Yesterday was a milestone in my life. I finished the Music Program Coordinator binder. So what? Here’s what: I spent the last 4 years working with other wonderful parents, administrators, and children to establish a parent-volunteer run extracurricular music program at my children’s elementary school. …
Month: July 2014
When I got home from my mission, I ran a 5K. I had never been a runner. But my oldest brother was, and I wanted to shed some of the weight I’d gained on my mission, and he bought me my first pair of running shoes. Then I went to Salt Lake and ran in the Ouelessebougou 5K.
I felt triumphant! (I wore that race shirt for years.)
Fast forward about 20 years, when we had 7 children, ages 13 to 15 months old. I had wanted, for all of those years, to be a regular exerciser. I had wanted to run. But it felt nigh unto impossible to exercise while always having 3 children who didn’t want to exercise with me. I could not seem to find a way or the self-discipline to make it happen. And my husband didn’t know how much I needed it to happen.
Until I had a nervous breakdown.
Then we both understood that exercise was critical in my life for maintaining balance.
And so I began walking on a treadmill with a babysitter in the house for 20-45 minutes, just depending.
So that was nearly 8 years ago. These days I am running 3 miles on an almost weekly basis. (I run or walk or bike varying amounts the other days, just depending on who I’m with, what time I started, etc.)
I know that 3 miles to a marathoner is a warm-up, and that 8 years is a long time to take to work up to 3 miles. But it’s a true milestone for me. I got here by persevering: first, simply trying to keep exercising on a regular basis. Then my goal became more regularly. Then it was to overcome the set-backs of periods of illness or scheduling conflicts. Then I started running. First my goal was a mile. Then I tried to go just a little further, even if it was simple .1 mile more, a day at a time.
Now when my goal for the day is 3 miles, I think, “If I run 3 miles, I’m about half-way to being able to run a 10K. I can do this.”
Last week, when I was feeling so happy that I ran 3 miles again (in hot weather–it’s the first time I’ve ever had sweat run down from my hair into my eyes!), I thought how, if you want to do something hard (and good), you simply begin by doing it once. (And I was remembering the days when it was so hard to get any exercise in, and feeling grateful.)
If you have done it once, you know you can do it again.
And if you know you can do it again, you will, if you choose to.
It’s that whole “that which we persist in doing…” thing. And that “small and simple” thing.
It’s the same with anything we want to be or do when we nurture others: If we kept our voice softer in response to a family member who was angry, we can do it again. If we got up to have family scriptures in the morning earlier than we did when we didn’t have it, we can do it again. If we chose to eat something that was wholesome instead of something of lesser value, we can do it again. If we took the time to tuck a child into bed patiently and listen to their concerns, even when we were so tired we wanted to cry, we can do it again. If we chose to turn off the TV and open up a good book, we can do it again.
We don’t need to sell ourselves short, and neither do we need to be perfectionistic. (For me, this is hard to remember!) We can simply pick something–one thing–that day and be a little better at it. I know it’s a true principle.
President Hinckley said it better than I can: “…Each of us can do a little better than we have been doing. We can be a little more kind. We can be a little more merciful. We can be a little more forgiving. We can put behind us our weaknesses of the past, and go forth with new energy and increased resolution to improve the world about us, in our homes, in our places of employment, in our social activities.
“We have work to do, you and I, so very much of it. Let us roll up our sleeves and get at it, with a new commitment, putting our trust in the Lord.
“We can do it, if we will be prayerful and faithful. We can do better than we have ever done before.
“The Church needs your strength. It needs your love and loyalty and devotion. It needs a little more of your time and energy.
“I am not asking anyone to give more at the expense of his or her employer. We have an obligation to be men and women of absolute honesty and integrity in the service of those who employ us.
“I am not asking anyone to do so at the expense of your families. The Lord will hold you responsible for your children. But I am suggesting that we spend a little less time in idleness, in the fruitless pursuit of watching some inane and empty television programs. Time so utilized can be put to better advantage, and the consequences will be wonderful. Of that I do not hesitate to assure you” (“We Have a Work to Do,” April 1993 General Conference).
Happy Doing a Little Bit Better Today,
This week we got a letter “A la familia.” The first paragraph was in Spanish, and the rest were journal entries. Reading all that news was heaven! It is manna from heaven to hear from him–so much more than the weekly email sentence or two :).
So here are some of the excerpts:
- [They were at a member’s home, “armed only with super glue (cuz all the [hardware stores don’t] have nails…???)….Of course, I only had enough super glue to fix one chair, which I did…while [my companion gave] me encouragement from time to time, including ‘Go Bob the Builder!’ (in Spanish). But because we showed up to fix the chair just because, we ended up encountering her sister…[who] we’ve been looking for…with no success cuz she always works. So we had a little lesson, and I felt the Spirit really strongly and was so grateful of the way stuff turned out.”
- He mentioned some of the challenges of working with different personalities: “A mission isn’t all good stories and baptism. But it shouldn’t be tougher than it needs to be….All I want to do is get some stuff done. You won’t read this for 2-3 weeks, but I would love a little prayer for me…”
- “I gave my first blessing in Spanish today!! It was super cool. I didn’t think I could do it, but it went fine. The lady was sick, and asked for a blessing. it was cool.”
- “I gave another blessing today. We only taught one lesson today; every single other appointment fell through. Super disappointing day. But it was cool that I had a little food to eat [from the package we sent him]. That’s always the best. Thanks, Momma.”
- “We taught a really cool lesson today. Our investigator…always tells us she isn’t ready, has doubt, but we know she is. We taught solely the Book of Mormon…[and] today she told us she has a testimony that it [is] a true book. Woo hoo!”
- “Today was a big day. I started this week waking up at 6:05 am to exercise a little more, cuz sometimes my time is cut short when it’s my turn to shower. So I woke up, started exercising, then my comp got up, and we went to fill up the font at church. He told me the night before we weren’t going to run, …but we got to the church, turned on the hose to fill up the font, and he said we were going to run. So here I am in my [floppy] sandals, running through Huancavelica. And then we encountered a place where you turn trains around, and I pushed that around for some more exercise….And then I got to study in the sun on my bed, which is nice cuz it’s dark and cold in our study office. Then we went to [our investigator’s house] to pick him up. His dad and sisters came! That was cool. We brought him a cake, and after [my companion] baptized him, we ate it….[Later] we prepped for the Noche Missional [Missionary Night]. We cooked popcorn in a pot, and I put it in bags and all that. We rented a projector to watch, “A Light of the Nations,” a performance in Spanish of multicultural stuff that happened at the conference center….We had 31 people come. That’s like half the normal assistance [=attendance–some of his Spanish is filtering into his English :)] of the [congregation], and 5x what we usually have for a Noche Missional. The popcorn was super salty though. Our other investigator…came and told us the movie really clarified the Book of Mormon, and now she will enjoy reading it more….And then [the branch president] told me I was giving a talk tomorrow…”
- “Today I gave a talk on love. I said, ‘Love is giving your friend more than half of your candy bar.’ Also, I got the privilege to confirm [our newly baptized member]…a member of the church….I also helped confer the Aaronic Priesthood and ordain him a priest. Funny to think I’m an Elder.”
(This is the first time I’ve ever seen this photo of my great-great-great grandmother, Mary Ann Cato Dana, thanks to Family Search today! She left England and crossed the plains in the Jesse B. Martin company in 1857, when she was nearly 24. I wonder …
I was reading in Utah Valley Magazine the other day some advice from a long-time plumber (May/June 2014 issue, p.90) that I thought I’d try to remember and put into practice.
Funny thing about last night: after I had made some scones with leftover frozen roll dough (that had been thawed like 5 days ago), I went to pour the used oil down the drain when I told Lane that I had read this advice from a plumber, to add dish soap when pouring oil down a drain.
As I was telling him, I realized I had seen Lane do that very thing at least a 100 times before.
So this morning, I was thinking about that. Did the plumber say that about the soap? Or did I just get that from Lane? As I considered, I remembered something about pouring cold water down the drain, and it dawned on me what I had read was to add cold water when pouring boiling water down the drain. I went back to the magazine to verify, and saw that I had mixed it up and attributed to the plumber what I had learned from Lane.
Good thing my husband just laughs along with me.
Well, both pieces of advice are good. Thanks, Plumbers Lane and Kelly Barney!
Happy Avoiding Plumbing Problems,
This past week, in the Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) newsroom (click on the link to see the whole article), there was an article with a lot of photos in it, all about missionaries and members in Peru. We didn’t spy our son there, …