Saturday, January 28, 2012

Overwhelmed - NOT...

Last night I stayed the night with a sweet elderly friend of mine (Marian). I helped her pack her belongings late into the night and again early this morning. Then another friend (Laurel) and I unpacked her belongings into her new home (she moved in with a wonderful couple so she will no longer be living alone - yeah!).

When I came home, exhausted and praying that I'm not coming down with a cold, I looked at the mess in my own house and began to be overwhelmed - almost... Thankfully, I soon found myself looking into a mirror and for some wonderful reason I told myself this;

"Don't even begin to think about what you didn't do...
Instead think about everything you DID do this week."

I made a short mental list of some wonderful things I did, then another list of wonderful experiences I have been blessed with - and felt good. :) It was amazing. One moment I was on the verge of being overwhelmed, and the next my burdens were light and I found myself counting my many blessings...

There will ALWAYS be  a list of things I want to do; but as long as I keep moving forward, there will ALSO always be a list of things I can be happy that I did experience and become... :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

God's Plans for Our Lives...

I am learning more deeply with each passing day:

God has thoughts and plans for our lives 

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
D and C 130:20-21
2. "Behold and lo, mine eyes are upon you, and the heavens and the earth are in mine hands, and the riches of eternity are mine to give.
3. Ye endeavored to believe that ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you; but behold, verily I say unto you there were fears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive."
D and C 67:2-3

I believe God is a loving Father, always there anxiously waiting to help and bless us. Sometimes we live in such a way as to allow God to bless us, and sometimes we don't... Not only are certain blessings predicated upon obedience to certain commandments, but even when we do keep the commandments,"Faith" (not fear) "precedes the miracle!

God wants us to know this and take accountability for doing our part by allowing Him to help us make our lives into what we want them to be; and He has granted us the freedom to do so.

I am absolutely positive that God doesn’t want us to be passive about living. He desires for us to actively DREAM, WORK and bring about many good things of our own free will.

It is Not God’s plan for us to have to be commanded in order for us to get up and do something good (this refers not only to service for others, but also to doing good to create prosperity and happiness for ourselves). The lord considers those who will only do what they are commanded to do to be lazy and unwise. (See D and C 58:26)

God wants us to be involved in doing good – and be excited and anxious to do good. And not just once, but over and over again. God desires that we choose to do many good things that we haven’t even been commanded to do… (D and C 58:27)

Along with free-agency, we have the ability/power to do many good things without having to be told to do these good things. We have the power to dream, think, plan, create, and make good things happen. (See D and C 58:28)

I am also learning that progress is not possible for those who:

        -Don’t do anything until or unless they are commanded
        -Doubt they can do what they are commanded to do or what they dream of doing (I realize that some of the things I have begun I have not been successful with because I have done them with hesitation rather than with surety, faith and thus vigor)
        -Are lazy (See D and C 58:29)
Here is one of my favorite quotes which I found on Piterole Postings some time ago (Patty, if you are there, please remind me who said this?) (I know, I have given it here before but it is worth reiterating):

 “God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future—to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities… God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe.”

God’s plan for our lives – is that we DREAM and plan to do many good things of our own free will – and then go forth with faith, prayer, hope, belief, energy and hard work to accomplish our righteous plans. As we do these things, God steps in and helps to make our righteous dreams come true!

I'm very thankful for this new and growing testimony... and very excited to see what blessings will come of it! :)

*UPDATE - Feb 3, 2012 -
God has other plans for us as well... see my SECOND follow-up to this post here...
And my THIRD follow up here...

"Achievement seems to be connected
with action. Successful men and
women keep moving. They make
mistakes, but they don't quit."
- Conrad Hilton

*UPDATE- Feb 5, 2012 -
Here is a link to another person's blog about a scripture story of a man being healed by action (being proactive :)...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Levi's Impression of Twilight...

Levi (my youngest) reminded me of a scene from Twilight the other day. He was telling me how ridiculous he thought some of it was (I don't think he was too excited when he saw his "friend's" bedroom walls covered with twilight photos :o)...

Levi - "Jacob was like, 'Bella, here I am with no shirt. I will protect you with my sexy body!'"

He is very aware... I don't think I have little kids any more. :o

PS. In looking for a photo for this post, I thought about putting up a photo of Jacob - shirtless... I'm sorry, I just couldn't do it! (It's that whole modesty thing, you know? I know, I am so old fashioned! :o) However, I did come across a photo that caused me to burst out in laughter; here it is...

PPS. I'm sorry. This isn't exactly a Spiritual Sunday post... :o I'll make up for it soon! ;)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Shout Out for some Fellow Bloggers!

I have a friend with an awesome blog, She just created a button for it, isn't it cute? :)

My Soul Delighteth - Button

I keep a few buttons in my buttton page rather than on my sidebar (I think I need to clean up this blog a little more). I thought I would point out this new one here in case you don't get to my button page any time soon. And if you have a button you'd like me to put up on my page just let me know! :)

I have recently become aware of a couple of very neat teens who blog and I would like to share the links to their blogs with you to help them get more readers. Here are their blog addresses:

I hope you check out their blogs and give them a little help with advertising! :)

Have a great day!

Corine :D

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Love and Law

Hi! :) The past few months have been very challenging for me. I have been very much dashed through the refiners fire! During these time it seems easy to focus on the hardships in life and forget about the good things. But I have been blessed with perspective, and now I am choosing to not waste this good trial!

Life is once again calming down. Not because the trials are over, but because I am getting back to being positive in the way I view trials. I considered not continuing blogging because I just can't tell of all my frustrations here and that frustrates me further. But I feel good about continuing blogging. I feel good about counting my blessings and "finding joy in the journey!" :D

So, on this very happy day, I wish to write to you some happy thoughts. And I plan to continue blogging about many more moments of joy!

Yesterday morning my youngest son, Levi, (he will be 14 in a couple months) came to me and asked,
"Mom, can my studies be mostly gospel study today?"
I was pleased... I did require that he also do math. :)

This faithful young man turned on old conference addresses and listened to them for hours. Just as he was starting though, I asked him what he was studying (assuming he was about to research a particular topic). His answer was short and sweet...
"I want to hear the conference talks from when I was little and didn't really pay attention."
My mouth dropped (though he never ceases to amaze me! My mouth drops frequently with him... :). He started watching the earliest talks in which the videos were online for him to view, and just watched them in chronological order with the plan to eventually hear them all up to the current date. After he watched a few himself, he asked me if I wanted to listen to the next one with him.

Levi's request greatly blessed my life... I heard a talk which I didn't recall hearing. It must have been one of the very few which I missed; perhaps the computer acted up while live, or I was late to conference... This may have been a talk I intended to go back and view or read once published, but did not.

If you have followed this blog for some time you know of my frantic parenting phase in which I struggled to establish a family government of laws in which neither tyranny or chaos prevailed in our home. (I wrote much of these things in February of 2011. One of which was titled The Concept of Self Government). The Lord taught me much, but could have taught me more had I been where I was meant to be and heard this talk at that time!

For any who are raising youth who may occasionally take freedom to an unhealthy level, or who may struggle with obedience to parents from time to time... :o, here is a talk for you. I have listened to it a couple times now, and am again reminded of principles in which I have need to improve to help me with parenting a couple of my wonderful youth who, nonetheless, sometimes kindly "enroll me in Parenting 505." (They just want to put me through the refiners fire; aren't they great! ;P ~ I'm sure I put them through the refiners fire, too. :o)

Though there are many things which my children do which greatly please me and ignite great joy, I have also been very much stressed about some rebellious conduct off and on... some of which may stem from parenting styles needing to be adjusted... Hearing this talk reminds me of the principles that my Father in Heaven uses as He parents us; I can think of no wiser parent to pattern my parenting after.

Here is a link to the talk for any of you who may feel the same way I do (if you do, you may be as excited about this talk as I am - great reminders!)... :)

I am so thankful for this talk (among so many others)! ~ I have great hopes to improve my parenting skills!!!  :)

PS. One thing I wish I had done A LOT MORE while raising my kids is giving them rewards for doing right... I am so sorry to say I have NOT done that. I was so into wanting them to do the right thing for the right reason that I didn't reward them. I can tell you this - after hearing this talk, I will now! But I did allow certain privileges regardless of obedience or disobedience (how mixed up is that?). At least I am learning now. Thank you for loving me anyhow, Heavenly Father!!! :o    :D

Have a great day!

Corine :D

Monday, January 16, 2012

Beauty and Joy in the Amazing Everyday...

I know don't read blogs much (not like a lot of bloggers do). So it is a little strange that I go ahead and write - on a bog - especially since I don't advertise the blog (which would bring more readers to my blog so perhaps seem more worth while). Conclusion - why blog if few know of it and read it?

I don't know... Maybe I just love to write! (No worries to the faithful few - the few are as worthy as the many ;). There is a list of reasons I love to blog, and some months there are more purposes being fulfilled than others. But today - the purpose is simply to rejoice and count my blessings! :)

Today - I just want to write for my kids.

Photo taken about 3 years ago... I just love it - so show it off again! :)
I just want to write something that they can read when they are grown and find out how much their mom LOVED watching them grow up and learn to spread their wings. But it isn't just growth and progress that I enjoy; I also love watching them spend time together even in simple little activities like this one...

Would you think me strange for sighing when I look at this photo?

I just want these amazing people to know how GREAT they are and how happy I am to be blessed to be their mom.

Mindy recently started working a job in a place that wasn't even hiring; she asked for a job anyhow! :) And with faithful follow up - she was eventually given the job that was opened up just for her! She also started her schooling again in addition to institute classes - online and locally - so she gets to live with us for one more year; yeah! The nights she returns home from classes are always late ones for Miles and I, as we listen to this beautiful girl bursting with excitement to share her most recent experiences with new friends. She is THOROUGHLY enjoying her life! Watching all of this brings me so much joy! :)

Yesterday Levi taught the Deacons in Priesthood for the second time. He also spoke in sacrament about how anyone can gain a testimony. He wrote and prepared it himself (as always); and did a beautiful job. The message was inspiring and I found myself taking mental notes and writing about what I learned in my journal before retiring to bed. How is it that I am so blessed to have such wisdom and influence in my home from one so young?

By the way - A week ago he informed me that he was both teaching the Deacon's quorum and speaking in sacrament the following Sunday. I cringed a little inside to think of the preparation needed and asked, "does that overwhelm you?" His response was of shock that I would even ask, "Mom. I have a week to prepare." I'm not sure if that is from ignorance or faith; but I love it! LOL :D
I want to remember days like these - always... And I want to remember the moments that remind me of these great blessings... :) Moments like the ones I had this past Friday as I was blessed to visit with a couple of really great friends. One I haven't seen for a couple years since she moved away. The other I pass by and say hello to in the halls at church on Sundays. I have things in common with both of them... One has twin boys. The other is a mother of children on the Autism spectrum. These ladies inspire and amaze me!

As I talked to these women I couldn't help reflecting on the blessings in my life.

I couldn't help thinking of my kids, and of the amazing growth and progress they have made in their lives.

I couldn't help being thankful for the examples they set for me as a mother and for the things I learn from them.

I couldn't help going back in time and reminiscing... I couldn't help rejoicing over all that is good in our lives!

In short - I couldn't help rejoicing and finding joy in being a mom. :)

Right now, I continue to rejoice as I watch Devry engage in social settings - and love it!  I used to have to really coax him just to go to mutual (church youth group) each week. Now he comes to me and reminds me so he won't miss it! He even walked to the church last Tuesday night - just in case the youth were meeting that night (change of day with the new year - he thought it was the following night but wanted to be sure not to miss it if he remembered wrong). And look at his good face... Can you not see the strength and goodness behind those eyes? He has the makings of a strong leader who will do much good in his life; and I am so excited to watch it unfold! :D

Speaking of eyes, look at how soft Dausen's eyes are. This boy melts my heart! I still marvel at the changes coming over him. I remember when he didn't even laugh at jokes - then he suddenly became the one telling them! Since then, he has laughed a thousand times or more each year. He creates his own humor... And he laughs! :D ~ A lot!  :) I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again; this boy brings so much fun and laughter into our home! And I love his sweetness. He is the first one to thank me for a good dinner. I think he intentionally thanks me - just to make me happy! :D

Maybe few will read this post (Though I hope my kids will one day enjoy it). Maybe it doesn't matter... What matters is that I have been blessed to find beauty and joy in the amazing everyday... Maybe the joy I find in reminiscing is enough. :)

 And warm thoughts of love to each of you...

Corine :D

Monday, January 9, 2012

Valerie's Rose...

I was reading a blog post about being a true believer of Jesus Christ, in which the writer, Valerie, also talked about being a slow learner and having a hard time not wanting to shrink back from challenges... (hmm - somehow, I have a hunch she isn't the only one who feels this way! ;)

I won't tell you all of Valerie's ideas, but I will share with you an analogy that reading this post inspired in my own mind. I like to think challenges can be likened to the thorns of a rose. And the rose can be likened to the growth and good things that come with, or as a result of those challenges...  Here is what I left in the comment section of that post:

"I think it is normal NOT to want a trial, during it, but to find blessings in it and be thankful for it later. I, like you, strive to find the rose among the thorns, even while feeling the blood dripping down from the thorns. I'm glad we strive to focus on the rose... Now we just need to remember that to feel the piercing of the thorn simply shows that we are human. I think it is great that you choose to again redirect your mind to the rose even while in pain from the thorns... ;)

Corine :D"

I'm thankful that I read this. I think we can be too hard on ourselves! I know I can! :o Since I was recently very hard on myself (and had to really pray for help to forgive myself) I'm very thankful that I read Valerie's post and was reminded that I'm not a bad person for crying when life hurts! In fact, when I find myself focusing on thorns and complaining - I repent and strive to focus on life's roses - just as Valerie does - this is something to be happy about. (Isn't it crazy how it is SO EASY to see how others are doing well and pat them on the back - and SO DIFFICULT to give ourselves credit?)

So, Valerie, if you read this - thanks for your insight! I hope you give yourself a pat on the back for continually moving forward!

And to the rest of you - I'm sure you could give yourself a pat on the back for something you are doing right, too! ;)

I hope you all have a great day and find joy in the rose among the thorns!

Corine :D

Sunday, January 8, 2012

ASK in Faith - Believing Ye Shall Receive...

I'm so happy to have time to write before going to church this morning! :)

After a month with some really rough moments (mixed no doubt with many wonderful joys as well!), I have had a few of the sweetest most peaceful days... I feel so good! :D I'm learning so much and am so excited about this new year!

I was reading a couple of blog posts a moment ago when I noticed things are changing and improving faster than I realized. Here are a few things worth noting...

A LOT HAS CHANGED in my home over the past couple of years. I am by nature, an idealist. And there were some things that I really didn't like about my life in a major way! But for many years I didn't realize the power I have to make my life what I want it to be. I have been learning (in layers) that I make my life the way it is - and I have the power to change it if I want to.

Perhaps that is part of the reason I was so frustrated off and on last month. Because ever since we started this business I have seen how this business (so far) has NOT BORN FRUIT DURING THE WINTER months; and though I "tried" I still did not adequately prepare. I was angry at myself for it, and I was angry at my husband. I had to do a lot of praying for forgiveness for being so frustrated and angry, and for help to forgive myself...

Anyhow, I realized I sometimes spend time being frustrated, when what I need to do is pray... Whether I need help with following the Savior (like needing help to forgive), help with knowing something, or help with acquiring needs etc., the following scripture applies:

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Matt 7:7-12

I don't think I've done enough asking in my life. Giving has always been easy for me. Receiving has always been a challenge. I suppose this is why I have seldom asked... Perhaps by choosing to "ASK" I am also choosing to "RECEIVE."

I learned that another thing I failed to do for many years was ASK the Lord specifically for what I want or need. I learned that I need to be really specific.

For example, for many years I have had only furniture that people have given to me. I am thankful, but honestly, none of it lasted long - or it was so out dated I cringed to look at it and none of it was my style. So, after I saw the photos taken in my house on Halloween night - I CRINGED AGAIN as I acknowledged that the furniture in my home said NOTHING about me, and I couldn't stand it. So I finally decided to go and choose couches for myself. Though I had very little money, I didn't worry about that. I just prayed for Heavenly Father to help me find couches that I could afford and love; and I firmly believed that what I asked for was good, and He would surely help me to accomplish this.

I had already looked at used stores for couches a million times before, but never with prayer and faith like I did this time. But this time I prayed in faith and knew that I would find couches, somewhere, somehow, and I would be able to afford them.

Within a week a friend called and asked if I wanted to go shopping at used stores with her. She and I had never gone together before, so I didn't know what possessed her to call and ask but I wasn't about to turn her down! We went to a used store - and there it was - a couch I loved for only $35.00. I bought it. Then we went to another used store - and there it was - another couch I loved even more than the one I purchased for only $35.00. I bought it, too! I also bought a little pink old fashioned chair to go with them for only $20. I finally had my old fashioned furniture (the couches were the same style, too!), and all of it combined cost less than $100.00! I didn't realize how near broke we were, and I'm glad I didn't know. :o I'm so thankful for my new/used furniture! :D

All I had to do was ASK IN FAITH, BELIEVING THAT I WOULD RECEIVE; and of course, act on that belief to let it happen (I used to act by way of looking for furniture, but not pray/ask for it)...

"Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you."
Moroni 7:26

19 "Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name;
20 "And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you."
3 Nephi 18:19-20
When it comes to wanting wisdom, here is another great scripture:

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
James 1:5-8

Another scripture which has helped me to improve in the way of praying is this one:

"'But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint"… (2 Nephi 32:9)

I wrote my thoughts about these last two scriptures in a blog post I wrote in October.

Other blessings have come into my life in the past couple of years as my faith has begun to grow and I have begun asking. The process is so simple. And yet, I am still learning to make it a part of my way of life. As this occurred to me I have added "ASK" to my list of word possibilities to focus on this year. I'm really excited about making this a solid way of being! :D

As I have spent the past few days looking back over my life - I have seen wonderful changes in my life and have been filled with gratitude as I contemplate just how wonderful and amazing my life really is!

One thing I desired to change is getting this old home of ours worked on and maintained. Little by little we have been making small improvements - especially since the time that I decided to create garden beds out back (when we have more money we will make bigger changes). I realize these scriptures I mentioned were about asking the Father, however, on the subject simply of asking something of anyone - one thing I have ASKed of my husband, is that he take one day each week to do a little maintenance in our home (this is on our weekly schedule - as spoken of in my Living with Purpose blog post). Some weeks it just doesn't happen due to holidays and other unavoidable interruptions; but despite the times when it doesn't happen, the increase in accomplishments with this change in our schedule has been dramatic. I really love watching this become more natural and habitual for Miles! Yesterday he worked on building shelves for me in the storage room. When I realized what he was doing I went in there to "help." I like to be there to give him ideas on how it can be done, and we both really love working together. I can hardly wait to get in there and put things away once the shelf is finished! :)

A NEW PRAYER: This year I will ask the lord to help me to list and know everything I needed to do to be prepared for the coming winter, and that He open the way for us to prepare. I pray for us to have additional income sources which will not interfere with (and even enhance)  homeschooling; and that we will pay our bills on time every month of the year...

I look forward to saving money for another family vacation - and not only camping near by (which, by the way I do love). I look forward to visiting extended family again with my family. :) And I thank the Lord in advance for these bounteous coming blessings. :)

Now, if I can remember the things I learned and put my knowledge into action - I should experience much less frustration and a great deal more productivity! ;)

Have a great day!
Corine :D

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Word or Phrase - Considerations...

I'm feeling good this morning. :) Yesterday morning was FABULOUS! It was so good it felt like the first day of the year! Honestly, there was a shift in my psychological well being that I LOVE! It got me all excited about living this year, choosing a word or phrase to focus on (if I can keep it down to one - ha! LOL), and I now want to write a bucket list as well (after visiting Salma's blog this morning). But just remembered I'm supposed to be somewhere RIGHT NOW! Ahh!

OK - you get the condensed sneak peak this morning instead of the in depth...

I am considering the following, but not done brainstorming:




ASK, SEEK, KNOCK... (added to this list on January 8th as a result of this post)

I'm not sure if I should choose one that I already have a good start on, or something I am totally and completely lacking in... I just want to do so much! :D

Do you have a word or phrase? What inspires you??

I better run! Be back with more later! :)

Corine :D

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How Do I Love Thee?

Keep Moving Forward...
Last night my husband and I had another moment of tension between us (though they are dwindling - farther and fewer between! Miles - if you are reading this; I love you! :). As I contemplated that moment this morning it occurred to me again that if we had acted with a Christ like love towards each other - the tension never would have been there. I told him my thoughts about it... I'm glad. :) We had a really good talk. I had been praying to love him more... not expecting to feel that love overnight, and my prayer was answered in just one morning.

I am again drawn to this quote: 
"Think the best of each other. Especially of those you love. Assume the good, and doubt the bad. The prophets tell us that true love "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.' So Christ loved us, and that is how, that is how he hoped we would love each other. In a final injunction to all His disciples for all time, He said, 'A new commandment I give unto thee, that ye love one another as I have loved you. ' Jesus Christ the light of the world is the only lamp by which you can successfully see the path of love and happiness for you and for your sweat heart. How should I love thee? As He does. For that way never faileth."
...and this quote:
"Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someones differences weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other."

Elder Marvin J. Ashton

...and this video:

I am again at peace and filled with love! :D
And I am SO THANKFUL for the loving example of our Savior Jesus Christ!

Corine :D

Journal Blessings... It Will All Be Worth It!

Hi. Do you keep a journal of some kind? I do. I didn’t realize it until today, but I have several “journals.”

I have my basic personal journal in which I write day to day happenings, thoughts, feelings, and a mix of really personal stuff that I know I need to moderate some how so my posterity can one day read it. :o

I have my “I Believe” journal, in which I write things that I believe it… especially when I need to strengthen my own testimony about something; writing what I believe reaffirms truth to me which causes my faith to grow and gives me a peace I can not live without. If I am rejoicing in truth, or if I desire to find comfort in truth, I often write of its existence in my “I Believe” book…

I also have my “Thankful” journal. But don’t use it very often, probably because I write what I am thankful for in my other journals and just don’t feel the need for it like I do the others (though I can’t imagine NOT writing what I am thankful for, for me, gratitude just spills out all over the place rather than in just one place).

I have a new journal I was given a couple of weeks ago (by my Visiting Teachers) which I am very excited about. It is sort of like a gratitude journal now that I think about it, but I call it My Book of Gifts. In this I write of the kind things that others do for me, and for others. It is about forgetting what I have done, and remembering that I am truly blessed and that there many wonderful angels among us.

This journal is especially cute. On the front cover it has a picture of a little girl in elf shoes; striped socks; a red coat with big buttons and white polka dots all over it; a holly and cranberry halo about her head; and a gift wrapped in beautiful packaging with a big lovely red bow and confetti streaming from it. It also has a little Christmas tree on top of the gift.

I also have my blog. I see it as a journal now more than ever because of a couple of experiences I have recently been blessed with. I have twice been led to fall upon a writing I wrote which has given me the precise insight that I needed. I have seen progress in my own life from looking back upon my own writings. And I have received insight to help me rejoice in the progress of my family as well. I have been reminded of truths I needed to be reminded of… which have been of great comfort to me during difficult times. And I am truly blessed to have been given the gift of finger gab! J

This evening I came across another piece of writing of my own which lifted my spirits (no, I already lifted my spirits; it rejuvenated me and gave me the strength to endure well). I have really struggled a great deal off and on for about the past month. I wrote about it once but lost the flash drive that I wrote it on, so word of the struggles never made it to my blog. I have no desire to write about it now, but I will say that after having gotten through past struggles, I have been thankful for them all – not so much during the struggles, but after they are over I am consumed with gratitude for the growing experiences.

Since I am struggling at this time, it is obvious to me that sometimes I need to be reminded DURING struggles that what I am going through is actually for my own good; and that I should not grumble, but instead be thankful for the experience and opportunity for growth (it is a major goal of mine to keep a perspective which will cause me to be thankful during a struggle, and not just after it is through). The writing I read today was just the sort of reminder that I needed to help me to rekindle this type of perspective. I would like to share a piece of it with you now...

Life is so filled with ups and downs - challenges and struggles - successes and failures (or seeming failures) – etc.; and though we aren’t inclined to wish struggles or failures upon ourselves or others, the truth is - they are what make life SO GREAT!

When my kids were little I recall pointing out to them how unhappy Nellie and Nancy Olson were in the Little House on the Prairie series, compared to Laura and Mary Ingalls.

 It was obvious (even to the kids) that having life go just right - getting everything those girls wanted - having a mother who lived to eliminate every struggle that she possibly could from their lives - was precisely what made them miserable.

These girls never had anything to look forward to. They had no struggles to conquer and feel good about overcoming. They had no “going without” to help them to appreciate all that they had.

And it isn't just about things/stuff. It is about having goals. It’s about having accomplishments, struggles to overcome, weaknesses to turn into strengths etc. The only happiness those girls had, came from struggles which their mother could not take away from them.

As I reflect upon my life now - I feel good about it. I am happy with it. Though my life is filled with ups and downs and "blond moments" which I must have a sense of humor and some humility to be able to admit; I love it. And, I think all the struggles and weaknesses and mistakes are a big part of what cause me to feel so accomplished, and to love my life.

This is what I need to remember! I feel so at peace when I read this tonight. I know these things are true! :) I know God lets us go through struggles not to punish us – God will never let us go through more than we can handle, but he does stand back and let us go through the refining fires that are necessary for us to become the people we can feel so good about being! Is there any gift greater than the gift of being blessed to overcome and to really LOVE others and ourselves? This is what the Savior does for us. He loves us, and polishes us into people that we can feel good about and even love. I like that. I like loving myself; and I owe that to Him, and to the struggles that He allows me to conquer. I can’t imagine who I would be without Him, and I don’t want to. But I am thankful for what He is making me; and since there is still much refining to do I am willing to be refined some more! It is all worth it; it really is!! :D And I’m so thankful for the counsel to journal; it has blessed me to see progress and to discover greater joy in living!

 PS. I hope your New Year is going great! :D
PPS. Here is a great quote about journaling I would like to share with you:

"You will have significant experiences. I hope that you will write them down and keep record of them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh your memory of those meaningful and significant things. Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you. Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some may build one upon another until they represent a lifetime of special experiences." — Gordon B. Hinckley
Corine :D