Monday, May 24, 2010

Happiness is Wanting What You Have, Part 2

In response to popular demand, here's part 2 of the talk I gave at a delightful women's conference in Dallas over the past weekend. (I'll be sharing that experience with you as soon as I get photos today.) Yes, believe it or not, I forgot my camera for the evening session! What a dope.

Anyway, it's lengthy, but I've decided to post it all at once and have done with it. (That way, I don't use up several days parceling it out in bite-sized chunks.) If you want to use the poems or any other material, just let me know and be sure to include copyright information. Thanks. =)

If you missed the intro last week, I strongly suggest that you go here first and read it. (Unlike this chunk, it's not that long...)

Happiness Is Wanting What You Have, Part 2
©2010 Susan Noyes Anderson

Okay. First things first: “L.” Love God. This requires a personal relationship, and it takes time and effort to maintain one. Sadly, since time is in short supply for most mothers, nurturing that all-important connection to deity is far from easy. What’s more, a number of mothers feel guilty about taking their focus and attention from their children to place it directly upon themselves, even when it means improving the level of spirituality they enjoy. If you are among these women, hopefully you can remind yourself that time spent on deepening your relationship with Heavenly Father, while it may not equate to time spent with your children, is the very best time you will ever spend on your children. Why? Because they benefit from it as much or more than you do. And I’m talking about everything from meaningful personal prayer and scripture study, to attending meetings and magnifying callings, to temple attendance or preparation, and beyond. Make these a priority, and your children will be happier. Why? Because you will be happier, a direct result of having the kind of relationship with Heavenly Father and the Savior that reminds you on a daily basis that you are not alone. And what’s more, you never will be! Don’t you love a promise you can count on?

(The following excerpt about Chieko Okazaki is borrowed from a woman on my missionary mom's list. Her words are in courier font:)

I would guess you’ve learned from personal experience that not every promise for happiness is as reliable as the one I just mentioned. Sister Chieko Okazaki once said at a women’s conference much like this one that we get a lot of “promissory notes” at church. For example, if you have Family Home Evening, your kids will get along with each other; if you’re obedient, you’ll be happy; if you work harder, do better, or do things more times, you’ll be blessed.

She then read the following verse from D&C 42:61, a scripture whose promises are guaranteed: “If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things––that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.” Sister Okazaki’s point was that this scripture doesn’t mention any of the myriad things we’re all told we “should” or “ought to” do in order to make happiness happen, but concentrates instead upon four gospel basics: asking, revelation, knowledge, and mysteries and peaceable things.

She explained that the reason for God wanting us to ask is twofold: First, He’s unwilling to violate our agency, even to give us good things; and second, He wants to lead us into a conversation with Him. That’s why we are expected to ask before we receive…a principle reiterated often in the scriptures.

Sister Okazaki went on to say that we can receive two kinds of revelation. The first is related to testimony, or revelation about the nature of God and the meaning of life. The second is personal…outpourings of specific information pertaining to our daily lives. Her feeling is that we need revelations about testimony like we need oxygen, and we need personal revelation like we need bread. Every day. We also need to feel joy in our lives every day. It’s true. Joy is a need, not a luxury.

At this point, Sister Okazaki likened a list of things that “should” bring us joy to a “blue plate special,” saying the messages we get at church often treat us like every woman’s needs are the same, one size fits all, and each one of us should be like everyone else. Mothers are supposed to find total joy & fulfillment in bearing and raising children; single women are supposed to find joy in preparing to marry and raise families; widows like Chieko herself are supposed to find joy in enduring to the end.

This wise woman, former first counselor in the General Relief Society presidency, believes the problem with these messages is that they do not treat each woman as an individual. Sometimes, general messages we are given must be tailored to individual circumstances. Frank and straightforward as always, she couldn’t help wondering if others had ever felt as she sometimes did––like she couldn’t deal with one more “blue plate special” and might gag on what someone else was trying to feed her.

Sister Okazaki reminded her audience that cookie cutters are for cookies, not human beings, and we should not try to live someone else’s life or compare ourselves to others.

She closed her remarks by saying that if any woman in attendance at that conference felt unappreciated, worthless, degraded, unloved or sad, she should get help from the Lord, the Relief Society president, the bishop, home and visiting teachers, her family, a therapist…and anyone else she might need to sustain and uplift her. Chieko was right. We are all worthy, and every one of us needs to find her voice and be heard. Loving God has a lot to do with loving ourselves. After all, we are His children, and His work and glory are all wrapped up in our welfare and well-being.

Sometimes people do live cookie cutter lives, and a day can come when the boundaries no longer feel good, or even right. That’s when we show our love for God and ourselves by seeking personal revelation. Perhaps we’ll discover we’re not the right person for a particular cookie cutter and decide not to lop off parts of ourselves to try to fit into someone else’s shape. Honoring ourselves as individual spirits is a key element of happiness, and it’s okay, within the framework of the gospel, to find those things that nurture us, as individual women and daughters of God.

I think Sister Okazaki got it absolutely right. True joy comes through a firsthand, personal, intimate, and daily relationship with Jesus Christ. It is in the process of developing this relationship, experiencing its unconditional love, and returning it in kind that we will discover joy in our lives.

Of course, being individuals and honoring ourselves doesn’t mean we won’t need to do good things. Quite the opposite. As partakers of the divine nature, we honor ourselves most when we choose to follow (and emulate) Jesus Christ. So the second part of our LIVE acronym is going to be I, Invest Yourself in Others. I think it’s safe to say that this one sorta picks up where Love God leaves off. Where do we begin? Well, we love our neighbors as ourselves, and we do it actively. “Forget yourself and go to work,” President Hinckley’s father told him when he despaired of being a good missionary, and the man made a good point. I’m not talking about abandoning necessary physical and spiritual self-care to take care of every person on the planet (remember, we’re supposed to be loving ourselves, too), but reaching out to others in love and compassion has tremendous potential to lift us up. In fact, a key ingredient of enduring happiness is forming and maintaining loving relationships. Positive involvement with family members, close and distant relatives (even those who’ve already passed away, through genealogy), people at church, people in the community, people at work and so on makes us feel alive. So get out there! Even if it’s hard. Even if you’re shy. Even if you fall on your face at first. Be open to other good people, and don’t be afraid to share yourself freely with people you can trust. And be real. You won’t find joy in your friendships if they are based upon a painstakingly-maintained facade. Being loved for yourself is what nurtures. And people will love you for yourself, if you give them a chance.

Remember that popular children’s story called The Velveteen Rabbit? Listen to this popular excerpt: “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But those things don’t matter at all.”

Let’s face it. A critical ingredient of this happiness thing is learning to love yourself. And if you don’t feel good about your “real” self, then work on it. But be gentle…And forgiving. Because the Lord is both of these. He treats His children like gold…And you are one of them. So treat yourself accordingly.

Finally, if you are actively feeling bad about yourself, make sure you are spending time with others and not isolating at home. Limit time spent on the computer or in front of the TV. Exercise. (Endorphins are a good thing.) And be willing to take the initiative occasionally. Choose a person that you would like to befriend and make an overture. Stick your neck out. Give of yourself. If you do, you will grow…and so will your happiness.

“V” is for Value Your Gifts. Yes, we’re going there. And the very first thing is to find out what your gifts are, so you can value them. If you don’t know, read your patriarchal blessing, or ask for feedback from people who know you. When you get that feedback, take it in. Realize your potential, and then start doing all you can to live up to it. Again, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Exercise the talents and abilities you’ve been given, for to every [wo]man is given a gift. So…don’t let them lay dormant. Use every capacity you possess, and then start developing new ones by trying things you never thought you could do. With any good thing you undertake, your efforts will be magnified by the Lord, whether it is easy for you or not. All you have to do is risk trying. Have you heard Sister Dew’s basketball story? If so, let me refresh your memory. If not, you are in for a treat!

(Story by Doug Richards, Deseret News. Again, his words are in courier font.)

"She wanted to be a college basketball player. Perhaps there was no place, besides a chapel, that she was more comfortable or confident than on a basketball court. There, the girl who longed to be petite and pretty discovered her size was no longer a curse, but a blessing. She was a star player in basketball-crazy Kansas at a tiny high school in Ulysses (population 4,000), averaging 23 points and 17 rebounds a game. She had a hook shot, a post-up move, a jump shot, and a valuable ability to get free for shots under the basket.

"'With all the modesty I can muster, I was good,' she says. 'I haven't seen many girls play basketball at that age who were as good as I was.' But this was in the late '60s and '70s, when there were few opportunities for girls to play college basketball. She chose to attend BYU and planned to try out for the basketball team there.

On the day of tryouts, she reported to the Richards Building, opened the gym door a crack, peeked at the players inside, and felt the confidence drain right out the bottom of her shoes. She couldn't make herself step through the door. She thought she could work up her courage if she paced the hallway outside the gym for a while. She walked back and forth, back and forth for three hours, but she never did enter the gym. When the tryout ended, she walked slowly to her dorm, castigating herself for not having the guts to try out.

"'It's one of my biggest regrets,' she says. 'I've never gotten over it.' In fact, her e-mail address says it all: hoopsdew.

"Okay. Jump ahead to last autumn. BYU athletic director Elaine Michaelis, who coached the basketball team when Dew was a student, invited her to speak to the school's female athletes. Dew told this story for the first time in her life, one she hadn't even confided to her family. Her point was that they, as athletes, were doing something she had wanted to do but lacked the courage to try.

"Afterwards, Michaelis asked Dew if she remembered the name of the basketball coach in 1971, the year she failed to try out. Dew smiled and answered, “You bet. It was you!” Imagine Sister Dew’s feelings when her almost-coach said, “I happen to remember my 1971 team really well. You know why? It’s the only year we ever played without a full roster. We played all season one player short. I tried to find the person to fit that spot, and I couldn't. That year I was looking for a tall center who could post up."

"Sister Dew later said, 'I felt as if I had been kicked in the stomach when she told me that. That was supposed to be my place on the team.'

Here’s what she says she learned: (Yes, we can learn from our mistakes!) And this was Sheri Dew’s lesson, in her words: "The truth is, nobody can take your place. I thought I was good, but I'll never know. My fear and shyness paralyzed me. My whole life I've felt like I didn't quite measure up."

Do you feel like you don’t quite measure up? What kind of negative messages are you giving yourself? I’ve always thought the practice of reciting “positive affirmations” to ourselves seemed just this side of silly, but it’s true that the scripts we play in our heads make a difference in how we feel. Let me share a little poem I once wrote, called

©1999 by Susan Noyes Anderson, Awaken Your Spiritual Power, Karisma Press

I’m good and kind and loyal,

except for when I’m not.
I’m friendly, and I’m willing,

if you don’t expect a lot.

My house is always tidy;
just don’t open any drawers.
I’m frugal with my spending,

but I binge at discount stores.

I’m conscious of my diet;

now, if only I would do it!

I’m thankful every day for life
and hope I can get through it!
Hey, I’m not feeling all that great.
Why all these agitations?
I should be feeling A-okay
with all these affirmations!

Do the messages you play in your brain hold you back or spur you forward? Are you constantly finding a negative comment to counter every positive one that occurs to you? Believing in yourself and your worth is important to your physical and spiritual health. So…value your gifts. Embrace them. Talk them up a bit inside your head. (No one will hear you, I promise.) Utilize them. Employ each one with courage and abandon. You’ll be glad you did. Happy you did. Happy, period. Or at least, happier…And every little bit counts, right? Mark Twain knew what he was talking about when he said, “If you can’t get a compliment any other way, pay yourself one.” Just do it!

Last up is Engage Yourself. Hook into life. Engage with people…the ones you know and love and the ones you don’t know but could love. Engage with your home, your motherhood, your sister-or-any-other-hood Engage with your friends, your job, your studies, or other interests. Engage with your environment. Engage with yourself. That’s right. With yourself. Don’t just make like a Stepford person, going through the motions. Look inward. Be in touch with YOU. Know what you think and feel about things, and then express what you know…verbally, creatively, spiritually. And be balanced about it! Don’t spend all your time doing one thing or another. Act on the world at large. Find more people that matter to you. Have more projects that matter to you. And if you don’t have people or projects that matter, make it your business to get some. LIVE. Love God. Invest in others. Value your gifts. Engage yourself. It’s what we all came here to do, right? And besides, it’s fun!

Life was meant to be active, not passive. If you get out there and do good things in your life, good things will happen. When they do, choose to focus on and enjoy those good things rather than ruminate about the ones that haven’t happened yet. And even when “bad things” that you can’t do anything about happen (and we know they do happen sometimes, even to good people), you can still do your best to reframe them for yourself. Choose not to dwell on the negative, and treasure up the positive. And have a sense of humor about all of it. I hope you won’t mind my sharing another poem? It’s one I wrote a looooong time ago for a Mother’s Day program:

©2000 by Susan Noyes Anderson, Sunshine for the Latter-day Mother’s Soul, Eagle Gate

Just for a change I’d like to make
a change this very day–
I’d like to do the things that all
those mothering books say.
I’d like to give up yelling and
perfect the old “I” statement.
(Not “turn that racket down!”) …
but “I’m in need of noise abatement.”
(Not “talk back once more and you’re toast!”) …
but “I demand respect.”
(Not “Brush your teeth, or die!”) …
“I fear your hygiene is suspect.”
I’d like to be the kind of mom
who gets the kids to clean
(and they all end up having fun,
and no one thinks you’re mean!).
I’d like to be the kind who gets
the dinner on the table
and never has to set it ‘cause
her children are so able…
And willing, oh, I’d like to be
the kind that makes them willing–
I’d write a how-to book, and
would I ever make a killing!
I’d sort of like to be the type
who’s frugal as can be
and manages her time so well
she’s always home by three.
The kind whose kids are never spoiled
because they love to work,
who think a kid who asks his mom
for money is a jerk.
I’d really like to be that kind––
and, oh, just one more thing…
I’d like to be the kind who’s never
freaked by anything.
The kind who always keeps her cool,
no matter what goes down.
The kind who can control her kids
with one look, or one frown.
(Or two looks or two frowns, or even
one big burst of words!)
I’d like to be the kind who looks
real hip, but not absurd.
In short, I’d like to be a mom
who’s good as good can be.
The only problem is, how would
my children know it’s me?

Here’s the message: Do not expect perfection from yourself. It’s a cinch no one else expects it––not from you or from others (though, maybe, from themselves). At any rate, trying to attain the unattainable is an exercise in frustration and an enemy to happiness. Don’t get me wrong, we should be giving our all in life…that’s what we came here for…but we need to remember that forward motion is what the Lord expects…pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope. Stressing forward with a passing glance at Christ and a large helping of despair is not a good substitute.

With that in mind, let’s try a little exercise that can be pretty revealing: I’d like you to mentally make a list of all the foundational things in your life that make you happy.

For example, the gospel, family, friends, freedom, health, senses, nature, beauty… whatever it is that’s important to you.

Now, go back over the list, pretending, one at a time, to take each thing away from yourself. No more beauty in the natural world around you. No more colors to enjoy. No more senses to perceive life’s splendors. No health…or even partial health. No freedom. No friends. No family. No knowledge of your relationship with God. No understanding of why you are here or where you are going. Experience how it feels to lose all of these important things. Okay. Now, just let yourself sit with that feeling for a minute. Once you are feeling sufficiently bereft, give them back to yourself, one by one. Imagine the glorious return of sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch; now take these precious gifts and experience again the magnificence of nature; the exhilaration of good health; the glow of freedom; the warmth of friends; the love of God and family.

It may sound like a silly exercise, but I would ask you to go home and do it in a quiet place (which probably means late at night or early in the morning). Be sure to approach the task in a serious, reflective way. It can be powerful, if you will let it.

Another time, have some fun celebrating your favorite things with a more superficial list. Here’s mine: pens that glide but don't smear, Lifesaver popsicles, night swims in a warm pool, Swedish pancakes, 4th of July spectaculars, Mom's oatmeal bread, a crackling fire, Chinese chicken salad, sunflowers and wildflowers, BBQs, any and all pewter stuff, starry starry nights, Brett Dennen (you can find him on itunes), wind chimes, rocks and pottery, the smell of jasmine wafting through my front door, leather journals, front row seats, cattails and driftwood, mulling spices, lighthouses, seashells, beach glass, guac and chips, mountains, petrified wood, House of Prime Rib in San Francisco, Crocs, holidays, mole sauce, Jane Austen, Cheesecake Factory, romantic comedies, hot fudge sundaes (extra nuts), candles, Big Sur scenery; 60s, 70s, folk, or alternative music; So You Think You Can Dance, Mexican food; the sounds, smells, and sights of the ocean; a good book, James Taylor; oak, redwood, and pine trees; reading, writing….the list goes on and on. And I’m sure yours does too, if you only make the time to think about it. Happiness has a lot to do with gratitude, and we have more things to be grateful for than we consciously think about. Far more.
Remember this, Sisters. Deciding that happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have does not mean giving up your dreams. And it doesn’t mean that you stop doing what you can to make them come true, either. What it does mean is that you do what you can do, with a hopeful, faithful heart, and leave the rest up to the Lord. Keep your focus on the things you are able to control, and let go of the rest. In other words, enjoy the ride.

But what if things don’t go your way? In fact, what if an event or circumstance in your life becomes all but intolerable? Well, then, remember Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego. They were doing all the right things and facing the fire anyway. All three of these good men knew God could save them from the heat, but they also knew that saving them might not be in His plan. So here’s what they said to the wicked king who wanted them to succumb to his wishes or burn: “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not (and these three words are the most important part), be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

This “but if not” mentality will serve us well in our dealings with the Lord, especially when it comes to making a conscious decision to want what we have and making peace with not necessarily having what we want. Here’s the model: We ask for the blessings we desire, the things we think will make us happy, BUT IF NOT, we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not upon our own understanding. One thing we can be sure of is that His plan for us is better than anything we can come up with. He knows what He’s doing, and what He’s doing is in our best interest. That’s a given.

Meanwhile, we can emulate Paul in Philippians, who had a thorn in his flesh that he didn’t enjoy at all initially, but that he eventually made peace with and fully accepted. It IS possible. We, too, can learn. as he did, “in whatsoever state we are in, therewith to be content.” Because happiness is wanting what we have, right?…It’s making that choice to be content with whatever the Lord sees fit to bestow upon us…Even when it hurts a bit (or a LOT), because we know that God knows what He’s doing. Because we trust Him. Because we believe that He loves us and wants the best for us. He does. I have a testimony of that.

Before closing, I want to remind you how valuable each and every one of you are. I hope you leave today with a clearer vision of all the possibilities. And a stronger recollection of who you are and who you can become. In fact, I’d like to share one more little story to help you remember:

“There is a myth in Hinduism that tells of the upset experienced by the gods after they created humans. They were afraid that this...species would discover divine truth and that people would then become gods themselves. [Now that’s a novel idea, isn’t it?] To avoid being overtaken by upstarts, the gods tried to figure out where they might hide the truth out of humans’ reach. If they hid it in the treetops, a person would climb there. If they hid it at the bottom of the sea, someone would dive down to discover it. The cleverest finally suggested, “Let us hide the truth deep inside every individual. That is one place they’ll never look” (Victoria Moran, The Love-Powered Diet, ©1992).

We need to look within, Sisters, and embrace what we find. Unlike the false gods of this story, our Heavenly Father has not hidden the truth about who we are or who we can become. If we are unaware of our own worth, it’s because we’ve hidden it from ourselves, or allowed the world to obscure our vision.

Oscar Wilde said that “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” We all need a little romance in our lives, right? In the meantime, remember this…

If all your world is painted blue,
Then no one else can change your view.
No pretty words that I say here
Will make your troubles disappear.
It’s you who lives behind those eyes,
And so it should be no surprise
That only you can change the way
You look at life from day to day.
The answers are inside of you.
Don’t kid yourself. It’s time you knew:
No other person, place or thing,
Can change your heart or make it sing.
And that’s okay. It isn’t tragic.
Your life should not depend on magic.
The abracadabra stuff won’t do.
Just take control. It’s up to you.
This happiness thing’s an inside gig.
So get it done. And hey. Go BIG.
©2010 Susan Noyes Anderson

Let’s admit it. The fairy godmother is definitely not coming. And that’s okay, because we don’t need her. We already have everything we need…We have ourselves; we have each other, and we have a loving Father in Heaven who is ready to lift us up and make us whole. All we have to do is ask Him. And let Him. And do our part.

The good news is that we can do our part; and we can do it well, because we are all literal daughters of God. We will find the divinity within ourselves every time we reach out to Him. And I promise you that He will reach back. One last poem.

©1999 by Susan Noyes Anderson, Awaken Your Spiritual Power, Karisma Press

Daughters of God––What glory is inherent in that title!
Offspring of an eternal being, what role could be more vital?
But there is more … Our Father loves us individually,
for once we walked and talked with Him, and gathered at His knee.
As children of the Kingdom, we were raised in truth and light.
Supported by His love, we would find favor in His sight.
And so we came into this world to walk by faith alone,
that we might prove ourselves worthy of a celestial home.
Daughters of God––Our heritage is noble and divine;
Let us now strive with pure intent our spirits to refine.
For Father waits for us on high, His glory to impart,
and stretches forth His hand to greet the daughters of His heart.

Boyd K. Packer said, “Oh, if I could only convince you that you are a daughter of the Almighty God. You have a righteous, spiritual power…an inheritance you have hardly touched.” I know that inheritance includes the capacity for joy, Sisters. I know it as surely as I know we are sitting here today.

These are hard times we’re living through. I don’t minimize that, and neither does the Lord. He knew that those who came to earth in this last dispensation of the fullness of times would be challenged to the fullest extent of their abilities. But He also knew the real extent of our abilities. He knew what we could do, and so did we. We had enough faith, both in ourselves and in our ability to navigate earth life, to come down here and give it our best. That’s why, as Sheri Dew once said in a conference talk, we need to remember who we are…and who we have always been. We also need to remember Whose we are and Whose we have always been. The Lord stands ready to make up the difference between what we can do and what we need and want to do. And this includes the pursuit of joy, for which men (and women) are made.

“…for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88).

With His spirit in our hearts and His angels to lift us up, happiness is always within reach. That we may grasp it firmly is my prayer.


jen said...

I can't wait to hear ABOUT it. Hope your kidney behaved.

Sister Dew is one of my idols. And that is a very short list. Very. Like one hand. And I'll never forget this story. Can you believe she used to be shy?
And I've missed you!

Jenny said...

Wow. An awful lot of food for thought here Sue. In my head I was playing the soundtrack from the Cheryl Crow song, Soak up the Sun, in the background. I can see why your talk was wildly successful!

Laraine Eddington said...

You are a wise and articulate woman. Thanks for sharing your talk with us. I look forward to hearing about the conference. Did you use my poem?

Jess said...

Sue- I had goose bumps the whole time I was reading it! you are truly an amazing speaker/writer/teacher. I never thought about specifically asking for blessings since Heavenly Father won't take away our agency-even to give us something good. You taught me so much in 5 minutes. Thank you for sharing your talk!

KC Mom said...

Oh my gosh really did a wonderful job. Your poems were perfect. I can't tell you how much I enJOYed this....
I know you just wowed them out there. Did you feel alright while you were there?

Em said...

amazing. you write beautifully.

Lisalulu said...

That is great! I'll bet you really had a great time and was able to truly inspire them all, WAY COOL FOR YOU. Love the talk, Know where I"m going the next time I have to give one (wink wink)

Snarky Belle said...

I wish I could have been there. I'm going to print this so I can reread it again and again! Thank you so much for sharing your happiness and beauty with us. Love and hugs to you!
p.s. I'm with Cheryl, did you feel alright? How do you feel now?

Sue said...

Thanks to all of you for the kind words. Your opinions are always important to me.

I also appreciate your concern about the kidney stone. It stayed quiet for the whole trip, and I was glad!

I go to the doctor Wednesday.


Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

There is so much wisdom here...

I love what you said about about spending time with Christ, even if it takes time away from our children...we ARE better mothers when focus on our relationship with with Him first.
I also loved the quote from the Velveteen Rabbit. It makes me want to go upstairs, right now, grab the copy I have off the shelf and read it again.
Also, I think what you said about not expecting perfection from ourselves is so important. We were never created to be perfect.
I can only imagine that hearing this in person must have been so moving.
I can't wait to hear more about your trip! Thank you for sharing this.

Darlene said...

Glad you are back and that your talk and visit were so successful. All I can say is I wish I had been there to experience it all with you.

Dick printed your talk out for me, including the first part. I, too, will be reading it over from time to time. He also made a copy for our Bishop, who does read your blog from time to time, but he wanted to make sure he read this. He(the Bishop)is still disappointed thatyou arent' going to speak to us in Sacrament Meeting while you are here, but he does understand.

I am still so proud of you, and proud to be your mom.

Joy For Your Journey said...

What a great talk!! I loved reading it (although it took me two sittings to get through it all since we had FHE in between). Thanks so much for the upbeat, uplifting, inspiring words!

My name is PJ. said...

I bet women hung on every word! Your writing is tight and packs a punch.

And your poetry is wonderful. You and I overlap some in our poetic stylings. I treasure rhyme and meter. Some writers don't.

Braden said...

Lots of great stuff, there, Sue. I am glad you posted this. I am sure it will be a real blessing to lots of people--it is to me!

Lindzena said...

Oh I actually love speaking in church (or similar). I wasn't able to read all of this, but what I did read I loved. I totally agree, happiness is wanting what you have. Wonderful job. :)

karen said...

What a wonderful talk! I'm going to share it with my daughter and DIL - and anyone else I can think of. I so wish I could have been there! Just reading it brought tears to my eyes, and really hit home. I'm sure it was a huge success, and you'll no doubt have all kinds of requests for repeat performances! (A mixed blessing) You see the doc tomorrow? Hope all goes well!

Joan said...

I LOVE that Sheri Dew story! I was looking online for it to share with my YW and wha-la---here it is!

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