Thursday, January 30, 2014

He Wants More For Us and From Us

To save myself a bit of writing time, I'll introduce this blog post with my facebook post from this morning.
"Last night Greg felt impressed/inspired (through the Holy Ghost, i.e., the Spirit) to call an out-of-state friend that he has known for several years (through previous employment). His friend was so happy Greg called him. You see, his friend had been wanting to contact Greg for a while, but had lost all of his contacts when he broke his cell phone. Greg's friend had contacted other mutual friends, but none of them had Greg's number either. 
During the conversation with his friend, Greg was given some very pertinent information relating to some of his (Greg's) previous employment situations. (Sorry, I must stay vague.) Long story short, Greg was 'shown' yet again that all of his employment changes and our family's moves had to happen exactly the way they happened! 
It's utterly amazing to see what our little family has gone through, where we've ended up, and especially why we had to make all of those changes. *As much as I have struggled with having to move and start over so many times, everything has happened for many definite reasons! 
Yes, Greg and I have witnessed many miraculous situations and events in our lives. Truly, great things can happen to us, and for us, when we follow Jesus Christ's example and live our lives in harmony with our Heavenly Father's plan—and not only listen, but continue to faithfully follow the gentle, comforting, guiding voice of the Spirit.
#lds #faith 
P.S. Greg was happy to find out this information, but I think it has positively affected me more than him. I needed to hear this news more than I ever realized. I'm beyond grateful for this knowledge!!!"
Because of the above written experience, I've been utterly humbled today as I've pondered the many life-changing events of the past 16+ years of Greg's and my marriage. Thus, I prayed (and cried) in humble gratitude for quite a while this morning. My mind was overcome with swirling memories of our time living in Utah, Colorado, Texas, and now back to Utah. I could perfectly recall so many conversations and prayers that Greg and I have had over those trying years. Truly, that gift of fascinating information given to Greg last night was the culmination of our endless prayers since 2004.

10 years is a long time to wait for certain resolution to many intense life-path questions. Yet at the time Greg and I were making our decisions, we definitely received our answers from our Heavenly Father (through prayer, serving others, attending the temple regularly, fasting, and faithfully paying our tithing and fast offerings). Those many answers were most certainly tender mercies from the Lord.

This is not the only time I've been overwhelmed with the answers, i.e., the tender mercies, we've received. But it is the first time I can clearly see that every question we've had—in relation to Greg's employment and where our family was to live—has been completely and fully answered. There are zero wonderings left in my mind as to how things were supposed to work out for our little family. I can't begin to describe the peace inside my soul!

And as I've reflected on those 10 years of our family's struggles, accomplishments, disappointments, and joys, I can see with crystal clarity the amazing growth we've attained—not only as a family, but individually!

This experience has also reiterated to me just how much the Lord—our Savior, Jesus Christ—is actively involved in our daily lives. Even when we think He's not paying attention to us, He most assuredly is involved in the smallest, most intimate details of our lives! He wants more for us and from us! He knows what we can become. He knows how to make us stronger. He knows how to temper us, enrich our souls, and help our faith and testimonies grow. He knows how to increase our very beings to become more like Him and our Father in Heaven!

Because He knows all, we must continue to put our faith in Him. We must not allow ourselves to flounder in uncertainty. If we put our trust in Him, everything really will work out exactly the way our beloved Heavenly Father (God) desires for us...we will become our very best, highest selves!

Finally, I created this typographic design today because I was so overcome with joy! :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Super Strong Souls

Two of my favorite scripture verses are found in 1st Corinthians 6:19-20. I love reading those verses so much that I decided to create my own typographic design of them. Yes, I've been doing a lot of creating lately—I can't seem to get enough of the designing process! :)

I've always loved this scripture, but I have come to love it even more over the years as I, and the people I love, have struggled with various physical ailments.

I sincerely try not to get frustrated when I watch other people disregard the sacred nature of their bodies, but I admit it's hard for me to do. It's one of my biggest pet-peeves to see someone take their special body for granted and treat it poorly.

Do I perfectly treat my body like the sacred, heavenly temple that it is? No, I don't. But I truly try my best every day. (And now that my basement is completely unpacked and organized {Hip hip hooray!!!}, I'm absolutely going to get back on a regular exercising schedule. Seriously, I feel so happy now that my house is totally organized after our big move! Hey, it only took nearly seven months to finish, but now I'm done! Wait, back up. Actually, I need to hang pictures on the walls and go through our paperwork so we're ready to file our taxes, but everything else is complete—which feels unbelievably great!!!)

But you see, I know what it feels like to be ill for a long period of time. I know what it feels like to live inside a body that isn't able to do everything I want it to do. I have hypothyroidism that was difficult to deal with for nine years. I thought my body's hypothyroid state was just the way I was going to live the rest of my life...until I moved to Texas. Thankfully, through speaking with four wonderful souls (two Texans, two Utahns) who convinced me it was safe to do, I switched medications and feel so much better than I used to. I'm now on the fantastic Armour Thyroid and can't live without it!

Still, I will never forget those feelings of extreme fatigue, lethargy, brain fog, cold hands and feet, brittle hair/nails, and numerous other side effects of an under-treated thyroid—even though blood tests always showed my thyroid levels were in the correct range. I still occasionally feel those feelings if I've done too much in one day (because my body can't just make thyroid hormone—I have to wait for a pill to replenish my reserves), but I never want to experience those feelings on a regular basis ever again! And now that my body feels so much better, I have that much more of an intense desire to take good care of the temple that I have been given. :)

I remember a great scene from the epic movie "Out Of Africa" where Meryl Streep's character said to Robert Redford's character, "I've paid a price for all I own."

He replied, "What is it exactly that's yours?"

She didn't respond, so he followed up with,
"We're not owners here...we're just passing through."

I fully agree with his statement! I think so many of us forget (it's easy to do) that e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. on this earth belongs to our Heavenly Father (God)—including our own bodies. I also happen to wholeheartedly believe what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches: that one day our spirits and our deceased bodies will be reunited in a glorious resurrection.

Thus, I feel like doing whatever I can to "glorify God in my body and spirit," because I truly belong to Him. And I will never forget that I was "bought with a price" through our Savior, Jesus Christ. How could I ever take advantage of His wonderful gift? No, I could never take advantage of His sacrifice because that would be like slapping His face. Yes, I want to spend my days following the promptings, inspirations, and revelations of the Holy Ghost—for He tells us what our Savior and Heavenly Father desire for each of us to do with our lives...all we have to do is listen to Him.

Indeed, I want to show Heavenly Father that I've been a good steward of the gift He's given me on Earth. :)

I feel that one of the best ways we can glorify our Heavenly Father is by never ingesting anything into our precious bodies that would interfere with our spirits and our bodies coming together as one. Obviously, there are endless products available in our world like alcohol, drugs, tobacco, caffeine, even excessive amounts of refined sugars and overly processed foods, etc.—that totally hinder our spirits' abilities to connect with our bodies in the way our Heavenly Father intended. I also refer to those vices as masks. I think those worldly products mask our bodies' functions to the point that our spirits are held captive—then our spirits are unable to control the body in the way they were designed to.

Additionally, it would be wonderful if all of us were exercising regularly, sleeping well as often as possible, and not participating in activities that would be detrimental to our souls.

Basically, I believe all of us should really study and pray about what is best for our bodies. Then, we should only do those things which will aid in our spirits' abilities to connect with our bodies—so we become super strong souls! If our spirits are fully able to connect with and control our bodies, then we are capable of fulfilling our special missions on Earth. And each of us truly has a special mission to fulfill before we leave this earthly life!

Lastly, I included the cute little bird in my typographic design to illustrate the fact that—as the scriptures state in Luke 12: 6-7every sparrow is important to our Heavenly Father, and yet we have more value than many sparrows! :) Also, when we take good care of our bodies, we are free from the problems and addictions that could afflict us. Thus, we become free as a bird! :)

I know to some people my views may seem too idealistic, but I truly believe what I've written. I hope everyone can see the eternal value of their precious bodies and treat them like the beautiful temples that they are!

Friday, January 3, 2014

A New Year's Inspiration

This morning I was reminded of this beautiful and inspiring talk, "Remember Lot's Wife," about the past and future, by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.

If you'd like to see Elder Holland's BYU Devotional, from January 13th, 2009, here it is! (Begin at 1:43.)

His great words were then turned into the amazing Ensign article, "The Best Is Yet to Be." That Ensign article helped Greg and I immensely during our employment worries of 2010.

During that worrisome time, we talked constantly about how we simply had to have faith in our Heavenly Father (God) that everything would work out. And we knew it would all be possible because of (and through) our Savior, Jesus Christ. Greg and I knew that They had our best interests at heart, but we were just so concerned about our situation...we had no idea how things could really be okay.

Thus, Elder Holland's words were (and are) the perfect reminder for me! Those words were important to Greg too, but I am much more of a worrier than he is. (As if anyone's surprised by that statement! Ha ha.) Elder Holland said,

"...We look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives."

As I reread Elder Holland's lovely talk this morning, the scriptures in Philippians 3:13-14 really stood out to me:
"...This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
It's always so interesting to note how the passing years (four, for me) can change a soul! Thus, I made this beautiful typographic design (Well, it's beautiful to me!) to forever remind me to keep my faith, always focus on our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and look toward a bright and happy future—no matter how uncertain it may be.

I'm so grateful for Paul's words! Isn't it amazing how his words are every bit as relevant today as they were nearly 2000 years ago?! :)

In, 2010, when Greg and I enjoyed (and really needed) Elder Holland's words, we had no idea what was coming for our family. I couldn't have written our family's story line even if I tried! I'm truly so thankful for what we've endured and learned. (I have little tears every time I think about our experiences of: Greg being laid-off; moving to Texas; not being able to sell our house; and then—after two years and three months of uncertainty—suddenly having the miraculous opportunity to move back to our unsold home!) But I must state that I'm also relieved and ever so grateful to be on the other side of our incredible journey!

So I say this to the world: If anyone reading this is struggling in life, hold tight to your faith! :) Even though maybe you can't imagine how things could ever be okay, hang in there. I can honestly say—through my family's many and varied life experiences—that everything happens for a reason. (Yes, I know that's so much easier to say now that my family is happily settled, but I truly mean it!) Even though you might be kicking and screaming inside (I know I did innumerable times during our recent three-year trial), remember to breathe deeply, pray constantly, and know that things always work out. It's true!

I have fully learned that our Heavenly Father (God) knows us and loves us more than we could ever comprehend. He is aware of every breath we take, every tear we cry, and every wish in our hearts. He truly gives us life situations that reflect the scripture, "...all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." (D&C 122:7) I firmly and wholeheartedly believe those words! :) He does not forget us. Ever. He wants us to become what He already sees in us: our best selves!

Oh, and if, by chance, you are at a super awesome place in your life (because I know there are those of you out there!), use your happy life situation to bless the lives of others! :) Go find someone who could use a smile. Be a friend to the one who is lonely. Make a yummy something for that soul who could use a reminder of the good things in life. Show mercy to those who seem undeserving. Just try to make someone happy! I know we can all make a difference in our world, so let's be a force for good! :)

I wish you all a very happy new year! Make it a great one!