Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Progression and Joy

A poem I wrote today to express my gratitude for this incredible Plan of Happiness that allows us to progress and find joy:

We are that we might have joy.
But there is so much sorrow.
This life isn’t perfect.
I am not perfect.
How can I have joy?

Well, I try.
I try, and sometimes I fail.
But when I fail
I learn
And learning brings joy!

How great is the Plan of our God!
Because of Him
We can learn from our mistakes,
Without being condemned by them.1

God wants us to learn from our own experience
To know the bitter from the sweet
To choose for ourselves
To want to be good.

He wants this for us so badly
That he lets us mess up and hurt each other and hurt ourselves
All so that we can learn
Not just to do good,
But to be good.

1.     1. quote from Bruce C. Hafen

The Bible Dictionary teaches that the Greek work translated as repentance "denotes a change of mind, i.e., a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world." As a former stake president of mine said, "repentance is learning." Anytime I have a realization that changes my perspective and behavior, I consider that repenting.

And in the scriptures, repenting is associated with joy! What else brings us joy? How do we obtain joy? I thought about this years ago and came up with a list that all have something in common.

Gospel living brings joy. Relationships, including children bring joy. Repenting brings joy. Working hard brings joy. Learning and growing brings joy. Serving others brings joy. Being grateful brings joy. 

What do all of these things have in common? I believe joy comes from making sacrifices to be closer to God.

As Elder Nelson said in his recent talk about Joy and Spiritual Survival, "the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives."

We can have joy in any circumstance as we focus on Christ and his gospel.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Afternoon in Anzio

It would be an understatement to say that I can hardly wait to get out of this apartment. Sometimes my heart just aches when we pull into our complex and Elena says, "We're home!" Sometimes when we go outside I have to take my girls somewhere else to play when there are too many young children playing outside with zero adult supervision, making choices I don't want my daughter picking up. Sometimes I get a whiff of fresh air and remember how amazing it feels to be in nature, or to be on land, and how alive and right I feel in that environment.

But sometimes, it's better to just not think about these things. And sometimes I succeed in doing that. I've been praying hard about my unhappiness and have been guided to ways I can find more joy in my life. One thing has been to exercise more intensely and regularly than I have been. Wohoo! It feels awesome. I don't know if weaning Abby has anything to do with it, but I feel strong again.

Another thing I have been doing is working on being in the moment. Right now, the weather is amazing and we need to enjoy being outside as much as we can!

The other day the girls were playing outside and I decided it would be a good afternoon to get out my camera again and practice photography. I seriously have a lot to learn, but it's fun to practice on my girls. These photos do no good just sitting on my computer, and I like to be able to look at all the best ones in one spot, so I am sharing them here on my blog.

Bought myself flowers last week when I was having a bad day. I love flowers on my wood table!!! And carnations were a great choice, they have lasted a long time!

Fun with chalk

My climber