Go Forward and Remember…

As we look forward to a new year, many of us will be setting new goals and looking ahead as we plan out what 2020 will hold for us. Goal setting has always been a big part of my life from a very young age, I would make lists of what I wanted to achieve in the near future.  For example, in the ninth grade I decided that I was going to try out for the gymnastics team.  The only experience that I really had was a couple of lessons during the summer before, and what my older cousin had taught me (who was very good and already on a team).  But I was determined and I had a goal and was used to hard work having grown up in a home where I was required to help out and contribute (of which I am very grateful).

I remember a famous saying that my dad used to quote, “If ever you are going to do something, do it right the first time and do your best, then you will not have to worry about doing it over.”  And while this is great advice, especially when you only have one chance like trying out for team, I have come to learn that setting a goal and doing your best or doing it in a way that you feel is the “right” way, does not always result in success.  Most times we have to fail forward.  But the key here is not to give up or turn back, but to move forward with a motivation, remember what you’ve learned from the past and that will propel you to try even harder the next time you set the same goal or a new one.

I made the gymnastics team that year in ninth grade, however, I do not attribute it to my skills because they were few, and in my mind I felt that I was not good enough to have made it for sure.  But I had such a good attitude when I tried out and I worked hard and did my best. I think that hard working attitude is what earned me a spot on the team.

I feel like one of the most important keys to achieve goals is to look back and remember.  I know that sounds kind of counter productive.  But just stay with me for a minute.  It’s important to look back and remember what we learned and how we can grow and do better the next time around.  That’s what failing forward means.  We have to have failures in order to reap benefits of successes.

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Many times in the scriptures we are asked to “remember”.  In a talk given by Henry B. Eyring he said, “Remembering may be one of the most precious gifts the Spirit can give you. He will “bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever [the Lord has] said unto you” (John 14:26).  I love this because it promises us that as we remember, the things we did right will come back to us in the time that we most need them.

Doctrine and Covenants section 84:85 treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man. 

I would encourage you during this time of year that you look back and remember all of the successes that you’ve had the things that you’ve done RIGHT.  And then add to those the do- overs that you might have in your set of goals this next year.  You can always improve upon what you’ve done in the past.  Whether you feel like it was a big failure or not.  Use that as motivation to propel you even faster into the goal that you’ve set for yourself.  And above all, remember that the joy is in the journey.  While destinations are always great.  It is what we have learned along the way that will create a life worth remembering.

XO Wendy

Consistency is Key

Ok So yesterday we talked about making changes and just taking one step in a positive direction. How’d you do? Hopefully it lit a fire under you to make a change that will move you closer to who you want to be. And now how do you make that happen? How do you become what or who you want to be? CONSISTENCY is the Key!
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Guys, I’m not kidding when I talk about this. It’s a critical part of the decision that you just made to make a change. Now, your challenge is going to be that you stay consistent in your goal. Meaning you work on it every day. Every day. Every day! What does that look like?

It looks like filling your life and your mind with the things that support the step forward that you have taken or the change that you are instituting.

When I was a young mom and my children all started school. I decided that I wanted to do something or make a change that would help me kind of find my identity as a woman again. Not something completely selfish but something where I could improve myself and help others along the way.

I had a friend that had encouraged me to get into pageantry. Run for a MRS. title. And so after brooding about it and feeling stuck and telling myself all kinds of reasons why I couldn’t do it. I finally decided to make a move forward. Just do it. I made that decision and then I moved! And you know what? It was one of the best experiences of my life. I got to see so many positive changes in myself and others, because we had a “platform” which was something that we believed strongly about and wanted to make a difference with. I chose mentoring and worked with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America. I got to see changes in myself, but more importantly, I got to see other’s lives change through me. I didn’t win the title that first year, but because I worked hard and I was super consistent, I placed first runner up. So of course I knew that I would do it again the next year because naturally I wanted to win. 😉

But in order to do that, I had to continue to be consistent. I didn’t just stop working after that first pageant (in the off season). I didn’t procrastinate until it came closer to that next pageant. I worked my tail off. Physically, mentally and spiritually and also with the children that I worked with (including my own family), so that I would be able to present my best self.

And it totally paid off! I won the title of Mrs. Utah in 2001. I reached that goal, and it felt so good to know that I had really made some positive changes in the lives of those around me, my family, my relationships and especially in myself. But a big thing that I learned through that experience is that it wasn’t the end goal that mattered most. It was the things that I learned on journey by being consistent and working hard!

Now that’s a story that I don’t share a lot about because since that time there have been a lot of other changes in my life that have become incredible moments for me. But it was a defining moment for me because I realized I could do hard things! And I could reach big goals! But I had to be consistent in working towards those goals. And so can you!

Take the choice you made for change and make consistent steps toward that change everyday. Everyday. Everyday!

XO

 

Taking action

Yesterday we talked about action words.  And Last week we talked about how powerful “words” can be.  Especially from our own self talk. In order to make lasting change you have to take action.  You can’t just think or wish that things will happen.  You have to take action and move somewhere, whether that’s forward or backward, you have to move.

And you have to believe in yourself and talk positively “I can do this”!  Because you can.

So many times we get so many different pans in the oven (and I am famous for this), that when it comes to taking action, we become frozen because there are so many choices.  Where do I go first?  How do I make this change in my life?

But the important part is that you just have to make a choice, and then MOVE!  This choice is not going to determine the rest of your life.  It is one step in a positive direction.  Take the step.  Move forward, then evaluate and take another step.

Ready, fire, aim

I listen to several podcasts about self-development or improvement and one that I listen to is called Next Level Life by Preston Pugmire.  In it he talks a lot about changing your mindset and also about a  strategy or idea called Ready, Fire, Aim.  This is a bit different than what we usually hear (ready, aim, fire).  He teaches the idea that we have to pull back the arrow and “fire” (act, do something), then see where the arrow lands, then evaluate and take another shot.  But the point being we have to MAKE A MOVE.

As we come up on the end of the year.  I hope that we will come at it sprinting to the end of it.  And then breaking through the tape and running straight on into 2020 full steam.  We can change, we can take control and start seeing the results of our effort!

I love this quote from Philip Floor’s book Ready, Fire, Aim.  ” Expecting things to change, without being willing to change, will result in no change—because nothing changed.”

Have a great day, we’ll do it again tomorrow.

XO Wendy

Things aren’t always as they seem.

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Have you ever looked at someone that you admire and thought, geez, I wish I could be more like her/him.  They have it all, a great job, great family, great spouse,  their kids are perfect, they always seem happy.  And look at that home…. it’s ALWAYS clean.  And so and so on.

You think to yourself, I can’t even keep the laundry folded (or maybe even washed) and dinner on the table. Wait, I can’t even fix dinner because I haven’t had any time to go the store in the last couple of weeks.  And pretty soon you’ve talked yourself into such a personal pity party that you’re fighting with your imperfect kids.  And you’re short with your husband and friends.  You may be fuming about work projects or situations where you just felt that things were dumped on you, or just not fair.

Does any of that sound familiar to you?  Me too!  We’re so good at finding all of our flaws and imperfections and comparing them to the strengths of others whom you admire.  But the truth is, things aren’t always as they seem!  In fact rarely are they as they look on the outside.  EVERYBODY (at least in my past 51 years of experience) is going through something hard.  And to a certain degree, we all try to put on the face that nothing is wrong everything is just rosy!  It’s time for us to get real, and quit the fake.  That is quite the buzz word at the moment isn’t it?  Just quit the fake, right? But it’s not really that easy to do.

Let me ask you a couple of questions that I really want you to ponder.  Really ponder.

1.What is it about my life that is sooo horrible that I can’t help but look at others and want what they have?  And

2. What good is there in my life right now that others might see as optimal (the blessings you have in your life)?

Sometimes we are so focused on what we don’t have that we forget to be grateful and celebrate the things that we do have!

I personally think that is why it is so important to keep some sort of daily gratitude journal!  It reminds you to be aware and mindful of all the little things that are good in your life.  It helps you to focus on the positives.

One of the the things in my own life that I could really make into a horrible thing, I can make it a negative or a positive, is the fact that I have Bipolar disorder.  It would be very easy for me to look at all the negative that comes along with this diagnosis.  And it does get the best of me at times.  But one of the ways that I try to make it into a positive is to try and help others who may be struggling with similar issues.  I am always amazed that just by sharing what I go through, it always touches someone in some way.  Sometimes it is in a big way and other times it is as small as them recognizing that they are not alone.  They don’t always reach out and let me know, but when they do, it always makes me feel like what I am struggling with is a blessing that I can use to help others in their own lives.

And lastly, looking at and focusing on the good in your life is a practice that is so easy to pick up and really doesn’t take much.  Try recording just 3 things daily that are good in your life that day, that moment.  It doesn’t have to be anything big.  Sometimes for me it is just the fact that I am here on this Earth living another day!

So with that said, go out and look for the good today!  Remember that things aren’t always as they seem when viewing what others are putting out there.  And know that you are never alone!  I see you!

 

Feed my Sheep

Feed My Sheep

Over and over again this thought has come to my mind in the last month.  I will pray and ask God, “Is there anything you would have me do or know?”  And inevitably the answer comes “Feed My Sheep”.  So of course it has been at the forefront of my mind, wondering exactly how he wants me to “Feed his Sheep”.   And then I walked into church on Sunday and wouldn’t you know it,  there were little sheep everywhere, lol.  Not real sheep of course, but the decorations that we had for our special Mother’s Day lesson was entitled, you guessed it, “Feed my Sheep”.    Super cute too!  You know how those mormon women like to decorate for everything, haha!

Anyway, that made me think that I am certainly not the only one that is feeling that prodding and poking to share the word of God with others.  I suppose that is what all of this means.  That He wants us to share his word with all that we come into contact with.   So how do we do that?

Certainly much of what we do is by example.  Matthew 8:14-16 reads:

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

If we are to look at our children or children that we come into contact with through various means, how do they learn?  How do they grow?  It is by watching those who have gone before them.  Learning their way from those who have already learned.   That is why we grow up in a family unit, go to school, or to church, or are drawn to others.  It is because of that urgency to learn more, to grow, to experience life. We can not learn all things all at once.  we teach the way our Father taught us, it is ... line upon line, precept upon precept.  Here a little and there a little.  Isaiah 28: 10 . 

And again we read in 2 Nephi 28:30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little;  

This is how God wants us to teach and this is how God wants us to learn.

Another way that we “Feed his Sheep”  is through love.  President Thomas S. Monson taught “As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.”  

When a lawyer asked Jesus which of the commandments was the greatest, He could have chosen any of the many commandments from the Old Testament, from the law of Moses, or from the Ten Commandments. Instead, He summarized all of the commandments in these two:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  “This is the first and great commandment.  “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” Matthew 22:37–39).

I remember a time when I had a newborn son in the NICU.  It was grueling days at the hospital, hoping to see signs of improvement.  I had 3 other children that had to be cared for at home.  But all I wanted to do was be with my newborn son and comfort and love on him.  I wanted him to come home with me.  Every day I would plead with the Lord to make my son whole so that I could bring him home.  He only spent 12 days there, but that gave me a whole new appreciation for those that spend weeks and months there.  It is not an easy feat by any means.  However, I was shown so much love through that experience.

I will never forget those who took my children so I could be at the hospital, or the many meals that were brought in so I didn’t have to worry about dinner.  Or the church members that came to the rescue and gave priesthood blessings when it didn’t look like he was going to make it.  But one of the acts of kindness and love, I remember the most was probably one of the smallest, but it meant so much to me.

One of my neighbors brought an Easter Lily and left it on my porch.  It was not in bloom yet… maybe just one or two were blooming.  But she had left the kindest note and mentioned that maybe each day when I got home another bloom would be out, reminding me that it is the small steps that my son was making each day that would get him home.  She said, “by the time these Easter Lilies are in full bloom, maybe he will get to come home.”  It meant so much to me that she put some thought into something so small, but that would come to mean so much to me over the years.  He did come home (he’s 22 now!) and the Easter Lilies were in full bloom and it was glorious.  The smell of them always reminds me of that time in my life when I thought my world was spinning out of control.  But it was one of his faithful servants just … responding with love and kindness to whatever came her way.   To this day, I still LOVE Easter Lilies!

 These are not the only ways, for there are many, many ways that we can love, serve, and teach others.  But know that the smallest act of love are a symbol of the love that we have for God.  John 21:15-17 

15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Remember that most of the ways that we “Feed his Sheep” are by the small and seemingly insignificant acts, like the Easter Lily, that help someone feel loved, cared for and appreciated.  I hope that today you will find a way to… respond with love and kindness to whatever comes your way.

 

Feeling the Love of God more Abundantly

I’ve recently been studying about Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice, which has brought many feelings to the surface and helped me to recognize the importance of His grace in my life.  I was awakened at 4:30 this morning with thoughts about feeling God’s love more abundantly in my life.  I’ve felt the guidance of the Savior’s hand in my life lately as never before, and have felt the undeniable promptings to put it in writing.  He says:

Matthew 11-30;  28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.                     

I know that the Savior leads us along and wants us to have a voice and be strong and help gather his children back to him.  So in that spirit, I am striving to be a diligent servant and share His word through my personal experiences, and hopefully it will help someone out there who may be experiencing something similar.  Or who maybe just need a little lift in their day.

I had a dream recently that really gave me pause.  I was riding in a car with my husband and it was a blizzard outside.  We could barely see the road because of the wind and snow falling.  We were on a canyon road that was a mountain on one side and a drop off on the other.  I could see that we were dangerously close to the cliff.  Suddenly the car began to swerve and I could see that we were going to slide off the road.  There was nothing that we could do.  I remember feeling so helpless as I looked to my husband and saw the same look on his face.  I was thinking “Is this how it is all going to end for us?”

As we slid off the cliff and started falling, I was astounded as I looked to the left, to see a large hand glowing white, come around the the front bumper of the car.  It was a huge hand that engulfed the whole left side of the car.  And then as I glanced to the right I saw another huge glowing white hand (I can’t really say glowing, it was more like on fire), brighter than you can imagine.   I definitely knew in my minds eye, that it was God’s hands coming around the car to shield us from the impending crash.  I remember being astonished at the strength and comfort that seeing those hands, brought to me.  I could see that we were going to crash.  But I could also see that we were going to be surrounded in the arms of his love and in some way protected from the inevitable damage that would take place.  Then, just as the hands came around us, we began to hit the trees… and that’s when I woke up.

This past year and a half has been especially difficult for us.  You can read some about it here.  When I told my husband about my dream he said, “well we did kind of go off a cliff!” And even though I laughed when he said it, I knew he was right.  I had been praying and pleading with the Lord to help us find a way out of the situation that we have been in.  We like to joke that we were on a bicycle built for two with our arms spread out wide, the wind blowing in our hair,  just coasting along.  And then someone took a stick and put it in the spokes and we came to a sudden stop and went flying over the top!

For months and months we both pleaded with the Lord for guidance and direction. I feel like this dream came to me to remind me that even though we experience REALLY TOUGH things in our lives, He is always there to protect us when we go off the cliff and hit the trees.   We still fall, we still hit the trees, but his loving arms surround us….2 Nephi 15:25; but his hand is stretched out still, no matter what we are experiencing in our lives.

Through this experience we have seen many miracles.  We have felt the spirit lead and guide us.  It has changed who we are.  And it has strengthened our testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our Savior felt it all when he suffered for us in Gethsemane, He suffered the unimaginable so that we would be able to one day return to our loving Father in Heaven.  I am so grateful that I have been able to feel His love, grace and mercy in my life more abundantly.  It has been rough, bumpy and uphill climb but when we are growing the road is always uphill!

We still aren’t out of the woods, in fact some days I feel like we are still sitting in the crashed car saying “what just happened?” But I am constantly reminded of the love that our Heavenly Father has for us if we will just reach out for it!  Therein lies the secret.  Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. We have to be the ones to reach out to Him.  He stands at the door and knocks but we must open the door and let him in.

It is my prayer that we can take his yoke upon us and learn of him so that we can better handle the situations that are thrown at us each and every day.  John 14:6; For he is the way the truth and the life!