28 February 2014

Bullying - Stop it. -Elder Uchtdorf

When I was thirteen years old, a few of the girls in my neighborhood created a "club." I wasn't included in this club because this club revolved around me. These girls walked around our neighborhood and with markers colored the power boxes on each corner of our street. I will never forget walking off the bus one day, only to read in red marker: Kenna sucks, I hate Kenna, We hate Kenna. It breaks my heart to know that the way I felt that day, is the way almost everyone has felt, at one point or another in their lives. Boys and girls, men and women, young and old.

Children are ruthless - and I wish I could say it ended there. As a twenty two year old, I have seen bullying consistently throughout the years, and often time older people, being at the very center of it. 

It is never okay to criticize, ridicule, 
or make fun of others for the sake of your 
own shallow entertainment. 
It is not funny. It never will be.

It is never okay to speak poorly of others, 
behind their backs or to their face. 
Gossiping holds nothing but
shame, regret, and remorse. 

As I have loved you, Love one another
This new commandment: Love one another.
By this shall men know Ye are my disciples,
If ye have love One to another.

^ Therein lies happiness. ^

23 February 2014

"The Lord's Standard of Morality" by Elder Tad R. Callister

I wanted to write this post with an open mind, so in preparation I have read the following four articles:

by Tad R. Callister

by Natasha Helfer Parker (in response to Tad R. Callister's talk)

by Rebecca Moore

by Rachel Held Evans

Recently there has been much talk about women dressing modestly and how that can affect men's thoughts, passions, addictions -- and even crimes. I have to tread lightly here, but I will try to make my point as well as I can. 

In my teenage years, modesty wasn't a concept that concerned me. Through experience, maturity, and becoming temple-endowed, the way I dress has changed entirely. From someone who has been in both places, I can confidently say the type of men attracted to me before are significantly different from the type of men that show interest in me now. It is what it is. 

The March 2014 Ensign magazine publishes Elder Callister's talk, "The Lord's Standard of Morality." The backlash he has received makes me sad. Contrary to what some have suggested, there is only one short paragraph talking about immodest dress, and in no way does it place blame on women for mens bad thoughts. Elder Callister simply said, women can "contribute to the moral purity of men." To say otherwise is ignorance. And "contributing to" is very different than "being responsible for." 

It seems to me this is becoming a matter of pride: "We -- as women -- don't have to dress a certain way for the sake of someone else! And since we don't have to, we're not going to!" 

I think we can all agree that women are not responsible for the decisions men make. However, the stubborn fact of the matter is the way women dress can - and often does - affect men's thoughts. And understanding that, why wouldn't we want to help? If I had a friend who was an alcoholic, I would try my best not to put him or her in a situation where alcohol might be a temptation. If I had a friend who was serious about losing weight, I would not suggest we go out for fast food or ice-cream. Is this really that much different? I believe if we women were willing to take a more selfless, Christ-like approach, if we were willing to drop our feelings of entitlement and justification, if we were simply willing to be our brother's keepers, I believe we would be willing to watch - and even change, if needed - the way we dress.

With all of that being said, at the end of the day, I choose to stand by my church leaders, who I know (from much personal experience) have specifically been called and ordained by our Father in heaven to lead and guide this church. And for myself, I personally pray to be humble enough to sort through their words, and simply search for the intent of their hearts. 

20 February 2014

The Power of Every Day Missionaries

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when I hear the word missionary, I almost always think of a 19 (now 18) year old young man who leaves his home for two years to preach the gospel. It truly wasn't until I started having missionary experiences of my own, I realized that every member of the church is indeed a missionary, and we are in fact called and held responsible to share the things we know. 

This blog has been the starting point for me. I will never forget the first email I received from someone who had read my blog, who was inquiring about my faith. In a very real way this blog has become a mini-mission for myself, and it truly has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. To be able to have this experience, I would go through my heartache one million times over. My heartache is where this blog started, and I will forever be humbled that my Father in heaven turned a potential tragedy, into the most wonderful experience of my life.

As you embark on missionary work,
use your talents!
If you sing, share the gospel with your voice.
If you write, share the gospel through literature.
If you play an instrument, learn hymns that will bring solace to people's hearts.
If you travel, travel with a pile of Book of Mormons. 
If you create art, create art that depicts the love our Savior has for us.
If you cook, cook for the homeless and the hungry.

Use what you can. 
Use what you have. 
It is enough 
- and when it isn't - 
the Lord will make up the difference.

I believe with my whole heart that being trusted by our Heavenly Father to serve His children, is the greatest compliment one can receive, and I intend to always show my gratitude to Him, by living worthily so I can in fact be given those opportunities.

18 February 2014

"What seems commonplace seldom is." -Elder Neal A. Maxwell

"A hundred years from now, 
today's seeming deprivations 
and tribulations will not matter 
then unless we let them matter 
too much now...

In eternity, the insensitivities and injustices 
of today's grumpy boss will not matter when 
we then live in the presence of a God 
who is perfect in his justice and his mercy. 
A thousand years from now, 
today's soul pain inflicted by a betraying 
or deserting spouse will be gone. 
A thousand years from now, if one has been 
misrepresented or misunderstood, 
the resentment will be gone. So much depends, 
therefore, upon our maintaining 
gospel perspective in the midst of 
ordinariness and the pressures of temptation, 
tribulation, and deprivation.

As we come to love the Lord more and more, 
we can understand, rather than resent, his purposes."
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Grounded, Rooted, Established, and Settled

13 February 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Everyone wants to be loved, right? It's human nature. We like to feel wanted, and needed, and cherished. Today I'm talking about the romantic kind of love... the romantic kind of wanted, and needed, and cherished. After all, tomorrow is Valentines day. 

Valentines Day has always been one of the sweetest holidays for me, whether or not I've had a valentine. It's a day that love is celebrated! And let's be honest, love deserves it's very own designated day.

In middle school and junior high my dad was my annual Valentine - he always reminded me of that when he sent me roses during third period. In high school it was my boyfriend. The years since have included some different valentines, and some years I've had no one at all, and to be honest, those Valentines Days have been some of my favorites.

This year I plan on expressing my love to each and every person in my life. I plan on over-using the words I love you a crazy amount of times. I plan on putting post-it-notes on strangers cars, telling them they are loved. I plan on surprising people with bags of Hersheys kisses, just in case they have no lip-locking lover this year. I plan on saying Happy Valentines Day to everyone I come in contact with, and I plan on buying myself a very large Reeses heart.

Sounds like a perfect day to me.

10 February 2014

Words matter.

Sticks and stones may break my bones
but words will never hurt me.


Words matter. I don't care who you are or what language you speak, words matter. Actions may speak louder than words, but to say words will never touch me is to say the way humans verbally interact and communicate is insignificant... and that simply isn't true.

I don't know what scientific correlation there is between spoken words and beating hearts - but I do know that one affects the other. If words make my heart happy, I'll be singing loud praises all day long! If hurtful words are said, that hurt will quickly find its way to my heart.

Words hold power. Martin Luther King once gave a speech entitled "I Have a Dream." Those words changed the course of human history, those words became a living legacy, those words changed the lives of millions.

In 1830 a man who went by the name of Joseph Smith translated something called the Book of Mormon. The words written in that book changed the earth, and my life just so happens to still be in motion because of them. The words in that book literally direct and guide my life; and I will forever cherish them as the most beautiful words I know.

What you say to others holds more weight than you realize.

I love you? Words that change people forever. 
Let me serve you? Words that change lives forever.
Here is my beloved Son, hear Him? Words that change hearts forever.

Words matter,
so let them be beautiful, 
let them be kind, 
let them be gentle,
 and sprinkle them in love.
Lots and lots of love.

06 February 2014

“The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.” -Arnold Bennett

Remember when you were young?
Remember when your mom asked what you wanted to be?
What a magical question that was!
My little six-year-old self couldn't even imagine!
So many things would be possible as soon as I grew up.

When I was 8 I wanted to shave my legs,
so 12 seemed much too far away.

When I was 12 I wanted to be 16,
because if I was 16 I could drive myself to the mall.

When I was 16 I wanted to be an adult,
because if I was an adult I would be taken more seriously.

When I was 20 I wanted to get married,
because that was the next step.

When I got married I wanted to be a mother,
because being a mother is the most important title women can hold.

When I got divorced I wanted to fast forward a year.
I wanted the pain to be over.
I wanted to skip to the good stuff. 

And here we are. It's been a year. And out of all the lessons I have learned, one of the most important is this: stop rushing. The time you are waiting for - it will come. Without fail it always comes. The hard times? They end. The age you so desperately want to get to? The goals you so desperately want to accomplish? You will get there. It is the small miraculous moments, the intimate details of our lives, that we shouldn't spend wishing away. That stranger's smile today? That sunset I saw last night? It wasn't a big moment. It wasn't expected, or written on the calendar. It was only a small, insignifcant moment in time.

Twelve will come.
Sixteen will come.
And one day, a day far, far away,
we will wonder where all the time went.

The time will pass.
It always does.

Enjoy each moment, whatever that moment may hold.
I promise, the big moments will come...
one small moment at a time.

03 February 2014

Why I Don't Hide My Freckles Anymore - Perspectives on True Beauty - Edited by LaNae Valentine and Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen

"Rather than avoid being lighter, 
we should worry about having more light...

Forget using face cream to minimize your pores. 
We should be worried about minimizing the number of poor...

We should worry more about sagging spirits 
and less about sagging body parts.

We should worry about whether it is our patience that is wearing thin, 
not our hair.

We should not worry about love handles. 
Love handles just about any situation you find yourself in.

We should be more concerned about our double standards 
than our double chins.

Did you know that you can give yourself a face lift 
merely by smiling?"

-Susan Law Corpany
"An Inner-Beauty Regimen" pg. 59