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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Girl Friday

Tonight my sweetheart sacrificed his Tuesday basketball ritual to stay home with me because I had such a long and tiring day.
How can I thank him enough?
My husband makes me happy.
Does your spouse?
If so, then continue to shower upon them lots of love in the way they need it.

But if not, consider the amount of love and happiness you are giving them every day.  Love given so very often equals love received.

This will bring happiness.

We watched a movie together...His Girl Friday.
I enjoyed the story; it left me pondering.
All about what it means to be a wife and mother.
And how it is the most rewarding and peaceful profession ever created.

The Lord has given each of us so many talents and gifts.
But I firmly believe that we can use these talents and gifts within the very walls of our home...in our small sphere of influence.
We can be great.
We can accomplish so much with our talents.  We simply have to be a little creative and use the spirit in determining how to magnify our talents and bless our families at the same time.

It's possible.  I know this deeply through personal experience.

And what could bring us more happiness than to enlarge and expand our talents and edify and uplift our families through our endeavors? 

I think this is happiness.  True enduring happiness.

My Girl Friday

Tonight my sweetheart sacrificed his Tuesday basketball ritual to stay home with me because I had such a long and tiring day.
How can I thank him enough?
My husband makes me happy.
Does your spouse?
If so, then continue to shower upon them lots of love in the way they need it.

But if not, consider the amount of love and happiness you are giving them every day.  Love given so very often equals love received.

This will bring happiness.

We watched a movie together...His Girl Friday.
I enjoyed the story; it left me pondering.
All about what it means to be a wife and mother.
And how it is the most rewarding and peaceful profession ever created.

The Lord has given each of us so many talents and gifts.
But I firmly believe that we can use these talents and gifts within the very walls of our home...in our small sphere of influence.
We can be great.
We can accomplish so much with our talents.  We simply have to be a little creative and use the spirit in determining how to magnify our talents and bless our families at the same time.

It's possible.  I know this deeply through personal experience.

And what could bring us more happiness than to enlarge and expand our talents and edify and uplift our families through our endeavors? 

I think this is happiness.  True enduring happiness.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lessons from the Ugly Duckling

I'm always eager to watch the newest video on lds.org.  I think this was just what I needed today.  See if it just what you need too:

It's an interesting thought, isn't it, to remember that we are children of a King, children of the great and eternal God of the universe. 
There are voices everywhere--along with images and videos--that tell us we are nothing more than inadequate citizens in regards to social class, glamor, personality, and a sense of fun.

But we are not trying to be like ducklings.  We are supposed to be peculiar when compared to the masses around us.

We don't fit in, yes,...but that is because we aren't supposed to.

We aren't just "ugly ducklings," we are "beautiful swans."

Destined for something greater than this world can offer.

And if we ever could catch hold upon this thought and weave it into the intricate fibers of our hearts, we would be infused with such happiness, peace, and joy, not to mention a greater sense of purpose, a higher self esteem, and a much easier time resisting temptation.

Let us today, and every day, look in the mirror and tell ourselves that we are swans...we are princes and princesses destined for something glorious.  And then let us go about our days living this majestic truth.

And I know that if we do...we will be happy.

Lessons from the Ugly Duckling

I'm always eager to watch the newest video on lds.org.  I think this was just what I needed today.  See if it just what you need too:

It's an interesting thought, isn't it, to remember that we are children of a King, children of the great and eternal God of the universe. 
There are voices everywhere--along with images and videos--that tell us we are nothing more than inadequate citizens in regards to social class, glamor, personality, and a sense of fun.

But we are not trying to be like ducklings.  We are supposed to be peculiar when compared to the masses around us.

We don't fit in, yes,...but that is because we aren't supposed to.

We aren't just "ugly ducklings," we are "beautiful swans."

Destined for something greater than this world can offer.

And if we ever could catch hold upon this thought and weave it into the intricate fibers of our hearts, we would be infused with such happiness, peace, and joy, not to mention a greater sense of purpose, a higher self esteem, and a much easier time resisting temptation.

Let us today, and every day, look in the mirror and tell ourselves that we are swans...we are princes and princesses destined for something glorious.  And then let us go about our days living this majestic truth.

And I know that if we do...we will be happy.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Greater Faith {generates} Greater Happiness

     This morning I submerged myself in a talk by Elder Wirthlin (November 2002) entitled, "Shall He Find Faith on the Earth?"

     First of all, I highly suggest the study of his words.  They are most touching and tender and simple.

     Secondly, I wish to quote a personal story he shares in this talk.  The symbolism is rich:

"Sometimes the world appears dark. Sometimes our faith is tried. Sometimes we feel that the heavens are closed against us. Yet we should not despair. We should never abandon our faith. We should not lose hope.

 "A few years ago, I began to notice that things around me were beginning to darken. It troubled me because simple things like reading the print in my scriptures were becoming more difficult. I wondered what had happened to the quality of the lightbulbs and wondered why manufacturers today couldn’t make things like they had in years past.

"I replaced the bulbs with brighter ones. They, too, became dim. I blamed the poor design of the lamps and bulbs. I even questioned whether the brightness of the sun was fading before the thought occurred to me that the problem might not be with the amount of light in the room—the problem might be with my own eyes.

"Shortly thereafter, I went to an ophthalmologist who assured me that the world was not going dark at all. A cataract on my eye was the reason the light seemed to be fading. This certainly gives you my age. I placed my faith in the capable hands of this trained specialist, the cataract was removed, and behold, light again flooded my life! The light had never diminished; only my capacity to see the light had been lessened.

"This taught me a profound truth. Often when the world seems dark, when the heavens seem distant, we seek to blame everything around us, when the real cause of the darkness may be a lack of faith within ourselves.

"Be of good cheer. Have faith and confidence. The Lord will not forsake you."
 
     Maybe happiness is directly related to the amount of our faith.
I think faith deems how we look at the world.  If our faith in Jesus Christ is strong enough to act in accordance to our complete trust in Him and accept His will knowing that He knows what's best for us, then there will always be sunshine in our lives--even if at times it is only a golden edge framing our clouds.  Nonetheless, in these circumstances, we will still perceive our lives as mostly happy...all because of our faith.

Happy Challenge:  Pray to increase your faith in Jesus Christ thereby increasing your happiness.

Greater Faith {generates} Greater Happiness

     This morning I submerged myself in a talk by Elder Wirthlin (November 2002) entitled, "Shall He Find Faith on the Earth?"

     First of all, I highly suggest the study of his words.  They are most touching and tender and simple.

     Secondly, I wish to quote a personal story he shares in this talk.  The symbolism is rich:

"Sometimes the world appears dark. Sometimes our faith is tried. Sometimes we feel that the heavens are closed against us. Yet we should not despair. We should never abandon our faith. We should not lose hope.

 "A few years ago, I began to notice that things around me were beginning to darken. It troubled me because simple things like reading the print in my scriptures were becoming more difficult. I wondered what had happened to the quality of the lightbulbs and wondered why manufacturers today couldn’t make things like they had in years past.

"I replaced the bulbs with brighter ones. They, too, became dim. I blamed the poor design of the lamps and bulbs. I even questioned whether the brightness of the sun was fading before the thought occurred to me that the problem might not be with the amount of light in the room—the problem might be with my own eyes.

"Shortly thereafter, I went to an ophthalmologist who assured me that the world was not going dark at all. A cataract on my eye was the reason the light seemed to be fading. This certainly gives you my age. I placed my faith in the capable hands of this trained specialist, the cataract was removed, and behold, light again flooded my life! The light had never diminished; only my capacity to see the light had been lessened.

"This taught me a profound truth. Often when the world seems dark, when the heavens seem distant, we seek to blame everything around us, when the real cause of the darkness may be a lack of faith within ourselves.

"Be of good cheer. Have faith and confidence. The Lord will not forsake you."
 
     Maybe happiness is directly related to the amount of our faith.
I think faith deems how we look at the world.  If our faith in Jesus Christ is strong enough to act in accordance to our complete trust in Him and accept His will knowing that He knows what's best for us, then there will always be sunshine in our lives--even if at times it is only a golden edge framing our clouds.  Nonetheless, in these circumstances, we will still perceive our lives as mostly happy...all because of our faith.

Happy Challenge:  Pray to increase your faith in Jesus Christ thereby increasing your happiness.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Already a Butterfly

Today I want to remember what it feels like to be happy...like a little child.  Remember the innocent, carefree days of bliss we enjoyed as children?  Our greatest concerns revolved around whether or not we had enough daylight to play.  We worried when we quarreled with our brothers or sisters.  We felt remorse when we were scolded for quarreling or not cleaning up our messes.  We had not yet learned that the world has greater worries and concerns than could be contained in all of the volumes of all of the books.  We had not yet experienced such painful things as death, heartbreak, sin, and discouragement.  Our pains came from scraped knees and lunch being postponed 20 minutes.  We had such perfect faith.  Like a rock.


What happened to those days?  I suppose there was a time when we all had to grow up.  The stark reality of unfulfilled dreams, shattered hopes, and heavy hearts then came into existence.  And yet, despite what we may think, we are still the same little person as we were so long ago.  Our spirits have only grown up unto greater maturity and understanding.  With this greater wisdom should come greater capacity to bear the trials we've been given, and still be happy anyway.  I think this is where we get confused.  We feel that because our lives are so hard and painful, we have the right to be sad and downtrodden.  But melancholy wasn't a word in our childhood vocabulary.  Yes our pains were of much less intensity, but for a child, they were still traumatizing.  Our capacity to bear was smaller, so the trials we faced were of the same intensity as the ones we face today.  And yet we were happy anyway.  


Cherie Call released her newest album, "Grace," not too long ago.  My sweetheart surprised me with her songs for my birthday.  I have listened and relistened and pondered on her songs much over the last few weeks.  There is a song that seems to perfectly express the sentiments I am feeling in my heart.  Listen to the words of the song "Already a Butterfly:"


You wore butterfly wings and your hair was in rings
and you thought a superman cape would be the perfect thing.
So we velcroed it on in an awkward way and it crumpled up your wings.
You said, "You don't need a cape if you're already a butterfly."


Butterflies fly through the sky without a care in the world.
I wish you could see as the years go by, no matter what you're still that little girl.


Take a look at those eyes and the smile on your face.
You will color this world in your butterfly ways.
'Cause you were never meant to be anyone else and you were truly made to fly,
And you don't need a cape if you're already a butterfly.


Butterflies fly through the sky without a care in the world.
I wish you could see as the years go by, no matter what you're still that little girl.

It's easy to believe you're beautiful when you're three years old
But when 15 comes around I hope that you still know--

That butterflies fly through the sky without a care in the world.
I wish you could see as the years go by, no matter what you're still that little girl.

You're still that girl.
Don't you just love that song?  It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.  And I hope that I can internalize the message.  I am still that butterly.  I can still fly through my life without a care in the world, even despite the trials I am facing.  I still have wings.  They did not simply disappear when I grew up.  I just sort of forgot about them.  But I am exercising them now.  And guess what--they're starting to shine and sparkle again.  Today I will test out my wings.  Today I will choose to be happy.  And lest we ever forget, let me simply mention that we can fly because of One Man.  One Perfect Man who came to earth as the Savior of mankind.  It is He who has made our way possible.  It is through Him and His incomprehensible atonement that we can be happy...and fly.  I bear testimony of Him and His miraculous power.  He is real.  He lives.  And He loves us.

Already a Butterfly

Today I want to remember what it feels like to be happy...like a little child.  Remember the innocent, carefree days of bliss we enjoyed as children?  Our greatest concerns revolved around whether or not we had enough daylight to play.  We worried when we quarreled with our brothers or sisters.  We felt remorse when we were scolded for quarreling or not cleaning up our messes.  We had not yet learned that the world has greater worries and concerns than could be contained in all of the volumes of all of the books.  We had not yet experienced such painful things as death, heartbreak, sin, and discouragement.  Our pains came from scraped knees and lunch being postponed 20 minutes.  We had such perfect faith.  Like a rock.


What happened to those days?  I suppose there was a time when we all had to grow up.  The stark reality of unfulfilled dreams, shattered hopes, and heavy hearts then came into existence.  And yet, despite what we may think, we are still the same little person as we were so long ago.  Our spirits have only grown up unto greater maturity and understanding.  With this greater wisdom should come greater capacity to bear the trials we've been given, and still be happy anyway.  I think this is where we get confused.  We feel that because our lives are so hard and painful, we have the right to be sad and downtrodden.  But melancholy wasn't a word in our childhood vocabulary.  Yes our pains were of much less intensity, but for a child, they were still traumatizing.  Our capacity to bear was smaller, so the trials we faced were of the same intensity as the ones we face today.  And yet we were happy anyway.  


Cherie Call released her newest album, "Grace," not too long ago.  My sweetheart surprised me with her songs for my birthday.  I have listened and relistened and pondered on her songs much over the last few weeks.  There is a song that seems to perfectly express the sentiments I am feeling in my heart.  Listen to the words of the song "Already a Butterfly:"


You wore butterfly wings and your hair was in rings
and you thought a superman cape would be the perfect thing.
So we velcroed it on in an awkward way and it crumpled up your wings.
You said, "You don't need a cape if you're already a butterfly."


Butterflies fly through the sky without a care in the world.
I wish you could see as the years go by, no matter what you're still that little girl.


Take a look at those eyes and the smile on your face.
You will color this world in your butterfly ways.
'Cause you were never meant to be anyone else and you were truly made to fly,
And you don't need a cape if you're already a butterfly.


Butterflies fly through the sky without a care in the world.
I wish you could see as the years go by, no matter what you're still that little girl.

It's easy to believe you're beautiful when you're three years old
But when 15 comes around I hope that you still know--

That butterflies fly through the sky without a care in the world.
I wish you could see as the years go by, no matter what you're still that little girl.

You're still that girl.
Don't you just love that song?  It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.  And I hope that I can internalize the message.  I am still that butterly.  I can still fly through my life without a care in the world, even despite the trials I am facing.  I still have wings.  They did not simply disappear when I grew up.  I just sort of forgot about them.  But I am exercising them now.  And guess what--they're starting to shine and sparkle again.  Today I will test out my wings.  Today I will choose to be happy.  And lest we ever forget, let me simply mention that we can fly because of One Man.  One Perfect Man who came to earth as the Savior of mankind.  It is He who has made our way possible.  It is through Him and His incomprehensible atonement that we can be happy...and fly.  I bear testimony of Him and His miraculous power.  He is real.  He lives.  And He loves us.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Faith and Trust produce Happiness and Peace


I have been soaking up and feasting on the words of General Conference for my personal study the last few weeks.  Today I stumbled across a line that struck me.  I was reading and listening to Elder Wilford W. Andersen:

"...hope and happiness and joy are not products of circumstance but of faith in the Lord."

Powerfully true.  Poignantly simple.  One more statement:

"...for most of us, sadness and fear begin to melt away and are replaced with happiness and peace when we put our trust in the Author of the plan of happiness and when we develop faith in the Prince of Peace."

Since God the Father created the plan of happiness--wouldn't it follow that putting our trust in the One who created happiness will naturally bring us happiness?  Since Christ is the Prince of Peace and has literally paved the way to peace, wouldn't it follow that if we follow Him and have faith in Him we will naturally be at peace?  It just makes sense.

Happy Challenge:
Develop faith in the Prince of Peace (Jesus Christ) and put your trust in the Author of the plan of happiness (Heavenly Father).  Watch your happiness and peace grow...

How is your faith?
How is your trust?
How is your happiness?
How is your peace?

Faith and Trust produce Happiness and Peace


I have been soaking up and feasting on the words of General Conference for my personal study the last few weeks.  Today I stumbled across a line that struck me.  I was reading and listening to Elder Wilford W. Andersen:

"...hope and happiness and joy are not products of circumstance but of faith in the Lord."

Powerfully true.  Poignantly simple.  One more statement:

"...for most of us, sadness and fear begin to melt away and are replaced with happiness and peace when we put our trust in the Author of the plan of happiness and when we develop faith in the Prince of Peace."

Since God the Father created the plan of happiness--wouldn't it follow that putting our trust in the One who created happiness will naturally bring us happiness?  Since Christ is the Prince of Peace and has literally paved the way to peace, wouldn't it follow that if we follow Him and have faith in Him we will naturally be at peace?  It just makes sense.

Happy Challenge:
Develop faith in the Prince of Peace (Jesus Christ) and put your trust in the Author of the plan of happiness (Heavenly Father).  Watch your happiness and peace grow...

How is your faith?
How is your trust?
How is your happiness?
How is your peace?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Just Popped By...

One of the counselors in my Relief Society stopped by to wish me a happy birthday.  She brought a litle tootsie pop all wrapped up with a note:  "Just 'pop'ped by to wish you -- Happy Birthday!!"  Regardless of the fact that my birthday is tomorrow, my day was made.  It's nice to be remembered.  It's nice to be loved. It feels good to feel that someone thinks you're special enough to be cared about.  Is there someone's day that I can make?  Who needs me today?  Who knows but if my words, or embrace, or smile may be the only ray of sunshine...their only source of happiness today.  Can we seek?  Yes.  We must.

Just Popped By...

One of the counselors in my Relief Society stopped by to wish me a happy birthday.  She brought a litle tootsie pop all wrapped up with a note:  "Just 'pop'ped by to wish you -- Happy Birthday!!"  Regardless of the fact that my birthday is tomorrow, my day was made.  It's nice to be remembered.  It's nice to be loved. It feels good to feel that someone thinks you're special enough to be cared about.  Is there someone's day that I can make?  Who needs me today?  Who knows but if my words, or embrace, or smile may be the only ray of sunshine...their only source of happiness today.  Can we seek?  Yes.  We must.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Find your Glow.

My one wish for you {and me} today is true serenity.  To worry, to fret, to stew, to be troubled, to doubt.  These states of mind are not our destiny or purpose.  We are here to have joy!  And joy comes to us when we are at peace with ourselves and with God.  No matter our environment, surroundings, or present circumstances, we can still have peace!  I believe this.  And this is how:

"Faith in the Lord is trust in the Lord.  We cannot have true faith in the Lord without also having complete trust in the Lord's will and in the Lord's timing...The exercise of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is always subject to the order of heaven, to the goodness and will and wisdom and timing of the Lord.  When we have that kind of faith and trust in the Lord, we have true security and serenity in our lives." -Elder Dallin H. Oaks, The Atonement and Faith, Ensign April 2010, p. 30
Did you catch that?  True serenity comes from having faith and trust in the Lord.  It's simple.  It's profoundly deep.  It's like this warm, glowing light in the middle of winter.  This warmth, this glow can be yours...if you allow the Lord to give you an overwhelming sense of peace and serenity that surpasses your fondest imaginations.  To think.  We can attain true peace and serenity no matter what happens around us or to us, IF we are willing to know that we are in the Lord's hands.  That's all it takes.  A paradigm shift.  A fresh mindset.  Trust Him.  He loves you.  Let that thought rest in your minds and see how many happifying droplets can be added to your cup.  You'll be amazed. 

Find your Glow.

My one wish for you {and me} today is true serenity.  To worry, to fret, to stew, to be troubled, to doubt.  These states of mind are not our destiny or purpose.  We are here to have joy!  And joy comes to us when we are at peace with ourselves and with God.  No matter our environment, surroundings, or present circumstances, we can still have peace!  I believe this.  And this is how:

"Faith in the Lord is trust in the Lord.  We cannot have true faith in the Lord without also having complete trust in the Lord's will and in the Lord's timing...The exercise of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is always subject to the order of heaven, to the goodness and will and wisdom and timing of the Lord.  When we have that kind of faith and trust in the Lord, we have true security and serenity in our lives." -Elder Dallin H. Oaks, The Atonement and Faith, Ensign April 2010, p. 30
Did you catch that?  True serenity comes from having faith and trust in the Lord.  It's simple.  It's profoundly deep.  It's like this warm, glowing light in the middle of winter.  This warmth, this glow can be yours...if you allow the Lord to give you an overwhelming sense of peace and serenity that surpasses your fondest imaginations.  To think.  We can attain true peace and serenity no matter what happens around us or to us, IF we are willing to know that we are in the Lord's hands.  That's all it takes.  A paradigm shift.  A fresh mindset.  Trust Him.  He loves you.  Let that thought rest in your minds and see how many happifying droplets can be added to your cup.  You'll be amazed. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

{Happifying Droplets}

I've done a fair amount of thinking about how we remain (or become) happy when, in reality, we're painfully unhappy.  I think I've discovered a simple visual analogy to help us (definitely me included!)


Let me give you a gift:  it is a glass.  {Imagine it to look like anything you please.  Mine is fairly simple--much like the one you see to the left.  But yours can be as elaborate as you wish.  It can be tall or short, fat or skinny, a mug, or a vase.  It can even be any color as long as it's translucent enough to see through.}


Do you have your glass ready?  Now imagine yourself placing two flowers inside.  {You can choose any flower you like--preferably one of your favorites.  They can even be two different kinds of flowers if you like.}


Now take a pitcher and imagine yourself pouring crystal clear water into your glass.  Fill it about 1/3 of the way full.
Let the analogy begin!
The glass represents you. 
The flowers represent joy and happiness that you hold.  Now these flowers are magical.  They will never ever die...so long as you keep them properly watered.
The water represents the things in life (whether experienced or created) that bring you joy and happiness.


We are all born with a certain amount of happiness...thankfully, we never start out dry!  However, as life progresses, plans are changed and dreams are shattered.  If we don't keep our supply of water at least somewhat full, our flowers start to wither.  We have all passed through these times.  The trick, I guess, is to add as much water as we can...to provide for ourselves as many happifying experiences as possible to keep our water high!


It can be challenging however.  Remember the pitcher at the beginning of the visualization?  That was only used to give you your starting amount.  We are given a mere dropper to keep our water high.


Drop by drop we fill our cups with the things that make our joy and happiness flourish.


But what do we do when our water dwindles and we feel ourselves sinking into despair?  There is no simple answer, but I have been striving to implement the "drop by happy drop" method and, miraculously, it seems to be working.


Look for the good.  And every time you find it, imagine yourself dropping another beautiful, crystal droplet into your cup.  Imagine your flowers perking up a little bit more with every drop.


There will be moments when you will feel your dropper can't keep up with the water flowing from it.  Your glass may even be brimming with happifying droplets.  At other times, you may only be able to squeeze out three precious drops a day.  But be grateful.  Those drops add up.
I repeat, look for those happifying droplets everywhere you go.  Look to the sky and be grateful for the sun.  Let your child's laughter add a drop.  Let a warm embrace add two maybe even three drops to your cup.  Provide drops for yourself by taking a few moments to wind down with something you enjoy--every day!  And most importantly, let the Savior add hundreds at the end of your day when you have done your best and you feel His words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."


And on the days {or minutes} when everything seems to go wrong, find something good no matter how small.  I will illustrate with a personal example from last night.  Patrick was on his way home and the boys were helping me with dinner.  We had a pan of scrambled eggs going, along with a skillet of buttermilk pancakes, and a saucepan filled with syrup.  It all started with the pancakes....they were too runny.  As I hurried to get another cup of flour, I heard a deafening sizzling crackle, and looked over to see the syrup erupting from the saucepan, not unlike a volcano.  Sparks were glistening and I screamed, causing my boys to start crying.  I felt like crying myself.  My day had not been easy, but I had been adding drop by little drop and felt as happy as a small tulip just sprouting.  But I felt like a giant had just squashed me when I realized I would be spending the next hour cleaning up the sugary, sticky goo.  Some of my droplets were definitely used up right then and there, but I didn't let too many escape before I looked outside and saw the sun.  "At least it's still shining," I told myself.  That's all it took.


Now I realize that in theory this sounds wonderful, but in practice, is it possible?  If the visualization does the trick, perfect!  If not, you may be more like me and need something concrete in addition to visual.  I found myself a glass and found some of those clear gems you can get at the dollar store.  These will be my happifying droplets.  Every time the Lord sees fit to grant me a tender mercy, I will place a gem into my glass.


Your Happy Challenge for this week is to perform this visualization either imagined or real for one week.  Let me know if it worked for you, and I'll report back as well.

{Happifying Droplets}

I've done a fair amount of thinking about how we remain (or become) happy when, in reality, we're painfully unhappy.  I think I've discovered a simple visual analogy to help us (definitely me included!)


Let me give you a gift:  it is a glass.  {Imagine it to look like anything you please.  Mine is fairly simple--much like the one you see to the left.  But yours can be as elaborate as you wish.  It can be tall or short, fat or skinny, a mug, or a vase.  It can even be any color as long as it's translucent enough to see through.}


Do you have your glass ready?  Now imagine yourself placing two flowers inside.  {You can choose any flower you like--preferably one of your favorites.  They can even be two different kinds of flowers if you like.}


Now take a pitcher and imagine yourself pouring crystal clear water into your glass.  Fill it about 1/3 of the way full.
Let the analogy begin!
The glass represents you. 
The flowers represent joy and happiness that you hold.  Now these flowers are magical.  They will never ever die...so long as you keep them properly watered.
The water represents the things in life (whether experienced or created) that bring you joy and happiness.


We are all born with a certain amount of happiness...thankfully, we never start out dry!  However, as life progresses, plans are changed and dreams are shattered.  If we don't keep our supply of water at least somewhat full, our flowers start to wither.  We have all passed through these times.  The trick, I guess, is to add as much water as we can...to provide for ourselves as many happifying experiences as possible to keep our water high!


It can be challenging however.  Remember the pitcher at the beginning of the visualization?  That was only used to give you your starting amount.  We are given a mere dropper to keep our water high.


Drop by drop we fill our cups with the things that make our joy and happiness flourish.


But what do we do when our water dwindles and we feel ourselves sinking into despair?  There is no simple answer, but I have been striving to implement the "drop by happy drop" method and, miraculously, it seems to be working.


Look for the good.  And every time you find it, imagine yourself dropping another beautiful, crystal droplet into your cup.  Imagine your flowers perking up a little bit more with every drop.


There will be moments when you will feel your dropper can't keep up with the water flowing from it.  Your glass may even be brimming with happifying droplets.  At other times, you may only be able to squeeze out three precious drops a day.  But be grateful.  Those drops add up.
I repeat, look for those happifying droplets everywhere you go.  Look to the sky and be grateful for the sun.  Let your child's laughter add a drop.  Let a warm embrace add two maybe even three drops to your cup.  Provide drops for yourself by taking a few moments to wind down with something you enjoy--every day!  And most importantly, let the Savior add hundreds at the end of your day when you have done your best and you feel His words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."


And on the days {or minutes} when everything seems to go wrong, find something good no matter how small.  I will illustrate with a personal example from last night.  Patrick was on his way home and the boys were helping me with dinner.  We had a pan of scrambled eggs going, along with a skillet of buttermilk pancakes, and a saucepan filled with syrup.  It all started with the pancakes....they were too runny.  As I hurried to get another cup of flour, I heard a deafening sizzling crackle, and looked over to see the syrup erupting from the saucepan, not unlike a volcano.  Sparks were glistening and I screamed, causing my boys to start crying.  I felt like crying myself.  My day had not been easy, but I had been adding drop by little drop and felt as happy as a small tulip just sprouting.  But I felt like a giant had just squashed me when I realized I would be spending the next hour cleaning up the sugary, sticky goo.  Some of my droplets were definitely used up right then and there, but I didn't let too many escape before I looked outside and saw the sun.  "At least it's still shining," I told myself.  That's all it took.


Now I realize that in theory this sounds wonderful, but in practice, is it possible?  If the visualization does the trick, perfect!  If not, you may be more like me and need something concrete in addition to visual.  I found myself a glass and found some of those clear gems you can get at the dollar store.  These will be my happifying droplets.  Every time the Lord sees fit to grant me a tender mercy, I will place a gem into my glass.


Your Happy Challenge for this week is to perform this visualization either imagined or real for one week.  Let me know if it worked for you, and I'll report back as well.

Monday, April 5, 2010

"Men are that they might have joy" and "For it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things"

Something said in the Sunday Afternoon session of General Conference struck a chord within me.  It is truth, I felt the spirit whisper.
"Throughout the world and among the membership of the church, there is great joy and great pain.  Both are part of the plan.  Without one, we cannot know the other.  'Men are that they might have joy,' and 'for it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things,' are not contradictory, they are complementary."
--Elder Donald L. Hallstrom


The words still linger as an echo in my mind.


In all my years of life, there has always been a paradox to me between these two verses found within the very same chapter! (2 Nephi 2:25, 11).  How can we be joyful if we experience such adversity?  Think of it this way.  Could we ever appreciate the rich, sweet taste of a fresh peach, if we've never tasted the duller, bland tastes in life?  Would we shift our faces to the skies of warm summer sun if we had never felt the bitter chill of winter wind?  In all reality, as President Uchtdorf so powerfully taught at the Young Women's broadcast, we need adversity in our fairy tales in order to receive our happily ever afters!


And when we are in the low valleys of our lives, it is good to close our eyes and recall the memories of happy times and look forward to equally joyful times in the future.  Even better still, we begin to appreciate what little good still exists in the bitter cups we are called to drink.  We remind ourselves, "Christ suffered so much more than I can ever know.  At least He lives.  At least He can offer me solace.  At least I still have such wondrous blessings..."  And then we allow our suffering to be swallowed up in the joy of Christ.


And yet, the question still remains...is there a way to feel joy even in the midst of our suffering?  Pure, sweet happiness on a daily, and even hourly basis?  I believe this requires greater exploration.


Ponder this and I will too until our next post brings us together again.

"Men are that they might have joy" and "For it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things"

Something said in the Sunday Afternoon session of General Conference struck a chord within me.  It is truth, I felt the spirit whisper.
"Throughout the world and among the membership of the church, there is great joy and great pain.  Both are part of the plan.  Without one, we cannot know the other.  'Men are that they might have joy,' and 'for it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things,' are not contradictory, they are complementary."
--Elder Donald L. Hallstrom


The words still linger as an echo in my mind.


In all my years of life, there has always been a paradox to me between these two verses found within the very same chapter! (2 Nephi 2:25, 11).  How can we be joyful if we experience such adversity?  Think of it this way.  Could we ever appreciate the rich, sweet taste of a fresh peach, if we've never tasted the duller, bland tastes in life?  Would we shift our faces to the skies of warm summer sun if we had never felt the bitter chill of winter wind?  In all reality, as President Uchtdorf so powerfully taught at the Young Women's broadcast, we need adversity in our fairy tales in order to receive our happily ever afters!


And when we are in the low valleys of our lives, it is good to close our eyes and recall the memories of happy times and look forward to equally joyful times in the future.  Even better still, we begin to appreciate what little good still exists in the bitter cups we are called to drink.  We remind ourselves, "Christ suffered so much more than I can ever know.  At least He lives.  At least He can offer me solace.  At least I still have such wondrous blessings..."  And then we allow our suffering to be swallowed up in the joy of Christ.


And yet, the question still remains...is there a way to feel joy even in the midst of our suffering?  Pure, sweet happiness on a daily, and even hourly basis?  I believe this requires greater exploration.


Ponder this and I will too until our next post brings us together again.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Once Upon a Time...and Happily Ever After

Listen to the words, "Once upon a time." 

What beauty, majesty, and hope do these words conjure in your mind?  Now think of "Happily Ever After."
I have always been somewhat of a romantic. A dreamer at heart.  I always have been and I suppose I always will.  The very notion of living a fairy tale is utterly enchanting.  And thus, as I anticipated the words of our leaders at the General Young Women's broadcast last Saturday, you can imagine the feelings of excitement I experienced as our beloved President Uchtdorf spoke right to my heart.  To the dreamer in me.
Listen to a few of his words.  Feel what he is saying to you. (His words are in pink)
"Isn't that what we all desire?  To be heroes and heroines of our own stories, to triumph over adversity, to experience life in all its beauty, and in the end, to live happily ever after?"

"'Happily ever after' is not something found only in fairy tales.   You can have it! It is available to you.  But you must follow your Heavenly Father's map.
"We all search for happiness and we all try to find our own happily ever after.  The truth is, God knows how to get there.  And He has created a map for you.  He knows the way.  He is your beloved Heavenly Father who seeks your good, your happiness. He desires with all the love of a perfect and pure Father that you reach your supernal destination.  The map is available to all.  It gives explicit direction of what to do and where to go to everyone who is striving to come unto Christ and stand as a witness of Christ at all times and in all things and in all places.  All you have to do is trust your Heavenly Father.  Trust Him enough to follow His plan."
So, what do you want in your own fairy tale?  Will it be filled with adventure? love and romance? spirituality?  
 Stop for just a moment and formulate on paper or in your mind the outline of your fairy tale. Include the milestones, of course--but don't forget about the minutes and the moments...your daily response and personality to ordinary tasks.  These shape your very character.  In essence, life is made up of millions upon millions of these very ordinary moments.
Now that your fairy tale is formulated, consider the heavy toll of trials.  President Uchtdorf says this:
"In stories as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise.  Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way.  Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we through opposition can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy."
It is somewhat of a paradoxical irony that joy comes from mastering trials.  But this is indeed divine doctrine.  It's part of every fairy tale.  And it will be part of yours too.  Use it wisely.  Use it to shape, mold, and forge you into the King or Queen the Lord intends you to be.

Now the finale.  Ready?
"You are truly royal spirit daughters of Almighty God.  You are princesses destined to become queens.  Your own wondrous story has already begun.  Your once upon a time is now...And the day will come when you turn the final pages of your own glorious story.  There you will read and experience the fulfillment of those blessed and wonderful words, 'And they lived happily ever after.'"
Your Happy Challenge:
1-Formulate your personal fairy tale.  Know that you CAN be happy.  You CAN live a beautiful fairy tale.
2-Ponder the qualities and depth of character you have forged during your personal adversity.
3-Dream about the day when you will experience the fulfillment of the words, "And they lived happily ever after."
4-Live your fairy tale. to the fullest.








Let us continue our quest for happiness now and ever look forward to the day of eternal life when our own happily ever afters begin.  For this is what God wants for us.

Once Upon a Time...and Happily Ever After

Listen to the words, "Once upon a time." 

What beauty, majesty, and hope do these words conjure in your mind?  Now think of "Happily Ever After."
I have always been somewhat of a romantic. A dreamer at heart.  I always have been and I suppose I always will.  The very notion of living a fairy tale is utterly enchanting.  And thus, as I anticipated the words of our leaders at the General Young Women's broadcast last Saturday, you can imagine the feelings of excitement I experienced as our beloved President Uchtdorf spoke right to my heart.  To the dreamer in me.
Listen to a few of his words.  Feel what he is saying to you. (His words are in pink)
"Isn't that what we all desire?  To be heroes and heroines of our own stories, to triumph over adversity, to experience life in all its beauty, and in the end, to live happily ever after?"

"'Happily ever after' is not something found only in fairy tales.   You can have it! It is available to you.  But you must follow your Heavenly Father's map.
"We all search for happiness and we all try to find our own happily ever after.  The truth is, God knows how to get there.  And He has created a map for you.  He knows the way.  He is your beloved Heavenly Father who seeks your good, your happiness. He desires with all the love of a perfect and pure Father that you reach your supernal destination.  The map is available to all.  It gives explicit direction of what to do and where to go to everyone who is striving to come unto Christ and stand as a witness of Christ at all times and in all things and in all places.  All you have to do is trust your Heavenly Father.  Trust Him enough to follow His plan."
So, what do you want in your own fairy tale?  Will it be filled with adventure? love and romance? spirituality?  
 Stop for just a moment and formulate on paper or in your mind the outline of your fairy tale. Include the milestones, of course--but don't forget about the minutes and the moments...your daily response and personality to ordinary tasks.  These shape your very character.  In essence, life is made up of millions upon millions of these very ordinary moments.
Now that your fairy tale is formulated, consider the heavy toll of trials.  President Uchtdorf says this:
"In stories as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise.  Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way.  Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we through opposition can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy."
It is somewhat of a paradoxical irony that joy comes from mastering trials.  But this is indeed divine doctrine.  It's part of every fairy tale.  And it will be part of yours too.  Use it wisely.  Use it to shape, mold, and forge you into the King or Queen the Lord intends you to be.

Now the finale.  Ready?
"You are truly royal spirit daughters of Almighty God.  You are princesses destined to become queens.  Your own wondrous story has already begun.  Your once upon a time is now...And the day will come when you turn the final pages of your own glorious story.  There you will read and experience the fulfillment of those blessed and wonderful words, 'And they lived happily ever after.'"
Your Happy Challenge:
1-Formulate your personal fairy tale.  Know that you CAN be happy.  You CAN live a beautiful fairy tale.
2-Ponder the qualities and depth of character you have forged during your personal adversity.
3-Dream about the day when you will experience the fulfillment of the words, "And they lived happily ever after."
4-Live your fairy tale. to the fullest.








Let us continue our quest for happiness now and ever look forward to the day of eternal life when our own happily ever afters begin.  For this is what God wants for us.

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