Monday, September 16, 2013

Tell Them About It!

When you think good things about someone, it is good to tell them!

One year I made it my goal to do this.  I was going to tell people when I noticed something good they did, or when something they said made a difference to me.  I wasn't perfect at it, but it made me more aware of how often there are things to admire about people, and how often they make a difference for good in my life.

Sometimes I would tell them in person, right when I noticed.  Other times I would write a note.  Here is the story of one of those times.

I had a friend who, I think, shared a testimony that was particularly meaningful to me, and so I sent her a note, thanking her.  She liked the note, and it arrived at a time when she felt she needed it, and so she, in turn, sent me a thank you note.  This happened to arrive on one of those days where I was feeling lonely and I was thankful for the reminder that people do care about me!  I benefited both from her testimony that prompted my note, and from the note she sent in return.  In trying to point out the good she had done, I am the one who, I feel, benefited the most!

I always enjoy knowing when I manage to do something well, or something that benefits someone.  I have found that it is just as rewarding to notice the good in the people around me, and to tell them about it! 

*photo from Google Images

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dan's First Grade Writing Book

Dan can fly so so fast!  He always saves the day!  He is so so so so awesome!
I was helping Dan and Jake clean their room today and I snuck Dan's first grade writing, handwriting, and spelling books out to recycle.  However, I do not want to lose some of the things he wrote and so I am going to put them here.  I'll just put the question the teacher asked and my best guess at a translation of his writing. 

Do you like to ride in an elevator?
Yes I do like the that part.  It is too fun.  I also like the seats.  They are comfy.

What do you like to eat?
I like to eats chips that are spicy

If you could be in a race as any animal what would you be and why?
A bunny because they hop fast and high.

If you could plant a garden what would you grow?
I would plant a watermelon apple(?) 

What would you do if you could stay awake all night?
I would look for bad guys.

If you could get messy what would you get messy in?
I would jump in mud.

How do you like to dance?
I like to shake my head and my hips and I like to hit my legs.

What would you do if there was a large pile of leaves and why?
I would jump in them and make a tunnel.

What weather do you like?
I like rain because we get to play in the puddles? my next favorite is snow!

Tell me about your birthday
I had a birthday cake and presents?  I had a robot cake.  One car set and two robots?  I like my birthday!

Where do you like to sleep?
In a bed den.  I know what.  Because my bed would be in there and my family would be there and there would be lights.

Do you like trees?
I like trees because!  We can make a tree house and I would sleep there with a door.

Do you like soccer?  Why?
Ya I love soccor Bececse we can win and you can cick a boll and Do you like soccor! (I used his spelling this time)

What foods do you like?
I like pizza because all the sauce and I like pickles because that tastes like pizza.

Would you like a pet bear?
Yes you bet ya!  Because I could throw him in the snow.

What sea animal is best?
I love jelly fish?  Because jelly fish rool!  And boys rool. (they rule, but I like his spelling)

Would you like to go into space?
Yes I would good!  Because you could float.

Who is your hero?
My Mom is My hero.  Because she helped me from grawdning. (Grounding?  Gardening?)

What seasons do you not like?
I do not like winter.  Because it is so, so, cold and it freezes my legs.

Do you like to help people?
Yes I do yes!  Because it's fun!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9 / 11 / 2001 -- My Memories

This morning I came out of my room all sleepy eyed, and with a fun amount of bed head, to see my two high school students looking like they were ready to attend church, not head to high school.  I, not even knowing what day it was, asked why they were dressed up.  They said, "It's 9 / 11".  Ah, how proud I am of the high school students who not only honor this day by dressing up, but have been known to dress up to show support of classmates, or other people they are aware of who are having a hard time.  I want to write for them what I remember, and what I learned from a day that was very hard for every good person in our country.

Twelve years ago today I was four months pregnant with Jake.  I had three little girls who went off to elementary school, and I had Connor, who was two, and as cute as can be.  Derek was running late and was home still, and I, wearing my lovely white with pink floral maternity nightgown, was doing laundry.  The phone rang, which was a bit unusual for an early morning, but not unheard of.  I answered to hear my Mom, sounding upset.  She told me that I needed to turn on the television -- there had been a terrorist attack on our country.

I cry just to write the words.  I turned on the television, and Derek and I watched for a while before he headed to work.  Then I sat down, and spent my day watching the planes crash into those towers over, and over, and over again.  I saw the buildings fall multiple times, I watched in horror as people ran screaming, knowing that others didn't have time to run.  I heard tragic stories, and heroic ones.  I have no recollection of doing anything else that day.  I must have cared for Connor.  I had to have eaten.  I probably did more laundry, but when Derek got home he found me where he had left me, in a chair, with eyes sore from crying, watching the buildings fall.

Derek took the remote gently from my hands, and told me that I had seen enough.  He flipped through channels until he found the perfect thing for me -- the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing hymns of faith.  For the first time since I had sat in the chair, I could feel a peace covering me.  Heavenly Father would care for those who were gone, and those who are left behind.  Hard things can bring growth, and strength. 

For a while the country enjoyed a unity that is often missing.  We may not agree with our fellow countrymen, but they are OUR countrymen!  Flags flew constantly, and I couldn't drive around town without seeing them, and remembering.  I would feel sad for what had happened, and thankful for the wonderful nation that we are blessed with, and the good people who are in it.

I do not think I will ever forget the emotions of that day, and flags still remind me of the unity that an awful act brought as people forgot differences, and tried to help.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Can Do Hard Things

I have occasionally had days that seemed so bad to me that I prayed that Heavenly Father would send someone to my rescue.  I wanted help right then.  I just wanted a friend to drop by, or someone to call me.  I felt like I needed help to get through the day.  And nobody came.  Nobody called.  I was left to wonder, "Why?"  Was nobody listening to promptings?  Did nobody care about me?  Or was there another answer?  Thankfully, I have not wondered whether or not Heavenly Father cared, because I know that He does, but sometimes people do wonder that.  Why?  Why did nobody come to the rescue right when I thought I needed it?  And why does our loving Heavenly Father let us have bad days without sending a friend to help?

At the end of hard days of wishing for rescue, this is the conclusion I reached; if I never had to handle things that are really hard for me, I would never know what I am capable of.  Making it through hard days, like the ones I experienced, helped give me confidence that bad days end, and that I can endure until such a time as the rescue does arrive.  Sometimes there are multiple bad days, or even really hard things that no person can really rescue us from.  The hard things that we have handled before, can help us to have the courage to handle the hard things now, and in the future.  Heavenly Father was allowing me to trust Him, and His timing, and to learn to trust that I can do hard things.

*Photo from

Friday, September 6, 2013

Let it Go

I have been blessed to be surrounded by really great people throughout my life, and have not had to forgive much because I have been treated so well.  However, I think everyone gets some practice at this!  There was one time when I was put on the spot in front of other people.  I was being asked to do something that I thought was not right, or fair, by someone that I thought should have known better.  I was angry at the awkward situation I was put in, and perhaps I was angry because I didn't think of what I "should" have said until later!

Now, in this situation, there was no real harm done, but I was hurt, and upset.  I lost sleep stewing over it.  Should I do something?  Should I say something?  Why?  Why would they do that when they surely knew it was not the right thing to do?  I talked to Derek about it and his advice was simple.  "Let it go."  But I was right!  I was so sure I was right! 

Somehow or another I did let that go, and over time I came to realize that this person that I thought should know better, was doing what they thought was best.  I still don't agree that it was best, but I believe they wouldn't have done what they did unless they thought it was right.  Most often, people are trying to do what is right, or to help; and yet, even if they are not, Derek's advice is still good.  "Let it go."

God's judgments will be just, and we do not need to hold on to our anger to make sure that God is aware that someone did a bad thing to us.  He knows, and we can trust Him.  I am so thankful for the gift of forgiveness!  Holding on to anger feels awful, and it is best to let it go!  

*Picture from Google Images by Melissa Feifer 2012

Thursday, September 5, 2013

For Times of Trouble

This is the title to Elder Holland's new book, which I haven't read, and the video that comes with it, which I have been able to watch thanks to the generosity of my parents-in-law.  I really enjoy listening to Elder Holland any time, and these are some of the notes I took while watching the video.

*When talking about trusting God, Elder Holland quoted someone who said, "Everybody can have what they want, or something better." (If they trust God and do His will).

*In times past Israel was always instructed to flee Babylon.  We are no longer asked to flee, but to plant our feet, and attack Babylon. (Babylon not being the actual city.  Babylon represents "the world", in opposition to the Kingdom of God).

*Romans 8:31 "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

*Persevere.  Carry on.  At least keep trying.  Persevering may be better than any virtue, because if we persevere, we'll get the other virtues.

*This life is the only game where the score is already recorded (Satan is beaten by the atonement of Jesus Christ), and we're still trying to find out who is on which team.

*Trap:  God must not love me if I suffer.
Truth:  God's Son Jesus suffered more than anyone, and God loved him!  Many prophets have suffered, and they were loved by God.  There is something at work in suffering that is exalting.

*When you don't know the answer to a question, cling to what you do know.  God is loving, kind, and merciful.

*We are duty bound to be cheerful.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Power of Imagination

Every now and then I get stuck -- not physically, but mentally.  I am stuck in a grouchy mood, or stuck with a problem I don't know how to solve.  It really isn't fun being stuck unless you happen to be stuck in the house with a good book, or some other more pleasant scenario.  Fortunately I have a friend who taught me to visualize, or think through, or, in other words, to imagine.

For example, there was a night when I was lying in bed and I was upset.  I couldn't seem to get past something that happened that day.  I tried to imagine what my problem would look like to me if it were a picture and all I could come up with was darkness.  I felt trapped in darkness with no way out.  Now, for me, it helps to pray, and imagine.  I prayed and told Heavenly Father that I was feeling upset, and that I felt like I was surrounded by darkness and I needed His help. 

One thing I have learned is that when I have a problem, it really helps to think it through for myself, even if the problem is something as vague sounding as "I am feeling surrounded by darkness".  What am I asking for?  What am I hoping Heavenly Father will do?  Well, the obvious solution to being surrounded by darkness is that a little light will get through!  So that is what I asked for.  I asked Heavenly Father to please send me a little bit of light to penetrate that darkness.  I imagined Him doing it, and almost immediately He answered my prayer with a flood of thankful memories that helped me let go of whatever had happened that day that had upset me, and the darkness was gone.

I did not solve my own problem, but using my imagination to try to help define the problem and imagine a solution, helped me to believe, and to have faith that there really was something that could be done to help me.  Often as I go through the process of imagining a solution to a problem, the Lord helps me to know what to do!

Nothing is ever invented without being imagined first, and problems are easier to solve if you can imagine a solution!  There really is great power in imagination.  If we imagine something is hopeless, it may be that it is.  But, if we imagine that same something has a solution, we are likely, one day, to find it.

*Picture from Google Images