Why the Sparkly Mountain

My family spent a week pulling a trailer to various places between Mesa, Arizona and Salt Lake City, Utah for spring break when the kids were younger.

Oh, I could write volumes on the shenanigans we experienced, but for the sake of this post, I’ll try to keep it to one point.

We had just spent an entire day trying to get from Mesa, AZ to Goblin Valley, Utah, not really comprehending how unrealistic such a jaunt in one day really was.  After missing our turnoff in Flagstaff (add 3 hours to the trip because of the unscheduled stop at the meteor crater on the way to Albuquerque), our hope was to reach Goblin Valley, Utah before the RV park closed at 10 pm.

On the map, there’s a nice little road from Mexican Hat, straight up to Hanksville, which is only a little ways away from Goblin Valley.  By the time we reached Mexican Hat, it was clearly impossible to hope for a 10 pm arrival; we’d be lucky to get there before midnight.  I just prayed that the gate would remain open for us by some fluke, so we pressed on.  We had already paid for the first night, and I wanted to benefit from it.

(Do all you CAN do, and expect things to work out for you in the end, right?)

When we reached the turnoff outside of Mexican Hat, there was a large, obnoxious sign that said we’d be stupid to drive that road with an RV.  It was small with switchbacks and although I was anxious to get to Hanksville, we decided it would be smartest to go an extra 40 miles out of our way through Bluff and Blanding instead.

Here’s a street-view Google image showing the sign, which we saw in the dark:

to-hanksville
10% GRADES /  5 mph SWITCHBACKS / NARROW GRAVEL ROAD /  8 MILES

By 1:00 in the morning, we finally rolled into Hanksville, exhausted and grateful that we were there in one piece.  It had been a lonely, dark, unpredictable and nerve-wracking road with our long and heavy trailer.

We slept at a gas station in Hanksville, and in the morning, headed down highway 24 towards Goblin Valley.  Happy to be close to our destination and well rested, we excitedly told the kids we were almost there.

(To this point, the destination was still a secret.)

About 20 miles out of town, my son saw something sparkly spread across the hills on our left.  I looked, and was amazed at its beauty – it looked like it was covered in hundreds of yards of gold.  I knew it couldn’t possibly be, so I just assumed it had to be pyrite (fools gold).

Unexpectedly, the glitter ended with the next hill.  “Shoot!” We thought, “we should have stopped to see what it was and take some home with us!”  But our trailer was too large, and we were too long to turn around on the narrow 2-lane road, so we just pressed on.

Around the next corner, my husband thought he saw some more on the right side of the road and quickly pulled off to take the opportunity.

But it only took a moment to realize that the solid-looking shoulder was deep and soft from rain the day before.  He gunned it to get back on the road, but it was too late.  We were stuck.  Stuck on a road that sees a traveler only once in a very long while.

Long story short, a group of college kids eventually saw us, turned around, and stopped to help in vain (to my oldest son’s amusement, one happened to be from the same high school as he attended, 550 miles away).  Then a man in a truck stopped, and went into town to get a chain.

With everyone pushing, and the man with the truck pulling, we finally pulled out.  My husband ran ahead to thank the man in the truck, who asked us where we were going.  My husband responded, “Goblin Valley!”  To which the man replied, “You’re going in the wrong direction!  You need to take the 24 East, not West.”

Amazing. We were already 30 miles off course and would not have known it for a very long time had we not gotten stuck in the mud.

The college students asked, “Why did you pull off the road?”

We chuckled, “Because we saw something sparkly.”

They laughed at us.

Hard.

We let the kids out of the van to go climbing while my husband drove up the road to find a place to turn around.

You know, sometimes life is like this. 

You’re traveling along in the wrong direction and don’t even know it.  So God allows you to be enticed by a dream that gets your attention – maybe it’s financial freedom, maybe it’s a nice house or a car.  So you divert your attention toward the goal and somewhere along the way, you end up getting stuck.

Jacob and Sarah coming down the hill to get back in the van.

In an effort to get unstuck, you reach out for help, and ultimately learn something that puts you on course toward your ultimate goal, after having been off course without even knowing it.

People looking for more money or a better lifestyle often end up discovering the principles of prosperity and laws of success which apply to all areas of their life, all because they got stuck financially and searched for a way out.

The good news is, being stuck is one of the best things that can happen to you, because it often stops you from continuing in the wrong direction, and opens up an opportunity for you to not only get unstuck, but to get back on course when you didn’t even know you were going the wrong way.

I’m convinced that’s what the “glitter” of life is really for. 

“Materialism”, being too consumed with material things, isn’t all bad, because if it gets your attention, and if your heart is in the right place, it can lead you to answers you don’t even know you need.

For more help on getting unstuck, prospering your family, and turning your life around, visit ProsperTheFamily.com.

PS. I’ve since determined that the mountain was probably covered with of Mica or Gypsum.

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Prosper By Degrees

Originally published Jun 8, 2012

When my husband and I learned about the principles of prosperity and began to consciously live by them, we experienced dramatic results, tripling our income in just 3 months. But the ‘good fortune’ wasn’t going to last forever.

Trying to be super-smart with our new-found wealth, we anxiously invested it in a number of wrong places. A combination of inexperience and haste led us to invest poorly, and get in over our heads to a dangerous level.

Add to that the fact that we had involved ourselves with business people who eventually slipped into hiding or went to jail, and perhaps you can get a glimpse of how quickly a fortune can be lost, even with the best of intentions.

In the wake of our poor decisions, needless to say, we were left with a big mess to clean up. But no worries – we understood the principles that had brought us the wealth to begin with, so we would just practice them again, and turn things around in short order.

Or so we hoped.

But we discovered that sometimes the consequences of our decisions have a more far reaching effect that can’t be turned around with just a snap of the fingers, so to speak. Turning a corner like that is something like turning a massive cruise ship around. You might get the rudder turned in the right direction, but it can take some time before the effects are noticed.

We had erroneously believed that we could “make” those bad decisions into good ones somehow just by “thinking right.” While it may be true that in every adversity there is a seed of equal or greater benefit, that doesn’t mean the adversity will go away with right thinking. It only promises that something good can be born from it.

In a determined push to create another massive financial breakthrough like the first, I locked on to the vision of a quick rescue, another big windfall. I’d seen them before, experienced them more than once. Many, many times we had used the principles to produce tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in a short period of time, so that’s what we were running for.

But something was different this time. For some reason, the mental discipline and goal setting strategies weren’t paying off like they had in the past. It seemed that something was preventing the blessing. The formula wasn’t panning out.

In time, I stopped trying so hard, out of sheer exhaustion. I started to accept whatever was, just as it was. I decided to find peace and happiness even in our mess, and begin focusing again more completely on my family relationships.  It seemed I no longer had real influence or control over our finances (since I kept failing to meet my goals), so I directed my attention to the little things in my world over which I could make a difference.

It was during a Sunday School lesson at church that I had my next great epiphany. The class discussed a story about two groups of people who lived more than 2000 years ago, comparing and contrasting their experiences:

The first group was led by a man named Alma. Alma and his people were devout believers who worshiped God and were diligent in keeping the commandments.

The second group was led by a man named Limhi. Limhi and his people relied just a little too much on their own strength and wisdom. Both groups were in subjection to the same oppressive government.

When the government sent an army to destroy Alma and his people, they were warned by God ahead of time and were able to escape.

When the army came to attack Limhi’s people, they were given no warning.

Limhi’s people tried three times to deliver themselves from the oppression, and each time, they failed. Eventually, they began to reevaluate their approach, and decided that they needed to pay more attention to the commandments, and rely on God for their success with patience.

The record then states:

“…the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of [their oppressors] that they began to ease their burdens; …The Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage [yet]… they began to prosper by degrees in the land, and began to raise grain more abundantly, and flocks, and herds, that they did not suffer with hunger.”

That description – that the Lord did not see fit to deliver them, but allowed them to begin prospering by degrees – was my answer.

I had been expecting a big miraculous rescue, and was dissatisfied with anything less. I had thought I was being obedient to the commandments of God all along, but recognized I could do better.

What I feel that God wanted me to learn was simple: to not run faster than I had strength as I had been, but to take it at a pace that I could maintain throughout my life, so that I don’t burn myself out and become completely useless to Him.

So I slowed down and began to envision Him opening doors and preparing the way for long-term success. I lost interest in anything that promised big, quick bucks, because we had already experienced that kind of success. Instead, I became increasingly interested in principles that would allow us to rebuild on a more solid, long-lasting foundation.

It’s just a matter of getting back to the basics. It’s making smart choices, and sacrifices. It’s being smart with what we have, and anticipating gradual improvement. It’s watching more closely how we spend our money, and watching for evidence that we are being prospered by degrees.

We started noticing and celebrating each little bit of evidence, and realized that were were being prospered by degrees. I stopped lamenting the lack of a massive windfall, and started being grateful again for every simple blessing. The growth has been gradual but consistent. Our good fortune has been added upon every day.

When the needed rescue doesn’t come by one miraculous windfall,  look for evidence that you’re prospering by degrees.

It’s been a humbling process, but one that I am grateful for. I know we’re wiser for the experience, and that it will make a big difference for our future. Our family is already much happier, too, because I’m finally living at a pace that I can maintain.

Read The Unexpected Cure for Doubt

There’s time to build your life right. There’s time to build your business right. There’s time to build relationships right. Looking for shortcuts can become an addiction. As you slow down and prayerfully live receptive to God’s guidance, you’ll find that there is no greater shortcut than that.

And when that guidance says, RUN!” then by golly, you’d better run!

But sometimes we run when we’re really supposed to stop and take the time to sharpen the saw, and reconnect with God.

Originally posted June 8, 2012

Read more details about our experience here. And as always, I appreciate your comments!

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Nix the Scorekeeping

If you’re married and working toward a goal, sometimes living the principles can be especially challenging because deep down you have certain expectations of what your spouse is supposed to be doing.

Heck, it can be hard enough achieving goals with all the lofty expectations of what YOU are supposed to be doing!

At one time I had to come to terms with the fact that I was in another one of those “temporary seasons of imbalance” and decided to just hunker down and get through it. My husband agreed, and was there to support me, filling in gaps wherever he could, rather than getting frustrated that there were gaps to be filled.

What an example. I have often struggled to reciprocate that same kind of support.

He and I run through life at a different pace. I’m a sprinter, while he’s a distance runner. I burn out, while he steadily plugs along. So there have been many, many times when our mutual goal setting efforts have ended in shipwreck.

I’ve pondered this dilemma deeply, because it’s common among many couples. I’ve seen more than one relationship crumble under the weight of such differences. Sometimes I think it’s a wonder that we’ve made it through those times with our marriage still in tact.

Marriage requires adjustments and compromises. It might even require unplanned course-changes, which is why it’s important to establish your priorities early with clarity and resoluteness.

I’ve abandoned goals that threatened to compromise my top priority: my marriage covenant. My husband has abandoned goals if they’ve put a strain on our relationship. I’m not saying that is good, bad, or indifferent; I’m just saying that when your values, priorities, and ideals are in stone, then decisions, sacrifices, and disappointments can eventually be resolved with greater serenity.

(I understand some marriages need to end. But that’s a topic for another day, and probably for someone more qualified to address.)

Marriage also requires patience, and an understanding that we all have ups and downs (Law of Rhythm). Most of the time, I was up while he was down, or I was down while he was up.

That’s life.

So in your marriage, even if you’re both working hard to learn and understand the laws of success, you’ll learn them and apply them at different paces and in different ways.

When you’re in the groove, your spouse may struggle. When you’re spouse is on a roll, you may struggle. How, then, can you succeed as a couple if you can’t seem to get it right at the same time?

Count your blessings if the above description sums up your relationship. The Law of Rhythm states that everything in life is cyclical. We will have up days and we’ll have down days. When you’re on an up, go ahead and get a whole bunch of stuff done! Take advantage.

When you’re down, go with it and let it serve its purpose (as described in Hidden Treasures), with an expectation that your turn for an up day is on its way.

Don’t allow yourself to feel frustrated when the two of you can’t seem to make quantum leaps forward together. It is GOOD that you’re on different tracks, because if you both were to crash at the same time, who’d be there to pick up the pieces?

Allow yourself to feel the joy that comes when you say, “It’s okay, you can have a down day, and I’ll carry the torch until you come around.”

Imagine how that would make your partner feel. You’ve just turned a frustration into a blessing, which is a key skill for building a mindset for success. The goals you strive for will continue to move toward you as you show compassion to your spouse in his or her valley, and refuse to keep score.

Take responsibility. The minute you begin to fume and fuss over what someone else is doing or not doing, you lose power. Instead of passing judgment, be grateful for his/her companionship, and the opportunity you have to grow through the experience.

Find the good. Think on the positive aspects of your spouse. Think and speak about the good things, and the good will grow. Don’t expect everything to be fixed overnight. Some of our challenges have taken ten, even twenty years to resolve. What kept us going was a common belief that we’d eventually figure it all out. Some days I wasn’t so sure, and on other days I’m certain he wasn’t so sure. But there has always been at least one of us believing, or when perhaps if we were ever both in doubt, we didn’t speak of it because failure was not an option.

Move forward with faith, and if you are struggling now because of a conflict with your spouse, count it a blessing (Law of Polarity) and start looking for the seed of equal or greater benefit contained in the adversity.

“Never let a problem to be solved” [or a goal to be achieved] “become more important than a person to be loved.” ~ Thomas S. Monson

Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition. You don’t ‘divi’ up the responsibilities and then critique your partner’s performance on his/her share. It’s a 100/100, or perhaps even a 110/110 proposition.

Do what you can do, even if it means sharing the other person’s load. Even if it means carrying the whole load for a while. Sometimes it may feel like 150/20. Maybe it feels that way most of the time. But if you try hard enough, and are willing to see it, I’ll bet you can remember at least once when it was 10/130. We all take turns, even if sometimes that turn goes on for years.

Whatever the numbers are, how you let yourself feel about carrying more than your “fair” share may well determine your future success. It also may very well determine how quickly things shift.

But if you begrudge the load, you rob yourself of the joy AND potential prosperity (monetary or otherwise) that is waiting for you on the other side of the adversity.

Remember, through natural law, God’s universe responds to the feelings you emit. So for now, try feeling grateful that you are able to help today. What if, for some reason, you couldn’t help, even if you wanted to?

Things could always be worse (Law of Relativity).

So don’t keep score. Inevitably, there will be a day when you are the one who needs to be carried. Serve with joy here and now, sacrifice whatever is necessary in the short term to make it work, and you’ll both reap great benefits soon enough.

Nag not. Be patient. Allow those you love to grow at their own pace. I know, it may delay the prize, but you may discover that the prize without your relationships in tact may not be a prize at all.

And if your spouse isn’t on board in the least with the things you’re learning, you can still prosper; you can still succeed. Have faith in God’s ability to show you how to achieve your dreams without compromising your values, even if you’re the only one who believes in them.

As Wendell Phillips said, “One, on God’s side, is a majority.”

Related: What if My Spouse Doesn’t Think Positive? Originally published March 13, 2007

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The Language of Faith

Learning to consciously apply success principles for a better life is like learning a whole new language. At first, with every intention to communicate your desires perfectly, everyone makes mistakes. It’s happened to me: what was intended to communicate my desires clearly has often turned into something that I never intended at all.

But that’s okay… it’s part of the learning process.  Think about it:

Imagine going to a Spanish speaking country with nothing more than a rudimentary understanding of the Spanish language and an English/Spanish translation handbook.

(I tell people all the time that I can speak Spanish: Ta-co Bell, burrito, chimichanga, enchilada…)

So you arrive in the foreign country and climb into a taxicab. You open your book and intend to tell the driver, “I want to go someplace quiet and beautiful where I can feel the spirit of God.” So word by word, you search your translation guide and say, “Deseo ir en alguna parte tranquilidad y hermoso donde puedo sentir el alcohol del dios.”

The driver, who is a native of the country hears, “Desire to go beautiful tranquility somewhere, and where I can feel the alcohol of the God.”

Where do you think he will take you??

When you end up at a saloon, you might look at your book and throw it away saying, “This Spanish language doesn’t work!!!”

Do you know anyone who has been introduced to the principles of prosperity through “The Secret” or elsewhere, made an attempt to live according to the guidelines and then throw it all away because the “tool” didn’t work?

Maybe you’ve also thought about giving up.

Realize that the language of faith is just that: it is a language… of the spirit. It takes time to develop fluency. It takes time to understand the cause and effect of thinking, feeling, and acting in a certain way.

When things don’t go the way you expect them to go, accept the results and simply learn from them. Take the lessons that are available in every challenge and let them work in you so you can get closer to your goal the next time.

Don’t throw away the principles that you know deep down are true, even if the results you get aren’t what you intend them to be.

When you end up at a saloon instead of a beautiful botanical garden, it wasn’t because the “book” or the “language” didn’t work! It actually worked perfectly.

Let me give you an example. For a long time I had a goal statement that said, “Money comes to me frequently and easily from multiple sources in increasing quantities on a continual basis. People want my products; God helps his children through me.”

After about a year of this I realized that the part, “People want my products” is exactly what I was getting. Thousands of people wanting something I have doesn’t exactly translate into revenue.

That’s when I changed my statement to more accurately reflect my true desire: “People buy my products; God helps his children through me.”

See the difference? It’s a language thing.

We communicate our desires and receive what we ask for. “Ask and ye shall receive” is a true principle. But this language of faith that we are trying to learn comes from a culture that is part of our divine nature, but something we have temporarily forgotten.

In God’s world, when we ask for increased faith, He doesn’t necessarily give us faith, but opportunity to exercise our faith. When we ask for financial freedom, He doesn’t give us piles of money but opportunity to develop a growing income.

The more fluent we become in the language of faith, the more peacefully we will grow toward accomplishing all we desire.

As explained in The Jackrabbit Factor, that is why a person who sets a goal to lose weight can very easily end up with more pounds than where they began. It is also why a person who focuses so much on getting out of debt may very well end up with more debt than they ever expected.

(Read The Jackrabbit Factor for a deeper explanation on this topic.)

We learn the language of intention one concept at a time.

An underdeveloped understanding of Spanish may be enough to get me to the bathroom in a Mexican restaurant south of the border, but it may not help me when I need to navigate my way through town in search of a post office.

Likewise, an underdeveloped understanding of the principles of prosperity may help you accomplish something on one level, but a continued study of the “language” and practicing it often is what may be required to re-invent the most significant aspects of your life.

Keep learning, keep studying, and keep practicing!  You’ll get there!

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