During April 2017 I will be blogging about my Courtship Memories from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Creation and Compassion http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why Do I Blog?

With the recent opening of the 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge list, I have felt a need to share with all of my loyal and possibly new readers some of the reasons why I blog.  When I first decided to venture into the world of blogging back in September 2007,  I really didn't know exactly what I had in mind other than trying to discover what blogging was all about; hence the original name of this blog:  Random Thoughts. I decided to occasionally post a few random thoughts just to see what transpired.

A few weeks later in October of 2007 Elder Henry B Eyring, an Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints gave a talk in General Conference  that really hit me hard as something that I should be doing in my life.   (You can read or watch and listen to the talk Oh Remember, Remember, right here).

The talk basically tells about how Elder Eyring one day decided when his children were small that he should be recording each day the ways he observed the Lord blessing the lives of his family.  He wrote down a few lines every day, never missing a day.  His gratitude for his blessings grew, as did his testimony.  He made copies of the record for his children, which strengthened their gratitude and testimonies.

 I have kept some sort of a diary or journal ever since I was quite young, starting out with a little five year diary with space for me to write  five or so lines every day.  (It even had a lock and key!)  During my teenage and young adult years I wrote in my journal almost daily, and usually at some length. There were many details of the ups and downs of school and social life and faith and hopes and dreams, and yes, of course, of BOYS.  Eventually DH and I met and married, and my life settled down a bit.

As a young mother I found that many of my journal entries were becoming rather negative and whiny, and I stopped taking the time to write every day.  I also  was becoming more and more accustomed to having ready access to computers, and writing by hand in journals was time consuming . . .  and it made my hand hurt!!  At some point I realized that Random Thoughts  would perhaps be a good venue for recording the daily blessings or tender mercies that  I recognize in my life.   It was at then that I changed the name of my blog from "Random Thoughts" to "Random Thoughts and Tender Mercies" and the blog has pretty much become my main "journal".

It has been over seven years since I first heard Elder Eyring's talk, but I am often reminded of it, and my desire and intent is to do the same.  I sometimes do well at recording my blessings, and other times slack off. My own father has been a wonderful example to me and others of keeping a daily journal or record of his life, and also of writing and sharing his experiences and thoughts with his family on a regular weekly basis, and has often encouraged us to do the same.  Both he and my mother have written their own life stories and continue to add to them and to write regularly to their children.

Random Thoughts and Tender Mercies is somewhat of a personal blog.  I never intended for it to be totally private, but I never really intended to advertise what I write here either.  I'm a rather private person, and don't enjoy being the center of attention.  But as time passed, I discovered more blogs and bloggers, and blogging challenges.  There were writers, and readers, and authors, and quilters, and crafters and mommy bloggers.  I have always loved to read, and I kept discovering more and more favorite bloggers to follow and read.

 I have also always liked to write, especially since access to computers has made the process less tiring for me.  Eventually I realized that I wanted to expand a bit and sometimes blog about other topics, join some writing and blogging challenges, meet and share with other bloggers, and even write a bit about other topics that I would be more comfortable sharing with the blogging world.  I still wanted to keep my focus on gratitude at Random Thoughts and Tender Mercies, so in 2011 I began another blog, Creation and Compassion.  Over there I  blog about ways that I try to be creative and I sometimes  share opportunities that I find to help myself and others become more compassionate.  The name of this blog was inspired by another talk by another Apostle, Happiness, Your Heritage  by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

So there you have it:  a rather long explanation of why I blog.  I don't blog every single day, but I still try to find time to read and write on a regular basis.  Take a look, if you like what you see, come on back and visit again another day!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Light and Sunshine

While walking in the early morning pre-sunrise light this morning  (8:00 am in these parts at this time of the year), I was reminded of my profound gratitude for light and sunshine, and for that celestial orb that we call the Sun.  The light was reflecting pinkishly off of the snow covered mountain peaks  to the west.  It was a beautiful sight, and if I had not been in a hurry I might have taken the time to take a photo to remember it by. I was also able to take a quick ten minute stroll this afternoon during my lunch break during which I again enjoyed the sunshine provided by the star located closest to our planet earth.  Again this evening I was able to walk for a few minutes in the fading light of the late afternoon.  During this time of year, the sunlight is indeed a comfort and a solace to me, a balm to my Gilead.  It is a promise of warmer days and the coming of spring and the eternal round of the seasons.

Yes, once again I proclaim to all . . . I'm very grateful for Light and Sunshine!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Try a Little Harder

Back on January 1st of 2014 I listed a few of the things I wanted to work towards during the year and posted them on my blog Creation and Compassion:

Temple – Attend more often, weekly if possible
Quilting – Finish the quilts I have started
Promptness -- Get to work and church meetings early and on time
Order – Sort, organize, and dispose of our stuff and clutter
Save and Prepare -- Money and food storage
Service and Love -- Work, church, community, parents, and family
Scriptures and Prayers – Keep on keeping on
Family – Support them in being successful and healthy and happy
Writing - Finish the draft of my book

So, how did I do?  Well, I didn't set up a very good system for tracking myself, and I really didn't do much reflecting on New Year's Eve or New Year's day . . . but . . . here are some of the ways I want to try a little harder to be a little more creative and a little more compassionate:

Temple - I think I was able to attend at least once a month.  I may have missed a month or two, but some months I was able to attend more than once.  Working full time has put a bit of a damper on this activity, but this year I will try a little harder.  My goal is to find a nice little book to keep track of my temple attendance and combine all of my notes from past journals and notebooks where I have written down names that I have performed ordinances for.  I know it will be incomplete, but it will be somewhat of a record.   I also plan to spend time organizing some of the many years of family history research notes of my dear mother, and hopefully finding some names to submit for temple work to be done.

Quilting - I don't think I sewed on a quilt once all year.  I did save a lot of photos of quilts for inspiration though!  This year?  Perhaps.  We will see.

Promptness - This is still a tough one for me.  I do pretty good for a while, and then I keep falling back on it.  I will try a little harder to be on time every single day!

Order - This is another tough one made harder by working full time and trying to take a class or two.  I need to put Flylady and her missions and habits a bit higher on my list of priorities.  This month's habit is to shine your sink every night and this week's missions are all in Zone 2, the kitchen.  De-cluttering for 15 minutes a day all year should really help make a difference!

Save and Prepare - Another hard one since any raises always seem to be eaten up by increases in health care or car payments or other expenses.  And our budget is pretty much bare bones.  We will do a little better at saving a little bit each pay check and adding a bit more to the pantry each week.

Service and Love - I was able to find the time to visit with a neighbor or two and help with some packing and cleaning projects.  This coming year I especially want to spend more time with my dear parents and my dear Mother in Law.  I will try to do a little better than we have done in the past.

Scriptures and Prayers - keep on keeping on.  Daily prayer several times a day is pretty much a given. I rely on it every single day.  Daily scriptures often yes, sometimes no.  I will keep trying to do a little better.

Family - I'm very proud of my family, especially my children.  They have each been able to accomplish good things this past year.  Hopefully I am being a support and help to them in some small way.  I love and appreciate and admire each of them so much, and will continue to think of them and pray for each of them every single day.

Writing - I did join a local little writing group this year and have earnestly begun a new draft of my book which I share with the others in my group as I go.  I will try a little harder to write a little more and make a sensible, readable manuscript this year.

Gratitude -  I count 73 gratitude posts that I have posted on this blog this past year.  I can do better I know.  I can also do better at sending notes and letters and words of gratitude to the many friends and loved ones who always do so much for me and for my family.  I am blessed.