Thursday, November 1, 2012

Be Grateful - Day #1 - Crayons

November: a month in which we should cram our brains full of blessings, instead of simply stuffing our tummies with turkey, pie and random fruit salads from great Aunt Sally.

Sure, its easy to consider some of our greatest blessings to include knowledge of God, His word and the blessing of family, yet today, I want to start my November by thanking the heavens for something temporal and random, but nonetheless brings joy to my life every week: the gift of Crayons.

While most people are digitally marking up their calendars using iPads, iPhones, iPlanners and whatever other digital device they can get their hands on - I'm reaching deep into my desk drawer like a kindergartener, eager to wrap my hands around the perfect yellow rectangular box that reads: "Crayola 24."

My 24 crayons are my best planner friends - I use yellow to mark spiritual enrichment such as scripture study, church and temple attendance as well as service. Orange, green and blue are used for work - the categories they represent switches frequently :). Pink helps me to make time for me - so that I'll continue to maintain my inner princess, it blocks out time selected for good meals and exercise. While purple reminds me to have fun and connect with friends and family, as well as ride my new best friend: Zee, a 5-year-old thoroughbred mare.

I've been planning with crayons weekly since January of 2011 - after being taught the principle of "spinning plates" or the sometimes impossible task most adults face of trying to maintain a balanced life. True, it seems  as if the world of work is always demanding more time, more ideas, and just MORE. Without an effective time management strategy one finds his/herself surrounded by broken plates: symbolically representing good health, fulfilled dreams and goals, and general happiness.

My finished product looks life this:

Endless appointments, tasks and responsibilities can become rather monotonous. Yet somehow pulling out a a while piece of paper, and strategically coloring in the lines makes life more fun, and more me: random and full of passion and color.

Hence, I am grateful for the gift of crayons, that enables me to enjoy the gift of time.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Dream Called Life

I've been staring at this picture all week. In the doldrum of database decipherment and the monotony of mindless money-making I long to exchange places with myself.

And then my pity party is crashed by the profoundness of a prophet, President Hinckley:

“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise.

Life is like an old time rail journey…delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.” 

Sure all of us would love to spend endless hours on the beach, barefoot in a yellow jacket away from bawling babies, lengthy lists, or mindless managers. But as Julie B. Beck, recently reminded me, "easy" and "stress-free"  living was never the dream.

"The dream is eternal life - and to get there we have to go through an experience: mortality."

Consider the things you learn during monotonous moments. Is it not in these moments we ask some of the deepest questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?

Or ponder the things you learn during from a strenuous scene in your life theater. Is it not during those climatic conflicts that you reach for a higher power, even the God of all our souls, for mercy?

It is in the struggle that we learn and in the opposition that we find the fiber of our soul. 

"Be still and know that I am God."  Be it on the beach, smiling in a yellow jacket, or in an office surrounded by marketing mayhem, we are still progressing towards the dream.