By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Depressed? Me, Too.

I don't know if it is mid-winter blues, post-holiday let-down, or life in general, but I have been having a hard time lately. I want to accomplish things, but I am too tired and too overwhelmed. I get discouraged, even depressed. I know I am not alone. I am going to link to three articles that might help you if you are going through this despondency, too. They may or may not help. They may not "speak to you" as they did to me. However, if you will read them, you may find some ideas that will help you begin feeling hope and peace. The first two are articles from Meridian Magazine and the third is from the Ensign.

"Keys to Overcoming Discouragement, Despondency, Depression" by Darla Isackson

"Finding Rest from Traditional Resolutions" by Darla Isackson

"Do Not Despair" by President Ezra Taft Benson

Overcoming these negative feelings is important and it is something we can do. It isn't easy. The main thing is to turn to the Lord and lean on Him.

I know that sometimes we look down on what might be called Self Help articles and books, but I feel we should be open to whatever ideas and encouragement we can find. Just reading these things doesn't automatically make everything okay again. What we can do, however, is find perspectives that perhaps we hadn't thought of before. We'll find at least one or two ideas that resonate with us. If, in addition, we search the scriptures and read books or hymns or poems that we have found uplifting in the past, we can begin to raise our spirits and find a little energy to tackle life again. As we do so, we'll find ourselves being lifted a bit more, and so it continues.

Here's wishing you a truly happy new year.

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Saturday, January 15, 2005

Various and Assorted Thoughts

As I struggle with the down side of life that occasionally crops up, I learn more and more that living the gospel can alleviate a lot of the pain. I am not just speaking of prayer and scripture reading, going to church, paying tithes and offerings, and the other obvious "living the gospel" things--I speak also of patience, honesty and integrity, a good work ethic, respect for others, forgiveness, and being humble. The more I practice these virtues of good character, the better off I am. Of course, prayer and the other things I mentioned with it are essential and helpful and comforting, but living a life of good character can help one have a great deal of peace inside, where it counts the most. It increases one's ability to weather the storms, so to speak. It helps to know that you have done your best, even if things sometimes fall apart in spite of your best efforts.

A love of reading--this has to be one of the finest gifts parents can give to their children and teachers can give to their students. I grew up in a reading household, as did my parents before me. We had a wonderful variety of books, magazines, and newspapers in the house. Weekly trips to the library were the highlight of going to town (we always lived out in the country). To walk into those old buildings full of shelves lined with books was exciting and pleasurable. To choose from a great variety of fiction and nonfiction and take it home to enjoy was marvelous. I learned to read when I was about 3 (according to Mom) and could read far above my age level by the time I started school. I couldn't understand why everyone was amazed--it was just natural to me. I read all kinds of books--novels, biographies, science and nature books, etc. It was all so fascinating and it still is. I own far more books than I have room to display. The one downside is that I spend too much money on books, but I just need to use the library more! Be that as it may, to learn as a little child to enjoy reading and to be able to do it well will serve one for a lifetime. It helps a person to keep learning new things and to be able to think about those new things in an intelligent way. Ideas can be compared and the best can be adopted. So many doors are opened through reading. Seeing the adults read a lot encourages little ones to take up the reading habit. Even better is when the adults read with the children, turning it into an activity of love and togetherness as well as of learning. A positive experience all the way around.

Writing. I love to write. Always have. When I was a kid, I would write (and illustrate) stories about my pets. As I grew older, the stories changed and I took up letter writing. I haven't worked on it as steadily through the years as I should have, but this blog and emails and a journal have helped to bring my writing back to life. I see things in my writing that need work, that need improvement. However, the only way to improve is to practice, practice, practice. It can be hard work, but it can also bring a great deal of growth and pleasure. Certainly I learn a lot when I research and write a paper on some topic of interest, even if I am the only one who reads it. I do see improvement, though, and hope to continue that. I notice the cliches and the disordered thoughts and can work to eliminate those flaws. I see the dumb ideas and the shallow thoughts and write them out of my system so I can move on to better writing. I would definitely classify a love of writing with a love of reading as great gifts in life.

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Saturday, January 08, 2005

January Inspiration

I have been reading the January 2005 Ensign and found President Hinckley's First Presidency message, "Pursue the Steady Course," very inspiring and encouraging. John Fowles has a good post referring to this article on his blog, A Bird's Eye View. It's the 1-6-2005 entry called "On Zero-tolerance." Additionally, there are some comments to his entry representing various views. I highly recommend reading both the article and the blog entry. I'd love to find a copy of Barbara W. Tuchman's article that President Hinckley referenced: "The Missing Element--Moral Courage."

Also in the January 2005 Ensign is an article by Elder D. Todd Christofferson called "Allegiance to God." In it, he offers some interesting insights into yielding our will to the will of our Heavenly Father. For example:

As we yield our will to His, God will tutor us in the successful use of moral agency. We will find freedom to be, to feel, and to do. We will be supported in all our trials. Over time our prayers will become powerful, and we will come into God’s presence, through prayer, with confidence. Our lives, our personalities will take on the characteristics and qualities of Christ.

I always get a lot out of the Ensign.


Saturday, January 01, 2005

The New Year is Here--2005

It is finally here--the new year we've been anticipating lately. I like the year change. It feels like a fresh start. I made a list of resolutions for the new year, but what I would like to do is not get hung up on having to do them all perfectly right away. I think that perhaps the best way is to think in terms of lifestyle change and to work on these things day by day, regardless of whether it is 1 January or not.

I am sad about the tsunami. I plan to donate money to the church's Humanitarian Aid fund tomorrow because I feel the church has good methods in place for distributing aid. I also plan to put something in every month from now on and not wait for a disaster. There are often situations that call for aid and it seems useful for the fund to receive a steady stream of donations. Also, I can budget for it and perhaps give more in the long run than just coming up with an amount in a crisis situation. I have noticed that I tend to donate the same things every month and I need to occasionally evalute how much I am donating as well as to what funds--take a more active role, so to speak. A person's tithes and offerings are a very personal thing to decide about, but if we will think about it and do what we can, I am sure the Lord will be pleased with our efforts to help others.

Best wishes to all for a very Happy New Year!

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