Thursday, October 25, 2007

Be Ye Therefore Perfect . . .

I’ve been thinking a lot about perfection lately. Mostly because I have a son who is a perfectionist. In everything. To his outside observers it would seem that he’s the whole package – just what every mother wants in a son. But I’ve got the inside scoop, and I’m worried.

He has fits when everything doesn’t go just right. He grunts and grumbles and has angry outbursts when he can’t work a math problem. A couple of errant golf shots sometimes lead to a minor melt-down. He likes his room neat and tidy and every hair on his head in its proper place.

As I’ve been contemplating his latest blow-up, I’ve been wondering what I could tell him that might help. What can I do as his mother to help him get over his unrealistic expectations of himself? In the process of my morning musings, the phrase, “the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree” hit close to home.

I have my own problems with perfectionism. With unrealistic expectations of myself. With getting discouraged when my well laid plans don’t go like I’d like. With not allowing myself to feel happiness amid my own imperfections. Sigh. What have I found helpful in my own journey toward balance? What gives me encouragement and perspective?

For starters, it’s helpful to remind myself who gave the injunction to be perfect – the Lord. And I believe that he was talking about the BIG PICTURE – exaltation. We’re not ever going to be perfectly perfect in this life. That’s not an excuse to give up, to settle for mediocrity, to roll our eyes and attempt to endure to the end. I look at it this way. When the Lord asks me to do something, I’d better do it His way.

I’ll use food storage as an example. Ten years ago when we bought our first home, we could no longer use the excuse of “no space” to put off accumulating a year’s supply of food. Now remember, I’m an over-achiever. I did lots of research on food storage – how much to have, how to rotate it, the best ways to store it, ad infinitum. Everyone had a different opinion. County extention agents said to buy what you already eat. Other sources advocated freeze-dried goods. I was left in a quandary. Until I considered the source of the mandate to accumulate food storage. If the Lord wanted me to store food, then I’d better do it according to what His leaders said. (Note: The church had come out with modified food storage counsel. Check it out at --,11677,1706-1,00.html

I thought the myriad sources with advice on storing food were overwhelming. But what about all the various outlets that offer advice and counsel on living a perfect life? We get magazines full of tips on perfecting all sorts of things . . . golf games, home life, decorating, having fun as a family. Add in newspapers, television, music and movies. Podcasts and self-help books. Not to mention family members. It’s a wonder that we’re not all crippled with perfection paranoia.

But back to doing things that the Lord asks in the Lord’s way. I love Mosiah 4:27. It says, “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that man should run faster than he has strength. And again, is it expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.”

When I’m feeling overwhelmed, it’s usually because I’m trying to run faster than I’m capable of, possibly doing things according to some worldly order instead of the Lord’s. Last week I had an opportunity to drive a friend to her doctor appointment in Salt Lake City. She suffers from firbromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome. And I mean suffers. During our some four plus hours together, she taught me a lot about pursuing perfection in the Lord’s way.

She told of wanting to see herself as the Lord sees her, wanting to know what his expectations were for her. After hours on her knees and more hours in quiet contemplation, she learned that the Lord wants her to be happy -- to experience gladness despite her health limitations. Nothing dramatic, but something definitely worth pursuing.

I guess it’s all about perspective. When I’ve got the BIG PICTURE in view, I feel encouraged and capable of accomplishing whatever the Lord requires of me. But when I remove the spiritual lens, I’m back to feeling inadequate. Is it any wonder that we’re counseled to read our scriptures daily? They help keep life in proper perspective. Ditto the temple. And church meetings. And family home evening. And especially prayer.

I guess that answers my question about how I can help my son. I can teach him that staying spiritually focused is the key to happiness, the only way to properly pursue perfection. Most importantly, I can show by example that like Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thoughts of Disney during spin class

First of all, let me just say that I warned the women at aerobics class this morning that I was on one. Actually, I just told them that I’d taken an Excedrin for a headache at 4:30 A.M. I figured that some sort of warning was in order. Something that would say, “Caution, Christie will be smiling more than usual. Talking more than usual. And may begin bouncing off the walls.”

Tuesdays are ½ step class and ½ spin. Basically we’re all die-hard step fans, but our instructor knows spinning is a great workout. It’s just that the ½ class of spin seems like at least an hour all by itself. So I’ve taken it upon myself to provide a little distraction during our workouts. In the past I’ve thrown out amusing scenarios along the lines of . . . Pretend we’re contestants on the Biggest Loser, and the camera is doing a close up on you. . . Or . . . Look! It’s Matt Damon ahead of us on a bike. Let’s catch up. . . Or. . . We’re only a few feet away from the Summit of Everest. Keep pedaling!

Today’s caffeine fueled spin distraction started off in Switzerland. “Velcome to our climb up zeh Matterhorn. Vee vill be seeing zeh men in zoze nice leather breeches -- zeh Lederhosen.” But that was about all I could think of to say about Switzerland. Probably because the mention of the Matterhorn took me to Disneyland. So we stayed at Disneyland.

Ladies, welcome to behind the scenes at Disneyland. You’re the little squirrels on the wheels that provide the electricity that drives everything here at the Magical Kingdom. We’re depending on you to keep the rides running. . .

We did the Tower of Terror. Thunder Mountain. It’s a Small World (during our cool down). We almost caught up with George Clooney at Tarzan’s treehouse. Orlando Bloom also offered to ride Pirates of the Caribbean with the spinner who won the sprint contest. (I was winning. Orlando took off. He looked scared.) We talked about Soaring Over California but didn’t end up fueling it. I was, however, distracted by the memory of the orange-scented flight over the orange groves. And that’s when I became aware of a marketing niche that Disney has overlooked.

Disney could sell Soaring Over California air fresheners. I’d love to buy some spray that would smell like the orange groves from the ride. Or some pine-scented spray just like the breeze wafting through the evergreens beside that beautiful California river. And maybe, just maybe, a little puff of air that smells just like Disneyland will bring some residual magic from the Magical Kingdom right into my home. (Glade home fragrance commercials are ubiquitous. Just think what the Disney marketing team could do!)

So if you’ve got a Disneyland Marketing connection, pass along my suggestion.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Free Business Ideas -- Take One!

My friend that's a patent attorney would probably advise me not to give my ideas away for free, but I just can't help myself. I don't really want to be an entrepreneur, but if that's your dream and you're just looking for the right idea, read on. Use whatever sounds interesting or plausibe. Just let me know how it turns out. (And remember, you just may get what you pay for.)

Buns on the Run -- a bakery delivery service. I've noticed that local bakeries in my area deliver to restaurants and grocery stores, but why not deliver bakery goods right to the consumer? Kind of like the milk that gets delivered right to your door. In its simplest form, this business would be a bakery sales and delivery service. Product would be from exhisting local bakeries, and Buns on the Run would then set up delivery contracts with households. The pie in the sky version of this business plan is a free-standing bakery with a range of goods that can be franchised across the country -- all under the Buns on the Run trademark.

U-pick fruit farm marketing . . . Ever wanted to run a U-pick fruit farm? Need a marketing idea? Try this one: (radio spot) "You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose . . . And you can pick our fruit! (details follow). Our ads may be tasteless, but our fruit is delicious!"

Bike Helmet Skins. While I was out weeding this week I watched the local kids heading to school. One girl's helmet was tan on top and looked fuzzy. It wasn't actually fuzzy, but my mental wheels were already spinning. Why not have more fun with bike helmets? I've always dreamed of entering a demolition derby with a pink car, and I'd wear a helmet on which I'd glued long, curly blonde hair. But why not have wigs for bike helmets? (Talk about big hair.) Safety has been serious for too long! I'd like to see lycra helmet skins that look like Viking helmets. You know, with horns. And maybe all those sport-a-holics would buy lycra skins that make their kids' helmets look like their favorite football team's helmets. I'm also seeing great kid's movie spin offs . . . Pocohantas braids, Ratatouille baker hat bike helmets, Mickey mouse ears for helmets, bug antenae, a tri-corner Jack Sparrow pirate hat... You get the picture.

Fisher Price Play Prison. You might be arrested if you seriously suggested this as a children's product. But there were times when I could have used one. One day, years ago, when my son was in time out in his room, he stripped the bedding from his bed, pulled out all the drawers from his dresser and emptied them all onto the floor. It would have been nice to have some big plastic kid furniture item he couldn't escape from.

When you dream, dream big.