Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meditations on Meditation

This week is final exams at school, or as I like to call it, Judgment Day. It's where I reap the just rewards of a semester's worth of procrastination.

This semester has been no different. I'm not as prepared as I would have liked. On Monday evening, I had my first final, in contracts. Contracts is one of my weaker subjects; I didn't do well the first time around. I was really nervous about this exam, but by 5:00 pm (for a 6:00 pm final), I realized that I was as prepared as I was going to be.

My favorite spot on campus to meditate is in the garden behind Mission Santa Clara. There is a statue of Christ with a Latin inscription of Matthew 11:28-30, which is one of my favorite scriptures. I went over there and began to (silently) pour my heart out to God. I explained how nervous I was about this exam, and how I realized that if I mess this second chance up, I won't get a third chance. I pleaded for divine help and promised I would do better and work harder in the future. (I was completely sincere in that promise.)

Afterward, I stood there for a while and felt the Spirit wash over me. I was reminded of promises the Lord has given me regarding my education. I was reminded that even though I could have theoretically done more this semester, I did enough, and that I would be able to remember what I learned this semester and also what I learned my first time in law school. I felt confident and at peace.

I went in to take the exam. As the test began, I read over the fact pattern, and information suddenly began to flow. It was amazing. I knew that some of the information was stuff I had studied, but much of it was direct inspiration. I was able to concentrate for the duration of the exam, which is something that is often difficult for me. (I'm easily distracted.) At the end of the exam, I was exhausted, but I felt like I did well enough.

I don't know why I got that extra help. I'm sure there are people more deserving, and I know there are more pressing concerns in this world than my grade on a contracts exam. I'm just grateful that God was mindful of me.

Tomorrow I have my torts exam, which I'm less concerned about. Then I'm done for a month. I'm really looking forward to the time off.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

I have much to be thankful for this year. When I count my blessings, I realize that God has richly and abundantly blessed me.

1. Against all odds, I got accepted back into law school. Not only did I get back into law school, but I got into a school considerably higher ranked than the one that kicked me out the first time around.
2. At a time when many good people are out of work, I still have a job.
3. I am reasonably healthy, and my loved ones enjoy good health, too.
4. I have a sweet and loving cat who brightens my day.
5. I'm part of an intellectually and spiritually uplifting community online composed of my fellow saints.

There are too many blessings to number; these are just a few. Have a happy Thanksgiving, and please remember to count your blessings!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In His Name All Oppression Shall Cease

One nice thing about being a musician is that Christmas music starts early. I usually begin rehearsing around early September. A few weeks ago, I was practicing one of my favorite Christmas songs, O Holy Night. The third verse hit me with tremendous force.
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
The part that stood out the most to me is the line “And in His name all oppression shall cease.”
There have been people through history, and even unfortunately in modern times, who attempt to use the name of Christ to oppress the children of God. People who are doing this are in violation of the commandment against taking the name of Deity in vain.

On the other hand, much social progress has resulted from people acting in the name of Christ. Preachers were among those advocating voting rights for women, the abolition of slavery, and the civil rights movement. Christ Himself during His mortal ministry spent His time among the downtrodden and oppressed, offering them hope and redemption.

There is still suffering and oppression in the world. Some of our brothers and sisters are still enslaved. This Christmas season and beyond, let those of us who call ourselves His followers work to fulfill the promise that the name of Christ stands for freedom from oppression.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Bloggernacle First Ward

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Matthew 18:20

I'm ill today, so I unfortunately didn't make it to church. While sitting at home in my pajamas, valiantly trying to keep my germs to myself, I decided that I would attend the Bloggernacle First Ward. I'm grateful that we have the opportunity to gather together virtually in Christ's name. It's no substitute for actual church services, but it's a nice way to spend the occasional sick day.

The opening hymn was Press Forward Saints, with Geoff J at New Cool Thang as chorister.

Sam MB gave a review at By Common Consent of a book containing sermons of Jeffrey R. Holland.

TheFaithfulDissident exhorted us at Feminist Mormon Housewives to make room for our fellow saints with differing views.

In other news, my legal writing and research paper is due tomorrow evening, so I'll be reappearing on the blogs after that's over with. I've got some good posts coming up, so keep reading! Have a great Sunday!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Two Quick Notes

I'm taking a brief break from my blogging hiatus to deliver two quick notes.

1. To churches who choose to get involved in political discussion: Your behavior, while a constitutionally protected exercise of your right to free speech, is tacky.

2. To protesters who picket houses of worship: Your behavior, while a constitutionally protected exercise of your right to free speech, is tacky.

That is all.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Around the Bloggernacle - Volume 6

I'm still here, really. I've been commenting a lot on other blogs lately, but I haven't had much to write here. My final project for my legal writing and research class was distributed last night, so I'll be taking a brief blogging hiatus until I turn it in on the 17th.

Here's a sampling of interesting recent posts:

Feminist Mormon Housewives has a post asking for information on whether or not the mommy wars exist.

Times and Seasons has a post discussing what to do when ward members have a different interpretation of church practice.

Segullah has a post on Sabbath observance.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bay Area Bloggersnacker

I went to the JRCLS fireside last night, presented by Kaimi. It was a logical discussion of In re Marriage Cases that was free of the emotionalism and vitrol so common on the topic. I found the presentation to be fair and balanced in addition to being educational. After the fireside, the attendees had pie for dessert. I had a chance to meet Kaimi and cchrissyy. There may have been other bloggers there, but I didn't meet any. I don't know if anything went on after pie because I jetted out early due to the longish drive back home. Plus, I'm fairly shy. If I'm doing public speaking, talking in a class or business setting, or among people I know well, you can't get me to stop talking. However, if you get me in a situation where I'm among people I don't know, and where I have to mingle, I freeze like a deer in the headlights.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Around the Bloggernacle - Volume 5

School has kept me swamped, so I haven't had time to write. Here's a sampling of blog posts I've found interesting lately.

Ronan has written a post at By Common Consent about the Latin phrase Ad maiorem Dei gloriam, translated as "For the Greater Glory of God."

KC Kern wrote at Mormon Matters on The Mormon Trinity.

Zenadia wrote at The Exponent on the topic of being an endowed single woman.

And, last, but not least, there's a Bloggersnacker tomorrow evening in Walnut Creek, CA. Kaimi Wenger is going to be putting on a fireside sponsored by the J. Reuben Clark Society analyzing the recent California Supreme Court decision in re Marriage Cases. It will be held at the Overlook building in Walnut Creek. (Address info can be found at

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Meeting Mom

I have several cousins who are adopted. They love my aunt and uncle and consider them their parents. They are in every way a part of the family, just as those who share a genetic link. That being said, they have each come to a point where they begin to wonder about their biological parents. They want to have a relationship with them, even though they don't wish to replace their adoptive parents.

I have an eternal longing that is similar. I love my Father in Heaven. He has been an ever-present force in my life. However, I long to know my Mother. Who is She? What is She like? What does she do? Did She have a hand in creation? (I believe She did, but I don't know.) What does Her eternal state have to say about what mine can eventually be? Why don't we know more about Her?

I have wondered for several years, but I have been afraid to ask the questions. I get the impression that the subject is somewhat taboo.

I placed this longing on the back burner for a while, but General Conference brought it back to the forefront. On Sunday morning, the choir sang one of my favorite hymns, #286 Oh What Songs of the Heart. The fourth verse particularly struck me.
Oh, what songs we'll employ!
Oh, what welcome we'll hear!
When we kneel at our dear Savior's feet.
And the heart swells with joy
In embraces most dear
When our heavenly parents we meet!
Oh, what songs we'll employ
As the heart swells with joy,
When our heavenly parents we meet!
I was reminded that one day I'll get to meet Her. Before I do, I want to know more about Her. Once again, the fear cropped up. As I was driving to school today, I was pondering. James 1:5 came to my mind. We often focus on the part that promises askers that wisdom will be given liberally. However the part that stuck out to me was that when someone seeks wisdom, God "upbraideth not".

I'm going to ask my Father, who I know, for an introduction to my Mother, who I don't know. I'm confident that I will get a warm and loving response. I'm looking forward to the results.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

General Conference

I love General Conference. It's like a twice-yearly holiday. I'm usually not a fan of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but there's something about them singing the hymns with gusto that just says conference to me.

I haven't gotten to see Saturday's talks yet because I have to work on Saturdays. I downloaded the sessions to my iPod to listen to on my commute. Sunday's sessions were quite good. I especially liked President Eyring's talk on Sunday morning. It seemed to me that building Zion was a theme for the conference.

I watched the Sunday morning session online, but it kept buffering, so I decided that online wasn't going to work for the afternoon. I planned on going to the church to watch the afternoon, but my parents invited me over to their house. I headed over to my parents' house, watched the afternoon session, and we had dinner. It was nice. I especially liked having someone to discuss the talks with. As a teenager, I was the only active church member in my family, so it's nice now to be able to have family gospel discussions.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What I Got Out of the Relief Society Broadcast

This post is a few days late. The General Relief Society Broadcast has been discussed in numerous places on the Bloggernacle over the past few days. I got something totally different out of the conference. In fact, it was something I wasn't even actively seeking.

Here's a little bit of background to make things make more sense. I'm single, I'm a grad student, and I'm old enough that if I were a guy, I would be a menace to society, but since I'm a woman, I'm merely the cat lady. Every so often, I wonder why guys are totally interested in being my friend, but totally uninterested in dating me. I got some insight from watching the broadcast.

You'll see above a picture of my right hand. The lighting is bad, but the inscription reads "True Love Waits". It's a chastity ring, a reminder of the promise I've made to abstain from premarital sex. I have worn this ring ever since I got home from my mission. Only a few people have asked me about it, and I'm always happy to explain.

Well, fast-forward to Saturday's broadcast. All of the talks were excellent. My big epiphany came not from any spoken word, however. As President Uchtdorf was giving his talk, he was gesturing animatedly with his hands. I noticed that he was wearing his wedding ring on his right hand instead of his left. I filed this away in my brain to research later.

After the broadcast, I looked on Wikipedia. It turns out that wearing a wedding ring on the right hand is traditional in many European countries. I live in an area that is culturally diverse, with people from all over the world living and working side by side. It occured to me that perhaps I haven't been getting attention from guys because they think I'm already married.

I put the ring on a chain to wear as a necklace yesterday. Maybe my un-ringed fingers will make a difference.

Anyway, the point of this story isn't about my ring at all. The point of the story is that inspiration can come at any time, even when the subject of the inspiration is totally distinct from the subject of the circumstances, and even when we aren't actively seeking answers on a particular subject. I love the Spirit.

I'm looking forward to General Conference next weekend to see what other inspiration I can receive.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Around the Bloggernacle - Volume 4

There have been several interesting posts around the Bloggernacle lately.

Over at Feminist Mormon Housewives, there is a post about ideas for coming-of-age rituals for 12 year old girls. There is also a post about alternatives to disposable plastic water bottles.

Mormon Matters has a post about the use of the term "brainwashed".

On the lighter side, By Common Consent has the 4th installment of their Police Beat Roundtable series, and The Ninth Ward has a comic about missionaries getting lost.

Things are going well in school. I'm going to keep this post short because the A key on my keyboard keeps sticking and it takes me extra time to type because I have to hit it harder.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Busy Few Weeks

I'm still around, but school and work are keeping me busy, so I haven't been able to blog. Work has been filled with drama. A few of my co-workers got (well-deservedly) fired, and I've had to pick up a lot of the slack. (Happy overtime to me!) I don't much like my job, but in this economy, I'm quite grateful to have it.

School is going great. I'm taking contracts, torts, and writing and research. I've taken all of these classes before, so I wasn't expecting much. I've been pleasantly surprised, though. My professors are great, and I understand the material far better than I ever did before. My writing and research professor is specifically exemplary. He takes an otherwise dull class and makes it interesting because he is passionate about the subject. I've gotten good feedback on how I can improve my writing. Torts is fun, too. My professor likes to have skits for landmark cases, and I got to act out the part of Mrs. Palsgraf. I made a fool of myself, but it was a blast.

I finally found another roommate, and she moved in last week. We haven't seen much of each other because we keep separate schedules. The construction at my apartment complex is really getting annoying. Parking is a nightmare, and I had no living room windows all day on Monday. I had to shut my cat in the bathroom today because my bedroom window was being replaced and I didn't want her to jump out and fall 3 stories. So, now my cat is mad at me. She's pretty forgiving, though, so I'm expecting she'll get over it soon.

My random stomach nausea has gone away! It turns out that the ultrasound came back negative for gallbladder disease. I got sent to a specialist and he gave me medicine for acid reflux. The medicine made me even sicker, so I stopped taking it. I'm now taking mastic gum, and it's cured me. I've only had two bouts of nausea since then, and mint herbal tea has cured them. I've decided to canonize Bigelow because Mint Medley has performed many miracles. Here's to St. Bigelow!

I've got a few spiritual posts in the queue for when I have more time to devote to them. (Hopefully on Sunday.) Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First Day of School

It really happened. After a two year struggle, yesterday was my first day back in law school! I was really nervous about it, but it turned out fine.

I arrived about 15 minutes before my first class, and I sat down in the big lecture hall. I was sitting in between two people I had met over the weekend at new student orientation. Most people had their laptops out, but I had my trusty notebook and pen. (I tried the laptop thing the first time around. The temptation of the internet and solitaire is too great.) When class started (contracts), the professor asked us to each introduce ourselves and say what we did immediately before law school. I'm in the part-time program, so there is a wide range of experience represented in my classmates. About half of them are engineers, and we have a few paralegals and a few people in the medical field. (I'm not sure who I fit in with. I'm licensed as a paralegal, but I work in the medical field in a non-legal capacity.) My challenge in that class will be that she wants us to think about contracts in a totally different way than my previous contracts professor. I'm probably going to have to un-learn some things.

After class got out, I had a half hour break before my next class (legal writing and research), so I grabbed some food from the vending machine and skimmed the introduction to my textbook. The professor e-mailed us the syllabus over the weekend and asked us to bring it to class today. When I headed to the classroom, I sat down and booted up my laptop because I hadn't printed the syllabus. (I can say it's because I'm saving a tree, but really it's because I lose papers.) I used my laptop during class whenever I needed to refer to the syllabus, and I didn't surf the web or play solitaire. I did, however, write my grocery shopping list while the professor was explaining the difference between federal and state courts. It probably looked like I was taking notes. :-) I really like my professor. He's excited about the subject matter, and his excitement is contagious. (My previous writing and research professor didn't care. He was just as bored with the class as we were, and it showed in the quality of his teaching.)

I have torts tonight, so we'll see how that goes. I had a fabulous torts professor the first time around, so that will be a hard act to follow. I think I'm going to have to reign in my enthusiasm. I volunteered to speak in each of my classes last night, and my writing and research professor already knows my name. (He met everyone at orientation, and he remembered me.)

I'm looking forward to the next few years. I plan on getting it right this time. A few weeks ago, I was praying, and I was concerned about what this whole law school debacle was going to do to my life. I realized that when all is said and done, I will be graduating five years after I would have graduated if I hadn't been kicked out the first time around. I know that the Atonement covers not just our wrongs, but also the effects of being wronged. I was praying for relief from being wronged at my previous school. I was expressing gratitude that I got into another school, one better suited for me, but also pain at being set back so far.

Later that day, I was sitting in a particularly boring sacrament meeting. Instead of fidgeting and daydreaming as I'm often tempted to do, I opened my scriptures and began to read. This passage in Joel stood out to me. The book details the desolation that is coming, but then offers these words of comfort:
Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things...And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten... And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
~Joel 2:21-27, emphasis added
The Spirit touched me as I read these words. I don't know how, but I know the Lord is going to give me back the years I've lost. He has power to make right things which have gone wrong. I worship the God of miracles, who overcame sin and death. Surely He can overcome something like this.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hearing the Word

O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord.
~Jeremiah 22:29
I love studying the scriptures. I'll admit that I've been less diligent about it lately, but I definitely feel a difference in my life when I pay more attention to scripture study. A few years ago, when President Hinckley invited the membership of the church to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to do it. I was working and going to school, and it seemed that I spent more time in my car than at home. I discovered that the scriptures were online in .mp3 format, so I downloaded them to my ipod and began listening.

I found that having audio scriptures gave me the chance to make my commute productive, but there were some annoying factors as well. First was that if I wanted to listen to actual music, I had to scroll through screens and screens of scriptures before getting to songs. Second was that if I had to stop in the middle of a chapter, I would lose my place if I waited too long to pick it back up again. Third was that the narrator is irritating.

I'm pleased to say that last week I found solutions to the first two problems. (No help on the annoying narrator voice, though.) I downloaded some audio books, and I was pleased to notice that they were in a separate section of my ipod, labeled conveniently "audiobooks". They didn't clutter up my music playlists, and best of all, they were bookmarkable. I wouldn't lose my place even if I plugged my ipod in, listened to other audiobooks, or listened to music.

I googled to see if anyone had made the scriptures in audiobook format. I wasn't able to find it, but I found the next best thing. There is a free computer program available that will convert .mp3 files into .m4b files, the ipod audiobook format. It also allows you to take multiple .mp3s and make them into a large audiobook. I downloaded it and it works great. Instead of having hundreds of files across 87 playlists in my music section (one for each book in the standard works), I have 12 files sitting in my audiobook section. My ipod is neat and tidy and I can find my music again.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Gall of Bitterness

For the past few months, I've had random nausea and stomach pain after eating. It didn't happen all the time, or even consistently with the same foods. Mostly it has been fatty foods, spicy foods, and onions. I finally decided to go to the doctor yesterday, and he thinks it's my gallbladder. I need to get an ultrasound to see if that's the problem, and if it is, I'll probably need surgery.

I'm extremely nervous about this. I was hoping it was something easy like an ulcer. (My mom had ulcers a few years ago, and she just took some medicine for a few months and recovered with no problems.) I've never had surgery before, unless you count getting my wisdom teeth removed. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that whatever is wrong won't require surgery, and that I'll have it all taken care of before I start school again in 3 weeks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Around the Bloggernacle- Volume 3

Here is another installment of posts around the Bloggernacle that I found to be interesting.

Ronan at By Common Consent has a post about recurring dreams. It seems that many people dream about returning to their mission area.

Kiskilili at Zelophehad's Daughters has a random survey post where the commenters are encouraged to respond to a set of questions. Apparently the cello is quite popular among readers of that blog.

The Baron at The Waters of Mormon is doing a series of posts on movies. It contains a discussion of what our standards of propriety really mean, what the ratings mean, etc. I found it interesting.

In other news, I've completely rearranged my bedroom furniture, and both of my roommates are moving out. My cat is upset by this development because her tidy little world has been upended. I'm sure she'll be happier once my roommate's cat is gone. (Those two cats can't stand one another.) Now I get to go through the hassle of finding new roommates.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mid-Year Resolutions

It's been six months since I wrote my New Year's Resolutions. I had a rather ambitious list, and I've decided that this is a good time to report on my progress.

My first resolution was to return to law school in the fall. Fall hasn't arrived yet, but I've been accepted to law school and have plans to return in August. So far, so good.

My second resolution was to read at least one book per month. I've joined a book club, and this has been great for helping me keep this goal. I've read some books I never would have picked up on my own, and it's broadened my horizons. I plan to keep this resolution up for the rest of the year, but it may become challenging when school starts up again.

My third resolution was to write at least one blog entry per week. I've come close, but I haven't quite made it. Here's to the rest of the year.

My fourth resolution was to exercise for 20 minutes per day, 6 days per week. I've failed miserably at this one. I know I feel better when I work out, but somehow I tend to find excuses to put it off. I'm going to modify this goal to 30 minutes 3 days per week. That sounds more manageable.

My fifth resolution was to meditate for 20 minutes per day. I haven't been meditating formally, but I do tend to spend my commute time pondering. I guess that's a start.

My sixth resolution was to have 20 minutes of quality gospel study each day. I haven't been as good about this as I should have. It goes in spurts, and I'm pretty good about it on Sundays. I'm going to recommit myself to this goal.

My seventh resolution was to go on at least three social outings per month. I'm pleased to report that I've managed to fulfill this goal. My once stagnant social life is starting to revive, and I'm enjoying spending time with old friends and making new ones.

My eighth goal was to get a job in the legal field that is sufficient to pay my bills. I'm still looking. I've been temping while I've been waiting to find out what is going on with school. Now that I know I'm staying in the area, I'm going to redouble my efforts. I'm sick of answering the telephone at venture capital firms. I'm ready to go and do some paralegal work.

How are you all doing on your New Year's Resolutions?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Prodigal Daughter

And it came to pass that Keri had some wonderful news. Since writing is fun, she composed ripped off a parable in order to share it.

There was a generous mother who had a daughter who was ready to leave the nest for greener pastures. Her friends and family begged her to stay, reminding her of the opportunities that would come to her by staying in such a noble house. However, the daughter had heard of other houses and wanted to see how they did things there. She asked for her mother's blessing in departing, and it was readily given.

The daughter wandered and stumbled into the first house that she saw. There were people there, and all of them were miserable. The master of the house tried to convince the people that they should be grateful to be there, because no other house would have them. The daughter stayed for a short while and then desired to find a friendlier house. However, she was not welcome anywhere else. Eventually, the house suffered ignominy, and many of the people, including the daughter, were asked to leave.

The daughter begged to be allowed back into the house. The master gave her a list of tasks to perform and said that if she did them well, she would be allowed to return. The daughter did the tasks, but the master did not keep his word. Additionally, the master spread the word to the other houses that the daughter shouldn't be allowed anywhere else, either.

The daughter wandered for the next year, before finding a hut. She was welcomed warmly into the hut and stayed there for many months. The people were kind there, and treated her like family. Finally, the hut became too small, and the daughter hit the road again. She decided that she wanted to return to her mother's house, but she wasn't sure if she could go back. It had been several years since she had left.
She sent a letter to her mother begging to return. She received word from her mother's assistant that her mother was traveling abroad at the moment and would respond in a few months. The daughter anxiously waited. Her friends all told her that her mother would be delighted to have her return. She wanted to believe them, but she remembered the words of the master of the miserable house. "Nobody else will have you."

She got a letter from a cousin in a faraway country inviting her to come to stay for a while. She wrote to the cousin and said she would come soon. Then she got a telegram from her mother inviting her with open arms to return home.

This concludes the parable of the prodigal daughter. At this point, Keri's readers said, "That's a nice story, if a bit long. What does it mean, anyway?"

Keri said:

The mother in the story is my alma mater, Latin for "generous mother". I'm the daughter. The dwellings (houses, huts, etc.) are institutions of higher learning.

I graduated from Santa Clara University with my BS five years ago. I knew that I wanted to go to law school, and many people urged me to consider going to SCU. I thought about it, but I wanted to diversify my resume a bit. I had heard (and I don't know how true it is in practice) that it's frowned upon to get one's undergraduate degree and graduate degree from the same institution. I began the law school search, but suspended it in order to serve a mission.

When my mission concluded, it was Christmas time. I wanted to jump right back into school, so I applied to and was accepted at the only ABA accredited school I was aware of at the time that allowed first year students to start in the spring. (I have since become aware of several others.) I enrolled and quickly realized that I had made a big mistake. The school had an inferiority complex, brought on by its low bar passage rate. The administrators told us we were lucky to get in anywhere, and that we shouldn't complain.

After the first semester, I applied to transfer to another school, but I was rejected. At the end of my first year, the school was placed on probation by the ABA, and was threatened with losing its accreditation if the bar passage rate didn't improve. At the end of my third semester, the school freaked out and purged most of my class because our scores would be the determining factor. I got kicked out along with several others, even though I had been given an academic excellence award the week before.

I reapplied and was denied readmission. As a result of all of this, I had to wait two years before re-enrolling in law school. Some of what I've been up to I posted on here. After a year, I enrolled in a paralegal program at the local junior college. The people were great, and I graduated magna cum laude in December. My waiting period expired last week, and in preparation for that, I sent out several law school applications, the status of which I detailed here.
I got waitlisted at Santa Clara, and... *drumroll* I just found out yesterday that I have been admitted! The prodigal daughter is returning home!!!

Words can't express how excited I am over this development. (Although that doesn't stop me from blogging about it.) I was fortunate to get accepted to St. Mary's, a fourth-tier school similar in ranking to the one I was kicked out of. It's truly a miracle to be accepted to a first tier law school.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

High on a Mountain Top

I spent last weekend at a family reunion in Park City. It was fun, but they just don't have enough air there. I'm used to living at sea level, so when I got to the resort, it was a challenge just to lug my suitcase up two flights of stairs to my room. I checked the GPS, and it said the elevation was 7200 feet.

Day 1: Thursday (Bay Area, CA)- I started out by packing in the morning, and then I attended a high school graduation for a family friend in San Jose. It ended at 6:30, and I had to make it to San Francisco to catch an 8:45 flight. Through some miracle, I made it to the BART station with 5 minutes to spare. I texted my roommate to let her know where my car was so she could pick it up that evening, thus saving me from having to pay for parking. (It worked out great for her, too. She doesn't have a car, so I let her use it for the weekend.) I got to the airport and breezed through security, but my sandals broke. (They were old anyway.)
I grabbed a hot cocoa from Peet's and headed to my gate. My flight was listed as being 15 minutes delayed, so I fired up my laptop and checked my e-mail and read the news. I called my dad, who was going to pick me up at the airport in Salt Lake, and let him know that I would be late.
It came time to board the plane. I had all of my stuff in one of those rolling backpacks that's smaller than a suitcase, but bigger than a standard backpack. We were flying on one of those tiny planes, and my bag wouldn't fit in the overhead compartment. Fortunately, it did fit under my seat. We headed out. Due to cost cutting or something, they didn't even serve pretzels or peanuts- just beverages. By the time I landed in Salt Lake, I was quite hungry. I bought a bag of trail mix from the gift shop and headed to find my dad. We met up and went to Park City. We got in at 1:30 am and I promptly went to bed.

Day 2: Friday (Park City, UT)- I was the last person to arrive. Everyone else had been there all week. I was also the only person who had flown instead of driving. Most of the relatives are in the Salt Lake area, and my parents and sister live in San Jose. When I got up in the morning, I was mobbed by hugs from my cousins (ranging in age from 5 to 17), and we all decided to ride the alpine slide. I had never been on an alpine slide, and the way they described it, I was expecting something resembling a roller coaster. It wasn't until I was on my way up the ski lift that I saw what it really was. (Imagine a bobsled going down concrete instead of snow.) I got a bit scared, which amused the kids. I rode down the slide, and it was fun.
The afternoon was a bit of a lazy day, and in the evening, we had the actual reunion itself. We had a dinner and a program. There were about 30 people present, and it was fun. The only awkward part is that the adults don't fully accept me as one of them because I'm single and in a different generation than they are, despite only being 5 years younger than some of them. The kids don't fully accept me as one of them because I'm an adult. So, my 23 year old sister and I hung out together a lot.

Day 3: Saturday (Kaysville, UT)- My parents and sister piled into the minivan and headed back home. I went back to Kaysville with my grandparents because I had decided to stay an extra day. My grandmother took me with her for grocery shopping and errands, and then we hung out and played board games until we were so tired that we needed to get some sleep. It was fun. My parents called in the evening to let us know that they had arrived safely (and in record time- 12 hours).

Day 4: Sunday (Kaysville, UT)- My dad called in the morning to wish his dad (my grandfather) a happy Father's Day. This relieved me of needing to call him because I just talked to him when he was done. I got ready for church and headed with my grandparents to attend their ward. I was wearing a nice pantsuit, and nobody said a word about it. Their ward consists almost entirely of elderly couples who live on the same block as my grandparents. I felt a bit out of place, being one of the few people under 50 in attendance. It happened to be ward conference, and the way their stake does it, there is a 2 hour sacrament meeting followed by a combined priesthood/relief society meeting. The speakers ran over, so the congregational hymn was cut. I must confess to tuning many of the talks out because my attention span just isn't that long.
After church, I packed and then went to my aunt's house in Fruit Heights. I visited with her for an hour or so before my grandmother took me to the airport. I once again breezed through security and headed to my gate. I got lucky this trip- I usually get harassed by security whenever I fly. (I blame the red hair. Makes me stand out.) The flight home was uneventful, and we actually got snack service. My dad picked me up at the airport and dropped me off at my apartment. (I told him I could just take BART home, but he wouldn't hear of it.)
When I got home, my cat came running out to greet me, and then I went straight to bed.

It was great to get away for the weekend, and it went better than I was expecting. I was planning for a family feud because my sister doesn't get along with my uncle's wife. However, they were both on their best behavior, and I didn't have to avert any battles. Even with the thin air, the mountains were beautiful. I felt the peace I feel in nature, but that tends to elude me in daily life. I think it's because sometimes I fail to stop and just enjoy the beauty that is all around me.

Friday, June 6, 2008

All Results Are In!

I just got my last law school admissions letter, so all results are in.

Six schools spread throughout the western US- rejected (their loss)
University of Nevada- Las Vegas- waitlisted
Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA)- waitlisted
St. Mary's University (San Antonio, TX)- accepted

I'm going to hold out for the waitlists for as long as possible, but failing that, it's off to San Antonio. I may not know until the middle of August. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

When I was pursuing my undergraduate degree, I had an active social life. I was constantly spending time with friends, and I had a steady boyfriend. I was involved in clubs and activities, and I was doing work that I found meaningful. Those were the best three years of my life.

The past five years, since I graduated, have been difficult. I went on a mission and struggled. I went to law school and struggled. I got kicked out of law school and struggled. I've been working two jobs just to make ends meet, and I'm struggling. Somewhere along the way, I think I've forgotten how to have fun.

The story of Adam and Eve has broad application to the human experience in general. I think we all have to eat our own fruit at some point. My college days were filled with a sense of childlike innocence. I was going to school on my parents' money. I had no worldly cares, and all my time was free for school, church, and fun. When I went on my mission, I saw the world in its rudeness. In the pursuit of greater knowledge, I had to leave the garden, so to speak. When I returned home, I was required to work to earn my daily bread.

As hard as it has been, I wouldn't trade it for anything. These experiences have been integral in my rebirth as a wiser person. One of my favorite verses of scripture is 2 Nephi 2:25. "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." I had to partake of the symbolic fruit to become the person I am today, but God wants me to have joy. Not just grinning and bearing it, but to truly be happy.

By nature, I'm a social creature, but when I'm under stress, I tend to retreat into my shell and try to just hide from everything. This only makes the problem worse because by avoiding social interaction, I'm avoiding the major cure to my problems. This past week, I've made strides toward remembering how to have fun again. On Tuesday, my roommates and I went out for sushi and then came home and watched the movie Martian Child. While at the sushi bar, I attempted to use chopsticks, and ended up flinging soybeans everywhere. It was a good laugh. On Friday, I was blessed with the first Friday night off in months. Some of my friends were going to see the new Indiana Jones movie, so I went with them. We had a blast, even though the movie wasn't as good as I was hoping. It was the company I was there for, not the entertainment.

My goal is going to be to get out of my shell more and try to recapture the zest for life I had when I was younger. I recognize that I still have to be a responsible adult and work for a living, but I've taken wisdom from the 1980's. Cyndi Lauper reminds us in her hit song:
"When the working day is done,
Girls just wanna have fun!"

Words to live by. :-)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What is it about trees?

I was walking through the park last week on my lunch break. It was a nice day, so I decided to sit down under a redwood tree and enjoy the weather. As I was sitting there thinking about the direction my life was heading, I realized that there are many epic stories of people receiving enlightenment near trees.

Adam and Eve started out in a state of ignorance. They gained knowledge by eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Buddha received his enlightenment while sitting under a Bodhi tree. It is commonly said that Isaac Newton discovered gravity while sitting under an apple tree and having an apple fall on his head.

What is it about trees? I know that when I'm in nature, especially in forests, I feel closer to God. I am more easily receptive to revelation. I suspect it is because I'm away from the distractions that are so common in the world. Also, I see trees as a reminder of a wise way to live life. They are firmly rooted in the earth, but they are always reaching heavenward. We, too, should enjoy our mortal life while still communing with the divine.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Another Waitlist

Yesterday, I was driving home from work, and the thought came to me that the letter from Santa Clara University would be in my mailbox waiting for me when I arrived. I didn't think much of it because I've been eagerly awaiting it and anxiously checking the mailbox every day for about two weeks. I filed it away and braved the evening rush hour traffic. About halfway home, I got the feeling that I had been waitlisted. I shoved the thought out of my mind as I turned on the traffic report and tried not to get blown off the Dumbarton Bridge by the constant gusts of wind.

I got home and checked the mailbox. The letter was there, buried amidst the bills and junk mail. I picked it up and felt that it was thick, which I took to be a good sign. I opened it up right away and read it as I was walking to my apartment. Sure enough, my thoughts while sitting over the San Francisco Bay were accurate. I've been waitlisted. It's better than a rejection, but it just prolongs the uncertainty.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm Number 161!

Ziff, over at Zelophehad's Daughters, has done a series of posts analyzing posting and commenting trends across the Bloggernacle. According to the most recent installment, I am the 161st most prolific commenter on the Bloggernacle, with 161 comments in the year 2007. If you remove "anonymous" from the list, I'm actually in 160th place. I'm not a mathematician, but a quick calculation puts me in the 94th percentile of comment frequency. This came as quite a surprise to me, as I don't consider myself a very big commenter.

Ray, however, is definitely a big commenter. He wrote 258,336 words, spread across 2680 comments, to take first place.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mormon Blogosphere

Dr. B has created a new LDS solo blog aggregator, the Mormon Blogosphere. It's a well-designed site with blogs grouped by theme, and the groups are named after Utah landmarks. An excerpt from the most recent post of each blog is included. If you're looking to broaden your Bloggernacle reading, I recommend it.

A few other kind souls have linked to The Posts of My House, and I've been neglectful in linking back, so I'm fixing that oversight.
Dave's Mormon Inquiry
Adventures in Mormonism
If you've linked to me and I haven't linked back, please let me know and I'll fix it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sacrament Meeting

The prophet Moroni, when describing the operation of the church, said, "And they did meet together oft to partake of the bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus." (Moroni 6:6)

We, too, meet together often to take the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. I find that sometimes it becomes rote, as if I'm just going through the motions. Other times, it is a profound spiritual experience.

Today at Times and Seasons, there is a post talking about a astronaut who blessed and partook of the Sacrament while aboard the space shuttle. At Mormon Matters, there is a post that is not specifically about the Sacrament, but is about unique or out of the ordinary Sacrament meeting experiences.

I commented on the Mormon Matters post about one of my unique experiences, but I have several others as well. While I was on my mission, one Sunday my companion and I were late for church because we were assisting one of our investigators. We arrived at church just after the Sacrament was passed. The district leader and his companion also served in our ward, and their apartment was near ours. We received permission for them to come over in the evening and administer the Sacrament. It was extremely spiritual, having four missionaries on a Sunday evening participating in a sacred ordinance.

My most recent unique Sacrament meeting experience took place last month. I was at a singles' retreat up in the mountains. I love mountains and find them to be extremely spiritual locations. I feel as if I'm closer to God when I'm there, and I find it fitting that mountains were used as temples in ancient times. The retreat ran from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, and on Sunday morning, we had a Sacrament meeting. Snow was falling outside and a fire was roaring inside as 20 of God's followers concluded a weekend of fellowship by meeting together to renew their covenants and remember their Redeemer. Although I had only met these people two days before, I felt a sense of unity as we worshiped together amid the pine trees.

I want to feel the Spirit that strongly every week. I believe that with a little preparation, it's possible. Right now, I show up to church a bit stressed each week because I'm on call Saturday nights. When my shift ends, I have just enough time to change for church and slide in with about 5 minutes to spare. This is, of course, provided that there are no emergencies near the end of my shift.

What do you do each week to prepare to make church a spiritual experience? How do you make the Sacrament feel holy and meaningful each week?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Viva Las Vegas!

I've been a bit busy with work lately, so I haven't had a chance to post much. I got a letter today from UNLV, and I've been waitlisted. While I would like a definite answer, a maybe is better than a no. I've been to Vegas before on multiple occasions, and I rather like it. I think I'll wait to check out the campus until after I've heard from some more schools.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Recap of San Antonio

Last week, I flew out to San Antonio to check out the campus of St. Mary's University to decide whether to accept the offer of admission. I came back with mixed feelings.

I arrived on Tuesday afternoon and picked up my rental car. I requested a sub-compact, and the rental company said ok. They gave me the keys to a PT Cruiser. (Cute car, but definitely not sub-compact. Compared to the little Toyota I drive on a regular basis, the thing drove like a land barge.) I had planned to spend the day touring and exploring the city. However, I wasn't feeling well, so I just went to my hotel and slept. That evening, I ventured out to secure some dinner. (I was sorely tempted to order room service, but I decided that my budget wouldn't permit it.) My room had a microwave and a fridge, so I decided to buy groceries and cook instead of going out. San Antonio felt like a weird foreign land to me, but I noticed a Wal-Mart up the road. I went inside and suddenly felt at home again. (Wal-Mart is like church- it's the same wherever you travel.)

After dinner, I tried to go to bed early, but the time change wasn't helping me because my body thought it was two hours earlier than it was. (The perils of living on the west coast.) I got up the next morning, packed, and checked out of my hotel. I headed to St. Mary's and walked around. I had a meeting with the dean of admissions, and it was great. Everyone there made me feel like I was important. They were helpful and happy to answer my questions. (This is the complete opposite of my old law school, where at new-student orientation, they spent an hour basically telling us that we were lucky to even be there and we shouldn't complain about the school being crummy. That should have been my clue to get off the sinking ship, but I didn't see it at the time.)

I asked some hard questions because I wanted to make sure that I wasn't getting into the same situation as before. I asked about the bar passage rate, the employment statistics, and a few other things. The dean seemed to dance around my question about out-of-state employment prospects for graduates, but she was direct in answering all of my other questions. As I walked around campus, I noticed that the students seemed happy. (As opposed to my old school where everyone was miserable all the time.) I fell in love with the library; it's huge and sunny.

I had a chance to observe a class. It was the second semester of Constitutional Law- my favorite subject. The textbook wasn't a traditional casebook. Instead, it was a compilation of several edited cases with discussion and examples in between. It was very much like my undergraduate law books. I find this to be better than the typical casebook because it doesn't needlessly obscure the law. The professor was interesting and he wasn't trying to hide the ball when students asked him questions.

In all, I came away highly impressed with St. Mary's. I feel I could be happy there, and that I could get a good education there. Many of their graduates, according to the dean, end up on the bench, which is where I would like to be someday. I am still a little concerned about my job prospects because I plan to return to California when I'm done.

I'm not so sure about San Antonio, however. It seemed a bit run-down, although that could have just been the areas I saw. I didn't see as many trees as I would have liked, either. I am amazed at the low housing prices; I could get my own 1 bedroom apartment for the price I'm paying for my portion of a shared apartment here in Fremont.

I think overall, if it comes to it, I'll be able to move to San Antonio, but I'm still hoping that I don't have to uproot my life. I've been rejected from several Bay Area schools, but I haven't yet heard from Santa Clara University (my alma mater), so there's still a chance that I can stay. I also haven't heard from a few other schools, so even if I do move, it may not be to Texas.

I'm grateful that I'll be able to go to law school in the fall, and I know that God will guide me to where He needs me to be.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

General Conference

I love modern technology. I work on Saturdays, so I didn't expect to be able to watch yesterday's conference. However, I miraculously had exactly enough downtime at work (and the foresight to bring my laptop and headphones) to watch the talks for the sessions. I was going to go to the church to watch the morning session today, but since I was on call last night, I decided that I was too tired. Hooray for! My cats and I sat on the sofa and heard the good word preached.

The talks were great this time. I loved Elder Wirthlin's talk, reminding us that we're all different and that we need to embrace those differences. President Uchtdorf's talk on the faith of our fathers was good, too. Of course, he has so much charisma that I would be transfixed if he read the telephone book over the pulpit. Elder Ballard's talk was amazing. I really appreciated him boldly declaring that there isn't just one right way to be a mother. I also like that he didn't treat womanhood and motherhood as if they're the same thing. Many speakers tend to use the terms interchangeably, and I'm glad he didn't.

However, the talk that stood out the most to me was Elder Scott's talk on abuse. As some of you may remember from an earlier post, I was the victim of verbal and emotional abuse. I have not yet fully recovered, and this talk was a balm to my soul. I felt like he was speaking directly to me when he offered his words of comfort. I could feel his love and concern for those who suffer, and his faith and knowledge that Christ has the power to heal. I have felt the beginnings of this healing from this ordeal, but the wound is still there. I look forward to the day when it is gone, and I know that Christ has the power to make wrong things right again.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to listen to general conference twice each year. I look forward to the printed messages so I can study them again in greater detail.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Great News!

I just found out that I've been accepted to law school at St. Mary's in San Antonio, TX!! This is after receiving two rejection letters (a rude one from UC Davis and a polite one from Hastings). I still have several schools left that I haven't heard from, but it's such a relief that, regardless of what happens with the other schools, I'm going somewhere. When I found out, I cried. I'm not usually a crier, but I was just so overcome with relief and gratitude. I'm going to get it right this time around. I'm a little nervous about the possibility of picking up and leaving the Bay Area for Texas. I'll be flying out next week to check out the area; the only time I've been to Texas was a layover at the Dallas airport coming home from my mission.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Sisterhood of the Slacks

This won't be a post about the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, although I did enjoy it. Over at Adventures in Mormonism, bfwebster posted about The Brotherhood of the Beard, talking about what it's like at church being a man with a beard. This got me thinking about what it's like at church being a woman in slacks.

I've never really cared for wearing skirts. I've always found them to be more trouble than they're worth, and they tend to get in the way. However, every Sunday I dutifully put on a skirt for church. I discovered dress slacks when I entered the workforce at age 18. I noticed that I was one of the only women wearing a skirt, and I decided that since everyone else was wearing pants, I could, too. I still dutifully put my skirt on for church, though.

Shortly after I discovered slacks, my stake had a women's conference on a Saturday afternoon. It was being held in the chapel, so I decided that jeans weren't proper. I threw on slacks and a sweater and off I went. There were a few hundred people there, and only about 10 of us were wearing pants. None of us were struck by lightning.

My mission (southern US) was a real eye-opener as to how much of a cultural rebel this makes me. In most of my areas, I was on bicycle. It's extremely difficult to ride a bike in a skirt. I mentioned to a few other people that it would be safer, more practical, and more modest if sisters on bikes could wear slacks. They all acted as if that suggestion was one step away from apostasy or something. There was a woman in my last area who regularly wore slacks to church. The RS president told me that she wanted to call her to a position in RS, but was hesitant because she thought that wearing slacks was setting a bad example. (Lest you think that this is merely a southern attitude, the RS pres in question had moved there recently from the SF Bay Area - my home.)

I have only gotten up the nerve to wear slacks to sacrament meeting once (while I was traveling), but I wear slacks to stake and general conference and to non-Sunday meetings more often than not. In my ward, there is one woman who wears slacks to church regularly, and there are several in the branch that shares the building with my ward. The woman in my ward is a bit defensive about it (she has some medical reason for it), which leads me to believe that she has experienced either overt or covert hassling for it.

The anti-slacks rhetoric has always confused me. A woman is much more dressed up in a smart pantsuit or slacks and sweater set than someone in a denim skirt with a babydoll tee. Yet the latter outfit is par for the course at church, especially among teenagers and young adults.

I live in a very culturally diverse area - there are people from all over the world here in Fremont. Someone was talking about pants at church, and her opinion was that the only time it was ok was for women from India to wear their pants/tunic outfit (the name escapes me at the moment) because it's dressy and part of their culture. I didn't say anything at the time because it was clear that this was a rant and not a discussion.

My culture (western US, CA specifically) also says it's dressy and appropriate for women to wear pants. Why can't that be respected?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Things My Cat Taught Me About God

I've had a soft spot for animals ever since I was a kid. When I was three, I convinced my mom, against her better judgment, to adopt a stray cat that was mewing at our door for food. We kept the cat until we moved to California. I wanted to get another cat, but my parents wouldn't let me. They said that when I got my own place, I could get any pet my landlord would allow, but as long as I lived at their house, no animals.

Well, I got my own place a few years ago. I had a roommate who loved dogs but hated cats. I love cats, but I'm not too crazy about dogs, so we agreed not to have pets. She moved a year later and I found a new roommate. My current roommate has a cat, so for a while, my desire for a pet was taken care of. Then, over the summer, a stray cat showed up on my doorstep mewing for food. Of course, I had to feed her.

A funny thing happened. My cat was so excited about this newfound source of food that she went and rounded up all the neighborhood strays. I suddenly found myself feeding five cats (just counting the ones I know about) instead of the one I signed up for. This is the first lesson my cat taught me. She had found a good thing in her life - a benevolent being that provided her with her daily sustenance. Instead of keeping this to herself, she shared it and brought her friends so they could experience the same blessing.

Some of the strays were friendly, but most of them were afraid of humans. There was one particular kitten who would watch me fill the bowl, gingerly eat from it if I was far enough away, but would run if I tried to approach. It hurt my feelings that I was feeding this kitten, but he would run if I tried to have a relationship with him. I'm sure we similarly wound God's heart when we run from Him in fear, even knowing the good He does for us.

Last week, I finally convinced my roommate that bringing another cat into the apartment would be a good plan. My cat finally got to move in! I took her to the vet to get a checkup and to get her shots. When I put her in the carrier, she tried to scratch me. As I drove to the vet's office, she meowed loudly, voicing her clear displeasure at the situation. When we got there, she whimpered as she got her shots. When I brought her home, she ignored me the rest of the day because she was mad at me. This is the third lesson. Sometimes we have to go through painful things in life. It looks to us as if God is mistreating us. However, we lack the big picture, and we don't fully understand the reasons behind our suffering.

I'm sure my cat will continue to teach me important lessons. Do any of you have lessons or parables learned from your pets?

=^. .^=

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Time to Speak

While I was sitting in my institute class this evening, the prompting came to write this blog post. The topic of discussion for the day was on not judging and not spreading gossip. These are important topics, essential to the Christian life. However, I was disturbed at the turn that the lesson took.

The teacher spent a good portion of the lesson on how we shouldn't say bad things about someone even if those things are true. One guy in the class raised his hand and proposed an excellent hypothetical that bears discussion.
You know that someone "has a morality problem". [My classmate didn't elaborate. I'm assuming from the tenor of the discussion that what he meant to say was that the individual had pressured a woman he dated into breaking the law of chastity.] Your sister or friend starts dating him. Shouldn't you tell her what you know so that she can be aware and protect herself?
The teacher gave lip service to the notion that you should go by the Spirit in deciding what to say. However, she spent the next several minutes talking about how if we share negative information, even if it's true, that it paints a label on someone and prevents him or her from changing. While she didn't come right out and say it, the impression that I was left with was that making it easier for a sinner to avoid embarrassment in the repentance process (assuming they even choose to repent) outweighed protecting the innocent potential victims. I'm sure that isn't what she meant, but it disturbed me nonetheless.

I had an experience on my mission where I had an emotionally and verbally abusive companion. At first, I was reluctant to bring it to the attention of my leaders, because I had had it drilled into me in missionary prep and in the MTC that there's a reason for every companion, you shouldn't complain about them, and if you're having trouble, you should just pray for more charity. I let this go on for several weeks before I told my mission president. He transfered me right away and my companion was sent home a few weeks later.

Part of me I guess believed that since mission presidents are inspired in the setting of companionships, that they know everything there is to know about a situation. Several months later, I was discussing the situation again with my mission president (because I was still distressed over it), and he told me that if he had known what was going on sooner, he would have transferred me immediately. I realized that if we don't volunteer the information we have, then people with the power to do something won't be aware that something needs doing.

I highly doubt that I was this companion's first victim. If one of them had spoken out, I might have been spared the pain I went through. I believe that by speaking out, I spared someone else down the line.

One scripture that speaks to this topic is found in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes. "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven...A time to keep silence and a time to speak." When deciding whether to share negative but true information, I think there are some factors that need to be considered.

First, why are you sharing it? If it's to protect someone, that is fine. If it's because you enjoy passing along juicy tidbits, that's not fine.
Second, who are you sharing it with? Are you telling everyone, or just the people who need to know?
Third, are you violating any confidences by sharing the information? This can get problematic, for example if a lawyer learns something from a client, or the bishop hears something in confession.

If you can pass this test, then it sounds like it's a time to speak. Even Jesus, the perfect embodiment of charity, had some not so positive things to say about some people who were behaving harmfully. He was motivated by love and concern, both for the sinners and the victims. We should feel confident in following His example.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Around the Bloggernacle - Volume 2

I've been busy lately between job hunting and filling out another round of law school applications (more on that later), and so I haven't taken the time to write a blog post in a while. Here's a list of some of the posts on other blogs that have caught my attention lately.

Beginnings New has a post on the YW Lesson 3-8 "Eternal Families" that provides a fresh perspective on how sensitive an issue this can be for youth from part-member or less-active families.

Times and Seasons has a post about Nate Oman's recently written paper about LDS church courts in the 19th century.

By Common Consent has a post about experiences singing solos in church. I posted a comment on one of my more spiritual singing experiences. I have several funnier or more embarrassing experiences as well that I didn't post in the comments, due to length. So, here's my most embarrassing:
  • When I was on my mission (why is it that so many good church related stories start like that?), the day of the ward Christmas party, the ward mission leader called me in a panic. The soprano soloist for the party had a last-minute emergency and had to back out. He remembered me mentioning that I sang in the opera in college, and he implored me to fill in that evening. I had a really bad cold and could barely talk, but I said yes anyway. My companion and I headed over to the church so that I could practice. I was supposed to sing The First Noel, and since I couldn't get an accompanist last-minute, I needed to sing a capella. While rehearsing, I was able to sing just fine, as if the cold was gone. When the time came for me to sing, I got through the first half with no problem. Something happened in the middle, and my voice went all haywire. I finished the song, but it wasn't pretty. I sat down, embarrassed, hoping that by the end of the party, everyone would have forgotten. Afterward, the bishop's wife, who didn't know about my singing experience and training, patted me on the back and complimented me on my bravery for getting up in front of everyone to sing.

I hope you all are having a great week! Check back on Tuesday or Wednesday for a more substantive post. (Now that I've put it on the internet for all to see, I'm going to actually have to follow through and do it.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Law School Applications- Round 2.0

On Friday, I sent in my first batch of law school applications for the fall semester. I had to cut the list down considerably because many of the schools were not even willing to consider someone who had previously attended law school. To make up for that, I'm going to probably apply to a few more schools as a backup later this week. I've already applied to 5 schools, and I'm going to shoot for 4-5 more to be on the safe side. I'm fighting an uphill battle here, but I'm confident that I'll get in somewhere.

The job search is going slowly, but I had an interview last week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'll do a more spiritual post in a few days when I have some more time.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Passing of President Hinckley

Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, passed away in his home this evening. An official statement can be read here.

I'm not sure what to add. Several other blogs in the Bloggernacle are already discussing his passing. I was a new convert when President Hunter died, and I was also a teenager who didn't pay too much attention to current events. As a result, this will really be my first experience with prophetic succession.

There are two themes that stick out to me when I think about President Hinckley's ministry. First, he was a big promoter of extending the blessings of the temple to everyone. He embarked on a program of unprecedented temple building. I remember when the small temples were announced, and it's just amazing how fast things have happened. The second theme that sticks out to me is education. President Hinckley championed the Perpetual Education Fund, making it possible for many people in developing countries to gain the blessings of education. Additionally, he has been insistent that everyone should gain all the education that they can.

Godspeed, President Hinckley! May you rest in peace.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Around the Bloggernacle

I've had the flu this week, so I don't have the energy for a proper post. This is the first in a series called "Around the Bloggernacle". I'll link to posts I've found interesting recently.

First, Exponent II has a great post on seasonal depression, entitled S.A.D.ness 2008.
Times and Seasons has a post on Lesson 1 in the Joseph Smith manual, entitled Teaching the very familiar.
The Waters of Mormon has a post, called On Eating Meat, that started out being about reducing meat consumption, and the comments have turned toward vegetarianism.
And, on the lighter side, By Common Consent has a post calling for limericks.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New LDS Blogs

Dave, over at Dave's Mormon Inquiry, has posted a list of newer LDS blogs. I'm excited that The Posts of My House has made the list. Thank you to all of my current readers, and welcome to all of you who click on over from there.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year! This post is a few days later than I had planned, but here goes. At this time of year, many people make resolutions for self-improvement. I usually make two or three, which I manage to keep for about a month in a good year. I was a bit more ambitious this year, and I made eight resolutions for ’08.

There are not many scriptures that focus on the childhood and youth of Jesus Christ, but there is a great one in the book of Luke that I find instructive at this time of year. "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." (Luke 2:52) It shows four distinct areas in which He developed. Since Christ is our example and we are to strive to be like Him, I have chosen this scripture as the framework for my resolutions this year. I have grouped them into four categories.

I. Wisdom- I have defined this broadly to include not only wisdom itself, but all pursuits of the mind. I have three goals in this category.
1. I resolve to return to law school in the fall. When I first wrote this goal, I made it considerably squishier, something like "I resolve to do what I can to return to law school in the fall," but I decided that I was through with being squishy on this one. I recognize that there are parts of this resolution that are out of my control, but I'm going to exercise faith on this one. I firmly believe that I am on the right career path, so I'm going to do my part and let the Lord do His.
2. I resolve to read at least one book per month. It has been a long time since I have taken the time to read a book for fun, as opposed to for a class. I've enjoyed some of the books I've read for class, but there's something different about picking up a book to read simply because I want to. I do a considerable amount of reading for pleasure anyway, between blogs and news articles and other stuff online, but I can't help but feel that I've been missing something by not reading books.
I've already completed January's installment of this resolution. Just yesterday, I finished reading My Grandfather's Son, the autobiography of Clarence Thomas. I found all the hardships he had to overcome to get where he is to be inspiring. My law school woes don't seem so bad anymore. Regardless of what you think of his court opinions, I recommend the book highly.
3. I resolve to write at least one blog entry per week. Well, I've managed it for this week. You'll all know whether or not I end up keeping this one.

II. Stature- I can't do anything about actually increasing my stature; I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I've reached my full, impressive height of 5'4". I'm using this to refer to physical goals. I only have one in this category.
1. I resolve to exercise for 20 minutes per day, six days per week. I have made more ambitious goals about exercise in years past, but I keep breaking them, so I decided to set one I might keep. I've already broken this, so I've decided that it starts tomorrow, the first full week of the year. I used to be in really good shape- I was on the swim team in high school and in the ROTC in college. On and after my mission, I got out of the habit of exercise, and it's really hard to get back in. I'm not overweight, so when I mention to people that I need to start working out again, they are dismissive. I'm not doing it for weight, I'm doing it for health. I feel better when I exercise. Also, heart disease runs in my family, and I want to do everything I can to spare myself from it.

III. Favor with God- This one seems fairly straightforward. I'm using this for goals related to my spiritual life. I have two in this category.
1. I resolve to meditate for 20 minutes per day. The meditation that I do/have done in the past isn't really like a lot of Eastern meditation of which I'm aware. I took a meditation class in college, and it was taught by a Jesuit priest. I found the class to be extremely valuable. We met each morning and meditated as a group. My mind tends to race and I'm often easily distracted. I used the meditation time to just let my mind run with whatever was concerning me, and I found that by just sitting quietly and thinking, I was able to identify and solve my problems. I slept better and had better communion with the Holy Spirit. I've fallen out of this habit and I want to get back into it.
2. I resolve to have at least 20 minutes of quality gospel study each day. In years past, I've set goals to read the standard works during the year. Those goals have been valuable, but I feel that I have sacrificed quality for quantity. This year, I have no set program. I will study what needs to be studied at a given time. I'm hoping that by freeing myself from a schedule, I'll get more out of it.

IV. Favor with man- I've made this a broad category that includes social and financial. I have two goals in this category.
1. I resolve to go on at least three social outings per month. I've kind of let my social life stagnate, and I really need to get out more. I'm defining social outing broadly. It isn't just dates, although a date would certainly qualify.
2. I resolve to find a job in the legal field that will be sufficient to pay my bills. My current job is in the medical/social services field, and it is sucking me dry emotionally. It also doesn't pay me enough to avoid the ugly trap of credit card debt. (And I don't live extravagantly, either.) I have a recruiter helping me out. I'm looking for a paralegal position somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. I know the jobs are out there, I just need to find one.

I love the start of a new year because it gives me an extra incentive to start fresh and improve myself. What are some of your resolutions? Do you find yourself making the same ones over and over again, or do you make different ones each year?