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!

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments
Hand in Hand


I earned some temporary wings!