After reading many reviews of my book on this tour, doing some guest posts about writing and such, I was wondering what I write about when it came to my turn on this tour that would be unique. Then it came to me that I cut a few chapters of my book along the way before it got published and I figured I could share a few of my favorite excerpts here that didn't make the cut.
So the following are a few chapter titles, quotes, and excerpts that didn't make the actual published book but that I am still really love. I hope you enjoy them.
“ ‘The Talmud says that a person should do two things for himself. One is to acquire a teacher. Do you remember the other? ‘Chose a friend’, I said. ‘Yes. You know what a friend is, Reuven? A Greek philosopher said that two people who are true friends are like two bodies with one soul.’ ”
(Chaim Potok, The Chosen pg. 74)
Excerpt from "Frienship":
I love making new friends, discovering new cultures, new ideas, new places, and new stories. Some of my favorite moments in life are in meeting new people who I know are destined to become some of my closest friends. It's the moments on the brink of new discovery and excitement that I treasure as much as the friends that I have held dear to me for years. I had never really thought a lot about friendships, or at least the way I make and keep friends, until I was asked the other day. So when I did get a chance to think about friendship these are some of my ideas I came up with:
(1) First love God, then love yourself, and then love others. It doesn't work any other way! Because I don't feel the need to compare, judge, or be catty, I am open to so many people. I thrive on diversity and people telling their story. When you love yourself first then you have the ability to love others!
(2) Maintaining friendships takes patience. In my friendships I know that people are busy. I also know that if they need me in their life they will let me know (or I will simply ask them). So it doesn't help to be demanding, bug them if they don't return my calls/texts, or even to feel discouraged if I don't hear from them for a while. They most likely have someone else in their lives they are talking to or turning to instead of me. This is okay with me because in due time they will come around. Being a patient friend is important and in the end friends know they can return to your listening ears and smiling heart!
(3) There is no reason for jealously in friendships. I may be strange but I truly don't understand much about jealously. I don't understand this emotion. In friendships people give of their time freely, and out of love, so each interaction is a choice and a gift. When someone chooses to spend time with another it doesn't take away from you or your friendship. In fact it just may deepen and expand your friendship with them.
(4) Friendship is not selfish. It is like other transactions You give and receive or you receive and then give. Either way both are very important and when one side of the transaction fails the entire friendship is in jeopardy. Toxic friendships are ones where someone is always dumping on the other or when someone is needy and only thinking of themselves. Healthy friendships thrive on wanting to give to each other just because. The very act of giving of ones times, talents, etc is enough!
(5) Friendship is all about timing! I think people underestimate this key piece of friendship. Some friendships are only meant for a moment in time while other friendships are meant to last forever. If you only seek forever friends you miss out on so many wonderful experiences, stories, adventures, and so forth. If you only seek out friends in the moment then miss out on the depth of memories, shared heartache, and watching someone change right in front of your eyes. Both kinds of friendships are important!
(6) Validation is key to a great friendship! It has been confirmed to me time and time again that validation is so important in any kind of relationship! It's important in friendship to give sincere and specific compliments or validation. It's important to let your friends know how you feel about them. When friends have confidence in each other they really be there for each other no matter what happens in their lives.
(7) It's all about the little things! Like most things in life it's the little things that really matter in the end. Little texts to say you care go a long way. Calling someone to wish them well, talk about their day, or just to say you're thinking of them really do matter. The more you listen to your friend the more you understand them and their wishes, desires, dreams. This makes it easier to validate them. It shouldn't be too hard to give a gift that matters, write a letter that is genuine, or make time in your busy schedule to spend with them. Theses little pieces of validation with make or break a friendship.
THE ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
“We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.”
(Thomas S. Monson, “An Attitude of Gratitude,” Ensign, May 1992, Alma 34:38 (last part))
Excerpt from "The Attitude of Gratitude: Grateful For Eyelashes":
One day in Middle School I was having a particularly bad allergy day and my eyes were itching, red, and puffy. I went into the girls bathroom to put some cold water on my eyes. I remember I was feeling awful and just wishing, like I had a million times before, that I didn’t have to suffer with stupid allergies. As I was standing at the mirror checking out my red puffy eyes I noticed a girl crying over the sink. I asked her if she was okay and if there was anything I could do. She started laughing while crying. She told me there was nothing I could do. She looked over at me and told me her eyelashes had just fallen out. I was a little shocked since this is something you don’t hear everyday.
She went on to explain to me that she suffers from an autoimmune deficiency called Alopecia Areata (AA). AA is characterized by areas of hair loss. She explained to me that she has severe AA and as a result every year she loses all her hair, she wears a wig, and her eyelashes fall out. She was in the bathroom because she was trying to apply Vaseline to her eye lids. Usually a person’s eyelashes protect their eyes from dirt and debris but since she no longer has eye lashes the Vaseline is sort of a back up option. I complimented her wig, said goodbye, and was forever changed! Suddenly my red, puffy, itchy, eyes didn’t seem so bad. At least I had eyelashes.
I wonder how often we think about our amazing bodies, the housing we have, the fact that water is readily available to us, and so many more things we take for granted in our lives. When was the last time you thanked God for your eye lashes? What about for your toe nails, for your opposable thumbs, and teeth? When you start to recognize all the things you have to be grateful for in your life you can’t help but be happy. Once you start counting your blessings everything else becomes a bonus instead of an expectation.
“At the center of our agency is the freedom to form a healthy attitude toward whatever circumstances we are placed in.”
(Neal A. Maxwell, “Notwithstanding My Weakness,” Ensign, Nov 1976)
“We teach that agency is the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and “to act for [ourselves] and not to be acted upon.” Agency is to act with accountability and responsibility for our actions. Our agency is essential to the plan of salvation. With it we are “free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil.”
(Robert D. Hales, “Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life,” Ensign, Oct 2010)
Excerpt from "Agency: Let People Tell Their Story":
My family moved the summer before my senior year of high school. In many ways this was hard for me but it was also very rewarding. One of the greatest lessons I learned that year was the importance of letting people tell their story. Let me share a story to illustrate what I mean. When I showed up at my new high school I didn’t really know anyone. I was nervous and excited and in a matter of only a few months I found myself being asked to the Homecoming Dance by this very good looking, popular, captain of the football team. I couldn’t believe it and neither could a lot of other people. As soon as other people found out he had asked me they begin to pull me aside and tell me stories about this guy from past years. I found myself hearing about a guy I couldn’t believe existed. I didn’t know that person. I knew the guy who had been kind to me when I needed a friend, who had asked me to a dance so I could have fun, and a guy who seemed to love the Lord.
I found myself at a cross roads of trying to figure out who he was. Was he the guy I had gotten to know over the past few months or was he the guy people were telling me about? One day I realized that I had been given a gift. I didn’t know the past or histories of any of the students in my new high school. I didn’t know who was popular, who wasn’t, and I didn’t know who had changed since their freshman year and who had stayed exactly the same. The only thing I knew was the story that each of them presented. I loved this idea! In this way everyone I met was new and got to tell me their story.
I think it is only natural for us to make judgements, have first impressions, and to hear about someone through gossip. It is important for safety, finding friends, and developing relationship that we have some kind of filter or judgement when we first meet people. But sometimes I wonder if I let other people tell someone else’s story. How many times have you pointed at a person at a singles activity and asked about them and the people in your group say something like, “oh, he’s a player,” or “ she’s more interested in education than getting married.” There are a million other things that are said about others—stories we tell about them or for them. I wonder how different things would be if we let people tell their own story?
Moral agency is a gift from God that we can use for our detriment or our benefit. It is important that we use our agency for good, that we don’t make decisions for others, and that we allow people to tell their own story. When we learn the importance and the power that agency has in our lives we can be much more effective instruments in the Lord’s hands.
I would love to hear what you think about any of these excerpts or ideas??