Saturday, January 10, 2009


Greetings, all. As a result of trying to put into practice what I discussed in my last post, I've decided to take a declared break in writing this blog. I don't know for how long, but it needs to be on the back burner for a while so I can focus on higher priorities.

Thanks to everyone who's actually read this and I hope to be back sometime.

One parting thought...remember that when seeking the positive, all good things come from God. (See Moroni 7:5-6, 12-14, 16.) So, if you need to find the good in any situation, look to God and ask Him and you'll find out.

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Forget Yourself and Go to Work

There's a story told frequently about the 15th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley. When he was a young man, he went to serve as a missionary in England. While he was there, he was discouraged and felt that he wasn't doing very well in the work and thought he should come home. He wrote of his concerns to his father. President Hinckley then received a letter back and his father replied, "Forget yourself and go to work." President Hinckley took his advice and was very successful in his work throughout his life.

I remembered this story recently as I've been trying to figure out how to do everything I want and need to do. I've been focusing on how to meet my needs, like a regular sleep schedule and exercise time, so I can feel more energetic and help my family with what they need. I haven't been very successful and that has been discouraging. After thinking about it, I've decided that I might be tackling this problem in the wrong way.

Another quote comes to mind from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, current second counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS Church. He said, "As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness...In today’s world of pop psychology, junk TV, and feel-good self-help manuals, this advice may seem counterintuitive. We are sometimes told that the answer to our ills is to look inward, to indulge ourselves, to spend first and pay later, and to satisfy our own desires even at the expense of those around us. While there are times when it is prudent to look first to our own needs, in the long run it doesn’t lead to lasting happiness."
(Happiness, Your Heritage, General Relief Society Meeting, September 2008)

I know from experience that when I help others, I forget about my own troubles and challenges and I feel better in general. So, I'm going to try to focusing more on my family's needs first and then see if by doing that, I'll meet my own needs, too. I may or may not let you know how it goes. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Minor Annoyances

It's technically still fall since it's before December 21st, but it's really winter. The weather is cold and dry with occasional snow, depending on the year. It seems that the colder it gets, the drier it gets and that really affects my skin, especially my hands. I remember my first winter here, eons ago, as a freshman in college. I'd moved from a slightly more humid, but not much more, place and by the middle of winter, my hands were very dry and cracked. I have a picture of myself sitting on my bed studying with socks on my hands to keep the lotion from coming off them.

Over the years, I thought I had gotten used to the weather because my hands were never quite so bad until the reaction of my hands changed. It used to be an overall dryness. Now the dryness centers on my fingers, especially my thumb and first two fingers on both hands. If I'm not careful, I get deep cracks near the tips by the nail or on the joints. It hurts, especially since I use them a lot. Once the cracks form, it takes a long time to heal and then I remember how to better prevent them from happening and it slowly gets better.

So what's my point? Well, I wanted to see if I could seek the positive in this situation because my fingers hurt and itch right now. :)

So, here we go. I'm grateful my condition is relatively controllable and that I have a way to make my apartment more humid and rubber gloves to wear when I work in water. I'm glad it's just my fingers and not anywhere else. I'm grateful that it's only harder to control in the winter instead of all year round.

Well, I think that made me feel a little better. I think we all have minor (or maybe not so minor) annoyances that we each have to deal with in one way or another. We can choose to gripe and complain and make excuses for it or we can just understand it, deal with it, and work around or through it as best we can. I think the first way can make these annoyances worse because we stay focused on it. However, the second way allows us to do what we really want and hopefully minimizes the effects of our annoyances because we aren't focused on the problem anymore. May all the effects of all our minor annoyances be minimized.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks In All Things

Since today is Thanksgiving in the United States when we take time to think about what we are grateful for and since it's also one great way to seek the positive, I'm going to make a list of some of the things I am grateful for. I thought I'd do it a little differently because it usually seems that the same things are mentioned, God, family, country, home, food, shelter, freedom, friends, etc., and I thought I would try and look beyond that and see what I could come up with.


Things I am thankful for:
  • my Pocket PC, because it's small, compact, and holds all the things I need to remember plus I can read books on it, check my e-mail and the Internet, let my children use the drawing program to help them be quiet at church, and play mp3s to listen to books and talks while I work.
  • hot, running water from the tap.
  • my education and the desire and ability to continue learning.
  • my gas stove. (I really will miss it when I have to go back to electric burners one day.)
  • cinder block walls because I can use those 3M hooks and not worry about them ripping the drywall.
  • 3M hooks, so I can decorate my apartment better.
  • my city library. It has such a good collection and it's nice to be able to read many of the books I want while living on a student budget.
  • electricity.
  • Jesus Christ. (Yes, I know I said that I was trying to think of less common things to be thankful for, but I saw His picture on the wall and my life wouldn't be what it is without Him, so there. ;) )
  • microwaves.
  • Google Reader because I can keep up on my sites and not use a lot of time.
  • my husband having his thesis defense scheduled in less than two weeks.
  • lower gas prices.
  • a living room without a TV in it.
  • washing machines and dryers because they save a lot of time.
  • refrigerators and freezers.
  • Google Maps because it helps me find places.
  • staplers and paper clips because they keep my papers together.
  • scissors.
You're welcome to post other things that you are grateful for in the comments, if you like.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Life As It Happened In the Last Month

I thought I'd update this since it's been a month since I've posted anything. We've had minor sicknesses in the last month which weren't serious, but take time from lesser pursuits like blogging. It's not like I forgot about it, though. I started at least a couple of new posts but was too tired to finish them.

I was also caught up in the election or trying not to be. In my personal efforts to stay positive in the ten days before Election Day, I limited my news media reading to one daily news e-mail subscription. I'm learning (very slowly, it seems) that we all have things that can take away our peace, and one of those things for me is the news. All the arguing, fault-finding, and negativity are so interesting to read, but it makes me disagreeable, to say the least, and that bothers me. I have so many more important things to do, but I allow myself to get sucked in. I've had some ideas tonight on how to resolve this for myself, so maybe I'll write about it when I get it figured out. :)

Another distraction, I suppose, is that my husband has been spending many a late night recently to finish his master's thesis. The exciting thing is that he should be finished, excepting perhaps his defense, by the end of the month. Then he can focus solely on his dissertation topic. Happy day!

So, stay tuned, my friends. We'll see how this month goes, with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up...hmm, like I said, we'll see. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's All About ME

I recently took Little E to the doctor for a checkup. My plan was simple. Go to the doctor, get her weighed, measured, and checked out, then drive to the county health department to get her immunizations caught up since we're a little behind on those right now. We got there on time and they were running behind. We had a good half-hour playing in the children's waiting area and she was in a good mood. Then we got back to the room and while she wasn't thrilled to be weighed, we did it and she checked out well.

I'd forgotten that the doctor had wanted to check her for anemia, so we went to the lab for a blood draw. That was traumatic. First they had to find a vein in her arm by checking both arms. Then the vein they tried kept rolling around and they couldn't get it. Finally, after trying to look for another good vein in her arms, I asked if we couldn't try getting it from her heel. Luckily, her heels were still soft enough, so after using a warm compress to draw the blood to her heel, they were able to prick it and squeeze out the blood they needed to do the necessary tests. Little E screamed and cried almost the entire time.

Now what would you do? My husband was watching our other children, so it would have been so easy to just take her to get her three/four more shots. Then we'd be all caught up. If I did it another day, I'd probably have to take all my children with me to the health department. It would be easier for me to do it now. She's still little, she'd be okay, right?

I decided to wait. She probably would have been fine, but why put her through more pain today, just to be convenient for me.

I think we face those kinds of decisions all of the time during our lives. Is what I want more important than what others want or need right now?

I've been thinking lately about how certain problems in our society stem from people deciding that what they want is more important than what others need or want. The first one that comes to mind is the current financial market crisis. The situation is complex, but it seems that at least part of the problems come from people choosing to get what they want instead of getting what they could actually afford. It also comes from people choosing to get what they want by encouraging others to buy what they can't afford.

Another problem is no-fault divorces. I'm not talking about people who have legitimate reasons to divorce, like, for example, abusive marriages. I'm talking about people who choose to divorce amicably because they've grown apart, fell out of love, or some other excuse to break up. It's more difficult when there are children involved because the parents don't know or choose to ignore the decades of research that show that divorce has many negative, long-term effects on everyone involved, especially the children.

Abortion, road rage, child abuse and neglect, intolerance, greed, impatience, rudeness. In fact, I think that almost all problems come from someone or some group thinking that their needs and wants are more important than someone else's. I suppose it can seem only natural. It's built into us from birth. Babies and little children are selfish, in part, to make sure they are taken care of. But, part of the process of growing up and becoming an adult is learning that you are not the most important thing on this planet. That is why we teach children things like how to share, that hurting others is wrong, and how to work together and help others.

I'm reminded of the end of the movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. (If I'm spoiling anything, I apologize, but the movie is over 25 years old. :) ) One of the main characters, Spock, gives his life to save the rest of the ship. As he is dying, he explains to his friend, Admiral Kirk, why he did it. He says, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."

I think that to change most of the problems in our lives and to find happiness, we need to stop spending so much time focusing on our personal needs and look outside of ourselves to those around us. I believe that this starts with our families since these should be the people that are the closest to us and as such we can have the most impact. After we take care of our families, we can then more easily help others around us at work, church, or in our communities because we have a place where we can rest from our other worries.

Focusing first on our families' needs can be difficult since we see them in all moods and with all their faults. However, it has been my experience that when I focus on the needs of those in my family first, they are happier, I am happier, and many of my needs are actually met. I've also noticed that for myself, I have a harder time thinking of others' needs when I'm really involved in my own interests like reading, checking my e-mail groups, or talking on the phone. I find that when I'm deeply involved in my stuff, whatever it is, and someone comes to me with a need, I'm more impatient, more easily frustrated, and ultimately dissatisfied. I'm recognizing that in order to want to think of others' needs first, I need to be more selective when I choose to do my stuff, so I'm not so distracted by my concerns.

So where is the positive in all of this? The positive is that we can change, that I can change. I don't think I'm being too selfish most of the time, but I would like to be better. I can choose to find ways to think more about others than myself. I can choose to work on my interests at times when I won't be needed to help others. I can choose to focus my energies on helping my family members rather than satisfying my desires more often. I can be happier when I do these things because I've seen it work.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Seeking the Positive As A Wife

I am posting a link to an article by Orson Scott Card titled, "Bad wife or just a busy one?" from I had to smile as I read it because it just sounds so familiar. Enjoy.