Sunday, December 28, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
As I've grown older, my perception of Christmas has changed a lot. I really realized this last year when I came home after my first semester away at college. I didn't care much for the gifts--they were all wonderful, of course, and I loved the thought and love (and in some cases hours of time) that were put into each of my gifts whether bought or homemade, but it was something more important. I had been trying to look on the true meaning of Christmas for the past few years: Christ, his birth, and his Atonement for us, and this focus helped me. But on top of that, last year I was just so happy to be home with my family for Christmas and that overshadowed anything that I received present-wise.
This year was very similar. The best Christmas presents in the world I didn't receive today (although I DID receive some very wonderful things from my very wonderful family). I've had them for a while now. First is my Savior, Jesus Christ. He loves me, he suffered and died for me, and through Him I can do anything. He, His gospel, and my Heavenly Father are all I need in my life. Next are two gifts I've had for a week now--being home with my family and the break from school. My family is forever, and I'm so grateful for that, but since I don't get to see them all that often now, it's great to just be home for a little while. I'll probably be tired of them in a few days, but for now, there's no where else I'd rather be, and besides, even when I'm tired of them I still love them and am grateful for them. The break from school is always needed by the end of semester--time to recuperate, time to breathe, and time to relax. That and my family are all I wanted for Christmas. It was so nice to just be sitting on the couch, looking around at all the kids running around, asking if it's their turn to open a present, and just thinking, "I'm so grateful to be here, that this family is mine, and that I get to be with them."
So. This Christmas Day and holiday season, I hope you are grateful for everything that you've been blessed with. I hope you remember the real meaning of Christmas. Our Savior. The third verse of one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Silent Night," expresses it perfectly: "Son of God, Love's pure light radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of Redeeming grace." Remember family and those you love. Remember the opportunity we have to make ourselves better--every day, but especially at the New Year. Remember Christ. Remember Christmas and love and family and joy all year round. :)
Much love to all,
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Okay, so Twin isn't always beloved, but it's nice for the moment. Except for the fact that my little brother is reading over my shoulder, but you know...life isn't perfect.
Being home is nice. Christmas shopping consists of the place where liars go. I love Christmas itself and the Christmas season but the shopping is unproductive and annoying and crowded and dumb. But I love being with my family and with Lindsey and Chip. Tonight Chip and I hung out for the first time since Thanksgiving, but that wasn't very long then. It's more been since the end of the summer. We had so much fun, and then Linds joined us. Haha, Chip read some of my poems that Elizabeth found in my room that I thought I had thrown away (slightly embarrassing. they're a bit cheesy and she doesn't even know the story). Chip said they were good, but sad, which made me laugh, because I was kinda sad and depressed and lovesick and heartbroken when I wrote them, but I was just really hyper then.
On a completely unrelated note, yesterday Lindsey and I went to Stuart and TFHS to see teachers. Now that most of the teachers I used to visit at Stuart have retired, we just went to see Mrs. Goodrich, but she alone is enough to keep us occupied. I LOVE that lady. She, and her choir classes in junior high, changed my life. Then we went to the high school, bugged the seminary teachers and Cappy. All great guys. Except when Mr./Bro. Casperson is being bipolar and mad, but he was happy to see us "graduates." After having been a high school graduate for over a year and a half and having 3 semesters of college under my belt, that is still a weird sound: to hear me being called a "graudate." Oh well. I really wanted to go see Mrs. High though. She is probably one of the teachers who has influenced me most, and I love just talking to her. I wanted to talk to her about my Engl 291 class and how I'm going to England in the Spring and just about everything. I've wanted to talk to her for probably around 2 months now. And I get there and she had taken a personal day! Sad! I mean, Mrs. High definately deserves it, probably more than anyone, but I really wanted to see her. Oh well. I'll just have to come back home to visit again soon.
Anyway, I really need to go shower and go to bed. Maybe I'll write some more poetry. I haven't written any in months and I'm feeling in the mood since Chip-Amanda uncovered all the stuff I wrote at the beginning of the summer (aka the end of April when I came home after Winter semester). :) Goodnight friends!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Finals really do suck though. Monday I spent all morning studying for my Engl 291--Early British Literature--final, which was at two that day. It was really hard. It's one of my favorite classes, and I've rocked the past two tests, but this one was really difficult. There's just so much information to know about literature in the Restoration-18th Century. It's crazy. Each of those tests always take me along time, because they're hand-written, short/long answer, but this one took me the full three of frantically writing almost the entire time. It was crazy! Then I did German for the rest of the night, to get ready for my oral and computer final for that the next morning...at stinkin' 7:45. I am NOT a morning person. At least I didn't have any 7 a.m. finals. Yesterday I also wasted more time than I should have. I watched a movie instead of studying for and then taking my New Testament final, so I woke up and took it this morning and did some shopping for Christmas/my mommy before tap. I also sold back books. I haven't even sold back my Music 101 book/CDs yet because I'm still using them, but I got $56 back! And that's not even selling back one of my anthologies that I want to keep and a few other books that I couldn't. Best haul yet, and I'm not even done yet. But yesh, just wrapping up the never-ending German before I go take my no-stress 251 final. Free response, only an hour, and only worth 10 points. It's great. Then I'll go home and finish more German and study for my Music 101 final. Almost done. The end is in sight. I can see the light. I can almost see Twin Falls. Okay, not really. But I'll be able to say that in hopefully 23 hours.
I hope the roads aren't bad. Last year it took my car (I wasn't driving, I rode with the Allans and Amanda) 7 hours to get from Provo to Twin when it usually takes 4. Oh, I hope it only takes 4...
No wait! Okay, it's been really exciting. Friday I got two pieces of missionary mail--a Christmas card from Elder Danny Smith and Elder Sterling Mason via Elder Smith, and a letter from Elder Matt Ivie, my 2nd cousin! It completely made my day. And THEN the next day I got a three page letter from my best friend/adopted brother Elder Garin Savage! And it gets better. Then yesterday I'm checking the mail and I got a letter from my dear Elder Scott Savage. Missionary mail is am besten! So 4 letters in 5 days, one of which they don't deliver mail. Life is good. And so are my missionary friends, by the way. I hope to get more letters soon. They always make my day.
Now the end. For real.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
John 21: 25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
I read these verses again tonight and they struck me. This is the purpose of the new Testament: to bring everyone unto Jesus Christ, that we all may gain eternal life through his Atonement and live the way that He would have us live. In the 4 gospels alone--Matthew, Mark, Luke and John--there are so many examples of His miracles, His love for us. And yet John 21:25 says that there are so many more things that He did, and that there is no way they could even be written because of their greatest and the amount of them. This makes me stand in awe at our Heavenly Father and His Son. I love them so much. I know that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God, the Savior of the World. He came and died for each one of us, myself and yourself included. He loves us more than we can ever imagine, and He lives! I know that He lives and loves me. Although I am not perfect, I can become perfected through Him and His Atonement. I hope one day I'll be able to run into His loving arms, worship Him and kiss His feet. I am so grateful to have been able to learn more about Him through the New Testament this semester. This is a book which truly fulfills its purpose and testifies of the Savior. It is true. He is true. Believe in Him, and believe Him. This song expresses my testimony of the Savior so much better than I ever could. Here are the lyrics. If you know the tune, sing it--music has a power greater than almost anything. If not, the words are still powerful. Here is my testimony of the Savior. I say these things in His name, Jesus Christ, Amen.
"I Know that my Redeemer Lives!"--Hymn 136
I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.
He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.
He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Today in New Testament we talked about John's account of when Jesus appeared to the disciples at Tiberias. I'm not going to post the entire scripture story, so if you want to read it you can go to www.lds.org, click on Gospel Library, then the Scriptures link (third from the bottom on the left side). It's pretty self-explanatory after that: click on New Testament, then John. It's chapter 21.
We talked about and/or I noticed a lot of little things about this story, especially with Peter. First, when Jesus comes, they don't realize it's him. He tells them to cast their net on the other side of the boat. After having not caught anything all night, they catch 153 fish! Surprisingly, the net doesn't break. When Jesus then reminds them to be fishers of men, it is like he's saying, "There is room for hundreds of people in my kingdom. The net will never break. Go out and find them." And it's true. Through Christ's Atonement, there is room for all in God's kingdom. No one is left out--His sacrifice is all-inclusive for everyone.
Next the Savior offers His disciples a meal. My professor, Dr. Holzapfel, pointed out that asking someone to eat a meal with you is like covenanting with them. The Savior is here giving the disciples another chance to renew their covenants. It is like another Sacrament. This caused me to think. Are we dining with Christ daily? Are we keeping our part of the bargain? When I, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, partake of the sacrament on Sunday, do I fully appreciate Jesus's Atonement for me, renew my deal with him to follow his commandments, and repent of my sins?
This leads to my last, and favorite, point: Peter's repentance. Christ asks Peter three times if he loves Him. Of course, Peter says yes. He is hurt by the fact that Jesus must keep asking him. But Petet denied Christ three times. This is the repentance process, and repentance hurts. The last time around Peter realizes that he must be as transparent as possible. The same is true with us in our lives. No matter how much it hurts, there is only room for humble clarity when we repent. There is no room for pride. When Peter answers "Lord, thou knowest all things," he means this on a few different levels. 1) Jesus knows that Peter loves Him and wants to repent and do his best to enter the kingdom. 2) Jesus was right about everything that would happen--including things that Peter was adamant would never happen, such as him denying Christ.
That second reason struck home to me. Around this time last year, there was something that I wanted almost more than anything. I prayed for it over and over again, getting a "not yet" answer. Finally, my insistent pesterings gave into an "Alright..." Looking back it reminds me of when Joseph Smith asked the Lord to let Martin Harris borrow the plates--he kept asking until the Lord gave up and said "Okay, but I warned you." Well, I got what I wanted, but the consequence, instead of the happiness I had expected, was a lot and a lot of heartache that took months to get over. In my haste for this thing (which would have been good at the right time), I, in my pride, ignored the Lord. I had to return to Him, pleading for forgiveness and respite from the hurt, saying, like Peter, "Lord, you knew this would happen. In my pride I forgot that. And Lord, you know I love you and want nothing more than to turn this around." Although I learned a lot in the end, repentance was a hard process, and it was painful for Peter to go through it was well. But that's how repentance is; it's hard, and takes a lot of work and humility, but in the end it's worth it.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Now, you're probably wondering what this has to do with the New Testament. If you're a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you're probably familiar with a lot of modern scripture and revelation that has to do with the importance of getting an education, such as President Gordon B. Hinckley's the 6 Bs (Be Smart). But I've never really connected that with the New Testament before. Then I came across this scripture:
Matthew 11:29--Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Not only does it promise rest, what every college student wants at this time of the year, but it prompts and urges us to "learn of [Him]." This reminds me of a talk I read at the beginning of the semester. It was by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, called "The Disciple-Scholar." One quote in particular stuck out to me:
For a disciple of Jesus Christ, academic scholarship is a form of worship. It is actually another dimension of consecration. Hence one who seeks to be a disciple-scholar will take both scholarship and discipleship seriously; and, likewise, gospel covenants. For the disciple-scholar, the first and second great commandments frame and prioritize life. How else could one worship God with all of one's heart, might, mind, and strength? (Luke 10:27.) Adoration of God leads to emulation of Him and Jesus: "Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am." (3 Ne. 27:27; see also 2 Pet. 3:11.)
As I reflect upon this message and tie it in with the above scripture, I become so thankful for BYU--a university run by the Church, where I can easily learn both things of the world and of the Lord and connect them to one another. Even more grateful am I for the opportunity I have merely to learn, even if it does cause me stress. I am grateful that the Lord has laid out a commandment to "learn of [Him]," which includes everything here upon the Earth. He is its creator, and as such, everything here testifies of Him. As we work hard to follow him, grow, and eduacte ourselves in the way of the world and the gospel, we will grow closer to our Heavenly Father and Savior, and we will be provided with comfort and rest.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
1) The restored gospel of Jesus Christ
2) My Savior and his Atonement for me
3) The Book of Mormon
4) The New Testament
5) My family, and the fact that I will be with them forever
6) My marvelous friends who support me and make me laugh
7) The temple, the opportunity I have to go basically every week, and the fact that there is now one dedicated in my home town
8) The mountains
9) Missionaries, especially my friends and family who love the Lord enough to serve
10) All of God's creations
11) A roof over my hed and food to eat
12) Music, especially the hymns
13) America and the freedoms I have here
14) BYU and the education I'm receiving here
15) Laughing and being happy
17) Thomas S. Monson, as the living Prophet today
18) Literature, poetry, and other English-major-y stuff
19) How the gospel is the same everywhere you go
And many more...
Some of these are trivial, some are things that most of us take for granted. Some are things that I could do without, others are so critical to who I am and what I believe. Whichever category they fit in, I am so grateful for everything the Lord has blessed me with. Remember, we need to thank him in all things. It is a commandment, and one that I am always happy to obey.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.
22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
• • •
24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
In my reading I came across this scripture and it really struck me. I've been very happy lately, but there are some days when I just have a hard time. Right now, school is really stressful, as I have 2 big presentations and about 400 pages to read before Thanksgiving break, and that's only in two classes. I've been missing some people and aspects that aren't currently in my life but are out of my control. But after reading this scripture I remembered that I have nothing to be sad about. I have the gospel of Jesus Christ, and although times may be hard, soon my trials will be hard. It will all be worth it.
A girl in my tap class said something in her opening prayer the other day along these lines, and it stuck with me. She said, "Even though life is hard sometimes, we're grateful that we have it." So be happy. Life is wonderful, and we can be grateful for the hard times and rejoice.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Ever since I read the Sermon on the Mount a few weeks ago for my New Testament class, I've been trying to become more like my Savior by following the precepts he laid out at the beginning of Matthew 5--the Beatitudes. Let me list them here:
- Blessed are the poor in spirit (humble)
- Blessed are they that mourn (I also take this as those who comfort and help those who are in need of it)
- Blessed are the meek
- Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness (teachable)
- Blessed are the merciful
- Blessed are the pure in heart
- Blessed are the peacemakers
- Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake (or, I apply this to me, as I don't come across much persecution in a Mormon community such as BYU, those who endure affliction)
My favorite one is verse 6: those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. It sums up the desire to be Christ-like in such a beautiful metaphor. If we want to be like Christ, we will be. When you're hungry and thirsty, it's all you think about. Christ, through this beatitude, invites us to feast upon his gospel and come unto Him.
As I've been trying to be more Christ-like by way of the Beatitudes the past few weeks, I've personally been a lot happier in my life. The promise of chapter 5 is really true; verse 12 says "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad." Even the word Beatitude means "to be fortunate" or "to be happy" or "to be blessed." That is what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the goal of our Heavenly Father and Savior, is all about: perfecting us and making us happier.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
You see, I'm a student at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. In my New Testament class, our professor, Dr. Holzapfel, requires us to do a Personal Reflection project. This semester, he's asked that we start a blog to record our feelings about the New Testament: what we've been learning and feeling, experiences we've had, our testimonies of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's also to get us involved with the call of many latter-day apostles to put more good information about the church up on the internet. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can only do so much itself. Now it's up to the members to be missionaries in our own part and spread the "good news" of the Gospel.
And that's that. I'll be posting things about my life, how the New Testament and the Gospel affects me in my life every day. I'm just a normal girl, and I happen to be Mormon. And because of my decision to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have been changed forever--for the better.