Friday, February 25, 2011

High Priests' Group Social

I love being with the people in my ward congregation. I am missing them a lot right now because I'm currently attending a ward that meets later in the day. (My health problems make mornings very difficult, so I got permission to attend another ward.)

So I was glad to get together with many of them last night at our ward's high priest social. We ate a yummy dinner and then played a game around our tables. Each of us wrote a "little known fact" about ourselves, and then people at the table tried to guess who wrote what.

I wrote about making 24 points in a school basketball game when I was a teenager. (What would you have shared?) At the end of the evening, each table shared what everyone said. It was both interesting and amusing to hear what people chose to share. I think my favorite was one of the women who said that she once raised ticks and had the largest tick colony in the nation. (I can't remember why she did that, but it stuck in my mind.) I also remember the story of the man who was scuba diving at night and had an electric eel charge him and knock the mask off his face. This was the same man who was nearly crushed while working on his '59 whatever-it-was. His brother heard his screams for help and lifted the car enough for him to get out from under it.

Anyway, I'm grateful for good friends and for opportunities to "hang out" with some of them at activities like this.

A Favorite Mormon Video

The Mormon Church has created a lot of great videos. They can be found on YouTube at the Mormon Channel and elsewhere, such as on the Church's website for youth. I've enjoyed the profiles as well (also available at the Mormon Channel) -- it's fun to "meet" different members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

But I think the following video of the youth at the Kiev Ukraine temple dedication time (talking about their youth celebration) is one of my all-time favorites.

For those not of our faith, this post that features the youth cultural celebration video explains a little about why temples are so important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Can broken (even offended) hearts help us knit our hearts?

I've been thinking about this post over at Segullah. It's pretty amazing when you hear the stories of the questions that people are willing to ask -- about dating, marriage, pregnancy -- things that are pretty personal and definitely charged. They evoke some of our strongest feelings, both spiritual and emotional. They reflect the many challenges that come with mortality and the messiness that comes with the gift of agency.

And so on one hand, I really understand the frustration about personal questions being asked on a dime. I doubt there are many women who haven't experienced this, and we've probably all experienced it multiple times.

And yet.

I can't stop thinking about the fact that even such insensitive questions could be springboards for more hearts-knit-together-like sisterhood if we would let them. Yes, people should probably mind their own business, but where is the harm of gently sharing a bit of our lives with each other? Couldn't we help others have more compassion by sharing some of our difficulties in these areas of our lives?

I definitely have my horror stories with these things. "Why aren't you married yet?" was a question I got when I was single. I was criticized (or pitied) openly for having three children so close together. And then when we didn't have any more, questions came about why we weren't having more.

But as I noted over in the comments, I have found that a simple answer that helps people understand my life and heart a little more typically goes a long way -- AND it helps me keep from getting frustrated or feeling offended. After all, it's hard to feel love for each other if we are harboring grudges.

I didn't want to pontificate too much in the thread because I really do see both sides and I don't want to trample on tender feelings. And yet, it's those very tender feelings that I think could help people understand more about how complicated life can be, and give opportunities for those in pain to actually receive some support. I think most people really don't mean to be insensitive. Maybe we can give them a chance?

Maybe it's in part because I'm afraid of being that person at times (sometimes we all say and do dumb things) and I would sure appreciate some mercy and an opportunity to repent and try again -- with that person I may have inadvertently offended!

Whaddya think?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

On Beauty and Truth

You'll see I've got beauty on the brain. And bodies. And the battle to accept our mortality. The battle is real for me. It's not so much the beauty thing (I've sort of accepted that I'm more a plain Jane, and my stint with an eating disorder is thankfully in my past), but the chronic illness and aging thing really does get to me sometimes. Read more of my reflections on the struggle on my other blog. (Why do I have two blogs again? I'm really thinking that wasn't the best decision. Ah, well.) Read more of my thoughts on the solution at Mormon Women: Who We Are. (Hint - there's more than one reason I picked that name for the Mormon Women website.)

One talk I wish I had included but forgot to (the post was already too long anyway) was this by Elder Holland. It is entitled To Young Women, but I think we as adults also need the message as much as our young women do. Besides, the young women often follow our lead. What kind of example are we giving them?

More than ever before, I think we need the power of truth to be able to combat all the voices and forces that would seek to undermine the power and worth of women in God's plan. (This is true for me, too, but for the given topics, my focus is more on women.)

Thoughts? What does true beauty mean to you? What helps you feel your worth as a daughter of God? What truths are powerful weapons in your battles against the voices (both "out there" and within) that seek to undermine your sense of worth, hope, and potential?