Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Where Are We Going?

This certainly is a blogging week, and in reality a more serious noted one.  I just HAVE to tell my little story from yesterday....

I work as a nanny for a little three-year-old girl named Eliza.  She is fantastic!  Even at her worst behavior it's not that bad and she is simply adorable.  Her parents have definitely raised her right in that she doesn't believe in hitting and and using "mean words," such as "butt" or "brat."  Haha!  She really is a good little girl and I can see how blessed her parents are to have her in their life.

Let me preface the following story by saying the family I nanny for has different beliefs than I do religiously.  They're not LDS and that is totally fine by me.  I all for believing what you want and having the power of agency to choose your beliefs for yourself.  I don't look at them as anything but amazing people whom I have come to love very much.

Yesterday, while I was driving home from the park with Eliza, she asked me about the afterlife.  I'm not kidding.  Here is this three-year-old in the backseat talking about her friends grandpa who passed away and asking what happened to him.  I panicked a bit simply because I didn't want to over-step my bounds in "religious territory."  I had no idea what the parents really believe (now I do) and wanted to be respectful... However, here is this little girl begging for an answer and literally saying the words, "What happened to him?  Is he really gone?"

I thought for moment and then said, "No, E. They'll see him again in Heaven - it's okay."  The questions continued though... "Linze?  What's heaven?  We get to live again?"  Yep.  It really was possibly one of the most tender moments in my entire life.  It reminded me of when I talked with Nico about prayer and how awesome that was for me.  I decided that with Eliza honesty was the best policy and I'd tell her what I believe to be the truth and let her parents know so they can tell her differently if they'd like.  She was asking for answers, so I gave her what I know to be truth - other than I opted to not talk to her at all about hell.  "Well, Eliza, heaven is our other home.  We have a home here on earth, but we have a home in heaven too.  It's where we came from and will go back to after we pass away.  So you shouldn't be sad if anyone dies because you'll get to see them again."  She sat for a moment and said, "So, if something happens to you or daddy or someone... I will see you again.  I like that."

I know - the sweetest thing ever.  Little kids say funny things ALL the time, but those tender moments are what make me most excited about being a mom in the future.  It makes me less scared about trying to teach my future children the gospel.

The conversation continued with, "Who's there in heaven?"  I talked to her about God and she asked if he was related to us.  I replied, "Well, you know how you have daddy here on earth?  Well, he is your Father there and he watches over all of your us just like your daddy does here on earth."  She got excited and said, "That's who we pray to!"  It was just a really precious moment for me to share with her, even if it's not what she grows up believing in the future.

I am just SO thankful for the knowledge that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me and who I get to see again, and that families are eternal.  I get to keep my family and be with them forever, and that is amazing to me.  I am thankful for prayer and the power we have to talk to Him, and how it can build our faith and comfort us.  I have been studying Faith over the past few days and then I saw the following clip:

Have faith.  Know that there is a Father in Heaven who loves you and that you also have a Savior who lived and died for you... and lives again.  I have been struggling with "sweating the little things" in life lately, and worrying about things over which I have no control.  In tough times, turn to Heavenly Father and he will comfort you - I know that's been my case.  I know that the following quote is fact:

"Everything will be okay...and if it's not okay, it's not the end."  
- Paulo Coelho

And even at the end, I know it's merely a new beginning. 

Song of the Day:  I'm thinkin' I should throw out another Christmas jam soon... I simply adore Christmas music, so we gotta show this genre some love.  However, this particular song is WINTER, but not Christmas... I do hold out in listening to it till mostly around this time of year.  It's called "Winter Song," by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quote It Up... Again.

Okay, it's that time again... Awkward quote time!  Some of these you may understand, and some you most certainly will not understand.  Just know, they really were quite awkward and hilarious (or in Eliza's case, adorable!)...  Enjoy!

"I am sooooo happy right now!" - Linze
"What are you guys up to?" - Random Bishop in Walmart
"... Just buying a gift for a friend." - Spencer

"Okay. I'll stay little!" - Eliza

"I'll put a Belle band-aid on your heart if it hurts..." - Eliza (she was VERY sincere - haha!)

"Are you 10 or 13?  Oh, you're 80!" - Eliza

"We have four beautiful women and a munchkin!" - Random carni at the Haunted Circus... The munchkin was Nicole.

"Oh, hell... o.  Hello.  Dang it - I was in the chapel." - Your truly... I shouldn't admit that.

"Haven't you ever asked yourself, 'Was that me singing?'" - Um, me... in class.  FYI - I heard someone singing and then got confused and it all just toppled out - as always in that class.

"Then, he scaffolded me." - Stephanie during a class presentation.  YES, that's educational terminology... and yes, it was still hilarious.

"What if we clapped for every good idea like they do in the state of the union?"

"They accidently wrapped me in a blue blanket at the hospital..." - Me.

"Your mama's hooked on crack." - Someone's student (anyone remember who???)
"Your mama's hooked on phonics." - Another student
"That's the worst kind, cause we ain't got no rehab for that..." - First student... OH, CLASSIC.

"...It would be like having Asexual Apps." - Sam in class about something actually rather intelligent...
"Wait.  They have Asexual Apps?!?" - Me.
*class laughs* and I realize it was all sarcasm.... oops.
"Well, if they did Steve Jobs didn't invent them... too soon?"

"... the teacher had written 'Columbus was a murderer' to get the student's attention.  It may be true, but..." - Barb, my teacher
"That's like me writing 'Thomas Jefferson was an adulterer' on the board!  It may be true, but..." - Me.

"I love that song about mammals..." - Mari

"It's definitely like a vasectomy - just cut it off." - David

Yea - most of these I think you had to be there for, but nonetheless.... There's some quotes for the time being to keep y'all going... I think summer breeds more awkward moments and words out of my mouth. OR, maybe I'm just getting smarter with my word choice, as are others!  Ok... nope.

Song of the Day:   The Fray - "Heartbeat."  I just can't get enough of it... it's passionate and driven.  I love it. Enjoy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Who Would Imagine A King?

"The best place to get your identity is from being a son or daughter of God."
 - Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Sometimes, I forget the meaning behind the quote above.  I feel very blessed that I know who I am, and that I have come to have a relationship with my Father in Heaven and his son, Jesus Christ.  I know I wrote a serious post last time too, but bear with me for one more - I promise, I'll return to writing about my highly awkward moments, misspoken words, and witty, somewhat-cynical responses to the world or life in general.  However, for now, I just need to express myself spiritually.

I know that I am a daughter of God, but I often get lost in the labels that otherwise define me.  For example:

               Singer (A favorite)
                           Grad Student (SO happy about this one!)

Those are all great things to be defined by, but they should not be the foundation for how I look at myself.  In most of my wards I have been generally known as the musical one.  I sing in bars or clubs and I perform in musicals... but I haven't focused on that as much in my life right now.  I noticed the other day that I'm not the musical one at all (we have SO many amazing musicians in our ward - it's great ear-candy!) in our ward... now, I tend to be looked at by many as the actress.  I'm the dramatic one who likes to make-up stories, create scenarios, and play-up peoples emotions (in a good way, I hope) to get a laugh.  I really love making people laugh, and though, I don't do it on purpose, I think I subconsciously have a drive for wanting to be funny.  So, in this ward, I have been dubbed as the actress.

However, I am more than that.  I shouldn't let anything make me feel like those labels, even if they are positive, hold me to any standard or determine who I am.  I am a daughter of God - divine in right and nature. I hold all the potential to become whomever I desire.  Positive labels and just fine... but they do not define my entirety.

Then, there are negative labels.  I think every individual struggles with negative labels and how things people have said about them stick and make an emotional or psychological impression.

             Less Intelligent (because of an "easy" major)
                               Fat or "big boned"
       Terrible Speller (truth)  
Loud (touche - I've come to embrace this one with high esteem)

I have overcome most of those labels and grown pretty confident in myself - largely in thanks to the atonement.  I have days or moments of inner-frustration, but overall, I am very content with who I am becoming and how I am improving each day.

There are also just ways people find to set themselves apart.  I'm liberal.  I'm a theater major.  I'm a nanny.  I'm Dutch.  I'm white (black on the in, baby!).  I'm Mormon/LDS.  I'm a Grad Student.  I'm a singer.  I'm a woman.  I'm "big bones," with awesome hip that do NOT lie... for real.  I'm a writer, a dancer, a sister.... I am so many things.  However, the MOST important way to define who I am is as a daughter of God.  I know that with THAT knowledge, I can do anything and BE anything.  When you know who you are, you want to live-up to all that God has in store for you because you understand your place in His kingdom... It's kind of great.

I know that my Father in Heaven lives and that He loves me.  I know that I am His daughter and an heir to His kingdom and blessings.  I know that I have been given so many talents and defining factors by Him, and I am thankful for each of those - good and bad - because they have made me into who I am today.  Cliche?  Perhaps.  True?  Yep.

I am just really thankful for the knowledge I have pertaining to who I really am in this world... cause it is so hard to get lost.  I'm thankful, and it's the perfect time of the year to express that thanks.

Song of the Day:  It is FINALLY time for Christmas music!  Now, I'll still suggest some non-Christmas jams to check out, but today this just seemed all too appropriate.  It pertains not ONLY to Christ, but to who we are and will become.  Here is Whitney Houston's "Who Would Imagine a King."  Read the lyrics (below).  Listen to the song.  Think about it.  And... Enjoy!

Mommies and daddies always believe
That their little angels are special indeed
And you could grow up to be anything
But who would imagine a king?
A shepherd or teacher is what you could be
Or maybe a fisherman out on the sea
Or maybe a carpenter building things
But who would imagine a king?
It was so clear when the wise men arrived
And the angels were singing your name
That the world would be different 'cause you were alive
That's what heaven stood still to proclaim
One day an angel said quietly
That soon he would bring something special to me
And of all of the wonderful gifts he could bring
Who would imagine, who could imagine,
Who would imagine a king?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Politically-Minded... No Apologies Required

I am a politically minded person. As of late (the past four or five years), I am really into learning about, talking about, and being involved with government and politics. I'm not a fan of the political garbage one has to sometimes adhere to or go through in order to get things accomplished. I'm also not into the defensive anger that comes into play when someone disagrees with you and can't harness the emotions. However, I like the idea that people are giving their time and energy to help a country, community, or people function positively. I like that people are trying to change the world because they believe in something better. I like that somewhere, someone is trying to bring greater peace to people.

Sidenote: I know there are a lot of corrupt governmental leaders, or that good people have done corrupt things to get where they are. All the same, I refuse to believe that every leader is involved in making world policy, change, etc. for the wrong reasons. You can argue with me on this, but it's a sale I won't be buying.

I am a moderate. If you're into political labels, I am a moderate. I'm not into labels, but I'm not opposed to them either. I am a moderate, that leans left. No, you did not read that wrong. I typed "left," and I meant to type left. Yes, I know that many LDS (Mormon) people are geared toward the republican side. Social issues, such as abortion and gay rights, tend to form the opinions of some LDS voters - note, I did not say ALL... I said some.  I have voted BOTH ways in different elections and circumstances. 

There is also something to say for a smaller government. I've heard it argued that Joseph Smith Jr. stated, "Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves." This is a true statement - it has to do with agency. The argument I've heard is that with a larger government they tack on more laws and regulations, and it takes away agency. However, to me, it's just like the gospel - we are given "rules" to live by, and we each chose what to do with them. There are consequences for our actions. It is when you are "forced" to do something immoral or unjust through a law, that we have real issues. Otherwise, it's merely a choice.  I really appreciate and am an advocate of agency.  I understand there are issues like health care (don't get me started there... I'm now 26 and trying to get my own insurance for not too expensive as I work 30 hours a week, go to school full-time, and only make it by cause I'm living with mom and dad...), etc. where the choice is in some ways stripped from us... I'll get there.

I know there are a plethora of reasons why someone is one "party" or another. These are just some reasons that have been brought up numerous times with me and my friends, colleagues, associates, family, the pizza guy, etc. In honesty, as a moderate, I say, "Vote the person - Not the party." Moving on.

As for myself, I have particular views and opinions on most political issues. I think it's time for me to address what I think and believe in certain areas, and let the chips fall where they may. This a means for me to record this - yes, I could write it out. However, I like typing.

So, take a deep breath, realize that these are MY opinions, and realize that I think no less of anyone reading (or not reading) this because your opinions differ from my own. This is not meant as an attack or means to tick people off, but it's what I have come to believe through the experiences I have had in my own life. Some of them lean left, and some lean right. Again, that's why I am a moderate. Take it, leave it, burn it, frame it... whatever you like, but here goes.

First, Gun Control: I have become rather passionate about this issue. I spent last year living in Germany, and I have also spent time living in London, England. I have seen the benefits and the cons regarding how gun control is handled in different countries. I understand if a person wants to own a gun for recreation (i.e. hunting or range shooting) or self-defense. However, I believe that guns in the hands of whomever desires one (I recognize there is a process to obtain one) is a negative thing. Guns may allow for some good things, but I believe they also breed violence. I see this more in hand guns than anything else. I understand that many Americans believe owning a gun is their right... but I wish we could get rid of guns in the hands of civilians - or all together, though that's dreaming WAY too big and being overly idealistic.

Wow. I know I just ticked some people off. I don't apologize for what I believe, but I respect if you'd like to disagree. That's okay.

Second, Gay Rights: This one is going to get touchy. I have gay friends, people I love and adore with all my heart who are GOOD people. Here is my take on gay rights. I understand how important it is to create and have families - to bring God's children into the world. In that, I know that being gay is not a positive thing. We are commanded to "multiply and replenish the earth," and this can not happen with a same-sex partner. I'm NOT saying that two guys, or two girls, could not be great parents. However, together they can not create a child. Thus, it is a sin before God. However, we have been given a gift of agency and told to not judge others. I believe that it is not the government's place to get involved with this issue. I think that if we want to keep the word "marriage" as a sacred word, and people want to argue for that, that's okay. However, if the government denies someone a right because their lifestyle is not one that is agreed with... It should not be decided in a legal, political place.

Third, Immigration: I will be blunt. I get frustrated when I hear stories about our resources and money going to immigrants who are not legally living in this country. I get frustrated when I see someone does not speak the main language of the country they live in and does not even attempt to try and learn it... I lived in Germany, and really, REALLY struggle with German. I am quite hopeless with languages. I am still not very good, nor do I believe I ever will be, but I'm trying to learn. I am trying to speak more and more German each day (still), and to not assume that people there can speak English if I do not speak good enough German to communicate clearly. I think there is a process to being a part of country and that one should go through that process - I had to in Germany.

I think one should have to have language classes be mandatory in order to obtain permitted visas. I think that we should not grant automatic amnesty for a child who's parents are not US citizens, and that a mother should not get automatic amnesty if they have their child on American soil. There is a process, and that should be respected.  I also believe in being understanding to each individual situation and not "shipping back" those who are contributing to society and trying to follow the rules, but something gets fouled up with paper work... I have seen two families (one from Mexico and one from England) get immediately deported because an employer messed up their work visa paper-work.  I have no good ideas one making things better - but things on both sides of the issue need to be rectified.

Fourth, Abortion - People make mistakes.  However, someone else should not be punished to death because of their mistake.  I am against abortion, except in the following circumstances: rape or incest, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.  However, even some of these circumstances should be looked at carefully.  I believe that a fetus is "life," and abortion should not be legal outside of the conditions listed above. 

Sidenote:  I know the stories about hangers and girls taking drugs to abort a baby, and I recognize we want to avoid those.  I genuinely believe that allowing abortion is not going to suddenly alleviate the world of those issues.  Also, I recognize that women want choice... Please use that agency to choose safe sex or abstinence, and not to take away someone's life because you made a careless choice.  I know there are other circumstances, which I talk about above, but this is what I believe.

Fifth, Education - I'm not going to get on a high-horse about this, but as a future educator... We need greater funding.  We are helping to build the future and I do NOT see why individuals don't want to give more to that cause.  I recognize that other professions are important too, but education is one of the MOST important things we can give an individual so that they can succeed in life... We need more federal funding for education to build schools.  I also believe that teachers should be paid more - flat out.  However, that's a whole separate issue... :)

I'm going to stick with these five topics for now, but you're more than willing to ask about my feelings on any other political issues... I am VERY passionate about wind power and energy conservation!  Haha... I have opinions on other things, but I have written enough for now.  Congrats to you if you actually made it through this entire entry.  I'd love to know where you agree and disagree and why... I will respect your opinions as you respect mine.

Song of the Day:  I am currently loving on the Breaking Dawn Soundtrack... If you hate on the Twilight series, that's totally chill, but don't knock the soundtracks till you've taken a listen.  Man... They are SO good!  Most of my friends who hate the movies or books still love the soundtracks.  Here is a song from the soundtrack by Sleeping At Last.  The song is called "Turning Page."  It's sweet, simple, and unique.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Give a Little Heart and Soul!

This year I have ONE REQUEST for my birthday! PLEASE choose a day this week and complete a random act of service (big or small) for someone (random stranger or friend/family!). THEN, post about it on my wall on facebook or on here under the comments section to let me know what you did. Thanks so much for all the birthday love! :)
Song of the Day:  Iron and Wine, "Boy With A Coin" - Beautiful... Enjoy!