Saturday, December 29, 2012


The title has nothing to do with the post!!

I hope this post doesn't turn out to be dumb. But by golly, it's my blog, and I do whatever the heck I want with it!! And no, it doesn't mean some deep dark secret is going to come out about me, or some juicy details about my life revealed. (Ha ha, nope) Just some thoughts about life as a Mormon.

Before I get to anything though, I want it to be known that I firmly believe no person is ever "done." No one is ever done learning about the world, or themselves, or the nature of God, etc. No one is done deciding what kind of person they will be. Even the greatest sinner. Or that one nice neighbor. Or anybody.

I look at every person as though they could change the next day.

I guess I am at that age where all my friends (myself included) are making decisions about who they are and what they believe. And I guess in the age of social media and blogging, it is easier to find out what my friends think much quicker than in the pre-Internet days.

So I guess a lot of those I knew growing up in the LDS church are distancing themselves from the church,

But a few of them are staying. They are facing some very hard trials, but are completely devoted to their religion.

It's amazing for me to think about the followers Jesus lost while he was on the earth. They saw his face and could be there in his presence, yet they didn't like the things he said. It seems like in order for us to even believe in the doctrine, we need a supreme faith in the simple concept that God exists. This is a hard thing for us to do. To believe in things that we cannot see.

But I hope, in the end, that this is my foundation. I don't go to church to be pleased by everybody, to be catered to, or to look special. I don't even really need to be part of a "chosen generation" whatever that means. I need a SAVIOR because I MAKE MISTAKES. STUPID ONES.

I hope in the end, that I have hope for my neighbors. I feel one of the many reasons people leave the church is because they want people to give them attention, positive or negative. When it's the negative (or when they perceive it as negative) they have all the more resolve to stay away.

I think (emphasis on think) people tend to feel horribly "judged" before leaving the church. Well, they are probably right. We are all CONSTANTLY judging each other. I know lots of people judge me, good and bad. It doesn't seem fair for me to assume the worst, especially when most of the time, PEOPLE MEAN WELL. It is extremely frustrating when a person says "you must hate me based on this and this behavior." Wow. Hate really is a strong word. And "hated" is the feeling many people have going to church every week. Why????

Some people have described me as "aloof," "quiet," or even "cynical" (??) when really I am just shy. I was not a good missionary in this way. On a mission you are CONSTANTLY introducing yourself to people. I will never forget how my ward mission leader in Kiev literally pushed me toward a new investigator coming into the building so she could know who I was. Brother Kikhno was such a hard leader, knew perfect English, but ALWAYS spoke Ukrainian so I would learn the language. By the end of my mission, I was still in that ward and could capably report our activities to him every week. He believed in my potential even though I didn't. I still feel inadequate in many ways, but in the gospel, there is so much room for growth. I have gotten better in a lot of ways since then, and am getting better every day. There is so much JOY in that. Through the gospel, my family and friends have found healing, improvement and peace. Obtaining this is not meant to be easy.

So when I see someone struggling, I try not to give them what they think they will get (harsh judging and a superior attitude). I give them my confidence that tomorrow will come. I am not the miracle that brings tomorrow, or the future. Tomorrow just comes. And things can change.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A fine Christmas

Christmas was yesterday. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, mostly because we’ve been busy.
Busy watching the Hobbit. (Which I loved, seriously. Maybe it’s because it has been like a year since I have been to the movies…)
Busy cooking. And, like I said, eating. Even though our cabbage rolls lost to the Horchata in this years’ Iron Chef competition, we got to eat the results, which makes us all winners in the end. Plus we had an EXACT TIE for second place with the Risotto, which is pretty amazing when you consider there were 100 points possible.
Busy getting fun toys for Pippa. Who is so funny to watch.
Busy working. (Micah). BOO!
As a trade-off for the work, however, we got to party at one of his co-workers house for Hannukah. And eat the most delicious potato pancakes ever.
Busy attending resident dinners. I realize that it’s not very common for wives and family to be invited to these, so I was very grateful to have been able to go. We left Pippa with friends and turned them into date nights. I must say I charmed the heck out of the other residents and applicants. I am that delightful.
Busy taking family pictures:
Busy learning new words (Pippa), even though she calls both of us Dada.
Busy reading all the new Russian literature we got for Christmas.
Busy listening to my new Ipod that replaced the one that got stolen in Chicago. (WHOEVER YOU ARE, I AM OUT TO GET YOU, PUNK!)

We are ready for another vacation, I think. I could literally feel my skin drinking in the sunlight in California. We do not get enough in Seattle. Still, the taste of the water is absolutely unmatched.

Hope you all had a great Christmas.
Soon I will be posting more recipes from the Iron Chef competition, including an updated, Pioneer Woman style tutorial on making Borsch. STAY TUNED!