Monday, April 25, 2016

Walking Through Darkness

I wander through the soulless night
Where darkened howling splits the air,
Rough leaves dance dryly at my feet -
Dank enmity drifts everywhere.

In glancing up I view the moon
Grin grimly, blood like at the scene,
Illuminating trials' boast
That all the world is low and mean.

Its triumph floats in lifeless most
Full terrifying man and beast
Into a waking stupor, vague -
Satanic, overwhelming feast.

But yet I tread with naked sole -
I stand but inches off the ground,
Emitting sparks in every step,
Creating brightness in profound,

In blackness hues, in deep despair
I forward glide with gentle light.
The hellish torture holds me not
Nor stifles the eternal right. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Divorce and Dumb Men

My jaw dropped earlier today when I heard one of the most inwardly and outwardly beautiful women I have ever known relate that she currently faces divorce.  I have always looked at her and thought that any man should feel himself lucky for the bare opportunity to kiss her hand.  If ever I felt inclined to think a man thoroughly unintelligent, this was it.  

But I refuse to think of men in that way.  I know them too well, and appreciate too deeply the dynamics between man, woman and God to simply blow off any human being as an irredeemable idiot.  This labeling of men as dumb stands as a terrible plague in this world, with unwarranted damage releasing itself in its wake.  Men are dynamic, powerful, passionate beings of light, created in the image of God and each holds a divine destiny in the overarching course of eternity.

Men are not dumb creatures.  I have a friend who speaks overly harshly of her ex husband.  He apparently had extramarital affairs behind her back, which she did not discover for a while. This has induced her to speak of him as something worthless and dumb.  Dumb?  He outsmarted her, didn't he?  Many things a man in that situation may be but dumb generally isn't it.  If he intended to keep her as a wife, his actions would have proven highly unwise but still too cunning to be called unintelligent.  If she was verbally abusive and he didn't care whether or not he stayed married, maybe she ought to look toward her own behavior before judging his.  He employed that intelligence wrongly perhaps but still he utilized it and it gave him the temporary desire he sought.  Worthless?  Both she and another woman wanted him at the same time, so that clearly wasn't it either.  And may I reiterate that no human soul is worthless.  Sinful, yes.  Worthless, no. 

My dear ladies, this may seem impossible but we, who talk so much, need to work on our language and communication skills.  A man may be reckless, lustful, coarse, vulgar, dangerous, unwise, conceited, arrogant, abusive, and a plethora of other things but we make the matter worse when we do not use these specific words and immediately reach for the easy but inaccurate description of "men are dumb and worthless."  We further damage this world and our rising generation but saying that all men are unintelligent.  If all men are dumb, then your poor six year old son has no hope of a bright future.  Let us say rather, "I feel hurt when I see him do this", "I do not want him in my life anymore", "I feel underappreciated", or "I am in shock from what just happened."  In each phrase, the woman first owns her own feelings and gives herself a moment to breathe before she immediately jumps down the man's throat in retaliation and abuse.  When we recklessly lash back out of our own unbridled emotions we also become the bad guy and step across the line that divides right from wrong.  Whatever happens, it is still our right and our duty to remain Christlike.  The Savior was kind under extreme pain; so we should prove.

As for the absolutely stunning woman who faces divorce, I cannot help but think that God is doing her a great favor.  Few women can come up to her heels and if her present husband cannot see that, or if he cannot stand as tall in the way of moral decency, then God is giving her wings to fly without a morally degrading millstone round her neck and in His matchless love, giving him a chance to start over and hopefully repent of obviously failing priorities.  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

How to Write a Love Letter

One dear reader responded to my recent character sketches with the concern that I was raising the bar for the significant others of those people I described.  He voiced the idea that their spouses would have a difficult time expressing their tender feelings better than I had done.  Another reader expressed the wish that she could put her thoughts into words in like manner. 
My friends, I am no power pinching miser.  I would that all could speak in such terms and I would hardly keep such techniques to myself.  I have a degree in English Education and invite you to pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee or cocoa and let us discuss the method one takes in creating character sketches as I have published erstwhile. 
Firstly, my dear friends, I would invite you to take a moment and indulge in some deep breaths and tell yourself you love yourself.  We cannot extend powerful love to others if our own souls are in turmoil.  The more peace we carry inside, the more we can offer to those we adore.  Take a moment to breath out frustration and doubt, and breathe in excitement and an eagerness to learn something new. 
Secondly, let us sit quietly for a moment and ponder the object of our affection.  This can be a friend, a spouse, or anyone you desire to render this gift from your heart.  Take your time; do not give yourself a time limit.  You have all the time you need.  One of the most important keys in this is patience.  It will pay off in terms you never dreamed possible.  As we ponder our beloved, let us remember that all people, no matter what they do, are children of God.  All humans are eternal beings; thusly, we cannot possibly praise them too much or lift them too high.  Each human soul is a creation of light and their glory is already there if we will look for it.  No one is exempt from this all consuming fact.  You can stretch your mind all the way to the dawn of time and find their existence there; you can reach forward several millennia and they will still exist in some form.  This understanding proves paramount.
When we comprehend this, let us gaze at our object, and take notice of everything about them.  Look upon them without judgment, and with compassionate love in your heart.  Let any weakness or flaws pass out of your mind - for the moment they have none.  Look only at the positive attributes.  Notice the curve of their lips, the movement of their hair, the tenor of their voice.  Allow the love within your spirit to reach out and touch theirs.  If necessary, pray for the eyes to see them as God does.  Again, take your time.  Most of the people I described consumed my imaginative concentration for days before I ever began actually writing. 
Now you are ready.  Do not be afraid - there is no wrong answer.  Pick up a pencil and start scribbling.  Let anything you feel come out.  If you want to edit later, you may, but for the moment, just write the things you notice.  Focus your whole concentration on their sparkle in their eyes, consider the talents they possess, pull into the mix their trials and history.  Just scribble.  You don't need a formal introduction or powerful conclusion.  When you feel that a last sentence finishes your thoughts, allow yourself to accept that as your ending. 
We can edit if we like, though I would never consider it absolutely necessary.  Affection is often best when perfectly genuine and raw.  I only ever edit in order to learn more myself and sharpen my own skills.  If I find I have employed the same descriptive more than once I may rethink it or pull out a dictionary or to find a new word and add it to my own personal lexicon.  I strive to avoid using the same descriptive word twice in any work of this kind. 
What you do with your work is your own.  Fear not - you may scrap it and start over.  No one needs to know of your attempt except for you and God.  You may read it, change it, hide it or keep it to yourself.  But the best things come when you share those thoughts, imperfect though they are, with the person you respect enough to have described.   

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Come, Come Ye Saints

Bed covers inspired a feeling of languid self spoiling this morning and diminished into oblivion any desire to rise from their embrace. I might have stayed there forever, spending an eternity or two continually hitting the snooze button on my phone.  But today was endurance day at the gym and my personal trainer isn't interested in letting me sleep my life away.

My Trainer's name is God and He's the best physical fitness instructor since before time began.  I pray much when planning anything in my life and that certainly includes my work outs. Feeling much impressed to go for endurance I designed a plan according to what I felt He would have me do.

I have never been an endurance runner. I am about as at home with that idea as an octopus would be in scaling Mount Everest, but that was what He wanted me to pursue so I kicked off my sheets and prepared to cover eight miles and then add some strength training.

Praying desperately, I asked how I should mentally approach this. I was already tired, my muscles already wanting a rest period after previous work outs, and I just could not get the motivation.  had never accomplished such a feat and intimidation began to rear its ugly head. My answer was "trek it."

Trek...I remembered the Mormon pioneers leaving everything and crossing the great American plains in their journey toward safety and present day Salt Lake City, and understanding shot through my mind like a beacon of hope.  My religious forebears had a far harder journey than this, and what kind of a Mormon would I be if I cried about a measly eight miles. Time to quit my sniveling and get to work.

Eight miles later I stepped off that treadmill with an ear to ear grin.  Training has become bonding time with God.  He leads me, like Joshua taking in Jericho, to accomplish things I could never have dreamed of doing. He inspires me and makes the way possible and I know He can aid you too!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Is Blood Really Thicker Than...?

"You're the one dating my brother?  He isn't good enough for you!"

These words, vehemently uttered alongside giggle bursts by an exuberant teenager rang in my adolescent ears and struck me with amusement on one hand and indignation on the other.  This little red haired beauty had the gall to insult my then boyfriend and her own flesh and blood to support instead a girl she had never before beheld.  Her loyalty to family at the time seemed tremendously lax, and I couldn't help wondering at what made this slightly younger female rendition of her brother tick.  

Many years have passed since the memorable evening of meeting Amber for the first time, and her brother has long since dropped out of my personal journey, but she and I are still as excellent friends as ever.  She will never be my sister in law according to the laws of the land, but she is my sister in heart, at least partly because she was willing from the first to prove honest with herself, fair to all people and cast aside those abominable blinders that cause people to irrationally support family members in terrible acts of vice, abuse and cruelty.  She had a clearer head than most from an early age and for that reason, my relationship with her and her older sister has never been stronger than now.  

God has given me many opportunities to observe how people respond when their family members do wrongly and sin against others.  For the most part, the results have proven saddening.  I have too often observed people supporting their siblings in abusive acts, simply because "they are family."  It proves most disheartening when such abusive acts injure spouse and children.  Our support of our blood relatives in such horrendous behavior essentially sends the message "You may be married into the family but you are still the outsider, and always will be."  Rather than strengthening a family or personal relationships it generally tears friendships apart.

But oughtn't we support our family?  Ah, there is the great secret.  My friends, we are all siblings under heaven.  We come from the same Creator, the same Master, the same Eternal Parent.  Are we not all family?  When we seek to cling only to those with whom we immediately share blood, we destroy many other far more deserving relationships.    We limit ourselves and place barriers to future, salvation, exaltation and joy in our paths.  Blood may be thicker than water, so they say, but it can never prove thicker than what is right.  Love your family, but remember, my dear brethren and sisters, that we are all of us eternally family.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Is The Man Always Wrong?

Friendly branches amiably blocked out the sweltering Arizona sun as some friends and I congregated around our usual tree in wait for children to emerge from school.  Falling into conversation, the topic somehow shifted toward the idea many harbor of men always being wrong.  The only man in our crowd, smilingly, brought the phrase to our attention first, and then pointed out that the people who subscribe to that theory are...women.

"Not this woman."  I countered.  "I have never believed that or said it.  And I never will."

Turning back to my feminine cohorts I caught in peripheral view this man's expression which indicated that he could have hugged the breath out of me but resisted the urge out of decency.  
I recall from my earliest waking moments in mortality carrying the firm belief that the masculine side of our species were filled with potential and light.  It seemed a truth that heaven often and fervently whispered in my ear, reaffirming throughout my adolescence that though guys have their faults, and a propensity toward romantic disloyalty at the foreground, yet they are sons of the Highest with divine and beautiful destinies.  I never doubted in my youth that men had the potential to be something beyond noteworthy, to stand to their full spiritual heights and create miracles beyond imagination. 

Life has illustrated the depths of evil of which men are capable.  I have seen much that might convince one that women certainly can live happy lives without their gentleman counterparts.  I believe part of the reason many women accuse men of stupidity and demean their worth is to mentally cope with the reckless masculine infidelity that have destroyed so many marriages and homes.   But though they prove imperfect, men are not as society portrays them. They are glorious, with eternal and exquisite value.  Hard to believe though it is, even the natural wiring that causes men to find monogamy difficult has its purpose in God's wisdom and will make its usefulness manifest in His time.  In the interim, perhaps ladies might consider that women are naturally inclined to prove overly emotional and harshly verbal, often causing damage and injured feelings within the walls of their home.  Perhaps women might consider that their tendency to bring up old injuries twenty years after the fact does as much damage, or almost as much, as the tendency men have toward pornography.  

Is the man always wrong?  Not at all.  Men have proven excellent inventors, scientists, historians, writers, leaders, and breadwinners through the annals of time.  Are women always right?  Hardly.  They have the ability to prove angelic if they will work with their natures and cultivate gentleness, but no, they are not always right.  We were crafted by the Almighty to work together, to believe in each other and to honor each other for the differences that make our united efforts so supremely perfect.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Only One Who Can Save This Country

I stand as the youngest of a crew of four siblings; my elder sisters generally do not tune into the political scene quite as much as I do, but this election year tables turned round and I have proven the quietest of this familial band in terms of opinionated campaigning and proclamations of what our country needs.  I love that we allow ourselves to respectfully disagree and while one sister has chosen Trump as her presidential selection and another supports Sanders with a passionate will, we have not allowed such considerations to divide us as people.
I have no problem in admitting that I cast my vote early and upon much study and prayer felt it appropriate to place my hand in favor of Marco Rubio.  That decision is a personal one and I allow anyone to agree with or dislike the support I rendered.  I am grateful he suspended his campaign before things became as thoroughly ugly as they did.  I sometimes think that God had me vote in that manner in order to keep me distanced from the wild rivalry transpiring now, and I thank Him for it.
But who truly is the person who can rescue this faltering nation?  There is only valid answer.
Whether Trump or Sanders or anyone else takes the White House, it will not change the fact that no president can ultimately turn the course of this country.  Only the Lord can do that.  We often wish that our leaders were more God fearing, more prayerful, more in tune with the Spirit of God.  Never mind what they do.  Are we God fearing?  Are we prayerful?  Are we in tune with the impressions of God?  Our president may very well make foul decisions but if we are built upon a rock solid foundation in Christ, God can protect us and render us peace regardless of the circumstances. 
My daughter often tells me that she would like to take over and control the world.  I tell her that I would love her to do so, but that first she needs to be able to take over and control herself.  When our eyes are fixed toward heaven, our behavior proves blameless and our hearts spotless, our world will be different.  Even if we cannot control the exterior events, we can carry heaven within us through any trial, any frustration, or any attack.  God is stronger than all this world together, and He stands at the helm.  Sometimes in politics as in life He may see fit to try our souls in order to make them stronger; never mind it - He knows what He's doing.  It is our job to trust Him, to walk forward in faith and to allow His merciful hand to guide us through until at last we reach His presence in grateful humility and triumph.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Eyes That Hold Me Bound

*I often attempt to make a point or better humanity in some way via these poor blog posts.  Today I beg indulgence to allow the tortured poet in my nature to make a brief cameo.  I may prove wrong in this, but sometimes, perhaps, God will allow us to simply prove human, subject to weakness, frailty and soul igniting emotion.
I can't help myself in falling into those consuming, darkened eyes.  They drive me to madness, haunting my psyche and following me in my sleep.  I try to pull away; they inexplicably find me.  Now artless and deceivingly innocent, now penetrating, taking hold of my spirit and refusing to relinquish their grip.  I run; I hide; but all these things inevitably profit me nothing.  I fear their intensity - an intensity to match the extreme circumstances of my own eternal existence.  Their penetration trips my feet and pins my form to the earth; struggle avails naught.  They force me down with a deft mastery that all my will cannot conquer and all my energy cannot refute.  I plead heaven's rescue, but here I find myself doubly lost, for the majestic powers of those sacred heights surrender me and render me helpless to the whims and desires of those eyes.
I break away with heaving breath but still they watch me, piercing with impunity from God's own merciful throne.
I have always feared them.  What their intent or wherefore their pursuit I've never found the ability to comprehend.  Lock me into obedience, exhaust my spirit into subservience, and craft me as they will - I haven't strength to save myself.
They wake me in the night, captive as cold sweat courses down my frame and moistens satin sheets. A great, o'erwhelming fist clasps my heart, draining my power almost even to breathe.
Helpless and enslaved, my mind reels, my soul unable to fight.  Where would this force take me?  What stands as its ultimate plan?  Why do I find myself singled out to succumb beneath the waves that press so vehemently down upon me?  Will this pull me irresistibly toward darkness or light?  Sheer and merciless authority leaves my body limp and lifeless, my consciousness swaying in and out like a strange and hypnotic dance.