Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"How to Survive Your Greatest Blessings" by Emily Watts

I don't collect many things, but one thing I can't seem to get enough of is LDS books or talks on CD. I love books too, but I have less time to read than I do to listen. I can listen while I'm cleaning, cooking or driving around in the car. While listening to one recently, I realized that I have hardly reviewed any of them on my blog. So I'll try to remember to post about them every week or so.

This is the CD I've been re-listening to this week- How to Survive Your Greatest Blessings by Emily Watts. She has been an editor at Deseret Book for over 25 years. She has written other BOOKS, but the only other one of hers I've listened to, thanks to the library, is Women Are That They Might Have Joy Too that she co-authored with John Bytheway. (Gotta review that one too someday.)

In this one, Emily uses her own personal experiences and humor to remind us how important it is to look at our trials in a different way than we natually tend to. Toward the beginning, she talks about how excited we all were in heaven to come to earth and get a body. Then she asks, "Be honest. Did you get the one you wanted?" (Or something very similar) Of course, many of us often wish we could exchange ours for a different model or an upgrade. It made me think of when I was young.

I was diagnosed with asthma in the first grade (if I remember right). It definitely isn't one of the worst things to have in the long list of illnesses, but it was bad enough for me. I'd spend so many nights throughout my childhood unable to sleep, wheezing a painful, gasping breath. I had to take gross medicine that wasn't even made for children back then. It made my heart race and my hands shake, and it still didn't prevent many attacks. I missed days of school, had to avoid cats and dogs and just about any kind of exercise. I remember when I was maybe 11 or 12 wondering how I could have agreed to come down to this body before I came down to earth. What was I thinking?

Over the years, I have mostly outgrown the asthma. Breathing well is still wonderful to me. But I have grown in faith and understand that the weaknesses our bodies suffer are just part of the trials while we are on earth. Of course it was better to come down to an imperfect body (that I will keep eternally) than not to get one at all.

Emily Watts also talks about pride and how it prevents us from enjoying our our talents and other people's. She talks about a time when one of her children was in kindergarten and she was room mother. She spent a long time and much effort making cute drum cookies and then the children just gobbled them up. She realized that they are children and just want to eat. It wasn't the children she was making them for. It was to impress the other mothers. (Although I don't see anything wrong with making super-cute or yummy treats to make people happy, just for the record.) She figured out that the kids would have been happier with a Ding Dong and 2 twizzlers as their drum treat and she wouldn't have had such a crazy day preparing them.

Sometimes when we see someone else's talent, it makes us feel bad about not having that same talent. Emily reminds us that we need to rejoice in their talent. I like that she says we should be glad that THEY have that talent and not us because that means they have a work to do with it that WE don't. It's not our responsiblity. Of course, we are responsible for our own talents, so we're not off the hook.

Emily mentions the story of a young girl in the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies who was walking along, exhausted. A man in the rescue party asked if she would like a ride. She, of course, said she did. He grabbed her hand, but instead of pulling her in, he started the wagon, with the girl on the side. He continued on, going faster and faster, with the confused girl now running, thinking there was no way that she would be able to go on. Then the man picked her up and put her in some warm blankets. She then realized that the man had saved her feet by helping to restore her circulation by having her run.

Our trials are often like that. We might be confused. Why is Heavenly Father letting me suffer through this? Or we may even be upset. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Why does so-and-so have such an easy life compared to me?... But in reality, our trials are our greatest blessings. How can that be? I'm sure that you all have had enough experience to know already. We often grow and learn the most during those difficult trials in our lives.

Emily points out that the harder something seems, the faster we should complete the task Heavenly Father gave us so that we can claim those blessings Heavenly Father has ready for us and Satan wants us to be unworthy of. We sometimes give up when we are so close to the blessings, but we don't realize it. We need to keep our eternal perspective.

I appreciate Emily Watt's inspiring use of quotes, scriptures and humor and hope to read (or listen to) her other books soon. I'll end with the primary song that Emily mentions in the CD that I haven't heard in so long. (Do they have it in the Spanish songbook? I don't know.) What do you think about the line "Other men’s failures can never save you"? It won't do us any good to think that we are better than someone else because Heavenly Father doesn't judge us by comparing us. My two favorite lines are "You have a work that no other can do" and "Angels will hasten the story to tell." What stories are the angels telling about you? 

Dare to Do Right
1. Dare to do right! Dare to be true!

You have a work that no other can do;
Do it so bravely, so kindly, so well,
Angels will hasten the story to tell.

Dare, dare, dare to do right;
Dare, dare, dare to be true,
Dare to be true, dare to be true.

2. Dare to do right! Dare to be true!
Other men’s failures can never save you.
Stand by your conscience, your honor, your faith;
Stand like a hero and battle till death.
Words: George L. Taylor, b. 1835
Music: Arr. by A. C. Smyth, 1840–1909


  1. I Love this CD. I keep it in the car and listen to it when I am in the middle of a pity party! It is an amazing CD. I love her style and her simplicity. Every time I listen, I am moved. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you, I needed that today. I love books on CD because you can do other things while being inspired. I have quite a few too and I need to get back to listening to them. Every time I do it strengthens my testimony and I feel stronger an able to conquer the trials I have.

    In the blog world, I am amazed everyday at all the amazing women out there. Sometimes it's hard to not wish I was that talented or had that awesome family, or a wonderful husband. I always wonder why I have the trials I have too. One day we will all understand. I am grateful for the talents I have and I do have a wonderful life and it's better for me to not compare myself with others. But....there are those days when I feel a little sad and wish for more.

    I do have the CD "Women are that they might have Joy". I think I should pull out a few and start listening to them. Thanks again. You are such an spiritual person and I love how you inspire me.

  3. That sounds like such a great book! And you summarized it very well! I really like the thoughts your outlined. I am currently readong a book called "Seeds of Greatness" and it's amazing how inspired you feel when the message is makes you just want to get out there and conquer the world! I loved the part about rejoicing in other people having a talent because it is their responsibility to use it, not yours...what a great way to look at it.

  4. Tiffany, you are so good at reading a variety of good books. My library doesn't have that book, but I'll keep my eyes open for it somewhere.

  5. I like the analogy about trials. I often think while going through things, that I just wish I could learn whatever it is I'm suppose to learn, so the trial will go away and leave me alone. I also like the drum cookie story! I'll try to remember that one!

  6. This is a great review! I'm not familiar with this author, and I will for sure check out her books from my library.
    It's so true that our blessings can be dressed as trials and vice-versa. Very inspiring post Valerie. Thanks.

  7. I drive a hour to and a hour from work everyday so I listen to a lot of books on tape. I Need to start a book / CD exchange so I can afford to read/ listen to more. This on sounds really good. Thanks for sharing


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