Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Make. A. Change.

     You know... people say a lot that how bad you want something determines how hard you will work for it...

And I think that that's true, but I think there is more to it than that...

It's hard to motivate yourself to make a change...

I mean, someone who really wants to lose weight... that doesn't necessarily make it easier for them to go bust their tail at the gym...

Does it?

What I mean is...

It isn't just how bad you want the end result.

That little voice that pops into your head in the morning - that little "do it tomorrow" voice - wins over all too often. And that voice plays a huge role in whether or not your goals are accomplished.

At some point, you just have to dig down deep and find the motivation to get yourself started.

At some point, you have to decide that you are willing to commit to a change.

And to do that... you have to have some serious will-power.

You know what? Start easy.

Want to hear a story?

So a couple years ago... I really wanted to do better about reading my scriptures. I just wasn't consistent, and it was hard for me, because half the time I didn't even understand what I was reading.

So... I prayed for a desire.

Because I wanted to say that I was doing good about reading my scriptures, but I didn't really have the drive to actually pick them up and get started. I always thought, "I'll do it tomorrow".

Ha - and maybe even believed that sometimes.

Anyways... one day, I decided to switch from where I was at in the Book of Mormon to the Doctrine and Covenants.

And I read a section.

And I understood it.

The thing is... the Book of Mormon is easier to understand than the Bible because it was written more recently...

Well... the Doctrine and Covenants is way easier to understand than the Book of Mormon... because it was written even more recently.

The last section was written in 1918.

We read and study books in English class that are older than that.

So... my point is this:

I discovered that the Doctrine and Covenants is really easy to understand and full of amazing scriptures. Like, every other verse could be highlighted.
The Doctrine and Covenants made me love reading my scriptures.

So now I read in all different parts of the scriptures.

And I realized that it doesn't matter if you fully understand what is going on in every verse.

And don't expect to find deep, incredible insight on every chapter. 

Sometimes you just have to try and get the big picture... what that chapter or group of chapters is trying to teach you.

Pray for understanding. 

And sometimes... just accept that you don't understand it. Maybe you will later.

From one little step... reading an easy-to-understand section of the Doctrine and Covenants....

I learned to love the scriptures.

And now... instead of praying for a desire to read... I pray for a desire to study
(Because sometimes I still get a little lazy with that.)

But I have upped the ante a little bit. 

And I am proud to say that at least I read daily, and the whole taking-my-time-to-gain-insight thing will become more consistent as I work on it. 

This works with anything requiring motivation. 

Commit to at least taking a step - maybe a small step - but a step.

And go from there. 

Just dig deep, find an inkling of will-power...

And just make it happen. 

P.S. It gets annoying to keep typing Doctrine and Covenants over and over again... It's just such a long name... and "Doctrine" is a tedious word to type!

P.P.S. I had to look up how to spell "ante"... I suppose that isn't something that I write out very often... :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day... 2012

A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen.  ~Edward de Bono

You know... I've heard that remember is the most important word in the English language... 

And I think that that's true.

So... remember.

Remember what people have sacrificed for you in the past... 

And remember the people that are making sacrifices for you now.

And never ever take for granted the gifts that they have given you. 

And always live with a grateful heart.

To all those who have given me freedoms... and to those who are fighting today so that I can keep those freedoms... thank you.

To those who have sacrificed more than I could ever imagine... so that I could have the gospel... thank you.

And to you... thank you for giving me perspective... and something to look forward to.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Scripture Marking Saturday: Contentment

Alma 29

1- O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!

Now skip down.

3 - But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.


First of all, if you are going to wish for something... I think that Alma's wish was a pretty good one...

I mean... at least  he wasn't wishing for riches or something.

It was a noble thing that he wanted to do, but still he recognized the fact that he should be content.
Content, because he could still cry repentance, just not with angelic zeal.

He decided to be content, because Alma recognized how blessed he was.

So. Just a thought for you.

Whenever you want something new... or wished something was different in your life... think about how blessed you are and consider all that God has given you.

He's given you more than enough to live happily and healthily and also some other things that you don't need...

Luxuries... things like iPods and cars and... electricity, I suppose.

So when you start wishing for the new iPod...

Just consider that.

And be grateful for what you have.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Big Picture... Because Hard Work DOES Pay Off!

Me right now. Sporting my new Coldplay shirt and SOOO happy
because I just finished my last test of the year.

I despise tests.

Well actually, I despise studying.

Which sort of comes with tests...

So I despise tests. By the transitive property.

Now. Is studying something that pays off?

Well, it does if you are wanting to get a good grade.

Which I do want good grades. As a matter of fact, I want excellent grades. I guess that's my motivation to study.

If I want something bad enough, I will work hard until I get it.

I know that I've shared this scripture before in this post, but I want to share it again.

Because it's my very favorite.

D&C 25:10 - And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.

You know... our spirits have existed for eons. And even before that, you existed as an intelligence.

You have always existed. 

And you will continue to exist... forever.

And ever. (If that adds emphasis)

So... when looking at millions and billions and trillions and jabrillion-gajillions of years... 

The years that you spend on earth... which are very few...

Seem like nothing.

And in a couple thousand years... probably less... your time on earth will seem like it passed in the blink of an eye.

And a fast blink at that.

So why would you throw eternity away... for something that will pass in the blink of an eye?

It drives me crazy all the time when I see that people don't have the right perspective on life, or that they aren't fully living the Gospel.

You guys... the Gospel is a way of life. It isn't something that you turn on and off. 

It isn't something that you live only on Sundays or in Seminary. 

Your scriptures don't disappear when church ends.

Don't teach a bunch of Primary kids that they should be praying daily... when you aren't. (Well... still teach them that, but you know what I mean, right?)

Fully live the Gospel every day.

Pray several times a day.

Read your scriptures. Study them. (and know the difference between reading and studying)

I mean, I read my scriptures every day, but would probably be lying if I said that I fully devoted my time to studying them daily. I mean, I do sometimes, but not always.

But I should be. I suppose I should work on that a little bit. 

Please please PLEASE do not give up everything in your future for little things now. 

Because even though we live in a beautiful world... there is a better one out there. 

So ask yourself... do I want that world enough to work for it?

I hope you answered yes, and I hope that you will always remember the potential that you have.

Remember what you can become.

Because temporal things don't last... so devote your time to the things that will last.

And always strive to be better.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Marked Generation

We all know those people around us that just amazing.
They are smart, funny, spiritual, and just all around... good.

And there is no doubt in our minds that they are going straight to the Celestial Kingdom...

And then there's us.

At least that's how we seem to always see it.

We tend to often feel that we are not measuring up, that we're just not good enough.

There have been people on this earth for thousands of years.
There was Adam, the Ancient of Days.
From him came many, many prophets who preached to millions of people that we read about in the Old Testament.
In the New Testament, We read about Christ being born. He preached healed, and offered himself up for a sacrifice.
There were many, many generations following that.

Read history books. Read about the Indians, the Revolutionary War, Ancient Rome, Chinese history...

There have been a lot of people on this earth.


Billions of people have lived and died here over the course of six thousand years, each with their own special mission.

And then you were born.


For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming. Every previous gospel dispensation has drifted into apostasy, but ours will not.... God has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God...." Make no mistake about it you are a marked generation.

- Ezra Taft Benson
(read more)

You came here for a reason. You have a mission to complete that no one else can complete for you.

We are the strongest generation... the generation strong enough to defeat Satan.

Strong enough to stand up for what we believe.

Strong enough to make a real difference.

The fact that you live on the earth at this time... makes you amazing.

The Father saw something in you during the pre-existence. He knew you were strong enough.

You were foreordained to be great.

Of course, that means that we have a great responsibility. We can't let our Father down.

We have to work hard to accomplish what we came here to do.

But. I promise.

It will be worth it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How Great Shall Be Your Joy...

!!!!!!! I've been waiting for this song to be accessible for WEEKS!!! I've been checking youtube and grooveshark over and over again!!!

So I am uber excited about this...

The chorus is the best part.

And we are here to serve our King
Children of the most high
And this is good news that we bring
As we labor, gladly bringing souls to Christ!

D&C 18
15: And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16: And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

     Missionaries come from all over the world... from all walks of life. Missionaries change hearts. They save lives.
More than just lives, they save people for eternity.

I also like this part in the song:

Born the son of humble converts,
And I'm here to pay it forward. 

    Whether you are a convert or not... sharing the Gospel is a way to show gratitude for the knowledge that you have and to help your Father help others.

An instrument in His hands...

Oooohhh... I just love this song.

Is there anything more noble than serving your King?

Whether you're a missionary or not... share the Gospel. Don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in, because you could make a difference.

I heard a radio interview where Steven Kapp Perry was interviewing a Palestinian woman. She was a convert to the church, and you know what got her interested in Mormonism?

She moved from Palestine to the U.S. to go to BYU here in Utah. She met a lot of Mormon friends who invited her to go to General Conference with them. There, she heard an apostle (or maybe the prophet; I can't remember...) mention Palestine.

She was so impressed, because you very rarely hear people refer to that area of the world as "Palestine". People always say Israel.

She was so impressed, in fact, that she got in touch with the missionaries and ended up joining the church.

I thought that story was really cool, and after listening to the interview, I thought about what a difference that one little action made in her life. Just the word he used.

Now the word Palestine did not convert her... but it sparked interest.

And led to her conversion.

The same thing could happen to you. You might think about all of the little missionary experiences you have had with friends, and you may feel like you haven't really made a difference.

But you never know.

You could be impacting someone's life in ways you can't even imagine.

"... how great shall be your joy..."

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dare to Stand... Even If You Stand Alone.

First of all, I thought of this comic when I watched the following video:

LOL... I've been waiting for a video to come out on this talk... yay!  Plus the chief petty officer (or whatever he is) totally cracks me up. 

"May we ever be courageous and prepared to stand for what we believe, and if we must stand alone in the process, may we do so courageously, strengthened by the knowledge that in reality we are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven."

I love that talk... it was given last fall. It was actually given during the Priesthood Session, but for some reason I read it after. Click here to read the whole talk.

It is hard to stand alone, or even mostly alone.

It can actually be really hard.

But there is one thing that I know.

Someday not too far in the future, we will be looking back on the decisions we made during this life.

And we don't want to have any regrets.

Because even though things seem like a big deal here, and heaven seems far away, it is not so.

There is a day not too far away, that we will either be rejoicing in the fact that we were loyal and courageous, or in great sorrow because of our sins.

And the things we do now will determine our eternity. 

If you think about the fact that we were created eons ago, and have existed infinitely as intelligences, and have eternity to go,

why would you give that up now... for something so small?

Or maybe it seems big, but in fact won't matter to us in the future.

Don't give in to negative peer pressure...

It's not worth it.

Not even semi-worth it.

Because despite what you might think, you are never alone. You have a Father and a Savior to back you up.

And most likely many people too, even if you don't realize it.

Dare to be a Mormon;
Dare to stand alone.
Dare to have a purpose firm;
Dare to make it known.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!!

"We are living in a great season for all women in the Church. Sisters, you are an essential part of our Heavenly Father's plan for eternal happiness; you are endowed with a divine birthright. You are the real builders of nations wherever you live, because strong homes of love and peace will bring security to any nation."
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

Hope it was as enjoyable and techy as ours!! 

I think we are now officially an apple family.

Or maybe we became that back when we started having iPods floating around that nobody was using. 

I dunno, but Steve Jobs was a genius.

And the Once Upon a Time season finale is on tonight. 

Best day ever.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

His Words Never Cease

I had an interesting experience at Joseph Smith's Red Brick Storehouse in Nauvoo, Illinois a couple years ago. You know... our church does not own that little store. It's instead owned by... well, another church.

Anyways. A customer asked the cashier what made their religion different from Mormonism. I overheard/pretty much eavesdropped on their conversation. The cashier said that while the Mormons believed in Eternal Progression, they believed that God was the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Pause. Wait, what??

She said a whole jumble of things that didn't really make sense, and most of them had nothing to do with anything, but she seemed to win over the lady she was talking to.

Now I didn't butt in, because it wasn't my place and that's not really in my nature. Plus I wasn't supposed to be listening, remember?

But it got me thinking about the way different religions interpret things. Now I most certainly would never judge an entire religious sect based on something that one person said. That's ridiculous.

But I started thinking about how we all have the same bible, but everyone translates it differently. I mean, we believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. At least nine scriptures that I just looked up would tell you that.

That's what the video above made me think of. I don't understand how so many people believe in an unchanging God that would cut off all communication between Him and His people.

Just like we did in ancient days, we have prophets to guide us. We have continued revelation including personal revelation. We have the Priesthood. We have twelve apostles.

I liked how he said that "The Old Testament does not lose its value in our eyes when we're introduced to the New Testament, and the New Testament is only enhanced when we read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ."

And hopefully you know that the Book of Mormon was talked about in the Old Testament.

Ezekiel 37
15 - The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
16 - Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
 17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
Stick of Judah = Bible
Stick of Joseph = Book of Mormon

Anyways... I pray that we will always remember that God truly is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And that we can still freely communicate with Him. He still speaks to us through the prophets and through the Spirit. The Heavens are open.

The Bible is the word of God, and the Book of Mormon is too.

His words... NEVER cease.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sometimes Things Work Out Just Right...

I haven't posted anything from SoFt SuNdAy SoUnDs in a while....

So here you go.

Believe by Cherie Call on Grooveshark
Believe by Cherie Call

  I've been there and I've seen with those eyes
Green with envy, dark with anger
Or just plain blue
And I know the last thing you really want to hear 
Is just what I'm about to tell you
But you have to hear the truth
I know it's stylish to be cynical these days
So there's only one thing left to do

Sometimes traffic lights are green, 
Sometimes people keep their word
In spite of everything you've heard, it's true that
Sometimes nice guys finish first, 
Sometimes true love really lasts
Sometimes all the world can change
If only you believe

Still you say the phone rings every time you want to take a bath
Or take a nap, or you just need peace
But tell me this, did you really want to be 
So all alone as you are now?
Don't you need a friend who knows
It's in the way you see the glass
Once you know that it's half full, it overflows
Every time that you

Sometimes Christmases are white, 
Sometimes wedding days are clear
Sometimes rain falls right on time 
To wash away your tears
Sometimes cornfields touch the sky, 
Sometimes sunsets make you cry
Sometimes you see what Jesus sees 
When you look in the mirror

And love isn't something that is just for everyone else
It's for you
Believe what I say is true
In spite of all the ways you feel right now
You've got to find out some way somehow to

Sometimes the good live long, 
Sometimes kindness reaches far
Sometimes you hear your favorite song 
Right when you get in the car
You don't have to move the sky
But you can chase the clouds away
You don't have to change the world, 
But you might do it anyway

Believe sometimes nice guys finish first
You don't have to change the world, 
But you might do it anyway


     You know, I've pointed out before how beautiful our world is - even though many people only notice the bad things...

And a lot of times things don't work out the way we planned them to...

But sometimes... sometimes they do.

And sometimes they do and we don't notice them.

So notice them more. And be grateful for them.

Even the little things. The little tender mercies - the things that work out just right.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

One Big, Interconnected Tapestry

     People say a lot that our life is like one big tapestry. Although our lives seem to have a lot of loose threads and bumpy places, we are failing to see it from God's perspective. It is He who can see the other side of the tapestry... how all of those threads come together to create a beautiful picture.

     Our lives are divinely woven together. There are no coincidences... not when spiritual matters are involved, at least.

     In seminary we have been learning about the prophets that lived about 600 BC.

     And how their lives were connected.

   In the Old Testament, Jeremiah told the people living in Jerusalem to repent... or their city would be destroyed.

     Can you think of who else did that? Lehi. In the Book of Mormon. At the same time. In the same city.

     Also at the same time... Daniel was interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Babylon.

     Not even fifteen years later... Jerusalem was destroyed. But Lehi was gone by then. He had left to go to the promised land.

     And I think Jeremiah was thrown in a pit...

     And now Ezekiel is the prophet of Babylon... which was ruled by Nebuchadnezzar... and Daniel was his advisor...

     Zedekiah, who becomes king of Jerusalem, watched all of his sons be killed, and then he himself had his eyes put out and was blinded.

     Except one of his sons escaped... and was not killed...


    Sound familiar? You read about him in the Book of Mormon... in the promised land...

I may have made that sound a little confusing...

But my point is that I learned a really cool lesson today... I mean... we study the stories. I'm sure you know Daniel's story and Lehi's story, but it's fun to see exactly how they connect together.

Just another little reminder that when you study the scriptures - not just read them - you will get a lot more out of it!!

P.S. Check out the post I wrote on Piano Mastermind here!!


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