Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Ride of Life

A few weeks ago I headed out to my local trail for a nice 8 mile bike ride. I had been logging in the double digits before, so I figured 8 small miles wouldn't be a big deal.

It was a beautiful late summer afternoon. The weather was perfect, the scenery gorgeous, and one of my favorite songs, 'Sailing Away' by Styx, was blasting in my ears. I felt good, really good.

A few miles into my ride I started getting a big tired. That's when I came upon this in the middle of the trail. written by a chalk angel:

I couldn't help but smile and agree. Yeah, I totally got this!

I began to pedal faster and pushed myself, renewed and refueled by the chalked encouragement. Then I got tired again. It was as though my chalk angel knew what I needed to hear, because as I slowed down, and even considered stopping to take a break, I came across this:

I restarted my 'Sail Away' song and continued strong up the path. I looked down at my speedometer and realized I was riding at my fastest pace ever. The power of words and encouragement!

I didn't see another message from my chalk angel for a few miles, but continued to ride hard. So hard that I lost track of where I was, until I saw this:

Yes! The toughest part of the ride was almost over, and I was about the glide down a large hill--my favorite part of the ride! Then, a half mile from the end of the trail, my chalk angel left me one last message:

 And finish strong I did!

As I drove home my body tingled with the after-work out buzz, but my mind was still on the trail, and life.

Life can seem like a long bike ride. There are uphill climbs and downhill glides, tough corners to turn and straightaways to where we can enjoy the scenery. We have families to raise, church and community responsibilities to take care of, work and all the other things that come with life.

But God is always there, supporting us and cheering us on. Most times, however, He helps us through other people. And most times, the other people have no idea they are helping us. He uses us to help each other--and many times we aren't even aware of it. I'm sure the person who wrote those things on the trail had now idea I'd be biking that day, but the words impacted me nonetheless.

I often to refer to Him as the Great Orchestrator for that very reason. I believe that He is very aware of us, our want, and especially our needs, and is s constantly working on our behalf, coordinating and orchestrating people and opportunities and experiences for us

I believe He puts people and things in our paths to help us along, to offer strength, encouragement, support, guidance, and fun.

We are all here having the ride of our lives. How comforting it is to know that we are not alone, that He is helping us-through each other- to make it through. :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Life is Better When You're Laughing

I love a good laugh, perhaps even more than the next. It could be said that I love laughing too much. Most of my conversations are filled with jokes and witty (well, I'd like to think witty) come backs. I've always believed that life is better when you're laughing. 

I love to laugh and mess around--perhaps too much.

One day, at a writer's conference, a fairly new friend of mine asked what I was working on. I explained to her the idea of my current book--a light-hearted look at the power of perspective, but then went on to tell her I'd love to write books on the Atonement, or the House of Israel and its relationship to us, among a few other ideas.

Me and Tanya, my friend who thinks I'm not smart. Lol. I love her :) 
She seemed taken aback, and stared at me with an open mouth. Then conversation went something like this:

Me: "What's wrong?"

Her: "I didn't realize you were . . . smart." 

Me: "You didn't think I was smart?

Her: "No, I mean,well . . . You're always joking. I just didn't realize you were smart!"

How do you respond to something like that? You laugh! And that's what I did--what we both did!

My friend now knows I'm smart (at least that's what she tells me), but she's always known I love to laugh. 

Laughter truly is the best medicine. It's gotten me through tough times, and made the good times even sweeter.

I believe that God gave us the ability to laugh for our benefit. It's a holy mandate of sorts: "A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine" (Proverbs 17:22). 

According to WebMD (my go-to site for medical questions. Don't laugh.), laughter helps the immune system, blood flow, sleep, and blood sugar levels. Here's another great article about the benefits of laughter. 

Bottom line, laughing is good for you, and it feels good!

So good that pretty much everyone laughs:

It is shared by all ages,





politic party,


breed (sorry, couldn't resist!),

and me.

That's why, chances are, if you've attended a class I'be taught, a presentation I've given, or a something I've written, 9.9% of the time ( more like 99.9%)  you'll find humor. Laughter unlocks the heart and the mind to hear and accept truths and change. Laughter brings people together, and like I said before, it just feels good.

So, if you haven't laughed in a while, give me a call. We can have a good life together because, after all, life is better when you're laughing.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Learn, Do, Be

Learn, Do, Be.

I have an arsenal of favorite words and phrases. These three words that make this one phrase are at the top.

I like them because they are simple and empowering. It is the formula for becoming whatever you want to be.

Say you want to become more charitable. First, you LEARN what charity truly is. You study about it. You meet people who you feel are charitable, or have charity. Your thoughts will be filled with and directed towards the topic of charity. And we know that thoughts lead to action . . .

Then, you DO. You emulate what you've learned. You put your knowledge into action.

In time, your actions will become habit, and change and mold your character. We are what we think and what we do. You will BECOME charitable.

It's a great formula that can work for almost anything. That's the beauty of it!

When I first started writing, I wrote non-fiction. Then, a wonderful editor suggested I take a stab at fiction. I had never written it, but the idea of becoming a fiction writer intrigued me. So, the first thing I did was LEARN all about fiction. I read more books in my genre, I checked out every how-to book in the library and bought them online, I attended retreats and conferences, and talked to real fiction authors. I did all I could to learn the ins and outs.

I started to DO while I was still learning. I began to write a story. I let trusted people critique it. I edited. I pitched it. (I'm still editing and pitching it.)

Then, one day, I remember as clear as day, the moment I BECAME a writer. I was sitting on a swing, talking to my husband on the phone about what I was doing when, for the first time, I felt like a writer. I was a writer. I am am writer.

So, my question to you today is: What do you want to become?

Really. Think about it. What or who do you want to be? Kinder, tougher, optimistic, crafty? Think of what or who you want to be, then follow this formula and be.

Here's the fine print: Obviously if your dream is to be an astronaut, and you're a forty-seven year old man who is afraid of roller coasters . . . well, that probably isn't a realistic goal. So, be sure to choose your BE wisely and within reason. It is good to stretch your imagination- but don't kill it. :)