Days 2017

Days 2017

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Unveiling the New Armor

I saw an interesting headline on the LDS church website yesterday.

"Scripture Mastery Updates  Learn why seminary students are now memorizing scripture verses that better align with basic doctrines. “We looked for scriptures that could change lives.

 I attended four years of seminary, every day before high school.  In addition to our comprehensive study of the Old and New Testament, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, we were required to intensely study, memorize, and basically internalize one hundred verses of scripture, twenty five each year, specifically chosen to help us in our lives and our understanding of the gospel.  How would you even begin to narrow down the scriptures into 25 "most meaningful to the entire world" verses a year?  Actually, I don't think it's humanly possible so it's a good thing our church is governed by revelation.

The continuing revelation aspect is what caught my interest in this headline about the changing lineup of scriptures.  We all know how much the world has changed in the last 20 years.  (Yikes!  I started as a freshman in high school twenty years ago!  The World Wide Web was born.  People still wore hypercolor T- shirts and big tall bangs!  And Bill Clinton was president.)  I was curious to see how the leaders of the church have been inspired to change the curriculum to prepare the upcoming generation for the rest of their lives.  What new challenges are they going to face?  What are they going to understand better than we understood?  Who are they going to be?  I know that sounds kind of sappy, but I have daughter in this generation who will be in seminary in a mere two years, affected by these changes.  I also fully believe that the President of our church is a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, as are his apostles, who directly oversaw these changes.  What does "Seer" mean?  Very simple.  One who can see the past, present, and especially critical in this case, the future.  

I had some extra time today while I guarded a napping baby on my bed to compare and contrast the new list with the scriptures I memorized twenty years ago.  Granted, some of these might have been changed the year after I learned them and not recently--I have no way of knowing--but that doesn't concern me.  What I wanted to know is, what does my daughter need more than I did at her age?   

At my reckoning after going through them all and remembering or not remembering them, I think there are about 36 new scriptures, which also means that many old ones were replaced, making about 72 changes.  There were also a few where a verse or two was added to a scripture on the existing list.  Wow.  Here are a few things I noticed.

Some of the "new" scriptures highlight the great destiny of this generation.  For example:

"And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said:  These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me:  Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.(Abr. 3:23--This one may be from the old list, I  may have actually learned this one, I can't remember for sure...)

"... ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people... And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." (Exodus 19:5-6)  I think this also underscores how those that follow Christian values are becoming more and more peculiar to the rest of the world!

 The "ye are the light of the world" scripture (Matt 5:14-16) is still on the list, but added to it is a scripture particularly exciting this year, seeing how the Lord is hastening his work and greatly increasing the missionary force.  "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost...."  (Matt. 28:19-20)

Other new scriptures seem to perfectly answer to current issues and events, questions and misconceptions, such as:

"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do....And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."  (2 Nephi 25:23, 26)  Mormons are Christian.  End of Story! Incidentally, my family already memorized v. 26.  It is very easy to sing to "Oh Come All ye Faithful!"  (For the lyrics match-up, visit my previous post here.)

Or what about the declining marriage rate?  "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife..." (Gen. 2:24)  Or the average number of children per family on the decline?  "Lo, children are an heritage of the lord...Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed..."

One addition even highlights our belief in a pre-earth life and the sanctity of life for the unborn "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee..." (Jeremiah 1:5).  If that's not always a hot topic for political contention I don't know what is.

There also seems to be an increased emphasis on virtue and purity--much needed in today's Babylonian existence with instant pornography a huge problem!  This will be taught with new scriptures like:

"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?  He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully."  (Psalms 24:3-4)

"...go no more after the lusts of your eyes..." (Alma 39:9)

"ye must practice virtue and holiness before me continually..." (D&C46:33)

"...know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you...and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body..." (1 Cor 6:19-20)

Of course, the 10 commandments are still and force and definitely still made the list.

I also noticed several scriptures about hope, courage, gladness, comfort, and relying on Christ and strength through our covenants.  Whatever comes, I'm sure they are going to need those!  Do these scripture hint at a tough future along with that great destiny?  Perhaps. If so, I can't think of a better way to arm them for the battle of life.

Read the list for yourself.  Any favorites?  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Good to be Alive

As Mark reminded the kids one day this week, he won a trip at work last year, and could choose between a romantic come-fly-with-me weeklong all-inclusive resort somewhere south of the border with only me, OR drive the whole fam damily to a smaller, less expensive vacation.  He said, "You all need to be grateful to Mom because SHE's the one who said that we probably should go to Disneyland."

That's right, little old selfless me.  I'm better in theory than in practice.  Actually, I think he was trying to soften the blow of my last words: "Just...go pretend you are orphans for five minutes!!"  It had been raining cats and dogs and we had chosen to play our "snack day" card that we'd been holding off the kids with, so that we could take a break in a slow, somewhat wind protected area of Disneyland.

Boston and Cooper, of course, chose two-foot long weaponlike lollipops and Macy chose a handful of Mickey lollipops.  Mark, Leslie and I chose Ghiradelli Ice Cream.  Snack Day was a great plan, I thought, because it kept the "Mom, I want THAT!" to a minimum (I just told them to remember what they thought looked good and they could choose one snack on snack day).  However, when we finally huddled into our boardwalk nook to eat our scrumptious sundaes, the hot caramel melting the brand name ice cream into a puddle, I was confronted with,

"Mom.  Can you get the wrapper off this?"
"Sure".  (Easier said than done.  Only took me two or three minutes.  Dang shrink wrap.)  I lifted my spoon.
"MOM.  I can't get my wrapper off!"
"Oh.  Okay."  This one proved to be only slightly more challenging.  I finally tore it and handed it back.  Luke started to complain.  I got up and rummaged through the bottom of the stroller until I found his baby granola bars, unwrapped that, and gave it to him.  Mark opened his arm and I clambered back onto the dry spot on the bench, cupping my bowl, lifting my spoon...

"MOOOOOm!  I can't get my sucker out!"  This from Macy.  Her suckers were tied into a bouquet.  Looked nice.  Double taped with invisible gorilla scotch tape at the top...and at the bottom.  I finally jimmied one out, bending the stick horribly and hoped she wouldn't freak out about it.  She took it, not caring.
Leslie commented, "Mom, you better eat your ice cream.  It's totally melting!"  The first bite was divine.

"Mom!  I need this wrapper off!"  Mickey's sucker head was also shrink wrapped.  We finally cleaved it open with Mark's keys.  I think that is when I made my orphan remark.  I started shoveling my carmel ice cream swamp.

Boston just laughed at me and commented over his shoulder as he began sword fighting with Cooper in the middle of the pedestrian street.  "Mom, if we were orphans, we wouldn't be HERE!"  Darn tootin. I lifted my spoon.

"So Mom, what's been your favorite ride so far?"  Leslie does not think she is one of the kids and not therefore, an orphan for five minutes.  Mark pulled me in closer and not so gently reminded her.  I licked my spoon and watched some totally spoiled-rotten soaking wet grubby orphans rudely block and then salute passersby with their Pirates of the Caribbean swords and swirly lollipops.  It was pretty entertaining.  Parents these days. Sheesh.

Somehow two days later these same orphans figured out where I parked my van, even though we tried to sneak out of the hotel in the dark at the utterly INSANE hour of 5:30 AM so hubby and I could be in downtown SLC for a wedding that evening. Once they had firmly buckled themselves in and were not to be gotten rid of, I instructed said urchins of the travel plan.

"Everyone, we'll have breakfast in a couple of hours.  Just, be quiet, close your eyes and go BACK TO SLEEP!".  Aaaah.  There was silence from the back row.  Then came Leslie's battery operated "Bop It" toy with it's preprogrammed but timely comment.  "I'm goin' ta sleep."

Sigh.  That gave everyone the giggles, including me.  The giggling and wiggling soon turned to whining.  (The kids were whining too.)  It's not really their fault.  They were pretty exhausted, and having already packed jackets, kind of chilly, unpadded and uncomfortable to be sleeping.  Macy had the "good" bucket seat across from Luke in the middle because it was her turn.  That meant that Leslie had to be pegged into the back seat with zero foot room (and she needs a lot--she gets it from her Auntie Brooke), so she would sit in the center and stretch her long legs out over the folded up stroller that was crammed into the aisle.  Well, if she got to have her feet up, that meant that Boston should be able to put his feet up too--on Macy's arm rests or head rest.  Of course, World War III erupted shortly thereafter.  I have sketchy memories of this event, mostly of some elbows in the backseat to the breadbasket, Macy in full battle cry brandishing "Pink Blank" over her head like a spear, and Leslie and I bludgeoning everyone with the first verse of  "Love at Home" through a chorus of screaming and mayhem.  (Sound familiar, Mom?)  Of course, when that didn't work we did what any other modern parents would do and rewarded their bad behavior by turning on cartoons, plying them with candy, and moving the main offender to the cushiest seat, where, incidentally, he could also be isolated from the other orphans.  At this point I questioned the sanity of our Season Pass friends, put some peppermint oil on my headache, and disappeared into my memory foam pillow.

"But I don't like to just sing it in my head!"
"Mom, Boston's kicking me again!"
"I'm hungry!"
I mumbled loudly from my pillow between the headrest and the window,  "Hush up, and I don't care."
"Did she say I could have more grapes?"

Which of course gave me the giggles again.  It was a very fun trip for our little family of seven, and we are very glad to have survived it.

We all had our nip-and-tuck moments, though.  I have a pretty healthy fear of heights and would like the rest of you to know that free-falling is NOT a fun sensation.  I just build up with dread, kind of clench up my stomach and teeth and pray for it to be over.

Cooper (my most sensitive) backed out of the Indiana Jones line after about 10 steps in, but claimed to like the roller-coaster-in-the-dark Space Mountain. He wanted to try it a second time with me to prove it.  Yes, he liked it all right.  He demonstrated that if he just puts his hands over his ears and closes his eyes tight, it only feels like he's driving in a fast car.  He demonstrated that little hint the entire ride.

Boston thought the free-fall stuff was just awesome, but thought he was going to die in our private family cage on the Ferris wheel.  It started to swing about 10 feet off the ground and totally rocked his world.  He later insisted that HE wasn't SCARED!  Huh-uh!  Just NERVOUS.  Luke hated it, too, until I tried Cooper's trick on him, plus the binky.

Macy proved to be pretty sensible about what was real and what was pretend.  She didn't go on the "worst" rides anyway, and when she went on Pirates of the Caribbean with me, she was surprised and declared, "Mom, I'm not even scared!  Evil cackle, evil cackle.  Somewhat unhinged cackle."

Leslie seemed to be pretty happy the whole time except when the boys were trying to yank her arms off to escape her third-responsible-adult handholding.  As for Mark's Disneyland Demise, I think I heard him mumble something about a death march at the close of day three while we explored the totally tame but fun Tom Sawyer Island.  (We left the park trailing Mark about ten minutes later.  My feet weren't even tired.  Ha.)

There were plenty of "good to be alive" moments, too, some pictured here, some not.  Having one on one fun time with my children, for instance, as we took turns on the rides.  Watching Luke's wide-eyed yet exhausted reaction to the World of Color lights/water/flame show.  Savoring our picnic lunch in the quiet shade on a deck overlooking the riverboat.  Macy in full princess regalia being excited to see her fantasy characters come to life.  Luke laughing at being pushed through the rain in his stroller.  Both of my boys in their matching shirts being selected to train as Jedi's.  Beautiful music wherever we go.  Seeing all the BYU fans, including some messages on the back of our van (highly visible with its seven vinyl Y's.)  Parading my family of seven in our bright matchy shirts.  No housework!  And realizing that my kids are not, in fact, spoiled, as they were just as excited to get back to the hotel, watch TV and eat popcorn.  (Except for Cooper who hates popcorn, Leslie who can't have it because of her braces, and Luke who would choke on it.  Oh well, it smelled festive.)
Luke is ready to go.  But will he wear a hat??
 First was yellow shirt day.  We sunscreened everyone up and then wrote our cell phones on their arms.  Oops, should have done the writing before the sunscreen...

We wait in line for the Ferris wheel/gondola

We wait for the Aladdin show to begin.  Boston was a little impatient, thinking he wouldn't enjoy it at all, and claimed, "They are totally wasting my time!"

Macy was very excited to watch the parade and totally thought she was singled out to be waved at by every notable princess.  Maybe she was!  Good work, ladies.  This video shows some of her reaction.  LOVE the gooey face she makes.
The kids had fun exploring Tarzan's treehouse.  Except for Cooper who got startled by the jaguar.

the next day was kind of cold.  And wet.
Sleeping Beauty in front of her castle.

Sleeping Beauty's sleepy face?  We need to work on that one.

Dang brothers trying to steal the show.

It's okay to mix your fairy tales when you are this cute.

This picture makes me laugh.  It looks like the guy is yelling at Leslie's driving.

Orphans with swords.

Poor wet baby.  He loved it and was extremely good the whole vacation.  The ride home, not so much.

Boston conquered the Indiana Jones ride.

Check out Cooper's eyes bugging on on Space Mountain.  Guess that's why he decided to keep them closed from now on.

We waited in line quite early for quite a long time to meet Tinkerbell.  Well, Tinkerbell was late, so Macy met Irridessa, one of Tink's friends.  The sad thing was, she didn't mind missing Tink, she was just expecting ALL of the fairies to be there.  (At least a dozen) and couldn't understand why they weren't.  I guess she likes the variety, with all the different colors and dresses.  My emergency sugar fund came in handy at this point.

We loved the grizzly rapids and went on it twice in a row.  It was one of the few rides where I was with all the big kids and I thought it was super fun.  They laughed and screamed the whole time.  Good thing Mark didn't want to be wet again after our wet day, so he could hang out with Luke.

I spent alot of time with Macy and Luke in line to meet some celebrities while the others went on scarier rides.  That's why there are so many pictures with just Macy.

That also left Macy and I to brave Splash Mountain together when it was our turn.  I say brave because this is one of the rides I was dreading, having a very steep, long drop.  As you can see, my eyes are shut tight and I'm holding on for dear life.  Macy's face is priceless here.  Does this count as child abuse?  Good thing she liked it.

Boston was singled out as a Rebel Spy on Star Tours.  I don't know, he doesn't look that shifty to me.

Luke and I sat and saved spots for the Jedi Training Session for a long time.  The others made it just in time.  I like this shot because Luke kept trying to get up front with his brothers.  Pick me!

"I can't hear you!  Who wants to be a Jedi!"  Apparently they were loud enough.  They would have been devastated to not get picked, or for one to get picked and not the other.  ( I told them they had to say, "I can come if I can bring my brother.")  Luckily, Disney seems to get this concept and chose several obvious sibling pairs.

Boston's battle with Darth Maul.

Cooper's battle with Darth Maul.

LOVE this picture of Macy on Tom Sawyer's Island.
 So long, Disneyland.  Although you showed us a good time, you are not the happiest place on earth.  That place came home with me, Mark, and our grubby, sleepy orphans in our Seven Y Dodge Yak.