Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A discouraging day and a note that made a big difference

A few months ago, I had a discouraging day about trek.  
Let me start by saying: I  do not do ANYTHING to be praised.  That is not what motivates me.  I work hard at church assignments -no matter what they are- because it feels right and it stretches me and I like the intrinsic reward that comes from doing things that require a lot from me.  

But one day several months ago, I was feeling under appreciated by some of the higher ups.  Really, really under appreciated.  And that in turn made me feel resentful because of all the time and effort  I am spending on trek.  It just felt like the only feedback on this one particular day was not very positive.  

And it was eating at me.

I prayed for a softer heart in working with some of the more difficult personalities I need to work with.

I prayed for feelings of approval from Heavenly Father that he was happy with the work we are all doing and how it is being executed.

I prayed for patience and long suffering with others.

Then I went out to the mailbox.

And a note was there.

It was handwritten.

It says:

 "Brent and Shahna, I just wanted to take a minute to thank the two of you for all the time and effort and dedication you have put forth to make trek a memorable experience for us all.  I can feel your excitement and the love you have for the youth of our stake.  I am looking forward to a wonderful experience. I can't imagine all the preparation that goes on behind the scenes from the both of you.  Please know that you are very much appreciated and loved.  May you be blessed for all your efforts!!"

It was not signed.

Immediately, tears welled in my eyes.  I knew that Heavenly Father was aware of my discouragement and prompted someone to let me know that it WAS appreciated. 
 I am grateful to you, whoever you are
Thanks for being in tune and acting on the inspiration.  

There have been a few days now where I have gone back and read that note again.  It is a nice reminder that all this work will be worth it in the end and that kind hearted, inspired people are out there.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A little balance never hurt anyone

Lately I have been thinking a lot about BALANCE.  
And praying for it.  
My current church assignment is requiring more of my time than any other calling I have ever had and it has been a challenge to take care of all the things I feel I SHOULD be doing and fulfill my responsibilities with church at the same time.

I feel spread too thin.  I usually avoid this scenario.  I rarely commit to ANYTHING until I check my schedule and band width to make sure it will not leave me feeling overwhelmed.  But this time it was unavoidable.  

It's especially hard for me to prioritize because everything on my daily to do list is good.  They are all good ways to spend my time.  

Scripture study, 
visiting teaching, 
caring for my family, 
climbing laundry  mountain so 
my family will have clean clothes.  
You get the picture.

Which got me thinking.
You can take ANYTHING good to excess and it can become BAD.

Exhibit A.  
This dude.
Clearly at one point he decided it would be good to get physically fit.  
Exercise and building a strong body is a good thing, right?

 Here is exhibit B, the ummm...girl? version.  (I think)

My thought was, at some point these two crossed the line. I don't know when that line was crossed.
Maybe it was when they started spending every waking hour at the gym? 
or obsessing about what they ate? 
or taking steroids, etc.

I don't know.  But at some point they both went to a place where suddenly what they were doing to their bodies WASN'T so good.  And the funny thing is, they probably don't even realize it.

Too much a of a good thing can be bad sometimes.

Lately I have had too many good things on my to do list and too many good things pulling me in so many different directions and it is has not been a good thing.  I am not complaining.  It sounds like I am, but I'm really not.  Once March 16th comes around things will get back to normal.  I crave normalcy but I will get through this.  In the meantime,  I am re- learning a thing or two about balance.

This week some friends texted and said they were going to the temple for the day and wanted to know if I wanted to join them.  I wanted too so bad!  I tried to figure out a way to carve out enough time on that particular day to go but I couldn't find it.  Finally, after I had been praying for guidance in balance in my life, I felt prompted that it was okay.  This is a busy couple of months I have ahead of me and it is okay if I can't do every single thing good that pops up.  To try to do that would not be a good thing. 
 You don't believe me?  Ask King Benjamin:

27 And see that all these things are done in wisdom and aorder; for it is not requisite that a man should run bfaster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.
(Mosiah 4:27)

So there will be no guilt trips here.

But there also might not be very many blog posts for the next few months. :O)
 Trek is kicking my rear and swallowing up all my time and I don't see that changing  for the next 50 days. 

Peace out.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Guest Post from Hilary Weeks, " I will and I won't"

 I loved this so much when I read it that I thought it warranted some plagiarism. Although I am going to give full credit to Hilary Weeks for writing it. Its a great way to look at goals for the New Year and good way to attack good and bad habits we want to work on.

I Will and I Won’t

 It has been 226 days since my last blog post. 226. That’s a lot of days. Too many. I have some really good excuses for why I didn’t blog. But they are uninteresting so we won’t dwell on them. I’m ready to move forward and blog again! 
 Just a couple of months ago I was doing some much needed ironing. (Do you let the ironing pile up too?) The stack of wrinkled clothes was high and deep – I was gonna be hanging out with the ironing board for a while. My mind somehow wandered ahead to 2014, goal-setting and New Year’s resolutions. Before I could mentally list the usual goals (lose some weight, study the scriptures more, be nicer…) an idea popped into my head.
 It was simple – I Will & I Won’t.
 As I pressed my husband’s golf shirt, I decided to approach the New Year a little differently. Each day, for one month, I will do something and I won’t do something. I brainstormed ideas. Possibilities flowed like the steam streaming from the iron. 
 Here are a few of the ideas I am excited about: For the month of January my “I Will” is to set a mini-goal each day and accomplish it. Recently I’ve lost my confidence in setting and actually achieving goals. I’m not sure if I believe I can set a goal and stick with it over a long period of time. But, I know I can set a one-day-mini-goal and I will see it through. 
 Some of my mini-goals during the first week of January have included: 
writing a thank you card, 
writing a missionary from our ward, 
sending an email regarding my calling as Cub Scout Den Mother, 
and choosing a new book to read. 
 What is my “I Won’t” for the month of January? 
 It’s a good one. 
 I won’t overeat. 
 I will not stuff myself to the point of having to unbutton my pants, loosen my belt or change into sweatpants. I will only eat to the point of feeling satisfied. It has been hard. I am definitely in the habit of overeating. I love to eat. I don’t want to stop. When something tastes good, it only seems right to continue until there isn’t one millimeter of space left in my stomach. The greatest challenge to sticking with this came last Saturday when our family ate at the Cheesecake Factory. That food is good. And plentiful. But I walked out of the restaurant feeling satisfied and in control. It was worth it. Each day as I have left food on my plate, I have estimated the number of calories I did not eat. My guess is I have walked away from 1,760 calories in just 9 days. If I keep that up, I will have saved myself a pound’s worth of calories (3,500) in no time. 
 I’m having so much fun with I Will and I Won’t! 
I am already thinking about what I’ll choose to do in February. 
 Blog to you soon, Hilary 
 P.S. My goal for today was to blog. Check.


I Will:
do something good for my health every day
eat clean
read a book a month
more meaningful prayer
temple time
serve outside my family
study scriptures
cook for my family more

I Won't:
eat sugar
eat whites
linger in bed
say negative things about others
say negative things TO others

Ill probably add to the list as I go but that is a great start.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

pioneers and college algebra class

It has been awhile since I posted.  Although I gotta admit, I  do not feel bad about it because I met my blogging goal for 2013 and needed a little downtime with my family.  I was completely off the grid and it felt great!

We watched a cool thing transpire this last semester and are using it to parallel a story from Brent's family history in our trek program.  I wanted to document it here.  It's one of those lessons I want to be able to look back at and remember.

I registered Tanner last summer for College Algebra through Collin College.  He had not taken the prerequisite course but scored so high on his math entrance exam that the HS counselor and I thought it was probably okay.  We knew it wouldn't be easy but we thought he was up to the challenge.

Well, after about 5 weeks, Tanner was exasperated!  He was completely discouraged and overwhelmed.  Not only did he fell he did not have the knowledge to complete the class with a decent grade, his professor was from another country and spoke with a VERY thick accent.  None of the kids could understand her and so everyone was dropping the class left and right.  Every day he would go back to class and more kids had dropped it.  He came to Brent and I and said he really felt he should drop the class.   It was so much harder then he ever thought it would be and he really didn't think he could complete the class with his GPA in tact.

We counseled with him a little bit, discussing his options,  told him we thought he could do it if he put his mind to it, and asked him to think about it over the weekend.  When Monday morning came, he decided he would just push through and give it his best shot.

I watched that boy struggle and study through the last few months of that Algebra class and I was so awestruck.  He would come home every day and sit in front of our home computer and teach himself college algebra.  What he couldn't understand, he asked his favorite math teacher - Mr. Gomez - about.  Mr. Gomez was Tanner's pre cal teacher and a super nice guy.  He offered to help Tanner anytime after school and so Tanner took him up on it when things got overwhelming.  

And he did it.  He pulled it off.  He got out of that class with a B+ at the end of the semester.

Brent gave a spiritual thought at our last trek correlation meeting and I coudn't help but see a parallel.  Brent's great great great grandparent's (Joseph and Rebecca Argyle) came across the plains along the Mormon Trail in the first handcart company.  It was such a hard journey for them.  The struggled with lack of food, physical exertion, illness, and harsh elements.  At one point, their 2 year old daughter became so sick that they thought for sure she would die.  She was definitely too sick to walk so Rebecca carried her daughter in her apron along the trail for the better part of 8 weeks.  (She was pregnant at the time!)  Can you imagine?  

One day, Rebecca let it get the best of her.  She eased her way to the back of the trail and decided to crawl among some rocks with her sick daughter and die.  She stayed there for quite some time and waited to succumb.  Eventually, Joseph realized she was not longer with the company and he went back to find her.  He reminded her of the promise they had been given that their entire family would survive the journey and that she had to get up and perservere.  

And she did.  They caught up with the company and continued on.  When she arrived in Salt Lake, Rebecca delivered that baby she had been carrying too.

Life can hand us trials that sometimes feel like they are more than we can bear.  I know that from personal experience.  But if we just take it one day at a time, one step at a time, and trust in the Lord.  He will see us through.