Showing posts with label Religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religion. Show all posts

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Airplane Revelation

"Can you realize even slightly how relatively little we know? As Paul said, 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him' (1 Cor. 2:9) ."-Spencer W. Kimball

Read what I just learned about my potential over at Segullah (click).

Wanna read the rest of President Kimball's talk about our potential? Click here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

What I Did Not Have Time to Do...

All of Mormondom is a-buzz with discussion of Helen Whitney's "The Mormons" which aired the past two nights on PBS's Frontline and American Experience programs. On my satellite PBS channel, I don't get the second part until tonight, but I thought the first night was not so bad. Perhaps it's because I have heard all the crud and character attacks before, having served my mission in the south where, religiously, it's still the 1840's and I could easily be tarred and feathered (no offense, beloved Carolinians!).

Please click HERE to read the blog I wish I had time to write...I just kept saying amen to cjane's ideas as I read it this morning. I can't wait to watch the other half tonight. And just for the record, here is what I have to say about all the church history/Joseph Smith negativity (I said this to someone on my mission): EVEN IF all the things you are saying about Joseph Smith are true, my testimony still stands. Imperfect people are capable of doing great and divine things and bringing to pass lots of good. I try to. And personal life aside, what Joseph Smith restored and organized MAKES MY LIFE BETTER EVERY SINGLE DAY and BRINGS ME CLOSER TO GOD. Judge it by its fruits. End of story.

UPDATE: Here's a comment that was left at the Segullah blog mentioned above. I really love it and I have some loved ones who probably identify with it. YOUR THOUGHTS? Please comment.

This is such a great post! All too often it feels as though the members of the church are almost competing to be the “most perfect”. It’s nice for me to hear people admitting/accepting that the members of the church (including ourselves) are not perfect, and I’m sure it’s nice for investigators to hear as well.

I was raised in the church and sometimes it’s hard for me to deal with the “perfect person” attitude, imagine what it must be like for someone who is thinking about joining the church. I mostly base this on the fact that my ex-husband was investigating the church and I think (he never actually verbalized this) that he was scared away because he knew he’d never be able to do all the things he thought were absolutely necessary. Now, I’m not saying that all those things he thought were necessary aren’t things we strive for, but I think he felt if he couldn’t do them all perfectly he couldn’t be a member of the church. There are so many things, in hindsight, that I wish I could go back and tell him.

Here’s the member I am: I smoke and I’m inactive. Of course I want to
correct my problems (that’s only the two most noticeable), but they are my imperfections and they don’t stop me from believing 100% in the truth of the gospel. They don’t stop me from knowing that WITH the gospel and God’s help I will eventually be able to correct my imperfections. It doesn’t work the other way around…I can’t correct my imperfections and then start trusting in God and His gospel…believe me, I tried that.

Thanks for this wonderful, thought-provoking post.

Friday, March 30, 2007

By The Way...

...I see from my monthly Ikea e-newsletter that that Ikea-Draper is opening May 23rd and you can start lining up on May 21st and campout in line like a hobo. Awesome! Tell me, Utah amigas, are you or anyone you know going to be camping out? Are you at least having an Ikea party over Memorial Day weekend (to celebrate the fact that in about 4 months, the crowds might die down enough for you to have a pleasant shopping experience)? Share.

Also, I would like to include some stories in our next ward newsletter in answer to this question: What is the most meaningful act of kindness/charity you have ever experienced? You can tell about when you were the giver OR the receiver and I will make the responses anonymous in the newsletter. We just wanted to get some unique service ideas floating around and drive home the point that sometimes the smallest simplest things mean the most. So please, do tell ! (leave a comment or send me an email at jamiemelin at msn dot com).

Happy Friday/ Conference Eve, y'all! Break out the french toast and breakfast casserole, the General Authority Bingo games, and your best comfy conference-watching clothes. May we all be edified and rejoice together!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Heads Up

Good Monday Morning to you all. I was just doing a quick e-mail check and went off on a tangent researching a comment made on last nights post by Mike Gilmore regarding yet another "historical fiction" movie about the church, this time about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The movie is called September Dawn and the trailer made me sick with it's crazy portrayal of Brigham Young and scenes that look like temple ordinances. Scary. And lame.

Anyway, here are some links you might want to look at to brush up on your MMM history, because it looks like some poo is gonna hit some fans.

From a blog with good links
From a FAIR address

For my non-LDS friends, you know me and you know I am not a crazed fanatic, so when you see things like this, please give us the benefit of the doubt. In our culture, anyone devout is seen as a fanatic, which is just sad. You can be a sports fanatic, you can be a celebrity worshipper, you can be a drug addict--all with less disdain in our culture than being committed to your religion.

(PS: but I just want to go on record as saying that from the trailer, the movie looks false and BY looks demonized, and that's just bad news--and there is a big difference between being a violent zealot and a devout Mormon).

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sabbath Thoughts: Trying to Be Like Jesus

"As [Christ’s] followers, we cannot do a mean or shoddy or ungracious thing without tarnishing His image. Nor can we do a good and gracious and generous act without burnishing more brightly the symbol of Him whose name we have taken upon ourselves. And so our lives must become a meaningful expression, the symbol of our declaration of our testimony of the Living Christ, the Eternal Son of the Living God"
(Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Symbol of Our Faith," Ensign, 04/05).

I was thinking about this message (I posted it last Easter) from our prophet all day today after I put it in our ward newsletter last week. I just love it—-to me, it’s one of President Hinckley’s most succinct and useful lessons (I would have used it a lot on my mission). I think about how we are watched once people know we are L.D.S. and wonder what they make of what they see. I was so happy to receive this message in my inbox today, and I will post the whole story here for you to read since I don’t have a link handy…

Boston Herald Story
Faith, flight plan guide JetBlue boss: Other CEOs need his humility
By Jeff Benedict
Monday, March 5, 2007

JetBlue Airways recently made headlines after the worst operations breakdown in its seven-year history led to more than 1,000 canceled flights. There's been just as much good news about the way chief executive David Neeleman responded to the crisis - by bending over backward to admit failure, accept responsibility, apologize and compensate customers for their inconvenience.

Everyone from public relations experts to aviation analysts is praising Neeleman for doing things that are largely unheard of in corporate America. While many chief executives would have ducked for cover or dispatched a spokesman, Neeleman appeared on David Letterman's show and said, "I'm not making excuses. We made a mistake. We put our crew members and our customers through hell, and we have solutions for this."

The next morning he appeared on national news shows, apologized profusely and unveiled a Customer Bill of Rights guaranteeing compensation to passengers whose flights were canceled. He admitted being "mortified and humiliated." Humility doesn't come easy to chief executives, as we know from recent corporate scandals. This is where Neeleman's Mormon faith comes into play.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expects its members to serve in lay ministry positions typically held by paid clergy. There's no exception for chief executives. Neeleman spends 10 to 15 hours per week working directly with individuals who have made mistakes and are seeking redemption. That experience gives him a feel for what it's like to be on the wrong side of trouble. The result is a chief executive who doesn't let pride prevent him from publicly admitting mistakes and asking forgiveness. It also explains his habit of frequently serving as a flight attendant or a baggage handler for his company's flights.

Neeleman is one of a handful of Mormons who have reached the pinnacle of the business world, and all behave much differently from the average chief executive. Two years ago I began interviewing him and several others who share his faith for a book about how their religion influences their approach to business. Like the others, Neeleman has benefited from good parents, a strong work ethic, honesty, smarts and timing. But those qualities aren't unique to Mormons. What is unique, besides lay ministry, is that Mormon men are expected at age 19 to spend two years in a full-time unpaid service mission.

Neeleman spent his mission in the slums of Brazil, where he learned to speak Portuguese. He also learned what it feels like to serve people who are less fortunate. This was a key influence on Neeleman's decision to create JetBlue.

Another important aspect of Mormonism is tithing, a commandment that requires church members to give up 10 percent of gross earnings. This is a great insulator against greed, which has been the downfall of executives at Tyco, Enron, WorldCom and other companies.

Tithing also conditions people to be driven by things besides wealth. So it was a simple reflex for Neeleman to make his Customer Bill of Rights retroactive to cover all passengers inconvenienced in last month's storm - a decision that cost his company approximately $30 million.

JetBlue is led by a guy, conditioned by Mormonism, who isn 't driven by money. Just look at his salary: He earns $200,000 annually. It gets more unusual. Neeleman donates his entire salary to a catastrophic fund that's been set up for JetBlue workers who fall on hard times. Not every board chairman can afford this level of charity, but giving up any income to fund an employee benefit is virtually unheard of in a world where most chief executives make many times Neeleman's salary.

It may be unreasonable to expect a chief executive who isn't spending many hours a week ministering to act this selflessly. But anyone can ask the question that Neeleman asked himself when this crisis struck: What is the right thing to do?
How cool is that? I hope things work out for him and his customers will appreciate him.

The missionaries told me something last week that made me feel good. At Christmas time, they brought some less active sisters to our Relief Society Christmas brunch and I recognized one of them as my favorite grocery cashier. We hugged each other, so surprised to see one another, yet not so surprised at all. Of course I felt drawn to her, I thought later, of course I noticed that flicker of spirit still in her, and she saw it in me! Well, I have tried much harder to seek her out and “check up on her” now that I know she’s been baptized. Anyway, the missionaries have been re-teaching her, and they were taking about their missions the other day. They told her that I had served a mission, and she said, “Well, that makes a lot of sense to me. That girl sings like an angel and she walks with Jesus every day, you can tell. She's what they mean by saint.”

WHAT!?!? Now, all of that is exaggerated (as you well know if you read this blog), but I can’t believe that’s the impression I have made on her IN THE GROCERY STORE (when I am mad as heck at my naughty kids, tired, struggling to be organized, etc…). It really made me think deeply about what I’m putting out there and if my actions reflect the Living Christ whom I love with all my heart (or most of it…I think I am still weeding junk out of that space for Him). I feel so motivated to strive for that whole "at all times and in all places that ye may be in, even until death" thing.

Your thoughts??

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Please, I Beg of You...

...follow this link and leave a comment!

I have been thinking about this (I saw the Oprah show and had heard the theory before, to which I responded, "Duh--that's the gospel in disguise! That's using your Divine Nature to create, just like your Father does"). I have been meaning to blog about it but haven't found the time, so read this and tell me what you think (you can join the discussion at Segullah or leave a comment here--I'd love to hear from you). Tonight I am hosting our "Making Progress" gospel discussion group for Enrichment meeting and the loose topic is Divine Nature, so I think I will read this Segullah post in our group tonight.

PS: Be sure to read the linked articel by Richard Eyre! Down with the Cult of Oprah!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Deep Thoughts

I've posted some deep thoughts over on Framanisco. Have a gander and leave a comment.

And just so you're not too disappointed, here are a few Jack Handey classics (my MTC teacher used to read us a "Deep Thought" each night after was fun back in 1992):

I hope if dogs ever take over the world, and they chose a king, they don't just go by size, because I bet there are some Chihuahuas with some good ideas.

If you're robbing a bank and you're pants fall down, I think it's okay to laugh and to let the hostages laugh too, because, come on, life is funny.

Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you.

When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges.

Too bad you can't buy a voodoo globe so that you could make the earth spin real fast and freak everybody out.

And this last one is dedicated to my pal, Al Gore, in honor of this month's Outside Magazine "Green Edition..."

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Men at Work were really popular when I was in sixth grade. My dance class did a dance to "Land Down Under," and we all loved "Who Can it Be Now." But my favorite Men at Work song was "Overkill." One night, it even made me cry.

That was the year I first noticed that I had a severe anxiety problem. The year I developed an ulcer. The year I started keeping a notebook on the nightstand to try to quiet the thoughts that raced and kept me awake at night (those of you who know me as a "list person" now know where that stems from--making a list is sometimes the only way to quiet my brain and get some sleep). It made for some award-winning poetry, but it also made for a painful adolescence (don't get me wrong--my social life in junior high and high school was almost idyllic, in a John Hughes sort of way--just the right mix of heart and humor and silliness and melodrama--it's just that there was a lot of worry, a bunch of rattly old skeletons in the closet needing attention).

So anyway, when I finally listened closely to the lyrics of "Overkill" one night (undoubtedly on KRQ), I felt what the singer felt and it became somewhat of an anthem for me. And you can imagine the joy (and twinge of pain) I felt when Colin Hay appeared on an episode of Scrubs singing said song. It was an episode about being totally overwhelmed as an intern, and I thought it was perfect. Here, you watch it see if you feel the same way:

So I was just thinking about all this stuff, and I want to articulate it better later, but I was just thinking about how everyone has their own "stuff"--their own anxieties, weaknesses, mental illnesses, addictions--even the people who always seem like they have it together. And how crazy is it that we (whose problems are obvious) always look at them (whose problems are hidden) and think it would be nice to trade loads.

I have noticed a subtle shift in my thinking over the past year (again, something I will elaborate on later), in that I have recognized that (a) everybody's got a row to hoe, so to speak, a load to bear, a trial to endure, whatever; and (b) MY load is tailor made for me. I mean, it's hard sometimes and all that, but I have learned from trying to fulfill my baptismal covenants, by trying to bear one anothers' burdens. I have learned that my load is just right. A seemingly lighter load wouldn't make me "perfect, even as [my] Father in Heaven is perfect," and a heavier one would crush me. So in many ways I have been able to put my blinders on and deal with what's on my plate, and do it a little more graciously. And at the same time, I have been able to reach outside myself a little more because I have finally recognized that all of us, even the ones who seem like they don't, need to share our load once in a while.
I can't get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications
Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know I'll be alright
Perhaps it's just imagination
Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Today was Selection Sunday for NCAA Men's Basketball (the only sport anyone in our house is remotely interested in, besides the occasional futbol match, which we only like to watch on Spanish language television). I think it's quite telling that I slept through the selection coverage. It's a bad sign that I haven't seen even ONE Arizona game this season (I have checked scores and standings, though...sad times). I think the times they are a-changin' and My Teams are falling from grace. Dare I say Papa Lute and Coach K are gettin' old? I don't really know what I am talking about, but I will cheer on my Wildcats, my Tarheels, and my Blue Devils, even if the fun is all over next weekend. *SIGH.* Bear Down, Arizona
On another note, I have a dear friend who joined the church a few years ago and has really grown spiritually the past year or so, but sadly, her husband has not followed (even though he's been a member "technically" most of his life). She is at a real crossroads and I want her to know that I really feel for her and she's in my prayers. It's so hard, believing what we believe/know about families, to decide what to do in these situations. Of course everyone deserves a celestial marriage, especially when one is willing to pay the price, but it's a delicate situation when one finds oneself alone in such a pursuit. I've met a really amazing wife whose answer to her prayer was to wait for him because, as she put it, he was her brother before he was her husband, and he needed her love and support to help him back to where he should be. But many others have had to cut bait and move on. And then there are the kids. Do you sacrifice your family life for your own personal happiness and hope it all works out for them? These are hard questions and I don't have the answers.
Well, wait--I do have one answer. Only God knows our potential and our limitations. Only he knows if your husband is ever going to come around, or if your kids can withstand a divorce, or if there is indeed someone else to make your dreams come true. Only he can intervene and change someone's heart. Only he can tell you the right choice for you. You just have to be ready for and willing to act upon the answer with faith. Like Nephi told the angel in 1Nephi 11:17, "I know that he loveth his children, nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." I applaud you for caring enough about him and your children to work on it rather than doing what would be much more comfortable and easy for you--leaving and returning to the comfort (and SUNSHINE) of your family of origin.
We had a great Sabbath today. I am always so happy to be at church in my own ward and be able to attend all three meetings with little interruption. So thanks to my kids for giving me that today. I needed it. And thank you to Rich for letting me sleep off my ear infection and all the exhaustion from partyin' like a 20-year-old this weekend :) I had a long and much needed nap today, and I didn't actually get out of my bed (snuggling with James) until 6pm! We all worked together to get the laundry and laundry room cleaned up (we started that on Friday), and then we took some of those under-the-bed storage boxes and made a "Memory Box" for each kid. We needed those because, as you probably well know, they bring lots of treaseures home from pre-school and church nursery and we needed some place besides the fridge door and the office to keep them all. It's been a nice evening, and now I should try to pack it in. Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

PS: I Adore Addie

On Saturday, I had to trim Addie's bangs because she cut a small chunk of "hair that was bothering" her and I got upset with her.

Later she was upset about something and she muttered under her breath, "I'm just stupid and ugly." I told her we don't talk like that, and she said, "But I said it to myself, not to Heidi, and I can say whatever I want to myself." I said, "No, you can't even be mean to yourself, because Heavenly Father made you and when you say bad things about yourself it hurts his feelings. He thinks you're beautiful. And I helped to make you, so it hurts my feelings, too."

I thought about that all night and how much my self-talk must hurt Heavenly Father's feelings. It was a great epiphany for March Forth.

Later that night (last night), Addie and I went on a date (thanks, Granmda Rosalie, for filling in for the babysitter--you're the best) and we went to see Bridge to Terrabithia. We both cried and talked about it all the way home. Addie really liked it, and today she told me, "Using your imagination can help you to be nicer and have a good day, even be nice to bullies." Yep.

I also watched Marie Antoinette by myself Friday night. Fun and worthwhile, I thought. Two best things:
1. Kirsten Dunst always reminds me SO MUCH of Heidi Egan and I can't put my finger on why, but it's fun to watch her for that reason alone (especially in Bring It On, imagining Heidi as a competitive cheerleader...heh, heh).
2. Best moment of the movie (which has an 80's soundtrack): When the Cure's "Plainsong" just blasts after the wedding scene--exactly the right song for such a moment. LOVED it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


(a) Addie's arm is broken. It's fractured at the top of her humerus, so close to her shoulder that they just gave her a sling and a big fat ace bandage-type thing to hold her arm to her chest. She's taking it well, except the part where I had to sign the rest of her Valentines because her right hand is tied up.

(b) Still no news on my biopsy, but I am healing up well and the topical treatment seem to help, so no worries. And James is getting better, sleeping through the night, and having only one breathing treatment.

(c) I am in Utah AGAIN--we left Bozeman at 1:30 pm and got here to Herriman at 9pm. Rich and the girls will drop off me and James at the airport tomorrow morning to catch a flight to Phoenix, where I will meet up with my Layton family and head over to Thatcher for Grandma's funeral on Friday. Rich has some fun things planned for the girls--they will hang out in Salt Lake City and pick me up and head back to Montana on Sunday. And then we are not going ANYWHERE!!!!! ;) Not for a while, any way!

So life is good. It has been a long hard two months (I keep singing that dang Counting Crows "Long December" song in my head). I am ready to stop the world and catch my breath for a while. Monday night after our own little Family Night, we went across the street to watch a movie with my SIL and her kids. I came home early with James. As I looked across the street at my little cozy house all covered in snow and smiled down at James in his carrier, my heart swelled a little bit. Life is really hard sometimes, whether you're struggling or someone you love is struggling. But it's really, really beautiful sometimes, too, like when you're walking through super-sparkly snow on a February night with a beautiful, happy baby you prayed really hard for, to a warm, comfy house you built with the man you love to house the family you cherish. Like the three little birds sang, "Every little thing's gonna be all right."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Beautiful Dawn

Take me to the breaking of a beautiful dawn

Take me to the place where we came from

Take me to the end so I can see the start

There's only one way to mend a broken heart

Take me to the place where I don't feel so small

Take where I don't need to stand so tall

Take me to the edge so I can fall apart

There's only one way to mend a broken heart

Take me where love isn't up for sale

Take me where our hearts are not so frail

Take me where the fire still owns its spark

There's only one way to mend a broken heart

Teach me how to see when I close my eyes

Teach me to forgive and to apologize

Show me how to love in the darkest dark

There's only one way to mend a broken heart

Take me where the angels are close on hand

Take me where the ocean meets the sky and the land

Show me to the wisdom of the evening star

There's only one way to mend a broken heart

Take me to the place where I feel no shame

Take me where courage doesn't need a name

Learning how to cry is the hardest part

There's only one way to mend a broken heart

-The Wailin' Jennys (watch the video below)


Dear Loved Ones ,                                                                                We've enjoyed a great first week o...