Sunday, August 26, 2007

Great Are The Words of Isaiah...

…None shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken; whose arrows shall be sharp, and all their bows bent, and their horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind, their roaring like a lion. They shall roar like *yawn*... young lionzzz….. yea, they zzhall roar, and lay holdofthepreyzzz……………*snort* and shall carry away…. zzsafeand…none…shalldeliv…zzzzzzzzzz………………………………........... whaaa....huh.....

Oh, hi there. You caught me studying my scriptures….I mean….ok, well, I was supposed to be studying my scriptures, but you see I was in the Isaiah chapters and, well, you know how it is. I mean they are important and all, but really, what on earth does it all mean? Everything Isaiah says is wrapped in a cloak of obscurity and endlessly repeating phrases that go backward and forward and up and down I never know where I am or what or who on earth he is talking about. Just when I think I might have a little inkling he switches gears from the past to the present and back again…..my eyes glaze over, my mind begins to wander and the next thing I know I am in a daydream!

Does this happen to anyone else when they hit the Isaiah chapters? I thought so!

A few months ago, while visiting teaching, my companion and I were trying to encourage a sister to begin a study of the Book of Mormon to help with the atmosphere in her home. My companion proceeded to give her some advice, “When you get to the Isaiah chapters, just skip over them and keep going,” says my companion.

How many times have you heard that, or have been told to “just plow through” without trying to comprehend. How many have tried to comprehend and given up as the mumbo, jumbo gets the better of you?

“Guilty as charged!”

However, about four years ago I decided to give Isaiah a serious study. I found a great book to use as a guide to help me decipher and I dove in. I made it through about 3-4 chapters before my enthusiasm waned. I moseyed on to other areas of the scriptures checking back in now and then to see how old Isaiah was doing. He was still there in all his obscurity. I did another chapter here and there, but not with any consistency. Then decided to read the Book of Mormon all the way through again (actually three times in 90 days, but that’s another story!), and you know, when I got to the Isaiah chapters I actually remembered some of the things I had studied; and since I wasn’t hung up on trying to understand him at face value because of my former study, I was able to understand more of the meaning behind the lines.

I have turned to Isaiah on and off over the years since then and each time I learn something new. I have tried different approaches. Sometimes I have used books written by Isaiah scholars. Sometimes I have just looked up footnote references. I have used the seminary study guides. I have downloaded lectures and read talks and articles that I find on the internet. And I have just gone through verse by verse and chapter by chapter trying to make some sense of it all.

He’s kind of like Shakespeare. The first Shakespeare play I read was The Merchant of Venice. I didn’t understand anything that was going on, until I got a children’s version of the story which brought it down to my level. After getting the storyline, I was then able to go back and read the adult version and even though the language was still somewhat (very) foreign, I was able to pick up more the second time through. Then I watched the play and then I read it again, and I read a couple of other Shakespeare plays and saw a couple more, and do you know, I can read Shakespeare now and actually somewhat understand it? It was being exposed reading by reading, play by play that brought me to that point. That’s not to say that I am an expert on Shakespeare. I still have to get an expert help me to understand things sometimes (i.e. I have my daughter explain things to me). But I enjoy Shakespeare now and I even glean some of the nuggets of wisdom out of him, all on my own!

To understand Isaiah, you have to read him. More than once or twice…or three or four…or…..well anyway, lots and lots! By exposing myself to Isaiah in the inconsistent way I have done, I have found that I am beginning to like Isaiah…I mean, I could almost use the love word here, almost (give me a few more years and I’ll be there)! Crazy, I know, but the more I study his words, the more I understand them, the more I look forward to my Isaiah sessions. In fact the other day I was so excited about something that I had found that I wanted to share it with someone. In fact I wanted to shout it to the whole world…and then it hit me (you can guess where I am going, since you are reading this), I decided that I could share it with the world, or at least those who frequent my part, which isn’t very many, but no matter. You, my lucky reader(s), will get a dose of Isaiah now and then in an effort to whet your appetite for the man and his message!

I think one of the most important things we can come away with from our encounter with the scriptures is how to apply it to our lives, so the approach I’m using right now is to just read each chapter and then write my thoughts and impressions. I have been blessed with some inspiring moments with this approach. Not every day yields a nugget, but when they come, they are worth the effort. And if just one or two people read these thoughts of mine and are inspired, well then I’ve added a little something to the world. If my enthusiasm for Isaiah can just rub off on one person, then that’s one more person who soul will “delighteth in the words of Isaiah”.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rubbing Shoulders

We go fishing every year on Vancouver Island in British Columbia in a beautiful remote spot about halfway up the island called Telegraph Cove.



















During WWII it was a telegraph station, but has since been turned into a little resort that calls to fisherman for the fantastic salmon and halibut, and whalewatchers for the pods that call Johnstone Strait their home.

Our family has been going for 18 years now and it is a revered summer tradition.




















We usually bring back several hundred pounds of fish, mostly salmon, but this year we got a lot of halibut...and a few other interesting creatures as well!




















Being remote, it’s not the place where you might see more well known folks, like in Los Angeles, say, or New York...

So I’m walking along the boardwalk and I notice this lady and the thought crosses my mind “what a beautiful black woman”. I’m not trying to sound prejudice here; I love to look at different ethnic groups, as each have their own type of beauty. The feature that caught my attention were her beautiful eyes. She’s standing about three feet away from me reading a sign on one of the cabins. She looks slightly familiar, but I can’t place her so I continue on and go into our cabin. About two minutes later my mother-in-law excitedly enters the house...


“Guess who I just said hi to?”


“Who?”


“Oprah Winfrey!”


*gasp*


“That’s who that was!”


Yes, I was three feet away from Oprah Winfrey! While I didn’t get a picture of her to prove it, here’s the yacht she was staying on…


















Apparently the man who owns this yacht owns about half of British Columbia. He likes to bring in motivational speakers for his employee meetings, the likes of George H. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Oprah Winfrey…

Her boyfriend Steadman (sp?) and some of his friends went fishing with one of the guides here, (who happens to be one of our good friends, so we got the inside scoop). They caught a couple of small pinks (a type of salmon, not the best, but the rest weren't biting yet) and were thrilled as they had never caught a salmon before. Oprah enjoyed Telegraph Cove because she could walk around with some anonymity. Apparently while she was in Campbell River (about three hours down island) she was followed around and mobbed by crowds. We’re a little more reserved here (or just brain dead when it comes to spotting celebrities, I mean there are so many of them here in this remote part of the world).

Well that was the second celebrity I’ve seen in real life. I can't remember the name of the first one, but if I could you would know who it was. It's kind of a funny story. When I was in college I worked as a window washer. My boss had a few clients in Sundance (you know, Robert Redford’s place) so we went up to wash the windows of _________The funny part of the story is, my boss’s younger brother was working with us and as we drove up to the house, _______was standing outside with (I’m assuming) his girlfriend. My boss’s brother takes one look and his jaw just drops into his lap! ___________looks at my boss’s brother and drops his jaw. Then he starts laughing! It was hilarious!

So there it is, in my spare time I rub shoulders with celebrities…ok,ok, so didn’t rub shoulders with her, but still, she was only three feet away…I could have reached out and touched her!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Brave New World

I've been saying I was going to do it for the past three years but I kept putting it off. Yes, I was a chicken, I admit it, but when you think of what could be under you and how small you are compared to the vastness, not to mention it's COLD and if you got tipped over, say, by something REALLY BIG, you would either get eaten or freeze to death in a matter of minutes. But I mastered my fear and I did it...and not once, but twice! Yes, I am a brave soul.............oh...are you wondering what I did? Ok,ok, I'll get out the album!


Here's my brave deed--I went kayaking!



















That's not really all that scary you say? Well not in a lake maybe,

but I went kayaking out on the Ocean ,where there are big whales




















and sharks and other weird creatures and slimy kelp and the water is 46 degrees and you will die of hypothermia in 30 minutes if you get tipped over or sucked out by a rip current (really swirly water) when the ocean tides start to change...

See, I am brave!




















This is my B.C. friend Cori who braved it with me. She'd gone before so I felt safe with her expertise!






















It was so much fun that I went again and took my son with me...I was the expert then..*cough*.





















We had some great mom & son quality time.

We stopped at a really nice beach and played some Gin Rummy





















I won all three hands.


He got tired of losing so he found a little hermit crab and made a house for it.





















We saw some bald eagles and even some whales way far off which we were glad of (actually that was when I was with Cori. When I was with Son, he kept trying to go out to where they were, but I controlled the rudder, heh, heh, heh!).


We saw a piece of really cool driftwood, which I wanted to take back for my yard, but it was a bit to big for the tippy canoe.





















And speaking of tippy, we didn't tip over once, in fact we hardly got wet at all, just our feet as we were getting in and out.

Just so you know, when we are on the ocean it's in the passage between British Columbia and Vancouver Island, and we keep close to the land with our little kayak, (although there are those who venture out farther to see the whales...I wasn't one of them, did I say that already?) so it is a little safer than being on the open ocean with all the big swells and wind, but still, I think I was pretty brave...I'm just sayin'.

It'll never sound the same...

I don't know how to put things like YouTube on my blog yet, so I'm linking to this post, the video is hilarious! (Maybe someone can tell me how to do it, I want to put it on my sidebar...P.J???).

Also, I love reading her blog, she is a kick!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Adding a little color to my life

I finally, after several hours of frustration (staying up until about 3:00am), figured out how to put some color on the background! This is by no means finished. I really haven't found the background that I want yet, but it's a start! I have to figure out the banner next and maybe then I will be finished...for a little while...until I find something else I like better, something with roses...

Thanks P.J.!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Constructing on a sure foundation

Hi there. I’m back…not that you ever realized that I’ve been gone, well I mean other than gone from this blog. Anyway, it’s been awhile. Look at my poor blog…so neglected. Ok,ok, not that it was ever really fully utilized, but I think this has been the longest span ever in its short life! And not only have I neglected it, but I left it void of color and life because I couldn’t figure out how I wanted it to look. I’m too picky I guess, but the choice of templates is way too limited even with being able to change colors and fonts. I don’t want anything Plain Jane, I want pizzazz! Or at least something that shows off my style and personality a little better! But thanks to my sweet sil who has mastered the blogging world and knows the ins and outs of backgrounds and banners, I’ll be working on decorating and fixing up the place. I’ve picked her brains a bit and I’m going to be peppering her with more questions until I am able to make mine as cute as hers…after I get off vacation that is (that’s why I’ve been gone…this summer has been a perpetual vacation, and a badly needed one at that!).

As to the new name "Under Construction", well, at first it I was changing things around so much it felt like a construction zone, so I thought I’d put that name up until I was done decorating, but after some contemplation I realized that it’s actually a very fitting title because it accurately describes the course of my life over the last, say, 14 years…

See, we’ve built two houses since we’ve been married and are in the process of building a third. The building process itself, once you get going, isn’t so hard, I actually enjoy that part, because it’s exciting to see the framing go up, and then getting to pick out all the things for inside is tremendously fun especially when you get to see it all come together. It’s time consuming, but usually very satisfying in the end. What’s been hard is that each house we have built hasn’t been for us, really. They were homes that were meant to be sold after living in them for a couple of years. But unfortunately a couple of years usually turned into three or four. But since I thought we’d only be there two I never took the time to decorate and make it as homey as I would if I had known we were going to be there longer. And then we were in rental homes between, which we were supposed to be in for maybe a year, give or take, but it usually turned into two or three (we’re going on three in our present rental). And it’s very hard to really make a rental feel like your own. So consequently I have never really felt at home anywhere, because everywhere I’ve lived was just going to be temporary. It’s a very unsettling feeling. And not only did I not decorate and move fully into my many houses, but I didn’t move in fully to my life! Everything was always put on hold “until the final house where we will have everything just like we want”. The problem is my kids grew up during this time. We are actually about 5 years behind schedule for the “final house”. My oldest should have been 12 when we moved into the “final house” and have at least 6 more years to go. As it is, my oldest will be going off to college in a couple of years and will only get to live in the house for maybe a year or two, and that’s only if she decides to go to a local junior college (crossing my fingers, I don’t want her to leave yet!), and the next child is only a year behind that!

That’s the short story, it’s much longer really and more complicated but the idea is that I have constantly felt “Under Construction”. So there it is. A fitting metaphor for my life and, hence, my new title. I kind of like it actually.

Let’s take this metaphor even further.

One scripture that I have been led to time and time again is Helaman 5:12...

“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”

You see, while my physical life has been in a constant construction process, so has my spiritual life. The difference is the physical things of my life are temporary. I’d like some of them to last a little longer than others. I’d like this next home to get built so that I can put down some roots and feel settled for awhile. I want a garden and a trampoline and a place for my kids to run around without worrying about them. But I still recognize that it’s all temporary. We could lose everything tomorrow and be living on the streets!

Spiritually though, I am building on a rock. I could not have weathered all the moving about if I were not. The walls that I put up to defend myself against the whirlwinds are built on a foundation that is not temporary. But I have to constantly be constructing those walls, and I also have to constantly be in touch with the Architect. He’s the one to tell me where the next board needs to go.

Therefore I am constantly “Under Construction”…but it’s so worth it.