Sunday, October 12, 2014

Follow the Recipe For Eternal Life

 I really love using life stories to create gospel analogies. It makes me happy. So here's one from this past weekend.

Once upon a time (two days ago) I found a super great recipe for sugar cookies and wanted to try it out. But, I realized we didn't have enough butter to make the cookies and the frosting, so I determined to make do with shortening for the cookies and use the remaining butter to make the frosting.

The cookies promised to be spectacular. I was so excited to eat them, and my family was, too. We each sat down around the table with a warm cookie in hand and took the first bite... of disappointment. The frosting tasted great, but the cookies were super gross. It turned out that the shortening I used in the cookies was embarrassingly old. Because of this, all of the cookies were rendered inedible.

The analogy:

The perfect sugar cookie is eternal life- it's our greatest desire and our expectation for the future. In order to achieve that, we must follow Christ's true gospel. If we don't have His gospel, then we only have bits and pieces of truth. But these bits are sometimes downgraded substitutions for truth (aka the aged shortening). If we follow Christ and His commandments for us (follow the recipe exactly), then we are sure to gain all He has in store for us- eternal life with Him in the celestial kingdom (the perfect sugar cookies).

I know that we can have so much happiness when we follow our Savior, Jesus Christ, and strive to be like Him.

Here's the recipe I used for the cookies. Don't they look amazing? They're pretty easy, too. I can't wait to taste them when I actually follow the instructions!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I'm SERIOUSLY EXCITED About All My Blessings

I just realized that recently I've been more focused on the things I lack rather than the things I'm blessed with. For example, I've bemoaned the fact that I've been sooooo busy lately, rather than being happy for all the great opportunities with which I've been blessed. I've decided to start rejoicing in my blessings more, and to start off, I'm going to share some of them with you! 

1.) Mi Familia 
2.) The temple being built so close to where I live!
3.) My loving Heavenly Father, Savior, and the Everlasting Gospel
4.) Beautiful fall weather 
5.) Music and my opportunity to learn EVERYTHING about it
6.) Wonderful friends
7.) Holidays coming up OH MY GOODNESS I CANNOT WAIT
8.) EspaƱol y mi oportunidad para aprender mucho sobre este idioma (Spansih and my opportunity to learn lots about this language)
9.) My job. I love tutoring. A lot. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Why Driving in the Rain is Like Life

Hello again. I'm back from my unannounced blog hiatus. It was a needed break, but now I'm back to business. :)

I have found that the Lord uses our circumstances and the situations around us to teach us principles of the gospel. He did this for me last night.

It was a dark night, periodically lit by streaks of lightening in the sky. Sheets of torrential rain slammed down to the earth. My dad and I were making the hour and a half journey home from where we were, and I was driving- interstate driving. I have a long tradition of being terrified of driving, but even though my dad offered to take the wheel, I chose to drive because I knew he was tired. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could drive in the dark on the interstate in the middle of a thunderstorm. It was really nervewracking at times, even though I kept to around 55 mph. Other cars sped past and around me, spraying water in their midst. Our window shield wipers needed new blades, which made my vision of the road blurry. It was extremely difficult to see my lane lines, or anything else. My dad offered a prayer for our safety.

The Holy Ghost helped me realize that this experience was a lot like our mortal existence. During this time I wasn't terrified like I normally would be because I knew my dad was right there next to me. I knew he could take the wheel if I couldn't handle it anymore. The same is true in our lives. Heavenly Father lets us do hard things, but He never gives us challenges we're not able to stand.
My vision in this weather was extremely limited. Everything around me was black from the night and very blurry from the downpour. There was no way I could see where the road was going or what was on either side of me. The only way I stayed safe was by following my lane lines. Sometimes they were fairly lit up with the little glowy block things, but other times I had to reeeeeally strain my eyes to see the thin painted stripes. This symbolizes our need to follow Christ and His commandments. My lane lines were my only guide; had I chosen not to follow them I would've tumbled off the side of the highway or slammed into another car. Likewise, we are assured that when we follow Christ, we will be led safely through the torrential darkness of the world.
Occasionally there were points during our drive where I could literally see nothing because of the amount of rain, but then I'd briefly drive underneath a bridge. The lack of rain cleared my vision and gave me brief reprieve from the difficulty outside. To me, this represented the times in life when I've done all I can do and feel stretched to my capacity. It is in these moments that the Lord wraps me in His arms through the comfort of the Holy Ghost and lets me clearly see His love for me and my eternal potential.

In the end we reached our home in safety. I have a testimony that as we follow the Savior and rely on Heavenly Father that we will reach our destination- eternal life with God and our families- safely and joyously. I know that they love us and desire nothing less than our absolute happiness. It's up to us to utilize the abundant resources and blessings they've given us to accomplish this.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Driving Blessings

I am currently learning to drive. While this is something most teenagers enjoy, it terrifies me. Especially when I have certain drivers ed instructors. But we won't go into that. This process of learning to drive has been so scary. Every time I get on the road I'm super nervous and uptight, which doesn't help my driving at all. So naturally I prayed about it. But then, a few weeks ago, I had a really terrible experience driving with my instructor. I left the lesson crying. It was lame. So the night before my next drive, I asked my dad for a priesthood blessing. I really needed comfort and extra assurance. I recieved a beautiful blessing of comfort and peace. I truly felt God's love for me and my testimony of priesthood blessings grew a hundredfold. I was promised that my mind would be clear so that I would be able to learn to drive well, among other things. The next day my drive went wonderfully. I had a different instructor who was very good at teaching me in a way that was gentle and clear to understand. I truly felt the Lord's love for me while I was driving. It was such a blessing.

Then yesterday I had another drive. I had another completely different instructor. To make a long story short, the drive was almost as terrible and nerve wracking  as the one I mentioned first. But I could still feel the hand of the Lord calming me and guiding me. Even though I was still uptight and nervous, I wasn't terrified. And there were several points of time in that hour when I felt Heavenly Father directly speaking words of comfort to my mind. It was incredible. I feel so loved and blessed. 

Sometimes, I feel like God has way more blessings set aside for us than we actually recieve because some of them are dependent upon us asking for them, and sometimes we forget to do that. As I Iearned, Heavenly Father was more than willing and happy to bless me with comfort, the assurance assurance of safety and feeling His love for me, but I had to exercise the faith to ask for a priesthood blessing. I'm so grateful for our gracious, loving Father. I love the blessings He grants me and I love all that He is teaching me. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We Need God When Life Is Sunny

"We need God just as much on sunny days as we do when it's raining." I'm not sure where I heard this quote, who said it, or if I even wrote it correctly, but I feel like it applies to my life in a big way. Like many, I am so very good at calling upon the Lord when I am in the midst of great trials or turbulent time of tumult. Some of the most sacred times of my life have also been the most difficult ones because they're the ones when I was closest to my God. After all, I needed Him then more than ever.

Or did I?

Actually, I need God with me in my life all the times, equally. There are no times when I need Him more or less, rather times  that need of Heavenly Father is less or more apparent to my imperfect eyes. For instance, when life is all fine and dandy, sometimes my scripture study grows lax and my prayers less intense. However, the moment something goes wrong, I'm quick to my knees. I think this pattern is typical in many people.

So guess what? It is super, super awesome that we pray when we need help!! Woohoo!!! Yeah! That's great! But we can take it to the next level! When life is peachy, have deep, meaningful conversations with Heavenly Father. He loves us so much and wants to hear from us! Talk to Him. Let Him know about how your day went, your triumphs, your mistakes, plans for tomorrow. When we pray like this we become closer to Heavenly Father and Satan has less power over us because we have the Holy Ghost more abundantly in our lives.

Alma 34: 18-27:
 "18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.
 19 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.
 20 Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.
 21 Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.
 22 Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.
 23 Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.
 24 Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.
 25 Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
 26 But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.
 27 Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you."

I know that God answers our prayers, hears our prayers, and loves our prayers because He is our loving Father. Even though I'm still working on consistently praying with enough fervor when the going is good, I know that God blesses me most abundantly when I continually call upon Him.


Thursday, April 10, 2014


Usually our lives change and we change in small, imperceptible ways every day. Usually. But sometimes we have GIGANTIC, HUGE, INCREDIBLE life-changing experiences that permanently impact the rest of our futures, whether for good or bad. I had an experience like that last week. For good.

I went to Nicaragua.

I WENT TO NICARAGUA!!!! Oh my goodness! It was a dream come true and the coolest thing I've ever done in my life! There are so many things I could say about my thoughts and experiences that I could probably start an entire new blog about it. I think we all know how good I would be at keeping up with that blog though ;) So for now I will share just a little bit.

One of my most favorite things about Nicaragua is how simple life is there. Even though many people are extremely impoverished, they are happy and content with the things they have. They are very grateful and humble when they receive things they need, but they have what they have and are happy with it. I just love that! How many times have I wanted something bigger, something better, something more beautiful? That is a very American mentality. It's not necessarily a wrong mentality, but it was so refreshing to be among people who are so happy with so little. It is an attitude I now am striving to make more present in my life.

Children on the street where we were building a house.

I met a very amazing woman named *Michelle on the trip. She's an American who has been to Nicaragua so many times. She's been there for the past three months, but she is working on traveling the world. She's trilingual and has lived in so many cool places and has done so many amazing things in just a short time (she's only 28), like teaching English to Buddhist Monks. How cool is that? Anyways, I decided early on in my trip that I want to be just like her. She's a great example. I had a wonderful conversation with her about how I can have amazing travel opportunities just like her. In a nutshell, her advice to me was this- Live Simply. Be okay with it and love it. Go with the flow. What amazing advice. I'm not quite sure if I can explain in words what this advice means to me and how I will apply it to my life, but I think it goes along with what I was saying earlier. Just be content with the things you have.

A wonderful girl I got to know. We're being photobombed.
I just love Nicaragua so much. It was everything I expected it to be, and much more. I wish I could go back and live there forever. I showed my family my pictures and told them about my trip for family home evening after I got back. At the end my dad asked me if I could figure out a way to share my testimony in a way that was related to my trip. I knew I could but wasn't sure what I was going to say. But when I opened my mouth to do so, I started crying a lot and couldn't stop. The Spirit was with me so strongly. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it meant, but I know several things for sure. I know that this opportunity was a marvelous gift from God. I believe it was a tithing blessing, because I would not have been able to go if a relative had not paid my way. I am so grateful for that. I also know that Heavenly Father has implanted a deep,firm love and passion within me for all things latin and latin american. I know it is from Him and that He has given this to me because it will be an important part of my future. I don't know why or how or when, but I am perfectly okay with that because I know everything is in the hands of my loving Father. I'm just grateful for these marvelous gifts He has given and continues to give me.

The wonderful couple for whom we built a house. I love them lots!

If I was old enough to adopt a child... She is SO precious!

I made so many new friends! I played with these kids several days around lunchtime.


So... I swam in an extinct volcano... No big deal...

Giant cactus. Need I say more?

I am SO in love with the food there! Especially the rice and beans they eat with every meal! (Not pictured)

After singing at a church service.

Fresh bananas off the tree everyday!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chinks In Your Armor

We had such a fabulous lesson in seminary this morning which had many, many valuable points and take-aways. One thing that really stood out to me was this idea: Satan wants to find and attack me through the chinks in my armor, so I must put on the full armor of God. Then I must continue to fortify my armor where it is weakest. I have never thought about things quite this way before. Maybe you have. It doesn't seem too different from the normal way of thinking. To me, phrase "chinks in your armor" stuck out like a giraffe in a herd of elephants. I began to ask myself, "Where are the chinks in my armor?"

I suppose it only makes sense to define the phrase. "Chinks in armor" means weak points, or places where it's easier for Satan to tempt you. These might be areas where you're not necessarily doing anything wrong, but you're not doing anything right. For example, perhaps you're kind to people, but you never go out of your way to serve them. That would be a victory for Satan because you would not be acting as an instrument of the Lord to further His work. Or maybe you pray when you need guidance, but you don't consistently say your morning and evening prayers. These are what I consider "chinks in armor".

When I pondered the chinks in my armor, I immediately thought of an area in my life where, if not careful, I could have a chink in my armor. As you probably know, I have decided that I will not have a boyfriend in high school. It is something I have prayed about a lot for a long time and I know this is what God knows is best for me. Lately, however, a guy I really like and I have begun to become really close. We've been texting and talking to each other a lot, innocent flirting, etc. Recently I've been contemplating the possibilities of becoming his girlfriend. However, in the back of my mind I know that I've already made a commitment to myself and my God that I will not date steadily in high school. These thoughts are the beginning of a chink in my armor. If I'm not careful, Satan could squeeze in and injure me through temptation and sin.

This lesson was very timely. The Lord does know what we need, always. He loves to bless us with counsel and guidance so that we can be successful in our sojourn here on Earth. This lesson in seminary helped me strengthen my spiritual "armor" by fortifying a chink. I'm so grateful for seminary and my inspired teacher.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Can't Expect Perfection

I am a perfectionist to the extreme. Well, almost. I'm getting better about it. But I still get really upset sometimes when I mess up. It's a natural reaction. For example, this morning I overslept and missed seminary. At first I was really mad at myself. "Come on, Whitney! This is the third or fourth time this has happened this semester! What gives? You're better than this! Step it up! What will people think about you? What do you think about you?" Obviously, these are not productive thoughts. Actually, thoughts like these come from the adversary, who wants us to make us discouraged and miserable. When I realized how hard I was being on myself, I began thinking in a different manner. "This was just a silly mistake. It's alright. It's not fair to expect perfection from yourself because mortality makes it impossible for you to be perfect. You're doing the best you can and that is enough." Once I changed my thought patterns like this, my whole morning changed. I was happy and able to forgive and love myself.

I have been catching myself doing this quite often, lately. I'll make a mistake and begin to berate myself for it, then realize what I'm doing and be kind. It has been so eye-opening to me. It is liberating. When I make mistakes, whether it's in Spanish class or Orchestra, where it feels like everyone expects me to be perfect, or just in daily living, I can forgive myself because my Savior forgives me. If I am good enough for Him, I must be good enough for me. Choosing not to dwell on past mistakes and mishaps is changing my outlook and changing my life. It is wonderful. I'm so grateful for my Redeemer and the atonement He made which makes this possible. I know that all things are possible through Him, and through our Father in Heaven.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Medallion Moments

People really do notice the little things.

I received my Young Women's medallion in December. I was so excited!! I decided that I was going to wear it everyday because I loved how it made me feel. When wearing my medallion, I always knew my identity and my future, the temple. Having such a tangible reminder of my divine nature and worth helps me to feel close to my Father in Heaven and my Savior all the time. However, always wearing my medallion has blessed me in more ways than just that. In fact, it has blessed other people, too. 

It seems like EVERYBODY notices my medallion. All the time friends, teachers and random people comment on my necklace and ask me questions about it. The most common question being, "Is that the Disney World Castle?". (I find that hilarious, actually.) Being asked about my medallion invites a wonderful missionary moment to explain to that person about the temple. I am able to simply state, "Actually no. It's the temple." Most people know I'm LDS, but if they don't, it gives me the opportunity to share that with them as well. Depending on the person's interest level, I am able to explain varying amounts of information about the temple. I make sure that my love for the temple comes through the words I use. Then I'm sure to mention the temple that is currently being built in the state where we live, and how ecstatic I am for it to be completed. I have extended several invitations to people to tour the temple during its open house once it's completed, which invitations have been eagerly accepted by my friends. 

It's kind of mind-blowing to me how something so small as a necklace can have such a profound influence on me and those around me. I'm so grateful for the opportunities The Lord gives me to share His gospel. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Take His Yoke Upon You

It's late at night, I'm stressed out, I have tons of stuff to do, and I really need sleep. So, naturally, I write a blog post.

God has so many blessings set aside for each of us, but many of them are dependent upon us asking for them. And we have to ask the right way. Here's an example from real life. Today.

I have an important audition tomorrow that I've been worrying about. I'm on the verge of feeling prepared for it, but I've been stressing. So, this morning I prayed about it. The prayer went something like this:

"Please bless me that I will do well on my audition. Please help me to be at peace and to be calm. Help me to reach my goal."

Eh, not bad. But not good. I did feel more at peace, but I didn't necessarily feel more confident. But I kept praying and humbling myself throughout the day. This evening, I realized how I needed to word things, and accordingly prayed a bit differently:

"I can't do this by myself. I need thy help. Please help my to play my absolute best, and to be able to happily accept whatever the results are."

And now I feel much better. I feel more at peace AND confident. This morning, while I was praying, it was really hard to let go of my fear and negative emotions. I knew that I had to consciously give them over to Christ. The phrase "Take My yoke upon you" kept coming to my mind. I knew that He could help make my burden light. That's what the atonement is about. It's not always about sin, but for everyday problems. It took me awhile, but I was able to give up my fear and stress. It really took effort, but I felt SO relieved and wonderful once I gave the negative emotions to the Lord.

That being said, I'm stressed again now. Guess I need to keep working on it. But, that's okay. I'm mortal, and I'm learning. And it is so wonderful that I can use the atonement all the time.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It Only Takes Two Seconds

Today something nice and unexpected happened. It was small, but it is a testimony that small things can make all the difference.

In Spanish class today, I happened to be walking across the classroom when a fairly "popular" guy said, "Hey Whitney, I like your shirt". (I use the term "popular" VERY loosely. I don't generally tend to like that word, but if suffices for now to get my point across). I knew that he knew who I was, but I didn't know that he ever noticed me or thought about me. But he today, he made the effort to take two seconds to compliment me. It didn't mean he has a crush on me, or anything more than exactly what he said. He likes my shirt. Because I derive my sense of self-worth from my relationship with the Lord and not what other people think of me, this wasn't a huge "self-image-changing" moment for me. However, it was nice to hear, and verified in my mind that people do notice me- that people beyond my immediate realm of friends and acquaintances recognize me and accept me. He probably doesn't even remember this occurrence, but I do.

Later in the school day, my orchestra teacher was telling us about the significant impact that seemingly-small actions can have. He said, "In two seconds you can either make someone's day by saying "hi" to them in the hallway, or you can be a jerk and ignore them." I immediately thought back to my experience earlier this morning in Spanish class, and how that experience I'd had really testified of the truthfulness of my teacher's words.

So, what can I take from this? Two seconds, five seconds, or five minutes really do make ALL the difference. If I had been having a terrible day and felt really badly about myself, how much more would that compliment have meant to me? But people all around us feel like that! And we can make the difference. I am going to make it a point in my life to cheer up and lift up as many people as I can. It only takes a few seconds, but the result lasts so much longer than that. By strengthening our brothers and sisters like this, we are truly instruments in the Lord's hands. And as we actively search for and respond to instances where we can uplift others, we will be blessed with more opportunities to do so.

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise." -Alma 37:6

Friday, January 24, 2014

Humble Happiness

A few days ago I woke up, as they say, on the wrong side of the bed. Something about me is that I make it a point in my life to be happy as much as I can, but that morning, I just couldn't be, no matter how hard I tried. So, I told myself that I couldn't get ready for school until I was happy. I said a prayer, telling Heavenly Father that I wanted to be happy, and that I was trying to be happy. I asked Him to help me be happy. But when I completed my prayer, I still wasn't happy. Frustrated, I immediately began praying again. This time I said, "I can't do this on my own. I really need thy help to be happy today.". All of a sudden, it was as if the negativity inside of me was swept away. It just kind of dissipated. Throughout the course of the day, several things went wrong, because of which, a couple people told me it just wasn't my day, but I was still genuinely happy nonetheless. This is because my happiness came not from my circumstances and surroundings, but from God, and my relationship with Him.

This experience reminded me of one of my favorite scriptures (which happens to be a Book of Mormon scripture mastery!), Ether 12:27-

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." 

Usually I think of this in term of "big weaknesses", habitual ones that take lots of time to correct. However, that day I realized that it can apply to "small weaknesses" as well. Because I went to the Lord in prayer and recognized that I couldn't be happy by myself that day, and that I could only do it through Him, He made that weak thing become strong for me that day.

I am going to try to apply this more often in my life. For example, you may recall that my favorite phrase is, "I can do hard things!". I am now amending it to say, "I can do hard things with God!". What can you do in your life through humility? It really is a power. 

*(By the way, finding "if/then" phrases in the scriptures is really cool. You'll see that I highlighted the scripture above in that way. These are conditional promises the Lord gives us. It's pretty cool to find them! I always mark them in my scriptures when I come across them! And they don't ALWAYS have the words if/then explicitly written, but the promises are still there.)  


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Scriptures with my Sister

I have taken to studying Preach My Gospel for an hour each Sunday morning now that we have morning church. This in itself has been so amazing. It is going to prepare me so well for my mission! But not only that, I can learn so much about the gospel just for myself from the wisdom in those sage pages. The coolest thing, though, is that I have been setting an example in my home by studying this each week. But not in the way you'd expect.

Each Sunday morning in the middle of my study, my four-year-old sister saunters into my room. The first time this happened, she asked me what I was doing. Our conversation went like this:

Sis: "What are you doing, Whitney?"
Me: "I'm studying the scriptures!"
Sis: "Oh. I like your colored highlighters."

Five minutes later.

Sis: "Why do you study the scriptures?"
Me: "Well, they're the words of Jesus, and I love Jesus, so I want to read His words. That's why I read my scriptures everyday."
Sis: "Oh. When I'm a teenager like you, I'm going to read my scriptures every day, too!"
Me: "Wow! Did you know you can do that right now?"
Sis: *Astonished face
Me: "Yeah! You can get your Book of Mormon and read it everyday!"
Sis: "Oh yes! I'm going to read the scriptures everyday just like you!"

What a cutie! So she got out her scriptures and started reading them. A few days later, I came home from school and found that my sister had two friends over and they were playing make-believe. After a while, she exclaimed, "Oh, girls, I haven't read my scriptures yet today! It's time for me to read the scriptures. You can keep playing." It was wonderful.

I'm so grateful for my little sister. She's my best friend. And I'm so grateful for the role I can have in helping her be excited about and gain a testimony of the gospel. I feel the Spirit so much when she learns about the gospel.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Studying El Libro de Mormon

Something you may or may not know about me is that I have a small obsession with Spanish and Latino things. (Okay, not really. It's a big one!) I love learning the language, I love learning about the culture, the music, the food, ohhhh the food! I even enjoy telenovelas. (Those are kind of like soap operas. It's kind of hard to find appropriate ones... but I've found a few!) Anyway, the point is, I love Spanish. I have a goal to become fluent in the language by the time I graduate high school. So, a week-ish ago I was wondering what other things I could do to help me get better at the language besides the things I am already doing. So I tried to think about how I learned English, and then it hit me! Reading the Book of Mormon!

Therefore, this past Sunday, I pulled up the Spanish BOM on my phone, and I began reading right where I had left off the night before, but this time in Spanish. I would read half of a verse in Spanish, then read the same thing in English. Then I'd finish the verse in Spanish, and finish it in English. Some of the verses I could understand completely without referencing the English text, while others were more difficult. 

Studying my scriptures this way has been delighting me! I noticed a difference in my Spanish comprehension and expanse of vocab literally the next day! Not only has my Spanish been improving, but this has proven to be a very in-depth method of reading my scriptures. Because I spend so much time on each word and phrase, sometimes reading them three or four times, I really have time to ponder the meaning and imagine the goings-on in my head.

My testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon is growing with this new way I'm studying it. Not only do I feel the Spirit when I read it, and recognize it's truth, but I can see how God uses it to bless us in such a variety of ways. It is the truest book on earth. We become closer to God through the Book of Mormon than with any other book on earth. As such, the Lord is blessing me with increased knowledge of Spanish for using the Book of Mormon to study Spanish. It's hard to describe just how it works. It reminds me of how studying the Book of Mormon right before studying for school helps you study more effectively and remember the things you study. Heavenly Father loves to bless us! Especially with knowledge, because knowledge is light, and God loves light.

I just love the Book of Mormon! Y, me encanta El Libro de Mormon.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

"I Can Do Hard Things"

"I can do hard things" is by far my favorite phrase. Ever. I use it all the time, whether I'm trying to accomplish some herculean task or just get through an extra rough day. I have gotten into the habit of saying it aloud whenever something is tough, therefore, the people around me now know this phrase. I didn't think very much of it until one day a few weeks ago.

I was sitting in AP Music Theory with my good friend *Jenny. I respect Jenny soooo much. She is one of the best trumpet players in the state where we live. She juggles hard classes, music, and is an awesome swimmer. In addition, she is one of the nicest, most fun people I know. It would be an understatement to say that I look up to Jenny. So there we were in AP Theory, working on some homework, or something. Jenny leaned over to me and said, "Oh Whitney, I meant to tell you this a couple days ago. Last week I had a swim meet. I was really tired and wanted to give up while competing, but then your little phrase came to my mind that 'I can do hard things!'. That totally helped me keep going, and I'm going to use that as my little mantra from now on." As you can probably imagine, her telling me that made my life. It was so special to me that something I did helped Jenny, without me even trying.

Because Jenny told me that my phrase helped her, the phrase became more significant to me, and I began to use it more. A week or two later, I was having a really rough night. I was so frustrated with my lack of musical progress because of my injuries. So I turned to Jenny. Half an hour after I sent her a super long facebook message, she sent one back. That message contained the exact words I needed to hear. She encouraged me so much. And at the very end she said, "Oh, and Whitney, you can totally do hard things!".

You, too, can do hard things; this phrase does not only apply to Jenny and I! Perhaps you, or someone you know are going through an extra tricky challenge. Maybe you are working on some really intense New Year's Resolutions. And even still, you may just need a little burst of encouragement on those extra rough days. Let me tell you, "You can do hard things". This is because we are children of God. We cannot do hard things by ourselves. Of course we make the choice to persevere and hold fast until the end, but it is through God's power and because of His love that we can accomplish great things.

What can you accomplish with this knowledge? How can you grow and progress? Test the limits. Find out!