Friday, January 30, 2015

a House 'neath a soft yellow moon

During my lunch break earlier this week I decided it was time to go to Pottermore and get Sorted. I don't know why now; I've had my account since 2013 (I was not one of the people that got in early), but I was stalled at Philosopher's Stone Chapter 4 and couldn't make my way to Hogwarts so I gave up.

But they changed things so you no longer have to physically follow Harry on his journey toward Hogwarts. You can just go right in! I didn't know that until I decided to look into it on my lunch break.

Oh, I remember now. It's because I didn't expect Tom Felton to sit through the whole first half of the book when he got Sorted this week.
Poor kid...
Anyway. I got my wand (hawthorn and dragon heartstring, 14 1/4 in, surprisingly swishy -- just been reading up about it and apparently I'm troubled yet powerful and it's a good wand for the Dark Arts) and then I put on the Sorting Hat. Or took the Sorting Quiz. It's the same.

Gotta admit, it's not just that I couldn't get past the hut on the rock that I had never been Sorted. It's because I made a choice in 2005 to accept where I was Sorted in the Harry Potter fan community I was involved in, even though I was initially unhappy with it. And I accepted being a Hufflepuff so whole-heartedly that it's become a big part of my identity throughout lo these many years.
I've made great friends in Hufflepuff.
In retrospect, not sure ALL of these are Hufflepuff friends.

I have multiple Hufflepuff shirts.
Oh, 2007 me.
Oh, 2013 me. Wait, this is the same shirt. Guess I don't have any photos of my other Hufflepuff shirt, but rest assured it's really cool. Says "I'm a Keeper" on the front ant "Hufflepuff Quidditch Team" on the back.

I proudly proclaim that I am a Hufflepuff and I staunchly defend the House against its detractors.

This video, for example, makes me so mad:

Oooh, so mad at the stereotyping going on there. And do you really think that all we're good at is finding? I may find my wand pointed at you!

So I didn't make getting Sorted a priority because I was concerned that it wouldn't keep me in Hufflepuff. Being a Hufflepuff is who I am. It's important to me to be a good example of what Hufflepuff can be. When I remember to.

But I guess it was time, or I guess I was bored, because I let JKR's official test tell me where I truly belong.

And it turns out I'm in Ravenclaw.

And it turns out I'm not unhappy about it.

Not saying sometimes we Sort too soon, because before I accepted being a Hufflepuff I was pretty sure I was a Ravenclaw. But I've been happy to be a Hufflepuff and to exemplify the best (and, unfortunately, worst) of the House.

Now I have motivation to keep the loyalty and true friendship that I've learned in Hufflepuff as I rediscover passion for learning and hone my intelligence...or something. Go Ravenclaw.

So both Tom and I (his friends call him Tom) have had a surprise in our Sorts recently. I'm much happier about it than he is...though I am a little concerned that I have no Ravenclaw paraphernalia to support the #ProudestHouse contest going on at Pottermore right now. Maybe I'll have to work into my House Pride.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

laughs as tears run down her face

After my first round of chemo, I decided I wanted to become a comedian. "There's just so much material here!" I exclaimed. Then I wrote it all down in a WordPerfect document and never did anything with it again.

When I was lately at home I found the document (entitled, of course, justroutine.wpd because that was probably what my comedy routine would've been called). Here's the entirety of the file:
The WalMart trip is amusing.
Don’t touch that, I’m poisonous.
Being at home – Kiana and oranges, Kaylie and Jennie (maybe), family videos perhaps
Irony of yesterday, perhaps (the dance, the hair, etc., and then being in the hospital).  I bet I could make Derek pretty funny
learning to walk normally again
being in the hospital – coming out of anaesthesia, sleeping all the time, never getting a good night’s rest because people are always coming to see you.  Ooh, the nifty port!  Being poisoned.  The countless visits from people even during the day and how I don’t remember any of them.
I went crazy

After pondering for a while I can remember what most of these are referring to (not all of them -- who knows what I was talking about with "Kaylie and Jennie" or the "amusing" WalMart trip). But I don't think they're all that funny. Maybe it would've been the delivery?

I guess it was mostly my determination to see the bright side of the situation, and it worked.

(I do still think "Don't touch that, I'm poisonous" is funny, but not hilarious.)

And there ended my career in comedy.

Monday, January 19, 2015

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 68]

This morning I was trying to source a quotation my Relief Society president used in church yesterday and in that searching found "Improving Our Prayers" by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, a BYU devotional he gave in 2003.

(Shout-out to Elder Wirthlin who's coming through on MM a lot lately!)

I really liked this devotional. As often happens, I am thinking a lot about prayer and how I can be better, and not only does Elder Wirthlin discuss some reasons our prayers might not work (lack of faith, lack of charity, etc.) he also provides a scriptural pattern for prayer -- and it's not even the Lord's Prayer! (The Lord's Prayer is a nice pattern for prayer, but it's not the only one.)

It's Psalm 37. I'm thinking of trying some of these things to improve the efficacy of my prayers.
1. Fret not (Ps. 37:1). Stop worrying. I have found myself saying to friends lately, "I can always find something to worry about." And it's so dumb. Elder Wirthlin says, "When we worry about the future, we create unhappiness in the present....Instead of worrying, focus on doing all that you can, and then leave the worrying to your Heavenly Father. If your heart is right with Him, He will take care of the worry and the fear." 
2. Trust in the Lord (Ps. 37:3). Do you believe that God loves you? He is the giver of all good gifts. He will come through for us. 
3. Do good (Ps. 37:3). From Elder Wirthlin: "We do good because we are followers of Christ. We do good because we are members of His church. We do good because we have made solemn covenants to serve as a light unto the world.Our Heavenly Father expects our actions to serve as a living testimony to ourwords. As we do good, the Lord can bless our efforts." 
4. Delight thyself also in the Lord (Ps. 37:4). Be grateful and happy with the blessings the Lord has already given, and the assurance that He will continue to bless your life in ways you don't expect. 
5. Commit thy way unto the Lord (Ps. 37:5). Keep the commandments. Keep the covenants. Cleave unto the principles of light and truth. Keep up your end of the bargain. 
6. Rest in the Lord (Ps. 37:6). Be patient. (Easiest part.) "When we rest in the Lord, we allow Him to work His will for us in His own time and in His own way."
I like these ideas (and the rest of the address). Perhaps next week if I can source my RSP I'll share her further insight (or maybe I'll just spread the unsubstantiated quote -- it's a good one).

Monday, January 12, 2015

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 67]

Last night I watched the Worldwide Young Adult Devotional presented by Brother Randall L. Ridd of the General YM Presidency. He asked us to post the answers to three questions on social media. A blog is like social media, right?

The questions are:

  1. Can I do it?
  2. Will it work?
  3. Is it worth it?
I kind of feel like my answers to these questions (spoiler alert: the answer's Yes) make a little more sense with some context. Which means that, hold on, I have to watch the whole devotional again. Here's the link if you want to join the fun.

Brother Ridd discussed the importance of living life with real intent. He suggested three small and simple things that, if we would prioritize them in our lives, will make all the difference:
  1. Keep the sacramental covenant to "Always remember Him"
  2. Pray with real intent
  3. Study the scriptures
So, can I do these things? Sure, but not by myself. Do you know how many times I've determined to do these things in my life? So many. I need help to do it. I'm not talking a roommate chart (though that has been helpful in the past), I need to truly understand the 'why' behind it -- and that means I need to have more love for God. Because if I have that, of course I'll do these things that He wants -- and I'll have His help every step of the way.

In RS yesterday we discussed this quotation:

Why did God put the first commandment first? Because He knew that if we truly loved Him we would want to keep all of His other commandments. “For this is the love of God,” says John, “that we keep his commandments” (1 John 5:3; see also 2 John 1:6).We must put God in the forefront of everything else in our lives. He must come first, just as He declares in the first of His Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Chapter 1)

So that's the goal. While I'm waiting for the love and the habit to kick in, I hope to have the willpower to do it. I can do it.

Will it work? Probably. People wouldn't talk about how glad they are to have these habits in their lives if it didn't work for them. The times in my life that I've been really determined about this I've been happier, even if circumstances weren't the best.

And I am pretty sure it's worth it. I think everything I want in life is tied to my faithfulness to the small and simple things like this. No longer to struggle through an ordinary life, but to be immensely successful and fill the measure of my creation. All I want, to be honest. So why wouldn't it be worth it?

Now, to throw down a hashtag:

(That works, right?)

Monday, January 5, 2015

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 66]

I like this quote by President Hinckley, especially as motivation for those of us that have temple attendance as a New Year's resolution this year:
Most of our temples could be much busier than they are. In this noisy, bustling, competitive world, what a privilege it is to have a sacred house where we may experience the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of the Lord. The element of selfishness crowds in upon us constantly. We need to overcome it, and there is no better way than to go to the house of the Lord and there serve in a vicarious relationship in behalf of those who are beyond the veil of death. What a remarkable thing this is. In most cases, we do not know those for whom we work. We expect no thanks. We have no assurance that they will accept that which we offer. But we go, and in that process we attain to a state that comes of no other effort. We literally become saviors on Mount Zion. What does this mean? Just as our Redeemer gave His life as a vicarious sacrifice for all men, and in so doing became our Savior, even so we, in a small measure, when we engage in proxy work in the temple, become as saviors to those on the other side who have no means of advancing unless something is done in their behalf by those on earth. 
And so, my brothers and sisters, I encourage you to take greater advantage of this blessed privilege. It will refine your natures. It will peel off the selfish shell in which most of us live. It will literally bring a sanctifying element into our lives and make us better men and better women. (x)
I hope we can all find a way to keep temple attendance a priority in our lives.