Saturday, August 11, 2012

What Inspires You?

It's Saturday afternoon. My sweet little baby had a hard time going down for a nap, but when she finally did I got some snacks and ice water and laid in my bed reading. I've been reading about the life of someone who inspires me. People are inspired by so many different things - it can be music, literature, art, goals, nature, athletics, etc. Whatever it may be these things speak to our souls and make us want to be better. They move us to action to increase our knowledge, nurture our talents, turn outside of ourselves, be our best. Most of us need frequent and powerful reminders of the good within us and the potential that we have, but the point is that we all have it! Though we are all unique about how we respond and the things that "make us tick", God placed so much variety on this earth so that each of His children could relate to and be inspired by something. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

For me, I feel most inspired and motivated by the lives of others. I've always loved reading and have enjoyed many different genres, but lately all I want to read are true stories of inspiring lives. Some of my favorite books and those that have changed my perspective are:

John Adams, by David McCullough
Driven, by Larry H. Miller/Doug Robinson
Unlikely Heroes, by Ron Carter (stories of courageous men and women in the Revolutionary War)
The Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley, edited by Virginia Pearce
Stolen Lives, by Malika Oufkir (story of a woman from Morrocco who spends 20 years in a desert prison)
I Am a Mother, by Jane Clayson Johnson
Surround Yourself with Greatness, by Chad Lewis
Heaven is Here, by Stephanie Nielson
To the Rescue, by Heidi Swinton (biography of Thomas S. Monson)


I've loved watching the Olympics the past couple of weeks (I'm an Olympic junky) and learning the personal stories of athletes. They are examples of humans reaching their potential (in one aspect of life) and doing their very best at something. It inspires me because although I don't aspire to be an Olympian, I know that I have the potential to do and be my very best in whichever aspects of my life that I'm willing to sacrifice and put forth the effort in.

One example of "best effort". I don't know Chad Lewis personally - I've met him a few times, but that's it. I  liked his book (listed above) because you really feel like you get to know him. The writing itself isn't particularly amazing, but it's genuine, straightforward, and it's Chad. My husband and I read the book together as we often do. Before we got very far we wondered if maybe Chad had hired a "ghost writer". It didn't take long for us to know that the voice and pen was no substitute, but the man himself. We laughed every time he introduced a new person into his life story by estimating their height and weight - in true football player fashion:) He's had a lot of amazing opportunities in his life due to his dedication and sacrifice to become a great football player. But it's not just football. He gives his very best effort to everything he does. I was reminded of the type of person that he is just a couple of weeks ago when we were at Seven Peaks water park in Provo. Chad Lewis was there with his family for a work function that we were able to attend. He challenged a small group made up of athletes, co-workers, and kids to race down the newest slide at the park. I watched and even participated in one race and smiled as I saw Chad win every a long shot. He was super competitive (in a very friendly way) and gave his all each time he slipped down that slide. I was particularly impressed because he's consistent and dedicated to being his very best...all the time...even in a water slide race. WHAT WOULD WE ALL BE LIKE IF WE GAVE OUR VERY BEST EFFORT TO EVERYTHING WE DID - work, school, marriage, physical exercise, parenting, etc?

It'd be somethin' fierce.