18 August 2010

How to behave and why

photos by mercy

...How old we are isn't what counts. The two biggest questions to ask ourselves in life, at any age, are:

Are most of the people I know glad that I am here? Am I glad that I am here, myself?

Anyone who can honestly answer "YES" to those two questions most of the time has learned to BEHAVE in this world and to live a happy life.

It doesn't matter whether you are a Chinese grandfather, an Eskimo mother or an American boy or girl going to school-

You still have to get along well with other people and have most of them like you, if you want to be happy.

from the book 'How to behave and why'

09 August 2010

God bless you!

We were having dinner at a friend's home last night and the subject of sneezing and blessing came up.
My friend said she does not bless those who sneeze and doesn't feel bad about it. She knows it stems from superstition and refuses to continue the tradition and feed into it.
I felt that it didn't matter how it started. It is polite and good manners and should be done because it shows you care, even to a stranger. Now, this was a game of devil's advocate but it got me thinking.
For me the world is such a hard place sometimes so to extend a blessing on someone, I think, helps to keep us caring and compassionate. In Puerto Rico there is a tradition that I enjoy and continue with my children. It is customary for children (young or adult) to ask their elders for their blessing. Every time you see, say your parents, you say 'Bendicion', which literally means 'Blessing', and they respond with, 'Dios te bendiga', or 'God bless you'. It is considered disrespectful not to do this. When I was young, this always made me feel very special because I was always reminded that God was with me.
Maybe that is why I like to bless those that sneeze... hmmm...
In true form, I set out to research this phenomenon and found some things about the Black Plague , (blessing people so they wouldn't lose their soul through the sneeze), and blessing to keep evil spirits from re-entering the body once they were expelled through the sneeze, or blessing because one belived that the person's heart stopped momentarily when they sneezed.
The earliest date I found was in a writing dated 150 AD where someone blessed someone sneezing several times. But I could not find any info on the exact start of this tradition.
I like being blessed when I sneeze. For me, it shows that people are being empathetic and considerate.
To bless or not to bless... what do you think?

04 August 2010

I was just thinking...

I was just thinking about how this past year has flown by for me. I can't believe it is August! I started to think about how excited I always get at the beginning of a new year. I always feel as if it gives me a 'do over'; a time to set new goals, (or, sometimes, in my case, re-setting goals :)). I get this ' this time I'll get it right' attitude:
-this year I'll manage our finances better
-this year I'll be more patient with my family
-this year I will exercise and eat better
-this year I'll catch up on my projects
-this year I will remember to send everyone birthday cards
-this year we will get out of debt
-this year I will clean and organize the basement
-this year I will only think nice things about people
-this year will be the best ever!!!

I have been doing this ritual since I was a kid. I would get so excited because I felt as if someone was waving a magic wand and at exactly midnight, at the final stroke of twelve, I was new AND I was going to be able to do what I had in mind no matter what.
Of course, at 12:05, I was already thinking about why did so-and-so wear that ugly dress and stuffing my face with a yummy piece of cake. Why do I do this? I set my expections so high and as soon as I mess up I think I'm done! Or better yet, why do I think that New Year's Eve is the only time to set goals??
As I mentioned earlier, I was thinking about how quickly this year has passed and I started to think about the goals I'd missed. How we are still in debt, and how I haven't been as patient as I could be and the thinking nice things about people ALL the time... well we won't touch that one.
Then I had a duh moment.
This whole setting resolutions things is similar to the Atonement. Whether or not people are religious, this is what we are doing. New Year's Eve is a time to put things behind us and start new. The beauty of the Atonement is that we get to do this whenever and as often as we want. God doesn't expect perfection. He doesn't even expect us to be 'like' Jesus. He wants us to do our best. That is why we are all so different. He expects us to be the best WE can be using the Savior as an example. He gives us a 'do over' every minute of the day.
So with that in mind I started going over what I HAVE done. Well:
- I lost 13 pounds this year
-I paid off one credit card
-to date I am a full tithe payer
-I don't skip meals
-I have faithfully exercised everyday
-I pray with my family daily
-For every mean thing I am aware of thinking I ask God to forgive me and I think of one nice thing. (I have been pretty good about this).
-I've been 80% on the remembering birthdays :)
So. Even though I know all this, I still find myself looking forward to the upcoming New Year's Eve. I still enjoy the tradition. But I am blessed with the knowledge that I can have "New Year's" everyday. I've already started my new list ;)...