Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
...I read Segullah.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Labor Day Picnic...
Visiting the Spiral Jetty with the Art History Association...
October 2009 General Conference...
The mystery of Mitch tucking in his pajama pants...
A very Muggle Christmas...
Growing closer to my siblings...
Baking cookies and dancing to "Hey, Soul Sister"...
Ward Nerd Night and the epic Twinkie-eating contest...
Discovering my own soul sisters...
The great spoon incident...
The "Mom" tattoos...
And becoming friends with some of the most wonderful people in the world.
I feel like a small sapling. Each year brings new joys and hardships, but the rings that grow become part of the eternal being that is me. And that's pretty neat.
Monday, April 12, 2010
I had mostly forgotten about this heartache with the adventures of the weekend and the stress of finals, but today it came rushing back to me.
'Tis the last and the first,
For the limits of time it steps o'er.
Though the heavens depart
And the earth's fountains burst,
Truth, the sum of existence,
*I watched this movie a couple weeks ago. It is intense, but so good. And in German :]
*I absolutely love this building.
*I think I need to make this. I love barrettes and my collections needs an update.
*This made me cry. In the computer lab. It's beautiful.
*This is my favorite song at the moment.
*Love this post.
*Tomorrow evening is my choir concert in the beautiful Provo Tabernacle! I love singing praises to God in that beautiful building!
*This made me think.
*This weekend my friend went hiking and found a mini hot air balloon. We had a lot of fun playing with it, and fortunately did not burn down any buildings. Hooray!
*This dance is incredibly beautiful, and their comments afterwords made me teary-eyed.
*As mentioned before I went to the temple with my best friend. As always, it was a beautiful experience. I get to be roommates with that beautiful girl come fall, and it is going to be so great. She brings out the best in me and "because I knew her, I have been changed for good." I love you Courts!
Have a wonderful Monday everyone, and enjoy the wonders of spring!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Those signs really annoy me. To me, they imply that my BYU education isn't complete, isn't good enough without studying abroad. And frankly, this is not so.
Last year, 10,409 students applied to BYU. 68% were accepted. This means that 3,331 applicants were denied a BYU education. And some of us treat our BYU education so flippantly, even murmuring about it at times. To my fellow BYU students, please do not complain about your blessings.
When I was in high school, I was one of those 10,409 applicants who longed to go to BYU. I dreamed of the day when I could go to a school where 98% of the students believed the same things I did, where 97% of my male classmates would be returned missionaries. In a high school with drug busts, rampant cheating, and no dress code whatsoever, I could not wait to go to a university where the Honor Code was enforced and even revered. I longed to attend religion classes and devotionals, to live in an enviornment where we would learn "even by study and also by faith" (D&C 88:118). Most of all, I hungered for eternal relationships, for friends who would truly understand appreciate the person I am, friends who would help me become more like Jesus Christ.
In those days of waiting and wishing, my soul found comfort in the LDS hymn "Come, Come ye Saints." It was the anthem of my pioneer forebears as they pulled handcarts to Utah. I was making my own trek to Utah with more modern conveniences, but with my own struggles. I too was a pioneer. I too could be strengthened by God. And even today when I sing these words, He truly strengthens me.
Come, come, ye saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
Tis better far for us to strive our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell -
All is well! All is well!
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell-
All is well! All is well!
We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away, in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the saints, will be blessed.
We'll make the air, with music ring, Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell -
All is well! All is well!
A place where we are encircled by the beautiful Wasatch mountains.
A place where temples abound.
A place where I never have to worry about people swearing, drinking or smoking.
A place where students respect the campus, creating a beautiful environment where the Spirit can dwell.
A place where it's normal for students to bring their infants to class and talk to their grandparents on the phone.
A place where people treat each other with love, respect, and kindness.
A place where I can leave my belongings unattended in the cafeteria and know that they will not be stolen.
A place with beautiful, uplifting art.
A place where buses display pictures of families instead of ads for sleazy TV shows.
A place where we sing and pray before our classes.
A place with amazing choral, dance, athletic and academic programs.
A place where I get to study, work, worship and play with incredible people.
A place where we play Quidditch on Friday nights.
A place where I have found friends who let me be my true self.
A place where I have grown tremendously.
I am so grateful that I, like my pioneer ancestors, made it to Utah. I love it here. And I raise my voice with theirs, testifying that "All is well! All is well!"
Monday, April 5, 2010
Image found here.
I received an email from a missionary friend today that broke my heart. Here is what he wrote:
Conference weekend was way way hard for me. Most of the instruction that I received from General Conference was how to be a good husband, a good father, some great dating tips, and a whole lot about how to be a good father. However, none of those things actually apply to me, and won't for quite some time....Now, I know I'm not married, but just because I'm not doesn't mean that I can't live for my future wife. I can still try to live as worthy as I can to prepare myself for whoever she is. I can still live for my wife. So that has been one hard part of conference for me. I wish that the counsel was at least something that I could apply right now, but I really can't. At least I don't see how I can. The second insanely hard part was the choirs from the second Saturday session...I have so many friends in that choir. It's ridiculous. There wasn't a single camera shot that I didn't recognize a person. That was so hard. All of those friends are in the conference center, singing in General Conference, which is only one of my biggest dreams....It was so, so hard....I had such a stark feeling. I had felt that my heart had been ripped out and a shapeless darkness had replaced it. I wanted so badly to be happy and joyful to see all of my friends there and to receive guidance from the Prophet and the General Authorities, but the darkness was so overpowering.
I hope I can, with the help of my Savior, recover quickly from the dark void. I guess I just haven't received that witness of what the Lord has planned for me and why I'm here. I know that I'm supposed to be here and I'm definitely not going anywhere. I refuse to offend my God by leaving or not doing my best. I just don't feel like I have been growing at all, no matter how hard I'm trying....I know I've only been out a transfer and that I'm not going to be a drastically different person in so short a time, but I can't recognize any progression on my part. I just need to have a lot more faith and reliance on my Savior for strength, comfort, and direction. Good thing I know why I need to do that and know that I can have more faith, otherwise, I'd be in quite a bit of trouble.
After reading all of that, I just wanted to weep. He is such a good young man and can just feel that he needs love. I wish I could be there to give him a hug and let him know that everything is going to be ok - but that is not God's will right now. However, I do have the ability to email him, which is exactly what I did. I felt the inspiration of the Lord guide me to know what to write. What I wrote to him is a story of how Christ has transformed me - a story I want to share with you.
I read a book a couple months back called "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom. Her family hid people in their home during World War II and most of the family was killed because of it. Corrie's book talks about her experiences and is absolutely amazing. It teaches a lot of eternal truths and illustrates examples of how to be like Christ. But the most powerful truth I learned was about the power of Christ. Corrie tells about reading the Bible in the prison camp. She and her sister would read aloud from the Bible every night, with the prisoners listening intently. At first it was joyous and uplifting for her to share her testimony, but after a while it grew monotonous and she felt empty. She would still read the Bible, but her heart was not in it. Then one day she realized where her emptiness and selfishness was coming from. "The real sin lay in thinking that any power to help and transform came from me," Corrie wrote. "Of course it was not my wholeness, but Christ's that made the difference." She realized that she had been reading out of the Bible because she thought she could help these prisoners - but the help was not from her! All along, it was from Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. She was merely the instrument by which the prisoners received the message of Christ. And once she forgot about herself and put her whole heart into testifying of Christ, her heart was changed again. She was able to love and have joy again. She remembered that the prison camp was the place where God had called her to teach about Jesus, the only way by which hearts can be made "all whole."
And Corrie also helped me to learn about Christ and be transformed by Him. When I first read those words the natural woman in me piped up. "I'm OK," I thought. "I'm doing a good job. I'm not selfish." But then I realized that I was. Many of the good things I was doing were done out of obligation or habit or selfishness. I wanted to help people because it made me happy; it made me feel important. I decided to change my attitude. I realized that, like Corrie, I have been placed in this apartment, this ward, this University, this job, these classes, this social network because it is the place where God wants me to testify of His Son, Jesus Christ. God has placed certain people in my life because I have certain gifts and experiences that can help them. I do not know exactly what these gifts are or why it is my gifts that are meant to help them, but I know that this is what I have been assigned to do. And I also know that these gifts are not mine - they are God's. He has given them to me in order that I may do His work and testify of His Gospel. I decided that I would try to testify of Christ in all that I did, because "it was not my wholeness, but Christ's that made the difference." I have no power to heal or forgive people - but I have the power to testify of the One who does. That decision has changed my life. I have found that it really is possible to testify of Christ in all that I do. I've found that as I focus on testifying of Christ, everything else falls into place. I am more focused on my schoolwork, more loving, more productive, have more friends, find more opportunities to serve, I am closer to God, and I am just happier. I can now see the hand of God in all aspects of my life. I can see my many reasons to rejoice.
I am grateful for your faith and commitment to do what is right even though it is so painfully difficult. I know that God is pleased with that as well. He loves you perfectly and would not make you endure any pain that was not absolutely necessary for your growth. I don't know exactly what His plan for your life is, but I do know that you are where you are for a reason. Right now He wants you to testify of Christ. There are people around who need the healing that the Atonement can bring, and God has chosen you to bring it to them. I know that this experience will prepare you to be a better husband and father someday. God wants you to progress. He wants you to be happy. But sometimes we have to endure dark times because, as Corrie Ten Boom wrote, it is "in darkness [that] God's truth shines most clear." I know that the Atonement is real. I know that it has the power to forgive, to heal broken hearts, and to make us whole again. I know that God loves you and will help you through these trials, and that through them you will be able to help others later, to lead them to Christ.
I testify that Jesus Christ lives and that His Atoning sacrifice truly has the power to change attitudes, heal broken hearts, and change lives. He has done it for me, now let Him do it for you.