Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Abortion and where I stand

There was a time in my life when I had an opinion on everything. Such is not the case anymore.  I won’t pretend to be an expert on every topic ever. I suppose part of this is because I used to enjoy debating.  I know I’m not the only one, or debate wouldn’t be a course in school. 
I’ve mellowed out considerably- avoiding confrontation and disagreements because I don’t like to judge people and I don’t know their lives- where they are coming from- challenges and trials they face- or their cultural background.
However, there are a few topics on which I feel vehemently and will not be swayed regardless of context be it cultural, political, religious, etc. 
Now, I am not sharing this because I want someone else to tell me their opinion or to debate the other side of an argument. I’m sharing this because I want there to be no doubt in anyone’s mind ever, how I feel about this. Abortion.
This, to me, is a dirty, horrible word much like the holocaust.  It makes me nauseated to think about and to talk about, but ignoring it doesn’t change that it’s happening.
Yes, people will argue another side than the one I believe in, but to be fair, I recently met a 98 year old woman from Germany who told me bluntly and boldly that the reason why her childhood was so great and her schooling was so great was because of Hitler. She said that Hitler loved children.  I guess that just shows that everyone has an opinion and there are two sides to everything.
And what makes abortion different from the holocaust?  Well, the holocaust killed 6 million.  Abortion kills 3,300 a day. That means that since it’s been legalized it’s been the cause of 50 million.  I’m not inventing these numbers- its real. It’s shocking. It’s disgusting.
Well, the holocaust was the get rid of a particular group of people- Jews. Hitler wanted only blond hair blue-eyed people. Abortion targets the unborn.  99% of down syndrome babies are aborted.  Do you know how far along in your pregnancy you have to be in order to know that a baby has down-syndrome?  They just offered to test my baby and I am 20 weeks along. That’s halfway. That’s 4 1/2 months.  I’m far enough along to know that I am having a little girl. I am far along enough to feel the little girl kicking me from the inside.  My baby is between the size of a mango and a banana. She has all her fingers, toes, she can swallow and her kidneys work- she can even pee. She can hear and her hair is growing. 
So if you try to convince me for  a single second that this little baby is not a baby or is not alive, you better think again. What makes something a living thing?  You want to get scientific? Okay, scientificallly speaking living things require respiration (oxidization of fuels), food intake (getting materials to burn), growth (mass increment), reproduction (ability to leave copies of itself) and must be self sustaining.  Well, my 20 week old baby does all of these things.
You want to say, “Oh, she’s not self sustaining. She depends on you for life.”  Self sustaining? What is self sustaining?  Fires are more self-sustaining than my 2 year old.  She depends on me for life too.  In fact, she requires much more attention than my unborn child does. She’s a hazard to herself.  If she were left alone, she would die. Yes, that’s a horrible thing to say about a 2 year old. It’s also a horrible thing to say about a 20 week old.
Is the terrible age old adage “I brought into this world- I can take you out of it,” accurate?  Rather, it would say, “I started to bring you into this world- I can decide to take the experience of life from you entirely!” So at what stage does a child become a child?
I hear women say “Well, it’s my body.” Yes, your body is your body. You can do whatever you want to with your body, but here’s the thing- the baby inside of you is NOT YOUR BODY! It’s a different body. So unless you have four arms, four legs, 20 fingers, 4 kidneys, etc, then it’s a completely different body over which you should not have complete control.
Freedom of choice? I’m not suggesting we take agency from anyone. Women are free to go have sexual relations with whomever they want to. I’m not stopping them or telling them not to. BUT at what point do we as human beings take responsibility for our behavior? 
Babies born at 19 weeks have lived to adulthood.  I was born only 3 weeks early and I required much medical help. I was in Newborn ICU learning to breathe and getting my lungs cleared for a few days before I was able to go home.  I was not ‘self sustaining’. Does that mean that I wasn’t alive? Does that make me just a random mess of tissues and blood rather than a tiny human body with a soul and a future?
I’m not going to get really graphic on you, but I think that people who have an abortion should have to hold the child in their arms or at least the pieces of the child in their hands so they can see what they were told wasn’t a child. 
I’m not suggesting that everyone who gets an abortion is a deranged murderer who delights in the bloodshed of innocent children. That is obviously not the case or they wouldn’t stop with unborn- they would go into preschools with guns. BUT, I think there is a lot of misinformation and a lot of men and women who don’t want to educate themselves regarding what abortion really entails, how late it can happen, and how developed a fetus is when many abortions happen.
The facts are uncomfortable. The images will haunt you. You shouldn’t obsess over it or you will have nightmares, but for goodness sake, and I mean for the sake of goodness and humanity and the future, at least take the time to step back from any political or religious opinions you hold to get some actual, true, solid facts about human life, the development of a fetus and the meaning of life. 

Don’t bother arguing with me; my opinion is not up for debate on this issue. Just know where I stand. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

How to be Nice to a Military Spouse- American Disconnect from the War

People say dumb things. I say some really dumb things. I can't count, nor do I want to attempt to recall the number of times I have left a conversation feeling like a real moron for the things I said and or the way I said them.  It's human nature.  Everyone could offend everyone else because we are people and saying dumb and offensive things is something that almost everyone is good at.

So, I have composed this post in an attempt to help guide some people who have difficulty knowing how to interact with me and others in my situation. My husband is currently deployed. If my vernacular comes across as sassy or condescending, forgive me.  This topic is close to my heart and therefore tied to some strong emotions.

A lot of people ask me some pretty terrible questions or throw out some very ill-worded comments with regards to deployment.  Here are a few examples of things you ought not say to a military spouse.

"Where is he deployed? Isn't the war over?"
"What are his chances of coming back?"
"I know just how you feel- my husband leaves for business all the time."
"I don't support the war."
"Well HE volunteered. You knew what you were getting into."
"Has your husband ever shot a man?" or "How many guys has he killed?"

Firstly, I get it.  The military life is a very different culture than the civilian life. I'm currently reading a book called "Breach of Trust" by Andrew Bacevich. Essentially its about just that- the disconnect between the military and the American populace in general.  It is a very interesting read and you should probably read it.

" The approach this nation has taken to waging war since Vietnam (absolving the people from meaningful involvement), along with the way it organizes its army (relying on professionals), has altered the relationship between the military and society in ways that too few Americans seem willing to acknowledge. Since 9/11 that relationship has been heavy on symbolism and light on substance with assurances of admiration for soldiers displacing serious consideration of what they are sent to do or what consequences ensue. In all the ways that actually matter, that relationship has almost ceased to exist."  Andrew J. Bacevitch Breach of Trust

A bit of a long quote, but very good and hits the problem. 
Its hard to manage cross-cultural communication and many of those who have asked the above things are kind, good people trying to relate and understand something foreign.  Let me outline what I think in my mind when I get these questions though and offer some better alternatives for what would be a much better question.

"Where is he deployed? Isn't the war over?"
This question is annoying because it reflects how deeply detached America is from the war.  I want to roll my eyes and say "NO! The war is not over. America is still at war. Where do you think he is deployed! He is deployed to Afghanistan because THAT's where OUR country is fighting a war."  But I guess that's the problem- our country won't own this war. People are tired of war so the media stops showing coverage of the war and then the average American truly doesn't know anything about the war. That is sad. How different that is from WWII when everyone was involved in the war. Everyone helped in the war. Everyone knew we were fighting a war. Everyone had to sacrifice something and the war ended soon.  Perhaps it is because of the general ignorance regarding the war that causes this war to last so very, very long.
To the persons who ask this, thank you for being willing to admit that you don't know and expressing interest in the nation's status.  I think most people don't know. You aren't a minority. I encourage everyone to learn about the war, where the soldiers are, what their goals are, and find ways to actually support the troops. 

What are his chances of coming back?
Essentially you are asking is "Will he die there in the desert?" "Is he going to get shot?"  I mean, the sentiment is nice enough- you are expressing concern for my husband and hope that he will return. This is a terrible question though. This is rude. I wouldn't inquire about the likeliness of your husband having a fatal heart attack in the next three years.  There are some things that you just don't ask.  The situation varies for every soldier depending on their job and where they are stationed. Some wives really struggle getting sleep at night because yes, people are trying desperately to kill our husbands.  We try not to think about it. Please, do not remind me. 
I would be very kind to say instead, "I will keep him in my prayers," or "Tell him to stay safe." The nice part of the message remains and the rude, morbid part, is exempt. 
Besides, there is not a percentage. Generally speaking though, the soldiers are pretty safe and will come home alive. 

"I know just how you feel- my husband leaves for business all the time."
It is nice of you to relate. I am sorry that your husband leaves often for business. I understand that it can be difficult to have your spouse leave, but telling me that you know JUST how I feel, is inaccurate. No one knows JUST how I feel. Not you. Not my mother. Not my friend whose husband is also deployed. I am me, my marriage is my own and while it is considerate to relate, its a bit condescending to tell me that you know exactly how I feel just because you're husband went on a 3 day business trip this week.  I want to tell you that's hard- I really do. I don't like when my husband leaves for any amount of time. I miss him. I'm sure you miss your husband when he goes on trips but my husband has been gone for 6 months and it's hard to think of a nice reply when your loneliness is short term and mine feels like an eternity.
Instead say something like "I sure hate when my husband leaves for even a few days. My heart goes out to you." "I miss my husband a lot. I bet you have a lot of lonely days."

"I don't support the war."
This conversation goes like this; it comes up that my husband is gone and I explain that he is deployed. Then the other person says "Oh, I do NOT support the war."
Well, okay. Guess what...me neither. The war means my husband is far away from me in a country where they don't really want him.  You don't have to support the war, but when you say it like that I take it personally.  I DO support my husband. I support him and admire him and respect him and I would really appreciate that you do the same.  Neither he nor I are warmongers that love when people die and families are torn apart.  I know a lot of military families and I can safely speak for them all when I say that we would ALL prefer times of peace to times of war. It comes to another thing people have said when I mention something like seperation pay or a 10% military discount at Lowes. "Oh, well that's just not worth it to me."
Do you honestly think that saving 3 dollars at Lowes is worth having my husband deployed to Afghanistan?  That is absurd.   
I'm glad you don't support the war- that would be weird. Please don't let that translate into not supporting the individual soldiers and families though. 
Again, good transition into the next comment that I've heard. 

"Well, HE volunteered. You knew what you were getting into."
Also, though I can't phrase it the way I have heard it, people join the army for various reasons, not just out of desperation because they couldn't find a job.
Yes, military service in America is not obligatory. You volunteer. You sign up. Everyone has different motives for signing up. Certainly there are those who join because they don't know where else to go. Maybe they need job security. Maybe they couldn't get into college.  Yes, there are people like that. Maybe somewhere there are people who join because they want to shoot other people- I have yet to meet any of these people and I'm immensely grateful that they do not compose the entirely of the army.  
LOTS of those people who join are smart, talented, people with real promise in any career they want to pursue. They choose the military because they love America and because they want to have an America for their children and future generations.  So, please PLEASE don't tell me or insinuate that my husband joined because he had no other options. He was valedictorian of over 600 students. His second choice was to attend Johns Hopkins Medical University and become a surgeon.  MOST of the members of our military did NOT join out of desperation or as a last possible option in life.  
We knew what we were getting into. Indeed. Also, so did every pregnant woman who intentionally because pregnant. That is not to say that her pregnancy will be easy or that she has no right to complain when she is in labor.  Some trials come in life unexpected. Some are more predictable. Yes, we knew that deployment was extremely likely with my husband being active duty and I try not to have pity parties or complain about it.  I think that it's okay to be sad sometimes though and not bottle up feelings of loneliness. 
You are right. He did volunteer. We did know what we were getting into but that doesn't mean it isn't hard. 

"Has your husband ever shot a man?" or "How many guys has he killed?"
It should be astonishingly clear that this is an inappropriate question. There is not good way to phrase this. When someone says "Has your husband ever shot a man?" I want to say , "No, only women and children."   Which is, of course, not true, just an  stupid reply to a stupid question.
Real life war is not Call of Duty. We don't have kill counts. Everyone in the army has different jobs and they don't all shoot people. Yes, in war people die. Yes, soldiers are trained to kill. This is not what defines them and this is not what they talk about. 
I don't know if disconnect from the war or disconnect from reality is to blame for this kind of stupid question. Video games and movies may glorify violence but we are not talking about pixels on a screen.  We are talking about human lives. Have some decency for humanity and don't talk about or ask this to anyone.

Again, I know its hard to say the right things all the time. Here are some suggestions of nice things to say
"How are you?"
"How is your husband?"
"Are you counting days?"
"I sure appreciate your sacrifice."

I don't expect perfect conversations but try to think before you speak and I will do the same. Any home-baked good are always appreciated. And I know this may be crazy, but try to learn about the war, the military life, and write to a soldier. You can just say "Thanks." It literally couldn't be easier. You can message them on FB. If you want physical addresses, I can give you plenty. :)  

And let's be honest- some days of deployment are really hard and no matter what you say to me, I won't like it because I'm lonely and tired and emotional, but I do truly appreciate when people express concern for my husband, appreciation for the sacrifice that my family is making, and love for America.

God bless America!

The Flag is not a Decoration; its a Declaration.

Someone asked me "Why do you still have that up? It's October!" I looked over to see what they were referencing. It was my large, wooden American flag strung up over the balcony in front of my house.

Here is why I have it up. The answer is not just for this single person, but for the many people in America who seem to think that patriotism is 'getting into the Christmas spirit' or putting on a costume for Halloween. Do you think that American flags are simply decor for the first week of July? Are you someone who is texting and laughing and sitting during the National Anthem ? If you are, you may benefit from reading the following quote.  "In a democracy, all citizens have equal rights and equal obligations. When the nation is in peril, the obligation of saving it should be shared by all, not foisted on a small percentage." - Undersecretary of War Robert Patterson 1944  This is a democracy.  Am I patriotic because my husband is in the army or did I marry someone in the army because I am patriotic? I don't know.  Probably the former because my perspective has changed considerably since we have been married and even since he has been deployed.  

The military takes up only 1% of the population. You don't want to join? That's fine, you don't have to.  However, putting a yellow ribbon sticker on your bumper isn't actually going to support the troops any more than 'liking' a picture on Facebook is going to adopt a slew of orphaned children in Sudan.  That's not to say that I don't appreciate when I see yellow ribbons because I assure you, I do appreciate it. I appreciate it immensely because it helps me feel like I am not alone in the world, BUT I hope that the display of the ribbon is a reflection of one's attitude and genuine support of troops. 

But back to the flag.

 I have my flag up because America is not a holiday; America is my home. Patriotism is not seasonal for me; it is a way of life.
Yes, it is October. The flag is not there because I was too lazy or negligent to take it down after the Fourth of July. It's there because I am proud to be an American (despite the many flaws that currently seem to poison the land). I am proud to be an American and I believe in America and I will keep my flag up year round. 

If it were just one person saying this type of comment, I would likely brush it off, but too many people, (good, nice wonderful people) that I have met lately, seem to share this strange mentality wherein America is a holiday or a season. If you find that you have felt or behaved this way, you should try to change and keep your patriotism year round because America needs us and we need it. Indifference is taking our country down dangerous paths. Decide to care about America even if the first step is as simple as buying an American flag for your own place of residence.

Her- "Why do you have that up? Its October!" 
Me- "Because this is still America, even in October."

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Our Birth Defect

My tiny daughter Adilyn was born with a birth defect; a pelvic kidney. This means that her right kidney, rather than being deep in her body where it usually grows, is located in her lower right pelvis. Also, with the unusual location came other defect; urinary reflux in that kidney.
  At first when I found out about her kidney, I worried about the repercussions it would have on the rest of her life. Would she need a new kidney?  Would she only have one kidney that worked? Could she play sports?  
 I was extremely relieved to find that all she needed to do for the time being was to take antibiotics every morning to prevent infection.  It is a simple thing to do in order to prevent potentially devastating consequences such as kidney scarring.
When I think about this small and simple thing, bringing to pass great goodness of a healthy, working kidney, I realize something about myself.  Actually, I realized something about all of us; all of God’s children.
We all came to this Earth with a birth defect; we are fallen.  This means that we sin, we are prideful, we judge, we get mad, we covet, we do all sorts of things that distance us from our Father in heaven.  Because we are fallen we are subject to natural man.
When we think about this too much we get worried about what it could mean for our lives on this Earth but also eternally. Will I ever become perfect?  Is good enough really good enough?  How do I get better?
You and I can all be relieved to know that there is also a daily antibiotic that we can take to keep this natural man at bay. The Great Physician has given us a prescription for daily prayer and scripture study.
Just as I know what my daughter need to stay physically healthy and strong, our loving Father in heaven knows what we need. He knows us better than we do and we must trust in His guidance and in His Son’s example in order to fulfill our incredible spiritual potential.
My daughter doesn’t know why she takes her medicine.  It’s possible that I could forget one day and she would be fine, but what if that was the day that she got an infection.  We can forget to read the scriptures sometimes, but what if that day is the day that a spiritual infection begins.  We just don’t know. All we can do is to do our best to take our medicine and press forward with a perfect brightness of hope.

Who knew a little 15 month old could teach me all that?

Monday, April 29, 2013

For the Strength of Youth (and everyone else too!)

Life is hard for everyone, but being a teenager is especially hard.  High school was not an easy time for me, especially because I often felt like the odd-one out  with regards to religion.  While it is true that I was the only Mormon at my high school, I was certainly not the only individual with high moral standards. There were lots of students from all sorts of religious backgrounds that adhered to a set a values- some the same as and some different from my own.  I was always encouraged by friends who followed their beliefs.
 Often people that I wasn't super good friends with would say to me, with regards to my obedience to my standards, "It is neat that you do that. I could never do that!"   I loved their supportive words, but I disagreed with them. If they wanted to, they could do what I did. Perhaps they couldn't do it alone, but I truly believe that 'with God all things are possible.'
Some things in life just require faith, but many things have a clear reasons and purposes. When I was in high school I loved having my For the Strength of Youth pamphlet.  It helped me realize where the Lord's guidelines are. It's now available online and whether you want to read it to help give you strength and realize what aspects of your life you might want to improve on, or if you want to read just out of curiosity of what Mormons typically do and do not here is a link. - https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth?lang=eng
It is in this little book that many people come off with comments such as "You can't drink coffee. You can't watch R rated movies. You can't swear." Let me assure you that I am perfectly capable of doing all of those things, however, I chose not to because I don't think they benefit me and my life.
Now that I am graduated from college, married, and blessed with a lovely daughter, I can see with such clarity how my life is richly blessed because I followed these guidelines. There were certainly days when I was frustrated because my friends went out to party on weekend and I didn't go (nor was I invited which I considered to be awesome- They already knew that I didn't engage in such activities.)  My only regrets from high school are that I should have dressed less like a tom-boy, I should have tried out for track, and I should have swam the 500 at the swim meet.  I love being free from regrets. Not only that, I was able to have the spirit of the Lord with me to help me make decisions and keep me safe.
I was thinking about the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and decided to look over it again. I found that there were still parts it that I could improve on.

The standards (which are addressed in just a few paragraphs each) are as follows.
Agency and Accountability
Dating (Yes, I'm married so this doesn't apply directly to me so much anymore)
Dress and Appearance
Entertainment and the Media
Honesty and Integrity
Music and Dancing
Physical and Emotional Health
Sabbath Day Observance
Sexual Purity
Tithes and Offerings
Work and Self-Reliance

Now, if you are not Mormon, you might be looking at that list thinking "Wow, they dictate every aspect of your life!" That is not how I see it. No one every said to me, "you have to do all these things or you are a bad person and you'll never get to heaven."  That is not what these are all about.  Yes, they cover a wide range of topics, but that's because God has a plan for us. He wants us to be happy and healthy. He wants us to be smart and honest.  He wants us to succeed and find happiness in this life and in the next. That's what these are all about. They have made me so happy.

Personal Note
After having re-read this pamphlet (is it still called that when it's online?), I have decided to re-commit myself to these values.

With regards to entertainment, I feel that I am good at watching clean, wholesome shows. However, I realize that because I am an adult and married, I sometimes let less wholesome shows into my life under the false justification that "I'm married and grown up now.Therefore I can watch slightly inappropriate things because they are funny."  But I think that if I would not watch it with my parents or with my teenage sister, I should not be watching it.

Language.  I don't swear. It's never been a bad habit of mine.  Formerly, I have defined inappropriate language as swearing or taking dirty. Now I do not define it so narrowly. I think inappropriate language is speaking badly about people, gossiping, putting people down, criticizing others, and such.  There is a beautiful scripture that invites us to speak with the 'tongue of angels'.  I want to do this. I would love to have everything I say be kind and uplifting.  I have a ways to go yet, but I think today is an excellent time for me to start. :)

Sabbath Day Observance- 'Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." Exodus 20:8.  God made Sunday to be a holy day. It is not a day for play or shopping or self. It is also not a day for nothing. Yes, it is a day for rest. Sleeping on Sunday is great, but doing nothing is a waste of the sabbath day and doesn't keep it holy.  I am committing now to do more on the sabbath to make it holy. I want to use it as a day to read scriptures, do service, strengthen family relationships, write letters to missionaries and family members, write in my journal, etc.

Those are the three standards that I have decided to improve on.  I think that as I work on these, I will be even happier.  I challenge you (wait, is someone reading this? ha, ha) to find things in your life that you feel you should improve on. They certainly don't have to be the above values, but there is strength in setting goals and reaching them.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I Know Adilyn- Learning From Adi

Individual Worth
I have one daughter.  This is a picture of her. I love her so deeply that there is no possible way to convey it in words. I would do anything to help her learn and grow and be happy.  She is currently my only child.  I know her very well. In fact, because she is only 1 year old, I know her better than she knows herself. I know her full name, her birthday, and that she has a pelvic kidney that needs medicine in the mornings because of urinary reflex   Most of the time I even know her needs before she does. I know when she needs a nap, and though she'll likely fight me about it, once she sleeps, she feels better.  I know when she'll be hungry next even though she doesn't know it.  That is because she is my child. She is still growing and learning.  Shes learning about the world around her, about herself, about me, and our relationship.

 Even if I had two daughters, or three, or nine, I would know all of them. I would know their names and which food they liked. I would know their birthdays, their favorite colors, their hobbies. I would know their needs.  

I don't know how many daughters (or sons) God has, but I do know that he knows all of their names, their wants, and their needs. Not only does he know them, but he cares.  When I know my daughter is hungry, I don't ignore her. I don't tell her to get it herself. She is a child- I help her. I get the milk to her. I give her graham crackers and goldfish. God has given us earthly parents to provide for our temporal needs. Although many of these parents are not doing their job, God still has given them a stewardship over this. However, he has remained the primary source of our spiritual needs. When we are spiritually hungry, he gives us spiritual nourishment. He know when we will become spiritual hungry and so he has given us scriptures to guide us through life.

It is silly to think that I would forget about my daughter just because I have other children.  It's true that we are not an only child to God; he has many many children. But just because there are so many, doesn't mean he cares less about them.  It is overwhelming to think that everyone is a child of God, but we are.  That means he knows us and love us. That means that we are individuals to him.  I have individual worth to God.  This concept is something that I know to be true because time after time I recognize God blessing me and helping me with trials both large and small.

In the scriptures there are several times when the prophets have been taught of the intimate basis on which God knew them. Often he would call them by name.  I've shared some examples below.

Joseph Smith History   http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1.1-26?lang=eng

Psalm 8:4  What is man, that thou art mindful of him?

Jeremiah 1:  Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sactified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the  nations. 

John 13:  34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye  love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also  love one another.

D&C 18:10  Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;

Abraham1:  22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
 23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.

I am so grateful to have a loving Heavenly Father who knows and cares about me on an individual level. He cares about my small trials of losing my keys and my big trials of losing my grandmother.  I don't know how he does it, but I know that God loves and hears each of his children in their formal prayers and in their silent moments of mild frustration to sincere desperation.  

This quote by C.S. Lewis  is one that I have always loved.  It's not scripture, but it is profound.

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”

I think we need to adopt this same attitude with how we view and treat ourselves as well as others. We are children of God. He knows us. He loves us.

We are God's children, still growing and learning about ourselves, the world around us, Him, and Our relationship.

Chasing after Pins - Learning From Adi

Learning From Adi-
I'm  going to do a few posts on things that I learn about God by being a parent and watching Adilyn grow.

The other day I was sewing a quilt with my neighbor and despite the fact that a plethora of toys had been provided for Adilyn's (1 year old) enjoyment, she was intent on expending her energy and time trying to get at the pins.
They are shiny. The tops of the pins resemble candies. They are a good size for her tiny fingers. In her mind, nothing was more important than getting those pins and tasting them. She was convinced as I could see her in face, that they would be delicious. But I know for a fact that if she were to place the pins in her mouth, it would result in devastation, disappointment, and pain.
I told her many times that the pins were dangerous. I explained that although they looked colorful and shiny, they were not good for her. A few times I just said 'no'. I tried to lead her to her toys and her fruit loops but rather than actually eat the food and play, she was fixated on the pins. She began to have a tantrum in which she flailed on the floor, pointing to the pins and shouting.
So, what did I do? Did I say 'Adi, I can see that you really want to eat these pins. Here, eat them. I know its what will make you happy." Um, NO! Because I love her, her immediate happiness is not my primary concern. Her safety is my primary concern and her long term happiness. I could have poked her with the pin and she would get hurt and no longer want the pin, but instead I just ignored her, kept the pins away, and kept her other toys and food nearby when she decided to be reasonable again.

I have learned that this is how God deals with us when we have unrighteous desires- or rather when our desires are dangerous to our spiritual well-being.   There have been times in my life when I think that my ideas are so good and that my will is such a better idea than God's will.  I know I've wasted time, energy, and money pursuing my own pins, thinking that they will taste like candy once I get a hold of them. There have been times in prayer that I have asked God for something and he's simply said no. Maybe it's because I wouldn't understand why or maybe just because I need to exercise my faith in His will.  Sometimes God lets us get close to our goals, or get poked by the pins, and I just hope that when that happens we can step back and say "wow, that was a bad idea. You  were right God. I should have listened.'" Rather than getting mad, thinking that it's God's fault that we stuck a pin in our mouth.

I am trying to recognize the good things and other opportunities God places in my life, the fruit loops if you will, that are just across the room if I would only take a minute, listen to God, and let him guide my life.  I am so grateful that God cares about me and guides me to make wise decisions that will bring my ultimate happiness.