Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jobs I Have Known and Loved Chapter 2

As I reflect on some of the  most rewarding jobs I've held they are, in all honesty, jobs that have zero financial reward.  Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are 'called' to serve in various church positions.  This calling is extended by the ecclesiastical leader or one of  his counselors.  The person receiving the calling has their agency to accept or decline the calling.  I have had the privilege to serve in the following organizations.  Primary ( 18 months of age to 12 years of age), Young Women's (age 12 to 18), Sunday School ( ages 12 to 80), and Relief Society (the woman's organization for women age 18 on up.)  Primary is a wonderful place to work.  Children are very accepting, honest, forgiving, and genuine.  The Young Women's organization can be intimidating.  After all they are young, beautiful, slender, energetic, etc. (everything I am not!)  But it does not take one long to figure out all these girls want  is to be loved and accepted, whatever level of development they may be on.  And, of course, they want to have FUN.  Serving in Young Women's is a time consuming task, but the rewards ...they are priceless!!  To watch these beautiful young ladies become mothers and Young Women Leaders themselves is an experience I will always cherish. Serving in Sunday School can also be intimidating, especially if you are teaching adults who are more well versed in the scriptures than yourself!  But it does not take long to realize they are your friends and are on your side.  Relief Society, like all other organizations, is rewarding in its own way.  When a sister opens up and shares with you,  you get a peek into the window of her soul.  You see her pain, her fears, her burdens and you realize  you are standing on holy ground.  Judgement and criticism is replaced with love.  It is probably the most rewarding.

As I stated earlier when one is called one has one's agency to accept or decline the calling.  I  have learned the Lords work will go forward with or without me, but if I say no I deny myself of blessings.  Those blessings do not come in the form of a paycheck.  They come in the form of memories of good times shared with so many different people, but most importantly it is the blessing of a heart filled with love and gratitude to those beautiful children, young adults, and adults you have had the privilege of crossing paths with.  And you realize they are the ones who taught and served you!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Jobs I Have Known and Loved...and I am not talking about Steve!

I spent 5 years of  my time and money investing in a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University.   One spring I noticed a help wanted ad in the local paper and I decided it was time to put that costly piece of paper to good  use.  I applied for the job.  I interviewed for the job.  I got the job!!  And I proudly displayed my certificate in the visor of my new truck.  Like a Navy Seal I now had a mission to complete.  Terminate (or was it exterminate?) the mosquito population.  I became an official member of the SWAT team.  Well, okay in actuality I was a member of the West Millard Mosquito Abatement team.  Yes, I was an official fogger.  Perhaps that helps explain why I quite often find my brain  in a fog!  I was armed (pesticides that would lay across the farm land in such a beautiful fog when the weather was just perfect!) and I was dangerous, that is to the mosquito.  For him I was supposedly lethal.  The job definitely had its perks.  Good pay.  Quiet time after a day at home with children. Slow lifestyle. After a busy day on the run with children (normally exceeding the speed limit!) now between the hours of 8 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. I was  to drive 5 to 10 miles an hour max!  Plenty of time to think, ponder, and relax.  The most rewarding part of the job was definitely the view!  Absolutely gorgeous sunsets, storms that I could observe as they came rolling in, falling stars, a meteorite that literally turned the dark sky into the light of day for a few seconds! Yes the skies were 'heavenly' to watch. Each night bringing with it a new and totally different performance.  Then there was the wild life.  The human 'wild life' was hysterical to observe and I do have my share of stories.  Enough said on that subject.  The animal kingdom wild life was much, much more  thrilling to behold. For some unknown reason they are not quite the idiots humans can be.  More brain cells perhaps. There was the owl going in for dinner, poor little bunny foo foo. Yes, I had to remind myself this rabbit  had fulfilled the purpose of its creation. The deer grazing in the farmers field.  The summer the mice population was at an all time high, go hawks go!  The toads and snakes I would watch out for.  The beautiful red fox, not so beautiful weasel.  The mama skunk with her little ones in tow.  Why I even witnessed a beaver walking down the road!!!  I did not know Delta even  had beaver!  That was a truck stopping moment to watch him waddle by the ditch bank and then swim off.  Yes, it was a job I loved, but like all good jobs it came to an end.  Midnight just became too late for me to stay awake, especially at that slow of speed! I was becoming a hazard!  It was time to move on and find another use for my spendy piece of paper. 

P.S.  FYI.....dark outside + lights on inside + open curtains = great view for anyone on the outside looking in!  Especially when they are driving by ever so slowly!  Trust me I know.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Becoming Mormon

It was the summer of 1960.  Our little family loaded up all of our earthly possessions and left the green, fertile Salt Lake  Valley.  Destination...Rangely, Colorado.  Dry, desert oil field country.  Home of two grocery stores and numerous bars. I was 8 years of age at the time.  We left  maternal extended family, subdivision lifestyle, and the Methodist chapel behind.  Replacing it with  paternal extended family, 'camp' housing lifestyle, and numerous churches,  none that were Methodist.

Kearns, Utah only evokes the best of memories! Night games, cousins, an adorable and loving grandpa, swinging in the back yard, playing hopscotch on the driveway and making a Popsicle stick craft at the Methodist church!  Rangely also evokes the best of memories, but notice I did remove the word only!

As for religion. Neither one of my parents were actively involved in religion of any sorts. My mother was Methodist by birth, my father was Mormon by birth. Neither one seemed to possess any knowledge or testimony of either religion. We children were allowed to attend the church of our choice or to not attend church should that be our choice.  I remember attending the pink Baptist church (there was the grey Baptist church and I am certain they had specific names, but that was how I remember them), the Catholic church, the Christian church with Reverend Menge, and the Mormon church. My brother and sister soon became involved in the Mormon church. He was the first to be baptized, but my sister and I soon followed. Thus I became a Mormon by name. A sheep so to speak.

Once moving to Rangely it did not take long for my father to become involved in alcohol substance abuse.  Headquarters bar becoming his home away from home.  Our world was turned upside down.  This would actually prove to  be a great blessing in my life.  Three to four years later I would be posing the question 'what is the purpose of life?'  I asked and I received.  It was a simple answer.  "Before you came to this earth you lived with your Heavenly Father and Mother.  You came to earth to fulfill a mission.  When it is over you will return 'home'."  It was a truth revealed in response to my questioning. It was a truth I recognized. A truth I would not forget.  "Through the Holy Ghost the truth is woven into the very fiber and sinews of the body so that it cannot be forgotten. When spirit speaks to spirit, the imprint upon the soul is far more difficult to erase." Joseph Fielding Smith

It would be some years later when I would learn of the Great Plan of Happiness or the Plan of Salvation as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, sometimes referred to as the Mormon Church.  When it was taught to me I recognized it as the earlier truth revealed in my youth. Thus I became a Mormon not just by name, but by heart and soul. I now possessed my own knowledge and testimony. I posed other questions I received more answers.  Once again recognizing revealed truths.  I still pose questions, I still receive answers.  That, my dear friends, is how I became and become Mormon.  Yes, it is still a learning process.  I suppose it always will be.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The 'Presents' of Family

Now that Christmas 2011 has come and gone it is time to take a quiet moment and reflect on my favorite Christmas present.  Was it the cat apron from my dear friend Marjie?  Who by the way received a cowgirl apron from me!  Too funny.

Or was it the new addition to my collection of Nativities from Howard and Syd?  So cute!! Don't you love the sandals?

Or could it be the photos, frames, and family wood block from Phil and Kristina, the family photo calendar from Liz and Ben, or the digital photo frame (which is a HUGE hit with the grand children.  They love watching photos of themselves and cousins!) from Matthew, Laura, and children and Jon, Mel, and children?

Ummm, what was my favorite Christmas present?  Oh yes, I know!!!  It was watching my adult children (in laws and out laws) enjoying one another's company.  Playing games together, enjoying food and conversation together (minus the discussion on the death penalty!)  Children making a mess of my home and grand children making a bigger mess of my home. Everyone getting along one with another.  Yup, that would be my most favorite present of all.  Their presence.  The only thing that would have made it better would have been 100 % attendance instead of 75%.  But we will take whom we  get and not throw a fit (unless I forget to take my Celexa!) 

"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other."- ~Burton Hillis