Feb 27, 2005

Here it is....(and it's long)

Here is what I promised. Here is my testimony. Here is my parable of the stove. Note that you will probably need anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes if not more to read it (depending on how fast you read and how easy or difficult it is to absorb). But...it's so worth it, even if you simply want to learn more about me...strangers and close friends and family alike will learn a lot of new things about my spiritual core. My stake president and the CES coordinator here already have copies of it. Now I want to share it with the entire world!!!

Maybe I'll not get the opportunity as a young person to be a prosylating missionary, but I have realized that doesn't mean I can't still be a missionary!!! I've never wanted to be one more badly than I do now!!!!

So here it is, world!!!

Click here to read it in its entirety.

Feb 26, 2005

Yet another favorite scripture!!!

"If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things - that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal." - D&C 42:61.


I came across this verse as I was preparing my lesson for tomorrow. The lesson is on the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. Ok, this verse really isn't directly related (although I think all scriptures are at least indirectly related to the first principles and ordinances of this blessed gospel!) but I had marked it some time ago, and it caught my eye as I was scanning through the chapter.

I just can't express my joy concerning the marvelous things I have learned in exactly this fashion!!! How I love my Father in Heaven!!! How I love my Elder Brother Jesus the Christ! How I long to be back with Them, to be in Their glory, and to Feel their love through a hug and see it in Their eyes. But They have given it to me, as They have given it to all of us, and I can feel it right now! Surely I have been privy to know a few of these mysteries and peaceable things mentioned in this verse, because the knowledge I have gained has certainly brought me the greatest of joy, and such a desire to obey the commandments of my most loving Father in Heaven!

Oh I am anxious to make all of this public. It will be soon, I am sure. I want to share it with the entire world!!!! I wish everyone was willing and able to listen to His Spirit, and to ask in Christ's name any question, with faith and believing it can be answered. Oh dear friends and family, visitors who I know and who I do not know...go and read James 1:5 - "if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

This is exactly it! This is all one needs to do to know the truth! If one simply asks, and realizes they will be given knowledge "line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little and there a little" (D&C 128:21) the maginficent and glorious truth awaits all of mankind! Joseph Smith himself read this verse, and realized that he, too, a simple young farm boy, could receive answers.

It really is that simple. It really is!! Oh I don't care one wink whether anyone who reads this or knows me believes me to be a lunatic, or a zealot, or even evil (as I have previously been called because of my belief in God). You know why I don't care? Because I know it isn't true! And I love you all! Every last one of you :) Even those of you who might think such things about me. I love you, because frankly, we are all in this together. Judging one another, hurting one another, using one another, controlling one another...these are evil practices that we need to learn to shun from our lives. We are all brothers and sisters, and we all have that same gentle, loving, and gracious Father. We all came from the same place, and we all can learn about it if we truly want to know! Is the conscience, the Holy Spirit, the still small voice...aren't all these things but a sixth sense? It has existed since the beginning of mankind, yet while we so faithfully trust our other 5 senses, we cast doubt and scorn upon those who actually recognize and use their sixth sense? That sense that not only comes from a center of truth that each and everyone one of us has inside, but also from the whisperings of a very real person, namely the Holy Ghost himself?

Think what you want, but I know it is true. I will never doubt it. I will never deny it. I for one am grateful for commandments and the opportunity to obey...especially the ones I might not understand or even agree with (although I can't think of one at this moment that I do not agree with!!). We are all on a big scavenger hunt just wanting to get home. Those commandments are only but hints to help us get home with the least pain and sorrow possible. They are not to bind us or prevent us from exercising our God given right of free agency....they only help us! They make us more free!! Oh it is so simple and so precious...we complicate things so, do we not?

Look, I have already started sharing my parable. I will stop now, because I can't do it quite yet. One thing is lack of time, but there are other reasons. But I just want to say...I am so grateful for the Atonement, for the miracle of forgiveness, for the understanding and utter appreciation of unconditional love, and for the opportunity I have to learn and grow through my trials, to learn to glory in tribulation such as Paul did...to develop strength through my weaknesses, and to learn to unconditionally love the people all around me. It is a journey that extends beyond a lifetime, but it is sooo worth the time and effort. I have never known joy that can match that of eternal knowledge and love.

I'll just end with another scripture...which is also part of the parable...

"Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other." - 2 Nephi 2:16.

Speechless

Wow, the last thing I expected was a comment from Reid. It is ironic, because I was just talking to Gilly at that moment and we were remembering that fateful New Year's Eve two years ago when it all came down. Suddenly I decided to go check my weblog and there was a comment from that very same man.

I am very grateful for his sincere apologies and thoughtful comments. It touched my heart to know that he felt remorse, yet at the same time I suddenly wished he hadn't needed to go through that cycle. I know how painful remorse can be. But...I do hope he knows that I am grateful for having known him and even for going through that bitter experience, because he is a good guy, and I think he helped me not only get myself over Jaime, but also prepared me for the much greater trial that was to come a year later.

I do not believe at all that our lives are directed by fate or are simply a vast combination of coincidences -- I believe there is a reason for everything that happens. I believe God works with our decisions, wehther they be correct or not, and tries to guide us down the best path we can go from there. Dependent upon our life's decisions, those roads may be more painful than if we had made correct decisions to begin with, but He always loves us and wants us to succeed in returning home to Him and in becoming the best we can be.

On another note...I am still overwhelmed with the positive energy and peace I have felt since writing "The Parable of the Stove" (see entry from last week). It is amazing what an eternal perspective can do to help relieve you of stress, pain, and despair. It also definitely makes trials easier to deal with!

I know I haven't made the parable public yet, and I realize that it would possibly be beneficial to all if I do so. I will, but there are a few things that need to happen before I can do so. I will make it public, though.

On still another note, I am feeling good physically. I have lost weight since the inception of my latest endeavor, and I love the feeling of knowing I can do this. I haven't kept up with the gallon of water a day thing lately, but I am proud to say I still find myself craving my Caffeine Free Diet Cokes a lot less than before, too. I still drink more water than anything. I know this is good, and a very healthy change for my body. But I still gotta work on getting to the gym at least three times a week...and so far I have failed on this part. But I'm determined, and I'll do it.

I'm looking forward to the next few weeks, because I should be hearing from that university sometime within that timeframe about this position as a study abroad coordinator. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve...I've never been this excited about a job before. Yet, knowing that getting this job (and accepting it after careful prayer and consideration) will finally get me on the path that I have been wanting to be on and have been told to wait to be on. I realize Heavenly Father might still have other plans for me, or He might let me decide for myself about this job rather than strongly confirming that it is the correct decision. But I think He will, because that is how I have been feeling ever since I saw it online and have applied.

I guess we'll see!! But no matter what happens, even if I end up staying here in Madison, I know I will be doing what I am supposed to do.

Feb 22, 2005

PCs and sensuality

I really HATE PCs!!! I have one, because I need to have one being a web developer. I hardly ever use it, but since I learned how to use Remote Desktop I have been more often. However, I prefer my new iBook over anything.

BUT...despite the fact that I have a firewalled wireless router, a firewalled internet connection, Adaware, Norton Antivirus Copoprate Edition 2003, and SpyBot...and also the fact that the PC is off almost all the time...I still got a bunch of Malware, a trojan, and a few viruses on the stupid thing.

It's screwed up, and I tried repairing it using the XP startup disk, but after 2 hours that didn't work either. So now I've erased the entire partition and reformatted...to start all over. I have been working on this thing...with the HELP, mind you, of PC experts at work...since 3 this afternoon! Plus the time I spent the last two nights trying to get it to work better!!

GRRRR, that's all I have to say. The one time I ever had to re-install the system on a Mac, it took no more than 2 hours, tops (and that included re-installing all the additional software).

Stupid PCs.....

:P

On an altogether different note..yes, I am still completely OBSESSED with Phantom of the Opera. I absolutely swoon over Graham Bickley's voice as the Phantom...and I just love the entire soundtrack. The story is spectacular (especially the book...you gotta read the book and find out about the REAL Phantom -- Erik Dessler). I also finally got to see the movie with Gilly, and I loved it, even though of course I prefer Webber's musical (from the third row ;) Gerald Butler is definitely intriging as the Phantom, even though it didn't seem he got into his part until almost the end (when he and Emmy sang "Point of no Return". But at that point, I suddenly felt all flustered as I watched. There was something about the way he looked at her, the way he sang (and anybody who knows me knows how much I flip for a romantic, passionate tenor) that just was, well, intoxicating. While that doesn't exactly follow the real story, you can see very much why Webber rewrote it to make Raoul's competition for Christine actually believable. It also makes Christine's confusion believable as well. I mean, if you got some guy dressed like that, singing with such passion, from the very depths of his soul, eying you with such desire and love, wearing this mysterious mask....hmmmm....there is just something so completely sensual about that!!!!

However, I do feel like pounding my head against the wall knowing that I have been in Paris twice and never bothered to go to the Opera House. If I had been taught in French class about the eerie lake and the labryinth below the opera house, I sure don't remember it, because if I did I would have made a POINT to go. I love mysteries, especially real ones. I enjoyed the solemn and eerie trip to Paris' catacombs the last time I was there. It is quite fascinating that there are all these tunnels, caverns, underground rivers and lakes below that breaktaking city.

But anyway...I better get back to the PC. This time, with the clean install, it BETTER work.

Feb 19, 2005

One of my favorite talks from April 2004 General Conference

I re-read this talk again after everything that I have learned in the past week -- well in the past lifetime but the understanding and the coming together of it all happened just recently. Anyway, I remembered a lot of my thoughts correlated with this oustanding and deeply moving conference talk.

I love receiving "pure intelligence", as Joseph Smith called it. I love knowing that the Spirit can talk to us in many ways, but the manner he uses the most is that still small voice that pierces to the very core of the soul. I also love how he plants ideas, concepts, and new knowledge "line upon line, precept upon precept" until we are able to finally put some of it together. It is amazing to know that what the world calls epiphanies are truly the Spirit confirming to us of a universal truth.

Link to article

Feb 18, 2005

The parable of the stove

I have been working on it since 10:30, and it is now past 2 am. I am glad I did, because as I was writing even more inspiration flowed through me. While the words are obviously my own; - jumbled and haphazard, the message is clearly not from me, but rather TO me. To me and universally everyone else as well.

I will share it soon.

However, what I did accomplish turned out to be an open letter to someone specific. It is in fact secured and accessible only to them if they so happen to eventually read this. That person knows who they are, and will know the username and password after reading the clues below.


Username: Your former middle name
Password: The word you shouted one too many times while viewing a certain comedy act last year. :)

Please note that it will probably ask you to type this information in twice.

The parable of the stove.


As for the rest of you...patience. I will try to work on it this weekend!

Feb 16, 2005

Ok tomorrow....

I've been gone all day and just got home twenty minutes ago. I'm going to have to wait until tomorrow. Jeez I hope I don't forget anything, but I'm just tooooooo tired!!!

Tonight...

I had an amazing revelation this morning. By revelation I mean one of those "eureka" moments. I can also say the Spirit confirmed it to me, but it wasn't this big gigantic event, but rather a concept that I had not thought of before that suddenly made sense.

Anyway, it's about love. And it's awesome, but I'm at work and have no time to type it up. This is here to remind me tonight that I have to get it down in writing (or blogging, in this case) -- otherwise I might forget about it.

Yeah, like that time 10 years ago when I was a sophomore at BYU...one night I stayed up ALL night because suddenly things made sense; heck the world made sense...it ALL made sense, and I wrote and I wrote and practically filled up an entire narrow-ruled notebook with the information I received.

Unfortunately, I handed that notebook in with a final anthropology assignment and never got it back :(.

Now I don't remember hardly anything about it other than that it was so completely awesome to, even if for a few minutes, seem to completely make sense of the world!

I'm not going to let it happen this time!

Feb 14, 2005

My dream job!

The next day after talking to my bishop on Wednesday night, and praying for guidance and inspiration concerning the many things troubling me, I was just casually browsing the internet when I came across a job announcement.

I about fainted! It was the job I have been looking for for the past several years. Study abroad coordinator. Plus it would also allow me to teach a class each semester! Talk about getting my foot in the door!

It is really scary for me to even contemplate it, but since things aren't going so well at my current job (and I now know I am supposed to be a teacher..not a web developer) I know I would be seriously warped if I DIDN'T consider it. I've been complaining about feeling stagnant and stuck. The fact that now I am the lowest paid and have the least vacation of all of my colleagues just put me over the top. While I do love my job in and of itself, and I really would terribly miss the people I work with, I know I have to follow God's plan for me. Even if it means an expensive relocation, saying goodbye to friends and family, moving somewhere I have never been and taking a pay cut (on the bright side, I could possibly be hired at the same salary and I would get 24 days of vacation compared to my current 10).

I have to do the right thing for myself; in order to progress. If I'm to be a teacher, then by all means, this is the right direction. And it is in a field where my expertise lays. I am an absolutely perfect fit for this position, and have a strong feeling, even now, that I will be seriously considered for the position, if I don't outright get it. The only thing against me is the fact that I'm not local. But despite my fears of picking up and moving, I will do it.

I have to do something. My sister and Tara are moving on with their lives. I cannot stay in this big duplex all alone -- it is simply too expensive. I have to move on -- I have to move up. I have to be able to serve people in my career as well.

Yes, it is really scary, but it is also exciting. I have done this once, 9 years ago, when I picked up and moved to Spain. If I could put everything aside and dismiss the naysayers who told me I was crazy, and believe with certain faith that I was supposed to go to Spain, even when I didn't have a place to live lined up, then I can do the same thing again.

Forget the naysayers!!!

Feb 10, 2005

My heart is full

I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and love right now. I am just so utterly grateful for the miracles in my life. I don't know why I was so fortunate as to be born into the family I have; and to have a mother who recognized the strong love of her Savior and the truth in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I can't even express how blessed I feel to know that I was raised correctly; being taught right from wrong; being reminded of how much my Elder Brother loved me, and having a mother and aunts and an uncle who encouraged my spiritual and emotional development with such amazing aptitude and love.

I just can't express what love fills my heart right now. Having been raised with the truth right there, in front of me; knowing that it was up to me to study and pray about the things I learned in Sunday school and the words I read in my scriptures...well, so few people get the opportunity to do so! So few people even realize they can speak to God themselves and get answers themselves! How grateful I am that I have been blessed with this knowledge since I was a very young girl, just out of her infancy.

How grateful I am and how blessed I feel to know that there is a true and living Prophet on the earth today, whose direction and love only guides us towards good and pure discoveries, knowledge, and progress!

But oh how immense is my eternal gratitude for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I get so overwhelmed sometimes, thinking I will never, ever become a better person. Sometimes I just cringe at the thought of the stupid mistakes I've made and sins I have committed. But what a miracle repentance is! What sweet joy and peace it brings!

I have learned that one of the outcomes of true repentance is not only a desire and willingness to never commit the sin again, but also a gratitude for the sorrow, pain and grief that one goes through to come to that end. Even though I am not proud of the mistakes I have made over my lifetime, I am grateful for them. In this manner, I do not regret them. Yes, I regret doing them, but certainly not the process I went through to be absolved from them.

One of the greatest outcomes of all is that knowledge of the love that my Savior and my Father in Heaven have for me. That deeply personal, divine and sacred process only brought me closer to Them. Finally understanding that the Savior truly did understand me, and had gone through the same grief and sorrow that I have, only increased my desire to never do the same things again.

Why am I sharing something so personal on a website? Because I am not ashamed of who I am. I am not ashamed for being a human being who makes mistakes. And I don't have to be ashamed, because I know that I want to continually be a better person. I just want to share what a truly wonderful and miraculous process it is to repent and be forgiven. What healing, what peace and what joy comes from doing so!

I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and His ultimate, perfect sacrifice. How much He loves me! How much He loves each and everyone one of us! His Atonement is truly the greatest miracle of all.

Feb 9, 2005

Job hunting

Well, I've applied to several jobs all over the country over the past few weeks. Well, almost everywhere except Madison, that is. I still wish there was some way I could go back to school, but while I sit here trying to figure out what I want to teach, how I'm going to do it, and where the Lord wants me to go, the only thing I can think of is starting with relocation.

I need to start fresh somewhere else. Make new friends (although of course keep the old ones) - work somewhere where I am treated fairly, and be somewhere where I can make a difference.

I have grown accustomed to being so self-absorbed (mind you, not selfish, but so wrapped up in my own problems that I haven't taken enough time to help others) that the only thing I can think of to break that mindset is fear.

And, mind you, I'm scared to death thinking about where I'm headed next. Because I honestly do not know.

But I have to accept that I am on my own now. My sister is moving on with her life, getting married...just like everyone else in my family. So, it's time to move on.

On a lighter note, I went skiing last Saturday with my family. Laurie helped Aaron (he has only been skiing once) while I tried to get used to my new skis and boots. Soon enough I found out it wasn't that that was causing flames of pain to run up and down my legs; rather, it was my muscles! They had gotten so lax over the years! It used to not hurt a bit to go skiing, but alas, I had forgotten what strong legs you need to be able to do it; ESPECIALLY to slalom and snowplow. It doesn't take much to bomb the hill (except it might cost you an arm or a leg when you finally get to the bottom) but to ski correctly, well, it takes A LOT! After the first time up and down, I was crying in pain. All I wanted was to go home. I thought, who cares that I just bought a whole new ski set! But then that fierce determination rose within me. Gosh, I was going to beat this. I have been working out. Ok, these were different muscles, but I wasn't just going to give in and stop doing something I love to do (and am good at doing!). I had to go slow, and take breaks between each run. But near the end I was doing fine, and my muscles, while still burning, were getting used to it again.

I'm glad I pushed myself. I was surprised I didn't even feel any consequences the next day. But if I had just given up, after that one try, I don't know if I would have ever gone skiing again. But I didn't give up, and while my legs weren't exactly happy with that decision, I am. It's proof to myself that I can truly suceed at anything.

Feb 7, 2005

This is what some random blogger has to say about me

I like how he thinks he has a right to call me evil on his own blog, just because my beliefs don't match his. Evil and demented, because I believe in God.

But anyway, I guess he DOES have a right to say whatever he wishes. But it just demonstrates his outright egocentrism and inability to truly accept and embrace the diversity that exists in this world.

I do not have to explain myself. I believe in God, and I know He lives. I know Jesus Christ died for me. No mean-spirited blog is going to change the way I believe. Trust me, I've faced much more severe criticism than that. Most Mormons, and even other devoted Christians, in general, have. I'm willing to stand for what I believe in, and not let nay-sayers convince me otherwise.

In fact, I am just more adamant in my stance. Thank you for reminding me how much I am truly grateful for what I have.

Diversity does INCLUDE religious people, you know. You can't pick and choose who deserves to be treated with respect and who doesn't.

We ALL do. Every person born onto this earth. And for those who simply can't accept that; well, I pity them.

I really do.

The following is quoted from our "random blogger's" blog:

"A lot of people wonder what the face of evil would look like, I think I've found it. (this is where he links to my weblog) (Sometimes, random blogging turns out horribly, horribly bad.) Also, one needs to read a few entries in to get the full picture of dementia.

"Don't let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have so many real ones to encounter."
--Oliver Goldsmith

I especially enjoyed the woman's pleas to pray for the tsunami survivors... if her god exists, it was His doing, so why would He reverse Himself because a few English speakers want him to? It boggles the mind. Nature, she be a harsh mistress. (yeah, those H's were capitalized sarcastically)

The power to change ourselves lies within us

Opportunities to transform our lives are all around us - usually under the guise of crisis.

Feb 4, 2005

forums

I added a php-based bulletin board to my brother's website....check it out:) Ok so there isn't much there yet, but the fact that I figured out how to incorporate it?? It's just cool.

XSNLINKS.COM forums

Feb 2, 2005

Yea!!! I found ski boots that FIT!!!

No longer will I have to wear my 16 year-old ski boots! Yeah, those ones that bind my ankles and just hurt so bad until my feet go numb and I no longer feel them. AND, I'm also getting rid of my 12 year old straight skis that have always been too tall for me!

I can't wait to try out my new Blizzard parabolic skis this weekend. They're supposed to be even easier to ski in. And now, with ski boots that FIT, well, I feel so blessed! It may seem dumb to many people, but the fact that I found a pair of boots that will comfortably hug my wide calves and not pinch them, well, it's a miracle! I almost started crying right there in the shop when, after a few adjustments, they turned out just perfect. My ski boot hunt has gone on for years, and yesterday I had had enough. I went to MC Sports and bought the only pair that kind of fit (well at least they buckled), but I have to take them back. For one thing, they're men's (the guy didn't know what he was doing, obviously....men's ski boots are narrower in the calves) and they hurt so bad (although not as bad as my old ones). Plus they're 2 sizes too big for me. After doing some research on the proper fit of a boot, especially on women, I realized that I would be miserable and ski miserably with those things.

So today I continued my search and this time went to a ski shop rather than a sports store. Sure, they tend to be more pricey, but I still got a great deal. I was searching for the Nordica Easymove 10, because my research told me these had the widest calf range available. I didn't find those there, but I did see some Dolomites. They are the Dolomite DC 60 L, which I vaguely remembered viewing on their website and noting that the fit was wide.

Wow, they fit wonderfully, with only a tiny bit of adjustment! They are awesome looking, too (check out the link above). One thing I liked about them was that the tongue was much softer than other boots (even the Rossingol soft boot series). It flattened against my calf rather than curling up and scraping it. This enabled me to pull the buckles tighter (which they are supposed to be) and flex comfortably. They also have the calf boot strap that helps a person ski better. Hmm, considering I wasn't too bad a skiier with really bad fitting boots and skis, I wonder what kind of skiier I will be now???? I can't wait to find out!!!

So I have my Dolomite DC 60 L boots, my Blizzard X-Spirit 3 parabolic skis, my Nova bindings and my Scott poles.

I'm soooo excited, it almost makes up for the whole one week less of vacation thing! Yipee!!!