Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Iron Rod

LOML Holding to the Rod :-)

My lesson in Relief Society a couple of weeks ago was the conference talk from the October 2013 General Conference entitled "Continually Holding Fast". I learned a lot about Lehi's dream as I studied for this lesson.

I found this artwork {below} by James C. Christensen {no relation} that I have learned to love. I've seen it before but I've never taken the time to understand what it was actually depicting. It's entitled, "Hold to the Rod" and you can see the rod, steady, strong, continuous, right there waiting for the little lady to grab a hold of it. And she's looking at it, so she knows it's there and I'm sure she'd love the stability it would give her wobbly legs and loaded down body.

As you can tell, though, she has collected too much 'stuff' and, as much as she appears to want to grasp the rod, she doesn't seem willing to let go of anything so she can. I think some of the artist's words in describing it were that she has 'become a vessel for all her collections'. I liked that description. I don't think everything she's collected can be called 'good' or 'bad'. I think most of it is just 'too much'. The more I look at this picture, the more I relate. I wish someone could snap a picture like this of me so I could have a visual of all the stuff I've become a vessel for. All the material, worldly things that are keeping me from gripping the Rod of Iron with both hands and continually holding on.

After my lesson, I found this picture, also by James C. Christensen {still no relation}. Actually LOML found it. I was excited to see that the little lady rallied and she got rid of some of her 'stuff' and she's going to grab that rod. Looks like there's still plenty she could let go of, but she's made a start.

I hope I can make a start. And soon.

In Lehi's Dream, there are four groups of people. One group wanders off at the onset and wanders onto strange paths. Another group reaches out and grabs the end of the rod but they are soon distracted by the great and spacious building and the mists of darkness. Another group 'grasps' the rod and actually makes it to the Tree and partakes of the fruit but then they see the spacious building and, they, too, become embarrassed and wander off. The group that makes it to partake of the fruit of the Tree are the ones who continually held fast to the Iron Rod and 'fell down' and partook of the fruit of the Tree.

Some things I read made it sound like grasping the Iron Rod wasn't good enough. I know I'm just playing with words here but I know there have been times in my life when all I could do was grasp. Other times I could grip with both hands and continually hold on. Personally, I think the key was the group that made it to the Tree and stayed "FELL DOWN" and partook of the fruit. I think there was some gratitude; some humility; some weariness; some sincere contrite spirits and broken hearts that caused them to 'fall down' and express gratitude their Heavenly Father for helping them endure.

Just my thoughts and ideas and I'm glad I had the chance to study and think about Lehi's Dream. I can see why Nephi went to the Lord and asked for an explanation of the things that his father had seen. I'm glad I know I can go to Heavenly Father and ask for explanations and help and He will hear me and answer me and ease my confusion.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The E's

I think I'm so clever. At least once a year, that is. Yeah, the annual changing of the passwords at work. And, yeah, that's plural. I have to come up with two new ones every years that meet their criteria.

My first clever idea was to have my password be something motivational. spurring me on to greatness every time I typed it in. Instead of using a word or two, though, my second clever idea was to just use the first letter of each word in the phrase. I've created quite the monstrosities with that second clever idea.

So one of my passwords this year is 1eeteol. Of course, since you have to include at least one number in it, the '1' stands for the letter 'I'. I need to find the original phrase because I can't remember what the third 'e' stands for. Which means as I'm typing it in, my head's voice is saying, "I eagerly embrace the E's of life". What the original 'e' of life was is what I can't remember. Through the course of the year, it's been experiences, efforts, exhilarations, excitement, elements, encounters, events, emotions and probably others but I don't remember them either.

Today when I was typing it in I had a different image in my head. Instead of seeing a group of 'eeeee's, I saw the word 'ease'. Wow, that's hilarious.

Do I eagerly embrace the ease of life? Maybe. Sometimes. It's relieving after a long stretch of dis-ease. I wonder, though, if I embrace the 'ease' of life so much that I don't push myself to be better or do more. Is 'ease' a graven image I worship?

I don't want to say I seek out the moments of dis-ease but I definitely do more growing and learning and progressing during those periods of life. Like the potter's refining fire or the welder's shaping flame producing amazing finished products but not because they let the clay or the metal just sit there doing nothing.

So while, 1eeteol, I guess 1weetdeol2!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Just Let It Ring Once

We bounced up the front stairs to our house on the afternoon of November 3, 1997 - just like coming home from Springville any other time. Not sure who it was that said it, or if it was even actually said. We may have all just looked at each other and admitted to thinking the same thing at the same time.

Back in the day, before our addiction to cell phones, we hadn't pulled in the driveway (Delta or Tremonton) before the kids were hollering out, speaking to be the one to call Grandma G and 'let it ring once'.

That was our tricky little code to avoid long distance charges but, at the same time, let her know we were home, safe and sound.


Mom always answered the phone {whether or not she ended up in the bathroom before the conversation was over}; was willing to listen to all the silly, menial, mundane, pointless little events and peeves in my life I felt the need to tell her about; gave me a good laugh {as she described that she was currently lying on her back, in her chair with both of her feet in the air}; and had new ideas and ways for me to look at my current issues. I probably talked to her more often than I should have but, what the heck, she had me on a guilt trip from the time I was old enough to promise I would never leave her alone until I was 65!

The tradition of  'letting it ring once' is a little difficult to keep going thanks to modern technology. Texting works pretty good, though.

I've always felt like I was in contact with my Heavenly Father multiple times through the day. I just talk to Him in my head and review things that are happening and share fears and anxieties and ask Him to help me carry the heavy issues. He's never let me down - always answers. However, I think I probably do a lot of 'letting it ring once'. Maybe more than I should.

It's easier to 'touch base', 'check in', or 'let it ring once' than to take the time to get into a deep conversation. But the times I get into the deep conversations, and take the time to listen for His advice and responses, I feel much more peaceful and reassured that He really is aware of me and where I'm at in this journey of mine.

And it's always good to check in and let Him know I've made it home.

And tell Him thanks.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Good Sport

Games seem to be making their way...slowly...back into family get togethers. Grampa is a good sport playing with the youngest of the kids and trying to teach them the rules - over and over and over again.

Playing checkers with Aspen.

Putting a puzzle together with Paisley.