|Soaking in the beauty|
This year, spring in Fresno began on Valentine’s Day. I say that because it is when we first saw trees in blossom. Most of the trees flowering this week are white. We had three wonderful sunny days between rains in this “wettest in 100 years” winter season. As we left the office one of those late afternoons, a pair of zone leaders were sitting in the bed of their truck beneath one of the glorious trees abloom in our parking lot. It was deeply peaceful as they quietly waited for others while soaking in the beauty of the fading light.
After the terrific sunshine break, we are back to forecasts of daily rain for more cloudy and rainy days, with occasional sunny respites. The moisture is such a great blessing to a parched state, but it is too much of a good thing in some areas by now. Fresno seems to be all right for the most part, although as I was putting in an order for electrical service, the woman with whom I spoke said she had unwittingly driven into a puddle that turned out to be “three feet deep” resulting in totaling her car from water damage. A Fresno native, she kept repeating, “This never happens in Fresno!”
The main effect on us at the moment is making plans and counterplans for getting all our supplies to the three zone conferences next week. We may have intermittent showers rather than steady rain some days, but we can’t count on putting stuff in the open pickup for hours. Life is full of challenges and opportunities . . .
Last week in Relief Society our lesson included a discussion of the question, “What habits and behaviors help you look forward with optimism in spite of day to day challenges?” Of course, scriptural passages about “being of good cheer”, prayer, righteous living, service, etc. made up a large part of the conversation. There were also shared experiences that offered pragmatic helps. Here are several ideas I liked:
The teacher said that in her youth she learned a quote by Robert Louis Stevenson, “There is no duty we more underrate than the duty of being happy.” For a significant period of her marriage, her husband was troubled by mood swings and depression, which ultimately abated. During the hard years she remembered the RLS quote and accepted being happy as her duty. “My kids deserve a happy mother and they’re going to have a happy mother!” She worked at it and learned to be even-tempered in spite of her husband’s difficulties. She is a very upbeat person and no doubt her determination to be that way has been a great blessing to her entire family and contributed much to her successful marriage.
Practice gratitude: The more we give thanks for what we have, the more aware we become of our own rich blessings. Some women spoke of keeping gratefulness journals which helped them feel joy.
We can only be happy when our actions are on the same level as our beliefs. So if we believe one thing but do another, we will not be happy. “No one can serve two masters . . .”
We had a visitor show up for the past couple of weeks. Flat Stanley. If you don’t know him, Google his name or look him up in Wikipedia and you will see he’s famous. He was very easy to have around; doesn’t say much and eats even less. He was always amenable to go anywhere we wanted. However, it did take time to show him this area and what we do as missionaries. (Hence this blog post covers two weeks.) Stanley travels first class by U.S. Postal Service and is on his way back to Colorado.
Wishing you a happy week!
With love from Len and Kit