About This Blog
A blog about my life, universe, etc. At any given time you might find something endlessly interesting or just me ruminating on something else, which no one (not even myself) finds interesting. That's the way blogs go, I suppose. Anyway, I was eleventh in line, and you weren't. Hah!
Scripture of the Moment 2 Nephi 2:27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
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-- If I mention something that's been published and is still available on the Internet, I will link to it. Well, if I know it's there, anyway.
-- Once I've posted something, I will not make substantive changes to the body of the post. Any changes will be noted with an "EDIT" tag at the bottom of the post in question, or will be noted in a subsequent post. Typos, stylistic errors, and link updates will occur, without time limit (though if it's been a while, I'll let you know). If I really really regret a post, it's likely I'll post about cats or something for a while in pennance. You've been warned.
-- If I find something through the efforts of another blogger (in fact, of anyone I can link to), I'll credit them with a link (the style of such a link is pretty much up to my mood, so don't expect consistency in that area).
-- My comment policy is listed below.
I like comments, and I'll keep them activated. HOWEVER, if you want to start a flamewar, go somewhere else. If you want to get me to start arguing with you about Ohio State vs. Michigan, whether Mormons are Christian, how stupid being spoiler free is, or pretty much anything else inflamatory (inflamatory is in the eye of me in this case -- if you don't trust my judgement, too bad), go somewhere else. All links to pornography, all instances of vulgar language, and anything else I don't think is appropriate for my sisters, brother, neice, and nephew to see (ages 1-18), or quite frankly appropriate for ME to see, will be edited as I see fit (probably with links to something else, or alternate words, or what have you). All spam comments, including blatant off-topic self-promotion, will be deleted. If you've been banned, feel free to email me; if you're uncivil, please know that I'm interested in finding out exactly how many people I can add to my killfile without bringing my processer speed to zero, and don't mind using your address in my experiments. I reserve the right to delete and/or ban anyone I want. If you need to say it that badly, go get your own blog. They're free, you know.
A Note About Chatting and Emails
I'm not what you would call an extremely social or extraverted person. As a matter of fact, I tend to test 100% introvert on Myer-Briggs and other personality profile tests. Therefore, please be aware that most of the time, if I don't already know you (either in person or through weeks/months/years of email contact) the chances are I won't be very talkative if you IM me. I like having a long time to consider what I say, and that goes double for what I say to total strangers. Please don't think me scary, rude, hateful, or even just someone in a perpetual bad mood, if chat efforts are unsuccessful. Quite frankly, it's probably better for you to go find someone else to chat with, unless you have something significant to say. And if it's that important, you should probably email me. Which reminds me to let you know now that if you do choose to email me, it might be days, weeks, months, years, or never before I email you back. It takes a lot of energy for me to come up with replies to random inquiries from strangers, and most of the time there's something I'd rather be doing instead. Your understanding is appreciated. I'm not saying don't try, I'm just saying -- have minimal expectations, okay? Thanks. Oh, and if you DO know me, don't treat this statement as an excellent excuse not to talk to me. You know who you are.
Explaining, Rephrasing, and Dissembling
Okay, so today one of the kids in my Primary class was trying to copy down the lyrics to the songs for our program in October, instead of singing along. This seemed hopeless -- I don't know any second graders that can copy down the songs as fast as we go through them, and she wasn't learning anything about the tune (which is the bigger problem for some of the kids, who can read but don't yet actually know how to sing along.) Negotiations commenced and were brief, because I promised that next week, I'd bring her pages with all the lyrics to all the songs we're singing in the program. She went back to listening.
Now, I'm not one to hand the kids a stack of pages and say "sing along." Oh, no. Because as soon as I sit down to do that, I start noticing... issues. See, we're singing some older songs, some songs they've never heard before, and a hymn. We're singing some fairly esoteric stuff, especially for a collection of kids who don't know what words like "discouraged" mean (and let me tell you how TOTALLY pumped I am that they're finally actually asking me when they don't know a word -- I've been explaining, without being asked, almost every third word, for the last eight months, and now they finally feel comfortable asking for help...)
So, I'm adding a glossary. MOst of the kids aren't quite at a reading level where they can get through this glossary very easily (according to Word it's at a 7th grade reading level,) but they've got older siblings (who can't define "restored" or "ponder" very coherently, I suspect, but almost certainly can sound out and explain my definitions.) Plus, this was a good exercise for me, since the ones that can't read will probably need to know what most of those words mean to understand what the heck it is they're singing. And don't try to tell me they'll learn from osmosis; there are probably adults out there that are still disappointed that apricot trees do not, in fact, produce popcorn.
Anyway, here goes. I still haven't done a final edit; I know there's inconsistent captialization and I'm sure I'm off the doctrinal deep end thanks to one or two insane typos (there are some VERY different words that sound VERY similar, okay? now I proofread all talks several times...) That'll be the task for next Saturday, most likely, since I'll be off work that night.
And in case you're wondering, this is pretty much EXACTLY the way I talk in class.
amens -- "Amen" is what we say at the end of a prayer. It means "yes, I agree, I'm saying that, too." It comes from Hebrew, and means "firm," or "faithful." When we sing "in grand amens my tongue employ," we're saying that we want to sing loud and proud about how much we love Heavenly Father and appreciate what He and Jesus Christ have done for us.
comfort -- "Comfort" means "to help make someone feel better." The Holy Ghost comforts us by letting us know that the Gospel is true, and by reminding us that Heavenly Father loves us and is taking care of us.
commandments -- "Commandments" are things that Heavenly Father has asked us to do. Some of them are in the Ten Commandments (don't kill, don't steal, obey your parents,) and some of them are things the Prophets ask us to do (don't date until you're 16) and some of them are found in the scriptures (don't drink alcohol, take the Sacrament every week.) Following Heavenly Father's commandments is a good way to stay happy, and it helps keep you on the path to living with Him again.
delight -- "Delight" is another word for "pleasure," or "happiness," or "joy." Usually it means "extra big joy." When we talk about "songs of delight," we mean songs that tell Heavenly Father that He's the person who makes us the happiest.
direct -- "Direct" is another word for "manage" or "organize." It means to give someone instructions: if I told you how to drive from our Stake Center to the temple, I would be directing you. When we talk about "God's light directing us from birth," we mean that Heavenly Father's commandments and the whispers of the Holy Ghost are the things we listen to when we make decisions.
disciples -- "Disciples" are followers, or students. Jesus Christ made a few good men his disciples while he was living on earth. They followed him from place to place, watched him teach people, and tried to learn to be like him. He also chose disciples when he visited the Nephites. These men were given the authority to direct the Church after Jesus went back to live with Heavenly Father.
dwell -- This is another word that means "live in." Jesus Christ came to live on earth, just like we all did. While he was here, we could say that he "dwelled" on the earth.
employ -- This is another word for "use." When we say "in grand amens my tongue employ," we mean that we're using our tongues to sing about how happy we are that Heavenly Father loves us.
eternal -- This means lasting forever. Mortal beings, like dogs, cats, people, and spiders, die. Most everything that people build, like houses and bridges and playgrounds, eventually gets old and falls down. But Heavenly Father has told us one of His biggest jobs is to make sure we can have eternal life, so that even though our bodies die, we can get them back again and live forever. When we talk about the Holy Ghost as "our true eternal friend," what we mean is that He will never disappear or leave us alone. So long as we listen to Him, He'll be there for us.
forgiven -- To be forgiven means that when you've done something wrong to someone, they say "No, it's all right, I'm not mad at you." We repent and ask for Heavenly Father's forgiveness when we break His commandments. He has promised that if we truly feel sorry for what we have done, try to fix it, and try our best to never do that bad thing again, we will be forgiven. In fact, He'll forget we ever did that thing in the first place.
grateful -- "Grateful" is another word for "thankful." It means we're happy and appreciate the good things we have been given.
guidance -- Guidance is counseling or advice about what to do or say. Heavenly Father loves us, and has given us a lot of advice about what to do in our lives. Usually we can find that advice in the scriptures, or in the things the Prophets have said.
holding fast -- "Holding fast" means to hold on to something very, very tight, as though your life depended on it. It comes from a word that means "firm." When you say "holding fast to his word and his love," you should think about Nephi and Lehi holding on as tight as they could to the Iron Rod, and not letting go, even when people make fun of them.
improve -- This is another word for "get better." We always want to make ourselves better: we want to do a better job at following Heavenly Father's commandments, at being nice to our families, at working hard at school. It's very important to keep trying to get better at these things, because nobody on earth is perfect yet.
kingdom -- A kingdom is an area or group of people which has one person in charge. The Kingdom of Heaven is the group of people that Heavenly Father is in charge of: the people who show Him love and follow His commandments. All little children are in His kingdom, because they don't yet have the ability to choose to be evil.
lighting -- This just means "making it brighter." When it's very dark, it's hard to see, but when the sun comes up, everything gets bright, because of all the light that shines on the earth. That's what "lighting each new day" means.
lovely -- "Lovely" means pleasant, good, nice-looking, or enjoyable. Jesus Christ made our earth a place that is very beautiful and nice to be in. That is why we sing about "our lovely home on earth."
mortal -- This means something that does not last forever. Mortal beings, like dogs, cats, people, and spiders, die. Most everything that people build, like houses and bridges and playgrounds, eventually gets old and falls down. But Heavenly Father has told us one of His biggest jobs is to make sure we can have eternal life, so that even though our bodies die, we can get them back again and live forever. When we talk about "our mortal birth," we mean the day our mothers gave birth to us here on earth. We know we lived with Heavenly Father before we came to earth, and we know that we can return to live with Him again if we make good choices and have faith.
obey -- "Obey" means to do what we are asked to do, when we are asked to do it. We need to obey Heavenly Father's commandments, what the Prophet says, what the scriptures say, and what our parents and Bishops and teachers tell us to do. It is very important to listen when we are asked to do things, so we will be able to do it well. When we do what we are asked, we feel good and remember that our Heavenly Father loves us.
ponder -- This means "to think about seriously." The original word meant "weight," which is a good way to think about pondering. You ought to think about things like the scriptures, the things that the Prophet asks us to do, and what you learn in church as though it was a great big important thing (because it is big and important!) When we sing about "pondering the beauty of the earth made clean again," we mean that we're thinking very hard about how beautiful clean things are -- and how much it reminds us of the gift of baptism and repentance. These are really important things, which is why we say "ponder" instead of just "think."
praise -- "Praise" sounds a lot like "prize," which is a good way to think about praising the name of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. If you got a big screen television or a lifetime's supply of popcorn or ten million dollars, you'd probably be REALLY happy, right? Well, you should be even happier about the things that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have done for you! If you won something really fantastic from a company or a person, you'd probably go around telling everyone, "WOW, this person is SO GREAT! I mean, LOOK at the cool thing they gave me!!!" You should do the exact same thing when you talk or sing about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, because they gave you things that are a lot more valuable than a television or a big bag of snacks.
presence -- this means to be near or in the same place as someone or something. When we talk about Heavenly Father's presence, we sometimes mean that we feel Him close by, or that someday we'll be living in the same place He does. When we sing "home to his presence, to live in his sight," we mean actually going to live with Him.
priesthood -- this means "the right to act and talk for God on earth." Heavenly Father and Jesus don't usually walk around and lay their hands on your head and give you a blessing, because they've got worthy priesthood holders on the earth who can do it already. It is very important that someone with the priesthood use it righteously, and act worthy of it, because he's supposed to use it to do and say the things that Heavenly Father and Jesus would if they were right there. If you would like help from Heavenly Father with something, like being sick or scared, it's a really good idea to ask a priesthood holder to give you a blessing. We believe that the right -- or authority -- to speak and act for God was restored when Joseph Smith was ordained by Jesus Christ and His apostles.
purpose -- this means "reason for being around." When we say that our lives "have a purpose," we mean that there's a reason we're here. Heavenly Father didn't send us to earth and give us bodies because He thought it'd be fun, or because there was nothing better to do that day. We're here to learn how to control ourselves and have faith in Him. That's the purpose of our lives.
rejoice -- This means "to be filled with joy." If you were a cup, you'd be so full of joy you'd be spilling joy everywhere and making a big mess. You're really, really happy and glad. It's not the kind of happy that has you laughing hysterically: it's the kind of happy that makes you want to give everyone you know a great big hug.
restored -- This means "to put back into place." Heavenly Father has given mankind his commandments a couple of times, but people sometimes forget, and sometimes they do wicked things, and sometimes the papers they wrote the commandments on get lost or stolen or changed around. When things get so bad that no one can really say that he or she knows what Heavenly Father wants, and no one has the right to hold the priesthood, Heavenly Father has to step in and put the commandments and priesthood back on the earth. The last time He did that was when he told Joseph Smith that all of the churches on the earth were at least a little bit wrong, and that no one had the right to speak for God anymore. Then he and his servants gave Joseph the Book of Mormon, and ordained him to the priesthood, and that's what we mean when we say that "the priesthood was restored."
return -- This just means "to come back." If you had an older brother or sister who moved away to school for a year, and then came back home, your mom and dad would say they've returned. Right now we're all on a special trip here to earth, to get bodies and to learn. We left Heavenly Father's home to do that. If we choose the right and have faith, we'll get to go back and live with Him again. That's what we mean when we sing about "returning to his presence."
seek -- This means "to look for." Usually when you "seek" you aren't just kind of wandering around, halfway looking and halfway thinking about something else (like what you're going to have for dinner.) You really, really want to find whatever it is you're looking for, so that's all you're thinking about. When we sing about "seeking for God's light" we mean that we really want to find out what Heavenly Father wants us to do, so we can return to live with him.
still small voice -- A "still, small voice," is a voice that's hard hear if you aren't paying attention or don't care. It doesn't say a whole lot of stuff really loud and really fast. Usually it's more like whispering "hey, you know this is true." When the Holy Ghost wants to let us know something, he speaks in a still, small voice, so it's really important to stop, be quiet, and pay close attention.
strengthened -- This is a way of saying "make stronger." We want to make our faith in Heavenly Father stronger (a lot stronger!) and just like with lifting weights to make your arms stronger, we have to exercise our faith to do that. We can make our faith stronger by following Heavenly Father's commandments and by doing the right things.
suffer -- Sometimes this means "to endure pain," but when we sing "Suffer the children to come to me," this word actually means "allow" or "permit." Basically, we're talking about the time when Jesus told his disciples to let the little children come up to him and receive blessings. The disciples didn't like that idea very much, but it was very important to Jesus that the children come up to him and receive blessings. Heavenly Father and Jesus love children a lot.
surrounds -- this means "it's all around you." If you put a rock in a bucket of water, the water would surround the rock. Even though we can't see it, Heavenly Father's love is all around us, just like the water is all around the rock. You can't make Heavenly Father not love you, any more than the rock can push the water away; you can't run away or hide from his love, either. Which is okay, because Heavenly Father's love is a very good thing!
swelling -- this means "getting bigger." When we talk about a "swelling within my heart," we mean that our hearts feel like they're getting bigger. This can happen when you're very happy, like when you think about how much Heavenly Father loves you.
testifies -- This means "telling other people." We're supposed to tell other people about how much Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to come back and live with him. And the Holy Ghost tells us that he knows those things, which is why we sing that he "testifies of God and Christ."
thee -- This is an old way of saying "you." We use it to remind ourselves that Heavenly Father deserves respect; He's pretty much the only one we say "thee" to anymore, so reminds us of how special He is.
trust -- Trust means being so sure that someone else will act or speak in a certain way that we aren't worried about it at all. If you fell backwards, they'd make sure to catch you, so you aren't even going to look behind you to be sure they're ready. We trust Heavenly Father and Jesus to love us and take care of us and give us good instructions. That's a big part of faith.
walk in his way -- This means "follow his commandments," or "do the things he would." We want to follow the commandments of Heavenly Father, and we want to act the way Jesus did while he lived on earth. That's why we sing that we promise to "always walk in his way."
wrongs -- This is another way of saying "sins" or "bad things we've done." When we are baptized, our sins are washed away, and we start over fresh and clean. We can do the same thing after we're baptized, by truly repenting.