Monday, January 26, 2015

Enter into the Rest of the Lord

Lately while reading the scriptures, the words "Rest in the Lord" keep jumping out at me. So I know that it is important for me to reflect on what that means.

The word "rest" means relaxed, not agitated or troubled, at peace.

I am grateful for that offers a wealth of enlightenment. I quote from Joseph F. Smith:

 "What does it mean to enter into the rest of the Lord? Speaking for myself, it means that through the love of God I have been won over to Him, so that I can feel at rest in Christ, that I may no more be disturbed by every wind of doctrine, by the cunning and craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; and that I am established in the knowledge and testimony of Jesus Christ, so that no power can turn me aside from the straight and narrow path that leads back into the presence of God, to enjoy exaltation in His glorious kingdom; that from this time henceforth I shall enjoy that rest until I shall rest with Him in the heavens."

There is peace in turning my life over to God. To trust Him that no matter what happens, I am unconditionally loved and can be rescued from any mistake or misfortune. It doesn't mean I live my life recklessly, but that I can have confidence that with His help I can survive and overcome all things. To know that His promise is sure that when we partner with Christ it is true when he says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light,” [Matthew 11:30]. I can rest assured that all will be well so I can relax and let go of any up tightness I might feel falsely thinking I am in charge or it is all up to me. Of course, I still do my part and work diligently so that my side of the yoke isn't dragging. But that I always remember my team member is infinitely strong, so I can enter into the "rest of the Lord," and strive to do my best but without agitation or trouble.   

Friday, January 23, 2015

Go For It

I am stepping up my quest to be healthy by eating more dark vegetables and whole grains. I have cooked up a bunch of quinoa to throw in many different salads and soups and use it in place of noodles. I also made some spaghetti and put it over spaghetti squash. Delish.

I have also been eating less realizing that I have been a pig.  Yes, an out and out binge eater. The healthier I eat the more my sugar cravings go away, the more energetic I feel, and the more I crave healthy foods.

I am also pushing myself a little more while I exercise. Let's face it, even if I have been exercising every day, I wasn't always pushing it to my limit. I admit it; I have been in cruise mode. I had been just going through the motions and coupled with my gorging, I was gradually getting less and less comfortable in my clothes and I refuse to have to go buy a bigger size. I am happy with my current wardrobe, thank you very much.

In life, it is easy to reach a plateau and get too comfortable and think my current diet is good enough to keep me healthy for a long time. I like this picture because it demonstrates an innate need and desire to reach new heights, and I am not talking about reaching a higher weight on the scale.

I love the challenge of pushing my self to get healthier. Old age is creeping up on me fast, and I want to be ready. I intend to live a long and healthy life. It is so much more than being thin. Save the date for August 31, 2055 for my 100 year birthday celebration.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


I am taking better care of my health and that means I am making a firm commitment  to collect healthy recipes, to stock our home with ingredients for those healthy recipes, and to cook more meals at home. It has to be my form of healthcare.

I have already become committed to exercise, in fact, I have a healthy addiction to exercising every day. It is second nature. But they say that it is only 20% of a healthy lifestyle. The other 80% is what I eat.

Unfortunately, what is also second nature is eating too much and not always eating as healthy as I know I should and want to. But that is changing today. I am committed to change and practice my own form of healthcare. It is not Obama care. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Education Reform

I am passionate about learning. I believe our schools should be a place where the flames of passion and interest in life-long learning are ignited and fanned.

I believe that a new measure of a student's success in education shouldn't be grades or test scores but the development of a passion and intrinsic motivation for learning.

Grades and test scores can only go so far, but if that interest and motivation to learn is planted deep within a student, they will an internal desire to learn for a life time that won't be based on the dictates or approval of others but based on a natural curiosity and interest that will be self sustaining.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pain can be a great teacher

I know this to be true. Some of the people I admire the most have gone through some significant pain. I have realized that how we deal with our pain makes all the difference. If we look for solace in a pill or bottle or other numbing activity, the pain is just buried and ultimately magnified. But if we take the pain to our knees and ask what we can learn from it, we can be schooled from on high and learn to have greater wisdom than we could ever develop from a pain-free life.

This is not to say that we should invite pain and worship it. If I do that then I can be susceptible to becoming a martyr and honestly attract more pain thinking it is the only way to learn. I can learn a lot from joy as well.   

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I realize that sometimes I can get way to caught up in my own struggles that I forget that other people are struggling so much more than I ever have or ever will. That realization makes me feel so much regret and humility for being too self-centered. I know that I can't always alleviate someone's suffering but I can certainly feel compassion and do whatever I can. I just need to be more outward focused and feel other people's pain and realize my life is pretty wonderful. Yes, I have some disappointments, but really I have so much more to be grateful for.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The KISS Principle

I need this reminder every once in awhile.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Super Soul Sunday

I love the truth wherever I can find it. I realize that for some people this program on Sunday might replace their Sunday worship, but for me as I record it and watch while I fix dinner or exercise, it is a great reminder of some important truths that can unite me with the believes of people of other faiths. I believe that ultimately all people who seek spirituality will come to believe in the same God whether they call Him by different names or attend different churches. I believe our Heavenly Father knows we are all actually worshiping Him and is pleased with all of our efforts to draw close to His Divinity.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Power of Journal Writing

I have often been asked about journal writing and how I do it. One of the blessings of sharing is that it solidifies my beliefs in the benefits and helps further ingrain my commitment to the practice.

First off I think that eventually it needs to be adapted in such a way that is beneficial to each individual. With that said, I do know that the practice of regular journal writing is the very exercise that does lead to that unique discovery of our true selves and what specifically works for each of us in all areas of life. But I also know that in the beginning of this quest to become a journal writer and before that deep, inner treasure is found, it is helpful to have someone who has already taken that path share some of their experience and discoveries. Thus it would be beneficial to follow someone's practice for a time to get a general feel for it, but always staying focused on the internal experience in order to fine tune and personalize it.

The first recommendation I would make is to read The Miracle of the Morning Pages by Julia Cameron. It can be downloaded on kindle and is really just a short essay on the benefits of writing in what she calls "morning pages" and she gives tips about when to do it and how.

What I have found to be beneficial is to write by hand. I have lengthy journals written on a computer and I do feel there are certain benefits from that form of writing, but I also know the magic of hand writing. I do both but lately more hand written with a pen that I love writing with.  One thing I have discovered from my quiet experience in this beautiful awareness process is the benefit of making a simple task pleasant.

I like to write in my journal first thing in the morning when my surroundings are serene and quiet. I like to have a diffuser going to fill the air with a pleasant aroma and I sometimes light an essential oil candle. I have especially benefited when I take my this little ritual into a natural setting.

I no longer write the events of the day unless it is to express gratitude or to document a powerful truth I have learned from my experience. I feel like my photos on my camera can adequately document the events of the day. I mainly try to write feelings of my heart and whatever comes to mind. Sometimes my journal acts as a way to purge negative feelings, but I strive to understand my personal frustrations and then turn them into a positive way to deal with them.

 I especially like to start my morning ritual with prayer, scriptures, and then journal writing. It has often been said that we pray to talk to our Heavenly Father, we read scriptures to have Him talk to us, and I add; we write that which we have learned to imprint it on our hearts, thoughts, and beliefs, and then write commitments about how we intend to act accordingly. Journal writing, for me, has joined prayer and scriptures and become my third witness of truth.

Writing in my journal after reading my scriptures gives me something very profound to write about. I benefit immensely from taking a truth found in scriptures and then making it personally applicable and connecting it with my experiences. It is miraculous how relevant what I happen to read that day is to what is happening in my life. As I discover truth in the scriptures, I discover where I fall short and as I honestly write about my weaknesses and mistakes, I benefit from dealing with them in the light of that handwritten admission of my shortcomings. I thus learn immense gratitude that because of my Savior, I don't have to be defined by my sins. Making that connection by writing about it has increased my faith and optimism.

Feeling grateful is an important part of my journal writing. I experience more to be grateful for as I write what I already appreciate.  Expressions of joy are also an important exercise in what I write. I discover more of what brings me joy as I write about what has already brought me joy.

I challenge any one reading this to put it to the test and find out for yourself what joy can be found in journal writing. And then please share it with others. Pay it forward.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Goals & Religion

Goals and religion can be the same thing. If both are applied in the wrong way, they can be sticks to beat ourselves, but if done right; a religion just like goals can steer us in the right direction. It is just according to how we choose to look at and apply it. In the research in Positive Psychology, religion has been found to be a benefit to individuals and communities.

Puritan Hangover

I do believe there is what I call a "Puritan Hangover" in that once misguided religious tradition of thinking shame and punishment (sticks to beat ourselves with) is the path to making people choose to be righteous. It is a path based on fear and punitive measures rather than on faith and love.

That tradition based in the Puritan religion can still rear its ugly head and tempts us into believing that control and punishment are essential. I know I have often fallen prey to that false belief and behavior when I was fearful that someone I love was at risk.

In that climate of fear, then we can use religion as a stick to beat someone with rather than having the faith that it is just a star to guide us. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Desire to Make a Difference

I woke up this morning and I felt a desire to have my blog gain more hits and readers. Why? It is not so that I can make money or be popular because I know that both pursuits can taint the value of my desire and message. I know that anything that would feed my ego could be destructive to me and nullify what I choose to share.

What I truly desire is to be able to make a difference. With all my heart, I believe that some of the things I have experienced and learned from can be a blessing to other people. It is no accident that some of the challenges of my life were made public shortly after I was inspired to start this blog. That exposure turned out to be a blessing because it dramatically put me in a position to have a voice.  If my voice can help someone know that we can deal with and rise from adversity stronger and with more faith and joy, then I know that my life experiences have greater purpose and value than just what I have gained from it. I trust that what I have learned from the highs and lows of my life are meant to be shared.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

How to find personal satisfaction

On the heels of my last post about finding that which truly satisfies, I reflect upon what is personally satisfying to me. I already know that when I do something that "makes my heart sing" that I have made the connection to what I am meant to do.

There is all kinds of substitutes for that try to mimic that song of the heart. I know that in order to be in tune with that true connection and personal satisfaction, my mind, body and spirit needs to be clear. Clear of negative thoughts. Clear of any mind altering substances; including an overdose of sugar or other junk foods. I need to be clear enough that I can hear and feel God's voice and His presence giving me the assurance and guidance I need.

I can be inspired by the suggestions of other good people but ultimately it will be my own personal connection with truth that I want to be my guide. Right now I can make a list of what is my path for personal satisfaction but it will be only my guidepost. It is always helpful to get ideas from other people to spark what is deep within us, but the ultimately guide is very personal as we connect with our Father in Heaven and to that feeling that tells us we have discovered the truth for ourselves.

One thing I have discovered is the more I am present in the moment, the easier it is to notice when my heart sings.

My List of Healthy Love to Do

I have plenty of things that I love to do that tend to be fattening, expensive, or destructive and even just a plain waste of time. I am making a list of things that I love to do that are healthy, free (or at least less costly), growth oriented, and productive. This new year I am focusing on the positive. That is my New Years resolution.