Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 148, May 31

I noticed that I've been happier lately.  Could it be because I've been following my Aunt Mae's example of trying every day to do something for someone else?  Since I don't believe in coincidence, I think it's probably likely.

I've written about my Aunt Mae before.  She is 87 now, two months shy of turning 88.  Though she doesn't drive and is of modest means, she manages to serve others better than many of us.  She recently told me a story of a man and his grown son who often drop by her house  in the mornings.  They count Aunt Mae as one of their few friends.  She fixes them breakfast and then spends the morning listening to them.  What a gift that is, to truly listen to another.

Aunt Mae mans a prayer line twice a week, where she spends two hours on those evenings taking prayer requests.  She consistently contributes baked goods to fundraisers for the volunteer fire department of the small Tennessee town where she lives.  And don't forget the dozens of cards she sends out to anyone who needs an extra bit of attention.

Her example spurs me to try to do better, what's more, to be better.  What a difference in our world if each of us tried to do one thing for someone else every day.  Would we change the world?  I think so.

This I know for sure:  the world needs more Aunt Maes.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 147, May 30

"To a great extent, we find that we must sow in tears before we can reap in joy." -- Charles Spurgeon

Opposition exist in all things.  Ancient scripture teaches us that if we didn't know sorrow, neither would we know joy.   Certainly, some of us feel that we have sown too many tears, have known too much sorrow. 

I like to think that I would recognize joy without experiencing sorrow.  I'm afraid, though, that, in this, I give myself too much credit.  In all things spiritual, I am a two-year-old, just barely beginning to learn all that the Father has to teach me. I take a step, only to fall down, pull myself up, and try again.

I am probably not alone in these feelings.  At least, I hope I'm not. 

This I know for sure:  tears and joy are part of this mortal existence.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 146, May 29

"Sometimes falling on our knees is the only way to learn to stand." -- Linda Evans Shepherd

It has only been in the last month that I have been able to kneel when saying a prayer.  I had nearly forgotten how much I enjoyed and counted on that small ritual when talking with my Father in Heaven.  Of course, the Father hears and listens to our prayers, no matter where we are, no matter what our position.  Still, I missed being able to get on my knees during my prayers.

And isn't it ironic that in humbling ourselves by kneeling, that we stand taller than ever?  Kneeling is seen by the world as a subservient position.  Yet those who kneel are frequently doing so in the act of giving service.  I think of the Savior kneeling to wash His apostles' feet.  He, the Lord, humbled himself to serve His friends.

In the first weeks following my surgery, my husband was often on his knees, helping me put on my support stockings, helping me do my exericses, etc.  Never had he looked so tall.

This I know for sure:  kneeling in prayer is one of the strongest things we do.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 145, May 28

"I believe in being honest. I believe in being true ..."  So go the words of one of my favorite Primary songs.

We live in a time where honesty and truth are in short supply.  Too many people treat them as disposable commodities, ones that can be taken out when it's convenient and put away when they become inconvenient.

We have only to look to politicians and other public figures to witness examples the "convenient honesty" policy.  More disturbing, though, is the attitude of the media.  Once respected media personalities and venues have given way to buying in to the convenience of half-truths and even lies.

Do I sound naive when I expect more of  our media, to expect journalistic integrity?  Probably.

What do we do to turn this tide of dishonesty?  Like everything, it begins with me.  With you.  With our families.  We can make a difference, one truth at a time. 

This I know for sure:  honesty is a precious gift.  When we give it, we elevate ourselves and others.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 144, May 27

Yesterday I wrote about the perils of becoming a victim.  Today I'd like to turn that around and talk about how to become a heroine in your own life and that of others.

I'm fortunate enough to have many heroines in my life:  my daughter Alanna, my sister Carla, and friends--Jeannie, Laurie, Janet, Marilyn, Barbara, Tami, Marian, Joan, Myrna, Amanda, Deliese, Holly, Phyllis, Natalie, and a host of others.  They show me what I can be, what I can do, if I try a little harder.

How did these ladies become heroines?  For one thing, they show up.  When they have a job to do, they show up.  I've written before about those who show up and those who show off.  These women don't waste their time showing off.  They have too much to do.  For their families.  For their friends.  For their community. For their church.  For their Lord.

What else do they do?  They open their eyes and look beyond themselves.  When they perceive a need, they act on it.  They also open their ears and listen with their hearts.  When they hear a plea for help, even when it's unspoken, once again, they act on it.

This I know for sure:  being a heroine trumps being a victim every time.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 143, May 26

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.   Nora Ephron

I have always admired Nora Ephron's writing.  Invariably, she hits the nail on the head.  How often have I played the part of the victim, either intentionally or unintentionally?  Too many.

It is easy to play the part of the victim.  It is even comforting to assume that part at times.  There's no question that bad things happen.  To all of us.  We live in a fallen world, filled with hard things and sometimes hard people.  When bad things happen to us, we may rightfully feel that we are a victim. 

The trouble is, we don't move forward when we fall into the victim trap.  We don't progress; we remain stuck in a mire of self-pity and anger.  I know.  Because I've been there.  I wrap my self-righteousness around me and tell any and all about the terrible thing that befell me.  Others may listen, even sympathize, but eventually they tire of my whining.

This I know for sure: being a victim can be appealing; being a heroine is empowering.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 142, May 25

A few days ago in church, a man spoke about adversity.  Adversity, sooner or later, comes to all of us.  No one, whatever his education, social status, intelligence, or spiritual maturity, is immune from it.  We don't have a choice whether or not we face adversity, the man reminded us.   We do have a choice, though, in how we handle it. 

I am the first to admit that I don't handle it well.  When a member of my family is sick, or hurting, or in trouble, I tremble with fear.  Mostly because I know that I don't have the ability to help.  I can be there physically, I can offer temporal help, I can pray, but I can't remove the adversity my loved one faces.

Sometimes I rant and rail at fate, even, I'm ashamed to admit, at God, for allowing bad things to happen to good people.  It is not an uncommon reaction, and I try to take solace that I'm not alone.  But that is scant comfort when I realize how powerless I am.

The speaker's final remark gave me pause.  "The next time you're faced with adversity, do something for someone else."  The counsel is not original with the speaker, but is profound nonetheless.

This I know for sure:  adversity comes to all of us. Finding strength through service is one of the best ways to get through it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 141, May 24

My granddaughter spent the night with us over the weekend.  The following morning, I suggested we take a walk together.  "I guess I'd better put on my pants," I said.

She looked at me, standing there in my long nightshirt, and said, "That would be good.  And, Grandma, why don't you put them on right side out this time?"   This was in reference to my (one time) wearing my pants inside out. 

We laughed together over her grandmother's absent-mindedness.  Yes, I have worn my pants inside out and lived to not only tell about it but to laugh about it as well.

This I know for sure:  laughing at myself is good therapy.  And the older I get, the more occasion I will probably have to do exactly that.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 140, May 23

"Do you wish to be rich, enriched, or enriching?"  -- Anonymous

I found this quote in a writers' newsletter and was intrigued by the juxtaposition of words.  What do I want to be?  I admit it:  I have at times longed for riches.  At another time, I longed to be enriched by the experiences I have.   And I still wish for those things--there is nothing wrong with desiring to be rich or enriched if we share our abundance with others.  But now, I also wish to be enriching.

What does it mean to be enriching?  One meaning is to give support to another.  Another is to provide intellectual stimulation.  A higher meaning takes us to the spiritual level where we give hope and comfort to those in need. 

The desire to be enriching led me to start and continue this blog.  Please don't misunderstand; I do not flatter myself that my words are providing sustained enrichment.  However, I do hope that they give an occasional moment of thought, of insight, of understanding.

This I know for sure:  what we want--to be rich, enriched, or enriching--determines the kind of life we lead.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 139, May 22

Life keeps throwing me curve balls.  I imagine you feel the same way.  Just when you think your life has settled down into some kind of expected, if boring, routine, something happens.  An adult child calls with a crisis. A sister needs your help.  A friend is hospitalized with a life-threatening disease.  Whatever it is, it throws you and your life into a tizzy.

I've been there.  Right now, I worry over a dear, longtime friend who is in the hospital with complications from cancer.  My heart weeps for him and for his sweet family.  I try to offer help, even while knowing that my efforts are puny against the need.  What to do?

Prayer, of course.  Every day.  Many times a day.  Is there something more, though, that I could do?  My offer of "please call if you need anything" seems empty.  And finally I got it.  Make an offer of specific help.   "Can I drive your son to work?"  I asked the man's wife.  That was met with a "yes."

How many times have I uttered the sincere but empty words, "Please call if you need anything?"  Too many.  And it shames me that I haven't thought through an individual or family's needs and tailored my offer with those in mind.

This I know for sure:  empty words will most likely produce empty results.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 138, May 21

Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden. -- Corrie ten Boom

A dear friend, also a writer, sent this quote to me, knowing that it would resonate with me.   This morning, I found myself praying silently as I went about my day, thanking the Father for His blessings, then asking for His continued blessings upon friends and family who are struggling..  It occurred to me, certainly not for the first time, how unbelievably fortunate I am, indeed, how fortunate we all are, that we can turn to the Father at any time, at any place.

What a precious gift this is.  I honestly wonder how individuals who do not pray, who perhaps do not even believe in God, manage to get through an hour, much less a day, a week, a month, a lifetime.  How do they navigate their lives without the anchor of knowing that God is there, will always be there?

My prayers are not the eloquent ones we sometimes hear uttered in church or at a large assembly.  Instead, they are very personal conversations, directed to the One who knows all.  I talk with the Father as I would a dear friend, all the while knowing that He is aware not only of my needs but of those of everyone.

This I know for sure: prayer is as necessary as breathing.  Without it, I would cease to exist.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day 137, May 20

Lately I've been thinking a lot about roles in life.

As I talked with my sister the other day, she told me that she was  taking a grandson to a movie in the morning then picking up another grandchild and spending the rest of the day with her.   After her husband's death, my sister received some well-meaning but misplaced advice that she should get a job.    :You need to keep busy," friends told her.

"Should I be working?" she's asked me more than once.

"What could you be doing that is more important than spending time with your grandchildren?" I answered.  "When you look back on your life, will you be more happy or less happy that you chose to make a difference in your grandchildren's lives?"

Please don't get me wrong.  Work is noble and financially necessary for many. However, my sister is well provided for and desires to spend her time serving and helpinig, especially in her family.  She has chosen a role that gives meaning to her life and to those of others. What greater work can there be?  Her path is not right for everyone, but it is right for her.

This I know for sure:  finding our path, discovering our role, is a task we must all do.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 136, May 19

The modern world has far too little understanding of the art of keeping young.  Its notion of progress has been to pile one thing on top of another without caring if each thing was crushed in turn.   People forget that the human soul can enjoy a thing most when there is time to think about it and be thankful for it.  And by crowding theings together they lost the sense of surprise, and surprise is the secret of joy.--G.K. Chesterton.

Sometimes it seems impossible to NOT crowd things together.  We are champion multi-taskers, priding ourselves on doing two or three or even four things at once.  I wonder what kind of effort I give my activities when I am so intent on accomplishing them that I fail to enjoy them or think about the meaning behind them. 

It is easy to infect our children with this same frenzy of busy-ness.  When my children were young, we were involved with gymnastics, music lessons, Cub Scouts,  Little League football, Girl Scouts, and a host of other things.  They were all good things, worthwhile things.  But they were things.  I look back and wonder if the children, indeed, the whole family, might have been happier and more content if we'd limited the activities and spent more time simply being.

This I know for sure:  a meaningful life is one filled with more thought and less activity.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 135, May 18

Yesterday I wrote about the Savior being the Source of hope.  I truly believe that.  I believe in Jesus Christ, the Lord, and in His redeeming love and the power of the atonement.  Without that, we are all lost.

I also believe that His opposite exists.  If discussing Satan and evil offends you, I suggest you stop reading.  Now.  It is not politically correct to talk of Satan or of evil.  (In this, as in other things, I am as politically uncorrect as one can get.)  In our current culture, it is more politic to say that there is no Satan, that there is no evil.   If you believe that, I wish you well.  I also hope that you can live in a bubble of naivete. 

Satan exists.  He exists in opposition to God's plan.  He brings evil into our world, with his every word, every act, every thought.  I have had up close experience with evil.  I know, without a doubt, that it is real and that Satan wants to claim every victim he can. 

Do you think I'm being overly dramatic?  Or that I am exaggerating?  On the contrary, I am stating the unequivocal truth.  Satan is real and desires the downfall of God's children.

This I know for sure: our only protection from evil is to cling to the Lord and to be guided by His light.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 134, May 17

Yesterday I wrote about encouragement.  Today's post is closely related.  That of hope.

Hope is a commodity sadly lacking in our current world.  We look at the goings-on of political and other public figures and see dishonesty and immorality.  We look at the world landscape and see war and poverty and despair.  And we may even look at our own lives and feel a hopelessness, whether it concern health, finances, or a family problem.

What is there to be hopeful about? we may wonder.

I've been there.  Too often.  And then I remember that the Lord has promised us that He will not leave us to walk alone.  He is at our side.  He is always there.   What greater hope can there be?

This I know for sure:  the Savior is the true source of hope.  Our job is to turn to Him.  When we have done that, we can help others come unto Him as well.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 133, May 16

I have a frieind whose mother is her biggest champion, her greatest cheerleader.  My friend is in her 60s, her mother well into her 80s, yet she never misses an opportunity to tell anyone and everyone, indeed, to tell the world how wonderful her daughter is.

What a gift this mother has given her daughter.  What a blessing she is, not only to this daughter but to all who know her.  When I am around my friend and her mother, I smile and silently applaud their sweet relationship.  At the same time, I am envious.

Encouragement is an art.  It is a talent.  I sometimes wonder what our world would be like if more people encouraged each other, with simple, honest praise and heartfelt words.

Some people, unfortunately, withhold encouragement or parcel it out with stingy hands and heart.  How sad.  For them and for the people whose lives they could have touched in a positive way.

Like Moses, I am "slow of speech."  I do not have the gift of the spoken word.  Instead, I try to write notes of encouragement, notes to let a friend know I am thinking of her.  I wish I could tell my friends in words how much I think of them.  And, maybe, just maybe, I will find that strength someday. 

This I know for sure:  words of encouragement are as necessary.  They are food for the soul.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 132, May 15

A week ago, I was wallowing in a mire of self-pity and despair.  Nothing was really wrong.  But nothing was really right, either. I honestly could not think of a thing I was good for.  I say this not to solicit "Of course you're good for something" comments.   At that moment, I was too busy thinking of myself to give any thought to others.

There are people in my life--friends and family--who need a hand to lift them up, who need a smile, who need a "thinking of you" card in the mail.  Did I do that for any of them?  No.

I'm ashamed to admit that I couldn't spare them a thought.  All I could think about were the wrongs I had suffered, the things I hadn't accomplished, the hurts I had inflicted.  More than sad, I was angry.  Hadn't I tried to do the things the Lord had told me to do?  Hadn't I been obedient?  Why did I have to keep trying when my efforts seemed to make no difference?   Needless to say, it was an unprofitable, unproductive, and thoroughly un-Christ-like day.

The next day, I got up, did the things I knew I should, and started feeling better.  You'd think that, at my advanced age, I would have that all figured out.  But, no, I have to learn that lesson over and over.

This I know for sure:  getting it right once doesn't mean I can stop trying, stop doing, stop learning, stop living, and stop loving.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 131, May 14

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."--Robert Brandt

Are you like me and let life's little things pass you by because you are too busy looking for the big things?   I've written about this subject before and find that I can't let it go.  Perhaps because I am still trying to get it right.

Life is full of small pleasures, small joys, small blessings.  Yet I find myself ignoring them in favor of wondering when the "big" things are going to come along. 

My roses are blooming, fragile petals unfolding.  Do I notice them?  Sort of.   Do I remember that they are a gift from God, one of His creations?  Rarely.  What could be bigger than that?  Still, I gave them little attention because I have my mind on other, more important, matters.

This I know for sure:  life is made up of little things which, when noticed, give meaning to everything.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 130, May 13

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother never, never.  A mother is something absolutely new."--Rajneesh

Today is Mother's Day.  Mother's Day has not always been a favorite with me.  It conjured up all sorts of conflicting feelings, guilt being right there at the top.  I defy you to name a mother who has not felt guilty, at least at some point in her mothering career.  Along with guilt there are love and awe and an unending supply of exhausted days and sleepless nights..

So, no, I haven't always celebrated Mother's Day.  Now, that I'm on the other side of the mothering equation, I can look back and smile at the young mother I used to be.  That mother was busy full time, worried over a myriad of foolish things.  I vowed to be perfect in everything and ended up being perfect in nothing.  Still, despite my imperfections, the children and I made it through. 

Grandmothering is a whole different story.  With it, I don't worry over perfection; I simply rejoice.   I wish I had had that wisdom thirty years or so ago.

This I know for sure:  mothering isn't for wimps.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day 129, May 12

Yesterday I wrote about the twists and turns of life, more specifically what happens when life turns out differently than you'd planned.
Today, in a different kind of twist, I'd like to turn that upside down and explore what happens when your life does turn out as you'd planned.

It is a humbling thing to find out that you have what you thought you wanted and realize that you didn't want that thing after all.  It falls under the category of "Be careful what you wish for."

Have you ever wished for something only to find out that it's not what you wanted?  I have.  Probably most of us have.  Sometimes, it's little things.  Sometimes, it's big things.  Either way, we struggle with the disappointment of unmet expectations, unfulfilled longings.

I tend to rail and rant when I am confronted with such results.  When I'm able to gather together some maturity and insight, I move on to other things, hopefully things that hold richer and more eternal happiness.

This I know for sure:  life is full of possibilities.  What matters is what we do with them.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 128, May 11

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."--Joseph Campbell

Has your life turned out as you planned? In many ways, mine has.  In other ways, it is far different than the life I planned.

The fact is, life is full of twists and turns.  These can be the result of our choices; they can be the result of the choices of others.  These can be because hard things happen. To all of us.   I have several friends whose lives have taken a hard road due to cancer.  The lives they thought they had were no longer.  But they adjusted; they survived; they thrived.  Not because of the cancer, but in spite of it.

Other friends deal with heartache over children.  Some struggle with the loss of jobs, enduring financial hardship, loss of self-esteem, and other problems.  Some have had to find their way back to happiness after a divorce.

Not one of these friends thought "One day, I'm going to live with cancer."  Or, "One day my child is going to rebel against everything I hold dear.."  Or, "One day I'm going to lose my job and my home." 

What matters is not so much what happens but how we deal with it.  A cliche, to be sure.  But, like most cliches, it exists because it is true.

This I know for sure:  the detours that life takes have their own happiness--if we open our eyes to see.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 127, May 10

"Seek for the highest which is within you." 

I have this motto cross-stitched on a picture in my bedroom.  It serves as both a reminder and a chastisement.  The sad truth is, I don't always seek for the highest which is within me.  Too often, I am content for a mediocre "good enough."

Good enough covers many of my efforts.  My relationships are good enough.  My piano playing is good enough.  My writing is good enough. 

In some things, it's fine to be good enough.  For example, housekeeping.  No one is going to accuse me of being a "white glove" housekeeper.  I try to keep things picked up so that the Board of Health does not sweep down upon us, but I am far from fastitidous.

But what about other things?  Is it all right to be good enough in my relationships with family and friends?  I don't think so.  Is it all right to be good enough in my relationship with the Lord.  Absolutely not.  Yet, I settle for the mediocre when I could strive for so much more.

This I know for sure:  good enough will not take me where I want to go. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 126, May 9

A few days ago at church, a man bore his testimony about grace. No matter what we do, we are dependent upon the Savior's grace. No amount of good works, no amount of meetings attended, no amount of prayers uttered, indeed, no amount of anything will "earn" our way to heaven.

I listened and silently applauded his words, even though I too frequently fall into the trap of believing that I can work my way to heaven. If I am good enough, I reason, if I am generous enough, if I am obedient enough, surely I can find my way back to the Savior. The truth is, I can't I will never be good enough, generous enough, obedient enough, or anything else enough to return to the Savior by ... myself.

Grace is being given what we don't deserve. Certainly I am undeserving of the Savior's grace. Certainly I am undeserving of His love. But He gives both, unstintingly, not just to me, but to all who seek Him.

This I know for sure: without grace, I am lost. With it, I am found. Forever.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 125, May 8

A week or so ago, I wrote about my impatience in trying to push 120 pounds on a weight machine in physical therapy.  Well, I mastered that weight and am now working on pushing 140 pounds.  Once agin, I find myself impatient that I can't do it right away.  Haven't I learned anything, I wonder.

Apparently not.

Somewhere, somehow, I want to reach a balance between striving to do better and, at the same time, finding joy in what I have accomplished.  Is there a "happy medium" between setting goals and complacency?

Balance is one of the biggies in life.   One example:  Larry and I want to be generous with others.  Simultaneously, we want to have enough money put by to take care of ourselves in our later years.  How do we balance those two things?

This I know for sure:  finding balance is a lifelong quest. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 124, May 7

A few nights ago, Larry and I were privileged to attend our granddaughter Reynnna's induction in to the National Junior Honor Society.  We were thrilled to be there, thrilled to witness this special night in her life.

The speaker addressing the young students talked of the difference one person can make.  One remark particularly caught my attention as he repeated what many of us ask, "What can I do?"  To this he responded, "Do what you can."

I was struck by the practicality and simplicity of this counsel.  "Do what I can."

What can I do?  I can be honest in my actions.  I can speak and write truth.  I can serve and pray for those in my stewardship..  I can make my small part of the world a better place. 

This I know for sure:  I can't do everything, but I can do som things.  We all can. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 123, May 6

"The plain fact is that the world does not need more successful people, but it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as our culture has defined it." - David Orr
I love this definition of success.  How many of us are chasing the world's idea of success?  And how many of us find true happiness or joy when we reach it?

I am  frequently amazed at the number of actors and actresses, sports figures, and others, blessed with talent, money, and beauty, who seem to "have it all" but fail to find happiness in their personal lives.  The fact that I am amazed at this says little about my own character, for, in thinking that these superstars have it all, I am ascribing to the idea that worldly things equal happiness.

Under Orr's definition, we could all be successful, if we gave of ourselves, if we made a concerted effort to make our small part of the world a better place.  Could I make a difference if I volunteered more often?   Absolutely.  Could I make a difference if I resolved to pick up trash in my daily walk through the neighborhood?  Of course.  Would either of these change the world?  Maybe.  Maybe someone else would see me and decide to do something as well.

Who knows where one small act will lead? 

This I know for sure:  eternal success will not be measured in dollars or power or beauty.  It will be measured in how much we loved.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 122, May 5

Do you find yourself peppering your oonversations with "should haves" and "could haves?"  I do.  It seems my life is made up of should haves and could haves.  I have a dear friend who advises "Don't should on yourself."

The truth is, should haves and could  haves are a kind of resentment.  Resentment at ourselves.  Resentment at others.  I have a list of should haves and could haves in my life.  A few days ago, I wrote about one, when I failed to act on an impulse to do something for someone else, only to learn that she died a few days later.   Instead of dwelling on the "shoulds," I would be better off spending my time in finding new ways to help someone else.

The shoulds and coulds that I didn't do fill me with regret.  How much better off would I be if I worked with purpose, instead of being consumed with regret?

This I know for sure:  focusing on shoulds and coulds takes time and energy from doing.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 121, May 4

Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.

Robert J. Sawyer

How much happier would I be (and have been) if I had learned the fine art of ignoring things.  I would certainly have been happier during the years when my children were growing up had I ignored messes--piled up dishes, clothes stewn on the bedroom floor, toast crumbs on the counter, and a host of other mini messes.   (My children would have been happier as well without a mother who was always nagging them.)

What else should I ignore?  What about the driver who cut in front of me without warning?  What about the  unkind remark that someone thoughtlessly made?

If I would be happier ignoring small things, would I also be happier paying attention to bigger things?  Would I feel better about myself and others if I paid greater attention to what is important to them?  What if I made a point to celebrate with them each accomplishment?  What if I made an effort to find things to praise about them?  What if?

This I know for sure:  ignoring small things is an art.  Paying attention to big things is also an art.  Learning the difference is wisdom.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 120, May 3

I've had the opportunity to view X-rays showing the results of my hip-replacement surgery.  My new hip appears bright white, nearly glowing, in comparison to the rest of the X-ray. 

Wouldn't it be wonderful, I thought, if all my parts were bright white and glowing.  No, I do not want to undergo additional surgeries for more replacements.  What I would like is to transfrom my heart, my spirit, my soul, into shining entities, so that that glow showed in my countenance.

What if my words and actions and attitudes were such that they caused me to glow?  What if I extended myself to others in such ways that I could make a difference in their lives?  What if I found the "sweet spot" of living and giving>  What if I did as I've been taught all my life--to live as the Savior wants?

Of course I am not (in this lifetime) going to reach the Savior's perfection.  I can only use Him as the ultimate example.

This I know for sure: if I want my countenace to glow, I need to work from the inside out.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 119, May 2

"Passion:  There are many things that will catch your eye but only a few will catch your heart.  Pursue those.".--seen on a poster

What is your passion?  I hope you have one or two or even twenty.  I hope there are things that spark your creativity and stir your excitement.  I hope you pursue them with eveyrthing you have.

Over the years, I have occasionally denied or put off pursuing passions.  My excuses were numerous:  it costs money; it will take time away from my family; it will prove that I have no talent. 

Do you have similar excuses that you pull out when you are tempted to go after a passion? I hope not.  I hope you are smarter and wiser and braver than I am and chase your passions with everything you have. 

This I know for sure:  passions deserve our best.  Find a way to give that.  You're worth it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day 118, May 1

Today is our grandson Christopher's 9th birthday.  Christopher is extremely bright, overwhelmingly curious, and full of mischief.  He keeps his parents on their toes and reminds me why young people have children and those of us who are older are grandparents.

I love being a grandmother.  I love watching our grandchildren learn and laugh and live and love.  I love their enthusiasm and zest for every and all things.  I love knowing that I can be the "fun" one, without the responsibility of dealing with homework, worrying over nutrition, and a host of other things that parents must concern themselves with.

One of my favorite memories (which I've shared before) is making brownies for breakfast with my granddaughter Reynna when she was only three.  We stirred up the batter, then dipped our fingers in for a lick.  We had soon "licked" the bowl empty.  It was a completely irresponsible thing to do and I don't regret it for a moment. 

This I know for sure:  grandchildren are precious and a light in my life.