My ultra-boring life

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fighting

Not quarreling.  Not fisticuffs.  But our day-to-day battles.  Everyone has one, often we have many.  Sometimes it's depression, and you just want to stay in bed.  Sometimes it's spending too much money.  Sometimes it's porn.  Sometimes it's saying mean things, or judging, or eating too much, or any of a number of weaknesses or bad habits.  I have found that in my life, and in the lives of most people I know, we tend to focus on improving ourselves in areas that are easiest, or things that give us the most instant gratification, and ignore some of our deepest, hardest-to-fight weaknesses.  For instance, we might improve our work skills for extra money, promotions, or honor, but maintain bad habits with how we treat our spouse and children.  Or we may work on a church calling that gains us praise, but we are slothful in our personal spirituality.

So my message today is simple, but hard: you have to fight.  You MUST FIGHT.  If you have a habit of saying snippy things to your spouse, pay more attention to what you're doing and say something nice instead.  It's hard to pay attention.  It can even be hard to say nice things.  And sometimes you'll fail.  But if you keep fighting, and repenting, you WILL improve.  Some things we have to fight our entire lives.  That can be daunting, even discouraging.  But be willing to forgive yourself and keep fighting.

Here's where the extra help comes in, though.  I know from much personal experience that there is a God, and He helps us when we're trying to do what's right.  Even if you don't believe this now, I ask you: wouldn't it be nice to get a little help with what you're fighting?  It doesn't matter if you think it's silly; no one else needs to know.  I invite you to pray in your mind and ask God to help you with whatever you're struggling with.  It's like the scientific method: you take a simple hypothesis (in this case, that there is a God and He wants to help you) and test it.  You have some anecdotal evidence (myself and possibly others telling you it's true), but don't take our word for it.  That's just information that gives you the hypothesis.  You need to test it for yourself.  Pray for help.  Pray to know if what I'm talking about is true.  I promise that if you do so with an open mind, data supporting the hypothesis will come to you.  In other words, you will start to see & receive evidence that there is a God, and He loves you and wants to help you.  That's all -- I don't expect you to become a bible-thumping radical.  Just gather data.

And keep fighting.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

On the Tender Mercies of the Lord

Heavenly Father loves me, even though sometimes I make poor decisions.

My Honda hybrid had been giving me grief.  Most of it was indirect, psychological grief -- like plummeting in value in the 2 years we've had it.  Some was more direct: bad power, bad miles per gallon, poor cargo room, systems malfunctioning, high maintenance, etc.

Now, I am weak and pretty much neurotic with distrusting cars.  I grew up in a household where we ran cars into the ground, so it was very common to have cars with multiple non-functioning systems at best, or leaving you stranded somewhere at worst.  So I wanted to replace my car, and did a lot of research on cars and sales and looked into used cars and such.

My husband is good and tries to keep us out of debt.  I like being out of debt, too, but my car neurosis was more powerful than that desire.  This put me and my husband at odds.

So when we both prayed about the car situation and came up with different answers, I wasn't surprised, but I was sad because I figured this meant another 'no.'

But instead, Jake's answer to prayer took a different turn.  He listened to me and we bought exactly the car that I wanted.  I felt valued, respected, and loved.  It tore down walls between us.

Later, as I was listening to the LDS Women's Conference, the Spirit was very strong.  I was feeling guilty because of the debt, but the Spirit spoke clearly to me: the debt was not a good thing, it's true.  But Heavenly Father loves me and wanted to teach me something more.  It would work out, because Heavenly Father wanted to teach me that I was loved, valued and respected in my relationship with my husband even more than he wanted me to stay out of debt.  The needs of me and my marriage outweighed the needs of my pocketbook.

My Heavenly Father loves me.  So does my husband.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Iniquity

Life just isn't fair.

I don't mean little inequalities, like she got three bites of chocolate while I got only two.  I mean the big stuff, like Bill is much smarter than Steve, or Alan can walk while Jerry can't.  Things that really bring us onto unequal grounds.

And you know what?  It's SUPPOSED to be that way.

If everyone were exactly equal in every way, not only would life be kind of boring, but we wouldn't need each other.  "So what?" you may say, "I don't want to need anyone.  It's more reliable and less difficult that way."

This is true.  But it kind of defeats the purpose of life.  Life is not about eating, pooping, getting old and dying.  It's not about getting more stuff.  It's about becoming more and better than what we were.  Whether or not you believe in God, you have to admit that a world where everyone only looks out for themselves would be a horrid place indeed.

This brings up the word 'iniquity.'  The dictionary defines it as 'gross injustice or wickedness,' and it is generally used in a scriptural context.  But the root comes from the word 'uneven' or 'unfair.'  Why, in a world where so much is naturally uneven or unfair, would a word for wickedness mean unfair?

Answer: we're supposed to help one another to make it more fair.

I don't mean compulsion.  I don't mean stealing from the rich to give to the poor.  I mean loving and caring for one another enough to give and do everything we can for the people who have less.

I have a lot of friends and family for whom life has been less than kind.  Depression, Ehlers-Danlos, diabetes, ME, paralysis, severe epilepsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, bipolar, abuse, and/or loss of limbs to name a few.  Sometimes it's as simple and common as John's vocation just so happens to only pay $25,000 a year even with his college degree.  I see a lot of people express derision to people in these circumstances: "Well they should have acted differently or made better choices."  Don't you realize that we are ALL subject to the whims of fate?

In a perfect world, no one would have disabilities and a genetic engineer would get paid as much as a pretty actress for equal work.  But we don't live in a perfect world.  Some of us luck into better circumstances than others.  Some of us have more abilities than others.  Some of us have more drive than others.

This is not pure Darwinian survival of the fittest.  We need to help each other up.  Sometimes that means helping someone help themselves.  Sometimes it means taking care of their needs for a while.  Sometimes it means taking care of their needs forever.

Some people say the government should do it.  Compel the rich -- the more able-bodied and lucky -- to take care of the poor.  I think, though, that not only is the government ill-equipped to deal with this type of delicate judgment, but compelling people to care for others engenders only bitterness on one side and entitlement on the other.  As an ultimate safety-net, yes, let's set something up.  But on a more daily basis, for the betterment of both the giver and the receiver, those of us who are more able-bodied and/or lucky need to support with time and money and effort smaller organizations that help the less fortunate.

This is what Christ was talking about when he railed against iniquity.  We NEED to LOVE each other.  Not hate the poor for having less ability.  Not hate the rich for having more.  But love and help each other.  It's a life-long job.  It's hard.  It requires sacrifice.  But if you want to become better and leave a lasting impression on the world, it's the way to go.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Progress

Sometimes I stagnate.  In writing, in taking care of myself, in feeding my spirit, in taking care of the house, in moving forward in my life.  The older I get, the more tired and complacent I get.  However, this is not what we are supposed to do with our lives.  There is no standing still.  Either you're moving forward or else you're slowly (or even quickly) sliding back.

One of the things that gets me, though, is I've been the uber-responsible perfectionist before.  It broke me.  Shattered me into little pieces.  We aren't meant to do that, either -- at least most of us aren't.  We're just supposed to do our best, and sometimes that isn't as much as we'd like to think it is.  Christ makes up for the rest.

How do I balance the two states of mind?  This is a question I have had for many, many years, partially because the answer changes.  Some days, when the depression is bad, my best is just getting out of bed.  Other days I can do more.  But part of the journey through counseling and getting better (not eliminating the depression, just learning to deal with it better and be more functional.  Because for some of us it will never fully go away in this life) is building my functionality.  Being a little better, doing a little more, than I did before.

So I'm adding a little to my spiritual routine.  I'm adding a little to my physical routine.  I'm adding a little to my service routine.  Seasoned with music to make it easier, it's not so bad.  I've been doing it for four days.  So far, so good.  Part of the struggle is the depression, but part of it is the habit of living with depression and the resulting 'lowered' standards -- which must be lowered sometimes, but I have to be careful not to let the lowered standards become habit or be there as a result of giving up.  I have to keep trying.  It's not easy -- I want a simple formula that works the same every day, and it just doesn't work that way -- but EVERYONE can try, though what each of us can do will vary.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Some things I've learned about writing

Posting once a month is okay, right?    I could say my life is extra boring but it's really almost as exciting as the next person's -- it's all about what you choose to talk about, to think about.  I was much more talkative twenty years ago.  Less afraid, more naive, I don't know why.  Now I like to interact more, and listen.  Some might say that's wisdom.  Some might say that's boring.  I don't know.  All I know is that for me, one blog post a month is doing well. :)

Now, on to writing.  I recently restarted my book.  It was a hard decision, but I'm glad I did it.  They say that you have to write about a million words -- or work 10,000 hours, depending on who you listen to -- before you're any good, and the more I work on writing, the more I believe it.  It's still difficult for me to see the details that need to be changed sometimes, but I'm getting better.  And I've learned that revising and revising and revising can sometimes be like working on a car -- yes, you can keep trying to fix what's broken, but the overall integrity of the car diminishes the more you work on it, so sometimes it's best to cut your losses and just buy a new car.  I had worked so much on the previous draft that all I could see was what needed to be fixed and what was wrong and I was stuck.  I was struggling to write any more.  But when I started over, things were clearer, easier, and better.  All of the practice of the previous draft helped me tremendously.

Another thing I've learned is that you really have to work at it, not wait for inspiration to strike.  All the best writers have said it before me, and said it much better, but I'm just adding my voice to the pile.  Writing is hard work.  It takes diligence and dedication.  I'm not completely there yet -- my self-doubts still get in the way -- but like with many things, practice makes perfect.

Now, I don't apply these things well to my blog.  I just dump here, without much, if any, editing.  That's why I call it the Whine. :)  But if some of the things I've learned can help others, that would be wonderful.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Goals are good, right?

Being gimpy has driven home the fact that being obese really, really sucks.  So, perhaps fueled by pain meds (or more likely fueled by the fact that I can't do anything aerobic on this leg right now anyway), I have set a goal to lose 100 pounds in 2 years.  Yeah, that's kind of wimpy -- less than a pound a week -- but it's doable.  And as a reward, I'm going to Walt Disney World.  Go me!  Now to see if I can stick with it once the leg is healed....

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Broken Ankle wah wah wah

I broke my ankle last Thursday.  Slipped on the ice at my brother's house.  Now, I've had injuries and been laid up before.  My 2nd & 3rd degree burned legs and my peritonitis surgery hurt MUCH worse.  But this is a huge pain in the tush.  Mostly because I am soooooooo overweight.  I think inconvenience=lack of mobility x time - pain.  Because when you're in a great deal of pain, you don't notice as much that you can't do stuff.  For instance, I couldn't really walk when I burned my legs, either.  Couldn't even lower them because it would cause the legs to instantly swell and pull the burned skin, causing excruciating pain.  But a) I wasn't so overweight, b) it didn't last as long as this probably will, and c) it hurt so badly that I didn't notice I was immobile.  Plus it was probably affected by the fact that I technically could put both feet on the ground, even though it hurt terribly.  
Luckily my Mom is here right now to help watch my brother's kids (which is the reason I came down in the first place) and Jake is driving down Friday to pick me up since I can't drive.  And I'm getting used to it.  It's just annoying.  
So if anyone wants to come visit me while I'm in Utah or while I'm laid up in Idaho, give me a call!  I'm so bored!