Treasures of India

January 27, 2008

By Janet Walgren
A few weeks ago Archana posted some pictures of India’s countryside on her blog. I commented and asked her to post more about India. She did and dedicated the blog post to me:

Tribal Art of India
January 25, 2008 by Archana

A couple of weeks back I had written a post on my visit to the Countryside. I received the following comment from Janet Walgren:

“In America we only see the travel posters with snake charmers or news clips of crowded buses and poverty stricken slums full of starving people. I am certain that I have never seen a photo that would entice me to travel to your country until now. You showed me a face of India that I have never seen before … I do hope that you will post more photos to show the world the beauty that surrounds you.” I was really moved by her comment. It also made me realize, that not only abroad but even in India many people are unaware of the treasures that lie hidden in their own country. I dedicate this post to Janet Walgren.My cousin sister is an artist and has great interest in tribal art forms of India. These pictures are from her collection. Most of these art forms are associated with religious rituals and boast of an unbroken tradition of many hundreds and in some case 1000s of years.

I was touched by the art and especially intrigued by the four prints of “The Tree of Life” I encourage you to check out Archana’s post and hope that you find it as interesting as I did.


Celestial Insurance

January 20, 2008

By Janet Walgren
One of our karate student’s father, Mel Eisen, started the House of Fabrics company with his brother. The story of their start illustrates an important lesson for our personal lives. The brothers Eisen borrowed $100,000 for the start-up of their first store located in St. Joseph, MO. Everything was ready for the big grand-opening; the store was stocked, the business structure in place, the insurance to go into effect at midnight before the doors opened… The store burnt to the ground at 11:00 PM – one hour before the insurance took effect. Luckily for the brothers Eisen, they were able to start all over again only this time $200,000 in debt before they rang up their first sale.

The scriptures tell us that no man knoweth the day or the hour that Christ will come again. We are warned that he will come suddenly. We are warned to watch therefore that we be not caught unawares. We have been told our duty, given commandments, given signs that we may look forward to his coming. Unfortunately there are too many people who think that they can repent at midnight. They are totally unaware that their lives may be required of them at 11:00 PM the day before his coming. For these careless people, the Lord has warned, there is no second chance to repent and receive a Celestial reward. If perchance these careless ones do repent after their resurrection, their reward will be that of a ministering angel not of a Celestial being.

We are already infinitely more in debt than the brothers Eisen were. The son of God has already paid the price to redeem us if we will repent. He did not take out a second loan that will cancel Gods words on our behalf, for God has told us that every word that proceedeth forth out of his mouth will be fulfilled. To learn more, listen to Elder Bruce R.  McConkie’s talk “The Seven Deadly Heresies.” I love his talks. They are so plain that it is impossible to not understand the truths he teaches. I hope that everyone who reads this and listens to his words will immediately take the steps necessary to gain their own Celestial insurance. Please don’t wait until midnight. It might just be too late.


If we now shun the fight

January 19, 2008

By Janet Walgren
Recently I discovered the movie Amazing Grace. I didn’t know the story before. The movie was excellent and it had a profound impact on my thoughts. The movie tells a true story about the fight to end the British slave trade. It didn’t glorify the debauchery in graphic cinematic detail, it used words which ultimately proved much more powerful in conveying the awful realities of the trade. I was sickened at the inhumanity of man back then, but then I wondered if we aren’t just as guilty in our own unique modern way. The movie left me with many thoughts to ponder, thoughts about the inequities and injustices of today’s world, thoughts about great men and our own standing in eternity. I feel a need for deep introspection and careful evaluation of my own worthiness. How is my life stacking up compared with my possibilities and capabilities?

I have oft heard people exclaim how they would like to meet a great author, artist, statesman, or religious figure in the next life.  I wonder, how could I ever think to stand in the presence of such amazing men and women when my own life, my own endeavors are so pathetic, so trivial, so meaningless. Would not a crowd of adoring fans such as I be like a swarm of gnats to be swept from the face of greatness? Perhaps if we want to stand in the presence of greatness, our trial, our work is to shun our lives of ease and ease the burdens of the oppressed, the downtrodden, those who lack faith. Every person that has ever walked this earth was sent here to make a difference. I ask myself, what difference have I made? Are you making a difference?


I was blind but now I see

January 17, 2008

By Janet Walgren
This will be a short post written with a very grateful heart. I have been blind in my left eye since 2004… I was only able to see shadows. This condition put a great strain on my right eye so much that I seldom read a book or anything printed on paper. Today I had surgery on my left eye and to my delight was reading signs in the recovery room before the doctor put a shield on it to protect it while it heals. I can see!!!

Recently a blogger I read discussed liberal arts educations vs. speciality educations. I am grateful for both. I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the doctors and nurses that attended me today. Without their countless years of dedication and study, I could not have experienced the miracle of sight today or back in 2003 when my other eye was operated on. I know that their skill is the result of their sacrifice of time, money and the pursuit of pleasure. I know that their families shared in their sacrifice. I just want to say thank you to everyone who helped in restoring my sight today. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

And thank you to everyone who sacrifices time, mind, money and life to make this world a better place for all mankind.


A Little About Curiosity and Snooping

January 13, 2008

By Janet Walgren
My how things change as we get older. At least they have changed for me. For one thing, my curiosity has been harnessed into useful areas of inquiry – more like the broken horse I posted about earlier. And yet, I wonder, what is it that causes our curiosity or lack thereof to kick into high gear?

The following is an excerpt from my journal when I was 31, divorced and dating a certain man of interest. Unfortunately, I had snooped in his journal and had some repenting to do:

With the easy obstacles of the day out of the way, I was free to concentrate on the “big one.” Rick is a super terrific, dynamite guy that I really like a lot. I was up at his house last Saturday and I read some pages in his journal, unlike my text books, and tonight was the night to repent. Talk about courage, it really took a lot. Thoughts kept popping into my mind all day. Thoughts like, I hope he doesn’t get angry; He will hate me forever; I hope he keeps his sense of humor… most of all I just wished that I hadn’t read his journal.

Rick was such a sweetheart about the whole thing. When I told him that I had done something I shouldn’t have done, he said, “You’re not going to bring me any more food?”

I said “No it’s worse than that, and I hope you will forgive me. I read some pages in your journal.”

Rick grinned with amusement and exclaimed, “Alright! You finally got curious enough to read my journal! See, you’re human and you’re a snoop just like the rest of us!”

I had been fasting and praying for two days for him to take it well and he did. He was so neat, I just couldn’t believe it. He did; however, go get a front page which had been separated from his journal and show it to me. The page said something like, “This is personal; It is none of your business. Keep Out!”

Anyway, this is a season of political campaigning including lies, slander, oppression and suppression of truth. It seems that I get spammed with a deluge of political hate emails on a daily, even hourly basis. One defamatory email that was delivered to two of my in-boxes had been sent to me by several individuals. It was marked “URGENT!!!!!” The email started:

This is very interesting – please take a few moments and read it.

Who is Barack Obama? Something that should be considered when you make your choice. If you do not ever forward anything else, please forward this to all your contacts… it is very scary to think of what could lie ahead for us here in our own United States… better heed this and pray about it and share it. We checked this out on snopes.com. It is factual. Check for yourself.

Well, I think that the person that created this email was not counting on anyone actually checking out snopes for themselves. It’s a well known fact that we are a bunch of lazy snoops who delight in gossip and slander, otherwise how could the “entertainment” rags survive? Well, I did check it out and found that the slanderous email was not factual. I did a “Reply All” to the persons who sent me the email:

Hi,
 
Apparently the person who sent this to you didn’t click the link to snopes and check this out. All you have to do is click the link and put “Barack Obama” in the search box. The truth of the matter is that the allegations in this email are FALSE.
 
Although I am not for Obama, I believe that the hysteria and disinformation that unfortunately surrounds all political campaigns is a disservice to our country and a danger to our freedom. Americans need the best candidates on both sides of the isle that the  U.S. has to offer and lies won’t get us that.
 
I also believe that we need to carefully evaluate party platforms and pertinent issues to make a wise informed decision on election day. Perhaps we would do well to talk about platforms and issues in a non-partisan manner to arrive at the best solutions.

Sincerely,

Janet

And now I ask you, what is it that causes our natural human tendency toward curiosity to shut down and morph into a brainless frenzy of mass hysteria at election time? This is the time that we should be becoming Super Snoops! It seems to me that we should be investigating every facet of every candidate to determine who is best qualified for the job. What is their background? What is their experience? What is their track record? Do they understand the job description? Will they uphold the Constitution? Are they honorable? Will they appoint wise, honorable, experienced, good individuals to rule over us?

Now is the time to be extremely curious! NOW is the time to SNOOP!!!

I personally believe that anyone who knowingly, and deliberately puts forth slander and campaigns with lies should be guilty of treason. America deserves better.
 


Embracing Change

January 11, 2008

By Janet Walgren
The Blue Man Group has a fun music video about our planet Earth. It goes like this:

Your attention please. Thank you for choosing Earth as your planetary vehicle. We hope you enjoy the many wonderful features of this planet as you’re hurdled through the cosmos. Please note; however, that in the event of continued inaction in the face of global warming your seat cushion can be used as a flotation device. Also, please take a moment to locate this planet’s emergency exits. As you can see, there are none.

The words remind us that change and a need for action are an essential part of living life. From the very moment that we are conceived to the moment we die, change is happening within us and all around us. Indeed, without change, there is no life. Whether it is the breaths we take that feed oxygen to our bodies while removing wasteful gases, or the atmospheric changes resulting from a volcanic eruption, whether it is the clear spring water cleansing and nourishing all that surrounds it, or a sulfuric hot spring full of thermophilic bacteria with all its diverse usefulness, all elements combine to make the changes that are essential to sustain life on planet Earth.  

Being that change is essential to life, why is it human nature to resist change? I know that it isn’t human nature to resist all change. Who in their right mind would resist breathing? Why? Because we understand the necessity of the function to sustain life. But, did you know that volcanoes are also essential to sustain life? They are! Who would resist a clear stream of pure water? Why? Again we understand the necessity of pure water to sustain life. Did you know that sulfuric hot spring full of thermophilic bacteria are also essential to sustain life? My point here is that it is only human nature to resist those changes that are not understood or are unknown. Once known and understood, our resistance, for the most part, changes to acceptance of that which is for our benefit. 

What is true about change in sustaining life is also true about change sustaining our livelihoods, and again, it must be acknowledged that it is human nature to resist unknown changes. Obviously, we don’t resist a promotion, an increase in business, or a raise. But, when change is all around us and we are comfortable with the status quo, we resist changes involving the unknown that take us out of our comfort zones. Rarely is it possible to see the light at the end of the tunnel when change is essential to our livelihoods, that is why it is called the unknown. So it becomes human nature to sit and wait for the light to come out of the tunnel and all too often the light is a freight train that catches us completely unawares and mows us down. What is it about our natures that causes this phenomena? There is a fun little book, Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson that explores this question.

In the book, there are four characters living in a maze.  Two are mice named Sniff and Scurry. Sniff sniffs out change early and Scurry takes action immediately. The other two characters are little people named Hem and Haw. Hem fears change and denies it. Haw eventually learns to adapt to change when he learns that changing leads to something better. All are enjoying the abundant life at Cheese Station C and welcome the status quo. Then, one morning, things change. They wake up to find there is no more cheese. As the story progresses, you will come to recognize that there is a little Sniff and Scurry, Hem and Haw in all of us. And, you will learn the lesson, “It is safer to search in the maze than remain in a cheeseless situation.”

Isn’t that powerful? Are you in a cheeseless situation? What would it take to get you out searching the maze? Is more courage what you need? Perhaps you need more confidence, information, education or training. Is an evaluation of your inner resources in order?

A friend of mine developed this form to help people facilitate successful changes in their lives. I share it with his permission. First write your own personal Mission Statement then set some goals and fill out a project sheet for each category:

YOUR PERSONAL MISSION  STATEMENT

What is your why?

GOALS to accomplish by the end of 2008

1. (health)
2. (Spiritual)
3. (Emotional)
4. (Financial)

Project Sheet (fill out one for each category) Health, Spiritual, Emotional and Financial

Mission Statement: 

Step 1:  Goal Statement
Step 2:  Why?
Step 3:  Analyze Current Position
Step 4:  Identify Risks Real and Imaginary
Step 5:  Identify Obstacles
Step 6:  Identify Investments and Sacrifices in Time and Money
Step 7:  Identify Additional Knowledge you will Need
Step 8:  Identify People you will Need to Help You
Step  9:  Plan of Accomplishing Mission
15 days
30 days
45 days
60 days
75 days
90 days
Step 10:  Deadline
Step  11:  What will my Reward be 

Remember, “It is safer to search in the maze than remain in a cheeseless situation.” I hope that you will learn to understand and embrace change, that you will “Move with the cheese and enjoy it” as you work to reach your goals,.


Broken horses and broken hearts

January 8, 2008

By Janet Walgren
Whenever people gather and begin to discuss topics that they feel passionate about, each thinking that they totally understand the topic, each coming from diverse educational, cultural and spiritual backgrounds, each having experiences in different paradigms, the resulting conversation oft times becomes lively, engaging and even amusing. I call these conversations taleidoscope conversations because each person is viewing the same concept or object through the reflection in their own unique taleidoscope’s mirrors. I love these conversations; a person with a careful ear and a willing heart can learn a lot in the listening. One can even learn to know and understand the “Word” or view the world in totally different and very interesting ways.

I recently heard a man talking about about horses. Now I’m not an equestrian. Actually I know relatively little about horses. I know that they are animals possessing four legs and and that you pet the head end and stay away from the tail end. I know that they eat oats and that you don’t need a key to start them. I know that you use spurs instead of a gas pedal to make them go and that they can be quite useful at times especially when you run out of gas or road.

Anyway, being a curious sort of person, when I heard the man talking about horses, my interest was aroused. First he was talking about wild horses. I love wild horses. I have seen movies of wild horses running across the desert being chased by cowboys… the horses were magnificent. What did he say? Wild horses are dangerous? Well they didn’t look dangerous in the movies. Next he started talking about horses born in captivity that haven’t been trained. He said that they are self-willed and not good for anything useful.  Then he explained a little about the process of breaking a horse. Breaking a horse??? My imagination takes a side trip… Doesn’t Webster’s Dictionary definine the word “break or broken” as:

  1. violently separated into parts: shattered
  2. damaged or altered by breaking: as having undergone or been subjected to fracture 
  3. land surfaces: being irregular, interrupted, or full of obstacles
  4. violated by transgression <a ~promise> 
  5. discontinuous, interrupted… made weak or infirm
  6. subdued completely : crushed <~spirit>
  7. bankrupt
  8. reduced in rank 
  9. cut off: disconnected

Coming back to reality I realize that by now the horse is broken. Oh no! I missed the process…  

 When a horse is newly trained but somewhat unpredictable, the horse is referred to as “green broke.” A green broke horse will either become submissive and  fully broke with practice, or it will learn that if it resists being bridled and causes enough trouble for its rider, its rider will eventually go away.

What was that he said about a bridle? My mind wandered again…

Webster’s Dictionary has two sets of definitions for the word “bridle.” The first definition deals with an object:

  1. the headgear with which a horse is governed and which carries a bit and reins.
  2. a strip of metal joining two parts of a machine esp. for restraining motion…

The second definition is concerning action or doing:

  1. to put a bridle on
  2. to restrain, check or control with or as if with a bridle
  3. to get or keep under restraint <you must learn to bridle your tongue>
  4. to show hostility or resentment (as to an affront to ones pride or dignity) by drawing back the head and chin…

I can picture reins and a bit fastened to a bridle. Back to his story… He is now talking about a fully broke horse, one that is submissive and has learned to become one with its rider. This time I’m paying attention…

A fully broke horse will gallop, trot or cantor at its rider’s command. It will turn to the right or the left with only the slightest movement of the reigns. It can be taught highly advanced skills by its trainer, somewhat like becoming a highly skilled athlete even an Olympian. Such a horse is very useful as it submits to its rider who has neither bridle, bit or reins. And interestingly enough both horse and rider have a lot of fun performing together. Very interesting, but now it is time to go to Sunday School Class…

The teacher poses a question. “What does it mean to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit? What does it mean to bridle our tongues?”

Could it be that the Lord wants us to be like the fully broke horse, spirited, useful, capable, strong, but with a heart willing to submit to God, a heart that is “fully broke,” a heart willing to allow God to place a bridle on us so that we become one with the Lord?