Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Reason For the Season

(image credit: lds.org)
"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world....And behold, I am the light and the life of the world..." (3 Nephi 11:10-11) 

There have been a lot of great men who have lived on this earth. Many whom I admire and respect.

But there is one man I admire and respect above all. That is our Savior Jesus Christ. He is the reason we have Christmas.

Because I call myself a Christian - a follower and disciple of Christ (at least that's what I aspire to be)- I feel a sense of responsibility to share what I have come to know with others.

I know our Savior is perfect. Everything about Him and the way He lived his life here on earth was perfect. He loves us with a perfect love. I don't even comprehend how much he loves us all, but I know it's a lot.

Because He loves us all so much, He is forgiving and understanding. He knows we will make mistakes. He knows we are not perfect - yet. But, he's ok with that. He sees our potential.

He suffered and died for each one of us - each person who has ever lived on this earth or who ever will live on this earth. Not only did he suffer for our sins, but he suffered temptations, sickness, afflictions - everything.

Alma Chapter 7 verses 11 & 12 says, "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."

I know that is true. And I know it from personal experience. He has succored me. He has shown mercy and compassion on me. I am humbled when I think of what He has done and continues to do for me. I think the words of the hymn describe so well how I feel, "oh it is wonderful that he would care for me enough to die for me. Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me." (I Stand All Amazed)

In short, I know He was born, He lived, He died on the cross and was resurrected. I know He will come again. I know we can go to Him and He will help us carry our burdens.

He is our Savior, redeemer, the Prince of peace. He is why we celebrate Christmas. May we all have more of Him in our life (I've always found it so interesting that "mas" in Spanish means "more.").

Merry Christmas. Love, Carrie

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Believe.


This is one of my favorite scriptures. It is found in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 4:9.

I just love it. It reminds me that I need to accept the fact that I don't know everything. But God does. I need to believe.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I Believe in Christ

Today in Sacrament Meeting at church we sang, "I Believe in Christ." It's always been one if my favorites. So powerful. Today the fourth verse really stuck out to me:

"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 believe in Christ; so come what may..."

Those words just really hit me in a way they hadn't before. We all have hopes and dreams and sometimes those dreams take a while to come true and we have to go through grief and pain. But, Christ is there to remind us that we "shall obtain." (Eventually.) In the meantime he can help carry our burdens.

I also love the line, "I believe in Christ, so come what may." There's nothing we can't overcome with the Savior.

Great hymn.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blessed Beyond Measure


My heart is so full right now. The title of this post pretty much sums it up. With Thanksgiving and the end of the year approaching I've just been doing a lot of reflecting lately (Which I do all the time, actually. I'm a thinker.). And, I feel incredibly blessed.

In Relief Society today we talked about some of the "small and subtle" blessings we receive from the Lord. Also, this week I had the opportunity to talk with a friend who has many trials. I just walked away from that conversation realizing how blessed I am and how I take so many things for granted. So many little things that are actually huge blessings.

It's so easy to focus on everything we don't have. But, when we focus on everything we do have, we realize we are so blessed.

I could probably write for hours about my many blessings. But, I won't. I'll just a highlight a few things.

1. The Gospel. How in the world have I been so blessed to have it in my life my entire life? I don't know why, but I am so glad. The Gospel means so much to me and I can't imagine not knowing what I know.

2. Friends. Friends make life so much better. I've lived in a lot of different places and have made many friends in each of those places. Such a blessing in my life. It makes my heart so happy when I get a random text or call from a friend - just because they were thinking of me.

3. Family. Specifically, the nine nieces and nephews that call me aunt. They have been a huge blessing in my life. They've brought me so much joy and happiness. I don't have children of my own right now, but I feel like Heavenly Father has given me these kids to somewhat fill that void in my life.

4. Earth. It is so gorgeous. I'm grateful I have eyes to see it. I was thinking about that the other day. I love photography - a lot. But, I wouldn't be able to take pictures if I couldn't see.

5. My Body. I am so grateful I have the ability to see, hear, walk, run, talk, laugh, etc. Too often I get caught up in the fact that my body does not look the way I'd like it to. When really, I should be grateful I even have one and that it functions fully.

Like I said, I could go on and on, but I won't. As the Josh Groban song says, "There's so much to be Thankful for." It's true. And gratitude brings happiness.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Families Are Forever


As we approach Thanksgiving, I am really looking forward to spending some quality time with my family. I don't live near most of my family, so it'll be really good to be with them. I also get to meet my new nephew.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the phrase, "What matters the most lasts the longest." It's true. Family is the constant thing. Friends can come and go, but family will be there forever.

I'm grateful to know that families can be together forever.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Let Go and Let God



I saw this phrase on Pinterest a while back. It has been my mantra lately. It needs to be a permanent part of my life. It's a hard thing to "Let Go and Let God," but I know it's necessary. We are not in complete control of our lives. There's a lot that's out of our control. 

I've also really liked the song below. I need to "let go" of the life I've planned for me. Nothing ever goes the way we want to, but whatever direction the Lord allows our lives to go in is for the best. 

"I'm Letting Go" by Francesca Battistelli

My heart beats, standing on the edge
But my feet have finally left the ledge

Like an acrobat
There's no turning back

[Chorus]
I'm letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams
Losing control
Of my destiny
Feels like I'm falling and that's what it's like to believe
So I'm letting go

This is a giant leap of faith
Trusting and trying to embrace

The fear of the unknown
Beyond my comfort zone

[Chorus]
I'm letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams
Losing control
Of my destiny
Feels like I'm falling and that's what it's like to believe
So I'm letting go

Giving in to your gravity
Knowing You are holding me
I'm not afraid

Feels like I'm falling and that's what it's like to believe
Feels like I'm falling and this is the life for me


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"I Can Do All Things Through Christ"

Let me tell you a story. I have struggled with my weight my whole life. Back in June I decided this was it- I decided I'm going to lose the weight once and for all! So, I signed up for a gym membership. And I started going. And I've seen some results. (side note- I've also started using the MyFitnessPal app) I still have a long way to go, but I'm getting there. And I'm learning and growing spiritually in the process as well, which has been an unexpected blessing.

I've come to realize I need The Lord's help so much. There are days when I am simply tired and worn out from working all day and I just don't want to go to the gym. But, I pray for help and somehow I find myself in the car on my way.

I have experienced several spiritual moments when I've been running on the treadmill, as odd as that may be. I honestly have felt like at times there have been angels around me - cheering me on and giving me the strength to just go a little longer. I know The Lord knows this is something I want so much, so He's helping me.

Guess what? I'm not perfect. I sometimes fall (not literally, thankfully!). Like last week when I didn't make it to the gym at all and I actually gained two pounds. But, I'm learning that that's ok. This week is a new week and a new chance to do better. 

I felt impressed to share this. I know I am not alone in these struggles. But, I wanted to let everyone know if I can do this, anyone can do this. But, only with The Lord's help.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said, "We don't have to be fast; we simply have to be steady and move in the right direction. We have to do the best we can, one step after another. The only thing you need to worry about is striving to be the best you can be. And how do you do that? You keep your eye on the goals that matter most in life, and you move towards them step by step. That is easy enough. We don't have to be better than someone else. All we have to do is to be the very best we can." ("One Step After Another, Ensign, Nov. 2001, 26.)

I know that's true.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Happy

I love it when I am lying in bed, contemplating life and I realize I am happy. I am really happy.

I'm not happy because my life is perfect- because it's definitely not. I'm happy because I have the Gospel in my life.

It's amazing how the world can be in such turmoil, yet I can be ok. Lately I've thought a lot about the scripture that says, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7) I love that.

The Gospel brings peace and happiness. And I am SO grateful for it in my life! 


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Trust the Lord


I have been asked to speak in church this coming Sunday and came across this quote while I was preparing. This quote is so powerful! 

"To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it. We are like infants in our understanding of eternal matters and their impact on us here in mortality. Yet at times we act as if we knew it all. When you pass through trials for His purposes, as you trust Him, exercise faith in Him, He will help you. That support will generally come step by step, a portion at a time. While you are passing through each phase, the pain and difficulty that comes from being enlarged will continue. If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow. Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love." -Richard G. Scott

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lord, I Need You



Some of my most spiritual moments lately have come when I've been running my little heart out on the treadmill at the gym. True story.

Tonight I was running and listening to this beautiful song. Sometimes I run to spiritual songs to help motivate me. This one really touched me tonight. I know I need the Lord. I can't do it on my own. I need His help SO much. How grateful I am that He is there for me and will help carry my burdens.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lessons and Blessings



My mission was an amazing experience. It was life-changing. That is why I am so passionate about it (border line obsessive, really).

It's be impossible to completely describe how it changed me, but I really want to say a couple of things.

My mission taught me how to love with a deeper love than ever before. It was amazing to me how easy it was to love the people I came in contact with and served. I learned even more than before that I need to look past appearances and life situations and look on the heart.

The very core of missionary work is love. I didn't go on a mission because I felt obligated or because I didn't have anything better to do. I went because I love The Lord and I love His Gospel. I wanted (and still want) others to feel the joy and happiness I feel and to know what I know because of my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I wanted to share that. 

My mission also taught me a lot about endurance and pulling through hard times. Let me tell you, there were many days when my companion and I would be knocking on doors in the negative some odd degree weather (while wearing skirts, mind you.) and I really had to ask myself, "can I really keep doing this? This is so hard." We were constantly rejected. Not to mention, people thought we were absolutely insane being out in the nasty weather. But, it all came back to why I was there. I was there because I loved the Gospel and The Lord and I knew (and still do) that the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are true.

Another huge lesson of my mission was that God places us exactly where we need to be when we need to be there. He is very aware of us individually. We are His children. I experienced so many miracles relating to this. I just know without a doubt that I was called to serve in the Illinois Chicago North Mission and in the specific areas I served because I needed to be there.

My mission also taught me a lot about patience. Being with someone else 24/7 is hard.

I also learned a lot about companionship. I learned how important it is to counsel together, to work together and to be forgiving. I also learned more about conflict management. Definitely not fun. But, those were lessons I needed to learn.

My mission taught me so much about agency. It can be heart breaking to see people you love make wrong choices.

I could go on and on, but can you see why I love my mission so much? I love who it helped me become. It's so ironic- when you lose yourself in the work you truly find yourself.

I loved the experiences I had. I love the people I met there. I love the places I served (although, I have to admit I'd never want to live there. But that's a different story. :) ) I loved preaching the Gospel. I loved being an instrument in God's hands and seeing miracles every single day. I loved representing The Lord and The Church for 18 months. And I will never be the same. I have been changed. So grateful I had the opportunity to serve.

I was filled with so much joy and happiness this past week as I got to visit some of the people and places I came to know and love. Really, there are no words to adequately describe how I felt this week. So many emotions. So many memories came flooding back. So much gratitude. I feel so blessed that I had the opportunity to serve a mission.




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

We Shall Reap

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." -Galatians 6:9

I love this scripture. There are so many instances in the scriptures where we see the phrase "in due time (or season)." There's much we can gain from these scriptures. Heavenly Father doesn't promises that our blessings will always immediately come, but they will come eventually if we are faithful. It reminds me of a quote by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. He says, "Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." (Full talk can be found here.) Part of the test of mortality is to endure to the end. Not just endure, but endure faithfully. And eventually we will receive the blessings we seek and desire.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

God Won't Ask

(Author unknown)
1. God won’t ask what kind of car you drove, but will ask how many people you drove who didn’t have transportation.
2. God won’t ask the square footage of your house, but will ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
3. God won’t ask about the fancy clothes you had in your closet, but will ask how many of those clothes helped the needy.
4. God won’t ask about your social status, but will ask what kind of class you displayed.
5. God won’t ask how many material possessions you had, but will ask if they dictated your life.
6. God won’t ask what your highest salary was, but will ask if you compromised your character to obtain that salary.
7. God won’t ask how much overtime you worked, but will ask if you worked overtime for your family and loved ones.
8. God won’t ask how many promotions you received, but will ask how you promoted others.
9. God won’t ask what your job title was, but will ask if you reformed your job to the best of your ability.
10. God won’t ask what you did to help yourself, but will ask what you did to help others.
11. God won’t ask how many friends you had, but will ask how many people to whom you were a true friend.
12. God won’t ask what you did to protect your rights, but will ask what you did to protect the rights of others.
13. God won’t ask in what neighborhood you lived, but will ask how you treated your neighbors.
14. God won’t ask about the color of your skin, but will ask about the content of your character.
15. God won’t ask how many times your deeds matched your words, but will ask how many times they didn’t.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How Full Is Your Bucket?

I'm reading an awesome book right now titled, "How Full is Your Bucket?" (written by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton)

The idea is that we each have a "bucket." Every time we have an encounter with someone we are either adding to someone's bucket or taking away from it. Of course, the goal is to always be adding to the other person's bucket.

The whole book is about being positive, rather than negative - focusing on what's right instead of what's wrong.

The book talks about how important "moments" are. We experience approximately 20,000 individual moments in a waking day. The book talks about how a single encounter/moment can change your life forever. Therefore, it's important to make each encounter with another person a good one.

I wasn't thinking about this until I was leaving church today and driving home and realized how blessed I am that my "bucket" was filled today.

Just before I left the church building I was walking down the hall and a nice person just stopped and said something to the effect of, "Hello. What is your name?" We had a brief exchange and I learned that they are new to the congregation. That brief encounter "filled my bucket." It was nothing amazing - something so simple- but it had a powerful impact on me. It also made me realize that I need to step out of my comfort zone and do the same. By so doing I could help make someone's day a little brighter.

And there was also the time today when I was in the bathroom and a nice girl complimented me on my necklace. 

And then there was also the time today when my friend so willingly offered to give me a ride to the airport this weekend- when she just picked me up from the airport a couple of weeks ago. So nice of her. 

And now I am feeling kind of ashamed because I don't think I did my part to fill other's buckets today. Very selfish of me. The good thing though is I can repent and be better. So grateful for the Atonement.

Anyway, just some thoughts I wanted to share. Go fill some buckets! :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Two Things

Two things to talk about today. First, this awesome quote from a talk I read tonight:

" One of the challenges of this mortal experience is to not allow the stresses and strains of life to get the better of us--to endure the varied seasons of life while remaining positive, even optimistic."  ("Let Him Do It with Simplicity, " L. Tom Perry)

Second, tonight I had a thought/idea of something I should do for someone else. My first thought was, "oh, I'll do it tomorrow." My second thought was, "that's kind of weird and slightly awkward." And then, my third thought was, "never postpone a prompting." (Pres. Monson) And that's when I knew I had to do what I was going to put off doing. So, yes, I did it. And I did feel a little weird doing it. But, I am grateful The Lord helped me recognize that that wasn't just a thought from me, but it was His Spirit. Sometimes the Spirit prompts us to do things that aren't easy, but that's what helps us grow (and hopefully blesses the person on the receiving end.).

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Peaceful Place


I spent quite a bit of time at this lovely place today. It was wonderful. So peaceful. Just what I needed.

It had been a little while since I'd been there and I had felt a void in my life. I so need the strength and blessings I receive from the House of God! It was good to be back! 

My visit to the temple  today was just so peaceful- more so than any visit I've had there in a long time. I was reminded of the plan of salvation and God's love for me.

I really felt His love for me while I was there. It was amazing. I am one of His daughters. I can't possibly comprehend His love for me - He loves me more than I can imagine. That's such a beautiful, humbling thought. God has so many children and He loves us all SO much. He cares about us. He knows us. He cares about what's going on in our everyday lives. There is no one in this world who loves us as much as He does. We are all precious in His sight.

Life gets so busy and crazy. There are so many worldly distractions. That's why it is so important to go to the temple. We can get away from it all for at least a couple of hours. The temple can help us put things in perspective. The temple can bring us peace. 

I'm just so grateful for this Gospel. It's so wonderful to know where I came from, why I am here and where I am going. I can't imagine how I'd live life if I didn't know that! 

Life can be hard sometimes, but it's such an awesome journey. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Look Up!



A little gem I found while studying tonight. This quote comes from a talk Elder Russell M. Nelson gave in General Conference April 1996.)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Welcome to Holland

This analogy (written by Emily Perl Kingsley) was read in Relief Society today. I LOVE it. The author was talking about having a child with down syndrome, but I think it can be applied to anyone's life. Life never goes the way we plan, but we should enjoy where we end up!



"...It's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland."

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Onward, Ever Onward!


I couldn't let today go by without mentioning the fact that six years ago this very day I entered the missionary training center to become a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (for a year and a half). It was the day that I embarked on a journey that would change my life.

I may be slightly more (ok, ok, a lot) obsessed with my mission than most who have served. But, missions really are sacred, personal, and special. 

I came to know and rely on The Lord more than I had ever done before. I remember knocking on doors in the bitter cold and getting rejections almost as cold as the weather. I had a precious message to share, but sadly many people didn't want to hear it. But those who did, those are the ones who made it all worth it.

I can't possibly sum up what my mission taught me and means to me in just a few short paragraphs, but know this - my mission changed me and means the world to me.

I feel blessed and lucky (in a way) that a mission was "in the cards" for me. I know there are people who want to serve, but aren't able to for one reason or another. Serving The Lord for 18 months as His representative was an honor. I will always cherish the experiences I had as I served Him.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Joy In Life



From a talk given by Richard G. Scott. Great reminder.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

He Will Multiply It

I was reading in Mark chapter 8 tonight (verses 1-8) about Jesus feeding 4,000 from a few loaves of bread and a few fishes. The passage says,

5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.

6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

7 And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.

8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.

So, these people gave Jesus all that they had-which was small- and he multiplied it. I've always seen this story as a great miracle and evidence of Christ's power (and it is). But, this time, while reading those verses, it hit me- Jesus just asks me to bring all that I have- even if it is small, (which it always is) and He will multiply it. He will make it even something greater.

If I bring my Faith to Him, He'll grow it. If I give him my small amount of tithing, he's going to give me blessings. If I come to him with my problems having done all that I can do, He will turn my problems into blessings. If I give Him a little bit of time (going to church, serving, etc.), He'll give me great blessings.

I had never looked at those verses that way before. Pretty awesome to think about! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blessed, Honored Pioneer!

Today is Pioneer Day (observed in Utah) - an important day in the history of the LDS church. On this day in 1847 the first group of pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. This day is especially near and dear to my heart, as I have pioneer ancestors.

I have so much respect and admiration for these pioneers. They pulled handcarts and pushed wagons. They suffered through brutal winters without food. I don't know if I could have done what they did. They suffered so much. But, they remained faithful and steadfast. They deserve a day to be remembered. They deserve to be remembered many days.

I am proud of my heritage and so grateful for these wonderful people!

Monday, July 15, 2013

God Will Remember You



I came across this talk recently (given by Spencer J. Condie in the October 2007 General Conference). I really liked it (basically, if I post something about a talk on here, that means I like it. :) )

My favorite part of the talk was this: "In this age of one-hour dry cleaning and one-minute fast-food franchises, it may at times seem to us as though a loving Heavenly Father has misplaced our precious promises or He has put them on hold or filed them under the wrong name." Love it. I can SO relate to that. I've definitely felt that way.

Elder Condie goes on to mention that that's how Rachel of old felt. Rachel was barren for many years. Elder Condie says, "But with the passage of time, we encounter four of the most beautiful words in holy writ: “And God remembered Rachel” (Genesis 30:22)." "When heaven’s promises sometimes seem afar off, I pray that each of us will embrace these exceeding great and precious promises and never let go. And just as God remembered Rachel, God will remember you."

I love that! We are children of God. He will not and has not forgotten us. I've been on a quest lately to come to a better understanding of who I am, my relationship with my Father and most importantly right now in my life - how my Father sees me and feels about me. It's a process. As I've written before, I don't know if anyone reads this blog, but if you're reading this I want you to know that God does love you and has not forgotten you.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Lord's Hand in Our Lives

While I was working today I listened to a recent BYU devotional address given by Cecil Samuelson and his wife, Sharon. The address is entitled, "The Lord's Hand in Our Lives." (It can be found here)

President and Sister Samuelson recounted several experiences from their lives that demonstrated to them the Lord's hand in their lives. I enjoyed the entire talk, but one quote in particular really stood out to me. Sister Samuelson said, 

"seeming disappointments and disasters are often the keys that open the doors to greater blessings and opportunities than might have ever been hoped for or even conceived.

For those of you wondering why similar blessings are not now yours, we can only remind you of Jesus’ promises and blessings that will yet be yours but that are not possible without significant trials and disappointments beforehand."

Wow. I just really liked that. It reminded me that I don't see the whole picture. I don't know everything. But, the Lord does. The Lord sees the end from the beginning and I've got to trust Him. 

I must say, I feel I have been blessed to see the Lord's hand in my life several times. I have been blessed to have a testimony that the Lord places me where I need to be when I need to be there. But, there are definitely times when I still doubt and need to be reminded that the Lord is in control. 

This all reminds me of my absolute favorite poem. I first came across it when I was 15 years old. At the time, my family was in the process of moving from California to Utah. I was devastated and didn't understand why we had to move. My Mom gave me a little card with the poem on it. I've loved it ever since. 

My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors,
He worketh steadily.
Oft times He weaveth sorrow,
And I, in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper,
And I the under side.

Not ’til the loom is silent
and the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
and explain the reason why.

I know this is true. Heavenly Father sees the whole canvas. Hopefully one day we'll be able too too. Until then, we've got to trust Him and appreciate the times when we can see His hand in our lives. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Remind Me Who I Am

I recently discovered this great song by a Christian artist named Jason Gray. I love it. I don't know about you, but I need to be reminded every day that I am a child of God. This is a rough world we live in. We get messages from everywhere telling us who we should be. I know I can certainly relate to feelings of inadequacy. But we are all beautiful, loved and precious in our Father's sight! 

"Remind Me Who I Am"

When I lose my way,
And I forget my name,
Remind me who I am.
In the mirror all I see,
Is who I don't wanna be,
Remind me who I am.
In the loneliest places,
When I can't remember what grace is.

Tell me once again who I am to You,
Who I am to You.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You,
That I belong to You.
To You.

When my heart is like a stone,
And I'm running far from home,
Remind me who I am.
When I can't receive Your love,
Afraid I'll never be enough,
Remind me who I am.
If I'm Your beloved,
Can You help me believe it.

Tell me once again who I am to You,
Who I am to You, whoa.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You.
That I belong to You.
To You.

I'm the one you love,
I'm the one you love,
That will be enough,
I'm the one you love.

Tell me once again who I am to You.
Who I am to You.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You...

Monday, July 1, 2013

FAITH


Love it. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I Love Converts!

My friend and I were sitting next to this guy at institute tonight and found out he just got baptized on Saturday! I can't tell you how excited I was (and still am)!

I love converts! I love their faith and hearing their stories. This guy was contacted by missionaries on the street.

There are actually a few converts in our institute class. It makes me really happy. I hope I can bring someone (or many people) into the Church as a member (I had the opportunity to when I was a full-time missionary). I want everyone to know what I know and feel the joy I feel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses lives. It changes lives! It is amazing and I am so blessed and so thankful to have it in my life! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hope


I've  been thinking about hope lately and I want to study the topic more. Tonight I read the talk, "The Infinite Power of Hope," by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2008 General Conference.

I love the above quote. That really sums up what hope is. I should read that often. Hope can be a hard thing to have, but can bless our lives so much.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Lord Will Provide

I was reading in 1 Nephi 17 tonight and came across some cool things. This chapter tells us that Nephi is commanded to build a boat. His brothers complain and don't believe that he can construct a boat. Nephi tries to teach Laman and Lemuel about faith and that the Lord will provide. He uses a couple of examples from the scriptures. One in particular stood out to me. He recounted how Moses smote a rock and water gushed out of it. For some reason, I wasn't familiar with this story. So, I went to the Bible where the story is told. There are a couple accounts of the story. The people of Israel were complaining of thirst and that they didn't have water. So, Moses went to the Lord and asked him what he should do. The Lord took care of it by providing a great miracle.

It's really cool. The takeaway - God will always provide. He loves us and will take care of us. He will open up doors that seem closed and provide a way when it seems there is no way. He is just as much a God of miracles today as he was back then.

I love the following verse from earlier in Chapter 17: "And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness."

Saturday, June 8, 2013

"God is in the Midst of her"

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof...

4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her...

10 Be still and know that I am God....

I came across these passages tonight and absolutely loved them! I was familiar with verse 10, but had not read the other verses in this psalm (Psalms 46). I especially love verse 5. With God, we are strong! He will help is with whatever we are going through. Just thought I'd share. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Power to Change

Recently, I've heard of some changes that two people I know have made in their lives (two separate instances). To be honest, I was somewhat shocked, but mostly happy. These individuals had committed some serious, serious sins. Neither if them were active in the Church just a year ago. But, both have now been able to partake of the blessings of the temple.

The Atonement is an AMAZING thing. It is only possible to change your life for the better through Christ. There is hope because of Him.

Hearing of these changes reminds me that I need to have more faith in others and see others for who they can become . I need to do the same for myself. It is also very important to not judge. 

What an amazing thing the Gospel is! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

"Content with the Things Allotted Unto Us"



I listened to this talk this morning and absolutely loved it. I love Elder Maxwell. His talks really seem to speak to me. He was a man who knew hard times. He knew what it meant to come unto Christ. (He dealt with cancer.)

I've decided I really need to listen to this/watch this several times to process everything in this talk.

But, one part of the talk I really like says, "Being content means acceptance without self-pity. Meekly borne, however, deprivations such as these can end up being like excavations that make room for greatly enlarged souls. Some undergo searing developments that cut suddenly into mortality’s status quo. Some have trials to pass through, while still others have allotments they are to live with."

I don't think he is saying we need to resign ourselves and think, "Well, my life stinks. That's just the way it is. It'll never get better." 

No, I think he's saying we need to think more along the lines of, "Ok. This is a trial I have been given. Heavenly Father wants me to go through this. I can do this. I can make it. I can be stronger because of this."

So many things to think about. Hope this uplifts and comforts you as well. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

19 Years Ago

Nineteen years ago today, I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is crazy to think it has been that long. But, I think of how I've grown and learned so much in that amount of time. At eight years old I had such limited knowledge. But, I felt in my heart that the Church was true. My testimony started to grow at an early age. I can honestly say that I've always known the Church is true. I feel that that is truly a gift from God. As I've grown older, I have studied it out in my mind and prayed to know if it is right. And I have felt the confirmation from the Spirit.

At eight years old I had no idea what lied ahead or who I'd become. Little did I know that years down the road I'd become a representative of The Lord and the Church as I served a mission in Chicago.

I can honestly say that being a member of the LDS Church has been the best thing I have ever done. No one is forcing me to remain active in the Church. I do it on my own. And I see the blessings that come from it. I know who I am, where I came from before I was born, why I am here and where I am going after this life.

I'm a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Trials

I've been thinking about trials lately. I have a couple of trials that I've been dealing with for a long time. Several years, actually. One in particular is getting very difficult to bear. Like many others, I find myself asking, "why?" Unlike some people, I don't think it's wrong to ask "why." I think this is good. I'd like to know what I am suppose to learn from this trial.

I read a talk tonight by President Henry B. Eyring that was very enlightening. He says, "Dependence on God can fade quickly when prayers are answered. And when the trouble lessens, so do the prayers." This really hit me. I think one of the reasons for my trial is so I will be humble and depend on God.

I'm sure there are many other things I am supposed to be learning from that trial and the other things I deal with, but that was just a thought I had that I wanted to share

Elder Orson F. Whitney said, “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.” 

I love that. It is so powerful. It's interesting to me that some may think trials are punishment from God, when in reality they are gifts from God. A loving Heavenly Father gives us the trials that are most perfect for us so we can become who He wants us to become. Our trials are necessary.

Heavenly Father truly loves all of us. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Perilous Times

I, like the rest of the nation, am deeply saddened by what happened in Boston on Monday. So horrible. So incomprehensible. 

It's a sad, sad world we live in today. We are all at risk. At school, the movie theater, watching a marathon, on the airplane. Violence is part of our society. 

I'm not surprised by this however. These are the signs of the times. Along with man made disturbances, there are natural disasters happening left and right. Just today, there was an earthquake in China - killing 30 people. Ancient and modern prophets have foretold of natural disasters and violence that will precede the second coming. 

In Doctrine and Covenants 45:33 we read, 

"And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another."

Umm, yeah. This week.  Verse 33 goes on to say, 

"And I said unto them: Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled."

I think that is very important. It is scary, but we should not fear. We must recognize that this is going to happen. I feel like we don't spend enough time discussing the second coming. It's real. It's going to happen. Perhaps sooner than we realize. We need to be prepared. 

In the end, everything will be ok. Justice will be served. The righteous will be blessed.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

"Lord, I Believe"

Last weekend was General Conference. Members of the LDS Church (and the public) had the opportunity to hear from modern day prophets & apostles, the leaders of our Church. I love General Conference. It is such a spiritual feast.

My favorite talk was given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. He spoke about faith. I was touched. (As I mentioned previously, I've been thinking about faith a lot lately.) View the whole talk here. I haven't really been thinking of faith as in whether or not I have faith that the Church is true (which I kind of felt like that's what Elder Holland was addressing in the talk. But, maybe not). But, rather, I've been wanting to grow my faith that the Lord can provide miracles in my life.

At the beginning of Elder Holland's talk, he gives an example from the scriptures where Jesus heals a boy. Before Jesus healed the boy, there was a conversation that took place between Jesus and they boy's father.

“If thou canst do any thing,”  [the father] said, “have compassion on us, and help us.

“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
The Lord can perform miracles in our lives, if we believe. Gaining that faith and belief is a process. But, Heavenly Father knows we are not perfect. He is patient with us. Thankfully, we don't have to be perfect to see miracles in our lives.

What touches me most in these passages of scripture is "all things are possible to him that believeth." ALL things. Even when it seems there is absolutely no way something can happen. (Of course, we must realize that the Lord has His will and sometimes His will is not what we want to happen. But, we can come to know that that the Lord has the power to do anything, if it is His will.)

One of my favorite church songs is by Felicia Sorenson. It is titled, "Just Like He Said He Would." Listen to it here. I love it. I tried to find the lyrics, but couldn't. So, listen to it. One of my favorite lines is, "Just like He said He would... He'll make a way when there's no way at all." I know that is true. Sometimes I have to ask for Heavenly Father to help me remember and feel that that is true, but that's ok.

I'm so grateful for the Savior. It is amazing to know that yes, He performed some amazing miracles while He was on the earth, but He can also perform miracles today - personal miracles for each of us. We just need to have faith.

I don't know if anyone actually reads this blog, but if someone does, I hope you find something here that helps you. Writing on this blog has been a great thing for me, so if nothing else, I am really loving it!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Faith

I don't have a lot of time to write tonight, but I wanted to post some thoughts. Lately I've been studying about and working to increase my faith. There are so many aspects of my life where I could really use more faith.

I recently came across a really neat chapter of scripture regarding faith. If you're interested, go read Hebrews 11. The chapter gives several examples of people who have had faith.

I also once came across the following quote that I really like: "Faith means trusting in advance what only makes sense in reverse."

Having faith can be really hard. But, life was never meant to be easy. The only way we truly grow and become who God wants us to be is by living a life full of Faith..

Just some thoughts to think about. I'll post more later.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

There is a Plan

I posted a version of this post on my personal blog, but thought I'd post it here also. 

 One of my former roommate's sister-in-law (husband's sister) passed away in a tragic car accident on Monday. I've thought a lot about this. It breaks my heart, really. I didn't know her, I might add. She was twenty years old. She never got the chance to do so many things in this life. I've already experienced more than she got to experience by the fact that I've lived seven years longer than she lived.

These things really stop and make me think about what matters most. Life can change so quickly. I should be grateful to simply be alive and breathing. Here I am approaching my 27th birthday dreading the fact that I'm getting pretty close to thirty and am getting so old. But, oh my goodness! I am lucky to be alive. I once read the following quote: "Never regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many." That sure puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

We often take for granted the small and simple things. Boy, it so important to enjoy every moment we have.

I know God has a plan for all of us. One of the fundamental beliefs of Mormonism is that families can be together forever. Meaning, when we "die" we really don't "die." Our bodies may die, but our spirits go to the Spirit World. And one day we'll be reunited with our bodies and live as families forever. So,we don't believe in "till death do us part." We believe if we live righteous lives we can see our loved ones again.

This knowledge changes everything. It gives meaning and perspective to my life. I can't imagine what life would be like without this knowledge. It gives me hope and happiness.

Families are forever. God has a plan. I know this is true. If you don't know if it's true- think about it, study the doctrine, find out for yourself and pray to know if it's true.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Savior, Redeemer of My Soul

Having celebrated Easter this past week, I have been pondering and reflecting on what the Savior has done for me and how much I love Him. I had the opportunity to go to the Mesa Easter Pageant last week. Thousands of volunteers acted out scenes from the Savior's life. I was touched. As the person playing Jesus depicted the Atonement and the crucifixion, I was filled with so many emotions. He did that for me. He suffered for me. All because He loves me. I know I may never comprehend all that He went through. But I am so very grateful He did what He did for me. 

I honestly cannot even imagine what my life would be like without a belief in and a knowledge of my Savior. It affects every part of my life. It gives me perspective. It helps me to know I am not alone. I have a friend who knows exactly how I feel because He's suffered it all. 

Most of all, and what we celebrate at Easter is the fact that Christ lives. He is risen. We too will be able to be resurrected one day. 

I'm so thankful for my Savior. I love Him so much. I cannot wait for the day when I can see Him again. I want to live my life worthily now so I will  be able to see Him again. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Where I Stand

I don't generally like to get involved with controversial subjects. I don't like conflict. However, I, like many people feel passionately regarding certain topics. One of those topics: same sex marriage. I stand with the leaders of my Church- marriage should be between a man and a woman. I believe that is how God designed it to be. I found the following statement puts my thoughts and feelings into words in a perfect way:

"..The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirms the centrality of doctrines relating to human sexuality and gender as well as the sanctity and significance of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. However, the Church firmly believes that all people are equally beloved children of God and deserve to be treated with love and respect. Church apostle Elder Quentin L. Cook stated, “As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender."

(Quote taken from here.)

We are all entitled to our own thoughts and feelings on the subject. I am not saying you are a bad person if you don't feel the way I feel. I know where I stand and I feel it necessary to make my position known. If I am here when the Lord comes again to this earth I will be standing next to my husband (assuming I have one) and right behind my Church leaders.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Millennium

I have to be honest, I haven't known a lot about the millennium or given it a lot of thought really. Until this week, that is. In my personal Gospel study this week I've been studying about the Second Coming and the millennium. Of course, I've been pretty familiar with the doctrine concerning the Second Coming. But, oh my goodness... the millennium sounds like a fabulous time to be living on the earth. Christ will personally be here on earth?!?! I can't even imagine. So many other cool things... like Satan being bound. People will still continue to have children as they do now. And, those kids will grow up without sin. Man, I sure want to have kids during the millennium! Those kids are super lucky! It sounds like a really good deal to me.

The crazy thing is, there's a really good chance you and I could experience this! The signs of the Second Coming are all around us. The Lord is hastening His work. I mean, just look at all of these missionaries going out. It is so exciting. A little scary to me, but mostly exciting.

I will post more on this as I study and learn more. I just had to share some quick thoughts because I am so excited about my studies this week.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Miracles Happen

I should be asleep right now, but I have so much on my mind. Mostly, I'm thinking about how completely loving Heavenly Father is. I absolutely know He is real. We are His children whom He loves and is mindful of. I've seen His hand in my life in recent months especially. It took a lot of prayers and guidance to get me where I am today. Heavenly Father has been by my side a lot and has really blessed me. He's answered so many prayers.

I've also seen the amazing miracles He can perform when we have faith. Last August, my sister-in-law's brother's wife was involved in an extremely serious accident. She should have died. Nearly every bone in her body was broken. Her head sustained severe injuries. Many people thought she would not make it. But, there were also many people who had a lot of faith. And now, several months later, she is starting to come out of a coma and to talk. I'm in absolute awe. You cannot tell me there is not a God. It is a complete miracle. Miracles still exist today.

So, this was kind of random. But the takeaways are: 1.God loves us. 2. God hears and answers our prayers. 3. Miracles happen.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Where Can I Turn For Peace?

I like to keep up with what's going on in the world by reading or watching the news. (I think part of it has to do with the fact that I studied Communications in college. In a few of my classes we were required to keep up with what was going on in the news.)

However, lately I've been really depressed by the news. It seems like there are so many horrible, horrible things going on in the world. It's true. And guess what? It's only going to get worse as we grow closer to the Second Coming. 

So, one might be looking for answers to all of this madness. While we don't won't always know why things happen, we can be assured that we are never alone. While there are still so many things going wrong in this world, there are still some things that are right. 

What keeps me going is my faith in and my knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. We can only truly find peace by turning to our Savior. I really like the words of the following hymn:

Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart,
Searching my soul?

Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.

He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love without end.


Text: Emma Lou Thayne, b. 1924

Our Savior knows us and loves us perfectly. He has said, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30) 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love Yourself


With Valentine's Day just around the corner, perhaps love is on your mind. Have you thought about how you should love yourself? You should. God loves you. You are His child.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Answering the Call

I recently saw this video and was very touched. As I've stated before, I served a mission. I too received a "call" as these people did. I didn't choose to go to Chicago (where I was called), but I definitely felt it was an inspired decision by my Church leaders to send me there. Young people- "Elders and Sisters" as we call them, serve for 18 to 24 months. They share the message of our Church full-time every day. It is completely voluntary, unpaid service (however, I feel that I have been "paid" in so many blessings).