Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Abundantly Blessed

Being newly married has been such an amazing time of life!! I find myself pinching pennies like I never have before and trying to figure out how to incorporate my basically vegetarian diet into a meat lover’s ‘happy welcome home after a cold 14 hour day meal.’ It’s been amazing to see how fast the time has gone and how I truly treasure every minute with my best friend. But we have received many blessings and adventures beyond this because we have chosen to put Christ and His everlasting Gospel at the center of our home and marriage.

We were both amazed we received from the wedding and how many sweet people have given us so much love and support. Preston and I were both very overwhelmed with the amount of money and gifts we had received. We had counted and recorded the amount of money and set it aside. Up to this point I had been frantically searching for a job, checking every website and applying to every place I could to no avail yet. One day I had this huge list of things that I wanted to do and going to the bank was one of them. A thought came very quick and strong “Tithing” it literally made me stop everything I was doing, find our stache of money. I counted and divided what we would pay for tithing and placed it in our scriptures to give on Sunday and took the rest to the bank. 

Later that day feeling nearly to the point of desperation as the Burger King ‘Now Hiring’ sign flashed into view I grimaced a little. And then my phone rang. I answered to hear the happy familiar voice of a family member asking if I was still looking for a job in Logan. Turns out I was given one of the greatest opportunities for work. It was for some of the lovliest, finest people that I know. They were so good to me and so gracious to have me spend no time working when Preston was off work. I learned some great new skills that will come in handy right now and the rest of my life. This ended up being the greatest blessing and the best job I could have ever asked for.

The day that I got the phone call, Preston and I had already decided we would go to the temple that night. It was the first time attending as a married couple and what a sweet experience that was. That same night in our scripture study it was Preston’s turn to select one. He shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon that I recognize has always been a theme for him in his life.

“But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God, and after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good-to clothe the naked and to feed the hungry and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.”
–Jacob 2:18-19

He shared something with me that I had not realized up to that point. I had been doing everything I thought was good and necessary to receive a job. It was stressful, frantic, exhausting and I was getting nowhere. It wasn’t until I was exactly obedience and did what I knew was right that God was able to open up a multitude of blessings that He, the whole time, was just waiting to give us.
I always knew that tithing was a true principle and that I needed to live by it, but I became lazy doing it, even though I knew it to be true. I know that all blessing truly do come from God and He’s waiting and wanting to give them to us. I know that our Heavenly Father has so much love for us. We are His beloved Children. He loved us so much that He provided a Savior, Jesus Christ for us. Through Him I know we can find the source of ultimate peace. 

God's Timing: Adventures in Idaho

I have come to a point in my life where I feel I can no longer ever doubt the divine timing of our Heavenly Father. I know He is so aware of me and He always knows what’s best for me. He never misses a beat or goes on vacation. His whole work and His glory focus on the happiness and success of us as His children.

One Sunday back in May 2013 I had a meeting with the stake president to submit my mission papers. It was very exciting. Afterwards Preston and I were to drive down to Utah for Memorial weekend. Somewhere between Blackfoot and Pocatello the little white car made that dreadful blasting noise and within a moment we found ourselves pulled to the side of the road with a shot engine. Cars raced past on the highway as we lifted the hood trying to figure out what was wrong. It was a mystery but it was obvious that car wouldn’t drive again.

It was our original plan to arrive in Logan in time to attend a missionary farewell celebration. We called for help and they were hours away. We were grateful they were coming but we knew we would be missing the event and would spend several hours there on the highway. It all seemed a great misfortune- for we had a good goal to accomplish and we were met with this unlikely fate. 

To pass the time Preston and I read a beautiful conference talk together and discussed establishing peace within a home. We took a walk through the famous blackrock rugged terrain. We watched calmly as the set gracefully behind those hills. All the rushing around of classes and schoolwork, church duties and schedules was all left behind in Rexburg as we were enjoying our own sanctuary here. 

It started to rain, pour and storm right as help arrived. We loaded the dead car onto the trailer and climbed into the back of the truck and continued our journey. I don’t think I would realize the full impact of that trip until months later I was serving my mission in Oregon and thought fondly and sweetly back on that time I got to spend with Preston. It was one of the best memories yet with him.

Since returning home from the mission and being married to that wonderful man I had another opportunity to travel up to Rexburg to take engagement photos for some dear friends. We traveled to a beautiful spot up in the mountains with glorious golden fields, pines and aspen trees. It had snowed days earlier and still lingered on the dirt road up there. We got some great shots and soon the weather got bitterly colder so we headed back down. I was driving and truly not comfortable with the conditions of the road, we turned one corner going down.
 Instead of turning we ended up running the car right into a ditch against the ridge. One of the dear friends present was very skillful in getting cars out of crazy situations. But with only one of the two wheel drive tires touching the ground he explained we would need a truck to get this out. 

I regret to say I felt extremely frustrated and distressed, we thought of every idea we could and recalled the roommates second cousin or that kid in my science class that had a truck but with no true travail. It was very important to me to get the car out to know that it was okay, to get down to see my sister and then return home after a three hour drive still ahead to see my husband. In the moment of distress we knew the best thing to do would be to pray. After piling sticks and rocks and using all that super mom adrenaline to lift it, it was to no avail.

In the perfect moment I looked up in great surprise to see a F350 truck coming around the bend. I couldn’t believe my eyes. One glance the driver gathered our situation and pulled over kindly, reaching into the bed, pulled out a chain and exclaimed “now what are you all doing out here?” with a grin. Our dear new friend Rick might have felt we’d been stuck out there for days when we explained he was an answer to our prayers!! He was just out for a humble deer hunt in the middle of nowhere. In no time we were safely back on the road.

That last experience truly got me, it was an experience that helped me understand something I have been struggling with for years. It was a principle that I have both believed and taught but I have never quite developed a deep, abiding trust in it. I know now, very deeply within my soul that God hears and answers prayers. I’ve always felt timid to pray for answers or to ask for help because I’ve always felt like He’s so busy or He already has a plan or idea. I have learned that through both of these experiences that yes, He does have a plan. And that plan is calculated for our ultimate happiness. Preston and I would have been happy arriving at the celebration on time and would have had a wonderful experience there. But I believe Heavenly Father knew our situation very well and knew exactly the pain and grief we would go through in the coming months and years, we he gave us a very intimate, glorious memory together that helped us develop a pattern and attitude toward life together. An experience that became symbolic to us that we could use to get through some low times. God also had this plan that we get stuck and “after all we [could] do” help would come.

I know our Heavenly Father may ‘appear’ busy because He is doing these same exact things for every one of His children. I have no doubt that His whole work and His glory is to “Bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” –Moses 1:39 which means that we will be given experiences to help us grow and stretch to be able to become that glorious celestial being He has intended us to be.
He has a perfect plan with perfect timing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Back in April my mom and I had the beautiful blessing of traveling to Kansas City, Missouri. While visiting Independence and the surrounding areas including Liberty, Far West and Adam-Ondi-Ahman we felt the power of ancient promises, the strength of the early stalwart members of the church and the duty we have as members of the church now to recall these people and events. And to live our lives in such a way to claim all the blessings established from the foundations of the world by our Loving Heavenly Father.

This question has often come to my mind since returning home from a mission:
"How can we have the same determination of the early saints?"
They were so willing to leave behind their homes, culture, language, professions, even relationships to face the foreboding brutality of an unknown horizon.
They were willing to do it because they knew the Gospel was true and they promised to give even their very lives for it. What was so significant about the Gospel?

I feel the beauty of the Gospel is captured as we look at the impact of the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ from the very beginning of time to now. The first children of our Heavenly Father sent to earth, Adam and Eve, learned about the gracious gift of the Atonement while they were in the Garden of Eden. A transgression was made and there seemed to be no hope for resolution or to be clean again in Heavenly Father's presence. Despair and fear quickly set in. They were taught of a Savior that would be provided for them. His selfless act of taking upon all our sins and iniquities allows us the ability to repent, to be cleansed from sin and able to return back to our heavenly home.

I believe the early converts of the church felt the same heavenly relief as they each read from the Book of Mormon praying to receive a witness that it was true. No doubt that simple yet striking account of the Savior sunk deep into their very souls to provide clarity in contrast to the cloudiness of lost "plain and precious truths" through centuries of darkness.” They must have felt the purity of the doctrine and felt that heavenly light shine down and testify that there truly is a Savior. His atonement is meant to cleanse us and bring us back home. These elect souls were able to recognize the truth when it was presented to them. As the Light cracked through the darkness of hundreds and thousands of years, they did not shy away from it, rather they sought after it, were willing to give of all their earthly possessions to fully taste of the sweetness and cleansing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

They chose to follow a prophet, a man called of God and given authority to govern the Lord’s kingdom on the earth. Joseph Smith was called to be that man. Many knew he was a prophet before even meeting him, from reading the Book of Mormon they came to know that this book was from God and was delivered through His divine instrument, a prophet. Through the devastating event at Haun’s mill we learn the importance of listening to a prophet’s voice. In this case timing was essential and it was the difference between life and death. We can see today how following the council of our prophet can save us from experiencing spiritual death and help us avoid exposing ourselves to the things that deeply damage our souls and our divine nature.

Liberty Jail

In Liberty Jail we learned of the irony of its name. This was the place where four 6ft tall men were crammed into a damp, cold, diseases infested dungeon while they heard the cries of their wives and children being kicked out of their homes. The Prophet Joseph’s humble prayer and experience are captured in the scriptural account in the Doctrine and Covenants where he cries to God and asks “Where is thy pavilion?” Though dark and bleak crying for the last strand of hope the most glorious revelations were unfolded to him. “Peace be unto thy soul, thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment” These are words that have been the soul assuring answer to prayer as they have turned to the scriptures for countless amounts of Heavenly Father’s children. He was there in Liberty Jail with those men and He is there with us in our darkest moments too. He has suffered all of these things; He is our dearest Friend who is sitting beside us in our bleakest most miserable moments. We need Him. We always need Him.
This place was the refiner’s fire for the most significant revelations but the most joyous times.

Far West was a consecrated and holy land where the people were commanded to lay the cornerstones for a temple that would be built there. The building did not take place in any of their lifetimes. This prophecy goes to show that our Heavenly Father’s promises are sure and even more significant and expansive than we can comprehend.

“Though we have rightly applauded our ancestors for their spiritual achievements (and do not and must not discount them now), those of us who prevail today will have done no small thing. The special spirits who have been reserved to live in this time of challenges and who overcome will one day be praised for their stamina by those who pulled handcarts.”
-Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Kansas City, Missouri Temple

They have left a legacy for us.
Now these fervent and valiant souls are rejoicing as they watch us fight the battles that we do every day! It is no small task and the subtle sneakiness of the adversary is penetrating even deeper into the hearts and homes of those who have tasted of the Gospel. To rejoice in the eternal realms with those who have gone before us into the eternities we need to cleanse our souls and become fortified to the evil influences that can so easily creep in.

We need to have the personal worthiness and preparation to be able to build our own little temple because there will be many when the Savior comes again. We never know when we will be asked or all that will be required. All we know is that we need to prepare our hearts to be willing to give anything that He asks of us. It could be our possessions, our time, our friends, social status, pride, and fears etc. All must be sacrificially given up if necessary to produce a bright and glorious whiteness; a holy place where the Spirit of the Lord may dwell.


Adam- Ondi- Ahman: a place of beginnings
The beauty of the grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that it is never too late to start. We have never gone too far, there is no where we can go where His infinite and loving touch cannot reach us. The best place to start is right now.
The translation of Adam-Ondi-Ahman is “where God walked with Adam”
That can be the goal for all of us today, to start living our lives in such a way that we can feel Him close. I know that “This life is the time for man to prepare to meet God” -Alma 34:32
It seems like forever but it really is such a short amount of time. He wants us to be happy and eternal happiness only comes through Him.