then.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Interesting possibilities on the horizon

Today I was looking for jobs on Craig's List, and I found a very exciting job possibility. I just got off the phone with the contact. She's 3 1/2 weeks away from having a baby. She's a dance teacher and will be returning to teaching in January. I'm not sure what he does, but he's a "professional". Soooo, they're looking for a nanny 40 hours a week. Since she's a teacher I'd have all holidays off. Fabulous.

They would want the nanny to start part time in December to help transition and get the baby ready for the change. Starting January 2nd it would be full time. The hours would fit my schedule almost perfectly (I think we can rearrange Matt's schedule a smidge to make it work out perfectly). The pay/hr. is better than what I have now.

She sounded very nice and cool. I'm meeting them on November 11th. It sounded like she liked me, and though I've never had "nanny experience" my large family experience, teaching experience and college major were in my favor. I forgot to tell her I was a cook for 2 1/2 years. She thought it was a bit amazing I'd been married for 3 years and was only 25.

Exciting. Very exciting. I sure hope this works out.

A tangled, itchy mess

I almost never have a "honey-do" list of things I want done around the house. I generally have more time on my hands and I enjoy figuring new things out, so I figure, why not just do it myself?

But I draw the line at electrical work, wiring, and anything having to do with cable cutting. (My hair's already frizzy enough without mild electrocution, and I would not put electrocution past me.)

Our little living room has been a wee bit pinched up front with the arrival of my piano. The only wall long enough to accommodate the piano happens to be the same wall that is now the home of our top-of-the-line, 13-inch TV/VCR combo. Though they both fit, everything looks out of place and cramped; so I've set my sights on rearranging our living room.

Early on I noticed we have a second cable jack in the living room. It's a perfect new location for the TV (in my opinion) because it's easily viewable from the kitchen. (I do the majority of my TV watching while making dinner or doing dishes). I figured out how to fit everything else in while maximizing the space in the room.

Then I noticed a big problem. The cable jack didn't work. Upon that discovery I enlisted Matt in yet another home renovation project.

We climbed up in our attic for the first time since move in, to find a tangled, unlabeled mess of cables surrounded by gobs of open insulation. We did a little investigative work and figured out which cables went to what rooms; sadly, we were unable to locate the cable for the second living room jack. Not wanting to dig around in the itchy insulation, we tried a different approach.

As we unscrewed the face plate, we found that the cable was not attached, crimped, or ready for use. There was a cable hanging in the wall, but the geniuses that built the house left it up to us, the homeowners, to hook up if we were so daring. Because this cable looked different than the others, we were able to locate its other end. It was in a wall box with about 8-9 other cable ends in our laundry room labeled, "tecCenter: Digital networking solutions". Those cables were also left unfinished and uncrimped, rendering them useless.

Now this little Tech Center, once we figured out what it was for, could be a really cool system. It's pretty much a giant splitter for the entire house's cable system. Every room in our house could be controlled by the little box in our laundry. If it were finished. Which it's not.

The only logical explanation for this that the first owners, who had the house built to their specifications, went with dish network so they figured it unnecessary to hook things up for cable. Lame. If it were actually usable it would be a great tool so you never have to climb around on beams, dodge insulation, and rummage through unlabeled cables in the attic. Once again: If it were usable. Which it's not.

Matt's interested in purchasing cripmers and thinks he can get everything up and running in due time. Who am I to stop him?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Avoid the Appearance: Svithe

As LDS sayings go, "avoid the appearance of evil" is probably one of the most frequently heard. Although I think it is good to avoid looking like you're doing something evil when you're in actuality not, I've decided its far worse to be actually doing something evil and making it look like you are, in fact, doing something good.

I've noticed that when we have friends over, I'm inevitably doing some last minute cleaning before guests arrive to make it look like I am the perfect goddess of a wife that can keep a straight house. Dishes are quickly whisked into the dishwasher. Randomly strewn shoes and socks are placed in their proper locations. Sweeping, clutter control, dusting, and bed making can also take place in my 10 minute last ditch effort. As I began thinking about my motives, it made me wonder if what I was doing was wrong. Do I want to appear to be the perfect house cleaning goddess? Or do I actually want a clean house and figure that that's as good a time as any? I really do love to have a clean house. I just struggle getting everything done all the time. But it did make me stop and think.

So I say, "Avoid the appearance of good for appearance sake." I think the Lord would much rather we actually be good than appear good. This can apply to many very serious situations (such as abuse in all its ugly forms), but I'll keep it light for now.

Who wants to be the nice, shiny, delicious looking apple if you have rotted from the inside? Not me. I want to be the succulent and deliciously crisp apple with a slight hint of tart (to keep things interesting).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We do hard things

I've been working with my piano students for about a month now. I really haven't done any advertising so I still only have two students. One is 7 and one is almost 9. They are polar opposites in terms of personality.

The older one loves to make up songs, plays by ear, memorizes quickly and easily, and gets quite frustrated and stuck when songs like her simplified "Ode to Joy" are written with different rhythm than the original. She is very talkative and she likes to tell stories throughout the lesson. Her grandpa actually wrote "One eyed one horned flying purple people eater"! We just introduced the grand staff this week and she said, "Oh great. Now my head's really going to hurt! If learning multiplication in school wasn't enough!"

The other girl is very, very quiet and quite shy. I was a little worried when she started because neither of her parents are really musical, so I didn't know if her home practicing would be very effective. I've found that she catches on quite quickly to the rules of music (though keeping a steady rhythm is sometimes lost on her). She's very methodical, and in my mind she has made significantly more progress than the other girl (though she is still behind in songs). She cracks me up because after every single song she plays she sighs and quietly says, "that was hard!" even if she plays it perfectly.

A couple of weeks ago I heard someone say that their family motto is: We do hard things.

I LOVED that! Life is hard and I think it's really good to teach kids that it's GOOD for them to have their heads hurt a little. It's GOOD for them to be challenged. It's GOOD for them to try new things and work at difficult things. It's GOOD to feel the burn. You can't just give up because it isn't easy! What's the reward in that?

Sometimes I think kids have too many choices, are over protected, and are unchallenged. It's not for lack of good intentions on the parents' part. Most parents want the best for their kids. But sometimes the best is teaching them to do hard things so they don't crumple up in a little ball of helplessness at the first sign of an obstacle.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Falling numbers

It's a little surprising to me that the temperature in my house (with the windows open) is 62 degrees! Last week it was mid-nineties! It's kind of a nice change. It actually feels like fall. Time for me to bundle up though.

And I saw gas for under $2 yesterday!!! WooHoo! It's been too long. May fall continue as such.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Testing, testing, 1-2-3

We discussed our first round of tests with the Doc (as he'd like us to call him) yesterday. He was a pretty funny guy. Very talkative and upbeat. It kind of made me think about my yoga teacher. One time I asked her how she could always be so up beat and positive when teaching all 13 aerobic or yoga classes and she said, "You know, a lot of it is acting. That's what the class needs so that's what I need to give. Some days it's not acting, but a lot of days it is." So, that's kind of what I thought of him. He's probably a normally upbeat guy, but I'm sure he also has to put on a show and keep it positive so couples who come in don't feel too despondent.

If it were a boxing match, we'd have lost the first round. The outcome wasn't optimal to say the least, but it wasn't hopeless either. I thought the funniest thing he said to us was, "With test results like these it's good to get help rather than just pray that the good Lord will send you a miracle. I mean, there is a slight chance you could get pregnant on your own without medical help, but it is a slight chance." Now that I reread that, it's hard to convey the humor without his charismatic, optimistic style.

We both have some issues and now we're doing round 2 of testing (blood work and the like) to see what exactly we need to do to move forward. He was very happy to hear that I was 25. Most couples he works with are in their 30's or 40's. He says youth is to our advantage.

I don't think either of us are feeling hopeless or gloomy. Things will work out, it just might not be in the way we imagined.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

In the family

I just found out that I am not alone in my allergy to the cold. Just this week my poor little nephew Caleb has just started having hive spells as well. They were at Big Lake swimming this past weekend and he broke out all over. She hadn't read my blog about my cold allergy and my hive spells started long after she left home. She thought he had somehow gotten into poison oak or ivy. Poor kid. She drove him to get some Benadryl and not knowing that it was cold that he was reacting to, gave him a cold water bottle to try and help soothe the itching. She said the hives were much bigger than when they started out. =( He also got hives at first recess at school yesterday, and last night when I was on the phone explaining this to her, he was outside helping his dad. He came in with a tummy covered in hives.

I've been able to deal with mine by not spending extended periods of time outside in the cold, but their family is HUGE into the outdoors. They can't stand being inside. And the poor kid is just 7! Somethings you just hope to never pass along.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Svithe: It's a long one

I realized that I never actually posted the talk that I gave in church a couple weeks ago. It seems quite fitting after my last post to use this as a reminder on how to overcome that excessive guilt or whatever ills that plague me (or you). I wrote it in sections so if this monster of a post is too much to read in one sitting, you can read it in snippets. Oh, and don't be surprised if one of the sections sounds familiar. I built this talk incorporates two previous svithes.

Definition of happiness

Because of recent personal events, I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness and how we can find it. When searching on the Internet for a definition of happiness, I was kind of surprised that the definitions were so vague and incomplete. One of the best definitions I came across said, “Happiness is an inner state of well being. [It] enables you to profit from your highest thoughts, wisdom, intelligence, common sense, emotions, health and spiritual values in your life.”[1] Another definition I liked was, “Happiness is a state of mind where one feels that life is good and is content with what they have been given. It is a feeling that life is as it should be.” In speaking of happiness James E. Faust said, “Happiness is not given to us in a package that we can just open up and consume. Nobody is ever happy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rather than thinking in terms of a day, we perhaps need to snatch happiness in little pieces, learning to recognize the elements of happiness and then treasuring them while they last.”[2]

Plan of Happiness

The Lord knew that Adam and Eve would transgress and fall, bringing about the mortality of man; because of this He prepared a way for us to return to His presence and eventually receive a fullness of joy. The Lord told Adam and Eve that because of their transgression this life would bring them much sorrow, thorns, thistles, hard work, and children. So why is it that this way, this plan, has been termed the Plan of Happiness? We know that nothing in this world exists without opposition. The Lord doesn’t want us to feel sad and lonely and depressed. He really does want us to be happy and receive a fullness of joy. Nephi tells us that we exist so that we might experience joy.[3] However, we could not understand nor appreciate the happiness that results from righteous living without also knowing and experiencing sorrow of this life.

What keeps us from being happy?

So what is it that keeps us from feeling that joy that Nephi speaks of? There are hundreds of specific things, “divers temptations” if you will, that will bring about our unhappiness, but I’ll list a few that that were floating around in my head.

1. The first and easiest “killjoy” to identify is unrighteous behavior. Alma, in talking with his son Corianton, plainly tells him that, “wickedness never was happiness.”[4] Wickedness is a broad category that includes, but is definitely not limited to, pride, selfishness, addictions, sexual impurity, and any behavior that is deliberately harmful to yourself or others. All of these things are bound to bring unhappiness, not only to the perpetrator, but also all those with whom the perpetrator comes in contact.

2. Secondly, stress, trials and burdens can trigger sadness. That could include financial troubles, marital spats, tons of schoolwork, peer pressure, and just plain busyness. When we get caught up in our day-to-day routines it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and under appreciated.

3. Thirdly, idleness, too much down time, and over-indulgence can lead to feelings of unhappiness. Richard G. Scott said, “You are here on earth for a divine purpose. It is not to be endlessly entertained or to be constantly in full pursuit of pleasure. In fact, instant and unrestrained gratification of all our desires would be the shortest and most direct route to unhappiness.”

4. The last thing I will mention that can bring about unhappiness is perfectionism, unrealistic expectations, and taking upon us burdens that are not ours to bear. Now this one can get a bit tricky because we are commanded to, “be perfect, even as [our] Father in Heaven is perfect,” as well as “mourn with those that mourn,” but there is a difference between perfectionism and doing our best.

How to overcome the obstacles that bring unhappiness

Christ does His part

After identifying these obstacles I asked myself, “how do we overcome them so we can be happy?” There are a few ways I think we can lighten the load of life that sometimes seems a bit heavy. The simplest yet most complicated answer is Jesus Christ.

When I was in High School there was a phrase that completely infiltrated the LDS religious sphere. I'm sure most of you have heard it, and some may still have an old journal with it imprinted on it. It's a messianic phrase, obviously meant for you to think Christ was talking to you. I seriously heard people quote it as scripture, trying to find a reference for it in the topical guide. It is quite unfortunate because it is a completely false statement. What is this phrase? "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it."

It seems harmless, and at face value it feels very true. Life is supposed to be hard, right? It's supposed to be full of trials and tests, right? Bad things often happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. It can be quite frustrating, and I think that phrase came about to help people through those low points in their lives. But it misses the mark, and the mark is Christ.

I was lucky enough to have a great seminary teacher who pointed out the fallacy of this statement by reading in Matthew 11:28-30.

“ Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

It's true that we will have times of hardship, frustration, and anger. It's true that sometimes we'll feel that we've been give more than we can handle. But right here we are told that we don't have to be burdened and feel weighed down. We don't have to do anything alone. We do have to be pro-active. We must yoke ourselves with Christ and allow him to heal us and lift us up; if we do that, He will provide us with relief and will help us carry our load.

Concerning this, Elder Holland said, “The central fact, the crucial foundation, the chief doctrine, and the greatest expression of divine love in the eternal plan of salvation…is the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Much goes before it and much comes after, but without that pivotal act, that moment of triumph whereby we are made free from the spiritual bondage of sin and the physical chains of the grave, both of which are undeniable deaths, there would be no meaning to the plan of life, and certainly no ultimate happiness in it or after it.”[5]

Do we do our part?

Having said this, we also have to figure out what is in our power to change so we can move closer to Him. If our happiness is being drowned by our wickedness, we must stop being wicked. Now that seems a bit trite and a little over simplistic and it is. But that’s essentially what needs to happen. Elder Scott counseled, “You do what is right. Don’t worry so much about what everyone else is doing. Certainly don’t justify departure from what you know is right because of others’ wrong choices.”[6]

How do you cure pride? How do you cure selfishness? How do you overcome addictions? How do you take the first step back when you’ve been off the path you know to be right? First you really have to want to change. You have to identify that something is amiss in your life and realize that it is a source of unhappiness. Not only that, but you have to want happiness. That may sound a bit crazy, but I assure you that it can be hard for some to give up misery and wrong doing if it’s how they’ve come to identify themselves and relate to others. Also, we have to be aware that temptation to fall back into old patterns may never fully depart from us. With that awareness, we must move forward with faith that the Lord will make a way for us to fight those temptations and stay on the path.

There's no shame in getting outside help

Some addictions such as drugs, alcohol, pornography, and sexual promiscuity may require outside help. Before moving here I worked at a residential treatment center for teenage girls for two and a half years. We had girls from all over the country come to counsel with professional therapists to try and overcome various addictions as well as depression. Some of the girls were receptive to the help, and those who were open to change have been able to find true happiness in their lives. Outside help, however, doesn’t have to mean therapy or rehab centers. Outside help can also include our parents, friends, teachers, and counseling with the Bishop and church leaders, etc. There are many people who need help and there are many people who are willing to give help. The Lord tells us that we must “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.”[7] We each will have moments in our lives where we are the feeble, but we’ll also have moments of strength wherein we can help others get where they want to go. It is the constant cycle of giving and taking love and service that helps us progress and move forward together.

Live within your means

If our unhappiness is brought about by stress and burdens, one thing we can first try is to simplify. Nephi told us that he “[gloried] in plainness”[8] and that the principles of happiness he modeled are plain and simple. Whether our lives are cluttered with responsibilities or material goods, it never hurts to step back and honestly see if we are doing too much. Are we’re overextending ourselves financially? Physically? Mentally? Should we limit ourselves to school and one extra-curricular activity? Do we really need that boat, that out fit, or that cell phone? Only you can answer those questions because the answer will be different for every person and every family. We really need to make sure that we are living within our means, financially, physically and emotionally.

I was a yoga TA at BYU for about a year. As a teacher’s assistant I would walk around the class, help people do the moves correctly, and try to keep people from doing things that would hurt them. One night after practice I came home and wrote this in my journal. “Tonight I noticed two beginners who, throughout the class, immediately went to the hardest poses rather than doing the beginning or intermediate modifications. It never quite worked out for them. They made an attempt at the pose, tried to hold it, couldn't, fell out of it and got frustrated. I wanted to go back to them and say, "Do your own practice. Don't try and do someone else's practice. Work with what you have and where you are, not where you want to be or where your neighbor is."

That started me thinking about living beyond our means in all aspects of life. So often we try to do more and be more than we can give at that moment of our life. That's when we stress out, cry, have breakdowns, hurt ourselves.

Western thinking is very competitive. Most of us feel like we must be the best, wear the best, have the best, and achieve the most RIGHT NOW. Often we don't allow ourselves a starting point and time for growth, but we expect immediate perfection.

But the truth of the matter is that I am where I am regardless of how much I don’t want to be there. We have to take life one-step at a time because the most efficient and long lasting progression comes gradually, “line upon line and precept upon precept”. We must master one thing and move on to the next step, not the last step. As we read in Doctrine and Covenants 93:12-14 we come to find out that even Christ followed this pattern. “And I, John, saw that he received not of the fullness at the first, but received grace for grace; And he received not of the fullness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fullness; And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fullness at the first.” We must be diligent and live our own lives as we remember, “it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength”[9]

In all reality to be the best, wear the best, and have the best means that we must compare ourselves to others. Comparison then prompts that little pride button inside us...

Pride's part in all this

C.S. Lewis said, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, cleverer, or better looking than others. If every one else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” [10]

That darned pride. It leads people to do crazy things. “It was through pride that Christ was crucified.”[11] The Nephites killed each other off because of it. Early apostles and leaders of the church apostatized because of it. It does us no good. It limits and stops our progression. To truly find peace and contentment in our lives we must learn to humble ourselves before God. President Benson told us that we choose to be humble when we esteem others as ourselves, when we receive counsel and chastisement, and when we forgive those who have offended us. We also choose to be humble when we render selfless service, share the gospel, and go to the temple more frequently. Ultimately we choose to be humble by loving God, submitting our will to His, and putting Him first in our lives.[12] If we do this, we will find a simple happiness that infuses our soul with contentment.

Perfectionsim isn't what it's cracked up to be

In most of the literature I read to prepare to give this talk, leaders of the church spoke of happiness coming when we live the gospel. But as I read that, I wondered about the people who are diligently trying to live the gospel, follow the prophet, and choose the right who still feel unhappy, depressed or weighed down by life. President Faust asks the question, “If we aren’t happy, of what use is the gospel, the Church and its organizations, programs, and the way of life it espouses?” Many righteous Latter-day Saints often get lost in the commandment, “be ye therefore perfect” and feel like they’re constantly working to reach an impossible goal. They feel like they have to be some Super Mom or Dad and live this Mormon mold that they feel is expected of them. Also, some of us set our goals so high that it would impossible for us to ever accomplish those goals. Cecil O. Samuelson, the current President of BYU, said, “Be sure that you do not have higher standards for yourself or others than the Lord has established. Find satisfaction in your progress while acknowledging that perfection may still be distant.”[13]

In that same article he goes on to say, “Our perceptions of ourselves may or may not be accurate, but more frequently than we may expect, they may differ from how others view us. Those suffering from perfectionism tend to be wonderful, contributing, and effective people, and yet may feel that no matter what they do, it is never enough. These good people suffer from exaggerating their minor mistakes, weaknesses, or shortcomings to the point that they may become dysfunctional.”[14]

In his book, Bonds that Make us Free, Terry Warner speaks of perfectionism as a counterfeit of being conscientious. One who is conscientious faithfully acts on what they know to be right. Perfectionists, on the other hand, “seem more obsessed with convincing themselves of their worth. [They] are not at peace. A perfectionist’s conscience cannot be satisfied.”

When speaking to women in her book, Lighten Up, Chieko Okazaki said, “During my time as a member of the Relief Society general presidency, I have received a startling education about the amount of inappropriate guilt that literally hundreds of wonderful Latter-day Saint women feel about the subject of motherhood. I have been astonished to learn that many never-married women feel guilty and unworthy because they are not mothers. Many married women who have fertility problems feel guilt that they cannot bear children. Mothers feel guilty that they have too many children, or too few. Many others worry because they are not perfect mothers or because they don’t have perfect children. When their children make mistakes or life choices that seem wrong, these mothers are racked by suffering—not only for the painful consequences their beloved children must experience, but by the even more painful suffering of personal guilt that springs from their feeling they have somehow failed.”[15]

This is one of the things I struggle with most. I lend myself to perfectionism and I often feel like what I’m doing is not enough. If you are sitting there identifying with this category of unhappiness it would be good to remember this piece of advice that Elder Russell M. Nelson gives. “We all need to remember: men are that they might have joy-not guilt trips!”[16]

Just carry your own load--that's enough

Also, sometimes our loads are artificially weighed down (though it feels very real). It's easy to stress about situations and burdens that aren't even our own. We take on other people's problems as though they were ours to begin with. I know I do it sometimes.

As Sister Okazaki speaks of this in her book she said, “We have two sons. One son is married and has two children...Our other son is unmarried. I was astounded to hear a mother fret about a son over twenty-five who had not married, wondering what she had done wrong in raising him. My son's marital status is his business, not mine. He is a responsible individual who is contributing to society. He is a clear thinker and a loving human being. One of the things I like most about him is that he instantly identifies and summarily rejects attempts to make him feel guilty about not being married. How foolish I would be to pick up the guilt my son has properly rejected and bind it on my own shoulders, to create a burden where none exists!”

What a wise person. In this book she also talks about allowing ourselves imperfections and limitations. The Lord expects it. We need to Lighten up. That doesn’t mean be irresponsible, it means we need to set realistic expectations. And the only realistic expectation we can set for ourselves is that we do our best. Whatever that may be. My best is not your best, and thank heavens for that!

This chart is from Cecil O. Samuelson, “What Does it Mean to be Perfect?” New Era, Jan. 2006, 10

Doing Your Best


You desire to give things your best efforts and are satisfied when you do.

You have a list of “shoulds” and “have to’s” and are dissatisfied even if you complete them.

You know it’s okay if you make a mistake. You move on and see your mistake as an opportunity for growth or learning.

Mistakes bring feelings of self-hatred. You don’t want to do anything because you are afraid of failure.

You want to do your personal best, and you try not to compare your achievements to those of others. You don’t need to be the best at all things.

You feel tremendous pressure to earn others’ approval. You must be the best or “perfect” in your tasks.

You can find joy in doing the things you love, and you can get things accomplished.

Your need to do things perfectly leads to procrastination until you have time to do it “perfectly,” and you feel driven by fear or duty instead of love.

Trying to do your best and perfecting yourself “line upon line” with the Savior’s help is Christ-centered because you need the Atonement.

Perfectionism is self-centered. You measure yourself against your own standards and against others’ standards, not God’s.

[1] Lionel Ketchian

[2] James E. Faust, “Our Search for Happiness,” Ensign, Oct. 2000, 2

[3] 2 Nephi 2:25

[4] Alma 41:10

[5] Elder Jeffery R. Holland, Christ and the New Covenant p.197

[6] Richard G. Scott, “Removing Barriers to Happiness,” Ensign, May 1998, 85

[7] D&C 81:5

[8] 2 Nephi 2 Nephi 33:6

[9] Mosiah 4:27

[10] C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity (1960), 95

[11] Ezra Taft Benson, “Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989, 4

[12] Ezra Taft Benson, “Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989

[13] “What does it mean to be perfect?” New Era, January 2006

[14] “What does it mean to be perfect?” New Era, January 2006

[15] Chieko Okazaki, Lighten Up, p. 78

[16] Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Perfection Pending,” Ensign, November 1995, 86

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My arch enemy

I would have to say that my nemesis, the bane of my existence, the rock in my shoe has got to be my extreme interpersonal guilt mechanism. Interestingly enough I generally don't feel guilty about some things that I know would mortify others. Things such as belching, not shaving, eating a lusciously rich desert if I feel so inclined, being very blunt with someone I know well, leaving the door open when I use the restroom (only at home when no visitors are here...Don't worry, you're safe if you come and visit. I'm not THAT bad!), or talking very openly about most every subject under the sun (yes including sex and periods and the like) with anyone who wants to chat.

No, those do not bother my conscience.

However, that does not mean I am guilt free. Quite the contrary actually. My over active guilt mechanism lays it on thick--like buttercream frosting that's been sitting in the fridge--with other seemingly silly things. I hate, hate, hate feeling like I'm letting someone down. I hate knowing that something I've said or done will have a negative impact on someone's life. Maybe I'm too ego-centric, thinking that others' happiness somehow depends upon me. yes. I'm sure that's partly it.

Just this week I've had a number of ridiculous yet guilt thronged incidents.

  1. Knowing an employee was going to get fired without forewarning. I know I'm not the one responsible, yet I feel like I'm somehow a co-conspirator in wrecking someone's life just by knowing this little detail.
  2. Spilling Matt's nachos all over the place tonight. "Well, they're ruined" he said. I threw my sandal against the wall in feigned anger/frustration in order to mask the onset of that stinking guilt.
  3. Telling my boss I'm looking for other jobs since this one's not enough to help us save any money. (But on the other hand it felt GREAT to take the keyboarding test today for a secretarial job and smoking it with my best recorded time ever, 68 wpm. A full 23 wpm higher than one job requirement and 33 higher than another. But lets see if it even gets me anywhere.)
  4. Knowing I haven't written a blog in almost a week, but feeling guilty because I can't think of anything interesting.
  5. Realizing I'm a couple months behind in getting out some wedding packages to two sets of friends.
While writing these I think, "well that's not that big of a deal." But between you and me I've had my guilt flogging and I'm getting sick of it. It's time for revolution. Who's with me?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Friday May 13th 1994

I wasn't expecting a letter from me written 12 years ago. I'd long since forgotten the time-capsule-like project assigned to me my seventh grade year. But there it was when I opened the mail box, the memory waiting to be unlocked just as the letter sat waiting to be opened. The return address simply said,

7th grade
Friday 13 (May) 94

The mailing address was originally:
Celia Waterman
HC 63 Box 2003
Snowflake, AZ

My family's mailing address has changed twice since then. My personal mailing address has changed 12 times, averaging one change for every year passed. I've since graduated from High School, college, and have gotten married. I've lived in 4 different states and in one other country. But somehow the sender got my correct last name and my current mailing address. I think this letter was supposed to arrive my senior year of high school. Late though it may be, I'm impressed my teacher kept them all these years, tracked us down, and paid the postage.

Dear me! 5/13/94
I'm in Mrs. Martin's language arts class right now in the year 1994. I'm suposed [sic] to tell how I think I'm going to be when I'm a senior. I want to graduate in the top 10% of my class. I want to be good at sports and good in music. I hope to get a scolership [sic] in sports or music or anything. I'm going to go to BYU Haiwii [sic] or just BYU. I'm going to be moraly [sic] clean. I'm going to marry an active Mormon that is nice and likes me for me. I'll tell a little about my life now. I like Jake H. because I can just be me around him. My 2 best friends are Tasha F. and Shakira M. I love Mickey Mouse things and Bugs and Taz. I'm getting a straight A average and I have all year. I love sports and swimming. I'm 5'3 and I'll probably be 5'3" the rest of my life. I'm in band and chorus. I'm going to be in Honor Band and Honor Choir next year. I'm friends with almost everyone. Sheree M. really gets on my nerves. I almost got in a fight with her. I can't stand it when people think they're better than anyone. I like talking on the phone. It's so much fun. Well I better go and do the rest of my work.

-k- luv ya,

By 8th grade I ditched my Mickey, Bugs, and Taz clothing. Within 2 years I'd had a complete over haul in the friend department. Once we hit high school we all went our own ways. Some into drugs, some into sex, and some just into different circles of friends. At the time I wrote this I was angry at Sheree M. for making fun of me in PE. I was an early bloomer with larger boobs in the 7th grade than I even have now. One day she stuffed two big dodge balls up her shirt and started walking around saying, "look, I'm Celia." in a funny voice. I finally got over that, we both grew up a little, and we ended up being pretty good friends.

Now, I did pretty well at guessing some future events. I was not only in the top 10% of my graduating class, but I was in the top 5 students. I didn't end up playing many sports in High School (so obviously no scholarship there), and although I participated in just about as much choir as I could have, I didn't receive a scholarship for it either. I did on the other hand receive an full tuition academic scholarship to BYU-Hawaii, and a half tuition academic scholarship to BYU. And it was there at BYU, that first year out of High School, that I met my future husband (an active Mormon) who liked me for me.

Luckily I've since figured out how to tame down my hair a bit, and I've found some glasses that cover less than half my face. I'm still 5'3" and I agree with myself that I will probably be 5'3" the rest of my life (until I start to shrink that is).