Saturday, December 24, 2011

Keep Playing

I was reading a talk by James E. Faust, and he shared a story I've heard several times, but I like it more now. It's similar to some of the things we do in music therapy. But also, its just something important to remember in life, especially for me as a perfectionist. Rather than letting fear of an imperfect performance choke out everything, just play, just act, and trust the Master to change my pretty unimpressive (but continuous) performance into a masterpiece. The beauty comes from Him. But I have a part to play.
"...The answer to those questions may best be given by relating the story of a young piano student. His mother, wishing to encourage him, “bought tickets for a performance of the great Polish pianist, Paderewski. The night of the concert arrived and the mother and son found their seats near the front of the concert hall. While the mother visited with friends, the boy slipped quietly away. 
“Suddenly, it was time for the performance to begin and a single spotlight cut through the darkness of the concert hall to illuminate the grand piano on stage. Only then did the audience notice the little boy on the bench, innocently picking out ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.’ 
“His mother gasped, but before she could move, Paderewski appeared on stage and quickly moved to the keyboard. He whispered to the boy, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And then, leaning over, the master reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized. 
“In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear, time and time again, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And as we do, He augments and supplements until a work of amazing beauty is created. He is right there with all of us, telling us over and over, ‘Keep playing.’”

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Whatever It Takes

This quote brings a lot of feelings back to me, and I really want to share it.
More than forty years ago I had a dream, which I am sure was from the Lord. In this dream I was in the presence of my Savior as he stood in mid-air. He spoke no word to me, but my love for him was such that I have not words to explain. I know that no mortal man can love the Lord as I experienced that love for the Savior unless God reveals it unto him. I would have remained in his presence, but there was a power drawing me away from him, and as a result of that dream I had this feeling, that no matter what might be required at my hands, what the gospel might entail unto me, I would do what I should be asked to do, even to the laying down of my life. 
And so when we read in the scriptures what the Savior said to his disciples:
In my Father's house are many mansions: . . . I go to prepare a place for you . . . that where I am, there ye may be also  (John 14:2-3).
I think that is where I want to be. If only I can be with my Savior and have that same sense of love that I had in that dream, it will be the goal of my existence, the desire of my life. 
George F. Richards, Conference Report, October 1946, pp. 137-141
One of my favorite songs while serving a mission was "Whatever It Takes." It's an EFY song that I think I'm going to try to arrange a version that doesn't sound 90's cheesy. I think all that needs to be taken away is the synthesizer. The song itself is beautiful.

I've had experiences like this one George F. Richards talked about, on a smaller scale, and I hope to have many more. The Savior's love amazes me, and it changes me when I feel it. I hope to be more in tune with Him so I notice it more often. I need to invite more light into my life. And if I can just feel His love, I should have the strength to keep going.

"I'll give up everything I've ever had.
Now that my heart's had a taste of what awaits,
I'll do whatever it takes."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

General Conference Quotes: President Packer - Counsel to Youth

This quote just really stuck out to me, from President Packer's talk:

Dress modestly; talk reverently; listen to uplifting music. Avoid all immorality and personally degrading practices. Take hold of your life and order yourself to be valiant. Because we depend so much on you, you will be remarkably blessed. You are never far from the sight of your loving Heavenly Father.

Each sentence says so much, to me. If you read it fast, without thinking about it too hard, it doesn't mean much. Slow down, ponder, and let each word sink in and come alive. They're words I'm going to live by.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

About Me - My Amateur Attempts at ASL

I'm Aliandria

I love music.

I'm LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

I'm majoring in Music Therapy.

Who knows how much of this I actually did right... But it's a good try, right? I'm taking ASL next semseter, and just trying to get a little more practiced. =)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chilled Lemonade

This morning was a really cool experience: I was happy! I read about doubt and faith, and was very comforted and reassured. Yesterday I allowed myself to get very stressed and discouraged about dating, but the scriptures and the Lord seemed to be telling me "Things will work out the way they're supposed to, just believe, be valiant, and be calm. And be happy."

And I was! The song that came to me after that was "Lemonade" by Chris Rice. I listened to it several times today, and it was officially today's theme song.

I now dedicate it to a friend, and currently one of my favorite people around. I'm really grateful for his example of happiness, genuine-ness, and kindness. =)

"I live life without pretending.
I'm a sucker for happy endings.
Thanks for the lemonade!"

And to top it all off, it was gently snowing this morning. =) Perfect.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Another post sharing my scripture reading thoughts. Here is a section of scripture that scares me to death:

Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.
4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.
5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
(Old Testament | Ezekiel 34:2–6‎)‎

Having been given a portion of stewardship and responsibility for the sisters in my ward, this section terrifies me a little. It's so easy to slip into feeding off of others, instead of helping them. Especially while going to school, and being told to focus more time on myself and my grades and my money and my needs. This section really makes me ask myself, am I strengthening my sisters? Helping them find healing? Binding up that which is broken? Bringing back again those that were driven away? Seeking those which are lost?

I'm not gonna put my answers up here, but let's just say I've been humbled. I haven't been completely failing, but I could do much much better. 


I'm excited to get married, I really am. And having kids will be the greatest thing ever. But this picture resonated with me today. Like, it makes me really happy. Should it? I don't know. Hm, oh well. =)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Pleasant Voice

30 ¶ Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord.
31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
(Old Testament | Ezekiel 33:30–32‎)‎

I was surprised to find this in the Old Testament. It really got me thinking. I worry that I frequently do this. I love hearing talks from church leaders. But do I love doing what the church leaders say? And even if I love doing it... do I ever actually do it? Do I treat spiritual instruction like entertainment or a concert?

President Uchtdorf spoke somewhat about this in the April 2011 General Conference, to the men. He said:

The words written in the scriptures and spoken in general conference are for us to "liken them unto [ourselves]," not for reading or hearing only. Too often we attend meetings and nod our heads; we might even smile knowingly and agree. We jot down some action points, and we may say to ourselves, "That is something I will do." But somewhere between the hearing, the writing of a reminder on our smartphone, and the actual doing, our "do it" switch gets rotated to the "later" position. Brethren, let's make sure to set our "do it" switch always to the "now" position!

Then I ask, how can I do it "now" if I'm in a meeting right now? I struggle to make the bridge in my mind, to understand how to do what he's saying I should do. Do I do it first thing when I get home? Or do I wait until it comes up in my life, a time when it would be relevant to do it? Should I have a mini-planning session after each meeting and schedule in on my calendar the things I've been asked to do, so that I remember, when it's a more relevant time, to do it? What about things like "love others"? It's harder to put that into a calendar than "Read more in depth in 2 Nephi 2 tomorrow."

(This is me just thinking out loud, and sharing it with the world. I'm trying to get myself thinking, but I'm also trying to help anyone who reads this to get thinking about it as well.)

Here's my plan. I'm going to take my "Daily Planning Session" each day more seriously. I have it scheduled on my calendar, every night at 10:00. Do I do it? Not very often. So, for things that I can't do immediately after a meeting, I will save them for my daily planning session, right before I go to bed, and review the things I wrote down to do, and put an event or reminder in my calendar, or make a cryptic note on my window. (I write on my windows. I bought some sweet window crayons, and I love them!) And then the next day, I'll review whether I actually did it, and make plans of how to improve.

In addition, if I don't want to follow something I heard in a meeting, I'll pray for the desire to do it. And pray for the strength and faith to do it anyway.

That's my current plan to solve this. Please share any ideas you might have as well, of how to switch your "do it" switch to the "now" position.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thankful for Peace

This weekend was really good. I felt a lot more peace this weekend than I've felt for a few weeks, or maybe a month or two. I attribute a lot of it to Stake Conference. It was really great. Saturday we got to hear from President Green, and he spoke powerfully, as he normally does. I love hearing him speak! Then today, Sunday, our conference was part of a broadcast for northern Utah-ish, and President Monson spoke, as well as some other general authorities. It was such a good experience to listen to them, and to feel the Spirit communicate with me.

I also got to meet with my Bishop later in the afternoon to talk about Relief Society, and I just have to say I'm so grateful for my bishop. He's a great man. Very soft-spoken but very solid. He surprises me with how gently he says bold things. Anyway, he is definitely led by God. And I'm grateful for him.

I was busy with church things for pretty much the whole day, but it was a busy I really liked. =)

It's just been a really good day! On the inside.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

General Conference Quotes: Elder Ian S. Ardern - A Time To Prepare

There is much that is good with our easy access to communication and information. I have found it helpful to access research articles, conference talks, and ancestral records, and to receive e-mails, Facebook reminders, tweets, and texts. As good as these things are, we cannot allow them to push to one side those things of greatest importance. How sad it would be if the phone and computer, with all their sophistication, drowned out the simplicity of sincere prayer to a loving Father in Heaven. Let us be as quick to kneel as we are to text. 
I know our greatest happiness comes as we tune in to the Lord (see Alma 37:37) and to those things which bring a lasting reward, rather than mindlessly tuning in to countless hours of status updates, Internet farming, and catapulting angry birds at concrete walls. I urge each of us to take those things which rob us of precious time and determine to be their master, rather than allowing them through their addictive nature to be the master of us.
This is a very relevant talk to most of us, I think. Especially you, since you're reading my blog, which means you're spending time on the internet right now. Using the internet, like he said, is not bad in and of itself. It's using our time unwisely that is the problem. You'll have to decide if my blog is a good use of your time or not. =)

I am a blogging and Facebook addict, I think. But I'm working on it. I try to post as relevantly as I can. As far as Facebook, I have found a tool that helps me, and I wanted to share it with you. Stay Focused is an extension for the Google Chrome internet browser that keeps you from visiting websites that you have designated as time-wasters. For example, I have designated Facebook as one of my blocked sites. I can still get on Facebook, but after I have used it for twenty minutes a day, I'm kicked out, and can't get back onto the site until the next day. You can have it be more or less minutes than twenty, that was just what I chose. And you can block as many websites as you want. I currently am only timing/blocking Facebook. I really like it, because it helps me realize how much time Facebook can actually take out of my life, if I don't control myself. Anyway, feel free to try it if you would like!

I'll probably be posting more about this talk later. Such a good one!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thankful Friday

Due to the example of Tori Gollihugh, and also due to my bad attitude and self-pity, I'm going to start counting my blessings.

  • I'm grateful for the positive vibes people sent me yesterday, especially Lisa and Robin from Florida. It meant so much!
  • I'm grateful that Riley is still my friend, even though I've been complaining about school and life every time he's seen me in the past couple weeks.
  • I'm grateful for Wes taking the time to encourage me and talk to me about how I'm handling my different responsibilities. It made me feel valued and important, and helped me smile. 
  • I'm grateful for the temple. I'm grateful I can feel my Father's presence stronger there than I otherwise normally can.
  • I'm grateful it hasn't snowed yet, and has actually been warmer and quite beautiful this week.
  • Even though my friends and my sister are getting married, I'm grateful they are marrying good men.
  • I'm grateful for my guitar, my viola, my keyboard, my drums, and even my recorder.
  • I'm grateful for Jack's Mannequin's song, "Swim," and ever so grateful Letha introduced it to us!
  • I'm grateful for the scriptures, and for the words of living prophets. I'm grateful for "the power that I get each time I read." Hopefully if I have a better attitude I'll receive even more comfort and power as I read today.
  • I'm grateful to be part of an awesome presidency, and I'm so grateful for Tanya, Aubree, and Gretchen. =)
  • I'm grateful I have someone to run with.
  • I'm grateful I have a house of boys I can go spend time with if I have stress pouring out my ears, and they can make me laugh.
  • I'm grateful that I occasionally get asked out on dates.
  • I'm grateful for friends like Richard that always makes room on his motorcycle and gives me a ride when he sees me carrying a bunch of heavy things!
  • I'm grateful to serve with a wonderful Bishop.
  • I'm grateful for prayer.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

General Conference Quotes: President Uchtdorf - You Matter to Him

Please understand that what you see and experience now is not what forever will be. You will not feel loneliness, sorrow, pain, or discouragement forever. We have the faithful promise of God that He will neither forget nor forsake those who incline their hearts to Him. Have hope and faith in that promise. Learn to love your Heavenly Father and become His disciple in word and in deed. 
Be assured that if you but hold on, believe in Him, and remain faithful in keeping the commandments, one day you will experience for yourselves the promises revealed to the Apostle Paul: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
I definitely need to hear this. I don't know what's up with me, but I have been getting so discouraged. The temple, and good friends, and music, help me feel better, but it doesn't always last for long. I guess part of the answer is that life is just hard sometimes, even if nothing is going terribly wrong. And it doesn't mean I've done anything horribly wrong. Life is just hard. But I will not feel this way forever, like President Uchtdorf said. I really liked what he said about his own experience:
At the time, Big Spring, despite its name, was a small, insignificant, and unknown place. And I often felt exactly the same way about myself—insignificant, unknown, and quite alone. Even so, I never once wondered if the Lord had forgotten me or if He would ever be able to find me there. I knew that it didn’t matter to Heavenly Father where I was, where I ranked with others in my pilot training class, or what my calling in the Church was. What mattered to Him was that I was doing the best I could, that my heart was inclined toward Him, and that I was willing to help those around me. I knew if I did the best I could, all would be well. 
And all was well.
Sounds like it's time for me to start singing "Come, Come, Ye Saints." I remember using this song to get through hard times at BYU-Idaho. I'm sure it can help me again.
"Our God will never us forsake. And soon I'll have this tale to tell - All is well... All is well."

Feeling Good... With the Elderly

I wanted to share this video my professor shared with me, because it's fun. I don't know if I have mentioned it, but I am doing my first music therapy practicum in an assisted living center. So even though we haven't done anything like this, it still reminds me of our clients. Hope you enjoy it. =)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

General Conference Quotes: LeGrand R. Curtis Jr. - Redemption

The scriptures, literature, and the experiences of life are filled with stories of redemption. Through Christ, people can and do change their lives and obtain redemption. I love stories of redemption.
I think this is the most important principle in the Gospel to me. People CAN and DO change their lives, through Christ.

I'm blessed to have seen it in my life and the lives of my friends. I saw it on my mission. Some of my favorite examples include my friend Ryan, who just received the Melchizadek priesthood a couple months ago. I loved hearing his stories and his unique perspective on life and the gospel. He'd known the bitter, and now he was getting to know the sweet, more and more each day. Another example is my friend Jeffrey, whom I dated for a long time, and consequently I got to hear his testimony often. I'll always be grateful for his testimony of the transforming power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. (For the story of his life, and an expression of his testimony, if you'd like, visit

In personal experience, the Savior has redeemed and healed my previously failing relationship with my father. He's changed my heart to help me see others differently and love them more easily. He's led me and guided me, and helped me see the way I should go, which has definitely altered the course of my life.

I'm so grateful to Him, and for the change He has brought about in my life and the lives of those I care about.

If anyone tells you that you or someone else can't change, they are either lying or they don't know the truth.

To quote my favorite sentence from Preach My Gospel, "Everything that seems unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

And lastly, to quote from the conference talk I started with,
Savior, Redeemer of my soul,
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,
Whose wondrous pow’r hath raised me up
And filled with sweet my bitter cup!
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O gracious God of Israel. 
Never can I repay thee, Lord,
But I can love thee. Thy pure word,
Hath it not been my one delight,
My joy by day, my dream by night?
Then let my lips proclaim it still,
And all my life reflect thy will. 
(“Savior, Redeemer of My Soul,” Hymns, no. 112)

Double Rainbow, Bright and Vivid...

Yesterday I saw the most beautiful, bright, vivid rainbow I've ever seen in my life.

I didn't get any pictures of it.

But Brittany did:

Just Had An Apostrophe...

I just had an epiphany, while I was praying. Fear is the problem in my life right now. Fear is keeping me from doing what I need to do in Relief Society in order to start seeing miracles. Fear is keeping me from doing what I need to do in music therapy in order to start seeing true therapy, and miracles. And fear is probably keeping me from seeing miracles in my dating life as well.

Well whaddayaknow?

And as I thought about that, I remembered that fear is the opposite of faith. And that perfect love and faith also can not coexist. And since, through faith in Jesus Christ, I can do all things, then I guess it would only follow that with fear in my heart, I can do nothing. And God can do nothing (or little) in my life if my heart is full of fear and not faith.

I need to choose faith. Even if its scary. Because fear is lame. And even if miracles don't come, due to choices of others, I will know that the lack of miracle was not because of me. I will know I gave my heart and my faith, and my best. Either result of my showing faith is better than the results of living in fear.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Music Therapy from Heather's Eyes

I just came across my friend (and practicum partner) Heather's blog about her experiences with music therapy. I realized I haven't shared a whole lot about music therapy on here recently, and wanted to share her blog with you.

And I'm in the drum circle videos if you wanna look for me. =)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

To thy title be true...

To be true to the title of my blog, I'll tell you about an actual small ordinary miracle that happened today. After my first class I was going to go buy food at Aggie Ice Cream (they have lots of good food there and I'm addicted), but I told myself I was being excessive, and that I should probably save my time and my money, and just head over to the library. It was really really cold today, so I cut through the Engineering building. And I came across some friends of mine who were making and giving away free pancakes. Simple as that. I waited for a little while in line, got my pancakes, and was very encouraged. =)

Other small miracle: I looked really nice today. And then ran into someone that I love to look good around. It was nice.

Another miracle: I have a full presidency now, for Relief Society. Hooray for feeling supported. It's a huge relief... =) And they're fun too.

And now I will go to bed, hoping for the miracle of waking up alive. It'll be an accomplishment, considering it's 40 degrees outside and our heaters aren't working yet. =) It's okay though, it just makes me feel like I'm camping!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I will do more quoting of Elder Carl Cook's talk later, I'm sure, but for right now I'm just going to quote six words.
Look up, step up, cheer up.
The Spirit definitely confirmed to me today that I need to step up. I have not been giving him my whole heart. He has not been first in my life. I've been on a sort of emotional/mental break. Not from talking about Him, but from feeling and knowing Him.

I feel hope, definitely, that if I sincerely turn to Him, and diligently step up and pour my heart into my duty and my current Relief Society quest, I really will cheer up. And the lives of others will be blessed as well! =)

And to quote Gandalf:
Now isn't that an encouraging thought?

General Conference Quotes: Elder Richard G. Scott (Again)

Scriptures are stalwart friends not limited by geography or calendar. They're always available when needed. ... Learning, pondering, searching, and memorizing scriptures is like filling a filing cabinet with friends that can be called upon anytime, anywhere in the world. Great power can come from memorizing scriptures. To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship. It's like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motivation for needed change. 
I'm quoting him again (but a different quote) because I just loved the beginning of his talk. It speaks to me because I don't feel very much constancy in my friendships right now. Life is so full of change. It's not anyone's fault, it's just part of life.

In addition to Mosiah 4:9, which I think I've gotten down, I'm also adding 2 Nephi 2:24.
For behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
It reminds me not to get discouraged about where I am. I feel like I've been led, little step by little step. It's good to know that being at Utah State, being single, studying music therapy, serving in the church, and so forth, were all done in the wisdom of Him who sees the end from the beginning, loves me infinitely, and wants me to be happy.  So I know things will work out right.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Life has kind of lost it's sparkliness. Probably just from being so busy. And having a lame collection of classes. And feeling like I'm not doing enough with my calling.

But circumstances shouldn't determine how I feel that much. I want more of the Spirit, so that I can find more joy in life. And know how to help others.

How am I going to get more of the Spirit in my life? More sincere prayer, more focused scripture study, and putting my calling ahead of just about everything else. I'm reluctant to do that, but I'm trying to have faith that if I give Him more of my time (and heart), He'll magnify the rest of my time, and help me find the joy I need, and teach me how to serve each of His children.

Please pray for me to be able to make those changes!

General Conference Quotes: Elder Richard G. Scott

Scriptures can form a foundation of support. They can provide an incredibly large resource of willing friends, who can help us. A memorized scripture becomes an enduring friend that is not weakened with the passage of time.
-Elder Richard G. Scott
It sounds like the scriptures are what I need! I was realizing once again this weekend how hard change is. As more and more friends get married or move away, it can be hard not to get lonely. It's hard to accept that someone once very close to me won't be anymore. Friendships change over time, and sometimes that can be discouraging.

So, I think memorizing scriptures will be helpful to me. I'm realizing more than ever that I need to turn to God as my Friend, and rely on Him, especially when things are changing. He is constant. I can (I think) understand what Mr. D was trying to explain in high school choir years ago. "We may choose something like a Star to stay our minds on, and be staid."

The scripture I plan to memorize first is Mosiah 4:9:
Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

Friday, September 30, 2011


We had a party with the boys of the house of the corner. We forged an alliance with them. Basically just played card games and a game involving a wooden spoon and a bucket. That game is where the welts came from, but mostly on Mallory and some of the guys. I got a scratch, but no welt.

That was by far the best part of the day. School is stressing me out physically. It's interesting to observe. Instead of getting emotionally worked up, I just eat. Or if I can't eat, I clench my fist and release it for a while. My muscles get all tight everywhere. It's fascinating. I prefer it, over getting emotional and crying.

I used to distract myself with Facebook when I was starting to get stressed or anxious. But I deleted my Facebook app on my phone, and I'm using an add-on to Chrome that will only let me be on Facebook for twenty minutes a day. So I have to ration my time rather severely. But I feel free! =)

I'm trying to think of coping strategies other than eating. Any ideas? Running is one of my strategies, but I only have time to do that a few times a week. Music doesn't always work as well on me as it used to, because I'm studying it. I can't just listen to music, it'll remind me of school. I analyze every song for its therapeutic properties. Which makes it less therapeutic to me, but more therapeutic for others I'll be able to use it with in the future. Another coping strategy is praying, but I feel like I should also couple that with something else. I feel like God wants me to ask Him for help with it, but then do what I can to take care of it, and He'll magnify my efforts. When I prayed about it I got the feeling He wants me to do both. Another thing I do is look for really awesome art on the internet (like on And of course, socializing (particularly with men) is a big coping strategy for me. It helps me forget almost all my problems.

Please...let me know if you have ideas, or something that works for you!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

You Are Not Forgotten - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf - General Relief Society Meeting

You are not forgotten. 
Sisters, wherever you are, whatever the circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you, with an infinite love.
Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time.
 Just a good reminder. I need that today. Everything's gonna be okay. He'll watch out for me...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Let Your Heart Expand - Sylvia H. Allred - General Relief Society Meeting

Speaking to the sisters, the Prophet Joseph said, “Don’t be limited in your views with regard to your neighbor’s virtues. You must enlarge your souls toward others if you [would] do like Jesus. As you increase in innocence and virtue, as you increase in goodness, let your hearts expand—let them be enlarged towards others—you must be longsuffering and bear with the faults and errors of mankind. How precious are the souls of men!” 
The scriptural declaration “Charity never faileth” became the motto of Relief Society because it embraces these teachings and the charge that the Prophet Joseph Smith had given the Relief Society sisters to “relieve the poor” and to “save souls.” 
These foundational principles have been embraced by Relief Society sisters throughout the world, for such is the nature of the work of Relief Society.
—Sister Silvia H. Allred

I'm quoting the General Relief Society Meeting again. It was such a good meeting!

This quote got me thinking about something I've thought about several times this summer. An easy trap to fall into is judging others. The more practiced we become at keeping the commandments, the easier and more tempting it is to judge others when they aren't keeping the commandments. This is probably where Satan knows he's likely to trip us up.

Having grown up in Utah, it was easy to judge others. In my mind I thought, "Everyone knows what they're supposed to do, so if anyone isn't doing the right things they are blatantly sinning." And this led me to feel like I was worth more than they were somehow, because I was keeping the baseline commandments and trying to go the extra mile in some areas. Everything about that train of thought is wrong though.

On my mission things changed without me really thinking about it too hard. I noticed that I wasn't judging people nearly as much. The harder someone's life seemed to be, the happier I was to be talking to them, because I knew I had something that could help, if they were willing to listen and accept it. Drugs and alcohol? You must be going through a really hard time, or you were insecure when you were younger and tried it to fit in, and now you're somewhat stuck. Not going to church? You must work hard during the week, and love spending time with your family on the weekend. Tattoos? You enjoy expressing yourself, and have things you feel are worth saying. Sexual sins? Perhaps you feel lonely, and just want to feel loved. Even though I know that not everyone's motives are like the ones I listed, I would treat everyone like their intentions were innocent, unless or until I found out otherwise.

Another way to say it is that I looked at them as a person who has been hurt by life and choices and just needs help, help that I can give, by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and by being a friend. I grew accustomed to thinking this way, and then it would shock me when various ward members would talk about someone we had brought to church and say "Well, they have a smoking problem, so I don't think it's going to work out" or "Maybe they can actually wear clothes next time" or "Why can't you bring someone that fits in better with the rest of us?" I looked at these people, and I saw goodness. Suppressed or hidden or disguised goodness sometimes, but it was there, and really wasn't that hard to find. Mistakes and challenges were to be worked through, not something that were cause for being discounted or turned away.

In other words, I saw people for their divine worth, and for their potential - who they could become. No matter how much of a hooligan or a rebel they looked like, I knew that their potential was astounding. I could imagine all the amazing ways they could help others in the future, and the light they could be for good. Many of them didn't accept what we had to share - but some of them did, and I'm excited to find out all they will do in the future, and who they will become.

I returned to Utah, and started to fall back into my old ways. Then, earlier this summer the Spirit told me strongly that one of the main reasons the Lord asked me to go on a mission was for me to learn how to see people for who they are and who they can be, instead of "looking on the outward appearance." Or in other words, hooligans are not problems, they're people. (I know hooligans is an odd word, but it makes sense to me!)

I will never accept sin as okay. I will not give in and redefine the commandments of God. But I will strive to love and care for others, and with longsuffering, bear the faults and errors of mankind. That is my goal. I want my heart to expand, and I want others to know they are loved and that their potential is divine.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nothing to Say

I can't think of anything to blog/journal about! Today was a fairly standard day. But on the other hand, it wasn't standard, because nothing memorable happened!

Slightly memorable: 

Got to play the piano before Institute and got to play around with some pretty fun chords and transitions. 

Andrew invited our whole house to read scriptures with them. 

I didn't do the homework I intended to. 

One of my professors agreed to move one of our due dates because of General Conference - especially because he's taking days off because of a Jewish holiday. 

Marisa is a lot of fun. =) 

My life is crazy busy, and I'm not sure how long it'll take for me to catch up.

God is good.

I really like orange juice.

The Power of Knowing "Why" - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf - General Relief Society Meeting

My dear sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not an obligation; it is a pathway, marked by our loving Father in Heaven, leading to happiness and peace in this life and glory and inexpressible fulfillment in the life to come. The gospel is a light that penetrates mortality and illuminates the way before us.
While understanding the “what” and the “how” of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the “why.” When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational part of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and, instead, becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet. 
Let us not walk the path of discipleship with our eyes on the ground, thinking only of the tasks and obligations before us. Let us not walk unaware of the beauty of the glorious earthly and spiritual landscapes that surround us.  
My dear sisters, seek out the majesty, the beauty, and the exhilarating joy of the “why” of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
The “what” and “how” of obedience marks the way, yes, and it keeps us on the right path. But the “why” of obedience sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic. It magnifies our small acts of obedience into holy acts of consecration.  
—President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I noticed something while he was speaking. He didn't tell us what the "why" was. He told us to seek it out. I think that's because explaining it in words isn't enough; it doesn't do the trick. It's one of those things we have to find for ourselves, and feel for ourselves, before it'll make any difference in our lives. Just like we can be told repeatedly that God loves us, but until I believe and feel in my heart that God loves me, it's not going to have much influence in my life.

I can testify about some areas of the gospel where knowing the "why" has made a difference.

One is visiting teaching - visiting two or three girls I've been asked to visit and strengthen, at least once a month. It wasn't until my mission that I began to understand why we visit teach. Satan is real, and he is working hard to bring us down. I realized on my mission that even the strongest people can be torn down spiritually if they let go of Christ, even a little, and even if it was accidental. Or if the people around them let go of them when they're in need of help. Even people who seem like they're doing perfectly fine may be struggling, and can be torn down. This life is hard and this world is scary. 

I realized how incredibly helpful it is to know that someone cares about you, and will maintain a consistent presence in your life.  When I visit teach, I know that my visit can bring more light into their life. And more love. I know that my visit can provide an added measure of strength they need in order to get through the next week. And I know that my visit to them is strengthening me as well.

Imagine if everyone did their visiting teaching - every sister would have a friend. Every sister would know that she was loved and cared for. Every sister would be accounted for. Every sister's needs would be made known to whomever could help them the most. If we all reached out to each other, by each of us focusing genuine special attention on our two or three sisters we've been asked to visit, we could all raise each other up to a higher level.

Christ ministered to the one. Through visiting teaching I have a beautiful opportunity to do that as well.

The scripture I would use to best try to explain the why of visiting teaching is Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 - "Remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of God."

That's just one area of the gospel. I don't think I've been able to adequately explain what I feel about why we visit teach. But knowing why has made an obvious difference in my life, and changed the way I feel about it. It has become less of an obligation and more of a passion. It has "transform[ed] the mundane into the majestic."

What are some areas of your life that have been transformed by understanding why?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Going crazy!

I know most of my posts are positive. And I'm sure I'll be positive by the end of this post. But I just need to tell the world that my life is so crazy! Crazy busy, that is. The stress finally hit. Fortunately, my anxiety so far is just stress, not depressing or emotional. I'm grateful for that. I don't think I've cried from school stress at all this semester. Hope to keep that up.

The guys in the house on the corner helped me lighten up today. Had a jam session with Josh, read scriptures with all of them, and ran with Terryn. All such therapeutic activities. And it's so nice to have friends. And for me, to have male friends. It's so much easier for me to socialize with guys than with girls. Not sure why, but I've apparently been that way since birth, according to my mom.

Sometimes you just need someone to tell you everything's going to be okay. I think I need that. So I'll ask God to tell me that tonight. If He says it, I'll believe it. =) I could use some "peace of God, which passes all understanding."

P.S. I just have to say I'm so grateful for the RS 1st Counselor, Tanya. She rocks. I'm grateful the Lord called her to where she is. She's made my life immensely better than it would have been otherwise for the last couple weeks. She's a mortal angel. =)

General Conference Quotes: Elder Carl B. Pratt - The Lord's Richest Blessings

There is a possibility of misinterpretation in this story from my grandparents. We might conclude that since we pay tithing with money, the Lord will always bless us with money. I tended to think that way as a child. I have since learned it doesn’t necessarily work that way. The Lord promises blessings to those who pay their tithing. He promises to “open … the windows of heaven, and pour … out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). I testify that He fulfills His promises, and if we faithfully pay our tithing, we will not lack for the necessities of life, but He does not promise wealth. Money and bank accounts are not His richest blessings. He blesses us with wisdom to manage our limited material resources, wisdom that enables us to live better with 90 percent of our income than with 100 percent. Thus, faithful tithe payers understand provident living and tend to be more self-reliant.   
I have come to understand that the Lord’s richest blessings are spiritual, and they often have to do with family, friends, and the gospel. He often seems to give the blessing of a special sensitivity to the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit, especially in marriage and family matters like raising children. Such spiritual sensitivity can help us enjoy the blessings of harmony and peace in the home. President James E. Faust suggested that the payment of tithing is “an excellent insurance against divorce” (“Enriching Your Marriage,” Liahona, Apr. 2007, 5; Ensign, Apr. 2007, 7). 
The payment of tithing helps us develop a submissive and humble heart and a grateful heart that tends to “confess … his hand in all things” (D&C 59:21). Tithe-paying fosters in us a generous and forgiving heart and a charitable heart full of the pure love of Christ. We become eager to serve and bless others with an obedient heart, submissive to the Lord’s will. Regular tithe payers find their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ strengthened, and they develop a firm, abiding testimony of His gospel and of His Church. None of these blessings are monetary or material in any way, but surely they are the Lord’s richest blessings. [emphasis added]

 I really love that he points out that money and bank accounts are not His richest blessings. I would definitely rather have wisdom, a sensitivity to the Holy Ghost, and a humble, grateful, generous, forgiving, charitable, and obedient heart, as well as increased faith in Christ and a firm testimony of His gospel, and be barely making in financially, rather than living comfortably and lacking all those qualities and blessings.

I do have to add that even though I am not rich by any stretch of the imagination, I do believe it was through God's kindness and the blessings from paying tithing, that I get to keep my summer job throughout the school year. I definitely still have to work for it, and I don't make much money, but I make enough to survive.

I firmly believe that when I pay my tithing, the Lord provides a way for me to make enough money to survive, and blesses me with other blessings, like a softened heart and the other blessings Elder Pratt mentions. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to pay tithing, because it's something I can know that I'm doing right. And I really like the sound of the blessings mentioned above. And I also love the peace of knowing that I'm helping countless other people through my paying of tithes, and I'm strengthening the kingdom of God. =)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

General Conference Quotes: Elder Paul V. Johnson - More Than Conquerors through Him That Loved Us

In the midst of problems, it is nearly impossible to see that the coming blessings far outweigh the pain, humiliation, or heartbreak we may be experiencing at the time. “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Hebrews 12:11)
Isn't it comforting to remember that our future blessings are so much bigger than our past and current pain? Be faithful. It WILL be worth it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

General Conference Thoughts: President Henry B. Eyring - Opportunities to Do Good

President Marion G. Romney said of welfare work, “You cannot give yourself poor in this work.” And then he quoted his mission president, Melvin J. Ballard, this way: “A person cannot give a crust to the Lord without receiving a loaf in return.”3I have found that to be true in my life. When I am generous to Heavenly Father’s children in need, He is generous to me.
I have also found this to be true, like President Eyring has (though he surely has more experience with it - he's been serving people a lot longer than I have). One blessing I've noticed in my life right now is that as I put my Relief Society duties and my sisters first in my crazy schedule, Christ has calmed the anxiety I would normally feel from not getting everything done that I planned to do. I feel peace through Him, as a blessing from doing what I can to serve His children.

Also, I've been able to stay afloat financially, and I believe that being able to keep my summer job throughout the school year was definitely a blessing from paying my tithing faithfully, even when I was running out of money.

I testify that God will not abandon those who are serving Him. All our losses will be made up to us, either in this life or the next. Like the Good Samaritan said to the innkeeper, "Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee." Jesus Christ will do the same for us, as we take care of each other. There is nothing to lose.

Preparing for General Conference

I have recently been realizing just how close it is to General Conference! With it being less than two weeks away, I want to make sure I'm spiritually prepared, so it'll be more meaningful for me. I don't feel like I've been as prepared the last few conferences as I was in years past. I hope this conference will be a wonderful return to how I used to feel.

I want to share President Uchtdorf's message about General Conference, from the September 2011 First Presidency Message.

...There are messages in each general conference given as a gift and a blessing from heaven specifically for our personal life situations.
In preparation for general conference, let me suggest three basic concepts that may help us to better receive, remember, and apply the words spoken by the Lord’s servants.

1. Members of the Church are entitled to personal revelation as they listen to and study the inspired words spoken at general conference.

As you prepare for general conference, I invite you to ponder questions you need to have answered. For example, you might yearn for direction and guidance by the Lord regarding challenges you are facing.
Answers to your specific prayers may come directly from a particular talk or from a specific phrase. At other times answers may come in a seemingly unrelated word, phrase, or song. A heart filled with gratitudefor the blessings of life and an earnest desire to hear and follow the words of counsel will prepare the way for personal revelation.

2. Don’t discount a message merely because it sounds familiar.

Prophets have always taught by repetition; it is a law of learning. You will hear repetition in themes and doctrines in general conference. Let me reassure you: this is not due to a lack of creativity or imagination. We continue to hear messages on similar issues because the Lord is teaching and impressing upon our minds and hearts certain foundational principles of great eternal importance that must be understood and acted upon before we can move on to other things. A wise builder first lays the foundation before erecting the walls and the roof.

3. The words spoken at general conference should be a compass that points the way for us during the coming months.

If we listen to and follow the promptings of the Spirit, they will serve as a Liahona, guiding us through the unknown, challenging valleys and mountains that are ahead (see 1 Nephi 16).
Since the world began, God has raised up prophets who speak the will of heaven to the people of their times. It is our responsibility to listen and then apply the messages the Lord provides for us.
Our merciful and loving Heavenly Father has not forsaken and will not forsake His children. Today, as well as in times past, He has appointed apostles and prophets. He continues to reveal His word to them.
What a marvelous privilege it is to hear God’s messages for each of us during general conference! Let us prepare well for this great blessing of divine guidance delivered by His chosen servants.
For this is no ordinary blessing.

Autumn Refrain

It has definitely been awhile. A lot of my journal-ing has been of a more private nature recently. Probably because I've become a lot more social now that school started, and I get uncomfortable mentioning other people on here publicly. But I had a really good introspective beauty-appreciating day last Saturday, and I wanted to share it. It cheers me up when I read it, and I like to share things that cheer me up. =)

I had a feeling earlier today when I realized that there is so much going on inside each person and there's no way to adequately express it to each other. I want to enter into other people's hearts and live there for a while, and come to know them intimately. So the song (To Make You Feel My Love - which I heard someone sing at Poetry and a Beverage) seemed to fit, in that way.
I also realized that I smile and laugh with God from time to time. What a wonderful feeling, to know He's not only my Father, but my Friend. And also my God. It's truly amazing. Prayers are definitely answered. =)
It was a perfect fall day. A day that I really can't put into words. Riley and I tried, during the Poetry stuff. But it had the fall feeling that really can't be described. An excitement combined with melancholy, and rest. And unrest. A beginning and an ending at the same time. I don't know. Beautiful and sad and warm and cold. Smells like pencils and rain and spices.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Onward, ever onward...

This first day of school was so much better than last year's. I saw people I knew all over the place, and it felt like a big reunion. But I get to keep seeing them all year! It's a party. I feel all settled, established, surrounded by great people, and just feel a lot more like I belong. It's really nice. So, freshman and transfer students...just stick with it, make friends, and next year will rock for you. =)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rock-climbing in the Dark

Went rock-climbing tonight with some friends. By the time it was my turn, it was pretty dark. And just like the time the orchestra stand lights lost power during our outdoor performance of Pirates of Penzance, things went better. I climbed faster and more confidently when I had to feel for holds instead of looking for (and thinking about) them. We played more unitedly and musically and precisely when we could barely read our sheet music. There are many things more powerful, useful, and important than sight.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lonely Yet Triumphant Independence

Good day today! God answered my morning prayer throughout the day. =) I woke up, ran around the block, showered, read scriptures, got on the bus, bought 2 muffins and 2 giant cookies for 50 cents apiece, walked to the temple while talking to God, did Initiatory in the temple despite a long wait, took bus route 5, bought really good socks at Sports Authority and only had to pay a third of the price, walked to the DI and bought two pairs of shorts, a pair of brown pants, a pair of brown shoes, a new shirt, Harry Potter 1 on tape casette, a puzzle, and a bike helmet. Those all came to $28. Then rode the bus home. Met my roommate Rachel. Spent the rest of the evening cleaning the kitchen.

It was a good feeling today, being so independent, and productive. It was lonely, but not unbearably so. And I got to spend a lot of time with God today, and that was very good for my soul. =)

And I found a ride to the 10K in Garland! Definitely an answer to prayer. Mariska is going to run it with me. =D I'm excited about that. Gotta go to bed now though so I can actually run the race tomorrow. It'll be the farthest I've ever run at one time. My goal is to do it in under one hour. Pray for me!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spiritual & Singing

Went to my last D&C class of the summer, and my first Institute Choir rehearsal. Both were good, but especially choir. I really like the songs we're doing. Bro. Salmund complimented me on singing with my eyes. =) I asked him about Latter-Day Voices auditions and he said he would love to have me audition, and seemed really excited. =) I figure that since I'm looking for spiritual singing men, the Institute Choir and Latter-Day Voices would be good places to run into them. =)

Didn't run tonight because it was too dark after Institute. I plan on trying in the morning before going to the temple. Tomorrow just may be a really good day. =)

I was happy today. I felt like I was closer to the Lord than I have been in a while. I think going to the temple yesterday really helped! So glad it's close by, and open.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

S.o.N.E. For July 16

My new experiences for today:
Sleeping in until 10:45! (very uncommon for me)
Studying Addiction Recovery information
A silent get-together with a friend
Seeing the Brigham City temple
Chocolate on my toe

Pregnant? Nope.

So, it used to be that when I would have dreams I was pregnant, and wake up not pregnant, I'd be relieved. Nowadays when I have a dream I'm pregnant, and wake up not pregnant, I'm really sad and lonely, and just feel like I lost something awesome. Sigh. Guess I'm getting older. And even though I'm a little afraid of it, I do really look forward to having a family. I'll do my best to be patient in the meantime.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Moments That Matter Most

This video is still making me cry! I am so overwhelmed by the beauty of human relationships, and by God's immense love for us. He's given us this life, each other, and this beautiful amazing world. Every time I watch this video I cry more. God is love.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?"

My heart is changing. I am starting to mourn with those that mourn. And it's kind of painful. My heart breaks when I realize the things that people have gone through. All of us have been hurt, deeply, in one way or another. Actually, more than one way - several ways, for each person. I wish I could help everyone, but I know I don't have the strength. In fact, I think I make things worse when I try to help.

But anyhow...I ache. And I get so frustrated with Satan and his influence. I hate to think of the relationships that have been destroyed - children hurt by and hurting their parents, parents hurting each other, loving relationships being destroyed by lust, friendships being lost because of anger. I know people who have become widows in their twenties. I know people who have lost parents. I lost a brother. I know people who don't feel accepted by their parents. I know someone well who dated someone for nine months, almost proposed, and ended up alone unexpectedly. I know someone who lives knowing she has a 50% chance of having a terrible disease that will change her personality and cause her to die young, if she has it. We all live with fear of some sort. We all feel rejected in one way or another I think. I think what makes me saddest right now is that I know at least one person in particular (and probably many more) who has started to lose faith that things can change and become better.

I'm okay with my life right now because I know that things will get better. But how do I share that with someone else? I wish I could just transplant that understanding directly to them.

Even though I felt unaccepted by a certain parent for quite a long time, things have become amazingly better, and I now feel great love for that parent, and loved by that parent.
Even though I felt as though God had abandoned me (with terrible timing to boot) after an unexpected break-up, I came to realize that He hadn't, and He helped me out of the despair I had started to fall into.
Even though I thought I wouldn't recover from the feeling I had been completely betrayed by someone... I have recovered, and feel like my heart has been healed of that wound.

I just wish I could help everyone believe that their wounds will be healed. But I suppose, and it hurts to think it, that everyone will have to experience it for themselves, and it will take time. The first thing I listed took, well, about 24 years, the second took about 15 or 16 months, and the third took about 2.5 years. And I'm sure I'll have more, and who knows how much time they'll take.

Anyway... I just needed to express some feelings. I long for Christ to heal the hearts of all of us. I want these people that I care about to be healed, happy, and whole.

I'm feeling like Enoch tonight:

"And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch, and told Enoch all the doings of the children of men; wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon ... their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook. ...He wept over his brethren...and cried unto the Lord saying: When shall the day of the Lord come? When shall the blood of the Righteous be shed, that all they that mourn may be sanctified and have eternal life?"

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I just feel like I need to make it known that I have been pretty happy today. Circumstances were medium good, but who needs circumstances anyway? I just felt happy inside. There were some things that contributed though.

The sunrise
Friends at work
A nap
Coworkers singing and/or dancing
Rode on a motorcycle
Bought tons of fresh produce!
Dancing around in the kitchen
Ran a couple miles
Made French toast
Beautiful summer-in-Logan evening!
Awesome music listened to
Felt independent, capable, and free

One of the few things missing was my scripture study. =( Somehow I'm going to get back into the habit. Please pray for me to recognize times and ways for me to study the word of God. I need help with it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011


Jeremiah is basically my new hero. He did whatever the Lord told him to do, even if it put him in danger. He explained to the Lord that there were things he didn't want to do, and that he was discouraged, but he loved the Lord enough to do those things anyway. He didn't let his fears of what others may think of him ever stop him from doing what was right. And I really feel for him, that he went through so much persecution. It's one of those days where I'm realizing that he was an actual, real person, with emotions and thoughts and fears and hopes and personality. Hopefully I'll meet him someday, after the resurrection, and be able to tell him how much I admire him. As for now, I'll try to follow his example.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A portion of my soul

A portion of a poem I wrote today... i.e., a portion of my soul.

...Well, I don't have the swing, and I don't have the fields,
And as far as I know, don't have you.
But I have a porch, I have God, and the world,
And I know that there's plenty to do.
So I'll love, I will give, I'll create, and I'll find
That I will be ready for you.

Give me enough time, but not one second longer --
I'm waiting here for you.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Good Figs

I've been reading in Jeremiah, specifically chapter 24. Jeremiah has a vision of two baskets of figs. One has good figs, and the other has figs so bad they can definitely not be eaten. These are compared to the children of Israel and their bondage in Babylon. Both kinds of figs, or people, are taken. They are both put through the same trial. The wicked are cursed to experience all kinds of pains and afflictions as part of their bondage in Babylon, but this is what the Lord says about the "good figs."

5 Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.

6 For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.

7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. (Jeremiah 24:5-7)

All kinds of people go through trials. Whether I am following the Lord or not, my life is going to be hard. But if I am serving and loving Him, those trials will be for my good. He will keep His eye on me and ensure that the things I'm going through are helping me grow. He'll help me to eventually find success and peace again. Most importantly, through my trials He will give me a new heart, to know Him, and to know that He is the Lord. The more trials I go through, the more I can see Him help me through them, and I come to know that I am His daughter, and He is my God and my Father. And though sometimes I wander, it's easier to come back because I understand His nature that much better than the last time. Through every trial, my testimony of Him becomes more sincere, and I can testify, make choices, and act with even more confidence than before. It's a beautiful thing.

I am so happy to have read this promise, because I really feel like this season in my life is for me to truly come to know God. That has been one of my foremost desires for several months now. It amazes me how God answers prayers. =) I'm so grateful to have found these verses. Now I've just gotta do my part to become/remain a "good fig."

Thursday, April 28, 2011


These verses stuck out to me in my scripture study:

O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, "Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?"
Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The Lord.
Jeremiah 16:19-21

It made me really happy. There are so many lies, false traditions, false assumptions and paradigms and world-views that we receive from the generations before us. I cheer for the Gentiles in these verses that have the courage to say "Wait a second...what I've learned doesn't make sense." And then they turn to God to find out the truth for themselves. I try to do that about everything I can, not just religious things, and I hope that everyone else does or would be willing to do it too.

There are many people that simply inherit the ideas of a political party without ever critically thinking about it themselves (my pet peeve with Republicans and Immigration). There are many that inherit the disciplining patterns of their parents without ever evaluating its effectiveness or its morality. There are many people that inherit their values from society (yikes). There are many people that simply inherit all their knowledge from the public school system without ever filtering, examining, researching, or critically thinking about the things they are being taught. There are many that inherit a negative attitude and outlook on the world and everything in their life. Many people inherit a false idea about God that leads them to be angry and reject Him or even the idea of His existence. And of course there are many that inherit an unclear understanding of religion, and God's will for us in these days.

Some of the things that we inherit are good and should be kept. I'm not advocating that everyone turn away from everything their parents, society, or the school system ever taught them. But each of us has the responsibility to think, and to pray, and to learn, and continually search for truth. I've found that for me personally, God is the source of truth, and so I know that I can always turn to Him, and He will help me find the truth about all different kinds of things. I don't often find answers immediately. Rather than just telling me the answers, He helps me know where to look for answers, and gives me reassurances in my heart when I have found something that's true, and feelings of yuckiness when something is definitely not true. Through His Holy Spirit I've learned so many things I wouldn't know otherwise.

I also know that anyone can find truth, if they want it. Even if someone does not believe in God right now, if they are willing to explore and find out if He does exist, He will find a way to let them know. If they sincerely want to understand more about who He is, He will let them know. If they sincerely want to know what He wants them to do in this life, He will let them know. I testify He will help any honest, sincere seeker of the truth to find the truth.

I have found a great deal of truth, and I plan to keep finding more with God's help. Feel free to ask me about the truth that I've already found. =)

I hope we can all have the courage to break the chain or the cycle when we realize we've "inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit." We can change, and though it might be hard at times, we'll find great joy in doing so. And our children will be grateful to inherit truth instead.

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Swim" & the Gospel

I like to find the gospel in as many songs as I can. I absolutely love when I can back up lyrics with the words of the prophets. So that's what I did.

You gotta swim...
"Where, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men..."
2 Nephi 31:20
Swim when it hurts...
Elder Orson F. Whitney wrote: “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. … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”   
Orson F. Whitney, in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle(1972), 98
You haven't come this far to fall of the earth...
...I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save. Wherefore, ye must press forward...  (2 Nephi 31:19-20)
I swim for brighter days, despite the absence of sun...
Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.
But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come.
In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.
No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come.
In this life or the next, Sunday will come.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Sunday Will Come"

Crack in the armor...
"...troubled on every side, yet not distressed;  perplexed, but not in despair;  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) 
I'm not giving in...
"And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.
Never surrender.
Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.
Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart."
-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Infinite Power of Hope"
I swim... that I might finish my course with joy... (Acts 20:24)
One final quote for today:

"No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations." 
-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Infinite Power of Hope"

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Heard this for the first time in my Music Therapy Methods class. The words come back to me when I'm having a hard time. And the more I listen to it the more I like it. =) It's awesome. And today, it's a good reminder.

You gotta swim
Swim for your life
Swim for the music that saves you
When you're not so sure you'll survive

You gotta swim
And swim when it hurts
The whole world is watching
You haven't come this far
To fall off the Earth

The currents will pull you
Away from your love
Just keep your head above

I found a tidal wave
Begging to tear down the dawn
Memories like bullets
They fired at me from a gun
Cracking the armour, yeah

I swim for brighter days
Despite the absense of sun
Choking on salt water
I'm not giving in
I swim

You gotta swim
Through nights that won't end
Swim for your family, your lovers
Your sisters and brothers and friends

Yeah you gotta swim
For wars without cause
Swim for these lost politicians
Who don't see their greed is a flaw

The currents will pull us
Away from our love
Just keep your head above

I found a tidal wave
Begging to tear down the dawn
Memories like bullets
They fired at me from a gun
Cracking the armour, yeah

I swim for brighter days
Despite the absense of sun
Choking on salt water
I'm not giving in
I'm not giving in
I swim

You gotta swim
Swim in the dark
There's no shame in driftin'
Feel the tide shifting
And wait for the spark

Yeah you gotta swim
Don't let yourself sink
Just find the horizon
I promise you it's not as far as you think

The currents will drag us away from our love
Just keep your head above

Just keep your head above

Just keep your head above

Just keep your head above