Saturday, April 27, 2013

It's so on!

This is a public notification by James' Mom for all to witness.

It started innocently enough…

My sweet little son, Elder Pope, wrote me the kindest note last Monday about how happy I looked in the pictures I emailed him and how that really brings him joy.  (Seriously, is this my kid?  I love this missionary stuff.)  So, what mother wouldn't melt like butter?  I was literally on cloud nine.  All was right in the world.   

…And then he wrote, "So, I'm starting the Book of Mormon over again and I'm really bad at reading straight through it.  I need a challenge…think you can beat me?  ;)"


My state of euphoric joy was instantly replaced by the euphoria of COMPETITION.  That thrill of rivalry for supremacy, a prize, for honor!  
Do or Die!  Dog Eat Dog!  One-Upping!  Sport, Strive, Struggle!  
Go for the Gold!  

(…okay, okay, deep calming breaths.  Who does this kid think he is?)

The rest of the conversation went something like this:

Me:  "I probably can given how much time I have compared to you.  Do you have a schedule in mind?" 
Elder Pope:  "Well, early morning for 2-3 hours then 1 hour at lunch and/or evening.  How about by the end of May?  Sound good? 
Me:  "What?  You have 5 hours a day?!!!!  Hmm, I think I just got in over my head!  …Okay, end of May.  You're on Elder!" 
Elder Pope:  "HAHAHAHA I DON'T HAVE FIVE HOURS!  I maybe have one if I'm lucky!  Those are just times when I might be able to read if I use my time right.  =]" 
Me:  "Oh, then this will be easier than I thought.  I'm going to figure out right now how many pages a day I need to read so I can whoop you by a week.  Goal set." 
Elder Pope:  "NO WAY!  IT'S SO ON!"

So, there you have it.  I am methodically working to crush my son while he labors diligently in the mission field.  I'm going to email James this picture of myself for motivation.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Happy One Year of Mission Service, James!

A year ago today, March 28, 2012, James entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, as a hopeful youth with nervous laughter of what lay ahead on this chosen path.  Today, a faithful and seasoned missionary, he fulfills his calling as a Missionary District Leader in Ankeny, Iowa and he loves it!

Pictured with family:  dear friends and returned missionaries Brack Mulliner, Eric Sackett and Taylor Stuart, as well as Brother Hanson, who conducted setting James apart as a Full Time Missionary on 27 March 2012.

You'd think writing a halfway post of James' one year in the mission field would be easy.  Yet, I've found myself struggling with how to capture a "year in review".  I'm almost overwhelmed with events, thoughts and emotions to filter through for a post that is meaningful and gives due justice to the significance of James' service.

I thought I'd (try to) keep it simple by summing up his and my perspectives at this halfway milestone.

James wrote this week,  "I've gone through probably the biggest change in the last 5 days than I ever thought possible.  I now see and know how to overcome my natural difficulties, or the natural man.  Please read Mosiah 3:19.  Amazing Mom!  As I go through this journey within the gospel I often giggle and smile from the same recurring thought of we never stop progressing in this life.  This gospel is always helping us do that and not only requires it from us but helps us know how.  Life has natural patterns, the Gospel helps us understand why."

From the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:19 reads, "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seethe fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

James shares comments and scripture messages like this pretty much every week.  He loves the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He loves people and loves doing service for people.  In a broader perspective, James has learned service is a far greater concept than good deeds.  Service is Selflessness, Love, Humility and Patience absent of Pridefulness.  Qualities that take most of us three to four (or more) decades to learn, appreciate and hopefully master!

As James' Mom, I've intimately travelled his chosen path with him.  Through his service I have received an education on Christ and find his teachings fill my heart with goodness on so many levels.  We all choose varying paths in life seeking happiness and fulfillment.  At the halfway point of James' mission, I have a renewed life perspective as well, which is James has chosen well to follow Christ's path. 

May the next year be as fun and fulfilling as the first Elder Pope!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sorry Elder, but…

It's too good not to share!

Elder Pope shared with me last September a little poem he penned.  He actually asked me not to post it on the blog, which I respected up until now.  I decided today it's too good not to share.  We hope you like it.

Forgive me, James?  Love, Mom

Never forsake those who live and sigh;
Their hands may hang helplessly low.
For those of us who know a way,
Never bend, never sway.
Together we stand, firmly we pray;
Today is the day, there is always a way.