Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
One thing that I feel they have done that is not in harmony with what I believe is that they've put down others for what they believe. A great thing about our country is that we are able to worship in the way that we please (as long as it doesn’t infringe upon the constitutional rights of other individuals or break any laws). Teaching people about your religion is great. I appreciate learning about various religions, but the atheist campaign tells people they are wrong in believing in Christ.
I say that every person has a right to believe what they want. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. Atheists can start another holiday to commemorate the winter solstice, but I don’t feel that they should try and take the Christ out of Christmas. Maybe they can start a holiday celebrating reason. Then they could promote their own holiday rather than promoting a disintegration of beliefs.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I think a lot about service and what it truly means to serve others. I think about how I can live a life full of meaningful service and what I can do to serve others as Christ would have served them. I have had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of Service Activities at BYU-Idaho and through my service on campus I have learned so much about why we serve. But rather than talking about it myself, I would like to reference a talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks called, “Why Do We Serve?” He says the following:
Service is an imperative for those who worship Jesus Christ.
Some may serve for hope of earthly reward. Such a man or woman might serve in Church positions or in private acts of mercy in an effort to achieve prominence or cultivate contacts that would increase income or aid in acquiring wealth. Others might serve in order to obtain worldly honors, prominence, or power.
Another reason for service—probably more worthy than the first, but still in the category of service in search of earthly reward—is that motivated by a personal desire to obtain good companionship. We surely have good associations in our Church service, but is that why we serve?
Some may serve out of fear of punishment.
Other persons may serve out of a sense of duty or out of loyalty to friends or family or traditions. These are those I would call the good soldiers, who instinctively do what they are asked without question and sometimes without giving much thought to the reasons for their service. Such persons fill the ranks of voluntary organizations everywhere, and they do much good. We have all benefited by the good works of such persons. Those who serve out of a sense of duty or loyalty to various wholesome causes are the good and honorable men and women of the earth.
Service of the character I have just described is worthy of praise and will surely qualify for blessings, especially if it is done willingly and joyfully.
Although those who serve out of fear of punishment or out of a sense of duty undoubtedly qualify for the blessings of heaven, there are still higher reasons for service.
One such higher reason for service is the hope of an eternal reward. This hope—the expectation of enjoying the fruits of our labors—is one of the most powerful sources of motivation. As a reason for service, it necessarily involves faith in God and in the fulfillment of his prophecies.
This principle—that our service should be for the love of God and the love of fellowmen rather than for personal advantage or any other lesser motive—is admittedly a high standard.
So my question for you is: WHY DO YOU SERVE? Is our service based off of a love for our fellowmen or a duty to do better? Is it based off selfish reasons (although not horrible, not really ideal either)? How can we become better servants? In serving those around us I hope that we can be the answers to prayers and also that we may have our prayers answered as we help others.
My new favorite thing is to hear people with British accents try and speak American. This mainly stemmed from seeing the following video featuring the Harry Potter characters. But following this video I had to verify that it was a difficult thing for Brits to do. So I asked a guy from England at FHE to say some phrases in an American accent. His accent wasn't even close to American, but he almost had the Southern twang down. It was quite hilarious. Anyway, I think I need to work on my accents 'cause I thought my English accent was alright, but I don't want to be made fun of as these foreigners are.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I am looking forward to December for many reasons. For starters, it means the end of studying for the GRE and also an end of a semester. I cannot wait to be finished with online classes and NEVER take one again. I am also looking forward to my brothers arrival in Houston. It will be so fun to road trip it to Oregon with him. I am also excited for our brief stop in San Diego, surfing and best times with my best friend.
I also cannot wait until I arrive in the Christmas Tree Capitol of the World! Estacada, Oregon - here I come! I have not spent a Christmas in Oregon since 2005, so this will be nice to enjoy the "traditions" of Christmas in my original local. It will also be great to spend Christmas with my family. It has been a year this week since I've been home - so it is much needed. As crazy as my family is, I love it! There is something about feeling comfortable during the holidays that makes them so great, and although some change is good it is always nice being able to experience something familiar as well.
Christmas this year will also be my last "normal" Christmas. All that really means is that there are a lot of changes taking place in my life and I don't know where I will be at in a year from now, so it will be nice to be able to spend this Christmas with my mom and siblings. It is kind of strange to have your entire life ahead of you and absolutely no where to go. I am applying for grad schools and my top choice is the University of Denver, but what if I don't get in there? Then where do I go? It makes things a bit more difficult. Only time will tell.
I guess that is all for now. I just had a lot on my mind and wanted to write a bit before I head off to sleep. Happy early December everyone!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
1. Go to Google maps.
2. Go to "Get Directions."
3. Type Japan as the start location.
4. Type China as the end location.
5. Go to Direction #43.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
In my religion class this week we have been studying the idea of heaven and it gave me a curiosity as to what different religions believe regarding heaven.
As Latter-day Saints, we believe in what are called Kingdoms of Glory. These are different levels of glory that we obtain based off our obedience in this life. LDS.org teaches us, “Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all people will be resurrected. After we are resurrected, we will stand before the Lord to be judged according to our desires and actions. Each of us will accordingly receive an eternal dwelling place in a specific kingdom of glory. The Lord taught this principle when He said, ‘In my Father's house are many mansions’ (John 14:12)…There are three kingdoms of glory: the celestial kingdom, the terrestrial kingdom, and the telestial kingdom. The glory we inherit will depend on the depth of our conversion, expressed by our obedience to the Lord's commandments. It will depend on the manner in which we have ‘received the testimony of Jesus.’”
I have a strong testimony of these teachings, but I also think it is fascinating to see what others believe and by so doing, come to understand a little about their core beliefs and behaviors.
I decided to research popular 19th century religions and what their beliefs were/are and how they differ from the beliefs I hold sacred. The first of these is Catholicism.
According to catholic.org, “There is a heaven, God will bestow happiness and the richest gifts on all those who depart this life free from original sin and personal mortal sin, and who are, consequently, in the state of justice and friendship with God…Man is created for eternal happiness; and he will infallibly attain it hereafter, unless, by sin, he renders himself unworthy of so high a destiny…In heaven the just will see God by direct intuition, clearly and distinctly.”
The second religion is the Quakers. This religion was a bit more difficult to research because they are so friendly and loving so they do not put out declarations of beliefs, but accept many different Friends into their religious sects. They actually seemed like a very peace loving religion. So to find a simple answer as to what they believed I had to go to beliefnet.com which said, “Few liberal Quakers believe in direct reward and punishment, heaven and hell, or second coming of Christ. The primary focus is nondogmatic: God is love, love is eternal, and our actions in life should reflect love for all of humanity.”
Other popular religions of the time were more difficult to find their beliefs on the afterlife. Religions like the Church of England and Puritans. But I did find some other religions that I thought had interesting views on heaven.
Judaism (from Wikipedia)
The Torah has little to say on the subject of survival after death, but by the time of the rabbis two ideas had made inroads among the Jews: one, which is probably derived from Greek thought, is that of the immortal soul which returns to its creator after death; the other, which is thought to be of Persian origin, is that of resurrection.
Buddhism (from Wikipedia)
In Buddhism there are several heavens, all of which are still part of samsara (illusionary reality). Those who accumulate good karma may be reborn in one of them. However, their stay in the heaven is not eternal—eventually they will use up their good karma and will undergo a different rebirth into another realm, as humans, animals or other beings. Because heaven is temporary and part of samsara, Buddhists focus more on escaping the cycle of rebirth and reaching enlightenment (Nirvana).
Jehovah’s Witnesses (from Wikipedia)
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that heaven is the dwelling place of Jehovah God and his spirit creatures. Rather than the traditional view that all Christians go to heaven, they believe that only 144,000 chosen faithful followers will be resurrected to heaven to rule with Christ over the majority of mankind who will live on Earth.
Islam (from Wikipedia)
The Qur’an ontains many references to an afterlife in Eden for those who do good deeds. Islam rejects the concept of original sin, and Muslims believe that all human beings are born pure. Children automatically go to heaven when they die, regardless of the religion of their parents. The highest level of heaven is Firdaus (فردوس)- Paradise (پردیس), to which the prophets, martyrs and other pious people will go at the time of their death. Heaven is described primarily in physical terms as a place where every wish is immediately fulfilled when asked.
It was so fascinating to learn about other religions and their beliefs and I really appreciate the diverse groups that make up this world and all of the amazing things we can learn through the beliefs of others. The prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has said, "I plead with you to have the courage to refrain from judging and criticizing those around you, as well as the courage to make certain everyone is included and feels loved and valued (Liahona, May 2009, 123–27)." It is important that although our values may differ from others, we should not judge one another, but embrace the differences found in others.
Here are some recent things that have been happening that I am thankful for:
I spoke in church. Although public speaking never scares me, I was a little nervous for my topic. But after much preparation I was able to present my message on our duty to our country and it went really well. Afterwards I received so many compliments about it and it really made me feel warm and fuzzy. Cheesy I know. :)
I got a new roommate and have been hanging out with friends. The majority of my time here in Houston has been spent in the solitude of my room while doing homework, but lately I have had so many friends to hang out with I’ve been a bit overwhelmed. I really need a breather and I need to focus on my homework – but I am very grateful that I’m not as big of a loser anymore.
I am studying for the GRE and applying to grad schools. This was a difficult decision, but I feel at peace with it. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to take the GRE (even though it costs a lot and is difficult to study for). Grad school will be a completely new experience, but it is what I’m supposed to do at this point in my life. Such a relief to know that.
I am grateful for my winter semester schedule. I have some great classes, including a special topics practicum with the Dean of the College of Business and Communication. She hand picks the students for the class and I feel extremely lucky to be among them. I hope that it all goes well and we are able to plan an amazing Business and Communication summit.
I am also very thankful that next semester I will be able to work in Service Activities. I have been chosen as one of the student directors over Service Activities, so I will be able to work with many of the students and participate in the various activities planned in this program. It should be an amazing
I’m grateful for my roommates, both now and my past/future roommates. Really and truly they have shaped who I am, and I’m stoked to be back with them and have the best second-to-last semester of my BYU-Idaho career. Although I am not looking forward to the frigid cold, I am looking forward to the semester.
I’m thankful that it is warm in Houston and I can still walk around in shorts and a t-shirt. Last night we played sand volleyball until midnight and I wasn’t even cold.
I’m also thankful for Verizon, my phone charger and late night chats with Caitlin. What a wonderful blessing she has been in my life, and being able to talk to her every night has made my time in Houston fly by. It’s hard to imagine that I only have a month left and I’m sure it will go by quickly, but I am oh so excited to see her again.
I am also extremely grateful for my internship, the people I work with and the experience I’m gaining. It really is such a blessing to be here in Houston and be able to work for a PR agency. Some days are extremely stressful, and others are boring as heck – but they all mesh together and make a once in a lifetime experience.
There are so many other things I am grateful for, like the gospel, Math 108, volleyball and audio books. But I don’t want to continue rambling on about my gratitude, so I think I’ll stop here.
I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving and that they recognize the gratitude in their lives (recognize because I think that everyone has an immense amount of gratitude, they just need to recognize it).
This video isn't so great, and the song is from his Christmas album - but it is about being thankful, so I thought it fit.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Today is a rainy day, and it fits my mood. Although rain can be seen as depressing, I feel like it gives me a chance to think. I am more contemplative and pensive on days where I’m stuck indoors.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to get things done today.
Also, you should probably watch the following video. The video is kind of strange, but the song is amazing. I always think of it when it rains.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
But in the meantime, I may as well work on some other goals. Like the 50 books I get to read before I turn 30. So far I've read (since August) the Harry Potter series, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde, Catch 22, Mockingjay, and Frankenstein (which I finished today). I feel so accomplished being able to cross books off my list. Tomorrow I will start Moby Dick, and I'm near the end of Farenheit 451.
This year I also hope to accomplish my goal of surfing and next semester I will accomplish 2 goals (at least). One is to take voice lessons, the other is to learn how to dance. Vocal instruction and social dance are two of the fun classes I'm taking in the winter. Should be a blast.
Maybe someday eventually I'll accomplish some of my traveling goals, or I might even end up getting married. Although I would't hold my breath for the latter to occur anytime soon.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The first song to come up was the Dixie Chicks, Sin Wagon. The Dixie Chicks are one of my pre-mission favs. Now I'm not always in the mood to listen, but some days they are all I want to hear/sing to as loudly as I can.
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite by the Beatles was song number 2. Not one of my favorite Beatles songs, but I do love me some Beatles. They are one of those bands that will forever be in my I-Tunes, no matter how old I get. I'm sure my children will know them well.
You Can't Stop The Beat from the movie Hairspray came next, and I was surprised to see Hairspray on my I-Pod, but then I remembered that I put it on there for our trip to hike the Narrows to try and please Kami, Caitlin and Alex. What a funny choice - and great memory of the Narrows.
Haven't Met You Yet by Michael Buble reminds me of little Rick Roper. He was in love with this song and the music video last winter semester. I loved coming home to an excited roommate ready to play me a music video, even though he'd already shown me two or three times previous.
Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts put a smile on my face just thinking about Cars (although I've never seen it) and roadtrips. I love roadtrips and am highly anticipating viewing Cars for the first time, although it may be a few years as much as I've been procrastonating it.
The next song was First Love by Adele. What can I say about Adele? She may just be one of my favorite singers of all time. I've overplayed her album on my I-Tunes and I-Pod and am anxiously awaiting her next album, although I don't know when that will be. My advice to you, if you're ever having a bad day, listen to Adele's album and life will be better. Guaranteed.
How Great Thou Art by Susan Boyle snuck it's way onto my I-Pod. I originally bought the Susan Boyle CD because she looks like Ryan Bruce, but after listening to it I fell in love with her manly looks and beautiful voice. Worth a listen.
Girl from Across the Universe came next. I'm a sucker for musicals, and when I heard they were doing a musical with Beatles music I was sold. The musical itself doesn't make any sense unless you know the Beatles and their story. And I don't know if it's one I would watch again, but the soundtrack is amazing.
Glee! I love it. I can honestly say that I'm obsessed. In this rendition of I Dreamed a Dream, Idina Menzel and Lea Michele sing perfectly. One of my all time favorite Glee numbers.
Faithfully by Journey is another overly played songs on my I-Pod. I love running to Journey's Greatest Hits and imagining listening to it as if it were new. It makes me wonder if I would've been friends with my dad back in the day (probably not) or if I would've even loved Journey as much as I do had he not played it excessively when I was younger.
So that is my list of 10 songs on shuffle from my I-Pod. Gives quite the variety of music, and that is how my I-Pod kind of is, completely random and amazingly good.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I hate when things are out of your control. I hate when things don't go as you planned. I hate when people lie to you, and talk you up, when really it's a facade. I would just for once like to be told that I stink at everyone and should curl up in a ball and die. I know it sounds ridiculous, but when people are always sugar coating things you can never really reach your full potential.
Monday, October 18, 2010
This got me thinking about my first FHE group.
What an amazing group of young college students. I'm sure we didn't know what lied ahead of us, or where we would be two years from then. Shane and Hannah are married. Jake is married with a little one on the way. David is married and on an internship in Salt Lake. Brady is out in Virginia. Stu is teaching seminary in Ririe and one class shy of graduation. Kimberly just submitted her mission papers, Danna is at BYU-Hawaii, Jenna is teaching school in Utah. Whitney is an ultra amazing accountant. Shelby is healthy and happy at BYU-I. Kendra is married. Ashley is a nurse in California. Alexis is a super talented interior design major. Natalie is in Utah doing social work. Kylie is studying at BYU-Provo. Kelley will graduate in December and become a nurse. And Melissa is patiently waiting for her missionary to get home and is a junior!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Every Monday I play volleyball with my ward. It is fun to have that social interaction, plus I just love playing the sport. It is the highlight of my Mondays.
I am on an oatmeal kick. I don't eat it for breakfast, but I've been eating it for lunch. My most recent favorite is Apple Chai. It is delicious. Everyone should eat oatmeal, it is tasty goodness.
I am so excited for Halloween. I think about it and get happy. I have no plans really, have no idea what I'm going to be. No plans for haunted houses nor have I watched a single scary movie. But just knowing that it's all accessable brings joy to my heart.
Glee is one of the nerdiest trends I've ever been a part of, but I don't care. I love the music and some of the show. Mainly I just love watching to see what they are going to do with the music they sing. I like it mainly when they recreate songs. Like when they sang Toxic by Britney Spears. It was great because it was different. Love it!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I have loved all of the Harry Potter books (you can see from my previous blogs) but this one was the best, and the movie comes out next month. I'm really excited to see it over the Thanksgiving holiday. Should be an amazing time.
The People of Houston
Being able to live in Houston has given me the opportunity to visit with those that I met and loved from my mission. Here are a few pictures of some of the most amazing people you could ever get to know.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath
These lyrics make life so simple. Things happen, or they don’t and you don’t really have control over them. I wish I had more control over my life. I don’t know who I am, where I’m going in life, or what I even want to do.
This is a big problem.
Why can’t I figure things out? Even when I feel like I am at the top of my game, what I really want (which I still have no idea what that is) is just out of my grasp. But what is the point of worrying, or sulking around? Life isn’t going to be perfect, but it is always amazing. At least that is what I tell anyone I talk to while I’m here in Houston.
Life is amazing.
What does that even mean? Does it mean I am making lemonade out of the lemons I get on a daily basis? Does it mean that I am enjoying every minute of every day? I think not. I think that it is easier though to pretend to be happy all the time then to explain the reasons behind sadness or discouragement. I normally only tell one person my real discouraging news.
They don’t like hearing it anymore.
So now I’m here enjoying life despite the fact that I can’t truly express myself to anyone because I don’t really have any truly deep relationships with anyone down here. I have to be positive and live that amazing life I tell everyone I am.
But just remember,
This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Based on your number of earned credits, you have been identified as one who may be approaching completion of your BYU-Idaho degree requirements.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Doctrine and Covenants 97:14 teaches us that the temple is a place where we “may be perfected in the understandings of [our] ministry, in theory, in principle and in doctrine, in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” Temples are such miraculous places; they are the house of the Lord.
The Bible Dictionary says, "A temple is literally a house of the Lord, a holy sanctuary in which sacred ceremonies and ordinances of the gospel are performed by and for the living and also in behalf of the dead. A place where the Lord may come, it is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness."
Through revelation Joseph Smith understood the importance of building a temple and performing ordinances essential to the progression of the Saints toward eternal life. But did they always understand it? In D&C 95, it seems as if they were hesitant to build a temple, hesitant because maybe they were afraid of being uprooted and having to abandon a temple they had worked so hard on. Maybe they felt like they didn’t have enough time, money or other resources to assist them in the edification of such a grand edifice.
In a personal revelation in December 1832 (D&C 88) Joseph Smith was commanded to build the first temple, and in June 1833 the Lord revealed to the First Presidency the manner in which the temple should be built (The First 100 Temples). From what I read, the Saints labored diligently to bring forth the erection of the temple. According to the History of the Church volume one, “Great preparations were making to commence a house of the Lord; and notwithstanding the church was poor, yet our unity, harmony and charity abounded to strengthen us to do the commandments of God. The building of the house of the Lord in Kirtland was a matter that continued to increase in its interest in the hearts of the brethren.”
From what I read, there weren’t any who opposed building a temple, but there were some who didn’t think it was their duty to do so. That is where the chastisement in D&C 95 comes from. But did this lack of desire to build a temple stem from a lack of knowledge about temples?
I was able to talk to my boss a little bit about temples this week, and I was surprised that she had never passed by the Houston temple (of course it is very much out of the way, but still!). This got me thinking: since we have 134 temples in operation, and today there were new temples announced in Portugal, the Philippines, Mexico, Indiana, and Connecticut, how come more people don’t know about them and revere them as houses of the Lord?
What I’ve decided is that Latter-day Saints today do not value, use and teach about the temple as they should. How on earth would my boss know about the temple in Spring without first being introduced to a member of the church that could teach her? It is my testimony that we must teach those we love about the temple, and show in our behavior, the love we have for Christ and the sacred work performed within the walls of the temple. I think it is also highly important that we attend the temple as frequently as we can.
Howard W. Hunter said regarding temple attendance, “Let us be a temple-attending people. Attend the temple as frequently as personal circumstances allow. Keep a picture of a temple in your home that your children may see it. Teach them about the purposes of the House of the Lord. Have them plan from their earliest years to go there and to remain worthy of that blessing.” ( “Exceeding Great and Precious Promises, ” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 8.)
Please go to the temple. Do your own work, and the work for your ancestors. Teach those you know about the vital work we perform as members of the church. And if you’re reading this and are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ask me more and I would be glad to teach you all about our temples.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
First thing is hurricane tracking. Coming from the northwest, I never even dreamed about hurricane tracking. Flooding for sure. Volcano eruptions, maybe. But never hurricanes.
Although none have come close to the gulf yet, there is still one more month of hurricane season, so I will continue to track the storms as they come. Maybe we'll get a tropical storm and I wont have to go to work for a day...maybe.
Peanut butter. Not just any peanut butter, but the kind they make in the LDS cannery here. I couldn't find a picture online and i was too lazy to walk downstairs and take a picture of the jar in the cabinet, but this stuff is amazing. All natural peanut butter and the label has the state of Texas outlined in Red. What could be better than that?
Mmmm... Blue Bell Ice Cream. This is the best ice cream ever made. I am a huge fan of the huckleberry ice cream at G's Dairy in Rexburg, but I would take Blue Bell any day over G's. It is so rich and creamy and delicious. If you're ever in the south make sure and grab a pint of this delicious treat.
Mums. Aren't these the most beautiful monstrosities? They are given for homecoming to both the boy and the girl. The bigger the better. Some of them light up, some play music. I guess the best ones are homemade, but without my moms help I doubt I could ever glue gun my way through that mess of ribbons.
Texas bumper stickers. I love seeing Texas pride. The flag waving in someone's front yard, Texas bumper stickers, pins, shirts, everything. I really want to buy a few Texas lawn chairs while I'm down here. I'll see if I have enough room on my drive home.
Kolaches are one of the greatest breakfast foods. They are pastries stuffed with meat and cheese and (my favorite) jalapenos. So amazingly good. There are even stores that only make these delightful little buggers.
Last, but certainly not least is brisket and all Texas BBQ. This stuff is sooo Texan. They love their meat and they love to cook it with gallons of homemade BBQ sauce. Brisket is not my favorite (too fatty) but I do love great Texas BBQ. Mmmm! I'm ready for some BBQ with Blue Bell for dessert. Come down to Houston and visit me and I'll be sure and fix you up some.