Monday, April 20, 2015

My thoughtful response to "Meet the Mormon" naysayers.

I composed this blog post months ago. I barely remember writing it. 
Then today, I was in my "drafts." And I realized I just as well share it as keep it in a box for later. It may need a good bet of editing for clarity, but whatever.


Have you ever spoken to you child from another room, not in a shout, but still with enough volume that you could reasonably expect him/her to hear you? When doing so, have you ever not gotten a response? Me too. 

Lately, it has become somewhat troubling how easily they tune me out, especially when they're wearing headphones, and are relatively engrossed in something on a screen. It may be youtube, it may be a video game, or it may be a meaningless app like bejeweled blitz. Either way, they are missing the message. I speak their name louder... and louder... and eventually the message gets through. It's dinner time. I need you help with something. It's time to get ready for the ball game.  Any of the above messages should have been received the first time, but due to distractions, I had to repeat myself, again and again, with my simple instruction.

I can't help but feel like in this personification, we catch a glimpse of what is happening when there's a message that Heavenly Father is trying to tell us, but because of the distractions of this life, we are missing His message. We're instead focusing on something else that is keeping us from hearing our Heavenly Father's voice, which He is definitely sending, whether we are in tune to that message or not.


Different approach...

It's interesting. Naysayers is actually the perfect word. A naysayer, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is "one who denies, refuses, opposes, or is skeptical or cynical about something." 

The release of the new movie, "Meet the Mormons" while lovely and without guile in purpose, has opened the door to living, breathing cynicism - in this case by a man who claims that he, himself, is a Mormon. I truly believe he is. And I truly believe he has some work to do, as do we all. 

He says:

The trouble for me is that each of the stories is framed in that proper 1950s and ’60’s "Father Knows Best" or "Leave it to Beaver" format. Everyone is perfectly groomed. Any real frustration or natural craziness is hinted at rather than highlighted.

I say: Mmm-k. So you're saying you'd like to see more jeans in this picture.  Instead of the game of baseball, which is why I went to the ball field last week. Don't you think this would be a better picture, if I had focused on what was really "important."

He says:

"But something needs to be developed that shows the real us, the sort of Mormons you already know because we live next door and sometimes get on your nerves or even annoy the hell out of you. You can bet the LDS Church won’t do it. So just as soon as I can raise the funding, I’ll get busy producing the sequel: "Now Meet Real Mormons."
I say:

These real Mormons are a wonderful example to us of what I want to be. I am continually striving to grow in kindness, charity, understanding, hard work, physical health, forgiveness, love, and any other trait that is "of good report or praiseworthy." (See 13th Article of Faith) During the October 2014 General Conference, I heard time and time again, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT given to us one time, at one service, through one sermon. We gain our light and knowledge line upon line, precept upon precept. In this case, examples of devout individuals, be they Mormon or any denomination or creed, have buoyed me up in my desire to learn and grow. I am not perfect. I am far from it. But by watching this movie, I am one step closer to my best self.

He says:

Actual church in "Meet the Mormons" was equally unreal compared to the church I attend. All the kids stayed in their seats and were reverent. People sat quietly waiting for the service to begin. Real Mormon church — especially in younger wards with lots of kids — sounds every bit as reverent and uplifting as branding bobcats.

I say:

Well darn. Can't please everyone. Especially you.

In conclusion. This movie is good for the soul. It is spiritual nourishment. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will benefit from seeing it just as much as someone who is not.

6300 days

6300 days after I was born, Rodney Michael Steelman walked into my life.

AND... AND...

6300 days now, Rodney and I have been "together." 

What does this mean? It means I've had his companionship for exactly half of my life! This milestone just makes me so happy.

(Note: It's really close to the perfect half way point today. It actually happened back a few months ago, but today, I'm taking note of this milestone.)

So today, I wish to offer my deepest thanks to the powers that be, to God, to the universe, to all that is, for his presence in my life. 

Summer 2014 @ Harkers Island

One of my best friends Angie shared a song with me last week. She said, "Hey Leah - You'd really like this song. Have a listen. It's called Agape by Bear's Den." Angie was right. 

Agape is a very specific type of love. Link to an explanation that elaborates on it way better than I could hope to:

On wikipedia, I discovered "Agape has been expounded on by many Christian writers in a specifically Christian context. C. S. Lewis, in his book The Four Loves, used agape to describe what he believed was the highest level of love known to humanity – a selfless love, a love that was passionately committed to the well-being of the other."

To quote a line from the chorus of this newly discovered song: "I don't want to know who I am without you." This is exactly how I feel. When Rodney is with me, everything is ok.  Actually, everything is better than ok. It's just right. It's not always sunny and 70 degrees, but still, it's just right. That's how it's been for 6300 days, and I can't wait for what is to come for the next 6300, an on into eternity. I love you so much, Rodney Michael Steelman. #SteelLove #ForeverAndEverAmen 

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Love these words. Love that man.
Gonna keep working at this.

I google'd "zen art" to come upon this picture, before I added the words in photoshop.

I think it fits. 

#zen #enlighten #enlightenme #habits #work #hardwork #patience

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Meet the Mormons "Glorious" Chords

Our family so enjoyed seeing "Meet the Mormons" at the theater this weekend. Leading up to the show, we listened to David Archuleta's "Glorious" quiet a few times, and no doubt, this beautiful song will stay in our hearts for a very long time. It can be found as a free MP3 download at . You also don't want to miss the official music video at this youtube link. 

Since the guitar tabs were nowhere to be found, as of yet, I decided to give it a go.

I hope you enjoy, and feel free to share with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Pinterest or whatever social media site you'd like. Even better, print a copy, break out your instrument of choice, and share your musical talents with a friend or family member who needs a little cheer. It will, no doubt, fill them with light and love.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Doubt not - An homage to American Ninja Warrior

There's a sports competition, called “American Ninja Warrior,” that is televised on NBC. In this competition, contenders are faced with incredible obstacle courses; unbelievably difficult obstacle courses. The goal is to finish the predetermined series of courses, and to do so in a shorter amount of time than everyone else.

Yusuke Morimoto, a Japanese competitor, did a remarkable thing last night, which was to be the first person ever to complete Stage 3, on American soil. 

When asked by one of the hosts of the show, "How are you feeling right now?” he replied: 

"I had really come to the end of my strength, but I didn’t want to give in to doubt. I was determined to stand at the goal. I didn’t give up, and I finished.”

I was excited for him, and proud of his accomplishment. So were the people in the audience. So were his teammates. And so were his opponents. Everyone was on their feet, applauding him, and shedding tears of delight, adoration, and immense pride. 

I couldn’t help but consider how this is a decent representation of our life on Earth, and our arrival at the finished line, when we have returned home to our Father in Heaven. Our trials are challenging and tiring, but if we hold tight to what we know is right, we will be able to “stand at the goal… and finish.” I will not give in to doubt, and I will stand faithful when that day comes. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 2014: Notes from a proud mom

These three boys are such gifts; Each one, in his own way.

May 2014 notes:

Jackson is 10 1/2 & he...

  • Loves electronics.
  • Loves his best friends in 5th grade: Jake, Ryan & Nathan.
  • Loves baseball. He pitches, catches and also dabbles here and there around the infield.
  • Is part of the AIG program at school for both math and reading.
  • Has just started babysitting his brothers a little. 
  • Is still into nike elite socks - even in the summer! 
  • Has a size 7.5 foot. A little more, and we'll wear the same size!
  • Loves the phrase "Tons of puns!"
  • Has a sweet nature and disposition, especially when he's not with his brothers. 
  • Is rather quiet.
  • Won't mind me saying so - but he can be so clumsy! He always laughs about it!
  • Loves chickfila and also chargrill hotdogs - just ketchup.
  • Is a thinker.
  • Loves the show "Studio C" on BYUTV.
  • Wants to be a video game designer when he grows up.
  • Loves him some Harkers Island, where he gets to spent lots of time with cousins.
  • Says he's not going on his overnight class field trip on Wednesday & Thursday.

Brady is turning 9 this week and he...

  • Is so tall and skinny
  • Loves plush animals & toys
  • Is really into Pokemon games, cards and characters
  • Is a natural at baseball. He and Rodney are working on pitching, and I always laugh when he does a fun little kick in his process.
  • Really likes girls.
  • Had a birthday party yesterday and really wanted to invite some (girls), but it worked out better as a boy-only party.
  • Loves electronics - especially the games that have to do with animals.
  • Is a friend to so many (His teacher has really praised him for this) but his best friends in 3rd grade are Zach & Robbie.
  • Loves to color with colored pencils, crayons or markers, and usually picks Pokemon characters to color.
  • Spends a lot of his free time on the trampoline.
  • Loves to be outdoors, hunting for little critters, especially lizards and turtles.
  • Has gotten more picky over time with what he eats, but pancakes, syrup, watermelon and mac-n-cheese are at the top of his yes list!
  • Loves to use his imagination.
  • Is really good at floor puzzles.
  • Sleeps in later than everyone else. 
  • Loves to wear LOTS of colors - and the brighter, the better.
  • Says when he grows up, he wants to work at "The Money Maker Machine. You get like a hundred dollars a day. Or a paleontologist."

Carter is a couple weeks from turning 7 and he...

  • Can't believe that his birthday is less than 3 weeks away - Talks about it every day!
  • Loves Lego - and loves counting the pieces. Sees a firetruck and loves to wonder "How many Lego bricks would it take to build THAT!"
  • Is really into his "advanced tee-ball" team. He has a goal of not having to use the tee all season.  So far, so good (4 games).
  • Has a couple of best friends in 1st grade - Thomas and Katie, but is a good friend to so many.
  • Has a few favorite channels on Youtube - Skylander Boy and Girl, Lego Jang, & EvantubeHD.
  • Has his own Youtube channel - "Carterman Steel" and has currently posted 4 videos.
  • Can't believe that anyone would really ACTUALLY like Duke or the Yankees.
  • Loves to stir in chocolate or strawberry powder in his milk - all by himself!
  • Loves to crack open eggs.
  • Got his first sunburn of 2014 Mother's Day weekend at Harkers Island, and I bet it won't be the last!
  • Loves cereal, pancakes, eggs, pizza and crazy bread.
  • Wants to be a Lego designer when he grows up.
  • Has lost 6 teeth, and the permanent teeth that are coming in are rather crooked.
  • Has $5 in his wallet at this moment, and he's dying to spend it on Lego mixels.
  • REALLY loves his mommy - especially hugging and snuggy-ing.
  • Knows how to choose the right so naturally.