Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Challenges ...

Maybe I'll get a fun title ... or, at least, a creative one ... but right now ... no.

So ... I'm sure everyone's aware of how there was a bombing at the Boston Marathon (well, thanks, Allanna's subconscious. You almost had me write "Boston Massacre." And, though rather apt, that's not what it was supposed to be.)

(Yes, I just talked to my subconscious there. What, you mean you don't?)

But, yeah ... I'm in a bit of a funk.
And when I say a bit ... I mean A LOT.
Because I am generally a happy-ish-type person.
And I don't feel happy much at all right now.

And, NO, it's not my period. Thanks for asking.

But the fact is that, yes, bad things happen. People are suffering. Some lost their life or a loved one. Many more were injured. There's a picture making its way around Facebook (and yes, I did check for authenticity. Because I HATE it when things are posted that aren't confirmed truth. Sadly, this IS.) with a man who lost at least one leg (below the knee). ... And, according to the news reports, out of the 170 or so injured, there were a LOT of amputees.

And an eight-year-old boy was killed ... out of three deaths, one was so young.

Nevertheless, things like this SHOULD NOT HAPPEN.
I want to know what someone would think to explain that behavior ... and, well, then I DON'T want to know. Because, regardless of any explanation which MIGHT make some semblance of reason for this to occur, there's the fact that it SHOULD NOT HAPPEN.

I feel angry. And helpless. And depressed. And irritated.
All rolled up into some little hedgehog-ball of upset ... with a soft underbelly of hurting.

Because, well, I can't even imagine what those runners and their friends and families are going through.
I can't imagine how it could be to go run in a marathon ... and then end the day with the possibility of never running again.

This is bollocks, y'all. Total bollocks.
Why can't we just be freaking NICE to each other?
Why do we, as a species, target each other? It doesn't make sense.

I just want to go and smack everyone up the head and be all, "You're a FREAKING CHILD OF GOD. HE LOVES YOU. HE LOVES EVERYONE. SO JUST GO AND TREAT EVERYONE WITH LOVE, DAMMIT!"

But, well, wouldn't that be a bit hypocritical and counter-productive?
I think it might be. Just a titch. (WARNING: UNDERSTATEMENT ALERT)

Seriously ... what is it with the fact that every time I try and do something frigging RIGHT, crap blows up (not always literally) ... but still. What the aitch is UP with that?

(Satan, that's what. Because he wants me to just give up and be a spiritual slug ... amirite?)

(Oh gosh, now I have SNL's The Church Lady in my brain. That usually just happens when Mom and I sit next to each other in Sunday School. Then we'll whisper "Could it be ... SATAN!?!?" or "Well, isn't that special?" to each other. Yes, there's a reason my mom is one of my besties. Many reasons, actually. But that is one of them.)

BUT!!
Where was I? Ah, yes!
SO, yesterday started out fiiiiiiiine -- I got the kids off to school (even though Bucket's lunchbag appears to be missing. Again.), Bubbles and I said an itsty prayer together (never too early to start a habit, right? And I should be doing WAY stinkin' better at instilling this into ALL the children. And myself.). Eventually, I got breakfast and did some laundry. ... And I got the news about Boston.

I don't really know anyone in Boston ... do I?
Thankfully, all my friends' friends (that THEY know) who were in the Marathon are safe and accounted for.

I read my scriptures ... blogged about that.
Started another spiritual/scriptural-type challenge ... Voices for Virtue created a 40-day challenge.

In the shortest terms possible, here it is: Read one conference talk per day for 40 days (with the exception of one day when you read the Sustaining of the Church Officers and the Auditing report and the Statistical report ... because those are all rather short)

So, yeah ... I started doing that, too. Since it STARTED yesterday. And, well, why not?
I mean, if it's so important for us to receive this revelation as a whole church, shouldn't I actually, you know, better acquaint myself with it?

Yesterday, also, my language practice SUCKED. Seriously sucked. German conjunctions and Spanish questions (Que, Donde, and so on ... and, yes, I DON'T have the accents on there. Because I'm lazy and peevish.) ... they just were NOT happening.

But, regardless, I DID read my scriptures and the opening remarks for Conference.
Did I feel tons better? ... I really couldn't say. Mostly because, well, if you usually feel around an 80 and then you feel around a -500, feeling around a -75 is better, but not great.

Today's reading was Elder Packer's talk. And it was a nice talk. I do worry, though, that he's not going to be with us a terribly lot longer. And that makes me sad.
He talks of how much wisdom he's gained ... and how, even though it's so hard to move about and do things he used to love, he wouldn't change that ... because the knowledge and experience he's gained is so precious to him.
He also talks of complacency and protecting the home and family against the bad things that are out there.

However, with what happened yesterday ... I keep thinking more toward one of the last talks given in Conference. Elder Bruce D. Porter gave a talk, "Beautiful Mornings."
And I liked how it was summed up over at The Latter-day Snark ... about how it wasn't so much about why bad things happen to good people, but more about who cares why bad things happen to good people.
I did give it a quick read-over ... and, yes, I feel more better than I did before I read it.

I do have a testimony that, through Heavenly Father's plan of happiness, that things will work out.
(Which reminds me of another conference talk, President Uchtdorf's "The Hope of God's Light.")

I know that we will have trials here on earth. And that we have the opportunity to learn and to grow from the trials that we and others face. It's not always going to be easy or fun ... But there will be good to balance out all the suck that is in the world. And, without all the bad, how would we even recognize what is good? ... So I do have to be thankful for the bad, too. (Though I might not be as grateful for it as I probably should be.)

I'm grateful for the Atonement ... so that we have a sure witness that everything WILL be right. Maybe not right now, but eventually. I'm glad to know that the people affected by the bombing will be made whole and perfect again.

It's just trudging through the figurative mud here that is hard. But we'll get by, right?
(If you're not sure, we do have it on good authority that we WILL. It just takes time and effort.)

Okay, so I should read my scriptures for the day ... Mosiah 9:1-9:19
  • Okay, I had to go to the actual scriptures to make more sense of all this ... Chapter headings make like a LOT easier. So, now Ammon and Limhi and everyone are reading the plates Limhi's people found (So, they were translated! Whoot!) ... and it's the record of a civilization that came before.
  • Zeniff is the part of a group who've left Zarahemla for the land of Lehi-Nephi He knows how to read and write (obvs, or else we wouldn't have this record). He spies on the Lamanite forces ... but, when he observes them , he realizes that there's a lot of good ... so he doesn't think that his group should wipe the Lamanites out. 
  • However, the leader of the group is more bloodthirsty and doesn't really care for the idea of making a treaty with the Lamanites. So much so that he wants to put Zeniff to death for daring to question orders. He's spared due to a civil war fought among their own people. He is one of the few (it sounds like less than half of the original troop survived) that returns to Zarahemla to report to the families.
  • Still, they REALLY want to regain the land of their ancestors, so they head back ... but, since they're not as righteous as they should be, they have a lot of trials (famine and "sore affliction," which always makes me think of boils ... but I'm sure that's not it. Or, at least not all of it.)
  • Eventually, they return to where they started (where the original group camped, at least, before the civil war) ... They meet with the Lamanite leader who, remarkably, is pretty cool with the transfer of land. They agree to make a peaceful transfer ... his people leave the land of Lehi-Nephi and Shiom.
  • BUT!! King Laman was a crafty guy ... after the Nephites move in, build their homes, establish farms ... really get settled in, he plans to get the Nephites into bondage and repossess their lands.
  • But, like the Israelites in Egypt (as in "Tell old Pharaoh 'Let my people go!" ... you know, the story of Moses?), the Nephites were prosperous and, well, there were a LOT of them. So King Laman is forced to act sooner rather than later.
  • The Lamanites are a society where there's not such the great work ethic, apparently ... and they really, really want to have all the food and flocks that the Nephites have raised (Kinda like the dog and the cat in "The Little Red Hen." You know, they don't help out, but they're more than happy to offer to eat the bread. Should I have prefaced that with "Spoiler Alert?" :P)
    So, under the king's direction, they start fighting with the Nephites and taking the crops and flocks of those they overtake.
  • The Nephites that aren't killed in the raids flee to the main city with its stronghold and beg Zeniff for protection. He arms them with all the weapons he can get his hands or or create ... and they go to battle with the Lamanites, crying to the Lord for help.
  • There's a huge battle ... In about 24 hours, they slay 3,043 Lamanites. Eventually, the Lamanites are driven back out of the land of Lehi-Nephi. The Nephites bury the dead, including their own 279 casualties.
I'm not totally sure what all I should be learning from this. ... I mean, it's really good to have a good work ethic. And to pray when you're doing hard/dangerous things. There is the whole similarity of the Nephites and Israel in Egypt ... I don't know that I really noticed that before.

But ... yeah.

Well, my mental health number is a bit better than it was earlier. 
Apparently the migraine that Michael came home with must have gone away ... since he went to work and everything. We're counting down to our vacation ... I'm trying not to freak out. Because, apparently, I am a  control freak and I'm trying to figure out how to keep the kids entertained on a long car trip (and that's IF we don't get in a traffic jam) and what all to pack for food and how many pairs of underwear we all need ... and how many diapers to bring (because, after getting urine in my FACE last time, if a certain child of mine does not empty his bladder out? He's going to pee into a diaper, so help me. Because, face it, you do NOT need to use the bathroom every half-hour. Especially in HEAVY TRAFFIC. Just sayin'.)

And I'm gearing up to wear a swimsuit. Please send me the mental fortitude to deal with the idea of people seeing me in a swimsuit ... because I am NOT in shape like I was when I was a teenager. Also, I am so pasty-white that I practically glow in the dark. ... However, since I colored my hair (red), it's rather fitting for that. But still ... I don't like being in a swimsuit in front of people so much. I like swimming and playing in the water too much to let it stop me ... but, oh, goodness. First world problems, amirite?

And we need to get an oil change and vacation is coming up fast and ... oh, I think my brain is going to explode and leak out my ears. Until we head off ... then I'll be okay. It's just that I'm bad with anticipation. It apparently freaks me out. So I live in denial until it's too late ... I freak out and try to get everything done ... and then I can have a good time.

It's exactly what I do when I gear up for a performance.
Fun times, right?

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