Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I have been mulling over a thought concept for some time now. I thought it would be titled Perception. So I guess this really is reality or perception. What is the difference between the two?

I am reading Wives and Daughters for my new book club and I was struck today by the way the author presents certain characters. Some of the people in the book, and in many other books, just don't get it. It's like they live in this alternate world, that doesn't intersect the real world. I often see or interact with other people and I wonder (sooo judgingly) if they realize that they are functioning with a false sense of what is real and what matters. Reality (punny I know) tv shows for example. Do the people on those shows really behave that way in real life? I sure hope not. I imagine that a great deal of their drama and angst comes from knowing they are being taped and that in real life they would not be so terribly unpleasant or idiotic. Of course that leads into why we as a society have this clearly rampant desire to voyeuristicly observe other people acting like they are not acting while they clearly are? What does that say about the Human race? Where does this deep need for drama and excitement come from? Why are we so incapable of being content with where we are and what we have. Just to be clear I am not judging here, I am more than guilty of books and movies enjoyed simply to remove myself from my reality for a time. I just wonder . . .

So in dissecting the thought of how another person's perception of the world is in fact their reality, does that mean that they are not living in the real world, or that I am not? I feel that I see things much more clearly than they do, so does that mean that I understand what is real and what matters? or am I deluding myself with thoughts of my own grandeur? I think that observing life from a gospel perspective is the only way to judge. I know the gospel to be true. I know Christ was/is perfect. So if I can try to see the world through His eyes, that seems like the best possible way to determine what is reality. Of course, once I master that I will be able to stop judging people and considering myself "more real" than they are and then this whole concept of my perception vs. their perception is rather moot since it would simply become the perception of the Perfected one, which is universal and omnipotent.

Obviously (to me at least) my concerns about perception should be focused not on who is right, but on how I can help. Naturally my next thought leads me to think about how I perceive myself in an attempt to share the gospel and then begin to consider how another person might perceive my attempt to share, which could very well seem to them like I don't live in the real world, but really that is just my perception of what their perception might be based on only my own life experiences, which is not their experiences and since I have yet to discover that elusive mind reading ability, I will never truly be able to know how another person receives what I share.

It's a conundrum.

My right answer: don't worry about what other people think. Do what I know is right. Ask questions when I do not understand. Pray for guidance.

Someday I'll figure it all out.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Being as clothing has been necessary since the Garden of Eden, it is one of the first things Thoreau addresses. Me and clothes have had issues since waaaay back. When I was in elementary school I had a couple of pairs of jeans that were exactly the same. So even when I wore a different pair jeans each day, it looked from the outside like I was wearing the same thing everyday. I don't remember thinking anything of it until the teasing started. I think it began in 5th grade. The more fashionable girls, who had the latest styles made fun of me because of my clothes. Even then I wore alot of what I wear now: jeans and a t shirt. That's my pretty standard dress code. I like it and I am comfortable in it. However it was not up to par. Being picked on for what I wore got much worse in Junior High. I had a math class first thing in the morning and there were two girls who came to class everyday and first thing told everything that was wrong with what I was wearing. They didn't even pretend to be helpful/condescending, they were just plain mean about it. As a result I have some very serious issues about what I am wearing, what it says about me, how I look, etc. It has taken me years to begin to move past it and truly find what I am comfortable wearing. So clearly clothing is a very important part of our lives, whether it should be or not.

It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes. Could you, in such a case, tell surely of any company of civilized men, which belonged to the most respected class?

This of course illustrates the concept behind school uniforms. That is an attempt to get children to, well conform for one thing, but maybe it is also an attempt to help them see past the outside. I'm probably reading into that way too much, but it is a thought. But imagine for a moment that there were no myriad of options for clothing. We all wore the same thing. We would have to actually speak to someone and get to know them before we could pass judgement. So challenge number one is to look past the clothing of someone that is different or less expensive or less cared for than our own and look for the child of God that is wearing those clothes.

Challenge number two as least according to Thoreau is frugality. How often do people buy clothes that they don't need? And then (myself included) we donate our less fashionable older things to Goodwill with the narcissistic thought that someone less fortunate than ourselves will be grateful for our sacrifice. But really aren't they the better people inside that are willing to wear something that is not new and not the most stylish, but still functional.

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of the clothes.

I love new clothes. But being a mother of six, I very often find that I must sacrifice my desire for the needs of my children. They are still growing (magically) and I (hopefully) am not. Therefore what I have should last me more than the next six months. Everytime I want to start exercising again I think I would love to get new shoes and "exercise clothes" however as previously stated, my desires are usually overshadowed, which is a good thing. Clearly since I am not currently diligent in exercising, this is an enterprise that requires "a new wearer of the clothes" as opposed to cool new exercise clothes. I have to make a change within before making a change without. I need to become a regular exerciser before I spend my families money on something that could otherwise go unused. Fashion may seem like a fairly frivolous thing to worry about, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. The concept of changing the inside can be applied to so many aspects of life. And looking like something doesn't make you that thing. I know, I do it all the time. I am a 30 year old mother of six who sometimes wears a black t shirt, leather wristband, skinny jeans and combat boots. Oh and I dyed my hair black. Apparently I am going through a bit of a goth/emo/punk phase. Does that mean I am those things? No. But it does bring up the question of why do I wear it then? Do I want people to think that I am punk, or goth? Maybe. How much does what we wear affect how other people think of us? And why do we chose to wear certain things, especially if we know it is unusual? I am not sure if I want attention, or if I just want to be what in my mind I perceive as "cool". I might still be trying to find acceptance that I never felt as a child. For the most part I wear what I wear now because I like how I look. So in conclusion, most people probably don't worry about clothes as much as I do, but for me it is a big deal. It may not seem like it, but I am very insecure in many areas. I don't look like it usually because I tell myself I am confident and comfortable with who I am, it's a little trick I learned in High School, but that is a post for another time.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


A few weeks ago some of the ladies from the ward here decided to start a Non church book club. The idea is that if it is not church sponsored people will come simply out of a desire to be there and not out of obligation due to various callings. We had a planning meeting and everyone brought a few suggestions of books we could read and then we voted. It was a lot of fun to see what kinds of books people have read and to get ideas for future readings. One of my suggestions was Walden. I have never finished it, though I started it once. I was hoping to use the motivation of knowing other people expected me to be done by a certain date, but alas, it was not one of the chosen. Keeping in mind that we had to narrow down a list of about 60 books to 6, one a month for the next six months, it is not surprising as more than one sister commented on how reading shouldn't be hard. They didn't want to be challenged in their reading time. One one hand I agree, I have several series of books that I own that are my "fluff" books. They are easy reads, simply for the joy of the story and a chance to escape into someone else's life for a time. On the other hand, this quote from Walden (not so coincidentally, since I decided to go ahead and read it on my own anyway) sums it up nicely.

Why has man rooted himself thus firmly in the earth, but that he may rise in the same proportion into the heavens above?

So while I heartily encourage easy reading, and thoroughly enjoy it myself, I must admit that I feel it is equally if not more necessary to read things that are hard. Things that make us question ourselves, what we think and force us to examine the inner workings of our hearts. It is very hard. It took me many months to read The Road Less Traveled, but it was worth it. I don't think it will take quite as long for Walden, but I expect to find similarly deep insight within the pages.

The beginning concept of Life in the Woods, was an experiment of self sufficiency and living a life so simple as to focus only on needs and thereby discover what any human truly needs. These needs are not just the physical, though that is well covered, but I think will extend into helping remind me how much of my daily life is really an unwanted chain that I have formed of my own volition to tie me to unnecessary objects that are of this world alone. Finding what it truly needed, in this case by reading a "hard" book, I believe I will gain a greater measure of happiness than I gain by reading my much loved fluff. So here's to reading, whatever you choose, may it bring you happiness, easy or hard.