Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

The Parable of the Seen and Unseen Post-it Notes

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

This afternoon I read Way to Be! by President Gordon B. Hinckley. As I pulled it off the bookshelf, I noticed numerous Post-it Notes sticking out the side and remembered a month I had forgotten about.
Around 2003, I read this book in preparation for a talk I had been asked to give in church on the subject—the “nine Be’s” that help you “be happy and make something of your life.” Since I was preparing for the talk, I realized I may mark the book different from what I would have if just reading for myself, so I opted to use sticky notes to mark potential passages I could quote for my talk.
Shortly after my talk, I told a friend how good the book was, and she asked to borrow it. I explained about the Post-it Notes. She ended up marking the book with sticky notes as well, and mentioned that it was like having a piece of her left with the book. I loved that idea, and I never removed either set of sticky notes.
Years later, I love having those notes. They not only remind me of a great friend, but they also capture a piece of our lives—of what was important to us at that time and what words of advice, knowledge, and comfort spoke to our souls.
Just as my friend Jessica left stick notes in my book with lessons important to her, I think we constantly leave unseen sticky notes in one another’s lives. I can immediately think of several lessons people have given me throughout life. And just like the notes in this book, I can continue to call upon those sticky-note lessons and the impact they left on me.
This parable has left me with two homework assignments today:
(1) Reflect on the wonderful lessons I have learned from good examples in my life, and apply them to my life today to become more and more like the person I want to be. (On a future day, I need to remember to send notes of gratitude to the people who taught me those lessons.)
(2). Meditate on the unseen sticky notes I’m leaving in the lives of others, and make sure the notes I’m leaving are positive ones left with care and love.
And with that, I’m off to ponder.

The Parable of the $1.25 Box of Cheerios

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Cheerios-CashA box of Cheerios for the low price of only $1.25? You don’t have to ask me twice. Granted, it was the small box size, but I’d been wanting Cheerios anyway, and a box found its home in my pantry. When I went to pour a bowl of the whole-grain oats on a lovely morning earlier this week, I noticed the marketing material on the front of the box: 1 in 10 boxes wins a cash card.

I opened the box pondering how blissful it would be to find a cash card inside, but I wasn’t holding my breath. Then I noticed a shiny silver wrapper glistening in the sun (or at least that’s how I like to picture it). The song “(I’ve Got a) Golden Ticket” came to mind, and I was humored to feel a little like Charlie Bucket when he opened the Wonka Bar and found the golden ticket. It was a glorious morning indeed. The $1.25 box of Cheerios not only paid for itself but also left an extra $8.75 to use on the next set of groceries.

As I reveled in the prize winnings, my thoughts turned to this scripture (see verses 20–24). I couldn’t help but think about how often we do our part to pay $1.25, metaphorically speaking, to do a good deed, and immediately God blesses us with $10 in return. Sometimes we may not see that $10, but we can trust it’s there—likely deposited into a bank account of blessings we’ll need during a hard road coming in the future. Other times, we get to witness the blessings immediately when a $10 cash card greets us unexpectedly. It seems all too unfair to receive $10 when we only paid $1.25, but I’m appreciative for that beauty of God’s love and mercy. I’m grateful for the $10 cash cards I receive from Him and from the incredible people who bless my life and have made me a billionaire $10 at a time.

The Parable of the Spiders

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
Doodlebug Design Braddies,

I really could live without spiders, thank you very much. I didn’t need one greeting me this morning when I opened the pantry door to find my granola. I didn’t need one dropping down to say hello—just a few inches from my face—while I worked on the computer last night. In fact, I didn’t need one crawling across my duvet last month, and I didn’t need him then flying through the air when I turned down the covers without realizing he was there waiting for the ride of his life.

So you see, after discovering three spiders in less than 24 hours, this evening I found myself asking, once again, why do we need spiders? Yes, I know there are ecological reasons and that these arachnids play their part in the earth’s system. But I’ve still had to wonder if there could have been another solution. Until today. Tonight it hit me why Heavenly Father made spiders—and so many of them.

Every time I think of spiders and wonder about their creation, it reminds me that God created them. And then I am gently reminded that He created me, too. I may not fully understand the reason that spiders exist, but He does. Just as He who created me knows my full purpose and potential, too. I suppose the shivers that ensue each time a spider greets me unexpectedly are a small price to pay for that important reminder.

P.S. Since I couldn’t bring myself to post a picture of a real spider (eek!), I thought I’d share these gems: Spidies Braddies from Doodlebug Design. They’re one type of spider I wouldn’t mind crawling into my home each morning—especially when it’s time to scrapbook Halloween photos.

The Parable of the Apologetic Driver, plus the Web Site of the Week

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009


Let’s kick off this post with the Web site of the week. I can’t think of a better site to begin this series than with the blog of the amazingly talented Jennifer McGuire: Talk about inspiration! Her site has adorable cards and scrapbook layouts, great technique tips, helpful videos, and loads of fun. Plus, she constantly provides great links to other inspirational projects. Jennifer writes the Tools & Techniques column in Creating Keepsakes magazine each month (in addition to designing for Hero Arts, among others). Every time I see her projects, I instantly want to scrapbook. Her artwork is fabulously fresh and delightfully doable to copy, though I can’t imagine how she comes up with all her creative ideas. Plus, she is one of the sweetest people in the world—a 100% genuinely good soul who I feel incredibly grateful to count among my friends. I think you’ll sense her amazing personality as you visit her site. So stop by, look around, and subscribe to her RSS feed—it’s like a ray of sunshine each time you see her latest post. (Yes, I realize how cheesy that sounds, but giving any credit less than that simply wouldn’t be true.)

Now for the parable of the day. Last night when I was driving around town, a man cut me off only to swerve back into his original lane when he realized I was there, wait for me to pass, and then proceed to the lane on the opposite side of me. We came to a stoplight and ended up side by side. Normally when other drivers cut me off and I have the opportunity to stare them down as we are side by side, I don’t look over. I figure they made an honest mistake (very true in this case), so I don’t want them to think I’m bitter toward them if I look over. I just try to let it be. But for some reason, I looked over at this man. He had been waiting for me to look over, and he said, “I am so sorry.” (Thank goodness for lip-reading.) I said, “It’s okay,” and we both went on our merry way.

Truth be told, I was caught off guard by the apology. I appreciated that he had taken the time to look over and wait for me to look back so he could apologize. I wondered if I had missed the opportunity to experience that same process in the past because I never looked at the other drivers who have cut me off. I thought I’d been kind by not drawing their attention, but I realized tonight that I may have left them feeling guilty that I thought they’d cut me off on purpose.

I can’t help but think how often we may do that with other people who cross our paths. How often are people waiting to say, “I’m sorry,” or “I didn’t mean to,” and we don’t give them the chance to do it? Perhaps we need to stop staring at the stoplight, waiting for it to turn green so we can speed ahead of the other driver, and look over to make sure the other driver can be heard. Sure, we’ll probably run into drivers who aren’t waiting for us to look at them, but sometimes there will be a driver waiting to say, “I’m sorry,” and they’ll be grateful we gave them a chance. I think we’ll be grateful, too, because last night my heart was softened instead of left bitter—and I think I was the one who benefited most from the moment.

P.S. These three articles came to mind as I thought about this subject: this newspaper article, this address (where I first learned of the newspaper article), and this address. They’re great reads if you want to study more on forgiveness.

The Parable of the Bag of Cookies

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009


I’m finally joining the blog world. It’s been a long time coming. You see, the idea for this blog actually came to mind nearly two years ago. I’ve been writing blog posts for it since then, but I’ve just kept them in my journal. Now you finally get to read them.

To kick off my blog, I want to share the idea that started it all; I like to call it the “Parable of the Bag of Cookies.” It was written in May 2007.


Last night, my family gathered for dinner at my brother’s home. I always love those evenings. As I was leaving, my brother asked if I wanted to take home some cookies left over from dessert. I eagerly consented (who can pass up cookies?), and he put several in a plastic bag for me. I figured they’d be the perfect snack between classes at Women’s Conference. When I left my home this morning, I put them in my purse and headed to the conference. Then the coolest experience began. Every time I pulled out my bag of cookies, I thought of my brother and how kind he was to give me the treat. And when I thought of him, I thought of our Wednesday-night dinner and the fun we had together. The bag of cookies became a constant reminder of my family. My brother had given me so many cookies that I was even able to offer some to the people around me at the conference as well, being able to brighten their day just as my brother had brightened mine. That little bag of cookies did much more than just satisfy my sweet tooth. It reminded me of my brother’s kindness, my family’s love, and the importance of bringing happiness to the lives of others.

None of us go through the world alone, and we all need each other to become our best. Every day, we have the chance to make the world a little better for someone—to give them a bag of cookies to carry with them through the day. Maybe your bag of cookies today will be a sincere complement that adds a little spring to someone’s step whenever she see the shoes you said you loved. Maybe your bag of cookies is a piece of advice you provided to someone needing direction. Maybe it’s doing laundry one day for a busy mom with two sick kids.

I can’t leave this parable without adding one more thought that came to mind. The cookies my brother gave me weren’t gourmet. They weren’t packaged in cellophane or tied with a silk bow. They were cookies given from the heart that actually didn’t take much time out of his day (after all, the cookies were already made and he was providing me with the extras from the batch). You know what I learned from that? The gifts we give others don’t have to be extraordinary or take five hours out of our day. They can be little acts of service—little everyday activities—that we’re already doing. I think those small acts of kindness are the ones that end up being remembered the most years down the road!


Because of that parable, my blog name was preliminary titled “Cookie Parables” instead of “Everyday Parables.” I wanted my posts to be like these cookies—something that provided a reminder of how important we all are to each other and became a “dessert” with principles that we could reflect on, or savor, throughout the day. While the title of the blog changed, the premise of my writings didn’t. I hope you enjoy getting a peek into my life, but I also hope you get something more from my posts, too.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you come again soon!