Saturday, September 28, 2013

Letting People in on My Mourning Improves Happiness

At the beginning of our marriage, my sweetheart and I struggled. I remember wanting to talk to others about it, but didn't want to for fear that I was 'oversharing' something so personal that clearly others did not experience in their first several months of marriage. After thinking about it, I decided to let someone in my 'mourning session' and let them give advice on what I could do to improve. Their suggestions were welcome, and I came to realize that, yes, the first year of marriage is hard. I always heard it, but never really believed it. And even if I did believe, I was set on "oh, yes, but we won't be that couple." 

This experience reconfirmed my realization of how much we, as a society, are here on earth for not only our progression, but for the progression of others. Helping people progress, and allowing people to help me progress adds an extreme and rather undefined amount of happiness to my life. I have written about this before, but really must emphasize how important it is to lift one another. Now, don't misunderstand, I get that there is a balance. There comes a time when sharing turns into whining about nothing, and increases pessimistic views, which does not increase happiness. Trust me, I know. BUT I also understand that in order for someone to lift me, I have to give them the opportunity to serve me...which is a really hard thing for me to do - I have to let people in on my mourning.

As you recall, one of my Happiness Project items is to generate an understanding of behavioral issues. The behavioral issue of focus I chose was ADHD. This became important to me because there are important people in my life who have been diagnosed with this behavioral disorder (and I do hate the word disorder). I felt like if I study it, I would be able to better responder and caretaker because I UNDERSTAND it. 

I have only just begun reading the book Is it You, Me, Or Adult A.D.D? and already feel like I have learned so much. In the introductory chapters, the author discusses how important it is for the caretakers of persons with ADHD to come together and discuss their issues. The author relates a story: As the support group attendees shared their experiences, you could see the physical relief of the participants, as if they had been carrying this burden on their own the whole time. Some laughed, and some cried because they thought they were alone in this journey of living with someone who had ADHD tendencies....which, by the way, are not super pleasant.

On another note, my sweetheart and I have recently started attending a class called Financial Peace University, where we gather with fellow peers to discuss how to manage money better using tactics by Dave Ramsey. At the end of our lessons, we have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss what we learned. My sweetheart and I find this helpful as we have been trying to figure out the best way to combine our finances, pay off student loans, and live in one of the most expensive places when we really aren't earning enough to live here. 

I can't tell you how relieved we were to find that there are many other people going through similar struggles. For some reason, this is comforting. After our discussion last night, we left with a sense that we could do this - that with a little perseverance and know-how, we could conquer this huge looming THING that has almost caused us to break up twice. 

In an article entitled Reaching out to Those that Mourn, the author tells a story about when her husband was killed in an accident, and she had four young children at home. The article says, "Through my experience I also gained insight into the communication between one who mourns and one who gives comfort. As friend after friend came through the line at Russ’s viewing, too overcome to speak, all we could do was hug each other—no words were necessary. Others I didn’t know as well would simply squeeze my hand or pat my shoulder. If they spoke at all, the simple words “I’m so sorry” were all I needed to know they cared.

Then during the following weeks and even months, I often needed to talk. I found that those who helped the most were those who let me talk instead of talking to me. They didn’t tell me to feel a certain way, or to be grateful for the blessings I had. I was grateful for the many blessings I had received, but I still struggled with many emotions. I felt so much better when someone would say, “I understand that you feel that way, and that’s OK.” This allowed me to open up and experience my emotions in order to effectively deal with them."

Support groups, girls nights, mother-type figures who become my mom in town since mine lives so far away, and good friends who are willing to mourn with me in my mourning stages in life makes me grateful, and ultimately makes me happy.


Sharing life experiences with one another improves our happiness because I:
  1. Realize I am not alone, and for some reason, that is comforting
  2. Are able to experience the process of mourning and be ok with how long it takes
  3. Places me in a position to mourn with others and be there for them during their mourning stages because I have experienced it before
  4. Give others the opportunity to serve me, in which "charity is the greatest of all the gifts of God"

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Expressing Gratitude In Person=Happiness

I just watched this video produced by SoulPancake where it demonstrates a Happiness Experiment. I won't give it away, but here is the video. I am thinking about doing this experiment as part of my goals for September, calling people I am thinking of right now, and telling them what I am grateful for, or how they influenced me. LOVE it!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Prayer: Generates Understanding

Our congregation had a conference where we were challenged to read and understand more about prayer. I was able to include this challenge into my Happiness Project. I love the idea of topical religious studies. In the past, I haven't done very well sticking to one topic. I am grateful for the inspiration of our ecclesiastical leader who gave us this challenge, as it is particularly something I struggle constantly to understand.

Elder Scott: Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer

The following are quotes from the talk mentioned above.

I wonder if we can ever really fathom the immense power of prayer until we encounter an overpowering, urgent problem and realize that we are powerless to resolve it. Then we will turn to our Father in humble recognition of our total dependence on Him."

How Prayers are Answered

I have discovered that what sometimes seems an impenetrable barrier to communication is a giant step to be taken in trust. Seldom will you receive a complete response all at once. It will come a piece at a time, in packets, so that you will grow in capacity. As each piece is followed in faith, you will be led to other portions until you have the whole answer. That pattern requires you to exercise faith in our Father’s capacity to respond. While sometimes it’s very hard, it results in significant personal growth. 

It is so hard when sincere prayer about something you desire very much is not answered the way you want. It is difficult to understand why your exercise of deep and sincere faith from an obedient life does not grant the desired result. The Savior taught, “Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you. 4 At times it is difficult to recognize what is best or expedient for you over time. Your life will be easier when you accept that what God does in your life is for your eternal good.

Elder Bednar: Ask in Faith

The following are quotes from the talk mentioned above.  
I long have been impressed with the truth that meaningful prayer requires both holy communication and consecrated work. Blessings require some effort on our part before we can obtain them, and prayer, as “a form of work, … is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings” (Bible Dictionary, “Prayer,” 753). We press forward and persevere in the consecrated work of prayer, after we say “amen,” by acting upon the things we have expressed to Heavenly Father.

Asking in faith requires honesty, effort, commitment, and persistence.

“Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other” (Bible Dictionary, “Prayer,” 752–53). Humble, earnest, and persistent prayer enables us to recognize and align ourselves with the will of our Heavenly Father. And in this the Savior provided the perfect example as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. … And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly” (Luke 22:42, 44).

The object of our prayers should not be to present a wish list or a series of requests but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is eager to bestow, according to His will and timing. Every sincere prayer is heard and answered by our Heavenly Father, but the answers we receive may not be what we expect or come to us when we want or in the way we anticipate.

The Ministry of Business: How Correct Principles Magnify Business Success by Steve A. Hitz (author), James W. Ritchie (contributor) discusses the Cycle of Divine Guidance. It demonstrates a loop with these key attributes:
  1. Trust your inner voice, come what may: the spiritual promptings of personal revelation should not fade in time
  2. Have faith to act with urgency: keep moving forward with faith
  3. Be at peace with heaven's timing: even if it is hard, know that you are following God's will and God's timing
  4. Live well: live according to your personal standards and honor your covenants with God
My Takeaways
  • Prayer is something I need to be close to Heavenly Father
  • Prayer helps me understand, and guides me through those dark/unknown places
  • Prayer coupled with scripture study enlightens the mind and makes room for revelation
  • Prayer is two way communication, and I need to be in tune in order to hear Him
  • Prayer gives me the opportunity to plead and to be put right in what the Lord has in store for me
  • Even though God knows all, it is important for us to make Him aware of everything so he can enlighten us because we CHOOSE to involve Him
  • Prayer will help me understand timing
  • Prayer allows me to have an intimate relationship with Heavenly Father, which makes me happy

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September Resolutions: Happiness Project

Since the beginning of the Happiness Project, I have been working on the best way for me to approach coming up with my monthly resolutions. It has been quite a battle, as you could tell from my blog posts about failure and perfection. That is why I am not at all ashamed to introduce my September Resolutions in the middle of September. If anything, my procrastination should demonstrate my resolve in conducting this project in a way that is best suited for me - great justification, right :)

Gretchen Rubin, the author of the Happiness Project suggests tracking resolutions. Her thought is that making yourself accountable leads to the best success - and I agree. For her Happiness Project, Gretchen outlined her resolutions by implementing items based on one focus area. For example, for the month of February, she focused on marriage. 

As I talked about in recent posts and experiences, because of my need for perfection and running faster than I have strength, I decided it would be better if I created a more well-rounded approach. Instead of having one area of focus with 6-8 resolutions, I decided to have 6-8 resolutions in 6-8 different focus groups.

For September, my resolutions include:

  1. Spirituality: Study everything you can about prayer and communication with God
  2. Marriage: Be more playful
  3. Finances: Learn how to budget better
  4. Family/Friends: Call the people I care about when I actually THINK about them
  5. Intellect: Learn more about behavioral disorders
  6. Health: Develop Healthy Eating Patterns
  7. Time: Spend more time finishing projects: spirituality booklet/album
  8. Passion: Blog on your personal and company blog. Visit Washington DC monuments and take photos
Whatever the approach, writing down resolutions will help me hold myself accountable. I also liked Gretchen's suggestion of giving myself gold stars or stickers when I accomplish these items, or checking them off with a big fatty check mark. The satisfaction of meeting my goals by checking it off somehow will bring such accomplishment. I don't know why...but shoot, it works for 2 year old's learning to potty train, and it works for me too :)

To get started on my resolutions chart, Gretchen provided tools for a great start on her blog. Here is my adaptation. And even though I am posting this now, I am tracking these items and will give my monthly update.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Not Mine But Thine

I recently received a bit of inspiration from my bestie. She has been keeping up with this blog of mine and thought some inspired words would lift me as I continue this Happiness Project. I was glad for the bit of inspired wisdom, as there has been a rather huge and recent disappointment in my life. While I will not divulge the particulars of it quite yet, all I can say is that while I understand that the Lord has something in store for me, sometimes I want to recoil and say, "I did everything you said...why isn't this happening for us? I thought I was doing what you wanted me to do. I prayed, I received peace, I felt the confirming witness of the Holy Ghost....what's the deal?"

In the article That We Might "Not Shrink", Elder Bednar tells a story of a newly married couple who went through one of the hardest trials of their faith, as the husband was diagnosed with cancer after they were first married. In the story, Elder Bednar relates that the couple asked if he would give the husband a priesthood blessing. What followed was surprising to me, as I know it was to the couple and to Elder Bednar himself. The article says: " you have the faith not to be healed? If it is the will of our Heavenly Father that you are transferred by death in your youth to the spirit world to continue your ministry, do you have the faith to submit to His will and not be healed?”

As I apply that to my circumstance, did I have the faith not to get what I was hoping for? The article continues, "We recognized a principle that applies to every devoted disciple: strong faith in the Savior is submissively accepting of His will and timing in our lives—even if the outcome is not what we hoped for or wanted."

As a response, the husband - John - relates, “Having the faith not to be healed seemed counter intuitive; but that perspective changed the way my wife and I thought and allowed us to put our trust fully in the Father’s plan for us. We learned we needed to gain the faith that the Lord is in charge whatever the outcome may be, and He will guide us from where we are to where we need to be. As we prayed, our petitions changed from ‘Please make me whole’ to ‘Please give me the faith to accept whatever outcome Thou hast planned for me.’"

In my natural tendency, I want to fight this and say, " situation is different. In MY circumstance, everything led me, and my sweetheart to feel the witness of the Holy Ghost that what we were hoping for would certainly coming to pass." I related the experience to my dad, who happened to be in town. I told him that we had stirrings, promptings of the Spirit, and were led to this hope. My dad said that the Spirit will often provide peace that will 'hopefully' generate an understanding of the Lord's time and way. 

In our particular instance, the Spirit was confirming that He and the Lord knew - that my sweetheart and I were doing our best, and that we would be taken care of. In fact, now I have no doubt of it. While it didn't make the unrealized hope any easier, and I continue to be disappointed in this arena, I am trying to overcome my natural feelings by reading such inspirational talks and gaining more knowledge of what "His will" and having faith really means.

I am glad for the article that has inspired me to ask better questions when I pray. My communication with Heavenly Father hasn't been up to par lately, something that I was going to make one of my Happiness Project items. This week at our congregational conference, we were challenged to read about prayer in our scriptures. This is one challenge I want to undertake that I know will contribute to my happiness. I am hoping that as I study about it, I will come to understand more about how Heavenly Father communicates with His children, so next time I can gracefully submit instead of getting so upset when things don't go the way I think they are supposed to go.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Never Give Up

I was touched by this version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider that was done for the new hit DVD series TreeSchoolers made by my former boss and mentor, Rachel Coleman and the team! I am honored that I was once a part of Two Little Hands Productions, and value all the work they do to enhance learning for children with all abilities. 

As I have been pondering and researching how to cope with failure and not being perfect, I was absolutely touched by this video, and cried. Yes, yes I did. Having personally worked with the creators of this series, I am 100% sure that they were inspired to create this video. (I wanted to add that it was 'just for me' but I know it isn't ;)

In the past couple of months or so, there have been various things that I have given up on and some that I have wanted to give up on. Remember my exercise now program/regime? Yup...I was flushed out by the rain.

Not too long ago I read about a healthy meal plan where a person should consume 5 meals a day including breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner, keeping in mind that all proteins and carbs needed to be balanced. Having this kind of diet had several benefits, including:
  • Creates a higher metabolism
  • Helps maintain balanced eating
  • Creates smaller portion size, resulting in less calorie intake
  • Benefits cost savings of not eating out all the time
At the beginning of the month and in focus with one of my Happiness Project goals, I wanted to incorporate healthy eating into my life. I had done this diet before and decided I was going to do it again. With this meal plan also came all the extra time to make the meals ahead of time. It also meant spending more money on healthy food. Did you know that buying a bag of Cheetos is cheaper than buying two apples?

I created a calendar and outlined the menu, with the intention of updating it every two weeks. The first planning process took several days locating different healthy menus of small portioned items. I found some great websites including: 

When I presented the outline to my sweetheart, he was all for it, and we set off to Costco and bought our weight in food, food, and more food. The bill was almost catastrophic. In fact, I felt so guilty for how much we were spending on groceries that I let my sweetheart play his Xbox game for two days straight without interruption! 

The first two weeks of the meal plan were exciting. I would come home, make dinner, and pack lunches for my sweetheart and I everyday. The fresh fruit was amazing, and the dinners and lunches were innovative and outstanding! I ended up cheating on my calendar as I realized that I had to buy several different ingredients to meet the demands of the diet curriculum. I am sure there are websites dedicated to making food that has similar ingredients so that the "dieter" doesn't have to buy so many different things.

Over time, I started to feel overwhelmed with how much time I was spending in the kitchen. Typically, spending time in my kitchen doesn't bother me. In fact,  cooking in the kitchen is a space for me that is peaceful and wonderful - ah creation YUM! Cooking new food and experimenting with new recipes is something that I find calming.

However, I found that once I started this program, making food became a chore - one that I didn't like so much anymore. I dreaded coming home knowing that I was putting off everything else in order to keep us healthy and fed. I tossed in the towel for a couple of days, and my poor sweetheart was left to fend for himself, and we both ended up going out to eat (something I wanted to avoid because we are trying not to spend so much moola eating out).

This situation caused a lot of unhappiness for me. During the third week I noticed that I would get mad at my sweetheart...where was he in all of this? Why didn't he help me cook or pack lunches? Why was it all up to me? Now, that is not fair. This wasn't HIS was mine. So, why did I get so upset. 

I realized my irritability was stemming from the idea that by not accomplishing what I set out to do, I had failed. I felt like this could be the start to a new eating pattern for our family. Our consumption of good food wasn't lacking necessarily, but I knew we could do better. When I couldn't keep up with it, I felt like a fool for trying. 

It is in situations like this that I have to remember my commandments #6: let it go and #10 don't be so hard on yourself. So I botched up the meal plan...that isn't so bad. So I wasn't able to be super-wife and super-dieter. My expectations for this meal plan were not clearly defined. I knew I wanted to eat healthy, but to what extent? In this moment, I realized that I needed to be better at defining my goals and being clear that if they don't work out accordingly, it is OK to adjust. 

For example: making meals every night may not be that realistic for us right now. Both my sweetheart and I are working professionals. With our commutes, we typically don't get home until about 6:30 p.m. with little time to do multiple things. Sometimes we have other things we need to do like grocery shopping, car maintenance, laundry, working out, catching up on visiting and home teaching, reading books, working on unfinished projects, etc. I found that my meal planning process took about 1 - 2 hours total for completion. Finding meals that take less than 30 minutes to prepare is tough. At this point, it might be realistic for me to make a meal if time permits, and not get so bent out of shape if I can't. 

I have since started the meal plan once again, but made some adjustments to my perspective:
  1. I defined the purpose of the meal plan. I thought the purpose of the meal plan was to gear us up for creating healthy eating for our future family. This is still true, but to an extent. The meal plan is to help us stray away from eating crap all the time - bottom line. Its purpose is to also help us save money. With that in mind it has been easier for me to be flexible on eating a PB&J sandwich as opposed to preparing chicken, rice and asparagus meal.
  2. I have not restricted my time to only cooking. This has helped me not feel guilty for not being able to follow through with the plan. Only cooking when I can has helped me be more creative with what we can eat that doesn't require 1-2 hours.
  3. I nixed the calendar. At first, I thought using a calendar and having a menu would be a good idea for us to plan everything out. I found that it created unwanted noise into meal planning. It is better for me to be flexible in what we will eat so as to not stress me out when I couldn't make that amazing chicken meal that I wanted to at the beginning of the week and failed to do because we had to get an oil change instead of cooking until the wee hours of the morning.
  4. Grocery shopping as we need. Costco is a great place. I love what they have to offer. It is not necessarily conducive for everyday cooking for two. We save more money by purchasing what we need, when we need it. Even though my sweetheart does not like shopping, we are saving moola in the end when we approach our shopping this way.
With these small adjustments, I am hoping this second round goes better, and that the sun will come out and dry up all the rain. The hope is that I can have a healthy eating plan for my future family because of the habits I create today. However, I need to keep in mind my commandment #9 Acknowledge and be OK with what I don't encompass, and what others don't encompass. I can't force my eating patterns on others. 
Regardless, I decided not to give up on the dream of having a healthy eating plan for myself. I am not going to let the rain take me out this time! 

Side Note: What is the difference between Signing Time and TreeSchoolers?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Marriage Learning Curve, Lesson 7: Compliment Each Other Daily

I remember going out on a date with a guy who complimented me relentlessly. At first, I liked it. I mean, who doesn't like to hear that they are amazing? After the two hour date and numerous compliments, I didn't feel like he was being sincere, and became easily annoyed with his overly complimentary nature. I went out on another date with this gentleman and doubled with his sister. I noticed that she too complimented not only me, but him and her husband all night. This really got me thinking about compliments and why receiving too many made me feel nervous.

I thought back to my childhood and asked, did my parents often express compliments to one another? I recall my dad always telling us things that mom did that were amazing, and complimenting her on them too. I am sure there could have been more compliments, but there you have it. I thought back to my personal life. Did I compliment or receive compliments often? From my reaction, most likely not. I thought about what it means to give someone a compliment. Did I have a hard time realizing and recognizing the gifts/talents of others' and compliment them? Perhaps. I realized that it was so natural for me to be a little prideful and get so involved with ME and what I was doing that I often forget others' and their amazing contributions to life.

This thought has been on my mind lately as it relates to marriage. My sweetheart and I are pretty good at letting one another know that we love each other, which is GREAT. Admittedly, my sweetheart is really good at letting ME know how amazing I am. However, I struggle to let him know how amazing he is. I have evaluated why it is so hard for me to give him compliments. I look back at some of my former posts, and think back to a conversation I had with my BFF about expectations. 

As you may be aware, I am very hard on myself. Perhaps it goes back to this idea of perfection I talked about in one of my earlier posts. Regardless, my theory is that because I am so hard on myself, and my expectations for myself are enormously high (I expect perfection, remember?), that it somehow translates to the relationship I have with my sweetheart.THAT POOR POOR MAN! Perhaps I can liken this to an example. 

CAUTION, the following example is only hypothetical.

Let's say, for example, I have asked my sweetheart to help me finish cleaning the dishes. In my mind doing and completely finishing the dishes includes:
  • Sticking all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher including any that are on the stove top oven, on the table, or on the counter tops
  • Doing any dishes that don't fit in the dishwasher by hand. This entails washing, drying, and putting dishes away
  • Growing up, doing dishes also meant wiping down the table and cleaning up any messes on the stove top, oven, microwave, etc.
After my sweetheart announces that he has completed the dishes, I noticed that the oven isn't wiped down, and there were still dishes in the sink even though the dishwasher was going. I said a quick thank you, but he could tell that I was disappointed, because I have a very expressive face (another reason I don't play poker).

So, even though my sweetheart completed his chore, I reacted by being short with him. I was irrational with my expectations, and in the end did not compliment him verbally or otherwise by my reaction. 

While there are other issues going on in this VERY hypothetical example like communicating my expectations better, etc., I have noticed when I compliment him on things he has done, or the person he is, there is less contention between us. Bottom line.

The article Improve Your Marriage Compliment Daily talks about the different kinds of compliments a person can give in their marriage, and talks about what readers can do to put this idea into practice. The article says, "Your spouse does a lot that deserves your appreciation. Maybe it’s keep­ing the house or yard in order; it might be managing children or finances; it could even be going to work or to the grocery store. Most people like to be recognized for a job well done. When you feel appreciated, you tend to feel loved.

...if you haven’t complimented your spouse lately, it’s time to start. Don’t miss a powerful opportunity to commu­nicate your love and strengthen your relationship."

I also loved these articles that talk about complimenting a spouse:

How to Compliment Your Spouse
The Power of the Candid Compliment
8 Things Couples Should Do to Keep the Spark Alive

After I addressed some of my 'expectation' issues, I started to practice complimenting my sweetheart more. At first it was hard because it wasn't something I was used to and it felt a little fabricated. I think that is actually quite normal. It will feel weird at first, especially if you are not used to it. I was also afraid of not appearing genuine to him. 

Over time, it has become easier for me to compliment my sweetheart and on things I REALLY do appreciate. It has made my heart more open to recognizing those things he does for me, and therefore makes it easier for me to compliment him. I don't know if I will be perfect at this, but I am trying...and you know, it makes me happy to know I have a wonderful man by my side deserving of all the compliments life can give him.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Goal Setting and Expectations: Not Being Perfect

For this Happiness Project, I have felt overwhelmed with what I think my outcome needs to be. The first issue I needed to tackle was my expectations. What did I want out of this? What can I do to make sure that my expectations aren't too high? I know that if I set my expectations too high, or if I fudge the rules a little bit, and don't meet them, I will NOT be happy because I will have failed myself and/or other people.

In the article, Releasing Expectations the author, Maria Maraca, suggests what we can do to help us set goals that are attainable, and that aren't based around the expectations of other people. Even though I am concerned with setting too high of expectations for myself, I find these suggestions still ring true, including:
  1. Ask yourself, “What are the reasons I want this goal or made this decision?”

  2. Take the time to check out whose voice you are hearing in your head when you consider the goal.

  3. Ask yourself, how will people close to you feel about your statement of (and completion of) this goal?

  4. Explore anything you do that doesn’t “feel good.”

Number 3 seems counter-intuitive to me. It seems that not basing our decisions on the expectations of others would include not really caring about what others think, right? However, the article argues that knowing how people will respond is not necessarily a bad thing because it prepares us for others' reactions. 


When I was single, I remember having conversations with girlfriends about first dates. I used to hate first dates because of all the unspoken expectations. I always tried to guess what my date was insinuating when he spoke, or what he was thinking. Did he want to see me again? Did he like me enough to ask me out again? What qualities was he looking for, so he would ask me out again and again? Could I be the one for him? By the end of the date, I had all these expectations of the 'relationship' based on a couple of hours. I had already determined our future, where we were going to live, our children's names, you name it. Those poor boys! I am SO sorry!


Then I went to a seminar that focused on not creating expectations. I remember struggling with this because I felt that if I didn't create expectations, I would never attain my goals. One thing I had to realize was, just because I didn't have expectations, didn't mean that I couldn't hope, and didn't mean I couldn't achieve what I wanted to. I needed to learn to 'roll with it' and realize my first commandment "It is what it is" and not just on first dates - in life. I have never really felt like I was good at 'going with the flow.' 

After reading, and re-reading my blog about failure, I couldn't help but see a theme. My last blog post is not the first time I have faced the issue of failure. In fact, it got me thinking that perhaps it isn't failure that I am concerned with. Perhaps it is the idea of not being perfect at all things. I can't say that I am perfect in anything really, but there are several things I feel like I have a 'tap' on.

Gretchen explains it very well during her tip of the week: Excellence Sometimes Requires Mediocrity. 

On another note, I take the next couple of quotes from one of the books that changed my life, Believing Christ by Stephen E. Robinson. Here are some of my favorites that are applicable to what I am feeling about 'perfection.'

" can't perfect yourself."

"...people are then made perfect through the perfect atonement of a perfect Christ."

"" be perfect in this life is to enter into the covenant of the gospel and receive perfection in-Christ."

"God does not require that I succeed....only that I do what I can." (Mother Theresa)

"...the spotters and the lifters understand that the real power is gained on the last repetition, on the thin edge between what one can do and what one can't."

"...we must learn to take satisfaction in performing at the limits of our ability (for that is where the real power is gained) and let God worry about the rest."

I know that all things are possible through Christ. Sometimes I forget that I don't have to be 'perfect' in everything - that's the rub. I always tend to run faster than I have strength. I haven't taken on the Happiness Project all the way because I want to do everything perfectly, and not admit my mess ups. Just like when I start a workout program....I don't typically tell people about it until I have crossed the 21 day habit line, because I don't want them to see if I failed or if I didn't make it. Silly me, right? 

On my way to happiness, I must realize that excellence sometimes requires mediocrity - that goal setting requires limited expectations and a sure hope of improvement. Bottom line: I have to be OK with not hitting the target all the time.