Musings defined: ponderings, reflections, meditations, contemplations.
I aim to share experiences, past and present, with the goal of learning and appreciating what life presents.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Books, books and more books

The most fun thing I did this week was sort books - all kinds of books, divided into about 25 categories.  Sometimes I felt compelled to read bits of the books to identify their correct category.  Fun.  Or even read bits to other volunteers.  Yes I volunteered to help prepare for the Friends of the Library annual used book sale.  Thousands of books are already set out ready for sale.  They are priced from $2 to 10 cents each.  Those in the know expect over $2,000 will be raised June 3rd and 4th.  A photographer appeared Saturday morning and when the women hesitated to pose for the camera, I did.  Now I'll be famous.  (I'll see if I can send you the photo later.) But it is fun to see what other people read.  Many of the books are donated by older people cleaning out their home.  I helped a retired teacher bring in 20 boxes of books she bought for her classrooms k to grade 4.  The category of books with the greatest number is novels but they are divided into 5 categories.  Next most numerous are children's books.  Carroll helped too.  We had first choice so of course we had to bring some books home, like the large coffee table book, "Over Canada, An Aerial Adventure" and a number by and about C.S. Lewis.  We will pay on the honour system.

So why should I write about books?  I and Carroll have always loved books.  I have spent a greater percentage of my paycheck on books than most people in this world (Can't prove that except by the long receipts from bookstores, with Seagull Books my current favourite.)), and can easily lose myself in a good book.  I love reading the local newspaper too, but not magazines as much as I used to.  I have found joy and satisfaction and even knowledge and insight in my reading. 

Now I put expectations on myself to write my own book; starting with my biography.  I am doing it - but very slowly.  Writing this blog could be a step in the right direction.  In terms of effort and energy required I put watching TV as requiring almost no effort.  Up a step is reading the newspaper, reading news and blogs on the internet, reading novels, and then reading non-fiction.  It is a bigger jump to writing: emails, leaving comments on other's blogs, my personal journal and this blog, my biography and lastly editing stories from tape recorded with my camcorder.  I am happy that others in the family are writing journals, blogs, children's books and even one book published by Sydell.  Congratulations to you all.

I believe developing a love of reading is a gift we can bestow on our children by reading to them.  I believe we can grow closer to God by reading the words of His prophets.  I believe we can become even closer by writing and sharing what we glean from the scriptures and good books.  Let me know how you are doing in your reading and writing.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Mother's Day - a wonderful time to remember those with the most important job in the world!

This morning at the end of our sacrament meeting, Carroll received a rose with its cream colored petal tips edged in pink.  All mothers (and all other women) received a rose.  Why?  This is a simple recognition of the heavenly calling to give birth and/or raise children.  I look at motherhood from three perspectives.  One, the scriptures and heavenly calling of motherhood.  Two, I was trained as a family therapist and did much counselling during my career. Three, I also watched (and even helped) Carroll raise nine children including one adopted son, after burying a preemie.  From both first hand and second hand experience I declare that the role of the mother is the most difficult and the most rewarding.  Motherhood always involves sacrifice, love, teaching, work, listening, caring and both immediate and delayed rewards.  It sometimes involves frustration, sadness, and loss.  I am glad to report near the end of this Mother's Day, that all our children have reported in but one.  Today Carroll has been rewarded with the caring demonstrated by her children as they share their lives with her and tell her of their love. 

In my career I taught communication workshops and especially emphasized listening skills.  But it was Carroll that demonstrated the effective use of that skill, and she still does.  For example, Carroll is presently Primary president.  Hensie was recently called as Primary president in her ward.  Hensie enjoys many phone conversations with Carroll as Carroll first listens to issues and plans and then, and only then, does she respond with her own ideas.  People know that Carroll is listening because she really is as she does not feel compelled to promote or defend her own ideas.

What I remember about my own mother are the many times she sat on my bed and shared with me her dreams for me and issues she confronted in her own life.  She wanted me to become a doctor but instead I ended up with a social work degree with a skill to help family members talk with each other.  I believe those bedtime talks with my mother influenced me to appreciate confidential and personal talks and gravitate to a job that reproduced that kind of conversation.  One time at university another student had me take a test by drawing family.  I made the mother drawing the largest and protested that Mother was not the biggest person in my family.  In hindsight I can admit that my mother was the person having the most influence in my life.  She earned that by going the extra mile.  In my high school everyone had to take French.  French did not come easy to me and I hated the class.  One class assignment gave me the chance to bring my grade up by completing a scrapbook about France. I procrastinated putting all my materials together until the night before the book had to be handed in.  I was ready to go to bed but my mother helped me until very late.  And I got a better grade.  Talk is important but so is action.  My mother was number one right up until I married the most beautiful girl in the world.

My conclusion:  mothers deserve a special place in heaven.  We men should help mothers today, in the here and now, to recognize how special they are.  Look for ways to show kindness, understanding, support (that usually means work) and love.  Listen to them first before asking them to listen to you.  Help them to feel what it is like to be a queen.  None of us men will be able to maintain such a position all the time, but I can report from personal experience that when we persist in in acting on these values we are richly rewarded.  And now I need to get to bed so I can keep my promise of prayers together a nightly back massage for one week.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Canada's election

Monday morning Carroll and I proudly snapped our vote into the ballot box.  We were part of the larger than expected electorate who turned out to determine who represents us in Ottawa.  We are part of the majority, both locally and across Canada, who voted in a strong Conservative majority government. Our prime minister, Stephen Harper, won his first majority after leading two minority governments.  Locally, Conservative, Dan Albus, took 53 per cent of the vote.  For the first time ever, a member of the Green party, Elizabeth May, from the B.C. riding in the Gulf Islands, gained a seat in parliament.  Another first is the very liberal party, the NDP (National Democratic Party), gained enough seats to become the official opposition.

In this house we listen to radio reports and read platforms in the local newspaper, but we do not get excited about politics.  I know government influences my life but I have somewhat of a fatalistic attitude that there will always be corruption in government, at least until the Saviour comes the second time.  I am happy the Conservatives are in power because they espouse the same values I have and because I believe they helped a little to keep our economy stronger than most (better than our huge neighbour to the South) these days, but on the other hand this election came about because the Conservative government was defeated on a contempt-of-Parliament vote.  They said they were giving all the info requested, when they were not.

The death of Osama bin Laden is exciting news.  Love hearing about how the U.S. Navy Seals elite team executed their assignment.  I do not rejoice in the death.  However I do rejoice that he is no longer a factor in the safety of the world, even while recognizing others take his place.  Some commentators are saying the Taliban are a fading power in the world, but I believe there will be increasing violence in the world until the Second Coming.

So what is the common man to do?  My bit of wisdom today is:  Live life the best you can for today (repent, forgive and love) and then in the eternal perspective it does not matter when you die.  The best preparation for more wars and natural disasters:  Live life the best you can today.  Do not put off your repentance or forgiving others or acts of love and kindness.