Friday, August 8, 2008

Toss the guilt-catch the joy!

"Men are that they might have joy, not guilt trips!" -Russell M. Nelson

Last night I had the chance to be the speaker at our enrichment meeting. I know, I know, stop laughing! For those outside my bubble, this is the quarterly get-together for the women in my congregation. Typically it involves dinner and some sort of activity...you know, something enriching.

The theme for last night's meeting was finding treasure in your life....finding joy, appreciating the little things.....you get the picture. I didn't become the speaker until last Sunday, but when asked I thought "this will be great! I know exactly the direction I want to go with this!" That was odd for 2 reasons; 1-I am not a public speaker. In any way shape or form. I do not like to be in front of groups. Unless they are children, in which case I do fine. Probably because I fit right in with a rowdy group of 3yr olds! ; ) And even then, I never think "this will be great!" and 2-I never know what direction I want to go when speaking. I'm one of those people that will be up at midnight on a Saturday when I'm speaking on Sunday. And then when I finally do decide how I want to present the topic, I have to have my talk written down word for word because I freeze and can't just "speak".

Well, Monday came, and I changed my mind on how I wanted to approach this. Then Tuesday, then Wednesday, when I completely changed again. So by yesterday afternoon, my mind was completely jumbled! I ended up just jotting down all of the quotes/stories/ideas that I liked, and figuring I'd just go with whatever came out last night! lol I wasn't sure I'd be up to filling the at least 20 minutes I was asked to, but lo and behold, I ended up going 30. (whoops)

So the verdict? I think it went ok. If nothing else, there was plenty of laughing, a little bit of crying, and a doling out of some of my favorite books to my friends. I do wish there was a way I could have just dumped my brain before everyone and let them pick through everything I've read over the past few days that would apply best to them. Since Sunday I think I read 4 or 5 books, and then skimmed through some old favorites that have been read many times before. My biggest concern was that I had hit upon so many great approaches that I ended up with more than I could possibly use! I wish I could have just transferred everything I'd read to everyone, because as I got home last night I kept thinking "oh-I forgot this!" and "I wish I would have shared this!" I hate to sound selfish, but even if no one else got anything out of what I had to say last night, it was great for me to dig through everything this week! I really hit upon some things I needed to hear myself. Funny how more often than not, the things we are asked to speak about or teach about apply more to ourselves than anything.

Anyway-for those who were asking which books I used, here you go:
Toss the Guilt, Catch the Joy-Merilee Boyack (one of my favorite Authors!!)
Being the Mom; 10 coping strategies I learned by accident because I had children on purpose (Emily Watts)
No One Can Take Your Place-Sheri Dew
Finding Inner Stillness-Brent and Wendy Top

The others that I wanted to use and either forgot or ran out of time were:
Look What Love Has Done; five minute messages to lift your spirit -Joseph Walker
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (and it's all small stuff)-Richard Carlson
What I Have Learned From Children-Michealene Grassli
Thoughts of a Grasshopper-Louise Plummer

And though this is getting long, there is one quick story I wanted to share here since I forgot it last night. I am totally bummed that I forgot it, because it really just hit the subject right on, and would have been a great way to wrap things up. Oh well!

Treasures in the Sandbox
It was the first day of second grade, and Sarah was ready.
And why not? She had been looking forward to this moment since...well, since the last day of first grade.
Now that she wasn't a little baby first grader anymore she was anxious to take her place among The Big Kids. So of course it was important that everything be just so. She got the world's coolest backpack, complete with matching pencils and loose-leaf binders. She had her hair trimmed to a shorter, more mature length. And she bought some stylin' school clothes, including a killer outfit that featured khakis, a hot yellow shirt, and these really neat shoes that were sort of like tennis shoes, only they weren't, and they had buckles, and...well, you just had to see them, that's all.
Mom helped to get the first day of school off to a great start by making Sarah's favorite breakfast-French toast. Only Sarah sort of dribbled syrup on her hot yellow shirt and stylin' khakis, so she had to run upstairs to change into her second-best outfit, consisting of blue jeans and a Disney Princess tee shirt-nice, but not killer.
The last-minute change put her way behind schedule, and the school bus was beginning to pull away from the curb as she rounded the corner. She dashed to catch the bus and was just reaching to pound on the door when the bus driver saw her, stopped the bus, and flung open the door-right in Sarah's face. Blood dripped from her nose onto her second best outfit and tears streamed from her now blackened eyes as the chagrined bus driver tried to soothe and calm her.
"Maybe we should take you home sweetheart," she said as she dried Sarah's tear.
"No", Sarah insisted. "I'm okay. Let's go to school."
They did their best to mop the blood off of Sarah's face and clothes. They chugged off to school. Sarah was so excited to see her friends that she forgot all about the morning's calamities. Since there were a few minutes until school started, she went to her favorite swing on the playground and pumped herself to heights that she had never been able to achieve as a mere first grader. At the apex of her swing she saw her best friend across the school yard. At precisely the wrong moment she let go of the swing with one hand to wave. She flew out of the swing and landed-hard and awkwardly-on the playground sand, breaking her leg and spraining her wrist. As she lay in the sand, slowly drifting out of consciousness she noticed a shiny object on the ground not far from her head. With her good hand she grabbed it. Then she blacked out.
After being summoned by the school nurse, Sarah's mom rushed into the sick room to pick up her daughter. She was stunned by what she saw:a sweet second grader with her arm in a sling, her leg in a splint, a swollen nose, two black eyes, and blood stains on her second-best outfit. but what really troubled her was what was on Sarah's face: the biggest, brightest smile you ever saw.
"Sarah, look at you!"Her mother wailed. "You're bruised, bandaged, and bloodied, and you've probably ruined your second-best outfit. Why on earth could you possibly be smiling?"
"Look, Mommy,"Sarah exclaimed, extending a still-sandy palm. "I found a quarter!"
School, like life, can be like that. It can be tough-even painful at times. but there are always treasures in the sandbox that make the challenges worth overcoming and the pain worth enduring.
On the first day. And every day.

With that said-do something fun today, or even this weekend. Find something that makes you happy and do it! Because as everyone knows, "If mama ain't happy, Ain't nobody happy!"

7 comments:

Justin said...

Rheanna said you did great last night! Thanks for the story, I was actually having a somewhat bummer day, so it helped bring things into perspective.

Kelsey said...

I hate teaching! I make Nick write my lesson every month :) Talk about marrying right!

Aaron said...

Great story.

I feel like that a lot.

Michael and Tiffany said...

You did a great job at enrichment! I could have listened for another 30 minutes :) Thanks for sharing your insights and being a great example to all of us!

Cindi said...

Your talk was wonderful. You did a great job and I was definitely "enriched". Thanks.

Kerri said...

You did a great job and it meant that I got to hold Charli longer! hee hee.

Lisa said...

Nice story and I am SURE that you did a fabulous job!