Thursday, March 29, 2018

Eliminating Distance by Cutting Out the Filters

by Lisa Rector

I recently read about eliminating distance in writing by cutting out filter words and was able to create an analogy to answer a spiritual question.
Try to follow me.

Filter words create distance between the reader and the story and pull the reader out of a deep emotional experience. By cutting filter words, the reader is drawn into the story and holds on to a meaningful connection with the character.

So, jumping back to the spiritual. Here’s the question. How can we repair the breach between God and us?

How did I use eliminating distance by cutting out filter words as an example to answer this question?

I’ll start by saying, “Don’t put distance between yourself and God. Cut out all the filters.”
How do we do that?

In literature, I often see writers use modals. For instance.

I could hear God.

Usually, the sentence is written this way when a character is in a hazy state or is about to pass out. They can hear but can’t see, and writers like to make sure the readers know it.
But the modal can or could is not necessary.
Let’s go a step farther.

I heard God.

You still might not be able to see God, but you definitely hear Him. But why use the filter word? Heard is passive, creating distance once again between the reader and the story.
So what’s next?
Try writing it this way.

God speaks to me.

The writer has cut out the filter word. The sentence is active. God speaking to the character is a sure thing. It’s written in a powerful way.

So we go from hazily hearing God to hearing Him to acknowledging the He speaks to us.

Let’s pretend the filter words are a metaphor for something in our lives that creates distance between God and us. What can we cut out to restore or strengthen the relationship? What in our lives bogs us down, only letting us vaguely hear promptings? What blocks the connection between Deity and us? What keeps us from drawing closer to God and having a deep abiding trust in Him? How can we have an active relationship with God?

The first step is acknowledging the things we need to do to repair the breach, whatever it may be. And then act. If we do these things and ponder the above questions, we can have a greater relationship with our Father in Heaven.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Potato Chip Rock


I had a grand adventure a couple of weeks ago with my son.

Have you ever heard of Potato Chip Rock? Didn’t think so unless you live near Poway, CA. One more bucket list item checked off. I hadn’t even heard of it until I moved away from that city. The hike is a 2 mile trek up Mt. Woodson.




My son Brian was my guide. It’s the toughest 4 mile hike I’ve ever gone on. 

We hiked through beautiful terrain.

I made myself notice the beauty every few minutes when I stopped and gasped for breath.

We climbed 1,300 feet in elevation in the 2 miles up.

Potato Chip Rock deserves its name, and I wish I could have had my picture taken on top, but I couldn’t climb up the crack in the rock necessary to reach it.

I waited my turn in line, but when I needed to raise my knee to about waist height especially in that small space, my back said, “Don’t do it.” I didn’t. Still worth the hike.


The descent was easier, but by then my body was telling me “enough!” Brian made sure I drank enough water all along the way, and gave me a granola bar for calories before starting down.

I was surprised I didn’t have sore muscles the next day. My calves were burning on the way up, and the top of my thighs on the way down.

Was I disappointed that I couldn’t go to the top of Potato Chip Rock? Yes! But not devastated. At my age I’m thankful I could take the journey with my son. 

One on one time with any of my children is always special. 

It’s an adventure I’ll always remember.

I can do hard things, but I still have to be smart, and know when to let it go.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Succoring Us in Our Afflictions

By Lisa Rector

Part of Christ succoring us is not only giving us strength or patience to endure out infirmities, but also allowing a moment when the Spirit confirms a comforting truth that heals us emotionally and spiritually. “This is the power the Savior extends to us to succor us in our trials.” (Darren Wilcox, October 2017 Ensign) This is the power that comes to us through His atonement.

For example, we know that when our loved ones die, we don’t really lose them. They are waiting for us on the other side of the veil. But in the midst of our grief and affliction, we are often so weighed down by our sorrows that, until we receive again the confirming witness of the Spirit, re-declaring to us what we already know, our darkness won’t lift and turn to light. But as long as we put forth effort—studying and praying to God and trusting in His son, eventually that confirmation will come and bring us relief. It may come in a light-bulb moment, when darkness turns to light, after we go through our own personal Gethsemane and experience the darkness and bitterness.

I have felt the darkness turned to light. I have had my own light-bulb moment when the Spirit confirmed a spiritual truth to my soul that healed me from depression. I know there is power in the atonement to heal us. The Savior truly does succor us in our afflictions.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Canary: Artificial Fragrances and Environmental Toxins: Are They Making You Sick?

by Lisa Rector

Canaries are vulnerable and highly sensitive to toxins, making them useful as early detectors of toxic gases. Because of this, miners would take them underground. If a canary became sick or died in the mine, the miners knew to put on protective respirators or to get out of there.

I know you've seen this in movies.

The reality is toxic gases aren’t just underground.

You may have heard of fragrance allergies or sensitivities. You may have friends who declare they get headaches from smells. That’s because something in the environment is toxic and is reacting with their system.

Don’t just ignore them or brush their symptoms off. They are one of the unlucky few that are cueing the rest of the world to how toxic it really is. They are real life canaries.

Are we listening to the canaries?

Take it from a real life canary who is highly sensitive. Every synthetic fragrance makes me sick. This canary is ill on a regular basis and is “sick” of it.

I had a recent exposure to some sort of fragrance. The following is a simple timeline after exposure. At the time, I didn’t connect my symptoms with the cause. Only when I was standing right next to the source and my symptoms dramatically became worse did I realize what the cause was.

My first clue should have been the ringing in my ears.


Within five minutes after entering the area, while waiting for guests to arrive, I said, “Whoa, my ears are ringing. That’s weird.”


Within fifteen to twenty minutes, I had a blotchy circular rainbow-colored patch in my vision.


Five minutes later, the blotchy circle shifted to a wavy rainbow of color diagonally across one-third of my vision. Reading because difficult. Concentration was impossible. I couldn’t focus on anything anyone was saying.


At this point I was worried I was having a stroke. I was prepared to interrupt the goings-on and have someone call 911. But my speech wasn’t garbled. So instead I sat there and prayed quietly to myself.


A few seconds after I finished my prayer, a fan came on, creating airflow. This is when the wavy rainbow lifted upward until it left my field of vision. Feeling shaky and disoriented still.


As event concludes, vision is clear, but flulike symptoms begin to increase. Disorientation. Headache. General feeling of malaise.


Make it home. Awake for most of the night because of extreme side effects. Mostly pounding head. Body aches. Brain fog. Edgy.


As I am writing this, I am still having side effects. Typing is really hard. I have to correct every other word because my fingers keep hitting the wrong keys.

Toxins are in our environment. They are everywhere. They are making people sick, causing things from ADHD and behavior issues to migraines to dementia and Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s. Even headaches, flulike symptoms, malaise, and disorientation. Who knows what else. If you’re chronically sick, consider getting rid of the toxins in your environment.

Here is a list of some of the things that affect me and should be avoided. Baby wipes, plugins, Febreeze and other sprays, dryer sheets, hand sanitizer, perfumes, household cleaners, cigarette smoke, and scented candles, diffusers, and warmers using artificial fragrances.

I am the canary. You may not be feeling the effects, but the toxins are getting into your system. Do you really want to expose your children to this stuff?

Think about it.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Giving Thanks

Today’s the day we remember to be thankful. It’s common to go around the table and mention what we’re thankful for. It’s usually the big things, Mom & Dad, healing, food, modern conveniences, health, a child’s teddy bear, home, and so forth.
This post will point out different ways to find gratitude. For one week, notice everyone and everything that helps, encourages, or lifts your spirits in any way: The clerk in the store that smiles at you, the spouse that says “good morning,” the Face Book post that makes you smile, birds singing in the trees, trees, the sun shining, the Face Book post that inspires you, the clouds that bring needed rain or snow, and on and on. See how many you can find in one day. It doesn’t matter if it gets silly, nobody will know except you.
Living a life filled with gratitude will make us happier. Look for that silver lining in the cloud hanging over you. Even if you have lost a loved one, ponder the joys they brought into your life. Find someone else with trials, and lift their spirits. Lift the person you think least needs it. Chances are they also have a heavy load to carry.
Joy and happiness are born of Gratitude. Gordon T. Watts

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Struggle is Real

By Lisa Rector

I’ve been dealing with several different health problems this year, and I’m about crushed with exhaustion. Having health issues is very isolating and often people don’t understand. But I do. I haven’t really been questioning why, but more really, how much longer can I endure? 

I have many moments when I have felt God’s help, and it has been humbling. I don’t blame him, and I’m not angry at him, but I’m frustrated. I’m putting forth so much effort every day just to stay mobile, and it’s tiring. I have felt the spirit guiding me with things I need to do to help myself. There are some areas where I had to give up things, and this leaves a lot of guilt, so I am trying not to be too hard on myself. 

A sister missionary said in church one Sunday that she always says the phrase, “The struggle is real,” but conference helped her see it in a new light. Now she says, “The struggle is really good for us.” I wanted to get up and leave the meeting, but I mostly choked back tears. I have had many struggles in my life. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and now physically, which I think is the hardest one for me to bear. I try to look at how my struggles might help me grow, and I wonder what I agreed to in the spirit realm when I said, “Yeah, I will tackle that trial.” 

What was I thinking? 

I’m questioning my strength to endure. But I was reminded today through a song called “King of the World” by Natalie Grant that God is in control. I at least know that he will multiply whatever little effort we can put forth.

And so here I am, slugging along for another day. Whatever I have to give will be enough, because it has to be, because it’s all I have.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Writers' Preparedness

No matter where we live, we’ve been told to prepare for natural disasters whether hurricane, flood, fire, earthquake, blizzard or something else. Most often having a 72 hour kit and with the necessities for 3 days on top of the list. We don’t usually think about being prepared with our writing in mind.
            I’m sure you know the first rule. Backup. Backup. Backup. But do you backup consistently?
My preferred method is using the cloud if you can afford it. It isn’t that expensive. I have several reasons why it works for me. First of all, it’s automatic. Every time I make changes—boom it’s there. Secondly, it’s not in my house. An external hard drive, won’t do you any good if it’s near the computer when disaster strikes and you aren’t home, or don’t have time to take anything but the clothes on your back.
Another method is sending your writing to an out of town/state/country contact. I did this in 2003 when the Cedar Fire hit our area. We self-evacuated because we lived a couple of blocks south and west of the cross roads for the evacuation area. I sent all of my writing to a writing buddy in England who happened to be on-line at the time. This became valuable a few years later when I couldn’t find the most current outline for the semi-autobiography I dabble in between novels. He salvaged it out of his old computer.
You can also use thumb drives, re-writable CD’s & DVD’s. Whatever you do, backup often, and have it somewhere besides in your house.
Also, keep your favorite books on writing with your grab and go items in case you have a few minutes to gather important papers, pictures and such. Especially if they are out of print, marked, or hard to find. Keep a list of the books you have and the authors so you can replace them if needed. This can be on paper with the important books, or on your chosen backup device.
In short, a clear safe backup plan can save you tears and that hollow feeling of losing hours of work. You may attempt to re-write what you have, after all those are your stories, but they will never be the same. I know about that too. In the long ago days BC (before computer) I had several hand written chapters of a speculative fiction novel that was tossed out. I’ve tried to re-write it, and have done some of it, but it isn’t the same. The characters aren’t the same. I may or may not ever finish it. It’s especially true for non-fiction and research.
So my friends protect your work. Have a plan in case Murphy takes his hand at your work. Foil him with preparedness.