Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happiness Is...

"Happiness is not something ready made, it comes from your own actions.”     - Dalai Lama XIV

Happiness is choosing to smile on days when it’s hard to forget the pain.  

My family went to Island Park the day after my dad’s funeral in July.  Some close family friends of ours insisted that we take the keys to their cabin for a few days.     

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Nate and Emmy have only been newlyweds for about five months now.  They are so fun to be around.  I love them. :)

Happiness is walking hand in hand.

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Happiness is 'not crying because it’s over, but smiling because it happened.’  - Dr. Suess

Their beautiful vintage wedding reception happened back in April...  

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I personally think happiness is little girls with cute hairdos...

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and kisses that last a little too long. :)

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Happiness is a visit from your mom…seeing how beautiful and strong she is for all of us.

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Happiness is taking your son to the dentist for the very first time... 

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and styling your girls’ hair like cupcakes for crazy hair day at school.   

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There is good all around us.  We can’t be truly happy unless we’ve experienced the unhappy at times.  I hope that I can always remember to choose happiness.  Life can be ugly and hard, but I know that when we rely on our Savior every hour, every moment…peace and happiness do come.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A weekend with the Wolfleys

My dad was a faithful reader of my blog, and with each post I write, I’ll yearn for his commentary.  He’d usually text me a comment or two the day after one of my posts just to tell me that he saw it...and that he loved it.  “Man, I sure enjoy your blog - the kids are growing up fast - unreal!” he’d always say.

As I move forward without my dad’s reassurance, it’s the little things that I’ll continue to miss and treasure.  My priorities have realigned instantaneously simply because of the way he lived his life.  As I continue to blog, I hope my kids know just how much I value their journey, as my dad did mine.    

We spent the 4th of July with Jared’s family at the Wolfley homestead.  As all the grandkids get a little older each year, it’s neat to see their relationships as cousins turn into friendships.  They love spending time together, and since they don’t have the opportunity to see each other very often, they don’t waste a minute when they’re together.  

I hope a few of these cheerful pictures bring some sunshine to your day.  

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I don’t know about those motorcycles, but I’ll be all over that yellow tube next year. ;)

Being Cheerful Again

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be cheerful.  I have a great deal of admiration for those who choose to be cheerful.  Sometimes we think of being cheerful as silly, goofy, jovial, or even borderline annoying, but I’m referring to the optimist whose disposition is positive, full of hope, happy and grateful in all things.   

Traumatic events have a tendency to zap cheer out of our lives.  I’m pretty sure I know what this feels like, but without discrediting the real pains of any trial, it’s possible to feel the balm of true joy amidst the sorrow.  I’ve experienced the discouragement and despair that are often common companions of adversity, but I’ve also found that when I am filled with the Spirit of God, I feel peace and happiness in the darkest of days.

The words to one of my favorite hymns conveys my feelings - “I believe in Christ, so come what may!”  I am grateful for my trials and the opportunity they allow me to prove my faith in His plan for my family.  The adversary knows that when my thoughts allow anger, pity, and gloom to dominate, my whole demeanor reflects bitterness, and with a savor like that, how effective am I?  Unfortunately, the germ of discouragement is much more powerful than any of us realize, and it’s important to treat it just as quickly as we would treat even the tiniest identifiable cell of cancer.    

Fake it until we make it?  Perhaps.  Give more hours of service?  Maybe.  But I think the real trick to being sincerely cheerful lies in constantly recognizing the true purpose of mortality...with faith in every footstep and a bold acceptance of His will in all things.  

“Our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments.  There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us.”  

The prophet for the world, President Thomas S. Monson 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What Are You Doing?

Hello family and friends,

What are you doing today?  I am trying to keep my thoughts bright.  Some mornings I wake up with anxiety and fear.  The past few mornings have been heavy, but I am alive and moving forward, day after day.  I think about these people every moment, and I know there is a great purpose in store for each of us.      

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What Are You Doing?

What are You doing?
I whisper, dejected,
My life quickly falling apart.
I don’t understand
How a Father who loves me
Could witness my suffering
heart.

What are You doing?
I try to move forward,
But obstacles get in my way.
I struggle to see
How the stumbling is helpful
With challenges day after day.

What are You doing?
This turn, unexpected,
Is leading me down a new path.
I follow in faith,
Hope’s anticipation
Is all the assurance I have.

What are You doing?
I wonder it daily,
But little by little I see
The light moving with me
With each step I take
The vision unfolds graciously.

What are You doing?
I ask in amazement
As wonders and blessings unfold.
I’m learning,
Perspective is altered by
patience.
If faithful, Thy purpose behold.

Anna M. Molgard

 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Finding Joy in Every Day

One of my dear friends, Lisa, who has a child with special disabilities, shared a story with me many years ago that I’ve never forgotten.  The author’s point-of-view stems from having a special needs child herself, but I find her insight especially helpful in facing the loss of an expectant future.  

Welcome to Holland

by Emily Perl Kingsley

"...it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandt's.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland."

I’m learning that my new life in Holland can be filled with joy.  The days are going by with an occasional outing interspersed here and there, but I’ve stayed inside most of the time working through thoughts and avoiding the muggy heat.  The girls still have a good two weeks before school starts, and I’m trying to be exciting for them in every way, but my lack of energy and my need to read has kept us in.  I am blessed with happy children (which makes the indoors easier this time of year), but this pregnancy is exhausting, and I can barely get to 1pm before my body demands a cat nap.  

In the process of accepting a hard mortal hit, it’s pertinent to shift perspective in order to cope with the loss of dreams unrealized.  The absence of a stable force in an expectant future is a "very very significant loss," but HOPE in brighter days ahead has enabled me to look up, prepare for a different course, and recognize that there will be joy in my new reality! 

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