Thursday, September 27, 2018

Lightening Those Burdens Before You Break

We have two peach trees in our yard.  Years ago when I was new to having fruit trees and growing fruit I neglected to thin my peaches when they were little.  One day when the peaches were almost ready to harvest I went outside to find that a major branch had broken off, taking with it a large number of peaches.  It was a devastating loss, and the tree has never completely recovered on that side where the branch broke.

Ever since then I thin my peaches, and when the peaches grow large, just before they are ready to harvest, I walk around and prop up any branches that might look heavily weighed down.  My husband made these wonderful branch supports out of wood specifically for this purpose.  They give the tree support so it can bear the weight of the heavy fruit without the branches breaking.

At times in my life I have felt like my peach trees in the fall, heavily weighed down and feeling like some of the branches of my life may break under the weight.  In order to prevent this from happening, I have learned the hard way to get some support.  Not being a tree, the wooden kind of support would be of no use, lol!  Humans need a completely different kind of support when life feels heavy!

What kind of support does a human need when life feels heavy and we fear we may not be able to bear the weight of our burdens?  I have had to actually reason this out in my mind and then actively seek the support I needed.  For me this came in 3 forms.  First was the support that came from sharing.  Somehow telling the right person about the burden, someone who is willing to listen and seek to understand, helps lighten the load.  Pick this support carefully.  You don't want to unload and have someone else carrying your burden.  A good support person knows how to listen and is able to do so without taking on your weight themselves.  Miraculous how this works!  And so I found the right one or two people to share my weighted life with.  It lightened my load.

Another form of support that has worked well for me is turning to my higher power.  When I do this, when I tell all my worries and burdens to my higher power and then sit still and listen and feel, burdens can be lifted and replaced by great peace.  That is a promise.  There is no better support.

My third and final form of support was to write.  Sometimes journaling is an excellent support.  Another form of writing is what I call "write and burn".  It gets that negative, stressed, worried energy out of your body and onto the paper.  I chose to write everything that was hard.  When I had written all that I could think of, I took the paper outside, read it out loud so the energy went out into the air, then crumpled up the paper and burned it in a pie tin.  As I watched that paper burning I envisioned my worries evaporating with the smoke from the flames.  When nothing was left but ashes I imagined the same was true of my burdens.  This unusual tool works wonders!

Three forms of support! I cannot change my situation, but I can change how I feel about it, whether or not I am weighed down by it, and what I do about it.  I can take steps to keep from breaking under the weight.

Is there something in your life that is weighing heavily upon you?  What is so heavy that you worry you will break?  Be honest with yourself about what you need.  Do not sit there and hope someone will come to support you.  You must actively work to put supports in place for yourself, whether it be seeking out a safe support person, talking to your higher power, getting your feelings out on paper, journaling, or some other way, get the positive support you need.  It will make a huge difference.
The weight of the burden is lifted.  The support makes the weight bearable, which makes all the difference!

Monday, July 16, 2018

I Know Why I'm Here, Do You?

Last week I shared with you that I had finally figured out why I am here and how I am to be changed by my brush with death in April.  I promised to share that answer with you this week.  As I do, please keep in mind that this answer is tailored for me.  Each of our answers to this same question might be different, just as we are all different and unique.  I am simply sharing with you my friends, in hopes of inspiring you to find your own answers to these questions:

"Why am I here?" 
"How should my life be different going forward?"

As I told you in my last blog, my answer came suddenly and unexpectedly after weeks of searching and asking.  I will tell you up front that my answer is not an all-inclusive map for the rest of my life, simply an answer at the moment of what I need to do, and how to spend my energy.   And so I share what is deep in my heart.  Here goes:

I am still here because......God wants me to learn more, grow more, teach more, be a light to others, be a help to others.  Basically be a drop in the bucket to make the world a better place.

How am I to be different because of my experience? Perhaps I can answer this best by describing my perspective shift.  I used to get up in the morning with a list of things I needed to do that day.  Then I would pray and ask God what did he want me to do that day?  It was my day, but I was willing to do something for God during it. I would add it to my list, and work to accomplish everything on my list for that day.  I almost never got it all done, and sometimes the thing I felt prompted about didn't happen either.

Now I get up in the morning and realize it is a gift just to be here and alive, a gift God did not have to give me.  My day is His, not my own.  I pray and ask Him how He would like me to use the gift he has given me today.  I listen closely and intently for direction.  I write it down.  I make it my top priority, even if it is something that will be done later in the day.  It is my main objective.  I then fill in with the everyday things that we all do to keep life moving along. 

In the past my day used to be about accomplishing tasks.  Now my day is about doing whatever God prompts me to do, and it is so much more meaningful. Contrast this last Monday for example.  What felt meaningful to do was take my son to lunch, spend time listening to another child, and get direction about what to teach at a rehab center.  Contrast that with times past where my main goals for a Monday would have been to do laundry, mow the lawn, and figure out meals for the week.  What is more meaningful at the end of the day?  I want no regrets.  Do I still have to do laundry, mow, and figure out menus?  Of course!  But they are not the focus of my day that gives my life meaning.  Building relationships, meeting needs, being a light to whomever I can - these are the new focus of my day that gives my life meaning.

If you are asking yourself these same questions, and looking for meaning in your life - spend some time looking for the answers.  Sometimes it takes a while to get them, but be persistent.  You don't need to almost lose your life to wake up and do something more meaningful.  Learn from my experience and find that greater joy now.  The answers are inside of you.  Like I shared last week, you can coax them out, you just have to want it bad enough to spend the energy hunting.

Monday, July 9, 2018

How Answers Come

Answers to questions we are searching for in our lives come in many different forms and in a variety of timetables.  Some answers come through meditation and pondering, some through research, some through prayer, or a combination of these.  Sometimes answers come quickly.  Others take years.

Since my carbon monoxide accident in April I have been searching for the answer to the question of "why am I still here?".  I wrote in one of my recent blogs that "All the thoughts and emotions inside of me are like a large pile of tangled yarn in front of me that I feel compelled to unravel, as though I can't really do anything else until that is sorted out."  In my mind I have been trying to untangle this pile of yarn that is  my life for the past nine weeks.  I have been trying to figure out how my life is to be different because of this experience, for truly all experiences change us in one way or the other.  As I was walking with a friend on Friday we were talking about my experience.  She asked me if I had figured out why I am still here and how I am changed.  As I began to talk, the answer came to me.  So strange!  Would you believe that I did not know the answer until I said it?  I have been pondering on this for weeks, and suddenly, in the moment, the answer comes.  It was as though my brain had the answer all along, but didn't reveal it until I opened my mouth and let it out.  In an instant what my subconscious brain knew became public knowledge to my consciousness!  I have had this happen before, but not in such a dramatic way.

You have probably heard the idea that all the answers to everything we ever need are within us.  This thought is taught by many of the great thinkers of our time, as well as times past.  I believe it, and yet I had not experienced it, at least not in such a stark way.  Life coaches and therapists are excellent examples of this theory.  They listen to their clients, and ask questions, but do not provide solutions or answers.  They help their clients coach the answers out from inside themselves.  How is this possible?  I don't know.  I just know that it is.   Meditation and pondering, and prayer to a higher power are major ways to coach answers from inside us to become public to our own consciousness.  Talking through the dilemmas and questions in our lives is another way.

What questions are you seeking in your life right now?  Do you believe the answer lies within you, or that your higher power will lead you to it?  There is no need to trust me or anyone else, but simply put it to the test.  Try one of the following:

-Pray and ask for direction, then be quiet and listen not with your ears but with your heart and soul.  Keep a paper and pen close by to write down any thoughts that come.

-Meditate.  This may involve a prayer to start it, then sitting in a relaxed position with eyes closed and mind clear of all but the question.  Keep a paper and pen close by to write down any thoughts that come.

-Pondering.  Pondering is different than meditating in that instead of clearing your mind except for a single thought you are actively thinking about your question and possible solutions, like trying to solve a puzzle.  Keep a paper and pen close by to write down any thought that come.

 - Talking it out.  This can be with another person, or even just with yourself.  I have a friend who literally thinks out loud, often as she is walking around outside her house.  This does not look as strange as it used to since blue tooth earpieces have been invented, lol!  She is actually able to get a lot of clarity and direction by talking out loud.  If you know someone who is a good listener, spending time talking with them can be a great way to find answers.  Keep a paper and pen close by to write down any thoughts that come.

Whatever way you choose to search for answers to your question, know that given time and patience,  answers will come.  They may come by inspiration, pondering, meditating or talking, but they will come.  You just have to be willing to hunt for them.


p.s.  Stay tuned for my next blog to find out WHY I am still here and HOW my life is to be different.



Sunday, June 24, 2018

Resilience

Have you ever noticed that the pansy flower is one of the very few flowers that you can plant in the fall and it will live throughout the winter and bloom in the spring and into the summer.  The flower itself looks very fragile and delicate yet it can weather the harsh and cold winter like almost no other annual flower can.

Last year I planted pansies in a planter by my front door.  I had not planted them in the fall before, and because they were close by I watched what they did throughout the winter and into the warm season.

I noticed that the flowers did not grow in the winter, but neither did they freeze and die.  They kept their heads bent, stayed low to the ground and waited out the winter.  When spring came they put their little heads up and began to grow and thrive again.  And what came was beautiful!




I have been thinking about how we are like these wonderful plants that can withstand so much.

When I had my near-fatal carbon monoxide accident 2 months ago today I was so glad to survive.  Strangely though, the experience put me into a winter of sorts.  I felt stopped in my tracks, as though I needed to just hunker down and survive.  I stopped working on goals, stopped reading, stopped blogging, stopped doing things I normally love.  I stopped growing.  I needed to just put my head down, survive, and live through the storm of physical and emotional winter that had hit my life.

Now I feel like it is beginning to be spring again.  I feel like I am starting to put my head up, feel the sun's warmth again, and start growing and blooming into who I am supposed to be again.

We all have times in our lives when everything is warm and sunny as well as times when it feels like the dark cold of winter, and it is all we can do to hunker down and weather life's harsh cold storms.

Remember that the spring always comes again sooner or later to warm up our lives and help us bloom into what we are intended to be.  Keeping that hope alive during the winters in our lives makes all the difference.  Spring will come.  It always does eventually.







Wednesday, May 9, 2018

I Can Only Imagine

It has been two weeks since my brush with death.  Three days before that my husband and I went to see the movie "I Can Only Imagine".   In part, the lyrics to the theme song go:

"Surrounded by your glory what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you Jesus, or in awe of you be still?
Will I stand in your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah?  Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine.  I can only imagine."

I almost got to experience that rather than imagine it.  I almost got to answer the questions in the song. 

In the days since the carbon monoxide accident I have spent a lot of time thinking about and appreciating all the things I almost never got to do again; things like snuggling up in my bed in a comfortable position, feeling the carpet under my feet and walking through my house.  I almost never again got to again kiss my husband or lay on his chest and listen to his heart beat as I drift off to sleep.  I almost never again got to experience in this life hugging each of my children and grandchildren and telling them that I love them.  I didn't know that I could've been finished; that all the projects I was in the middle of, the books I was reading and planned to read would never get finished.  I almost never again got to watch another movie, sit on my front porch, plant and water flowers, go to my favorite cupcake place, open a fridge, feel hungry or cook.  I almost never again got to listen to the noisy fan in my bedroom that keeps me cool at night, and all the other things that suddenly in a heartbeat I was almost permanently done doing and would never experience again.  I had just come up with a great new plan to give each weekday a theme.  I was very excited about it.  I had only done it for 2 days.  I almost never got to try out the whole week.

Laying out on the driveway with the paramedics around me, I had no idea how close my brush with death was.  I thought I just needed to get some fresh air and I would be fine.  It wasn't until later when I could think clearly again that I could see the sequence of events that had to play out just right in order for me to still be here.  I was shocked by the reality of how close I had actually come to leaving this life.  It would be a painless way to die really.  You just get dizzy and tired and go to sleep.  The drawback is you don't get to say goodbye.

Why have I been preserved?  Why am I here when others who have experience my same exact thing have not been preserved?  I have been given a second chance at life, and I need to figure out why and do what I've been left here to do. 

When something like this happens everyone is shocked, and then relieved, and then then life moves on.  Life goes back to normal as though it hadn't happened.  For the person it happens to, it is different.  I was shocked.  I am relieved.  I plan to move on.  I don't wish to be stuck. 

I hope to move on permanently changed by this experience.  I hope to move forward with a fresh perspective on the meaning of life and my role in it.  But at the moment, my brain can't really take in all that has happened and what it all means.  All the thoughts and emotions inside of me are like a large pile of tangled yarn in front of me that I feel compelled to unravel, as though I can't really do anything else until that is sorted out.  And so I give myself permission to have time and space to do that.  I give myself permission to not finish my self-help book, not plant a vegetable garden for the first time ever, not focus on my goals for a while, not push myself.  Just sit.  Just sit and figure out why I am here.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

My Almost Last Day

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 was my almost last day.  It started out differently than normal.  During the night I had dreamed that my dad had died and had come to talk to me in my room.  I don't remember what he said in my dream, but he was very serious and did not smile.  Then he faded slowly until I could not see him.  When I woke up Tuesday morning I felt a great urgency to go to the temple.  I had planned to go sometime during the day, but had not decided when.  I felt the urgency so much that I did not eat breakfast or put my makeup on.  I just prayed, got dressed and went.

When I arrived at the temple I wanted to be in the area where I knew my dad would be working that day.  I still felt the urge to hurry, so I changed and went to the area where he was.  I was ushered into the room where he was working, and was able to give him a quick hug, which made me feel better.   Little did I know that I was the one who would almost die that day. Within just 3-4 minutes my father was needed elsewhere and left the room.  It turns out I was greatly needed that morning to help with the work that was being done, and I was glad I had followed the urge to hurry and get there.  As I left the temple later, I felt very glad that I had come when I did.  I was needed at the particular time AND I got to see my dad.

I spent most of the rest of the morning preparing for a class I was teaching at a nearby drug and alcohol treatment center.  I try to be very in-tune to know what to teach each time I go.  My daughter Madelynn was able to come with me, and we had a great time being with the wonderful warriors there who are fighting for their lives.  It is truly a privilege to know them, and always makes my day when I get to be with them.

Around 4 p.m. my son-in-law Marco showed up to help me.  We are finishing our basement and the plan was to cut our concrete floor to make way for new pipes for a bathroom and kitchen.  He began cutting with his Quickie saw, while my other son and I hooked up and turned on the hose that attaches to the saw to keep the concrete dust down.  Marco was running low on fuel, so I ran to Home Depot to get more.  When I returned there was a lot of water on the floor.  I found our shop vac, hooked it up and began sucking up the water.  By this time Marco had been downstairs cutting for nearly an hour.  I was able to suck up most of the water in about 20 minutes.  At one point I sat on the stairs and watched Marco work, and waited for enough water to accumulate to get up and start working again.  I considered going upstairs to do other things and then come back in a few minutes, but for some reason I decided to just stay and wait.  Soon I was back to sucking water while Marco stopped and evaluated the next place he would need to cut.  When I turned around Marco was laying on his back.  I figured his back was hurting from bending over the saw for so long, but when I went over to him he was non-responsive.  I shook him but he would not wake up.  I reached for my phone but did not have it on me.  I had absolutely no idea where I had left it.  I tore up the stairs and screamed for help, not even knowing if anyone else was home.  Luckily two of my children responded, and my daughter-in-law called 911.  I raced back down to the basement to be with Marco.  I checked him.  His heart was beating and he was breathing.  I tried to wake him.  Finally he awoke and sat up.  He thought maybe his respirator was too tight around his neck and had cut off his circulation.  He didn't think that I needed to send for an ambulance.

When the paramedics arrived 5 big guys came down the stairs.  I told them what had happened and they started to check Marco.  I had been sitting by him, but I was in their way, so one of them took my hand to help me up.  As he did, I suddenly felt very dizzy and could not lift my arm.  Then everything went black.  I could hear the paramedics yelling that we needed to get everyone out, and there was a frantic flurry to lift us and get us up the stairs.  I then lost all consciousness until I was outside on the driveway.  I looked over and Marco was slumped against the leg of a paramedic.  I wanted to lay down so badly, but the paramedic attending to me kept me sitting up most of the time.  I was in and out of consciousness.  I remember worrying about who was going to pick up the grand kids and something about the dinner that was in the crock pot.  I heard the paramedics say we had carbon monoxide poisoning.  I remember being in the ambulance, and that my paramedics name was Trevor and that he wore funny glasses.  I had oxygen on.  Then I was at the emergency room at Utah Valley Hospital.  Someone put an IV in me, and my blood pressure cuff kept squeezing my arm.  They kept asking me the same questions over and over.  I worried about Marco.  They told me he was a few doors down.  More things happened, but it is all very spotty.  I remember my nurse was pregnant, and that someone came in to talk to me about finances since we don't have insurance.  (Yep, we became self-employed on February 1st and didn't get insurance.)  I remember a doctor came in and that he tried to shake my hand but I couldn't lift my arm or keep my eyes open.  I remember that I hated my oxygen mask, but every time I took it off I got very dizzy.

Then they put me in a wheelchair and took Marco and I to another part of the hospital where they had these long clear tubes lined up along one side of the room like something out of an alien science fiction movie.  A nurse helped me change into a hospital gown, and Marco and I were put on gurneys and wheeled into the tubes, where they closed and sealed the doors.  The chambers were then pressurized with oxygen to force the carbon monoxide off of our red blood cells. We had to stay inside for a couple of hours.  Luckily they put on a movie.  We each got our own.  I have tried to remember for the last few hours what movie my son picked out for me.  I finally remember, it was Sleepless in Seattle.  I watched the whole movie, but can hardly remember it.

After we got out of the tubes, called hyperbaric chambers, they did a bunch of tests on us.  They had us put one foot right in front of another, cross our arms, close our eyes and try to keep our balance.  I totally couldn't do it, but before they put us in I couldn't even stand up, so it was still an improvement.  We had to try to count backwards from 100 by 7's, flip our hand back and forth as fast as we could against our other hand, and probably a couple of other tests I can't remember.  I pretty much failed them all, but at least I could walk and stay awake, and respond coherently.

We went back to the hospital early the next morning and spend most of the next day in the hyperbaric chambers watching movies and having lots more tests before we were finally released.

The doctors told us that had Marco been in that basement 10 more minutes he would have died.  We realized that had I gone upstairs instead of sitting and waiting for more water to accumulate and not come back right away, OR if my children Chad and Ashley had not been home to call 911, one or both of us would have died.  We were told that when your blood level reaches 50% carbon monoxide you can die.  Marco's blood level was at 45% when he reached the hospital.  Mine was at 29%.  We were both completely incapacitated.  It happened SO fast.  It did not come on slowly.  We both went from being fine to collapsing in just a few seconds each.  We had no idea that using gas-powered tools indoors could do that.  Please don't make the same mistake we did!

As I think back about my almost last day........ if it would have been my last day it would have been an unusually good one to end on.  I followed promptings, went to the temple, served others, taught good things to great people, spent time with my daughter, and even put dinner in the crock pot.  (I'm never that on the ball)  It would have been a good note to end on, but I am so glad God has allowed me to have the chance to live, to be with my husband, children, grandchildren and friends, and have more good days, bad days, and everything in-between!



For the news clip they did, visit the link below:

http://ksltv.com/394549/orem-family-warns-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-near-death-experience/


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Cat With an Attitude

We have a cat.  She has life pretty good.  She can wander in and out of the house whenever she wants during the day.  Her food and water dish are always full and available whenever she is hungry or thirsty.  She has a warm and comfortable place to sleep in the garage at night.  Someone is always around to give her a little back scratch when she wants one (and only when SHE wants one).  Yep, life is pretty good.  But somehow she still wants more.  She wants me to fill the sink in the bathroom for her to drink from so she doesn't have to go all the way downstairs to get a drink.  She will sit by the sink and meow and meow in hopes that someone will do this for her.  She has lots of plush carpet to relax on all day long, and even a heated tile floor, but she constantly tries to make my bed her hang-out spot, or one of the couches that she is not allowed on.  I am constantly kicking her off, by which she is always completely offended.

This morning after literally just filling up her water dish downstairs while she was standing right there, she went right up to the bathroom sink and started meowing.  Sheesh!  She has it a lot better than a lot of other cats in the world, but still she is not satisfied.  She wants more, better, softer, more convenient.

Then the thought struck me like lightening, "I wonder if I'm like that?"  I started to think.  I have life pretty good.  I have food and water available whenever I am hungry or thirsty.  I have a comfortable and wonderful home to live in.  Someone is always around to listen and to meet my needs.  I have everything I could want in a very short radius around me.  Yep, life is pretty good.  Am I satisfied with my life, or do I always want more?

Then I began to wonder if wanting more is a bad thing.  (Wish you were here so we could have a conversation about this, but since you aren't, I have to reason it out for myself:)  I feel like wanting more can go either way.  If you feel like you are not satisfied with your life, if you have an attitude that you deserve more, feeling that everyone else has more than you do and you are getting gypped, and enough is never enough, then yes, wanting more is probably not a good thing.  It means you will never truly be satisfied or be happy with what you have.

On the other hand, if you want more so that you can give your children or others a better life, so that you can serve and help, so that you can relief suffering, so that you can have needs met, so that you can live and give more abundantly, then I believe wanting more is a good thing.  People with this type of wanting more are already happy in their circumstances and grateful for what they have.  It's a completely different mindset.

I wonder what mindset my cat has..........and what about me?  And what about you?

Friday, March 23, 2018

Prayer and Brownies

When I pray for something, I usually want it right now.  I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.  I recently heard a young man describe how prayer and brownies are alike: When you start craving brownies you wish you could have them magically appear right when you think of them so you could enjoy them immediately.  But that is not how it works.  You have to go through the steps to get them.  You have to make the dough, then patiently wait for them to cook and cool (at least a little).  Finally, after going through the steps, you get to have brownies.  Yum!

Prayer often works the same way.  You want something, and pray about it and ask for it, and wish it could magically appear immediately, but that is not the way it happens. (At least not usually.)  You have to go through the steps.  You ask, but then you have to do your part.  You have to work and do all you can to make it happen, and then you must wait patiently for God (or whatever your higher power is) to do the rest.  

We are in this very process now... this process of waiting.  As you may know, my 18-year-old daughter Madelynn has been struggling with severe joint pain throughout her body since January of 2017.  We have tried to do our part.  We have prayed, we have fasted, we have taken her to traditional doctors of different kinds.  We have taken her to non-traditional doctors of different kinds.  We have taken her to energy workers, foot zoners and therapists.  Still we have no answers.  And so we wait.  We wait patiently (most of the time).  We continue to do our part.  We continue to take her to doctors, and try pills, supplements and foot soaks.  We continue to research and pray and wait.  Just like the brownies, we want our answer and our help now.  But it just doesn't work that way most of the time.  As Jeffery Holland once said,  "Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven..."  but they do come. 

I have a close friend whose children are grown.  She and her husband wanted to downsize and get a house with an apartment in the basement to provide some residual income.  When praying they felt good about this move.  They did their part.  They remodeled their home and put it on the market.  It did not sell.  And it did not sell.  They lowered the price.  Still it did not sell.  They changed realtors.  Still it did not sell.  Just when it felt like it would never happen, and after months and months of doing their part and waiting, they got an offer.   They were thrilled!  They began looking at houses to move into.  They looked and looked and looked.  They could not find a house they liked that fit their criteria.  Soon they were down to having to be out of the house in 2 weeks, and still nothing.  They looked at renting an apartment.  They looked at staying with relatives.  They looked at buying a condo. 

One night the realtor called and told them about yet another house that had just been posted.  They went and looked at it the next morning.  It was perfect!  It had a basement apartment already finished and ready to go.  It was in a good neighborhood.  It was in their price range.  They made the offer.  Then, as if frosting on top, the family could be out in 2 weeks! Just when it felt like things were never going to work out, it all fell into place. 

Sometimes we have to wait, and it seems like forever - just like smelling the brownies and waiting for them to be done cooking and cooling, which also sometimes seems like forever.  

Whatever you are praying for, whatever you are waiting for, don't give up.  It might happen tomorrow, but it might not.  I agree with Jeffrey Holland, it might come soon, it might come late, it might not come until heaven, but it will come.  Good things come to those who wait.....who wait on their God.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

What Goes Around Comes Around

Last week I went to help my daughter and son-in-law set up a booth at a local boutique.  Across the aisle was a lady named Debbie setting up a booth to sell scarves.  I was familiar with this booth and the woman who owned it.  She sells the most beautiful scarves you have ever seen, and teaches you great ways to wear them.  I had bought from her before, and just happened to be wearing one of her scarves that night, which of course I showed her and expressed how much I loved it.  As Debbie set up her booth and we set up ours, she ran across a scarf with a very small stain.  She told me she could not sell it and offered it to me.  I was thrilled and thanked her.   A few minutes later she came across another scarf that had come apart across the seam on one side.  She also offered me this scarf.  I was stunned, and joyfully accepted.

What this very nice woman could not possibly have known was that two months earlier I had been at a hospital visiting my dad when a sweet little Hispanic woman came into the room to do some cleaning.  I had also been wearing one of those beautiful scarves that day, a beautiful aqua-colored scarf.  She oohed and aahed over my scarf.  We chatted as she cleaned the room, then she left to go on with her work.  A little later as I was leaving I saw her down the hall getting ready to go into another patient's room.  The thought crossed my mind that she would love my scarf, and I considered giving it to her.  I stood and debated with myself in the hall.  I didn't have anything else like it, and I really liked it.  She really liked it too, and would surely appreciate having it.  She was such a sweet lady.  Before I fully knew what I was doing I found myself walking toward her and taking off the scarf and giving it to her with a smile.  It felt surreal.  Had I really just done that?  I could not take it back.  Yes, I had really done it, and the smile on her face was a mile wide......so worth it.

What struck me now, standing at the boutique, was that I had not only been paid back, I had just been paid back double.  As I stood between the booth we were setting up and the booth that Debbie was setting up, I decided to let her know how her scarves had blessed my life, and the lives of others as well.  I told her the story and pointed out that what goes around comes around.  She was touched and grateful I had shared with her.  A few minutes later she asked me what color the scarf was that I had given away.  When I told her she picked out a scarf that color and handed it to me.  I was shocked.  I felt like I couldn't accept it.  It was too much.  I felt weak in the knees at her generosity.  She insisted I take it.  I felt completely overwhelmed by her kindness and generosity.  I hugged and thanked her and secretly vowed to keep passing good karma around.

I have been guilty of scarcity thinking in the past, but I am truly learning that what goes around comes around.  I am finding that when I give generously I somehow always have what I need when I need it.

Instead of being like a dam of water holding onto whatever comes my way and trying to keep it all, I want to be like a stream, letting good things flow to me, around me, and on to others so that many can benefit.  What goes around comes around.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Live Angels

In the last 24 hours I have been witness to a series of miraculously angelic events.

Last night my 18-year-old daughter Madelynn went to the store to buy a couple of items. While she was there, a man who was looking at flowers stopped her and asked her opinion. She gave it, and went on shopping. Later, as she walked through the parking lot to her car, the same man approached her and handed her the flowers, then disappeared into the night. Who does that? Angels. What he couldn’t possibly have known was that Madelynn was having a rough evening, and it meant a great deal more than it normally would have. 

Today, this same daughter went to Panda Express to get lunch, something that she doesn’t normally allow herself. She is walking with a cane because of her still un-diagnosed pain. The young man working at the checkout counter unexpectedly offered her a free fountain drink.  Who does that? Angels.  She was very surprised and grateful. She later noticed on her receipt that he had also given her the meal with his employee discount, another angelic act. Madelynn marveled that she had not only been given flowers by a stranger, but within 24 hours a free drink and a discounted meal by a different kind person.

As Madelynn was filling up her free fountain drink, she was approached by a girl, probably in her 20's, who asked where she had gotten her cane. She was hoping to buy one like it for her mom.  The cane Madelynn was carrying had been given to her by an older gentleman who makes them as a hobby, and had very generously been given to Madelynn as a gift (another angel).  This girl wanted something special for her mom, and thought one like Madelynn‘s  would be perfect. Madelynn felt prompted to give her the cane. At first the girl wouldn’t accept the gift, but after a little persuasion, she tearfully and gratefully accepted. Madelynn was so happy for the opportunity to be an angel to someone else.  It was a blessing for both of them. 

 Last night I got motivated to clean out some food storage I needed to get rid of in preparation to finish our basement. We had WAY too much with our kids all grown and mostly gone. I posted it for free on our Stake Facebook page. Several people came to pick some up.  The last woman who came was so happy to take everything I had left. She told me that she had literally been praying earlier that day that she would somehow be able to get more food storage, something that had been weighing on her mind, and that she wanted.   The same day a friend of hers saw my post, called her and gave her my contact information. She left that night from my house with her van loaded with cases and cases of long-term storage. It was an answer to her prayers, and a blessing to me. How did that happen? I felt like an angel to her, and she felt like an angel to me. 

One more: A few weeks ago I offered to help my friend who was getting ready to move. She said the most helpful thing I could do would be to get rid of her food storage for her. She had nine buckets of wheat. She asked if I could find some place that could feed it to animals. I posted it on Facebook. Another friend of mine responded that there was a Canadian geese bird refuge in Salt Lake that would be very grateful to have the wheat. I then realize that I needed to get rid of fifty, yes fifty, old buckets of my own wheat as well as my friend’s. Instead of just telling me about this place, my  friend and her husband hitched up a large trailer that they had to modify in order to accommodate us, drove over to my house, helped load 59 buckets wheat, (no small task)and drove it to Salt Lake for me, where they then had to unload it to drop it off. This is something I could not have done for myself. WHO DOES THAT? Angels.

You never know when your thought to do something kind, yes maybe even unusual for someone else will be just what they need. Maybe you are being prompted to be their angel, a living angel. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How to Have a GREAT Valentine's Day

Last week I promised that you could tune in this week for a great way to start chipping that plaster off your soul, but I HAVE to write this Valentine's post, so last week's tune-in is now next week's tune-in, and this week's post is about YOU and Valentine's day.

Do you want to have a happy Valentine's day?  Of course you do.... everyone does!  I am bursting at the seams to tell you how!  Are you ready?

Here is how:

First, don't focus on whether anyone is going to give you a Valentine or do something special for you.  I know that is hard, but trust me.

Second, think about whose day you would like to make special on Valentine's day.  Make the day about who you can love, not about what you may be missing out on.  BE THE VALENTINE. It's more fun than you think!

Here are some ideas about how to be the Valentine (this works whether you are single, married, have kids or not, and anything in-between) Pick one or two of the ideas below, or think of your own:

♥Make a list of all the great people in your life.  You will be amazed at how good you have it.

♥Make or buy treats and leave them on your kids or spouses beds, your co-workers desk, or a friend's doorstep.  You may even want to leave a note.

♥Buy a bouquet of flowers and take one flower to each friend, child, sibling, neighbor, or hand them out randomly to strangers.  Or give the whole bouquet to one person.

♥Make a special dinner for your spouse or children or some friends.  If spending a lot of time cooking is not your thing, make whatever you have special with a bottle of sparkling cider, or a fun dessert, or even just tint the milk pink with food coloring.  Kids especially think anything unusual is fun!

♥Gift yourself the time to read an uplifting story or book, or allow yourself some other splurge you wouldn't normally do.

♥Buy one or more candy bars and give them to random people and tell them Happy Valentine's day, or take one or more to someone you care about.

♥Have fun dressing like a valentine (examples included here).  Fun earrings, red or pink jewelry, anything red, pink, purple, white, grey or black in combo is fun.  (I personally set a goal to wear something pink every day this month, but then pink is my favorite color.)

♥Buy an inexpensive and cute container at the dollar store and fill it with something to give to someone.

♥Write someone meaningful to you a special note telling them why they are important in your life.

♥Doorbell ditch something yummy or fun to your neighbors or friends.

♥If you don't have someone that does something for you on Valentine's day, do something for yourself.  I have a friend who gives herself a present and a box of chocolates every year.  She even wraps the present ahead of time so she has something fun to open.  Maybe a bath bomb and candlelight soak in the tub is your style, or maybe your favorite chocolates and a great movie.  Whatever it is that would be fun for you, make it happen. Don't sit around wishing someone else would make it happen for you.


The list could go on and on.  Please comment below with your own ideas!

When you stop waiting for someone to make your day special, and you go out and make other people's day special you will find that you are a lot more happy and filled with love than you could have imagined.  Make this Valentine's day about who YOU can love instead of sitting around wondering who is going to show love to you.  I promise it will make all the difference in the world.




Monday, January 29, 2018

You Too Are Priceless

Do you know the fascinating true story about the golden Buddha?  700 years ago a solid gold Buddha was built by monks in Thailand.  It was placed in a great temple there.  Then in the 1700's Thailand was invaded by Burma and the capitol city and many temples were burned to the ground.  In one city a brick Buddha covered in gold was melted down by the invaders.  In order to save their solid golden Buddha from being taken and melted down by the Burmese, monks carefully covered it with a plaster covering to make it look like a plaster image instead of a golden one.  Their plan worked.  The image was completely ignored by their captors.  Over the course of many years it was completely forgotten that the Buddha was made of anything but plaster.  In the 1950's in the process of moving the Buddha to a new location, a rope broke and the Buddha fell hard to the ground, cracking the plaster.  As the movers examined the damage they discovered something gold colored and shiny underneath.  Carefully the plaster was removed to reveal the solid gold Buddha underneath that had been hidden for several centuries.  It has now been named one of the wonders of the world, and considered priceless.  Today the Buddha in all its glory sits at Wat Traimitrwittararam, Thailand where many people can visit and enjoy it.

We are also priceless inside.  Many of us know only our outer covering that covers the beauty of who we truly are inside.  I know this because I used to think all there was to me was the plaster outer covering.  I did not know I was priceless gold inside, and that each of us is priceless.  

I have always had a problem seeing my value.  I remember for years wondering why my husband married me.  What could he possibly see?  I felt I was not extremely talented at anything, and considered myself a mediocre and somewhat dull person.  I felt I had little to contribute to the world.  I felt I was surrounded by many bright and wonderful stars who could do anything this world needed so much better than I could, so why try?  

This last year I decided to really look inside and see why I felt this way.  I decided to use the tool I call "Because Papers" which I have written about previously on this blog.  My first because paper was entitled, "I Feel Inadequate Because...."  I wrote down everything I could think of.  I cried a lot.  I felt small and worthless.  The next day I went back and read my paper, looking for a new perspective.  My second title became: "My Mother Was Wrong Because....." (OUCH).  I realized I had interpreted who I was through my mother's  eyes, or my perception of what she thought I was.  How could I still think that way at 52 years old??  I have no idea, but old wounds run very deep.  I wrote everything I could think of, and cried some more.  

On day three I read through my last paper, looking for a new perspective.  My third and last paper became titled, "I Am Very Precious Because.....".  As I wrote what came to my mind I knew it was inspired, and I knew it was not just for me, but is for all of us.  So today I choose to share with you why you truly are made of gold on the inside, no matter what outer covering you may have.  This paper is very special to me.  It is when I first truly knew that I was golden inside, and that everyone is.  Here it is, unedited:

"I am very precious because......(precious: something of great value, not to be wasted or treated carelessly, rare and of great worth):
I am the literal daughter of the King of the Universe - God, our Heavenly Father.  I have all value just in my creation alone.  
I am treasured by my Heavenly Father. 
 I truly have infinite worth.  Because I have been given the rare gift of the gospel and the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, I have been equipped to do anything and everything that is good and that God wants me to do.  
Through God I am unstoppable and fully capable of doing all that He prompts me to do. 
 I can act in all confidence, and move forward in any capacity with full assurance that I am an agent for good in the world under His direction.  
I will follow and trust God with all my heart because I know how valuable I am.  
I will move forward quickly and in all assurance.  
I have been empowered.  
I am the daughter of the King of heaven and earth.  I am truly called to spread God's light."

You too have been created by the God of the Universe.  You are his child.  You are priceless.  That's just who you are.  No one can change that.  Has who you truly are been hidden for so long that you have forgotten?  Do you see your plaster outer covering and think that is all there is to you?  I did.  But now I know the truth.  The plaster was cracked and is being chipped away and who I truly am is emerging.  You are golden too, we all are.  Find a way to crack the plaster and start chipping it off to reveal the golden you underneath, the real you.... priceless.  


p.s. Tune in next week for one awesome way to start chipping the plaster off!





Monday, January 8, 2018

You Can't Go Over It. Oh, No! You've Got to Go Through It!

Yesterday I drove to Idaho.  I did not even think to check the weather before planning this trip, especially since we haven't had any weather to speak of pretty much this whole winter.  As I got into my car I noticed a slight amount of rain on my windshield.  I checked the weather on my phone as I started my car.  The forecast was rain all day.  I didn't think much of it.  I figured we would be lucky to get a few drops the way things have been going, and off we went.  As we drove I commented to my two passengers that I hate driving in snowy conditions and will pretty much cancel any plans to avoid driving in snow.  I also mentioned that my second least favorite weather to drive in is heavy rain. 

About an hour into our drive it started to rain, just lightly.  Half an hour later it began to snow.  About this time I missed a turn.  We did not notice this for a good 15-20 minutes.  By the time we did we were approaching Snowville (ironically enough) and the snow had started to pack the road.  In order to get where we were going we had to turn at Snowville and take back roads to our destination, another 40 minutes away.  The speed limit was 60 mph, but because of the snow packed roads I had to drive much slower.  At times I could not see the lines on the road or be sure where the road ended and the field on the side of the road began.  It was pretty scary.  As though that wasn't enough we had to climb a summit on a winding road that at one point had a sign that said "chain up area ahead" (um, no chains on board) and then try not to slide down and off the other side of the summit.  I was extremely grateful for good tires. 

I have pretty much committed never to drive in snow due to some close calls in the past.  Yet, despite my commitment here I was in another precarious snowy driving situation.  I very much wanted out of that situation.  I felt like the family in the book "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" where it says, "You can't go over it.  You can't go under it.  Oh, no!  You've got to go through it!"  Yep, that's just how it was.  I couldn't get out of it.  I had to go through it.

While I was driving I thought about how difficult things in life are like my driving experience in the snow.  We do what we can to avoid getting into those difficult situations, but we can't always see them coming.  We can't see that far ahead of us.  Then when we find ourselves in the middle of something we didn't choose and didn't want we realize that we can't go over it, we can't go under it.  Oh no!  We've got to go through it!  We have to endure and navigate the best we can, and just keep going until the storm passes.  And it feels like it will never pass.  This has happened to me many times.  I am sure you know what I am talking about.  (I wish we could sit down and share our experiences with each other, and how we finally did come out on the other side of the storm.  I would love to know your story!)

We finally did reach our destination, thankfully in one piece.  Though at times I wondered if the white roads would really ever end, or whether we would just keep going and going and never really reach our destination.

Whatever difficult times you are facing in your life, whatever snow packed, precarious and scary things are in front of you, just keep going.  You can't go over it.  You can't go under it.  Oh no!  You've got to go through it!  Trust that it won't be this way forever.  The storm will eventually end.  Hold on to that.

P.S.  By the time we headed home the roads had been plowed and we went a different way to avoid the summit.  However, we had heavy rain the whole way home, my second least favorite.  But we survived the storm and got home safely, which in the end is the thing that matters most.


Friday, January 5, 2018

Who Are You and What Do You Think?

Are you the kind of person who loves to sit down on January first and set new goals for the year, or are you the kind of person that doesn't set goals because you don't want to be tied down to anything specific?  Maybe you are the kind of person that  doesn't need a specific date.  You set a goal whenever something comes up that you want to accomplish. Or have you decided not to set goals because it's not worth the ding to your ego should you not accomplish them?

Every once in a while I learn something that causes an "aha" moment for me.  It's usually something earth shattering in the way I see the world.  This year I got a book for Christmas that has created a huge "aha" experience for me. 

In my mind I know that not everybody thinks the same way.  Yet in my day-to-day practicum of life, I tend to forget that.  This often leads me to misunderstand or misinterpret the actions and thinking of others.  My new book "The 4 Tendencies" is one of those personality books that help you understand the way people are, like "The Color Code", or "The 5 Love Languages", or the series of books by Carol Tuttle, or the Myers-Briggs personality test.  "The 4 Tendencies" focuses solely on one aspect of people's personalities - why we act or why we don't act.  As it turns out, not everyone loves to sit down on New Year's Day and evaluate the past year and set goals for the new year..........which thing I had never supposed.  Even my own husband pointed out to me that he never sets goals on New Year's Day.  He sets them whenever during the year he pleases, whenever something comes up.  Hmmmmm.  After 30 years of marriage how had I not noticed this?

What I love about personality books is that they seek to help us understand ourselves and understand others.  When we understand things about ourselves it helps us to be happier.  When we understand others it helps us to appreciate who they are and why they do what they do. It helps improve relationships. 

For example, from the Myers-Briggs personality test I learned about myself that while I LOVE people, social situations drain me.  Knowing this about myself helps me to gear up for social situations, and gives me permission to come home and crash afterward. 

From The 5 Love Languages I learned what says "I love you" to my husband, myself, my children and others around me. 

From the Color Code I learned what my strengths and weaknesses are in certain areas, as well as those of my husband and others.  I learned in what ways we are alike, and how we are different. 

From books by Carol Tuttle (Dressing Your Truth) I learned how my energy flows, what energizes me, and what looks good on me to accentuate my personality.  There were things in her personality profiles that shocked me.  I remember thinking, "She couldn't possibly know this about me!" or "Oh, that explains why I do that!"  Several times I called my husband in and said, "Listen to this!"  We were both surprised at the uncanny small things that fit each personality profile. 

I am not very far into this latest personality book, but I am already very intrigued by what I have learned.  I naturally assumed that EVERYONE sets new years resolutions.  Now I am learning that people do goals as well as just about everything else in life for certain reasons, and not necessarily the same reasons I have. 

I realize that some of you hate to be categorized.  You don't want to be stereotyped.  If it helps, I look at it more like learning about yourself, seeing what fits and what doesn't in order to understand yourself and those around you better.  And while not everyone wants to be stereotyped, everyone does want to be understood.

As we head into the new year, I encourage you to spend some time exploring and seeking to understand yourself and those around you better.  Doing so leads to better relationships and happier lives, and we all want that.