“Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny”

Charles Reade

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 29- as simple as a choice

I am the youngest of the three girls in my family. Many years ago when my oldest children were very young, I took a trip with the second older sister, Denise, and her children to visit our oldest sister, Bonnie. We traveled with a van full of noisy children from Richmond, Virginia to Atlanta, Georgia. You could say the trip was a little ruff on our nerves. I don’t remember any specifics of what happened on the trip, but I remember well the feelings. I had become hurt and upset over something. Matters seemed to get worse after we reached our destination.

The first day Bonnie wanted us to take the children on an outing that she had been planning. I simply could not shake my bad feelings and be with the Denise and her children another minute. I tried to explain my feelings to Bonnie of why I couldn’t go. She looked at me squarely and said “ can’t you just forgive her?” The statement shocked me and the idea that I could simply forgive her hit me like a ton of bricks. Although my selfish and proud thoughts did not allow me to let it go that quickly, the lesson never left me that it can be as simple as a choice.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

day 28- Forgive

I have been using the LDS twelve step program as a guide because I see my negative thinking as an addiction . I find the steps meaningful and useful in overcoming my habit of thinking that turns into bad behavior.

When I read these excerpts, like the one I’m sharing today, I reflect on the way it applies to my negative thinking, and subsequent bad behavior, remembering “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he’ Prov. 23:7

From the LDS twelve step program:

Step 8


Before we could rebuild relationships, we needed to

identify the relationships that were damaged. We began

to list people we had harmed, but many of us found we

could not list these people without being distracted by

feelings of resentment toward those who had harmed

us. We honestly confessed our negative feelings to the

Lord. In response, He showed us that we faced the

same decision as the man in the parable who, having

been forgiven of all his debts, needed to forgive others.

We could almost hear the Lord say to us, “I forgave thee

all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not

thou also have . . . compassion on thy fellowservant,

even as I had pity on thee?” (Matthew 18:32–33).

If you find yourself facing this problem, you may

need to do as many of us have done. Before you make a

list of people from whom you need to seek forgiveness,

first list those people you need to forgive. Don’t be surprised

if some names appear on both lists. People often

get caught in terrible cycles of exchanging hurts with

others. To break these cycles of mutual resentment,

someone has to be willing to forgive.

As we prayed for help to forgive others—even if it

felt insincere at first—we were eventually blessed with

a miraculous sense of compassion. Even in extreme

situations, people who have taken this approach have

received the ability to forgive far beyond themselves.

One sister spent several weeks writing about her childhood

and praying for her abusive father. She testifies

with joy that the Savior has relieved her of her negative,

painful feelings toward her father. In making a similar

effort, we have learned that by making a thorough

inventory of our resentments and acknowledging them

to the Savior, we finally ceased to be victims of those

who hurt us. Once we honestly attempted to let go of

offenses toward us, we found we were able to finish

our lists of those we hoped would forgive us.

As you reach this point and begin your list, you

should pray for guidance from the Lord. These guidelines

may help. Ask yourself, “Is there anyone in my life,

past or present, who I feel embarrassed, uncomfortable,

or ashamed around?” Write down their names, and resist

the temptation to justify your feelings or excuse your

negative actions toward them. Include those you meant

to hurt, of course, and also those you did not intend to

hurt. Include those who have passed away and those

you have no idea how to contact. You will deal with

these special cases when you take step 9. For now, as

you work through step 8, focus on your willingness to

be rigorous and unrelenting in your honesty.

To be thorough, look for things you neglected to do

or things you left undone that hurt others. Don’t leave

out little things. Think honestly about the harm you

caused others as you indulged in your addiction, even

if you were not aggressive toward them. Admit the harm

you did to loved ones and friends by being irresponsible,

irritable, critical, impatient, and dishonorable. Look for

anything large or small that added to another person’s

burdens or that saddened or challenged someone.

Look for lies you told or promises you broke and ways you

manipulated or used others. List everyone who was

affected. You may find your step 4 inventory a useful

guide in this process.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 25

Self Talk:

Don’t dwell on what you can’t do, think about what you CAN do!

People can’t make you mad, it’s a choice.

I don’t want to be that person anymore.

Faith, hope, and charity. Faith, hope, and charity. Faith, hope, and charity.

Life is good.

I am blessed.

I am happy.

Be cheerful!

Accentuate the positive.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 23- Dreaded PMS

PMS week. So there you have it. Not an excuse just, what I’ve been dreading since I began my “new life.” Maybe It was a self fulfilling prophecy, but I really did try to throw out those fearful thoughts as they came from time to time over the past several weeks. Not that its been a total disaster, I just hoped I would do better. It always seems that when this time rolls around there is more stressful stuff going on and I can’t sleep. PMS, stress and lack of sleep, a train wreck of a combination for clear thinking.

Phil still says he sees a big improvement. I love that man.

Some thoughts:

“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“What makes humility so desirable is the marvelous thing it does to us; it creates in us a capacity for the closest possible intimacy with God”

Monica Baldwin

“We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.”

Rabindranath Tagore

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”

James Matthew Barrie

“ It was then that I drew, almost unconsciously, on the inner strength I had developed in cell 54 of Cairo Central Prison--a strength, call it a talent, a capacity, for change. I found that I faced a highly complex situation, and that I couldn’t hope to change it until I had armed myself with the necessary psychological and intellectual capacity. My contemplation of life and human nature in that secluded place has taught me that he who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality and will never, therefore, make any progress.” --Anwar Sadat

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You Will Be Freed

Day 22 - the humility to be set free

KEY PRINCIPLE: Humbly ask Heavenly Father

to remove your shortcomings.

All the steps require humility, but step 7 requires

it most explicitly:

Step 7 marked for each of us the moment when we

finally yielded without reservation to the eternal truth

taught in Mosiah 16:4: “All mankind were lost; and

behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it

not that God redeemed his people from their lost and

fallen state.” Our experience taught us that in taking

step 7 we were not excused from the work that was

ours to do. We still had to be patient and “press forward

with a steadfastness in Christ” (2 Nephi 31:20).

We had not become entirely free from the desire to

sin. We had to learn to accept life on God’s terms and

wait upon His purposes and His timing—even in the

removal of our shortcomings. In taking step 7, we

learned to live with the same humility and patience

toward God that Alma and his brethren showed when

their burdens were lightened but not removed: “They

did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will

of the Lord” (Mosiah 24:15). We finally abandoned the

idea that we could become perfect by ourselves, and

we accepted the truth that God desires us to conquer

our weaknesses in this life by coming to Christ and

being perfected in Him. We found that by His grace,

He enabled us to deny ourselves of all ungodliness and

to understand that salvation comes not by our own

power but by His (see Moroni 10:32)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

day 21- When you fall off the horse, get back on.

I got up early and prepared for my day. I didn’t want a repeat of yesterday.

After reading my scriptures, praying and reading from “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, I got an impression to find clean jokes on the internet and tell them to the kids while we worked. They thought I was silly and the jokes were corny but it got us laughing and enjoying our work and we had a great feeling between us.

The day wasn’t perfect, but I keep proving to myself what I can do if I prepare for and follow the spirit.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 20- Where'd that mighty change go?

The kids are on spring break so we decide to use this week to start scrapping the trim on the house to get it ready for paint. Working with the kids stresses me.

Since I’m outside I see all the junk that has been collecting from Phil’s work. The mess stresses me.

Phil is working on the car so he can’t help us, he spends over an hour trying to find a bolt. Phil rarely being available for family projects stresses me.

Someone stops to ask Phil a question about a problem with his truck. Phil helping other people when he can’t help me stresses me.

I know I’m supposed to think positive, so I’m positive I had a stressful day.

I didn’t see the opportunity and adventure in my day. A minor relapse where old habits got the best of me. I have no desire to fall back into old patterns.

I’ll do better tomorrow.

From the LDS 12 step program

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. Humbly cried unto the Lord Jesus Christ, in our hearts, for a remission of sins, that through His mercy and His grace we might experience a mighty change of heart, lose all disposition to do evil and thus be encircled about in the arms of safety because of His great and last sacrifice. (Alma 36:18; Alma 38:8; Moroni 10:32; Mosiah 5:2; Alma 34:15-16)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Sabbath! Thoughts on thoughts.

Thoughts from David O. McKay

“As a Man Thinketh”

“No principle of life was more constantly emphasized by the Great Teacher than the necessity of right thinking. To Him, the man was not what he appeared to be outwardly, nor what he professed to be by his words: what the man thought determined in all cases what the man was. No teacher emphasized more strongly than He the truth that ‘as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he’ [see Prov. 23:7]. …

“… Contentment, complacency, peace—all that makes life worth living—have their source in the mind of the individual. From the same source spring unrest, turbulency, misery—everything that leads to dissolution and death. …

“… It is well for [everyone] to ascertain ‘what he is thinking about when he doesn’t have to think,’ for ‘what he thinketh in his heart, so is he’” (“‘As a Man Thinketh … ,’” Instructor, September 1958, 257–58).

We Radiate What We Are

“There is another responsibility correlated and even co-existent with … agency, which is too infrequently emphasized, and that is the effect not only of a person’s actions, but also of his thoughts. Man radiates what he is, and that radiation affects to a greater or less[er] degree every person who comes within that radiation” (“Free Agency … the Gift Divine,” Improvement Era, February 1962, 87).

The Approval of Conscience

“Thoughts mold your features. Thoughts lift your soul heavenward or drag you toward hell. … As nothing reveals character like the company we like and keep, so nothing foretells futurity like the thoughts over which we brood. …

“To have the approval of your conscience when you are alone with your thoughts is like being in the company of true and loving friends. To merit your own self-respect gives strength of character. Conscience is the link that binds your soul to the spirit of God” (“Those Sculptors Called Thoughts and Ideals,” Improvement Era, July 1960, 495).

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 18

I am having an amazing day! I woke up early, as usual, and since the children start spring break today I spent extra time reading. Each morning I try to read something, along with my scriptures, to help me start the day out positive. This morning I chose Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People“. Our goal this week for my new support group, NMA (pronounced enema for Negative Mental Attitude) was to look for the positive in everyone and every thing. I was happy to read reminders in the first chapter to not criticize, condemn or complain. As I read I had that fruits of the spirit feeling again. My attitude to start the day was right.

We got the children up for scriptures and prayer and read a story from the book of Alma, in the Book of Morman, about the Zoramites. The poorer Zoramites came to the prophet Alma complaining that they had been thrown out of their synagogues because they were poor. They didn’t know what to do and how they could worship. Because they were whining and distraught they were unable to see the options for a solution, so Alma had to explain to them what they could not see because of their negative thinking.

As we were reading I was listening for a way to apply what we were reading to our family and to my personal goal to be more positive. As I listened I had an impression so I wrote it down. I thought about the man in the video in my previous post and how he looked beyond what he could not do to find what he could do.(see the video)

Very shortly after we had the opportunity to apply the principles we learned.

Michaela, the 11 year old, is used to having wheat flakes for breakfast or some other cold cereal, it is what she prefers. After scriptures and prayer she went down stairs to get breakfast. Finding no cold cereal she came into my room and announced that there was nothing to eat. I told her she would have to eat something else. She huffed off to her room and threw herself on the bed. I could hear her whining and mumbling about her plight. I went in and said “ Michaela, just because we don’t have what you want for breakfast does not mean we have nothing to eat.” I reminded her of the scripture story and explained how it could help her know how to handle the situation. “ If you stop thinking about what you can’t do and try thinking about what you can do you will be able to think about something else to have for breakfast“.

We calmly talked about options and she decided that we could make pancakes.

Not much later, Phil had a problem that was stressing him concerning work. We used the same principles and instead of worrying about what we could not do we found something that we could do.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 17

It’s working. I am having the change of heart that I have been praying for. I am loosing my desire to be offended, think the worst, or be discouraged. I am controlling my thoughts instead of my thoughts controlling me.

From the LDS twelve step program:

"How?" you may cry. "How can I even begin to accomplish such a change?" Don't be discouraged by these feelings. Step 6, like the steps before it, may feel like an overwhelming challenge. As painful as it may be, you may have to admit, as we did, that recognizing and confessing your character weaknesses in steps 4 and 5 did not necessarily mean you were ready to give them up. You may realize that you still cling to old ways of reacting to and coping with stresses in life—maybe even more so now that you have let go of your addictions. Probably the most humbling thing to acknowledge is that you still harbor a prideful desire to change without the help of God. Step 6 means surrendering to God all remnants of pride and self-will. Like steps 1 and 2, step6 requires you to humble yourself and admit your need for the redeeming and transforming power of Christ. After all, His atoning sacrifice has enabled you to accomplish each step to this point. Step 6 is no exception. As you come unto Jesus Christ, seeking help with this step, you will not be disappointed. If you trust Him and have patience with the process, you will see your pride gradually replaced by humility. He will wait patiently for you to weary of your own unaided effort to change, and as soon as you turn to Him you will witness once again His love and power in your behalf. Your resistance to letting go of old patterns of behavior will be replaced by an open mind as the Spirit gently suggests a better way of living. Your fear of change will diminish as you realize the Lord understands the pain and hard work it requires. As the process of coming unto Christ takes hold in your heart, you will find the false beliefs that fueled negative thoughts and feelings gradually replaced by truth. You will grow in strength as you continue to study the word of God and ponder its personal application. Through the testimonies of others, the Lord will help you learn the truth that you are not beyond His power to heal. The desire to blame others for the condition of your character or to rationalize your way out of a change of heart will be replaced by the desire to be accountable to Him and submissive to His will. Through the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord declared, "A new heart . . . will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26). The Lord wants to bless you with a change of disposition that will unite you with Him in mind and heart, just as He is united with the Father. He wants to give you rest from your isolation from God the Father, the isolation that caused the fears which contributed to your addiction. He wants to make the Atonement effective in your life, here and now. As you yield to the promptings of the Spirit and look to the Savior for salvation, not only from addiction but from character weaknesses, you can be assured that a new disposition or character will grow out of your willing heart. A growing desire to be sanctified by God will make you ready for a change in your very nature. One of the best descriptions of this process can be found in these words of President Ezra Taft Benson: "The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature. . . . "May we be convinced that Jesus is the Christ, choose to follow Him, be changed for Him, captained by Him, consumed in Him, and born again" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1985, 5-6; or Ensign, Nov. 1985, 6-7).

I wanted to post this song so that people could hear it, but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.

Instead I have posted the words. The title is Born of God:

How could I change?
How I had tried.
How I had failed
Time after time.
Needing a strength
More than my own,
Leaving my faith
In God, alone.

How I had prayed
Seeking for peace,
How could I change?
How could I be

Born of God, born of God,
A new creation as at first.
Born of God, praising God
For the wonder of a second birth.

Seeing the past--
How wrong I was.
Saying at last,
"Thy will be done."
There was no voice,
No shaking earth,
No wond'rous light
At my rebirth.

Only a sigh
Marking the change,
Only forgiveness
Calling my name.

CHORUS (repeat)

O Jesus, thou Son of God,
Have mercy on me!
And remember my sins no more
And may my spirit be

Born of God, born of God,
A new creation as at first.
Born of God, praising God
For the One who came to give us second birth.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When life gave him lemons he made lemonade.

We do not always know what the purpose is. We need courage and great faith to trust that what seems to be a failure or a loss may actually be a victory in a different way, and for a purpose we cannot foresee.

Let us not mourn the path we do not have but find the one that we do.

-Anne Perry

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 15- I Choose to be Happy

Every morning I am reading positive things and thinking positive thoughts and making a conscious choice to be happy and think the best of others.
When a difficult time comes I remind myself that I have the power to change the end result by my attitude. I am taking control of my life by filling my days with work, study and service. I am choosing to eat healthy and rest. I have the power to choose.

We have been having vehicle trouble for at least two years. Including our adult children’s cars, we have 6 vehicles parked around our house right now and everyone of them is in some sort of disrepair. We have had only one running vehicle off and on during these 2+ years. I have had to do a lot of walking. I have been very grateful that we live in a small town and I can get around pretty easy, the walking does me good. We just spent almost $2,000.00 on a truck that we had only a couple of weeks before the engine blew. We had to let it sit for at least 6 months because we didn’t have the money to fix it.(we are determined not to go in to debt for a vehicle) I told Phil that as soon as we got the truck fixed something else would happen to the car. My negative thinking was a self fulfilling prophecy, as soon as we got the truck going, the car started overheating. It will be a while before we can fix it. If we keep water and antifreeze in it daily we can putt around town in it. Phil took the truck out to work for the first time yesterday and it started acting up too. Having to spend all his time between vehicles and work, we have several unfinished remodeling jobs going on in the house that have been in the works since last summer and we need to do repairs to our commercial building if we ever want to sell it. I could certainly feel justified in entertaining some bad thoughts full of self pity and anger, but as Phil always says “aint nothing’ but a thang” I choose to be happy, not discouraged.

Step 5 confession From the LDS 12 step program:
"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed" (James 5:16).
Occasionally you may observe individuals in recovery meetings or in other situations who seem to rehearse continually their sins and shortcomings or the sins others have committed against them. They are always confessing but never finding peace. Do not confuse step 5 with an obsessive desire to dwell on negative things. The intent of step 5 is exactly the opposite. We take step 5 not to hold on to the things we confess but to begin to distinguish evil from good for ourselves and to choose good.
“By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins— behold, he will confess them and forsake them" (D&C 58:43).

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Mother, Positive thoughts

My mother was full of energy and talent. She knew how to make things happen and she made sure whatever she did she did well. I suppose people thought she had a lot of confidence, she sure did seem to. I think mom always had fears about doing things but she didn’t let them stop her from doing them. When I think about all she accomplished it’s hard to imagine that she didn’t finish high school, she got her GED when I was 11.
(She married at 17)
When mom was a child she took piano lessons. She was a good pianist and as long as I remember she was behind the piano or organ at church. I remember waiting for her at voice lessons when I was very small, I thought she had the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. About that same time mom went to beauty school and became a beautician and opened her own business.
In my teenage years she encouraged my sisters and me with our singing, and stayed busy doing good things for others as well as work in various employment.
Mom had a big heart and was often coming to someone’s rescue. She was full of faith and could articulate it.
Over my time at home, mom put on musical productions, planned and organized special events and dinners, served in church, and even started a business catering and decorating for weddings.
My parents moved to Buena Vista from Richmond early 2004 after serving a mission for our church. No one knew mom here and all the amazing things she had done. She was getting older and feeling insecure and lacked confidence to put herself out there. She was beginning to have trouble saying what she wanted to say, she couldn’t verbalize her thoughts like she wanted and it was very frustrating to her. I saw her learn to just smile and let it go. She died May 26, 2005.

How sad it was to see a vibrant capable person become discouraged.
We all get discouraged, and like my mother we probably have reason to be, but how important it is for us to realize the power of keeping a positive outlook, seeing all of life’s experiences as an adventure and opportunity to grow. Thinking positive gives us a zest for life and the power to make good things happen from any circumstance. When we feel powerless and hopeless we become powerless and hopeless. There is real power in positive thinking.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy Sabbath

Positive "thoughts" for today

My plea is that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life, we "accentuate the positive". I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that will still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort.

-Gorden B. Hinckley

Do not allow darkness and gloom to enter into your hearts. I want to give you a rule by which you may know that the spirit you have is the right spirit. The spirit of God produces cheerfulness, joy, light and good feelings. Whenever you feel gloomy and despondent and downcast, unless it be for your sins,you may know it is not the spirit of God which you have. Fight against it and drive it out of your heart. The spirit of God is a spirit of hope: it is not a spirit of gloom.

-George Q. Cannon

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 13

I have determined that having positive thoughts is to have faith, hope, and charity.“
They have been my tools for the past 13 days of my new life.

It is what happened in the experience I tried to describe In my first blog. I did something to act on my faith, I had hope in God’s promises if I changed and I experienced charity as a result ( the fruits of the spirit ) This pattern has repeated itself every time a negative thought has crept into my mind and I have chosen to replace it with a positive one.

Here are some definitions.

The Apostle Paul taught that “faith is the substance [assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Alma made a similar statement: “If ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21). Faith is a principle of action and power. Whenever we work toward a worthy goal, we exercise faith. We show our hope for something that we cannot yet see. (LDS study by topic)

"Hope is the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. It is believing and expecting something will occur." PMG pg 117.

1Corinthians 13
4Charity sufferth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things…

From the LDS twelve step Program:
Addiction crippled our ability to reflect honestly about our lives. It limited our ability to understand the damage and havoc—the liabilities—it caused in all our relationships. Before we could confidently rely on the Savior, we needed a framework through which He could help us sort out our past honestly. Step 4 provided that framework; it was the "vigorous and painstaking effort to discover what these liabilities in each of us have been, and are" ( Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 42). The inventory was also a step in helping us align our lives with the will of God. Through this inventory, we identified negative thoughts, emotions, and actions that ruled our lives. By discovering those destructive elements in our lives, we took the first step toward correcting them. Doing an inventory was difficult, but this step opened the door to the additional faith and hope we needed to continue our recoveries and overcome addiction.

In my blog, Day 10, I described a hard time in my life.

The truth was that I was let down, people were thoughtless and they were not there for me, my habit was to think and ponder about those facts and how different my life would be if someone would see my plight and rescue me. The painful truth was, I played the martyr and blamed every one else for my miserable life. This caused my depression.

How different my life would have been if I had looked at my life from the power of positive thoughts, creative thoughts that could see the opportunities and adventure in my
situation. Faithful, hopeful, charitable thoughts that would have left me prepared and open to inspiration and revelation.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 12

From the LDS Twelve step program

TRUTH KEY PRINCIPLE: Make a searching and fearless written moral inventory of yourself.

Doing a fearless and thorough inventory of your life will not be easy. When we say fearless, we do not mean you will have no feelings of fear. You will likely experience many emotions as you survey your life, including embarrassment or shame or fear. Fearless means you will not let your fears stop you from being thorough in the inventory process. In step 4, it means you commit to rigorous honesty as you focus on events in your life, including your own weaknesses, and not on anyone else's weaknesses. In the past you probably justified bad behavior and blamed other people, places, or things for the problems you had created. Now you will begin to take responsibility for past and current actions, even though you may need to acknowledge painful, embarrassing, or difficult events, thoughts, emotions, or actions.

If we are honest with ourselves we have to admit that we act on what we think about others. Think about it as you read this story I found on Mormon Times.

The reality is you cannot change other people.
No amount of nagging, begging, threatening or pleading is going to work, but if you are really unhappy with the way someone is behaving, there is one thing you can do: You can encourage them to want to change themselves.
Remember, people don’t resist change, they resist being changed. If they choose to change themselves, everyone wins. This has to be done very carefully, though because, if at any time this person feels you are trying to change them, they will dig in their heels and resist changing even more.
Any technique which uses guilt or fear to motivate (or manipulate) someone into changing will create resistance and may even encourage more bad behavior. These techniques put people on the defensive — where they must defend their right to be who they are. Manipulation may work temporarily (in your presence), but it won’t in the long run.
It is only when a person feels loved and validated (for who they are right now), that their defenses come down, and they become more open to changing themselves.
Unconditional love is the only thing that works.
Encouraging someone to change themselves, with love, is not easy to do. It requires a great deal of patience, maturity and self-control. Do you think you're up for it?
The trick lies in seeing this person’s potential and helping them see themselves as the better person you know they can be. This technique uses love to gently nudge this person in a better direction. Instead of focusing on the bad they do, you will focus on the good they are capable of doing (even if they aren’t doing any yet).
This works because people are not what they think they are; they are not what you think they are. People are, in fact, what they think, you think they are — whether it’s accurate or not. You are basically a mirror for them, and when they look into your eyes, they see a reflection of themselves (as they think you see them). Over time, they start to believe that is who they are. Does that make sense?
Think about it. If you tell your children they are no-good little brats, and you say it often enough, they will become no-good little brats. If you tell your children they are wonderful little helpers who always pick up their toys (and Mom is so proud of them), and you say it often enough, they will become wonderful little helpers who pick up their toys.
The only way to encourage someone to change themselves is to change how you see them and treat them — and it has to be convincing!
You literally have to see the best in them. You have to see who they are capable of being instead of who they are currently being. This can be very difficult when they are behaving badly, but it is the only way.
This is what I would recommend:
1. Sit down and brainstorm on paper how you would like to see this person behave. Who do they have the potential of being if they were their highest best self?
Get detailed and specific.
2. Figure out how you would treat them if they were this person. Again, get specific about how you would behave differently, if they behaved differently.
You may have been treating them in a way which actually encouraged bad behavior. We call this “Complicity.” If I am always nagging my child to be good, I might actually be igniting more rebellious behavior. If I am mad at my spouse for his grouchiness, acting mad at him might actually encourage more grouchiness.
So you might be partly responsible for the bad behavior when they are around you. The good news is that you have total control over your side of it.
So how does your behavior need to change, for them to see themselves as a different person? Figure it out.
3. Then start treating them that way. Start telling them how great they are. Start giving positive feedback for the behavior you want, and ignoring, as much as possible, the bad.
(This is where the maturity and self-control come in.)
Keep treating them this way for a while. Be consistent and patient. Make sure, every time you interact with this person, you tell them or show them the good you see in them. If you are not seeing any good behavior just pretend it’s there and compliment them anyway.
You are not lying to them!
You are reminding them of who they really are. You are choosing unconditional love for who they are meant to be instead of judgment, fear and condemnation for who they are now. You are encouraging the best in them instead of focusing on the worst.
I have seen many husbands, wives and children totally change themselves only in a few weeks or months with this loving technique. I can’t promise it will work, but it is the best chance you have. So it is worth a shot.
Kimberly Sayer Giles is a popular speaker and life coach (see www.ldslifecoaching.com) who resides in Bountiful, Utah.

Changing the way we think of others is vital to our relationship with them.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 11

I am enjoying my new life. Being positive is very freeing and I like myself. Other people like the new me too, especially my husband. My mother always said that you could catch more flies with honey than you could with vinegar. A truth. You don’t need to give in to those fearful thoughts that you need to tell people the negative things that you are feeling and thinking about them, and your life in general, or no one will feel your pain and suffering and come to your rescue or feel sorry for you. (Misery loves company.)

The underlying name of my blog is freedom by truth. I really have come to know that living by true principles makes us truly free as I tried to illustrate with my accompanying story; “Nobody Loves You Like your Mum”.
My husband has appreciated my efforts and has been more willing to be mindful of my needs. But it didn’t happen right away. Phil and I have been laying this ground work for almost 32 years. So what if the people around us don’t see our plight? We live by another truth that our happiness doesn’t depend on what the people around us think and do but what we think and do. Remember Doctrine & Covenants 121:
45Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God…

As soon as I replace fear with faith by changing my thoughts and acting on them, I find I have the power to find answers and do whatever I need to do.

From the LDS twelve step program:
Decide to trust and obey God; change what you
can change; accept what you cannot change
These words—adapted from a prayer by Reinhold
Niebuhr and known as the “Serenity Prayer”—can help
you as you decide to trust and obey God, “God, grant
me serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to
know the difference.”
You can accept with serenity the current reality of
your condition when you trust in God’s ability to help
you. You can accept with serenity that although you
cannot control the choices and actions of others, you
can decide how you will act in each situation you face.
You can decide with courage to trust your Father in
Heaven and act according to His will. You can turn your
will and life over to His care. You can decide to do what
He asks and to keep His commandments.
You may not be able to change some things in your
life, but you can change your willingness to trust in
God and obey Him. As you learn to trust Him, you will
see that His plan is for you to follow what Alma called
the “great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8). You will
learn that even in affliction and difficulty “all things
work together for good to them that love God”
(Romans 8:28) and keep His commandments (see
also D&C 90:24; 98:3; 100:15; 105:40).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

day 10

We enjoyed good success in buying houses, fixing them up and then turning them over for a nice profit. By the time we left Richmond, we had enough equity in our home to buy a house and pay cash for it and had money to fix it up. It was our intention to fix up houses full time and look for an opportunity to live our (my) dream.

Phil loves to create things and I love theatre and entertaining. We made a great team, just like my mom and dad. I came up with these great ideas and Phil made it happen! I put on productions of all kinds and Phil would build the set. As our children grew we were happy to find that they could all sing and enjoyed performing.
Phil designed a huge house with a gym/ theatre and dreamed we would build it some day so that our family could have a place to perform.

When we came to Buena Vista and saw all of these great old buildings downtown that were empty, we got distracted and thought about fixing up one building after another, putting businesses in them and building up the town. When we bought our building on Magnolia we decided to run an ice-cream parlor and have a stage where our family and people from the community could perform. The building needed extensive renovations but we were excited for the challenge. Not long into our renovations we received a letter notifying us that Phil was being sued for 13.2 million dollars. We couldn’t afford a lawyer, so Phil spent countless hours studying to find out how he could defend himself and prove he was not at fault. Progress on the store moved painfully slow and money that should have been spent on remodeling and opening a business got used for living expenses. By the time the lawsuit was over, and all charges dropped, we had gone into tremendous debt to finish the building and buy furnishings and product. At the same time one of our children was having a crises that was draining me emotionally, we made a trip to Florida and moved my mother-in-law to Virginia at our expense, we had to sell our house and move into a rental, and then my mother died.

Though I had a hard time struggling through this, I had some hope because we were just getting open. Things started out okay. I had to rely on my children to help but with our resources all gone, Phil couldn’t help at the store and had to hire himself out to do contract work.

The first two years we did as well as we could expect. Our small community was slow warming up to us but the students from SVU supported us and we had musicians and bands and dances that packed our building some weekends, our family members even had an occasional concert.

When SVU built their activities center, and started having more of their own on campus activities, we saw a serious decrease in business. Overtime we started to see more support from the community but it wasn’t enough yet, by then my children all decided they had had enough and more and more I was spending all my days at the store alone. I hired some help but I could rarely get away, we just weren’t growing fast enough. I decided I needed to get out of there so I tried to sell it. No luck. The negative thoughts were in full force by now; I have no friends, no one will come to just sit and visit with me, my kids are selfish, my husband is never available, I am feel so alone, my mother in law needs attention, I was feeling trapped. Where was God? Why wasn’t he answering my prayers? Didn’t I have good desires, wasn’t I working hard enough and still trying to be there for my family. What else was I supposed to do? I Thought” I can’t just close it, we need the little income that it is bringing in.” I was distraught, and negative and wishing that God would just let me evaporate, I couldn’t stand the pain anymore.

My negative thinking was causing me to spiral down in an alarming way. Sure it was true, I was going through hard times but I was buying in to my victim mentality. I was praying and reading my scriptures desperately for help and answers. My thoughts were saying, you are meant to suffer, Nobody loves you, you are helpless against this. I had been in an overwhelming situation for many years before in Richmond where things out of my control were making life miserable and I
wallowed in it. During these times all I could see was what I couldn’t do, and the solutions never presented themselves until I finally took the faith to do something that I knew I should have done.

It wasn’t until Phil’s mother fell and broke her back that I was forced do what I needed to do and close down the store to take care of her. I had had impressions to close the store but couldn’t see how we could do it so I trusted in myself instead of God.

The next step from the LDS twelve step program:

KEY PRINCIPLE: Decide to turn your will and
your life over to the care of God the Eternal
Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

God in his mercy reached out and saved me from myself. He does that time and time again. I feel ashamed that I had again allowed my circumstances and my thoughts to keep me a slave for so long when the truth could have set me free.

Monday, March 7, 2011

day 9

When I think about the times when I’ve had the best success with controling my thoughts and therefore my actions, it was always when I was focusing on true principles, like when I was taking a parenting class. We had just had a lesson on controlling anger and the point was illustrated with the question: why would a parent be more angry at a young child for spilling grape juice on a carpet rather than water? The reaction is a result of the parent putting more value on the carpet than on the child. If it had been water they might say, its okay it was just an accident, but the thought of the work and or expense of the grape juice stain might get taken out on the child. It was still an accident.

My husband and I have always fixed up houses. This particular house was a nightmare for me. It took a very long time to get any kind of descent living space finished in any part of the house. When I was finally able to get to the point were I could make a spot in the house a little more finished I was so excited! I had just finished putting a lovely all white wall paper on our newly finished foyer. As I was cleaning up and putting away my supplies my little two year old, in just minutes, somehow found a permanent black marker and proceeded to decorate the vast white space in front of her. I was so grateful that I had just had that lesson. I paused and thought about what a 2 year old would have been thinking. She literally didn’t know any better. I believe that because I stayed calm and used the opportunity to teach, that I was inspired with an idea of how to clean the marker off. It took work, but afterward, only I could tell where it had been.

I did what I had been teaching my little ones in a child’s song, “If your angry and you know it stop and think” (sung to the tune “If Your happy and You Know it“)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Happy Sabbath

There are many references to thoughts in the scriptures, we can see how important it is to learn to control our thoughts. Here is just a sampling of thoughts on thoughts from the scriptures

as he thinketh in his heart, so is he, Prov. 23:7

Philip. 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Prov. 16:3
Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.
Mark 7:21
21For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Mosiah 4:30
30But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.

Look for the beautiful promise in this scripture:
D&C 121:45
45Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household 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.
46The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 6

Changing your thoughts changes the way you act and takes a great deal of humility.

From the LDS Twelve step program:

Step2: Come to believe that the power
of God can restore you to complete spiritual
When we realized our powerlessness over our
addictions, most of us felt stripped of any
Hope…Finally humbled, we reached out for help. Following
what felt to us like the tiniest ray of hope...

Pride and honesty cannot coexist. Pride is an illusion
and is an essential element of all addiction. Pride distorts
the truth about things as they are, as they have
been, and as they will be. It is a major obstacle to your
recovery. Being easily offended is pride. Taking offense whether it was or wasn’t intended can be avoided by changing our thoughts.
I read this great article from Meridian Magazine by Nicholeen Peck, it is a parenting article that applies to all of us.

It is impossible to go through life without experiencing that hurt which comes from an unkind word, or a questionable glance. When these things happen we are left to wonder and assume what the person really thinks of us and if they intended to offend.
Children especially have a tendency to take offense to small actions and words. A mother asked me this about her daughter who has a problem with being offended.
“How do I help my eight-year-old daughter stop tattling on friends and family members? She takes offense by so many things. And, she seems to want to get other people in trouble to make herself look good. What do I do to stop this?”
The other day I had a group of children over playing at my home. One of our visitors. Melissa, came to me with a very pouty face and tattled on behaviors of two of the other children. She told me that one person was rude because they told her she shouldn't play with the toy she was playing with. Then she said another child was also mean because she said to the group, “Melissa can't have sugar so don't give her a candy.”
It was true that she was not allowed to have sugar, but she didn't like people talking about it. She thought it was rude and she was very offended.
What Did I Do?
The first thing to do, if this is a new behavior, is to check the facts. So, I called all the children together for a meeting about the incident. Melissa was given the first opportunity to tell what happened, and then one by one each child told the events of the situation from their perspective.
After listening to all the children, it was very clear that Melissa had a habit of looking for reasons to be offended. The other children hadn't done anything wrong. They told her not to play with a real cell phone and tried to honor her family rule about sugar. She was the one who read more into their words than was really there.
Adults Do This Too
Have you ever known a person to do this? I knew a woman once who was always analyzing what people did or said after the incident. She would assume a lot and often times make evil intentions appear 'out of thin air.' This woman had a hard time keeping friends. She was far too busy judging people to actually feel love for them and just couldn't find anyone who didn't eventually offend her.
Are all people rude all the time? Certainly not. She was just in the habit of seeing the world and people as offensive. Her actions were prideful, and they led to much unhappiness and unrest. I felt bad for her. She had chosen so much sadness.
Step Two
After the talk confirmed that Melissa had made up her own sadness and tried to get other people in trouble at the same time, I knew I needed to talk to her alone. I asked her to stay after the meeting for a talk. The very first thing I did in the talk was describe the situation and how she had chosen to react to the words said. I then gave her a rationale for why her reaction was wrong. As part of this explanation I told her it was worse to choose to be offended by another than to be the person to say bad things. I also told her how she could keep herself from not being offended next time she was tempted to feel bad about what someone said and how to know when it was appropriate to go tell moms or dads. These are the four things I told her to do.
1. Assume the best of the person instead of the worst as soon as a hurtful feeling comes. A good way to switch your attitude is to be grateful for the other person.
2. If you feel they don't completely understand something, kindly disagree. She could have said, "Londyn, I know we don't usually have sugar, but we can have it sometimes. If I ask my mom, I might be able to have this candy."
3. Choose to be okay with not always getting your way. And, play happy with your friends even if you thought something happened that might be unkind. I call this accepting a no answer.
4. Only go tell on people when something dangerous is happening or someone is bloody etc. If you go tell on someone for not sharing a toy, you are most likely tattling.
Melissa looked at me with great interest when I talked with her about what I knew she was doing inside her head that would destroy her relationships, and how she could keep herself more happy by consciously choosing not to be offended. She said she would try to think better of other people.
Is Taking Offense Tattling Then?
Many times the reason our children come tattle to us is because they have decided to assume someone is being mean or rude. They want to make that other person look bad because they felt bad about what was said or done to them. Who are we kidding? Adults do this too. That's why gossip happens.
Gossip is just tattling for older people, and we all get sucked into it from time to time. We just need to see it for what it is and opt out.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 5

I almost had a relapse. Woke up early as usual. I had a tired headache when I went to bed and it was still there when I woke up. At 6am I went to wake Quentin up for seminary. (I do this because the sound of an alarm clock is alarming to me) I laid back down and dozed off briefly, which made me feel cranky. I didn’t hear Quentin stirring so I went to check on him. He moaned about feeling nauseous and said he was staying home. Go back to my room, where we have scriptures and prayer, and Phil begins to quiz me on what Quentin is doing and what I am doing about it. The irritable thoughts creep in and I reply just a little sharp. I’m not sure he noticed. I remind myself I am not that person any more and that Phil is trying to help. As I let go of the unkind thoughts and lighten up I decide to say something cheery and my mood completely changes. Faith precedes the miracle.

I learned a word in a conference once. Yagottawanna. It sounds like an Indian word, but it means what it says; ya gotta wanna. Like the story of the teacher who holds his students head under the water while he struggles for life, and when he brings him up he says “when you want to learn as much as you just wanted air, then I will teach you.” It took me a lot of years to get to this point, but I want to change so bad that I’m willing to do something my mother told me never to do. She always said “ never air your dirty laundry in public.” Talking openly has committed me to change, especially since I have an instant support group counting on me, talk about motivation!

Thoughts from the LDS twelve step program:

Become willing to abstain Even though people's addictions are different, some truths, like this one, never vary—nothing begins without an individual's will to make it begin. … The only requirement to begin recovery is the desire to stop participating in the addiction. If your desire is small and inconsistent today, don't worry. It will grow! Some people recognize the need to be free from addiction but are not yet willing to begin. If you are in that situation, perhaps you can begin by acknowledging your unwillingness and considering the costs of your addiction. You can list what is important to you. Look at your family and social relationships, your relationship to God, your spiritual strength, your ability to help and bless others, your health. Then look for contradictions between what you believe in and hope for and your behavior. Consider how your actions undermine what you value. You can pray that the Lord will help you see yourself and your life as He sees it— with all your divine potential—and what you risk by continuing in your addiction. A recognition of what you lose by indulging in your addiction can help you find the desire to stop. If you can find even the smallest desire, you will have room to begin step 1. And as you progress through the steps of this program and see the changes that come into your life, your desire will grow.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day four

Hi, my name is Elaine and I’m addicted to negative thinking.

The first step in addiction recovery classes is to be honest with yourself and others and be willing to admit that you are powerless over your addiction and your life has become unmanageable.

Newly married, Phil was probably wondering what he had gotten himself into as he stood outside the bathroom door. His young bride, me, was locked in on the other side sobbing. I don’t remember what I had locked myself in there for, but it would be one of many like situations in our now 32 years of marriage this April. He does something that I see as thoughtless and I am wounded, he doesn’t understand and is a little aggravated, and I fall apart.
Can you hear the song in the background? “Poor, poor pitiful me, poor, poor pitiful me”
Lest I paint myself as a weak whimpering little thing, usually my response would be to literally “work it out”. If I’m upset at home everybody knows it. I start to clean frantically and huff and cry and mutter my angry thoughts, and slam cabinet doors. Not a pretty picture.

Just writing this makes me want to say “snap out of it, grow up and pull yourself together” of course if he or anyone else said that out loud to my face, hell hath no fury…

I usually don’t get upset for no reason. I have had what I think are more than my share of hardships and stress, but I make no excuse for my choices in dealing with them now. I am taking full responsibility.

The past few days I have been able to keep my thoughts, and therefore my actions, positive by reminding myself that I don’t want to be that person anymore. I know the consequences of my negative thoughts and I don’t want to go there anymore. I remind myself that I am stronger than I think, and I can do hard things. Doing this is practicing the principle of faith. To show faith you have to do something. An act of faith always precedes the miracle, and the miracle has been this great feeling of love that doesn’t go away, a happy almost giddiness (which I guess is joy), and it’s infectious. Momma is happy so everybody’s happy.

A nasty little thought keeps trying to creep into my head. It’s telling me that things are going pretty well at home right now, the bills are getting paid, everyone is healthy, my husband loves me. It’s easy to be positive during times like this. Well these good conditions have been prevailing for some time now and It was my bad attitude that caused me to go searching for a solution just days ago. Plus, if I establish these habits now I will be armed and ready when a real trial comes to test my resolve. Remember, I have decided to decide.

Thanks to Bryan Gentry for posting these on facebook. They are perfect reminders for today.

"Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad." D&C 128:23

‎"Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest" Joshua 1:9

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 3 of my new life

When I graduated from high school I had the honor and privilege of speaking at my high school graduation. I was not even in the top 100 of my very large graduating class. I’m sure many of my classmates didn’t understand how that happened, especially the valedictorian, who was my friend.
Years before I graduated, I had a premonition of sorts, and I knew that I was going to be asked to speak at my graduation one day. I remember the day that it happened. I was sitting in my homeroom and the speaker came on for an announcement. The impression came to my mind that this was it. My name was going to be called and I was going to be asked. The announcer asked that the following people report to the senior sponsors room, my name was called with several others. I’m sure most of the students assumed that I was going to be asked to sing. I had been in all the school musicals and had sung with my sisters in the community, so that was the logical assumption. What most people didn’t know was that I had taken a speech class at the beginning of the year and I, and one of the other girls in the class, got a 100 in that class. It was never mentioned, but I was sure that had something to do with both of us speaking.

I was always impressed with Roger, the valedictorian, he was an impressive young man. He could have been bitter about not speaking at graduation, if he was I never knew it. He ended up playing his flute as part of the accompaniment for another class member that sang. He could have acted ugly or been too offended to participate at all. Roger had choice, he made a good one.

We all have a choice. No matter what happens, we choose how we will respond to what goes on around us. I don’t always act on my negative thoughts. When I have responded well to a bad situation I have that “fruits of the spirit” experience every time. I wonder why I still behave badly sometimes knowing what the bad consequences are and having felt those wonderful fruits. If we are honest with ourselves that habit is one because we like being the martyr.

Well my graduation speech wasn’t my best speech. I’m fairly sure no one who was there remembers what I said. I remember. I think about it often, especially today. I spoke about a truth that I had learned from the President of our church at the time, Spencer W. Kimball. I did not use this quote from his talk but this was the message I wanted to share:

“We hope we can help our young men and young women to realize, even sooner than they do now, that they need to make certain decisions only once. I have mentioned at this pulpit before some determinations made early in my life, which decisions were such a help to me because I did not have to remake those decisions perpetually. We can push some things away from us once and have done with them! We can make a single decision about certain things that we will incorporate in our lives and then make them ours—without having to brood and redecide a hundred times what it is we will do and what we will not do.”

I needed those words then and I tried to do what he suggested, I decided I would never smoke or drink, I never have, I didn’t have to wait for the temptation to come to know how I would respond if offered drugs.

So here I am finally deciding that when the negative thoughts come, I am no longer going to stew in them and entertain them. I have decided to tell myself I can handle whatever comes. As Joseph B. Worthlin says “come what may and love it”

I have had a great third day. Many opportunities to fall back have presented themselves but I pushed the negative thoughts out with reminders to myself that I am a grown, mature woman now, my circumstances will not dictate my behavior, I want to feel happy, powerful and in control not angry, whiny and unhappy. I also know that ideas for how to handle a situation come to a calm, serene mind, not a frantic, frenzied one. Remembering that helps too.

I have decided to decide that when life gives me lemons, I'm going to make lemonaide!

Here are two quotes to ponder for today from Joseph B. Worthlin:

“ Have you ever seen an angry driver who, when someone else makes a mistake, reacts as though that person has insulted his honor, his family, his dog, and his ancestors all the way back to Adam? Or have you had an encounter with an overhanging cupboard door left open at the wrong place and the wrong time which has been cursed, condemned, and avenged by a sore-headed victim?
There is an antidote for times such as these: learn to laugh.”

“The way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.”

And by the way Roger Riggle, my valedictorian friend, is a professional make-up artist, choreographer, director and producer. Google his name, he’s amazing!