Friday, December 11, 2009

Some Reflections on Life

There are lots of things from my past that I wish I could change. But of course, no one has the ability to change the past, and therefore, we must look onward to the future. That is not to say, however, that we should not learn from the past because that is completely untrue.

Today I read something that really impressed me. It was a friend's post about finding greatness within ourselves, the same way we did when we were children. When I was little I wanted to be the first female president. I was convinced that I was the smartest person in the world, and while I was quickly humbled on that, I now realize that even though it wasn't true, I wanted it to be true, and I would do whatever it took to be right. I would learn what I thought was important to know. I never thought less of myself until I started letting other people do my thinking for me. I allowed the judgments of others take control of who I was. Unfortunately, this led to learning a lot of things the hard way. I may not know exactly who I am yet, but I do know there are some things that are important enough to keep a firm grasp on, like the gospel, virtue, charity, self-worth, integrity, love, compassion.

If I have learned anything from these past few months, it's that life REALLY sucks sometimes. Sometimes life gets you so down, you just want to fall to the ground and never pick yourself up again. Sometimes things are so hard, you never think you could strong enough to get through it, let alone ever be happy again. But if that's true, then the opposite MUST be true. If life is really that bad sometimes, then it has to be THAT good sometimes. Recognizing the Lord's tender mercies, making a new friend, getting a good grade after working hard, getting an extra hour of sleep, getting the chance to visit with family and friends, feeling included in the best ward - all of these things can show us how good our lives are.

Sorry if this post is a little scatter-brained. I'm having a bit of a hard time organizing my thoughts. Today wasn't the best of days. But it was the last day of classes (although that was yesterday for me as I don't have any classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays), and our ward had a talent show which I got to participate in. I sang Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why." I did alright, except that I did mess up once. I forgot the words "My heart is drenched in wine," and I sang something more like "My heart is *mumble-something* time." It was actually kind of funny cause I made a weird face acknowledging that I had messed up, and people laughed, so it wasn't an awkward moment thank goodness. Court also performed a song. I've never heard it before, so I don't know if he just wrote it recently, but I had a feeling it had to do with me. It made me cry, it was a very beautiful song. His singing it made me miss him. I wanted to talk to him after, but he left too quickly. And I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to talk to me now anyways. In other news (possibly a bit more lighthearted) I met someone with two different color eyes tonight. His name is Andrew and one eye is green and the other is blue. It was pretty awesome. Well, that's all I really have for now.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Counting Your Blessings

A few weeks ago, I gave a talk in church about gratitude. These past few months, I've decided to really count my blessings. In my talk, I recounted a really awful weekend. At the end of that weekend, so much had gone wrong, and instead of being optimistic, I was really mad. I was upset at the guy I thought was my best friend, I was mad at my mom for making me drive my little brother down to EFY, which was 8 hours away, I was angry that there was so much in my life that was out of my control. As I started to look for things to be grateful for, I went back to that weekend, and started with every single thing I could think of that I could say "Thank you" for. Little things like getting there and back perfectly safe, not forgetting anything that wasn't replaceable, slightly bigger things like getting a pair of awesome glasses, and getting a little extra time to spend with my little brother, and really awesome things like spending time with friends I hadn't seen in a long time. After realizing my mistake, I apologized to my mom for how I had treated her. I didn't realize how awful I had been until after the fact. And isn't how that always is? I mean, I know that something I need to work on is being grateful for my trials WHILE I'm facing them. I know that if I can do this, not only will I come out of them a better person, but they will be that much easier to deal with and seem to go by much faster.
This season of Thanksgiving has actually not felt like Thanksgiving. It felt like a really short break from school. I guess it was hard for me because it was the first Thanksgiving that I had where I wasn't with my family the whole time. But I just want to take a few moments to share what I am thankful for. I hope that you all will forgive me for this list which, although it may be somewhat long, it will be nowhere near everything that I am actually thankful for just because there is so, so much. Here goes.

I'm so incredibly thankful for my mom, my dad, my three brothers, and my sister-in-law. I don't know where I would be without them. They all have done so, so much for me.
I'm thankful that my dad has let me stay at his house for the past few months, free of charge. I'm actually incredibly thankful for my dad. He has always been there for me. Whether it was for help studying for a test or just being there to listen, he has always been a great role model for me.
I'm thankful that my brother and his wife are letting me stay with them while I'm transitioning to a new place.
I'm thankful that I've always had a place to stay. Even though it hasn't always been the most convenient for those I have stayed with, I was always welcome with open arms.
I'm thankful for all of my friends. I can't believe that people actually want to be friends with me, but I don't know where I'd be in my life without them. Most of them don't know how much they've helped me out.
I'm so thankful for Kara, my best friend since 4th grade. I know that she's always there for me and that I can talk to her about anything. I'm so glad that I have a sister like her.
I'd go through and name all of the friends I'm thankful for, but there are so many, and I'm afraid I'd leave someone out. But please know that each of you has a very special place in my heart. My friends mean a lot to me because I know how lucky I am to have them.
I'm thankful that I get to attend such a wonderful university. I know how unbelievably lucky I am that I get to attend BYU.
For that matter, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm so grateful for the testimony I have of the Church and the amazing friends I've met as a result of being a member. I'm grateful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that without him, I would have no chance to return to my Father in Heaven, and for that I am forever indebted to him.
I'm so grateful for the Atonement and for my loving Savior. I grateful that I have a knowledge of what Christ did for me and that I have the opportunity to repent and be forgiven.
I'm thankful that I was born in this time period. I know that I was saved for this time for a special reason, and I'm so grateful that I am blessed with that knowledge.
I'm grateful that I get to live in this wonderful, free nation. I know that there are so many people in this world that live in oppression, and I know that I am extremely blessed to live in a country where freedom is a right we have.
I'm grateful for music. I'm so thankful that the Lord gave us the ability to produce something that can bring so much happiness, that can easily bring the spirit, that can lift my spirits when I'm having a bad day, and can make me smile even when I don't feel like it.
I'm thankful for the ward I've been placed in. This may seem a little insignificant, but I really feel like a part of a family there, and I love that everyone in it is so incredibly nice and outgoing. It was something I really needed. After living so long feeling like I didn't have a home anywhere, I feel at home in my ward, and that's a great feeling.
I'm grateful for my ability to make friends. I don't know how I would get along without that gift from God. In fact, I have no idea how I am able to do that, but some how the Lord knew that I needed that now more than ever.
I'm so thankful that I am loved.
I'm so so grateful for the scriptures and the amazing testimony of Christ and Heavenly Father that is in them.
I'm grateful for my ability to cry. I know that without all the sad and incredibly hard times, I wouldn't understand how wonderful it is to be happy and to laugh.
I'm try to be thankful for everything in my life. Even the little things like my aunt calling me and inviting me to Thanksgiving dinner with my family or my friends who will talk with me even when it's incredibly late. I know that I have so many blessings that my cup literally runneth over.

In short, I'd just like to mention how many I blessings I have. This list is a mere scratch upon the surface of all of the things I am grateful for and all of the blessings I have been given. In my talk, I mentioned how much the Lord does for us. I mean, think about it for just a moment. If the Lord can do all that for us, then can't we give a few moments of our day thanking him?