Thursday, July 29, 2010

Learning about Forgiveness

Today I came across this video and I am in awe at this man's faith and forgiveness.

It is refreshing that somebody out in the world is so Christlike and selfless. In his grief and loneliness he found healing and impressively was able to experience deep love and forgiveness to the very person causing his heartache.

I LOVE that he said that he felt and sensed that he needed to let his anger and anguish go. His Stake President worded it "There's Jesus' way to solve problems, to address situations, and handle sorrow and then there's some other way." - This man, Chris Williams, seemed to get that Jesus' way responds with love and forgiveness. Miraculously, his very response to forgive and love has helped to heal him too!

My favorite quotes from Chris Williams in the video:

"I am merely a vessel that His Spirit, His example, His intelligence and His brilliance could shine. That's really all I had to do, was to NOT get in the way. I really didn't have much to do with that... (it was only the Spirit working through me)."

"I'm grateful that God allows trials and tragedy to occur in our lives. Not because they are easy or desired but because they help us love."

"Coming to know a man of sorrow and one who is acquainted with grief, as I've now come to understand it, is really why I was sent here. And it has been incredibly difficult to have to learn those lessons in the way that I've learned them. But I've always ended those episodes with an assurance and a hope that one day perhaps I will see Him... one day I will hopefully be like Him."

In THIS Ensign Article, President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

"Somehow forgiveness, with love and tolerance, accomplishes miracles that can happen in no other way."

"(Forgiveness) may be the greatest virtue on earth, and certainly the most needed."

"May God help us to be a little kinder, showing forth greater forebearance, to be more forgiving, more willing to walk the second mile, to reach down and lift up those who may have sinned but have brought forth the fruits of repentance, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more."

This is my goal to forgive as this man did... choosing to forgive brings happiness. Harboring resentment and withholding forgiveness will only make us miserable. Choose happiness.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On mothering the greatest kids...

There's nothing I love more than being a mom. I happen to believe I've been blessed with the two sweetest kids ever! They are amazing! I can't believe my luck in being selected to be their mom!

Watching them grow is so bittersweet. It's sad to see their babyhood and childhood pass away so quickly, yet I love to interact with the people they are becoming!

I thought I'd brag a bit on their greatness! I truly believe that each of us is born with some natural talents and wonderful character traits. I hope my kids learn to recognize theirs, because they will come in handy during their lifetimes.

Caitlin has always been my sweetheart. Born with love in her heart and a passion for life. She is funny and fun to be with. She's always game for a new adventure and the scariest roller coaster. She is wise and has a kind, loving heart. Those gifts have brought many compliments from her teachers and her friends' mothers. I love that she makes good choices consistently and thinks about others. It is always impressive to see her compassion for the underdog, the one who is struggling. That Christlike charity will take her far. Caitlin is also very smart and an exceptional reader and writer. She has an awesome musical talent that brings our family joy!

Jared is a boy who knows his heart. He knows what he likes and what he wants. He has determination and problem solving skills that enable him to shape his life and help others. He is very intelligent and uses that gift together with his creativity to constantly impress me with his ideas. He has a passion for art, music, math and science. He is a people magnet because he is fun, entertaining and interesting. I love when he chooses to be a great example to his peers, that makes me proud! Jared is also sweet and loving. He loves people and loves to be recognized for good things he does for them.

God gave me these children and they are my biggest blessing, my proudest accomplishment and bring me the most joy in my life. I am so grateful for my sweet children.

I hope they will always know how much I love them and adore the people they have grown into. I am honored to be their mom and hope to follow the Spirit in that job so I can teach, nurture and prepare them for life.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Choosing to be happy in the midst of imperfection

A friend posted this quote on facebook the other day...

Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.

... funny how I've been thinking a lot lately about how much happier I am with life. Even though there are things in my life happening right now that make me sad and are difficult on a day to day basis, I feel happy!

I've learned an interesting lesson in the last several months about happiness. It all comes down to a choice we make. We choose our reactions to life. We can't make decisions for others, we don't get to choose our trials in life, and frankly sometimes we are dealt hard blows that we aren't sure we'll live through. Finding that strength to be happy in the midst of an imperfect life is a talent worth seeking. I've never been good at it, really.

Until now, that is. I can remember the day not long ago when I felt that I was confronted face to face with that choice. With clarity I could see that by choosing to be happy, I would experience LESS pain in an already painful situation. Could it be that easy? Yes, it was. A simple choice that I made, backed up by a whole lot of work, effort and prayer to make it happen.

It's strange to look back on that experience now. I see God's hand in it; it does seem like a super-human ability. And yet it's continued to be clear and "easy" - because it's working!! Choosing to be happy = feeling happy = BEING happy... even in the midst of imperfection.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's hard to watch our kids learn tough lessons

I had taken the kids to the pool a short time ago, my two and their cousin.

The girls took a small blow-up beach ball that my son had abandoned about a half hour earlier. Soon they returned complaining of my son's behavior upon discovering that the girls had "his" ball. I agreed his behavior and reaction was inappropriate and could quite possibly could get him kicked out of the pool.

Carrying the ball he joined the girls and I. Anger sparked in his eyes ans he complained loudly that they had taken his ball without asking. Big sister often tries to "help" me discipline him so, I pulled out another beach ball from the beach bag. I handed it to my daughter and instructed the girls to go play.

IF I had thought I had established world peace I would have been sadly mistaken. This I knew as soon as my son proclaimed that that ball was his too!

"They belong only to you?" I asked, wishing I could remember how those balls had come to live in our beach bag.

In one breath he informed me angrily that they were and that long ago he had made a decision. His face was red, his words bitter. The decision he had made was to NEVER, EVER, EVER share anything with his sister EVER again! He's mad that she takes his things without asking for permission, and he has a point, it happens a lot.

"That was very wrong of her," I empathized. "When we get home we'll all sit down together and work this out. Meanwhile maybe you can share your ball with the girls and join in the game they are playing."

"No. She can't play with my ball, that's her consequence." It was about this time that the girls returned the ball to the beach bag and ran off to play in the lazy pool. As they ran off, my sons eyes filled with tears and his lip quivered. "Now they will NEVER play with me. They'll only play with each other for the rest of the day!"

I tried to explain that he had made it so. We don't usually pick friends to play with that are mean, selfish and angry. Others don't like to be hit either.

"Well, I'm not changing my mind!" he declared angrily and stomped off.

As I watched him leave, I was hit with compassion for that angry boy. I obviously have a few morals to teach him but, what affected me most was the pattern I saw.

We all sin, but sometimes we refuse to be humbled by the natural consequences that follow. With tears and anger he acknowledged that he had "burned his bridge" in having playmates at the pool. Did this pain and suffering bring about sorrow and repentance? No, his pride burned brightly and he was angrier still. It was hard to watch.

As he stomped away alone, I wished he had only allowed himself to consider for a moment that he might be in the wrong. If only he had softened his heart and thought through his choices. He assumed his decision to not share was bringing him protection of his belongings and would therefore bring him joy. It really brought him pain and unhappiness as all sin does.

My heart ached for my little boy who left to suffer his own natural consequences. It's hard to watch sometimes, but I hope to help him learn this lesson long before the sins bring consequences that are harder to bare.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Yet another goal...

I might be needing to order some of these lawn ornaments. How can I NOT be a more serious BSU Bronco Football fan when...

I will be starting to attend BSU this fall...

Just shy of my 40th birthday, I'll be picking up my schooling once again!! That thought is a bit unsettling, but it's the right thing to do.

My life is about to get CRAZY! Scotty works out of state Monday - Friday. The kids are older but, it will take some serious organization to make this work! Guess I'll be posting a lot more about time and home organization, I'm beginning the research now.

... onward I go!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

50 mile Armstrong Foundation Challenge (CHECK)

It's been a goal of mine. Something I had to do for the great cause. Selfishly this first ride was actually more about me, and also about supporting my brother-in-law, Tony, who was recently diagnosed with a malignant myxoid lyposarcoma. I have been working hard on myself lately, changing all sorts of things in all aspects of life. Improving in lots of areas... which I will talk about many of those at later times.

Yesterday I rode my bike (well, actually Caitlin's bike) 51.3 miles in San Jose, California. It was hard. Harder than I actually imagined it would be. I've been training for about two months, but 20-25 miles a day is just not the same. Scotty told me it was just doing the Greenbelt ride twice... not exactly true, the Armstrong ride had some mountainous climbs that I wasn't anticipating. I climbed about 1,200 ft. in elevation throughout the ride.

It was a great feeling to cross the finish line! I met these goals:

1. finish a 50 mile Armstrong Challenge Ride
2. DO NOT take the SAG bus (the bus that hauls you up the climbs or too the next "fuel stop" when you get too tired to continue)

I'm physically in a different spot than I was even two months ago, so although this ride was hard I am proud of my accomplishments. I have lost 30 pounds, and have begun to crave exercise.

A few of my friends have asked me how I got started:

I was happy to discover that bike riding is an exercise that doesn't aggravate my Achilles tendon injury when our family would go on 10-20 mile rides on the Greenbelt. Running and step-aerobics (my previous favorite forms of exercise) were out of the question since walking even a 1/2 mile would leave me limping for a week.

I signed up for two rounds of physical therapy, had my tendon "scraped" to get rid of calcium deposits the size of a grape and then joined a gym to finish the therapy on my own. I set a goal to walk or ride 300 miles and realized I could complete the goal faster if I rode the bike. So for the past two months I've been riding our indoor cycle and my own mountain bike, at first 10 miles and then 20-30 miles a day. My tendon has almost completely healed, I feel better than I have in years. It feels great to be able to exercise! My only advice to those of you who wish to start cycling is to buy a padded pair of bike shorts... they are your friend.

The lessons I learned from the Armstrong Foundation Ride:

1. Strength train my quads
2. Carry TWO bottles of water or Gatorade between "fuel stops" - stay better hydrated
3. Start going to a spinning class to improve my overall cardiovascular strength and capabilities
4. I need a road bike; Caitlin's bike is too "heavy". It's 30 lbs. as opposed to 8 lbs.
5. I have a lot of very awesome supportive friends
6. Fear is meant to be conquered
7. Cancer survivors are very STRONG people, they are impressive!!
8. The Livestrong Foundation is an awesome organization that does some amazing things when it comes to helping to fight cancer!