Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Pain in Progress

I will write about Easter and spring break soon. I have some really great pictures to show you, so look forward to that in the coming days.

I am realizing that I have--or had--become complacent in my knowledge of gospel doctrine. In college I had a period of rapid intellectual and spiritual growth which sustained me until my calling as a seminary teacher. I think it might have sustained me my whole life. My strands of testimony were tightly wound into a tight ball. There was no room for knowledge to escape. No room for doubt to creep in. It seemed like the best way to safeguard my beliefs.

I didn't even realize this until I started studying the doctrines I knew so well. And because I was reading, researching, and preparing to teach church history and the Doctrine and Covenants in a way I hadn't before, an interesting thing happened. Instead of rolling my ball, hitting on the points of doctrine I already had stored, I found threads of truth not previously incorporated into my cohesive body of knowledge. A hole was poked here, a chunk blown out there. New information meant a shifting of interconnected strands. If this is true, then this is also true. But if this is true then what I thought I knew is incorrect. What I thought was false may be true at a certain point.

And . . . my nice ball unraveled in a messy pile.

It's like when you clean out your closet--finally boxes of things you love but never look at get sorted. Things you thought you needed, you realize you don't. And when you're done, you have a lot more space for new stuff! But boy, what a mess you have to clean up outside your clean closet's door. It would have been much easier to shut the door and keep things as they were.

Easier, but not necessarily better.

It is painful to readjust--to include some things I hadn't wanted to, and to throw out some that were merely practices and not principles. It is painful to realize that God is perfect but his people are not.

(Which shouldn't surprise me, because hello--I'm certainly not perfect.)

I won't go in to details but you have had similar discoveries, questions, challenges, or issues in matters of religion. I'm sure of it.

I am putting the ball together again, integrating the old and the new. But this time, I will leave a little room for growth--for my body knowledge to be dynamic and alive--growing and changing as my understanding increases. If the strands were all one color they wouldn't be very interesting, would they?

I do love the gospel of Jesus Christ. If there is anything I can hang on to it is the love of my Savior for me and all mankind. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to grow as I teach the young people in my seminary class, and I hope that I am helping them to draw closer to Him.

In my lesson today we read this quote from the straight-shooter Brigham Young:

"Why do people apostatize? You know we are on the 'Old Ship Zion.' We are in the midst of the ocean. A storm comes on, and, as sailors say, she labors very hard. 'I am not going to stay here, says one; 'I don't believe this is the "Ship Zion." 'But we are in the midst of the ocean.' 'I don't care, I am not going to stay here.' Off goes the coat, and he jumps overboard. Will he not be drowned? Yes. So with those who leave this Church. It is the 'Old Ship Zion,' let us stay in in" (Discourses of Brigham Young, 85).

I am grateful to be a passenger on the "Old Ship Zion," with many faithful and imperfect people trying their best to navigate this life. I am grateful that the Master steers the ship and leads me through rough and still waters so that I may appreciate the beauty in both.

There is pain in progress . . . but it's the only way to keep moving forward.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Egg Coloring

Last week we dyed eggs. We only had two real egg dippers so I made Mary one out of a coat hanger--I don't know if that was resourceful or just ghetto.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Carnival

Every year the elementary school puts on a really great carnival at Saguaro Park.

Bella, Sara, and Mary ate snow cones.

Cameron and Harrison loved that hamster ball!

Cameron played Laser Tag.

Mary and Sara got their faces painted.

Harrison was excited to find a classmate to pal around with.

Mary and Bella hula hooped for a long time.

The DJ played some fun music.

It was cold, it was windy; it was warm, it was sunny . . . in other words, it was Spring. We had a fun time and I'm so glad for all the hard work that goes in to putting this on.

Tyce was with the high school choir that day at their annual festival, where they earned ones straight across the board!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lovely Springy Spring

Days like this make me glad for half-day kindergarten, where I can spend special time with my two sweet boys. Last week we went to the park at the end of our development.

How adorable is our Cameron!?

And our Harrison!? Such handsome young men.

Harrison enjoyed playing baseball.

And Katie enjoyed herding him. Harrison is the only one she feels she must keep in line.

Harrison tried to teach Katie to fetch the ball for him.

And she did!

After a playing baseball, he sat down to blow dandelions. I love this picture.

Cam rolled down the hill and repeatedly crashed into Harrison. Why Katie doesn't herd *him* is a mystery.

I am grateful for beautiful weather, blooming flowers, green grass, and a renewal of spirit as I bask in the splendor of spring.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.  ~Anne Bradstreet

Friday, April 8, 2011

One Year Older and Wiser, Too

When you're 37 you're one step closer to heaven . . . meaning more angelic, of course. My birthday (on the 5th) made me so sweet I could put a diabetic into a coma just by saying hello.

Helllllllll-oooooooooh. See what I mean? Pure sugar. Get someone to pass you a potato chip, quick.


How did I spend my birthday, you want to know. Well, I got a pedicure, ate a sandwich called The Bobbie at Cappriotti's, bought myself some new earrings, and came home for a family party--where a cheesecake was waiting for me. Booyah.

I didn't want wrapped gifts for my birthday. I am afraid of ending up on an episode of Hoarders. When you have a giant house you tend to fill it up, and heaven knows I'm due to get rid of at least a quarter--maybe half--of my stuff as it is. This does not mean I'm opposed to spending money, mind you. But I'd rather spend it on experiences than possessions. So as for gifts, Bryce had the kids get creative. Mary chose to get a pedicure with me (which we will do in a few weeks). Tyce surprised me with doughnuts in my seminary class--and I do mean surprised! I had just started a very solemn video about the life of Joseph Smith when he came in with a few of his classmates and began singing "Happy Birthday" to me. When we flipped on the lights I saw Bryce standing at the other door with milk and juice. I turned off the video and wrapped up my lesson, which didn't seem to disappoint the class since they got out a little early and scored free doughnuts. It was so thoughtful of Tyce to surprise me like that--that really made my day.

I would like to see the PG-13 version of the movie "The King's Speech" this weekend for a date. Just in case anyone I'm married to wants to ask me out. Hint.

It was a good birthday. I got tons of good wishes from people in the form of phone calls, messages, a potted flower from my friend Aranne, and birthday cards in the mail. I love my family and friends!