Sunday, September 27, 2009

Patience, Please

So, I have this crazy cold that can't decide if it's coming or going for a couple of months now. Only, now maybe it's decided it's coming. Which is my way of whining and telling you I'm siiiiick. With 5 i's.

Did anyone else see that episode of Full House?

Does anyone else remember it?

Okay, now that we've established my coolness. And my sickness. I'm not going to post tonight. Because I'm not feeling capable of anything coherent, let alone inspiring. My plan is to post tomorrow. But on top of being unwell, we just adopted a cute little un-house-trained puppy.

So, she keeps me hopping.

But she's cute.

But she refuses to come downstairs where my computer is. So, I will do my best to post tomorrow.

In the meantime, if anyone would like to write a post for me and email it to me at, I can't tell you how much I'd appreciate it. Even if you don't get it done by tomorrow, I would love some more guest bloggers. Or returns from our previous guest bloggers. If you have any friends who are not readers of our blog, but seem to have some of the secrets of abiding joy figured out in their lives, please invite them to write a post. That idea came to me today as I listened to a woman I don't know speak in church today. Unfortunately, she disappeared before I could track her down and ask her to contribute. If I ever find her and get her to agree to it, I know it will be good.

And, while I love this blog, I don't mind a week off every now and then. (c:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Power of Memory

Do you ever feel kind of like the wold is crumbling around you? Over the past month or two, so many of our friends and family have hit incredibly difficult trials. We remain untouched (knock on wood), aside from sharing their grief and wondering how we can help. A couple major things hit this week, so it's all been on my mind lately.

And then I came across an email my mom sent me a while back with a suggestion for a post. As I read the email, I felt that it wasn't a coincidence and that I am supposed to post about it tonight.

It's based on a quote from Sterling W. Sill, a former general authority (or leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints):

"A memory can be trained to forever see virtue, beauty, and faith as it was experienced at its highest point. One of the most devastating hazards threatening the quality of our lives is forgetfulness... Hang on the walls of your mind the memory of your successes. Take counsel of your strength, not your weakness. Think of the times when you rose above your average level of performance, and carried out an idea or a dream or a desire for which you had deeply longed. Think of the great moments in your life. Hang these pictures on the walls of your memory and look at them as you travel the roadway of life... Memory can also be our shield in temptation, our courage in weakness, and our anchor in Godliness."

My mom always sends such good things my way. Don't you like that quote? I do.

It's so easy to get caught up in remembering our failures and our struggles. But he's right, we can train our memories. If you've got positive and negative to choose from, why choose the negative? There's no purpose in that. But in remembering your successes and triumphs, you can relive that joy and motivate yourself to continue in that way.

Without really realizing it, this is one of the best tools I've been using to overcome my depression. I think I've told you before that I used to always tell myself "I can't do this." And that was that. I would call HH in tears and beg him to come home early from work because I couldn't handle mothering my children and making dinner and cleaning the house, etc.

But HH knew I could. And that if he left work early ever day, he'd probably get fired. So, he didn't come home early. It made me mad even though I knew he couldn't really do anything differently. But I've always told him that I never claim to be a rational being. I'm not.

Anyway, getting back on track, things started to improve and so I found myself not even thinking about placing those calls any more. Then one day, a month or two ago, it happened. And I picked up the phone and started to dial. But then I thought about all those other times that I called and he didn't (couldn't) come home. I survived each and everyone of those days. They weren't great days, but I survived them on my own until he was able to get home.

So, I hung up the phone before he answered and put it back in its place.

And then I think we played Candy Land and we actually ended up having a fine remainder of the day.

But the point is, since then there have been a couple other times that I've been tempted to place that call and then I remember that day. I can even remember exactly where I was standing when I hung up, is that weird? But I picture it. And I remember my sudden awareness of my own strength and I draw on that. And we survive.

And HH is so relieved to not receive those calls anymore because, as I'm sure you can imagine, they were super hard on him, too.

It's a small thing, maybe. But for me, that memory of that moment when I said "no" to letting my depression win, just for one night, is huge. It's all that I need to say "no" time and time again.

But I believe we can use Elder Sill's advice in a whole variety of circumstances. When I get frustrated about not being in the kind of shape I'd like to be, I remember my triathlon last year, and I know I can get there again. And when I feel discouraged about my abilities, I remember all the hard work and training I put into that, and I know I can accomplish anything if I have a goal and a plan and put in the day-to-day effort.

A couple weeks ago, Little M asked if we could go to the zoo after naps. I told him we'd see. He woke up and asked again and I said "yes". He's talked about that a few times, to me and other friends.

One time, I asked Mommy if we could go to the zoo--and she said 'yes'!!!

The look on his face as he retells it, let's me know that memory is bringing him huge amounts of joy (and maybe that I need to say 'yes' to his suggestions more often!).

I know you've all had moments of triumph. Whether it's putting down the phone when you're really tempted to make a useless phone call, or climbing Mount Everest. You've done great things. If you're shaking your head 'no', then you really need to dust off that memory and start retraining it. Focus on those moments of success, big and small. They will bring you joy.

And they will buoy you up when the hard times come. And they will come. But you can persevere. Because you're strong and you can do hard things. Just remember the hard things you've already done.

To those of you going through the hard times right now, I just want to say, I'm sorry. I wish I lived close to each of you so I could bring you dinner and give you a hug. But you are in my prayers. I love you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Don't Quit

My in-laws are here right now, so I'm going to be quick.

I came across this quote in a great book I've been reading. It's called I Am a Mother, by Jane Clayson Johnson. I've recommended it to a couple of you already and I extend that recommendation to all of you. It's a great book, reinforcing the influence and importance of women. And also combating the myths of "the Super Mom".

So, here it is:

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit...
Success is failure turned inside out.
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit.
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

--Author Unknown

My take on this is that sometimes life is just plain hard. There is no way to "positively think" your way out of it. It's just yucky. But you keep going. And working and trying. Even though it's hard. And then things get better--because you don't quit.What do you think?Enjoy your week!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Sorry, it's late. It's been a busy (the good kind) day.

And right now, my pillow is calling me with a sweet and gentle voice. So, I'll keep this brief.

Today is exactly one year from my very first post for this blog. Although, I never actually published that post. I rambled quite a bit in it. I remember kicking the idea for this blog around in my head for quite some time, and then one day feeling very strongly that I needed to just get on with it. But it still took a few more tries and a lot of effort and soul searching to finally come up with a post I felt okay publishing.

It was really scary. I didn't know how to really explain what I was trying to do, or where this would take me. And as I've confessed, commitment to anything isn't really my strong point. But I knew it was something I was supposed to do, so I took a tiny step of faith forward and began. I think I had kind of a rough start as I tried to figure out what exactly we were trying to accomplish and the best way to get there. But, with your help and encouragement, I think we've done and grown a lot together.

As I've been thinking about the inception of this blog lately, I've been comparing my life then to my life now. I am happy to report that I'm on a whole different level now. One that I hadn't been on in years. One I wasn't sure I was capable of ever getting to again.

I'm not going to give this blog 100% of the credit, but I do owe some of my progress to the work we've begun here. Maintaining this blog isn't something that's always been easy for me. I'm getting better at it, but initially it would take me 2 or 3 hours to publish a post. Sometimes it still takes a long time. And sometimes HH worries that the stress of it isn't worth it. He's very protective of me like that.

But I still know it's something I'm meant to do, so I've kept plugging along.

And I've been so blessed.

I've been blessed by your ideas, thoughts, and insights. I'm blessed by your support and generosity. I'm blessed by your trust and confidence. And faith. And I'm blessed by the camaraderie I feel when I think of you as I write a post and then when I'm reading your response.

And so, as He always does, the Lord has blessed me one hundred fold for my small effort in this blog. Because of the nature of life and progress, I could never pinpoint exactly how much of my current happiness and security I owe to this blog. But I do wonder where I would be without it. I believe that the Lord has given me greater insights to finding joy because I am willing to devote my time and effort here. And because what we focus on in life is what we find. This blog has, of course, turned my focus much more to finding joy. And so, joy is what I've found.

I know Abiding Joy has been of the most benefit to me, but I hope you've gained from it as well. Thank you all again for your help in keeping this blog (and me) going.

Here's to another joyful year!