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Friday, November 29, 2013

I'm grateful for

Vitamin D
Satsuma oranges

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Elder B.

This weekend was so busy but so great. Our stake had the opportunity to have Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles come and speak to us at a 'special stake conference'. He happened to be in the area for something and decided to do this. Saturday night he had a special YSA fireside in Arlington that Nicole and I went to. It was question and answer format which I was unsure of at first, I just wanted to hear what HE wanted to tell us! Then after just a couple minutes I was over it and loved the Q&A format. The way he was able to quickly answer so many questions without taking a pause to compose his thoughts is what really impressed me the most and confirmed that he truly is an apostle of the Lord. Being able to answer so plainly, honestly, and quickly is seriously impressive. I know it was Heavenly Father working through the Holy Ghost through Elder Bednar to answer those questions.
I took lots of notes because that's just what I do and I want to share them all but I'll do the cliff notes version for those unable to attend. (Some of these parts are just my random thoughts and aren't 'official' Elder Bednar words. My thoughts are italicized)
  • Be an agent who acts, don't sit and wait around.
    • There's a reason we all read 1st & 2nd Nephi so many times. It's so we can read and reread Nephi's story to get it through our thick skulls that we don't need to sit and wait for an answer or some big dramatic epiphany. We need to have faith that Christ will provide the way when we are obedient and righteous. Nephi didn't sit around and question whether or not he should go back to get the plates, he went and did what was asked of him. He was an agent, not an object.
  •  Develop yourself to serve God. All things should lead to Him. 
  • Learn love and patience to help bring others to the gospel. 
    • It's not about getting them to church for a number or to say you've done your missionary work. It's about helping others find peace and happiness. Giving them the information and tools to be successful in each aspect of their lives. Pray for those opportunities.
  • The Gospel makes us more than we are.  
    • The principles and ordinances of the gospel allow us to tap into our incomprehensible potential. 
  • God sets the terms and conditions of covenants.  
    • The promises that we make bring along an obligation but they also bring along blessings. I think the obligation will always be less than the blessings. He has always and will always follow through on his side of the promise. He is and will always be the same.
  • We act then we get power. We don't wait for power to act. He will inspire us to act when we are obedience. Have confidence in what you do. 
  • Make time for what matters most to you. Spend time on the things that have enduring value, something that will last through eternity. 
  • You will become what you spend your time doing.  
    • Hmm so that means I should re-prioritize big time.   
  • Complete your most important tasks first, then everything else will fall into place.
  • Take something into the scriptures, a question you want answered so you can find direction as you study. Instead of going to the temple with a question you want answered, go to the temple with the desire to find a question. Then use that question, take that question into the scriptures to find your answer.
  • Promise: Ask Heavenly Father how to be an agent, how to feast upon the words, not just read the scriptures. He will bless us.
  • The Priesthood is not male. It is God's authority. It blesses us all equally. It is like an umbrella that men are ordained to hold up, but it pours out and blesses everyone. 
  • We can't solve all the problems. We can make an impact with small influences/actions.
  • No unhallowed hand can stop this work. We are in the last quarter of the game. We have an advantage, we know who wins.  
    • WE KNOW WHO WINS. Keep faith that satan cannot overthrow God's will. Have you ever met someone who WANTS to be on the losing team? I've never heard of that before.
  • Evil will increase and it won't lessen, it proves that it's the last days.  
    •  The more good there is, the more evil. Remember, we know who wins!
  • There is nothing better than opposition. When we're asked why is the gospel so hard? What are you weird? it's the perfect opportunity share what you know. Share what makes you happy and give that gift to someone else. It's not living the gospel that is hard, it's not living the gospel that's hard. 
  • Don't talk about how you talk. If you're in a discussion and someone says, "why did you use that tone of voice." it makes situations harder than necessary. It causes hurt feelings and it's not necessary.

That's a long 'cliff-notes' version of the YSA fireside. Maybe I should google the meaning of cliff notes ;)

Anyways, it was really great. Then going to hear him speak again this morning for stake conference was good too. Last night was my favorite but today was awesome also. The stake center was beyond packed which is more than we can claim during regular stake conference.
Go and Do.

Friday, November 15, 2013


I love reading, a lot! I started rereading Harry Potter because why wouldn't I? I'm only halfway through the third book because I read it while I blow dry my hair....weird? YES. But I figure I have nothing else to do and it's a 15-20 minute ordeal. I set the book on my lap and blow dry my hair. So it's pretty good that I've ready 2.5 Harry Potter books in just over a month only while I blow dry my hair! 
I don't have a lot of time to read for fun anymore but when I do, I overload a bit. This was a stack of books that I have waiting to be read...the next day I had five books ready for pick up at the library....and this doesn't even include Harry Potter...
My goodness. There are too many good books out there. I'm trying to get through the library ones first.

Nicole lets me borrow good books. She lent me Drops of Gold by Sarah Eden and it was my favorite book since Edenbrooke. Same sort of book set in "Jane Austen" times. If you like good books that don't have overt amounts of drama and books that are clean, these are the books for you!
Blackmoore is the second book by Julianne Donaldson (who wrote Edenbrooke) and it's different from her first book. It's darker but not dark if that makes sense.

 This is another Sarah Eden book. I have all of her books on hold at the library then they end up in my Amazon shopping cart :)
I started reading this one a couple days ago and I have about 20 pages left in it. It's really good! The 2nd book is coming out in March. This is one I have really enjoyed reading obviously since I stay up until much too late reading it after I get my homework/YW stuff done :)

Anyways, those are some good books if you need some ideas. They get my seal of approval (which obviously means a lot).

Monday, November 11, 2013

In the Mirror

Tonight as I brushed my teeth, I looked in the mirror and noticed my hair was wonky on one side (which isn't uncommon) so I used my fingers to push it back. Then I started thinking about reflections. When I look in the mirror, I see a reverse image of myself. What other people see is different than what I see, their perspective is different. When I see a picture of myself I always think it looks horrible because I'm used to seeing my face in a reflection. Does this make sense?

A few hours later I saw this quote that said, "I never thought I was a bully...until I listened to how I speak to myself. I think I owe myself an apology." Whoa. By that definition, I can be a bully.

Something that I've learned over the years as I've worked with the 12-18 yr old girls at church is that I know how awesome they are. I can see all their talents and abilities. I'm constantly impressed with their abilities to overcome challenges and to choose the right even when it's not popular. My point is, I can see their potential, I am their cheerleader and I hate when they put themselves down....The part I'm just now realizing is that in that same breath, I tend to put myself down. Either out loud or in my mind. What kind of example is that? Why the heck am I allowed to compliment them and expect them to not put themselves down, when I do that very thing! When I compliment someone on something, I really mean it and I hate having to defend my compliment when the person disagrees with me. I encourage them to accept the compliment and tell them not to compare themselves to anyone else. So why is it so easy for me to tell other people that but so difficult for me to put my own advice into action?

Maybe I think that if I accept a compliment I am being vain or arrogant. Maybe I have this idea in my mind of what I wanted that crocheted hat to look like and the final product doesn't meet my expectations so I don't feel like I deserve the compliment. I know I'm a terribly awkward person in general and accepting praise is uncomfortable for me because I feel like I have to point out all my flaws. Maybe I don't want others to feel like they're 'not as good' as I am at something so I downplay my abilities. I just don't know WHY.

Our society is great in many ways. On the other side, our society ingrains this notion that we are not good enough. There's a ranking system set in place by who knows who that we get sucked into and we seem set on constantly ranking ourselves with those around us. It really doesn't matter if so and so can sing and tap dance at the same time and I can't. Why am I trying to put myself on that scale? Why do I automatically think that person is so much more talented than me? No, that's not true! That person is very talented in their own right, in their own way! Yes, they're talented at singing and tap dancing, I am not, but I have other abilities. My ranking system should be within myself. When I gauge my singing abilities (or severe lack thereof-I'm not trying to be humble here!) I shouldn't automatically compare myself to Chaka Khan* because then I'll never be good enough. That notion is depressing and totally unnecessary. We do this everyday people! I hear/see it constantly in those around me and myself! "Amanda's a way better dancer than me, I could never dance like that" Well...let's be honest, this is probably true, so just give up now. No really, you "can't touch this". Instead of comparing my obviously awesome dance moves to your own, practice! Or take up macrame, whatever it is that you really want to do that will make you happy. Don't take up dancing just because Amanda's doing it. If you're really interested in it, go for it. If not, pick up that darning needle (or whatever tool is used in macrame) and work on your plastic cord artistry.

I wrote this post a week or so ago but hadn't posted it yet, and since I've written it, I've heard similar sentiments expressed at least four times. It's an epidemic!
President Uchtdorf gave a talk in this last general conference called, "You Can Do It Now!" he said, "One of the adversary’s methods to prevent us from progressing is to confuse us about who we really are and what we really desire." I think we can add to that and say the adversary also uses a very wily tactic to confuses us, that anyone can fall prey to at any time. Comparison. Even the most obedient people have been trapped by this extremely cunning and well disguised threat.

It makes me think of when someone asks you to choose your favorite food, well that is impossible because there are many types of foods out there. How can I compare my favorite carne asada to my favorite Italian soup? How about colors? I love them all, but I can't choose between green and orange, they are totally different and I like them both. Just like you can't compare totally different types of food, we can't compare ourselves, it will get us nowhere. We have no chance of progressing if we continue to use this skewed system to rate our self-worth. I can say a million times that I won't compare myself or beat myself up about silly things but I know I will, I can try to do better though.

That is all. 

*What? I don't even know who that is I just like saying Chaka Khan.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

So About That...

Obvs. I haven't blogged for about twelve years...slash 3 weeks. I don't apologize for it haha pretty sure I have two faithful blog viewers anyways and one of them is hit or miss (Hi Mom! Hi Nicole!).

I have just been super busy with work, school, my calling, trying to schedule photo shoots that keep getting cancelled! GRRRR Silly rain keeps messing up my plans. Oh well, rain is good. I'm thankful for rain!

Blogging is mostly a way for me to document my life without having to write in a journal. I do have one, I'm just not very a very faithful writer, I wish I was! I've tried. It cramps my hand. Alas, this is my pseudo journal. (So feel free to skip the rest of this because it's mostly for my remembering purposes)

So the last two weeks have been pretty weird, I was asked to serve in a new calling and was officially called today. I have served in the Young Women's program in my ward for SIX years! WHOA. I was first called as the YW secretary with Stephanie (Pres), Carren (1st), and Emily (2nd). When that presidency changed, my stomach flip flopped because they forgot to tell me about it and a member of the bishopric had to run down and ask me during sacrament meeting :) I was called to be the 2nd Counselor with the next Presidency; Doneva (Pres), Vicky (1st), and me...I'm pretty sure there were only three of us there may have been a secretary for a minute but most of the time it was us 3 (if I remember right, see kids, THIS is why we journal!). Then once again my stomach sunk with the same dread of being released when Becky (Pres), Keala (1st), and Dixie (Sec) were called but I was saved again with a special calling "YW Specialist" with Nicole. This made me feel like a secret agent and I wish I would have bought some walkie-talkies and a spy scope. Basically that calling involved planning the Wednesday activities/extra activities/Personal progress and I helped teach on Sunday's while Nicole went to the other ward. (A year later Kim was called to be 2nd and I was called to be 1st)

Anywhoo fast forward another two years give or take (2 weeks ago), the bishop asked to speak with me. My stomach once again earned the gold medal in gymnastics. I wondered if a change would be happening because in April our Bishopric was changed after our 'old' Bishop Steve was called into the Stake Presidency. So our new Bishop and YW President are married and those are two major callings. I never expected in one million years that he would ask me to be the next YW President but he did and my stomach added spelunking to it's resume. I didn't really process it, all I could think about is the YW and how much they would miss Becky. Anyway, I ended up saying yes and sometimes when I remember about it I feel like I might projectile vomit, but I am excited. I mean, I've been in YW for SIX years with these girls- one of our graduating Laurels had been in YW for a couple months when I was first called, but other than that, I've been there as each of the current YW turned 12 which is so neat to me. I have seen them grow up SO much. It's crazy how much change happens just from 12-14 let alone 12-18! They are seriously the best people I know. I'm not a parent but I imagine parents think about their children a lot. I realized this last week that I think about the YW every day, multiple times a day or more! They seem to be my first priority and I spend lots of time preparing things for them. I love it!

We took a picture today after church with the YW who were there and our old Presidency. The YW weren't a fan of this, there was quite a bit of crying during church today but you can't even tell!

I stole this pic from Nicole on instagram. We went from having maybe four girls to 14ish almost overnight it seems like! There were many not there today who generally are too which was a bummer but it's not like we can't ever take another picture together :)

This will be good.


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