Wednesday, February 27, 2013

3 Things

One of my friends had a link to this article on her Facebook page. I clicked it. I read it. I LOVED it!!Though I'm not married, I have held many of these ideas in theory for a while. Now, more than ever, I believe in the importance and beauty of marriage. Take a read...

3 Things I Wish We Knew Before We Got Married
Tyler Ward

I used to think I had my stuff together. Then I got married.
Marriage is great—but it rocked everything I knew. I quickly realized my basic goal in life, prior to getting married, was to simply remain undisturbed.
This “disruption” came suddenly and was disguised as a 5-foot-nothing Swedish-Filipino woman. When I decided I’d rather not live without her, I proceeded to ask her to marry me—that is, to officially invite someone who wasn’t me to be in my personal space for the rest of my life.
This decision introduced my most significant experiences and most challenging experiences—none of which I would trade for the world.
However, I wish I’d had a bit more insight on the front end of our marriage to help me navigate it all.
According to most research, more than 50 percent of people who say “I do” will not be sleeping in the same bed eight years from now. And though Scripture alludes to the fact that adultery and abuse may be reasons individuals might end a marriage, I’d be willing to bet that most challenges experienced in marriage are the result of unawareness. Most people—myself included—jump into marriage with suitcases full of misconceptions and bad theology, entirely unaware of the unique beauty and paradoxical intentions of marriage.

Although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight.
The following are three thoughts on marriage that friends and mentors have shared with me. I remind myself of them often in hopes of keeping this anomaly called marriage both enjoyable and healthy.

1. Marriage is not about living happily ever after.

Here’s the truth: I get annoyed at my wife. But this is more a reflection of me than her.
I’m intensely certain that nothing in life has ever made me more angry, frustrated or annoyed than my wife. Inevitably, just when I think I’ve given all I can possibly give, she somehow finds a way to ask for more.
The worst part of it all is that her demands aren’t unreasonable. One day she expects me to stay emotionally engaged. The next, she's looking for me to validate the way that she feels. The list goes on—but never ventures far from things she perfectly well deserves as a wife.
Unfortunately for her, deserving or not, her needs often compete with my self-focus. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but I am selfish and stubborn and, overall, human.
I once read a book that alluded to the idea that marriage is the fire of life—that somehow it’s designed to refine all our dysfunction and spur us into progressive wholeness. In this light, contrary to popular opinion, the goal of marriage is not happiness. And although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight. It is designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on fire and help us grow.
When we’re willing to see it this way, then the points of friction in our marriages quickly become gifts that consistently invite us into a more whole and fulfilling experience of life.

2. The more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.

Over the past year, a few friends and I have had an open conversation about the highs and lows of marriage—specifically how to make the most of the high times and avoid the low ones. Along the way, we happened upon a derailing hypothesis that goes something like this: If one makes their husband or wife priority number one, all other areas of life benefit.

When we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.
It’s a disorienting claim. Disorienting, because it protests my deeper persuasion that success as an entrepreneur, or any professional, requires that career takes the throne of my priorities and remain there for, at the very least, a couple of years.
However, seeing that my recent pattern of caring about work over marriage had produced little more than paying bills and a miserable wife, I figured giving the philosophy a test drive couldn’t hurt.
For 31 days, I intentionally put my wife first over everything else, and then I tracked how it worked. I created a metric for these purposes, to mark our relationship as priority, and then my effectiveness in all other areas of my life on the same scale, including career productivity and general quality of life.
To my surprise, a month later, I had a chart of data and a handful of ironic experiences to prove that the more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.
Notably, on the days my wife genuinely felt valued, I observed her advocating for me to invest deeply in to my work. She no longer saw our relationship and my career pursuits as competitors for my attention, and as she partnered with me in my career, I have experienced the benefits of having the closest person in my life champion me.
Of course, marriage requires sacrifice. And sometimes it will feel as if it takes and takes. However, when we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn from something we have to maintain and sacrifice for into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.

3. Marriage can change the world.

John Medina, the author of Brain Rules and a Christian biologist, is often approached by men looking for the silver bullet of fathering. In one way or another, they all come around to asking, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father?”
Medina's answer alludes to a surprising truth.
In my previously mentioned experiment, I measured the effect that making my marriage priority number one had on different areas of my life. One of those areas was my 16-month-old son’s behavior.
What I found in simply charting my observations was that the majority of the time, my child’s behavior was directly affected by the level of intention I invested in my marriage.
Re-enter John Medina, the Christian biologist. After years of biological research and several books on parenting conclusions, what is his answer to the question, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father”?
“Go home and love your wife.”
Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, the authors of Babywise, say it this way: “A healthy marriage creates an infused stability within the family and a haven of security for a child in their development process.” They go on to sum up their years of research by saying, “In the end, great marriages produce great parents.”
The point is that marriage has a higher goal than to make two people happy or even whole. Yes, the investment we make into our marriage pays dividends for us. But, concluded by Medina and his colleagues, the same investment also has significant implications for our family, our community and eventually our culture.
So men, women, the next time you find yourself dreaming about living significantly or succeeding in your career or being a better parent than yours were to you, do the world a favor: Go home and love your wife. Go home and and love your husband.


I've been putting myself through a bit of turmoil. I have some MAJOR goals for myself and I want to get them going, but at least two of them require me to commit to staying in Waycross for the next 2 years at least, if not longer (depending on whether or not I attack the third one in that time). I guess that was sort of the plan when I decided to move here. My parents have no intention of moving again and if I want to be close to them, that means I'm here too.When asked what I plan for myself in terms of living somewhere long term, I can see myself living in Georgia long term, but not in Waycross. This causes a bit of a problem. I've been worried about it for a while, but seriously since Saturday. If I think about it too long I have a minor anxiety attack - it's ridiculous. I feel like committing to anything of the sort at this moment traps me in a situation I don't really want to be in and I can't ever get out. But as a wise woman I know tells me often, "You can do anything for a year". So, I am going to tell myself that for this year. And when next year rolls around, I'll have to say it again. But in the meantime, the paperwork is going and the plans are rolling forward. If I have to reevaluate somewhere in the process, so be it (I love when I sound confident and in charge...maybe I'll feel it soon too!).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Morning Randomness

I am SOOO close to completely my February goal of going without chocolate for one month! It's CRAZY...I can almost taste it!! I made a cake last week and insisted on putting chocolate covered strawberries on top. That, my friends, is the ultimate test in will power. And no, I didn't eat a single one. However, after I was finished, I had some juice on my finger and I licked it off. What I didn't count on was the subtle taste of chocolate mixed in with it. I froze and immediately decided that I did NOT eat chocolate and ever since then I have been craving it like nobody's business. But I am stronger than my desires and I will complete this goal!

It's currently 8:30 AM and I'm sitting at my desk at work. I'm taking a short break because I have already been here almost 3 hours. It's WAY too early to be able to say that, at least in my opinion. I'll be here until about 7:30 tonight and will duplicate this schedule tomorrow. The good news is, by the time all is said and done, I will be just a few hours shy of completing my 40 hour week tomorrow afternoon, and with any luck at all I'll take Friday off...and sleep.

Speaking of sleep. Our cat claims my bed when I'm not in it. On this morning she climbed in where it was warm from where I was laying, I covered her up and she slept away...lucky duck.

And finally, I've been working on a project for months. Actually, I finished one a couple of months ago and FINALLY put it in the mail to a friend. But I still had the one for myself to do. I wanted to try another technique and I've been putting it off for the last longest, but Saturday I did it (and it ended up taking less than an hour to complete). Here they are...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Little Boost

I found this quote tonight while searching for something else and basically fell in love with it! 

“My young sisters, we have such hope for you. We have such great expectations for you. Don't settle for less than what the Lord wants you to be...

Give me a young woman who loves home and family, who reads and ponders the scriptures daily, who has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon... Give me a young woman who is virtuous and who has maintained her personal purity, who will not settle for less than a temple marriage, and I will give you a young woman who will perform miracles for the Lord now and throughout eternity.” 
― Ezra Taft Benson

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Can Do Hard Things

As I've mentioned before, I made a goal this year to read the standard works cover to cover this year. According to my schedule, I need to read 7 chapters a day which I'm doing pretty well with...except for the last couple of days. It's been REALLY crazy and I haven't made time like I want and need to, but I'm going to catch up. In addition, I read at least one chapter from the Book of Mormon. Since my reading in the Book of Mormon isn't the largest portion of my study time at this point, I'm really trying to pick little nuggets of information or inspiration - whichever comes - to help me best.
As I've been reading, I've kept in mind a question I was posed in seminary and Sunday school. We can ask ourselves "why was this included in this book?" As I've done this I've been given greater insight. I recently finished reading the Book of Mormon and have started again. In 1 Nephi 2:15, it simply says "And my father dwelt in a tent". I've read that verse a kajillion times but never gave it much thought. As I was pondering the chapters I had read and asked myself this question, I had a thought.
The Lord commanded Lehi to take his family out of Jerusalem into the wilderness. They left all of their possessions and WALKED 200 miles and they dwelt in a TENT! I don't know what the housing was like at this time in history, but home is home. I can't really say that I enjoy sleeping in a tent, even if it is just for a night or two (perhaps it's because of the strange experiences I've had). I find it interesting and testimony building that this family (most of them, at least) willingly obeyed the Lord's command to leave home and end up living in uncomfortable conditions (at least that's what I'd consider it). And as a bit of an extension to the story, they went back to Jerusalem TWICE...that is just amazing to me!
I drew several parallels to my own life, but I will only share two here. The first is a question for myself. If the Lord commanded something, would I do it? If I were asked to leave my "home" - maybe my comfort zone, maybe my habits, or life - to follow his commandment and ended up having to live in a "tent" (away from what I knew), would I do it? Though I may not be perfect, I can say that, yes, I would do that...I have done that. I gave up my figurative "home" and comfort and walked into the wilderness at the command of the Lord...and it would appear that I'm still walking (and today I'm felling a little tired and I'd love to just sit still, but He's not quite ready for that).
The second parallel I drew was that sometimes the Lord asks us to do HARD THINGS!! I have this AMAZING friend named Shelly. When Lori and I moved into our awful apartment, she told me often, "you can do hard things". At first I wasn't so sure, but she was right!! That experience, as well as others of my past, present, and I'm sure my future, were so hard, but those hard times brought/bring me closer to the Lord. Our difficult times can bring us closer to God, or push us further away, but it is our choice, and I choose to go to Him. And I'll tell you what, I needed these lessons and reminders, this week especially.
As I try to move forward, I'm trudging through some VERY HARD things. I wear a smile most of the time, but inside I feel like I'm being torn apart. This isn't who I am, this isn't what I had planned for myself, this isn't what I thought Heavenly Father had planned for me. Right now we're walking, He and I. I also know there is a "promised land", so to speak, and as I pass through and overcome these times, He's right there with me. And I've a feeling that there will likely be a lot more hard things before it gets easier, and definitely throughout the rest of my life, but His promises are sure - our task is to endure to the end.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Same Story, Different End

In Institute this week we were studying the birth of the Savior. I found something very interesting, so of course I had to write it down somewhere so I wouldn't forget!
Part of the reading assignment was to read the story of the angel coming to Zacharias (Elisabeth's husband, John's father) and telling him he would have a son. He doubted and the Angel made him dumb so he could not speak until the things which he had told him were fulfilled.
Jump to Joseph. When the angel came to Joseph (in a dream), Joseph didn't doubt or question. He took action as he was commanded.
I find it interesting that, in essence, an angel appeared to both men and told them the same thing (different situations, same outcome - a son would be born to each of their wives). Their reactions were completely opposite and provide a wonderful comparison and example for our lives.
Like Joseph and Zacharias, we are told either by promptings of the Holy Ghost and personal revelation, or perhaps by the appropriate Priesthood authority, that something will happen. How we respond is the important thing. Are we like Zacharias and doubt the Lord's word or promise to us? Perhaps we just don't see how that "thing" is going to come to pass. Or are we like Joseph who believes, heeds, and takes action? Are we willing to face what other people may say (I imagine it wasn't easy for him or Mary during this time) as we prepare ourselves for the things we've been commanded?
I would love to say that I'm 100% Joseph-esque. But I'm probably more Zacharias than I want to admit. I had a very personal experience the other night as I was saying my prayers. It was wonderful and received some answers I'd been searching for, but as they came to me, I started analyzing and questioning - not doubting necessarily, but I was definitely a little faithless. I've had to adjust my attitude. I do not know how things are going to play out according to His plan for me; I see such a little glimpse of it. But I do know that He is able to do His work. I need to be more Joseph. I need to take action. I need to plan and prepare according to what I've been directed. I don't know everything, but I know enough to get started. So, to work I go...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday Temple Trip

Each time I go to the temple, I realize just how much I took it for granted to live in Utah with REALLY easy access to 6-7 temples within an hours drive. Today was our stakes Day of Consecration at the temple. Basically, everyone takes the day off if they can and get to the temple and work as much as possible. Mom and I went down yesterday afternoon and had a little adventure. We didn't actually make it until after 8 pm, but we hadn't had dinner and it was WAY past time. Just around the corner from the hotel we stayed at was a Carraba's Italian Grill. I have only been to this restaurant one other time about 2 years ago, but it is Italian, so how could it be wrong?? When you go (because you should) order the Bacon and Caramelized Onion Flatbread!!! Sooooo good!!
This morning we got up and headed over to the temple. We got to spend several hours there - it was absolutely perfect! I wish I lived closer so I could make it there more frequently, but the feelings I have are probably stronger because I do go less frequently and truly appreciate the blessing the temple brings to my life.
Each time I attend the temple, I learn at least one new thing, or I understand something with a different perspective. Today I had so many experiences, it blew me away a little bit. What I want to share isn't really anything I learned, more something I remembered and felt. Because it was our stakes "reserved" day, everywhere we turned we saw someone else we knew (which doesn't happen as often in these parts as it does elsewhere...or perhaps I just don't know as many people here as I have in other places). So that in and of itself made it extra special. Today the feelings I had were of wonderful memories of temple trips past. Of the many weekly trips while living in Utah with Lori. And other amazing trips with close friends as we went with friends who went for the first time, and of others when we just went as a group and were able to have those experiences together.
Today I couldn't help miss all my friends!! I remembered especially one of the very last trips I went on before I moved back to Georgia. We had a ward temple trip to the Oquirrh Mountain temple, but only about 10 people were there. A small group went and did one thing, but the rest of us, kind of what I consider my "core friends" group, went and did something else. We had the best time that least I did. I miss these people, it kills me a little inside being away from them.
What I felt in the temple today was a two fold idea. The first part is that by continuing to go to the temple and make memories, though we may not physically be close to people, spiritually we can still have that and being in that sacred place, those memories are even sweeter. The second part was a realization of what the reunion in the next life will be like. As we greeted people we knew in the temple today, it was so joyful and wonderful, and I saw many of them on Sunday! When I think of seeing friends and family I haven't seen in weeks, months, or even years, I get so excited!! Being in the temple gave me that little glimpse into how wonderfully amazing eternity will be when time and distance won't separate us! Until then though, I will keep on missing you...all of you, wherever you are and whatever you are doing!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Feeling Pain

I used to think feeling pain was a bad thing, especially when it came to emotional pain. Sure, physical pain isn’t wonderful, but there are typically things you can due to try to soothe it. When pain is something emotional or of the heart, there aren’t many tangible aids, it mostly takes time (and a great deal of faith and prayer). As I’ve felt this kind of pain in the past, I used to cry and hurt and wonder if I would ever get over it, if I would ever stop hurting. As time goes on and as I have more experiences, I’m learning that this pain, though not enjoyable by any stretch of the imagination, lets me know that I’m alive, that I’m not past feeling.
There are some precious children that I get to interact with in Primary, two little girls in particular, who I love more than anything. I honestly couldn’t love them any more if they were my own daughters –they are so precious! Yesterday, both of these girls were in a state of needing…comfort, stability, and hugs (and as a matter of fact, that was what I needed too, so it worked out perfectly).  I came home with this pain in my heart, this knowing that as much as I love them, I can’t really help them, but I CAN love them. It was in this moment that I realized that as much as I have ever hurt throughout my lifetime, pain is a sort of blessing. I learned yesterday that even though I hurt for these children, my pain doesn’t hinder my ability to love them, it enhances it! It gives me a purpose because as I focus on them and love them, I go beyond myself and I don’t feel my own pain (as much).

I can’t even begin to put into words how grateful I am for children. Anyone who knows me knows my love for children! All I have ever wanted to be is a mom, and that continues to be my goal. While that opportunity hasn’t come at this point in my life, I am and will eternally be grateful for the opportunity to serve in Primary and to be with these wonderful children.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

 It has been such a busy week, I've felt like I've been drowning in all that I have going on, but it has been so GOOD! I am on my second full week of feeling like me again. Two whole weeks!!! This hasn't happened in MONTHS!! I wish I would have done what I did to get to this point a whole lot sooner!! This week I tackled a project for my boss of transferring all of his electronic contacts into an address book. This man is crazy popular and has 900 contacts. 9-0-0!!! Most people just say, "Well why couldn't you just print them?" or "Did you try a mail merge?". Either of these options would have taken mere hours to complete, tops! But due to the configuration of our system and the tight deadline I was on, we couldn't make that work. So, I spent two and half days copying and pasting information into a label template. I may have a case of carpal tunnel, but I FINISHED it!!I now have to stick all of those labels into the book, but that is NOTHING in comparison to where I've been! Yesterday may have been the busiest day I've had in months. I got to work early, worked ALL day on the label project, arranged two separate conferences in our office with lunch and managed to get the labels done by 6:15. Then I drove straight to the church to practice the organ, study Preach My Gospel, and have Institute class. By the time I got home, I was ready!!

As of today, I have officially been 14 days without chocolate!! It is AMAZING!!  I'm also still on track for my reading and walking...hopefully! I'm becoming such a fan of setting goals that really push me!They definitely have been at a disadvantage this week as I've been working ridiculous hours. Back on track I go!

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day (chocolate free, ya know) :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Forget Me Not

This is one of my most favorite talks of all time. I listened to it this morning before work and on top of the already good mood I’ve been in, this elevated me even more. It was given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency on September 24, 2011. To read the whole talk (and I STRONGLY suggest you do), click here.
In the meantime, though, I will share just a couple of his concluding paragraphs with you as it also summarizes his talk.
“My dear Relief Society sisters, you are closer to heaven than you suppose. You are destined for more than you can possibly imagine. Continue to increase in faith and personal righteousness. Accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as your way of life. Cherish the gift of activity in this great and true Church. Treasure the gift of service in the blessed organization of Relief Society. Continue to strengthen homes and families. Continue to seek out and help others who need your and the Lord’s help.”
“Sisters, there is something inspiring and sublime about the little forget-me-not flower. I hope it will be a symbol of the little things that make your lives joyful and sweet. Please never forget that you must be patient and compassionate with yourselves, that some sacrifices are better than others, that you need not wait for a golden ticket to be happy. Please never forget that the “why” of the gospel of Jesus Christ will inspire and uplift you. And never forget that your Heavenly Father knows, loves, and cherishes you.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chocolate Free and Happy to Be

I am on day 6 with no chocolate!! (I was going to wait so I could say "one full week", but why not live in the moment and celebrate the small victories?) No chocolate breakfast drink, no chocolate cereal, no raspberry yogurt with small chocolate pieces...NONE! And the beautiful thing is I don't really miss it. It's helpful that I didn't cut out all desserts and sweets - that's just asking for trouble and failure. I'm pretty happy with myself. I know I shouldn't go quoting things without having sources, but here I go again. It was in a talk I heard by one of the apostles given many years ago. A lady brought her infant son to him after hearing him speak and asked what would be best to teach her child. This person responded "Teach him to deny himself". After only a week of denying myself chocolate, I honestly feel much more in control of myself. I don't have to give in to a little chocolate craving (or a big one), or anything else for that matter!

I am so happy right now...happy that I'm accomplishing my goals, happy that I'm becoming who I want to be, happy to be me!! I wish I had words to truly explain how I feel, but they just aren't there. All I know is that the person I've been dreaming of becoming my entire life (and realistically didn't expect to meet until I was a saintly old lady, assuming I make it that long in life) is beginning to look back at me in the mirror. It is a crazy, cool experience! It's almost hard to fathom, but it's happening. I still have a long ways to go and am nowhere near finished with myself, but it's a start!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Warning Heeded = Lesson Learned

A few posts ago I wrote about my check tire light coming on. I had put that on my list of things to do, but still hadn't completed it.

On Sunday morning I decided to go to church early so I could practice the hymns for the day on the organ and also mess around on the piano a little bit. I went out to my car and it wouldn't start...dead battery. It was inconvenient, but I wasn't worried. I took my father's truck and was on my way. When I got home from church (I only had 30 minutes because I was leaving to go out of town for choir practice that night) I talked to him about it and he said that I should take my mom's car (I seriously have the best parents EVER!!) that night and while I was gone they would try to jump my battery. No big deal, right??

I took mom's car and off on my evening adventure I went. When I parked her car (which is to the right of where I park my car), I noticed the cables going into the battery, but then my eyes went down a little lower and I noticed I no longer had a hubcap on the front, right wheel, and I also had a flat tire.

I went inside, thinking that someone had vandalized my car. My parents reassured me that that wasn't the case. My wonderful father, being ultra efficient and making sure that everything was as it should be, was checking my tire pressure after taking care of the battery. He went to that front, right tire, put the tire guage on, and the valve stem broke right off into his hand, hence the flat tire. He said it appeared to be cracked and could have been that way for quite some time. It also turns out that the sensor that was triggering the light I was seeing is IN the front, right tire.

I consider it a blessing from Heavenly Father that my car battery died. I had every intention of taking my car on that long drive that night. Had I not had the dead battery, it is completely conceiveable that I would have had a flat tire on that trip and been at the side of the road, in the dark, in the middle of NOWHERE, with no cell service (which conveniently I have none for most of that drive).

I also learned a very valuable (and expensive!!) lesson. When you receive a warning, whether it is a light in your car, or a spiritual prompting, or anything in between, don't hesitate to heed it. Look into it, resolve it, act on it.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

For Times of Trouble

This talk was given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on March 18, 1980. I share only a few quotes from this address that have helped me a lot recently as I've dealt with a great deal of depression and discouragement.

"In doing so, however, I wish at the outset to make a distinction F. Scott Fitzgerald once made, that "trouble" has no necessary connection with discouragement - discouragement has a germ of its own, as different from trouble as arthritis is different from a stiff joint". Troubles we all have, bu the "germ" of discouragement, to use Fitzgerald's word, is not in the trouble, it is in us. Or to be more precise, I believe it is in Satan, the Prince of Darkness, the Father of Lies. And he would have it be in us. It's frequently a small germ, hardly worth going to the Health Center for, but it will work and it will grow and it will spread. In fact, it can become almost a habit, a way of living and thinking, and there the greatest damage is done. Then it takes an increasingly severe toll on our spirit, for it erodes the deepest religious commitments we can make - those of faith, and hope, and charity. We turn inward and look downward, and these greatest of Christlike virtues are damaged or at very least impaired. We become unhappy and soon make others unhappy, and before long Lucifer laughs."
"As with any other germ, a little preventive medicine ought to be practiced in terms of those things that get us down. There is a line from Dante that says, "The arrow seen before cometh less rudely". President John F. Kennedy put the same thought into one of his state of the union messages this way: "The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining." The Boy Scouts say it best of all: "Be prepared." That isn't just cracker-barrel wisdom with us; it is theology. "And angels shall fly through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice...Prepare ye, prepare ye" (D&C 88:92). "But if ye are prepared ye shall not fear" (D&C 38:30). And fear is part of what I wish to oppose this morning. The scriptures teach that preparation - prevention if you will - is perhaps the major weapon in your arsenal against discouragement and self-defeat".

"If there is one lament I cannot abide - and I hear it from adults as well as students - it is the poor, pitiful, withered cry, "Well, that's just the way I am." If you want to talk about discouragement, that phrase is one that discourages me. Though not a swearing man, I am always sorely tempted to try my hand when I hear that. Please spare me your speeches about "That's just the way I am." I've head the from too many people who wanted to sin and call it psychology. And I use the word sin again to cover a vast range of habits, some seemingly innocent enough, that nevertheless bring discouragement and doubt and despair."

"In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike - and they will - you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham's seed."

I have listened to this talk three times this week, and listened to it twice. I love it more and more each time and feel myself making more and more progress away from my depression and discouragement. Satan is good at what he does, but Heavenly Father is better. I'm making sure that I am prepared now in every aspect of my life so that I do not have to live in fear. I am staying on the side of light so that discouragement will not overpower me quite as easily.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Relay for Life

My company is sponsoring a team at this years Relay for Life in Waycross, GA. I was recruited to co-captain this event, but I also chose to join this team. Now, I have been shamelessly soliciting donations for this event, and that is something that I am TOTALLY not comfortable doing. I don't like people asking me for money, and I REALLY do not like asking other people for money. That being said, the only way we're going to reach the company goal of $2500 is to ask for help.

We're coming up with some really great fundraising ideas for our employees on site (bake sales seem to be everyone's favorite idea). My favorite fundraising idea for everyone though are service donations. Let me explain...

 I totally understand how money goes and that sometimes it is difficult to donate it off, even if it is to a great cause. Whether we have money to donate or not, we all have talents and gifts that can be used to benefit others. I can bake a cake for someone who is willing to pay for it and donate that money to my Relay for Life fund. Other ideas we have are cutting someone's grass, shoveling snow (depending on your climate - doesn't apply to us here in Georgia), babysitting...whatever it is. Everyone get to help someone, the person the service is rendered for is helped and has received something for their monetary donation, and we're one step closer to reaching our goal.

So, if you can't donate money directly from your pocket (and trust me, I know how that goes, and I sincerely do not mean to pressure anyone), please consider getting out there and donating of yourself - and while you're at it, get the kids involved.

Also, the event is on April 12 - 13. We're in search of volunteers to help throughout the event (photographers, musicians, friendly faces). If you're in town (or want to come to town), mark your calendar!

If you would like to donate or join my team, please see the link on my Facebook page (or if we're not FB friends, leave me a comment). The more the merrier!

2013 - January Recap

A full month down! I can't hardly believe it!! Because we've made it through January we now get to say that Lori will be home in LESS THAN A YEAR!! Not that I'm excited or anything...

If you'll recall, I set out to make 2013 a GREAT year! I've set a kajillion goals, some that will be year long, others that will go month by month.

Year long goals:
Read the Standard Works (Old & New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) cover to cover. According to my outline, I needed to read through Numbers 15 by January 31. I made it to Numbers 20.

Walk 500 miles: This to me is a completely attainable goal when looked at in small chunks. I figured I would need to walk a minimum of 10 miles per week to reach this goal. Well, January started out a little rocky. I had to deal with (and for that matter, am still dealing) with a ridiculous and pretty painful health complication that I'd happily eliminate if only I could. That put me a full week behind. I've done my best to catch up to my goal and as of January 31 I walked 42 miles! Which, conveniently enough, is exactly what I need to walk to put me just over 500 miles at the end of the year!!

Monthly goal:
Visit Pike Place Market in Washington state. This one was supposed to be "in the bag". I had plane tickets purchased, time off work - there was NO reason to suppose this wouldn't happen. But then life threw a curve ball and I ended up cancelling my vacation and working right on through. So, back to the bucket list it goes...but it WILL be taken care of one day!

February will bring more challenges, but lots of GREAT opportunities! My monthly goal is to go the entire month of February WITHOUT chocolate!! Everyone is questioning why on earth I would pick the month notorious for chocolate gifts as the month without chocolate. Two reasons: 1 - no one will be buying me chocolate this Valentine's day (not bitter - just a fact) and 2 - I'm doing something better for my heart than eating something shaped like a heart. And for a third - February only has 28 days, a full 2 -3 days shorter than any other month. Seems perfectly logical to me. So, here we go!!