by Kari Diane Pike
My sapphire blue blouse is too dressy. The mint green top with the gray stripes is too summery for the recent cooler temperatures. My favorite go-to white, button down shirt is missing a button - and it needs ironing. Plus, I think the dryer is shrinking the rest of my clothes, because, what other reason could there be for them being so tight lately?
Actually, I've really been sitting in front of my computer (in my comfy yoga pants and a tee shirt) for the past four hours, trying on idea after idea, searching for something to blog about today. Thoughts and ideas pop in and out of my brain, only to be flung across the room in frustration because, while they have some reason for taking up storage space in my overcrowded brain, they are missing something, or they don't fit the purpose of this blog (Insert picture here of piles of crumpled papers strewn across the floor, a roomful of regurgitating file cabinets and me pounding my head on the desk). I have absolutely nothing to write about.
I even perused old journal entries looking for inspiration. I found stuff like this:
July 25, 1977
It was really warm today - as usual about 105 degrees. I spent all morning cleaning the fridge and scrubbing the stove for Mom. Tommy [last name withheld to protect the guilty] came over so we were amid bedlam all day. We went swimming for awhile. I gave myself a manicure and it was my turn to give the family home evening lesson. We went to the Skone Shop for dinner and wandered around Metro Center. I also saw a poster that said: "You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find your Prince!" I often wonder where I am going to meet my eternal companion. And I hope I am ready for him when we do meet.July 26, 1977
Today I spent in the kitchen once again. I made dinner and a couple of blueberry pies for Dad. Dad took me shopping for things for the Mexico trip tomorrow. I got everything except film - but don't I always remember to forget something?
I was seventeen. I had just graduated from high school. The previous summer a young man I met in Toulon, France proposed marriage to me. He was from Paris. I hadn't even been on a real date, but I felt so grown up and so in love with love.
Fast forward thirty-eight years, one husband (I managed to find my prince without kissing any toads), nine children, nineteen grandchildren, twenty-something moves in four different states and nearly as many jobs as moves. My kids will tell you that they can keep track of events in our family not only by what house we lived in at the time, but by my "hobby-of-the-month." You know...the quilting phase, canning phase, let's make fake meat out of (horror) gluten phase, cross stitching, gardening, and the let's learn how to live off the grid phase. More and more often I catch myself repeating stories and saying the words I swore up and down I would never say: Well, you know, when I was your age..."
I can honestly say that one interest that has always remained a constant is writing. Most of my writing time as of late is spent studying and preparing lessons for early morning seminary. I love digging through the Old Testament and discovering those treasures of testimony of the Savior and His Atonement. Did you know that the word "Atonement" appears more times in the book of Leviticus than anywhere else in the scriptures? I found that fascinating. But what about you, the reader? When you visit this blog, what are you hoping to find?
I realize that my personal journals will be of no interest to anyone but a handful of my descendants, but I hope the things I share help someone else in their life's journey. I love "likening" the scriptures to my own life. I adore watching the faces of my seminary students when I ask them "What does [name an incident in the Old Testament] that happened over 4000 years ago have to do with what is happening in your life today?" Then I encourage them to write their thoughts down. The more they do, the more thoughts that will come.
The scriptures are replete with examples of how the Lord instructs His servants and helps them in their journey. The book of Exodus tells us how the Lord prepared the way for the children of Israel to cross the Red Sea and journey across the desert. In 1 Nephi 17 of the Book of Mormon, Nephi is instructed how to build a ship not "after the manner of men," but after the manner the Lord had shown him, that would carry his family to the promised land. The book of Ether explains how the brother of Jared and his brethren built their barges "according to the instructions of the Lord." And the Lord brought them out of the depths of the sea and protected them as they passed through the waves and the wind and the floods. He gave them a source of light and because the brother of Jared had faith and obeyed so willingly, he was given knowledge of the Savior and saw Him face to face.
While studying Exodus 25 - 27 I thought about our temples today and the exactness with which they are built - the workmanship and placement of every detail, even down to the way the light fixtures are lined up and where the chairs are placed. Those things matter because the Lord gave directions and expects His servants to "make a sanctuary that [the Lord] may dwell among them." The Lord asked for the children of Israel to "bring me an offering; of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart..." The Lord asks me today to offer Him my willing heart - my broken heart and contrite spirit. I made covenants in the temple of my own free will and choice. In the temple, I receive instruction about how to live my life - how to construct my life, if you will, after the manner that will safely carry me through this mortal journey and back into His presence.
Maybe I do have something to write about.
Life is magnificent!