Wednesday, May 31, 2017

1000 "Friends"

Humanity, I've done it. I've reached a status I never before thought to obtain. I've officially made 1000 friends on Facebook.

When I say I never thought to obtain this goal, I did't mean that I thought it was impossible for me. I just never thought about it. Why would I? Does having a certain number of virtual friends really mean anything about my social status or worth as a human being? Facebook seems to think so. Once I had finally clicked myself into that social bracket, the before mentioned social medium sent me this salutation:

Did you read what Facebook said about me? I made the world closer. I have accept people of all types. The type that want to turn Facebook into their political debate center. The type that only adds selfies they took in front of the mirror at the gym (or is that more of an Instagram thing?) The type only added you so that they try and sell you something (I swear if one more of you tries to add me to your "lipsense" group I will delete you- even if it means going down to 999), the kind that never posts and might be stalking you (but hopefully not- adding them is not never on purpose). In short, I have taken them all under my wing and accepted them for who they are. Why? Is it because I am so benevolent and open mind? No, it's because having more friends on social media makes me feel like I'm really somebody. I've made it in a way I never could in high school, college, work...really anywhere besides my mother's eyes.

Is that stupid? No comment. I haven't always been this way! There was a time I cared about real relationships. I believe that was about 145 friends ago. I still cared but I began to think about how the people with more Facebook friends seemed to be more popular in real life as well. At around 965 friends thing were getting intense, and although I didn't just accept every request, I was getting pretty animated about adding new numbers into my tally box.

999 showed up on my homepage and I was overwhelmed. I was so close, but yet so far. Because whoever friend number 1000 was could be just any old chum. This person had to be truly close to me. Someone I would remember forever. But who?

I fretted for days. One night at work I was pondering this question out loud and one of the corpsman pointed out that we were not Facebook friends. This was a pretty good person and one I felt it would be an honor to have as friend 1000. So he sent me the request and in front of a few friends at church I accepted to the sound of  their applause. (You think I'm kidding? People were clapping, I was running imagery bases and giving high fives. Fact.)

The next day I got online to take some photos of my significant number for this blog post and to my surprise I found I only had 999! Some bitter heart had the gull to unfriend me. WHY? What have I ever done in my life to offend them so terribly that they would deprive me of this moment?

It was scramble to find a special new friend. Fortunately there was someone close to me that I had only befriended in 3D- my surrogate mother here in California.  I sent a request, she added me. What a relief! With all the grief and pain in this world, at the very minimum I can find peace in knowing that I have some popularity in this world.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night screaming in my head as the coils of loneliness constrict and suffocate my pour aching heart.

In moments like these there is only one thought that saves me- the one that gently soothes "There there little plebeian, you're not alone, you have a 1000 friends on Facebook!!!" The tentacles are released and I can breath easy again knowing that if anything were to happen to me I have plenty of buddies to...to... read about it on social media.

Because that's what my 1000 computer companions would do for me.

I just checked my Facebook...

I was so close. So close.

...*gasp!!*

What's going to save me now?!?!?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Online dating series: To Plan Z and Beyond

And I'm back!

The desire to reintroduce the world to my 'inspiring' writing was recently reawakened. And by recently, I mean about two months ago- which is recent right?

I would have begun jotting things down two months ago, but I couldn't think of a blasted thing I actually wanted to share. Then it happened today as I was scrubbing dishes- there is one subject I have become very familiar with: Online dating. 

One might even say I've become 'expert', but that one person doesn't know what they're talking about, because if I was expert I would be blogging about engagement rings and fancy pillow mints. Gushing about my happily ever after. 

That is not a subject that will be broached for sometime- much to the dismay for my parent and their future grandchildren who are so anxious to get down here to Middle Earth.
Hey, it's not like I haven't been trying to give those little tikes a mortal body. Like I said, I have been playing my hand at internet dating. 

Dating via key pads and glowing screen was not my first choice, in fact it wasn't even a last resort, but when plan Z fails you gotta start using the Chinese alphabet. 

When did this all begin? How did my life come to this point? 

I moved to Carlsbad California. For those of you unfamiliar with the area it's a beachy tourist town home to hipster restaurants, hobos, billionaries, sand, ocean, and marines. Yes marines, but Mormon ones? Not so many. And the ones that are LDS are SOOOO amazing, but also enlisted (because I'm an officer they are taboo) and much MUCH younger than myself. This makes dating difficult. I love my singles ward, but it more like a family... a small family... and I'm one of the older children.

So now can you see why I should be writing profiles and gushing about my accomplishments on the web? If you can, then you are much keener than myself. I did not make this decision on my own.

Sometime in April I went in to see a member of my stake presidency to renew my temple recommend. Like the good man that he was he also took the time to ask about my life and specifically my dating life. At this time I was the 'new girl' (for the first time in my life and feeling pretty cool about it). So I had a couple leads, but nothing too promising.

During that that chat President Blunt (names have been changed for the amusement of the author) gave me some advice that I will treasure forever... or at least a long while.

He looked me in the eye and straight forwardly stated "Clara, you have a lot going for you. You seem fairly easy going, you have a testimony, and you're not too bad looking. I gave you about 2 years. You can be picky for 2 years then you just need to take whatever comes long."

No one had ever given me that opinion- thought I'm sure many thought it. I appreciated his words. He made himself memorable to me. But I didn't except the same from him. I was a member of a vast congregation and I wan't hurt that I wouldn't be set apart from crowd.

How wrong I was! The next time I saw him was the adult session of stake conference. He came down and after the meeting and asked me if he could set me up with some of the single men in the ward that he might come across.

    Side Note: I love being set up on blind dates. I really don't understand how blind dates get a bad         rep. Someone who loves you, wants you to go out with someone else they think are amazing.               HELLO, it's a great way to meet people that are interesting, fun, and build you up.

So on that note I was more than ready to accept the offer.

Unfortunately it did not bare fruit. The next time I saw President Blunt he regretfully informed me that once you get to my age the men come with more baggage than he thought I needed to be carrying. Now we all know that there are amazing men out there  with suitcases or free handed that are a little bit older and single. But Pres. B wasn't running into them. He made the suggestion that I try online dating. I have tried that before and I groaned inside at the suggestion.

"President Blunt, I've tried that before and it didn't go anywhere. I hate being on the computer all the time and it doesn't go anywhere!"

"I know, I know. But just give it a try."

(Eyes rolling and with an exasperated sight) "Fine. But give me one more month. If nothing happens after a month then I'll give it another chance."

"Alright, one month".

You might be able to guess what happened in a month. I got really into body surfing and nearly got paralyzed in the water. HA! Did you guess that? No? I didn't think so!!!

And no, I didn't find true love. I watched a lot of chick flicks alone in my apartment and sat in corners at single adults activities, but despite these efforts I was still...alone.

And so the the cyber adventure began! 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Which City are You?


Teachings from Revelations 2-3 as it applies to each city addressed:

City: Ephesus
·        What they did to please the Lord: They found out who were true messengers from God and who were not and continued to work without rest for God.
·        How they needed to repent: They needed to return to their first love- God.
·        Promised blessings: They would eat of the tree of life.

City: Smyra
·        What they did to please the Lord: They were poor in spirit.
·        How they needed to repent: They needed to not fear the tribulations they would pass through.
·        Promised blessings: They would receive the crown of life and not suffer the 2nd death.

City: Pergamos
·        What they did to please the Lord: They did not deny the faith.
·        How they needed to repent: The performed acts of worship to other Gods and followed other doctrine.
·        Promised blessings: They would be given hidden manna.

City: Thyatira
·        What they did to please the Lord: They did works of charity, patience, faith, and service. They esteemed their brother above themselves.
·        How they needed to repent: Some needed to stop listening to a false prophetess named Jezebel.
·        Promised blessings: He would give them power over nations and give them the morning star.

City: Sardis
·        What they did to please the Lord: They live the Name.
·        How they needed to repent: They needed to be more watchful.
·        Promised blessings: They will walk in white with God.

City: Philadelphia
·        What they did to please the Lord: They kept God’s word and not denied His name.
·        How they needed to repent: They needed to remain steadfast.
·        Promised blessings: They would become a pillar in God’s temple and write His name upon them.

City: Laodicea
·        What they did to please the Lord: Not stated.
·        How they needed to repent: They were apathetic.
·        Promised blessings: They would sit down at God’s throne with Him.

These promises and blessings apply to all of us. It may not be that we need to work on all of them at once, but we ought to try to find which needs the most attention and overcome it. I feel that at times I am the city Laodicea. I am neither cold nor hot. I don’t brother to feel passionate with what’s right or wrong. Because my life is good I don’t seek change. I want to change that. I want to want God’s home with a passion that burns through my complacent 1st world life style and have a heart that is willing to live in squalor or riches, whatever, so long as I can get back to God with as many people as I can carry.


Because getting back to Him is all that really matters (D&C 63:20; 14:7). It at least that is how we should feel. If I allow myself to become complacent then I would lose that focus and the blessing because I would no longer desire it. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mark Twain's Conversation


Dear Clara,

Some of my friends are saying that Mormons are not Christians because you believe that you need to do righteous works along with having faith to be accepted by God. My other friends claim that if I join the Mormons I would be denying Christ’s grace. How should I respond?

Your Friend,

Mark Twain




My Dear Mark,

I am so happy to see that you are finally coming to see the light and feel the Holy Ghost prompt you to learn more about the church.

I am also very relieved to know that you have friends, particularly friends who care for your welfare. Joining the church without ripping out their hearts would make the conversation process a bore and far too easy; however, they do deserve a band-aid, just as much as you deserve the truth. If they want to understand what you are really getting yourself into then you might consider reading these verses from the New Testament with them:

Mathew 7:21 tells us that lip service is not enough, if we mean it than we do it.

Mathew 19: 16-17 says that if we want to enter into ‘life’ we need to keep the commandments.

Ephesians 2: 10 helps us to understand that God created us to do good things.

Revelation’s 20: 12-13 stated that we will we be judged by the works we did written in the book of life.

Frankly Mark, they are right that the act will not save us. In the words of a fellow member in Christ : “Christ asks us to show faith in Him, repent, make and keep covenants, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. By complying, we are not paying the demands of justice- not even the smallest part. Instead, we are showing appreciation for what Jesus Christ did by using it to live a life like His.” (Brad Wilcox, “His Grace Is Sufficient”)

We work out our salvation because we love the job. We are showing Christ the surest form of flattery- imitation… or at least as close to imitation as our weak souls can handle. So yes Grace saves us, but only those who want to be saved- and those who want to be saved will show it through works.

Your Sincerest Friend,

Clara

P.S. I always knew you would come around.   

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Gospel Makes Sense, so Stick with It.




Apostasy.
Mormons hear that word a fair bit. I’d wager that that we hear most in these two context: The Great Apostasy, and
personal apostasy.
In case there are any non members reading this blog (which is highly unlikely) the Latter Day Saint (LDS) community considers the time after the martyrdom of the apostles the ‘great apostasy’. The authority to govern God’s affairs here on earth was taken with their deaths and no replacement was made by the apostles (who had the power).
A personal apostasy is when someone decides to leave the fold of God and make theit own doctrine or follow another teaching.
Each of us can have a personal falling away. Each of us may choose to not obey God’s commandments. If we do so than that is a personal apostasy.  It’s easy to do with so many churches proclaiming to be the right one. It’s even easier thanks to all the people who deny God’s miracles because science proves it away (or does it prove the existence of miracles?) And it is simpler yet with so many telling us that it doesn’t really matter what you do. There either is no God to condemn you, or if there is He is too loving to do so.
In the New Testament, through Paul’s epistle, we meet a saint who was preparing for the Great Apostasy and against the possibility of a personal apostasy. His name was Timothy. Paul gave great advice that would help all of us prepare against a personal apostasy:

  •  Remember why God gave laws: for the sinner. Are am I perfect? No. Are you? Don’t kid yourself. Therefore we are not the exception to the rule.  (Timothy 1: 7-13)

  • God calls His authority into service- not man. If there seems to be a conflict than with this and you're not sure if your leader was called of God, hold on to the doctrine you know to be true (even if it’s doctrine you’re not fond of). God’s servant will teach it with authority. (2 Timothy 1:7-13)

  • Be a good Soldier and take the punches of the world. There will always be reason to break rank but if you are faithful and keep to your uniform (meaning be kind gentle, and Christ-like) God will recognize you as part of His army and add the medal of eternal life to your uniform.  (2 Timothy 2:1-2)

  • Be faithful to the knowledge you have gained of truth and build on it. Seek for more knowledge and truth from your trust scriptures. (2 Timothy 3: 10-17)

  • Share what you know. The other team is working hard to get followers- including you. Don’t let them fill your ears with their garbage. Be an advocate for truth. By doing so you will find others who can help hold the banner. (2 Timothy 4:1-8)

I have found that taking a hard stand to defend and honor what I do know helps me to accept and understand concepts or doctrine that I don’t quite comprehend. I have had moments when I needed to ask myself if being a discipline of Christ was worth the uncertainties and worth defending the aspects I didn’t comprehend. I think back to what I know. Jesus DID perform the atonement, Joseph WAS His prophet, the Book of Mormon IS true, and President Monson Is His prophet. So yea- it’s worth it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Don't ask me, I just work here.

Sometimes I feel conflicted between what I consider to be genuine compassion and desire to help another person, and sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong. 

I sympathize with Miss Molly Stark from Owen Wister’s “The Virginian” who confessed to a friend :
“I know I’m white livered, I never crowd and stare when somebody is hurt in the street. I get away.”

To the which her friend replied “ staring ain’t courage; it’s trashy curiosity” (p. 237).

I admit that I like to see everyone at their best and can at times feel uncomfortable when unhappy events occur. I feel like I would want to just be left alone to wallow in self pity and I assume that everyone else feels the same. I don’t feel like I have the right to intrude on the intimate heartaches of another person.

And it’s true that I don’t have the right to pry open the chest of their heart and spread the contents out to everyone around me. I don’t have that right, but that doesn’t leave me free of obligations. I am a Christian. I was baptized into Christ’s fold and I call myself a “latter day saint”. If I am striving to be a saint than I need to helping my brothers and sisters that surround me.  I don’t need to know their life history to decide to love them and help where I see the need.

Paul suggested to the Romans- whom he also called saints (Romans 15:31)- that they didn’t need to spend their time debating what was good or bad about their neighbor (Romans 14:1-13).  Instead they should “be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits” (Romans 12:16).


I guess what I’m getting around to is I’m going to stop worrying about whether or not it’s my place. If I really am a disciple of Christ than it is always my place to love and help out a fellow wandered.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Down the Block




Once upon a time down the block from your house lived a family named the Jones. Across the street from their house, and down the same block from your house, moved in the Johnsons. The Jones, being hospitable neighbors, brought them cookies the day they moved in and helped them unpack. Mr. Jones and Mr. Johnson shared a love for whittling and within days were very good friends. They spent their afternoons together whittling on the porch of one or the others home. The Jones family was an older couple and Mr. Jones acted as a mentor and instructor to the young Mr. Johnson.
Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Jones also became good friends. Mrs. Jones would watch the four year old boy when Mrs. Johnson needed to run errands and when Mrs. Jones needed help managing her facebook account Mrs. Johnson was by her side ready to ‘like’ every annoying cat video posted.
One day while watching Johnson Junior a neighbor stopped by the Jones home to inform Mrs. Jones that a “new” episode of the Lawrence Welks show was going to be on the local PBS station. Mrs. Jones was thrilled and soon fell in to talking about the good days with her neighbor. Time passed and Mrs. Jones realized that she hadn’t heard from Johnson Junior for a while. She searched the house high and low only to find him lying passed out on the floor with an empty bottle of moonshine that her grandfather had made during the era of Prohibition. Mrs. Jones couldn’t decide if she was more distraught to have a drunken child passed out on her great grandmother’s rug, or that this memory of her grandfathers outlaw days were on their way back up Junior’s throat.
When Mrs. Johnson returned she displayed an unhealthy hue of purple in her face listening to the story. She marched her child home and did not speak to the Jones at all for a solid week. Mr. Johnson was forbidden from the porch and found that he only knew how to whittle sticks into smaller sticks. Mr. Jones made masterpieces but had no one to admire the work without Mr. Johnson because Mrs. Jones was too busy trying to understand what to do with a hash tag. Junior learned to make cans fly off the shelves at the supermarket.
One day Junior managed to find Mrs. Johnson’s bracelet that her mother gave her before her spontaneous journey to the center of the earth (from which she has yet to return) and flush down the toilet (possibly to be reunited with its previous owner). The deed was accomplished within seconds. Mrs. Johnson’s eye welled up and she decided to eat a bucket of ice cream. Her thoughts were full of toilets, bracelets and moonshine. Then she made cookies. Then she made the long journey across the street to a home just a block from your house and made apologies.
Mr.  Johnson is now learning to make a whistle and Mrs. Jones puts more hash tags up then your Aunt Mildred.
“So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.”
2 Corinthians 2: 7-8