Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wheaties For Breakfast

Its amazing that one box of cereal had so much success in its day; when I was kid, a bowl of wheaties for breakfast ensured athletic victory. However, as dazzling as the success seemed I always preferred the magical Lucky Charms or the Trix "that was just for kids."

Today, as an adult, I realize why Wheaties--a cereal higher in fiber--is a better choice for breakfast. What one eats in the morning, sets the tone and the mood for the day. For example, yesterday I woke up and ate Mini-Wheats with milk and a fresh peach. I arrived at work motivated to write profiles, study statistics and do anything else necessary.

This morning, was a completely different story. I overslept (first mistake), and then opted for crescent rolls for breakfast (I will not admit how many). Since the flakey-butter fattening bread did not completely fill the tank, I opted for some chocolate pudding. Although it was good at the time, the side effects have made me tired and lazy. Honestly, I feel like curling up like a kitten and sleeping the day away.

Its amazing how choice affects everything in life--even when it comes to breakfast.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Life Is Like a Pearl Necklace

The following story rings true in my life; I think it offers great wisdom.

The Pearl Necklace Story
The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

"Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!"

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face.

"A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents.

On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere--Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"

"Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess--the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favorite."

"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"

"Daddy, you know I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."

"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.

"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"

Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you."

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.

He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.

What are you hanging on to?

--- Author Unknown

It has been my experience that the Lord often requires that we give up what we love the most, so that we can gain something we desire more. Too often we hang onto comfort, familiarity, and ease without giving thought to the tribulation, change and discomfort that bring us closer to Him above. He asks us to give Him our cheap pearl necklaces so that we can experience the real pearl necklace life: one full of true happiness and joy; however, such joy does not come without an abiding trust. Proverbs 3:4-5 says it all.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Modern Day Miracles

A miracle is defined as “an event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God” according to

Miracles happen all around us; most we of them we note are the ones with high press time: a tornado that turned just before it hit a church, or a person who slammed their car into another and survived.

While these miracles are noteworthy of our attention, I love to pay attention to the small miracles that happen every day.

Recently, I traveled to Yukon, Oklahoma to attend the beautiful Oklahoma City Temple. I left work a little early so I could arrive on time; however in my haste to leave I forgot to secure the cap on my water bottle. Soon my backpack became the mini-version of Lake Erie. By the time I figured it out, the contents in my bag including my cell phone were drenched. Although I was frustrated by the whole deal, my mind was on getting to Yukon. So I grabbed my cell phone and got on the road.

Once again, however, my haste proved to be a trial. I didn’t print off the directions to the temple because I figured I could call my friend if I got lost; but when I opened up my cell phone it started speaking Numeric Greek:

8484 # 8329nf
5152 3513 19 08539 0215
58949735 895135

The screen went berserk. It jumped from contacts, to messaging, to my calendar, to the web—it was as if it had a search warrant for itself.

I tried my best to fix it. I pulled the battery out, held it up to the air conditioner in hopes to dry things out; I even slammed it against my steering wheel with the old farmer-fix-it trick. Still, I had no success—Strike One.

My biggest problem with my cell phone breaking is I had no way of contacting my friend in Oklahoma City; I didn’t even have her number, I had no idea where she lived, and I could hardly remember the way temple. I pulled off in Edmond, hoping to find a Verizon Wireless dealer, only to discover they do not exist in Central Oklahoma—Strike Two.

Then I got lost—Strike Three. I must have pulled off the Kilpatrick Turnpike three different times at the wrong exit; and by that time I was ready to Kill-Patrick (whoever he was).
I said a silent prayer in essence of, Heavenly Father I just want to get to Thy House.

Miraculously, the next exit I took was the right one. I pulled into the temple’s parking lot five minutes after my prayer and offered another of gratitude.

However, I still had a problem; I needed to contact my friend. I tried to use my phone again, but when I called her, my phone insisted on talking to her; it wouldn’t stop beeping, so we had no way of communicating. By this time, my screen was fogging up from the moisture captured inside.

Poor Kathleen was getting just as frustrated as I was; she tried calling me from three different phones. Luckily, I was able to find another phone and call her back and explain the situation. After we connected by phone, my second miracle happened.

As I was waiting for Kathleen to come and get me for dinner, I was trying to strategize how I would pay for a new phone. I believed in the blessing of paying my tithing, so I knew the Lord would provide. As I was contemplating, I looked down and the screen on my phone was clear. Curiously, I opened it up and I was able to navigate perfectly from contacts, to messaging to tools. My phone literally just snapped out of it.

Once more, I offered a prayer of gratitude. God had given me two miracles.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Heading to California, But Ending Up in New York

What are you going to be when you grow up?

Good question,

A veternarian when I was little; that was until I saw my dog have puppies, and I lost my lunch.

A school teacher. I believe because of the good influences my teachers had in my life. Who wouldn't want to be the next Mrs. Beck, Mr. White, Ms. Hansen, Mrs. Brotherson and Mr. Black? Yet, somehow that didn't seem to pan out.

The world's next motivational speaker. Who doesn't want to change the world one speech at a time? I spent some time as a FFA State Officer and had the change to fulfill this dream to an extent, but it ended there.

A seminary instructor. I could teach hundreds of youth about the gospel--I opted to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Or, ALL OF THE ABOVE--Agricultural Communicator. A degree that encompasses communication, education and motivation with continuning diversity. That's what I want to be when I grow up.

On a given day as an agricultural communicator, I could be in the fields talking it up with a rancher or a veternarian and the next day headed to a professional development conference on Web development. I can teach fellow colleagues about the latest environmental policy or AP Style trend. Mostly I can motivate others to support local agriculture and rural development.

So you see, I always new I wanted to grow up to be something, and in a matter of fact my field of study lets me do everything; still, how I set out for California and ended up in New York, only the Heavens above know.

And yet, the sky is the limit and in Oklahoma the sky goes on for miles without end.