Monday, February 1, 2010

Learning at the Hand of the Lord

The Lord finds whole new ways to teach me with every passing week. I met with the head of recruiting at the BYU MBA program to talk about program requirements; she mentioned that the requirement to not have a job during your first year was very important. Before (and even after) our conversation I had mixed feelings about that. I only usually ask for exceptions to rules once I understand the rules, so I inquired and learned that all of the time is spent with teams - dedicated to teams - everything with teams. Anything that could take you away from your team is strictly prohibited. While that makes me wonder about time-consuming callings and the MBA program, I completely understand the need to create cohesive teams. It is a business management program, and managing a business normally means working with other people. At the same time, I don't see a problem with getting Nature's Fusions on its feet, delegating/hiring out most of the responsibility, and then being in the background during my (potentially nonexistent) free time. I haven't yet had an interview, so we'll see what the admissions staff has to say if and when that happens.

At work at the MTC, I just learned that a set of lessons I wrote have been appropriated by the Brethren. The lessons were originally designed for mission presidents in the field, but are now going to be used to train mission presidents as they come into the MTC. Wow. We put a ton of effort into those lessons, but I was surprised anyway by how quickly they had been approved. Before I started on the project, they had gone through dozens of drafts, complete rewrites, and back-to-the-drawingboard conversations. My job as a style editor was to take all the content, strip out individual voices, and put them together with similar formatting, words, activities, etc. As much as I'd like to say that I can write without a voice, stripping out individual voices normally meant just inserting my own in every line. One day I had given my supervisor yet another of what I thought was a polished draft for feedback from our superiors, then suddenly it had been approved by everyone up the line. Now I learn that the lessons are being slightly reworked by General Authorities who will use them in June. It's like writing an essay for your English class and then seeing it picked up by the Associated Press. No. Even more than that.

On the Nature's Fusions note, Monday I met with a midwife and put together a number of fusions for her to use in her practice. I called to follow up and she mentioned that the ones she had used were effective; her clients thought so, too. A cousin with Cystic Fibrosis has been willing to try out using some oils in his breathing treatments, and this week he mentioned that they were 'really powerful,' made him cough a lot (a good thing), and were getting deep into his lungs. Hopefully they will be a good complement to traditional CF therapy. And we met with a web designer to begin talking about creating a website on Thursday - I think it will be a good experience for everyone involved. In the interim, I've created an absolutely terrible website at - right now it's simply a list of all the things we carry with links to buy them and a link to our order form. The prices are still great, and one side of the order form looks nice, but the website isn't especially professional yet. This week's project is to create a working sales brochure that explains each of our main offerings and gives references to both medical research and anecdotal/historical uses. I've also begun talking with a manufacturer to order diffusers; that should cut our costs for diffusers significantly. We're putting in the order sometime this week.

But, along with ups come opportunities for growth. We were filling bottles late one night and somehow one or more smells got into the ventilation system and woke up the family who lives upstairs. Most essential oils smell nice, but we were doing some of the more potent fusions that night. The people were not incredibly happy and asked us not to use aromatherapy in the house. That makes for some interesting developments, but we'll just have to make do - probably filling bottles outside so that the smell doesn't affect anyone. Then, later in the week after going through the process of getting a tax ID number and registering online, I decided to apply for a business credit card. I had no initial concerns, but the application came back within a minute with the judgment: denied. I normally hate making phone calls, but I'm learning to enjoy them and make them enjoyable for the people I call... so I called customer service and asked for an appeal. The representative was confused as to why the system would deny my application; he assured me I had great credit and sent it to a review board. Again, asking for an exception. Maybe I should write a book about that.

While I was enrolled in school, I was concerned that I wouldn't have an intense learning environment when I left. You don't really take classes in life, and many jobs don't require the level of learning that is required in a classroom. And since my passion in life is learning, I spent a full four years at BYU trying to stock up until attending graduate school. But, in the last year, I've learned that the Lord doesn't restrict intense educational environments to the university. He teaches us in the workplace, at home, in our studies, and with our families. I have learned more this past semester outside of school than I ever could have learned in it - because I am learning to listen to the best teacher in existence. Through it all, the Lord has been teaching me. He inspires me as I make decisions, allows me time to work through ideas, and gives me confirmation when I've made the right choices. He buoys me up when I feel like the world is on top of me, and helps me to do what is really important in life. There's no way I could do it without Him. And I guess I'll keep learning whatever lesson He announces as long as it comes. Organic chemistry & aromatherapy, non-aggressive sales & teaching techniques, finance, anatomy, and business management are the subjects right now, and this semester of my life has only started. Hopefully I can continue to learn at His hand... so that I can be a better servant in Zion.

Each of us goes through experiences in life that are unique to us. And each of us, no matter where we are, can have an intense learning environment if we simply turn to the Lord. The prophet Joseph explained that learning at the hand of God would give us knowledge greater than that found in any book or published journal... greater than the knowledge of all the experts of the world combined. Do we want that? Do we ask for it? Do we experience it as it applies to our everyday lives? The Lord is anxious to bless us; He only waits for us to ask Him and to learn at His hand. And as we learn from Him, we will grow in light for the rest of our lives. My invitation to you for this week: look at your life and determine what knowledge would help you to better fulfill your everyday tasks. What do you need to know? My generation turns to the Internet for the answer to every question. Other generations looked to textbooks, encyclopedias, or libraries. But the source of all truth can answer our questions... and He does. He can answer a question about the truth of the gospel as easily as a question about calculus or aromatherapy... and when we learn at His hand, we learn eternal truth. Ask for it, and He will answer. Then, with your knowledge of the truth, go out and be missionaries!

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