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Joseph, Joseph

Friday, December 23, 2016





I'll admit...I'm not one of those crazy good cross-referencing, notebook-keeping, topic-exhausting scripture readers. Sheesh...most days I spend an entire half hour on five verses, TBH.

Hey, it works, ok;)

Honestly, the moments in reading where I get those warm-fuzzy sit-back-and-smile moments don't usually come through the medium of concrete content or lengthy lectures. 

I'll just throw this out there: I have an obsession with so-called "background" characters

Lucky for me, the scriptures are chock full of them.


Naaman's servant, the boy who gave his loaves and fishes, Zoram, the fathers of the Sons of Helaman, and  Gideon...(just to name a few)...totally fascinate me.

What were there full stories? How did they get to where they were? What did things look like through their eyes? And how did they find the strength and courage to do what they did? 

A professor once told me you'll earn as much from the black words on the white page as you will from the missing words on the white page...basically...read between the lines. And while we may never have all the stories or answers...hey, it's fun to imagine

//#creativitypoints\\

Recently, though, with the budding holiday season, one character in particular has stood out to me.

His story is simple and often unsung in the scriptures.
He doesn't have chapters written about him.
He doesn't have books named after him.
Heck, he doesn't even have a single quoted line.
But he's, in my opinion, one of the most incredible men to ever live.

Joseph

Yep...even then, he's known as "Joseph, the husband of Mary," or "Joseph, the father of Jesus Christ."

He's a silent character that everyone knows, but rarely takes time to consider.

And Christmas wouldn't be the same without him.

He risked his status and social dignity to marry a pregnant girl.
He was a rightful king, demeaned to a carpenters career.
He was likely very young and very poor when he wed Mary.
He heeded an angel's counsel without question.
He put Mary's honor above his own.

He was given the full responsibility of raising and caring for a child that was not his own,
not to mention the Savior of the world..
He was asked to leave friends, family, and home to preserve that child's life, risking his own
in the process.





...................




Can you imagine overnight accepting that everything you imagined in a life with your future spouse, would drastically change, not to mention that a child was already on it's way into the family?

Can you imagine the weight on the shoulders of this young father when he couldn't even secure a public room for his suffering wife?

Can you imagine the night of Mary's labor, realizing that the delivery of this precious baby was entirely in his inexperienced hands?

Or once the baby was born, and Mary had most likely fallen asleep with the exhaustion of labor, holding that tiny child in his arms, contemplating the magnitude of his life?

Or watching as visitors came in awe of the child, reinforcing the reality that the responsibility of raising this child was his own?


Or packing up his shop, closing the door to his home, and under cover of night fleeing for the life of his small son?




The list could go on and on.


I'm absolutely amazed by the love this simple, kind, and powerful man had for the Lord, his son, and for his role in the life of the Savior. He's unsung, unpraised, and often unnoticed.



...But again...
>> Christmas would not be the same without him <<



And it leaves me to wonder, how many people are accomplishing the impossible, working miracles, and sacrificing daily all around us, who's works are never acknowledged? And in the cases when we feel our efforts are going unnoticed or unappreciated...Joseph's example is a resounding reminder that the most powerful moments and characters are not made from raving headlines or trumpeted from the roofs....


but in rude stables were a quiet father held the Son of God in his rough hands,
and then spent the rest of his life in living "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee."





((this has got to be one of my FAVORITE Mormon Messages ever made.....so you should defs watch it..aaaannndddd try not to cry...that too;))



Nearer: The Process

Sunday, September 25, 2016




I've realized recently just how much being near to someone is such a basic human need.

As a kid.....ok let's be real...even now....I've always been the independent type.
Heck, I was that kid that literally went barefoot ALL over the neighborhood, wandered off into the woods alone to explore, and yea...joined in on the 11 yr old boys football game next door (as a 9 yr old) ....just cause I wanted to;)

I ended up knocked out in the dirt....but hey. hahaha  

I think many compensate for human connection in today's world. Technology, social media, work...they can all turn into substitutes for a deeper desire--even need--to be close with others. 


For me, specifically and lately, that need has manifest itself in a deep longing to be close to my Savior. Ultimately, that relationship is the MOST important and fulfilling relationship we'll ever pursue in this life. 

And I can't just throw that out there without bringing up "Nearer My God to Thee"...what did you expect?;)

That hymn has GOT to be one of my absolute favorite hymns...ever. 


Cliche?

Ehhhh....it's whatever;) haha

Here's the thing though....sometimes that hymn makes me realize just how deep that desire is--to be close to Him, to feel connected with Him, and to really know Him.

I miss Him.

And yea, sometimes it's easy to get frustrated, feel alone, and wonder if He's actually there, and actually cares. 

But what I'm coming to realize, is that it's a PROCESS




Everything in life is.....idk why it's taking me so long to learn this haha.

We study in school and take class after class to get that diploma. We practice over and over and run drill after drill to be good in that sport. We follow step after step to find physical healing. We use each ingredient in succession to create the perfect dish. We work hard to earn enough for what we want. 

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in instant relationship demands. We think we're failing it we're not perfect, if things don't come easy, or if we don't see results immediately. We want to be close, and we want it to happen overnight.  But that's not life.



It never is, and never will be




And it's no different when it comes to knowing Him. It's a process. So be patient. Invest. One step at a time.  And enjoy the journey. 

The best things in life are the things you work for. 

Work for your relationship with Him. 
Because it's worth it....every. bit. worth. it!

The last verse of "Nearer My God to Thee" (the one that's often not sung....idk why haha) is perhaps my favorite verse:

"There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest,

There in my Savior’s love, perfectly blest"


That rest--that knowledge of His love--it's worth working for! 


For now...it's all about the process...



Sensitives

Friday, July 1, 2016







SENSITIVES

If you're one of em, just stop here and don't keep on reading
(or pass Go and collect $200....that too;)



...
...
...


Oh hey you stayed......I like you;)


Here's the thing....I've never been keen on political correctness. Yep. I said it. 
Geez....half of you are squirming now. Sorry not sorry;)

Let me explain:






The more I'm bombarded with trending topics, headline stories, popular hashtags, mainstream media, and the latest news...the more fed up I become with a society and more specifically, a generation, that literally can't handle differing opinions, It's like everywhere you turn today, someone is complaining about how something is offensive to them, everyone but themselves needs to shut up, and all viewpoints expressed that conflict with their own is somehow a hateful personal attack.

....




Let's just get this out there:

sen·si·tives: people who just can't live their lives if any opposing opinions threaten their social pampering. 



Don't believe me? 
How bout these....to start with:


  • #HeterosexualPrideDay starts trending on social media.....the LGBT community expresses fury at the act, claiming that it "mocks the oppression" they face.


  • The trailer of Moana depicts a large Polynesian demigod....Disney gets bashed by viewers complaining of "fat-shaming" 



  • Snapchat includes a featured filter that "lightens" skin tone....users lash out at the social media outlet for being racist 



  • While shopping, a mom finds a pair of shorts for boys that are two inches longer than a similar pair of girl shorts.....she blasts social media expressing her anger at the way society objectifies girls' bodies. 


....(wait for it)...


  • His daughter was sent home from school for wearing an "immodest sundress"....he takes to the web to vent about "body-shaming" and how girls should be allowed to wear whatever they want, with no need to hide anything.



  • Danielle Brooks, a sitcom actress, gets told "lucky you" by a flight attendant commenting on her First Class status....Brooks instantly tweets how offended she was by the comment.



  • The week before the 4th of July, a New York Daily News columnist calls for the banning of "God Bless America" at MLB games because "it's offensive to everyone."



  • Abigail Fisher doesn't get accepted into the University of Texas....so she sues on the basis of white discrimination, despite her less-than-impressive academic history.


Get the picture??

Yea and half of these happened within the last WEEK.



We all have different opinions...that's what makes us US and adds diversity and perspective to the world. And trust me when I say, have an opinion. I'm not advocating back-seat attitude or apathetic reaction. 

BUT for crying out loud...stop acting like the world owes you validation for every prick of discomfort that life throws you. There is NO need to take every small occurrence (many times that doesn't even have to do with you) and use it to turn yourself into a martyr and everyone else the perpetrator. 

Basically....STOP WHINING.




We're becoming a generation obsessed with cat fights and complaints. Life is hard sometimes. Deal with it. Suck it up. Stop blaming other people for your problems. Grow some thicker skin. Pick your own self up when you fall down. Clean up your own mess. Sticks and stones for heaven's sake.

So someone else has a different opinion than you.....SO WHAT. 
That's life. 
Have conviction, but NEVER contention. 
Just freakin live your life and stop wasting time howling about how hard it is (cause really....it's not that bad).


So some people are proud to be heterosexual.....................................so let em be--it doesn't concern you.
So Disney made a character you dislike...............................................so don't watch the movie.
So Snapchat creates a filter you disagree with.......................so don't use it.
So you don't like the clothes in the kid section.........................so don't buy it.
So the school has a dress code you hate.................................................so find a different school
So you're told you're lucky to fly 1st class..............................................well yea, flying period is a miracle of human invention.
So you don't like a patriotic song..........................................so don't sing it.
So you didn't get accepted into the school you wanted.........................work harder or go somewhere else

Again, I'm NOT saying that you shouldn't work towards productive change based on correct morals.....heck, we wouldn't be here as Americans if that hadn't been the case. Having a difference of opinions is GOOD, but it should ALWAYS be accompanied by civility and yea.....love. Straight up whining, complaining, hating, dissing, and backstabbing rather than just living your life the way you believe and letting everything else just roll of your back boils down to a lack of maturity.


Grow up people.


Seriously.....our lives are not that hard.


Sooooo....if you're a Sensitive, go ahead...tell me how wrong I am, threaten, take offense, and sure...leave whatever nasty comment you'd like.

I honestly don't care.

Otherwise, we can agree to disagree.
And I'm cool with that.....cause at least then, I've still got faith in humanity and in people who can have different opinions and still stay civil;)




And since this was heavy stuff....we can end with the comic relief (cause Louis CK can tell us how it really is;)







Follow or Flee?

Thursday, June 16, 2016




Oh geez.

Three months dry.
(And I once said I was gonna post every week.....so much for goals >D)

With summer in full swing, though, I have a good feeling I'll actually (maybe) find time to, more often than not, throw some thoughts down here like a real blogger.

GOALS

Alllriiiiiiight...so

here's where the mind's at today:

I've been asked the question more than once as a Mormon (and as a Christian), "Aren't you guys just blind followers? Blind sheep following church leaders and even a professed God without stepping back and taking opinion and direction into your own hands?"

Truth be told, I've been asked this by members and non-members alike.
The first time I'd really had a more-than-awkward-laugh-wondering-if-they-were-serious conversation about it was actually when a member who disagreed with a certain church policy and doctrine posed the question.

And honestly, the question (and following convo) left me feeling unsettled and yea....I'll just say it....IRRITATED.
In part, because I didn't like the idea that that could possibly be true, and secondly, because it threatened the core of our religion.

Here's the deal

While some may think that Mormons are blind followers--led along by a group of "outdated old guys" (yea...actually had someone call them that to my face...bless their heart)--I see it as the most powerful arrangement of religious organization and principal...ever


The doctrines and policies "taught" by leaders in the Mormon church always come with the compelling invitation which this church was FOUNDED on: "ASK, and ye shall RECEIVE....knock and it shall be opened unto you" (James 1:5)....and that's not even from the religion-specific and often-harassed Book of Mormon....go figure:)

This faith was built on the promise that God communicates personally with His children IN ADDITION to word-wide modern-day revelation and instruction through ordained prophets.

Blows my mind sometimes, honestly haha

Yea, there are times when doctrine taught, policies implemented, statements made, or changes happen that we struggle to agree with or understand.  Sooooooo....ball's in your court...



follow or flee??



The irony of the "blind sheep" analogy just gets me GOOD. Like what smart one out of the herd when the shepherd---who CARES for them, who PROTECTS them, who SUSTAINS them, who SHELTERS them, who... (ok you get the picture)--tries to lead them (for whatever reason), turns tail and runs?



I would hope we have more faith in a loving Creator than that.



The fact is, this religion was GROWN out of the simple act of  >ASKING<
God cares as much about word-wide revelation as much as He does about YOU PERSONALLY, with your questions, and your concerns, and yes, even ESPECIALLY your doubts.

If you're having doubts or struggling with faith (or policy, doctrine, principles, or whatever)....congratulations! 



You're doing it right! and that's NORMAL



ASK! You're not expected to just take "their" word for it in this religion (and I would hope in any other religion). Ask for confirmation, for clarification, for testimony, for answers, and for the settlement of doubts. Seriously.....you're at step 1 and it's uphill from here;)


He WANTS to witness to you. 


So let Him! Don't run the opposite direction just because you don't have all the answers. Spend some 1-on-1 with Him and see how far He'll bring you. He'll let you know that their words are true. Do what it takes--pray, read the scriptures, counsel with church leaders, earnestly seek to know and understand.

Trust Him. Trust yourself to receive answers. 
And above all, stay with Him. 


We all know what happens in movies where the guy can't stand the pressure anymore and jumps ship....don't be that guy;) 



....stick around for the good stuff....













The Savior's Equity

Thursday, March 3, 2016




It's always crazy to me how the secular and spiritual have a habit of popping up in the opposite court...all the time. Since college life isn't my first language, maybe it's God's way of keeping me connecting dots. haha 

Being in the business school here at BYU is a good time...and by good time I mean a class load of lectures meant to "change the way we see the world" (direct quote from the renowned econ professor Kearl)....meaning homework, equations, principles. problems, and vocab that leaves me feeling like "WUT." 

We don't need to talk about how finance and accounting classes went for me (yea WOW haha), however I am impressed that after two (plus) years of being away on a mission and working, I still remember the basics.

Those terms still flash through my mind occasionally and I don't think it's possible for me to ever forget the depreciation calculations....surprisingly:) Reading through the scriptures, then, and reading, "the Son of God shall come in his glory; and his glory shall be the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, equity, and truth...", you can only imagine what word jumped out at me. 

Equity.

Defined: the difference between the value of the assets/interest and the cost of the liabilities of something owned.



I am the "something owned." I'm His--with eternal worth and value to Him--and with that relationship established, I also know that I come with "liabilities," if you will. I'm imperfect, I make mistakes, and I mess up...a lot. 

But somehow, someway, He makes up the difference. He's had to pay for my sins and in doing so,

He fills in the gap. 

His atonement is what will enable us to reach our full value--becoming perfect like He is perfect. Unlike secular equity, that gap doesn't diminish over time--with liabilities exceeding value--if we are faithful. Every time we tap into the atonement and seek His forgiveness, He extends it, allowing us to achieve the level of our eternal worth.

Mindblown

And there it is...the secular adding a WHOLE new meaning to the spiritual. Go figure;)

(And I think Alma would be satisfied in knowing how that small detailed turned out to have significant meaning for us now. The Book of Mormon was written for our time.....true story:)







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