Category Archives: Choices

Assertiveness

 

 

 

“No, I cannot help you, I am not available then,” but in my mind I am saying, I will not do that again. You stepped upon me once before and left me injured there. I will not be in that place again, although you say you care.

Assertiveness is a skill that I am learning how to use. It gives my heart protection and keeps me from being abused. It means that I will say how I feel at the time the event takes place rather than waiting and trying to please, or rather than saving face.

“Do you have a minute? We need to talk,” I said to my colleague and friend. “Just a moment, I’ll be right there,” she said as she rounded the bend. We went into a private room and there discussed the scene that had unfolded just moments before leaving me embarrassed, it seemed.

I will stand and hold my ground, I am just as important as you. I need not cower or run and hide, to myself, I will be true. For I am strong, and I am free to choose how I want to live. And God, He will be with me. For me, new life He did give.

“You say I did this thing to you, you may feel rightly so,” but in my mind I am saying, Your choices you made, you know. I cannot take the credit for making you what you are. The things that you have done before are bringing you this far.

©2017 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today,  for your emotional health!

Moving Mountains

 

 

I cannot move this mountain, Lord; it is way too deep, too wide. I’ve toiled until my bones do ache, ‘til way past eventide. I cannot go around, dear Lord, a chasm’s in the way. There is no bridge for me to cross, no ferry in the bay.

I cannot climb, it’s way too steep, the rock face sheer and bare. There are no trees for me to grasp, no foot holes anywhere. How can I fill this mission, Lord, for I am but a man? My strength is not enough, dear Lord, I need a helping hand.

Oh, my son, you did not hear, when I called for help today. You were too busy toiling to hold a light and show the way. You were more concerned about the matters nigh at hand, the mountain right in front of you, than the needs of your fellow man.

How can I lend a hand to you when you have turned your back on those who need my love through you, who daily needs do lack? Go and serve them, then come back, and you will surely see, that we can move this mountain together, you and me.

I left my shovel at my feet and went away from the mountainside. I found another I could help on my way home that eventide. I saw them rested and refreshed and encouraged them to see the light at the end of the tunnel, for He said, “Come, follow me.”

As I turned to leave the simple words came ringing in my ears, “What can I do to help you, you’ve been so kind all of these years.” “I’m trying to move a mountain,” I said with faltering tone, “But it really is not important, I just can’t do it alone.”

“Let us go together,” he said, “I know there is still hope. I’ll bring a spade, a ladder, and plenty of braided rope.” Once again, the mountain we faced, but this time with the strength of ten. The Lord, me, and my brother, but now, for the salvation of men!

©2016 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

If Only

If Only

 

If only we could stop the world and get off for a day, then maybe we could take a break from life’s continuous fray. We could breathe a sigh and take a look at things we just don’t see, and perhaps become the people we were really meant to be.

We could rewind time and change our past to a more desirable state and erase some things that were said and done that really were not first rate. We could lay a firm foundation and vanquish every foe. We could change the future and the past with what we do now know.

If only it were possible, we’d have a second chance. We would be so much more happy, we could really sing and dance. Then when the world began again, we’d be in a different place. Life would be more pleasant, we could keep a different pace.

But alas, it is not possible. We are where we are now. We are the sum and differential of our past mistakes somehow. We cannot take away what was, it’s the road on which we stand. The future is yet before us, uncertain, like shifting sand.

What will it take to get our feet back on the solid ground? The world may keep on turning, but our choices come around. Each moment that we breathe, we really have a second chance; each day a new beginning, another song, another dance.

We have within each one of us our eyes with which to see, hands and feet that feel and touch, and ears, we all agree. We can choose a different way, and walk the better road. We have the knowledge and the skills, our conscience, we are told.

We do not know how long we have left here upon this earth. One day, indeed, the world will stop; we’ll experience a new birth. We will leave behind all that we know and go to the great beyond. Our eyes will then be opened, like the wave of a magic wand.

Our Maker will there greet us and encircle us with His love, and we will hear the echoes of the choirs up above. We will look down to the earth and wonder then once more, why we didn’t see things differently, and head toward a brighter shore.

©2016 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today for your emotional health!

Legacy

Legacy

I want to leave a legacy for those who will come after me, that when the bell tolls and I am gone, it will not have silenced my earthly song. They will have heard of the times that I wept and prayed that heaven’s assistance might not be stayed, the times that I overcame the night, and was able to make it ‘till morning’s light.

I want them to know that though life was hard, I kept on going, my senses marred by the winds and the waves that tossed me about, my heart within me trying to shout. When the skies were black and the storm clouds grim, threatening the loss of life and limb.

Yet the gales ceased and there was great calm, a generous dose of healing balm. A peace enveloped my mind and heart, giving me once again a new start. I basked in the warmth of the sun on my face, gaining strength yet for another race. I tethered my ship, and patched up the holes and even had the courage to set a few goals.

I want them to see the path ever clear and know that I am always near. That though they may stumble and though they may fall, there is one waiting there who has given his all that they may rise and conquer again because of the price that he paid back then.

I want them to hear the voice of gladness that speaks to the soul, amidst all the madness, that guides our path and shelters our way and helps us to sing at the end of the day. That our children may laugh, and dance and play, and be held in our arms, come what may.

I want them to feel passion for those in need whose souls are hungered, or bent, or do bleed, who look up to heaven and weep at the thought that they haven’t been able to get what they sought; forever empty, forever alone, forever in want of a hand in their own.

I want them to touch others with a love that is deep, and lose their lives, that perhaps they might keep the treasure of happiness living each day, keeping bitterness and hatred at bay. For life is short, our days long spent, achieving the purpose for which we were sent.

I want to leave this world a better place because of my sojourn in this rat-filled race. I want to be seen as one who cared, who took the time that a life would be spared. Whom others will see and simply say, “We knew heaven for a moment while she walked our way.”

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

The Path to Happiness

Happiness

 

 

I am surrounded by sadness on every hand. Death and destruction sweep over the land. How can I smile and feel happy today? Things simply aren’t going very much my way.

Life is full of irony indeed. There is much of pain, of want, of need. There are many who have not a place to live and there are those who have not a morsel to give.

Is happiness having an absence of pain? Is it simply sunshine, or the lack of rain? If so, then happiness is empty indeed, for rain has its place once we have planted a seed.

If tears are a sin, then we have all fallen short, for each human being has hurt to report. Can happiness come even when there is pain? Is it possible to smile through the clouds and the rain?

Can I simply this day step outside of the zone, and allow myself a reprieve, a small moment alone to look for the good, to feel grateful, to love, all of the blessings that flow from above?

If I can, then happiness will surely come, for pure joy is a gift from The Sinless One. He said, “Come to me and I will take you in, in spite of your sorrow, in spite of your sin.”

Today, though the tears so easily fall, I will do as the One who gave his all. I will look for others in sadness and pain. I will hold an umbrella for those in the rain.

I will keep going forward with eyes now aware that there are others whose cupboards are bare. I will give what I have until there is no more. I will hold up my light on this rocky shore.

I will live my life full of purpose and love, and shed forth the peace that comes from above. I will serve until I hear the words that say, “Well done, my servant, you are here now to stay!”

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

Leave a comment – When do you feel most happy?

The Gift

Christmas is all about giving.

On a cold, dark winter night, I stopped at the grocery store for a few last minute items before fixing dinner for my family. There she was in the check-out lane, bent and frail, looking as if a stiff wind would blow her away. Knowing that she didn’t drive, I asked if I could give her a ride home.

She said that she would get a taxi, but I insisted, “I am going home in a few minutes, I can take you.” She conceded.  She lived just behind us across the back ally. I purchased what I needed while she waited on the bench beside the front entrance.

We walked together to my van and I opened the front door to help her inside, depositing the few things she had purchased at her feet. I helped fasten her seat belt and she quipped that it would have been easier to climb into a taxi. I just smiled and replied that I was glad to be there to help.

While we drove the few blocks to our homes, she searched in her coat pockets for her house key, but to no avail. It was nowhere to be found. She told me she had a spare outside the house she could use. I drove into her driveway and shone the van lights toward the house.

The thought occurred to me to invite her into my home for dinner, but I quickly dismissed it, not knowing the condition of things, having left my children alone while I went to the store. I helped her out, and stood holding her groceries while she searched for the key.

After several minutes, I offered to assist in the search. Again, the thought occurred to me that I should invite her to my home for dinner. I dismissed it once again, thinking that surely, she would be tired after her excursion to the store.

The key was not found. Both of us shivering, I invited her into my home to get warm and have a bite to eat. I helped her back into the van, and we crossed the ally to my home. I offered to take her coat, and fix her something warm to drink. She smiled and thanked me.

As I held her coat, I felt inspired to check for her key. There were some small pockets on the outside of the sleeves near the shoulder. There was the key! I held it up to her. She smiled and said, “How did you know?”

“God told me!” I grinned as I gave her a hug. With tears in both of our eyes, we thanked the Lord that the key had been found, and our friendship deepened. She was finally able to relax and enjoy dinner with our family. Afterward, I walked her home and helped get her purchases safely inside the house.

It was not long after that the dear woman passed away. I will never forget that night. The most important gift given was our time together with the Lord.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

Leave a comment – What special gift do you remember?

Finding the Motivation

Motivation

 

“I don’t care. I just don’t want to do it, that’s all.” There, I said it, the forbidden words that I have been thinking. Now what? Does that mean that I don’t have to do it? Am I off the hook? Is that all there is to it, just saying “I don’t want to?”

There are many things in life that are difficult. Jim Rohn, success philosopher, tells us that one of the most important aspects of being human is the ability to “make ourselves” do what needs to be done. How does this happen? He says that when we find enough reasons, then our wants and desires change.

Motivation is all about finding the reasons. Dallin H. Oaks indicates that there are basically six reasons for us to act. He lists the following: 1) hope of earthly reward, 2) desire for good companionship, 3) fear of punishment, 4) sense of duty, 5) hope of eternal reward, and 6) love.

Although Oaks lists these as reasons for service, they have a lot to do with our lives in general. Reasons motivate action. If we have enough reasons, we will find a way to make happen what we want. If one of our family members is faced with certain death, we find a way to prolong their life because we want them to remain with us as long as possible!

How does this apply to our everyday actions? Our reasons come from our past experience. When we suffer the consequences of inaction, we are more highly motivated to action. In other words, “no pain, no gain!” We don’t decide to set an alarm and get up on time until the boss cuts our pay or fires us for being late to work!

Desiring change is usually the catalyst for increased motivation. If things are going well in life, we have little incentive to change. The Lord tells us in Alma 32:13-16* that being “compelled to be humble” is good, but it is even better to change willingly “without stubbornness of heart.”

Motivation is increased when we find out that there is a better way, and we want it for ourselves. There it is, that “want” word again! Our motivation changes when we say, “I want to” rather than “I need to,“ “I have to,” or “I should.” Changing because we are compelled to do so rarely brings lasting benefits; rather a lifetime of change comes when it is what we want for ourselves and our loved ones.

The highest motivation of the human heart is to act out of love. When we love God and our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31, KJV), we find plenty of reasons to be better people. We look anxiously forward to each day with newness of life, knowing that God will provide a way!

*Book of Mormon, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

Leave a comment – Where does your greatest motivation come from?

Its Okay to Feel Good

Contentment

 

“I don’t feel good,” we often say when we are under the weather. We get a little bit of extra rest, eat right, and relax from the stress just long enough that we get back on our feet again. But do we really give ourselves permission to feel good?

As Christian men and women, we often get the mistaken notion that it is bad for us to feel good, that if we feel good, we must be doing something wrong. Perhaps we haven’t given enough of our time to help others, we haven’t sacrificed our own needs long enough for our families, or our suffering for the cause of Christ has not yet reached the level of purification that we think we need.

We examine ourselves and find that we come up short; therefore, we dive in once again, overworking ourselves, denying our own needs, and making sure that we give all that we have and then some. Unfortunately, the day comes again where we are physically exhausted. We say, “I don’t feel good” and we take some time off and do what it takes to get back on our feet again.

It is a never ending cycle, the notion that we have to give more and more until we are empty, unfulfilled, and in essence, burned out. Is that what God really meant when he said, as quoted in Mark 12:30, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength”?

Our motivation to love the Lord tends to slacken when we give so much that we have nothing left. We lose sight of the purpose in what we are doing, and may even turn against those we previously served willingly and ably. We realize that there is a limit to our physical strength, and that we cannot give love when we feel emptiness in our souls.

Christ paid the ultimate price so that we wouldn’t have to. How does this apply in our situations? Our love of the Savior comes as we recognize the personal nature of his atonement. We connect with him when we experience a small portion of the pain that he went through for us individually. Loving him in return motivates us to serve others.

It is not necessary, however, for us to repay the debt that we owe. We cannot be more than we already are. It is our responsibility to set boundaries in our lives to make sure that we do not overextend ourselves. Getting adequate  rest, nutrition, and nurturing allows us to not only feel Christ’s unconditional love, but to share it with others.

Feeling good is not an event; rather a choice that we make. We find contentment as we pause, feel our Savior’s love, and find peace in the process of becoming more like him.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today,  for your emotional health!

Leave a comment – When was the last time you gave yourself permission to feel good?

Back on Solid Ground

Back on Solid Ground

 

 

After 8 days of travel and 4,000 miles, it feels good to have our feet back on solid ground! We enjoyed our holiday excursion around the country, visiting family in Washington state, Utah, and Missouri, before finally returning to North Dakota. We saw all seven of our children and nine grandchildren. Holding them in our arms was like tasting a little bit of heaven!

Although, we had checked the weather, planned a route to take, serviced our vehicle for the drive, and purchased needed supplies, nothing could adequately prepare us for the long trek we had undertaken. Like a ship out of harbor, we left behind the familiar and ventured into the unknown.

With the sights, sounds, and feelings of home far in the distance, we faced the frantic freeways, frustrating fast food restaurants, and fleeting excitement of holiday shoppers. We navigated around semi-trucks stranded in a snowstorm in the mountains of Northern Idaho and sloshed through sand and snow behind plows in Colorado.

Each segment of our journey brought new experiences, unfamiliar faces, and more adjustments. We couldn’t just go blindly forward, hoping for the best. We had to sit down, check the forecast, look at the planned route, and decide when would be the best time to go forward.

Many times in life, whether by choice or by chance, we wander away from the familiar and enter into the realm of the unknown. We think that we have everything ready, that we have thought through all the possibilities, and that we know where we are going, but somewhere, somehow, we face a dilemma that we had not yet considered.

Just like on our trip, we never know when a storm will ensue that leaves us wondering if we are going to make it. We muster all our knowledge, tenacity, and strength to bring about one single goal, that of survival. We gather all who are in the vessel with us to assist in hopes that the combined efforts will somehow be equal to the task.

Unfortunately, sometimes we are unable to come back home, and we must start over again. Our emphasis on meeting our daily physical needs helps us rebuild. Getting sufficient rest, nutrition, and physical activity bring back a sense of normalcy, that familiarity we so desperately need that enables us to re-establish our sense of identity and purpose.

It is in these moments of extremity that we become better acquainted with God. We plead with him to spare us, to allow us one more moment of life, one more day of breath, that we might see our loved ones again. In so doing, we come full circle. In him, we find our home. We put our feet back on solid ground.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

Leave a comment – Tell about a time when you have ventured into the unknown.

The Ten Second Rule

It Takes a Second

“Our thoughts are not our own,” the speaker said, “They come from all around us.” She went on to say that in order for them to become our own, we have to act on them. “When we have an unwelcome thought, we have ten seconds to change it. It doesn’t have to stay with us.”

Ten seconds…that is a long time. If we count one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand, four-one thousand, five-one thousand, six-one thousand, seven-one thousand, eight-one thousand, nine-one thousand, ten-one thousand at a good clip, we get an idea of how long it is.

I have always believed that we have a split-second of time once a thought enters our minds to change its outcome. I call it the “Split-Second Opportunity.” Perhaps this is the time to which the speaker was referring. It is that single moment where we see in our mind’s eye what will happen if we act on the thought that has occurred to us.

During that moment, our past meets the present. Our automatic response is in front of us and we see what will happen if we choose to accept it. These consequences are then weighed against our beliefs, hopes, and dreams, and we go forward with what we think is best.

Or is that really what happens? Do we utilize the power that exists within us? Do we understand that we have the ability to change or are we simply living on automatic pilot, hoping that we will reach our destination safely? Are we allowing our past experiences and current circumstances to dictate our every action?

If not, we have the chance of a life-time! We can change our future! In this critical moment, we have the ability to break the chains that bind us down to misery and unhappiness. We have the opportunity to accept our own ineptness and turn it into strength!

Perhaps it isn’t that simple. Life is complicated. We try every day to do our best, but things get in the way. People don’t do what we think they should. We feel frustrated and upset when problems happen and it takes more effort and time than we had planned. We get down on ourselves, stressed to the point that we cannot seem to function.

Our automatic reactions are affected by our state of mind, physical health, and use of mood-altering substances. We may have major hurdles to cross before we can get to the point that we are able to even recognize that we have the power of choice.

And yet, what if it did work? Try the ten-second rule, for your emotional health!

©2014 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today.  

Leave a comment – What do you think? Do we really have the power of choice?