Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mom's Shared Journal, Week 2

Week 2: March 26, 2017

We’re all on a journey—and will be for a long time!  I was reminded of this today when someone shared the story of a well-known successful company that doesn’t ever feel satisfied with the status quo: they say, “we’re only 1% there.”  One way they keep this feeling going with their employees is to never finish the ceilings in the offices; this way they can give off the same vibe as a startup company. This got me thinking:  we’re all really just “startups”—no matter how long we’ve been “in business.” I just turned 51—not so young—but I’m still a startup.  :)  This way of looking at life helps in two ways:  it helps me avoid becoming complacent and satisfied enough with what I’ve accomplished, but, it also gives me encouragement to know that even if I mess up and make mistakes, it’s not over!  I can keep on working and improving each day. 

This past week when I was definitely feeling like a “startup”—so unsure of many things—I read a quote from President Monson: “Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier.” Isn’t that the truth?! Doubting is so easy when life feels hard. It comes without effort. It’s the “natural man” to doubt instead of have faith.  And I noticed that once doubt kicks in, it’s so much easier to let other things like jealousy, anger, and sadness take over. When this happens, I tend to let my imagination go, creating in my mind an alternate reality, thinking things are worse than they really are. After feeling all these negative emotions, I quickly reminded myself that I don’t want those feelings in my heart. I want to be full of faith and hope and to see things as they truly are.  So I was very grateful for a Bible video I came across at just the right time before letting my false reality spiral out of control.  The scriptural reference is John 16.  The specific verse that I needed to hear is verse 33:  “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  So, we’re told that through tribulation, we should be of good cheer.  The world would say this doesn’t make sense; it’s not logical.  And without the Savior, the world would be right.  But, because of Him and what He did for us, it’s not only possible but it’s reality:  things as they really and truly are!

So, this week I’m grateful for the visual reminder of my unfinished ceiling.  I still have time to work on developing faith and hope and to see things as they truly are.

I love you all!  So much!   

Mom's Shared Journal, Week 1

Week 1:  March 19, 2017

So… I’ve become my Grandma. J All my siblings and cousins will understand what I mean, but you may not.  For Christmas gifts, she would write up quotes from General Authorities and scriptures and share them with all her children and grandchildren.  Often she would include some family history stories and photos.  She placed everything neatly in sheet protectors, attached them with ribbon, and wrote each of her loved ones’ names on the copies to distribute.  I always felt her love for us when she handed these out—but truthfully, I usually read them, thanked her for them, and tucked them away nicely in a drawer.  But a wave of understanding came to me recently.  I understand a little better what she was feeling.  She loved her children and grandchildren and she didn’t want any lesson she learned to go untaught or any story of faith in her life to go untold.  All that really matters in life is what she focused on—and that’s what she consistently shared with her loved ones.  So, when I say, “I’ve become my Grandma,” I really mean I’m hoping that I’m becoming more like my Grandma. 

Last night during our stake conference, I had a profound sense of urgency to share with you all what I would typically put in my journal.  Nothing else mattered at that moment:  not the kitchen tile that needs to be replaced or the new dress I’m hoping to buy.  For that moment, I could see clearly everything that really matters in life. I have to admit that the new dress and the new floor tile crept into my thoughts again, but what matters most is more clear to me. :) 

As a teenager, I was the best journal writer!  I wrote faithfully, every single day, for at least five years.  It’s fun to read what I wrote—but my handwriting is difficult to read and often I wrote in pencil, so these entries won’t exist much longer.  Rather than wait until I’m gone and leave piles of journals to be read or simply stored until there’s time to read them, I thought I’d share my thoughts with my loved ones in a semi-private journal.  (I don’t want to call it a blog because that gives me anxiety!  With too much pressure to add photos in just the right place, or to word everything professionally, I fear that I won’t do it.)  I simply want to share my experiences and thoughts with my loved ones.

Here it goes!  In my Grandma’s words, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.”  :)