Monday, March 21, 2011

Finding Joy in the Journey...

I read my friend Patty Ann's blog. She posted a quote from a talk given by our dear prophet, Thomas S. Monson, titled... Finding Joy in the Journey. Of course, I had to read it, immediately. :)

I heard the talk at the time it was given and am sure it sat in the back of my mind and influenced the title of my blog. I was thankful to hear/read it again... thankful for President Monson's beautiful reminders. Here is a link, if you decide you are interested in reading it. :)
This talk reminded me that life is brief. That it is filled with many small opportunities to do things that really matter. And that it is easy to spend our thoughts, energies and time thinking about a future that never comes, and missing out on living a life of joy today. And yet, what we do today determines tomorrow:
I was reminded to stop fretting about the future (I am naturally focused on the future... living in the now seems to be an ongoing challenge for me), and instead, focus on making choices today, which will create memories for tomorrow. I was reminded that doing the little every day things that matter most, TODAY, is what creates a tomorrow worth looking forward to.

"My brothers and sisters, there is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today."

I was reminded that kids grow up fast, and memories and photographs last (I must get my camera fixed!). And I don't have to have all the answers, I just need to keep moving forward with faith in the future, and make the most of today. I need to be thankful for today and fill my TODAY with things that matter most (much of which includes simple small acts of kindness and random acts of love).

I am reminded that I don't have to fix everything, or solve all of my family's problems. I don't have to worry or spend hours coming up with a grand solution for every problem in my home and life. I just need to make good choices TODAY and count my blessings (some of this I was reminded of while reading... not from the words read, but from the spirit of truth).

I have been really stressed (off and on lately) over some challenges that I currently face. A recent personal incident in my family shook me up a little bit. I have spent countless hours trying to figure everything out... and plan better, so I can prevent other events from arising. I was so thankful to read this again...

"Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.”3 We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.

"Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of “what if” and “if only.” Said author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”4"

As I read these things, I thought of the time I have spent trying to figure things out... how to teach better, so my kids won't make mistakes they will regret. But they are human, and they will make mistakes. And though teaching is important and must be done, more than anything else, what really matters, is that I spend time with them and develop lasting relationships of love.

What makes my kids feel loved? What are each of their love languages? I need to know this, and love them in a way that they feel loved. I need to spend good quality, quantity time with them.
President Monson shares so many wonderful stories. Here is one that he shared in this talk on the topic of spending time with kids and serving them...

Many years ago, Arthur Gordon wrote in a national magazine, and I quote:

"When I was around thirteen and my brother ten, Father had promised to take us to the circus. But at lunchtime there was a phone call; some urgent business required his attention downtown. We braced ourselves for disappointment. Then we heard him say [into the phone],

‘No, I won’t be down. It’ll have to wait.’

“When he came back to the table, Mother smiled. ‘The circus keeps coming back, you know,’ [she said.]

“‘I know,’ said Father. ‘But childhood doesn’t.’”2

God will have eternity to teach and mold my children as much as they choose to let him... but I only have a few short years to live with them, and have such ample opportunity to develop lasting relationships with them, and to show them that they are absolutely fabulous in my eyes... and more important to me than all the riches that the world has to offer!

Here us another great short story that Monson gives in this talk which really caused me to meditate and ask myself what I might look back on at the end of this journey called life, and be thankful that I did; I don't want to find myself saying, "I wish I had"...

In the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, Church member Jay Hess, an airman, was shot down over North Vietnam. For two years his family had no idea whether he was dead or alive. His captors in Hanoi eventually allowed him to write home but limited his message to less than 25 words. What would you and I say to our families if we were in the same situation—not having seen them for over two years and not knowing if we would ever see them again? Wanting to provide something his family could recognize as having come from him and also wanting to give them valuable counsel, Brother Hess wrote—and I quote: Monson goes on to say in his talk...
These things are important: temple marriage, mission, college. Press on, set goals, write history, take pictures twice a year.”5

"Let us relish life as we live it,
find joy in the journey, 
share our love with friends and family.
One day each of us will run out of tomorrows."

I have needed these reminders desperately, and really appreciated them. I was also deeply touched by the reminder Thomas S Monson gave of our Savior's life and example to us all. Another quote which I love from this talk is this...

"Love isn't love until you give it away."

Today my son Dausen began to pick up a meat patty, then put it down and picked up another, and then went back to the first (with a clean spatula). I had started to cook the meat for tacos, then decided to make burgers, so some of the meat didn't hold together well. I thought my son was taking the best patty so I teasingly asked him, "What are you doing?" His response was one of humility and kindness, "I saved the best burger for you. This one (pointing to his own meat patty) is all in little pieces."

I was warmed. I felt loved. Such a small act of kindness, but it made me feel loved. I immediately thought, "you really do love me, don't you? THAT was an act of love."  :D

President Monson said a few other things about our Savior Jesus Christ which I would like to quote here: As I think of the Savior and all that He did to lift and love others... as I think of the need we all have to be lifted and loved, both in our homes, and outside of our homes, I desire to forget about myself and lose myself in the service of others more. I desire to reach out to others more and take away as much of the loneliness in others that I possibly can... To forget myself completely, and reach out to others more than ever before... both in and out of my home, but especially within.
"He taught us how to pray. He taught us how to serve. He taught us how to live. His life is a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved."

I hope to live a little less selfishly each day. That I will forget about myself, and fill my days with the things that matter most... small acts of kindness, love, and service to the people around me.

I pray that I will truly cherish my loved ones, not just as a noun/feeling in my heart, but also as a verb... so well that when I leave this life, I will know that the love I had for them reached into their lives and made a difference... and be sure that they could feel my love for them.

This is my hope, and the goal inspired within me today from our dear prophet, President Monson. Thanks for your reminder, Patty Ann! :D


  1. Corine, you remind me so much of my sister. Acts of kindness, making sure we show love and not just say it. What a joy you are :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  2. Thank you, Jules! :D Ditto to you. Or, like I would have said as a kid, "Same to you, but more of it!" ;)


There is a ripple effect in all that we do; what you do touches me, what I do touches you...

THANK YOU for your comments; you add so much insight and brighten my day! :)