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.