Monday, December 30, 2013

"If those committed to the quest fail, they will be forgiven. When lost, they will find another way. The moral imperative of humanism is the endeavor alone, whether successful or not, provided the effort is honorable and failure memorable.."

- E. O. Wilson

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hurts from the fall. Strength in the rise?

I had a slip the other day. It had to deal with my food addiction. I've examined it, figured out where it came from and am doing my best to address it so that I can move forward in a positive manner. At first I was devastated. How could this happen? How could I mess up? Then I remembered my self-talk. I changed it into positive self-talk. How will I get through this? What can I learn? I am strong enough to make it to the next moment. That is what I do. Self-talk. It gets me through the white-knuckle moments. Hopefully I am able to be stronger.

I've found that as my old stress outlet has been annihilated (yay!), this one is being wiped out...work in progress; that stress hurts. Stress hurts in so many ways. It hurts my mind as I race through and try to combat whatever is up there. It hurts my body as I fight physical temptations and work to move forward. It hurts my heart as it comes from every direction in every form.

The hurt is only ever filled for me by the love of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Sometimes when I am seeking to be healed I find that the healing is where the real strength is found.

Then I received my e-mail that I get from recovery2.0.com and Tommy Rosen. I copied and pasted the text of the e-mail into this blog post. I love the strength and support that I have found from this recovery group.

Just A Little Nervous From the Fall

"Dear Friend,

Kintsukuroi is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery through the use of a lacquer resin sprinkled with gold powder to mend the broken pieces back together.  At some point in the 15th Century, the Japanese started to employ this technique.  Collectors everywhere started to clamor after these repaired pieces because they were seen to be much more beautiful than the originals.

Kintsukuroi artists became known not so much for their ability to make things as good as new, but instead to render them better than new.  The piece is considered more beautiful for having been broken.  Looking at a potted bowl, for example, as having life force, many would say that the bowl's "energy" was finished the moment it was dropped or broken. From the Kintsukuroi perspective the true life of the bowl actually began the moment it was dropped.  

Such is the case for people on the path of recovery from addiction.  My dear friend Nate puts it like this, "We come to this path shattered, fragmented pieces of ourselves.  The actions and substances we have taken in an effort to feel whole and complete are the very things that have left us in this broken state. We need to find something that will actually mend the broken pieces. Something real. Something powerful."  
What is to be our golden lacquer?  We are put back together using the gold powder of the 12-Steps, yoga, meditation, connection with a higher power and being of service to others.  These are the elements that make up the beautiful golden lacquer of the path of recovery.  When we use these tools as the golden glue in which to mend our broken pieces, something incredible happens. We become transformed, not just into the entity we once were, but into an entirely new being more beautiful than what the original could have been.
When we look in the mirror, our cracks are still there, filled in now with unique golden lines.  We see them more clearly.  We know where we have been and we are better now for having been there.  We have been fragile like a china doll.  "Just a little nervous from the fall," is how Robert Hunter put it.  In recovery, we have combined our fragility with resilience and love to find a life of such richness that before we could never have imagined...A powerful lesson for us all on the difficult and magical path of recovery.

With Love and Gratitude,
Tommy Rosen"

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nothing More

I have been thinking A LOT lately about the difference between just doing something and being something. This song resonated with my thoughts and feelings. Hope you enjoy!

"Nothing More" The Alternate Routes

To be humble, to be kind. 
It is the giving of the peace in your mind.
To a stranger, to a friend
To give in such a way that has no end.

We are Love
We are One
We are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are Peace
We are War
We are how we treat each other and Nothing More

To be bold, to be brave.
It is the thinking that the heart can still be saved
And the darkness can come quick
The Dangers in the Anger and the hanging on to it.

We are Love
We are One
We are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are Peace
We are War
We are how we treat each other and Nothing More

Tell me what it is that you see
A world that's filled with endless possibilities?
Heroes don't look like they used to, they look like you do.

We are Love
We are One
We are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are Peace
We are War
We are how we treat each other and Nothing More

Saturday, December 14, 2013

grad school is for fighters

Grad school is teaching me how to be a fighter for all the good reasons. 

Things worked together so well this week after some pulling and prodding. I have spent all semester working on my MP, basically a thesis but a little less formal. I have gone through ups and downs with its status and subject matter. I've almost quit a few times. But this week showed that fighting for your purpose and support from friends and family can be a great strength. 

I'll be in Rexburg working on this project for about a week and a half in January. It felt like nothing was progressing because of some obstacles here in Boston. But this past week everything began to align coming from Rexburg. Then on Thursday things in Boston began to work together and I turned in my proposal to the IRB yesterday. 

Relief flooded in and even though I still have two papers and a work assignment to complete I feel like a weight is lifted. I know the rush and stress will come again but I am enjoying today. 

...and enjoying this website my friend Kara showed me last night. 

Enjoy for some laughter: 
http://whatshouldwecallgradschool.tumblr.com/post/69173992613/when-my-parents-ask-how-grad-school-is-doing




Wednesday, December 4, 2013

$1000 Health Challenge - 28 Days of Fatburn


_________________________________________________

Join a team – Lose weight – Get healthy - Earn points towards winning multiple $1000 prizes!
Spark your New Years Resolution with a FREE personal health coach, a team to support you, and a big prize!
Prizes will be awarded for weight loss AND living the habits of health. So feel free to join even if you are already at a healthy weight.
Start date is January 6th and your free consultation must be complete before that date to qualify.

So what's next?
1) Join the event!
2) "Share" The Event
3) Get in touch with me to set up a Free consultation. I can give you the details and see if you qualify. Send me a fb message or email katie.g.walter@gmail.com. 
___________________________________________________

The challenge doesn't begin until January 6th, but there is no time like the present to make a healthier and more balanced life a reality for yourself and your loved ones.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sometimes wisdom comes from your professor kindly looking at you saying, "It's about how you take the punch & get back up. You are smart enough. You can do this."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

missionary work and the Atonement

A sister also preparing for her mission shared this in a Facebook group.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6FKiNVbw3Y


keep going, it's possible!

This is one year and seven months since I began the repentance process to change my life. 19 months since I began to work and really feel the power of the Atonement in my life. To know Christ's love and sacrifice for me. To believe in Christ as well as believe Him.

Today is one year for me. One year since I finally turned my addiction over to the Lord. So much happens in a year. In just seven months I will hopefully have a Master's Degree...but lets stay present!

It has been 13 months since I decided to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A decision that has enriched my very soul and challenged yet fed my resolve.

It has been 9 months since I began my health journey which has helped inspire other important people in my life as well! I love them all. We amaze and inspire each other every day.

It has been 6 months since I went through the temple to receive my endowment. Something that has enlightened and strengthened my relationship with Father and my earthly family.

It has been 2 weeks since I had my interview with my Bishop to start my mission papers. ONE week since I received access to begin them.

With God all things really are possible. Daily decisions for good, though they get harder everyday, bring us closer to Him. I know this.

I am so grateful for all of my missionary friends who are preparing to go, now serving and who have returned home. I can't wait to talk with them all and just ask questions and be so excited with them!

It is such a hard, yet magnificent time to be alive. So much can happen in a year. :)


being present

When I was learning about different therapies in my undergrad, I was always enamored with the therapies that would demand presence from the clients. The therapist would keep them in the here and now. I thought that was so novel considering how many people think of the past, blame the past, fault others and so on for how they may be acting in that moment. Really, you control what you do. Yes, others' actions may be perceived as unkind, hurtful, rude, impatient...and this list goes on, but what we do with what happens matters.

Going to different addiction recovery meetings and listening to conferences and idea was brought up. Addicts have trouble staying in the present. For many we've lived in our past highs and live for our future fixes. As we go into recovery sometimes it is still hard to get out of that mindset. We may constantly plan for the future or wish for a time when "we were better."

This became really present for me yesterday talking with a teacher. While I was panicking about my timeline about my Masters Project saying...its the MIDDLE of November and before you know it, in a month we are gone for six weeks! I'm out of time. I was in a severe panic attack and thankfully he was kind and understanding. But he added, a healthy dose of panic can be helpful. Don't let it overtake you. Use it to your advantage but stay in the present moment and just work. Don't give up because you feel like its all over.

So continually learning about being present is ever more...present. Haha Grateful for people who can pull me back and help me focus, not add more pressure.




Friday, November 15, 2013

mom: providing moments of peace since 1989

Sometimes you are exhausted. And then the germs in your world decide to grab you and make you sick. And then through the little sleep because you are working on papers, stress, deadlines, trips, assignments, callings, volunteer work something gives. It gives because you were up so late and awake really early each day working on more papers and you can't breathe. But, through the fog that is the end of any grad school and college semester, your mom steps in to help from across the miles. To make that phone call, to take one thing off your plate so you can get by. Then your trip falls apart because you think you have the flu or something: fever, sore ears, chills, throat ache, nausea, migraine and stomach problems. So instead of heading to where your heart would be happy for the weekend you stay home. Because you are exhausted and have so much work to do and are sicker today than yesterday.

But you find comfort and joy that your mom still has the ability to succor you from across the miles. You are grateful for her help.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

forgiveness

stream process:

this is so hard. but sometimes it is so easy. sometimes people need to vent. but sometimes it doesn't make sense. sometimes the more you care for someone and give your all the more you give, the more you feel the let down at the end. the more your heart aches at all you give and feel you give. but you keep going, keep smiling, keep trying to be the best you can because that person needs love and support. you support in the best way you know how because it is all you can give. are any of us ever really supported and met where and how we fully need? only from God and our Savior Jesus Christ. there will always be moments missed and times when you gave all your soul could muster and it won't be enough. but inside knowing that you did it...should, could, would be enough if you couldn't feel the absolute let down of the other. when you feel that heartbreak and anger come at you then it incapacitates you. knocks you down for a few days. even though you pray and plead in your heart to come through and read scriptures or talks; the way you feel devastates your soul. people love you. you laugh. you smile and keep moving. but that gnawing inside that you didn't meet that one person's needs doesn't go away. then you hear their anger and/or frustration and its all confirmed again. in that moment...you weren't good enough. but you still try, love and move on though your soul is breaking. you try because that is what the Savior does, His sorrow is mirrored in yours. and though you may never meet this person or that one, try with everything you have because at least you are giving your all.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

Each year I watch Band of Brother's and reflect during Veteran's Day weekend. I will try and spend time out, appreciating our Veteran's. This year I've been trying to do this all month. Yesterday I had the privilege of being able to be at the World Trade Center Memorial in NYC. All weekend I saw military personnel throughout the city. A pride, yes pride, swelled within my chest that people still wish to sacrifice and serve this country.

While walking into the Memorial, there were so many men and women in their uniforms. I teared up at the back drop of seeing these amazing individuals against something that represented why some signed up. I smiled, thanked a few and continued in through the gate. All throughout the memorial, in each name that belongs to a Veteran who died on 9/11, a yellow rose was placed there. It was quite a beautiful and full of sorrow.

I am grateful for the peaceful and reflective experience this past weekend, especially yesterday, offered me to honor this Nation's Veterans. Thank you all. Your sacrifice is not lost on me. I pray that it never will be.

I am eternally grateful to my Grandpa, Uncles, cousin's husband, sister-in-law's dad and sister, friends, friend's spouses...and the list continues of amazing people I have had the privilege of knowing and those I will never know.





missions

I started my mission papers Sunday November 5th! I had my interview with my Bishop and he and I are starting this. Dang, I never though this day would come but I am so excited to be able to be on this journey.

I know that my journey in TSFL and through ARP and going through the temple for my endowments and strengthening my testimony have helped build me into this person. I was talking to a friend last night about the changes. I said, "one thing at a time" and then laughed because most of the time its like three and five things at a time!

All with the Lord's help and the support of friends and family.

mentoring

I had a teacher once that I loved so much! He became my mentor. I was talking to a friend about him one day and she said that one day you will be that to someone. 

I signed up to be a mentor a few weeks ago. We have met once. She is such a sweet girl with a wonderful spirit. I am excited to get to know her better and be what I can. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Law of Reversibility

As I am nearing one year in recovery a lot of opportunities have come my way to mess everything up, to fall to a craving or temptation. But I have made it through each time with an eye on my greater desire to be in line with what my heart truly wants. My heart wants to do all it can to continue closer to God and the Lord. My heart doesn't want to be bound by addiction anymore. My heart wants to be free to choose.

I got this e-mail from the amazing Recovery2.0 website about the Law of Reversibility. Here are some thoughts that I really took to contemplate.
"The Universe, will give you an opportunity to take back your habit.  It might sound something like this: “Are you sure you want to give that up for good?  This is the Great Spirit’s way of asking you to review your commitment.  The inquiry itself is empowering and serves to strengthen you moving forward.

Knowing about the law of reversibility will be helpful on your pathway to enduring success in recovery and life.  It exists.  You will notice it in your life.  And when it expresses itself, you can bring awareness to what is happening and connect with a friend, mentor or teacher and say, “I am being given an opportunity to take back a commitment I have made. Can you help me think it through clearly?”  This approach will bring to light what needs to be seen.  You will be progressing forward with greater awareness of what you have achieved and why it is important to stay the course.  If you came to me as your mentor asking whether you should return to an addictive behavior or not, I would simply ask if you felt that returning to the behavior would bring you closer or further from your own heart.  Most people who are made to reflect about this, will admit that to go back to the addictive behavior is not in line with their heart.  Does admitting this guarantee that you will continue with your commitment?  Of course not, but giving voice to your heart is a magical thing to do.  Even if you went back to smoking, you would do so with the clear understanding that you are at odds with yourself.  This is a painful place to be.  You would be paying a price every time you smoked and very soon you would not be able to take it any longer.  You would have been reminded once again about the suffering that you experience when you smoke. 
This is very dangerous for people who are involved in hardcore drug abuse and alcoholism.  For those people, going back to do more “field research” might claim their lives.  And yet, as I know all too well there is no way to stop someone from a relapse if they are determined to have one. 

The law of reversibility arises in order for you to clarify your heart’s intent of remaining on the path of recovery and health.  Once you do this, the energy will shift and you will move into a period of greater clarity and power.  I wish this for you."


As each of us are meeting benchmarks in our lives of changing habits, even if you aren't overcoming addictions. I too wish you the opportunity to clarify your heart's intent. 

Health and Joy*

Monday, October 28, 2013

processing

In life there are so many beautiful things. I feel like I have been blessed to be able to see and feel these even when faced with a dark trial or circumstance. Sometimes it takes a trusted friend to remind me to look but they are there.

This weekend I went to go see the new movie 12 Years a Slave with a friend. All I can say is I felt almost hollow at the end because I didn't know, or even want to know how I felt. I came home and wrote in my journal and stared at the wall. I thought the overwhelming majority of the movie was devastating and beautiful. The moments of tenderness against the real horrors of slavery took my breath away to see that. There were times that I could see the absolute darkness that a soul possessed because they decided to turn to it. But in that darkness there was still the light in them that broke through even if for a small second. We all possess that light! To see it coming from these actors as they portrayed the individuals from history-haunting is one way to put it. This is a credit to the actors definitely.

I went to Oklahoma with my roommate on Saturday. It made me happy, the songs and the familiarity of everything. It brought such light but more time to sit and dually think about what was happening in my mind. During the dream portion, so much of it related to feelings I had while watching 12 Years a Slave.

There hasn't been a time in the past few days that I have closed my eyes and not thought about this film. It took me until Saturday night talking with my dad about what I was feeling that I actually cried. I couldn't figure it out but I knew tears should be associated with what I saw. But even after our conversation when I fell asleep, I dreamed about it. The sorrow, anger, guilt, empathy, love, peace, frustration, confusion and so many other things I felt over the past few days. I dreamt about seeing the good in even the worst people, seeing them as their greatest potential holds. It was quite unsettling.

I have had more dreams these past few days that I could remember than in a long time. I just wish they would stop.

Friday, October 4, 2013

truth

This past week I have been listening to this amazing free conference called Recovery 2.0 for anyone in recovery from addiction or seeking to begin recovery. Basically anyone at any place in their addiction and recovery journey. Goodness I have been so inspired by the talks I have listened to. There have definitely been some that have made me scratch my head but I heard so much truth. Truth in the way that a lot of what all of these individuals said resonated with the aspects of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It made me continuously grateful for the good people out there who listen and learn and find that truth resonates with them, even if it is only parts of it sometimes. I have found that the gospel's truth open up the truth, reality and beauty that is found in the rest of the world. It is truly magnificent. I am so grateful for the restored gospel and the healing power it has brought me in recovery and beyond in my earthly journey.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

humility and blessings

It wasn't long ago that I wrote about faith and trust. Goodness the experiences there continue, but that is the nature of life; to continue in faith.
The Lord has come through time and time again in my life that I don't ever see until the experience is over. This time the mire felt to be so consuming that the light on this one trial didn't seem to shine. But, I continued in faith because I know the Lord, I know that I continually work to keep my covenants and am in a persistent state of improving through Him and through faith in Him.
This trial came to a peak yesterday when school had not come through with something that was supposed to be done last Thursday. But, I continued to pray and little things kept happening. The school thing didn't. After a long day of seeming dead ends and frustration and fear and doubt, I said a prayer on the train:
Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief. 
Now it feels more like a fervent plea. I had tried absolutely everything I knew and didn't want to burden anyone other than the Lord with this trial. But, I came home and my awesome roommate was sitting on the couch and we talked. And the conversation came to this trial, the stress it was causing my spirit and mind, the fears and doubts. But the hope I had because I knew I was still doing the right things. (not everything was said by me but inferred by her through some reluctant tears on my part) She bore testimony of the truthfulness of what she felt was happening and what was coming for me. I am so grateful for that, her words. Then she and another friend's offered kindness made me cry. The generosity and sheer capability for love and care from friends took me off guard. They were willing to care for me. :) 
This morning as things began to be worked out with school, my roommate offered to help me with one other part of my trial. It took prayers and all day for me to accept the help (pride can be a beast to overcome). But I am so extremely grateful for the kindness she has shown. 

As this trial is starting to work itself out through prayers and faith and trust; humility and gratitude are becoming personal results. 

There are people placed in our lives to help us along our tremendous journeys. They can be family, friends, acquaintances and strangers. We play these roles in people's lives all the time! I am just so thankful that my amazing friend and roommate is here and willing to talk and be open to help and offer and care and share her strength when I was at my seeming end last night. Thank you again.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

stillness

I've thought a lot about stillness, meditation and mindfulness lately and fortunately some of my studying has been on these topics so far this week.

"Be still and know that I am God." These simple words always bring comfort to my ofttimes rushed and full mind. When spoken they remind me to be find stillness and in that there is so much to be gained.

Stillness is where we can come to know God. Through this we can develop a relationship with Him. If we carry stillness within ourselves we can be more capable in embracing and standing. But we need to be ready and open for stillness and to work for it - it is a process - a self-reflection process that can be scary. (These are some thoughts I wrote down from a friend's talk this past Sunday)

Here is a quote that was shared in the support group for the lifestyle program I am on. Part of the balance that we seek is in healthy mind and spirit. Stillness can be achieved there. One of the habits we talk about is seeking quiet time, because it can be so important for our processing, learning and healing. 
"Stillness is not about focusing on nothingness; it's about creating a clearing. It's opening up an emotionally clutter-free space and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question." 
-Brené Brown, Ph.D., L.M.S.W.

Stillness provides a chance to see yourself, really see yourself and as the quote mentions, allow yourself to feel, think, dream and question.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

daily bread

I have thought about this a lot the past few days as I continue to learn and re-learn this simple principle. What we put in our bodies both physically and spiritually makes up who we are.

Always remember to look to Him, to think of Him, to give thanks to Him. Don't forget the source. -Elder Christofferson

Our faith in God is the fruit of our experience. In life we come to a moment where we have no other place to turn but to God. In those moments we really learn how to pray. -Elder Christofferson

Follow Him and have faith in Him. He can heal and change us. With the atonement we become different people. -Elder Christofferson

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

image

Have you ever really looked at yourself in a mirror or any reflection? Normally I'll just give enough time to say...oh no food, no dirt, okay you're good. Yesterday when I was on the train headed to school I was sitting with no one across from me and I was determined to sort through some of my thoughts at the time. But normally I would just close my eyes so I wouldn't have to see myself. This time I looked. I really examined the lines of my face and the wrinkles and scars. Then I decided to see the stories behind each one of them. Each pain and hurt was all I saw at first (bc lets face it most of us start there) but then it turned into each happiness, joy and laughter. The light the shone through my eyes as I smiled at my reflection caught me off guard but really warmed me. I was seeing and really appreciating my full story. I saw, well...me.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Book of Mormon

I just finished my first full, real, meaningful reading of The Book of Mormon since beginning the recovery process last year. I began it in January and told myself I would finish two weeks ago when a friend went home from his mission...well I made it today! And it was a truly wonderful experience.

I truly came to know my Savior, Jesus Christ much better and my loving Heavenly Father in a way that I didn't know before. I know the Book of Mormon is true and is another testament of Jesus Christ. It is beautiful to be able to find it out for yourself! I am so filled with gratitude and humility for the opportunity that this experience provided me. I do look forward to further meaningful study from this inspired book that truly holds Christ at the center of it.

While I was reading the final two chapters tonight my soul became exhausted by the accounts of wickedness that the people descended in to as they disobeyed and forgot God and His commandments. And then I came upon these two verses:
.
Moroni 9:25-26

"25...be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.
26 And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you forever. Amen."

Even though hard times and hard news may harrow up our thoughts, let them rest in Christ and His eternal love and care for us. Our loving Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ have sacrificed so much on our behalf that we may choose to be happy or have and find peace. Hopefully I will remember this lesson the next time my soul becomes wearied.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Choices

As I have been working on my research for my Master's Project I came across this beautiful statement by Viktor Frankl found in Man's Search for Meaning:

"And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate."

While I was reading this I had gone through a very fearful day wondering if relapse would happen. Would I succumb if temptation occurred? Would I persevere? Would I find a way to make the best of it? Would this...what if... one of the most dreadful games to play.

But Viktor reminded me about choice. He consistently approaches the subject numerous times that everything is our choice. He talks about the gift of choice. It is such a steady principle with the gospel. As we know that agency was gifted to us in the Garden of Eden. The Lord gave it to Adam and Eve. So from the time the Earth was created we have always been able to choose. It is just taking that first step out of and against the binding influence of the adversary.

For anyone bound by the forces of addiction, melancholy, anxieties, hurt and so much more...all we have to do is choose. Though, that first choice is most always the hardest.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

faith, trust and pixie dust

The summer is over but the lessons from it will definitely stay with me forever. The Lord really blessed me by placing people and circumstances in my path to help me grow. Though I don't understand most of them at this time I hope that through acting in faith and having trust in the Lord, one day I will.

There were many times that I really felt that if I heard one more person tell me to have faith or trust...I might punch them. But as I learned more throughout the summer I found ever more where my faith was anchored, in the Lord. And that it is in He and His Son, Jesus Christ whom I trust fully without hesitation. Maybe that says more about me but life has brought me to a good grounding to have trust in them.

Faith in the Lord's plan for me is one that I really have come to grow with every day. While moving down one path that I am so certain in, the Lord has prompted to prepare another as well. I am completely fine with it and know that I must have faith in the Lord's plan and trust Him. So as I transition from the lessons of summer to this new academic year, I pray that I may continue in faith.

Trust is something I have written briefly about before in an experiment of it. Yeah...anyway. Here I know it will take so much more to learn to trust so fully others as much as before. But that is what learning is for!! That is what life is for! That is what this journey is for.

Only the Lord knows what this new semester and year will bring. I hope that I will have the strength, faith and trust to follow His will for me as He reveals it in His time.

Who knows...maybe I'll find a little pixie dust along the way.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

joy in healthy choices

This journey, wow it has been one that has had so many unexpected twists and turns that I can't even explain them all and may never try unless its to a future spouse...maybe.

As many who may read this know, I have been working on a weight loss program. It has absolutely changed my life.

I just want to share a little more of my story, where I was, where I am and where I am headed while my journey still progresses.

Where I Was
Before I began the program I really had tried so many weight loss programs, some by choice...and some, well not so much. I have been overweight and then obese my whole life. I have not known anything else. I have been blessed with some amazing friends along the way who still have made me feel so loved no matter my size. When I graduated from BYU-Idaho I became resigned to the fact that this is the way it would be, someone may love me someday and I better learn to love myself. My personal spiritual growth that began a few months later helped me with really coming to love myself and know my God and Savior. That knowledge enlightened my life and raised me to a better level. But I was still so unhappy, sick, hurting and uncomfortable physically. In 2012 I started to see the possibilities of change by finding an amazing fitness team in Jerseyville that I went to pretty faithfully. I loved them and their energy. That combined with improved diet really helped some and I saw progress but I still wasn't seeing something...the discouragement and hopelessness that it would never really work was there.

When I moved to Boston this past fall to start my graduate program I found even more discouragement and never felt more aware of my size. I didn't know anyone and have found out through my life that once someone sees you are obese, many, many more assumptions follow. But again, a loving Heavenly Father provided amazing friends and people in my path who accepted me but weren't afraid to say hey I care about you, but so much so that I want to see you healthy. How can I help? I even had one amazing friend share about this program that she had started that helped her health so much called. The success I saw her have was great but the happiness and health that I saw her choosing to create meant more to me. My spirit had become so much brighter through that semester but I knew health would make my happiness grow because my body is an amazing gift from Heavenly Father. I know He wants me to take care of it. I had been neglecting that duty for the majority of my life.

Over Christmas I decided to do it. To sign up for the program as soon as I got back to Boston, to fully come to respect and take care of this body I have been gifted with. And I did. I got home in the afternoon and the next morning I went into my amazing friend, roommate and now health coach's room and we got me signed up! The next few days was a bunch of nerves and doubt but I knew that I wanted it this time...for real. My food came January 29 and I started January 30. I started therapy two weeks later to help with the emotional issues that were emerging. The combination of taking care of my spiritual self, physical self and emotional self has turned into the most amazing thing for me!

Where I Am
Now seven months on the program I have lost 113.6 pounds! It took 10 for me to begin to notice changes of more happiness, and wider smile, more joy. It took 15 for me to see in myself what Heavenly Father sees. :) As this journey has progressed it has been such a learning experience. I feel so much better. I can walk farther, run, wiggle and dance! There is so much more, but it really has made health come alive for me. Choices really are so key. Everyday little things add up to mean so so much in the grand picture of my health. And it really began with the choice for health clicking inside for me. I love health and helping others even more because I feel like I am more confident to be able to talk to others. I still have moments of doubt and self doubt, but don't we all?! It doesn't go away it just varies with how we choose to handle it.

I have found my voice in all of this. It take a bit for me to find the courage to do it, but when it is right and I know my Heavenly Father is with me its a winner every time. This voice has carried me through many temptations to fall off the program and to deviate from my path of creating health. This voice that I have found surprises me even now with what comes out, but it is all good and helps build! I love that. I have had a few times with emotional eating this past month as more stress has come about and I didn't have my plan in place prior to the situation. But it created a marvelous learning experience that I finally came to appreciate and take in. They also helped me to see that I can find joy in healthy choices!

That is one of the many, many reasons that I decided to become a HEALTH COACH for the program!! :) I want to share my joy that this program has helped me find! Many people with changes say they have gotten their life back which is amazing. But I have to say that I am being blessed with a life I never knew or believed I could have before! I am so excited to share this program with everyone.

Where I'm Going
Like I just mentioned I am becoming a health coach for the program! Also, you know, I am still progress and working on my health one day at a time. I am finding out what works and this does. I am going back to Boston in five days to greet the last year of my graduate program with a smile and a new perspective that this summer has offered as I have learned more. I am going to continue to share this amazing program with everyone who will listen. I may serve a mission for my church and having improved health is really, really helpful for the rigors of a mission! I also may follow other paths as the Lord opens them for me. Whatever path comes after Boston I know that I can greet it being an improved person that has received the help of a loving Father in Heaven, support from family, friends and doctors and being able to find out who I am. And, I just have to say that I think I am pretty awesome. :)

If you made it this far, thanks! Have a happy day!!


After 100lbs in July

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Inspiration Saved Me

Yesterday I got in to a car accident...on my way to the doctor. I've only shared this news with family and very few friends so far. I am sore where my seatbelt was and have more emotional scars than anything.

But yesterday as it happened and I saw them coming and something decided to speed up (and honk I think) to try and let them clear me and get into the lane behind me and during the impact and for the moment I was pushed into oncoming traffic and corrected and then stopped and when we pulled over to the side. It felt like it didn't really happen. The sound of the car crushing in the back door or the fear of seeing a car coming at me as I corrected and controlled the car to be safe again...all those feelings and sounds are echoing in my head.

While I was talking to a friend and relaying the details I realized that it was a prompting to speed up. That if I would have stayed at the same speed and assumed they would see me or something...they would have hit my car door and I would have been more injured or something. My door would have been dented in and who knows what would have happened. But I realized in that moment that the desire to speed up was one to save me. I think I knew they would either hit the car or end up in the lane behind me. Things could have been so much worse. I am grateful just the car was damaged, soreness and whatever bruising will go away with time.

I am grateful for a new friend who has been encouraging me to act in faith on things from the Lord. I know his words influenced for good as well in this situation though they were not consciously brought to mind at the time.

Anyway, the point is that part of my summer lessons have been to trust Heavenly Father more and act on promptings. There may be some that I am still having trouble with. But this one when the feeling came I acted. No questions.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Kindness?

"Thank you for calling Enterprise Customer Care, my name is Katie. May I have your name please?" We've all heard it before, from countless companies, over the phone or in person, I just never anticipated being one of the voices that gets yelled at...almost constantly. A year or so ago I told myself I would be kind and courteous after witnessing someone lose it with a customer service rep. I didn't want to be one of those people.

I feel like I can write this now since my last day for the summer is next Wednesday. Since working here I have experienced some of the nicest people and learned a lot about being direct, brave in making comments and quoting people policy that they may not like. But I have grown. However, since working here I have experienced some of the meanest and most unkind people in their words and behaviors to me, a stranger. People are so interesting. When you take away the personal connection of a face, people tend to say whatever they want. Where is the kindness? Courtesty? Respect?

Over the past few weeks I have grown accustomed to the meanness and terrible people, how they treat me and how I shake it off later. It still makes me so anxious but unfortunately some people can just be so mean when their emotions are raised and they feel they have been wronged. I feel bad for some of these people but...word to everyone reading this: just because you call a 1-800 number does not mean they know everything. Or that they have authority. Or that they aren't people too with lives and heartache and real life problems.

I have made my peace with this experience. It seems like everyone I talk to has had some call center experience. Maybe its a right of passage for some souls? What prompted this post is a conversation I overheard yesterday of a few colleagues. They were walking out for the day and one said, "Does anyone else listen to self-affirmation  CDs on their way home, or is that just me?" They all laughed but there was so much truth, some hurt and some pain to it. I have seen more grown people with tears in their eyes while working here than anywhere in my life.

Next time you call a 1-800 number, please remember they are people too who feel and have needs. They deserve as much kindness and respect as you do.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Moments of Purity!

I was texting with my dear friend's daughter tonight (who is also a dear friend :)) while I was at work. She was telling me how the missionaries came over to their house for dinner tonight! We were chatting about each of the Elders and how nice they both are and I just asked her, well how was it? And she said it was amazing! Or more correctly "...ah-MAY-zing!" That was a moment of such great purity for me.

The Light of Christ that people possess has the ability to testify of familiarity of truth. The Holy Ghost provides the constant companionship which testifies of truth and prompts and provides direction from Heavenly Father. The power of the Priesthood that comes through ordinations that worthy males receive has the ability to provide protection and add light to the Spirit a person possesses.

My friend's daughter didn't explain it all to me, she said she would tomorrow night. But that one word of "ah-MAY-zing" had the ability to testify so much truth to me during a pretty hard day. Her sincerity provided me with affirmation that the gospel is true. That Jesus Christ lives! That the companionship of the Holy Ghost is worth every sacrifice of unworthy vices and every sacrifice to remain righteous. That missions are amazing! That a missionary has the ability to provide and add so much to a person's testimony by just being a righteous example and being in someone's home. Nothing formal has to be taught. Friendships can be made and the teaching is there. That the priesthood brings SO many untold blessings into the lives of those who allow their hearts to be open!

I am so grateful for missionaries and I am so grateful for the four wonderful Elders that the Lord has blessed the Alton/Jerseyville area with at this time. They are wonderful, wonderful young men.

OH MY SOUL DELIGHTS  IN THAT MOMENT OF PURITY!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Trust

This is such a surprising topic that came up this past week but after some things have finally calmed down I can really, really see so much in my life.

I have trusted so many people through the years. Maybe I gave it away too freely when I was younger. Trust is something to be earned, really earned and worked for. Maybe I trust because of the amount of people I felt like I lost while growing up because of being Mormon or overweight or who knows anymore. I just remember those two over and over again. I came to a point where I would not trust anyone with anything. Less pain, right?

It takes me a long, long time to trust people and when I open up...its huge! And when I open up, I expect a person as loyal and fierce as I will be for them!

But this past year I have been trying to find a balance of disclosure, trust and just when to be the "I'll tell you what you want to hear" person. This past Sunday was hard...mostly residual from the past week all leaking out at church which I hate bc people ask questions. Needless to say I thought, sure, why not. You've been getting to know this person slowly over the past year and a half off and on. Why not? Oh my goodness the conversation was great in the hardest way possible at moments. But I have  a tremendous amount of respect for a person who can be that straight up with me to my face even though it still today was a little eh to my soul.

Long story short. I am just trying to find the balance of trust in my life. Am I still offering it too soon? Am I too guarded? I have been burned too many times in too many ways that I am pretty sure I will keep a guard wall until...I don't know.

How and who do you trust? When do you open up?

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Transformative Power of the Atonement

This lesson keeps coming back into my life over and over in the most amazing and profound ways.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there can be a lot of stigma around certain things...sin and repentance for example. What is sin? What do you need to repent about? What do you need to see a Bishop about or what can you pray about on your own? I have sat down to write this hundreds of times over the past month but I really just wanted to put it in my journal. This is personal and painful, but the Spirit has prompted to share here. I hope there is a purpose in this.

Sin comes in many forms. It can be seen in the deepest parts of your weaknesses, something that you may have justified to be right because you want to do it. But deep down in our souls we know right and wrong. We have all been blessed with the Light of Christ; those members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the gift, privilege and constant companionship of the Holy Spirit. We have this gift so long as we consistently choose righteously. We believe that when we sin, we remove ourselves from the presence of the Spirit and by relationship, the presence of God. However, God is always there to welcome us back. He is there to call to us, to wait in patience and eternal love for us to decide when it is time to return to Him. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world to fulfill the atonement that would allow us to become clean again, as we choose to use it and believe in it. This atonement of Christ has the ability to change our very nature as we let it and consistently choose righteousness.

I have a deep personal testimony of the transformative power of the atonement. I have felt it in my life, I continue to feel it every day as I choose righteous and good things. For years I was trapped by the bonds and chains of addiction. (Addiction to what? I would prefer not to share but if this sounds familiar, reach out to me and we can talk.) It went into every aspect of my life and really changed my nature for the worse. I was a darker and harder person. I lived in secret from my family sharing this only with others who would "accept" it as normal and not wrong. As I grew older the need for it would fade but triggers would come and away I would fall. Spiritually I had gone to a place that was so distant that I didn't know who I was anymore. But, because of the duplicitous life that addiction can have for some of us, my family didn't know, people at church didn't know and neither did friends. I had become a master of lying to those I cared most deeply about. When you are in the sin that doesn't matter, lying was second nature.

I had a few 2x4 moments once I got out of high school. I guess you could say that my brother was my first saving grace. I had been so far in the darkness and double life and lying to myself for so so so long that it didn't seem wrong to me anymore. One night when he returned from his mission we were driving home from institute, he turned to me and said, "I can tell you are struggling. If there is something that you need to talk to the Bishop about, do it. I don't need to know what it is. But know that I love you. Our Father loves you." The next Sunday I went to see the Bishop. There was something in my brother's ability to see through the mask that really stunned me. The next two years were better but still tough. I had gained control over my addiction for months at a time and then a relapse would happen. When I decided to attend BYUI I had been clean for about 6 months and kept good for 97% of the next three years.

It wasn't until March of 2012 that I really had a hard look at my life because when I moved home after graduation it all came crashing down again. I was sitting in a fireside by Elder Bednar here in St. Louis next to a friend I was being reacquainted with and feeling like the biggest hypocrite on the planet. Right after that meeting I made a promise to myself that this time I would reach out to the Bishop again but seek the real, personal growth that is offered by the atonement of Jesus Christ. I knew better, I had three years six months! Numerous spiritual testimonies of truth and 'knowing' but that nature change hadn't occurred yet. I did go to see my Bishop and he responded in love and compassion, something I feel I missed with the previous one years before. This Bishop reached out as a friend and we set out on the road through the Addiction Recover Program set up by the church. For the next five months. They are some of the hardest months I have experienced spiritually and mentally because of the look I had to take at myself, the raw, honest look. That isn't a great thing to do even when you are ready for it, because you are never ready to look at your mistakes.

At the end of ARP, which is never really done, anyone who has worked the Twelve Steps knows it is a life long process, I moved to Boston. I felt such a closeness with my Father in Heaven. I felt this rebirth in so many ways. I still had troubles coping with the emotional fall out of all that happened, but for the first time in a really long time I felt a connection with the Father and my Savior that I had removed myself from. I felt that they had always been there, but they were waiting for me to decide to return to their presence. To decide to work on healing in such a manner that I desire and yearn for their presence.  I felt so much joy and hope!

There is  so much more to this story and the inward transformation I felt and still feel from the atonement. But, there is only so much space in a blog post. :)  The Lord has blessed me with a lot. Though I still struggle with some effects that have remained for now from years previous of addiction, the Lord is there. As the desires of my heart and soul remain focused on righteous desires, as preparing for a mission or marriage down the road and remaining worthy to attend the temple and consistently choosing good, the Lord is there! So excited and proud of the distance I have traveled in such a short time. With the Lord all things are possible, I so strongly and solemnly testify of that.

A belief in Jesus Christ has the ability to save lives, but I know with all my heart and soul that the gospel of Jesus Christ, as restored to this earth by the Prophet Joseph Smith from the days that Christ was on the earth, is the way unto salvation. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on the earth today. I know it.

One gem I found from scripture study tonight. Alma 24:30 "And thus we can plainly discern that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things."

The Lord loves us all so much. He is just waiting for us to decide to return to Him and seek Him! It is never too late to return to Him. 

*please be kind if you disagree or have contrary comments. I welcome discussion, but with something this personal...please handle with care.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Country Music, Home, Temple, Family and Friends.

A few random thoughts:

I came home for a job for the summer. It is a great opportunity to get exposure to the business side of the work force. It is also giving me the opportunity to reach out and help people in a different way. I am getting to use some of my conflict resolution skills. I have to admit I enjoyed talking to people way more than I thought I would. I still get a little nervous, but thank goodness this week is still training.

I go through stages in my music listening. I usually stick to one genre at a time. But these past three or so months, I have just had all my songs on shuffle without a playlist. I loooooved it! I forget how amazing my music is, haha! I honestly never feel happier than when a song I forgot about comes on and it is like hearing it all over again. This time I think it was Where the Green Grass Grows by Tim McGraw. It just made me smile so much! So I ended up just pulling up all my country songs and just listening to them for a few days. Country music makes me so happy! It makes me think of when I was a kid, and driving down the country roads at home and family. Right now I am actually watching the Tim McGraw's Superstar Summer Night special on YouTube. Needless to say I have been smiling a lot. There is just so much in my memory tied to country music.

I went to the temple for myself, for the first time yesterday. There is so much I could write and so much I feel that is so amazing, but I just want to say I am so so so so happy right now. It was so great.

I have a pretty amazing family. From my immediate to extended family. They are all such a blessing in my life.

Finally, I have been blessed with some of the best friends ever. Yesterday was an experience shared with some of them and I wouldn't have had it any other way. Except maybe to see some more family and a few more friends. :) But they are all so amazing! I love you all!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Temples!

I love the temple!!! Yesterday at church was all about it, and it was so so so so wonderful! The Spirit's presence was so strong and I am so grateful for this time in my life as I am preparing to enter. The following are just four of 141 active temples in the world!

Salt Lake City, Utah Temple: taken by me

Rexburg, Idaho Temple: taken by me

Nauvoo, Illinois Temple: taken by me

St. Louis, Missouri Temple: found via Google Search


Here is a link to one of my favorite songs about the temple: CLICK ME!
Here is another wonderful song about the temple: Just Lyrics.



Saturday, May 4, 2013

How do you do it?

For much of my life I have constantly had an interest in people. I love learning about the mind, people's behaviors, facial expressions...everything about what makes a person who they are. I believe in people. I believe that people are good. I believe that we all have this deep, true, good desire to help others, to make meaningful connections.

But, life happens, socialization happens, and we can become hardened. We can lose that desire to serve and just need to survive, or become self-oriented, or any number of reasons!

This is where my studies have taken me. I began my fascination with people studying the Rwandan Genocide. I wanted to know why someone could do something so terrible! I wanted to understand, or at least grasp the changes that could happen in someone to reach a level to order and then carry out the murders of thousands of people. From Rwanda I went to the Holocaust, Idi Amin, the Middle East (all of it), slave trade, human trafficking, then the blood shed during the partition of India and Pakistan and so on. My soul grew so weary. But I kept studying.

I majored in Psychology in my undergrad and was torn between Mental Health and Social Psych which deals with everything I have always studied. I ventured into documentaries and books about serial killers and dictators. Again, my soul grew even more weary.

Friends and family asked many times, How do you do it? Day after day you read about these terrible things...how do you do it? My answer always was, I don't know, but someone has to.

About half way through my degree I found a light. I began to cling to prayer, my faith, my God and to the words of the prophets. This provided more clarity into the minds of these people I was resigned to never understand. I grew to understand them in the way the Savior does. I don't love them, but I am not disgusted or angry anymore. I understand that they made the choices that took them down those dark paths that led to the atrocities. I understand the sorrow that God feels for His children who choose unwisely. I have felt that many times for many, many reasons and I feel it as I continue to study conflict and violence and war even now.

But as I find myself writing a paper on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I am back where I started. Studying about the bloodshed and violence that was ignited by the Rwandan Genocide, by the rebels and refugees who fled into the DRC and continued violence across the border. That violence has continued for about seventeen years. As I am immersed in the bad, I continue to wonder, why? But this time I have the Lord's help in sorting out my feelings.

So How do I do it? With the help of the Lord.




Monday, April 29, 2013

Simple Things

You know how when you are in a really good place and trials seem to come harder and faster than at other times? Yep, that is going on right now. But there is power and peace in pushing through and doing the right things especially when it isn't easy.

With the semester wrap-up and racing to finish papers, as well as continuing on my amazing health change and continuing to prepare for the temple and work, things are getting almost hard to breath crazy. I devoted about thirteen hours this past Saturday to revamping a proposal for a class, that was insane. In the middle of it I really, really wanted to talk to one of my professor's from BYUI but, alas I couldn't. Instead I hopped on his academic blog and found an article he had just posted. It just happens to have been exactly what I wanted to talk to him about. So it was like I was getting the advice indirectly but still from the source. Definitely a simple thing but such a bright spot.

Yesterday was hard for so many reasons. But, I made it through. After a rough start to the day I made it to church in time for Sunday School and Sacrament. Though my focus was in and out for both of those meetings, the spiritual confirmation that I made the right choice and was in the right place was so overwhelming and peaceful. Even though my soul was wrestling so hard, there were still simple, bright moments. Like a new friend that I have made a church, she offered to give me a ride home because she's amazing! But, also because it seemed like I had a rough morning...how did she know before I had said anything? The Lord is amazing at putting people in your life. Speaking of bright moments, my friendships with different classmates are becoming really cherished amidst all the stress.

Today, not as high pressure as yesterday. But there was still something very heavy in it. Simple bright moment: my brother texting me and suggesting I listen to this song: Be Still by The Killers. Amazing moment in today.

Sometimes it is really the simple things that are the most meaningful. I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father that He provides these small, much needed moments at the right times.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

for everything there is a season: friends

I have been thinking about seasons a lot lately, mostly because Boston can't decide if its Spring or Winter. We moved two times when I was a kid and each time I would be really sad. I didn't want to leave friends and so on. Each time my parents would remind me that they were in my life for a season and the time came for us to move out of each others lives.

I've gone through times where "why bother making any connections because it is another you lose down the road" as a motto. 

So I have been thinking about all the seasons I have had, both with friends being around for awhile and then the time coming for their exit. I consider myself blessed to have four very close friends that I have known since we were all in elementary school. Life has given us all very different trials and experiences and though we are not as close as we have been, I know that they are there. I sure do love Emily, Megan, Laura and Annie.

I really only talk to two people from high school. I was friends with a lot but there wasn't much there to endure past that season. But I learned so, so much from those who I knew and still see from time to time when I am home.

I have four wonderful friends that have endured from my time in Rexburg, Idaho. I do keep in touch with a lot of the people I knew there. But these four ladies Irina, Carina, Samantha and Casandra are special. We found something good in each other and built around that. I do feel that these ladies will stay constant through my seasons though at times the connection won't be as strong.

Now I am in an almost completely different season than any before. I've moved to a city where I knew no one! I tried out being brave at school and talking to people, seven months later and I have some pretty good connections there. I have found a great friend in my roommate Tasha. Church has been great as well. Only one fast friend, Beka. However I know that I am starting to make friends with others there. Who knows how long they will last or if they'll even be deep connections. I still get lonely here. I long for something more.

I have come to accept in my own life that this life, it is about connecting with people. Having a positive exchange with someone. I don't have to be friends with everyone, but I need to try and leave them better than I found them. I need to offer people I meet the respect of acknowledgement and knowing that they were heard.

I hope this season finds me just caring about people. I hope it finds me wanting to help those around me and not worry so much about friends and who has come in, stayed or faded away. I hope it finds me being happy with what I have already been blessed with.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Believing Christ

Wow. God is amazing. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior.  I know His Spirit is real and I feel the presence so strongly in my life. I know the Book of Mormon was written by real, inspired men who received inspiration from the Lord. I know that the Bible holds witnesses of many miracles and was also written by real men. I know the Bible contains so many accounts by Christ's disciples of the lessons He taught. I know and have faith that the Atonement changes, transforms, heals lives and so much more!

But, I also believe these things. I believe in each item with all my heart and soul. I have experienced personally in my life the transformative power of the Grace of Christ through His Atonement. I believe that the Atonement is for everyone. I believe that everyone can experience the life changing effects of coming unto Christ.

I have been reading through a book called Believing Christ by Stephen Robinson. There is a part early in there that states something so simple and so profound. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we know the Atonement is real and know how it can change and heal others. We know that the Savior died for us and His Atonement is for everyone...but me (you). That made me so contemplative. It made me wonder how that thought could occur to someone, then I remember that I often have felt that same thing. I would just like to share that I know and believe in the Atonement and of the power it can and does have in all of our lives.

I pray that we all will be willing to work on our relationship with our Savior and come to know His love for us and the role the Atonement can play in our lives; if we believe.


Link to an amazing talk about the Atonement: http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=1966

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Favorite Reminder

Lead Kindly Light by Simon Dewey

Formidable Revelatory Epiphany

Such a mouthful, I know. But it is what I feel. For those of you whom I am close to, know that I plan on submitting mission papers at the end of the year. This revelation came to final decision with moving to a new town, through scripture study, General Conference and hearing Elder Anderson speak the following week at my Sake Center. Along with this revelation came many, many others. You see, with such a life changing move comes many other parts that need preparation.

Part I: General Preparation
This is to continue in my spiritual endeavors through prayer, journal writing, attending the temple, reading and studying the scriptures and now paying more attention to Preach My Gospel. As well as reading more of the revelation to the Latter-day people from God through His Prophets and Apostles.

Part II: Temple Preparation
I had been feeling this impression a bit longer than the one for going on a mission. I begin Temple Preparation class at church on Sunday, I am very excited. I hope to go through the temple in April or May in St. Louis with family.

Part III: Keeping of Covenants, Commandments, desire to work everyday to the pleasing of God
This is almost a given, but it is important to recall when times are rocky.

Part IV: Continuing my education.
There are a few reasons why I feel that I am supposed to finish my education before a mission. Partly because of the work I feel I am to do here in the area...partly with those around me but mostly at my University. I pray that I will have strength to do this.

Part V: Health, Wellness, Weight Loss...and much more.
This is one that I may or may not choose to write more about, since it is something that I dare not even talk to closest friends and family about it. However I will mention it at this time because it is part of the Epiphany as a whole. I have started a program called Take Shape For Life. It is part of the larger MediFast network. I heard about it through my roommate who is a coach for it...and now my coach. I pray that she won't be sick of me through it all! Haha!
Anyway, I have started things before but I have either had no success from a personal decision to quit or needing to get off of it for health issues that came about by doing them. Personally, I now realize that I did not care as much or wasn't ready until now. I know that each day will be a battle to the temptations out there but I know this is right.
Why is it important for Health and Wellness? Besides the obvious longevity of life, for a mission there is a lot of physical strain through walking, riding bicycles, stress and much more I am sure to find out. It is important as well for a future, children, marriage, happiness.

So I take this time now to truly prepare for this next journey in my life, by making my life better. I imagine other parts will surface as I continue through this preparation. But, I am really ready this time. Not only for myself, but to be a better disciple for my Savior Jesus Christ.

If you wish to learn more about missions, my church, temples...and so much more visit:  www.mormon.org

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Les Miserables

I didn't hear about Les Miserables until I was in high school. I finally was able to experience it my senior year with some friends while we were at Theatre Fest. I have to admit that those few hours were some of the most life changing and spiritual ones of my life. After that I was blessed to get the Original Broadway Soundtrack for Christmas and loved it!

Since that time I have seen it a time or two and have listened to the music many, many times! Each time...I learn something new about myself, my relationship with God and others, and about many things in life.

A few months ago my roommate introduced me to the 25th Anniversary Concert Edition of Les Miserables. Again, I saw something new. I finally became excited about the movie coming out, then I could watch it when I felt the need for some inspiration. I went to see it with my mom and sister and learned more. Today though, when I went to watch it again with my dear friend Megan, I had a great moment of clarity. It is probably something that won't make sense to anyone else.

First, some of the previous things I have learned about: love, mercy, justice, grace, love, adversity, forgiveness, conflict, love, strengthening my relationship with God and Jesus Christ and sacrifice. Sounds like a Sunday School lesson, huh?

Today I had this moment after hearing some lines through the musical. The first during The Final Battle when Enjolras sings, "Let others rise to take our place until the earth is free." And then in the Epilogue/Finale of the show the chorus is singing, "Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night, it is the music of a people who are climbing to the light. For the wretched of the earth there is a flame that never dies. Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. They will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord. They will walk behind the plough-share, they will put away the sword. The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward!"

This thought was that most people want peace. They want the time when the Savior will reign on the earth and we will all be together. People want freedom. Most conflicts...the "good" side has been striving towards freedom and peace. For thousands of years that has been the goal. If people knew that through Christ they could come to this state, emotionally...spiritually.

Just something I learned, maybe I'm wrong but it meant something to me.

If you haven't experienced Les Miserables, try it out. Look up some music on YouTube, think about the Preview All button on iTunes. The Original Broadway or London Cast.

And remember: To Love Another Person Is To See The Face Of God.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

BRAVEHEARTS

This is for all of you who have made it through hard times and come out on the other side better, yet scarred. It comes from a speech given by President Theodore Roosevelt and the quote is often referred to as "The Man in the Arena"

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."


Whatever is happening in your life, keep going. If you must fail, make sure it is after you have done everything. And then you will have the lessons to help you make it through the next time. 

 





Sunday, January 6, 2013

Overflow

So many things! I have been home for the holidays since December 14 and have been sick almost the whole time. Yet it has still been an amazing visit home! I am doing so much better and am ready to continue in happiness til it is time to return to school.

Just a few thoughts on this beautiful Sunday I have had. This morning I was ready early for church...who would have thought? So I ran up to my room to say my prayers before we left for Alton. the whole ride was blessed as my parents and I talked, laughed and sang hymns.

Church today was special, it only happens once a month, Fast & Testimony Meeting. Going in I had more of an open heart than I have before. While I was listening to the hymns that were sung and really hearing the sacrament prayers, thoughts of things I had to do were creeping in. Oh, I need to e-mail her, or him or research this...but for the most part I was able to put them out.

As the testimonies began I decided to just work on finishing the last two pages of my journal, but the Spirit wouldn't let me. I kept having my attention drawn in by comments made by those I have known almost my whole life. These people have watched me grow up and I too have seen them go through many trials.

There were a few people that really spoke to me today. The first was Jack. He is an elderly man who has lost his wife, been through many health trials and just recently came out of the hospital. He said while he was there he decided to count his blessings and got to two before the nurses came in with the needles. Oh Jack, :). He continued to talk about how that was a blessing, and then talked about drinking in all his blessings and having to use the saucer first because his cup had run over. A man who has always been quiet and strong that I have never talked much with touched my soul. He has lived through bare means and has faith greater than I can fathom at times.

The next I want to mention was Dave. I remember a few things but wanted to share how he talked about the Lord's love for us. His wife works with the children in our church and in a lesson gave each a dropper of water to put some in the glass when they had a good thought about themselves. By the end there was no water in the glass. So she took the pitcher and poured it in the glass. The water went everywhere because there wasn't enough space in the glass for everything from the pitcher. And that the water was symbolic of the love that God has for us. There is not enough space in us for all the love that God has for us. He loves us so, so much! This was another moment where someone spoke to me; another man, who though we are not close, I have been friendly with his family for awhile. They are magnificent people with more faith than most. It is so inspiring.

The last one, Nicole. I just, we have become close friends this past year and when she got up to bare her testimony I just felt the love that God has for her and her awesome family. My lessons from her today are too personal to share but I love her so much! Her faith, strength and tenacity are so inspiring.

It has been a tremendous Sunday. I feel some of the overflow today, both in blessings and in love.

Everything in life boils down to this, God loves you; so love other people.