Category Archives: choice and accountability

A Disturbing Trend

Greatest HeatThere is a disturbing trend in schools lately. Though there is a clear Constitutional separation of church and state, children have not been allowed to pray in school for years, not allowed to read the bible, nor even perform a Christmas program of songs and dance. When I taught music in a school in Hawaii, I could not put on a Christmas Program for the parents, we had to call it a Holiday Program, and receive special permission to include a song about the birth of the Savior, because that is the song the children determined they wanted to sing.

Lately, however, that separation is only enforced for Christians. Islamic teachings are taught, insisting that students know all their tenets. Progressive humanists, or atheists, preach their particular religion, defaming and failing students who refuse to deny their God. What happened to equal rights? What happened to separation of church and state? What happened to freedom of religion? What happened to our constitution? Is that freedom only given to Islam and atheists?

There is no such thing as cold, only absence of heat; no darkness, only absence of light, as taught by Einstein when confronted by an atheist professor. I argue atheism is on the far end of the religious scale, opposite from a strong knowledge there is a God. It is an absence of religion. These scales vary from one end of extreme heat to no heat; extreme light to no light; and strong belief in God (religion) to the opposite end, no belief in any god (no religion). Atheists are on the far end of the religion spectrum, but still on the scale.

When an atheist forces their non-religion on a group of school children, as a middle school teacher in Texas did recently, that teacher is as at fault as an Islamic believer forcing their teachings on Christian students or atheists, or a Christian forcing their teachings on atheists or Islamic students. None of these are legal, none are appropriate, none are moral.

Eve lived in a time when things were more black and white. Her children accepted Jehovah, or they chose to follow Lucifer. There were no other religions, then, only following Jehovah or not. Other religions sprang up, suggested by the Destroyer. Men and women created idols to worship, found other gods and goddesses to worship.

Eve taught her children to read, to write, and to obey Jehovah. There was nothing to stop her, no government body, no one from outside pushing their beliefs on her. Hers was the first home school, and she taught her love for Jehovah. The only safety we have for our children is to teach them ourselves. Schools will not do it.

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Into Each Life a Little Rain Must Fall

20150706_184237Rainfall is necessary, bringing life-giving water. Nothing can live without water. Rain is falling somewhere today. Some parts of the world are wishing they didn’t get so much, like South Carolina last week; others, like we in the western United States, wish it would rain more, and more often.

Every cell in our bodies requires water. We lose about a quart of water a day, which must be replaced. We can live only about a week without replacing that water. Plants and animals require water to live. Have you ever forgot to water a houseplant? It doesn’t take long before it will wilt and die.

A friend of mine was complaining about something that happened in her life. My flip response was, “Into each life a little rain must fall.” We need rain, and its resulting water. We also need some “rain” in our lives, coming in struggles and trials. As our arms and legs require exercise to stay healthy, our emotional lives need to be exercised.

I have seen memes suggesting we need to walk away from our problems. We need to be careful about that. There is no reason to allow another to abuse us or walk all over us. On the other hand, I believe we should embrace life challenges as a means to develop our emotional “muscles.”

Our “rain” can be anything from a frown from a loved one to a severe sickness and/or death of a loved one. Different emotional muscles are developed in these situations. We may need to learn patience, face loss, or see the opportunities in change. None of those “muscles” are easy to develop, nor are any of these situations. No one likes the pain of growing; certainly not the challenge and trials that give us the opportunity to develop.

As we open ourselves to challenges, our emotional muscles will develop faster. Emotional growth doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes it comes in gentle rains; others, it falls in floods. Each allows greater emotional growth.

I wondered about Eve. She and Adam faced trials through much of their lives. Sometimes they were the gentle rain of learning to survive in a new world, learning to build a fire, learning to cook, or learning how to grow plants. Other times, the trials were along the lines of a flash flood, as in when children listened to the enticings of the Destroyer and left the safety and security of their family home and the truths of God as taught by Adam. I am certain they struggled against the currents, but by holding tight to the life saving faith in God, they withstood the floods, returning safely home to Father in Heaven.

Our lives are different than theirs. The Destroyer is fighting his last battles, he rains floods of trials on all he believes can be swayed. Even so, we must stand firm, as Eve did, choosing to continue learning, continue growing, until the end.

What trials are raining on your life today? Will you stand firm and learn, or is this one you will win by walking away? I’d love to hear your story.

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Hatred Is NOT Worth the Effort!

20150810_210057I have been thinking of the hatred filling our country lately. There seems to be strife between people of different “colors”, and nations. Our beautiful, welcoming nation, that has long invited others to  join in building the creativity of our people, now rejects the poor and needy, those who have ideas that would instill greatness within us. In some ways I understand, for the idea of Sharia Law in our free land frightens me. However, how can we deny help to those who honestly flee hatred and war? How can we blame people who fled a mafia controlled land, accepting our dredges, for all that has become bad here?

“A mighty change of heart necessitates a mighty change of thinking . . . we become our thoughts and we cannot change ourselves without thinking.” —Mary Ellen Edmunds

Hatred for one or many only brings grief to the one who hates. Have you ever felt hatred for one who caused you pain or spoke to you with unkindness or in a demeaning manner? Your hatred causes you pain, not the other person. It is not worth the pain and effort required to hate. Give up your hatred. It isn’t worth the time and energy. Revenge is not worth the pain it causes. The desire for repayment is not worth the pain it causes.

You spend your time worrying and thinking of the one who wronged you. You focus on the pain, the hardness you feel. And the one who caused the hatred? He most often goes merrily along, living his life with no thought or worry for your pain. Usually he has no knowledge or thought of your pain; less of your hatred. It is your life that shrinks, whose time is wasted, storing the pain.

On that day you finally meet your offender again, he will often not have remembered the offense and will have good feelings for you. His life has not been changed, only yours.

When you change your thinking and give up the pain you hold dear, you find time and a lightness of heart you forgot existed. Your life becomes joyful again.

May I suggest, “turn the other cheek” as the Christians would say, or allow Karma to repay the debt? Revenge and hatred isn’t worth the pain.

I just wrote about a man who had committed a terrible sin. As he confronts the woman he threatened years later, I thought he would attempt the same awful act upon her. Instead, she honestly forgave him of his crime against her. His actions were low and small; he suffered significantly for them, banned from his home community, lost his wife, and spent years starving. She felt compassion for him. He changed his thoughts, began to believe he could live happily among his people, and changed his ways, becoming an honorable man.

There is one Eve never forgave, never trusted. The Destroyer, Satan. In his every action, he caused pain and sorrow for Eve and every other. He convinced beloved children to leave home and the beliefs taught by their father. He put it into the hearts of a loving son to kill his brother. Satan caused Eve incredible grief.

In all, however, she did not hate Satan for beguiling her, though his actions were absolutely wrong. I firmly believe the act of partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil was necessary;  it was not Satan’s right to offer the fruit, to convince Eve of her need to eat it. That was for another. The eating brought Adam and Eve into this world, allowing them to obey the greater command, to “multiply and replenish the earth.” Eve new this was needed, it was better to suffer in this world of sin and sorrow, and have an opportunity to have children. We, my friends, are direct results of that decision.

I do not know how to protect our marvelous free nation from the hatred that seems to be spawned by Sharia Law and others. I do not know the answers. I do know there must be a way, while maintaining our integrity. If you have ideas, feel free to share.

Whom do you feel a need to forgive? Is there someone for whom your hatred has grown too large? Take a moment and consider the gift of forgiveness. If you like, I will be happy to hear of your journey.

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Thanks so much!

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What Would You Do If Faced With a Murderer?

I am writing earlier than usual, partly because of the shooting in the community college in Oregon. My heart goes out to the families of those who died and all who were injured. That was a terrifying day for these people and their families. Congratulations to the Veteran who charged him, taking shots. This man is a hero.

There have been conflicting reports about the killer, asking his victims if they were Christian, or religious, and shooting those who said they were, in the head. Those who did not admit to Christianity, or religion, were shot elsewhere, at first. Or so several accounts report.

This has caused me to think about how I would react in such a situation. If it was certain death if I admit to my belief in Christ, would I admit? I am not sure, I doubt I would know until I am actually faced with such a situation.

Perhaps I would be forgiven. if I denied to save my life, if I was certain I’d die if I did not deny. Perhaps not. I am not sure I would take that chance. I hope I would proudly stand and tell him a follower of Jesus Christ and place my trust in him.

My husband, who is retired Navy, says he would be like the Veteran who charged the shooter. He says he would not stand still and peacefully allow the shooter the opportunity to shoot at will. He would throw a chair or something. I hope I would have the sense to throw something, shove a desk into him, something.

I always sit in the front row in a classroom, I may not have an opportunity to do much more than stand tall and admit to my faith. I hope I would manage to shove a desk into him, something more than quietly be murdered for my faith.

I am saddened that the Destroyer, Satan, has such control over the minds of so many. People are murdered every day in our country. Sometimes, like Thursday, it happens to many in places that should be safe. In my community, a mother and her child were murdered in their home, that should have been safe. Satan rages in the hearts of some men and women.

I believe Eve knew much that would happen in our day. Her prophet husband, Adam, was given to know all that would happen to his sons and daughters until the end of time. That’s information prophets receive, though I know they would often prefer not to know. Eve, through Adam, knew about our time, how we have lost our faith in God, how many have given in to the wiles of the evil one. She must have wept bitterly when she learned of the future of her children.

There have been other horrific times, times of murder and wars. Our time rapidly joins the previous worst, as people are murdered for their faith, babies are murdered for convenience, and love is lost in the hearts of men and women.

Pray for peace in our land. Look into your heart. What will you do if you are faced with that question? Stand up for your faith and belief, or hide from it? I hope you, and I, can have the presence of mind to shove a desk or something at the murderer, as well.

I’d like to hear how you would respond. Please share.

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Women Have a Right to Feel Safe

20150810_210057The news isn’t full of the stories any more, they are much too commonplace. A girl or woman is attacked, sometimes raped, by a man who believes he has something to offer her, whether she is interested or not. If the woman or girl is lucky, someone steps up and prevents the action from becoming more. If not, she struggles with loss of security and self worth. Sometimes, even, her community of family and friends believe she had something to do with it, enticing the man in some way.

None of this is fair or right. Men have no right to force themselves on a woman for any reason, especially just because she is weaker, or beautiful, or dresses nice. No woman should have to fear the actions of a man, nor should she be held responsible in some way for his lack of control. Men are men, and they should behave as men, with respect for others, gentleness, and self control.

They are men, not boys; and boys, should behave like men in training, not as members of a mini-mob just because of their gender. Girls should be able to feel and be safe in school and school functions, church, and in homes of their friends. They should not have to be constantly aware of their actions in relationship to boys in their lives.

Yes, girls sometimes encourage bad behavior, and that behavior should be corrected, as well. But, a woman’s behavior or dress is no excuse for brutish, disrespectful, out of control behavior.

I have been working on book two of my series, Ancient Matriarchs. This book will tell the story of Seth’s wife. So far, it has gone well, I have written over half the rough draft. Until now. I am having trouble deciding how she will act under conditions I have not faced. I’ve visited with my wise husband and received good information, but I am still at a loss. I am hoping to hear from you, my readers, to give me some help.

She has had an incident involving a man who wants to push himself on her farther than she wants while her husband is gone. She is not raped, but she feels violated and her reputation is damaged.

Have you experienced this? How did you feel around men after this kind of incident? How did you act?

I really would appreciate your help! I welcome your comments on this.

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What Do We Do About the Syrian Refugees?

Pictures of a drowned Syrian child have brought the plight of Syrian refugees who are fleeing the violence and battles in Syria. It has become a flood of men, women, and children, struggling to find their way to Germany, or any other country that may accept them.

Families are spending everything they have to buy a spot in a smuggler’s flimsy boat. So many people fill these boats, people seem to be hanging off the edges. Is it any wonder many of these boats sink and the passengers drown? I have not seen it yet, but I would bet the smugglers wear life jackets, while the passengers find none available.

The trickle of Syrians running from war usually land in Greece, who is already struggling financially. It is no wonder they prefer the refugees move on to other countries. Other countries see the flood of these people and wonder how they will manage to support the thousands of refugees. There is no way one country can absorb that many people without economically drowning.

I have heard the suggestion that some of these refugees be brought to the United States. I struggle with this idea. My heart grieves when I see mothers and children in holding areas. I cried with the rest of the world when I saw the little 3-year-old who drowned. I fear the families who seek protection will also include hidden terrorists, who hate America and our values.

How sad the other Muslim countries surrounding Syria refuse to accept any of these refugees. Is it not part of their culture, their religion, that they should help the poor and the needy? It is part of our country and the Christian religion.

All things were held in common during the time of Eve and Adam. No women or children who were willing to live and work in their communities were prevented from become full members, were fed, clothed, and housed. Some of their children chose not to live as expected. They left and wars eventually occurred. If those refugees wanted to become part of the community in which Adam and Eve lived, they would have been required to follow the laws of the community. Certainly, Eve would have hoped the women and children would find a safe home away from the wars.

America has been much like the home of Eve and Adam. Refugees have been welcomed with the expectation that they live by the laws of our land. Unfortunately, some of those refugees have come to us, not planning to obey the laws and help continue to keep America great, but rather to find a way to undermine our laws and our ways of life.

If they hate us, they should stay away. If they choose to obey laws; support our culture, willing to accept the standards of that culture; and work hard to take responsibility to support themselves and their families, let them come. Otherwise, let them return to Syria, or go to one of the other Muslim countries.

What do you think about the refugee problem? Shall we invite the refugees to live in your community? Please comment.

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Men: NOT Our Lords and Masters

I went with my sister last week to “Taming of the Shrew” at Utah’s Shakespeare Festival. We were especially happy to be there, for it was thelast week of plays to be shown in the old theater built under the direction of Fred Adams. He isn’t important to many people, but to us he is, for our mom took classes from him in the year he was planning the first production. She sat in the grass at his feet, sewing jewels on costumes while he shared Shakespeare stories, for credit in that class.

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Now, many years later, the campus of what used to be College of Southern Utah, now Southern Utah University, is building a new and larger theater to house the festival. We enjoyed the play, though the actors were no longer strictly students from the theater program.

In the last scene, Kate tells the other new wives that they owe obedience to their husbands, who were their lords and masters. To that, I must disagree. In the medieval period, women were chattels who were taught they must give obedience to the men who held power in their lives, fathers, brothers, husbands, even sons. They had no rights to property. No rights of choice of husband. No rights at all, beyond producing an appropriate male heir—and if none were produced, it was all her fault.

Beyond the genetics of it all, I argue with the faulty logic of the men and priests who read of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis, then blamed all the troubles of mankind on Eve. They claimed women were sinful, sexual temptresses, easily tempted of the devil, and therefore needing to be controlled.

I totally disagree!

Eve was beguiled by Satan, told the only way to move forward in her progression was to eat the forbidden fruit. She did eat; Adam freely chose to eat it after she did. The consequence of this action was exactly as God told them it would be when he placed them in the Garden of Eden—they died. Not an immediate physical death, that death happened many years later, but they died.

Their immediate consequence was a death of being in the presence of their God. He no longer walked and talked with them face to face. By being cast out of the garden, they lost the opportunity to learn and grow at His feet. Now they were required to live “alone”—away from Him. But now, they could reproduce and have children.

Eve was commanded to listen to her husband. Together they were to face the unknown and build a life in a new world. Adam had the lead, it was his responsibility to direct their actions as he prayed to the Father for direction. Nowhere in Genesis is there anything suggested that Eve was evil, a sinful temptress, overly sexual, or needing to be controlled like a senseless, ignorant child.

Give Eve the credit she deserves. She joined with Adam in making this earth a pleasant place for all her posterity, including you, including all those men who denigrate her. She made a tough choice—and she has paid for it. Women today need not continue to pay for her choice as overbearing men abuse them. Because of Eve’s choice, you exist.

What do you think? Do women require control? Did they ever? Please respond in the comments.

For more about Eve’s life after Eden, watch for Eve, First Matriarch, coming soon.

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Choice, Our Greatest, and Most Dangerous, Gift

Penguins

In the beginning, men and women were given the greatest, and the most dangerous, gift. With this gift, we were given the opportunity to make choices in our lives, and the accountability to take responsibility for those choices, for good or evil. Each time we make a choice, we choose to follow forces of good or the forces of evil, and accept the resulting actions.

Along with Adam and Eve, each of us were given these gifts. No one else tells us what to do, no one else is responsible for our actions. The agency of choice also gives us the responsibility for those actions, good or bad.

Most of us make mostly good choices. The consequences of those choices make our lives better. We choose to study in school, choose an occupation we love, and conduct our lives in an honorable manner. Not everything we do is perfect, we make bad choices, and sometimes things happen that are not so great. Sometimes bad things happen to us because others have made bad choices.

A father and child were killed on the highway in Utah this week, not because of poor driving on the father’s part and probably not because of poor driving on the part of another. A doghouse fell off the back of a truck, causing cars to stop on the freeway. The father and daughter stopped, the driver behind him did not. It was not their fault. They had done nothing wrong. They suffered the consequences of another’s actions.

That is a severe example of having to suffer the consequences of another’s behavior, but it happens everywhere. A dad becomes involved in trying to earn enough money to give his family more than he had, a mom works to help give her children a better life, a child wants to be first in line. None of these are particularly bad, but each action can cause pain and suffering in another’s life.

The world seeks to influence us, tries to entice us watch something inappropriate, buy something that causes us pain or sorrow, or hurts our loved ones. Things like pornography, cheating on others, or just waiting to pay a bill. Or, you could choose to share a smile with someone who is sad, give a dollar to a homeless person on the street, play with your child instead of play on your phone. Big or little, our choices will have consequences.

Eve made a choice to eat the fruit she was commanded not to eat. If she had not eaten the fruit, we would not exist. A great prophet tells us:

And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.[2 Ne 2:22-23]

The richness of our life is a direct result of Eve eating that fruit. We have a variety of good and bad things in our life, because of her actions. Men through time have slandered her when, in reality, we should give her honor.

In our lives, regardless of what others say, what pressure is brought to bear on us, how enticing something may be, use your agency wisely.

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