Monday, December 29, 2014

I Like the Jewish Version of New Years Better / Judy

During the early years of our marriage we lived in Brooklyn while my husband went to graduate school at Yeshiva University, a private Jewish school in New York City. We lived in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood where some of the older people still had concentration camp tattoos on their forearms. The first September we were there, I was startled to hear people wishing each other "Happy Holidays," and "Happy New Year." In September?

I learned about the High Holy Days:  Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). During this holiday time, Psalm 27 is added to morning and evening prayers. I especially appreciate these verses from the Psalm:
 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?...
 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple…
 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me…
 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

The month preceding Rosh Hashanah is designated as a month of introspection and repentance. It is customary to increase the giving of charity and to ask forgiveness from anyone you have wronged.

This  always seemed a better approach to the New Year than making foolish and meaningless "resolutions." In January the frenetic pace of the holidays is past and might be a good time for quiet contemplation.
  • Let's make it a time of reflection on our lives and consider where we have need of repentance.  
  • Let's increase our charity towards others, with both time and resources.
  • Let's try to increase our awareness of and sensitivity to their needs and suffering.
  • And let's ask forgiveness of those we have harmed in any way and at the same time, forgive those who have wronged us.

Perhaps this would continue the sweet spirit of Christmas as we re-consecrate our lives to God. Then we might be able to say with the psalmist, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life…"  And we can face the upcoming year with greater courage and peace, no matter what it brings.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Stay In the Boat / Judy

stay in the boat!

From the Huffington Post dated July 24, 2014:

Nearly 500 Mormons joined a Facebook event for a mass resignation from the LDS Church on Thursday to protest the recent excommunication of Kate Kelly and disciplining of John Dehlin, two prominent activists in the Mormon community.

Give me a break!

These days, we in the church are all trying to stay afloat in a lifeboat in shark-infested waters. Now sometimes we may not like the other people in the boat with us. Or we may not agree with those who are leading us. Or maybe we’re uncomfortable for whatever reason. But no matter what, how stupid is it to jump out of the boat right into the jaws of the hungry sharks!

The fact is, we have a prophet of God in the boat with us, and God Himself has promised that this prophet will never lead His people down the wrong path. In fact, he is doing all in his power to help us get safely home. Didn’t these people ever sing, “Follow the Prophet” in Primary? Didn’t they understand what they were saying and why it’s important?

One of the best things I’ve ever seen about the importance of staying within the church was a talk by Brad Wilcox called “His Grace is Sufficient.” Below is an excerpt from that talk:

“We will all be resurrected. We will all go back to God’s presence. What is left to be determined by our obedience is what kind of body we plan on being resurrected with and how comfortable we plan to be in God’s presence.

“But the older I get,...the more I realize that in the final judgment it will not be the unrepentant sinner begging Jesus, 'Let me stay.' No, he will probably be saying, 'Get me out of here!' Knowing Christ’s character, I believe that if anyone is going to be begging on that occasion, it would probably be Jesus begging the unrepentant sinner, 'Please, choose to stay. Please, use my Atonement—not just to be cleansed but to be changed so that you want to stay.'

“The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there. If Christ did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change.

“Think of your friends and family members who have chosen to live without faith and without repentance. They don’t want to change. They are not trying to abandon sin and become comfortable with God. Rather, they are trying to abandon God and become comfortable with sin.

"...there should never be just two options: perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time."

I hope I can always say with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” And that means listening to His appointed one. And taking the time to learn what God wants us to know -- to be what God wants us to become.

Whatever happens, however you feel, no matter if you’re offended or hurt or disagree, you are still much better off, not to mention safer, if you just stay in the boat!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Milestone -- Over 50,000 Page Views / Judy & Lloyd

We started our blog She Says, He Says in October 2008 and recently achieved a milestone of sorts by registering more than 50,000 page views over the course of the blog.

This post lists Our Most Read Posts Ever - the 10 posts that our readers chose to view the most often (averaging 600 views each)

She Says, He Says has a worldwide readership with most significant participation from the United States, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Malaysia, Ukraine, and Poland.

Thank you for choosing to read She Says, He Says

-- Judy and Lloyd

Our Most Read Posts Ever

Clicking on a title will take you to the post.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Amazing Strength in Families / Judy & Lloyd

JUDY: I recently saw this on YouTube and it really affected me. I think it shows the strength and power of families:

Along with this, I recently read that military marriages are surprisingly resilient. We hear lots about how military divorce rates are increasing and how veterans have all sorts of other dire problems. In fact, what is not reported is that the military divorce rate is still way below the national average for divorce compared to the civilian population. A strong, loving, committed family is one of the best sources for healing--whatever the wound. As you can see in these YouTube pictures, love is a powerful force for good, and it's in families that this kind of healing love is found.

LLOYD:  I remember a particular Brother who came before a Stake Disciplinary Council with his Bishop. And I wondered how his situation would ever be resolved for him and his family. Both the Bishop and Stake President reported that the man's wife had accepted his deep remorse and was a major support to her husband in his repentance process, and their children had rallied around them both. I watched this happen and have thought about it often.

Years later one of the younger daughters of this family referred obliquely to their family trial and then commented on the amazing influence of love they had all experienced. The daughter was recently married and said that this personal family experience had given her great strength and increased her understanding and faith in the power of a covenant marriage.  The family not only remained intact but has also been productive and healthy in every aspect.

Judy once had occasion to tell me, "Lloyd, this isn't about you, or about me, or even about us. It's about our covenant with the Lord and to this marriage."  The deep affection between husband and wife, and father and children demonstrated above in "Soldier Homecoming Surprise" only hints at the power available through family bonds and a covenant marriage.

Originally posted in She Says, He Says, May 2012.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Power of a Lie / Judy

A year or so ago, realizing we’d been in this house for two years, we decided we should probably have our furnace system checked. I remember my dad had his inspected every year, usually before winter, to make sure it was all working well.

Not knowing who we should call about it, we decided to go with a business that often sends postcards in the mail. They came to inspect our system and here’s what they told us: the whole system had not been put in very well, there was a severe crack in the component in the attic, the thermostat or whatever regulated the heat was not working so it was running too hot and was actually dangerous as it might start a fire, and finally that there was a carbon monoxide leak. Of course we felt fortunate we hadn’t woken up dead some morning.
In a slight panic, we asked what to do. Well, they said kindly, we will come and replace the whole thing for you. And since you don’t want an old air conditioner tied to a new furnace, we’d better replace that too. All for the reasonable cost of about $10,000. But afterwards we could be assured all was safe and in good repair.  AAACCCKKK!

Since that was quite a bit of money, we thought it prudent to get a second opinion and called the people my dad used. When that man came, we told him what we’d been told and he checked everything and said it was all untrue. There was nothing wrong with any part of our furnace and it was not dangerous at all.

But a lie is so potent, it changes your perception of reality, and we still weren't sure we were safe. So then we called the gas company itself and they sent out an inspector at no charge and he said the same thing as the second man. Turns out all we needed to do was change our filter and then have an inspection once or twice a year.

But how do we detect lies? In the case of the heating company, the continuous belittling and accusations of the first salesman about our system and even about the home builder made us both very uncomfortable.  It wasn't just about the money; he had a snarky attitude. So we sought other professional assessments. But even after these positive assurances about our system, we felt unsettled for months. The power of a lie -- very difficult to break its hold.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Memories of Our Own / Judy

wedding brainstorm

We had a fairly inexpensive wedding but I thought it was VERY nice. The only thing I did for it was to buy my dress; our two mothers and the Relief Society took care of everything else. My parents arranged for a friend to take the pictures and that is the one aspect that could have been better. Most of the pictures had part of his glasses through them. The best ones were the candid shots of the reception.

We held our reception in a room (smaller than the cultural hall) at the church. I don't remember any decorations, but maybe there were some. I might not have been noticing very much. Someone had made the cake and I did have a bouquet, but I really don't think I chose them. Unlike most people, I didn't have very strong opinions about them.

For our honeymoon, my parents let us take their car and gas credit card and someone gave us $50 and that's all we had. We went to Disneyland and were able to stay for free at a nearby motel owned by one of Lloyd's aunts. Of course we could only be away for three days, then we had to come back so Lloyd could leave for boot camp. He was gone for six weeks while I lived at home and continued to work as a waitress. Our real married life (so far it just felt like a big date) began when he returned and we went to Philadelphia.

The bottom line was that the wedding was a fun party, not too big, but with most of our friends and family. And the marriage has lasted over 40 years.

Originally posted by Judy in Wedding Brainstorm on 19 Jan 2010

It's About The People / Guest

wedding brainstorm

At the end of the day the most important thing about weddings is the people.  A chance to bring families together to celebrate.

With that in mind it is important not to let little details create arguments that annoy and antagonize everyone helping.

Arrange the ceremony and reception to maximize opportunities for people to mingle and catch up.  To laugh and celebrate together.  

One thing I recall from my wedding and receptions is that there are groups of experience at weddings.

The first is the experience of the couple getting married.  They will be in their own little world together and not remember a whole heck of a lot from the whole experience.  Good thing there are pictures.  So set things up and then everyone else should be nice to them on their day.  They'll be followed around by photographers/video cameras a lot.  Helpful folks will direct them here and there for pictures, cake, dancing, sitting, standing, etc.

The next group is family who all know each other and chat up a storm.  If you've got several siblings then everyone has probably done the wedding thing before and its just a great excuse to all get together again.  

Lastly there are people that your parents invite who chat cordially with everyone else but don't necessarily know a great many people.  Note to couple:  let your parents invite them since they bring gifts too and it will make your parents happy and you'll be oblivious anyway.

Weddings are about people;  the couple committing to each other, God and society.  About families getting together to celebrate.  Focus the events on maximizing these relationships.

Originally posted by Sonian in Wedding Brainstorm on 25 Feb 2010

When To Have The Reception / Guest

wedding brainstorm

After our wedding we had a brief lunch with those who attended the ceremony and then we were off on our honeymoon.  Then a week later we had the formal reception back home with family and friends.

Now this strategy of separating the wedding and reception has several benefits:

First, it reduces stress and exhaustion on the wedding couple who have enough going on that day without making it longer into the night with a reception.  You'll want to boogie on your own way as soon as possible.

Second, it allows the bride to wear her dress on two different days.  Because let's face it you spent a ton on that dress you might want to get more than one day's use out of it.

Third, the experience of the wedding is extended from the wedding itself to the honeymoon and then a reception before beginning blissful life together; the reception as a capstone of the festivities.

Originally posted by Sonian in Wedding Brainstorm on 25 Feb 2010

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Manhood - Fatherhood - Priesthood: A Forum of Advice, Insights, Council, and Loving Support / Lloyd & Guest

In 14 March 2010 Sonian initiated a blog Manhood, Fatherhood, Priesthood: A forum of Advice, Insights, Council, and invited Lloyd to participate.  While only nine non-administrative postings emerged -- (the last posted on 10 July 2010) they have a unique value of worth to our family. They are postings about family from the view point of fathers.

Sonian has consented for us to present the nine postings on our blog She Says, He Says. You can review them by clicking the orange labels below.


Manhood, Fatherhood, Priesthood -- Welcome / Guest

Welcome to the Manhood, Fatherhood, and Priesthood blog.  The impetus of creating this blog as a forum of discussion among us is to encourage the sharing of experiences, insights, testimony, and council to help one another fulfill our roles as sons of God.

One of Satan's most effective strategies is to isolate us, make us feel weak and inferior to others, and tempt us astray.  This blog will help us all realize that our challenges, obstacles, questions, and potential solutions are shared and that together we can achieve our divine potentials.

This intends to be an evolutionary forum that will adapt to best meet these goals of sharing, counseling, and testifying.  . .

Our topics will be both gospel and practical life related because we need to share, counsel, and testify of both the world we live in and the world we are aiming to reach with our families.

Please join on this journey together and we will all be the stronger from the experience to help our spouses and children.

Originally Posted by Sonian in Manhood, Fatherhood, Priesthood: A forum of Advice, Insights, Council, and Loving Support on Sunday, 14 March 2010

Priorities and Balance - Discussion Topic #1 / Guest

Elder Russell M. Nelson wrote a magnificent article in the August 2001 Ensign titled:  'Identity, Priorities, Blessings'.  I wish to use his remarks as a springboard for our first discussion topic.

[NOTE: What may work best is if you wish to simply make a brief remark on the topic to use the comment section, but if you wish to augment and elaborate upon the topic please post a new posting with the label of 'discussion topic 1' so we can search topics later. (you can find the label feature in the bottom right of the post writing window).  I hope to have a running discussion on this topic for perhaps two weeks and then begin a new topic.  We can explore and see if two weeks is enough time or too much and take turns presenting the topic starter.  Let's dive in.]

"How do you determine your priority? Ask yourself, What do I really want most of all? Compare your answer with the high standard revealed by your Creator. He said you are to “seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness; and all … things shall be added unto you” (JST, Matt. 6:38). You build up the kingdom of God as you place your family first. A husband’s highest priesthood duty is to love and care for his wife, to bless her and their children. A wife’s highest calling is to love her husband and nurture their children. As you serve the Lord, know that your “duty is unto the church forever, and this because of [your] family” (D&C 23:3).

"How do you obtain your blessings? How can you qualify for eternal blessings—even “all that [the] Father hath”? With your identity preserved and your priorities properly honored, our Father’s blessings will flow to you by virtue of the holy priesthood, which is without beginning or end" -Elder Nelson [Identity, Priorities, Blessings].

What I find striking about Elder Nelson's remarks is that our ability to properly determine our priorities in life stems from a correct understand of who we are as children of God.  With the knowledge that we will be resurrected and have the divine potential for eternal lives with our spouses we should make priorities now that will lead to where we ultimately wish to end up, with our Father in heaven.

The above verse from Matthew reminds us of the transitory nature of our experience here on the Earth.  We have an eternity with our Father in heaven before this world and hope to have an eternity after.  In that context our lives here are but blips in our eternal nature.  How sad to squander a future eternity of endless joy for brief successes now.

We must select carefully the priorities and steps we take now to ensure they most effectively lead to where we wish to go ultimately.  Knowing who we are and where we wish to go allows us to correctly make decisions and priorities to achieve this goal.

I am reminded of Elder Dallin H. Oaks' excellent talk on:  "Good, Better, Best"  A short quote from his remarks:

"Some of our most important choices concern family activities. Many breadwinners worry that their occupations leave too little time for their families. There is no easy formula for that contest of priorities. However, I have never known of a man who looked back on his working life and said, 'I just didn't spend enough time with my job.'"  -Elder Oaks , Good Better Best.

With limited time we must select the very best things to do to reach our heavenly home once more.

President Gordon B. Hinckley gave excellent council several years ago on the proper priorities of our lives.  He indicated that the significant ones should be in the following order:  Family, Work, Church

As Elder Oaks would observe each of the three of these is very good and without prophetic council we may not be certain in which order to organize these.  If I can add to the list slightly I suggest the following hierarchy:  God, Family, Work, Church

We must cultivate and strengthen our relationship with God and His son Jesus Christ before we are truly prepared to do anything else.  Doing so helps us to realize our true identity and therefore put everything else in order.  The way I like to see it is that the closer to God we draw the more our will becomes His will and if we are acting upon His will we will never go astray and will be entitled to divine assistance as we do His work.  Hence the quote from Matthew above:  "seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God" (JST, Matt. 6:38).

A second point from Elder Nelson worth discussing is the paramount relationship with our spouses.  We've identified that our family comes before work or church but I submit that our spouses come before our parents, in-laws, cousins, or even children.

I know such a notion is hard to hear for some.  They rightly realize the great responsibility and duty to rear and teach their children.  Yet the Lord in Genesis said:  "And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Gen 2:23-24).  We are first married to our spouses then have children.  Ultimately the children will reach adulthood and marry and "leave his father and his mother" and cleave to their spouse and the two of you will be alone together again.  It is with your spouse that you are promised the potential of endless posterity, without your spouse that is not possible.

So cleave unto your spouse.  Love her and nurture your relationship with her.  Dave told me a while back that part of being on the high council is having a weekly date with his wife.  Good council for all of us; keep dating and doing nice little things for our wives.

When our relationship with our Heavenly Father is in order and the relationship with our spouse is in order we can profitably teach and rear our children in love.

This just a random person sleeping in studio, but I'll tell you from sad experience that it's not comfortable

Lastly a personal experience:

Going through the architecture programs at two universities I was often required to spend long hours working on projects.  There is a perverse culture in architecture school that whoever stays longest is the coolest.  Quantity over quality in a way, though more time often yields good results for designs.

Yet I know that keeping the Sabbath day holy is crucial to my relationship with my heavenly father and a time to be with my family.  So I never once worked on school work on the Sabbath.  Sometimes that meant I stayed until midnight on Saturday and returned at midnight on Sunday night to resume but that day was important.

As a corollary I know that I can do all that I can with the time I have available and then put absolute trust in God that He will make up the difference.  I can't count the number of times on Mondays when the instructor would be late or reach my desk last giving me needed time to finish my work before presenting it.  It may seem a coincidence but many many small miracles, or as Elder David A. Bednar would say 'tender mercies', saw me through many a day.

Trust God and His promises.  Do what is required to unlock the windows of Heaven to receive the blessings He wishes to pour out upon us.  If we need money, pay tithing.  If we need time, keep the Sabbath day.  If we need health, the word of wisdom.  He asks us to do simple things to bless us abundantly.

More can be said on proper priorities and I look forward to each of your insights and experiences.  I've blathered on long enough.  Setting a balance in life is not a one time event.  By the nature of a 'balance' it implies movement and in so doing constantly reevaluating the balance as one goes.  For example Troy in going back for his dual master's degrees had to reevaluate how to balance his life.  A new job, child, home, calling, etc each calls our balance into question.  I am eager to hear how each of us has maintained balance and priorities as we go along.

Originally Posted by Sonian in Manhood, Fatherhood, Priesthood: A forum of Advice, Insights, Council, and Loving Support on Sunday, 4 April 2010


(5 April 2010) Lloyd --  One of the reasons I am going to the temple this Tuesday is to deal with my job ordering me to work on Sundays.  Should I seek other employment, find another position at my current job that allows Sundays off, or mainly work on gaining greater insight into the Lord's intentions?

(6 April 2010) Troy -- I too have committed to not doing homework on the Sabbath and it's made all the difference! I also commit to having a weekly date with Emily and another weekly date with one of my kids. I miss them so much it hurts to even think about it. Only this weekly bit of attention attenuates the guilt I feel. But they've been so understanding.

I've had to make sure that no matter how stressed I am, when I walk through the door I'm happy and positive. The kids are only going to see me for a few hours each day so I'd better make sure it's a good experience. But I confess it's hard. They want to tell me their stories about epic lego battles and the latest episode of Clone Wars and all I can do is think about all the homework I have to do and the tests I have coming up. I promised Emily I would do better and I think I have.

Featured Post

Have a Baby / Lloyd

It was customary in our mission for missionaries to review their patriarchal blessing with the president. During my interview the mission...