Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Sister's Wisdom...A Little Late

I can't really describe how busy the last week and a half of my life have been. But it has involved almost 3000 miles of driving. We're not quite done yet.

Now that you feel bad for me, hopefully you can forgive me for completely forgetting to set up Sunday's post.

If that isn't quite good enough for forgiveness, let me tell you that I drove for 16 hours on Sunday.

Not a lot of blogging time.

I am very sorry though. So, without further ado, here is my little sister's post which I am more grateful for than I can tell. Thanks a million, Meg!

This morning I was thinking a lot about reality- and why it's so hard for me to accept it sometimes. I've realized lately that most of the time that I'm not happy it's because something has really literally happened that I didn't want to. You know those moments when you feel a sense of total inability to control the world around you? Well, I need to work on my reaction to those, because currently I have a tendency to just get absolutely and completely angry- and that does NOT bring joy into my life.

For example- probably the angriest I have ever been (and I mean super angry) was when I lost my scholarship because I turned in the application two days late. In spite of 8 months of hard work and two semesters of 4.0's, I was late and that was it. That was reality: thousands of dollars down the drain. And I just couldn't face it, so I got irrationally mad. Seriously, this ate at me for like 6 months, and even now when I think about it I get a pit in my stomach. I would do ANYTHING to go back and make myself remember to turn it in on time. But that's not reality. I turned it in late and late applications do not even get considered. Period.

So this morning I was reflecting on my goal to face reality better. Then suddenly I realized why it's so hard for me to do this: I DON'T LIKE REALITY. Well, at least sometimes. Now, I'm not about to explain to you why I've decided to go clinically insane. :) I found a better way to deal with this. Seriously though, don't we all have times when the real world is just plain horrid? Well, as I was reading my scriptures, out of the blue something popped into my head: "All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good" (D&C 122:7).

Oh yeah- life is supposed to be awful sometimes! I came here to gain experiences. And gaining purely happy, wonderful, pleasant experiences 100% of the time would NOT be for my good. In fact, it would probably make me a brat! In order for me to have experiences that influence me for the better, I have to go through the sometimes-horridness of reality. I just do.

Okay, I hope that doesn't sound depressing. Really, it makes me so much more excited, because instead of the future seeming grim and gloomy and full of bad things, it's full of experiences that are going to make me a better person, if I face them and accept them. Even more than that, Heavenly Father wants to help me because He LOVES me.

Trials will come, but the Lord knows me, He knows what I'm going through, and He knows what I can handle. He knows my weaknesses, and He wants to help them become strengths. He wants me to succeed. He's giving me the experiences I need. He knows I can make it through life-- and He's allowing me to prove that to myself.

I just need to remember why I'm here: to gain experience and become like God, and who I am: a daughter of God. That's a formula for success. And it's true for all of us. We are all children of God. We can all succeed if we remember that.

So that's where I could use some help- how do we remember more often that we are children of God? What do you do in your life to keep this eternal perspective?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

We Seek After These Things

I can't tell you how excited I am about your suggestions! Thank you! Please, keep offering them. Feel free to add your suggestions to the comments on any current post.

I know I said you'd be hearing from my little sister today, but since I will be traveling all day next Sunday, her post has been switched to then.

We talked about The 13 Articles of Faith in church today. They are basically thirteen points of doctrine from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is not a complete list of the doctrine, but definitely key and interesting points.

As we were reviewing the 13th, it occurred to me that it is a perfect guideline to achieving abiding joy in life.

It states:

"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."
--Joseph Smith

I am spending time with family, so I'm going to keep this short and leave the majority of the discussion in your hands.

What parts of this stick out to you in your quest for joy?

For me, the entire thing is applicable, but what struck me today is the last part. Won't "anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy" also be something that would bring joy to our lives? Sometimes I, unintentionally, seek after all things negative. Why? What a waste of all that life has to offer!

You know me, I could ramble on about the rest of this for quite sometime, but I'm anxious to hear what you have to say!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shake the Sugar Tree

Okay, that title is a bit of a stretch. See if you can figure it out by the end of the post.

First, I want to say that I'm leaving the invitation for healthy recipes open. Or healthy tips. I'm always looking for those.

Second, we're having another unconventional post today.

I've been kicking around a zillion different ideas for this week's post. Or maybe two or three. Some were really great post topics, others were just so-so, but nothing felt right. So, I knelt down and cleared my mind to try to really open up for inspiration and here's what came to me.

It's brain storming time!

I want you to share your ideas for a post. As always, you are more than welcome to guest blog about your ideas. But if you don't have the time or desire to do that, please share them with me and allow me to have a go.

We've kind of been slacking off in the comment area lately. I know everyone is busy because it's summer. Maybe I'm typing this for no one. But if you are reading this, then please, leave at least one post idea. Please? Remember, you can comment anonymously, if you're not comfortable having your idea attached to you.

I will be AWOL the next two weeks. My sweet little sis has kindly written up another excellent post for next week. Yay! Anyone interested in sending something for the following week, please send it to the email. Thanks!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

You Are What You Eat

So, how do you eat joy?

Okay, that sounded weird.

Anyway, HH and I were asked to teach the 10-year olds at church and today's lesson was about The Word of Wisdom. It is basically a commandment dealing with taking care of your body, mainly through diet.

So, when I was praying about what to discuss here today, that was my answer.

And I'm surprised we haven't discussed it here yet. Because taking care of yourself physically is a HUGE factor in your level of joy.

Yesterday I ate "traditional American" food, in honor of our country's birthday. That included chips, hot dogs, cookies, and soda. We did have a berry salad and corn on the cob, but still the majority of my diet yesterday was nasty. I mean, it tasted great and all, but I am definitely feeling it today. I feel tired and just kind of yucky.

And it's harder to experience joy when you feel that way.

If you've never noticed a connection between what you eat and how you feel, keep a food journal this week. Write down what you eat at each meal and then how you feel an hour or two later. You'll be amazed.

You are what you eat.

It's so true.

I'm not going to go into a list of what you should and should not eat--I'm pretty sure we all know what those things are.

What I do want to know is how you stay on track with your eating habits. What tactics do you use to keep your sweet tooth in check (especially if you have a majorly huge one, like I do)? How do you stop yourself when you're full even though the food tastes really good? What are your dietary struggles? How do you do to add more healthful food into your diet? Do you have any wonderful and healthy recipes to share?

I do.

The official name is "Spiced Flaxseed, Banana and Carrot Muffins" a.k.a Boring.

I like to call them "Good Morning, Deliciousness!"

I've served them alongside other, more traditional, types of muffins before and these are always the first to go.


1/2 C. ground flaxseeds (if you don't grind them, your body can't digest them and you lose all of their amazing nutritional power)
1/2 C. whole-wheat flour (I actually do 1 C. of this)
1 C. all-purpose flour (and 1/2 C. of this)
1/2 C. oat bran
1/2 T. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
pinch salt
pinch pepper (say what?! It's okay, you won't notice it's there.)
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. sun-dried cranberries or raisins
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C. buttermilk or plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 C. canola oil
1 ripe banana, peeled and mashed
1 carrot, grated

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine the flaxseeds, flours, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and cranberries or raisins in a large mixing bowl.

In another bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Fold the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a spatula or spoon, just until combined. Spray 12 standard muffin cups or line with paper cups. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups and bake in the center of the oven 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I'm looking forward to hearing yours!