Thursday, March 24, 2016
This week has been an especially trying one. I have been sick which I really can't afford to be. I have so much on my plate and an already full schedule that being sick puts me in the red for time, energy and patience. Not good, since I am supposed to be working on patience. I think in the last day or two my kids finally realized that even though I keep going like nothing is wrong, I really did feel sick. They were more sympathetic and even said a little prayer for me. So sweet! These are the moments that make it all worthwhile right? Anyway, I was so sick on Wednesday that I decided I needed to go to the doctor for sure. I was coughing like crazy and feeling achy and just overall miserable. I was in a battle with myself though because I didn't really want to go. I knew they would either tell me it was a virus and to just wait it out or they would throw me on antibiotics. Neither sounded appealing and I really didn't want to drag all my kids with me to the doctor so that we could contract some other nasty disease while we were there. All of the sudden it came to me. I needed a blessing. My home teacher came and gave me a fabulous blessing. There was so much great stuff in there not only about my illness but about my life in general, some really great counsel. I realized this morning as I was getting ready for the day that there really is always purpose in suffering and trials. If I had to get sick so that I would be humble enough to ask for a blessing so my Heavenly Father could speak to me and bless me then it was worth it. I am grateful for the trials I have had and continue to have and for the lessons they teach me. They are molding me and shaping me into a person I am more proud to be. I have gained empathy, some patience, compassion and perspective. I am no longer the same person I used to be. I want to be clay in the potter's hands, constantly being shaped into who Heavenly Father ultimately wants me to be. I am grateful for the wisdom and guidance that my Heavenly Father sent to me. I am grateful for a worthy and willing home teacher. I am grateful for the kindness and concern of my children. I am grateful for the Atonement. I am grateful for this holiday where we get to think of all that our Savior did for us. I am grateful for the opportunity we will soon have to listen to conference. I am grateful that in a world that seems evil and dirty, there are so many blessings if we just look for them instead of dwelling on the negative around us. Even though we wouldn't always choose to have trials, I am grateful for the patience I have gained through them.
Posted by Staffords at 3:27 PM
Friday, March 11, 2016
I had an epiphany just now. I really need to practice patience with myself. I am here trying to be patient with everyone else in my life but am not giving that same courtesy to myself. I have been feeling exceptionally tired and run down and I think it is because I have been spending too much time thinking of all the things I am not doing or not doing well enough. I need to be kind to myself and cut myself some slack. With all the use of social media these days I think it is so hard not to compare. I heard something one time that really struck me. It went something like this...we should not compare our real life to what we see on social media. If we do we are comparing everyone else's best days and kodak moments to our worst day. This is a recipe for disaster. This could lead to depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness. I have seen this happen to people I know and it can be truly debilitating. I need to focus more on what I am doing well and how far I have come. My "Boise" mom who has taken me in as her own gave me a bracelet for Easter. It has a picture of a Phoenix on it. I asked her if the bracelet had been hers. She said it had been her grandmothers. I was so touched that she would trust me with such a treasure. I mentioned the Phoenix and said that I think that needs to become my personal mascot. I feel like I was at the lowest of lows and over the last year and a half I have risen out of the ashes and begun to soar. I have risen above the loss and the grief and the pain of rejection. I have overcome physical, mental and emotional obstacles. I have made goals and started on the path to accomplish them. I have learned that "I can do hard things!" I guess the other half of the epiphany is that if I can be more patient with myself, patience with others will come more easily. I feel like this is the beginning of a fabulous week. I am grateful for the tender mercies that Heavenly Father provides me with on a daily basis. I know with Him all things are possible!
Posted by Staffords at 12:29 PM
Thursday, February 25, 2016
This week I have really been trying hard to focus on my chosen attribute of patience. Nothing I had been trying seemed to be working. I have decided to just not engage. That seems to be helping me stay calm even though I am still listening to the chaos around me. Surprisingly the kids seem to be fizzling out faster with their arguments when I am not involved in the discord. My son, who is usually the one at the center of all the conflict, seems to really be mellowing. He is more helpful, agreeable and less defiant. I am not noticing the same thing in my daughter but I think it might be that she is having a hard time adjusting to the change in my response. I will continue to look for more ways to be patient as I continue to avoid reacting. I have also enjoyed reading about the beatitudes this week. Here are a few thoughts from the Book of Mormon Student Manual Chapter 41. Matthew 5:3a defines a beatitude as 'to be fortunate' 'to be happy' or 'to be blessed." Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines beatitude as "a state of utmost bliss." These all sound like great blessing in our lives and I hope that as I strive to have a little more patience, I will in turn acquire more of the philosophies of the beatitudes. Along these lines I learned something that I feel is very interesting to consider. When I was working as a loan processor many years ago, my boss was very in to motivational talks and positive thinking. She had me listen to a speaker on cassette (see I told you it was many years ago). His talk was titled, "The Platinum Rule." The main philosophy was that if we treat others the way we would want to be treated that is not necessarily the way they want to be treated. If we truly want to reach people, make a difference in their live and make them feel loved and valued we need to treat them the way they want to be treated. This may be different than the way we want to be treated. In order to do this we need to listen to them and observe their likes and dislikes. It may be helpful to learn their color code or love language to see what motivates them and what makes them feel valued and appreciated. I found this to be very profound. The golden rule takes quite a bit of effort but the platinum rule takes even more investment of time and sincere effort. The investment is well worth it!
Posted by Staffords at 11:25 PM
Saturday, February 13, 2016
My favorite thing I learned this week was during our Directed Study at the gathering. My group was assigned to work on Option 2 part B. The scripture passage that was connected to the assignment was Helaman 12:3-21. The questions was "Why would Mormon suggest that man is less than the dust of the earth?" A girl in our group had read the Institute Manual for the corresponding lesson. She shared a quote with us from Joseph Fielding Smith. It reads "Now this prophet did not mean to say that the Lord has greater concern for and loves the dust of the earth more than he does his children...The point he is making is that the dust of the earth is obedient. It moveth hither and thither at the command of the Lord. All things are in harmony with his laws. Everything in the universe obeys the law given unto it, so far as I know, except man. Everywhere you look you find law and order, the elements obeying the law given to them, true to their calling. But man rebels, and in this thing man is less than the dust of the earth because he rejects the counsels of the Lord." This really struck me. I think this is supposed to shed a more positive light on Mormon's words but to me it just makes me reflect on how I am using the agency I have been given. The elements have not been given agency and therefore are compelled to obey. Having been given the gift of agency am I using it wisely? Am I voluntarily choosing to be obedient? A member of my class suggested adding a word to the question posed in the lesson. "Why would Mormon suggest that man is less (obedient) than the dust of the earth?" I think this simple change brings it all into perspective. We are Heavenly Father's greatest treasure so of course we are not worth less than the dust of the earth. He loves us so much that he lets us choose for ourselves even though sometimes that means we will not return to Him. Something else I learned from this Directed Study is that we can't just take a scripture we may not fully understand at face value. If we did that with this scripture we would have a very sour taste in our mouth. Yet if we take the time to dig deeper and get to the true meaning, it gives us more understanding of the love our Heavenly Father has for us instead of feeling worthless. There is such a large chasm between the two interpretations. It just showed me how important it truly is to "study" the scriptures and not just read them.
Posted by Staffords at 10:46 AM
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Here we are, another week has passed. I feel like I am really struggling to keep up with life. There is work and kids and school, etc. Sometimes it just seems like too much but I need to realize that it is just as important to be patient with myself as it is to be patient with other people. I have chosen to focus on the attribute of patience and I am not progressing as quickly as I would like. That is okay! Baby steps. Line upon line. Precept on precept. Here a little and there a little. Last week when I did a blog post you couldn't read the heading for my blog because the picture wasn't the right size so I changed the picture this week. I love this picture. It is called "Friends Set You Free"! Even though it is not a perfect comparison, I thought it went well with the saying at the top. It reads,"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." As I am trying to learn patience it feels like a journey of a thousand miles. I feel like I try and fail and try and fail again but each time I try again I am a little farther along than I was the last time I tried and failed. Heavenly Father only asks that we give our all and that He will fill in the rest. I keep trying and trying again and each time I need just a little less help, a little less help from on high. I really enjoyed a scripture I read in our group today in our gathering. It is Alma 44:4 "Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith." I love this because it lets me know that I don't have to be perfect. I have to try and I have to have faith. God will support, keep and preserve me if I do those things. I know if I continue to work toward having more patience, He will help me achieve my righteous desires.
Posted by Staffords at 9:24 PM
Saturday, January 16, 2016
So for this last week's "gathering" I had volunteered to be the lead student for the math class. We do the math class the first hour. My friend was signed up to teach for the second hour. She had a family emergency and even though she was in class, she was not able to teach. Our missionary asked me half way through the math class if I could be the lead student of the Book of Mormon class too. I told him I was totally unprepared but if he wanted me to I would. I said "Just tell me what to do and I will do it." We talked for just a few minutes in between classes and amazingly enough I wasn't really freaking out. I had said a prayer before I went to class to have the Spirit and to be calm and to be able to teach what Heavenly Father wanted me to. I knew He would help me do what I had been asked to do. Last semester for my "becoming" project I had chosen to become more prayerful. I feel like it has stayed with me even though the semester is over. I think it went well and I truly felt guided on what to say. Most of the class had no idea I hadn't planned on teaching from the beginning. As far as this week of class goes I was really touched by the "Attributes of Christ" assignment. I really liked finding specific scriptures that applied to the attribute I chose, which was patience. My favorite reference was Alma 7:23. Even though this was not in the scripture block for the week I felt it was the most moving of the passages I read on patience. The verse reads, "And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive." This scripture has always reminded me of the 13th Article of Faith. I think it is also a perfect example of the Study Skill "lists". I really like lists and how they organize things into a like group. These attributes are all intertwined and it gives me things to strive for.
Posted by Staffords at 8:02 PM