Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 261, October 31

Yesterday I wrote about seeds and sowing.  To go along with that, I'll include another verse from "We Are Sowing."

Seeds that fall amid the stillness of the lonely mountain glen;
Seeds cast out in crowded places trodden under the foot of men;
Seeds by idle hands forgotten, flung at random on the air,
Seeds by faithful souls remembered, sown in tears and love and prayer.

Do you ever feel that you have "sown" seeds in trying to rekindle a strained relationship with a family member or friend only to have those seeds "cast out" or "trodden under foot" or "forgotten" or "flung at random?"  I have.  And I wonder if I've squandered those precious seeds, wasted the time and energy it took to sow them.  Or perhaps you were a visiting teacher, trying to reach a forgotten sister and she turned away from your overtures?  Maybe you tried to sow seeds in developing a talent and that talent just refused to come? 

Are these seeds wasted?  I don't think so.  I believe that anything we do with righteous intent and purpose is not wasted.

So, for today, I am grateful for "seeds by faithful souls remembered."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 260, October 30

A few days ago I was pulling up marigolds from our flower pots.  The thrifty part of me (a combination of my Mormon heritage and being reared by parents who were children of the Great Depression) took the drying flowers apart and scattered the seeds back in the pots and in the flower beds. 

As I carefully took apart the flowers and scattered the seeds, I wondered if some would take root and bloom again for next summer.  The act reminded me of a hymn "We Are Sowing."

We are sowing, daily sowing countless seeds of good and ill,
Scattered on the level lowland, cast upon the windy hill.
Seeds that sink in rich, brown furrows, soft with heaven's gracious rain;
Seeds that rest upon the surface of the dry, unyielding plain.

As I pondered the words of the hymn, I thought of my own seeds, the things I think, say, and do every day.   The fact is that some of my seeds are those of ill.  And some are cast upon the windy hill.  And some rest upon a dry, unyielding plain.  Fortunately some sink "in rich, borwn furrows, soft with heaven's gracious rain."

So, for today, I am grateful for marigold seeds and any seed that sprouts forth beauty.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 259, October 29

"Our duty as men (and women) is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist.  We are collaborators in creation."--Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

I love any quote about creation.  In fact, I am entranced by the whole concept of creation.  In our living room, I have a painting of God creating the earth.  Next to it is a sculpture (by Mark Hopkins, a friend) of  His hands forming the earth.  I believe that creation, of any kind, is a God-like quality.

Do you ever feel that you lack creative talents?  I do.  I feel it all the time.  I long to create but feel unequal to the task.  Yet I keep trying. That desire to create is inherent in us.  With that in mind, I decided that I needed to broaden my definition of creation.

Is the stay-at-home mother who works to create a loving and nurturing home for her family creative?  You bet.  Is that same mother who can stretch a dollar six different ways creative?  Of course.  Is the entrepreneur who built a business from nothing creative?  Absolutely. 

So, for today, I am grateful for those who create.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 258, October 28

"The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise."--Tacitus

I admit it--I like safety.  I like security.  I'm conservative in investments, whether they be financial or other.  Safety and security are good, up to a point.  Then they can become stifling.

Eighteen years ago, my husband and a friend jumped off a cliff to start their own business.  There was little safety and no security in such a venture, but they had a dream, a vision, of what that business could become.  Eighteen years later, that two-man operation, housed in one room above a bar, is now a thriving engineering concern, shipping several million dollars of product a year.

There have been lean years, and there will probably be more lean years ahead.  Cash flow and other problems beseige the business, but they presevere.  And still, I cling to safety.  But safety, while giving the illusion of security, can be a trap.

So, for today, I am grateful for those who defy safety to achieve "great and noble enterprises."

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 257, October 27

"When you are suffering and hurt ... there is one thing that is the most dangerous thing of all.  The really, truly, rocky moment is when you think that God doesn't really love you and you are tempted to bail out of the boat.

"The first rule of seamanship is to stay in the boat.  You never better your position by jumping overboard into the sea.  Stay in the good ship of Zion.  I don't care how you do it, just stay.  Our only hope for salvation is inside that boat because the Master is at the helm.  He is the only one who can say with arm to the square, 'Peace be still' ...

"The beach is littered with people who thought they could swim a better route, but there is only One Way ... Stay with the Master and trust that the sea will calm and the ship will come home with you in it."--Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I have been at that "really, truly, rocky moment" at different times in my life.  That moment when I believed all was lost, that God had given up on me.  Then my more rational self took over and I remembered that the Master was still at the helm, that He had not abandoned me, would never abandon me.

So, for today, I am grateful for the remembrance that "the sea will calm and the ship will come home with me in it."

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 256, October 26

Last week I wrote about accountability.  In our church, when a child turns eight years old, he is typically baptized.  We believe that eight is the "age of accountability," the age when one is old enough to distinguish right from wrong.

Yet there are many individuals, far older, at least in chronological age, than eight who remain un-accountable.  They seem to take delight, even pride, in living off the work and discipline of others.   These are the people who make promises they have no intention of keeping.  These are the people who "borrow" money from friends or family they have no intention of repaying.  These are the people who pledge to show up to a service work project who have no intention of showing up.

By contrast, there are those individuals who make accountability a matter of practice.  These are the people who keep every promise they make.  These are the people who repay any loans with a thank-you included.  These are the people who pledge to show up and then do so.

Do you get the idea that this is a big deal for me (else why would I keep writing about it)?  It is a big deal for me.  It is a big deal as I try to right the wrongs of my past.  It is a big deal as I witness what is happening to our society, our nation, our world when the number of un-acountable people continues to grow.

So, for today, I am grateful for accountable people.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 255, October 25

The late Sir Alec Dickson, who founded Britain's Voluntary Service Overseas (the model for the Peace Corps) and Community Service Volunteers, believed that everyone, no matter how difficult their current circumstanes, had something of value to give. 

Many of their volunteers might just as easily have been on the receiving end of a helping relationship.  But Sir Alec knew that not only the recipients, but also the volunteers, benefited.  Why?  Because people like to give.  It boosts their self-esteem, their self-worth, their self-confidence.

Of course there are the few people, the takers, who will never feel this, but, fortunately, they are in the minority.

So, for today, I am grateful for those who give.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 254, October 24

"We must be arched and buttressed from within, else the temple will crumble to dust."  Marcus Aurelius

What are your arches and buttresses?  What keeps you from crumblng?  Maybe it's the inner strength you gained when you went through a trial by fire.  Or maybe it's knowing that the Lord is on your side.  Always.  Or maybe it's finding that your family and friends stood beside you when you went through that trial by fire.

Sometimes, when I am at a low point, I wonder if I have the strength to hold on when life throws its inevitable curves at me.  And then I remember that I am never alone.

So, for today, I am grateful for the arches and buttresses of faith, family, and friends.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 253, October 23

"Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways, but where it is unwilling, it will find a thousand excuses."--Bornean Proverb

These words snagged my attention, perhaps because they so accurately describe me.  When my heart is willing to do something, I find that my body and mind usually tag along and I do it.  When my heart is unwilling, nothing will budge me. 

Take, for example, garage sales.  My heart is almost always willing to go to garage sales.  I get up early, dress, and will tromp through snow and ice to attend a promising sounding sale.  When it comes to exercising, my heart (and, alas, body and mind) find every excuse in the book to avoid it.

Another example is my writing.  I like the feeling have having written.  That is entirely different from writing.  Writing is just hard work.  One day, I noticed a rip in the seam of a pair of drapes.  Painstakingly, I undid each drapery hook from the rod and took the drapes downstairs to my sewing machine where I sewed up the seam.  One might think I'd be feeling proud of myself.  No so, because I knew why I had taken the trouble to sew (I HATE to sew) the seam:  it kept me from writing.  It gave me a wonderful excuse to not write.  The problem was, sooner or later, I had to do the writing, had to finish the story I'd set in motion.

Of more importance are those times when my heart is unwilling to do the things the Lord has instructed.  You know the ones I mean:  serving with a real smile, forgiving those who have wronged me, being generous in thoughts and words as well as means.

So, for today, I am grateful for those times when my heart is willing to do what the Lord commands.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 252, October 22

"Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower."--Albert Camus, French author

In earlier posts, I've written of how I love autumn.  I love the colors, the smells, the sounds. 

Camus's words are a vivid reminder of this glorious time of year, when we put to bed gardens and lawns.  I wonder, could we also put to bed old hurts and grudges?  Bury them, as we cover roses bushes with mulch?   It is something upon which to ponder. 

So, for today, I am grateful for a reminder of the beauties of autumn.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 251, October 21

"The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender.  There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind.  There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined.  We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith.  We have enough greed; we need more goodness.  We have enough vanity; we need more virtue.  We hae enough popularity; we need more purity."-- Former Young Women General President (of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Margarage D. Nadauld

Yesterday I wrote about the moral force of women.  The above quote is a wonderful description of the goodness and greatness that women can bring to bear on their families, their churches, their communities, their nations.  As I read the qualities needed in women, I was struck by how important is our responsibility to ourselves and to those around us.  It's both awe-inspiring and humbling at the same time.

 So, for today, I am grateful for women who kind and refined, who have faith and goodness, virtue and purity. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 250, October 20

Last week in Relief Society (the women's organization of the Mormon Church), the president spoke about the moral force of women.  She based her remarks on a talk given at General Conference of two weeks ago. 

Women have always been a force for good.  Whether in the home, the church, the community, the workplace, the schools, women act from their nature to nurture.  I am fortunate enough to have many such women in my life. 

There is my daughter Alanna who serves on the board of a victims' advocacy program.  There is a writer friend who makes dolls and doll clothes to give to little girls at Christmas who may receive nothing else.  There is another friend, whose children are long since grown, who reads to preschool children weekly.  And yet other friends who have worked tirelessly to help members of the community clean up after the floods of last month.

So, for today, I am grateful for the moral force of women.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 249, October 19

"You're always believing ahead of your evidence.  What was the evidence I could write a poem?  I just believed it.  The most creative thing in us is to believe a thing in."--Robert Frost

I had to read this quote several times before I could grasp the meaning and even now I'm not certain I have it right.  What is it to "believe a thing in?"  We know what it is to believe in a thing, but to "believe a thing in" is different.

Does it mean having enough belief and faith to will something into existence?  Maybe.  Or does it mean the simple act of belief is enough to effect a change?  Again, maybe.

Believing is not easy.  We struggle with empirical evidence, with scientific theory, with a myriad of other wordly things that all weigh in against belief.  And, in the end, belief comes down to taking a leap of faith that, despite what the naysayers maintain, we can
accomplish what we set out to do.

When I first started writing books, I had lots of evidence saying that I couldn't do it.  Chief among that evidence was a rejection letter from a New York editor telling me that I would do well to look for a different occupation.  I admit that I was beaten down by that.  In the end, though, my dream to write and sell a book was stronger than her scathing words.

So, for today, I am grateful for the words of a great man and poet, that we can "believe a thing in."

Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 248, October 18

"The price of greatness is responsibility."  -- Winston Churchill

Yesterday I wrote about accountability.  The fact is, I have not always been accountable.  I have shirked responsibilities and duties, saying to myself, "Someone else will do it."   Sometimes someone else did do it (whatever it was), and sometimes they didn't. 

Occasionally I congratulated myself when I failed to perform my duties.  I said, in effect, "Wow!  Glad I got out of that."  But those
self-congratulatioins were short lived as I admitted that I may have gotten out of work, but I paid a price in loss of self-esteem.

I wonder if that is what is going on in our nation today:  as people "get out of" work and live upon the work of others, does their self-esteem plummet as mine did?  The more we appreciate our own worth, the more we feel able to make things happen and the more we want to act responsibly toward others.  And the more responsibly we act toward others, the better our society will be.

So, for today, I am grateful for those who do not get out of work.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 247, October 17

In reading (do you think I spend a lot of time reading?), I learned that the word accountability comes from an ancient Roman term meaning "to stand forth and be counted." 

Personal accountability seems to be in short supply these days.  Everywhere I turn, I encounter another example of someone not owning up to his actions and yet another reason why he should not be held responsible or accountable for what he has done.  Whether it is a businessman shorting creditors or an individual defaulting on a loan or a person not showing up for something when he promised to be there, I find, not apologies, but excuses.  

It's disheartening.  This disease invades all aspects of our lives, whether professional or personal.  I see it in the workplace.  I see it in families.  I see it, even, in church. 

So, for today, I am grateful for those who hold themselves accountable.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 246, October 16

Last week I wrote about the physical clutter that takes space and energy in our homes.  Today's post is also about clutter, though of a different kind.

Do you ever feel that your mind is cluttered?  Mine is.  It's cluttered with negative thoughts, regret, envy, guilt, resentment, and  a bunch of other things that detract from my happiness and willingness to serve others.  How can I be able to serve when I'm weighed down with a myriad of such nasties?

I can't.

Sometimes I do pretty well about clearing out this clutter.  It comes as no surprise when I realize that those times are when I am closer to the Lord.  And sometimes I collect mind-clutter like a squirrel storing away nuts for the winter.

So, for today, I am grateful for those occasions when I can clean out the clutter in my mind.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 245, October 15

A few days ago when two friends and I were garage sailing, we saw a doe and her two fawns bound across the street.  Their grace and beauty immediately captivated me.  The mother was caring for her babies and the babies following their mother.  And I thought, "Surely they are fulfilling the measure of their creation."

It made me wonder how many of us are "fulfilling the measure of our creation."  The mores and expectations of our current society have deteriorated to such a point where we are no longer surprised or shocked when a mother fails to care for her children, when a father fails to provide for his children, when adult children fail to care for their elderly parents.

This is a different take on the words "fulfilling the measure of their creation."  Yet, I believe, it is a vital part.  How can we say that we pattern ourselves after the Lord if we shirk those all-important responsibilities? 

I know--I'm sounding preachy, the last thing I want this blog to be, but I cannot shake the fear that grips me when I witness husband and wives, parents and children, turning away from each other.

So, for today, I am grateful for those who "fulfill the measure of their creation." 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 244, October 14

Recently I read a (true) story about a man who "could not compliment anyone on what he was supposed to be doing anyway."  It struck me as very sad.  Sad for those worked with the man and sad for the man himself.  It seemed a very narrow and unproductive, not to mention unloving, way to live.

I was reminded of an acquaintance who lives in much the same way.  Kind words are as foreign to him as Russian or Chinese.  His life reflects that as his family pulls further and further away from him.  Obligations are met, but love is conspicuously absent.

Fortunately this man is the exception in my circle of friends and acquaintances.  There are those who speak kind words because they are kind, who care because they are caring, who love because they are loving.

So, for today, I am grateful for kind words and those who speak them.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 243, October 13

Last week, I wrote of our opportunity to watch General Conference, to hear President Monson and other leaders speak.  One apostle spoke on tithing.  His words touched me.  He did not preach, but, rather, reminded us of the blessings that come when we pay our tithes and offerings.

He recounted the scripture story of the widow's mite.  If you'll recall, the Savior spoke of the rich men who gave of their abundance.  Then a widow offered two mites, which were worth a farthing.  A small amount to be sure, especially when compared to the offerings of the wealthy men, but the Savior prized those two mites.

I beleive that the Savior prizes anything we give when we give with a willing heart.  He prizes our talents we share to bless the lives of others.  He prizes our energy when we give honest work.  He prizes our hearts when we love fully and unconditionally.

So, for today, I am grateful for the reminder of the widow's mite.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 242, October 12

"Small things with great love ... It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into the doing.  And it is not how much we give, but how much love we put into the giving.  To God there is nothing small." -- Mother Theresa

Yesterday I wrote about taking small steps--baby steps--in reaching our goals.  What more important goal could there be, aside from returning to live with the Father and His Son, than in giving love?  Professional goals, health goals, financial goals, pale beside the goal of giving love to the Father's children.

Even as I write this, I realize that I don't put much or give much to this all-important goal.  I've resolved to change that, to refocus my hours and my days and to repurpose my life.  Perhaps I'll report to you later how I'm doing with that goal. 

So, for today, I am grateful for the words of a truly great woman.  I am also grateful for the opportunity to refocus and repurpose. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 241, October 11

"When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur.  When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning.  Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made.  Don't look for the big, quick improvement.  Seek the small improvement one day at a time.  That's the only way it happens--and when it happens, it lasts."  --John Wooden, one of the most successful coaches in the history of college basketball

I love this quote.  I love the idea that we can seek to be better, do better, act better with little steps--baby steps--each day.  Most of us can't make big, sweeping changes in our lives in one day.  It is the little things that add up, whether we are trying to get stronger, trying to write a book, trying to be kinder. 

So, for today, I am grateful for baby steps.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day 240, October 10

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."--Aesop, "The Lion and the Mouse"

Sometimes, I hear of the grand acts of generosity and kindness that others have performed.  There are the media stars who hold a concert to benefit AIDS research.  There are the people in my own community who have donated countless hours shoveling mud from the homes of victims of the flood.  And then there's me.

I certainly can't hold a concert (well, I guess I could, but no one would come) to benefit AIDS or other research.  And I can't shovel out mud.  (My shoveling days, if they ever existed are long gone).  So what can I do?

It's easy, even tempting, to give myself a pass and say, "You're way past the age where anything you can do will matter."  Then I recognize that for what it is.  An excuse.  A rationalization.  An easy out. 

I sat myself down and made a mental inventory of what I can do:

I can send a card to a friend who is lonely.
I can remember another friend's birthday.
I can offer a sincere compliment to a stranger who is wearing an especially pretty necklace.
I can pray for my friends and family.

So, for today, I am grateful for the things I can do.  (And maybe I'll forgive myself for the things I can't do as well.)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 239, October 9

"Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways."

(This is a quote by a 90-year-young woman who continues to live a full and productive life.) 

Recently, I've had the opportunity to consider the clutter in our home.  Nothing too big, just bits and pieces that have collected over 40 years of marriage.  Though I try to weed out things on a semi-regular basis, the clutter still keeps happening.

Two events have made me more determined than ever to rid our home of (at least some) of its clutter. 

The first:  Larry and I helped friends empty their basement when it was filled with water during the flooding.  We carried books and magazines, fabric and dolls, and a myriad of other things from their basement.  Many of the items were ruined and sent to the dump.  A few precious things--like a grandmother's journals--were carefully dried out.  When I came home, I immediately went down to our basement and loaded up several bags with books.  (You'll find this hard to believe, but I collect books!)

The second:  we're having some remodeling done in our home.  This means cleaning out kitchen drawers and cabinets.  I shook my head at all the stuff that I pulled from the drawers.  Who knew that so much STUFF could fit in one narrow drawer?  I went through said stuff and filled two bags to take to a thrift store.  I hope to go through it again and eliminate yet more things.

Clutter, like death and taxes, is always with us, demanding that we weed out the things that are clogging our lives.  When I am surrounded by clutter, I feel stifled, uncreative, and lethargic.  Clutter saps energy and positive feelings.

So, for today, I am grateful for those times when I can sap clutter instead of clutter sapping me.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 238, October 8

"With man it is impossible, but not with God.  For all things are possible with God."--Mark 10:27

Have you ever faced a task or a challenge which seemed insurmountable?  Chances are the answer is yes.  Do you wonder where to turn, what to do next?

I have.  And I feel overwhelmed, unequal to the task before me.   I fall down and doubt I can get up one more time.  Then I remember:  I am not alone.  Even when it seems that everything is against me, I know that I have an Advocate, a Friend, Someone in my corner Who will not let me down.   With that remembrance, I vow to pick myself up and try again.

So, for today, I am grateful that "all things are possible with God."

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 237, October 7

For the past two days, members of the Church (and anyone interested enough to tune in) have had the opportunity to listen to the counsel given by President Thomas S. Monson (president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and other leaders.  We were fed spiritually from a buffet of guidance, encouragement, and, sometimes, gentle chastisement.  How fortunate we are to have the words of a living prophet.

Occasionally I hear people say that we are on our own here on earth, that, if there is a God, He no longer talks with us.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We have the words of God, delivered directly to us by President Monson.  We have the Holy Spirit to guide us.  We have our own source of personal revelation through prayer.

How can anyone believe that God no longer communicates with us?  Even to my finite understanding, it is inconceivable. When I think how I feel about my children and grandchildren, I multiply that by a thousand, a million times, and have only an inkling of what the Father feels for His children.  His infinite love is there for all of them, even the rebellious and ungrateful, like myself.

So, for today, I am grateful for a living prophet.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 236, October 6

Autumn is upon us.  We feel it in the bite of the early morning air.  We hear it in the crunch of leaves underfoot.  We see it in the changing colors of the leaves.  We smell it in the burning of wood stoves.  We taste it in spicy pumpkin pie.

I love autumn.  Harvest time is close at hand. Though I'm not a farmer, I have always appreciated the idea of harvest and its symbolism.  As I look back over the first nine months of this year, I wonder what I have harvested.  Have I harvested closer relationships with family and friends?  Some.  Have I harvested growing closer to the Savior?  Again, some.  Have I harvested greater understanding of myself?  Once again, some.

Certainly I have not harvested everything I wanted to.  Laziness, selfishness, and a couple of other nasty "nesses" prevented me from harvesting all that I wanted.

(As I re-read the last paragraph, I realized I did harvest things in my laziness and selfishness.  That that harvest was negative does not mean that I didn't reap what I sowed.) 

The law of the harvest is absolute.  There is no getting around it.  Except, and this is one of those great big excepts, except by the Savior's atonement.  Only with His atonement can I fix what is wrong in my life.

So, for today, I am grateful for harvest time.  I am always grateful for the atonement of the Lord.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day 235, October 5

Last Sunday Larry and I had the privilege of attending our daughter's ward where the Primary children presented the Sacrament Meeting program.  As the children and teachers walked to the front of the chapel, they sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth."  Though I've heard this song many times, my eyes filled with tears as I listened to the sweet voices of these children.

We have been born as Nephi of old,
To goodly parents who love the Lord.
We have been taught, and we understand
That we must do as the Lord commands.

We have been saved for these latter days
To build the kingdom in righteous ways.
We hear the words our prophet declares:
"Let each who's worthy go forth and share."

We know his plan, and we will prepare,
Increase our knowledge through study and prayer.
Daily we'll learn until we are called
To take the gospel to all the world.


We are as the army of Helaman.
We have been taught in our youth.
And we will be the Lord's missionaries
To bring the world his truth.

Simple words, but filled with promise and commitment.  These innocent children, who will in a few years be the leaders of the church, the community, the nation, reminded me that there is hope for our world, despite the evil that encroaches into our lives on a daily basis.

So, for today, I am grateful for "the army of Helaman."

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 234, October 4

What do I value?  What is my treasure?  Who--or what--has my heart?  In the face of the terrible flooding that our area has faced in recent weeks, where thousands of families lost everything, I've had cause to wonder about what I value and treasure.

If my husband and I had to flee our home, what would I bring with me?  First, I'd put our kitty in her carrier. I'd grab some family pictures and genealogoy and maybe, just maybe, one designer purse.   (At one time I would have grabbed the scriptures, but they are no available on our phones.)

The possessions, comforts, and luxuries which we've collected over a lifetime would be left behind, perhaps to be washed away.  In accepting this, I realize that we spend a great deal of time caring for our possessions.  We vacuum them, dust them, display them.  And I wonder, do I possess them or do they possess me?

This is certainly not an original question.  Many have asked it in the past.  Many of us will continue to ask it, seeking some kind of  justification for why we spend so much time and effort in acquiring the possession which we believe define us.  When I come up with an answer (if I come up with an answer), I'll share it with you.  In the meantime, I'm still pondering.

So, for today, I am grateful for those occasions when I have the prescience to ask "What do I value?"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 233, October 3

"You get what you deserve."

How many times have you heard this or some variation of it?  If you're like me, you've heard it more times than you want to count.  On the one hand, it's reassuring. 

If I have lived a charactered, principled, generous life, I will get my just reward.  On the other hand, it's downright terrifying.  What about the times (and there have been many) when I wasn't charactered, principled, or generous?  I'll get my just reward for those actions as well.

So why can't I structure my life--my thoughts, my words, my behavior--in accordance to the reward I say I want to earn?  Maybe I don't really want to earn that reward, that of eternal life with the Father and His Son, after all.  Maybe I am content in my sins.  And here's the horrible realization I had to face:  sometimes I like my sins.  I treausre them.  I wallow in them.

I'm back to the downright terrifying realization that I will, indeed, get my just reward.

So, for today, I am grateful for the opportunity to change.  Now I just have to want to.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 232, October 2

The best-educated human being is the one who understands most about the life in which he is placed.--Helen Keller

How many of us understand our place in life?  Not me.  I'm still trying to "get it."  Why am I here?  Why am I the way I am?  What is my purpose?  These questions--and more--swirl through my mind with unrelenting persistence.  Sometimes I think I have a glimmer of an answer, and then whatever understanding I had gained vanishes and I'm back to where I started.

I have a dear friend who has a plaque in her home that reads "Bloom where you're planted."  Simple concept, but hard to implement.  Is blooming just making the best of whatever circumstances you find yourself in?  I don't think so.  Blooming means thriving, not just surviving.  I have done both--thrive and survive.  Let me tell you, thriving is a lot more fun.

So, for today, I am grateful for those who understand most about the life in which they are placed.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Day 231, October 1

Throughout the years, there were men and
women who took their first steps down
roads armed with mothing but their own vision.--Ayn Rand

I love the picture these words create, of courageous individuals forging a path into the unknown.  When I think of people who have done this, I think of Daniel Boone, taking his family to a wilderness,  of Brigham Young leading the Saints to another kind of wilderness.  I  think of those who have taken the first steps toward beating their cancer by undergoing grueling chemotherapy.  I think of my husband and his partner starting a business with nothing but two used computers and a dream.

Each took steps down an unknown road.  Each was armed with a vision.  Each found the courage to continue even when everything seemed against them.

So, for today, I am grateful for the men and women who never gave up.