Sunday, January 31, 2016

4:1 and Generous Thoughts

As I embarked on this year of living generously, I knew that the first place I wanted to start was my thoughts. I made a riff off of the scripture in Matthew "for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21). I wanted me thoughts and the feelings of my heart to be congruent. I wanted "for where my thoughts are,there will my heart be also".

This took a bit of work. I tried hard to follow the advice from Camilla Kimball, but first I had to allow generous thoughts to bubble up to the surface. As I've shared, my typical reaction is a glass half-empty response. Overcoming that first, natural reaction was (and is) a challenge. But I was determined to learn to be generous in my thinking.

One tactic I employed was to state 4 positives for every negative thought/reaction, a 4:1 ratio. I originally started with a 10:1 ratio, but that was a bit too aggressive for me so I backed off because I was getting frustrated and down on myself with the whole thing. What I learned, though, was that as I began to state positives first, the more positives I saw. Yay!

Another lesson angry confrontations, when I try to be generous in my thinking, I can often see past the angry words. This has allowed me to have deeper conversations with better resolutions to problems. And as a result, often the relationship is strengthened because I have tried to be generous.

This year is going to be great!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Year for Giving and Growing

Generosity must be fearless,
because to give freely,
is a mighty vulnerable thing
I don't know who to attribute that quote to other than give a shout-out to Pinterest.
This idea that "generosity must be fearless" resonated with me
I thought it was a confirmation that I had picked the right focus word.
And then I read
"Because to give freely, is a might vulnerable thing."
I consider myself to be pretty fearless.
I don't particularly enjoy activities that might lead to say...
a shark encounter
careening down a mountain
potential death
But I will usually participate if it doesn't appear that death is imminent.
But I really don't like activities that leave me feeling not in control.
It is harder for me to participate in things where I cannot be in control.
I think that is what makes me uncomfortable with the second half of the quote.
I can give freely
But I have absolutely no control over how the gift is received.
That leaves me open to two of my biggest fears...
But I am going to move forward
Dauntless in my efforts to be
Give freely
I will choose the positive

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016's Focus Word Is...

According to Facebook it should be

But I am choosing

I chose generous as a way to hold myself accountable to a commitment I made to  myself as we were working to pay off the house. That commitment was to give more, be more generous, once our house was paid off. Well, we sent in the final mortgage payment in September and now I really need to be intentional about giving more.

So that was the original reason I decided to have generous as my focus word, but as I started thinking/planning on how to implement generous behavior I realized that there were other ways besides monetary donations that I needed to be more generous.

I need to be more generous in my judgments of others. I'm doing better at this, but there is always room for improvement. I can still do better in giving the benefit of the doubt to others. I can be more generous in recognizing other's efforts in doing the best they can.

In line with being more generous in my judgments is being more generous with extending forgiveness. I think I'm pretty good at extending forgiveness, but that's only if the person apologizes. I know it is petty and unproductive to hold a grudge, but I do if I feel like I have been wronged and the offending party doesn't apologize. This next year I'm going to focus on being generous with forgiveness and moving past previous hurts, insults, and wrongs.

Generous in my judgments and generous in do both I will need to be more generous in accessing the Atonement and applying it in my life. In a talk from Elder Klebingat, he states, "Because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is very practical, you should apply it generously 24/7, for it never runs out." As I reach for Christ and apply his Atonement, He will extend His grace to me. Grace is God's enabling power, a power that will help me overcome my weaknesses of harsh judgments and grudge-holding.

As I was studying about generosity, I stumbled across a devotional address given at BYU by an economist, Arthur Brooks. He was discussing the topic of giving and why it matters. I learned many things from reading this speech, but my take-away lesson was that being generous begets happiness.

So what do you know...

Facebook was right after all!

Looking forward to a generous, prosperous, HAPPY new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sometimes I Just Have to Say...

That I am darn proud of my kids.

Both of them have had some setbacks that have altered the paths that they originally were on. It wasn't easy for either one of them to embrace the changes. As a parent, it wasn't easy to watch each of them struggle with accepting the new path.


After the initial frustration, mourning, and all the other emotions that come with accepting change, these two demonstrated remarkable resiliency as they moved forward. I am so proud to be their mom and watch them grow and accept that sometimes life throws up roadblocks that force you onto a different path.

I won't embarrass them by sharing any more that what I have shared. I just want them both to know that I am proud of them.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Letter 2015

We got the Christmas cards out today. At first there wasn't going to be a Christmas letter. But for some reason, that was a tradition that I just couldn't let go.

If we missed sending you a letter this year, I apologize. Send us your address and I'll make sure to get you on our list for next year.

Trying so hard to make sure Dave's hair is just right
These are the pictures we included on our Christmas letter.

Yeah, getting a good selfie with this crew is a challenge
Finally, a picture that will work!

And now, for the Christmas letter...

Merry Christmas 2015!
We hope all is well with you and yours. This year was a “shake-up” year for our family.

David decided that he wanted to spend more time pursuing his passion of fishing and hunting. He convinced Heather that this would be doable because he would work as a guide. It was hard work and he discovered that he didn’t get to do as much fishing and hunting as he wanted because customers expect you to get their rods ready, help them find the right spot to throw the fly, carefully stalk the wild game, etc.

Heather had an almost- change in employment. For years (ever since her trip to San Antonio), she has talked about opening her own BBQ rib joint. She wasn’t quite ready to go all-in so she decided to do things on a smaller scale, opting to do private parties. Next year she’s thinking about maybe trying to go a bit bigger and operate a food truck at local farmer’s markets and maybe even Pig Out in the Park.

Katelyn returned home from her mission at the end of August. She was looking forward to heading back down to BYU-I, but she just couldn’t let go of the dream of an internship with Disney. Unfortunately, she missed the application deadline for that so decided to take the plunge and try her hand at acting in the big city.

Carson is the one who had the least amount of change. He finished up his wrestling career with North Idaho College and continues his studies there. In his spare time, he has decided to train for the UFC. He is hoping to get some local fights on his schedule.

Ok, just kidding. It wasn’t really a “shake-up” year for us. Matter of fact, it’s just us doing what we always do.

Dave continues to love hunting and fishing. He would never be a hunting/fishing guide. It would kill him to have to share his favorite, secret spots with clients. He also continues to work at Advanced Input systems as a project manager.

Heather really does dream of opening a BBQ joint, but Dave isn’t on board with the idea. He says, “You don’t cook for me. Why should you go cook for other people?” Heather’s response is, “You would be guaranteed a home-cooked meal every night. It just wouldn’t be at home.” In the meantime, she continues to run, work as a school nurse, serve on the planning commission for our city, and NOT cook for David (at least not nightly, but usually on Sunday and two other weeknights.)

Katelyn hasn’t ruled out the Disney internship, but until she can apply for that, she has enrolled in Spokane Community College and hopes to be accepted into the x-ray technology program. Sadly, BYU-I did not offer an x-ray technology program.

Carson did finish up his wrestling career at NIC, but UFC is NOT in his future. Carson hasn’t quite finished up his studies at NIC, hopefully this spring. Then it will be on to university to get a bachelor’s degree in…?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

You Pick the Title for this Post

  • Two-income family, middle-class problems
  • Mean mom
  • Public transit fail
Two-income,middle-class problems

We have been a two-income, middle-class family pretty much since the kids were in early elementary school. Dave and I did our best not to flaunt our money, or even really let the kids know how much we made. What we emphasized was hard work, carefully examining the necessity of a purchase, and then saving to pay cash for purchases. Those purchases included anything from school supplies to school clothes to cars. If we couldn't pay cash, chances are we didn't buy it. As the kids grew and wanted their own money, we encouraged them to get their own jobs. Dave and I had anticipated them eventually wanting/needing their own car to get to work. So we saved, asked each child to contribute some money, and purchased each child a car. What we missed was giving them an opportunity to learn about alternate forms of transportation, such as the public transit system. Honestly, I never thought about teaching them about riding the bus, mostly because we always had working cars and didn't need to learn about the bus.

Mean mom

We sold Katelyn's car when she was out on her mission. We told her when she returned we would help her purchase a new car. We had over a year to save and figured it wouldn't be too much of burden to fulfill this promise. Unfortunately, there was a car mishap back in May that required us to use up the funds in our car account. So Katelyn returned from her mission, got herself a job and we told her she would have to figure out the public transit system. OH. MY. HECK! That solution to the no-car problem seemed reasonable to me, but sent Katelyn into a full-blown meltdown. She pretty much freaked out because she would have to ride the bus. The HORROR!

Now, realizing that I had a "mom fail" by not teaching the kids earlier about how to ride the bus, I didn't leave her to figure it out all by herself. I helped her access the STA website and find out what route she needed to follow. We found a picture of the fare box so she knew how to pay her fare. We found out about transfer passes so she didn't pay the fare every time she transferred buses. I pointed out the bus stop so she knew where she needed to catch the bus. I tried my best to fix the earlier fail and help make this a doable experience. And then I told her that riding the bus was just going to be how it is until there were enough funds saved to purchase a car. No amount of tears and hyperventilating was going to change the fact that she would need to figure out how to ride the bus.

Public Transit Fail

So yesterday was the day. Her bus stop was right outside the middle school so I arranged my schedule so she could drive to the middle school, drop off the car, and go catch the  bus. That part of the plan went just as planned. She got to the middle school in plenty of time, made it out to the bus, and made it through her first transfer.

And then this...

The second bus was supposed to make a stop at Argonne village (a half mile from her work). She sent me a text asking if there was another bus she needed to take because this one only stopped at Argonne and Trent. I said not according to the routes. I asked her if she showed the route map to the driver. She said the driver said the only stop was a Trent and Argonne. I asked if she was on Bus 32. She said yep. I texted her back to ask the driver again. It was a no go.


 I told her to get off at the Trent and Argonne stop and I would come get her. That stop was over a mile away from her job and she didn't have enough time to cover that much distance. I picked her up and got her to work just in the nick of time. As we were driving by where the bus was supposed to stop, she said that she even pulled the bell to notify the driver that she was getting off there, but the driver wouldn't stop.

I did notify STA about the driver not stopping and they wrote up the incident. Hopefully the driver will figure out the proper stops by Tuesday; that is Katelyn's next trip to work on the STA.

Good news was that today was her first time riding the bus home and it was a success! (Her dad felt bad that she had such a bad experience going to work that he picked her up from work yesterday.)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Snuggle Up a Little Closer

Tuesday the wind blew harder than I have ever seen.
Trees were uprooted.
Power lines and substations were knocked out.
I was even hit on the head by a small pinecone missile as I walked across the parking lot.
I am always in awe of the damage that acts of nature can inflict.
We were left to languish in the dark for 48 hours.
Worse things could have happened.
We could have lost a fence
But we didn't.
We could have lost much of our roof.
We lost six shingles.
We could have had been left completely without heat and water.
But we have a gas fireplace and water heater.
We could have been hungry.
But we had food in the cupboard
And we had the means to eat out as well.
We were blessed and watched over.
During this time, we snuggled together
as a family
under a huge pile of blankets
in front of the fireplace.
As I see reports from across our city, my heart is filled
with gratitude and a desire to do more.
And as I watch the world news, I want to snuggle may family
just a little bit more and hold them a little closer.