Monday, August 31, 2009

Defensive....Who Me?

Lately I've had a hard time quieting my mind. My thoughts are playing MarioKart in my head. (You totally understand what I mean, if you play MarioKart like I do...which is mostly crashing into everyone else, getting turned around/driving backwards on the course, and knocking into every roadblock there is.) Pretty much a jumbled, chaotic mess of thoughts bouncing and bashing into one another: making sense of this new chapter in my life, finding my niche, Army life, politics, war, stillbirth, faith, hope, poverty, elitists, and the list goes on and on.

This morning I read a BYU commencement speech that was recently given by Elder M. Russell Ballard. As I read, it became clear that I often live my life on the "defensive", "waiting for the other shoe to drop", etc. While Elder Ballard's speech was directly related to my particular church, it struck many other chords with me. His wisdom can be applied to practically every aspect of my life. I defend my faith (to Christians I'm defending with things like: YES, Mormons ARE Christians. NO, I do not believe that I can buy my way into heaven with good works. YES, I do believe in grace. To atheists, agnostics, etc. I defend my belief in Jesus Christ with things like: No, I am NOT judging you. No I am not being nice so that later I can attempt to convert you...I just kinda liked you and thought we might be friends), I defend the longing I feel for my stillborn daughter, I defend my love of Dr.Pepper (the non diet, and completely caffeinated kind), I defend my conservative values, my sometimes liberal values, defend my passion for politics, defend my love of being in bed by 9 p.m., defend my snarkiness...defend, defend, defend. And frankly, it's exhausting!

In an effort to turn over a new leaf and begin "engaging" rather than "defending", I have a few posts brewing. For now, I leave you with a portion of Elder Ballard's speech. Again, it deals directly with life as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But, I'm guessing a little less defense (in all areas of my life) might help with the MarioKart in my head.

"In our interactions with others are we expecting always to have to defend ourselves? If so, I think we need to make a course correction.” Elder Ballard said. “It is inconsistent with where we are today as a Church and as a great body of followers of Jesus Christ.”
Elder Ballard referred to recent research that suggested Mormons can sometimes appear defensive to those who are not members of the Church. The study said that when Mormons are explaining their beliefs, they couch their language in terms that suggest they are expecting criticism.
Among the reasons for this type of reaction is the long history of persecution that Mormons faced during the early days of the Church, which included an extermination order from the governor of Missouri in the 19th century.
“That is now an indelible part of history. You have heard the stories of hardship and sacrifice since you were a small child. And yet this isn’t 1830, and there aren’t just six of us anymore. Could part of the defensiveness that others sometimes see in us suggest that we still expect to be treated as a disliked minority, forced to flee to the West?”
According to Elder Ballard, the growth of the Church is increasing its prominence and bringing public attention. He noted the Church is now the fourth largest church in the United States and that Mormons are found in nearly every community.
“This prominence alone ensures that the Church is going to be talked about more and more, and that Latter-day Saints are going to find themselves in more and more gospel discussions,” he said.
In suggesting the tone Mormons might adopt in responding to criticism, Elder Ballard referred to the Church’s response to a cable network airing a dramatization of its sacred temple ceremonies earlier this year. The statement explained, “As Catholics, Jews, and Muslims have known for centuries, such attention is inevitable once an institution or faith group reaches a size or prominence sufficient to attract notice.”
He also explained that too often Mormons allow others to set the conversational agenda, and subjects such as the long-discontinued practice of polygamy become the focus.
“Whenever you are having a conversation about the Church, you should try to make this a point. We follow Jesus Christ. We try to live as He taught. That’s the basis of our faith and our lives. This is the strongest non-defensive position you can take. You don’t have to defend or justify anything when you are basing your position on the teachings of the Son of God, and the fact that you are doing your best to keep His commandments,” he said.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

And It Makes Me Wonder

"When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by men, or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more than what happened in congresses?"
~Neal A. Maxwell

Friday, August 21, 2009

Partisan Politics...Clear as Mud

Healthcare is a "right", but life isn't?
You can go ahead and file this entire debate under: Things that make me go hmmmmm?!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lost, Found, and Failing

My energy and drive to unpack boxes.
A sad little puppy, lost & roaming around the house because she doesn't know what to do with herself. (Ok fine, so I'm the "sad little puppy"....I miss my kids. I want summer back! And sending your "baby" to Kindergarten, thus giving you loads of alone time, is HIGHLY overrated!)
I stink at sending kids back to school, especially Princie the Kindergarten girl.
I stink at being home alone.
I should be unpacking boxes, but I move around the house like a zombie, just waiting for my people to get home.

My desire to create a separate blog for political rants and ramblings.
A renewed sense of "If you don't like my thoughts, go somewhere else, bite me, etc." A push to keep standing and one way of doing that will be staying right here in MY spot. My time away has put things back in their correct perspective. I made this spot, I come here to feel free, and I'll be darned if anyone is going to make me uncomfortable in my own spot! So, please forgive my temporary insanity.
My commenting on others' blogs is tremendously lacking right now, and I apologize. My goal is to be fully back in action next week!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Today my little friend passed away. When death rears its ugly head, I'm quickly reminded of just how selfish I can be. He is okay now. I know it. He's no longer in pain, no longer suffering. And for that, I am grateful. But, I'm devastated. I'm hurt and disappointed. My heart breaks for all of us who are left behind, who no longer have the pleasure of being graced by his presence on this Earth. I do not worry and fret over what happens after this life. I am not afraid of death. I'm afraid of the pain it leaves in its wake...the feeling that your chest has been ripped open and your heart shredded.

And most importantly, what about his parents and two sisters? I feel physically ill as I think of the days that await them. I don't even have words for the aching I feel for them.

Do you think maybe my Victoria was one of many awaiting this precious little guy's return? Is it possible that they could share a hug, and know of my love for them? I believe so.

There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not a mark of weakness,
but of power.
They speak more eloquently
than 10,000 tongues.
They are the messengers
of overwhelming grief,
of deep contrition,
and of unspeakable love.

-Washington Irving

Friday, August 7, 2009


Well I've finally made it home. I am looking forward to getting caught up on all of your blogging goods. And, I have tons of pictures & stories to tell. But, today is not the day.

Today, I am pleading for your prayers on behalf of my little boyfriend and his family. The little guy is not doing well. My heart is too heavy for words to express it. He should be starting kindergarten this month, not lying in a hospital bed with erratic vitals and unresponsiveness. This child is one who laughs and loves freely. He is the happiest kid I've ever known, and in the past weeks has reminded his family to "smile even though our hearts are hurting". Truly an amazing child. And I will be forever honored to know I was his first crush. Funny isn't such silly, trivial things like being a five year old's first crush or remembering a smile and wave nonchalantly shared in a preschool hallway can suddenly become the very things we cling to in times of heartache and sadness. The tiny things that I never would've imagined I'd someday be thanking God for...but today, that's just what I'm doing.

Please pray for him. Pray for his sisters as they are beginning to fully realize the severity of this situation. Please pray for his doctors. And, of course for his parents. They are facing heartwrenching decisions. Decisions that no parents should have to make. Many of you are all too familiar with the pain they are facing now and will face very soon....if they do not get their miracle. The Sliker family needs peace and comfort, please pray they can feel both. Thank you! Sincerely.