We want to hear how you're feeling, what you're thinking and what you're learning. We want to hear about the Tender Mercies, the answered prayers, the ups and downs, the miracles, the mishaps, the missionary experiences and the moments of pure excitement. Talk to us.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Encounter with truth

Yesterday I went to the mountains to read-not my scriptures but some leisurely reading.  Peaceful, with light coming through the leaves.  When I my eyes strained to read at twilight, I left.  I realized I was hungry, and I craved chips.  I stopped at the convenience store close to the mouth of Provo Canyon.  I walked in, looked at the crackers then turned around to look at the chips.  I turned around, and a man in a Hawaiin shirt made some comment about my BYU shirt and shook my hand.  At that point I realized the man was President Monson!  There in the convenience store!  He moved on after shaking my hand, and I kept looking at the chips but not really seeing them as I focused on the feeling in my heart.  There in the convenience store, despite pop music and junk food, I felt the Spirit tell my heart that man is the Prophet.  The Prophet of God, mouthpiece of the Lord for the whole earth.

After finally purchasing some chips, I drove away but didn't go home.  I reflected on meeting the Prophet.  I realized I don't feel ready to meet the Savior.  And I realized exactly what I need to change to be ready.  So, starting then, I committed to change.  I also realized how important it is to look, act and be a Saint, at all times and in all places, not just on Sunday or in the temple.  My heart softened, and I felt so blessed.  I felt the love of God.  What a blessing it is to have a Prophet, who speaks regularly and gives God's counsel.  What a blessing to have the fulness of the gospel so I can be a Saint.  I love Jesus Christ, I know living the teachings of the Church bring me to Him, and I know for myself that Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet.  

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Our Sacred Privilege

A few nights ago I was babysitting for a family that I babysit for on a regular basis. I had put the all the kids to bed and was getting ready to finish up the dishes that were still left in the sink when I heard the three year old call for her mom a few times, then remembering that she was gone, started calling for me in her sweet, sleepy little girl voice. My heart immediately melted. I don’t know what it is, but there is something terribly endearing about hearing a small helpless child call for you. It had been a frazzling evening, but the moment she called my name things changed. Peace and love entered my heart. I don’t know what it is, but there is something terribly endearing about hearing a small helpless child call for you.

The nurturer in me came out and all my thoughts went to her and her comfort. All I wanted was to make sure she was comfortable and able to sleep well. And I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of why being a mother is such an incredible privilege.

As I went to help the little girl calling to me, my thoughts turned to Heavenly Father and how He must want to come running to my aid every time as soon as I call, just as I was for her. He is quick to come to our aid and wants so bad to help us here in mortality. Just as there are many things this girl couldn’t do on her own, there are many things that we cannot do on our own. We need the Savior and the Father in their infinite wisdom to come to our aid and bring us the help and comfort we cannot provide on our own.

Earlier that day, the little girl had thrown a tantrum because I wouldn’t let her just eat sweets for dinner. She saw things very differently from me, and with her limited knowledge, there was nothing wrong with eating candy for dinner. I was trying so hard to help her do what was best for her, yet she didn’t understand and so threw a tantrum. It made me wonder how many times I have thrown “tantrums” when Heavenly Father has asked me to do things. I may have felt like I knew what I was doing, and from my perspective it seemed like the best thing to do. But Heavenly Father in His infinite wisdom knew otherwise. What have I done when He’s told me this? Have I thrown my own little tantrums? At times yes I am ashamed to say. But I was so lucky to recognize this with this little girl and made a commitment to myself and the Lord that I would trust Him, knowing that He has a perfect perspective and that He would only do things that are for my good.

Nurturing is an incredible way to come to know our Father in Heaven and begin to understand the beginnings of His love for us. That is our privilege as women that we can look forward to. I had let myself get distracted a little from my goal of having a family. It hadn’t dropped completely from my mind, but it certainly wasn’t in the forefront of my mind. This experienced changed it. I began to remember why having a family is so important and see the incredible blessings that come from being a mother.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mine Angels Round About You

This is how we normally think of a blessing, at least I do. Me in white shirts and ties or a suit, hands folded reverently, eyes, closed, calmly listening to the word of the Lord.

This week, my experience was much different.

I'm a little nervous to go into too much detail, because I don't want to distract from the message, but I feel like the full impact of the story is lost without some background. I feel like there's a good lesson here that needs to be heard. It's a little more personal, but here's the basic story:

I decided to visit Provo for Fast Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, because I a)missed everyone, 2)had some errands to run on campus, and C) I had no previous obligations.
After a thoroughly enjoyable Sabbath and a nice rest, I awoke Monday morning and prepared to go to the HBLL to pick up a book I've been waiting to read for MONTHS (you know how that goes). The Really Good Book that Started All This---->

On the way up Maeser Hill (south of the Benson) I suddenly had severe cramping in the left side of my chest. Now, before anybody panics, 1)I'm not dead, and b)these happen sometimes as a result of a different medical problem.
I was with my roommate. She helped me over to the grass, where I immediately sank to my knees. This cramp was worse than I'd ever had before, but I still assumed in would pass in a matter of seconds, as they usually do. I motioned my roommate to wave people on, as many had stopped to ask what was wrong. I assumed I would be fine, and I was extremely embarrassed to be causing such a scene.

After about a minute of extreme pain and next to no oxygen, I began to be concerned (and more than a little light-headed). These cramps had never lasted longer than 40 seconds, and usually only 10-15. This one had not only continued, but had become more and more painful (like, the worst Charlie Horse of your life, in your chest). I was not totally aware of what was happening outside the pain and trying to calm my muscles down, but I heard my roommate say "blessing."

I nodded, and probably babbled something or other.

She immediately looked to the paved path up the hill and saw two male students walking, presumably to class or work. I didn't see their faces. She asked if they held the priesthood, and attempted to explain the situation. I think they misunderstood at first (she first tried to explain with "muscle cramps" and they laughed, a little embarrassed. BOYS: "Muscle cramp" does not always equal "menstrual." Bah.)

She explained that it was the entire left side of my chest wall that was cramping, and that I could not breathe. I was aware enough to think "Wow, she's keeping it together really well....stupid boys."

They came quickly, and gave me a blessing. I felt bad for thinking they were "stupid boys," as I was suddenly aware that they were indeed righteous holders of the priesthood. Ruefulness at immaturity was replaced with gratitude that they were worthy, capable, and willing to give such service when I needed it.

I do not remember everything they said, as I was collapsed in on myself and trying so hard to regulate internally with an extreme lack of oxygen. But when they placed their hands on my head--me, a girl they did not know and may never see again--I felt the tightness on my lungs loosen. The pain was still there; the muscles still in tight knots that rendered me unable to move or stand--but I had air.

I felt the power of the Lord, and became aware of the things being said in the blessing. They did not know me, but the Lord does. He comforted me, both for physical pain and for other problems in my life (we all have them). I knew I would be Okay, and calm was re-affirmed in my mind and heart. It was a brief blessing, and the two students went on their way.

The pain did not subside immediately--it was many minutes before it even lessened-- but I had just enough of what I needed (calm, and air, and assistance) to get me through.

And that, wonderful friends, is the moral of the story. In my time of unanticipated, unsolvable pain, the Lord knew exactly what I needed. He sent His angels, in the form of my roommate, police and medical officers, a randomly-passing-by nursing student, and two worthy priesthood holders that I'd never seen before.

After the first crisis had passed, He knew I needed more help. Those angels came in the form of roommates and friends that assisted in transportation, came to visit, sent notes/phone calls/text messages, and provided the care I needed during my unexpectedly extended stay in Provo. I was physically incapacitated, and He not only sent me the "bare necessities" of survival, but sent friends to help comfort me and make my life so much happier during the last few days until I was able to return to Lehi.

The Lord will send us that comfort, and those tender mercies that improve our lives. The testimony was re-affirmed to me in a very physical, very see-able way. He knew I needed a re-confirmation of that testimony, and now I pass it on to you: That even when we experience trials, pain, and heartache, whether from something completely out of our control or brought upon ourselves, the Lord will give us what we need in our time of crisis. He will also send us tender mercies; little things to remind us of His love for us, and tokens of brighter days ahead.

He loves us, and He will never abandon us. He gave us access to His priesthood, and we have been so blessed to be in a ward where so many worthy young men hold that priesthood and are willing to use it to help bless our lives.

Never forget that. Never forget that He loves you.

Epilogue:To assuage any Relief Society worries
I'm okay now; I have a really great doctor on the case with lab work and some meds. Physical therapist said life is to proceed as normal, which means I'm not an invalid, I'm just required to do some workouts and yoga-type stuff (oh, DANG ;-) ), AND I'm still hosting a dance next week, which you should all come to (the info is on Facebook). ^__^ See you then! Love you all!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Partial Faith....a Confession

A few days ago I was up early enough to see the sunrise. Its not that that never happens, but I guess not enough. I was able to see the darkness run and hide as the light penetrated the sky. It was incredible. I sat there just pondering on the beauty of the earth and the blessing of light. Both physically and spiritually. I love the light! My dad likes to say to me (usually if I am feeling discouraged) "Your future is bright!" 

But here's the thing....its called faith. No matter how much we learn and how much we grow and how strong our faith is...we still have those moments full of doubt and fear. About a week ago now I was saying my morning prayers. A few minutes later I was in the shower when I realized I wasn't done with my conversation with God. So I continued. Some trial or struggle I was going through fell from my lips and I was suddenly pleading with God for direction and help. I found myself telling Heavenly Father "I will do anything you want. Anything. I only want to do Thy will" and then in almost the same breath (and relating to the trial at hand) I added, "But please don't let it hurt me"

"Oh Sister Haag" He responded (yes, He DOES call me Sister Haag ;) "That is not real faith." And sisters, I think that is a problem. We have this thing, its called "partial faith". I really did intend to do whatever the Lord required but I was trying to do it without hurting. Sometimes the pain is required for the desired result. Partial faith is not sufficient. REAL and true faith takes everything you've got.
Lets give it everything we've got. After all President Monson Said; "The future is as bright as your FAITH" and sisters, get ready because it looks like the sunrise!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Finding Simplicity

Today while visiting teaching, I said something that surprised me, because it definitely wasn’t my words. I didn’t even know it before I said it. I was talking about how sometimes we get distracted when reading the scriptures. Sometimes the distractions come from things around us, sometimes things inside of us, and sometimes even things that originally have good intent.

But sometimes, at least for me, I get so consumed in looking for what I think I need to hear that I miss what is really important: Jesus Christ. I said that sometimes we get lost looking too hard for our problems, when really the answer is right in front of us, practically in every verse. The answer to a lot of our problems is to become like our Savior. When we spend our time looking for Christ’s characteristics in the scriptures, we know better how to become like Him and in that we find the happiness and satisfaction we’ve been looking for all along.

Life is complicated and crazy and confusing at times, but if we take the time to pause in our busy lives and ponder on the words in the scriptures we will come to know our Savior better and He will make Himself known to us. He is there and He is the simplicity of life. Even if we don’t know where we are going, He does. Right now, there are a lot of unknowns in my life, but I take comfort in knowing that despite that I still have something to work for – becoming like Christ. I know that as I work towards this and continue doing what He asks me to, He will make known to me what I need to do. He is there for each one of us. It is in the journey of becoming like Him that we find simplicity and joy in life.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hold on, the light will come

Be still my soul, thy God doth undertake, to guide the future as He has the past” is my favorite line from hymn #124. It reminds me that although sometimes I will panic that things are not going where they ought to go that God is leading me and He has NEVER ever in the past let me down. Not ever.
This week I was noting how frequently the Lord directs us into paths that are often unknown and loom before us as an impassible path filled with thorns and briars and our fears come to the forefront.

What is it we’re afraid of?

Confession: I am afraid of the dark. So when the Lord asks me to “take a step or two into the darkness before we can see the light” (President Harold B. Lee) I start to panic. Now I realize this is the spiritual kind of light but I am afraid of being without either light. The only dark I like is when I get small moments to lay out under the stars. The reason I like that darkness? Because I can see little bits of light penetrating through the darkened sky, ever reminding me that we can penetrate even the darkest periods of life with our light.
Now, confession #2: I am an organizer. I make big plans that almost never come to fruition. I think and analyze and plan perfectly until the Lord steps in and cancels my plans inviting me to His bigger and better plans, plans that in the end surprise me because they are what I wanted all along but never knew.

Sometimes we fight His plans though. Why? Because we’re afraid. What if things don’t work out? What if this isn’t what I want? What if I fail? How can I do this? How can I change? Am I sure I can handle this? Is the Lord sure I can handle this? Sometimes we are so afraid to trust in the Lord because we don’t want to let Him down. Fear is the opposite of faith. It comes from the adversary. God will never cause you to fear. Remember that. Don’t let your fear stop you from doing the incredible things you can. Moroni quoted the Savior when he said, “If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me". And that is a promise.
Sisters, we are not alone in this. When you've forgotten what it feels to feel the light, when you're not sure if you can make it one more step, remember that the Lord has promised us “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up" (D&C 84:88). 
Hold on, the light will come


Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Secret to Happiness

Despite a series of really fun events, today has been really hard for me. When I got down on my knees I sobbed and asked Heavenly Father to just hold me for a while. I share this because I know that you have days or weeks or months like this too. So when you forget how to breathe, here is something to help you remember:


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Its My Life And I'll Cry If I Want To

When was the last time you heard someone say "Why am I acting like such a girl"? It could relate to just about anything. A break up, a friendship, something in the family and sometimes it involves tears and we foolishly brush them away acting as though it is 'no big deal', trying to play tough. So when was the last time YOU said something similar to "Why am I being such a girl about this"? Did you say it in frustration that maybe you were listening to sad songs or maybe feeling abandonded or feeling lonely or maybe you just want to talk it all out with someone. I don't know what it is that causes your femininity to shine though, but i'm sure when all is said and done, I've likely done them all. You know, you're not alone in being female.
So heres the question What is wrong with being "Such a girl" anyway? To be honest, I like it. I mean, crying certainly doesn't top my favorite things but it absolutely is part of what makes me, ME. Who said we can't cry? Who said we need to act like men? Quite frankly, I don't want to!

Sister Margaret D. Nadauld once said "Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity".

I love that. I don't want to be a woman of the world and I hope no one ever mistakes me for one. There are plenty of women who fill that role, they only want careers or power or money, but I want a home, a family and to build the kingdom of God. Lets not allow the world to trick us into being like everyone else.
Lets be who we were created to be. Daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us and is mindful of us. So go ahead, cry if you want to. Next time that break up comes, let the tears flow, that is what makes us women. We hurt, we feel, we are tender-hearted. I wouldn't have it any other way. President Hinckley said "Woman is God's supreme creation" and I'll take a prophets word for it. I love being a woman! Tears, emotions, over-reactions and everything else that comes with it. It is who I am.

So come on girls, let us leave the men to what they are doing and be women. Sisters, regardless of who you are, "please understand all that you are and must be, all that you were prepared to be in royal courts on high by God Himself. (Sister Nadauld)
I don't know why we're always trying so hard to fit in anyway, when it is clear that we were born to stand out.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Have ye any that are sick among you?

I visited the hospital tonight. For everyones information Audrey Gonzalez had her gallbladder removed. So far she seems to be doing well but PLEASE keep her in your prayers. As I was walking the halls of the hospital I was hurting for the sick and afflicted there. How lucky I am to enjoy health. These patients come with various diseases and pains of every kind. Most come to have their wounds healed or their bodies made whole. Theirs are physical ailments. What of spiritual sickness?

Aren't we all patients in life? I mean really, we're all sick in some way. We all need to be healed. In some sense I think we are all broken and need to be fixed, but not with a cast. We imagine to ourselves that we are the only ones struggling, that we are the only one who need repair. The reality is we are surrounded by wounded souls all desperate for better health. You pass them on the street, see them in the grocery store, sit next to them in class and talk with them everyday. They look just fine to you, yes of course they do because we can only see what is on outside.

Perhaps if we could see deeper, into their souls we would see a little bit more. The girl you just passed, spiritually has a broken arm or a the boy who sits next to you, spiritually is limping his way home. Maybe its worse than that. Maybe your roommate is on crutches, wobbling around while another is sitting in a wheelchair, she is really struggling but on the outside she looks just fine. Maybe its so bad they're dragging an oxygen tank behind them, barely breathing living on what they have got left. Or missing a limb. They need help. We all do.

Isn't that what the gospel is about? I mean really. We don't go to church because we are perfect. We go to church to be healed. It is, in a sense, a spiritual hospital where the doctor is always in. I know that I am broken but I also KNOW that I can be fixed. Just not alone. And so President Monson says; "Remember that you do not walk alone. … As I [have] turned to the scriptures for inspiration, a particular word [has] stood out time and time again. The word [is] ‘come.’ The Lord said, ‘Come unto me.’ He said, ‘Come learn of me.’ He also said, ‘Come, follow me.’ I like that word, come. My plea is that we would come to the Lord.”
He is the Master, the ultimate Healer. If you are broken, it is fixable. If you are hurting, it can be healed. If you are crying, He will wipe away your tear. He has the ability and He WANTS to help. If you're the one in the cast, with a crutch, in a wheelchair, or maybe you're discouraged, depressed or your heart is broken...remember that these are His words, not mine:

"Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy."
(3 Nephi 17:6)

But now maybe we're thinking...well that leaves me out. I am not blind or maimed or leprous? And so we look at it a little differently. Perhaps He would say to us now,
"Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are depressed or lonely or cannot choose a major, who don't know who to marry, are out of money, had their heart broken, who have low self-esteem, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them."

"Bring them hither and
I will heal them"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

White as snow

You know, I'm from California and being such sometimes it is a struggle for me to be here in Utah in the snow. I love the snow! It is so beautiful and fun...i'm just accustomed to driving to it whenever I want it...not living in it. Anyway, over the years I have come to the conclusion that even if the cold is painful the white is glorious! I wonder what it would be like if snow were black? Depressing right? Plus the cold! bleh. But its so perfectly clean and bright. I love to sit at my window and watch it fall...its peaceful, its comforting even.
There is that scripture from Isaiah where the Lord says, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isa. 1:18). Isnt' that incredible?! Even though the sin could have caused you to be unclean, o be blemished or covered so dark to be considered scarlet...you CAN BE WHITE...as snow. Wow. Talk about a miracle.
So every Wednesday morning at 6am I work int he Provo Temple. I love it so much. I want to tell you a little about it. First of all, the feeling of the Temple is unlike any other. I know you all know what I am talking about...but to be able to "work" there and help others is such a neat experience. One thing I appreciate about the Temple is the fact that wherever you are or whatever you're doing there is ALWAYS somebody dressed in white to help lead you to where you are going. What a precious concept...God always has a guide for us.

Today I was helping in an Endowment session. I was sitting the front of a large room FILLED with sisters and brothers all dressed in white. I remember just staring out at them and thinking how absolutely beautiful it was to me. We were all there with the same purpose, to build the kingdom and strengthen each other. I looked around and saw so many different people. Tall and short, blonde and brunette, healthy or ill. But we were all the same. 
Isn't it sad how the world has tricked us into looking at others and at ourselves with a critical eye? In the Temple we are all the same. Everyone dressed in long dresses with long sleeves, white shoes or slippers, the men in white shirts with white ties and even sometimes white suspenders. Its adorable really. There is nothing to compare when you are in the Temple. The purpose behind white is that it is symbolically pure. So gathered in a room with so many people clean and bright just brings out the emotion in me!

But the point is we are all the same. Children of God. No, none of us is perfect, the Temple is more like a hospital than anything. It teaches us and then it heals and it helps. Today I saw all kinds of people...I saw black hair turned gray, I saw different cultures. There was a woman with cankles, a man with no hair, a woman dragging an oxygen tank behind her, a woman who couldn't lift her arms, there was a man helping his wife and a woman who was borderline deaf. That is only the physical. I saw a couple holding hands, a girl in thoughtful prayer, a young pregnant woman laugh at her husband, a young man who looked as though he didn't know what to do with his life, a man reading scriptures as though he was searching for an answer, yes someone was crying.

And there I sat...looking out on all these brothers and sisters of mine and I thought "they've never looked more beautful to me". There is something about all that white, all that purity, all those men and women giving their best and giving their all. It almost takes my breath away and brings me to the verge of tears. Can you imagine how pleased our Heavenly Father must be?

Well girls, I cannot wait for you to get there too! Some of you are endowed and you know what i'm talking about but for the rest of you...get ready, it is so incredible! How we get there sometimes takes time and overcoming challenges, repenting and really doing our best, but no matter what happens it WILL BE as the Lord describes, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow".

I want to see YOU in WHITE!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Through God All things are Possible

On Saturday I thought a lot about the approaching Stake Conference. I was really concerned about it because my health problems often make it difficult for me to sit for long periods of time and disrupt my attentiveness and receptiveness. Last stake conference I had to leave in the middle of both sessions because my symptoms got out of my control and even when I was in the room, I absorbed almost nothing of what was said. I was not excited about a repeat of that experience. So I prayed a lot. I asked our Father to help me prepare for conference and be engaged while I was there. And just like Shayna talked about in her first post, He is up there just waiting for us to ask so he can give and we can receive. Yesterday was wonderful. I felt like the whole conference was over in the blink of an eye and I left each session feeling so uplifted and a little more whole. I hope each of you were also able to take home treasures of knowledge to help you on this mortal journey.

Yesterday I was thinking a lot about the destruction happening all over the globe. 7 young men from my ward last year are on their missions in Chile right now. So far, we have only heard news about one, who--thank God!--is okay. Sometimes I let myself forget how close to home all these things are. Our brothers and sisters are the ones enduring these tribulations. So let us join together and offer them the greatest aid that exists in the world--our prayers.

Through God, all things are possible!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Everyone should have a George

A few weeks ago I had a dream. I was at some activity with my family and I met this guy, he wasn't too tall, kind of stocky, had light brown hair and thought he was funny. His name was George. Sounds like a nerd doesn't he? Even his name! But I remember when I woke up I laughed out loud and then I felt like, hey, he was cute. I have had dreams about boys or being married or something but I never see their faces and certainly never get a name. Now, don't misunderstand, this was not a vision of any sort but it did open my eyes to something...
Maybe I shouldn't confess this but I love family channel movies and hallmark. Totally dorky I know, but I love them! Once I watched one called "Everything You Want" about a girl who invents an imaginary friend as a child. By the time she is college he has evolved into her imaginary boyfriend. He is perfect, watches chick-flicks, is completely understanding, brings her flowers, etc. You know the whole "tall, dark and handsome" syndrome. Well, in real life she meets a boy in one of her classes...he is not the ideal. He challenges her, they fight, he is obnoxious but she finds herself attracted to him. Somehow she lets it slip out that she has a boyfriend (yes...he's fake) and it goes from there. My point? She is so busy spouting off the ideal and listing the qualities she wants that she cannot see how much she cares for the real boy and that while not a collection of all her ideals, he is "everything you want".

Isn't it funny that while we don't have imaginary boyfriends (at least I hope not!) we have an ideal in mind. We think we need tall, dark and handsome OR we need blonde hair, blue eyes and a California tan. Ha ha ha. Sometimes we let that list get in our way. We think those are the things we need when really they are just wants or ideals and then we miss out on some of the things we actually NEED and that can actually work.

So I woke up a week ago with George on my mind. A nerdy little George. I think everyone needs a George. Doesn't that name just make you laugh? hahaha. I am still laughing. In my dream he wasn't the ideal...in fact not even close to "my type". But what does that mean anyway? Just because I like blue eyes doesn't mean that the last boy I dated (who by the way had brown eyes) wasn't someone for me to love. I've got to get off of my list and into my life. There are people everywhere. It has been really funny, first of all asking basically everyone I know if they know a George (hahaha) just for fun. And then walking around campus looking for him! Really I've just been realizing we could love so many different people. Don't let us get it stuck in our heads that we have a 'type' or that we NEED certain things. Yes, we all have needs, but let them be spiritually based; treating you with kindness, respect, having a strong testimony, having understanding and love. Not physical needs of hair color or a height requirement.

A quote the same week as the dream got me thinking. Elder Bednar said, “As we visit with young adults all over the church they often will ask – what are the characteristics I should look for in a future spouse? – as though they have some checklist… And I rather forcefully say to them – you are so arrogant to think that you are some catch and that you want someone else who has these things for you! If you found somebody who had these characteristics that you’re looking for, what makes you think they’d want to marry you? The “list” is not for evaluating someone else – the list is for you and what you need to become. And so if there are three primary characteristics that you hope to find in an eternal companion, than those are the three things you ought to be working to become. Then you will be attractive to someone who has those things… you’re not on a shopping spree looking for the greatest value with a series of characteristics. You become what you hope your spouse will be and you’ll have a greater likelihood of finding that person.’”
So yes, now the list is gone... out the window. I wander around campus smiling, thinking about how many options there are and who it could be...because we have thousands of Georges all over! Okay, so far I haven't even met one person named George! Ha Ha. But the "ideal" isn't what I thought it was going to be. I've realized the list is for me and as I work on it then we'll just have to wait and see! No imaginary friends, no list of requirements, just George...whoever he is.

Yes, everyone should have a George.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Reminded of Mortality

So Wednesday of this week I was doing a favor for my friend, I hit one of those ditches in the middle of residential neighborhoods and scraped up the bottom of my car. Ouch. I didn't think any damage had been done until two hours later I came back out to my parked car after doing the favor and it wouldn't shift into reverse! Yeah, my poor little "Beauty" (long story). I laughed at the circumstances and called my roommate Tori for a ride home, but had I not had a boy in the car I think I probably would have just started crying. My car was dead.

Now I know to compare such a thing as a car to mortal beings is somewhat foolish. But that is where my mind wandered. I was reminded that anything can happen anytime. I guess more than anything I was reminded to be grateful. Yeah its a hassle I'll have to deal with getting a new car or figuring out how to get from point A to point B. But while I had my car I never recognized what a blessing it was. This doesn't just go for cars. This is for friends, for clothes and food. This is gratitude for all the things we take for granted, that we use everyday but barely acknowledge until or unless we don't have them anymore.

In January our house flooded and because of that we could hardly cook in the kitchen. Gosh, I missed cooking! We didn't have a couch (still don't) and I didn't realize how much I really loved our couch! haha. Its the little things. We get a short break at Christmas to spend with our families and then suddenly we're back at school without them. I miss them. I miss advice or jokes or games with them. Its all the little things that we need and love the most. Lets be grateful for them WHILE we have them, instead of only realizing our loss once it is gone

And so in comtemplating what to do with Beauty and figuring out life temporarily without a car I was reminded that gratitude is what counts. How happy you are now is dependent on how well you can see the hand of the Lord in your life and the great blessings He has ALREADY given to you. Remember that.

Friday, February 12, 2010

This ones for the girls

You know its Valentines week this week. Everything is red and pink and hearts. There are the girls who are giddy and excited and giggly as they clasp hands with their boyfriends and then there are the girls who are discouraged, emotional and lonely. I know thats an extremist view of the week but its what I see. And maybe it makes us emotional but that is what makes us feminine, its only part of our charm.

So this is for all the girls who have sat on their bedroom floor and cried. Tears rolling down their cheeks, thinking no one loves them or at least not the boy they thought did. It seems almost pathetic to cry about something like that, doesn't it? But you girls know who you are. If you want a song to cry to, right now Carrie Underwood has the perfect song, "Someday when I stop loving you".

The tears could be for anything. For the boy who dumped you, the one who hurt you or the boy who forgot about you. For the best friend who stopped being friends. The fight that was never really important and somehow cannot be forgotten. Or what about the boy who got scared or hurt by you, and couldn't let that go? The boy you watched walk away. The boy who decided it wasn't worth the effort, you weren't worth it. Or maybe he just shunned you. And so the tears fall.

Go ahead, cry it out.

The Lord hears the tears of His precious daughters, Jacob teaches us that the sobbings and cries of His "fair daughters...ascend into heaven". He hears us. We are tenderhearted and compassionate. It is part of our makeup, it is our nature. When we love, we love all the way. We don't pass out conversation hearts to everyone we meet, we wait until we can give our entire, full and complete heart. That is why we cry. For when it is over, when all is said and done, we hurt because our heart is no longer our own. Part of it is left behind, within the one that we loved. We who love strongest, love longest.
I'm not sure we ever really get over the love either. It continues. We still care and still hope for the best, even as we hurt. How could we hate? We may pretend to. Its easy after being hurt to become upset or bitter...but after we've loved, its nearly impossible to turn that strongest of all emotions around to the opposite feeling. It is the pure love of Christ isn't it?

And so we take a chance. Over and over again. A chance on love. We give all we've got and hope its enough. What if it isn't? We take the blame. Most of the time it likely isn't ours to take but thats part of love too. How could someone we love so much and so deeply be at fault or have hurt us on purpose? So we give them the benefit of the doubt, whether they deserve it or not.

I am not trying to imply in any way that the men are to blame. I love men. Ha. I think that is part of my problem. I know that they hurt too. That their emotions aren't quite as close to the surface but I know that they cry (deny it or not), and they love completely. But this Valentines day I am thinking of the women. The blondes and brunettes and redheads. The girls who are tall or short and thick or thin, those who play the piano and play sports, who cook with chocolate or only eat it. This one is for those who hurt because they love so much. The girls who lose their hearts by giving to another, only to receive it back later...a little damaged and a little bruised.
The Prophet Lehi teaches that there is opposition in all things. We could not appreciate the sweet fruit of the tree of life if we did not also taste the bitter. It is a necessary evil in our lives. How could we love fully and completly and compassionately as our Savior otherwise?
I declare that this Valentines day ought to be different. No tears. To feel nothing would be disaster, but to hurt is what results in greater love. I admit, I don't want to go through it, I don't want to hurt again. But I know that as we love and hurt in our relationships, they only become stronger with the next relationship. So when we want to give up we have to say like the country song, "I'd rather hurt, than feel nothing at all". And then do it. We can do this girls. Don't let it get you down. Its a great holiday to wear red and pink (although not together) and it is a wonderful time to remember what love truly is. It is unconditional, that is why we can't stop loving them. It is deep, and that is why it hurts. It is patient and kind and understanding, it is full of hope and light and strength. It is the Savior's influence within us and through us. It is what spices up life and makes it exciting. Girls, when we love, we love all the way. And that is only part of our charm.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ask And Ye Shall Receive

I feel like the Lord waits for us to ask Him for help. Hmm...that doesn't seem very profound now that I typed it out. Ha. but its true, when He says "Ask and ye shall receive" He means it. President Packer said, "No message appears in scripture more times, in more ways than, "ask, and ye shall receive". No other message! Hmm...you think its mentioned so much because He means it? :) The past two or three weeks He has been trying to get in contact with me almost constantly! Sometimes I think I am too busy to "pick up" or I didn't want to talk about it or I was just plain too lazy. Luckily He kept trying. And Luckily sometimes I am listening.

I was driving up to my friends house and I had anxiety...for no reason. I kept feeling like I didn't want to go and that I wanted to just stay home. I thought maybe I was going to have an accident or something because the feeling came so strongly. Finally I turned off the radio a few minutes into my drive and said a quick prayer to feel peace. Ha. Then it happened, the Lord's voice was clear - He wanted those few minutes when I was driving up there to talk to me. Oh, I felt so special. HE wanted to talk to ME. So we did. It was a nice little chat. I got out a couple things I wanted Him to know about (even though He already knew) and in the end I felt better. He also said some nice things to me, things I needed to hear.

Or one night a few days later I had a dream...it was actually a pretty good dream, about something I've been praying and thinking a lot about. Its one of those things where I am just not quite sure what to do and can't quite seem to be confident one way or the other. Ha, ever been through that?! Well, I woke up that morning and laid in bed thinking about the dream. I wrote it down (as if somehow that would open my eyes to understanding) but there was only one way to gain inspiration and I knew that.

So I prayed.

It was like the words were dictated to me. The Lord was streaming thoughts and ideas into my mind. The Prophet said it is revelation when "you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas." He wanted me to know what it all meant as much as I did! He wasn't keeping secrets or trying to make it harder than it was. He was trying to reveal mysteries to me! And He did. I took notes, probably an entire pages worth. It was amazing.

So Why don't we ask more often?