Friday, September 16, 2016

Day 78, Ogden Enterprise

After a few setbacks (including a huge kidney stone and a lithotripsy), and the added inconvenience of having to get jobs and go to work for a living, we are still making progress on the Brick House! We finally have a few rooms that are finished enough to be able to sit down and relax in. We even had our first guests for pizza and a game night in our newly painted dining room. But first let me show you the outside view. The lawn has greened up, just in time for fall. I'm hoping the bushes in the back will get a little taller. By next spring I should have it just the way I want it:

Virtue or Stupidity: Why Daniel Reminds me of the "M-Word"

OT SS Lesson #45

If there still exists anyone in the greater world of Mormon blogs who thinks I am writing these Old Testament posts as a resource for Sunday lessons and not for my own simple entertainment, this one should surely disabuse them.

Let me start out all faith-promoting, though, and I'll degenerate as I go along: The book of Daniel has always greatly inspired me. One of my very favorite Conference Talks was taken from the book of Daniel. In April 2004, Dennis E. Simmons' talk, "But If Not..." speaks of the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego as they were about to be cast into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to the king's golden idol. They said that they knew that the Lord had the power to deliver them, but if not, they would still refuse to serve the king's false gods. Elder Simmons continued by enumerating other scriptural figures who had faith even if things didn't turn out the way they hoped.

"Our scriptures and our history are replete with accounts of God’s great men and women who believed that He would deliver them, but if not, they demonstrated that they would trust and be true...

Our God will deliver us from ridicule and persecution, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from sickness and disease, but if not … . He will deliver us from loneliness, depression, or fear, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from threats, accusations, and insecurity, but if not. … He will deliver us from death or impairment of loved ones, but if not, … we will trust in the Lord.

Our God will see that we receive justice and fairness, but if not. … He will make sure that we are loved and recognized, but if not. … We will receive a perfect companion and righteous and obedient children, but if not, … we will have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that if we do all we can do, we will, in His time and in His way, be delivered and receive all that He has."
Other stories in Daniel and this week's Sunday School lesson reinforce this type of faith. Daniel prays to his God, knowing that he will be cast into a lion's den for so doing.  Esther goes before the king to plead for her people, saying, "if I perish, I perish."  This type of faith is very appealing to me. I greatly admire those who have it. Yet, as I strive to develop it in myself, I begin to falter. How am I to react when prayers are unanswered over a long period of time, when promised witnesses fail to materialize? Is it virtue or stupidity to continue to believe when reason and circumstance seem to prove contrary? Haven't you heard the quote attributed to Albert Einstein, "Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results?"

Our God will deliver us, but if not, does reason dictate we should look for another way?

The reason why Daniel reminds me of the "m-word," is because of a story that was told by Vaughn J. Featherstone in a 1975 Conference Talk, "A Self-Inflicted Purging."
“We shouldn’t have a problem with masturbation. I know one fine father who interviewed his 11-year-old son and he said, “Son, if you never masturbate, the time will come in your life when you will be able to sit in front of your bishop at age 19, and say to him, ‘I have never done that in my life,’ and then you can go to the stake president when you are interviewed for your mission and tell him, ‘I have never done that in my life.’ And you would be quite a rare young man.”
“The father again interviewed the young man, who is now 18 years old, and he asked the son about masturbation. The son said, “I have never done that in my life. You told me, Dad, that if I didn’t do that, I would be able to sit in front of the bishop and stake president and tell them I had never done it, and I would be a rare young man, and I am going to be able to do it.”
You see, there is a young and idealistic part of me that thinks it is valiant and honorable to be able to take such a challenge, to stick to it for years and years, and then finally to be able to stand up and say, "I am a rare young man!"  But then, on the other hand, I'm not sure that this isn't a completely natural and normal part of life.  It would also be a rare young man who didn't eat chocolate for 19 years, wouldn't it?

What about those Daniels who are out there trying to sexually "starve" themselves, and finally give in, and despair of ever becoming the noble being they desperately desire to be?  What about those Daniels who are cast into the lion's den, or the fiery furnace, and who don't have an angel come to rescue them by morning?

Are there any "but if not's" in your life?  Are you still hanging on in faith that the miracle will come, even though it hasn't yet manifested itself?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Day 14, Ogden Enterprise

Today marks two weeks that we've been in our new home! And there have been a whole lot of changes goin' on! I'm especially excited about the change in curb appeal. The front yard has been cleaned up, trimmed, weeded, and watered--and it's starting to really green up. There was a flower bed along the front, but it was filled with wildflowers gone wild! I really love wildflowers, but I'm pretty particular about how they should be planted in a home garden. By all means, plant the tallest varieties toward the back. And keep them in neat-ish clumps, don't let them tangle together. Here's what we started with:

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Day 8, Ogden Enterprise

The days have been flying by, full of hard work and dizzying heat! Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we finished the floor. In order to do the back rooms, we took all of the doors off. Some were so damaged, they had to be thrown away.

Many of the doors in the house look like this, especially in the downstairs.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Day 4, July 4th, Ogden Enterprise

I briefly thought about taking a shower, but since I had one last night, I just threw my hair into a ponytail and went with it. We were on a roll, so we thought we'd spend this Fourth of July working on the house, and next Fourth of July we will plan to have friends over to our gorgeously refinished home!

We have our shopping trips down to a science now. Since it get so hot in the middle of the day (94 today!) we try to do our running around early in the day, or after the sun goes down. We needed a giant trash can for the inside of the house, fly strips, and about 10 other things, including ice cream. While there, I spotted a darling 70-ish year old lady with red, white, and blue flowers on her white bun. So adorable, so Utah!

Our floor work today began with finishing the sanding of the filler.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Day 3, Ogden Enterprise

I spent most of the day on my hands and knees--or bent over like a crone. Today was floors, floors, and more floors. I was pretty pleased with the results after the first sanding. This is what they looked like:

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Day 2, Ogden Enterprise

We got up at daybreak, still feeling absolutely exhausted! But we were excited to begin our home project. We went to Home Depot, Lowes and WalMart. We bought painting supplies, picked out our paint colors for the living room, dining room and kitchen, and got tons of other stuff. I began preparing the walls for painting. It took well over an hour just to scrub the large living room wall. The walls have dirty fingerprints and spills that are years old, and nails and screws hanging everywhere. The nasty looking blinds came down, too.

Then we had a conversation about floors vs. paint.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Day 1 Ogden Enterprise

After a 14 hour drive (we took our time!) we arrived in Ogden at 3:00 am. We were planning on crashing as soon as we got here, but we spent about 30 minutes getting everything out of the car. Then I went in to go to the bathroom and I found this: