Friday, January 23, 2009

"I dunno why you always have to be judging me because I believe in science."

The past couple of months I've had this conversation with a few different people -

Why do leaves change color in the fall?

Most say because it gets colder. Some say it is due the decreasing food supply. One person said it's because when the frost comes, it chokes the nutrients to the leaves. It is at that point that I try to keep the I must always be right-Kaycee take over, but I admit - sometimes it wins and you get - No, you see...leaves change color because of the length of time they are exposed to sunlight daily. Yes, temperature, food supply, and moisture affect it too, but the main reason is the sunlight.

Anyways....Last night in Institute our teacher had a branch with red and yellow leaves and asked us to share our experiences of "enjoying" the Autumn foliage. People shared their awe and appreciation for times in Boston, New Jersey, Missouri, and even California I think. I couldn't help but remember my time in Cache Valley and the beautiful reds, oranges, yellows, browns, and greens that would surround us -

Sardine (Wellsville) Canyon

and especially for me Logan Canyon,

going up to Temple Fork

where the lumber for the Logan Temple was milled.

I kept all of these thoughts to myself though.

Our teacher then asked us what makes the leaves change colors...uh oh...and the most common response was temperature, with frost being thrown in (which I think is the same...)...but I let it be - mainly because I wasn't feeling well and was looking forward to what the direction of the lesson might be. She asked us to keep the leaves in mind as we talked about October 2008 General Conference and how optimistic, yet cautionary the talks seemed to be. We individually read a talk that focused on what we needed to do to find peace in times of trouble and then shared main points with the whole class.

At the end of our discussion, she asked - so what do you think the leaves have to do with this.

Some of the thoughts that I had:

1. YAY! My turn to share and in a non-confrontational way!

2. I don't really know anyone who doesn't like the beauty of the fall foliage.

3. Leaves appear green because of the presence of the pigment chlorophyll - which absorb blue and red light and reflect green. The chlorophyll absorbs the light needed for the plant to convert carbon dioxide into sugar (fuel for the plant) and OXYGEN (for us - Thanks!). In the Autumn, the decreasing daylight causes the production of chlorophyll to slow down and stop. Eventually all the chlorophyll is broken down. With the absence of cholorphyll, carotenoids (yellow, orange, and brown) and anthocyanins (red/purple) - other pigments in the leaf - are left to absorb the sunlight in different areas of the light spectrum. Because the chlorophyll isn't hogging all the time, the other pigments are unmasked and the color reflected changes.


5. What is she getting at?

6. Hmm...there are changes all around us.

7. Changes can be signs that have been prophesied to precede the Savior's Second Coming.

8. Why is that word CHANGE everywhere these days?

9. We are living in the Last Days.

10. So....inside that leaf there is actually something happening that results in the ultimate death of the leaf (the end of this mortal/telestial earth). The sign of the change is the color changing (all of the trials and troubles going on around us). New leaves come back in the Spring (Resurrection). Ultimately, this all depends on the amount of LIGHT the leaves get daily due to the longer nights (the powers of darkness are increasing in their influence - to a point where it has been said that our times are actually worse than Sodom and Gomorrah).

11. Wow! I really love how science and faith are interconnected!

12. I'm a nerd.

13. Does this even make sense?

14. I should share this.

So, here's kinda what I shared:

There is breaking down and destruction going on in that little leaf, just like we see the signs of the times around us. It has all started with the increase of dark times - or the influence of the adversary becoming more prevalent. We can sit and focus on that and become fearful - or - we can appreciate the beauty we see now and look forward to the Savior returning, just like we hope for the green of Spring.

Yep, I'm a nerd and I don't know if that particularly made any sense to anyone but me, but I was grateful for the lesson I learned from the Spirit. We all will have trials (seems to be what I've focused on lately) but there is beauty all around and there's so much to look forward to - and it's not just the Savior returning, but also the promised blessings that will come by living the covenants I have made.

Here are a couple of the talks that we discussed:

  • Let Him Do It with Simplicity - Elder L. Tom Perry
    There are cycles of good and bad times, ups and downs, periods of joy and sadness, and times of plenty as well as scarcity. When our lives turn in an unanticipated and undesirable direction, sometimes we experience stress and anxiety. One of the challenges of this mortal experience is to not allow the stresses and strains of life to get the better of us—to endure the varied seasons of life while remaining positive, even optimistic. Perhaps when difficulties and challenges strike, we should have these hopeful words of Robert Browning etched in our minds: “The best is yet to be...” The Lord has given us a beautiful plan about how we can return to Him, but the completion of our mortal journey requires spiritual fuel. We want to emulate the five wise virgins, who had stored sufficient fuel to accompany the bridegroom when he came. What is required to maintain a sufficient store of spiritual fuel? We must acquire knowledge of God’s eternal plan and our role in it, and then by living righteously, surrendering our will to the will of the Lord, we receive the promised blessings.
  • The Infinite Power of Hope - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
    Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time...Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness...The scriptures say that there must be “an opposition in all things.” So it is with faith, hope, and charity. Doubt, despair, and failure to care for our fellowmen lead us into temptation, which can cause us to forfeit choice and precious blessings. The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear....No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations...The things we hope in sustain us during our daily walk. They uphold us through trials, temptations, and sorrow...there are times when the darkness may seem unbearable. It is in these times that the divine principles of the restored gospel we hope in can uphold us and carry us until, once again, we walk in the light. We hope in Jesus the Christ, in the goodness of God, in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, in the knowledge that prayers are heard and answered. Because God has been faithful and kept His promises in the past, we can hope with confidence that God will keep His promises to us in the present and in the future. In times of distress, we can hold tightly to the hope that things will “work together for [our] good” as we follow the counsel of God’s prophets. This type of hope in God, His goodness, and His power refreshes us with courage during difficult challenges and gives strength to those who feel threatened by enclosing walls of fear, doubt, and despair...Hope sustains us through despair. Hope teaches that there is reason to rejoice even when all seems dark around us....never give in. Never surrender. Never allow despair to overcome your spirit. Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.
  • Come What May, and Love It - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
    If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness...The first thing we can do is learn to laugh....The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable....The second thing we can do is seek for the eternal. You may feel singled out when adversity enters your life. You shake your head and wonder, “Why me?” But the dial on the wheel of sorrow eventually points to each of us. At one time or another, everyone must experience sorrow. No one is exempt...Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others. Because Jesus Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He understands our grief. We experience hard things so that we too may have increased compassion and understanding for others. Remember the sublime words of the Savior to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he suffered with his companions in the smothering darkness of Liberty Jail: “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.” With that eternal perspective, Joseph took comfort from these words, and so can we. Sometimes the very moments that seem to overcome us with suffering are those that will ultimately suffer us to overcome...The third thing we can do is understand the principle of compensation. The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude. One of the blessings of the gospel is the knowledge that when the curtain of death signals the end of our mortal lives, life will continue on the other side of the veil. There we will be given new opportunities. Not even death can take from us the eternal blessings promised by a loving Heavenly Father...The fourth thing we can do is put our trust in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ...The Lord Jesus Christ is our partner, helper, and advocate. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to be successful. If we do our part, He will step in. He who descended below all things will come to our aid. He will comfort and uphold us. He will strengthen us in our weakness and fortify us in our distress. He will make weak things become strong...“The simple secret is this: put your trust in the Lord, do your best, then leave the rest to Him...” I know why there must be opposition in all things. Adversity, if handled correctly, can be a blessing in our lives. We can learn to love it. As we look for humor, seek for the eternal perspective, understand the principle of compensation, and draw near to our Heavenly Father, we can endure hardship and trial. We can say...“Come what may, and love it.”
  • The Ministry of Angels - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
    In the course of life all of us spend time in “dark and dreary” places, wildernesses, circumstances of sorrow or fear or discouragement. Our present day is filled with global distress over financial crises, energy problems, terrorist attacks, and natural calamities. These translate into individual and family concerns not only about homes in which to live and food available to eat but also about the ultimate safety and well-being of our children and the latter-day prophecies about our planet. More serious than these—and sometimes related to them—are matters of ethical, moral, and spiritual decay seen in populations large and small, at home and filled with faith, and remember the Lord has said He “would fight [our] battles, [our] children’s battles, and [the battles of our] children’s children.” And what do we do to merit such a defense? We are to “search diligently, pray always, and be believing[. Then] all things shall work together for [our] good, if [we] walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.” The latter days are not a time to fear and tremble. They are a time to be believing and remember our covenants.
  • "Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time" - Elder Quentin L. Cook
    [T]here must be opposition in all things for righteousness to be brought to pass. This life is not always easy, nor was it meant to be; it is a time of testing and proving. The challenges we face today are in their own way comparable to challenges of the past. The recent economic crisis has caused significant concern throughout the world. Employment and financial problems are not unusual. Many people have physical and mental health challenges. Others deal with marital problems or wayward children. Some have lost loved ones. Addictions and inappropriate or harmful propensities cause heartache. Whatever the source of the trials, they cause significant pain and suffering for individuals and those who love them.Regardless of the challenges, trials, and hardships we endure, the reassuring doctrine of the Atonement wrought by Jesus Christ includes Alma’s teaching that the Savior would take upon Him our infirmities and “succor his people according to their infirmities.”
  • Finding Joy in the Journey - President Thomas S. Monson
    [O]ne of the most inevitable aspects of our lives here upon the change. At one time or another we’ve all heard some form of the familiar adage: “Nothing is as constant as change.” Throughout our lives, we must deal with change. Some changes are welcome; some are not. There are changes in our lives which are sudden, such as the unexpected passing of a loved one, an unforeseen illness, the loss of a possession we treasure. But most of the changes take place subtly and slowly...Day by day, minute by minute, second by second we went from where we were to where we are now. The lives of all of us, of course, go through similar alterations and changes. The difference between the changes in my life and the changes in yours is only in the details. Time never stands still; it must steadily march on, and with the marching come the changes. This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—NOW...“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.” My brothers and sisters, there is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today....Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future...Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.” We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us. Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of “what if” and “if only.”...Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family. One day each of us will run out of tomorrows...Despite the changes which come into our lives and with gratitude in our hearts, may we fill our days—as much as we can—with those things which matter most. May we cherish those we hold dear and express our love to them in word and in deed.

If you actually spent the time to read this entire post, then I feel you must be rewarded! Yes, it was reward enough to be "nourished by the good word of God"...but let me know how I can serve you - write your next sacrament meeting talk, play the piano for your kid's baptism, a sink of dishes, a hug? - comment me up and I'll see what I can do!


Christy said...

How do you know that? ...about the leaves?

LoveLee. said...

Kaycee, I completely adore you. You are SO, SO amazing.

Kaycee said...

I have a B.S. in Biology. I had to memorize the photosynthetic pathways. Fun times!

Momma_S said...

Deep thought by Kaycee...I have two thoughts. 1. This explains why when you were two and a half you asked why the sky was blue. I told you Heavenly Father made it that way. You looked me square in the eye and said,"no really, why?" 2. How did I end up with such a samrt daughter? You thought that all in 2 minutes? Amazing!!

The Canciennes said...

You know what's funny? Everytime I read the title to this, I say it with attitude and wiggle my head a little.

Your mom's comment about the sky question is funny!!! I bet she just died laughing when you said that.