Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Perspective

Do you ever feel like life is far different than you expected?  I know that there have been times that it didn't seem to be what I thought it would be.  As I look at this picture from my high school graduation trip I realize that so often things don't appear to be what they look like (thankfully for me in this picture).  In this picture I look like I'm extremely short.  I'll admit I'm short, but not that short.  I stand at a lofty 5' 1".  When I knelt down like my friend the wood choked me, so I was forced to stand.  I know it looks ridiculous, but it's not what it appears!  I'll be the first to admit that life sometimes is not what it appears.  I do, however, know that life is always what Heavenly Father wants it to be for us.  Sometimes it's hard and sometimes it's easy, but it's always right.  Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need.  He'll never give us something that he shouldn't.  We'll always be better for the times that don't seem to be what we expected.  Sometimes when we look back the times make sense and we see why we needed them, but at the time our perspective is far different.  When we're in the heat of the moment it's hard to see the whole picture and not just the pixel that's taking place right then.  The next time you're having a hard day think about perspective and know that it's all in Heavenly Father's hands!  HE LOVES YOU!!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Something from... well T-shirts

 This t-shirt doesn't seem to have a whole ton of appeal, just a simple t-shirt.  It doesn't feel like anything special.  Do you ever feel that way?  Some days we seem to wake up and feel like we're just a yellow-striped t-shirt, but on those days we need to remember that we are children of our loving Heavenly Father.  We have infinate potential.  We can be transformed from a plain old t-shirt into something else. 
This shirt can go from just an old t-shirt to a fancy scarf.  Does it take some work?  Yes!  Does it take some pain?  Yes!  Is it an easy process?  No, there's multiple steps and you have to use your brain! Does it hurt?  Possibly, you have to cut the t-shirt into strips and then pull on it so that it curls in, then you have to be creative and tie some into braids and make them different lengths and make it look just how you want.  Then last of all you have to tie, trim, and wrap it so it stays together how you want it to.  
We all know I don't write a blog to explain how to make crafts, but as I contemplated the steps to making something it occurred to me that as we allow the Lord to create with us what he wants we will turn out to be something miraculous and wonderful (far better than any scarf will ever be).  It may not be easy to follow our Heavenly Father's counsel, but I know that as we do he will bless us and turn us into something beautiful.  We are not here just to go through life, but to learn, grow and be molded into the person our Heavenly Father knows we can be.  So when times get hard and we wake up and feel like an ugly old t-shirt just remember that with Heavenly Father leading the design we can become a fancy scarf.  We can go from practically nothing to something!  I know that Heavenly Father loves us and is aware of each and every one of us.  He allows things to come our way to shape us and make us.  He hasn't forgotten you and HE NEVER WILL!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christ and Santa... Why can't we be friends?!?

I got a letter from a friend the other day and she shared this story with me.  I loved it so much that I decided you all needed to hear it.  I think we mistake Santa for something bad, when he is really trying to bring a spirit of Christ into the season.

She writes:
I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma.  
I was just a kid.  
I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Calus," she jeered.  "Even dummies know that."
My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been.  I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me.  I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns.  I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so.  It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm.  Between bites I told her everything.  She was ready for me.  "No Santa Claus?" she snorted.... "Ridiculous!  Don't believe it.  That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!!  Now, put on you coat, and let's go."

"Go?  Go where, Grandma?"  I asked.  I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun.  "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything.  As we walked through it's doors Grandma handed me ten dollars.  That was a bundle in those days.  "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it.  I'll wait for you in the car."  Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old.  I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself.  The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby.  He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in class.  Bobby didn't have a coat.  I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter.  His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all the kids knew that Bobby didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat.  I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement.  I would buy Bobby a coat.  I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood on it.  It looked really warm, and he would like it.  "Is this a Christmas present for someone?"  the lady behind the counter asked kindly as I laid my ten dollars down.  "Yes, ma'am,"  I replied shyly.  "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat.  I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.  Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy.  Then she drove me over to Bobby's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.  Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk.  Then Grandma gave me a nudge.  "All right, Santa Claus,"  she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for the front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open.  Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering beside my Grandma, in Bobby's bushes.  That night I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were-- ridiculous!  Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.


I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside:  $19.95.

I see that Santa truly is here to help us think of the Savior, and that is so often misunderstood.  We think of Santa and think of the many presents we hope he brings.  That's not what he truly represents.  As I think of Santa I think of his service and giving.  He works hard all year to be able to bring presents to everyone and make them happy.  He is there to remind us that giving is fun and that we should try to make others happy.  Santa truly should lead us back to Christ.


Merry Christmas!  May we all remember that Christ is the Reason!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rattlesnake! Beware!

My companion, Sister Green, told me this story a few days ago.  I really like it, so decided to share it with you.
A little boy was walking down a path and he came across a rattlesnake. The rattlesnake was getting old. He asked, "Please little boy, can you take me to the top of the mountain? I hope to see the sunset one last time before I die." The little boy answered "No Mr. Rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you'll bite me and I'll die." The rattlesnake said, "No, I promise. I won't bite you. Just please take me up to the mountain." The little boy thought about it and finally picked up that rattlesnake and took it close to his chest and carried it up to the top of the mountain.

They sat there and watched the sunset together. It was so beautiful. Then after sunset the rattlesnake turned to the little boy and asked, "Can I go home now? I am tired, and I am old." The little boy picked up the rattlesnake and again took it to his chest and held it tightly and safely. He came all the way down the mountain holding the snake carefully and took it to his home to give him some food and a place to sleep. The next day the rattlesnake turned to the boy and asked, "Please little boy, will you take me back to my home now? It is time for me to leave this world, and I would like to be at my home now." The little boy felt he had been safe all this time and the snake had kept his word, so he would take it home as asked.

He carefully picked up the snake, took it close to his chest, and carried him back to the woods, to his home to die. Just before he laid the rattlesnake down, the rattlesnake turned and bit him in the chest. The little boy cried out and threw the snake upon the ground. "Mr. Snake, why did you do that? Now I will surely die!" The rattlesnake looked up at him and grinned, "You knew what I was when you picked me up."

As I thought about this story it reminded me of a past blog I had written, The Edge.  So often we allow ourselves to do something dangerous once and it turns out ok.  Then the next time we are put in that same dangerous position we think it won't be dangerous, so we go for it.  We do know what's right and what's wrong in life.  We each have the light of Christ to guide us!  We know if a situation will put us somewhere we don't want to be, or if it's a perfectly safe situation.  Why would we continue to put ourselves in risky situations?  We may be ok a few times, but eventually the "rattlesnake" will come out and we won't be safe.  Watch what you're doing!  Be safe!  We know the commandments help us to be happy and safe!  Don't push it!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Iron Rod

My mom is so cool.  For those of you that know her you already knew this, but for those who don't I'm just giving you a heads up.  As a missionary we are able to e-mail home to our family once a week.  My mom has faithfully written me each week of my mission.  This was part of the e-mail I received this week:

"Been thinking today about the iron rod (in Lehi's dream found in the Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 8 pg 14-16) - why iron?  why not any old rod?  Iron is so strong, unbendable and very durable.  Withstands a lot of forces like wind, fire, etc....   It can hold us when we cling to it with everything we have.  It is unbendable because the word of god does not change to "fit our fancy".  It is smooth and easy to grasp on to at times (but we can slip if we aren't mindful of things).  I imagine a bridge held up by rope that sways back and forth, etc... but an iron rod doesn't let us sway like a rope and it will take us directly back to God.  Decided a long time ago the words in the scripture are not by accident - it is iron because that is what he saw and it was suppose to be iron - not a rope, a reed, a path with no hand-rail - it is iron for a reason." 

I know that the scriptures are specific for a reason.  I know that the gospel doesn't change and it's not bendable.  The iron rod represents the word of God and it is strong, it will withstand time and trial.  Cling continually to the rod and be happy!  I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the many messages that we can learn from it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Where will you stop?

My parents recently went to Hoover Dam.  As I read their e-mail and they described this elaborate structure I was amazed.  As I thought about this it made me question how many elaborate "dams" I have built in my own life.  This dam stops water from being able to go where it would typically go.  It holds this water back.  I know that the Lord has made us with great potential.  Sometimes it may not take us exactly where we want, in fact, usually it takes me in a different direction than I had ever anticipated.  Many times as we discover where this path will take us it is scary.  We may even think that our "resources" could be used in a better way if we were to go a different route.  So, humans spent tons of money, time, and even lives building this dam.  How many have we built in our own lives that will block our potential?  Heavenly Father knows each of us better than we know ourselves and he knows what he needs us to do and to become.  He has a "mission" for each of us to fulfill and a misison that only we can fulfill.  I would encourage each of us to take a look at our life and where we are "dam"ming our own lives.  Then, the trick is to take down this elaborate dam that we've built and go where Heavenly Father wants us to go.  Are you up for the challenge?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I am thankful for...

I thought I would take a few minutes and share with you some of the many things that I am grateful for.  I am overcome with gratitude as I reflect on my life and all there is to be grateful for. 
I am grateful for:
  • Mom

  • Dad

  • Mitchell

  • RaeAnn
  • Sister Fred
  • Sister Baird
  • Sister Mace
  • Sister Nez
  • Sister Berry
  • Sister Williams
  • Sister Green
  • A truck with 4-wheel drive
  • Dinner appointments, I hate cooking. :D
  • The opportunity to serve a mission in Montana (the best mission in the world)
  • The Book of Mormon

  • The Savior and the Atonement.
  • The Prophet
  • The apostles
  • The Ensign
  • Grandpa John
  • Grandma Jensen

  • Southern Utah University
  • Dani
  • Whitney
  • Sarah 
  • Marina
  • Chelsea
  • Nikki
  • Biology
  • hair stylists :D
  • flowers in the summer
  • snow in the winter
  • coats
  • boots
  • scarves
  • gloves
  • extended family
  • tennis
  • friends
  •  The wonderful people in Montana, so many of you have touched my life and I am so grateful for the love you have shown me.  I hope you have felt mine as well!  I LOVE YOU!!!!
This time of year there is so much to be grateful for.  Open your eyes and notice what you've been blessed with!

Happy Thanksgiving!

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Oreo Follow-Up!

    Yesterday I wrote a blog on oreo truffles. I compared these delicious treats to the gospel. As I thought about these delicious treats, and kind of longed for some of my own last night I thought of another correlation to the gospel. These truffles are delicious, and now you all have the recipe, so you can go ahead and try them. You can look at this delicious recipe and then read about the gospel below.

    Check out the recipe! :D 

    East Oreo Truffles!

    1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
    1 pkg.  (16.6 oz.) OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 4-1/4 cups), divided
    2 pkg. (8 squares each) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

    Make It


    MIX cream cheese and 3 cups cookie crumbs until well blended.
    SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Dip in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
    REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

    Kraft Kitchens Tips

    How to Melt Chocolate
    Place unwrapped chocolate squares in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 2-1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted, stirring every 30 sec.
    How to Easily Dip Truffles
    To easily coat truffles with the melted chocolate, add truffles, in batches, to bowl of melted chocolate. Use 2 forks to roll truffles in chocolate until evenly coated. Remove truffles with forks, letting excess chocolate drip back into bowl. Place truffles on prepared baking sheet; let stand until firm.
    How to Store
    Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.
     
    The Correlation is:
    This recipe has Three very simple steps.  The gospel has Five simple steps that lead to a far better outcome than does this recipe.  Do you want to know how to get the same wonderful results from the gospel that you can from following the recipe for oreo truffles?!  I'm going to share the recipe for the gospel and eternal joy with you.  We must:
    1) Have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ-  This is so important, because Jesus is the only way to have the rest.     He is our Savior.  He paid the price for our sins to make this plan possible.  As we gain faith in his it will lead us to the next step in the recipe.
    2) Repentance-  This is taking care of the things we have done wrong.  This step has a few steps within it.  Here they are. 
    1. Recognize that we made a mistake.
    2. Feel Godly sorrow. (Actually feel bad that we did something wrong and not just that we got caught doing something wrong.)  Pray and ask for forgiveness.
    3. Ask for forgiveness from the one that we hurt.
    4. Do everything we can to make it right.
    5.  Never do it again.
    3) Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins-  We need to enter into a two-way promise with Heavenly Father.  We promise that we are willing to take Jesus Christ's name upon us, always remember Jesus, and always keep the commandments.  Heavenly Father in return promises us that we may always have his spirit to be with us, and that we may have a complete remission of sins.  These are amazing promises.  We can have all of our guilt washed away and we can be completely perfect and clean.
    4)  Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost-  We may have the constant companionship of the holy ghost to help us make righteous choices.  
    5) Endure to the End-  We must continue to do the things that we know are right.
     
    If we will but follow these Five simple steps we WILL have the end result of joy now and through-out eternity.  This recipe cannot be messed up.  I know from experience that as we follow this gospel recipe we can have joy we never knew was possible.  I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, loves us and is the key to this recipe.  Without Him there would be no recipe, but He has paid the price and we can follow this recipe and return to live eternally with our Father in Heaven.  Let us each have the resolve to follow this recipe with exactness and enjoy the outcome of eternal joy and happiness.

     
     

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Who likes Oreos?!?



    My last year of college we lived next door to an apartment of Freshman boys.  We were good friends and we did a lot together.  One day Cooper runs over and says, "You HAVE to try these!  They're amazing!"  He offers us one and tells us that they are so rich we will only be able to eat one.  We try a bite of the most amazing substance I've ever tried.  He told us they were called Oreo truffles.  While he was there we each only ate one, but after he left I looked at RaeAnn and said, "Well, I don't know about you, but I could have eaten more than one!  They are delicious!"  We laughed and she said she could have eaten far more than just one.  They were so good that we had to get the recipe and make them so that all our friends could try them.  We wanted everyone to have the opportunity to try this amazing treat.  This is how I feel about the gospel!  I know how "delicious" the gospel is to me.  I cannot wait to let everyone try it for themselves and see how wonderful it actually is!  Oreo Truffles may entertain our taste-buds for a few minutes, but the gospel will fill our soul for eternity!  I dare you to "try" the gospel.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    This Looks Like A Nice Place


    My dad drives truck for a living.  When I was younger I went on a trip with him.  He happened to be going to Los Angeles, California.  I am sure that I annoyed him as I every 2 hours or so had to stop and go to the bathroom.  I'm sure he was more ready to be there than I was by the time we got to our destination.  As we drove into Los Angeles this is what I saw (the above picture).  I loved it.  I am from a small town and so this was something that I had never really seen before.  I couldn't help but love the sky-scrapers and beauty of all the buildings.  I said to my dad, "This is so cool!  Can we live here?  I really want to!"  My dad just chuckled.  He knew what the city was really like and what I was soon going to be seeing.  In not very long the scenery changed from beauty to something else.  This is what I was now seeing (well as close as I could find!) :

    I didn't like what I was seeing now.  I immediately changed my mind from what I thought before.  I now, no longer wanted to live in Los Angeles.  I turned to my dad and told him never mind.  He laughed some more, a little harder this time.  I'm sure he figured that I would say that once we really got into the city.  

    Satan does this to us sometimes, but by the time we get into the city it's hard to get out.  Just as there's tons of traffic in L.A. and it doesn't just take 2 seconds to turn around and get out of there.  Satan is deceptive and makes things look nice until we get into them.  Just as he makes us accept behavior that is far outside of what Heavenly Father wants for us.  We don't need to be deceived as we listen to the prophets and follow the counsel of our church leaders.  Let us all live where we truly want to and not where Satan has deceptively conned us into living.  

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    If ye are prepared... YE SHALL NOT FEAR!!!!

    My companion came from a part of the world that it doesn't get particularly cold.  When she got here, thankfully we were old friends (literally, we were roommates in college) and I was able to be completely honest with her.  When she was unpacking I said, "Where's your coat?" 
    She's responded, "It's right here!" And then she held up like a spring/fall jacket from American Eagle.  I looked at her and just started to laugh. 
    I said, "Sister Green, that is not a coat.  You will freeze this winter.  You need to get a COAT and not a jacket."  She proceeded to tell me that this coat was very warm and it had worked for winters in St. George.  I explained that winters here were VERY different than any other winter she had ever experienced.  Thankfully she took the wise advise of one who has experienced a Montana winter, and let's just face it someone that is super smart :), and wrote home to her parents to please find and send a real coat.  So, also as she unpacked we discussed the need for boots and she wisely sent home for those as well.  While we were waiting for her to receive her winter attire we both worried that it may turn off cold and she would freeze.  Thankfully her parents came to the rescue and she received her needed winter gear.
    This morning as my companion and I were leaving, Sister Green turned to me and said, "Ya know what!  I'm kind of excited for winter now that I'm prepared."  This statement hit me hard.  How true this is!  When we are prepared we don't fear!  The gospel gives us the tools to prepare to return to live with Heavenly Father (comparable to the winter coat and boots) and then we decide whether to use these tools and actually prepare to meet him again.  Will you be wearing your coat this winter?!

    Friday, September 30, 2011

    Man Overboard


     
    Have you ever felt like this man?  I know I was scared that I was going to be this man.  I was right behind him on the rafting trip and a huge wave caught us.  I was able to withstand the wave and stay in the boat, but the guy in front of me was not so lucky.  These were huge waves and he wasn't much of a swimmer.  Thankfully he had his life jacket on, but I know he was still scared!  If he wasn't, his wife was scared enough for them both.  He was paniced for a minute, because the water was moving so fast and we couldn't just stop and get him.  We just left him behind it appeared to us and his wife.  What we didn't realize, but our guide did, was that there was a raft right behind us that was able to get him and pull him on board.  He was fine, a little shook-up, but fine.  How easily this can relate back to life-  Sometimes big waves come!  We may be able to hang onto the raft and be fine, but sometimes we fall out of the boat.  If we are wearing our life jacket it's much less tragic than if we are not.  What could a life jacket relate back to in real life?  How about the commandments, if we are following the commandments when the big wave knocks us out of the boat we will be much better off than if we are not following the commandments.  The beautiful thing about this analogy is that we each have a personal tour guide, well two of them, we have Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to guide us.  We may not be able to see what's behind us as we struggle with the current of the fast moving water, but they do.  They know everything, Jesus Christ even understands everything we are feeling.  How wonderful it is to know that they will never leave us abandoned, but they will always make sure that we are taken care of.  Never fear for the Lord is with us.  We are not alone in the water!

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Leaving our Mark

    So, my first name is KaeLynn.  Most of the world knows me as this, but for the last year I've been known to everyone as Sister John!  What an interesting thing it is to be known by a name.  I often think of this name as our mark on the world.  We all know Michael Jordan for his basketball skills, or Rafael Nadal for his tennis skills.  And the list could go on and on.  We hear a name and most of the time it makes us think of a legacy, whether good or bad.  The things we do leave a mark on the world.  Now, the mark we leave may not be a literal mark like this picture, but it leaves a far greater mark than this.  Everything we do defines us and shapes the mark we leave on the world.  People look to you as an example!  Are you leaving the mark you want to be leaving on the world?  I like to think that for the last year or so I have left a different mark on the world than I was leaving when I was in college.  I am out sharing a message about Jesus Christ.  I pray that rather than leaving my name in the sand, or on the world, at this time that I am "scratching his name into the sand".  What mark are you leaving behind? 

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    A Clouded Mind?

    As I have started reading the Book of Mormon again recently a lot has had a different meaning this time than any of the other times I've read the Book of Mormon.  I truly believe this is what makes the Book of Mormon the best book ever, you can read it repeatedly back-to-back and continue to get something else out of it.  The Book of Mormon definitely has the answers to our questions and concerns.  The Book of Mormon begins with a family.  The father's name is Lehi.  He has four sons (oldest to youngest):  Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi.  In chapter 8 of 1 Nephi (page 14 of the Book of Mormon) Lehi has a vision.  He sees many things, but he tells of a river of water in this chapter, 1 Nephi 8: 26.  Nephi (Lehi's youngest son) desires to know about the vision his father saw, so he prays about it.  The spirit comes and he has a vision about the things his father has seen.  After Nephi has his vision his older brothers complain that they don't understand.  Part of the reason they can't understand is because they didn't turn to the Lord for answers.  Nephi interprets some of the "dream" to them.  A particular verse caught my attention.  It is 1 Nephi 15:27,  It says:  And I said unto them that the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water. As I have pondered on this scripture I have had some thoughts.  One of them was, "How could Lehi not have noticed the filth?"  It doesn't seem hard to notice if water is clean or filthy.  Maybe if it said dirty I wouldn't have thought that, but filth I would think he should notice.  After this thought came to my mind our lives today.  Sometimes we don't notice how "filthy" the things of the world are today.  We have so many things that society feels are okay, that just aren't.  These will not bring us into the purity of the atonement, but drag us down into the dredges of Satan.  Avoid all things that are filthy.  Notice the things we are doing and stay in the clear water.  No one wants to swim in the filthy water!  Sin can cloud our minds and we don't notice the filth of the water.  Evaluate the water (or choices) you are near and be wise.  Avoid the filthy water of Lehi's vision!

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    How 'Bout a Donut?

    I received a copy of this story at church a few weeks ago and I felt like I should share it with you.  Here's the story:

    There was a boy by the name of Steve who was attending Seminary in Utah.  In Utah Seminary classes are held as release time during the school day.  Brother Christianson taught Seminary at a high school.  He had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules.  Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period class and no other teacher wanted him, so he went to Brother Christianson's Seminary class.  

    Steve was told that he could not be late, so he arrived just seconds before the bell rang and he would sit in the very back of the room.  He was also the first to leave after the class was over.

    One day, Brother Chriastianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him.  After class, Brother Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, "You think you're pretty tough, don't you?"

    Steve's answer was, "Yeah, I do."

    Then Brother Chriastianson asked, "How many push-ups can you do?"

    Steve said, "I do about 200 every night."

    "200?  That's pretty good, Steve, "Brother Christianson said.  "Do you think you could do 300?"

    Steve replied, "I don't know... I've never done 300 at a time."

    "Do you think you could?" Again asked Brother Christianson.

    "Well, I can try." said Steve.

    "Can you do 300 in sets of 10?  I need you to do 300 in sets of ten for this to work.  Can you do it?  I need you to tell me you can do it."  Brother Christianson said.  Steve said, "Well.... I think I can... Yeah, I can do it."

    Brother Christianson said, "Good!  I need you to do this on Friday."

    Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room.  When class started, Brother Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts.  Now these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls.  Everyone was pretty excited- it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend.

    Brother Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you wan a donut?"


    Cynthia said, "Yes!"

    Brother Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so the Cynthia can have a donut?"

    Steve said, "Sure," and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten.  Then Steve again sat in his desk.  Brother Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk.

    Brother Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe do you want a donut?"

    Joe said, "Yes."  Brother Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?"  Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.

    And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut.  And down the second aisle, until Brother Christianson came to Scott.

    Scott was captain of the football team and center of the basketball team.  He was very popular.  Then Brother Christiansn asked, "Scott do you want a donut?"

    Scott's reply was, "Can I do my own push-ups?"

    Brother Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them."

    Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."

    Brother Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?"

    Steve started to do ten push-ups.  Scott said, "HEY!  I said I didn't want one!"
    Brother Christianson said, "Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and my donuts.  Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it."  And he put a donut on Scott's desk.

    Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little bit.  He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down.  You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.  Brother Christianson started down the third row.  Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

    Brother Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"

    Jenny said, "No."

    Then Brother Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?"  Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.

    By now the students were beginning to say "No" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.  Steve was also having to really put forth a lot of effort to get these push-ups done for each donut.  There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

    Brother Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten push-ups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts.  So, Robert began to watch Steve closely.  Brother Christianson started down the fourth row.

    During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat along the hearters along the sides of the room.  When Brother Christianson realized this, he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room.  He started to worry if Stever would be able to make it.

    Brother Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next.  Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time.  He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

    Steve asked Brother Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?"

    Brother Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your push-ups.  You can do them any way that you want." And Brother Christianson went on.

    A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled, "NO!  Don't come in!  Stay out!"

    Jason didn't know what was going on.  Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come."

    Brother Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason come in you will have to do ten push-ups for him."

    Steve said, "Yes, let him come in."

    Brother Christianson said, "Okay, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now.  Jason, do you want a donut?"

     "Yes."

    "Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?"  Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort.  Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

    Brother Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those seated on the heaters.  Steve's arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity.  Sweat was dripping off of his face and, by this time, there was not a dry eye in the room.

    The very last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular.  Brother Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a donut?"

    Linda said very sadly, "No, thank you."

    Brother Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?"

    Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda.  Then Brother Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan.  "Susan, do you want a donut?"

    Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, "Brother Christianson, can I help him?"

    Brother Christianson with tears of his own, said, "No, he has to do it alone.  Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?"

    As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

    Brother Christianson turned to the room and said, "And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, plead to the Father, 'Into thy hands I commend my spirit.' With the understanding that He had done everything taht was required of Him, he collapsed on the cross and died.  And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten."

    When everyone in the classroom heard what the teacher meant by it and realized everything, Steve smiled on the ground where he laid in his own sweat and began to cry.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    I Will Go and Do

    One of my heroes is Nephi from the Book of Mormon.  He is such a shining example of standing for what is right.  I want to share a story about Nephi with you.  It is in the Book of Mormon and I won't completely give everything away, but I want to talk about the very beginning of the Book of Mormon with you.  Lehi (the father) is commanded by the Lord to take his family and leave Jerusalem.  They leave all of the worldly possessions and take just what they need with them.They walk into the wilderness leaving everything behind.  They walk for about four days and then Lehi receives a commandment from Heavenly Father. The commandment is that his sons (Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi) are to return to Jerusalem and get the brass plates from Laban.
    How excited would you be to head back to the place you just left after walking for four days?  It doesn't sound really fun to me, but the question is would you do it willingly because Heavenly father asked you to?  I hope that I would be like Nephi and not like his brothers Laman and Lemuel.  Nephi's brothers were not excited to go.  Nephi  showed great faith as he replied: 1 Nephi 3:7 " I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."  Nephi understands that the Lord will never give us something that we cannot do.  He gathers up his brothers and they head back to Jerusalem.  The first time they go to Laban's house they fail.  Laban will not give up the plates and he sends men after them to kill them.  The second time they take all of their worldly items (their gold, silver, and riches) and try to trade him these for the plates.  He loves the things they bring and so he takes them and then sends men after them to kill them.  At this point his brothers don't want to go back.
    Thankfully we have Nephi that says he will go back.  He gets there and is commanded to do something very hard. I'm going to leave this part a mystery and you can read it in the Book of Mormon. The account is in 1 Nephi 4.  I will tell you that he is able to obtain the plates.  The Lord provides a way that he can accomplish the commandment he had given to Nephi and his brothers.  Sometimes in our lives we are given commandments from Heavenly Father that seem impossible. If the Lord commands us to do something he will provide a way that we can fulfill that commandment.  Never forget this!  There is nothing that is impossible with the Lord.  I know that we can do anything the Lord asks us to do.  Let us go forth with faith, believing that our Heavenly Father will help us.  It wasn't easy for Nephi to accomplish what the Lord asked, but the Lord made it possible and this is how it is in our lives.  It may not be easy to accomplish, but it will be something we can do.  It will never be impossible if it is a commandment from Heavenly Father!

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Walking on Water

    I decided that I wanted to study the New Testament and focus more on the Savior and His life.  A story that I have heard many times struck me and has made me think about how soon I turn to my Savior to help me.  The story is found in Matthew 14: 24- 33.  The story goes that the apostles were out on a ship at night and the wind and the waves were terrible.  The apostles were scared and then they looked out and saw something walking on the water.  Naturally, they were more scared at this point.  They thought it was an evil spirit or a ghost.  Jesus called out to them not to be afraid and that it was Him.  Peter says to Jesus that if it truly is Him he should bid Peter to walk out to Him on the water.  Jesus tells Peter that he can get out of the boat and walk to Him.  I cannot imagine the faith that Peter shows by stepping out of the boat and into the water truly believing that he can walk on the water.  I am pretty sure that my faith would not have been that strong.
    But, Peter is in the water, or should I say on the water at this point.  He is doing it! He is walking on the water!  Then he notices the wind and how HUGE the waves are.  He looses sight of the Savior and focuses on the water for a split second and he begins to sink. The part that stood out to me was the next verse:  30, But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  And the very next words are And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, ...  How often in our life do we lose sight of our Savior and rather than immediately cry out for His help we wait until we're nearly "drowning"? I know that our Savior is always there for us and that He will immediately stretch forth His hand to help us.  Jesus loves us and is waiting for us to turn to him.  We don't need to wait until we can barely breath to turn to him and to cry out for help.  He loves you and wants to help!

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Kites... and commandments?!

    So often in life we think that if only we didn't have rules that we would be so free and we could just "take flight".  Now think of a kite.  It is held down with a string.  Right?!  That's what you would think:  If we were to cut the string the kite would soar.  It would go so much higher than it ever can with that string attached to it.  However, this is a thought that completely doesn't happen.  When a kite's string is cut the kite plows into the ground.  The same goes with our lifes.  If we were not to have any commandments, we would not do nearly as well as we do when we have commandments to help us.  The commandments are not to "hold us down" but to allow us to "fly high".  The commandments don't bind us, but they free us.  We need guidelines to follow to stay free and not become ensnared.  These commandments are such blessings.  Next time you are tempted to "cut the strings" and "fly high" just remember a kite and what happens when it's strings are cut.  The same thing happens to us.  Allow the commandments to bless your life.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    By Small and Simple Things

    I have been pondering on a lesson that President Gardner taught us during a training meeting.  As I was riding the transfer van from Billings to Helena and then coming to Great Falls there were areas where a lot of the pine trees were turning red and dying.  I remember that I knew what was happening.  The bark beetles were getting to these trees and ruining them.  A bark beetle at first glance wouldn't seem very threatening, but it is.  See all the damage that has occurred from a meesley little bark beetle.  There are so many little things in our life that can damage our lives and the potential that we have.  We need to be aware and careful of the "little things".  The scriptures tell us that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass, but the opposite effect is true as well: by small and simple things are great things ruined.  We need to pay attention to the small things that can help if we do them and hurt if we don't.  For example: prayers, scripture study, church attendance, movies we watch, language we use.  None of these seem too huge, but as we make good choices and use these to bless our life we will be protected from these bark beetles, but as we neglect these small things the bark beetles can get to us and ruin hard work.  It's not easy for us to grow, so don't let all your hard work and effort be demolished by a small and simple bark beetle!  Evaluate the small things in your life and see what changes you can make to guard against damage.

    Thursday, June 30, 2011

    The Edge...


    Our Heavenly Father gives us commandments to keep us safe, but the choice is ours to obey or not.  I know that our Heavenly Father doesn't give us commandments to limit our choices but to expand them.  When we don't pay attention to the commandments we sometimes get very close to the edge.  We leave the "safe" area that our Heavenly Father has told us to stay in and we go into the "dangerous" territory that Satan is in charge of.  At first it may seem a little uncomfortable to be at a party with alcohol, or to watch an R rated movie, but over time we become used to the danger of being on the edge.  The danger in breaking commandments never leaves.  Just because we feel comfortable there doesn't mean that the danger has left.  I don't typically go sit on the edge of cliffs, and in this picture I certainly wasn't comfortable.  I would have felt much better if I would have been at least 10 feet farther away from the edge.  I decided, however, that the fear was worth it and I wanted this picture, so I went and put myself in danger to get a cool picture.  How many times in life do we get close to the edge for the sake of looking cool, or to impress a girl/guy, or to rebel against our parents council, or any other reason?  I can think of so many times that people get close to the edge for no reason really at all.  Sometimes we get so comfortable on the edge that the fall doesn't even seem scary.  I know that living life on the edge and in the "danger zone" isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Satan wants us to believe this, but I know differently.  Our Heavenly Father desires true happiness for us and lovingly gives us commandments to keep us safe and happy.  When we follow his council and obey his commandments we are safe from sin and happy as ever.  Don't live your life on the edge.  Take a step back and realize the peace that comes from keeping the commandments.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    Fathers

    Yet again, I'm super late posting this!  I guess you can say that I am truly a daddy's girl, so I figured I had better put something up for Father's Day.  I thought I would just quickly share a lesson that my dad taught me that reminds me a lot of our Heavenly Father.  When I had just barely got my driver's license I decided that I was going to surprise my dad and clean out his pick-up.  So, I pulled his truck into the driveway and cleaned it.  I worked hard to make it nice and clean. I vacuumed the carpet and scrubbed the dashboard.  I worked to get the seat belt holders out from under the seat.  I scraped up my arm trying to do this last task.  I got out quite satisfied with the work that I had done.  I did a double check to make sure that it looked as nice as it could.  When I was done I backed his pick-up back out to it's usual parking spot and something went terribly wrong.  I didn't check very closely what was behind me.  My brother had a rail for his skate board behind the truck at this point.  I ran over it and popped my dad's rear left tire.  You can imagine how stupid I felt.   My mom wasn't too happy and she made me call my dad and tell him what I had done.  When my dad answered the phone I began crying.  He asked what was wrong and I told him what had happened.  When I was done explaining my dad began laughing.  He said that it was fine and he was grateful for a clean truck.  I am grateful that my dad understood the intentions of my heart and not just my actions.  I had truly been trying to do something good, but I had ended up doing something wrong.  I know that our Heavenly Father is like this.  He understands the true desires that we have.  He knows what we are trying to accomplish and the outcomes.  He knows and understands us perfectly.  So often as I talk with people they feel he is a cruel God, but I know this to be false.  Our Heavenly Father loves us.  He wants us to be happy, just like our parents on Earth desire our happiness.  Your Heavenly Father loves YOU!

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Rappelling through Life

    
    This is me at Morning Glory Natural Bridge.
     So I've been thinking back a lot to about a year ago when I went to Moab.  My family took an awesome vacation before I headed out to Montana and Wyoming.  While we were in Moab we did quite a lot, but the scariest thing for me was rappelling.  It was also my favorite thing that we did. It was scary for me, because I knew there was a big drop off and I had to make myself go over the edge.  Once I got going though I loved rappelling.  I have thought about this experience and what really happened.  We certainly didn't just go rappelling by ourselves with no equipment.  We hired someone who knew what he was doing to help us.  He brought along all the equipment that we needed to help us be successful and make it through our trip safely.  My parents wouldn't have allowed all of us to go on a trip without having the right supplies and someone to help us make it through the journey.  Our Heavenly Father loves us just as our parents here on earth love us.  He has provided that equipment to help us make it back safely and he has provided many tour guides.  He gives us a manual to teach us how make it back safely.  This manual is the Book of Mormon.  He gives us gear to help us make it back safely.  For rappelling you need:  ropes, anchor materials, rappel device,  harness, sling and locking carabiner, gloves (optional), and a daisy chain.  I didn't know all this (and to be honest I just googled it to see exactly what you needed).  My guide took care of this.  He carried it and set it all up.  He made sure that when I got all ready that I was going to be safe when I stepped off the edge and put all my weight on the rope.  That's why we need our guide.  To help us know what we need to do and how to do it.  Isn't is great that we have a modern day prophet to be our guide?  He gets the "gear" that we need and then helps us operate in the correct way.  We have so many more tour guides that are more experienced and know the gear and how to set it up and work it properly.  We have parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas, grandpas, and so many more people to help us with the things we need to do.  Our Heavenly Father who loves us has given us everything we need to make it back safely.  Not to say we won't be sore at times and wonder, but he has.  I was very sore after rappelling, but I used the gear and I made it down safely.  I know that we have everything we need to return back to our Heavenly Father safely.  If you have questions about the "gear" we've been given there are answers.  You can ask me or you can go to mormon.org and look at the answers there. 

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Disneyland vs. Gospel Truths

    

    It wasn't too long ago that I was graduating from college and taking a trip to California!  My roommates and I decided that we wanted to go to the happiest place on earth to celebrate.  Where did we decide to go to celebrate my graduation from college?  We decided to go to DISNEYLAND!!!  What makes Disneyland such a happy place?  I think it's the fact that it's a wholesome place to be.   There are fun rides, the yummiest churros you'll ever eat, and you take people you care about.  I would say that Disneyland is one of the happiest places I have ever been on earth.  While we were there we saw Mickey Mouse and rode Splash Mountain.  We ate good food and had a lot of fun.  But, let me ask a question:  Does the happiness last after you get back from the happiest place on earth?  Sure it does, you have lots of good memories of the people you were with and the laughs you had.  I know I think of our trip to Disneyland often, but is it Disneyland I think of or is it the people I took with me?  I would have to say that the happiness from Disneyland fades and goes away with time.  I know a joy that can last forever.  Are you curious?
    It's not a certain place, but something more than that.  It's something that won't change with time.  It's something that is eternal in nature.  It's something that will bring us happiness forever.  Have you figured it out yet?  It has to do with Jesus Christ.  If you're thinking, "It's his gospel!" You're right!  The gospel of Jesus Christ will bring us lasting joy in this life and beyond.  Christ tells the woman at the well, "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:14)  We are promised that we will never thirst again, but that he will continually provide for us.  I know this to be true.  Life isn't easy when we have the gospel, but we have the tools we need to be able to accomplish the task at hand.  The gospel truly brings us happiness that is everlasting.  Unlike Disneyland that is fun, but doesn't last forever, the gospel truly will bring you happiness forever.  Jesus Christ promises us that it will last us forever.  I have seen the gospel in action in my life and I know these things to be true.  Put this promise to the test.  See if you partake of the living water and if you thirst again!  I dare you!

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    April Showers bring May Flowers

    The weather this spring has been a little crazy.  Since I got to Wyoming it seems that it has been snowing or raining, but we have somewhat moved past the snow and into the rain, I am hoping at least. (knock on wood.)  It has seemed that the rain will never cease.  Sometimes our life seems that way.  It seems like we are out walking with our umbrella and the rain is pouring down, then the wind starts and our umbrella blows back and is no cover at all.  Then it seems that we are just soaking wet and things seem to get worse from there.  Then you step in an unexpected puddle and your feet are cold and wet.  You finally go in for the day and it's time to get to bed.  The next day you wake up and the rain hasn't let up since yesterday.  Does your life ever seem like this?  It seems like when it rains it pours in life?  As I was thinking about all the rain I thought of the saying:  April showers bring May flowers! I know it's already May and nearly June, but the rain continues and we know that eventually the flowers will bloom and life will be wonderful.  This principle is true in our life and the trials that we go through.  Our trials seem as though they will never end, and it seems that everything difficult comes at once.  I have had these times in my own life, but I know (from experience) that these times don't last forever.  At some point the rain will cease and the flowers will truly bloom.  Life will have joy.  We may not see why the rain was necessary, but it does help the good times seem great.  I know that rainy patches are hard, but as we live the gospel principles and invite the Savior and his teachings into our life that we can make it through our trials and be better people.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ will help you endure the trials and find JOY. 
    "Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured."
                                                        -President Gordon B. Hinckley

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Ice Cream Sandwich Uno

    Monday is our preparation day, meaning that we can take care of everything that needs to be done for the week.  We get to grocery shop, do laundry, clean our apartments, wash our car, along with many other things.  My companion and I were writing letters outside in the sunshiney weather when the Elders in our district called to see if we wanted to play a game.  The game was called Ice Cream Sandwich Uno.  They explained over the phone that the way you played was whoever lost the round had to eat an ice cream sandwich.  I thought, how bad can this be?  Eating ice cream because I lost a game?  Well when we went to start playing the game and the specifics of the rules were told the game was much different than I had previously understood.  You not only had to eat an ice cream sandwich when you lost, you had to eat it before the next hand was dealt or you had to eat another one.  So we embarked on the epic game that taught me a valuable lesson.  We started and at first I didn't lose, so it was funny to watch the Elders try and shove the ice cream sandwiches in their face and get done before the cards for the next round were dealt.  Then the game took a tragic turn of events.  I lost a round and had to try to shove an ice cream sandwich in my mouth.  It was a lot harder than I had anticipated.  Thankfully the Elders took pity on me and said since I had the entire sandwich shoved (literally) in my mouth by the time the cards were done being dealt that I didn't have to eat another one.  Then it happened again.  I couldn't believe that I lost again!  I frantically grabbed the ice cream sandwich and ripped the wrapper off and began putting as much of the sandwich in my mouth as I could at one time, but the problem is that when I got my mouth full I could hardly even chew or swallow there was so much ice cream in my mouth. 
    Then the game went from bad to worse when for the third time I had to eat an ice cream sandwich as fast as I could.  I begged not to have to eat the sandwich, but no one would take pity on me.  My companion even said to me, "Find someone to pay the price of justice for you, or you have to eat it yourself!"  So since no one volunteered to pay the price of my cards I had left I was forced to once again shove a big ice cream sandwich in my face.  You may be wondering why this story is applicable to a gospel setting.  Well I'm going to tell you.  Sometimes life is hard and we end up losing that "round of uno" and we have to shove an ice cream sandwich in our face.  Repentance is a gift that we each may have.  Just as my companion said to me that I needed to find someone to "pay the price of justice" we each have someone that has already paid the price of justice for each of our sins, or our "lost rounds of uno". 
    The catch is that we have to ask him to help us.  He is always willing, but he can't "eat our sandwiches" or take care of our sins for us unless we allow him to.  Our Savior, Jesus Christ, loves you more than you know.  He wants you to be able to return to live with him and our Heavenly Father, so for that reason (his immense amount of love) he has taken care of justice for us.  Our Heavenly Father has to be just, but because of the sacrifice of our Savior we are allowed mercy now.  We have this gift, but we must accept this gift!  Accept the Savior and his atonement in your life today!

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Mothers


    I am a few days late in getting this posted, but I wanted to pay tribute to the amazing mother that I have in my life!  I am so grateful for all that she has taught me. 

    We see the power of mothers in the Book of Mormon.  The story of the strippling warriors is one of my favorites.  This story is found in Alma 56.  My favorite verses are 47-48.  These verses state, "Now they never had fought yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.  And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it."

    My mother has taught me equally important lessons.  My mom has taught me:
    • The Lord needs to be the center of our lives.
    • Life is fun.
    • Math isn't just for geeks
    • And either is science! :)
    • The scriptures are our best source of guidance.
    • Try your best ALWAYS!
    • Don't give up.
    • Patience.
    • The scripture stories are cool.
    • Work hard.
    • Get excited about things.
    • Laughing truly is the best medicine.
    • Sometimes life takes hard turns, but you keep going.
    • Believe in yourself.
    • I can do hard things.
    • Read the whole recipe before you start.
    • And so many more lessons I'm grateful my mom has taught me.
    THANKS MOM!  I LOVE YOU!

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    The Power of Prayer

    With technology now it's so simple to communicate with anyone, no matter where in the world they are we can get ahold of them.  We can facebook them, send them an e-mail, skype them, text them, call them on the phone, call them through the internet, we can do so many other things to be able to get ahold of people.  Some are instant communication and some take a few days, for example: a text is immediate, but the postal system takes a few days (which I wish it didn't take so long :) ).  I wish to speak of an ancient technology that some of us don't even realize is available.  It's been around since long before the computer or cell phone.  It's been around since Adam and Eve came to Earth.  This technology I wish to address is prayer.  What is prayer?  Prayer is a way that we can speak to our Heavenly Father.  Can you imagine something better than being able to speak to your Heavenly Father who loves you and cares about you?  We know that as we pray our prayers are heard and that they are answered.  Sometimes we think of prayer as a one way communication, but we are shown time and time again in the scriptures that this is not so.  As we pray and then are still we may receive answers.  Our Heavenly Father will speak back to us.  This conversation may not be with words, but it may instead be with feelings, thoughts, and impressions. 
    One of my favorite examples of prayer in the Book of Mormon is Enos.  The book of Enos is only a little over two pages long and it can be found on page 136 of the Book of Mormon.  This book may be short, but we can learn so much from his example.  The experience that Enos shares always makes me think of the way that I go about prayer.  In verse 2 he says "And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had beofre God, before I received a remission of my sins."  I love the imagery there.  I can't imagine a wrestle with one person, but two.  Do we approach prayer as though we are actually speaking to someone, or do we go about our prayers and run through the motions? Are your prayers meaningful?  I am constantly having to evaluate my prayers and make them more effective.  Prayer isn't always an easy thing for people.  It feels awkward when we first begin praying.  In the Bible dictionary it says something that has always struck me and made me think.  It says, "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part.  Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship.  Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other.  The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessing that God is alreay willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them.  Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them.  Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessing."  I love all of this definition, but the part that stands out to me is the beginning.  It tells us that when we realize that prayer is a communication between us and our Heavenly Father then prayer becomes natural for us.  There is no right way to pray or no wrong prayer, but it is a communication between a Father and his child. 
    Prayer is such an important thing in my life and I challenge you to make it a key part of your life as well.  I know that prayers are heard and that they are answered.  Sometimes they are answered immediately in the way we expect them to be (just like a quick text message sent back) and sometimes they take longer than we'd like and they're not exactly what we expect or really what we want to hear even, but they are answered nonetheless (this may be like the post office getting you a letter, it takes some time).  Remember that prayer is a communication and not a one way line, but our Heavenly Father can speak back to you!  Pay attention for those answers you receive!