Sacrifice and Obedience

So I've been thinking lately, what's the relationship between sacrifice and obedience?

My whole life, I'd kind of been bothered by the way people used the word sacrifice i.e. I sacrifice wearing modest clothes for God.

To me, that seems to not quite fit the word. Is it a sacrifice to not drink alcohol? Because it seems like, that's just being obedient.

I believe the words are very closely related principles. When we are obedient, sometimes it may be hard. But choosing to keep the commandments is a choice to be obedient. It seems ill fitting to say, I'm choosing to sacrifice. Maybe just a tad ungrateful...

What then is sacrifice? I thought of times when I felt I sacrificed. I feel like it was making a more selfless choice in a decision where there wasn't really a right or wrong. Commandments weren't involved. For example, I chose to quit a job I adored so I could go back to working full time in order to provide insurance and a better income for my soon-to-be family of two. That was hard. There wasn't black and white answer, but choosing to quit to help my family was a better choice and felt like a sacrifice. 

Any thoughts? What is sacrifice? How does it relate to obedience?

At risk of being too cheesy...

The following post is being made at the risk of being just too cheesy. Reader discretion is advised.

So planning a wedding, buying a house, working full time, making a budget... it's stressful business. And those days are always bound to come, you know, the ones where you freak out because you have this huge decision looming over you, and all the sudden it hits you? Those ones. I was having one of those days. I was wide eyed and quiet all day wondering how on earth anyone survives in this world. There just isn't enough to even scrimp by on anymore. So I panicked. 

I called my sister in law and my mom. I talked to all the ladies at work. I tried to get some reassurance that I wouldn't just keel over as soon as I was on my own with a husband in tow. But my pulse was still racing. Nothing was helping. I was flapping my gums a mile a minute saying everything that was scaring me that day.

I made it home. I was still fidgety. Tom was coming up to do another walk through on a condo we were thinking about buying. He rang the doorbell. I opened the door, and there he was. With, I kid you not, a big rainbow above his shoulder. He hugged me right there, and it was like everything I had worried about that day didn't matter anymore. 

It was honestly one of the most beautiful moments of my life. An ironic twist to the day, and so perfect.

Cheesy, right? I'm not apologizing. You'd been warned.




This is a long time coming. 

This is a story about a boy named Tom. I should let you know from the start that this is a love story.

A perfectly pleasant Saturday morning, May 7, three years to the day after said Tom left on his mission to South Korea, we decided to make our weekly temple date the Salt Lake temple. We had a great time, thoroughly enjoying how beautiful it is. After Tom took forever to get dressed, we took a stroll around the grounds, and he let me talk to the gaggle of Taiwanese missionaries on Temple Square. 

As we were walking back to our car, crossing State Street, Tom asked if I wanted to hear a funny story.

I said, sure.

He began. "There was a boy named Tom. And he loved a girl named Anne. And he began thinking about how he was going to ask the love of his life to marry him." 

I couldn't tell you exactly what was said after that. 

I can tell you he began to name all the places we had memories together and then listed his reason for deciding not to propose there. All the while we were strolling into this small park across the street from Temple Square where miraculously no one was. We walked right into his trap, a little Tiffany blue blanket laid out with my favorite Taiwanese drink and sushi. Amid all the other swirling thoughts my brain was offering up, I thought "We can't go up here! Someone's already here!" 

I'm just a dunce. A classic fool.

Eventually we stopped walking. He ended by saying no matter where it was that he asked her, it would become a special place to them. Actually, I believe he said us. Somewhere along the way he must have lost the third person. And it was fine, because let's be honest. No one wants a third person at their proposal.

"He just had to ask her one thing:

Anne Roper. Will you marry me?"

Anne Roper: "Of course."

And there you have it. That's amore.


Songs I want sung to me

Throughout this life of mine, I've stumbled upon a couple songs that I thought, "If only a man would think about me this way, I'd be set." I've made a starter list of such songs.

--Something in the Way She Moves, James Taylor--

There is something about this that makes me love being a woman. It makes me hope that I will be the calming hand to my lover's life. And just the way I move gets to him. Along the same vein is...

--She's Got a Way, Billy Joel--

He worships everything about this woman. Some things he can't even explain, but he knows he loves her for it anyway. Billy must do it right because I also love...

--She's Always a Woman, Billy Joel--

This one is less flattering. I certainly don't like to identify with the parts that make women sound crazy. But I am a big fan of him loving her completely. All encompassing.

--You're Still You, Josh Groban--

This one is a little more cheesy, but I've loved it since middle school. Of course, if the still part of the title was referring to me still being the me from middle school, I wouldn't like it so much. Regardless, I do think this is a good song for this list.

--Out of my League, Stephen Speaks--

I've been a fan of this song since Malia French played it for me in the back of the bus for choir tour on March 28, 2006. Again, this man loves everything about this girl and thinks the world of her. It'd just be lovely to be thought of this way.

--Antonia, Motion City Soundtrack--

This one is different from the rest. It's not a style of music I've been much of a fan of for years, but I've always enjoyed the lyrics. This guy knows so much about the girl he loves and thinks everything that makes her unique is what makes her beautiful. I wouldn't want the exact lyrics of this song sung to me, but the idea of it is grand.

--I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), The Proclaimers--

I've committed to myself that I'm going to be the best wife someday. Really. I've set goals and made plans. I'm going to sacrifice and love it. But this song gets to me for the sacrifice this man would make for his woman. Aaaaannnnd, it's a catchy tune.

--Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, The Police--

By this point in my short list, I've already repeated why I'd like this song. Plus, come on, it's The Police.

Any others I should have added to this list will be gratefully accepted. 

Mystic Mania

I've always had this dream to go to a psychic. Not that I would pay for it and not that I'd put much stock into what they said, but it'd be an experience. And heaven knows I love those.

Luckily, it was in the cards for this girl. A friend from middle school asked me out, and I said jokingly, "Please tell me we're going to get our palms read." A few days later, Victoria had us scheduled at 7:30 to see our destiny. 

First, the palm reading.

After making an off-color remark about my thumbs, she told me many things. Some were right, some were wrong. The most glaring mistake she made was saying I loved expensive jewelry. Remember how I don't even want a diamond wedding ring, lady? She didn't. But she piqued my interest when she said, "You've got great communication ability-- writing, speaking-- the works. These are the hands of a writer." I allowed her to proceed. She said that I'm intuitive, and my friends often come to me for advice. Then she repeatedly, and profanely, told me I was a genius! I've got such a brain! This lady really knew what to say to a lady. Except the jewelry thing, because... DEAD WRONG.

I then pulled my animal card. Mine was the swan, who does all things gracefully. A fact about me is that my name means graceful, and I've been teased about it my whole life. That's why it is one of my lifetime goals to actually be described as graceful. The awkward duckling may one day turn into a swan. Well, if you believe in this sort of thing.

I then picked my angel cards. Now this was the one that got me. I picked out Soulmate, Music and Trust. She said music is very important to who I am, it's how I get through things. She said I'd thought I had met my soul mate, that it was leading to marriage but then he blew it and broke my trust. The next cards had more hope in them...

They were the devil, the world and the fool. The devil described the fellow I was with. We got a kick out of that, and actually it wasn't far off. The rest of it described how I like to trust people easily. But she left it very hopeful, saying that I had either just recently or will soon meet-- did she use these words? I can't remember-- the love of my life. 

It was mystical. It was odd. It was sometimes true, sometimes false. In any case, I'd like to thank Victoria for a fun night and helping me check this little guy off my list.


Just do what makes you feel pretty

There we were, Zumba-ing the night away, when I noticed a woman next to Emily trying to pick up the steps and occasionally looking around for sympathy and support. Little did she know I’m a sucker for this kind of gym goer.

We consoled her, “We’re all just beginners here. You’ll get it.” She looked uneasy. I added, “Just do what makes you feel pretty.”

After another song, one we’d warned her about being extra tough, she turned to us and said, “You know, I really like that. Do what makes you feel pretty. That should be our motto. Our motto for life.”

The more I thought about it, the more I liked her idea. Almost everything I do is something that makes me feel pretty. I’m a good girl, obedient, and it makes me feel pretty. I was there at the gym dancing, and it made me feel pretty. When I tell someone else they look pretty, I can’t help but feel a little prettier myself.

I believe that when we are making good decisions, those decisions give us a strong sense of self and confidence. So by advising someone to “Just do what makes you feel pretty,” it’s really just a clever way of telling someone to do the right thing.

So go do what makes you feel pretty.


Fun with English

When you have a mother, and that mother is an English teacher, you're in for worlds of fun. Oh, right, 'fun' is what led to the vocabulary fest I just had with her.

The young women in our ward were quoted in our ward newsletter on how they felt about a recent activity. We highlighted the amount it said fun. In it's varied sentences, they always ended in fun. Gotta hand it to 'em, it sounded like fun. 

Well, as this had sufficiently rotten either our brains or our naturally amiable temperaments, we decided to toss out as many alternatives as we could. "A blast" "Exhilarating time had by all" "Barrels of laughs" "Leaps above just being noteworthy" "The antithesis of being abysmal." Solid choices. 

It's like that saying all roads lead to Rome  (an English teacher probably taught you it once). All words can lead to communication, but which words will dance when they get there?


Boys like dumb girls

I know this is a stroke of genius short of being original from my last post, but I think I’ve narrowed down the biggest part of my frustration with this matter. It’s just that… it’s so unfair… BOYS LIKE DUMB GIRLS.

I’m having the hardest time wrapping my mind around it. Find me a boy who can teach me a thing or two or engage me in enlightening conversation, and well, I’ve got stars in my eyes. But it seems a quick wit can’t compete with a girl who flips her hair saying, “OMG! I looooove football!” 

I've heard a handful too many girls state they always forget to vote like it's something to be proud of. And I've heard one too many say they just voted for whomever their friends liked. (Actually, they didn't say whomever...) Call me crazy, but I think it's drop dead sexy to study out the candidates and vote on your best conscience. 

Maybe evolution has something to do with it? Men need to be bright to outsmart the rest of this crazy race to provide for their families. Women just need to get by.

Yeah, that couldn’t be more false. I overheard my coworkers talking about how to get their kids to eat healthy foods, and I tell you, they are geniuses. So what is it? Is it that boys like dumb girls but men marry smart ones? I’d like to hope this is true.

But for the time being, I choose the high road. I will not negotiate knocking down my I.Q. based on the jaw line of the fellow I’m chatting with. I may be a hair flip and a high-pitched giggle away from my next flirty text message, but I’m a New York Times and a wry smile closer to dignity.


Learning from Ms. Hepburn

If I could increase just two things in this world, just two, it would first be love and then be class. 

The reason we need more love is no mystery. It's nothing new or novel. I adore everything about the word, and that's that.

And I guess it could be said making a clarion call for class isn't original either. But it's my personal plea to the universe that we as people, especially ladies, learn from women like Audrey Hepburn and not Tila Tequila.


Audrey was known for her "anti diva" behavior. She never treated anyone like they were inferior to her. It's appalling how women pride themselves on being said "divas," and we won't even get into "princesses." A more interesting idea to toy with, is that being kind and gracious gives you more power.  No scandal, no rumor, no backstabbing can undermine elegance because you live above it.

I'd love to see a world where tramp stamps were traded for pearls, uncouth language was traded for a real vocabulary and sex scandals were traded for quiet acts of kindness. What an altogether more pleasant world this would be. And wouldn't it be just beautiful...

Well, I'm positively obsessed with class. Since I was young I've wanted only a few things, and I've wanted them more than anything. I want to be the best wife someday. I want to be the best mother someday. And three things I want to be before I shuffle off this mortal coil is to be graceful, elegant and classy. But it's all a work in  progress.


To take upon oneself your heart

At the expense of sounding cliche, or sappy, or like a yuppie or any number of things, I often pull life lessons out of Chinese words. Today's lesson is brought to you by the letters w-o-r-r-y.

I'm a worrier. I usually assume someone has died if they're late. I guess that's why I've always related to the scripture, "Be still, and know that I am God." I can't tell you how many times that was the scripture I opened to when asking for guidance. Because I just. can't. be. still. I'm a firm believer in being the proactive creator of your own happiness, but there is no denying there is someone molding our lives into something much grander from a completely superior point of view. So why are we never still?

Lately I've been worried that I'll end up a fanny pack wearin', cat adoptin' full-blown spinster. I have a daaaaarling friend who's worried her perfect relationship is too perfect. Gooooorgeous friends who just want to see what the Master sees. It would be so simple, wouldn't it? It would answer so many prayers. So why don't we?

This is where Chinese can help all us poor souls who can't fight the urge to over-analyze.  The Chinese word to worry, 擔心 (or danxin), means to take upon oneself your heart. Well, isn't that the whole point of the gospel? Someone was given to us to take upon our hearts and all the havoc they wreak. So when we worry, well... you can put it together. Maybe that's why there is constant reference to it in the scriptures. "Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail."

The hardest person to put trust in sometimes, is someone you've never seen or heard. But he has the grand plan. He wants our happiness. He's provided a place for our hearts so that we don't have to carry the weight of them anymore.

I'm sure I'll worry again. Take that terrifying free fall of a leap of faith doubting still, till faith catches me, heart, body and mind and points me in a direction for the future without that heavy heart.


Information nation

Let me be clear. I love learning. There just isn't much better than popping in a documentary or pouring over a biography. But there are some things we just never, ever....


... need to know. And knowing what unsavory things your coworker's cat recently ate is one of those very things.

So. In fairness to your cat's dignity, just... don't say it.