Monday, March 17, 2014


Try this experiment.
Using pen and paper, write down three goals. Use full sentences, for example: This week I will train a lion.
Now, write down three things you have on your calendar tomorrow—doctor’s appointment, a trip to the bank, grocery shopping, whatever. Again, be sure and use full sentences. Example: Tomorrow I will catch the train to Walla Walla.

Now carefully consider the difference in your handwriting. Notice anything? Are there spaces between the words of your goals? Did you know that you can tell if someone is lying by their hesitations? According to professional handwriting analysts, the same hiccoughs happen when we write. If you’re lying to yourself, your subconscious knows it and your words will have extra spaces. For example: This week  I   will  train  a  lion. As opposed to: Tomorrow I will catch the train to Walla Walla.
Did the experiment work for you? It totally worked for me. Consider this when making goal, make your goals absolutely realistic—things you know you should do, but, for whatever reason, you aren’t, and things you know you can do.

Years ago my sisters and I attended Education Week at BYU. (If you don’t know what that is,click here). Each morning, we would coordinate which classes we wanted to attend and when we would meet for lunch. Sometimes our schedules matched and sometimes they didn’t and that was okay.
On a whim, I decided to ditch one class and attend another. According to the schedule, the class was based on the Old Testament scripture, Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.

(Want to know why I was taking this class? Because I thought it would be relevant to my current work in progress, Beyond the Pale. I was wrong. )

It was held in the Marriott Center—a conference center with 22,000 seats. I walked in and found my sister sitting directly in front of me. Neither of us had intended to take this class, and it was surprising to find her so easily in such large building filled with thousands of people.

Turns out, the class had little to do with what we had thought and everything to do with the dangers of perfectionism. As we left the building, my sister and I both commented on how disappointed we were in the class as neither of us considered perfectionism something that we struggled with. Just then a very large, noisy bus rumbled by. Plastered on its side were the words “Perfectionism: are you ready?”  (It was an ad for a housing development.) My sister looked at me and said, “I think someone is trying to tell us something.”
It made me reconsider perfectionism and the way it may be holding me back.

I love this poem by Shell Silverstein.  It’s called the Little Blue Engine
The little blue engine looked up at the hill.
His light was weak, his whistle was shrill.
He was tired and small, and the hill was tall,
And his face blushed red as he softly said,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
So he started up with a chug and a strain,
And he puffed and pulled with might and main.
And slowly he climbed, a foot at a time,
And his engine coughed as he whispered soft,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
With a squeak and a creak and a toot and a sigh,
With an extra hope and an extra try,
He would not stop — now he neared the top —
And strong and proud he cried out loud,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!”
He was almost there, when — CRASH! SMASH! BASH!
He slid down and mashed into engine hash
On the rocks below… which goes to show
If the track is tough and the hill is rough,
THINKING you can just ain’t enough!
Shel Silverstein.
It’s important to try. Growth requires stumbling, falling, and getting back up again. To be successful, we need to be patient with ourselves, our blunders and our weaknesses.  We need to remember to counsel with the Lord and not to take counsel from our fears. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to be weak.

Consider a candle, even the brightest flames flicker. We never know how brightly another’s flame can burn or what darkness they are trying to overcome, and I love that we don’t need to know. All we need to do is do our best to shine as brightly as we can.

Even the brightest flame will flicker.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Little House on the Prairie vs Church

When I was 12 I faced a dilemma. For years I LOVED—read and reread— the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  And in my twelfth year the book series was going to become a television series! And here’s the problem—the television show conflicted with our Wednesday night church activity. I had to choose, Little House on the Prairie or church.
To be honest, my parents made that decision for me and I went to church. Looking back, it was a silly dilemma, but it was wrenching at the time. How could I know that for many LOOOONNNGGG years later I could watch my fill of Little House on the Prairie reruns? How could I know that in just three years at age 15 I would consider the TV series hokey and trite? How could a television show even compare to the experiences and relationship I shared with the young women at church?
A realization came to me yesterday while I was at church. (Yes, I still go, even though my mom, the driving force behind my choice between Little House and church, is gone.) Someday, maybe 40 years from now, will I look back at all my book-selling angst with same kind of head-shaking wonder as I now have for my Little House on the Prairie vs. church dilemma? Will I wonder why I watched my books’ rankings rise and fall so often and why I cared so very much? Will I remember the poor reviews and wonder why I let them hurt me?
This poem by William Martin is real life.

And this poem by e.e. cummings is real love and death. And in the end, I don’t think anything else really matters. We live, we love and we die. And if we happen to watch a TV show or sell a few books along the way—that’s nice—but it’s not why we live. We live to love and be loved. Period (or if you happen to e.e.—then no periods at all).
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain