Sunday, November 30, 2008

Something to Work on

My home teachers came today. I haven't had any for a year and it was nice to have them stop by.

The lesson they shared was about service during the Christmas season. We seem to get so caught up in the materialism of the holidays that we forget what it's really about.

They challenged me to find better and more frequent ways to serve to ensure a better feeling during the holidays. He even committed me to do so. I've never had a home teacher use the commitment pattern on me before. I almost giggled out loud. But I was still thinking about it when I was studying later in the day.

I was reading in 4th Nephi. In verse 5 it mentions that the miracles that were worked were "in the name of Jesus". In reading commentary on that specific verse, I read something that really struck me. "We are the servants of the Lord, who is our Master, and he has commanded us to labor in his fields - plowing, sowing, cultivating, and harvesting. That is, we are the agents of the Lord, who is our eternal principal, and he has empowered us to represent him and do the things he would do if he were personally present. When we do all things in his name in righteousness, it means that we put ourselves in his place and stead, that we think and speak and act as he would in the same situation. It means we live our lives as though we were the one whose blessed name we bear. Our acts become his acts - they are done in his name." (Robert L. Millet and Joseph Fielding McConkie, In His Holy Name, p.36)

I don't think I am a very good agent of the Lord sometimes. I'm full of excuses as to why I can't serve, especially during this time of the year. I become wrapped up in myself and my needs, and tend to forget about others.

If I remembered that I was an agent of the Lord, my prayers would be better, my conduct at work would improve, and I would find joy in serving. I really need to work on this.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thought

A few years ago I was in the Young Women's Presidency in my ward. We had an amazing girls camp at Bear Lake, where among other things, we visited these great caves.

When we got to the back of the cave, we turned around and were told to hang on to the railing. The lights were turned off and we had to walk for a while in the dark. At one point we could see the light in front of us, but the railing ended before we got there. This meant we would have to walk a few steps in the dark with nothing to hang on to.

It was an experience I'll never forget. I don't like the dark. Even driving alone on a dark, empty road makes me nervous. I held on to that railing tighter than I've ever held on to anything. There was a second when the thought crossed my mind to let go, even though I knew what the result would be. I had to consciously make myself not let go.

When I had to let go, I hesitated because I knew I would be on my own. I focused completely on the light ahead, took small steps to ensure I wouldn't trip and fall, and I'm pretty sure I even held my breath.

I can't explain the relief I felt when I reached the light. I was surrounded by girls and leaders who had gotten there before I had. We smiled, hugged, laughed, talked about our journey, and waited for the rest to join us. It was good to feel safe again.

There are so many parallels to life in this experience, but I think the thing I've thought most about is why I so often feel the need to let go of the rod. I know what the consequence will be. It's not happiness or peace, rather the opposite. So why do I do it? Why in life am I not as determined to make myself hold fast to the rod, as I was in the cave?

Fortunately we have a Savior who made it possible for us to get back on track. Even the little things we do are covered by His Atonement. As I work harder to be more diligent, this fact becomes more real to me. For this I am thankful.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Two Different Ideas About Marriage

I remember an evening about three years ago when my sister, Andrea, and I were driving in the car with my two nieces, K'Lynn and Kandace. We were quietly sitting the front seat talking about having children when K'Lynn, who was only six, reminded me that I couldn't have kids because I wasn't married. I told her that she was correct. After a brief moment of silence she asked, "How old are you anyway?" I told her that I was a year older than her dad, to which she replied in absolute horror, "You're freakin' 32 years old and you don't have a husband?" I think she'd pass out if she realized that now I was freakin' 35 years old and still don't have one.

My niece, Audrey, is four, although she thinks she's 14. She and I have had several conversations the last couple of days. She sings me songs and tells me what she's doing in her busy life. My sister, Andrea, asked her on the phone the other night if she thought they needed to find me someone to marry. Audrey told her that she didn't think it would be a good idea because then I would "have a wife and I couldn't be her aunt anymore". Andrea reminded her that she was married and was still her aunt, to which Audrey replied, "Yeah, but it's just different."

I suppose she's right. When I'm with them, I don't worry about anyone else. They are the center of my attention. My concerns are not about a husband or my own kids, and I can spend my time doing whatever they'd like me to do. Who would want that to change? Seriously?

In Audrey's eyes, she's much better off if I am without a spouse and children. K'Lynn, being wiser at the age of six, realized how quickly my biological clock was ticking and that I'd better get a move on.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Things That Make Me Happy...

I had a crabby week!!! Circumstances beyond my control have made me on edge most of this week and I overreacted more than usual. I have no patience and seem to snap at everyone. Last night I watched a movie that made me mad and I let that ruin my whole night. Seriously, who gets that mad at a movie?

I know I made people feel bad. I made someone cry at work, I think the "stay clear of Christy" sign was flashed for all to see when I wasn't looking so my staff would know to beware, and one friend actually apologized for going to a movie and having fun instead of staying home and being miserable with me. This friend doesn't even live in the same state, but felt badly for having fun while I was so ornery. Sheesh, what's wrong with me?

So this morning I've been thinking about all the things that make me happy. This is not all inclusive, so please no one take offense if I don't put your pet snake on the list, and is not necessarily in any particular order.
  • Any member of our Keddington Clan - from the oldest to the youngest - all of you who have joined our family, and those who were born into it. You will never know how much joy each of you brings to my life. I love and miss all of you and look forward to the day when we can all be in a room together. Hopefully it will happen before the millennium.
  • A good friend who always tries to cheer me up, make me laugh, calm me down, and who makes me feel like I'm better than I really am. This friend has made me feel more confident than I have in years. Their actions make me want to be better.
  • All the members of my Deseret Book family. While it's true that some of you cause me an incredible amount of grief :-), it's a pleasure for me to rub shoulders with you every day. It is with you that I spend most of my time, sometimes you whom I am the hardest on, but also sometimes you are the most forgiving. I've learned much from you.
  • Knowing who I am and all that entails. This knowledge ensures that I am never alone. It strengthens my belief in the gospel, which also makes me incredibly happy, and allows me to remember that there is someone much better than I who is in charge.
  • Clean Sheets
  • Clean House
  • Quiet Sunday Mornings
  • Hiking
  • Running - even though I feel like I might die. This really does make me happy, which may shock some of you. It's a recent thing for me. I think I walk faster than I run, but it will get better, and I really feel great after. Hopefully my hips will eventually feel great after as well.
  • Movies (good movies, not ones that make me mad)
  • Christmas music - actually all kinds of music
  • A great ward
  • Fun memories
  • Reconnecting with old friends
  • Clothes that are too big!!!
  • Harold - I know he's part of DB, but seriously deserves a line all to himself.
  • Mapleton
  • Long drives
  • Days Off
  • BYU Football
  • A fun Baseball Game
The list could go on and on. I don't spend enough time thinking about these things. It's easy to dwell on things I don't have or things that make me mad. I really am blessed. And, even though my actions this week would indicate otherwise, I really am happy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tis' the Season to be Crabby...

One year for Christmas my sister gave me a book titled "Tis the Season to be Crabby". It was her not so subtle way of telling my that my attitude at Christmas was less than jolly.

This will be the 13th consecutive Christmas I've worked in retail. It tends to take the spirit of Christmas right out of you and every year I resolve that this will be the year that I won't let it happen. But, every year, I can't wait for the season to be over and find myself wanting to sleep Christmas day away.

Here is a short list of things that will make your shopping experience better and my holiday season not so crabby...
  • It is not the store's fault if you choose to procrastinate shopping for your spouse until Christmas Eve and the item she's waited for all year long is no longer in stock.
  • Large pieces of framed art do not look good wrapped - no matter how much wrapping paper you use. Just put a bow on it!
  • If you purchase product at 6 pm on Christmas Eve that has to be sent to your grandchildren in Japan, it won't get there by Christmas morning.
  • Your 4 year old twins will live if they don't get matching solid gold CTR rings because they're not made in a size that small.
  • No amount of yelling, screaming or stomping your feet will get you what you want.
  • Having 14 names imprinted on a single set of scriptures is not a good idea.
  • Long lines are a reality at Christmas. Listen to the nice music, take a deep breath, and remember how much you love the people for whom you are buying gifts.
In the past it seemed like people were spending money they didn't have on people they didn't like, buying gifts they didn't want, all in the name of the spirit of giving. We forget why we celebrate this time of year. This time of year should make us all a little nicer and a little more compassionate. In remembering the Savior, we should resolve to be more like Him. It really should be the most wonderful time of the year - even for those of us who work in retail.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This is not a typical post. Those who know me, know that even with close friends and family members I do not readily share my opinion on certain subjects because I have no desire to offend. However, I could not be silent on this issue.

I was reading my scriptures tonight in the first part of 3 Nephi, where in chapter 2 verse 1, just a few years after the people had experienced the signs announcing the birth of the Savior, they began "to be hard in their hearts and blind in their minds". The following verse says that "thus did Satan get possession of the hearts of the people again, insomuch that he did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing".

I've often wondered how a people could witness those things, and then turn so quickly from the truth. These people are not unique. The list is long of those throughout the history of the world who have, in spite of personal experiences where they saw angels, witnessed miracles, and walked in the footsteps of the Savior, became "hard in their hearts and blind in their minds".

Satan has no need of coming up with new and innovative ways of deceiving. Getting us to believe that the leaders of the Church are not inspired or that we follow blindly the counsel given seems to work just fine. Openly supporting things that have been undeniably opposed by the leaders of the church, even speaking out against them, somehow thinking that we are more inspired than they, is an example of the adversary leading us away and convincing us that the doctrine of Christ is a foolish and vain thing.

An illustration of this taking place right now is Proposition 8 that is on the ballot in California. Some adamantly oppose this, contrary to the teachings of the church, believing that they are more tolerant. A friend read me an interesting article by Orson Scott Card where he discusses this very thing. "Tolerance", he said, "implies disagreement -- it means that even though we don't agree with or approve of each others beliefs or actions, we can still live together amicably. When we agree, we aren't being tolerant, we're being uniform."

Yesterday, Steve Young's wife came out against Proposition 8 stating that "We believe all families matter and we do not believe in discrimination, therefore our family will vote against Proposition 8." indicating that some how, those of us who are supporting this measure do not believe in families and believe in discrimination. This is simply not true.

The Proclamation to the World on the family, as read by President Hinckley on September 23rd, 1995, clearly states that "marriage between a man and a women is essential to His eternal plan" and concluded by "calling upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family". Proposition 8 is one such measure.

Lest anyone think that I am one who follows blindly, I am not. I have a sound and sure testimony of those who lead this church. I have been in the presence of those prophets who have served during my lifetime and I cannot deny that each has been called of God and that they are His mouthpiece. In addition, I know that following the counsel given by them will lead me closer to my Heavenly Father and eventually back home to Him.

This does not ensure an easy road. I know that. However, this ensures that I will always know to what source I look when the road is rough.