Wednesday, January 29, 2014

An Example of the Believers

There are many ways we can be an example of the believers, in faith hope charity word and many many other things. One I don't think we quite realize is in our humility, especially as manifest through sincere apologies.

So a little background: I am seminary president you guys! Now I would be excited about that, except that I'm a freshman, so it just causes tension between me and the seniors. All of them hate it. And I can feel it :/

Last week I was at a friend's house. It was great, I felt like I had friends again, I loved being there. But her brother and his friends were some of the afore-mentioned seniors. Hopefully, I thought, they would just leave me alone and we could all have a good time in separate worlds. But to my dismay, I became the victim of a prank. It ended up burning a lightbulb sized hole in my boot. The smell was awful, they could've set the house on fire. It was just a boot though, right? It didn't really matter.

Well, alone in the dark car on the drive home, it hurt. I felt like I could never measure up, these boys were unhappy with me as a new girl and freshman and someone who had a "power" over them. So they teased me, ruined my property, and didn't even say sorry. I know--super lame pity party.

I had completely forgotten about it. But then tonight at mutual, they came up to me and were so humble, so incredible. They apologized and offered to pay for my boots. Now can I just tell all the guys out there--GIRLS LOVE IT WHEN YOU CARE ABOUT THEIR FEELINGS.

Long story short, thank you boys. Thank you for being willing to be humble. It made my night. Sometimes, all someone needs is for you to genuinely care about them. :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Blessings of a Temple

Oh my gosh you guys! I am so excited!

This is the Washington DC temple. Isn't it so pretty?!

I am so grateful for the temple! When you are worthy to go to the temple, you get to go and receive priesthood ordinances, help others, and learn about the plan of salvation. The temple is different than a Mormon chapel, because you don't go for normal Sunday services. The temple is literally the house of God, and it is where he can visit and give instruction to His children on earth.

But what the temple means to me personally is one word- PEACE. when you go inside, you leave behind the world, the vainness and uncertainty. All your concerns and worries are put aside, and you get the opportunity to think on a higher level. The temple is a place of love, happiness, and sacred knowledge. To people who attend the temple regularly, God has promised that angels will have charge over them, and the power of God will be around them. The temple is also the place where my parents got married, so that by priesthood power, our family can stay together in heaven. I am so grateful for my eternal family.

I used to live an hour and a half away from the DC temple. Then I moved. Now I'm three hours from it. I live about two hours from the Manhattan Temple, which is an amazing beacon of light in a city full of filthiness, but the traffic is horrendous. But guess what?! Soon there is going to be a temple in Philadelphia! That is only an hour and a half away!

Some people live over a weeks journey away from a temple. Many only get to go once in their life, to get married and sealed as a family for time and all eternity. While I don't live five minutes from a temple (which would be wonderful), I am grateful to be able to go four times a year. And maybe with the Philadelphia temple, I will get to go more!

Along with a temple near me, there are a couple great things that will happen. In 2016, when it opens, the temple will have an open house for anyone in the world who wants to to take a tour of the inside. It is so pretty inside! If anybody wants to come, I can take you! It's going to be amazing! Then the prophet will come and dedicate the temple to The Lord, and I am so excited to go!

Also, because I live in the surrounding areas as a teenager. I get the amazing opportunity to participate in a huge youth cultural celebration where we do a huge performance with dancing and singing and so much fun, with thousands of LDS youth. It's going to be so much fun!

I am so excited! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

He Reaches My Reaching

Hey guys I finished it! See this post to understand my painting. It looks better in person...oh well. 

I'm done with the faith value project! Yay! 

Haha look I'm wearing the Young Womanhood Medallion!

He Reaches My Reaching is the title of this piece. No matter how many storms we need to go through, hold tight to the iron rod. Someday you will make it to the tree of life, and be able to taste the sweetest, purest fruit: the love of God. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Run and not be Weary

Wow, my school is so far behind. Just finished finals. I'm gonna miss this semester. :(

Haha this is perfect. My mascot is the eagles!

Ugh, this semester brings one of my greatest fears and worst weaknesses:gym class. I'll be praying for the ability to run and not be weary. The problem is, you need to work hard and exercise your physical muscles in order to let those faith muscles carry on. ;) you gotta put the work into it.

One of the promises of the Word of Wisdom is to run and not be weary. For those unfamiliar with this, the Word of Wisdom was revelation given to Joseph Smith from God concerning a health code for Latter Day Saints. It promises us that as we refrain from drugs, alcohol, and other addictive substances, we will be blessed with knowledge and health.

I'm grateful for these commandments to keep me safe. I know that as we follow God's commandments for us we will be able to recieve all the promises he has for us. No eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor has ever entered into the heart of man, the great things God has in store for those who follow him.

Another one of my FAVORITE promises is that Heavenly Father will help us with our weaknesses. In the Book of Mormon, in Ether 12, it says:

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. 

As we humble ourselves and ask God to help us with our weaknesses, he will help us turn our weaknesses to strengths.

Wish me luck in gym. I know God will give me strength as I exercise faith in his promises.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sparrows/One by One

(Copyright Intellectual Reserve)

Okay first I'll share the scripture, and then ill share an experience I had. I couldn't decide which title this should be so I left both!

Matthew 10 says (and listen hard to this, because this is YOUR SAVIOR speaking:)
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. 

Look at that sparrow up there. Now, I love birds. I spent a majority of my middle school years bird watching. But believe me when I say I had to look long and hard to find a sparrow picture that was pretty. And even that one is not as effervescent as a hummingbird or as glorious as an eagle.

So, I guess it's worth is not in beauty. Maybe function? The sparrow serves as prey for snakes and cats, it eats seeds, and lives a couple years. Not much of a niche to brag about (haha ecology word!). We can count out function. The sparrow is not valued for its strength, or cunning, or beauty.

It's the value of their meat then! That must be it! No wait, Christ just said they were only sold for half a farthing (I looked it up, it was the smallest roman coin in use, and small in Greek as well. Under the value of two US dollars)

So why is it that God is aware when just one falls? It is because God loves the sparrow, he created it, and nothing more is needed to earn his love.

What about us? We are of more value than many sparrows (thanks, that makes me feel a lot better :). But hold that sarcasm. Because God knows when each sparrow falls.  There can be no doubt in our minds that he knows our small victories and weaknesses, our service and shortcomings, our pity parties. We are God's children, and he is our Father, and he loves us. 

Never fear! God loves you. However, these things are easier said than applied. The world just wants you to get down on yourself.

These past couple months have been kinda a roller coaster. I have days when everything's great, I'm so grateful to have moved away from drama and into a great neighborhood, I have friends, and everything's great. Then it seems in a few hours I could be crying and pleading to feel God's love for me because I don't feel love anywhere else. Sitting alone at lunch is awful. People gossiping about you is awful. Not having inside jokes with people or knowing everyone's history is awful. But you can know that God is always there for you, and knows your struggles and joys.

One thing that is so great though, is that God gives tender mercies to all his children. I'm so grateful for the tender mercies I've been shown just this week. For this week, two people who i admire so much from Va emailed me to see how I was doing.  I don't think that's a coincidence. It really helped me see just how much my Heavenly Father cares about me.

God loves us one by one. He knows your name, and all your pain. He knows your smiles, and wants to help you. One of the greatest comforts to me has been this song. Listen to it, and remember, there is always someone who loves you.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Shine the Light

(Copyright Intellectual Reserve)
There are many messages the world throws us. Immorality is okay, glory is of utmost importance, you can cheat a little to get what you want. As long as you're not caught, you haven't done anything wrong.

That is so far from the truth.

Darkness is all around us. The storms and waves of the sea threaten to overturn us. You can see it on billboards, in newspapers, and peers. So many times we run into apathy, even disdain for anything virtuous.

In all this darkness, there are many who are searching for light, looking everywhere for a glimpse of hope.

We've all been given lights, in our testimonies and in our knowledge of right and wrong. But many of us choose to hide under umbrellas, "protecting" that little candle so that it won't go out. This hides our light from others though, and makes it unusable for ourselves.

As disciples of Christ in these latter days, as Christians and as morally keen people, we need to be in the world, but not of the world. Do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? No. They put it on a hill for all to see and be guided by it, for all to feel of it's warmth.

My friend once bought a homeless man some food, and cared for him. He tried to make sure the man had everything he needed to make it through that day. As he was leaving, the man called out to him and asked if he was Christian. He said yes. Make your life consistent with what you believe so that people recognize who you are.

One time I was on a bus, and this girl brought up the topic of religion. She asked me where I belonged and I told her I was Mormon. She got all excited and was like "I knew it, I knew it! All you Mormons have that smiling, bright face!" I was a bit surprised, but I was grateful to know that the gospel light is shining through me in the way that others can feel my happiness.

How often is your light on? How bright does it shine through your eyes? Shine so that others will want to know Christ, so that others will see him through you.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How can we get closer to God?

I was sitting in Young Women's and just felt a strong impression that you needed to hear this.

The topic of the lesson was "how can we know Heavenly Father loves us, and how do we get closer to him?"

The teacher took out three objects and laid them out. They were a cell phone, a flashlight, and a map. She said these were ways we can reach a destination. The most important place we want to get to is back to our Heavenly Father. We also have spiritual tools: the cell phone represents communication with God through prayer, the flashlight is the Holy Ghost lighting our path, and the map is the scripture which lay out God's plan for us and answers any questions we have about what directions we need to take.

First we talked about the Holy Ghost. Many times, the Holy Ghost will be sent to us in answer to our prayers. The Holy Ghost (aka Spirit) will tell us truth to our hearts and minds about anything we want to know. The Spirit is God's messenger and tells us what he wants us to hear, and as we feel the comfort and peace of the Holy Ghost, we can know for sure that God loves us.

The scriptures (bible, Book of Mormon, etc) shows us the will of God and gives us examples of other people who have had to overcome the same problems we are going through. Many times, as we read the scriptures after we pray, the Spirit will show us things we need to know at that moment in the scriptures. As we act on the answers we recieve, and follow what the scriptures say, we will come to know God better and get closer to him. For example, the scriptures tell us we should serve others. As we actually go out into the world and help people, the Spirit will witness to us that what we are doing is right and that God loves us.

Lastly we talked about prayer. Heavenly Father knows even the smallest sparrow, and he knows the thoughts and desires of your heart. Just like any father, he wants us to talk to him, to tell us our problems and victories, to ask for help. As you exercise faith in God by praying, he will answer your prayers. Miracles come by simple prayers.

God will answer EVERY prayer. But how will we recognize the answers to those prayers? Sometimes the answers will not be what we want to hear, or will not come as quickly as we want them to. But if you pray with real intent and listen for an answer with an open heart, the answers will come.

Answers to prayers may come as peace, the voice of the Spirit, an idea, a dream, calm, love, or through the words of the scriptures. This is called revelation.

There was a time when I needed an answer to a question I had, and I needed it NOW, because I felt uneasy and unsure of everything. But God didn't answer my prayer immediately, because he wanted me to learn patience and to trust him. He knows what is best for us, and will give us the answer we need in the exact hour when we need it. And he did. 

Remember, you are a child of God, and he loves you. 
(Copyright Intellectual Reserve)

A Little Princess

So I was watching A Little Princess yesterday. Absolutely love that movie.

We are all princesses. Well, or princes. You know what I mean. ;)
You are a daughter of Heavenly Father, who loves you. He is the most high King, and he knows you personally. As his daughter, you have the potential to become like him, a queen. You can do things beyond your imagination.

Through Christ is the only way that we can inherit the kingdom of God. As we follow the path he has laid out for us, we will be able to find our own happily ever after.

Someday, we will meet that prince and get married in a beautiful castle. Someday we will live together forever in happiness.

Remember, you are a princess. There was a talk in conference a couple years ago about a prince who was visiting neighboring countries. His friends tried to tempt him to lie, cheat, and take advantage of this opportunity away from the scrutinizing eyes of his kingdom and parents. When asked why he wouldn't partake in these immoral actions, he said that he couldn't imagine returning to home without being the best example of a prince. He would not compromise his honor for some fun. 

I hope we may all remember that one day, we truly will be queens. Be humble, kind, compassionate, faithful, loving, virtuous, and patient like a queen and princess should be. Even when you feel small and insignificant, never forget who your eternal dad is. He will protect you, and he knows the beauty and grace that is inside you. 

You are a princess. Now live up to your potential. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Are you a diamond?

(Copyright Intellectual Reserve)

There is a myth out there that if you crush coal it will turn into a diamond. Scientists are still debating whether it is true or not, but there are a couple things they do know. Coal and diamonds are both made of the element carbon. When carbon is put under a lot of pressure and heat, it is incredibly transformed into the beautiful, valuable jewel we have now. However, you can see that if the conditions are not quite right, you will only be able to have coal.

In our lives, Heavenly Father gives us trials to test us. Just like the carbon, as we react with a good attitude to this pressure, we will become something beautiful. God knows what type of trials we need in order to make us humble, teachable, righteous, patient, and strong. Then, through the refiner's fire, we will be polished and molded to become the best we can be, to reach the potential of what He knows we can become. There are so many things you can do beyond your imagination, and as God gives us trials and heat, we can get closer to our full potential.

Many have said that through adversity, we grow spiritually ten times faster. We learn and grow better, and as we turn to our Father in Heaven through our trials, he will make us stronger. Have faith and hope that God will get you through. And remember, the only difference between a piece of coal and a dazzling diamond is how they responded to pressure. ;)

You have the potential to become the beautiful diamond that God knows you can be. Trust him, and he will lead you on.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

You Are My Hands

     (Copyright Intellectual reserve)
     I guess I'm still kind of gravitating towards my last post. I like this topic a lot, and hope you will too.

            In general conference a couple years ago, President Uchtdorf shared this:

            A story is told that during the bombing of a city in World War II, a large statue of Jesus Christ was severely damaged. When the townspeople found the statue among the rubble, they mourned because it had been a beloved symbol of their faith and of God’s presence in their lives.
Experts were able to repair most of the statue, but its hands had been damaged so severely that they could not be restored. Some suggested that they hire a sculptor to make new hands, but others wanted to leave it as it was—a permanent reminder of the tragedy of war. Ultimately, the statue remained without hands. However, the people of the city added on the base of the statue of Jesus Christ a sign with these words: “You are my hands."

            I love this story! Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have the power to do all things, but personal growth and fulfillment is found as we become like Christ and be his hands on earth. I love it to think that in any endeavor that is righteous and good, we will have three pairs of amazingly helpful hands behind us. Through God's power, Christ's grace, and the Spirit's guidance, we will be able to bring so much peace and joy to God's children.
Go out and help someone today! Stand up for what you believe in, bear your testimony, smile in the hallway! You are a representative of Jesus Christ! He will help you in finding people who truly have a need, who are down, and who are troubled. You can be an instrument in His hand to do incredible things.
            Short post today, but sweet. And something I still need to work on.

(Copyright Intellectual Reserve)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Spirit is Willing, Flesh is Weak

(copyright Intellectual Reserve)

Aw you guys! A bit disappointed in myself... The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, and I'm feeling it today.

This morning I prayed for an opportunity to share the gospel. Then I remembered someone I could share it with.

A couple weeks ago I gave a Book of Mormon to my friend for Christmas. The gift of the joy and peace that comes from the gospel is the best gift you could ever give to somebody. But I always get super nervous at the moment of missionary work. While my ideals and intentions are good, I end up tongue tied and anxious. So i decided to write my testimony inside of it and wrap it up do I wouldn't have to talk about it right then and there. First mistake, because while it saves my anxiety right then and there, it causes for a lot of trouble later.

The first day back from winter break, I was SUPER nervous. Like seriously, about to throw up. It wasn't that I was ashamed of the gospel, just that even without fear I get flushed and it's embarrassing and everyone starts looking at me concerned like "are you okay?" And then I get stuttery and troubled, and try to end the awkward conversation. (I've gotten a lot better, because it only gets comfortable with practice ;)

Well, the first day back, neither of us saw each other. I was getting more relaxed as the week went by. Maybe I wouldn't need to talk to her about it and embarrass myself.

But then this morning, I decided that if I got the chance, I would bear my testimony to her. Agh! Stupid natural man. Because guess what? After two weeks of not bringing it up, she finally thanked me for it. There was my chance. And I blew it. I don't think I'm going to even write what I said. It was just totally not what I had wanted, and I had let my fear come before following the Spirit.

Even though I feel like I messed up pretty bad, I think at this point, it's the best I can do. I put my best into my efforts, and tomorrow my best will be a little higher. Maybe I'll talk to her about it.

I tried my best while on the Lords errand, so I cannot fail. 

For next time though, I do think I need to remember that I am to be a tool, an instrument in the Lord's hand. He is the carpenter, and knows what we can do. If we just let him work through us, then miracles can happen. I will try to let The Lord work through me. You will too, won't you? For me? ;)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Power of a Smile

(Copyright Intellectual Reserve and
Today was kinda a blah day. Rain. I wish I could dance in the rain. 

I heard this story once about a guy who went everyday to this bridge. He would smile and wave at every car that would pass by. In the beginning, people would sometimes wave back. But for a while nobody smiled back at him. This really hurt him, and one day he wrote a note and left it in his apartment saying that if nobody smiled at him that day he would jump the bridge into the river. He had no family or friends, and so those smiles people gave him was his world. When that stopped, his world stopped. That day no one smiled at him. :(

I hope your smile never needs to be a factor into a life or death situation, but the point is, you never know what struggle or pain is going on in a person's life. So you should try to brighten everyone's day. Smile at people you pass in the hall. Give a compliment to someone you barely know. 

There was a girl I knew once. She was a little overweight, and bullied a lot. She was quiet and barely looked into peoples faces because she was afraid that she would get hurt. 

I kept feeling like I should do something nice for her. I would smile and talk to her sometimes, but I knew I could do better. So for valentines day, I decided to give her a valentine. Now you must understand, back then, Fundip was gold and if you got it for a valentine you were forever in their debt. 

When I gave her that Fundip, her face lit up so much. She looked at me and tentatively asked, " for me?"  She probably hadn't gotten any valentines day cards or candy yet, and watched on the side as others received gifts galore. 

She moved away a week later. I was so grateful to have shown her that small kindness, to let her know that someone cared about her. I hope she is doing better where she lives now. I hope she knows how much her Father in heaven loves her. 

I would feel so guilty if I hadn't been kind to her before she moved away. So don't procrastinate your kindness. You don't know what effect you can make on people. :)

Go make someone smile for me ;)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pioneer Faith

(copyright Intellectual Reserve and
We are so lucky. I mean seriously, so lucky. 

Running water. Indoor heating. Family. Friends. America. Clothes. Flowers. 

Yeah sure none of those things are perfect. We fight with our families, wish our clothes were this or that, and think that some conspiracy business is going on with the government. But atleast we have those perfect imperfect things. 

I don't know how in the world the pioneers did it. First they didn't have indoor heating unless their house caught on fire. The occasional stream was their running water. Many of them left their families for their faith. Friends and family members died as they crossed the plains. They were leaving America to go to uncharted territory. Clothes were hard to find and hard to make, much less cute. And as they crossed the plains in the winter, they didn't even have flowers to comfort them.

All this on the words of a man. But they did it because they believed that God had called a prophet on the earth today, had restored precious truths that made up for all the pain they were going through. They believed in answers to prayers, in miracles. They believed in forever families and resurrection and Jesus Christ. 

We believe in that today too. Would we be able to leave our homes behind and follow God's will to walk across the country pushing handcarts in the dead of winter? Of course not all left in the winter. But even those who didn't: many had to choose between family expectations and will of God. Many knew the consequences of joining "them Mormons." Despised of many, killed and persecuted, and now tossed from the frying pan into the fire as they faced the uncertainty of the journey. 

As I think about that move, I am grateful for the trials small in comparison I am dealing with. I can still talk to friends in Virginia, and visit a couple times a year. My whole family is together, and we all love each other. I didn't have to push tons of weight twenty miles a day in order to reach an unknown destination. 

I got to go to trek this summer. It was so cool. At that point I knew I was moving. It was so amazing. I am truly amazed with the faith the pioneers had.

Keep the faith

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Tree of Life

(copyright Intellectual Reserve and

I'm so excited! In art class, we are having the opportunity to do self portraits in any way we like. At first I was a little unsure about it, because being the center of attention isn't too cool, but I have an idea!

I was thinking, and I realized there were not really very many widely known art pieces about the tree of life that are actually personal. They all show the grand scheme of things, but not a personal view. 

So I am going to draw myself reaching up and plucking off the fruit of the tree of life! 

For those who are unfamiliar with this story, it is found in 1 Nephi 7-11 or so (?). For those who are familiar, too bad! ;)

The tree of life was a dream that a prophet had. But I'll just describe what was in the dream. 

Many people were gathered, confused by the fog and storms and darkness of life. They were wandering, just like how we wander. Some of them found an iron rod suspended in the air, and grabbed hold of it. Looking down at their feet, they saw a straight and narrow path. If they followed that path and rod, they would reach a tree. Full of fruit and shining like the sun, the tree welcomed all to partake of its sweetness.

Across the way, a dirty river flowed. Across the river people laughed and spat and pointed fingers at the followers. They were rich and pleasurable, and some people who had reached the tree were ashamed. But those who had held fast to the iron rod were able to reach the tree and share the fruit with their families.

What did this dream mean? Well, that's what Nephi, a young man and the son of this prophet wanted to know. He prayed and asked God what it meant. An angel came to him and asked him what he thought the tree was. Nephi said he did not know the meaning of all things, but he knew that God loved his children (more on that in another post). The angel then showed him the vision and explained.

The tree of life is the love of God, and the fruit was the sweetest above all other fruits. The only way was by following the straight and narrow path and the iron rod to the tree. The iron rod was the word of God, and if we hold fast to it we can find our way through the mists of darkness to reach God's love. The word of God is found in the scriptures.

We need to make sure we find the iron rod and hold fast to it so that the people who laugh and mock us do not cause us to leave the light we've been given. As we keep progressing along the straight and narrow path, we will one day be able to bask in the light of God's love.

This past year, I have read my scriptures so much. I am so grateful to feel the love God has for me. If you want to feel it, read the scriptures. They will show you the way. God's love is the source of true happiness! I know that if you will search for him, and ask him if he loves you, you can receive a knowledge of that as well!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Come Unto Christ 2014

(Copyright Intellectual Reserve and
Come Unto Christ is the youth theme for 2014! I love it!

We've had some great themes the past couple years. Keep arising and shining and standing and be not moved! But I think this years is amazing! Truly an inspired theme!

Moroni 10:32 says:

32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. (Moroni 10:32)

I have personally felt the effects of coming to Christ. Truly, after being cleansed and forgiven and made perfect through Christ, there is no way I can now deny my testimony. I know that God lives and loves us, for he sent his son. I know for a fact that God is real and is watching over us, for he has changed things in my life I could not have changed by myself. Attitudes have been improved, thoughts have been purified, despair has been vanquished, and hope has replaced all the darkness of the world. There is no earthly or humanly possible way I could have done that on my own, for I had already tried. Only when I humbled myself and truly asked for God's help was I able to feel that peace.

To come unto Christ means to leave behind our doubt, fear, and sin, and humble ourselves. Let him heal you.

One of my other favorite parts of this verse is "his grace is sufficient." No matter how many mistakes you've made, no matter how many times you've stumbled or doubted or feared or rebelled, no matter how short you may fall of the glory of God, Christ's grace is sufficient for YOU. He loves  Helen, Mady, Rachel, Marie rose, Katie, Nicole, Sherri, Valerie, Caroline, mark, John, Amanda, Eliza, James, Seth, jack, Madison, Dylan, McKenna, Mckenzie, Gerdy, Mary, Alice, Tyler, Makayla, Adam, Stacy, Victoria, Brandon, Matthew, Max, Elizabeth, Samantha, Whitney, Brittany, Stephanie, Sarah, Gwen, Bryan, Brad, Gabby, Emily, Louiza, Lissa, Molly, Megan, Bailey, Parker, Brock, Austin, Jake, Lindsey, and: You. If I missed your name leave it in a comment and I'll add it on here, because Christ loves you.

Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Crayola is Smart

(copyright Intellectual reserve and

Okay, so it might just be the artist in me, but I just love Crayola.

So, on Sunday our lesson was on unity. They asked us how we could describe unity in an object lesson. I came up with this:

So, say everyone is assigned a color. We are all crayons, and your color is brown. That kind of stinks, you think. You can't draw beautiful rainbows, or paint a night sky. You can't make awe-inspiring sunshine like yellow, and you didn't even get a color that stands for beauty at all. But it was the luck of the draw, and you are stuck with it. 
As you continue on your career as a crayon, you notice you are the last color picked. Little children have loved and worn down all the purples to a stump, yet you've only been used once to draw a girls hair. No love for you. Soon the box is discarded and you are left alone with the other colors, only half used and unloved, while they taunt you because the only thing you are good for drawing is dung. 
Alone, you feel ugly and unwanted. Looking at the other colors, you notice red is too rash and glaring, orange too prideful, yellow is somewhat unkind. Green gets jealous often, blue is depressed, and purple seems to be hiding something. Alone, all the colors have lost their beauty. You start to wonder why the world even invented crayons, if every color alone is disgusting. 
But there is one who sees your true worth. That is Heavenly Father. The world is like a child, telling us we need to be perfect this and perfect that. It uses us for a short scribble, but quickly the trends change and you are discarded. Remember, Satan is never there to lift you up. 

Heavenly Father sees the worth in your humble color. Though you may not have apparent beauty, God sees your full potential. He is the Master Artist and Creator, he sees us as we can one day be. 

The Artist finds the discarded colors and is sad. The world has degraded and belittled us. But he knows how to guide us to become a beautiful masterpiece. We just need to put our crayon in his hand and let him do his magic. 
This picture of deer is what a true Master can do. And look! Your humble brown is the main event! No longer can blue and red belittle you, for you were made to do amazing things!

 I guess I strayed a little from the unity aspect. The truth is, our self worth is so important when we work together. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses, but when we come together and work together, led by a loving Heavenly Father, we can do incredible things. 

Remember there is always someone who loved you!

<3 eliza

Friday, January 3, 2014

Run to Him

So tonight I thought I would tell you a story. You can find this story in the book of Enos in the Book of Mormon, on page 136-138.

 Enos was this guy. He lived with the Nephites, who are supposed to be the good guys, but most of the Nephites have been sinning lately, and do not believe in God any more. They do not put their trust in him like they used to.

 Well, Enos was caught up in all of this and didn't know what to do. His dad was the prophet (which means the person who received revelation from God for the group of people, who could talk to him and was a spokesperson for him), so naturally, Enos had been taught from a young age about the gospel. But now that all the good guys were kinda becoming bad guys and doubting, Enos didn't know what to believe.

 In Enos 1:1, he says his father was a just man. He knew his father loved him and was trustworthy. He also says his father had taught him the words if The Lord, and also the love of God. He was grateful that his dad was loving him enough to tell him these things, and knew his dad wouldn't lie to him, but he had to know if these things were true for himself.

 So one day he goes out to hunt. Basically he goes to work. When he's alone out in the forest, probably looking around him and wondering for the thousandth time if there truly is a creator, if his dad was telling the truth, if God really was there and loved him. He is remembering what his father said about eternal life, about the gospel, and then he remembers the "joy of the saints. " he says that these things sunk deep into his heart. He wanted the joy that the saints had, the joy that people who believed in God had, and he wanted to know if the words his father said were true. (1:3)

 Then in verse four, it says some of my favorite lines:  "And my soul hungered, and I kneeled down before my maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for my own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him."

 What happens when you are hungry? Your body is telling you that you are in dire need of nutrients and substance in order to have energy and continue working. But Enos had spiritual hunger. His spirit needed some nourishment, needed knowledge of the truth and needed to feel God's love. And he knew it. So he had to go find it.

 Matthew 5:6 says ( and really listen to this, this is Jesus Christ literally speaking) "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."

 And who better to fill that void than our Heavenly Father, who knows every need, every tear, every word?

 But notice Enos is not just praying. Prayer is an important part to gaining a testimony, but it is not everything. In verse two, it says he wrestled before God before he gained this knowledge and felt God's love. This means he was fighting with himself, his mind was telling him one thing while his heart told him another. He had to lay down his pride and ask for help. He had to struggle and labor in order to receive these blessings. God expects us to work hard and be patient for his blessings. Sometimes, it is extremely hard to trust this when it feels like he is not answering our prayer right away, or with a grand manifestation of his power.

 In verse five, he gets an answer: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed. In verse six, he says he knew God could not lie, so he was troubled no more and at peace. But then he asked how in the world he could be blessed with this gift of forgiveness and knowledge.

  Verse 8: "And he said unto me; Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years shall pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh. Wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole. "

 Check out the last verse, verse 27. Listen to all the things that he knows. This is many years later, after he has been faithful and believing for a while, and is on the right path. He says he will:
•soon die, but is not scared
 •knows he will see his redeemer (Christ)
•knows he is forgiven of his sins and has joy that comes with that
•is looking forward to the day of resurrection when the righteous will receive perfect bodies and will live forever in happiness
•knows he will see God face to face (imagine that!)
• and Heavenly Father will be proud of him, and has a place in heaven reserved for him

 Don't you wish you could have that knowledge? I know I do. I'm far from that faith, but I'm slowly getting there :). When I have those days of doubt and despair, I think of all these things that Enos mentioned, I think of the end result: someday I will get to run into Jesus's arms and hug him and thank him and thank him and thank him for all that he has done for me. I will be able to see him and say "i love you" in person. That is what helps me have faith to reach up to the light through all this darkness.
I can't wait to hug him. 

<3 Eliza

Ps. This is David Bowman's painting titled Security

He Will Not Fail You


You need to watch this. The song is he will not fail you. I don't know if you've heard this yet, but I love this story and will share it again. This found in Matthew 14:22-33

Back when Christ was living on the earth, he had disciples. They were on a boat once, and mighty storms came. But then a man walked on water to them and told them not to fear. It was Christ, but they did not know that. Peter, the leader, asked if "if you are really the Son of God, let me walk on this water to you. "

That would be really scary. But Jesus said yes, come to me. So Peter stepped into the water. For a couple seconds he walked on water! With his eyes straight on the Savior, he walked to him. But then Peter got distracted by the storm, and got scared that he would sink and die. Once this fear and doubt entered his heart, he started sinking. He called out for Christ to save him, and straightaway, Christ grabbed his arm and pulled him back up.

This song is saying that sometimes, we need to leave behind our personal "ships," our doubts, sins, fears, and pain to walk to Christ. If we just believe that he will help us through the storm, then he will. We will be able to do incredible things as we trust in his love.

Please watch the video! This song helped me get through so many trials, heartache, and doubt. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Beautiful Heartbreak

Moving stinks. Time to pour my heart out.

I met this lady yesterday. She's my new hero. She's the real deal super-disciple.

She is LDS. Was doing everything right. Had four beautiful daughters and one amazing son. But then a crisis shook everything she knew and she had to learn to rely on Christ like she never had before. Then her life was thrown into the storm as her family uprooted and moved overnight.

She was talking to me about a dance and I was lamenting on how amazing it was and how I was sad it was over. Then she said:

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

That must be an accumulation of all of the faith she found, all of the hurt she's felt, all the love she's had to give away. It really inspired me.

God truly does have a plan for us. I think I was supposed to meet her yesterday.

Last year my friend was fighting luekemia. She gave it her all, and the whole community was convinced her prayers for that miracle would be answered. But she finished her battle in September. She is now living with her Father in Heaven.

So was she victorious in her battle? Did God answer her families prayers? I think he did. No, I know he did.

She has the greatest rest and relief now. I can't imagine what amazement she is experiencing right now. The community has risen and grown together, for through her love she showed us God's love. I wish I could influence people in the ways she did.

Then in March, my best friend passed away. Sure, she was a cat. But I could tell her everything. She never judged me and let me cry into her warmth when I had heartbreak tugging me down. That was hard.

But this summer, I moved. I'm no longer a Virginian, but a Pennsylvanian. It's not the farthest move, but I had to leave everything behind. All the relationships, all the memories, all the people who had taught me so much. I felt like now there was hardly an imaginary connection to my friend who passed away, much less a bond with my cat.

I've had to face humiliation, hurt, unfamiliarity, disdain even. I've done things I never thought I could do. I've shared the gospel a ton, and found my testimony in this world of darkness (I'll reserve that for another post). I've realized that the world moves on without me, people move away, people move in, friendships are broken and replaced. People get taller. Babies are born.

As our family drive away from Virginia this morning back up to Pennsylvania, it felt like I was leaving my home. But I guess wherever people you love are is home. Virginia is home, Utah is home, Nauvoo is home ;), even Pennsylvania is home now.

There is one place we all know well. Even though you may not remember it, you once had a heavenly home with your Heavenly parents. Jesus, our older brother, was there too. Everyone we loved was all together, in the same place all at once. That is our true home.

That is where I want to go. I want to be enveloped in His love again, and see the faces of everyone I
love. I want to be reunited with those who have passed on, I want to feel like I belong again.

God sends us heartbreak to help us grow. He wants us to return to his love. I am so grateful for this life and an opportunity to grow and learn.

If you haven't heard the song Beautiful Heartbreak yet, you need to watch this. It's the best.

A Peach Tree

It's a new year, time for a rejuvenation of our goals and good intents, time for a remembering of what is truly important. A time to turn our hearts over again.

I was watching Kung Fu Panda today. One of my favorite things in the whole world is finding metaphors for truth in everyday life. Joseph Smith once said that "we accept truth wherever it is found, no matter the source. For this is a gospel of truth." I didn't quote that completely, but you get the gist (jiste, jist, giste?).

What does this have to do with Kung Fu Panda? Well.

Po is a panda who finds out that he is the Dragon warrior, a hero of legend destined to save the world. But no one believes in him, not even himself. Just like us, he puts words like fat, dumb, ugly, short, tall, skinny, unskilled, untalented, and clumsy in front of his true name. In reality, our Heavenly Father sees us as beautiful, graceful, learning, growing, honorable, and of great worth.

But he still doesn't believe it. Even when we know all those things, we love to say "there's nothing special here. Move on to what others can offer."  With a sigh, we leave it at that.

There was one wise old turtle who knew the worth of souls, though. He compared it to peach trees. You see, we all start out as a seed. As we grow, there may be knots in our journey, but as long as we are growing heavenward, we are moving towards our destiny and potential. Someday, we will be clothed in beautiful blossoms, a foreshadowing of the even greater joy to come. And one day, we will be able to taste the fruit of our labors, the warm, enveloping peace and love of a peach. ( I kinda mixed my two metaphors together. Hope it makes sense! ;)

Another thing the tortoise said was even if we want apples or oranges, we will still get peaches. There are incredible things, incredible potential within each of us, and it is never the same for anyone. That is the beauty of it. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and we all have our own path to discovering them. I think that must be one of our Heavenly Father's favorite things, helping us discover our true worth and potential. Can you imagine what amazing things he has in store for us when we take our place at his side?

You can't force yourself to be something you are not, and you cannot force the timing of your destiny. The secret ingredient is yourself, and believing in who you can become. Christ has promised that we can become as he is!

So this new year I hope we all try a little harder, reach a little higher, and do the things that it will take to get closer to that fruit. Have a little more faith, love a little harder, and always remember that you are worth so much to your Father in heaven. My favorite quote from general conference was the one by President Thomas S. Monson. He truly is a prophet of God:

“Your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes, it is simply always there.”