what is a squiggle?

According to fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Hill, a squiggle is a beginning point, a small, wiggly line on a page with the potential to become something more--a brilliantly drawn fifth-grade picture!

A beginning point. A silly phrase from my preschooler, my teenager rolling his eyes, or my kindergartner deleting my entire 3rd chapter...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Scripture Squiggle: James 5:11

"Behold, we count them happy which endure..."

I've been thinking about my freshman daughter, Sami, who tried out for the volleyball team at the beginning of the year. On the Friday they were to find out who made the team, Sami and a two other girls were asked to come back on Monday for a final decision. Sami was pretty excited.
She'd started attending open gym over the summer, since she had never played volleyball before. She couldn't serve or bump, but being the diligent girl that she is, she kept practicing and was thrilled that she actually had a shot at the team.

When she came home from school that Monday, she struggled to hold back her tears as she explained that the number of positions available had been cut, so the coach asked her to be a manager. Sami had accepted the position. She hoped that she could still practice with the team and maybe improve enough to be a player as a sophomore. We all were hoping that if any players quit or were removed from the team throughout the season, that maybe she would get moved up to player.

Of course, as parents, my husband and I were thrilled to have our daughter exhibiting such strong character, and although we grumbled a bit about the times for practices and games, we gave her our full support.

A week or so went by and Sami seemed to be enjoying her job as manager. She talked nonstop when she came home about everything that happened in volleyball and school. Then the games started.

And I'm not talking about volleyball games. As players began to get kicked off the team for bad attitudes and failing grades, Sami's hopes for playing would climb, only to be dashed by her coach as she brought freshman players down from the JV and Varsity teams to play in games. During practices, the coach would sometimes throw Sami into a scrimmage and then compliment her on how well she played. Then the next game, she refused to listen to Sami's pleas for a chance to play.

We knew things were bad when Sami started talking about how much she wished she'd joined cross country instead. As good parents, we encouraged her to "endure to the end" and that when it was over she'd feel good about herself. She resolved not to let her coach get to her, despite being taking out of a scrimmage game for running off the court to kick a loose ball out of the way of another girl who was moving back to make a play and was about to trip over it.

Sami was doing okay until the uniform incident. She dealt stoically with her coaches hints about letting her play, and then refusal to do so. Every day she showed up to practice or games with a renewed determination to just do her best, even if only on the sidelines.

Then one day, a few days after Sami found out that the JV manager had been promoted to player, just before the first game started, the coach tossed Sami a uniform and walked away. If Sami's anything like me, her heart had to have been slamming around in excitement. She jumped from the bench and ran after her coach.

"What's this for?" she asked hopefully.

"I want you to hold it."

Hold it? The coach wanted her to hold a uniform? That was definitely the low point of freshman volleyball for Sam. She realized that her coach was just toying with her, and more than ever she wanted to emerge stronger for it. Sami kept going to practices, hoping everyday that her coach would at least let her play in the scrimmages and praying for the day she could play in a game.

The school's last game is on Sami's birthday. Yesterday, with just two practices to go, she mentioned to her coach that her birthday was the day of the last game.

"We should do something special for you on your birthday," her coach told her.

"You could let me play!" Sami supplied.

Her coach laughed and walked away.

Sami told us that story last night with a shrug of her shoulders and a smile. Today I saw her carrying her knee pads out the door when she and her brother left for Early Morning Seminary.

Right now, Sami is my inspiration for enduing...and we count her happy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Scripture Squiggle: Doctrine and Covenants 121:38

"Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God."

I remember a Sunday School lesson a few years ago when I first learned about "pricks" (before that I always thought they were thorns). A prick is a sharp spear that people used to get animals moving. The stubborn animal would often kick back against it, and the tool would hurt them even more. I'd like to think I'm smarter than that, and that one poke would be enough for me, but maybe I'm wrong.

When I'm being particularly stubborn about something, refusing to admit I did something stupid or made a mistake, my husband always asks me "Is this about pulling out the bed?"

Okay, not my finest moment. I don't even know why I told him the story in the first place. I spent my first two semesters at BYU living in Deseret Towers. My roommate's sister lived nearby, so she often spent nights at her house, leaving me alone in our room. Such was the case on my first night in Provo. I went through my usual evening routine, and then eyed the narrow bed that looked more like a couch. I shrugged my shoulders and figured I could fit, so I climbed in and went to sleep.

Sometime during the night, my roommate returned. She was still sleeping when I got up, but her bed seemed bigger than mine. I left the room to take a shower, and when I came back, my roommate was up making her bed. I watched as she gave the bed a slight lift and pushed it back into its couch position. Ohhh so that's how it worked.

I think things would have been okay if she hadn't then turned to me and asked, "I saw you sleeping last night, didn't you know the beds pull out?"

But instead of saying, "No, I didn't" my stubborn streak kicked in and I said, "Of course. I just like it better not pulled out." And, as the scripture implies, this stubbornness only hurt me more than admitting my ignorance would have.

I spent the rest of my time in DT Towers sleeping on a bed that was NOT pulled out.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Scripture Squiggle: 2 Nephi 10:23

"Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves--to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life."

This scripture struck me this morning. We've had a lot of negative things happening in our lives lately, and I was starting to feel like we're trapped in a hole with now way out. But when I read this scripture, I was comforted. I felt like the Lord was speaking directly to me: Brenda, cheer up your heart! You have good things in your life, too!

I thought about all of the things we are facing, and I realized that it isn't so much what happens to us in life, but how we respond to events. No matter what, we have the ability to choose between good and evil. This is a gift that God has given us, and NO ONE can take it away, although Satan tries to convince us that they can.

We can let the need to buy a new A/C unit frustrate us and make us angry, or we can accept it, find a way to make it work, and move on to new and more exciting trials. The choice is ours, and personally, I'd rather have a cheerful heart than an angry one.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

1 Nephi 16:1-2

"And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of speaking to my brethren, behold they said unto me: Thou hast declared unto us hard things, more than we are able to bear.
And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center."

This verse came to mind yesterday as I was reading some negatvie comments regarding President Packer's talk given during conference. How right Nephi was--the wicked do take the truth hard, and are unwilling to accept it as God's word; instead they try to justify themselves and find fault with a prophet of God.

I suppose such negative remarks shouldn't bother me so much, but President Packer has always been my favorite speaker out of all of the general authorities, and I really enjoyed his directness and openness as he spoke about purity. My husband told me not to worry about it--the unwillingness of others to accept God's truths doesn't prevent me from accepting it, but I keep hoping that somehow the rest of the world will get it! But the people of God have always stood against the world, and it will ever be so.

I am glad we are led by men who are not afraid to speak the truth, despite the opposition of the world. I thought of President Packer and the other prophets who spoke to us during conference weekend when I read 2 Nephi 8:7 this morning:

"Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart I have written my law, fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings."

Those inspired men who lead the church are these righteous people that the Lord is referring to. I'd like to be one of them, too.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Amos 3:7

"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets"

I thought this scripture was appropriate, since Conference starts tomorrow. In the October general conference in 2005, Paul V. Johnson spoke on The Blessings of General Conference.
The following are quotes from his talk:

"In order for the messages of general conference to change our lives, we need to be willing to follow the counsel we hear."

"Every time we are obedient to the words of the prophets and apostles we reap blessings. We receive more blessings than we can understand at the time, and we continue to receive blessings long after our initial decision to be obedient."

"Decide now to make general conference a priority in your life. Decide to listen carefully and follow the teachings that are given. Listen to or read the talks more than once to better understand and follow the counsel. By doing these things, the gates of hell will not prevail against you, the powers of darkness will be dispersed from before you, and the heavens will shake for your good."