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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A quick, comforting thought

footprints, sand
No matter how alone we may feel, the Lord will never
forget us or leave us comfortless. 

I just came across this verse again. It's in 1 Nephi 21:26. Nephi was quoting Isaiah, so it's also found in Isaiah 49:26
sunset, river, clouds
The Lord's comfort comes
like a beautiful sunset at
the end of a difficult day
to sooth our soul.
The last part of the verse reads: "and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob." As I was reading it this time, that phrase just stood out to me. Christ is our Savior. He loves us each individually. He wants us to know that. That means so much to me. He not only cared enough to come to earth and perform the Atonement, but he cares enough to tell us about it. The preceding verses contain strong imagery, largely symbolic, about how Jesus will come to our defense if we are willing to accept His protection. In verse 16, He tells us that He has graven us upon the palms of His hands. He will never forget us. I know that is true.

Just keep swimming and keep moving forward!

Sometimes it's hard to focus on our goals in life. I'll start out and I'll know exactly where I want to go, and I'll have a pretty good idea of what I need to do to get there... and then it gets hard. Take writing, for example. Honestly, I love to write. If you've read anything at all on this blog, then you've probably guessed that about me. But there's this book that I've been writing since I was 15 years old. It started out as a short story for an English class, but I wanted to turn it into an epic fantasy that might have a chance of being published someday. And now, approximately 8 years later, I'm almost there. And sometimes, it's really hard to sit down and work on it. It's different than writing a blog post or a paper or even a short story, all of which are much easier for me.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Two years later

The MTC Map
Exactly two years ago, I walked into the Provo Mission Training Center. That was the start of the hardest period of my life so far, not counting coming home, of course. Why did I go? I felt it was what God wanted me to do. And it was completely and totally worth it. I met some amazing people, I learned a lot more about how to serve others, and I had so many experiences that I can't condense into a single blog post. I thought I'd share part of the second email I sent home. It seems to express how much I didn't know yet, but how I did know that God wanted me there at that time:
Life is great and terrible here in the MTC, and sometimes both at once. But the times when the Spirit is so strong that I absolutely KNOW this is where I'm supposed to be make it worthwhile. Most of the time. But the food's good, the Spirit is strong, our district is pretty cool, and our teachers are awesome. I love the gospel so much, and I know it's true. Heavenly Father loves His children and He wants them to know that, so He calls missionaries to teach them. I know the gospel's true, and even when life gets hard, I know it's worth being here. (2 August 2011)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Plans, hikes and beautiful views

These photos are from a hike
a mile up the Mount Timpanogos trail.
Someday I want to hike to the summit,
but you have to start somewhere.
This week I made an outline of the courses I want to take during my masters program. I'm surprised at how quickly the planning went. It seems so simple on paper, and I know it'll likely be a lot more complicated in practice. But it's nice to have a plan. If I don't have one, I get the feeling that I'm just drifting along, that my life is going nowhere. When I do write out my plan, I can tell that I am progressing towards my goals. It also helps to know that I'm a daughter of God. I know that God has a plan for me, too. He's prepared a way for me to become like Him. It's hard to remember that all the time, but I know it's true.
The lesson in Relief Society today was about the history of the Relief Society, and I loved the way the teacher presented it. In addition to talking about the origins of the organization, she felt impressed to make the point that God and Jesus Christ love us. That made the lesson personal for me because I'd been praying to be able to feel God's love for me. And the lesson today was one of the ways God has answered that prayer this week. I know He loves me; I've felt His love so many times throughout my life. But I needed to hear that again today. I know that God does answer prayers.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Language

     One of my favorite things is language. All aspects of it. I love the way words can paint pictures and tell stories and capture imaginings. Writing has always been the easiest form of expression for me. It's actually really hard for me to say my thoughts out loud. Sometimes, even when I'm writing my thoughts down, I edit myself so many times, reworking words and phrases and redoing entire paragraphs. But it's still easier for me to express myself that way than try and say everything I mean out loud without rambling on and feeling ridiculous. When I can see my thoughts on paper, I'm more confident that they make sense. So that's one thing I like about language, especially written language: the ability it gives me to express myself clearly.
     I do enjoy talking with people, too, especially when I don't feel pressured to say everything just right. When I'm with someone I'm comfortable around, I know that they won't care if I say something wrong and I don't think about it. In fact, I prefer speaking face to face than by phone, text or chat. It's just easier to read people's reactions that way.