Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sharing Ice Cream

 One day while working at Cold Stone Creamery and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory I had a couple of delightful but weird encounters. Both encounters involved costumers who were at a loss as to which of the many flavors of ice cream they should choose. As an employee part of my job includes satisfying the costumers.
When I first began working at Cold Stone all that meant to me was 'give them the samples they request and make the ice cream they choose with a smile on your face.' As the years have accumulated however, I have found that instead of just standing and waiting for them to ask for samples I suggest things that I really enjoy or that they may ave a particular interest in according to popular demand. It has always been rewarding when I succeed in helping them find the flavor that satisfies their cravings.
The encounters mentioned above, for some reason in particular made me feel elated at the success. In both incidents the costumer and I collaborated for several minutes about likes, dislikes, and previous preferences -both taking longer than the average costumer. Ultimately they chose a flavor that I love. I always love inviting people to taste it and sharing facts about it (did you know our Banana ice cream is made with REAL bananas?! none of this fake flavor business! P.S. It's delicious). For some reason these two experiences sparked a deeper satisfaction and happiness than any others. I didn't know if it was the process we took to get there or what, but today I feel as though it was for my Father in Heaven to teach me a lesson.
Something as simple as sharing an ice cream flavor that I loved and seeing it make others happy reminded me of my time serving as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a missionary I was continuously sharing what I loved and my testimony of our Savior on a daily basis and the feelings that came when seeing others come into the church or strengthening their own testimonies was and is indescribable and brought so much happiness to my heart. For some reason as I have been home and gotten back into the flow of 'normal' life I ashamedly admit that now that 'sharing' happens far less than it should. As I was sitting in a Church meeting today it hit me that sharing ice cream I enjoy with others is okay but that I KNOW and have experienced joy in such greater abundance by sharing things of far greater importance and impact.
So to the lesson: once great truths have been taught to you and you have felt their power and ability to strengthen, lighten, and shape your life share it with EVERYONE around you whether it is through words, invitations, service, or examples and do your very best to NEVER return to old habits or ways of thinking/living. Sure we all falter and sometimes feel we have gone too far in the opposite direction but, our Father is our Creator and there is NOTHING that he can't or isn't willing to fix -and most of the time through the 'fixing' process we become stronger and better than before. He loves us so much that at times it is incomprehensible but it is there and true. I know that if I do more than just share simple things I like such as 'ice cream' and continue to share my love and testimony of this gospel that the peace and happiness I will feel will be so much greater than that of sharing worldly things. I know those that I share it with won't just be momentarily satisfied as they would be with ice cream but that if they accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ and come to love it and live it too they "shall never hunger" nor thirst (3 Nephi 20:8, John 6:35, Isaiah 49:10). I love this Gospel with all my heart and I know it has the power to change our lives for the better if we allow it to. I say this in the name of my Savior Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Washing machines to Spiritual beings!

I have had this Blog in mind for quite sometime but for some reason it has taken me FOREVER to turn that thought into action so...I hope the time was worth it and that you will be able to get something out of this post.
During my time in Georgia our washer had some started out with the drum just being off balance and not sounding too pretty when it went into the spin cycle. Of course the more we used it the worse it got until finally it sounded like it was going to fall through the floor. Being the little farm girl I am I did my best to fix it but being unable to figure out how to get the front panel off without any tools I had to use something creative to balance out the drum.Looking around the apartment I tried to find something that I could use...finding nothing that even resembled a rope or string I decided to make my own. Now to find the materials. I thought for a while then decided to chop up some reusable cloth grocery bags and braid them together. I did but found the material was not at all as strong as I had hoped so I decided to also braid in some plastic grocery bags for strength. Hot dog! It worked perfectly!!
I now had something to work with! Now, how to use it...I found that by lifting the top of the washer I could tie the rope to part of the drum, which I did. I then made a handle using a butter knife. Now when the washer went into the spin cycle all we had to do was hold onto the knife/rope and compensate for the lack of balance! It worked great. But alas, after a few months this quick fix job wasn't very affective anymore- never mind the fun of being jiggled to death every time.
Now I will do a lot to not have to pay for something and it was the last thing I was going to do to go and pay to get my clothes washed. So I purchased a pair of multipliers and finally figured out how to get the front panel off. Now I could actually see what the real problem was from the inside! I was so excited! I found that the drum had come off of two of the springs. But now I faced another problem...I needed a wrench to be able to fix it properly. We asked several of our neighbors for one but found that most of them didn't own one, didn't know what one was or they were too small so I went back to the drawing board. Without the proper tools I was unable to completely fix the problem so I had to be content with another 'it'll do', temporary fix by readjusting the rope and just placing the drum on top of the springs. It wasn't going to last very long.
Finally, the next week I was able to obtain a wrench that worked and was able fix it properly. It worked perfectly! I was so excited!
Alright. Now to tie this experience into a spiritual analogy! Here are some things that came to mind during my 'fixin it up process': We cannot simply judge things (people, events, experiences, etc.) from the outside and expect to see the whole story or figure out the lasting solution. We cannot fix something from the outside and expect it to last. More often than not the superficial fixes cause lasting and greater damage. Even when we get an inside peek if we don't have the right tools or mind set we won't be able to do a whole lot of good. But, when we look deep inside, when we search for what the real problem is and we have the right tools-when we have a desire, love, hope, and faith- we can with our Saviors help make anything as good as new (and even better!)!
We cannot expect to live up to our Savior and His example if we don't seek to increase the 'tools' or talents He has given us to grow and help those around us. We cannot expect to help a friend who is broken inside by picking them apart. We must serve, love, and become their true/trusted friend. Life is not about the superficial or surface looks, actions, or motives. Life is about love. Life is about growing. Life is about looking inwardly fixing yourself and then helping others along as you learn and grow. Life is about gaining and maintaining an Eternal perspective.
At times our life can appear to be impossible to fix but I know that through our Savior and His Atonement ALL things are possible. I know that He knows each of us better than we know ourselves. He knows how to and can 'fix' a broken spirit. He knows you. He loves you and He has ALL of the right tools to help you come back to Him and our Father. Trust Him. Let Him guide you and He will heal you. I love my Savior with all my heart. I love this-His Gospel and I am so grateful for the experiences I have had and for the opportunity I have had for this short time to be a tool in my Father's hands. I love you, my brothers and sisters, and I pray that each of you will have a blessed day and ALWAYS remember to turn to our Savior. In His precious name, even Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let us all be as The Wise Men this Christmas and share what we have with those around us by seeking Christ and sharing what we know and cherish. Even if it is something as simple as inviting a friend to church or sharing your testimony. You may never know how much joy and happiness can come from such simple selfless acts. Let us be disciples of Christ and go and do. Merry Christmas everyone!

Wise Men Still Seek Him

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Do we recognize, and understand who we are? Do we do all we can to live up to our potential? We are children of God. He knows and loves each one of us personally. I know that this is so! I hope this clip warms your heart as it did mine. Have a blessed day and NEVER forget who you are.
"...Ye are gods; and all of you are achildren of the most High." -Psalms 82:6

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Just Do It!

While driving home from Savannah we passed a police officer who had pulled someone over. After passing him I kept a close eye on him in the rear view mirror and grunted as he pulled into traffic. I thought 'Great, now I really have to go the speed limit.' While fighting the urge to speed I was constantly looking over my shoulder wary of becoming his next 'victim'. I voiced my frustrations and my teaching companion simply said 'just go the speed limit.' Oh how simple that would have been but sometimes I like to do my own thing (I guess you could say I am a little stubborn at times) and instead I continued to look over my shoulder as I pushed between four & five over the speed limit. If I actually went the speed limit I assumed that I would be left in the dust by the surrounding vehicles or tailgated until an opportunity to pass me arose.
How often do we push the limits to simply not be left behind by our friends or be looked down upon by the crowd? I know I do it far to often and its generally because of an assumption. We must learn here in this life that if we want to become different from the world we must live in the world but not of the world or in other words we must live God's standards and not the world's. His standards are not always the easiest or most convenient to live but He has promised that if we do we will have "peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come" (D&C 59:23).
Why live life on the edge and be constantly looking over your shoulder with guilt? It makes no sense and yet we do it over and over again.  "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon" (3 Nephi 13:24, Luke 16:13). I know that this is true. I know that though something might be easier to do or not do at the time doesn't mean it is the right choice. We must follow our Savior and be exactly obedient to Him and His commandments. Today I was reading in Preach My Gospel under Faith in Jesus Christ (p.62-63) and it said  "Having faith causes us to try as hard as we can to learn about and become more like our Savior. We want to learn what His commandments are and then obey them." If we want to become different from the world we must be different from the world! We must follow our Savior "at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God" (Mosiah 18:9).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

If God knows what my wants and needs are then why do I need to pray? If  He knows why would I need to ask Him?
These are some really good questions. There could be a lot of answers to them but the most important and simpliest answers are because its a commandment and because of  faith. "And again, I command thee that thou shalt apray bvocally as well as in thy heart; yea, before the world as well as in secret, in public as well as in private" (D&C 19:28).
Christ is our perfect example and even he, who had the ability to see his Father at any time, even he prayed to our Father. "And when he had said these words, he himself also aknelt upon the earth; and behold he bprayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him" (3 Nephi 17:15). Our Savior who in just a few short hours would be in the presence of our Father knelt down in humble adoration and prayed to his Father to talk to Him and to pray for the multitude.
I am so grateful for the Savior and his example that I have to follow. I have previously written a post on pray. Pray is amazing, it is simple, and it is more powerful than we can comprehend! I love it!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

“Come, Follow Me”

“Come, Follow Me”

"Many are on a giant roller coaster of
disaster, seeking the thrills of the moment 
while sacrificing the joys of eternity"

To the east and south of the Tabernacle on Temple Square, marking the entrance to the valley of the Great Salt Lake and standing as a sentinel pointing the way, is located “This Is the Place” monument. Here is featured Brigham Young—his back turned to the privations, hardships, and struggles of the long desert way, his outstretched arm pointing to the valley of precious promise.
Miles that once took months are now traveled in minutes. The many hundreds of thousands of visitors who pause at the monument each year tingle with the spirit of pioneer tradition. Such tradition reaches its high point each year on Pioneer Day, July 24th. A grateful Church membership sets aside the busy cares of our fast-moving world and reflects on the everlasting principles which helped guide those noble pioneers to their promised land.
That first trek of 1847, organized and led by Brigham Young, is described by historians as one of the great epics of United States history. Mormon pioneers by the hundreds suffered and died from disease, exposure, or starvation. There were some who, lacking wagons and teams, literally walked the 1,300 miles across the plains and through the mountains, pushing and pulling handcarts. In these groups, one in six perished.
For many, the journey didn’t begin at Nauvoo, Kirtland, Far West, or New York, but rather in distant England, Scotland, Scandinavia, or Germany. Tiny children could not fully comprehend the dynamic faith which motivated their parents to leave behind family, friends, comfort, and security. A little one might ask, “Mommy, why are we leaving home? Where are we going?”
“Come along, precious one; we’re going to Zion, the city of our God.”
Between the safety of home and the promise of Zion stood the angry and treacherous waters of the mighty Atlantic. Who can recount the fear that gripped the human heart during those perilous crossings? Prompted by the silent whisperings of the Spirit, sustained by a simple yet abiding faith, they trusted in God and set sail on their journey. Europe was behind, America ahead.
On board one of those overcrowded and creaking vessels of yesteryear were my great-grandparents, their tiny family, and a few meager possessions. The waves were high, the voyage long, the quarters cramped. Tiny Mary had always been frail, but now with the passage of each day, her anxious mother saw the little one becoming weaker. She had a serious illness. There was no neighborhood drugstore, no doctor’s prescription, no modern hospital—just the steady roll of the tired old ship. Day after day worried parents watched for land, but there was none. Soon, Mary could not stand. Lips that were too weak to speak trembled with silent but eloquently expressed wonderment and fear. The end drew near. Little Mary peacefully passed beyond this vale of tears.
As family and friends crowded around on the open deck, the ship’s captain directed the service; and that precious, ever-so-small body, placed tenderly in a tear-stained canvas, was committed to the angry sea. Her strong father, in emotion-choked tones, comforted her grieving mother, repeating, “‘The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ (Job 1:21.) We’ll see our Mary again!”
Such scenes were not uncommon. Tombstones of sage and rock marked graves the entire route from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City. Such was the price some pioneers paid. Their bodies are buried in peace, but their names live on evermore.
Tired oxen lumbered, wagon wheels squeaked, brave men toiled, Indian war drums sounded, and coyotes howled. Our faith-inspired and storm-driven ancestors pressed on. They, too, had their cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.
Often they sang:
Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day. …
All is well! All is well!
(“Come, Come, Ye Saints,” Hymns, no. 30.)
These pioneers remembered the words of the Lord: “My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion.” (D&C 136:31.)
As the long, painful struggle approached its welcomed end, a jubilant spirit filled each heart. Tired feet and weary bodies somehow found new strength.
Time-marked pages of a dusty pioneer journal speak movingly: “We bowed ourselves down in humble prayer to Almighty God with hearts full of thanksgiving to Him, and dedicated this land unto Him for the dwelling place of His people.”
The crude homes were described in these terms by one who was there as a small boy: “There was no window of any kind whatever in our house. Neither was there a door. My mother hung up an old quilt, which served as a door for the first winter. This was our bedroom, our parlor, our sitting room, our kitchen, our sleeping room, everything in this room of about 12 by 16 feet. How in the world we all got along in it I do not know. I recollect that my dear old mother stated that no queen who ever entered her palace was ever more happy or proud of shelter and the blessings of the Lord than was she when she entered that completed dugout.”
Such were the trials, the hardships, struggles, and heartaches of a former day. They were met with resolute courage and an abiding faith in a living God. The words of their prophet-leader provided their pledge: “And this shall be our covenant—that we will walk in all the ordinances of the Lord.” (D&C 136:4.)
The passage of time dims our memories and diminishes our appreciation for those who walked the path of pain, leaving behind a tear-marked trail of nameless graves. But what of today’s challenge? Are there no rocky roads to travel, no rugged mountains to climb, no chasms to cross, no trails to blaze, no rivers to ford? Or is there a very present need for that pioneer spirit to guide us away from the dangers that threaten to engulf us, and lead us to a Zion of safety?
In the four decades since the end of World War II, standards of morality have lowered again and again. Today there are more people in jail, in reformatories, on probation, and in trouble than ever before. From padded expense accounts to grand larceny, from petty crimes to crimes of passion, the figures are higher than ever and going higher. Crime spirals upward; decency careens downward. Many are on a giant roller coaster of disaster, seeking the thrills of the moment while sacrificing the joys of eternity. We conquer space but cannot control self. Thus we forfeit peace.
Can we somehow muster the courage and that steadfastness of purpose which characterized the pioneers of a former generation? Can you and I, in actual fact, be pioneers today? A dictionary defines a pioneer as “one who goes before, showing others the way to follow.” Oh, how the world needs pioneers today!
We forget how the Greeks and Romans prevailed magnificently in a barbaric world and how that triumph ended, how a slackness and softness finally came over them to their ruin. In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security, a comfortable life; and they lost all—security and comfort and freedom. From the confusion of our modern world, sincere persons searchingly ask themselves: “To whom shall we listen? Whom shall we follow? Whom shall we serve?”
Today, chronic strife permeates even the personal province of the Prince of Peace. Contention thrives, though he declared, “Contention is not of me, but is of the devil.” (3 Ne. 11:29.)
But if we have ears that truly hear, we will be mindful of the echo from Capernaum’s past. Here multitudes crowded around Jesus, bringing the sick to be healed. Here a palsied man picked up his bed and walked, and a Roman centurion’s faith restored his servant’s health.
Many turn away from our Elder Brother, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and follow blindly after that Pied Piper of sin who would lead us down the slippery slopes to our own destruction. Satan cunningly calls to troubled souls in truly tempting tones.
Do not yield to his enticements; rather, stand firm for truth. The unsatisfied yearnings of the soul will not be met by a never-ending quest for joy amidst the thrills of sensation and vice. Vice never leads to virtue. Hate never promotes love. Cowardice never gives courage. Doubt never inspires faith.
Some find it difficult to withstand the mockings and unsavory remarks of foolish ones who ridicule chastity, honesty, and obedience to God’s commands. But the world has ever belittled adherence to principle. When Noah was instructed to build an ark, the foolish populace looked at the cloudless sky, then scoffed and jeered—until the rain came.
On the American continent, those long centuries ago, people doubted, disputed, and disobeyed until the fire consumed Zarahemla, the earth covered Moronihah, and water engulfed Moroni. Jeering, mocking, ribaldry, and sin were no more. They had been replaced by sullen silence, dense darkness. The patience of God had expired, his timetable fulfilled.
Must we learn such costly lessons over and over again? Times change, but truth persists. When we fail to profit from the experiences of the past, we are doomed to repeat them with all their heartache, suffering, and anguish. Haven’t we the wisdom to obey him who knows the beginning from the end—our Lord, who designed the plan of salvation, rather than that serpent who despised its beauty?
In the words of the poet:
Wouldst thou be gathered to Christ’s chosen flock,
Shun the broad way too easily explored,
And let thy path be hewn out of the rock,
The living rock of God’s eternal word.
(William Wordsworth, inscription on a rock at Rydal Mount, Cumbria, England.)
Can we not follow the Prince of Peace, that pioneer who literally showed the way for others to follow? His divine plan can save us from the Babylons of sin, complacency, and error. His example points the way. When faced with temptation, he shunned it. When offered the world, he declined it. When asked for his life, he gave it!
“Come, follow me,” the Savior said.
Then let us in his footsteps tread,
For thus alone can we be one
With God’s own loved, begotten Son. …
For thrones, dominions, kingdoms, pow’rs,
And glory great and bliss are ours,
If we, throughout eternity,
Obey his words, “Come, follow me.”
(“Come, Follow Me,” Hymns, no. 116.)
Now is our time to make this decision. Let us follow him.