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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to Simplify Life: Divide and List


Today we begin the simplification process.  First, we must divide our lives into 3-4 different categories: Personal, Relationships, and Household.  If you have a job in addition to these responsibilities, add "Work" as well.  I found it helpful to list these 3-4 categories as headings at the top of a sheet of paper.

Next, choose one category and list the things you do for that particular aspect of your life.  For example, the list under my Household heading looks something like this: cleaning, organizing, grocery shopping, paying the bills, cooking.  Do this for each category until most of your life is mapped out on paper.

Now, look over your lists and cross out anything that is not "small or simple."  Especially on the "personal" list analyze your hobbies and other things you devote your time to.  Make sure they are building your spirit, or bringing you a sense of fulfillment or purpose. Most of the "household" and "work" list will need to stay out of necessity, but is there a way you can revise any of the tasks to make them a little simpler?  Is there anything on any list that is draining your time and energy?  Are there things that need to be changed or completely crossed off?  How about adding a few small and simple things to your daily schedule that you've really been wanting to, but haven't had time because of your busy life.  Consider adding a few (not too many at first).  Things such as reading for a few minutes with your children, writing a thank-you card, a small service, or a personal hobby or pursuit may be a worthy investment of your time.  I won't set a limit to how many items can be in each category, but be very careful not to overload yourself.  The point of this exercise is to cut out, or at least to cut back and simplify, simplify, simplify.  Take some time and play with your sheet until your life feels more simple and small.

This sheet now becomes your "Master List."  Make copies or convert it to the computer where you can easily duplicate it in Word or Excel.  Then every week add the specific things in addition to the general things already listed that you must accomplish.

Now, before this just becomes another day planner or organize, let's make sure this is a means for simplification.  Before you add anything on the list, ask yourself, "Is it small?  Is it simple?  Does it bring me joy?"  If you answered yes to any of the questions, you have permission to add it to one of the categories.  If you answered no to all three questions, and it really must be done, add it to a 4th (or 5th) category called, "Necessary." On this list are those things that must be done.  However, put a limit as to how many things you can have on the list at a time.  For me, 3 seems to be the magic number for now.  Only when I am able to cross off something on the list can I add something else.

Happy Challenge:

Do the above steps and see what changes you can make to simplify your life.

How to Simplify Life: Divide and List


Today we begin the simplification process.  First, we must divide our lives into 3-4 different categories: Personal, Relationships, and Household.  If you have a job in addition to these responsibilities, add "Work" as well.  I found it helpful to list these 3-4 categories as headings at the top of a sheet of paper.

Next, choose one category and list the things you do for that particular aspect of your life.  For example, the list under my Household heading looks something like this: cleaning, organizing, grocery shopping, paying the bills, cooking.  Do this for each category until most of your life is mapped out on paper.

Now, look over your lists and cross out anything that is not "small or simple."  Especially on the "personal" list analyze your hobbies and other things you devote your time to.  Make sure they are building your spirit, or bringing you a sense of fulfillment or purpose. Most of the "household" and "work" list will need to stay out of necessity, but is there a way you can revise any of the tasks to make them a little simpler?  Is there anything on any list that is draining your time and energy?  Are there things that need to be changed or completely crossed off?  How about adding a few small and simple things to your daily schedule that you've really been wanting to, but haven't had time because of your busy life.  Consider adding a few (not too many at first).  Things such as reading for a few minutes with your children, writing a thank-you card, a small service, or a personal hobby or pursuit may be a worthy investment of your time.  I won't set a limit to how many items can be in each category, but be very careful not to overload yourself.  The point of this exercise is to cut out, or at least to cut back and simplify, simplify, simplify.  Take some time and play with your sheet until your life feels more simple and small.

This sheet now becomes your "Master List."  Make copies or convert it to the computer where you can easily duplicate it in Word or Excel.  Then every week add the specific things in addition to the general things already listed that you must accomplish.

Now, before this just becomes another day planner or organize, let's make sure this is a means for simplification.  Before you add anything on the list, ask yourself, "Is it small?  Is it simple?  Does it bring me joy?"  If you answered yes to any of the questions, you have permission to add it to one of the categories.  If you answered no to all three questions, and it really must be done, add it to a 4th (or 5th) category called, "Necessary." On this list are those things that must be done.  However, put a limit as to how many things you can have on the list at a time.  For me, 3 seems to be the magic number for now.  Only when I am able to cross off something on the list can I add something else.

Happy Challenge:

Do the above steps and see what changes you can make to simplify your life.

Monday, July 30, 2012

How to Simplify Life: Is it Possible?


There are some who say that our modern life these days can't be helped--we're just destined to be busy.  While it may be true that our technologically advanced society is adept at swarming in upon us from every angle, I personally believe that busyness is a choice.

We can choose to be busy, or we can choose to live more simply.  The trick is to know your personal limits, how much you can realistically and feasibly do without becoming frenzied and frazzled.  There is no magic number of things we can take on.  It is different for every individual.  Each one of us must take an inventory of everything that has been placed on our plates, as well as the things we've opted to add ourselves.

Tomorrow I'll mention some ideas for the "how" of simplification.  But for today, believe that life can be simplified.  We may not know all the answers yet; it may take days or even months to begin and complete a personal life simplification.  But know that it is possible.

Virginia H. Pearce, in a BYU Women's Conference last year, told about a little sticky note she has on her desk.  It says, "Keep it small. Keep it simple. Give it time."  I love this.  It is a very good motto to live by.

It reminds me of one of my very favorite verses in the Book of Mormon. Alma 37:6 reads--
"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise."
 As I was thinking about this verse the other night, it struck me.  This verse is not just speaking about how our little efforts can someday bring about great things.  It's also talking about life itself.  If we choose to live a small and simple life, our lives will turn out great.  And isn't this what we all desire deep down?  To leave a legacy of a life well-lived?  This can best be done by living small and simply.  This I know.


Happy Challenge:

Repeat in your mind and ponder in your heart throughout the day these words:  "Simplicity will bring me happiness.  Small and simple things will make my life great.  I can choose to simplify my life."

How to Simplify Life: Is it Possible?


There are some who say that our modern life these days can't be helped--we're just destined to be busy.  While it may be true that our technologically advanced society is adept at swarming in upon us from every angle, I personally believe that busyness is a choice.

We can choose to be busy, or we can choose to live more simply.  The trick is to know your personal limits, how much you can realistically and feasibly do without becoming frenzied and frazzled.  There is no magic number of things we can take on.  It is different for every individual.  Each one of us must take an inventory of everything that has been placed on our plates, as well as the things we've opted to add ourselves.

Tomorrow I'll mention some ideas for the "how" of simplification.  But for today, believe that life can be simplified.  We may not know all the answers yet; it may take days or even months to begin and complete a personal life simplification.  But know that it is possible.

Virginia H. Pearce, in a BYU Women's Conference last year, told about a little sticky note she has on her desk.  It says, "Keep it small. Keep it simple. Give it time."  I love this.  It is a very good motto to live by.

It reminds me of one of my very favorite verses in the Book of Mormon. Alma 37:6 reads--
"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise."
 As I was thinking about this verse the other night, it struck me.  This verse is not just speaking about how our little efforts can someday bring about great things.  It's also talking about life itself.  If we choose to live a small and simple life, our lives will turn out great.  And isn't this what we all desire deep down?  To leave a legacy of a life well-lived?  This can best be done by living small and simply.  This I know.


Happy Challenge:

Repeat in your mind and ponder in your heart throughout the day these words:  "Simplicity will bring me happiness.  Small and simple things will make my life great.  I can choose to simplify my life."

Friday, July 27, 2012

How to Simplify Life: It's Time to Slow


Summer for us went from a stroll to a canter to a gallop to a full-out tornado-ish whirlwind. Family weddings, photo shoots, registering for kindergarten, family vacations, plans for building a new house, millions of things little and big seemed to crowd in upon us before we could even blink.  Today was the ground-breaking for our house and tomorrow is my sister's wedding.  Then, maybe, hopefully, next week will start to slow down.

I have sincerely missed the slow ebb and flow of how summer usually is.  Many of the things that have transpired this summer have been out of our control, but, of course, there are things I have added that have made the summer a little more stressful.

Perhaps this is a lesson for me---a warning---to keep this fall, winter, and next summer as small and simple as possible.  I have always been a small and simple kind of girl and busyness and me have never quite meshed.  So many of us want to simplify our lives, but the question is, HOW?  When our fast-paced modern life naturally gravitates toward busyness, how do we fight back?

I think it's time for me to post a series (my first!) on how to simplify life.  Join me for the next few days as I think through this topic (and hopefully simplify my own life at the same time!)


Happy Challenge:

Today, sit down for 5 minutes.  Don't have 5 minutes?  Use your bedtime routine of brushing and flossing or some other automatic part of your day to quietly think.

Analyze your life.  Is it too busy?  Do you need to simplify at all?  If so, (and I think for most of us the answer is 'yes') jot down a few ideas of how you think you could simplify a little.  Don't take too long on this, just follow your heart and your first impressions, then make a few notes.

Then, if you wouldn't mind, leave me a comment with some of your ideas.  I can learn so much from you.  Good luck!

How to Simplify Life: It's Time to Slow


Summer for us went from a stroll to a canter to a gallop to a full-out tornado-ish whirlwind. Family weddings, photo shoots, registering for kindergarten, family vacations, plans for building a new house, millions of things little and big seemed to crowd in upon us before we could even blink.  Today was the ground-breaking for our house and tomorrow is my sister's wedding.  Then, maybe, hopefully, next week will start to slow down.

I have sincerely missed the slow ebb and flow of how summer usually is.  Many of the things that have transpired this summer have been out of our control, but, of course, there are things I have added that have made the summer a little more stressful.

Perhaps this is a lesson for me---a warning---to keep this fall, winter, and next summer as small and simple as possible.  I have always been a small and simple kind of girl and busyness and me have never quite meshed.  So many of us want to simplify our lives, but the question is, HOW?  When our fast-paced modern life naturally gravitates toward busyness, how do we fight back?

I think it's time for me to post a series (my first!) on how to simplify life.  Join me for the next few days as I think through this topic (and hopefully simplify my own life at the same time!)


Happy Challenge:

Today, sit down for 5 minutes.  Don't have 5 minutes?  Use your bedtime routine of brushing and flossing or some other automatic part of your day to quietly think.

Analyze your life.  Is it too busy?  Do you need to simplify at all?  If so, (and I think for most of us the answer is 'yes') jot down a few ideas of how you think you could simplify a little.  Don't take too long on this, just follow your heart and your first impressions, then make a few notes.

Then, if you wouldn't mind, leave me a comment with some of your ideas.  I can learn so much from you.  Good luck!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Discover the Jewel.


For a long time I have had a little motto called, "Discover the Jewel."  I believe there is a jewel in every day (and sometimes many!)  All we have to do is find it.  Know at the beginning of each day, that somewhere, somehow, a beautiful thing will happen, something you can rightly name a jewel.  And then watch for the serendipity to come to pass.  It's like going on a treasure hunt daily.  And it certainly puts a happy spin on our otherwise mundane routines.

At the end of the day, look back and count the jewels as you fall asleep, the good things, the miraculous little blessings provided by a loving Father in heaven.  And even on the bad days, there will always be at least one tiny jewel--if we seek hard enough to find it.

Happy Challenge:

Commit to discovering the jewel(s) daily.  Give yourself the childlike joy and elation of a daily treasure hunt.

Discover the Jewel.


For a long time I have had a little motto called, "Discover the Jewel."  I believe there is a jewel in every day (and sometimes many!)  All we have to do is find it.  Know at the beginning of each day, that somewhere, somehow, a beautiful thing will happen, something you can rightly name a jewel.  And then watch for the serendipity to come to pass.  It's like going on a treasure hunt daily.  And it certainly puts a happy spin on our otherwise mundane routines.

At the end of the day, look back and count the jewels as you fall asleep, the good things, the miraculous little blessings provided by a loving Father in heaven.  And even on the bad days, there will always be at least one tiny jewel--if we seek hard enough to find it.

Happy Challenge:

Commit to discovering the jewel(s) daily.  Give yourself the childlike joy and elation of a daily treasure hunt.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our Thoughts.

I can't emphasize enough the truth of this statement.  Are your thoughts pure, wholesome, virtuous?  If so, you will be happy.  Are your thoughts, positive, optimistic, uplifting, edifying, and charitable? If so, you will be happy.

Happy Challenge:


Take a minute several time today to analyze your thoughts.  See if they are adding to or detracting from your happiness.  Applaud yourself or change if necessary.  Do this consistently for a week and note if your days are not noticeably happier...

Our Thoughts.

I can't emphasize enough the truth of this statement.  Are your thoughts pure, wholesome, virtuous?  If so, you will be happy.  Are your thoughts, positive, optimistic, uplifting, edifying, and charitable? If so, you will be happy.

Happy Challenge:


Take a minute several time today to analyze your thoughts.  See if they are adding to or detracting from your happiness.  Applaud yourself or change if necessary.  Do this consistently for a week and note if your days are not noticeably happier...

For Yesterday.

 Sometimes we can't do everything (like not posting yesterday).  And that's okay.  Happiness in life is all about accepting ourselves as we are and accepting our efforts as enough.  Perfectionists tend to only focus on the negative...the things that didn't work out...the things done wrong.  In other words, perfectionism is another word for pessimism.  This is something I struggle with on a daily basis.  I wonder to myself, how can I enjoy the whole when there is a flaw in it?  My eyes and mind are drawn to the flaw and then I find I can't enjoy the other 95%.

Let's choose to be optimists...recognizing and focusing on the positive things, the things we're good at, the things we've mastered.  Maybe then we'll realize that the color of our days is a warm yellow glow with only a few dots of gray instead of the other way around.


Happy Challenge:

Choose today to be an eternal optimist and see if the hue of your day doesn't turn around instantly.  I dare you! :)

For Yesterday.

 Sometimes we can't do everything (like not posting yesterday).  And that's okay.  Happiness in life is all about accepting ourselves as we are and accepting our efforts as enough.  Perfectionists tend to only focus on the negative...the things that didn't work out...the things done wrong.  In other words, perfectionism is another word for pessimism.  This is something I struggle with on a daily basis.  I wonder to myself, how can I enjoy the whole when there is a flaw in it?  My eyes and mind are drawn to the flaw and then I find I can't enjoy the other 95%.

Let's choose to be optimists...recognizing and focusing on the positive things, the things we're good at, the things we've mastered.  Maybe then we'll realize that the color of our days is a warm yellow glow with only a few dots of gray instead of the other way around.


Happy Challenge:

Choose today to be an eternal optimist and see if the hue of your day doesn't turn around instantly.  I dare you! :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Choose Your Pick.

How will you choose to be happy today??

Choose Your Pick.

How will you choose to be happy today??

Friday, July 20, 2012

Celebrate.


I got a text today from myself.  It said, "Celebrate now!"

At the beginning of the year I randomly selected 6 days to celebrate.  Sometimes we get so busy with day-to-day life that we forget to enjoy and celebrate our little successes and accomplishments.  These little reminders in my phone were to help me remember to have fun, enjoy life, and celebrate--for a big reason, a small reason, or no reason at all!

I wonder how I will celebrate today...:)


Happy Challenge:

Pick up a calendar and randomly select 6 days sometime in the coming year.  Put a reminder in your phone to "celebrate now."  You deserve to enjoy life today!!!

Celebrate.


I got a text today from myself.  It said, "Celebrate now!"

At the beginning of the year I randomly selected 6 days to celebrate.  Sometimes we get so busy with day-to-day life that we forget to enjoy and celebrate our little successes and accomplishments.  These little reminders in my phone were to help me remember to have fun, enjoy life, and celebrate--for a big reason, a small reason, or no reason at all!

I wonder how I will celebrate today...:)


Happy Challenge:

Pick up a calendar and randomly select 6 days sometime in the coming year.  Put a reminder in your phone to "celebrate now."  You deserve to enjoy life today!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Call Mother.

Some days when the world is swirling, all we need to do is pick up the phone and call our mothers.  It is she who cradled us as infants, she who cradled our growing-up dreams, and she who will still be there to cradle our hearts when we most need it.  Thank you, Mother, for always being there for me. 
I love you.


Happy Challenge:

Call your mom today to tell her you love her and to thank her for everything she has done for you in your life.  And when the days are stormy, call her for comfort or advice.  She will always be there.  And if she has already passed through this life and into the realms of the next, talk to her in your heart.  Heaven is so much closer than we think.

Call Mother.

Some days when the world is swirling, all we need to do is pick up the phone and call our mothers.  It is she who cradled us as infants, she who cradled our growing-up dreams, and she who will still be there to cradle our hearts when we most need it.  Thank you, Mother, for always being there for me. 
I love you.


Happy Challenge:

Call your mom today to tell her you love her and to thank her for everything she has done for you in your life.  And when the days are stormy, call her for comfort or advice.  She will always be there.  And if she has already passed through this life and into the realms of the next, talk to her in your heart.  Heaven is so much closer than we think.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When you hit a roadblock.


My husband and I were asked to speak in church on Sunday.  The topic is perfect, and I have so many points jotted down on a little white notecard.

But today when I sat down and thought about how I could pull it all together and organize my ideas, my mind went blank.  I sat and thought and prayed for nearly a half an hour.  Nothing.  So I followed the prompting to go about my daily tasks with my talk on my mind.

And though I desperately want to put my thoughts together in a cohesive, inspiring way right now, I know that the Lord will help me--in His own way and in His own time.  He always does.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." -Isaiah 55:8-9

Happy Challenge:

When you need a solution, but don't feel like the answers are coming, trust your problem, your concerns, your worries to the Lord and let Him solve in His own, perfect way.  Trust His timing.  It's the only way to feel peace and joy in the midst of waiting.  Someday the rock will be removed.

When you hit a roadblock.


My husband and I were asked to speak in church on Sunday.  The topic is perfect, and I have so many points jotted down on a little white notecard.

But today when I sat down and thought about how I could pull it all together and organize my ideas, my mind went blank.  I sat and thought and prayed for nearly a half an hour.  Nothing.  So I followed the prompting to go about my daily tasks with my talk on my mind.

And though I desperately want to put my thoughts together in a cohesive, inspiring way right now, I know that the Lord will help me--in His own way and in His own time.  He always does.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." -Isaiah 55:8-9

Happy Challenge:

When you need a solution, but don't feel like the answers are coming, trust your problem, your concerns, your worries to the Lord and let Him solve in His own, perfect way.  Trust His timing.  It's the only way to feel peace and joy in the midst of waiting.  Someday the rock will be removed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Counting Beans.

 A few years back I had the most marvelous opportunity to live with my family in Portugal serving a mission for our church.  It was indeed the greatest and most shaping experience of my entire life.

While my family remained in the country for three years, I only stayed for two so I could return home for college.  Though leaving my family was one of the hardest things I've eve done, I knew it was necessary for my growth and I knew a new chapter awaited me back home.

As the days were drawing nearer for me to leave my family and my beloved country of Portugal, I wanted desperately to be able to enjoy each and every day.  So I took two jam jars and counted out a number of dry kidney beans to equal how many days I had left.  Then every day I would remove one of the beans and set it in front of the jars, reminding me to enjoy and savor this day to its fullest.  At the end of the day I would take the bean and place it in the other jar, almost ritualistically.  As the beans were slowly but surely transferred from one jar to the other I was saddened, but also grateful for the inspiration to do this small task.  It helped me visually see the days I had left and not waste a single one of them.  A year later when my family was preparing to leave, they followed suit and did the bean countdown to savor each day.

Now, seven years later, I have found another use for dry beans.  This time to inspire a love of reading in my children.  Every time my children read a book or I read one to them, they get to put a bean from the bowl to the jar.  When it is halfway full, I'll take them to the bookstore and they get to pick out a book, and when it is all the way full, they get to buy several books.  I'm excited.  I love books and I hope to be able to foster a love of books in my own little ones as well.

Counting Beans.

 A few years back I had the most marvelous opportunity to live with my family in Portugal serving a mission for our church.  It was indeed the greatest and most shaping experience of my entire life.

While my family remained in the country for three years, I only stayed for two so I could return home for college.  Though leaving my family was one of the hardest things I've eve done, I knew it was necessary for my growth and I knew a new chapter awaited me back home.

As the days were drawing nearer for me to leave my family and my beloved country of Portugal, I wanted desperately to be able to enjoy each and every day.  So I took two jam jars and counted out a number of dry kidney beans to equal how many days I had left.  Then every day I would remove one of the beans and set it in front of the jars, reminding me to enjoy and savor this day to its fullest.  At the end of the day I would take the bean and place it in the other jar, almost ritualistically.  As the beans were slowly but surely transferred from one jar to the other I was saddened, but also grateful for the inspiration to do this small task.  It helped me visually see the days I had left and not waste a single one of them.  A year later when my family was preparing to leave, they followed suit and did the bean countdown to savor each day.

Now, seven years later, I have found another use for dry beans.  This time to inspire a love of reading in my children.  Every time my children read a book or I read one to them, they get to put a bean from the bowl to the jar.  When it is halfway full, I'll take them to the bookstore and they get to pick out a book, and when it is all the way full, they get to buy several books.  I'm excited.  I love books and I hope to be able to foster a love of books in my own little ones as well.

Monday, July 16, 2012

One Happy Challenge.



Today I just want to give you one Happy Challenge.  It's simple and it's something each one of us can do.  Are you ready?


Monday's Happy Challenge:

Express gratitude to your spouse or a member of your family each day this week.  It can be as simple as a "Thank You" or as elaborate as a handwritten poem.  Take a deep breath and sincerely express heartfelt appreciation for your loved one.  Then feel your heart happify.

One Happy Challenge.



Today I just want to give you one Happy Challenge.  It's simple and it's something each one of us can do.  Are you ready?


Monday's Happy Challenge:

Express gratitude to your spouse or a member of your family each day this week.  It can be as simple as a "Thank You" or as elaborate as a handwritten poem.  Take a deep breath and sincerely express heartfelt appreciation for your loved one.  Then feel your heart happify.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Starting my Book...



Yesterday afternoon I officially started writing my book...the one that's been rolling around my mind for a while now.  It scares me, this full commitment to doing something that I've always wanted to do.  I have wanted to be an author since I was about 8 years old, and I can't believe I'm finally taking the lunge.

Why is it that daily posting is so much easier than writing an all-out book??  Maybe for the simple reason that I desire so much to inspire and uplift that I want everything to be perfect?

But even if it is scary and a bit daunting, there is something so satisfying in trying something new, something that the Spirit has pointed me towards.  There is something so soothing and refreshing in striving to use my talents in a way to bless others.  Wish me luck and send a few prayers my way! :)


Happy Challenge:

What are you feeling prompted to do with your talents?  Or maybe you have something new you would like to try but have always felt a bit reluctant?  Commit to take the plunge and do something TODAY to begin following your dreams....

Starting my Book...



Yesterday afternoon I officially started writing my book...the one that's been rolling around my mind for a while now.  It scares me, this full commitment to doing something that I've always wanted to do.  I have wanted to be an author since I was about 8 years old, and I can't believe I'm finally taking the lunge.

Why is it that daily posting is so much easier than writing an all-out book??  Maybe for the simple reason that I desire so much to inspire and uplift that I want everything to be perfect?

But even if it is scary and a bit daunting, there is something so satisfying in trying something new, something that the Spirit has pointed me towards.  There is something so soothing and refreshing in striving to use my talents in a way to bless others.  Wish me luck and send a few prayers my way! :)


Happy Challenge:

What are you feeling prompted to do with your talents?  Or maybe you have something new you would like to try but have always felt a bit reluctant?  Commit to take the plunge and do something TODAY to begin following your dreams....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lessons from a Corn Cob


Two Lessons Learned as I prepared corn cobs for my family:

1. We are so very much like a cob of corn.  Each of us has incredible treasures within us, just waiting to be discovered.  All we need to do is husk off the layers of green...remove our fears, weaknesses, insecurities, doubts, and failings.  The sweet yellow kernels of our potential, talents, abilities, strengths, and influence lie just beneath the green husks--just within reach.

2.  After we remove the layers of green, we must be refined.  Corn on the cob goes from raw to juicy through the process of great heat and/or boiling water.  Likewise, it is only through great trial that our natures are changed and refined and made ready to benefit others.  We must learn to refrain from resisting these challenges and instead welcome them as necessary parts of becoming glorious.


Happy Challenge:

First, ponder what talents are hiding just beneath the green husks in your life.  Commit to remove these husks and unearth your God-given abilities.

Next, think back upon your life to at least one significant trial that was placed before you.  Ponder on how you grew and were refined by the experience.  Record the unique lessons you learned and the special abilities that were honed in your heart as you passed through this challenge.  Feel in your heart how blessed you were to have this trial so you could gain these valuable characteristics.  You will see that because of this refining, you are just a little more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Lessons from a Corn Cob


Two Lessons Learned as I prepared corn cobs for my family:

1. We are so very much like a cob of corn.  Each of us has incredible treasures within us, just waiting to be discovered.  All we need to do is husk off the layers of green...remove our fears, weaknesses, insecurities, doubts, and failings.  The sweet yellow kernels of our potential, talents, abilities, strengths, and influence lie just beneath the green husks--just within reach.

2.  After we remove the layers of green, we must be refined.  Corn on the cob goes from raw to juicy through the process of great heat and/or boiling water.  Likewise, it is only through great trial that our natures are changed and refined and made ready to benefit others.  We must learn to refrain from resisting these challenges and instead welcome them as necessary parts of becoming glorious.


Happy Challenge:

First, ponder what talents are hiding just beneath the green husks in your life.  Commit to remove these husks and unearth your God-given abilities.

Next, think back upon your life to at least one significant trial that was placed before you.  Ponder on how you grew and were refined by the experience.  Record the unique lessons you learned and the special abilities that were honed in your heart as you passed through this challenge.  Feel in your heart how blessed you were to have this trial so you could gain these valuable characteristics.  You will see that because of this refining, you are just a little more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lessons from a Melon.


Three simple lessons I learned from our latest watermelon:

Lesson #1: You can't always judge a melon from it's cover (or the sound of it as you gently tap it).  

The other night while at the grocery store I picked up a watermelon on my way to the checkout stand.  The hour was late and my cart was overflowing, so I didn't take time to check watermelons for the perfect sound of ripeness.  I went against my natural instinct and just grabbed one.  I wondered it it would be any good and was nervous cutting it several days later.  But to my surprise, it was rather tasty!  I guess sometimes you just get lucky. :)


Lesson #2:  Have courage to try new things learned from others.

While cutting it up, I remembered that my dad cuts watermelon differently than I do.  I thought it might be fun to try out his way and see how I liked it.  Well, come to find out, it was easier and made the pieces all nice and square. (I was even able to make a cute little Stonehenge out of my pieces).

Sometimes we get so comfortable in the ways we do things that we never want to branch out and experiment with the ways that our loved ones do things.  We share ideas with each other but like the comfort of our personal habits.  But sometimes by trying something new, we find even better ways of doing things.  We'll never know unless we try!

Lesson #3:  Watermelons are a miracle.

I can't eat a watermelon without thinking of my dear Dad.  During my growing up years, whenever we'd eat watermelon my dad would inevitably study a piece of watermelon and remark on how amazing it is that muddied water from the ground can go up through the vines, filter out the impurities, and become the sweet, pure juice of a watermelon.  It is a miracle--one of those simple things we take for granted.  But when we stop and think of the intricacy of the smallest things--especially those in nature--we will be filled with wonder.  And it's all the handiwork of our Heavenly Father--the Creator of the Universe.


Happy Challenge:

Study a piece of fruit today and see what lessons you can glean.

Lessons from a Melon.


Three simple lessons I learned from our latest watermelon:

Lesson #1: You can't always judge a melon from it's cover (or the sound of it as you gently tap it).  

The other night while at the grocery store I picked up a watermelon on my way to the checkout stand.  The hour was late and my cart was overflowing, so I didn't take time to check watermelons for the perfect sound of ripeness.  I went against my natural instinct and just grabbed one.  I wondered it it would be any good and was nervous cutting it several days later.  But to my surprise, it was rather tasty!  I guess sometimes you just get lucky. :)


Lesson #2:  Have courage to try new things learned from others.

While cutting it up, I remembered that my dad cuts watermelon differently than I do.  I thought it might be fun to try out his way and see how I liked it.  Well, come to find out, it was easier and made the pieces all nice and square. (I was even able to make a cute little Stonehenge out of my pieces).

Sometimes we get so comfortable in the ways we do things that we never want to branch out and experiment with the ways that our loved ones do things.  We share ideas with each other but like the comfort of our personal habits.  But sometimes by trying something new, we find even better ways of doing things.  We'll never know unless we try!

Lesson #3:  Watermelons are a miracle.

I can't eat a watermelon without thinking of my dear Dad.  During my growing up years, whenever we'd eat watermelon my dad would inevitably study a piece of watermelon and remark on how amazing it is that muddied water from the ground can go up through the vines, filter out the impurities, and become the sweet, pure juice of a watermelon.  It is a miracle--one of those simple things we take for granted.  But when we stop and think of the intricacy of the smallest things--especially those in nature--we will be filled with wonder.  And it's all the handiwork of our Heavenly Father--the Creator of the Universe.


Happy Challenge:

Study a piece of fruit today and see what lessons you can glean.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bad Day or Prelude to a Happy Day?


Sometimes I tend to think that a bad day signals the end of the world.  But it doesn't.  A bad day can be just that--a bad day.  Not the end of the world.  And not a bad life.  Sorrows or anger or anxiety swarm around and snuff out happiness like a little candle.  But I mustn't forget that a snuffed-out candle today could become a blazing fire tomorrow.  Like a beautiful classical piece of music, today's bad day could really just be a prelude (written in a minor key) to tomorrow's grand finale (written in a major one).

Yes, for the most part, we can choose to be happy, but some days are just bad.  We need to accept them for what they are, do our very best, and then wake up tomorrow and try again.   Because tomorrow may be the greatest day ever.  Hope for this.  And let your thinking change for the better, even if today doesn't.


Happy Challenge:

Instead of trying to change your day around, just change your perspective.  Remind yourself again and again that today is just a prelude to tomorrow's miraculous day.  Then watch and see if happiness doesn't unfold, because it will.  And maybe even your bad day prelude will change a little too from the coloring of your hope...


photo credit

Bad Day or Prelude to a Happy Day?


Sometimes I tend to think that a bad day signals the end of the world.  But it doesn't.  A bad day can be just that--a bad day.  Not the end of the world.  And not a bad life.  Sorrows or anger or anxiety swarm around and snuff out happiness like a little candle.  But I mustn't forget that a snuffed-out candle today could become a blazing fire tomorrow.  Like a beautiful classical piece of music, today's bad day could really just be a prelude (written in a minor key) to tomorrow's grand finale (written in a major one).

Yes, for the most part, we can choose to be happy, but some days are just bad.  We need to accept them for what they are, do our very best, and then wake up tomorrow and try again.   Because tomorrow may be the greatest day ever.  Hope for this.  And let your thinking change for the better, even if today doesn't.


Happy Challenge:

Instead of trying to change your day around, just change your perspective.  Remind yourself again and again that today is just a prelude to tomorrow's miraculous day.  Then watch and see if happiness doesn't unfold, because it will.  And maybe even your bad day prelude will change a little too from the coloring of your hope...


photo credit

Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Challenges


It's Monday again.  Which means, it's time for happy challenges.  This week I'm posting seven--seven choices, one for each day.  You choose which challenges to do on which days, but commit to do each one of these sometime this week.

Perhaps it will boost our happiness levels a little??

1. Do just one thing that has long been on your "procrastination list."  Feel the joy and the lift that comes from checking off or scribbling out that burden!

2. For today, choose to enjoy the moment rather than be efficiently productive each moment.  Then watch your joy grow!

3. Indulge in one simple pleasure for yourself.  We all have small and simple things that make us happy.  Choose one today and just do it!

4.  Think of someone who could use a little extra love today. Whether it be a call, a text, a letter, email, a meal, a visit, a service, a gift, a little extra cash, whatever that special person needs, give it wholeheartedly.

5.  Pick your favorite form of movement (jogging, walking, yoga, dancing, sports, etc.) and do it for 5-10 minutes today.  Don't overwhelm yourself with feeling like you need to engage for hours, or even a half hour.  Just for today, move for enjoyment.

6.  Write out a list of 10 positive character traits that you see in yourself.  If you can't think of any, ask trusted family or friends for what they see in you.  Keep this list by your bed and read it every night for a week.

7.  Try something new!  Whether it is tasting a new food, visiting a new place, developing a new interest, or just doing something completely different than you usually do.


photo credit

Happy Challenges


It's Monday again.  Which means, it's time for happy challenges.  This week I'm posting seven--seven choices, one for each day.  You choose which challenges to do on which days, but commit to do each one of these sometime this week.

Perhaps it will boost our happiness levels a little??

1. Do just one thing that has long been on your "procrastination list."  Feel the joy and the lift that comes from checking off or scribbling out that burden!

2. For today, choose to enjoy the moment rather than be efficiently productive each moment.  Then watch your joy grow!

3. Indulge in one simple pleasure for yourself.  We all have small and simple things that make us happy.  Choose one today and just do it!

4.  Think of someone who could use a little extra love today. Whether it be a call, a text, a letter, email, a meal, a visit, a service, a gift, a little extra cash, whatever that special person needs, give it wholeheartedly.

5.  Pick your favorite form of movement (jogging, walking, yoga, dancing, sports, etc.) and do it for 5-10 minutes today.  Don't overwhelm yourself with feeling like you need to engage for hours, or even a half hour.  Just for today, move for enjoyment.

6.  Write out a list of 10 positive character traits that you see in yourself.  If you can't think of any, ask trusted family or friends for what they see in you.  Keep this list by your bed and read it every night for a week.

7.  Try something new!  Whether it is tasting a new food, visiting a new place, developing a new interest, or just doing something completely different than you usually do.


photo credit

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sunlight Breakthrough


On those mornings when you can't wake up, when the only thing you want to do is crawl right back under the covers and sleep for 8 more hours.  On those days when you feel terribly un-rested, when you feel no different than when you climbed in bed the night before, can you expect or even dream of a happy-filled day?

The answer is, yes.  A resounding yes indeed.

That is, if you turn to Him.

Perhaps it is on these days of sheer exhaustion, when we feel so small and helpless, when the Lord's grace makes the most difference.  We plead with him on tired knees, bowing a heavy head, and then we reach down deep to muster all the faith we have.  And then we wait.  We wait upon the Lord.

Have you ever noticed that the mornings that start out with a storm, or a light rainfall, are often the most glorious days?  For some reason, the sun breaking through the wool-gray clouds is even more radiant than just a regular sunrise.  Maybe it's the contrast of dark to light that is so inspiring.  Or maybe we just appreciate the sun a little more when we've had a dose of rain.  Whatever the reason, let's make the resolve to make today brilliant...even if it started out a little rough.  We can only do this by trusting our whole day to the Master of the Universe. 


For it is He alone who can make for us this resplendent transformation....


Happy Challenge:

Next time your day starts out with a storm, pray and wait upon the Lord.  Then notice the resplendence when His light breaks through your clouds of fatigue.  Treasure this day and record it to always remember.


image source

Sunlight Breakthrough


On those mornings when you can't wake up, when the only thing you want to do is crawl right back under the covers and sleep for 8 more hours.  On those days when you feel terribly un-rested, when you feel no different than when you climbed in bed the night before, can you expect or even dream of a happy-filled day?

The answer is, yes.  A resounding yes indeed.

That is, if you turn to Him.

Perhaps it is on these days of sheer exhaustion, when we feel so small and helpless, when the Lord's grace makes the most difference.  We plead with him on tired knees, bowing a heavy head, and then we reach down deep to muster all the faith we have.  And then we wait.  We wait upon the Lord.

Have you ever noticed that the mornings that start out with a storm, or a light rainfall, are often the most glorious days?  For some reason, the sun breaking through the wool-gray clouds is even more radiant than just a regular sunrise.  Maybe it's the contrast of dark to light that is so inspiring.  Or maybe we just appreciate the sun a little more when we've had a dose of rain.  Whatever the reason, let's make the resolve to make today brilliant...even if it started out a little rough.  We can only do this by trusting our whole day to the Master of the Universe. 


For it is He alone who can make for us this resplendent transformation....


Happy Challenge:

Next time your day starts out with a storm, pray and wait upon the Lord.  Then notice the resplendence when His light breaks through your clouds of fatigue.  Treasure this day and record it to always remember.


image source

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Charity


It's as if we're not enjoying life to the fullest if we are not fully possessed with charity.  Charity, the pure love of Christ, is one of the supreme keys to happiness, I believe.  Without it, we judge, backbite, fault find, compare, envy, look down upon, and etc., etc., etc.

The absence of charity is like choosing to wear dark sunglasses everywhere.  Outside, inside, everywhere.  If we were forced to do this, eventually, we would perceive that the world is just a dark place, devoid of much light.  And while we would think this was the norm, think of how much we would be missing.

Or you could compare the absence of charity to the absence of glasses when they are truly needed.  Anyone who has experienced the blurry vision of poor eyesight knows that glasses make a world of difference.  I remember when I first got glasses.  I was in 2nd grade.  We drove home from the eye doctor and I could see every leaf on every tree.  The detail was exquisite.  I couldn't believe all that I had been missing.

I think it's this way with charity too.  Until we choose to wear the lens of love, we don't really know what we're missing.  But the exquisite detail that comes from a simple paradigm shift is incredible.  Life is more beautiful and happier.  And we are happier too.  Choosing to see others as our wonderful Savior does is not just for their sake...it's for ours.  Until we learn to consistently take off the dark sunglasses, or wear our prescription glasses, we are missing out on one of the most enlightening and enlivening keys to happiness.  With charity turned on, we see the world around us (including the people) as beautiful.  Everything is beautiful and we are happy.


Happy Challenge:

For today, choose to take the charity prescription and watch your happiness levels skyrocket:
...charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. ~Moroni 7:45
And then, do it again tomorrow.  And the next day, and the next.  Until charity is not just a habit you're working on developing, but it becomes part of your very nature.  And then, happiness will be your lot.

Charity


It's as if we're not enjoying life to the fullest if we are not fully possessed with charity.  Charity, the pure love of Christ, is one of the supreme keys to happiness, I believe.  Without it, we judge, backbite, fault find, compare, envy, look down upon, and etc., etc., etc.

The absence of charity is like choosing to wear dark sunglasses everywhere.  Outside, inside, everywhere.  If we were forced to do this, eventually, we would perceive that the world is just a dark place, devoid of much light.  And while we would think this was the norm, think of how much we would be missing.

Or you could compare the absence of charity to the absence of glasses when they are truly needed.  Anyone who has experienced the blurry vision of poor eyesight knows that glasses make a world of difference.  I remember when I first got glasses.  I was in 2nd grade.  We drove home from the eye doctor and I could see every leaf on every tree.  The detail was exquisite.  I couldn't believe all that I had been missing.

I think it's this way with charity too.  Until we choose to wear the lens of love, we don't really know what we're missing.  But the exquisite detail that comes from a simple paradigm shift is incredible.  Life is more beautiful and happier.  And we are happier too.  Choosing to see others as our wonderful Savior does is not just for their sake...it's for ours.  Until we learn to consistently take off the dark sunglasses, or wear our prescription glasses, we are missing out on one of the most enlightening and enlivening keys to happiness.  With charity turned on, we see the world around us (including the people) as beautiful.  Everything is beautiful and we are happy.


Happy Challenge:

For today, choose to take the charity prescription and watch your happiness levels skyrocket:
...charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. ~Moroni 7:45
And then, do it again tomorrow.  And the next day, and the next.  Until charity is not just a habit you're working on developing, but it becomes part of your very nature.  And then, happiness will be your lot.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th.


Think back over your years of 4th's of July.  Think of the words that describe your memories, the colors, the smells, the sounds.  The birthday of our country is always filled with vibrant fireworks that puncture the night air, warm parades with crazy floats and lots and lots of salt water taffy in pastel colors.  The nobility of the flag passing by and the pride that swells the heart with love for all that those stars and stripes represent.  This year can be another lovely memory added to the vault...


Happy Challenge:

Relish every part of today. Then record your memories of the day to keep forever.  Not just what you participated in, but the sights, the sounds, the pungent smells.  Be descriptive in your journal to fully convey the details of your holiday.  It will be so memorable to go back year after year and read your July 4th entries and how they change and mold over time....

Happy 4th.


Think back over your years of 4th's of July.  Think of the words that describe your memories, the colors, the smells, the sounds.  The birthday of our country is always filled with vibrant fireworks that puncture the night air, warm parades with crazy floats and lots and lots of salt water taffy in pastel colors.  The nobility of the flag passing by and the pride that swells the heart with love for all that those stars and stripes represent.  This year can be another lovely memory added to the vault...


Happy Challenge:

Relish every part of today. Then record your memories of the day to keep forever.  Not just what you participated in, but the sights, the sounds, the pungent smells.  Be descriptive in your journal to fully convey the details of your holiday.  It will be so memorable to go back year after year and read your July 4th entries and how they change and mold over time....

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 3rd. Holiday of the Heart


Today is July 3rd.  Which means tomorrow is July 4th.  Before all of the festivities begin and we get caught up in the parades and fireworks, could we use today as a pre-celebration, a quiet one that takes place only in our heart?


Happy Challenge:

Today, or tonight, walk outside barefoot and feel the soil upon which you stand.  This ground is part of a vast, sweeping country that is free and blessed by the hand of God.  Let that thought sink deep and feel surging joy of living in a free land and country that is so very blessed.  Revel in this glorious truth for a few sweet moments and then turn your thoughts or voice upward to heaven in praise.  Thank our Heavenly Father for the blessing of living in this free country.  Thank Him for giving us this promised land in which to live and grow our dreams.  And thank Him most of all for the blessing of being free to worship Him.  For this is truly the greatest privilege we are granted in this, the United States of America.

July 3rd. Holiday of the Heart


Today is July 3rd.  Which means tomorrow is July 4th.  Before all of the festivities begin and we get caught up in the parades and fireworks, could we use today as a pre-celebration, a quiet one that takes place only in our heart?


Happy Challenge:

Today, or tonight, walk outside barefoot and feel the soil upon which you stand.  This ground is part of a vast, sweeping country that is free and blessed by the hand of God.  Let that thought sink deep and feel surging joy of living in a free land and country that is so very blessed.  Revel in this glorious truth for a few sweet moments and then turn your thoughts or voice upward to heaven in praise.  Thank our Heavenly Father for the blessing of living in this free country.  Thank Him for giving us this promised land in which to live and grow our dreams.  And thank Him most of all for the blessing of being free to worship Him.  For this is truly the greatest privilege we are granted in this, the United States of America.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Challenges.


Monday brings a new week and a fresh start to developing a good and happy character.  I could barely drag myself out of bed this morning with how tired I was feeling.  Perhaps, I should embrace this lazy summer day and just be happy. Especially with the small and simple.

Happy Challenges:

*Walk outside and let the summer morning air refresh and invigorate you.
*Pray for a loved one throughout the day, or for the fires, firefighters, and those whose lives have been adversely affected by the wildfires.
*Dream up your next family vacation with all of the beautiful details.
*Write a letter to someone you love or admire with an I Love You or your favorite scripture (a little idea from my son...what he's been doing this morning)
*Be a good mom.  Make cookies. (Another idea from my son :)
*Eat a slow and savory breakfast.
*Forgive someone who has hurt you.
*Have a spiritual lesson with your little ones or other loved ones and share your testimony of truth. 

Happy Challenges.


Monday brings a new week and a fresh start to developing a good and happy character.  I could barely drag myself out of bed this morning with how tired I was feeling.  Perhaps, I should embrace this lazy summer day and just be happy. Especially with the small and simple.

Happy Challenges:

*Walk outside and let the summer morning air refresh and invigorate you.
*Pray for a loved one throughout the day, or for the fires, firefighters, and those whose lives have been adversely affected by the wildfires.
*Dream up your next family vacation with all of the beautiful details.
*Write a letter to someone you love or admire with an I Love You or your favorite scripture (a little idea from my son...what he's been doing this morning)
*Be a good mom.  Make cookies. (Another idea from my son :)
*Eat a slow and savory breakfast.
*Forgive someone who has hurt you.
*Have a spiritual lesson with your little ones or other loved ones and share your testimony of truth. 

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