This is an open blog, to any and all that would like to share their thoughts on ways that you find strength throughout life.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I'm sure you've all heard the saying, "Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present."

I truly believe this and that's why today, on the eve of a brand new year, I am choosing to refocus myself on working on things day by day. From my favorite quoting book, Stand A Little Taller:

"And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all they heart and with all they soul. ~Deuteronomy 10:12
'I don't worry too much about the future, and I don't worry very much about the past. The past is gone, and you can't change it, you can't correct it. The future, you can anticipate, but you can't necessarily do ver much about it. It is the present you have to deal with. Reach out for every good opportunity to do what you ought to do.' ~Gordon B. Hinckley "
Each and every new day comes with its opportunities. We must learn to grasp that time and use it wisely, because that is one thing that cannot be saved and cherished. It goes by so quickly that before we know it, it has been days, weeks, months and years...and all of lifes opportunities are passing us by. And while there is always another day, there is no time like the present. I quoted this already on my personal blog, but I love it, "Today is tomorrow."
I am grateful for each fresh new day that I am able to wake up and have life. I am grateful that I have the blessing of freedom and opportunity, that I can accomplish anything that I set my mind to.
So my challenge to myself...and anyone else who wants it, is to be grateful for each new day and make the best of it. Use it for good, use it to better ourselves, use it to touch the lives of others. Most importantly, as the scripture above states, spend each day walking in the ways of the Lord, loving and serving Him.
I hope you all have a fabulous New Year and make 2009 a year of love, joy, hope, peace...and fun!
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sanding the Layers

I took on a project...rather cockily, I might add. I was told while planning the project by a few different people (men) that I couldn't finish it in the time I wanted to.

Hmmm...we'll see about that one.

The aforementioned project was sanding down a painted table that was given to me, in order to restore it and have it match our living/dining area. My husband and I worked together to recover the chairs with some new fabric. That was the easy part.

On to the wood...I started with epoxy/paint stripping. P.S. That stuff REALLY stings when it touches your skin. I became an expert on the timing. It takes about ten seconds for the stinging to reach its high point and it stings at the high point for about ten seconds. Scratching, slapping, patting, shaking...etc., the area does not make it any better. You have to bear through the pain--or be smart enough not to keep getting it on yourself.

After stripping the paint and epoxy from the table and chairs, I started imagining a small side career in refinishing peoples old pieces of furniture. I mean, aside from the stinging spots all over, I was a pro after one day. ;)

The next day I started the sanding. My small side career turned into a "just for me and my family hobby" that I would take on every once in while. Maybe rummage some garage sales.

Then, I sanded....and sanded....AND SANDED. FOR DAYS! I could barely feel my hands after all of the vibration from the hand sander and was about ready to through it across the room on day 4 or 5.

Now, you may start wondering where in the heck I drew up these thoughts from this project, but you have to understand, when you are sanding for days on end, hours and hours a day, you have a lot of time to think about wood, (especially when you are blowing sand-dust out of your nose).

I started to think about how in the scriptures it talks about how to become more like Christ, we must become more like a little child. Meek. When you are a little child, you are stripped pretty bare to the bone. There aren't layers and layers and years of years worth of coating and protection. Much like this wood I was trying to restore back to it's newborn state, we put layers and layers atop ourselves to make us look better or protect us, as is human nature.

Whilst amid this project, I had a discussion with my husband and I realized that instead of letting him hear the bareness of my soul, I was coating it with layers of protection. Instead of things he was saying "soaking into my soul" or bare wood, it was bouncing off the layers I had put on. Layers such as pride and insecurity that made me easily provoked or offended and left me unable to humble myself and deaf to the things that he was saying.

Then I thought about that darn table and chairs. How frustrated I was with whoever had painted that table OVER and OVER without ever sanding it down. Without ever taking the proper care and preparation to restore it. It made it so much more difficult for me to accomplish my task, because no matter how deeply I sanded, I could not get to the root of my problem.

I realized in that discussion with my husband, that I did not want to be a stubborn, layer-coated table and chairs. I want to learn what I need to learn and protect and shield myself from those things that may harm or taint my body or soul, but I do not want to put on layers of unnecessary crap for people in my life to try to sand through. It's unfair and gosh darn it, it's annoying as all heck. Don't believe me? Go try sanding a painted table.

While its not an overnight transformation and the project may take as long as my dining set, I feel confident that if I sand down my layers one at a time, I can become a better person and maybe a little more like my Savior.

Leave it to me to read WAY too much into a silly project, but I learned a lot from my little project.

And for those of you who care to know how it turned out...the plan was to sand it down and stain the wood a dark brown almost black wood color. After realizing that the table and chairs were made from two different woods AND that my endless sanding job still turned out to not be enough as the stain did not cover spots that still held paint, we ended up painting a LAYER of black.

So, please disregard the ending of my LITERAL story. It doesn't really fit with my ANALOGY....

...but you get my point, right? :)

And had I had to keep on sanding that puppy, there would have been a sander thrown through the wall.

P.S. Restoring will never be a career nor hobby for me. That dream ended shortly after day 2 of sanding began.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Cup Runneth Over

"When you are on your knees in prayer, there is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to the Lord for the many blessings that he bestows on his children." ~L. Tom Perry
The past few weeks, I feel like the only place I should be is on my knees, in prayerful gratitude. My husband and I have had amazing experiences with fasting, prayer and the power of the priesthood, especially in the past few weeks. I have felt the Lord's hand in our lives, guiding and directing us.
Some days I wonder why I am so blessed in my life, as I feel undeservant...(and then I knock on wood). But, I've realized that the blessings that we recieve come with responsiblities. We must use those blessings to better our lives and the lives of others. We must be in tune enough to recognize when we are being blessed. And most importantly, we must show our gratitude to the Lord. When we make the choice to kneel in prayer and supplication to our Father in Heaven, the Spirit can more fully manifest to us just how truly blessed we are.
We just celebrated Thanksgiving, a holiday where we express the things we are most thankful for. We are entering into the "most wonderful time of the year", where it seems everyone is happy and in the mode of service and love. As I start to do my Christmas shopping and plan for the festivities, I am reminded of those who are less fortunate than I. There are some who didn't have a turkey and wonderful spread to eat on Thanksgiving. There are those that don't have anyone to spend the holidays with. There are even those who don't have anywhere to lay their heads on Christmas Eve. I am grateful that my husband and I have the ability to give our child and each other a Christmas. I am grateful that we have so much family in the area, that its not a matter of if we have somewhere to celebrate, its where and how we will divide up the time to be with everyone. I am grateful that I have the Gospel in my life to remind me of the reason for the season.
My list is endless, of the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon me. I will conclude with this...this season is the one time in the year where most of the world is united in a feeling of peace, happiness, joy and love. It's a time where everyone is giving of themselves to share the Spirit of Christmas with someone else. What better time then, to share of our blessings, in every capacity. Whether it be service, or invite to a meal or party. A plate of cookies or serving at a shelter. Donated toys or clothes...singing a christmas carol or sending a card. The possibilities are endless. Most of all, let us share and emulate the love of Jesus Christ, who is the reason we celebrate this time of year. Let us show our family, friends and neighbors what makes us truly happy, not just in December, but the whole year through- The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And before we lay our heads down to have "visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads"... let us kneel in gratitude and supplication, allowing the Spirit to remind us how truly blessed we are in our lives.
***I'd love to hear of some of your ideas of service and your families plans to "spread the Christmas cheer" this year. If you'd like to leave that in the comments section...we can all always use new ideas! Thanks!***