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.

Mission calls: it’s about bringing people to Christ, not the geography

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Rachel bounded to the front of the chapel and nearly skipped to the podium. Leaning close to the mic she said, “I have the most fantastic news ever! I’ve just been called to the Detroit, Michigan mission.” She raised both hands in the air in a victory pose, “And I am SO EXCITED. I can’t wait to serve the people of Michigan and I can’t wait to testify of Jesus Christ. I know I’ve been called there for a reason, I know the Lord loves me and I can’t wait to tell everyone how much He loves them too.” With a fist punch, she left the podium and returned to her seat. We live in a pretty reserved ward, but I’m sure I heard a few “Hallelujahs” as she walked down the aisle.

Despite Rachel’s enthusiasm, she later told me many people expressed sympathy about her call– “Detroit? Really? I’m so sorry.” Continue reading Mission calls: it’s about bringing people to Christ, not the geography

How To: teach your kids (and yourself) to be happy for others

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If you are happy for other people, you simply get to be happy more often.

We are all in each others faces these days. Whether it be Instagram or blogs or Facebook, I’m aware of awards, scholarships, book contracts, mission calls, engagements and prizes. I love hearing about the successes of my friends and neighbors.

Whenever I hear of someone going on a trip, earning a promotion, fulfilling a dream, I’m giddy for them. And I honestly, truly believe when I rejoice for others, more joy comes my way.

Now, I’m not perfect at this. Sometimes I catch myself feeling jealous and petty and scarcely able to congratulate a friend. When those feelings emerge, I know it’s a warning sign about my spiritual health. For me, envy means I haven’t been praying enough, or reading scriptures or expressing gratitude. Continue reading How To: teach your kids (and yourself) to be happy for others

where I’ve been placed

P1040977 copyOne line from my son’s letter repeats over and over in my mind, “I’ll do my best here. This is where I’ve been placed.” He wrote those words last fall from Kurgan, Russia, a somewhat bleak place whose name literally translates to ‘burial mound.’ My son will be home from his mission in just 12 days (oh-my-goodness-we-can-hardly-wait!), and I’m still rolling that idea over and over in my mind– “where I’ve been placed.”

As Mormons, we like to have a sense of destiny, of “this is how it’s supposed to be” and that sense especially applies to where we live.

I’ve spent my entire life in Salt Lake City, Utah. For many of my friends, staying in Utah was the ultimate goal. But for me, without any extended family or real ties to Salt Lake, I always thought I’d explore the planet. When I married my husband, a first-generation American, he felt the same way. We would live all kinds of places, help the church grow in remote areas, raise our children with a broad view of the world.

And then, he got a great job in Salt Lake and I had one baby after another. Opportunities to move never came along and when we tried to make opportunities all our plans failed.

I’m starting to realize, this is where I’ve been placed. Continue reading where I’ve been placed

we are all stumbling and bruised and broken

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Mostly because I didn’t want to go alone, I called my friend Sarah and begged a ride to our ward Relief Society Party. “I don’t think so,” she replied, “my family is in such an uproar right now it will make me feel guilty. Those parties are for happy, shiny people.”

I heard her, I understood completely. But it made me sad.

Here’s the irony– Sarah would absolutely be classified as the perfect Mormon mommy. Friendly and kind, with three cute kids and an adoring husband, she’s always part of a presidency, always carrying a casserole to the neighbors.

If she doesn’t feel like she belongs, who does?

Who are those ‘shiny, happy people’ we all imagine at Relief Society parties and perusing the aisles of Deseret Book? Who are those perfect beings with the centerpieces and beautiful handouts? Who are those people who speak at conferences and workshops? They are all flawed, foolish humans, stumbling through life, bruising others and accumulating their own injuries. Without Christ and His Atonement, we’re all one hot mess.

We know, we all know, church is a hospital for the sick, not a shrine for saints. But the church is full of people who don’t feel like they measure up. And some just stop coming at all.

I know I add to the problem. I believe in speaking the truth; I try to be honest and open. But I fear also judgment from my fellow members. I would be very hesitant to talk about the year I almost lost my testimony in sacrament meeting (would I blacklisted for every calling?), but I know my story would help others who are struggling.

Don’t you want to stand up and cheer every time you hear an honest testimony? Maybe I’ll add mine right here: I’ve made mistakes, I’ve hurt feelings, I’ve been stupid, I’ve been hurt– but I’ve also been healed. I know God lives, I know we can find peace through the Atonement of Christ. And I know our Heavenly Father loves every one of us– the fools, the sinners, the broken– and He calls each one to help each other, to love each other, to come back home.

How can we be more forgiving of ourselves and others? How can we make our wards warmer, more welcoming? How can we talk about our struggles while building faith?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How can I get excited about genealogy when I’m not exactly proud of where I came from?

I keep typiRootsTech-appng and retyping the title of this post. I don’t want it to be about me– but I want to offer a sounding board for others. Everyone seems to be buzzing about genealogy these days (have you tried Relative Finder?  It’s amazing!). And I live in a place where drawing your family tree on the chalkboard in Sunday School has always been the norm.

But let’s take just a minute to acknowledge the unspoken truth– some people come from families that aren’t exactly brag-worthy, some didn’t glean knowledge and values from their grandparents. Some are desperately trying to break a cycle of neglect and/or abuse. While everyone talks about their family walking across the plains, I strongly suspect mine might have been the ones who chased them out of their homes in Missouri.

As one friend said, “I’m sure I have some good relatives; I just need to look past the generations who’ve hurt me.”

In general, how can we get excited about genealogy when when the relatives we know have let us down?