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


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.

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!