Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A little Gratitude.

A little gratitude can go a long way. So I'm certainly grateful for answered prayers, the really important ones that allow me to have a baby girl, and the really small ones too. From the time I was a little kid my parents instilled in me the knowledge that God did hear and answer my prayers, no matter how seemingly unimportant they were. He helped me find my shoes when I was late for school and he's helped me find more than one wedding ring. Yesterday I was reminded again of the power of prayer.
I was getting ready to leave for school but I couldn't find a form that I needed for class (I know huge surprise). It was a paper that a cooperating teacher had filled out about my student teaching to a Spanish 101 class. I looked all over but couldn't find it anywhere. Well I was going to be late so I decided to print a new one off and just take it to the teacher and see if he could fill it out again. As I put my backpack on I remembered to pray. I said a quick prayer and asked Heavenly Father to help me remember where I had put the paper. I took one last look around the desk but couldn't find it so I put my shoes on and started to head out the door. Then I remembered that I left my headphones on the nightstand by my bed. I didn't want to walk to class with no music so I went into my room to get them. After I got them, I stepped on a shirt on the floor (sorry mom haha), and noticed a small white corner sticking out. Sure enough it was the paper I had been looking for. I gratefully shoved it in my backpack and left for school, remembering all the other times the Lord had answered my simple prayers, even though the world wouldn't have ended if he hadn't.

As a bonus I turned my iPod on shuffle and started walking to class, the first song was "Good Life" by One Republic. Good life indeed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The flowers on the side

Since as long as I can remember I've always loved riding horses. One of my best memories was a horseback trip south of Yellowstone National park with my cousins Levi and Josh and my brother Sean. We rode for a couple of days in and then we camped out, saddled up and rode back out. We only took one bath the whole week and that lasted about 5 seconds in a near frozen stream. The reason our trip was so enjoyable was because the horses did all the work and we got to enjoy the scenery. There were a lot of rotten things that happened on the trip. To start things off Josh's horse was on it's first trip and still did not like being ridden and so she fell down in the first river we had to cross and got all of Josh's things wet. Then there were bears and the second day in we rode all day in the rain. It was freezing cold and I remember having to pry my hands off the rains when we finally arrived at camp and got off our horses. The pack horse kicked me on the way in because he was being lazy so I had to flip him with my homemade switch. (Sean says I deserved to get kicked but he's wrong). I'm sure I could have left that trip thinking it was the most miserable trip I'd ever been on, but that wouldn't be right. It was enjoyable because there were many more good and fun things that happened than miserable things. First off, all of the miserable things (with the exception of the rain) were all pretty funny at the time. Second, I could go on for quite a while with all the cool things we saw. I'm just going to list them here:
1. I was amazed at the horses sense of smell. He could smell a bear a mile away and I was appreciative of that.
2. The scenery was just amazing. Everything back there was almost untouched by man.
3. When we made camp after finally getting all the way back in, the rain stopped and we enjoyed a warm fire (that was against the law but we all decided that it was worth the risk. If a ranger caught us we decided that we would all split the fine. If Bishop Hyde happens to read this or any other ranger then the statute of limitations is up.)
4. While we were enjoying the campfire a little fawn walked right up to our camp and just stared at us for a few minutes. It obviously hadn't been around humans much. It was really neat to see how it could be so close to us and not fear us.
5. I remember the injured eagle that sat on a limb by our path almost daring us to cross him. His talons here enormous! We were all afraid to admit it but that eagle was pretty darn scary. I got the feeling that if it wasn't injured it could have ripped us to shreds.
When I am driving my car through beautiful country I miss out on some of God's most amazing creations because I have to focus on the road. However on that horseback trip I got to experience all the sights while the horse followed the proper course. I think often in life we have a tendency to drive our cars through life rather than enjoy the scenery on horseback. Even worse we sometimes focus on all the negative things that are happing and let those things shadow all of the beautiful blessings that we have. Take for example the following quote from a talk by Elder Holland:
"If we constantly focus only on the stones in our mortal path, we will 
almost surely miss the beautiful flower or cool stream provided by the 
loving Father who outlined our journey. Each day can bring more joy 
than sorrow when our mortal and spiritual eyes are open to God's 
goodness. Joy in the gospel is not something that begins only in the 
next life. It is our privilege now, this very day. We must never allow 
our burdens to obscure our blessings. There will always be more 
blessings than burdens--even if some days it doesn't seem so. Jesus 
said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it 
more abundantly." Enjoy those blessings right now. They are yours and 
always will be." 
 Jeffrey R. Holland
As Elder Holland says, "there will always be more blessings than burdens". In our hardest days it certainly doesn't seem to be true, but if our spiritual eyes are open then we will see that it really is. I believe that when we let the negative overcome us that we are disobeying an important commandment of the Saviour. "Be of good cheer". When our lives and burdens seem too much to bare and we lose focus of the blessings let us do as the Saviour asks when he said "Come unto meall ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)  If we do this, Jesus will take our load, our spiritual eyes will be opened and we will be able to see the wonderful things that God has prepared for us to be happy in this life.
I think back to that day we rode in the rain. I wasn't smiling the whole time and I wasn't happy always either, but if I would have let the rain become my whole focus I would have missed out on some amazing views. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

Today as I watched the Easter Video on something stood out to me and I started asking myself some questions. What brought Peter, the future leader of The Lord's Church, to deny his master? How am I the same?
When Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times that same evening, Peter adamantly said he would not. In his mind he could not betray his Savior. He believed, as do we all at times, that it would be near impossible for him to fall. I won't drink that beer, I won't break the law of chastity, I won't betray my family. Peter's fallacy wasn't in believing that he would be faithful to the end, it was in over estimating his own strength to the point of openly testing it. He went where he should not have been.
His plight was similar to Alma's son, Corianton. To Corianton Alma said, "Now this is what I have against thee; thou didst go on unto boasting in thy strength and thy wisdom." Corianton was so sure of his own strength that he went all the way over to the land of Siron to test it out. If he had stayed and tended to the ministry like he was supposed to than he could have avoided his problem.
Peter, as strong as he was, didn't believe the Lord's warning and so he went out to test his strength. Surely he just wanted to be close to the Lord in his final hours, but had he known how weak he truely was, he might have chosen a different course of action. Maybe he would have stayed home until he heard the cock crow. He wouldn't have put himself in a position to deny the Savior.
Being where you are supposed to be and not venturing out side the guidelines of the gospel is a good lesson to be learned, but it is not what I wanted to learn from Peter in this case. After Peter heard the cock crow, he "went out, and wept bitterly ". If this were the end of Peter's story it would be a sad one indeed. But it was not. What Peter did after this is what is amazing. He got up and proceeded to become the man that Jesus wanted him to be. It seams that he was no longer the boastful Peter who thought too much of his own strengths. Now he was the unquestioned leader of the Savior's Church.
Perhaps at times we too have wandered towards Siron, boasting in our own strength as we go along thinking, "I won't do this or that", but then we end up in some place where we should have never been in the first place, "weeping bitterly". But that should not be the end of our story. Just like Peter we must get up and with the help of the Savior,  become the men and women that we ought to be. This coming Easter, let us remember that even as we cry the tears of sin that Christ died and rose again to wipe them away. Let us come unto Him and let Him carry the burden of our mistakes. He will make us whole and he will show us who we need to be. I know this to be true, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Rest of the Story

A lot of you read my wife's blog post this week and I wanted to thank everyone for the response she has gotten. As her husband you can imagine that the hardest times for me were watching how sad my wife was. To see all the love and support that friends and family have given her in the last few days is nothing short of amazing and I guess I can only credit it to the love of Christ. Thank you all so much!

Now the title of this blog is "the rest of the story". Certainly this will not cover the rest of the story but I wanted to give a little insight for those of you who read her post, through my eyes.

As I mentioned earlier, the hardest part for me was watching my wife struggle with this trial. There have been many times in my life when I've had to wait for something that I thought I wanted right then and I have learned that God always fulfills his promises to me in better time than I could have chosen. So for me waiting for a baby almost seemed like waiting for a package to come in the mail (forgive my poor choice of a metaphor). I knew that when the time was right God would send us a child. But it is so much harder for me to watch my wife not receive something that she deserves and wants.

Now let me step back a bit in time with a couple of experiences so that you can know how I knew. As Ashleigh said in her post our "plan" before we got married was to wait a year before we started to have children. A couple of months after we had been married I was blessed with a dream. Now before you call me crazy I had never had a dream before that I had considered "revelation". Probably because I wasn't very open to the idea of having something revealed to me in a dream. That's Book of Mormon stuff I thought. So back to my dream; one night I woke up after having a very vivid dream. In the dream a little girl with long dark hair came up to me and said "Don't you want me daddy?" I almost started crying it touched me so much. When I woke up I was a little bit shaken, I wanted to think that it was just a strange dream and so I didn't mention it to Ash. After a couple of days the dream still weighed on me so I finally decided to do what I ought to have done in the first place. I knelt down and asked Heavenly Father if it was revelation or "just a dream". I felt strongly that it was indeed a revelation that we shouldn't wait any longer to try and have kids. That night I told Ashleigh about the dream and my prayers and as you can guess you couldn't have seen a happier wife. (As it turned out I was looking for a spot to bring it up because I wondered if she wanted to still wait and then we saw the episode of the Office where Jim and Pam find out they are prego, who knew?) So Ashleigh told you that she went off birth control so now lets fast forward a few months.

Ashleigh also mentioned a blessing that I gave her that helped her receive some comfort. Before I gave that blessing I decided to go to my bedroom and pray for a bit so that when I gave the blessing I would say what the Lord wanted said and not what I wanted to happen. I hadn't really ever done this because I hadn't ever been in a situation to give a blessing where my will played strongly into the situation. As I prayed I felt comforted and I knew that the Lord would put words into my mouth. As I laid my hands on my wife's head I felt the Spirit come over me very strongly. I can only remember a few things from the blessing besides that feeling. First I remember I told her to be strong and have faith, the Lord loved her and really was looking down on her and was the only one who really knew how she felt. Second I advised her to continue keeping the commandments even when things got hard. Last I remember I told her that she could be comforted because "we would have a baby soon". As I took my hands off her head I wondered what it meant to "have a baby soon". Soon for me would be next month but soon for the Lord could mean a few years. It didn't really matter though because I knew it would happen, I had felt the Spirit testify on multiple occasions now and so now I was only waiting for a package to be delivered. I do know that it will come when the Lord sees it best to come. He has always blessed me with what he has promised.

Again I want to thank all of you for your love and support. The Spirit has comforted me when I read your comments to my wife and I know that she is blessed with lots of support and in way that takes a lot of worry off of my shoulders. So thank you again and may we all continue to show Christ's love to those around us!