Wednesday, December 10, 2014

White Winter Hymnal

It still feels strange to me to be making a winter playlist. Time is passing so quickly and I feel like I am still trying to live in fall. Even though the weather here in Provo, UT hasn't been so wintery (& I'm not complaining about it) I think it's time for me to admit that it is actually winter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Refiner's Fire

When times of trial come, it is easy to blame God.
It is easy to ask "Why?"
Growing up, I had always held the belief that all things were a part of God's plan.
Well, maybe they are and maybe they aren't.

Watching this video I was deeply touched by this woman's experience and her reaction to it...
"It's not always about us, we aren't going through this because we need to change, or we're not good enough. I became someone, you know, more capable of helping others and of having compassion and of understanding at an intimate level, you know, what other people go through. And I found a great deal of joy in using the things that I've learned to help other people"

Trials are a part of God's plan, for it is through opposition that we learn and grow and develop eternal qualities. But that doesn't mean that trials are planned by God. Trials are a part of the human experience, they do not always come from God, instead they come from being human. They come from things outside of our control, sickness, injustice, nature, the choices of others and so many other things that come with being human. Sometime trials come from elements very much within our own control. But I don't believe that God purposefully plants trials in our life to change us through pain and suffering.. instead he allows us to take those trials and those moments of suffering to him, and in return he turns them into something beneficial, something divine. He changes us into something more divine.

"The Lord was not going to allow me to fail, and I know that thats not unique to me,  that He does that for everybody."
Because God is just, and because God gives us our agency and the ability to choose our paths for ourselves, we are presented with many different options of how our life will turn out. Like this dear woman expressed, sometimes the choices we would make for our own life are taken from us, either by circumstance or by the agency of others, but that does not mean it was God's will. But because he loves us he gives us the atonement. He gives us a way of changing all the bad into good. God will never let us fail.

How grateful I am for trials. I am grateful for the way they make me better. Sometimes I am even grateful that God doesn't always take away those trials and those sufferings when I ask him to. Sometimes I am grateful that he allows me to work through it on my own because he knows how strong it will make me. Sometimes. With all that growth, personal development and individual strength we are then able to turn outwards and strengthen others. We are all in this together. Let us all strive to be a little kinder, to think of ourselves a little less and seek for those in the refiners fire. Let us strengthen and lift the hands that hang down, for none of us are without suffering.

When we stop asking "Why me?" and start thinking "Who else?" our trials can be sources of great joy. As we face our trials with faith, hope, and charity all things will work together for our good... and the good of others, too.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

La Missione

I've done a lot of thinking on whether or not I wanted to continue my blog after my mission. Getting some separation from the blog world for a year and a half did my soul some good and I was really worried about picking it back up again. I didn't want to 'advertise' my life. I never wanted my life to seem to be something its not.

But as I've looked back on some posts that I've written over the years, I've realized the value my blog has had in my personal life. I've laughed at the things I've written, thinking "why in the world did I think it was okay to post that on the internet"... But as I've read, I've also remembered the things life has taught me over the years and my own words have brought me comfort and peace at this specific stage in my life.

So here I am. Back in the blog world. I promise to be honest, and to write the things that have enriched my life and maybe share a little of that with you too.

One of the things that has enriched my life more than anything has been my LDS mission. I think back to when I was deciding on whether or not I wanted to serve a mission and how confused I was about that decision. I spent many hours praying and pondering about what it would mean for me to leave my life and serve the Lord wherever he called me. Mostly, I was excited at the idea of an adventure. I wanted to serve a mission because I knew it would be an experience I couldn't find anywhere else. I didn't really even understand what a mission was when I was deciding to go. As I thought about that time in my life, I stumbled on a blog post that I never published. I wrote this post and scheduled it to publish the day that I went into the MTC... but something stopped me from posting it and it has sat in my drafts folder for a year and a half. I wanted to share a piece of that post with you.

"I've spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not I wanted to serve a mission for the LDS church...

There are so many reasons why our faith makes us happy. It's because we believe in a church organized the same way as when Christ first organized his church. It's because we believe in modern day prophets who have the ability and authority to bring us messages from our Heavenly Father. Not always in the Moses and 10 commandments kind of way, but in ways that we can apply to our modern situations. Why would our Heavenly Father provide that kind of communication then and stop it today? We are happy because we believe in eternal marriages and that our family connections will remain with us for eternities. We are happy because those sacred ordinances are being performed in Temples across the earth. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we seek for the good in the world. We are not perfect people, but we are humble people. We are constantly in communication with our Heavenly Father to find ways to improve and become closer to him. The Church is a means to an end. It is here to provide us with a path to return to our Heavenly Father and having that path has made all the difference in my life personally.

That brings me back to why I decided to serve formally as a missionary for the church. To my non-Mormon friends leaving school, my friends, my family, my job, and even my country for 18 months sounds crazy. I chose to do all of this because I know that this gospel is true. I know that if I can bring that truth and happiness that I have felt for myself to one person, then I have changed their lives forever. Our lives on earth are so small. I've spent a lot of timing thinking about just how small it is. With all that thinking, I decided to make a choice on what I wanted to dedicate this life to. It's a choice that we all have to make at some point whether we are consciously making that decision or not. & our choices will probably change many times throughout our lives. But in thinking about all of this, I decided that I want to make people happy. I want to bring people closer to knowing their Heavenly Father and their divine, eternal potential. Those are big words, divine and eternal, and they are both very real. & when I start to think in terms of divinity and eternity, everything else seems even smaller. So while many of you are still probably confused as to why I made this choice, I know for me that it is defining who I am and how I want to dedicate my life."

Looking back at this time of my life, I laugh. I laugh because I could have never comprehended just how true all of that was going to be. My mission taught me about eternity. It taught me about what I want to dedicate my life to. Being home from the mission it's sometimes hard to remember those things. We don't always get to think about helping people come unto Christ because we are just doing all we can to not fail all our classes. But I'm grateful that I wrote that post when I did, because it helps me today. God reminds me of those things as often as I forget them. Just a couple weeks ago, I got the chance to watch the LDS General Conference. If you follow me on twitter you definitely saw all my tweets about it. But I was re-reading some of the talks the other day and a certain one stuck out to me again.  You can watch/read it HERE.

After going through a really rough week this past week, I am always grateful for the reminder about eternity. I am grateful that I served a mission, and that my mission taught me so many valuable lessons. I am grateful that I know I have a Father in Heaven who loves me, and he knows me personally. So much hope and peace comes into my life as I seek his will and his council. The most precious gift I have on earth is the knowledge that God guides me. This week I have felt his sustaining power in my life, a power that I know I couldn't have mustered up on my own. It's a hard feeling to describe, but I know we can each feel it personally as we conquer our own mountains and our own heartbreaks. I believe in a God that is active in our lives, and I believe we can receive his power anytime that we show our faith in him. It is a humbling feeling to give yourself completely to the Lord, because you know that what you face is bigger than you have the power to overcome on your own. It's the ultimate trust fall. I am grateful to know that Jesus Christ suffered for us individually. I know that he knows our unique and personal trials and circumstances. With that, I know that he is the only one who knows what choices will make us the happiest, and he will guide us to make those choices.

That is why I served a mission... because I honestly couldn't imagine my life without his divine help every day. I'm grateful that I had the chance to be his representative, and to seek out those who were willing to accept God's plan for them through great faith. I knew that when I left on a mission I would be changing people's lives with the Gospel, but how little did I realize how much his gospel would change me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Fall is more than a season. It's a mood. It's my favorite mood. It's cool but its warm. It's smooth but its crunchy. It's subtle but its strong. It makes my heart swell and my breaths deepen. It makes me want to move to the mountains and learn how to play the trumpet. Here's to you fall.