Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Inspired people

As of late, it has seemed as though I'm surrounded by amazing, inspired people.
"Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

Whoever Max Ehrmann is.. He's a freaking genius. Seriously. I should go Google him. Right now.

So anyway, surrounded by inspired people, yes. Max Ehrmann is one of them, even though I don't have a clue who he is. In my mind, this whole turn of events started with a simple text message from a good friend. Remember the boy who gave me a note with his testimony in it? Well the other night, he sent me a simple text, with a straightforward message. It was basically another testimony. He told me he wanted to be righteous, he wanted to go on a mission, he wanted to do this and that, and then he told me he wanted people to see in his eyes, what he sees in mine.

Well obviously, this is quite a compliment. But in all truthfulness.. It overwhelmed me. It scared the heck out of me. It made me feel horrible. Looking back now, it seems ridiculous. But I felt awful about myself, I felt undeserving of such a compliment on my character. I went upstairs and found my dad in the kitchen. I asked him a simple question, "Will I ever feel good enough?" I don't remember the specific advice he gave me. But when I went back downstairs to my room that night, I had a new book to read: Believing Christ.

I finished that book today.

Everything that's happened since that silly little text has been a flood of.. inspired people! This week it's felt like the whole universe is working together to make sure that I'm content, and learning, and becoming better.

Today I got a temple recommend to do baptisms for the dead on Saturday with a very good friend, Mrs. Ruesch, my choir teacher from junior high. I haven't had a temple recommend for a while. It was the best feeling in thee intire world.

"Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the the dull and the ignorant; they, too, have their story.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery, but let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection, neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perrenial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrender the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings: many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God. . . .and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Lift up your hearts - be not afraid!"

-Max Ehrmann. Genius.

No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should...
There is no doubt in my mind that God has a plan for each and every one of us. I guarantee it. I promise you that when you start seeing all the little miracles that happen to you, "God's tender mercies" as it were, that you will be able to catch a glimpse of His intricate plan for you. He does have one. No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. No doubt that whatever happens to you, is what is supposed to happen to you, and is part of God's plan for you. No doubt we can learn and grow from whatever tribulation is thrown at us, and one day become perfect in Him.

Don't ever stop loving and learning.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm a quitter

Editor's note: Ha! I fixed it! I'm so html savvy. =]

Now that I've successfully given up on passing my sign language class for the day, I decided that sitting at my computer rambling away like an idiot would be the next best way to spend my Saturday night. If it sounds like a desperate attempt at entertaining myself, it's because it is.

I could be going for a bike ride with Jeff, or doing something with Alex, or any number of things with any number of people. But something is wrong with me lately, and I don't feel like myself. My anxiety is preventing me from going out and doing things. On a normal day, I would be able to override it and do as I please. But it seems lately that it's really holding me back. I get nervous and sick to my stomach just thinking about it. What is it that makes me feel this way? Is there some kind of pressure that I'm unknowingly worrying about? Where is a girl supposed to turn to if she can't even figure herself out? How am I supposed to talk about my problems if I don't understand them?

I really want school to start.

You know I don't love the school part of school. And the people overwhelm me most of the time. But it gives me a backdrop to put the rest of my life in front of, and makes it more pleasing to look at. What do I have now? My own self motivation and goals. And where has that ever gotten me? Nowhere. Absolutely nowhere.

That stupid motivation word gets me every time. Not only do I feel like I don't have any motivation to do things, I don't have any determination to finish them either. Hence the title of this post, I'm a quitter.

I've aspired to quit being a quitter. But that's easier said, and written down, and made a goal of, then done. Mini-goals? I feel a list coming on.

Quitting Quitterness
1. Get involved in something and don't give up.
-sign language?
2. .....

That's about as far as I've gotten. Pretty impressive yeah? If you happen to stumble across my blog and are reading this, any suggestions to help me out would be great.

Alright enough of being downhearted. List number two, things I'm excited about.

I'm looking forward to:
1. Working my hiney off the next couple of weeks and making my house look good,
with or without the possible "prize" of an iPod at the end.
2. Youth Conference
because the people(boys) in the ward are people(boys) that I can stand to be around right now
without freaking out and getting sick to my stomach.
3. Danica coming home.
Which is before Youth Conference.
4. EFY
Always and forever and all eternity,
the best thing that has ever happened, and will happen to me.
5. School starting
because that is by far the best way to "hang out" with people.

Let me discuss this "hanging out" business for a minute. Not only do I not believe in "hanging out", especially with the opposite gender. But I do not like "hanging out", especially with the opposite gender. I prefer planned, preferably far in advance, activities. They make me feel less anxious (notice I'm still anxious, just less so), I feel more safe, and in control. And maybe it's stupid, and selfish, and because of personal issues. But that's the way I feel. I don't care what we do, I just want to do something, and not just sit around hanging out. Because I can do that by myself quite well thank you very much.

One more thought.

" 'Charity is the pure love of Christ.' The Savior exemplified that love and taught it even as He was tormented by those who despised and hated Him.

On one occasion the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking Him a seemingly impossible question: 'Master,' they asked, 'which is the great commandment in the law?'

The Pharisees had debated this question extensively and had identified more than 600 commandments. If prioritizing them was such a difficult task for scholars, certainly they thought the question would be impossible for this son of a carpenter from Galilee.

But when the Pharisees heard His answer, they must have been troubled, for it pointed to their great weakness. He replied:

'Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

'This is the first and great commandment.

'And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

'On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.' "

"The measure of our love is the measure of the greatness of our souls."

" 'Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God. A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.'

As we reach out in love to those around us, we fulfill the other half of the great commandment to 'love they neighbour as thyself.'

Both commandments are necessary, for as we bear one another's burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ.

Love is the beginning, the middle, and the end of the pathway of discipleship. It comforts, counsels, cures, and consoles. It leads us through valleys of darkness and through the veil of death. In the end love leads us to the glory and grandeur of eternal life."

"Many asked why he gained so many followers and retained them. His answer: 'It is because I possess the principle of love.' "

"Sometimes the greatest love is not found in the dramatic scenes that poets and writers immortalize. Often, the greatest manifestations of love are the simple acts of kindness and caring we extend to those we meet along the path of life."

"We see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today. Our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever. Although we might settle for less, Heavenly Father won't, for he sees us as the glorious being we are capable of becoming.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation. It takes us as men and women of the earth and refines us into men and women for the eternities.

The means of this refinement is our Christlike love."

"The Greek playright Sophocles wrote: 'One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.' "

"The greater the measure of our love, the greater is our joy."

"Do you love the Lord?"

Excerpts from The Great Commandment, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (The absolute most genius apostle ever.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Worth my time.

So this morning, I was reading the Ensign, this month's, the one about sharing the gospel using technology and yada yada. And I remembered that I actually have one of these blog thingys. Believe it or not I had totally and completely forgotten all about it. Which is why I suck at blogging.

But anyway, I decided it might be a cool thing to try to share my testimony on here. It probably won't be very effective, but it's a start. And it's good for me. I'm trying to really focus my life on spiritual things, it's just so much easier said than done. It seems like even with all I do, it will never be enough. But then again, knowing me, even if I was Marshall, I still wouldn't be satisfied.

Although, I'm not of the opinion that we ever should be completely satisfied. We should always be growing. But perhaps we should be satisfied that we're growing, and not hate ourselves for never being perfect.

So, switching gears a little bit. Once upon a time, there was a boy who gave me a note with his testimony in it. I would have to say that it really changed my perspective. And boy, did it strengthen mine, just to know that there actually are other teenagers out there striving to live the gospel and do what's right. I forget that sometimes. His testimony was so simple and straightforward, that I wished mine was more like that. Instead of all complicated and read between the lines-ish. I wanted my testimony to be simple too. And just let the Spirit testify to everyone how strongly I really feel.

So I challenged myself. In testimony meeting the next Sunday, I tried to keep it short, simple, and straightforward, and generally, let the Spirit do the talking and the testifying. I tried to leave out the exciting stories from my life, that not only make my testimony more interesting to listen to, but make me look like a great young individual. In short, I tried to forget everything else, and just let my ward know, that I know.

I wrote a song about wishing people knew the things I know. It was written after a particularly draining conversation with my friend Aaron, where I tried for more than an hour to get him to listen to what the spirit was trying to tell him, to no avail. I wrote in my journal one night, that one of the worst possible feelings you could ever feel, is to see the spirit trying to reach someone who won't let it in. I had an experience at EFY where this was even more evident. My roommate had had a lot of trouble with the way boys had treated her. She'd been abused and disrespected in almost every relationship she'd had. At EFY she had expected all the boys to treat her better, and they had. But one boy, I don't even remember his name, kept crossing over the line just a little bit. And finally, during the service project, he caused her to break down in tears. He hadn't done anything horribly wicked, but the way he had treated her was not ideal. And because of her situation, it was just the thing to make her feel discouraged about life. I remember sitting out in the hall next to her while she cried. My counselor came and said some things to her, and together, the three of us said a prayer. Afterward, I felt the spirit so strong, and I knew that the spirit was trying to enter her heart, to comfort her. But for whatever reason, she wouldn't let Him in. I remember clear as day sitting with my arm around her in tense silence, completely caught up and overwhelmed by the spirit, and telling my new friend "The Spirit's trying to talk to you Ash, you need to let Him in, He's trying to comfort you."

I stand by that statement today. Many righteous prophets in the scriptures have wept because of their wicked people, who refuse to listen to the Spirit. I feel that the Spirit is always trying to be with us, to comfort us, and teach us. He wants to be with us. The choices we make, and the things we do, are what force Him away from us, or keep Him close to us.

So, I for one, try to do things in a way that I know the Spirit can be with me at all times. I try to say my prayers and read my scriptures, and church books and magazines to openly invite Him into my life. I get a little bit upset when people in my family do things that chase the Spirit away from our home. I need to work on that because that's not under my control. But I get even more upset when I do things that chase the spirit away from our home. I don't know about everyone else, but I need Him here with me, to guide me so that I don't make so many mistakes. And when I do make mistakes, or I get hurt, I need His comforting presence so that I can recover, and continuing learning and growing.