"Beam-ectomy should precede all mote micro-surgery. Just saying." Ginger Conrad paraphrasing Jesus Christ.

Paradigm Shift

“The list of health problems I think it would very hard to live with is SO much longer than the list of foods I previously thought I couldn’t live without,” Merrill Alley.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

choose happiness


We hope you are happy, healthy, and making good choices. What are you doing these days?

The weather seems a bit cooler, which is a welcome relief after the scorching hot summer here. Most of the country welcomes summer as the best time of year, keeping to the house during cold, snowy months. It’s the opposite here; we stay inside during summer. However, August brings monsoon season with huge, thrilling, windy, thundery storms. I do believe monsoon holds a particular excitement for me, as I’ve always loved the long autumns and springs here. Winter is all of a week or so, but compared to everywhere else it’s nonexistent.

A tiny coyote now hangs around behind our house. We saw it eating a rabbit the other day. I hope it doesn’t have Dash in mind for a snack. We may hire a trapper to move it out to the desert.

For several weeks, I’ve been volunteering at a local Montessori school, where I get to assist little children in their journey to literacy. More than one has gone from completely illiterate to reading and spelling in these few weeks. One little three-year-old girl is taking off like a rocket, and she’s the tiniest three-year-old I’ve ever seen…very cute. A few older ones so far struggle to grasp simple sounds. After aiding the acquisition of written language time and again with dozens of children over the years, I know the slower ones will do well if we patiently keep at it. One six year old came to us after crying his entire first day of public school. Every day he proclaims that he really wants to read. Yesterday, a bit exasperated at his daily, even hourly assertion, I explained that wanting to read is nice but work is the key. He smiled his understanding and redoubled his efforts. Although he’s a bit old for our type of school, he declares it ‘fun.’ I love to watch all these children bloom.

There is something about working with little people on an equal footing. It’s as if the grown up spirit that is experiencing the new body peeks out now and again. Often I don’t feel as if I’m working with a child at all but assisting an eternal spirit to navigate the grand blessing of the mortal body. The only thing I have that they don’t have is experience; otherwise we are equals. These glimpses are brief but very awe inspiring.

 I’ve been studying Jacob in the Book of Mormon. I love how Jacob speaks to the pure in heart. “…you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction. O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.” I want to be numbered among the pure in heart.

So much in the scriptures deals with calling the sinful to repentance. The older you get the more you will appreciate the beautiful gift of repentance. God sent us hear to learn, so of course we will make mistakes. I’m so grateful He gave us scriptures to teach us how to avoid mistakes that will hurt those we love and repentance to fix mistakes. But there is something to know about repentance. Although God will always forgive and forget, He won’t force us to be good nor to repent. He also won’t force others to forgive us, when we make mistakes. They must choose.

Many people want to nurse their hurt, offended feelings as some sort of sick payment for enduring the hurt inflicted upon them by another person’s sin. This is called holding a grudge. People hold grudges to punish others for hurting them. Sometimes the grudge does punish the other person, but more often than not it punishes the grudge holder more. God in his wisdom tells us to forgive others no matter what even if they don’t say they are sorry, even if they continue to sin. God asks this of us, because He knows what bitter feelings or grudges can do to our spiritual, emotional, and physical health—even our eternal welfare. AND it’s not our place to punish a sinner; that’s God’s job.

God gives us commandments to test our obedience, but the commandments are more importantly the road to true happiness. He knows most people won’t forgive us for hurting them, so it is better for us to NOT give reason for offense, hurt, or bitterness in the first place. Stop and think before taking action. Is the action worth the outcome? Will this mean, selfish, or shameful thing hurt a loved one? What if the other person never forgives or holds a grudge for the rest of time?

I don’t know if you enjoy hearing the things I learn during scripture study or not. I share them in the hope that you might learn from my experiences instead of learning the hard way. That’s also why I love to send you beautiful literature. Of course scripture is the most beautiful literature of all, but lovely stories have their place, too. We can watch fictional people figuratively stumble and fall, experience consequences of good or bad choices, and discover how remedies work or fail. Plus, we can travel through time and all over the world from the comfort of our cozy beds.

We sent you What Katy Did this week. All those years ago, I read about half of it to Aunt Katie. I finished it by myself. I enjoyed it thoroughly and think you will, too.

We hope you love life and live it with joy and hope. We also hope you learn to stand back a bit and think before you act. Maybe, you are already thoughtful and considerate. Obey your parents. Be kind to your brother. Read your scriptures, Do your homework. Be friendly to others. All these can be summed up in two words; Choose happiness. We love you and hope you never forget it.