Monday, March 30, 2015

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 75]

This past week we had an opportunity to listen to Sister Mary N. Cook talk about some of her life experiences and impart some wisdom to us as a YSA stake. It was great. She based her remarks on the following scripture in Ezekiel:
For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. (Ezekiel 18:32)
God doesn't want us to waste away in waiting, whether that's waiting to die or waiting for something in your life to happen. It's kind of like He's saying, I don't want your pointless life any more than you want your life to be pointless, so do something about it. Make of your life a masterpiece.

It also reminds me of this character from Pollyanna:

 She spends all her time in bed, waiting to die. And making everyone's lives miserable. No one wants to be around her.

Then she meets Pollyanna, who helps her turn herself into someone that's glad to be alive.

Starting with stepping out of the bed.
Sister Cook's three suggestions on ways to 'turn ourselves' were to Learn, Strengthen ties with family, and Serve in the Church. I think. I didn't actually take notes. But I know that those are excellent ways to turn our thoughts to things other than just waiting to 'die'. As it were.

It was a very uplifting program. I have a lot to think about as a result. Great way to spend a birthday.

Monday, March 16, 2015

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 74]

President Faust gave an address in 1976 entitled "A Personal Relationship with the Savior." In it he said,
Recently in South America, a seasoned group of outstanding missionaries was asked, “What is the greatest need in the world?” One wisely responded: “Is not the greatest need in all of the world for every person to have a personal, ongoing, daily, continuing relationship with the Savior?” Having such a relationship can unchain the divinity within us, and nothing can make a greater difference in our lives as we come to know and understand our divine relationship with God.
I like the imagery of unchaining the divinity within us. We can start to reach our full potential if we will drink deeply of living water -- become closer to Christ.

Then President Faust gave "five beginning, essential measures which will greatly clear the channel for a daily flow of “living water” from the very source of the spring, even the Redeemer Himself."
Here's what he said:

1) A daily communion involving prayer.
2) A daily selfless service to another.
3) A daily striving for increased obedience and perfection in our lives.
4) A daily acknowledgement of His divinity.
5) A daily study of the scriptures.

I'm sort of getting the impression that all of these things should be happening daily. (That kind of reminds me of the Pi(e) Day party I went to on Saturday. We made "What I'm Looking For" pie charts. In order to give myself plausible deniability I prefaced each category with "acceptable." "Acceptable height," "acceptable disdain for pets," "acceptable handsomeness," etc.) Five simple things can't be that hard to do every day! We already do five things every day...most of brush our teeth, eat some food, go to work.

So that's something to consider.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

sail on time, rain or shine

Last night I started making a Facebook status, then I changed my mind. But I still felt the need to make a statement, so I proceeded to Twitter. That helped.

But it is not enough.

I apparently feel so strongly about this that I'm writing an entire blog post! The subject: shipping.

I'm not talking FedEx or DHL.

I'm talkin' HMS Harmony and Fire & Ice.

(Those are the only two cool ship names I remember, and one of them is still a portmanteau. But the best portmanteau. Man, Harry and Hermione should've ended up together just because Harmony is a great ship name.) (Fire & Ice was Draco/Ginny. Yes, people really thought they should be a couple. I have no room to talk though, I actually wrote them as a couple one time.)

In case the context clues haven't filled you in, "shipping" is seeing two fictional characters and thinking, "You should probably end up together." Probably a shortening of "relationship"...if relationship were a verb....

Shipping is great! But it is also apparently only understood on the internet. One night at dinner I asked my friend if she still ships me with one of our mutual friends, and she had no idea what I was talking about. And it's hard to explain shipping.

" the idea of you guys as a couple," she said, hesitatingly. "Does that mean I ship ... I'm shipping?"

Yeah, she so ships Chilimac. (I gave myself a ship name?! Too bad this one is destined to never sail. Much like Pine Tree. That ship never sailed.)

Best codename ever invented, though.

(I don't usually ship myself with people. Or ship real life people in general. Much. Just so you know. It's almost exclusively a fictional endeavor.)

I used to be all about the canon ships. You know, ships that made it into the actual canon of the fictional universe I was in. Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, Remus/Tonks. But the older I get and the more fandoms I experience, the more willing I am to get behind ships that didn't sail in canon.


Shipping is a big part of my fictional escapades. And, let me tell you, it's huge on the internet. Ship wars are a thing. (Especially before Half-Blood Prince came out. H/Hr and R/Hr were at odds all the time! And then HBP did come out and JKR called H/Hr shippers "delusional" and then those who didn't jump ship started calling themselves "Proudly Delusional" and it was a big thing and I'm so glad I was there for it.)

I even have opinions about using portmanteaus as ship names instead of a symbolic representation of the characters (I mean, which would you rather ship, Literati or Rogan? Little shout-out to the Gilmore Girls fandom...that I missed by however many years. Just as well). Never ever will you see me use "Hinny" when H/G or even Harry/Ginny are an option.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I like to get invested in the fiction I partake of. I like to talk to people about the fiction I partake of, especially if they are also invested (or if they're open to be talked into investing). And I'm more willing to admit to these things than I used to be. Feel free to ask me what I'm shipping these days. I'll let you know.

Monday, March 9, 2015

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 73]

The music I copied over in my great hard drive rescue a couple months ago is not at all organized. Every once in a while I'll click into a random folder to see what's there. And I found The Ahrens Band in one of them!

My freshman boyfriend's second counselor in the bishopric of his home ward was in a band at BYU. He gave me the CD as a token of our relationship, or something. He didn't like it that much.

But I like it! Listening to it again after several years of forgetting about it was an exercise in familiarity. Some of these songs were on my "Sunday Sounds" playlist, which meant I listened to them weekly for a couple years.

Including "stand tall" whose lyrics I found very touching as I sat there on a Friday night, aimlessly playing 2048 (if I had to guess) and listening to music. I don't necessarily love it, but there's just something about some of the lines here:

Walking through this life I lose my way
Walking off the path I stumble and fall Listening through the tears I hear a voice
Listening deep within I hear it call
Don't give up

Don't stay down
Don't ever feel like you've been beaten
Stand up
Stand tall
Stand and walk on the path again

Looking forward I see the trail
Looking ahead find my way once more
Climbing to greater heights I see the view
Climbing, stumbling blocks turned stepping-stones

Don't give up
Don't stay down
Don't ever feel like you've been beaten
Stand up
Stand tall
Stand and walk on the path again

Sometimes in life we don't know where we're going
Sometimes we stumble and lose our way
We need to hold on to the dream that we've created
And always in our minds they'll say

Don't give up
Don't stay down
Don't ever feel like you've been beaten
Stand up
Stand tall
Stand and walk on the path again
Stand and walk on the path again
My favorite part is the imagery of stumbling blocks turned stepping stones. And the encouragement we all have to return and repent after we've fallen into a little spot of sin. Stand up, stand tall.

If you're interested in hearing more of The Ahrens Band, they put their music on iTunes (including the famous "peanut butter and jelly" which was written by them) for purchase! (Or you can just come over and I'll play it for you.)

Monday, March 2, 2015

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 72]

I want to marry a meek man. Like, someone asked recently what kind of guy I'm after and my two main criteria are 1) meek and 2) I don't get tired of his company.

And I got made fun of!

But vindication is mine because it says right in the Sunday School manual that the definition of meek is "gentle, forgiving, benevolent."

Yes, please.

I don't like that the connotation of meek is to be a doormat. To be completely unassuming and demure. I admit that I've used it in sort of those terms in my own writing before, but I think meekness is a characteristic to be encouraged, not laughed at.

I wish I were more meek. Because then I would inherit the earth and that's, you know, a good goal to have.