Monday, October 26, 2015

Choosing Faith Instead Of Doubt

Halloween is this next Saturday! I can't believe how quickly it came! And I didn't do half of all the wonderful crafts I came across on various blogs, as I sifted among some most appealing posts in order to feature them on Motivating Monday! I really meant to, but I think it's just meant to be that if we make 50% of our goals in any given week, we are doing really well!

I focused on our yearly Children's Program at church. I am the songleader, responsible for teaching the kids approximately 8 songs to sing by memory for parents, friends, and lay members. It is one of the most well-attended events of the year and it was so cute to see a family with 3 little boys get out of their minivan. The boys, all decked out in white shirts and bow ties, paused to take a family photo and I thought, "this one is a keeper and will be for the scrapebooks and memories."

It had been a struggle trying to learn the songs, since I had only been in this position for about 2 and a half months and the process usually takes at least 8 months, learning one song per month. Before that, they had been without a songleader for a very long time. I ran into people telling me "this isn't how you're supposed to do it", or "that's wrong", or "they don't know that".  It's as if they still clung to the cute and very vivacious young mom, with the gorgeous singing voice, and visual aids that were works of art, who had previously been leading them. But she moved. They didn't want to let her go, and I certainly don't blame them. She is the standard for songleaders. But unless we had a holodek and could beam her back, she wasn't coming back. Am I her? No. But I had to remember that I have my own strengths, talents, and sense of what needs to happen in order to faciliate and bring out the best in these budding young choir members. I could either have faith in my own strengths or doubt myself. Either one of those attitudes would pay out dividends. I chose to have faith in myself. 
Finally the day came, everyone was nervous, I noticed that my hands were trembling as I stood the children up and led them in their first song. They did beautifully. The second song came and went, still doing well, and the third, 4th and 5th. The children didn't let me down. They did so well! My nervousness left me as I let the children do what they had been taught to do, what I had taught them to do! In that moment I knew that I was the one they needed all along. They didn't need anyone to come back. They trusted me. And I trusted them! And it worked! Here is one of the songs that we learned and was their favorite!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Terms And Phrases Deemed Offensive

Have you noticed that there are now certain terms and phrases that are being banned or frowned upon because they supposedly conjure up negative connotations and are being considered and coined as offensive? Who dreams this stuff up? I say be careful about what you listen to, you may be getting brainwashed without knowing it. 

It seems that here in Utah we are now being associated with the Confederate South. In St. George, we have a university here named Dixie State University! Some are saying that with all the recent focus on the Confederate Flag that now might be the right time for Utah to reconsider its "unfortunate" association with the confederate south. Never mind that 80% of the community members in a recent survey say they want the name to stay and that they like it.  
 When Mormon settlers came to St. George, they called the area Dixie because it was hot and grew cotton, like in the south. But now many connect the word to slavery and the Civil War.

Here is what one person thinks about the name 'Dixie'.

"Dixie" is a horribly offensive and racist word! As a young child, I was forced to drink Kool-Aid from a Dixie Cup. I found it so incredibly derogatory and offensive. To this day, I can't bring myself to drink Kool-Aid, as it leaves such a bitter taste in my mouth.
Then there was the time I played trumpet in the high school band. My band director made us play Dixie music during Mardi Gras. I was so offended by it that I lost my embouchure. My band director and the word dixie is responsible for the millions of dollars in potential income I would have earned as a professional trumpeter.
At about this same time, I became an avid Journey fan. The albums were epic: Evolution, Infinity, Departure...then I bought the live album, 'Captured' and heard for the first time, a live track entitled, "Dixie Highway". All sense of right and wrong left me. Racial harmony no longer had any meaning in my life. My favorite band of all time was nothing but a bunch of racist bigots. I couldn't believe it! I didn't want to Stop Believin' but the proof was right there, in the track! Not long afterwards, I realized the "Dixie Highway" wasn't just a song. It was actually the name of a real highway in the United States. IN THE U.S. of all things! Yeah, a highway that runs from Detroit all the way down to Florida, 1, 385 miles of racist, offensive bigoted highway. How could my government allow that?
To this day, I blame every evil, every shortcoming, every disadvantage I've ever had in life on the word "Dixie."
--name withheld

This is a good point. There are so many things with the name 'Dixie'. Does that now mean we want to get rid of every mention of that name? 

Another great way to think about this:

"Let's try an experiment with this use of logic. Southern Utah is associated with Dixie because of cotton. Cotton was originally harvested by slaves, therefore we should equate cotton production and products with slavery. We all should boycott cotton...and no longer wear blue-jeans as a protest against slavery!
Utah's Dixie did not have slaves. Those that settled Utah's Dixie did not practice slavery--even when it was legal; settlers of Utah's Dixie were openly opposed to slavery, these settlers considered slavery evil, actively supported & espoused its abolishment, and did not permit its practice in any of their settlements...well before such laws were passed elsewhere and a generation before the 14th amendment. The settlers of Utah's Dixie did NOT afford black men (AND women even before national suffrage) only part of a vote in local elections--as was the predominate practice elsewhere. I would think from an abolitionist viewpoint that we should celebrate Southern Utah settlers and the fact that Utah's Dixie demonstrated conclusively that slave were NOT necessary to profitably produce cotton products...well before either the US abolished slavery or the advent of the cotton-gin." ---Doug Van Duker

I feel that many terms or phrases, such as "dixie"  are coming under attack for ridiculous reasons. But for right now, can we just leave Dixie out of the progressive brain washing conversation? It's designed to take away freedom of speech, one phrase or term at a time.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

How I Combat The Summer Rush, Or Any Rush

It is such a busy and rushed world these days. Summer is now upon us, the kids are out of school and we have plans, plans, plans.

I raised my sons in a very rural part of Virginia. We were transplants and hadn't been there long. We didn't have a lot of connections or social engagements. A lot of our summers were spent doing very simple things. We took walks, we played with various toys, we listened to the insects singing in the evening and we had fun with the sprinklers and our dog. Many times, I let my oldest son go out into the rather thick woods next to our home, it was called 'Black Forest Estates' for good reason. He had many an adventure, but thankfully never got hurt.

All in all it was very relaxing. Don't get me wrong, we also had camp, play dates, baseball practice and other fun things. I'm just saying that every single section of our months weren't planned with big engagements and vacations.

When asked what his favorite part of the summers were, my oldest talks about the things above. He talks about when I spent time with him, his time having adventures in the woods and times spent together as a family.

Now he's in the National Guard at Officers Training School. And when he's done with his day, he likes to go and commune with nature. He loves hiking, hunting and fishing. All of these activities are done alone and in the quiet of nature.

I am an undiagnosed, but most likely ADD adult, who is very distracted by noises, comings, goings, hustle, and bustle. I must get away for a period of time each day to get a breather from it all. I have done this for a long time now, have made my own ritual. My dog, Evee, is an essential part of my present routine. I go for hikes with her, away from the well-traveled trails of the local park. We go out where fewer people venture. Less traveled, probably, because there is wild life and one can never predict what one will come upon when you're out so far. But my dog is a companion and she is a protector. We help each other. I walk her daily and she protects me as I take a few minutes in our travels to stop, sit, meditate and pray. It gives me strength and fuels my creativity and my plans. I know there is an inner voice that I am able to hear, listen to, and then to follow. A very wise man and Apostle of  Lord said:

If you don't have a time during your day to just stop and be at one with silence, with the intent to listen to your calm, still, inner voice, I highly suggest you try it. Try going out on a walk, in the early morning or late evening. Find a nice, quiet place to sit for a few minutes. If you aren't too distracted by things around your home, find a quiet place specifically for quiet reflection and meditation. Set it up with whatever you need to sustain calm, focused, thought. Spend at least 10-15 minutes thinking about calm things. Let the thoughts be healing and positive in nature. Focus on your relationship with God. Pray, if that is in your practice. You will be enriched after you make it a part of your routine. You will begin to crave it, because of the strength and focus it brings into your life.