Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Guest Post by my pal, Barb "My Institute Graduation Speech :)"

In my city, we have a wonderful building for the Institute of Religion near a local University. When I first started attending Institute here before we had our own building. We met at rooms at the Student Center on campus. The classes were very small in those days and we often sat in comfortable sofa chairs or around a board table.

I was invited to Institute by the same friend who introduced me to the LDS Church. I already had a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel, but I do not think I really knew about temples or Living Prophets at this point. I think it was a month or more before I had my first discussion with the Missionaries though I was so anxious for them to arrange them for me much sooner. There I sat in those early days in my sponge like state. I was so impressed by my Instructor and his ability to make sense out of chapters of the Old Testament that were so dry that I daydreamed when reading them.

I remember the excitement when we were trying to push for enough membership to get our building. The building was very large for our needs as it used to be a Church. The basement was set up with a pool table, ping pong tables, and that game where the wooden statue hit a ball through a goal etc. There was also a kitchen area and we had a lot of snacks with the honor system in those days of leaving cash in the little bowel or at least an I.O.U. until you could pay.

My instructor was always willing to drop his reading preparations to talk to me when I was in a talkative state or had concerns. It is hard to summarize years of lessons. What I do know is that in some areas, I had more knowledge than companions who were raised in active families.

What was most critical, was his relentless emphasis on making and keeping covenants. I knew that the Gospel was serious. I am not sure that I would have the roots without his explicit instruction. These teachings may have gone over my head in other settings.

In all, Institute was a great place to meet with people for class or to hang out among those who had like standards. When the day came for my long awaited graduation, I was surprised to learn that I would not be speaking. I had gone to so many graduations and had often envisioned myself on that day summing up my experience. I was asked to give a prayer.

This was a case of feeling a little slighted on my part. Even years later, I sometimes get a little mad when I think about although I don't think I am generally a petty person. Then, I remind myself that hardly anyone was even there for the talks as most did not arrive until the dinner afterwards. I guess it would have been more for me. A right of passage as you will. But I think my thinking is much more synthesized now to know how formative this experience was to me. So this is my belated talk. I am an Institute graduate!

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Nugget of Wisdom, suitable for blogging

I always read the Ensign cover to cover, but not the month I get it. I listen to most of conference and then read the talks I missed. I'm behind.

But last night I read this astounding bit of wisdom and thought it would work in the blogging world, so I want to share it:

(Instruments of the Lord's Peace, by Robert S. Wood)

"I recall that as a graduate student I wrote a critique of an important political philosopher. It was clear that I disagreed with him. My professor told me that my paper was good, but not good enough. Before you launch into your criticism, she said, you must first present the strongest case for the position you are opposing, one that the philosopher himself could accept."

"I redid the paper. I still had important differences with the philosopher, but I understood him better, and I saw the strengths and virtues, as well as limitations of his belief."

I think this is good advice for all bloggers. I'm going to try it next time I am mad at someone on the blog.

I'll be gone for a week starting Friday, plus I have to get ready, so won't be blogging for awhile. So long suckers, eat your hearts out. I'll be in Yellowstone.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

An interesting link (the kid can write)

We have a few kids who've been columnists at the paper, some have left for missions and not returned. One actually ran for office in St. George last year. I would've voted for him in a New York minute.

This was the column this morning. I'm not sure I agree with this young man, but he's light years ahead of me in intellect and maturity and makes an interesting premise.

I hope I did that right.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Playing with Cathy's head

We got a new Relief Society president in our ward. It's the across the street neighbor and a dear friend.

I've taken some interest in this process since we were told we would be released in June. I'm the visiting teaching superviser, but I loathe this calling and was just putting in my time, enduring till June.

June came. And went. I was bellyaching to beat the band. What was up with this?

July came. And I thought, "oh, crap, what if I like the new Relief Society president and she needs me?" So I told the bishop I'd hang in there, but I'd rather be released.

August 1 came. No new president. I'm extremely curious by this point why we're not released yet (heck, everybody was). I'd picked out my president back in June. It was Cathy across the street, but she swore up and down she wasn't it.

So I called a few other ladies. This is what I said, "well, I'm re-arranging the whole visiting teaching any way how I want and making a big mess of it. What do you think of that?" They all said, "that's okay with us, Anne." Nada. Zip. Zero. This person was the biggest secret west of the Mississippi.

Finally I'm told she'd been called. It would be a few weeks. The old president, also a good friend, told me she'd told the new president I'd stay on. I said, "why did you do that?"

"Anne, you like her."

"How do you know that? You thought I could keep a secret. You clearly don't know me."

And I stewed. Because how could I say, "Oh, I changed my mind. I want to be released." Since this person thought I liked her.

Cathy had a good time with me talking to her. "I'm in trouble. Because how can I gracefully quit now if I don't like her? How could they tell her that?"

Then a little bird told me my friend Cathy is the best secret keeper in the ward and the new Relief Society president. What fun she must have been having.

Hmmm.....sometimes I can keep a straight face. I went over and said, "Cathy, I have to change you. I have to take these two ladies and give you these two. I'm doing it tomorrow before the new president gets in Sunday. I'm making a bunch of changes the way I want it so she can't change it when she gets in." I discussed specific ladies. She said, "what if the new president doesn't want that?"

I said, "oh, screw her. she can fire me." Her son, the father of three kids, was sitting there. He laughed at me and said, "who's the new Relief Society president?"

Me and Cathy said, "we don't know."

Then she followed me out to the door saying, "Now, you might want to think about those changes." She knows I'm emotional and impulsive and I was geniunely worried about some of these ladies.

I said, "no, there's no time." Then I said, "You know what else me and Kim are going to do? Trade callings. She thinks this calling would be okay and I want hers bad (compassionate service). The new president won't know the difference, we'll just tell her they were mixed up and we'll trade callings."

She said, "you can't do that."

I said, "oh, sure I can, I've discovered you can do pretty much what you want as long as you pay your tithing and go to church on Sunday. Besides, who cares? Nobody else wants these callings."

Well, I probably overplayed my hand. But she sure didn't. She can keep her mouth shut. What an admirable quality. The only way I can keep my mouth shut is if I get my voice box removed. Which then I would be slapping people.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

This n That'

I've been ill and haven't had much energy for blogging. Plus it's late summer and I hate summer. It's hot and noisy and smothery. So I lay around all day and try to endure. Is that lie around? Ly around? Whatever.

I'm reading Levi Peterson's autobiography slowly. He's incredibly honest and I find that delightful. I just read that he thought he might be gay. I find the thought process so funny, "hmm...maybe I am gay after all. Well, that would be a relief." Then he talks about how much he loves and lusts after his wife.

I wondered if all men wonder if they're gay. I don't think women wonder about that. We love each other without it being in the least bit sexual. Lately I've been hugged a lot and I've noticed how squishy womens bodies are. They feel comfy, like a stuffed animal and I realize how good it must feel to a man to hug a chubby woman. And I feel less conflicted about my own chubbiness.

I wanted to share something cool that I just read in Terri Hatcher's book (I finally finished it!):

". . .there's joy in what you've got, even if you can't see it by yourself.

That's why I wrote this book. I want us to be there for each other, by accident and on purpose. . . .I remember that for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. You toss a ball up in the air, it comes down. That's the way I see us affecting each other in life. The intensity of your passion in the world, whether you build houses or raise children or manufacture computer chips, and that action creates consequences. Those consequences have their own effects. So in everything we do, we're responsible, as a community--for our planet, for our society, and for each other."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Happy Birthday, Dessie

Dessie is named after my grandmother. I love that name. I aspire to that name. Dessie used to be my funniest, energetic, and fun-nest sister. More talent and heart than the rest of us put together.

She's had a rough time of it the last 15 years. She began to remember abuse at the hands of my father and went off the deep end. She ended up being married three times, left her family, and met up with a couple of real jerks. Now she lives with a Catholic guy, who is a great cook, and a jerk. She says he loves her. I think he dominates her. Her relationship with her children is tenuous, careful.

When we get together, we could laugh for hours. Now Dessie takes a few extra seconds before she can process and more often just smiles quietly than her signature cackle-giggle. We used to eat the candy she shoplifted and fight the fights she would start as she--pit-bull-like--thought she was ten foot tall and bullet proof. We used to hold her down and punch her and she would laugh. That sounds so sick. But when you're poor, I guess you entertain yourself how you can.

I miss my sister. Today she turns 50. How weird it that? To have a younger sister who is the ancient age of 50. To have a younger sister who is light years older than you is sad.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bill loses his temper

My husband is usually a dignified sort of person. He misses being a gentle giant by a hair because of his anal attitude towards tasks. He's like his mother, who used to offer her suggestions until I agreed with her just to shut her up. I've said it's like being beaten to death by a butterfly.

He and I bicker constantly because we are both OCD--I about people, he about tasks. So I see him mad quite a bit. It's a fair fight :).

Others, though, seldom see this side of him. But he came home from work yesterday disappointed with himself because he'd lost his temper with a co-worker. He was embarrassed, I thought it was funny.

A young man, our daughter's age, who works in the detail shop of the car dealership where Bill is a salesman, smarted off to Bill when he asked him to put gas in a car. Bill was at the wheel of said car at the time and the young man said, "you go do it, Bill. Do your job."

It's funny the things that can push a 60 year old bald-headed man over the edge. A man who never cusses. He says dog manure, not dog poop.

Bill put the car in park, got out and walked up to that kid, madder than heck, got in his face said, "You snot-snosed little shit, don't you ever talk to me that way again. You do your job." Bill said the boy stood there in shock, which was a good thing because he felt like punching him. The two other guys standing there kept their mouth shut, also.

And he got in the car and drove off. He's mortified. I'm entertained. I wonder what that kid will say to Sarah? "Your dad almost punched me out?"

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bill in the morning

When Bill and I were engaged, I went over to his house early one morning for some reason. I opened the kitchen door and he was sitting at the table with his head bowed, praying over his breakfast. He looked a little embarrassed, but I was impressed.

He never eats without blessing his food (not counting at McDonald's). I can look into the kitchen from my office. I cook his breakfast (or he does :)), set it on the table and go into the office. Then I watch for him to bow his head, as he invariably does, to bless his food. We have this moment of silence as I bow my head with him.

He is a good man.