Agency Toolbox

Agency Toolbox

Agency as defined by Meriam Webster, I have highlighted the use relevant to this post in red:
“1a :  the office or function of an agentb :  the relationship between a principal and that person’s agent 
2:  the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power :  operation
3:  a person or thing through which power is exerted or an end is achieved :  instrumentality<communicated through the agency of the ambassador>
4:  an establishment engaged in doing business for another <an advertising agency>
5:  an administrative division (as of a government)
<the agency for consumer protection>

The definition I prefer is “Agency is the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and to act for ourselves. Agency is essential in the plan of salvation. Without agency, we would not be able to learn or progress or follow the Savior. With it, we are “free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” ( 2 Nephi 2:27).” This was pulled from LDS.org. This is the kind of agency I am referring to in this post.

The Lord has given each of us the supreme opportunity to act and choose for ourselves. This is called Agency. The Lord loves us enough to let us explore this life, learn and choose what we are going to do. He doesn’t force things on us, he doesn’t make us choose the Gospel. He allows us to be free agents. If you want to drink, drink. If you want to smoke, smoke. If you want to steal a car, steal a car. Pretty simple right? Well, with all of that legit agency comes the wonderful gift of consequence. What is a consequence? Dictionary.com told me that it means:
1. the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier: The accident was the consequence of reckless driving.
2.an act or instance of following something as an effect, result, or outcome.”

So if you chose (exercised your agency) to drink, the consequence is that you are going to get drunk. Since you chose to drink, you got drunk and the consequence is that you will look or act in a manner beyond what you can control, another consequence. Well, that doesn’t sound like much fun now. Bummer.
If you chose to light up the cigarette, then its likely that you will form a dependence.  That’s a consequence. If you form the dependence, its likely you will severely harm your health, another consequence.
If you choose to steal a car,  you’ll end up with a record and behind bars. YA, super worth it…

That is an outline of bad consequences. There are also good consequences. Exciting right?? So if you choose to watch your sick neighbors kids, go to Church, give that homeless person $5.00, help an elderly citizen in your neighborhood you will be blessed beyond measure, i.e Good Consequences. The Lord is eager to give you all the blessings possible. He wants you making these good choices. Unfortunately not all people are aware of this. Not everyone has heard of the Good News of the Gospel, not everyone has heard of the selfless sacrifice of the Atonement, not everyone has been taught of consequences. Some people didn’t have parents who cared, or tried to teach them right from wrong. How are we to know if that is the case. “Judge not that ye be not judged”. Christ taught an amazing lesson when a woman was was brought before him after being caught in adultery. The scribes and Pharisees said that they caught her in the very act. They reminded Christ (as if he needed reminding hehe) that the Law of Moses says in this instance that they would need to stone the woman for her crime. Christ started writing in the dirt, the scribes and Pharisees pushed again asking what they should do.  He looked at them and said ” He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” After what I assume would be the scribes and Pharisees picking their jaws up off the floor, realizing that Christ was right, turned and left. Can you imaging being there and witnessing that?? After writing some more in the dirt Christ the rest of the story is as follows: ”

10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
I highly recommend reading the rest of the chapter here. This was taken from John 8 in the King James Version of the Bible.  So why did I share that story? Because her consequence should have been being stoned to death. Christ was there and taught that lesson, forgave the woman of her sin and let her go on her way to a better life.

Our consequences don’t have to be life sentences. They can be temporary and turn into a good lesson learned and tool in your agency toolbox. I bet you were wondering when the title of the blog was going to come into play.  Well here it is. Every time you make a choice or are presented with a consequence you discover a tool in your Agency Toolbox. I feel like our Agency Toolbox is much like a Mary Poppins bag. N.E.V.E.R ending. There are new tools coming up all the time. Some tools you may never use again. Other tools you will use ALL.THE.TIME. Be mindful, some of these tools can get you in serious doo-doo.

Think of every choice you have ever made. Okay, that’s far fetched, but think of the choice you made from the time you woke up until the time you ate lunch. I woke up, looked at my phone, got up, walked to the bathroom (more like shuffled), pull my hair up, got in my exercise clothes, ate some breakfast, sat at my computer and here  I still sit. I will exercise eventually…😛 I chose to do all those things, they were second nature and my auto-pilot kicked in and I went mindlessly through my routine. To me those are the nails, bolts and screws in my toolbox. They are the tiny choices each day.

Now think of your decision to be baptized, to be confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That is definitely considered more of a bigger tool in my toolbox. Its a choice that I need to be aware of all the time. I renew my baptismal covenants every Sunday because of that decision. So for me that is my Hammer. I feel like Hammers are the most commonly used tool. Then your decision to go to Seminary, that’s a rather large decision because it make getting all of you High School credits slightly more challenging, however still do-able. That could be a Saw. “Sawing your way through High School” haha punny… Then there is the decision to go on a mission, receive your endowments, get sealed to a spouse. Those are LARGE tools, those are tools you can pull out again and again to help you through situations and you exercised your agency in such a way that it brought you great blessings. I would say that the medium tools are the things like going to ward activities, going to church, reading your scriptures, serving others, etc.. I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone, its just whats in my head. Some of you may have yet to make some or all of these choices, or you are choosing not to. Its up to you. Its YOUR choice.

I have taken all of these choices and consequences and used them with trials, burdens, struggles, discussions with others, etc. I look back on these things and see that I, myself, chose to make those choice, I am responsible to continue to make choices. The Lord wants us to properly educated in making these choices. Thats why we have parents, friends, neighbors, ward families, seminary teachers, companions, etc. They are here to help us on the journey. They are here to offer comfort in trials and share joy in successes.

I chose to divorce 3 years ago. It was the hardest DECISION/CHOICE I have ever made. I chose to seek counseling by an individual recommended by LDS Family Services. I chose to go weekly. I chose to allow myself to heal from the burdens and deep gaping wounds of divorce. I chose to date again. I chose to marry again. I chose Mr. A. He is the hardest working, sweetest, kindest, and most selfless man. The consequences of these choices have brought me more joy than I have ever known. So were the consequences of divorce hard? Yep. Where they worth the knowledge I now have? Yep. Was it all worth the bitter, stinging, terrifying pain that I chose to put myself through? Absolutely. Why you ask? Because I knew that the Lords plan for me was not to sit in a marriage where I would be treated like dirt. Because I chose to be faithful and active in the LDS Church, I was taught in my youth that I am the Daughter of A King. I have Divine Nature and Individual Worth. I have Choice and Accountability. I am worth more than being treated like dirt, I am worth more than obligatory hugs and empty compliments. I am worth more than rubies. That is why I made my choice. When I tried to make it work. I did everything I could. Unequally yoked oxen can seriously damage the other ox when they are not working together. I was the ruby in glass filled mud. I pulled my self out, cleaned my self up, and started buffing out imperfections. Buffing out imperfections will be a life long pursuit.

All of this is based on choosing for yourself how you will live, how you will let others treat you. What choices will you allow to become tools in your agency toolbox? What tools will you look back on and use as a tool for good?

People can think what they want and have opinions on how you use YOUR Agency Toolbox, but in the end its up to you and the Lord.

Again, I don’t know if any of this makes sense, however its whats in my head🙂

Until next time,

Mrs. A

 

Cauliflower Chowder

Cauliflower Chowder

IMG_1122

Alright. I have had lots of requests to share the Cauliflower Chowder Recipe after I posted a picture of it on Instagram. I got the original recipe from http://www.damndelicious.net. I added my twists to it and loved it. Its low carb (perfect for Mr. A and his diabetes) 21 Day Fix Approved (perfect for mwah) and kid friendly (perfect for Miss B.)

This makes about 6 medium sized servings. Mr A and I went back for seconds and finished off the pot. So I would recommend doubling it if you want leftovers.

Ingredients
-4 Slices of Bacon. I used Farmland low sodium
-2T Unsalted Butter
-2 Cloves Minced Garlic
-1 Onion Diced
-2 Carrots, Peeled & Diced
-2 Stalks of Celery Diced
-1 Head of Cauliflower
-4 Cups of Chicken Broth
-1 Cup of Milk (2% for creamier base, I used 1%)
-1 Bay Leaf
-2T Chopped Parsley
– S&P if desired for taste

Directions:

Cook Bacon how ever you like and then set aside. Chop up the Cauliflower and blend until super fine. I used my Blendtec, but any blender or food processor works fine. Set aside Cauliflower. In a medium-large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat and add garlic, onions, carrots, celery & parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally until the veggies are barely crisp and slightly tender. Less than 5 minutes. Pour in flour and whisk for about a minute. The flour may turn a golden brown. If it doesn’t that’s okay. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, milk. Whisk constantly until the it starts to get thick. Less than 5 minutes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until veggies are tender. I chopped and added some of the bacon at this step, then saved some for a garnish. If the chowder is too thick, add milk. When ready to serve, I garnished with some skim mozzarella and some of the bacon.

 

Confessions of a Divorcee

Confessions of a Divorcee

I am on my second marriage.. GASP…. I know, I know. A woman strongly committed to the LDS faith and I have been divorced. Okay, now that bombshell is out of the way I want to explain a few things I have learned, a few things I have done, and I few things I plan to do.

First, things I have learned. It is okay to get divorced. If your circumstances are toxic, if you are a victim of abuse, etc. I personally feel that if you just aren’t seeing eye to eye, or the flame is dwindling, then you should take proper courses of action ie. counseling, prayer, advice from parents, etc. ALMOST every marriage is worth saving, however in the instance of abuse in any form, I PERSONALLY feel that you should run. Now being of the LDS faith I also firmly believe in prayer, and listening to the Holy Ghost for guidance. If you feel that divorce is right, its right. If you feel divorce isn’t an option yet, its not an option.

Another thing I have learned. If your spouse is/has making/been making stupid, poor, dangerous, unhealthy, vile, dumb choices. That is NOT your fault. Go back and re-read that. Okay, moving on, you are in charge of YOUR OWN choices. Your spouse is in charge of THEIR OWN choices. Hopefully you have figured out how to work together, communicate choices and discussing issues and problems. Hopefully divorces hasn’t plagued your life in such a way that bitterness and resentment is hovering in a storm cloud above you. In the event that your spouse has chosen to follow a different lifestyle, different faith, or different path in life, their choices are THEIR OWN. Now sure, you probably did or said things that you shouldn’t. We are all human, entitled to mistakes because we have an ever loving, caring God who helps us and forgives us. Maybe you are the spouse making the different decisions and you are trying to put blame on your spouse for driving you to this decision. #newsflash your choices are yours and theirs are theirs. Have I made my self clear on the matter? Cool. Moving on.

I have also learned that it is super common to be judged, criticized, shamed, belittled, scoffed at and more when people learn that you are divorced. Christ teaches us in Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged…” Stellar idea right?? Wishful thinking, maybe. The fact that we are all imperfect and are subject to temptation means that people are going to judge, criticize, shame, belittle, scoff, point and blame you for your choices. It is a fact of life. Now in the case of divorce (my case specifically) your wounds are huge. Your life changed. Your forever is cancelled until further notice. You made sacred GINORMOUS promises to your Heavenly Father, your spouse and yourself.  All those things are changing right? Well, not exactly. In my case my spouse had chosen to break his end of the deal with The Lord and myself. Why would The Lord punish me for my spouses choices? He wouldn’t. That’s one of the divine qualities of The Lord. He knows the beginning from the end, He is ALL knowing. He knows the intents of your heart. He knew how hard I fought, how much I cried, how often I was sitting with glossed over eyes staring at a wall. He knew what I was thinking as I learned more and more things about my spouse, He knew how broken I was. I was still going to receive the blessings that come from the sealing, I wasn’t being kicked to the Heavenly Curb, my forever wasn’t and isn’t being cancelled!!! I KNOW I am always loved and safe with my Father in Heaven. However, I didn’t feel that way with strangers, some neighbors, some family members, friends, etc. The judgement struggle is R.E.A.L folks. I guess what I am saying with all this rambling, be kind, be understanding, be trusting, and gentle. If someone tells you they are getting divorced don’t ask why, just offer a hug and some small words of gentle encouragement and then be on your way. Pray for that person. They are walking through what feel like the very pits of hell. They don’t see a light or tunnel or light at the end of the tunnel. They will, but they may not be to that point yet. Try to understand that although you may have known someone who was divorced, EACH & EVERY situation is so uniquely different. Just be kind and loving.

So those are some things I have learned, and now I am going to tell you some things I have done. I am hoping that all of this can help you understand what some people go through and how long of a process it is to fully recover.

I have been in counseling for 2.5 years, 29 months, 870 days, 20,880 hours. Now granted, every day or waking minute has been me sitting on a couch with my wonderful counselor. At first I went weekly, with texts exchanged with my counselor when I was really struggling (which was daily). Then I went to every other week, still I would text her when I was struggling. Then I went to every two weeks, again texting as needed. Then monthly, with texts as needed. Now I go with my WONDERFUL husband as we learn to adjust to a second marriage for each of us. We are almost done with that, however I would definitely say that it is still considered post divorce healing for each of us. We are doing it together and it is the best thing ever!

I moved home with my family. I knew that I had a SAFE, JUDGEMENT FREE zone there. I was blessed with unlimited support and love. I knew that I could talk to my Father, Mother, Sisters, Grandma literally any time I needed it. Some told me that I was hiding from the issues by moving back home. Um, false. I used that opportunity to finish school, work, pay off debts accrued from divorce and to rebuild my self. People can think what they want, but that is what I KNOW I needed.

I cried, sobbed, sat in darkness, stared out the window, watched TV, mindlessly browsed social media, sat dazed through church, cried, cried more, then some more. I doubted my decision, I thought about taking him back. I thought I might be running from a trial that I should have stuck to. I let satan in to dump his slew of guilt trips. I cried more. I felt like I was laying on my face. I felt like D&C 121 .

Well, going along with D&C 121;
-There isn’t a pavilion that covers the Lord. He is always there.
-The Lords hand is extended, He is using his eyes to carefully watch over us and his ear IS listening. Its hard on Him to watch you struggle, but He knows its what is BEST for you!
-His bowels are chuck full of compassion for each and every person who has and will ever walk this earth and all those who left after the war in Heaven.
-We are blessed with loving friends and families who have been given to us as a support.
I encourage you to go read that whole chapter.

I am inserting an opinion here: One should NEVER enter into a marriage claiming its a “starter marriage”. Marriage is ORDAINED of God. Ordained means (according to Webster Online Dictionary) “to officially establish or order (something)”. That is a big, large, huge, massive, enormous, gigantic, gargantuan deal. To go into something knowing it wont last is willfully wasting ones time and teasing another’s emotions. How horribly inconsiderate, selfish and rude. Divorce shouldn’t be a thought that enters ones mind as a “way out” if they decide that they don’t want to continue down the path of life with their spouse. I will stop here, but know I have lots more to say on the topic. Perhaps a post for a different day.

Now on to what I plan to do. I plan to voice my opinions of Divorce. I want to help others walking through this trial. I want people to know that Divorce may not be the answer. I want people to know that the Lord is okay with Divorce in certain circumstances. I want others to support their loved ones and not judge them harshly for something they may not understand. I want people to understand that if they choose divorce, there is our loving Heavenly Father who still fully loves them and still thinks the world of them. There is a Savior who infinitely understands perfectly how you, your friend or family member feels. I plan to share goodness.