6.20.2011

Poppies.

It has been a while since I last wrote, however over the last few months I have gained some wonderful insights, which hopefully will fill the pages of this blog with thoughtful inspirations that will help both me and those who read it. 


Pondering upon the things that have transpired over the past 4 months, I felt it proper to being with this:




For all those green-thumbed gardeners out there, I’m sure you know that this is a poppy plant that has yet to bloom. . .

To put it frankly I find that, in this state, the plant is . . . well . . . extremely ugly.

After quick observation, to me, its form displays more characteristics of a weed than that of a welcomed flowering plant. Its peculiar leaves resemble features accustomed more to the dreaded dandelion than the beloved and beautiful rose, lily, or lilac.  Ominous and unwelcoming hairs also cover the entire body of this plant; while oddly-shaped globes rest atop of its entirely green body, revealing nothing of the beauty that lay inside.  .  . Its UGLY.


Unpleasant and unattractive this organism remains until one day, almost magically, this seemingly  decrepit plant  blooms into a beautiful flower leaving the observer in awe at its sudden and absolutely stunning array of bold, vibrant colors.



Awesome, I know. But why am so thoroughly interested in explaining the development of this flower?

Well.  I feel that there is a correlation between the progression of this flower; from its time consuming, long days of ugliness to its ending in an unexpected burst of beauty and our progression through a rough situation or hard time in our lives. In seeing such correlation I feel it is necessary to remind myself and others what is needed to endure this process.  

While experiencing a trial or suffering through hardship it is difficult to see the beauty of the situation; it is hard to forge on when you’re trial seems to be nothing more than a horrible looking weed whose sole purpose is to make your life harder and cause you pain. When no matter how hard you look there is no glimpse of brightness in your future.  Spoken honestly, those moments in life are HORRIBLE. I have experienced a few in my days and they were tough! Luckily I have not recently had to experience such trials, however, I have had to watch as the people around me dealt with these types of situations; and while observing from this outside perspective I’ve been able to understand that under such circumstances, try as we will, there is no making the situation “light” or “happy”. 

We are forced to endure and hold on.

We are forced to hope.


To HOPE.


What an important and necessary action on such occasions.

Now, let me make this point that the meaning of hope that I speak of here is not fleeting or quick to fade in nature as in “I hope they will have sandwiches for lunch today”. Instead, this hope is a resilient and enduring kind. When you posses this hope you understand and accept that a hardship is actually occurring, although you still look forward to a better day. A situation I feel exemplifies this kind of hope comes from the Two Towers. . .
Ok. I know it is a bit geeky, but I really enjoy Lord of the Rings, this part especially. Laugh all you want but I am proud of being a geek.  :]
Any ways, here is the conversation between Frodo and Sam as they are lost and discouraged. . . 
Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here.

But we are.

It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo; the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end... because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was, when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass.

 A new day will come.

And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding on to, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

. . . :]

That. Is hope.

I know things may be hard right now, oh! Harder than what anyone around you will ever be able to understand, but know that they will get better and there is a lesson to be learned and strength to be gained from what you are going through. Right now things may look very ugly with absolutely no sign of changing for the good, however, if you persevere, you will find the beauty of it all.

Know that one day after all your hard work you will wake up one morning and behold that your situation has transformed into a “stunning array of bold, vibrant colors” and you will be able to find happiness and contentment in your life and your efforts.  

And now the CHALLENGE:

If you are going through a hard time, don’t be discouraged!  I plead that if you cannot be optimistic about your situation, then at least hang on to hope, patiently endure, and GROW in all that ugliness! Because things WILL get better and you will be a stronger, more amazing person because of it. I Promise. So just . . . HOPE.  :] 

Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.

-Unknown

2.27.2011

Little Flower.

My husband and I have the daunting privilege of teaching a primary class at our church. Our class consists of 6 rambunctious 7 year olds.  Today during singing time our class learned to lead music in 4/4 time. After instructing them on how this was done, our wonderful music conductor had the children sing and practice leading using the method she had just taught. While singing I happened to glance over at my husband who was sitting with the boys in our class and watched as he proceeded to help them learn to lead by turning each hand movement into a karate chop . . .  ha ha. :D I couldn’t help but smile as these boys, my husband included, became enthralled in this simple act of leading music just by having an imagination.  This experience has made me realize how important it is to learn to creatively enjoy the little things.

LET’S FACE IT. Life is filled with a great deal of menial, rather boring things and it has come to my attention that sometimes I get bogged down by that monotony. I get so stressed and busy with all the things that I have to do that I don’t see life for what it’s worth and I now realize that I miss a lot of the beauty that it has to offer. These little things . . . these little morsels of sunshine that WE create or find; these are what make life great! So, you need to find out what makes you happy; simple things that can be viewed as the ordinary or mundane, for example, I personally love stepping on really crunchy leaves, finding an exceptionally clicky pen, seeing how many faces I can make at my husband before he notices, or stomping on slushy snow that squirts out all over when you land on it. . . strange I know, but I have come to realize that finding or doing those little things gives me the much needed boosts in my life that help me get through the hard times and still be positive.

So. THE CHALLENGE . . . I invite you to enjoy the little things that surround you.  If you are having trouble staying positive or being optimistic find simple things that make you happy. It doesn’t matter how stupid they may sound, if they make you happy and help you face the challenges in your life, then that’s what really matters.  Because the truth is no one can render you happy or sad; no situation will change your emotional state, that’s all up to you. Life is truly AMAZING. . .you just have to know how to look at it right.



"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, 
"one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." 
Hans Christian Andersen

1.17.2011

Consider the Lilies.

As my husband and family can thoroughly testify I am a worry wart. I stress over anything and everything. I can’t help but become anxious and concerned as I struggle to balance school, work, and a family. As this last year came to an end I notice how much of a toll all my worrying had taken on my life. It came after a full month of acquiring successive illnesses, trying to deal with finals and a crazy work schedule, when I realized I couldn’t keep doing this. As I sat, overwhelmed, with my situation, I thought to myself, sooner or later if I don’t fix this habit, it is going to really get to me and affect my life significantly! It was in this pondering that I realized it already had.


As I reflected and reviewed my past I came to see that the times that I struggled most with sicknesses, stress, and pessimism, were those very times when I was worrying the most. I came to see that my fussing was much more of a detriment than a help not only me but to those I associated with. For some reason I feel that if I was overly concerned about a problem somehow that would change the situation or give me a boost to cope with the circumstance. It’s almost laughable how oxymoronic my thinking was concerning this matter; not only did worrying not help the situation, it also sapped my energy as well as my optimism. It wasn’t until I came upon passage of scripture that I realized what I was really doing. The scripture I found was in Matthew 6, versus 27 & 28:

-Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
-And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.
Consider the lilies. . . what a beautiful way to say “hey stupid! Stop worrying so much! You aren’t going to do any good by fretting over this!” . . . It was one of those moments where a feeling hits you like a ton of bricks and you realize you aren’t as smart as you think you are.

I would like to say that upon receiving this revelation I completely changed and I no longer overly stress about anything, but that would be a very big lie . . . however, I did realized that I am not perfect, nor do I need to be. What matters most is that I give my all, my best and LET IT BE. What happens, happens, regardless of whether or not I am worrying about. And although it’s easier said than done, I know it will make a huge difference in the life of a person who puts this concept into practice. So today I am going to try to not worry as much and focus on the good in my life and be happy. . . :]

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, 
it only saps today of its joy. 

~Leo Buscaglia

12.30.2010

Improving your garden: surrounding yourself with good.

I rediscovered something this week . . . recently I’ve come to see that the people you surround yourself with make a huge difference on the effort it takes you to look at life optimistically. It’s a concept that I’m sure many are familiar with; the fact that if you want to obtain a goal or accomplish something it helps to be surrounded by people who are also striving for that very thing. The principle itself seems rather simple however I am beginning to understand how substantial the impact of its precepts can be.

I have been blessed, undeservingly, with some incredible friends and family who constantly strengthen my resolve to live life better. To give a recent example, I had the opportunity to visit with one of my best friends, whose personality can be summed up in a quote by J.M. Barrie: “those who spread sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” Her name is Kristin and she is absolutely AMAZING. She basically exudes happiness. Honestly, I have never met a more loving, hardworking, fun, optimistic person in my entire life and yesterday, I was lucky enough to spend a few moments in her company.

As we sat enjoying our Jambas, and talking about what life had thrown at us these last few months and what we had learned, I couldn’t help but feel joy and happiness for my life and be ever grateful for what I had been able to experience. And through this simple encounter I realized that knowing and interacting with people like Kristin truly makes it easy to see just how awesome life is, and how much there is to be happy for. People like her bring to light a perspective that we sometimes miss while being bogged down with life’s hardships and that is why they are so important to have around.

~My best friend Kristin and I~
My blessing of knowing incredible people doesn’t stop with just this one wonderful friend. I also have been lucky enough to be married to the most incredible man ever! He encourages and inspires me, and he reminds me daily that I am loved. . . it would take countless pages to list all that he does for me as well as to list all the people who I am surrounded with that motivate me. Needless to say, they all have problems they are working through; however it seems they have learned to some degree to deal with these difficulties and still see the world in a positive way. As such there is a lot to learn from them, if one is but willing.  

My hope is that if anyone reading this feels weighed down by the numerous trials that surround them, I encourage you to find those who will lift you up and learn from how they live their lives.  It is my goal to do the same and hopefully acquire the capacity to be optimistic and happy all the time, regardless of the situation. :]

"If you change the way you look at things, then the things you look at will change." 
-Unknown

11.27.2010

The Reason.

I used to be a very optimistic person, I had the ability to look at things and always find the good. Sadly, I’ve lost this ability by getting caught up in . . . well. . . LIFE and all its tinkerings. I get frustrated with cars, people, and on occasion with nothing at all and I don’t like it one bit. nope. So this blog is to help me regain that talent; to truly enjoy my life again instead of simply getting by, because I want to love life and experience all the joy it has to offer. For life and all its adventures are truly a marvelous thing!

So I am going to take the time to stop and smell the roses and look for the positive things in life.

**If anyone who reads this would like to join in they are more than welcome. I would love to hear your stories and learn to laugh at how crazy life can be sometimes. **


"You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry. Don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way."

-Walter Hagen