I asked several people to give me their thoughts and insights on several aspects of life. Ginny (age 7) and Aubree (age 5) are my nieces. Papaw (age 78) is my mom’s dad. Renee’ (age 31) and Sandra (age 28) are my sisters. I also asked my father (age 53) for advice. There words and advice offer so much sunshine on a rainy day.
Renee’: As a child, you can not wait for it to happen and when it does begin to set in, happen, and become a reality, you long to be a child again.
Dad: I’m Popeye the sailor man. I’m Popeye the sailor man.
I eat me spinach to make me strong. I’m Popeye the sailor man.
As a child I thought as a child and wanted to grow up. Growing up cultivated and refined the child.
An optimistic child grew into a man, yet, I’m 53 years old and still growing up.
I no longer think as getting tall and strong as the grown up thing. I am a child of God.
Ginny: [I want to be] a teacher at Richland and I hope I teach science
Aubree: I want to grow up because you get to do what you want, play outside, drive cars, and go to the stores.
Sandra: As a kid, you can’t wait to grow up, as an adult, you wish you were still a kid! Being grown up is hard and not as “freeing” as you would suspect.
Papaw: It would be nice to be able to stay 10-12 years old, with Dreams, and not have to deal with the real world.
Me: Growing up is hard. Your childhood dreams don’t always come true. However, when you look back you realize life has turned out even better than you could have dreamed.
Renee’: I do not have too much to say on this one, except I want to be a cute old lady. I want to be one that people enjoy to be around. I hope I age well and am able to watch my babies grow up and begin their own lives.
The experience that comes with aging leads to wisdom. A teenage child may feel like she knows it all. During the aging process she learns about life’s many angles. Depression, worry and illness, (though unpleasant), will make love, joy, and health twice as sweet.
Mortality is a wonderful experience. Time passes. The righteous young at heart are forever young. The spirit lives forever.
Ginny: [I’ll be] taking care of children, working, and having children.
Aubree: You have to clean up after yourself.
Sandra: I guess aging is better than the alternative, dying. I wake up every morning noticing that I look a little older, I have smile wrinkles now. I wonder when that happened.
Papaw: Aging is a natural process of living. Not to age is to die young. But, you would make a pretty corpse.
Me: It’s inevitable. So live well, love much, and laugh often. You can never have your today back. It’s the only today you get!
Renee’: Childhood passes too quickly. Enjoy being a child while you can. Sometimes, I think I let mine pass by way to quickly. I wanted so bad to be :grown up" that I missed some of the moments that many young people enjoy. As I child, I learned the value of hard work. I often said I was already a momma because I thought I was to my younger siblings. There is only one thing I regret about my childhood, I wish I would have been kinder to my siblings and showed my parents more respect. I was not a kind child.
Dad: “Eat your food, there are people in Africa starving”
Fun, wrestling, swimming, fishing, friends, family, ponies, climbing trees, hide and seek, freeze tag, 1st grade, tooth fairy, Christmas, Easter, laughter, spankings, climbing, dogs, cats, cows, chickens, summer breaks, Neapolitan ice milk, take out the trash, mow the yard.
Ginny: [It’s the] best because you do not have to worry about taking care of children and you get to swim and little pools and have more energy.
Aubree: You get to pick out movies to watch and you get sent to your room.
Sandra: Childhood is being shielded from the harsh reality of life from your parents. We teach children to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. We create these things for their happiness. It extends to summer evenings chasing fireflies and carefree days by the lake -- fictions made possible by parents who do not permit the dark shadow of reality to disturb the innocence of their kids. We learn in childhood to love, to dream, and how we are supposed to fit into this world.
"Childhood ends when we realize that Santa Claus is make-believe and the monster in the closet is for real."
"We do not realize how fragile our childhood was until it becomes our turn to play the grown-up."
Papaw: I grew up during and after The Great Depression. Most people had clothing and food. My recollection is of hurrying home after school, grabbing my rifle, and heading to the Forked Deer River bottom to hunt or fish or of hearing mother sing and daddy playing his harmonica.
Me: Childhood was a cherished time for me. I couldn’t wait to grow up, but now I wish I were a child again. When I was a child, anything could happen. I believed in fairy tales and prince charming. Now, it is hard not to see the dragon.
Renee’: Stressful. There is so much emphasis in the LDS world to get married. You are taught, you marry whom you date. You stress about if you look good enough and you think and rethink every little word and action that happens on a date. Dating can be a time to explore and truly come to know the characteristics you want in a spouse. Also, when you are married, I think it is important to still go on occasional dates with your sweetheart.
Dad: Latter Day Saints are luckier than many others when it comes to dating. They are taught not to rush things. Take your time and enjoy good company. Date good people. I wish everyone could experience a proper date. Don’t jump the gun and rush into things.
Ginny: [Go to a] nice place and have dinner with someone you really want to be with and get to know them better than you know someone else.
Sandra: I have been hurt, I have hurt others, BUT I have LOVED, and I have been LOVED. Love is worth all the risk and the hurt. I'm not saying it's easy but I think we all have to take the chance and do it. We have to let each experience change us and we have to grow!
Put yourself out there in the beginning, put yourself out there in the middle, go all in, put your fearless heart into someone else's hands, and jump into what could be an amazing experience. All relationships end one of 2 ways, see how it works take the chance! Yes, you may get hurt (all except for one ends with someone getting hurt) but you might not. You might learn things you never thought imaginable, you may feel feelings that are beyond description, you might even love.
It's so sad when people become jaded with love and dating. Or they lose hope and believe it's not meant for them. NOT ME, NO WAY . I like meeting new people, trying new things, I like the weirdness at the beginning, the first time they hold my hand, anticipating the kiss, calling/texting all my girlfriends about him, getting excited when he calls, and I have hope there is someone out there who is enjoying life as much as I am, preparing to meet me.
Papaw: Dating is as natural as eating. Opposite sexes always attract each other. Humanity. Choose your mate through prayer and by studying God’s word. Many boys and girls make the mistake of judging a prospect by their physical stature and gift for talking. Make sure they are a Christian (i.e. baptized in Jesus name, Acts 2:38) and have been filled by God’s spirit.
Me: Dating is hard. It takes courage to ask someone on a date. You are scared of rejection. However, I know that when I find someone that I can date and fall in love with all the rejection I have faced will seem minuscule.
Renee’: Marry in the temple.I love being married. I find so much joy in having a family. Marriage takes work and not just work from one person. I remember before Jake and I were sealed, the sealer told us a few things but the thing I remember most is to "always put the other person first", "always communicate", and live the gospel. Create a home where love abides and the Spirit resides
Dad: “O be wise, what can I say more?”
True love comes from sacrifice. Listen, be patient, give without expecting praise. Weaknesses will become strengths as both individuals work on them with patience & love. Be willing to give your life in service for your eternal partner.
However, it takes two to tango. “How sweet it is to be loved by you”
Ginny: [Marry] at the temple. I like it because you get to live with the person you really love.
Aubree: I want to get married, you get to have kids and dress them.
Sandra: He is not perfect. She is not perfect. The question is whether or not they are perfect for each other. I am learning to take the risk, I am learning to jump in, I believe I deserve the best and that is exactly what I plan to get. And in return, I plan to be the best.
Papaw: Marriage is one of God’s commandments. (i.e. if you can’t abstain, marry) Choose a mate as you would choose to date, wisely. It is a give and take commitment. With patience you can have a good marriage as your love grows. I don’t believe in divorce.
Me: I have a strong desire to get married. I want to be a wife and mom more than anything in the world. However, I won’t settle for someone who will not make me happy in the long run.
Renee’: The greatest joy, sadness, and worrying lies in becoming a mother. You feel a little piece of heaven when each child is born. It is through my children that I know most strongly that I have a loving, Father in Heaven. Children are care free. They are so funny to watch as they learn and explore the world around them. Children are also very impressionable. It is our responsibility as parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles, teachers, and leaders to help our little ones begin to develop a testimony of the gospel. They watch us and mimic us. Children do not realize the life and future that lies before them. I want nothing but the best for my rays of sunshine on rainy days.
Dad: The future lies here.
Unconditional love is found in children. “…submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, ….” Mosiah 3:19
Ginny: I want to have two children. I would love to take care of them and watch them grow up and see them be a missionary and become a father or mother.
Aubree: If you do not have children then you get to be an old lady.
Sandra: I love children. I love how uninhabitant they are. They see the world the way it should be seen. They love everyone and know no real fear.
Papaw: The Lord said, “Go forth and multiple.” Some take this more seriously than others. I don’t think you should have more children than you can afford to supply their needs. Above all, love them all unconditionally.
Me: I can’t wait to be a mother! I love children and how they view the world. To them everything is so simple. Children don’t make things complicated like adults do. They are true examples of how we should be. That is why we should “liken ourselves unto a little child.”
Renee’: Honestly, I do not want to die. I want to continue to experience life and grow old to watch my little ones progress and see who they grow into. With that said, I do believe there is life after death and if I am not able to grow old, I know families are eternal...what great hope and comfort that provides.
Dad: When you’re good, it’s good
When you’re bad, it’s bad
Ginny: Here is the good thing about dying, you actually get to live in heaven with Heavenly Father.
Aubree: You live with Heavenly Father.
Sandra: What can be said, it happens to everyone. I'm not the type to be sad about it. We have the knowledge of eternal families so when it happens we know what will happen.
Papaw: I used to worry about dying. But after my meeting with Jesus (in October 1992), I do not have any fear of leaving this world. My hope is with my Lord, Jesus Christ. Through his amazing grace and my faith I have been redeemed for eternity if I live for Him until the end. The old must die so the young can also travel this road of life.
Me: Death is inevitable. We cannot prevent it. We cannot predict when it will happen to us. Some people have their lives cut short. It is essential that we are always prepared to die and meet our Maker. If we do this, we need not fear.
Renee’: What a beautiful place. There is so much beauty in our little world. I want to make the world a little better place for someone just by being in it. There is a lot of chaos and misconceptions in the world but how blessed can we be to know truth and be able to enjoy the beauty and good in the world.
Dad: Take time to smell the roses
Fragrant beautiful flowers, amazing sights, creatures great and small, pleasant spring breezes, brilliant fall colors, fresh baked cookies, warm loving families, song birds, sweet melodies, children’s’ laughter. Eternity.
The world is what you make of it. Focus on the good. Take time to smell the roses.
Ginny: I think people should ride their bikes, walk or roller skate instead af just driving their car because it gets oil on the earth that should not be there and you get to exercise by doing those things.
Sandra: You must live in the world without being a part of the world. It is a strange place with lots of different people. Things can look good that are bad. It's not always cool to do the right thing. We are told how to look and act. We have to be strong and show character and we will survive.
Papaw: Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing on our modern day world. Each morning at church we pray for the Lord to reveal through their clergies, church leaders, etc the plan of salvation of Jesus and the growing feeling of the coming again of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I would love to take all my loved ones and friends to heaven with me, but I know that is not likely.
Me: The world is a place filled with many wonders. I will never completely understand how it works or all the people inside it. Those things really aren’t the important things in life though.
Renee’: We must forgive everyone. Sometimes it can be very hard, especially when it involves someone we care deeply for. To forgive is divine. When we hold a grudge or do not forgive, we are not living life to its fullest. We can not enjoy life and experience the greatest happiness if we have discontent feelings for another in our hearts. I have learned that life just seems better when I get over things and try to see the good in everyone. We never know what is going in a persons life and they truly my have not meant to offend us or hurt us. Sometimes the greatest battle a person faces is fought in the silent chambers of their own souls. We must also forgive ourselves.
It is easier to forgive than the sinner to forget. A forgiving heart finds peace in the soul.
I forgive all mankind for foul deeds toward me. I often find myself regretting the hardships that my foul deeds put on others. I wish I had not been so mean and inconsiderate. Their forgiveness makes me more determined to do good toward mankind.
Ginny: If I hurt someone, I would actually say I am sorry, give them a hug and tell them why they are a good friend or sister.
Aubree: Say sorry and tell the mom.
Sandra: It's easy to want to be forgiven but hard to ask for and even harder to give. But in life to be truly happy you have to be willing to forgive others. We all make mistakes, we all have to be forgiven for things. Remember no one is perfect, including you.
Papaw: If you plan on entering the gates of heaven, you must forgive everyone.
Me: I often let my pride interfere too much. I am too prideful to forgive or to ask for forgiveness in many cases. We must humble ourselves. It is not our responsibility to judge others, no matter how tempted we are to do so.
The Perfect Day
Renee’: Is a day that my kids do not argue at all. I love days when the sun is shining and there is a slight breeze. A perfect day is one spent with my family where I feel fulfilled.
Dad: Beautiful bright millennial day
Ginny: Being with my family the whole day and not having to go to school.
Aubree: Playing with dogs, taking care of my brother, jumping on trampoline, swimming, and taking off your pants and just play in the rain in your shirt and panties.
Sandra: I know what my perfect day would include. It would include those that I love that love me too. It would include peace, love, happiness, no stress, a marriage proposal, family, friends, maybe a beach, lots of fun things. (You like how I tried to sneak a marriage proposal in there!)
Papaw: To know that all my family, friends, and neighbors were saved!
Me: A perfect day would be a bright sunny day. The wind would be lightly blowing and I would feel as if I could fly. It would be spring time and the world all around me is covered in green. I’d read a book outside in a hammock and drink ice cold water. I would be at peace with myself and with everything and everyone around me.
What Animal Would You Be
Renee’: A kangaroo. A kangaroo is able to care for her young and still hop around. I am a busy body but prefer to keep my kids with me most of the time, although an occasional break is nice. A kangaroo has that pocket to, I could pout stuff in there and not misplace it. I do not know much about them, so maybe I should research them a little more before I decide to me one but I hope they stay with their clan forever.
Dad: Wild Goose
I would rather be a man.
Cooperate, make the V. Fly, fly my friend; over mountain and veal, valley and hill. Look at life; sparkling streams, clear lakes, fresh vegetation and family. Life is wonderful.
Ginny: I'd say a cheetah because the run wild and do whatever they want and not have to be bothered about anything.
Aubree: A dog, Charlie, because he gets to fight with people and live with James. (James is her uncle)
They overlook everything. They are tall and thin. I think they are magnificent.
Papaw: A stud horse: to have all my pretty mares and children to love and play with. And I wouldn’t be killed for food.
Me: I’d be a monkey. I’ve always had a fascination with them. They just seem like they are always having fun. I don’t think I have ever seen a sad monkey.
Goodbyes and Death
Renee’: I do not like saying good bye to people. I miss them. Maybe it is too fresh right now because I bid my brother and his family farewell last week and already miss them. However, I do firmly believe that most all good byes are more like "till we meet again" and that is comforting.
Dad: Goodbye goes with Hello so easily nowadays.
High speed multimedia text messaging, cell phones, and email make pony express goodbyes history.
Till we talk again,
Ginny: I had to say good bye to someone, like Seth, I would actually give him a hug and say he was the best cousin and if someone in my family died, I would actually be really sad because they are a really good member.
Aubree: One of worst things I can do because I do not have parents and I will be alone with Heavenly Father.
Sandra: Seems so permanent. I prefer see you laters.
Papaw: Death is sure. If we died in Christ, we will rise to meet Jesus at the resurrection. If we are still living when he returns, those who are saved will follow the dead to meet Him in the air.
I would prefer to part expecting to meet my people in heaven; no goodbyes.
Me: I’d prefer to believe their really isn’t such a thing as a permanent goodbye. You never know when you will run across an old friend again. After all, it’s a small world.