Sunday, December 28, 2008


Sometimes I get so confused and don't know what to do or how I feel. Tonight is one of those times.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Or, as my English side (that I'm uncovering more and more as I get closer to my Study Abroad trip...I haven't even been there yet and I want to be English!) would say, Happy Christmas!

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


After a long adventure involving a 2-hour drive through a snow storm to the SLC airport, parking Lisa's car and having a minor altercation with a grumpy old man, getting lost at two different exits trying to find food ("This is it! This looks familiar! Oh wait, no. This is [enter explanation of why this exit looks familiar]" said Lisa...twice...), really good frozen custard, and then another 3 hours in the car AFTER my ETA in Twin, I finally returned home to my beloved Twin Falls!

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 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


5 down, 2 to go. I've taken 6 hours of tests so far this week and I still have another (approximately...) 2, plus studying for Music 101 and Deutsch odd-ends. THEN I have to pack for break. And clean my room. And defrost the freezer and clean the fridge and some other lovely things that I have to do for our uber-intense cleaning check, which is Saturday. After I leave for home. The freezer just better not re-frost itself in the two and a half days between when I clean it and when they check it. I am NOT paying $5 because they have checks AFTER I leave for home. As much as I love Provo, I am sick of this semester and just need a break from all my college friends and school work and such, and I need to go home to Twin for a while. My finals will be done tonight, and so there is no way in the entire earth that I'm staying until Saturday when I have a car to drive myself home to see my family and my very bestest friend Lindsey tomorrow. So yep. The end of my rant.

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 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...

The end.

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

My Testimony

I have one more New Testament blog that I need to do, and to wrap up this project I just want to end with my simple, but strong, testimony of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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

The Sea of Tiberias--and me

It seems like so long since my last post, when it's really only been about 24 hours. Yesterday was forever ago. Ah, the joy of finals. I just hope that I can remember the content from my post from yesterady--that's about all that will get me through. :)

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, 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


Oftentimes this time of the collegiate year comes along with moans and groans of the students: finals. Classes are wrapping up and so all these big assignments are due, plus you have at least that one big test in each class, if not more than one (for example, I have 2 huge projects plus 3 tests in my German class). And so everything is really stressful, and I know that I at least sometimes think, "Why am I putting myself through all this?"

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


One of the things I remember most about high school is when one of my dear friends, who is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but was close friends with many people who were, asked me about about the Church. I was working at a fireworks stand with her and her dad and they started asking me about the temple that was being built at the time and then asked me about missions. We had several friends about to leave, and she understood that they'd be gone for two years and that was about it. That, plus the fact that the last two of my close guy friends to go on missions left today, are the inspiration for this post. Those two friends are Matt and Scott--or I should say Elder Ivie and Elder Savage. This is a picture of them this past Sunday. Elder Ivie (my 2nd cousin, once removed) is going to Zurich, Switzerland, speaking German, and Elder Savage (of Muffin Club fame, if you have any idea what I'm talking about) is going to Columbus, Ohio, speaking English. I'm so proud of them--most of my LDS guy friends have been excited to serve missions, but I think these two might take the cake. :)
In the Church, young men ages 19-25 (I think it's 25, I'm really not sure what the maximum age is, to be honest) are strongly encouraged to give up 2 years of their life in serving the Lord and spreading His gospel. It is not forced, as we all have our agency, but it is seen as a responsibility and a duty. Many of the young men I know see a mission as what they've been looking forward to and preparing for their whole lives--they are excited to go out and serve their Heavenly Father and fellow men. Girls can serve missions as well, although they are not as strongly encouraged. If a girl is 21, unmarried, and has the desire to serve, she may. I personally would love to be a missionary one day.
Yes, 2 years seems like a long time. It is even more confusing to some people, not familiar with missions, when they realize that this is completely funded by the boys and their families. Most go at 19-20. These boys, right out of high school or their first year of college, give up 2 years of social life and education, thousands of dollars, girlfriends, some technology, etc. in service to the Lord. They can write letters, some can email families and listen to more kinds of music (the exact rules vary by where the missionary is serving), but generally, their entire life is dedicated to God and the spreading of his Good News. They don't check Facebook or use cell phones. They wear suits and ties (or skirts/dresses for the girls) and black name tags saying "Elder" or "Sister so-and-so." They represent the Church of Jesus Christ and the Savior himself.
Missionaries are sent all over the world. I currently have friends in different places in Mexico, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Mongolia, Romania, Switzerland, Cambodia, Brazil, Paraguay and all over the United States, including Washington, D.C., San Diego, Las Vegas, Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri/Kansas, and even Salt Lake City. At the beginning of their mission, missionaries start by going to a Missionary Training Center (the MTC). Most go to the one here in Provo, Utah, but there are a few other MTCs located at other places in the world as well. How long they stay there depends on where they are going and what language they are speaking/need to learn. Then they are out in the mission field sharing the gospel. They are always in companionships of twos and have strict rules. But many come back saying that it has been the best time of their lives. They are willing to serve because they love Heavenly Father and His children.
This has kind of been disjointed. I haven't covered a lot, but once again, if you have any questions, just ask. Hopefully I did a good job kind of clearing up missions a bit. They're hard at times--for both those serving and those at home. Some of my best friends are gone, and there are times when I miss them terribly. But there is no where else I'd rather they be, because they're out doing what the Lord wants them to.

Monday, December 1, 2008


So this is a little bit delayed from Thanksgiving, but I haven't been able to sit down at my computer for long enough since then. Things I'm grateful for, in no particular order, and in no way are my thanks limited to just this:

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
16) Hugs
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
20) Shampoo
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.