December 25, 2009
Maybe we'll get better at this with practice! Too bad the Jingle Bells clip didn't record in a playable format! Drat!! It was really good! And then there was Christmas Day, complete with traps, presents, horseback riding. . . and driving up north to be with cousins, and FINALLY Brandon, Tannya and baby Nikki!
December 24, 2009
We sure have been blessed by our association with Don Whittaker, aka Grandpa Don. We have known him for the past seven years, but it seems like he has always been in our lives! Because of him, we our living some of our dreams of having horses in our lives. It all started out with Natalee wanting to ride, our selling bread on the corner when Grandpa Don drove by, and the rest is history! Four years ago Don had a stroke and heart attack and nearly died. We took over the care of his horses and leading the trail rides he loved to do. Two years ago he gave Natalee her favorite horse, Silverado, for her 16th birthday. That summer he sold all the horses except Silver and Zorro to Ken Anderson. We continued our care of the horses and doing rides for one more year, then Ken moved the horses and stopped riding them, only breeding them. It made us sad, but things have worked out. Natalee and I were still able to ride a lot.
Since then, Sheldon Wittwer (who has 4 horses)has let us have his four horses down at our corrals so we can keep his horses worked and trained, in exchange for his providing hay for all six horses. At first Sheldon didn't think he was getting such a good bargain. . .that is until he rode his horses last summer. He was very surprised at how good they were. That's what happens when you keep horses trained. I think it works well for both of us!
So, here are some of our pics from the last few days...
December 23, 2009
Our Baby Nikki finally arrived after a LOT of hard work by Tannya!! We are so pleased for this new little family, and can hardly wait for Christmas so we can trek north and hold this little sweetness!!
December 19, 2009
THINGS WE'VE DONE THIS WEEK:
- We went to the Stake Christmas Fireside, that turned out really good, even though Dal didn't initially want to go.
- Found out Denzel and Anna got engaged! Congratulations!!
- Discovered the generic version of Valtrex is MUCH cheaper than the name brand! Paid $7 for 28 pills rather than $66 (and that's AFTER insurance!)
- Went horseback riding with Nat and Kristy out towards Elephant Arch in Washington.
- Went to part of the Heritage Choir Christmas program for FHE (minus Dallin), left partway through and got hot fudge sundaes at Denny's. YUM!!
- Went horseback riding with David (my hairdresser) and Laura (his friend) out to Washington.
- Learned an important lesson from the Holy Ghost.
- Dad and I went to the Faculty Christmas Party, held at Holiday Inn. It was fun visiting with Dave Matthews (shop teacher) who was interested in the updates on Brandon and Amelia.
- Nat finished her last day of "Nanny-ing."
- I slept for 11.5 hours Thursday night. Had to be awoken Friday morning to teach a piano lesson at 9:00 a.m.! Sheesh!!
- Nat and I rode out in Babylon! (by Leeds, not the Middle East!)
- Nat's room is a disaster as she is sorting through stuff, throwing away stuff, etc., before leaving for Idaho!
- We are all EXCITED for baby Nikki to arrive, hopefully sometime early today (Saturday)!
December 12, 2009
What a beautiful Saturday morning! Snow covering everything except the roads, my Christmas shopping is done (at least what I can REMEMBER I need to get...), the Christmas cards are all mailed, and I don't have a HUGE PROJECT hanging over me! WOW!! This is great!
A piece of paper has been sitting on the kitchen counter for the past 10 days, and it has been extremely helpful to me, which is why it is STILL on the counter. There are two columns to it, but the title is what initially caught my eye... HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOU HAVE THE SPIRIT? Then it lists 20 things in each column. I wonder if David Letterman would be interested in doing a "TOP 20" regarding this subject?? Well, I hope YOU enjoy/can use this. Remember - AWARENESS IS THE FIRST STEP TO CHANGE!! (And yes, you can quote me on that! ^_^) Love, Mom
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOU HAVE THE SPIRIT?
WHEN YOU HAVE THE SPIRIT
1. You feel happy, calm.
2. You feel full of light
3. You mind is clear
4. Your bosom burns with love for the Lord and others
5. You feel generous
6. No one offends you
7. You are forgiving and kind
8. You feel confident in what you do.
9. You don't mind anyone seeing what you're doing
10. You feel outgoing, anxious to be with others, especially family
11. You are glad when others succeed
12. You want to make others happy, even those who oppose you
13. You bring out the best in, and say the best about, others
14. You gladly, willingly perform church work
15. You feel like praying and reading the scriptures
16. You want to keep all the Lord's commandments
17. You feel you have control of your appetites and emotions: food and sleep in moderation; sexual restraint; recreation that is wholesome and moderate; you are calm and in control of your speech; you feel no anger.
18. You feel a deep desire to help others – usually in a way no one else will know about
19. You speak and think only good about other people
20. You feel sorrow when others have problems and sincerely desire to help them
YOU REALIZE THAT YOUR THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS ARE OPEN TO GOD.
WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE THE SPIRIT
1. You feel unhappy, depressed, confused, frustrated
2. You feel heavy, full of darkness
3. Your mind is muddled
4. You feel empty, hollow, cold inside
5. You feel selfish, possessive, self-centered
6. Everything anyone does offends you
7. You are always on the defensive
8. You become easily discouraged
9. You become secretive, evasive
10. You want to be alone. You avoid others, especially family members
11. You are envious of what others do, and what they have
12. You want to get even and show others up
13. You are critical of others, especially family members and those in authority
14. You feel hesitant, unworthy, unwilling to perform church ordinances
15. You don't want to pray or read the scriptures
16. You find the commandments of God and rules of the family bothersome, restricting, or senseless
17. You become a slave to your appetites; your emotions become passionate; over-indulgence in food, sleep, sex, stimulating entertainment, loud music, strong anger, outspokenness all become part of your character.
18. You want to make sure that all the help you give others is duly noted by them and the world
19. You look for, and find, evil in others, and broadcast it
20. You question others' motives and secretly delight in their problems and say, "I'm glad I'm not that way."
YOU FEEL THAT WHAT YOU DO AND THINK IS ONLY YOUR BUSINESS AND NO ONE ELSE KNOWS OR CARES.
December 10, 2009
If you are careful with your diet (eating fruits and vegetables, eating less high fat/high sugar foods) you probably also exhibit other behaviors such as exercising, good hygiene, etc. You have "clusters" of healthy living.
The flip side: if you pick up a cigarette (or any other unhealthy substance) "just to try it," you increase your risk of taking on other detrimental habits due to the this same "clustering" effect.
What correlations do you see? What are your friend choices like? Do you tend to "cluster" in this department? Is this a GOOD thing?
As you know, I THINK a lot. This is one of those things I've been thinking about. I have found in my own life, even within the last couple of days, that what I focus on (or don't) tends to "cluster." This can be a GREAT thing if we're consciously working at improving ourselves. But it can be a bad thing if we aren't paying attention and are slowly "clustering" downward.
Hope this gives you a "shot in the arm" to help you find ways to improve yourself, AND bless the lives of those around you as you do!
LOVE YOU ALL!!
December 1, 2009
(Summarized from 19 Rules...see January for all 19 Rules)
Law of Perpetual Transmutation - Circumstances and things are perpetually coming or going according to your thoughts.
Law of Relativity - Your situation is not fundamentally good or bad until you compare it to something else.
Law of Vibration - Your thoughts control your personal vibration. Change your thoughts, get emotional about them, and you'll change what is attracted to you.
Law of Polarity - Everything has an opposite. A bad situation is equally good. Look for the good, and more good will be on its way.
Law of Rhythm – When you feel down, be assured that an upswing is coming. Plan on endless progression upward.
Law of Cause and Effect – Action and reaction are equal, in opposite directions. Focus on what you can give, not what you will get.
Law of Gender – Plant your own idea seeds, and then be patient. Don't uproot your idea seed with doubt.
Vacuum Law of Prosperity – Nature abhors a vacuum. Make room for the thing you desire by giving away that which you do not like or use. Give it away, and let the Universe compensate you. God pays better than yard sale shoppers!
November 24, 2009
November 24, 2009
So, I wasn't sleeping very well...finally got up at 2:00 a.m. to be "productive!" There are so many things I want to share, but need to pick and choose so as not to be too long-winded...you can thank me later!
In a conference talk given by Elder Richard G. Scott, he talks about receiving spiritual guidance. One of the most important things we can learn in our lives is how to discern promptings of the spirit. Elder Scott said, "Impressions of the Spirit can come in response to urgent prayer, or [may be] unsolicited when needed. Sometimes the Lord reveals truth to you when you are not actively seeking it, such as when you are in danger and do not know it. However, the Lord will not force you to learn. You must exercise your agency to authorize the Spirit to teach you. As you make this a practice in your life, you will be more perceptive to the feelings that come with spiritual guidance. Then, when that guidance comes, sometimes when you least expect it, you will recognize it more easily."
He also explained something of the Adversary:
"I share a warning. Satan is extremely good at blocking spiritual communication by inducing individuals, through temptation, to violate the laws upon which spiritual communication is founded. With some he is able to convince them that they are not able to receive such guidance from the Lord.
Satan has become a master at using the addictive power of pornography to limit individual capacity to be led by the Spirit...it is one of the most damning influences on earth."
"Have patience as you are perfecting your ability to be led by the Spirit. By careful practice, through the application of correct principles, and by being sensitive to the feelings that come, you will gain spiritual guidance."
There are many other important elements in Elder Scott's talk. I'd highly recommend reading it several times. Personal revelation is real and it is our responsibility to seek out. Our Heavenly Father will not force it upon us.
I love each one of you SOOOOOOOO much!!! Hope you continue doing well!!
November 22, 2009
November 20, 2009
Tonight, for Family Home Evening, the family went to Snow Canyon High School's production of WILLY WONKA. It was really good and we had fun being together even though it was "just" Dad and I, Kristy, Natalee and Dallin.
A couple of weeks ago was our Regional Conference. I had just torn my right calf muscle and was extremely sore, so I didn't attend the Saturday evening session. Last Monday, Dad gave the FHE lesson. I want to pass on some of what he shared...
"At Stake Conference on Saturday evening, Pres. Graf spoke. He mentioned how a couple of years ago he invited the Stake to read Gospel Essentials and use this in our Family Home Evenings...and many did. Last year he invited the Stake to plant gardens...and many did.
He extended a new invitation to us that I think we should all think about and try to implement. He said: "I would like you to think of ONE thing you could do, or change in your life, that would draw you closer to the Savior, and implement that in your life."
So, through the order of the Priesthood (from Pres. Graf, to Dad, to the family...), I would like to make sure our entire family is aware of this invitation. Let's each find ONE THING that we can do, or change, that will draw us closer to the Savior.
We've been doing this for a couple of weeks already, and I am amazed at how much it has helped me to improve. I hope it helps you, too!
November 3, 2009
February 11, 2007
One of the things I miss about Brandon and Tannya not living here is that we aren't exposed to rock climbing gear, or adventures, or mishaps, etc. I don't worry nearly so much either...well, I didn't really WORRY before, but I sure prayed hard whenever I knew Brandon was climbing, or when he would take some of you kids climbing!
I want you to think about the first time you saw Brandon climb at Chuckawalla, and then think about the first time you tried it. My very brief experience with it was that it didn't look hard at all when Brandon was climbing, and from the perspective of my being on the ground, it didn't look like it was that far up. I could easily see the places where climbers could get a good hand or foothold, and it all seemed relatively easy from my inexperienced point of view. I had never climbed before, and yet I was sure I could.
So, I tried it! It was kind of weird putting on the safety harness, but it made me feel secure to know that Brandon would be belaying me if I got into trouble and fell. After he gave me a few tips Brandon told me to go ahead and start climbing. Hmmmm, okay. . .where do I start? What should I grab first? All of a sudden things didn=t seem quite so easy, and I was still on the ground!! But I got started and managed to get about 3 feet off the ground before I started to doubt my ability. It was kind of frustrating to hear from other climbers on the ground, "Just grab that spot above your head and pull yourself up!" Or, "Step over there, it's not that far, just reach!" It was scary, even if I wasn't that far off the ground, and even if I knew Brandon was ready to catch me on belay! Not long after I started, I told Brandon to get me back down on the ground. After he good-naturedly stopped laughing, he let me down!
I recognized a few things from this experience: I didn't have the right gear. My large, cushioned running shoes were not well-suited for finding the tiniest toe-holds to stick my foot in and to push up on. My legs muscles were okay, but my arm muscles were definitely not ready for the work of pulling my body weight up to the next handhold, which was a mere scrap of rock!
I also observed some other things. The spotters on the ground had a much better perspective of where safe places were than I did. I couldn't see squat from my perch on the wall! And I hadn't gone very far.
If a spotter is good, he can help encourage the climber, pointing out places where to go, and spots to avoid. From the climber=s perspective it may not look right, but if he TRUSTS his spotter he can climb higher, faster, and farther. If he doesn't he may get stuck, and may even end up falling.
A climbing spotter is very much like our parents, and sometimes siblings. They have been on "climbing walls" before, and have had experience we may not have. They have gained wisdom from their experiences. Your "spotter" might see things more clearly than you can, and give counsel that will help you overcome the challenges facing you. Perhaps, if you listen and follow the directions, you will bypass some hazardous areas, and reach greater heights than if you "go it alone."
The best spotter of all, of course, is our Savior. He is the perfect One to follow. He knows where the tricky spots are, and how to get through even the toughest areas. He has smoothed out the roughest paths, if we will just follow in His steps. I hope we do.
November 2, 2009
November 1, 2009
Have you ever become aware how the "obvious" sometimes goes unnoticed? Well, several "obvious" things have come to my consciousness the past little while, and I'm finally paying attention. I'd like to share my discoveries.
The first few years MySpace and Facebook were introduced, I staunchly opposed the children opening accounts. I did not feel like being on-line in that capacity was a good thing. There were lots of stories of on-line predators, and I didn't want to have anything to do with it.
But over time, it was easy for the kids to be unrelenting with the "all my friends are doing it . . . it's a great way to stay in contact . . . I'm careful who I add as a friend. . ." etc., and I gradually thought maybe it wasn't too bad. Eventually, I opened my own account so I could see what it was like, and to be more aware of what my children were involved in.
I am technologically literate. Computers don't befuddle me, and I LOVE how they can help us accomplish many things with greater ease and skill than ever before. However, this is what I've learned:
1. Myspace and Facebook DO initially help connect people. However, it subtly disconnects relationships. Are we really so busy that we have to do one-liners of "Patrice is...happy she got some practicing done today!"
2. If we are THAT busy, why are we on the Internet in the first place!
3. What kind of ads do YOU want to be exposed to? Do you really think the service is FREE? Well, maybe it doesn't cost you money, but someone is paying for those ads that pop up all kinds of things that I don't particularly care to see, and I DEFINITELY don't appreciate my children (teenage or adult) being exposed to. Why would we knowingly put ourselves in the position to have to choose whether we pay attention to them or not? People can say, "Oh, I don't pay attention to them...they don't affect me..." Well, they affect someone, and LOTS of someones, or businesses wouldn't pay big bucks for the advertising space.
4. As I look at ways I can improve myself, and hopefully help my children improve themselves, I think it's vitally important to listen to the prophet and the apostles. May 3, 2009, Elder David A. Bednar gave a talk at a CES Fireside for Young Adults that was broadcast from BYU-Idaho.
Here is a brief quote from his talk:
Today I raise an apostolic voice of warning about the potentially stifling, suffocating, suppressing, and constraining impact of some kinds of cyberspace interactions and experiences upon our souls. The concerns I raise are not new; they apply equally to other types of media, such as television, movies, and music. But in a cyber world, these challenges are more pervasive and intense. I plead with you to beware of the sense-dulling and spiritually destructive influence of cyberspace technologies that are used to produce high fidelity and that promote degrading and evil purposes.
If the adversary cannot entice us to misuse our physical bodies, then one of his most potent tactics is to beguile you and me as embodied spirits to disconnect gradually and physically from things as they really are. In essence, he encourages us to think and act as if we were in our premortal, unembodied state. And, if we let him, he can cunningly employ some aspects of modern technology to accomplish his purposes. Please be careful of becoming so immersed and engrossed in pixels, texting, ear buds, twittering, online social networking, and potentially addictive uses of media and the Internet that you fail to recognize the importance of your physical body and miss the richness of person-to-person communication. Beware of digital displays and data in many forms of computer-mediated interaction that can displace the full range of physical capacity and experience.
Dad and I are raising the flag of warning. Let's take a good look at what we are choosing to spend our time and energies with. Perhaps it's nothing "bad," but is it something GOOD? We need to be selective more than ever with what we choose to do with our time, with our relationships, and with our spirits. We want to encourage each of you children to be very selective. Strengthen TRUE relationships. Don't take them for granted. Nourish them, cultivate them. Learn to communicate in person! Don't let the Adversary short-circuit the wonderful opportunities in your lives by even the most subtle means.
We understand there are many people who use these Internet "opportunities." That is their choice. However, a scripture comes to mind that explains our feelings pretty well: Joshua 24:15 "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve. Whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Ammorites in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
LOVE YOU TONS, FAMILY!!!
October 31, 2009
October 2, 2009
So guess what? Yep, I learned something new!! Corn and green beans do MUCH better in our hot climate when planted the end of July (Pioneer Day)!! I tried an "experiment" and put "just a few beans" in this little patch of bed that I had cleared when a couple tomato plants died in the Spring.
Thursday I thought I'd take a look in our garden since the beans were starting to produce at the Community Garden. I was amazed!
This pile of beautiful beans came off our little patch of plants in one picking! And there are tons more coming on! I LOVE THIS!!! (By the way, our corn is great, too!)
September 22, 2009
Welcome to Family Home Evening ONLINE!!
1. When Christ was on the earth he established his church with the FOUNDATION OF TWELVE APOSTLES.
2. The truths of the gospel are supported by the foundation of the apostles. Some of the truths we know because of the gospel of Jesus Christ are:
a. The Godhead
b. The atonement of Jesus Christ
c. Families can be together forever
d. The plan of happiness
(these were some of the ones mentioned at OUR FHE...)
3. Within these truths can be found the first Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel: Faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; Repentance; Baptism by Immersion; the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
4. As we come to understand and accept these truths, we begin to develop a testimony. What are some of the things that we can do to help strengthen our testimony?
A. Read the scriptures
C. Attend our church meetings
5. As our testimonies grow, we come to understand the importance of having AUTHORITY, and having the keys to receive REVELATION . . .
. . . JESUS CHRIST leads his church today, through a living prophet, and 12 apostles, who have AUTHORITY and receive REVELATION for the world.
When Christ was crucified, the apostles were left to carry on. One by one, the apostles of the Lord were killed, and the truths, the authority of Jesus Christ were lost and there was a GREAT APOSTACY (falling away...or falling "down").
Gradually, people started seeking truth, and building up churches. Most contain SOME truth , but none of them have all of the truth AND the AUTHORITY from Jesus Christ.
Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet on the earth today! The Twelve Apostles are: Boyd K. Packer, L. Tom Perry, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, Joseph B. Wirthlin, Richard G. Scott, Robert D. Hales, Jeffrey R. Holland, David A. Bednar, Quentin L. Cook, and D. Todd Christofferson.
I am SO grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and through him ALL of the truths of Christ's church were restored. The authority to act in God's name (the Priesthood), was restored; there is a living prophet on the earth to day, President Thomas S. Monson. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It was translated by the power of God and is another witness and testament of Jesus Christ. I am SO thankful for living prophets and apostles. I'm grateful for divine revelation to our living prophet, and for personal revelation that we each are entitled to! I love my husband so very much! And I love every one of my children. I am grateful for the strength I feel from our family, for the love and support we feel for each other, and I really do LOVE MY JOB as a wife and mother!! In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
September 21, 2009
February 19, 2006
As I have spent time over at Julie's house helping with Scott, I have gotten a lot of scrapbooking done. I enjoy my time over there. As I have cooked and cleaned at different times I have found Julie and I are alike in many ways, but also different. I am very grateful for my "other sister" and her profound influence in my life.
One day as I opened her pantry door I noticed a quote on the inside. Funny...she puts her quotes on the inside of her door...I put mine on the outside. Similarities. Her pantry door is mostly open, mine is mostly closed. Differences.
Anyway, I loved the quote and felt it very important to share. One, because it's true; two because it's from a prophet of God; three because it's a good reminder.
"Your most important friendships should be with your own
brothers and sisters, and with your father and mother.
LOVE YOUR FAMILY
Be loyal to them. Have a genuine concern for them.
Pray for them.
Help carry their load."
-- Ezra Taft Benson
The day Aunt Linda graduated from high school she moved out of our home. (She and our parents had some major difficulties throughout her teenage years.) For the next couple of years I was very afraid for her. She had moved in with a girlfriend who wasn't very active in church, then Linda moved to San Francisco for awhile, living with my aunt and uncle. All the while I was worried about what she was doing with her life, and I CONSTANTLY prayed for her. I will never forget the feelings I had and prayer was the only way I could help. And it did.
I was thrilled when she decided to move up to Provo the second year I was there. It was a good change for her.
I'm sure I wasn't the only one praying for my sister. The important thing is that I was praying for my sister. I hope we will love each other. Be loyal to one another. Have genuine concern for our family. Pray for them, and help carry their load.
September 20, 2009
So, with everything I have going right now . . . Primary Program just finished, the Peanut Pulling Party (www.santaclaracommunitygarden.blogspot.com), Swiss Day's Parade, state-wide Piano Competition, rodeo stuff, and so on . . . I still have had time to THINK!
I've mentioned a little about "baby steps," taking things from the "minimum" angle so as not to defeat ourselves before we even get started. I've been re-motivated to do this with regards to weight loss, and I'm amazed at how it applies to everything.
As I've read more about the Kaizen method, I understand WHY it's so important to do very little things. I'll give you some examples:
"What's the smallest step I can take to be more efficient?"
"What can I do in five minutes a day to reduce my credit-card debt?"
"How could I find one source of information about adult education classes in my city?"
Each of these are small enough to bypass fear. This, in turn, allows the brain to focus on problem-solving and action.
Now, so you can see by example, what I'm talking about, I'll share with you MY four SIMPLE things I'm doing this month to help me reach my weight goals. Here they are:
1. Keep a mug (water bottle) with me all during the day. (I don't have to drink it, I just keep it with me...funny how such a small thing triggers bigger results...as I keep that water bottle with me, I'll drink more water, keep myself hydrated, probably reduce the times I mistake thirst for hunger, etc.)
2. I can eat whatever I want, but if it something that's probably not the BEST thing to be eating, I may eat THREE small to medium-sized bites. (This one sometimes feels like a deprivation, until I really start thinking about it...and 3 bites usually satisfies the craving!)
3. Eat with my non-dominant hand. (This one is probably the hardest because we eat so automatically. It takes a lot of remembering!!)
4. My Non-food goal is to do my AB video workout at least three times a week. This is easy since I've been doing it every weekday for about 4 weeks. But I wanted to make sure I gave myself some leeway so as not to "fail."
I hope you will find three or four "little" things you want to work on for the month, and see how this very small changes make a big difference!
September 14, 2009
March 1, 2009
I thought this was so well put that I would simply include it as it was written rather than filtering it. Hope it helps each of us understand ourselves better. Awareness is powerful!
AND THE AWARD GOES TO . . .
by Marci Shimoff
Does the idea of standing in front of a mirror and appreciating your positive qualities feel uncomfortable and stupid? It did to me—which was a sign that I really needed to try it.
I first learned this mirror exercise in 1990, when I took a week-long course from my mentor, Jack Canfield, on self-esteem. Jack assigned the exercise as homework every night, saying, "Make sure you do this behind a closed door so nobody walks by and thinks you’re crazy." Each night my roommate and I took turns going into the bathroom, shutting the door, and whispering sweet nothings to our reflections: "You’re kind." "You’re loyal." "You have a loving heart."
The first night, I felt like a California New Age woo-woo nutcase, but soon I experienced a rush of sadness; I was such an expert at judging myself—why was it so hard to say nice things?
With practice, it gradually became easier to list reasons to love myself: "You’re smart." "You go out of your way to help others." And so on. But the real power of this exercise came when I learned to express appreciation for myself for no reason—to look myself in the eye and simply love who I was, unconditionally.
If you’re like most people, consciously recognizing the positive about yourself may feel conceited. After all, we’re raised not to "toot our own horns." So we end up not giving ourselves credit or acknowledgment or even worse, beating ourselves up, which shuts down our hearts, contracts our energy, and decreases our happiness levels.
Doing the research for my book Happy for No Reason, I interviewed scores of scientists along with one hundred unconditionally happy people (I call them the Happy 100). One of the things I discovered is that truly happy people have a compassionate, encouraging, and validating attitude toward themselves. This isn’t arrogance or self-centeredness; it’s an appreciation and acceptance of who they are.
Learning to see the positive about yourself starts by changing your brain’s habit of focusing on your negative experiences and instead inclining your mind toward joy.
So today, begin registering your happy experiences more deeply-- consciously look for them. You can make it a game you play with yourself. Have the intention to notice everything good that happens to you: anything you see, feel, taste, hear or smell that brings you joy, a "win" you experience, a breakthrough, an a-ha, or an expression of your creativity—the list goes on and on.
This intention triggers the reticular activating system (RAS), a group of cells at the base of your brain stem responsible for sorting through the massive amounts of incoming information and bringing anything important to your attention. Have you ever bought a car and then suddenly starting noticing the same make of car everywhere? It’s the RAS at work. Now you can use it to be happier. When you decide to look for the positive, your RAS makes sure that’s what you see.
Adelle, one of the Happy 100, told me about a unique method she has for registering the positive. As she goes about her day, she gives away awards in her mind: the best-behaved dog award, the most colorful landscape design at a fast food drive-through award, the most courteous driver award. This keeps her alert to the beauty and positivity that is all around her. Charmed by this idea, I tried it myself. I liked it so much, I’ve been giving out these "Happiness Oscars," as I call them, ever since.
Once you notice something positive, take a moment to savor it consciously. Take the good experience in deeply and feel it; make it more than just a mental observation. If possible, spend around 30 seconds, soaking up the happiness you feel. If you want to accelerate your progress, take time every day to write down a few of your wins, breakthroughs, and things you appreciate about others—and about yourself.
September 6, 2009
January 16, 2005
Last week I talked about the "hardware" we are made of:
1. I am the son/daughter of our Heavenly Father;
2. He loves me unconditionally and completely;
3. He doesn't compare me to anyone else.
We need to remember the amazing "hardware" we have!! Now, if you have a way cool computer system, but have no software to run with the hardware, there is a problem. Or, if you have a bad or corrupted operating system, your hardware isn't going to perform well, if at all.
Let's say you go out and smoke a cigarette. The program you're running at that moment might be called "Rebellion 1.1" or "Curiosity 2.1" Initially it seems like a cool program. It might make you feel popular, or "in" with a certain group of friends or associates. It might make you feel like you don't stick out like you would if you said, "No, thanks." However, this software has some faulty programming in it and eventually you get awful signals...text messages that say, "You're such a jerk! I can't believe you'd go against God like that! You're an idiot to smoke. What would your PARENTS think if they knew?!?!" But then the program entices you back to smoke again. "You smoked once, so what's the big deal. It's not going to hurt to do it again. What would everyone say...since they know you smoke?!"
Around and around this program goes. And there are millions of programs out there just like it. They might be named things like: Negativity 1.0; Drinking 2.3; Questionable Jokes 5.0; Bad Language 3.1; Don't Have Time For Prayers 4.1; I'm Too Tired For Scripture Study 2.1, and so on.
However, there is a software program, if followed, that is perfect and will help us attain all that our Heavenly Father has in store for us. It's The Gospel Plan version 1.0.
Occasionally, when other "programs" are advertised and the newest and best thing around, The Gospel Plan version 1.0 can appear to be outdated, old fashioned, and not keeping up with the times. However, just as President Hinckley has pointed out in the January 2005 Ensign: "The Lord has given us counsel and commandment on so many things that no member of this Church need ever equivocate. He has established our guidelines concerning personal virtue, neighborliness, obedience to law, loyalty to government, observance of the Sabbath day, sobriety and abstinence from liquor and tobacco, the payment of tithes and offerings, the care of the poor, the cultivation of home and family, the sharing of the gospel—to name just a few."
If we will use the right "software program" – pursue a steady course in living the gospel in our own lives, the gospel standards will help us through all of the troubles and trials of the world, and we will emerge victorious.
We were just a little surprised when Mark and Andrea Wittwer knocked on our door saying there was a problem in the street... I went out and saw the asphalt mounded up like a small volcano just waiting to erupt, with lots of "fissures" leaking tons of murky red water.
I quickly called Barbara Salmon, who knew the right people to call. For the next several hours there were lots of people standing around watching, work crews literally "getting to the bottom" of the problem.
Dad and I moved the truck and suburban so as not to be in the way. It was the weirdest thing to see the suburban driving on MOVING asphalt!! That water was under the asphalt from the intersection by our house, down past McMullins house. We'll see if we start pumping lots of water in the next day or so...hope you like the pictures!! (Click on the pics to see the bigger version.)
September 5, 2009
October 31, 2004
Last night, as I sat out in my "Spider Woman" costume and handed out candy while kids and parents were very impressed with the giant spider on the lawn, I saw lots of different characters...some costumed, some not. There was only one teenager who came up to trick or treat without a costume on. I teased her a bit and told her "I don't get dressed up like this to give out candy to someone NOT in costume...come back next year with a costume and I'll give you some candy!" I heard her mother laughing, as they walked away with the younger kids, saying, "I told you so...you should have worn a costume!"
Right before I came in for the night (Dad had come out to start bringing things in), another memorable family came to get candy. The mom had stopped by the wall to help her little girl who had dropped her bag of candy. The dad came up, without a shirt on, pushing a stroller with a toddler in it. I couldn't believe he would be so immature as to go without a shirt (it was starting to get very cold!) to go trick-or-treating with his kids. After I put a candy in the child's pumpkin I casually asked the dad, "So, what's up with the no-shirt look?"
He meekly replied, "My baby was getting really cold so I wrapped him up in it..."
I glanced back at the stroller and, sure enough, there was the dad's shirt wrapped around his son.
I guess it was a good reminder not to be hasty in our judgments of others. . . . we might not know the whole story!
August 30, 2009
We bought a new video camera this past week...so be patient with me as I figure out how to use the darn thing!! I'll stick a few of the more memorable videos in here!
August 29, 2009
The other day I started cutting the wheat growing in the garden. At first I just cut a few shoots, stacked them, then cut some more. I realized it would take forever cutting like this, so I tied large bunches together with some twine and then whacked it off a couple inches from the ground. It was great! Already bundled, tied and ready to stack. As I continued through the bundling and cutting process, some analogies came to mind regarding the wheat and our lives. Just as the wheat is bundled together to give it more strength to stand up on its own, so are we "bundled" into families to give us strength and support. When the "threshing" time comes for wheat, where the bundles are banged on the floor to dislodge the wheat kernels, the bundling helps hold everything together, again giving strength so that the most kernels are able to be dislodged. As families we are much more able to withstand the "beating of the world" upon us, and are strengthened as we go through trials and struggles so that the most good can be brought out of us.
Lastly, I hope we are like the kernels of wheat, the good things that are brought forth that the Lord can use to accomplish his great work, rather than being like the tares (the grassy weed part that is left over from the wheat plants) that are good only to burn, or throw away, or compost!
Mom's Moment – Part Two (at dinner)
At church today Brother Partridge died. He stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating. However, Brother Schram was sitting right next to him, was able to do CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Bro. Partridge and "brought him back." It was Ward Conference and our Stake Presidency was there to witness the "miracle." When Scott and Julie got home from the hospital, they talked to the kids about the miracle that was not just one event, but a series of several events that most people don't know about.
If Scott had not seen Bro. Partridge and went to sit by him; if Scott had not been asked the week earlier to give the lesson in Priesthood would not have been there; if Scott wouldn't have been able to get to sleep the night before because of his severe headaches with the Multiple Sclerosis; if Julie would not have called at 1:30 a.m. (Scott said "You can't call in the middle of the night!" Julie said "Yes, I can call Patrice!!"), but neither Dad nor I heard the phone. However, I did hear Dallin's alarm go off at 1:30 a.m. for Dallin to go to the bathroom. But Dallin didn't go into the bathroom, so I got up to check on him. While he was using the bathroom I waited in the hallway by his door and noticed the flashing red light on the answering machine. There was no message, so I checked the caller ID, saw Schram's number on there, so I called back, said "Yes, I've got some Lortab", Heidi came over and got it and was able to take it to her father, which knocked off the pain enough that he could get to sleep, be rested enough to be at church to teach the Priesthood lesson, to sit by Bro. Partridge during the priesthood opening, to give the care that was needed to revive Bro. Partridge. We are grateful for all the "little things" that led to the "big thing!"
August 27, 2009
Here's what he did:
Placed chocolate kisses all over her bed, then led a trail from her room into the bathroom...
The note said: NOW THAT I'VE "KISSED" THE GROUND YOU WALK ON, AND "SHOWERED" YOU WITH FLOWERS, WILL YOU GO TO HOMECOMING WITH ME?
(He didn't sign the note or anything...but in one of the kisses he had previously opened it, put a VERY small piece of pink paper inside with his name on it, re-wrapped it, and set it out with the others. We're not sure how long it took her to find the right kiss, but she finally did. She is SO excited to go and loved how he asked her. Hurray!)
Then he filled the tub with water, and floated flower petals on the water, and hung a bouquet of flowers from the shower head. He attached a note to the flowers...
August 22, 2009
Anyway, thought you'd enjoy seeing some of the pics I managed to get after the game...
August 17, 2009
We spent the night at Kim Clinger's place in West Jordan, close to Jordan Landing. We sure appreciated her hospitality and getting to visit with her a bit, although it wasn't nearly long enough!
Friday morning we left for the wedding festivities...
There was a simple, but nice, wedding breakfast at a church pavillion in Pleasant Grove. Nice to get together BEFORE the sealing, no big expense, and fun to visit and meet Geoff's family.
Bonnie made a beautiful bride and everything seemed to go so well. It was fun to be a part of the festivities, and to be reminded of how important these eternal ties are.
AND it was nice to be with Michele for a minute or two!