Month: June 2008

Success and Sweat Glands

Zig Zagler the motivational speaker said “success is dependent upon the glands – sweat glands.” I have experienced this type of success this week. As many of you know I have been working hard with my dad to get our vacation rentals ready for the first renters. It was a lot of work and I mean the physically grueling work of lifting, moving, cleaning and organizing (and even shopping can get exhausting).

I wish I could adequately paint a picture of all we have accomplished. Let me just say that on May 31st the current renters came for a tour of the properties. At that time one was mostly finished but the other needed a lot of work. For starters, the basement hadn’t even had sheet rock installed. After their tour I could tell the renters were skeptical that we could get it done on time (and to be honest I was a bit skeptical myself). Since that day we have put in many 10-14 hour days and with the help of a great team we managed to pull it off in a spectacular way. You really wouldn’t believe the transformation if you saw it. Our work included not only the construction but the furnishing, design and organization of the entire house. We had to purchase and clean everything from furniture to plates/pots and pans/TV’s etc. I even learned a lot about home decoration adding plants, flowers and photography to each room. Everything is luxurious and beautiful. The renters couldn’t believe all we had done. It is like a different house. Here are some pictures.

In addition to all the physical work of late there has also been the mental work of marketing the properties and handling new reservations (we are booked for most of July and already getting August!). We had to create a contract, get the contracts out, organize a reservation system, run deposits, set up VRBO.com accounts and more.

With all of this craziness it’s been hard to squeeze in any social time. I hope that in the next few weeks I can do better at that. I miss my friends! I think whenever you start something new (a new job, new move etc) you have to figure out what mixture of work/friends/church etc works for your life and schedule. It takes time.

Anyway, I feel this is a fractured post but I wanted to share with you’all the sense of accomplishment I feel at having gotten renters in the properties. It was a lot of work and sweat but like Zig says that’s what makes success. It certainly feels good to be proud of my work and and to do something I really enjoy (even when it is hard I still like it). I guess Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he had me quit my job and job hunt for months with no success. He was leading me to these experiences and this growth. I am so grateful for that. Grateful, proud and happy! Here is a picture of how I feel- a self portrait you might say (except I don’t have such large earrings!).

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Snow in June

So, it is snowing in June. I find this amazing and ironic on many levels. First of all one of the reasons I didn’t move to Grand Rapids Michigan last Fall was due to the terrible winters they have. (I also wasn’t super excited about moving to a small town. Now I have moved to Draper- a small town) and on June 11th it is snowing in Draper. Luckily I have a spot where I can be secluded from the snow. In fact, the big windows in the rentals I am staying at make the bad weather look rather magical. You do feel as if you are in the center of a snow globe that has been shaken. Billy Collins (who I believe is the current poet laureate) captured this feeling of fish bowl weather in one of my favorite poems:

Billy Collins- Neither Snow
When all of a sudden the city air filled with snow,
the distinguishable flakes
blowing sideways,
looked like krill
fleeing the maw of an advancing whale.

At least they looked that way to me
from the taxi window,
and since I happened to be sitting
that fading Sunday afternoon
in the very center of the universe,
who was in a better position
to say what looked like what,
which thing resembled some other?

Yes, it was a run of white plankton
borne down the Avenue of the Americas
in the stream of the wind,
phosphorescent against the weighty buildings.

Which made the taxi itself,
yellow and slow-moving,
a kind of undersea creature,
I thought as I wiped the fog from the glass,

and me one of its protruding eyes,
an eye on a stem
swiveling this way and that
monitoring one side of its world,
observing tons of water
tons of people
colored signs and lights
and now a wildly blowing race of snow.

Who would have ever thought to compare snow to plankton! Even more, who has the talent to make such a comparison still beautiful? Amazing! I guess that is why he is the poet laureate! Ahh! My friends the sun has just come out! In my opinion there is not much prettier than the sight of the sun on a cold day- especially up here where the mountains start to glow. With all that has been happening in my life lately it is nice to know that even the weather joins me by changing moment to moment.

As far as my life goes- I went to my new ward on Sunday. It was interesting to be back in a normal chapel after attending sacrament meeting in the seminary building for 2 years. It felt as if the ward was very small but it must have been bigger than my last one. It just felt small because of the size of the room and the fact I was alone for the first time in years. I must admit that I missed my old roommates sitting in that pew all by myself. Still, I pushed on and people were friendly and welcoming. I am sure it will be a fine ward for me through the summer.

Aside from the new ward I have finally moved into my temporary housing for the summer. It feels good to at least be temporarily situated. It is nice being close to the rental properties. It will be especially nice when tenants start arriving, so I can welcome them with ease. Yesterday we got a commitment from a couple in St. George for the middle of August. That means we now have at least one commitment in each of the next 3 months with more coming in each day! I pray every night that they will keep coming in because I would certainly prefer doing this type of work than having some lame cough out corporate job. I have mentioned this before on the blog but just like I feel protected from the snow storm outside, I also feel protected from the storms of unhappiness and despair. The Lord knows me and He does want me to be happy. If nothing else, the last year has reconfirmed this truth to me. That knowledge makes anything even snow in June bearable. Take care friends and share your favorite poems with me!

Desires of Happiness

Alma 41:5 “The one raised to ahappiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh.”

This morning I went to the temple, which was a welcome respite from all of the moving and adventures of my recent life. I was reading the Book of Mormon while I waited and came across the scripture above. It struck me as interesting. What exactly does it mean by being “raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness”? Clearly the righteous do not always achieve their righteous desires. For instance, someone may have a righteous desire to serve a mission, but they are not able to go for a variety of reasons. I suppose the Lord could be referring to longterm happiness but I think it is more complicated. One of the most difficult things in life is turning over our desires/our willpower to the Lord. Perhaps this scripture is saying that once we finally make that step we will be perfectly happy and to whatever degree we achieve such full devotion determines the degree of happiness we will experience.

One of my favorite parts of D&C 4 on my mission was the line “if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work”. This phrase makes even more sense when coupled with the scripture above. For every step that we take in His direction the Lord is not only saying that we will be happy but that He will use us to further the work. In a way it is kind of a circle because in building the kingdom we experience happiness which causes our desire to serve to grow, which will give us more opportunities to serve…

It is such an empowering thing to know that we have a say in our happiness. We are not just lifeless blobs that respond to stimuli. We can decide to follow the Lord, sacrificing our egos and desires; thereby, creating happiness both currently as we serve and in the eternities. It reminds me of a quote I have from President Kimball (I had it on my wall when I had a wall!)

“Happiness does not come by pressing a button, as does the electric light; happiness is a state of mind and comes from within. It must be earned. It cannot be purchased with money; it cannot be taken for nothing”

In my life I felt a prompting to make a variety of changes and following those promptings has given me great peace and happiness- and that’s saying something because my life is pretty chaotic.

I look forward to seeing what all of you think on this topic of happiness and the desires of life. Please share.