Anacortes, San Juan Islands

We went to a ward in Anacortes. I met a friend from Finland there who I knew at BYU. It is always amazing what a small world it is in the church. In a remote ward in Washington I met someone from college and Finland. We had a great chat.

After that we had a wonderful hike around the top of Anacortes that overlooks the San Juan Islands. Beautiful vistas and talks and time to think.

We followed that with a delicious dinner and more connecting.

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Listening is an art form.  When two people hear and listen and understand, there is no better connection.  But it is hard to accomplish.  It takes discipline.  It takes suspending selfish needs and refraining from interjection of  personal footnotes.  I find that I am a much better listener to adults.  I have always considered myself more of an adult person than a kid person.  So I find it easier to listen to the complex stories of my adult friends and family than to the younger concerns of children.

But a little while ago, I learned about the concept of being truly present.  This means completely tuned in and present in mind and body with the person, usually one of my children, with whom I am spending time.  This requires putting aside pressing to-do lists and tasks to be completed and simply turning my attention and thoughts to the person I am talking with.  This is a marvelous concept.  Being present with my kids as they tell me about the details of their thoughts and life is one of the goals I have.  Being present with Erik as he tells me about work or soccer coaching or helping others in our church is what I want to be.

When I feel listened to and understood, it helps me feel whole and valued.  I get this in a few places.  One is in prayer as I pour out my heart and wait for the desired answers or confirmations.  And I often get this from Erik as he listens so well to all the musings and wrestlings of my heart.  It draws us closer.  It adds to the feeling of love I receive from him. It helps me feel worthwhile.

Being present with all people — in the store, in the neighborhood, in my home, in heaven. A goal and aim for my life.

Blueberries in the Morning

This past fall I have had more time for reflection and contemplation than in the previous 18 years of my life.  After raising five kids for the past 17 ½ years, now that all of them are in school all day I have found more time to deeply think and be still in my thoughts.  Each day I have noticed how unity and connection bring me the most joy and happiness in my life.  Usually this is in the small interactions I have or decisions I make, or the small moments of joy and connection I have with the people in my life.  When there is a lack of unity or connection with people, my life isn’t as full of joy.

For the past few years I have started my day with a certain kind of breakfast following my morning exercise.  It starts with some whole-grain cereal, a handful of granola, and some blueberries on top.  Pour on some milk, and it is my perfect breakfast.  In fact, having that final touch with the blueberries on my cereal actually gives me a great sense of happiness. It puts a smile on my face and feels good to my body to have this particular breakfast.  Blueberries in the morning bring joy and satisfaction to me personally.

This blog will be an exploration of finding unity in nature and relationships, connection and happiness with myself, and more joy and unity in my family and relationships with my friends, family, and everyone I meet.

Studies show that things we do every day have more of an impact on us than things we do once in awhile.  I will try and post pictures and thoughts each day to try and better understand how I am experiencing more joy and connection in my life, and explore how to feel it more often and find the deeper connections that make life complete and whole.