Monday, December 7, 2015

Lots to say - so I will just try to sum up ( #FamilyHistory )

~ Recently, late summer 2015, I was called to be an Assistant Stake Family History Specialist. It's a volunteer position, which we usually refer to as a "calling" at church. It is based upon the needs and promptings of the local leaders, and not so much skill. I could have said no, but I said yes. A musical calling, no brainer - YES, of course! ;)

~ Up to that moment, I had put about 3 hours total into "family history." Like, ever. (The sit at the computer and research type of "family history." I've done much recording and documenting for posterity, but that's not really what I'm talking about here.)

~ I can tell you that the excitement level for this position has not been through the roof. I'm not necessarily "bah humbug" about it, but also, am not very "yay me!"

~ Since receiving the assignment/calling, I have found the motivation/time/desire to dive into my own family history that needs to be done only a few times. It's really hard for me to feel, well, a couple of things. Hard for me to feel capable. Hard for me to feel like it is going to be fruitful. Hard for me to feel a strong desire. I have really lacked desire to do this. (By this, I mean two things... Do some personal family history work, and also, work at my calling...)

~ My mom has helped me so much with this. She's the most perfect example of how to move forward, day by day, and do the work that is Family History! She is amazing. When I watch her work at this, and teach me a little here and a little there of what she knows, I feel such a relief and comfort knowing that she's going to be there with an answer for any question I could ever have. Books will be written about her, either in this life or the next, but I'm not kidding. She's an angel on Earth. Books! Volumes!

~ Today, I have been home alone, and it has been unusually quiet. I don't really know why, but I haven't had the TV on, and I haven't even been playing music. That's really odd for me...

~ Also today, a few friends and I have been in a text conversation with one another. One friend has asked for the prayers and advice on a difficult matter from the rest of us. One very inspired friend shared the words from her heart, "If you ask Heavenly Father to help you, and quiet yourself enough to where you can hear the spirit speak to you, you will have answers and knowledge."

~ So, I got some work done, in the quiet, and was about to sit down and waste time online. Instead. I decided to do as my friend said to another, and pray for guidance as to what I should do. Let me say here that, with the noise of the TV or even beautiful Christmas music, I do not believe that I would have come to this decision. No sooner had I even THOUGHT to pray, like 1.5 seconds,  that I felt the prompting to sign into and the answer for what I should do would be waiting for me. But what would I do? Yes, I'll be happy to sign in, but after that - I always struggle with this part.

~ I'm happy to report that as soon as I signed in, I noticed a "prompt" at the top of the homepage. It said "Click here to try our new experimental dashboard." So I did. And RIGHT THERE, a miraculous thing happened. Right before my eyes were the words: RECOMMENDED TASK. Right there, a recommendation came straight to me! So for about 5-10 minutes, I "reviewed and attached" an assortment of records. Some were pictures of tombstones. Some were marriage records. Some were death records. Some were places of residence. Review, (check it over,) and attach. Review, and attach. Review, and attach.

~ The takeaway. Even when you feel inadequate and practically unable to do that thing that you know you should, but don't really know how you will, there will be a way made for you to accomplish it. In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi said,  (1 Nephi 3:7-8) 

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. And it came to pass that when my father had heard these words he was exceedingly glad, for he knew that I had been blessed of the Lord.

~ I don't struggle with faith. But sometimes I struggle with moving forward and making changes. I get really comfortable, and comfortable is my happy place. This little push in the right direction today means a great deal to me, and I felt I should share it for posterity. The fruit of my little labor today is very small. But it is fruit. The end.

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.