Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day 87, March 31

Yesterday I wrote about small happinesses. As so frequently occurs, I neglected to include something important, a whole set of happinesses--that of work.

After my surgery, my doctor gave me a list of things I couldn't do for at least six weeks. In a fugue from the surgery, I didn't pay a great deal of attention. Only later, when I was home and starting to feel better, did I realize that I was severely restricted.

I wasn't allowed to vacuum. I wasn't allowed to bend over, which meant no laundry, no cleaning out the cat litter, and a myriad of other little bits of maintaining a home. Doesn't sound like much, does it? The fact is, I miss doing the small chores around the house.

Performing these tasks, however trivial they seem, provides me with a sense of accomplishment. That accomplishment, in turn, adds to my happiness.

I can hear you groaning now. What, the poor woman is complaining about not having to clean? With all the blessings that have been heaped upon me, I have no right to complain. And I'm not. But I do miss the satisfaction that comes from work. Even my writing has had to be postponed as I can't sit for any length of time, and I tire easily.

This I know for sure: with work comes satisfaction, and with satisfaction comes joy

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 86, March 30

Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it
go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.

- Maxim

A sweet friend sent this quote to me. It caused me to pause and re-read it. How many times have I pinned my happiness on "big" things? The completion of the addition to our home? The sale of a book? The wedding of a child?

These are all wonderful. I can't deny it. But they are not the regular, everyday occurrences that normally make up my life.

Happiness is a card in the mail from a nephew who took the time to choose something with a kitty on it. Happiness is a hug from a grandchild. Happiness is reminiscing with my sister. Happiness is an unexpected visit from a friend. Happiness is laughing over life's absurdities.

Happiness is also discovering that I can do something for someone else. Happiness is making an Easter basket for a friend. Happiness is sending a gift to my faraway grandchildren. Happiness is listening to uplifiting music.

This I know for sure: happiness--and life--are made up of small things that deserve our appreciation.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 85, March 29

"May today
there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant
to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in
yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on
the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the
way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the
freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of
How many times do I look to the past ... or to the future... rather than focusing on today? How many times do I find things to regret from yesterday, things to fear for the future, all of which are out of my control?
Too many.
Why don't I cherish today? Why don't I look for and find those "infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others?"
The answer is simple: I'm a foolish child who constantly needs the nuture of my Father. Without Him, I can't make it through today. With Him, I can make it through today and every day to come.
This I know for sure: Today is all I have to work with. I would do well to make it count.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 84, March 28

Spring is here. It is in the flowers that push their way through the winter-crusted ground. It is in the scent of freshly mown grass. It is in the air of renewal and rejuvenation.

For many, it has been a long winter. For friends who have endured chemotherapy, winter seemed interminable. For others who have been without employment, winter, also, appeared painfully long as they pray for the right job to come their way.

Whatever our circumstances, spring is welcome. Do you feel the hope it brings? I do. As my body heals, I resolve to laugh more, to love more. Even with my current limitations, I feel a new energy. At the same time, I feel a quiet peace.

Spring is the earth's awakening. It is my soul's awakening as well as I remember to turn my heart, once again, to the Savior, to bask in His redeeming love. In doing this, I know I must leave behind the worldly things that press against my heart.

This I know for sure: spring, like the Lord's love, is available to all. We have only to reach out to partake of it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 83, March 27

A couple of days ago, I was able to attend church for the first time in three weeks. Not until I was seated in the chapel, until the organ music wafted over me, did I realize just how much I had missed attending church.

Though I absolutely believe that I can worship the Father without being in a formal church setting (just as I can pray without getting to my knees), I also absolutely believe that joining my worship with that of others, that uttering "Amen" at the close of a prayer with others, give added meaning to my worshhip. There is power in unity, strength in togetherness.

As I looked about the congregation, I found myself smiling at the antics of the little girl who sat in the row in front of us. Her sweet face was a blend of innocent mischief and devotion. Who could resist such a sight?

Certainly not me.

I noticed other things as well. I noticed the tears in one sister's eyes as she praised the Lord with a hymn. I noticed the tenderness with which a mother held her baby. I noticed the love between members of the congregation who are, in a very real sense, family.

This I know for sure: worship can be done alone or joined with others. The importance lies in the spirit I bring to the act.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 82, March 26

In re-reading yesterday's post, I realized how foolish I sounded as I listed those who had helped me through surgery and recovery and failed to include the most important Person of all: the Lord.

How could I have neglected to mention His constant presence, His constant love, His constant support? I want to attribute it to the lingering effects of the anesthesia in my system. That is certainly convenient. However, I suspect it is more instrinsic than that. In spite of the progress I feel I am making in recognizing the Lord's hand in every part of my life, I still fall short. Too many times.

Fortunately, the Lord is infinitely forgiving. I imagine Him shaking His head in bemusement and
perhaps mild impatience at my foolishness, my neglect in acknowledging Him.

So, please bear with me as I amend yesterday's blog: yes, family and friends have succored me and borne my burdens as I recover from surgery, but it is the Lord Who sustains me with every breath and every moment.

This I know for sure: I am nothing without the Lord. The more I am able to grasp that truth, the better person I become.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day 81, March 25

Two weeks out of surgery and I am still trying to get my "land legs." I have the three Ws of Post-Op covered: wobbly, woozy, and weak. It's a humbling feeling not to be able to take care of my self, to know that I am dependent upon others for so many things and will continue to be so for some weeks to come.

That is the bad part of recovery. But, I've discovered, many joys in the process as well. My sweet husband has been extra good to me during these weeks, taking over household tasks, helping me dress, and lifting my spirits when they tended to become depressed. My sister traveled from Utah to spend ten days with me. My daughter and her family have visited, made me laugh, cleaned house, and a host of other things.

And my friends ... They are, quite simply, the best. They were there with meals, with cards designed to make me laugh, with offers of rides to therapy, with bouquets of flowers and bouquets of caring.

This I know for sure: recovery from surgery isn't pleasant, but reminders that I am loved make it so much more bearable.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day 80, March 24

Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.

- Lawrence

I have no talent for poetry. Occasionally I make up foolish verses for friends and family, but they hardly count as poetry.

But poetry touches my heart and soul. I have friends who craft beautiful poems, creating masterpieces with a minimum of words but a maximum of feeling. What joy they bring to others.

And then it occurred to me: is there not poetry in a myriad of things? When I see my daughter lovingly tend to her children, I find poetry in her message and tenderness. When I watch a friend help another, I see poetry in her compassion. When I hear a child sing in an off-key voice the words of a hymn, I once again find poetry. For poetry does not belong solely to the wordsmith, but to each of us if we search our lives for what is good and true.

This I know for sure: poetry is a gift that can belong to all of us.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 79, March 23

After a recent surgery, I discovered I had certain physical limitations. One of those restrictions includes bending down and getting on the floor. Guess what? That means I can't get to my knees to pray.

I know Heavenly Father doesn't care what position I am when I say a prayer. He accepts my prayers when I'm driving (fortunately for other motorists), when I'm writing, when I'm playing the piano for Primary, and in a host of other situations. The Father never turns away a prayer.

Isn't that wonderful? That knowledge that we can turn our cares and worries over to the Father in any venue, in any situation, and be assured that He is listening.

This I know for sure: my body may not be able to kneel in prayer, but the Father accepts my supplication no matter what my dircumstances.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day 78, March 22

The other night, Larry and I couldn't find our kitty, Harley. Because our grandchildren had been visiting, I worried that she might have gotten out unnnoticed. Before we panicked, though, we tried something. Experience has taught us that if we rattle her food jar, she will come.

Sure enough, Harley showed up at the sound of her food jar being shaken. The incident set me to thinking (again, one of those weird chain of events that set my brain on a shaky path).

What does it take to get me to "show up?" Does the food jar need to be shaken to get my attention? Does life need to throw a curve my way to get me to wake up to a problem? Yes. And yes. As much as I believe I've made progress in figuring out life and what my role in it is, I still flounder, still toddle about, still making more than my share of mistakes.

I wonder if the Father feels the need to rattle the food jar so that I'll pay attention to what He wants me to do. Does He want me to serve others more? Of course. Did He decide to remind me of that by laying me up for a while, rendering me incapable of getting out and, at the same time, giving me unlimited time to think of how I can change for the better?

This I know for sure: my food jar needs to be shaken occasionally to get my attention.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 77, March 21

Yesterday I wrote about the colors in God's creations. One of my favorite Primary songs, "My Heavenly Father Loves Me, uses that as its theme:

"Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose,
Or walk by our lilac tree,
I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heavenly Father created for me."

The second verse continues the theme, building on the gifts the Father has given to us all:

"He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings.
He gave me my ears that I might hear
The magical sounds of things.
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart;
I thank Him reverently
For all his creations of which I'm a part,
Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me."

How could I have neglected "flip side" of the coin in the Father's creations by failing to recognize the ability to see the beauty, to hear the magic, to feel the love? It took another author, Clara M. McMaster, to remind me of the wonder of this world and our part in it by appreciating it.

This I know for sure: our world could have been created only by a Master.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 76, March 20

I love the colors of sky and earth, the aquamarine of the ocean, the quiet lavender of a distant mountain. Could it be that these colors resonate within me because they are the colors that the Father used to paint His creations?

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I have no artistic talent. As for decorating, I tend to stick with the safe and, dare I say it, boring.

But my soul longs for color. Indeed, it delights in color. Who had not felt the pull of the colors of a desert sunset or the infinite variety of roses? Color reminds us that our world is a glorious place, created for us by a loving Father.

This I know for sure: when I need a reminder that the Lord loves me, I have only to look at how He has decorated His world for His children.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 75, March 19

In preparation for surgery a week ago, I visited a hypnotherapist to calm myself and try to lower my blood pressure. I'd never been to a hypnotherapist before and didn't know what to expect. The therapist, a lady, couldn't have been nicer.
She told me to circle my thumb and forefinger and imagine it as my "golden armor." I immediately loved the idea, perhaps because it reminded me of the words that I had learned as a primary child many years ago. As primary children, we learned that we could put upon us the armor of God. Even as a small child, I recognized that I wouldn't actually be putting on armor, though that appealed to my writer's sense of adventure.
I knew that the armor consisted of things like prayer, belief, faith in the Father, following His commandments, etc.
So on that day when I made a circle symbolizing golden armor, I was ready, for I had already slipped on my armor of God many years ago.
This I know for sure: we are ready for that big question mark of LIFE when we slip on the armor of God. If we aren't certain how to do it, watch a primary child. He'll help you out!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 74, March 18

I was never an athlete. Not as a grade child. Not as a teenager. Not as an adult. I was one of those pitiable children who was always the last chosen when teams were divvied up, whether for football, softball, volleyball, or any other kind of ball.

"You have to take Jane," one team captian called to the other. "No, you have to take her," the other called back. In the end, I slunk to the end of the team of the "losing" team and took my place with the lowliest of the lowly players.

It was a lowering experience. I went home in tears and resolved never to put myself in that position again.

I've moved past it, but it's hard to forget the humililation. Finding that there were things I was good at was balm to my wounded ego, but I never completely forgotten the hurt. As I grew older and (I hope) a bit more mature, I realized that there are things far more important to be chosen for in life.

Let's name some: Being chosen as a friend is certainly more important. Being chosen as someone who will get the job done when a task needs doing is also more important. And, at the end of this life, being chosen by the Lord to stand on His right hand side is the most important of all.

This I know for sure: being chosen for a team is great; I just need to make certain the team is one that matters.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 73, March 17

I love to watching decorating shows. I love seeing what talented men and women can do with some paint, lengths of board, and fabric. I lack any talent in this area but am still fascinated with what others can accomplish. To a one, the decorators start with the decluttering process.

Getting rid of clutter is a popular theme. We're instructed by the experts to make three piles--give away, toss, and keep.

For a dyed-in-the-wool Mormon frugalista, getting rid of things is hard. What if I need it (substitute whatever noun you like here) someday? What if I toss a doohickey only to find out ten years down the road that I desperately need another doohickey? What if?

I'm getting better at the process and even take a certain satisfaction in cleaning out closets and drawers and ridding my home of unwanted items. What I am not making much progress at is tossing out unneeded emotions. You know the kind I mean--those nasty, niggling ones like jealousy, grudges, hurt, envy, and a host of other parasites that cling to my soul like fat cells after a cheesecake binge cling to my thighs.

This I know for sure: decluttering is necessary for maintaing a home; it is also essential for my salvation.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 72, March 16

A week ago, I was fortunate to have another writer interview me. Because she is a talented writer, she made me sound much better than I am. As I re-read my answers, I glowed. Was that me? Surely not. I'm a middle-aged mother and grandmother, whose most exciting accomplishment is to decorate my house totally from garage sales.

That being said, I was grateful for the opportunity ito be interviewed. It was nice being recognized, if only in a small venue. Moreover, though, it was a reminder that at the passage from this life to the next, I will be interviewed again.

The Lord will be conducting this interview. He won't be asking how many books I've written, but He may ask how many people I helped. He won't be asking how much money I made (not much), but He may ask how many times I said "I love you" to others. He won't be asking what my writing process is, but He may ask what my giving process is.

This I know for sure: preparing for this interview is a lifelong exercise and the most important I will ever undergo.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 71, March 15

I had a disappointment lately. One of those big ones that you don't know if you're going to survive. Of course I did, survive that is. But I railed and gnashed my teeth against fate, the universe, and anyone unfortunate enough to be in yelling distance.

My husband, wise and patient, reminded me that I am not in charge of the universe ... or anything else. "Turn it over to the one with the power," he told me. He referred to the Savior, of course. For Who else has power, to do anything?

Turning things over to someone else, even my constant friend, the Savior, is difficult for me. I want to believe (or at least to pretend) that I can take care of things. The truth is, I can't take care of very much at all, especially lately. And so I must humble myself, go to the Lord, and say, "Please, Lord, I surrender this into Thy hands. My hands are weak and frail and cannot do it. I'll try to give back the power I so foolishly attempted to take."

This I know for sure: if I want to progress, in anything, anything at all, I must go to the Source of power and not trust in my own feeble understanding.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 70, March 14

A week or so ago, I had a "poor is me" day. I barely got out of bed, didn't shower, and, was, in general, a pitiable mess. Then a friend came over and brought me a cupcake. Another friend and her husband came with a bouquet of flowers. Not three minutes later, the doorbell rang again, this time with an edible bouquet from my sister and her family.

Three expressions of love and caring, all arriving within minutes of each other. Surely this was not coincidence. This was Heavenly Father working through His angels here on earth.

I hope that I have been an angel at some time to someone who needed help. I don't know. And that's just it: we don't know when we can be another's angel. We don't know if a phone call or a card or a cupcake will be just the thing that a friend needs, to lift them out of a hole.

This I know for sure: if we are moved to do something for someone else, we must act on it then and there.

Day 69, March 13

"It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy."

A dear friend sent me this quote. It reminded me, on a difficult day, that happiness is a choice. Sometimes, I am ashamed to admit, that I choose to be unhappy. I choose to dwell on the negative, the things that are wrong, in my life, and I refuse to look at the things that are good. It's a lowering admission to make, certainly not one that I'm proud of, but there it is

A year ago, on January 1, 2011, I started The Gratitude Project in an attempt to help me find and focus on the good and the positive. Obviously I still need a lot of help in this quest.

Those of you who have encouraged me in writing this blog and in continuing this year with the theme of "This I Know for Sure" have been instrumental in keeping me going. Thank you.

This I know for sure: a grateful heart is a happy heart. Finding gratitude and expressing it is my job and, in many ways, my salvation.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 68, March 12

“Courage doesn't
always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that
says I'll try again tomorrow.”— Mary Anne Radmacher

Certainly we've all heard and read many quotes about courage. This one, with its quiet resolve, touched my heart. Another quote that goes along with this is, "Try. Fail. Try again. Fail better."

Writers have many opportunities to "try again." Each rejection invites two responses: to give up or to try again. Sometimes I wanted to give up and, in fact, actively tried to give up writing. When I realized that writing was part of my soul and that I couldn't give it up, I realized I had no choice but to try again. And again. And again.

What about other endeavors? Parenting comes to mind. I messed up many times in parenting. I still do. After beating myself up, I promised myself that I'd try again.

This I know for sure: when it counts, we have no choice but to try again.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day 67, March 11

"Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall
never cease to be amused!" (Unknown Author)

Don't you love this? It reminds me that while I should take some things seriously--my relationship with God and others, my faith, my responsibilities--I should take myself less seriously and laugh at my foibles, my mistakes, my human-ness.

To be honest, I've given myself, and others, plenty of things to laugh about. There was the time at a romance writers' conference, where most of the public restrooms had been converted for women that I wandered into perhaps the only restroom not converted. Imagine my surprise when I found a man in there. My outrage was exceeded only by my embarrassment when I discovered that there was no "Women's Restroom" sign outside of it.

There was the time I mistook mouthwash (a sample from a hotel) as a shampoo and became annoyed that it didn't lather as it should.

There was the time I backed my car out of the garage and hit the side of the garage. (Actually, it took a few months before I could laugh over that.)

There was the time ... Well, you get the picture.

This I know for sure: laughing at myself is good medicine.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day 66, March 10

Yesterday I wrote about wrinkles, in clothes, on the face, in life. As so often happens, it appears I'm not finished with the subject, in particular that of wrinkles on the face.

There is an unfortunate bumper sticker that is currently popular saying, "S--- happens." I'd like to change that to "Wrinkles happen." I have wrinkles. They work their way around my mouth, my eyes, and across my forhead.

Though I wish I didn't have them, I'm not going to deny them or the life experiences that put them there. For to deny those experiences is also to deny much of the good that has happened in my life. Would I wish away wrinkles if it meant wishing away my family, my husband, children, grandchildren?

Absolutely not.

Would I wish away wrinkles if it meant wishing away the love and, yes, worry that having a family brings?

Absolutely not.

Would I wish away wrinkles if it meant wishing away walks in the sun?

Again, absolutely not.

This I know for sure: wrinkles happen and I'm okay with it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Day 65, March 9

Have you ever pulled a blouse or shirt from your closet only to discover that it's hopelessly wrinkled? I have. (My long-suffering husband attributes this to my having too many clothes stuffed into my closet.)

You pull out the blouse, debate whether you can wear it or not as it is. Wrinkles in clothes (and on the face) are inevitable. We learn to live with them. We can iron them from our clothes. We can dab cream on our faces, but, darn it, those wrinkles come back.

Along with clothes and faces, life has a way of wrinkling up. The smooth fabric we'd planned for our lives gets creases. Some of those creases can be pressed away; some turn permanent. Life has handed our family some wrinkles lately. I moan. I whine. I complain. And then I start the job of trying to press them out. What can't be pressed out, I learn to live with. And with the Savior's help, I try to make peace with them.

This I know for sure: wrinkles are part of this mortal existence; how we deal with them defines who we are.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 64, March 8

Mormon wards (congregations) aren't always known for their reverence. We are a family church with little children and babies making the noises that little children and babies make. You know what? I love that.

I love the sounds of children. I love the coos, the gurgles, the hiccups, even the occasional shriek. For who is closer to the Lord than children who have so recently come from His presence?

When my children were small, I tried to teach them reverence. At the same time, though, I recognized that they were being exactly what they were--little children. When I look at young families now, I smile and wish I could reassure the sweet mothers and fathers that it's all right that their children don't sit like little robots, that it's all right if they ask questions sometimes and sing a different song from that that the congregation is singing, that it's all right if our meetings aren't pin-drop quiet.

This I know for sure: Heaven will be filled with the sounds of children.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 63, March 7

Tax season is upon us. Most of us are reviewing records, pulling out receipts, trying to remember our charitable contributions. Those who are good record-keepers will probably have an easier time than others of us who are not so good.

Did you know that there is another kind of record-keeping? This one does not require receipts (as does the IRS), nor does it place a dollar value upon the contribution. This is the heavenly record-keeping, the one compiled by the Father.

He doesn't care if we contributed $100 or $1,000,000 to our favorite charity or church. What he cares about--and keeps records of--are those sweet acts of love and compassion we do for others, not for a tax deduction, but because we care about our family, our friends, our community, our world.

Did you take care of a friend's children so that she could run an an errand? Heavenly Father knows. Did you take a grieving friend in your arms at the time of her husband's funeral? He knows that as well. His record-keeping is perfect. There are no loopholes, no fudging of the facts. However, there will be an audit in the end.

This I know for sure: the Father knows every kind word we utter and every kind deed we perform.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 62, March 6

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."--Albert Einstein

When I found this quote, I couldn't help but relate it to my two previous posts about children and their understanding of God.

When asked about God, children don't go in to long, theological discussions. Their responses exemplify their faith and trust in Him. "Heavenly Father loves me." "God is my Father who lives in Heaven." And so on.

What sweet words these are. Wouldn't we all do well to adopt them for our own? As Einstein instructed, children explain God simply precisely because they DO understand Him well. What does it say about me that I don't possess that same wisdom?

This I know for sure: if I am to understand God, I need to eschew worldly wisdom in favor of that of a child.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 61, March 5

Yesterday I wrote of how many of us are children in our stumbling efforts to come to know the Father. What I neglected to say is that being like a child can be a good thing.

I've related in earlier posts that I play the piano for our church's primary organization. It is a job I love. I love seeing the sweet faces of the children as they sing of their love for Jesus with their pure, high voices.

I envy their absolute faith in Him. They don't spend time questioning if they are good enough to deserve His love. They simply accept it for what it is, a marvelous gift of which none of us will ever be truly deserving.

One of my favorite primary songs is entitled "If The Savior Stood Beside Me." I believe that children are far more attuned to the Savior's presence than are most adults.

This I know for sure: children have much to teach us of our Savior's love.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 60, March 4

Have you ever found a penny and, believing it will bring you good luck, made a wish on it? I have. My wishes are really prayers, prayers for family and friends who are struggling.

I sometimes wonder what the Father thinks of my "penny prayers." I picture Him smiling patiently, seeing my spiritual self as it really is, that of a child who is just learning to walk, stumbling and tripping and getting up once again.

I imagine the Father sees many of us as children, struggling in the cobwebs of this life, failing to realize what truly matters. It is only in recent years that I have had an inkling of what is most important and how I can turn my burdens over to Him.

This I know for sure: He is always there if I have eyes to see; He is always listening if I have ears to hear.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 59, March 3

A few days ago, I received the author copies of my latest book, A MAN FOR AMANDA. I was thrilled to hold the book in my hand. A MAN FOR AMANDA has a long and convoluted history. I started it some years ago and started submitting it a year later. It was rejected. And rejected. And rejected.

I revised. More rejections. I revised again. And was rejected again. I put it away and focused on other projects.

Several years ago, I pulled it out and decided that it deserved another chance. After polishing it (yet again), I submitted it. It came back, but this time with detailed suggestions for changes. I made the revisions, said a prayer, and re-submitted.

It was accepted.

What is the moral of this story? If you guessed that I possess a healthy dose of stubbornness, you'd be right, but that is not the moral. If you guessed the power of persistence, congratulations.

I've watched other writer friends over the years, writers who have a great deal more natural talent than I do. Some have gone on to publish many books, but others, too many, gradually gave up. That is certainly their right, but I always wanted to tell them, "Try one more time."

This I know for sure: persistence (and a healthy dose of stubbornness) kept my book and my dream alive.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Day 58, March 2

Recently I had the misfortune to see a commercial for a reality television series which showed provocatively dressed young girls doing a dance routine involving guns. I couldn't believe it. I admit that I'm hopelessly old-fashioned about some things, but even the most liberal thinking individual (I believe) would be outraged at this display.

What kind of television show depicts such a thing? What kind of teacher instructs children in such a manner? And what kind of parents allow it?

I think of my own grandchildren, who are much the same age as these innocent girls, and shudder at the idea that they might see this. Even more, I shudder that someone might try to entice them to participate in such a perfidous thing.

This I know for sure: all adults, whether parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and church leaders, have the obligation, the responsibility, the duty to stand up for children, to protect them from those who would harm them and use them.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day 57, March 1

How many times have you heard or used the phrase, "Live up to his (or your or her or one's) potential?" Probably a lot.

I know I have. I've used it about myself, asking why haven't I lived up to my potential. There's always a faintly pejorative tone about this question, as though there is more that I could do (and there is), more that I could be (again, there is), more that I can give (true again).

Recently I heard a different spin on these words: live up to my privilege. The words resonated within me. Certainly, I have been privileged. I was privileged to be raised by loving parents. I was privileged to have a sweet sister. I was privileged to marry in the temple to a good man. I am privileged in many ways. Indeed, anyone was born in the United States is privileged.

Have I lived up to those privileges? Not always. I take too many for granted. I take them as my due. Worse, I occasionally feel entitled because of those privileges. And there is, perhaps, no word that bothers me so much as that of "entitled." It conjures up all sorts of negative images.

This I know for sure: if I am to live up to my privilege, I need to find a grateful heart.