Sunday, November 17, 2013

Life: Don't do it alone.

This weekend, I got sick, which is pretty common when you spend all day with children. However, this time I was determined not to let it get me down. I decided to look for my blessings. I was grateful that I was finally able to have an excuse to relax. I was grateful that I got sick on the weekend so that I didn't have to feel miserable while trying to teach. However there was one huge blessing of this weekend. I came closer to my Heavenly Father.

You know when you are sick and you tell yourself you have to stay home and in bed, but all you really want to do is go out and see your friends. Well, this time, when I would start to feel lonely, I would lay there in bed and pray. I would just have a conversation with my Heavenly Father about whatever I wanted. I talked to him about everything, and when I got up to make a puzzle, I asked him to help me find the pieces. Instantly I felt like I was doing a puzzle with Heavenly Father. He was helping me find pieces faster than I could. (I know it sounds dumb, but He knew it was somehow important to me)

Then, I prayed that someone would come and visit me. Of course, he blessed me with good friends and visitors, as well as Ashley and Sean, who were here all day, to keep me company. I didn't feel alone at all today because I had my Father in Heaven with me.

When I received a calling that I was unsure I would be able to do well, I would to go on walks just to pray to my Heavenly Father and tell him about my life. I would always ask if he loved me and was sure that I could do all that he asked of me. Every single time, I felt  the peace that he knew me, loved me, and believed in me.

The biggest blessing is that we can all do this every day! He wants to listen to you. He wants to hear about your life. He wants to hear about the nerdy things that make you happy, the ridiculous things that make you sad, the guys/girls you want to date, your parents, your kids, your major, your health........the list goes on and on. Just talk to Him. All day, every day.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thank goodness we get lots of chances to be good.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our lives that we forget what really matters. I admit this has happened to me a lot recently. (Which is probably why I haven't written a blog post in a while)

 Here is a little reminder, for me and for you. Luckily when we are "prone to wander" or "prone to leave the God [we] love", He will always take our hearts when we offer them, and mold us into something beautiful. If you have strayed from what is most important like me, pick yourself up and try again with me. Let's involve our Heavenly Father in our lives more.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Asking for light

One of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon is the story about the brother of Jared.

In Ether 2:24-25, the Lord tells the brother of Jared that they are going to be "as a whale in the midst of the sea" on their journey to the promised land, because the waves are going to swallow them up at times. The cool thing is that it is the for the purpose of getting them to the promised land.

In verse 25, Heavenly Father asks the brother of Jared what he wants him to do to give him light when he is swallowed up in the sea. Then, in Ether 3:4 the brother of Jared tells the Lord that he would like him to touch some stones so that they will give them light in the ship.

I love how bold and faithful he is with this request. He first states that he knows the Lord can do all things, and then makes is request.

I have done this in my life. When I feel like I am swallowed up in the sea, even though I am on my way to the promised land, I ask the Lord for light. I pray for the Lord to send me an angel to light my way. Usually those angels are my friends and families, sometimes they are strangers, and sometimes they are unseen.

I always receive light when I ask for it in faith.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Parable of the Foam Pit

Jesus taught in Parables. Here is my attempt at a parable.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to go play at a gymnastics tumbling gym. After warming up my playful side on the "easy" stuff, my friend Stephen started encouraging me to do a flip over the vault. For those of you who don't know, this is a vault.
The idea is that you run at it with all your might, jump on a small spring board and fly through the air using your hands to push off the vault and do a flip. 

Who knows why I tried it, but I did. You know what happened? I did a turtle move and "gracefully" slid on my stomach with my arms and legs flailing. The next thing I knew, I dove head first into the foam pit. 
This is probably what I looked like

Even though it was terrifying and I failed my first attempt, I now knew at least one thing that I did wrong, and I got back up and tried again. The next time I tried I did a somewhat awkward, accidental and unexpected flip into the foam pit, where I landed on my back. I didn't try it again, but if I had, I am sure I would have done slightly better.

Here is the lesson:

Sometimes, we try new things, and they turn out in a face plant in the foam pit. But we have to struggle out of the foam pit for several minutes, get back up and try again. Of course, as soon as we get to the starting line again, we feel almost as scared as the first time, but eventually it gets easier. Soon we perfect the flip and can do it without the foam pit. (like Stephen) However, that means we have to stand there ready to run straight at that stupid springboard once more. It is scary because until you have done it several times, you have know idea how the flip is going to turn out, but you have to trust that the foam pit will catch you. 

There are things in our lives that take several attempts. But its okay if we don't get it right the first time. Life is a process. Don't get so caught up in the fact that you aren't doing things perfectly, and just keep flipping changing a couple things at a time until you get there. Remember we are in the process, not at the end.

Be patient. Keep trying. Look forward and get out of the foam pit whenever you find yourself stuck.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The "power of deliverance"

I just read this verse in the first chapter of the Book of Mormon. 

"And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." 1 Nephi 1:20

In this verse, Lehi and his family have to leave Jerusalem because they are seeking to take his life. I don't know about you, but I have never had anyone seeking to take my life. However, I love that Nephi writes a hopeful message even in this dark and scary time. He promises that if we have faith we will be delivered.

What is it that is keeping you down. What are you struggling with right now? Faith in the Lord will make you "mighty even unto the power of deliverance." You will be delivered from whatever hole you find yourself in. I promise.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Power of Prayer

In the Museum of Art on BYU campus, there is a painting by Jehudo Epstein called Dying Job.


In this painting, Job is on the ground in torment and feeling the loss of everything he had including the feeling of divine comfort and support. His friends are around him praying as well; they are exhibiting great faith during adversity so extreme that the only thing they can do is pray. As I sat and looked at this painting, I thought about the times that I have felt like Job--the times when I feel so helpless and hopeless that all I can do is cry to the Lord.

Then I noticed the man in the back. He is praying and looking up to heaven with a longing and pleading expression. I realized that most of the time, I identify with him. I see people around me suffering, and I wish I could take away the pain. It's hard to see those you love and care about deeply go through periods of loneliness, sickness, trial, sadness, doubt, or confusion. In those times all we can do is be like that man, look to God and plead for those we love. When we feel powerless, there is hope; we can pray. God doesn't forget us or those we love.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Own it!

This morning I looked in the mirror and thought "Wow, these bags that I have under my eyes make me look so sad. Without make up, I look like a little girl.... etc." Then, I remembered something that my good friend Allyson taught me: When you have imperfections, own it!

I looked in the mirror again, and instead thought "Wow! Thank goodness I have that face because it is part of who I am, and its kinda cute."

I promise you that if you look in the mirror every day and say good things to yourself instead of bad things, you will see yourself as your Father in Heaven sees you. Then, a light will come into your countenance, and you will be even more beautiful(or handsome) than you already are.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Better than you think

If you are a piano player and you don't play the piano one day, you are still a piano player.

If you are a basketball player, and one day you get busy and don't even touch a basketball that day, you are still a basketball player.

Sometimes we think we have failed at being who we are if we don't  do everything we normally do every day.

I am a friendly person, but some days I don't remember to talk to people and smile at people. Does that mean I am a grouchy and unfriendly person. Nope.

 Think of your best qualities. Remember that they are part of who you are whether you do it all the time or not. Remember that God is working with us. We are always progressing. Don't get discouraged by your imperfections. You are doing better than you think. He will change your heart a little at a time.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Truth About You

"No matter what circumstances you sisters [and brothers] experience, your influence can be marvelously far-reaching. I believe some of you have a tendency to underestimate your profound capacity for blessing the lives of others. More often than not, it is no on the stage with some public pronouncement but in your example of righteousness and the countless gentle acts of love and kindness done so willingly, so often on a one-to-one basis."      -James E Faust

Have you ever been having a bad day, and one person said something that made you smile, or lifted your spirits? I have on countless occasions. It is amazing how many of those times I forget to let the person know of their influence on me. I have been inspired by complete strangers, who would never know it. I am sure many of you have had similar experiences.

Now think about the fact that you have done that for other people. I agree that we "underestimate [our] profound capacity for blessing the lives of others." I am starting to understand how much power I actually have for good. I know that the Lord has worked through me to touch the lives of others when I didn't even know it, and I know that he has work through you as well. So next time you are tempted to doubt yourself, remember the truth about you. You make a significant contribution to this world. Believe it because our Heavenly Father believes it.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Stone by Stone

Let me tell you why I love this video. Sometimes we all have trees(like the one in this video) that we are trying to grow in our lives. These are things that we are trying to accomplish. They are places that we hope to be someday. Sometimes we are tempted to tell God how to help us get there, but as we lay stone by stone and let him reach us, he will teach us how get there.

 I love the smile on Joseph's face when his tree is grown. It is great in contrast to the pain and sadness you see in the first part.

Even though there are trees that we are working on right now with God's help, lets not overlook the ones that have already grown. What progress have you made in your life? Let's look back and notice how far we have come, and what things we truly have overcome. There are many. I promise you.

Monday, February 18, 2013

From Seed to Flower

Our Father in Heaven is the only true judge of where we are and where we are going. Sometimes, we let other people be the judge. We listen when they tell us that we are too shy, too annoying, too selfish or too dumb. If we spend more time with our Heavenly Father in prayer and studying His words, we will find that he sees our potential.. He is not as concerned with where we are now, but rather, where we are going, and of course he knows how to get there

Brad Wilcox once said "We don't get mad at a seed for not being a flower"

So, little seeds, go to the source of water and sunlight, and let Him help you become a flower.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Permission to be great!

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." -Marianne Williamson

I never really understood this quote until I saw this video.

Notice how she just shines. When I watched this, I realized that I can be great in my own way. Shine your light so that other people see that it is okay and that they can shine theirs as well. It's contagious.

Monday, February 4, 2013

How Great Thou Art

Sometimes, I am just amazed at how great the Lord is. He knows who I am, and he knows what I need and desire. He creates beauty in my life everyday and sends me angels, both seen and unseen.

Here is a video that I love. I hope you listen to the beautiful message this song shares.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Being God-taught 2

I have been thinking a lot lately about this idea of being God-taught. I wrote a post about it before, but I wanted to share my thoughts from recent experiences.

It is essential that in this life, we look to our loving Father in Heaven to guide and direct us. Sometimes I think of this as the Lord saying, "okay here is what is going to happen to you. Here is where you are going to go." I think it is much more than this. 

I have been thinking about my Heavenly Father as my teacher. I go to him in prayer and study my scriptures so that he can teach me how to do my best in this life and how to prepare for eternal life. 

Last night, at institute, we read this scripture:

Doctrine and Covenants 50:10-12

10. And now come, saith the Lord, by the Spirit, unto the elders of his church, and let us reason together that ye may understand;

11. Let us reason even as a man reasoneth one with another face to face
12. Now, when a man reasoneth he is understood of man, because he reasoneth as a man even so will I, the Lord, reason with you that you may understand.

When there are things we struggle with, the Lord will reason with us "even as a man reasoneth one with another face to face." He will teach us if we listen to him. He will show us the way to be happy.

Here is another scripture about being God taught that I really like:
2 Nephi 28:30
30. For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; blesses are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

There are many times in my life when I have felt that the Lord has been working with me patiently to get me to understand something. Right now, He is teaching me to love people unconditionally. I have a lot more lessons to learn before I can reach this goal, but "line upon line, precept upon precept," I am coming to understand more.

The Lord knows how to do everything perfectly, so when we want to learn a skill or attribute for our lives, He will work with us to do things the way that He would do this, which is the best way. If we strive to apply what we learn, He will teach us more.

I am so grateful that the Lord loves me enough to patiently teach me to live my life on a higher level. As my first graders used to say in their school motto. "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better and better, BELIEVE IT!" Aren't we all first graders in the Lord's eyes?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

To those of you who feel you have to be perfect...

There was only ONE perfect person who ever walked on this earth. And you know what?  He thinks you are pretty great, because he was willing to die for you. Not only that, but he was willing to go through everything that you will ever go through that is hard and painful, because he thinks you are worth it. You.

I know that he still would have died for you if you were the only person on this planet. He loves you that much, and thinks that highly of you.

So stop expecting perfection in yourself or others and realize that the purpose of this life is to learn and grow. We are all learning together. This is our first time living, so really, nobody knows what they are doing. I want to try harder to be patient with myself and others.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lesson in the lesson

Today in my Methods of Teaching Math class we were talking about how the best way to teach math and other subjects is through an inquiry method. This is essentially asking questions that push students to learn the concepts without you telling them exactly what they have to do to solve a math problem. This way is known to be effective because students have a much more concrete knowledge when they have to work for it and when it comes from inside them(from knowledge they already have). This helps them develop reasoning skills that help them solve problems in the future.

Well, as I was sitting there, I realized that this is how the Lord works with us. He is not going to tell us all the steps to solve our problems because that would be robbing us of an essential experience that will solidify the knowledge we gain that will help us solve problems in the future. He wants us to progress, not just stay in the same spot because we know that he will just tell us exactly what we need to do the next time we need help.

We sit here and say. "Where are you, God?", or "Why won't you help me? Did I do something wrong?" No, he has not left us alone. He is there putting small things in our path(questions if you will) that guide us to the right answer.

As a teacher, I would absolutely love to tell my students exactly what they need to do to solve every problem/homework assignment. I would love  to sit with each of them and help them write their papers so that they get a good grade and do the quality of work that I am capable of. This would rob them of their learning. As soon as I let them be, they would drown. They would realize they couldn't accomplish anything and that it was only me doing the work.

I believe that it is the same way with our relationship with God. He loves us perfectly. He wants so badly to sit with us and help us do our "homework" the way that He is able to do it. This would ultimately handicap us when it is our turn to be Gods and Goddesses. He wants us to progress with knowledge that sticks because of  the work we have done to make it stick.

So don't give up. Keep trying. Fail as many times as you can because every time you fail, you have a chance to show the Lord that you are willing to endure to the end. All he wants is for us to get up every time we fall, and try again. His hand is there. He is sitting and asking the right questions to guide us to Him.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Choices choices choices.....

I could either be nervous for school and the upcoming semester, or I could be excited to learn new things through the challenges ahead.

I choose to look forward in excitement and take it a day at a time!

I could either stress over things I can't control or I could let it go and shift my focus to those things that I can control.

I am going to focus on what I can do right now to be happy.

I could take counsel from my fears, or I could take counsel from the Lord through prayer and scripture study.

I think I would rather be the Lords student and attend his class, not Satan's.

Take that! Thank goodness for agency.

Friday, January 4, 2013

What is the truth?

A book I recently read called "Through His Eyes" taught me a lot about overcoming my fears. When I am fearful, it is usually because I have been focusing on things that are half truths or even flat out lies.
Here are some examples:

Sometimes I am afraid that when people get to know me!they will not like me.
I am afraid to drive long distances because I am afraid of getting in an accident.
I am afraid of the death of a loved one.

These are all fears of mine because there is a half truth or a lie that I tell myself without even knowing it. While I have a hard time finding out what that lie is, I have found it helpful to find an eternal truth in all of these instances that will help me to find peace.

For the first one I remember that God loves me perfectly and he knows me the most out of anybody.
For my fear of car accidents, I think about the truth that God has helped me so far to get through anything, so he would help me get through a car accident if need be.
Finally I remember that we are on an eternal plan here. It doesn't end in this life. I will be with my loved ones forever, and if they leave this life, it just means that the Lord has work for them to do elsewhere.

Finding truth through the gospel of Jesus Christ, helps me to overcome The fears that this world brings. This video illustrates the point I am trying to make.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

When you tell yourself to go to bed a million times.... spend an hour playing your guitar, even though you played it a lot already today.

Here is the result. Far Away by Ingrid Michaelson

Learning a cool song counts for something right?

Don't judge me because my guitar skills are a little on the wimpy side.

Looking on the heart

Some of our biggest interpersonal problems could be solved if we could just take the time to understand each other. I once heard that if we could know the entire story of somebody's life, we would never have any reason to judge that person, and we would just love them.

1 Samuel 16:7 says: "The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart"

Because God knows everyone perfectly, he can love everyone perfectly. As human beings, we don't know even our closest friends or family members perfectly. Sometimes this is because we don't open up what is lodged deep in our hearts to other people, and other times it is because we don't take the time to listen and find the things in the hearts of those around us. In other words, we look on the outward appearance.

I hope Katie(my sister) doesn't mind if I share this, but when I was home I went to the mall with Katie. She was walking in front of me instead of beside me, and she probably didn't even notice, but for some reason, I was bothered. I started to get frustrated with her, and then I realized that all I needed to do was to ask her to walk next to me. I did, and instantly she walked next to me and the problem was solved and I was happy.

Sometimes all it takes is realizing that we are expecting people to read our minds, and we haven't even communicated our needs and desires to them.

Other times it is because we haven't taken the time to get to know the persons heart. If we were able to look on the heart as the Lord does, we would understand the things we perceive as negative behaviors of those around us.

I realize that we will never be able to truly see the hearts of those around us in this life, but that is when we pray for charity. The Lord can see for us. He will grant us the perfect love that that person deserves and most often so desperately needs.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013. On my way.

My favorite thing about new years is the excitement about Chang and adventure. When I look back on 2012, I can see that I really have come a long way with the help of the Lord.

 I accomplished many firsts. -blog, surgery, teaching experience, and some other things that are to embarrassing to mention in my blog...okay I got my first kiss this year.

I learned that I am a teacher! It is a marvelous gift that is as natural as breathing. How am I so blessed?

I learned a lot about who I am. I have truly learned to pray, rely on the atonement, and reach out to my savior especially in times of need.

I learned how to rely on eternal truths like the fact that I am a child of God. This has helped me come to a new place as far as my self-confidence goes-- a place I could not get to without my Savior.

I learned to recognize the Holy Ghost in my life, and how the Lord speaks to me personally.

I learned so much about my relationships with other people.

2012 has brought me a lot of good through the good times and the hard times.

To you, year 2013, I say, bring it on!! I am so excited and grateful for another year of lessons!

When I think of this next year, I think of this video

"Tell everybody i'm on my way
New friends and new places to see
With blue skies ahead, yes i'm on my way
And theres no where else i'd rather be

Tell everybody i'm on my way
And i'm loving every step i take
With the sun beating down, yes i'm on my way
And i can't keep this smile off my face"

I hope you all take the time to reflect on how far you have come and I wish you good luck in 2013.