Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Marriage: an [eternally] committed relationship between a man and a woman

There seems to be a lot of talk about marriage lately. I believe that everyone should be able to say their fair share, make a statement, declare their beliefs. I do not however agree with bashing, insulting or ridiculing to make a point. Since facebook seems to cater to that kind of unkindness and chatter I figured if I had something to say I could say it here. Blogs have always appeared to me to be more civilized. I also feel like there is this pressure on facebook to either agree or disagree with what is said.

At any rate, for a number of reasons I've decided to express my thoughts here instead. First of all there are two postings I have come across that i really liked and I feel do a great job of expressing a lot of how I feel. Rather than try to re-word everything they said, I will post them:


Requested statement from the CHurch of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints.

(I don't think It's any Secret that I am a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)


A Blog Post by a Member of the LDS Faith who is "Gay" - put in quotes not because I don't think It's real but because it's a hard word that some people find offensive and define very differently at times

He has some good things to say.

Actually, I have another one. I occasionally read this blog because I think he's hilarious and has some really good things to say. This Particular blog is the one that made me start reading it. For things I feel pertain to my personal beliefs about homosexuality see number 2, 4, 6, 7, & 8. But seriously, just read the whole darned thing. So good. His view on agency and the value he puts on marriage, family and the plan of salvation are all things that I share. please try to apply his awesomeness at explaining them in mind as I try to get these thoughts out of my head.

Ok! so now my lame, but sincere attempt to inoffensively address how I feel and where I'm coming from on this particular issue, even though I feel like that is impossible to do because people will be offended if they want to be offended. If you haven't learned that you should. You will be a happier person.
Know that all of this makes sense inside my head and I have no idea how it's going to turn out on paper...or computer screen or whatever. And that this post is mostly to put my thoughts down on paper and is mostly for me than anyone else, but i hope you enjoy the read.

I have quite a few homosexual friends that will remain nameless for the sake of remaining nameless. I love them. They love me. I would not want to live my life with them erased because I love them! and they know I love them. The also know what I believe and how I feel about homosexuality in general. I pompously believe that each one of these friendships exists because we are freaking awesome. I have had discussions with each of them about our differing opinions and views and its has not only not put a wedge between us, but I feel it has made our friendships stronger - similar to what blog boy number one posted about, we do not have to agree with one another on every little aspect of our lives in order to deeply care for one another.

Moving on, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I believe strongly that Marriage is by the definition of the word between one man and one woman. That's what it is and if you want to be married than that desire also involves a member of the opposite sex. A definition of the word. It has been is now and will always be defined that way. Marriage: one man and one woman.

Ok PAUSE. Before you freak out about what I just said Let me lay down some other concept, that yes, are very intertwined with marriage, but are not marriage themselves: Love, Commitment, Loyalty, and most of all AGENCY. I am all for all those things! Woo! There is so much value in commitment, love and loyalty. Done. Do it. All of those things make all people better and might I add I think two people homosexual or heterosexual willing to make those commitments, keep those loyalties and love each other should both be privy to the same tax breaks and every other benefits and RIGHTS currently given to two married people (again marriage being between a man and woman). but they can't be granted those right via marriage because that is actually not what they want. because that involves someone of the opposite sex. In my opinion in order for equal rights to happen we need a new word. If you are a man and a woman you are married, if you are a homosexual couple, you are something else. What? I don't know. Think of a word, get it coined and work that through the justice system. I am all for equal rights. But some things - like women and men are different but equal. Every homosexual in this country has the opportunity and choice to be married. That just involves putting the inclinations and desires you have aside because Marriage is between a man and a woman. The. End.

It's a definition of a word not a value of a person.

Ok so I'm done now. If you still hate everything I have to say, feel free to keep feeling that way. I'm not in charge of how you feel. Or anything else for that matter.

Also, please do not assume I have mentioned or implied anything that has to do with children in either of these situations. That is a completely different issue to me and I have not said anything about it here.

And if it really bothers you just scratch this post and read this.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Good Dogs Are Happy Dogs.

There are three dogs in my life right now. My sister's family Dog, Roxy, and my best friends two dogs, Fozzie and Gracie. Roxy is an Argentine Dogo-Pit mix. Gracie is a gordon setter. They are both on the younger side, Gracie is still a pup though. They are both very good dogs. Very obedient, eager to please. They have both had rules and boundaries set from a very young age and consistent and dedicated training by their owners. They are well loved, happy and well adjusted.
And then there is Fozzie. Fozzie is a...golden retriever border collie mix? He's a twinkie with legs. An adorable, GRUMPY, twinkie with legs, Who is stubborn and does what he wants. Gracie gets on his nerves, he loves food and doesn't particularly want to play himself, but will get jealous and try to take over when someone if playing with gracie "too much". If Dog's can be opinionated and condescending, Fozzie it both. When asked to do something he either ignores it completely, looks at you like you are an idiot, or does it until you aren't looking and then does what he wants. Do not get me wrong, It may seem like I don't like Fozzie, I do like him. He is cute, loves people and food, LIVES to be touched, longs to be in the same room with you and despite the twinkie-esk body of his he will literally jump at the idea of a walk. SOOOO much happiness when going for a walk. And he's old, so maybe he has reasons to be as crotchety as he is, my point though, is that Roxy and Gracie are generally happier than old Fozz', And I find it interesting.
The difference in these dogs attitudes struck me particularly today because I had some time alone woth them to think, well, not roxy, but her and I have also spent lots of time together alone. We're buds. This morning I had the opportunity to take Gracie to the Vet because her pops was a work. After we came home I decided to take Fozzie for a walk because he was pretty miffed when I came and whisked Gracie away and he was not invited. Fozz and Anne time. I wasn't there when Fozzie was growing up but my best friend has told me a lot about it. He said He never really was trained, He was potty trained and learned basic commands, but he barked when he wanted and walked in front and did what Fozzie does best, what ever the heck he wants. And now, He's kind of grumpy. He's a bit aggressive and impatient with other dogs and although he loves humans, takes pretty much everything they say with a grain of salt. On our walk today he walked in front, he walked in back, he sniffed at every tree we wanted, not because I let him but because he knows how to use his weight to his advantage. Over all it was a good experience and I really enjoyed myself, but there was pulling and waiting and coaxing and convincing of every kind going on. No boundaries. He wasn't given any as a pup and now he's an old man and doesn't like being told what to do.
It may be the missionary in me but during our walk (if it can be called a walk, I tried to explain to Fozzie that in order to be called a walk he needed to move his little feet in a forward motion) I kept thinking of the scripture in Mosiah, the one at the very end of King Benjamin's speech when he says, "And moreover  I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it"
Boundaries make us happy. It gives us a sense of accomplishment and confidence. It helps us build trust and makes us happy dang it! It is so much easier to accept those boundaries when we are young. Should we strive to have a good relationship with our children yes! or any children for that matter? YES! But they come into this world, into our society with out knowing any of the rules, right and wrong, any of the commandments. They will look to us who have been here longer and know more than them and they will test their boundaries, but it's so that they can know them. Obedience brings happiness, peace, joy even, and empowers us to pass those things on to others that come after us, but they need to be taught in order to be passed down. And if they aren't, good news!! people can change! if you feel you've missed out on learning boundaries then start now! Set boundaries for yourself. Decide how you want to live your life! set goals for yourself and achieve them! set a standard for yourself and meet it! As long as we are willing to commit ourselves to better living we can reap all the benefits that have always been ours as children of God. Happiness, peace, joy. 
Something I learned on my mission is that goals do not have to be lofty. I think there is wisdom in stretching yourself and continuing to stretch yourself as you grow, but goals can be simple. Like the one Sister Schetselaar set to only talk in british accents after 8. I'm not sure how much stretching was done on that goal, but it was fun. So set a new goal. Don't read your scriptures everyday? Start! Morning and night prayer absent or lacking? Step it up a notch! really sit down and have a conversation with Heavenly Father. Memorize a scripture, attend the temple weekly. Goals goals goals goals goals! SO AWESOME. and when you are dicouraged I'd suggest you reflect unpon the happy state of those that live with in the boundaries the Lord has set. And then keep going. In what ever it may be. Setting boundaries for yourself or for your little ones. Be happy. 

Now, the Atonement study has not ended, and I did do it today. I read the talk that the study provided for today by Elder Nelson. It was really good, something weird happened to the page for me though, I don't know if it will happen for you, but it randomly repeated itself and you really had to pay attention to find your place again, but! really good. my favorite part actually had nothing to do with the atonement. It was referring to the Fall and he said,"'“And they would have had no children,'nor experience life’s trials. (Please forgive me for mentioning children and the trials of life in the same breath.)"
I watched a video today that only reinforced my love for the differentiation between "trials" and children" and the notion that they shouldn't even be in the same sentence. 
We need more parents like this:

The rest of Nelson's talk high lighted how the atonement made the creation and the fall actually mean something. It would have all been for not had we not been provided a way to not only be reconciled with God but seal to Him and our families forever. It really was an amazing talk and I had so many more thoughts about it and appreciation for it than I'm communicating right now, but I am getting suuuuuper tired. I'm a go to bed early person and this staying up late thing doesn't work well for me. 

In addition to this talk I also read one suggested by my Ma from this months ensign called the enabling power of the atonement. Also so good. I am fading fast, Maybe I will write about them tomorrow.

I'm going to go back to telling everyone I love them all the time, because I do. I love all of you. Happy friday eve!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


My study extended itself a bit. And again the whole writing things down thing, it's a helpful remembering tool. The first thing is just more of a "note to self" thing. My mom posted an article on facebook that was really good. I liked it a lot. While listening to it I had this kind of "duh" moment, that I think I've been waiting for for a long time. That I've even been told before, but it's never struck me like it did this morning. It was an entire section on perfectionism and how it impedes growth:

"One thing that hinders the development of resilience is a misunderstanding of the commandment to be perfect (see Matthew 5:48). ...This misunderstanding may also stem from what society teaches our youth: that their worth depends on talent and performance....They worry about what others will think if they make mistakes. They fear loss of approval. They view their performance as the measure of their worth. Their perfectionism becomes a mean taskmaster, and it wears down their resilience.... they feel distressed and overwhelmed."

There were other wonderful things in that article as well. one of my favorites was the concept of teaching our children that "they don't have to want (or like) to do hard things, they just have to do them". 

The other thing i read that really got me thinking...brace yourself...The Mormon Bathroom Reader. And yes, I do occasionally read in the bathroom. It is time well spent thank you. Today it was a page called "Ezra Taft Benson's One-Liners". They guy had a lot of good things to say, as do most Prophets of God.  I wanted to touch on some. 

1. "Some of the greatest battles will be fought within the silent chambers of your own soul"
I don't know, I really felt the spirit when I read this. It testified to me that it was very true and a feeling of peace came over me. I read it again and again. Some of those things I talked about facing after coming off the mission --- after being sucked into the best book you've ever read --- those things I only ever thought I'd read about, some of those things have become some of my "greatest battles" and it really is all in "the silent chambers of [my] soul" I can't explain it accurately to anyone and sometimes when I try I feel crappy about myself because I know how irrational I sound. I'm ready to be done with it. For the battle to be over. Something's got to give, but it was nice to know that a prophet has acknowledged this phenomenon --- that's what it feels like, a phenomenon --- That it happens. That it's normal, that it is almost to be expected. 

Yeah, these get less personal, I promise.

2. "Be right, and then be easy to live with, if possible, but in that order"
I'm not sure he's actually referring to being right as in "I'm right you're wrong" Preeeeetty sure he means what President Ludwig meant when I left his office for the last time, "Sister Bailey, never lower your standards". Those words have rung in my ears since the moment they were spoken and I have tried hard to follow that advice. Be right with God and then be easy to live with, if  possible, but in that order. In our morally muddy world we cannot afford to get tossed about by every popularity or trend that may take place. In a big way, that kind of living just isn't safe. "Keep the commandments. In this there is safety and in this there is peace"

3. "The proud cannot accept the Authority of God giving direction in their lives"
And to their own detriment I'm afraid.

4. "I have noted within the church a difference in decernment, in insight, in conviction, and in spirit between those who know and love the Book of Mormonand those who do not --- That book is a great sifter"
Holland time: "Ianyone is foolish enough or misled enough to reject 531 pages of a heretofore unknown text teeming with literary and Semitic complexity without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages—especially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact that witness has had on what is now tens of millions of readers—if that is the case, then such a person, elect or otherwise, has been deceived; and if he or she leaves this Church, it must be done by crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit. In that sense the book is what Christ Himself was said to be: “a stone of stumbling, … a rock of offence,” 11 a barrier in the path of one who wishes not to believe in this work."

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?

I really wasn't planning on writing everyday of this study, but Yesterday I had another thought in addition to the thoughts I shared on here that I didn't really feel comfortable sharing on the interenet. It was one of those "Huh, well that was a cool thought" that would never draw any hard conclusions, but that was certainly interesting. Anyway, I forgot what it was and it both disappointed me and reminded me that things that are written down, or typed down or thought through in a little more thoughtful way than just a fleeting moment are remembered better. So I might very well type up something everyday. I may not. I may write it in a journal or something.
At any rate, Today was a James E. Faust talk. The paragraph that I feel brought up the most thoughts and emotions for me was this:

"He was led to Golgotha, where nails were driven into His hands and feet. He hung in agony for hours on a wooden cross bearing the title written by Pilate: “JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 17 Darkness came, and “about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” 18 No one could help Him; He was treading the winepress alone. 19Then “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.” 20 And “one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” 21 “The earth did quake” and “when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.” 22 In the words of the hymn, “Let me not forget, O Savior, / Thou didst bleed and die for me.” 23 I wonder how many drops were shed for me."

And a lot of different parts brought me to different things. "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" reminded me of Elder Holland's talk on the atonement from April 2009. "And none were with Him" (text). "My God, My God, Why has Thou forsaken me?". It reminded me of how alone He really was in those terrible moments. It brought to memory the feeling I had as I sat in the audience next to Sister Parker and Elder beard as our MTC district watched and learned and thought on Elder Hollands words. How even though we may feel alone, we are not. I think it is expedient that we do feel alone, not to punish us, or make things hard but purely because He was alone. He felt it because we would feel it. If we never felt alone, neither would He have had to do the same.
"Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are.""
It takes Faith to accept that statement. That we are never alone even though we may feel like it. Faith and Humility. To accept that that sacrifice that was made, what feels like so long ago, was good enough that we would never be alone. That we need not heed to loneliness. That we instead must heed the call to turn to Him for aid. I do believe that we can and do make ourselves feel alone. For the sake of being alone. I'm unsure what masochistic part of the natural man feels so strongly to make bad things be as bad as they can be just for the sake of making them as bad as they can be rather than immediately turning to and letting in at least the company, if not the peace that that company brings. Change right from wrong? Remove trials completely? No, that often is not an option, but the lessening of that weight, burden, and loneliness? yes. to what ever degree the Lord sees fit at that time He will do it. He loves us and wants us to be happy.
"It was required, indeed it was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind—us, all of us—would feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.
But Jesus held on. He pressed on. The goodness in Him allowed faith to triumph even in a state of complete anguish. The trust He lived by told Him in spite of His feelings that divine compassion is never absent, that God is always faithful, that He never flees nor fails us...
because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path".
The more I re-read Elder Holland's talk the more I want to just copy and paste the whole thing on here.

The other thing that really struck me was what struck the centurions who participated in this awful scene under order, albeit willingly. I think at least some ignorance to their part in this event is shown in their realization of "Truly this was the Son of God". At first I sat and tried to imagine how it might have felt to have that epiphany. And then at second glance i didn't have to try so hard, "they feared greatly". That may have been an understatement. I hope that the realization also came that not all was lost. That it was just that He was the Son of God, but that He is The Son of God. And that as part of the last words He spake in His mortal ministry He plead with the Father "Forgive them, for they know not what they do". Which also gave me pause. I think we've all been hurt before. Big hurts. Little hurts. And I am sure that some of those hurts were done out of malicious intent, however my guess is that most of them weren't most of them, and I think especially the big hurts, were done out of complete ignorance on the part of the other individual. Wether that ignorance came from a lack of understanding, completely selfishness or just a terrible lack of social awareness, the perpetrator really had no idea the effect of his or her actions on you. Or me. It is one of the reasons forgiveness is so important. We cannot wait for an apology, because it may never come. They may have no idea an apology is in order. Christ set the perfect example: after being beaten, mocked and spit upon, there was no effort to bring to light those wrong done to The Son of God. Instead a simple, quiet and and nearly private, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do". I do believe that anger can be a good shield, that forgiveness can actually be the long way around something. With holding blame, not holding accountable someone we feel needs to be met with justice and working through the mess that they are so blissfully unaware of, it can be the longer and harder road. but it's the better one. It leads to better things: love, salvation, redemption, peace, and ultimate happiness. A lightness one will never be able to bear if we insist on carrying on with or holding on to a heavy hurt. I think it interesting the the Light load of happiness cannot be borne while holding onto a heavy burden, how ever, that heavy burden can easily be borne while tenaciously holding onto the lighter load of Happiness. Both must be carried for a time. Hold onto only one. Side note - for anyone wondering Happiness, is the better of the two to hold onto.

Also reminds me of President Monson's talk on "Hidden Wedges" from April 2002.

Elder Holland's talk, because it's awesome. I figure with easy access more would be inclined to watch.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I Stand all Amazed

Today's study was an article from The Encyclopedia of Mormonism written by Jeffrey R Holland. I'm pretty sure that's just the article. I don't know wether or not he wrote the whole thing or not. I do know that it was a really good read though. It encompassed many aspects of the atonement and brought to mind many different ways i have seen the Atonement work in my life and in others. One memory of mine that really stood out to me was from my mission, surprise, surprise. IT was about a district meeting. President Ludwig was talking about how Christ had volunteered for the role He played in this life. That he did it out of love for the Father and love for us. He then paused and mentioned that he (President Ludwig) was not quite sure the Christ knew exactly what He had volunteered for. But that it didn't really matter if He did or did not understand, what mattered is how He met the challenge. That He did not shrink. That He kept His word. President Ludwig applied this to us as missionaries explaining that as children of God is it written into our being to desire goodness. That we are not always fully aware of what we are volunteering to do, but that what really matters is how we meet those challenges. That we do not shrink. That we keep our word.
On a slightly unrelated note, I have faced a lot of confusion in my life recently. I hate it. I cannot wait for it to be done and over with. To be able to see and understand and feel a bit more confident about my life and my story and my role in it. In the article I read Elder Holland Highlighted a stanza of a hymn that I have always loved that speaks about confusion in a much more positive way than I've been feeling it. In the midst of everything else.

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me. 
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified, 
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, He bled and died. 
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me Enough to die for me! 
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me! [Hymns, p. 193].
This is where I, or anyone for that matter, can find find my solace.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Atonement

"I bear witness of a God who has such shoulders. And in the spirit of the holy apostleship, I say as did one who held this office anciently: “Herein [then] is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” 18 —and to love Him forever, I pray. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen." - Jeffrey R. Holland (An Apostle)

It's a day late, but not too late to catch up. This isn't my stake. it's actually a friend of a friend's stake. It's awesome though.

Atonement Study, Pre-gaming for Easter

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Roughly 891 Days

There have been two different occasion over the past week when I have thought about writing something on here. So I figured I should just get down to it and write.
I have been home for two years, five months and seven days, but who's counting? The very first letter I received while on my mission was waiting for me when I arrived at the MTC. It was from my Brother-in-law, Zach Bellows. As I recall it was the last letter he ever wrote me, but it was one that came with a lot of thought and a lot of heart. He reflected on his mission experience, bore his testimony of it and the Gospel and offered some heartfelt advice. I specifically remember him telling me that there had not been one day that had gone by that he had not thought of his mission in someway, and that it would be the same for me. I'm not sure how seriously I took him then. I remember feeling the spirit and being grateful for my family and for the opportunity to serve, but really? everyday? Yes. Really. Every. Single. 891 days. And counting.
A lot has happened since I have been "released" from the calling as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And a lot have things have changed. For the good and for the bad, but I'm pretty sure it has all been for the better, what ever the immediate effect may have been. I have held many other callings in the church, serving where ever I can. I've seen someone I taught go through the temple and then on a mission(one of the sweetest experiences). I've closed doors and opened others. And closed some of those. I've left the country. I've come back against my will. I have not stayed in one place since my mission (and even a little before) for any more than 6 months at a time. In 2012 I managed not to stay in one place for any more that 3 months.I have been very happy and I have been very sad. I've met some very smart and very inspiring people. And I have met some that I have had to work really hard to like, or even think very highly of.
Life as a "not a missionary" is, as you can imagine, very different than that of a missionary. There are pros and cons to both. I have found application of those things I both learned and tried to teach on my mission absolutely vital to some experiences I've had since being home. Vital and hard. I feel that as a missionary you start to just feel on fire! But every fire roars under perfect conditions. It still takes feeding the fire and watching it, but it's different. Take a perfect fire and add wind, rain, sleet, snow and damp wood and the constant efforts it takes to keep the fire going not only become more complicated, but more tiresome and if you are not careful, less hopeful. With out that constant roar it may look appealing to stop or slow down or take a break. You cannot. Complacency is not an option, just as it was not as a missionary. Things have gotten harder? Then work harder. And --- Remember.
Remember has been a word that is not only used more than frequently in scripture, but has been spoken about and highlighted in general authority talks, sunday school lessons, sacrament talks, P.H. and R.S. lessons. Lesson from the mission number one: Repetition is important. With all this talk about remembrance, I think it would be important to remember to remember. As a missionary I asked people to do things. All. The. Time. Hard things. As in any position of servitude I gained so much more from my experiences than those I met with. They taught me in ways I will never be able to pay back. I watched people, via my invitation, exercise their faith in ways that I had wondered if I ever had. Sometimes serving a mission felt like I was reading a book. A really good one, the kind that sucks you in, that you can't put down. One in which you are so utterly attached to the characters that you actually cheer at their successes and weep at their pain. You hope for the best, but ultimately can do nothing for them. They have to make their own choices. And you have to watch. Getting released has been like getting sucked into the book. There are unfamiliar paths, dark forest, castles, dragons, storms that have a life of their own and mountains that seem to block the way entirely - and some things I only ever thought I'd read about, literally and figuratively. There are also beautiful pastures, Sunlight that moves in after storms to dry things out and warm things up, miracles, angels, happiness and peace. You are now another character in the book. A force for good or evil. Effected by every element of the story. There are choices to be made and a life to be built and navigated and taken care of. Weeded - and otherwise maintained.
The point is, I'm grateful for the things I learned while "reading the book" and I will never forget them, because it was all so amazing, but also in part to constantly remembering. Remembering how absolutely magnificent every character is, regardless of wether or not I get a long with them. Remembering to "look for the rudiments of God"(full text) in each person I struggle to love. And feel that love seep in when I find them. Remembering what brilliant perfect untainted truth feels like and then searching for that feeling elsewhere as I navigate the rest of my life. Remembering to continue to feed my spirit by feeding others and sharing my testimony when the opportunity arises (and it does). There is no better way to feed your spirit than to feed someone else's. (Matthew 16:25). This is obviously not the end of the list of things I have to remember, but it's what comes to mind now. Some of the things that will keep a fire burning, roaring even, with enough effort.
One other thing that is only slightly related to any of this is but has crossed my mind through all this remembering and weeding this morning is that God never asked us to like anybody. I can't think of one verse that says "ye must like all people". Nope. He does however tell us to "Love one another". That's a commandment. I really do think it is utterly impossible to like everyone. Some people are just unlikeable. And go ahead, don't like them, but you are not excused from loving them. Just as it is impossible to like everyone it is very, very possible to love everyone. That is what we have been asked to do and it is that that brings us closer to God, helps us become more like him and stifles the natural man enough to see our way a little more clearly. Love somebody you don't today. You don't even have to like them, but Love them. It will change a bit of your world. And once you love them, love somebody else.
I have a good friend, (dare I say a best friend? I have a couple of those) that I met in Fiji. He did not serve a mission. He is an amazing person and I love him very much. He came home a described Fiji in a similar way to how I might describe "coming home" from a mission. "I recently traveled to Fiji and changed my life quite a bit. I fear I will never be the same, or that I will ever quite be at home again." I would change it a little. I'm not afraid I will never be the same again, I know I wont be. I also know that I'll never "quite be at home again" either. Maybe when I'm a mom. I think that may feel like home.

There are certain things that have not changed since "coming home" - or leaving home which ever seems to fit better, and they are the fundamentals:
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is still true.
My family, is awesome, and I love them.
There is so much more than this.
The temple is a house of service, safety, comfort, God. (And my favorite place to be)
I love my nephews.
God loves us.
There is a prophet of God on the earth.
The Book of Mormon is true. And also awesome.
There will always be need to remember.
There are choices to be made.

And others, but I'm kind of done writing.
What made me think about writing last night was a succession of two different songs. The first was a good summary of how I have felt for a lot of the past two years five months and seven days:

Some Nights - FUN.

Best clean version I could find

And the second is a response to the first, and what I hope those feelings are met with when I am down on my knees expressing them:

Home - Phillip Phillips

Actually everything in that video is pretty applicable to my past two years as well. Except for the giant rock concert.