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, 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!