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peaceWhat does peace mean to you?

Sometimes I think of “peace and quiet.”  Meaning a silence from the chaos of the day, or a reprieve from a very busy or hectic time.

To some peace means an absence of war, or conflict.

In the guide to the scriptures on LDS.org it says this.

In the scriptures, peace can mean either freedom from conflict and turmoil or the inner calm and comfort born of the Spirit that God gives to his faithful Saints.

But for me personally, peace is a feeling I have deep inside of me. It happens when I am feeling safe. When I trust the Lord, and those in my family. It is probably the highest degree of comfort that I can feel.

I wish that I could say that I have it all the time, but maybe because I don’t I can really appreciate it when it does come to me.

Several years ago, I was going through one of the most difficult times of my life.  I was experiencing insomnia because of the stressful situation that I was dealing with, and after several months of not enough sleep, on top of everything else, I was just a wreck.

I had a great therapist who helped me to see a few things, but I think the greatest lesson she taught to me, was that the spirit of the Lord will bring peace.  The sense of peace is a gift from the Savior and it is not a feeling that can be duplicated by the adversary, and given by any other means.

In the explanation above, it says that “peace can mean… freedom from conflict and turmoil.”  I believe that is meant as that concept of peace being the absence of war, but I also believe that it is when the conflict and turmoil that often rage in our hearts and souls is able to be quieted and removed by the spirit.

Stress… anxiety…. depression… frustration…. anger….

These are all feelings that try to work their way into my life.  They leave me feeling like the turmoil of the world is churning inside my body.  It does not feel good. I really don’t like that.

But sometimes I get used to it, and I allow it live inside of me.  Until something happens (like insomnia) and I have to face these feelings, and decide if I really want to let them grow inside of me.

Many of you have heard the story of the two wolves.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

I have to make a choice in my life. I have to decide what set of emotions I am going to “feed.”  I doesn’t take much for the stress and frustration to take root in my heart.  We live in a world full of all kinds of sorrow and difficulty.  Those negative emotions can grow like a weed in the sidewalk, with very little nourishment. It doesn’t take much to feed the negativity.

But to have peace in my life, there are some very really conscious steps that I need to take to “feed” the positive.

  1. I need to take some time for myself. Sometimes this is time spent journaling to get my thoughts together. Sometimes it is time spent talking to a friend. Sometimes it is taking a walk, or meditating. Or as strange as it sounds, sometimes it is doing house work while singing along to my Disney channel on Pandora.
  2. I have to take time to get in touch with my spiritual needs, and remember to put God first.  Remembering to pray, every morning when I get out of bed and any other time when the opportunity arises.  I also need to read either from the scriptures or other uplifting books that help bring the spirit to my life.
  3. Thinking of others: giving service to someone else – really anyone else – is the quickest way out of a funk. Sending a text, making a call, doing something for someone, especially if it is something that I have been meaning to do for a while, but have been putting off.
  4. This one is a bonus, but if I can accomplish some task I have been procrastinating, this really helps to settle my mind and give me peace.

In John 14:27 it says

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Fear in the opposite of peace and I wonder if fear isn’t at the root of many of the stress and frustrations that I deal with.  Being that these words from the Bible are actually coming from Jesus, it looks as though, He is giving us a commandment not to let our hearts be afraid.  While there are very real places for stress and fear in our human lives, and they can serve a purpose in preserving our lives at times, I think that the fear that is being discouraged here is the unnecessary kind that we allow into our hearts.  The kind that bring us down and can be debilitating.

As I work to have more peace in my life and my heart, I also want to challenge you to do the same. Work to find peace.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you do to find peace in your life.

Laura

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I read this article today and thought it was pretty great. It just goes to show how the Lord is aware of us in the small and big details of our lives. He answers our prayers whether it be with something like in this story or something as small as helping us find our keys. If you want to read more, click here

“One evening as night was falling, I was driving with my children when I noticed a boy walking along a lonely road. After passing him, I had a distinct impression I should go back and help him. But worried it could frighten him to have a stranger pull up beside him at night, I continued driving. The strong impression came again with the words in my mind: “Go help that boy!”
I drove back to him and asked, “Do you need some help? I had a feeling I should help you.”

He turned toward us and with tears streaming down his cheeks said, “Would you? I’ve been praying someone would help me.”

His prayer for help was answered with the inspiration that came to me. This experience of receiving such clear direction from the Spirit left an unforgettable imprint that is still in my heart.

On that night, Deric had stayed after school for an activity and had missed the last bus. As a young teenager, he felt confident he could make it home, so he started walking. 

An hour and a half had passed as he walked the lonely road. Still miles from home and with no houses in sight, he was scared. In despair, he walked behind a pile of gravel, got on his knees, and asked Heavenly Father for help. Just minutes after Deric returned to the road, I stopped to provide the help he prayed for.

And now these many years later, Deric reflects: “The Lord was mindful of me, a skinny, shortsighted boy. And despite everything else going on in the world, He was aware of my situation and loved me enough to send help. The Lord has answered my prayers many times since that abandoned roadside. His answers aren’t always as immediate and clear, but His awareness of me is just as evident today as it was that lonely night. Whenever the dark shadows of life blanket my world, I know He always has a plan to see me safely home again.”

As Deric expressed, not every prayer is answered so quickly. But truly our Father knows us and hears the pleadings of our hearts. He accomplishes His miracles one prayer at a time, one person at a time.

We can trust that He will help us, not necessarily in the way we want but in the way that will best help us to grow. Submitting our will to His may be difficult, but it is essential to becoming like Him and finding the peace He offers us.”
By Jean A Stevens

 

SUSAN

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successThere was once an old prospector who had spent his life looking for gold, and over time had become very successful.

He decided to share his knowledge and brought a young man, seeking his own fortune with him to the mines to find gold for himself.

After several hours of searching, the young man said “well I give up, there is nothing in here but some old rocks. I’m going to go look somewhere else”

The old prospector said “show me some of those rocks.” He then took the rock and cracked it open. Inside the rock were small yellow veins. He showed it to the young man and said “look right here, this is the gold you’re looking for”

The young man said “no, that’s not what I want.  I’m looking for nuggets of gold. I want to find my fortune just like you did. I want nuggets like you have in your pouch.”

The old prospector then took out his pouch and showed the contents to his young friend.  “My pouch is full of gold dust, I work to gather a little each time I find it and over my lifetime of searching, I have found my fortune. The gold dust may seem small, but it has all added up.”

The beauty of this story is in the misconception that the young man expected to find his large fortune all at once.  The reality of our lives, is that anything really good, takes time to develop.  The trick in just to not give up before you get to the “prize”

I really like the yesterday’s post in which Susan talked about setting goals. It reminded me that there were some goals that I talked about a few months ago. I decided to go back and look at that post and it reminded me of 2 things I wanted to get better at. The really interesting part is that as I read the post again, I realized that I had done the 2 things, not just this week, but in that very day. It wasn’t conscious. I didn’t do them because it was a goal, but I believe that because it was a written down goal, even if I didn’t remember it, somewhere in my sub-conscience I knew it was what I really wanted.

As I’ve done some more research on goal setting, here are some of the things that I have learned.

Once you have written a goal down, and taken some time to visualize it, you will be constantly moving toward this thing that you know that you want.

The disclaimer is that you will move positively forward as long as you do not discard the goal by doubting in yourself or the validity of the goal.  Some goals can go by the wayside, as you discover that there are other things that you want for yourself instead.

I think this is why it is important to have your goals written down. You can choose to erase certain goals as you need to. Maybe you have something else to take it’s place, or maybe it just isn’t as important to you as you first thought.

I think one of the most important things about goal setting, is to make sure you are setting goals for things that are important to you, and not just because you think they should be important, or because someone else is doing it.

This is a big reminder for me. Maybe it is the oldest child syndrome in me, or maybe a little insecurity. I tend to want to do what is “right” and to me that means finding out what others are doing to make sure I’m doing it “right.”  I remember as a girl in 4th grade, being in a talent show with a friend who took dance with me.  We did a tap dance for the whole school, and I did the whole dance, looking at her feet to make sure I was doing the steps the way she did. Can you imagine how that looked? I’m embarrassed just thinking about it. I hadn’t gained enough confidence in myself to just get out there and dance. Now as an adult, I have to be careful that I’m looking up at what I want to do, and not down and anyone else’s feet.

Over the years I have seen change in myself and my attitudes. I have practiced more patience. I’ve learned new skills.  I have gained more confidence. None of these things happened overnight.  They all happened here a little and there a little. There are big pictures that have come into focus over time, and I’m sure there are still more beautiful mountains that I will get to climb.

I like the idea of having a vision board to keep focused on what you want in life, but I keep my vision board in my head.  Because it changes so regularly.  I’ll share one thing that seems small, but was a big deal to me.

This weekend, 7 months after I got married, I finally got our wedding picture framed and put up on the mantle.  I pulled together the other spring decor that I had to complete the mantle and put it all up. Now I realize that to many of you, this is just a part of life and not a big deal, but it was kind of a big deal to me. I’ve never been great at decorating. I love seeing the great stuff everyone else has done, and sometimes I try to copy the stuff I like. But this time, it was a vision I had in my head of the fireplace mantel, with the temple wedding picture being the main focus of our home. Having finally completed this project, gave me the energy to work on the next project that I would like to do in my home.

And seeing some successes in my life will give me the drive to set bigger goals that I know I will be able to achieve if I really want to.

Laura

 

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Do you have moments in your life when you wake up feeling on top of the world?  And in that instant you wonder how you could ever feel differently? In those moments I see myself as Wonder Woman.

I feel that way every January 1st. I’m a goal setter and I love the idea of New Years resolutions. I take is as an opportunity to dream and hope and plan. I feel unconquerable in my goals and I am usually very ready to tackle the world one step at a time.  

But inevitably the intensity of that feeling fades and I start to allow the self doubts and worries to override my “I got this” feeling. I let myself get distracted with other things and my focus gets off track. 

Does this sound fimiliar to any of you? Do you relate in some way? So what can be done about it? How can we stick to our goals and notice our progress along the way?

I am sure there are books upon books on how to do this. In fact I am sure in my library I could pull out several.  The trick is to find a solution that works for you. 

This year I decided to try something a little different and so far this has been the best system for me so far. As I share with you what has been working for me feel free to take this system and make it your own. Or use it just as I will describe. 

For this goal setting project I used post-it notes, my favorite pencils, a notebook (digital notebooks work great for this as well) and a poster board.

1. Ask yourself “If there were no limits what would I do, who would I become, where would I go, what would I create?”

Dream big, dream small, and dream somewhere in the middle. In your notebook write down whatever comes to your mind. This is a free flowing exercise. No structure. No wrong answers. Think about all aspects of your life. Social, physical, mental, spiritual. 

2. Step away for a couple of days. 

If something more comes to your mind add it to the list. At this point don’t worry how you will or will not be able to achieve your dream goals. 

3. Pick 5-7 of those goals to begin with. 

Once you come back to it you will have had time to think about what is really important to you. I suggest picking a mixture of big items and smaller items here. Include different categories as well. You could include business, hobbies, fitness,  relationship etc. It is not possible to do everything at one time.  

4. Write each of those 5-7 goals on individual sticky notes.

 I like to include the category on the top of the sticky note and then underneath that I write the goal. Do what works for you.

Here is one of mine.

 

When I wrote this Sticky note I had no idea how we were going to do this. It seemed very far away. Do not worry yet how you will reach your end goal. Did you catch that?  I’ll write it again for you Do not worry yet how you will reach your end goal.

5. Line up your goals on the bottom of your poster board. 

This may seem backward but go with me here. You will see why in a minute. 

 

6. Establish where you are right now

For each of those 5-7 goals you will need to establish where you currently are. This will help you to know where to began and it will help to measure your success. 

In January Laura and I had our blog url. And that is it.  

Line those post-it’s up at the top of your poster board with the correlating end goal at the bottom. All of that space will be filled in with action steps. Like this. 

 

7. Establish your very first action step for each goal. 

You don’t need to know every single step it will take to reach your goal. You just need the next step. This is the process that takes you from where you are to where you want to be. Sometimes when you try to see the whole process it can do two things, feel overwhelming and feel impossible. 

My sister-in-law Sarah put it this way,”You want to get from point A to not point A”. It doesn’t matter how small the steps you take are as long as you are moving in the direction you want to go. 

Write down on a post-it the first step you need to take to reach your goal. To continue with my example I wanted to make a blog header. I knew this would be both easy and rewarding so I chose to start there. 

Place that directly under the corresponding post-it. 

8. Add the next step

For some of the goals the next several steps will be easy to figure out. For each next step create a new post-it. Do not think to hard on this. Only create a next step if it comes quickly and easily to your mind.  

As you complete a next step action item you will create a new next step action that will be placed underneath. This helps you see the progress you are making.

 

9. Hang it where you can look at often.

Mine is in my closet where I can see it as I get ready for the day. By daily reading it I am reminded of where I want to go. 

Be aware of how you feel when you look at your board. Try to celebrate where you are and where you are going. Recognize that life is a journey not a destination. The process can and should be just as rewarding as the end goal. 

10. Celebrate

Find some way to celebrate when you have finished a next step. It can be simple or big. Whatever it is make sure it motivates you. Go out to dinner with friends. Have a piece of cake. Have a dance party in your living room. Whatever it is to a moment to recognize what you have done and how good that feels to be one step closer.

Once your goal is completed an even bigger party is in order. And let that momentum carry into your other goals. I like to leave up my accomplished goals for a little while so I can pay myself on the back so to speak. But when you are ready take down the sticky notes and replace it with a new goal, where you currently are, and next step action items.

Go be awesome! Take time for you and be awesome in whatever it is that drives you.

Make it a crazy good day!!

SUSAN

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Jesus-redeemerclick here to print

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click here to print

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meetinghouse-rock-church-933549-printMany of you know that we (Susan & Laura) are Mormon’s.  Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Some of our posts have reference to things we do in our church, and some quotes are from prominent members of the Church.

But just because we are Mormon, does not mean that we do not welcome people who are not members of our church.  We really want to be able to share inspiration and a sense of hope and joy in life with anyone who is willing to read our messages. By reading our messages you may find out more about what it is like being Mormon, just as you’ll get to know some of our individuality also.

On Friday’s we have decided to post links to other sources (stories, videos or interviews) that we have enjoyed, and feel that you may be able to get something out of also.

Today I am sharing an interview from a PBS documentary “The Mormons,” with Jeffrey Holland who is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Click here for the full interview.

I would like to share with you the last question recorded in the interview. Although it is a bit cerebral, I think it helps to explain our desire for association will all good people and aspirations.

Turning the question around, do Mormons feel that Christians are Christian?

… It is absolutely incumbent upon us and our solemn obligation to acknowledge every good thing and every good act and every good truth of anybody on the face of this earth, including — and especially, in terms of a brotherhood and sisterhood — Christians and Christian churches. Somehow there has evolved this chasm, this decisive distinction. … That seems to me absolutely wrong. It’s wrong on the face of it; it’s wrong in my experience; it’s wrong doctrinally. … As an institutional response, it seems to me that past, present or future, it is not our call to damn or deny or vilify anybody else. Our call is to extend the fruits of His ministry and the benefit of what we know.

Our universal cry, as I understand it, is to say, “Bring any good thing you have, bring any truth you’ve ever known, every Gospel principle you’ve ever embraced, every non-Gospel, civil, humanitarian impulse you’ve ever had,” which, by the way, would be part of the Gospel in our definition — and our only duty is to add to that. We do believe we can give value added. There’s something we can contribute that … was not available prior to the restoration, the Gospel and Joseph Smith. …

I’m in the good-news business. It is to no advantage and to no purpose for me to desecrate or decry. I would do that against evil. I would speak out against child molesters and pornographers. There are things that I’m not going to equivocate on. But I’m not talking about individual people’s religious belief and their quest for the best that’s within them. …

Now, in saying that, that is not some mournful plea from the gallery about wanting to be mainstream in 21st-century Christianity. That is not an issue for me. I don’t have any particular desire to have anybody say whether we’re mainstream or whether we’re not. … I have no particular wish to in any way be seen as another Protestant religion. We are adamantly not another Protestant religion.

But what I don’t like, and what I don’t want to perpetuate, is the personal antagonism and the personal cleavage where otherwise wonderful people can go to dinner together and have their kids on the soccer team together and carpool to the PTA together, and then, when it comes to religion, just start throwing fists. That does not seem to me right. …

I love that he explains that he is in the “good-news” business.  While we always strive to hold true to our standards, we want to associate with all of the good people around us.  And in a world with so much trouble it is also refreshing to recognize that there are so many good people all around in our neighborhoods and schools etc that we can relate with.

There is so much beauty in the world that is a gift from God, that we want to be able to share our view of that beauty with you, and hope that you will feel welcome in taking this journey with us.

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Thomas-Edison

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bike

 

It took me a really long time to learn how to ride a bike. It was scary and falling seemed inevitable. All my friends could ride, but I was left behind.  Until one day I took one whole weekend and went out all by myself and pushed and peddled and practiced until I had it down.  After that, you couldn’t get me off my bike.  Even into my teen years, if I was feel stressed or anxious, I would go ride my bike around the neighborhood to feel better.

Years later, as a mom, it came time for me to teach my kids how to ride their bikes.  I taught Brady and Calvin at the same time.  And of course as you know, the inevitable happened… someone fell, got upset and didn’t want to keep trying. Of course I encouraged them, and told them that it just takes practice. But there was one important step that I needed to teach them. I had to teach them HOW TO FALL.

I let them know that falling is just part of learning. It’s okay if you fall. It can even be expected. Then I taught them the basic ways to catch yourself when you fall to minimize the effects, (and hopefully avoid injury.)  I then used the same techniques with each of my other kids, and even taught a neighbor kid to ride a bike with the same simple lessons.

We’ve all heard the saying “Get back on the bike” probably more that once in our lives.  It is just a metaphor for not giving up on something too soon, but it has meaning because most of us know what it’s like to fall off a bike, and how much fun it is if we just stick with it.

I believe it all comes down to expectations and discouragement. It is great to have high expectations in life. Whether your learning a new skill, creating something of value to you, or taking a new direction in your life. Of course you want everything to be wonderful, fantastic, to exceed all of your dreams. And you should feel that way. That sense of excitement is what gets you motivated to do something worthwhile.

But what happens when you hit a bump in the road, and what your working on falls short of your expectations. Or someone you care about says that don’t get what your doing. Or what your doing just doesn’t work the way you saw it working in your head.

Discouragement sets in, and you want to run into the house and tell your mom that you don’t care if you ever learn to ride a bike.

It can take some serious mental toughness to get up, get going and keep working at it.

Thomas Edison said

I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”

Sometimes the only benefit we get from our first several attempts at something big, is that we are learning from our mistakes. The bigger and more important the thing we are trying to do, the more attempts it may take, and the more patience we will have to give ourselves.

Babe Ruth said

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run”

If you want to do something important, whether it is big or small, important to just you, or could influence the world around you, it is going to be a process. You can learn from each mistake. It is your choice to take mistakes, analyze them and see what you can do differently next time. Remember that persistence, even in the face of resistance is the key to success.

One more quote for today.  This one is from Confucius

It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”

If I’m reading a classic novel, you can bet there will be words and phrases that I don’t understand. But if it is important, I’ll keep reading anyway. As long as I don’t stop I will get something out of the book, and enjoy the beauty that it has to offer.

Only you can decide if the project, life changing decision, or lesson that your are working on is worth it for you. But if it is something that you have passion about, don’t let anyone else’s opinion, or each little set back take away your excitement for it.  If you feel it is important, then it is.  You will be better off for striving to live your dreams and it will mean so much more to you, when you have battled the difficulties to get there.

And when you look back on your success, even through the failures and disappointments along the way, you can use that experience to help you cross the other hurdles that will undoubtedly come into your life, on your way to the next important life event.

Now go, live your dreams.  Remember that you are awesome. You are strong. You will conquer.

Laura

 

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