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.