Showing posts with label scriptures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scriptures. Show all posts

Monday, November 6, 2017

Somewhere Between Eden and Gethsemane

        A garden, by definition, is either a cultivated plot of ground or a gathering place such as a park which is generally adorned with plants and trees.  I guess I have never considered the definition until quite recently.  We had our Stake Conference this weekend, and one of the speakers mentioned two specific gardens found in the scriptures and discussed the symbolic differences between them.

          The Garden of Eden, as mentioned in Geneses,          is outlined as a paradise.  We see paintings of fruit and vegetation, peace and waterfalls, a beautiful place where everything is tranquil.  I guess it represents a kind of perfection.

          The Garden of Gethsemane, as portrayed by each of the gospels, does not have the same appeal.  Paintings often depict a drab setting with perhaps a few barren-looking trees, a hard rock or boulder, uncultivated dirt - it appears to be the opposite of the Garden of Eden.  There is no tranquility.  It represents hardships.  It represents trials.  There is sadness in Gethsemane and it takes faith to endure just being there.

          My youngest son seems to live in Eden for the most part.  He allows discouraging thoughts to roll off his back.   He tries to coax others to come into Eden by waving to them and showing them what the garden has to offer. Sometimes I have questioned whether he has been to  Gethsemane.  I know he's seen it. I don't know he's willing to leave his comfort zone to physically pull others out of Gethsemane.  I could be wrong.

          My middle son fluctuates between the two gardens.  He seems happy and content with one, but then something will set him off and he will mope around in the other.  And then there's my eldest who unfortunately has spent too many years in the Garden of Gethsemane and continues to delve deeper into the garden instead of trying to get out.

          Often his way of thinking (or lack thereof) remind me of John Steinbeck's character "Lennie Small" from Of Mice and Men.  Lennie is sweet for the most part, is seen as uneducated and slow-minded.  He doesn't mean to be harmful to anyone, but sometimes he gets frustrated and defensive when he is unable to communicate his thoughts to others.  I don't think that Biff is quite that far gone, but he tends to forget things he once believed. 
        Often our conversations are (and have been) like beating our heads against a brick wall.  I do believe that he would become bored with Eden in a matter of time, but I don't enjoy watching him struggling in Gethsemane, and I don't know how to help him.  Nor do I know how to comfort his mother-in-law who has visited Gethsemane more times than I have.

          I understand the need for trials.  I understand the need  for peace.  I'd like to see all of my children find their common ground between the two gardens.  I'd like that for everyone.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Let the Hunt Begin!

         Khonie uses ideas and outlines from Printerest and Sugardoodle.  She presents them in such an awesome way that we all learn.  The theme for primary this year is "I know the Scriptures are True"

With our latest sharing time, the children were introduced to a treasure map

and were given bags

Khonie made several bags and will be making more
 (as our primary has gotten bigge)

to fill with charts,

reading material

and a "message in a bottle"  

which included directions for parents and child to help their children, and the first reading chart

(Jenna ended up with 2nd Nephi - I think because her class may have already read 1st Nephi before this "treasure hunt" sharing time was introduced.
         In the future we will be given clues that will help us find the treasure. 

         I don't if there will be one treasure box for each child or a joint treasure box. 

         I understand each jewel will have a letter on it, and at the end of the year, the children can take their jewels and arrange them to make a puzzle - (or scramble/rearrange the letters) another clue?  or perhaps the treasure (answer) itself.

          Either way, Jenna will start YW in April and will not be participating in the primary sharing time.  But perhaps I can still participate in her behalf. She is reading and will continue with her primary class.

         How great it is to have a world full of creative minds.  How awesome it is that modern technology allows others to share and continues.  Thank you to all of those who have contributed to so many of our activities.  You're awesome! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Another Baptism, Another Discovery

            We went to a primary baptism on Saturday.  I was surprised to see Azure’s dad dressed in white. According to Hannah, her husband had been inactive for eight years.  Evidently Azure had talked him into coming back so that he could baptize him – which he did. 

            The baptism was a lot more reverent than the last primary baptism Jenna and I had attended.  Roland actually went with us to this one. There was still the visiting between the confirmation and the baptism though everyone seemed to be more respectful and non visiting the two times we had waited in the chapel.  I don’t know why the visitation bothers me so much, but it does. 

            Jenna had brought along an activity book to keep herself entertained.  I didn’t think that was all that respectful either – especially when she took the program and drew a tic-tac-toe while the bishop was speaking and nudged me to take a turn.  I gave her a hard crusty which I’m certain was not in harmony with the Spirit either. 

            The activity she had was from the story about Saul/Paul.  She said it was one of her favorites and said she wanted to watch the video but I told her I didn’t think we had it.  She was actually looking for the video of Alma’s conversion and accounted the story which she wanted to watch.  She was thinking that was the activity book she held.  I hadn’t even given a thought until then how many similarities both Paul and Alma shared.

            Both were bullies who seemed to be involved in gang related activity.  Though Alma appears more as the ring leader (Mosiah 27:8) while Paul appears more to be one that is taking orders from the leader (Acts 9:2).  Both Alma and Paul persecute the righteous (Mosiah 27:10, Acts 8:3 ).  Paul is left blind after Christ calls to him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:8) while Alma is left in an almost comatose state (Alma27:19) after having have seen an angel.  Both are called to repentance (Mosiah 27:24, Acts 9:6) and completely turn their lives around and become heavily involved in missionary work (Mosiah 27:32, Acts 9: ).  Both are persecuted for their beliefs.

          After Azure's baptism and confirmation, Hannah had all those who were seated to please stay for pictures.  A few pictures were taken of the entire group (everyone in attendance)  What a great idea!  Wish I had thought of it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Finding Christmas at the Zion’s Mall

          Okay, to my knowledge, there really is no such thing as Zion’s Mall.  It had been the name for a Relief Society activity that was held during the holiday season in 2008.  A wonderful presentation and activity that I have never experienced before or since.

I had signed up to take a relish tray – and as I was arranging the pickles and olives in an ordinary way, Roland (who is all about presentation) rearranged them so that the arrangement itself appeared 
to be a huge sunflower

The cultural hall had been set up with tables all around for booth display. There were ten “shops” surrounding the seven round tables located in the center of the room which represented the food court.

          When we entered the “mall” each sister was presented with a “master-in-charge” card and a shopping bag to fill.  The object was to visit all ten stores and collect bookmarks. Each bookmark contained a key.  The keywords given on the back would be unscrambled after all ten were collected.

          In no particular order there were a toy store, music store, Christmas store, book store, candle shop, art shop, one with fashion and accessories, a sweet shop, farmers market, and a bakery. At each table were thoughts to take along with little gifts and trinkets to remind us of certain things.

Call me a scrounge but I save Everything . . . used to anyway.  I’m trying to weed out the clutter.  But I did find this to be a fascinating workshop and glued all the thoughts into a book and have handwritten descriptions to go with each.  I suppose it might make a nice treasure for Jenna to see something in my actual handwriting

The music shop and toy shop happened to be next to each other. From the music shop we received both little plastic flutes and whistles and a kazoo with this thought: 

For my soul delighteth in the song of the hear; yea, the song of the heart: yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” – D&C 25:12

.  From the toy shop we received three gifts – one of which was a paddle and ball.  Attached to one of the gifts was this note attached:  
Now and then it’s good to pasuse in the pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”

From the candle shop were two candles – one marked with 24 lines – an advent candle to be burned each day.  The other was peppermint scented and came with this note:  
You don’t have to blow out someone else’s candle to make yours burn brighter

The Christmas shop offered several gifts including sliding puzzles with either reindeer, Santa or snowman.  The snowman seemed to be the most popular.  
Life can sometimes be a puzzle.  Reading the scriptures can help you keep all the pieces in place.

Another ball and paddle (this one had the nativity scene printed on the paddle side and this thought: 
Keep your eye on the “ball” Do not let your testimony be bounced around

We also received ornaments – one inflatable and one in the shape of a snowflake with this attachment:  
Each snowflake is unique – Just like You!”

At the art table was a picture of Jesus and an article of faith card.  And God’s Greatest Gift presented a magnet of the nativity.  I don’t even remember it.  I don’t believe it came with us when we moved.

Many books had been donated or purchased by several RS sisters who donated to the bookstore. There was one on Bible Trivia and one on faith that were given to each sister.  Plus we could choose others to keep.  I picked out a set of books called portable 7 Habits

The “habits” included: Vision, renewal, trust, synergy, purpose, abundance, choice – each book had pages of thoughts.  I still look at them and keep them.

          From the farmer’s market we were given three pieces of fruit.

 “orange” you glad we have the prophets to tell us the words of God and give us the whole truth

An apple a day keeps the doctor away – a scripture a day keeps discourage away.

There’d also been a thought on the banana – but it had disappeared from my “treasures” and I had not committed it to memory.

The Sweetshop featured a candy cane – one with the legend of the candy cane as explained here and the other that described the colors of faith  and we were given a loaf of bread from the bakery.

There was also a 
fashion show illustrating 
the importance of 

There were also the periodic “drawings” – if your name was mentioned over the “loudspeaker” you were given the opportunity to choose from the gift table.  I took home a cabbage patch doll – a preemie.

I took home my shopping bag filled with treasures which I had planned to share with Jenna as I figured she would enjoy the majority gifts more than I. 

There had benn a HUGE turn-out.  Probably the most well attended of any RS activity I had even gone to in that ward.  Those who had planned the activity had not been expecting quite that many people and unfortunately not everybody who attended was able to get everything.  (I personally had collected only 9 out of 10 bookmarks)

Each bookmark contained a Keyword: are, Scriptures, Happiness, and, Living, to, Reading, keys and two with the word “the

Translation: “Reading and Living the Scriptures are the keys for Happiness"

Each of us were given a 100 Grand (candy bars) to pay off our Master in charges cards.

          Jenna had fallen asleep before I could show her all the “treasures” I had come home with.  I remember hanging the snowflake up near her ceiling – I’dforgotten to give it to her, and I didn’t want it to get lost in the shuffle. (Our tree wouldn’t be up for another few weeks at least)

On Nov 16, 2008 Jenna came to me with such joy at her new discovery, 
“It’s a miracle,”  she announced proudly as she took me by the hand to lead me to her room.  
She pointed toward her ceiling where I had placed the star.  “Look!” she said, “It’s a Christmas miracle!”

How simple the pleasures of a child.  How great the reminders!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What makes Dr. Laura so high and mighty anyway?

Many people see the world as black and white.  No shades of grey.  Definitely no color.  Everything is absolutely wrong or absolutely right – there is no room for individualism.  We all need to be these perfect cookie cutter molds that would never dare venture out of the box.

          Dr. Laura – to me- sounds like a very black and white person.  And of course her way is the correct way.  No ifs, ands or buts.  Why is it that folks even call into her program?  Is it their wish to be humiliated on the air and given a “duh” speech and still not understand that they’ve been slammed?

          I don’t actually listen to her program intentionally.  Roland always tunes the car radio onto talk radio, and sometimes I just happen to be in the car when Dr. Laura gives common sense advice to her mostly pathetic callers.

For the most part I do agree with the advice she gives – but not necessarily the way she gives it.  Her tone often matches what I am thinking in my head – though I doubt I’d ever talk to a total stranger that way:  “why in the world are you even in this position when you are obviously too stupid to figure out what it was that even brought you here?”

Her answers are short, direct – never sweet.  Seriously.  Why are there callers who only encourage her to stay on the air?  After only three calls (if that) we are done.  If Roland and I have not arrived to our destination by then, I will change the station.  Please.

I copied this from a blog quite recently.  Love the message.  I wonder how many people get it though.

“Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination… End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath.Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan.
James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus Dept. of Curriculum,
Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia”

I did not get Mr. Kauffman’s permission to reprint.  Nor did I get Dr. Laura’s.  But I do think it is something that should be shared.  And has been (as it was not Dr. Kauffman’s blog where I first read it.) 

(Now at this point Dr. Laura would tell me that I shouldn’t even have a Blog – as I am too stupid to figure out the gadgets and insert here to refer to another post.  And I really shouldn’t just let my feet dangle in the water unless I can prove that I can swim)

Scriptures have been used to prove and disprove certain lifestyles.  Take slavery for example.  Both north and south used supposedly the same set of scripture to oppose or endorse slavery.  Why God was for it.  Why God was against it.  I don’t believe the Bible is black and white.  It’s not complete.  There are oodles of grey. 

Where are the actual writings of Moses or Joseph or Methuselah?  Do we really have all the epistles that were written by Paul?  And what about the Apocrypha?  I would gander a guess that it is not even included in most Bibles.  And the Songs of Solomon – really?  Grey. (Or is it in colour?)

Pharisees were so busy living to the letter of the law, they didn’t take time out to understand why the laws were even given.  A parent who has a variety of personalities among his/her children knows that one method of discipline that works on one child may not work on another.

For example grounding Patrick to his room was treacherous punishment. But Corey and I actually preferred our alone time.  Banishing us to our rooms was actually quite preferable.  Whereas forcing us to go outside was torture – or so we believed at the time.  Actually forcing me to go outdoors in reality contributed to my becoming a more well rounded person.

The point is that individualism isn’t black and white.  There are several shades of grey.  But more importantly there is color.  Lots of color.  And what a blessing it is for us to have those rainbows in our lives.  And for those who will accept the rainbows and appreciate that not everything is black and white.