Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Sunday night was our first motorcycle ride of the season! I love that Dustin has a bike...now I just need to get one!!! We went up the canyon with our friends Jim & Tiff(my mom says their names sound like a cartoon!)! Our adventure took us up AF Canyon, and it was beautiful! On our way back down we stopped off at the Alpine Art Exhibit. It was really cool and a lot of fun!
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
"In that place between wakefulness and dream I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index-card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemed endless in either direction had very different headings. As I drew new the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that i recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.
A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone were watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have Betrayed."
The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I have read," "Lies I have told," "Comfort I have given," "Jokes I have laughed at." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in Anger," "Things I Have muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.
The sheer volume of the life I had lived over-whelmed me. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of theses thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature. When I pulled out the the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly and yet after two or three yards I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it ashamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time that file represented.
When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke over me. One though dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room!"
"I have to destroy them!" In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.
Defeated and utterly hopeless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer almost unused. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that the hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame from the over-whelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.
But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.
No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?
Finally, He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over to me and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me. Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the file room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.
"No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, and so alive. The name of Jesus covered min. It was written in His blood.
He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished," I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written."
One of my biggest questions has always been 'How do I know when I have been forgiven?'. I found some amazing answers that really struck home.
"Once we have truly repented, Christ will take away the burden of guilt for our sins. We can know for ourselves that we have been forgiven and made clean. The Holy Ghost will verify this to us; He is the Sanctifier. No other testimony of forgiveness can be greater." - President Uchtdorf
Another huge 'ah-ha' moment for me was reading this pre-requisite for forgiveness..."For our own good, we need the moral courage to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. Never is the soul nobler and more courageous than when we forgive. This includes forgiving ourselves." - President Uchtdorf...Two things really struck me hard when reading this statement. 1) Yes I have always known that I need to forgive others to be forgiven, but when I read this, I though 'why would the Lord be so willing to forgive me of my sins if I was not able to show the same compassion to everyone and anyone who has ever hurt me?' and 2) I need/must forgive myself of my sins, shortcomings, and weaknesses. I've said this before, but one of my greatest weaknesses is beating myself up about my sins and shortcomings. I must learn to forgive myself.
One last message of hope that brought me so much comfort is the answer to the question: Is there a point of no return?
The lie: "Satan, “the father of all lies” (2 Nephi 2:18), “the father of contention” (3 Nephi 11:29), “the author of all sin” (Helaman 6:30), and the “enemy unto God” (Moroni 7:12), uses the forces of evil to convince us that this concept applies whenever we have sinned. The scriptures call him the “accuser” because he wants us to feel that we are beyond forgiveness (see Revelation 2:10). Satan wants us to think that when we have sinned we have gone past a “point of no return”—that it is too late to change our course." - President Uchtdorf
The truth: "The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the gift of God to His children to correct and overcome the consequences of sin. God loves all of His children, and He will never cease to love and to hope for us. The plan of our Heavenly Father is clear, and His promises are great: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world … might be saved” (John 3:17).
Christ came to save us. If we have taken a wrong course, the Atonement of Jesus Christ can give us the assurance that sin is not a point of no return. A safe return is possible if we will follow God’s plan for our salvation." - President Uchtdorf
Today I have had some time to reflect on who I am now, who I want to become, and how I am going to get there. I know that I am not perfect. That being said one of my weakness's is beating myself up for all mistakes I make and for the imperfections that I see in myself (I am sure 1 in every 2 people in the world share this same weakness with me;))! So this list that I am making is a list of goals and self-improvements that I want to work at each day for the rest of my life! Another weakness of mine is that when I get emotionally hurt (which as a female happens a whole lot...thank you for the extra dose of hormones!;) I tend to try and make myself as busy as possible! So this go around as I am trying to figure out some pretty big decisions I am making myself slow down...learning to deal with problems, emotional stress, and basic every day life challenges head on...one at a time...and with a new perspective of looking at the bigger picture. So here goes:
1. Immerse myself daily in the scriptures
2. Intently and meaningfully pray to my father in heaven each day
3. Find the smallest things to be grateful for each day
4. Set goals...and follow through with them
5. Fulfill and magnify my calling(s)
6. Forget myself and serve others each day
7. Change my carnal thoughts to spiritual thoughts
8. Work out daily
9. Eat a healthy diet 90% of the time (I still need a good cup of hot cocoa once in a while;))
10. Repent of my sins and let go of them
11. Attend the temple regularly
12. Develop my talents, skills, and find my particular interests
13. Stop being jealous of others
14. Love my body and myself
15. Be more confident in who I am
16. Spend less time on my cell phone and on social networks
17. Develop a better relationship with my savior
18. Focus more on quality and not quantity
19. Follow through with all commitments I make
20. Start doing genealogy work
21. Don't let fear get in my way
22. Learn to love unconditionally
23. Give myself time to reflect and ponder
24. Read a good book...often
25. Start dancing again
26. Remember that Heavenly Father loves me no matter what
27. De-clutter and simplify my life
28. Make my family my priority
29. Make everyone around me feel important
30. Be patient with myself....I am going to make mistakes...learn from them and move on