Monday, December 10, 2018

Tis the season.

I caved.
After days of Hub's begging for the big tree, I pulled it out.
She promised to help.
She didn't.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

3 reasons why I don't like my ward.

I overcame something this year that was a big deal for me. I accepted the position in church as the ward pianist. I've been playing the piano since I was an 8 year old, but I have some pretty amazing stories of skipping recitals, needing to reschedule exams and one important improv piano competition that I refused to attend when I was 14. I'm quite terrified, every week, when I have to sit up there and play the piano for the ward. I try not to turn around to see who is all there, but it won't matter .. if there was one person there or one thousand, the trembling is the same. I don't know what it is, but it's been a part of me since my first recital playing "From a Wigwam".

A few weeks ago at church I played a song that was more for the oldies. "O my Father", hymn number 292. It's one of the only hymns in the church that makes mention to having a Heavenly Mother. Once sacrament was finished I got a lot of bad feedback on the choice of song, but no one tried to sing it. My nieces confirmed that they didn't pay attention to the lyrics to see heavenly mother even mentioned. I don't know that anyone did in my ward.

So this is one of the reasons I don't like my ward. Many are quick to bite about something, but few are eager to try.

A song is a wonderful kind of thing,
So lift up your voice and sing!
Just start a glad song, let it float, let it ring,
And lift up your voice and sing!
We shall make music to brighten the day;
Music will help us to lighten the way.
Lift up your voice! Lift up your voice!
Lift up your voice and sing!

So sing you mother fathers.

No one, absolutely no one is pro-active in the ward, as a whole. We are a complacent bunch. This has me leaving church after sacrament every week. In 4 weeks we'll drop down to the new time slot given in the last general conference. 2 hours. I'm pretty ecstatic about that because of reason number 3.

I've entered the lobby a-plenty-o-times at church on Sundays to, if not my own name, a family members name leaving the mouths of the women who sit on the couches and "discuss important issues". I have family members who don't come to church because of that talk. The judgement. The assumptions based on social media.

The best one?
Those Reid's think they're better than everyone else and are snobby.

We're a peculiar bunch because our parents taught us to stick together and trust each other and they learned that from my Grandfather who had people in the community feel and talk the exact same way about him. I have always been taught to stick with family. At any church event that my extended family go to, like a magnet we seem to find each other and stick to a corner. It's not snobbery, it's just something that has been neurologically placed with a biological assurance.

I sound jaded.
Not my intention.
So how do I fix this.

Understanding that we are all human and we have emotions that bring out both the best and beast in us all. At some point in everyone's church life, you have not been happy being around certain ward members. There's two solutions to this. Keep going to church or stop going to church.

Having charity towards those who offend you. It's not easy to do, but it's doable, just like singing every Sunday is doable. If Charity is the pure love of Christ as we're taught, then we have to follow the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves. It's not easy or comfortable to do, but it is possible, via charity, to look past the insults.

Figure out who you are going to church for.
You or them.

Monday, December 3, 2018

It's December.

A few months ago I blogged about the head chef at work who is a widow and how I asked her if she wanted me to do her husbands, and other family members, temple work. She said yes before I could explain what that was exactly and mentioned how one of her grand-daughters had just joined the church and felt she'd finally found her place in life.

I didn't wait to load names and dates into and requested the ordinances in the app with her permission. The app tells you when the temple has printed the names for the work and lets you know when the work has been completed. I looked every day for about a month before I stopped, but decided to have a look yesterday to see that two of the four parts of her husbands temple work had been completed on the 21st of November. I wrote a reminder on my hand this morning to tell her that his work has been started and at the very least, he's been baptized and confirmed. The reminder washed off over the busy morning.

It's typical for the staff to sit down after lunch and have a brief pow-wow about our weekend, what's going on at home etc. She started the conversation today by relaying an experience she had already told a few of the other staff that happened a few weeks ago. Before she began the story she reiterated that she knows this wasn't a dream. It was very real.

Laying in bed one night, partially asleep, she felt someone nudge her a few times then her husbands voice finally say, 'Move over Lee'. She said she pulled the bed spread back, as she always did when they were going to bed, and moved over. She doesn't remember anything else after that, but she woke up in the morning in the middle of her bed with the bed spread pulled back.

She said in the 8 years that he has been gone, she has never felt an impression that he was there and never had an experience that he was around her, until that night - the 21st of November.

The theology of heaven and the afterlife in the LDS church brings reassurance when you understand it. It's in the bible and we receive it through modern day revelation. Larry prepared me for his death in more ways than I thought. Our belief is that the afterlife is a place of rest, so when he died after years of fighting, his death bought much comfort because I knew that now he could rest. He had no more fight left in him the night before he died and comfort would not have come the next day if I didn't have something to believe in.

And should we die before our journey’s through, Happy day! All is well.

We believe the spirit world to be here on earth and, though a veil separates us, in reality our loves ones who have departed are among us. Joseph Smith taught, "They are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and motions, and are often pained therewith". Again, this is comforting because what we think is lost in death, is actually enhanced across the veil.

Because of experiences I've had since Larry's death, I know that wasn't a dream my co-worker had. When everyone else looked at her funny across our kitchen staff table, I knew that she experienced something amazing that will touch her enough to want to know more, but even before that .. she was a faithful wife despite not having any knowledge of the gospel.

The atonement is for everyone.

Happy December Internets.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

6 years.

Photos from last week.

Sunset last week.

Thanksgiving was had ..

She fractured her elbow two hours before thanksgiving. I found a bit of solace being in the same place he died 6 years ago.

... and we ended the day with the reason we observe this day as "thanksgiving".
Thankful that he is no longer suffering.
Thankful that I will see him again, perfected.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Roses in bloom.

This was one of the last photos I took of Larry.

I'm sure I've mentioned that before, but we know when we're nearing the date of his death - despite it being etched forever in our minds - at the efflorescence of our Old English Roses.
They bloomed during the week.

Our kids took the reigns and decided that Thanksgiving is a go this year.

End of a long week.

We're in exam season now for High Schools in New Zealand. Seniors are all on study leave until their exam days. We had the Leavers Dinner at work on Friday night and I manned the kitchen so the actual kitchen staff could sit down and enjoy dinner, which was really a celebration for everyone getting through the year.

The dinner was the best they'd had in years, perhaps ever. We had a vision and we went for it despite the extravagance. After a year students and staff deserve some much needed luxury.

The only stupid thing was that I wore jandals (flip flops) on a 12 hour shift. Still have sore legs and feet 2 days later.

Monday, November 5, 2018


My sister turned 38 yesterday. This was her idea despite it being on my To Do list for 2018. If you read New Zealand history, you’ll meet Barnett Burns, a trader from England, who became the first white man to get a full facial Maori tattoo, the ta moko. The story is that to avoid being eaten he had to agree to be fully tattooed on his face, chest, thighs and arms as a sign of loyalty to the tribe wanting to make a meal out of him.

My grandfather always said, “God before Maoridom”. This is why we never had much to do with our Marae. This is why none of us are fluent in te reo (the Maori language). I don’t doubt what my grandfather has taught us, but I’ve grown to appreciate Maori culture since working at a Maori school this year and realised that our culture deserves to be revived in my family. It’s absolutely possible to be a God loving Maori.

So there are two reason for my ta moko. One to identify and the other to show my loyalty to the people I love in the same way Barnett Burns, my 4th great grandfather did.
Ta moko.

The outside design/shape is “all” .. “Atua” .. essentially, God.
The one who holds us together.

Larry is represented in the double koru facing down towards the earth when in resting position and upward to the heavens when roused. Follow his koru up towards my elbow and you’ll find the lock that binds us. The koru branching right is myself.

I had a long hard think about how many koru I’d have in my ta moko and I don’t think anyone would disagree when they see three koru where there should probably only be one. My relationship with my niece Tyler goes beyond Aunty/niece. This is common knowledge so it shouldn’t be surprising to see that I’ve placed her and our Stiddy boy in my piece with Hubs between Larry and I.

The color is Hubba’s favorite color and my link to the South West.
Turquoise, which doubles as the color of the paua shell.

The original plan was for me and my sister to get matching sister tattoos. All day yesterday we were still undecided about what we would get. Our tattooist came up with something similar with the same colors.

Hers on her shoulder with her four kids and husband.

We also got what you call strips.  Sisters on her spine and mine on my right arm. 
These represent my siblings as birds and parents, the stars.

Not gonna lie ... it hurt like a son of a bitch.
Gonna have to wear long sleeve shirts until God calls my grandmother home .. like how I walked backwards for six years when around Aunty Hop so she didn’t see the tattoo on my ankle.

Kudos and shout out to Wairingaringa Toi of TingiTatt Native for the awesome work.