During my working years as a consulting engineer, I often felt like a man juggling many balls in the air while trying desperately not to drop any of them. Soon I had to modify these unrealistic expectations. When I had to stay at work late into the night, I was being a very good consulting engineer. When I left work early to attend a granddaughter’s soccer game, I was being a very good grandfather. When I kept the Sabbath day holy I was being a very good Church member. Interestingly, I learned that I can’t be the best at everything all at the same time. The key: Identify the most important items for that day to assure their completion. Make sure the most important (not necessarily the most urgent) things are the priorities. Those in the second tier of importance can usually be rolled into the next day. For me, the priorities include: prayer, scripture study, exercise, family needs, work, and service. “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities” (Stephen Covey).
At a family gathering of children, teens, and adults, we gave each a wooden clothespin with instructions to squeeze tightly with thumb and ring finger—pinching it in that position for two long minutes. The beginning was easy, but soon we were in agonizing pain, struggling to endure to the end. We talked about what this activity taught us. What does it mean to endure to the end? Is there a difference between simply enduring and enduring WELL? An insightful discussion followed. We decided that enduring well means never giving up, even when things get tough. Enduring well means facing our trials with courage. Enduring well means having a positive attitude—no grumbling! Enduring well means pushing through fatigue. Enduring well means being faithful to our covenants with God. We promised to encourage each other when tempted to quit, and help each other finish strong. We agreed to place our trust in God’s promise: “Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high” (D&C 121:7,8).
Ever thought about the things that happy people DO? Read ten things that supremely happy people do:
- Happy people surround themselves with other happy people. Joy is contagious. People are four times more likely to be happy in the future with happy people around them.
- Happy people try to be happy. When happy people don’t feel happy, they cultivate a happy thought and smile about it.
- Happy people spend money more on others than they spend on themselves. Givers experience what scientists call the “helper’s high.”
- Happy people have deep in-person conversations. Sitting down to talk about what makes a person tick is a good practice for feeling good about life.
- Happy people use laughter as a medicine. A good old-fashioned chuckle releases lots of good neurotransmitters. A study showed that children on average laugh 300 times a day versus adults who laugh 15 times a day.
- Happy people use the power of music. Researchers found that music can match the anxiety-reducing effects of massage therapy.
- Happy people exercise and eat a healthful diet. Eating a poor diet can contribute to depression.
- Happy people take the time to unplug and go outside. Uninterrupted screen time brings on depression and anxiety.
- Happy people get enough sleep. When people run low on sleep, they are prone to feel a lack of clarity, bad moods, and poor judgment.
- Happy people are spiritual.
(Provided by Ryan Morgenegg, Church News staff writer)
Here is an idea to honor a parent. Several years ago my son (a father of four) called from another state to reserve an entire day to spend with me, one-on-one. He flew in on a Friday night and we made a list of fun things to do the next day. We took a summer chair lift ride to the top of the mountain, then hiked down, talking and laughing all the way. We ate a lingering lunch at the resort while exploring a wide range of topics, leaning across the table in rapt attention. We exchanged insights gleaned from favorite books and explored goals we want to achieve. Before returning home, we browsed through little shops and bought some fudge. The day was soul-nourishing as well as fun. My cup of joy was filled and brimming over. That evening he jumped aboard a plane taking him back to his sweet family. It was a rare and precious gift to have my son all to myself for a day. At this season of the year, we often peruse the stores for the perfect gift for our parents. Whether your mother or father lives far away or around the corner, I recommend offering this one-on-one gift of “yourself.” It will be cherished above all things that money could buy.
Thomas Jefferson said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.” There is a wealth of secular knowledge at our fingertips, primarily found in universities, libraries, and especially the internet. But where do our children obtain their religious and spiritual knowledge to balance secular knowledge? Home must become the central source of spiritual teaching. Teaching religious truths in the home is a comfortable setting where questions are welcomed and discussions explore the answers. Additionally, parents can show through their examples how following the gospel of Jesus Christ can bless their young lives. Effective teaching cannot happen by the spoken word only. It must be shown by example. Parents should not become complacent, thinking that one lesson will suffice or that our children will receive training related to values and virtue from outside sources. It must be a continual, ongoing process in our homes if we expect our children and grandchildren to avoid spiritual ignorance.
At age 25, I walked out of the optometrist’s office wearing my first pair of glasses, and was startled to read distant street signs. Everything suddenly appeared with sharp edges and clear focus instead the normal blur. I didn’t know that putting on corrective lenses would transform my world so dramatically. I didn’t even know I needed glasses! There is a spiritual parallel here. My spiritual vision comes into clear focus with an understanding of Christ’s magnificent Plan of Salvation. It answers deep questions of the soul, such as: Where did I come from? Why I am here? What is life’s purpose? Where will I go after death? This Plan explains how I can be happy in this life as well as how to prepare to return to God and learn to become like Him. Without this understanding, life would be blurred and fuzzy. I would not know who I am, rather view my worth by the world’s faulty measure. Without this understanding, life would lack purpose. Without this understanding I would be lost, lonely, and frustrated. I would ask: Why do bad things happen to good people? Follow the link for answers to these questions: http://www.mormon.org/beliefs/plan-of-salvation
How many times do we hear the caution: Be Careful! As adults, we are responsible for the choices we make. If we fail to make decisions, they will likely be made for us. While free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences. Whether good or bad, consequences follow as a natural result of the choices we make. It is easy to rationalize with such statements as, “It can’t hurt anyone but me.” But consequences are hardly ever confined to ourselves. Since decisions will likely affect others, we must choose with wisdom. “Decisions determine destiny. You can’t make eternal decisions without eternal consequences. May I provide a simple formula by which you can measure the choices which confront you? You can’t be right by doing wrong; you can’t be wrong by doing right. Your personal conscience always warns you as a friend before it punishes you as a judge” (Thomas S. Monson). I will listen to the quiet voice of the Spirit as I decide how to think, speak, and act.