Saturday, January 24, 2015

Quip from Carson

As Carson was returning to the waiting room after completing his MRI,

Dave asked, "How was it?"

Carson replied: "It was just an expensive nap."

Nice to know that there is indeed some Whiting DNA in my children. The children might look like carbon copies of their dad, but the ability to sleep anywhere is straight from the Whiting gene pool.

The MRI was to look for a torn labrum after he dislocated his shoulder again at the beginning of January. We'll the orthopedist next week to discuss another shoulder repair surgery.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Nine Things You May Not Know About Me

I recently made the mistake of "liking" a friend's Facebook post when she posted 9 things about herself. I didn't realize that by liking the post, I would be on the hook to produce my own list. I put off fulfilling the assignment until I finally couldn't take the unfilled obligation any longer. So here is the list I posted for my friend:

1. In high school I viewed running as a necessary evil and a means to an end. That means to get in shape for summer. PJ Jarvis got me back into running several years post-high school. Now I enjoy running, especially when I can do it with friends.
2. In high school my vocabulary was more like the vocabulary of a well-educated logger (or sailor). Swearing was a very hard habit to break.
3. Small talk is not one of my strong suits so creating this list has been challenging.
4. I tend to avoid social gatherings that require lots of small talk.
5. I enjoy Southern comfort food but because of my wheat allergy I can't enjoy many of those foods. I really miss hush puppies.
6. I have never lived in the South, but fell in love with Folly Beach SC when we visited there a couple of summers ago.
7. I don't mind being surprised as long as I know it is coming. I've explained to my husband that doesn't mean he needs to tell me what the surprise is, he just needs to check my schedule and give me a heads up that something may be happening.
8. I have a secret desire to open up a BBQ joint. The menu would be simple: ribs, pulled pork, roasted chicken, grits, and collard greens.
9. I think my dream job would be to be a NFL sideline reporter, moving up to analyst. I wouldn't enjoy being a general sportscaster because I couldn't care less about basketball.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tomorrow's Talk Posted Today

I'm speaking in sacrament meeting tomorrow. I had much difficulty in putting this talk together. I think it is because the topic "sacrament: the covenant and blessing" seems so basic. I had three different starts and revamps. This is what the final product came to:

It shouldn’t be hard to sit very still

And think about Jesus, His cross on the hill

It shouldn’t be hard, even though I am small

To think about Jesus

Not hard at all
But behold I say unto you, by small and simple things are great things brought to pass (Alma 37: 6)

The first stanza is a song I recently taught the littles in nursery.  We were having a lesson on the sacrament. The song was the suggested song to help the little ones know what to focus on when the bread and water are being passed around.

The scripture is not one that is usually associated with the sacrament, but it is the scripture that came to my mind as I was reflecting on the song that I had helped the littles learn. Thinking of Jesus shouldn’t be hard…in essence it should be simple. The sacrament prayers are simple in language. The time the sacrament takes to administer is a small amount of time in the scheme of our Sabbath worship, and certainly in the time that comprises our week. Yet, there is so much greatness packed into that simple ordinance. Matter of fact, our salvation lies in our participation in that ordinance. Jesus taught, “And no unclean thing can enter in his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save those who have washed their garments in my blood (3 Nephi 27:19).

Elder Jeffrey Holland has stated: “One of the invitations inherent in the sacramental ordinance is that it be a truly spiritual experience, a holy communion, a renewal for the soul.

That is some heavy stuff for such a simple prayer and ordinance. How do we unpack that prayer to get the most from our worship during the administration of the sacrament?

Honestly, I’m pretty sure it is a process and there are times in life when we get more out of sacrament than other times. I am also confident that there will be times that we will gain a different perspective of the sacrament, Christ’s atonement and how it applies to us.

I had a recent experience with this, gaining a new perspective on Christ’s sacrifice and atonement, as I listened to one of the young men in our ward bless the sacrament for the first time. With his permission, I share this experience with you. This young man has some physical limitations that make him a bit self-conscious at times. His mother had shared that because of those limitations, he wasn’t sure about participating in the blessing of the sacrament. Eventually, he did decide to not only participate in the ordinance by being on the stand, but by blessing the bread. As he prayed over the bread, the Spirit filled my heart bearing witness that this was a poignant example of Christ’s atonement. Christ allowed his body to be bruised, broken, torn for us so that after our death our bodies can be restored. Elder James J Hamula taught in the October 2014 General Conference:

With torn and broken bread, we signify that we remember the physical body of Jesus Christ—a body that was buffeted with pains, afflictions, and temptations of every kind,19‍ a body that bore a burden of anguish sufficient to bleed at every pore,20‍ a body whose flesh was torn and whose heart was broken in crucifixion.21‍ We signify our belief that while that same body was laid to rest in death, it was raised again to life from the grave, never again to know disease, decay, or death.22‍ And in taking the bread to ourselves, we acknowledge that, like Christ’s mortal body, our bodies will be released from the bonds of death, rise triumphantly from the grave, and be restored to our eternal spirits.23

I cried as I listened to Jason bless the bread and as the Spirit filled my soul and granted me a deeper understanding of the words in that simple prayer.

The bread isn’t the only symbol of Christ’s sacrifice of which we partake. We also drink the water in remembrance of the blood that He shed for us. The shedding of His innocent blood is what satisfied the demands of justice placed on us. Elder Hamula taught this about the water:

With a small cup of water, we signify that we remember the blood Jesus spilled and the spiritual suffering He endured for all mankind. In taking the water to ourselves, we acknowledge that His blood and suffering atoned for our sins and that He will remit our sins as we embrace and accept the principles and ordinances of His gospel.

So as we choose to freely participate in eating the bread and water, we are committing to:

1.       Exercise faith in Christ

2.       Believe His words

3.       Follow His commandments

4.       Be his disciple, which means to stand as a witness for Him

Those simple acts can be challenging. Christ understands that perfectly so He has made us a great promise within those simple prayers. He promises that as we seek for Him and try to do our best to follow His will, His spirit will be with us. His spirit provides us strength, beyond what we could do ourselves. Consider this short example shared by Elder Terance M Vinson in October 2013 General Conference:
A young boy was trying to smooth out the dirt area behind his house so he could play there with his cars. There was a large rock obstructing his work. The boy pushed and pulled with all his might, but no matter how hard he tried, the rock wouldn’t budge.
His father watched for a while, then came to his son and said, “You need to use all your strength to move a rock this large.”
The boy responded, “I have used all my strength!”
His father corrected him: “No you haven’t. You haven’t had my help yet!”
They then bent down together and moved the rock easily

When we rely on Christ to help us, we are able to do things beyond what we thought humanly possible. In the October 2013 General Conference Elder Timothy Dyches shared a story about Corrie ten Boom, a Christian woman who had been interned in Ravensbruk during WWII. After the war, Corrie participated in many public speaking engagements to share her experiences and also talk about the power of forgiveness. At one public appearance, one of her former captors approached her to ask her forgiveness. Here are her words:

“‘How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,’ he said. ‘To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!’
“His hand was thrust out to shake mine,” Corrie recalled. “And I, who had preached so often … the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.
“Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. … Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.

“I tried to smile, [and] I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.
“As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.
“And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

The grace of Jesus Christ allows us to do things beyond what we can ever imagine possible. He has promised that his grace is sufficient and will cover our weaknesses.

Having his Spirit with us is not just receiving His grace. Sister Cheryl Esplin in her 2014 General Conference talk, reminds us that Christ taught the Nephites that the Spirit heals and renews our souls.
Christ said: “He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled.

“Now, when the multitude had all eaten and drunk, behold, they were filled with the Spirit.”
Brothers and sisters, the sacrament prayers are simple. The ordinance itself only takes a few minutes. Yet, there is much greatness packed into that simple ordinance. The ordinance is meant for our perfection, but we don’t need to be perfect to participate in it. My thanks to a special young man for reminding me of that. All our Heavenly Father asks is that we continue to try, to put forth our best effort, and be willing to rely on Christ when we feel as if we cannot go on.

I close my talk with this story shared by President James E Faust of a mother who had purchased tickets for her family to watch the great Polish pianist Paderewski:

“The night of the concert arrived and the mother and son found their seats near the front of the concert hall. While the mother visited with friends, the boy slipped quietly away. 

“Suddenly, it was time for the performance to begin and a single spotlight cut through the darkness of the concert hall to illuminate the grand piano on stage. Only then did the audience notice the little boy on the bench, innocently picking out ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.’ 

“His mother gasped, but before she could move, Paderewski appeared on stage and quickly moved to the keyboard. He whispered to the boy, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And then, leaning over, the master reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized
President Faust concludes with this thought:
“In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear, time and time again, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And as we do, He augments and supplements until a work of amazing beauty is created. He is right there with all of us, telling us over and over, ‘Keep playing.’”

I bear witness that Jesus Christ lives for us. His grace is sufficient if we will turn to Him. I love Him with all of my heart.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Embracing Sensitivity

I was looking back at the posts from January 2014 and realized I had not picked a focus word for 2014. The previous 3 years I did have focus words, words that reflected attributes that I wanted to improve upon during that year. And while 2014 wasn't a wasted year and I am sure that I improved in small ways, I didn't want 2015 to be year without a specific focus. That left me with trying to figure out what I wanted to improve upon.

The word that seemed to present itself to me is not one that I would typically use to describe myself, but according to 3 different Facebook personality tests*, it is my best personality trait. That word is sensitivity. The first time sensitivity came up as the answer, I scoffed and said "yeah right". So when a different variation of the quiz showed up a few days later, I took that quiz to see what I would get. I actually got a little perturb, almost mad, when the same word showed up. Not satisfied to see sensitivity as my best personality trait, I took another variation of the quiz again. And on the third try, with the same result, I took a step back and said to myself, maybe there is something here that you are supposed to pay attention to.

Why the visceral, negative reaction to the possibility that sensitivity might be my best personality quality? Well, here's the thing. When you are sensitive you are more open to being hurt by other's actions. No one likes being hurt. And I have been hurt deeply by people that I thought were friends, who I trusted and loved. I put up walls and became very guarded in my interactions with people.

I'll admit that sometimes that means that I am lonely and I probably have missed out on some great friendships. It also means that sometimes I have hurt others before they could hurt me. To me it was easier to push people away rather than risk the possibility of letting them in and then getting hurt by them.

Yes, that is a sucky way to live and as years have passed I have tried to be more open. But old habits are hard to break.

Now don't get me wrong. I enjoy serving others. I want to help others feel better. I want to help them succeed. I want to soothe their sorrows. But I think I do all this on the surface. I mean I do take deep interest in other people, but I don't reciprocate. Meaning I don't allow others the same opportunity to take deep interest what troubles me, what drives me, what hurts me. I hold those thing close to my heart.

So maybe sensitivity isn't just about seeing others' needs and offering aid. Maybe it is also about allowing others to see my needs and allowing them to offer aid to me. Oh, this will be hard. Because what if that reciprocity doesn't happen? What if I express a need (no mind-reading required) and it goes ignored or unanswered by those I consider friends? I have learned it is easier to do for myself rather than rely on others and risk being disappointed by them.

As a side note, I realized that by closing my heart off to others, I had inadvertently closed it off to being sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. As I seek for my Heavenly Father's guidance, I need to have a heart that feel the quiet, gentle promptings of the Holy Ghost.

This is going to be an interesting year. And I'm going to need help from my friends as well as their patience. I'm sure that many conversations will take place where I will divert the conversation away from what is going on with me (except for maybe on the surface) and place the focus right back on the other person. Keep trying. Eventually I will get this figured out and our friendships will go to another level.

*Yes, I realize that I am giving too much credibility to Facebook quizzes, way more credibility than they deserve. However, they did provide me with a focus word for 2015. I would have never thought of sensitivity on my own.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Memories 2014

Christmas came as a welcome reprieve to the emotionally-draining days that led up to Christmas. Even Christmas Eve day was stressful as I felt the pressure of not getting all my tasks completed prior to the deadline that I had set for myself (the deadline was David's arrival home from work). I wanted to have last-minute shopping done, presents packaged up and ready to load in the car, laundry folded and put away, my things packed but I was still running errands when David called to say that he was on his way home. Errands took longer than expected and I didn't get home until around noon and David had already been home for 30 minutes. Dave could tell by the harried expression on my face that I was overwhelmed and he didn't push me to hurry and finish so we could leave. Matter of fact, he let me pick the departure time. I figured I would be ready by 2 and that was just fine by him. Oh the welcome relief that came when I didn't feel like I was wrecking Christmas by being behind schedule.

With the pressure off, I relaxed. We were in the truck by 2 and on our way to Quincy to celebrate Christmas with Dave's family. I think in our 24 years of marriage this was one of the most enjoyable Christmases we have shared with his family. We laughed, we played games, we worked on a challenging puzzle (and completed it). Dave and I discovered that sharing a twin bed isn't too bad; actually, we both came to the conclusion that when at home, in our queen bed, we sleep in a twin-bed amount of space.

We missed Katelyn but were so happy to Skype with her. She is doing well and looked so happy. She had a crazy week leading up to Christmas so she wasn't able to e-mail us on Monday or Tuesday to let us know when she would be Skyping. She called us Christmas Eve day as we were on the way to Quincy to set up a time. We decided that 11:30 a.m. would be the time. Well, 11:30 came and went. Then it was 11:45. Since this was the first time Skyping from our laptop I was afraid I had messed something up. So I broke the rules. I called Katelyn (I had the number from her call the day before). She said "Mom! What are you doing?" I said "You're late. I just wanted to make sure I hadn't screwed up the Skype." Katelyn said "Oh, sorry. I'll be right there." And then 5 minutes later there she was on our computer screen. Talking with her and seeing her was probably the best Christmas present any of us received.

I love my family. I was grateful that we were able to spend time with Dave's family this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Our 2014 Christmas Letter

Greetings Family and Friends,

This was an exciting year. There was sending off a missionary, a high school graduation, camping, hiking, running, boat building, adjusting to an empty-nest. So much was done and there is so much to be grateful for.

February 12th (or something close to that), Katelyn left for the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT. She has been called to serve in the Tempe, AZ mission. She will be home August, 2015. She has had some great experiences and some not-so-great experiences, but she recognizes that all experience can be for her good. Her current area is a little town called Ajo. She is teaching mostly single, older ladies in that area. She is learning a little Spanish and enjoying all of the javelinas that run around town. Javelinas are wild pigs that can be a little mean. We miss her but are grateful for her to have this opportunity.

Carson graduated in June. He took up cedar-strip boat building and finished a beautiful cedar-strip kayak and a cedar-strip canoe (both of which are for sale). He decided to gently break us into empty-nesting by attending a local college, North Idaho College. The parents decided he needed some away-from-home experience and insisted he live in the dorms at NIC. This has worked out very well. Carson also made the wrestling team as a walk-on. That was very exciting. He had his first college win at a tournament in Great Falls where he wrestled unattached since he is red-shirting this year.

Heather had an exciting year as she was selected with 3 other local school nurses to participate in the Johnson and Johnson School Health Leadership program sponsored by Rutgers University and Johnson and Johnson. She spent a week in July in New Brunswick, NJ attending the Institute. Because of her team's work at the Institute, they have been able to successfully implement "clinic in a box" immunization concept which brings immunization clinics to local schools. Their work has been recognized and her team has been asked to be presenters at the National School Nurse conference in June, 2015. Heather also ran her first marathon this past year. Not sure if it counted as an exciting experience, but she also didn't rule out running another marathon in the future.

Dave continues to work on some exciting projects with Advanced Input Systems. One of his projects was helping Flir develop a night-scope for nighttime hunting. Field testing was completed back in Georgia doing some nighttime hog hunting. The scope is now available for purchase; sadly, Dave gets no royalties or kickbacks for building the scope. Dave did want Heather to outshine him in athletic endeavors so he decided to participate in the "I Made the Grade" bike ride. It is a bike ride up the Lewiston grade--a winding, twisting 5 mile climb. It was a completely miserable day, weather-wise, but Dave had a good ride. His next goal is to ride Going to the Sun Road in Glacier NP next summer. Dave and his dad had a bucket-list elk hunt in Canada in September. He came back with a monster.

One exciting adventure was our Spring Break trip to Venice Beach, CA. Let's just say that was culturally-enlightening. We did have good weather and the boys were able to take some surfing lessons. We also got our roller coaster fill as we went to Six Flags Magic Mountain and rode the coasters so much that by the end of the day we all felt a little up-side down. Another highlight was our back-country hiking trip to St. Joe Lake. The hike was beautiful, but the fishing was terrible. The boys said we don't have to do that again (Heather might have done a happy dance with that declaration). We piggybacked a trip to Glacier on to the St. Joe Lake adventure. We were lucky enough to have Rich and Charlene join us for that. The boys enjoyed more fishing and we saw more bears than I have ever seen in Glacier.

As we wind down 2014 we are grateful for the good times and blessings we have received this year. We are looking forward to 2015 and the adventures that it will certainly hold for us.

The graduate, June 2014

The monster. No need to buy red meat for the next year.

Please buy this. Carson needs tuition money.

The happy missionary.

Photo op in Glacier

At the airport selfie. It was super early flight for Kate. She looks great. No judging the other two.

Fly-fishing on the Blackfoot River

Surfing, Santa Monica Beach

Waiting to start the Wenatchee Marathon

Yay! A downhill finish! 26.2 miles is a long ways.

He's a crazy dude. The Lewiston grade.

Hiking to St. Joe Lake. Carson is the Sherpa.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Moment of Panic

I was in charge of our running route this morning. We had about 45 minutes for our run and we were supposed to me another gal along the way. So I began to plan what route we could cover in about 45 minutes. Part of today's route included an area that I occasionally run through. The last time I ran through this area it was during the day and we covered a new portion of the neighborhood that we hadn't run in before. I decided that was a good route for this morning.

Off we went along familiar roads until we got to the neighborhood. Once in the neighborhood we continued past the regularly run section onto the new section that I had run the past Saturday. All was going well until we came to a T in the road. At the T, I became completely disoriented. I couldn't tell if I was running east, west, north or south. I had no idea which way to turn.

It totally freaked me out to be so disoriented and completely without the ability to get my bearings. My running partners told me where we were, what roads were to the left and right. They ran in the direction that would take us out of the neighborhood and back to the main road. I just had to follow them. I think it was a good 400 yards before I finally was able to get my bearings and begin to recognize where we were.

Note to self, don't run new routes in the dark when it is difficult to find landmarks to get your bearings. And always run with friends who have a good sense of direction.