"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
July 9, 2013
Humming Along
by Vickey Pahnke Taylor

There is something comforting and uplifting about humming. If I happen to hear a fellow shopper humming, someone at the gas station, or wherever I happen to be, it brings a smile to my face.

It is such a simple thing -- to hum. Yet it brings happiness. I began to ponder over some other ridiculously simple things we can practice that will increase our joy quotient.  

Here are a few I came up with:

1. Just Say No. Are you a people pleaser? The other day I smiled when I came across a funny online sign that said, "I'm a recovering people pleaser. Is that okay?"  My desire to help and please has often caused me to say "yes" to too many projects, too many activities, or too many situations I didn't really want to find myself in.  I'm working on that.

None of us can please everyone. It's God I'm aiming to please. If it works out for all the others as well, awesome. If I have to say "no" to stuff more often, I'm feeling pretty good about it.

2. One Thing at a Time.  In this fast-paced world of multi-tasking, we can make ourselves nuts with the to-do lists and the five-things-at-once mentality. Focusing on just one thing can literally make the blood pressure go down.

I'm not making this up. Women are famous for eating while they do laundry while they clean the counters, while they talk on the phone.   I say, let's resign from this stuff. There is peace to be had by focusing on just one thing, getting it done, and then focusing on the next thing.  I have a sneaking suspicion we may be more in tune with the Holy Ghost if we aren't so maxed out.

3. Use Aromatherapy. We don't have to spend big bucks buying the latest and greatest stuff on the market. If you've ever put some water in a pot, adding cinnamon sticks, clove, and a few pieces of cut-up oranges, you know this smell wafts through and feels comforting. There are lots of ways to bring lovely scents to our home.  With them may come some calm and a bit more happiness!

4. Take a Break from the News.  Seriously, the headlines are pretty much a recipe for feeling down or angry or frustrated, at the least. I'm not advocating sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that all is well. I'm saying, just take a break now and then. Forget about the craziness. Look into some good news, including the true Good News that Jesus of Nazareth brought. The words of scripture we read bring balance and goodness to our life.

5. Take a Mini-Vacation.  Go to a quiet place and enjoy yourself. No music. No talking. No distractions. That's a place where the insides may calm down. Then find a few quiet places for enjoyment and reflection -- a garden, a museum, a library, or any lovely location where the crazy pace of our world is shut out for a bit. Ahhh…. Before we know it, we can breathe again!

I'm no expert, but I'm a believer. I believe that there is peace to be found in a pretty much non-peaceful world. I believe there are inherently good folks on this earth. I believe that you and I can -- in easy ways -- continue to build a better life by instituting the simplest of practices to enhance inner calm and peace. Surely it is a practice that our Father in Heaven applauds.

It's well worth the effort, because it brings more quiet goodness.

And goodness matters.

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About Vickey Pahnke Taylor

Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, grandmother, teacher, author, and songwriter. Her undergraduate study at BYU was musical theater. She has a Masters degree in interpersonal communications.

A Billboard award-winning songwriter with hundreds of songs to her credit, she uses music as a teaching tool. But her favorite way to use music has been to sing to her children. You should hear the family's rousing versions of "Happy Birthday"!

In addition to three solo albums in the LDS market, she co-wrote "Women at the Well" with Kenneth Cope and "My Beloved Christ: with Randy Kartchner. She is co-writer of the theme song for Utah's Make-A-Wish foundation, the song for the Special Olympics program, and EFY's theme song.

She writes for several online magazines and columns, and has authored several books. Her website, www.goodnessmatters.com, is her way of continuing to grow goodness in the world, pointing people gently toward Christ and eternal principles of truth.

She has spoken for the Church's various Youth and Family programs for 25 years. She and her husband Dean have eight children and four grandchildren. She adores being a wife, mom and grandmother. She loves flowers, brownies, cooking Italian and Southern foods, the ocean, and laughing every chance she gets.

Vickey was baptized a member of the Church as a teenager in Virginia. She serves as gospel doctrine teacher in her ward, and Dean serves on their stake high council.

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