Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Keep Dreamin'

Seemed like an appropriate picture - as it's such a dreamy scene. :) 

The other day as I was sitting at my desk at work having a moment when I just wondered if my life will ever change, the following phrase entered my mind:

"Keep your eyes on your dreams." 

It comes from a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland. And there's more. More goodness. :) He says:

"Keep your eyes on your dreams, however distant and far away."

I have dreams. I have big dreams. I dream of having my own family - of having a husband and children. I dream of having my own home - of not having to label my food after 14 years of roommates. ;) I dream of having my own photography business on the side while I raise my kids. Yes, I have dreams. And, at times they seem VERY distant and far away. 

But, I know God doesn't want me to give up hope. I know that He's a God of miracles. 

I am grateful for my Savior, who will make it all possible. These words have been very comforting to me the past few years: 

I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard: “Ye shall obtain.”

I know it's true. And so, my friends, let's not give up. Keep dreaming. Keep believing. Even if those dreams seem SO far away. 

I am grateful for a loving Savior and Father in Heaven who remind me when I'm going through "grief and pain" that one day I WILL obtain. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Be Kind.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle you know nothing about."

#LightTheWorld today is about comforting those who need comfort and mourning with those who mourn. This saying has been on my mind. I'm not perfect and it's so easy to focus inward. But when I see others this way- as if they have a battle they are fighting- my whole perspective changes. Maybe the guy who honked at me this morning was late to his important meeting at work. Maybe the store owner I work with who is completely rude to me is dealing with deep personal pain. I don't know. But God does. And it's my job to love them no matter the case. Maybe they need my comfort. As hard as that is sometimes.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Seek the Light

This past weekend I attended a conference with 7,000 women. That's right SEVEN THOUSAND. There were so many women they had to turn the men's bathroom into a women's and there were still long lines for both!

I've been wanting to attend Time Out For Women for years. But, it's never worked out. Didn't have the money, was busy that weekend, or couldn't find someone to come. This year, I decided to just go. And I'm so glad I did. I am a better person because of it. 

The messages were all about light. Light in this crazy world of darkness. Sheri Dew said, "seek the light so you can be the light." I love that. Cade Cheney, a blogger, talked about a trial he went through for nearly two years. I'm actually going through a similar trial and for about the same amount of time and could really relate to his words. He said at that dark time of his life he felt God say to him, "Just hold on and look for the light in the darkness." 

All of this talk of light really got me thinking. This year has been the hardest of my life. And I absolutely know the only way I have gotten through it is because of light in my life, in the following ways: 

The light of the Gospel 
There is a hymn in the LDS hymn book that really sums up how I feel about this: 

1. The Lord is my light; then why should I fear?
By day and by night his presence is near.
He is my salvation from sorrow and sin;
This blessed assurance the Spirit doth bring.

2. The Lord is my light; tho clouds may arise,
Faith, stronger than sight, looks up thru the skies
Where Jesus forever in glory doth reign.
Then how can I ever in darkness remain?

3. The Lord is my light; the Lord is my strength.
I know in his might I’ll conquer at length.
My weakness in mercy he covers with pow’r,
And, walking by faith, I am blest ev’ry hour.

4. The Lord is my light, my all and in all.
There is in his sight no darkness at all.
He is my Redeemer, my Savior, and King.
With Saints and with angels his praises I’ll sing.
Text: James Nicholson, 1828–1876

I can't imagine going through life/trials without the help of my Savior. I have been carried by Him. When I've been tired, stressed and worn out - somehow, I'm able to go on and push through. When I want to quit, I know I can make it because He will help me. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought so much light and happiness into my life - this year especially. 

The light of friends
I've been pondering lately how extremely grateful I am for friends. What a lonely life I'd live without them. God has blessed me so much with incredible people in my life. As I look back at this past year, it's amazing to me how God has placed people in my path to brighten my days. I can tell you of a handful of times when I've been somewhere and I run into an old friend I haven't seen in years. Coincidence? I think not. I know God has know that I needed that in my life. He knows that makes me happy and will bring sunshine into my life. I am grateful for friends who care, who listen, who make me laugh when I need laughs the most, and for friends who randomly think of me and send me a text. 

The light of family 
I have to admit, my first thought here are my nieces and nephews. They have been an incredible light in my life this year. I can't tell you how much joy and happiness it has brought me to just feel of their genuine love - the pure love of Christ. I love their laughs, their smiles, their kisses, their hugs, their kind words. It brings so much light into my life. It has been what I've needed on the darkest of days.

The light of music 
Another thing that has brought incredible light into my life this year has been good music. I feel closer to God through it. I feel more peace in my life. Work is stressful for me and good music has brought tremendous peace. 

I know that it is possible to have light in our lives, even when our lives are crazy. Even when the world is full of so much hatred and darkness. It isn't easy, but it's possible. And life is better when have light in it. 

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, 

"There may be some among you who feel darkness encroaching upon you. You may feel burdened by worry, fear, or doubt. To you and to all of us, I repeat a wonderful and certain truth: God’s light is real. It is available to all! It gives life to all things.1 It has the power to soften the sting of the deepest wound. It can be a healing balm for the loneliness and sickness of our souls. In the furrows of despair, it can plant the seeds of a brighter hope. It can enlighten the deepest valleys of sorrow. It can illuminate the path before us and lead us through the darkest night into the promise of a new dawn."

I totally know that's true. I've felt it in my life this year. I'm so grateful for light in my life which gives me strength to move forward every day. 

I also want to strive to be a light in other's lives. I know I can work on that. I'm super excited for an initiative by the LDS Church coming up this Christmas season called, "Light the World." There are some awesome ideas and ways we can bring light into other's lives. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The God I Know

This weekend I took a little road trip by myself to Twin Falls, Idaho - three hours from Salt Lake. It was amazing. I had been tired and stressed and needed some serious rejuvenation and pondering time. I really just needed to get away and spend some time alone and with God. 

I got into town and headed straight for Shoshone Falls. I climbed down the stairs to a little viewing area and was immediately overcome. It was spectacular. Pictures don't do it justice. An incredible feeling came over me. It was like God was there with me saying, "Look at this! Look! I love you. I've created this beautiful earth for you!" I was the only one around when I first got there and it was perfect.

The next day I spent some time in the Twin Falls Idaho Temple. Gorgeous as well. There is a mural of Shoshone Falls in one the rooms, which I loved. I had a special experience there where I felt God's love.

I did a variety of other things on my trip - enjoyed good food, swam in the pool, relaxed in the hot tub, went shopping. It was so good. There are some things that totally stink about being single. My solo trips are not one of them. 

I've spent some time this weekend thinking about God. Who is the God I know? Because honestly, sometimes I feel forsaken. I know I'm not. I know I'm incredibly blessed with so much. But it's easy to fall into the trap. It's easy to, for a split second, feel like God doesn't love you when year after year you're just not getting what you most desire and what you're praying fervently for. 

But I know God is real. He's there. I do know He loves me. I know He has a plan. I don't know why life seems unfair at times. I'm not sure why a friend my same age has six kids and I struggle to get a date. I'm not sure why a friend of mine was taken earlier this year and I get to live and enjoy this beautiful earth. That doesn't seem fair.

For a while now I've been praying for answers. I've been praying for guidance for my life. And nothing has seemingly come. The answer has always been, "Wait. Hold on. Endure." Sometimes that IS the answer. Sometimes we just don't want to hear that AGAIN. But that's where faith comes in. That's where we have to trust that God knows what's ahead. We may not understand why our prayers don't seem to be answered, but God has a purpose. 

And so, sometimes we just have to keep on keepin' on. The words of Jeffrey R. Holland come to mind, "Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe."

The God I know doesn't forsake His children. The God I know loves His children SO much. And one day, however far away that day may seem, He'll bless us beyond our wildest dreams. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

When God Doesn't Move the Mountains

I've learned a hard, but important lesson over the past two years of my life. It's this: sometimes God doesn't move the "mountains" in our lives. He can, but sometimes He doesn't. 

Sometimes we pray with all of our might. Sometimes we've got an army of friends and family praying for us too. And still, the mountain is there. 

Sometimes we just have to climb up that mountain. And it's so dang hard. And so dang long. It seems so insurmountable. 

But I can tell you this - yes, sometimes God doesn't move the mountain, but He's certainly there climbing it with us every step of the way. 

I've had a "mountain" in my life the past two years. Actually, I've had a few mountains. It's been the hardest time of my life. But, I have to say I've NEVER felt God closer. I've never felt closer to Him. I've never had to rely on Him as much as I have had to now. I've never had to trust Him more. I've never known more that I can't do it on my own. (Don't get me wrong - there have been nights my pillow has been wet with tears because I've wondered where in the world God is and why He hasn't come through. But, I've worked through those moments and realized that He really Has been with me.)

Sometimes God doesn't move the mountains because that would be too easy for us. If He'd moved the mountains for me a year ago, would I have spent hours pouring diligently over His words and praying all of my heart out to Him, pleading with Him this past year? Maybe to a certain extent, but definitely not to THIS extent. If He'd moved that mountain would I be as strong as I am now? No, I certainly wouldn't. He wants us to grow. And sometimes that means climbing mountains for years. 

I haven't reached the top yet, but I feel like I'm getting closer. And I know when I do, the view will be absolutely incredible. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

I can do hard things

This weekend I've been thinking a lot about my pioneer ancestors. I spent some time at the cemetery where many of them are buried and have been reading some of their stories. 

They went through SO much. I learned recently that one of them froze to death after they arrived here in Utah. They also suffered much hardship on the plains- lack of food, mobs in Nauvoo, sickness, death of family and friends, and on and on. I really have a special place in my heart for them. Despite all of this, they keep their eyes on their goal of reaching their destination and they did so with faith and trust in God.

While I can't fully comprehend what they went through, and my trials differ from theirs in many ways, there's one thing that has really resonated with me especially lately. It's this: they did hard things and so I can I. 

They had faith in their trials and so can I. They pressed forward not knowing what was in store and so can I.

Elder M. Russell Ballard said: 

"The Lord isn’t asking us to load up a handcart; He’s asking us to fortify our faith. He isn’t asking us to walk across a continent; He’s asking us to walk across the street to visit our neighbor. He isn’t asking us to give all of our worldly possessions to build a temple; He’s asking us to give of our means and our time despite the pressures of modern living to continue to build temples and then to attend regularly the temples already built. He isn’t asking us to die a martyr’s death; He’s asking us to live a disciple’s life."

I love that. My challenges are different today, but they are still challenges God's asking me to go through. Life has been hard lately (or so I think. I know my challenges could always be so much worse.) I'm so grateful for the heritage I have. I look to the pioneers as examples of strength and endurance. God wants me to be strong and have faith, just as my ancestors did. 

I can do hard things. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Live More Fully, Love More Deeply

Tomorrow marks 6 months since my beautiful friend passed away. Gosh, I miss her. I miss our deep chats about life and the Gospel over Chick-fil-a. I miss her texts. I just miss her.  She was such a strength to me. Although she's gone, I know she's actually not far away. I think of her often. Her life and her passing have made me appreciate the simple things that get taken for granted. I'm blessed to experience this life. I'm blessed to breathe on my own, to walk, to run, to hike, to drive to the store on my own when I want. So many things she wasn't able to do. Life is a precious gift. I want to live it more fully and love more deeply because of Brittany Trevino. How grateful I am to know she's in a better place and because of our Savior I can one day see her again.