Wednesday, November 27, 2013

gratitude brings happiness

First, I feel the need to take back anything I ever said about not being stressed about school this year. I am a walking zombie all the time because I am so tired because I was up all hours doing homework. And it would be one thing if I always just put homework off until the evening, but I don't. I am literally that busy and I am doing homework every waking moment I am at home.

SO that is why I haven't blogged in over two weeks. Several of my hobbies are being severely neglected, actually. And I don't even have time to read BOOKS other than on the weekends. And I love reading. In fact, Saturday I didn't finish my english project until 11pm, and I had a book that had been overdue for over a week (and could not be renewed) that I hadn't started but really wanted to read, so I stayed up until 4:30 finishing it.

Okay, I really have no idea why I just wrote all of that. But I don't think I'll erase it. Anyways, the POINT is that I am so loving this break for Thanksgiving! I spent all day Monday and Tuesday doing ALL my homework so it is not looming over my head! And today I cleaned my bathroom and bedroom AND vacuumed out and washed my car. I probably haven't vacuumed out my car in months and it's probably been at least a month since my bathroom was cleaned. Gross, I know, but it makes you appreciate a clean bathroom more!!!

We are also decorating for Christmas on Friday! And watching White Christmas, one of only two old movies that I love (the other is Calamity Jane)! I am so excited!

Now that all of that is out of the way, let's talk about Thanksgiving. My very first post on this blog was a Thanksgiving post, you know. That was two years ago!! That means that I was fourteen when I wrote some of these posts. I feel the need to point that out every so often just so that you don't judge me too much!! :) I always wonder what people think of me who only knew me in like seventh grade or something. Wow, I have changed so much!

I was driving (in my slippers, mind you, to preserve my pristine car) to the library this afternoon and the whole city was so busy because, you know, Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I love LOVE things like that. I am really bad at describing it, when I first tried to explain my thoughts to my mom, she just stared at me like I was crazy.
But I feel like it is such a human thing to go out and buy last minute turkeys and pumpkin pies, the same thing happens the day before the Super Bowl and on Christmas Eve. It is just one of those things that brings people together and it is neat to see things that affect a whole society like that. It makes me appreciate humanity and the people around me a bit more, and it is really hard to explain why.
It's like when I pass someone who has a parking pass to my high school hanging on their mirror, and so do I, and I just kinda take a second to appreciate the mutual, unspoken camaraderie I feel towards that person, even though we only have that one thing in common.
It's also kinda like when our ward had missionary week and there was a night when all of the youth were being hosted at different homes for dinner, and it felt like the whole ward was outside either walking to others' houses or giving people rides or welcoming visitors.

I just love stuff like that, when everyone is just out being friends, participating in something that brings them together and defines their social group, even if they don't realize it.

Okay. I am going to stop rambling and making myself sound dumb and get to the video. Sound good?

It probably isn't surprising to you that being grateful can make you happy.

When you see everything as a gift, you are more joyful, more compassionate, have kinder thoughts, are closer to God, and are, quite simply, a more lovely person in general.  

Thanksgiving is a wonderful day to be grateful, but we should also practice gratitude all year long, not just during the holiday season.

What things are you grateful for? How are you going to express your gratitude, like the people in the above video did?
If you are grateful, you are happy. But perhaps other people will be happy, too!

Let us resolve to more often recognize the people, places, and things God has given us - and let us express gratitude! 

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have a happy Thanksgiving! And as we jump into the holidays, which I am very excited to do, please never forget the reason for the season!

Love, Haley

Sunday, November 10, 2013

serve often, judge never, love always.

I remember when I was in school in seventh grade and one of my teachers was telling the class something about how he knew some homeless people in Salt Lake City. One of the kids asked about giving them money and our teacher said "oh no - you don't give them money." He said that you would be smarter to give money to organized charities.

Well… I totally see where he's coming from. He's not the only one who thinks this, and I see why people doubt that their money is going to the right person and will be used for the right purpose.

But you know what I think? It's my responsibility to help others. God didn't bless me with all that I have just so I could sit here and do nothing.

Shipping your money off to charities is awesome. It really is awesome if you are doing that. Many people are not able to and probably even more just choose not to. I'm sure your money is doing amazing things.

Maybe I'm just selfish. I like to see people's reactions! I like to walk away from serving an individual with that good feeling that I helped someone with something specific.

But still, I see nothing wrong with giving money to homeless people.

EVEN IF they aren't really homeless. EVEN IF they are just going to buy drugs. EVEN IF it just"encourages them."


Like I said before, it is my responsibility to do everything I can to help others and serve God's children. I don't care what they do with the money; that is their responsibility, and I guess they will be held accountable for their decision.

I'm tired of judging others, of distributing my acts of service like precious nuggets of gold that I can only spare so many of.

I don't have a hundred dollars to hand out to people. Goodness, I wish I did!
BUT there is work for me to do. There are lives for me to change, even if it is just through simple acts.

And I know I should be thinking of Every. Person. I. See. the way God sees them. If I can't, I should at least pretend that I can. If you tell yourself something over and over again, you start to believe it.
Think of how you would see people - see life! - if you always tried to think the things Jesus would.

Last week we had Evening of Excellence for the young women in our ward, which is where we kinda celebrate the things the girls have accomplished throughout the year. The room and setup were darling, and there was a cute black and white picture framed of every girl in the ward on display next to some objects each girl had chosen to showcase that represents her.
Anyways, it was darling and I was just sitting there thinking how cute it all looked and how cute the pictures were and how close I feel to all those girls when this incredible feeling came over me. For just a few moments, I feel like I was seeing those girls the way God does. It was like this overwhelming feeling of love and pride at all their talents washed over me. It only lasted a moment, and I don't know how I got so lucky or what I did to invite the Spirit into my heart so strongly at that moment, but I loved it.

It made me realize how much differently I would see the world if I just thought those things on my own all the time.

I know that when I let the Spirit into my heart, try my best to serve others ALWAYS in any way that I can, and remind myself to always see the good in others, my life will be exponentially happier and more fulfilling.

I love God and I feel so blessed right now. I know that He wants me to feed His sheep and help others return to Him. So this I'll do, because I want nothing more than to be His servant.

Have an awesome week guys, and commit right now to serve often, judge never, and love always.



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