“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

Friday, April 29, 2011


Here is a site I found with some great quotes



Many times we spend hours and hours dwelling and ruminating on the negative and fearful things in our lives. Instead, our focus and attention needs to be on the positive, the good, and on thoughts that will move us in the right direction. Read one of these statements to yourself every day -- and dwell on it.

If you pay attention to the darkness, you'll never find the light.

If you study and relive your past experiences, analyzing them, and "getting in touch with your feelings" you will only reinforce those feelings. If you want to get away from a problem, you should not focus on it. Focus on the good, the positive, the beautiful, the nice.

A happy person is fully caught up in the moment --and is not thinking about the past or the future.

Too much thinking and analyzing just makes any problem worse. Today is a wonderful day – live it in the present.

Why do little children think ghosts, goblins, and monsters are real? As adults, we know they aren’t. Your thoughts aren’t "real" either in the sense that you "create" and reinforce them -- and the emotions that go along with them. Your thoughts are only what you decide to believe in and continually reinforce in your mind. (This one is deep – think about this one.)

For example, you are sitting alone in the dark in your home. You are down, depressed and thinking negative thoughts. All of a sudden the phone rings and it’s a friend you haven’t talked to in six years. You become alert, your mood picks up, and you have a nice conversation. Then, after you’ve hung up, you get blue again and fall back into a depressed mood. Why?

Suggestion: Even though we don’t feel it – we have more power over our thoughts than we think. We can decide to stay "up" after the phone call by doing everything we can to keep from slipping back into the quicksand of rumination and despair. (Cognitive-behavioral therapy gives us the tools to move away from anxiety and depression – and eventually to stay or "be" that way.)

If your thoughts begin to change, you will feel better.

If you act despite your feelings, your beliefs and emotions will follow behind.

There is so much in life I can’t control. But this is my life and I’ve decided to be happy. I can choose to be happy regardless of my other circumstances. It’s not "when I get a promotion, I’ll be happy....." or "when I can speak in front of a small group of people, I’ll be happy....." The focus should be on learning to be happy now. Tap into your inner peace and contentment in the way that works best for you.

Happiness is a result of a decision to be happy.

Your emotions and feelings are created by your thoughts.

Unhappiness cannot exist on its own. It occurs because of thoughts, which can be changed.

Your past thoughts are about events that are no longer real. That bad experience happened yesterday (in the past) and is over. It is gone and exists solely in your mind. Today is a new day, a better day, and worrying about the past just dooms us in the present. It’s how you process it now that makes a difference.

You are a thought-producing machine. When you realize this, you can begin to slow your thoughts down and allow your anxieties and fears to rest.

Your automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) are only thoughts: they are not real. Your ANTS are not real. They do not tell you the truth.

Our tendency is to think TOO MUCH and to paralyze ourselves with our ruminations. We have a choice: Realize what we're doing to ourselves, get up, find a distraction, and do something interesting (positive).

Happy people understand that to enjoy life you live it -- you don’t think about it.

Watch a roomful of preschool children. They are enjoying life because they are focused on the moment and are not thinking about it. They are immersed and absorbed in living.

Analysis creates paralysis.

Anticipatory anxiety killing you? Stop thinking about it, take that step, and just do it.

Thoughts grow with attention. If you focus on negative thoughts, they will grow and grow and become larger. If you focus on your progress and the new thoughts you are learning, they will grow stronger and take "automatic" control.

Even if you understand and know why you have a problem, this will not help you in solving it. Going over and over the reasons for your problem is like pouring salt in an open wound.

The only factor making you unhappy is your own thoughts. Relax, release them, let them go.

When you notice self-limiting and self-defeating thoughts playing over and over in your mind, say "STOP! I will not give you any more power over me! I have better things to do!!"

Anxiety Therapy, Anxiety Strategies, & Anxiety Help Pages

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 58- laugh at yourself

Back in March a friend sent me this message about my positive thinking support group.

"Your group is a good idea. When I lived with my parents, my mother had the same feelings (nothing really new under the sun, huh?). She and nine other ladies formed a group called "The Jolly Ten" and they met in each other's homes once a month. With the 10 of them that left 2 months that were a Christmas party, ladies only and a cook out with the whole families. From what I remember about the meetings that were at our house, all they did was laugh! Now, with the time of life I'm in, that really appeals to me!! "The Jollies" was an exclusive group and I think they did a lot of gossiping. I have thought to start an inclusive group with the only guidelines that you couldn't gossip and you could only talk about positive things."

Well we’ve been meeting for a couple of months now, we have a rule that we can only say positive things and we have done some laughing, but at yesterdays meeting we determined we needed to do more laughing.

Anybody know any good, clean emo jokes?

Some of what we think, say and do every day can be pretty funny if we look for the humor and are willing to laugh at ourselves.

I used to have pity parties at my ice-cream parlor. We would choose someone who was having a particularly hard time and share our “Pity Party” ice cream treat of 13 scoops and 13 toppings. We had fun making light( not fun) of whatever the persons challenge was.

At our very first pity party we invited some women to honor who used humor to face their challenges. We laughed harder at that one than any since. Our guests of honor were two sisters who had both gone blind due to diabetes. They told us funny stories about rearranging furniture and other challenges of being blind. One told how she had to go downstairs to the basement to do her laundry and her husband asked her if she would like him to turn the light on for her. She could hardly get the words out as she was in stitches.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 57- my weaknesses becoming my strengths

When I was severely depressed I would have given anything to have a support group to help me through the hard times. I am so grateful to be in a position to do for others what I wish had been done for me.
I don’t wish for anyone to feel those lonely painful feelings. If my experience will help someone else then I can understand why I had to experience it.

Tonight we had 3 new people in our support group and we enjoyed the sweet fruits of the spirit as we met together. I am learning the meaning of my weaknesses becoming my strengths. I am humbled and grateful.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 56-positive Quotes

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
-Winston Churchill

“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours”
-Swedish Proverb

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.”
-Willie Nelson

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.”
-Oprah Winfrey

“For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else.
-Winston Churchill

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 55- couldn't have said it better myself

Think Simple Now. A Blog on Creativity, Productivity, and Happiness.

6 Ways to be Positive in Any Situation

The power of remaining positive, whatever the situation, can never be underestimated. We are all here for a limited period of time, is it worth it to spend any of that time in a dismal mood? Being negative?

The true test of an individual to remain positive is when challenges become difficult. Remaining positive keeps one’s mind in the right state of balance and often opens resolutions to the problems at hand. Negativity is contagious; not only does it affect the individual, but it spreads to anyone they interact with. When only the negative perspective is in focus, the resolution process is impeded.

Eliminating negativity, or rather, being positive is a mindset that can be found at any moment, and turned into a habit. Here are some tips that can help you in shifting your mindset:

1.Shift Your Thoughts – Be conscious of your thoughts. Especially, when life just isn’t going your way. The moment you see that you are diving into frustration, agony, sorrow and low self-esteem – shift your thoughts, by thinking about something completely unrelated. This breaks the pattern of self-pity, mind-created stories, and negative downward spiral. What makes us different from other mammals is our ability to control our thoughts and think for ourselves.

2.Find the Lesson – There is a lesson to be learned from every situation. No matter how unfortunate the situation may appear, recognize the beautiful lessons waiting to be discovered. Sometimes lessons are expensive, but every problem is a learning opportunity in disguise. You may have made a mistake, but now you can accept it and continue, knowing that you will make a different decision in the future. Understand this and be appreciative for the experience.

3.Attitude of Gratitude – You cannot be both angry and grateful at the same time. Start counting the blessings and miracles in your life, start looking for them and you shall find more. What’s there not to be grateful? You are alive and breathing! Realize how lucky you are and all the abundance in your life.

4.Positive Affirmations & Visualization – Practice seeing yourself in a positive and confident light. Do this whenever you have a few minutes (examples; Waiting for a friend, sitting on the bus, riding an elevator.) Self-affirmations (list of positive statements about yourself and your self image) are another simple and powerful tool to train your subconscious to see yourself in a positive light. This is important, as many of us can be so hard on ourselves though social conditioning. I am guilty of being extra tough on myself, but have learned over time to recognize my gifts rather than finding false and self-imposed inadequacies.

5.Inventory of Memories – Keep an inventory of memories that can immediately make you smile. Occasions where you felt happy, appreciative and cheerful. When you were at peace with the world. Whenever you are in a negative frame of mind, consciously and deliberately pick up any leaf out of this inventory and dwell on it. Reminiscing those happy moments gives a balanced perspective to your situation. You realize that what appears negative today will change tomorrow. Nothing stays the same.

6.Criticizing Detox Diet – Change your approach and attitude. See if you can stop criticizing others and situations. Our cultural conditioning teaches us to find flaws and problems at all times. Shift from fault-finding to appreciation-finding.

Whether you are positive or negative, the situation does not change. So, we mind as well be positive.

As with any habit, the habit of remaining positive in all situations takes practice and a commitment to yourself to take control. But start small, start paying attention to your emotions, start by wanting to change. I am working on this constantly, and I am here with you, working towards better understanding of my emotions and becoming a better person. Keep going at it, and you will gradually become a positive energy source for the others around you! Wouldn’t that be empowering?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 52- count your blessings

Remembering to be grateful is a very positive way to think.

Every morning I get out of a warm comfortable bed. I flip a switch that lights up the room. I go into the kitchen and open a box that keeps things cold and get out something to eat. I cook on another appliance and have other units that keep my house warm or cool. I can get where I need to go quickly.

These are just a very few of the luxuries we take for granted every day, not to mention the natural everyday blessings of health and family.

I have a hard time thinking about what I don’t have when I’m thinking about all that I do have.

1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done.

2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings; ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

3. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold.
Count your many blessings; money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

4. So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Text: Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856–1922

Music: Edwin O. Excell, 1851–1921

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 50- "He did not revile them back"

It’s Easter season. I participated in a musical production “The Garden” in Richmond last Friday and Saturday night. The most moving part of the production for me was when the "objects" in the garden describe the Savior as he enters the garden. He looks pale and weak to them. Next all the characters and chorus are singing at the same time. Jesus is singing about doing his Father’s will, Satan is taunting him and trying to fill His mind with doubt. The “objects” and the chorus are describing His agony and His “blood flowing like a river” and asking, why doesn’t he leave, who is He talking to?

We know from the scriptures that, immediately following this physically draining experience, He was up all night. Then he was scourged and given a cross to carry. And yet when he was reviled, he “did not revile them back“. He was completely the master of his thoughts and emotions.

Perhaps I can remember this next time I am exhausted and someone annoys me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 49- One day at a time, Part 2

When I first thought that I could become a changed person it scared me that I might be able to keep it up. But then I remembered fear and faith can’t abide in me at the same time. So I am taking it one day at a time and not worrying about the future. I’m feeling stronger in my resolve today than I did 49 days ago.

From the LDS Twelve step program:

Examine your thoughts, words, and deeds daily; immediately set right any wrongs Step 10 represents acceptance of the truth that you must continue to live by spiritual principles. If you stray from them, repent immediately and ask God at once to restore your peace through His Spirit. Honesty and humility can strengthen you. You will become more conscious of Heavenly Father's presence in your life as you call on Him to help you stay spiritually clean. You will learn to value progress and to forgive imperfection in yourself and others. You will lose the desire to be at odds with anything or anyone. Self-appraisal becomes a way of life as you let go of fears and overcome temptations one day at a time.

. Watch your thoughts, words, and deeds "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" (Mosiah 4:30).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 48-signs of progress

I thought the best of people and situations 3 different times today. I changed my focus and remembered that I loved them.

I encouraged 2 members in my family to think positive about situations they were facing, because positive thinking = faith.
I read from “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale
And “Men and Women of Christ” by Neal Maxwell.(as well as my daily scriptures and reading Meridian Magazine articles.)

Because it is a daily effort I see/feel progress.

Thursday was Phil’s and my 32nd anniversary. I decided that if I wanted to spend time with him on our anniversary I would have to go to work with him. I was tired, and as I’ve said before, I don’t do tired well. I also don’t like doing the work Phil does. I really wanted to sit in the truck and read from my positive thinking library while he did the work, but I remembered reading in “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”, by Susan Jeffers, how empowering it is to not give in to those negative thoughts and do the hard things that you don’t want to do. So I decided to give Phil the gift of my help. Now I said I was tired, so I didn’t do it all as cheerfully as I had wanted, but I didn’t give up and sit in the truck. I kept shaking it off and changing my thoughts to how cool it would be to tell people how many locks I changed that day.

I changed 15!

Friday, April 15, 2011

day 45- oops!

When I’m tired I turn into the wicked witch of the west. I’m tired almost every day.

I don’t sleep well so this poses a problem for me. I have been able to go back to bed most mornings so it isn’t a big issue unless I have to go somewhere early the next day and I can’t go back to sleep, like yesterday and today. Phil usually gets the worst of it and my evil mind tells me he should because he’s usually the reason I can’t sleep. He can’t help that he snores and jerks around in his sleep, but it doesn’t make it any easier on me.

So on these days when I can’t go back to sleep, you would think that he would be more careful in his communications with me.

So I messed up again, but I bounced back faster than past times, by letting go of my selfish tired thoughts. I heard my sisters words from years ago, “can’t you just forgive (him)?” And the words from a story in a conference talk, “Just let it go.”

Next time someone is thoughtless when I’m tired, I have decided to decide I will give them a big hug and say, I love you. And the bad thoughts and feelings will melt away.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

day 44

The face of Optimism. Gordon B. Hinckley always said that he was an optimist, I believe he got it from his wife. I have been saying that positive thinking= faith, hope, & charity. The authors of this article from Meridian Magazine agree with me.

Photograph by Scot Facer Proctor

Thursday, April 14 2011

Marjorie Pay Hinckley Believed "Things Always Work Out"

By Susan Easton Black and Mary Jane Wood

The following is an excerpt from the new book Women of Character.

Twenty-five-year-old Marjorie Pay was anticipating her wedding day when the telephone rang. “I think we had better go to lunch today,” her fiancĂ©, Gordon B. Hinckley, said. He did not tell her on the phone that he had cold feet and was trying to find a way out of the engagement. While ordering lunch Gordon warned his bride-to-be, “I think you should know that I only have $150 to my name.” Marjorie’s response was not what Gordon had expected: “Oh, that will work out just fine; if you’ve got $150, we’re set!” Reflecting on her thoughts that day, Marjorie said, “Well, $150 sounded like a small fortune to me. I had hoped for a husband and now I was getting $150 too!”

Born November 23, 1911, in Nephi, Utah, Marjorie had an ability to “see the good in any situation—and to see it instantly—mak[ing] Pollyanna look like an amateur.” Her optimistic attitude included “a willingness to be flexible and adaptive, to not overreact to daily irritations.” Her basic philosophy, “Things always work out somehow,” proved a blessing in her life and the lives of those who knew her best.2

Marjorie never learned to ride a bicycle or swim, never went to college, and never viewed herself destined for fame.3 Early in her marriage she realized it would be better if “we worked harder at getting accustomed to one another than constantly trying to change each other—which [she] discovered was impossible.” She believed, “It is the artful duty of a woman to adjust.”4 And adjust she did, although Gordon never insisted that she do anything his way—or any way for that matter. He gave her space and “let her fly.”5

She was a low-stress mother who tried not to over-schedule herself or her children. One day her oldest son came up missing when there were lawns to be mowed and irrigation ditches to be cleaned. When he showed up just in time for dinner she asked him, “Where have you been?” He replied, “Down in the hollow.” She asked, “And what have you been doing down in the hollow?” He said, “Nothing.” Years later when this same son returned from a mission he said to his mother, “Mom I had a wonderful childhood, didn’t I?” Marjorie replied, “Oh, it was wonderful—those long summer days when you could lie on your back in the hollow and listen to the birds sing and watch the ants build their castles.”6

Marjorie’s willingness to look on the bright side of life was a constant source of strength to Gordon as he served in the leading councils of the LDS Church. After his call to the Quorum of the Twelve, Gordon was asked to travel extensively throughout the world. The night before a trip to South America that would take him away for several weeks,

Marjorie asked whether she should plan to go with him. He replied, “Can’t we decide that in the morning?”7

As Marjorie traveled with her husband, Gordon would often call on her to speak extemporaneously. “I can tell you why my husband has called on me,” she would say. “It is because he is still trying to figure out what to say and I’m supposed to stall.”8 Audiences immediately responded to her humor because they felt “in Sister Hinckley, what you see is what you get—and that is what everyone wants to get! Her love, her honest interest in you as a person, her lack of affectation and self-aggrandizement, her faith—she is the real thing.”9

She once told Church members, “I have a new project to read one chapter a day from each of the standard works. I’ve been on it four days and I’m only three days behind.”10 Another time when she and Gordon were informed by a Church security officer of a possible danger, Marjorie smiled and said, “It will be all right” and kept reading a book. When asked how she could remain so calm, she replied, “I stopped worrying about Gordon a long time ago because I knew it couldn’t do much good. I just pray for him, ask him to be careful, and trust that the Lord knows every situation we are in.”11

When her husband was sustained as president of the Church, Marjorie’s easy-going manner and humor not only blessed him, it endeared her to Church members. Marjorie once told an audience that “sometimes as she is doing her housework the thought occurs to her of the reality that she is married to the prophet of the Lord. . . . Her first reaction is to think, ‘I want my mother!’” In explaining what it is like to live with a prophet, she said, “He leaves his towels on the floor and his tie over the couch.”12

Whether speaking to an audience or just one person, Marjorie always put others at ease because she was at ease with herself and never fussed over her appearance. Once when she was getting ready for a formal occasion her daughter dropped in to see her. When Marjorie started to put on a pleated skirt and white cotton blouse her daughter protested. “Mother, this is a huge thing. . . .The reception is in honor of Dad and you. He’s probably going to wear a tux. Every woman there will have on sequins and diamonds.” Continuing to dress, completely unruffled by her comment, Marjorie said, “Well, I don’t have any sequins in my closet. But this skirt is black, and the blouse does have a lace collar. And besides that, if we’re the guests of honor, whatever I wear will have to be right!”13

Marjorie died on April 6, 2004, in Salt Lake City. Did she ever imagine where her life would take her? “Absolutely not,” she insisted.14 It has been said that “Marjorie was faith, hope and charity personified. It is the pure love of Christ everyone felt in her presence. It was the pure love of Christ that allowed her to stop worrying how the world saw and treated her and let her focus on how she treated others. She simply chose to see the best in any situation.”15


1 Virginia H. Pearce, ed. Glimpses into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley (Salt Lake City: Deseret

Book, 1999), 77.

2 Ibid., 77, 145.

3 Doug Robinson, “Marjorie Hinckley—‘Every bit his equal’: The low-profile woman behind the highprofile

man,” LDS Church News, April 5, 2003.

4 Pearce, 184, 186.

5 “Til We Meet Again: Marjorie Hinckley’s Funeral,” Meridian Magazine, 2.

6 Ibid., 3.

7 Sheri L. Dew, Go Forward with Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book,

1996), 338.

8 Ibid.

9 Pearce, 40.

10 L. Tom Perry, “An Elect Lady,” Ensign, May 1995, 73–75.

11 Deseretbook.com/mormon-life/news/story?story_id=3999.

12 Pearce, 108–109.

13 Deseretbook.com/mormon-life/news/strory?story_id=3999.

14 Ibid.

15 “Til We Meet Again,” 4.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 43- one day at a time

I realize that, like any other addiction, I will have to work on this every day for the rest of my life. But we’re supposed to be working on getting better every day any way.

From the LDS Twelve Step Program:

DAILY ACCOUNTABILITY KEY PRINCIPLE: Continue to take personal inventory, and when you are wrong promptly admit it. B y the time you come to step 10, you are ready for a new way of living. The first nine steps helped you learn a pattern of life based on spiritual principles. These principles now become the foundation on which you build for the rest of your life. In taking the first nine steps, you have applied principles of the gospel—faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance. You have seen miraculous changes in your life. You have experienced love and tolerance, and you have developed a desire for peace. Your desire for your addiction has all but disappeared. When you are tempted, you often find yourself recoiling from your addiction rather than desiring it. You feel humility and awe of what Heavenly Father has done that you could not do alone. The final three steps will help you maintain your new spiritually minded way of life, so they are often called maintenance steps. Self-evaluation throughout life is not a new concept. In the Book of Mormon, Alma taught that maintaining a mighty change of heart takes effort. In verse after verse, he indicated that honest, prayerful self-appraisal and immediate repentance must be a continual part oflife (see Alma 5:14-30). Toretain what you have gained, you must stay in fit spiritual condition. You dothis by asking the kind of searching questions that Alma suggested about your feelings, thoughts, motives, and conduct. Through daily self-evaluation, you will keep from slipping into denial and complacency. As you learned in steps 4 and 5, an inventory that includes only your behaviors is not sufficient to change your heart. You also have to examine your thoughts and feelings. This principle is just as true in step 10. Continue to watch for pride in all its forms, and humbly take your weaknesses to your Heavenly Father, as you learned to do in steps 6 and 7. If you feel worried, self- pitying, troubled, anxious, resentful, carnal minded, or fearful in any way, turn immediately to the Father and allow Him to replace these thoughts with peace. As you pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, you can also discover any negative beliefs you still hold. Ask your Father in Heaven to remove these. In taking step 10, you will no longer have to resort to justifying, rationalizing, or blaming anything or anyone. Your goal will be to keep your heart open and your mind focused on the lessons the Savior has taught. Most of us follow step 10 by taking inventory each day. As you plan your day, prayerfully examine your motives. Are you doing too much or too little? Are you taking care of your basic spiritual, emotional, and physical needs? Do you serve others? Ask yourself these and other questions as you seek balance and serenity in your day. As the day unfolds, you can quickly stop negative thoughts or feelings that threaten to overwhelm you. Be especially alert for old behaviors or thinking patterns during highly stressful situations. Some people think of this type of inventory as a time-out. During this time-out, take a few moments and apply to your immediate situation each principle you have learned in following the steps. You will soon remember how essential it is to rely on the Lord in all your efforts to recover. You can say to yourself in a moment of crisis, "What character weakness in me is being triggered? What have I done to contribute to this problem? Is there anything I can say or do, without pretense, which will lead to a respectful solution for me and the other person? The Lord has all power. I'll relax and trust Him." If you have taken a negative action toward another person, make amends as quickly as possible. Cast aside pride, and remind yourself that sincerely saying "I was wrong" is often just as important in healing a relationship as saying "I love you." Before you go to bed, examine your entire day. Ask yourself if you still need to counsel with the Lord about any negative behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. In addition to counseling with the Lord, you can talk to an adviser or a friend in the program, someone you can trust to be objective about your thinking. You will continue to make mistakes as you interact with others, but a commitment to step 10 is a commitment to take responsibility for mistakes. If you examine your thoughts and actions each day and resolve them, negative thoughts and feelings will not increase until they threaten your abstinence. You no longer have to live in isolation from the Lord or others. You will have strength and faith to face difficulties and overcome them. You can rejoice in your progress and trust that practice and patience will ensure continued recovery.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 42

When I was a young girl I attended a children’s meeting once a week, during the week, for church. As girls got older they progressed through a girls only program. The youngest group were called Gaynotes. Back in the sixties the word gay still only meant happy or cheerful.

I was so excited to be a Gaynote. I loved the Gaynote code and song. I dreamed that one day I would be the cheeriest mom and do exactly what the motto and song said. Sad to say I never established that habit.

It’s never too late to start. What a great way to create happy thoughts!

Gaynote Code

“I will bring the light of the gospel into my home by greeting the day with a song.”

Gaynote Class Song

My Code

The first thing in the morning and all day long
I shall be a Gaynote and sing a happy song;
I shall greet the new day and all it brings
With a cheerful face and a heart that sings.

Monday, April 11, 2011

day 41- part 2

“Awake My Soul!”: Dealing Firmly with Depression

By Steve Gilliland

Last Sunday a young woman asked to talk with me after sacrament meeting. As she talked, I heard her sharing feelings that have troubled literally hundreds of individuals I’ve talked to as a branch president and institute director. The individuals, the situations, and the words may be different, but the feelings are the same.

“I feel so worthless.”

“No matter how hard I try to perfect my life, I’m becoming more and more aware of how weak I am. I fail at everything I try.”

“I feel so out of place at church. Everyone there but me seems to have his life in order.”

“There is so much to be done, so many people depending on me, and I always let them down.”

Feeling discouraged and inadequate happens to all of us, but when these feelings become a way of life, or even frequent visitors, they’re signs of trouble. And especially if they become clinical states of depression. (See “When you Feel Down.”)

As I remember my own experiences of being trapped in the web of discouragement, the worst part was the feeling that I was helpless to get free. Working on a “positive mental attitude” seemed like only kidding myself. Fasting and prayer brought specific guidance, and over time my struggles produced what may perhaps be the long-term answer to my prayers—some concepts and skills that have helped me pull myself out of these depressions. In the hope that they might also be helpful to you, let me share them in the form of a dialogue with that fine young woman who came into my office:

I don’t even know where to start working on these feelings. Everything seems hopeless.

Basically there are two approaches. The first way to attack depression and feelings of inadequacy is to try to change what you’re doing so that you’ll feel better about yourself. The second way is to try to change your feelings about yourself so that it will be easier for you to do things differently. Both approaches are interrelated and both are important, but let’s talk about the second one mainly. It’s the one that gets overlooked.

How does it help to start with feelings? Don’t I need to change what I’m doing before I’ll feel any better?

Not necessarily. Maxwell Maltz describes people who have gone through drastic plastic surgery to improve their appearance but who still, after the operation, feel ugly. 1 I’ve talked to people who have made significant positive changes—like giving up drinking and smoking—but they still feel discouraged about themselves.

I am impressed by the description of the Nephite multitude after King Benjamin’s sermon: “The Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ.” (Mosiah 4:3; italics added.) I’m aware, from my experience with people, that they can change their lifestyle and take the steps of repentance without having peace of conscience. Many times the Spirit of the Lord has spoken to repentant and worthy persons, but like the Lamanites converted by Nephi and Lehi, “they knew it not.” (3 Ne. 9:20.)

But why not? Surely the Holy Ghost can get through anything.

It’s not the Holy Ghost’s problem but ours. Each of us has many voices within, criticizing and praising, encouraging and discouraging, desiring and warning, reasoning and disregarding. We’ve all wondered at some time which voices were from the Lord and which were from Satan, which came with us from premortal life and which we’ve acquired since birth. Fortunately, some good clues to discerning the source of these voices are given in Moro. 7:16: “Every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent … of Christ.”

Let’s talk about the mortal origin of some voices. As children, we learn to listen to the messages from our parents as absolute truth: “Don’t take candy from a stranger.” “Look both ways before crossing a street.” “Always say your prayers when you go to bed.”

But some of these “truths” are true in only some situations—for instance, “only bad people smoke.” And some are simply not true at all: “Walking under ladders brings bad luck.”

Some of the messages that we each learn as children are about ourselves. We learn what other people think of us by the things they say and the way they act toward us—and that can’t help but affect out self-concept. If a parent always criticizes a child for being undependable, he will see himself that way. Teachers and friends have an influence too; and if you usually hear bad messages about yourself, you will usually perceive them as the truth.

But if my self-doubts and discouragements come from my childhood, is there anything I can do about them?

Of course! Otherwise the principle of free agency would mean nothing. But it’s difficult. For years your personality may have been growing in one direction. Now you must help it grow in another direction. You cannot easily erase those destructive voices from the past, but you can recognize what they do to you and turn them off. You can rid yourself of these voices by replacing them with positive feedback and experiences that will build self-esteem. The Lord has promised that our weaknesses can become strengths and that “all things shall work together for [our] good” if we search and pray. (Ether 12:27, D&C 90:24.)

I think I see what you mean. But how do you shut out the negative voices?

I think Nephi was faced with this problem. He had a hard time after his father died and he could see the conflict coming with his brothers. In the beautiful chapter that we call Nephi’s psalm, some of the critical voices within Nephi begin to break through:

“My heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.

“I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.

“And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins.” (2 Ne. 4:17–19.)

I’ve experienced this myself—seeing that I could and should rejoice, but feeling burdened by my inadequacies. I don’t know if Nephi was discouraged at other times or how long it took him to conquer these feelings, but this same chapter tells us how he did it. First, he remembers the good experiences he has had, the times that he has been so acceptable to the Lord that he has been blessed with wonderful manifestations:

“My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.

“He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.

“He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.” (2 Ne. 4:20–22.)

In other words, Nephi is reminding himself that his Heavenly Father has trusted him enough and cared enough about him to bless and protect him. He can’t be totally worthless.

Recalling these experiences gives him confidence enough to argue with those negative voices:

“O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?

“And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul?” (2 Ne. 4:26–27.)

Once we can turn off the negative voices, we can see their source. Discouragement is not the Lord’s method—it’s Satan’s. Satan emphasizes your weaknesses; the Lord, your ability to overcome. Satan urges immediate perfection to make you feel inadequate. The Lord leads you toward perfection. Once we recognize the source, we can cry with Nephi, “Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.” (2 Ne. 4:28.)

You mean that some of these critical voices are not my conscience or the Spirit of the Lord?

That’s right. Mormon tells us how to distinguish between “good” voices that are helping us to repent and satanic voices that will only entangle us more, when he says, “That which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.” On the other hand, Satan “persuadeth no man to do good.” (Moro. 7:13, 17.) Thus, if the voice you hear leaves you feeling weaker, more doubtful about your capability of overcoming sins, if it continues to remind you of past mistakes and sins that you have already repented of, then it is not of the Spirit of the Lord.

The Lord seeks to strengthen you, to give you the power to overcome problems. He wants you to recognize your weaknesses and then do something about them, Jesus didn’t condemn the adulteress. He said, “Go, and sin no more.” (John 8:1–11.) Alma made it very clear to Corianton that he had committed a terrible sin in being unchaste, but he concluded with: “And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things [Corianton’s doubts about God’s justice] trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.” (Alma 42:29.)

Elder Marion D. Hanks has commented on this passage: “Alma didn’t promise that Corianton would forget. He taught him how to live with his memories, productively, humbly, continually appreciative for the mercy and long-suffering and forgiveness of God.

“‘You’ll remember your sins,’ we can almost hear Alma saying. ‘You probably won’t ever forget. But remember in the right way for the right reasons.’” 2

Isn’t it wrong not to face up to our weaknesses?

It’s one thing to face up to our weaknesses and work on them. It’s another thing to dwell on them. The gospel teaches us to take charge of our minds as well as our bodies. Suppose you’re thinking about a mistake you’ve made. Ask yourself: Is this helping me deal with the problems I’m now having or is it making me feel more inadequate? If it’s dragging you down, push it out of your mind or crowd something else in front of it.

The apostle Paul told the Philippians that he knew he wasn’t “already perfect,” but at least did “one thing”: “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philip. 3:12–14.)

Isn’t there some value in punishing myself enough that I won’t repeat my sins?

No! Nowhere in the scriptures do I find any license to punish myself. President Kimball tells us that we are punished by our sins. 3 That’s punishment enough. It’s much better to reward ourselves for what we do right. This helps us focus on our strengths and moves us more in that direction; punishment focuses on our weaknesses and doesn’t teach us any new behaviors.

If I immediately start tormenting myself for my weakness when I find myself dwelling on an unworthy thought, I don’t have enough strength or determination to resist the next temptation. If, instead, I thank the Lord for showing me that the thought is unwholesome and helping shift my mind away, I leave the situation closer to the Lord, grateful for the strength I have, and praying for greater strength in the future.

President Lorenzo Snow said: “And if we could read in detail the life of Abraham, or the lives of other great and holy men, we would doubtless find that their efforts to be righteous were not always crowned with success. Hence we should not be discouraged if we should be overcome in a weak moment; but, on the contrary, straightway repent of the error or the wrong we may have committed, and as far as possible repair it, and then seek to God for renewed strength to go on and do better.” 4

But if I spent much time thinking of my strengths, am I not in danger of becoming proud and conceited?

My experience suggests that pride and conceit are walls people build around fears they dare not face. The conceited person may act superior because he is afraid to face his real limitations. The proud person may be frightened to trust others, even God. Instead, our positive goal is to have “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (D&C 59:8.)

The broken heart recognizes mistakes; it recognizes the ideal for which we strive, the strengths we have that will set us on our way toward that ideal, and also the fact that we need outside help to reach it. A proud person refuses to admit that his sin—and his need for help—really exists.

Certainly, being aware of our shortcomings is painful. The people who heard King Benjamin’s sermon were distressed about their spiritual state; but the Spirit of the Lord did not leave them in the dust of depression. Instead, because they had faith in the Savior’s atoning sacrifice, they not only received a remission of their sins but peace of conscience. (See Mosiah 4:3.)

In short, a broken heart not only recognizes sins, but also forgiveness. A humble person, in accepting God’s forgiveness, can also forgive himself. Remember Enos? He said, “And I … knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.” (Enos 1:6.)

How do I begin to apply these principles in my life?

1. Be aware of your feelings. Recognize when you begin to feel depressed, discouraged, and uneasy. Many times a person feels down but doesn’t know why. As soon as you recognize depression, trace back the chain of events that led to it.

2. What event cued these feelings? Was it something you did? Something you didn’t do? Something someone else did? Something that disappointed an expectation?

3. Then ask yourself, “What does this event tell me about myself?” If, for instance, you’re depressed after giving a two-and-a-half minute talk that you think turned out poorly, ask what your feelings mean about yourself. Are you worried about what people will think of you? Are you disappointed because you feel you could have done better? Are you feeling guilty because you hadn’t prepared adequately?

4. Then challenge those negative voices. If you really hadn’t prepared, then your failure was a natural consequence. You know what to do to have a better experience next time.

If you had prepared and had reason to expect a good experience, then argue with those voices: Was the talk really that bad? What about the people who said they liked it? Will people really not like me if I give a poor talk? And if someone really does become unfriendly just because I did a bad job, what does that say about his friendship? Am I really a bad person if I don’t give a perfect talk?

But what if I can’t figure out why I’m depressed?

If you can’t identify a cause, then attack in another way. Ask yourself, what are these thoughts and feelings doing to me? Are they helping me improve? Are they leading me to repent? Can I help other people when I feel this way? Are they making me feel weaker and more inadequate?

If the thoughts aren’t productive, then really fight back. Be firm: “Get thee behind me, Satan!” Remember Nephi’s advice to himself after he had remembered all of the blessings the Lord had given him: “Awake, my soul! No longer droop. … Give place no more for the enemy of my soul.” (2 Ne. 4:28.) Instead of being angry at yourself, be angry at those discouraging voices. Satan may disguise them as the voice of conscience, but they’re really his. Turn them off.

You’ll need the Lord’s help in doing it. Pray for strength to cast them out of your mind and lay hold on the Lord’s promise: “If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.” (Moro. 7:33.)

You may feel impressed to seek a blessing from the priesthood. Remember that the Lord can and does work through the priesthood. You may feel impressed to counsel with your bishop or branch president. Sometimes the bishop refers people to qualified counselors in the community through the Church Personal Welfare Services program. These people can help you sort out the destructive voices and stand up to them. Behavior and feeling are interrelated. As feelings about yourself improve, positive, service-oriented behavior will reinforce those feelings.

Search for your good qualities, your strengths. Think of the good things you have done and those times when the Spirit has whispered peace to your soul. (Fight off that satanic reflex that says, “Yes, but you didn’t do …”) Enjoy the good that you are. Express your gratitude to the Lord for these good things. As he helps you cast out evil, defeating thoughts, fill the vacuum with productive memories.

You will not change overnight. It will take time and effort. But if you have faith in the Lord and follow the counsel of his servants, you will be guided to people and into situations that can help make the “weak things” become strengths in your life.

What to Do When You Feel Down

At bedtime, you can’t sleep. In the morning, you can’t wake up. Dishes, laundry, cleaning go undone. You feel helpless, hopeless, sad. For weeks, months, or even years nothing seems to go right. You feel like a burden to your family. You cry uncontrollably over little things.

You blame yourself for being unhappy. Your sympathetic family takes over your duties, but friends begin to avoid you. You stay home more. Your favorite activities go flat—it’s been a long time since you went for a walk, skied, or played the piano.

You are depressed, and you don’t know what to do about it. Worse, because the gospel promises happinesses, you feel terribly guilty.

Something, however, can be done, says Eugene Mead, a Brigham Young University professor affiliated with the BYU Marriage and Family Counseling Clinic. All types of depression can be helped, and Church resources stand ready.

First, stop feeling guilty. Depression afflicts persons of all ages and both sexes. Statistically, married women with children at home are most subject to depression, single women least. The proportion of depressed married women has risen in the last ten to fifteen years, according to a study taken in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. Women in general are somewhat more prone to depression than are men.

Depression is a high-risk condition. National statistics show that the suicide rate among depressed people is one in 100, compared to one in 10,000 for the general population.

Second, ask what caused the depression. It may be mostly chemistry, a physiological condition that your physician can prescribe medication for. People forty and over are particularly susceptible to this kind of chemical imbalance. Counseling can help too, sometimes.

Usually, though, depression follows some event—the birth of a baby, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, separation, children leaving home. This kind of depression is in your mind, not your body, and may last two to three months, with some effects continuing up to a year to two.

“People can do something about this themselves, if they know what to do,” says Dr. Mead. He suggests a combination of disciplined attitudes and disciplined behavior:

1. Consider how you’re looking at the world. You may think everything is going wrong, but usually a lot is going right, too. Are you being rational? Match your picture against reality. Get help doing this; see your bishop, who can draw upon Welfare Services professional help, if necessary.

2. Set a workable schedule. Get enough sleep. Eat enough.

3. A depressed person usually punishes himself by doing few things he enjoys. Try new things, but also make a list of things you used to like doing: rearranging your furniture, making fancy snacks, washing your hair, eating out, visiting friends, discussing politics, playing ping-pong, telling someone you love him, going shopping, doing favors for people, and those all-important spiritual things—meditating, praying, reading scriptures.

Then, every day make yourself do some of these things; increase the number and increase the amount of time you spend.

4. Do your duties. If the floor is filthy, scrub it, or you will feel guilty. Go visiting teaching whether you want to or not. Count simple things, such as answering the phone, as real personal victories. Start to notice how often you win each day.

Dr. Mead also has some suggestions for the depressed person’s family. Be understanding, but not too sympathetic. The more sympathy he gets, the more he may talk about his depression. But the more he talks about it, the less family and friends will want to be with him.

Instead, acknowledge the depressed feelings but expect the depressed person to function—to do his own work, to serve others, to participate in group activities. “If you do his work, you may reinforce his feelings of uselessness.” Also, the backlash may come when family members feel burdened and angry.

Family members can best help by telling the depressed person that he is capable and competent, even if he is not yet able to do all he did before his depression. “Show that any little improvement is appreciated,” Dr. Mead says, “and it will continue.” If the depression persists, help the depressed person see his bishop, who can draw upon Welfare Services professional help.

Steve F. Gilliland, director of the Cambridge Institute of Religion and father of five children, serves as director of social services in the Cambridge First Ward, Boston Massachusetts Stake.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 40-Happy Sabbath- Me and Nephi

I always felt a kinship with the Book Of Mormon Prophet, Nephi.. When I read these scriptures this morning I felt I heard Nephi feeling sorry for himself, in verse 5, because he had just found out that his people would eventually be destroyed. In verse 6 he does something to get control of his thoughts.


5And it came to pass that I was overcome because of my afflictions, for I considered that mine afflictions were great above all, because of the destuction of my people, for I had beheld their fall.

6And it came to pass that after I had received strength I spake unto my brethren…

Many years ago, when I first read the Book of Mormon for myself, I read these verses in 2Nephi Chapter 4 and instantly they became my favorite scripture and my own prayer. I felt that Nephi had eloquently put into words my own thoughts and feelings:

17Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.

18I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.

19And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

20My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.

21He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.

22He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.

23Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.

24And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.

25And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.

26O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?

27And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my cpeace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?

28Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.

29Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.

30Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

31O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?

32May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!

33O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.

34O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

35Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

So I was going to write my thoughts on this and I came across an article that said what I was thinking and then some. So…

Tomorrow, part 2 - the article

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 38- Positive Movies

The tin man, scarecrow and lion were exactly what they thought they were and so was the sorcerers apprentice. Polly Anna’s father taught her to play the glad game. It changed negative situations to hopeful ones. The little engine that could thought he could and he did. The boys in the band could play “Seventy Six Trombones” using the think system. Wilber was “some pig”. “The Secret Garden turned Mary and Colin into optimists.

There are so many movies where the characters made a difference because of the way they thought (attitude)

It’s a Wonderful Life
The Pursuit of Happyness
Willy Wonka
The Princess Bride
Chariots of Fire
Karate Kid
Happy Feet
Mary Poppins

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 37

The weekly support group has been small in number but big in results.

Each week we share successes and I lead a discussion about topics from my reading. I feel that we go away ready to face a new week with some great strategies for changing our thoughts.

In Susan Jeffers book “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” She says “retraining faulty thinking takes constant repetition.”

A friend wrote me this facebook message:

D’Ann Stoddard

Keep going! Our family has been thinking about this for a long time. It's so hard to be positive, to be uncritical, to be really charitable. I think it takes practice, practice, practice.

She is so right! I have to read, write and talk about it every day and plan how to change negative thinking when it comes. Sometimes I do well sometimes I don’t but I’m practicing every day and getting better. And the encouragement from good people helps too.

Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. ~Bill Meyer

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

day 36

If happiness is determined by our thoughts it is necessary to drive off the thoughts which make for depression and discouragement.
-Norman Vincent Peal

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 35

If you look under my picture on my blog this is what you will see:

“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

You may be what you eat but you are definitely what you think.

I don’t know if I had jealous thoughts or what my thoughts were I just know they weren’t very nice. When my parents brought home 2 little boys as foster children, I was nice sometimes, but sometimes I wasn’t. You may say “well that’s normal”, kids do that.

All I know is sometimes my thoughts were kind and sometimes they weren’t and I became what I thought. I was so glad to read what I read in the step 9 of the LDS Twelve step program. Once, a couple of years ago, I tried to find those little boys; now grown men. I hoped to have made restitution for my thoughts and behavior. It was like finding a needle in a haystack. Over the past few years I have had the chance to work with young children in the primary organization of our church. I have made a special effort to think of them as beloved children of God and to think patient and charitable thoughts so that they feel loved.

Through this means and prayer in behalf of those foster boys I am trying to make restitution

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 34

Like any other habit, our negative thoughts become actions that hurt our relationships in many ways. We must somehow make restitution.

From the LDS twelve step program:

KEY PRINCIPLE: Wherever possible, make direct restitution to all persons you have harmed. A s we moved on to step 9, we were ready to seek forgiveness. Like the repentant sons of Mosiah who went about "zealously striving to repair all the injuries which they had done" (Mosiah 27:35), we desired to make amends. Still, as we faced step 9, we knew we could not carry out our desires unless God blessed us with His Spirit. We needed courage, good judgment, sensitivity, prudence, and appropriate timing. These were not qualities that most of us possessed at that time. We realized that step 9 would once more test our willingness to humble ourselves and seek the help and grace of the Lord. Because of our experiences in this challenging process, we offer a few suggestions. It is very important that you are not impulsive or careless as you attempt to make amends. It is equally important that you do not procrastinate making amends. Many recovering individuals have relapsed when they allowed fear to keep them from doing step 9. Pray for the Lord's guidance and consult with a trusted adviser for help to avoid these pitfalls. Sometimes you may be tempted to avoid meeting with a person on your list. We recommend, however, that you resist this temptation, unless, of course, a legal restriction keeps you from meeting with someone. A spirit of humility and a feeling of honesty can repair damaged relationships when you make reasonable efforts to meet in person. Let people know you are approaching them to make amends. Respect their wishes if they indicate they would rather not discuss the matter. If they give you the chance to apologize, bebrief and specific about the situation you remember. Details are not necessary. The purpose is not to explain or describe your side of things. The purpose is to admit those wrongs you have committed, offer an apology, and make restitution wherever possible. Do not argue with people or criticize them, even if their response isnot favorable or accepting. Approach each person inaspirit of humility, offering reconciliation, never justification. You may be tempted to overreact or to make excuses and avoid making amends. In other cases, you may have no way of making amends directly. The person may be dead, or you may not be able to discover where he or she lives. In such cases, you can still make amends indirectly. You can write the person a letter expressing your regret and desire for reconciliation, even if the letter cannot be delivered. You can give a gift to the person's favorite charity. You can find someone who reminds you of that person and do something to help him or her. Or you may be able to do something to help a member of the family anonymously. There may be times when approaching another person or seeking to provide restitution is painful for that person or even harmful. If you think that might bethe case, discuss the situation with a trusted adviser before proceeding. This part of recovery must never lead to the further harm of others. Also, at times you may have caused harm that is beyond human ability torepair. Elder Neal A. Maxwell spoke of this reality: "Sometimes . . . restitution is not possible in real terms, such as when one contributed to another's loss of faith or virtue. Instead, a subsequent example of righteousness provides a compensatory form of restitution" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 41; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 31). From the moment you decide to adopt these true principles as your new way of life, you begin to make amends. After making amends for most of your past actions, you may still have one or two people you feel like you cannot face. Do not despair. Many of us dealt with the same reality. We recommend you take your feelings to the Lord in honest prayer. If you still have great fear or anger toward an individual, you probably should postpone meeting with him or her. To overcome negative feelings, you could pray for charity and to see the person as the Lord sees him or her. You could look for positive reasons why restitution and reconciliation will help. If you do these things and are patient, the Lord 53 STEP 9 can and will—in His own way and in His own time— give you the ability and the miraculous opportunities to be reconciled to everyone on your list.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why forgiving is good for you

Day 30

When I was a young girl our church had a program for girls 8-11 similar to what they have today except each girl was given a Bandello, a felt neckpiece, to which we added awards for attendance and memorizing things.
We lived 30 minutes from our church and my mother worked, so I didn’t always get to attend the weekday meetings, therefore I didn‘t earn all of my little attendance rhinestones. One evening a dinner was held and our Bandellos were put on display for everyone to see. Just before the event began one of the mothers and her daughter teased me about my missing attendance jewels. I was very hurt so I ran into the woods and stayed. They were having a delicious Virginia pork barbeque sandwich, my favorite, but I didn’t come out for it. I didn’t even come out when my favorite leader came looking for me. I hid behind a tree and didn’t come out until my parents came to pick me up when it was over, 1 to 2 hours later.
This is my earliest memory of what I am recognizing as my worst habit, being offended, and allowing someone else to dictate my behavior. I remember the thoughts that kept me trapped, hiding in the woods, not too different from the negative thoughts that kept me trapped that day in Georgia with my sisters.(see previous post)

We had learned a song in those weekday meetings, Maybe I can remember it now when those thoughts and feelings threaten me:

Help me, dear Father, to freely forgive
All who may seem unkind to me.

Help me each day, Father, I pray;
Help me live nearer, nearer to thee.

2. Help me, dear Father, to truly repent,
Making things right, and changing my ways.

Help me each day, Father, I pray;
Help me live nearer, nearer to thee.

Words and music: Frances K. Taylor, 1870–1952

Added text (verse 2) © 1989 IRI