The recent frenzy over the Powerball billion+ prize was actually pretty helpful in giving me perspective on just how much money $1,000,000,000 is.
It’s a lot.
I’m sure we all saw the math dividing up the mega-prize into “mini” prizes of roughly $4,000,000 – one award for every person living in America.
Call me slow, but I never connected it taking THAT many millions to make a billion. I still can’t wrap my head around the trillions in debt hanging over our heads.
Like many of you, I had that moment of “that would be SO great if the powers-that-be at the Powerball factory would even just give each of us, say, $1,000,000 – leaving them 75% of the prize.” You know what I mean, that closed-eye moment feeling like we wouldn’t have to worry so hard about the future.
After all, it’s only logical.
Couldn’t the government just step in and take part of it?
No one needs that much. It’s only fair.
Continue reading Freely given, not forcibly taken
Last week toward the end of our lesson at church this scripture was shared with the class. While the others moved on, I continued to plunge more deeply into these words we have all heard many times.
I don’t know why, but I have always read these words as a rebuke. I could feel the exasperation and frustration in the verses at why, after all this time and all that I have learned, could I still lack faith and be afraid.
But last week, something changed.
Let me paint the backdrop for you, so you can taste a bit of my journey in discovering what His message truly is to me.
For the month of January we have been given the assignment to provide Sacrament Meeting at a memory-care assisted living center here in town.
I’ve been trying to play the piano for the meetings each week.
I’ve not been succeeding very well.
Regardless, it is a privilege and a blessing for me to just be there. It is a pretty sacred experience to watch family members or CNA’s tenderly take the bread and water from the trays and place it to the lips of one who has long ago forgotten how to do it themselves.
But they haven’t forgotten what it means.
Continue reading Why is it ye are so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
Have you ever had the experience where you walked into a crowded room full of strangers?
If you are like me, you felt self-conscious, out of place, and just wanted to turn around and leave.
No one likes to be a stranger among strangers.
Here’s a more important question:
Have you ever had the experience where you walked into a crowded room full of strangers, and immediately felt at home?
If your experience has been like mine, you felt calm as the person next to you reached out and took your hand, offered an introduction, and welcomed you in.
And you in turn welcomed them.
How can this be?
Continue reading Zion isn’t stationary – we take it with us
One of the little surprises this holiday season was a framed quote that many of you have already seen:
My doctor asked if any members of my family suffered from insanity. I replied, “No, we all seem to enjoy it.”
After the initial chuckle, taking time to ponder just what this statement can mean still brings a smile to my face.
But probably without the laughter.
A few weekends before Alex was scheduled to arrive home, Ann and I thought that I should call Monday morning and see if I could get an emergent appointment with the doctor in Salt Lake. The combination of mental illness symptoms and medication side effects felt just out of my reach of control.
I have learned how to control my outward actions and responses to the mental inward implosions. The feelings of slowing slipping into insanity, the screaming inside at being locked in an unreal prison that is more restricting than any cell made of iron bars, and the overwhelming physical exhaustion can be tamed and kept within.
I actually think I’m pretty nice and easy going overall.
But we had hit that point where I didn’t think I could last until our next appointment after the first of the year.
Continue reading We’ve made it through the forest, only to find that there are still lots of trees
It was probably 15 years ago when I bought cheap lanyards for our store team to wear. I wanted something to hold the keys to the dressing rooms as well as laminated cards with reminders of the current store promotions.
Several of them had the letters WWJD repeated in bright colors.
I had no idea what it meant.
After my team laughed at my continuous naiveté, I decided we would still use them. Heck, I was never very good at political correctness anyway.
Now, perhaps not as naïve as I used to be, but still full of hope for mankind, I understand that it is in fact the real question that we have to be asking if we want to change the natural course of human events.
It’s the only question that can change human nature.
What would Jesus do?
Not just the Sunday School answers, but what would He really do? What DID He ACTUALLY do?
Continue reading My New Year’s Prayer