Sunday, November 25, 2012

an era of gratitude.

First of all you guys, today is the one-year anniversary of this blog. I don't know why I feel so accomplished, but I do. This has been a lot of hard work for me and hours and hours of research and blogging.

Including this post, I have written 140 posts in the last year. That's a post every 2.6 days (I think - ha)!!

Ooh. That feels good.

Okay. So because my first post was about gratitude, and because we celebrated Thanksgiving this last week, I think the following video is a good one for today...

"Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down."

Ah. I feel so incredibly blessed right now.

But I don't always.

You know, it's so true that we have it good where we live. (assuming you live in a way similar to me...)

I really feel like I should never take what I have for granted.

But let's face it, this isn't always an easy attitude to have. When things don't go your way, when work is stressful, money is tight, and friends create drama... well, self-pity can creep in.

And I know many people - and of many people - who say, "Why would you do this to me, God??"

"I don't deserve this!"

Well I'll tell you what. I've had hardships in my own life. Most likely nothing harder than you've experienced, and I didn't always believe that, but I do now.

And I've probably suffered through trials that I didn't deserve.

But you know what? I've been blessed in much larger ways with good things that I didn't deserve, either.

I don't deserve the Grace offered me.

I don't deserve the family I have.

Or the friends I have.

The world doesn't owe me anything. My God doesn't owe me anything, either.

So when I think of all the things given to me anyways - and the people who have sacrificed just about everything for me - Why am I not the most grateful person in the world?

Well I should be. Because a grateful person is a happy person.

I suppose some of you might be familiar with the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism...

basically, the first three truths are these:
1. there is suffering in the world.
2. suffering is caused by desire.
3. by curbing desires, you can end suffering.

(The fourth is rather irrelevant right now and takes more unnecessary explaining, so we will stick to the first three...) :)

I think that that is brilliant. Suffering is caused by desires. By expectations. And consequently, by disappointment.

So when you start truly being grateful for all that you have, when you stop expecting more and more success, when you stop feeling entitled to everything offered to anyone...

you will be so, so happy. I suppose that's actually the way to experience true happiness.

So here's to a year of constant attitude checks for me.

Because I want to be a happy person. I want to be done desiring worthless things.

And I want to help others. To serve the Lord and show Him where my priorities lie. I want to focus on the things that really matter.

I want the world to be a place full of grateful people.

And we've got a ways to go.

But I guess I will start with myself.

So here's to a new era.

An era of gratitude.

Will you join me?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

give your all.

“A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life”
-Joseph Smith


Mark 12

41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.


A mite was the smallest coin in use among the Jews... kinda like our penny, although today a mite would be worth much, much less than a penny...

So two mites is practically nothing.

But the widow's mites were worth everything and more.

Yes, others put in more, but they could easily afford it, and they obviously did it for show... in the above video they are putting in sacks of money coin by coin... ha.

Well unlike them, the widow probably didn't know if she was going to eat the next day.

But she put her money in anyways. All that she had to give.

And because of her sacrifice, I would be willing to bet you just about anything she didn't go hungry the next day...

So how does this story apply to you and me?

Sometimes giving your all is what it takes to gain a testimony, to keep your testimony strong, to receive personal revelation, etc, etc.

It is one of those things where you can't just halfheartedly put a little effort into it - or pray to get better at some really hard piano songs and then not practice enough... (I have experience with that one... ha.)

And I want to return to my Maker knowing that I gave Him everything I had to give.

He deserves no less, and I know that I will be returned everything I give.

So much more, actually, which is something I probably won't deserve, but I'll be given it anyways because my God spoils me. :)

And remember that in your own life, there will always be someone that seems to be doing better than you. Giving more.

It may seem that others are so much better at their callings - whatever they are - than you are at yours.

But God only demands of you what you have to give. 

And trying your hardest... giving your all... is enough for him.

So that's something to keep in mind.

And whom God calls God qualifies. Remember that too.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Oh my gosh you guys. Go see Lincoln right now.

It was so good. (so good!)

I went with a friend tonight... (we were pretty much the only teenagers there... ha.)

It was amazing and had so many good quotes in it. The kind that kinda give you the goosebumps.

I left feeling uplifted, smarter, more patriotic, and much more appreciative.

I love our country.

(Now go see it! It was amazing!)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

out with the bad...

We had an especially good lesson in seminary today that inspired this post... :)


So you might remember when Jesus rode back into Jerusalem and then found the temple filled with moneychangers... people selling merchandise and obviously not using the temple the way it was meant to be used.

This clearly upset the Savior... And the main reasons should be obvious. This was His Father's house.  And it was supposed to be a place of prayer and worship.

But it went deeper than that, I think.

Does this picture look familiar? It is Jesus as a boy teaching in the temple in Jerusalem.

He grew up with this temple... but the people have made it "a den of thieves."

There are a lot of reasons why this upset the Savior... and I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure this was the second time he had to cleanse the temple... you'd think they'd learn the first time.

Without further adieu...

Now... the Savior is not an easily angered person. He doesn't just get mad at people. He is loving and caring and sees everyone for what they can become.

So the fact that he was turning over tables should tell you something.

It reminds me of something that happened in our dear prophet Joseph Smith's life.

Click here to watch The Prophet of the Restoration movie... skip to 39:09 and watch until about 41:00.
(video also found in this post.)

Isn't that the coolest thing ever? That is one of my favorite parts of the Joseph Smith movie.

“On a sudden he arose to his feet, and spoke in a voice of thunder, or as the roaring lion, uttering, as near as I can recollect, the following words:
“‘SILENCE, ye fiends of the infernal pit. In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still; I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die THIS INSTANT!’”
 “...Dignity and majesty have I seen but once, as it stood in chains, at midnight, in a dungeon in an obscure village of Missouri."

-Parley P. Pratt

Ah. So good.

There came a point where Joseph Smith was simply unwilling to listen further.

Similarly, with the cleansing of the temple, the people were disgracing their Father... there was a point where the Savior was unwilling to let it go further.

(Someone in my seminary class mentioned that the Savior always knows how we feel, which is pretty common knowledge, but he added that maybe this experience is how the Savior knows what it feels like to be angry. Hmmm... an interesting thought...)

Okay. So how does this apply to YOU??

Our seminary teacher told us to do the following:

Take the original verses:


Mark 11
15 - And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;

16 - And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
17 - And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

...and replace temple or house with my heart.


Mark 11
15 - And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the my heart, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the my heart, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;

16 - And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the my heart.
17 - And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My my heart shall be called of all nations the heart of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Note that in the above video the Savior didn't have to touch or push anyone out. They left as soon as he was present and told them to get out of there.

Now take a look at the verses we edited. If you find that your heart is filled with bad thoughts or desires, maybe instead of focusing all your time on trying to push them out, try inviting the Savior in.

The bad things will have to leave.

The same is true with your schedule and your actions. Replace the bad/unimportant things and habits with the good.

Because no unclean thing can dwell with God.

So draw nearer to Him and be perfected.

And never forget that He sees you for who you can become.

I think I will continue in the next post... maybe talk about the widow's mites?

I don't know. For now, happy Thursday. :)

P.S. I'm like 1 1/2 weeks short of ONE YEAR with this blog! yay!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


"who but You could breath and leave a trail of galaxies... and dream of me?"

... just a great song for you. :)

I love the emotion in this video. 

I know my Savior lives!

I am so grateful that He suffered for my sins...

I could never repay Him. Never even come close. 

The miracles He performed - the worlds He created... amaze me. They inspire me. They fill me with awe.

He makes me want to be a better person. 

A more faithful servant.

A more dedicated church member.

And above all... I am grateful that He is alive!

Happy Sunday. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

a marked generation (2)

This kid is hilarious.

I seriously cracked up at multiple parts during that video.

"That is genuinely as specific as they get on this one..." haha.

I shared this quote in an earlier post, but I think it is really great and goes well here...

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)


My birthday is December 21. And just for that reason the world had better not end on that day.   (:


The end is definitely coming... I notice signs every day...

But, as you learned in the above video... it probably isn't coming next month.

We have no idea when it is coming.

So it is smart to be ready. Just in case.

And to tell you the truth... I am incredibly excited.

I want to meet my Savior and fall at his feet. I want to have all my memories from my pre-mortal life back. I want to have my entire family back together. I want to thank my pioneer ancestors. And thank my prophet Joseph Smith. 

I want to know what happened to Amelia Earhart, the Roanoke Colony, and Anastasia Romanov...
How the pyramids were built and what's the deal with the Bermuda Triangle...

I want to feel like everything is perfect and good and I can be happy constantly. 

I want to live in peace and love and gratitude with those who love Christ. 

I try to keep in mind that I came to prepare earth for His coming.

I was watching the trailer for Lincoln today (which I am very excited for...).

And I heard a really good quote.

"Think we choose to be born? Are we fitted to the times we're born into?"


Just the fact that you live on the earth right now should be a witness to you that you are a special and valiant and chosen child. 

Sometimes I wish I hadn't been born in this challenging time in a world full of temptations.

But then I take a step back... which is often required... and I am honored. 

I love my life in November 2012. It isn't perfect, but it is good enough.

I am honored to be given the privilege of sharing the gospel with others. 

The possibility that I might be able to save someone else shakes my soul and gives me the chills.

I am not perfect. I procrastinate my homework. I start projects and don't finish them. I say dumb things. I am not the perfect sister or the perfect friend. I complain too much. I thank people too little. I thank my Savior too little. I don't eat healthy and I don't read enough. I don't recognize God's hand as much as I should. I get frustrated too quickly and I go to bed too late.

But I am blessed and honored to be marked among this generation. 

I know that I am good enough. 

I know that you are, too.

I know that my Savior loves me and is always by my side. 

And I love him. 

I want him to be proud of me.

I don't want him to regret sending me to earth in 1996. 

So I will work hard. I will not let him down. 

I will be the child he wants me to be. 

Because even though our earthly existence is only a sliver of our eternity...

It is a pretty important sliver of time.

Friday, November 9, 2012

happy people

haha... her face after "there isn't a pet heaven."

Cutest little video EVER.

And that little redhead is my hero.

So I really love LOVE this little short story.

And I love those people that never stop smiling - no matter what their circumstances...

Don't you want to be the person that is always happy?
The one that others seek out because they know you will put them in a good mood?
And they know that you will make them happy?

I know some people like that, and I adore them.

They just attract friends.

They are naturally popular.

Sure of themself. Joyful always.

We got a beautiful layer of snow this morning.

I love the holiday season so much.

The beautiful weather, the cheerful music, delicious food...

Ah. I just can't wait.

And if there is one thing I love above all else... it is cheerful people.

I think cheerful people may be getting harder and harder to find during the holidays...

So please remember what this season is about.

It is about family and friends and Jesus Christ.

“If I saw you hitchhiking, I’d smile and return your thumb’s up, just for you doing such a great job of being a positive roadside influence.” 
-Jarod Kintz 

I kinda cracked up at that quote.

Ah. I just love smiley people.

I have a couple specific people in mind... I bet you can think of some...

Someone who is outgoing and crazy and fun and kind and simply a good person.

I want to be that person.

God has filled my life - and yours - with hundreds of tiny miracles, tender mercies, and learning opportunities.

Men are that they might have joy. (click)

The gospel brings me joy.
My family brings me joy.
My friends bring me joy.
Music brings me joy.
Cheesecake brings me joy.
The scriptures bring me joy.

What brings you joy??

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


After school I worked, went for a (short) run, did my homework, studied for a huge chemistry test I have tomorrow, and practiced piano for an hour and a half today...

All. Before. Ten!!!!

And I'm not sure that has ever happened to me in my life! (Well in the last big chunk of my life, anyways!!)

So I wanted to blog but I don't want to spend forever. I am excited for s.l.e.e.p. tonight!!

I have been thinking a lot about our amazing country and I have just been really grateful.

You know, I have been following the election a lot since the summer.

And I really fear for our country.

But I decided yesterday afternoon to be content and at peace with whatever happened.

God loves all His children. No matter where they live or how they live.

He doesn't just love Americans. He doesn't just love the people living in poverty.

And to think our people are - or our nation is - superior when compared to others... well it's just wrong.

But I know that God watches over our country. I love my country and I am so grateful for the inspired founding fathers who created such an amazing government that can withstand so much.

We do have the most brilliant and inspired system in the world, that I believe.

Even with its flaws, our government is amazing.

And I really hope our country will pull through.

Either way, I am grateful to God for watching over us.

Whatever happens, I feel that our constitution won't fail us.

(Though it may come incredibly close, ha.)

God is good and our country is good.

And I will support and pray for the president regardless.

God bless America.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

the lord i will obey...

Wow! Two in one day! Has that ever happened?

I feel kinda bad because I have been sooo busy.

I've realized I haven't been blogging much on weekdays...

But I work after school, come home, eat dinner, practice piano for an hour or two... (yes, that long. Piano is definitely contributing to my stress level at the moment... ha.) Then I do my homework for a couple/few more hours and then I shower and go to bed.

Or I read in bed.

Either way, same thing every day. And I have been getting six hours of sleep/night which so is not enough.

So blogging has been put off until weekends. It just takes me too long and requires me to think too much.

haha. I am definitely getting enough mental exercise with chemistry and piano - which are both a bit demanding at the moment.

And it doesn't help that I am easily distracted so things tend to drag out longer than they need to. ha.

Anyways. I owed two posts today. Definitely.

So the song I am sharing today has played on soft sunday sounds quite a bit lately...

And at first I liked it but didn't... let me explain.

The song is about Abraham and Isaac, and it really is a beautiful song.

It talks about how Abraham will obey the Lord when he is asked to sacrifice his only son.

As you and I know, Abraham did not sacrifice his son. An angel stopped him before he could. It was a test of his (and Isaac's!) faith.

Anyways. In this song, it doesn't tell the ending. It doesn't talk about Abraham being stopped.

It just kinda... ends.

And the first time I heard it, I was all what???? He didn't die!! 

But now I love it. So so much.

This song isn't about God stopping Abraham. It is about Abraham and how he was determined to obey the Lord no matter what was asked of him.

And I think it is the coolest song ever.

Anyways. without further adieu...

Holy is the Lord by Andrew Peterson, who is a non-LDS Christian singer with some awesome songs...

(Oh and I didn't put a video because I wanted you to read the lyrics, but I am kinda liking this video if you want to watch it. And it concludes the song a little more, too.)

Holy Is the Lord by Andrew Peterson on Grooveshark

Wake up little Isaac 
And rub your tired eyes 
Go and kiss your mama 
We’ll be gone a little while 
Come and walk beside me 
Come and hold your papa’s hand 
I go to make an altar 
And to offer up my lamb 

I waited on the Lord 
And in a waking dream He came 
Riding on a wind across the sand 
He spoke my name 
“Here I am”, I whispered 
And I waited in the dark 
The answer was a sword 
That came down hard upon my heart 

Holy is the Lord 
Holy is the Lord 
And the Lord I will obey 
Lord, help me I don’t know the way 

So take me to the mountain 
I will follow where You lead 
There I’ll lay the body 
Of the boy You gave to me 
And even though You take him 
Still I ever will obey 
But Maker of this mountain, please 
Make another way 

Holy is the Lord 
Holy is the Lord 
And the Lord I will obey 
Holy is the Lord 
Holy is the Lord 
And the Lord I will obey 
Lord, help me I don’t know the way

I wonder sometimes how obedient I would be if asked to do something super crazy and life-changing. 

I probably will be, someday.

I think back on the pioneers and how they left everything to follow the prophet. Lives were lost and people suffered more than you or I could ever imagine. 

I wonder if I could have done what they did. I honestly don't know. That's a lot to sacrifice.

I think someday the saints will be asked to leave everything and go to meet the Savior. I don't know if it will be in my lifetime or if it won't, but I want to make sure I am in the habit of being obedient. 

I think that when that day comes, you will be able to see who would truly sacrifice everything for the One who created the world. Where people's priorities lie. 

So I will obey. 

I will live the gospel every day of my life. 

I want the Lord to know that I am on his side. 

That I am loyal to him. 

"The crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty." 

Elder Holland said that in our last General Conference.

I love the Lord, and I want him to know it. 

There is this really old Mormonad that explains that living the gospel is like brushing your teeth. You can't just pile on the toothpaste and brush one day and expect to be good for a week.

Church is a Sunday activity. Your religion - the gospel of Jesus Christ - should be a way of life. 

"Holy is the Lord, Holy is the Lord... And the Lord I will obey."

Always. No matter what.

P.S. Listen to this song too (by the same guy). It ends with the same phrase as the song you just listened to, which I think is kinda cool.

P.P.S. I am feeling really good right now. Y'all should start your own blogs like this. It makes you feel good and fills you up with the Spirit whenever you sit down to blog.

see yourself as worthy!

Sometimes I get down on myself.

And I don't feel worthy.

I don't feel good enough.

I wonder if I'm doing enough...

serving enough...

being kind enough...

being righteous enough...

And I wonder if God is proud of me or not.

And I have to stop myself in my tracks.

And I think:

Haley, do you love God?

Do you desire to do good?

Do you try?

If these thoughts are coming to you, it is obviously important to you that you are being a good, obedient child, right?

Doesn't that count for something?

I will never feel worthy of the Atonement.

I could never repay my Savior enough.

I may never feel like I am doing enough.

And I have to remind myself that even though I am not perfect, or even close, nobody is.

God is still proud of me, proud of my efforts... even if I am always falling short.

I am bad at journal keeping.

And I forget to pray some mornings.

I don't always manage my time responsibly.

I don't always think nice thoughts about myself or others.

And i am terrible at forgiving myself.

But I like to think that I am good at forgiving others.

That I am a good friend...

And good at recognizing mercies.

And I know I have a long way to go.

But I am learning how to keep my thoughts positive.

And I have found this self-reassuring technique to be good for a lot.

It comes in handy when I feel like I'm alone or I am not good enough and it also helps when I doubt.

I just have to remind myself that I already know the gospel is true. I already know God loves me. I already know that perfection is not possible in this life. I already know that there is more to the plan.

And these things will always be true. No matter what.

So I snap out of my feeling down-ness!!

God is good. The Savior forgives perfectly. It is not the Savior's job to judge, it is his job to be my advocate.

God loves everyone. Always and no matter what.

These things I know, and they never change.


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