Saturday, August 30, 2008

Good News!!!

Hey friends! Thanks for all of your supportive comments. It's so nice to know that you all love me and hear such encouraging words.

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

Ether 12:3

It seems like as soon as I feel like everything is going right, God dumps a load of trials on my head! haha

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.

Much love,

Monday, August 18, 2008

Starting Anew

Dear Friends and Family,

Sorry I have been a bit behind, but with finals, starting my new job, and moving to a new apartment all in a week and a half, I have had my hands full!

Last Wednesday was my last day at Deseret Book. I was afraid that it was going to be a little awkward since I had to bail with only about a day’s notice, but it was actually very nice. All of my favorite coworkers were there, and they all said they were sad to see me go, but that they understood and wished me the best. It was nice to know that they loved and appreciated me, even though I was only there one month and I didn’t leave at the best time. My boss did say that she wanted to clone me and fire everyone else because she loved my work ethic, but who knows if she still thinks that now…haha

Last Friday was my first training at Jamba Juice! It’s so close that I can see it right when I step out the front door of my apartment building. I love the environment, the people, and the chance to learn something new! We have so much fun and it’s a very spiritually and physically nourishing environment. I finished my training last night, so I will be fully ready to work for education week!!!

I finished up my finals on Wednesday and Thursday, which went well! I feel especially good about my American Humanities one…I actually enjoyed taking it! Since I love art and history, it was really fun to reflect on my newfound knowledge of America’s culture over the past 140 years. This class really helped me to love and appreciate art. I am going to go to art museums much more frequently now.

After months of worry and prayer, my student loan finally came through! It is such a blessing and relief to have that and not have to worry about how I am going to make ends meet in 3 weeks. The Lord is definitely watching over me :]

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!

Speaking of starting anew, I cut my hair about 5 inches today!!! It’s a big change, but I’m very happy with it. I love having hair that is not a burden anymore, and with the rate my hair grows it should be long again in just a few months.

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.

Now, of course, I have to share a new talk I have fallen in love with. This time it is Elder Wirthlin’s “Sunday Will Come.” Elder Wirthlin is such a sweet and tender apostle, but his words are powerful. Reading this talk has given me hope that after the dark times, glory and relief DOES come! It has happened to me so many times in my life, including several instances during these last couple of weeks. This talk also taught me that we need the Atonement every day of our lives whether we are struggling or not, sinning or not. It has helped me to use the glorious gift of the Atonement in my everyday life.

I will leave you with Elder Wirthlin’s humble testimony:
“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

God Bless? He already has.

Wow, life at BYU is crazy, but there is nowhere else I'd rather be!

Last week my family came into town to visit me after dropping Megan off at EFY in Cedar. On Monday we went to Smart Cookie and the cool fountain in the JFSB courtyard. It was so fun to show them all of my favorite spots in Provo and lay on the grass in the shade just chatting. Tuesday after class we went to the Museum Of Art, SubZero ice cream (where they freeze the ice cream right before your eyes with liquid nitrogen!), the duck pond, and hiked the Y. Feeding the ducks was way fun because there were some crazy EFY counselors having a picnic who started sucking helium and singing EFY songs...haha. ANd then James decided it would be fun to send his stuffed turtle down the waterfall and it got stuck under the "bridge." And of course my father, since the turtle cost $6, spent 10 whole minutes trying to get it unstuck....and he did! And hiking the Y was cool too! It's a gorgeous view of the whole Utah valley, and some nice exercise. I haven't been hiking for the longest time, so I really enjoyed it :] The only bad part was having to say goodbye to my family. It was one of the few times I've seen my sweet little brother cry tears of sorrow. I'm so blessed to have an eternal family and the knowledge that we are sealed together FOREVER. What a sweet experience their visit was!

I've not been too happy with my Deseret Book job here, and have been praying very hard to find an on-campus job for the last few weeks. Talking to my parents about it last Tuesday, I felt really sad and hopeless. It was a total tender mercy from the Lord when on Wednesday I found a posting for Jamba Juice on the job board! I had an interview Thursday, which went really well, and on Saturday I found out that I GOT THE JOB!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't think of a more perfect opportunity - a chance to try something new and be closer to home! I am still amazed and so thankful to the Lord for this incredible blessing. Tomorrow is my last day at DB, which will be a little awkward, but I am rejoicing in this new opportunity.

So I've been worrying like crazy again the last few days (what else is new?) with my job change, finals, moving out, money, etc. I was blessed with the assignment to read this great talk from Elder Bednar about faith in learning. The part that touched me was about the principle in Ether 12:6 "dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." I realized that right now the Lord wants me to be like the Israelites and take a step into the Red Sea before He parts it for me. He is using this experience to try and grow my faith. I know that I am in His hands and that as I do my best to follow Him, I have no need to fear. What a sweet promise. In my Living Prophets class on Monday, we talked about another great talk from Elder Bednar, "The Tender Mercies of the Lord." Everyone in class shared their experiences with His tender mercies, which reminded me of the thousands of small blessings He has poured out upon me lately:

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.