Sunday, August 31, 2014

Day 233. August 31

"Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings."--Doctrine & Covenants 108:7

I have been strengthened over the last month by the conversation, prayers, and exhortations of friends and family.  In that respect, I have been blessed.

I wish I could say that I have done the same for others, strengthening them with my conversation, my prayers, my exhortations.  Too frequently, though, I have been on the receiving end and not on the giving end.  That is a sad state of affairs.

Joy for today:  resolving to do better.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Day 232, August 30

"The life which is unexamined is not worth living."--Plato

Lately, I've been doing a lot of life-examination.  Some of my conclusions are not very palatable.  Like when I found that my faith has taken a hit.   The faith which had sustained me through many crises no longer seemed enough..  In fact, it seemed pretty darned inadequate.  What was I to draw upon if I didn't have my faith?

So I did further examination.  And I realized that my faith wasn't inadequate; it was my willingness to rely  upon it.  So I rebooted.  Much as I would reboot my computer, I needed to reboot my willingness to rely on the faith of my childhood.

Joy for today:  rebooting.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Day 231 August 29

A few days ago, my husband and I passed a small farm where a pig and goats shared a gated area.  I hadn't realized that pigs and goats could share a place.  I find that enlightening ... and wonderful.  Pigs and goats don't seem to have a lot in common; yet, there they were, getting along, perhaps even making friends with each other.

It started me wondering why we humans find it so difficult to get along.  Whether it is a celebrity divorce, a court case with one party suing the other, or the larger landscape of world conflicts, where human beings perform atrocities against each other, the media is filled with examples of people who don't get along.

I apologize if this sounds facetious, comparing pigs and goats to people.  That is not my intent. But if pigs and goats can find common ground, perhaps we can, too.

Joy for today:  learning from pigs and goats.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Day 230, August 28

In an earlier post, I wrote about beehives.  To recap, a single bee contributes 1/12 of a teaspon of nectar to make a quart of honey.  A tiny amount, to be sure.  Yet, each bee's contribution is significant.

Do you ever feel like your contribution isn't significant?  I do.  I feel that way all the time.  What difference does my small contribution, whether to the church, the community, the world make?  Not much, it seems.  And then I remember the bees and their hive. The bees don't question their role.  They simply do what is necessary and rejoice in their contribution.

Joy for today:  rejoicing in what I can do.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day 229, August 27

"We never touch others so lightly that we do not leave a trace behind."--Peggy Tabor Millin

I heard this quote on a television show about manners and civility.  In today's world, where many electronic devices begin with the letter "I," where we expect immediate gratification, where we have little patience for any kind of delay, manners and civility have taken a backseat to expediency and self-interest.

And isn't that sad?

Your mother was right:  manners count.  Good manners help our society run more smoothly while bad manners leave those on the receiving end feeling angry, resentful, and hurt.

Taking time for the "small" things affects not only the people with whom we come in contact; it also affects our own well-being.  When we know we have been in the wrong, our stress levels rise, causing spikes in blood pressure and heart rate.

Will good manners fix all that's wrong with our world?  Probably not.  But they will go a long way to smoothing out the rough edges of lives that are too often rushed and out-of-control.

Joy for today:  leaving behind a trace of respect and happiness.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Day 228, August 26

Yesterday I wrote, among other things, about the porcupine who wanted to be a different animal.  He followed around other animals, trying to hop like the bunny, scurry like the squirrel, etc.  The story concludes by the porcupine recognizing that he would always be a porcupine and accepting that.

I've always thought that that porcupine was very smart in reaching his conclusion in the space of a children's story.  And I wonder why I can't find the same wisdom in accepting what I am.

I look at my friends and want to have their talents, their strengths, their skills, their attributes.  I want to play the organ like Janet, write like Amanda, be organized like Suzanne, etc. (If I listed all my friends here and their remarkable talents, I'd be writing all day.)  

So what's my point?  Like the porcupine, I'm me.  As I said yesterday, that should be enough.

Joy for today:  being me.  Warts, or quills, and all.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Day 227, August 25

My sister and I grew up sheltered, protected (some would say too protected) in Washington, DC.  It was the 50s, an innocent decade.

Fast forward five decades.  Carla and I were wives, mothers, and grandmothers.  We decided (well, really I decided, but Carla went along with me) that we should become street smart.  To that end, we learned some street smart language.  (These were not swear words, but, rather colloquialisms.)  There was only one problem:  we giggled each time we said the words.  "True dat," I'd say to her, and we'd both burst into laughter.  We finally accepted that we probably weren't going to pull off street smart, at least not to people who really were.

I've written before about my desire to develop a gritty writer's voice.  Try as I would, though, I couldn't pull it off.  It wasn't until I embraced my true voice that I sold the book of my heart.

One more story:  you've probably heard the children's story about the porcupine who wanted to be something different.  He followed around a rabbit, a squirrel, and other animals.  Alas, he couldn't be anything more than a porcupine.

What do these three things have in common?  The answer is obvious:  that we can't be anything more than what we are.  And that should be all right.  After all, didn't the Lord create us?

Joy for today:  being who I am.  Un-street smart, un-gritty, and still a porcupine.