And Along Came a Spider

Some time ago my eleven year-old daughter came home from orchestra practice simply devastated. She had been the first to arrive, and as the others filed in, nobody chose to sit by her. She sat at the edge of the room, the only student with an empty chair at her side.

She felt rejected and alone.

So the next day, as I dropped her off, I encouraged her to hold back and let some of the others sit down first, and then make her choice to sit by someone she’d like to get to know better. “Find someone who might be having a bad day, and BE the one to make a friend.”

I encouraged her to have a prayer in her heart, picturing herself with an abundance of friends, and reminded her that choosing to be positive and confident would help others want to be around her.

So she pulled herself together with an intention that things would be different this time. She agreed to pray in her heart and try to think more positively.

But what happened next surprised us both…

When I picked her up from school, she was excited to report that she ended up right between two girls that she was excited to get to know better.

How did it happen? Not the way we thought it would.

Contrary to my advice, she still showed up earlier than most; and out of habit decided to sit in her regular chair on the edge of the room. As a few of the other students filed in, the pattern threatened to repeat itself.

(That’s the power of subconscious thoughts right there…)

However, just then, she noticed a scary spider on her music stand. Creeped out, she took her folder and tried to push it off.

Instead of successfully getting it out of her space, it fell onto her leg. She jumped up and shook her pants, and wasn’t sure where it ended up. Assuming it was still at her chair, she decided that it would be better to move.

It took her out of her comfort zone and into another chair. One of the girls she’d like to know better came in and sat right next to her. Before long, a second girl took the empty chair at her other side.

Admittedly she said she thought the answer to her prayer would show up in the form of an idea, or an added measure of courage to do or say something uncomfortable.

But no, it showed up as a spider.

This micro-experience captures the essence of how God so often deals with us. When we ask for things to be better, he doesn’t just make things better. He creates conditions in our life that make us get out of our comfort zone and put us somewhere else – somewhere, where the blessing we’re asking for can finally be received.

Sometimes we get moved out of our comfort zone and still fail to receive the blessing. This can happen when our thoughts are not inclined to look for the hidden benefit in our adversity.

It would be like my daughter getting out of her regular chair and into another, and being so upset by it that she doesn’t even notice the potential friendships on either side of her. By her response to the hardship, she could have completely denied herself of the blessing that the change contained.

In that case, the girls that flanked her could have picked up on the downer-energy and might have been inclined to just ignore her.

I’m grateful that she was thoughtful enough to give credit to God for sending a spider, because it prepared the way for her to receive the very thing she was hoping for all along.

My dear reader… What’s your spider? What ugly thing has showed up in your life that’s opposite to what you’ve been praying for?

It’s there for a reason.

(To watch additional clips from this event, click here)

A Hardship is always a blessing in disguise. Pay attention to how it “moves” you.

I’d like to help you make sense (cents) out of your setbacks. Are you ready for a better future? Click here to learn more about the life-changing Mindset Mastery Program. Originally published September 22, 2009

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What we do to ourselves sometimes can’t be undone on our own

I was visiting my in-laws one evening when I signed in to my Facebook account and saw this post on my newsfeed. It was from my 18-year-old son. He said:

Jacob (18)

I just walked past my parent’s room and heard my 4 year old sister Sarah crying. My parents are gone so I thought she was in there waiting for Mom to get home. I tried to open the door but it was locked, so when I got into the room with a key and asked what was wrong, I saw that she had tied the ribbon of her dress to their bed.

As I was struggling to untie it she said:

“I’na good tyer.”

Then she came and asked me, “Wanna know why I tied myself to the bed?”

I asked, “Why?”

Bethany (7) and Sarah (4)

“Because Bethany was being mean to me.”

That was the only explanation she gave.

I guess the moral of the story is don’t be mean to your little siblings or they might lock themselves in a room and tie themselves to furniture with knots that they can’t undo on their own.

~~~

It’s true; sometimes our reaction to life’s disappointments and frustrations becomes the real source of our problems. We can really complicate matters when we react instead of responding with calculated choice of thought.

The fact is, life will disappoint us, and frustrations are inevitable.  Our power to rise above such problems, however, does not lie in the circumstances themselves, but in how we respond to them.

And, as explained in Hidden Treasures, Heaven’s Astonishing Help with Your Money Matters (free download), the larger the problem, the greater the opportunity.

So, I echo my son’s moral, and remind us all to apply it to the world of adults:

If life is mean to YOU, don’t tie yourself up in knots that you can’t undo on your own.

Success is not a measure of how many problems we avoid; it’s a measure of how well we respond to the problems we have.

However, if you feel like you’re already “tied up” in some way, pat yourself on the back for being a good “tyer” (be kind to yourself!) …and then get some help. You don’t have to stay stuck forever.

To see how I can help you now, and to learn how to choose your thoughts carefully in a crisis for the best possible outcome, visit ProsperTheFamily.com Originally published November 29, 2010

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Keeping Your Eyes on the Horizon

We were newlyweds of only one year. My husband and I decided to drive twelve hours to attend a conference which would help us start a business. Tensions were high because we couldn’t afford the trip, and our disagreements left us both feeling hurt and misunderstood. Because of a previous accident the year before, I was nervous about crashing again on this road trip, but to him, my fear was a personal jab against his driving skills.

We arrived safely, but I was still upset that he was offended by my fear of crashing. One of the guest speakers was a professional comedian who started to make fun of women with poor depth perception.

He explained that there’s this man at the wheel, and the woman next to him just suddenly SCREAMS out of nowhere. Well, of course the man swerves the car and after regaining some control he looks at her and screams back, “WHAT?!?”

“That car tapped its brakes!”

“Woman, that car is a quarter mile ahead of us!”

I’m thinking, Okay that is NOT funny, but the truth is, I couldn’t hold it in. I had been trying SO hard to stay angry at my husband. I did not want him to think I was enjoying myself, for, in my mind he needed to be punished. However, when the comedian popped the punchline, all of my pent-up emotion came bursting forth and I literally laughed until I cried. I laughed so hard that no sound escaped my lips. My abs curled until they burned. Basically, that comedian described ME, during our twelve hour trip to the convention, and I knew it.

My husband and I continued to laugh throughout the rest of the meeting, and our contentious feelings melted away. We talked about it later, and I reminded him that I was a nervous wreck only because we had both fallen asleep and driven off the road the year before. Road travel made me nervous, period. All the way to the function I had been watching to see if we were getting too close to the shoulder or center divider. Any deviation which brought us any nearer to the edge caused instant panic resulting in a gasp and reflexive grab of my shoulder strap. Any minor swerve which caused us to close in on another car caused the same reaction. And, yes, if a car even a quarter mile ahead of us put on their brakes, I braced for impact.

Even short, local trips on the freeway made me nervous. Rounding a bend was especially frightening, because I’d see the tire and paint marks from cars that had crashed there before. I’d say, “Oh… this must be a dangerous spot; look at all the crashes that happened here!” Of course, I’d prepare for impact, just in case. I’d even look ahead at semi trucks and imagine the horrific wreck that would result if they suddenly cut us off.

Over the years I finally learned to calm down. I reminded myself that my husband didn’t want to die any more than I did, and he’d be careful with or without my incessant reminders. I practiced trusting him, and trusting in the Lord to keep us safe. I also found a visualization strategy which worked wonders: instead of imagining a possible wreck, I’d close my eyes and picture myself tucking my children in bed that night; a vision which presupposed our safe arrival home.

It took me a long time to get my road travel fears under control. Our driving improved as we learned that we stayed nicely in the center of our own lane NOT by looking at the line painted on the road at our side (which resulted in constant adjustments and a jerky ride), but by looking to the horizon where the road was headed. Even if the road followed a long bend, by looking to where it disappeared on the horizon, the car seemed to naturally stay in the center of the bending lane. I discovered that by looking to what I wanted and where I wanted to be (literally, as well as figuratively), I was implementing a powerful method for not just dealing with my fears, but for achieving the results in life I wanted. What a wonderful lesson to learn.

And then one day I realized the lessons from this analogy ran even deeper than I realized:

Ten years later my old fear of driving in traffic was tested to my limit. I was at the wheel, trying to speed ahead at seventy miles per hour to pass a semi truck on my right, with a pile-on and no room for error on my left (due to road construction north of Salt Lake City prior to the 2002 Olympics). The lane was three-fourths the width it should be, and there was nowhere for me to go but straight ahead. I noticed that when I looked at the semi by my side, I started to close in on it. I only realized my error when I’d look forward again and realize how far over I had drifted. I discovered the only way to make it through was to look straight ahead, with my white knuckles on the wheel, and aggressively ignore the obstacles at either side. If a vehicle was going to swerve into my lane, then at least with my eyes on the goal I’d be less likely to overcorrect and cause my vehicle to roll, doing potentially fatal damage to myself and others around me.

This is how to reach your goals. Stay focused. Keep them vivid in your mind’s eye, and don’t let the obstacles, difficulties, disappointments or distractions divert your gaze. Your ride will be smoother. You’ll stay in the lane that gets you there. You’ll avoid collisions. You’ll even deal with sudden or unexpected threats more effectively.

This landmark experience also made me think of life in general. We’re all traveling this fast-paced, sometimes scary road called life, hopefully heading for a glorious eternal reward with our loved ones in the presence of our Father in Heaven. But along this road, there are obstacles that can take us off course or slow us down or cause a wreck, so to speak. The only way to proceed safely is to NOT give the distractions or obstacles your focused attention, even if it’s in an effort to avoid them, because doing so can cause you to drift toward the very obstacles you are trying to evade.

Sometimes when I forget, and look too long at the danger nearby, I don’t always realize how far I’ve drifted until I finally look back toward my goal. I must try to always look straight ahead and keep my eye on the prize. The obstacles will pass, one by one, if I just press forward with full purpose of heart. Should an obstacle swerve into my lane despite of my efforts to stay on track, I will be able to respond without overreacting, and keep my life from rolling out of control.

As one man named Alma taught his son: “The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever … Yea, see that ye look to God and live.” (Alma 37:46-47) Originally published December 20,2009

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#28: Parenting Principles Preview

Parenting can be hard!  So when difficult behaviors wreak havoc on the family, you might just need a few more tools in the toolbox. Finding the core principles that govern success in any area of life is absolutely key to succeeding in that area, and what you’ll find on this podcast is no exception.

This entertaining audio program will not only help parents who have small children, but also those with teenagers. It describes the parenting system that I used for many years as we raised our seven children, and it made ALL the difference!

My guest Matt Reichmann and his wife Julie raised five children while he worked in Los Angeles law enforcement. He saw countless parents lose control of their children and then look to police for help. This negative trend spurred a desire in Matt to use his experience to make a difference.

The combination of Julie’s home skills and Matt’s law enforcement experience gave them a unique perspective in the art of parenting.

Over the years, they developed a powerful system of discipline based on the principle of personal accountability. After using the system in their home with success, they were encouraged by friends and associates to share their parenting techniques with others. This encouragement and a strong desire to help others lead to the creation of Accountability Concepts.

This audio was originally recorded ten years ago. I have been wanting to share it on my podcast, but his sweet wife (my dear friend Julie) was diagnosed with cancer and then lost her courageous battle in 2014. During those difficult years, their website was shut down, their business was put on hold, and the audio remained hidden in my archives. But it is my pleasure now to announce that Matt’s website is once again back on line, and he has given me the green light to finally share this audio FREE with you now.

To learn more about Matt Reichmann’s powerful parenting program, visit Accountability Concepts.

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Adversity and Unifying the Family

Back when all my kids still lived at home:

Journal Entry 2008:

Tonight was our weekly family night, an evening set aside to spend time with the kids and improve our family relationships through activities and instruction. However, more often than we’d like, it’s actually the only family argument to open and close with prayer (as songwriter Michael Mclean once lamented). Nevertheless, we persist. We trust that the habit alone serves as an adhesive to help our kids feel like they belong to something important as they grow and prepare to face the world on their own.

Tonight was contentious, probably because of me. Honestly, I didn’t feel like “playing.” I was in an emotional slump and my head ached (a Law of Rhythm thing methinks). But because it has long been established as a weekly tradition, my kids began asking me what we were going to be doing that evening. Trying to brush the topic aside until I could rest my headache away, my answer was simply, “I just don’t know yet.”

My 12 year-old Nathan begged me to take them to the park for dodge ball, a family favorite. My 15 year-old Jacob had too much homework so we compromised and played some in the back yard with him first. Then he was back to the books and the rest of us headed off to the park for some more serious battles.

I loosened up, forgot my headache. Eventually I got off the swing set with the baby and began playing dodge ball, too. Holding the baby helped; the family was gentle when tossing it in my direction, and I won at least one of the rounds. There was still the usual sibling-to-sibling bickering, but I believe everyone had plenty of fun.

Finally it was time to go home. We gathered to the van and Trevan (my husband) realized that the keys had been locked inside. Nathan suggested we call Jacob to drive them over. But our other set of keys had already disappeared months ago, and since we never needed the second set, we had never bothered with finding or replacing it.

Besides, Jacob isn’t old enough to drive.

Trevan suggested we say a prayer. We huddled together and he asked God to allow the door to somehow be unlocked so that we wouldn’t have to walk the mile home. Then he said,

“But if not, help us to enjoy the walk.”

The front passenger window was cracked about 2 1/2 inches. First we tried to see if any of the kids’ arms were skinny enough and long enough to reach the door lock.

No good.

Through the front window we could see, resting in front of a couple books on the dash, a mechanic’s wire claw (about two feet long, used for grabbing little things that get dropped inside an engine). I asked Trevan where the keys were and he said they were in the passenger cup holder in the center console. I asked if he thought that the wire grabber would be long enough to reach them, but it looked pretty short compared to the distance between the cracked window and the center console.

It was the only possible option at that point, so even though it was a long-shot remedy, we got to work trying to obtain that claw.

None of us could reach it through the narrow window crack. Kayli suggested we use one of the badminton rackets that we had brought with us. We first tried to use the racket to pull the lock up (to no avail – wrong angle). Then we tried to use it to bring the claw closer, but there was a thick “Jane Eyre” book on the dash blocking it.

The window opening was about 2.5 inches wide along the top, but only about 1.5 inches wide at the lower front gap (the part closest to the dash where the claw rested). Trevan force-pulled the window down to give me an additional 1/2 inch or so, and although I couldn’t reach the claw, I realized I could reach the fuzzy dash cover upon which the books and the claw sat. So I grabbed the cover and pulled it toward me until the claw was within reach.

Next we had to use the claw to reach the keys. But no matter who tried, the closest we could get to the cup holder with that claw was at best 4 inches. We were SO CLOSE! How can we have so much success getting this far only to have our efforts fail now?

There had to be a way.

Trevan discovered that if a person could be lifted higher than the van, their arm could get into the window opening a little better and reach a little farther. But there wasn’t anything to stand on except the wheel, two feet in front of where we needed to be.

After Trevan tried and then Nathan, I took a turn standing on the wheel, leaning 45 degrees onto Trevan and squeezing my arm into the narrow gap. Nathan supported me from behind so I wouldn’t fall backwards off of Trevan’s shoulder. Simultaneously, Trevan force-pulled the window down just enough for me to get my forearm in. Then, miraculously my elbow passed through. I managed to hook the keyring with the claw and began to pull them out. At one scary moment it felt like my arm might break before I had the chance to completely extract the claw and keys. Carefully maneuvering my arm and shoulder while leaning at that unnatural angle, I managed to pull them out.

After a round of “high-fives” we paused to give thanks, and then took a moment to help the kids see an important lesson in the experience:

Everything we needed was already there. We simply had to ask for help, and then get to work putting it all together in the right order.

The same is true in life. You already have all you need – the resources, the people, the brains – you just need to begin utilizing them in the right combination and in the right order. It can be hard, I know! It’s easy to feel blind to the solution. The good news is that as you make an attempt, every failure will lead you to think of the next idea, one after the other until you find the solution.

Just remember that it never helps to fret and fuss, moan and complain. Solutions are best (and sometimes ONLY) discovered by the person who is at peace, expectant, hopeful, and tenacious.

So ask God for what you need, and be willing to accept “no” for an answer (“but if not, help us to enjoy the walk.”) Then get to work finding the way to make your goal a reality. You might not yet have the keys you need to go where you want to go, but you do already have everything you need to begin the process of obtaining them.

And sometimes the solution only becomes apparent after a series of frustrating attempts. So keep trying!

If we had truly exhausted all possibilities without success, we would we have eventually tightened our shoelaces and started home on foot. I’m just glad we didn’t have to. In any case, I believe our family night was a success because we were unified for a common purpose (if only for 20-30 minutes), and it only happened because we first had adversity. (Law of Polarity)

And you know what? Solving the problem as a family turned out to be ten times more gratifying than the best game of dodgeball could ever be. Originally published April 8, 2008

For more about the laws of success, click here to read Hidden Treasures (free!)

Learn more about how you can Prosper the Family

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They All Have Angels

Depression had gripped me throughout my second pregnancy. I was thrilled to be expecting another baby, but the hormones made it difficult for me to feel the happiness.

When the time came, labor was long and complicated. By the time my son came into the world, I was too exhausted to celebrate his arrival. For the next 24 hours I lay in bed rehearsing what I had just gone through, unable to do much else but shake my head in disbelief that any human being could have lived through such an ordeal. I had no words for how I felt.

I held him tenderly and remarked to my husband about his dark, almost purple complexion… which side of the family did that come from? He seemed especially tired to me, but the nurses weren’t concerned so I just tried to get some rest and regain my strength.

We were nearly ready to leave the hospital when the nurse came into the room. She had taken him for a routine task and was now coming back. I pretended to be asleep and then I heard her ask my husband “Is your wife sleeping?” He told her I was, and she said, “There’s a problem.”

I rolled over and sat up. She told us that he had turned blue and that he was being prepared for a helicopter transport to the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City 45 minutes away. In an oxygen bubble he was doing well, but they needed to do some tests to figure out what was wrong.

We finished our packing, and caught up with my little boy before they whisked him away. We managed to find another Elder from our church in the hospital that assisted my husband in giving Nathan a blessing that he would grow to live a long life of service to God. I shed a tear but felt numb… I had missed my chance to emotionally connect with him.

After several tests it was determined that he had been born with a heart defect and needed surgery, for which he was scheduled just a few days later. We stayed in a nearby Ronald McDonald House and our life was put on hold. I sat with him and kept a tape recorder in his bed playing the music I had labored with. It was calming and had come to represent a sort of peace amidst the beeps and bustle of hospital chaos, first for me and now for him. We finally began to bond, as I tried to understand who he was and what he meant to me.

The day of surgery we took pictures and kissed him and then let them take him away. We sat in the waiting room for four hours, waiting for word. Then it came. All had gone well and there were no surprises; he would be stable enough to go home in a week or two. Relief settled over us.

My husband couldn’t be away from work any longer so he left me at the Ronald McDonald House and went home to get some rest before work the next day. I lay in bed at 10:00 pm, feeling guilty and beating myself up that I wasn’t by Nathan’s side helping him through his first night after surgery. What kind of a mother was I, that I could be so bitter after the delivery, and then to not be near him now? Oh, how I wanted to be.

But in all of the commotion, everyone including me had forgotten that I was recovering too. I should have been resting the past four days, and the fatigue had caught up with me and hit me hard. I stayed there crying, utterly exhausted physically and emotionally, scarcely able to move, let alone get back to the hospital to comfort my little Nathan. “Dear Father in Heaven, please let thine angels attend Nathan tonight, I just can’t go; I just can’t.” A warm, comforting feeling came over me and I knew my prayer had been heard. I relaxed and left Nathan in God’s hands for the night.

Nathan came home ten days later, with tubes taped to his face and an oxygen tank, which would be his constant companion for the next six months. At three months I took him in for a follow-up appointment with his cardiologist, who examined his thriving little body in amazement. I didn’t understand why she would be so astonished, until I overheard her quietly telling an intern, “Most of the kids with his defect don’t make it past 3 months.”

That isn’t anything I remember ever being told; I had only expected him to live “a long life of service to God.” What else hadn’t I been told? No matter. I knew there was a purpose and good in everything that had happened. If I had been able to bond before they had whisked him away, I doubt I could have coped with his emergency. If I had been able to be with him the first night after surgery, I would have missed the sweet feeling of having a prayer so surely answered.

Only two months later I was reading in the newest issue of the Ensign Magazine. It told a true story of another girl that had been treated at the very same hospital. I quote a few excerpts:

“Clayne…hurried from the intensive care unit to awaken Debbie, who was sleeping in the hospital’s parent room. ‘There are visitors,’ he told his wife. ‘I can’t see them, and I doubt that you can see them. But I can feel them.’

“For nearly an hour, Sherrie looked about the cubicle and described her visitors, all deceased family members. Exhausted, she then fell asleep.

“‘Daddy, all of the children here in the intensive care unit have angels helping them,’ Sherrie later told her father… ‘People from the other side helped,’ Sherrie recalls tearfully. ‘When I was really in pain, they would come and help me calm down. They told me that I would be okay and that I would make it through.’’’ (Michael R. Morris, “Sherrie’s shield of Faith,” Ensign, June 1995, 44)

With the initial challenges behind us, I truly enjoyed bonding with Nathan. He is a very special young man with a uniquely compassionate heart. I am even grateful for that difficult experience, because I know that when we pray, we are heard. And now I also understand that when the angels were taking care of Nathan that night, they were also taking care of me. Originally published December 23, 2008

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When Someone Steps on Your Hair

“Leaning into” your problem is less painful than pretending it doesn’t exist.

One afternoon as I was playing with my kids, my sweet little two year-old stepped on my hair.

The instant I felt the pain, I pulled away to get out from under her little feet. It was my instantaneous reaction, albeit not very smart.

Lesson learned:

When someone steps on your hair, lean in, and gingerly remove them from off your hair before pulling away.

I know, I know… it’s not an experience that most of the people in the world will ever have, but it reminded me of a principle worth mentioning.

When you have pain in your life, financial or otherwise, just don’t panic. Panic leads to instinctive reaction, and instinctive reaction oftens result in more pain overall than is necessary.

Subconscious programs kick in when you’re in “fight or flight” (panic/survival) mode.

The key is to lean into the source of your pain, address it without panic or negative emotion, and handle it with a cool head. You’ll be able to solve your problem and avoid unnecessary suffering.

If the problem is that you’re short on money, don’t retreat from your problems, lean in. Go to the person you owe money to, and talk to them about it with a cool head and with the intention of finding a workable solution. Even if there seems to be no possible way to repay a debt, expressing your intentions and regret can leave you feeling more positive than if you pretend the problem isn’t there.

With a positive mindset, you’ll be more likely to eventually think of new solutions you haven’t yet considered.

So, any time you want to instinctively pull away from a problem (hoping it will go away if you just retreat fast enough), remember the lesson I learned from the two year-old who stepped on my hair.

“What if I can never repay my debts? What if I have to file bankruptcy?”

Keep browsing this blog. You’ll learn how to find your hidden resources, and also how to turn failures into successes.

You can also download my free ebook: Hidden Treasures: Heaven’s Astonishing Help with Your Money Matters

Need a genius solution to a difficult problem? Sign up for Genius Bootcamp – early rate expires soon! Originally published July 4, 2009

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Surviving a Faith Crisis

I had my own faith crisis a few years ago.

When I found myself with more questions than I had answers, I felt like the earth had fallen out from beneath my feet for a time. But then ultimately I decided to focus and reflect back on some of the answers I had already received in my life, and by doing so, I began to more easily recognize the source of my confusion.

I got through my crisis by looking back and reflecting on the times when the Lord’s guidance was clear and the answers were sure. To be honest, they were few. I was reminded of how quiet, but piercing, unmistakable and true His answers were – something that cannot be duplicated by anything else – and the memory of it was enough to get me through another day.

It was different than a feeling of “wow,” “amazing,” or “empowerment,” “love,” and “light”. Those feel good and expand my soul, and I’d prefer to only feel those things.

But this was deeper than that. It was more like a sobering Alma 36 moment – like the jolt you feel when you suddenly realize you nearly fell asleep at the wheel with your family in the car.

God doesn’t ONLY deliver love and light. Sometimes out of love he also delivers uncomfortable wake-up calls. The God I follow does both, and so I have to be willing to receive both.

Did you know there are other ‘gods’ that would have our devotion? I’m not talking about ‘materialism’ or other worldly distractions, I’m talking about literal spirit beings who love to build their following of worshippers, but who did not CREATE us.

At one time I felt a sharp reprimand – the words delivered to a crowd, but striking me with particular force, “Return to the God of Israel.” It was an odd thought, but it certainly got my attention – I didn’t know I had left. I never intended to, and I didn’t think I had, but it definitely got me thinking and discerning more carefully. Before that, it never dawned on me that there were other so-called ‘gods’ competing for my attention, but there are. Not all promptings that make you feel good and light are from the one true God. Other ‘gods’ promise to lead you to a life of love and freedom, but only One will deliver on his eternal promises, and His is a straight and narrow path.

I had to make a choice and finally declared, “I could be wrong here, but here it is. I CHOOSE to believe.”

Regardless of what we know or don’t know, we have a CHOICE. And I chose to believe.

Afterward I felt a renewed and unexpected confirmation of peace. Unmistakable. Love, light, assurance, all of it. Even “wow”, “amazing”, and “empowerment”. The best feeling, though, was the PEACE – a peace that no other feeling can touch. It’s not grand. It’s not earth shattering. It’s too quiet, too deep, too solid, too sacred. It’s anchoring. But it only came AFTER I made my conscious choice, not before. That’s agency.

That’s the test: we have to study things out in our own mind, come to a conclusion, and then ask God (not Google, not Facebook) if we are right. There are wonderful answers online, but the only kinds of answers that endure faith crises are the ones that come directly from God. (James 1:5)

I don’t need people at church to be a certain way. I don’t even need the sermons at church to say a certain thing, because I can always learn and study true doctrine on my own. People are imperfect and get it wrong all the time. But they get it right a lot of the time, too. They’re trying, and there’s grace. We’re all just doing the best we can.

My relationship with God is personal. I feel that He still wants me there. I go to worship, serve, learn, teach, and most importantly, renew my covenants. Covenants with God are as old as the earth. I wouldn’t dare presume that we’ve evolved so much as a people that they don’t still matter in 2017. There is at least one very real and jealous influence that would love to make us believe otherwise, but the potential consequences of letting go (to me) just aren’t worth the risk.

I trust the Lord’s pace for my understanding.

I choose to stay, and I am at Peace.

“When problems arise and questions come, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you don’t have… I’m not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not!”

“Honestly acknowledge your questions and concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe. Be candid about your questions; life is full of them. But please don’t hyperventilate if issues arise that need to be examined. What we know will always trump what we don’t know. So don’t let questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle.”

~ Jeffrey R. Holland (emphasis added)

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Speeding up the Prosperity Process

As described in Hidden Treasures, the seventh law is the Law of Gender/Gestation. In a nutshell, it states that every seed in nature has a specific and finite gestation period before it reaches maturity.

Our dream-seeds also have a finite gestation period, and must be held with belief, and nourished until they have sprouted and reached full maturity. Just because a farmer sees a green tomato, that doesn’t mean his red-tomato-dream is a failure. The process just simply isn’t complete yet.

So when your goal or dream doesn’t appear to be all that you hoped it would be, don’t yank it from it’s place in your mind; keep nourishing it. The process just simply isn’t complete. It takes time for the necessary connections to occur. There are a lot of elements that must gather through natural processes before the dream can go from seed, to fruit-bearing tree.

Well, one thing that occupied most of my free-thought time a few years ago was gardening. I had never slowed down long enough to tackle such a feat, but for some reason this was my newest consuming passion: to plant and see seeds grow and turn into vegetables, and to let my children join me in this learning process. Hoping perhaps that when the peas, beans, lettuce, broccoli and so forth began to show up, the children would be all the more excited to ingest them. 🙂

Since we didn’t really want to pull out our rock landscaping, and since I didn’t relish the thought of keeping our basset hound out of the garden, we decided to put it on our balcony in boxes using the “Square Foot Gardening” method.

Now, I have a history of letting even philodendrons die, so when I found Mel Bartholemew’s book and began to read, I gained some confidence and thought I’d better take action in a hurry before the feeling of “I can” turned into, “what were you thinking?”

Tip: Never let an “I feel like I can” moment go by without taking action!

That day’s task was to pick up the Vermiculite from the nursery and begin assembling the lumber. For a moment, I began to lose that “I can” feeling so I went to Trevan’s office to talk it through. I began to explain why I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. It all seemed so simple the day before, but that day I was looking at the charts in the back of the book and went into “information overload”.

There was a chart that showed when I should plant each type of seed, and whether it should be planted as a seed or as an already-sprouted plant. Another chart offered a planting schedule for continuous harvest crops.

But the charts that made my head spin the most were the charts that outlined in detail how well a seed would do in different temperatures.

I explained this to Trevan looking for a little sympathy, essentially communicating: “See honey, do you see how hard this is??”

But when I mentioned the germination charts his eyes lit up, and he said, “You mean to tell me that the germination time for each seed can shorten at higher temperatures?! I mean, I thought so, but I have never known of this to be the case with real-life physical seeds in nature!”

It was at that moment that I knew there would be no sympathy for me at this moment, for he was actually grateful for my troubles, because without them, he would not have just discovered an amazing truth about dream-seeds, too.

Sigh. Okay then. Time to pull myself together and also glean some benefit from this challenge. So I considered his epiphany and had to agree with him.

See, if a principle is true, it will be true at all levels, and in all circumstances: micro as well as macro. We have already seen the parallels between seeds in nature planted in the earth, and dream-seeds planted in the mind.

In this case, we learn that the gestation period for our dream-seeds (though finite and determined by law), can actually be shortened depending on the intensity of energy we bring to it.

According to the chart, a spinach seed, for example, will take 63 days to sprout at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but only 6 days at 86 degrees. More energy shortens the length of germination.

WARNING:

While it is true that the seed can sprout in only 6 days at a high temperature, only 32% of the seeds will sprout at that temperature. If allowed to germinate over 63 days at 32 degrees, 83% of the seeds will sprout.

The best production actually occurs somewhere in the middle. At 41 degrees, the spinach crop yields the most at 96% and takes 23 days.

What this meant to Trevan and I was that yes, our dreams will manifest in a certain and finite length of time, which can be sped up with more intensity of purpose… but too much too fast can also kill the majority of the potential yield.

Now, an onion is an interesting breed: at 34 degrees, it can take 136 days to germinate, and 90% of the seeds will sprout.

At 77 degrees, it can take only 4 days to germinate, and 97% will sprout. Raise the temperature to 95 degrees, and the time increases again, this time up to 13 days, but only 73% of the seeds will sprout.

Spinach:

  • 63 days at 32 degrees for 83%
  • 23 days at 41 degrees for 96%
  • 6 days at 86 degrees for 32%

Onions:

  • 136 days at 34 degrees for 90%
  • 4 days at 77 degrees for 97%
  • 13 days at 95 degrees for 73%

So how in the world can we know how much intensity we should be giving our dream-seeds? And how long do we have to wait for them to mature?

Too little intensity and the seedlings can die; too much, and again, they can die. Sometimes the seeds need attention, sometimes they need to be left alone. Do the wrong thing at the wrong time and you can kill the dream seed as easily as you can kill a vegetable seed.

With so many factors at play, the only thing you can do is relax, and let the seed grow.

Be passionate about it, and it is nourished. Force it to grow too soon, and you can break it. Be passionate and patient, all at the same time. Act on it when that little something inside of you nudges you to act. Seeds continue to grow without constant attention. In fact, they can even stand a little neglect if you return to them soon enough.

No, you might not know what the seed needs, but the Creator of all things knows His creation perfectly and will show you how to care for the seeds you’ve been given… even those dream seeds.

He’s a Master Gardener and you don’t have to be the one to know everything. It’s a delicate process which will certainly become clear to you as you go along, one step into the darkness at a time, which gratefully and mercifully becomes illuminated as you go. Originally published Aug 12, 2008

Let me help you apply these principles for REAL RESULTS! Did you know?? The budget-friendly online version of my life-changing Mindset Mastery Program is back!! To learn more about the online version, Click Here Now.

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Talking to teens

An actual message to one of my teenagers who was complaining too much about his responsibilities:

You’re doing so well in so many areas. But it saddens me that you blame dad when you don’t feel like doing your duties.

You’re old enough to govern yourself, so govern yourself or be governed. If you were governing yourself, you would already have plans to be where you’re supposed to be, even if dad wasn’t going, and even if he wasn’t expecting you there.

Freedom isn’t about doing whatever you want, it’s about willfully choosing to do the things that keep you on track to qualify for all the blessings that heaven has to offer. Each right choice increases your freedom. Each poor choice diminishes it. And I’m not talking about “consequences” that are implemented at home. I’m talking about your agency and how you get to use it every day in how you think and what you do.

As you know, we look for every possible reason to give you as much freedom as we (in good conscience) can. When you feel more restrained than you like, I encourage you to notice how good you have it, and be grateful instead of belligerent.

Your attitude (above almost everything else) has the greatest effect on, or is one of the greatest indicators, for what direction your life is headed, for good or for bad. Please, do not grieve me, and please do not disrespect your dad. He asks so little and gives you so much. Either way, you’ll answer to God for how you honor him, and you have so little time with him left.

Make this last year you’re home be one that you have no regrets about. I love you and am so proud of how much you’ve matured. I was impressed with how hard you worked this morning and I recognize you could have put up a much bigger stink than you did. Just pay attention to how you feel when you’re doing the right things, and then notice how much better it feels when you do the right things with a cheerful heart.

It’s a choice, and it will pay you great dividends if you learn that lesson early. Good night.. if you want to talk to me about this more, let’s do it after you get a nap tomorrow.

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