All posts by Michelle L.

About Michelle L.

(Blog Team) never folds laundry and her car is a mess. She runs through the streets of Salt Lake City, UT, takes lots of photos, plays Uno with her five fabulous boys and buys way too many dresses for the little princess. Her husband is the most romantic man in the world because he does all the Costco shopping AND hauls it into the house (sorry to make you jealous girls). She writes at Scenes from the Wild.

stay close to the hero

You may have heard about the restrictions placed on missionaries in Russia and surrounding countries. When writing home, they are not allowed to name any members or investigators, to discuss church activities or anything involving the government. No one can appear in photos but themselves– not even their companion.

Still, I haven’t minded because rather than reading about what my son in the Russia Yekaterinburg Mission is doing, we get to hear about what he’s thinking and feeling. I think all his letters are extraordinary, (I’m his mama) but this excerpt is worth sharing:

I used to think of my life as a story. I thought about how some details would be important and how others would just fade away. I thought about who would be the villain and who would be my main friend in my adventures. And then I had a scary thought. I had assumed that I was the hero of the story and that everything revolved around me. But what if the hero was really Ben? Who would I be? Or one of my friends? Or someone in another country? Then I would fade into the crowd.

I thought about this and then I realized that the real hero of this story did live in another country. Even in another time. He lived and died a long time ago, but because He is the main character in this story and everything revolves around Him. We still talk about Him and what he did. I had thought earlier about how if one of my friends was the hero, that my standing in the story would all depend on how close I was to him. And really, seeing as we know that Christ is the hero of this story, our whole eternal standing depends on where we stand in relationship to Him. If we stay close to Christ we can be sure we’re on the right path. So in this story, we are still mentioned. We are the ones who are proclaiming His life many years after He walked the streets of Jerusalem. In any other story, this would not make sense. He lived and died so long ago. But there’s a grand difference in this story, the one that makes it so important.

He lives.

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You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

We live in a society of broken and struggling families, yet most don’t know how to talk to someone who has been through a divorce, abandonment or abuse by a parent and/or estrangement from a family member. While excruciating in their own right, the pain from these experiences is often escalated by well-meaning friends and family.

I shudder to think of things I may have said in the past– I remember hearing of people who couldn’t be in the same room as a family member and judging them harshly. I remember thinking, “Buck up. Grow up.” That was before I spent a year of my life sobbing on the floor in agony.

If you read nothing else, remember this: extend love; refrain from judgment.

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Seven Billion Ways to Be Happy or Don’t Let the Naysayers Silence Your Song

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I am constantly amazed, and consistently delighted, at the many many ways to find happiness in this world: making the basketball team, joining the choir, stitching a quilt, starting a charity, earning an award or an honest dollar…running, inventing, gardening, swimming, hiking, writing or simply just noticing everything and anything good, beautiful, funny.

And yet, in this age of opportunities, where each of us can truly find joy, runs a current of criticism, jealousy, nit-picking and quibbling. The cynics seem to see the world as a pie and any success by someone else, means less for them to eat. But the world isn’t a single pastry, it’s a banquet– lush and full and overflowing, constantly replenished and with new dishes appearing every day. Life offers more than enough love, triumphs and beauty for each of us, no one needs to envy or critique another’s plate.

Each life also holds misery, heartache and disasters– which is all the more reason to tread gently and kindly on this earth.

Words, once published, are like Frankenstein brought to life– they take on actions of their own, free to misinterpretation and abuse.

Recently, the Deseret News introduced new commenting guidelines in an effort to encourage civil dialogue. I found this question and answer especially interesting:

Haven’t you ever heard of freedom of speech? That’s censorship!

Commenting on DeseretNews.com is a privilege, not a right. If you continually abuse that privilege, you may have your account suspended or banned. But we want your comments and added insight, so keep it civil and we can continue a long and meaningful online relationship.

I applaud the efforts of the Deseret News. Intelligent discussion defines a vibrant and educated society, but the ferocity of condemnation, the excoriation of ‘errant’ writers astounds me. It seems no one can write an opinion of any sort without subjecting themselves to name-calling and mockery.

In the first weeks of this year, I read a beautiful article– God will give you more than you can handle: I guarantee it.– but was saddened to see several comments (I didn’t go past the first twenty or so) both questioning and mocking her faith. Wouldn’t their opinions be better served by writing posts or articles of their own? Why tear apart her expressions of faith and understanding?

A friend compared this attitude to Korihor in the Book of Mormon as he mocked the followers of Christ. The high priest asked, “Why do you teach this people that there shall be no Christ to interrupt their rejoicings?” Alma 30:22. In this world of hardship, why would we want to interrupt any rejoicing?

Over and over, I’ve seen this behavior within discussions about… well, every topic imaginable. Just as we know Facebook taunts never change anyone’s opinion, does any attacker believe their cruel words (on either side of the discussion) will lead to understanding?

Perhaps some might say, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the fire.” To some degree, this is true. But if every sensitive writer/singer/artist stopped contributing, we’d lose so many important voices. Each of us, in whatever we choose to pursue, must block out the voices of opposition. My sister loves to remind me, “The angels tell you to be glorious, but the devils tell you, ‘don’t even try.'”

Yes, we need to ignore the belittlers if we want to go forward. But I’d also suggest we’d all benefit– especially those who spend their time critiquing and reviling– by simply pursuing happiness, spreading kindness, looking for ways to help and create and enjoy this beautiful, beautiful life.

Let’s talk about money honey

My friend Amy lives in a little rental house in a very wealthy neighborhood. Recently a friend visited and as she entered Amy’s house said, “How can you stand to live in this neighborhood with all these rich people?”

Amy pointed to the pot of soup bubbling on the stove and the fresh loaf bread on the counter delivered by a visiting teacher who knew she’d had a busy day, “You have no idea the kindness we’ve received in this neighborhood.”

Over and over Amy’s neighbors have cared for her small children, offered to drive her carpool turn and just generally enveloped her little family with love. “Not once “Amy said “have I experienced a single shred of snobbery from any of these people.” Continue reading

General Relief Society Meeting– if you watch nothing else, just listen to this song

With thirty-two kids eating homecoming dance dinner at my house Saturday night, I didn’t quite make it to the Relief Society Meeting. So, I’ve been listening this morning while cleaning my kitchen. And this song stopped me in my tracks. I ran to my computer and changed from audio only to full video:

Radiant, beautiful, YOUNG sister missionaries singing “Go Forth in Faith/As Sisters in Zion.” Not ashamed to admit I cried like a baby.

As LDS women, it seems there’s a lot to disagree on these days, but we are all ultimately on the same side. We are sisters.

I feel sure someone here has a daughter or sister or friend in that choir, please point her out to us. Also, we usually have some sort of discussion on General Relief Society Meeting. Please feel free to start that discussion in the comments. But excuse me for a minute, I (ducking my head in shame) still need to watch the second half of the meeting while I scrub my dishes.