Mar 29, 2005

My brother, the realtor

Look at this professional picture of my brother, Topher (or should I now call him Christopher??) LOL anyway, isn't HE CUTE????? He just got his realtor's license and is working for Coldwell Banker. Knowing that with his charm and charisma, and his raw talent for sales, I know he'll do wonderfully in his new career...especially with the ladies :) They ALWAYS seem to flock to him, LOL.

Mar 28, 2005

Sometimes I am SO Stupid

A rebound relationship is never a good idea, but I guess I let my weaknesses get the better of me. I guess I am much lonlier than I thought I was. Eric fulfilled a need for me, but I found myself again facing the same temptations that have plagued me with every relationship (except for Reid. He was a strong man with amazing willpower).

I complain about men being the same. But to a degree I think that generalization is valid. They seem to be thinking about sex every 6 out of 10 seconds of the day. There have been studies done to show this...and while I know there are always exceptions to the rule, this is just how they are biologically. And the reasons they are varies, but there are interesting theories out there.

But those don't matter. I guess I just have to accept that when a man finds interest in me, he's going to look at me and that is what he's going to go on. And I'm not talking about the extra weight. Although I am losing that really fast, especially this month (for whatever reason), it hasn't played a part in any relationship except for the one with Jeremy, and even that wasn't an issue until we broke up and he had to convince himself he didn't care about me nor was attracted to me. I saw right through it, and I pity him. I know why he has these misconstrued ideals of physical perfection; while I won't embarass him by spelling it out for the whole public, it is unfortunately a very common problem amongst men.

But anyway...I get very wary when I start hearing "oh how absolutely stunning you are!" Or "what a gorgeous face!" or even, in regards to my now slimming body, "I am so hot for you!" They try to tell me what I want to hear; that is, that it's not just me physically, but they are attracted to my mind and my heart. All I can do is shake my head and say "yeah, RIGHT!". Very few of them ever took the chance to get to know me for real. And when they do, they realize their idealized woman isn't perfect...in fact, she's quite emotional and very sensitive. But nevermind that I could use the help from them to become better. Instead they make it worse for the next person who comes along because they, in the end, prove to me what I have been saying all along..."you are ALL the same, you only want ONE thing, and while you can promise me eternity and love and children and all the beauty of the earth right now, you WILL not be able to deliver on your promise. Not until you grow up and look reality in the face."

And then there are some of them, like Jeremy, who actually turn it around and tell ME I have an idealized picture of them in my mind. Yet this is utterly laughable, because it is simply not something I'm capable of doing after getting to know them. I knew very well what was wrong with him, but I didn't want to change him, I simply loved him for who he was and his desire to continue bettering himself. But all the while he was the one who had ME on a pedestal, not vice versa. And when it became apparent that I am a human being with my own weaknesses and foibles...BAM...that statue fell, and how mightily it did!

What a hypocrite. But he didn't realize what he was doing. So I cannot hate him.

Then there's Eric, this handsome, intelligent man, FINALLY one older than me...with all these great qualities, a beautiful home, his own company (or whatever it is), with the same goals in mind. While I am disappointed and perhaps a little angry with him for being such a typical "man" in reaction to how upset I got with him the last time we spoke, at the same time, I know that I didn't make matters any better. I should have just shut up and not have said anything, but I'm at the point in my life where I can't just "let" things pass by, and I have to test the waters to see the strength that a man posesses. Because what if, in my old age, I get crippled, or am in a coma? What if I lose a child and fall into deep post partum depression? What if one of our children takes the wrong path and makes very grave errors? Will the man I marry be able to handle these kinds of things, and find joy in serving his family, and expressing unconditional love? Or will he run away, or go looking for an affair when I'm 9 months pregnant, or abandon his wayward children? So anyway, I expressed how very upset I was, and rather than coming to me and talking about it, to iron out any misunderstandings I may have had, he ran the opposite direction and started avoiding me. I cannot say I'm surprised. But he, too, went on and on about how I couldn't possibly "scare" him. I don't know, maybe I was testing him, because it seems that I was at least half conscious of what I was saying to him. But can you blame me? I am scared to death of a repeat of Jeremy! I DO NOT DESERVE THAT. But I DID apologize to him, 1) because I WAS sorry, and 2) in hopes he'd return with a sincere apology as well for hurting me. But I guess I bruised his ego too much. That and the fact that I obviously fell off HIS pedestal too.

Oh well. Frankly, I do not want a man who his this misconceived perception of me, or expects perfection. It isn't gonna happen. It should be enough that I want to learn from my mistakes and continue becoming a better person, but rather than try to help me with these goals, men become self-absorbed and let something as stupid as over-emotion scare them away.

All I can say is "whatever". He, too, failed the test.

When a guy comes around that is truly willing and wanting to pass that test for the same reasons I would...simply because it is the RIGHT thing to do and an eternal marriage IS something important enough to sacrifice ANYTHING for...well...I don't know if such a guy even exists, but if he does, I hope to someday meet him. But at this point, I don't think such a man is out there.

Mar 25, 2005

I'm GOING TO NYC THIS WEEK!!!

Woo hoo! Guera, we are CRAZY but I love ya for it :) This is gonna be a BLAST and a much needed vacation!!! Thelma and Louise have NOTHING on us!! :D

But in seriousness, I really have been wanting to return to NYC and go to Ground Zero and pay my respects. Not only to those who lost their lives on that fateful day, but to those who selfishly donated their time and efforts, and most of all their hearts, to saving all those they could. I will also pay my respects there to the soldiers of our military and their families, because despite the fact that they say Al-Queda and Saddam Hussein were not involved in any sort of conspiracy together, we all know that if Sept 11 wouldn't have happened, we probably wouldn't have gone to war with Iraq.

I am not making a judgment call; just stating the facts. I will always remember what I did and how I felt on that day, I will always remember those who have fallen at the hands of terrorists and those who have fallen and/or have accepted the call of duty to support democracy and freedom everywhere and for everyone -- not just for the USA and for Americans.

May God bless them and their families. Their deaths were not in vain. They died supporting the greatest, most unalienable right of mankind -- freedom, which foundation is built upon the God-given gift of free agency.

Mar 24, 2005

What a touching, beautiful song

You have to listen to this song. It is so beautiful...and listening to that small child sing is just one of the most moving things I have ever heard.

Teacher, Do You Love Me?

The Meaning of Life

My sister sent me a link to this story from Fox News. I agree with her assessment; that the last point Cavuto makes is indeed an important one that we should all consider.

But then again, we see it in abortion cases as well. Scott Peterson was charged for the death of his unborn son, yet if Lacy had decided to end that life herself, then she would have been allowed to do so.

Very hypocritical of us. It's a sad world we live in.


The Meaning of Life
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
By Neil Cavuto

FOX NEWS
Things like life and death are deeply personal decisions and I think both sides on this Terri Schiavo (search) case argue it from deeply held and honestly held convictions. So I'm not here to yell, or shout, or demagogue.

No one knows what Terri's thinking or even "if" she's thinking. We do know — for now — that she is alive.

Maybe years and years ago, she would have wished she were dead to see herself alive like she is today. We just don't know... for sure. Her husband says one thing. Her parents say another. And a nation rushes to make out living wills so that their intentions are never in doubt.

My only question is: What, ultimately, is life?

If you were to ask a 20-something year old that when they were 40-something they'd have a debilitating disease that would slowly sap their strength, their ability to walk and see, even think and move and that this disease would only worsen and likely kill them, they might put in writing: kill me first.

But many who deal with such debilitating diseases fight on, live on, carry on and go on. Just like the soldier who could never envision a life without arms or legs, yet somehow adjusts and rues the day he ever thought of ending that life.

"Life" is different things to different people and I don't think it's a bad thing to cling to — even while the life we cling to isn't perfect.

For me, this much is clear: I think our presumed bias should be toward life. Let other countries explore euthanasia and killing someone mercifully. My fear is that as such logic progresses, it isn't always merciful.

Something is very wrong in a country that can throw you in jail for not giving your dog food and water, but not even care if you do the same to a human being.

[Link to story]

Mar 21, 2005

The power of a woman's charms

It's utterly amazing how one little smile, a sultry stare, a flirtatious wink or simply parted colored lips can completely turn on a man to the point of being completely powerless before you. I mean, a woman doesn't even have to do all the vile things some women resort to to get attention; you just lower your voice, smile slyly and look him in the eye, draw out your words but at the same time make intelligent conversation. If you are wearing a good lip gloss and high heels...he's even more out of control. Wink at him and he'll be yours in two seconds flat.

I don't do this to control men, and I know it's probably not such a great thing to take pleasure in the power I feel when a man gets to the point of wanting you so badly he can't hide it, but in the end, I'm not saying anything enticing or wearing anything provocative...I'm just being me -- just a coy me.

I can't help it if I feel so damn good when I feel desired.Plus now that I have gone down an entire size, well, it feels so freakin' great! I'm more confident and more willing to take on anything that comes my way. But I especially like that feeling I get when flirting. Sure, I could do this even at at a higher weight -- I've never had any problems attracting men on or off the street. But knowing you look that much better, and that you have that much more confidence....well if you don't abuse this God-given power, it is absolutely exhilirating:)

I had fun today using my womanly wiles to subtly affect men. Evil of me? Maybe :) But there is one in particular who I find myself attracted to and thinking about often. I can play hard to get for the first few interactions, but once a guy has made his intentions clear and I too feel the same way, well...then I just stop with games altogether. I think its cruel to continue them. Yet I read so many things that say they are necessary to keep a man's attention. I hate thinking this is true, but experience seems to validate this point, unfortunately! So I never know what to do. Am I rushing in too quickly? Am I playing hard to get too long? I honestly never know.

But I WILL say that there is nothing sexier than a man who is intelligent and quick-witted, educated and passionate, driven and focused, with a great sense of humor and a love for adventure. And if he can make me feel like a queen on top of that...then I'm the one who's a goner :)

Horray for womanhood ;)

Mar 19, 2005

This book has completely changed my life

I went to the temple yesterday in a desperate search of that peace that I needed. I had been in such utter torment and despair over the past week, with little sleep and very little food to nourish my weary body. Yet I crave spiritual nourishment more than anything, and I was convinced that doing temple work would be the answer.

Never have I made a better decision in my whole entire life.

I cannot and will not go into specifics, because it is sacred and holy to me, but I will say that something changed me while there. I witnessed a miracle, a true and indescribable miracle, and my tears of relief and an amazing almost supernatural power came over me. I found a strength I didn't know was there. A prayer had been answered; directly to me.

We stopped at an LDS bookstore before we headed home. While there I was looking for some good books to help me better understand some of the things that have been happening, and to better understand Jeremy and his decision. I had also hoped that somehow my unanswered questions and an explanation for why I have felt so compelled to act as such towards him; and why or how I seem to have this supernatural power to be able to truly forgive him and see through his eyes the things that have happened in his life. While we have bid our final farewell, I still needed an explanation. I knew I could not get one from him, but perhaps God could give one to me.

I was browsing the best sellers and then suddenly my eyes fell upon a thin paperback book. "The Worth of A Soul -- A Personal Account of Excommunication and Conversion" by Steven A. Cramer. While no, Jeremy has not been excommunicated, I still felt an extremely strong impression to pick the book up. I read the back cover.

I discovered God's love for his children through my family's forgiveness. From the moment of my confession, my selfless wife was able to look beyond her own pain to the need of saving the family.

I never felt a moment's revenge.

Through the years of struggle, my family's attitude was that we were all in this together. Though I never deserved their love or forgiveness, their actions always affirmed:

We still love you. We don't understand what you are going through, but it must be awful for you, and we want to help. We still need you, and we want you back as part of us. No matter how long it takes, you can count on us to see it through with you.

Thank you forever, Steven.


Maybe it is impossible to immediately see the connection that I made by reading this to that which I have bitterly experienced with Jeremy. However, I knew I had to buy it and to see what it was about. I wasn't able to read it until today, but I must admit that only into the first chapter I started sobbing. The words I read brought back a vivid memory. I have heard those words before -- I have heard that anguish before. It was if a few pages of my memory had been lifted and placed in this book that was written over 10 years ago.

I sobbed the whole way through the book. However, I never have so voraciously read anything in my life (except the scriptures, but I must admit that voracity was still not the norm!). This book describes the choice this one boy made when he was only 12 years old that led up to completely destroying his life. He openly speaks of everything and how it started, to the very bitterness and hell he found himself surrounded by. Yet through it all, even through his verbal abuse, resentment and hatred towards his family and even his church, his family stuck by him. His wife stood by him, despite the misery it put her through. She knew that he needed her, even when he rejected her.

And this man explains the bittersweet journey he made and pure and utter joy he found when he finally realized that all the will power in the world, all the prayers and pleas for strength had no effect upon him as he had hoped. He finally realized that he had been trying to save himself...and go directly to God for help. He had completely bypassed the Savior. He had thought and had expected that it was up to him to overcome his weaknesses, but he hadn't understood that the ONLY way...the true and ONLY WAY to independence was through the COMPLETE dependence on the Savior.

I cannot even do this book justice by trying to describe it here. It is heart-wrenching and utterly moving. He takes you down the path he himself took, and describes all the feelings and emotions and actions in vivid clarity and detail.

This book is a MUST READ for everyone. It is a true testimony to the worth of a soul, and that while man may abandon God, God will never abandon Man.

Mar 17, 2005

Remorse = God

I had this big long speel about what I think about Atheism and how it makes absolutely no sense. I then wrote this super long response to a comment left. But I realized...I still sounded like an idiot...and sounded prejudiced. And is that the way to behave??

No.

I cannot convince anyone of anything. And I didn't mean to sound like that, but I am so utterly frustrated. I just do not understand why some people would willingly leave a religion that teaches us to only be good, to be independent, to be educated, to be learned, to be wise, to be forgiving, to be loving, to fully understand the Atonement NOT through condemnation but through love and understanding...yet people will still choose Atheism, which makes utterly no sense. I can see it's appeal, but I just refuse to believe that certain people I know who have chosen this road really believe it.

It doesn't make sense. But they have a right. And they deserve my respect for their beliefs, as long as their beliefs do not hurt anyone.

So I will just leave it at this scripture. It says all I was trying to say, but in a much condensed, more powerful way.

11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.

13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon." - 2 Nephi 2:11-13

Mar 16, 2005

Relying on the Savior

"Jesus said, 'Without me ye can do nothing.' (John 15:5). I testify that that is God's truth. Christ is everything to us and we are to 'abide' in Him permanently, unyieldingly, steadfastly, forever. For the fruit of the gospel to blossom and bless our lives, we must be firmly attached to Him, the Savior of us all, and to this His Church, which bears His holy name. He is the vine that is our true source of strength and the only source of eternal life. In Him we not only will endure but also will prevail and triumph in this holy cause that will never fail us."

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on Relying on the Savior

Leave me alone!

My gosh, I thought this was over already!!!! Why can't you just leave me alone??? Haven't you done enough damage?? Do you honestly believe you aren't as guilty of the same thing you accuse me of? Do you REALLY want to know why I was still clinging to some stupid hope???

Take a look. This says it ALL.

So now what is the real question, Jeremy, or Brock, or whoever the hell you are? Can your bipolar personality come to terms with the truth?? You ask why I can't leave you the hell alone....but then can't I ask you the same thing?? Why can't you leave ME the hell alone? Why did you keep visiting me even when I would go months without even sending you an email, trying with all MY might to FORGET you and convince myself that I misinterpreted everything from day one?? You have to admit it; half of you hates me, and half of you is drawn to me. You have to be honest with yourself and ask what motivated you. If it wasn't a sadistic guilt trip, or a fascination with the "woman who I will wait the eternities for; yes if you marry another I will break his legs to prove to you that you are the one for me", or is it simply that you came back because I represent all that is good and just, and what is true??

If the latter is the answer, that is commendable. But even though you don't know what is true quite yet, you KNOW where to find it. You aren't sure, but something inside you tells you it is RIGHT HERE.

I hate to break it to you, but you are the one who is accountable for the entire year of "hell" that you have experienced. If you want to use ME and MY behavior as an excuse for the drastic lifestyle change you have made, and your leaving the church, then so be it. I'm not the one accountable and you know it.

According to your standards I am the "sick and twisted" one. Well if that is true, you will have to bear that label TOO.

Hmm. I wonder why neither of us could LEAVE EACH OTHER ALONE!!! It doesn't take a nuclear scientist to figure THAT one out.

So no, don't you dare to believe your self-created hell is my fault. You say I haunt you from afar; that's only because you ALLOW me to by haunting ME. You got an email or two every two or three months, and mister, this last one was ONLY because I had heard you were having some difficulties and were making poor choices. But you have a tendency to push away the very people who love you, because you think their worrying for you is nothing but a way to control you and a way to justify their "beliefs". Well the truth is that we (your family, including ME) only wanted what was best for you. We've been down this road. We know doubt. We went through the hell that it takes to find the truth, and we FOUND it. Heaven forbid that we wanted to help prevent you from having to go through the same heartache. But at least you recognize that you can't live on borrowed light, and have to find the truth on your own. That is commendable and deserves respect.

As for writing your friends, well all I can say is that Marky Mark contacted me FIRST. He saw me in Mingle and said hi, remember me? I'm Jeremy's best bud. He is the one that automatically opened up to me and started talking.

So Jeremy, ask yourself just WHY you can't leave me alone, either!!

Make up your damn mind! If you hate me so damn much don't VISIT my website! Go away! I don't want to think about you anymore! I am weak, and I don't need you and your bipolar personality leading me on with any more false hopes!

But I've made up my mind. I have seen your true colors; I have seen both Brock and Jeremy, and frankly, like I said, Jeremy is dead. Brock took over, and I don't like him one bit. So whoever the hell it is who comes and visits me, Brock or what's left of Jeremy, stay the hell away, and tell the other one to do me the same favor.

Mar 15, 2005

A friend's question about evil

I read something from a friend that made her question whether she was evil or not. She was feeling guilt and shame for some of the things she has done in her life, and because of those choices, she felt badly. She questioned "am I evil because I have done these things? But if I feel bad about it, doesn't that mean I'm not evil?"

She hit it right on the head. That is exactly it. The fact that she feels bad about ill-made decisions and that remorse overwhelms her is a good, healthy, wonderful thing. It may not feel like it, but it means you are still receptive to the gift that Christ has given to all mankind. The fact that you feel remorse and grieve means you have chosen to follow the path to God. It means you have allowed your conscience to guide you, and you have not let that light of Christ that we are all born with be buried underneath the lies and deceptions of the world. You feel remorse because that is part of the great Plan of our Father in Heaven! It means that you can progress..it means that you can learn...it means that you can repent and feel the joy that comes from doing so!

Evil people feel no remorse. Evil people have lost almost every last bit of their conscience. Whatever is left they simply ignore. For example, take a look at the serial rapists, sexual predators and serial killers in our society. When you see them on TV, when you look into their eyes, you can see that everlasting destruction that they allowed to enter into their lives. They may use words and flattery to express remorse, but rarely do they even bother doing this. They do not feel it. Most of them have already sold their soul. And it all started because they felt victimized, they developed these characteristics through self-fulfilled prophecy, they all began with just a "little" pornography and just a "little" compromise, thinking it could never hurt them. But we all know and we have all read the studies of people like this. The vast majority of them started out small. But their addictions rose to such a level that it desensitized them to that light of Christ and a complete apathy to the worth and value of the soul; both theirs and the souls of others. Instead, they view people as objects; when they hate, they try to destroy. When they lust, they fulfill that need in any way possible and do not care who they hurt. They are unable to even fathom what love truly is, and instead they believe that the power and pleasure that people can give them is what love is all about. Pure Christ-like love is completely foreign to them now. They do not care who they hurt; they feel above it all. They feel they are superior beings, more intelligent than the rest of us, and they look at humanity with scorn and distaste.

Dear friend, THAT is evil. You are no where near that; in fact you are on the opposite side of the spectrum. But we all must remain vigilant. We are all capable of becoming children of Lucifer just as we are all capable of being witnesses of Christ and recognizing the value within us. There is often a fine line between love and hate....but that fine line has captured many, many souls.

But do not worry. Your remorse is a blessing from Heaven. It is a guide to eternal progression:) You are on your way. You are doing well. And we love you for the person you are!!!! :)

Goodbye

Goodbye, Jeremy. This time I mean it. My eyes have been opened and I finally see who you truly are. The lessons I have learned and the strength I have found in my Savior is worth all that I have been put through by you and because of you.

I know God did not lie to me, but you used your free agency. You have vacated your seat and someone else will fill it. Someone who truly deserves the love and the empathy that only I can give.

I want you out of my life, and I will remember you no more. However, you will eternally remember me. I just pray that for my own safety And for yours that I never see or hear from you ever again. You died long ago, and I'm finally coming to terms with my grief. The man I once knew is dead.

Goodbye.

Mar 14, 2005

All I can say...

Is that Satan's tactics are so utterly predictable. Jeremy wrote the nastiest letter I have ever read, yet I was not one bit surprised. I knew beforehand what he would say, and sure enough, he left nothing out. Every last thing I expected from his poisonous lips came.

What an utter shame. A man with the potential to affect millions of people for good has decided to take the "road more travelled".

I have never been so defamed and dishonored and treated like utter waste. But, his treatment of me only reflects the feelings he has towards himself. It is classic human psychology at its worst.

He cannot remove my integrity. He cannot take away that which God has given. Man cannot give or take away truth. Truth is eternal and unchanging. No matter what he tries to do; no matter how he tries to make me feel as miserable as he does, there is no way on earth or in hell that he will ever, ever be able to take away my knowledge and my faith. His has been long gone, but mine has grown more than I had ever dreamed possible.

His treatment of me is only proof of the value of his soul in the eyes of God. Satan is destroying him. Satan wouldn't bother if Jeremy wasn't such an imminent threat to his kingdom. But Jeremy IS a threat...and Satan knows it. So far he has succeeded...and now he is coming after me through Jeremy and through the same ways he got Jeremy ensnared.

But I will not let it happen. He already took away the man I loved and cherished. There is no way I will EVER allow him to take me down with him.

May God bless him as he once again slips away down that path to certain despair and self-created hell. May God soften his heart and show him how much He loves him, and may he decide to come back to Christ knowing the sweetness and joy that only repentance can bring.

He is no more

I think it is true; many people really want to be miserable. They take comfort in pitying themselves and in giving up. They'd rather follow the crowd and enter a world of self-destruction than to accept the one thing they craved with all their hearts but at the same time believed they would never deserve it.

We are commanded to love all men; and those who hold the priesthood are even more accountable for doing so. How someone who once had such a testimony can allow himself to sink so low as to hurt a daughter of God in such a way; to desire for her to be as miserable as he is; to deny that very gift that God had finally given him in answers to his prayers...well, it is unfathomable to me. But this is how it is. And I cannot change that.

I have never been treated or hated in such a fashion. But I have learned from it. I have learned that returning that sentiment, as much as my carnal nature so wants to would only cause me to fall into the same trap.

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;" - Matthew 5:44



Hatred, resentment and unforgiveness towards other people has NEVER led anyone to happiness or to satisfaction. I hate to say this, but that is the swiftest road to hell.

It is the antithesis of the Holy Priesthood and the antithesis of all that Christ has taught. Satan could not be happier.

At least I have been able to withstand the temptation to also fall in the same way. Nothing has been harder for me to do, nothing in my entire life...but the sweet peace that comes from loving someone who truly is dedicated to being my mortal enemy has only brought me closer to God.

All I can now is pray that I can finally be released from this. I did what I could. I know my Father in Heaven appreciates my efforts, as I have been told through a blessing just yesterday. But I am human too...and while I am able to withstand the horrors and hatred of the world better than many people, I also can only take so much.

It was against my better interests to try and help him. I did not want to do it. I wanted to save myself from the pain I knew he would inflict upon me.

But instead I chose to do what Heavenly Father asked. He didn't require it of me. He told me that I would never be denied the blessings promised to me if I could not find the strength to do this. But as I said a few days ago, I decided I could no longer let fear control me.

So knowing this would happen, I still did what I could. I did what all men are commanded to do.

Mar 13, 2005

Never have I known for such a surety

I am so utterly amazed and grateful for the miracles of the gospel. I have had one of the most difficult nights of my life last night; and I slept about two hours. The despair and the darkness I felt overwhelming me, supressing me and trying to choke me, for the first time in my life, gave way to actual fear of the Adversary. In all my lifetime I had never feared him; I knew that I posessed more strength than he; and I knew that I was ready for battle with him and was ready to win; because I was armed in the armour of the gospel of peace.

I have edited this post after waking up suddenly early this morning and realizing that I did not want any ugliness on my webpages. While I had intended it only to help people recognize the lies and deceiving ways of Satan, I decided that it was not a good idea to keep it here. Reading it, until I got to the end and described the beauty and exquisite joy that is found in repentance, I found myself filled with despair.

While I know we all suffer and fall to temptations of every kind, I do believe that the light of Christ, which is in each of us, can help us discern those cunning and deceitful traps. Here I thought to somehow "expose" Satan for the destroyer that he is, but later I realized that I was probably only helping his cause, at least against me, because reading over those words, which while all togther very true, I felt such sorrow.

I myself have gone down those roads at times. We all have. But I truly believe it is more important to focus on the beauty and the gloriousness of our humanity and what we are capable of doing with it, rather than just reminding myself and those of you who read this site of the despair and heartache that ensues after succombing to temptations.

Let us all well remember how Satan starts -- and that is enough. Let us all remember that all it takes is for him to convince us that we are worthless, or for him to place a doubt or fear to cause us to question what we know is true...that is all it takes to take us from the optimal path of following Christ and leading towards Salvation; ever on grasping to that iron rod, to that giant, spacious dark building, that one that draws us, taunts us, and makes us feel inferior just looking at it.

It is never too late, my dear brothers and sisters. We can also turn to Christ. Please, do not despair; do not let your hearts be troubled, for as Christ has said, "Lo, I am with Thee, even until the end of thy days".

I am going to replace my description of the road to self-destruction with words and scriptures that speak of hope and peace; that speak of the exquisite joy that true repentance brings. This is what we need to focus on.

Alma's conversion is a remarkable story of an evil man who had spent his life committing the grossest of sins, causing havoc and destruction wherever he went. Yet this man, this evil man, was able to be forgiven. I am sure it was not easy for him. I am sure he doubted himself many times. I am sure that in those initial stages of repentance, he felt worse than he had ever felt in his entire life. But after he was able to make that most difficult step; that one in having to recognize to his horror his sins, he was then able to receive the greatest, sweetest, purest joy that can ever be known to man, and it is that very joy that only comes from the glorious grace and love of our Savior.

"Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yeah, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy." -Alma 36:21
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This first stage of Godly sorrow is not something to be feared. It is that first vital step towards our Salvation. It is something we all, every last one of us, can acquire. We only need to be willing to try! Even the greatest of addictions can be broken with the understanding and acceptance of the Atonement. But before we can even get there; before we can even begin to realize that we truly DO merit His grace...we have to be willing.

We may continue to fall, to falter, and perhaps we are unable to completely resist temptation; especially the sorest of ones. But this is when we need the Atonement the most. We must understand that our weaknesses may not be able to be overcome in one process -- we must understand that sometimes, for some of us, it takes a long time, and maybe for some even a lifetime, to be able to truly overcome those very things we so want to be rid of. But we must not curse God for giving us those weaknesses and addictions. The only way we will ever eventually be able to overcome them is to realize that He has given them to us for a reason. He has a specific learning process that He knows that we need to experience; and that process will only happen if we are humbled to the point of submissiveness to the Will of our Father. Sometimes we need to seek external help from friends or loved ones or professionals (I know I have, and I am not afraid to admit it!). Sometimes we need to recognize that in our darkness and humanity, in that very part of us that seems to eternally be damned, in that horrible sense of failure and self-loathing that comes from so many unsuccessful attempts to rid ourselves of our greatest weaknesses, it is here when we need to recognize what the Apostle Paul did about himself.

 
"7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." -2 Corinthians 12:7-10
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An apostle of Christ, brothers and sisters, an apostle of our Lord even suffered such bitterness at an iniquity he posessed that he was unable to get rid of. What does this say about him? What does this say about us??

What does this say about the love our God and our Savior have for us?

What does this say about the whole plan of happiness?

"For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yeah all are hardened; yeah, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made." - Alma 34:9


Oh, dear people that I know and love, and brothers and sisters who I do not know but who I still love, please recognize this, if nothing else! Please see what this scripture in Corinthians is really saying to us!

" For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him shall have everlasting life." - John 3:16 .

We cannot be exalted above measure...there must needs be opposition; there must needs be temptations and afflictions of every kind.

THIS IS THE ONLY WAY!!. And there IS hope for all of us. No matter what, if we do all that we can do, we can know with a surety that the rest can be laid at His feet, and his grace will succor us and lead us into eternal salvation and celestial glory. Just as Elder Simmons said, "What does the Lord expect of us with respect to our challenges? He expects us to do all we can do. He does the rest. Nephi said, For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. (2 Nephi 25:23)."

A glimmer of hope ignites within us, and we feel that overwhelming sense of love and awe fill our entire being. Could it be possible?? Could I ever merit the grace of our Savior? Did He, in fact, die for me? Did He suffer in Gethsamane for me? After all that I have done...He is still willing to carry me and support me??

He was there and supported Alma, and as I will emphasize again, Alma was one of the most wicked men on the face of the earth.

But Christ loved him and Christ succored him. Christ was there holding him and crying with him.

And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yeah, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison and from bonds, and from death; yeah, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me." -Alma 36:27.


This is true conversion, folks. Conversion cannot and must not be equated with perfection. While in our earthly state, we will never be perfect. We are still unclean and spotted with grime and soot. But we finally receive that witness that speaks to us of Christ's love and understanding of our weaknesses. We submit our will to that of the Father; not because he wants to dominate us, but because He simply loves us and knows what is best for us. Now we are able to truly repent, because we not are able to recognize that yes, we do merit the same grace that everyone else does, after all that we can do.

Suddenly those traps that Satan lies for us become all the clearer and more easily discernable, and we find that we have a greater desire to avoid them and a greater desire to obey the commandments; not because we have to, not because our parents told us so, not because we are afraid of the judgements of man, but simply because we finally have gained a testimony to the Great Plan of Happiness, and recognize at last that the less detours we make, the more exquisite and powerful our joy becomes. We still make mistakes, but we find ourselves travelling down that road less and less, and we find ourselves returning again in a much quicker fashion; simply because we have now taken upon us the name of Christ and we are better able to make those discernments and find we have begun to abhor all that is corrupt and evil.

Let me end this little story by testifying to you of the truth of what I speak here. We all have gone down that road and fallen into that trap that Satan has planted. Some of us have gone farther than others; some of us have gone more often than others. But let me testify to you of this; the only thing that matters is that we learn from our mistakes and repent. We are not comparing who is best or whoo can keep which commandment the longest. This is not a competition. We are all in this together. When we are truly converted to the truth and the gospel, we do not feel this envy or resentment towards others. We truly rejoice when the people we love and cherish finally recognize the trap they are in and make their way back towards God. We truly sorrow when we watch the ones we love begin that trip into despair, and despite all the love we offer, we find we are only rejected and denied.

But true love is charity.

And charity never faileth.

I have learned that I am a posessor of charity only when I am able to love a person who is currently outside of the trap and living his life to the best of his ability, just as much as I love somone going into that trap, and ever after equally will I love someone who is coming out of it. I find that true love exists only when we can recognize and accept our humanity, and rather than judge each other and ourselves us unworthy lost souls, we instead glory in each other's strengths and help each other through our weaknesses. The pure love of Christ is this, brothers and sisters!! It is when we can look at the murderer in the jail cell and look at the current prophet of God, and are able to see that both souls are equally precious in the eyes of God! This is what Christ has done for us. He loves us all equally; but in such a manner we cannot comprehend. I think back at the despair I went through over the past 24 hours, and at how I marvelled that Christ, in His Charity and Love for all of us, not only was well acquainted with my grief, but that he had experienced that horrible heart-wrenching pain and that genuine fear of Satan like I had; but multiplied by every human being born on this earth, and multiplied by not only the pain that comes from our sins, but also from our grief, despair, physical, emotional and spiritual pain and heartache.

When I begin to think about this, I realized why that great and last sacrifice had to be the sacrifice of a Perfect Being. No one else could have born the gall of bitterness and the destructive forces of sorrow and grief that He, our Savior, had to bear. No one but a Divine Advocate could have done this for us! And even He, in His perfection, bled from every pore!

But I see the beauty and the wisdom in the Mysteries of God and in His plan of happiness, and in His gospel. I see that the sacrifice itself was not an end in itself, but as it were the great and LAST sacrifice, it was also a beginning. Before we even got here God knew that we had to experience opposition; to know the sweetness of unconditional love and the bitterness of apathy and hate. He knew we had to make choices in order to actually realize our divine potential, and He knew that the only way this could happen would be to allow us to sin.

This has been the plan from the beginning. That sacrifice was expedient for us to be able to eventually become like Him through the bitterness of wrong choices and the pure joy and sweetness of experiencing true repentance. As Alma said, there was nothing as bitter as his sorrow for his sins, but there was nothing as exquisite as his joy at finally being able to fully experience repentance. If we didn't sin, we would never know the significance of that sacrifice.

"Therefore it is expeident that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shll there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; and it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away.

And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal." - Alma 34:13-14


I will close by telling you that I truly know how Alma felt. My sins are different from his, but the emotions that flooded through me through the entire repentance process was indeed the same.

I also implore you all as well as myself to be alert and vigiliant, for Satan is getting harder and harder to discern during these last days. So many of his lies have been turned into acceptable practices in our society, that we begin to confuse right and wrong. It is so much better to avoid the whole horrible experience with him if we are able to! If we can learn from other people's mistakes, if we can be wise and learn from the teachings of the prophets, if we can be prudent and regularly study our scriptures and to serve each other with a pure heart, we will find more strength to overcome temptation and more power to resist being led back into that awful hell that has been disguised as a palace of treasures and pleasures.

There is truly nothing as painful as the Godly sorrow that comes upon us when we recognize that we have sinned; and we recognize that God cannot look upon us with the least bit of allowance. Yet how great and exquisite is the joy of being able to experience His love through the actual acceptance and understanding of His Beloved Son's Atonement! I testify that there is nothing sweeter; nothing better, nothing that can bring greater joy that that of repentance and of understanding the significance of that great and Last Sacrifice.

And this is a joy and a peace that man and this world cannot give, but can only be given to us by our Father through His Son. But it is also a joy and peace that man can never, ever take away. For it is truth eternal, and it is the most precious gift any of us can ever be given.

Mar 12, 2005

Yet again...Joseph Smith continues to remind me

His words again thunder deep within my heart. He was a man who truly knew what persecution was. He was a man who many laughed and scorned at; accusing him falsely of many things...insisting that he was crazy or deranged or even worse...yet this wonderful young man never denied what he knew was true. He died for his knowledge, but he never once denied it. He knew that his integrity and his knowledge were priceless -- more important than any thing that any person could ever do to him. He knew the Adversary...very well, because he was followed by him everywhere he went. But he never permanently faltered.

"So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation." - Joseph Smith HIstory 1:25.


Heavenly Father hasn't asked me to go through what Joseph Smith has. But I have been given my own cross to bear. I can learn much from the passion and intensity of that young prophet. I now know what it is to be hated and reviled for righteousness' sake...even by those who have the truth as well. I know what it is liked to be scorned and laughed at; to be told that I am crazy and out of my mind.

Yes, I know these all too well. And all because I refuse to deny what I know is true, and I refuse to break a promise that I made to my Father in Heaven. My unconditional love, my unwavering testimony, my genuine desire to serve, and my passion for the truth has not brought happiness and joy to my life in the temporal sense...on the contrary, I have known much heartache and despair; many nights on my knees praying...learning line upon line about truths I didn't yet know...realizing my place, my mission, and increasing my desire to love, to serve, and to teach the gospel.

Yet I am reviled and hated for it -- and not by enemies, but rather, by the very people I love the most.

I made a decision today. "Fear is not an option". I have been too scared and so focused on my feelings and on my self-preservation, and at risking "offending" someone, I would just remain quiet. Every missionary opportunity always backfires on me anyway...and people misunderstand the purity of my intentions for some sort of offensive attack on their personality or their choices. I can't seem to get across, no matter what I do or say, what I mean in my heart...and people just get so mad at me and convince themselves that I am judgmental and NOT to be trusted.

This has caused some considerable fear on my part when it comes to sharing the gospel. And you know what? I am more scared to share it and my testimony with someone who has already been baptized a Latter-Day Saint but is going through a difficult and confusing time than I am with someone who hasn't. Why? Because they tend to be the greatest persecutors of them all.

I can't allow my fear to continue. I said many prayers today, but they all centered on my uttermost desire to do the right thing. I am no longer willing to concern myself with how I feel, or how I am perceived, or how I am and will continue to be attacked. I am still scared, because if there is one power that a few select people have over me, it is the power of knowing how much I love them anod how much it terrifies me to anger or offend them. This fear has prevented me from doing or saying things I should, and has caused me to do or say things I shouldn't. But I cannot allow this to continue. I have never in my life asked God for what I did today, but I pleaded that He use me to fulfill my mission and my blessing -- even if it meant that I had to give up anything or everything in order to do so. I was finally willing to face all my fears of rejection and hate and to do the right thing, even if it meant more pain and despair in my future. Even if it meant initially offending or angering someone I loved. But as more time goes on, and more of my family and friends start to doubt their own testimonies, become inactive, make some wrong choices, and in some cases, completely remove themselves from the church...the more I see that the thing Heavenly Father has asked me to sacrifice in order to be there for these people, even when they don't want me to be, is of little consequence.

"10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;

11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.

15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-11, 15-16


Heavenly Father hasn't asked perfect people to teach and preach repentance. He has asked imperfect men and women to teach his Gospel and bring souls unto Him. Who better is there to reach out to others than other fallible human beings? Christ is the epidomy of perfection AND grace; for He truly knew the galls of bitterness, our pains and trials, and the sorrow for our sins. But mankind, we are ALL imperfect..and of course that is the very reason He died for us. But who better to teach His word of love and redemption than those who need it the most -- and have accepted it?

I certainly need his Atonement. I certainly am a grave sinner and utterly imperfect. But He loves me, and my worth in His eyes is beyond my comprehension. The least I can do for Him is to love His brothers and sisters unconditionally as well, and to do my best to lovingly reach out and "cry repentance" unto them. Because by doing so, I am also crying repentance unto myself.

I remember how scared I was when Jess was so angry with me concerning that whole Lord Valdemort business. I cried a lot during that period, but I knew, despite her anger, that I had done the right thing. To this day, she continues to be one of my best friends, and one I admire very much. She feels remorse for how she treated me, but as I told her, "I understood. I expected it, and it is forgotten". And that is true. I love her, and I loved her then, and she knows it. And for me, knowing that at least that time I put away my fears of her rejection and did what I had to do in order to help her, is what gives me great comfort and strength to continue doing so for others.

I know that I would want a friend or family member who loved me enough to do the same thing for me. In fact, I have been in that situation before...and while I was so angry and so hurt by how they were treating me, I eventually realized it was done simply because they loved me.

I cannot doubt and I cannot fear. I cannot allow Satan to win. Sometimes doing the right thing and loving someone so much does only bring pain and bitterness, but in the end, knowing that you did all you could and you did what Heavenly Father asked you to do makes it all worthwhile.

I'm thankful for these lessons. I guess even though I'm in the middle of some bitterness and persecution, I'm even thankful for it. I know it is helping me to become a better person.

I'm grateful that Reid and I are friends again. He has given me a few insights that have helped tremendously. I mean, this guy knows me well, and knows how "crazy" I can be:) But he too eventually saw the other side of the coin...and now we are friends. I'm grateful for his support, and for his ability to see past what he initially thought was my craziness and to see what was truly inside of me.

He reminded me that I am loved, and that I need not despair. How grateful I am to hear those words from a person who had hurt me so terribly in the past and thought ill of me at that time! What a miracle God's plan is; what a miracle repentance is; and what a miracle forgiveness is! It is truly like that pain never even happened. I remember it, but I remember it with peace. And I am awed and amazed that absolutely no grudges or mistrust are barriers to this growth or our friendship.

The greatest joy really does come from love and forgiveness. It does, because it is a realization of the Gospel; of God's plan, and it is true acceptance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Yes, I have cried myself into despair tonight; I have been sworn at and reviled, but I feel no hate, no anger, and no shame. I am NOT a victim, and will no longer play one. I am who I am willing to become; even when life hands me lemons. I will not allow others or their intolerance, misunderstanding or hatred to dictate who I am or how I feel about myself. I will not let heredity, social and cultural circumstances, mistrust or fear ultimately decide my fate. I am the master of my self-esteem and my sense of worth. I know who I am, and I know my worth in the eyes of God. I am "one soul", and I am precious beyond measure. I know that it is my duty and responsibility to teach this to others; to help them recognize who they are, and what their divine potential is. I may not know how I will do it, and I may not know why I have been given this task. But what I do know is that my knowledge is the truth. I know that God loves me..that He loves us. I know that I am doing what is right. And that is all that matters.

Mar 10, 2005

Random thoughts

Guess what?? I'm still happy! Yup, it's been what, three weeks? And the only tears I've shed have been of joy!!! Isn't that fantastic???

You know what is the greatest aphrodisiac?? A man who can sing. I hate to admit it, since I have a horrible voice (although I really do try!) but when I hear the sweet yet strong vibrato of a tenor, I go absolutely weak in the knees. Yeah, I'm still on my Phantom of the Opera kick. I can't help it; I think Graham Bickley sounds just like a certain you-know-who. And my oh my, you-know-who can definitely sing. His speaking voice and his singing voice are almost sinfully intoxicating.

Had my phone interview with Purdue...:)

Managed an entire day-long webinar today (for those not in the know, that is a live streaming broadcast of various sessions of seminars...ours was on Streaming Media with Teaching and Learning). I spent the entire day trying to solve technical problems, field questions from participants all over the country, and get the the questions to the presenters. Yup..I was cool :)

Tara cooked lasagna and we fed the missionaries at the Institute building. I always love talking to them:) It makes me want to go out there and do it myself!!

Well, those are my random thoughts for the day. Cheers...;)

Mar 6, 2005

Ow!

Well, I went skiing Friday night with Bishop Hasler, Anna Lisa and Ann. It was a LOT of fun -- the three of us helped to teach Ann the basics (she's never been skiing before). Ann did really well. I know she was frustrated with herself but I keep reassuring her that she was doing just fine. Skiing certainly does look easier than it really is; and she was realizing that. There are muscles you have to use that you simply do not use during your normal day...even during a regular work-out. Yet, despite her frustration, she found an ability to overcome her fears and get down that hill...three times :)

I, however, made the mistake of grabbing on to the rope tow too fast. I was expecting a rope tow like the one at Rib Mountain that I had used when first learning to ski. This one, however, was a cord, not a rope, and it had these little plastic things which I thought were handles (later I learned that they were to fit in the small of your back which made the trip up the hill a LOT easier). I grabbed on to one of those and it practically pulled my arm out of its socket! Each time I went up that hill I couldn't get that plastic thing behind my back (except for once). So all that strain on my arm muscles as I hung on really did a number on my arms. The next day I woke up and I could barely lift them. I felt the same today...even worse, in fact! My arms are so sore and my pinkie finger is sprained...man I tell you, you wouldn't believe you could get injured on a bunny hill but if you don't know how to hang on to that tow rope right...:) So I smell of Ben Gay and everyone is avoiding me because of it. Yet I'm supposed to go skiing again Tuesday night with Laurie, so I really hope my arms heal by then.

As for my legs, well after the first hour of pain, I suddenly got used to the boots. It happened a lot faster than last time! Bishop Hasler taught me some skills and gave me some tips on improving my technique. He praised me though and said I look very "natural and confident" as I swoosh down the hill:)

I was also pleasantly surprised when I put on my ski pants that night. I was dreading it, since a month ago when I went skiing they were quite tight around the waist and I had to use a pin to close them (as I had the year before). That was depressing because of all the work I had done over the year...but this time, when I put them on, they closed and zipped so easily! I must have lost at least 2 inches from around my waist! You can believe how ecstatic I was! I had noticed my clothes fitting a lot more loosely, but sometimes that happens just from normal wear (especially cottons and fabrics with lycra). But I guess it was more than just a few pounds...because of the obvious inches lost. And since the stomach area is the hardest area to lose fat...well I must say I feel more strength, more determination, and a pride in what I have accomplished. Now just imagine what I could do if I get myself to go to the gym more than once a week! I just have to make the time to do it:)

I went to church today and I couldn't help but get up and bear my testimony. I didn't mention too much of what I had learned in this past month, simply because of time constraints, but I couldn't believe the immense pounding in my chest and the utter peace and love I felt as I did so! I have always had a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, but I had no idea that I could strengthen it even more and have an even stronger knowledge of its truth. It's funny how sometimes we are so arrogant to think that in some areas we can not possibly learn more; that we know all there is to know about that particular topic or idea. Yet this is such a falsehood! I am so grateful for the humbling realization of this and the excitement and peace that comes from learning even more. I am so grateful for my testimony and my love for my Father in Heaven and my Brother Jesus Christ grows more and more each day. My desire to obey His commandments and to share the truth has intensified, and I feel this fire pushing me on; reminding me of the beauty of my life, the blessings that are in it, and the joy that comes from choosing the right and ALSO from true repentance for the sins I have committed.

I just can't express how I feel! Like I said today in my testimony, my trials are not over. The biggest trial of my life, the one I have been going through for the past year, is still there. I still sometimes doubt and sometimes I fear. Yet Heavenly Father has answered my prayer...my prayer for strength and perseverence. He has answered my plea to learn more of the "mysteries of Heaven", just as He promised to reveal to anyone who simply asked. I begged for an understanding to why I was so sad and miserable when I had the Truth in my life...and I pleaded for something to happen within me to change that feeling. It's extremely difficult battling depression and sadness when you know you shouldn't be sad or depressed, but you still are! It's an extremely difficult thing, yet I finally realized that the resources came from within me....true happiness doesn't come from the external world or from people. Events, people, and life's ups and downs definitely play a large part in our lives, but ultimately it is up to us whether or not we allow external influences to affect our happiness or not. And I think I finally have realized this. I don't have it down pat, and I still struggle with it, but at least I now know for a surety that I have the resources within to combat those feelings and to realize that if I get upset or hurt by something or someone...it's because I allow it. It's as simple as that. Now to put that into practice!

I realized praying for others to better understand their worth, to recognize the Spirit, and to seek out the truth is very important and very noble, but if I wanted to sincerely see an improvement in my life and in my perspective, the only change that I can directly affect is the one that happens within me. And with that change, I know that I can overcome any bitterness or despair thrown in my direction. What happens in my life will have little consequence on my spiritual nature if I learn that the strength comes from that understanding of God and of Christ's Atonement. But a wonderful, natural consequence of learning this is the ability to see the beauty in the fragile humanity of others! It helps me to be even more empathetic and understanding of the trials that my friends and loved ones go through, and to be patient with those who have hurt me or continue to do so. I am perhaps most grateful for this knowledge and the ability to love people for who they are. I know that sometimes I still come across as judgmental...and I hope someday to find a way to express myself so that I don't ever come across that way again. It is hard, because my words don't reflect what I truly feel inside! Sometimes I myself wish I had an Aaron who could speak for me, as he did for Moses...but I've realized that at least I know that I am sincere, I am passionate, and I know that what I have is the Truth. Despite my lack of eloquence, I know that Heavenly Father is using me as a tool to touch the hearts of many in my class and outside of it. I'm humbly grateful for the opportunity to share and to teach this glorious gospel! It is so utterly amazing, and so precious...and truly the most priceless treasure that ever has and ever will be available to mankind.

Mar 2, 2005

I lost my CTR ring :(

And I'm really sad about it. I've had that ring for over ten years; it has been with me through college, through Spain, through my relationships with Jaime and Jeremy....it has a lot of sentimental value to me, even though it's mishapen and old. But it was a Spanish CTR ring....

*sigh*. It just slipped off my finger I guess. It MUST have, since I never remove it...

I guess I'll have to get a new one.

Phone INTERVIEW!!!

Yup....today was a very interesting day. I met with my boss to do my annual performance review, which was superior (but of course:) He is going to continue trying all that he can to help me get a raise....but he knows that there is only so much he can do. But he says he wants me to stay there, and so there are two ways to try to remedy my compensation....a deffered comepensation award (he can only do these like every 4 years but he's going to look into it) and of course a retention plan, which means if I get an offer from another company or school for a similar position but it would offer me more than 5 grand a year more, then he can automatically give me a retainment offer to keep me where I am.

But he said he's been where I am, and if I end up leaving, he understands, and would give me a glowing recommendation. Dang I wish I would have known that a few weeks ago, because he would have been a great reference! But anyway, after I got back from that, I found a missed call on my cell and an email from Purdue, informing me they want to do an initial phone interview with me next week.

This is for a web developer management position for the School of Engineering at Purdue. Plus it's starting salary is between $55,000 and $72,000 a year. The cost of living in West LaFayette is extremely low...and I would be near Olvia and near Laurie too.

The flip side? It's in Indiana (sorry, but it is just not a very pretty place), and while I know I would be excellent as a web development manager, as I have said before, I know I'm supposed to go into teaching. I'm supposed to get away from web development. As for a timeline, I do not honestly have one. I suppose it could happen later...but who knows??

And then this Friday the other position, my dream position, officially stops receiving applications. This means that within the next few weeks they too will be weeding through the application materials and throwing most of them into the circular file. If they would be willing to hire someone non-local, then I know I will be at the top of their list. I just know it. It's like I was made for this job, and vice versa. But the cons of this job are...the low salary, how extremely far away it is, the location....while absolutely gorgeous...so gorgeous, in fact, I have constant dreams about it, but the location scares me a little. PLUS I will have no family or friends there and will completely be on my own. The cost of living is almost on par with Madison, too, so getting ahead would be much tougher.

If I get offered both jobs..which I never thought would be possible but now I see how it really could be...what will I do?? Of course I'll pray about it...but I have never been one to simply take a job based on its salary. But my goal of paying off my debt completely could be accomplished within a few years at Purdue. The other job...well I honestly do not know, and since their starting pay is between $25,000 and $52,000 - I suppose there is a slight chance they'd offer me the high end...but I know how very rarely that happens. I mean it's like Purdue would almost double the salary!

But I want to do what is right. I want to go in the direction I'm supposed to with my career. What would make me happier? Money and financial stability or a higher level of satisfaction in my job and living in a gorgeous part of the country? Fulfillment and opportunities would certainly come to both...but they are so dramatically different from one another I'm surprised I'm so qualified for both:) I guess I'm right and left-brained:D


Arghhh...maybe I'm worrying too much:) Maybe there won't be a choice. Maybe there will be even more (after all, I applied at several places). Man I am needing some MAJOR guidance!!!!! :) But I have faith that I will make the correct decision, even though at this point my frame of mind is so muddy and clouded.

"I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord...over mountain or plain or sea...I'll say what you want me to say, dear Lord...I'll be what you want me to be."