Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kitty de Ruyter-Bon

The other day I was working on a sewing project and decided to listen to another conversation on the Mormon Channel. I selected Kitty de Ruyter-Bon (ep. 12), a woman whose name I did not recognize, but whose story looked interesting. She was born and raised in Indonesia, and put in a Japanese concentration camp during WWII with her family when she was 8 years old. I was surprised to discover that she was the source of a story (about a decision her mother made to protect the virtue of some young women while in the concentration camp that resulted in harsh punishment) I had heard in my youth and have remembered all these years, but could not remember where I heard it or if it was even a true story at all. I'm guessing I heard her speak at EFY?

The faith, strength, teachings, and example of her mother is great evidence of the impact mothers have on their children. Kitty's family was not LDS when she was growing up, but her mother's faith made a huge impact on Kitty and her ability to endure the tragedies of war with hope. She encouraged her children to pray despite it being forbidden at the camp, and also taught them as much as she could about the scriptures, science, math, etc. during the 3.5 years at the camp because they were provided no education in an attempt to override their culture (i.e. education is more than just a back-up plan for stay-at-home moms). Here is an article in the Deseret News (Oct. 31, 2010) that gives a brief background on her.

Below is a portion of her interview that I liked.:

What have you learned about war?
"War is a horrible thing to go through. And yes, atrocities are committed. And it seems to be that people only make war either for land or for an ideology or a religion. And I'm afraid that they still haven't learned that even though war is a horrible thing if you stay with the teachings of Jesus Christ and you let that influence your soul, then you can overcome all things."

What do you tell groups to whom you speak about freedom?
"...I tell them this is the best country in the whole world. That freedom is something to be cherished. Because people take freedom for granted; it's freedom of speech, it's freedom of movement, it's freedom that you aren't being confined. And here in America you are not going to be put in prison for no reason at all. You will have your day in court. Because the law protects you this. And so many other countries you don't. That's what I usually tell them. And I tell them also, we are so grateful for the Allied and the American armed forces that delivered us and what they are doing for us. And that they bring liberty for so many, so many people."

What do you say to groups about faith?
"I always try to be a missionary, and when I speak to non-LDS groups I tell them about my mother's faith. But faith is something that you have to work on, you have to give your whole soul to it, that Heavenly Father will be there to help you, that he answers prayers, and that all blessings are predicated on laws that you follow, and commandments that you follow."

What do you say about courage?
"Courage comes from deep inside of you. And sometimes it is difficult to be courageous, but you always have to remember when you do something that the Lord will walk before you on your right hand and your left hand and angels will uphold you. And so you never have to be afraid. I've seen my mother be very courageous and I like to be courageous as well."

What do you tell them about fear?
"Fear is something to avoid. Always know that fear comes from the adversary. Fear is not something that Heavenly Father puts into you, yes, sometimes the scriptures say 'Fear God' but it means 'Worship God and obey Him'. Fear comes from the devil and it's darkness. And I always say turn your face to God and you'll receive light."

What do you say about strength?
"Strength is something that you develop. You have to overcome shyness. Build on your self-esteem. Always know that you are a daughter of God and that He has made you in His image and he has given you the strength and the power to overcome any adversity any trial that you have. And then you'll find strength."

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Math War

School is back. My son's homework on his first day of school? A discussion with us about how we use math in everyday life. This was a hard topic for me to discuss, as I consider math a foe more than a friend... an animosity that dates back to my middle and high school days. But, I swallowed my pride and admitted that I used it when I sewed, and cooked, grocery shopped, and scheduled my day- and I think I even successfully hid my scowl and acted positive about it. 

I did not inform my son that in a few short years he would take math courses that have no relevance to everyday life except to be able to pass tests and that it would be a bur in his pants every night during homework and I have the picture my parents took of me solemnly laboring over my math homework to prove it. But then, some things in life are meant to discover on your own.

Unless he's one of those people who actually likes math. In which case, that would be my ultimate triumph over math.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Mixed Messages

I'm confused.

Is buying products made from trees responsible because it is a renewable resource and biodegradable? :)

Or, is buying products made from trees irresponsible because it is wreaking devastation on rain forests and their species? :(

Somebody please clarify.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Divine Work

On days like today, when motherhood involves a lot of wailing, gnashing of teeth, and an infectious case of the grumpies (that even yourself is not immune to), it's good to remember the eternal perspective:

"Motherhood thus becomes a holy calling, a sacred dedication for carrying out the Lord’s plans, a consecration of devotion to the uprearing and fostering, the nurturing in body, mind, and spirit, of those who kept their first estate and who come to this earth for their second estate ‘to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.’ (Abr. 3:25.) To lead them to keep their second estate is the work of motherhood, and ‘they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.’ "
– Spencer W. Kimball, quoting First Presidency in Deseret News

Yes, it's good to remember the eternal perspective... as well as the power of Quiet Time. They might not be sleeping, but at least it's quiet.