Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A glass half full

{image from fearlessmen.com}

This analogy gets a lot of use, and a lot of criticism.  But there's really something to it: we do get a lot more out of life, and are a lot happier, when we focus more on the positive than on the negative.

This works especially when people are involved.  
Progress and happiness grow in love, not fear.  (2 Timothy 1:7)  
People grow through love, not fear.  
When people feel loved rather than criticized
--when they know that they're enough, and worthy of love--
they have a greater capacity to grow, succeed, and serve.

{image from raya's paradise}

That's why I believe "constructive criticism" is rarely constructive (to use the words my Dad has said).  People can often feel attacked and belittled when receiving "constructive" criticism, no matter how true the criticism might be.  In one book of scripture (D&C 121:42-43), God commands us to be gentle, patient, long-suffering and show kindness to others as the general rule -- only giving correction when "moved upon by the Holy Ghost" (aka when God tells us to) and then being sure to express an increase of love towards that person, so that they know we are on their side.

So instead of focusing on what's wrong in others and ourselves, why not seek to catch them doing something right?  
For example,
Why not focus more on how kind it was of so-and-so to open the door for what's-her-name, instead of criticizing so-and-so's outfit?
Why not focus more on how much we enjoy doing [insert physical activity here], instead of hating ourselves for being overweight? 
Why not focus more on how we can make someone's day a little better, instead of wishing what's-her-face would make our day better?

There is a time and a place for the negative.  But in my book, it should be far, far outweighed by the positive.  As we keep our eyes single to hope, gratitude, love, forgiveness, etc., we will be able to see clearly, and recognize that though bad stuff exists, it does not have nearly as much power over us as we once thought.  Even though there are things you want to change in yourself and others, keep working on your goals, and being grateful for the good in yourself, others, and the world around you.  As you do this, the bad stuff will eventually fade away like shadows overpowered by a bright and glorious light.

{image from lds.org}

It's true.  :)


--Big thanks to my Dad who sparked the idea for this post, and both Dad and Mom who proofread this!--

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

One step at a time


"Lead kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet;
I do not ask to see
The distant scene--
One step enough for me."
LDS Hymn #97

So often we get overwhelmed by trying to do everything at once, to know everything right now.
But that's not how it works.

Just as little children learn to crawl before they walk,
We as God's children are taught and led by Him one step, one stage, at a time.
The way to heaven/eternal joy/salvation (however you choose to describe it) is not by teleportation.
I like to think of it as more like the ladder Jacob saw in a vision.

God knows and loves you.  If you seek to submit to His will, He will reveal what your next step is--
Not the whole plan, but certainly enough for you to move forward.  
Then you apply your faith by actually taking that step.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

You have something to contribute

I've been thinking a lot about spiritual gifts lately...

What exactly are spiritual gifts?
They are blessings given by God to His children for their own benefit, and for the benefit of others.
Everyone has different gifts; nevertheless, everyone does have a gift.

Find out what your spiritual gifts are by considering what you're good at,
What you're passionate about,
The compliments other people give you, 
etc.



Kneel in prayer 
and ask Heavenly Father what spiritual gifts He has blessed you with.
Then, use them to bless others' lives!

“One of the most comforting teachings of the gospel is that each son and daughter of God—every one of us—is born with an inheritance of gifts, talents, and abilities that can help us through our earthly mission…We cannot be happy and successful in life without gratefully acknowledging those gifts and doing all we can to develop them.  Our problem is never that we have no strengths; the problem comes when we do not recognize our strengths and build upon them."
- Gerald Causse - 


Shout out to my dear, dear mother who has the gifts of:
Teaching
Pure love of God and man
Sacrifice
Learning
Obedience

{I am so grateful for her}




Peace out.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Feel-goods and Feel-bads


Emotions.
They are a peculiar thing.

Whether it's that fluttering you get inside when you think you're falling in love,
The pain of betrayal by someone you trusted,
Or those tender feelings of compassion when you sympathize with another human being,
You notice your emotions.

And sometimes, you struggle with them.


David A. Bednar (shown above) once said:
"In the classroom of mortality, 
we experience tenderness, love, kindness, happiness,
sorrow, disappointment, pain,
and even the challenges of physical limitations
in ways that prepare us for eternity.  Simply stated,
there are lessons we must learn and experiences we must have, 
as the scriptures describe,
'according to the flesh.'"

My thoughts?
I believe that we all existed as spirit children of our Heavenly Father before we came to earth.
That we did not have bodies before this earth life; and that
a huge part of our reason for coming was to obtain our own bodies.



David A. Bednar said that we experience those feelings in mortality as preparation for eternity.  "According to the flesh" means that ways in which we we experience them are likely unique to our mortal life (where we live in the flesh).

Personally, I think that these emotions we feel--tenderness, love, kindness, happiness, sorrow, disappointment, pain, etc.--at the intensity we feel them now, are new to us.  I think we had emotions before, but our physical bodies enhance them to a level that we've never experienced before.  Maybe part of this earth life is meant to be a learning experience for us on handling emotions.

Look around and you'll see all the different ways that people try to deal with their emotions.  We have developed so many ways to suppress, escape, or communicate them. Some examples and/or consequences include medications, art, food, drug addictions, behavioral addictions, posturing, music, dance, prayer, exercise, etc.
{Let me just put a special plug in for prayer!  God hears you.}

We are learning beings.  Always learning, learning, learning...

I don't mean to imply that emotion is "the answer to everything."  I just mean to say that, I believe, the intense emotions we experience might be entirely new to our souls, and therefore it's normal and expected to be a little unsure about what to do with them.

But let's keep this in mind:
Emotion, by definition, is meant to lead to motion.

So let's put them to good use!
"...bear one another's burdens that they may be light.... mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort..."
Mosiah 18:8-10


beautiful things:
our bodies
emotions
learning and growing from the good and painful
love and service to others

and much, much, more.




peace out.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Changes in the air... Changes in the hair...

In honor of my graduation from BYU....


....I cut my bangs.  Eek!  (I like 'em!)