Sunday, May 25, 2014


Today we had a lesson about gratitude. From a lady who just lost her 12 year old nephew. LAST WEEK.

Her sister, (his mother) was also in attendance and bore her testimony of how she definitely wished this would never have happened, but how she was grateful for the strength and love this experience has brought to her family. She spoke weepy but faithful. I could literally FEEL the Lords presence holding her up as she sat in her chair, supporting her. I could feel His love for her and her family as she spoke.  You could feel that her heart was completely and in all its entirety broken, but that she was being comforted before my very eyes, with every grateful, wise, and humble word she spoke.

She wasn't in sweats crying in her bed (which let's be honest, is where I would be for months, I'm positive). She was up, dressed, speaking sadly but strong, and in church testifying of her gratitude to the Lord, literally 6 days after her son had been taken in a tragic accident. Her and her sister stood together and voiced "we are a forever family." The unity and strength was more factual than the laws of gravity, there was no denying that they would be together again. They knew it, testified of it like each mornings imminent sunrise, and in turn seeing them, we all knew it.

How grateful I am of this woman's example of strength. I didn't talk to her, I will probably never see her again or meet her, but her diligence, faith and strength I will never forget. The strength of mothers guys, not an army of thousands could match it, I'm positive.

I can't express my gratitude for the Relief Society and the strength of women. I have never met stronger, more beautiful women than I have encountering the diligent, loving women who know the Lord as their best friend, their support, their father. I guess all I really wanted to say is thank you. Thank you to the women who choose everyday to continue to try to be better. You inspire me. Heroins are not just ladies who do grandiose things, I think the most beautiful heroins are those who simply choose to push against the urge to give up on hard things, and each day continue to try; be it to progress, to continue to love people, and to hold onto hope instead of anger. The grateful in spirit.

Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances—whatever they may be.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

The holiness of women.

Wanted to share a little of what I pondered this morning, and something I have been thinking about writing for quite some time.

Mosiah 3
8 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.

A simple yet profound realization came to my mind that in this scripture of discussing and informing the people (from King Benjamin's address) of the immeasurable greatness of the son Jesus Christ. What struck me was the only thing mentioned second to him and in this verse was

his human mother.

It's interesting that she was not mentioned again in the chapter, it continues describing the work that the savior would do, the atonement, and his love.

It was a testament and an understanding to my mind that women are holy. Women and mothers who are not perfect, who get emotional and angry and make mistakes, are still holy. People forget that Mary was a human, she probably spent nights crying on her knees, she might have gotten frustrated with the direction of her life when she was young, she probably got irritable when she was hungry, she probably forgot appointments, and snapped at people when she was tired, nonetheless she was mentioned with Jesus, she was trusted by God, and even though she is known for being JUST A MOTHER, she is forever considered the most holy woman in the world.

As a woman, I understand the seemingly unimportant role and value I have in our modern society. I understand that my gender is depicted as a sex symbol, a product, a doormat, and not much else at times. I understand how I could start to believe I fit and should place myself into these societal cubbies. I understand that I may be viewed to be insignificant because I value being gentle, I want a marriage, and I want children. However, I also want progression, I have strength, I have personal ambition, I work to obtain knowledge, and I value respect for people no matter what they believe. And just because I want some of these stereotypical "mormon mom duties" doesn't mean I am ignorant, close minded, or trapped into a state of submission. It doesn't mean that I will be protesting to get into the priesthood session, but I do wish that women had more of an apparent voice and value in decisions of the church. Did you know that no woman had any influence or addition on the proclamation to the family? I was just reading an interview with Chieko N. Okazaki (former first president of the general Relief society presidency) and she said that no one in the relief society presidency had ever been asked or even told it was being written by the first presidency. A staple in almost every LDS family's household describing mother and wifely roles all written by men with no female influence at all. Here's a little bit of the interview-

"In contrast, in 1995 when “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was written, the Relief Society presidency was asked to come to a meeting. We did, and they read this proclamation. It was all finished. The only question was whether they should present it at the priesthood meeting or at the Relief Society meeting. It didn’t matter to me where it was presented. What I wanted to know was, “How come we weren’t consulted?”
Greg Prince: You didn’t even know it was in the works?
Chieko Okazaki: No. They just asked us which meeting to present it in, and we said, “Whatever President Hinckley decides is fine with us.” He decided to do it at the Relief Society meeting. The apostle who was our liaison said, “Isn’t it wonderful that he made the choice to present it at the Relief Society meeting?” Well, that was fine, but as I read it I thought that we could have made a few changes in it. " 

She goes on to say that even she believes that women need to have more of a say in the church. If you have time, read the attached interview at the bottom of the page, she is an amazing woman who was way beyond her time. 

With this being said though, I personally do not believe that we as women should allow ourselves to be consumed with resentment, and anger for the seemingly shortcomings of the church and its leaders on the issue of equality in the church. I am not ignorant to the fact that women have been overlooked in our church for a long time. And I am pleased that women in our church are causing discussions to be raised, and addressed, and change is becoming apparent and necessary. As much as I know things need to change I know that if we as women let actions, comments, or beliefs of angered people in or out of the church consume us, we will be unable to perceive what we can do to help the issue. Feelings of being wronged or prejudiced shouldn't be shirked, but if dwelled upon they will cripple our ability to provide a productive means of change and recognition for our church. Yes, the church is becoming aware of their weaknesses, and there are many women who may have indeed been affected by this, but to let resentment overtake us blinds our minds with our focus directed inward. These thoughts, though warranted in many cases, cause women to be caught in a circle of anger, instead of genuine concern for helping each other feel valued, address what can be changed, or begin to decipher how this problem can be resolved. Recently to me it seems many people have been overtaken by the focus of their own agenda, and if those agendas aren't met, than there is nothing positive to say regarding the church. It is important to remember that no matter the social weaknesses and the problems needed to be resolved, this is still God's church. And when something offends you or occurs that you might disagree with, it would be more wise perhaps to spend more time approaching him in humility to explain what you can't seem to understand, and how to resolve your feelings whether it be through action or humility, and less time dwelling in your own mind of resentment, working yourself into anger and debating the issue of who's right and wrong in the matter. Replacing the mindset of anger with, "what has Heavenly Father planned for me individually to learn from and benefit this church, what can I do to help the church understand my feelings and help me feel like I have a place here, and am I trying to align my will to His with faith in His timing and plans?"

Anyways, these are the things I believe. I believe it is respectable for each individual to find their own personal truth for themselves. This is my personal space on the web, so I am expressing things that are important to me. If there are different beliefs reading this, I mean no disrespect and am not looking for a debate or to start contention, I am only adding my beliefs into the issue to possibly help the situation. I respect the desire to make spirituality important to people's lives and to find truth. This is only a sample of my own.

In this debate one thing is ever present. That women ARE valuable beyond measure. Don't let yourself give way to accepting that you are not holy from things you are told from people with less of an understanding than you. Your worth is not dependent on other people's decisions about you. You cannot do anything to diminish your worth in the sight of God, you can only live below it if you choose. Always remember that you are His most important work, and His love for you is unconditional. He loves you, and you are holy beyond what you may see at the present, even if what you see at present consists of muffin tops and hairy legs most days. You're still holy no matter your perceived imperfections. The most holy woman on the earth was "just a mother" and was once an unknown girl like you, trying to navigate this life as best she could. So take heart when you feel forgotten or unimportant. You aren't forgotten and your seemingly small presence on this earth is holy.

Here's the full interview with Sister Okazaki:

Monday, January 13, 2014

25 or Better

Do you ever have a quiet feeling that you could be doing.. more?

That you could be helping others more

You could be developing yourself as a strong woman with concrete faith?

That maybe you could have developed your talents more instead of scanning instagram in your free time?

Or simply that in some ways you aren't living your life in a way that makes you better than you were yesterday?

I have been feeling like this lately. And let me tell you, the quiet disappointment at the end of the day spent on Netflix in my sweats is giving me a feeling that I'm wasting important time. To the point where I have decided that it is time that I win, over my lazy mind. Sometimes it seems that I am disappointed in the decisions I make with my time but then I think, okay well guess what lady, you can change the things you don't like. It is not that simple when the new episode of Downton is finally available online, which let's be real here, I will probably never turn down a new Downton episode, but I guess I needed to write this down so that I can hear myself say that the way I spend my time needs to be changed, and that I am going to begin winning and not being subject to my slothful mind. Because I am here to progress, and it is my #1 priority over my sweats (as much as I love them so so much)

I made some resolutions, even New Years ones dare I say. But the beautiful thing about having my birthday 7 days after the new year is that I can decide that this new year of my life, literally, is going to be different.

I'm too blessed, & I have been brought through too much to waste my time here.

So here's to working on some of these:

1. Begin daily scripture study with a thoughtful prayer.
2. Getting out of bed on time to HAVE meaningful scripture study.. let's be honest.
4. Write in my journal, recording tender mercies and daily revelation.
5. Have quality time with my Father in Heaven in the temple regularly.
6. Exercise specifically 2 times a week, but be active daily.
7. Keep school work organized in my planner
8. Pray specifically to gain/show a greater love for the people around me.

Just some little things I want to work on, to progress & work towards the person I know I am supposed to be. My favorite quote comes to mind -

"There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." - Nelson Mandela

The beauty is that every day is a new opportunity to change, as cliche as that sounds. And I have found that change begins with doing the right thing just one time. However, the hardest time to change is right at the start when you are just beginning and wanting to change. But if you can just do one thing right, one time, and make each choice independent of everything else and focus on choosing the best option for you in the moment, you are already winning half the battle and beginning on a better path.

So here's to being 25 and actively working to become a better person with each daily decision.

Small side note:
25?! can you believe it? Here I come 25 or better activities, what up! For as much as I talk about being the old hag of Logan, UT, I am actually really excited to be 25. I feel like.. I am becoming a woman! Like, A REAL WOMAN, guys. With experience and wisdom and.. genuine sex appeal! Yeah I said it! Like an adult sexy woman who is not so much embarrassed or apologetic but confident and content with her self, flaws included. Not a little girl playing dress up like a woman, or a teen age girl who doesn't like herself or think she's beautiful without makeup and perfect hair, or a young adult trying to navigate the ever changing surroundings of college life, her beliefs and standards (which I kinda still feel like that but also moving onto more stable grounds an individual), but I actually feel like I am on the verge of becoming someone who knows and loves who they are in a real way, without a Victoria's Secret body or a perfect resume of all the 'RIGHT' things someone is supposed to have accomplished. Someone who loves herself and knows she has great worth and is beautiful with her little muffin top, and graying hairs. I think 25 is going to be good to me, I have never felt more like me, more incredibly blessed and happy, and I am excited for what this years changes of graduation and what life has to bring!

Life Soundtrack as of late -

Walter Mitty Soundtrack is pure gold.
Jose Gonzalez – Step Out
Of Monsters And Men – Dirty Paws
Jose Gonzalez – Stay Alive

Also I have been loving the soundtrack from the movie Like Crazy. If you haven't seen it, it is a must! but be warned, I cry EVERY TIME. It is so tragically real, but is so incredibly beautiful. Below is the motion picture score.
Dustin O'Halloran – Arrivals N2

go with love.