Friday, February 17, 2012

Are You Paying Attention?

     As I sat in the Bishop's office for the appointment my husband and I had scheduled, I explained to him our situation and that we needed his advice.  The decision my husband and I had come to were different.  I had mixed feelings about what we wanted to do, my husband was all for it, and my daughter who was also involved in the decision was extremely indifferent about the whole thing.  To this end, I was stressed and frustrated.
     Finally after booing and venting and weighing the pros and cons to the Bishop, he looked at me and said that all he was hearing were the pros and cons.  He had not heard anything spiritual and that what the Lord was doing for me was giving me things to think about and then pray about them.  Then at one point point I told him with tears in my eyes that I felt so empty, that I did not feel the Spirit like I had in the beginning and did not know why.  I was doing better at reading my scriptures daily,  was even doing better at personal prayer, was paying my tithing and fast offering; trying hard to do all the things I was supposed to be doing.  I still felt empty and alone.  What was wrong?  The Bishop looked me in the eyes and asked me, "What are you doing differently now that you weren't doing then"?  I hadn't really thought about it that way, so couldn't really give him an answer.  With that, he did give me the advice I was seeking and I agreed to follow his council.
     My husband who hadn't been feeling well was sitting in the foyer.  The Bishop was concerned because my husband was having trouble with his leg and was in a lot of pain.  He had one of his counselors and one of his clerks take John to the emergency room.  It was discovered that he had severe cellulitis in his legs, but at the same time was having extreme difficulty breathing.  He was admitted to the hospital and was there for 4 days.  It was during this period of time that I had more time to reflect on what the Bishop had asked me in his office.  "What are you doing differently now that you weren't doing then"? 
     As I was sitting in my recliner at home during the days I was alone and waiting for a ride to the hospital, I began to notice that I was watching an awful lot of TV.  Some of the programs I was watching I thought were okay until I began to notice a pattern.  Although they were food channels that I enjoyed watching, they were also programs that included the terms "Infrequent Coarse Language", "Strong Coarse Language", "Reality", "TV14", etc.  These were programs with ratings that I wouldn't allow the children to watch and here I was watching that which I would not allow them to watch.  Here in play, was the double standard.  Once I realized this, I began changing my watching habits.  It hasn't been easy because the cooking programs are my favorites.  The only ones I watch now are on the family channels.  We are never really aware of what we are doing sometimes if we aren't paying close attention. 
     Per Sam Horn, “In the final analysis, the quality of our life depends on our ability to consciously choose who and what we give our thoughts, interests moments and emotions to.”        Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency said,
"Strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light. It comes from placing our attention and efforts on the basics of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most."       Now I am trying to make a more concerted effort to watch only what I would allow the children to watch, read more uplifting material and pray more often.  I have felt more calm and less stressed.  I have also determined that I am not going to allow others to push my buttons. so to speak and ruin the spirit that I have strived to keep all day. 
     Let us remember that "it comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most".     

Monday, February 6, 2012

Box of Colors

     Today I had the wonderful opportunity of spending one on one time with Anai my three year old granddaughter.  Scott, Luis and Penelope were all in school and my oldest daughter Marina and my dear husband John had taken dear, sweet Emileigh to the doctor for a follow-up visit in regards to her pneumonia.  That left me with Anai.  Something that is rare.  I generally have two of the five of my grandchildren.
     Anai and I started out watching Dora the Explorer and then she disappeared for a few minutes.  I looked up to see Anai come into the bedroom lugging her new manicure box full of nail polishes, a nail file and pedi-pads.  She wanted to paint nails.   SHE is the operative word here.
     "Yes Anai."
     "Can I paint your nails?"
     Thinking about this a minute, I saw the expectant look on her cute little face and couldn't pass up "a making memories" moment. It turned out to be a " memories" moment for both of us and a sharing time that made me stop and think again about choices and changes.
     As I looked at her face, I couldn't resist.  I smiled at her and said,  "Sure."
So the process of nail polishing began.
      Anai looked at one of the many colors of polish that came in her little kit.  Finally looking at me, she held up a shade of light pink.
     "I like this one."
     "Give me you hand."
     I laid my left hand on the arm of the chair I was sitting in and she began to carefully paint my nails and fingers.  Finishing this hand, she asked for my other hand.  As I laid it on the arm of the chair, she decided that she didn't like the pink polish anymore.  She reached into the manicure kit and pulled out a neon green and informed me that my right hand was going to be green.  I'm a grandma, what was I going to say?  So now I have one hand polished pink and one polished neon green.
    It doesn't end there.  Now she wanted to polish my toes.  As she sits on the floor to meticulously polish my toes, she once again chooses light pink and begins to polish.   Looking at what she has done, she is not satisfied with it.  She reaches into the box, pulls out another color and polished another toe.  She is still not satisfied.    All the while she is mumbling to herself that " it doesn't work" one toe after the other.  Finally when I have multi-colored toe nails, she is done.
     Out of necessity, I need to get up.  As I start to walk out of the room, she runs after me.
     "Wait grandma, wait.  Something doesn't look right."
      As I stop, she pulls yet another color out of her little kit and repairs one of my toes.  Now she is satisfied.  She puts her polishes in her box, closes and locks the lids and walks off.
     When I come back and sit down, she brings me the nail buffer and wants to buff my nails.  She informs me that this will get all the bad stuff off.
      These simple little things done in play made me stop and think again about the choices and changes we make from day to day in our lives.
       The changing of the numerous nail polishes reminded me of the many choices we have every day. Anai changing from one color to the other reminded me of how once we make a choice, we have the option of choosing to change that choice for good or bad, not once, but many times because "something doesn't look right."
The nail buffer reminded me that through the process of repentance, prayer and renewing our baptismal covenant,  by taking the sacrament each week, we can remove "the bad stuff" and start over again.
     I am always amazed at the little things in life that remind me of the bigger picture in life.
"And a little child shall lead them".