Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation--My Legacy

Charcoal by Leo Gestel 1937
not my 8th great grandfather's farm,
but what I imagine it might've been like.
My Legacy

Sometimes I wonder what I've done with my heritage. Have I squandered it on meaningless, time-consuming activities? Have I done anything to make life a little easier for the generations to follow? My sacrifices are so minute compared to those of my ancestors.

At this time of year, I usually think about my Mormon Pioneer ancestors, but today I'm going further back. My 8th great grandfather, Abraham. His family immigrated to America in 1636. He was the fifth generation to be born here.

Supplies were scarce during the winter. One of his sons would warm cow or ox chips and stand on them to keep his feet warm while he chopped wood. At one point, Abraham got word that the British were marching from Canada to Saratoga. Their route lay right through the settlement where Abraham lived. He had a pair of oxen and a sled (the other settlers called him "the rich Dutchman"). He loaded his wife and children and supplies into the sled and hid them in a place of safety. He went back to his house and took his gun and ammunition  and started out for the Battle of Bennington on foot. By the time he got there the battle was over. That was a blessing. If he had died in that battle, his family would have starved that winter.

Abraham must've enjoyed hard, physical labor. As soon as he cleared 100 acres, he'd sell it and clear another farm.

I can't even imagine suffering that kind of exposure. I sit back in a cozy home where my biggest sacrifice might be the lack of immediate gratification. Generations later, I have comfort, freedom, and opportunities my ancestors couldn't even conceive.

I feel I owe it to them not to waste the gifts they spent their whole lives working for. If Grandma gave me her best apple pie, I would never sneer at it or push it away. I would enjoy every mouth-watering piece. I would appreciate her efforts, and she would smile upon me.

I can never repay past generations, and I think they wouldn't want me to. I think they'd tell me to leave my own legacy for those who come after me. So what kind of Legacy will I leave my posterity?

How about things like the value of hard work, honesty, staying out of debt, serving others, doing what I can to further my education, and avoid complaining about minor inconveniences? I haven't any money, or a big fancy house to leave my family. All I can leave them are good memories and a good example. That's what I need to focus my time and energy on.

What is your Legacy?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation--A Call to Arms

A figurative call to arms--As our Constitution teeters on a precipice we wonder what we can do that will really make a difference.

For years I've heard co-workers lament that "one person doesn't make a difference," and "my vote doesn't count. Why bother?" Okay, so what can we do? Here are some of my thoughts:

First, STAND UP! When the flag passes by, don't just sit there. Show respect to the flag. Show (don't tell) your children how to respect the flag. Show our military respect and gratitude for their sacrifices. Show those watching from heaven that we remember them and what they did for all of us.

Second, STAND UP for truth and right wherever you find it. There is good all around us, but sometimes we're afraid to defend what we know to be right.

Third, STAND UP and be counted--go VOTE. There really aren't a lot of excuses anymore. Did you know that in Salt Lake County you can register to vote by mail? They send you your ballot in the mail a month ahead of time so you don't have to wait in lines. It's so easy to google candidates and issues and vote as you see fit. Many died to give you that right--and it's not just your right, it's your responsibility. Freedom isn't free.

Fourth, STAND UP and serve whenever possible. It doesn't have to be something big and mighty. You can help out a friend, take care of your neighbor, donate your time to something you feel passionately about. A lot of power is found in the little everyday things you already do. I know a lot of writers who find ways of donating to increase literacy here at home and around the world. A lot of power is found in good books.

Fifth, PRAY. Whatever your faith is, exercise it. Pray for the leaders of our country and our local leaders that they will make good choices for us, that they will have the strength to stand for the right, that they won't just look the other way when it comes to corruption.

Sixth, "You cannot help the world by focusing on the negative things. As you focus on the world's negative events, you not only add to them, you also bring more negative things into your own life. Instead of focusing on the world's problems give your attention and energy to love, abundance, education, and peace."
~Rhonda Byrne and The Secret 

Disclaimer--I've declared my political neutrality in the past. I consider myself a conservative Patriot. These are my opinions. That's all they are--opinions. It's okay to disagree with me. That's what is best about our country. But, I have experienced rather hateful and angry disagreements from people when I've dared to disagree with them in the past. We can agree to disagree. So feel free to leave me a respectful comment.