Saturday, January 7, 2017

Thoughts on Faith

My Relief Society president (women's ministry chair) asked me to write down some thoughts on how my faith has grown this year. Here's what I wrote:

In the past few years, I have sometimes found my mind and heart churning over doctrinal questions or what I perceived as wrongs in church culture and practice. I started writing down questions one Sunday in March when I woke up. Before church began, I was set apart as a counselor in the Stake Primary, and I wrote: “God wants me to shepherd Primary children and Primary leaders to the temple. How do I reconcile my questions/concerns with that charge?” Ben Francisco was conducting Fast and Testimony Meeting that day. He talked about losing the study cards for his medical exams that he had been preparing for three years, doing everything he could to find them to no avail, and then getting the feeling that this was an opportunity to practice his faith. This was an answer to my question, that the right thing to do was not to quit going to the temple or studying scriptures, but to be faithful and consistent in doing those things.

In May, I began a monthly Saturday shift in the temple laundry. It has been like a soothing balm for my spirit and helps me feel happy in the temple. There are few people and few words in laundry. There are laundry baskets, piled heavy and high with dripping white jumpsuits, towels, socks and sports bras, while enormous whirring machines wash and dry. It’s a race, a game, to empty the baskets, fold everything, put it away. The physicality of the work is somehow liberating and rejuvenating. It clears my mind and settles my spirit. Thanks in part to my laundry shifts, the temple and I are on good terms.

I had a close friend and confidante leave the church in October. I missed her at church (I still miss her), cried for weeks, as much for me as for her. Such is the power of the Atonement that out of sadness blessings can come; her absence on Sundays has made it clear to me that I am in the right place, and I want to be there. I felt that strongly in a recent Fast and Testimony Meeting. I had been feeling tired that morning and wished I could stay in bed all day. When I arrived at church, President Packer was in our meeting to release Brother Francisco and call Brother Mati to the bishopric. My heart was full to overflowing with happiness to be there.

The moments described here have helped me feel more peaceful and confident in my faith. For now, I feel grounded in the personal knowledge that God is aware of me and that He loves me and He forgives me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

RSBC Finale

It wasn't a grand finale, but looking back over the month, the challenge definitely moved me in the right direction.

Run: 13.4 miles

Bike: 29.6 miles

Swim: 0 miles. 1 swimsuit acquired!

Cook: I discovered how easy and tasty (not to mention cost inexpensive) it is to make sauerkraut at home.

Thank you, Christy and Kara for hosting!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

RSBC week 3

It's been a slow week. My mileage is about the same as last week:

Swimming: 0 (I am determined to have swimwear by the end of the month!)

Biking: 29.6 miles

Running: 8.9 miles

On the positive side, my homemade sauerkraut was delicious! It's been on the counter all this time (9 days). I tried some 3 days in, and it was good, though very mild. I ate more yesterday and it had much more flavor. Such an easy thing to make and feel good about! I'm going to make another batch and try to always have some on hand.  $.42 for a head of cabbage and the  caraway seeds are already in my pantry.

I didn't make yogurt this week, but I have all that I need ready and am about to embark on my first yougurt-making. I'll report on that next week.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

RSBC 2016: Week 2

My beautiful baby sauerkraut, only a few minutes old

Running total: 5.8 miles  (20.4 to go)

Bike total: 26.3 miles (85.7 to go)

Swim total: 0 miles. (2.4 to go) Not one of the swimsuits I ordered in the first batch fit, but another shipment of swim wear is coming in this week. My fingers are crossed.

For the sauerkraut, I followed the recipe here. I only started it today, so I can't comment yet on the flavor. I will say that the "raw" sauerkraut was delightful.

As we finish up week 2, I'm wishing there would be another challenge in March. I'm feeling motivated and having a great time. Who's with me?

What is RSBC?

Monday, February 8, 2016

RSBC 2016: Week 1

I'm thrilled to be back doing the Run Swim Bike Cook Challenge, which includes running 26.2 miles, biking 112 miles, and swimming 2.4 miles in February, plus a weekly cooking challenge. Let's dive right in to my progress in week 1. (See what I did there?)

I run with a friend outside on Saturdays, and I've started running a mile on the treadmill when I go to the YMCA. My total for this week in running is 5.2 miles. 

I hope to fix the flat on my husband's bike soon and take it for a spin on the trails. Meanwhile, the YMCA has upright and recumbent stationary bikes. My biking muscles are undeveloped, and I recognize the burn that I haven't felt since I was on bike as a missionary on the southwest coast of France 20 years ago. Total for this week on the bike is 4.3 miles. 

My swimming total is 0 miles, but I did order a swimsuit from I wonder if I lie on my belly on the piano bench and flutter kick and make arm circles if that would be worth anything besides a laugh for my kids?

For the cooking challenge (something with yeast), I made some raised waffles, following this recipe from the smitten kitchen. Here's a shot of the finished product, unadorned by syrup or berries. I'm not convinced that my yeast is still good; although it smelled yeasty, my mixture didn't grow much overnight. Still, my kids were delighted to have waffles for breakfast, and it's hard to go wrong with maple syrup. Next time, I think I'll try this recipe for Liège waffles that Christy suggested.

It's not too late to join the challenge! Do as much or as little as you feel like. Check out the original post (link at the top) for details.

What new things are you trying this year?