Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Life is like a box of crayons

I was reading a talk this morning Knowing when to persevere and when to change direction by Janet G. Lee. I never know when something is going to prick my mind and heart so that I ponder on it again and again. This talk did just that to me. I love the stories that are told and then how they tie it into a gospel principle. Janet did just that and now I want to add it to my coping strategies and to read on those really hard days. Do you have quotes or talks like that? No matter how many times you listen or read them they speak peace to your soul.

I am not always weighed down with worry everyday but I am almost always tired and aching, especially this time of year. This limits what I can do on a given day. You can say I only have a few options available to me and that can be very frustrating. It means walking by messy rooms and not being able to clean them. It means saying no to things I really want to do. It means prioritizing and sacrificing. It also means resting when I want to be tackling my long list of to dos. For example. yesterday we traveled and saw some fun things but today I am exhausted so my house and other things are put on the back burner. That is okay, mostly, unless I start to get frustrated and worry someone might come over and see the mess. Energy is a precious commodity for me and once it is gone then I only have certain options available. Making the most of what I do have available is a slow process and frankly I don't always accept it.

Here is where Janet's talk spoke volumes to me! She starts out telling a story about her 5 year old daughter going to register for Kindergarten. Her daughter was offered a box of crayons and to pick her favorite color but she just stood there. Her mother knew her daughter could write her name so she was surprised at this response. After several attempts from the teacher to have her pick a crayon she wouldn't do it. Janet wondered why and her daughter said "The teacher said to choose my favorite color, and there was no pink crayon in the box"

I have never thought of my life this way. The pink crayon is like my energy. When it is gone I still have other colors to use. I just really want to color with the pink though and that makes me paralyzed and my thoughts very negative. Janet says " How many times are we, as Heavenly Fathers children immobilized because the choice we had in mind for ourselves just isn't available to us, at least not at the time we want it"

Is my progress halted because my health is almost always missing from the box of life? It is not in y control and definitely not something I would pick for myself. Yet everyday there are some crayons missing and it makes it so hard! I could continue to pout or stay in bed or watch T.V to pass the day away, convinced that my options are bleak and colorless. Instead I have to color my life with other colors. It can be beautiful and different but that is okay. Some one else was touched by Janet's daughters story and they wrote to her saying

"I don't have all the colors of crayons I want-but I do have all the colors I need. When I need new or different colors in my life, Heavenly Father will make sure that I have them. I know he will never give me a challenge beyond my reach or beyond the tools he has given me to work with. I also know that the challenges and trails I have are in reality blessings, and I will be better and stronger for having gone through them."

I want to feel differently than I do. I would like to have all the answers but that may not happen in this life. Many of you may not be ill but be waiting for the perfect partner , job or profession. These crayons may not be available to you.But I do know that Heavenly Father is there. He hears are prayers and he will not leave us comfortless and our life colorless and devoid of meaning and joy. There are some hard lessons to be learned that I or you would not pick. Illness and death are very tough pills to swallow but the sooner we do the sooner we can look for new colors and new opportunities in life. Until then I am going to scribble and color with what I have and stop looking for what I don't. Life is beautiful. At leas for today I am coloring and seeing the picture clearly. I do hope that my pink crayon is back tomorrow.When our life is over and we have endured and made use of all we do have, then we will have it all back. It will be like getting a new box of crayons with all the colors we could want or need! I can't wait!!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A new year and a new perspective

I have to be honest. Lately I have found it difficult to write anything. Call it writers block but I think it has been discouragement. See I was hoping for a lot of things to be different and they aren't. Where am I going wrong? I thought I would get an idea if I started by looking over last year. The floodgates opened!
I can't believe 2016 is over! This year was definitely a tough one but I learned something about myself. It was tough because I wouldn't accept my life as it is now. It was tough because I am at war with my thoughts and body. I learned despite the many set backs that I am a fighter! You can tell you are a fighter when nothing changes in your life, as far as, your symptoms go, yet you want to keep trying. The things I fought for was mostly a matter of control over some small shred of my life. I fought guilt of not being who I used to be. I relied so heavily on how people treated me. My self esteem was so low. I had no passion for life other than to survive. As great as it is to fight at some point you get tired of fighting. I want to surrender. I just want to be happy despite all the things that are out of my control. This hope has felt out of my reach for so long. I would have good days but then something would happen to sink me into despair again. It felt like someone or something was messing with my mind just to see me squirm. Everyday felt like an experiment. Satan was succeeding in keeping me distracted and worrying and fighting for the wrong things. What I want to surrender to is Joy. I want to feel joy during my pain. I need to be taught.

January is always a tough month. It has been very wet and bitter cold here. I do not like to be cold it makes me hurt more and I can never seem to get warm enough. The magic and excitement of Christmas is gone with the decorations. It all happened so fast I couldn't even keep up with my blog for 25 days closer to Christ Christmas. I left out a little Christmas tree and our box with our new gifts to the savior as a reminder of what to focus on. Our family wants to focus more on the Savior. We did keep doing the light the world challenge. I have been thinking of all the wonderful things that we did. I thought it would be great if we could keep doing little things each day from that same challenge. I know I am not the only one out there who struggles in the winter. I did discover that some people do better in the winter like my friend who has MS. I could bare it a little longer for that reason. Winter is also a great time to look inward and plan for the months ahead.

I have been trying to keep in mind thoughts of moving forward. On the first Sunday in January we had the perfect lesson to start this year off right! Gordon B Hinckley said it so perfectly!

"This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike."

I tend to want to take giant steps to success but I tend to stumble and fall and fail. I think the trick to feeling more joy is to take baby steps each day. Some days it might feel more like crawling. As long as we keep moving forward. I will surrender to the Savior on the days where I might have to let him carry me and help me fight the depression when I feel myself start to struggle. Does this sound familiar to any of you? I don't have much control but I don't want to feel out of control either. I really feel in surrendering I can let go of unrealistic expectations and feel less like a failure. It is a new perspective this year. It is a chance to reach out to more people in kindness and the knowledge I have gained over so many years. Who knows how to recognize who is wandering in the darkness more than someone who fights it daily. It shouldn't be such a big aha moment for me that what we focus on matters ,yet it is! I have a choice. You have a choice.Like Nephi ,who was bound by his brothers on the very ship they didn't think he could build , I will try to praise the Lord all day long. He could have cried why me? Why can't my brothers change or that I can be free from these cords? But he didn't! He focused on God even in great emotional and physical pain.1 Nephi 18:15-16

15 And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.
 16 Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions.
So just to recap. I am going to keep fighting but not for control but to keep my thoughts on spiritual things. I am going to enjoy as many good days I have despite the weather and pain and the Lord will help me. I am going to try to notice those who need help and be kind in all my relationships. I am going to ditch big goals for baby steps forward. I will accept my limitations with joy and trust in him who suffered all things. When we feel no one knows what we are going through, let us remember someone does! He is merciful and kind. He does not want us to feel guilt or despair but joy in our afflictions. Whether they be many or a few. Don't forget to be kind to yourself and take your time with your goals. Make sure it is something small so you can have success and more joy! More joy and peace. Thank you for visiting today and I will try not to be such a stranger.