A Little History:
Our story begins in Pocatello, Idaho, circa 1972, when the lovely Debby Christensen agreed to a first, though fateful date with admirer, David Croshaw. Long story-short, he bade her follow him, and they went arm-in-arm to the Logan, Utah temple for establishment of an eternal family unit, Generation 1, on May 23 1973.

From their first blissful summer in Salt Lake City, educational pursuits took them to Provo/Orem, Utah, birthplace of Leslie and Rebecca, and to San Francisco/Oakland California, birthplace of Colin and Matt. Then, for establishment of livelihood, expansion of the tribe with Abby and Dana, and for raising/unifying of Generation 2, it was back to the roots in Pocatello for a rewarding sojourn.

In time, driven by a raging, but commonly shared sense of adventure and independence, one-by-one, Generation 2 escaped the homeland to distant regions of the country and the world, each ultimately developing their own tribal expansions by pairing with worthy mates and initiating Generation 3.

Now sensing fulfillment of their purpose in Pocatello, Generation 1 has also left those roots and transplanted to Cascade Idaho, from which base, they anticipate more abundant contact with The Posterity, Generations 2 and 3, in the future. That contact however, awaits fulfillment of a call to LDS missionary service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, wherein they hope to help the state of the world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

So now, including Generation 0 (Grandma and Grandpa Christensen) home base includes Yuma, Arizona, Pocatello, Idaho, Cascade, Idaho, Vancouver, BC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, back to Boise, Idaho, and on and on (Generation 3+) to infinity.

Our Mission Statement:
This is the blog of our eternal family unit. Initiated years ago, it served well as a journal, but even more so, as an archive of our personal interaction. It was a gathering place, a confabulation instrument, a unifying force for four generations of widely dispersed and progressively prolific posterity, and their valued associates. Though it served these purposes well for many years, it eventually took a back seat to new-kids-on-the-block, Facebook, and Instagram, and was sadly forgotten.

We now move to resurrect this blog with an added functional purpose of archiving the missionary experiences of Generation 1, of their movements and activities as they participate with The Gathering of Israel in the land northward. In so doing, we hope that via their own comments and posts, this blog will again serve to gather and unify the posterity and their friends.

As in the past, that the young and vibrant may know the old and tired, that enduring bonds may be fostered and maintained, that experience and encouragement may be openly shared, that posterity may embrace truth, and that hearts may be knit together, we must resist detachment despite our geographic divergence. We shall do so here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Family Blog Evening, No. 2

“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city” Proverbs 16:32

I've learned something recently, and I thought it might be a good subject for FBE. I've been working really hard on controlling my negative emotions or at least the expression of them. I hope Alex forgives me for sharing something rather personal.

A couple of weeks ago I got upset at Alex for something, (the relevance of which is not important at this time) but I didn't tell him I was upset, because I've learned that many times when I'm angry I say things I shouldn't and then I end up feeling much worse than I did before I say them. But I was upset and I was justified and as much as I tried not to be angry, the angry feeling didn't go away. I sat and stewed over this issue for a good day or two, but I prayed that I would be able to see the sitaution through Alex's eyes and know if I was in some way not being fair in my assessment of him and the situation.

At the end of the second day, I went to bed only to be woken at about 3am as Alex was closing the bathroom door. I sensed that something was wrong, so I asked him if he was sick and he said "no". I then asked him if he was stressed, and he said "yes". He hadn't been able to sleep at all that night he was so worried about work and other family-related issues. We then talked about it a little bit and I held him tight and eventually he fell asleep. It was one of those intimate "growing closer" moments. We all have them with our spouses, our siblings, our kids or our friends. They are the moments when one is suffering and the other aleviates their suffering a little by just being there. I knew at that moment that had I allowed the anger I'd felt earlier in the day to overcome me, I would have missed this opportunity to peacefully and lovingly support my husband and strengthen our marriage. And not only that, the expression of my anger would have compounded the stress he was already feeling, which makes me cringe now that I understand the kind of pressure he was under.

I remember once shortly after I came home from my mission, Becky said or did something that made me really mad. (Of course, now I have no idea what it could have been.) I prayed in that moment that I wouldn't get upset and amazingly the feeling of anger vanished. Of course, at that time my levels of self-control and my proximity to the Spirit were probably well above-average, but still...it worked!

We all know that families and homes are destroyed because of anger. President Hinkley reminded us: "So many of us make a great fuss of matters of small consequence. We are so easily offended. Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another and go on his way. Grudges, if left to fester, can become serious maladies. Like a painful ailment they can absorb all of our time and attention."

"I plead with you to control your tempers, to put a smile upon your faces, which will erase anger; speak out with words of love and peace, appreciation, and respect. If you will do this, your lives will be without regret. Your marriages and family relationships will be preserved. You will be much happier. You will do greater good. You will feel a sense of peace that will be wonderful."

We all know how wise and good President Hinkley was and I know what he said is true, because I did it and felt the peace he described and my home was a better place because of it. This week, let's all commit to do a little better and not say things we'll regret. I'm sure if we do it, as President Hinkley has promised, we'll notice the difference in our homes...and ourselves.


Crystal said...

Great blog! I actually taught on this not even meaning to yesterday. We were talking about the divine calling of women as wife and mother and I shared with them the feelings I felt driving home the night before from DC. I looked in the back and saw Valerie and her friend all snuggled together and Asher's little hand relaxed as I heard him breathing, then I looked over to see Matt sleeping and I was totally overcome by so much love for my family and I remembered how glad I was that I held in a critical comment in the mall (as mentioned, I can't even remember what the comment would have been addressing) and I was so happy that I had done that.

I get really, really stressed lately, mostly owing to no sleep and I tend to either silently stew or rage with stomps and slamming cabinet doors. Neither is good. When I pray to calm down, sometimes I am not calmed, but always I am reminded that I love my family.

I am lucky in that I forgive easily but I am all too quick to call someone out if I feel they are being clumsey or loud or... whatever, and it does nothing but make them feel bad.

When I became single, I promised Valerie that in the 4 walls of our home, she would be protected, loved, built up and since Matt and I got married, I have to remind myself of that more often because it really is a tough situation of no one getting enough sleep and family life situations non-ideal. When I pause to look beside me though, in the quiet moments of my sleeping family, however, I am amazed at the love I feel for them to the point of tears.

"we hurt the ones we love the most" at least I do, and I need to get that more in-check.

abbynormal said...

I'm supposed to be writing a paper, but I'm unmotivated so I'll comment instead. Why are there so many papers to write in business school??! I miss my numbers-based undergrad years. You know how many papers I've had to write in my finance class? NONE! But I digress.

Thank you for sharing this, Les. It reminds me of a couple things. One is that BYU-Hawaii devotional that mom sent to us awhile back about how we are free to act for ourselves, and that we've been given the ability and responsibility to choose what we think about. We are who we are because of what we choose to think about. When we get angry, we choose to do so. Try it - next time you start to get angry, afraid, or whatever, you should realize that it is a conscious choice on your part, then practice a little self-control and try not to be angry. Not to say it'll come easy the first time, but that's what self-mastery is all about.

I actually did something similar just this weekend. Some of you may have noticed that I've been a little absent from the scene lately. I'm approaching the middle of the semester, which is one of the points in the schoolyear when my life is basically consumed with school (and life outside of school is consumed with church). It seems there is always a paper, and a project, and a test, and an Institute activity on my plate. Doesn't leave much downtime. Under these circumstances, sometimes I have a shorter fuse.

This friend of mine asked for a favor this last weekend, and it quickly became apparent that it wasn't just going to be a simple favor. This irritated me much more than it would under normal circumstances, and I clearly recognized that I was thinking very irrationally. Sometimes that's all it takes - just to recognize your unbridled thoughts. But this time it wasn't, so I said a prayer to get a little extra help. I'd like to say my irritation evaporated on the spot, but it didn't. However, it was a step. I think the most important factor was that I thought to pray. I know if I keep taking that action every time anger starts to creep in, it will make a difference. Something positive will start to fill the space, as Crystal mentioned it does for her.

David and Debby said...

les, thanks for doing this. what great advice. i think we are all plagued by the natural man/woman in each of us. i love the quotes you gave us as well. thanks. i have already had occasion to try to apply it today. i keep being reminded that we need to love and treat each other more kindly, whatever our interactions. xoxo

David and Debby said...

I remember several years ago, being at a church event, a father-son campout at Hicee Hotsprings I think. There were a number of other campers in the campground also. In the evening when they were all relaxing by their sites, our young men were playing softball, or frizbee in an open grassy field adjacent to the camp sites.

For some relatively insignificant reason, one of the other campers got upset, intensely over-reacting, yelling and expressing his discontent with our game. None of the other campers seemed to mind what we were doing, but this one was pretty enraged.

As one of the few adult leaders playing, I remember being tempted to tell them off and remind him that this is a free country and that we paid our campground fees, just as he had, etc, etc. I was about to use Colin's famous line, "No, you're out of line!" It would have felt really good, but when I opened my mouth, I knew I couldn't do that. In that setting, I knew I had to represent the Church as well as provide a good example to the boys. So, instead, I said something like, "We're sorry, we didn't realize we were causing a problem. This is just a group of young men trying to have a good time. We'd be happy to move the game elsewhere."

It was amazing to me, and I'll never forget how quickly that approach took the wind out of his sails, and the fight out of his face. I think he felt guilty for being so harsh, and almost immediately his whole attitude changed. He said, "no, that's OK. I'm sorry for yelling. It'll be alright. You don't have to move."

We went on playing and had a great time, except that, as I recall, Matt later burned his hand on a lantern, and He and I had a long night because of his pain. Do you remember that Matt?

Crystal said...

Matt remembers, I have heard that story a couple times. We told me he grabbed the lantern by the glass to move it. Then he told me about cutting his leg with a chainsaw on his mission. This was after he scared the cat by grabbing her at night and then running into the wall. She decided to escape his grasp and somehow he ended up with a gushing head wound and a claw stuck in his scalp. True story. Anyway, I am the biggest baby when it comes to burns. I would totally not have been able to stay at the camp site all night.

theknappkns said...

Thank you for conducting FBE this week. This was a great topic, and so important in today's world.
By the way, we're still waiting to hear from the others who haven't commented.

Colin -N- Lori said...

I have been pondering Leslie's words and I don't have anything too profound but it makes me think of little children, especially mine.

I can think of the many, many times I have jumped to a conclusion that wasn't right or gotten very angry over something that wasn't a big deal and completely over-reacted. I have immediately felt shame in myself and wondered how my kids will forgive me. They are so Christlike in their forgiveness and unconditional love. Their forgiveness humbles me so greatly!!

I have been prompted many times to follow their example, watch myself and how I react. I have learned that a soft voice and a calm tone gets my family all a lot farther and closer. I can feel the Spirit leave when contention enters and it is such a void feeling. It's easier for me if I ask myself, "What would Jesus do?" It gives me a moment for the Spirit to respond so I can react appropriately.

Crystal said...

I have been thinking about this all week. So. Last year, I had a student who would argue with me in class and honestly, one time, I got pretty snippy with her then held her stare till she looked away. I felt AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL about that for the rest of the semester. At the end of the semester, I was collecting food journals that I make my students keep for the entire semester (and they hate me for it, as a whole). This student came to me after class and handed me a stack of postits saying basically that she had been keeping track of her food with the intent on copying it down in a journal. At first, I thought, "you have GOT to be kidding me... are you SERIOUS?!" this is 2.5 quiz grades! But I saw they were in different writings, and then I saw the pleading in her eyes and I remembered what I did in class, in front of other students and I said, " we have an honor code and if you tell me you did it, I believe you and I will give you full credit." She literally gasped for air, and attacked me full force with a bear-hug thanking me and then she said "Remember that day in class? I really was so MAD at you! All semester long, I have wanted to talk with you about it, but never knew how to approach it. I just wanted to say, I forgive you."

So it works both ways, my friends. It really does. I do not know that I have EVER been so humbled by such an act toward me. I see her every Tuesday and Thursday morning this semester and I think of that moment. It was life-changing. I pray that I never, ever treat another human the way I did her. That was totally awful and abusive of my power. That being said... any advise on being TOO NICE?! I am WAY WAY WAYYYYY too nice to my daughter and my students...

Matthew said...

Since we're all in a mood for sharing weaknesses I should contribute.

As many of you already know I have a bit (understatement of the year) of a temper. The real problem is that it's the worse kind of temper. It's the kind of temper where people make me mad and I say nothing. Sadly, I tend to take it out on those closest to me. Sadly the person who takes the brunt of it is Crystal :-( It's one of those things I wish I could take back but know all too well that I cannot.

One of the only things I have done that works is sort of strange. A while ago I decided that if while driving someone would cut me off or something else that's irritating, I would think of something that would make me laugh. It's no big surprise that it was often a movie line. Every time I did this it worked like a charm. Now it's just a matter of remembering this in the heat of the moment.