30 September 2012

Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree...In China!

I just stumbled across such a lovely story, I've been feeling the need to share it. My blog is called "The World Is A Tile" because its just a tiny, small world we live in. This story kind of illustrates the point.

I work for a very small, local company. You get all the good & bad you do with a small company. The bad, everyone wears numerous (nay, too many) hats. The good, well the people. I get to do what I love (mostly) and all of the people I work with genuinely care for each other. Weird, right? Anyway...recently a few of the ladies took one of the employees out for her birthday lunch. I was overworked and hesitant to go, but my wonderful boss guilted me into going.

As it turns out, the woman whose birthday we were celebrating related one of the most amazing stories I have ever heard. And I feel like it needs to be repeated. Those in the LDS community will be very familiar with the song, "Popcorn Popping On The Apricot Tree." Its a song we learn as little, little kids. We even have hand gestures to go along with it...you know- to make it all the more exciting.

Mrs. Georgia Bello wrote the tune some time in the 1950s. Her nieces and nephews grew up singing the tune long before it became a Primary favorite. She submitted the song to the LDS church for their use. It was a gift, she said. The LDS church copyrighted the song in 1989. I know I sung that song as a little kid, and could still sing it upon demand- hand gestures and all.

As a bit of a personal back story, Mrs. Bello did not have the easiest life. She was adopted, and faced familial challenges. She was by no means wealthy or a woman of "worldly" stature. One day, the LDS church phoned Mrs. Bello. A representative of the church explained the Chinese Government had requested permission to distribute the song to ALL of the schools in China. The representative went on to explain the church would relinquish rights of the song in order that Mrs. Bello could reap the financial benefits of such a transaction. Her immediate response: Nope. I gave the church the song, and it belongs to you. Smiles are all the payment I require.

The church representative persisted. "Mrs. Bello," he explained, "We are talking about millions upon millions of distributed copies of your song. The royalties would be very significant and we would like to return the rights to you." Mrs. Bello's response was again swift and sure, "No thank you. Please do with the song as you wish." When pressed as to what the church should do with monies made from the song's royalties, Mrs. Bello only asked the church do "something good" with money.

Mrs. Bello never spoke of this. Most people just knew her as an employee at a local music store. Some knew she had written the beloved Primary song. She just lived her humble life the way she thought was good and right. Years later, she received another call from the LDS church. This time, the message was brief. "Mrs. Bello, we just wanted to let you know we put your royalties to good use. We built a temple."

For the LDS, temples are a sacred, vital place. What an amazing call that must have been. To the sick and dying, that is the equivalent of building a hospital! To us, a temple is a bit of a spiritual hospital. This unassuming woman's love for music accomplished more than I can imagine. Happy kids the world over are singing this fun little song. And as a result, an entire temple was built, providing haven and a place of service for hundreds of thousands of Latter-day Saints.

Mrs. Bello passed away in 2007. I wish I had the opportunity to know this story when she was alive, and thank her. To her, to her family, I say, thank you, Sister Bello. For in the gospel we truly are brothers and sisters. Thank you for your unselfish act. Times are tight, money can be scarce. But hearing this story made me stop and think: How can I share the talents, the possessions which I have? Its not much. But I can give time. I can share meals and rides. I can smile more often and speak encouraging words. Challenge accepted! And next spring when the trees in Utah blossom, I will have a new appreciation of how little means can bring about great things.

10 September 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

I haven't blogged all summer, and my mother is probably the only one to notice. Which is just fine, by the way. Summer began with employment, after 11 months of UNemployment. New job was quickly followed by new car, which was quickly followed with my daughter starting a new school (Jr High!).

While I don't have oodles of time to write about our little family's adventures, I do have a few comments on the world in general. As Inigo Montoya said in the Princess Bride, "Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."

  • Children are priceless. And they also kind of break moms' hearts. My dear, amazing daughter has broken my heart. But we have both learned about repentance, forgiveness and the beauty that is the ability to change one's self from within. My struggles with my daughter make me wonder what God must feel with us, His children. I must be a colossal pain in the ass...
  • Parents are to be cherished. Heck- everyone is to be cherished. I was taught by my parents that life can be taken from us at any time. I've said it before- we are all "on loan" from God. People, honor your parents. Call them. Tell them you love them. Skype with them. Take them out for lunch. They won't be with us forever, and life is too short to have regrets. Treat your parents well. We put them through hell as we grow & they deserve our love and honor.
  • A good night's rest is truly under-rated in our society. I hate sleep, but I'm learning the human body really needs a good 8 to 9 hours to be at a physical, emotional & cognitive best. I hate going to bed early, but darn- it sure does make life better.
  • The next time you see a mom (or dad) out & about with kid(s), if she needs help, or asks for help-- lend a hand. Trust me, its very difficult for some of us to ask. But if someone reluctantly does make a request, its usually an important one. Life as a single parent is not easy. Just like any other family, single-parent families have the same struggles...we just have one less resource to deal with said problems. Be kind and patient with us. Support can be hard to come by. I know I'm just grateful for the odd invite out or the person who swings by to lend a hand. Sometimes asking for help costs us much more than others may know. Be gentle. We're trying.
  • Finally, figure out how to live in the moment. We hear this from "self-help gurus." But this is a very basic and powerful tool in our lives. I've made an effort to be 100% present whenever I'm with my daughter. That means putting the cellphone/Laptop/Kindle Fire/business reading aside. Its not always convenient, but I cannot express how much this has helped our relationship. Don't waste precious time! Play that game of Go Fish, take a walk, tickle one another- whatever. Just be there, 100%.
And that should be enough to get me rolling in the blogosphere once again. Hoping you are all well, and are able to be with the ones you love. Now go call your mom! ;)