Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
And then, when we have worked through our pain and learned what He wanted us to learn, He makes our burdens light. He gives us the distance of time to show us what a blessing that pain really was. And we are better people for it.
Monday, February 22, 2010
A blog that I follow has a tradition of posting links to lovely things each Monday. I don't know if I would have enough links to post every week, but I have some wonderful ones I wanted to post today.
*This post is amazing and was just what I needed to get through yesterday.
*I love this photographer and want to buy his prints when I have a real house to hang them in.
*She is my favorite singer right now. Her CD "Grace" is incredible!
*This talk is amazing and helped me have more courage to reach out and help others.
*This recipe looks like the perfect way to cure my chocolate addiction. I sure hope so!
*This website is my favorite EVER. I read it every day without fail.
*This book looks like its gonna be awesome.
*This woman is absolutely amazing. What a beautiful story!
*This makes me laugh.
*These guys in my ward make me laugh even harder.
*I am going to this on Thursday.
*I am going to this on Friday.
Life is good.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
"What have you learned from this experience?" my wise friend asked me.
"Oh my goodness, I have learned so much! I grown closer to my Heavenly Father and learned things that have made me a better person."
"Then that is why you felt at peace with this decision."
Even with the peace of the gospel and the knowledge that this experience is for my good, it is still difficult at times. Recently I came up with a plan for how I would handle this person who tries my patience (see this post for some background), but whenever I tried to deliver my stinging and witty comebacks, I could not find the courage to do it. I prayed to God to have the strength to execute my plan...
but then realized that I should really be asking Him how He would have me react to this person's negativity.
And He gave me a plan that is much better.
My mom shared some stories with me about two amazing people back home who handled negativity with grace and love without condoning the critical remarks.
It was the end of the Ward Pioneer Day party. There had been many fun games - potato sack races, a 3 legged race, and a rousing game of tug-of-war. The kids were now playing with the giant tug-of-war rope, and Brother T, one of organizers of the event, was most unhappy. He chastised the kids and started angrily winding up the rope. A woman remarked to a friend, "oh, we always let the kids play with that rope." Brother F turned to the sisters and replied, "Brother T has put a lot of work into this event and done a very good job. We need to be grateful for the service he has done for us today." Brother F turned and went to help Brother T clean up his things.
Two women were talking with a new Temple Matron for the San Diego Temple. The Temple Matron was describing the plans for the Christmas Season on the Temple Grounds - lights, different choirs every night, inviting the community to come enjoy the spirit there. One of the other women remarked that these were great ideas and wondered why none of these things had been done before. The Temple Matron lovingly replied, "Sisters, the previous Temple Presidencies have done an excellent job, and we need to be careful that we do not say anything negative about them."
Oh, how I want to be like these amazing people!
I know that this person I am struggling with is not trying to be mean and negative - they just don't know any better. For some reason, they have not learned which comments are acceptable and which comments are hurtful. I have the opportunity to help guide this person as Jesus Christ would, to help them know how much the Savior loves them.
I'm going to need a lot of divine help.
Trust in the Lord, and do good...Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. -Psalms 37:3-6
You may have been the only one to sense by inspiration the warning cry. The others may feel, as you will be tempted to think, "Maybe the trouble I thought I saw is just my imagination. What right do I have to judge another? It's not my responsibility. I'll leave it alone until he asks for help." . . . Yet you are under covenant to go to a spiritually wounded child of God. You are responsible to be brave enough and bold enough not to turn away. -Henry B. Eyring
If you act in faith in the Savior and go to someone who is struggling or spiritually wounded, you do not go alone. It is the Lord's work. If you go prayerfully seeking the guidance of the Spirit, He will go before you and He will go with you. He promises you that the power of His atoning sacrifice will strengthen you so that those you seek to help will feel Him and see Him through you. You will help them feel and understand the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. -Kim B. Clark
Thursday, February 18, 2010
My little sister just got accepted into BYU.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Today, I’m struggling again. My best intentions have turned to disasters. I feel misunderstood and fallen and hated. What’s that quote? "Man will suffer no greater disappointment than that he is to himself."
Yes. Oh yes.
When I kneel to pray my thoughts are crowded with, "I’m such a fool!" "When will I ever learn?" "I make a mess of everything." God is there, but I’m covering my ears and shouting my failings.
But now, I’m going to lean back, like a child against a cool pillow, and feel God’s love. And I can already hear the murmuring words of comfort— "I understand… I know life is hard…I know you’ve made mistakes… but I’ve paid the price for you. Let me in." - Michelle L.
Thank goodness for a Heavenly Father who hears my prayers that go unspoken.
Thank goodness for a merciful God who reminds me that my little pipe cleaners are enough.
Thank goodness for a Savior who gently whispers, "You don't need an earthly friend; you have me right here."
Theodore Roosevelt wrote,
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.
My favorite teacher, Mr. Marcus of the Standley Middle School Band, wrote,
Tasha's gifts are many, but her greatest gift is that she is, and always has been, her own person in everything she does. She is never arrogant or mean-spirited, exhibiting an easy grace that is exceedingly rare in these times....I think John Ruskin, the 19th century art critic, summed it up best in the following quote which just happens to be my favorite: "When love and skill work together - expect a masterpiece." And that's just what Tasha truly is.
So I am leaving the critics behind. I am going to remember all the people who think I am doing things just fine. I am not going to let these negative voices stop me from being myself. I am going to be the woman God wants me to be.
Do not be afraid of ridicule. The strength and peace that come from knowing God and having the comforting companionship of His Spirit will make your efforts eternally worthwhile. - Elder Robert D. Hales
Friday, February 12, 2010
This past week I have felt like I was in a whirlwind with a mighty storm beating upon me. Yet through it all I have felt at peace. I knew that with the Lord's help everything would work out.
I don't face all of my challenges this way. As my poor mother knows, sometimes I am a train wreck when things go wrong. Why was it different this time?
I think it is because I have been working on being more optimistic.
"Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works," King Benjamin says in Mosiah 5:15. That's what I've been trying to do these last couple months. But it wasn't until I read Ether 12:4 that I discovered the key to become someone who "abounds in good works."
"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." - Ether 12:4
I couldn't be steadfast and immovable without hope. And I couldn't have hope without having faith in Jesus Christ.
For a long time I struggled with thinking positively and finding hope. I studied my scriptures each day but the world still seemed discouraging. Without realizing it, I was driving the Spirit out of my life by being pessimistic. I lacked faith in my Savior. I wasn't allowing Him to fully enter into my life.
But now that I've learned how to deal with discouragement in a healthy way, I am so much stronger. Because my soul is anchored by hope, I have a greater capacity to serve. Because I have taken care of myself, I am able to be "sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."
Pessimism is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It rejects and mocks His Atoning sacrifice. My negative thought processes prevented me from truly knowing my Savior, from fully partaking of His love.
I had to let the Lord completely into my life before I could learn how to share His love with other people.
It seems like such a small thing. I never realized that my sadness was preventing me from becoming like Christ. The adversary can be so subtle.
But Heavenly Father can be subtle too. And He has promised,
"If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." - Ether 12:27
Have faith in Christ. Let Him into your life. He will turn your weaknesses into strengths. He will give you a hope that will anchor your soul. And He will transform you into something beautiful.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
"Do you like this painting?"
I had to restrain myself from whirling around and glaring at the student who had asked this question. Really? How could someone be so thoughtless, so prejudiced, so rude?
It was nearing the end of my Art History 202 class last semester. There were about 250 of us in the class, the majority of which were just trying to knock out a GE requirement. We had been discussing abstraction for a little while, and I had heard plenty of my classmates gripe about the material. I hoped that as they learned more about modern art they would be able to sense its beauty, but with this question it was clear that at least one student was not diggin' it.
My professor, who happened to be a specialist in modern art, answered very well. Much better then I would have in my angered state. But I was still annoyed.
I'll be honest; I struggled to understand abstract art at first. I remember sitting in a Humanities class in the summer of 2008 with this image on the screen. A girl told of how she had cried upon seeing this work in person. I simply could not understand it. As the only freshman in the class, I did not comment much, but for this I had to speak my mind. "I don't understand what it means!" I exclaimed. "It's just a bunch of blue!" My professor tried to explain that it didn't have to mean anything, that it was a new way to challenge the meaning of Art. The girl who had commented earlier tried to help by saying that the colors are incredible in person, since Rothko mixed his own paint. That helped a little. But I still left confused.
About a week later, our class went to the BYU Museum of Art. We saw an exhibition on conceptual art, and it all started to click. I realized that abstract art is all about getting people to think! As I stood in front of these monumental works, I began to ponder what they could mean to the artist, to other patrons, to me. I saw the beauty in the small details and the entire composition. I saw the artists' creativity being set free, allowed to run and jump and twist and turn in a world void of the fences of representational art. I saw the artists' souls being poured into their works.
And that's when I fell in love.
What I love most about abstract art is that it recognizes the intelligence in the viewer and challenges them to use it! I love what Theo van Doesburg wrote in the Art Concret Manifesto. "Art with a representational agenda, even a hidden one, is harmful because it tends to sap the mental strength of viewers, leaving them unaware of their own true powers."
So before you judge abstract art, open up your mind and think a little bit. Art has so much to offer.
If you will let it.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
He was betrayed by friends.
He was condemned in court, having never sinned.
He was beaten and spit upon.
His precious and beautiful teachings were mocked.
He was humiliated.
And in the end, even God forsook Him.
And He went through this all for me.
When this man who suffered all of the worst pains imaginable promises that my tiny trials "shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good," I can believe Him.
When He says, "trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding," I know that I can do it because Christ did exactly that.
When He, who worked miracles and rose from the dead, assures me that "with God all things are possible," I know that He is telling the truth. Because He has been right there.
Even in my teeny-tiny struggles, the moments when I feel lost, He is always right by my side, just waiting for me to believe in His promises. Waiting for me to let Him lift me up.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Tonight was our Ward Nerd Fest! I wore my Betsy-Tacy shirt, high pants, a lanyard that I made myself, my favorite pair of glasses that I found in a gutter after they had been run over by a car, a bulky sweater, crazy pigtails and my giant men's moccasins. And I didn't win the costume contest. There were some very creative people out there!
But I was pretty successful in the Twinkie eating contest! I jumped in just for fun and was able to cram in 3 1/2 Twinkies in 1 minute! I made it to the finals but they were much harder because everyone was cheering and making me laugh. Jared got 2 Twinkies down in 30 seconds but I only got 1 1/2 down, so he was the champion. But I'm ok with second.
Moral of the story - you never know what talents are hidden inside you.