Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wisdom I learn from my students:

"Prepare and prevent is better than repair and repent."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Today's smiles

I'm grateful for many things today.  Here's just a few:

-Running. Yesterday at physical therapy I was able to run a mile (PAIN FREE!) for the first time in over 4 months.
-Music.  Pandora has made the world of paper-grading so much more enjoyable.
-Students who care.  In grading papers, I can tell how much effort some of these students put into the paper, and I'm learning so much from them!  Also, I got the mid-semester evaluations back, and got to read some really nice comments. :-)  Nothing like some good positive feedback.
-Physical health.  Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to be healthy, and to know enough about health to take care of others.
-Skills. No, but really.  I'm grateful I've had the opportunity in my life to learn basic skills like reading, writing, cooking, cleaning, etc. that allow me to be a competent individual in this world.  I love being able to contribute to the Kingdom.
-Snow.  Yes, it's freezing.  But there's something beautiful about getting to get all snuggly in sweaters, scarves, and boots.  Plus, now I have a legitimate excuse to go get caramel apple cider!
-People.  When I take a few moments to look at the people around me, really look, I can see their goodness, and how they try to share it with the world.  I love being surrounded, as C. S. Lewis puts it, by potential gods and goddesses. It truly is no small thing.

Smile a little today.  We live in a beautiful world with fantastic challenges and opportunities.

Monday, October 22, 2012

crazy whirlwind weekend

one hour drive - flight - three hour drive - high school football game - meeting little brother's friends - phone call - sleep - wedding wedding wedding - laughter - hugs - hiding - i love you - one hour drive - delicious soup - conversations with parents - basket weaving - phone call - sleep - church - deep thoughts - nap - drive two hours - family - giants game - nephew - sister - emotionally draining - laughter - competition - hugs - spaghetti - drive two hours - phone call - brother's bed - sleep - fire - serious talk - three hour drive - flight - short deep conversation - one hour drive - new taylor swift album - hugs - kisses - real relaxation - playing - grocery shopping - sweet note -  made bed - roommate moments - sleeping stationary spiders - teasing - tired - roommate bonding - realization - sleep

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Master Healer

Note: This post is highly personal. All are welcome to read it, I would just add a respectful reminder that I do not talk about my beliefs to preach or indoctrinate others, but rather to share some of what is most sacred to my heart.

"Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

In Sunday School today we were discussing Christ's visit to the Americas in 3 Nephi. The teacher invited us to ponder on what we would do in that situation. It's a soul searching question.

In chapter 17, He heals all of the people, those that were afflicted in any manner. I know many that are hurting, that are wounded. Some of the pain is physical, but the more pervasive wounds that I know of are the emotional, mental, and spiritual ones. This is that pain that aches deep inside, the kind that we don't know a way out of.

There are a number of people in my life right now who are experiencing all sorts of pain. My heart aches for them. Possibly because I understand to some degree what it means to hurt. Or in part because I see a small part of their suffering, and know that there is so much more I can't see. I want to heal their wounds, to make them whole...but I can't. Not truly.

Which is how I know that, were the Savior to come to my home, my greatest desire would be to take him to those that are hurting, to have him administer to their needs in ways that I never could. I would want him to make them whole.

The Savior isn't physically here today, but that doesn't mean he isn't with us. Over the past year I have learned firsthand how deeply He cares for me, and how many of my wounds he can heal through faith and prayer. It isn't the same as having him physically with me, but it's also not as if he has abandoned me. It takes more faith, more patience, and more trust- but all of that is part of the experience of mortality. We are here to learn, but we are not here because we are intended to hurt forever. There is a way for us to have healing. There is a way to experience joy, love, and continual hope. He is the way.

And I am so, so grateful for it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


There is a wonderful sense of wholeness in missing.

A bittersweet moment when you realize that you can't go a day without the sound of someone's voice- and the truth you knew all along: their voice will only make you miss being in their presence.

Missing is beautiful, because missing holds within it the promise of being whole again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

mid-week mind-shift

I have to admit, this week it's been hard to focus on the positive.  After a weekend of over a dozen hours of listening to Moby Dick, I faced a week of 3 papers to write, 2 midterms to take, and an entire class of papers to grade.  That, coupled with the fact that I'm flying home on Friday to spend the weekend in a whirlwind of wedding and family events- and thus no weekend time to catch up on school and work.

And when I get overwhelmed, the most important things drop out and I can't seem to do anything but find (and create) negative thoughts.  It's a terrible cycle.

So this morning, in the midst of a head full of negative thoughts and attitudes, I decided I'd better at least make an effort to "act, and not be acted upon" [See 2 Nephi 2:26].  On my way to class, I pulled out my phone and started reading where I'd left off in the Gospel of Mark.  I wasn't reading with the best intent, but I was at least making an effort.  

When I arrived at class, I soon found out that class was cancelled.  Initially, I was upset at my professor for not informing us ahead of time, but then checked myself and realized I was very grateful for the opportunity to spend that extra hour writing my paper.  So I packed up my bag and headed home.

On the walk home, I passed a lot of people.  One young man had a wonderful, sincere smile on his face.  I gave him a funny sort of look, to which he continued to return a smile.  Finally I smiled in return, and his face softened a bit, as if to say, "I know you're feeling down, so I want to show you some kindness".  It was such a little thing, but it softened my heart.

A few minutes later, my dear friend Hannah called me to say hi for just a few minutes.  She reminded me that I am loved, cared for, and thought about.  It was a lovely surprise and blessing.

And so, with all of these reminders and blessings, I want to conclude with a greater determination to notice the small and simple goodness in our lives every day.  Because, as Elder Carl B. Cook reminded us last October, "It's better to look up".

Today, I am grateful for:
-Brisk fall weather that leaves the trees an array of brilliant colors and the sky full of clouds
-Cancelled class that gives me more time to count my blessings and finish my homework
-Sweet roommates with cool ideas and gentle, kind words
-A call from Hannah to remind me that I am remembered
-The opportunity to go home and share important events with friends and family
-The technology that allows me to do research, both secular and spiritual, from virtually anywhere
-Music to calm my spirit and my nerves
-A gospel perspective that provides hope, truth, and light even (and especially) in the darkest of times

Friday, October 12, 2012

Afternoon self-talk

With other people, it's imperative to focus on the positive.  Nothing inhibits growth like someone who does nothing but nag, complain, and demean.  And yet, we all have the urge to tell others what to be doing better. In some respects, it's part of good communication.  But I came across a quote today that reminded me that we don't have to do it alone:
"Tell others the positive, and tell God the negative"
Praise others, point out their positive aspects, and love them.  And then take your concerns to God.  If they are truly important, He will help those you love improve themselves.  Don't stress about fixing people, and if you do have concerns that shouldn't be immediately discussed, save them for prayer.  Then you'll have so much more time and energy to better love others.

*sigh* I love how complicated I can make life, when the answers are really so very simple.

The metaphor seems clear to me.  What about you?

Friday, October 5, 2012