Saturday, January 30, 2010

Today's the day!

Well, it's the big day. Six o'clock.

I am SO nervous. When I read it aloud to the Elders I was crying in the first page, which I know is good because it means that I really felt that way and went through something, but when I speak publicly, I like to get through it without unintended pauses due to my cracking voice.

On the other hand, thanks so much for all of your words of encouragement on my talk! It really helped me feel a bit more comfortable with it, and a little less nervous because some people had read it even though I don't know you guys in real life. I wish you could all be there!

I will update with a few pictures and talk about what I was feeling and stuff during the baptism later!

PS. I totally made some rainbow cupcakes for this shin-dig. It's now my go-to for events. I'd urge you to try it if you haven't, it's definitely a conversation piece.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Baptism Talk

This is my talk I have been working on for my baptism.... I don't feel that good about it as is and thought I'd post it up here to see what you guys thought of it. I think it needs to be shorter, but I can't decide what needs to be cut and what shouldn't. If you are feeling brave and actually try and read all of it, feel free to give any degree of harsh comments (please be constructive, not mean though! Not that you guys would be...). Hopefully it makes sense without the emphasis I would put on words, or in general. Thanks in advance to those brave souls who are willing to read all the way through!

Those who knew me before I started coming to Church probably would never have expected to see me standing before you at my baptism. I’m sure that none of them are as surprised as I am though. I was always very skeptical of religion since I grew up without it. The only exposure I had to it was stories from the Bible my Dad read to me before bed when I was younger, but to me they never had any spiritual or deeper meaning than my other stories did.
Faith in God and Jesus Christ was always mystifying to me. I just could never understand how so many people could be so sure of God’s existence. What was so convincing to them? I always envious of them, and wished I had that sort of assurance and faith in my own life.
Up until about six months ago I was very confident about my beliefs and I didn’t have any reason to doubt or question them. I’m not sure exactly when it started or why, but for some reason I was drawn to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and began researching the beliefs of the Church. And as I learned more and more about the beliefs and practices of the Church, I was surprised to find that I agreed with everything that I was reading. I had never found a religion I had agreed so much with before and it definitely intrigued me.
To my greater surprise, as I started my missionary lessons I still kept agreeing with everything that they were telling me. Everything sounded so wonderful and great, yet there was always a small voice in the back of my mind saying that, “sure all of this sounds good and feels good, but it only makes sense if you believe in God.”  And I didn’t know whether or not I believed in God, or whether or not I even could. The voice kept telling me that it would never happen, that just like before I could wish and hope for the blessings that come from faith, but I could never experience them for myself. That I could never truly believe in Him, that He was there for me and loved me and knew me.
I knew that creating a foundation of faith in God would have to be my hardest and my most important step. I didn’t have faith that my testimony in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ would grow. I let myself believe that religion just wasn’t for me.
Thankfully something else in me was stronger, and kept pulling me back to the lessons and to Church every Sunday despite the uncertainty I had been feeling. I had a few more setbacks in my lessons though, and after nearly a month I didn’t have enough trust in myself, or the missionaries to continue taking lessons with them. I felt tore between the promptings to continue seeking the Church, and the feelings that made me want to stop trying to seek the truth.
I remember feeling really relieved after telling Elder Groshong that I wanted to stop the lessons, but I certainly didn’t feel good about it and had a terrible, nagging feeling in the back of my mind telling me that I had given up too quickly.
Then I talked to my Aunt, who had been taking me to Church with her and her family during this time. After we talked for an hour or two I decided that I still wanted to go to Church with her because I knew in my heart that I wasn’t done with the Church and would regret it if I chose to stop pursuing this path. But I also knew that I still needed time to figure things out before resuming lessons with the missionaries.
Looking back on that time now, I realize that because I was learning about all of the wonderful things in the Church that were so different than what I was used to and familiar with in approaching life, that Satan was taking advantage of my vulnerability during this time and planting doubt in the messages the missionaries were sending. Satan was capitalizing on this important time in my life, recognizing that I was at a crossroads. He tried to tempt me into turning away from Heavenly Father and the Church forever, and still does. He did his best to convince me that my faith in God was false and that my experiences in feeling the presence of the Holy Ghost were just a result of my desire to believe and were not real.
Thankfully Heavenly Father loved me enough, and had enough faith in me not to give up on me when I almost gave up on Him. He looked out for me especially during this time, and saw that I had let the Adversary build enough of a wall around myself and hardened my heart enough that He would have to reach out to me through someone else. That someone else was my Auntie Virginia who helped me remember and think about what I knew to be true in my heart. Why I kept being drawn to the Church despite all of my doubts and fears, and why I couldn’t let myself give up on it.
That’s what I was working on this entire time between my lessons and a couple of weeks ago. Softening my heart enough to really accept the messages of the missionaries as the Truth and gaining enough faith and strength to resume the lessons. To be at a point at which I knew that I was ready to be baptized. Along with recognizing and accepting and embracing the truth of the gospel I recognized that as I began to see Heavenly Father’s blessing in my life, I could also more easily recognize when Satan was working against me. I can also see now that Heavenly Father may not directly answer my prayers right when I ask them, but He always does answer them.
Nearly everyday since setting my baptism date I have felt so much joy and happiness. I never thought that I was unhappy before accepting Jesus Christ into my life, but now I know what happiness is. I think it is important to note that I said nearly everyday I have been happier. While I have pushed Satan away from my heart, he is still always making attempts to weaken my faith.  A difference I have noticed from the moments of doubt when I first began investigating the Church and now, is that now I know that I can pray to Heavenly Father and ask him for guidance and answers when I feel confusion, doubt or fear about anything instead of thinking that I have to figure everything out on my own.
Right before setting my baptism date I got something that has this quote underneath a picture: "The situations and experiences we face in life reflect what Heavenly Father really knows about us and what we need to make our weaknesses become Strengths"
I had to get this when I read it because it struck such a chord with me. Because I understand that Heavenly Father knows that I am faced with these moments of doubt because they will help me grow an even stronger testimony. And change my weaknesses into my strengths.
Recently my friend brought up a question I hadn’t really spent much time thinking about. She asked me if I had really looked into other churches before committing to this Church. I thought about it for a moment and realized that I hadn’t, and when she asked why, I couldn’t think of the reason why I hadn’t. I thought about that question a lot later that night, and realized why I hadn’t felt the need to continue searching. I know that Heavenly Father directed me towards this Church, that He made sure I had the people in my life that I could look to for guidance and answers when I felt doubt or had any fears. I never sought out another Church because this Church felt right, only if I had felt unsatisfied or felt that something was wrong in the Church would I have felt the inclination to look elsewhere. I feel good about everything the Church teaches and am so thankful that I now have Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in my life.

Congratulations, you made it all the way through! Gosh the closer I get to this talk the more nervous I get. Besides just talking about my feelings, I'm afraid I won't be able to get across the feelings I want.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Heater love.

Because we don't live in times where we can all have a fireplace in our rooms, and because much of my time is spent at my desk in my room, I rely on this little guy to keep the feeling in my fingers and toes.

Oh, how I love him so.

I curl around him nearly every day, leave him at full blast till my room is ridiculously warm (only realized when stepping outside of the room), and only sometimes do I forget to turn you off at night and wake up in a sweat.

So, what I am really trying to say is thanks. Thanks for the warmth and good times. I hope you never leave my life.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

In the market for a new phone cover.

I just noticed that this is post 100! Woo hoo! Wish it were something epic... oh well, the story of my life.

Mine is sadly wearing down. A few people have remarked about the fact that I need a new one, so I am throwing the towel in, gritting my teeth, and spending the money.

Can you see it ripping at the top? And peeling off on the bottom??

No? How about now?

The top should not be pulling apart like that. *Sigh,* at least it lasted over a year and a half!

Actually I kind of want a new one just because I saw this:


I love the lighter color. Cute but not in-your-face right?

Plus it's not much more than my incase one that hasn't protected my phone from that many scratches.

Should I just stick it out with the one I have?? It still works... sort of. And I think I will have this phone until it breaks... I get pretty serious with my phones and keep them around forever. It ought to last more than two years right?? Or are iphones not durable enough to last me another year or two?

PS. Thanks for the support and words of advice from yesterday's post! I was still pretty blue all night, and most of today, but I am definitely feeling better now!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

You know what?

I don't like moments of doubt.

They are icky and make me feel very depressed and lonely.

Can't wait for this one to be over and I can resume my happy state. I hate that it hits when I least expect it. But I suppose that's always what happens right?

The only good thing I find that comes from these times of doubt is thinking about that quote I mentioned once before. Because faith is one of my biggest weaknesses and these moments of doubt are what will change my weaknesses to strengths.

Off to think and pray and reflect before going to sleep. 

PS. I just read this on and it has helped me to feel better. I especially like this quote:

 "Doubts are not wrong; they can be a step toward right. Questions are not a sign of weakness but a sign of growth. Men are not wrong when they doubt but when they fail to do something about their doubts."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pouring outside and a pouring out of the soul

Do you ever sing to songs and feel like you are pouring out your soul? Like it isn't just you saying these words but like your soul was singing them and you felt exactly how the composer of the song felt while writing it? Like you need to keep singing this song, and it leaves you feeling like you just purged some emotion out??

I don't know if I described the feeling well, but the only two songs I have felt that with are Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler and Don't Stop Believing by Journey.

Any of you have songs that make you feel the same way?? Let me know!

PS. On another note, have any of you seen this? Made me love Josh and Ellen even more. If it is even possible for me to love Josh more.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I *might* have a problem...

with baking and cooking too much. The Elders teaching me probably think I'm crazy.

{This is basically me. Plus a bunch of anxiety and a lot messier.}

A few months ago I didn't make them too much, just a few types of cookies and such. I think I mentioned it here.

Now... let's see, yesterday I fed them cupcakes AT my house then sent them home with about 20 in a container. And I gave them a mushroom spinach quiche as they were about to pull away at the end of the lesson.

Today I told them not to eat lunch and made a pot pit with bisquick topping instead of in a pie shell and made them eat some apple crisp that was cooking as they talked to me. Did I mention that last night I baked a banana bread for them to take home too??

They are either getting very fat and happy, or are a little wary of my sanity baking-wise.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

An exciting development

... well at least for me.

Do you remember me talking about meeting the missionaries and how I was struggling with faith in God and Jesus Christ? Reading it over I see that I was confused and just feeling very pressured and eager to make them happy, and basically just wanting myself to be happy by getting baptized even if I wasn't sure about it.  I was wanting to get baptized because of the missionaries wanted me to, but I knew that I needed to want to get baptized for myself.

I actually stopped meeting with them a few weeks after that post. We were running out of lessons, and frankly I wasn't so sure I wanted to keep learning about the Church anymore. But Heavenly Father was certainly looking out for me (gosh, I am totally tearing up right now) and gave me the opportunity to have a wonderful conversation with my Aunt about everything. So I ended up going to Church with her and her family for a month or two after that instead of attending the singles ward. (I felt like it was too much pressure in the social aspect, and I wanted to make sure that I was there for the religion and faith.)

Now I have switched back to the singles ward for a month or so and I couldn't be happier! I had many many times of doubt, where I was positive that I didn't want this faith in my life anymore.... I am just so grateful that I was continually pulled back to the Church and was able to overcome my doubts.

My date for Baptism is January 30, 2010*.

PS. Today I went to a Church bookstore with a friend and picked up a few things. One thing that I got was a picture of a meadow with the mountains behind it and a quote beneath saying:

 "The situations and experiences we face in life reflect what Heavenly Father really knows about us and what we need to make our weaknesses become Strengths"

I truly believe this statement with my whole heart and am totally excited that I am finally in the place to become baptized. I have been waiting for this moment for months.

.... and just so all of you know, I couldn't have made it without all of your inspiring words and encouragement. I really don't think you know how much you have influenced my life!

*Tentatively set like an hour ago, but I am pretty positive it won't change! I'll definitely let you all know if it does change!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Keeping Track of Time

I was one of those kids constantly asking what time it was, just so I knew the time.

I'm still like that, except now I have my phone to constantly check. Or my alarm clock, computer, or TV. I always check the time when I go to sleep and wake up for comparison to previous or upcoming days. I can't understand my sister who doesn't even have a clock in her room.

I put everything into my planner to keep track of what I need to do and what I have done. So I decided to get a cute calendar this year. In the past that I can remember, I have had a hawaiian calendar, and my personal favorite a Hello Kitty calendar.

Buuuut 2010 will be tracked by this lil' beaut called "Lose yourself in a Daydream".

2010 Calendar - Lose yourself in a daydream
2010 Calendar - Lose yourself in a daydream

Messages on the different pictures are...

you can fly
It's the simple things in life
Lie in the grass and daydream...
You soothe my soul
and everything fades away...
sail away with me
You are my shelter.
The glass is half full...
Fly away with me...
believe in the magic

Bought it from this lovely lady on Etsy after I fell in love with her photos.

PS. My friend wanted to see Youth in Revolt and I love Michael Cera so I figured I would see it. I found it revolting. A complete waste of my time and money that took some of my innocence.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What's next America??

So first we stole The Office from Britain and made our own.

.... Okay I can't think of anything else we have stolen and made our own version of but I am pretty sure there are some.

So I was at the movies the other day and saw this trailer.

Many of you have probably seen it already, but have you seen this?

Personally, I like hearing their accents in the original. I will probably still watch the newer version, but really, it won't hold a candle to the British one in my book.

Plus, it has Matthew MacFadyen from my beloved Pride and Prejudice
(Which may have been why I watched this movie in the first place.)

PS. The movie is pretty good, but does have some drug use and nudity and 
profanity and some pretty gross scenes that had me gagging.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I may eat my words later but...

I kinda really miss school.  *so* ready to go back in a few weeks.

It's not that break isn't fun, or even that I particularly enjoy all of my classes, but I sure do get satisfaction in completing an assignment or getting a good grade on a test I studied really hard for. Maybe I should have gotten a job over the break? After all that holiday shopping I could sure use some extra cash...

I know I will long for the days of sleeping in, and reading and hanging out all day when school finally rolls back around, but I can't help being excited to be back in the desk, pencil in hand. (Guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence right?)

Suppose I can't complain though, after spending the day shopping with my sister, gorging ourselves on a japanese buffet, hearing that our offer on the house has been tentatively accepted, and planning on doing manicures and facials, right??

Hope all of you are doing smashingly well, whether you are in school, about to go to school, working, doing both, or doing your own thang!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

An Ode to Tongue in Cheek:

Oh wait, I just realized an ode is a lyric poem. Guess the title is just a tad misleading. Oh well you get what I meant hopefully.


So I realized after that last post that I have never gushed about Corey from Tongue in Cheek. She is such an amazing woman. She was a nun, then met husband in a gay dance club in San Francisco and moved to France with him.

To get a little sample of her blog, these were two posts that really touched me. But she always has cute stories about her transition to living in France, the treasures she finds at brocants, and just life in general. Her and her French Husband are ADORABLE.

This story is about her love John. I'm not sure if he was her boyfriend or fiancee, but that story makes me tear up every time I even start looking at it. I can't even imagine what that was like.


Then she wrote this post about how she was able to move on from her loss, and met her husband and how she knew he was going to be someone important to her.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Okay, now we really do need a new house...

So in searching for a new house, I have *of course* started looking for new furniture for my room. I find this is less controversial than trying to decorate the rest of the house *cough* my sister.  So far I pretty much need: (I am pretty sure I won't get it though)

Button-Tufted Chaise Settee - Peacock Chandelier - 4 Arm with Glass Crystal Stem and Drops From CBK Home Lighting

Romantic Rococo Accent Table Shabby Chic Wall Mirror

Any design tips?? (I really like white stuff and 17th century style french and english stuff. If only it wasn't so darn expensive to decorate!)

I should really go to Goodwill tomorrow as my cousin at Buffalo Gal suggests. Or maybe I should wait till we get a house...

PS. This was an inspiration from the post La Jeune Marie posted a bit ago, gushing over the room Cote de Texas did for her daughter. I, too, fell in love with it.

PS. PS. Isn't this bathroom that Corey from Tongue in Cheek has in her home to die for?? I love her style, and her stories about her and her French husband are too cute! (She moved to France after marrying him without knowing the language!)

It went from this:


To this:

tres impressive, no?