Thursday, February 24, 2011

Questions & Answers

Last night I was home alone sitting on my bed reading my scriptures and pondering over my lesson for Sunday. I read a few scriptures that made me really think about things. I started contemplating how it all related to me and my life and started to have some real questions. I sat there staring at my scriptures and just started to ask these questions out loud. I wasn't necessarily praying it was more like I was simply thinking out loud. Each of my questions seemed to get more and more personal and to the core of things I'm struggling with and soon the tears started to form. Finally I closed my scriptures, said a real prayer, and went to bed.

Today I went and visited a seminary class taught by my bishop. I was a bit late and didn't talk to him at all before the class. He didn't know of my experience last night and had no idea what kind of thoughts and questions were floating through my head. While I had told him I was coming to visit his class he didn't do anything different, he was simply doing what he does everyday; teaching his class and answering their questions.

I watched him pick up a piece of paper and read a question one of his students had anonymously asked...the question seemed familiar. As Bishop Dixon went about answering this question I found he was also answering many of the questions I had pondered alone in my room last night. Some of these answers came directly from what he was saying and others came because as he spoke the spirit used his words to whisper other words to my heart.

I know that the questions I asked while seemingly all alone last night were heard by someone who cared enough to send the answers. While I still may have a few thoughts and questions lingering in my head I know that I am not alone in the things I am dealing with. I know things will find a way of working out. Most importantly I know that my Father in Heaven is listening and will help me to find all the answers I need just when I need them most.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I find it interesting how certain pieces of our lives fit together and tend to take it as a sign the world is trying to teach me something.

Earlier this month I chose the word "Focus" to be the word I was going to use for different goals and projects I'm working on. When I did this I was thinking of the things in my life that I want to focus on, things I want to bring a deeper awareness to in my life. Well, as I was thinking about all of this something else was happening inside of me...

In December my eyes started kind of bugging me. They were always red and stinging. A few days after Christmas I decided I couldn't take it anymore and went to see a doctor. He took a small look at my eyes and said that I had an eye infection. He gave me some antibiotic eye drops and sent me home. I used the drops for a few days and thought I was feeling better and so I didn't really think much about it for a while. However, slowly my eyes started getting bad again. I would have days where they would both hurt, days only one would hurt, and days they'd both be just fine. I also started noticing that things were getting harder and harder to see. I had to adjust the screen resolution on my computer just so I could read it without having my nose touching the screen! I kept thinking it was just because I was wearing my glasses more than my contacts and that was the reason things were so blurry. Well last Saturday I woke up and my eyes were both dark red, they were hurting so bad and I realized it had been almost 2 months since this all first started, so I headed back to the instacare and saw a different doctor this time. As I was telling him my symptoms I could tell he was thinking it was going to be classic pink eye and I was feeling stupid for having come back to the doctor again. Then he actually took a look in my eye. His demeanor completely changed and he started acting concerned. He commented on how inflamed my eyes were and said he was worried this was much more than just an eye infection. He set me up to see an ophthalmologist. At the eye doctor we discovered that I do not have an eye infection at all, but I have chronic dry eye. A problem in my tear ducts that is causing my eyes to not get the lubrication they need. The dryness is causing tissue on my eye to die resulting in my blurred vision. He put me on 3 different kind of eye drops and told me to use them six times a day.

As I have tried to prepare my "focus" based projects with the blurred vision I have had a lot of time to contemplate the importance of focus and clarity in all aspects of our lives. In the beginning I was thinking mostly of outward things like focusing on my schoolwork and need for regular exercise. Now, I have been able to see the need for more than just a physical focus. A focus on inner things as well. I need to add clarity to my testimony, and focus more on my Savior. My blurred vision is teaching me that when one thing is out of focus all things get out of focus and can cause a domino effect on everything in our lives. There is a true need for balance in all things.

Trying to bring my eyes back into focus is not easy, nor is it fun. My eyes still hurt quite a bit. I still have days where the last thing I want to do is open my eyes, but I kind of have to in order to function. Putting drops in my eyes six times a day isn't all that convenient but it's what is necessary. I have a feeling that the things I need to do in order to bring clarity back into my life may not be fun, easy, or convenient either but they will be necessary. Gaining back my life's focus and maintaining it is my goal for this year. A goal I will be reminded of every time I put those drops in my eyes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Good for the Soul

My sister has been here for the past couple of days. I always enjoy having her over. We have decided that we're going to try and have her come sleepover at least once a month. When she is here I am able to kind of forget about life for a while. It's a great time for me to take a break from my to do list's and other little stresses of life. Instead I spend the majority of the time in my pj's playing games and my biggest worry is how late she is going to make me stay up! Tara is a HUGE night owl, the earliest we got to bed this week was about 3:00 am! We watched a few movies, ate some yummy treats, played lots of Uno, Sorry, Candyland, Life, Chutes and Ladders, ate yummy treats, went shopping, ate yummy treats, had a read-a-thon, ate yummy treats...It was a blast! Now that she is back home I am forced to get back to reality and actually clean the house, do some homework, pay the bills, etc. While I know that life can not be avoided forever, taking a little break once a month to play with my sister for a few days is definitely good for the soul! I feel like I could take on the world right now...after a long nap of course!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Learning vs Enduring

I am reading a book called "The Continuous Atonement" by Brad Wilcox, I am really liking it! This morning I read a sentence in there that has had me thinking all day. He asks, "What motivates us to learn from those experiences rather than just endure them?"

Like many of you I have had my share of difficult challenges to go through, and this question is something that I don't think I have ever consciously asked myself before. Am I simply enduring my trials or am I truly learning from them? If I am learning, why am I learning?

For me the answer to this question has evolved over time. If someone had asked me this a few years ago I probably would have said I wanted to learn so that I could be done with this trial and get a new one...I was sick of this particular one! However, I have come to learn that God isn't like that. He doesn't give us our trials with a checklist attached; If you learn patience, humility, and the power of prayer, you will be qualified for challenge number 2! He doesn't have certain challenges for certain principles. He gives us the challenge and let's us decide what we learn, and sometimes He'll give us the same challenge over and over again just to see if we can come up with anything new.

I have had times where I have sat down in the midst of a particularly difficult time and almost screamed at the heavens, "What do you want me to learn from this, I don't understand!" I have learned that the lessons from these kind of experiences rarely come when we feel they should. Instead they come when our Heavenly Father knows we need them the most.

So, what motivates us to learn instead of just trudge along and endure? For me it is all about joy in the journey. Think about it...if you are practicing the piano because your mom is forcing you to or because you just have to get in that 30 minutes of practice every day then you are most likely not really having much fun with it. You're simply enduring through the 30 minutes. However, if you are practicing because you are excited about the musical piece or you're excited to be learning something new it makes the experience a lot more enjoyable. It still may be tedious having to play the same notes over and over in order to learn the lesson, but you'll be happier doing it than if you're only doing it because you have to. I believe this same principle applies to life. If we set about each day eager to learn something new or become better at something it makes life a lot more enjoyable then just trying to get through the day. We may still have tough days, in fact I guarantee we will, but even on the darkest of days we can find joy in the journey. This is what motivates me to look at life through an eye of learning rather than the perspective of simply enduring.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

For Rachel...

Ok, since Rachel asked for the answers to the blogging questions I decided to do it all in a quick post. So, here goes...

Day 18: Plans, Dreams, Goals

My dreams for the future include things like...finishing school, getting a job doing something I love, finding Mr. Right and starting a family.

Day 19: Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future

I don't have a specific person in mind, but some of the qualities I look for in those I date are: sense of humor, cute smile, good listener, non-judgmental, and a strong testimony.

Day 20: What makes me happy: I'll do this one in pictures :0) These are the people and places that make me happy....Oh and the middle one is me being happy...LOL

Day 21: What makes me different from everyone else

haha this question reminds me of the saying, "I'm unique, just like everyone else." Um, I'm not sure I could really say what sets me apart from everyone else. I'm really not sure how to answer this one.

Day 22: Something I crave

It really depends on the mood I'm in but these are the things I tend to crave the most. Reese's Peanut Butter cups, choc. chip cookies (with milk of course), juice, and the molten chocolate cake from Chili's...YUM!

Day 23: A letter to my parents

mm...I think I'll skip this one.

Day 24: What I would find in your blog

In my blog you will find some of the random thoughts of my mind. Some are fun, others are sad, and other may be a bit inspirational. No matter what kind of mood they set, they are the thoughts that make me who I am.

Day 25: What I think of my friends

I absolutely love my friends. I have some of the best friends around. We may not see each other every day or hardly even see each other at all, but I know that they are there and they love me. I hope they all know the same thing is true with me.

Day 26: What I believe

It would take more than a few sentences to truly explain to you all that I believe and the depth at which I believe it. Suffice it to say that I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's true church on the Earth today. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet today. I know that Christ lives. I know he came to Earth to live and die for me. He suffered all the pains and heartache I will feel in my life so that I don't have to suffer them alone. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I love this church and am grateful for the blessings it provides me in my daily life.

Day 27: Favorite you tube video

See the Darth Vader commercial I recently posted!

Day 28: 10 thing I want to do before I die (In no particular order)

1. Swim with dolphins 2. Travel to a foreign country (Besides Mexico) 3. Tour the church history sites in New York 4. See a play on Broadway 5. Learn a new sewing or playing the piano 6. Be a mom 7. Attend as many temples as possible 8. Write a book 9. Be a princess for a day. 10. Walk along the beach hand in hand with the man I love (preferably at sunset)

Day 29: Post a picture from last year and this year and state how you have changed

I'm not sure my physical appearance has really changed all that much in the last year but I think I have changed quite a bit as a person. I have been working (and still am) on becoming a little bit closer to my true self each and every day. I have really opened myself up a lot more in the last year and am a lot happier because of it.

Day 30: In the past month what have you learned?

I have learned happiness is not something we gain after having accomplished a certain task or reaching a certain level of life. Happiness is a state of mind. Happiness lives within a person not without. Happiness can be a part of you whether you are "living the dream" or lying in bed dying of cancer. It is up to each of us individually to decide how happy we will be each day of our lives.

Pure Love

I absolutely love this commercial! It just makes me smile. I want to be the kind of parent who can do fun things like this for my kids. I believe that one of the best things for a kid to have is a healthy, active, imagination. It builds self-esteem and self-confidence. One of the key roles of a parent is to stimulate that imagination and help it to live on.