Wednesday, October 10, 2012

When I Really Ought to be Studying...

I have so much to be thankful for.

When I was little, as my mom told my fiancé today, I was that kid that got picked on, even by younger kids. I was shy, slow, short, you name it. I was the one without candy after the Easter egg hunt, or piñata, last one picked for sports teams at recess, and I was pretty sensitive, so this all hurt.

I've had a lot of experiences where people that I looked up to or wanted to be loved by didn't appreciate me for who I was even though I tried really hard to be their friend, serve them, uplift and comfort them, but it frequently seemed that I was the only one working at the relationship.

I don't feel like that little kid with the empty Easter basket anymore.

Cameron is amazing, and he loves me and cares about me. If you don't believe me, read this. There are so many reasons that I love him, but today I am especially grateful because he lifts me up. He picked me. He tells and shows me every moment how appreciated and loved I am, and am never allowed to forget who I am: a daughter of our Father in Heaven with worth and potential. I have never felt more valued, because although I have always been loved and supported by my family, this is coming from a man that had no prior connection or obligation to me. Yet he loves me. He treats me like a queen and puts my happiness and well being above his own.

I could not be more grateful for this wonderful, wonderful man. I am so excited to marry him! :)

40 days to go ;)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pay It Forward

There is so much ickiness and unkindness in the world. Quite honestly, I don't like election time because the majority of commercials, facebook statuses, and advertisements are calling someone else mean names and attacking them as a person instead of just stating differences in opinion. There are countless examples of disrespect, especially pertaining to religion, which really saddens me. This country was founded on principles of religious freedom and religious ideals. Can't we respect those who think differently than us? Can't we see that we are all children of God, and no matter how different we are, or how wrong something they have done is, we ought to love them and set an example?

So, this week, I'm asking everyone to "pay it forward." Anytime someone holds the door for you, tells you that you look nice today, even smiles at you, try to do something for someone else! Just do your best to make someone else smile. And guess what? You don't have to stop as soon as you've done it once. Even if no one seems to be doing anything nice for you today, you can start the cycle. And remember this: God loves you, and every blessing in your life, even life itself, comes from him. So you always have something to pay forward.

Imagine what a lovely place the world would be if everyone tried to do this! Let's all try today to make the world a little brighter. I would LOVE it if you shared your experiences with all of us in the comments below. Thanks for participating in this experiment with me!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Galatians 5:22

To start: if you haven't watched the Relief Society General Broadcast from last night, YOU NEED TO. It was AMAZING.

I spent almost all day with Cameron yesterday and it was wonderful! We don't get to do that very often anymore now that school has started. We got things to make our Halloween costumes, got lunch, picked up a few things for wedding decorations, and ended the day at his Grandparents' home watching the broadcast and eating dinner.

It's so amazing and wonderful to me how the closer I am to the Lord and to his spirit, the more love I feel for Him, and for Cam. My heart is so full lately that a lot of my emotion has been escaping out my eyes ;). Life is so wonderful with Cameron in it. He is always pointing me upwards, and doing everything he can to help me physically, emotionally, spiritually, everything. He is my greatest blessing and I am so excited to share eternity with him.

The joy I have felt lately is indescribable. I am so fulfilled and I know that I am loved. I really am so blessed, and I thank Heaven every moment for this immense gift that I've so graciously been given.

Yesterday I was thinking about the difficulties I was having in the spring and the opportunity that they to draw closer to the Lord; and I realized something. I realized that those experiences were preparing me for Cameron. Had I not been close to the spirit, and not had an open heart, ready to look further  than skin deep, I would not have been ready for Cameron when I met him. This is one of the few times when I am humble enough to be grateful for my supposed misfortunes.

The Lord knows exactly what we need to become our best, and if we follow him, and try to understand his plan and do it, we will be blessed beyond measure and happier than we ever imagined possible.

73 Days Down, 52 Days to Go!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thoughts on Eternity

So I have several posts in the works, but there are just some things that I am grateful for/thinking about, and wanted to share.

1. I Love My Fiancé.

He is so good and sweet to me. He is always trying to take care of me, helping me to turn to the Lord, and and lifting me up emotionally. He never let's a day go by where he doesn't tell me how wonderful he thinks I am, or how big my heart is, or what an amazing wife and mother I will be. You get the idea. When I ask him why he's so good to me, he says something to the effect of, "I want to be with you for eternity, and if I'm not good to you now,  why would you want to be with me forever?"

2. The Lord Loves Us

"He clothes the lilies of the field.
He feeds the birds in the sky.
And he will feed those who trust him,
And guide them with His eye." (Consider the Lilies)

I have seen this so much in my life since I've met Cameron. He is so perfect for me. Yes, we have our differences, but we are able to talk about them and work past them. We are both willing to sacrifice and compromise, and focus on the multitudes of things we love about each other, our similarities, and our common goals. We have a lot of those. If the Lord could take the time to make sure that Cam and I had all the life experiences that would prepare us for each other, out of all his millions of children and important cosmic things I'm sure he has to coordinate, how amazing is that? I always believed that he loved his children, but now I have absolutely no doubt.

3. Eternity

I believe that after death our spirits continue on. Not as ghosts, but more like angels. I believe that we will continue on in this way until we are resurrected, as the Savior was, and regain our bodies, but they will be glorified and perfected, never to be separated from our spirits again. If we keep his commandments, and make covenants in his house, including the covenant and ordinance of marriage, we can be together with our families forever. This is why Cam and I have chosen to be married in the temple, by someone who holds the proper priesthood authority so seal us to each other, not just 'till death, but for eternity! How wonderful is that!

I'm so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ, for making it possible for our sins to be forgiven, that I may try every day to be better than the day before, and have hope of returning to Heaven, along with my Husband and family. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Engagement

Cameron and I have known that we want to get married for a while. He asked (well, tried to ask, but that's another story) my dad for my hand almost two weeks ago and we pretty much immediately started working on picking a date and colors and things, but we didn't want to go around telling people that we were engaged before he'd officially asked me. Let's just say that by the time he proposed I was more than ready to say yes.

On Thursday night we were just hanging out and he asked if I would like to go on a date next week. I thought for sure that's when he would propose then. When he was leaving he VERY casually asked if I'd like to go hiking with him the next morning so he could build up stamina for his Elders Quorum activity on Tuesday to hike the entirety of Timpanogos. I said yes before he told me that he'd be picking me up at 6:00 am. Good thing, too, because it was going to be the best hike of my life.

Friday I woke up at 5:30, after a whopping five hours of sleep. I thought vaguely as I was brushing my teeth that he's a pretty sneaky guy and might be trying to throw me off by asking me on that date for next week. I quickly brushed it aside, not because I thought I was wrong, but because the last thing I wanted was to get my hopes up only to be disappointed when we got back and I still had no ring on my finger. At multiple points throughout the hike I stopped him to point out the view and give him a hug and a kiss, and I'm sure he was getting frustrated with my dragging pace, but he didn't show it. I didn't know we were trying to do anything but get to the waterfall and turn around.

The hike was absolutely beautiful. *(I LOVE nature, especially trees and animals so this hike was perfect for me. As my mom puts it, if a woodland fairy would like it, so will I.)* Almost the entire trail was covered by beautiful green trees, there were hundreds of butterflies and honeybees, we even saw a family of wild turkey, a few chipmunks, lots of birds, and a doe! So, needless to say, I was having the time of my life.

We finally got to Stewart Falls it was an amazing. The sun was out, the air was warm, the water was cool, and the view of the river and canyon was spectacular. In the back of my mind I thought, "this is such a romantic spot, he should just propose to me right now."

He must have read my mind because a moment later he sat me down on a giant rock and handed me an envelope. Inside was this: 

Each page was a dated journal entry of memorable days we'd spent together (all written on staff paper.) *(we love reading books together)* The second to last page was this...

And that's when I was sure he was going to do it. The last page, though I wasn't quite sure what it was at the time, was lyrics to a song he had written for me, and they were so, so sweet. Then he asked if he could ask me a few questions, the first of which was, "may I have this dance?" *(we tend to spontaneously slow dance to non-existent music)* 

As we were dancing he asked if he could sing a song for me. *(We love singing, especially together. We met through choir.)* He started singing a beautiful song, the one he wrote for me, and I started... well I'm not sure what to call it. It was somewhere between laughing and crying, but I didn't have any tears. My shoulders were definitely shaking though, and I just had my face buried in his shoulder. Then he finished the song, pulled back a half step, and walked me backwards the few feet to the rock where I'd been sitting before. He sat me down and reached behind me without me noticing, and pulled the ring box out of his back pack. 

As soon as I saw him on one knee holding the little wooden box I started really crying. When he opened it and I saw the ring my hands flew to my mouth and I started sobbing. It was the most beautiful ring I'd ever seen. I immediately noticed the leaves and vines and knew that he knew me and loved me. *(He picked the ring all by himself)* Then he asked me one more question:

"Will you be my wife?"

I, of course, said yes. Then he asked if he could put the ring on my finger, and of course I said yes again. He slipped it on and stood up. I kissed him and held him and told him over and over that I loved him. He was crying, too.

Then we continued to cry and and laugh and look at the way the ring sparkles in the sun. Then he looked at his watch, looked me in the eye, and said, "Dana, four months from today, at this very moment, we will be waiting in the temple to be married!" *(We'd already picked our wedding date, November 20th)*

It was the most absolutely perfect proposal I could have imagined. I am so in love with him and I can't wait to be married in the temple so we can be together, not just "till death do us part," but for all eternity, even after we die. I am so grateful for his kindness and faith and love. It is so wonderful to have this constant reminder on my hand of how much he loves me, and how we get to be together forever. 

I get to marry my best friend.

5 days down, 119 to go ;)

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Angel

Every so often we are blessed with angels in our lives. Pretty frequently, at least as far as I've been able to physically see, those angels are mortal human beings, like you and me, who happen to be living close enough to Christ to know what he would have them say and do. I have been blessed over the past few months to have one such angel in my life. Today he promised to love me forever and asked me to be his wife. I said yes!

Thank you Cameron for always seeing the best in me and helping me to be better. For always supporting me and standing beside me, for loving me unconditionally, being willing to talk, and for being my best friend. Thank you for the tears of joy (shed on my doorstep because it was after curfew,) for the scriptures and insights shared at all (and I mean ALL) hours of the day, for sharing your light, for holding me close when I am scared or sad, for giving me your best and seeing the best in me. Thank you for honoring your priesthood and temple covenants and responsibilities. Thank you for sharing my goals and helping me to reach higher. I love you with all my heart. November 20th HERE WE COME!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Always Looking Out for Me

God is always looking out for me. Several weeks ago I decided that I really needed to make some kettle corn, which is done by putting popcorn, sugar, and salt in a pot with HOT oil, caramelizing and melting the sugar, and it is delicious. Unless you do something wrong, which I'm still not sure what that was last night, but the sugar started burning before the popcorn was done and some of it popped and stuck to my face as I was attempting to save it. So I had molten sugar hardening to my cheek, hot oil in my eye, AND burnt kettle corn. I ran to the sink and began trying to wash the the sugar off my face, which had already blistered, when I looked in the mirror and realized everything was blurry in my left eye. I looked closely and saw a spot on my cornea where it had been burned. Despite the mascara running down my cheeks, the pain that was probably twisting up my face as I endeavored to see, and extreme embarrassment, I went into the living room where three guys from our ward were sitting, explained the situation, and asked if they could give me a blessing.

They did this, and I was told that in due time the pain would subside and my vision would be restored. I went to bed with a bag of ice on my face praying that "due time" didn't mean very long.

The next morning I was a wreck. I couldn't focus my left eye, it felt like I'd burned the underside of my eyelid when I was blinking away hot oil, and I'd pealed a few layers of skin off my cheek with the sugar and popcorn. But lo and behold, my lovely roommate had made breakfast for her boyfriend's birthday and had plenty of extra so she shared with me and the other roomies. So sweet.

There was this boy named Cameron who I really, really liked and it was his birthday, too. I was supposed to go hiking with he and his friends but I did not feel in any way up to the task so I called him and said I'd have to cancel. He told me that the whole trip had been cancelled due to his suddenly becoming rather ill (with what we found out after several weeks and 2 trips to the doctor was bronchitis) and he wanted to stay home and rest as well.

I had already made a birthday present for him, so I gathered it up, determined to walk the one and a half miles to his house to give it to him because he was sick on his birthday, and I just really wanted to see him. But my body had other plans. I lost all energy and the will to open my left eye so I lay down on the couch and resigned myself to at least an hour of napping...which never occurred because he called shortly thereafter and said he was on his way to my apartment. On foot. To see me, on his birthday, when he was sick. He said he just couldn't stand to be inside any more and he'd promised to visit his cousin, but it later came out that he really just wanted to see me. ;)

He came over, we held hands (not for the first time), and he asked if I would like to keep dating him and only him. Let's just say I was ecstatic. We both went to the doctor the next day and I was told that my eye should be perfectly healed within the week, and was WAY ahead of schedule for a burn that severe having happened so recently.

Let me just say, the Church is true, priesthood is real, and our Father in Heaven does hear and answer our prayers. Not only pertaining to my healing, which was really miraculous, but also in his helping me find Cameron, who has already answered so may of my prayers just by being himself.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's been forever....

Sorry that it has been so long since I've posted, life has been CRAZY!

And by crazy I mean wonderful.

I have so much to be grateful for. All of a sudden I can see the Lord's hand in the vast majority of my struggles over the past several years, and am so grateful for this newfound perspective. I have never been so happy in my life and I hope that I never lose this sense of wonder and joy.

On another note, I've been trying a different form of gratitude journaling. There is a website called where you can have text messages or emails sent to you up to 3 times daily asking you what you're grateful for. Your responses are recorded (securely) online and a weekly log is sent to you by email eat the end of every week. You can also access it any time you want by just going to the website. Sorry if this feels a bit like an advertisement, but I'm just loving doing this. It helps me to consistently be more in the mindset of being grateful, and opens my eyes to more of my blessings as I try not to say the same things over and over.

I'll try to catch up on my blog posts, but it may be difficult as my family, Cameron, and I are going on vacation to California! It's going to be so much fun, not to mention he gets to meet my family... not sure if that goes under fun or not, but if he still likes me after 15 days of being stuck in the same place as ALL of us then he's definitely a keeper! haha.

Friday, June 8, 2012

♥ My Little Sister got Baptized ♥

This past week my little sister, Elizabeth, got baptized! When I originally made the decision to stay for spring and summer terms, I was really upset that I would have to miss this special day and moment. I still wish with all of my heart that I could have been there in person to give her a hug when she came out of the water, to help do her hair, and to sing with her and the rest of my sisters.

This isn't what matters, though. What matters is that she made the choice to be baptized, to covenant with God to keep his commandments and to look after his other children.* And I, through the miracle of modern technology, got to see the whole thing. Yes, my dad skyped me from his phone so that I could participate in a little way even though I was 2,000 miles from them.

I am so grateful for my family, and for the sacrifices that they make for me to be here. I'm grateful for Lizzie and for her example, and for the love of our Father in Heaven.

*Just some background for any of you who are curious why Lizzie waited until she was eight years old to get baptized:
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we believe that Christ's atonement, where he suffered for our sins and died on the cross and was resurrected, automatically covers the sins of all those who sin unknowingly. We also believe that He payed for Adam's fall, so we have no "original sin," and are therefore completely innocent until we are old enough to understand the difference between right and wrong. We believe that this ability develops around the age of 8 (a fact I actually heard scientific evidence for in my human development class, but can't remember who said it).
Understanding the difference between right and wrong is so important before baptism because it is not only a cleansing of sins, but it is an ordinance wherein we covenant, or promise, with God that we will keep his commandments, take our Savior's name upon us (we will do our best to be like Him and behave in a way that represents Him and reflects well on His church), and that we will always remember Him, in everything that we do. In return, the Lord forgives our sins and sends the Holy Spirit to be with us. Before we can be baptized, we need to be able to know and understand the covenants that we are making, so that we can keep them. This is why we wait until we are eight years old to take this step.

If you have any questions about this, or any of my other beliefs, feel free to leave me a comment! You can also click this link here. Have a lovely day! :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pure Joy

I haven't been so happy in, well, ever. At least, not that I can remember. The funny thing I'm coming to realize is that I've always had the potential to be this ecstatic. My life has not gotten any easier AT ALL. I'm struggling to finish assignments well and on time, I'm losing things, I burned myself really badly, my credit card expired and my new one hasn't come yet, the list goes on and on. The only thing that has changed is my perspective.

Cue Boyfriend. ( I promise there's a point to this tangent.)

A little over a month ago an incredibly cheery guy decided to sit next to me when Men's and Women's chorus were singing together in a BYU devotional. I was having a really bad day but I tried my best to be nice. He asked for my number, friended me on facebook, but I didn't think much of it. Then a week later he asked if I'd like to go on a walk with him on Sunday afternoon. We got to talking and I realized that he had such a light! (see previous post.) He was so optimistic and we have a really similar way of seeing the world. I hardly stopped smiling the entire time I was with him. Something about his love of life and optimism was just contagious. So long story short we started seeing each other pretty frequently and going on dates until we decided that we didn't want to date anyone else and that's where we are now.

So, tangent aside, his light, spirit, and optimism have really made me want to be a better person. I saw how happy he was and when I realized that he wasn't ignoring sad things, they just didn't bother him because of how much he loved everything else, I decided "I want to be like that, too!" So, I have. I am utterly full of God's love, I do my best to recognize the little wonders all around me, and share my joy with everyone I meet. I must say, I feel fantastic. I haven't been more in love with life for such an extended period of time that I can remember, or been filled with so much gratitude.

On a side note, I've finally figured out why I couldn't go to Nauvoo! It's because, if I had gone, I would  not have had this wonderful life changing experience, or get to be dating this amazing man. Hallelujah. :)

Friday, May 25, 2012


A few days ago I went to the temple with my friend Cameron (not my brother) and, while we were there, had the opportunity to reflect on the concept of light. The light I'm talking about can't really be seen with our eyes, but is more of a spiritual phenomenon.

In the scriptures Christ told us that he is the "light and the life of the world." Other places in the scriptures, as well as modern day prophets and apostles, talk about the light of Christ. I think that the closer a person is to God in behavior, desire, and communication, the more of that light he or she is given and is able to show to the rest of the world. Some people obviously "shine" brighter than others, and the more in tune with the Spirit you are the easier it is to detect this in others.

So while I was in the temple I saw a lot of youth (kids between the ages of 12-17) and it was so wonderful to see how many of them had such a light about them. They truly shone like angels, as did my friend with whom I was there. He is such a fantastic example to me.

I am so grateful for all of the many people in my life who have the light of Christ with them and do not "hide it under a bushel" (Matt 5:15). I hope that I can learn to share my light with others and help them to feel God's love for them in the way that I have been helped and strengthened.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Thank You, Adam, for Sharing This:

Adam Young (aka Owl City) is one of the more spiritual people I've never met.

Yes, you read that correctly.

He genuinely has the spirit with him and is not afraid to hide it--his heart is completely open. I always feel uplifted after reading his blog or listening to his music. I thought this entry, as well as most of them, was really touching.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Heart Like His

A while back, in the middle of a rather emotionally difficult trial, I realized that I was closing my heart. I was trying to block out the pain and anger I was feeling, but all that the walls seemed to be keeping out was love and joy. I was utterly apathetic. I hate being apathetic. I'm a really emotional person, and so to feel nothing is strange and uncomfortable and depressing. I like myself best when I smile at myself in the mirror and sing no matter what I'm doing, not being the sullen, jaded, spiteful little girl I occasionally let myself become. The morning after I discovered this and decided that I needed to change my heart, a girl in Women's Chorus gave us a beautiful devotional. I don't remember what she said, but the spirit touched me through her words as she told us about her experience reading a book, A Heart Like His by Virginia H Pearce, and told me that I needed to open my heart, I needed a heart like my Savior's.

After the devotional we began to rehearse. We were singing an arrangement of the Hymn "Lord I Would Follow Thee," with two new verses.

Stir my heart with love's compassion,
When in weakness I withhold.
I would heal as thou hast healed me,
Comfort, strengthen, and enfold.
Stir my heart with love's compassion,
Lord, I would follow Thee.

Precious, fleeting is my time here.
Whisper wisdom to my mind,
Courage when my heart is aching,
Faith when fear is all I find.
Precious fleeting is my time here,
Lord, I would follow Thee.

As we sang them, tears started to flow as I felt for the first time the truth and importance of those words.   I could finally feel. I knew that my Father loved me, that I was the one that had pushed him away, and I needed to change.

It was difficult at first, to try to allow the walls to fall, because I was certain that the first thing I would feel was pain, but I was simultaneously given love and joy. I found myself smiling and singing again, and it was lovely. It was also hard, and I still felt rather hopeless at times. Although I felt that I should stay in Provo for the summer I almost gave up and went home, because it is so nice to be taken care of and surrounded by family, and so hard to feel alone, but God gave me the strength and courage I needed to do His will as I asked for it.

It has been a long road, and I know there is still a very long way to go before I can even come close to having a heart like the Lord's, but as soon as I let Him in, He has been with me every step of the way and giving me comfort. I love Him, and my Father in Heaven so very much, and I am so grateful for all that they have given to me.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Family: Heaven on Earth

Yesterday I had the opportunity to see my great grandmother Marybelle on my mom's side. She is 98 years old, has basically no memory, and has not left her bed in a few years. She can't communicate anymore and has to be spoon-fed like a baby. It's strange to see someone who I used to talk to and have conversations with be in this condition, and I find myself having nothing to say to her, and even if I can think of something I get too choked up to say it. I am not really sad though, at least not for her. She's not really suffering, she barely takes any medication at all, she just can't care for herself. I'm sad for my great Aunt and Uncle who visit her regularly and have to see her health declining. They are the kindest people and have such good hearts, and I know it would be difficult for me to watch my mother starting to slip away like that. But again, its not really sadness that overwhelms me and makes my eyes "leak," as my mom puts it. I cry because the veil is so thin around Marybelle.

When I am with either the very young or the very old I can feel that Heaven is close. I can feel our Father in Heaven's love more strongly and clearly than I otherwise can. I know that he is waiting, for his own reasons, to welcome my grandmother to the other side where she can rest from her mortal trials. I believe my grandfather, her husband Bob, was there in that room with her, watching out for her as he did all his life until the moment he passed away two years ago.

I am so blessed to have been able to know three of my great-grandparents, and to still have two of my great-grandmothers alive. I'm so grateful for the spirit I feel when I'm with them and for all that they've taught me about perseverance and hard work. I pray for them, and hope that when they have done all they came to this Earth to do that they can slip peacefully to the other side of the veil and be reunited with their loved ones.

I am so grateful for my testimony of the atonement, life after death, and the resurrection. I know that someday I will be able to see these remarkable people again, and be able to live with them as a family forever.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Close Enough to Touch

In Relief Society today our president shared something amazing with us (to paraphrase...)
“The Savior is never more than an arm's length away, because he will not stand further from you than you can push him.”
I know this to be true, metaphorically speaking. The savior is only as far from me as I make him stay. The moment I turn to him for love, or comfort, or support, or validation, He is there embracing me and opening the windows of Heaven to pour out more blessings and comfort and healing than I could ever hope to receive. He is ever so much more than just. He is merciful, he is tender, he is loving, he is compassionate, he is self-sacrificing, and he is always there for me.
No matter how selfish I tend to be, which sometimes is sadly probably an 11 out of 10 on the self-centered meter, he sends me angels as soon as I am ready to accept them. On Wednesday he sent me one such angel: my wonderful friend Sam. He is always ready to listen to the spirit, and offer comfort and advice. He didn't know why, but he followed a prompting to come talk to me and because of what he said, and because of the love of my Heavenly Father he helped me to recognize, my burdens have been made light. They are still there, but they are now manageable.
I know that our Father in Heaven and Savior love us. They would do anything for us. I am so grateful for the sacrifice our Lord made for us when he suffered and atoned for our sins in Gethsemane, gave his life on Calvary, and finally was resurrected so that someday we, too, may be reunited with our bodies, and become perfected like him, and live forever in his kingdom. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His church on the Earth today, and that he leads and guides it. I know that no matter how close we stray from the path, he will always be beside us, waiting to give us the help we need, always close enough to touch.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I've had a LOT of little, and a few not so little, things piling up lately, and although I have been keeping my head above water, it's just barely. I sadly have not been turning to the Lord as much as I should, but General Conference came just in time, and gave me an opportunity to spend the entire weekend with my family.

I am so grateful for my family. I love them so much, and am so grateful for the way they are consistently willing to do everything they can for me. I love how much love I feel when I go to their homes. I love being cared for, and having the opportunity to care for them in turn, instead of being alone.

My sweet, sweet cousin Taelor, who is a whopping three years old, voluntarily sang me a lullaby and tucked me into bed before she was sent upstairs to bed sunday night, and then came and woke me up in the morning, announcing that it was breakfast time and helped be to select the best options from the pantry.

I am so grateful for this, and for other expressions of love I've received over the last few days, and my whole life, from my wonderful family. Thank you all so very much :)

Thank you also to my friends who treat me like family--who consistently take care of me, love me, and support me. You're the best!

Monday, March 19, 2012

He Knows Me

God is good.

All the time.

Even when I get frustrated and stamp my feet and shout at the sky,
"Why can't something just work out the way I want it to!?"

Yup, even then.

Because in the midst of this ranting and fussing and womanly indignation I come inside to find a nine page letter from my really good friend who is on his mission. I was wondering why it was taking him so long to write me back. Now I know. It was so that I could have that little bit of comfort and a reminder of my previously more optimistic outlook on trials, right at that moment when I needed a hug and some Humble Pie.

Thank you Father for knowing me, and knowing how to care for me,
and thank you Anders for your wonderful letter.

Something Anders reminded me of that I had told him in the last letter I sent him:
In the hymn "Nearer my God to Thee," there is a line that says "[I wish to be] Nearer to Thee, e'en though it be a cross that raiseth me." Our trials bring us closer to the Lord, if we let them. If we want to be closer to our Father in Heaven we have to be willing to go through trials to get there. I need to do a better job of remembering that when I'm actually going through something difficult.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Try a Little Harder to Be a Little Better

I have been trying lately to be the person I want to become. It has been mostly subconscious, a series of choices that have led to a change of habits and way of thinking. I have been trying to allow the Savior to change me, and the moment I let go of my fears and pride the tiniest bit He began working. I have been blessed with incredible patience, motivation, and love. I have been given glimpses of how He sees those around me. He has given me so many second chances, and in trying to be like Him, I've found myself naturally wanting to do the same for others.

The Lord is great. He loves us, He wants us to be happy, and He wants us to be like Him. It is not easy, and we will mess up, but that doesn't mean we are lost. He will always do what is best for us, even if we cannot understand how or why.

I know that if every day each of us were to try a little harder to be a little better, that we would succeed, we would be happier, and the world would be a much nicer place, both because of our perception and the effect we would have on it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Good friends

My friend Elizabeth blogs like mad, and I love reading everything she posts. Today her entry was particularly inspiring. Check it out :)

I am so grateful for all my wonderful friends who are such good examples to me of optimism and good natured fun.

I love being able to be my goofy self with my friends and family. I love that I have friends who will text me and remind me to pray, or be grateful, or just send a smile :)

Life is sweet. It may not be perfect, I may not be perfect, but our Savior is, and because of that I can be at peace with whatever happens.


I've been faced with a lot of choices lately, and as my mom can tell you, I don't like making big decisions. It got to the point where all I wanted to do was sit in my bed and mope and think about how hard everything was. (which is not in any way helpful just in case you were wondering.) I was staring my problems in the face and waiting for them to go away, but it just wasn't happening.

I was going through my New Testament notes one day and I saw something that had stood out to me before, but I had failed to take to heart. It said that to find peace we have to stop looking at our problems and look at the solution: our Savior.

I realized that I hadn't been really accepting my Father in Heaven's help, even though I'd been on my knees asking for it. I was too proud to let go of my anger and pain so that He could take it. Once I realized this, I went straight to my knees, apologized for my stubbornness, and asked for help to be humble and to have the courage to do what I knew what was right. I then got up and made the biggest choice: to be happy. I told myself that I was so blessed and had nothing to be upset about. I was done with Pity Parties and pouting, and I was going to be cheerful and grateful for everything I had. It didn't matter what I lacked, because I have a Father in Heaven that loves me and a Savior that gave his life for me so that I could return to Heaven. I have a loving family here on Earth, fantastic friends, and everything necessary to life. What more could I ask for?

I recognized that this was easier said than done, so I told my roommates and close friends my resolution, and that if I were upset about anything trivial that they were to give me a hug and tell me to stop worrying about it because everything is wonderful. The surprising thing is that I haven't even been tempted to mope around my house since then (about a week ago.) My problems aren't gone, but with an eternal perspective they look so much smaller. I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven for his love and help and for enabling me to live in a happy way.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"I will not leave you comfortless"

Today I am filled with gratitude for my Savior. At times of such intense emotion, I often have difficulty finding my own words, so I've found myself quoting songs and scriptures when trying to describe my feelings. Most of them are in His praise, but I have found one phrase returning to my mind that is a promise from Him:

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."

In my time of trial, he has surely come to me. His spirit has not left my side, and he has sent friends to me to comfort and strengthen me. I am so blessed to have knowledge of my savior and his goodness. I love him, I love his gospel, and I love my life, however trying it may be. I am grateful for my trials, as they give me an opportunity to learn and grow closer to him. Too often I say to myself that I don't want to learn anymore, I'm tired of growing. It's too hard. But today, I am strangely optimistic. I am making the choice to take the higher road mentioned by Paul in Romans 5, of allowing our tribulations to teach us patience, give us experience, endow us with hope, and take away our shame.

We always have a choice. No matter how hard our situation is, if we choose to look up, it will inevitably get better. I was told yesterday in my Stake Conference by our stake Relief Society President that if we face our challenges with optimism, things will always work out. I believe that.

The URL of my blog is 2 Timothy 1:8, but if you go back a verse, you find this

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind."

The Lord wants us to succeed. He is always supporting us, as long as we let him. He knows us individually, and loves us more than we can comprehend.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"Whenever God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window"

Whenever you open yourself up to let someone in, it makes you more vulnerable, more fragile, and sometimes it stinks. Everything seems bigger than it is, and I'm already gifted in making a mountain out of a molehill, so it feels like Everest is staring me in the face. I just have to say "oh well" and start climbing. Today has been one of those days

Thankfully, I have been given wonderful friends. Not only did I have friends spontaneously talk to me, leading to fun times, last night, but I had a wonderful time in church in preparation for my not-so-great afternoon. My beautiful next door neighbors took me in, since my room mates are gone. They talked to me, and distracted me, and invited me to stay for dinner as well! They are so sweet. My gorgeous friend Michelle also called me and wants to do something fun to help me get my mind off of the sad thing.

The Lord has also helped me to try and look outwards during this itty-bitty trial, and to think momentarily of others. This is hard, but when I do it, I always feel better. I'm grateful for the promptings of the Holy Ghost to care for others and their hardships.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Wonderful Family

I love my family. They are so amazing. We may be a quirky, nerdy, silly, eclectic group, but we know how to laugh and we know how to love. I got to skype with my family today, and it was fantastic. I miss them so much, and really wish I lived closer to home. Or that they lived closer to here.
I love that we all love music and make it together. I love that my little brother is enough of a man to make up for the fact that he's the only boy out of five kids, and that he's willing to put up with the rest of our girly ways.
I love that we're such comedians. I think we inherited it from my dad... actually I'm positive. He's hilarious, and I love it. I don't think we had more than one or two conversations over Christmas break that didn't end with me crying from laughter. I love laughing, and I love being happy, and I'm so grateful for my family's ability to help me stay that way.
I love that we have so many common interests, and also so many different ones. For example, we've all played soccer, all of the girls have taken dance classes, and we all sing or play an instrument. Cameron is a PRO beatboxer. He and my sister Sarah frequently do spontaneous dubstep arrangements, and it's awesome. It drives Mary crazy, who much prefers her classical piano and flute (she's a prodigy--absolutely amazing at everything she tries), and Lizzie just goes crazy dancing and singing to any music being made or played on the computer.
My parents are wonderful. They are such hard workers, and so kind and generous to others. My dad is such an amazing example of patience and love. I've rarely seen a man look at a woman with so much love as I see on my dad's face when he comes home. I want to marry someone who looks at me that way.
Besides always being there for me to talk to, and offer advice, I love how good of a cook my mom is, and how she's taught me her magical ways in the art of perfect baking. Not only does everything that comes out of her kitchen taste good, but it looks amazing as well! She's a wizard. No lie.
I'm so grateful for the examples ALL of the members of my family set for me, and that even though I'm 2,000 miles away, I can stay in contact with them and have the promise of being with them forever.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Little Taste of Motherhood

For the past 3 weeks I was babysitting my cousins in Orem, and it was tiring. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, but I am also glad that I don't actually have four kids, a full load of classes, and no husband to help and offer emotional support. I really did have a fantastic time, though. It felt so good to be caring for children. It just felt so right. People are meant to be in families, and I can't wait until I can have my own. Don't worry, I'm not going to rush into anything; but as much as I am enjoying my single life, I know that I don't want to be here forever. I have always felt that there was nothing more important for me than becoming a mother and raising my children the best that I can. Again, I'm not in any hurry, but I'm excited for when the time comes. Although I am emotionally exhausted, I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity that I had, and for my wonderful cousins. I love them so much :)
I will, however, enjoy not having a sick baby join me in my bed in the middle of the night ;)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lost My Voice

Backstory: As a child in primary* I learned sign language for three different songs, only one and a half of which I really remember. I think it is beautiful to watch people "sing" in sign language, although I personally would much rather sing aloud.

Today I woke up and I could barely talk. Losing my voice is usually really disheartening for me. Not only is it hard to talk, but I can't sing. I considered staying home from church. It wasn't just my voice, I felt a little feverish and my nose was stuffy, but then I decided that if I was well enough to go to school, I should go to church. Only, not being able to sing along with the hymns is so terribly depressing.

Under normal circumstances I would try to sing though it even though it hurts and would leave my voice in worse condition , (I know, shame on me for being so short-sighted) but I have a choir concert later this week, and lip-syncing in a performance is even worse than in church.

All through sacrament meeting I was hoping and praying that we would sing one of the hymns that I knew the sign language for, but they didn't come. Disappointed, but relieved to not have to worry about it anymore for at least an hour, I went to sunday school. The teacher suggested we start with a song (unusual) and I was sad... until he picked one of the ones I knew in sign language! I happily mouthed the words and signed as gracefully as I could, considering I hadn't done it since I was ten.

When I got to Relief Society, I was grateful that I had gotten to sign one song, and opened my hymn book, prepared to sit silently. It was the second song that I knew the signs for! I was ecstatic. It was a happy, happy blessing for me to be able to participate even though my voice is in very poor quality right now.

*the explanation of "primary" is at the very bottom of the linked page.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Leaky Faucet...

I once heard that your heart is about the same size as your fist and, as pointed out to me this morning, I have really small hands. So, proportionally, I should have a small heart.

This makes sense to me. Not just because I'm a small person, but because what other people seem to be able to sit through quite neutrally often brings me to tears--especially things pertaining to the Gospel and my Father's love for me and all of his children. My little heart just can't handle all of the grandeur, wonder, and love that I feel in these situations, and so it usually comes out my eyes. I just had one of those wonderful moments in my New Testament class.

So if you happen to see me on campus with one little tear on my cheek, or maybe a lot, but I'm smiling, don't panic. I probably just had a fantastically spiritual experience and am full of love and sunshine to the point of bursting.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Enjoying the Journey

I haven't been posting much lately because I haven't been having to force myself to think of things that I'm grateful for. I've been so happy! God is good to me :) I am so blessed, and I am so glad that I am seeing that now. Nothing in my situation has changed, everything that I'm sad that I don't have is still lacking, everything that bothers me is still there, but I haven't been focussing those things.

I was complaining to a friend a few days back that I was working so hard to be happy, but not getting any results. At first his comments made me feel like he didn't really get what I was trying to say, but then told me that I just needed to stop waiting for results, and just enjoy the journey. This really struck me because it was the theme of my stake's women's conference this past summer. I'm not completely sure what changed, but I pretty much decided there and then to stop waiting for happiness to arrive, and just be happy. Miraculously it worked!

Later that weekend I had a super cheesy thought, and I'm going to share it with you. Life is like a road trip. The point is to drive, and see the sights, and stop at random places along the way. My family knows this well; we used to drive from Michigan to California and back every summer, and we almost always took a different route. And the "destination" doesn't really matter, because the trip isn't over until you get home: it's about the experiences along the way. So stop asking "are we there yet" and just enjoy the journey :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

♥ Friends ♥

I am grateful for my friends. I'm grateful for their ability to patiently help me remember what I need to do to smile, and that I'm not failing just because I don't have a constant grin on my face, and helping to make that grin more frequently seen. I'm grateful that they let me vent to them occasionally, or frequently as the case may be, and for being so kind to me. I love you all :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go

  1. I am so grateful for music and the power it has to bring the spirit to me and teach me the lessons I am to stubborn to hear when they are merely spoken. Last year in Women's Chorus we sang a beautiful number, combined with the other choirs, called "Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go," and today I was listening to it on my iPod while considering how I need to stop being so selfish in asking for what I want, and wanting it now. Last year, this song touched me so much, and now listening to it again, I feel that same peace and resignation and ability to press onward, not because of my own strength, but because of my Lord's power and the strength he grants me when I give myself over to him. I am so grateful for this love and knowledge that I have of my Father in Heaven.

  2. O Love that will not let me go,
    I rest my weary soul in thee;
    I give thee back the life I owe,
    That in thine ocean depths its flow
    May richer, fuller be.
  3. O light that follows all my way,
    I yield my flickering torch to thee;
    My heart restores its borrowed ray,
    That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
    May brighter, fairer be.
  4. O Joy that seeks me through pain,
    I cannot close my heart to thee;
    I trace the rainbow through the rain,
    And know the promise is not vain,
    That morn shall tearless be.
  5. O Cross that raises up my head,
    I dare not ask to fly from thee;
    I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
    And from the ground there blossoms red
    Life that shall endless be.
  6. O Love that wil not let me go.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Patience is a virtue...

Mosiah 24:

[They] did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.

And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.

And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you…

The Lord did not take away their trials or burdens, but he helped them to have strength when they turned to him; and it wasn't until after they were patient and cheerful in their afflictions that he delivered them completely. It's so hard to have this much faith and to be optimistic, and I'm having a lot of trouble dealing with rejection over and over again. I pray that I can be as faithful and strong as these people, and stop asking "why me" and focus on this scripture: peace be unto thy soul, thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt the on high. (D&C 121: 7-8) I need to remember that relief will not be instant, but it will come, as long as I persevere and continue in faith.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Thank You, Nephi

I don't know how many times I've read the first verse of The Book of Mormon, but I read it again today, and something struck me which I had not thought of before. The part that stood out was this:
". . . and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days. . ."
I realized that these two things are not mutually exclusive. Just because we are experiencing affliction, that does not mean we aren't also being blessed. Nephi had A LOT of hardship in his life, but he stayed positive and seemingly never failed to point out how blessed he was.

For some reason it feels a lot easier, at least for me, to see and dwell on what is not the way I would like it to be. When I take the time to step back and really look at all I have, I am very much blessed. If I were to tally up my blessings and my trials, the former would have won ten times over. So why should I let the few unideal parts of my life get me down?

I'm so grateful for the lessons I learn in the scriptures, and for the faith of the people who wrote them. I hope that by studying them, my faith will grow to be as strong as theirs. I know that The Book of Mormon truly is the word of the Lord and that by living according to the principals taught in it, we can grow closer to our Father in Heaven and find more joy and fulfillment in life than would otherwise be possible.

Things I find adorable that should probably gross me out

1. kisses from little ones that leave a sticky spot on your cheek.

2. holding tiny hands, even when they're dirty, sticky, and most likely germy.

3. baby spit-up. Yes, it smells bad, but I still find it adorable.

4. kissing in general. It's probably not the most sanitary thing, but I honestly don't care.

5. couples sharing drinks.

6. animals of almost any kind.

7. lying in the grass when it's warm

8. changing diapers. Again, not the best smell ever, but I really don't mind doing it.

9. catching snowflakes in my mouth.

10. swimming in lakes and the ocean.