Tuesday, March 4, 2014

100 Happy Days - 10%

Last month we had a Relief Society activity on being happy - on looking after our mental health. One of the speakers talked about "Learned Happiness" or "Learned Optimism" which is the idea that happiness or joy is something we can learn to cultivate.

The "100HappyDays" project is all about getting people sign up to find something to be happy about every day for 100days, take a photo and post it on social media #100HappyDays. I signed up for it because I like the idea of recording moments of happiness - it sounded fun - and I plan to compile the photos in a book as a sort of photographic gratitude journal to complement my written one. I am a great believer in gratitude and happiness!

Here are some of the happy moments in the past 10 days.
Doing family history research - finding out about my roots....

Little Possum's fashion sense and funny faces despite being sick. She is always cheerful this little one of mine.

I love dark chocolate. I love pistachios. I love marzipan. A combo of all 3? Perfect!

I love this word.....   so useful.

My accidental garden. Grew from where we buried the bunny poop.....

Aaaaah. A browse in a bookshop. Bliss.

Little Possum's sock monkey Toto that she made herself.

A letter from my aunt sharing childhood memories, family information and a beautiful photo of my great aunt who died before I was born.

Going to the temple. Can't top that for a source of joy and peace.

And... that is a secret to happiness...  We can make our own happiness and feel joy by doing the things that will lead us to the temple. Learning to see the happy moments in a day is closely aligned with seeing the Lord's hand in our lives, to being grateful. The more I learn to look for it, the more I will find.

"Be of good cheer" is an admonition often repeated in the scriptures. It is so much more than telling us to "cheer up". It is a reminder of whom our source of happiness is:

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world"
John 16:33

"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come."
Doctrine and Covenants 68:6

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A birthday message

Today would have been my mother's 75th birthday and I wish I could wish her a happy birthday.
Grief is a strange thing. Over the past 9 years it has been like the waves on the beach. Sometimes the occasional gentle wave and other times like a freak tidal wave crashing over me. 

I still catch myself thinking about picking up the phone and calling her to tell her something. Then I remember.
But, I am grateful for my faith and testimony of the plan of salvation which lets me know that all is as it should be. She had completed her earthly mission and it was her time to return. Her life had been one filled with trials, more physical and emotional pain than anyone would imagine because she never complained.
At the end she said she was ready to go 

"I have had a good life"

She knew the secret of gratitude.

Today I will celebrate her life here on earth. I will celebrate this wonderful woman who taught me about patience, about enduring trials of every kind with a faithful heart and cheerful demeanour. She taught me the value of a good sense of humour and of looking outward to others and forward with hope.

 Although she was small in stature, she was a spiritual giant.

She had soft and gentle hands and a gentle manner, and I grieve for my children who have missed out on her hugs and her fruitbuns. They have to settle for my memories of her for now.

She was diagnosed with cancer in the same week that we moved out to Australia, 
these photos were taken on our last visit to her before we left and although they were snappy snaps, they are treasures.

 I love this last one of Bestemor with our Little Possum. 
She must have wondered about seeing her grow up.

I hope that my mother gets to look in on us occasionally. I hope I am making her proud.
I will see her again, of that I am sure. In the meantime I shall continue to miss her but cherishing wonderful memories.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Northern Lights"

I just discovered this beautiful choral piece by talented composer Ola Gjeilo and it fills me with joy and peace.

The clip below also has some stunning images of Aurora Borealis. 

Enjoy :)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Summer evening

I'm grateful for moments of joy and beauty. Especially those that sneak up on me.

Last night while Turtle was out boating with the other Young Men from church, Little Possum and I sat by the bay along with Tina. It was a beautiful and restful spot to spend a late afternoon.

We had chocolate and there were rocks to jump around on. What more could we possibly want?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Camp Liberty - teambuilding exercise

Last week we had our annual stake (equivalent of a diocese) YW (Young Women, girls from 12-17yrs) camp. This year the venue was the beautiful Bungonia National Park. Full of kangaroos and wombats that were easily spotted. Probably also full of snakes which I had been nervous about, but they had enough sense to stay out of our way. I was grateful about that since I was the camp nurse - my visions of having to treat snakebites thankfully did not happen.

On the first day there was a series of team building exercises, and my friend Tina and I were in charge of one. We had chosen a game involving plastic tubs and plastic balls of the type you find in ball pits. We only used 4 colours - 2 for each team so we could tell them apart.

We drilled holes in 2 tubs and threaded lengths of rope in different places. The ropes had loop-handles at the end for the girls to hold on to. They were only allowed to hold the rope by the loops.

The girls were in competing teams, 2 at a time. Our area was marked in a triangle with the start/finish at one point of the triangle and a cone in each of the other two points.

The rules were:
Teams were to choose one thrower. All the others would hold the bucket.
The girls were only allowed to hold the rope at the end/the loop and they had to work together to move their bucket.
The throwers stood 2-3 metres away from their teams and threw the balls for their team mates to catch in their buckets. Any balls that fell on the ground or bounced out of the bucket were lost.

 When a team had caught 5 balls in their bucket, they had to run to each of the cones before returning to the start area where they had to manoeuvre the bucket (without touching the bucket, and only holding the ropes at the end loops) to empty their balls into a third and smaller bucket. Again, any balls that fell out during the running around, were lost. 

With the empty bucket they were able to catch 5 more from their throwers.

We made the game a timed game, 5 minutes, after which we counted each teams balls. The team with the highest number won.

Unfortunately I had to settle for hastily snapped photos at the time, but hopefully they are enough to give you an idea of what we did.