Tuesday, August 30, 2011

$3.51 Well Spent

Guess what I'm doing right now.

I'm looking at my Samsung monitor's beautiful, clear picture.

Guess why that's a big deal.

Because three weeks ago my monitor started to die.

It began with a momentary flicker before showing a clear picture when I turned on my computer. Then, each time I turned it on it would flicker on and off  and on and off longer and longer, until last week the picture never came- only the flicker.

It would cost $200 dollars to replace. Not cool.

So, after a bit of sulking, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I did some research and found a number of message boards with people who had the same problems.  Turns out it was bad capacitors.

So above my pay scale.

I am not a techy person.  When I was younger I would slice the phone lines, and I am the one in our home who hooks up the TV/cable/DVD wires, etc, but I have never taken anything apart. But the thought of not spending $200 for another monitor compelled me to continue.

I did more research, and last Friday night I spent an hour taking my monitor apart, down to the circuit boards and found that, indeed, I had 4 bad capacitors. I found a reputable company online and ordered 4 new ones: $3.51 including shipping.

Got 'em in the mail today.

I spent two more hours pulling out the bad capacitors and putting in the new ones (had a bit of technical trouble and person epiphany- I don't deal well when things don't go my way.)  I didn't have a soldering tool- I don't even know what one looks like.  But, I know it's a hot thing, so I plugged in my curling iron and used the tip to solder (I guess that's what it's called) the capacitors onto the circuit board.

I reassembled my monitor and held my breath as I turned it on.

Viola!  No flickering!  A beautiful picture!

I was so excited I called my husband in, who responded with the appropriate awe and praise.  The most I could get from my teenage son, however, was a monotone "cool."  But, I interpreted that to mean, "Oh, Mom, you are SO amazing!  I hope I marry someone half as cool as you!"  I takes less effort to shorten that all into one word: cool- but I knew that's what he meant.

I'm not telling you all this to toot my own horn (ok- maybe just a little.)  But, there is a principle in it that I love:  We are capable of doing so much more than we realize- if we only try.


If you would have told me at the first flicker that I would be the one to fix my monitor, I would have scoffed.  But, yep- I totally did it!

The principle of doing great things doesn't stop at monitors.  It is an eternal principle.  We are told by Paul that with God all things are possible.  Perhaps God wasn't too concerned with my monitor, but he knew that my family could have used that $200 for something else, and I was prayerful as I tried to fix it.

I don't think we give ourselves enough credit.  I have a brother who is so smart, and has such good things to say, but he doesn't want to start a blog or write because he isn't sure how to do it, or if he even could.  So, without trying he just doesn't.

I have another friend who is so crafty and wants to start her own business, but isn't sure if she is capable of doing it. So she doesn't.

There have been many things in my life that I have been unsure of- and even more that I was sure I couldn't do, so I didn't do them.

But, not this day.  I fixed my monitor.  I didn't think I could, but I totally did.  I'm looking at it right now, and it's cool!

I guess my monitor isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but the principle is: I am capable of doing so much more than I realize- if I only try. And from now on, I'm going to be trying a lot more.

That's $3.51 well-spent.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Did it Get Into You?

I have another blog, a daily scripture reading blog, where I read a chapter and share my thoughts, welcoming the thoughts and comments of others. At the end of each post I usually write, "What did you get out of this chapter today?"

It's a common term: "What did you get out of it?" You have probably said it yourself.  But, today at church we had a speaker, a young man, that added a bit more to it.

He asked not only what we "got out of" the gospel and scriptures, but what part "got into" our hearts.

That make a connection within me.  I have always imagined "getting something" out of life- but how much of what I've gotten out of it has gotten into me.

I thought of orange juice.  You can squeeze an orange and get juice.  One might ask, "How much have you gotten out of if?"  and get an answer from a teaspoon to a full cup.  But, if you don't drink the juice, if you don't let it get into you, the effort is in vain. You benefit somewhat from the effort, but you do not receive any nourishment.

We can go through the motions of obedience, faith, reading scriptures and even praying.  We might think we are getting something out of those things.  But, how much of those things getting into us? Are any of those things changing our character, our heart, our soul? Does partaking of any of those things make us better, more full people?

It caused me to take a break and look at my life and my decisions, to look at what I believe in, how I worship and how I act.  I know what I get out of it, but how much of it is getting into me?

I'm pleased to say the answer is: a lot.  But, I am the first to admit that I could do better, open myself up more so that more gets into me, changes me.  So, that's my goal: to not only look at my faith, my family, my life and not only ask, "What do I get out of these things?" but to also ask myself, "What from these things is getting into me."

So, tell me, what did you get out of this post? Did some of this post get into you?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Moment of Truth

I write a lot on my blog about the power that we have withing ourselves to make the right choice.  I write often of faith, strength, perspective and enduring.

Those are all easy things to write about when the sea is calm.  But what about when the storm comes? Is it as easy to say, "Thy will be done?" or "The Lord qualifies those He calls" when the the sea is no longer still?

One day, not too long ago, a storm came into my life.  A big one. All the things that I knew were put to the test: God's will is the best for me; He will give me the strength to do hard things; I can be happy in the middle of struggles; I willingly carry my cross because that is how I become like my Savior.

In the first moments I faltered.  The realization of the terrible storm brought tears of frustration, anger and even resentment. I didn't not want this trial.  I did not sign up for it.  I did not think I could endure it. It was too much to ask.  Can He make it go away?

The moments turned to hours. The tears came and went, then came again. The doubts, frustrations and anger went sent through prayer to heaven with no answer in return.

Then, soon after I had the chance to hear the answer given to me through my good husband: This is our burden to bear, our load to carry. And we are asked to carry it because we can, and we will.  Heavenly Father will give us the knowledge, the patience and the understanding we need to get through it.  There is wisdom in all things- even the painful ones.

I hated that he was right, so I cried a little more. I wanted to fight, I wasn't willing to accept just yet.

Then he bought me chocolate cookies and I stopped crying.

He reminded me of something I would often say, "Just because life is easy doesn't mean it's good, and just because life is hard doesn't mean it's bad." He smiled and said, "We can do hard things, Michelle.  And we can do this."

Then came the moment of truth: the moment where I had to make a choice: The moment I decided how I will respond to the storm.  Will I continue to scream at the wind and the waves as they thrash me about? Or will I put on the protective gear and do my best to steer the boat through the storm? Do I let anger, resentment and frustration take control? Or do I make the choice to believe and do?

In that moment I chose to stop yelling at the waves, and to steer the boat.  Almost immediately I began to feel a little better, a little lighter and a little hopeful.

He bought me a chocolate shake and I began to smile.

I am still in the middle of the storm.  The waves are so tall that I cannot seem to see past them. My boat has been rocked and I feel seasick. I have done an inventory of my abilities and found that I am seemingly unqualified to steer the boat.  But, I know who can see the entire sea, and He is telling me things will be alright.  I choose to believe Him (and my husband.)

And, for the first time, even in the middle of the storm, I feel peace.