Tuesday, December 7, 2010


When the LDS Genesis Branch has their annual Christmas party things can get a little crazy: www.ldsgenesisgroup.org if you've never checked out the webesite, go for it.

For YEARS I've found myself in the kitchen sometimes by assignment, sometimes by volunteering myself out of need. Last year and this year I ended up in the kitchen and have quit enjoyed it. By now, after 7 years being in the kitchen I have some things pretty much down to a science. Myself and 4 other people can prep food and get it moving in and out to feed the masses of between 300-upt to 700 people sometimes over the years.
When you come to a Genesis Christmas party, The Branch Provides the meat: Smoked Turkey and Smoked Ham ( We use some folks who who built their own smoker and it is a B.E.A.U.TIFUL thing. ) Last year the men who sliced the meat for us and was throwing away the ham bones. Do you know what happens when you in a black woman's kitchen and start messing around and throwing the wrong stuff away? They learned pretty quickly. One of the gentleman from last year had to educate his buddy from this year: Leave the skin on the turkey and don't throw away the Ham bones. There was much peace in the valley of the kitchen this year.

Why so much flack over the Ham bones you say? Let me tell ya what a ham bone means. For those who don't eat pork, you can preplace the word "ham" with soup.

Back in the day when you had dinner, times were such that you didn't throw anything away. You kept ,onions and potatoe skins, bones, leafs and root of your celery and carrots, meat fat, skin, bones, herbs and spices and create even more meals with it: soup, stock, stews and what not.

What people anxiously toss out today was life sustaining in the "olden" days.

There's a story about a Black LDS Pioneer woman by the name Jane Manning James that goes like this:

She and her family; Husband Issac, and son Sylvester left Nauvoo with the saints in 1846 to head west. During the trek she gave birth in Winter Quarters, Nebraska (yes thats a real place even today) to another son they named Silas. Winter Quarters was a temporary settlement or housing quarters for persecuted and pioneering LDS mbrs during the winter months.

In 1847 Jane and her family left Winter Quarters for What is now the SL Valley. During that time food, provisions and the very basic necesities of life were barely obtainable.

In her own words she Jane says:

"“Oh how I suffered of cold and hunger and keenest of all was to hear my little ones crying for bread, and I had none to give them.”

What she could share, she shared with her neigbors.

One of her friends Wrote the following in her behalf:

Eliza Partridge Lyman, whose husband had just left for a mission to California, wrote:
“April 13th [1849] … May the Lord bless and prosper them and return them in safety. He left us without anything from which to make bread, it not being in his power to get it. … Jane James, the colored woman, let me have two pounds of flour, it being half of what she had.”

Times are rough right now for many of us and hard.... THIS hard for others. Some of us don't feel the pinch of the times and some of us will never have to worry about saving scraps of food and bones to eat.

What does ALL THIS have to do with Soup bones you ask? Ima tell ya.

Back to the Genesis Christmas party. When we have this party is when most people are introduced to collard greens, black eye'd peas and some of the other Traditional African American foods: Sweet Potato Pie and such. We make plates for some of the Genesis family who can't make it or show up late. We make plates and give food away to area missionaries and other people we know who could use it.

One man, very special to me, Let's call him Papa D. ( AKA Darius Gray) Each year we make sure we make a plate for him.

Last year at the 2009 Christmas party when we were tutoring our Caucausion Brothers on saving the soup bones, Papa D not feeling well was unable to attend the whole Christmat party. So I made him a tray for him and his family. He came to pick it up and I showed him what we wrapped. He gave a greatly appreciated "Thank You" and huge hugs and a kiss on the cheek. As he was turning away, I grabbed one of the Ham bones wrapped in aluminum foil and said...

"WAIT! I almost forgot! A Soup bone for yo pot!"

He looked at me with that brilliant beautiful smile of his grinnin from ear to ear and said...'

"Now that... right there... IS LOVE!" And I felt "the love" as well.

Whether you are sharing a cup o sugar, lb of flour or a soup bown fo yo neigbors pot, That kinda love comes from no other place. A place where Xboxes, and Flat Screens and even Diamonds can't reach. That kind of love is Rib stickin, bone warming and life sustaining and Soul nourishing.

May we all learn to give love in a way that wants us to give AND RECEIVE a soup bone fo yo POT!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

High School Lesson RELEARNED at the age of 42

A few weeks ago I was with a couple of friends and we were looking for something to do to pass away the evening. There were many choices in the location we were in: Piano Bar, Karaoke, Disco, Movie, Stage show, Comedian. We went to the Piano bar and despite our efforts to liven things up, it was lame. So we went to the Karaoke bar. That was fun for a while until the same chick kept getting up with more of a desire to "show off" her talent then that got boring. The Comedy Show was going to be starting in a few minute. I had no desire and didn't even consider it an option because after a certain time the shows are listed as being Rated R. I assumed the others would feel the same way.
It was then suggest to go to the comedy show. I raised my eyebrow and said "Really?"
"Yeah, lets go check it out."
I hesitated and then agreed. We settled into our spots and the one who suggested it ran really quick to the rest room. The other friends said... "she does realize it's a Rated R show, doesn't she?"
I nodded "yeah, she knows."
I suggested she and I switch places "in case I want to leave the show early."
So we switched places.
I'm sad to say that was one of the only good judgement call I used in that situation.

After a few moments the show began. Within about 10 minutes I found myself starting to shake and tear up and it was starting to be difficult to catch my breath.
I recognized that I was going into a Post Traumatic Stress Relapse. For a few minutes I was paralyzed and couldn't move.

The explicitly sexual filth coming from this "comedian" was actually causing trauma to my mind. I'm not sure at what point but I did find myself getting up and walking out. I rushed to the bathroom wiped my tears washed my face and wondered around for an hour or so.
I was so angry with myself for "following the crowd" which is something I'm not used to doing. I knew better. I knew the potential subjects of these so called comedians.
At first I was upset at the person who suggested we go see this Rated R comedian. I assumed we all had the same taste in certain things because basically we're all LDS and it caused me to think of this person a little differently.

Then I realized this was all on me. I have agency and the ability to make choices for myself. I can't trust what I believe to be right or wrong is what someone else also believes to be right or wrong. I put myself in a situation that could potentially cause undue trauma and distress to myself.

I have to remember that I now live in situation where I become highly sensitive to certain subject matter that can and does cause physical, mental and emotional trauma to me. My world is totally different than it was 2.5 years ago. I just cannot tolerate certain things anymore. And the more I learn about myself, those things are vile and disgusting anyway and if more people didn't tolerate them the world would be a better place.

I allowed someone else to make a decision for me that even though I questioned, I went along with. There's no way I can blame that choice on anyone but me. I made a bad choice in judgement pertaining to what I believe and want to stand for. I can't put that on anyone else but me.
When I experience things like this I always think of my daughter and how I would want her to handle the situation.
I would hope that if my daughter were in the same situation she would make a better choice than I did.

I relearned a high school lesson at the age of 42: Going along with the crowd and allowing anyone else to make a decision for you that you know is a bad decision is NEVER EVER going to be a good thing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Yup it's true. We say we don't gamble but we do play Bingo and Roulette. To make matters worse we play it right in Church at least once a month. MMMMHHH das right! There is somewhat of a method behind our madness.
Have pity on us, we are blessed to worship 3 hours every Sunday. At least. If you are even more blessed to be a Bishop, Stake President or a member of the congregation leadership, you get to spend even more time at church on Sunday. But wait... there's more! And if you act now, you can get your visiting and home teaching done as well which is probably another couple hours depending on how many sisters or families you have are assigned to fellowship.
Really, it's not so bad. After all it is a day of rest right? The Bible says so...
" 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Ok so if you wanna be "technical" about it, it says GOD rested on the seventh day.
But Exodus 20:10 does say
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

I must admit I'm one of those Mormon's who would rather not go or be visit taught/home taught on Sunday. 3 hours of Church is a wonderful and beautiful thing. Much more than that... can be over kill. My brain can only retain so much! Don't get me wrong I LOVE the Visiting Teaching and Home Teaching program. But come during the week... like on a Tuesday, say when I've been cussed out by customers all day... or On a Thursday when I just don't think I can take another work day and wanna smack everyone I see. Them are some of the times when I need me some Jesus Reinforcements the most!

I'm not saying this to discourage going or accepting VT or HT on Sunday. This is just my animated opinion on the thing. Often because it is sometimes hard to have a "DAY OF REST" on Sunday if you are a Mormon. No matter. Idle hands are... blah blah blah.

So with 3 hours of church and a primary and nursery full of kids our Sacrament meetings get to be somewhat "lively." Ok since I'm bloggin about church I may as well be honest... Sacrament meetings get to be somewhat loud!

If Sacrament is the 3rd hour of church instead of the 1st... quite frankly some of these kids have just HAD IT! They fuss and fight. The babies/toddlers throw their cheerios and get away from their parents and run around from bench to bench with an older sibling chasing them down.

So why Not BINGO or Roulette? To tell you the truth it helps us pay attention. It does, True Story. And it's fun for the whole family! Yes, that's right most of the whole family can play. I dare say we adults play it more fervently than the teens or the kids.
Typically we play this game once a month, the first Sunday of each month. We call it FAST AND TESTIMONY Sunday. The first Sunday of each month we skip 2 meals and give the money we would have spent on those two meals to the church for the church welfare system. I think our church is really cool in this department. We are extremely great at feeding and clothing the poor and those in need. Not just in our communities but Word Wide. I'm pleased to be apart of giving such offerings.
This is also the Sunday where the congregation is invited to stand up and bear witness of God, Jesus Christ and any other Gospel truth or principle and to openly give praise and Thanks.
Unfortunately too many of us use this as an opportunity to declare love to family, update us on their family vacations, boast about accomplishments that no one else really cares about or disclose some hardship and gain some sympathy.
You will hear phrases like:
"with every fiber of my being"
"without a shadow of a doubt"
" I feel so unworthy to stand before you today"
"this morning as I was praying"
"I don't usually cry but..."
"The church is true"
"On my mission..."
"President (insert first, current or prophet that just passed name here) is a true prophet"
and various, various other phrases.
It's also on This Sunday that we got out our Bingo Cards! That's right Mormon Bingo cards. I've not only played this game. I've made cards and passed them out to many many people in sacrament. I must say I have been very VERY surprised at who takes one of my bingo cards: Relief Society Presidents, Ward Clerks, Missionaries, Newlyweds, Nearly-Deads and yes, Even Bishopric Members! (That's not always notes they're scribbling on up there ;)
There are Several Bingo Cards. You can make them yourself or get them from online.

Basically it's a regular Bingo Card. Instead of numbers the kid version contains pictures of:
Praying hands
Pictures of the temple
Pictures of Jesus
and various other pictures.
The Free space usually says "AMEN" on it because everything ends with an "Amen."
They listen very carefully to the speaker and mark off the photos of whatever is mentioned. If they get bingo they get a treat in the car on the way home or extra dessert at dinner or whatever mom/dad sees as reward for being precious and reverent and winner testimony bingo.

The Adult version of this are the previously mentioned phrases. Except when an adult gets bingo... they get to leave the meeting and hang out in the foyer! Trust me on some fast and testimony Sundays that IS a winning prize!

There are many of us Mormons who don't condone this type of thing. "BLASPHEMY!" You say! Well it could be. I can see how the appearance of evil might creep into your soul and you may have to make an appointment with the Bishop and confess your bingo habit.
To you I say.... Welcome to Testimony Roulette!
Roulette is much less obvious and basically between You and the Lord as it is an "on my honor" kind of game.
Yes, you pick someone in the congregation. If they get up and bear their Testimony, you have to get up and bear yours. This game is not for everyone. For the poor sport or lazy one's they will ALWAYS choose someone who NEVER get up. I say to you... "WHY BOTHER?? Take a bingo card...if you aren't going to really Roulette."
Roulette is not for everyone, only for the real Spiritual gamblers. If you wanna play it safe and you don't have any noisy kid to remove from the meeting... then Testimony Bingo is your best bet.

It's easy to spot The Bingo players and the Rouletters in the congregation. They throw back their sacrament drink with a little extra seriousness and they have a poker face. Like a cowboy throwing back a shot of Jack or Jim.

There is another kind of Bingo I have yet to discuss.
Twice a year we have our Annual and Semi Annual General Conference. That's basically a world wide broadcast from Salt Lake City with sermons from our church leaders. That's right, Mormons have Mega Church at least twice a year. It's broad- casted from the Supernacle Conference Center on Temple Square. There are 2 two hour session on Saturday (A 3rd for the Men of the church: Priesthood session) And 2 two hour session on Sunday. This might be more like how some of the Black Mega church conferences do it. Gather in HUGE congregations of thousands and listening to some preaching and music for a couple days at a convention center.


The beauty is you don't have to get dressed and go anywhere if you don't want. You can just rollover and turn it on... or hang out in your jammies and watch it on tv. For you Technical freaks you can turn it on you computer while chatting I/M or LDS Mingles, LDSSO or LDS LINKUP. You can turn it on the radio while out weeding the garden, watering the plants or yes, sunbathing. What a perfect way to keep the sabbath day Holy... Pack the kids up in the Expedition or whatever BMW (BIG MORMON WAGON) you may have and go for a Sunday drive in the mountains while listening to Conference! Take a Picnic! This kind of Sunday is like a free spot on your bingo card of life! So is Stake Conference.
For non member friends, stake conference is more like the a "regional" conference. All the congregations in a certain area go to one bigger Chapel in the neighborhood to hear sermons from their designated regional leadership. Stake Conference Sunday is bonus because it's 2 hours instead of 3 and usually held at another building other than your regular meeting house, unless you are blessed to have your regular meetings at the Stake Center. Many Members also consider this meeting to be a free spot on your bingo card of life.
In reality there really are a unique mechanism to help your family pay attention to the speakers and to know the people in your congregation better.
I'm trying to find a way to create Mormon Poker or Black Jack.
One way to really gamble for sure is to make score cards... and at the end of each speaker, hold up their score. This is highly effective on High Councilman Sunday or the Sunday they call a new Bishopric to the Congregation. Don't ask me how I know but I BET you get called to repentance for that game! ;)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

When Hell Freezes over...Go Figure Skating!

Last Thursday April 29 2010 was hell. I moved into a new apt. Most of the folks who were supposed to help were unable because of a family emergencies, or "whatever" else was going on. I woke up and sat in my living room surrounded by boxes, empty book shelves, and other various items needing to be moved. The thought that ran through my mind: THIS IS HELL!

I was already miserable, achy from the cold wet weather. I needed to get to the new place, do a final walk though, pay the rent, get the keys, do move in cleaning before I could even start to move in. I was up WAY too early and already so tired. The day was already doomed from the start.
Got myself dressed and ready to go took care of the "move in preliminaries" and headed back to start moving myself in. My car can only hold 6 boxes at a time and a hamper or two in the front seat. Good thing I took 2 days off work and had the weekend to get all moved in the new place and all moved out of the old place. I would need all that time at this rate.
I gotta tell ya, I was PISSED OFF! Recalled in my mind all the times I helped others move. All of the times I received some random call to come to this event or that event to give moral or visual support to a stranger or neighbor or ward member.
I got to thinking Wow, I'm the compassionate service person and not once have I been able to round up compassionate service for myself when needed. The more I thought about it... the more upset I got.
I turned that anger to energy. I started hauling boxes to my car. Drove the 1.7 miles to the new place, and one by one unloaded boxes and walked them up the 2nd floor to my new place. After unloading the boxes into the at, I would go back to the are, drive the 1.7 miles back to the old place and load up again. It was going to be a long day.
By 11:00 am I had only done 2 trips AND it was snowing like Christmas time. There was more than an inch of snow on the ground. HELL DONE FROZE OVER FOREAL.

Each snow flake reminded me of the flakey people in my life who show up when they need something and disappear in my time of need. Each time I lifted another box and tracked it out to the car I vowed I was done helping others. Done going that extra mile. Done rushing to the aide of everyone else. I was cold. Wet, tired, sore, miserable.
for the next 2 hours I loaded my car drove to the new place, unloaded boxes and hauled them up to the new place. The harder I worked the more it snowed. Talk about insult to injury.
Finally exasperated I gritted my teeth and seethed out "can it get any worse than this!!!!!???"
I heard a voice inside me say... "absolutely it can get worse!"
I remembered something I heard a few years ago and it becomes life altering each time I recall it: At any second in time you can start your day over. It's a choice that is completely within your power. You may not be able to change the events that will happen throughout the day. But maybe you can. You may not be able to change what others may do to you throughout the day. But maybe you can.
I thought for a few moments after remembering I can start my day over at anytime.

This would be a prime opportunity to stay angry and upset ESP at those "friends" who never give and always take. It would be a prime time to light into those who disappear when there's a need and then show up afterwards claiming they "didn't know" there was a need or "just got the message" when the hard part done or "feeling better" and can drop by tomorrow.
I could make a choice to stay angry and "wo is me." I'm don't know about you but "WO IS ME" makes for a long day and some bad company.
I loaded the last box from my car and to the 2nd floor and stepped outside into the snow headed to the old place to bring over some more boxes.
I decided... Doggone it since it looks and feels like Christmas, I'ma sing me some Carols.
The DJ in my head put on "Walkin in a Winter Wonderland." I smirked at "in the meadow we can build a snowman..." I had made the decision to start my day over.
I drove the 1.7 miles to the old place, walked the 18 paces from my car to the old apt still singing my Christmas Carols. I picked up a box stepped outside and the sun was shining for the first time that day, the snow had stopped.

I looked up at the sky...
"Really, Lord?? Really?" I smiled and said,
"I guess we're rolling in sunshine now, I can work wit dat!"
The DJ in my head changed the song to:

"We'll Sing in the Sunshine! We'll Laugh in the rain...."
I kept going until I was too tired to go up or down anymore stairs. So I began to unpack the boxes in the new place and put things away until I regained the energy to start moving again.
Finally @ about 3pm, I just couldn't do it anymore. Went back to the old place and just as I layed on my bed to have a rest the phone rang. It was my sister calling to see how things were going.
This provided me with the perfect opportunity to "wo is me!"
Meh, why bother? She asked questions, I answered them honestly.
"Who ya got helping you?"
"OH 3 people showed up, Me, Myself and I!"
"Where are all those who were going to help?"
" That's a great question!" I answered again.
"Seriously? just you? Are you kidding me? Did you let Genesis know?"
"yes I did."
"what happened to so and so?"
"don't know."
"I can be there about 6. I'll bring so and so... and so and so can't make it today but can make it Saturday."
" That's cool I said. Except I wont need any help Saturday, I'll be done by tomorrow."
I looked around and had ended up accomplishing so much that I really would be done a day earlier than expected.
I told her I needed to go "do what I do" and basically took a 2 hour nap.
A much needed, well deserved 2 hour nap.

When my sister and our friend arrived about 6:30pm We loaded my car and my sister's. made 2 trips and every thing except the couch, love seat, chair, my bedroom suite and the outside storage was done.
They thought me being done the next day was "a little ambitious" until they came and saw how much I had done through out the day.
When I had energy I lugged boxes. When I was tired I unloaded boxes or did check out cleaning. It was hard and tiring but it worked. And it worked better with a better attitude.
The anger and disappointment at my flaky friends melted away with the snow. They are who they are and I know who I can count on for what. To expect anything more that what I already know and have experienced about them really was my own fault. I know that for me, I must ALWAYS give them the opportunity to come through. It's always a disappointment and disheartening when they don't but I guess part of BEING a good friend is always giving them that chance. It's frustrating. But it's the right thing to do most of the time.
Ok, back to me!
I learned another very important lesson again. I like how we are given opportunities to re-learn values if we take those opportunities.

I see this in so many people I know. There are the same people who ask...
"what more could I do?"
while sitting on their butts. I'd like to shake them and say..
"of all the things in the world you can do to get steps closer to what you want to do... you can't think of ONE MORE thing?" There's always ONE MORE THING you can do. ALWAYS!
These are the same people living in their glory days of high school and talking about "when I get this" or "when I do that..." not realizing that they really cold have had it already had they worked toward it.

I'm grateful I can start my day over at any second I decide to. I'm grateful I have it in me to NOT let what I can't do stop what I can do.
When hell freezes over what do you do? Go Figure Skating!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I often find myself doing things I don't want to do. And then after words cussing myself and regretting it. Do ya hate that? You know those times when you replay all the events of the situation in your head? And then you start to tell yourself things like:
"I shoulda told that witch to mind her own business." OR
" I should have confronted him about lying to me."
And THEN you actually go into the bathroom and practice your script in the mirror. Then you tell yourself... "one more time... this time with ATTITUDE!" Yeah, I'm gonna do it like that next time! Pat yourself on the back and you're good to go. Right? Right.

What about those times you don't want to do a thing? And you do it anyway because it's the RIGHT thing to do. How does THAT make you feel? I can honestly say I've never had one regret about doing the right and proper thing. There's really something great about doing the right thing that embeds in your heart, sometimes even when it goes unappreciated.SOMETIMES.

One of my closest friends and I had a fight and we didn't talk to each other for over a year. I'll refer to her as "Tyra." Since we have the same friendship base we saw each other often and even worked on a project together. Outside of the project, there was no communication or interaction. During this time Tyra and her husband were expecting their 3rd child. I purchased a mother's day item and the closer it got to mother's day the more I had a feeling the item I purchased was for Tyra. I ignored this prompting as it would mean I would need to contact and speak to this person and I just didn't want to. I ignored this feeling for a couple of weeks.
My sister and a couple of other friends went to a get together of sorts the Saturday afternoon before Mother's Day. Our friend "Amrie" lived about 30 minutes a way and needed a ride home after the get together so my sister and I decided we would turn it into a small road trip.
The later it became in the evening the more pressed I felt to give Tyra her mother's day gift. Just as we were heading toward the Highway to take Amrie home I found myself yelling at my sister to
"STOP! I don't know why but I have to get this gift and give it to her TONIGHT. I don't know why but I have to"
My sister, who was driving, veers off the the street right of the highway entrance and heads toward my apt. I ran into my apt and grabbed the gift and we rushed over to Tyra's house.
I knocked on the door and her daughter answered.
"where's your mom" I asked her.
"Who is it?" I heard her from the back hallway.
I stepped in and saw her almost doubled over in pain and barely able to walk.
"what's wrong?" I asked.
She couldn't get a hold of her husband at work and someone was over an hour late picking her up, and taking her to the hospital. She was in active labor and waiting for someone to pick her up. We got her in the car and rushed her off the Hospital. Her son was born shortly after. Shortly after, our friendship was repaired again.

I wanted to be stubborn. I TRIED to be stubborn. And I tried not to give a CRAP about about her and that voice in my head telling me the right thing to do. Let's be clear. I DID NOT WANT TO DO THIS. I was O.K only dealing with her on an as needed basis.

I'm not sure how we would be towards each other had I decided to be stubborn. Today her kids call me "Aunty" and my kid calls her "Aunty" and WE ARE FAMILY.

Another time a young couple I knew was moving and needed help with the move. I Didn't really like them. They didn't too much care for me either. However they needed help. I rallied a few people and we went and helped them move in. It was a good thing because they really didn't have too many people helping them at all and would have spent all of the evening and most of the night moving. We aren't really CLOSE but I do enjoy their company when end up at the same place.

There have been times when I've helped those I don't really like too much and they've reminded them WHY I don't really like them, but I helped them anyway.
How could I be so naive and stupid you may ask? 2 reasons.
This just happened recently to a friend of mine who lives in Canada:

"I ran out of gas last Friday night on the Trans-Canada hwy. My guy knew something was wrong because I ALWAYS come right home and ALWAYS call him to tell him where I am. He called the police TWICE,gave my name and for 4 hrs no police no help. I started walking the 22KM in the rain,then the coyotes started getting close so I went back to the truck.Then 5 Phillipino men picked me up and took me home.I figured it was either them or coyotes going to kill me.So I took my chances with the men."
She rec'd help. It took her 4 hours but she rec'd help.

True in this case the men were police officers who were lax on their job responsibilities. Here is another situation that didn't turn out so well.

I have been stranded before or in situations like this before where I have needed help, called friends for help and they have actually responded

"well I'm in the middle of something right now, but call me back in a little while if you can't get someone else."

Actually, I get that a lot. In most cases these are also the people who call me on a regular basis when they need, NEED someone they can count on. Someone reliable. Someone they know will come. And I do come. I'm not going to lie, it gets old. It gets frustrating. Sometimes it pisses me off to the point I'm calling them everything but a child of God under my breath. I know I will get stood up, brushed off and ignored, and waiting in distress many, many more times. I will call on friends and they will be too busy or make up excuses because it's not convenient or they just don't want help and don't have the guts to just tell me.

But that's on them.

And at the end of MY day, I don't usually regret it so I'll most likely continue to as some would say "be taken advantage of" to a point. Because maybe it's good for the community or the universe. Maybe it puts a jetted tub or a fabulous granite counter top in my mansion in heaven. Or maybe it just saves a life. Maybe if I'm dissin' someone in need I'm dissin also God.
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:37–40.)
So if I have the power to do so... I will come. Will you?

Friday, April 2, 2010


This is the time of year for New Beginnings. Spring time, when Natures awakes from it's dormant slumber and new life sprinkles the landscapes around us. The are becomes warmer and more sweet, the days become longer and brighter and the hope of long days in the sun arise within us. Mother natures has awakened the earth.

Is it any wonder we Celebrate the the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in the spring?
Today around the world Christians are celebrating "Good Friday." 6pm last night, Thursday, our Jewish friends would have started their Passover celebration.
The Lord commanded his people to paint the blood of a Lamb on their doors after Pharaoh ordered death of each first-born. For those who did this death was passed over and did not strike that household. Waking up alive the next morning was a GOOD FRIDAY INDEED.

For Us Christians (YES, MORMONS ARE CHRISTIANS... we've BEEN through this before)It is the anniversary of Passover and the Last Supper. Jesus with crew gathered for the passover dinner, we call it the Last Supper also know it as the First Sacrament.

The tables arranged in the shape of a "U." John, the one responsible for the meal would sit on the far right of the short table. Jesus, the host, in the center, and Judas, the guest of honor to the far left.
"JUDAS? The guest of honor?" you say. That's right I said Judas was the guest of honor.
Peter, who Jesus had chosen to lead the church after himself, was seated in the lowest station. He who would betray Jesus sat in the highest position. He who was named to lead in his place, sat in the lowest position.

Confusing? NOT SO MUCH! IN that Upper Room Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The Holiest of them all knelt down and served even the lowliest of them all. Status was erased. The washed the feet of the most elect in that room (Peter) the same as he washed the one of the lowest station (Judas.) His love did not measure out more and less according to who was before him.
Did he give up his dignity to serve? Or did he magnify is dignity by serving?

Jesus broke bread with his disciples and told it was in remembrance of his flesh and to them to partake of it. After the meal he passed a cup and they drank in Remembrance of Him and the blood he would shed.

The blood of another lamb would be shed to save those who believe. Could it be the ancient passover law was now replaced with a new one?

Jesus and his crew sang hymns and sometime in the night went to Gethsemane. He was heart broken and grieved. asked his Crew,those closest to him to keep watch while he pray. He entered the garden exhausted, we are told he fell on his face. The crew being tired kept falling asleep. Thus truly leaving Jesus Christ alone to accomplish that which he needed to do.
He prayed to his father. You know those prayers we have when we don't really want to go through with something
"Daddy if at all possible... "

(Yeah, we know those kinds of prayers. Well I know them..) We have to sometimes say it and say it again... and again, until we find that place of surrender and submission, giving in to the father's will. He prayed the same prayer 3 times. He indicated the spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak. Maybe it took 3 times for the flesh to get to the point of submission. And finally he spoke those words we should all be prepared to speak:

"Thy will be done..."
ON THIS GOOD FRIDAY Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior prayed more earnestly in his Agony. ON this Good Friday is when Jesus became our Savior by suffering the sins of the world:
Every person who lived before him, every person who lived with him, every person who would life after him. Every sorry, every heartache, every depression. Every betrayal, every stroke of the massa's whip, every beheading at the kings command, every poke, prod, scar, scrape. Every disappointment, embarrassment abuse, addiction, disease and discomfort known to mankind.

He felt it all and he took it on willingly. So much so that the "unwilling" flesh opened up and released his blood for OUR sake. We have been paid for. More than once we have been paid for. Thousands of years before we set foot on the earth, We have been paid for.
So when you sing songs like "OH HAPPY DAY... When Jesus Washed my sins away..." You recognized that he watered the garden of Gethsemane with his blood so that we may grow closer to him. It is called the ATONEMENT. He atoned for our sins. This is what makes us His and Him ours. This is the AT-ONE-MENT. This is the purpose for our weekly Sacrament.

As if Suffering the sins of the world were not enough, the mobs came and Jesus was Kissed and then taken by the mobs.
He was taken to Pilate who found no fault with him, And then Herod who send him back to Pilate. The people would rather have a known criminal amongst them than to allow Jesus to walk away free.
With a body all ready exhausted and having bled those great drops of blood in our behalf, they scourged him, tearing his flesh and beating him brutally and placing a crown of thorns on his head. Jesus,carrying his cross, was paraded down the road to Golgotha, physically, spiritually, emotionally spent. When he could walk no further, Simon a cyrenian was seized and commissioned by soldiers to carry the cross for him.
It was soon after that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was nailed to the boards and hung to die.

I believe Jesus continued to live as long as he felt the presence of the Lord with him. And when the Lord withdrew from him, he stayed as long as he needed to fulfilled the journey and when it was done... "IT IS DONE..." He willingly gave up the ghost.

The earth and the elements responded in anger and sadness. The sun hid it's face in horror, grief and sorrow. The earth mourned in darkness.

On that glorious Sunday morning the tomb was empty. The Savior of all Mankind, so brutally humiliated, broken and abused had overcome all there would be to overcome.
The Sun then showed its face upon "THE SON." Is it any wonder that the Earth renews itself? Perhaps as a symbol of the ultimate rebirth?
Many Churches have the Cross as a symbol of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Our Churches do not. It is not because we don't believe in Good Friday or the Crucifixion. We believe it. We honor it and Our Savior Jesus Christ who so willingly died for us. Our hope is in that of the Resurrection.The Good News that he is Risen

As a collective group we Mormons don't have Good Friday Services or traditions but believe we do Honor Good Friday, individually and in our own way. He had to die in order to rise.

This Easter with your bunnies and eggs, chocolates and peeps, Ham and Potatoes, brunch, hot crossed buns and whatever else you do to celebrate the anniversary of our greatest gift ,Spend sometime recognizing and really pondering the supper held in THIS ROOM
and the magnitude of love The Lord our God and his Son Jesus Christ have for you and yours. And know that is is never failing and ever strong.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Leave Some Evidence!!!

Growing up my father would sometimes walk into the living room where my siblings and I would be watching TV or playing a game or whatever and proceed to tell us what we had for lunch.
"How did you know?" we would ask.
"You left behind evidence and that's how criminals get caught" This was his subtle way of letting us know we didn't properly clean up behind ourselves. It was a great teaching tool. I'm not saying it worked with us all the time. I'm not even saying it worked with us MOST of the time. But I have put that theory to use in many other applications outside the home. That and never returning to the scene has made me the master prankster I am today :)

I wonder if my father's phrase "you left behind evidence and that's how criminals get caught" is what gives me my investigative mind. My first line of thinking is outside of the box. I have to be brought INTO the box normally to be on the same age as everyone else. It's kind of strange. When most people are changing the Paradigm, I'm already groovin to that "para-digum." Ya dig what I'm saying I think.

I got to thinking today that leaving evidence is not all bad. I have a friend who was an evidence professor at BYU Law school. The only one of my friends who I wouldn't mess with cuz she really does know how to hide the bodies and leave no evidence. I may be a little crazy myself but I know what friends to pick. She also happens to be the Relief Society President for the LDS Genesis Group. You want to keep people with that kind of Heavenly AND Earthly clout around and happy.
(No,that's NOT why I treated her and my sister to breakfast this morning either.)

I posted a question to the masses earlier today:
"At some point we will have have to stand before the Lord and take accountability for our lives: The Good, Bad and the Ugly. How do you want stand before him?"

I fully expect the typical Mormon Textbook answers: Thankful, Humble, intimidated, full of love,repentant... blah.. blah... blah! Don't get me wrong, those are all great "stay inside the box" answers and we all need to be having some of that when do come before the Lord.
I guess I'm a little bit different as I envision myself in front of the Lord.
I picture myself as a child having come in from playing:

Hair in a messed up pony tail with leaves or pieces of grass in it, overalls ripped at the knee and probably a skinned knee as well.
(yes this is really me last spring...)
Muddy Pioneer feet from running out in the rain w/o shoes because someone called for help, smudges on my face and t-shirt, hands calloused and rough. Looking as if I've had a hard day of chasing butterflies and making mud pies and helping my best friend put the chain on their bike.
I think of the different places I've been and the things I've done there:

Pinegar Apartments in Provo UT: when my daughter was 5 she was experimenting and decided to save her water melon seeds and plant them. It worked. A couple months later the whole apartment complex was enjoying water melon. It was such a great thing that the managers of the apartments ripped out the bushes in front and now each year plants Zucchini for the tenants to enjoy. These apartments were filled with single parents and newly weds and older couples with struggling incomes who now have 1 more source of having a few more meals they don't need to worry about.

Herriman, UT: My sister, daughter and I ran across 2 lonely grave sites with concrete slabs that simply read: "Indian woman" and "Afro-American Woman." 2 lone souls buried side by side, no name, no birth date, no family recognition. We decided to adopt them, decorate their sites. We gave them names and birth dates. So they no longer are two lonely graves next to each other.

Preston Idaho:

I have a friend buried in the Preston Idaho cemetery. HE WAS AN AMAZING MAN. Once a year we try to go up, light a candle, make sure his resting place is in order and just hang out and remember how much fun we had with him.

Ensenada Mexico:

Went on a cruise with some folks a 3 day Baja Mexico Cruise and we stopped in Ensenada. They have the typical souvenir that people are selling off the streets. There was a young woman painting gorgeous little scenery on small silver plated platters for about $5. She did it all by hand and it took her all of about 5 minutes. You giver her the name of a person and she personalized it.
"To_________ with love from Ensenada Mexico." I decided to purchase one. I watched her work speedily to create the scene and she turned to me and in broken English asked "who name you would like?" I told her to put her own name. She looked at me confused... " who would you like this to be for, whose name to give to?"
I said to her " I'm buying this for me. And since you are the artist, and you created it, I want YOUR name on it so I can remember who you are."
The look of shock on her face was priceless. "really?" she said. "I have never put my name on it, Oh I am so happy." And she began to have tears stream down her cheek as she autographed her beautiful artwork. She gave me my platter, wiped her eyes and then gave me a hug and said "Thank you,I really thank you!" and turned and went back to the line waiting for her.

Kailua, Hawaii where one of my best friends live. She's been raving to her family for years about my homemade macaroni and cheese. She flew me out to Hawaii for her wedding, and asked me to give a short story on how I introduced her to the man who is now her husband. For Sunday dinner Her mom (who made sure I had a cheese omelet and a flower for my hair everyday I was there)asked me to show her how to make this southern recipe she's been hearing about for 15 years. I made it for her so she could see how it was done and that's what we had for family dinner my last night in Hawaii. Her family was so touched by our friendship over the last 15 years. I left my heart In Kailua, Hawaii

Morristown, New Jersey: I went out east for a while. I remember the first time I went to church there and introduced myself. A Handsome young man stopped me as soon as he heard my name, came up to me and gave me a BIG HUG. I didn't complain but was very curious as to who he was and why his arms were around me and what the name of that cologne was he was wearing. (Polo...late 80's you know. ;) He told me he hand heard all about how much fun my family was and how we fed the missionaries every Thursday night and how I had the best Lasagna is best friend had ever had. His best friend was one of those missionaries we fed every Thursday night and being in that area on his best friends mission was the favorite time of that young man's mission.

Battle Creek, MI: I played softball in high school and loved it. One of the people I liked to hang out with the most was a white girl whose father didn't like black people. That didn't stop us from rolling. She and I were both on the softball team together. Often after the games he would tell me I played a great game and say how his daughter and I made a great team. He was always kind and very complimentary to me. One day my friend told me.. "you know, my dad doesn't like black people, but he loves you!" I never knew he didn't like black folks until she told me.

I guess I bring up these certain instances because when I leave this world, I want their to be evidence that I was here! I want to leave my footprints and finger prints and heart prints ALL OVER THE PLACE! I want to leave a trail of love and kindness and beauty behind.
I want there to be evidence that I was here and that I did some good:
I want the Lord to be able to look at South Carolina and say
"yeah, Karyn was here...I can tell by the way Susan is cooking up that Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup that she's been talking to Karyn."

I want him to look at Long Beach California and say: "WOW, She impacted Julie in that youth fireside, she's picked up her scriptures for the first time in a year..."

I want him to see where I hiked the Grand Wash and Camped at Bryce Canyon in southern Utah
and swam in Bear Lake in Garden City. I want him to know I ran through his canyons and played capture the flag and Jumped off the dock and into Payson lakes and Canoed down the Battle Creek River.

I also want him to know I stood in awe watching gorgeous Sunsets in Park City Utah and wrote my name in the sand on the North Shore in Hawaii and marveled at the beauty and power of the ocean.

I want him to know I built bonfires and sang camp songs at Camp Kitanniwa. And put on crazy hats while walking the isle at the store and made people (including myself) Laugh and smile.

I plan on leaving as much evidence as I can that I was here and I enjoyed the gifts and talents the Lord blessed me with and also enjoyed this beautiful earth he created for us. Sorry Daddy, but I fully intend on leaving behind all kinds of evidence.

There's a quote on this blog by Sister Marjory Pay Hinckley that summarized beautifully how I would like to be presented to the Lord:

“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk’s lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived"

When I get to the other side, I'm going to be holding out my thumb hitch hiking, hoping that Sister Marjorie Picks me up on her way in so we can roll in together.


Big Brother, Little Sister Moments

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments
Hand in Hand


I earned some temporary wings!