Cold Hard Facts

Well, today just ain’t been pretty! I’ve been digging through my partner’s inbox trying to get up to speed on the half of the business he oversees and my head is a hurtin’ and my tummy is a turnin’ at what I’m a finding. We’ve got ourselves a toy business that barely turns a profit. In fact, once I figure in all the expenses, it’s a major loser. It has been sucking the profits out of my marketing company and that just isn’t cool, but them are the cold, hard facts I’m a facing.

The good news is that we have a ton of inventory. I’m hopeful that we can sell it all over the next few months–esp. during Christmas. The bad news is, Christmas is still 5 months away and the storage fees for our goods are NOT cheap. When I think about what this all means it makes me want to cry. But I’m not gonna cry because I trust that the universe already has what we need in store and in fact, that it is already on its way. God is good like that. Plus, we do great work, and we have created some most excellent products. We’ll have a lovely Christmas, and then I will decide whether or not to keep the toy business. I can sell it, or heck, with the way I’m feeling today, I may just simply give it away! haha

The cold, hard facts are never fun to face, but tackling them head on feels quite empowering.  I’ve been so slammed consulting and selling that I left this part of the business to others. Not a wise move Mrs. CEO. So, lesson learned, and now it’s time to get this train back on track.

It will be a good challenge for me to try to come out ahead of the game because right now we are super cash poor and inventory rich. I’m not okay with that. Like it makes me super sick. Alas, I’m not going to worry about it yet. Instead, I’m off to dream about a more profitable future because the cold, hard facts are: It can only go up from here!

Happy Endings

Check out this quote about happy endings by famous author and actor Orson Welles:

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

Isn’t that so true? It reminds me of the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence which states: “change or impermanence is the essential characteristic of all phenomenal existence.” The late Buddhist Monk, Bhikkhu Ñanamoli, said it even simpler:

Whatever IS will be WAS.

Essentially,

This too shall pass.

Life is a rollercoaster. We have ups and downs, twists and turns. If the ride suddenly stopped in the middle of a loop leaving you suspended upside down, you’d most likely scream in terror. If, however, the sudden stop left you in the bottom of a trough, you’d probably feel pretty safe and serene.

When we realize that nothing in life is permanent and that “this too shall pass,” we can face our challenges with optimism knowing that better days are ahead. Likewise, when all is well, we can prepare for hard times knowing that they too surely will come.

And while I like and understand what Mr. Welles is saying, what if we could somehow control where our story ends, thereby ensuring a happy ending?

Perhaps, however, that’s not the right line of thinking. In fact, the more I ponder, the more I realize that ensuring happy endings isn’t so much about where you Stop Your Story, but how you Enjoy Your Journey.

Buckling in and being fully present as you catapult through the many loops and swirls–screaming, laughing, crying, and feeling the thrill, chills and “holy shitness” of it all–EYES FREAKING WIDE OPEN–Now what if this is what happy endings are all about?

I’m going to trust the stopping of the story to the Roller Coaster Operator while I focus on fully enjoying the ride.

Bring Your Shoes to the Rendezvous

I opened my duffle bag to reveal my brown Chaco flip flops. And then I woke up from my dream with these words echoing through my mind, “I don’t care what path you choose, just bring your shoes to the rendezvous.” 

It was so profound. I knew I had to write it down.

So I grabbed my dream journal that I always keep right by my bed and quickly scribbled it for safe keeping for I knew that shoes–in dream interpretation– typically represent our soul. And I knew this dream was an answer from my Father concerning some very specific questions. I could hardly wait to drift back off to sleep to see if God wanted to reveal more.

He did. I dreamt I was holding onto a rope that was tied to a hot air balloon. I was trying to keep the huge hot air balloon from floating away. It was exhausting. I was digging my heels into the sand and holding with all my might. My forearms were burning and I remember thinking, “Why am I even trying to hold this hot air balloon down?” I woke up with the song from Frozen coursing through my mind, “Let it Go, Let it Go. . . “

The message from both dreams was not lost on me. I knew exactly what meaning they held for me. In fact, I dreamt these corresponding dreams the early morning hours of the day I planned to hike high into the mountains to be with God and seek further understanding. I wrote about that experience yesterday in my Sacred Spot post you can read here.

Just as I wrote in that previous post, I woke up early and went on my Kingsbury Loop hike high in the Sierra Nevadas. I discovered my Sacred Spot and my dreams made even more sense after that experience. I know what God meant when he said, “It doesn’t matter which path you choose just bring your shoes to the rendezvous.” My shoes were my flip-flops which we are told we “shouldn’t wear to our sacrament meetings.” My Chaco Flip-flops are my favorite shoes and ones I have been wearing for over ten years. They are incredible shoes. I also thought of my hot air balloon and I understood that it was okay and time to let go of my old beliefs that were exhausting to hold on to. I understood everything with perfect clarity and many other dreams I have dreamed lately came perfectly together for me too.

Later that day, as I lay reading a book on a picnic table at the Lake—warm sun on my skin, reading a great book, guy playing James Taylor, and the children enjoying the cool water—I was overcome with joy. I had just read a passage in my book about how we are all Divine and that God will lead us to truth and we must be willing to walk the path we feel Him directing us down. I felt that it was a second affirmation of what He confirmed to me in my sacred spot high in the Sierra Nevadas. It was another tender mercy and I felt that everything was as it should be (another line that comes directly from one of my recurring dreams about truth).

When we returned to the condo, I took a nap. I drifted off to sleep and I dreamt  I was back on my hike conversing with God. He again confirmed, “Everything is as it should be.” I knew what that meant instantly, and I was then reminded that, “The answers lie within,”and, “To follow my heart.”

It was a tender mercy further witnessing to me that the feelings and impressions from my hike were true and of Divine origin, and that my growing desire to seek out others who share my similar beliefs was A-okay. I want to find more people who believe what I believe. In fact, here is what I wrote about my realizations I had while reading on a picnic table at Lake Tahoe.

Afternoon Lake Reflections

Since my awareness is growing stronger each day and my convictions are firmer and firmer in my newfound beliefs, I am feeling a great desire to unite myself with others that share my beliefs. I want to study what they study. Worship how they worship. Donate my tithes and offerings to support causes I feel will lift and bless others. I do love the Mormon people as much as I love any other group of wonderful people. They are good people. I am happy to have my children grow up in their faith and I will worship with them when I want, but I’d really like to explore a bit and see what others have to offer.

I may wait to pursue this till my children are all grown as I do enjoy being with my family on Sunday, but I don’t believe I will be able to hold callings for much longer as I don’t support all of the doctrine. I don’t believe ordinances are necessary for salvation. I don’t believe we need to do temple work. I don’t believe we need to try to convert others to our faith. I do believe we must love others. I do believe we must serve others. I do believe we must share our abundance with others. In short, I believe we must be like God. Again, I have no desire to make anyone pursue my spiritual path as I feel strongly that everyone must walk their own. I just want more time and freedom to pursue my Divine path.

I have been learning and growing so much since I commenced my truth quest. The universe has continued to supply me with knowledge just as fast as I have been ready to receive. Watching the Divine Unfolding has been 100% awe inspiring and rewarding.  The perfect sequencing or “synchronicity” is AMAZING! (I promise to write more about synchronicity later). For now, it’s time to wrap up this post. I’ve got an appointment with God. A divine rendezvous. He wants me to bring my whole soul and let go of my old beliefs that no longer serve me, or perhaps what the balloon really represented was me trying to hold my new beliefs down so as to not cause family rifts and displeasure from others, but He wants me to jump into the balloon and ride high in the skies and enjoy the astonishing views. Holy cow, how did I not see that interpretation before?!

So excuse me, I’ve got to grab my chacos. I’ve got an important appointment to keep and I’ve got to remember to bring my shoes to the rendezvous!

Demons and the Sea

Here’s a fun thought I learned from Adyashanti. He seems to have gotten his timeline out of sorts, but perhaps he was pulling from the Gospel of Thomas–which I’m so looking forward to reading.

Adyashanti seems to think Jesus calmed the tempestuous sea after he cast out Legion’s demons.  If you remember from the biblical account, Jesus cast out several devils from this wild, afflicted man and they begged to be allowed to enter the herd of swine. Jesus permitted them and the swine then ran headlong off a cliff into the sea. Later, when Jesus and his disciples were crossing back over the Sea of Galilee, a great tempest arose.

Jesus was sleeping in the hull of the ship and the disciples awoke him for they feared for their lives, “Master, carest thou not that we perish, how canst thou lie asleep.” Jesus stood up and commanded the sea, “Peace be still!” The storm abated and there was a great calm. Jesus then rebuked his disciples for lacking faith.

Ayashanti makes the point that no wonder the sea became boisterous–it had 2,000 drowned demons in it!

In the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke, the storytellers have the calming of the sea occur before Jesus cast the many devils out of Legion so not sure if Adyashanti’s theory holds water, but even if it is out of order, I do love the idea that the reason the sea had become boisterous was because it had just had 2,000 evil spirits plunged headlong into it. I mean if they were causing so much affliction in Legion, would they not equally afflict the sea?

Whether Adyashanti’s timeline is correct or not, the most important point still stands. . . Jesus can calm anything–troubled hearts and tempestuous seas. We can confidently cast our cares upon him for He truly is the Prince of Peace.

The Ben Carson Story

We are listening to a great audio book called The Ben Carson Story as we road trip for Spring Break.

Ben Carson shared two incredible experiences where God helped him out when he had no one else who could assist.

The first experience was when the Lord delivered him from his terrible temper. It was cool.

The second experience impacted me more than the first as it felt more real. Ben was in his first year at Yale and had been overconfident in his abilities and was now flunking chemistry. If he failed the final exam, he would not be able to attend medical school and thereby become a doctor. Becoming a doctor was all he ever wanted to do and he felt it was also God’s will he do it.

He knew he was to blame for not doing well in chemistry as he had not put forth the effort required and now the night before the final exam he was facing the hard reality of his poor choices. He pleaded with the Lord to deliver him and then spent the next 3-4 hours cramming. He finally was so exhausted he prayed one more time and promised God that if he would help him pass his exam, he would never do this to him again. He would study hard and he would be a better man. He fell asleep and dreamed all night that he was in a chemistry classroom. A man came into the room and began writing equations and chemistry problems on the board. They all started making sense and when Ben awoke, he frantically began to record everything he remembered from his dream.

Long story short, when he was given his final exam, all of those problems the man worked for him in his dream were the exact problems on his final exam. He achieved a 97/100 on his test and said there is absolutely no explanation for it except that God had reached down from his infinite cosmos to help an inner city ghetto boy from Detroit. He promised God he would never put him in that situation again and made good on his promise. From that moment on he studied and learned diligently and became a world renowned brain surgeon.

I loved this story, as did my children. It was a powerful reminder of the goodness of God. We can count on him to help us no matter our circumstances. We shouldn’t abuse his loving kindness, but we should always remember he wants us to succeed and he has a plan for us.

I love my God and I believe in him and trust in him. I want to be about his business always. I hope he will make his will known unto me as powerfully as he made it known unto Ben Carson. I don’t know what my burning passion is, nor what God would have me do. I think he is waiting for me to decide that. Ben figured out he wanted to be a doctor. Because it was so important to him, it became that important to God.

I am committed to putting some serious time, energy, effort and thought into my life legacy. God be thanked for the privilege I have of living. The opportunity he has given us all to leave a legacy is priceless.

Cards in Hand

Life is like a game of cards. . . not everyone gets to see our hand.  In fact, we decide who we reveal our hand to and how many cards we display.

The more cards we show someone, the more connected or intimate our relationship with that person will be. Let’s say I have a hand of 7 cards. I may show my best friend 6 of my cards, only holding back one. She’s earned that right. I trust her, and because I value her insight, I want her to know what is on my plate and invite her into my personal life.

My neighbor, on the other hand, isn’t a close, intimate friend, so maybe she only gets to see one, maybe two of my cards. The complete stranger at the store probably gets to see none.

But what about my spouse? I would like to think I’m sharing my entire hand with him. At least that’s the type of relationship I want to have with the man I’ve committed to share my life with. I don’t want to hold anything back. I want him to know exactly the cards I’m holding. I want a relationship where neither of us hold anything back.

I don’t think it’s fair, nor healthy, for one person in the relationship to be willing to be vulnerable and risk showing their entire hand if the other person isn’t willing to risk the same vulnerability. I guess a relationship can work if both parties are holding back cards and both are aware of and okay with knowing they aren’t sharing everything. But when it comes to me and Matt, I want total transparency–a complete connection. When you aren’t willing to share all your cards, or be completely vulnerable, you prevent intimacy. I don’t want that.

BUT what if you aren’t aware you’re holding back cards? Well, that’s a point of consideration for another day, but do allow me to say that I do believe it is quite possible to be holding cards unawares. With that being the case, I’d simply advise that the minute you become aware of a card in your hand, reveal it, because concealing cards limits connection. And being connected is what I think the Lord really meant when he commanded man and wife to be one. He doesn’t really want us to be the same person. He wants us to be united, or connected–intimately.

Leading Us Along

While studying for my lesson on the Gathering of Israel this week, I chanced upon this scripture in D&C 52:4:

And inasmuch as they are faithful unto me, it shall be made known unto them what they shall do.

and this scripture in D&C 28:9

And now, behold, I say unto you that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the city Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.

And finally this one in D&C 42:62

Thou shalt ask, and it shall be revealed unto you in mine own due time where the New Jerusalem shall be built.

I bolded the stuff that stood out to me as I studied. First, we learn that if we are faithful, the Lord will lead us along. Just as he led his early saints from one gathering place to another, he will lead us along according to our faithfulness. Second, he gives us hints and tidbits as he leads us along. Don’t you love how he tells the saints that he will reveal the place of Zion at a later point in time, and then before moving on, he drops a little hint about where it would be. It’s an affectionate type of teaser IMO. It engenders greater trust when someone tells you, “Look I can’t tell you it all right now, but here. . . here is a little something to tide you over until I can tell you more. It is also a good reminder that the Lord doesn’t lay out the whole grand plan from the beginning to the end. Nope, He unveils His plan line upon line, one piece at a time, leading us along from NY to Ohio, then from Ohio to Missouri, then from Missouri to Utah. Years after gathering everyone to the Salt Lake Valley, He then instructs the saints to gather in their own countries as to strengthen their own stakes of Zion. And, according to the last scripture, this all occurs not according to our timeline, but in the Lord’s own due time. 

May we ever remember that the Lord is leading us along.  If we are faithful, we will not be left to wander for He will be our cloud of smoke by day and our pillar of fire by night. He is at the helm. Onward Christian Soldiers 🙂

Working and Waiting

I have a new life mantra about working and waiting:

Do your very best and trust God to do the rest!

I’m not just throwing out a clever witticism here, this is something I have come to know from personal experience.

For most of my life, my modus operandi has been to bust my buns to accomplish whatever I set my mind to.  In fact, my father and others will tell you that I achieve anything I set my mind to.”

It’s true, I’m tenacious and stubbornly persistent. But tenacity and perseverance can be extremely exhausting.  I have learned over the years that it is far better to pray down divine assistance than to work like a madman and worry when things aren’t going your way.

My God has come to my aid on multiple occasions–never on my time table, but always on His. This has taught me the importance of working and waiting–doing my best while trusting God to do the rest.

I just want to share an example that occurred this week. I have been struggling for the past month to get our new meal replacement weight loss shake Svelo approved to sell on Amazon. I have been rejected 5 times with a final notice saying it would not be happening. Well, I rarely take no for an answer, plus I know that with God all things are possible, so I continued to work at getting us approved. I submitted letters to supervisors, enlisted help from co-workers and friends at Amazon, and even emailed Jeff Bezos himself. Basically, I did everything in my power that I could think of doing and all the while I prayed and trusted in God to help it all work out. I knew it would. How did I know? From experience. From years of things not going my way and me not giving up and seeking for his help and it always coming in some way or another.

This doesn’t mean I always get what I want, because sometimes I get something even better. I have learned that it is a divine law of the universe that when we work and wait and do our best and let God do the rest, amazing things happen. So I’m not sure what you are struggling with right now, but I do know that if you will do everything you can think to do, pray for inspiration on what more you can do, and then if you will let God do His part, it will all work out marvelously well.

In fact, you can even go on vacation and trust Him to take care of the details while you are away. That is what I did. In fact, I was here in the Caribbean this week when I received notice that Svelo had been approved. It made my day as I smiled and glanced with gratitude toward Heaven thanking my Lord and God. I was like, “Dude, you rock and I love and appreciate all you do for me SO much!” God is good. God is great! Remember always to work and wait and do your best and trust God to do the rest!

The Shield of Faith and Fiery Darts

I have been studying about the first principles and ordinances of the gospel this past week and I was struck by these words from Doctrine and Covenants 27:17:

Taking the shield of faith, where with ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

I wondered if I really understood the word quench because if it meant what I thought it meant, like “quenching thirst,” then how could a metal substance such as a shield “quench” fiery darts?

So I looked up “quench” and sure enough it does mean what I thought:

to stop (a fire) from burning : to put out (a fire)

So I figured I’d better look up “fiery” to make sure it meant what I thought. And sure enough, it did. A fiery dart is simply a dart that is on fire or a dart that can cause a strong reaction.

  • : having or producing fire

  • : having or showing a lot of strong and angry emotion

    A regular dart may be harmless. But fiery darts are not. They possess the ability to poison and consume, ultimately resulting in death.

    So what then could be some examples of fiery darts that the wicked one hurls? Could they be “hot topics” or current church policies or past historical events that inflame you with strong and angry emotions, causing poisonous doubts that can ultimately lead to spiritual death?

Seems tragic that such a small and simple thing as a fiery little dart can consume and destroy such a great, big thing such as your eternal soul.  Alas, by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.

Hence the need for a means of deflecting inflammatory darts. And what could be better suited than a shield made of faith? Is not faith what says to fiery darts, “I don’t freaking understand this right now, and it bothers me that I don’t understand it, but I know God loves me and I love and trust him, so Satan take your dang dart and shove it because I’m not going to let you or it poison me”

May we pick up the shield of faith and protect ourselves from letting things we don’t yet understand destroy things we have already come to understand.  Let us be aware of how Satan uses fiery darts so we can prevent the wicked one from inflaming and poisoning us.

Where Thou Art At This Time

I am loving this verse of scripture so much right now:

. . . . as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time. (D&C 6:14) 

When I left my first marriage I had 4 children 5 years old and under. I was a stay-at-home mom and had no idea how I would provide for my children. The only things I did know was that I would bust my buns to provide for my family and trust in the Lord to lead us along.

And he has done just that! I can look back and see with perfect clarity how the Lord guided me.

There were, however, times during my journey that I wondered if the Lord was really there, and if He really even cared.

I’m sure Nephi and his family felt the same. I’m certain there were times during their journey they wondered if the Lord had forsaken them, even though he had promised:

I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led (1 Nephi 17:13).

Isn’t it cool that the Lord doesn’t make us wait till we arrive in the Promised Land to learn of his leadings? Every time we wonder if He’s there, or if He really cares, we simply need to ask and look, and we shall receive and see. For he has promised:

If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge . . . (D&C 42:61)

. . . . as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit (D&C 6:14) .

Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear (Matt. 13:16)

I am grateful the Lord has led me along. I know my journey is not yet over, but in many ways I feel like I have arrived in my promised land. . . and because I have arrived I can say amen to the following:

Yea, and the Lord said also that: After ye have arrived in the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God; and that I, the Lord, did deliver you from destruction; (1 Nephi 17:14).

He promises to lead us along on our journey, and He further promises that after we have arrived, and then look back upon our journey, we shall then KNOW that He is GOD!

Yes, hindsight is amazing! The Lord will help us, like he helped Oliver, see His hand in our journey. We will see clearly all the pivot points and pivot people. We will see how everything worked together for our good and to deliver us from our wilderness of affliction. And we’ll trust that He’ll still guide us again as we continue to put our trust in Him–for we shall surely pass through many waste places during this mortal sojourn.

I think I’ll end with the Lord’s Prayer. However, I’m going to call it Janelle’s Prayer:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever (Psalms 23:4)