Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tender Mercies

I know this is true. I have been noticing and writing the tender mercies that I have seen and felt. The more I acknowledge and am grateful for the kind of evidence of my Heavenly Father's love and direction, the more that evidence pours down. I am sure it has always been there, but I can be so easily distracted that I don't recognize it nor take it in.

I know that the answers to life's most difficult questions are placed in front of me when I am willing to be accountable and personally responsible. When I start playing the blame game and holding someone else responsible for my pain, then I am stuck and the answers don't come. But when I take a really hard look at myself and ask what I can and should do differently, the direction is literally placed right before my eyes. Yesterday it was on pinterest as I scrolled on it while watching American Idol (double tasking, you know). I am grateful for a blog that was written just for me and that showed me once again the tender mercies of the Lord.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Good Excuse

For anyone reading this who is unfamiliar with the LDS church (Mormon), we are organized into wards and within the ward, all the women are assigned a partner to go visit with and help serve usually a couple or three other women. (you know, take them green jello with carrots and such)

Okay, I admit it. I haven't always been a great visiting teacher. One of the reasons is when I have a bad attitude about it and can sometimes feel like it is a burden because it is one more thing I can be convinced I have to do instead of want to do.

Our ward just recently got realigned and now the majority of the people in my ward is new to me. I just got my new visiting teaching assignment and it hit me that now I have a good excuse to get to know a new young mom in our ward and plan lunch dates with another young mom that was already in my ward. And I get a good excuse to teach these moms what not to do. They get to learn from all my parenting mistakes. Lucky them.  I also get a good excuse to hang out with my partner who I love being with.

In a world that is ever increasingly disconnected and isolated from neighbors, what a great opportunity it is to have the excuse to connect with other women. Let's face it, if I were to just randomly call them up and say I want to come visit, they would think I am a little creepy. But visiting teaching gives me a good excuse. They will still probably think I'm creepy.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Talk to Process

When I'm upset or worried about something, I tend to over process and over talk about it. This need for processing can get excessive and doesn't always make the problem better but rather keeps me stuck. Yes, it is good to acknowledge that there is a problem but this thought is a great suggestion. Keeping calm means that I have the faith that it will all work out and that I don't need to try and fix it by talking it to death.

There now. I've acknowledged another weakness and now I move on. I am going to focus on a strength now. Give me a few days to come up with something.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Exercise Empowers

After a few weeks of hit and miss exercise, this morning I hit it hard. There is something incredibly empowering about really working out hard. The endorphins and just realizing that my body is strong and capable is a great boost. It is a great way to start the day especially while I am watching The Biggest Loser. It is a miracle what exercise and good nutrition can do to change lives; inside and outside.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Hero's Journey

The other night we watched a video about Joseph Campbell's writings and teachings that our son gave us for Christmas. I fell in love with Campbell's philosophy when I discovered his research about how every great mystical story contained the same "Hero's Journey." It became the theme and outline for my final paper on my personal philosophy on Human Development. Campbell's work was a rich discovery for me and made all my undergraduate studies make more sense and unite with my religious beliefs.

I wanted to share that little serendipitous story of how I came across Joseph Campbell's work. I was in my final class for my undergraduate, human development studies. As the final paper, we were assigned to write an extensive paper based on our personal human development theory. I was looking for a theme for my paper and struggled to find one that I could work with. As the deadline was drawing near, we were scheduled to take a family trip to Chicago for a legislative convention. I was tempted to stay behind and work on my paper as I was feeling pressure without direction.

I decided to go realizing that my paper shouldn't take precedence over my family. When I started back to school, I had promised myself that I wouldn't allow it to take over and become stressful; so off to Chicago I went.

The most amazing thing happened while we were at a museum and going through a traveling exhibit. It was based on Star Wars as it related to Joseph Campbell's discovery of the "Hero's Journey." As I walked through and read what each step was about in Luke Skywalker's hero's journey, the light of inspiration was gradually building. Then the final step was illuminating. It was entitled, Atonement. There was my inspiration. Using the steps of Luke Skywalker's journey, I likened each to different theories of human development. I was able to capture and connect how the theories I had learned about related to not only to hero's journey of Star Wars, but to my religious beliefs.

Because I kept my promise to put family first, I also discovered the very thing I needed academically. My paper flowed effortlessly when I got back home and I was happy with the result. After my presentation to the class, my professor, who also shared my same religious beliefs, told me she was glad that I tied spiritual faith into my thesis because it is something that professors can't do. Too bad because I believe in a separation of church and state but not separation between spirituality and state.

I did enjoy being immersed in Joseph Campbell's work once again as I watched the video. I loved what he said about following our bliss. It is something I am determined to do; and realize as I talked the other day about questioning authority and what others tell me I should be doing and instead following the inner workings of my heart, that I am giving myself permission to follow my personal bliss. I know that I am my best authority on knowing what is my bliss.

1 she gave a sigh of bliss: joy, happiness, pleasure, delight, ecstasy, elation, rapture, euphoria. ANTONYMS misery.
2 religions promise perfect bliss after death: blessedness, benediction, beatitude, glory, heavenly joy, divine happiness; heaven, paradise. ANTONYMS hell.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Question Authority

One of the most valuable lessons I learned in my recent education was that parents and educators aren't always the best and only authority on what is important for a child.  That is not to say that they can have some great advice and give much needed direction. It is just that the final authority for any of us is the inner workings of our heart as directed by the Holy Spirit.

That is also true when dealing with the medical profession or even religious leaders. It is important to question; not in a defiant and untrusting sort of way, but it a way to gain more information and clarity as we seek for inner guidance and substaniation instead of blindly following what we are told.

I love what I learned in an exercise class one day. At the end of intense aerobics exercise workout, instead of leading us in a pre subscribed series of stretching exercises, the instructor told us to tune into our bodies and feel what part needed to be stretched. I loved that. It made me reflect on how often I just follow the instructions and what others think I should do and not feeling it for myself. (So I tuned in and my body was asking for chocolate.)

Of course, as I say this, I also realize there are always people who are stubborn and naturally resist any outside advice and direction, even if it is something that will be valuable. They can be defiant just to be defiant.  This advice wouldn't apply to those on the opposite side of the compliant dimension because they might need to be more humble and be willing to listen and learn from outside authority. This is only for those like me who are natural rule followers who are afraid to question people in authority. It is a reminder that being too far in any direction is off base and that balance is always important.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Flow don't Fight

I am incredibly blessed to have such inspiring friends. I was out to dinner with two great women, and when I shared that I have had a hard time focusing; they assured me that is part of the menopause experience. That was such a relief to know. Now I can relax and trust that this too will pass and that I don't have to fight or shame myself for what I am experiencing. I can just flow and enjoy the ride. As the word itself suggests, it is just a pause in the experience of mankind.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ritual not Routine

I was thinking about my morning routine and how when I stick to it, my day goes a whole lot better. If I get started off distracted from my routine then I spend the rest of the day fighting those same distractions that can pull me in so many directions without really experiencing anything magnificent.

Then I heard someone call their morning routine a ritual instead. That spoke to my heart. A morning ritual. A ritual is sacred whereas a routine is just a series of events. A ritual is so much more than a list of things to do but an experience that is firmly grounded in purpose and direction by accessing the Divine. I feel so much more compelled to practice a sacred ritual rather than just a routine. What a great way to start the day. I think I will go back to bed and start over. 


Recently I read an interesting blog post that said how any distraction that keeps us from feeling the Spirit is a sin. It isn't the sin that is inherently bad but how it keeps us from experiencing that which will bring us true joy. This world, my world, is filled with distractions and I can be deceived believing some of those distractions are a good thing.

Right now I feel consumed by distractions and they are all good things. It is hard to narrow my focus and concentrate on what I am really meant to do. ADD is alive and well in my world. Now is the time to simplify and figure out what it is that is the most important. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Movie Night

We went to see this movie with our son, Jordan. Powerful and very moving. I cried and thought deeply about so many lessons it portrayed. Childhood wounds that could have been the catalyst for the characters portrayed in the shadows in this picture of Walt Disney and the author of the books, Mary Poppins. The movie highlighted how different the response to being hurt can be.  I loved this film and any film that  touches my emotions and in which I come away with wanting to be a better person.

On our anniversary, we also saw another powerful movie. Philomena. It spoke of the horrific ramifications of a religious people taking on the role of judging and seeking their own kind of punishment for people's sins. I couldn't help but see how when people try and live according to what is expected of them without experiencing joy, then they will resent others who haven't made those same kind of sacrifices and want to force them to suffer.

New Year's Resolution

My New Year's Resolution

Just Love.

Love and embrace the gospel and the pure love of Christ
Love and relish each moment
Love people with more inclusion and affection
Love time spent with people
Love without judgment, including self
Love new possibilities and opportunities
Love the beauty of nature
Love learning and good books
Love writing
Love travel
Love design
Love order and cleanliness
Love good, wholesome food
Love exercise
Love laughter
Love being playful
Love serving
Love music
Love entertaining
Love my unique gifts and offerings
Love with pure gratitude

Just Love.