What do you do when you are feeling down? Tired, exhausted, sad, lonely… just feeling down. What do you do to lift yourself back up?
I’ve been asking this of myself. Lately I’ve just been feeling “eh”. I’ve had some really rough days and I’ve had some good days but overall I just feel down. I’m going through my list of things that help; eating well, sleeping enough, exercising, taking my meds and vitamins, serving. I think all these things are helping but I’m just not where I want to be. I find myself asking “What’s the point? Why do I even try?”
I came upon this quote and it made me stop to think.
“Weave beautifully your small thread in the grand tapestry” -Gordon B. Hinckley
What is my small thread in the grand tapestry?
Individually my efforts to clean my house, teach my children, prepare good meals, speak kindly, show love, get up and get dressed are all small and seemingly insignificant. But at the end of the day if I put all of that together my day suddenly doesn’t appear so wasted. I don’t feel so useless.
Now the real challenge is remembering that and truly believing it when I’m in the thick of things. When it takes all I have just to take care of my family let alone myself or all the things I’m supposed to be doing.
As daunting as it appears I think the trick is to keep going. Keep trying. Keep doing. Maybe I’m moving slower. Maybe I’m not even getting to my to do list. Maybe I’m letting things slip. But I can’t give up. My thread, however small, is needed in the grand tapestry. And so is yours. Those days of feeling down will come. But so will days of feeling good. One day I will be productive and one day I won’t. Just try again, keep going. I’ll just keep telling myself that until I’m not feeling so down. And when a good day comes I’ll look back on the thread that I’m weaving and see that it really is making something beautiful.
One year. One year ago I started How are you Monday. I am amazed. I’m amazed that I’ve written every week for the past 52 weeks. I’m even more amazed at the response I have had and the friendships that have deepened.
I started writing my Monday emails because of my niece. At the end of our phone conversation I asked what I could do to help her. She simply asked me to check up on her every once in a while. I committed to do that. As I made that commitment I started thinking of other family and friends who I wanted to check up on. My list grew and I realized I needed a systematic way to reach all the people I love. So I started this email and then started posting my emails to a blog. I am overwhelmed and amazed by the response I have had. This is what amazes me the most, the amount of people who I love and who love me back.
This weekly email has become as much for me as it is for you. It has become therapeutic for me. It’s something I look forward to writing every week. For me, life is scary and uncertain and overwhelming. But it is also beautiful and happy and joyful. It’s so easy for me to focus on the scary instead of the beautiful. My Monday emails force me to stop and look for the good. It also forces me to pray. I pray every time before I write. I pray to be an instrument in God’s hands. I pray to write something that will help someone. I pray for you. I pray for my family. I pray for me.
These Monday emails have helped pull me out of some pretty dark places. They have made me find and share the good. They have made me step outside of myself. I have shared things that I would rather keep to myself. I have made myself very vulnerable. I have learned and I have grown. And I hope you have too. I hope you can feel my love for you. I hope you know you are not alone. I hope you know how amazing you are. And I hope you look forward to another year of “how are you Mondays”.
Happy Monday. Thanksgiving is over now it’s on to Christmas. I’m actually excited for Christmas this year. I’m usually very bah humbug to Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m not sure what has changed this year but so far I’m feeling pretty good and non-bah humbugish. I’m looking forward to the holiday traditions I do with my family. I’m going to start us off tonight with making peppermint milkshakes. What are some of your traditions? What are the things you look forward to the most? Do you have any traditions that center around service? I’m looking for some good ideas.
My favorite Christmases have been when I have done something for someone. When I taught preschool we made teddy bears and took them to the fire station for the firefighters to give away on their calls.
My kids and I like to fill a gallon size ziplock bag with water, snacks, a chocolate bar, and things like Chapstick or a toothbrush. We keep the bags in my car and when we someone in need we give them one. One time we did this Harrison added one of his books with a note. He loves to read and really wanted that person to have the opportunity to read also.
This year my family has committed to do one kind thing a day starting December 1st, this Friday, they Christmas. I hope it goes well. I hope my children catch the desire to give. And I hope my heart will be softened and I will stop the bah humbug feelings completely.
Have a wonderful week and please share your traditions with me.
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.
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.
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.
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.