Saturday, February 21, 2015

Is it a Sin to Play Games When I Should Be Sleeping?

     I have "Words on Tour" on my new smart phone which I enjoy, but which can also be a little bit obsessing as enjoyable and challenging things can sometimes be.
     I awoke in the night and knowing that today is No Alarm Clock Saturday, but also knowing that I seldom manage to sleep in much past my normal alarm time and often even wake up earlier, I still picked up my phone to play "for a few minutes." 
     You know that those few minutes can go on a little longer than intended or than we realize.  Also, electronic devices can wreck havoc with sleeping because their light or something affects our melatonin.   We are told to avoid screens time for  30 minute or an hour or so before bed.   R-i-g-h-t !  like books, you know the kind with paper (non-lit) pages) are safer!  How many hours of sleep have I lost to books??!!
       But back to the question.  Is it a sin?  It might be foolish.  Ok, it probably is foolish.  Is it a sin to be foolish?  It certainly is not god-like and supposedly we are trying to become more like God.
       What is sin?
       I asked my church.  That is I went to the lds.org website and typed the search "What is sin?".  "To commit sin is to willfully disobey God's commandments or to fail to act righteously despite a knowledge of the truth (see James 4:17)."
        I almost felt relief.  Except we are commanded to take proper care of our bodies and " retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated” (D&C 88:124).
         Among the other answers to the question was this article which I find encouraging (not encouraging to play games at night, though)  "Sins and Mistakes"  Mistakes, even stupid mistakes (are there smart mistakes?) are not sins. (But when we know better it's not a mistake, right?) In this article,the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr is quoted as saying, “What many people call sin is not sin.” (Don't be so hard on others.  and probably yourself.  We are not authorized to judge others, anyway.)  That same article says, "A fool is a fool, not a sinner."
         Ok, honestly, I don't know if playing games when I should be sleeping is a "sin."  Not a great idea.  Certainly not the worst sin I need to worry about having committed (wouldn't that be nice!!).  But probably not a "sin".  Should I repent of it?   I don't suppose that it would hurt and I absolutely need practice at repenting.  Why we (that is to say I) do not repent is another topic worth considering (unfortunately often).
          However we are now heading to another question which is, "Is blithering on in my blog when I have more things to do than day (and energy) to do it a sin?"
          I am now going to go get some laundry started (unless someone has beat me to it).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

the cold and dark before dawn

     A few years ago while my sons attended an early morning religion class, my dog Anna and I joined a group of neighbors and their dogs in the park next to the church.  We noticed that each morning just before sunrise a wave of distinctively cooler air rolled through.  When there was a sudden chill the sun was about to rise.  If we would turn to the east, we would see the sun coming and soon we would feel it's warmth.  I don't think that it is always "darkest before the dawn," but my experience is that it might be coldest. 
       I think this is often true in our lives.  When things seem to be at their worst, if we will hold on with faith, we will soon receive deliverance.  When Joseph Smith Junior made his first effort at vocal prayer, he was assailed by horrific powers of darkness that nearly destroyed him.  He continued in prayer and the darkness was dispelled by heavenly light.  God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ appeared to him.  Few of us get such manifestations, but smaller  no less wondrous  miracles and relief will come.
       We live in a world with much dark coldness.  The cruelty and evil that occur all too often in too many places fill me with sorrow.  There would be despair, but I know God lives and He knows what is going on.  Somehow it is wisdom in Him to allow it.  I cannot fathom it, but I trust in His greater perspective, wisdom, and love.  As the dark rolls over us, I remember the promise of dawn.  The Son will come.  May I be ready to greet Him with joy.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Prepare Ye The Way of The Lord

    What does it mean to prepare the way of the Lord?  The way where?
    I think we must first prepare the way to our own heart. One of my sons mentioned briefly a discussion about preparing a road or pathway for nobility by removing stones and other obstacles and smoothing the path. What stones block the path to my heart? Fear? Of what? This is really silly. Fear of being exposed in my weaknesses? HE already knows and has promised to help strengthen me. Fear of punishment? Christ has taken the punishment upon Himself for me already. It is if I reject His gift and refuse to repent that I will suffer. Pride? Laziness? Selfishness? What is worth keeping as an obstacle to opening one's heart and life to Jesus Christ. Nothing.
    How can I prepare my way to the Lord? Learn of Him and His word. Read it. Pray about it. Live it, at least really try.
    There are moments when I do manage to clear a bit of the path.  In those moments there is joy.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Family Day - The Irony

    Today is Family Day.
    First irony.  Family Day commemorates the day that I was sealed in marriage for all eternity in the temple of the Lord.  However, a sealing is not automatically forever valid.  A sealing is a covenant making between a man, a woman, and the Lord.  The Lord always holds up His end but the other two sometimes have problems. That's life.  Problems can usually be worked out.   My marriage ended in divorce.
     I still believe in temple marriage. It is a beautiful, true, eternal principle Perhaps someday I will be blessed to find a truly eternal companion and meet the requirements of sealing.  It's possible.
     I still believe in family.  I love and am very grateful for the beautiful family of children, children-in-law, and grandchildren with which I am blessed. 
     Second irony, I let myself get too busy and too tired to invite my children together for family day.  I know it's just a day we chose and designated.  (Actually I designated, which makes it even worse).  I can, should, and will invite my family together soon.  But I feel disappointed in me. 
     On the other hand, my sweet daughter-in-law remembered, understood, and invited my household to dinner after church today. 
     Today is a good day to remember to be grateful for your family and to express love to them.  Every day is a good day for that. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Terminal Trouble But I Got My Hug

         What a day!  Picking up my missionary proved to be a more of an adventure than expected.
          This a spoiler, but in case you don't read the whole story, I must warn you.  Check and DOUBLE check your missionary's itinerary. Don't just make sure you have read the information you were given correctly, but make sure that the information is current at the time of travel.  Contact Missionary Travel and confirm your missonary's flight itinerary.
         The sequences and timing may not be exactly right - things were crazy.
          The mission office forwarded Benjamin's itinerary to me the end of June.  I was so excited to get it and I made sure all my children had it, too.  Korean Airlines to Los Angeles, then American Airlines to Sacramento arriving at 2pm.  I checked the flight status repeatedly. Everything was good.
          We (my sons, Joseph and Andrew, and I) went to the airport, parked in economy parking, took the shuttle in, and were settled in to waiting by 1:30.  American Airlines Terminal B. Soon most of his siblings and I were waiting at the point beyond which only ticket people could go.  Watching eagerly as tram after tram arrived and emptied.  We checked the flight board.  On time.  We were sure he would be one of the last ones off - after helping others and waiting nicely, but still.....
         Then we heard a PA "Would the Robarts family please join their party at Terminal A information"  What?! Terminal A??!   Has Benjamin been waiting for us all this time at Terminal A?  How did we get different Terminals?!  So we dashed through the airport.  Up and down escalators, stairs, and elevators, through a parking garage, over  a sky way,  and breathlessly arrived at the Information Desk.  Where there was no Elder Robarts.  Someone asked who paged us. The information lady pointed - we thought at my ex-husband.  Why was he here at Terminal A when he was going to meet Benjamin, too?  Who cares? !  Now we were sure that Benjamin would finally arrive at Terminal B, but we would not be there.
         So, we dashed back!  Now, the fleet of foot hurried ahead of the pregnant sister and the old, slow mother.  I told them to hurry and to hug him!   One son went down to the baggage area to Scout around.  We got back to the nearly deserted tram stop, started down the escalator to the baggage area.  Halfway down one sister got a message from the brother that Benjamin was definitely NOT at baggage and neither was his luggage.  She and my grandchildren (her nieces and nephew) turned around and ran up the escalator.  I knew that was too much for me.  My pregnant daughter and I continued down.   I didn't see that the kids made it to the top of the escalator, but my daughter had to quit and ride back down, too.  (Don't worry there were at least one aunt and uncle at the top)
We scattered to different ways back up - another escalator, an elevator. We had people all over Terminal B.
         It was a little like The Amazing Race. Only less organized.
         Word came that Dad, my ex, had an itinerary a few weeks newer than mine which said Delta airlines Terminal A.  That flight was delayed.
          Well, my flight had come without Benjamin and his flight had not come yet.  His email was newer.  Drat!  I hate it when he's right and I'm wrong!  My daughter got through to Missionary Travel and confirmed that Elder Robarts' travel plans had been changed.  Then I realized.  Missionary Travel never had emailed me even though I had talked to them a few weeks before and made sure they had my email.  I had gotten mine from the mission office.  The mission office would not have cared about an update to the flight after the one they put the missionaries on.  Their job was done.  And they probably assumed that either I or Missionary Travel or both would have been more on top of things.
          The good news was that while the American flight was on time, the Delta flight was quite late and we had plenty of time to  go back up and down and over and through to Terminal A.
           A few minutes waiting and talking and then THERE HE WAS! coming down the escalator.   I think I yelled.  I know that we flew into each other's arms and that was one wonderful, long hug.
          Lots of hugs and pictures.  After politely waiting for family, Benjamin's very good friends Ben and Ahn and Ahn's little siblings (whom he loves) greeted him. So sweet!
           It's a good thing I had told the Stake Executive Secretary that a 4pm release appointment  was too quick to be sure we would be there on time.  Surprisingly after all that we were a bit early for the 4:30.  The whole family was there, but the Stake President only wanted Elder Robarts.
           The rest of the evening was sharing food and every body talking at once and the kids wanting to play with Uncle Benjamin and watching the video my son had taken as we ran through the airport back and forth. 
         He's home!  And pretty happy to be here, but not as happy as I am.
           

Friday, August 1, 2014

Never good enough.



     Do other people have this problem?  I am never good enough.  I never do enough.  For instance.  Last night on the way home,  I stopped at Wendys (those Frosty tags!)  I saw a man sitting outside.  Not by the door, not bothering anyone, not looking too mangy, but looking homeless or something.  I bought a Jr hamburger for me, value fries for the 3 of us, and got 6 free Frosties.  Then I added another Jr hamburger and another Frosty (which I think they charged me for because I forgot to show them that I was carrying 8 tags).  I asked the man if he was waiting for someone and he said yes.  I asked if he was hungry and he said, “Yes, I am.”  So I gave him one burger and one Frosty.  He told me that he had a bicycle accident and got a concussion. He was in the hospital for something like 17 days.  No one knew where he was, so his landlord evicted him. (Joseph said that does not sound legal and I think he is right) He had a bag with things donated by some church. He was grateful that it’s summer and not raining.  I expressed sympathy, but I left.  Joseph asked me if I had gotten any contact information but I didn’t think of it.  
      So, good points – I gave him a little food and kind words.  Bad points – nothing more to help him.  And it wasn’t much food. Not quite good enough.  What should I have done?  I am not sure.  I really don’t think I am up to bringing strangers home.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Brown (or Gold, if you prefer) is the New Green

       California is experiencing a drought.  I know it is serious, but I am rather amazed at how little it is affecting the daily life of most people.  Worries me a little. We do not take it seriously because it doesn't look like the drought on Westerns or like the great Dust Bowl.  (yet?)  With modern infrastructure, we city folk live a little too removed from nature and very well provided for - until it is REALLY, REALLY bad. 
       It is affecting daily life in The Patch - by choice. We are trying hard to conserve water and to be water conscious. 
     We have not watered the front "lawn"  (or weed patch we refer to as lawn) in so long that it is now straw.  We overlooked our poor camellia bush in the middle of that lawn which looks dead now.  We need to decide whether to attempt to revive it (which frankly does not look hopeful)  or remove the poor thing. 
     We have minimally watered our little apple tree and our orange trees, the oranges better than the poor little apple.  
     When we wash dishes, we re-use the rinse water.  Sometimes repeatedly.  When we are done with dishes, we often wash veggies in it.  Then we either put it in the bathroom bucket or water a plant. 
     We capture water warming up for showers and use it to flush the toilet. 
      Where I used to take nice long showers, followed by a soak in the tub if I had time, I now get wet, turn off the water, lather, rinse, turn off the water, use conditioner and shave, rinse.  Then I give myself a couple of inches of water with Skin-So-Soft instead of a tub full and splash it on me instead of soaking. Honestly, the water doesn't even reach the back of the tub before I turn it off.  It's the soak in the tub that feels like the biggest sacrifice right now.
      I think we are doing pretty well in our conservation efforts and I am pleased to say that Sacramento leads the state in reduced water use.  Surprisingly, some of our southern cities who want water from us northerners at the best of times, have increased their usage!! Shame on them!
        I am certainly grateful for the water we have and hope thar our voluntary efforts help - and that the situation does not get worse.
       Pray for rain. 

 

Temple Theater



Bit of background information:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has more than 100 operating temples around the world. Visitors are welcome to visit the temple grounds at all of these temples and attend open houses prior to dedication. However, only baptized members who are qualified and prepared are allowed to enter a temple after it is dedicated.

In temples, Church members participate in ordinances designed to unite their families together forever and help them return to God. In the temple, members:
  • Learn eternal truths.
  • Receive sacred ordinances, including those that bind husband and wife together for eternity, as well as join children and parents (Malachi 4:5-6).
  • Provide ordinances such as baptism for those who have died without the opportunity to
  • receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:29; 1 Peter 4:6)
One of the tools for learning is a film. (Except in a couple of very old temples, like Salt Lake, that still use live actors.  I must say that I am glad that I first learned from a film because it was easier to hear and understand, but I hope that the Salt Lake Temple always uses live actors. It is another special experience.) 

The church has added a 3rd new temple film to the mix.  I look forward to seeing it! 

LDS Living Magazine :
 “ A year after the LDS Church began using a new film for temple instruction for the first time in 20 years, and six months after introducing a second, a third new film is in rotation.
“The latest film presentation began showing Tuesday in 30 of the 143 operating temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a church spokesman confirmed.
“The new film is only in English for now. Like the others, its use will expand to other temples around the world over time and as translations are prepared.
“The script in each of the films is the same. The films are shown in a rotation to provide variety to temple instruction.”

Adds a little zest to temple attendance. J  There are things I particularly favor in each of the 2 currently in use.  It will be fun to see what’s different in this one.  There are advantages to modern life .

The script is the same.  It is interesting to see the different tone and feeling that can be given to the same words.  The difference in personalities even though they say the same thing.  In the case of Lucifer, it reminds me that he will present himself to us in any number of different ways to throw us off guard or appeal to our particular nature, but he is still the same and up to no good no matter what face he puts on. 

         I read on LDS Living a list of temples showing the new film.  Sacramento was not on the list. Yet.  Sigh.  All 14 of the Utah temples have it and a scattering of others – like Fresno and, I think LA.  Not sure how many because the leader said 30 temples but the list header said 27.   I didn’t count them.

             I went to the temple Thursday, as usual.   It was new film #2.  I call it the Aspen Forest one.   I am telling you I like the lone and dreary world!  Better than heaven which is paved with gold. (Does that make me a sinner?)   Not that I have anything against gold, but basically that’s all there is.  And a nice view of earth.  New film #1 I think of as Utah canyons.  I have no idea where the canyons really are, but there is a lot of barren rock.  Impressive, but much more lone and dreary.  Even by the sweat of their brow, don’t know how they are going to get food there.  

            I will be back many times and I will enjoy the films and their variety as well as be enlightened and uplifted by unchanging, eternal truths. 

           If you do not have a temple recommend, make it a goal  The Lord has a gift for you, but you must prepare to receive it. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Don't wait for Disneyland

         Don't wait for Disneyland. 
         Disneyland bills itself as "The Happiest Place on Earth".  It is a lot of fun and there is definitely magic there.  But it shouldn't be the happiest place on earth. That should be home. 
        Home is where the heart is.  Where one feels welcome and safe. Where your favorite people are glad to see you.  A place of learning, laughter, songs, prayer, and companionable quiet.
        The happiest place on earth should be wherever you are with your family.  Shopping in Costco on a busy Saturday, I saw a father pushing the cart along the crowded aisles laughing and joking with his children as he had them help look for the items they needed. 
       Disneyland can be a great family vacation.  But it can be very expensive.  Don't wait until you can afford a super vacation to have fun with your family.  Be goofy at home.  Take walks together.  Play in the park.  Explore your neighborhood. Go to free or inexpensive community events.  Play games. Work together - chatting as you work.  Share yourselves with each other.
        My daughter took me to Disney World for a week.  I had a WONDERFUL time.  I want to go again.  But besides the attractions and the rides, the joy was that my daughter wanted to share it with me.  The magic was that cast members treated me - and everyone - like they were so glad to see me / them.  We can create that magic in our homes. 

Fathers

   My parents were only 17 when I was born.  Their marriage did not last.  I did not see my birth father again until after I had a child of my own.  During my childhood there were two more men my mother married, who adopted me, divorced, and moved on without looking back. She married a fourth time after I was married, so he didn't adopt me. We never developed a deep relationship.
     I did a little better in providing a father for my children.  We were sealed in the temple and all my children were sired by the same man.  He provided for us enough that I could stay home with the children, but we always had to scrimp, while he did not.  He didn't just send his family to church; we all went.  He served well and faithfully in many church callings, too.  But whether or he loved us as best he could, it was not enough.  None of us are perfect, I know.  But he didn't love his wife and children as we should have been loved, provide for us as well as he could, preside in the home, or treat us with courtesy. 
      Partly because of the disappointments of the fathers in my life, in contrast I greatly admire and appreciate the men who are true  fathers.  Most of all, I am grateful that my grandchildren have good fathers.