Thursday, December 29, 2011

A "Diddy" of a Quote.

I never thought the day would come that I'd be grateful to P. Diddy for anything more than providing my exercise routine with a little bit of background music (clean versions of course). But, despite my doubt, that day came last week on Dec. 21, 2011. Surely by now rumors of his tweet have reached even the most remote corners of the LDS world. And, thanks to the power of Twitter and Facebook, perhaps Mr. Sean John Combs, also known as Diddy, P.Diddy, and Puff Daddy, has inadvertently introduced the pop world to a man by the name of L.Tom Perry.  For this deed alone Diddy deserves a vote of gratitude, as Elder L. Tom Perry is a remarkable man whose teachings are worthy of note and whose example would be great to embody. However, it is to the discovery of the context of this simple quote for which I am grateful:

"One of the greatest weaknesses in most of us is our lack of faith in ourselves." 
– L. Tom Perry

Without Mr. Combs, I likely would have never stumbled upon one of the most life changing talks that Elder Perry has perhaps ever given. "Be the Best of Whatever You Are" was presented at BYU in March of 1974. Not only was I not there in that original congregation to hear his presumably prolific delivery, I was yet to even be born, yet the words of his text hit home as if they were written for me. Today. At the wrap up of 2011! 

"One of our common failings is to depreciate our tremendous worth," Elder Perry spoke.

Hello? Can someone please repeat that? ... Which one of us has ever depreciated our worth? Or, better yet, which one of us has never depreciated our worth? 

May I be so bold as to imply that we've all fallen into that trap at one time or another? May I further suggest that perhaps that self-depreciation can be directly associated with failed decisions or misguided choices that we make?

On a personal level, I can think of a few choices (more-so concessions, really) that I made because I didn't understand my great worth. I could tell you of rough paths that I've traveled that could've been avoided had I truly understood who I was in the eyes of my Heavenly Father.  Satan seems determined to undermine our self worth. If he can implant even the littlest drop of self-doubt, we open a door through which we can inevitably bring our own progress to a stop. Laziness, disappointment, discouragement, or ultimately a loss of hope could soon follow.  

So, how do we keep our head high? How do we stay true to the divine potential within each of us? Perhaps Elder Perry summed it up best with:  

"As a child of God, be the best of whatever you are."

It doesn't matter if you're a master pianist, a doctor, a mother, or even a pop singer. What matters is that you give a hundred percent in everything that you are and everything that you do. You may never be famous in the eyes of the world, but you'll always be known and important to Him that created you. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

An Appreciation for the Tangible

I'm not making any excuses, just stating the facts: I'm a little behind the game this Christmas. In a typical year all of my gifts are purchased (and often wrapped) before Thanksgiving. By the end of the first week of December, I've written a family Christmas letter, created some sort of card, and sent them on their merry way. Usually weeks in advance I've planned out our neighbor and teacher gifts and when possible (if they aren't of the perishable variety) assembled and delivered them too... Not so this year!

I'm so behind! And when I say that, I may mean in the very literal sense of the word (as in: a horse's behind!) or I could mean it in the sense that somewhere I've lost my motivation... or is it organization? Probably both. But, as I've scrambled the last several days to make up for lost time, I've come to the conclusion that I really appreciate the tangible things.

Like Christmas cards.

For the first time in years I considered nixing the annual Christmas card and accompanying letter from my to-do list. It would've been easy enough to attach some semblance of a Christmas wish via email, or better yet, just a broad posting on facebook. I could've probably done without the cutesy paper and the coordinating family-photo encrested card - heaven knows my schedule would've been completely supportive of the idea. But, as week by week and day by day, cards from our friends and family started showing up in our mail, I knew there was no way I would convince myself to break the tradition.

Maybe this labels me as a little bit more than "special", but each day in December finds me eagerly anticipating the arrival of the mail. I think it may even be one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. A simple card means so much. It says, "Even though I'm really busy, I thought of you!" It also gives me a reason to pause and think about the sender... someone who's likely blessed my life! So, to all of you who've sent my family a Christmas Card, know that we look forward to them! We appreciate them. We cherish them.

So, I made it work. After much stress about it, I got our letter written and cards sent out. And, as of today (yes, I know Christmas is only 3 days away) my great to-do list is finally complete! I'm not going to pat my own back by saying I pulled it off in record time.... but, hey, I pulled it off in record time. (I know taking only a week to "accomplish" everything Christmas isn't a feet for most people, but this is "make a list & check it twice, then check it a third time for good measure, me" - so cut me some slack!)  Which means that tonight - for the first time in several weeks - I get to curl up with a book. Not with a Nook or a Kindle or even an iPad... a REAL-LIFE PAPER-BOUND book.  - For the record, I'm not knocking e-books, (afterall Hope's Journey is available in this format), but like I said before: I have an appreciation for the tangible things. 

Merry Christmas my friends! And, remember - enjoy the tangible things in your life, like friends, family, and all the other blessings that warm your heart and touch your lives. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Influence - The magnitude of touching lives.

I've been working on a manuscript that's had me thinking a lot about the power of influence. It's brought to light the reality that sometimes we all need a little reminder about how much influence our actions, behaviors, and overall character have on other people. Each of us holds the ability to touch lives either for the good or the bad. And, every contact we have leaves some kind of a mark - even if it's a small one.

I'm reminded of all the influences in my life.

When I was a child there was a particular family that bore such a profound influence on me that it still affects me to this day. Because of the quiet example of this neighbor family, my children reap the benefits of family prayer and scripture study. Because of the unknowing influence of this mother, I am a better mother.

When I was a teenager I saw a man kiss his wife tenderly on the forehead. As I got to know him deeper, I saw other qualities of love and tenderness and patience. Because of his unknowing influence I knew where to set my standards when seeking a companion.

My life has been shaped by the compassion, love, friendship and examples of those I am blessed to rub shoulders with. Each person who's crossed my path has left me with something - and, while it hasn't all been good, the bad is minimalized by each positive interaction.  Even as an adult, hard set in my ways as it may seem, I am still vulnerable to those influences.

And so, as I look at my manuscript (and my life in general) I am reminded that:

The power of influences is strong enough to alter the direction of a life. 

I can't tell you how many times I've started reading a book with a wonderful plot line only to be distracted by bad language, degrading scenes, and dark, irrelevant imagery. I don't believe any of these "tools" add to a story. I don't believe in "fluff" stories either. My new writing project really could go one of two ways: I can either stick to my values and keep it clean, or I could sell-out and take it the direction that a lot of "popular" fiction has gone. I believe as an author, artist, mother, friend, I have a responsibility to be a positive influence. My goal is to tell the tough, real-to-life, entertaining stories without compromising who I am or the values that I hold fast to.

It's a tall order, but I think I can do it... Not because I'm anything or anyone special, but because of the influence of my friends!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A signing at Walmart! This is BIG! REALLY BIG!

I'm pretty much an open book, so keeping this under wraps has been really difficult! But, at long last, here is the big announcement:

I've been invited to do a signing at Walmart!
Saturday, December 17th
In Riverton, Utah (at the intersection of Bangerter & 13400 So)

Whoo Hoo! I am literally shaking with excitement! 

In case you're wondering, this is no small deal! Many wonderful people have worked to make this happen, and I believe many miracles were at play too! Walmart doesn't open it's doors to many authors and I am so, so, so... (did I say so?)... excited for this amazing opportunity! 

If you haven't picked up a copy of Hope's Journey yet or are looking for a great gift idea (at an amazing Walmart price $$), please come visit me! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Irrational Expectations of Excellence

Whew! Say that three times fast! I can barely say it once, although it's the mantra that's been dancing through my head for the better part of my life. I do pretty good at trying to keep my expectations for other people in check, but when it comes to myself, I tend to have irrational expectations of excellence.

Perhaps, you may say, irrational is a bad choice of words. But, I subscribe to the belief that a rational person would never set her sights so high. I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. And, even after days and days of gnawing at a self-imposed problem or task, I can't ever bring myself to lower that standard to a more easily attained one. There's just this certain something inside me that strives for perfection - whatever mystical destination that is - even though I know reaching it is nearly impossible... But nearly doesn't mean never!

Perhaps this explains why I have bags under my eyes. Perhaps I should spend more time eating and sleeping and less time worrying about all the little details.

And, maybe while I'm at it, I should teach my children to do the same. Hard work is overrated, right? Achievement is unnecessary. Goals are unattainable. Aim low, reach your goals, and... well, that's the problem. In life you get what you work for. A farmer who sleeps all day, yields no crops. A computer programmer who fails to stay at the cusp of technology designs outdated products. A student with no drive never graduates. A runner who doesn't train, will never win a race (haha, I threw that in for all my runner friends! and no, it doesn't mean I'm going to take up the sport!) A hiker who doesn't push himself, never reaches the summit.

I believe that hard work is the producer of miracles! Whatever "it" is, if we are willing to put in the required work, Nothing is Impossible! So, while my expectations of excellence might lack rationality, they do not necessarily lack attainability.

At the end of the day, I think it's important to remember that we are all our own worst critics. If we do our best every time, we will not fail!

I hope before my journey ends I'll touch the peek of excellence that I've spent my whole life climbing towards. If not, then I guess I can at least say I tried - and sometimes that's enough!

Stansbury Holiday Boutique: Joint signing & Christmas shopping all in one place!

Look what I get to do this weekend! Can I say how excited I am to get to hang out with Misty and Mandi!! Whew hoo! 

Did I mention that Santa will be there? If you are anywhere near Stansbury come visit us... oh, and check out all the fun vendors too! 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...