Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Know that my Redeemer Lives

It's sad to come to the realization that you take your life for granted. It seems that a serious trial has to happen for me to truly appreciate what I have in my life. One of the main things that I have learned this year: Life is too short to be a series of apologies.

Today was fasting testimony meeting, and a lot of great ones were shared. Why didn't I share mine? I just sat there, knowing exactly what I could say, but saying nothing. Honestly, I felt like I needed to give someone else a chance who hadn't borne theirs in a while. While I love giving my testimony, I certainly don't want to take that chance away from someone else who feels like this Sunday will be The One. But, regardless, I can bare it here. So, listen up.

I have a testimony of the Restored Gospel. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and I will declare it all of my life because it is true. The Church has saved my life in more ways than I can count, and for that, I have been made stronger.
The Book of Mormon is the Word of God. It is another Testament of His Son, Jesus Christ. It teaches truth, love, and instruction for how to improve ourselves, and how to return to His presence. He did not send us here to fail.
There is a Prophet on the earth today. He is the Lord's mouthpiece, and helps each of us to be instruments in the Lord's hands. Revelations are still very much a part of our lives. I know that Joseph Smith, through revelation, restored the Gospel in its fullness. I love that man with more strength than I knew I could possess.
I know that God lives. I know that He loves us. He knows each of us by our innermost desires and thoughts. We are His children. I know that, through the Plan of Happiness we can become exalted even as He is. He is my Savior. He is my source of happiness. He is my life. 

I know who I am. He knows who I can become. What greater joy can we have than to achieve His will?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Anarchy rules, jumbo shrimp, and other oxymorons...

Time can be so vicious. Time can separate friendships, creating a wedge between them until, suddenly, it's too late.

Is there a way to slow things down or maybe even rewind?

It's times like these when I wonder what genius said, "Only time will tell." NO. That is a stupid saying. Why would you postpone asking a question when there is a chance that time's ugliness will never let you unravel the answer? I understand the importance of thinking long-term in some cases. But, life is better lived today. 

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow, a mystery. But, today is a gift. That is why it is called the present."

It's so very discouraging to not see a glimpse of happiness while trudging through some of life's bitterness. The Lord has a Plan for each of us. I know that. There are just times when I look around and can't see the significance of disappointment after disappointment. Those are the times when I think to myself, "I see no blessings in this. This just sucks." It's times like that when I need to realize that I apparently needed to be humbled. A lot.

Moral of the story: Live life now. Grab onto it with both hands and never let go. Happiness is often found amidst all the junk life dishes out.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

...and I'm on my knees looking for the answer

College is a dangerous game if not played correctly. Life in general is even worse. There always needs to be that forward motion. Unfortunately, there is no "standing still." You're either moving forward, or you're sliding back.

I'm trying so hard to find something to motivate me for more than a few weeks, but nothing seems to last. I go to college because I know that getting an education is important. But, in reality, all I really want to be is a mother. But, I suppose I need to take a step back and look at the Big Picture. Sometimes children need home schooling. If college isn't a success for me, how will I teach my kids? How can I help them with homework? How can I do anything at all for them? Maybe there's my motivation. I'm not doing this for me. I'm doing this because I love my future children enough to learn now.

I've been feeling so adventurous lately. I just want to go out and live the life I missed out on. I want to be able to look back on my early years when I'm old and have these fantastic stories to tell my posterity. So far, I don't have much. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret anything. I just want to achieve more. I want to be more.

Lately I'm starting to feel more fulfilled, however. I have amazing friends who lift me up and help to bring me closer to my Savior. Sure, we goof off, but we also have some pretty awesome discussions about a lot of important things. I love them very much.

I also have a family who applauds and praises me for the good decisions I make, while allowing me to learn from the wrong ones. We have never been super close like other families I know, but we work well together. I know that I chose them in the pre-existence for a reason.

I have so many opportunities ahead of me, and I have the power to chose who I am and who I will become. Sometimes that thought is incredibly overwhelming, but most of the time it brings me such peace. It is incredibly liberating to sit back and discover for yourself the power you have in your own life.

I love my life and the people in it. Everyone I've ever met thus far has touched my spirit in some way. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping to mold my life.

Monday, November 8, 2010

There is more

I feel like my posts are so very redundant. But, seriously, life is SO. AWESOME.

I am so incredibly grateful for so many things. Honestly, there's not enough time in the world for me to list them all. But there is one that I will elaborate on - my divorce.

I recently had this conversation with a friend of mine, but it was important enough that I feel the need to share it with my readers.

Despite the fact that a divorce is a horrible thing to go through, and it broke me completely, I don't regret the choices I made leading up to my marriage or the marriage itself. If I could go back and do it over, knowing what I know, I would still marry him. That experience allowed me to see deeper into myself. It allowed me to change and mold myself into someone I could be happy with if I were to never marry again. Now, for the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I like who I am, and the direction that I'm going.

Because I chose to look forward instead of back, I was able to see a bigger picture for myself. I was able to see who I could be, and who I never wanted to become.

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow - a mystery. But today is a gift. That's why it is called the present."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So much noise

Satan is working diligently on me to tear me down bit by bit. Unfortunately, I'm letting him.

He infiltrates our lives in different ways. For some it's the Word of Wisdom. For others, pornography. For me, it's my self worth. The worse I feel about myself, the tighter the grip Satan has over me, and the easier it is for him to drag me down.

It's times like these when I need to have my Patriarchal Blessing at the ready. It's times like these when I need to remember that those thoughts are not from God. The Lord doesn't make mistakes, and I am no exception. I have a purpose and a mission on this earth at this time. I can be exactly what somebody else needs.

Despite the fact that I occasionally feel abandoned and incredibly lonely, I must remember that the Lord's love is above all else. How selfish am I that I require more?

"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." (Mosiah 24:14)

What a powerful scripture. But what I enjoy the most is at the end of verse 15.

"...and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." (Mosiah 24:15) 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

...rely on this Redeemer

"All the water in the world (no matter how it tries) can never sink the smallest ship unless it gets inside. All the evil in the world (the darkest kind of sin) can never hurt me in the least unless I let it in."

 It's always hard to come down from a spiritual high. Yesterday and today were especially rough on me, and were pretty emotionally draining.

Life and the spirit that we keep is so incredibly fragile. I have learned the hard way that without a testimony of our Savior and the love He has for us, that spirit can be crushed again and again with very little effort on the adversary's part. That testimony is like a little force field of hope around what would otherwise be a very depressing life.

“In the search for our best selves, several questions will guide our thinking: Am I what I want to be? Am I closer to the Savior today than I was yesterday? Will I be closer yet tomorrow? Do I have the courage to change for the better?
“The years have come and the years have gone, but the need for a testimony of the gospel continues paramount. As we move toward the future, we must not neglect the lessons of the past.” (President Thomas S. Monson)

 I know the healing power of the Savior's embrace. I have felt His love for me and have allowed Him to use me as an instrument in His hands so that others may know of His love as well. He is real. He lives. He is my Light and my Hope. I will serve Him until eternity passes away.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Look and Live

Oh, this weekend was so SO good. And by "good", I mean stellar. James, Daniel, Nichole and I had the opportunity to attend a YSA dance on Saturday night in The Cities, as well as their single's ward on Sunday. It was a powerful experience for me. (Although, I was hecka jealous of James while he was reconnecting with his fellow EFY counselors. I wish I could have been there.)

Sunday was, for the most part, incredibly uplifting. Not only was I able to feel of the Spirit during church, the car ride home was equally as edifying. James and I (with the occasional comment from the back seat) had some pretty awesome conversations while listening to our collection of EFY music. We sang along and discussed our favorite lyrics as well as most spiritual experiences at EFY.

I may or may not have taken some wrong turns on purpose to make it last longer.

There was a particular song that James introduced me to that I just fell in love with. I believe he said it was on the 2003 CD. It was called, "It Passes All My Understanding". Unfortunately, I can't find the lyrics anywhere, but the song is absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend a visit to YouTube to listen to it. :)

One final thought: There was a talk given this Sunday by a young woman that really struck me. She spoke about President Monson's talk entitled, "Charity Never Faileth." While I had the privilege of hearing that talk from the Prophet's mouth, it was wonderful to have it recounted. She said that there were only two emotional "come froms" in our lives: from love, or from fear. Everything we do or say, how we act, and who we associate with all stems back to those two emotions. That, ladies and gentlemen, is powerful stuff.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Watch the stars - they're ours

I am such a slacker! Things have been so wonderfully crazy that I've forgotten all about my blog! Oopsie.

Know what's one of my favorite things ever? Conversations that make you think. Honestly, I absolutely despise small talk. I don't know what it is. But I love talking to people, and small talk just doesn't offer any opportunities to know someone. Not really. I mean, yeah, you can find out someone's favorite color or whether or not they hate snow, but small talk is often forced. I love it when a conversation progresses naturally to something deeper. That, my friends, is a connection that is hard to break.

I have been on such a spiritual high lately. Institute is just awesome. I mean, awesome. We're learning about Church history and the Doctorine and Covenants. I LOVE THE D&C. They're probably my most favorite scripture. I mean, how awesome is it that the Lord still reveals things to his Prophets today? Yes, the scriptures we have are, essentially, a playbook for this life, but there is still so much more that we need! We are so blessed to have such a merciful God.

I saw on the news this morning that there were a total of 32 tornadoes that touched down yesterday. WOW. That is the most we've had in recorded history! The Second Coming has been foretold for over a thousand years, and, as of late, the signs and wonders are everywhere signaling its time. Nations are falling. Wars are constant. Pestilence. Famine. Draught. Poverty. Natural disasters. All these things are occurring daily. Honestly, I used to be quite frightened of the Second Coming. The scriptures made it sound like such a horrific event. But then I realized that once the Savior comes, it will only be horrific to those who aren't worthy. If I live my life in a wholesome manner and abide by my Temple Covenants, I have nothing to fear. How wonderful that Day will be! I hope I am alive to see it. "I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory ... and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand." (D&C 29:11)

What a beautiful promise.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Lord delighteth in the song of the heart

I have been such a slacker with my blog lately! Life has gotten the best of me, it seems.

Last week was pretty exciting. I had my own little hospital excursion at dark thirty last Thursday morning. Luckily it was nothing life-threatening, but it was still monstrously painful. But, because of this, I have an increased testimony of the power of the Priesthood. Prayer is sometimes not enough in situations where help is needed now. The Priesthood is absolutely amazing.

I've noticed something. I really miss singing. Not like singing in the shower, but singing. I miss the arias. I miss the head rush of a particularly high note. I miss the music.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17) 

So, why did I stop? Why did I feel the need to stifle the gift the Lord so freely and clearly blessed me with? Jeffery R. Holland said that "we should give the gift of service through our talents." I have started to really take that to heart.

Tonight, while visiting with my YSA leaders in their home, Sheri sat down at the piano and began to play and sing a beautiful song that she had written while she was in college. Alma, her husband, off-handedly said that it would be really neat if we sang a duet sometime. We happily obliged right there on the spot and spent the next half hour or so rummaging through music, stopping to sing the songs we knew well.

I honestly don't know how I could forget so fast and so easily how much music and singing lift me up.

"For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads." (D&C 25:12)

Monday, October 11, 2010

This one last bullet you mention is my one last shot at redemption

It's hard to keep your spirits up when you feel the clammy hand of death on your shoulder. Well, maybe it wasn't that extreme, but I was pretty miserable today. As much as I love the fall, I always get sicker than sin. Every. Year.

I've decided to take advantage of my "at home" time and brush up on my instruments. Today, I sat down at the piano and sight read an entire song. That is huge for me, considering I can't read bass clef. I was so stoked, I played it five times in a row. Needless to say, my brother was not happy with me.

I've also been teaching myself guitar. I started this summer, and learned two songs in a week. Then, school started and life got in the way. My guitar stood abandoned in a corner. Today, I picked it up again, heavily dusted it, and strummed an outrageously flat chord. Looks like it's time to invest in a tuner. :)

1 Timothy 4:14 says, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee..." How true that is! The Lord has blessed every one of us with unmeasurable gifts and talents. Why, then, would we not nourish them? If used properly, said talents can be another way to testify of our Savior. They can be used to edify and enrich our lives. No one is denying us of that opportunity but ourselves.

"Words only you can say. Prayers only you can pray. Strength you were meant to give. And you were meant to lift. You don't know the difference you make, but you can change the world." ("Give the Gift" by Jenny Jordan Frogley - EFY 2006)

That song quoted above has touched my life in so many ways, especially those words. We don't know the difference we make. We don't see the big picture. We are all simply instruments in His plan.

"And at all times, and in all places, [we] shall open [our] mouths and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto [you] strength such as is not known among men."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tune my heart to sing thy praise

Sundays are, by far, my favorite day of the week. Especially this Sunday.

I talked about the importance of the sacrament a few days ago, but I'm going to reiterate. The Atonement and Sacrament are THE greatest gifts the Lord has given to us. It simply bewilders me why anyone who is worthy would pass up such a magnificent opportunity. Even more confusing is why someone would put off repentance so that they can once again become worthy to partake. Even missing a few short weeks of the Sacrament is a few weeks too many for me. This Sunday was the first in a little while since I've been able to, and it was the most glorious event I have ever been a part of. I could feel the Savior cradling me in His arms, and whispering, "Welcome back, Michelle. I have missed you, and I love you."

My smile is nearly permanent now. Sure, I have gotten frustrated, but those feelings don't linger like they used to. They don't consume me. I deal with it in a more spiritual fashion. The power of prayer is real. The Lord knows your pain and your heart. He is only waiting for you to ask. So, why don't we? Why push away the help that never fails?

Sometimes the easiest questions are the ones that cannot be answered.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

We all struggle with forward motion

I apologize for missing yesterday, though I'm not sure if this blog is being read. If not, then I apologize merely for my own peace of mind.

Yesterday I struggled with keeping my optimism up. The trials were fierce, and depressing and often frustrating forces won many battles over me. Luckily, the war isn't over. The only relief I felt was when I was finally able to collapse into the arms of those with similar values. I love my group of friends.

Today was leagues beyond yesterday, and tomorrow will be better still. I had the opportunity to clean the Chapel today, and I created an even better opportunity and cleaned most of it by myself. I was able to walk the halls in solitude, pondering the various questions in my heart and feel the Spirit that place holds. Some questions were answered, while some require more effort.

I have noticed lately that I genuinely like who I am. Well, no. I like who I'm becoming. There are still parts of me that require work, obviously. There always will be. But when I take a good look at myself, I don't hate what I see. I often discover the good points first before noticing the parts that are less desirable. I have come to know that my life has tremendous potential because of the trials I have had in my earlier years, and the trials I have yet to face. Though I in nowise compare myself to him, I can relate to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he said, "It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his Kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?" (Joseph Smith History 1:20) 

Unfortunately, life is indeed a battlefield. I know where I stand. Do you?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Just one voice

I had the opportunity to help a friend today through scriptural reference and my own Gospel knowledge. It was a really good feeling knowing that I was being a mouthpiece for the Lord in helping this person know what He would have him know.

The words flowed out of me so easily and so fast that I didn't even know what I was saying until I re-read my message. I was amazed at the small amount of effort I needed to put into such a task. If you do your part, the Lord will accomplish the rest.

I have done well in keeping my spirits up this week, and passing my sunshine onto others. I watch as a simple smile turns into an act of service, a kind word, or a tender embrace. I don't know what troubles are burdening these people, but sometimes a smile is all it takes. Thinking about it just blows my mind. How many people could I have helped in years past and chose not to? How much effort is involved in a smile? How absorbed had I been in my own problems not to realize a silent cry for help?

Life is fragile, but often reparable. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:35-36)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


There is nothing more beautiful on this earth than being able to partake of the Sacrament. Some people only find the true importance of it when they are unable to have it for a while. Then, on that special Sunday when they are once again allowed to partake, they can feel Heaven smiling down on them as if to say, "Welcome back."

On another note, there are so many good examples around me! A recent convert and friend of mine has been bringing her roommate to church for the past few months. Tonight that girl set a baptism date. How awesome is that?! I've been a member my entire life and never converted anyone. She's been a member for 8 months!! I am so jealous of her willingness, and so anxious for my own mission. Her joy must be so sweet. I cannot wait to see the what happiness I can bring to the people of this world by sharing His gospel.

That's all I've got today. Love!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

For a waiting world in need...

Today was a struggle. Waking up this morning with an "I-can-make-my-day-awesome-if-I-want" attitude seemed to open the floodgates to numerous trials.

For one, I didn't hear from a single one of my friends today. At the risk of sounding conceited, that's unusual. However, my smile stayed on my face, and I told myself that they were all living their own lives, and I should live mine.

Then, I worked with some pretty cranky people. It was apparently very clear to them that everything that had ever gone wrong with their phone was somehow my fault. Nevertheless, I smiled my way through it, helped them the best I could, and sent them on their way. I probably could have handled it without a problem if it was only one or two people. But, since it was nearly every customer I interacted with, it got a little draining.

However, I was bound and determined to go on a walk once I got home. I plugged in my iPod, turned on some old EFY songs, and headed out to my park. What had appeared to be a bugless day was then turning into a mosquito-infested evening, and I was quickly discovered as a main course. So, I turned around, got some bug spray, and left for my walk again.

I often find myself at the tire swings when I visit that park, and this time was no different. I sat down for a little while, letting the music wash over me, and soaking in the beauty of the season. Then, out of nowhere, I felt complete and utter peace. I looked around and saw several families playing with their children, or walking their dog, and thought to myself, "I can teach these people. It's my job to spread this happiness. I'm going on a mission."

As I type this, my happiness consumes me. I have purpose, and I can change the world. My voice is small, but it will be heard. I will go and do.

Monday, October 4, 2010

In our eyes they'll see the Light...

It's funny how much your life can change over a year - how different your friends are, how different you are. This time last year, I was living in California, married, 20 pounds heavier, and hadn't even met the people I consider my best friends today. Most importantly, this time last year, I was unhappy. I didn't see the world like I do now. I didn't see the beauty in the things and people around me. I didn't see the beauty in myself.

Cliche? Yes. True? Definitely. Overlooked? Almost always. Real beauty comes from within. Real beauty comes from the light in your eyes. Real beauty is in your smile, your laugh and your love. It's a shame that something tragic often has to happen for people to realize this. It's a shame that there are people on this earth that truly believe that they are ugly. It's a shame that people let unhappiness consume them.

One thing that I have learned in my short life is that there is always a choice. Things happen. Good things. Bad things. That is inevitable. What is beautiful about it is that no matter what happens, we can always make the choice of how to react to it. That is power!

Love, love, love!