Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Answers to prayer . . .

Most of those who read here know that our family has two places of residence and we are trying to maintain residence in both of them. I still teach once a month in the ward that I lived in when Kerry and I met so we travel there at least one weekend a month. Actually we are there about 50% of the weekends. This posed a problem for Carmen, our oldest daughter, for a long time. Carmen is very shy and had a very difficult time going to class with people she didn't know. At first she didn't want to go at all, when she finally did go it was so very difficult for her that she couldn't even get anything out of the time spent.

We talked about how difficult it was and she was encouraged to ask the Lord for help with this problem that she faced. Then we talked about faith and how having faith didn't just mean believing that Heavenly Father would take her fear away before she went to class again, but that showing real faith meant believing that you will receive help, believing it enough to do something hard and even scary. So Carmen prayed and went to class and struggled for several weeks - it didn't get much easier for Carmen but she continued to do what she knew was right and knew that she would get the help she was seeking. Well, a few weeks ago Sister Tucker was called to be her new adviser for Young Women. The very first week she was in the class she was inspired to do a spotlight on Carmen so the girls would get an opportunity to see who she was and reach out to her a little bit. She called us up and asked us for some information about Carmen and the next week we were there she told the class all about her. Carmen came out of class that week all smiles and going to class doesn't seem like such a difficult thing anymore.

The most beautiful part to me was that when Carmen was asked to give a short testimony on faith last week, she shared this story with the girls in her other ward. She was able to use her experience to teach others about the "work" portion of faith.

Couldn't we all learn a lesson from Carmen? How often do we pray for help and then sit back and wait. We need to see a clear ending before we are willing to take a step. I want to have faith like Carmen's when the right thing seems impossible I want to be willing to pray for help and then continue doing what's right even if a good ending seems impossible. Carmen, you are an awesome example to me, thank you.

Also, of course, we must thank Sister Tucker for being in tune to the spirit and knowing just what to do to help our daughter.

We are grateful.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dale Carnegie Success Tip

Once in a while I get Dale Carnegie success tips in my e-mail. I think it is something I signed up for a long time ago, when I was still in management. Usually, I just delete them. Sometimes I read them and think - "hey, that's pretty good advice" but, this one made me think. Well, you know what that means . . . I gotta share.

When we are dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.
- Dale Carnegie

Dear Lisa:

What is it that inspires you to do your best work? Have you considered what things might be fueling the work of your employees/coworkers? Although unique to each worker, professional drive has a basic core to which everyone can relate. Discover your essential similarities, and use this knowledge to inspire others to cooperate, instead of mandating that they do so.

* Don't dictate -- inspire
* Don't direct -- win people to your way of thinking
* Begin with praise and honest appreciation
* Build morale and earn loyalty
* Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
* Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to

I admit, at work I was pretty good at this but, at home I am not always so good. Have I considered what things might be fueling the actions of my husband and children? Hmmmm . . . food for thought. I am going to do better.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Miracle of The Chore Pass

So, as much as I have committed and recommitted to myself that I wouldn’t treat the children and my home like employees and a business, there are some things that transfer so beautifully it becomes irresistible. It reminds me that no knowledge gained is ever a waste. This one worked out so well that I just had to share.

First some background. Our children are all old enough to help in some way with the chores. Before Kerry and I got married he made it very clear that he wanted them to participate in this area. So, I have been searching for the best way to make this fun and rewarding for them. I finally learned that they do a lot better if they know ahead of time what will be expected of them that day, so I make a calendar for the whole month that lists what chore is to be done by each of them that day. They already help with the dishes (see: anything can be fun) so the chores don’t need to be something big. Instead of “clean the hall bathroom” the chore might be “scrub the shower in the hall bathroom” this is a much less daunting task and I spend a lot less energy trying to talk them into it than if more were required. When the children were all willingly doing their chores I wondered if there were a way to get them to help keep up with the extra stuff that doesn’t need to be done every day, but still needs to be done periodically. (cleaning fridge, scrub walls, etc.)

Management tool: I learned in leadership training that there are really only three main motivators which all things that motivate people fit into. They are Challenge, Power, and Relationship. As a manager if I could get to know my employees well enough to understand which category(s) they fit in, I could structure my management style around them and help them feel like their job is rewarding. Well, in this house there are children that fit in all 3 of these categories. So I needed to come up with a system that helped each of them feel motivated to help.

The Bonus System: Everyday the kids come home and do their homework and a small chore, and then if they choose, they can pick something small off of the bonus list to do. When the children have completed a bonus chore I write a little personal note on their bonus sheet about what a good job they did or how much they helped (motivating my relationship motivated children). Once they reach 10 bonuses they get a “chore pass” to use at their own discretion. This enables them to choose not to do a chore one any given day (for my power motivated kids) and once everyone gets going it becomes a little competitive as to who can earn the most chore passes (for my challenge motivated child).

Last Friday Thursday in the midst of all the Valentine’s cookie bouquets Serena completed our first chore pass. I will have to do one of her chores soon I am sure. In the mean time, my fridge is cleaner, walls are getting wiped down, kids are cleaning out their drawers and getting rid of things that don’t fit them anymore and laundry is getting folded. Seems like a win-win! I love these children!!

Overzealous. . .

OK, I do have a tendency to have ideas that get me in a little over my head sometimes. Aside from the tired back and shoulders this one turned out ok. I decided that it would be fun to make heart cookie bouquets for the children's classes for valentines day. It was fun, but a lot of work. The kids were proud of them though and grateful, so it was all worth it.

Reason #101

I love Kerry because he sneaks into my blog while I am taking a nap on Sunday and writes wonderfully biased things on there.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Being married to Lisa

At almost ten months of experience, I'm still a rookie, yet I am the undisputed champion of the world, an expert so to speak, in the art of being married to the author of this blog. She has sacrificed everything that could civilly be expected of a woman in order to be with me and my children. She has taken on my children, and she treats them as a mother treats her own children--without any nonsense and with an unfathomable amount of love.

She's no longer the highly paid jet-setting lady that can expect to be pampered at every turn by the Navy, Avis and the Marriott hotel. She's no longer in charge of all that is around her--choosing instead to share responsibilities, furthering our lives and interests collectively. She finds that all her talents of wit, humor, patience, organization, care and industry are required, yet the rewards are not public. The daughters of God are unfathomable. Who would give up independence and security for a Valentine? Lisa, that's who.

I cannot repay Lisa for her sacrifice--not in my poor circumstances. I can't imagine properly paying her were I wealthy and powerful. I can't even understand why she has married me. I once thought that the gentlemanly thing to do was to try to to talk her out of it. Yet how could I be anything but grateful to have her hands and heart in my home?

It may be that a woman needs a man, but it is far more certain that a man needs a woman. It is not good for a man to be alone, and that is why mother Eve was given breath, and joined Adam in the garden of Eden. God didn't wait until Adam wore haphazard trails through the jungle, or decided to start eating goats when there was plenty of fruit at the ready, or left the garden on his own to explore the wider world and develop nuclear weapons with which to hunt rabbits. According to our record, God saw that Adam had breath, and immediately put him to sleep, took a rib from his side and made a woman. Adam was made from the dust of the earth, but Eve was made from Adam. When sickness, death, poverty and war came, Eve stayed. My wife is truly Eve's daughter. There is no amount of hardship, discouragement, pain or worldly scorn that would keep her away. She was given to me as surely as Eve was given to Adam, and her loyalty is more flawless than the diamond she wraps around her finger.

Lisa sometimes tells me to shut up. When I feign shock and tell her that such language is beneath her she revises it to "please" shut up. I've explained to Lisa that I don't cook with salt. So she puts it in with great discretion and a beautiful smile. Her cooking is delicious. Lisa is worthy of all the respect, consideration and adoration that I have within me to give to her. Lisa is an emotionally enhanced individual. As befits a woman she feels and cries. As befits a man I'm still learning how to deal with her honestly and openly without offending those beautiful sentiments that make her who she is.

I have some struggles with faith. I like to know the end from the beginning, and I like to understand details, beginnings and particulars. God answers my prayers, and Lisa, lovely Lisa, reminds me that He has. I would be a lesser person without her--frazzled and furious, panicked, tempted and lonely. But God loves me, and he brought Lisa to me. Thank you, Lisa. Thank you, God.

Friday, February 13, 2009

100 reasons I love Kerry

I told my friend that I was going to come up with 100 reasons I love my husband for Valentine's Day. She wanted to know if 100 would be hard. I assured her it would be easy. I was right. So here are 100 things that make my husband so darn loveable. . .

1. I love that doing the right thing is never too hard for him
2. I love that he loves the Lord
3. I love that he honors his priesthood
4. I love that he would do anything to make me happy
5. I love that he loves his children
6. I love that he wants to take care of himself so that he can live a long time
7. I love that he loves me just for me
8. I love the silly grin he gets when I tell him I will go to the gym with him
9. I love that he is handsome
10. I love that he wakes up happy; even if it means he will be unable to resist waking everyone up with his singing
11. I love that he is affectionate, no matter who is watching
12. I love that he has a desire to serve others
13. I love that he is unselfish
14. I love the glass of ice water he puts by my bed every night
15. I love that he still wants to take me on dates – Friday night is date night and I love it
16. I love that he magnifies his church callings
17. I love that he is a true gentleman
18. I love that he gets all the spiders
19. I love that he helps with the house work
20. I love how he tries to make it seem real when he lets me win at wrestling
21. I love the gentle way he rubs my back when I am not feeling well
22. I love that he is smart – even if that means I can’t understand some of the things that interest him most
23. I love that he doesn’t get frustrated when I don’t understand
24. I love how he squints his eyes really hard when he is trying to think
25. I love that he is grateful even for the little things I do to help him
26. I love that he doesn’t leave the house without kissing me good-bye
27. I love his strong hands and gentle heart
28. I love his blue eyes
29. I love that he plays with his children
30. I love that he does his home teaching
31. I love that he reads scriptures with our family every night
32. I love that he sets goals
33. I love that he calls me when he is on his way home from work to see if I want him to stop at the store.
34. I love that he genuinely wants to be good
35. I love that he honors his parents
36. I love that he loves my family
37. I love that he says “it smells so good in here” no matter how simple the meal is that I am preparing
38. I love that he is careful what we bring into our home through the television
39. I love that he loves Cadence
40. I love that he like for me to stay close to my family and friends
41. I love that he prays
42. I love that he likes to learn
43. I love his smile
44. I love that he pays attention to the things that are important to me
45. I love that he stands up for himself when he is right and it really matters
46. I love that he ALWAYS opens the car door for me (my mom too)
47. I love that he respects all women, not just the one’s he wants to impress
48. I love that because of him, his family thinks I am perfect
49. I love that he is unwilling to tear people down for the sake of humor
50. I love that he is not afraid to shed a tear in a tender moment
51. I love that he expects the children to respect me
52. I love that he knows how to set aside his own agenda to help me
53. I love that he does laundry
54. I love that he is quick to laugh
55. I love that he helps me see both sides of a situation
56. I love that he knows the scriptures
57. I love that he know how to scrub a toilet
58. I love that I have fun with him
59. I love that I am never bored as long as he is there
60. I love when he says “I’m sorry, a little” just because that is what I would say to him in the same situation.
61. I love that he rarely needs a hymn book because he know the words to nearly all the hymns
62. I love that he treats me as an equal partner with him
63. I love that he lets me pick his tie on Sunday
64. I love that he plays catch and does back flips on the trampoline
65. I love that he teaches his children from the scriptures rather than say, “because I said”
66. I love that even with all these sweet and kind qualities, he still can be ornery once in a while
67. I love that he asks for my opinion
68. I love that if I forget my jacket he insists that I have his, even though we both know he gets cold easier than me
69. I love that he is humble about even his very best qualities
70. I love that he has integrity
71. I love that he think before he speaks
72. I love that he is strong physically, mentally, and spiritually
73. I love that he put the needs of his family before his own
74. I love that he keeps his promises, even when it isn’t convenient
75. I love that he doesn’t mind playing silly games with the children and me.
76. I love that he laughs at my sometimes rotten sense of humor
77. I love that he is quick to forgive
78. I love that he is slow to anger
79. I love how he always whispers “are you asleep?” When he is awake and wants me to wake up too.
80. I love that he warms me up when I am cold at night
81. I love the sneaky grin that gives him away when is trying to surprise me
82. I love that he brings me roses just because
83. I love that he gives me a safe place
84. I love that he says “I love you” - everyday.
85. I love that he doesn’t spend a lot of time in front of the television
86. I love that he doesn’t complain when he has to go out in the middle of the night to get medicine
87. I love that I am my best self when I am with him
88. I love that he doesn’t criticize
89. I love that he hugs his children
90. I love that he makes me want to dance
91. I love how I feel when he looks in my eyes
92. I love that he is a hard worker
93. I love that he is someone I can trust
94. I love that he can solve all the technical problems
95. I love that he isn’t afraid to ask for help
96. I love that he has a strong testimony of Christ
97. I love that he keeps himself worthy to have the guidance of the Holy Ghost
98. I love that he includes the Lord in our decisions
99. I love that he enjoys going to the temple
100. I love that I get to be married to him FOREVER!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wisdom on a Church Marquis

Sometimes I can hear a quote or a concept more than once, and then one day - I really finally hear it. Does this happen to anyone else or am I just really hard headed? (Rhetorical question) Well, the other day it happened again. I saw a church marquis in our neighborhood that says, "Problems are just opportunities in their work clothes" I am sure that I have heard that before, probably more than once, but this time it really got my attention. Perhaps it was because of the timing but, it really made me think.

Really, some of my best, most creative ideas have come when I was faced with a problem.

For example, in my career at Boeing, I had a lot of opportunities to give training. Usually the material was a pretty easy sell so the classes were really fun, I worked hard to make it that way. There were a few subjects, though, that were really hard to get anyone to see the value in. I remember sometimes getting very frustrated thinking, "my training is a waste of time if I can't get anyone to change his or her behavior." I had to come up with something better. I knew I couldn't convince anyone that the way I was showing them was the best way. Somehow, I had to get them to convince themselves. I began building training activities that "proved" the value of the lesson we were doing that day. The trainees would go through the exercise, have a really good time, and most often come away willing to do something new. These training activities, build mostly out of desperation, usually worked like magic. Soon I realized I actually had a real knack for building creative training packages. Who knew?

Eventually, my reputation for building creative training is why I was offered a job in consulting.

So, because I had a problem with some of my training subjects. I was able to find a more creative way to reach my classes, discover a new talent, and launch a new career. I'd say that was an opportunity after all.

I am grateful for the difficulties I face every day. Because of them, I learn lessons, discover things about myself, and have new opportunities.