‘As a man thinketh’

My two year old Mya always sleeps with me now, we look at the same picture of mommy before going to sleep. Three nights ago as we looked at the picture I focused on the background; it was taken at the Dinosaur Park in Ogden, a place we went often. Looking at the picture and the background I was forcefully transported into the moments we shared their, at the dinosaur park with Kathy. When I moved into those past moments I was filled with pure agony and disbelief she is gone. Tears flow and breathe dissapates as you go through grief; pure agony, it can feel more powerful than ever… This is progress because it is the lack of frequency in feeling these emotions that makes them feel more intense. I can look back on my now more than 400 pages of thoughts since the time Kathy’s cancer first came back and I can see I am in a better place than before… Two nights ago I ate something before bed that made me feel very neasueas. My little Mya fell asleep at 8pm but unexpectedly woke up at 930pm right as I was going to bed, she thought she had taken a nap and was now ready to stay up for a long period of time. I felt more and more ill. The bacon I ate was trying to come back up but I did not feel up to letting it out. I got up many times to get Mya different things that she was requesting, more milk, an apple, a banana, another apple. Always trying to not puke as I walked. She would kick, and hit my tummy as I lay there in bed. As 1am approached and Mya still awake I remember thinking ‘I don’t want to be here, I want to be done, I want to go be with Kathy’… This again is progress because I am now having harder moments and easier moments, there is no hard nor easy moments in the beginning and for quite awhile, it is all the same… I have had an increasing desire, an itch, for a change of sceneary. I desire for a vacation. A long vacation. A need to get out of here, and experience something new, get out of the routine, get out of the state the country. Go somewhere unknown… This is progress. No vacation; no matter the location or duration had any appeal before. Seriously, none whatsoever. Now however, it is starting to actually sound fun. An ability to enjoy is trickling back. I would rather be itching to get out of Dodge than be so miserable that I don’t care where I am, totally unresponsive to the circumstances about me… I have a growing need to connect with others. To not feel so lonely. And that too is progress. No number of people or lack of, was very meaningful to me at first, I slowly am becoming more responsive… I do not feel like things will become okay, but I believe they will, I even could say I know they will. I notice with someone that has a rough childhood or marriage or whatever, it is easy for them to never get over it. They could become so strong if they could overcome the negative ill effects of what they experienced. I feel I am against this challenge as well. The challenge to endure well. This is different than merely enduring. Merely enduring does not lead to growth rather can lead to the dissolution of character. In enduring well our enemy and allie is the power of thought. I have seen estimates that people have between 5000 to 8000 thoughts per day. If these were bricks, consider the magnitued of the dungeon you can build around your heart and mind during the course of a year. Conversly, consider the palace and sanctuary you can build for your soul if you can control your thoughts. No principle of life was more constatnly emphasized by the Great Teacher than the necessity of right thinking. To him, the man was not what he appeared to be outwardly, nor what he professed to be by his words: what the man thought determined in all cases what the man was. ‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he’. To him the deadly sins were wrong ideas, motives, and feelings. That thought in all cases determines the man’s right to happiness or his condemnation for sin. Right thoughts and feelings, if persistenlty kept in the forefront, inevitably lead to right acts. Only those whoes hearts are sincere, and whose thoughts are high and noble can influence others to seek to attain high ideals. Contentment, peace, or all that makes life worth living have their source in the mind of the individual. From the same source spring unrest, turbulency, misery. People are influenced and moved to action more by what they think other people think than by what they think themselves. When we do what we know is wrong, whether found out or not, all such pay the penality of sin and of indiscretion. The intent that precedes the act leaves its indelible impression upon the character. In the end we all can pause frequently and take stock of ourselves to ascertain what are we thinking about when we don’t have to think, for what we thinketh in our heart so are we; built brick by brick, 5000 bricks a day, one million eight hundred and twenty five thousand bricks a year. It is obvious, if we are wanting things to change, change our thoughts; the actions will follow, change our thoughts and our castle, our life, our soul, our eternal destiny, will build itself.

 

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Building a New Life

How can I enjoy life? What do I even find fun? Is there anything that seems exciting?     I am not the only one to ask these questions. Just last night in visiting a family dealing with a signficant health challenge for one of their children; both parents struggled to answer the question ‘What do you do for fun?’ They work; they take care of their delicate child along with their other children. Life revolves around survival. Yes if our primary aim in life is pleasure we will ever be unsatisfied but if we are merely existing and surviving life will be drugdery. Even without some significant trial in our life the dominant thought in most men’s minds is how to make a living. Coming into this New Year my gaze was upon the horizon of fun, I knew I needed to create some excitement for me and my children. The great settler of the western united states, a man that understood work and achievement; Brigham Young, had a philosophy of 8 hours sleep, 8 hours work, 8 hours recreation. What? 8 hours recreation, maybe for some… but for a Mother; it is not possible! Still, this philosophy worked for a people that built a city from the ground up and paved it with people of hearts of gold… A British study I have thought of lately, in looking at one of their premier schools of music; compared the practice habits of average violinists with those that became elite. Both practiced around 50 hours a week, but those that became elite spent two thirds more time in delieberate practice; that is, they focused the bulk of their practice on working on skills just above their skill level; truly they worked hard; that is with a high level of mental focus. But there is a reason for this stamina of focus. The average violinists practiced the violin all day long and described themeselves as exhausted and with no time for leisure activity. And yet the elite violinst that practiced the same amount of time claimed to have abundnat leisure activity because they had clear delineated breaks between work and recreation. Specifically they practiced around 3.5 hours before taking a break, and then they practiced 3.5 hours more before being done for the rest of the day… I don’t know how this translates to the endless tasks of parents and especially Mothers but combing both insights is very interesting. Brigham Young’s conception of recreational activity was active, building, never passive, never idle, and never lazy. The common outlet of media would not constitute recreational activity it would not renew and build the person. A combination of long hours with no recreation and plenty of media can leave us like the average violin player; tired, exhausted, burnt out, and not accomplishing much. As overworked as we feel, we need to look at the ‘work’ we do, can it be better and harder and more productive. And then we need to look at the recreation we do, can it be building and active and renewing and most importantly can there be more of it? Can we create in our minds the dlineation of what is work and what is play. Is reading to our children work, or play? Until we learn to work hard and learn to play hard ‘recreate’ then work and play will all become drudgery and exhaustion a state of survival with which I am all too familiar. Will you think upon how you can incorporate this into your daily life? I personally need some more recreation in order for my work to become more productive but each of us can be guided as to how to make a more productive and rewarding life for our self… I have cried a few times this week and it has been painful to put into my heart the idea that my old life is over and that I am now building a new life, a life without Kathy, a life that does not seem like it will ever pale in comparison to the life I had before, and yet I must believe it will be just as great; actually I have to believe the best is yet to come; no matter how I feel inside my experience has taught me that if we endure well the bitter, we will know a new level of sweet. Maybe I am not alone here. Maybe more than a few of us need to build a new life, one that is both more productive and far more exciting.

Fall 2015

Fall 2015

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The Catching of a Spiritual Wave

 

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The Junk Food Whisperer

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Discarding Last Years Burdens

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Sibling Rivalry!

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Glimpsing Motherhood!

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Being like Mommy!

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How it Feels to live a year without Kathy

 

I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things. 1 Nephi 11:17

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Year!

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Family releasing balloons in memory of Kathy and Luke.

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Writing letters to send to Mommy.

Writing letters to send to Mommy.

Watching letters float up to Kathy

Watching letters float up to Kathy

 

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