Good Days.

My original intention was to sit down and write a fun post on some Christmas crafts I recently did. I find that I am not able. My heart is just not in it. I can’t seem to think of something frivolous and silly like that when we are still rocking from the tragic events on Friday.

Today I had to fight tears taking my kids to school. Walking home was the same thing. Nevertheless I sent them. Dan reminded me that we cannot avoid all the Good Things in life, just because of the possibility of Bad Things.

An important thing to remember.

My gut reaction is Home School. My gut reaction is Lock My Family Up Safely. However, if we hide and protect all the people who can influence the world for the positive, where does that leave the rest of us?

So today I prayed with my kids. I asked that they be protected. Asked that we could each see the good in each other. Asked that we can influence our community for good and kindness. I walked them to class. Gave them hugs and kisses and hoped for a Good Day. Because the truth is, there are more good days than bad. So I will live each good day to the fullest rather than fearing for the possible bad. And if a bad day comes, I will have memories full of Good Days.

May we each live for Good Days._MG_9129 _MG_9189 _MG_9498 _MG_9506 _MG_9572 _MG_9602

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Change…and not the loose kind.

Well this little Wednesday boost is coming a little late on Wednesday, but it is still Wednesday! Also I am not so sure it is so much of a boost, as a pondering. Today I want to talk about something that has been on my mind lately.  And that is Change.

Frequently at the Gym I hear the term “Pain is Change.” And we all know that is true. In fact a good friend of mine wrote an excellent blog post on that very subject that is well worth a read. You can read it here.

I believe that pain and change are symbiotic. You can’t have one without the other. Which is good. The pain gives us the motivation to make the change that is necessary. It is a tool to make us uncomfortable enough to want to change, and hopefully make it permanent.

Usually it comes about by some sort of catalyst. We have something happen that causes us to want to change. For example when I was first married, I was very happy. I was so happy I ate all the food I could see. I noticed that I began to gain weight. A lot. However I didn’t feel like doing anything about it. It wasn’t a big deal. I could fix it later. All the excuses we tell ourselves. After living in denial and laziness for a while, Dan and I went to a reunion of sorts. At the reunion we took a photo with a bunch of former school and church mates. I think you can see where this is going.

When I saw the photo, I saw that everybody looked the same, everybody except me. This event bothered me. It was shocking to see such a stark comparison.  It bothered me enough that I realized I could do something about it. It took a while, but I finally made the changes I needed to lose the weight. I have tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle since then.

That is a pretty minor example. There are, of course, major catalysts that occur. The addict that loses everything and turns their life around. The gossiper who becomes the subject, and learns the hard way the damage that does. I recently learned about someone who was an alcoholic. One night he was leaving a party and couldn’t find his car. He searched and searched. The end result was he reported it as stolen to the police. A few days later his friend called and asked when he was going to get his car. It was parked right in front of the house. This was a wake up call and he has been sober ever since.

So events occur that cause a change. Like I said, a catalyst. But why do we need the catalyst? Often we are already aware of the problem. I was totally aware of the fact that I needed to lose weight. I am sure the former alcoholic was aware of his problem on some level.  We all have something in us that we know needs to change. So why do we wait until the pain of change can be at its highest?

In Change Anything, a book by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler, it states the following about changes.

“We do want to do them–in the abstract, just not in real life.  We want to do them in the future, just not in the present.”

Wanting to make a change does not seem to be enough.  A general desire to change will result in weak resolutions and unsuccessful results. I know this first hand as I generally have the desire to write in my journal consistently. However that has yet turned into a real action. Although I guess I can start counting this blog. But you get the point right?

So my wondering is, why do we wait for that pain or catalyst to motivate us to change? What stops us from doing it sooner? If some major disaster happens and I discovered that if I had only kept up on my journal writing, it could have been avoided. You bet your bottom dollar I’d be writing in my journal like a mad man after that.

I guess that is where self-discipline comes in, and maybe that is a part of pain too. Perhaps if we are willing to make a change, one that was not caused by something, then we have to be willing to force change and accept pain into our lives. To purposely go about making ourselves uncomfortable. And then when it does become uncomfortable, we must make the choice to quit or keep moving. Thereby, going forward with the pain, until we have achieved the new change we set out for ourselves. So, pain is a good thing. We can either wait until it peaks and forces us to act, or we can take control and welcome the pain a little sooner.

Either way the choice is ours!  Which just links back to my original Wednesday boost on choice!

What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree, disagree? Like I said, I have just been pondering it lately and I’m curious what you think as well.

P.S. Don’t forget to register for the CraigOs giveaway!!!!!! The winner will be announced on Friday!

Free Agency and the Power of Choice

Good Wednesday to you all.  Most of my blogs will be pretty random, but there are three things I want to do consistently.

  1. Some sort of DIY project, hopefully once a week.
  2. The Friday Update – keeping you updated on the progress of the house.
  3. A spiritual boost, or something to discuss and think about.

Today I will be doing the third.  Usually I will be all about fun and humor. But I also want to be serious every now and then. I have been thinking, (for those of us who attend church) each Sunday we are able to get some sort of spiritual thought or some inspiration that is supposed to carry us through the rest of the week.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need a little more to help me get through the rest of the week.

Mid week seems to be when I start dragging a little, so I decided that each Wednesday I will try to have something inspirational on here.  It won’t always be a religious thing, (but sometimes it will be) and I will try to make it universal for everyone.  But I am who I am, so I am sure my personal views will slip in there anyway.  But the goal is to help me expand my understanding on certain things and propel me through the rest of the week.  Hopefully by including it on the blog it can help someone else out there as well.  So here we go!

I want to start this weeks topic with a quote by a great man named Boyd K. Packer

“The choices we make will affect the scope of our agency in the future.  As of now, we have the right of decision.  What we will have tomorrow will depend on how we decide today.”

One of the things I am most grateful for in this life is our power to choose.  Our Free Agency.  I think we forget sometimes how much choice we do have in the direction our life takes.  In the Book of Mormon there is a scripture in 1 Nephi 3:7 it says,

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

For those who are familiar with that scripture, you may be wondering what that has to do with our choices and free agency.  This scripture is more traditionally used to illustrate obedience, courage, faith, and being prepared.  Nephi truly had those things.  He had faith to follow the Lord, he was obedient to His will, he was courageous in the face of adversity and was prepared to do the things required of him.

When reading that verse, I have often wondered what gave Nephi such conviction to say such a powerful thing.  The words “I will go, I will do.”  At some point he had made a choice.  He actively chose to be those things.  He chose to be obedient and faithful.  When you have not previously made a decision it is very difficult to back it up with conviction.

I have noticed this in my own life.  If I am suddenly confronted with a choice I was not prepared to make, I become wishy washy and seek the advice of others, I vacillate and my actions become likewise.  On the other hand, if there are things I am confronted with that I have already thought about and prepared for, it is easy for me to go forward in my own decision with confidence.  For example I remember when Officer Friendly visited my elementary school while I was in second grade.  He challenged each of us to make the decision That Day to “say no to drugs.”  I followed his advice, and I made the choice that day.  Later in high school when I was confronted with drugs, it was very easy for me to say no. I had already chosen to do so.

I love the quote in Harry Potter where Professor Dumbledore tells Harry  that “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are, it is our choices.”

Another great movie quote is when The Green Goblin confronts Spiderman and tells him that “we are who we chose to be.”  Hoping to convince him to chose the wrong side. For better or for worse, the reality is that our character is made from the choices we have made and will make.

The youth in our church are given a pamphlet called For the Strength of Youth.  It gives a lot of wonderful advice on how to get through this life successfully. One piece of advice it gives is the following.

“You are responsible for the choices you make. You should not blame your circumstances, your family, or your friends if you choose to disobey God’s commandments.  You are a child of God with great strength. You have the ability to choose righteousness and happiness, no matter what your circumstances.”

Sometimes we struggle to be positive and become overwhelmed and overburdened.  Such was my case at a time in my life.  I sought for guidance through prayer.  The answer I received was “Choose happiness, only you can control if you are happy or not.”  I was shocked to have that be my answer.  I had to CHOOSE to be happy!  It wasn’t going to be handed to me.  It was then that I realized how much freedom our free agency actually gives us.  We must choose in all walks of life.  Consciously choose.  It is what makes us who we are.

President Spencer W. Kimball said,

“Life gives to all a choice. You can satisfy yourself with mediocrity if you wish. You can be common, ordinary, dull, colorless, or you can channel your life so that it will be clean, vibrant, progressive, useful, rich. You can soil your record, defile your soul, trample underfoot virtue, honor, and goodness, and thus forfeit an exaltation in the kingdon of God. Or you can be righteous, commanding the respect and admiration of your associates in all walks of life, and enjoying the love of the Lord. Your destiny is in your hands and your all important decisions are your own to make.”

I challenge you to decide who you are today.  If your not sure, then Pray and find out who you are. Decide to be happy, decide to love your family. Get out and make a difference, no matter how small.  Be like Nephi, “I will go, I will do…” and then fill in the rest.  What will you go and do?

I am Tannie Smith, I choose to be happy, I choose to be a good mother, I choose to follow the Lord, I choose to be a friend, I choose to love my family and I choose to make a difference.

What choices will you make today that define who you are tomorrow?