Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I learned about Being Doing and Having from a 7-Habits seminar many years ago and have taught the model for years. It is something that I need to remind myself of as I work at self improvment.

Now the world would say that in order to be happy, we should start from the outside circle and "have" certain things. Since I have taught this to a lot of young people, I often use the example that if they "have" perfect grades and "do" whatever it takes to get them then they will "be" happy. The problem is that it is possible to have good grades by cheating. The same thing goes for having a skinny body, you can starve or throw up.

The real place to start is from the inside out by first and foremost being honest, true, chaste, benevolent... Sound familiar? and then "doing" or performing in a way that is true to a heart-felt connection to Heavenly Father.

I have found that working from the outside in is a stressful way of trying to prove myself. Working from the inside out, however, becomes a natural expression of who I really am.

With all of this self-improvement, I have got to be really clear about the fact that it isn't my performance or self discipline that matters, but my dependence on my Heavenly Father and drawing upon the powers of heaven to be true. I can do and do and do but if my heart isn't in the right place, it won't work.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I have too many negative thoughts and it seems like I need to start my self improvement over--AGAIN! It is my hope that I at least take a few steps forward and just one back, but lately I feel like I going at full speed in reverse. Time to get back on my knees and ask for some open heart surgery.

Monday, June 28, 2010


In addition to having passion, I need to be clear on my purpose. For a lot of years I thought my purpose was to go from church calling to church calling so that I would clean out the passed-down notebooks and closets. There would be so much unuseful junk in them that I was sure people believed they would get excommunicated if they threw anything away. Now is all I have to do is look around the church and see what needs cleaning out and that will be my next calling. Maybe I'll go clean out the scout closet now so I can dodge that bullet!

Anyway, I think that it is good to always think about my purpose and to stay tuned in so that I get the clues to know what direction to go. That is essentially what a mission statement is and I know that it is important for me to get a new one in writing.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Passion vs aptitude

I have discovered that I can have an aptitude for something but lack a passion for it. I was once told by an economics professor that I was good at economics and that I should have gone into that field. The only thing I felt like economics did for me was give me a good nights sleep. I could start reading an economics textbook and I could go right to sleep.

Having a passion for something means that it is it's own reward. It is something to look forward to and that can capture my attention for a long time. Could it be that my A.D.D. only shows up when I lack passion. I am committed to continue to discover and enjoy my passions by looking deep inside and noticing what makes my heart sing.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Come Unto Christ

There isn't any hope for healing if my focus is on someone sins other than my own and i certainly can't come unto Christ if I am busy accusing other people of sinning. It seems when I discover a fault that I have that i want to change then something happens to test my resolve to just work on me, and instead I can get so easily tempted to focus on what someone else is doing wrong. Back to repenting for me instead of worrying about someone else.

Your thoughts

I just read part of a talk given by Elder Bednar 10 years ago to students in which he said that he wanted them to take notes but not notes on what he says but notes on their own personal thoughts and inspiration.

I have run into several people or heard of people who I don't know that read my blog. I am always grateful to know that people read and appreciate what I write and I always welcome and learn from your comments. My goal for this blog is to write about what I have found to be true for me in my quest for self improvement, and it is my sincere desire that it can possibly be an inspiration for others.

What I love to know is your thoughts and what is true for you. I don't want this blog to be about me but about truth and how we can all come to our own truth together.

Starting this fall I want to start conducting free seminars. It is something I haven't wanted to do for a long time but my biggest fear is that I will be tempted to do it for the wrong reasons. I have experienced people who do seminars and workshops that appear to become motivated for the wrong reasons and then their teachings can get off tract. I am not standing in judgment of them but just in judgment of the outcome so that I don't repeat it.

I certainly don't ever want to become someone's authority on anything. I just want to express what I am discovering is true for me and I welcome your thoughts on what is true and right for you because I have a lot to learn and know the teacher can learn a lot if not more from their students.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More Questions

In an effort not to be too sappy in yesterday's post, I felt like I needed to be more sarcastic but I realize it came across flippant and therefore I sounded ungrateful for that little tender mercy. I am very grateful that my Heavenly Father answers even my simple little questions and appreciate that He is always willing to help and bless me.

There is another question that I continually need to be asking, and that is "What am I suppose to learn from this?" Sometimes I want Heavenly Father to take away a difficulty (or a difficult person), but instead of praying for that I know it is important for me to ask that question so that I can learn. I remember an acquaintance once told me that is what she finally did after praying for years that her depression would be taken away. This person shared with me that it wasn't until she asked what she needed to learn from it that solutions finally came.

I came across this business article, which I quote a small portion of:

"Ask questions: The single most important habit for innovative thinkers

By Paul Sloane

Children learn by asking questions. Students learn by asking questions. New recruits learn by asking questions. Innovators understand client needs by asking questions. It is the simplest and most effective way of learning. People who think that they know it all no longer ask questions – why should they? Brilliant thinkers never stop asking questions because they know that this is the best way to gain deeper insights.

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, said, "We run this company on questions, not answers." He knows that if you keep asking questions you can keep finding better answers."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ask Questions

As I mentioned yesterday in choosing easy, asking questions is an important part of finding solutions. I found it interesting when studying LDS church history how Heavenly Father waited for Joseph Smith to ask the questions before major revelations were given.

Here is my best story of personal revelation. Get out your kleenexes. One day I had this problem with the fact that I kept getting canker sores and in frustration I asked myself, "Why do I keep getting these sores?" The answer came to my mind immediately that I needed to rinse my toothpaste more thoroughly when I brush my teeth. I'll give you a minute to dry your tears.

Now I know that isn't as earth shattering of a revelation as the Word of Wisdom, but for me it was a little answer to a question that has been a blessing. I haven't gotten a canker sore since and now it doesn't ever hurt to eat. Now I just won't be asking, "Do I look fat in these jeans?"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Choose Easy

There seems to be a hard way to do things and an easier way. I want to get better at choosing easy. Back when I taught organization classes, I would teach that whenever I encounter a task that was difficult I would ask myself, "How can I make this easier?" It seems asking that question opens up creative solutions. I admit that complaining comes easier for me than creative problem solving, but when I find a great solution, it can make my life so much easier. I am committed to focusing on the solution rather than the problem.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Toy Story 3

I just went and saw this cute movie and now it has brought up the pain that some of my boys have suffered from because I gave away their toys. I wish I would have asked them before I did it; but let's face it if they would have been the kind of owners they should have been to their toys, their toys would have found their way back. I guess Ken and Barbie like their new home better, and so it really isn't my fault. Remember we still have the care bears.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

I am wondering if Dad's have the same guilt reaction to Father's Day as Mothers can sometimes have for Mother's Day? As I was sitting in church today, I started to wonder if our church service on Mother's and Father's Day should be divided into two groups of people. The first group could be parents just starting out, and then the talks can be geared to all the wonderful things they can do as parents as inspiration. This group could also be parents whose kids are raised that did it right and then they can bask in their success.

The second group would be parents that have already raised their kids and then the talks could be based on letting people feel like their mistakes weren't so bad. For the first group of new parents to hear the second group's message that their mistakes weren't a big deal could make them less motivated to do their very best as parents. But when the second group of parents hear the first group's message about what they should have done but didn't, then it can create a lot of guilt and regret. I'm just glad I'm old and I can't remember enough to know if I should feel guilty.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I'm Starting with the Man in the Mirror

I love this song and message. I've said this before and I will continue to remind myself. Anytime I experience something or someone that is difficult or troubling, I will work on the woman I see in the mirror. My goal for this blog has always been to work on my own self-improvement instead of trying to fix someone else. That is why I always talk about anything that I see as a problem in the first person because I know that my focus needs to be on improving me.

I learned a valuable lesson a few years ago from a wonderful woman from my ward. A few of us were working on a quilt and I made a statement such as, "People need to learn . . ." This woman boldly taught me a valuable lesson about how my focus should be on my own sins and not what others need to learn or do. Someone later called me and apologized for her assuming I would be offended, but I really did appreciate her teaching me an important truth. I haven't quite mastered the habit, but I am trying to just speak for me.

While I was studying Human Development I also remember a theorist stressing that if parents see something that they don't like in their children, that it is important for them to take a hard look at themselves because they possibly might be doIng something that has created or is supporting that behavior. I still have no clue why my children are so sarcastic.

Friday, June 18, 2010


I am choosing the K.I.S.S. formula--Keep It Simple Stupid. The more I dejunk and the more I simplify, the better I feel. I have to wonder why I have had a tendency to make everything more complicated. I wonder if somehow it makes me feel like superwoman if it is more complicated and difficult. It even might make me feel more "righteous." I do know that doing hard things can be satisfying and possibly making everything harder than it needs to be feeds some sort of sick addiction to difficulty in an effort to have that "high."

Anyway, enough of the over analyzing. I am committed to

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Anyone who reads this blog has discovered that having the random button pushed on my car's cd player is very symbolic of my thoughts and my life and thus my blog posts. I read several books at once and jump around from book to book sometimes not even finishing them. Now that I read books on my iPhone and iPad (I'm waiting for the new icar so I can be a total apple geek) I never know when I am near the end of the book and so imagine my surprise today when I actually came to the end of the book.

As crazy as it is to not be able to stay on task, it does make life a little more interesting. Maybe instead of attention deficit disorder we should call it attention deficit delight. It keeps my life from getting boring.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Failed the Moron Test

The other day I had to take my car in for a factory recall and while it was there I asked them to check the cd player because it wouldn't play in order and it was frustrating especially when I listen to a talk cd. Mind you, I have had this car for four years and it has been this way the whole time and to find out the only problem was the fact that there was a random button that was pushed that I didn't know about was rather embarrassing. I hate it when it is such a simple solution and I manifest my stupidity. I just have to remind myself what a selfless service it is for me to make people feel good about themselves in comparison.

My ideal family

On second thought, I do have the ideal family for me. I do love that my family is sarcastic and hilarious. It really would be annoying if they sat around singing church hymns. I am happy for other people that do that but I am realizing it isn't the best use of our talents, and if you've heard me sing you know what i am talking about. It is my own fault that I embraced that wrong belief that we had to sing hymns to be the ideal family. Every family can be ideal in their own way.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I have been extremely guilty of idealism and really believing that we could become an ideal family. Today i was doing some more dejunking and came across some hymnbooks that I had in a vacation home. Like my sarcastic, irreverent, unmusical family is going to sit around singing church hymns while on vacation. Wow, what was I thinking? They say that the gap between expectations and reality determines the depth of depression. No wonder I drown my sorrows in chocolate.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Culture Encounter

I realize I have done my share of making other people feel less worthy just because I didn't feel like they followed my interpretation of gospel principles and the way I believed we should all perform, but right now I want to use an example of when someone did it to me.

I was shopping at the grocery store and stocking up on case goods. As I pulled out a opened-ended case of stewed tomatoes, the cans went tumbling all over the aisle. I was quickly gathering them up as an elderly woman went past me and with a snooty, judgmental voice said, "If you canned your own tomatoes that wouldn't have happened to you."

Now I am really not holding it against her and I do hope her head heals after I threw that can at her (kidding!), but it really made me realize what I can do to others as I hold people up to and judge according to my standards and preferences. I loved it when Sherri Dew spoke at women's conference and said that she feels like judgment day will probably be a breeze after what we women have done to each other.

I ask forgiveness of anyone that I have judged and made feel less than. In defense of anyone who bottles their own tomatoes. I think that is great and know first hand how rewarding and healthy it is to raise and bottle my own fruits or vegetables. But it can also be just as satisfying to find the cases on sale at the grocery store and then have extra time to rescue all the homeless cats in the city.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gospel Principles versus Cultural expectations

Let me make this perfectly clear (I just sounded like I am doing a Richard Nixon impersonation), I have a very strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ but I don't always believe that the culture is always true. Let me explain.

I love what Dallin H. Oaks said in a conference report, ("Gospel Teaching," Ensign, Nov. 1999, 78)

"Teachers who are commanded to teach "the principles of [the] gospel" and "the doctrine of the kingdom" (D&C 88:77) should generally forgo teaching specific rules or applications. For example, they would not teach any rules for determining what is a full tithing, and they would not provide a list of dos and don'ts for keeping the Sabbath day holy. Once a teacher has taught the doctrine and the associated principles from the scriptures and the living prophets, such specific applications or rules are generally the responsibility of individuals and families."

I believe that when I don't focus on the principles, and I get caught up in the rules and dos and don'ts that I can thus be guilty of comparing and judging others if what they are doing doesn't match MY rules or what I do or don't do. I can thus be guilty of helping create a kind of sick culture that makes us judgmental, less accepting, and hard on each other.

I think the gospel is a lot like this quilt. The pattern for all the blocks is the same but it is the individual use of colors that can create a whole different look. The principles of the gospel are the same for all of us but our individual application and rules will make us all unique.

I am committed to focusing on the principles of the gospel, especially the principle of love.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


It is amazing how easy it is to get off track and the constant need to get right back on the path. Right this second it is back to a re-commitment to the 5 areas and the simple things in each area that help me stay balanced and healthy.

Spiritual-pray & read scriptures
Physical-healthy eating & exercise
Mental-journal writing
Emotional-feeling positive & grateful
Social-positive connections

No need to beat myself up or to get frustrated. I will just focus on right now and how excited and grateful I am for a new start THIS VERY MINUTE! Thanks Mamapark!

Friday, June 11, 2010


I said I was going to talk about shoes because it is a shallow topic but as I got thinking about it, I can even manage to make a frivolous topic psychoanalytical and I can relate shoes to the puritan philosophy.

A couple of years ago I just bought neutral-colored shoes that would go with everything and was careful not to buy too many (I had "righteous" written all over my feet). One day I was shopping for shoes with a good friend that I have known since 2nd grade. (We know too much about each other and to avoid blackmail, we have remained friends.) Anyway, after watching me shop she gave me some honest and helpful feedback about how I just looked for practical shoes in neutral colors. She reminded me about my fun, although buried, personality (she was my co actress in some of my Carol Burnett skits) and wondered why I didn't ever get some fun colored shoes. Well, first of all, orthopedic shoes normally don't come in fun colors and secondly how could I remain pure and holy if I was so indulgent?

Long story short (I know it's too late), I have now given myself permission to buy some really fun colored shoes. I am grateful for this friend who reminded me that life is short and that we only have a few years until we really do need orthopedic shoes, (maybe just months, days or possibly hours) and so why not enjoy it while we can. Imelda Marcos, GAME ON!

PS For my younger readers who don't know who Imelda Marcos was. She was the wife of an corrupt and extravagant Philippine president who fled the palace and left behind 3,000 shoes. Don't ask me what year World War 2 was, but I can sure tell you nuggets of this kind of valuable history.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Inside versus outside validation

Okay, continuing on from yesterday...

I have concluded that the reason I often went from one extreme of work and no play to the other extreme of play, play, play is that in the first instance I have to admit that I was probably guilty of doing things for the wrong reasons. Some of my most important motivations use to be trying to prove myself by seeking outside or external validation, and that was being somewhat of a hard-driven martyr because of that puritan programming that to be "righteous" I shouldn't be good to myself and enjoy life but instead be overachieving and overstressed. It was my ill-perceived notion of what the "culture" expected of me and thus what I expected from myself.

Well the other extreme is just as destructive where I can get somewhat burnt out and then become too self-indulgent and not care what other people think I should be doing and sort of stubbornly resisting the "cultural rewards." But I have found that either caring too much of the external approval or stubbornly not caring at all still put my focus outside of my internal inspiration and peaceful direction.

I have found that the best way to be motivated is from within myself and my deep connection with my Heavenly Father's inspiration. I know that I will find my balance for work and play if I tune into what is right for me as directed by Him and not according to what I am expected to do by the "culture" or any other external motivation, reward, or direction. I realize that my ability to tune in and do my own assessment of what is right for me isn't what I have been taught because we live in a world that is externally judged, graded, and rewarded. I want to get better at asking my Heavenly Father to help me determine my own grade and especially getting better at just tuning into how an activity makes me feel instead of getting an outside reward.

Whoa, sometimes I get a little too analytical; even for me. I'll go more lighthearted and shallow tomorrow. I'll talk about shoes.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I have been guilty of being a task-oriented person and just deriving satisfaction from completing a task instead of allowing myself to just have a great experience. Now I say that carefully with the intention that someone not use what I say about myself against me. When someone called me a control freak the other day, I thought, "Whoa Nellie, only I can call myself that." Trust me, I want to believe I am exaggerating and not as bad as I say I am.

Anyway, I loved that a friend said that she suffers from gratification denial. In the past that has been me. I use to embrace the old Puritanism philosophy that kind of has an antipleasure bias and believed that it's morally superior to deny myself and suffer. I absolutely couldn't do anything fun until all my work was done.

I read how a little boy compared life to making a peanut butter sandwich and how work was the peanut butter and fun was the jam. He said that just like it is best to put the peanut butter on the bread first, it is also best to work first and then add the jam or fun on top after. Well I took that to heart but I spent so much time putting the peanut butter on perfectly and then thinking it was a little indulgent to even add the jam.

Fast forward. Now I have done a little pendulum swing and I have gotten a little too indulgent and it's becoming maybe a little too much jam. Now I will work at stabilizing in the middle or better yet having a higher motivation in either work or play. More about this tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bucket List

I was inspired by my daughter the other day because she has a goal to fill up her calendar with activities and live her life to the fullest. She said that knowing that her time on her little adventure is limited, she feels a need to take advantage of every moment and opportunity.

It got me thinking that no matter where we are or what we are doing, that life is like that. We never know when the end is near and so it is important to live life to the fullest and take advantage of every opportunity and moment. That is why I am making my ultimate bucket list of things to do before I die. Because I tend to wait and do everything at the last minute, and I'll probably be in a diaper and won't be able to do some of the things I planned; I am making some more short term bucket lists so I can pace myself. I am making a bucket list for this summer and following T's example and filling up my calendar. I don't want the summer to end and have regrets. Call me and we'll make plans.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I LOOOOVE Mondays!

Am I the only person that loves Mondays? The reason I love Mondays is because by Saturday I have gotten way off track and then I get inspired on Sunday and want to start being a better person on Monday. So Monday I start the day all excited to be more disciplined and determined. At lunch time I have started to veer off but at least Monday morning is looking pretty good. That is why I like Mondays--I have hope again.

It is time to once again recommit to my daily star activities and make sure that I am doing something every day in each of the 5 areas. In the last month or so I have been slacking and gotten a little lazy. Is it just me or is it just so easy to get distracted and let something go while I work on something else? Who is old enough to remember the Ed Sullivan show and the guy with the spinning plates on a pole that he tried to keep spinning? He would focus on trying to keep one up only to have other plates drop and break. Story of my life. I'm just glad I've got eternity. Until then, I'll keep enjoying my Monday fresh starts.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gratitude Fast

Years ago in our Relief Society, a young woman taught a lesson and she suggested that occasionally making the purpose of our fast be a gratitude fast. I followed her suggestion and found it to be an amazing experience.

As I fasted today I felt impressed to once again make that my purpose. It is something I should do more of because of my perfectionist tendency to see what is wrong instead of what is right. Having that spirit of gratitude is a great help is focusing on the positive. They say it takes 21 days to break a habit so I might need to starve myself for that many days because I could tell I wasn't as grateful and positive today as I should have been. I'll keep working on it.

I do want to say how grateful I am for the amazing experience our family had in the temple yesterday as we watched a temple sealing. The angelic picture of four hands placed on the alter brought a flood of tears.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Carol Burnett

Back in the day I was a big fan of the Carol Burnett Show, and while I was in high school and newly married people often said that I reminded them of her. After realizing that I wouldn't get mistaken for a gorgeous actress, I learned to settle not for second best of being a sweet spirit, but for the booby prize of being goofy funny and thus I was flattered that I reminded people of her.

This picture is from one of my favorite skits where she is poking fun of the movie Gone With the Wind (my favorite movie). Oh man, I used to love her skits, and Carol became my role model in some lame skits I was in.

Right now I am reading her autobiography, which Kev had bought for me knowing how much I liked her. Her life wasn't easy but she was so dang funny. It goes to show how resilient people can be and how valuable laughter is. Carol Burnett inspires me to laugh at myself and be willing to be silly and fun, hardworking, and to take risks. I love reading about people who have overcome great obstacles.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Teaching by Example

I have had this poem on file for years. The message is to teach by example not by manipulation or control. It is something I need to work at.

by Vernice Wineera Dere

Teaching is not telling, Fore I’ve been told so many times
By those who’ve never taught,
And I have heard their telling
And refused to learn.
Telling, when you are not so yourself,
And have no plans to ever be,
Is hypocrisy
--Empty words that are no less
Than an offense to me.
Teaching, on the other hand,
Is being yourself so completely
That I see how you are
And want to join you.
Teaching is you understanding me
And liking what I am
--not what I can become
by your manipulations.
But what I am, now,
And eternally

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I have always been a fidgeter and by now everyone I know has heard my famous fidgeting story. In case you haven't...

I have always wiggled my feet together, and all the dogs we've owned know that if they sit at my feet they will get a free massage. So one day when I was sitting across the table from our contractor, I was rubbing my dog with my feet under the table when I heard her barking outside. Whoops. So besides getting a little discount from the contractor, it seems there are other benefits to fidgeting.

Mayo Clinic researchers had 16 people overeat for two months and tracked what happened to the food the participants consumed, in terms of whether it was burned or stored as fat or other tissue.

They found that the key factor in predicting fat gain was the change in calories burned during the normal activities of daily living -- fidgeting, moving around, changing posture, etc. They labeled this factor NEAT (for non-exercise activity thermogenesis).

"Those people who had the greatest increase in NEAT gained the least fat, and those who had the least change gained the most,"

So now I am sitting here wiggling every part of my body so that I can burn off the frozen custard I indulged in tonight.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Repentence-Mercy & Grace

I have discovered that the closer I try and get to my Heavenly Father, the more I see my sins and imperfections and the more I have to repent for.

Like I have been discussing in the last few posts, I have discovered how wrong it is to have such high expectations, then try to control others to meet those expectations, and then be frustrated and even mad when those expectations aren't met. But it is good to recognize where I have gone wrong because then it helps me know that I need to repent.

I have discovered that being forgiven is really a two step process. The first step is the forgiveness that I can feel through the mercy that is granted because of my Savior's atonement. The second step is the grace, which is the enabling power from God, that makes it possible to change habits that might still linger even though I have felt forgiven. Once I have prayed for and received His mercy, I now know that I need to continue to pray for His grace in order to really change.

It is extremely empowering to keep my need for change with the only person I can change and that is ME.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Choice Theory

I made a little mistake on my last post that I corrected. I said that William Glasser came up with the Control Theory which should have said Choice Theory. For all of us members of the LDS faith, we have come to know that it was actually Satan that came up with the Control Plan.

Glasser says that there are 3 beliefs of external control psychology.

1. What we do is in response to a simple external signal. Accepting this belief would mean that we are not responsible for how we respond to something that happens to us. It would make us powerless, which is depressing.
2. I can make people do what I want them to do, and other people can control how I think, act, & feel. If I believe this is really true then it creates a desire to manipulate and allows me to be manipulated, which is why I could get angry and depressed because it violates free agency and doesn't work. It has been interesting for me to really notice how often I have felt someone is keeping me from doing what I really want to do when in reality, I am holding myself back, because it is always a choice that I have.
3. It is right to ridicule, threaten, or punish those who don't do what I tell them to do or even reward them if it will get them to do what I want. This takes manipulation to an even higher, more destructive level, and even if I can get someone to do something I want that they don't want to do. they will later resent me because I haven't honored their free agency.

I can certainly see how I have falsely believed all three of these at one time or another and how damaging it can be. The hard thing is that often I have embraced these beliefs with a sincere but misdirected desire to help others be happy or protect them from pain.

Here is a powerful quote from this book: "It is hard, if not impossible, to love someone who wants to control and change you or someone you want to control and change."