Thursday, May 29, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Dear Friends-
I'm sorry it's so long since I wrote. Life has been crazy.
This week we dropped my brother off at the Missionary Training Center. He's going to spend the next few weeks there learning how to be a missionary and brushing up on his Spanish, and then he'll spend the next two years at his own expense, teaching the gospel to whoever will listen. He'll get to call home twice a year--on Mother's Day and Christmas Day, and I'm already looking forward to hearing from him.
I'm very proud of Elder Dave. He's prepared and excited, and he'll make a great missionary. See what a handsome guy he is?

David and I have gotten close these past few years, and I was sad to see him go. I'll miss him a lot. But I know he's doing the Lord's work, and that he'll be strengthened as he goes forth to lose himself in service.
We got him a journal to write his mission experiences in. I wrote a little note in the front, and I thought I'd share it with all of you:

Querido hermano,
I am so proud to have you as my brother. I'm glad that you are worthy and prepared to serve a mission for the Lord. Your dedication is an example to me, and I love you.
This journal is for you to record the events of your mission--events that will change your life and mold your character. Make it yours--and I expect to get a letter from you in a few months saying that you've used up all the pages, and I'll send you another one. Write so that you will remember these years, so that your descendants will know of your life, and so the angels can quote from your record (Assuming, that is, that the angels can read your handwriting).
Write the words of God to you so you can have them when times are tough (Mosiah 26:33). Write the blessings of the Lord to you so that you will remember to show gratitude for his mercy. Write about the good days and the hard times, and the Lord will bless you for it.
I love you, David, and I'm proud of you. Always be obedient, and the Lord will strengthen you as you do His work. In the words of an old Irish blessing I have long loved, "May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand."
I love you, David.
Your sister,
Amy

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Never Go To Bed Angry

Once in a while, often at bridal showers or other such events, I'll be in a group that will start dispensing marital advice. Some of it is sound and wise, and I always learn from the tips on kindness and unselfishness given by women whose marriages have lasted through many years and many children. At times, however, the advice-fests fall back on popular wisdom--which, it often seems, is more naive than it is wise.

One of the most popular pithy sayings is this: "Never go to bed angry." I think it was popularized by Ann Landers in a column many years ago, and it had found its way into marriage books and people's idea of what makes a good marriage.

I suppose it sounds good and all--make up before you go to bed so that an argument doesn't fester all night. But when it's midnight and you still don't agree but have determined not to go to bed angry, the only alternative is to stay up and fight. And that doesn't seem likely to put anyone in a better mood about their marriage or engender spousal love.

I have a better idea--when you're angry, go directly to bed. Do not pass GO. Do not collect two hundred dollars. More importantly, don't amass two hundred harsh words, hurled in anger at your spouse, two hundred words you will later regret. Tell your wife (husband) you love her (him), and go to bed. Don't avoid your problem, just agree to solve it in the morning. I've noticed that over half my problems seem less awful after I've slept well. When you argue with someone you love, you get tense, tired, and cranky. You blow issues out of proportion. The argument takes on a life of its own, and you're furious at each other, but you don't always remember why. Which is why it helps to sleep on it.

I'm not saying that you should storm out of the room and go to bed in a huff every time your spouse disagrees with you. But I am suggesting that one of you could say, "Dear, it's clear we disagree about this issue. I love you, and I don't want to fight. Let's sleep on it, and see if we can't come to a peaceful resolution in the morning." Then, in the morning, when you're well-rested and you're emotions have cooled, when a good night's sleep has given you a brighter outlook on life and on your spouse, you can follow through. Chances are that most problems will have evaporated by then, and the ones that remain can be solved peacefully, when you're in a more loving mood.

Picture from askchris.co.nz

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Help! There's a Boy in the Bed!

To entertain you all, a silly story from my life:
I started work this week and moved into a little house near downtown. My roommate is a sweet little engaged LDS girl, and she leaves for work before I even get up in the morning. I don't see much of her, but she seems like a nice enough girl.
Yesterday morning, when I climbed out of the shower, I looked over at her bed. She was already gone to work, but--and this nearly made me scream--there was a boy in her bed!


What was a boy doing in her bed when she was gone to work? I knew she was engaged, and I knew her fiance wasn't sleeping over...so what was going on?

I looked a little closer. The boy wasn't moving. In fact, the boy was very...well, flat.

Turns out the boy was a picture of her fiance appliqued onto her pillow. A strangely sweet pre-wedding present that really startled her roommate.