Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bedroom Thoughts

Oh my!  You dared to open this post and find out what goes through my mind regarding the bedroom.  Brave (and rather naughty) soul. Well, let's get to it, then!
 
I confess my antics of late lead to this soothing and luxuriant moment of writing.  I have been laboring like a slave in the deep recesses of my master bedroom after the very powerful and compelling impression that the Lord would have me redecorate it, nothing held back, after the manner and pattern He has taught me regarding divine sensuality over recent years.  Some readers may not know that I have spent my time in the last eight years studying spirituality as it connects to human sexuality and romantic relationships. I have spent countless hours poring over ideas from all over the world in this capacity, becoming more and more converted to certain ideals and rejecting many others.  The creative genius behind this redesign stems entirely from intellectual and spiritual ideals. 
 
So what seems ideal and appropriate in this situation?  Well, the sweat dripping from me at the moment arises from the dire necessity of throwing literally truckloads of rat's nest type things from the bedroom and closet.  I am starting from scratch, as should anyone seeking to dig more deeply into the subject.  We begin by eliminating anything arising from the bias of others, from media, and from one's own personal weakness.  We can rebuild our thought processes from here.  I am keeping only the bare furniture.  Everything else goes.  What we see around us provides an impact in our manner of thought and attitude.  So let's design this room to empower the divine joy and sacred nature of sexuality.
 
The bed.  Important.  Mine will reflect the merits of eternal love, or in my belief system, eternal marriage within the walls of LDS temples.  It will be absolutely dripping in gold and fit, not for just any king and queen, but for a god and goddess intertwined in power, unity of purpose, and divine righteousness.  The comforter is primarily gold with slight accents of deep red.  The sheets (wipe that grin off your face right now - or keep it - whatever) will prove an excellent quality of a matching deep red.  If I have to explain why, gentle reader, you are too young to be reading this post.  Comfort and a feeling of purity mingled with passionate luxury proves exquisitely important. Heavy red drapes will both enhance the mood and keep anything distracting out of the room's space and view. Add to this hanging tea light lanterns imported from India and faux bear skin rug.  A framed painting of the Salt Lake Temple will complete the overall mood and purpose. 
 
Arguably my favorite part of this whole new world will be a small corner of the bedroom in which will stand a hand carved wooden room divider from India.  Behind it will be furniture from India, lush and opulent, most of which I already have, and which is designed to be my own little goddess corner - place for meditation, yoga, and keeping my own personal flame bright and spirit sharp.  The woman (and the man) ought to be their absolute best that they might give their partner everything in their power.  This little section is where I calm my spirit, relax and meditate.  And yes, you can see through the carvings of the divider - it renders just enough view to be both enticing and romantic.
 
I had considered a gold yin yang, as the man and woman are ideally supposed to be two halves that create a whole, but thought better of it and instead will create a space dripping with and celebrating masculinity in rethinking the adjoining and rather large bathroom.  Night sky blue and silver, it will center around the poem I wrote and have previously posted entitled "When Venus Danced With the Moon," which I am stenciling and painting around the door frame in a shimmery dusky blue.   My own photography of mountains overlooking a lake will aid the effect as well as matching opulent towels, laundry hamper - the works. 
 
Set against this background, gentle reader, I would invite you to ask yourselves some questions.  How do you think of your romantic life?  Do you give respect and place importance on your significant other?  Do you recognize the spiritual beauty of your own gender as well as your significant other?  Do you delve into the eternal recesses of divine relationships?  Or do you demand unrealistic things of your partner, comparing them to other people, or requiring they succumb to things you view or read in pornography?  Do you value and respect them, body and soul for who they are?  Or do you expect to be continually entertained and treat them as though they are to take care of all your needs whilst you care nothing of theirs?  Creating a space like the one described takes effort, work, patience, forethought, inspiration and strength.  Shouldn't a romantic relationship, eternal and exquisite as it stands, merit even more labor, patience, love and dedication than the design of a mere bedroom?  Just an thought.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

When He Looks At Other Women

My first experience in this regard doubled as a twelfth birthday present - a needed growing experience planned by my Heavenly Father to induct me into the almost teenage years.  A boy I had every reason to believe liked me very much suddenly found himself chased after by two other of our mutual female acquaintances.  They were engaged in verbally fighting over him and I stood watching.  He made no kind of sign that he had already made a choice of who he liked best in me and I watched as he let them fight hysterically.  I think he expected me to join in the fray.  What happened next has been characteristic of my attitude toward relationships and guys ever since.  I took him aside and told him as though there was nothing between us except the merest of platonic friendship, that he was to make his own decisions between the two ladies and I told him that he was his own person and no one had the right to bully him into choosing one over the other.  I bade him to choose one of those beautiful ladies and have a happy life.  Then I turned on a heel, head held high and walked away.  

I only cried later when he couldn't see me.  

The fact of the matter is that women were not naturally created to be competitive to win a guy's affections.  It isn't our duty to do the chasing.  Just isn't.  And besides that, if the man is good enough to get your attention, isn't he worth the respect to let him make his own decisions?  I have known many relationships in which women yell, scream, curse and the like when they see their man look hungrily at another women.  I'm sorry, but did the woman expect such behavior to convince a man how much more desirable she was than the next lady?  I have a great abhorrence in the idea that I might be the woman whose man feels that she is a millstone, a weight, a ball and chain, or a jailer that he can't escape.  I'm not here to be anyone's jailer; I'm here to be a woman and I would expect a real man to understand that.  

And it isn't out of pride at all.  It's out of pure, sheer, overwhelming respect for the man and his feelings.  If a man decides to go behind his girlfriend's back to hit on another woman relentlessly, for example, and the woman finds out about it, what ought she to do?  Cry?  Curse?  Hardly.  Back off, ladies.  Calmly, sincerely tell him that if he wants the other lady, to please go right ahead.  He can have her all he wants.  He just can't have her and you as well.  I have many times prayed for the happiness of guys who have cheated on me or flirted with other women.  Let them have their happiness, pursue other women and be that kind of man. And let them have it completely without you.  You know who you are and what you want.  You want a man who wants to be with you and who actively chooses you each day, not a man who feels obligated to pretend to be what he's not and feels trapped in a relationship with you.  You are mature enough to be a one man kind of lady and you expect a one lady kind of man in return.  If that isn't the case with your boyfriend, then no hard feelings.  It just wasn't meant to be.  No hurt, no foul, just move forward in different directions.  You aren't trying to control him in any way - you just care about your own life and your own future and are willing to protect it, along with giving him the freedom to walk away forever. 

I have known and dated many guys, and bid many of them adieu for this reason but I will tell you this - not one of those guys who I respected enough to leave had any reason to speak of me with disrespect thereafter.  Indeed, I have heard them say that losing me was a choice they regretted for years after the fact.
 

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Best Fighters Don't Fight

My focus all through my day today seems to be on peace and gentle loving grace, so it seems appropriate to pen the thoughts that suddenly presented themselves to me this morning and offer the wisdom of some excellent fighters to the general public.  In one play by Bernard Shaw we find a scampering, drama loving young soldier demanding a duel against a seasoned, sword instructing Swiss fighter.  The Swiss, bored beyond belief, attempts to avert his poor companion's disaster and concludes with "I'm a professional soldier.  I fight when I have to and I'm very glad to get out of it when I haven't to.  You're just an amateur.  You think fighting's an amusement."  True words.

Rubbing shoulders as I often find myself with excellent fighters I hear quite frequently that the best fighters are those who can resolve a conflict without fighting at all.  I recall asking a dear friend of mine, Rocky, who has found himself in the Black Belt Hall of Fame about the morality of a fight in which my late grandfather participated.  His aunt had endured much abuse at her husband's hands and my grandfather jumped in and leveled said husband to the ground with a threat to kill him if ever he injured his wife again.  Rocky's enthusiasm for my grandfather's fervor proved immediate, powerful, and completely infectious.  He wanted to stand up and shake my grandfather's hand.  But after a moment he cleared his throat, rose to his full height and sobering down concluded that while he couldn't help approving the reason for his fighting, were it to happen here and now, the appropriate thing to do would be to try to talk it out or contact the police.  Ahem...smirk.  

I had asked Rocky's opinion alongside my children's sensei's.  Sensei proved more sober and pointed out several dangers including retaliation which would render my grandfather's fight potentially more dangerous than expected and thus urged peaceful chat instead.  But the next time I happened to see him he looked over at me with a grin that clearly bespoke his approval of my grandfather's sentiments as well.  And in this direction I find the last example of how a professional fighter simply doesn't fight if he can avoid it.  

Whilst sitting in the dojo during my children's lesson one day I happened to find myself texting a friend who sometimes practiced mixed martial arts, and telling him that in the karate school the sensei will take a student's belt away as punishment for misbehavior.  He informed me that he would punch the teacher in the mouth if he presumed to take his child's belt.  Laughingly I informed the teacher that my friend wanted to beat him up.  I completely expected the teacher to snicker at the idea of anyone trying to take him on but his reaction proved quite telling and instructive.  He immediately looked bewildered, astonished, and almost paranoid, and his entire manner clearly said that whatever he had done to prove offensive he surely would apologize for it profusely on the spot.  I relayed to him my friend's opinion of his teaching and he continued to explain that it was a way of maintaining discipline and order, which I already well knew.  Still my friend threatened to "give him a free lesson in jiu jitsu" if ever he dared to discipline his child in that manner.  Sensei, smiling a little in spite of himself answered, "I teach jiu jitsu" and proceeded to tell me to invite my friend to the dojo anytime where they could enjoy a polite and gentle chat, if necessary.  I couldn't help laughing at the situation, for it was much like a yipping little excitable chihuahua trying to call out a sleeping mastiff, who condescended to raise an eyelid, then roll over and continue his nap.  It ended with my finally telling my friend to go ahead, try to beat up the sensei, and good luck.  He never made the attempt.  We don't know why.

We can often gauge how strong we really are by how often we attempt to fight with others.  When we are strong, we look for ways to create peace, give soft answers and practice patient meekness.  When we look for reasons to yell, argue, extend hatred and the like, especially against someone who doesn't seem interested in fighting back, well, we find in ourselves that excitable little chihuahua.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Father's Testimony in Pluto's Heart

This post is dedicated to my friend Mark Byrnes who immediately thought of me when he saw Pluto's heart and asked for my impressions regarding it and also more especially to my Heavenly Father, who impressed upon my spirit an answer.

I had been watching the NASA website keenly for days, checking in frequently for new photos and data from New Horizons.  I know many of us had done the same all over the world.  And then in an instant, there it was  - and I caught my breath.
 
A perfect heart, massive and impeccably formed, called out to us from the far reaches of human experience and in a flash I instinctively knew a great many things.  I knew immediately that this was no accident of nature.  I knew immediately, and could almost hear the loving, almighty voice of God reaching toward us from His eternal throne and I recognized instantly that this was a moment He had been planning from the beginning.  

Could it have been any coincidence that though we had viewed the other planets much earlier, we finally reached this one at this time, when the world is so filled with darkness, doubt, and animosity?  What greater sermon could God preach than to remind us through that cold and dissecting field we call science, at a time when all the world was united in watching together, that He knew us, loved us, and was aware of us?  It was not the word written out in a language that many would not recognize.  It was an obvious shape accepted worldwide as the symbol of love.  As soon as I saw the heart I comprehended that this proved His intention.  I also remembered almost immediately the prophecies that stated that before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord we would see signs and wonders in the heavens.  Who could doubt that this was a definitive sign and wonder in the heavens? 

Others will surely argue that such reflections arise from a deranged and deluded mind.  They are walking in darkness at noonday.   My dear friends, let us always remember that our universe runs by the highest laws in existence and the greatest of those natural laws is the overruling power of love.  Our Heavenly Father's love is extended toward all of us.  He knows who we are, He knows what we suffer, and His power is sufficient to uplift and rescue His children.  Our Father has a plan for each of us personally and the people of the earth collectively.  Sometimes He works by small means, as Pluto is the smallest of the classic nine, but by small means He can bring great things.  He may make us work, puzzle, and exert patience, as we did in order to finally discover and reach our little dwarf planet, but that is so we can learn, grow, gain experience and try our strength, but as we do we learn to be more like Him and to cherish more powerfully the blessings of love He provides for us, His children.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

When Your Man Goes Out With The Boys

I have often heard women complaining that their husband spends more and more time with masculine buddies than at home and it seems a common thing for women to become upset, flustered, and feel demeaned by said behavior.  It proves a foreign concept to me, partly because I am such an extreme introvert and partly because I highly appreciate the concept of a guy going off with his friends and doing "guy stuff."  It is a perfectly healthy idea and honestly, I enjoy the occasional roll of sushi with my ladies, too.  But for those women who hate it, I have an absolutely delightful and probably foolproof solution.  

Firstly, a word of clarification.  I find it healthy and an excellent source of happiness for a guy to hang with his friends, provided only that he abides by his conscience while out.  If he is using that time to get drunk, drool over other women or the like, all approval disappears.  But if the man wants to ride motorcycles, watch sports or do whatever else guys do when I'm not around, so much the better.  Whatev.  If it becomes excessive though, ladies, here's a way too fun solution.  It goes something like this:

Him: Honey, I told the guys I'd meet them at the club tonight.  It wasn't my fault - they made me promise!

You: (glancing up casually from your book)  Okay.  Have fun.

Him: (slightly astonished) ...You're...not...upset?

You: Of course not.  I know you need your time with your friends, and I value that.  I wouldn't dream of interfering.  Besides, I have plans tonight so it works out perfectly.

Him:  (relieved, surprised and somewhat interested)  Oh, that's great!  What did you have planned?

You: (nonchalantly turns a page in said book) Oh, I'm going to cook up (name something super delish that makes taste buds dance), then after the kids go to bed, have a quiet, late dinner, soak in a hot scented bubble bath, slather baby oil all over my skin, and then practice yoga by candlelight in the bedroom.  Naked.  Oh, and on your way home would you pick up a gallon of milk, please?

Him: (stumbling over his tongue) Well, actually, I think I might be able to stay home tonight...

You: (innocently interrupting) Oh no, dear, your couldn't possibly dream of doing that!  You promised, and I wouldn't want you to break your word. 

Him: But -

You:  No.

And here is the funny part.  After you forcefully push him out the door you proceed to actually go ahead with those plans, while he sits with his guys all night cursing himself for having done this.  You have kept your hands clean, you have inner peace, and your man will think, not twice, but thrice or quadruply before making plans with the guys again.  When he finally does, answer with a sweet smile and repeat the above conversation. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

True Love For The Transgender Community

A woman gazes in the mirror at her wasted and anorexic frame.  She still believes herself fat and pursues weight loss to an unhealthy degree.  The people around her worry, try to help, and want what is best for her.  A man fighting depression finds it impossible to find any good in himself, so he considers buying a gun and ending his life.  His family spend long hours on the phone trying to talk him out of suicide.  A celebrity decides he cannot love himself as a man so he decides to change himself into a woman.  The nation stands up and applauds.

Ouch.

Do we care less about the well being of celebrities because they are not members of our families, or because we do not know them personally?  Why do we allow and even aid people in throwing themselves away and reaching out to something that God simply didn't make them?  Does no one care enough about people dealing with transgender issues enough to help them love themselves as nature made them?  To help them learn to look in the mirror and love what they see?  We are encouraging people who injure themselves spiritually and emotionally, labeling such a thing as brave!  In a society that cries for love and acceptance so much, it is absolutely cruel that we would applaud someone for throwing away who they are and reaching out to become something they aren't.  Oh, but it is brave, courageous and right?  Why then was the anorexic woman who starved herself subject to doctors and psychologists so as to help her learn to love herself as she was?  

No one is exempt from the necessity of learning to love themselves as they are in order to prove healthy and ultimately happy, and society is crippling itself and its future generations by cheering on those who willingly surrender to their self doubts rather than relentlessly fight to overcome them.  Many in our society would call surrender to transgender courageous.  My friends, it is cowardice.  It takes far more courage to look in the mirror and learn to love the person looking back.  And all those who would hop on the bandwagon to support this new wave of insecurity in others are doing them a terrible disservice. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The REAL Reason I Have Post Traumatic Stress

"...and all those things I didn't say, wrecking balls inside my brain, I will scream them loud tonight, can you hear my voice this time..."

I don't believe anything except facing the oncoming tidal wave of relapse currently before me coupled with the threat of losing everything to this illness could have convinced me to create this post.  The type of post traumatic stress I have is compound and my more faithful readers can well enough guess the basic constituents, but let me tell the story like I have always viewed it but never stated it.  Today I have been battling trauma induced seizures and listening to "Fight Song" in order to pull it together enough to be a mother to my kids.

"...I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion..."

I have from a very early age known several things instinctively.  I have instinctively known that love is a powerful force.  I have instinctively known that the commandments of God were to be kept and that this was truly the only way to live one's life.  I knew that people, no matter how dark and vile, could change.  I knew that bringing souls unto God was of paramount significant and that truly, nothing else in this world proved more important.  The world tried to tell me that I was wrong; it tried to convince me that logically it proved more reasonable to get revenge than turn the other cheek.

"...and I don't really care if nobody else believes...."  

True it is that several aspects came into view around the time of my contracting post traumatic stress, but I was already well on my way to being ill for some time beforehand, partly because I was determined, no matter what, to defend a tiny snippet of scripture, namely the Sermon on the Mount, and I was willing to stake my life on the idea that a person could turn the other cheek after a physical or emotional blow, answer softly in the face of hatred, and come out conqueror.  These were the commands of God, and I knew with all of my soul that if a person followed these instructions under every single type of conditions, they would be led aright.  I was fully conscious that in doing so I might have gotten ill.  I knew I was risking pain and even death but what mattered more to me was that I defended the truths of God against those around me who sought to do wrongly, who believed that the only way to progress in this world was through yelling louder than the other guy.  In short, I saw the flaws in this world and staked everything in me on my testimony that whatever else a person sacrificed, Christlike love was the right decision and it ultimately would prove that Christ centered selflessness could conquer all opposition.  I knew God was at the helm and I might live or die as He saw fit.  

"...this is my fight song..."

Sometimes the best way a person can fight, as the Savior Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi well illustrated, is to stand still and take a blow.  I took many psychological blows from many people.  Even as one person traumatized me to my knees another would take me aside and yell for hours at a time at me for being such a wicked person, pointing out vehemently many things that they believed I was doing wrong; I remember some of them venting the bitterness of their own childhood on me, recklessly blaming me for things that had happened to them long before my own conception.  Many of my friends became convinced that I was a horrid person and jumped into the fray against me.  Those I trusted turned their backs on me, and still others that I loved and had trusted, both family and friends, gossiped about me maliciously behind my back.  At the heart of the matter I had done nothing wrong, and I see now that the Lord allowed this experience so that I could truly testify, body and soul, of Him and of the power of His teachings.  I loved all these people and it was for their souls that I endured this.  I knew that there was good in them and though they hurt me, yet I was determined that they would soften their hearts, rise up in glory, and come closer to the Lord their God who beckoned to them with open arms.  And if I perished, I perished.

"...I'll be strong...."

I have seen many of these people overcome those tendencies toward anger, yelling, recklessness and sin in the eight years that have elapsed since my first trauma induced seizure.  I have seen many of them soften their hearts and turn more fully toward their God.  That was all I had wanted; that had been the answer to many of my prayers.  And you, my gentle reader, I want you to know that there is someone out there, though I may not know your name, who believes in you and wants you to turn toward the Lord in greater measure than you ever dreamed.  I know that there is goodness in everyone.  I have seen those who attacked me change their lives for the better.  I have seen myself progress and grow spiritually until I can hardly recognize my own person from what it had been.  Just as I was willing to believe in them, I am willing to believe in you, because in spite of everything

"...I've still got a lot of fight left in me."

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Eternal Horizons

I can feel the pulsating excitement as NASA's new discoveries bring us ever clearer photos of the beautiful and elusive Pluto.  We hang on a breath as a nation and as a world for greater insight and, as NASA clearly anticipates, brand new exciting horizons.  Let us take this historic moment to rediscover some beautiful truths right here in our native Earth and especially in our families.
Last night I heard a grandmother deliver a beautiful prayer.  I could feel of the love she had for her family, which proved scattered in all geographical directions.  As she prayed I felt impressed to write this post, which proves an idea I have toted many times but has not had the reception for which I might have hoped. 
My grandfather was an only (surviving) child and an orphan, and my mind reviews with compassion the plight of those left without a family on this earth.  I hear many good people proclaim that they know God loves us because He sent us down to this earth in family groups.  I confess that while this is true, I have a tendency to squirm when I hear it.  What of those who have no earthly family?  What of the child who, abused by his parents, has no family toward which he can turn?  What of the spiritually adept daughter whose parents simply cannot comprehend who she is and try to drag her down to their lack of moral or religious understanding?   What of the children who find themselves in broken homes after parental abandonment or divorce?  What of these noble souls?  Have they no family?  Are they less loved, less considered, and less appreciated by the Lord?
We all have a family.  We all have each other.  Every man you see on the street is your brother.  Every young lady you meet is your sister.  We all come from the same God, the same Father, the same Parentage, and we are all brethren and sisters under heaven.  I have a dear uncle, for so I call him, who was married to my biological aunt.  I confess, as my mother's family has a tradition of addressing each other by their first names only I never called him "Uncle" anything until after his divorcement from my aunt.  Truly he is my uncle in heart as much if not more than she is my aunt.  I have an ex brother-in-law, who I do not see very much anymore.  Though he is no longer my brother-in-law, he is certainly still my brother as ever he was.  The barriers between us as human beings exist primarily because we place them there.  Whatever keeps us from seeing our fellow men and women as our spiritual siblings proves unnecessary and we have the power within us, with the help of heaven, to  break these barriers apart. May we strive to do so is my plea and my prayer. 
A beautiful day to all you, my siblings!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dreams and Decisions

I didn't want to write this post yet.  My floors need mopping, my toilets need scrubbing, and I have errands to run.  But the hymn "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" keeps running through my head and I know the Lord isn't going to get off of my case until I post this.  

Last night I had a dream.  The last bit proved more than a typical dream but in order to get there I've felt impressed that I ought to lay out the events that led to it.  After some scattered thoughts that I do not remember distinctly I found myself in a strange situation.  My friends and family were insisting I marry someone who proved totally unsuitable.  This coupled with the fact that I had just won a game of Monopoly, much to the chagrin of my competitors, may simply prove that I need to cut out all those late night snacks.  But back to the story.  Apparently those around me seemed bent on my marrying a distant relation, completely brushing off the bizarre fact that this was a blood relation and not a man I romantically loved.  I was about to go along in order to pacify those around me when I suddenly remembered that I was in love with someone else.  Those who might wonder about the identity of said man, he was a character from one of my favorite Charles Dickens' novels - Eugene Wrayburn of Our Mutual Friend.  Again, this and the fact that I was being followed by Mamie of Gone With the Wind, who was fussing over me like I was the illustrious and very spoiled Miss Scarlet must have been the result of my late night miso soup and homemade strawberry ice cream.  At this point, however, I began to run from the crowd and thus began the more important part of my dream.

I was running homeward - to my eternal home in the heavens but which was situated near my present day residence.  My home was a palace, but in my haste I had to pass through a dank and filthy strip of land and enter through the side doors, which had not been used in many years.  I knew these rooms were completely empty and as I ran through the grounds leading to the house I found many homeless tramps there;  this did not alarm me as I was glad to offer them  my land if they had no where else to go.  Holding my head high I walked through the small side door of my palace, knowing that these homeless men would not dare to raise their eyes to the owner of this house and daughter of the living God.  But when I entered the empty rooms, there lay on the floor another man, dirty and disheveled, and so filled with the spirit of Lucifer that I shrank from his piercing and possessed eyes.  These were my rightfully my rooms and he had no business there.  I would have offered it to a homeless man willingly but this man was no mere homeless.  He looked at me with hatred and spoke in a language filled with evil that I could not understand.  I knew that in order to find safety I had to pass through this room and leave through a door that was right behind him.  I bolted past him and through the doorway only to find a second man in the next blank room, almost identical to the first.  He spoke in English though I don't recall the words.  I only recall the look of wickedness in his eyes as he glared at me and I could see something deeply Satanic there.  At that moment it seemed that I thought and the Spirit of God impressed upon me the meaning of this part of the dream and urged me to write a blog post about it.  I looked heavenward for strength, rushed past the man out of the doorway, found myself in a beautifully furnished room, and straightaway awoke, frightened and cowering under my covers.



I feel impressed to briefly convey the meaning of the latter part of the dream.  We sometimes believe that we are strong and have overcome temptations because we have avoided those temptations.  A person is not put to the test until they face those temptations and sound them out.  There may be rooms in all of our souls that we think are vacant, that long past weaknesses have disappeared, but it that they still quietly exist and we don't realize it because we do not generally go into those rooms.  The only way to fumigate the evil from our souls entirely is to face it head on and do battle, or to allow the Savior to do battle with you.  Either way, a person cannot be whole and strong until the face what they fear to see within themselves. 

I do not know why God wanted me to write and post this but I feel I had better do it so that He will let me return to mopping my floors.  He also let me know that something about this dream and this post will help me to face and fight those demons in the otherwise empty rooms of my soul.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Oh the Joy of Heterosexual Love!

I am quite sure that in today's America, our dear homosexual friends, who so loudly testify that we ought to marry who we want and take pride in being ourselves would be the first to stand on their feet and applaud this particular post.  I am not a hateful person by any stretch and today my focus is quite the opposite.  It is on perfect, wonderful love.  Today I am just going to take a moment and sink into the bliss that is heterosexuality.  

How delightful is great sex!  How perfect is the plan of beauty created by nature and the Master of nature that makes the woman so divine in her own exquisite gifts, and makes also the man so powerful, beautiful, and awe inspiring!  It seems a great joy to me that the two are so perfectly coupled together, and that they prove two halves of one whole.  Mentally and emotionally, while we are all still first and foremost human, I find it exquisite that man and woman compliment each other so well.  Physically...well, we all recognize right off the bat how well the two coincide.  I cannot imagine any human experience so perfectly calculated to bring a couple closer to God and heaven than blissful sex between husband and wife.  They intertwine perfectly psychologically and physically to fulfill the height of their natures.  No other combination can touch it and no other combination can do something so absolutely godlike as creating another human being.  No other loving act on earth proves powerful enough to create the exquisite miracle of life, and that life being a beautiful, eternal testament of man and woman quite literally becoming one.  

I love how well perfect masculinity and femininity complement each other.  The one is physically strong, wired to be protective and providing and the other divinely appointed to give the man something worth protecting and cherishing.  In many aspects of life, one will be strong where the other is weaker.  They create a whole, a perfect, never ending circle, and a continual revolution of loving give and take.   There is, of course, no real argument in this post.  I lay aside all fighting and opinions to bask in the sunlight of beauty, admiration and truth.  

Have a beautiful day!

Your Moral Duty to Have Wonderful Sex

Yep, you heard me. 

The classic movie of Ben Hur includes a conversation between two leaders.  The first poses the question, "How do you fight what's up here? (points to his head) How do you fight an idea?"  At length the second answers him, "How do you fight an idea?  With another idea."  

We meet several ideas in today's society, including the acceptance of homosexual marriage, premarital sex, infidelity, and the like, and to be quite frank, the attack isn't likely to abate.  We find the disintegration of the family and the idea that having children is more a nuisance than a blessing.  Lies.  But we can turn the tables entirely by finding and creating a greater sense of joy in our own honorable state of lawful marriage.  (I know also that there are single men and woman who want to remain pure - yea! - and many married people who for health reasons cannot have...any fun.  You're exempt.  Just cheer everyone else on.)

How would society prove different if husbands and wives came together in love, passion for each other, and mutual joy in being in each others' arms?  How would the world improve if married couples refocused on the joy they had while together, immersed in loving embrace?  How would it be if husbands and wives held hands in public, publicly and privately said, "I love you" and clung to each other with a passion that stabilized their marriage and made their homes absolute bowers of bliss?  We find a great many homosexual couples publicizing their wedded joy.  Want to fight that idea?  Outdo it in your own relationship.  I see many people arguing that casual sex with strangers is the way to be happy.  If we would counter that argument, we must first prove that a committed sexual relationship is more satisfying.  Embody one, then, and flaunt not your body to everyone on the street, but your committed and exquisite happiness.  My friends in lawful marriage, you are the most powerful weapons we have in this darkening society.  Your happiness and commitment to your spouse, the physical relationship you have, is the light that can pierce through the darkness and guide our children's futures.  Ladies, gentlemen, I would encourage you to hit the gym, eat healthily, and otherwise beautify, not for your own selfish pride, but that you might give your spouse your best self and stand as a strong example to the world that this is what true happiness looks like.  Enjoy your spouse physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  And yes, after the lil ones go to sleep, that master bedroom be rockin'!

Ah, the things we do for our country.

The Future is Bright!

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, every first Sunday of the month we have an open microphone for anyone who would stand and bear a brief testimony of their God.  I heard my fellow Christians speak, and in their voices I heard a measure of tear filled apprehension regarding the recent display of moral degradation in society.  I heard them wanting to find a light in what seemed to them a very dark moral world, snatching at any hope they could find and I prayed fervently that the Lord would inspire me with the words to clear a path before them.  I knew I had the answers but needed God to form the exact language.  Finally, near the end of the meeting light overwhelmed me and I stood and walked to the pulpit.  

I had no idea what I was going to say before I stood, but the words poured out of my mouth and I felt of their truth as they rolled off my tongue.  I felt invigorated, happy, light and passionate.  I began with, "My dear brethren and sisters, this is such a wonderful time to be alive and in this world, because all of the easy things have been done."  The words continued to come and I explained how none of us were here in this world at this time by chance.  God placed every single one of us here because He knew how dark things would become and that He trusted us and believed in every one of us enough to know that with His help we could bear off the kingdom triumphantly.  I reminded the congregation that prophets in the Old Testament had repeatedly prophesied about our day and that we were the noble ones who would be able to remain strong in the darkest of afflictions.  

I recounted my gratitude for trials in my life.  I expressed my gratitude for those times when I had fallen to nothing, having no strength left in me physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and still found myself required to give to others when I literally had nothing left even for myself.  I found myself humbled by the idea that God trusted me and believed in me enough to give me such trials.  I concluded with the fact that I know the Lord.  I do not merely know of Him or that He exists, but through trial, tribulation and much prayer, I feel I can say that I know Him.  The Savior is my dear, best friend and our Father is more my father than any earthly dad could be.  I love my earthly dad, but he knows and accepts that my first loyalty is to my Heavenly one. 

My friends, the future of Christianity is bright!  Darkness may seek to seize our society; it may attack our homes; it may attack our families, but righteousness shall be the eventual victor.  The question is not a matter of which side will win.  In the end, righteousness will prevail and our only concern will be what side we supported whilst the battle raged.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Art of War

Years ago I perused that great and noble work by Sun Tzu, and knew even then that though I rarely read the same book twice that this was one I definitely needed to study in depth again.  I finally felt much impressed to pick it up and have found myself immersed, mind and spirit within its extraordinary influence.  It proves both intense and instructive, providing exquisite and thought provoking advice and general rules to overcome an aggressor.

I have something of a strange habit when reading any work.  I have spent so many years studying literature, internalizing the wisdom of the ages and especially inhaling scriptures that it has become second nature to apply whatever I read to myself.  This time around I found it difficult, as the most frustrating situation in my life is not one which I can overcome by applying the truly magnificent principles of the text.  As it discusses the responsibilities of a wise general and the necessary duties and calculations for victory I felt more and more helpless and sank into despair as I saw the odds stacked against my poor ability to overcome the most painful and desperate trials in my life. 

But then another idea hit me that allowed me to breathe more freely than ever before.  I am not the general at the helm over my life.  True it is that I myself cannot fight these aggressors that have me continually pinned to the wall, but God is my Captain, my Leader, and my Commander.  I cannot mastermind a course that would lead me toward freedom and victory but He can.  There is no enemy too deadly, no barrier to impenetrable that He cannot blow them away with a word.  It isn't necessarily my job in this impossible situation to find a solution; I have spent years in trying and miserably failing.  It is my job to follow my General, who knows all things and to whose almighty intelligence, even the wise words of The Art of War seem juvenile.

Defending Religious Freedom

I would like to wish one and all a hearty and happy Fourth of July!  I have often written about those relatives of mine who have and do bear arms but today I feel impressed to place that aside and focus on one of the great fundamental purposes of our country, which is of course the right to religious freedom.  Our forefathers fought to live the laws of Christianity to the fullest and we find it our duty to continue that battle today.  I know of no greater or more beautiful language in defense of religious freedom than that which arises from the Book of Mormon, so I will sit back and let Mormon do most of the talking today.  This excerpt arises from a situation in which an evil man named Amalickiah seeks to destroy the religious freedom of a neighboring nation.  The military leader of that nation, a young man named Captain Moroni (not the Moroni on top of LDS temples - that is another guy by the same name), gears up to fight back.

"And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it - In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives and our children - and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.  And he fastened on his head plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which hado n the ends thereof his rent coat (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land...And thus he was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians.  And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery...he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood."

"Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men."

Have a beautiful Independence Day weekend and let's say a prayer for our country!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Never Trust A Piggy!

My children are my cheerleaders today.  They wanted to spread this message far and wide, until it rang through every living room, bedroom, and Minecraft Lego purchase on earth.  It all began with my son's birthday.  Dear, wonderful friends granted him more money for his big day and baptism than some kids inherit in their entire childhoods from age seven to nine combined (give or take a little).  He immediately did the eight year old thing and decided to spend a goodly amount on the most entertaining item he could find at Toys R Us - a Minecraft Lego set, including a sheep, a cow and...the piggy! 
 
That piggy, I tell you!  My son and daughter thought he was just a nice little lump of loveable plastic.  They were wrong.  When Joshua invited his mother to join in the game that piggy took on a whole new personality.  He had a dark side, that piggy.  Every time the rest of the farm animals, monsters and owners fell asleep, that pig would sneakily glace from side to side and then creep out of his pen.  He hummed "Rock a Bye Baby" to the other inmates whilst changing their position, hanging them out of trees, and placing condemning evidence that the sheep and cow had been completely to blame.  He uprooted the toy crops and ate most of them before returning serenely to his own pen, closing the doors, and feigning innocence.  Often he would awaken the others by shrieking that someone had stolen all his food!  His owners would come running, scolding the other animals on the way, and thoroughly chastise the monsters for having created such havoc on their peaceful little farm.  Kindhearted masters that they were, they gave the piggy extra treats for having endured such abuse and often asked the other animals why they couldn't be more like said walking stack of plastic bacon.  Indeed, the piggy was pronounced to  be the only one on the farm the owners could trust at all.
 
My children keep asking me to play Legos with them.  I don't know why.  All my logic fails to comprehend why both my children suddenly erupt in uproarious laughter only minutes after I sit down cross legged on cracker crumb strewn carpet.  Generally speaking, I have not found myself particularly talented at playing with children's toys for the last few years, but after all, they are only young once and mischievous pork chops often prove much more eternally important than last night's the dishes in the sink. 
 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Michelle You Didn't Know Existed

Anyone who knows me knows a woman who devoutly quotes the scriptures, who reads to her children continually, and who discusses politics, literature, and philosophy with a great deal of thought.  They know the lady who dresses modestly, answers anger with quietude, who strives for patience and understanding in order to help create a better world and who values hard work and sacrifice.  Generally speaking, that is the woman my babies know as well.  But sometimes my children spend an evening out of the house and then...

Tonight they were barely out the door when Mommy had donned her alter ego and was standing in the bathroom, pulsating with purpose and readying her so called ammunition.  Within a few moments I had transformed into an absolute spoiled brat, emanating self love and offering myself gentleness and peace, covered face to ankle in Dead Sea mud, plans zooming through my head of gourmet food that absolutely needed creating in my kitchen.  After scrubbing off the dried mud came Dead Sea salt scrub, and as if that proved insufficient, I added a final skin conditioning of my own particular blend.  (Amazing how glorious the simple and inexpensive combination of baby oil and cocoa butter can feel.) 

Yoga and meditative dance came next, followed by a quick trip to the grocery, then back to my beautiful stove top and the fresh herbs from the garden.  Homemade pesto in my system declared a need for balance and a hundred squats seemed a good start.  When you are immersed in the idea of rejuvenation and self love you don't even feel the burn, truly.  Speckled throughout all this activity I threw in a quick bout of furniture polishing and bathroom disinfecting - after all, a goddess needs to live in beautiful surroundings with the refreshing smell of clean around her, right?  It was exhilarating to feel the comfort of cleanliness without, once again, feeling any strain or annoyance, but born entirely from the idea that spoiled lil Princess Michelle deserved a clean house, of course.  When my little ones return, they may find me curled up on the couch poring over National Geographic, both for my own intellectual progression and theirs.  All evidence of a disgruntled, overworked mommy will have vanished without a trace and they will find me my typical calm, focused, patient self, looking much as though I have spent the evening slaving over the house and dinner.  I think my son wonders how I do it sometimes - he says I am a remarkably patient person.  They don't know the other half of Mommy's secret life.

Because, you know, sometimes you have to take care of yourself, too. 

A Tribute to Divorced Parents

I can hear the gasps of shock already and the outrage of some honest people, thinking, How can she want to give a tribute to those horrible parents who wreck their innocent children's lives by divorce!  For shame!  Firstly, please allow me to point out that there are a great many divorcees out there who find themselves once again single or perhaps remarried due to abandonment or abuse.  Secondly, God sees all and it is neither your job nor mine to judge the circumstances of someone else's divorce.  Period.

I honor married couples.  I really do.  I appreciate how hard mothers work to care for their children and revere the sanctity of marriage.  But placing marriage isn't my focus today (incidentally, I am planning that for sometime later this week - stay tuned!).  I want to honor those who have something of a rough road to follow.  Parents of broken homes hold a perspective wildly different from the traditional one and I cannot help but think that those who find themselves in this position, especially through no fault of their own as indicated above, are very special spirits who God has decided to teach in a powerful and earth shattering manner.  While those wonderful couples who stay together may at times find their children exhausting, frustrating, and may sometimes lose their temper, a parent of divorce is often much less likely to do so.  Why?  Because they know that their time with their adored little one is quite limited.  Because they have to continually experience what no parent should ever have to taste.  They know only too well the anguish of having their children legally wrenched from their arms by someone who very possibly has hurt them more than anyone else in this world.  They repeatedly have no choice but to hand their greatest treasure to the person they often trust the least in this world.  They have to swallow back their own pain, anguish, betrayal, and loss and plaster on an encouraging smile when their children express their love for the man or woman who destroyed their trust and happiness.  They have to endure the countless quiet nights in an empty home, knowing that either their children are in an unsafe environment or perhaps in an environment they love very much and which entirely excludes themselves.  

And yet they carry on.  I can't help feeling God's love for these stalwart parents and I honor those who strive to provide the best they can for their children in a way that money can never buy.  I honor those who swallow their hurt and pride to remain on as positive terms as possible with the other parent for the childrens' sakes.  I honor those who give their all in teaching their child right from wrong because they know that in the child's other home lawlessness and moral chaos may preside.  I appreciate those who take full care of their children due to their spouse's complete abandonment of themselves and the children they helped to create.  These are deep trials and I cannot help but think that all of heaven must honor these good people who have to fight a battle that proves so devastating that it makes the pillars of eternity tremble.  My blessing and my respect to all those who daily struggle through the fight.  May God lead you forward, upward, and into a haven of peace for you and all your family at last.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Confessions of a Junk Food Addict

Whispers preceded my approach into my sister's Zumba class this morning and beautiful Crystal informed me she had been telling her students about the fact that I absolutely never eat unhealthy food.  This proves a quite common occurrence, actually, or situations much like it. 

Hello.  My name is Michelle and I am a recovered junk food addict.

As women interested in fitness often ask how I manage to avoid unhealthy snacks with apparent ease, I feel it might prove advisable to provide the story of how I went from consuming root beer and Reese's peanut butter cups for lunch to a strictly no junk lifestyle - and how much I love it.

True it is that as a teenager my eating habits proved absolutely atrocious.  I would eat horribly and then avoid food altogether for unhealthy amounts of time.  I never gained weight in this vicious and destructive cycle and also proved to maintain a healthy amount of fat, so others rarely even noticed my habits.  Little by little I moved toward something of a healthier lifestyle but my impulsive junk food bane remained. 

Cruising through my early twenties I came to care quite deeply for the welfare of a certain relative whose decisions had often proven rather spiritually damaging.  I had long wished the best for this family member and had been quite gratified at his slow movement toward what I deemed a more morally appropriate lifestyle.  Still, one aspect of his behavior troubled me.  He continued drinking alcohol, which I felt deeply and miserably.  I am not one to continually nag anyone to change their lives.   My strategy in life is to love and accept people while remaining morally strong myself and encouraging others to a higher plateau.  Drinking seemed to be a stumbling block over which he simply didn't seem to be able to hurtle.   I began to become rather frustrated with him and found myself in prayer regarding the matter. My answer came thus, "You cannot ask someone to change their eating habits if you do not know what it is to do it yourself."  I reflected that I had never drunk alcohol or smoked in my life, but I wanted to understand this concept better that I might be able to better succor others.  The impression continued, "Think.  What do you put into your mouth that you know quite well you shouldn't but yet you still do."  The answer stared me in the face.  Again the impression continued, "You need to first prove that it can be done before you ask others to give up something they put into their bodies.  And if you stop eating junk food and then revert back and eat it again, aren't you giving others permission to stop drinking alcohol halfheartedly and then return to it later?  Aren't you admitting that abstinence proves an impossible demand?"

The Lord knew me well enough to know this argument would change my life forever.  Had He told me to give up unhealthy food for myself, both He and I knew full well I wouldn't be able to do it and stay true.  But if He gave me a way to help others, to better others, and to set out on a quest of wisdom, He knew point blank that nothing in this world would stop me.  

Quitting was hard.  Withdrawals proved murderous.  My social life suffered tremendously and in fact came entirely to a standstill.  People didn't want to spend time with me because I would be munching on carrot sticks while they indulged in donuts.  Even my siblings were uncomfortable around me and one of my sisters asked how long I was going to keep going with this bizarre fad.  But I had a set purpose and a desire to understand something I had no other way of comprehending. 

They have accepted me now and my relative fame goes before me in gym classes, family gatherings and the like.  I am still viewed as quite different but in a good way and I often have people look at me in awe and ask how I do it.  I do not even crave unhealthy food anymore.  I can feel the difference in every fiber of my body when I eat well and when I do not and I relish the feeling of being clean as a whistle inside and out.  I love to eat, naturally, but now I extend my munching into the gourmet, the different, and various international cuisine.  

He never stopped drinking but through difficult experiences sent by a wise and loving Heavenly Father, that came to matter less and less to me.  While I still would of course wish everyone to live a life wholly devoted to God and devoid of alcohol, tobacco and the like, I recognize that I have done what I can, and that the power to change his life rests in his hands should he ever choose to do so.  But God blessed me tremendously in so many ways for acting on this experiment.  I have found greater peace, inner strength, and volumes of wisdom, to say nothing of a much healthier physique.  I feel as though I have risen above the smog and filth of my own poor choices and can see with greater clarity the cosmos as it really exists.  And truly, it's better up here.