Monday, March 31, 2008


I just had to share something I read in Reader's Digest today.

"My husband had an eye infection that was diagnosed as ocular herpes. His physician wasn't about to let him live that one down. 'So Fred,' he joked, 'been looking for love in all the wrong places?'"

I guffawed, I tell you.

Being humbled

I am being humbled. I was just talking to Larry last night about change. I was asking him how he has done it. In the past, I have seen him muscle through change, and I have been amazed at how he has accomplished it. So I asked him, how do you do it? What is the thought process? How can I change the many things I need to change? He said two words: "Be humble."


I never thought of that.

You may think I am speaking tongue-in-cheek, but unfortunately I am not. My mind immediately went to Ether 12:27:

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness."

I see the weakness, or should I say weaknesses. But I never saw the first part--when we see our weakness that has come become we are drawing nearer to Him. That is comforting, isn't it? Kind of like a silver-lining sort of thing. Now to go on:

"I give unto men weakness that they may be humble;"

OK--so there is a purpose in this weakness thing. Not wallowing, but humbling. I remember someone once said that you can tell a lot about yourself if, when faced with a trial, you feel humbled or you feel humiliated. Humbled means you have faith, humiliated means you are a lone wolf, trying to save yourself.

"and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me;"

When we choose to be humble and ask for help, we get it. We let Him know that we know we are not lone wolves and that He is the most important part of the change cycle because He lifts us. His belief in us goes a long way in helping us to believe in ourselves.

"for if they humble themselves before, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Double WOW. There is the promise. The payoff for being humble. It is miraculous to me to know that the greatest challenges we have can become our greatest strengths. I know this is true, but not often enough for my taste. I guess that is all up to me--the "humble themselves" and "have faith in me" parts are my choice and privilege.

Case in point: I have never been a decisive person. I am a second-guessing, full-of-regretting, good-at-fretting, ask-everyone-their-opinion, change-my-mind-with-every-gust-of-wind kind of girl. But I made a very important decision once that absolutely changed my life for the better. It was a painful time, full of fear and doubt. But I hunkered down (after months of lone-wolfing it), called upon God in humility for help, and believed. Only after that was I able to make a decision and feel GREAT about it. I have never regretted that decision (ever), and that is HUGE for me. I know I did what I wanted, and it also pleased the Lord. That decision I made is a strength to me everyday. Weak things DID become strong for me. Ether was right!!

So why do I fight being humbled? Because it isn't fun. That brings me to another point. Life isn't always fun. Did I think it would be? Being a mom is tough. Did I think it would all be bon-bons and storytime? Didn't I realize there would be temper tantrums and spilled milk? Lies and sassiness? "Was this what I was born to do?"

I must say I have been blindsided by motherhood. But it is my own fault. I have always been a little bit too romanticized for real life. I must have thought that I would just become a wonderful mother without even preparing or even trying. Aren't we, as women, supposed to have untapped reservoirs of patience and love and wisdom that just bubble up when we get married and have families? What is wrong with me?

I didn't dream of having a family. I dreamed of having a career and doing amazing things. Don't get me wrong, I knew I would be a mom and have a family, it just wasn't what I dreamed about. I didn't even dream about my Prince Charming or my wedding day. That was all part of the deal, but it wasn't my aspiration. Now my aspirations are to have a peaceful home, far from being a brain surgeon or an attorney. (Deep down I really didn't want to do any of those things, I just wanted to be something and have people admire me. Yikes, that makes me sound so shallow, but it is the truth.)

However, the people I admire are those with talents that don't always show. Those people with quiet kindness, thoughtfulness, patience and love are the people I want to be like. I don't want the accolades of the working world anymore, I just want to be able to love and help my family. I am woefully ill-equipped for being a selfless mom. I think I never outgrew the self-centeredness of my teen years.

So, I am being humbled. Humbled for not preparing adequately for the challenges of my life. Yet, lest you think I am hopeless, I didn't say humiliated. I have faith that I can still make a difference in my family's life. My kids aren't totally doomed, yet! :) I love my family--every one of them. Each person is different, with individual talents and quirks. And I am in this mothering thing for the long haul. I am learning to have joy in the journey. One smile at a time. One hug at a time. I am definitely being humbled, but that just means I am becoming more like Him. Like a chunk of rock, I am being refined. I have decided that I am very dross-y, but that is ok. It will take me longer, but I will one day be a shining piece of gold. It is already inside of me, I just have to get rid of the stuff that keeps me from shining. Like President Eyring said the other night, I need to go toward the light, not away from it. Then one day I will be filled with light. I can't wait!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My challenge

When President Hinckley passed away, I decided to accept a challenge that I was offered: to read the Book of Mormon in 97 days. I remember thinking during the first week that this would be a piece of cake. I remember thinking one particular night, "Why wouldn't I just read 5 pages a day? What could keep me from doing this?" Well, I can't even begin to recite how many things can keep me from reading 5 pages a day. Needless to say, there are many!

What I need to say is how blessed I am when I read. Just yesterday morning, I got up at 4:30 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. So about 5:30 I decided to read in the Book of Mormon. I read for almost an hour, but I think I might have read just one chapter. I was in Mosiah 4 (a treasure trove of Christian teaching from King Benjamin), so that explains why I could read so little for so long. I've tried to internalize what I read as I go along and that takes time, which I am grateful to spend.

As I read about the people who saw their flaws and were sad about them, I could totally relate. I often have mini-pity parties about the flaws which are so present in my character. But I saw what the Nephites did and noticed a difference from what I usually do. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, they cried to the Lord for help. They cried for mercy. They didn't try to gloss over their nothingness, they accepted it and wanted help to move forward. What a great example of faith. It takes faith to move from "I'm such a mess" to "I can do better". We need to believe that we can change. That is where the Savior comes in. He believes in me. He believes that I was worth dying for. If He had thought that we would not take advantage of His atonement, would He have done it? Wouldn't it just have been in vain? Why go through that much pain and sorrow for no reason? But He had a reason. Us. You and me. He knew we could find strength in His suffering. He knew this strength could help me change. He knew that I could do it. Even if I don't know I can, I can look to His faith in me and be comforted. So often I feel I cannot surmount the challenges I face. I have bad habits; I have no willpower; I delight in sin; I cannot forsake my sins. It is a hopeless place to be. But He hopes I will look to Him and take solace in His faith in me. That is the only way to success. Maybe failure isn't failure at all if I keep trying. The only lasting failure will be if I don't change and grow into the person I can become. The day-to-day failures can one day be overcome if I don't give up. This is what the atonement does for me--it gives me hope that Someone far greater than me and far wiser believes in me. Even when I don't or I can't, He does. And that makes a difference. A huge difference. The beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that He doesn't want me to stay a child--He wants me to become more--even a queen! There is nothing threatening to Him about my becoming like Him. Just as there should be nothing threatening about my children becoming more than I am. That is why we were created--to fulfill our eternal potential. He has given us the tools--scriptures, prophets, ordinances, temples, families, prayer. Now it is up to me to find the treasures in them that will change my life.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My new favorite groove!

Well, if I was cool like so many of you, I would actually provide a hyperlink to this person's music. However, I find that it is amazing to me that I even know the aforementioned term!

So, Michael Buble is my new favorite singer. Think Frank Sinatra for a different generation. I love Michael's rich voice, and I love singing and dancing around the kitchen while I do the dishes. I could listen to him ad nauseum (and do)!

Also, he kind of reminds me of my bro-in-law.

And, an added bonus--he's a Canuck! I bet he even watches Corner Gas! (all the cool people do, you know!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Long, long ago...

I last blogged.

Seriously, I know am slacking. But I thought I would post tonight because I felt too guilty reading everyone else's posts. How do you all do it? I seem to be a feast-or-famine blogger. Oh well!

It has been an interesting few days. We got "realigned" to a new church congregation last week, and so now we get to start at square one. Not that I am complaining, I actually like the clean-slate feeling. Now I can have another chance to be a 100% visiting teacher! Why is that always my first thought? Obviously I feel guilty about my past performance, eh?

But my real thoughts are centered right now on consequences and service. Not really two-of-a-kind, right? Well, hear me out. I am learning that the choices we make in life have consequences (duh!). However, often we don't know what those consequences will be until long after we have made the choice. We may think we can coast and not do hard things, but there is always a consequence for choosing the "easy way". This past weekend I saw some consequences in my own life because I was coasting along, not wanting to make tough changes. It made me sad, but I didn't have anyone to blame but myself. I have been thinking a lot about future consequences I don't want to have in my life, and trying to make better choices. I think deep down inside I am actually pretty wimpy. I don't embrace change. Rather, I run from it kicking and screaming. (emphasis on the screaming part :) But I am learning that I don't want to be a 60-year-old who is woefully immature and selfish. I don't even want to be a 35-year-old who is that way! So I guess I just have to bite the bullet and grow up!

The other part of my thoughts centers on service. As a person trying to become more Christ-like, I know I need to serve others (most especially my family). But it doesn't always come naturally. I have to prepare to serve. Everyday I need to be ready to do something more than I think I can. I am often reminded of a talk by Henry B. Eyring who said that he had the opportunity to learn Spanish from his father who (I think) grew up in the Colonies in Mexico. He didn't take advantage of it at the time, and then learned later that it was a poor choice he had made. He was not prepared to serve in certain capacities because he had made that choice. That made a huge impression on him, and obviously on me as well. What opportunities am I afforded each day? Am I taking advantage of my agency to choose the good and prepare myself to serve? Am I taking the easy way out, and will I be sorry later for that choice?

Don't get me wrong, I am not feeling all doom and gloom. I don't think that life is always a grind. I just think that doing hard things is hard for a time. It is always hard to start an exercise program, or an ambitious program of study or learning. But most of the time it does get easier over time as we grow accustomed to doing it. Then I believe it can even become a joy. (Boy, I will love the day when running becomes a joy to me!) I have experienced that with obedience. It is hard, even confining at first, and then you grow to love that rule or whatever you have obeyed. I can do hard things. I just have to remember that it is worth it! Someday, I will be prepared to serve in a way that I can't right now. Maybe, like Esther, I will be in a place and time designed specifically for what i can do and offer. And maybe that time is now, with my family. And maybe that preparation is me feasting each day on the scriptures and my relationship with Deity, and doing all I can to be my best.

So, the bottom line for me is CARPE DIEM! Do today what I can to be the woman I want to become.