Sunday, September 30, 2012

Moving Forward, My Own Book of Mormon Challenge, & "Eat, Pray, Love"

Alright, I'm getting a little better at keeping up with my blog - it's only been a month! That's progress - at least for me. Claire Facebook yelled at me on Sunday for not blogging enough, ergo, I better buckle down and do it! So here it goes - "Moving Forward & My Own Book of Mormon Challenge"...

For too long I have tried to read the Book of Mormon to no avail*. However, in light of my 21st birthday coming up and the many opportunities that have been presented to me - I figured there was no better time than in the last couple of months. I started about 5 months ago. Plenty of time to complete such a small yet significant book. However, after getting into 2 Nephi, I found myself distracted. I stopped reading as much until I had almost stopped reading entirely. In the last week though, I have found myself back on track and am still determined to finish with only 2 weeks to go. With 5 months, perhaps there were certain lessons I could have learned or things I could have taken from the book, and while I do not still have that timeline - I have just as much faith that I will acquire whatever lessons are needed in my life at this time - taking extra care that I FEAST upon the words as they "will tell you all things what ye should do". (2 Nephi 32:3)
*Footnote: I have "read" the Book of Mormon but it was always out of order and for seminary or the like
(Saved from 09/20/2012)

PROGRESS! I am in Alma! Woohoo! Only a week to go and it is VERY much doable - I'm absolutely determined! So what have I learned?? OH MY GOSH! What an amazing book! I'm happier, more relaxed, and constantly craving more! (My scriptures now go EVERYWHERE with me!) It is truly a blessing in my life - and what a way to begin "moving forward". So before I get into much more let me just summarize how amazing my week has been since re-starting my Book of Mormon challenge. My amazing friend Mindy Shaw is back in my life! Oh how I have missed this girl and her amazing spirit! She kept me on the straight and narrow through high school simply by her example. Back in touch now, she slept over the other night and I seriously LOVED being able to laugh with her again! How I have deeply missed that and needed that in my life! I love having friends that I can laugh with, be myself with, but at the end of the night flop on my bed and read our scriptures together! Along with delving back into the Book of Mormon, I also determined to get back to temple attendance. I have a firm testimony in the pertinence of temples in my life. There have been countless times that I have received personal revelation and answers to prayers on temple grounds. Even at times when I couldn't enter the temple, I would sit for hours in the parking lot pondering on whatever brought me there. So, Saturday morning my dear friend Crease Toe Furr accompanied me to the temple for baptisms! And when I say Saturday morning - I mean 6:45am on the weekend (a sacrifice for both of us "workaholics"). What a great way to start the day though! You can't help but smile as you leave the temple and, really, for the rest of the day. Sunday I was also able to attend the "temple" again - or rather, the dedication of the Brigham City Temple. What a beautiful ceremony and such powerful speakers - again reigniting the remembrance of how important temples are and more importantly attending. Monday I had girls night with Mindy and my sisters (minus my partner in crime, Claire!) and Tuesday a Boss BBQ at the house. The best part of the last couple of weeks? I've been spending a lot more time with family and taking care of myself at home. Something I also became distracted from doing. So, guess what I'm doing tonight? I have a temple date to do baptisms! Yay!! I love that the temple is now something that I can look forward to doing after work - it makes me want to try harder and be better!
 (Saved from 9/26/2012)

I'm promising myself that eventually this post will actually get posted!
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Last night I went to the Oquirrh Mountain temple - by Saturday I will have "visited" 3 temples in a week! (That's including the Brigham City dedication). What a difference it makes! I love that somehow it just makes you crave more - truly a spiritual high! What I'm realizing/remembering from it though is that I NEED this in my life - and I need to be with someone who can and wants to share that with me! There's something about being dressed in all white with smiling faces all around you that immediately betters one's countenance.

Alright...so what else has been going on the last month?! Trust me, I'm still trying to figure that out! This month has been filled with laughter, tears, pain, sorrow, longing, happiness, joy, and every emotion in between - and THEN some. What I have learned from all of it though is most important, and that is: 1) Sometimes the hardest things in life are the best things for us and 2) TRUST IN THE LORD. I will be the first to admit that both things are "easier said than done". HOWEVER, from both of these things, I have a firm testimony that the Lord blesses us for the sacrifices we make - no sacrifice goes unnoticed and he will make the blessings worth it. I've also come to be a strong believer in everything happening for a reason and people coming into our lives at certain times for specific purposes. We may not always understand "why" in the moment - but our Heavenly Father has placed us on the earth to fulfill a plan of happiness. Shouldn't that be enough to suffice our "whys" and worries? He is our Father and ultimately wants what is going to bring us to happiness, even if it means through trials of faith.

So what else am I learning? To move forward. Just move forward and GROW from my experiences. Remembering who I AM and what I WANT. And here's what I believe: a lot of people think I want a husband. People think I want to have a perfect life. People think I want to live a certain way. Well, here's the truth: Yes, of course I want a husband. Pretty sure most girls do, eventually at least. But I don't need a husband and guess what? I don't even want one right now! However, if I'm going to be with someone - I want it to be someone that shares the same desires and future wants. Someone that wants to draw closer to the Lord for themselves. Someone that, even if they have walked two lines before, no longer has the desire to. Someone that can turn from those things without a second thought. Someone that has come as far as I have just to serve the Lord the best they can. Where we can support each other because they, too, have become strong enough. Truth: Everyone wants a perfect life, but I don't expect it. Perfection is boring anyways! Truth: I want to live a certain way, so I am. I don't expect any one else to live the same way as me. However, if I'm going to be with someone - I want them to have the same values, the same standards, and the same goal in mind.
(Saved from 9/27/2012)

Alright! It's Sunday morning and I AM posting this today! Regardless! I have until Thursday to finish the Book of Mormon. Is it going to happen? YOU BET!

So I must mention something that has truly made an impact on my week - I received one of the biggest compliments: "I've noticed you've given your heart to someone else, you've given your heart to the Lord!...You have a new light about you". Truly, I can't imagine too many words better than those; and at this time in my life, it is breathtaking and humbling beyond words to describe how grateful I am to hear that. Albeit, I know there is always more we can do to dedicate our lives to the Lord, but to have a "new light" and change in countenance - I believe directly reflects a change of heart.

Looking back over the past year, I am taken aback by all that has changed, transformed, remained, grown, and happened. When I started this blog it was about ME (I) and creating a journey of "Eat, Pray, Love". At this time, I know that journey isn't over - and I believe never entirely will be; but I have found that, just like the book I took the idea from, your journey is not always that "cut and dry". There are set backs. There are times that those set backs come from ourselves. We lose sight of the goal. We become distracted. We try to do things in our own order rather than the order and time that God intends. This [year] I made some of the biggest mistakes, felt the deepest heartache, traveled through hell and back - but I would never trade nor give up the lessons I learned from those experiences. Why? Because I lived my "eat, pray, love" story - sometimes without realizing it until now, in hindsight. When [she] traveled to Italy - she ate - she learned to quit bothering with what people thought. She lived in humbling circumstances. She ate what she wanted. She experienced being uncomfortable and out of place. But she learned to ENJOY the simple things in life. The "pleasure of nourishment". A bowl of pasta. A bread stick. Developing friendships. Making the best from nothing. This [year], did I eat? Oh I ate. When [she] traveled to India - she prayed - she removed herself from the world, again rendering herself friendless in a new place. She began with little faith, broken. She lived in a jungle, displaced from (big city) "civilization". She experienced a "breaking point" - with much pain and many tears shed. But she learned to TRUST in GOD. To turn to a greater power and let [Him] take her burdens. To relax. To PRAY with a whole heart - nothing wavering. Is there a power in prayer? Oh I've prayed. And, finally, when [she] traveled to Indonesia - she embarked on one of the most difficult verbs: love; but she had a good foundation. She finally discovered that in order to love others, she must love herself - and that a perfect balance can be found. From that, the "inner peace...of true love". Have I loved? I believe this is where the journey has yet to come full circle - I'm loving myself. I'm learning to love myself (and the Lord) in order to better love others. The less she focuses on finding love - love seems to find her. Law of attraction? Perhaps. Become what you want - the kind of person you would want to be around.
Overall - I've found that no part of our journey is ever over. As many know, my favorite quote says it best, "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anyone." Life is a continual journey. A "test" of renewal and remembrance. Just like those in the Book of Mormon, we must continually be "brought to a remembrance" of God and the covenants we make with Him. Confession: originally this post was solely titled, "Moving Forward & My Own Book of Mormon Challenge"; but upon reflection, I remembered the original purpose of this blog and realized I am living it. For a time, I lost sight of that goal. Became distracted by my world seemingly spinning out of control around me. Yet, now - clarity. Losing myself to the Lord - turning my heart over to Him. From that, suddenly that journey is back on track.

If anyone is still reading at this point, I commend you! I can't say my ramblings are meant to reach anyone - more for me to organize my thoughts and "deep notions" on life. In summary, I'm happy. I'm finding joy in the person that I have become and am becoming. I feel like a living breathing example of a change of heart. Not only a witness, but a testament to the reality of the Atonement. I can't thank my Heavenly Father enough for the daily strength to continue to press forward. Jesus Christ is my brother, my Savior, my Redeemer, and my rock. Of all the changes, the gospel - the Lord - is constant. Even if we are not! We are never alone, He is always there to lift us, guide us, strengthen us - If we turn to Him and TRUST in the Lord.

ETTE
 

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