Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hope in the Savior's Resurrection

I don't know what to call this post. It's pretty personal and I'm not sure how it will come out. I just found out that one of my closest friends growing up died today. I can't really put into words how I feel. I miss her. I haven't talked to her since before my mission, but we spent lots of time together when I was between 12 and 16 years old.
We used to go to plays together. This amazing woman was actually closer to my mom's age, but she took the time to invite me to go see the high school play with her one year... it was Charlie's Aunt. I didn't know I liked plays before that, but I do now. She must have been inspired to invite me. I needed a friend just like her. After that, I would buy tickets to all the high school plays and musicals and ask her to go with me. We'd hang out and watch old movies. She loved her dogs and was devastated when one of her pets died. She cared about everyone. She was one of my leaders at church, but she would spend time with me because she cared about me, not because she was assigned to. Truly, she was my closest friend in Quincy. I was homeschooled, and while I believe that gave me the best education I could have received, I felt lonely sometimes and I didn't always feel close to the girls my age. I did have friends at church and in my violin group, but we had different schedules and didn't always have time to spend together. So having a friend who made time to be with me was great. I was welcome in her home and she was welcome in ours. I wanted to be like her when I grew up. I still do, really. She was one of the people I missed most when my family moved away. She went out to dinner with us two years ago when we went back to visit, and that was the last time I saw her. I wish I'd had her address to write her while I was in Argentina. Now I'll have to wait a while to say hi.

God's work

This is just a short thought. I was looking through the scriptures from seminary (a scripture study class for high school kids) and started with Moses 1:39. "For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." God is love. He spends a great deal of time and effort to help us come home to Him. Not only does He want us near Him, He wants us to be like Him, because He wants us to enjoy the happiness He experiences. This is His work and He loves it, because He loves us. His purpose is to bring about our eternal happiness, if we will accept it. I love that He takes the time to explain that to us through the scriptures and through prophets. Here he was talking to Moses, but the same message can be found throughout all the scriptures. I am so grateful to know that God lives, that He loves us, and that He speaks to all of us no matter when we live on the earth. He's there for us and we can pray to Him and receive answers personally. A lot of times those answers come as we study the words He's already revealed, as well as through thoughts and feelings. He speaks to all of us individually, if we ask. He does this because He wants to help us know who He is so we can become like Him. He is our Father and He always wants what is best for us.

Friday, June 14, 2013

We're happy when we're hiking

I like hiking. That doesn't mean I'm a veteran hiker who's hiked tons of really hard trails already. But I like going on hikes and someday, I'm going to hike Mount Timpanogos. That's the goal for now. I've got a ways to go before I can reach it. I'll have to start out with smaller hikes and work my way up. When I go hiking, I don't always like the hard parts. There's always steep places to climb up or down, rough patches, slippery parts, narrow spots.... you get the idea. But when you get to your destination, there's a sense of accomplishment that makes all the hard things you did to get there worthwhile. Not to mention an awesome view. And you don't even have to wait till the end to get a good view, if you keep your eyes open. The key is to enjoy the journey. Which means I shouldn't be discouraged that I've only done smaller, easier hikes up to this point. I shouldn't tell myself that this hike doesn't count cause it's not the big one. Instead, I should enjoy every hike I go on, good parts and bad, and keep working towards the goal. 
I should probably stop philosophizing about hiking now. Here's some of the pictures from the hike my family and I went on to Stewart Falls. It was really fun. The weather was perfect, the views were great and a good time was had by all. 

Waterfall, good view
Stewart Falls: the destination that made it worth it.
Did I mention that I love waterfalls? I do.

hiker sitting by Stewart Falls
Hiking is fun.

hike to Stewart Falls, good view, waterfall
One of those great views on the way.

Several people brought their dogs on the hike. This dog (the black thing is a dog) was hot and decided
to lounge in the river below the falls until her people were ready to leave. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Talking out loud

     I seem to do a lot of remembering while I'm driving home from work. Tonight I thought about how I used to talk out loud while I was playing alone. I don't remember when I started doing it, but I do remember when I stopped... or at least when I started trying harder not to get caught at it.
     That day, I was playing outside the place where my brother had his cello lesson. There was a great play-set, and since I was the oldest of two children, I was used to entertaining myself. So I started spinning on the merry-go-round and pretending it was a time machine. (No, I hadn't heard of Doctor Who yet.) I was talking to thin air, explaining that LIVING was time travel, because time never stopped. Then another kid who was there for his brother's cello lesson walked up and asked what I was doing. I don't remember if I tried to explain, or if I mumbled something about playing on the merry-go-round. I just remember the awkwardness of the situation. I couldn't have been more than 9 or 10, but after that I realized it was kind of strange to talk out loud with no one listening. Maybe I thought I was too old for that sort of thing. Then again, I was embarrassed about a lot of things when I was younger. At any rate, I'm pretty sure that's when I tried to stop talking out loud. Before that, I'd just get carried away and not even notice I was doing it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The value of work

"Work is honorable. Developing the capacity to work will help you contribute to the world in which you live. It will bring you an increased sense of self-worth. It will bless you and your family, both now and in the future."    ~~For the Strength of Youth~~
    I am grateful for all the jobs I've had. Each one has contributed in some way to my learning and growth. For the last several months, I have been privileged to work as a custodian in the Provo temple. It's a wonderful job, probably my favorite so far. I'm really going to miss it when it's time to leave at the end of this month.
     I love working with people who are kind and uplifting. Obviously, no one's perfect, myself definitely included, but it's good to work with people who share my goals. Since we work at night, we often interact when we're all tired and not at our best, and that's good for me, too. It gives me a chance to practice patience. A lot of the time I'm still very bad at that, so I need the practice. I love my coworkers. They are wonderful and I count them as good friends.
     The other thing I love about working at the temple is the peace I can feel there. It's different from going and worshiping there, but while I work I get the chance to think about what the temple means to me and the things I can do better in my life. Cleaning helps me to think and reflect on my life. When I was working as a custodian at BYU before my mission, the time I spent pushing a recycling cart helped me prepare for those 18 months of my life. Now, the time I spend cleaning the temple helps me think about what I'm going to do with the rest of my life.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Caring and annoyance

There are days when I have to try hard to care about the things on my to-do list. At the same time, I sometimes have to try hard NOT to care about things that aren't really that important. I'm sure most human beings go through the same thing at some point in their existence. Caring is a part of living a well balanced life. We just have to decide what is worth caring about.

Tonight at work I noticed that I was getting annoyed, even angry, about little things that really don't matter much at all when I think about it. That's the key, thinking about it. When I get annoyed, my brain isn't really engaged and I'm reacting without thinking. And since I don't enjoy being angry about stupid things, I've decided to define the things that really do matter to me.

Things worth caring about:

  • My relationship with God, family, and friends.
  • My goals, hopes and dreams: the things I hope to accomplish with my life. 
  • Basically, caring about things under my control is worthwhile. Everything that's important to me pretty much fits these categories. And if it doesn't, it's probably not productive for me to spend time worrying about it. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Exercise is important

    The Garfield comic from a few days ago had Jon telling Garfield that he had no energy and wondering if he should work out. Or just take a nap. Garfield leans in close and says "Come to the Dark Side, Jon."

    Exercise and sleep are both really important. Together, they give us energy, and it's almost as good as having the Force. Unless the goal is to look like Garfield, it's a bad idea to follow his advice. RESIST THE DARK SIDE! Exercise, eat right AND get enough sleep!