Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Flying Dream

Ashley got the window seat on our flight from PDX to SLC this week. With her restricted mobility, time in the sky is ecstasy for Ashley, especially if she can peer down on the world through clouds. Her face beams: I was BORN to fly. (See Angel Talkin')

Squishing my cheek to hers, I tried to absorb some of her joy. The view reminded me of The Flying Dream. For years, I was plagued by this strange, subconscious fantasy. I don’t know how you've done it in your sleep, but my legs would start rotating like I was riding a unicycle. (How you start this process while still ground-bound is never clear.) The gist of the exercise is that the harder and faster I pumped the invisible pedals, the faster and higher I rose.

It was very heady of course to be air born, to escape the bad guys who were chasing me seconds ago, to sail over skyscrapers and to look down on tiny things. But it never lasted. Sooner or later, even with all the imagination-fluid-in-the-world lubricating my quads, I started to lose altitude. The realization that I was goin’ down was terrifying, a real first-class nightmare. Bad guys, who had been tracking my flight, were of course, waiting at the bottom.

I am grateful to say I’ve been free of The Flying Dream for a long time now. It became less and less frequent when I figured out that I didn’t have to “pedal” so hard….

I lived my early twenty-something life like every day was finals week -– a constant state of “cramming” for the “test”. You name it: index cards, strings on my finger, refrigerator magnets from Relief Society, embroidered scriptures on the wall, charts, how-to books, and sheer will: I filled my environment with these reminders that I was a daughter of a GOD –- and, therefore, logically, a daughter who ought to be “perfect”. Not having been taught the gospel in my home as a child, there were holes in my doctrinal understanding, and this was a big one.

Sadly, my little family suffered for it. Looking back, I can see that my mothering was too intense at times -- especially on my oldest son. He was just a little guy, so sweet and good, and not even out of Sunbeams when I took him firmly him by the shoulders and told him to “PERFORM”. We had been practicing his four-word line for the Primary Sacrament meeting program and I knew he knew it. But at the moment of truth, he refused to leave my side and go up to the podium with the other children. I was aghast at this breech of our reputation, our family honor! Likewise, I’m sure my humble honey-man was roughed over now and again for chancing to be ill on a Sunday, or forgetting the tithing check.

Dale theorizes that some women are frustrated every Sunday morning when their Priesthood husbands do not don a red cape with a big "P" on it, straddle the front doorway in their Sunday suit-- fists to hips--and boom out: "Come on kids! We're going to FLYYYY to church!"

The spiritual evolution or rebirth I went through was gradual. I do remember though, when it began. I was at a stake women's conference and the speaker introduced a concept honestly new to me: GRACE. She spoke of the folly of trying to “earn” our way into the Celestial Kingdom, describing a Savior who stands with open arms to embrace us while we keep our distance with excuses like: “I’ll be right back…have to go to the temple” … or "have to deliver these cookies"...or "have to study my lesson"… (Mormon 6:17) This visual struck a deep chord with me.

Years of scripture study followed. I became particularly sensitive to the humanity of the prophets:

Paul: “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle.”

Nephi: “O wretched man that I am!”

Brother of Jared: “Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness…”

Moses: “Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent…but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.”

Jeremiah: “I, ah Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am but a child.”

Moroni: “Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things because of our weakness…when we write we…stumble…”

Isaiah: “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips…”

HOW, I wondered, were these people able to continue toward greatness, despite their inadequacies? Paul really stumped me: "For we are glad, when we are weak..." WHAT?! How can we be glad to be weak? Another Paul-zinger: “Be perfect, be of good comfort.” Oookaaay…how can we be told to be perfect AND comforted in the same breath?

I knew what the end was supposed to be, without being square on how to get to that end. I was living the gospel like a project manager with complicated, detailed lists and flow charts and deadlines and goals and it wasn’t working.

As I say, it took a long time, years of study and prayer before I fully accepted the answer -– the answer that’s as obvious as any doctrine in scripture:

Brother of Jared: “….thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires…” (note: not our lists)

The Lord about the Prophet Joseph: “…and in weakness have I blessed him.”

The Lord to Moroni: “And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong…”

The good news is NOT that perfect people can be reconciled to God, but that imperfect people can. Christ shares his sinlessness, righteousness, merits with the penitent. In his mercy He offers His perfection, in absence of our own. Personal "perfection", or "finishing", is a long, long way off--impossible to attain in this life. In essence, our piles of lists and flow charts can be boiled down to ONE goal:

Uniting ourselves with Jesus, becoming One with Him through a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

When this lesson sunk deep, Moroni’s charge to “lay a hold of every good thing” no longer perplexed me. My life had been a juggling act of “good things”, but now I knew that I just needed to wrap my arms around the Savior and hold on tight. I found my prayers become very very real, very very sincere, very very specific, very very frequent. I devoured the Book of Mormon six times in one year. Good works, good feelings, good relationships, good opportunities, good choices naturally resulted. Looking back on the years since my “rebirth”, I can hardly believe what I have been able to accomplish and become.

This was possible not just because I was embracing the Savior, but because He was holding ME. The fear of "falling" (Jude 1:24) melted away as little by little I felt “lifted up”, not in pride, but in perspective. I began to see others, especially my family, through the Lord’s eyes. My sense of humility, charity, and patience gradually increased. I accepted and made allowance for imperfection, enjoying wife-dom and motherhood so much more after that: "discovering" my children instead of "molding" them, "appreciating" my husband instead of "perfecting" him.

It all came down to loving Jesus, trusting in His promise of celestial somedays.......

Moroni described his own resurrection day as being “brought forth triumphant through the air…” and Isaiah promised that the Lord “giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength…they that wait upon the Lord shall…mount up with wings as eagles…
No pedaling required.

How has the gospel affected your perspective on your relationship with your spouse, children or other family? How have you come to deal with your own imperfection?


Kristy Lynne said...

Thanks Mona. This gives me a little more strength in my own weaknesses and sorrows.

DeNae said...

I'm always interested in the Lord's response to Moroni in that section in Ether: "Fools mock, but they shall mourn, and my grace is sufficient for the meek."

I have it memorized, because I realized when I was that twenty-something imperfect daughter of a perfect God that I was doing the mocking! Pointing my finger at the silliness of 'merely being good' instead of running around like a maniac in the pursuit of 'perfection'.

And guess what? I mourned, just like He said I would. Life does teach us that His grace - and that is such an amazing concept - is sufficient, but specifically for the MEEK. That was the lesson I had to learn.

Thanks, Mona. This was beautiful.

Mona said...

Bravo DeNae. Thank you for confirming the truthfulness and practicality of these principles. It's a lesson we all have to learn -- the sooner the better.

Evan said...

Mona, we're pretty sure you're practically perfect in every way.

Carrie said...

Thanks Mona- this was just what I needed today.

Mona said...

Thank you Evan... though I might be Mary Poppins to the Crunchers...I haven't always served everything with a spoonful of sugar.

And Carrie! I've been missing you. I'm so glad Musings hit the spot tonight. I love you.

Danio said...

Thanks, I feel uplifted. Your posts are always comforting reminders to me.

Emu Monkey said...

My flying dreams were a bit different. I still love to sore about the trees in my dreams. Not escaping anything, just being up and above the beauty God's given me.

The Seven Family said...

Interesting to me (there are no coincidences) that you would write about this. 2 weeks ago I was having a perfection melt-down. I fessed up to my husband that I couldn't do it all. After a couple of hours of disussion and tears, I told him I wished that someone would compile a set of lists for me: 1- the must be dones for my salvation/exaltation 2- the would be good to do and would aid in my acheieving exaltation 3- the would be nice to do if I can and the 4- not necessary. His response to me was that there was only one thing that I needed to do to acheieve list number one and that was to take care of my relationship to the Savior. My response was, of course, "but.... what about getting to the temple, studying my scriptures more, being more patient, doing better at my calling, etc." His response was, "How is your relationship with the Savior?" Thank heaven I have a husband who has perspective and a relationship with the Savior. I have spent a lot of time thinking/praying about that in the past 2 weeks. It seems that so often we try so hard to do all of the things we can and we let that cause us to pedal so hard that we fall out of the sky.
Thanks for your insights.

Sara Lyn said...

I thought of an analogy this week that has been said before many times, but struck me with force as things are wont to do sometimes. Having taken a friend to the hospital this week, it occurred that the hospital is for sick people as Christ is for imperfect people. There are those of us who don't admit to being sick or don't want to go to the doctor until we can present a healthy body, but that's not what they're for.

I liked what you said about discovering your children and appreciating your husband instead of perfecting him. I've found that appreciating my husband is a very effective way to make him feel loved and when he feels loved, he's an even better husband. I'm grateful to people like you and my mom who taught me to appreciate my husband before I was even married so I was more prepared for marriage.

I love the gospel. Thank you for sharing your beautiful insights.

Trina said...

Short answers to your question:

If it wasn't for the gospel I don't think we'd have survived. Thank heaven (literally) for temple marriage and for the ability to attend often to be retaught. Each time I go, I find a greater love for my husband and the gospel. How fortunate I am! Check out the quote on the left hand side of my blog of my mothers (Marcia Anderson) insight to temple marriage and dealing with problems.

As for my children I'm more than grateful for the promises that we receive of a forever family if we do the things we've been commanded. There are so many things I miss as a mom when teaching my children. Some of them make decisions that torture our hearts, drain our tear ducts and steel our sleep. When I feel too tired to have family prayer or scriptures, or was too busy to plan a decent FHE I remember those promises. That gives me the incentive I need, and I am usually grateful that we had the experience, even if just for a few minutes of that time together.

I think I deal with my own imperfections better than my husband deals with my imperfections. This is a work in progress.

Thank you for your entry. So glad I found your blog last week. I'll think about this throughout the week. You are so right and this is something I definitely need to learn.

Larsen's said...

Thank you for this post! I even had my husband read it. I am grateful that I found your blog last week, your words and teachings help me and seem to be just what I need to hear.
I am a convert to the church for about 12 years this July. After watching my parents relationship and watching them and my siblings go through a divorce when I was 16 years old. It was really hard on us all.
Since then, I joined the church at age 19 and a year later I met my husband, I wanted to get married in the temple because I wanted to be married for all time and eternity. I never wanted to go through what my mother had to go through. This as you can imagine caused a lot of problems on my side of the family. They were not happy with me even when I tried to go out of my way to have a special ring ceremony and a father daughter dance. But...
I am sure glad that I was married in the temple and I know that I am with my husband forever. I think that when you look at your companion and you know that it is forever you try harder. You just don't call it quits when things get rough. I am amazed at my husband. He is the best husband, father and friend. I do not think I could have asked for better. I really think that Heavenly Father blessed me. Thank you for reminding me of how amazing he is. Sometimes it is easy to forget, in our everyday routines.
On my imperfections...well let me say that I have a lot of work to do. As do we all. This is a lesson that I had to learn early on after I joined the church. I thought everyone was perfect! I have learned that no one is...and everyone has their own insecurities and faults, but we are all striving to become better. I try to remember not to compare myself, which is really hard to do, to others. I do what I can. I am far from perfect and I think that is OK. As long as I keep my relationship with my father in heaven, then everything else will fall into place. I hope that each day my children see how much I love them, their father and our father in heaven. Those are my goals for each day. Everything else I get done...That's just a bonus. Well, Sorry that I just rambled on. I hope I make some sense. Thank you again for your post and all the time you put into them with the scriptural references. I love it!!

Elisabeth said...

I have nothing to add, only to learn from this post. But I just wanted to say Mona I love the picture slide show you added. You only have one grandson, right? I thought I saw some pictures with two babies. So glad you added the pictures though.

Connie said...

What a wonderful post. I came across your blog via mormonmommys and absolutly love what you had to say in your current post. I am so glad I found you and look forward to visiting often.

Mona said...

How COOL is this discussion!!!!! I have been in Utah, traveling home to Vancouver WA today. It's late (eek! it's later than I think! my clocks need to be adjusted!) but I want to respond.

Danio-Creative-Woman: It was SO good to see you Friday night! Listen to your husband.

Emu-Monkey: I'm jealous. I haven't had ANY kind of flying dream for years now. I choose yours.

Seven-Family: Listen to your husband lucky woman. It reminds me of a discussion I had with one of my favorite Priesthood-brothers once. He said that we'd be interviewed in heaven and asked, "Did you read your scriptures? Did you do your home teaching? etc."
I told him I totally disagreed. I believe we will be weighed on the quality of our LOVE - THE Law of the Gospel that all other commandments are swallowed up in. Do you agree?

Sara Lyn: You are the wisest of newlyweds (you're a newlywed until your 10th anniversary). You're right -- love is the only thing we can do with other people (C.S. Lewis) and as far as our husbands and children, the only thing that binds their hearts enough to us to give us any real influence. I learned that later than you. Blessed.

Trina: You said it: THANK HEAVEN. The moments of pain in family life can only be lived through by believing in the PROMISES. (P.S. Has your husband read this Musings? See Larsen's comment after yours....)

Larsens: BRAVO BRAVO. What a brave life you have led as a convert. I admire that SO much. It's too true that our new converts usually fall prey to feeling inadequate. I had friends who joined the church together as an adult couple and were instantly overwhelmed. She said it took 13 years before their membership felt like it "fit". P.S. LOTS of rambling encouraged here!!!!!

Elisabeth: The slide show is due to your suggestion weeks ago. And yes -- just one grandkiddo to date....the rest are waiting in the wings...I can FEEL it!

Connie: WELCOME WELCOME to Mona's Musings!! Please come back and talk to us often. We start a new musings every Sunday night!


Mother Smith said...

Since I have been in the "relationship" business all my wasn't until my conversion to the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST...that I began to realize...there was something GRANDER...than what I had experienced during the first 23 years of my life...My grandmother was the nearest to a Christ-like life...but, had no concept what that meant...just something I sensed...However, even in my studies, today, through talks in our last General Conference, I still see AREAS I have not, yet, REALIZED in my life...How do I deal with my IMPERFECTIONS...??? I have more compassion for my LACK of perfection (as I am expected to have for others)...because, I am beginning to understand, that though I have been a very slow learner...or CHOSE not to MAKE the CHANGES I have needed to do...FATHER still gives me FIND MY WAY...and LOVES SPITE of my PROCRASTINATION....I am NOT EXCUSING MYSELF...but the ATONEMENT gives ME THE HOPE...I need...I can still OVERCOME...I can still IMPROVE...I can still PICK MYSELF UP...and DO IT BETTER....that it isn't OVER...UNLESS I QUIT!!!!

Sara Lyn said...

Aunt Mona, Thanks for leaving comments on our comments. I love it.

Mona said...

Mother Smith -- and everybody! On the plane yesterday I started reading a new book by Brad Wilcox: "The Continuous Atonement." (My I-phone is FULL of notes now!) You really should read it as it applies EXACTLY to what we are talking about here. For instance, I just read the thought that the Savior's message is not only "come unto me" but "come as you are".
Another: change, through the atonement is usually evolutionary rather than revolutionary. He uses the example of the Priest in Sacrament meeting who has to say the prayer over and over to get it right. No one condemns him, we all just wait patiently, including the bishop and give him as many chances as it takes. It has to be exactly right eventually, but the whole thing represents what the Sacrament is REALLY ALL ABOUT! Hmmmmmm..... what do you think?

Connie said...

I tried to send you my email address but the address you sent me wouldn't work. Maybe I didn't do it right. I used Is that correct.

By the way, welcome back to Washington. Is it snowing in Vancouver? I live about 40 miles north of Vancouver and we had snow all morning until 11:00 but it wasn't sticking thank goodness.

Olivia said...


I have been victim of what I have named "The Franklin Covey Syndrome" This is when you think that all your answers and sanity lie within the pages of your Franklin Covey Planner. Nothing else matters as long as you are so sickeningly organized you know when you are allowed to pee.

When my life started to turn upside down, I thought my answer was to be more organized and read self help books. Not until it I started to fall apart at the seams to the extent of needing counseling and medicinal interventions did I realize that my planner was not the answer.

It was the Lord.

He was the missing ingredient. I was not scheduling time for Him. Once I realized this, it wasn't an immediate 180! Change was SO HARD and I still struggle. But when I start to feel the "FC Syndrome" coming on...I remember to


Mona said...

Wow Olivia! Such an honest testimony!

What a great mantra for all of us:


Sue said...

While my little 4 mo. old angel and I drove around the Portland airport waiting for Mona's flight to come in, I was reminded of how much time I used to spend flying around with my job. Ahhh - the simple life. Now, with 3 little ones, there's no time to be idle, lots to pray about, and several daily sessions on patience. I don't strive for perfection - I beg for mercy. Hey, it's workin' for me!

McAuliffe Bunch said...

I don't know how you do it, but you seem to always write something that speaks to what I have been struggling with. This is one of my biggest struggles, but I didn't know what it was that I struggled with so much. I can put a face to a name (so to speak) and recognize what it is that I struggle with. I think this post is an answer to my prayers. Thank you so much.

Mona said...

Sue - you and the disaster area that moves everywhere with you (twin 3 year-olds) are my ideal of living this principle. We all could do better with your patience and ability to prioritize a bug over a broom. I love you for your joy and way of finding perfection in imperfection itself.

Mona said...

McAuliffe Bunch! This may be the thing I love MOST about how the Spirit works -- synchronizing a complex symphony of human needs. You have no idea how your comment has blessed and affected ME~!

Mona said...

Debbi asked me to post this for her, Great personal insight:

A few years ago I befriended a person who was down on their luck - in fact - you've heard the phrase - hit rock bottom - that was very nearly the case. Having made a lifetime of poor choices that had finally caught up, my heart went out with a massive sense of rescue - - - as I learned more and more about the past escapades of this individual, I found myself in a very strange position. All my life I had read the scriptures looking for what we were to aspire to and what we were to avoid in our quest for salvation - aka - perfection. And here was someone who had indulged in every vice known to man, who I cared deeply for. Now I hunted for every speck of gospel teaching that would give hope to this all but completely lost friend of mine.

With that kind of radar I began to hear and see things I had never focused on before. And it was amazing to me. Here is one example from the Book of Mormon - the last chapter of Third Nephi in entirety:
The latter-day Gentiles are commanded to repent and come unto Christ and be numbered with the house of Israel. Between A.D. 34 and 35

1 Hearken, O ye Gentiles, and hear the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, which he hath acommanded me that I should speak concerning you, for, behold he commandeth me that I should write, saying:
2 Turn, all ye aGentiles, from your wicked ways; and brepent of your evil doings, of your clyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your dmurders, and your epriestcrafts, and your fenvyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel.
I think Nephi pretty well covered all the sins we mortals can get mixed up in - he was quite thorough. And despite all of these vices that hardly put one on the path to perfection, the invitation to simply turn from wickedness and come to Christ and have all the blessings available - WOW. That gave me an entirely new perspective.

As did an earlier experience in my life. My mother, at age 83, after 27 years of saying no to the missionaries, finally asked to be baptized. How glorious, right? But I have to admit, when three months later, she died of leukemia, after only one tithing settlement (I say that because there was hardly anything in her life that she had to really change much after being baptized, except paying tithing - she'd been coming to church with me every week for 10 years by then) she was going to proceed onward on her eternal journey without any roadblocks or special qualifications, and I sort of, well, I sort of had a hard time with that. Much like the parable of the workers and the wages - whether they started in the morning and worked all day, or started just before dark and the end of the work day - they all got the same wage - and the workers who started early felt it was not fair. But herein I learned that I wasn't really qualifying or earning the wage of salvation/eternal life with my years of toil/sacrifice/devotion/effort - it was a gift I could either accept or not. And the giver can give to anyone He desires, anyone who at any time decides to accept His gift. Mommy did, right before she died. So now I am so grateful she did - that I witnessed her partaking of the sacrament after all those years of watching her pass the trays on without partaking.

NOT TO SAY that I haven't been blessed every step along the way when I have been able to serve or obey - I HAVE HAVE HAVE!!! So the efforts are a joy and well worth it in so many ways I can't begin to list them - but it is more important to obey because you love God, than because you are qualifying for the ultimate prize, because you can't. I can't. Maybe Ashley can, but I can't, only as I rely on the gift offered me.

I need reminders about all this on a regular basis. I definitely need them right now. Thanks for everyone's personal insights - what a boon.

Hugs and loves,

Hannah Banana said...

Reminds me of a snippet in a song from Light of the World" Will I fly or will I fall, if dare surrendor all."

I testify that we will fly. One time during a very hard time in my life, I was listening to this song in the car. I started weeping as I realized that I, Miss Confident, needed to surrendor all - surrendor my heartache, my joy, my imperfections, my strengths, my loss, my gains, everything, to the Lord - and he would make me FLY!

And He did! I had the best year, and continue to have wonderful years, after that point. My perfection process is in His hands as I strive my best to live His gospel.

pcNut said...

I'm so grateful for those who have shared thoughts on this post! What a blessing it is to learn together.

Mona said...

PC: You said it!

Hannah Banana: Thank you honey for sharing your personal experience with this. It WAS a great year wasn't it? and just keeps getting better. And thank you darling for finding this week's video for us. I know it wasn't easy!!!! (LOL) I keep watching it over and over.

pcNut said...

My perspective on parents:

It may be natural for a child to think his or her parents are perfect. When I saw mistakes happen, I wondered why mine weren’t. However, I know my parents didn’t plot ways to “fail” their children or “ruin” my life. They did the best they could, mistakes and all, with what they had. I love them for it!

On Tour With Steph's Posse said...

I recently had to go back to work. Last Friday was my first day and I went in feeling in control and like I was doing my duty for the family. But throughout the day I found myself feeling lonely for my loud crazy kids and the joy of their little psycho selves. By the time I came home I felt so inadequatet. I felt like I wasn't sure I was doing the right thing anymore and I missed my kids terribly. The worst thing was they were already asleep.I just wanted to hold them but they had so much fun all day with their new friends, Jessica Godsil and Connor, they were zonked out! I should have been thrilled they were so happy and exhausted but instead I bawled my eyes out on Zack's lap and told him I didn't know if I was making the right decision to work.
The thing is I prayed about this a lot. The answer was so easy, the job fell into my lap and it's only 2-3 days a week. The best thing is they are with their dad 2 of those 3 days.
Interestingly, I feel like I'm doing what is right and like they are being taken care of. Heavenly Father is aware of my needs and, although we are told as mothers to be home with the children and raise them if we can, we are taken care of if something is out of our control.
I guess I just wanted someone to tell me I was right of wrong or admit to me what an inadequate mother I've been. Truth be told, I felt like maybe Heavenly Father felt like someone else could do a better job with the kids and so he wanted me out of the picture a little more.
I know that sounds dumb, but think about how many things make us feel inadequate in a day and then add that to the fact that you now have to leave them for full days at a time and it's a little tough to swallow. Sometimes I think I'll never figure out how to be a celestial mom.
The most important thing is, though, in my heart of hearts I know I'm doing what I need to do for my family right now, and we will get through this. In the mean time, dad is the new hero in the house and my kids have a play date once a week- so how bad could that be?

Mona said...

PC: Thank you for bringing up another vantage point on this subject. I personally deeply appreciate what you say here.

On Tour: Sweet girl. We can feel your struggles and it hurts! The feelings associated with mommy-hood are SO strong, they will override all our other thinking and rationale. It might help in seeking your answer to remember that the Spirit talks to us through a UNION of mind and heart. (D&C 8:2)

The Seven Family said...

Wow - I was just here the other day and now it is a novel!! Mona, I do agree with what you said and thanks to my new perspective and insight - I am seeing the "things" on my spiritual to-do list in a much different light.
As for the questions your friend thought we would be asked... I think that those are not the questions, they are the way to get to the right answer. If we have a personal relationship with the Savior - a real relationship, then we will ONLY be measured on our love.

The Seven Family said...

By the way - that book is on my list to read next. Brad Wilcox is amazing. I had the good fortune to take 2 classes from him this past summer. He is an incredible person.
Also, for those of you that aren't aware (you all probably are already) Brad Wilcox is on the list of speakers for this year's TIme Out For Women. If you have never gone, I would highly recommend. If you have gone, I would highly recommend. Check Deseret Book's website for more information. TOFW has locations all over the US during the year.

Mona said...

Seven Family,

That's a great way to put it: the way to the right answer.

Elisabeth said...

I was going to say a similar thing. It’s not about DOING all the things we have been asked to do that will qualify us for the celestial kingdom. Doing the things we have been asked to do are just the means to BECOMING more like our Savior and Heavenly Father. Some of us need more service or practice then others to become the kind of people we need to be to dwell in our Father’s presence.

Dana Holladay said...

I just read your last Sunday's musings and all the wonderful comments afterward. This was the very best as it reached to the heart of the atonement which I am embracing more all the time and enjoying the resulting peace AND a greater ability to do good. It seems that most of us (especially women) struggle with the feeling that somehow we need to perfect ourselves and are miserable when we fail miserably. When we finally embrace the atonement, we find that we can allow the Lord to pick us up, brush us off, and send us on our way rejoicing. And yes, relationships are ever so much better than when we are trying to perfect ourselves!

I caught myself recently assigning myself some sort of penance for failing to use my time wisely, then decided that the idea that I must assign myself consequences was not at all in keeping with the atonement! So, instead, I handed my error over to the Lord, asked for his forgiveness, and felt my spirit lighten immediately. I was then able to joyfully use the time I had left to accomplish his purposes.

Oh! My flying dreams were always wonderful! (It's been a while since I had one.) I would swim up into the air, like swimming from the bottom of a pool, soaring gracefully, then dipping, flipping, spinning --all with the greatest of ease and with an amazing sense of freedom. I would usually wake up in the middle and feel so disappointed that it couldn't go on and on:)


Mona said...

"The Atonement is fundamentally a doctrine of human development, not a doctrine that simply erases black marks." (Hafen and Hafen, Belonging Heart, 79)