Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gratitude for Hope in my Heart

Is the only thing
Stronger than

Isn't that tree beautiful?  Look how it continues to grow in spite of being struck by lightening and having branches broken in the high winds that whip through the mountains.  It continues to flourish in spite of the difficulties that surround it.  It reminds me that there is always hope.  Where one might see only pain, yet life goes on and the green comes.  Home cometh in the morning.  

There have been so many things in my life that I am afraid of.  I have always been afraid of heights, I am afraid of the dark (really, the outside kind that doesn't have street lights).  I am afraid of bad things happening to those that I love.  I am so afraid of not being good enough to live in Heaven.  I am afraid of disappointing others.  My fears are many and vast.  I have had a lifetime to put them together.

But, in spite of all the fears, I find that I still have hope.  Hope that this life is not the end.  Hope in a better tomorrow.  Hope that somehow, things will work out for the best.  Hope that my children will choose the right.  Hope that we will know happiness.  So much hope even in the fear.

We all have things in life that we are afraid of.  Things that make us shiver in the night (or even the day).  The only thing that gets us through the fears is to find hope somewhere deep within.  Hope will get us through the night until the light burns bright again.  Hope will endure.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Memoir Monday - Thanksgiving

Memory is a way of holding onto 
the things you love, the things you are, 
the things you never want to lose. 
-- Kevin Arnold (From The Wonder Years)

My memories of Thanksgiving are pretty much the same for each year.  My mother was not someone who experimented with things.  She liked it to be the same, year after year.  So, Thanksgiving for us was getting up in the morning to help pull apart the bread for the stuffing.  It was dressing up and saying grace.  It was having turkey and stuffing and putting as much into the bird as she could make fit.  It was making cranberries and sweet potatoes.  (I never did like those as a child).  It was biscuits and gravy and wine around the table.  
I still remember my first taste of wine and how it was bitter to my taste buds.  I think I was 11 that year.  My brother and I gave our glasses to my sister because she was the only one that liked it.  I think my step-father bought it in a jug!   
We would smell the cooking all day and could hardly wait to have the first taste.  I always liked the dark meat because it was juicier to me.  I loved the mashed potatoes too.  They were real and not from a box.  
Thanksgiving was a day of family.  I don't really remember going over to anyone else's house, but I do remember people coming over to ours.  I remember the way a turkey smells when it is cooking and the way the cranberry sauce simmers.  I remember the loud whoosh the oven makes when I learned to light it with a match under the pilot.  It used to scare me and my mom used to laugh.  I remember that she always seemed happy for thanksgiving.  
Thanksgiving for me is not full of bad memories.  It is full of smells and noises and laughter and good tastes.  Still today, I make gravy like my mother did and I make stuffing and my own cranberries.  I have even learned to make sweet potatoes in a way that we like.  When ever I see them, I remember mom eating them and loving them.  
I love memories of the holidays.  Even though there were some not so good times in there, the memories and clean and happy.  It is a season of the year that I really enjoy.  It is a time we labor for those whom we love the most.  Hopefully providing them with memories that they will have when they are older.  
Those things I never want to forget.  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sabbath Day Scribblings - Gratitude to be a blessing

Your greatest test
is when you are able 
to bless someone else,
while you are going 
through your own storm.

The Lord didn’t say, “Tend my sheep when it is convenient; watch my sheep when you aren’t busy.” He said, “Feed my sheep and my lambs; help them survive this world; keep them close to you. Lead them to safety—the safety of righteous choices.  
Every single unselfish act increases our spirituality so that we can hear and serve the Lord better.  It increases our ability to become the hands of the Lord, so that He can use us to help His children.  It not only helps us to bless others, it helps us to heal from our own storms.  It provides us a way to feel the touch of His hands in our own lives.  It helps us to find the light when we are surrounded in our own darkness.  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gratitude for the things we were told

Who told you that you were__________?

When I was a child, I don't remember being told "I love you".  I do remember being told that I was the fattest.  That I was loud.  That I was just like my father.  I remember more of the negatives, because that seems to be what I was called the most often, or maybe, those things are just the easiest to remember.  

Remember the old saying, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me".  I am here to tell you that is one of the most untrue statements ever spoken.  I don't remember all the times I was hit or beat up, but I remember the names I was called.  I became self-conscious because those names taught me that I could never be good enough.

The kids at school also called me names.  They called me so many that I never felt like I was liked.  I was made fun of and bullied.  I was ignored and got in fights that I didn't want to be in.  I had to wear dresses to school everyday because girls weren't allowed to wear pants and we weren't allowed to wear shorts under our dresses.  I hated dresses.  Looking like a girl was not something I ever did well.  

I have been told for much of my adult life that I have "chicken legs".  Hence, I never wear shorts and rarely even wear capris.  Even in the heat of summer I wear jeans or long dresses.  
As a mom, I did not want my children to go through anything like I did.  They did anyway.  Not by my, but by the other children. They have been bullied.  They have been ridiculed.  They have been unwelcome and they have been called names.  

I have one daughter with Tourettes and it has been hardest for her.  One thing that I have come to understand is that people don't think before they speak.  They will blurt out anything.  They will say anything.  They don't even realize how much it hurts.  

My point for writing this is that God has never called you those names.  He doesn't bully.  He doesn't make fun of you when you aren't listening.  He loves you even if you turn away.  He loves you even when no one else seems to.  He empathizes with you.  He has compassion for you.  He wants you to live with Him again.

My point is that we need to work on telling ourselves the things that He would want us to hear.  "You are beautiful".  "You are loved".  "You are needed".  "You have skills and talents".  "You are amazing".  "You are enough".   We should be casting out the words that we would not even tell our own worst enemies and replacing them with things that we would tell anyone.  The truth is not always the way we see it.  Sometimes we think we are the things we have heard.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Gratitude for being noticed

Today is Five-Minute Friday, one of my favorite days of the entire week.  This is a time where a group of us join together and just write for five short minutes without worrying about whether it is just right or not.  Then we link back over at Heading Home with Kate and try and make a difference with our words.  Today the Prompt is:



What do you notice in the world around you?  Do you notice the ugliness, or the blessings?  Is the glass half full?  Or half empty?  Do people love you or hate you?  
We all want to be noticed.  We want to be remembered, to be appreciated and most of all, to be loved.  Being noticed is so much more than visibly seeing something.  It is to connect to it with you heart.  Being noticed is being understood, not for what you can do, but for yourself.  Being noticed is powerful.  It can take a bad day and make it change to a good one in the blink of an eye.  
For years, I have gone to my daughters track meets.  They have all run in track, and not a single one is very fast.  As a matter of fact, they usually cross the finish line in last place.  I got very good at being able to find those girls on a field covered with hundreds of other kids.  I also go very good at noticing when they beat their own scores.  
One of the things we have gone over is how track is a competition against yourself.  You don’t have to be the best.  You just need to work on getting better every week.  Some weeks were hard.  They would come in last and be so upset.  But gradually, they learned to notice other things: how they felt physically, if they lost weight, if they did better than the last time, how their friends did.  They learned that coming in first was not the only goal.  Sometimes the goal was simply to clap and cheer for someone else.  They learned that finishing the race was the most important thing of all.
What a great life-lesson it has been for them.  They learned to participate even if they weren’t the best (or in the top for that matter).  They learned that trying is more important than winning.  And they learned to improve one moment, on second, one step at a time.   Perhaps it is something that most of us need to learn ourselves.  The only person we should ever compete against is the person we were yesterday.  Comparison is totally the thief of joy.
I have also noticed what amazing young women I am blessed to be a mother to.  I notice when they hold their heads up, their arms out and when they walk with Him.   

I notice. 


Now it is your turn.  What can you write in your own short Five-Minutes?  Don't forget to link back over to Kate's Place with the rest of us.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gratitude for Choice

May we be filled with gratitude
For the 
Right of Choice.
Accept the 
Responsibility of Choice,
And ever be Conscious of the
Results of Choice."
Thomas S. Monson

Sometimes, it is hard for me to be grateful for choice.  Maybe it is that I really wish that I could go backwards and not make the same mistakes.  I with there was a way to erase the past and put it so far behind me that I can't find it anymore.  I think that the hardest person for me to forgive is always myself.  Today I am trying to be grateful for the right of choice.  I know that it is the only path that we follow.  
When I am busy wishing that someone would tell me what to do, or make the choice for me, I realize that that would really fill me with resentment and even anger.  I don't want others to choose for me, I just want to do the right thing, at the right time and for the right reasons.  I know that although I get to choose, I don't get to choose the consequences.  Those are there whenever we make our choices.  
Today, I want to feel gratitude for the God-given gift of free-agency.  He didn't just "make" me do anything.  It is all my choice.  I sometimes don't understand His wisdom, I often don't understand His mercy, And I can't even begin to understand His grace, but I know it is there.  I know He loves me through all the bad choices as well as the good ones.  I know that He is there. As I fill my heart with gratitude, it helps me to choose to be a little bit closer to Him.  And that is one choice that I am so very happy to make.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Christmas is Coming!

A single photo 
– no words –
capturing a moment from our lives.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment
I want to pause, savor and remember.

A moment
that brings a smile to my lips, 
and joy to my heart.