Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Remembering Dad

Today marks six years since my dad passed away. So I thought it'd be cool to do six things today that I remember my dad doing lots. Well, there are  A LOT of things he would often do, but I had to narrow it down. Anyway, here are the six activities I did in memory of my wonderful father today:

1. Eat ice cream! ....Practically every night my dad would have a bowl of ice cream.
2. Read the entire newspaper. ....I always remember him sitting on the couch, or in his recliner reading the paper. He'd get so focused on reading the paper, that if you tried talking to him he never answered. Not because he was ignoring you, just that he really didn't realize that you were talking to him---he was that wrapped up in reading.
3. Play Zuma. ...It's a computer game that he would occasionally play just to relax.
4. Read a Tom Clancy novel. ....I'm sure there are other authors that my dad enjoyed, just for whatever reason I remember him reading Tom Clancy novels frequently. So today I read a chapter from The Hunt for Red October.
5. Play Hand & Foot. ...It's a card game that he really liked to play. In fact, it's really the only card game that he quite enjoyed.
6. Watch the 10 o'clock news. ....He typically watched the nightly news---even if he missed the beginning, he'd always be sure to have the TV on in time to catch the weather.

I don't really know how to conclude. Just that my dad is fantastic.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lessons from Nephi: Charity

Wow, I am officially the worst blogger of all time. I don't even remember what happened yesterday that caused me to start thinking about blogging again, but here I am. We'll see if I can actually post regularly this time around. I don't really have anything witty to say, so I'm just going to start typing my thoughts. They will most likely come out in a jumbled mess. I apologize. Over the past year a scripture that continually stands out to me is 1 Nephi 18:2-3. Here is what those verses say---

"Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men. And I, Nephi, did go unto the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things."

I think why those verse always strike a chord with me is because I think that often I feel like that I do not do things the way that most people do them, or in the way that is expected of me. All too frequently, I think most of us expect our lives to follow the same pattern that other lives are following. We think there is some type of timeline you're supposed to follow in life, and that if you don't do steps A-Q in a certain way, that you've failed. graduate from high school, go to college, get married, get a great job, have 7 children, etc. And then to top that off, it is easy to feel like other people view you as a failure if you're not going through life in a particular way. Well milestones in life don't always occur in the same order for the majority of people. How boring would it be if everyone did everything exactly the same? How would we learn and grow? I think that is why I love these verses in 1 Nephi 18: It's okay to not do things after the manner by which everyone else is doing them. Sure, the circumstances are different....Nephi is building a boat, not figuring out his life goals. But he's building the boat to get to the Promised Land. We figure out our life goals in order to get to where we want to be. However, the most important point from the story of Nephi building the boat, is that he did it after the manner which the Lord showed him. And, he prayed often in order to gain knowledge/understanding from the Lord. It's okay if we don't all live a "cookie-cutter" life. It's okay to do things at your own pace, because you don't want to get burned out and fail. But first, trust in the Lord. He will show you all things which you should do. And don't be ashamed of following the Lord's counsel ever, even if people don't seem to fully understand.

To go along with that, it's good to remember to be grateful for positive examples. Also, to seek counsel and guidance. Now in 2 Nephi 5, Nephi and his people are in the Promised Land, and they are getting themselves situated. In chapter 5, we get some insights as to how they developed their society. ...farming, building things, being industrious, etc. In verse 16 Nephi talks about building a temple. He says,

"And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine."

The Nephites built their temple after the manner of the temple of Solomon. Because of limited resources, it didn't turn out the same, but it was still good to follow the pattern set in Jerusalem, by the Lord, for temple building. ....I'm not typing this very eloquently, I'm sorry. In my head it makes sense though. I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's important to have people, or situations, which we strive to emulate. However, things will never be 100% the same because due to different life circumstances. Do your best though, no matter what. Don't get discouraged because you don't do things as well as other people, do things however is best for YOU. When you give your best effort, even though it seems like the odds are against you, you'll end up feeling accomplished and happy. Just go forth and be your own kind of awesome.

Now the point of charity. I think often we equate being charitable as serving others. It totally is that, but it is also so much more. It is having pure love towards others. It's allowing others to live their lives the way the Lord would have them live it, and become whom the Lord would have them become. Here is a quote by Marvin J. Ashton that changed my understanding of charity:

"Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other."

Man, I love that quote. I also love the end of blog posts though.... sorry for all of the rambling, and the disoriented thought process.