Monday, September 17, 2012

You Did What at the Eye Doctor?

No allegory here today. Just a moving story about my day.

I got up at 5:30am, read my scriptures for an hour, exercised, showered, got the kids off to school, did my own homework and took my youngest to pick her new glasses- all before 10:30am. I was on a roll!

I got home, cleaned the kitchen/downstairs, did two loads of laundry and helped a friend. My two oldest got home from school around 2:30.  

I then took my older daughter to her optical appointment. I sat in the waiting room feeling good about my day. I had been so productive.  In fact, I hadn't felt that productive in a long time.

I had a nice long chat with the woman at the front desk, then the assistant took us to the back room. We had a lovely chat, too. There are so many nice people in the world, I thought to myself.

Warm fuzzies is what I was feeling. 

Then, Paige looks at me and says: Mom, your shirt is on inside out.

Me: What?

Paige: You're shirts on inside out.

Me (checking the front of my t-shirt): No it's not.

Paige (laughing): It's totally inside out, Mom. Have you been wearing it like that all day?
Me (lying): No.

Paige continued to laugh at me while I check the seams of my sleeves and sure enough- my shirt was inside out. 

I'm pretty sure I blushed. Partly because I was a little embarrassed to have been visiting with people dressed like a kindergardener.  Then there was that other part of me that surprised me. The part that really didn't care.  

But, embarrassment won over the not caring side, and I knew I had to take action - and it had to be quick.

I jumped out of my chair and wedged my foot and rear against the door (remember, I am in an optometrist office- not a physicians office where they knock first). I throw my shirt off.  It catches on my hair, then wraps around my wrist.  I mutter a very clean expletive (oh crap!) as I attempt to quickly untangle it.

Paige whispers in between laughs: Hurry up, Mom. Get your shirt on!

I manage to untwist the shirt from my wrist and turn it right-side out, when I hear footsteps at the door. My arms shot through the air , the one arm hole and then other. I slid the now correctly-oriented shirt over my head and jumped into my seat just as the door opens and the completely oblivious optometrist enters the room. 

I was slightly out of breathe, if that tells you anything.

The doctor asks us how we were doing. We share knowing smiles.

I was fine, I laughed to myself. 

Until I saw what I thought was a security camera in the corner of the room.....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Charity Project - 2

I really need to be careful what I pray for.

Last week I made a goal to find two opportunities to serve outside of my home.  The first one came when a sweet friend was hit, head on, by a drunk driver Tuesday night.  I was able to visit with her in the hospital, and offer some help to the family.

Then, another friend fell and broke five ribs.  I was able to visit her in a different hospital.

I thought I'd pray for more opportunities to serve outside my home this week- but I think I'll hold off on that goal and go for something different!

As I've been studying, pondering and learning about charity this week, I came to two realizations.

1. Charity is a gift. It can only be obtained if it is given to us by Heavenly Father.

2. Charity is the only value that cannot be directly obtained. Meaning- if you want to become patient, you practice being patient. If you want to be kind, you practice being kind. If you want to be giving, you practice giving, etc, etc.  But, you cannot say, "I want to have charity" and practice having charity. You either have it or you don't.  BUT- the way to get it is by practicing all the other valued that are associated with it.  As you practice patience, kindness, understanding, love, etc you will be rewarded with those values, plus Heavenly Father will endow you with charity. That's why the only scripture I could find that talks about charity says that it comes from a pure heart.

Last week I looked up scriptures about charity. Today I looked up some quotes, and these are some that I found.

"Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself...." Marvin J. Ashton

"Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other"  Marvin J. Ashton

“Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith and hope and charity, the three great Christian imperatives so desperately needed in the world today. With such words, spoken under the influence of the Spirit, tears can be dried, hearts can be healed, lives can be elevated, hope can return, confidence can prevail. … May we all rejoice in the thought that when we say edifying, encouraging things unto the least of these, our brethren and sisters and little ones, we say it unto God.” Jeffrey R. Holland

“Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God. A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.”  Joseph Smith

“Too often, charity is extended to another when his actions or conduct are acceptable to us. The exhibition of charity to another must not be dependent on his performance. It should be given because of who we are—not because of how we behave.” H. Burke Peterson

“Never assume that you can make it alone. You need the help of the Lord. Never hesitate to get on your knees in some private place and speak with Him.”  Gordon B. Hinckley

"Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time... Hope in our Heavenly Father's merciful plan of happiness leads to peace, mercy, rejoicing, and gladness. The hope of salvation is like a protective helmet; it is the foundation of our faith and an anchor to our souls."
--Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I love the one below:

"The things we hope for lead us to faith, while the things we hope in lead us to charity. The three qualities faith, hope, and charity working together, grounded on the truth and light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, lead us to abound in good works."
--Dieter F. Uchtdorf

The things we hope FOR lead us to faith, while the things we hope IN lead us to charity.

What exactly does that mean?

The way I see it- the things I hope FOR is that Jesus Christ really is my Savior, that God really is my Father in Heaven, that the Holy Ghost really does testify of truth. I hope that my trials will be dedicated to my benefit and that my prayers will be heard.

The things I hope IN are the principles of faith, love, honesty, patience, service, kindness, laughter, goodness, commitment, sacrifice and so on.

The things that I hope FOR cause me to have faith.

The things that I hope IN allow to me be given charity.

Very cool!

So- my goals for this week:

1. Continue to pray specifically for charity.
2. Do something nice for someone I may not be too fond of.
3. Give up one hour for service (to be determined through prayer during the week.)

I will report next week on how it goes (not that anyone reads this blog other than me! But, it helps me to be accountable, even if it is only to myself!)

Hopefully my pursuit of charity won't include any more hospital visits!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Charity Project- The Beginning

Confession Time:

I taught a lesson the other day in Gospel Principles class at Church on Charity.  The more I studied the lesson, the more I realized how much I need to learn, and how very much I need to improve.

The promises associated with having charity are beautiful, and I want to lay claim to them.  I also want to do all I can to become a better person- the best I can be.  But, Charity is a nebulous topic, a virtue so vast and wide that it is impossible to master, let alone understand, in one day.  Or maybe even a lifetime.

Anything worth having takes work. and I want to work on obtaining charity- becoming a charitable person.

One of my favorite mantras is "Learn, Do, Be." If you want to become something, Learn about it.  Then Do what you've learned. Only then can you become it.  So, I am setting out or Learn and Do, with the hope that someday I will Become.

It's a project I hope that will help soften and heal my heart, that will help me become more patient, kind, loving.  It's a project that I hope will make me happier.

It's The Charity Project.


First, I decided to  Look up Charity on  It's a great resource when looking up topics in the scriptures.

There are 53 scriptures with the word charity in it. This is what I got:

What Charity is: kind, love, patient, the inability to let others around us suffer, a bond of perfectness and peace,  everlasting love, perfect love, pure love of Christ, rejoices in truth, beareth all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

What Charity isn't: envious, arrogant, selfish, easily provoked, evil-thinking, mean, does not esteem himself above others.

What Charity does: Covers a multitude of sins. Allows us to inherit mansions above. With faith and hope, it causes us to abound in good works. Charity edifies us. Brings us closer to the Savior. Qualifies us for the work of the Lord.

How we get Charity: Out of a pure heart, good conscious and faith unfeinged.

Other interesting facts: We are COMMANDED to have charity. IF you don't have Charity you are nothing. It never fails. Charity should be the motivator of our actions. Good actions are empty without Charity. If I could move mountains, prophecy and have all knowledge, if I have not charity I am still nothing. If we have not charity, we might lose our talents and gifts.

Values associated with Charity: Faith, hope, sober, temperate, patience, lowliness in heart, meekness, kindness, knowledge, patience, goodliness, virtue

This verse, in particular, struck me:

Doctrine and Covenants 121:45
45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to thehousehold of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

It provides a very visual picture for me.  Charity is what drives my heart. Virtue drives my thoughts. When my thoughts and my heart are pure, then shall my confidence, testimony and knowledge grow and wax strong. It's a beautiful scriptures.

There is so much to learn, and I will continue my study of charity through the scriptures, teachings of church leaders, good books, etc. But, I cannot wait until I learn everything to start doing.

That's where the "Project" part comes in.

I am an inherently kind and loving person, but I am not filled with charity. I want to be, and it starts with desire.

I wish getting charity was as easy as going to the local store and picking some up; but it isn't.  It's going to be work.  And when I do a job, I like to have order. I like lists and goals, charts and programs (although I lack in consistency and follow-through. Go figure!)  To I'm going to make specific and tangible goals in my life that I hope will help me become more charitable. Some will be small, and some will be bigger- but that's because I have small and big things to work on.

Throughout this process I will be praying specifically for Charity. I will also begin a personal study of the life of my Savior. He was the ultimate example of charity.

One of the fascinating things about charity is that there is not direct path to it. It must be obtained through other values.  As I practice patience, I can gain charity. As I practice service, forgiveness, kindness, love- through all of these things I can obtain charity.

As I obtain charity, these values grow stronger as well.

It is a beautiful circle, a circle that has a beginning.  And that's with me and my choices, my goals. Some of my goals will be big, some smaller, some will make sense, some won't.  Some will be easy, some will be challenging. But I hope they each take me one step closer to becoming more like my Savior, filled with His perfect love.

Along with specific prayer and study, each week I make two specific goals, a value goal, and a service goal:

1. Not being reactive: When I get frustrated with people- kids, spouse, the guy with 25 things in the 12-items-or-less line at the grocery story, or the person that has said hurtful things to me- I am going to take deep breath and count to five before I speak or respond.

2. Service: I prayerfully look for two opportunities to serve in places outside of my home.

I chose to use this blog because writing gives me a sense of accountability. And, for me, when I write something down, my feelings or goals, they become more real to me.  And, it's my blog and I can do what I want. :)

If you'd like to join me, I'd love to have you!  If you already have charity, I'd love to know how you got it!  And, if you think I'm crazy...well, join the club!