06 January 2016

Post Christmas thoughts...

Disclaimer: I know that this blog post will defeat it’s purpose but maybe it can help us all take a second and think of what and why we share things with the world.

Christmas is over, decorations are stowed away in the attic or basement again. Christmas playlists are muted and there is way too much candy left for my sanity.

But there is one thing that still lingers in my mind, a scripture, and it has been there during this whole Christmas season. Let me set it up for you:

As the shepherds told Mary and other people of what they had seen and heard, it was made known abroad (as it should be) and people wondered at the things they heard, and here it comes:

”But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
                                                                             - Luke 2: 19

I think this scripture can be a good reminder in today’s world of social media. Yes, certain things could and perhaps should be shared. But some things are better kept pondered in our hearts.

I can think of several reasons for keeping things to ourselves. Here are two:

Sometimes I think we share things because we want to portray a perfect life. We want people to think we are successful, healthy, rich, strong, adventurous or even spiritual. But what is really the purpose? How is this helping? I think we should all think before we share something why we share it and what effect it might have on the receiver and in turn I think we will keep things to ourselves more, maybe even learn to be in the moment rather having to document it. 

My absolute favourite movie at the moment is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. At one point in the movie he meets a photographer Sean O’Connell in the Himalayas who is there to photograph the snow leopard. The snow leopard appears and Sean and Walter sees it through the camera lens but Sean never takes the picture and explains that when he likes the moment for himself he doesn’t take it, taking the picture takes away from the moment, and in that way he can keep it to himself (another disclaimer: I am not saying not to take pictures, I am only saying to stay in the moment). Along with this is my favourite quote in the movie:

 “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention”

 Reason number two for keeping things to ourselves is that some things are God’s gift to you, just you, and it is sacred and I think we can learn to see it and appreciate it more if we log out more often from the digital world. If we are too eager to share something good that happened we perhaps miss an opportunity to ponder it in our hearts and learn even more from it. Again, we should share goodness, but that does not mean we should share all. Mary did share goodness, her son, with the rest of the world. But some things she only shared at the right place at the right time.

I am not trying to tell people what to do, but this has been something I have been thinking of and I felt right about sharing it only because it has helped me to put away my phone, not to bother too much about taking pictures but rather see the people I am with. At moments when I have thought about sharing things I have thought about why and sometimes I have shared and sometimes I have decided not to. I guess what I am trying to say is to do what Mary did, keep things, and ponder them in your heart before you decide to share it, I am trying to learn to do it and I feel like I appreciate and learn more by doing so.

Having said all this, I highly recommend to write a journal. That way you treasure up the things you have experienced and it can be a source of reminder and strength for you and generations to come.

07 May 2015

God is the creator of cooperation and author of diversity

As I walked the corridors of the European Parliament for the first time a voice in my mind said:

"This is good"

No matter what ones political opinion on the European Union is, I think we can all agree that cooperation is far better than the alternative. Contention is of the devil, and it is my belief that cooperation is of God. Synonyms for the word cooperation include teamwork, partnership, synergy, unity, liaison, understanding etc. Just think about that for a minute.

There are many examples of cooperation in the scriptures. I love for instance the passage in the old testament when the Israelites were fighting the Amalekites, Moses stood on a hill with the rod of God in his hands and when he held his hands up, the Israelites prevailed, but Moses got tired so Aaron and Hur rolled over a stone for him to sit on and when he couldn't keep his arms up Aaron and Hur held them up for him. Now that is cooperation, and thanks to that, the Israelites won, well, that and God. but had they dissented, they probably wouldn't have won.

I also like the passage when Abraham and Lot's families do not get along and Abraham and Lot agree to divide. That is also a form of cooperation: to decide to separate. I like in particular how Abraham says:

"Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left."

Imagine if things could work that way in world politics!

But we need to remember that we do not need to be the same just because we cooperate. I do believe there are universal principles that govern all people: we strive for freedom and happiness, but that doesn't change the fact that we are different and we achieve the ends in different ways. (Yes there are also universal laws on how to achieve eternal freedom and happiness, but that is not the topic right now) God has allowed us to be different for a wise reason, perhaps because we need to teach each other certain things, maybe to make it more fun, make it more colorful and maybe, just maybe so that we can learn to cooperate.

Diversity: the art of thinking independently together
                                                -Malcolm Forbes

I am coming to realize that I love the cooperation in diversity. It can sometimes be a thin line but nevertheless a very fun and exciting line to dance on, in our many different dance-styles. Maybe that is why I find it very interesting here in Brussels, one of the capitals of diversity and cooperation.

03 May 2015

My first week

My first week at the office has been rather short due to the first of May. I have mostly familiarized myself with the Different committees of the parliament and tried to find a way to connect with the members of parliament. I must say that I feel quite lost and unknowlwdgeble. It is a humbling experience but I know it is good for me. 

The weekend has been lighter though. Thursday night Marie-Pierre, Catherina and I went to the movies and saw the avengers:age of ultron. It was really good. Very entertaining. Friday I tagged along Marie-Pierre and her siblings to Namur and spent the day with their mother. We walked up the citadel and saw the view of the city. 
It is very green and beautiful here. A little bit too cold for my taste though. 

But I am happy anyways.

Saturday the three musketeers: Marie-Pierre and me went to Brugge. Quite the tourist town. There were tons of people there. It is known for its chocolate and old architecture. So of course we bought some hot chocolate and took a boat ride to explore the city. 

We splurged on a helium balloon, cotton candy and a Ferris-wheel ride. The perfect ending to a perfect day!

26 April 2015


I am in Brussels! 
I have taken leave of absence from work and will do a 2 month internship for the church's European Union office. 

I arrived yesterday and two lovely ladies picked me up at the airport. We have already started a list of things that we will do while I am here. Paris is one of them:)

I am meeting the best people. I can say that only after a day, because yesterday was great! And I am already learning so much French. I am really shy about speaking French to frensh-speaking people but they are really nice about it so I will force myself and try to be as good as I can with speaking French. It is a dream I have to be fluent in French and these two months will hopefully be a big step in that direction. 

I will try update this blog so that you people who might be interested will see what is going on. I think these two months will be great!

The picture below is the view from the balcony where I am staying. I think it is pretty.

03 April 2015

Children of a King

I went to see Cinderella a couple of weeks ago with my mom and dad. As we sat there and waited for the film to start my father noted on the amount of women in the theater. My spontanious response was:

"It is because they know they are princesses, but have forgotten who the king is."

It was not until after I had said it that I realized the truth of that statement.

I believe we are all born with an inherent, yet sometimes dormant, knowledge that we are sons and daughters of a king. The fairytales we hear in our childhood are so appealing to us because they speak to that knowledge, the knowledge that we are destined for a happy ending, destined for greatness, that we are here to be tested so that we ultimately can reach our full potential and recieve our reward.  

Realizing our nature as princes and princesses, children of the most high God, should influence us to treat each other as such.

"In every man dwells a king, in every woman a queen. Treat them as such and they will appear"
                                                                                                                   - Laura Randolph

Speaking of our potential CS Lews said: "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worshipYour neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses."

Treating each other as the royalty we are is important but what is even more important is how that knowledge affects how we see and treat ourselves and our relationship with God. I think that too often we have no problem seeing other people's royal status but are too quick to sell ourselves short. A while ago I read this blog post about a woman who overheard a first date in a college library. The girl was not being treated by the respect he deserved and the writer wrote to her. I am sad to say that I don't remember what blog it was and I don't know who wrote it, but I give her there credit for these powerful words:

"Do you know what you are? Beyond the happy answers, the words we know by rote from primary and young women's lessons. Look at me. Do you know what you truly are? You are the literal progeny of a divine being. You are fire light and the dust of stars older than your mind can reach. You are a creation more precious than the sun and heavens and this earth which we stand on with our two feet while we are blessed enough to breath. You are steel and armor and diamonds that cut. You are made by faith, you live by faith, you are the recipient of God's faith. Do you know what faith is? It is power. It means by which this universe was constructed and reamins. That power sustains you too."

We must remember who and what we are and treat each other and ourselves accordingly. In the LDS Bible dictionary under prayer we can read about what implications this knowledge has on our relationship with God:

"As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other." 

It is easy to forget who and what we truly are in a world that constantly tells us that we are not good enough. But let us remind each other of the royalty we are and the divine potential we possess by the way we treat one another. And every time you go down on your knees to speak to your Father in Heaven, remember that you are his prince or princess destined for greatness and I promise you that that conversation will flow more naturally and more honestly. That is my experience.

09 December 2013

New appartment

For those who didn't know, I moved in to a new appartement with my sister Reebi Deebi (yes, that is her name, sort of). Here are some pictures of it. I think it is pretty neat.
This is the hallway. The coathanger, doormat are home-made and the chest is home painted.

The living-room. My favorite room.
And my room.. Part of it..

07 December 2013

Day 6 (I know.. I missed the day…)

Here's a song for yesterday, from another great christmas movie. I love this song and this version.