Monday, September 30, 2013

RefrACTing the Light

Nine months of 2013 are gone already.  Where did the time go?

The end of the month brings my ninth update on my yearlong goal to ACT--a year of intentional action, a year of controlling my reactions, a year of prayerfully finding 365 ways to serve others.

I find myself coming up short of my goals so many days each month--so many times when I look back on the day and want to hit the restart button. But then again, so many times this month I have had the word refract go through my mind: to make (light) change direction when it goes through at an angle.  I've noticed how I have taken inspiration I have received and how I've let it go through me and how that light has spread to others.

Act purposely: September was a month of adjustment around here.  Not only did we have the big wedding to prepare for, we also had to adjust to Mom being a graduate student.  I initially thought that school would be easy and not too time consuming, but I was wrong.  Less than two weeks into my first class I realized that I would not have enough time in my days to complete my schoolwork, my exercise, my carpools, my grocery shopping, my homework assistance, my game attendance, my shoe tying, my photography, my kid bathing, my house cleaning, my date nights, my showers, my cooking, my Sunday School lessons, my blogging, and my family time if something didn't change. 

I remembered a talk given by Sheri Dew many years ago, when she revealed how she had added time in her day to write a biography of President Gordon B. Hinckley. Already completely overwhelmed with her life schedule, Sheri arose every morning at 3 am to find time for her writing.  I knew that 3 am was completely outside my abilities, but 5 am wouldn't be.  I asked Heavenly Father to help me get up that early so that I could find an extra hour in my days, and He has helped me.  On mornings when I'm feeling especially lazy, I remind myself that my purposeful action works in tandem with God's guiding hand in my life, and I have seen the blessings that have come from those bonus early morning hours--whether I've used them to exercise, to write, to read, or to do laundry, the time has been well spent each day. I've had to let a few things slide--my house hasn't been as clean as I would like (that one's been hard), and meals have been a little more last-minute, but I think I will be able to find a new normal very soon.

Act not react:  The wedding and its preparations were my focus for acting and not reacting this month.  Every morning before the wedding, I would include a plea in my prayers that I would be able to control my reactions during stressful times and keep in mind that what I really wanted for this wedding was the happiness of others.  I got really annoyed a few times and got my feelings hurt twice, but I just swallowed my bitter reactions and moved on without reacting.  I truly wanted the happiness of others more than my own, and I saw the benefit of controlling my tongue even when I wanted to lash out. And guess what?  It was fine--who knew?

Acts of service:  I did throw a huge party for 90 this month, and I did help put on a huge reception and wedding, but I as I look back on this month, the small act of having lunch with a friend will linger in my mind.  As I listened to her pour out what was weighing down her heart, I was so grateful I could be her friend right at that moment.  The longer I think about this service goal, the more I realize that it's the little things we do that make the difference in the daily quality of our lives.

Despite my weaknesses and failures, I feel myself changing each month, each month bringing more light into my life, and each month bringing more opportunities for me to refract that light into the lives of others.


  1. I absolutely love that you made a goal about how to view all the wedding planning craziness, and then daily prayed for the help to be able to maintain that goal. I am sure that made a world of difference. I am going to try that plan out in smaller things, so often I lose sight of what really matters as I try to get the daily grind done. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Have I ever told you how much I like you?

    And I wish our friendship were the "in-person" variety.