Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Sparks

    This Summer's fiction find has become a drink of light each day. So much sincerity and strength in the writing. So much pure beauty.  It flows from my scripture reading and back without the feel of a key change.

     I mention it to my hairdresser yesterday while he clips and snips at my bangs. We connect with books. I'm so passionate in my one sentence description of the experience reading this book, he wants to borrow mine when I'm done. But then he glances at the cover. Not impressed. "Really?"  Yeah. Don't judge a book by its cover - there's gold inside this one.

    Maybe that's how it's been around for 16 years without spreading like fire? Or that's it's published by a small Catholic company? I don't know. I'm underlining passages often, going back each time I sit down to read those favorites, wanting to soak deeper the gems I've already discovered before mining more. My mom and dad are reading it together - they tell me it never stops amazing you.

    A conversation with my son makes me come back to this simple, yet profound passage in it...
 (Ireland early 20th century)  
"Daddo, it seems to me that we're after thinking sad things much of the time."  His father gave him a look.
    "That may be so, but tell me why you think it."
    "I'm thinking that the world's a lovely place, and maybe we're looking at it through a smoked glass. Like when the chimney on the lamp is smudged with soot."
    "Arra, but you're a bright old lad, like your mother's, father's father. You resemble him too."
    He gave the boy an affectionate thump on the arm.
    "The world is lovely, Stiofain. But it's full of shadows too. Beyond this island there are places where the angels still fiercely make war, and the outcome of the battle is not known."
    ...But the sun on the hills was too sweet and brash for such thoughts.
    "I see only light, Daddo."
    "Then I fear for you, my son. For a man who sees only light will stumble over the things that lie in shadows."
    "Then does a man who looks only at shadows not also stumble, for lack of seeing light?"
    "Arra, but you're a wise child!" he laughed.
 ~ Strangers and Sojourners, by Michael D. O'Brien, pgs. 91-92

    Wise words from a young boy. It's not fiction - the fact that young boys can blow you away with their conversations. I think of recent conversations with my Naynay (Nathan).   It's becoming a habit that I relish: he experiences truth and runs to me - spilling the light into my ears and eyes as I listen to him comprehend, understand, apply. A few weeks ago it was,
    "Mom!  I don't know what it is, but I feel SOOOOO happy right now!  I don't feel so tired and I just want to help people and yeah. It's just so amazing!  I feel so good!" No. My son is eight and very sheltered.  This was not an artificial high :).

    Today, he's just ended a conversation with my mother on the phone. He calls my parents all the time for these chats that sometimes go on for twenty minutes or more.  (Is there anything sweeter then seeing your children connect with and be nourished by your parents? Witnessing them fill in the holes that you cannot?  Those octagons and hexagons you see in your children when all you seem to have are triangles and squares?)

   My mom has pulled from him a conversation we had two nights ago at bedtime while reading scriptures that went something like . . .

  . . . a question I can't even remember.  I answered it and it led to another question, "Is that why you write then?"
    "Yes", I answer. "I feel like it opens your ears to the spirit - to those nudges that we're usually too distracted to discern; like amplifying the power of Light to influence you. It helps me process things. It's how I take these words in scripture and inlay them on my soul." I've said such things before, but I can see he's really listening this time. He's more ready to believe there's a reason I want him to practice writing.
    "Huh." He's silent, thinking. I realize in this moment that my words aren't alone. There is light interlaced, filling in the cracks I've left, warming the atmosphere in the room. A puzzle piece falls into place. He has that look - purpose is sparking in his little mind. Can it be? This eight-year-old boy might start choosing to write? After all these years of effort with little result?

    I've never known a harder (or smarter) person to teach anything to than Nathan. I've been clinging to my trust in the tool set I use - patience, agency, love, inspiration, example, environment of learning, and a safe space to explore . . . and more patience.  And it's not that he doesn't have talents and creativity and the ability to focus and learn.  

    Give him LEGOS and he comes up with this:

Crocodile and Snake Summer 2013 - Nathan's own designs.
Some people look at still lifes to paint them.  My son LEGOs them.
A snake that can even raise it's head and balance on its own! 
    But reading? Writing? Math with paper? Why can't I just do it in my head? Cello - you mean you have to repeat things? Why can't I do it right the first time? And if that doesn't work, try it again the same way . . . and if that doesn't work . . . push your buttons until you walk away because you refuse to "practice grumpy"?

    Nathan has been my guide to trusting my Inner Guide and throwing out the hand book and trusting tools that feel right. I give it time. I back off, then surge when I see sparks, then pull back when I douse the fire. I disappoint teachers and try not to care. Ignore or shelter him from comparisons at church or when friends come to play. My paradigm is shifting and I believe more than ever: God knows the best way and time for him to acquire these skills I know are essential for him to progress in life. And it's working - that spiritual assurance is yielding evidence. The ways that are higher than my ways or the world's methods, have sparks flying - the learning kind.

    A few months ago he caught the spark for reading. Now he sails through verses of scripture each night and soaks up large animal encyclopedias on his own - by his choice!
    Then last week he comes to me saying, "Mom, can I do cello first today? I really like it now." I lift my gaping jaw; we practice happy; we finish and I run off to yoga and he asks before I go, "Can I play whatever I want now for fun?"
    "Umm...yeah!  That's what it's suppose to be about!"  I hear him and Ellie experimenting with guitar/cello duets as I walk out the door.
    Is writing the next spark, the next fire to burn in his love for learning?

     He comes to me as I'm sitting in the backyard with the two little girls, playing.  He's just got off the phone with my mom - they've been planning the next "Wonderful Onesie" sleepover as it's his turn next. He begins to prattle off at the speed of light, he's so excited. He's telling me about their conversation about his writing struggle. I joke, "So you want to go get that new workbook I bought and practice a little?"
     "Well, I've been doing that before I came out here, but anyway..." (what?!) He continues. I'm so shocked by what I'm hearing and the excitement in his delivery, I sneak out my iPhone and press record...

    "She says that even though you don't know you're doing it, your brain knows what's going on so when you go to do something it's like, 'I know how to do this!' but huh." He pauses and looks thoughtful, remembering something.
    "What else did she say?" I prompt.
    "Hmm, that's all I can actually repeat because, you know, she's Grammy and you can't really say what she says." Here he laughs. I laugh, too. Then I think, Rats! I just started recording! Go on!
     I prompt again,"Not as well as she says it at least, huh? So she gave you ideas about how to learn to write?"
    "Yeah, just like - even though you don't know what you're doing, you could just do it and then your brain could help you start like . . . yeah. That is so weird. It looks like - you know that bug I just picked up? I looked at the tree [behind it] and it looked like there was like a giant version in the tree. It was so weird. But anyway, she was just like, just do it even though you don't know what you're doing. Your brain could start memorizing it. Don't try to. Just do it.  Don't like, umm, if you don't want to do it don't do it. Cause there's no point." Wow . . . I guess it needs to come from someone other than mom sometimes; shapes my mom and I both give him added with moments of Light equal the Hexagon he's needed to fill this hole? Spiritual mathematics.
    "'Cause you won't learn it?"
    "So, you could just maybe pray for the desire to do it if you think it's important but you don't feel like it?" I'm hinting pretty hard here, I know. :)
    "Uh huh. . . So can we play ball now?"
    "Yeah." But I want to hear more - see this joy light your face a minute longer, please? I'll just move out of my chair really slowly, keep talking my sweet sensitive boy.
    "I'm excited for the sleepover. Want to know what I like? I like when you go early because the day seems to go forever if you have to wait until six, but tomorrow the second I wake up, Poppy is going to [come up from dad's shop] and say, WE GOTTA GO! Well he's not going to do it that loud, but..."
    "That will be fun!"
    "Yeah, but mom, I need you to wake me up early. Well. Not too early."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Faith in a Box - Revised

(If you read this post before this was inserted, you read version one. Rough draft. Part two is coming. See further explanation at the bottom.)

Sun is shining, not too hot, ear buds have me "jammin'" to speeches while I thin out the peaches and prune dead limbs. Today is a free day to work and sweat; catching up on a yard too long neglected in the pursuit of "spiritual gardens" and the delicate work of growing Daysies.

Translation: I'm harvesting weeds again this year.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Right Voice

When I first decided to go this different route, I couldn't imagine how to share the personal, spiritual thoughts I had written in app papers before (when it was only one or two people I knew well reading it). I just felt I had to find a way and made the posts less visible while doing so.

In writing this first blog app paper, I've figured out a "voice" that feels like it keeps sacred things sacred and yet bears witness of what I believe and the evidences of God in my life. So I don't feel so. . . shy about it now.

We Are One of Many, Part 1

    Application Paper #1: One of Many, Part 1   

(Click for Preamble)                                     (Click for Part 2)

(Click here for an explanation of application papers. )


   "First, we need to know that our hearts are honest and broken. How do we know that? We begin by engaging in sincere self-reflection. The heart is the center of our feelings. As we look into our hearts, we screen ourselves. What no one around us knows, we surely know. We know our motives and desires. When we engage in sincere, honest reflection, we do not rationalize or deceive ourselves." ("Being Accepted of the Lord")

June 8, 2013

We're in Bryce Canyon as a family this weekend. While touring the canyon, a question came to mind. It's becoming a familiar anxiety whenever I am in a new place in crowds of people unfamiliar to me. It is in those moments that I remember what a drop of water I am in an ocean of people. My heart pounds a bit and I retreat inside my mind: "How can God possibly know me personally? How will He ever have time for me? How can I have a relationship with Him when there are so so many people that will be "waiting in line" in the next life? 

I know. Time won't be the same in the next life you might remind me. Somehow that doesn't help. I have this sinking vulnerability washing over me - like Ellie's newly discovered fear of heights while staring over the railings into the vast and beautiful canyons - I feel on edge; night time and all is silent; no crickets can counsel. 

June 10
Some things help, some don't. Parts of a poem I read this week with my children and revisit today help:

"...The wrong that pains my soul below
I dare not throne above,
I know not of His hate, -I know 
His goodness and His love.

...And if my heart and flesh are weak
To bear an untried pain,
The bruised reed He will not break,
But strengthen and sustain. 

...And so beside the Silent Sea
I wait the muffled oar;
No harm from Him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.

I know not where His islands lift 
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care.

...And Thou, O Lord! by whom are seen 
Thy creatures as they be,
Forgive me if too close I lean
My human heart to Thee!"

~ "The Eternal Goodness" by John Greenleaf Whittier

It's not that I don't know of his goodness. Maybe that's what I should focus on: the things I know. I know my Redeemer lives. I know how deeply I need that grace and power to redeem - each day, sometimes each minute.  I know how often I have felt that power heal me, comfort me, change me, mold me, forgive me. 

I know I have a Father in Heaven.  I know I have a Mother in Heaven. I know even more intimately that I have a dear and tireless companion who is called by a general name - The Holy Ghost. I sense His presence and love.  That love comes with and through the love of others, but is separate and distinct. I feel how He amplifies that love, purifies it.  

I know and believe in the character traits of my Savior as I have studied them in scripture, in the words of the prophets, and as evidenced by my life experiences. 

I know there is more than this natural sphere or dimension reveals to our natural eyes. I have on numerous occasions felt things and had things happen to me that can only be explained as coming from that spiritual sphere. I believe that faith is how we reach beyond those walls.  I thought I knew what I'd been taught - that he knows me personally.  So why does that anxiety still surface every time I'm in an unfamiliar crowd? On some level, I must not believe it. 

June 11

I find myself while driving the other day, listening over and over to a speech that contains this quote:
“Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father [in Heaven] and how familiar his face is to us.”
This isn't new to me. My mind knows it.  But my heart? And even if He is familiar, there is still that other aspect of things. I find myself believing that it's like a chain of command, that the blessings and tender mercies and miracles I've experienced are really indirectly through God. That they are more directly through those assigned to help me; assigned by someone who was assigned by someone who was assigned by someone etc. It just makes sense. God likes to involve many in the process; in service. Binds us to each other. Why don't I like that? Why does my brain suspect he's removed from the process by that . . . process?

I read these words as they are projected on the screen in New Testament class and understand my anxiety even more:

"The submission of one's will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God's altar...The many other things we give to God, however nice that may be of us, are actually things He has already given us, and He has loaned them to us. But when we begin to submit ourselves by letting our wills be swallowed up in God's will, then we are really giving something to Him...It is the only possession we have that we can give, and there is no lessening of our agency as a result.  Instead, what we see is a flowering of our talents and more and more surges of joy. Submission to Him is the only form of submission that is completely safe." - Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, Aug, 2000

Is it safe? That anxiety that comes often would say I don't believe it is.  I'm holding back, protecting myself from that full submission. It's just . . . the more I seek Them, the scarier it gets. Scary because part of me wonders if I'll find I have a relationship on my end - and a loving, but too busy Father in Heaven, Savior,  Mother in Heaven on the other end. Gods who have only little seconds here and there to spend with me (for good reason). And maybe those seconds will be so pure and strong and full of an eternal kind of love that it will fill me so much I won't "thirst" again until the next "watering," but no seconds, because of all those marvelous things they do, to pause for the small and ordinary things we can do with earthly parents: walks, hugs, relaxed conversations, reading together. 

There is something so unfathomably sad about that scenario to me. I think of scriptures that contradict that thought like, "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you. Seek me diligently and ye shall find." But somehow it doesn't help. I begin to fear that since I can't comprehend such a dimension (and time) as God's, I guess I'll never be able to comprehend the love of God, or my relationship to him.

A different thought makes me curious: is that what is behind so many of our earthly pursuits? So many of us wanting to "get ahead" and be something special?  Could it be that a core motivation for all our hurried activity (that we aren't even aware of) is we worry we won't be special enough to stand often in God's presence?  To be a part of his "regular routine?" Hmm . . . I wonder.

These thoughts feels ugly, self-centered and nonsensical. But they are mine.  And its time to take them through this process; the one that has resolved so many things my mind would know, but my heart had yet to learn.

(Click for Preamble)                                                  (Click for Part 2)

We Are One of Many, Part 2

Application Paper #1: One of Many, Part 2   

 (Click for Part 1)                                           (Click for Part 3)

"...There is also a way to judge if our hearts are broken. A broken heart is a soft, an open, and a receptive heart. When I hear the Savior say, 'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock,'3 I hear Him knocking at the door of my heart. If I open this door to Him, I am more responsive to the invitations of the Spirit, and I am more accepting of God’s will.  ("Being Accepted of the Lord")

June 11,

Writing, praying, pondering, reading. I'm knocking. Pounding. It comes to the point I know how to ask and who to ask and receive the go ahead.  The reply begins to teach my heart what my mind believes:
I would ask you if you feel like He gives you sufficient “attention” now? Do you feel like He knows you and cares for you now? Do you feel close to Him now? I, like you, am not sure how He will do it, but I do know that "He is able” (D&C 60:7 and see the Topical Guide for Able too).

How did he minister to all 2500 (3 Ne. 15:25) people in the Americas, allowing each one, one by one, to feel the prints of nails in His hands and His feet and thrust their hand into His side (3 Nephi 11:15)? Just ponder that for a moment and do some math. I am sure they all felt He loved them as He allowed them to take their time, He surely did not rush anyone of them.
My heart softens and opens as I read these words. Why does that happen? Why do words I know and could say to another choose to open my heart now? Curious. Words have to come with Light to be comprehended by the heart. I feel the warmth of the Light now.

A speech is passed on for me to read.  The following words move me:
(...) These words of Anselm constitute good counsel: ‘Believe in order to understand,’ rather than ‘understand in order to believe(Saint Anselm: Basic Writings, trans. Sidney Norton Deane [1962], 7).

(...)The miracle of this planet has so many ongoing, marvelous subtleties.  Wendell Berry ‘Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air and pondered the improbability of their existence in this warm world within the cold and empty stellar distances will hardly balk at the turning of water into wine which was, after all, a very small miracle. We forget the greater and still continuing miracle by which water (with soil and sunlight) is turned into grapes.’ (Christianity and the Survival of Creation,'' in Sex, Economy, Freedom, & Community [l 993], 103)

(...)Therefore, as we probe, ponder, and learn, we certainly should be filled with awe, and we should also be intellectually meek. King Benjamin counseled us with these simple but profound words:
‘Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power. Both in heaven and in earth. Believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.'' (Mosiah 4:9, emphasis added).

Alas, in our age, brothers and sisters, we have some who believe that if they cannot comprehend something, then God cannot comprehend it either. Ironically, some do actually prefer a “little god.'' Better for all of us scientists and nonscientific alike instead of trying to downsize divinity, to upside our personal humility!

(...) But the more we know, the more vital the why questions and the answers thereto become. Yet the answers to the why questions are obtainable only by revelations given by God the Creator, and more is yet to come.

(...)We know the Creator of the universe is also the Author of the plan of happiness. We can trust Him. He knows perfectly what brings happiness to His children (see Mosiah 2:41; Alma 41:10).

Meanwhile, as some experience daily life situations in which they are or feel unloved and unappreciated, they can nevertheless know that God loves them! His creations so witness.Therefore, we can confess His hand in our individual lives just as we can confess His hand in the astonishing universe (see D&C 59:2l). If we will so confess His hand now, one day we who are “cradled'' amidst His creations can even know what it is like to be “clasped in the arms of Jesus'' (Mormon 5:11).”  ~ (Our Creator's Cosmos Elder Neal A. Maxwell, CES Conference, 13 August, 2002)
I have been assuming that because I cannot comprehend how each member of the Godhead can possibly have a personal relationship with me, that God cannot comprehend how to either.  I've been trying to understand before believing.  Now I'm working to believe and I feel a distant understanding approach. Do I believe "We can trust Him"? Do I really believe that "He knows perfectly what brings happiness to His children"? Yes. I believe. As my mind says that, I feel my heart echo: help thou mine unbelief.

(Click for Part 1)                                 (Click for Part 3)

We Are One of Many, Part 3

Application Paper #1: One of Many, Part 3  

June 13,

I read with my children from our "Little Red Poem Book" as usual and old words speak to me in new ways:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But He beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;

(...) Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a Mother's mind,
And no unworthy aim,
The homely Nurse doth all she can
To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And the imperial palace whence he came.

(...) O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction...
...for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings;
Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts before which our mortal Nature
Did tremble like a guilty Thing surprised:
But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence:truths that wake,
To perish never...
Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither,
Can in a moment travel thither.

(...)We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

(...)Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

~"Ode on Intimations of Immortality,"
    by William Wordsworth

Truly, I feel those "high instincts before which [my] mortal Nature [does] tremble like a guilty Thing surprised" as I begin receiving answers to these "obstinate questionings."  

(Click for Part 2)                  (Click for Part 4)

We Are One of Many, Part 4

Application Paper #1: One of Many, Part 4  

(Click for Part 1)                                                                  (Click for Postscript)        
"Seeking and receiving the acceptance of the Lord will lead to the knowledge that we are chosen and blessed by Him. We will gain increased confidence that He will lead us and direct us for good. His tender mercies will become evident in our hearts, in our lives, and in our families." (Being Accepted of the Lord)
June 19,

I feel my reaching hands being grasped in love.  It's all the small and simple things that expand those glimpses, "expand the sliver in the wall."  Great things are being brought to pass through those simple means. Like:

- A movie. A story of one man's gift on Adam's birthday leaves us ponderous. Our conversation in the car to the restaurant is heartfelt and a bit raw, full of my yearnings and questions and Adam's faith and hope. He comes to an idea that I felt nudging me but had dismissed. We come home and he follows through.

- A promise laid upon my head. A conversation is recalled - I'm not even sure if my need was a category discussed, but I feel to call. A name and number is given. A phone call is made. An appointment. An unusual test. Drops I ingest are turning into ripples all across the pond. No, not a pond - it might change the landscape of my whole world. The subsequent healing that begins already, only days later, comes in unexpected ways that are higher and broader than any I or Adam imagined.  Evidence that God's ways truly are higher than ours.  I feel the truth of what was spoken, "all that He is about to do is to help you see more clearly His love for you, his awareness of you."

- A new version of an old movie. Always cheesy and false-feeling in old versions, this time: expansion in my mind of what existence could have been like before; realization of what we are like now. What we may become is more fully envisioned and made real - Lara's strength lingers for days in my mind. The symbolism inspires. I don't have to imagine so hard what we will be like outside our fallen "boxes." I'm reminded of a passage I read in a book that spoke of how strengthening the "eye of faith" involves an element of imagination - visualization.  I remember my thoughts of how the world is so deft at destroying the imagination of children - replacing it, reducing it, pacifying it, distracting from the practice of it.  I see the motive more clearly now.  Well, Wormwood, you're out of luck.  This movie proves to me there are still plenty of people with inspired imaginations. They are inspiring mine; inspiring my faith to reach beyond these walls. 

- A book. No words to describe it. Many people trying to, picking at it; warning against it.  Others give it to Adam for Father's Day - it's made an impact on them.  I steal it while Adam is at work.  It's a sifting book I'm told.  Don't read the skeptical "reviews."  Read it. Whether its true or not, it's one of those books you have to read so you can decide for yourself.

Every page must have a tear drop on it by now. It started with page 8, then 16 and on and on. It's like an embrace. Words that tug on memories of my own. Descriptions that confirm truths I've been tutored in. Words that come with a feeling of Light. That Light goes straight to the heart.  I read these words today:
"To really know that He lives, that He is a perfect, benevolent friend who loves me enough to leave the heavens, come to earth and take the time to embrace me, to have a relationship with me, and with all of us who seek Him - this is the sweetest knowledge I have ever known. To know that He knows you far better than you know yourself, and yet He loves you better still and is willing to show you who you are in His sight and what you are capable of...I believed at that time in my life that the Fall was mostly about Adam and Eve and this earth. But I keep being shown that it is even more about mankind and how powerfully the Fall darkened all of our senses. We lost our memory, not only of God, but even more sadly, of ourselves. We don't understand our own worth...we fell from being intelligent enough to understand vast truths." (Page.61-62)

Yes. Those were the words I've needed to hear and here they are, having fallen in my lap at this perfect time. The timing of the Lord. It's beautiful; breathtaking.

There are more words I don't feel right pasting. Words that echo the testimony of an uncle describing the same face, same hair, same beard, same eyes that embraced him while his body lay in a coma. A second witness. Will I change my mind about this book as I continue to read? It seems impossible, but it's happened before.

I know one thing for sure. I have knocked on the door. I have asked. I have begged. And I look back and see the past two weeks as a showering of gifts. Gifts of love from a Man; a God with a face. Who knows mine. My heart knows that now. Some day, I hope to remember His. 


I think everything is finished.  My heart feels at peace about the matter.  But there is more.  The physical healing I have been led to makes me start dreaming of riding horses, hiking down mountains with ease, holding a cat, playing three hours on the piano without pain, helping my sister, my son, my husband. What started as curing acne has grown in all directions. Am I getting too excited? Am I too trusting? Too optimistic?  

Call. Ask. 

Ask what? That most treasured desire that no one knows - only someone who knows me better than I do could know. It's the cure, the healing that I would choose above all others. I feel silly. But if I could choose one? Horses. How many times have I gone back and read "The Blue Sword"? It's not just because the story symbolically potrays the workings of the Spirit in such a powerful way to my mind. Not just because it was part of the timing of the Lord years ago with other truths my heart had to learn. It's also because - the horses. Every time I read it, I yearn and ache that there is the gulf between me and those majestic animals. It's been years, but I still remember Thanksgiving Point Barn with the kids. I stood closer than I've ever dared, the air is clean enough. I look into the eyes of this majestic animal and something speaks to me. We connect. Like reading souls. I tell Adam, "Honey, before I die, we have to give me some really strong antihistamine shot and have my inhaler handy and spend a day riding and bonding with a really special horse. Even if it kills me. Some day I have to." 

Call. Ask.

I finally get up the gumption to call the "doctor" yesterday while driving home from Ellie and I's guitar class. I have an excuse - a question about how I'm taking the drops. Before hanging up I ask, "Have you ever helped people get rid of allergies to horses?"
"All the time. Sure."  

He explains the method. 3-6 months for the body to learn usually. He's done it many times. I hang up. Ellie asks what's wrong. No tissues in this car?!? She holds my hand while I drive.  It's all so silly to anyone else, I imagine.  But it is the sweetest gift I have ever even had the hope of receiving. Only a personal God could orchestrate all this. I feel known. I've felt known before, but this time, it has the Savior's stamp on it. He's aware. I can't explain how I know. They are thoughts that lie "too deep for tears."

We Are One of Many - Postscript

Application Paper #1: One of Many, Postscript 

I sat in the parking lot of the grocery store in my car. We came home from guitar, I dropped off Ellie and left again. "We need bread," I said. Really, I needed time to process alone. Understanding was flowing that I needed to get on paper. Well, in my phone's "note paper."  My mind turns to a scripture:

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
For the body is not one member, but many. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. . .
And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. . .

 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
I suddenly feel like I might know Paul's motive behind these words; understand their meaning more deeply. He's explaining the dimension God works in - Christ specifically - best understood by the metaphor of a body. 

How much more beautiful would it be - not to take on the sole care and healing of the kidneys, then the lungs, the skin, the eyes, the heart - all himself, like separate organs laid out on an operating table, but to bind them together in one body where they can bless and help each other? The lungs taking the air and putting oxygen into the blood that then goes to the heart, the heart pumping the blood throughout the body etc. 

But then, on top of these parts helping each other, they all belong to the body of Christ - a body Christ creates, but also is the. . . spirit of? the master of? Just as I (the thinking part of me) am the spirit of my body, but with an awareness I can only imagine and do not possess.  He knows each "organ," each part. He is always with each and all, having all time for all just as I am with my body all the time. He is a vital part of them as they are a part of him, yet separate and individual. He is invested in their happiness, their happiness is His happiness. Their vulnerability, his vulnerability. Their pain, his pain.

And a man’s hand is his friend, and his foot, also; and a man’s eye, are they of his own household. (JST Matt. 18:8–9)

The power of his grace then is the "welding" agent; the atonement the act of at-one-ment that worked backwards and forwards through time so that there never was a time when such grace and at-one-ment was not active or possible. 

So, it's both, I have come to believe. Tender mercies, miracles, divine signatures that I have experienced have come because of the attention of family on both sides of the veil that are invested and interested in my progression and happiness. But my Savior knows and watches and feels intimately all that goes on.  It is directed by him - he is aware of each act the hands perform - for they are his hands. Maybe that's what Paul wanted us to see. 

I begin to think of it this way: The resurrection is joining the soul of man to the body. Christ has a body of flesh and blood and is a distinct person. But, in another way of thinking and by a connection I can only imagine, the gathering of Israel is like the resurrection of the body of Christ to the spirit of Christ in a macro way.  Each ordinance (and it's corresponding covenant) joining us to that body of saints, each act of obedience and submission of our will creating a healthier body, a body that acts in unity, as one.  

Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. (D&C 38:27)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Comforts, Balms

Four posts. Which will surface first? This one calls from the pile...

Loved ones under one roof have permanent residence in my heart.  Further up and further in, the mansions they occupy are ever expanding.  So why that strange sensation?  Pull, tug, sink.  It's curious.  Like an anxiety I can't name.  How could I have a hole when my heart is so full of these dear ones?

A talk on belief resonates through my speakers at a stoplight. It reminds me of other words, how does it go? Let the things you do know inform the things you don't know.  Don't let the things you don't know inform the things you do

Substitute "things" for "people". A brilliant discovery. A balm that eases these mysterious aches. Those things I do know come in scrumptious packages with arms and legs and faces like cherubs. Or, a larger package with golden eyes surrounded by occasional stubble that sands my skin - for proximity matters. I apply these eternal balms many times daily.

Like today...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tweaking Poetry

The little poem that flowed so quickly the other day I have felt to revisit and tweak. I believe this version is a . . .  closer translation of the feeling that lingers still.

Beyond Walls


Pull me outside my little self, Lord.
Grasp my reaching hands in thine,
Stretched out still.

Walls close in.
Only when minds do.
I know this.

The world is bigger then
Scientific methods and laboratories.
The sphere that envelopes the
One my natural eyes see -
It is that sphere that inspired
The methods,
The math,
The mechanics
Of this little sphere.

The crumb that falls to the ground
An ant may discover and be nourished by,
But it is only a portion, not
All there is.
Only all there is in his world.

Scarcity or abundance?
Seek no more for crumbs, but
For Sources.
No more for applications, but
For Truths.

If the walls of my little box are
Solid and shut - Open them!
This is the Present moment.
And the present thing to do:
Find that Presence within.
Every Present Moment.

But I am weak.
I can make but a crack;
A sliver of an opening in the
Wall of my natural world.
And when that crack
 Shrinks and closes! Oh! How the
 Darkness chills me.
It is by my own hand.
Pitiful woman.

Stretch. . . pry,
Yearn. . . 

I see His hand stretched outward
As I peer through the sliver in the wall
Made by these actions of thought.

Call a sister,

The sliver grows and swells,
Rays from the Son warm my brow.
Such Abiding Light is
Not sourced from my little sphere -
It is beyond my walls.


Light is imparted. There is a 
Window in my wall,
Enlightening; filling my soul with joy.
I can see the real again.
More or less than true is chased away.
I can breath. I am covered:
In love. In light.

If only I could burst these walls!
Turn this reaching into an embrace,
Into Fullness. Union with the Source.

But for now:
Enlightening Joy-
Leading actions that are good,
Illuminating paths to walk humbly,
Guiding ways to judge righteously.

Keep it Kate.
It is yours to choose,
There are not two ways!
There is One Way in
One Present Moment.

Or there is darkness.
Dwarves sitting in a circle of sarcasm -
Manna like manure to their lips.
The darkness is in their eyes,
Not in the world of beauty and light that
Surrounds them,
Covers them.

The Lion chooses no power over
A man's agency.
His power is Love.
Is love,
The greatest power.
The Force stronger then gravity,
That chooses not to force.

Dwarves don't choose the Real.
Don’t know Real Love.
It is beyond their walls and they
Will not reach.

Imagined Kings and Queens,

I choose.
I reach.
I will know The Real, and
The Real in me will
Recognize the false,
Circling in opposition.

One Day, walls will not
Keep me from that Embrace.
One day, by one day -
I knock and pry at these walls.
In this Present Moment,
I Reach.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Of Slivers, Squares, and...Dwarves? Oh my...

Forget the plan. Just open the window and let the Light flow how, where and when it will...

Intimate Restorations stays in my mind, simmering. Abundance verses Scarcity is added to the stew.

Two thoughts merge: Putting what is important first, and a false view of important things.

Which is it?

Two separate squares we must choose between?

Or one smaller square within a larger that we box ourselves in?

I believe in the latter: One large square enveloping a smaller one. Today's divine alchemy solidified this belief...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Divine Alchemy

Twisting, turning, churning inward. Am I forming the shell that will one day be hollow? Or becoming more full of myself, centered in my own thoughts with "no room" for the Presence I want to fill me?

"Turn outward" echoes in my mind as it bounces against the strains of thought that clutter the space I call my brain. "Listen to a music not your own."

It helps that today is my teaching day.  Friends come and play their music for me - paying me to do just that. Oh, how I'd do it for free. It's this very thing that pulls me out, leaving some space for God to fill; a crack here, a sliver there for some light to grow and shine through.

My last student is a dear friend. Further in the journey of life then me in more ways than just age.  Bubbly, happy, excited to share the latest gem she found while cleaning out her closet.  What are the jewels she cherishes?  Words. A speech savored long ago and put away, now found again. "Oh! I'm sure you'd love it, too! I'll send it to you. You have to read it!"  I go to my room. I read the link she sends. This is the music I should share on this blog.  I'm sure I'm too out of tune to convey anything of beauty. 

...At about the same time that San Justo was built and consecrated, the psuedoscience known as alchemy became popular throughout Europe. It searched for its own restorations: to transform base metals into gold, to discover a universal cure for disease, and to prolong life indefinitely. Its practitioners attempted to heal, to make what is common precious, and to find eternal life. Today we see their error—not in their objective, but in their impatience; in their attempt to coerce the bestowal of gifts that are real but uniquely divine; in their unwillingness to wait patiently on the Lord for the endowment of his grace. These processes are part of the intimate restoration, a process that exalts what is low; that binds the wounds of disappointment and discouragement; and that extends unbreakable, eternal promises. I bear testimony of these intimate restorations.
I have been thinking about the varied transformations of memory. King Benjamin concludes his sermon by asking us to "remember, and perish not" (Mosiah 4:30). In contrast to his reminder, we have Lot's wife, who paused and longingly turned back to her past. Her transformation into a pillar of salt is emblematic of the paralysis that overcomes us when we live too much in memories. Often we resist letting go of the sin or the sadness or the offenses that are an inevitable consequence of life outside Eden. Sometimes we idealize our past in such a way that the present cannot compete with it: we make icons of the "good old days," of the former sweetheart, or of a favorite ward and shut out contemporaries who might otherwise bless us. Conversely, when we properly submit our memories to the transformations of grace, we begin to experience intimate restorations....
...This public event becomes a model for an intimate restoration. How common this most singular scene! How often have we fought with darkness? How many have felt their heart rend, like Bountiful's rocks, because of losing something or someone? What power less than that of Jesus Christ can transform the lead of mourning into a gold morning? The scriptures bear testimony of his ability to change us and our experiences. Could the magical transmutation of lead to gold be half as wondrous as these restorations described by Isaiah, "to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord" (Isaiah 61:3). Could any universal cure of disease be as healing as that transformation that takes place when our scarlet sins become white as snow?
.....God intends for us to be creators. Our experience with godlike creation begins with our eternal marriage. Just as the creation of our earth home required seven stages, so our marriages must pass through periods of work, transformation, and restoration before they are finished. Yet we expect our relationships on day one to exhibit the security and surety that only come on restful day seven. We forget that the only way we can successfully pass through the stages of creation is by employing the principles of the Atonement.
... Equipped with this knowledge, each of us has two choices. We can follow Satan's pattern and use it to bury our spouse's self-esteem—adding layers of disapproval like the plaster that covered San Justo's frescoes. Or we can follow Christ's model, loving perfectly through our shared imperfections, using our unconditional acceptance to cleanse away the accumulations of life. By forgiving each other, we lift each other from our sins, thereby receiving and imitating the intimate restoration of the Atonement. When we hold hands "gracefully," we sense, sacredly, engravings on our own palms, reminding us that the Atonement is the binding power of our marriage.

~ "The Intimate Restoration" by John R. Rosenberg

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How This Will Flow...

The Plan for Future Posts:

Adapt my old application paper assignments/process to this blog:

1. Open my ears, eyes, heart and mind to dissonances in my life.

2. Seek truth I'm not in tune with in classics that call to me 
(meaning - anything that is still teaching me after the 2x test).

3. Once the truth is identified, write and record the thoughts, events, tender mercies, obstacles, effort and inspiration that come while soberly seeking to inlay that truth upon my life.

4. Continue ALTAR/ALTERing all along the way what I write and how I apply until it feels as in tune as I am able to make it with my current understanding.

5. Post the week(s) writings here in small, succinct increments (wow, will that be possible! haha). Link the posts together that connect to one "likening" of truth.

6. Post old app paper (pre-blog) insights here and there as they "beckon" to be revisited.