December 07, 2013

Simple lessons.

I have a friend who went to school with Todd.  She is intelligent, kind and beautiful.  Our lives are different.  She is a single, working lady who bikes, writes books and travels the world.  But, our hearts are similar.

Recently, she wrote me the nicest note.  I've always admired her ability to be concise while I am verbose. (Haha). 

She wrote a list of things she has learned from me.  I think it is more a list of things we've both learned together.  This list makes me smile.  I have thought often about each one.

Children are precious, and important, and worth dedicating your life to. Your dedication to your family astounds me and I admire it more than you can know.
The role of women is to make the world a softer place. Anyone can succeed in the business world; it takes a woman to create a home.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should (or have to). You taught me this one day when you were comparing something you had done adequately to something someone had dedicated significantly more time to. You told me you had better uses for your time than that.
Housework can be fun if you buy the right products. I still think about this when I pass the cleaning aisle.
Women who don’t think you have something to offer as a single person are comparing your life to theirs; they married when they were 20, and so they compare who they were at that age with who you must be.  You told me to cut them some slack, prove them wrong, and move on. 
Successful lives can’t be led by not taking full advantage of agency; they also can’t be led if you refuse to ask for consistent, sincere input from God. Still learning this one.
When your kid does something maddening and stupid, get the camera and take a picture first. You’ll be glad you did.

(She's sweet, huh?!)

I keep thinking of what she said.
I LOVE this one...
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should (or have to).
This is a lesson I have learned so often in my life!
It especially echoes through my brain this month.

Time is one of our most precious commodities.  What we do with our day is just as important as what we don't do.

I have a Spirit which yearns to do more, to be better, to serve greater.
I try hard.  Sometimes I try too hard.

The older I get, the more I appreciate the gentle, purposeful life.
We can take a nap every afternoon.
We can read stories to our children and stay close to our husbands.
We can make time to serve others and connect with friends and family.
We can take time each day to ponder, pray, meditate and commune with the Divine.

If we are too busy than we are too busy.
Choosing less is often harder and more important than doing more.

I hear people complaining about how busy they are- as if they are victims.  Yes, life is full for each of us.  But we have great power to choose!  Let us use that power!  

Don't you marvel at a Lord who says, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn of me.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  

His burden is light... Ours should be light too!
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should (or have to).

God could make our weak things strong.
He can heal our physical bodies.
He can bless us with more money.
Perhaps, if we feel like we don't have energy or time or money to do something, we are trying to do too much.
It is not BEST to do more.
Yes, often LESS is more and more is so much less.

God could have made room for Mary and Joseph in the Inn!
He did not.
Because the stable was better.  Not more- but better.

This is the test of our generation.  
We have so many time savers. We can buy anything, anytime.  Our kids have every opportunity.  Our capacity to do is sometimes greater than our wisdom to discern.

We must be skilled protectors of the gentle, centered life.

When I feel myself pushing too hard against the divinely appointed confines of my life, I try to take a step back.  I like to place my desires on my mental alter. I'll pray, "Father, I want to do this... If this is thy will, help me see how.  And, if it is not, change my will to thine."

Often there will be a peaceful whisper to act now, a heavenly gift placed in my path that I can share with others, or my temporal thirst will be divinely quenched.  

Finding the easy and light yoke is so important.
We will know our life is in harmony with Heaven when we are able to walk forward, pulling a great load, without feeling heavy and discouraged.

Perhaps, if our yoke is digging into our shoulders, it is because we are trying to pull in the wrong direction.  Perhaps, we are not pulling enough.  Perhaps, we are trying to pull faster than our yoke mate.

He carries the whole world and He is not careful or troubled.  Our yoke, with His is light.

Here is one silly example in my life...
I have always struggled a bit with gifts for neighbors and friends.
We have so many we love.
Baking 50 plates of cookies seemed ridiculous and stressful.  (And, I stink at baking cookies.)
We have often given a bottle of sparkling cider or hand soap or a simple Christmas ornament that said we care without taking too much time or money.

This year, I printed off a picture for my friends at church.  I chose a smiling prophet, but could have done an image of Christ or an inspirational quote.  I'm excited because it is an easy inexpensive gift that I would love to receive (so many great images online).  I'm still looking for a frame or nice envelope to put the pictures in...

Our Tully neighbors are new and unfamiliar to us.
I really want them to feel that we know them and that we thought of them.
My Christmas feels quiet this year.  I want to take an afternoon to bake bread, pie, rolls or cinnamon rolls to bring to a few special neighbors.
I'm excited to do this, not heavy and stressed.  
I feel like I'm giving a gift, not meeting an obligation.
How do I keep this feeling?

I love this lesson I'm still learning.. 
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should (or have to).
Life is choosing what you will do with what you are given.
Life is good.

(Yes, my sweet friend can say in one sentance what it takes me paragraphs to explain.  Ha!)
Enjoy this season!!


Sandra Butcher said...

Simple lessons, but not easy. Thanks once again for the reminder. And I very much like the way you phrased this: "I feel like I'm giving a gift, not meeting an obligation." love you

Christine Suldinger said...

Thank you so much for this

Dia Madden said...

I feel like this is a lesson I am meant to keep my focus on, I'm not surprised at all to find you are being used to reenforce it in my life. As always, thank you for sharing your lessons so we can learn with you. I especially like how you point out that even during difficult times in our lives, often the burden doesn't feel heavy. And that is an indication that we are on the right path. Often times God isn't giving us more than we can handle, we are the ones choosing that for ourselves.

Allie said...

Have you read Simplicity Parenting?

It is my favorite parenting book and matches your thinking in so many ways.

I don't you will think it is "another parenting book"!

I had a tender, Holy Ghost moment with a quote from the book. I love it!

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