Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Fluff!

Demotivation Day! Yay!

It could be because it’s a rainy Friday, but I found these posters addicting. Some are absolutely HILARIOUS! (And I love that they are all from a website called “Despair, Inc.” Isn’t that just fantastic? I’m so happy that we humans can laugh about such things.)

I think I’ve spent about an hour looking through the site, so be forewarned! You, too, might get obsessed.

Oh, how I wish I had my own office, and could decorate at will. I would plaster these babies all over to fill myself with happiness!

Here are some of my favorites (in case, unlike me, you actually feel like doing your job while you’re at work and don’t have the time to spend perusing the Demotivators):

When your best just isn't good enough.

You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take, and, statistically speaking, 99% of the shots you do.

You aren't being paid to believe in the power of your dreams.

It's best to avoid standing directly between a competitive jerk and his goals.

If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

If you find yourself struggling with loneliness, you're not alone. And yet you are alone. So very alone.

Madness does not always howl. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "Hey, is there room in your head for one more?"

If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon.

With focus, dedication and steroids, men can achieve impossible dreams. Like breaking a world record. Or growing their own breasts.

When you wish upon a falling star, your dreams can come true. Unless it's really a meteorite hurtling to the Earth which will destroy all life. Then you're pretty much hosed no matter what you wish for. Unless it's death by meteor.

Well, there you go! I hope you chuckled at a few of them, and if you have the time, you might also want to check out the DespairWear. My favorite shirt says “More people have read this shirt THAN YOUR BLOG.” Oh, how true it is!

I’m off to work! (after some repenting, that is, for wasting time…)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sister Beck…Again?

(Let me begin by apologizing for the excessive use of parentheticals in this post. This being the first of many. I don’t know what’s going on with me, and I’m too lazy to re-write it. I think I’m using them because I’m imagining you and me sitting together and talking about this. And where in my speaking voice you would be able to tell it’s “on the side”, you can’t tell in writing which is why I’ve put it in parentheses, so you know it’s “on the side”. But, at this point, whatever.)


Just when I think I’m “over” the Sister Beck thing, something like this comes up and makes me revisit it.

(Perhaps, you noticed—or maybe you haven’t because you have better things to do with your life—that I’ve never posted on her G.C. talk. I was going to because I had issues with some of it, but in the end, I didn’t think it would serve a productive purpose, so I let it go.)

But, then I read "What Women Know". And the whole thing came to the forefront of my mind again. And, you know, (if you read my last post) that I’m tired of thinking. So, needless to say, I’m completely wiped out.

As I read through their declaration (Is that what you would call it?), I soon began categorizing their statements into four areas: 1) those I completely agree with, 2) those that I’m indifferent towards, 3) those I’m confused about (as to their relevancy, for example), and 4) those I completely disagree with.

All over the Mormon blog world, women (and men, of course) have been reacting to this website. Some in the negative and some in the positive. And as I’ve read through posts and comments about it, I’ve been struck by how adamant people are for one side or the other.

If you like the declaration, you see yourself as pro-women, and forward thinking in regards to the church, and you see those who disagree with you as mindless or misguided dolts.

If you hate the declaration, you see yourself as pro-gospel and in line with the prophet, and you see those who disagree with you as feminist weirdoes* or apostates.

(Now, of course, I’m just generalizing. I’m sure people on both sides would say that I was incorrect to lump everyone into this category. But, oh well.)

Me, I’m a middle-of-the-road kind of gal (and no, not a fence sitter).

I can appreciate these women for wanting to get off their chests what's bugging them and tell the world what they believe (I do that myself, hence, the blog), but I can also understand the people who think this was a dumb, fruitless waste of time (because it’s not like the church higher-ups are going to read it and say “We see the light!”).

But what struck me the most, and what I’ve been thinking about is not what they said, but the forum for which they said it: a website.

Why the need for such a public domain? Why the need for a cross-country (and even international) way to unite behind these ideas? Why did they think this was the best route? Was this the only way they could satisfy their souls?

It’s just interesting to me that instead of only talking amongst themselves, with friends and/or family members, with ward members, or with fellow LDS bloggers, they needed to put up a whole website for this purpose.

And what does this say about how our church works in regards to communication member to member, as well as, member to leader? Does it mean anything that they went to a website instead of some ecclesiastical leader (although, maybe they did that too)? Did they think it would be fruitless (or even dangerous) to talk with a Bishop/Stake President?

Hmm… see, these are the things I think about.

(By the way, did I ever tell you about what happened when I heard Sister Beck’s talk. (Or didn’t hear it, actually?) No? Okay, I’ll take you back to that fateful day...

Picture this, a mild October morning, circa 2007, I’ve just heard from another great brother, and I’m excited to finally get to hear from a sister, and the leader of all us women, no less. (It’s not that I don’t find the brethren uplifting, but really, only two sisters! Don’t we women represent a large chuck of the church? But, I digress…this is something I take to Heavenly Father.)

Sister Beck opens by summarizing the valiance of the stripling warriors, and how they declared that “Our mothers knew it.” And that’s when I knew Sister Beck’s talk was going to be about mothers, and so I said to myself, “Conference break! Time to bake those cinnamon rolls!” And promptly went to do so.

You can imagine my surprise, come Monday when I started checking my favorite blogs and saw the firestorm her words had created. Really, I think this is the most talked about conference talk in the last decade. Can any of you remember one that can top it?)

Now, back to the original topic of my post… wait…I can’t remember anymore.

So, I guess I'll end by saying that although I agreed with many of their ideas, the problem I had with their statement, overall, was that it sounded too political to me. And you know how bitter I am about politics, of late.

But, what did you think? Did anything make you say “Amen!” or “Huh?” or “You’re on the slippery slope to apostasy, ladies!”? Did you find the idea of a website interesting, like I did? Do you think we need a greater “saint to saint” form of communication? Or should we remain in our separated wards/stakes?**

P.S. Even though the whole Sister Beck thing has become like a song on the radio that initially you like hearing, but because they play it 27 times a day, you now think it stinks and reach for the closest object to puncture your eardrums every time it comes on, I still plan on finishing my series of Sister Beck Says So. She really said some interesting things towards the end of her talk.

* Does this word look right? I thought the plural for “weirdo” was “weirdos,” but my computer told me I was wrong. And seeing as the computer is all knowing, I went ahead with its suggestion, but “weirdoes” doesn’t look right to me. Any thoughts?

**And this in no way implies that you have to leave a comment. I hate when people do that. So, think of it as rhetorical or otherwise. I’m just glad you stopped by to pay me a visit!

Monday, November 26, 2007


"When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can become deadly projectiles."

You ever just feel tired of everything?

So tired that you don't even want to think? Can't think? Question if you'll ever think again?

So tired that you don't to do anything? Want to do anything? Can think of anything to do?

So tired that you can't even put your finger on why you're tired? Doesn't everything make you tired? Isn't everyone tired?

Well, that's how I'm feeling lately.

And actually, just attempting to articulate my tiredness-ness has made me realize something: It stems from mental exhaustion, and I really have no reason for it.

I'm not in school.

I can do my job with my eyes closed (and have done so on numerous occasions).

I have enough money.

Super family.

Amazing friends.

And yet...

Really, I think I'm just tired because I feel the winds of change coming my way.

So, I'm trying not to think about all the thinking I'm going to have to do when my life begins to go topsy-tervy, and this forced not thinking about thinking has wiped me out. Does that make any sense?

Put simply: I don't do well with change. I avoid it like the plague.

In fact, I'd rather get the plague then have my world change. Life would be so much simpler (and shorter) if I had the Black Death. Then I'd really have a reason to be tired!

But, alas, that's just wishful thinking.

Speaking of thinking, I'm off to take an avoidance nap...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Holiday Hiatus

A lot of family things are going on this week.

Happy ones, like getting together for Thanksgiving.

Sad ones, like my sister* in the hospital because she had a mass larger than a football removed (along with one of her ovaries).

So, I'm taking the week off from blogging.

I hope you all have a wonderful time with family and friends!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

*For those of you who know me (that is, most of you), it's my sister, Carolyn. She should be okay. The doctors are still running some tests, though. So, I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Fluff

I’m not really in a fluffly mood today. KROQ had an “Ask a Mormon” segment on their morning show today, and of course, they get a former Mormon to answer the questions.

So, if you didn’t hear it, you can imagine how it went: truths twisted, or delivered like we belong in a loony bin (which, I’ll admit, is easy to do with some of our beliefs), half-truths given as truths, folklore given as facts, etc.

Basically, the same crap we always get. I’ve already been asked about it by 2 co-workers.

Time for damage control!

I can understand why people focus on our more esoteric beliefs. They’re way more interesting then the everyday Sunday stuff. But still.

And, I don’t understand why people like Kevin and Bean*, or newspaper reporters, or anyone else not Mormon, think that asking a former Mormon is more objective then asking a current Mormon.

One doesn’t like it, the other does. Both are biased in some way. But people always assume the “one who got out” is the better candidate for insights.

Ugh. Oh well.

With that, let me give you something that isn’t exactly what I would consider “fluff,” but I’ve found it incredibly interesting. Read about "Mingering Mike" and be amazed by the power of a dream and what one teenager/young man will do to live it (real or not).

I can't imagine the time this guy spent on the records. Did you check out his art work? All that detail. Remarkable!

Well, I hope you have a fun weekend!

(I'll be working on my crappy novel, trying desperately to catch up. So, pray that my fingers don't cramp up and my mind comes up with something remotely interesting.)

* Rachel, now that Bean is your BFF, could you please speak to him about this? Maybe he could have you on the radio as a Mormon spokeswoman! That would be fantastic!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On Sorrow: The Driver

I found out yesterday about this horrible accident that occurred in my home town on Tuesday night. You can read about it here.

Things like this happen all the time, I know.

It’s like two sides of a tragic coin:

The Driver: One minute, you’re driving along thinking about your day, maybe singing to a song on the radio, or talking to whomever is in your car, and the next minute…your life is forever altered.

The Victim: One minute, you’re walking/riding/skating along thinking about your day, maybe singing to a song on your Ipod, or talking to some friends, and the next minute…your life is gone.

Both the driver’s and victim’s families will never be the same.


And I’ve been thinking about this, and wondering what I would do if I was in either situation.

But what has really been haunting me today is not if I was the victim, but if I was the driver.

What if I was the one to accidentally take a life?

How do you recover from something like that? Do you recover? Should you?

I’ve had deaths in my family, and they are always hard to adjust to. And I have marveled at the way the plan of salvation has brought comfort, and how the atonement has soothed my soul.

But, I have never thought on how these things (plan of salvation/atonement) would help not only if I suffered a loss, but if I caused one.

And this is what I’ve been pondering: What other layers of these principles have I not delved into because I’ve not thought about it before?

I feel this question is something we have to ask about every aspect of the gospel. If you don’t ask, you don’t receive, right? That’s why we keep going over the same things in church. It’s to help us ask deeper questions, not to think “This is boring. I’ve heard this a million times!”

The questions “How would I turn to the atonement? How would the Savior heal me and my family? How would the plan of salvation help me? How would these principles help the family of the one that I’ve killed? How would I help them know of these precepts?” kept running through my mind last night. And I’ve felt a deep sorrow today.

You see, I know the driver of the car in this accident. I know his wife who was sitting next to him while they were on their way to help an elderly woman in their ward. I’ve known their family my whole life. They’re good people. Helpful people. Kind people.

And my heart is breaking for them, just as my heart rends for the family who lost their son. And it is times like this that I am grateful to know what I know and believe what I believe.

Without an understanding of the plan of salvation, how could this be rectified?

Without belief in Christ, where would I turn?

If I was the driver, how would I find peace in the gospel?

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Random Sampling

I've only been at work for 2 hours, and I'm having one of those days... we've all had them.

So, here’s some stuff that I've been thinking about lately.

It's all over the place, I know.

Welcome to my mind.

(I apologize in advance…)


When I saw this picture, I was once again impressed by the power of the human spirit. So, the next time you complain that your job is hard, just remember this:

Turkish women struggle with heavy burdens as they walk to their homes in Sirnak province near the border with Iraq.


Dear People at Yoplait,

What is going on with the seed quantity in your Light Red Raspberry yogurt?

It has gotten out of control! I took two bites and almost got lock-jaw from the unexpected crunchiness.

You should call it “Red Raspberry Seeds in a Yogurt Glaze” instead of just yogurt, because “yogurt” implies that there is more of a creamy consistency than a crunchy one.

I know they make seedless Raspberry jam. Maybe you could look into that.

Oh, and thanks for the chipped bicuspid.

Begrudgingly yours,


I believe that everyone who can read should be memorizing their favorite poems. I try to memorize a new one every two to three weeks (depending on my time and its difficulty).

So, if you don't already do that, give it a try! It's a lot of fun. I just write the poem on a 3by5 card(s) and carry it around with me. Whenever I have a spare minute, I read through the lines.

It's quite simple actually, and a good use of time. (And a great way to impress people at cocktail parties. Although, I don't know if I've actually ever gone to an official cocktail party, but I assume that a recited poem would awe the cocktail party scene.)

This is the poem I'm currently memorizing:

being to timelessness as it’s to time,
love did no more begin than love will end;
where nothing is to breathe to stroll to swim
love is the air the ocean and the land

(do lovers suffer? all divinities
proudly descending put on deathful flesh:
are lovers glad? only their smallest joy’s
a universe emerging from a wish)

love is the voice under all silences,
the hope which has no opposite in fear;
the strength so strong mere force is feebleness:
the truth more first than sun more last than star

–do lovers love? why then to heaven with hell.
Whatever sages say and fools, all’s well.

(E. E. Cummings)


Oh, and have you guys heard about this? Some people think it’s big news. Others don’t. Any thoughts?

Well, that's it. Hope you're having a better day than I am!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday Fluff Part II

Now, I'm doing this to inspire all you writers, and future writers out there.

You think you can't write? You think all your stuff is trite and crap? You think you'd rather gouge out your eyes than read another stupid, horribly written story?

Well, you're not alone! Behold! For your inspiration (and condolences) I'm showing you the first 4 paragraphes of my totally unedited masterpiece which I have titled "Crap-terpiece".

Be prepared to have your bowels filled with mercy towards me (and my hopeless abilities) as you read...

When you have a first name like Abbott, old people think you're funny and young people think you’re weird. A normal person would realize this before cursing their child, a daughter no less, with such a name. But, I don’t come from normal people.

Hi, my name is Abbott Brinley, but I go by Abby, and I’m glad to make your acquaintance. I suppose I should be grateful that my last name isn’t Costello, right? Yes, that would be much worse. Oh, if you talk to my parents, they’ll tell you to call me Bott. But don’t. I mean it. Growing up with a name like Abbott really does something to your world view. Trust me on that. Although growing up in my family certainly didn’t help matters. It’s sort of the chicken and egg scenario, if you know what I mean.

Before you ask, yes, my parents were fans of Abbott and Costello. And no, I don’t know the “Who’s on First” routine. Really, I don’t. I’ve made it a point to not know it. Some would say that this is a terrible loss because that routine is such a classic. And that any well-informed person of American comedy duos should know about such things. But to those people I say, so what? You don’t know what it was like being 9 or 13 or 17 or 30 with a name like Abbott.

I don’t want you to think that my name ruined my life, because that is not the case. I blame my ruined life squarely on the shoulders of my parents. I don’t want to sound cliché, but it’s all their fault. Now, of course, they don’t see it that way. In their minds, I was given lots of love, freedom, and “me” time. But I suppose before I start telling you about my current situation, and how I’m trying to get out of it, I should first tell you about my parents, Max and Sabine, and how they saw the world when I was growing up, and how that viewpoint has determined my life. And their story can’t be told without mentioning the place where it all started, and ended: Otterville, Ohio. This small town, with all it's quirky people, only made things worse for me and my future.

I'm know, I'm sorry I'm literate too...

(Normally I'd ask you to comment, you know, so I feel liked and all. But, in this case, please don't comment. I already feel bad enough...)

Friday Fluff

From around the world...


In case any of you have thought about joining the mob, I thought I would pass along their version of the Ten Commandments, so you can know what you’re getting yourself into.

And if you still decide to join, make sure you tell Guido he still owes me ten bucks. I plan on collecting, unless he wants to swim with the fishes…


Not really that "fluffy", but interesting nonetheless. Did you know that there were still Titanic survivors?

Neither did I! Sad, only one left...

South Korea

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something like this shows up:

The world's first "toilet house" is unveiled in South Korea. Funds raised from renting the house will go towards providing sanitary toilets in developing countries.

Don't get me wrong, it's for a good purpose, but it's a strange house. I think I'd rather just pay money for toilets, but that's just me. I wonder if there's a toilet in every room?

Well, have a great weekend!

And if you have an idea for an odd house (or the weirdest house you've ever seen) drop me a line in the comments.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sister Beck Says So…Part III

You can read Part I and Part II here.

In these next three quotes from President Beck, she talks about some very heavy things, and I’ve been thinking on them a lot since last Saturday.

It’s not that they’re necessarily anything I haven’t heard before, but that they have been brought to my mind at a time when I’m going through some changes/challenges, and therefore, they seem new to me again (if that makes any sense).

But I suppose this is how it is with gospel principles: as you continue to progress (or at least strive too), truths of the gospel refine.


Now, on to the quotes:

“Remember we fought a war [in the pre-existence]. We were part of a great conflict and we decided whose side we were on. And we said ‘Sign me up! I’m in for the whole deal.’ So there has to come a point where the Lord says ‘Do you mean it?’” [chuckle, chuckle] “‘Are you really with me or are you against?’”

Ah, the pre-existence! One of my favorite LDS beliefs. It just makes so much sense, doesn’t it? And it also makes the creation of this world much more necessary to us (I believe) than to other religions. It also makes us more responsible for our lives (I believe) than is taught in other religions. We chose to come here for the good and the bad; we knew this ahead of time. We weren’t sent here just to get us ready to worship God for eternity (or burn in hell for doing a poor job). No, we were sent here to become like Him, literally.

The fact that we had the freedom of choice in the matter gives us more power in a sense: power over our pre-existent past (even if we can’t remember), power over our identity, and as a result, power over our lives. If you choose to put yourself in a dangerous situation, (e.g. earth-life) then you really can’t be a victim. Seeing yourself as a victim is a way to abdicate your power. And no member of the church, who really understands the happenings and implications of the pre-existence, can see him or herself as a victim.

Now, I’m not saying that people aren’t abused, hurt, victimized in this life. Of course this happens. But because of our understanding of the pre-existence and the Atonement (mostly this), we don’t have to see ourselves that way. We don’t have to believe the world’s view that because we were wronged, nothing is our fault; that we aren’t responsible for ourselves and our lives. We can claim and keep our power. No matter what!

Back to Pres. Beck:

“And so He said ‘I know how we’ll do this. I’ll send them to a world, and we’ll prove them’…And that’s what we’re doing. And we’ve heard a lot about the trials and troubles that come because we’re being proven. You don’t get proven when things are good. You get proven on all the waves and stormy times…”

Is your life tough right now? Good. It’s supposed to be. Get over it! You’re being proven, after all.

So many times we (mostly me) think that because we live the “true” gospel, believe in miracles, believe in blessings, and believe in a loving Heavenly Father and Savior, life should always be grand. We should always be spared. Miracles should always come our way. Or, at the very least, we should receive the answer we want from sincere prayer.

Consequently, we take it as a personal affront when life stinks.

“Why aren’t you saving me Lord? I pray, read my scriptures, do my V.T., yadda yadda yadda.” What we’re really saying is “I feel I’m holding to my end of the deal, so why aren’t you?”

Sometimes we (mostly me) think “I’m doing the best I can, so bless me already!” or “Aren’t you supposed to love me despite all my weaknesses? Send some miracles my way!” or, worst of all (and I know this from personal experience) “I don’t seem to be getting what I want in this life. This must mean you don’t love me (or don’t exist). Gospel, Shmospel! I’m outta here!”

But, what we have to remember is that we are here for EVERY reason we complain for being here!

This is it. This is life. And Sister Beck is right. The Lord asking us daily “Are you with me no matter what? Or, only if I bless you, your way?”

“So, therefore, what? Now what? You here being proven, now what? …I believe the first thing we do is we can’t forget; we have to remember. Every Sunday we come to sacrament meeting and we come for a reason, and that is, to remember. And to remember, we even renew our covenants every week that we’re going to remember. Initially, by about three hours after church we’re forgetting already.” [chuckle, chuckle] “Isn’t that right? I mean, the hardest commandment we keep is to remember. Always remember.”

Don’t you just love this? I thought her statement that “the hardest commandment we keep is to remember” was so true! Here, President Beck is referring to remembering the Savior. But later, she mentions remembering who we are (which I’ll talk about in Part IV).

And, although I’ve thought about it before, it is interesting to ponder on the fact that we covenant to remember. This places A LOT of importance on remembering! Personally, I forget all the time. I even put a sign on my computer that says “Always Remember” because I never do.

Now, take a moment and think about the ways you remember. I think we all have similar ones (e.g. reading the scriptures, praying, partaking of the sacrament, etc.), but I’m interested in the ways you might remember that are different. Make a comment, if you want, about your unique way.

I can use all the help I can get.

Stay tuned for Part IV…

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sister Beck Says So…Part II

Part I can be found here.

To begin, I want to set the scene:

The theme for this event was “Sometimes He Lets It Rain.” And Katherine Nelson (LDS singer/song-writer) was the first speaker/(singer). She did a bang-up job and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Then the remainder of the time (about an hour) was turned over to President Beck.

Before I go to specific quotes, I want to give you my over-all opinion of her, and say that I was greatly impressed. She spoke directly (no saccharin tone), intelligently, and had a wonderful sense of humor. She was VERY personable, down-to-earth, and approachable. On the whole, I agreed with everything she said. (I had a few minor issues, but we’ll talk about those as they come up in her talk.) And I expect everyone who was there to remark on how they understood her comments. We all see things differently, after all, and that’s how we learn and grow. So, please share.

One of the first things she mentioned was that she had read a book on Abigail Adams. Pres. Beck then related a story from the book that I’m going to paraphrase. Abigail Adams recounted a time when she sailed to England to visit her husband. And on the journey she got incredibly sea-sick, so much so, that she prayed that the seas would be calm. And a few days later, they were, and they ended up sitting in the middle of the ocean for two weeks, in the hot sun, going nowhere. And Abigail said “bring on the storms.” From this experience Abigail learned that in the calm times you don’t get anywhere. And in her soul she realized that you need the turbulent times to grow.

I thought this was a good opening and story. And very true, of course. (Actually, I wasn’t going to include it, but it directly connects to the next thing President Beck said, and that was something I wanted to talk about.)

After sharing this, President Beck had everyone open their scriptures to Abraham 3:22 and gave us the “noble and great ones” speech.

Maybe it’s just my cynical perspective, but I always take issue with this when it is used by our leaders. It bugs me for two reasons:

1.) Are we really to believe this? Every member of the church born after a certain date is “noble and great”? Really? I find that hard to believe. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know (and have known) some people whom I would consider “noble and great” and in that case, I whole-heartedly agree. I guess my main issue is that it's always used to imply that we, LDS members, are the "noble and great ones" and are the "leaders" of the world. But does this apply to every member? I just don’t believe that.

Maybe you do, and that’s okay. But for me, to apply this statement so that it reflects an LDS = leader conotation cheapens it. And I certainly don’t think the “noble and great” label applies only to members of the church (and I’m sure you don’t either). Do I think we all have the potential to do something noble and/or great? I suppose so, but that doesn’t make us noble or great. (At least not in the leader sense, but I do think we're noble and great in another way which I'll mention at the end of this post.)

2.) What about everyone born before the gospel was restored? Were there really only a few “noble and great ones” and all the rest were just “average and okay”? That just doesn’t sit well with me. That means we all were created unequal, and that some of us had no chance. Now, I know we all have different skill sets and talents, but it’s hard for me to believe that some of us were created better than others right out of the box.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Liz, we had eons of time in the pre-existence to grow and prove ourselves to be noble and great. We weren’t created that way, we became that way through our choices.” Okay, I can see that, and I believe that’s a possibility. But if you read Abraham 3:22 it says “…intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones…” To me, this says that as Heavenly Father organized the intelligences, (notice He didn’t say His children, as if, we weren’t children/people yet) some of them were superior. Maybe that’s true, some were just better. Or maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about which is highly likely. But, either way, it just kind of bugs me a little. Poor ‘ole average dead people.

Now, maybe you’re also saying “Liz, lighten up. They only say things like that so we feel valued and try harder to fulfill our duties.” I think that’s true, too. It’s nice to feel important and that what you’re doing has eternal value (and I’m not saying I don’t believe that, because I do). I’m just saying it’s not my favorite thing when leaders use this to pat us on the back. But, that’s just me. (And if you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I have issues.)

Okay, now back to President Beck:

“You may wonder sometimes if you’re the best the Lord has… and if you’re feeling bad about yourself, think about Him. He has to deal with us!” [chuckle, chuckle*]

“I look at myself in the mirror in the morning and think: Is this the Relief Society President? Oh boy, are we in trouble!” [chuckle, chuckle] “If that’s the best there is to be the Relief Society President, ooohhh boy, are we in trouble!” [chuckle , chuckle] “And then I pray hard and get up and work hard because I don’t know anyway else to get through it.”

(I appreciated that she said this. I told you she was funny and down-to-earth. And I completely agree with her.)

“Oftentimes I think we look at ourselves that way ‘Is this the best the Lord has to deal with this? Oh, are we in trouble.’ But, we know from the Lord’s own words that He considers us to be noble and great. And that’s His picture of us.”

I believe her on this in a way (not contradicting what I said earlier). Does the Lord really see me and you as “noble and great”? I think so. He died for us, after all. And not just for Mormons, or leaders, or any other category of person. But for everyone. So, I think He sees all people as "noble and great ones".

At least I hope He does.

* I like writing “chuckle, chuckle” instead of “laughter from the audience” because it’s more fun (at least to my simple mind).

Tune in tomorrow for Part III…

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Sister Beck Says So...Part I

Some of you (i.e. those who live by me) know that Sister Beck came to speak at a four Stake Relief Society event.

I thought (i.e. heard through rumors) that she was going to speak about all the kafuffle that took place after her General Conference talk, so I, of course, HAD to be there.

This meant that I had to wake up early on a Saturday, put on my Sunday best, and trundle over to another cities Stake center—not my favorite thing to do on a Saturday when I’ve had an exhausting week of injured parents and novel writing.

But, nevertheless, I went, reporter hat in tow (and tape recorder in purse). I felt it was my duty to catch the scoop so I could inform all my other blog readers who don’t live by me (i.e. the five of you) of the happenings. And also, not living in Utah, and not going to many events in Utah, I realized this may be the only time I ever see a General Relief Society President in person, and that’s something to tell my posterity (i.e. nieces and nephew (since I’m a spinster)) about.

I thought what I would do (because I don’t have time to transcribe the whole thing, and I don’t know if that’s legal anyway) is give the highlights, you know, the quotes that really stuck out to me: Things that I loved, things that made me think, and things that made me go “huh?”

Before I begin, let me add two things:

1.) I was sadly disappointed when I found out that she wasn’t there to talk about the reaction she received from her Gen. Conf. talk. Her attendance at this event was planned months ago, and she was just going to speak on the topic. (Ah, shucks.) It turned out to still be well worth it, though.

2.) I was greatly pleased that she opened up the last 10 minutes or so to questions from the audience. That’s a brave thing to do as you can get excessively crying sisters who can’t gain composure, completely confused sisters asking the dumbest questions on the planet, and nut-jobs. (Can I call my fellow sisters in the gospel nut-jobs? No, because it’s not Christ-like? Okay, disregard.) I will speak on some of these questions later.

Tune in tomorrow for Part II…

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Friday Fluff (a little early)

(I’m posting this today because I won’t be able to tomorrow.)

So, I wasn’t going to tell anyone I was doing this, you know, to stave off abject failure and humiliation. But then as I was reading about it more on the various forums, I was told that I’m supposed to USE possible failure and humiliation as a motivational tool.

With that being said, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, for the initiated.

I’m introducing this on my Friday Fluff post because, well, everything I’ve written so far is fluff—and crap—don’t forget the crap.

I’ve met my 1700 words a day quota so far (meaning, day 1), and let me tell you, it’s a challenge. I started yesterday with no characters, no plot, no ideas, and no hope. And now, 2000 words into it, I have 4 characters (with Abbott Brinley as the protagonist), a trite plot, a few stinky ideas, and still no hope. But, it’s progressing, sort of.

The funny thing about writing is that you just don’t know where your characters are going to turn up and what they are going to want to talk about. I thought I would write a story about a chunky girl on the hunt for love (you know, because I can relate) and I’ve ended up with a character who’s retelling her past living in a quirky town in Ohio and being raised by eccentric parents who live in a world of make believe!

Why did this happen? Who knows! I sure don’t. Let’s hope Abbott, does. (And, in case you’re wondering “Why is her name Abbott?” I don’t know that either. Isn’t imagination funny?)

Maybe you should think about giving this a try! And then we could commiserate together!
I now know why Abbott was named so. Her parents had a great love for Abbott and Costello, and always imagined themselves as a great comedy duo. When they were first married, they actually tried to revive the Vaudville scene. They were mildly successful in their small Ohio town (and even had a picture of themselves on the only billboard in the tri-county area).

A Thought on Men and Women: Part III

Read part 1 and part 2.

3. It’s a personal reaction to #1 and #2. No one wants to be pitied (“I wonder if every time we talk about our kids, Liz feels sad? Poor lonely Liz.”), and no one wants other people to feel awkward talking about certain topics around them (“Maybe we shouldn’t talk about our husbands since Liz doesn’t have one. Poor lonely Liz.”) And that’s what I feel happens, eventually.

And any time I try to tell people that I’m usually okay with not being married, I don’t think they believe me. Or, they think I’ve just “given up” or “lack faith.” And this irks me to no end.

Sure, there are some moments when I wonder what my kids would look like, or if any man would ever find the fact that I sometimes sing myself to sleep, endearing. But, over all, I’m fine. And this is why:

I believe in a Heavenly Father who loves me and has a plan for my life.

I believe that the plan He has for my life is just as good and rewarding as the plan He has for those who get married.

I believe that my life is just as inspired and valued and divinely guide as those who are moms with children.

I believe that I am here to follow “the first and great commandment” which as we all know is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” as well as the second “Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself” (Matt. 22: 37-39).

Marriage and family is ONE way to accomplish those commandments. It’s not the only way.

I have full faith that everything I need to learn in this life will be provided for me. If that includes a husband and children, then great! If not, then it wasn’t necessary for me at this time. It’s as simple as that.

Of course, I know I have to do my part in the marriage area. But that doesn’t include agonizing over it, and having a miserable life!

If you are a righteous person, keep all the covenants you’ve made, and generally do the best you can, then Earth Life will be the only time you’ll be single. Think about it! The freedom of it all is astounding, really. And I plan on enjoying it while I can!

I’m more than happy to wait on the Lord’s time for marriage and family. (After all, maybe that means that during the Millennium, I’ll get to marry a Scottish highlander who died in 1367, or a Civil war veteran, or an ancient Samurai warrior. That sounds much more exciting then marrying Ned from accounting, anyway. (Although, if Ned is my meant-to-be, then it will work out with him.(And, no, I don’t really know a Ned from accounting.)))

This, my friends, was basically what I told my V.T. companion and the sister we were visiting. They really seemed to understand that it’s not that I don’t like them; it’s not that I think THEY are boring, it’s just that we’re living different lives. Good lives, valuable lives, but different. And that’s okay.

“But, Liz,” you’re thinking, “you’ve talked a lot about women, but you haven’t said anything about men like you stated in the title of your post!”

Well, I told you that I was going to give some background AND a digression, didn’t I?

Here’s where the men part fit into our conversation:

After my long diatribe on the married/unmarried thing, I then told them that I would love to come to their girl night sometime (after all, I do like them) and that I frankly wouldn’t mind also popping over on one of their play dates (after all, I do like little children).

And that’s when I had this epiphany:

Single female (whom you met thru V.T.) wanting to come over to hug and play with your kids = good (Poor lonely single sister).

Single male (whom you met thru H. T.) wanting to come over to hug and play with your kids = creepy (Has someone talked to the Bishop?).

Yep, that was it.