Archive for the ‘Perspective’ Category

The Parable of the Rainbow That Doubled

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Today was filled with fabulous thunderstorms. I happen to think the sound of falling rain, especially heavy-falling rain, is one of nature’s most glorious sounds. So this evening has been pure delight. I took some time to sit on my front porch and watch the rain. And what should appear but a rainbow—a gorgeous complete rainbow. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a full rainbow fill the horizon. So I watched in splendor, and then I grabbed my camera.

After taking some photos, I decided to sit and watch a little longer. And what should appear but a second rainbow! A second beautiful and complete rainbow right in front of my eyes. It was a great reminder that when you sit and partake in the joys of nature, your joys tend to double—just like they did tonight. I’m glad I didn’t go inside after the first ten minutes, because the second ten minutes were twice as fantastic. That seems to be the case for many of life’s true beauties, doesn’t it?

Today I created a moment to partake in the joys of nature.

The Parable of the [Movie] Transformation

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Tonight I opted to turn off a show instead of watching it. The show wasn’t bad; I just knew I could do something more constructive with my time. (I was tempted to watch a show because I’ve been under the weather without much energy to participate in other activities. I’m finally starting to feel better, though!) As I reflected this evening on that decision, I felt a sense of renewal and growth—a sense of putting off the everyday man for the hope of the eternal. And I wished for an instant that I were a professional photographer who could visually represent that feeling by capturing a young woman standing on a rock in a river, having just stepped out of the water—leaving a heavy coat of the world behind—and standing tall on the rock with a stream of light pouring upon her in a light, clean dress. Then I remembered I’ve seen that image many times before.

It’s Ariel when she bursts from the water as a human princess instead of a mermaid. It’s the Beast when he sheds his animal appearance for his human royalty. It’s Mrs. Potts and Chip as they transform into humans and run to each other’s arms. It’s a sense of renewal, of growth, and of becoming one’s true self. In the movies, this transformation is depicted as a one-time milestone. Yet tonight I remembered that it’s a daily occurrence. It’s the conscious decision to “put off the natural man” and live as a beacon of hope and light in a world filled with despair. But more than serving as a beacon for others, it’s a transformation that serves each of us personally first. It’s the decision to become one’s true self. And in becoming one’s true self, one can’t help but serve others.

Daily Creation

Today I downloaded MP3s of CES fireside archives so I can listen to them more frequently. These firesides are addressed to young adults ages 18–30, when they’re making many decisions that will shape their future (of course, I believe that’s true of any age). For me, listening to these firesides is like drinking a glass of water on a day spent working in the sun. It’s refreshing and gives you the strength to withstand the heat.

Today I created a playlist that’s good for the soul.

P.S. Why the “Daily Creation” section? It’s a new goal of mine. More to come about it in the near future.

The Parable of the Memory-Foam Pillow

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

I recently purchased a memory-foam pillow. Man, I love this pillow.* The only drawback is that once you’ve** rested your head on it for a while, it’s hard to move your head*** just a quarter inch to the right or left. Since the memory foam temporarily retains the placement of your head, a subtle shift leads your head to fall back into the original position. I struggled with that dilemma the first few nights I used the pillow, trying to move gradually but feeling like my head would lean back into the center. Then a lightbulb turned on in my head. Rather than trying to shift my head a quarter inch, I could just shift the pillow a quarter inch. Then my head would be in the perfect spot. Brilliant, isn’t it?****

I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure out that trick, but it did. Hmm, it sounds like many times when I’ve made tasks harder than they had to be because I was trying to change my circumstances with the wrong approach.

Lesson learned: Rather than trying to shift ourselves to fit into a mold, sometimes it’s best if we mold our circumstances to fit into our character.

* Word to the wise: You’ll likely either really love memory-foam pillows or greatly dislike them. The people I’ve recommended them to have had mixed feelings; oddly, the women seem to like them more than the men. I’m not sure what to think about that non-scientifically-proven fact.
** Yes, I just changed the voice from the first person.

*** I’m using “head” frequently in this post. In fact, I’d say I overuse the word. But I’m doing it for clarity. That means you’ll hear it again in this post—several times. Please forgive me. Just know the overuse is in fact there—it’s not just in your head. ; )

**** Perhaps that insight should earn me a spot at the head of the class.

The Parable of the Pink Flower Gardens by the Prison Gate

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Flowers by the PrisonEn route on an errand today, I happened to drive by the state prison. I noticed small flower gardens on each side of the entrance gate to the facility. I was touched that a facility with high-security, barbwire fences that may likely never win an award for being the most aesthetically pleasing building structure, at least compared to any design by Frank Lloyd Wright, has garden flowers to welcome everyone who passes by or through the gate. It was a nice reminder that everything we encounter has a silver lining or pink flower garden to look for. Even long lines, high electric bills, and new scratches or dings on our cars hold beauty in them; after all, they mean we have something worth waiting for, a home to heat or cool, and a car to make transportation accessible.

What “pink flower gardens” have brought a touch of beauty or peace to your world lately?

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 Carnival Observer, plus a 10-Minute Tale

Monday, July 6th, 2009


For the last several years, I celebrated the morning of the Fourth of July by helping with a carnival hosted by my singles ward (church congregation). The carnival is accompanied by a breakfast and parade, but I’ve never been able to participate in the parade because I volunteered at the carnival. I’d planned to volunteer this year as well, but I was precluded from doing so because of my cold (I didn’t want to pass it along to anyone else).

The carnival has become a tradition for my family, though, so I still attended—just on the observing side rather than the hosting side. At first it was strange to not help, but it was wonderful to participate with my family. I was able to watch the parade for the first time. It’s a small community parade, and it was a treat to see the kids with decorated bikes donned with streamers. We even saw ducks and goats strutting the red, white, and blue. At the carnival, I was able to walk around with my nephews as they played games instead of seeing their excitement only when they played games at the booths I hosted. And it was enjoyable to watch the community bonding instead of focusing on details to make sure everything was functioning well.

The role reversal left me thinking about how important it is to break outside our normal roles sometimes to enjoy a different perspective. I think that’s why Disneyland is such a popular place—we get to set aside the responsibilities of adulthood and simply play. That’s why reading is so pleasurable—it can take us to a different setting that allows us to momentarily put aside our concerns. It can be refreshing. Perhaps sometime this month we can all experience a little role reversal of sorts. If we’re normally the center of attention, we can see what it’s like to sit back and listen to others one night. If we’re normally the quiet one, we can try participating a little more. If we’re normally completely structured in our plans, we can set aside one night to be spontaneous, or vice versa. We may just enjoy being the carnival observer rather than the host.


Here’s a rundown of the rest of my holiday pursuits:
* Had brunch at IHOP after the carnival. Mmm.
* Saw Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. I enjoyed the first two movies of the series, and this third movie did not disappoint.
* Enjoyed another parade—this time it was a larger city parade.
* Attended an outdoor concert. Sadly, the power went out after the first few numbers. It was restored about fifteen minutes before the fireworks. The downtime in between provided a great chance to talk, though.
* Watched the fireworks. After thinking about being an observer rather than assuming my usual role (in this case, a trigger-happy photographer), I took far fewer photos than normal. I typically watch the fireworks through the viewfinder of my camera. Last night I opted to enjoy them in the sky instead. I still took some photos, but the majority of the display was spent with my camera in my lap. It did feel refreshing.


10-Minute Tale: Recess
I think it’s time for a 10-minute tale. The topic: elementary-school recess. Recess was a haven for students during elementary school. Whether you played ball or hopscotch or ran for the swings, those fifteen minutes of freedom were the perfect escape. Have you ever recorded your fond memories from the playground? Now’s the time, and it will only take 10 minutes. There’s no pressure to be a Rowling or a Dickens. You don’t need tidy punctuation. Just record your story—that’s the part that matters. If you’re wondering what to record, think about the following:
* What did the playground look like?
* Where was the first place the students ran once you went outdoors?
* Were there days you couldn’t go outside because of weather or air quality?
* What were your favorite games to play?
* Who did you spend your recess time with?
* How did your choice of recess destinations change as you switched grades in elementary school?
Now that memories are flowing, it’s time to get started. Ready, you’ve got 10 minutes. Go!

[“Final Jeopardy” music plays 20 times.]

To see what I came up with, read here.