Friday, September 25, 2009

Gift Giving

Now that I'm comfortably settled in my green bean bag chair after eating a quick lunch, my swirling thoughts are dying to by thrown on a post and published for all to see.

I commute from Rexburg to Idaho Falls every day for my part-time job at RFinity (look them up; they're cool!) and so I have 25-30 minutes of listening time. Usually it will be music from Les Miserables or classical music, but lately, I've been listening to something different. One of Jed's cds has a bunch of devotional speeches given at BYU over the years - like waaaaay over the years. Today, I listened to one by Pres. Henry B. Eyring on gift giving. Whether it's Christmas or a birthday, I'm a terrible gift giver. I end up not giving anything to the intended receiver. It's one of my goals to change. Here's what Pres. Eyring said about it:

I've always dreamed of being a great gift giver. I picture people opening my gifts and showing with tears of joy and a smile that the giving, not just the gift, has touched their hearts. You must have that daydream, too.

I know I do. I want to know that the effort that I put into buying or making something will have lasting results. But Pres. Eyring shared a theory he has discovered within expert gift givers that involves three parts:

(1) They felt what you felt and were touched, (2) they gave freely, and (3) they counted sacrifice a bargain.

Here's where you can download the full text of his speech. It was all excellent.

What happened to me, though, by the end of his speech was a change of heart. It caused me to think of gifts that I've been given and how I've received them. I've been given a lot of gifts over the years - many came in the form of time and service to me and my family. I have not always received the gifts as I should have. I think the same thing happens with gifts from God. I don't want to treat lightly anything that comes from heaven.

Now as far as gift giving, my perspective has been modified. According to Pres. Eyring (and many other sources), gifts come in various shapes and sizes, the most meaningful aren't tangible. He mentioned a few gifts through preparations now. For example, I thought of the gifts that I will be giving my future children: a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ through my experiences learned on my mission and other times of trial and error; a testimony sure and steady borne through challenges with others and through a constant study of the scriptures; an open mind to new views through international experiences in South America; a love of learning and ready from many hours spent curled up with a good book; a love of music passed on to me from my mother and through patience of learning the piano. These gifts will come to fruition at different times and in different circumstances, but I'm confident that I am well-prepared to give those gifts. However, there are other gifts that I know I will be in short supply. I'm not sure of what those are yet, so I've got to be extra diligent in recognizing things that I'm not so great in. Math, for example. One day, my kid is going to come to me with a problem that deals with two trains leaving at the same time heading in the same direction, but at different speeds and I'm not going to know if Pi has anything to do with it, or imaginary numbers. I'll just tell him or her, "Go ask your dad."

So to you, dear readers, what gifts are you giving or what gifts do you wish you could give, based on the talk?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thinking more than acting

Hello faithful readers!!

I've missed writing so consistently. I think I needed a break from being responsible for something. Especially since the honeymoon last week, my creative juices have taken a break as well. Although, I did have fun with the camera and used my creative eye more than I have in a while. The beautiful creations in nature have this way of calling to us mortals. This happened to me with these flowers at Lake Tahoe...

... and this goose on the shoreline...

...and our feet in the coarse sand (this is my personal favorite)...

...and even man-made things colorful enough to grab the attention like these flags in San Francisco...

...and man-made nature things like this pond in a park in Reno, NV.

But these images are just a few of millions I've filed away for memories. What a blessing to see these things through my eyes. For other pictures, go to the other blog.

As we returned back to reality, my creativity has taken a blow. Even before vacation, I struggled with my articles I was writing for the newspaper in Rigby. They lacked ... something. It wasn't the subject matter, but the content was boring! Each week as I read an article of mine that had been published, I just shook my head and thought, Blech! And I have a degree in this?

It has been disheartening, but also somewhat of a motivation for me to improve. How is the question. How can I improve my writing? How can I garner more passion for this supposed hobby, skill, profession of mine? What am I missing?

I'm going to get to the bottom of this before I quit this freelance job. That's my promise to you, dear readers, and you had all better hold me to it. I sure do need some cheerleaders in my corner.