Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Boxes In Our Lives Labeled, "ART"

A little over a month ago, I was in my room, thinking about my life (I do that kind of a lot), and I was feeling very content with who I was, and who I was becoming. I had for many years thought that I must try harder in order to be good enough; good enough for me; good enough for God; and at the same time, be the person that others needed/ expected me to be. In my mind, I wasn't good enough; for me, or for God; and I was tired (literally) of being the person others needed/expected me to be. I take credit for that because I allowed it to happen. I unknowingly allowed myself to get to a place over time, where I didn't know who I was. What I did know, was that I was trying reach good enough. I may or may not have been good enough for other people; in my mind I wasn't. I was trying to be good enough for God, and yet, never reaching good enough for God. I had allowed others to depend on me, and I didn't know how to change things without completely rocking the, completely flipping the boat over, in those relationships. And I thought that by doing so, the message I would be sending was that I didn't love these people. I DID/DO love these people, so I was trapped, keeping the seas calm on the outside for the benefit of others, while waves were crashing on the inside. I thought it was my responsibility to...I could say a lot of the steady foundation, the rock, the glue that held things together; even things that were not my doing, but for which I felt responsible to hold together.

Then last year I came to realize that it IS within me to completely flip the boat over; and it needed to be done if I was ever going to change the way I interacted with people. I learned that I DO matter, that I AM good enough, FOR EVEN GOD! And if I am good enough for God, then I am good enough for myself, and what other people think doesn't matter! I realized it was not my responsibility to take care of other people in ways that were not healthy for myself. I learned that I CAN, and NEEDED to take action that was self-based. I needed to take care of myself first, mentally emotionally, physically, spiritually. 

Over the course of the past year and a half, that is what I have done. I have taken charge of my life; I flipped the boat and changed for the mucho mejor, certain relationships, I have set boundaries with them, and others. My life is SO much different now than it was 2 years ago, and SO much better! I have also been learning during this same time, who I am; what I like, what I don't, what I want, who I am, and who I can become. I realize that my potential is much more than I currently am, and that is a beautiful thought. 

This brings me back to where I started. A little over a month ago, I was sitting in my room, thinking about my life, particularly where I had been, and came from over the past year and a half; and where I currently was. I was happy; with my life; with the progress I had made, and that I was presently making. As I looked around at my room, my bed was unmade, there were a few shirts, a book, my phone, and a couple pillows on top. My scriptures were on the floor, along with 2 boxes of other books I hadn't decided where to put, even after 5 months, and some shoes. My computer desk had papers on it, fingernail clippers, a starburst from a friend, my glasses, and some pens. My room was not spotless, neither was it a complete disaster. What it was, was beautiful. Why? Because the unmade bed, with the shirts, book, my phone, and the pillows, along with my desk, and the floor, were...are you ready for this?... allowing me to be me. Everything in my room, exactly how it was at that moment, and at any other moment, is there to support the life that I live. No one else's room looks like mine, which makes it unique. To me, it WAS beautiful. It was completely mine, and I accepted every aspect of it. I was very content!

Shortly after that experience, like 30 minutes later, I was reading in a book called, Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown. A portion of that book talks about perfection. For all those previous years I thought I wasn't good enough because I wasn't perfect. Over the past year and a half I have come to be grateful that I am not perfect. It's way to hard to try to be. What I CAN be is any amount better than I was yesterday. It's not about perfection, it's about progression, and progression is progression. Now, I CAN be perfect through the atonement, and that is our purpose in life; to be perfect, even as He is perfect, which is possible through the atonement. The atonement is SO amazing, that it even covers our imperfection in using the atonement, mind blowing, I know!! Anyway, back to the book, and my whole point in writing this blog post. A re-cap, 30 minutes later, after looking around at my awesome room, I'm reading in this book...Ok. I read this, which I can't even explain how I felt afterwords, because it fit "perfect"ly with the experience I had just had in my room. Brene quotes Nicholas Wilton, the illustrator of one of her earlier books:

"I always felt that someone, a long time ago, organized the affairs of the world into areas that made sense--categories of stuff that is perfectible, things that fit nearly in perfect bundles. The world of business, for example, is this way--line items, spreadsheets, things that add up, that can be perfected. The legal system--not always perfect, but nonetheless a mind-numbing effort to actually write down all kinds of laws and instructions that cover all aspects of being human, a kind of umbrella code of conduct we should all follow.

Perfection is crucial in building an aircraft, a bridge, or a high-speed train. The code and mathematics residing just below the surface of the Internet is also this way. Things are either perfectly right or they will not work. So much of the world we work and live in is based upon being correct, being perfect.

But after this someone got through organizing everything just perfectly, he (or probably she) was left with a bunch of stuff that didn't fit anywhere--things in a shoe box that had to go somewhere.

So in desperation this person threw up her arms and said, 'ok! Fine. All the rest of this stuff that isn't perfectible, that doesn't seem to fit anywhere else, will just have to be piled into this last, rather large tattered box that we can sort of push behind the couch. Maybe later we can come back and figure where it all is supposed to fit in. Let's label the box ART'

The problem thankfully was never fixed, and in time the box overflowed as more and more art piled up. I think the dilemma exists because art, among all the other tidy categories, most closely resembles what it is like to be human. To be alive. It is our nature to be imperfect. To have uncategorized feelings and emotions. To make or do things that don't sometimes necessarily make sense.

Art is just perfectly imperfect.

Once the word Art enters the description of what you're up to, it is almost like getting a hall pass from perfection. It thankfully releases us from any expectation of perfection.

In relation to my own work not being perfect, I just always point to the tattered box behind the couch and mention the word, Art, and people seem to understand and let you off the hook about being perfect and go back to their business."

This really did completely confirm that my life is basically art; and it's acceptable, it's a masterpiece!! There are pieces of my life that I don't yet know what to do with, that does not mean in any way that I can't make progress in the areas that I do know something about. Neither does it mean that I am a failure, because I can pull things out of my box labeled Art, at any time, and see if they fit somewhere. If so, fantastic, if not, I'll put it back for a while. What it does mean, to me, is that the possessions in my life, my bed, my car, my computer, and everything else "my", are part of my life and have the purpose of serving me in the creating of my life masterpiece, which is the growth and development of my person. I am not to serve the possessions in my life; take care of them, yes, but serve, no. They are to serve me, and I am to serve others. The definitions of art can be as numerable as there are people to define it, which is fantastic, because it means that my art, IS perfect.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Gratitude = Happiness: It's Like Math

I recently finished finding things to be grateful for, for 100 days. I knew it wouldn't be hard, and that I would accomplish it. It's actually fairly easy. I admit, there were days that I had to think harder about the day to find something, but because I was looking for it, I found it. We find what we look for, and focus on. Before long, I found myself thinking, sometimes a few times a day, "I'm grateful for this. " or, "I'm grateful for that." It became a habit over time to look for, recognize even small things, and feel gratitude for them, things that are taken for granted most of the time. I began to feel very blessed, and more grateful, then happier. It couldn't be helped that when I started to give value to many of the "small" blessings, I really did feel blessed; then a feeling of gratitude would come over me; and then my happiness would increase. It's like math, with the answer being happiness.

Something else that I have been doing...or not doing I guess, is watching television. It's been years since I've watched television. I read, or go to the gym, or run, or cook, or spend time with people I value, or facebook. Facebook can be good, or bad, depending on how it is used. I used it to post my daily gratitude. It's great to be grateful, and even greater to have excitement to share gratitude with others. It's ok to be grateful, and it's ok to talk about it.

I am not going to ramble on much, but I will just say that exercising genuine gratitude consistently over time improves lives; and brings an added measure of happiness. Below are my 100 days of gratitude.

June 1 I've seen people participating in the #100HappyDays...great idea! I'm adapting it a bit for me. I am grateful for the amazing people in my life. I have the best friends EVER, period. My parents are great examples of endurance, sacrifice,commitment, and service, love them! Many things have I learned/am learning from the people in my life. #100DaysOfGratitude #LukesDOG 1

June 2 #LukesDOG 2-TODAY, I am grateful for my workout! I am grateful for weather that allows me to drive with the windows down! I am grateful for friends, family; the swimming pool; the HOT sun; Renew lotion; God's plan for me. I am grateful that at least He knows what that is. :) Two more: I am grateful for having the day off; and for bedtime, Suenos dulces everyone. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 3 #LukesDOG 3-TODAY, I am grateful for dinner, and a nice chat with a friend. People really are amazing. It pays SO much to ask a few simple questions...and then listen, as to truly hear what is being said. It's only day 3, and I realize, and am grateful that some blessings reoccur everyday. #Happy #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 4 GRATITUDE TIME, YES!!! #LukesDOG 4-TODAY, I am grateful for entertainment provided by a couple moths, and my co-worker Bethany at work this morning. :) Fun times watching her freak out as they "went after" her. Made me laugh. Laughing is good for the soul.You are a blast to work with Bethany! :) #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 5 #LukesDOG 5- It's early, but I already have something #extraordinary to be grateful for. I washed a flash drive that was in my pocket last night, one that I have had for years. I just stared at it when I realized that that was what was making the noise in the bottom of the washer as I was taking my wet clothes out. I accepted that I may have lost everything on it. I put appropriate value on the documents on the flash drive that came to mind that were potentially lost. I realized that a large majority of things saved on the flash drive were no longer needed in my life, and the few documents that I currently use, and the ones that mean the most to me, I have access to on my computer. So, I was ok if it all was lost, which was a surprise to me. I didn't want to bring anger or frustration into my life. I, and only I, had left it in my pants pocket, and I was absolutely not going to be angry at myself over it. I couldn't change it. Even so, I plugged it into my computer...WOOOOLAAAAAAHHHH!!!!! It still works!!! Now THAT is #Fantastic, and definitely worth some gratitude giving. The best part though, is that I realized I didn't need the flash drive, my mood was not attached to that event, or the flash drive. I am grateful, and surprised that it works. :) HOOORAYY for saving meaningful things in more than one place! #HappyDay #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude.

June 6 #LukesDOG 6-TODAY, I am grateful for dinner. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 7 #LukesDOG 7- TODAY, I am grateful that it is Saturday, and that tomorrow is Sunday!!! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 8 #LukesDog 8-TODAY, I am grateful that I didn't have to wake up to an alarm; for homemade breakfast with avocado salsa; an amazing talk and musical number in my friend's sacrament meeting; the sun; The Son; new friends, and good books. Good night. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 9 #LukesDOG 9- I am grateful today for feelings. It's good to feel. Feelings make me think, ponder, and reflect on the situations currently in my life. Determining how I am feeling about a specific situation can give me insight into knowing how to move forward in that situation. What direction is in my best interest, now, and in the future? Is the return worth the cost? Is it really black and white, or is there some gray? Feelings are a wonderful guide, especially those that come from the Holy Ghost. I'm also grateful for my homemade smoothie, as shown. :) that was before I turned it into a smoothie. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 10 #LukesDOG 10- TODAY, I am grateful for an early bedtime. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 11 #LukesDOG 11- TODAY, I was thinking how grateful I am to live in Utah. The Salt Lake Valley is such a beautiful place! And I have met some amazing people that have changed my life for the better. I am glad to be here! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 12 #LukesDOG 12-TODAY, I am grateful for being at the right place at the right time, and oddly enough, for a quarter pounder with cheese that tasted just like I remember when I was a kid. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 13 #LukesDOG 13- TODAY (YESTERDAY), I am grateful that I made it all the way through Friday the 13th, and a full moon, without any evidence of superstition. Also grateful to attend a wedding reception.  #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 14 #LukesDOG 14-I'm grateful TODAY for being at the One Republic concert with my friend Spencer Ficiur. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 15 #LukesDOG 15- TODAY, I am grateful for my dad. He has done so much good/service in the lives of those around him. You are loved by the community dad, and by your family. Thank you for your example of service, and kindness. Love you dad. Happy Father's Day! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 16 #LukesDOG 16- For a large portion of the day today, I listened to soft piano music, by Jon Schmidt, Paul Cardall, Helen Jane Long etc. An interesting thing happened. Throughout the day I noticed that my restfulness was increasing, which was a little odd as I haven't slept my normal amount over the past 5 days or so. It seemed as if being in a quiet, undistracted, meditative state, while doing some light chores around the house listening to this type of music, had a similar effect on me as sleeping. I noticed myself being recharged as the day went on, without sleeping. It was fantastic! TODAY, I am grateful for beautiful, re-energizing music. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 17 #LukesDOG 17- TODAY, I am grateful for "a" rainy day. I just am. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 18 #LukesDOG 18- TODAY, I am grateful for change, and that I can change, that I have changed. I am grateful that neither the past, nor the present equals the future. All of my yesterdays have lead me to where I am today, and the choices I make today determine the change that happens tomorrow. I cannot change my past, however I am not held captive by it. My life is not as a train car that travels through space and time without choice of direction nor destination. The course of my future is not set by the well-traveled path of the past. Choice and change are my daily companions. I am free to choose/change the way I see, think, feel, and act, in regards to myself, others, God, and every situation in my life. I am also grateful that I can choose to change the radio station when Delilah comes on at 7pm. :) Night!! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 19 #LukesDOG 19-TODAY, I am grateful for technology. I get to drive my comfy car to work, talk to anyone, anywhere, at any time, via many different means. The fridge keeps cold food cold, the microwave and oven heat it up, the blender makes my smoothies, the fan provides white noise so I can sleep, and many, many more conveniences that make my life cushy. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 20 #LukesDOG 20- It's one of those days TODAY, when I am grateful for bedtime, and for a nice bed to sleep in. It was a great day, just tired. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 21 #LukesDOG THE LONGEST DAY OF THE YEAR (21), I love that it's not quite 10:00pm, and you can still see the light of the sun. I'm grateful TODAY for the cuteness, and innocence of my nieces and nephews. Tagert made my heart swell today. Love him, Kallen, Brooklinn, and Kendyllee. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 22 #LukesDOG 22- TODAY, I am grateful for happiness; friends; the color green; safety; sacrament meeting; naps; my ability to see and smell the beauty of nature, and to capture a small frame of it. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June23 #LukesDOG 23-TODAY, I am grateful I did everything I had planned, and more! All good things! My weekend was fantastic! Life is grand! What was fantastic about your day? #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 24 #LukesDOG 24- TODAY, I'm grateful for a safe trip home to Idaho, and conversation and meme making with mom. Hmmm, meme making with mom, that sounds very official, you should try it. Fun times. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 25 #LukesDOG 25-I am grateful today for life, for the opportunity to live an amazing life, for the opportunity to choose to be happy with my life. Is everything the way I would like it? Almost, I would be missing out on some opportunities if everything was given to me. When things seem like they are not working out, I believe that it's because there is something greater out there; I don't want to settle for something less when something greater is available. There is always something greater to be striving for. That absolutely does not mean that happiness isn't available now, in the present, because it most definitely is. I am grateful for the blessing of celebrating the life of a great man today. Death is not the end, it's a step of life, from one life to another. I am grateful for the knowledge of God's plan. It's beautiful that death, while difficult when it touches someone close, is the liberator of the spirit from a troubled body. When the body is no longer capable of housing our spirits in a way that allows our body and spirit to cooperate properly to perform our labors (according to God's definition), the spirit is allowed to leave the body, and continue it's labor as a spirit in the spirit world. The mercy of God is grand. There can be no doubt that God loves ALL of His Children. He bestows blessings on each of us, because WE are HIS sons and daughters. HE LOVES US! There is so much beauty to be seen in life, we don't really even have to look for it, just stop looking at the things that we think make life hard. The hard things will take care of themselves when we focus on the right things. I am grateful for beautiful music. I am grateful to have seen/met aunts and uncles I don't remember ever meeting before. I have a great heritage. I am feeling blessed to be alive, and for the life that I have. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 26 #LukesDOG 26-TODAY, I am grateful for the opportunity and blessing to be grateful. It is an opportunity, and we all have it. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude.

June 27 #LukesDOG 27- TODAY, I am grateful for my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 28 #LukesDOG 28-TONIGHT, I am grateful for the WEEKEND, and that I have the option to sleep in!! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 29 #LukesDOG 29- TODAY, I am most definitely grateful for the peace I have felt. And for linger longers after church, and for games played with new friends, and for new friends, and for old friends. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

June 30 #LukesDOG 30- TODAY, I am grateful for a good hike in the sun, and the beautiful view. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 1 #LukesDOG 31- TODAY, I am grateful for the ability my body has to grow and adapt to increased physical activity. It's fun to watch my muscles grow, and my body change. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude.

July 2 #LukesDOG 32- TODAY, I'm grateful for an extra $200 from work! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratutude

July 3 #LukesDOG 33- I'm grateful for time with myself this afternoon and evening to recoup. Introverts need that once in a while. Don't be offended when we need some space from you. We don't dislike you, we just need a recharge! :) I love the people in my life! Good night world. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 4 #LukesDOG 34-No need to wait until the end of the day to determine what to be grateful for. TODAY, I am grateful for this beautiful country I was blessed to be born in; the freedoms, privileges, opportunities, beauties, and for those who gave/give so much to make it all possible. And thanks be to God for inspiring the men we call our Founding Fathers. #ProudToBeAnAmerican #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 5 #LukesDOG 35- TODAY, I am grateful for rides in convertibles with the top down. #Summer #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 6 #LukesDOG 36- WOW! These days are flying by!! TODAY, I am grateful for unexpectedly running into friends this morning at Music and the Spoken Word! And for Sunday evening naps. And for "washing machines and paved roads". #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 7 #LukesDOG 37- This is for YESTERDAY. I was grateful yesterday for beautiful, soft, and relaxing piano music. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 8 #LukesDOG 38- I'm grateful TODAY, for a sweet phone call from my mom this morning, just to wish me a good morning and to say "I love you." #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 9 #LukesDOG 39- TODAY, I am grateful for the natural beauty that is ALL around us! I mean, look at this rainbow! And the clouds! And the mountains! So pretty! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 10 #LukesDOG 40-TODAY, I am grateful for the happiest day! Everything was just grand! Which probably means it was all my own perception and view of the situations in my life. Which probably means that I can do it again tomorrow!! My life is full of wonderful people and things. BTW, I don't watch TV, that eliminates lots of unhappy stuff, and it gives me more time to see and recognize the happy things more. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 11 #LukesDOG 41- I am grateful TODAY for getting some household chores done that had been waiting for my attention. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 12 #LukesDOG 42- TODAY, I am grateful for the heat of the sun. It feels so good on my back. #ILoveSummer #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 13 #LukesDOG 43- I did something today I had never done before, and something else I hardly ever do. I WATCHED MARY POPPINS FOR THE FIRST TIME!!! It was pretty great! AND I baked chocolate chip cookies to eat while watching. I am grateful TODAY for a quiet Sunday evening with myself. :) Time with myself is great once in a while. It has become like spending time with a really good friend. When I treat myself like I am my own best friend, I am likely to do nice things for myself, take better care of myself, and even enjoy time with myself-watching Mary Poppins, and eating chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were bite-size, and I ate six. I stopped when I felt eating one more would put me over for what I was wanting. I was satisfied, and easily put the rest away for another time, maybe I'll get to them haha. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude
July 14 #LukesDOG 44- TODAY, I am grateful for having made a new friend at the gym, and for the great conversation we had. I am also grateful for lunch with another friend; and for the "old" friend I was able to catch up with tonight. I am grateful for my friends, new, old, and those somewhere in the middle. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 15 #LukesDOG 45-TODAY, I am grateful for Superman and Batman, because they're SUPERHEROS!! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 16 #LukesDOG 46- TODAY, I am grateful, again, for friends, and good music. Great time had at The Goo Goo Dolls concert tonight. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude :)

July 17 #LukesDOG 47- TODAY, I am grateful. I can't think of any particular reason tonight. It's just a general feeling of gratitude for my life, and the people, things and opportunities in it. Thank you. #100 #HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 18 #LukesDOG 48-TODAY, I am grateful for the BBQ that work had for lunch. It was tasty. Thanks #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude.

July 19 #LukesDOG 49- TODAY, I am grateful for the nice girl that works in the Verizon store. I've been in a few times, each time she has been so helpful to whomever she was helping. She takes her time to be sure the customer she is with is taken care of. I recommend Verizon if anyone is looking for a cell phone company with both great customer service, and wireless coverage. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 20 #LukesDOG 50!!!!!- TODAY, I'm grateful for the peace that came with the Sabbath, Music and the Spoken Word with a good friend, good church meetings, a calling, bagels, day old cupboard Mac and Cheese haha, AND A COKE WITH MY NAME ON IT!!!! :) #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude thanks!

July 21 #LukesDOG 51-TODAY, I am grateful for a terrific weekend. Watched Saving Mr. Banks since I watched Mary Poppins last weekend. I really liked them both. Lunch with a great friend, leg work out at the gym, tasty smoothie, AND I saved 23% on my car insurance!!!...I mean at Smith's! I didn't buy anything I wasn't already going to buy. What an awesome deal!! Night! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 22 #LukesDOG 52- TODAY, I am grateful for new ideas for improving my workouts, and for great, meaningful conversations over tasty and satisfying Cafe Rio. May seem too good to be true, but it's not. Thanks! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 23 #LukesDOG 53- TODAY, I am grateful for the return of a friend from the East, to the West, and for having helped another friend distinguish the East from the West. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 24 #LukesDOG 54- I'm grateful TODAY for pioneers, past and present. I think everyone is a pioneer in some way. We all face hard times and challenges that test us, and we have a choice, we can push on, believing and having faith that at some future time, the outcome will be worth it. And I believe that it will. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 25 #LukesDOG 55-TODAY, I am grateful for an hour nap after work. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

Juy 26 #LukesDOG 56- TODAY, I am grateful for a good workout at the gym, and for bedtime. YES!! Good night world. :) #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 27 #LukesDOG 57-TODAY, I am grateful for a wonderful Sabbath!! Wouldn't change anything! :) #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

July 28 #LukesDOG 58- TODAY, I am grateful to have a full belly, and for a great weekend! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude Happy birthday Peru!

July 29 #LukesDOG 59- TODAY, I was excited to learn that a friend has a gym membership as of Saturday!!! I love to see people doing good, positive things for themselves!! It just makes me happy for them! Working out, it does a body good, just like milk. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude #1ExcitedDay :)

July 30 #LukesDOG 60- I am always grateful for my mother, but TODAY, I just want to say that she is the nicest, sweetest lady I know! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude #1DayOfRecognition

July 31 #LukesDOG 61- TODAY, I'm sharing gratitude for dad. He has ALWAYS been a very hard worker, doing manual labor starting when he was a teenager. He met his goal of making sure his family never went without. There was always food on the table (from his hunting), clothes on our backs (made by my mom while dad worked so she could be home with us). Camping every year, day trips to Jackson, Wyoming; West Yellowstone; listening to the elk bugle in the fall. Pic-nics in Kilgore, Idaho, horse riding. Thanks dad for your best!!! :) #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude #tbt

August 1 #LukesDOG 62-TODAY, I am grateful for the things I've learned in the past year and a half about God's relationship with me, which is perfect; and my relationship with Him, which is not perfect, but improving as I learn more about His grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, patients, kindness. As I treat myself with these wonderful gifts, I feel them from God too. I am realizing that if I desire to experience grace from God, I can start by being gracious to myself, and others. If I desire to feel God's patience I can start by being patient with myself, and others; same with kindness, love, mercy, and any other Godly attribute. The relationship I have with myself is the relationship I "think" God has with me. There's no limit to God's goodness, it begins with how I treat myself, then how I treat others. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude #ImStartingWithTheManInTheMirror

August 2 #LukesDOG 63-TODAY, I am grateful that work went fast; nice notes from friends; beautiful music; and popcorn (even though I didn't have any today, I'm looking forward to popping some and sprinkling white chedder cheese powder on it tomorrow). #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 3 #LukesDOG 64- TODAY, I am grateful for Music and the Spoken Word, church, fun games, lots of laughs, and white cheddar popcorn! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 4 #LukesDOG 65- TODAY, I am grateful for clean air thanks to the downpour we had this evening; and for clean sheets to crawl into tonight! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 5 #LukesDOG 66- TODAY, I am grateful for time with friends, and for making new friends. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 6 #LukesDOG 67-TODAY, I am grateful for an opportunity to be patient and understanding, and for a cooperative friend. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 7 #LukesDOG 68- TODAY, I am grateful for a workout that keeps on giving, with weak abs tonight, and hopefully some sore abs tomorrow and the next day!!! :) #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 8 #LukesDOG 69-TODAY, I am grateful for, grateful for, music that I like, friends, and another good workout! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 9 #LukesDOG 70-TODAY, I am grateful for the beauty of the temple. The Ogden temple is very cozy inside. That may sound weird, but it's just comfortable and more home-like than other temples that are also beautiful, but larger and less cozy inside. I am also grateful for time with friends at the temple open house and Texas Roadhouse; and time with work friends at karaoke cafe! Bye Bethany Coates!!! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratutude

August 10 #LukesDOG 71- TODAY, I'm grateful for a sacrament talk given by a brother who was authentic, personal, honest, emotional, inspired, and blessed.#100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 11 #LukesDOG 71-TODAY, I am grateful for a day of thinking, pondering, reflecting, feeling, determining, learning; seeking out the positive, lessons to be learned; grace, love, peace. I'm grateful for the run and workout that basically kept me sane (but that may be questionable [Jeff Gray]).  I'm grateful for the long bath after my workout. I'm also grateful for the Arby's dinner that tasted SOOO good tonight. It's been a great day for an introvert! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 12 #LukesDOG 72- TODAY, I'm grateful for the blessing of being able to look for the good in situations, and finding it. Learning from our experiences is a "good" thing. It keeps us out of putting ourselves in the victim role, and allows us to maintain, or take back control, and look for the good. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 13 #LukesDOG 73-TODAY, I'm grateful for lots of things: family, friends, naps, funny things that happened this morning, blessings that come into my life in the form of people and opportunities, peace. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 14 #LukesDOG 74- TODAY, I am grateful for another pass through the Ogden Temple Open House, and Mexican Food after. This time with ward friends. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 15 #LukesDOG 75-TODAY, I am so grateful for the rain we have received this Summer! It's beautiful to go for a hike and see all the different shades of green, breathe the fresh air, see the blue blue sky, and see no sign of dryness or fires. Great hike today up Y Mountain, a first for me. Happy birthday David Thornley! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 16 #LukesDOG 76-I'm grateful TODAY for another great run in the sun. #StillLoveSummer #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 17 #LukesDOG 77-TODAY, I am grateful for a wonderful Sabbath Day. :) Good night world. #EverythingIsAwesome #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 18 #LukesDOG 78-TODAY, I am grateful for communication. Being honest with myself, and others, and listening to another person share their thoughts and feelings is so amazing. Communication is key in all successful relationships. If you are having troubles in any relationship, ask sincere questions, then zip your mouth closed, and open your ears all the way back, and listen to understand from their perspective. Listening doesn't work if you try to understand someone's perspective through the filter of your own life. It's beautiful when new understanding comes because I've taken off my glasses, and put on someone else's. #ListenMoreTalkLess #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 19 #LukesDOG 79 -TODAY, I am grateful to get to bed before midnight. I'm grateful for friends who are extremely thoughtful. I'm grateful to learn again the value of being proactive. I'm grateful I am not a pop/soda drinker. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 20 #LukesDOG 80-I am grateful TODAY to have noticed how extremely clear and fresh the air was this afternoon. The mountains all around, as far as I could see, were clear! No pollution could be seen at all. It was refreshing. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 21 #LukesDOG 81-TODAY, I am grateful that I got 36 more minutes of sleep this morning; I turned off my alarm and went right back to sleep (which I almost never do). I skipped reading, and was late for work, whatever. #AlwaysABrightside #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 22 #LukesDOG 82-TODAY, I'm grateful for a rainy day, an evening of fun with Meghan Skidmore, eating dinner, watching a movie, and eating popcorn! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 23 #LukesDOG 83- TODAY, I'm grateful to have driven past the gas station I use, to see that gas prices have dropped $.06/gallon. Not that 6 cents make a huge difference, but I like the idea of it, and I like to see it. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 24 #LukesDOG 84-TODAY, I am grateful for a really good day, and for having a sense that I am where I am supposed to be, and that I am heading in the right direction. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 25 #LukesDOG 85- I am grateful TODAY for a really great day! Fantastic run, cleaned the bathroom (past due), found something in the trunk of my car I thought I had lost, did some writing, hung out with a good friend. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 26 #LukesDOG 86-TODAY, I am grateful for a nap after work, and for a relaxing evening. #100HappyDays #100DaysOGratitude

August 27 #LukesDOG 87- I am grateful TODAY for a fun evening with the Elder's Quorum...bbqin' bbqin' bbqin'...we all got time fa dat. ;) and Remember the Titans. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 28 #LukesDOG 88-TODAY, I am grateful that I worked out, even though part of me didn't want to. It sure makes a difference when I go...especially when part of me doesn't want to. #DoItAnyway #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 29 #LukesDOG -89, TODAY, I am grateful that the decision to go to the gym was easy. I really wanted to go today. I think the good that I felt after going yesterday ran over into today! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 30 #LukesDOG 90-I am so grateful TODAY for happiness in the lives of people I love. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

August 31 #LukesDOG 91- TODAY, I am grateful for the good people in my life. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

September 1 #LukesDOG 92- I am grateful TODAY for the great lunch I had #(PapaJohns), double pay at work, #(HolidayPay), helping Jeff with his ice bucket challenge #(Brrrr), dinner #(QuesadillasAndNachos), WARM water #(HotTub), a positive phone conversation #(HappyFriend), and the lives of my family, and friends #BLESSINGS #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude #(HashtagOverload) #(NeverAgain) #(Hashtag)

September 2 #LukesDOG 93- TODAY, I am grateful for a warm sunny day, a great evening of more pizza, great conversation, and the movie 'Waking Ned Devine'. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

September 3 #LukesDOG 94- TODAY, I am grateful for the kindness of friends. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

September 4 #LukesDOG 95- I went to the gym tonight, worked out some emotion (great ab workout BTW). I saw myself in the mirror and thought, "that guy looks like he works out regularly". :) I'm grateful for those things TODAY. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

September 5 #LukesDOG 96-It may sound repetitive to hear me be grateful for my workouts so frequently, but my workouts really do stick out as something specific that makes my days better. I know I've said this before, but a workout is something I can do that doesn't require me to worry about anyone, or anything else; it's completely independent, WHICH I LOVE!! And I get results for the effort I put in; no one can take my finished workouts, nor the results I get, away. Only I can take the future workouts away by not going. And I am responsible for that, no one else. TODAY, I am grateful for the AMAZING run I had, and how exercising changes my life. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

September 6 #LukesDOG 97-TODAY, I am grateful for friends; inspiring stake conference; and BeDtImE!!! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

September 7 #LukesDOG 98- I am grateful TODAY for a fun evening of games and amazing waffles from Flipping Waffles, all with friends. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude

September 8 #LukesDOG 99-TODAY, I'm grateful for the anchor that is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I've been thinking/ feeling lately how significant it is to belong to an organization that has standards/principles/doctrines/teachings, which I can hold to for safety and security in a world that is letting go of such things, and offers little safety and security. It helps me feel at ease that an organization I choose to participate in, truly, has my best interest at its center. I love that God knows and loves me. I love that my savior knows, and loves me personally. I love that there is a living prophet on the earth today. I love that he will speak to the world in less than a month. I love that the spirit teaches the truth of all things. I love that I know these things! #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude.

September 9 #LukesDOG 100-TODAY, I have felt a lot of things: joy, anger, fear, belittled (I didn't let myself believe what I was being told, even though it hurt a bit to hear). I felt sadness, love for, and from family and friends, peace. A part from all that, TODAY is the last of the 100 Days Of Gratitude. It's been so much fun to do this!!! It has definitely been good for me, and maybe annoying for some of you, but that doesn't matter. I am grateful for feelings, family, friends, facebook, the opportunity to be grateful, for the small things, and the big things. Sometimes the small things are the biggest things. I am grateful for my life, and the many opportunities it provides to learn and grow. I've learned that there's always something to be grateful for each day. I know I haven't experienced all that life has to offer. There's lots of good; and challenges that lay ahead. I hope to maintain a level head through it all, and to always find something to be grateful for. I am grateful to all who shared in my Days Of Gratitude. If you think I'm weird by now, I don't care, I'll take it. With love, Luke. #100HappyDays #100DaysOfGratitude



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

In the falling leaf, and in a loving smile.

"But behold, the righteous that hearken unto the words of the prophets, and destroy them not, but look forward unto Christ with steadfastness for the signs which are given, notwithstanding all persecution-behold, they are they which shall not perish. But the Son of righteousness shall appear unto them; and he shall heal them, and they shall have peace with him." 2 Nephi 26:8-9

I don't believe there is a "level" of righteousness that must be reached in order to receive the blessings of having Christ appear unto us; be healed by Him; and have peace with Him. I am not saying that He will physically appear unto us, He has appeared to some, and may again according to His will. What I am saying is, as the creator of "the Heavens and Earth, and all things that in them are" (3 Nephi 9:15), Christ appears unto us every single moment...of every single day. He is there, in the very air that is breathed, in the falling of the leaves from the trees, in the ground on which we walk, and in the dirt from which life springs. He is in the warm sun, the source of all energy. He is in the passing of each day as the earth rotates; and in each season as the earth orbits the sun. He is in the cry of a baby, in every kind smile, in every act of kindness, and in every tear. He is there, to hear our prayers, to answer our prayers; to know all our deep feelings. He is there to rejoice with us, to laugh with us, and to cry with us. He is there to hold my hand, and your hand. He is there when we pray, and plead for others. He is our "advocate with the Father...pleading" our case (Doctrine and Covenants 45:3). He is there, as my "friend", and as your "friend" for, "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). He truly sees us as His friends. The moment we recognize His "appear"ance in the fallen leaf, the warmth of the sun, or a loving smile, you will feel His presence, there in your heart, and you will know, that He knows YOU, and that you ARE His friend. Look for His "appear"ance. Let Him heal you. Have peace with Him.

I believe that once we have witnessed His "appear"ance in our lives, been healed even a small amount, and have felt peace with Him, our desire for righteousness and obedience will increase, that His "appear"ance in our lives will increase. This, not due to an increased effort on His part to be more present in our lives, but instead, due to an increased effort on our part to look for Him, and recognize Him, even in the fallen leaf, and in a loving smile. His infinite effort to be present in our lives has already been given in the atonement, the atonement is enough; it encompasses all, otherwise, it would not be an "infinite atonement" (2 Nephi 9:7). It is our recognition of His "appear"ance in our own lives that must increase.

Related Scriptures:
Doctrine and Covenants 110:4
1 John                   2:1
Alma                    34:12
2 Nephi                 25:16
Mormon                   9:11
3 Nephi                  9:15
Ether                    4:7

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Owning the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

I went for a run yesterday. I love to run. Currently, it's something I can do and be successful at independent of anything, or anyone else. After finishing my run, my first thought was, "No one can take that away from me. I ran 6 miles, it cannot, nor will not be undone." I found so much comfort and stability in that fact. I own those miles. Over the course of the past couple years, I have recognized lots of things that I "own". To name a few, there is my mission, my degree, and the two half-marathons I ran. Other items I own, are acts of service, kind words, and smiles.

Owning all of the positive things accomplished, and cementing the fact that they cannot be undone, creates a healthy foundation to build from. It gives an opportunity to see the value we already have. Those cool things accomplished; said; completed, do not, and cannot give value, they simply speak to us, and others of the goodness and worth that is innately already deep within us. Performing an act of service, speaking a kind phrase, and sharing smiles is like giving fertilizer to the goodness seed deep within. It grows a little, we feel it, recognize it, cement it in our being as fact, "I am good, I have value." and do it again. Goodness will sprout like wild-flowers, and feelings of gratitude will enter your soul, when you feel that gratitude, express it. If you believe in God express it to Him, or just throw your hands up and say, "thank you!"

As I take ownership of the good, I also must take ownership of the less good; acts that have not been so serviceable; and words that have not been so kind. Owning all of the "not so serviceable" acts, and the "not so kind" words, is a growing, and also liberating experience. Acceptance is a key to change. It is hard, if not impossible, to change something I am unwilling to accept as my own, as far as personal change goes. If it's not mine, and there's a problem with it, it's not my problem, right? It's OK that I am not perfect. I am going to do things wrong, make mistakes; do or say things that may hurt others or myself. It's a given. I accept that I am not perfect. I also recognize that I must take responsibility/be accountable for the "not so serviceable" acts, and the "not so kind" words, whether they are intentional, or not. I did them, I said them, they are mine, independent of the situation. The end. Accepting imperfection, I take responsibility, liberate myself from being a victim, learn from the experience, make amends, and commit to be better, not perfect, but better. Something else I must own, is that if I did hurt someone in some way, it's not up to me whether they accept my efforts to amend the situation,and ultimately forgive me. I own that I must do my part, and I also own that the other party must do theirs. The outcome may be favorable, or it may be otherwise. Either way, I can now "own" that I have done, or am doing my part. It's OK to give the other person time, be patient and give it to them.

Own the good, the bad, and the ugly, we all have them.

Yesterday is not editable; but we can begin today to write a better tomorrow. 


Life IS Good, isn't it!

Yes, it is! For the past 85 days I have been posting things for which I am grateful on Facebook; things specifically from each day. It has gone by so fast, 15 days remain. I am now accustomed to look for reasons to be grateful each day, what a blessing in my life! There hasn't been a single day go by that I haven't found at least one thing to be grateful for, for that day. It hasn't been about having 100 perfect days, but about finding something to be grateful for each day, independent of what has transpired that day. As #LukesDOG winds down, I have been thinking how much I enjoy purposefully finding something to be grateful for, and sharing it on facebook. While it's been for me, and not anyone else, facebook has allowed me to be accountable for my choice to start #100DaysOfGratitude, and committed to finishing. Not only has it been good for me to participate in #100DaysOfGratitude, others have shared kindly and thoughtfully regarding it. This blog will be a continuation of  #100DaysOfGratitude while I finish, and beyond. Like the gratitude posts on facebook, this blog is mostly for me, as a place to put my thoughts. I just happen to make it available for others to view at their leisure. Blog posts on #GoodLife will include thoughts and ideas, insights, posts on subjects I enjoy, and things I am grateful for. Ready, GO!