Friday, March 1, 2013


Dad in high school

Several years ago, one of my favorite blogs dedicated their daily posts to fathers (sorry link is not currently working). Each woman had another unique and beautiful perspective on their own fathers or the ones in their lives. Those posts inspired me to write one about my own dad. And what better day to do it, than in honor of my dad's 78th birthday?

Dad, his sister Marva and his brother Jay
Duane Lyman Bishop grew up in Salt Lake City, UT, born several years after the Great Depression, but into a time that was still strongly feeling the effects thereof. His parents were hard-working, industrious and profoundly faithful people who determinedly raised their 10 children to believe as they did. They were strict about the rules and although they did not have much money, theirs was a house rich with love. I never got the impression from Dad or his stories that they ever really wanted for anything of significance.

According to Dad's stories, in fact, his childhood was a constant adventure. His left-handedness was the cause of repeated mishaps and injuries (and later scars) and the source of my favorite "Dad" stories. He has, of course, many other stories. There's the one where Dad & some of his siblings decided to use oil-based brown paint to paint a little toy boat and got it EVERYWHERE in Grandma's clean house and all over their nice Sunday clothes. There's the one where he used his mother's best sheets to see if he could fly off the roof. The one where he was disciplined by a substitute teacher for humming in class by being shut in a closet.  In retaliation, he found a rope and tied the door closed from the inside and refused to answer to her knocks and pleas until he was "rescued" by the fire department who had to remove the door from its hinges to let him out.  Hahaha!  I still love that one.

Dad has always had a great love of music, specifically classical and opera. Because he was always playing classical music in the car, one of Dad's favorite games was to quiz his children "Okay, what's playing, who wrote it and when was it written?"  9 times out of 10 we would make some lame attempt that involved Mozart or Beethoven.  To our delight, we were more often right than deserved.  Dad's love of opera, I think, heavily influenced my own love of story. Much like my cherished memories of listening to Mom read me books as a little girl, one of my favorite memories is of listening to opera with Dad and having him tell me the dramatic and often tragic stories behind the beautiful music.  Some of my earliest memories included the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet and Tosca by Giacomo Puccini.

Dad has always been the best counselor. Serving as bishop to the congregation of our Latter-day Saint ward (congregation) for more than seven years, he was a source of strength, support, counsel, love, dedication and service to many more than just myself.  As my dad, he was the one I called for advice or comfort, especially when I was first away at school.  Even over the phone, he always had a way of making me feel like things would be alright.

Dad has always loved games and introduced us all to lots of different games like Panjandrum, and Tuxedo.  He tried to teach me chess as a little girl, but that one didn't stick.  (Sorry, Dad!)  He loved Trivial Pursuit and used to carry stacks of cards around in his pocket so that he could quiz himself at a moment's notice, if he ever had down time.  In fact, I remember seeing him reach into his shirt pocket a time or two to quiz himself during Sacrament Meeting!  Well, at least he was learning something, right?  Dad never shows mercy when it comes to strategy games.  This was a source of major frustration as a kid (Who am I kidding?  I still find it frustrating!), but it taught me how to be a little more cutthroat and crafty when I play games.  This has come in quite handy with my favorite game of Carcassonne -  a game I think I've gotten Dad hooked on too.  I now realize this could be both good news and rather frustrating news.  Hmmm.  Maybe I should have reconsidered...  Nah!

Dad is one of my very favorite people in the world.  He is absolutely one of the very best people that I know.  Happy birthday, Daddles.  I am proud to have you as my father, my counselor, and my friend.  I love you very much.

This song is a bit sappy, but the sentiment definitely hits the right spot for me.  You'll always be my father and I'll always be your joy.  (Well, one of them.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Mightiest Sword

I've been discussing this post with a good friend of mine for several days. She just posted her thoughts here. I highly recommend that you read them. I would almost just like to say amen to her post and call it good. Alas, I do have some thoughts of my own to add.

Forgiveness has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. I think it's interesting that both my friend and I found inspiration in Broadway songs. Hers came from Les Miserable and mine, a song entitled "Forgiveness", comes from the musical version of Jane Eyre. The following lines have been on near constant repeat in my head:

Forgiveness is the mightiest sword...
You must never lose faith
You must never lose heart
God will restore your trust
And I know you're afraid
I'm as scared as you are
But willing to be brave
Brave enough for love

Those lines paint so many images in my mind; the image of forgiveness being a sword that restores one's own power, the image of God restoring a person's trust by mending a broken heart, and the image of someone bravely forging ahead to seek love. All are simultaneously compelling and sweet.

Making ourselves vulnerable to pain and disappointment has always been a part of life. I can't say that it's ever been my favorite part, but I think I've always been pretty cognizant that it is an unavoidable and even desirable part of human relationships. I mean what's the point of relationships (and I don't just mean romantic relationships) if no one takes any risks right? And some of the most powerful lessons I have learned in my life have come as a result of that kind of disappointment. I would never trade those lessons, even if I also wouldn't choose to relive the painful bits.

At church on Sunday, I was impressed to get up and bear my testimony. I stood and looked out at the congregation and realized that I had no idea what I was supposed to say. I knew that whatever it was, it had to do w/ forgiveness, but I had no idea how to formulate my feelings into coherent thoughts. Thankfully, I had a printed copy of a talk I had recently read (and re-read, and re-read) by President James E. Faust that expressed what I could not. It's entitled "The Healing Power of Forgiveness". I had listened to it several days before and it could not have been more perfectly what I needed. The link to the entire article is here , but let me just share the part that I read to the congregation.

“'Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves.'

Most of us need time to work through pain and loss. We can find all manner of reasons for postponing forgiveness. One of these reasons is waiting for the wrongdoers to repent before we forgive them. Yet such a delay causes us to forfeit the peace and happiness that could be ours. The folly of rehashing long-past hurts does not bring happiness.

Some hold grudges for a lifetime, unaware that courageously forgiving those who have wronged us is wholesome and therapeutic.

Forgiveness comes more readily when...we have faith in God and trust in His word. Such faith “enables people to withstand the worst of humanity. It also enables people to look beyond themselves. More importantly, it enables them to forgive.”

...If we can find forgiveness in our hearts for those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being...Their example of forgiveness is a sublime expression of Christian love."

And so it comes back to the idea of seeking love again. Christ is our ultimate example. He experienced EVERY kind of betrayal, injury, disappointment, loss and sorrow that mankind has ever and will ever have to endure, and still He loves us. One sentiment I expressed in my testimony that I did not fully realize before, was just how far-reaching the act of forgiveness can be in finding that love and in salving our wounds. It's really easy to assume that forgiveness is solely for the transgressor's repentance, but that's only one narrow point of view. I hadn't yet seen how much I needed to forgive not only others, but also to seek forgiveness for myself. And until I could do all of these things, I really was forfeiting my peace and happiness. I kept rehashing. As soon as the wound began to heal, I would pick at it, poke at it, until it began to bleed all over again. And because of that, I became weaker.

I'm not certain that I've fully achieved everything that Pres. Faust talks about, but I know that I am progressing toward it. Right now it is still a constant battle. I have to remind myself daily to forgive. I have to remind myself not to forfeit the peace and happiness of knowing that God loves me and that He loves those who have injured me. I'm working toward that kind of love. I have to plead daily for that kind of humility. Some days I feel like I've found it and others I find that I have to trudge back up that hill a little ways. Some days I wake up and I feel like John Breen, a fifteen-year-old survivor of the pioneer Donner party, when he had finally made it to safety after months of starvation and incredible suffering. The images he creates with his impression of the ranch he came to on that first morning are the most powerful images for me in this very image-laden blog post. "The weather was fine, the ground was covered with green grass, the birds were singing from the tops of the trees, and the journey was over."

I have hope that this particular journey or battle will soon be over, replaced by a great feeling of love. I have faith that I will get to the point when I can see the green grass and hear the birds sing and feel the sun on my face every morning. I believe that God will restore my trust. And ya know what? I am willing to be brave enough for love.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Little Boob-tube Therapy pt. 1

Here is a post that I originally began on 09/29/08. I'll be following this up w/ my current TV therapy. Remember the ones listed below were from 2008. What are some of your favorite shows to unwind to?

Because I'm so busy this semester and dealing w/ a fair amount of stress, I thought I'd detail for you what is, I realize, a very silly post. Trust me - this is purely for therapeutic purposes. Between work, school, homework, internship, my church calling and the stake play, I have very little time to decompress, but when I do, it's usually to the tune of some TV show that I watch online. Come on. You have your own television distractions too, admit it.

Because not every show has premiered yet this season, here are a few of my current distractions...followed by a few of my ongoing distractions.

Psych - If you haven't watched this show yet, it's one you can jump into at any point and still enjoy fully. I haven't found clever, funny, truly laugh out loud writing like this since the early days of Gilmore Girls. In fact, this is kind of like Gilmore Girls for guys....uhhhh, kinda. And it doesn't hurt that Shawn and Gus are equally adorable.

Burn Notice - Another show that is a mere distraction. It's a little deeper than Psych, but still formulaic and simple enough to follow. It's really only slightly weightier material, but still has a good amount of humor. And's led by a pretty face. Are you seeing a trend here? Hey, it's my therapy, okay?

Chuck - Yet another light-weight show, centering around an average guy caught up in above average circumstances. Dialogue isn't as clever as other shows like Psych, but the characters, twists, and ultimately the actors keep me coming back for more. Plus, it's got a lot of humor and it's relatively innocent - which is refreshing w/ all the trash on TV right now. And yeah, you guessed it. THIS is another big draw for me. (I mean, for the LOVE! Wow, he's a beautiful boy!) So I have a thing for tall, lerpy, brunettes, okay?

The Office - Classic. Season 5 has just started, but it's already off to a great start! Humor and silliness abounds.

Heroes - (Insert added 2011. I have no idea what I would have written here three years ago, but I think I was on my way out with this show. Heroes had a BRILLIANT first season, followed by an alright second season aaaaand then it rapidly spiraled out of control. I went back to reacquaint myself w/ Season 3 from 2008 and I don't remember much at all, so I'm guessing this is about the time I jumped ship. Such a great idea. So convoluted and ugggggghhhhh. Enough said.)

Pushing Daisies (I bought Season 1 on DVD and I've been enjoying every last bite - of the show and of this guy. Sigh. Oh, and the new season premieres this week.) [Insert added 2011 - Adorable, light and joyous show. Unfortunately, it jumped the shark in season 2 and was thusly canceled.]

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Insert added 2011. I know, I know. It's just what you think it is and it is admittedly both more intriguing than you might expect and just as cheesy as you might expect. The show ended getting canceled early. Go figure.)

Eureka (A perfectly enjoyable diversion, without a lot of complicated plot developments. It's both humorous and sweet. This is definitely geeky, quirky, clean, and funny. While it's got plenty of deaths, the show always seems to end on a positive note.)

Battlestar Galactica - (Insert added 2011. I'm just saying if you haven't watched this show....whoa. Okay, this is NOT for everyone. It has some VERY racy scenes that I highly recommend you fast forward or watch on a clean flick dvd player, but it also has some really deep correlations to the gospel. So this is a remake of that incredibly cheesy 70s/80s TV series and creator of the original show was (not sure if he still is) a member of the LDS church. So some of the mythology surrounding the show is kind of awesomely steeped in Latter-day Saint theology. Also, for those afraid of science fiction, rest assured that this is very light on the "beep-boop" components so prevalent in many ridiculous science fiction shows. So yeah. It's kind of great...aside from the icky sex scenes. Justification much? Hmph.)

Lost - (Insert added 2011. Do I really need to say anything about this show? Well, I could, but so much has already been said about it that I just don't feel that I need to make my own contribution. Suffice it to say I love the show. I'm still not sure how I feel about the way it all ended, but I'm really glad that it did. It was betimes simultaneously brilliant and incredibly frustrating, but I have a soft spot in my heart for it all the same.)