Monday, February 3, 2014

We are infinitely more...

"Human life with its cares and worries is transfigured into a radiant experience and adventure when it clings to...divine power and is blessed by it. To walk under divine authority, to possess it, to be a part of it, is to walk with heads erect, with grateful hearts, before our fellow men and our Father in Heaven."

There are two scriptures that you could say contradict each other:

1) Mosiah 4:27
See that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.

2) Isaiah 40:31 (D&C 89:20)
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

But in fact they complement - because when all things are done in wisdom and order, the Lord shall renew our strength.

When I was a child, my faith was limitless, and I believed I was limitless. Often I was told I was foolish, other times I was praised for my faith. What I wouldn't give now to find that childlike faith again. Because the truth is that we are eternal beings, and we are limitless.

I grew older and I became so afraid of failure that I spent too much time learning my limits and living within them. But our potential is not budgeted and we do not have to live within our means. Our debt is eternal but it is of no consequence because the Atonement supplies an eternal wealth. Gordon B. Hinckley said "I have been quoted as saying, 'Do the best you can.' But I want to emphasize that it be the very best. We are too prone to be satisfied with mediocre performance. We are capable of doing so much better." And why? Why are we capable of doing so much better? Because "when we determine within our hearts that by and with the blessings of God our Heavenly Father we will accomplish a certain labor, God gives the ability to accomplish that labor." Plain and simple. But wait, Heber J. Grant has more to say on that subject..

"But when we lay down, when we become discouraged, when we look at the top of the mountain and say it is impossible to climb to the summit, while we never make an effort it will never be accomplished."


When I say that I can't, I am insulting the very God who says to me I can. When I say I can't, it is the same as telling He who created me that I will not do what He created me to do. I can't only means I won't. There is no can't.

And, as always, it goes back to Jesus Christ. Why is there no "can't"? Because WE ARE INFINITELY MORE THAN OUR LIMITATIONS AND AFFLICTIONS. We are infinitely more because no matter our debt, He has given us infinite wealth. We are more because we are offspring of God. There is planted in us a seed of absolute divinity. He gave us the greatest gift He could, He gave us himself. He gave us himself in the form of His Son who was sent to earth as a man, with a body of flesh and blood - and in the form of our potential to become as He is. And so to deny our capability is to deny the very omnipotence of our Father in Heaven.

Joseph Smith tells us that "if [we] will be pure, nothing can hinder. "The angels cannot be restrained from being [our] associates." And so it is that we are limitless.

All this talk is stemmed from a recent bout of discouragement I have been plagued with. Satan wrapped his slithery tentacles around my tender heart for time and tugged me downward. But he just can't win. He can't win because despite the aching of my sometimes weak heart, the core of it is solid testimony. And when that knowledge of the truth seeps through to the surface his tentacles are singed and immediately retract, for they cannot bear the light. Discouragement cannot beat me because I am infinitely more than my limitations and afflictions. I am daughter of an infinite God. I am limitless.

Monday, December 23, 2013


Family; Noun
A simple system made up of complex individuals with inevitable weaknesses, made strong only through their unity.

Family; Verb
The act of sealing imperfect souls together with covenants, through priesthood power, in order to claim the blessings of unity necessary to conquer evil in the life.

Family; Adjective
A unit that is stronger than the sum of its parts, due mainly to a specific type of covenantal boost.

Family; Pronoun
The key element to God's flawless plan of happiness.

Family; Adverb
The act of learning to turn oneself outward to meet the needs and desires of others before one's own.

Family; Preposition
The connecting link that welds together all other divine principles.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Me when it rains:

A girl runs by
hand in her hair
so you know she cares
as she runs somewhere
for shelter.

There am I
with my head head held high
bare feet
arms embracing the sky
I grin and sigh
with a wet sort of pride
because I'm nourished inside.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What I Learned From Being A Tour Guide

"And out of small things proceedeth that which is great." Doctrine & Covenants 64:33

Let me preface this by saying that I became a tour guide by accident, a divine accident. I arrived in Hawaii, dazed and more than a little ingenuous. My very first day on this island, the only person who was even remotely familiar to me walked me up to a small window and I filled out some paperwork. The next day I was interviewed, and soon thereafter I was given a uniform and I became a tour guide.

"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak" Alma 26:12

The first thing I learned is that I don't know anything, I can't do anything. As a tour guide you are constantly pushing yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually. The first thing you learn is how much there is to learn, and the second thing you learn is how much you simply can't do it. I was awakened to a sense of my nothingness, and my worthless and fallen state (1).

"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands." 2 Nephi 5:17

And then I learned to work. It was funny because you would look around and see all these people around you enjoying themselves, and you would wonder why they dared call this a "job". But I was taught what I needed to do. I studied, observed, and gathered up knowledge, as much as I could.

"For behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free." Helaman 14:31

After a lot of meekness, learning, prayers and even many tears, I was free! I had the privilege and blessing of taking my own tour group, without the help of a more experienced guide.  I remember they were surprised at how much I opened up once I was on my own.

"Therefore, all things must be done in order." Mosiah 4:27

There are so many different aspects of being a tour guide. I remember the main thing I stressed about at first was the puzzle of mentally putting together an orderly and efficient schedule each day. It needed to be different every day and it needed to make sense. And so I learned to put things in order. I learned to organize and set goals.

"But Ammon said unto him: Nay, but I will be thy servant." Alma 17:25

Along the way I realized that part of the organizing process was that my schedule needed to cater to the needs of my guests. But in order to meet their needs (and wants), I had to learn them. And so I had to learn to foster relationships, to make everyone my friend. I made them my friend not because I wanted friendship from them, but so that I could learn to better serve them.

"And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things" 3 Nephi 17:17

This genuine interest nurtured sincere relationships with people who started out as strangers, but by the end of the day became my family. I found that I had to learn how to express myself with sincerity and honesty at the end of the tours in order to express the gratitude that always swelled in my heart. I learned that it takes more than empty words to do that.

"And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them." 1 Nephi 2:12

And because of that I learned to be grateful. Being a tour guide is hard, but sometimes hard things are required of us (2). I learned to notice all the little things throughout the day that make it worth it to labor. To spend my days in service yielded immeasurable fruits to be grateful for. There were sometimes people around me that were ungrateful, sometimes that person was me. But it was so easy to see what a waste of time it was to murmur, when gratitude produced such enriching rewards.

"And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst." John 8:9

Of course it wasn't all smooth sailing. Sometimes tours just wouldn't click, and I would always blame myself. I heard all the stories about "bad guests". It is so easy to blame a bad experience on someone else, but I don't remember ever having a "bad guest". Sometimes I had guests that challenged me, but that was my job, to rise to the challenge. When a guest was miserable for whatever reason, it became my tour guide and Christian obligation to do everything I could to make them un-miserable. When a tour fell short of expectations, when I failed to meet assigned duties, I learned to take accountability for that. It was not my job to make excuses, it was my job to promise to do better next time.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings." Doctrine & Covenants 124:49

I knew I couldn't do it all the time. I couldn't make every person happy every time. I couldn't be what everyone expects a tour guide to be. After a couple of mediocre tours, I lost my naive confidence, the initial spark of a new challenge that kept me going for awhile faded. The next thing I learned is that "When I wanted to reach someone for their sake, for what I knew I could give them, I had the confidence of Joshua and Jeremiah combined. I knew I could reach them somehow, some way, and I had that terrific self-assurance because it was for someone else's benefit. Confidence is a gift from God to enable us to serve other" (3).

"To be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in." Mosiah 18:8-9

With that, there is a heavy load to shoulder. The burden of responsibility. I learned that I am only expected to carry that burden to a certain point. That point is the agency of the individual. Sometimes people don't want help. And sometimes people are not accountable for their actions. I had an experience as a tour guide where I was seriously disrespected and wronged. The incident was reported to upper management and was dealt with confidentially and respectfully, however, the man who wronged me accused me of slander. He was not punished.

"That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment." Doctrine & Covenants 101:78

I learned that forgiveness is not about revenge. Forgiveness is not about apologies. Forgiveness is about trusting in God to make things right in the eternal scheme of things. Forgiveness is not about right now, it is about eternity. And forgiveness is about straight up charity.

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." Moroni 7:46

I learned about charity as a tour guide not because of my own charity, but because of the charity of the people around me. My co-workers at the PCC and the tourists that came through daily and blessed my life with their prayers and concern. There were days when I was experiencing heartbreak, loneliness, sorrow, lack of confidence and hope. But the people I worked with smiled day after day as we all tirelessly did our best to perform our duties wholeheartedly. We all worked together, loved and supported each other, and that is what charity is.

"All thing have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things." 2 Nephi 2:24

I learned that Heavenly Father knows our  needs. Even better than a tour guide knows his or her tourists, our Heavenly Father knows us. And He showed me over and over that the life of His servant is in his hand (4). 

"For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God." Moroni 7:16

One day I had stayed late with one of the families from my tour group to make sure they got to see all that they wanted to. At the end of the show, I walked up to them as crowds of people swarmed past us on their way out. This Scottish man pulled me under his arm, his wife and daughter under his other arm, and began to pray. We huddled together as he said a prayer for me, right then and there while people pressed past us, for me and for my family. I have had countless experiences as a tour guide with people from all over the world with different beliefs and traditions who have shared their faith with me. God is in all of us. His light is in all of us.

"You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves. Therefore, dearly beloved, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God and for his arm to be revealed." Doctrine & Covenants 122:16-17

And so, it is apparent that I have so much more to learn. And as I take timid steps toward the next part of my journey, I am learning to be thankful for what lies behind me. It is always my intention to leave things, places, people better off than when I met them. I have not been a perfect tour guide, I have not even been a great tour guide. But I have learned. And I am incredibly humbled and grateful for that. 

1) Mosiah 4:5
2) 1 Nephi 16:1-2
3) Patricia T. Holland quoting her son, Matt Holland "The comfort wherewith we are comforted"
4) 3 Nephi 21:10

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Transformation 101

Hey guys, I'm back.

No, truthfully. I feel like I was dead for awhile. Life in 2012 was like a tsunamic wave that crept up from behind and crashed down on my family all at once. And as we stand here all huddled together, soaked to the bone and just a little bit shaky from the mere shock of it all, we watch as the water settles down to the usual back and forth of the waves along the shore.

I've obviously been living by the beach for too long.

There was a period of time where I used this phrase quite often to motivate myself:
  "Don't let the hurt turn you into something you're not."

The sentiment is well-intentioned and inspired me through difficult times. However, I have come to realize that there is a step up from this way of thinking.
We ought to have trials, yes ought. We ought to be learning and becoming something, you see, a life fully lived is a life of consistently becoming. What we become well, that is called agency.

Something I said often this past semester was that I felt like I was going through a sort of ongoing transformation process. It was intensely painful and not exactly pretty. The grotesque distortions of my character are not something that the people close to me enjoyed, nor are they something I am proud of. I tried so hard to embrace the pain of concentrated transformation, but pain is never easy to endure. Thankfully, the Lord took care of the hardest parts of it for me already, and was there to hold my hand along the way. He never left me alone, even when the people around me were apt (and probably wise, haha) to do so.

I came to learn that transformation, or becoming, is not always a beautiful, magical process. Transforming into an enriched and enhanced creature is a process full of daily difficulties.

But this burning... I am left with this burning in my heart. Yes, I would call it a burning. It is less than a complete conversion (because I am not perfect just yet), but more than the simpleness a feeling. This is a burning that I have sorely missed. This most recent emotion is nothing less than the warmth of the Savior as He takes my broken, tender heart in His hands and tenderly stitches up the healing wounds. His graceful hands and astounding love smooth out wrinkles and sore spots and my soul is encompassed with a warm gratitude.

This gratitude seeps into daily activities as I strive each day to represent and honor Him. And even now I am humbled yet again as I realize that all this time I thought I was being prepared for these experiences, but now I know that these experiences are preparing me for even greater things ahead.

And so the cycle continues, the cycle of becoming. But what we become, that is called agency.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


This is it:

There is right. And there is wrong.

There are so many battles raging all over the world about what is right and what is wrong. We all point fingers and we all think we know what’s best for everyone else. We all get offended and we all offend others. The new trend is such that we define for ourselves what is morally right and wrong. What’s right for you may not be right for another person, supposedly.

Amid all the debates in the media, in the news, in politics, in different cultures, in daily life that are spat about and tossed around each and every day, I wish to proclaim just one thing:

Jesus Christ is the Savior. He came, He lived, He suffered, He died. He did it because He loves us.

That’s it. That’s all that matters. That’s my whole life. I am nothing without Him. I am worthless without His Atonement. Worthless because without it I would never be perfect enough to live up to my full potential. I am horribly imperfect. I do so many things wrong. I say the wrong things. I offend people. I don’t show people I love them enough. Sometimes I simply don’t love people enough. I judge, I sin. I would not be happy, I would be miserable without Him. HE IS MY EVERYTHING. I owe everything to Him.

To all the people that I love so very much but don’t show it enough: I’m sorry. To all those I am still learning how to love because I am human and flawed and slow and selfish: I’m sorry. For all of my other many flaws that affect and have harmed other people. I am sorry. Please know that Heavenly Father loves you. And even though I have messed up and hurt others, I know that He can take away their pain. I know He can because He takes mine. Every day He carries burdens for me that I would crumble underneath if I had to trudge on alone in this increasingly threatening world.

I am often accused of not seeing evil. Or of not seeing things in the world. I am often told that I need to calm down, that the gospel is too much a part of me. That I live in the world and I need to try harder to be a part of it, to please the people around me.

I will do no such thing. Jesus Christ gave everything for me to be happy. He stood up and said that He would Atone for us. He made it possible for us to come here. He came here and lived in the world and was persecuted beyond my mortal comprehension. The world hated Him so much that they crucified Him. They crucified the Son of God. He let them. He let them so that I could live in the world free from the depth of pain that He experienced.

Jesus Christ gave His life for me, and I will give mine for Him.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

So he sent his Son...

Something I have learned about life:

Nobody knows what they're doing.

Life is not about knowing, it's about doing. And even more than that, it's about being.

Commandments are such a blessing. They lead us to the greatest happiness attainable.
The gospel is so simple. It's like a color-by-number. We are given all the tools/colors we need and the instructions are clear. All we have to do is color each number the right color, even if it looks awkward or ugly to us when we see it in pieces. God can see the big picture and knows what color each section needs to be to make it the most pleasing and beautiful.

It's not about knowing what we're doing, or being able to comprehend everything that's going on. It's about trusting the Savior enough to not dwell on the things that have hurt us, but to be so caught up in the gratitude of what is going on right now around us that all we see is a future filled with hope and joy.

It's not about how hard or difficult it is, although the trials come to all of us, it's about rising above them and letting those trials make us better step by refining step.

Sometimes we jump in the ocean thinking that we know how to swim and God will keep the sharks away from us. But then we get tired and the sharks are nipping at our ankles and we forget why we jumped in the first place.

But all that matters is Him. All that matters is getting back to Him. All that matters is kicking as long and as hard as I can to show Him that I am thankful for what He did for me, to show Him that I am willing to do my part, feeble and meager as it may be.

And when I think of that day when He will be waiting there for me with outstretched, open arms... I know that everything I have suffered and will suffer in this life is worth it, worth it because He suffered, because He loves me. Because He paid the true price to make it worth it.

Because He loves me.