The Thumper Rule

I was always told, Remember the Thumper Rule! “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all!”  (Sorry about the double negative, I’m quoting.) These days, kindness seems to be passed off as old fashioned, passé, and not very popular. (Are you listening, Trump?) “You won’t get very far in this world on kindness.” (Yeah, right! I say sarcastically.) Kindness is the true measure of decent, mature person. The true sign of maturity (in my book) is knowing when to shut up. Knowing what “not” to say.

The rehab home where I’m staying admitted a new patient. She’s uber onery. (She is more onery than a multitasking mom with a migraine!) She’s driving the staff mad. (Referring to it both ways. Mad “grrrrr” and mad crazy.) This lady is verbally abusive to the max, and they all dread going in to help her. They’ve thanked me for being incredibly kind and understanding. I always say “Thank you,” and try to make their jobs easier. (Like day and night.)

Really? Do we need to force other’s lives as to be as miserable as (we think) our own is? I’ll bet if she attempted interaction with people the opposite way and made a concerted effort to be kind. She would be happier, and it would additionally brighten the other person’s day. Let’s at least start with civil and work up from there. (Here I go being all positive again. It must be my thing!)

My thoughts rush back to high school. (Fade to backstory with weird music.) I was attending to perform in an evening choir concert. All the choir members were required to wear our finest. One girl, who was low in the self esteem department, was looking exceptionally nice. I felt compelled to compliment her. So I did ecstatically. Her countenance changed from shy and uncertain to a big smile and looking rather proud of herself. I noticed her. I swear there were beams of light shooting from her body! (Seriously beaming!) All it took was a few kind words. (I bet I made her year! If I do say so myself.) I felt great, and I am certain she did, too. (Like I say, win win.) It left me with such an impact, I remember that experience from over thirty years ago!

(Return to the present.) My tween girls are always bickering and placing blame. (Yeah, you guys!) Oh, how much calmer, pleasant, and quiet our home would be without the incessant arguing! (Serenity now!) I need to constantly place a picture of Bambi’s Thumper in their faces (or tattoo it to their corneas) to remind them about the urgent and necessary need for kindness. (Sometimes it’s a relief to go back to the rehab home! I didn’t say that.) They need to forget their pride and me, me, me attitudes and think of the other. Remember: Kindness begins with me!” We seem to be the worst with our siblings. (I’m sure there’s some psychological reason.) That’s too bad, because your brothers and sisters do become your best friends. (True story.)

Let’s play Truth (and) or Dare. 

Truth? Tell me how an act of kindness changed your day. 

Dare? Go perform an intentional (way out of your way) act of kindness for anyone, and see how you feel. Tell me about it. (I really want to hear about it!)

Next time you have a choice, choose kindness. See how that works out for you! (I dare ya!)

Leave It Better- 7/1/17

I have never agreed with Matthew McConaughey so much. (Alright, alright, alright!) The true measure of a human life is: Did you leave your spot on earth better than you found it? Don’t be one of those people that others are glad to see the door hit them on the rear as they depart. Don’t leave destruction or sadness in your wake. 

Be the person that lends a hand, compliments, brings out the light in another. Think of others before yourself. You know, that person, the one you don’t want to exit the party, or the one you love to give gifts to? They leave you feeling like you got the gift.

I always thought of Matthew McConaughey as the bad boy, romantic comedy guy, but he does a lot of inspirational speaking. He puts it out there plain and simple. The things he says make a lot of sense.

You want to be the person who leaves a place happy, enthused, and recharged. They aren’t saying, “It’s awful here, how can you stand it?” but “How can I can help you make things better!” That’s the kind of individual I aspire to become. 

I hope to improve spirits and surroundings. I want my name on a building not because I had tons of money (I wish!) but because they admire my qualities and accomplishments. Be that person!

Immovable Rock – 6/24/17

Darin and I enjoyed river rafting with my work friends right before I had the stroke last year. (It was an exciting trip, that I had a hand in planning.) Near Jackson, the water was mainly calm, but when we encountered the rapids, we had quite the wild ride! The big boulders in the water gave us a thrilling trip. 

I was thinking of the small pebbles versus the huge rocks. Those small pebbles have probably traveled a long distance down the river as the water current pushed them along. They were flimsy and movable, with no disernable density to root them down. The small pebbles had no substantial foundation to keep them secure. But those large boulders possessed some major density to stabilize against the rushing current. They had substance and weight to stand up against the roughest of waters. 

(I feel a moral to the story coming…) Are we the pebble or the boulder? Do we go with the flow and run with the crowd and go with the current trends or the popular ideas of the day? Or do we have enough weight, also called internal fortitude, to hold strong withstanding the rush of every fleeting notion? (I never thought I wanted to be heavy!) But heavy means stable, strong, immovable in this case. The way I get heavy is to consume good things. (Be a gluten for good.) Holy scriptures, uplifting books, words of inspirational people, wholesome entertainment, and good friends all contribute to your weight. 

Richard J. Maynes is a BYU graduate in business and international management with minors in accounting and economics. He has worked in top management of many foreign companies. Currently he is a LDS church leader, and in the Presidency of the Seventy. (Which is pretty high up.) What he says is always incredibly wise.

I’ve also recollect the concept put this way, “Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved.” (That comes from a book called Doctrine & Covenants, Section 87) Now, a holy place isn’t just in a chapel or temple. It’s anywhere virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy. Hang with the heavy rocks, or people with high standards. These habits will guarantee you won’t get caught drowning in the flow and find yourself out of control washed up in today’s torrent. 

“Solid,,,,,solid as a rock.” Be a rock not a pebble!

That’s Enough – 6/17/17

Healing from any malady can be an arduous and difficult process. Healing from a stroke is (well) an eternal process. (At least it seems that way!) But I say the magic key is to work as much as you can every day. Laying in bed never did anyone any good. (At first I had no energy! So bed was where I had to be.) In the beginning after the stroke, the therapy people came in my room, and made me move. (I hated that, but it was for my benefit!)

In the past, I’ve laid in bed hoping to get better, but there comes a time when it’s imperative you rise up and get out of bed. You usually start feeling improved once the juices are flowing. When I had the trach removed, transferred to a new place, got a motorized chair, donned real clothes I began to improve. I started caring again. 

I admire David A. Bednar. He is a wise man, who is inspired to lead us through his words and example. His words of knowledge can improve our lives, if we just listen and act. Watch a few of his talks. You can’t help but be better for it.

Whatever your goal, work towards it a little each day. As long as you are going forward, no matter how insignificant you think those steps might be, you will attain your goal eventually! (Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!) I like the concept that as long as we strive towards that goal, we are doing enough, although it might seem so minuscule. (Turtle steps.)

The Terminal – 6/12/17

I watched this movie, The Terminal, again a few days ago, and it led me to think. The sheer will and determination of Victor is admirable, as he is stuck in a New York airport due to a civil war in his country. He does the right thing by remaining in the airport confines, even though stubborn officials endeavor to make him leave and break the rules. Victor makes the most of his situation while continuing to be a good person. (That’s a great quality!) I admire his way of patiently waiting, and his long suffering is amazing. I hope I can be as inventive and possess the willingness to wait for things to change for the better. (It’s going to be a long wait!) Good flick, highly recommend!

Easier Wrong or Harder Right? – 6/10/17

Success in this thing we call life hinges on our decisions. Make a wrong choice, and you’re going to suffer the sting of the negative consequence. We’ve all experienced that, and we’re smarter for it! (Sad to say!) A right choice will bear a happy positive result even though that right choice was probably a lot more difficult to do. Thus easier is wrong- harder is right. It’s about choosing to live with integrity.

In Lewis Carrol’s ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ Alice is faced with a crossroad where she must determine which way to proceed. She consults the Cheshire Cat to help her decide. The cat answers, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.” That is so true. If you possess no direction in your life, it does not really matter what your decision will be. We must select our personal North Star in which to sail toward. I think that is the key problem with our society. Most children aren’t given the right centering in their lives. Then when those choices present themselves (and they will) they are not correctly equipped to make that choice correctly. Then the resulting consequence is that they end up on an incorrect path, and they are blights to society, gain bad habits, and hurt those around them.

Even if right decisions might be formidable, we need to strive to make them. Our lives will reflect on our choices and consequences. (Choose wisely)  Make that choice before it happens, and it will be easier when the situation presents itself. To make that choice early, we must constitute ourselves on a substantial, stable foundation.

My stability is Christ. My foundation is His teachings of truth and love. President Monson also said, “May we choose to build up within ourselves a great and powerful faith which will be our most effective defense against the designs of the adversary—a real faith, the kind of faith which will sustain us and will bolster our desire to choose the right. Without such faith, we go nowhere. With it, we can accomplish our goals.” President Monson is a knowledgeable and trusted leader of ever-flourishing LDS church. Right now his advanced age is preventing him from being a visual part of the church, but I am sure he still plays an integral part. Everything he says is amazing. He propels me to be a better person. (I need that badly.)

Kelly Perdew is a keen and powerful businessman who won Apprentice, Season 2. After that he worked with the Trump organization. He went to law school and the US Military Academy at West Point excelling in military leadership. He wrote a book “Take Charge” which extols the importance of integrity in leadership. I am sure he is a heavy hitter in the business and political circles. Now, more than ever, we need upright, honest people in our top government and commerce arenas. It is vital that they listen to his voice of reason. (To put it lightly!)

Many important people understand the importance of making the right decisions in your life. Even though it may be difficult, “Choose the right way and be happy!”

Money Won’t Buy Happiness – 6/3/17

Whoever said “Money Won’t Buy Happiness” must’ve been rich. The one who said that never had a mountain of bills and un-ending monetary stress. I get the concept, but I would certainly like to give it a go and decide for myself. (Please?) And like my sister who buys a lottery ticket every so often, I would love to share the wealth. I imagine being a philanthropist leaves an awesome feeling. Helping people just for kicks, sign me up. They should pass a law that if you have more than one million dollars, you have to give it away in $500,000 increments. I could be comfortable on that with a little to spare for another. I need just enough to get debt free. I don’t want anything fancy. (Call your local congressman!) Just kidding, I know we’re not communist here in the US. Democracy is the way to go, I just wish those billionaires would share. (With me!)

Celeste Vaughn is a Christian blogger who has endured addiction problems. She has a great outlook on life and wonderful vision. I love her writing style, too.

I am aware our first world problems cannot compare to what people in other places and cultures have, we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our bodies, but still we whine. We need to find happiness where we are and despite how much or little we have. Those things we can’t put a price tag on, are the best things in life. Our family, our friends, our pet, our testimony and faith, the thing that’s truly important is what we cherish most. It’s different for everyone. Time is also a commodity we can’t buy.

Despite the guilt trip (I put myself on,) it can’t hurt to wish. As long as that wish doesn’t take over your every thought. (And like many of you,) I’d enjoy possessing a little money to spare and share. My intent is good works, and isn’t that all that matters? “Luck, and a little pixie dust…” Think good thoughts!

Trying for the Better – Sayings Saturday 5/27/17

Rehab, from a stroke, is a slow, tiresome process. (To put it lightly!) We don’t talk about great strides, but improvements are made in miniscule bits at a time. Some people in the same situation as mine just lay in bed all day. They have no will. No drive. No change. I don’t know if I’ll ever walk or stand alone again, but (man) I’m gonna work towards it. 

Why am I such a dreamer? Attitude, hope, determination. (My wish for pain.) I know it won’t happen unless I knock, or give it my best shot. 

Nishan Panwar is a internet sensation who thinks on the bright, and shares it. He just wants to improve his readers day. His words are so true. 

I am working for a better life, not just wishing on a star. I know I am a crazy optimist. (But aren’t I in great company?)

Eye-Rolling – Saying Saturday 5/20/17

There’s a certain guesture that says a lot more than a thousand words. A well timed eye-roll can put your emotions into words without actually speaking. It can convey disbelief, disapproval, impatience, or feelings of absurdancy. We’ve all done it. It’s what you do when there’s nothing left to say. When you’ve “had it up to here.” (As I motion above my head.) 

When I first had the stroke I was “locked in.” Meaning I was conscious, but could not move. Many wondered if I was in a vegetative state, but Darin saw my eyes roll and knew I was “home” inside. I soon began regaining movement on my left side. (Which all the doctors said would be impossible. But I’m all about beating odds!) Then I spent the next four months with a trach, and I couldn’t talk. Trying to get my point across involved many eye-rolls. In fact, I did it so often I probably saw my brain! (I’m a pro. If there’s some Eye-Rolling Championship out there, I would be a contender!)

As a mother, we get so exasperated we’ve had numerous eye-rolls throughout our maternal lives. They are key to a mother’s ophthalmic repertoire as is the stern you-better-obey glare. (Children are such a ‘blessing!’) Now that I can speak, I still incorporate many well-timed rolling of the eyes to accentuate my needs and feelings. Never underestimate the value of a quality purposeful eye-roll. “Come on and just, roll with it baby…”

Start Where You Are – Saying Saturday 5/13/17

Most races originate at the starting line. Pow! You begin! It’s usually at birth. My race had a 47 year warmup, and now I feel like it’s for real. All those years, all those experiences, six children, made me who I really am now. My brain ‘false started,’ and I have a restart. (Lucky me!) I’m living a very different life, or you could say: “Running a different race.”

Elder Dieter F. Uctdorf gave this (and many other) quotes to let people realize that their cloudy histories don’t matter, they can begin anew. They can make a fresh start. You, too, can start again, whenever you desire. What was in your past molds and shapes you, but it does not define you.  If you want to start eating cleaner, living closer to your conscience, or treating people nicer, it’s all entirely up to you. Step up to the line, tell yourself it’s going to be better, and start running with it. 

My fresh start includes being more grateful for my tender mercies and the beauty around me, living a more spiritual centered life, and worrying less about myself and more about my fellow man (or woman.) I have wonderful examples. 

Ready, set, go!