feeling better

Dear friends
I drafted a post to you last week about the frustrations of having to customise five (excluding my own) packed lunches to ensure everyone was happy and received sufficient nourishment while at school or college or work.  As a taster here’s what I have to deal with: no crusts, no baguette, no wheat, no fruit, no butter, no tomatoes, no salad, no ham, no crisps,… you get the picture!
But then, my dear husband shared his ‘man flu’ with me;  our daughters warned me “why are you sleeping in the same bed as Daddy?”  I wondered where else they expected me to sleep,  maybe on the floor!  So the last few days I’ve had a cold.  As soon as the itchy throat began, I bought some cold relief max capsules, which meant I survived at work – going off sick is more hassle than its worth and we’re in the middle of a planning application.  I do believe in using medications,  not excessively,  but certainly when we need to – medecines are there to help us.  I am also grateful for the prayers of our children who always remember our family when someone needs help. 
So today, I didn’t teach my youth Sunday school class (my voice is still hoarse) – which includes our two eldest children – and the other teacher taught a combined class – the older and younger youth.  I asked her how it went – fearing that Son1 and Daur1 would have spent the lesson sounding off each other,  as in my lessons.  But no!!  Sister N spoke of how they had such sweet spirits and she could see what we had taught them at home.  An incredulous “Really!?” was my first reaction.  But as she mentioned it again – nothing specific – I could sense her sincerity and I realised that maybe I was missing something special in my own children. 
After that I watched as Son1 went to the church kitchen after the munch ‘n’ mingle to wash up dishes (accompanied by his sisters who dried and put away) even though the other youth had gone home.  And I think on how Daur1 played flute last week, with no accompaniment, a young women evening, though she has an exam this week, but did not let down her leaders. 
So, having bought 5 new containers for packed lunches, and feeling better, I will face the lunches in the morning and know that something good is coming from all this unique behaviour! After all we are each unique songs and daughters of a loving Father in Heaven. 🙂

minority families…

Dear friends

Last week there was a policy announcement from church leadership. I wasn’t aware of it until Sunday, when after church meetings, Daur1 said it was mentioned in young women’s lesson and there is loads of comments on the Internet about it.  So, back home I looked up lds.org to see what it was about, for myself.

In my words, it’s that children of / within a same sex marriage couple can not be baptised until they are 18 years old. 

This seems perfectly reasonable to me – no point having a child baptised (we don’t believe in infant baptism, a child must be at least 8 years old) when their parents are in a situation which opposes those beliefs.  Regardless of how stable and how supportive those parents  may be of the child’s decision, at some point there will be conflict.  Either for the child or for one or both of the parents. And, I’m certain, for the child, it will be confusing at some point, even if eventually that child manages to mentally resolve it. I can refer to my own situation, which some of you may feel is not the same, but for me, it feels relevant.

My dear parents were never married, and, as far as I can tell, never lived together. I don’t know why – I’ve never asked, and I probably never will.  My Dad has a wife and children and a home.  He visited my Mum and us once a week.  For the bulk of my childhood I said nothing more than “Hello Daddy” and “Goodbye Daddy” at the start and end of an uncomfortable 20 minute visit where he money to my Mum and pocket money to us.  I am the oldest of his children.  My younger brother is younger than my oldest half sister, so you can work that out!  My relationship with my dear Father deserves a post of it’s own, so back to the point of this post.

I was in the clear minority at school, not only for my skin colour, for growing up in a single parent family, for “having no Dad” as my peers described, and I felt that as a ‘stigma’.  I knew I was loved and was very matter of fact with friends that asked, “do you have a Dad?” Response “yes!! Everyone does. He just doesn’t live with us.”

By the time I reached my teens, although I knew what was right in terms of civic society – not hurting, stealing, killing, lying – when it came to what was right in terms of my own personal welfare, well, I was in a state of confusion, particularly in terms of relationships, questions like what is the real, true position, God’s point of view, on premarital sex?  I was in search of personal peace, personal answers, as I was becoming an adult. I never felt able to ask my mother since I was fully aware that she had all of us out of wedlock.  And although my mother was firm, provided a Christian upbringing (Mum not affiliated with any particular church though I went to a pentecostal Sunday school) and and told us not to ‘drink from the governor’s cup’ (or some strange phrase where the governor and his cup was an innuendo for sexual activities), it was a struggle, at least for me to reconcile this with her own actions.  (You may judge me as weak because of that).  Once I had the opportunity to learn more, I made a choice, to make and keep covenants with God, and I found peace. 

So, what am I saying? I’m saying when it comes to eternal matters, our choice matters.  And most of us, when we reach adulthood, will have the ability to choose things in this life.  And quite simply I believe that our Father is fair and that 18 years in any loving home where respect is taught for parents, with one, two, male, female, black, white, parents, is beneficial for our eternal welfare – family love can be learned and that is fundamental.  There will be time, and I feel, time to make and keep sacred covenants once we individually make that choice…

I’m probably not explaining this very well.  It may be difficult enough to grow up in a minority-type family, so why would our Father want to make it worse for his children in such a situation.  So I totally accept this policy statement as Father’s will.  And I fail to understand why others feel this shows intolerance or a degree of being unfair.  I expect the reason it wasn’t explicit before is because same sex marriage is a new situation.  Thankfully, revelation is always relevant and for the times in which we live.

memoir – green cabbage

Dear friends

There were so many things I thought to tell you about this past week: FISH!; the cull (redundancies); buildings that look like ships; the weather (very wet); winter coat – parka v. duffle. Finally I’ve settled for a childhood memoir, prompted by the fact that we’re having savoy cabbage this evening.

image

I was only sick (I mean actually vomit sick) once at school. In fact I only remember being sick twice as a child – the tale I’m going to tell now and an incident involving tinned burgers. (Imagine my horror at the nausea and vomiting accompanying all four of our beautiful children!)

So, I was about 7 or 8, in Mr Fairhall’s class – he had to be the tallest teacher ever, and one of the strictest in the school; we were addressed by surname only and never allowed to toilet during lesson time.  School dinners (lunch) included a healthy portion of green cabbage – I’ve always supposed it was cabbage! – it was green, watery and really did not look good. I’m fairly certain that I was in the habit of ducking out of the green stuff either by withdrawing my plate or discretely leaving it to the end and on my plate.  However, this lunchtime a dinner lady made certain I ate the green stuff.  Yukkk!!!

Later that afternoon, after play, sitting at my table I began to feel distinctly unwell.  Could I do it? Could I raise my hand and ask to go toiletdinnereven if I managed to ask would Mr Fairhall let me go?  I was desperately uncomfortable so asked.

You do look a little pale, Simmons. You can go.

Pale, I thought to myself, and since then. What hue had come across by brown skin?  What shade was I turning? And I headed down the corridor. I had just turned the corner, by the staff room, when I knew why I wasn’t feeling comfortable and why Mr Fairhall described my appearance as pale.

Once I was done, I sheepishly knocked on the staff room door where the school admin lady opened it, looked at the floor, then looked at me as if to say, “you could have made it another few doors to the toilets!!” All I could see was undigested green stuff.  And at home time, there remained a pile of sand, to mark the spot.  And I never ate green cabbage again, until a few years ago I began making stir fries for the family.

It’s cottage pie with savoy cabbage this evening – little bit of olive oil, yumm!!

I really don’t know how school dinner cabbage in the 70’s looked the way it did.  My theory.  I actually think it was spring greens. I think the dinner ladies told us it was cabbage. So spring greens – however cheap they are – will not land in my shopping trolley – they look too much like the green stuff.

miracles

Dear friends

“Why don’t we see things like that now?  Why is it always a long time ago?”  These were questions our youngest, Son2, asked me a few evenings ago, as we were reading about Jesus visiting the people after his resurrection  (3 Nephi chapter 11) and how they heard the voice of heavenly Father introduce Jesus – ‘Behold, my Beloved Son…’ 

I think many of us have asked that question – do miracles still happen today?  I explained a couple of things to him. 

First, that miracles do happen today, in our family lives, everything is not coincidence. 

I reminded him of the door key incident.  We – the children and I – had all gone out one Saturday afternoon to the library and the market – this was when my dear husband was away studying.  As we headed back down the road towards the house I became aware that I did not have the house keys.  We checked all bags, pockets, hands. Nothing. I am not prone to forgetting things and our door is such that it won’t close properly without using the key.  So I was worried.  No neighbour has a spare key and no back door left open.  So I encouraged the children to pray as we approached the house.  I think Son1 and Daur2 ran on ahead and then quickly one of them ran back – a look of joyful shock on their face.  “They were in the door!!” they exclaimed.  The keys were in the lock.  The house was locked,  nothing disturbed outside or inside, after a quick check.  I offered thanks to Father and we discussed the many possibilities of the keys miracle – had I actually lost them outside but an angel put them in the door? were they made invisible so no passersby took them out the door?  I don’t know. But, for the older children and me, it’s a miracle.  Son2 would have been under 5 years so probably doesn’t remember everything about it. I reminded Son2 of other more personal miracles to him, such as when he has been healed.

Second, I reminded him that we live before the time that Jesus will come back, and that maybe we would be alive when He comes back.  If so, I’m fairly certain Heavenly Father will introduce Jesus and all the world will experience His return to Earth. 

Third and finally, I shared that first we need to trust Father and Jesus (have faith in Them) and then miracles and signs will follow, not the other way round. 

I was reminded of the verses in Moroni 7 where he quotes words from his father, Mormon, saying:

it is by faith that miracles are wrought… if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief,  and all is vain.

I hope I never stop believing. The truth is very simple to understand, and beautifully simple to live.  It does take effort, especially since we are not wrapped in cotton wool, but that is why Father does give us help and miracles.  He loves and will always love you, me, them, us.