Sunday, November 24, 2013

Obsession with Apocalypse

       Despite what it looks like, I have been faithfully blogging every week. I just don't always post what I blog because some of them are mucho bigo posts that will probably not be fully read by anyone once they are actually posted. I figured its okay, however, since this blog remains, most importantly, a journal and record since this seems to be the only way I can do it.
      I have a couple of random thoughts today. The first post I started was called obsession with apocalypse. I never posted it because I suddenly thought of a lot more that needed to be said first. I now want to return to that idea.
      First of all, I really hate scary movies, and I especially hate zombies. It must have been heavily on my mind when I started this blog due to the outpouring of zombie movies, tv shows, board games etc. Then I realized, not only does the media portray the world ending with zombies, but it predicts deep sea monsters, world wars, aliens, robots, and plagues. The only thing that seems to be consistent in media is that the world is going to end. It strikes me as sad that our particular generation looks to the future with expectations of declination whereas, previous generations pictured flying cars, hover-boards, and other innovations. I have been trying to decide what I think that says about us. Has Hollywood run out of ideas? Do people have an instinct that tells them that the human race can't survive in its current state much longer? Do we think innovation is leading to destruction? Why are we obsessed with chaos, anarchy, and apocalypse?
       Now, I agree with the movies to some extent. I think the world will end as we know it eventually. However, I don't think it will be an alien and outside force that changes it the most. I think that after all of the bad happens, we will finally get to receive our Lord and Master. Having been responsible for the creation of the earth he can hardly be considered alien. With this in mind, it seems far more logical to prepare spiritually for the end of the world than it does to build an underground fortress full of prepper nonsense.
     Don't get me wrong. There are reasons we are asked to have food storage. We are a church of preparedness. We should not forgot about possible temporal needs that will come with the pre-second coming state of the world. I do think, however, that it would be worse to die spiritually unprepared than to die from starvation. Luckily for me, I can afford to be spiritually prepared (as can we all). I cannot, however, afford not to.
      With this thought in mind, I have once again found myself in the position of needing to take stock of my many numerous faults. If I don't know what they are how can I fix them? Sometimes being Christlike seems so daunting. Especially when missionary work is so stressed right now and I have a fear of talking to people. With that, I suppose its easy to tell which of my faults has been plaguing me lately. I want to be a missionary but it scares me to death.
      I want to share the gospel. Why would I not want to share the very best part of my life? But people intimidate me more, rather than less, as I have gotten older. I am trying. I go to my meetings, and fulfill my callings to the best of my ability, but I know I should be doing more. It makes me so sad when people leave the church due to an offense. I just wish that everyone could understand how imperfect the members are and be able to separate them from the church as a whole.
     Anyway, I did warn that this was a tangent post. I have been working on my personal progress faithfully since deciding to do it. My goals are a lot braver than they were as a youth. I keep thinking that the more I can prepare and spiritually strengthen myself the better the chance I will have of being able to say something that someone else needs to hear. I want to do what I am supposed to do, so I can start being who I could be.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Personal Progress

    Having successfully taught my education lesson to the young women today, I find myself needing to take my own advice as far as spiritual education goes. I read church material regularly. Really studying it, however, is another matter entirely. In order to study and connect to my young women, I have decided I am going to complete my personal progress book again.
Personal Progress Book

    If I have any former young women leaders reading this they might be chuckling to themselves right about now. I was really a rather stubborn young woman when it came to personal progress.
    Flashback. As a kid, I didn't particularly like to go to achievement days. I didn't necessarily care for structured social interaction and I would have rather been at home reading. Nevertheless, I went when my mother insisted. I had a lot of good leaders and I met a lot of the girls I would grow up with. Then, when I turned 12 I tried to learn the young women ropes quickly. Our young women's program was very small. There were about eight of us (all three levels) on average from the time I was 12 to the time I was 18. There were several of us who were consistently at church and regularly at young women. Throughout the years we rotated through callings. Karina was the president, then she would graduate, then I would be the president, then I would graduate, then so and so would be the president etc. I liked most of the girls I was in young women with. Some of the best friends I had in middle school were in my young women class. However, overall, I did not care for young womens anymore than I cared for achievement days.
     I went because my parents liked me to go and I figured that there were worse ways I could be spending my time. But it was hard. I often felt like I didn't fit in. I wasn't boy crazy like a lot of the other girls, I didn't like scary movies, I had little interest in going to the dances, and I certainly didn't want to sneak out and doorbell ditch. I had my own place amongst them but I usually felt like a loner. There were a few good years in the middle where we were all tight but high school hit and we separated. Anyway the point is, I thought personal progress was worth while while I was in young womens. But, I wouldn't let anybody be involved in it more than absolutely necessary.
     In the personal progress book, there are sections that each have experiences and projects that need to be completed. When one is complete, the young women are supposed to pass it off with a parent or leader. As a teenager I decided that even if it cost me the medallion (that young women get when they complete the personal progress book) I wasn't going to let any adult sign me off on anything. As far as I was concerned personal progress was personal. Personal meant you didn't have to share with others. So, I did my entire personal progress book without to much outside help. We did do stuff at activities that went along with some of the values but I never let anyone sign me off. (I think I did get a medallion, one of my leaders, I suspect my mother, must have taken pity on me.)
    I think I had it half right. Looking back on my book, my own signature next to everything, I am proud to say that I did it and that I did it on my own without the expectation of a reward. What I didn't get then, and still have a difficult time with now, is the fact that the program was set up by people called of God. Even if doing it on my own made sense, I should have been willing to follow the guidelines simply because they were the guidelines.
    I am often stubborn and sure that I am right, I think there is a whole post about that, and sometimes it is difficult for me to take counsel. This is a goal I have currently. I want to be able to be humble and respectful. Willing to follow the counsel and plans that others make. I have defiance and independence down, now its time to master the other half of the spectrum.
    Wish me luck this second time around. I plan on blogging my experiences. Also, I can sign off my own goals legitimately now because I am a leader :)
    Leaders, thank you for being patient with me.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Half Baked Bucket List

After discussing bucket lists over chicken sandwiches with Alisha yesterday, I decided I wanted to type mine up. I will have a complete section and an incomplete section.
Note: not everything on the completed section was a goal before  I accomplished it. Rather, I thought it deserved to be on the list in retrospect.
Also, I plan on changing this as I go. Wish me luck :)

Complete

  • Got Married
  • Graduated College
  • Bought a House
  • Lived Outside of the Country (Thailand Blog)
  • Lived in Asia
  • Went Skydiving
  • Pet a Tiger
  • Rode an Elephant
  • Snorkeling
  • River Rafting
  • Took Fencing Lesson
  • Josh Groban Concert
  • Lifehouse Concert
  • Owl City Concert

Incomplete
  • Have kids
  • Go on a Mission
  • Visit New Zealand
  • Visit Europe
  • Go to Australia
  • Go to South America
  • Learn Spanish
  • Masters Degree
  • Bungee Jumping
  • Go to the Louvre 
  • Hang Gliding in Brazil
  • See the Amazon River
  • Visit all 50 States
  • Learn to Water Ski
  • Have a Ski Pass
  • Have Art on Display Somewhere...
  • Write a Book
  • Reliant K Concert
  • Figure out how to get weeds out of a lawn...
  • Learn to Rock Climb
  • Work at a Library
  • Edit a Kids Book
  • Learn to Play a Hymn on the Piano
  • Complete Personal Progress as an adult

Education Rant

     I am supposed to teach young women's next week. So, for the last few days I have been thinking about the topic and am trying to decide what I am going to say. Now, luckily for me, I like this topic and I feel more qualified to teach it than I have many of the other lessons I have taught in the past year. The title is "Why is it important to get an education?"
    This particular topic is important to me for multiple reasons. First, I like to learn. A big part of the reason I went into teaching in the first place was so that I would have the opportunity to be a lifelong learner. Second, stagnation makes me sick. I can't stand sitting around for very long (not that I can't do it) but I like to feel like I am progressing in some way or towards something. Third, I spend a large portion of my time with kids. This being the case I can see what a difference it makes to have educated parents.
    With my young women in mind my goal is to somehow impress up on them the importance of getting an education not only for their own sakes but for the sakes of their current families, future families, and the many people they will one day come in contact with. Education is certainly not about single individuals.
    Before I went into teaching I was an art major. I liked it just fine but I got bored taking classes that pertained to the same subject all day. The idea of teaching, once it entered my mind, was very appealing because not only could I still be involved with art, but I would have the chance to continue learning about math, science, history, psychology, writing, reading etc. There wasn't ever a subject I took that I despised (except for possibly chemistry) so going into education was a win win. My college classes in education were not exactly what I was hoping for but they were interesting. I got to learn a lot more about law and culture than I had anticipated. Actually teaching, however, has been an adventure. Last year, I had to relearn American History (although I admit we only made it to the Civil War) and fifth grade science. Science is not my strong suit though I do like it. I remember being in the building late one day last year trying to understand just what kind of electricity lightning was and how it worked. In my classroom I have also had to become the resident expert on poetry, i-pod usage, and computer skills. Furthermore, I am still taking college courses to obtain endorsements to help me more adequately teach different students. All of this keeps me busy, engaged, and using my time wisely.
     All the learning also prevents academic/intellectual stagnation. I'm no Einstein and it's not like I can't sit still for a movie but I like to progress. Summer is actually hard for me if I don't keep myself busy because I go from constantly using my brain and making plans to weeding my lawn. Not that that doesn't take brains but its definitely different. In fact, quick tangent, (which is also part of my lesson) there are an awful lot of things that one can be educated about that have nothing to do with sitting in a classroom. When we bought our house I quickly became educated on the intricacies of tools, the proper way to paint a room, how to put a ceiling up, and what exactly it meant to pay a mortgage. No one had ever bothered to educate me on such topics before.
    This concept brings me to my third point, sort of. I realize that it is not easy and or fun for many people to learn. I have kids in my class who learn effortlessly and quickly. Then, I have kids who have to work on their homework for hours just to half grasp a concept. However, I can almost always tell whether or not a child's parents have an education. The kids with parents who went to school have bigger vocabularies, more self confidence, and fewer emotional issues (generally speaking). Now this, I think, should be the biggest reason to get educated. I went to college with the mindset that my ultimate goal was a family. One day, I want to raise my kids with further education as a goal. I think I will be able to be a better mother having gotten the degree I did. (I realize many people are born nurturers, I have never felt like one of those people. Therefore, I imagine, this specific degree will help me immensely.) Like I said earlier, getting an education is not just a favor one does for oneself, it is a favor for ones peers and family. The education of few often betters the lives of many. Why would that be different for less well known individuals.
Seminary Graduation
    The last thing I want to make sure I get across when I teach my lesson, is the fact that a person's spiritual education is at least as important as a person's academic education. This is the part of the lesson that I feel least qualified to teach. I try to do everything I am supposed to when it comes to continuously following commandments and building my testimony, but I don't necessarily try as hard as I should. It is easy to succumb to the things that have deadlines attached, or paychecks, or tangible rewards. It takes far more self control (at least for me) to focus and dedicate time to things that are far more intrinsic and require patience.
    However, gaining spiritual knowledge should be at the top of my list of priorities because it is the most important.