Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Son's Ox

My son purposely rode his ox into the mire today. Then, when he realized his ox was stuck, he got upset and vowed to leave it there.

It wasn’t his fault, he defended, someone else made him ride his ox into the mire. The other person needed to solve the situation and get the ox out of the mud, not him.

But I tell my children all the time--"solve the problem yourself.” Do not expect others to fix life for you.

My husband and I both talked to our son. We told him he had a responsibility to solve the problem. We let him know we knew the situation was hard and his feelings were understandable, yet he needed to put his own personal opinions aside and work to get that ox out of the mire.

As most very upset teenagers do, he didn’t like what we said. He dug his heels deeper into the mud, saying he would not do anything to fix the problem.

But I knew he would. He is a good kid with a heart of gold. He doesn’t like problems in his life and he will do even difficult things to fix problems. He just needed some time to process our counsel.

Sure enough, a few minutes later he came to me and said he would try to fix the problem but he wasn’t happy about it. Nor was he hopeful he could get it fixed in time. You see, there was also a deadline involved.

Nevertheless, he took a deep breath, sucked up his courage, and waded into the mud.

I watched my teenager start the task of digging his ox out of the mire. I knew his time to solve the problem was very limited and he would fail if left alone. I also knew how hard it was for him to even do the task, so I joined him. I got right down in the mud with him and, together, we worked and labored and dug his ox out of the mire.

Then he went, on his own, to face the adult he did not get along with and present him with the unstuck ox.

I was very proud of him. People may say he drove is own ox into the mire—that it was all his fault. But my memories will always be of him digging deep within himself and working extremely hard to resolve a very unpleasant situation.

My son purposely rode his own ox out of the mire today.

He is becoming a very good man.

You married who??!!!

How well I remember the phone call my husband received. His sister called to tell him the big news: she was engaged.

She then enthusiastically told him of every quality her future husband possessed. My husband hardly spoke at all.

After the phone call I asked my sweetheart, “So, how is he?”

“Apparently perfect.”

Smiling with knowledge I said, “Ask her if she still thinks he’s perfect 20 years from now.”

We both laughed over that one.

It has been said we should enter marriage with our eyes wide open and after marriage keep them half shut.

All too often the opposite happens. Because of giddy romance we don’t see clearly before marriage and after marriage our eyes fly open wide—in horror! We can’t believe we married that!!

Well, prior to my marriage I vowed I would find the perfect husband. I spent hours of teenage time creating lists of attributes he would have to have for me to love him for eternity. My list varied over time but the first five qualities were always the same: tall, blonde hair, blue eyes, love spaghetti, want to live in Arizona.

So, how did I do?

We live in Montana and I also struck out on the tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed pseudo Italian part. In fact, I can safely say that spaghetti is far down on his list of favorite meals.

But you know what? He eats it anyway! And there are times, when things are hectic at home, he actually suggests it for dinner--and even helps me make it! How can you not love a man like that? What I originally thought was a ‘weakness’ has endeared him to me more than if he loved spaghetti!

"I will make weak things become strong unto them," promised the Lord. (Ether 12:27)

We don’t need perfect spouses. (In fact, none of us have them.) But marriage isn’t about marrying perfect, it is about becoming perfect.

We must make the choice to keep our eyes wide open after marriage—in appreciation. We can and should see the sacrifices and small gestures of devotion that surround us…both spoken and unspoken. And then we should verbally express gratitude for them.

A friend and college professor said something very wise. “I find that when I remember to praise my students and point out their gifts and make assignments clear, their work improves as they try to meet that standard. Criticism never seems to bring improvement, although it is easier to give and seems so necessary. It also crushes the spirit.”

He is so right. Good feelings escalate and enlarge. Criticism defeats and deflates their spirit…not just in the classroom but in life.

Mostly, though, criticism crushes us.

“He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil and have that which is evil restored unto you.” (Helaman 14:31)

When we do something good for our spouses--when we praise them and point out their special gifts--our marriage improves, positive feelings and works escalate, and the Spirit returns.

It’s a promise and eternal principle from God--

“For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored.” Alma 41:15

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My book is finally released

It was a delight to receive my book in the mail. Entitled Tombs of Terror, the book takes place in Peru and is based on fact. It is geared toward young adults, especially young men, but other readers have also enjoyed it.

Here is what the back cover says:

"When Jonathon Bradford reluctantly accompanies his father on a research trip to Peru, all he can think about is going home. In the majestic ancient city of Machu Picchu, Jonathon hears the legend of the Inca people--how an entire civilization vanished in a single night, hiding their gold and sacred mummies in secret caverns carved deep in the Andes Mountains.

But when Jonathon loses his way in the mountain tunnels, he finds himself battling to survive lethal traps, starvation, and his own fear in order to discover the shocking truth behind the legend--a truth that lands him in the custody of Severino, a reckless Peruvian teen obsessed with avenging his father's death and protecting his sister, no matter the cost.

Tombs of Terror is the gripping tale of how Jonathon must prove his bravery and loyalty as he is catapulted into an epic struggle between greed and honor, all while holding the precarious fate of an entire civilization in his hands."

The story is something I would want my own children to read. I have kept it clean but also fast-moving. It whispers at the importance of family while blending fact with fiction. It also introduces the reader to the rich heritage of Peru and brings them into the ancient Inca culture.

If you would like to read the book you can order it from your nearest bookstore. The title is Tombs of Terror, by T. Lynn Adams. And, if some bookstore clerk should ask, the ISBN number is 978-1-59955-326-9.

Oh, for every book you order, the bookstore will also order in extras to sell to other customers.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A visit to Peru

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matt. 25:40

I received a fun surprise in my inbox today, a link to Project Pirca: Un Obra de Amor.

This humanitarian project is the brainchild…or should I say the heartchild…of the Elmer family in Texas. The Elmers felt the desire to help others and have been assisting in the remote Peruvian village of Pirca for several years.

Pirca is the oldest known Andean village and has been inhabited since the time of the Incas. The people have very few worldly comforts but they are generous, happy and giving.

I served my mission to Peru from 1983-1984. In 2008 I was blessed to accompany my brother's family and the Elmers to Pirca. The mountain weather was brisk, the air at that altitude was thin, but the experience was unforgettable. How I would love to go back. Peru truly is my second home.

Viewing the beautiful photos on this blog site warmed my heart. How I loved seeing those familiar faces again, and what they are accomplishing together as a village. The people are hard-working and only need a little help to accomplish great things.

If you are interested in helping the Elmers expand their service to the wonderful people of Andean Peru, please contact them through their Web site. It doesn't take much money to donate a pound of flour or a warm blanket.

I hope you enjoy this visit to Pirca. Project Pirca

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Love and laughter are the music of home

I have often said that the sweetest sound I hear is the sound of my children laughing together and enjoying each other. How grateful I am that we hear that sound often in our home.

However, when they do argue or spit out insulting words at one another, a spirit changes inside of the home and something inside of me grows grey and aches. It is a sorrow I cannot explain but it is a feeling I know Heavenly Father understands, personally.

In Moses 7 Enoch beheld the heavens and the earth. He saw generation upon generation and he beheld Satan and his angels rejoicing at the darkness upon the earth.

Then he was blessed to see righteous “angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father and Son; and the Holy Ghost fell upon many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.”

Then, after this marvelous sight Enoch records “that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people and he wept.

“And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity? And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations.”

Then Enoch points out the wonderful things the Lord has done: He is always there for us, He has taken Zion to his own bosom and “naught but peace, justice and truth is the habitation of thy throne…how is it thou canst weep?

Then God, the ever-loving and involved Father replies, “these thy brethren, they are the workmanship of mine own hands and I gave unto them their knowledge…(and) agency…And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another and that they should choose me, their Father…but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood.”

He saw His children hating each other, bickering, arguing, not getting along...and worse.

And because they could not get along, He saw someting more--“misery shall be their doom...wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?”

He did not want them to suffer because they could not love each other and get along. He felt concern for their future.

Then, when Enoch saw that the Lord’s plan, when he understood the depth of love--and of the sorrow--the Lord felt, and comprehended the sacrifice He and his Only Begotten were willing to make so His children would better understand love, “Enoch knew..and wept, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook.”

God doesn’t just want us to learn to share the toys. He wants us to learn to share the world and He weeps when we cannot do so simple a thing as love one another. He weeps because He knows if we can't share and love each other here, we won't be able to there.

Why? Because we won't make into Heaven. "that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world." (Alma 34:34)

Heaven is for families who love each other and for people who love all mankind.

How I love to hear the music of good, righteous laughter; of loving families enjoying each other; of strangers loving and helping strangers. It lifts home--and the entire world--a little closer to Heaven.