Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Be Content With Such Things As Ye Have

It's been one of those times and I've just recognized that this feeling I've had tonight is discontentment. So, since one of the stated purposes of this blog is to help me seek the positive, let me share what I just found and hopefully it will help. :)

Tonight, for family scripture study, we read 2 Nephi 7 where Jacob is quoting the prophet Isaiah, and he says, "Yea, for thus saith the Lord: Have I put thee away, or have I cast thee off forever?" I think, "No," and decided to search for the word "content" in the scriptures because I was reminded of a scripture that talked about being content and I wanted to read it again. I think Alma 29:3 was the one I was thinking of, but I think Hebrews 13:5 fits better for my situation today.

"Let your conversation be without acovetousness; and be bcontent with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor cforsake thee."

The word "conversation" in the King James Version of the Bible usually means "conduct" or how we live. So we should not live for what we don't have and instead be content with what we do have because the Lord will not leave us or forsake us. If you go to the footnote in "forsake," it refers to Joshua 1:5, where the Lord is talking with Joshua and telling him that He will be with Joshua as he was with Moses. What a great thing to have God be with us. It's a good reminder.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

How Good Do We Really Have It?

Now I'm speaking specifically of people who live in places where such things as chlorinated tap water, carpeted floors, and a telephone in their home are a given and most people don't usually think about it. When I talk about seeking for the positive things in life, I think this is part of the process sometimes. I think that most of us forget or aren't even aware of all the good things we have and instead get stuck thinking about what we don't have.

Some background on my perspective:

Before I was married, I served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and lived for 16 months in Guatemala. Before I left the Missionary Training Center, I was well warned to be careful what I ate and drank and to never go barefoot to avoid getting unnecessarily sick. As a result, for the next 16 months I drank bottled or boiled water, closed my mouth while taking a shower, and wore flip-flops around the house, including while I took a shower. (Now perhaps I was overly cautious, but I only remember being sick once after I'd eaten pupusas that didn't agree with me and I haven't had any problems since.) When I returned home that first night, I remember being excited to do two things: drink water from the tap and walk barefoot on the carpet. (The homes I lived in and/or visited in Guatemala had cement or sometimes dirt floors. No wall-to-wall carpeting there. :) )

Since my time in Guatemala, I've had a new perspective on what is really important for happiness in life. I've known many people with little of worldly wealth or possessions who are truly happy. Because of that, I've better understood that "stuff" doesn't make one happy. So when I "seek the positive," I try to recognize what I do have.

Let me share an example of what I mean. I don't have a dishwasher. It doesn't come with our apartment and we don't have the space for one. I have had to learn, again, how to wash dishes by hand on a regular basis. However, I do have a window to look out of when I do the dishes. In my old apartment, I just had a wall to look at. I also have hot running water, dish soap, and rubber gloves to use as I wash dishes instead of a ball of soap and a scrubbing pad, a deep basin full of cold water, and a bowl to dip the water from the basin to rinse the dishes. By focusing on what I do have, it makes it easier not to wish for a dishwasher, when I can't have one anyway.

By seeing what I do have, does that mean that I somehow think I'm better than those who have less or should feel guilty about having more? No. In fact, I think we all have an obligation, as we recognize what we do have, to help those around us that are less fortunate than ourselves. Where much is given, much is required. (Luke 12:48; D&C 82:3)

To clarify when I talk about what we have, that doesn't mean just physical things. We each have our own strengths and assets, whether physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual. I believe we've been given those strengths by God to help those around us. So as we learn to seek the positive, I think we should evaluate our strengths, recognize the Source of those strengths, and use them to benefit our families and others around us.

(Side note: So if I post something totally random, like I'm grateful for washing machines, even if it's a laundromat, instead of washing all my clothes by hand with a ball of soap, a washboard, and a basin of water, think of this post and you might better understand why. :) )

Friday, May 23, 2008

Feeling Sick

I've not been feeling well for the last couple of days. I think I caught e's cold and I haven't gone to bed before midnight for a long time. I've noticed a tendency to be more negative about everything when I don't feel well and my pebbles look more like boulders. :) So to remedy this, I've tried to remind myself first that I am sick and it's okay to rest and let some things go. Next, I've tried to think of what I could do. It's worked pretty well, and I'm extremely grateful that it's an annoying head cold instead of a can't-swallow-anything-for-three-days strep throat like I had last fall. I think I'm feeling better because I was able to do more today, though I still had some down times. Onward and forward I go!

Moral: When you are sick, do what you can and don't worry about what you can't. There'll be time enough to do more when you're better.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Good, Busy Day

I like being productive and using my time wisely. For me, that makes me happier, though as a mother, I still struggle occasionally with those days where my accomplishments are keeping everyone safe and fed and that's it. Over the years, my husband has helped me with those kind of days by reminding me that routine things are productive, too, especially since the care of my family is very important and productive. :)

However, today was not one of those days. :) It was a more productive day and I like those, though it still didn't go as I desired. We didn't get ready and take things to our storage unit like B suggested and I wanted to do. I did take e to her well-baby doctor visit and she is growing well except for an ear infection that she is hopefully getting over. (We'll see how it goes tonight.) I tried out my new Swiffer and got my kitchen floor cleaner than it's been in a while. I washed my dishes, let my kids play with their bubble blowers and the big blocks, made dinner, and watched my friends' twin boys for a couple of hours. On top of that, I was in a generally good mood. So I didn't get to do what I wanted to do today, but I did do other good things and had a good day.

Moral for today: Just because you don't get to do what you want doesn't mean your day has to be ruined.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Finding Joy in Our Trials

In church today, three speakers talked about finding joy in our trials. A part that stuck out to me was when one of the speakers mentioned that sometimes the perspective of our trials can be like looking at a pebble so closely that it appears to be a boulder. We get so focused on our troubles that the problems appear larger than what they really are. For me, finding joy or seeking the positive in my trials means that I take the faith and hope that I have in Jesus Christ and allow myself to cast my burdens on Him, which helps my pebbles really look like pebbles instead of boulders.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rethinking Things

As I try to start this blog, I realize that with four small children, once a day might be a little too ambitious at first, so maybe I'll try for once a week and go from there. I also give myself permission to have short posts or posts that aren't perfected, so if I make a mistake or two, please keep that in mind. I generally like to be very precise in my writing and it takes me a while to put my thoughts together, but if I'm going to be consistent at this, I'm going to have to let some precision go, too. So please also keep that in mind and thanks for reading. :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I'll start with this weekend because it probably helped give me the idea for this blog in the first place. We visited friends last Saturday and in an effort to save gas and money, we decided to stay with B's parents overnight since they live in the same town and we were getting together for Mother's Day the next day. Saturday is our shopping day and S had a dress rehearsal that morning for her choir concert so B took S to her rehearsal and went shopping while I stayed at home to pack and get the other children ready. We did well in getting everything done and left when we wanted to, which doesn't seem to happen as often as we'd like. :)

It wasn't until 10:30 p.m. Saturday night that I realized that I had forgotten to get our Sunday clothes out of the closet at home for B to put in the van. We don't shop on Sundays as it's part of our belief in keeping the Sabbath Day holy and we were an hour from home. We figured B and I could borrow clothes from his parents and B's mom had dresses that would fit A and e, but we needed a dress for S and a nice shirt for D. (Luckily, D was wearing one of his nicer pair of jeans and we decided that it would work for one Sunday.)

After we determined that Wal-Mart was open 24 hours, B's mom, e, and I went to Wal-Mart and found a dress and a polo shirt for under $12 before midnight and it all worked out.

Now, at first, I started to get a little frustrated with myself because I'd forgotten to get the clothes out of the closet. Instead I decided to think about how grateful I was that we'd discovered the mistake before Sunday and that Wal-Mart was open late at night and that B's mom was willing to go shopping with me and help me find cute kid clothes on clearance at 11 p.m.

It's all in how you look at it.

Greetings and Motivations

There should be a purpose for a blog or at least a reason for someone to share their thoughts with the world. I've contemplated a blog for a while, but couldn't find a way to do it that would help me keep it up. Then yesterday, I determined that I could write about the good things that happened to me each day. Why? Two reasons, I think:
  1. To help me stay focused on the positive side of the things in my life by giving myself an opportunity to write about them. I have a natural tendency to be a little pessimistic and I want to change that.
  2. To help anyone that might read this to find the positive things in life, whatever the situation.
That's why I've called this blog "Seeking the Positive." In any situation, I think there is an opportunity to find the bright side, though sometimes you have to look a little harder.

Hope you enjoy it.