Hope Defined

"...real hope is much more than wishful musing. It stiffens, not slackens, the spiritual spine. Hope is serene, not giddy, eager without being naive, and pleasantly steady without being smug. Hope is realistic anticipation which takes the form of a determination—not only to survive adversity but, moreover, to “endure … well” to the end (D&C 121:8)."
-Elder Neil A. Maxwell

For this infographic I thought triangles was a great way to illustrate how proximate hope vs ultimate hope. Proximate hope has a limit, therefore will come to a point. Ultimate hope on the other hand has the ability to grow and expand.

In my thoughts regarding hopeful things and becoming a more hopeful person, I have discovered not all hope is created equal. Although I feel it is rooted in the same innate desire--just like our desire to be happy--you eventually see a divide in the definition and are left with two "types" of hope. 

The more I study and think about this subject the more strongly I feel its power and how entangled it is with our individual happiness and fulfillment. However, in order for us to discuss how we do that, the two types of hope must be clearly defined. 

Proximate Hope

If you think about it, there is a difference between the hope you feel when you want a certain team to win a game versus the type of hope (or lack thereof) when you consider your purpose and place in life.

After reading Elder Neal A Maxwell's talk "Hope Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ", he defines the former as a "proximate" hope. 

"Our everyday usage of the word hope includes how we "hope" to arrive at a certain destination by a certain time. We "hope" the world economy will improve. We "hope" for the visit of a loved one. Such typify our sincere but proximate hopes."

Essentially, our proximate hopes are based on trivial things and temporal things. Now, the negative side of proximate hope doesn't lie within the fact that they're based on trivial and temporal things. Heaven knows the value I place in hoping to decorate my home or hoping to learn how to plant a garden this spring. In fact, I believe our ability to have these proximate hopes plays a huge part in our ability to find joy in this life. 

The negative aspect of proximate hope is that it has the ability to fail us. It's undependable and contains elements of uncertainty. You're favorite team will eventually lose. Friends and family will inevitably let you down, and frankly, I don't know what to tell ya about the economy, but I don't think it's lookin' good! 

I remember as a young girl, identifying with the character Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. Being someone who had a tendency to get her hopes up way too easily (I think adulthood has managed to mellow me out a bit) I loved Anne's response to Marilla after she calls her out for constantly getting her hopes too high. Anne replied in dramatic fashion, "I know. I can't help flying up on the wings of anticipation. It's as glorious as soaring through a sunset...almost pays for the thud." 

And that's the thing about proximate hope, it's as glorious as it is easy--but there is always the inevitable thud. And unless that thud is backed by another type of hope, it's that failing that can get us into a lot of trouble. 

Aside from the natural and obvious increase in despair, a lack of hope can quickly breed into a selfish "yolo" (I believe thats what the youngsters are calling it these days) sort of lifestyle. About this matter Elder Maxwell said,

"Nevertheless, because proximate hopes are so vulnerable to irony and the unexpected, there is an increasing and profound sense of existential despair in the world.

"When hope is stripped away, Paul noted this tendency for some to eat and drink, reasoning that “for to morrow we die,” driven by the erroneous conclusion that “when a man [is] dead, that [is] the end thereof” (1 Cor. 15:32Alma 30:18)."
"...Viewing life without the prospect of immortality can diminish not only hope but also the sense of personal accountability (see 1 Cor. 15:19Alma 30:18)."

"No wonder the subsequent loss of hope almost inevitably sends selfishness surging as many, resignedly, turn to pleasing themselves. 

The last time I checked, despair and selfishness have never made anyone happy.

Which is why this soaring hope must be rooted. Rooted into something that will not fail us. 

Ultimate Hope 

This is where real hope or what Elder Maxwell refers to as "ultimate" hope comes into play. This type of hope provides the foundation we need to proximate hope because it's placed in someone who will not fail us. 

That someone is Jesus Christ. 

"Ultimate hope is a different matter. It is tied to Jesus and the blessing of the great Atonment, blessings resulting in the universal Resurrection and the precious opportunity provided thereby to us to practice emancipating repentance, making possible what the scriptures call "a perfect brightness of hope" (2Ne. 31:20)...Real hope, therefore, is not associated with things mercurial, but rather with things immortal and eternal!"

Simply put, Jesus Christ is the only being that has ever existed throughout the history of this world who will never let us down. 

Therefore, we don't want to ever let Him down. Hence, a sense of personal accountability is created. 

This increases our desire to be righteous, expands our faith and allows us to see good while enduring the bad, which in turn creates more hope. A cycle that starts from putting our hope in Jesus Christ ends with the creation of more hope.   

Perhaps I'm oversimplifying here. I remember sitting in my Physical Science class in college listening to my professor elaborate on Newton's Law of Gravity. Ok, so what goes up must come down. Pretty sure I got it. In fact--um...duh. I'm also pretty sure if I had been born in the middle of the seventeenth century, I'd like to think I could've come up with that observation and it would be Jasmine's Law of Gravity we'd be studying right now. 

Then my professor throws on the board something that looks like this: F=G(m1m2/r2)+*&{~!@#$}aasdfjlkj and somewhere between all the talk about bodies being directly proportional to masses, I realized maaaybe--just maybe--my Seventeenth Century self wouldn't have been that smart. 

Although, me telling you to "put your hope in Jesus Christ" sounds as simple as "what goes up must come down" in truth the matter at hand is far more phenomenal than that. Bestowing our ulimate hope into a Savior who, helps us become better people all for the sake of our personal happiness--is truly miraculous.

One must realize that lumping hope into one, general idea doesn't work. There are different types--and you must know which type you're aiming for in order to move forward with hope on your side.

Easter 2014

Oh Easter weekend was a welcome sight this year. Not only was is it just wonderful all by itself, but it marked what I'm hoping is the end of my week as an invalid. After catching bronchitis and some delightful pink eye (an infection that I'm convinced was created soley to make you feel like the most unattractive thing on the planet) I felt like a walking plague. It never ceases to amaze me how easily I take my health for granted. And how all it takes is a little virus to make me cry out inside my head, in a very wo-is-me manner, if only I had my health! 

Even though I'm almost all better, I still nervously anticipating the fallout with these cutie pies, but fingers crossed, hands washed, prayers said, lets hope they hang on to their current states of health.

But as for now, we're enjoying a delightful Easter. We spent yesterday with my sister's fam and parents doing most of our festivities. We went to the Tulip Festival and then had a gourmet Easter feast a la my sister and her husband. Sooo tasty. Today, was more relaxed with Easter baskets and church. 

I also must mention a social media campaign our church started called #becauseofhim. It provided me an opportunity to ponder and then post my thoughts of my Savior and all that he has allowed me to do and be in this world. It made this Easter all the more special reflecting on my own thoughts and seeing the thoughts of others. 

Happy Easter!

Easter Time

Download free 8x10 image here.

It's 7:30 am and our house is quiet as a mouse. The only sounds I hear are the clicking keys on my laptop and the humming sound of my humidifier. It's a miracle none of my kids are awake yet--especially that sweet little boy. However, don't mistake my earlybird state as a sign of an industrious mother ready to take the Monday after Spring Break by the horns. Unfotunately, I'm much lamer than that.

We've spent the last couple of weeks battling mild colds bouncing from one person back to the next--however, nothing serious. Sadly, I woke up with a fever this morning and it seems the mildness is gone. During my sleeplessness, I couldn't help but dwell on the dozens of kisses I've liberally handed out to my family the last couple of days and will think it nothing short of a miracle if I haven't infected my entire family with this nasty illness right in time for all the Easter fun.

Speaking of Easter fun, I've been desperate for some Easter decor. All of my holiday decor is suffering in my efforts just to get my home decorated. My first idea was do to this really cute bunny bunting, with  little pom pom tails, but in the middle of me trying to finish it yesterday, my sewing machine quit on me. Just stopped. Not warning--nothin'. It was at this point I cut my losses and crawled in bed to take a nap. 

However, I do have one cherished item for Easter. I was lucky enough to get these marble eggs from my Grandma who passed away last spring. Aside from holding a lot of sentimental value, I just think they're SO cool.  To say I love them is a bit of an understatement.

I was inspired by their bright spring colors and knew I wanted some sort of Easter saying regarding Christ's resurrection. I initally thought "Christ the Lord is Risen Today. Alleluiah!" But then I saw someone use "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and loved the simplicity of that statement even more. Plus, it makes me think of the song every time I look at it. 

I love Easter and all that it represents. Did you by chance see this video? It's so wonderfully done. I can't help but think no matter your religious affiliation it's something I find most people would appreciate. 

Happy Easter!

General Conference Weekend

I remember there being a gradual, but noticable transition from my young toleration of 8 hours of speakers to my ardent love for a weekend I enjoy more than most holidays. I know a huge part of this transition had to do with my mom. I knew it was something my mom loved and got excited about and so I wanted to love and be excited about it too. It went from thinking the one out of the four sessions (Sunday morning) that my mom required us to watch was sooo long and boring, to tolerating both Sunday sessions while coloring and doing puzzles, to my mom challenging me to actually trying to listen to what the speakers were saying, to working in the Saturday sessions while blairing them on every TV and every radio throughout our house while we did our Saturday morning chores. It was at this point I start catching phrases here and there that made an impact. 

It was soon after this, I was able to appreciate the knowledge and revleation given. And beside it being the opportunity to listen to prophetic counsel in today's confusing world, as a result, it became one of my most treasured traditions. 

I mean, seriously, sitting around with your family while listening to the celebrities of guidance and inspiration? It doesn't get any better that. 

On Sunday, we had my sister's family and parents over for the morning session. 

The kiddos colored...

all of us ate... (or mooched)...

these cute boys studied up on how to draw mystical creatures....

others of us just sat there and looked cute...

Penny was victorious in finding someone to scratch her arm...

And of course, puzzles (or assisting with puzzles)...

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to hear our Prophet and apostles testify of Christ and offer words of comfort and encouragement. If you missed it, check it out here.