Friday, December 31, 2010

Jesus Christ, my Redeemer

What I have ultimately found in my year's quest for self-improvement is that it isn't a continuous upward progression. There can be progress but it is filled with set backs and failures but in reality, I can learn more from my failures than I might learn from my successes. The good news is that those failures help me realize how imperfect and weak I am and how much I need help. The successes could make me feel prideful and could tempt me into believing that I can do it all on my own. The successes can only be valuable if I always recognize from where my true source of power and strength come. The word redemption found in 3 Nephi 9:21 is what I ultimately only need on my quest for improvement. It isn’t really self-improvement but a reliance on the redeeming power of Christ. Any success I might have is due to His glory.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolution

I have decided to start back in college. I've realized that I need to have a new challenge and finally live my dream to finish my Master's Degree and possibly teach at a University. I boldly deleted Angry Birds from my iphone and knew there must be something missing in my life if a bunch of stupid birds can take up so much of my time like they have. The lame satisfaction of conquering each level was such a temporary and unfulfilling sense of accomplishment that created an addictive urge for more because it wasn't really legitimately rewarding. It validates the thought, "You can never get enough of that which you don't really need." The addictive power of Angry Birds served a valuable purpose because it gave me the message that I need to find that which is my real mission that will be legitimately satisfying. Thank you little birdies, I will now move on.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Focus on Success

Trying to be an optimistic means that I focus more on my success rather than my failures. Being a perfectionist sometimes makes that hard to do, so it is hard to be an optimistic and a perfectionist. You see, being a perfectionist means that I keep my focus on what is wrong instead of what is right. When I talked about boundaries, I also feel like it can be tempting to focus on what is outside of my boundaries and what I shouldn't do instead of what I can do. It is all about what I focus on. I want to focus on my successes and I want to focus what I should do within my boundaries and not what is taboo.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


As I look back on my year of self-improvement and recognize my failings, I realize that a big part of the negative Molly Mormon definition is judgment and condemnation, which is something I have been guilty of. I've said this before but I am first hard on myself. Does our Heavenly Father condemn us? Helaman says that we condemn ourselves but that He does chasten us because He loves us. What is the difference between condemn and chasten? (Inquiring minds want to know) To me condemn seems like it is the final judgment that gives no hope, but chasten allows for opportunity to repent and do better, which is the good news of the gospel. The opportunity to learn from instead of being condemned gives me hope. I look back on this year and know that I have many regrets but those regrets don't have to condemn me. I can learn from them and thus feel like my mistakes can be a blessing.

Oh, and as pertaining to getting rid of the negative Molly Mormon attitude, I want to always remember that it isn't my job to chasten others, I will leave it to God and the natural consequences of sin.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Seasonal Sickness

I have been reading the 76 reasons sugar is bad for my health. SCARY! Since lowering our immunity is the first reason, I have decided that increased holiday sickness might be caused by all the holiday candy. I have caved in to all the sugar and feel like it just isn't worth it and know it's addictive pull for me and have experienced it's ill effects. Rehab here I come.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Fence or Ambulance

Some would scoff at the commandments as being restrictive and controlling but I for one know of the necessity and protection of boundaries. I love this poem and its message. I keep relearning the importance of setting boundaries in my life and the negative consequence of ignoring those boundaries. I keep setting my own personal limits like how soon I want to go to bed and my eating habits, and then ignore those rules only to feel yucky and out of control. No, it isn't the limitations that feel like control but the negative consequences of ignoring boundaries. I like fences and know that the fence on the cliff would make the ambulance in the valley unnecessary.

The Fence or The Ambulance
Joseph Malines

‘Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant:
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke and many a peasant;
So the people said something would have to be done.
But their projects did not at all tally:
Some said, "Put a fence around the edge of the cliff"
Some, "An ambulance down in the valley."

But the cry for the ambulance carried the day.
For it spread to the neighboring city:
A fence may be useful or not, it is true,
But each heart became brimful of pity
For those who had slipped o’er that dangerous cliff,
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds or gave pence, not to put up a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.

"For the cliff is alright if your careful," they said,
"and if folks even slip or are dropping,
it isn't the slipping that hurts them so much
as the shock down below-when they're stopping,"
So day after day when these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth would the rescuers sally
To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,
With their ambulance down in the valley.

Then an old man remarked, "it's a marvel to me
that people give far more attention
to repairing results than to stopping the cause,
when they'd much better aim at prevention.
Let us stop at its source all this mischief, cried he.
"Come neighbors and freinds, let us rally :
If the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
with the ambulance down in the valley."

"Oh, he's a fanatic." the others rejoined:
"dispense with the ambulance Never!
He'd dispense with all charities, too, if he could:
no, no! We'll support them forever.
Aren't we picking up folks just as fast as they fall?
And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?
Why would people of sense stop to put up a fence?
While their ambulance works in the valley?"

But a sensible few who are practical too,
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer
They believe that prevention is better than cure
And their party will soon be the stronger
Encourage them, then with your purse, voice and pen
And (while other philanthropists dally)
They will scorn all pretense, and put up a stout fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.

The Best Loved Poems of the American People
Compiled by Hazel Felleman
Published by Doubleday, 1936

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Gifts

I remember as a child, setting out a display of all my Christmas gifts. Now I want to set out a different kind of display, showing all my many gifts in the form of blessings. I am grateful for so much and especially for my Savior because his birth provided the best gift of all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Gratitude

One of my best memories was Christmas Eve at my Grandparents house. Many years later, we now get together with my Mom and siblings and all their kids and grand kids on the morning of Christmas Eve. They are crazy but in a good way, and it is fun to be with all of them. This year we had an ugly Christmas Sweater contest and there were some crazy sweaters/stockings. One of my nephews wore a gigantic Mickey Mouse Christmas stocking (you probably saw them at Costco) adorned across his bare chest like a strapless formal with his feet coming out the toe. I lost my appetite when I saw him. Needless to say, he won. I didn't get pictures but hopefully a relative with post it on facebook. I love my crazy family and am grateful we still get together.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Love to Teach

Teaching is the best way to learn and so I love to teach. I really think we would all learn so much more if every week in church everyone prepared to teach and then as the classes started we would just have a little lottery for the day to decide who would actually teach. This week preparing for my young women lesson was the learning experience I needed. I am grateful for a lay church in which we all have a turn to speak and teach. I also love it when teachers provide opportunity for a great discussion because then we all learn from each other. I am excited to learn from the young women this week.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I love to learn

I am passionate about learning and some of the greatest knowledge I gained in my second life of college was that preparing and taking tests didn't have the impact on me that deep learning through discussions, writing, and service learning requirements did. I feel like our education system's emphasis on standardized testing doesn't really tap the kind of creative problem solving and deep understanding that is more essential to capture the both love of learning and our innate genius.

Let's be honest here, with taking tests, sometimes the difference between an A student and a F student is that the F student forgets the material before the test and the A student forgets it after the test. For me, the greatest test of a good teacher and educational system is: do they ignite a love of learning? Once the love of learning is sparked then they will learn for a lifetime.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Seek Truth

When I am faced with difficulties, especially when dealing with other people, I know that I must seek for truth. Sometimes that means taking a hard look at beliefs that I might have that aren't the truth and willing to be humble enough to admit that I am wrong and reject that belief. It also sometimes means that I stand up for truth and challenge someone's beliefs that might not be in harmony with that truth. Either way, I want to resist the need to be right about my beliefs or timidly accept someone false beliefs and continue to always seek for truth because the truth does set me free.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Being Hard on Myself

I've noticed that when I am hard on other people that I must be doing a lot of self punishment. There must be an ingrained belief that if I keep kicking myself hard enough, that will help me do better. Not so. It doesn't work on me and it doesn't work on other people.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

So the other day I asked what doctrine I needed to understand in order to make a shift from being Negative Nancy, and the answer I got when I searched the scriptures was contained in the potential destruction of peace in one word--bitterness.

It is humbling to realize that in 73 BC a message given to a son would have such application to me, and all I had to do was ask. The scriptures go on to say that the antidote for bitterness is in being merciful unto others. It reminds me of my Savior while He was suffering on the cross and said, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." He is the supreme example of extending mercy. May I go and do likewise.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Creative Christmas Cards

The opportunity to be creative with Christmas cards is endless. It is interesting how many artistic avenues there are, and I love all the creative and fun ways people have shared their family photos in Christmas cards. Going to the mail box has almost become as fun as when we had missionaries out. I had a little problem in my first order for Christmas cards and so now I had to reorder and will be sending out Happy New Year cards. In the meantime, I am enjoying all the cards we are getting and adding to my list everyday. It is great! I love to see all the pictures and to be inspired by the creativity.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Shift to the Positive

One of my facebook friends posted this just at the right time for me. "What we focus on, we empower and enlarge. Good multiplies when focused upon. Negativity multiplies when focused upon. The choice is ours: Which do we want more of?"

I've been a little Negative Nancy (sorry if your name is Nancy) and I need to make a shift. I am going to sit down and study positive attitudes in the scriptures and on the LDS website. I believe what Boyd K. Packer says--the study of correct doctrine changes behavior faster that the study of behavior can. I will study the doctrine on being positive and then change my inner beliefs to match that doctrine. Wish me luck.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Summerhaze Ward's Got Talent

Can I say that I think I live in one of the best wards. Tonight was our Relief Society Christmas Dinner and it was "fabulous dahling." We have so much talent and women that are so fun to be with. During the program we laughed and we cried and I giggled with cute Julie (who is half my age) that I sat next to during dinner, and then giggled some more as I left with the crazy women that I have served with in numerous callings. I love Relief Society! There is nothing like it to become friends with women that I might not have another opportunity to meet and know. At a real sentimental part of the program, I looked around at all the women that I have grown to love and learn from, and I felt immense gratitude for that tremendous gift in my life. Tonight was another great reminder of the true meaning of Christmas and once again, it felt good to be a part of that wonderful Spirit.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No Room in the Inn

Tonight our Mutual activity was focused on the true meaning of Christmas. We were told that several members of our ward would welcome us to do service or have fun projects at their home only to be turned away when we got there. We ended up at a barn with only the soft lit candles and a manger at the focal point. We watched the video of Joseph and Mary being turned away before the birth of our Savior, and then had a sweet sharing of testimonies of Christ and what Christmas really means. What a great reminder of the simple but profoundly important meaning of Christmas. What a blessing to be able to share that experience with the youth and to hear their remarkable feelings. It renews my commitment to be in places where I can feel that wonderful spirit and to make sure that I am making room for the important things in my life.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I love to shop but have to admit that when I shop for myself, there is always this small pang of guilt (bigger pangs the more I spend). BUT, when I shop for other people, it feels so satisfying and it is especially gratifying to come home and wrap it. Maybe I should start wrapping my selfish purchases then I might trick myself into not feeling guilty. I am trying to figure out when guilt is necessary to keep myself in check and when it is just a learned, dysfunctional emotion to try and make me feel guilty for something I don't need to feel guilty for. I'll keep shopping to see if I can get a handle on it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Off Track--AGAIN

It is just neglecting the little things that can throw me way off. I have to admit that I haven't been studying the scriptures everyday for a little while and now I'm planning a bank robbery. Seriously though, that little morning habit makes such a difference for the rest of the day. Get back on track Tanya.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spiderman on Broadway

I saw Spider man on Broadway and although the set, costumes, and stunts were amazing; the music and story line were dull and torturous . One of the lines in one of the last songs of a loooooong production was "let me go," and we started singing "let us go!" Now, do I regret going to that show? No because we had some good laughs and now I know not to recommend it. Unless of course, you like to be tortured. Save yourself and just go online and see the pictures and close your eyes and picture spider man flying around the theater.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I am getting better at taking advantage of wonderful opportunities that come my way and one of them was to go to New York and see the Donny and Marie Christmas show on Broadway. I love Donny! While I was there I also saw the Santa Con. What a treat--Santas everywhere. I love New York!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Joy

I am committed to just experiencing more Christmas Joy this year than I have ever experienced before. Now that I have decided I don't want to feel stressed, there is more room for joy. I love it! It is amazing how just a shift in attitude can shift everything else.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Learn by Mistakes

The awesome thing about making a commitment to live with no regret is that it doesn't mean I can't make mistakes but with my new attitude I can at least learn from my mistakes and so there is still no regret.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No Regret

They say that the most depressing thing is to live with regret. I am determined to live the rest of my life with no major regrets. That means that I take advantage of the present moment and the opportunities that come my way. I am giving up any sort of sick self denial that has kept me from doing things that I really want to do and have the chance to do without sacrificing all the things that really matter.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What is my Motivation?

In everything I do, I have to look at what is motivating me. The performance can all look the same but it is the motivation behind it that can be healthy or flawed. If I am doing something good just to impress people then I might be doing good but for the wrong reason. That is why other people can't judge me even for good that I might do. They might see the good performance but yet not know that I have the wrong motivation. That is why I need to judge myself and only myself, and that judgment includes taking a hard look at why I do something and then work at doing something for the right reason. That is one of the reasons that anonymous service is a good idea because it helps keep the motivation away from being seen by others.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Spirit

I think this is a magical time of year. I feel so much joy this season and one of the reasons is that I am enjoying all the different aspects without that obligatory sense of duty that in the past has made me feel pressured and stressed. When I let go of that self-induced pressure, it is amazing how much more joyful it all is. Over the years I have scaled back and tried to make Christmas a little easier. My belief is that when it starts to be stressful, it means I am doing too much. The truth is, this is a celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace not the Prince of Stress.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Another thing that doesn't work for me is thinking that there is only one way to be in areas of life that don't really matter. I think that that is one of the difficulties with the negative Molly Mormon definition. For me that kind of rigid thinking doesn't allow for unique differences that are okay and even much needed. It is our differences that create a wonderful variety.

I love what Elder Oaks taught about teaching. He encouraged us to teach principles rather that the dos and don'ts because the principles are universal but how they are applied will be up to individuals and families. I have to think it is taking my personal dos and don'ts in how I apply principles and then expecting other people do have the same checklist creates the climate of self righteous judgment that a negative Molly Mormon could be guilty of. Elder Oaks used the example of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. He encouraged us to teach the principles but avoid using a list of dos and don'ts because that will be up to each individual and family.

I want to give up rigid thinking that my way is the only way.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fear and Worry

I have to say that I know the times that I have behaved poorly and gotten into the negative Molly Mormon mode is when I am filled with fear and worry especially about other people's choices. I think what I see as loving concern for someone can be interpreted as self-righteous judgment. I want to work on having more love and compassion rather than fear and worry. I've been thinking that fear and worry work and it has taken me years to realize it doesn't. Yes, I'm a quick study.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Take on His Name

In reference to the Molly Mormon dialog, I will say that the general consensus was that there are two connotations for the term. One is looking and acting a certain way at the same time being self-righteous and judgmental (just like the Pharisees in Jesus' time). The other definition is being wholesome and obviously living the standards. One is desirable and one is not. I have to say that since the same term has such different meanings for different people that maybe we should be striving to be like our Savior and take on His name like we promised at our baptism rather than using a label that describes a person that we can't really agree on the definition. We are fortunate enough to have a clear view of what He is like and what attributes we ought to be striving for, and so I want to call myself a Christian instead of striving to be a Molly Mormon because I know too many people that have been hurt by people living up to the negative definition of Molly Mormon. I know that I have been guilty of doing so myself.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Everything's Better

Everything's better and not with Blue Bonnet on it (am I dating myself here?), but everything is better for me when I am organized. Cooking, sewing, decorating, you name it; when I am better organized, I enjoy it more. Sometimes I get in a big hurry and just try to do something without first getting organized and it is more stressful and not nearly as enjoyable. For me dejunking is the first step and then organizing what I have left, is the second step. After that foundation then doing the work is a great creative outlet. But let's face it, for me organizing is also a creative outlet because I really love doing it. I just need to be careful I don't get too obsessively organized that I don't actually work on the project I am organizing the stuff for.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Okay, I admit it, I'm addicted. You know how I know that I am addicted? I keep playing this game when I repeatedly tell myself I am going to stop and don't get to bed until 3 am. Profound clue, isn't it. Playing games isn't necessarily bad but I have discovered that the thrill of passing each level doesn't really match the thrill of other accomplishments that make a difference in my life, my family's life, and hopefully the world. Some game playing is good for my mind but not at the expense of other more meaningful pursuits. I guess I'll quit playing angry birds so much and go take a shower and take out the overflowing garbage.