Think to Thank Monday (11-20-17)


The phrase “think to thank” is on my mind today. 

“In these three words you have the finest capsule course for a happy marriage, the formula for enduring friendships, and a pattern for personal happiness.” Thomas S. Monson

I don’t know about you but I could use help with creating a happy life, marriage and friendships. If saying thank you is key then I need to make some changes. 

Being the week of Thanksgiving gives me a great opportunity to start an attitude of gratitude. It’s the perfect time to “think to thank”. So this week, starting today, I am going to go outside of myself and personally thank at least one person in my life each day. I’ll start right here right now. 
Thank you friends for reading my emails. I send this to over 100 people each week and I post it on Facebook where it is read by however many more. Each person who comes in contact with my writing each week has a part in my life. I have had positive interactions with each person reading these thoughts. Each and every one of you has a place in my life and have made me a better person because of it. You have meaning to me and I thank you for that. I am a better more complete person because of you. So, thank you. 

Have a wonderful week and Thanksgiving. And remember to think to thank. 

Love,

Kendra

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Selfish Monday (11-13-17)

Hello my friends,
Yesterday I was in a class and we were talking about the importance of serving others and the reasons why we do it or should do it. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back when I say I honestly try to serve and help others often. I give friends’ kids rides to and from school. I make cookies and deliver them. I write this email in hopes of lifting someone’s spirits. I try. I really really try. The reason I do it is %100 selfish. I do it to feel better about myself. When I am in a dark place, when I am feeling down and sad, when it takes everything I have just to get up I try and do something for someone else. I send a text message or invite a friend to lunch. I offer to watch a friend’s kids. Why? I don’t do it to be thanked or praised. I do it because there is something about giving that changes the chemical balance in my brain. 

Depression is a daily battle for me. I have days and moments where I don’t feel right. I don’t feel good. There is darkness all about me and inside of me. There is a weight pulling me down. No matter what I do I cannot overcome that. I can exercise and eat well and listen to good music and drink lots of water and keep myself busy and take my meds and see my doctor. Those things help and make me functional but not one of those things has the ability to pull me out of that dark pit. The only thing that truly and without fail helps is to ask in prayer who I can help then to get up and go do it. After serving, after getting outside of myself, my head clears, the darkness lifts the weight lessens. I swear that doing something for someone changes the chemical imbalance in my head. 

Selfish. %100 selfish. 

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answer to our own.” 

I believe that. 

He also said, “We have a responsibility to be sensitive to the needs of others and serve as the Savior did-to reach out, bless, and uplift those around us. Often, the answer to our prayer does not come while we’re on our knees but while we’re on our feet serving the Lord and serving those around us.”

As much as I want to go back to bed today I’m not going to let myself. I’m going to pray for help and then I am going to find someone to help. It is in no way noble, it is self preserving. I need to serve because something about it changes my thoughts and feelings and makes life livable. 

So my friends, have a blessed day. Be happy and kind and do something for someone. 

Love,

Kendra

Birthday Mom Monday (11-6-17)

One Sunday at church when I was in high school I took my baby niece to Sunday school with me. I was appalled when I realized her diaper had leaked and I found a large wet spot on my skirt. I frantically found my mom to tell her what happened. I was ready and expecting her to either drive me home or take the baby and give me the car keys so I could go home and change. Instead she barely reacted. She nonchalantly said that happens and sent me back to class. That was one of the best lessons I was ever taught about being a mother, on so many levels. 

I have learned a lot from my mom. How to sew, not to gossip, to work hard, to be kind, to create, to give. 

Today is my mom’s birthday and I just want to take a moment and acknowledge how thankful I am for her. 

We all have mothers and women in our lives who have made us who we are. Take a moment today and thank them. 

Love,

Kendra

Happy Monday Before Halloween (10-30-17)

Happy Monday today and happy Halloween tomorrow! Did you know that today is also National candy corn day and sugar addiction awareness day? And Saturday was my brother’s birthday. He would have been 47. Ten years ago we celebrated his last birthday before he passed away. We had dinner at my house and we carved pumpkins. Each of the grandkids who were there for their own pumpkin to carve. Not only did my brother help his own four kids but he helped each of his nieces and nephews carve theirs. He was pretty awesome like that. After dinner we sat around my patio table talking. It was a beautiful night. The kids played in the backyard and we had a nice soft light coming from the lit jack o lanterns. I loved watching Luke laugh at my one year old Jackson as he tried to climb in and play with one those cars that kids can sit in and move with their feet. Know what I’m talking about? I gave my brother a book, a western written by another Luke Short. He was so excited to read it. It was a beautiful night. Every year since I have felt a little angry that we don’t get to have that again. 

Back in May my husband turned 37. Honestly, it was really hard for me. He is now the same age my brother was when he passed away. I’m the same age my sister in law was when she became a widow. Damon went on a business trip shortly after his birthday. I was scared. I was scared I would lose him. 

I didn’t cry on Saturday, on Luke’s birthday, like I normally do. It was a good day. I was actually too busy to cry. Damon and I are learning how to sail and had a class on Saturday. Spending eight hours learning how then trying to sail a boat will keep your mind pretty occupied. But I’m crying now. Not just for me but also for my friends who have lost siblings or parents. Many many people have suffered loss. But I can’t disregard the good that has come with it. For example the connection I have with others who are hurting. Although it sucks I have learned quite a bit about compassion. Mourning with those who mourn. That’s a blessing in my life. I don’t know if I have helped anyone but having that connection, feeling like I can relate, has helped me. I think of my family and friends who have lost someone often. I hurt for them, with them. But I also heal a little bit each time I cry for a friend. I know my brother would care that I care. He was the most helping person I know. He gave so much. I have learned from him that I can give a little bit too. If my opportunity to give comes in the form of crying with my friends I will gladly do it. And then I feel peace knowing that I acted in a way that would make my brother proud of his little sister. 

I hope today and this week is a good one for you. Give your family a hug and have a happy Halloween. 

Love,

Kendra

Monday Happiness (10-23-17)

Recently I wrote the words “Choose Happiness” on my white board. Each time I saw it I noticed Lucy had added drawings to my words. Until it looked like this 

I love this but for me choosing happiness can be a challenge. Lately it has been challenging for me. I wrote “Choose Happiness” when I was feeling pretty good and then forgot about it. I saw it this week and have appreciated Lucy’s additions but didn’t think much about the words until last night. 

Last night I was not choosing happiness. It wasn’t in me. I just felt down and grumpy and was being so hard on myself. Before I went to bed I read an article that just happened to talk about happiness. It was just what I needed to hear. 

Henry David Thoreau said, “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”

So how do we find happiness? Here are some suggestions from that article. 

– “Learn as quickly as you can that so much of your happiness is in your hands, not in events or circumstances or fortune or misfortune.” Abraham Lincoln had much to be unhappy about but acknowledged that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Happiness comes first by what comes into your head. “Don’t be passive. Swim upward. Think and speak and act positively. That is what happy people do.”

– Be kind and pleasant. “Kindness and pleasantness and faith-based optimism are characteristics of happy people.” Mother Teresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness–kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”

– Work at it. “If you want to be happy work at it. Learn to work. Serve diligently. Don’t be idle and mischievous. A homespun definition of Christlike character might be the integrity to do the right thing at the right time in the right way. Don’t be idle. Don’t be wasteful.”

“In short, your best chance for being happy is to do the things that happy people do, live the way happy people live, and walk the path that happy people walk. As you do so, your chances to find joy in unexpected moments, to find peace in unexpected places, and to find the help of angels when you didn’t even know they knew you existed improve exponentially. Here are five ways we can live “after the manner of happiness.”

So, my friends, today and hopefully in the days to come, I am choosing happiness. I am going to work at it. I’m tired of being grumpy and pessimistic. I chose to be kind and optimistic. I am hopeful that today and this week I will find my butterfly of happiness and hope that you will too. 

Love,

Kendra

(“The Gospel Plan to Happiness” by Jeffrey R. Holland) 

Waiting on Monday (10-16-17)

My oldest is 12. When he was 3 and 4 he meowed like a cat. All. the. time! In first grade he was diagnosed with ADHD and autism. He has since discovered the wonders of reading and is always lost in a book. He is happy, imaginative and kind hearted and he has big ideas. 

My second baby is 11. He has never liked people, change or vegetables. He is quick witted and hilarious. He loves to learn and remembers everything. Last summer we learned that he has dyslexia, dysgraphia and executive function disorder. Even though he is brilliant school is hard. But I have full confidence that he will be our next Einstein or Walt Disney. 

My 3rd baby came a year after my brother died and only a month or so after Damon’s brother died. She was the angel we so needed. She is confident and sassy. Teachers love her and she drives her brothers crazy. She has the mind of an engineer, always building and creating. At 2 she taught herself to write her own name and started teaching herself to read before kindergarten. 

My baby baby is 14 months. He is silly and full of energy and always happy. We waited a long time for him, 7 years. For several years we tried to adopt because having a baby was not something I was able to do. Physically, yes I could have, but mentally, no. For whatever reason adoption didn’t work for us but waiting did. 

I don’t know why sometimes we have to wait so long. Sometimes it feels so unnecessary. But sometimes I look back and see so much good that came during the wait.                                                           

I look at my children and I see the times when we had to wait for them to come. We waited 7 years for Calvin. When we had been married a short time I wanted a baby but Damon asked me to give him one year. When that year was over I not only found myself pregnant but we were financially stable enough for me to quit work to stay home with our baby.  There are the times we had to wait for answers to help our children. To receive a diagnosis of autism or dyslexia is not quick and easy. And then there are the many, many times I tell (yell at) my kids to “just wait a minute (dang it)!”      

Life is a waiting game. Hurry up and wait. The length of time we have to wait is never determinable. But the one thing we can control is the amount of time we spend reflecting on the wait. When I do take the time to look back I always find the good that came while waiting. 

Have a marvelous day my friends. Do something good and find the good during the wait. 

Love,

Kendra

Everyday Monday (10-9-17)

“Everyday may not be good but there is something good in everyday”
Today was a good day. But I know not everyday is. The challenge is to find the good in everyday. Be the good everyday. 
I hope this week we can all find the good. 

Make it a great week. You have so much to offer that can make someone else’s day. 

Love,

Kendra