Monday, January 21, 2013

Magical World of Object Lessons

I had heard this story before, but as I reread it yesterday it really touched my heart! The Savior loves each and everyone of us! He suffered so that we will be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven. Even when we choose the wrong or don't use the Atonement he did it anyway. For each of us.

Here's the story, it's long, but worth it, I promise!

"There was a boy by the name of Steve who was attending Seminary...Brother Christianson taught Seminary at this particular school. He had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules.

Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period and no other teacher wanted him, so he went into Brother Christianson's Seminary class. Steve was told that he couldn't be late, so he would come in just seconds before the bell rang and he would sit in the very back of the room. He would also be the first to leave after the class was over.

One day, Brother Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. After class, Brother Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, "You think you're pretty tough, don't you?"

Steve's answer was, "Yeah, I do."

Then Brother Christianson asked, "How many push-ups can you do?"

Steve said, "I do about 200 every night."

"200? That's pretty good, Steve." Brother Christianson said, "Do you think you could do 300?"

Steve replied, "I don't know... I've never done 300 at a time."

"Do you think you could?" again asked Brother Christianson.

"Well, I can try," said Steve.

"Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I need you to do 300 in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it." Brother Christianson said.

Steve said, "Well... I think I can... yeah, I can do it."

Brother Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday."

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, Brother Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren't the normal kinds of donuts. They were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited - it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an extra early start on the weekend.

Brother Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you want a donut?" Cynthia said, "Yes." Brother Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?"

Steve said, "Sure," and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Brother Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk.

Brother Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe, do you want a donut?" Joe said, "Yes." Brother Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?" Steve did ten push-ups; Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle. Steve did ten pushups for every person before they got their donut. And down the second aisle, till Brother Christianson came to Scott.
Scott was captain of the football team and center of the basketball team. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. When Brother Christianson asked, "Scott do you want a donut?"

Scott's reply was "Well, can I do my own pushups?"

Brother Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them. "

Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."

Brother Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?"

Steve started to do ten push-ups. Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!"

Brother Christianson said, "Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it", and he put a donut on Scott's desk. Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down, and a little perspiration appeared around his brow.

Brother Christianson started down the third row. By now, the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Brother Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?" Jenny said, "No". Then Brother Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?" Steve did ten; Jenny got a donut.

By now, the students were beginning to say "No" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve was also having to really put forth a lot of effort to get these push-ups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, and his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Brother Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten push-ups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. Robert began to watch Steve closely.

Brother Christianson started down the fourth row. During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat along the heaters along the sides of the room. When Brother Christianson realized this; he did a quick count and saw that there were now 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Brother Christianson went on to the next person, the next, and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Brother Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?"

Brother Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your push-ups. You can do them any way that you want." And Brother Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled, "NO! Don't come in! Stay out!" Jason didn't know what was going on.

Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come."

Brother Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten push-ups for him."
Steve said, "Yes, let him come in.

" Brother Christianson said, "Okay, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"

"Yes."

"Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?"

Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down. Brother Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those seated on the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift him against the force of gravity. Sweat was dropping off his face and, by this time, there was not a dry eye in the room. The very last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular. Brother Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a donut?"

Linda, too choked up to talk, just shook her head. Brother Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?" Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda. Then Brother Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. "Susan, do you want a donut?"

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, "Brother Christianson, can I help him?"

Brother Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, he has to do it alone."

"Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?" As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Brother Christianson then said, "And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, pleaded to the Father, "Into thy hands I commend my spirit", and with the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, collapsed on the cross and died - even for those that didn't want His gift."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Magical World of Changes and Reunions

So I was trying to figure out how to combine this post with the last one, but I just couldn't explain things quite right in one post. But feel like I need to say both. So here it goes. Blog Post #2 for the day.

I got to see my best friend yesterday for the first time in months. While, the situation was not what we had planned or the most ideal it was greatly needed. Though awkward at first as we both struggled to explain what we felt we needed to it ended like old times. Before I knew it we were laughing and it was suddenly two hours later. Time sure seems to go by awfully quickly while with him.

So many things have changed. Our roles seem reversed. We are different people than we were before. No matter how much we want things to be the same, they are not, nor will they ever be. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing. We both still have a lot of growing up to do, and we have different paths we need to go down for the moment.

Everyday I am grateful for his friendship in my life. I hope that one day in the future our paths will join together again. But if not....if not things will be okay. As hard as that is to say. I have absolutely no idea how things are going to end up, but they will be okay. We will both be okay.

I have become a better person by knowing him, and I hope that I have been a positive influence. And I am so grateful to be blessed with such an amazing person in my life.

Magical World of Dreaming Big

When you cry be sure to dry your eyes
'Cause better days are sure to come
And when you smile be sure to smile wide
Don't let them know that they have won
And when you walk, walk with pride
Don't show the hurt inside
Because the pain will soon be gone

When you laugh be sure to laugh out loud
'Cause it will carry all your cares away
And when you see, see the beauty all around and in yourself
And it'll help you feel okay
And when you pray, pray for strength
To help you carry on
When the troubles come your way
 
And when you dream, dream big
As big as the ocean blue
'Cause when you dream it might come true
When you dream, dream big
("Dream Big" - Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband)
 
Life has a way of changing your perspective. While driving home from the temple I heard this song and it hit me in a way it never had before. I love this song, but it has never brought me to tears. But every word is completely true. I particularly love the second verse. It is so important to laugh, to see the beauty in the world and yourself, and to pray. Reach out to the one person who knows exactly how you feel, the one person who is ALWAYS there to help.
 
And dream! They might not come true, they might change, but still dream. I had written off making any more plans and dreams for my future. But you know what? Just because God has redirected my life does not mean that I should stop dreaming. Yes, his plan will prevail, but I can still make plans as long as I'm willing to let Him alter my plans if they get a little off course.
 
Life is good. Life is Great! I know now more than ever that I am supposed to serve the Lord by going on a mission. I know that things will work out. This is sometimes the hardest thing to have faith in, but for the moment I do know that.
 


Friday, January 11, 2013

Magical World of Things I Take for Granted

So...the last few days have been...interesting, to say the least. Life has not been what I expected it to be. It seems like every time I start to settle into the situation it changes. I guess it's just keeping me on my toes. And I can in no way complain that my life is boring. In fact someone told me I could write a book about it and it would become a "Mormon Classic". Maybe I will...when I find out how the story ends that is. But in the mean time I have come to appreciate some things I sometimes take for granted.

#1-Good friends. Seriously, I was going crazy yesterday. I was struggling to control my emotions and I was worrying about everything! So having a friend just talk to me for a few hours helped the situation so much. Caden, I know you read this sometimes and you always ask why I don't use peoples' names. Well there you go, thank you for listening to all my issues and not telling me that they are just stupid little things I need to get over. So thank you. And thank you to my other friends who are all wonderful!! :)

#2-The Priesthood. When life seems a little hopeless a priesthood blessing can be the perfect thing to help. I often fail to ask for a blessing when I have a problem other than being physically ill. But I shouldn't. I should give priesthood holders a chance to use that priesthood! I am so grateful to my dad for being a worthy priesthood holder so we can always have that influence in our home.

#3-The Temple. I Love the Temple!!! The best part about just waiting around for my mission is that I get to go to the temple so often! It's only 15 minutes away, and there I can really escape from the world. It really is nice to just turn my cell phone off and be in such a spiritual place for a few hours a week. I love it! Oh, and how great is it to see people you know there?! It's wonderful! :)

#4-The Hymns. My dad sort of challenged me to start cutting out other music from my life in preparation for my mission. So (besides when I am running), I have only been listening to the hymns and other church music. And let me tell you, it has been awesome. The hymns teach us so much, and I everyday I have a new song that really hit me. Music is also such a powerful way to bring the spirit in your life. If you want to start the day off right get ready with hymns playing! I promise it changes things so much!!

There is probably so much else I am forgetting to write. And I feel like I need to publicly thank so many people, but most especially my Father in Heaven for helping me out! We're getting  close to a month left before my mission which is CRAZY!! I still have so much I need to learn and figure out. But I am excited to see how I will grow in the next few years!

Life is crazy, insane, and it won't stop throwing curve balls at me. But you know what? It's part of the Lord's plan, and I wouldn't have it any other way!!! :) Love you all!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Magical World of Great Friends

Plans change, things happen that we don't expect. I have learned this more in the past year then probably anything else. And I am grateful for this. God is constantly redirecting my life. He loves me, he is there for me, and I can see his hand in all things. It is most often in retrospect that we understand why things happen. And I can't wait for that day when I understand why the current situation is happening. But it will be okay, I know it.

It is often said that it is in the hard times that you find out who your friends are. In the past few days I have found that I have some amazing group of friends. I have had so many people express their love. People who offered to talk to me in the middle of the night, or to stay with me so I'm not alone, and most importantly that they are here for me. I am not the one in the center of this situation. I'm not the one who needs the most love and support, yet because they knew it would be affected they called, texted, and sent messages. I am so grateful for each and every one of you.

I am also grateful for my loving Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ. I read Alma 7 last night, verses 11-13 are so powerful. They tell of the Atonement and how the Savior suffered for every pain. He knows us, he knows what we are going through. Always. He sees every tear and is there to wipe it away. I don't know what is going to happen. But I know that I have great friends to surround me, and a Savior who loves me, and that things will be okay. :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Magical World of Breakthroughs

This has been a big week for me. Not in things I've done, but in what I feel are major breakthroughs.

#1 - I am a Daughter of God. I know that. I know that he loves me. I know I have great potential, and great worth. I matter to him.

#2 - I am not the size of my clothes. I am the person inside of them. It does not matter what size my jeans are. I am finally accepting that. I am not even the progress I have made. Yes, it is good that I can run further and jump higher, but that alone does not give me anymore self worth.

#3 - I am beautiful just the way I am, and if it is not good enough for anyone then they have no need to be apart of my life.

#4 - I am not my past. I am who I am today. And I am grateful for that.

#5 - I am not my friends, family, or relationships. Yes, they have made me who I am, but again they don't define me. This one is a little harder for me to explain, and I don't want to offend anyone. But these things are apart of my life, not who I am.

#6 - Along with that, I am not my accomplishments. The only accomplishment that counts is becoming who God wants and needs me to be.

#6 - I will not be apart of spreading rumors. I will be a voice of truth.

#7 - I am going to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have finally reached the point where I can say that I am excited about it. Nothing will stop me from serving the Lord.

#8 - I love myself. I am proud of where I am today. And I have no shame in saying this.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Magical World of the Atonement

Some days life does not seem all that magical in the slightest. In fact I sat and thought for quite a while about what "magical" thing in my life I could connect to this blog post. I grew frustrated about why I decided to start each blog that way, then I remembered. One resolution that I had for 2012 was to set a monthly goal to work on a personality trait that I wished I had. Then by the end of the year I would be a much better person then when it started. Well, most of my goals were surrounded on becoming a more positive person. When I started this blog, finding something magical and wonderful about every day was my current goal.

Up in Logan I had a wall full of sticky notes that had quotes on them. This was also another goal working towards being a happier person. I would choose a quote of the day and just think about it and try to incorporate it into my life. These sticky notes became such a comfort to me. Whenever I was feeling really down I would read the quotes and the world seemed just a little brighter. Some of my favorites about being more grateful in my life are:

"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy!" -Anne Frank
 
"The trick is to enjoy life. Don't wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead."
-Marjorie Hinckley
 
(My Favorite) "When you look at a field of dandelions, you can either see a hundred weeds or a hundred wishes."
 

I am so grateful for the ability and opportunity I have to become a better person. Seriously, how incredible is it that we can change our lives around. We have a Heavenly Father who loved us enough to let us come down and choose for ourselves. It must have been so difficult for him to let his children go, knowing that some of them would not come back. That we would chose the difficult path at times in our lives, and have to live with those consequences. But He let us come here. He let us choose. And though I have made many MANY mistakes in my life, I can still turn around and become better. Though I am far from perfect I can choose to change my life, I can choose to be more positive, it's not easy and I have to work on it every day, but it's not hopeless. One day it will be a skill I have, and until then I will work on it everyday.

In my singles ward one Sunday people kept bringing up the positive side of the Atonement and I was really confused about what they were talking about. This is what I think they meant. It is because of the Atonement that we have the ability to choose, yet we can still make it back to live with our Father in Heaven. The Atonement gives us choice, and it gives us Hope.