The Best Possible Light

I had a really cool dream last night. I woke up thinking “Remember to always position things in the best possible light.” It had everything to do with the conversation I was having with a friend before I went to bed, and definitely, applies to myriad other situations going on in my life.

My friend is going through a divorce. Divorce is hard and so emotionally draining. Stress and worry about the finances, the children, and the future run rampant. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but once it comes, it’s best to not resist, and trust that all will work out for the best. Life, and God are good like that. Everything always works together for our good, and everything is always as it should be.

My friend was having an especially rough day and texted me for some comfort. I want to put some of my words here for safe keeping as they were truly expressive of the many things I have learned through my divorce and current role as co-parent.

Janelle Page:

one thing I learned from my divorce–that continues to bless me–is that everything always works out, and everything is always as it should be

everything works together for our ultimate good

Friend:

Yes thanks for those kind words

Janelle Page:

God loves us all so much

he wants to bless us and he wants us to be happy

Friend:

That gives me strength

Janelle Page:

so while this time is very hard for you right now, there is so much goodness coming down the pipeline. . . sometimes all the sludge and crud has to get pushed through so the still, pure waters can come pouring through

Friend:

That means a lot to me.

Janelle Page:

It means a lot to me too

I’m grateful we are friends

you are blessing my life

Friend:

Me too. You are amazing

I look up to you

Janelle Page:

reminding me of some of the hard times makes me remember how blessed I’ve been and continue to be

Friend:

You are so encouraging

Janelle Page:

it’s kind of fun to think that the Lord brings people into our lives at just the most perfect times.

I always tell my kids there are no coincidences… .unless you define  a coincidence as a circumstance in which God chooses to make himself known

Friend:

Ooh. I love those sentences

You are right. You came into my life at this time for a reason.

Janelle Page:

As did your husband. We are all teaching each other important lessons… Your husband–and soon to be former spouse–will continue to teach you some of the most valuable lessons of your life. He will show you how strong you are and help you to become an even more incredible woman.

Friend:

Wow you are amazing

Janelle Page:

And you will very soon be able to see him as such. Once all the anger and hurt subsides … .compassion and love will hold strong. It’s okay to be angry, hurt and emotional for now–so totally normal and needed. I believe you’ve got to grieve the death of your relationship, and what you had hoped to be your future.

Friend:

Love for him?

Janelle Page:

you still love him

or else you wouldn’t be so mad at him and hurt

Friend:

Yes, I see

Janelle Page:

people who we don’t care about never cause us this much pain

Friend:

That makes sense

Janelle Page:

you invested so much time with him. He’s a part of you, and your children

Friend:

Yes. That’s true

Janelle Page:

but don’t feel like you have to be there yet. .. just remember our conversation when you are 5 years down the road 😉

Friend:

I can’t even look at him

Janelle Page:

totally normal

and not wrong or evil

he’s hurt you and your children

and he isn’t showing any remorse

that’s hard

Friend:

Yes 😢

Janelle Page:

and now he’s being a butt. . demanding things that seem so unreal and so unfair

so hard to keep giving when you’ve already given so much

Janelle Page:

just remember that everything will work out. . .this too will pass. . . God is at the helm and you will continue to thrive. . . you have always made your life happy and that isn’t going to stop now. . so come what may and you will still love it!

You aren’t going to let him take away the only thing you really have. .  your power to choose how you will react in any given situation. . .this is still your life. . and it is just about to get even more epic now that you are finally able to know what direction the both of you are moving. .. away from each other where there has been too much pain and manipulation, toward freedom, and a chance to redefine the relationship for the better

Friend:

That was great advice. I will be re-reading these texts from you every day

Janelle Page:

Just keep praying for the Lord to lead you along and He will. You will know what to do, and things will work out

Friend:

Thank you!

Janelle Page:

the Lord wants what is best for your children too because let’s face it. . they’re his children

and he cares about them more than you

I don’t mean that in a mean way. . I’m just saying they are ultimately his

He’s super invested

so you can take that to the bank and put it in his hands

He knows ultimately what will serve you, your husband, and your children best in the end, so you keep listening to that Holy Ghost and doing what He says, and then, whatever happens, will be just as it should be and just how God wants it to be

Friend:

That is a wonderful way to think

Janelle Page:

you will feel all the better for it. .. and when you really want to tell him what you think and where to go. . come punch my boxing bag or scream into your pillow 😉

Friend:

sorry to keep you up thanks for the great advice you really brightened my day

Janelle Page:

I thoroughly enjoyed EVERY single minute! Thanks  for thinking of me and for sharing your struggles. . .a shared struggle is so much better than struggling alone. Thanks for reminding me of all I’ve learned

xoxo

Friend:

Beautifully said ❤️hugs

I know time will heal

Janelle Page:

yes time heals all wounds.. .. or maybe it’s just that when the pain lessens we are better able to see

it’s really hard to look around and see all the good things when our leg is gashed and gushing blood

in this case. . it’s more like our heart is gashed and gushing blood haha

it’s not just a flesh wound

(monte python quote) 😉

Friend:

So well said.

Good night 💤

Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you!

Janelle Page:

xoxoxo .. . . . . it’s the worst feeling. . . I know. . . . I wish I could take it from you. . . just know I’ll be praying for you and wishing you SWEET dreams. .

and I’m sorry you have to go through this. . .but I’m also excited for you

Friend:

I am serious seriously going to read these text every time I feel these emotions and I’m going to use them for strength thanks again

❤️😍

Janelle Page:

it’s hard. ..  but everything hard I’ve ever done has always paid incredible dividends. . .

Friend:

I will have faith

Janelle Page:

me too! This is a totally treasurable thread!

Faith is something you have!

Friend:

You made my day

Janelle Page:

and just remember it is okay for your faith to falter. . in fact, it is when your faith falters, that Jesus really rescues. .

just think of Peter walking on the water. . .

it wasn’t until he despaired and started to sink that the Savior reached forth his hand to save him and lift him up

Friend:

Amazing truly amazing

Janelle Page:

sometimes we are too hard on ourselves and expect ourselves to behave perfectly. . . go ahead and be mad and doubt and get scared and worried.. . the crazier it gets, the more fun it must be for God. I have to imagine He loves the crazy. . because then His miracles appear even more AMAZING!

GOD LOVES THE CRAZY! 😉

post that on your bathroom mirror

Friend:

😂😱love it

We will talk some more soon thanks again. And I know it wasn’t an accident that you came into my life

Good night

Janelle Page:

right back at ya my friend xoxox I’m so in your corner! sleep tight!

And then my epic dream and the words I awoke with totally on my mind:

Remember to always position things in the best possible light!

I will expound on what exactly that means and my entire dream in tomorrow’s blog post.

Talked About Beliefs

Well, I just talked about beliefs and it went really well. I was pleased with where spirit directed my thoughts and with how well it was received. The audience was all nodding along and giving me out loud comments like “Amen” and “oh yes.” The real-time feedback was super fun.

I LOVE old people. First, they have so much wisdom–gleaned from time and experience. Second, they are just like little children in that they blurt out whatever they are thinking, and they talk super loudly. When I held up the picture of the old/young lady, some of the audience saw the old lady and some saw the young lady. I asked them who was right and who was wrong and it couldn’t have been

When I held up the picture of the old/young lady, some of the audience saw the old lady, and some saw the young lady. I asked them who was right, and who was wrong? It couldn’t have been more perfect because this adorable, old lady in the front row said, “There isn’t any old lady!” I said, “Well half of the audience insists there is.  Are you saying they are wrong?” She didn’t answer the question, but simply said, “I just don’t see it!”  I held up the picture higher and asked her if it would help if I bore my testimony that I knew there was an old lady in there? I said, “I testify that there is an old lady in this picture for I know this to be true.” I was being dramatic of course to make a point and the point was well made and well received.

I held up the picture higher and asked her if it would help if I bore my testimony that I knew there was an old lady in there? I said, “I testify that there is an old lady in this picture for I know this to be true.” I was being dramatic of course to make a point and the point was well made and well received.

I immediately shared Bertrand Russell’s quote about “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.” And then we discussed that it is our behavior, not our beliefs that make us great. I shared the part in my blog post from yesterday about Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and Jesus. It was their love that changed the world. The spirit zinged through my soul, and as I shook every single person’s hand after the sacrament meeting, many told me that was a most wonderful message and how much they loved and appreciated and agreed with it. They thanked me for helping them see something in a totally new way. It meant a lot to me to know that what has enlightened me, also enlightened them.

I closed my message by sharing my love for them and thanking them for sharing their love with me.  I enjoyed sitting up front and looking at them through the remainder of the meeting. I could see all their light. And after the meeting, I shook each and every one of their hands and asked their name and had some sort of lovely exchange. It fed my soul, and as I type this, I realize that my behavior of staying, shaking hands, and sharing compliments was what made me great today–not my words. I confessed my love in my talk, that is true, but those words were indelibly impressed upon their hearts by my actions thereafter. I did not premeditate any of the after meeting actions, and it is only now–as I write–that my heart warms with delight for I realize that I did not speak today in vain. My actions matched my message.

Talking About Beliefs

Looks like I’d better start talking about beliefs because tomorrow I’ve been asked to give a 10 min talk on honoring and staying true to your beliefs. That’s kind of an interesting topic for me to consider because personally, I believe that beliefs are fluid. They are always evolving and changing with time and experience. What I believe today is different than what I believed yesterday, and what I believe tomorrow will be different than what I believe today.

Some of my favorite thoughts on beliefs include:

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.

~Bertrand Russell (British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist and Nobel laureate)

Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.

And of course, Morpheus is always profound:

In response to captain who said, “Not everyone believes what you believe”, Morpheus replies: “My beliefs do not require them to”

Your beliefs don’t make you a free thinker. Your ability to change your mind based on new information does.

Beliefs are interesting things. I can tell you what I believe and some of it may ring true to you and some of it may not. I may believe that BYU is the finest university with the finest collegiate teams. You, however, may believe that the U of U is.  Who is right? Who is wrong?

Here’s the reality. I grew up a die hard Cougar fan. My father bled blue, and so did my entire family, until my dad became a professor at the U of U, my brother attended graduate school there, and the Huntsman U of U Hospital saved 3 of my family members from cancer. With time and experience, our die hard belief that that the Cougars are the best has changed.  We now love the Utes just the same. Who changed?

So when it comes to beliefs, I don’t know that giving a talk telling you to “honor” or be “true” to your beliefs is really the most important message that can be given about beliefs because how do you know your belief is more valid than someone else’s? I think any worthy discussion on beliefs must begin at the beginning. One must ask, “How are beliefs born?” “What determines an individuals’ beliefs? Have you ever asked yourself that question?

Beliefs are products of our nature, nurture, culture (societal, religious, familial), life experiences, geography, etc.). Have you ever wondered how your beliefs would differ from what you hold to be true today had you been born in a remote village in Nepal, India? Would you be sitting in a Mormon Sacrament Meeting today? What if you had been born an Eskimo in Eastern Siberia? Would you believe seal blubber to be the finest delicacy on the planet and prefer the freezing cold to the infernal heat? Check out this image:

What do you see? Who is right? Who is wrong? Those who first saw the old lady, were you right? Now that you see the young lady are you wrong? Or are both of you now just “enlightened” because you all now see more. Beliefs really are lame to talk about since we don’t really see things as they are, we see them as we really are.

You see, I don’t see a whole lot of merit in discussing the importance of standing for and honoring your beliefs because frankly, I don’t think beliefs are what make people great. No, I believe that it is our behavior, not our beliefs, that make us great. And the greatest way to behave is in LOVE. Love is the sine qua non (sahy-nee kwey non) or essential ingredient in greatness. Was it Martin Luther King’s belief in racial equality that made him great or was it the way he led the civil rights movement in love that inspired a nation to change? Would his “Dream” to “Let Freedom Ring” have inspired hearts had he bombed and blasted his way to greatness? No, Martin Luther King’s legacy lives on because he led in love. Gandhi was no different. His belief in a united, free India is not what made him great? No, it was his love for his fellow man. And what of Mother Teresa? Was it her belief in the Roman Catholic faith that made her great? And the way she defended those beliefs? Or was it her loving service that made her a literal saint?

Again I ask, what makes a man or woman great? Their beliefs or their behavior? Their religion or their love? Jesus, teaching on the shores of Galilee, said, “As I have loved you, love one another.” In the Sermon on the Mount, he proclaimed, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” And again, he spoke, “The first great commandment is to Love God with all thy heart, might, mind, and strength, and the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (on these hang all the laws and the prophets)”. To which a lawyer responded, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered by sharing the story of the Good Samaritan. He concluded by asking, “Who of these three was neighbor unto him who fell among thieves?” To which the lawyer responded, “He that shewed mercy on him.” Jesus responded, “Go and do thou likewise.” Isn’t it interesting that it was the Pharisees, lawyers and scribes beliefs that kept them from seeing God when he came in the flesh as their savior?” Brothers and Sisters, if we are not careful, our beliefs can likewise prevent us from seeing God in the flesh. Our brothers and sisters are all divine beings, offspring of the Most High. It isn’t our beliefs that matter. It is our love, for God is love, and are we not all god’s in training?

May our beliefs lead us to greater love and I am now done talking about beliefs!

Check Your Sources

So there has been a little drama regarding the missionary story shared by Elder Holland at a mission president’s conference. Here’s a link in case you never read it:

https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-holland-shares-account-of-missionary-speech-of-all-time-with-new-misson-presidents?lang=eng

The church had to recall the story as the ending wasn’t true:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865685840/Elder-Holland-withdraws-Church-News-missionary-story.html

There were a bunch of people saying that’s why you should always check your sources. I chimed in with my thoughts:

Perhaps that is why Jesus spoke in parables. . . so much easier than verifying sources.  Plus, who doesn’t love a good story—esp one illustrating a powerful principle? The parable/story of the Good Samaritan teaches us all how to be better human beings. Truth be told, when I first read Elder Holland’s story my thought wasn’t, “Oh that is just another proof that the Mormon church is true.” I thought, “God is so rad like that—constantly working miracles for his children irregardless of their race, religion, or faith. I love Him!”  

I believe that story could happen. I believe it would happen for a Jehovah’s Witness, or an Episcopalian Minister, or anyone sharing their faith. God is all about love and unity. He’ll work his magic to bring about connection and good everywhere for everyone. Not just for Mormons, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, or whoever is claiming their church is true.

So I’m not so sure you need to check your sources as much as you need to just trust your source. He is looking to lead, love and bless you every day and in every way.

Chihuly Chops

We did a lot today—like rode our bikes out to Bainbridge Island, explored Pike’s Marketplace and saw more Seattle city sites, but what impacted me most today was the Dale Chihuly Glass Garden and Museum. It was so phenomenally awe inspiring. I have acquired a deep love and appreciation for the passions and love of others. Dale loved working with glass and his devotion to his art led him to become a world renowned glass artist. He has created exhibits all over the world and they are stunning and remarkably creative. I wished my kids could see his creations. The underground sea display blew my mind as did his glass ceiling.

I also thoroughly enjoyed watching the video segments about his work. Watching him direct his teams and do his work reminds me of myself as I direct KickFire Marketing and lead my KickFire Crew. I want my children to follow their passions like I feel I’m doing and like Dale Chihuly has done. I find so much fulfillment and joy in my work and I also find so much enjoyment seeing others fulfill the measure of their creation through their creations.

Chihuly, thanks for inspiring me today. You got serious chops.

Seattle Sites

WOW! Today was remarkable! We saw so many Seattle sites. I woke up early and went walking all over Beacon Hill. It is such a beautiful area. I read my new numerology book and found out that my Name Number is 7 and my life number is 4.  Some of the stuff was fascinating, but some of it felt pretty far fetched. It was fun nonetheless and I agreed with much of my life number, mostly because it pinned me as a mystic and spiritualist. Spot on.

When Matt woke up we called Uber and had a driver take us out to Snoqualmie Falls. It was so gorgeous. We hiked to the lower falls after viewing the upper. The funnest part was hopping the fence to climb down to the falls. It was Cinque Terra all over again. Look how great our pics turned out.

After exploring the falls, we hitch-hiked a ride to Little Mt. Si with a couple from Costa Rica and Maryland. We offered to pay them, but they wouldn’t allow it, so we shared our handmade chocolates from Mercer Island and Matt helped her restore her iphone. It was fun to get to know them.

Mt. Si was a gorgeous hike that came highly recommended. I found a cool tree with a hole in it:

and we made it to the summit where you could see Tiger Mountain and barely the top of Mt. Ranier. We were hoping to get grand views of Mt. Ranier, but Tiger Mtn was blocking it. That’s okay though, because we had some incredible views of Mt Ranier on our bike ride out to Alki Beach.

After our 4 mile hike, we asked two ladies in the parking lot that were headed to Seattle if we could grab a ride with them. They were from the Czech Republic and we insisted on paying them $20. Which was a $30 savings from our Uber driver. They told us all about their country and lives and we had the most pleasant ride. It was so fun to hitch hike around like hippies and really get to know our fellow life travelers. 

We next rode to downtown and did the Seattle Underground Tour. It was so awesome to see how this city has been built on top of itself. The first Seattle had many problems (esp with their sewage) and thank goodness it burnt to the ground (which is a great story btw). They rebuilt on top of the old city and now there is an entire city under the city and we got to walk all over it. Who knew! I learned some awesome things about Seattle that I can’t wait to share.

After the Underground Tour, we grabbed some grub at Subway and ate with the homeless. A lady needed some food so we shared and then AC came and sat with us. I tried to buy him some food, but he was just interested in some friendly conversation. It was tender. We had another opportunity to help someone at the gas station by filling up their fuel can and it made me smile to know how much we had all relied on each other today. Some people helped us by giving us rides and we in turn helped others by sharing our money and our food. The interconnectedness and brotherhood/sisterhood is endearing.

We decided to catch an uber ride home from Alki Beach as we were pretty beat. And man the beach at Alki was SO awesome! We saw people playing volleyball, sitting around bonfires visiting, dancing, walking, biking, roller blading, longboarding and more. Such a fun night life. Oh and the city skyline at dusk was divine! Seattle, I love you!

Walt Whitman | Song of Myself | Part 48

I discovered this poem today by Walt Whitman called Song of Myself Part 48:

I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,
And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one’s self is,
And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his
own funeral drest in his shroud,
And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of
the earth,
And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod
confounds the learning of all times,
And there is no trade or employment but the young man
following it may become a hero,
And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the
wheel’d universe,
And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool
and composed before a million universes.

I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God
not in the least,
Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than
myself.

Why should I wish to see God better than this day?
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and
each moment then,
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own
face in the glass,
I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one is
sign’d by God’s name,
And I leave them where they are, for I know that
wheresoe’er I go,
Others will punctually come for ever and ever.

My favorite lines have to be :

And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of
the earth,

I hear and behold God in every object

Why should I wish to see God better than this day?
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and
each moment then,
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own
face in the glass,
I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one is
sign’d by God’s name,

For these are the ones that resonate most with me.

Eye Single to the Glory of God

Today in Relief Society our lesson was on service. We read the scripture about an eye single to the glory of God (D&C 88:118)

The instructor asked what we thought that meant in light of serving others. I raised my hand and shared that the Lord declared that his work and his glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39).  How does God accomplish this work?

Through Love.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son (John 3:16)

I told the class that the Savior redeems us through his love and his service. He set the great example for all of us. I shared my belief that God not only gave his only begotten son to redeem the world, but that he gave the world each one of us.

For God so loved the world He gave his sons and his daughters. . .

We are commanded to love and serve one another and by so doing we redeem one another, and we act as Saviors for each other. This is how we help God in His work of redeeming souls, and this is how we have an “eye single to the glory of God”–we help bring his children back into his presence eternally through love.

Apostasy and Revelation

We had an interesting lesson in Gospel Doctrine on Sunday. It was all about apostasy and revelation. I found the comments to the teacher’s question quite amusing despite the amazing ignorance.

The teacher queried:

Why do people apostacize from the church? Or what causes people to leave the church.

The answers included:

  • They’ve been offended
  • They were never fully in the church to begin with
  • They can’t live the commandments–basically, they have some secret sin(s)
  • They stop doing what they should be doing
  • It’s a sign of the times–even the very elect will be led astray
  • They’ve been deceived
  • They are proud
  • They refuse to repent
  • They can’t forgive
  • They are lazy–being a member of the church requires a lot of hard work

There were more answers, and while surely some of them may be true, I felt it was a judgmental, hypocritical, and shallow list at best. I refrained from sharing my thoughts till the very end. I guess I was secretly hoping someone else would speak up so I wouldn’t have to. Actually, I was wondering if anyone else was feeling what I was–which was embarrassment. I felt sad that no one else realized–or at least felt courageous enough to give voice to–what I think may be the number one reason people leave the church (or any native faith culture for that matter) and that is simply “they found something else that suits them better.”

Why do we have to make up sad stories about why people leave their original faith culture? Why does it have to be about sin, deception, pride, or prophecy? Why can’t it be about individuals seeking for answers and greater understanding? Why can’t it be about individuals awakening to a new spiritual path?

Why don’t we tell the story about children who inherited their parents’ beliefs and who as they grow begin to discover additional truths that serve them better? Many don’t want to leave their faith culture (it’s their culture, hello!), but their feelings of separateness intensify as they sit through lessons where they are reminded that they don’t believe as their fellow members do. And to borrow Elder Holland’s parable of the choir, perhaps after trying to sing the songs of redeeming love when the words on the sheet music supplied no longer ring true, they realize it’s time to find another choir in which to sing as they still desire to raise their voice in praises to their King.

And so raise my hand and voice did I –and boldly did I cry (haha I’m just being a dork with all my rhyming):

I think some people leave simply because they find something else that’s a better fit.

And it is–and was–just that simple. Wouldn’t it truly be wonderful if we all could love a little more and be a whole lot less judgmental? Indeed, sticking to your beliefs takes gumption, and courage, ’tis noble and commendable–but condemning and judging others for following theirs is annoyingly hypocritical.

Cuddling With My Cat

Today I learned a lot while cuddling with my cat. Actually, it was my cat that started cuddling with me. Don’t believe me? I have proof. Check out his paws.

He’s got them totally wrapped around me. I was typing my blog post when Sox hopped onto my lap. I was busy, and considered ignoring him so I could get my work done, but I found it difficult to resist his overtures.

I set aside the laptop and began to pet him. In fact, I found him so adorable, that I grabbed him tight and began to give him a big ‘ole squeeze. The moment I tightened my grip he prepared to spring away and escape. Being restrained is something that Sox hates. And that wasn’t what he was looking for when he decided to join me. Quickly, I loosened my grip and decided to give him love the way he wanted it.

The minute I relinquished my hold and instead started stroking his head–just like he loves–Sox relaxed and settled down onto my lap. He began his roaring purr. And that’s when my epiphany occurred. In that moment, I realized the importance of loving others the way they want to be loved–not the way I want to love them. You see, I want to hold and squeeze Sox. I want to hold him tight and rock him back and forth like he’s my little baby. Sox, however, doesn’t want to feel restrained. He wants to have me stroke his head, his back, and under his chin. When I gave up on what I wanted to give and instead gave him what he wanted to receive, we connected in a more powerful and meaningful way.

I’m grateful for the lessons I learned today from cuddling with my cat. First, I learned that I need to be willing to set aside whatever I may be trying to accomplish when someone comes calling for love. Second, I need to resist the urge to give others what I think they need, or what I want to give, and instead, I will look for the ways in which they would like for me to meet their needs. I will give them love in the manner they desire to receive.  And we will both be blessed.