I’m fine. And you?

A regular reader of this little blog will know that a few years ago I hit a bit of a rough patch. Let me be clear, technically I was fine.  Physically I felt fine.  Nothing was wrong to the visible eye. My faith, though, was shaken; my future path uncertain.  When faith becomes so intertwined with one’s identity it becomes noticeable when that core loses its footing.  I couldn’t help it when my feelings and mood seeped into my blog posts.  So much so, I had faithful readers ask me about my well-being.  My foundation became shaky as I had to make a decision to stand or find a new foundation.  Let’s just say, things were up in the air a bit.  While I am still struggling a little I have continued on and tried to rebuild my foundation a bit more secure than before.  It is a process.  But that’s just a little background for the main point of this blog and that is this: you never know what struggle someone is fighting inside so be nice to people.  Seriously. Continue reading

Come, Follow Me observations and insights from the trenches

Over a year ago, I was called to serve as a Gospel Doctrine teacher for a ward in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is my second go-around in this calling as I taught this class for three years starting in 2006.  After teaching Gospel Doctrine I went into Young Women and had the opportunity to usher in the era of the Come, Follow Me for youth.  Once you teach using that format, you can’t really go back to the old style of gospel teaching.  So when I started my second round of Gospel Doctrine, I taught using the new format.  In January of this year, when the format for Sunday School changed to the Come, Follow Me lessons I was excited.  Don’t tell anyone but this is probably my favorite calling.  I love to teach.  I love the scriptures.  It’s a good combination for me.  While I have no other expertise than my love of this calling to write this post I thought I’d share a few observations I have noticed about Sunday School.  Keep in mind, this is only my opinion and since I really have nowhere else to share my thoughts, here we go. Continue reading

When love is left out of the equation…

I listened quietly.  That’s what I do.  I am a quiet observer.

His complaint was valid, I’ll give him that.

I listened to a home teacher talk about his assigned single sister to minister to.  She owned her own home but was “needy” in that she always asked him to help with fix-it chores.  Perhaps he was just venting because he was talking to a family friend.  The problem though is that I also was there.  And I related to the single sister’s situation. Continue reading

Clear, Dry Roads Prayer II

I live in Wyoming and a true Wyomingite lives by certain truths.  One, you don’t plan trips during winter.  If there happens to be a nice day and the roads are open then go somewhere.  You should take advantage of those moments in winter because more than likely, the weather may not be conducive to driving and the roads may be closed.  It’s a truth or merely a fact of life here in Wyoming.  But life doesn’t stop just when the snow comes.  Sometimes you have to make plans even in Wyoming. Continue reading

A small act of kindness

It was a simple act. I wonder how many people even noticed? Surely if I saw it others must have too.

Brother So-and-so was saying the Sacrament prayer for the bread. Apparently, it was that kind of day for him. The words just couldn’t make their way out of his mouth correctly. He started several times. This is one of those instances that have the potential to embarrass someone. For some people, it could even drive them to obscurity. Slip away, slip away into safe, comfortable surroundings. Why bother trying?

Continue reading

The trouble with stuffed animals

I think I’ve gone to one garage sale in my life. I was on my mission and my companion wanted to go. Personally, I’m too cheap to spend money on other people’s toss outs. So, I don’t go. Plus there’s that whole early weekend morning thing the sales tend to land on. I maintain anything earlier than 9:00am does not and should not exist on a Saturday. How in the world did I end up helping out at one last Saturday?

The youth in our church decided they wanted to do a service project. Fine. Something to help the community. Great. But what?

Somebody came up with the idea to do a garage/bake sale with goods donated by members of the stake (the whole church in town).   Whatever money was raised would be donated to local charities. Great idea!

Another member of our presidency served on the committee and worked hard to get the details right. We didn’t know what kind of a response we would get in everything from donations to buyers. The response was very overwhelming.  More goods were donated than we could ever hope to sell in our 3 hour window. The community willingly donated and we reached our goal… x2.

We were also able to donate a sizable portion to a local thrift shop that will give things away if a person can’t pay. But what to do with the stuffed animals?

Someone suggested we give them to the fire department. “The fire department,” she said, “gives the stuffed toys to children involved in accidents.”

Sounds good!

So we separated the stuffed animals from the rest of the goods being donated. “Load them in my car,” I uncharacteristically volunteered. “I will drop them by the fire department.”

“If no one is there, just leave them by the door,” someone suggested.

We finished cleaning our mess and took our trailer full of donations to the thrift store.

I had been on my feet all day and didn’t feel like taking the stuffed animals to the fire department that day. Instead, I waited until Monday. While at work on Monday I thought I had better call to make sure it was okay.

“Hello,” I said to the person who answered the phone. “I have five garbage sacks and one tote full of stuffed animals we’d like to donate.”

“No, thank you.” To be honest, she sounded a little curt.

Hmmm. Maybe I called the wrong building. I dialed the other number.

“I don’t know anything about that,” said a cheery fireman. “But here’s the number you need to call to ask….” he gave me the first number I called.  “Thanks,” I said with no intention of calling again.

“Maybe try the police department?” a co-worker who overheard my plight suggested.

“Somebody just donated a whole bunch of brand new teddy bears for that,” came the policewoman’s response. “We have no storage space.”

I had a car full of stuffed animals I really wanted to get rid of. This was turning into a project. This is the exact reason I don’t volunteer for things like this.

Finally, I found someone to take them. I’m not exactly sure what she is going to do with them. I think I may have just shifted my problem to her – which I do feel kind of bad about. Although I do feel a tinge of guilt for feeling relieved that they are out of my car.

Here’s the big lesson from this folks: stuffed animals are not sanitary. Most people do not touch them at garage sales (as EVERYONE told me AFTER they were loaded in my car). However, if you do have some to sell, mark them as “pet toys.” You might have better luck. In fact, the kind lady that took them off my hands said she may try the humane society with the left over ones from her project.

That’s how it is with anything though, right? It’s all in the phrasing. The phrasing and knowing when not to volunteer.