Do YOU Have Talents?

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   In our society of lightning fast technology, it makes incredible and before unimaginable advances possible. We can connect as family, friends, and even strangers – all around the world. This is a great benefit in countless ways.

However, on the flip-side, it can be a disadvantage as we can present ourselves only at our best. In turn, we oftentimes then compare our-self, our families, our things with what others have, make, look like and achieve.

  When I was a girl, even a teenager…ok, I fess up and admit that as an adult I look at others talents and abilities and match them, to my own. I can’t sing, dance, I’m not athletic, nor an orator, really I couldn’t find a talent to latch onto and say, “I can do this___” and claim it with pride.

What about you?

I was reading Matthew 25:4-30 (King James Version), the parable of The Talents which has alluded me in its deeper meaning for many years.

Lately, I have pondered and studied this story. If you will indulge me, I would like to share what I found that may be interesting to you, if you are the same as I, and wonder what your gifts might be and how this parable can apply to our life today.

The parable begins with a man, the Lord, who gives to his servants talents.

  • To one he gives five
  • to another two
  • and another one

Notice each is given talents”to their ability”. We could go very deep into this parable, but for this musing, let’s just talk about finding our God given abilities He sent us here with.

The first servant who was given five talents he multiplied those talents and made another five talents. When the Lord returned and asked for an accounting, the servant who had been given five talents, and now had ten total was praised with: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”

The second servant who was originally given two talents, multiplied those talents to make four talents. When the Lord returned and asked for an accounting, the servant who had been given two talents, and now had four, and was praised with: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”

Notice that the servant who had five and the servant who had two both now have the same reward because they were willing to work with what they had been given, in faith that it was enough and what God felt was needed in their life.

They each took the talents given them and –

1. Developed them – made them visible and usable.

2. Used them in positive ways.

3. Found ways to make the talents grow.

Even when uncomfortable or difficult, we must USE (action word!) our talents to serve, develop and grow.  That is what makes us greater and worthwhile; isn’t it?!

Now the third servant was given one talent and instead of trying to make something of his single talent, he buried it in the ground! When the Lord came to ask for an accounting of what he had done with the gift/talent he was favored with, the servant tried to turn it back on the Lord by blaming Him! The servant said the Lord was too strict, too harsh, asked too much and he was afraid to have any faith in the talent he was given to share with others as God had wanted him to. For that attitude and lack of action, he was chastised and not given the same reward.

Remember at the beginning we read, “to their ability”? God gives us talents, gifts, abilities, skills, so that we can grow, be happy and learn.

I sincerely believe that every single human being is born with at least one gift from God  in order to improve their life and that of others.

Our talents are to be used to edify, build, nourish, improve, and in all ways make life better in righteous ways.

Always to lift a burden, ease a care, help others find their way out of poverty, alleviate sorrow, push down hate and all evil. Our talents are to bring our-self, our family and others to God and Christ.

You may be as I, and wonder at times: what abilities could I possibly have?  Mainly, never forget that YOU are unique, remarkable and have divinity within YOU.  And that alone makes you extraordinary! In case you need help defining your own talents, read on.

Here are some gifts that are very important and valuable, though not always easily recognized such as*:

  • The gift of asking God for appropriate things
  • The gift of listening to God
  • The gift of listening to others
  • The gift of hearing and using a still, small voice
  • The gift of being able to weep (with those that mourn also)
  • The gift of avoiding contention
  • The gift of being truthful
  • The gift of not having to be right, but looking at the other persons perspective also and still holding your opinion and not arguing or being forceful with your take on the situation
  • The gift of encouraging others and building their confidence
  • The gift of keeping a confidence (of course this does not include dangerous situations)
  • The gift of running to one you have offended to make it right, when the Spirit tells you to do so
  • The gift of being a peacemaker
  • The gift of appropriate humor and making others laugh
  • The gift of being agreeable
  • The gift of kindness
  • The gift of being a calm person
  • The gift of being a moral person
  • The gift of standing for the right even when under pressure, or when the way is more difficult
  • The gift of patience
  • The gift of teaching
  • The gift of being an example of living correct principles
  • The gift of sorting through an issue or problem before reacting
  • The gift of being a true friend
  • The gift of avoiding vain repetition when praying
  • The gift of seeking that which is righteous
  • The gift of not passing judgement
  • The gift of looking to God for guidance
  • The gift of being a disciple of Christ
  • The gift of caring for others and their best interest
  • The gift of putting others at ease and making them feel comfortable when they are with you
  • The gift of helping others realize their importance as a son or daughter of God
  • The gift of being able to ponder the genuinely important aspects of life
  • The gift of offering sincere prayer
  • The gift of bearing a mighty testimony.

What amazing gifts these are and the list could go on for pages!

There are so many wonderful talents that enrich our life, make it more exhilarating for ourselves, our family and all those we encounter in our journey of life.  These gifts can also help us live longer and healthier lives.

How grateful I am for those who can dance, sing and entertain with wholesome and decent performances.

I love good clean humor; laughter truly is remarkable medicine for the soul. Artists, doctors, and inventors-all the pioneers who dream and then have the knowledge to design objects and machines I could not even imagine; I applaud and am incredibly grateful for their contribution.

As we look at those who can build, perform and seem to have a greater impact than we ever could, do not despair, give up, or blame God that we do not have anything to give, a talent or skill that is noteworthy or evident.

Remember; the only requests He has are:

1.  Is to ask God what our gift(s) is that He sent you with

2. Use it/them to the fullest to serve others and glorify Him

3. THEN you receive every blessing He has to offer. Isn’t that the most wonderful news!

We do not have to compete with what others are doing, making, look like or have!!! It was never meant to be a contest. Relish others genius, accomplishments and aptitude!

Simply develop our own gifts to the best of OUR abilities, and then use them to help others become better and closer to God.  As we do this, we naturally will be drawn on the same course. Consequently, our lives will be richer, we will have PEACE, CALM, and PURE JOY. That is a reward indeed! 


Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

*a portion of this list is from Elder Marvin J. Ashton


Why You Should Never Wear Someone Else's Nylons

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It just Never Works to Wear Someone Else’s Nylons

This is a story about nylons or as some call them pantyhose.   If you have never worn these before, they are sheer, close-fitting leg wear that usually cover from the waist to the toe.  They cover my glow-in-the dark skin, as well as many other imperfections – so I wear them. 
Years back after my fifth child was born, I was self-conscious about my so called figure, or you might say, my too much of a figure.  I would like to blame it on the fact that all five of my children came ‘through the window’ as we call cesarean births around our house, but many other women have c-sections, lots more babies and still somehow manage to look like models.
My mother happened to call one day when I was really beating myself up for having rolls of ‘baby fat’, that were not on the baby. I whined to her, ‘Why could I not have forty pound babies because then I would only have to lose five to ten pounds’.
Moms are always vigilant to try to ‘fix’ everything, so she offered me some very special nylons. She would purchase a pair for me like hers and put them in the mail immediately.  These were ‘magic’ and would suck it all in, though I kept wondering where it all went; it is a law of physics you know that matter has to go somewhere.
The package came in the mail containing the almost supernatural pantyhose. I decided I would wear them to church the next Sunday, hoping this would solve my issue of wanting to continually compare myself to every other woman in the building (yes, I am shallow and very human).
Sunday morning came, and taking the nylons out of the new packing they looked extremely small and those ‘magic’ nylons were most difficult to put on. I pulled and tugged and stuffed ‘matter’ into and around anywhere I could, struggling just to get those things up to my waist. I called mom to ask her if this was how they were supposed to be. She reassured me that yes, that’s why they were ‘magic’ and would make me look amazing.
Off to church.
I happened to have the job of conducting a group of adults and children through the music time, talks and so forth. About half way through the allotted time, I walked to the front to announce more of the outlined program as I had been assigned to do. As I stood in front of the group, all of the sudden I felt a snap of sorts and realized the ‘magic’ nylons had lost their battle with my ‘matter’ and the waist band was now at my thighs! I knew I could not move, much less sit down again, so as the chorister came forward to lead the group in singing and the pianist began to play, I sidled over to the piano and stood with my knees tightly together, while also trying to keep my feet apart to appear natural looking, terrified anyone would realize my nylons were threatening to come all the way down to my ankles!
Next, time for the talks. By now everyone was looking at me, some with a bit of confusion and some with a bit of annoyance that I never sat or moved from the piano which was towards the back of the room, even when I announced the next item on the agenda. I did not know the hands on the clock could freeze for time.
Mercifully the hour came to a close. I dismissed everyone with a forced smile and walking like a penguin, which I am sure got some laughs, as I waddled by and made my way to the restroom as quickly as I could to remove the dreadful pantyhose.
I called mom that night and asked her about her ‘magic’ nylons and telling her my story. She was laughing so hard she was crying. She kept saying over and over ‘they worked for me’.
The light bulb, dim as it is, went off in my head. My mom is maybe 5’ 2” and I am 5’ 10” and the pounds allowed for the size of nylons she brought me, were not near what I needed compared to what she needed.
From that day till now when I start to compare myself with someone else, I try remember ‘she just wears a different size of nylons’. All nylons perform the same function and can be useful, but distinctive brands, colors, types, etc. are necessary for different needs. We all have the capacity to love, nurture, help, encourage, do good works and serve, just maybe in a way that is unique and wonderful to us.
With all my heart I believe we are all here at this time for a very special purpose. It is our goal to find what we need to learn and how to be better, while remembering that we wear nylons that fit our situation, circumstances and life at the moment. No one is the same, nor meant to be. Let’s embrace our exceptional and irreplaceable personalities and be a bit better today than yesterday.
Copy­right Car­rie Grone­man, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013
Rec­og­nize a bless­ing and be a bless­ing today

You ARE Beautiful

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the fairest of us all?

As children, particularly girls, we grow up dreaming of being a princess, a queen, a fairy, anything our mind can conceive, and our heart can believe.  We see ourself as beautiful and lovely; inside and out.  It is true you know, every word of it! So when do we stop believing? Why do we crush our own aspirations and visions of what we can become? As in times past, society demands we chase the illusive ‘perfect look’.  Why should we search for the fountain of youth!  Do you want to spend your time, resources and talent that way? Don’t we honor women such as Mother Teresa, and yet focus on the latest styles and trends?  Have you ever wondered, what are we sacrificing, when we demoralize our self, because we choose NOT to see, to recognize our own inner beauty, and the exquisite uniqueness that is divinely ours?  I have a story of a woman, a stranger actually that I never did meet, who has not forgotten this gift we each are given at birth. 



Are there habits that hinder and keep us from our true potential?  I have some ideas of what is holding us back that I would like to address:


“I’m Sorry”

I’ll bet the first words I formed as an infant were “I’m sorry”. I apologized for everything from the sun coming up in the morning, to my friends shoe laces coming undone. Do you do that? I don’t know why, or where it came from as it only damages our own esteem

Here are suggestions of why we apologize – for everything and everyone:

     A – Relieves our conscience even if it had nothing to do with us – which makes no sense at all.

     B – Covers all bases of possible failure, thus anticipating disappointment.

     C – For some reason we think we need to ‘own’ problems in the world from poverty in every corner of the planet to all the injustices done. We cannot possibly change all the bad, and doing this just bogs us down and halts our progress.

     D- If our kid/teen/adult child does something wrong, make them take care of it to the best of their ability; it is not for us to make everything go away that could make them feel uncomfortable, that is how they will grow as an individual.

    E – If friends or family have a temper tantrum and it is not because of anything we did seriously wrong, or had control over, it is not ours to take on. We do not have to apologize to alleviate their bad attitude. It only makes us resent that person when we say we are sorry just to make them ‘happy’.

    F – If we feel our place in any relationship is not secure, saying ‘sorry’ continually for everything that happens, does not make it better. Find a more healthy way to strengthen the relationship.

Remedy: Of course, DO apologize when we have been unkind, offend or harm.   AND

REALIZE it is GOOD to have an opinion.

It is RIGHT to have a preference of one thing or another.

If someone does not agree, you can ‘agree to disagree’ you do not have to apologize for your thoughts, views and beliefs.


How many kijillion times do we say yes when we really are thinking, I would rather test land mines than do _______.

Why do we do that to ourselves anyway?


     A – We don’t want to appear mean or selfish

     B – Maybe, just possibly,  they really do need our help

     C- I can sleep sometime later, like in a casket (the eternal rest idea)

     D – Others will think I’m weak if I can’t do____like others are doing – I mean geez, just look at all they have on pinterest, on facebook, their family is perfect…the list goes on and on of what they ‘appear’ to be able to accomplish.

Remedy: Yes, we absolutely need to stretch and grow.  However, moderation and using a few of the brain cells God gave us would be a help here. 

Give yourself a pat on the back for ALL the good you do and the service you provide.

“I am the worst at __________”

How many times do we permit our insecurities and anxieties to lead us in our decisions and actions?

Hhhmmm, let me count the ways, except the number may be longer than any computer could hold.

Our list could include:

     A- I can’t do that because he/she is so much better at it already and I don’t want to appear incompetent

     B- I don’t have the experience, the knowledge, the background, the family name, the money, the_____the list is endless here.

    C- I’m frightened to try because I might fail and then, and then what? Really, then WHAT? That is how success comes; it is through failing and working through the solution to finally be triumphant and a winner.

    D- The WHAT could include: people will laugh, they will bring it up and I will be embarrassed.  Keep in mind, they probably won’t remember next week anyway.

 Remedy: We cannot give others confidence, or show them an example of greatness, if we are not willing to step up and demonstrate how it is done.

If a loved one tried something, and gave it all they had to succeed yet it did not go as planned, are you going to ridicule and tell them to never try again?

NO, of course not, that would be ludicrous, so why do we do it to our self? Good question don’t you think!

 “Body Bashing & Comparing”

Oh, there’s the rub, for probably every single human being that has ever walked this planet.

Being a bit self absorbed can be an excuse, or cause us to be selfishly preoccupied.

Here is a short list of why we might do this:

     A- We allow the media to tell us what is ‘beautiful’ or ‘desirable’

     B- Foolishly, or without realizing it, we ignore our own strengths in order to focus on our weaknesses

     C- Do not truly understand our worth and value as a human being

     D- We want others to approve, instead of seeking divine approval

May I share an experience here?

 Some years back, the company my husband was working for, took a group of us on a trip. I was sitting on a lounge chair by the side of the pool in my swim suit and a cover up.  A towel covered my very white legs, and all the while  I was feeling incredibly conscientious of this-and- that.  Then I began to mentally compare myself with all the other ladies there; naturally I only saw their positives and all of my flaws.

About that time a woman and her husband came to the pool. I could not help but watch her, because immediately she gave the impression of self-confidence, and her demeanor was amazing.

She did not act as though, ‘I dare you to make fun of me’, you know the mean-girl attitude, or that she was putting on airs to overcompensate.  She was so incredibly comfortable in her skin, that she was indescribably beautiful. Physically, she was very average looking and not a small or even shapely woman.  However, without one word, you just knew that she was profoundly grateful to even have a body, and to be at that pool with her husband.

I watched the couple for a few hours. I was mesmerized by this woman who visited with other people at the pool in complete comfortableness; she exuded that spirit of loving yourself for what you are. She radiated a belief in her value and what she had to offer. It was easy to tell as I watched and listened, that she was a kind and generous woman by her comments and the way she talked. It was never with airs and not even one word of comparing herself when she talked to the women who were, should I say, who more stylish than she; she was just simply genuine and good.

Lesson to be learned

When we realize that dwelling on our shortcomings, and comparing ourselves to others successes, or their physical attributes, it is completely selfish on our part.

Why? Because we are only thinking about our self, and not how we can be of help or be of small service to another, as our focus and energy is on our perceived flaws.

Hopefully our desire is to buoy up and inspire others, yet, when we distract our self with our drawbacks (which really are not even reality), we have put up a blockade that impedes the quiet whispering direction of how we can relieve or comfort another human being.

Remedy: Do not let yourself be distracted with supposed drawbacks. Do not put up barriers of fear or insecurities – when they are in face simply superficial and fleeting fads anyway.

Make a list of your FIVE most favorite things physically about yourself

And FIVE of your top personal skills/talents/traits.

Let us be grateful for what we are, what we have, and what we can become.  There is nothing  more POWERFUL or BEAUTIFUL than that.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.