Archive for the Church Category

on the altar

Posted in Church, me on July 18, 2007 by drbolte

So I just got back from Institute–Mom will be happy, I’m sure–and I am so glad that I went. For a few moments, my head pounding, my carcass happily ensconced on the couch with my grandma’s blanket, I considered not going. Thoughts of “what does it matter?” went through my head.

It didn’t last long, and I ended up there.

It was exactly where I needed to be, because it was all about obedience.

And, lately, I’ve been grappling with my own question of obedience.

Lest you think I’m deeply mired in sin, I’m not. It’s not a big deal. It’s not even ME breaking a rule. It’s just me being okay with rules being broken, me even encouraging it with my complacency because I don’t particularly like the rule. I’d like to think, in this particular situation, I am part of an exception.

But lately, the thought has been nagging at me that it’s my responsibility to stand up and be obedient. To encourage obedience and strictness where there ought to be obedience and strictness.

Of course, because I didn’t want to, I ignored it. I have continued to ignore it. It just didn’t seem like a big deal–not a serious sin, not a earthshattering choice.

But tonight in Institute, it was all about agency and how to be the best person you can be by submitting your will to the Lord. And our Institute director, Brother Jansen, said something that really struck me. He said that when he thinks of how submissive our Savior is, how willingly He sacrificed His will to His Father’s, a decision that brought upon him the huge pain and anguish and utter torment of the Atonement, it makes Him our perfect example of obedience.

That hit me. I mean, it wasn’t a body blow kind of revelation–we’ve all had those, I think–but more of a crystallizing of something that had been on my mind for a while. The only real analogy I can think of is it was like, sitting in that room, the staticky transmissions of the Spirit suddenly got very, very clear.

I knew that I had to obey. Not because I agree with the rule. Not because I want to, because I don’t particularly want to stop doing what I was doing. But I want to be obedient, and I want to do what the Lord wants me to do. That desire–to submit cheerfully–overwhelms the “want to” of this stupid little thing that is really of no consequence.

And I have this feeling, quiet and deep within me, that me standing up and saying I’m not doing it anymore WILL be of great consequence. Possibly far more than I know.

So, I will do it. I will obey. I’m not even sure it will be hard for me, especially, because it’s my choice. There is great power in choice, great power in the recognition that no one tells me what to do. I choose, myself, to follow the path that will lead me to the greatest happiness.

I’m willing to sacrifice for that. I really am.

That gives me courage.

It’s 89 degrees with a heat index of 97–do you know where your sanity is?

Posted in Church, etcetera, Life, the joys of living in Florida on July 18, 2007 by drbolte

So, I thought it had reached critical mass heat a few weeks ago.

I was wrong.

I was talking to my mom on the phone last night–one of two bright moments in an otherwise ridiculous day that saw me flattened by the heat (my hair was merely the outward expression of an inward state), so idiotic that I left a bag of groceries (inevitably the ones containing the only healthy food I bought) in the cart at the grocery store, and with a Netflix disc that was literally cracked in half (is that not CLEAR to those who package them?)–and I told her that I was remembering that the last half of July is the worst. I hate it.

I think these are the dog days of summer, if the dog to which they refer is a mangy, foaming pitbull with an attitude who has decided that my entire being is his mortal enemy.  I feel lethargic and blah and not a little bit irritable.  I am tired of being tired.  It’s not like me.

Today, I grew a brain and decided that looking professional was last on my list of priorities, behind “not dying on the walk across campus to class” and “maintaining my last existing brain cells not killed by heat, Tylenol and Sudafed consumption, or the mass intake of MSG-infused fat calories in my Chinese food,” so I’m wearing shorts and the coolest t-shirt I could find.   My hair is braided and completely up.  I am wearing flip-flops.

There’s no reason that I shouldn’t be able to handle the heat.

Oh, but I’m not succeeding very well.  I don’t understand how people are wearing jeans. I don’t understand how people are riding bikes (although you do get places faster).  I frankly don’t understand what my problem is.  I nearly cancelled class yesterday just so that I could stay in bed, inside, under the covers with the air conditioning blasting (a decision I will surely regret when the bill comes). I didn’t. I showed up.

That’s gotta count for something, right?

In the process of talking to my mom, and telling her how I had basically dropped off the planet and not gone to any of my church stuff (a new thing, since I’ve been in the RS Presidency for so long that I normally go to EVERYTHING), I got the feeling that she thinks maybe I’ve fallen too far off of the planet, since she made sure to ask me if I was going to Institute tonight.

Yes. Yes, I am.

At this point, I can use all the help I can get managing all of this, which is nothing really to manage.  All I have to do is teach and tutor.  That’s really it because, let’s be real–it’s not like I’m actually working on my dissertation chapter or exercising or doing any of the other multitude of things I could or should be doing.  I’m packing, but sporadically.

I just don’t get it.  Why am I so tired?

when the world gets in my face, i say…have a nice day

Posted in blogging, Church, family, friends, Life, me, teaching on July 3, 2007 by drbolte

So I’m trying to learn patience and express gratitude rather than remain in the weird funk that I have found myself in of late.  So, as I was driving to school today, I began listing all of the things that I was grateful for out loud. I must have looked pretty funny to the cars around me, but (not surprisingly) it elevated me out of the drudgery I was wallowing in.

So today’s blog post is about what I’m grateful for–well, only a few in particular categories.  I couldn’t possibly list them all and do you really want to know that I am really grateful for Scooby Doo fruit snacks, with the electric blue Scooby heads and the green Mystery Machine and the 80 calorie price tag?  I don’t think so.  Wow. I want to Netflix Scooby right now!

FAMILY

I am always grateful for my family, but I got to thinking today how grateful I am that my grandpa moved out of his ghetto apartment building into a community where he can maintain his independence but is always taken care of. There is a cafeteria, so that he doesn’t have to make his meals every weeknight, but it’s closed on weekends so he still has to take care of himself. I think it’s good for him. It’s secure and safe, and full of friendly people that he will get along with. There’s a library and a barber shop, so he never has to worry about going too far when he’s not feeling well.  And, best of all, it’s close to shopping so that he can tool around in his electric wheelchair cart whenever he feels like an adventure.

It is a huge blessing and he is so happy. My Mimi would have really liked it there too, and he knows that. I think that’s part of the reason why he likes it so much.  I am certain that she is looking down on the whole scene with pride.

FRIENDS

I have so many friends and, even though I’m feeling very antisocial of late, I keep gaining new ones.  It’s a huge blessing.  But right now I am especially grateful for a friend that I was complaining and whining to who told me to start praying about what I was complaining and whining about.  I am so grateful that she was bold enough to tell me what to do. It was what I needed to hear and it has brought, already, some slow but good changes in my heart.  I like that.

I am also very grateful (I know this is cheating, but it’s my blog) for the fact that the conflict is over with one particular friend.  It’s like a 4000 pound weight has been lifted off of me.  I hate fighting with anyone, but with this person?  Torturous.

SPIRITUAL

I have been praying about something in particular over the past few nights and not really feeling any huge revelations. That’s been the hallmark of my summer though–while I don’t feel that the Lord is far from me, I feel that He is letting me choose quite often now rather than firmly directing me as He has in past months.  I did, however, feel prompted to pick up Elder Henry B. Eyring’s book (which was sitting on my nightstand) To Draw Closer to God.  What a miraculous thing it is to have prophets and Apostles.  What a miracle it is to have the gift of the Holy Ghost.  I am so grateful for it, and for its ability to pierce my heart when nothing else seems to.  I am never sorry when I read or study something that the prophet or the Apostles have said.  Never.  I am so blessed to know what I know.

MENTAL

Well, I’m going to classify this as school. I am hecka grateful for my class this summer.  I’ve only met with them twice, but I can already tell it’s going to be a great summer. Challenging, definitely–they have minds and opinions of their own, and they’re willing to voice them.  I had a moment today when a student challenged something I said–not disrespectfully by any means, but just challenging–when I wondered if I could handle it and then, just a second later, all of my experience and my confidence in teaching kicked in and I handled it.  It was cool.

I told my students that they could either talk and make the semester go by happily or they could not talk and it could be torture. I think I might have opened up a can of loudness with that comment. I may have to reign them in a little bit, but it’s so great. I forget how much I really like teaching writing during Summer B.  It’s fantastic.

MATERIAL

I am really grateful that my $2 Old Navy black flipflops are as comfortable as they are.  They were a steal, and I needed them, and they look cute and they are so comfortable. I am very grateful for that. It seems a small blessing, but it’s actually a big one.  I am also grateful that I resisted the temptation to buy all manner of cute clothes that would have fit and looked cute at Old Navy last night. They’re having a sale and I was feeling down–bad combination usually. But I just looked and was happy to do so and then left with what I came for.  And when I got home? I was happy with what I had in my closet.  That’s also a wonderful blessing.

It’s been a good day. I’m not going to the fireworks tonight. I know that it’s on my list of supersocial summertime things to do, but I just don’t feel like it. It’s hot, and rainy, and there are going to be a million people there. Instead, I’ll stay home and get some things done and watch “The Winds of War.” For a miniseries from 1983, it’s surprisingly good.  I feel smarter every time I watch a part of it.  I love Netflix.

Have a good Independence Day!

full circle

Posted in Church, Life, me on July 1, 2007 by drbolte

I find it utterly fascinating when things come full circle–life, relationships, a situation. I had one FINALLY resolve itself this week, with the real conclusion of the stress and obnoxiousness and confrontation coming yesterday. It was good.  All is well.  I am happy.

But it took a while. I would say that it has been a good month of stress, with me worrying and trying to not to foist my ideas upon someone while also saying what I think (because would I really be me if I wasn’t?!?) and still keeping my word.  It’s been rough.  Stressful to say the least.

Did I mention that it was stressful?!?

I am not a patient person. I want what I want when I want it.

But I’m pretty sure that the Lord is trying to teach me patience, because EVERYTHING in my life–from school to my friendships to answers to my prayers–seems to be currently requiring patience.  I am waiting for my move.  I am waiting for my lobster. I am waiting for inspiration to strike. I am waiting for football season. I am waiting to get paid so that I can start my plan to get out of debt.  I look forward to much.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not waiting around.  I am making my own fun, and let me tell you, I am successful at that.  But in many ways, my life has slowed down from running around 85 miles an hour with my hair on fire (like I was when I was RS prez) to having the blessing (?!?) of sauntering 2 miles an hour, smelling the daisies.  But instead of smelling the daisies, lately, I seem to have my eye fixed on the horizon, wondering why in the heck it’s taking me so long to get there.

Yeah, I know.  Stupid.  Someday I’m going to have the husband, five kids, and career I want, and I’m going to wish I had half the time I have now.  And I’m going to wish that I hadn’t complained about it.

So, I’m going to try to enjoy myself and be productive and make the most of this month I have before life gets nuts again.  Perhaps it will bring me an unexpected blessing–or maybe, just maybe, I’m getting exactly what I asked for when I was running 85 miles an hour with my hair on fire: time to breathe.

Full circle again.  What’d I tell you?

what it’s all about

Posted in Church on June 2, 2007 by drbolte

i had the opportunity to work in the temple again today. i love it there.  there’s nowhere else that i feel the Spirit the way that i feel it there.  nowhere.

i went to the temple today with a heavy heart and burdened mind.  i had a lot to think about.  stuff’s been just not good on a lot of fronts, and i had gotten to the point where i was just tired of it and at my wit’s end.  i tried to prepare myself as much for my service in the temple as i could, through prayer and trying to invite the Spirit. but when i got there, i was still burdened.

that’s not always a bad thing.  sometimes it’s exactly how you need to be to get what you need to get.

i was working as the greeter in the early afternoon, and a teenaged girl came in with about five small children (all under the age of 5).  she was very clearly a babysitting recruit, and the kids were adorable.  shortly thereafter, a husband and wife came down from witnessing a sealing, and the baby spotted her mom.  when she did, she sort of let out this squeal and opened her arms real wide. the teenager let her down and she toddled across the temple lobby into her mom’s waiting arms. her mom was in tears (what mom wouldn’t be?) and later told me that she and her husband had been away for 2 1/2 days and that was the first time they’d seen their kids since.

and i got to thinking, that’s what this life is all about.  our families.  the love in our lives that helps us get to where we need to be.  the people who help us to become better and brighter than we already are.  the people who help us to keep our covenants and to do the work that we are supposed to be doing in this life.

every time i’m in the temple, i realize that.  some of the things that i was burdened with just aren’t important.  some of them are.  but being in a place where the Spirit is so unrestrained for so long, by the end you can’t help but feel lighter and brighter and more hopeful.  at least i couldn’t.

and i walked out of that place today with a smile that has been absent for a while.

i am blessed to be able to serve. i am blessed to know what i know. i am blessed to continue to have experiences that teach me what’s really important.

cracked

Posted in Church, friends, Life, me on June 1, 2007 by drbolte

be careful about putting someone up on a pedestal or thinking that they’re one of the best people that you know.

when the pedestal cracks, it cracks your heart too.

i ought to know this by now. it’s a mistake i make over and over and over again.

now i’m just wondering how to recover from it.  how do you not look at that person as less than they were, now that they’re not perfect? or now that they’ve screwed up? or now that they’ve broken your heart?

how can i feel the same about that person?

do i look at that person’s resolve to do better as something admirable, and focus on that? it really is rather remarkable.  or do i look at the whole experience as learning and growing and at my disappointment as warranted but unimportant?  it all feels very important, but it ultimately isn’t. how i feel means little in the grand scheme of things.

i guess this is the whole unconditional love thing.  what does it mean to really love someone without conditions and without exceptions?  i’m not sure i’m so good at it.  i don’t think i’m fairweather in my loyalty, so to speak, but i also have really high expectations for people.  when they don’t meet them…not good.

the whole thing makes me really, really amazed at our Heavenly Father’s love for us. if i feel this way, how He must feel!  and how miraculous is the atonement, that it wipes these things clean from His memory?  amazing.  truly, truly miraculous.

i’m not sure why this week has been so hard, but it really has been. it just keeps getting harder, amid the successes.  i guess that means i’m growing, that Heavenly Father has plans for me.  i feel that way–that i’m climbing up a hill not knowing where i’m going or why i’m going there but just dodging falling boulders and attempting to keep from sliding downwards.

it sucks, but darn if i’ll stop.  but i could really use a better week next week.  is that a selfish prayer?

miracles happen.

Posted in Church, Life on May 29, 2007 by drbolte

so i was freaking out about how poor i am, freaking out on a level that i haven’t experienced lately. somewhere in the back of my mind i knew it would all be fine, that i would be taken care of and have sufficient for my needs, but i was still panicking. i don’t get my next check until mid july–stupid summer employment system–and that’s a LONG time for my small checks to stretch, especially when there’s two months worth of rent and a whole heap of gas to buy for the multiple trips to orlando i have to make in the meantime.

mom’s got my back, and that’s amazing, but it doesn’t make me feel any less of a utter and complete money idiot and failure.  i’m learning–that’s the good news–but i still have so much left to learn. i need to marry someone who is good with money, because i just am not. i am excellent with people, great with organizing things and lives and managing to get stuff done when it seems impossible, but money? forget it. plus, i’m cute. maybe that will make up for my utter and complete lack of any fiscal sense.

anyways, i was praying about it last night. that kind of praying where you’re just at your wit’s end and it doesn’t seem like it’s all going to come together. that kind of prayer that’s out of worry and fear and not out of faith and trust.  so i realized that i just had to have faith. and i got some impressions about some things to do, and they kept coming this morning. so when i went to sleep, it was with the idea that i had to have faith.

when  i woke up, i woke up peaceful. i knew everything was going to be okay.

and then the miracles started happening.

some of you may not attribute these things to miracles. i suppose that’s your option.  but to me, they were reminders, one right after the other, that i will be okay.

miracle number 1: my apartment building is going to let me stay until my other apartment is ready. my lease ends july 31st, and there’s no reason that they would let me stay. i have heard many a story about other people whose communities kicked them out as soon as their lease was up.  had i had to do this, i would not only have had to load my truck four days early (thus draining my available resources of strong, willing men who will help me move) and slept on beth’s couch, but i would have had to rent the truck for like five days. hello, expensive!  it would have worked out and i would have been fine, but i was hoping (and praying for weeks) that it would not come to that.

and what do you know, my community is letting people stay until the 5th–the day after i can move into my other apartment. absolutely amazing.

miracle number 2: my haircut was cheaper than i thought it would be, and i think it might last me longer than i had expected.  hooray.

miracle number 3: when i went to get my oil changed and my tires rotated (i know…irony of needing to get all of this maintenance stuff done when i have no money!), it was a buy one get one free sale. and i didn’t even have to mail in the coupon–they did it for me. so soon i will have in my mailbox a free oil change.  hooray.

miracle number 4: i got this idea that i should email my second job boss (the tutoring center) and see if there was any chance that i might be able to pick up some hours during summer a. i’m already working during summer b, but since i’m around and just working on the dissertation during the week, i thought it couldn’t hurt. what’s the worst that could happen? he’d think i was an idiot and/or he wouldn’t have any hours?  pfft. worth the risk.

turns out there might be some hours for me. really just about three a week, but that’s $60 bucks every two weeks, and that’s a very good thing.

anyways, i have been rather in awe of things today. i’ve managed to be really productive and have been seeing all of these many manifestations of my Heavenly Father’s love for me.  He knows that i’m here and is blessing me.  it’s such an awesome thing to recognize. i think too often i pray for things and then don’t pay any attention.  i pray for people and i pray that things will happen, but do i really take the time to enumerate all the different ways in which those prayers are answered? no. usually i’m just whining about the next thing that i want or need or have to do.

i am really blessed. it’s amazing.

i hope you are blessed too. take a minute. they’re there.

lethargy

Posted in Church, friends, Life, The Single Life on May 27, 2007 by drbolte

i seem to have lost all motivation for much of anything.  i try to get some enthusiasm, i get a shred, and then it’s lost in this overwhelming sense of blah.  i’m not sure if it’s habit at this point–i have spent the last three weeks doing absolutely nothing (punctuated by frantic bits of activity)–or what but it’s annoying.

i have grand goals and plans for this summer–i really do.  right now, though, i’m just not sure if i can get them done.  it feels nearly impossible.

and, per usual, i am returning from my summer hiatus (brief as it was this time) with trepidation. i always wonder if i’ll still have a place, if life will have moved on without me, when i return.  i always wonder if i’ll have reentry problems, to borrow a term.  it may seem stupid to those of you reading this, but i’m always nervous. it doesn’t help that an hour after i return, i’m going to the bishop’s party.  we’ll see how it goes.

but, to be honest, i’m lethargic about my social life too.  there are certain things i wonder, certain things i’d like to figure out, about this summer, but i have no will to make them happen right now. i a little bit don’t care what anybody thinks of me or whether people like me. 

could i actually be approaching antisocial?

this is not good.  it’s so not me.

maybe it’s just a phase. i think i’ll know tomorrow, when i roll up to the memorial day festivities.  we’ll see how it goes.

stay tuned.

bloom where you’re planted

Posted in Church, friends, Life on May 6, 2007 by drbolte

i suppose i like this phrase. i suppose i always have, although at times when i know that i am not blooming where i am planted, i tend to rankle at it and internally say “i do what i want!”

but i know it’s true. we all have the responsibility to do the best with what we have and to make our circumstances into what we want.  nobody likes a constant complainer–although i am all for complaining when you need to–or someone who never sees the beauty and majesty of their blessings.

so i get it. i try to do it.

but what do you do when all the other flowers in the garden seem to be uprooting and moving away? and you’re feeling like the lone daisy left, buffeted by the wind?

it’s been a bit of a strange week. a friend of mine got married, which was awesome and good for him but brought change.  he won’t be in my ward anymore. he won’t be around anymore the way he used to be, and he is one of my favorite people.  he’s been a good friend to me, although i doubt he knows that he has, and i’m going to miss that.  i’m SO happy for him, though, and i don’t begrudge him any of his joy at all. it’s just me being selfish.

a good friend of mine is leaving too–off to law school and bigger and brighter things than gainesville. i know we’ll stay in touch–facebook is AWESOME for that–but it won’t be the same. once she leaves for provo, she’ll be gone.  i’m adult enough to realize that, although it makes me more sad than i can say. she has been an amazing friend to me–has said things to me at times when i needed it that could only be directed by the Spirit. she has, literally, answered my prayers more than once and i have learned so much from her. i love her–she’s amazing.

and she’s leaving.

a few other friends are leaving, getting married, or moving on in the next few months. i myself am moving from the only apartment i’ve ever lived in in gainesville , so i guess it’s pandemic.

but i’ve been thinking about why it is that these changes are bothering me THIS year. why is it that i am somehow discombobulated by all of this change now?  i mean, it’s not like tons of people didn’t get married last year. may and december bring weddings in the college world, and that was true last year too.  what’s different?

i think i’m the one who’s different.  i’m invested in people that i wasn’t invested in before. i am no longer safely distanced from these changes–these changes affect me.  i guess, to continue with my flower metaphor, all of my roots are now entangled with all of their roots, and so when one of them leaves, i have to find my place again.

it’s sad. and it’s happy. and it’s odd. and i’m not quite sure what to make of it.

i have this feeling–and i’ve had this feeling for quite a while now–that this upcoming year will bring much good change into my life. i am looking forward to it, i suppose, the way that i look forward to anything that the Lord brings into my life–with faith, with hope, and with a tiny bit of trepidation at the prospect of jumping out into the dark with no knowledge ahead of time of where i’m going or where i’ll land.

but i’ll jump.  i couldn’t NOT jump.  it’s what He wants me to do, so it’s what i’ll do.

i’ll put my roots down again, and i’ll bloom again.

it’s what i do.

on my way

Posted in Church, friends, Life, School, teaching on May 1, 2007 by drbolte

i should be in bed right now.  i’m headed in that direction.

but i ended up here because i feel like i haven’t blogged much lately. that usually happens when things are okay and/or i’m just too busy.  i am really busy–even after exams, i’m still nutty busy. i had to cancel something last night simply because i couldn’t handle spending EVERY SINGLE NIGHT doing something.  i need some carrie time.  plus, i need to grade at some point.  sigh.

i feel like i might be in the eye of the storm, that time when the wind is still blowing a little and the rain is still coming down,  but you can feel that it’s about to end for a while.  it’s a nice feeling.  i’m tired in so many ways.  it will be nice to go home to my mom, where i can serve her and get my head out of my own life. and now, without the responsibilities of being relief society president, i really can just relax without feeling guilty about not being here.  it’s a good thing.

i got my paperwork for my exams the other day.  that was a cool feeling. i was reading it as i walked from turlington to library west to meet with students, and i realized how incredible it was that i held in my hand the paper that says that i have met all of the requirements to be admitted to candidacy. it was a moment, right there in the middle of the plaza of the americas, that i hope that i never forget.

i wonder, often, what the Lord has in store for me. i know that i am so ungrateful for what i have–always clamoring for more, always asking why i don’t have exactly what i want exactly when i want it.  there is no but to that. i am less grateful than i should be.  i know the Lord keeps His promises, so why should i worry or fret or fear? i know that i am doing what He wants me to do–i feel it at random moments, when i talk to someone or when i am able to accomplish something (however small) that is good and worthwhile.  if i am doing what He wants me to do, what should i worry about?  nothing–that’s the answer.  nothing at all.

my house is a mess and i have papers to grade. those are my goals for this week–grade papers.  meet with the sisters tomorrow after getting my paperwork signed.  finally take care of this ridiculous apartment stuff on thursday.  help throw a FABULOUS party for laura–i’ve got to bring out the party carrie. go see a good friend get sealed.  go party it up at the reception.  go to the beach. go see laura graduate.  clean my house and feed the missionaries in there somewhere.

sigh. even writing it makes me tired.

but then i’ll be done.  then all i have to do is submit my grades, clean my house some more, and pack up and leave.  it will be good.  i will be glad.  maybe i’ll leave on tuesday instead of on wednesday.  mom would be so excited if i just showed up a day early.  maybe i could leave early and then surprise her at work.  that would be SO exciting!

well, this is boring.  i am boring right now.  but i guess that’s a good thing.

the end.