Sunday, November 27


We all have regrets.  Recently, mine have found prominence as I've prepared to go on my mission.  I thought I'd share a few of them with you here: (in no particular order.)

Friday, November 25

The Scriptures and The Devil

I was going to do a Thanksgiving post on the gospel... but I feel like it would have been very long and very wordy and very boring.  I do love this church.  It is my lifeblood, and I figure that that kind of blessing is personal to each of us.  So no bragging and ranting about the church.  Needless to say, it is my greatest, dearest blessing.

Today I learned something very important.  In Matthew chapter 4, the devil attempts to tempt Jesus Christ after he has fasted.  You are all very familiar with this story, but there is an aspect of it that didn't really matter to me until this week.  The devil says, in verse 6: "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against stone."

The devil uses scripture to reinforce his temptation.

I guess I hadn't recognized the effect this concept could potentially have on my life.

This week a doctrinal issue came to my attention that caused me a great deal of pain.  Someone posed a concept to me, backed with scripture, that seemed legitimate.  While I didn't doubt the church, I felt confusion and darkness well up in my heart.   I felt afraid of some aspects of the church, and afraid to study the scriptures lest I further that fear.

I finally found the courage and mindset to crack open my scriptures again, and I came absently upon the Bible Dictionary definition for the devil.  The entry posed the same realization I mentioned above, and instantly the darkness I had felt dispersed as I recognized that just because something can be backed by the scriptures, it isn't necessarily true.

I'd allowed Satan's influence to come over my thoughts, and to essentially use scriptures to reinforce those false things.  I recognize that clearly now.  I just wanted to share this story... to encourage each of you to seek truth for yourself and through the Holy Ghost.  If you hear something from somewhere or someone that darkens your perspective of the gospel, seek the Holy Ghost's guidance and study it out.

I knew previously of these concepts, but they have been greatly reinforced in my life.  I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost--for His helping me to recognize the upheaval that was harming my spirit.


p.s. 18 days!  How about that?  I can scarcely believe how much closer it seems now that Thanksgiving has passed...

Sunday, November 20

Thanksgiving #6 -- Food

Naturally... those of you following this series realized something powerful was missing.  Something vital. And I can only avoid it for so long...

Yes.  Food.

Some things are sacred.  Eggnog is sacred in it's own way.

So is macaroni and cheese.

Words.  Cannot.  Express.  I love food.  I really do.  I love simple joy that comes of it, the social aspects as I hang out with friends or family and eat, and the memories that are so completely sustained through tastes.  

One of the more innocent pleasures in life, no?  Easily one of the most celebrated aspects of it, even if we don't realize it.  ;)  

I am eternally grateful for food.  

Thanksgiving #5 -- Music

I don't need to say much about this one.  Between guard, choir, and angst, music has always been a vivid part of my existence.  It is truly a spiritual language, and I am so grateful that we've been blessed with it and with the means to create and appreciate it.

Here are some of my favorites.  :)

From Riverdance the Broadway.  This is probably my favorite Celtic piece.  Ever.

We sang this one in the Church Administration Building for President Uchtdorf and whoever else was in the building.  It was pretty much the most powerful experience of my life.

This just... makes me happy.  :)

And... this basically makes me wish I was a male opera singer.  Sadly, not my calling in life.  D:

And, lastly, some Jon Schmidt.  ;)


Thanksgiving #4 -- My Body

Not to be particularly vain or anything, but I have an awesome body. ;) I don't think there is anything I take for granted more consistently or easily than this. We identify so completely with our bodies, it can be hard to view them as any sort of a blessing that we need to be thankful for. But we know they are sacred gifts.

Sacred AWESOME gifts. I mean, come on:

  • Human bone is as strong as granite in supporting weight. A block of bone the size of a matchbox can support 9 tonnes – that is four times as much as concrete can support. 
  • Each kidney contains 1 million individual filters. They filter an average of around 1.3 liters (2.2 pints) of blood per minute, and expel up to 1.4 liters (2.5 pints) a day of urine. 
  • The focusing muscles of the eyes move around 100,000 times a day. To give your leg muscles the same workout, you would need to walk 80km (50 miles) every day. 
  • Your smell is unique: Your body odor is unique to you — unless you have an identical twin. Even babies recognize the individual scents of their mothers. 
  • Throughout your life, the amount of saliva you have could fill two swimming pools: 
  • When you take a step, you are using up to 200 muscles 
  • Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as 170 miles per hour. 
  • The human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet. 
  • You could remove a large part of your internal organs and survive. The human body may appear fragile but it’s possible to survive even with the removal of the stomach, the spleen, 75 percent of the liver, 80 percent of the intestines, one kidney, one lung, and virtually every organ from the pelvic and groin area. You might not feel too great, but the missing organs wouldn’t kill you. 
  • About 32 million bacteria call every inch of your skin home. 
  • Three hundred million cells die in the human body every minute. 
  • Every year about 98% of the atoms in your body are replaced. 
  • In the mouth, food is either cooled or warmed to a more suitable temperature.
(Found on various websites. Just google "the human body is awesome".)

Or how about this?

"Gospel teachings [...] teach that our bodies are a blessing, a sacred part of our eternal happiness. There is only a perceived mind versus body dilemma. Although there is a distinction between the body and the spirit, these two entities are not opposites. The spirit is not immaterial but both body and spirit are material. We learn in the Doctrine and Covenants that “there is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes." (The Body:A Burden or a Blessing? By Barbara Lockhart)

Just something to think about. :)


Friday, November 18

Thanksgiving #3 -- The Creation

Okay, maybe that's a little vague.  But I'm going to do some clumping here so I can get all my favorites in.  :)

I am SO grateful for the world and everything on it.  Now that I've gone to the temple, I have newfound appreciation for the creation of the world and the powerful purpose with which it was created and shall be perfected.

Here are some examples (most of which I haven't actually seen and none of which I've actually taken.)  But, hey.

Whenever I am lonely or worried or feeling down in any way, I need only take a moment outside and really take in what surrounds me.  And things calm down a bit.  I think in the end, Heavenly Father knew we'd need that influence to remember that life is meant to be enjoyed.

These pictures are but a few of the billions circulating the internet.  I just love it all.

So here's to the creation.


Thanksgiving #2 -- Friends

As I said... I'm pretty much the product of everyone I've met.  :)  This is especially true of my friends.  Honestly, this entire blog is full of evidence of the effects my dearest friends have had on me.  They give me something to look forward to and have helped me get through school, work, and life with a positive attitude.  While my family has been the primary influence on my personality and preferences, I think nine times out of ten my friends are the source of my habits, my activities, and my sanity.

Here's to good friends.  :)