Ice Breaker Speech One

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They told me to begin, I did start my speech. But my speech began in silence. I smiled and looked around the room. Comfortably I met peoples gaze, held it and smiled.  Finally, I began.

It is said, you cant judge a book by its cover. But haven’t we all offered some form of judgement? Why is she not saying anything? Is it nerves? stage fright? I like her blouse… judgement. We are constantly trying to make sense of our environment.

I stand here today deciding which chapters, paragraphs, sentences or words I will share from my life’s story. I could share the basic facts, name, age, status, citizenship, and even zodiac sign. But wouldn’t your rather know one of my favourite books is the Little Prince? Because it’s a story of innocence. One that teaches lessons about it’s only with the heart that ones sees clearly.

I would want you to know that I love butterflies. But I’ve realized that butterflies are the last stage of the life cycle and I’m trying to see the beauty in each stage of metamorphesis.

I’d share my love for rainbows. Perhaps because they contain all the colors. And making decisions as simple as  favourite color have always been difficult.

I also love sparkly shiny objects- diamonds, glitter, the way the sunlight reflects on the water or the stars twinkling in the heavens.

I could only focus on the glittery, shiny chapters in my story and tell you that I graduated with great distinction from the University of Lethbridge with my education degree and parade my gold cords proudly. But you would miss out on the day I taught a whole class of grade five students that trees weren’t plants. Yes, unfortunately I taught this lesson the the day my University professor and team teacher were evaluating me. I was beyond humiliated.

Later, when I asked my five year old brother if trees were plants he looked at me strangely, “Duh,” he replied, “you aren’t gonna to ask your kids that are you?” I quickly changed the subject. There is more to that chapter but perhaps another time.

I’d want you to know that dancing is my happy place. And too often I forget the joy that music and movement bring.

I would want you to know about the times where the music was hard to hear and melodies became muted. Times of reflection and growth. Moments when I realized how I could change if I choose to let go of fear. And times of tears and sadness like how I tried to process my parents divorce.

I would include all these chapters, because I truly believe ALL these stories, the good, the bad, the happy and the sad need to be written, read, told and shared! These are the stories that connect us, help us reconnect, feel normal and to put down our guard, and realize we are all the authors, editors and publishers of our own life’s narrative.

My name is Danielle Marie Low, named after my French grandfather. I have lived 38 years. I have been married 12 years to David and am the mother of two beautiful daughters. I am Canadian and French. I am a Libra. As I child I was incredibly shy but I am learning that new beginnings are possible for everyone.

In my book of life, the one I author. Where I choose the words, characters, setting and action.  I’m trying to edit less and allow more people to read the original script. Learning from the past, living in the present and exploring ways to enhance the future chapters.

Thanks you.

 

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Ice Breaker Speech One

How Did You Treat Your Sub?

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No one ever graduates from education with the dream of being a substitute teacher. Wandering through schools and classes, teaching everything, establishing meaningful relationships with few students and being woken up early with a surprise junior high placement.

However, this year I have taken a new approach to subbing and found the experience quite delightful… but at the end of the day, I am still a sub. I have created my own meaningful exchanges with children and have been quite happy with the results. But I wanted to share some of my stories.

Often when people hear that I am subbing they comment, “Oh, that’s a pretty good job.”

I look them squarely in the eyes and say, “Honestly, what were you like for the sub?” Even the best pupil can be contaminated by peer pressure to torture the sub. I, myself, who was considered a good student had my moments of switching names or desks, skipping classes and taking advantage of classroom expectations. I often utter the threat half heartily to classes, “Be careful… Karma always comes back to you. ”

I have found being proactive is effective. If I can meet the students as they come in and introduce myself I can usually catch them off guard and discover their real names. However, with the rotation of students and classrooms, especially in the older grades this is not always possible. I get the occasional smart-aleck, inappropriate name but I try never to react because sometimes they are telling the truth!

There are the blatantly rude students, for example, with twenty minutes left in the class the students asked if they could leave.  I told them to take a seat and wait, they just walked out of my class! These are rarer than the norm. But you do feel helpless as they walk out of class and you don’t know their names to call them back. It also makes it awkward for the students who stayed. You can see the panic in their eyes as they know you are going to ask them the names of their peers.

There was an adorable grade one boy who was enjoying the extra attention as I helped him with his work.  I was complimenting his wonderful efforts and he kept finding reasons to have me return. (Six-year-olds are not subtle with their emotions. ) Something happened at the table where he worked, I diffused the problem by saying, “We are all unique. We each have talents and traits that make us special.” I continued, “I have a cracky tongue.” Then I showed him my tongue. I stuck it out of my mouth, and then I pushed down on my tongue with my teeth exposing the fissures. It was quite a reveal!

Instead of being impressed, my new found friend was repulsed. He looked at me with wide eyes and confessed, “My mom and dad said I am not supposed to speak to strangers.” He immediately turned to his work with new intensity. I tried to plead my case. I assured him that you can’t be a substitute teacher without being a safe person. But he was having none of it. As I left his side somewhere between dumbfounded and completely amused, I thought, “This is too adorable to even feel rejected.”

Between the good, the bad, and the ugly moments of subbing… there are moments that I truly cherish. The beautiful hand-drawn notes of love and encouragement, the smile on the students faces when you paid them a compliment, a moment when you felt like the class performed really well on a task, these make my job meaningful. However, I need to tell you about the beautiful moment that happened yesterday. I arrived at my job and as I sat down at the teacher’s desk and looked over her classroom I noticed a present on her desk. Then something wonderful happened. I noticed the package was addressed to me! It read, “To the lovely sub Danielle”

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I can’t describe the emotion of seeing that package. At a time when I felt the rejection of being passed up for six teaching jobs this year, it was as if God was telling me, “You are right where I want you to be. Keep going. You make a difference. I will magnify your offerings and you do bless my children.”

So I ask again, how did you treat your sub?

 

 

 

How Did You Treat Your Sub?

Which One Will You Feed?

two choices

There is a little story that I use all the time in teaching…(well technically I am still subbing.) I find a use for it daily.

I begin my tale by asking the child to tell me their favourite animal. I like baby penguins, thus for this example I will select them. I tell them to imagine they have two baby penguins that live on top of their shoulders. I say, “You know what this baby penguin eats?”  In amazement they shake their heads side to side reflecting that they have no idea.

As I respond, I point to the imaginary animal on their shoulder, “This one eats all the bad thoughts that you have in your head. He loves thoughts like, I am no good. No body loves me. You should stop trying, you will never succeed.” (I try to use phrases that the child expressed.)

Then I point to the opposite shoulder where the other imaginary penguin resides. I question, “Do you know what this one eats?” No they shake their heads accordingly. I say, “This one loves to eat thoughts like, “Keep making mistakes, you will get it soon. I am a good person. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says I am beautiful.” Then I often try and get them to create their own statements.

All this work for the big final question. “Do you know who decides which baby penguin gets fed?” Seldom are the children aware of this answer. With a big dramatic reveal I say, “Listen closely, because some adults don’t even know the answer to this question”. I might also add,”When I was your age I didn’t know this either.”

Then I point to the child and I say, “YOU DECIDE! YOU get to decide with every thought which penguin gets fed.  YOU have the power to feed  whichever one you want, whenever you want to.”

It is hard when other people try to feed your penguins. But if you can remember the simple truth of this story I promise you will be happier.  Just because a thought arrives doesn’t mean we have to invite it to tea and serve it snacks. We can recognize it by who it feeds and then gently choose to nourish the proper penguin.

What two animals live on your shoulders? Which one will be fed? It is the Christmas season, so let the feasting begin!

 

 

 

Which One Will You Feed?

Of Pots, Kettles, Motes and Beams

My mom is a beautiful, intelligent French woman. I love her. She speaks many languages and is very proficient in English and French. However, growing up she would constantly mix up her usage of idioms. Sometimes she would tell us, “Stop pulling my arm!” My friend still recalls the time she ate with us and my dad replied to my mom, “Geese Louise,” My mother confused said, “Why are you calling me Louise?”

But one day my sister and I were truly puzzled when my mother threw out this one to us. “It’s like the cat calling the cattle black.” I knew I had never heard this expression and was unclear of its existence. My sister and I exchanged confused glances. The expression my mom tried to use was, “it’s like the pot calling the kettle black.”

The earliest use of this expression was found in a 1620 translation of Don Quixote. “The Spanish text …reads: Dijo la sartén a la caldera, Quítate allá ojinegra (Said the pan to the pot, get out of there black-eyes). It is identified as a proverb…, functioning as a retort to the person who criticises another of the same defect that he plainly has.” (Wikipedia)

“An alternative modern interpretation, … argues that while the pot is sooty (being placed on a fire), the kettle is shiny (being placed on coals only); hence, when the pot accuses the kettle of being black, it is the pot’s own sooty reflection that it sees: the pot accuses the kettle of a fault that only the pot has, rather than one that they share.” (Wikipedia)

“The point is illustrated by a poem that appeared anonymously in an early issue of St. Nicholas Magazine from 1876:

“Oho!” said the pot to the kettle;
“You are dirty and ugly and black!
Sure no one would think you were metal,
Except when you’re given a crack.”

“Not so! not so!” kettle said to the pot;
“‘Tis your own dirty image you see;
For I am so clean – without blemish or blot –
That your blackness is mirrored in me.”

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_pot_calling_the_kettle_black)

Jesus also gave a similar lesson when he told us “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? …

“… First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”2  

Susan Arrington Hill designed a poem about this point entitled, On Motes and Beams.
Why do I pounce on your
tiny mote
hidden in back
of the corner drawer
when the biggest front closet
is bulging—
stuffed with my own
huge supply
of giant beams?
I’m getting a corrective lens
in my eternal glasses.

Why is it so easy to recognize the faults and failures of another and hard to decipher our own flaws? Elder Uchtdorf suggests, “Often we try to avoid looking deeply into our souls and confronting our weaknesses, limitations, and fears. Consequently, when we do examine our lives, we look through the filter of biases, excuses, and stories we tell ourselves in order to justify unworthy thoughts and actions.”

I know that I am no exception to this statement. I have to be brutally honest when I  acknowledge my weakness. It requires humility to admit my fears. It takes quiet reflection that I don’t create. The time and self-awareness that it takes to admit that I am afraid are slow in coming.

Elder Uchtdorf continues, “But being able to see ourselves clearly is essential to our spiritual growth and well-being. If our weaknesses and shortcomings remain obscured in the shadows, then the redeeming power of the Savior cannot heal them and make them strengths. Ironically, our blindness toward our human weaknesses will also make us blind to the divine potential that our Father yearns to nurture within each of us.”

I have uncovered a truth in this parable that has helped me become more aware of my motes and to view others with more kindness. Often the very flaws I criticize in others are the very things that I need to change. The moment I hear myself complaining about another I know it’s almost the very thing I need to fix.

As Wikipedia has said, “The one seeking to remove the impediment in the eye of his brother has the larger impediment in his own eye, suggesting metaphorically that the one who attempts to regulate his brother often displays the greater blindness and hypocrisy.”

I am trying to ask myself the hard questions. I am trying even harder to hear the true answers. But I do know as I listen for the ways I can improve I open myself up to reach the potential that my Father in Heaven has in store for me.

 

 

If you copy and paste this link into your browser you will see a dramatization of a woman judging her neighbour’s dirty laundry through an unclean window. It’s a good reminder for everyone.

https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2012-01-004-looking-through-windows?lang=eng&_r=1

 

Of Pots, Kettles, Motes and Beams

Failure

Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Nice advice! Until you are the one that is putting your ideas, time, or talent on the line and it doesn’t work out quite how you anticipated. Until something you loved and believed in doesn’t work.

I am so proud of people who are willing to invest their time and talents to make the community where I live a better place. I don’t know if I ever have the desire to put my name forward and watch as the people of Lethbridge decide if they want me or not. It takes courage and a thick skin.

Thank you to all the people who were braver than I and ran for public office. Who believed in their ability enough to act on it. Thanks to those that voted. Special thanks to those who had an informed vote! Thanks to those who failed but were brave enough to try. Also, big congratulations to those people who will serve me, my family and community in the next four years.  Henry Ford said it best, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
Life is all about attitudes. Even though my failures haven’t been public, I have never wanted something so much and been told not yet so loudly. Isn’t that often how life works? When we get the clear, direct answers and we think we know the direction we want to take … that is when the obstacles become greater. When we have to struggle more for the desired outcome. I am falling in love with this verse of scripture, “If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful.”

I love butterflies. They are my new passion. But I am starting to appreciate that the butterfly is the end stage of metamorphosis. I am trying to recognize the beauty and growth of each stage in the cycle of life. I want to see the success in the journey of each stage of becoming my best me!

 

Failure

Don’t Believe Everything You Think!

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I have many beautiful friends. This magnificant woman refreshed my memory of truths I had forgotten. This post is a team effort from Erin Allen and myself.

“Sometimes home schooling is really hard. And sometimes there’s a nasty, mean voice that gets inside my head that whispers that it’s not going well, that I can’t do this, that I’m going to fail, and points out all the “evidence” that proves that this is just too much for me. Those thoughts were spiraling me down to a pretty dark place this morning. Then my inspired friend came over, took over the kids for a bit, and allowed me to go into my room, close the door and pray and read my scriptures. I cried and cried to Heavenly Father (literally, with tears and snot.) Then I opened up my scriptures to Ether 6:5-12. In this part of the Book of Mormon, the Jaradites are in the middle of what must have felt like an impossible endeavor… and here are the verses that jumped out at me and sunk right in:

“And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.

And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.

And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.

And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.”

I love these verses and I love how symbolic their story is to my own life, thousands of years later. There is so much that applies to me right now. I too can be protected and feel joy in the middle of trials, (whether they are external or internal trials) as I focus my thoughts on gratitude… being THANKFUL! By focusing my thoughts on the Savior! By choosing my thoughts and the things I focus on, I can protect myself with TRUTH. The truth is, I KNOW homeschooling is right for our family this year. Being “tight like unto a dish” = not letting darkness in. I can be tight and protected as I don’t indulge the negative, dark, self-criticizing thoughts that would sink me down. I love that these verses also point out that all the furious winds and waves that feel like they are out to drown me, are actually the very things that are bringing me toward the “promised land.” MY promised land. My place of peace, joy and fulfillment.

I love the scriptures and how they remind me of truth. I am grateful for prayer. I’m amazed yet again of how powerful these simple things are in helping me to feel the Truth again.

Thanks for letting me share! I love my friends and community dearly…. that means each of you.”

I loved the part that reads “the furious winds and waves that feel like they are out to drown me, are actually the very things that are bringing me toward the “promised land.” When you don’t realize the elements in your story for what they truly are it’s hard to express gratitude or feel joy But if you see, with eyes open and the scales start to fall, you will start to recognize the truth of all things. The truth can make you free to feel the beauty in all that life brings. I know that I too have felt the winds that were destroying my ship and making life uncomfortable. But as I dropped to my knees and asked God what I needed to change and what I needed to accept. He guided my path and allowed me to distinguish between the two. Then when I realized that I am the captain of my life I began to choose my circumstances, I started to see how without the winds there was no way I could get to the marvelous destination. There is a peace that comes by knowing you are doing what is right for you and your family. Then when the opposition comes… and it will because that is part of why we are here. You too can feel the peace the Savior promised to send… My peace I give you, not as the world giveth give I unto you… The world would say peace is the absence of a storm… and the Lord says I will comfort you while the storm rages around and allow you to see the necessity of the winds.

After I read my friends post I was reminded of another woman who taught me earlier that week. Here is what she shared.

Music and the Spoken Word” and she shared with me the following message from the August 13 th broadcast: “We’ve all heard the wise advice “Don’t believe everything you hear.” But there’s also wisdom in a similar idea: “Don’t believe everything you think,” because some false information may come from our own thoughts. We may think things about ourselves and others that simply are not true—thoughts like “I can never change” or “I can’t forgive this person” or “I’m not good enough” or “She doesn’t like me.” The danger of such thoughts is that they don’t stay thoughts for long. They can quickly harden into beliefs that affect the way we see the world. Soon those beliefs become actions that can limit our progress, damage our relationships, and hinder our happiness. So how do we prevent this? One approach is to treat our thoughts the way we would treat other information we might encounter. We can ask ourselves, “Is it true? What evidence do I have? Does it square with other things I already know? Is there another explanation?” We can listen to our conscience and to trusted loved ones. It takes courage and humility to evaluate our thoughts in this way because it might mean admitting that we were wrong! Is it time to debunk some myths in your own mind? A good place to start might be those negative or degrading thoughts—about yourself and about others. You can change, and so can others. You can forgive, and so can others. People might like you more than you think. And you might like them more than you think. Give your beliefs and actions the firm foundation of true, uplifting, charitable thoughts, and remember, don’t believe everything you think.”

I am thankful for the strong woman in my life. Who enrich my life and help create a fulfilling loving environment. I love their honesty, wisdom, and authenticity. I hope you liked their words as much as I did.

 

I just read this and thought of you too… its from a talk a girl gave in stake conference….
“Music and the Spoken Word” and he
shared with me the following message from the August 13 th broadcast:

“We’ve all heard the wise advice “Don’t believe everything you hear.” But there’s also wisdom
in a similar idea: “Don’t believe everything you think,” because some false information may
come from our own thoughts. We may think things about ourselves and others that simply are
not true—thoughts like “I can never change” or “I can’t forgive this person” or “I’m not good
enough” or “She doesn’t like me.” The danger of such thoughts is that they don’t stay thoughts
for long. They can quickly harden into beliefs that affect the way we see the world. Soon those
beliefs become actions that can limit our progress, damage our relationships, and hinder our
happiness.

So how do we prevent this? One approach is to treat our thoughts the way we would treat
other information we might encounter. We can ask ourselves, “Is it true? What evidence do I
have? Does it square with other things I already know? Is there another explanation?” We can
listen to our conscience and to trusted loved ones. It takes courage and humility to evaluate our
thoughts in this way, because it might mean admitting that we were wrong!

Is it time to debunk some myths in your own mind? A good place to start might be those
negative or degrading thoughts—about yourself and about others. You can change, and so can
others. You can forgive, and so can others. People might like you more than you think. And you
might like them more than you think. Give your beliefs and actions the firm foundation of true,
uplifting, charitable thoughts, and remember, don’t believe everything you think.”

I just read this and thought of you too… its from a talk a girl gave in stake conference….
“Music and the Spoken Word” and he
shared with me the following message from the August 13 th broadcast:

“We’ve all heard the wise advice “Don’t believe everything you hear.” But there’s also wisdom
in a similar idea: “Don’t believe everything you think,” because some false information may
come from our own thoughts. We may think things about ourselves and others that simply are
not true—thoughts like “I can never change” or “I can’t forgive this person” or “I’m not good
enough” or “She doesn’t like me.” The danger of such thoughts is that they don’t stay thoughts
for long. They can quickly harden into beliefs that affect the way we see the world. Soon those
beliefs become actions that can limit our progress, damage our relationships, and hinder our
happiness.

So how do we prevent this? One approach is to treat our thoughts the way we would treat
other information we might encounter. We can ask ourselves, “Is it true? What evidence do I
have? Does it square with other things I already know? Is there another explanation?” We can
listen to our conscience and to trusted loved ones. It takes courage and humility to evaluate our
thoughts in this way, because it might mean admitting that we were wrong!

Is it time to debunk some myths in your own mind? A good place to start might be those
negative or degrading thoughts—about yourself and about others. You can change, and so can
others. You can forgive, and so can others. People might like you more than you think. And you
might like them more than you think. Give your beliefs and actions the firm foundation of true,
uplifting, charitable thoughts, and remember, don’t believe everything you think.”

I just read this and thought of you too… its from a talk a girl gave in stake conference….
“Music and the Spoken Word” and he
shared with me the following message from the August 13 th broadcast:

“We’ve all heard the wise advice “Don’t believe everything you hear.” But there’s also wisdom
in a similar idea: “Don’t believe everything you think,” because some false information may
come from our own thoughts. We may think things about ourselves and others that simply are
not true—thoughts like “I can never change” or “I can’t forgive this person” or “I’m not good
enough” or “She doesn’t like me.” The danger of such thoughts is that they don’t stay thoughts
for long. They can quickly harden into beliefs that affect the way we see the world. Soon those
beliefs become actions that can limit our progress, damage our relationships, and hinder our
happiness.

So how do we prevent this? One approach is to treat our thoughts the way we would treat
other information we might encounter. We can ask ourselves, “Is it true? What evidence do I
have? Does it square with other things I already know? Is there another explanation?” We can
listen to our conscience and to trusted loved ones. It takes courage and humility to evaluate our
thoughts in this way, because it might mean admitting that we were wrong!

Is it time to debunk some myths in your own mind? A good place to start might be those
negative or degrading thoughts—about yourself and about others. You can change, and so can
others. You can forgive, and so can others. People might like you more than you think. And you
might like them more than you think. Give your beliefs and actions the firm foundation of true,
uplifting, charitable thoughts, and remember, don’t believe everything you think.”

 

I just read this and thought of you too… its from a talk a girl gave in stake conference….
“Music and the Spoken Word” and he
shared with me the following message from the August 13 th broadcast:

“We’ve all heard the wise advice “Don’t believe everything you hear.” But there’s also wisdom
in a similar idea: “Don’t believe everything you think,” because some false information may
come from our own thoughts. We may think things about ourselves and others that simply are
not true—thoughts like “I can never change” or “I can’t forgive this person” or “I’m not good
enough” or “She doesn’t like me.” The danger of such thoughts is that they don’t stay thoughts
for long. They can quickly harden into beliefs that affect the way we see the world. Soon those
beliefs become actions that can limit our progress, damage our relationships, and hinder our
happiness.

So how do we prevent this? One approach is to treat our thoughts the way we would treat
other information we might encounter. We can ask ourselves, “Is it true? What evidence do I
have? Does it square with other things I already know? Is there another explanation?” We can
listen to our conscience and to trusted loved ones. It takes courage and humility to evaluate our
thoughts in this way, because it might mean admitting that we were wrong!

Is it time to debunk some myths in your own mind? A good place to start might be those
negative or degrading thoughts—about yourself and about others. You can change, and so can
others. You can forgive, and so can others. People might like you more than you think. And you
might like them more than you think. Give your beliefs and actions the firm foundation of true,
uplifting, charitable thoughts, and remember, don’t believe everything you think.”

I just read this and thought of you too… its from a talk a girl gave in stake conference….
“Music and the Spoken Word” and he
shared with me the following message from the August 13 th broadcast:

“We’ve all heard the wise advice “Don’t believe everything you hear.” But there’s also wisdom
in a similar idea: “Don’t believe everything you think,” because some false information may
come from our own thoughts. We may think things about ourselves and others that simply are
not true—thoughts like “I can never change” or “I can’t forgive this person” or “I’m not good
enough” or “She doesn’t like me.” The danger of such thoughts is that they don’t stay thoughts
for long. They can quickly harden into beliefs that affect the way we see the world. Soon those
beliefs become actions that can limit our progress, damage our relationships, and hinder our
happiness.

So how do we prevent this? One approach is to treat our thoughts the way we would treat
other information we might encounter. We can ask ourselves, “Is it true? What evidence do I
have? Does it square with other things I already know? Is there another explanation?” We can
listen to our conscience and to trusted loved ones. It takes courage and humility to evaluate our
thoughts in this way, because it might mean admitting that we were wrong!

Is it time to debunk some myths in your own mind? A good place to start might be those
negative or degrading thoughts—about yourself and about others. You can change, and so can
others. You can forgive, and so can others. People might like you more than you think. And you
might like them more than you think. Give your beliefs and actions the firm foundation of true,
uplifting, charitable thoughts, and remember, don’t believe everything you think.”

I just read this and thought of you too… its from a talk a girl gave in stake conference….
“Music and the Spoken Word” and he
shared with me the following message from the August 13 th broadcast:

“We’ve all heard the wise advice “Don’t believe everything you hear.” But there’s also wisdom
in a similar idea: “Don’t believe everything you think,” because some false information may
come from our own thoughts. We may think things about ourselves and others that simply are
not true—thoughts like “I can never change” or “I can’t forgive this person” or “I’m not good
enough” or “She doesn’t like me.” The danger of such thoughts is that they don’t stay thoughts
for long. They can quickly harden into beliefs that affect the way we see the world. Soon those
beliefs become actions that can limit our progress, damage our relationships, and hinder our
happiness.

So how do we prevent this? One approach is to treat our thoughts the way we would treat
other information we might encounter. We can ask ourselves, “Is it true? What evidence do I
have? Does it square with other things I already know? Is there another explanation?” We can
listen to our conscience and to trusted loved ones. It takes courage and humility to evaluate our
thoughts in this way, because it might mean admitting that we were wrong!

Is it time to debunk some myths in your own mind? A good place to start might be those
negative or degrading thoughts—about yourself and about others. You can change, and so can
others. You can forgive, and so can others. People might like you more than you think. And you
might like them more than you think. Give your beliefs and actions the firm foundation of true,
uplifting, charitable thoughts, and remember, don’t believe everything you think.”

Don’t Believe Everything You Think!

Sincerity and Honesty

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Taking my children to the Louvre this summer was a magnificent experience. It is so amazing to see what artists can create and envision in the raw elements. They were initially excited to see the Mona Lisa, but after discovering more of the treasures that surrounded them they loved taking in all the richness and beauty of everything.

In a book written by Benjamin and Meredith Martinez, they describe the rarest and most costly marble, white Carrara. As a Sculptor, it was very desirable to work with this expensive material.

I quote from the authors, “Sculpting in marble was neither fast nor easy. In addition to innate talent, it required both careful analysis and tedious, backbreaking work. The artist would have to study the block of marble to determine its essential nature. He would then need to discover the direction of the grain and ascertain the presence of any flaws. He had to make careful and precise plans and drawings which were in accord with the structure of the marble itself. Then, with consummate care, he would begin to chip off the superfluous marble, layer by layer, until he revealed the form he had envisioned.

“Any mistake could be disastrous. If the sculptor went against the grain he could crack the marble; if he struck a blow with too much force he could mash the crystals beneath the surface, creating holes and ruining the sculpture. This seldom happened with the greatest of sculptors, who labored with infinite care and supreme sensitivity. Those with lesser talent and little patience, however, would occasionally be confronted with such a disaster. Rather than admit their blunder and lose their commission, some would resort to subterfuge.

“Soft, white wax, skillfully applied, could usually disguise the damage. In outward appearance the sculpture appeared to be flawless and the defect was seldom discovered until well after the work had been accepted and the commission paid. As the practice became more common, patrons of the arts became more discerning. They refused to accept a piece of marble statuary until after a careful examination had been made to ensure that it was undamaged and contained no wax-covered flaws. The highest standard of excellence for works of white Carrara marble came to include the distinction, ‘sine cere,’ meaning ‘without wax.’

“Eventually these two words merged to become a single word, ‘sincere,’ meaning ‘pure, unadulterated, whole, intact, uninjured.’ When the word was used to refer to marble works of art, the emphasis was on the fundamental wholeness of the statue, not just on its superficial or outward appearance.

The statue was expected to be good, not just to look good.

As of yet I have no talent in sculpting nor do I plan in the near future to develop that talent. But the parallel I can draw about being sincere is amazing.

Sometimes in my efforts to accomplish great tasks I lose my patience, rush the process, do not examine the grain, apply too much pressure and cracks begin to form. I am learning that true peace and joy come in the honest analysis of the creation and process.

Often I have not noticed or been aware of the cracks in the sculpture. Quietly, analyzing, examining, planning and evaluating can help me return to the Master who can quietly critique my technique and help me become as skilled as He.

I know that to create a sculpture using precious materials takes patience, study, and planning. I need to be teachable and always aware of the obstacles that could make my project insincere.  If I can admit the cracks and realize the preciousness of the work I am doing, then I will be able to create sincere sculptures.

 

Benjamin Martinez and Meredith Martinez, “The Primacy of Principles,” in 10 Principles of Leadership Power (1992).

Sincerity and Honesty