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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bad Day

Ever heard the saying "life sucks and then you die" before?  Well, I absolutely hate it!  What a depressing thing to say.  I have been talking to a missionary in my zone today about a rough day he had this week.  The day began with a spider bite, never pleasant at all.  Then, he was hit in the leg with a frisbee.  It wouldn't have been that big of a deal, but it just so happened to hit his bad leg (the one he had surgery on as a child) and the frisbee was just shy of reaching mach-1 (slight exaggeration).  If that wasn't painful enough, he then was hit in the face by a less then careful Elder throwing his arms around in frustration at a game.  At this current point, the injured elder has a very hurt nose and one sore leg.  Think that has gotten him down?  Think again.  He is as happy and cheerful as ever.  Smiling hurts, but he still does it. 

Each of us has trials and struggles in life.  Sometimes we feel as if a frisbee has hit us in the leg and hindered us from continuing on.  Sometimes, we feel beat down.  Happiness just doesn't seem like something we can attain.  What can help keep us be happy and chipper during these times?  Peter Pan put it perfectly when he said "You think of a wonderful thought."  Yes, "any happy little thought."  Optimism has been a consistent goal throughout my  mission.  Times aren't always easy and being happy just doesn't seem to fit in the picture.  But, anytime I get down or start to be negative, I think of something positive.  Something that will lift my spirits, make me smile, make me laugh, or do all of them at once (I prefer that option).  It always works.  There is always something to be happy about!  You may have to dig deep sometimes, but you will always find something joyful.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Attitude Change

Beating the heat with Popsicles
Almost a year ago now I was praying for rain.  I kept looking into the sky and questioning if clouds were really something that existed or just a figment of my imagination.  The hot days of summer seemed like they would never end.  Well, for the past few days (I'd give you a number, but I lost count), it has rained and rained with very little sign of stopping.  The sun has made occasional cameos, but didn't stay around for long.  Most people ask the question "how are you liking this weather?"  To which I respond, "I don't like rain when it's cold.  I'd rather it be snow."  But, the other day I was asked "what do you like most about the rain?"  A simple question that made me look at the rain in a more optimistic way.
In a talk by Jack H. Goasland, entitled "Happiness," he talks about how each of us has at some point asked ourselves "am I happy yet?"  Raise your hand if you've ever asked that question to yourself.  You better believe mine is raised as far as I can raise it!  We all want to find happiness.  2 Nephi 2:25 states that " are, that they might have joy."  Happiness and joy are a part of life.  "1 Our yearnings for happiness were implanted in our hearts by Deity. They represent a kind of homesickness..."  It is a desire given to each of us by our Father in Heaven.  He knows how we can find joy.

"Striving for happiness is a long, hard journey with many challenges. It requires eternal vigilance to win the victory. You cannot succeed with sporadic little flashes of effort. Constant and valiant living is necessary....  I am convinced if we are to have happiness in our hearts, we must learn how to preserve it, in our hearts, in the midst of trouble and trial. We can control our attitude toward adversity. Some people are defeated and embittered by it, while others triumph over it and cultivate godlike attributes in the midst of it."
I may not like the rain and I may struggle to be optimistic about it.  But, I can change my attitude and look at the glass half full.  Jack H. Gasland said it perfectly above when he talks of preserving happiness in our hearts.  We can be happy at any time, in any place, and in all things if we choose to be.  Really, we can.  Choose to be happy.  "Just do it." (Nike)  I know that our loving Father in Heaven wants us to be happy.  He is there rooting for us every step of the way.  By choosing to be happy we allow Him to step in and make us even more happy.  Just try it.  I dare ya.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Liahona replica

For about the hundredth time (give or take) I have read about the Liahona in the Book of Mormon.  The Liahona worked as a compass, so to speak.  It directed the prophet Lehi and his family to where they needed to go.  Though it is like a compass, it didn't work in the same way.  A regular compass works magnetically with the earths magnetic field.  The Liahona worked according to the peoples faith and diligence.  Basically, it worked when they were righteous.  The times when they rebelled and fell into iniquity it would stop working.  They would lack the guidance from God that they needed.
As I ponderred about the Liahona, my sci-fi fantasy mind immediately lead me to thinking about the compass from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.  To quote the movie:

  "My unique."
"Unique here having the meaning of broken?"
"True enough, this compass does not point north."
"...Where does it point?"
"It points to the thing you want most in this world.

Jack Sparrow's compass worked, but it didn't point North.  It guided you to whatever thing you wanted most.  Person, treasure, place, or thing, it would take you there.
If I were to choose between the 2 compasses, I would have to say both.  Not just one or the other, but both.  Both of them together would make for the ultimate compass.  Why?  Well, one works to guide you to the desires of your heart and the other works when you are righteous.  IF both are working at the same time, then your desires are righteous.  Not only would you know which direction to go (from Jack's compass), but you would receive guidance from God (from the Liahona).  Best of both worlds!
Each of us can have this guidance.  We can.  It is readily available to all that desire it.  This guidance comes to us from the Holy GhostThe Holy Ghost shows "all things that you should do" (2Nephi 32:5).  He is there to warn us of danger, to guide us, comfort us, and to always be there.  What do we need to do to keep this top notch "compass" around?  Stay worthy.  Live righteously and have righteous desires.  Plain and simple.
 I know every person on this earth can have this blessing if they desire and if they live worthy of it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Changed My Life

"We're not alone."  Such a common saying in movies, daily life, and in our spiritual lives.  Not one of us is ever completely alone.  There are so many people in this world.  Some of them we pass by casually on the street, others are very near and dear to us.  Each person we meet has the ability to change us in one way or another.  In the end, there are some people that completely change our lives and help mold us into who we are or who we are becoming.  In my life, there are a few people like this.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Got Skills?

The other day, while doin' my thing online, one of the Elders asked me a question.  We had heard the <thwump> of a door closing outside and he asked "who's that outside?"  Of course my response was to put my fingers up to the sides of my head and say "hmmm....nope.  Still don't have x-ray vision.  Haven't developed that talent yet."  Smart-alec responses are something I'm working on.  But, it got me thinking about all the talents we are given.  There is a parable given in the book of Matthew about talents that I would like to share:
15And unto one he agave five btalents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
 16Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
 17And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
 18But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
 19After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and areckoneth with them.
 20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou adeliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
 21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful aservant: thou hast been bfaithful over a few things, I will make thee cruler over many things: enter thou into the djoy of thy lord.
 22He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
 23His lord said unto him, Well done, good and afaithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
 24Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an ahard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
 25And I was aafraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
 26His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and aslothful servant, thou knewest that I breap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
 Each of us has been blessed with a gift that the Lord wants us to develop.  Can you imagine a world where, for example, Michael Jordan didn't play basketball?  What if he had decided to just sit on the couch and never go out and try?  That amazing gift would have gone to waste.  Those epic games of the Jazz versus the Bulls would have never come to pass.
We weren't given talents to let them go to the wayside.  Developing our talents is our way of saying thank you to our Father in Heaven.  It is also our duty to develop our talents.  The Lord doesn't want us to come to earth and return with exactly what He gave us.  He wants us to improve what we have and gain more.  By doing so we will not only gain joy in this life, but eternal joy.

Now I want you to think for a second about yourself.  What talents are stagnant?  What is something you want to learn how to do?  I would like to encourage each of you to go out and learn something new or perfect something that's at a "meh" level.  I know the Lord will help you and wants to help you.  Go and do my friends.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tarry ye here

Who doesn't love a morning "A-ha" moment?  Today, I had such a moment.  I read the well known chapter Mark 14 where Christ suffers in Gethsemane.  Always a very heart wrenching chapter.  This time while reading it, there was a particular verse that kept calling my attention. 
 34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dinosaurs come from.....

A few nights ago I was asked this question: "what is your belief about dinosaurs?"  What small child hasn't played with, pretended to be, or dreamt about dinosaurs?  Well, as we all know, I am still that small child.  The question made me think back to the beginning of my mission, many moons ago.  Admittedly, I wasn't the best at always using my time wisely.  This question came to my head and I decided to find out the answer.

What did the Bible say about dinosaurs?  Nothing.  The Book of Mormon?  Nothing.  Dead end after dead end.  Of course, I can speculate and propose the "doctrine of Sister Nestman", but we all know that would be incredibly blasphemous.  So we won't go there.  I answered the question of this individual with my simple answer "I don't know."  Honest and precise.  But, my companion Sister Tucker had the answer.
She whipped out her scriptures and said "well, the answer is right in the Bible dictionary under 'Mystery.'"  All I could think was "No way?!?!?!  How could I have missed that?!"  Looked it up, and this is what it says:

Mystery. Denotes in the N.T. a spiritual truth that was once hidden but now is revealed, and that, without special revelation, would have remained unknown. It is generally used along with words denoting revelation or publication (e.g., Rom. 16:25–26; Eph. 1:9; 3:3–10; Col. 1:26; 4:3; 1 Tim. 3:16). The modern meaning of something incomprehensible forms no part of the significance of the word as it occurs in the N.T. See also Alma 12:9–11; 40:3; D&C 19:10; 42:61–65; 76:5–10. On the other hand, there is no spiritual gain in idle speculation about things the Lord has not revealed. See Deut. 29:29; Alma 37:11.
And the match winning hit goes to...... Sister Tucker!  How many of us get caught up on the mysteries of life?  How many of us sit and speculate when we could be doing something much more productive.  These types of questions aren't on the final test.  In fact, Heavenly Father doesn't give us a multiple choice test.  If we obey the "first and great commandment," then all will be fine.  We can leave the mysteries behind us.  All we need to do is " the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."  Don't worry about the things that we weren't meant to know.  Focus on the things that matter.  Love God, choose good, and be happy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blessings and Curve Balls

Yet again, I learned my lesson that I should never say never.  Yes, I know.  Should have learned by now.  But no one is perfect.  Friday evening my companion and I were looking over our week to see how we were doing with our goals.  To our complete thrill we were doing amazing!  Best week yet!  We talked about how the Lord was blessing us and we needed to continue to be worthy of His blessings.

Saturday morning came along and I just wasn't feeling well.  Stomach was advising me to not eat anything that morning.  So, I didn't and we went over to go online then teach an amazing lesson.  After our lesson we went home for lunch and decided to take it easy for a bit to see if my body might change it's mind and turn it's frown upside-down.  It never reached top notch, but I was able to eat some Cheerios and felt like going to our dinner appointment would be okay.

Barely ate a thing at dinner.  The food was amazing, just had no desire to eat.  After dinner it was time for our spiritual thought.  The thought was going well and we were almost done when my body started shutting down.  I began to feel dizzy and extremely nauseous.  Asked where the bathroom was and made it to about the kitchen when the delicious food began to exit the wrong way.  I felt sooo bad, but not as bad as I felt a little while later.

The next thing I knew I was on the floor with people yelling "call 911", not the thing you want to wake up hearing.  Again, I passed out and woke up in a different spot.  This time in a chair.  Then one more time of waking up in another spot.  This one was on the couch.  And, if that wasn't enough, woke up another time with the paramedics asking me all their dandy questions.  They asked if I would be able to walk to the gurney, my reply was "yes, I think."  As you can guess, I was wrong.  The next step was carrying me to the gurney and driving me to the hospital.
Now, things really weren't that serious.  It was only the flu.  But, having a missionary pass out multiple times in your house just isn't a comforting experience.  After 4 hours of being in a hospital and being poked and prodded, they released me to go home.  I slept like a log!  And a very comfortable log at that.  The next day I took it easy and rested while my companion went out and worked with some of the members here.
Our week ended with us reaching almost all of our goals!  Even with the curve ball satan threw at us.  Sometimes, it is the times when we are doing the most good that we receive even greater trials.  Satan doesn't want us to succeed.  He wants us to be miserable and to suffer like him.  The more good we do, the more angry and miserable he is.  If we can push past the sad and hard times, we win.  We were sent here to succeed, not to fail.  Be a winner and keep pressing forward with faith.  Don't let satan rain on your success. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can!

A little steam engine had a long train of cars to pull.  She went along very well till she came to a steep hill. But then, no matter how hard she tried, she could not move the long train of cars.  She pulled and she pulled. She puffed and she puffed. She backed and started off again. Choo! Choo!  But no! the cars would not go up the hill.  At last she left the train and started up the track alone. Do you think she had stopped working? No, indeed! She was going for help.  "Surely I can find someone to help me," she thought.  Over the hill and up the track went the little steam engine. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Turn Up the Fire!

The past few weeks I have had the amazing opportunity of serving with a brand new missionary.  There is something about a new missionary that just gets me excited!  Fresh out of the MTC and ready to go.  This eagerness is often referred to as the "greenie fire."  But, from my experience, I prefer to call it the "greenie inferno."  It is an attitude that, sadly, a few missionaries lose after being out for a while.  It all just starts to become "old hat."

Myself and Sister Tucker
Likewise, I have found this attitude common when it comes to living the Gospel.  We become casual with our worship and our personal fire begins to slow.  It is easy to take something for granted when it is something we become accustomed to.  But we cannot become casual nor should we forget that it is the small and simple things that matter most!  Saying a prayer, but not putting any thought or feelings behind it.  Reading your scriptures just to say you read them, but not getting a single thing out of them.  These things are still good, but without that fire behind them, they are hollow.
Something I have stressed with my new companion is trying to be exactly obedient to the missionary rules.  Plain and simple right?  But it is by these simple things that we receive great blessings as missionaries.  Spencer W. Kimball, who was a former president of the church, once said "The day obedience becomes a quest and not an irritation is the day you gain power."  When we master doing the little things because we want to do them, we will be blessed beyond comprehension.
If you have lost the fire, get it back.  If your fire is dwindling, put more wood on it!  Build up your fire until it is an inferno!
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