Can we make a difference?

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great nations

I have been thinking about the horrible things that are happening right now. Instead of getting better, it is getting worse and I have to say it is not only scary to watch but very sad. It just breaks my heart to see around me so much hate, misery and anger. It seems to me that evil is spreading contention faster than we can think, and it is successful in reaching the hearts of many.

But why do we let evil influence us so much? Why do we listen to the lies of politicians and the media and believe people that make no secret out of their corruption and dishonesty? Why do we listen to people who tell us bad things about others instead of getting to know the person first and listening to what our heart tells us? Why do we listen to “leaders” who try to divide us in every possible way? Why is it so hard to accept a person for who he/she is? Why is it so hard to understand that tolerance and acceptance doesn’t mean we have to agree with someone’s choices, lifestyle and opinions but we can still be kind, compassionte and gracious?

With worry I have watched the aggressiveness of many on social media when someone said or posted something the other person didn’t like. I have watched people attacking and unfriending each other simply because they were of a different opinion. I seldom respond to contentious comments now because the way I see it, there is no reason to argue, fight and contend because it just causes bad feelings and possible losing of trust and even friendships. Is it worth it?

Sometimes the best thing we can do, when someone disagrees with us on something, is to acknowledge the difference of opinion and move on. We will never be able to force someone to change their mind unless they are willing to do so. I know how I am, and when I am convinced that I am right and I feel good about it, there is nothing anyone can do about it. Trying to force your opinion and view on me, just makes me angry and upset because I feel like you expect me to respect you, but you are not willing to do the same in return. We can discuss it, but we have to accept that we might have to agree to disagree.

I love my family and friends, but sometimes I just can’t discuss certain things with them because I know they completely disagree with me and I don’t want to destroy my relationship with them. When they get too annoying and aggressive I can always respond in a fair but sarcastic way. πŸ˜‰

and he says

Humor helps me through a lot and the way I see it, there are always ways to make relationships work no matter how much you disagree. I have had many times when I didn’t understand how the other person can feel or think that way, but they probably think the same way about me. Aggression and hate will never be the answer. Satan wants us to follow him and he wants all of us to feel alone, unloved and miserable. We don’t have to give in to him though and can stay strong. We can do what is right, stand up for what we believe in and still cherish our loved ones even if they disapprove and disagree. Let’s show the world that love is stronger than hate, good is stronger than evil. We can do anything as long as we have God by our side.

“One individual can begin a movement that turns the tide of history. Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement, Mohandas Ganhi in India, Nelson Mandela in South Africa are examples of people standing up with courage and non-violence to bring about needed changes.” (Jack Canfield)
the greatest trick

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Brexit, and my two cents…

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Obviously many are talking about the split between the UK and the EU right now. Until like 3 days ago I didn’t even know about it and was surprised when I heard what was going on. Once I learned about Brexit though, I was bombarded with many different opinions on the subject. It’s been very onesided so far, and I have yet to hear a British person explain it to me, but it is clear that a lot of European’s think that Britain just made a huge mistake, that the way they voted was plain wrong, and that it was stupid to leave.

I have to admit at first I gave in to all the negativity and agreed with those around me, but after learning a little bit more about it, and picking up bits and pieces on social media, I thought I have to hear both sides of the story before I can form an opinion.

I was born and raised in Germany, but I have lived in Scotland for a little over 1 1/2 years and then lived in the US for the past 12 years. I think because I have actually lived in different countries, and been around different cultures, it is easier for me to step back and give different sides a chance to share what they think because I learned how important it is to listen so I can fully understand why a person does what he/she does or why they think a certain way.

One thing that has been bothering me for the past years was how opinionated others are about things they know little or even nothing about. I have had several conversations with people (arguments even) in which outsiders were trying to tell me about OUR politics or things going on in OUR country and it was obvious they were trying to convince me that I had to change my mind and think like them. Ehm, excuse me, but who do you think you are? What gives you the right to tell someone who lives in the actual country, what they should vote, believe, think and feel? That person lives there and you don’t! They know better than you what is going on in THEIR own country. The best response (I am being sarcastic here) I ever got was that their media is more truthful than the media of our own country. I have to admit I was stunned for a moment that anyone could think that way, but apparently that is a pretty common opinion here in Europe. Wow. As far as I am concerned, today, you can’t really trust any media anymore because they will twist the truth as much as they have to, to make a story more exciting and “special”. It doesn’t matter where in the world you live, that happens everywhere. I believe that there are only a few journalists left who actually report the truth, but political correctness and all that garbage makes it even more difficult to be honest. The media seems to care more about a good story than the actual truth.

Each of us, who lives in a certain country, knows better than outsiders what is going on in that country. I have been away from Germany for so many years, I wouldn’t dare to tell them what they should think or feel, never mind getting involved in their politics. I don’t know enough to get involved. When you live somewhere you know what is happening and how decisions, your politicians make, effect you and what the results are for you. As an outsider you only hear what the media tells you, but you don’t know how it truly is for those who live there.

Britain voted and the people there made a decision. Whether it was a mistake or not is not for us to decide. We can have an opinion on the matter, but we should be open to listen to them as well (and I am talking about the actual people, not celebrities, the media or politicians). We don’t know why they voted the way they did and so we shouldn’t judge it. They had their reasons and instead of attacking them for what happened, maybe asking them why, would be the better way? If we try to understand their point of view, it might be easier for us to come to terms with it and who knows, you might even agree with them. Unless you walk in someone else’s shoes, and I mean you walk in those shoes and not ask another person to do it for you and then tell you what it feels like, you don’t know what it is like.

truth is knowledge

There are people out there that make uninformed decisions and vote based on what others tell them to do, but not everyone is like that. A lot of people do their research and vote (or decide) based on what feels good and right to them.

It is time for us to be more understanding. I think we can all agree that we wouldn’t want anyone else to tell us what we should vote, decide and think, so why do it to others? If we don’t want outsiders to tell us what to do, why is it okay for us to do it to them? Brexit might turn out as a bad thing, but it could also be a good thing for the people in Britain. Only time can tell and in the meantime we should make every effort to at least try to understand that there are people out there who think, believe and feel differently than we do. Tolerance goes both ways, you know. πŸ˜‰ I always like to share the actual meaning of the word tolerance since so many people don’t seem to know it: Tolerance is the willingness to accept behavior and beliefs that are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them.

A little sadness is creeping in…

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It’s been a while since I have written on my blog, but due to our move lots of things have happened and kept me busy. It’s weird not to be in San Diego anymore. I enjoy the time with my family very much and I know our boys love my parents huge backyard, the time they get to spend with their grandparents and the little adventures they get to experience. It feels good to be home, but I have to admit I feel a little lost at the moment.

not until

I don’t know how I can best describe the lost feeling, but it is kind of like as if I have left a piece of my heart behind and now my heart aches every so often because it is missing that part. I want to be happy, and most of the time I am, but I feel like I lost my place as in where I truly belong. I love my German family, roots and heritage, but I am very much American now and love that beautiful country with all my heart. I feel torn between my past before marriage and love for what is part of me because of my past, and the present time in which I learned to love a completely new country, culture and future. It wasn’t an easy transition for me, and took me a long time to get there, but it happened and now I miss my new home, country and wonderful friends even though I still love my old life, now that I am back and can re-live it a little bit.

These past three weeks have been exciting, confusing and a little depressing all at once. I knew the transition wouldn’t be easy, but I am still a bit surprised to see those feelings in action and as intense as it is. All day long today I could feel how my depression was trying to creep in. It usually happens gradually and not all at once and so sometimes I can do something about it and stop it before it gets out of control. I have the tendency to listen to certain songs when I know I am close to having my depression kick in, songs that touch me in one way or another. Sometimes it can be very sad songs, other times songs that inspire and uplift. Today I came across a song from Rachel Platten. I listened to it all day long over and over again. Fight Song doesn’t exactly make me happy, but listening to the wonderful inspiring text made me realize that I can’t let the negative feelings win and have to look forward.

you will never

My time in the US was everything from beautiful and wonderful to sad and frustrating. I felt lonely, hopeless and angry, but I also felt great happiness, so much love in my heart and gratefulness for being able to be in such a special country. My heart learned to feel true patriotism and seeing things in ways I have never seen them before. Yes it hurt to leave and it was hard to go, but nobody can take away the memories I made there, the friendships I made and the experiences I had to become the person I am now. I know everything happens for a reason and living 12 years in the United States was definitely part of Heavenly Father’s plan for me. (And I will be back.) πŸ˜‰

Now I have to look forward and face whatever lies ahead of me. I am determined to embrace this new experience the same way I embraced the last twelve years and I will try to make the best of it. It is a special adventure for our whole family and many more great memories are to be made. We can only grow and learn more if we are willing to take risks and get out of our comfort zones. Heavenly Father can only bless us when we are willing to do our part and go forward with faith and trust in Him. He knows what’s best for us. We know we are here in Germany for a reason and felt it was the right thing to do at this time. I know God will continue to guide us and with time we will find out why we are here and what we are needed for.

I didn’t think my time in the US would come to an end so suddenly, but again I know it is something that happened for a reason. I am grateful for my family there and the many friendships I made. I love the people there and am thankful for all they did for me. Every memory and experience made me the person I am today.

Life is beautiful. Sometimes obstacles are put in our way, sometimes we have to go a different route – a route we didn’t think we would have to go on – and sometimes adventures are part of that path. I want to say thank you to everyone who has been part of my life and different paths. I know we met for a reason and I can’t wait for the time when our ways cross again. “Believe in yourselves, in your capacity to do something remarkable. The work of the world is done by ordinary people who have learned to work in an extraordinary way.” (one of my absolute favorite quotes)

So many feelings, and lots of emotions…

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As I am sitting here, wondering what I should do on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, I thought maybe I should write on my blog again since I haven’t done that in quite a while. These past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster, and maybe it will help if I write some of my thoughts down.

I still can’t believe that we are actually leaving in a few weeks and that we are moving to Germany for a few years. Sometimes it seems so real and other times like a dream. Of course I am excited to be closer to family and old friends, but I am leaving so many wonderful people behind. My family and I have loved living in San Diego and so it isn’t easy to go. Thinking about having to say goodbye to many soon, makes me really sad. I have always hated goodbyes and this is a big one because we have lived in San Diego for almost 12 years and in this area alone for 7 1/2 years. The friendships we created here are special and we truly love those we leave behind.

Trying to put my thoughts into words, thinking about everything that is ahead of us and looking for picture quotes that express how I am feeling, truly doesn’t make this easier. In fact it was rather foolish to look for pictures because now I am crying mess.

I love the beautiful people I have met while living here. Every created friendship, every build relationship means something to me and I just wish I could just put them all in my suitcase and take them with me. Unfortunately I can’t. No matter how much we hate it, goodbyes are part of life. πŸ˜₯

and how lucky

Many new adventures await us, and I am excited that my family and I have the opportunity to experience many great things, but that doesn’t erase the sadness I feel about having to leave. We know it is the right thing to do, and where Heavenly Father wants us and needs us, but that only comforts us a little bit.

To all of you that are close to my heart: We love you and we will do our best to keep in touch.

the people who are

Please know that, even though I try hiding it as long as possible, it is hard for me to leave and I know my whole family feels the same way. Thank you for all you have done for us. Thank you for your kindness, love and friendships. You mean more to us than you will ever imagine. Luckily we have a few more weeks and will try to get together, with anyone interested, as much as possible. Be warned though! When we have reached the time of the final goodbye, I might not be a tough cookie anymore. I probably shouldn’t wear make-up that day. πŸ˜‰

Sometimes it is hard for me to find a good ending for my blog posts, but today I found something that ends it perfectly. Nicholas Sparks puts my feelings beautifully into words: β€œThe reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected. Maybe they always have been and will be. Maybe we’ve lived a thousand lives before this one and in each of them we’ve found each other. And maybe each time, we’ve been forced apart for the same reasons. That means that this goodbye is both a goodbye for the past ten thousand years and a prelude to what will come.” Β 

 

With the Lord’s help, any fight can be won…

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I have to admit, reading the chapters this week made me realize how little I actually knew about David and what he went through after he fought Goliath. I am sure it was heartbreaking for him to have his father-in-law constantly trying to kill him and he didn’t even do anything wrong. It is crazy what jealousy can do to a person.

It makes me sad though that Saul let that happen to himself. I find it sad, that he let Satan get a hold of his heart and have Satan take over his life. It shows how careful we have to be and that feelings like jealousy, can quickly turn into something worse if we don’t watch out and try to keep it under control.

Love is what we should strive to have in our heart for those around us. We should take Jesus Christ as the perfect example because He truly loved everyone, even those who harmed Him.

Fighting Satan is a constant battle, but we can win it, if we keep the commandments and listen to the Holy Ghost. We can see our own struggles and can notice ourselves when we are drifting off and away from the gospel. Little things that pull us away from the truth are dangerous, and we should stop and turn around as soon as we notice it.

As I was reading the story of David ,and how he had to run away, live in hiding and leave his wife behind, I kept wondering what his wife thought about all that. Was she in love with David and did it hurt her immensely when her father tried to kill him? How did she feel when her father married her off to someone else? Did she have any say in what was happening to her or did she have to do what she was told? Thinking about this makes me so grateful that I live today and not in a time when women oftentimes were treated in a manner that was very degrading. Having to obey a man’s order, no matter what they tell you to do, doesn’t sound right to me. I love that my husband has the priesthood and I do think they should be the head of the house, but they should not treat their wife as unequal.

I am so grateful to know that I am a daughter of God and that He sees me as such and treat’s me as such. I am grateful that my husband honors the priesthood, presides and serves in the home, but doesn’t use it to show off his authority. Heavenly Father loves all of us and He loves us equal. Now it is up to us to see each other that way too.

Why did they not just obey?

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As I continue to read in the Old Testament I am simply amazed that the cycle of obedience, and disobedience, continues to happen. I guess to me it seems so simple to just do what the prophet (and the Lord) told them to do. I mean they had a prophet right there with them. First it was Moses, then it was Joshua. What a blessing it was for them to have such amazing leaders with them. I am just stunned that people can fall into their bad old ways after seeing plenty of miracles, after being rescued so many times, and after seeing God helping them get the land He promised them to have.

I love verse 15 in Joshua chapter 24. It says: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Reading that verse makes it clear how important it is to choose right and to follow the Lord. Following Satan or the world is not a good choice and will always end with some serious consequences for us.

I am still shocked though how much violence happened during that time and how much fighting and brutality took place. I know I have been writing about that a lot, but it stands out to me every single week. It makes me sad that things like that happened and yet the people still had problems listening to the Lord and obeying His commandments.

One thing is clear though, things have not changed much and are not getting better but worse. It makes me very grateful that I know what God’s plan is and what will happen in the future. It makes me sad and scared of the things ahead, but also looking forward to peace and a time of love when Jesus Christ has returned. If it makes me sad and down, I can’t even imagine how bad our Heavenly Father must feel and how it must hurt Him to see His children hate each other and torture and fight one another. His heart must get broken over and over again.

We can be so thankful that Jesus Christ died for us and that we can return to live with them again because of it. We would have no chance of returning if it wasn’t for Him.

So much rebellion, so much tragedy…

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Reading the Old Testament is not easy for me. Some of it is nice and helps me understand the prophets of old better, but a lot is really hard to read.

One thing that really bothers me, and stands out to me, is how the Israelites don’t seem to learn from their sins and mistakes. God is dealing harshly with them because He seems to know that with them being so close together, and traveling through the wilderness, it is easy for anyone to influence someone else and so He punishes them right away so others won’t get tempted to do the same, but they just don’t seem to get it. Does Satan seriously have so much hold on their hearts that they simply can’t hear the spirit anymore? And if that’s not the case, do they purposely ignore the Holy Ghost and just don’t care?

As I was reading the chapters in Numbers this week, I just couldn’t understand how they didn’t learn anything. People were killed in different ways because of their sins, and yet the rest of them kept complaining and arguing against God and His commandments. They only seemed to see the negative, like being stuck in the wilderness, and not that Heavenly Father delivered them from Egypt. It makes me so sad that they didn’t see the blessings. If they would have been faithful the whole time, God would have been merciful with them and they would have reached their new destination already, but because they disobeyed and murmured, God was angry with them and had to react.

I totally understand that being in the wilderness and suffering a lot, is not fun and very hard to deal with, but they had Heavenly Father on their side. He provided for them and showed them miracles despite their complains. Chapter 20, verses 3-5 made that clear. It says:

“And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord!”

“And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into the wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?”

“And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.”

Moses provided water with his rod as a result and yet it didn’t seem to impress the Israelites for long. They seemed to stay unhappy for whatever reason.

One thing that I am learning from this though is that we need to pay attention how we react to difficulties in life, and whether or not we show gratefulness or the opposite. We need to focus on seeing our blessings and trust that Heavenly Father knows what He is doing, even though we are going through some really hard times. We need to keep things in perspective and need to remember that we will have to suffer the consequences when we murmur, complain, and disobey the Lord. As sad as it is to see them not learning from their mistakes at all, it helps me understand that I need to work on learning from their mistakes and not be so stubborn and unteachable. God loves us and He blesses us because He loves us, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have any trials. We can show Him best, how strong our faith is, by holding on to the iron rod, try to stay positive and let Him guide us.