Monday, April 30, 2012

Gratitude not Pride

I finally get it. Ezra Taft Benson taught years ago to beware of pride. Later some people said it was okay to be proud of your efforts or proud of your children, but after studying the science of gratitude, I realize that what I should really feel is gratitude. Positive psychologist have concluded that gratitude affects well-being, and it has been found that gratitude is being grateful for something outside of ourselves and not in what we can do or who we are. It has come to me that pride is unintentionally implying that the buck stops here and I deserve to take credit for the good. Instead of saying that I am proud, saying I am grateful acknowledges that all good comes from someone or something else, and ultimately comes from God. I won't take credit anymore and declare that I am proud of something or someone, I want to give credit to others and especially to my Heavenly Father so I will say I am grateful. Go ahead and slap me if I try to take credit and say I am proud.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Creating Drama

Reality shows love to create drama. It is easy to get caught up in drama and the excitement it creates but I want to be done with drama. It seems that we have a tradition of thinking life has to be hard to be interesting and thus we might be unconsciously conditioned to creating drama and being drawn to ways of living that make us feel like martyrs so that we get that fix of life being difficult and dramatic. I am embracing a new belief that isn't attracted to drama but instead to a pleasant life.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


While I was running on the treadmill, I kept stopping to do something while the treadmill was still running. At the end of the workout, my treadmill said I ran so far but I really didn't. I cheated. Just so you know, I am not one to cheat when playing games because I know there is really no fun in winning if I have to resort to cheating. Just like I don't get the full benefit of running on my treadmill if I cheated, I won't get that same benefit in school if I cheat. It isn't about the final grade, winning a game, or the final distance that my treadmill says; it is about what I gained from the experience. Cheating short changes that gain.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Date with the Library

Who knew? The day after Easter I wanted to do a Easter candy cleanse and to be able to study without meandering into the kitchen for some chow every 10 minutes, I went to my local city library. Who knew that there is this whole wall of magazines to devour. So instead of being distracted by food, I was distracted by the cover of National Review with the Salt Lake Temple with the words, "The Truth About Mormons" printed boldly in yellow below the spires. Okay, that was a nice little break from my college studying. I am going to the library more often. It is better for me to be distracted by magazine articles rather than food. Of course, only if I stay away from the gossip magazines that are just junk food for the brain. I don't want to be guilty of trading one unhealthy addiction for another. I already have enough in my collection of time wasters.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I spend a lot of time at my desk on the computer as evidence by the fact that my dog came home from a little outing with Gar and Tay and and he ran in the house and dashed to find me. Of course he ran straight to the computer and since I wasn't there he then went to all the usual places that I hang out. Heavens knows how many spots he went to before he found me. I do know that he went to the kitchen but only because I frequently visit it for food but not necessarily to cook.

Knowing how much time I sit at the computer studying and all those others distractions right at my fingertips, I try to keep my body a little more active. Something tells me the movement from hand to mouth isn't quite enough, so I try to take little breaks from the computer to dance. So if you drive by and see some crazy woman in my study flailing her arms, just know that I am replacing that trip to the kitchen for food with a little Motown movement. Something I really wish I could do in public.

Don't you sometimes wish that when a fun song to dance to comes on the intercom in the grocery store that we could all break into a dance? I think this world would be a better place if we could just start dancing at random times. It would even be more fun if we all knew the same dance moves. Kind of like daily flash mobs everywhere we go just like the movie Enchanted in Central Park. I'm going to call up a Presidential candidate and suggest it as a campaign promise.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mistakes can be Good

For me, making a mistake is my best teacher. The material I remember the most in my statistics class are the problems I get wrong the first time. When I get a chance to go back and figure it out again and correct what I did wrong, it is that information I seem to learn at a deeper level. Good thing because I always find that people love to chat about statistics (I trust you detect the sarcasm).

Same way with life. When I get something right the first time, there isn't that gut-retching feeling that comes with the regret resulting in a lesson not soon forgotten. Thank goodness life is like my statistics class. My professor lets us keep retaking assignments and quizzes until we get the score that we want, and in the process, I understand it a whole lot more. A really gifted teacher lets us learn from our experience in the same way.

Just try it. Make a big mistake and then see how much deeper the learning experience is rather than when you get it right the first time. Trust me, I should know.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Meaning over perfection

My memory is interesting. I can walk in the basement and have no clue why I went down there, and then other times I remember some random event and can even tell you where I was sitting when something happened that would only have significance to me this many years later. This is the scene; I am sitting at my desk facing East in Mr. Brailsford's Civics class at the home of the Central Davis Cubs. We are suppose to write our vocabulary words and their definitions. This is my earliest recollection of my need to have something be perfect. I remember writing down the words and right away making a mistake and having to start over several times (not to worry, I don't need psychiatric care or special meds, I now just use erasable pencils).

As I think about what seems like an insignificant event in my life, I realize that at that moment I was manifesting a problem that would continually hold me back. You see, I know that what should have been an assignment that was meant to help me increase my vocabulary in Civics and be useful if I ever wanted to have an informed and intellectual discussion on politics (I don't, so I'm safe there), just became an exercise in the distraction of trying to write it perfectly and not even paying attention to the definitions.

That scenario has continued to play out in my life. Wanting to have something perfect, I can miss out on the really important part of the assignment in my home. Like when I tried my biannual attempt at FHE (that stands for Family Home Evening not Family's Heated Exchange) In wanting it picture perfect (and anyone who knows the sarcastic brood I have harvested will attest to the long shot that was), I missed the whole purpose of having FHE. In the first place, it wasn't to have a perfectly orchestrated family night but to find more love and connectedness as we learn correct principles. Same thing goes for making an elaborate celebration for a holiday. It isn't about having the perfect pinterest creation (although that can be a fun little add on), it is about togetherness and love. Too much worry about making it perfect can distract me from the real definition of a family, just like in my Civics class.

Christ said that we should be perfect like He is perfect, but I think he was talking about having perfect love. He didn't give the disciples a cute, perfect handout or a perfect, elaborate table setting at the last supper; He washed their feet thus demonstrating the perfect definition of love.

Visualizing Versus Doing

They (they are that group of people with lab coats and clipboards holed up in a laboratory somewhere) say that your mind can't tell the difference between when you visualize doing something and actually doing it. For example, studies show that someone imagining shooting free throw shots in basketball and someone actually doing the practicing will perform later pretty much the same.

I find that true for my life. I realize that I can imagine doing something so vividly that later I don't really know if I actually did it or not. Like all the thank you notes that I have pictured myself doing, later I don't know whether or not I actually wrote and sent them and so I am troubled about sending one because for all I know I will duplicate the note and guarantee my crazy diagnosis. And if the benefits for imagining and actually doing are the same, then just know if you didn't get that note, I have still reaped the reward. There, that should make you happy.

It is that way with this blog. Sometimes I don't know the difference between whether I just thought about writing something and when I actually wrote about it. I know I've said this before, but because I am too lazy to read back and find out for sure, I will just go ahead and re post or post a thought for the first time, whatever it is. Just know that I am not crazy but just a vivid imaginator (not really a word but if Arnold can be the terminator, then why not?) who can con myself into thinking I already did something or not. Confused? Welcome to my world. Just know that if I repeat myself, there is a valid reason and I am not as clueless as I appear. Let's just pretend.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Opportunity Comes Knocking

So one day I decided that I needed to dust off my funny side (should I say, scraping off because it is that buried) and do some kind of comedy. I grew up loving Carol Burnett and was flattered when a high school teacher said I reminded him of her. I would have preferred Rachel Welch but I'll settle. When I was in college, Saturday Night Live started and I dreamed of being on that show and doing skits. I often watch sitcoms and think, I would love to do that.

The very next day after making that decision to myself, I got an email from Time Out For Women about the video contest "Pretty Darn Funny." Immediately I realized that this was a serious manifestations of what I wanted, and I knew right away that I needed to seize the opportunity. I have learned from sad experience that if I don't take advantage of opportunities that they won't keep coming. So right away I made my video.

But then I chickened out and kept thinking I needed to perfect the video or at least have a face lift before filming. Well, as often happens with me, I got distracted and for a few weeks ignored the opportunity. It wasn't until the last couple of days left until the deadline to enter did I just boldly send in the video without looking at it again because I knew I wouldn't think it was perfect enough. (perfectionism holds me back continutally!)

Since I was far behind in any voting, I knew that I had to advertize myself. Again, something that was beyond my comfort zone. Well I did it without worrying about what people would think because I knew that it was just a little something I was meant to do. It was heartwarming to realize how many people would help me. It was something I really didn't believe I deserved to be supported in.

It really doesn't matter if I win, although I would like to give the trip to one of the people that has been so supportive. The important thing that came from this little experience is that I decided what I wanted, followed my heart and did something that was a little risky. I think that I am now healed from the terrible wound of my 7th grade election loss (heck, I didn't even get in the finals!).

Friday, April 6, 2012

Expert Friends

I just wanted to share a little tidbit I have learned from a positive psychology coaching class I am taking. One intervention that helps increase our happiness is to find an expert friend to help us achieve our goals.

One such expert friend" of mine is a friend from college. Thank heavens for facebook and blogs that can keep us in touch. Anyway, for me she is such an expert friend. I recently read on her blog how she has been running for 5 miles a day and isn't sore. Mind you, she is my age and so I can't use age as an excuse for running that long. Besides, I realized that if I can swim laps for an hour and do Zumba also for an hour, I should be able to run for an hour, which at 5 miles per hour is 5 miles. (Gee, good for me, I can do math a little better than the You Tube video about the husband aaking his wife how long it takes to go 80 miles driving at 80 miles per hour. See video at

So today I did it. It felt good and I am ever so grateful for inspiring friends that push me beyond what I think I can do. Thanks Lisa.

If you also want to be inspired by Lisa's Daughter, I suggest you watch her touching video on You Tube


It is so simple, but smiling is a great practice to create more happiness and optimism. I notice that when I smile, I can't have a negative thought. When I smile while exercising, I enjoy it so much more. Smiling also attracts people, especially babies and children. When I smile at strangers there is a sort of silent connection that whispers, "I like you and we are in this together." Smiling creates happiness within that ripples out and then immediately comes right back binding us together. Since I have been listening and dancing to Vanilla Ice, and his song is in my head, I am changing the words to "Stop! collaborate and Smile! Nice, Nice, Baby..." I challenge you to get up and dance to that and SMILE!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I've been slacking off on my blog posts. Between a new grandson, my comedy debut, and homework, not to mention the thousands of recipes I pin on pinterest that I will never have time to cook; I have neglected my blog and I miss it. I do still write daily in my personal journal but there is just something about writing for an audience that is especially therapeutic for me. It is a great motivation to observe and think more deeply and to try and write with more clarity. I have volumes of journals that I know will never be read (heck my children are bored with me in person, why would they read about me) and so I don't have to be careful what I write.

Today I especially had a great nugget of truth come my way. I ran into an old friend and she shared something profound. We were talking about how some of the most painful experiences can be so beneficial, and she told me about an meeting that Mitt Romney had with President Hinckley when he decided to run for office four years ago. Mitt said that Pres. Hinckley told him that if he won the election, it would be a great experience. He said that if he lost the election, it would also be a great experience. It is good to remember that even if things don't turn out the way we want them to that it can be a good experience.