Saturday, August 30, 2014

Grateful in Any Circumstances

This morning I was studying a talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf titled, "Grateful in Any Circumstances". Let me just tell you, I really needed it. Something he says in his talk really hit me:
"Everyone’s situation is different, and the details of each life are unique. Nevertheless, I have learned that there is something that would take away the bitterness that may come into our lives. There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, more joyful, even glorious.
"We can be grateful!"
"Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for‍ things, we focus on being thankful in‍ our circumstances—whatever they may be."
Now, I am the first to be negative in a situation. I will admit it. I have always struggled with the idea of being positive, when everything around me just seems to be negative. Something that I DO know to be true, is that Heavenly Father loves us. He will never give us anything that we can't handle. As we exercise our agency and CHOOSE to be grateful, Christ's Atonement will make everything right. I definitely know this to be true. It is something I hold onto every day.

Here are some other quotes that I really enjoyed from his talk:
"We can choose to be grateful, no matter what.
"This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer."

"We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after‍ our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?"


"In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.
"Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless‍ and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.
"The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.
"How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Have I Done Any Good?

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone's burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love
There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, "Sometime I'll try,"
But go and do something today.
'Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love's labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love
Sometimes I ask myself the question, "Have I done enough?" Maybe we could have done more, but I think that as long as we are trying to serve, Heavenly Father is proud. So let me reiterate one part of the song--Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure, A blessing of duty and LOVE!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Using Social Media Positively!

Have you ever noticed that people "air out their dirty laundry" on Facebook? When I say this I mean, that Facebook is often the means of people complaining about their recent breakup, failing a test, getting cut off in traffic, and just drama in general. Now, please don't get me wrong. We all have trials in our lives. But these tools of social media can be used for much more than displaying our negative thoughts. What I want to suggest is that we use social media for much more positive thoughts!

Elder Bednar, an apostle for Jesus Christ, recently gave a talk at BYU Education week entitled, "To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood." He in particular spoke about the need to flood social media with positive influences for good. From this inspirational talk has come a new social media movement: #ShareGoodness. On the website it says the following:

"Every time you post simple, genuine messages and links, you help lift and strengthen those who see them. Counter negative posts with positive ones. If a friend is down, say something to cheer them up. Post links to articles and videos that reflect your values. Highlight the good in every situation. Speak from the heart. Be yourself."

Whether your a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not, we can all do our part to be more positive. If you use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or any other means of social media, you can do your part to uplift your friends around you and be a force for positive in this world that keeps getting crazier.
So here is my challenge:
Questions to get you thinking:
1. What simple truths are you grateful for?
2. What happy moments did you have during a hard day?
3. What did someone do for you today?
If you need more ideas, click HERE!

I know that we can all do a little more to be a positive influence for good in this crazy world. The world needs less negativity, and more positivity! Please leave comments or send me a message if you choose to accept my challenge! I would love to see what posts you put up!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Learning to Recognize & Understand the Spirit

There is a question that I get asked everyday: How do I recognize and understand when the spirit is talking to me? I think we all struggle with this question. We wonder whether thoughts that come to our mind are our thoughts or thoughts that come from the spirit. It is one of the most difficult thing for all of us to answer. Is it me or the spirit? Luckily, there is an entire chapter in Preach My Gospel that helps answer this question!

The other day, I was studying in chapter four of Preach My Gospel, under the heading "Learn to Recognize the Promptings of the Spirit". There was a particular section that really stood out to me. It says, "The Spirit is always available to guide and direct you. However, the Spirit speaks quietly, through your feelings as well as your mind. One great challenge for you and those you work with is to recognize the quiet, subtle promptings of the Holy Ghost."

So, yes. We are all aware that it is a great challenge to learn how to recognize and understand the spirit. So how do we learn?

The other day I was listening to a talk by Diana Holscher, who is a motivational speaker. Her talk was entitled, "Prayers That Reach Heaven". In her talk, she discussed this exact topic. There was something that she suggested that really stuck out to me. Her first suggestion was to write down a time where you REALLY felt the spirit. Then follow that up by writing down a time where you really DIDN'T feel the spirit.

There was a time in my life that I can not deny the spirit I felt. In the October 2012 session of General Conference, President Monson opened it up and made a historical announcement that there had been a lowering of the age for young women to serve missions. "As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21." When I heard these words, I could not deny the spirit. I was overwhelmed. I NEEDED to serve a mission. It was always in the plans, but now I was going to have the opportunity to do it sooner. As I felt the spirit testify to me that this is what the Lord wanted me to do, I could not help by cry. Goosebumps covered my body. This was what the Lord wanted me to do. It is safe for me to say, I have not since felt the spirit so strongly in my life. Although I know that there have been many times where I have received guidance, I have not since felt such a strong impression.

The best example of a time where I knew that I could not feel the spirit was a time shortly after I had come out on my mission. We were invited to teach a sweet, older woman who lived in an assisted living center. It was in a very old building in downtown Vancouver. As my companion and I walked into the building for the first time, we felt as the spirit left. From that moment on, I hated being there. I hated the feelings that I had. The spirit was NOT there. It was at this moment in my life that I felt that the spirit was really, truly, not with me.

Since I have had the opportunity to write these two experiences down, I have slowly begun understanding when I feel the spirit. When he truly is talking to me. These two situations are very black and white for me, but most of the time life is very grey. The spirit most likely isn't going to be so clear with us as these two situations are, but I can pull from both of these experiences to learn in those grey area times. I have come to understand that the best way I can describe how I feel the spirit is peace. There is either peace or unrest as I try to move forward with decisions I have made.

In the Doctrine and Covenants, in section 6, it says:

So here is my challenge to you: Take the time to write down a time where you felt the spirit the strongest and a time where you felt the spirit absolutely missing. Then, as you have determined these things, you will begin to recognize when the spirit is speaking to you in the times of "grey". When you aren't sure that the spirit isn't speaking to you, look at that time when you REALLY didn't feel the spirit. Then ask yourself, "Do I feel that way now?" Most likely not. Then try to zero in on what the spirit is saying to you. Maybe the answer is yes. Maybe the answer is no. Maybe that answer is just make a decision and THEN will I confirm or deny. But JUST LISTEN. Take the time. Pray with real intent, then ponder the thoughts and feelings that come.

I know that the spirit is trying to guide and direct us. The world is going to try and compete for our attention. We must tune out the world and then listen for the spirit. I know that you can now begin understanding when the spirit speaks to you. Take the time and write down these experiences. Your understanding will change! I know it will, because mine has. I am so grateful too!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Its easy to assume by the title of my blog, that I struggle with pride. Like, REALLY struggle. As I was saying my personal prayers the other night, the thought came to me to study about pride. Now because I am so prideful, it took me a few days before I actually decided that I would do that. Well, I did and I am so grateful. When I was in high school, my wonderful seminary teacher shared a talk from 1989 titled, "Beware of Pride" by Ezra Taft Benson. I remember this talk having an affect on me, so it was the first place I turned to. 

I experienced some hard things this week in my mission that I honestly never expected would happen. I was in an accident where I was rear ended by another driver. During the process of trying to understand what had happened, I found myself being extremely selfish. President Benson said, "Selfishness is one of the more common faces of pride. 'How everything affects me' is the center of all that matters—self-conceit, self-pity, worldly self-fulfillment, self-gratification, and self-seeking."


"Pride adversely affects all our relationships—our relationship with God and His servants, between husband and wife, parent and child, employer and employee, teacher and student, and all mankind. Our degree of pride determines how we treat our God and our brothers and sisters. Christ wants to lift us to where He is. Do we desire to do the same for others?"

This was a slap in the face. Of course I need to seek beyond myself and work on serving others. When we serve others, we are much happier. This is when our true character is revealed. Needless to say, it is my new resolve to do better and be better. I desire to try and overcome my pride. I know that the best way we do this is when we serve other. Just like President Benson said, "Christ wants to lift us to where He is. Do we desire to do the same for others?"

President Benson tells us that pride is the universal sin. It something that EVERYONE needs to work on. Let us ALL resolve to do better and do as Benson says, "Let us choose to be humble. We can do it. I know we can."