Sunday, March 2, 2014

A thought about foundations and locations

In stake conference today, the wife of the Provo Utah mission president have a thought regarding a cat and a bird's nest.
The thought was focused on the fact the nest had been hidden, but was close to the ground. She expressed he concern she had for the poor bird and the fact that the moment the cat could hear the future cries of it's children, her cat could easily find them. The nest, while stable, was inevitably in danger, if not now, surely it would be in the future.

As she spoke about this nest, I remembered another, one that I had witnessed it's demise, in a short amount of hours, here's the account:

"In front our pension, we have fairly large pine tree, and in this tree we get a ton of visitors from morning doves. Saturday as we went to work, we noticed on the ground was a Dove chick. We noticed it was breathing, but knew that it's time on the earth was short, so we moved it to an area where it wouldn't be stepped on (using sticks, not hands,) and went out to work. We returned back to the pension for lunch, ate lunch, and then left once again. As we headed out, E' Ordenes gave a short, "Oh my gosh!" as he saw another chick fall to the ground. This one was in better condition than the last, but as it had fallen, like the other, it's time was short. We moved him next to his already dead sibling and started to look around as to where these birds were falling. As we looked up, we saw that the nest of these chicks and begun to fall and break. The last chick was still.... on the nest, just hanging by his little foot. We also noticed that the mother of the chicks was sitting next to the nest, watching as her last child sat there, hanging over his doom, and the obvious feeling of panic was in this mother. By the end of the day, when we had returned, this chick had already fallen and been dead for hours.

I reflected on this experience many times through-out the day because it was either Friday or Saturday that I read the parable of the Wise Man and the Foolish Man. I thought about the parents of these chicks. They had found a good tree in which to construct there house and in a good place, just as most parents look to do, but... what happened? While that found a good place they faltered one small thing, that one whole side of the nest fell apart with some of the wind, thus, blowing out their children. I came to understand that as parents (of which one day I will be,) we need to not only construct our houses on a good foundation, but we need to also construct a good house to live on that strong foundation. As I have seen through my mission, there are quite a lot of members which have built there testimonies on Christ, but when a small burst of wind has come into their lives, a part of the house which they have built falls, and they fall of their own testimony. The construction of a good house always comes by doing the things that keep it strong in the church, reading the scriptures, praying daily, and weekly church attendance. If we weaken in one of those areas, we may still have our faith in Christ, but one of the walls our house begins to weaken, till the moment in which it collapses and we are blown of our testimony and faith."

Let us think about how and where we are building our nests, our testimonies, our foundations, and ourselves.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

2 Years Later

Two years have passed from the moment I walked off a plane, and began to start anew, the life that I had before.

Where am I now... What a great question. My life is somewhere between absolute wonder and loss of control.

I have a very strong and firm belief in God, at least that hasn't changed. However, my love toward him, and my understanding of the Atonement has increased.

I have begun a path of self-discovery, one that has exhausted me, and refreshed me.

I know who I am, better than I did two years ago. I have been attending school, and I have found a career path that I feel comfortable in.

To be honest, the most important change is that I have solidified myself and confronted my fears... Something I had put off for years.

Sure, I have more tweets, and have stronger friendships... But those things are only strengthed and increased because I am shedding my fears.

My two years being home, have been as purifying and pressured as my mission, but in different ways than when I was in the field, but they are just as important to me.

Somethings about me will never change, and while I know that the purpose of this life is to learn, to grow, to repent, and to flourish, I believe that I have only started to do so recently. What I would do, to try again at certain key moments that occurred in the last two years, but I think to my surprise, I would leave many the same, maybe even repeat the "mistake" so that I can be where I am now.

Only The Lord really knows in the end about what I truly needed, and I am grateful to Him for that. I am grateful that I can do those things that He would have me do, but that if things will take me down a path, which, if I choose to obey His voice, will bring my prosperity, He will equally allow me the option to take a different path, partake of forbidden fruit if you will, so that I may gain knowledge and experience. I know I made mistakes in the last two years, but I know that I have grown, and am continuing to grow, regardless of these mistakes. 

Here's to another two years, and here's to the opportunities, trials, and blessings that will be presented to me. And here's hoping that history will not repeat itself.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


The month of December is often filled with miracles, some even called "Christmas Miracles". I feel that during this time that I have seen miracles in my life and the lives of a few others.

During the last week November, leading into the first week of December brought a miracle into my life. 

A bit of back story before the miracle. Around March of earlier this year, I started suffering large amounts of pain in my abdominal area, largely my stomach. I thought nothing of it initially, however, I found that it was very noticeable when I ate. 

My mother and sister suggested that maybe I try a gluten-free diet. I was not excited to say the least, many of my thoughts led to "I would rather shoot myself," to "I can't do this."

I attempted to do the diet, and while it seemed that it was working initially, I found that I was still suffering quite a bit of pain, no matter how strictly I followed the diet.

My summer was filled with a lack of annoyance because I felt that I couldn't eat anything, and anyone who knows me knows that I love to eat.

During this now finishing semester of school, a close friend and also my mother noticed my stress and anxiety peaking as I struggled with this, and not just this, but issues of self-worth. My stomach pains grew as did my desire to find answers.

Surprisingly, I worked first towards resolving issues of self-worth and also worked on building my spirit. As I did, I am sure I caused worry and concern for those that are close to me.

As those issues were cleared, my stomach pain, while still there, decreased. Then, the miracle happened. I finally went to a doctor, but not only did I ask for help with my stomach pains, I followed the council of those close to me and God, talk about your past stress and anxiety issues. The young man who listened to me said that it appeared that the two seemed to be tied together, and prescribed me a medicine that would focus largely on my anxiety, with a hope that maybe, just maybe it would also still my stomach.

After a week or so of taking the medicine, I noticed that my thoughts cleared, and many fears dissipated. Not only that, but my stomach pains only became apparent during moments of great stress. 

This December miracle became affirmative and I found myself capable to be me, and not only that, but also be a better me. As I came to the conclusion of my 22nd year, I was given a blessing. I was able to enjoy the gifts people have me, and their company as well, without stress, anxiety, or pain. 

My thanks go out to those that prayed for me, that stayed with me patiently, oh so patiently.

As this time of year is usually that of giving and receiving, I quote one scripture  that to me seems apparent: "Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands." (D&C 121:7-9)

I thank everyone for giving my their time, their kindness, and I hope that I received it well, and during this time, I hope that I can give to you just the same.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ups and Downs

In my life as of late, the amount of trials that have come upon me, have, gratefully, been few. The same cannot be said for my family. Within the last month and a half of summer, my parents and siblings made a total of four hospital trips within a six week period. That is around one trip every week and a half, though I would not say that is accurate.

Those hospital trips were just a part of the trials of summer. Me and my sister lost not one, but two jobs over the summer. Hearts were broken, dreams shattered, and while I can't say for the rest of my family, I myself had many sleepless nights in bewilderment regarding the heavy load that was placed on my family.

Now before all of this occurred, once again, speaking solely for myself, I had found myself with little more desire than to just attend Sacrament meetings, and maybe a meeting or two more. One job I got over the summer aided me in that desire. Needless to say, I was drifting away with a weak testimony.

At the pinnacle of my own weakness, a calling was extended to me to create programs for my ward. While I accepted, in my head, I sarcastically replied, "Is this all I am good for? I did this in my last ward, congrats for the 'creativity' of the calling." I didn't begin making programs right away, but while I waited to make them, the trials began.

I lost my second job due to illness. That same week, I was finally in charge of making programs. I went to all three hours of church for the first time all summer. During that same week, I did receive a new job.

The next weeks were difficult. Receiving news of a couple hospital trips, many to which I had to drive long distances to help give blessings; mind you, I was not earning money during this time. After the second hospital trip, I suggested a family fast to my mother in hopes that the trials would end. After one more hospital trip, School started, and then one more hospital procedure came.

During all this, I continued faithfully attending church and proceed with my calling, the fast felt successful, but overall, nothing seemed to change. That being said, I did make it almost two months without a paycheck. School was easier than usual. My new job provided me with free food for weeks.

Then the biggest blow came. My father lost his job. One that he had had for fifteen years. It was devastating. Anger flowed through me, my moral, which I had been building for weeks fell apart. Of all things, of all trials to occur, this had to be the icing on the cake, the cherry on top.

As I reassessed the summer, I wondered, why so many trials. And why, overall, especially with the money and time loss due to these hospital visits, many I which were to help my father, why make it so that he lost his job now? A thought occurred, with tinge of optimism. "Be grateful that he lost his job after all the trials, and not during or before." The day after losing his job, one was offered to him on his way back from his exit interview. And during all this, I still made programs and attended the majority of my church meetings.

Having recently reflected this summer, I now wondered, who were those trials really for, and to what end. As I sit here typing this, I cannot deny that I needed this summer, to test and try me, to help me come back to what I love, and what I know I need to be happy.

A thought to finish out this summer, The Lord remembers those who remember Him.

Monday, July 22, 2013

One Year Later

Well, it's been a year since I last made a note about how things were going since I moved out.

Since I've moved out there have been ups and downs, changes, growth (in multiple ways, including in width a bit,) I've had several jobs, going from a car dealership, to a restaurant, I'm currently in a call center, and will soon be going to work at a Cafe.

I've changed mindsets on careers due to family urges and also heavenly guidance. I had started off school supposing that I be in film and television, but I'm am now heading into the field of forensic science.

I noted how scared I was to switch from living with my parents to living on my own. Well, I've been out of the house for a year, and while there have been many scary moments, I've grown much from it and learned appreciation for the little things, and especially, have learned more about the sacrifices my parents made to make my life and my siblings lives better. I've sent many a message, be it through text or email, or even face to face about how humbled I was that they were able to pull off managing so much with so little, and that I had much to learn from them still.

That being said, there's still much to go. Only now I get to see that I have grown and have much more growing to do.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Homecoming Talk (Feb. 19, 2012)

Key Words and Phrases of Service

  1. “Forget yourself and go to work”
  2. “For whom?”
  3. “Nevertheless”

Definition: True to the Faith: “willingness... to ‘bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light,’ to ‘mourn with those that mourn,’ and to ‘comfort those that stand in need of comfort.(Mosiah 18:8-9)

Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve defined this service as “small flecks of gold that accumulate over time into a large treasure...a life filled with love for Heavenly Father, devotion to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a sense of peace and joy each time we reach out to one another. “1

Jesus taught through the parable of the sheep and the goats that those who serve, and serve faithfully, will be found on the right hand of God for “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:40)

During my time in the mission field, and as well in very many other experiences, I’ve taken note of 3 phrases that we can think of and apply in our lives that can help us increase our desire to serve.

1. “Forget yourself and go to work”

That was the counsel given to young Gordon B. Hinckley by his father during his mission.
  • Mark 8:35
    • For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
Putting the needs and desires of those around us in front of our own, namely the desires of our Father in Heaven, our families, friends, and neighbours.
It is not to say that you should completely stop taking care of yourself, but, to not focus completely on yourself, and to find ways to fulfill the commandment of “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Mark 12:31)
Stories about this point:
  • Elder Washburn-never decided to stop
  • Parents (in specific and in general)
Why would this be a key phrase of service? Have you ever found yourself serving someone, without any desire, and feeling like you are wasting your time? On the other hand, what about the times when you had the opportunity to serve, and found that it was a joy, maybe even a pleasure to be serving? What was the difference maker between these two situations? I think that we’ll find that most of the time, that it is because we had forgotten ourselves, and focused on the task placed in front of us, or even the person whom we were serving.

2. “For whom?”

Story about this point:
  • I found myself at one point during my mission having lost my zeal and was frustrated with myself and my performance. Everything was going fine, our investigators were progressing, the companionship was fine, nothing seemed out of place... but I still felt like there was something wrong, or at least I convinced myself that it was that way. I kept trying to figure out the “problem,” though,  it seemed as if there was no avail. During this period of time, I received an email from my father, in the which he urged me to read section 121 from Doctrine and Covenants. While I was reading it, a thought came to my mind “Why are you doing everything you are doing, and for whom?” I meditated over this thought again, and again... wondering... for whom I was doing all this service? Was it for me? Was it for my companion? Who was I there for?
Well with that, we go back to Mark 12 where it states the first and great commandment that  “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:this is the first commandment.” (v. 30) And the second...Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (v. 31)

Often, we find people that are in great opportunities of service and doing a great job in doing so, in fact, they do all service that is placed before them... but sadly... they do it too often for themselves, many times, in hopes that they can be seen for there acts; or there are even times when people act as if they are a certain role, but fail to keep up that part that they so claim they play. Elder Lynn G. Robins talked about this in his talk stating that to Do without be—hypocrisy—portrays a false image to others, while be without do portrays a false image to oneself.2

To serve is to help others, not ourselves. We always say that when we serve, we serve not to earn a reward. In fact Jesus taught that  
“when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” (Matt 6:3-4)

Our acts of service are not for us, they are to serve our fellow brethren, to show our love for them, and for out Father in Heaven, and if we have this attitude, we will be willing to serve to “with all [our] heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day,” (D&C 4:2)

  • How would you define love in one word?
  • In Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-19, Christ shows us the overall power of his love for us and his overwhelming to serve us and God in one word. (Verse 19)

3. “Nevertheless”

Our service should be without bounds, restrictions, or restraints. This attitude that Christ had that, regardless of what was happening to him, was fully devoted to finish the task, in fact, he was even willing to do the task, because he knew that it was the will of his Father and knew that he was doing this great service, the Atonement, for us.

How many times do we find ourselves that when an opportunity arises, that we seem to find an excuse pop into our head (“But” Zone) or remember some... thing that distracts us from the opportunity in front of us?

Having this attitude that “Nevertheless” will allow us to overcome many things. Maybe we find that we have a time to attend the Temple, to serve our brethren dead...and yet, at the same time... something arises... if we remember how the Savior the will of his Father and the welfare of his brethren, we can think, “Nevertheless, I will go and do.”

This form of service can truly bring us closer to true discipleship, to a truer form of charity, for we will see that we begin to serve, with a full desire to serve... we may even begin to think “I want to serve them” or “Who can I serve today?” or maybe even “What can I do for ‘Bill’ today?”

Truly... we begin to fulfill and keep the commandment that the Lord gave to the apostles before his turn to serve “By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35)


Now to summarize:
Service reaches it’s highest point of fulfillment and joy once we “forget [ourselves] and go to work”, when we remember “for whom” we are serving, and even when something arises to bring us away from the work, “nevertheless”, we serve.

Now I promise that when we put these phrases in practice in our lives, we will begin to see our desire to serve grow, our reasons to serve change, and our love for our brethren increase and we will begin to see those who surround us as they truly are, each a son or daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves us.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Don't Panic

This is something I should've remembered close to 48 hours ago.

As a preface, let's talk about roller coasters; for those of us who have had a ride on at least one, many of us can agree that these are amazingly fun, exciting and exhilarating; for those who have not, it looks scary, intimidating, and almost ridiculous that any human being would do such a thing. My first experience on a roller coaster went along these lines; the second set of emotions first, and the first set of emotions shortly after the ride started.

So why talk about this. I experienced, once again something new, the which, also produced a mix of these emotions. For the last few weeks, me and an old mission friend have been looking for a place to rent in and reside. We found a place this Monday, we liked it, we signed the contracts, placed our deposits, and held our heads high, knowing we had accomplished our goal. However, panic ensued a few hours later, and thoughts of leaving and choosing somewhere else began to stir. We made a few calls, read our contracts a few thousand times, investigated a bit more, and found out, that there was only a small option of pulling out, through selling our contracts.

After having made a few personal attempts to sell, with panic and stress still building, I remembered that roller coaster experience. Of course there would be fear, it was something new! But that didn't mean I should back out. So I have decided to take on the new opportunity head on, heck on my mission I even told myself many a time, take advantage of every good opportunity, and now I think I can add, and don't back out.

Wish me luck as I dive into some strange, but oddly inviting waters... Who knows what could happen now