My Week in Review: Train. Wreck.

There are those times that I just feel like I'm in over my head.

I've been holding back an emotional breakdown since, like, Monday. It's been a rough week.

Here's an example. Probably the worst part of this week. By far.

Most of my classes are in week by week increments. They are easy enough. Every day I work on a certain amount of things and though I'm tied for time I normally get it all done without a problem.

My child development class, however, is in big units. Of course, I've been working on it incrementally to get it done by this past Wednesday, but on Monday I found out that I did everything wrong. For hours I worked, no, slaved over these crazy assignments and was able to turn them all in by Wednesday. On time.

Except that I didn't do anything else. Which meant that I was majorly behind in all of my classes. Not to mention, two major projects were also due this week which would have required a bit more time this week. And in a normal week I would have been even more busy but on time. This week that was all I worked on Thursday, Friday, and today.

And so the rest of my assignments?

Last night around midnight I decided to let them go for this week. Thankfully they're not course heavy, but I hate those 0's in my grade book. And I'll have to take a 0. There is no way I can make it up in the future. I don't have enough time for that.

In these moments, when I think that I couldn't possibly do it anymore, I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who reminds me that every challenge is for my good.

I think back to my time in Nauvoo. Some days I literally thought my face was going to fall off and my lungs were going to implode. Now I look back and think "I was so melodramatic". Someday I'll look back and think "wow, that was easy".

But for now I'll just plug on and enjoy the good times, forget the bad times, and move forward in faith.


Knowing For Ourselves

This week in several of my classes there has been one resounding theme that has stuck out to me time and time again. That theme is truth and knowing truth for ourselves.

The world is constantly trying to redefine the idea of truth. Today, more than ever before, we are being fed half truths. And by their very definition these half truths are complete lies. Truth is something that never changes. There is no opinion involved in truth. Truth is truth. It has been since before the beginning and will be until after the very end.

The problem with humans today is that we tend to rely on other humans way. too. much. It's a proven fact. Just look at the internet.

I rest my case.

And sometimes relying on other humans is okay, but when it comes to the things that really matter don't you think that we should rely on the source of ALL knowledge and truth?

Of course, I'm talking about our Heavenly Father. The creator of our spirits. The one who leads us and guides us through life.

The second president of my church (all the way back in the 1840's before internet and all that jazz...) said that the most troubling thing that he has seen is that people are relying too heavily on other people. People who are human. Who might make mistakes.

It is important, then, that we learn and know for ourselves that what our church leaders teach are true. And the easiest way to do that is to get on our knees and pray. Pray harder than you've ever prayed before. And ask with a sincere desire and real intent. And then listen.

We won't receive our answers through loud and powerful experiences. I think a lot of times we try to classify ourselves with those people recorded in the scriptures. Like Paul in the New Testament, or Nephi and the Brother of Jared from the Book of Mormon. What we need to remember is that these examples are the exception to the rule. In most cases our answers come through the still and quiet.

Have you ever been laying in bed, thinking about how quiet and peaceful you feel, and then suddenly you think of something that you had never thought of before? Yeah. That's how answers come.

I've had enough answers to my own prayers to know.

And when we know for ourselves that whatever doctrine is being taught is true, then we come off stronger than we ever were before. Because it is no longer dependent on THEM, it is dependent on God.

I think we can all find comfort and assurance in knowing that.


Unmarried Cohabitation: A Big Lie

This past week in my Marriage class (I'm a Marriage and Family Relations major, remember?) we have been talking about marriage and divorce trends. It has been really, really insightful.

For instance- did you know that today's divorce rates are double what they were in the 1960's? Yet only roughly 65% of adults in the united states are married. That, as opposed to about 85% in the 60's.

So, fewer marriages yet more divorces? Marriage seems terribly daunting these days.

What in the world started these trends? And how did they get so rapidly out of control?

Well, honestly, it started in 1970 when a no fault divorce law was signed by the state of California. In this law it allowed any divorce to take place without having to declare a wrongdoing. The rest of the country got immensely excited over this new law, and soon thereafter every state had one just like it.

That's how it started. It was all quite downhill from there.

One of the main destroyers in marriage that I have seen, and bear with me here, is unmarried cohabitation. That is, in modern terms, living together before marriage.

The idea, in theory, isn't too far gone. Before a couple gets married they should live together for a while. By doing this they can see if the marriage will work.There are few investments, and so if the relationship dies then termination is inexpensive.

Unfortunately this theory is pretty null and void. When studied at an academic level, the majority of the marriages that occurred after unmarried cohabitation ended in (yes, you guessed it) the big D. Divorce.


Marriage is a sacred union. My church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sent out a proclamation to the world 18 years ago. In it, they said the following:

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children...

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

(You can read the rest of it here)

Now, I am not insinuating that God intentionally breaks up marriages because they didn't follow His commandment. In fact, the opposite is true. Here. Let me say it loud and clear:

God loves us so much that He wants us to be truly happy and live fulfilled lives. Because of this He has given us commandments to keep us safe. He knows that if we live clean lives before we are married that we will most likely succeed in our marriages. And how does He know this? He knows us better than we could even possibly know ourselves. He created us. That's how.

He really does love us. I wish I could shout that on the mountain tops. It's a concept that most people don't get.

I think that if more people understood that, then divorce might disappear all together. Because when we catch a glimpse of how much God loves us, we realize how much He loves everyone else as well. And when we realize that, well, then we would do everything and anything in our power to make sure that each beloved son or daughter of God is treated in the way they deserve to be treated. Disagreement, name calling, hate, lust, envy, immorality, all of it would stop and one thing would remain.



The Awesome Thing About New Years Resolutions

I used to be the kind of person that made new years resolutions like this:

LOSE 100 POUNDS (This wouldn't be healthy for me, by the way. Just an example...)

And on January 1st I went for a run, January 2nd I drank a smoothie, and then on January 3rd I was too lazy to do anything. The resolution was broken and I couldn't ever take that back, so I quit trying.

This year I decided to take a different approach. I made goals like this:

Be healthy.

Love as God loves.

Sleep well. Not too short, nor too long.

Take pictures.

Instead of writing the resolution that required a 180 turn, it became more of a long term progression thing. If I miss a day of working big deal. It's about the big picture. It's about how I will change between now and December 31st, 2013.

Honestly. I think that's what New Years Resolutions were meant to be in the first place.

In other news. I'm starting to like this whole photography instagram stuff. =D



It's almost 2013! I can't even believe it!

2012 has been the best year of my life, thus far. And boy, did it zip right by.

I spent the morning of New Years 2012 at my friend's house, two hours away from home. I was traveling with her sister, my best friend, to Idaho. At 12:01 AM I looked over at her and said "Happy 2012" and then fell asleep.

Just a few hours later we were off. It was the first time I had ever been on an airplane.

Five hours later, we were in an airport waiting for a bus. Four hours later we were in a hotel room near our campus.

I learned a lot in my short time at school. And I was super fit. I walked EVERYWHERE! Sometimes five or six miles a day. It was the best.

In April I went home for about three weeks. My mom and I ran a lot during that short period. I remember one run in particular- we had a big blow up argument over something and we were so mad that we definitely finished all six miles in under 50 minutes. And then it was over and we were best friends again. Awesome.

In May I left for my musical mission to Nauvoo. The time I spent there in that beautiful city was incredible and priceless. I learned so many things. I also ate a TON of delicious food...and totally lost my fitness from Idaho. But I became spiritually fit- more so than I had ever been before. It was incredible.

I came home in August and floundered for a little while. I couldn't find a job. I was alone while all of my "Nauvoo family" had activities together out west. I wasn't dating much. And by much I mean not at all... School hadn't started. My family was moving. I couldn't find a tuba. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do.

Then October hit. A job. Another mission. A plan. Well, sorta. Still working out the kinks as of now.

In November I started feeling a bit more comfortable with my surroundings. Like I fit in again.

December. I don't even remember it. It has gone by so fast.

And now I'm here.

Tomorrow I will post my official New Years Resolution, but for now a sneak peak:

Do one thing a day that scares you!


How Many Pieces of Silver?

Yesterday at my institute class we had a very interesting lesson. The teacher stepped away from the podium after assigning blocks of scriptures from Luke 22 and had us, the students, come up with a short lesson to teach the class.

We all read through our assigned verses, and after about 10 minutes of planning we started presenting the lessons. From the very beginning I noticed a theme. One word in particular: betrayal.

The entire chapter speaks of betrayal.

When Christ instituted the sacrament, He spoke on how one of His own disciples would betray Him.

In a short amount of time this prophecy is fulfilled by Judas who receives a reward of thirty pieces of silver.

Shortly thereafter, Peter denies and betrays Christ three times within just a narrow time frame.

Betrayal. How do WE betray Christ? For how many pieces of silver are we willing to sell our souls?

That question stood out to me quite a bit yesterday. I wasn't sure why, though.

Fast forward to today.

It is Friday, December 14th in the year of 2012.

I get home from work and hear that there was a shooting in an elementary school in Connecticut.  Several of the students and staff are killed. My mind replays scene after scene. What terror and horror, I cannot even imagine. My heart aches and cries for those parents who have lost their precious children, for the families of those teachers, for all of those who were negatively affected by this act of terror.

But what I know, that I wish all would know, is that sometimes Christ allows bad things to happen to good people to condemn the wicked. I also know that those innocent children are in the arms of Christ. He is safety and security. They are mourning for what potential they have lost. They were frightened by what occurred, but are safe now. Life does not end after death. Truly, it does not.

I like posting on Facebook, and so I did. I posted this picture from David Bowen:

From there, I decided to look through some other posts.

I came across one from a family member. He and I have never seen eye to eye on certain things, specifically politics. He decided to use this tragedy to support his ideals- that is, gun control.

This didn't sit well with me. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms. People kill people. Guns don't. They sit inanimate on a shelf until someone decides to pick it up.

A friend of this family member refuted. The friend listed some very viable points. I liked his comment.

My family member decided to target me. He clicked on this picture and commented. Rude and malicious and hateful words were typed, all denying the existence of God and calling for an "intelligent" debate. He concluded it by writing "offended? So am I". While I was reading it, I literally had the most sick feeling. I was completely in shock. I had no idea that someone I loved that much would write such terrible things and attack and disregard such sacred ones.

I immediately responded by deleting the comment. He very clearly had no thoughts of sorrow for the victims or their families. Instead, he wanted to prove a point. In mindless rage he wrote- angry because his point had been nullified moments before.

And then I stopped. I clicked on his name, thinking to merely unsubscribe for his notes, and then a phrase from last night popped into my mind,

For how many pieces of silver are you willing to deny Christ?

I unfriended the guy on facebook. I blocked him. For all I know, he could be dead.

If he reads this, and I think he might, let it be known.

I am not offended. Offence is a choice to make. I have made my choice, and it is simply this:

I will not betray my God.


The Hold Up: I HATE Doctors. Nothing Personal.

So. I have two sections left in my mission paperwork before I can submit them. They are getting an appointment with my doctor and dentist.

I don't mind so much the dentist part. I don't mind getting my teeth cleaned, looked out, x-rayed, etc. And even if I DO have to get my wisdom teeth big.

But I'm dreading and putting off this doctor thing like nobody's business.

I've hated doctors for as long as I can remember. Even the really nice ones...I hated them.

I hated them so much that for a while I thought that I should go to medical school just so that I wouldn't ever have to go to the doctor's office again!

We see how well that plan worked out...

Although I haven't completely given up hope for that one yet.

Knowing that I have to call up the doctor's office tomorrow to schedule an appointment is giving me some major anxiety. I've been trying to muster up the courage. It hasn't happened yet, but it WILL tomorrow.

Yup. Anyways.

Today was the First Presidency Christmas Devotional! Let the Christmas season commence! Hooray!