where x=what i need
and y=what you can give.
i have learned
it does no good
trying to change
it might be better
to set that
Now may I speak . . . to those buffeted by false insecurity, who, though laboring devotedly in the Kingdom, have recurring feelings of falling forever short. . . .
. . . This feeling of inadequacy is . . . normal. There is no way the Church can honestly describe where we must yet go and what we must yet do without creating a sense of immense distance. . . .. . . This is a gospel of grand expectations, but God’s grace is sufficient for each of us.
~~Thomas Merton: No Man is an Island
~~Jeffrey R. Holland
Don't try to dazzle everyone with how brilliant you are. Dazzle them with how brilliant the gospel is. Don't worry about the location of the lost tribes or the Three Nephites. Worry a little more about the location of your student, what's going on in his heart, what's going on in her soul, the hunger, sometimes near-desperate spiritual needs of our people. Teach them. And, above all, testify to them. love them. Bear your witness from the depths of your soul. It will be the most important thing you say to them in the entire hour, and it may save someone's spiritual life.
We come to expect God to accept our understanding of what his will ought to be and to help us fulfill that, instead of learning to see and accept his will in the real situations in which he places us daily. …The plain and simple truth is that his will is that he actually wills to send us each day, in the way of circumstances, places, people and problems. The trick is to learn to see that- not just in theory, or not just occasionally in a flash of insight granted by God’s grace, but every day. Each of us has no need to wonder about what God’s will must be for us; his will for us is clearly revealed in every situation of every day….The temptation is to overlook these things as God’s will. The temptation is to look beyond these things, precisely because they are so constant, so petty, so humdrum and routine, and to seek to discover instead some other and nobler “will of God” in the abstract that better fits our notion of what his will should be.[It is] the temptation faced by everyone who suddenly discovers that life is not what he expected it to be. The answer lies in understanding that it is these things- and these things alone, here and now, at this moment- that truly constitutes the will of God. The challenge lies in learning to accept this truth and act upon it, every moment of every day.
We were startled to see the news a few days ago that Jon Schmidt's daughter was missing in the Columbia River Gorge. We've loved Jon and the rest of the Piano Guys for years now and this was so sad for all of us. For a couple of days there was a big search and rescue operation with planes and drones and dogs, but nothing was found. Two days ago her mother announced that they thought she must be dead. (She had been missing a week at that point, a week with lots of rain and cold night temperatures.) The official search was called off but now an unofficial search is looking for her body.
Yesterday I happened to get an email from someone who knew someone who was collecting food donations to take to the search location. I often wish I could help when there is a tragedy, esp when it touches someone I know or admire. This seemed like a great opportunity and we had just a few hours available to do something for family night last night.
First I forwarded the email to the women in my ward to see if anyone else would want to contribute. Then Russ, Rachel, and I started cooking while Jenna and Jared did homework. Russ made a batch of homemade wheat bread. Rachel made a batch of chocolate chip cookies and a batch of my recent favorite, chocolate chocolate chip cookies. I made a triple recipe of chili to cook overnight in the crock pot. We worked for several hours while women in our ward also came and dropped things off.
In the end no one will ever know what we did. But what matters to me is that we know. We know that there was a real need--their need to have supplies and our need to show love. I feel great about having taken time out to do something for them.
[I've had this glass gallon jar sitting around the house for a long time. I used to use it for sugar but we sized up to bigger containers (so many cookies being made!!) and didn't need it. I couldn't just get rid of it because my parents used to use this jar to get milk when they got milk from a local dairy. (Back when my dad used to say that they drank skim milk because they skimmed the cream of the top!) The chili was still really hot when it was time to take it and so my idea for transport wouldn't work. Then I thought of mom's gallon glass jar and it seemed the perfect use. 💙]
For the last couple of weeks my spare moment game has been Free Cell. You know, the solitaire game that you played on your computer back in the early days of Windows? That one. I used to play a word boggle game and tell myself that I was keeping my brain sharp by playing it. (Brains that have experienced mild traumatic brain injury might need to be exercised more.) This year, though, I grew tired of that game and started playing this one once or twice a day.
At first I could always solve the game and send the cards automatically to their decks on top. But then I hit one that I couldn't solve. I could have gone on to a new deal, but instead I told the game to replay the deal and I tried it again. And that time I figured it out. Every now and then I have to replay a game now, and a couple of times I've had to replay one 5 or 6 times. Eventually I've gotten it, started on a different side and worked a different way and then it finally works.
It strikes me that this is like life. Some things don't have to be totally specific, they can go however you want them. But some things have to be more precise, and so you have to try again and again until you get them right. Sometimes things don't work out right and you just need the replay button, a step back to examine another way to handle a difficult problem. When I'm playing Free Cell I don't get upset when I have to hit the replay button, I actually become more interested in the game, curious to see if I can see a new way to do it the next time.
I think I'm going to try to see if I can think of my life a little more as if it were a free cell game--less stress when I don't manage to do something the way I wanted to, more curiosity about the opportunity to try it again. Who knows--the game could be good for my brain and my life as well.
There are moments you remember all your life,
There are moments you wait for and dream of all your life,
This is one of those moments.
In one part of my brain having babies in the nicu seems like a dream, long ago and far away and fuzzy when I try to remember it.
Another part of my brain remembers is like yesterday: going from isolette to isolette, holding each tiny baby, marveling over their tiny size.
I remember Jared wearing "real" clothes for the first time, clothes that today look like doll clothes but then were enormous on him.
And today that baby, my baby, blessed the sacrament for the first time.
Spiffy in his new white shirt and favorite turquoise bow tie, voice surprisingly calm, he did a great job and I had tears in my eyes.
Landmark moments always stand out, but there is something about hitting these landmarks with my babies. A huge whoosh of "I can't believe we're here/how on earth did this happen" wells up inside of me every time. A combination of "how did we get here" and "I can't believe we've survived this long" and "I think this might be going too fast."
Today felt like that as I sat there and watched him and listened to him and wiped away the tears and took a mental picture.
This is one of those moments...