Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. It is incredibly magical - the lights, the tree, the carols, the feeling of selflessness and service that fills everyone's hearts. Christmas is about returning to our childhood. We get to pull out those old movies and practice those family traditions that have defined us since our lives began. Christmas brings out faith and wonder in all of us. And this year, Christmas has been about coming home. That has truly been the best Christmas gift of all for me. After 6 months on my own up in Utah, I know get to come back home and be surrounded by the love of my family. Words cannot describe the relief and joy that that has brought me.
But most of all, what Christmas means to me is wonder and awe at the miracle of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Christmas makes me take a step back and realize all He has done for me. It humbles and amazes me. I am amazed that He went through all of our pains and afflictions - both physical and emotional - out of love for us. I am amazed that after going through a humiliating death, He rose again after three days. I am amazed that because of these things, we too can rise again.
Christ is so merciful. When I mess up really badly, He always forgives me. It is amazing to know that even though I am so imperfect and never seem to get it right, the most perfect man who ever lived forgives me and makes me clean. What incredible love! When I have a hard day and there is no shoulder for me to cry on, He hears my cries and dries my tears. He is truly "my song in the night." When all the world seems chaotic and hopeless, Christ is able to bring peace to my soul. When I can't do something alone, I go to Him and He helps me succeed. And so, at this time of year, I celebrate the miracle of His birth - but more importantly, the miracle of His life, and the miracle of forgiveness that He continually offers to us.
I know with all my heart that Jesus is the Christ. I know that He lived and atoned for our sins and sorrows. I know that He was resurrected and lives today. I know that through Him alone can we receive a fulness of joy in this life and in the life to come. I am so grateful for all He does for me, and hope that you too can have His peace this Christmas.
O magnum mysterium
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in præsepio.
Beata virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt
portare Dominum Christum, Alleluia!
O great mystery
and wondrous sacrament,
that animals should see the newborn Lord
lying in their manger.
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy
to bear the Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Today I went with a couple friends to International Cinema. We watched an edited version of "Motorcycle Diaries" about the trip of Ernesto "Che" Guevara across the South American continent. It was beautiful. He started off as a privileged student wanting to have some fun, and ended as a more selfless and wise person. His love and service to the poverty-stricken peoples of Argentina, Chile, and Peru was beautiful. The film made me want to be a better person and find ways to serve others. It made me want to change the world.
Today I also heard that a good friend of mine has left the church. He said the church made him feel guilty for the things he didn't do and was too rigid. He said he wanted to be happy without being told what to do. This news just broke my heart. He is so confused. He had access to the joy and happiness that God has right in his fingertips, but got lost in the distractions of the world.
I got on my knees and asked God what I could do to help. I have been given so much - a relationship with God, wonderful family, a testimony of the true church, a college education, knowledge of the scriptures, wealth, a healthy body, food and shelter, music, great teachers and examples, good friends - the list goes on and on. I want to be able to help all of those who are suffering physically and spiritually but, I told the Lord, I don't know how.
Then I looked up at the picture of my Savior, the most amazing and perfect man that ever lived. I realized that Jesus Christ was not an expert or virtuoso in any certain area. He was not a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher or a politician. He did not have a college education. He didn't ever leave His country. He didn't always have a steady job. But what did He have? Charity. Christ had a perfect love for everyone, and that's how He changed the world. That's why Satan is working so hard on my shyness and feelings of inferiority - because they are preventing me from loving and serving others with my full heart and soul. As President Hinckley once said, "You may not be a genius. You may not be exceptionally smart. But you can be good, and you can try. And you will be amazed at what might happen when in faith you take a step forward."
I am going to be good, and I am going to try. As Elaine S. Dalton said in our last General Conference, "I truly believe that one virtuous young woman or young man, led by the Spirit, can change the world, but in order to do so, we must return to virtue." I may not be able to change the world by political means, but I believe that I can change MY world through Christlike love. And so can each one of us.
"You've seen what might be. Now go and make it so."
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
So lately I have been feeling weary and weakened. I guess it's the combination of my church being misunderstood, my personal standards being attacked, stress in school, and seeing people I love make some unwise decisions. It just makes me so sad to see the influence the adversary has in the world. But in a wonderful Relief Society lesson on Sunday, we listened to the song "Stand in Holy Places." I could feel the Spirit whisper to my heart that I AM standing in Holy places, and despite what others may say, the Lord is pleased with the choices I am making. And when I have the God of the universe on my side, what else can possibly matter?
"I stand in Holy places
Protected from the storm
Anchored safe in harbor
Though my sails are ripped and worn
I stand in Holy places
And I will not move
Until the Captain comes and says well done
He is the hope I hold on to
In Holy places"
Friday, November 7, 2008
The weather is so fun here in Provo. There are gorgeous leaves everywhere, and a couple days ago it actually SNOWED! It had all melted by 11, but I had so much fun walking to class with snowflakes falling on me! I can't wait for it to snow again.
Here are some pics of the beautiful fall leaves and my Halloween! I was Gabriella and my best friend Brian was Troy...we had a ton of fun!
More pics here
Saturday, October 25, 2008
After a long wait of 100 days I finally saw HSM 3 tonight!!! While it was cheesily wonderful - but also much more skanky - I must honestly say that I liked #2 the best. This one seemed more like a string of music videos than a musical. I was actually very confused at times. But still, I would love to see it again soon.
"Can I Have This Dance" video (my favorite song from it!)
Thursday, October 16, 2008
So I have decided to switch my major! I am now going to major in Art History and curatorial studies and minor in vocal music! I'm so excited I've figured out for sure. I want to work in a museum and talk to little kids on field trips, and maybe teach voice lessons. The future is looking good :]
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Hellooooooooooooo to the world of blogging!
I just loved General Conference, didn't you? It was so empowering and inspirational. My favorite talks were Elder Holland's about angels, Elder Eyring's about Unity, Sister Dalton's call for a "Return to Virtue," and Elder Bednar's "Pray Always." Elder Bednar's talk has significantly blessed my life this past week. I've always wondered how exactly I could pray always, and finally I know how! Now that I have been applying his advice on prayer to my everyday life, I feel so much closer to the Lord. I am able to remember Him and pray to Him more often. I am able to remember the woman I want to be and improve in my efforts to become her. Thank you Elder Bednar, and all the living prophets :]
I was privileged to go to Sunday's sessions in Salt Lake! Brian, Myles, Sheri, and I watched Sunday morning on the giant hi-def screen in the Legacy theater, and watched the afternoon session in the Conference center. I love the spirit at conference and on temple square! I love being edified with my fellow Saints. It's a great thing.
Well, it's homecoming weekend, which has been way fun! Thursday night I went to an awesome Dixieland Jazz concert with my friend Michael, and Friday was the Homecoming Spectacular with the men's chorus, young ambassadors, Jenny Oaks Baker, and more! If they air it on BYU TV you should definitely check it out! It made me so happy :]
Today was the homecoming game against the Lobos...plus it snowed this morning. It melted as soon as it hit the ground, but it was freezing cold. I went to the game for an hour and a half, really just to watch Brian in the band. He got to be part of a trio in the Michael Buble halftime show! There's a video on my facebook :]
That's all for now! Hopefully I will survive next weeks midterm flurry so I can update next weekend! I love you all :]
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I know some of you have already read this on my facebook, but I just wanted to post it on here as well. With some of my friends making stupid choices, I know now more than ever how easy it is to confuse love and infatuation. Hopefully this will help someone else out there.
“[Love] is feeling even more smitten when you’re together; it’s loving just as much when you’re apart. It isn’t being so obsessed that you can hardly eat; it is feeling so secure and happy that you can eat sensibly. It isn’t an inability to keep your mind on your work, or to concentrate to study. It is being able to study and excel more, because you want to work hard for your loved one; they bring out your best.
When you’re really in love, it has taken time to grow. Love includes physical attraction that wants to please the other person and is partially based upon deep admiration and love for that person. You enjoy each other as friends as well as you enjoy the physical chemistry between you. But infatuation leaps quickly into bloom, sweeping you away in a current of lust, and the basic desire for sexual gratification.
Love is respecting another person’s individuality; infatuation is living your life through somebody else, or expecting them to live through you. Love lets you be alone and not lonely; infatuation makes you want a solution for loneliness.
Infatuation includes feverish excitement and miserable uncertainty until you can be together again; love is confident and able to wait, filling you with warmth and security. Love is being able to show all sides of yourself to someone and know that they’ll still love you; infatuation is afraid to show all and presents only the candy-coated parts.
Love is secure and independent, allowing each other room to grow and differ; disagreements usually lead to compromise. Infatuation needs continual assurance of being loved and is very insecure and dependent. Disagreements often become quarrels.
When you love someone and others criticize that person, it sharpens your attachment. When you’re merely infatuated, the opinions of others can make you doubt that choice. When you’re in love, you are confident that you belong to each other. Infatuated couples often experience feelings of jealousy.
When you’re in love you have a kind, even disposition and feeling of goodwill towards others. When infatuated, feelings of desperation make you edgy and short-tempered. Infatuated couples sometimes find monetary greed in their relationships; couples in love are willing to struggle, share, and trust.
Some people are in love with the feeling of being loved. But real love is thinking of what you can do to show you love the other person, rather than counting the things they’ve done to prove they love you. Some folks have a compulsive desire to feel needed. But while real love wants your companionship, it doesn’t need it in the sense of being to function alone.
Others are simple determined not to be ‘an old maid.’Yet until you are happy all alone, you’re limited in the amount of love you can give another person.
Some couples think they are in love, when all they are is in love with the prestige, position, or financial security they’ve found in a mate. Real love would be just as strong without all the trappings. You’re proud of your partner in any situation and that admiration shows.
Some well-meaning romantics give in and get entirely swallowed up and dominated. Others like feeling in control of another person, still thinking of themselves first. (These two types often find each other.) But true love is none of those things. It’s not a unilateral arrangement where one person has all the power and the other is subordinate. It’s caring as much about another person’s feelings and wants as you do about your own – nor completely forgetting yourself and becoming a non-person, but sharing and respecting equally. You’re willing to give in to please him or her, but you also feel welcome to express a differing view.
And when you truly love someone, you don’t want to control them; in fact, their strength pleases you.
When you’re in love, there’s room for differences on little things; these differences even delight you. But usually, you have the big issues in common: You share similar values and goals. You respect each other as children of God, and you each aspire for the other to become all that they can be (without pushing). There’s emotional maturity. There’s honest acceptance and an honest view of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You can grow together better than you could grow individually, each enhancing each other.” –Joni Hilton
Sunday, September 28, 2008
First off, I added a couple new songs to my lovely playlist. The first is "O Magnum Mysterium," a Latin piece we are singing in choir. It's simply gorgeous. The second is "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schimdt," which we are also singing in choir...just kidding!
Yesterday we had choir retreat for 8 hours, which was amazing! We sang a lot, but we also played games, got to meet people, and heard the stories of the directors’ courtships. We are putting on a concert in December which is going to be awesome because there are so many talented people in the group. They are going to record it on a CD, so maybe I’ll have to send it to you guys. Even though school has only been in for 4 weeks, I feel that I have grown so much as a singer. And the best part about BYU choirs is that all of our songs that we sing are about the Savior, so it’s another opportunity to bear testimony of Him. I'm looking into auditioning for a higher level choir because I absolutely LOVE this choir thing and never want to give it up! So we will see how that goes. :]
I love you lots and will write again soon!
Last night was the General Relief Society broadcast, which was really inspirational. It was my first time going to a Relief Society one, because they only come once a year and I am barely 18. My favorite talk was by President Uchtdorf; I think he’s my favorite General Authority because he’s so loving and always makes me feel at peace. Anyways, he talked about how our Heavenly Father is the most creative being in the universe, and as His daughers who are trying to become like Him, we also have the desire to create and should cultivate it. He talked about how creation isn’t just painting a picture but is also done by bringing peace into your home, cooking a meal, or making people laugh. In creating anything that hadn’t existed before, we are satisfying our souls and becoming more like God. Isn’t that awesome?! It just made me want to go out and use all of my creativity. I can’t wait for General Conference next week and to hear more from our beloved prophets.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Yep. It did nothing. My hair is hopelessly straight. So then I decided to experiment. First, I put my hair in pigtails:
Yeah, that was pretty silly. They stuck out of my head like Pippi Longstockings. But the next one is even better...
So in the end I just decided to go to the game with my hair down so I would look like I had fat sticks growing out of my head. haha We beat Wyoming 44-0 by the way! Go Cougars!
Thursday night at 11:40 Brian's sister Courtney had her baby! Kate Marie was born a month early, but she and her mommy are doing fine. They should be going home any day now. She is the cutest thing ever. I wish more than anything that I could meet her and hold her! If I can't find a way to get home for Thanksgiving I will be able to meet her then!
Today I was sustained in church as an FHE group 3 co-leader. (NOT FHE MOM! The Bishop is adamant that I should not be called that.) I am so thrilled! I talked to my other coleader today and he is so nice. He also has fun ideas and I think this will be a great experience for all of us! Tomorrow we are gonna make brownies and play Apples to Apples, so it should be pretty awesome.
Well, I have a stake fireside soon so I will write more later! Love you all!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Friday night I hiked the Y with my roomies, which was tons of fun! I had some trouble because I am waaaaay out of shape and they were going pretty fast, but sweet Erika slowed down to keep me company. It was fun to talk with just her and get to know her better. We got some really cute pictures of us that are now hanging up on our kitchen wall.
Saturday was my "first" BYU football game! I had a blast with Tyelar. And now I kinda understand football! I at least know the right times to cheer. Well, our Cougars won 59 to 0!!!!!! Take the UCLA! We are now on the longest winning streak in the nation! I think it's gonna be a good year. It was way fun to see the marching band and try to figure out where Brian was, sing the cougar fight song, and cheering a team I actually care about! I had no idea football games could be 3 1/2 hours long, but it was so worth it.
That night was Brian's facebook freshman dance! I had so much fun. It was so joyous to dance and have good clean fun with my favorite people - Summer roommate Rachel, Michael Watkins, Brian, other friends from the facebook group. An estimated 1,000 people showed up, which was amazing! It was quite a success! I am so proud of my boy and all the good that he does. Here is a link to the article the Daily Universe did about him yesterday!
Sunday was nice. We had a very good church service topped off with a powerful lesson Sunday School lesson from my good friend Mark. That kid amazes me with his sincere and loving heart combined with a great scriptural knowlege and Christlike humilty. Unfortunately he also amazes every other girl in the ward as well...haha For dinner we had the boys from Brian's apartment over for a fancy dinner, which was way fun! I love those guys and always enjoy their antics :]
Tonight the missionaries came over for the third time to teach my Baptist roommate Krysten. They showed "The Restoration" film which she had seen before and really enjoyed. I hadn't seen it for a while, so it was a nice reminder of how much I love and revere the prophet Joseph Smith. However, I think the missionaries are a bit confused. They got a referral for her because she met with Sisters back in Texas to get to know the church so she wouldn't have so much culture shock coming out to Utah. These Elders think that she is looking for a new church and wants to be baptized. I told her she could ask them not to come back, but she hasn't for some reason. She is still favoring her Baptist faith but maybe she hasn't turned them away for another reason she doesn't want to share... I think that she isn't ready to be baptized yet because with all of these life changes going on right now, the Baptist church is like home to her. However, we shall see! God knows much more than I do and often surprises me. I am enjoying the opportunity to explain Church concepts with her and share my testimony. It makes me long to be a sister missionary someday.
Anyway, here is the link to my latest facebook picture album! Enjoy!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
This morning I attended over 100 stake conferences! Okay, well it wasn’t that hard. We had a regional conference for 120 something stakes in
Then we had an AMAZING CES fireside with Elder Holland tonight...3 Apostles in one day!!! Elder Holland spoke about three things we can learn from Joseph Smith's experience in the "prison-temple" of Liberty Jail: everyone goes through trials and God does not abandon them, the path to salvation always goes through Gethsemane, and the rights of the priesthood are inseperably connected with the powers of Heaven. Then he pronounced a beautiful Apostolic blessing upon our congregation in the Marriott center and all those watching the broadcast across the world. Elder Holland blessed us to know that God loves us and will NEVER leave us, and that He wants us to succeed! Elder Holland blessed the bretheren that they would recieve the priesthood blessings outlined in sections 121-123 if they lived worthy, and those blessings would assist them in their preisthood duties. He blessed us sisters that we may know of how the Church - and the world - loves us and needs us, and he blessed that all the righteous desires we hold in our hearts tonight will be granted to us. This made me weep with peace and gratitude because I have so many righteous desires held up in my heart right now. I want to be able to do well in school and work and my calling, when I finally recieve one. I want to be able to find the finances to continue school and buy some snow clothes! I want to find out if I should switch my major and what course the Lord wants me to pursue in my education. I want to be able to have the Spirit in my home to help my roommate learn of the truth of this gospel. I want to be a strength to my home and family. I want to be a strength to Brian as he has been called as Executive Secretary and has other pressures on him, but keep a balance of loving him and meeting new friends as well. I want to be able to find a wonderful man to be sealed to for all eternity, raise a family with him, support in all his callings and trials and triumphs, and share eternal glory with him. When Elder Holland blessed me with this, I knew that the Lord is with me in my moments of trial and that He knows my heart. He wants me to succeed and will help me do so!!! It is possible!!! I know that I can conquer my weaknesses and shortcomings, but only with His help. I've tried it alone and failed too many times. Finally, Elder Holland blessed us that faith always triumphs and God's promises are always kept! Then he clearly and slowly told us, "Hold on thy way, fear not, God shall be with you forever and ever." What powerful promises from a beloved Apostle and Prophet! I just wanted to run down the stairs and embrace him. And then the incredible choir sang one of my favorite songs, "My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee." It was such an incredible day. I know that with the Lord on my side and my testimony built firmly on the rock of my Redeemer, I "cannot fall."
"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to His foes;
I will not, I cannot, desert to His foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, I'll never, no never,
I'll never, no never, I'll never, no never,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!"
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!"
-How firm a foundation
-How firm a foundation
Friday, September 5, 2008
Well, I have found that fall semester is very different than summer! The other summer freshman and I are having a bit of culture shock. First of all, it has gotten piercingly cold very quickly. We had our first rainy tunnel singing and Labor day was just freezing. It has warmed up this week, but summer weather is definitely gone. Secondly, it is so crowded! We thought EFY was bad but fall semester is crazy. There are students just everywhere, which I am not used to. All of my classes have around 200 people in them! Oh well, that's undergrad life. I am taking Music Civilizations, Book of Mormon 121, World History 202, Poli Sci 110, and University Chorale. (I actually signed up for a Return Missionary BOM class on accident that I had to drop. Whoops!) Even though they will be a little challenging (Poli Sci especially!) I am enjoying them and can't wait to learn new things.
Well that football game was a disappointment. My friend from my sports pass group hadn't come back to Provo yet, so I sat by myself for an hour in the hot sun and finally left in frustration. I spent the time doing indexing though, so it was worth it. He's back now so the Sept. 13th game against UCLA should be much better!!!
Yesterday my roommate Ann and I auditioned for Noteworthy, our campus female a capella ensemble. I sang "Defying Gravity" which went very well! It was such a fun experience. I did not make it into the ensemble, but I expected that because there were only 5 openings and lots of very talented girls! I might try again next year. For now I am content singing in University Chorale. We haven't really started working on our music yet since we have only met for 2 hours this week, but it looks sooooo good. They are all gospel/religious songs, and I have not heard any of them before (except the 2 Christmas songs, but what do you expect?) I was skimming through some of the lyrics today, which are just breathtaking. Here are some of my favorite quotes from them:
"O Jesus, my Savior, my song in the night,
Come to us with Thy tender love, my souls' delight,
my comfort and joy, my souls' delight,
O Jesus Savior, my song in the night."
- Song in the Night, Southern Folk Song
"As the stream flows to the river,
as the spark turns into fire,
we grow stronger in our journey
to the land of heart's desire,
where the evil will be broken,
where the wrong will be made right.
And the ones who live in darkness
shall be children of the Light."
- Pilgrim Spring, by Sheila Dunlop and Reginald Unterseher
I can't wait to learn the beautiful music that goes along with these powerful lyrics. It will be so incredible to join in song with my fellow brothers and sisters, our voices intwined in rich harmonies and our hearts united in Christlike love. I never feel complete as a singer unless I am singing praises to the God who gives me my voice and breath to sing with, so I am most grateful for more opportunities to worship my Heavenly Father. As my voice rises to Heaven, I feel my heart rising closer to the Lord as well. Thank goodness for music!
Speaking of artsy things, I am considering minoring in Humanities or even switching my major to Humanites with an art history emphasis. I LOVED my American Humanities class during the summer and would love to learn about more art, literature, and music and how it shaped history. I still have lots of research and prayer to do before I make a decision, but we will see where the Lord wants me :]
My roommate situation is getting better. We have been socializing a lot more and having tons of fun together. In fact, it is difficult to get things done because we just want to play all the time! Not all of them like to obey the rules like I do, and sometimes bad things pop up on the TV or iTunes playlist, but I have been able to go into my room or another place to get away from it. I am going to go to the Conflict Resolution Center on campus to get some advice to prevent conflicts from arising. If any of you have advice for me, I would love to hear it!
One last quote before I go:
"There is power which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the Book [of Mormon.] You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the straight and narrow path."
-Ezra Taft Benson
This is gonna be a good year. :]
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Well, God is so good to me! Yesterday it all came together. I got my loan finally figured out, my tuition finally paid, and all the classes picked. Plus, all my roommates got to be together for the first time and we had a lot of fun staying up late and chatting. With old friends coming back and new friends being made, it's finally starting to feel like home. I went to the temple Thursday morning and realized that the only way I am gonna feel better is if I lose myself in trying to love my roomies and trying to make them feel at home. And so far, it's worked :]
Today is the first football game! I'm so excited. I can't wait to see Brian in the marching band and show some school spirit!!! Plus Brian's parents had two extra tickets, so we set up my summer roommate Rachel and Brian's current roommate Alex on a blind date! We just got them together to give them their tickets and they seemed to get along really well :D They are two of my favorite people, so I hope they become good friends. And Rachel was even joking that this date could be "her Brian" so....who knows. This is BYU!!!!! Haha
Well I'm headed off for some shopping and football gaming so I will put up more news and pictures when I get home. Thanks for your love and support in all I do!!!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
It really is ridiculous all the stuff I am dealing with right now. My roommate is anti-social who almost always has her 20" Plasma TV on, and since she is a non-member it's not always the most uplifting thing. (She's here on a full-ride scholarship because she's on the gymnastics team.) I'm STILL waiting for my financial aid to come through, and now I have a hold on my BYU account so I can't add or drop any classes until my financial aid gets processed. Which is kind of bad because the counselor I saw today told me that I should drop 3 of my 5 classes. And there are other little difficulties I will refrain from boring you with. Yeah, I'd say this is getting ridiculous.
But when doors like this are closed - or slammed shut - the Lord always opens windows. I am amazed yet again by the peace He is giving me to get through these trying times and how my faith is being strengthened. I think that the peace God gives is one of the sweetest feelings in the world.
My best friend Brian came back to BYU on Saturday. I cannot describe how wonderful it has been to have him so nearby. In the last couple days we have had wonderful evening walks and been able to support each other through the anxieties and stresses of moving away from home. I was able to receive a priesthood blessing from him in one of my darkest moments. That blessing has dispelled my fears and calmed my troubled heart. It helped me to remember the countless times that the Lord has pulled me through seemingly impossible trials, and how each of them was a stepping stone, just as these current trials will be.
I have many other wonderful friends here who love me and are keeping me busy! I can't wait for my other roommates to move in so I can make more new friends. I hope that all of us can find a way to compromise with our non-member roommate and keep the Spirit in our home. I have incredible parents who are great about listening even though I call about twenty times a day! They are such good examples to me and are truly my heroes. Thanks mom and dad. :]
I also have the scriptures. Today I decided to read Ether chapter 12 to help bolster my faith, and I was particularly struck by verse 3. "For he [the prophet Ether] did cry from the morning, even until the going down of the sun, exhorting the people to believe in God unto repentance lest they should be destroyed, saying unto them that by faith all things are fulfilled." I realized today just what this verse means. Because good men have faith, they receive the promptings of the Spirit and act on them. Faith motivates us to obey the Lord's commandments, and those actions, even though we may not understand their purpose, fulfill His promises. For example, when Nephi was commanded to go back and get the brass plates, he had no idea that those records and his later writings would become scripture and change the world more than 2,000 years later. Nephi's faithful obedience fulfilled the Lord's promise that He would bring the gospel to all the world. When Joseph Smith translated those plates and recorded the revelations he had received, he also helped in the fulfillment of that prophecy. I cannot understand yet why Heavenly Father wants to me go through these challenging experiences, but I do know that He loves me and that as I act in faith, the blessings He has promised me will be fulfilled.
I know without a doubt that my Savior lives and will make things work out for me in the end. As difficult as my trials have been, I would never give them up because they have helped me to know Jesus Christ better. He truly is my best friend. I look forward to seeing Him work miracles in my life and sharing those miracles with you.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Friday and Saturday I spent packing, cleaning, and unpacking in my new apartment. I am FINALLY all unpacked and organized, which feels so good! It’s always fun to start anew and get rid of extra clutter. I can’t wait for my new roommates to move in so I can be reunited with my old friends and make new ones!
Last Sunday was the final Sunday of the summer term. We had an awesome sacrament meeting! The speakers finished a little bit early, so they invited a member of the Stake Presidency, Brother Brad Wilcox (who is also a popular youth speaker) to share some remarks. His words were incredibly powerful, and I thought that they would be beneficial to you as well.
Brother Wilcox talked about Heavenly Father’s purpose in sending us to earth. Yes, we came here to get a body, but we could have done that 3,000 years ago, when many others of our brothers and sisters did. Yes, we are here to gain experiences, but we could have done that 2,000 years ago, when many others of our brothers and sisters did. So why did our all-knowing, all-powerful Heavenly Father send you and me here NOW? Why did He send us to the specific families and places we live in, at this specific moment in the eternities? He has a very unique and individual plan for each of us to obtain bodies, gain experience, and serve one another in the capacity we will be best at. If you were not on earth in you home and school and ward right now, your prescence would be sorely missed. God wants you to succeed. He has given you the potential to receive all the glory and joy that He has, if you will just follow the Savior. His mercy is truly humbling.
“We will all rise from the grave. And on that day my father will embrace my mother. On that day I will once again hold in my arms my beloved Elisa. Because of the life and eternal sacrifice of the Savior of the world, we will be reunited with those we have cherished. On that day we will know the love of our Heavenly Father. On that day we will rejoice that the Messiah overcame all that we could live forever. Because of the sacred ordinances we receive in holy temples, our departure from this brief mortality cannot long separate relationships that have been fastened together with cords made of eternal ties. It is my solemn testimony that death is not the end of existence. ‘If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.’ Because of the risen Christ, ‘death is swallowed up in victory.’ Because of our beloved Redeemer, we can lift up our voices, even in the midst of our darkest Fridays, and proclaim, ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ May [we] always know that no matter how dark our Friday, Sunday will come is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
My family coming to visit
My new job!
Help in my schoolwork
the internet to keep in touch with friends and family across the world
Getting into BYU!
The funds to go to BYU (my mom calls them "scholarships from God")
Friends at BYU
So many people who love me!
Opportunities to learn and serve
Reading talks and scriptures right when I need them
Trials to help me grow
A testimony of the gospel
My American Humanities class
An eternal family (who I look forward to spending eternity with!)
Righteous parents who taught me true happiness
A healthy body
A happy happy life
The fulness of the everlasting gospel in my life
The Atonement of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the opportunity to become like Him!
Hearing everyone's experiences gave me the faith and hope I needed at that moment to trust in the Lord as I have to step forward in the darkness. As I was reminded of how Heavenly Father had done miracles for all of them, and for me, I was reassured that He is taking care of me! I just need to be more patient with His timing.
I know I say this all the time, but Christ lives. He knows me and you. He is mindful of us and is truly in control of our lives. He is the only way to true, eternal happiness and everlasting life. His love is the only power that can heal the pains of mortality - jealously, worry, sin, grief, sorrow, embarassment, loss, anger, hatred. I know without a doubt that He can heal us all, but only if we come unto Him. Please do. His arms are always open. God is your loving Father and wants nothing more than your happiness. Don't hesitate in drawing closer to Him. It is something you will never regret. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He restored the fulness of the Gospel to this earth. He translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. It is an amazing book with the power to change lives. It has changed mine! Study it and you will learn "all things that ye should do." I know that Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet today. I know that the Lord's tender mercies are available for all, and that as you look for them in your own life you will find them. I bear this solemn testimony in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
To celebrate my first ever Utah pioneer day, I watched a bollywood movie! Lagaan is one of the best movies of all time. It's about an Indian village in a drought that is struggling to pay taxes to the British. A young man named Bhuran ends up in a bet with a British official that if the Indians beat the British at Cricket, the whole province doesn't have to pay lagaan for three years. But if the British win, they have to pay triple lagaan. It is filled with good morals, beautiful Indian music and dancing, romance, and an intense cricket game at the end. You haven't lived until you've seen Lagaan!!!
Another good thing I experienced this weekend was "Trust in the Lord" by Richard G. Scott. I have been so stressed out this week by school, work, and financial worries. Reading this talk calmed me down and reminded me of the love my Heavenly Father has for me. A couple of my favorite quotes from it:
“When those trials are not consequences of our disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more."
"If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow. Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit.”
“His invitation 'ask and ye shall recieve,' does not ensure that you will get what you want. It does guarantee that, if worthy, you will get what you need."
God is so good. This church is so true. Jesus Christ is His Son and does live! Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, as is Thomas S. Monson and the other apostles who I love so dearly. I know this with all of my heart.
Monday, July 21, 2008
First up this weekend was the Stake BBQ/Decades dance on Friday. I was a 50s girl, and Rachel was a hippie...like almost everyone else. We talked a little, danced a little, ate a little, made fun of the ridiculous DJ and little, then left after an hour and a half. Myles was one of the 12 winners of the costume contest for his extraordinary Pirate outfit, so he got a gift certificate to Smart Cookie. Rachel, Laura, Myles, and I walked down there and had BLISS! They take 2 cookies and put ice cream in between them...mmmm! I couldn't help laughing because they are so messy too. I decided that the next time one of my friends has a bad day I am going to take them down there, because who wouldn't feel better after cookies and ice cream? Then Myles showed Rachel and I clips from Lagan, a bollywood movie with the energy of HSM. I love the dancing, it is so fun! I can't wait to see the whole thing! Here is a very blurry clip of the big dance number.
Saturday was the on-campus housing invitational "Midnight Masquerade!" (even though it ended at 11...haha!) It was so fun. We made our own masks and I made my "date" Emily a corsage...out of marshmallows! She is almost always eating marshmallows so I jokingly told her that I was going to do that, and then i actually did. I wouldn't recommend it though...very messy! We went with my FHE group and a bunch of other friends from my ward. It was way fun! I have just a few pictures, but my roommates and I have decided that in a few weeks we will have a fancy dress up day JUST to get pictures so you back home will not have to cry tears of frustration any more and the sight of another picture-less blog of mine. haha
Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak in church, which went wonderfully! The topic was "Neglect not the gift that is in Thee" so I talked about our gifts and the obligation to use them in serving others. It was really fun because I had had some good experiences that went perfectly with the theme. The funniest part was that the guy who spoke after me kept refrencing my remarks but calling me "Tay-sha" so the congregation was kind of chuckling. And he quoted me like 7 times!!! It was pretty great :] There was also an adorable little old man who was sustained as our stake patriarch yesterday who told me, "Your talk was awesome!" or something like that, which pretty much made my day!
Some other big news from yesterday was that someone snuck into our apartment when we were at choir and stole our cinnamon rolls, the ward choir is singing next week, one of my friends got called to serve in the New Jersey Morristown mission, and we went to tunnel singing but stayed up WAY too late afterwards. Other than that, "All is Well in Zion!"
PS- My mom says that lots of people are reading this, but I had no idea because I only get one or two comments. It would be lovely to get comments on my blogs so I know that you guys are reading! Thanks!
Friday, July 18, 2008
So I haven't been taking very many pictures since I've been here, but my roommate took a few that I finally rescued from the depths of her hard drive. There will be more from INVITATIONAL this weekend, which is going to be AMAZING! But for now, enjoy!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I woke up at 1 am to hear my roommates screaming "TASHA TASHA TASHA!!!! IT"S THE HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL THREE TRAILER!"
I debated getting out of bed to watch it, but I decided it could wait for the morning. It is pretty intense though!
Laura made a giant paper chain to count down the days, because it premieres in exactly 100 days.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
This week has been a fun one. It started off with some fun FHE games Monday night and a late night trip to feed the ducks at the botany pond. Unfortunately the ducks were not hungry and we ended up filling the pond with bread and chasing the ducks around the pond. It was a nice warm summer night and it was fun to get to know our FHE brother better. They are really great, fun guys.
Tuesday in my Book of Mormon class we sang "Book of Mormon Stories" and I got to lead the hand motions! Maybe I was being extra reverent. haha We also watched some funny old silent films in my Humanites class. I love the one of a body builder just flexing over and over again...that's entertainment?
That night was my second experience at the Social Dance Club. At first I was thinking I was in the wrong place because the guys I was dancing with were all really good and expected me to be too. But then the more amateur guys came and they were really fun to dance with. I love that I can go to a school where I can live my dancing dreams for FREE!
Thursday afternoon my grandparents and cousin Kayla came up from Hurricane and took me out to dinner. It was nice to see them and share our BYU stories. I look forward to seeing them more often now that I am closer by.
Friday was 7/11 aka Free Slurpee day! Unfortunately for me it was $1.25 slurpee day because by the time I got there all the complimentary cups were gone. But it was still enjoyable. It now officially feels like summer because I have had my slurpee.
After the slurpees it was MAN HATER NIGHT! My friend Holly had just gone through a break up, so we decided to let out some steam with some good old man hating activities. Apparently they had a bonfire of boy memorobilia in a dark parking lot and danced around it! Then we brushed each other's hair and sang Disney songs. Life in a dorm is good :]
Saturday night was the Social Dance Club's semi-formal dance! A few of us went and that was pretty fun, but then Emily, Heidi, and I moved next door to the Swing Dance, which was like heaven on earth! It was so fun to dance with really really good guys and just make stuff up as I went. I even got to dance with the hillarious "Tall Lanky Guy" (whose real name is Ransom...I'm not sure which is better!). They have dances every Saturday night, and I will surely be there from now on! Plus Emily and I are going to check out the hip hop club Tuesday night, which is sure to be a treat!
Today my roommate Rachel and I sang "Because I have been Given Much" in Sacrament Meeting, which was a treat. She is so fun to harmonize with :] Hopefully our voices are good enough to woo some guys! We just had a stake presidency fireside (including Brad Wilcox, who is one of the counselors!) about earning our Pioneer Legacy. It was very inspiring and made me want to be the best I can be.
My roommates and I made our first "fancy" Sunday dinner tonight! It was way fun. We had pork chops, mashed potatoes, salad, lemonade, and LOVE! We made sure to take lots of pictures too, since we were so proud of our work. Here is the link to the photo album.
Well this next week looks very scary...I have midterms starting Wednesday, an apartment cleaning check Wednesday, 12 hours of work, a talk to give on Sunday, and two dances this weekend. Yikes! I'm sure I will survive and learn lots from it, so next week's blog should be pretty long!
Lots of Love,
Sunday, July 6, 2008
This last week has been pretty crazy for me, and I have tons to share!
Monday the 30th was the last day to add or drop classes, and also happened to be the day that I realized that things weren't so good in my English Lit class. We were reading some nasty literature (The Canterbury Tales, apparently there weren't high standards even in 1386!) and I knew that something HAD to change. It was sucking the Spirit out of my life, and with all I have pulling on my right now, I can't afford to lose the Spirit. I talked to my friends and family about it, and everyone had such different opinions. After much thought, I made a decision to drop the class and add an American Humanities class. I asked Heavenly Father if it was the right thing to do. I wasn't sure if everything would work out, but I had peace that that's what the Lord wanted me to do. I was extremely nervous that I wouldn't be able to add my new class, that I wouldn't be able to catch up, that I would end up with only 3 classes. But, of course, my Heavenly Father had blessings for me that I never could have imagined!!! My new professor is very patient, kind, and encouraging. I absolutely love the class and think it's perfect for me as a History major and art lover. I have already made friends, and caught up with all the work! Many people think that I should be angry with my previous professor for bringing in offensive literature and causing such an inconveneice for me, but the Lord has helped me with that too. I can see how after teaching so long at a big party school, the worldly attitudes could have crept into his life and made him more casual about the Lord's standards. I am sorry that he did what he did, but the disappointment is swallowed up in my peace and gratitude for this experience. I have learned so much and strengthened my testimony.
On a happier note, I started work this week at the Deseret Book in the University mall! The shifts are longer and the store is humongous, but I love it. I love all the new people I work with and staying busy helping customers. I'm hoping to maybe find a job closer to campus for the fall, but for now I am really enjoying staying at DB. Glenn Beck came to do a booksigning on the 4th, so the place was packed! He was just wearing a t-shirt and jeans, and seemed very friendly and down to earth. And I got to be 10 feet away from a celebrity! gasp!
Today I was set apart as the BYU 118th ward Relief Society Chorister! I am so excited to finally have a calling...my roommate can tell you all about my excited dance when I came home from my interview with the bishop! I know that this is the perfect calling for me right now with my talents and circumstances. I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to serve my sisters through one of my favorite things in the world. I started right away, but they had asked someone else to lead the music as well just in case. So after I had climbed up on the stand I looked to my side and saw another girl ready to conduct. The look on her face was priceless! We stood there gawking at each other for a moment while the auditorium exploded with reverent laughter, then she quickly ran back to her seat so I could take over. I have to say that that moment could be one of the highlights of my BYU experience!
Being set apart was a beautiful experience as well. I got to have my roommate and bestie Rachel there with me, because she had just been set apart as a ward greeter. Our bishop is such a sweet, humble, selfless man, and I could feel his love for me. I could also feel my Heavenly Father's love for me as He spoke to me through one of His worthy servants. He blessed me with all the things I need right now as I am still trying to settle into my busy college schedule. My experiences this week have been challenging, but they have strengthened my testimony of a God who knows my needs and finds ways to fill them. Knowing that is one of the best feelings in the world!
Tonight at tunnel singing, I finally went up and requested "Come, come ye saints" which I have wanted to sing for like 3 weeks now. I'm so glad I did! It was so powerful for me, because I turned to that hymn a lot in the past two years. I would always sing it thinking of the place the Lord had prepared for me here in Utah, at BYU. I would think of my pioneer ancestors and their trials, and how they must have been cheering me on in mine. I would resolve not to "mourn or think [my] lot was hard, 'tis not so, all is right. Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight?" I would sing it thinking of the great future and opportunities the Lord had prepared for me. Tonight was the first time I've really sung that song since I've moved out to Utah, and my heart was filled with gratitude. I'm so grateful for my loving friends and roommates, to have the luxury of never feeling alone. I'm so grateful for their Christlike examples and the unfailing strength they are to me. I'm so grateful to live in this beautiful valley "where none shall come to hurt or make afraid, [where] the Saints [ARE] blessed." I'm so grateful to join with other Saints as we fulfill prophesy:
"We'll make the air with music ring
Shout praises to our God and King...
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell,
All is well, All is well!!!"
Monday, June 30, 2008
So I survived [and loved] my first week of school! The highlights were bowling, ward choir, High School Musical, my Living Prophets Class, the Bean museum, and taunting from 10 year old boys. Let me explain.
Our friend Myles, who is an RA in Felt hall, has refused to watch HSM for months. After months of wearing him down, Laura and Sherry finally got him to give in! Apparantly they didn't finish the first one Thursday night, but he went home and finished it on his own! We were shocked because just last weekend he was very firm in his hatred of the movie. So Friday night we just had to show him HSM [singing along, of course!] And yesterday after church we played the HSM board game which was another marvelous time! One of the questions was a dare where I had to show everyone the toes on my left foot. Scary!!!! Another challenge was to tap dance to "Get'cha Head in the Game." It was most definitely a remarkable experience.
My favorite class is the Living Prophets. It is so neat to gather with other Saints from different walks of life and share our thoughts, experiences, and testimonies of the gospel. And Brother Haws is a great teacher! Thursday he played "Praise to the man" on his accordion, and he is always making us laugh. He also picks great talks for us to read. A really great one from this week is "The Peril of Hidden Wedges" by President Monson. Check it out!
Brian and I went to the bean museum on Saturday. No it's not plants, it's names after a guy whose last name was Bean. It has HUNDREDS of stuffed animals - lion, tigers, bears, ligers, cougars, birds, fish, deer, mooses(?), and even a rhino! Next time you're in Provo you should stop by. It's incredible.
Now the 10 year olds. I was studying outside on Tuesday when a sports camp walked by. The group of boys looked about 10. They were chattering to each other, and one of them yells at me, "Wanna come bowling with us?" Another one said, "No dude, that girl's old. She's probably like 25." I was laughing very hard!!!
Well, I have lots of old English Literature to read before FHE tonight (we are gonna eat pizza and play ice breaker games/frisbee. woo hoo!)
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Today (June 23rd...I don't know why the post is dated the 21st!) was my first day of class at BYU, a day I have been dreaming of for a long, long time! I feel so blessed that Heavenly Father helped me endure to the end and FINALLY make it here. I miss my family (and all of you!) bunches, but I am very happy to be here.
I checked into housing on Friday afternoon and met all my wonderful roommates that I have been emailing for months, and they are just as great as I thought they were! Rachel is from Switzerland, Joslyn from Alpine, Kirsten from New Mexico, and Laura the RA from Illinois. Unpacking was crazy and exhausting, and I finally got everything organized just today! I definitely packed WAY too much. haha That night we went to an orientation dance where we learned folk dances from England, Denmark, South Africa, the midwest, and Romania. It was really fun, but very exhausting! Those people are very flexible!!!
Saturday Rachel, Brian, and I explored the campus and took care of business like textbooks, ID cards, groceries, etc. We got to go to our first devotional and meet many more new people. That night, we went to a rollerskating rink in Orem, which was really fun! I'm very new, but I improved much quicker than I thought I would. Poor Rachel got horrible bruises all over her body from all of her falls, but she is a tough sport and doesn't complain.
Sunday we went to church, the 118th ward! I love our bishopric and the sisters in the ward. Everyone is so friendly and sweet, and eager to participate in class discussions. I am learning so much from my ward family. In the afternoon we organized our kitchen, made cookies and invited boys over to eat them, and went for a walk around campus to find our class buildings. Ward prayer was another uplifting activity, and then Brian gave Rachel and I blessings. It was amazing to see my best friend who I have seen grow up these last two years exercise the Holy Priesthood. He has been preparing all his life to be worthy of it, and now he has the blessing of serving with the priesthood. It brought all three of us closer together, and I feel that Rachel and Brian will be some of my closet friends during my BYU experience. After the blessing, we went to the infamous tunnel singing, which I will attempt to post a little video of. The Spirit was so strong, and I'm so grateful to go to a school where I can join in worship with my fellow students at any time of day.
My classes today were great! Well, I only had one, the Living Prophets, with my roommate Joslyn. It is sooo cool! We are going to learn all about our first presidency and quorum of the 12. We have such a diverse class and it was really neat to hear everyone's comments as we talked about the need for prophets today, what we love about President Monson, and how conference addresses have blessed our lives. I look forward to my other 3 classes tomorrow and the many more adventures that will follow this week!
I love you all and pray for you in your endeavors back home. Please pray for me in mine. I will do my best to share the blessings of my education with you as I follow BYU's motto and "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve."
Sunday, June 8, 2008
"There would I find a settled rest
While others go and come
No more a stranger, nor a guest
But like a child at home."
-My Shepherd Will Supply My Need, Psalm 23 paraphrase by Isaac Watts
This evening was also seminary graduation, the closest thing to a high school graduation I will ever have! I can't believe I survived four years and that I grew so much from it! Seminary has changed my life for the better, and I encourage everyone to attend faithfully. I gained a strong testimony of the gospel and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I made amazing friends who love me for who I am and will be my friends for all eternity. I found opportunities to share my testimony and the words to say what I know to be true. I had an abundance of the Spirit with me to help me in all my doings, temporal and spiritual. I learned how the scriptures really do relate to my life, and how much I need them every day.
As sad as I am to leave behind this great chapter in my life and all the wonderful friends who have supported me and guided me, I know that this is a leap of faith I must take. It's time for me to spread my wings and fly. It's time for me to go into the world and share the light that God put in me with others, to bless the world the best I can. Thank you all for blessing me with your light and changing my life. Despite the distance, you will always be close to my heart.
"I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good"
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Thanks for reading my first post! I hope this blog will help me keep in touch with people as I begin my journey into the "real" world. :]
Last weekend I saw NCI CYT's Peter Pan, which I have seen before but this time I had a new perspective. In the last scene Peter mourns because Wendy has grown up, and I used to agree with him. But now I realize that growing up is actually a very good thing. The whole purpose of life is to progress and grow. What good is a seed if it never sprouts into a tree? What good is a life if it is never lived to its full potential?
I think that I am not afraid of growing up because I have already done a lot of it. I am about to start my second year of college and already have all my classes and my career planned out. I have a job and manage my own finances. I know who I am and what is most important in life. It's humbling to see what I've come through and how Heavenly Father has shaped my life to make me who I am.
So yes, growing up can be sad and scary at times. but mostly it's a beautiful journey and an opportunity to be grateful for the masterpiece God is creating.
And I can't wait to experience more of it. :]