Results of Good Things Photo Hunt

Last week turned out to be a great week. The only problem with my photo hunt was I'd get so busy I'd forget to take a picture. Still, it was fun to be on the look out for beautiful things or good things that happened. Here are a few photos I took.

I took these photos up Payson Canyon. It was such a beautiful day.

I love fall. This is my little boy's pumpkin mobile he made at preschool.
He always reminds me that we have to bring it inside if it rains, very important stuff.

Okay, I couldn't help but take a photo of my scriptures. They really helped me last week when I started to feel overwhelmed and worried.

And finally, birthdays are always something to celebrate! Happy Birthday to my nephew.

A "Good Things" Photo Hunt

I had an idea last night around midnight to find something good, and just for fun, take a picture. I'm no photographer, and my camera's battery meter is always on red when I pull it out. Most of my pictures are sitting in unorganized digital folders waiting to be scrapbooked. (Hmm, ironically it just reminded me of the haphazard collection of boxes in my mother's basement that she plans on scrapbooking someday.... In honor of the photo above, I'll admit the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.)

Anyway, my mind was already wrapped around the project this morning, so I sent my little boy for his shoes. Several great things happened. First, I didn't drop the camera. (Inside I am giving myself a cheer.) If you know me, you know why that is worth celebrating. If you don't, let's just say I once dropped a camera down the steps of a lighthouse. The second thing, it was warm enough to let my bunnies out. They are now happily hopping around in their play yard. Finally, I found lots of cool stuff and took so many pictures, I had to have my little boy pick the one to post. He liked the apples, probably because he was eating one at the time. They tasted really good.

This idea led to another. What if I took one photo of something good everyday for a week? What good things I could find if I were constantly on the look out for a photo? I'll tell you how it worked out next week. Meanwhile, if you get a chance to take your own photo, I'd love to hear about it.

Self Talk

I ended up doing some research last week, trying to flesh out an important character in my Young Adult novel who has down syndrome. What I found was a wealth of amazing people who either have down syndrome, or live with someone who does. As I read their stories, I couldn't help but be up-lifted by their ability to focus on what really mattered. One article especially struck a cord with me, not just because of the author's sister, but also because of what it reminded me about something she called self talk.

Self talk is those moments when you start an internal dialogue with yourself. Many people with down syndrome have this conversation out loud and the author reflected on how much strength these reassuring conversations gave her sister. I thought about times I use self talk and the first thing that came to mind was spinning class.

Sometimes at spinning, I am so tired and I can't believe how slow time goes. I find myself thinking, "Don't look at the clock, it'll only make it worse." Other times I'm surprised by being able to do something I couldn't before. I think something like, "Wow, your legs are getting strong! You can do anything!" Of course I know that's not true, but when you're thirty minutes into a vigorous bike ride and the instructor is yelling, "Give me one hundred percent! Sprint it out!", you learn quickly not to let in any negative self talk.

But my self talk isn't always positive. What about those times when I think things like, "Why on earth did you take up writing? You'll never be any good." or "You've got to be the worst mom. That's the third TV show he's watched today!" As I read this article I realized how often I let in the negative. I know not to think certain things at spinning, the downward spiral is quick and painful. But what about the rest of my life? Is there a similar downward spiral there? How much more could I accomplish if I shut down my negative self talk and replaced it with good?

What would I get done with my writing if I thought things like, "You are smart enough to figure out how to fix this problem. You can do it." What if instead of giving up on myself when I make a mistake, I thought, "This is why there's repentance. Get back up and try again." If I thought "Wow, great job not loosing your patience that time," how much easier would it be to keep my patience the next time? I think maybe I'd be amazed at what I could accomplish.

So what are some of your favorite self talk phrases? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Meanwhile, if you need a little more inspiration, check out this article by Rae Rein "A Sister's Reflection on Self Talk."

Welcome to My Blog

When I was a teenager, my mom started a tradition around Thanksgiving time of writing down things we were grateful for each night. Mom gave us all cute little journals she made on the computer and tall candles in red or white. We would scratch into the wax, leaving a mark for each day until Christmas. To me and my siblings, being able to burn a candle while we wrote sometimes became more important than what we wrote. Despite Mom's efforts, the tradition died as we got older.

Halfway through my freshman year at college, I became depressed. I've struggled with anxiety and depression many times in my life, but finding myself back in that place of darkness and worry made me feel like I had failed somehow. Why couldn't I get over it? I struggled through the final semester hoping that when the stress of tests, projects, and grades had passed, I would find some peace again. But the summer started and the depression didn't leave. As I prayed about how to find the strength to be happy, the memory of Mom's gratitude journals came back.

That summer, I started a list. It wasn't a journal, I didn't even put down the date. I simply wrote a few things every night. An amazing thing happened. As I wrote, I started to see how blessed I really was. I saw the Hand of God everyday in my life. In the mist of depression, I sometimes thought I'd been abandoned, or that what I had to give the world could not be of much worth. But the list changed that. With a gentle and never failing love, He led me through the summer. Happiness came as I noticed the small and simple things that mattered the most in my life.

In the years since, there have been ups and downs of sadness and joy, but whenever I reach a low, I'm reminded to look for the good. Even in the most difficult times, I can always find a multitude of blessings, if I will only look.

This blog is about those things. The things that people are doing everyday to help others, the things that tell us God is mindful of us, the little moments we almost don't see. These things fill me with peace and understanding and I hope they will do that for other people too. We are never alone and as we look for the good, we will be led to the source of all good. We will be led to our Savior.

Here is a video from that inspires me to look for those moments that matter most. I hope you enjoy it.