Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I delight in letting things go.

shadow proves the sunshine
                                                                                                                           sacred grove, palmyra new york
                                                                               july 2010

I'm really good at holding on to things. Rocks I picked up in Montana 20 years ago, a set of stamps I bought when I was 8, notes from friends I received in the first grade, pennies I sent through the penny smasher in Yellowstone when I was some single digit age. If I've been holding on to that stuff for so long, you can only imagine all the things I've held onto since then. You've got the picture right?

Well, this week I had a break through. Okay, maybe it was only half a breakthrough, probably not even that. I realized that it takes me such a fraction of the time that it used to to let hurtful things go. Events of the week played out a perfect stage for disappointment. I always have high hopes that someone, anyone will step up to the plate and that things will 'turn out different this time.' I am always disappointed and this time proved no different. Don't get me wrong, somehow I convince myself to be extremely optimistic about the situation every time but alas things turn out being all too familiar and again I am crushed. But I'm crushed a lot less permanently and resiliency springs into play. Really, it's forgiveness first and resiliency second. We all make choices and we can all learn from the choices we make and we can choose to make better choices in the future. Of this I am certain and continually hopeful.

If I haven't lost you, well then consider yourself lucky because I might have lost myself at this point. You see, I see no good in playing out specifics because a time will come when I'll read this and go...hum I wonder what that situation was? I don't know but I'm glad I learned something from it. If the specifics were here, then I'd read it and be hurt all over again. I know myself that well.

Back to the resiliency concept for a moment's a word we don't hear too often. And yet, this week I've heard it twice. In the Ensign Magazine that arrived today there was an article on Raising Resilient Children, and what great suggestions and experiences are shared to help facilitate it and if not facilitate at least get us starting to think about it. The other moment I heard about it was in a research study whose population was families of children with autism and down syndrome. It was a study comparing parents of both.  I'm not a parent of both but a sibling of both. As I read the research article, it struck a cord with me. We are forced to either crumble or be resilient, especially in times of trial. I'm not sure how my parents taught me to be resilient but they did and I'm currently working to figure out how they did such a good job. Probably because they themselves are the best examples of this term. The ability to spring back into shape after bending and compression...that's resiliency and that is a skill we all need.

And so, here's to letting things go. Here's to saying to ourselves choose the higher road, forgive and move forward. Act, don't just be acted upon. Here's to brighter tomorrows that are full of hope. Really though, it comes back to this..."All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." (quoted from Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service). That's really the source of being able to get through tough times, whatever they may be. Its also the source that enables me and helps me to let go of things that really don't matter and focus on the things that really do.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

delighting in 8/52


so much to be grateful for.

first of all, can i just tell you how delighting daily is my saving grace? it helps me so much in seeing the bright side of things, the light at the end of the tunnel, the sparkle on the rain and the sunshine among the shadows.

i try and start each weekly post at the beginning of the week; however it doesn't usually actually get started until thursday, friday, saturday or sometimes sunday (night!). truth. needless to say however; i am constantly thinking of things that need to go on the list.

i delighted in a spontaneous hug and kiss from a patient who usually only seems to tolerate me.
being asked if i was still miss erin, even though i had short hair. hair comments. sewing my carrot table runner with my mom. it's so cute. institute night, cocoa and birthday celebrations with the best cupcakes ever. seriously so good. wearing the red shoes. bright pants (love that trend). seeing progress in severe phonological process kiddos. laughing, a lot. pinning down my opinions. eating burned pancakes for dinner. getting sleep. studying for a sunday lesson. the bunny bunting sitting on my desk that i started last year. being able to see my work desk at the end of the week. tax surprises. tax lessons. making easy connections. friends. revelation. people who just say it like it is and who are who they are. new friends who tell you good things about their lives, recommend books you should read and believe in the ability to change. driving. early morning temple trips. sitting and discussing the scriptures and things i've learned. watching couples waiting to be sealed in the temple and being grateful for eternal perspective. salt lake city. celebrating my grandpa's 92 year old birthday. preparing for lessons. learning lessons. hearing christin use the word "several" in a sentence. taking pictures of a full moon. finance discussions with my dad. dinner with friends. visiting. hearing a song that reminds me so much of my mission (we can be together forever someday). having a dad willing to go supervise while i dig rocks in the snow. reading books. attempting to start family history more seriously (its a step right?).

having a week of experiences that have intricately yet simply connected to my gospel studies. faith, trials, covenants and charity.

***in case you're wondering what the deal is with the lines below and the random links underneath. its just where i post some of the week's influences--things i've heard, read, thought about, watched or discovered that have been thought provoking or that i've just liked for one reason or another. fyi.
trial of your faith, elder neal l. andersen
bretheren, we have a work to do, elder d. todd christofferson
"i need the spirit more than i need the sleep."
the atonement can secure your peace and happiness, elder scott
mountains to climb, mormon message
1 peter 1:7-9
ether 12:6
lessons from the life of peter the apostle: the first great commandment, elder holland

Monday, February 18, 2013

delighting in week 7/52

 The quality of this photo is terrible but I love it nonetheless. Every time I go to the Brigham City Temple I take pictures, not of the temple but of the tabernacle across the street. It is so photogenic, so historic and so beautifully positioned for a picture. If only my iPhone could have captured the lighting a little better this picture would better represent the illuminating experience of my Saturday morning.

This was a week. A few weeks ago, we were discussing at work what sense we could part with if we had to...and while I'm not sure my voice is a sense per se, I've decided I never want to live without it. Doing my job was interesting with an intermittently present voice but we survived. Cepracol was my bff of the week. Saved my life.

In terms of delights this week, the temple was definitely at the top of the list with institute also in the close running. Reading "5 Minutes Peace" with Christin and adventures with my mom were also right up there. Then there's the haircut...

Yes, I know this is one of those pictures that is just like the before and after pictures for lots of products...before is a picture of unstyled hair, the person has no make up on of course so that when you see the after picture they look completely different because they're all dolled up. Well here you go, I did the same thing. But you know, sadly it wasn't intentional...its just the way it has been. I slowly stopped getting ready, doing things with my hair, etc.  Needless to say, it was time for a change. And so, there it is. We'll see how long the bangs last. I've been scaring myself all day every time I've gotten a glimpse in the mirror of myself. It was a needed change though. And I believe change can rub off to other things.

A short bullet list of other delights:
  • giving and getting valentine's day "surprises"
  • getting things done ahead of time
  • using my planner more effectively
  • daily scripture study
  • still light at 6 pm
  • opportunities to share experiences
  • autism advocacy/legislature activity
  • experiences that teach you things--2 words: smoke detector
  • dancing at PALS with my favorite people
  • making sugar cookies with friends, sharing them with friends
  • naps
  • hearing "sis, i need more snuggles and books"
  • the difference between skill deficits and performance deficits
  • reminiscing my mission
  • playing skip-bo (even though i hate it)
  • talking to new people
  • making (and eating) delish eclair cake
  • scripture time/goal making/weekly planning
highway don't care--tim mcgraw and taylor swift
visions of glory (dying to read)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

winning the hearts

institute night! you know what that means...lots of things rolling around in this head of mine.

favorite quote: "to state it again, even thought the scriptures contain no words to answer our specific personal question, a prayerful study of the scriptures will help us obtain such answers. This is because scripture study will  make us susceptible to the inspiration of the holy ghost." --dallin h. oaks, studying the scriptures, byu-hawaii campus, march 14, 1986, p. 19

favorite scripture/new theme of my life: alma 17: 29. i had a special love for alma 17 ever since my mission and the morning we sat in front of the huge painting of 'go ye therefore' in the main hall of the mtc. but the end of alma 17 just always seemed violent, cutting off arms and all...well i'm giving ammon's story another look. :) j/k. ammon, who is the servant of king lamoni sees the lamanites scatter his flocks. his fellow servants say, ah the king will slay us and they start to cry. and what does ammon do? his heart swells for joy. he saw not a tragic event but a glorious opportunity to win the hearts of his fellow servants in hopes he can lead them to believe him. he saw opportunity.

there are many attributes i could delve into here, but here is just one that strikes me particularly hard. he isn't concerned about his own heart, he is seeking to win hearts, the hearts of others.

a few months ago, getting myself to church was really hard. not to say that i didn't go or that i didn't want to go, but i guess i lost perspective because all i could see was me. i felt lonely, and alone. i felt like i could go through the whole day and no one would necessarily sit by me or talk to me or even really notice if i was there or not and at that, really care.

i give you that example because i think its the opposite of this "winning hearts" concept. someone who wants to win the hearts of others is not interested in the welfare of their own heart, they are seeking to others hearts. its being concerned for someone else, saying hello, caring more about making others feel loved, appreciated, noticed and cared for. the miracle is...your heart benefits as well.

there are many other stories that could be told, other parallels that can be drawn; and this is just my beginning. hello new theme: "win the hearts"

Sunday, February 10, 2013

how much can one heart take?

joseph and emma statue
temple square, salt lake city, utah
fall 2010

A few Sundays ago, I had the opportunity to teach sunday school. Part of the plan was to discuss how Joseph Smith was prepared to receive and translate the gold plates to what we now know and read as The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The week prior we had also discussed how Joseph was prepared in his youth to be the Prophet of the Restoration.

I have a testimony of the fact that God has a history of preparing prophets in their youth to be great leaders. I think that Heavenly Father prepares all each of us in our youth for the things that will come in our lives; I only wonder how many there are that don't heed that call or respond to that preparation. Needless to say, this got me to thinking of other preparations.

For example, how was Emma Smith prepared to be the wife of a Prophet? I'm sure she was; although I just don't know that much about her life to be honest. To endure every measure of pain and heartache she endured, she was surely fit for the task although at times I'm sure she didn't think so. Certainly, my heart aches every time I think of the worry, stress, heartache and heartbreak she endured and did so with faith.

Where am I going with this? Well I just wonder if we see or try to see how God prepares us for things in our lives? Do we recognize that we have been prepared when call/s come? When trials come? When the unexpected happens? Can we look back on our lives and find something and say, I'm so grateful for that experience, or that experience really taught me this principle that I really need right now.

The life course looks different for each one of us but one thing is sure, God, our loving Heavenly Father has a plan for all his children. You and I included.  So then certainly he must prepare us for what he knows lies in our path. The trick is recognizing those experience, recognizing those attributes we've had the opportunity to develop, and those gifts and knowledge with which you have been blessed with to help you along the way.

How much can one heart take? I certainly don't know. But I know He will be there to lighten any load that is placed upon us. He's told us that.

As a friend of mine once told me in a time personal crisis, isn't it a blessing that Heavenly Father has told us that he won't give us more than we can handle? I had never thought of it like that before. But there was such clarity in that statement. God won't give us anything more than we can handle. He knows that and he could have just assumed that we should know that too by virtue of us being his children whom he loves. But no, he told us he shared with us and he has illustrated in the scriptures time and time again how he lives up to this principle.

That is a blessing.

he heals the heavy laden, elder dallin h. oaks, october 2006
the atonement covers all pain, elder kent richards, april 2011
never had an ordinary day-love
matthew 11:28
john 16:33
alma 7:11
mosiah 24:14--my favorite illustration that God is with us in our trials and that he will lighten our load
1 corinthians 10:13

Saturday, February 9, 2013

delighting in week 6/52

freezing rain driveway
jan 2013

In the whirlwind of normalcy, another week has come to a close.

delights include:
  • reading books, two simultaneously
  • doing things i've never done before and seeing things i've never seen
  • spending time with a friend
  • the opportunity to bear my testimony
  • laughing, a lot of laughing. in therapy with patients and parents, at home with my family and everywhere in between
  • a snowy saturday where i could live the dream of books, cocoa and movies
  • observing for lend
  • mission snow boots
  • lend panel discussion with u of u students with disabilities
  • finding cute fabric for my next project(s)
  • hearing craig's genuine laugh during dinner
  • paycheck in the mail
  • hearing the i love lucy theme song from the neighboring room
  • watching the old man in front of me love and laugh throughout a play that i did not find to be funny at all, okay pathetically funny but not genuinely funny, he thought it was genuinely hilarious...or so he acted
  • unorganizing my closet
  • going to institute and being able to be the answer to someone's prayer as a direct result
  • going to bed ridiculously early to avoid sickness
  • my planner
  • finding all my tax information
  • my new valentine's day necklace from christin
Sometimes I wish my life weren't so protected by HIPAA and that I could share details of my week. It brings me so much joy, but alas you get it in vague terms and that's just the way it is. Overall, it has been a delightful week, tough but delightful. There is something about the days when you feel absolutely exhausted in every way that is so satisfying. 

I was thinking of someone I know who retired early and is currently "living the life" or so one would think. As I thought of our lives in contrast, I thought and wondered what that would be work, no demands, and an abdication of family responsibility. What's left? And what kind of a life would that be? I can't imagine.

That's when I immediately thought about the general authorities of the church, all the senior missionaries serving across the world and parents who care for children with special healthcare needs and children who care for aged parents. The opportunity to work, learn, serve, love and progress is fantastic regardless of the specific capacity with which we are able to do it in. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

At the end of the day...

I love my job. Even at the end of a long day/week when patients start commenting on your facial expressions and sarcasm but then happily admit they'll make sure they're always your last patient of the week because they find you 'extra' fun at that time. Who could not love hugs from happy kiddos who are really just cuddling up so they can see your "puter," kids who can't not tell you that they cheated at your game when they thought you weren't looking and last but not least, kids who decide they like the taste of your hand sanitizer.

Just lots of little joys that make me could you not just love this?

Well at the end of the day, driving home earlier than I should have I turn on the radio to this...

happy feet, somebody to love

Okay, really it was Queen singing but I was first exposed to the song on the movie Happy Feet; as I listened to the song, I started to laugh outloud. Admittedly, someone better find me someone to love because I'm not very good at doing it myself.

Every other station I turned to after kept trying to tell me something too. At first it was just entertaining, by the end I realized there is just so much more I have to learn and experience in life.

Just some joys/randoms from a long day.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I delight in the spontaneous.

Did a weekend just happen because I think I missed it. This week was work x5 days then a packed day of play! Craig and I headed south after LEND on Friday and landed in happy valley. Seeing my sweet grandpa is my favorite! Friday night I ate delicious food (thank goodness someone cancelled their reservation at the black sheep cafe) with my favorite aussie and mission companion. It was delightful to catch up on life and hear about the love of her life. We topped off the night at the creamery. I get so nostalgic on that campus. It seems like my BYU experience was a whole other life ago.

Saturday morning I woke up on my favorite couch in the world. The special of the morning was waffles which I only ever have at Grandpa's because he is the only one who has a belgian waffle maker. They were delicious as always. Then the three of us set out on an adventure. First to the barber, then around BYU, the cemetery, springville, salem and finally payson. The temple is looking SO much more like a temple now! It was fantastic! On the way back, we drove past the "provo city temple" (I think that's what they're calling it). So crazy as the entire structure is jacked up while they dig two stories below. I know right? 

The afternoon brought a drive to Eagle Mountain visiting my best friend from my undergrad days and lifesaver time and time again. She has the sweetest children (which is to be anticipated considering she is so sweet and constantly Christ-like herself) and we had a delightful time decorating sugar cookies. My only regrets are that I couldn't stay longer and that I didn't take any pictures. The most precious memory I walked away with is the one of her sweetest little one falling asleep with his head snuggled on my chest. Precious and so so delightful!

Then the whirlwind began...Draper and visiting a dear old roommate and friend and meeting her adorable baby! My friends have the cutest children! Anyway, it was so wonderful to catch up and go to another roommates bridal shower. It is so fantastic to get to hang out with people who you just love and who you just have a history with that makes you friends with you has been awesome! I love love love it. The night ended with a drive back to Provo, seeing my cousins, grandpa, picking up Craig and heading north with a diet coke in hand. 

I'm sad the weekend is over and I've only really recounted Saturday, mostly because I never want to forget it and because I really delighted in all of it. On the drive home, I enjoyed listening to general conference addresses from October 2010 from President Monson, President Eyring and President Uctodorf. The line that stuck me the most was this, "...diligently doing the things that matter most will lead us to the Savior of the World..." (President Uctodorf). One of the things that matters the most to me is my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It shapes my life and I pray it continues to define and refine my life.