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Chapter 2

My book is at the printers and hopefully will be shipped shortly! It’s fun getting new products from my art, but this is a little different feeling. It almost seems like a bigger part of my heart, because it is so much more personal than art in a lot of ways. I am super excited to get the proof copy in the mail and to actually be able to look through it in real life! At any rate, until then, I will be posting the last of the chapters I will post here on my blog today, then you’ll have to purchase the hard copy of the book or purchase the eBook to read the rest. The eBook however will be available in 2 days! I will post a link to that here as well when it’s available.

As you may remember, or if you haven’t read the first chapter, it was titled: Where Am I Going, and you can read that one in a previous blog post here. This chapter is called:

How Do I Get There.

Often when we start noticing things in our lives that we aren’t particularly proud of, or things we want to change, we wonder where to begin.  We set goals, we look to the future, maybe we even write a few things down.  As time passes, we lose interest in what we wanted to become.  Sometimes it’s because we think it’s too hard, or we fall off the wagon and decide we’ll never be able to get back on.  Maybe the goal we set was too big for us, or maybe the steps getting there were so tall we couldn’t even reach the next step on our tippy toes.  Whatever the case may be, we need to stop.  Our mind is the first thing we need to learn to control.  Maybe there is some validity in some of those excuses, but they aren’t a reason to quit, just a reason to reevaluate.

I love to exercise, and I like to be fit.  There was a time in my life when I was exercising hard, at least 60 minutes a day, 6 days a week.  I was a young mom, so I was chasing kids around all day, I was physically active all day long besides my workouts.  I could tell that something was off, as I was not gaining energy any more from my workouts, but I felt like I was slowly deteriorating, becoming more and more exhausted.  But I wasn’t losing weight, which was my goal.  I was at the point of wanting to quit, because who wants to keep beating up their body for no results.  But instead of quitting, I stopped; I reevaluated what I was doing.  I prayed, because I do that a lot.  I started to pay attention to what the fitness experts were saying.  Eating healthy was a priority, but quantity of food was not something I had thought of.  I set a goal to maintain a certain calorie count.  I started to see results, measurable results.  I didn’t quit exercising; I adjusted the other part of my life that needed attention.  I was able to reduce my exercise, and do it smarter when I ate more correctly.  Then I got my energy back.  So often different parts of our lives are interconnected, and when we work on one, we may have to visit a different area and work on 2 simultaneously.  Sometimes getting one area of our lives in order will propel another area forward without even trying.  Sometimes we realize we were focused on the wrong thing all along.

I hope that as you work through this book, you can identify areas of your life that need work, different areas that can maybe be together, and which ones are the most important.  After all, we only have so much time in a day.  Making sure we start with what’s most important and then working our way down the line will help us manage a smaller list, but get things in the correct order to begin with.  That way we aren’t working on the pennies all the time when we should be focusing on the dollars.  Remember also, we are all a work in progress, once one goal becomes a habit, we can move on to the next.  We don’t have to do everything all at once, because we have a lifetime to get better.

We all have reasons we stop working toward goals and change.  You rationalize quitting.  These really only equate to rational lies that we use to convince ourselves we don’t need to go on.  But seeing them for what they are will help us avoid using them in the first place.  Write them down here so you can avoid them.

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Perception vs. Truth

When I was teaching my youngest son how to write his letters and numbers, he really struggled writing the number 8.  I tried everything to help him learn how to write an 8.  One day he stopped and looked at me and said, “but mom, this is how I write my number 8!”  Fortunately, it relieved the frustration in the moment that I was feeling and I could laugh.  However, I had to teach him that just because that’s how he wrote it didn’t make it correct, and that just because he knew it was an 8 didn’t mean that anyone else would know it was and 8. 

I saw this a lot volunteering and subbing in the school system, as well as homeschooling.  Teaching a variety of subjects, especially math, there is a prescribed way to do things to get the correct answer. I remember helping my own kids, as well as other kids in school learning math, and they would tell me that just because my answer book said the answer was wrong, didn’t mean it was wrong.  Maybe they had found a new way to do it to get a different answer, a more correct answer.  But inevitable as we worked through the problem together, they each had to admit that they had gotten the wrong answer as they could see where they messed up and how to do it correctly.  But that didn’t make them any less confrontational the next time they got it wrong!

There are subjective things in this world, we all have our own opinions about different subjects, or how to reach a goal.  Even the same end goal can have many different approaches to achieve the same outcome.  My kids have really taught me that over the years, especially in the house cleaning department!  However, there are certain things that are not subjective, things that simply are, truth.  More and more we hear people say, “Well, that’s my reality.”   Depending on the subject, that can be true.  My reality is that it’s still snowy here in Alaska while in the lower 48 states spring is in full swing.  But it is also an absolute truth.  It is non-negotiable because we can see the snow everywhere here.  No one can argue that fact because we can look outside and see the snow here.  There are also some people I have talked to who think Alaska is snowy all year.  That’s not the truth, but do you think you can convince them of that!  There are those who live in an alternate “reality” so to speak because they aren’t willing to look at and really see truth.    

So how do we find truth?  One would think with the internet and all the information there that it would be really easy to find truth.  Not so.  If you think the world is flat, there are “evidences” put forth on the internet that claim just that, there is even a society that promotes that.  We know that to be false information, but some people really believe that.  This pandemic has brought the reality of false information prominently to the front.  Take masks for example.  It doesn’t matter what your stance is on wearing masks, you can find evidence to support your reasoning, and evidence to condemn anyone who disagrees with you.  We must find trusted sources, sources that have real information.  There are sources like that on the internet, but you have to be able to weed through that information to find truth.  How do we do that?  There are only a few sources I have ever found to help me see truth.  The Holy Ghost, the scriptures, and history. 

Often, we think that what we are experiencing in life is the first time anything like this has ever happened, or that we are the only ones who have ever gone through something.  There are very few things in this world that someone else hasn’t experienced at some point in time in history, or at least something similar enough that we can learn from their experiences and make better choices.  The problem, though, is that we don’t know enough history, and we don’t rely on the scriptures or the Holy Ghost enough to decipher truth from error in the modern information that we read. 

In the scriptures we read of many civilizations that rose to prominence through obedience to God, and then were destroyed because of disobedience.  Throughout history we read of many civilizations that rose from the dust, became empires, and then through what I would call wickedness, fell and were destroyed by other civilizations that were rising up.  I remember watching a video clip of a girl in a college class telling the speaker that her generation was different, that the things they felt strongly about no one else ever felt like them before.  The speaker laughed and said he had lived through the 70’s and that those things were prominent in his day.  She said she’d never heard that before and didn’t believe it.  She had not studied or educated herself in any of her own countries’ history.  Consequently, she was repeating history by being uniformed.  That doesn’t help society, especially when others have done their research and can see it all happening, but more people are blinded as to what’s going on, than there are people who are well informed.

There is a quote circulating around the internet.  It says “The truth is still the truth, even if no one believes it.  A lie is still a lie, even if everyone believes it.”  There is only one source of real truth.  That is Heavenly Father.  This life we live here is very temporary, but we are not temporary beings, but eternal.  If we accept lies here, we will be very disappointed when we discover the truth there.  But we can learn and know truth here and now through the deciphering power given to us by our loving Heavenly Father.  He blessed us all with a conscience, the ability to know right from wrong, to feel it.  But if we ignore it, that conscience gets quieter and quieter until it no long exists within us.  But, if we listen, if we do, and if we ask for help seeing truth, we will be blessed through the Holy Ghost to see what is actually real, to be able to weed through all the information out there and pull out the truth.  We are at a point now, especially in our country, but all over the world now, that we need truth seekers.  People willing to set aside their preconceived ideas to look at fact, to feel truth, and then to change where needed to follow that truth, rather than being tossed by the waves of whatever society thinks is important today.  Truth is constant, truth is peace, even when everything else is in chaos.  We need to be seekers of truth.

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Chapter 1

My book is now in the process of being printed. It will be available as an ebook on April 30. I thought the process was going to take a lot longer so I picked a date a little ways off, now I wish I had known it would be a quicker process than I originally expect! But that’s ok. I can add the first couple chapters here so you can see what you think. I will add a link to my ebook when it is available. You can also buy it in hardback book form. I hope you enjoy the first chapter!

Where Am I Going

I don’t think I have ever talked to a person who was 100% satisfied with who they were, every part of them.  Not because they were not good people, but simply because they had the potential to be better, and they knew they did.  We have an innate desire to do better, to be better, to strive for something more.  It is human nature to do so, and that’s a good thing!  Imagine if we didn’t, we would still live in the dark ages.  No new technology, no new inventions, nothing ever changing.

Change, however, is hard.  We get comfortable with where we are, even if we know we need to do better.  Change often makes us uncomfortable because we can’t see where we’re going to end, maybe we don’t know if what we are doing now will give us the desired results we want.  But, however much we hate to admit it, change is happening to us all the time.  But if we aren’t the ones initiating it, then the change occurring is probably not the kind of change we are looking for.

I have thought a lot about this subject, as I want to be better, I want to do better in many aspects of my life.  I am not a perfect person.  But I have learned to embrace change, or at least most of the time.  Over time I have seen the fruits of change in my life.  Some of that change came out of necessity, I didn’t initiate it, but as time went on, I embraced it so that I would change how I wanted, instead of it changing me in ways that were detrimental to me or those around me.  Most changes that I notice differences in however, I have initiated myself on some level or another.   Goals I have set or habits I wanted to gain or get rid of.  Some of these changes have been obvious to others, most are small changes in my character, that I wanted to make, or decided would be good for me, over a long period of time

This book is designed to help you begin on a path that will hopefully never end.  We should never stop growing, never stop learning, and never stop striving for excellence in our lives, because average is the enemy of excellence.  Never settle for average, never settle for almost.  You can become who you want to be, it just takes some work.  This book will help you get started.

Think about your life.  Are there things you are not satisfied with?  Start here and list at least on general thing you would like to change.  It doesn’t have to be specific, and it can be as big or small as you want.

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As you can see it is a work book. There are a number of places to write things down so that they stay all together. I hope you enjoyed the first chapter. I will load the second chapter some time next week, and then hopefully the actual book will be available! Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to check back not only for the book, but for my other blog post!

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Calm

Calm is something that seems ever more elusive these days. I look at the world and everything happening, and everything seems to be in upheaval. It seems to be especially prevalent in our teens and young adults as they have access to information, news and social media 24 hours a day on their smart phones. There is so much information everywhere, and half of it isn’t true, or only partly true. Truth is hard to come by. Everyone has so many differing opinions and all the articles and information to back it up based upon a simple google search. No matter what your opinion is there is someone else who agrees with you, and some “expert” out there who has all the information for you that agrees with your opinion. The problem though is that not all of them are correct. But how many of us want to believe that what we think is wrong. Consequently, we have this constant upheaval all around us, all the time.

What do we do about all this chaos? How do we find calm within ourselves when the whole world around us is falling apart? I have found 2 sources that have helped me find calm. The first is my Heavenly Father. He is the source of all truth. We are all eternal beings having a temporal or mortal experience. We existed before we came to earth, and we will exist after we leave this earth. What happens here, good or bad has no effect on eternity in general, just on us individually based upon the choices we make. If we choose to draw closer to our Heavenly Father through obedience, we can have peace, not the worldly kind of peace that is fleeting, but actual, deep down in our hearts, peace. This peace leads to calm. We gain this peace by walking with our Savior no matter what happens around us. After all, we were sent down here to be tested, would we follow our Savior and allow Him to help us, even when things got hard, or would we turn away? Calm inside us comes when we are obedient, when we follow Him, and when we allow Him to calm our troubled hearts. This is a deep and abiding calm that will help us through difficulties big and small.

The second things I have found that brings calm for me is meditation. I have always had a negative opinion of meditation. I never tried it though to see if it would help. Last year I decided to purchase a Beach Body streaming membership. I have always preferred to work out at home and found this to be a great way to do so without being bored, since there are so many different workouts. I still love this app. But one of the “workouts” on the site was a 21 day meditation program. I was in a better mindset of trying something new, so one day I tried the first meditation. They are 10 minutes or less, so it wasn’t hard to fit it into my schedule for the day. The first one was titled Calm. I sat and participated in that one meditation program and I was hooked. I couldn’t believe how mentally refreshing that was, and it stuck with me throughout the day and week ahead. Since then I have usually tried to complete at least one a week. My mind races a lot, with everything going on around me, schedules to make sure sync with each other, the chaos of the world, etc. This has helped me to still my mind. I have always read the scripture that says Be Still, and have had a hard time achieving that stillness for very long. But now I understand better what it is and how to get there, even when everything around me is in motion. Meditation has also helped me to better still my mind when I pray, which has made my prayers more thoughtful and heartfelt. I am grateful that I was willing to set aside my predisposed ideas I had about meditation to try it once.

There is so much in this world that cannot be controlled by us personally. But our mindset and our ability to talk to God are things we can control. I am so grateful to learn better how to be still. I am also grateful that my Heavenly Father knows what I need to learn and grow, and when need be, He will help me soften my heart so that I can try new things. What are some things you do to be calm?

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Book Introduction

I noticed a few weeks ago that I had a theme going with a number of my blog posts. I have thought recently about self-publishing a book and decided I could possibly make these posts into a book. I have been working on that a lot lately. As I near the end of the process I would like to share with those who read my posts a couple of the chapters, as well as the short introduction and “about me” page included in the book. As far as timing, the book is done being written and I am in the process of designing a simple cover and back, as well as the process of uploading to the publisher. The things that I will be publishing are similar to what I have written on my blog, but I have added to them to make them more comprehensive for a book, so if you’ve read my blogs it will be similar, but more in depth. If you see any grammatical errors or places that need punctuation please let me know. I would also love thoughts about how it reads, as well as any random thoughts you have about the content.

Here is the Introduction:

This book is a series of blog posts from my website that I wanted to put together in a more comprehensive and complete form.  It comes from my experiences with priorities, habits, setting goals and achieving them.  This is only one of many ways I have found to help myself improve, and now hopefully to help someone else along in their path toward personal improvement.  We are all unique in our learning and understanding, so this book may not help some, but I believe if you follow the steps, it will give you ideas on how to change and why it’s important.  You are worth the effort you put into making yourself the best you can be, and only you can create the changes you want to see.  I hope you enjoy this book and that it can help you in the next steps of your life. 

And the About Me Page:

Hi, my name is Stephanie Richey.  I live in Alaska.  I am an artist, writer, piano player, and I love the outdoors.  I am also a wife and a mom.  A lot of my time has been spent raising kids and helping my husband with his business until the last few years when I have had a little more time to do some things I wanted to do.  I’ve always played the piano and did a lot of sewing through the years, but in the last 5 or so years I have also learned to paint, learned to make a website, and learned a lot about products.  I have been sharing my thoughts on my blog and recently saw a theme, and so I took a chance at writing a book.  This has been a new learning process, but learning something new is a great thing.  If you enjoyed my book, you can read more of my blog posts as well as see my art on my website at: stephaniericheyart.com