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Look carefully...at the seemingly small moments...in the constant shaping of souls.- Neal A.Maxwell

golf balls revisited
     I have been rethinking the concept of a jar filled with golf balls and then pebbles and then sand.  What are the golf balls filled with?  Just because space is allotted for a positive/productive thing does not necessarily make for a positive/productive space.
     I recently read Mosiah 7:33

But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.
     I have read this verse many times but this last time was the first time "serve him with all diligence of mind" really stood out to me.
     I remember once as a child sweeping the kitchen floor and my dad saying to me, "Don't just go through the motions..."  I wasn't intentionally doing a poor job but I wasn't really putting thought into what I was doing.  I started paying attention and noticed quite a few areas that needed re-sweeping.
     Serving with all diligence of mind requires not just going through the motions.  Filling a golf ball space appropriately requires presence, thought, effort...it requires diligence.

     Another previously unpublished, and this time unfinished post:

prayer - April 27, 2015

     "Imagine for moment you are in a lifeboat on the ocean, with nothing but rolling waves in every direction, as far as the eye can see.  The boat is equipped with oars, but which direction would you row?  Now imagine you've caught a glimpse of land.  Now you know the direction you must go.  Does seeing land give you both motivation and purpose?  People who don't maintain a clear sense of purpose are drifters.  Drifters allow the tides of the world to decide where they are going."  ("Living with Purpose: the Importance of 'Real Intent'", Randall L. Ridd)

     "...A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder, never likely to reach home port.  To us comes the signal; chart your course, set your sail, position your rudder, and proceed."  ("Guided Safely Home", President Thomas S. Monson)

     "Living with Purpose" had been on my mind since hearing Brother Ridd's January 11, 2015 talk on the subject. 
The visual of being on a lifeboat and not seeing land vs. seeing land was especially strong to me.  I thought, "If I were asked to speak in church "purpose" is what I would like to speak about."  Mid-March I was asked to speak in church, fifteen minutes, the topic of my choice.  Perfect!  Except, I didn't feel as though "purpose" was what I wanted the focus of my topic to be.  I asked my husband what he would speak on.  He said, "Faith."  My dad, "Obedience."  My walking friend, "Depression."  My e-mail friend, "Loving others - especially those who have wronged you."  My good neighbor, "Gossip."  What common thread was to be found among these?  And then I knew, I wanted to talk about prayer.
     In my study and preparation I was reminded of aspects of prayer that I had not necessarily spent much time considering before...

     I don't remember where I was headed with that post.  I did go through my files and found a copy of the outline I used for my talk on prayer.  Of which here is part:

Luke 22:42-44 reads:

42) Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

43) And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

44) And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it  were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

 Elder Bruce R. McConkie emphasizes “The Son of God “prayed more earnestly”! He who did all things well, whose every word was right, whose every emphasis was proper; he to whom the Father gave his Spirit without measure; he who was the only perfect being ever to walk the dusty paths of planet earth—the Son of God “prayed more earnestly,” teaching us, his brethren, that all prayers, his included, are not alike, and that a greater need calls forth more earnest and faith-filled pleadings before the throne of him to whom the prayers of the saints are a sweet savor.”

     This Mother's Day, 2017, I had a feeling of sadness wash over me while sitting in church.  I offered a silent prayer asking for comfort.  Small piece by small piece sadness eased and then this evening my sister-in-law, who has no children of her own but possesses a true mother heart, called from two states away to ask how I was doing.  Talking to her gave completion to a prayer for comfort, answered through someone willing to serve Him with all diligence of mind.

Golf Balls
     Yesterday I sat down to write about something I remembered having written similarly about years ago.  I tried using the Blog Search function but was unsuccessful in that endeavor.  Next I tried scanning through prior posts.  There I was both successful and unsuccessful.  Successful in that I found the desired post, unsuccessful in my plans to scan.  I spent the bulk of yesterday reading past writings.  Yet in that "unsuccess" I found more success.  Here is the beginning of the July, 2011 post I had been looking for:

"I just made myself laugh.  I was going to start this post with the statement "I have not been myself lately".  I was the victim of an attempted identity theft recently.  I am glad that even if I am not completely myself - no one else has successfully taken over.

"So.....I have not been myself lately.

"When we were kids and questioned 'Why?' when asked to do something my mom would say, 'Do you want a list of reasons or will one do?'  There are a list of things I could allow to cause a funk but I think really it's only just one..."

     So.....I have not been myself lately.  And, ironically, just last week I was yet again the victim of attempted identity theft.  And, as before, I am glad that though I am not completely myself - despite numerous attempts - no one else has successfully taken over.  
     Before yesterday's reading I was convinced there was a list of reasons causing my funk, by the end of my reading I knew it again really boiled down to just one, but a different one than nearly 6 years ago (though I will always miss my mom).
     There is a viral video of a professor filling a jar with golf balls and then adding pebbles and then sand both of which he shakes down into all the nooks and crannies.  He explains that the golf balls are the really important things in life, the pebbles are important things and the sand is the small stuff.  He adds that if the sand were the first thing he put in the jar there would not be room for the pebbles or the golf balls.  After reading about past golf balls in my life I realize I may be mislabeling some current sand as golf balls.  Time to start cleaning out the jar.


     In going through old posts I also went through many unpublished posts - some unfinished, some just skeletons of thought, some wanting to be published now.


school lunches - Spring of 2014

     We have an iffy electric can opener, 2 insufficient manual can openers and one really good manual can opener.  The other day I could find 1 iffy and 2 insufficient but no really good can openers.  Turns out 12-year old had taken the really good opener to school so he could have canned soup for his lunches.  Monday I purchased 16 cans of pop-top soup.
     Today I had difficulty opening 12-year old's sock drawer.  Once opened I saw why - it was full of pop-top soup cans..  12-year old was hiding them from his brothers.  I took a can from his drawer and showed it to his brothers saying, "Please save the pop-top cans for 12-year old's lunch."  17-year old said, in a half-teasing voice, "What he gets pop-top soup and all I got at his age was peanut butter and jelly?"  22-year old replied, "At least you ate." 
     Let me take you back 10 years.  Then 12-year old J's jacket had a large hole in one pocket.  Anything he put in that pocket would disappear between the lining and the jacket.  Before washing I would shake the jacket so any lost items would migrate back to the side with the pocket with the hole.  It was not unusual for at least one sandwich to be among the recovered items.  When I mentioned the sandwiches in the jacket 22-year old replied, in a mock martyr voice, "I needed the insulation.  I had to choose between being hungry or being cold."


only the best will do - January, 2010

It is 2002 and the first time I drive the 900 mile trip to visit my parents.  I am in a 13 year old, stick-shift, compact car in unfamiliar territory with an 18- month-old, a five-year-old and a nine-year-old.  We stop at a park for a breather before heading up, and then down, a steep mountain pass.  Leaving the park we stop at a port-a-potty.  Five-year-old insists he is fine and refuses to even try.


Half way up the pass five-year-old has to go.  I explain that I really can’t stop and ask if he can wait until we’re through the pass.  He doesn’t mention needing to go again until on the way down the pass I hear, “Oh no, thunder in the backseat!”  I look in the rear view mirror and five-year-old is wide-eyed gripping his car-seat.  I ask if he’s still okay to wait explaining I really can’t see anyplace to stop.  He nods.  Thereafter, every so often, I hear, “Uh-oh more thunder in the backseat.”  He’s so cute about it that nine-year-old and I laugh, which makes five-year-old and toddler laugh which makes the situation more dire for five-year-old.


I have reservations at a hotel in the town at the base of the pass but I can’t find the hotel.  I pull into a grocery store parking lot and ask where the Best Western is.  From the back seat I hear, “Oh mommy that’s nice but it doesn’t need to be the BEST restroom, any restroom will do.”


throwing caution to the breeze - May, 2012

I have recently restarted voice lessons after a year-plus hiatus.  My instructor said that I needed to be crisper with my consonants that I was being "Lazy?" I interjected.  "Not lazy, cautious," she replied.  That made me laugh.  Cautious tends to me my modus operandi.  This past weekend I was required to spend many hours driving alone in my car.  I spent much of that time practicing singing less cautiously.

Albert Bandura, a Stanford psychologist,"People's beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities.  Ability is not a fixed property; there is a huge variability in how you perform.  People who have a sense of self-efficacy bounce back from failures; they approach things in terms of how to handle them rather than worrying about what can go wrong." (quoted in "Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ" by Daniel Goleman)





Sunday Funnies
     I was wearing a new scarf/shawl at church.  15 year old leaned over and whispered, "Why are you wearing a tablecloth?"  My husband responded, "It's not a tablecloth, it's a placemat."

     I was teaching the 7-8 year old Sunday School class.  One of the girl's was having a difficult time being still.  She asked something along the lines of what I would do if she were even noisier.  I laughed and replied, "I'd be thrilled."  She asked what thrilled meant and I said, "It means I would be really happy, but I was being sarcastic."  She asked, "What does sarcastic mean?"  Another little girl exclaimed, "Oh, I know!  My mom and her sister are sarcastic all the time.  It means you're lying without really lying."

     A different girl in the class told me she was glad she had sisters because they would play Harry Potter with her.  Later that day I asked her 15 year old brother if he ever played Harry Potter with his 5 little sisters.  He gave an emphatic, "No."  I asked what playing Harry Potter entailed.  His answer, "You assign character names and then yell at each other for doing it wrong."  I could picture it all so clearly.

     Today was the last day of our Spring Break.  We did nothing momentous, Husband and 19-year C old spent the week working, 15-year B had his wisdom teeth pulled, I cared for 15-year old.  Yet somehow this evening had a holiday feel to it.  The four of us were seated around the kitchen table, Husband and I playing Five Crowns, B eating oatmeal and C just being social.  I casually reached over and stuck my finger in B's ear.  He rolled his eyes, took my wrist and pinned my hand to the table, all while eating.  Husband made his Five Crowns move.  It was my turn but I needed both hands to play.  I promised B I wouldn't stick my finger in his ear again if he let go of my hand.  He let go and I ruffled his hair.  Obviously I thought I was pretty funny but even better B and C both burst out laughing, it was classic B played my me.


     Thursday, wisdom teeth day, the recovery nurse was giving me care instructions with a groggy B reclining in a chair.  B kept shutting his eyes, the nurse would gently ask him to try to keep them open.  After three or four times B asked why he shouldn't shut his eyes.  I told him that he couldn't go home until he was fully awake.  He popped his eyes open and put every effort into staying awake.  It reminded me of a time when I was in recovery after an upper GI.  I was aware of my husband sitting in the room and aware of the nurse periodically checking in on me but sleep was foremost on my mind.  On one of the nurse's checks she said, "Well, you can go home as soon as she wakes up."  Like B I immediately put every effort into waking up, "home" was a clarion call.


     Almost 24-year old J is marrying H this week.  During his two year church mission he wrote home almost every week.  After returning from his mission and heading to BYU-Idaho he called home most Sundays.  Most Sundays that is until H came into the picture.  Home is taking a new definition for J.  Home is less and less where he grew up and more and more where ever H is.
     Years ago in a letter to my my dad wrote, "A son's a son 'til he takes a wife, a daughter's a daughter all of her life."  I'm seeing truth to this - but in a good way.  I love H, I am glad home for J will be with her.



     Going through paper work preparing for taxes and readying files for 2017 I found the following from a dear friend:

When one door of happiness closes,
another opens;
but often we look so long at the
closed door
that we do not see
the one which has been opened for us.
- Helen Keller

"I thought this was a timely message for both of us as we have both had a summer with closing and opening doors.  I wanted to share it with you.  My wish for both of us is to be able to identify and move toward our open doors now and always."


     From another friend:

     "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who either know victory nor defeat."
- Theodore Roosevelt


    I read recently that some researches discovered that they could predict pretty accurately whether a couple would stay together or part on the basis of whether or not the couple had a high rate of positive response to "bids for attention."  An example of a bid for attention could be a spouse saying, "There is a beautiful rainbow outside."  The other spouse stopping what he/she is doing and looking at the rainbow would be a positive response to that bid.  In reading article I realized I could be better at positive responses and set the goal to improve.  While writing this blog 19 year old commented that the snow in our yard and lack of snow in our neighbor's yard ran exactly on our property lines.  My initial response was to comment on his remark while remaining in my seat.  Remembering the article, and my goal, I went to the window to see, and then comment.  I must say it is interesting how the snow ends exactly at our property line.


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