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.