Saturday, October 30, 2010
from the platform that kept my
feet on solid ground.
I leapt expecting you to catch me
but you were not found
And I was left tangled in a heap
while you grinned down at me
and said "I'm sorry,
this wasn't meant to be."
Oh, soul, why did I leap?
I should have walked the rope,
inching my way slowly forward
with nothing to regret.
Or covered myself with masks
to hide my aching scars.
Or trained the animals
for surely they would never drop me
like your able, willing arms
strong enough to let me go.
I leapt because I had to fall
to learn what I already should know.
Yeah so... It's kinda funny that I haven't written since August. I don't even remember August. I don't remember what I was doing or who I was. I guess I don't really want to.
I have a mirror in my bedroom. Almost a year ago I wrote the words "Be in the moment!" in dry erase marker on my mirror. I think I stole these words from a conference talk. Pretty sure. I wrote them there because I was trying desperately to enjoy myself at the end of my senior year, while battling some of the hardest trials I've had to face, and serious depression. I was trying to discipline my mind to stop dizzying me with all the should-haves and could-bes, and just laugh and celebrate the right-nows.
It's ironic though, because I don't remember any of those right-nows. I guess it's a good thing I kept a journal so I can remember all the good things that happen in my life.
Stupid should-haves and could-bes..
In 12 days, it will be 1 whole year since one of the most defining days in my life. I never foresaw the impact this day would have on my life for the next year. I never imagined the could-be that I am today. I am not who I was a year ago. I am not who I was 2 months ago! The experiences I am having now are so influential that the growth I'm experiencing is overwhelming. Becoming an "adult" is not a simple transformation.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Once upon a time, I was really upset, had no one to talk to, and didn't feel like writing in my journal. So I went to my computer, and rambled through typing. It worked. It was a good outlet. And no one read it. So it was fine. Just fine.
Then one day, a few months later, I was reading the Ensign and it was a special issue about using technology for good. That's when I decided to use the blog to bare my testimony whenever I felt like it. But then it kind of turned into this thing where I felt obligated to preach and have a great message and make myself sound great and smart through my writing.
Well, I'm taking a page out of the old manual. I DO have two unfinished drafts, and they are GREAT ideas that I want to share with the world, eventually. But I have come to the sincere conclusion that I don't have to write a sermon every time I post. Sometimes I just want to sit and let my feelings explode through typage. Sometimes I need that..
So.. What's been on my mind lately? Let's explore my feelings....
As far back as I can remember, my family has been going to eat at TGI Friday's on Foothill Boulevard. My brother worked his butt off and earned the noble title of general manager. We'd go there with family, and I'd take my friends there. My brother would get me good deals and special treatment for girl's choice dances. Heck, I even had my birthday party there once.
Anyway, the point I'm getting to here is that last Saturday was the last time I'll ever have dinner at Friday's on Foothill. The restaurant is gone. Now I will elaborate on why this is significant.
Sugarhouse is more than just a place where I spent the first eleven years of my life. And it's more than just my hometown, or "where I grew up." I didn't realize this until recently, but it means a lot more to me than that. Sugarhouse represents life before things got hard. Life before I was left on my own, and had to learn how to take care of myself. Life before Conrad died, and Dad got sick.
Let's face it, most of the time I pretend like I don't remember "life before." And that works just fine, most of the time. But when I'm honest with myself, I remember plenty. I remember being a kid, and being carefree. And I remember Mom and Dad arguing with each other and with older brothers. I remember being scared of them. I say it was because I was shy. Sure I was shy, but I was also terrified of their anger.
I remember what it felt like the night Conrad died. I don't know if anyone else does, they don't talk about it. But I remember. I remember the blank faces awith wet eyes looking down at me telling me lies. Telling me everything was okay, when they knew it wasn't. Telling me it would be okay, when they weren't sure.
I remember moving. I remember being torn to pieces because I promised my friend I would say goodbye. And I never got the chance.
I remember plenty. I remember singing on the front porch. It was my favorite stage. I remember hair clips being turned into hair monsters. And bike tires being turned into ice cream makers. I remember 4th of July parades. And trips to Video Verns to get Smurfs movies. I remember singing to the Beatles while we drank refills from Rainbow Mart. I remember falling on top of Mark Macey one day while playing "Girls chase Boys" and getting my boot stuck in the huge snow mountain in the stake center parking lot on the way home from school one day, because Tyrel was dawdling as usual. I remember drawing pictures with Paige, and eating dinner with Sara. Walking to piano lessons, coloring at Ann's house, Shelby's weird mom always favoring the girls. Burping contests and tree climbing and ant hunting and..
The point is.. I remember plenty.
And it's gone now. Dilworth-where David and I played boogie monster-is gone, the chapel-where Conrad's and Bud's funerals were held-is gone, the farvorite climbing tree-where Tyrel and I conquered the world-is gone, the Rainbow Mart is a laundromat, Video Verns is.. who knows what. The dentist remodeled and the horses and video games that we always fought over are gone. Even the Redman buliding was redone..
And now Friday's. It's gone.
Childhood. It's gone.
Grow up Tori.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
But now I just want to type up something more inspiring for the next post. I used to have good things to say.. I still do. But lately I have been denying my feelings so much that it's hard to get them out in the open enough to learn something from them and inspire others along the way.
I guess I'm in a pretty tough place right now. Most of my peers don't know the difference. A tough place for me still seems pretty amazing to some of them. Alright so I haven't stopped saying my prayers, and I'm still reading my scriptures every day, and I get around to some missionary work every now and then. But the last couple of weeks.. My heart hasn't been in it. I got so busy and exhausted the last week of school that "scripture study" became reading a few verses in sleepy ignorance before I fell asleep on my knees while trying to get through a prayer at one in the morning.
The hardest thing is knowing what I need to do. I know I have to get organized first. Clean my room, do some laundry, make some lists. Then, magically, things will start to happen. I don't know why it seems so hard sometimes. I know I'm not as happy as I could be, I'm just kind of sliding by. I think it's just that when we find ourselves in these gospel "slumps" we kind of numb ourselves and get lazy. We know we could be happier, but by now we've forgotten what being happier feels like, and we feel okay right now, so there's really no reason to try harder when we're doing okay.
Ever seen that show "World's Strictest Parents"? They send rotten, seemingly hopeless teenagers to a good, "strict" family for a week. ONE WEEK, and there is almost always a significant transformation in these teens. Emotionally, and even physically. It seems like every time the transformation comes because the teens find themselves in completely eye-opening situations. They have to take responsibility for their actions, and they find in themselves that they actually do want a promising future. They were just.. taking the easy route. It all goes back to the road of least resistance versus the road of greatest happiness.
I found this great talk from 1972. You really should just read the entire talk. It's marvelous. But I'll try to hit on all the good stuff. President Paul H. Dunn quotes three famous philosophers as the outline for his talk:
1. Socrates wrote: "Know thyself."
2. Cicero said: "Control thyself."
3. and the Savior said: "Give thyself"
This is fairly self-explanatory. And obviously something I haven't been doing so well since I've been too afraid to face my own feelings. Not only do we have to be honest with ourselves, but we have to know with no doubt in hearts that we are children of God. We have Heavenly parents and divine potential. President Dunn says: "The word can't is false doctrine in the Mormon church. When a young man says to me, 'I can't do it,' I become concerned because in a sense he is saying, 'I don't understand the gospel.' " We have to know who we are, and understand the power that lies within us.
President Dunn also details an inspiring story about Babe Ruth and his faithful, optimistic attitude. When someone asked Babe Ruth "What do you do when you get in a batting slump?" This is what he said:
"I just keep goin' up there and keep swingin'. I know the old law of averages will hold good for me same as it does for anybody else, if I keep havin' my healthy swings. If I strike out two or three times in a game, or fail to get a hit for a week, why should I worry? Let the pitchers worry, they're the guys who're going to have to pay for it later on."
This is easily comparable to our "gospel slumps." Just like Babe Ruth, we just have to keep swingin'. We just have to keep reading our scriptures and saying our prayers and we'll average out. And the pitchers that have to pay for it later on? Well they represent Old Scratch and his angels.. I always come out as a better person when I've been through trial, and that makes me a stronger force in the battle against evil. So while Satan may celebrate my misery, he's worried about later on because he knows if I make it through, I'll be even stronger than before.
Dunn later goes on to say
"It's one thing to be born with ability to succeed; it's another thing to harness it and to control it."
And before finishing with a story says:
"The Savior said, Take all that I have given you, harness it, discipline it, and then give it to the world. Give thyself."
It's really an amazing talk. You should read it. Go look it up on lds.org.
But anyway, where I was going with all of this is that a slump is just a slump. Everyone's allowed a slump every now and then, because none of us are perfect. But don't let it get to the point where it's really hindering your spiritual progression. Always try as hard as you can to press forward. The more you do, the more you will realize how worth it is to choose the path of greatest happiness. That's right, happiness. Don't be content with just okay, strive for something greater.
I pretty much typed this as a sermon to myself.. Sometimes teaching is the best way of internalizing something.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I have a testimony of missionary work and the importance of it.
I'm in love with a missionary in Brazil.
The above statements are the facts of the case, and they are undisputed.
They are, in fact, true statements.
However, some LDS culture surrounding missionaries and the work they do baffles and even irritates me.
True: I am in love with a missionary in Brazil.
False: I am "waiting" for him to return in the hopes that we will one day be married.
"Waiting" for missionaries. Oh freaking brother.
First of all, girls, you shouldn't be steady-dating a guy before his mission anyway. He's got better things to do with his time. Guys, before your mission you need to stay far away from any relationship that threatens to turn you into a whipped mess. You have better things to do with your time, more eternally significant things to prepare for, more important spiritual matters that need to be the focus of your thoughts.
If you haven't been steady dating, that completely eliminates the need to "wait" in the first place. Problem solved.
Secondly, if you do happen to meet your future spouse in high school (Hey, I'm a believer now alright? I'm in love remember?), Heavenly Father knows it, and he'll make sure everything works out between you and said lover. It's not your job to question His intentions. He's omnipotent, all-knowing, all that jazz. Your job is to trust Him and live your life in such a way that manifests that trust.
Girls, "waiting" for a missionary is not trusting in God. I'm not saying you have to go out and throw yourself into the arms of the next guy that comes along. But just BE REAL with yourself.
Only 7% of girls who decide to "wait" actually make it the full two years, for whatever reason. You must be willing to accept the idea that the relationship may not work. Just as importantly, only 3% of girls who plan on waiting for their missionary actually marry him.
I'm not saying you can't hope that you'll end up with this preemie who seems to be the man of your dreams--Ive hoped every day for the past 6 months--just know that you need to BE REAL with yourself. You are not the exception to the rule just because you decide to be. You can't make things happen that the Lord (all-knowing, omnipotent, all-powerful..) doesn't have planned for you. It may not work out. Deal with it.
On the plus side, if it doesn't work out, Heavenly Father has someone even better for you in the works. Isn't that an exciting prospect? It seems impossible that there could be someone better right? But you'll never beat the Lord in a game of Jeopardy. He's the one who put all that knowledge in Albert Einstein's brain. He knows what's out there. Don't trick yourself into believing that you know more than He does.
True: I have a testimony of missionary work and the importance of it.
False: I tell evey non-member I meet that they are damned to hell.
No sir. I don't hand them a copy of the Book of Mormon either.
Talk to them about the church and my testimony of it daily? You betcha.
The key to having non-member friends is The Golden Rule.
"Treat others as you would like to be treated."
Ever heard of it?
If you want someone to accept your religious beliefs, you must first acknowledge and accept their religious beliefs. I have non-member friends that I bear my testimony to every day. Why do they tolerate such bold behavior? Because I don't ask them to agree, just to listen. I don't insist that I'm right, because to do so would be to insist that their beliefs are wrong. It's not my job to tell them that they're wrong. That's the Holy Ghost's job. Are you the Holy Ghost? I don't think so. So stop trying to get paid for his work.
End of current rant.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Once there was a girl who loved penaut butter and jelly sandwiches. She ate them all the time. She made a new one every day, sometimes more than one a day. One day she came home for lunch and had a limted amount of time to eat. She threw some rice in the microwave and proceeded to make a PB&J. Alas, she could not find any peanut butter. She searched high, and low, until finally she found some! She meticulously spread the peanut butter on one slice of bread and some delicious homemade jam on the other. She put the slices together and then set the sandwich on a plate on the counter. She took the rice out of the microwave and gobbled it up. After she got herself a nice, tall glass of milk, she came back to the sandwich. She noticed some white powdery stuff on the crust. It looked quite harmless and she was about to take a big, delicious bite when she decided she better double check to make sure it wouldn't hurt her. After a more thorough inspection, she came to the conclusion that the white powdery stuff was indeed mold. She was tempted to eat the sandwich anyway, it hardly seemed likely that some white dust could be life threatening. After careful consideration however, she decided the best choice would be to throw the sandwich away. Better to sacrifice the sandwich than to risk getting ill. Pity she hadn't noticed the mold before she wasted all that delicious peanut butter and homemade jam on it. Not to mention the time she had wasted.
-Students that worry too much about AP tests
-Texting with no purpose
-Girls that don't respect boys enough to tell them the truth, consequently they "lead them on"
-Boys that fall down at the feet of said girls
-Madrigals, as a whole, not individually
-Kids who date seriously in high school
-Girls that influence boys to date seriously in high school
-Not having enough time to do anything
-My mom emailing my brother about my life.
-Being in love
-Relationships that are all about being physical
Monday, April 12, 2010
I spent the past week in California, on tour with my high school choir and band buddies. Manifestly, I learned loads from the activities and experiences there. Although, I couldn't help but analyze the experiences and contrast them to the lessons learned in Arizona.
Before I elaborate, the reader should acknowledge the abstractness of my thoughts. Describing a beautiful painting with words is never as emotionally astounding as seeing the actual painting. Certainly if a painter was told what to create, using only words, the result would not be as moving as if it came directly from his heart. It's almost as if my mind contructs thoughts using pictures, and by words I am limited in how well I am able to recreate the image for you.
To be continued...
Sunday, April 4, 2010
a friend of mine was inspired to buy me a book.
The book was about "Godwinks"
aka.. The little blessings that God sends more frequently than we care to notice.
I was in a minor car accident.
When I got home, the first thing I did was sit down and make a list of Godwinks related to the accident.
I'm sure there were more than I could even think of.
Basically, I came to the conclusion that without my faith in Christ,
I don't think I would have survived the accident.
As it is,
I was barely harmed.
I feel I've gained more from the experience than I've lost.
That's how the gospel works..
It turns weaknesses into strengths,
and trials into blessings.
...to be continued.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
-I have three little sisters and a little brother now!
-Karsten always reads my mind..
-"Sometimes I feel like such a silly little white girl."
"You're a silly little white girl with a big Polynesian heart!"
"There are WHITE people in this room???"
-"Jimmy doesn't hug me."
"You're my girlfriend now."
-Tyrel's back-popping hugs!
-Explaining how to use the shower
-"Thank you Emily, you're welcome Emily!"
-"I have 11 people in my family. 3 brothers, and 6 sisters!"
-"I love going to bed at 10:30, 11:30, and 12:54!"
-"Check check me out!"
-"Are you talking to me? Well you should start!"
-"Do you like water? Well then you like 75% of my body!"
-"You know what Sunday is? Sunday is the day when we get to have fun and YOU don't!"
-"You're like the only white girl who can blend with us!"
-Being searched at Hoover Dam and feeling like a criminal... Until I opened up my duffel and my scriptures were right on top!
-Tina's music around me 24 hours a day.
-Singing 24 hours a day..
-Being with my LDA family and AZ family.
-Being engulfed in the spirit everywhere we went.
-"Can you pass the ham?"
-Fireside #1: Praying for my heart to stop pounding.
Fireside #2: Praying for my bangs to stay out of my face.
They both worked. "Cuz duh. Faith just always works."
-"We're all spiritual and stuff, but she's the one who makes everyone cry."
"Well as long as she's my daughter!"
-"Is this language?"
-"Hhhhh! I like this song!"
-"It's like home to me!"
-Secret perfume dealing.
-"Hey! I like your.... tie......"
Monday, February 15, 2010
There have been an unprecedented amount of things on my mind as of late. It's this phase I go through in life over and over again. The phase where my room gets messy and I fall behind in my journal and everything starts to feel a little chaotic.
But life goes on.
And as long as the scriptures get read, there's a temple trip in the near future, and the sacrament gets taken that week, there is peace shielding me from the chaos of this world.
I've been thinking a lot about
lately.. It seems to be a common theme in many of the trials I've been going through these past couple of months. It seems that every time things get hard, it comes back to whether or not my faith is strong enough to dispel my fear. Fear of change, mostly.
Luckily, the Lord prepares us for the future, assuming we let Him. If we look for them, He gives us little hints about things that are going to be hard that we need to get ready for. Things that we need to build our faith for.
In Ether 2:25, the Savior says: "Ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come." He will prepare us. There is no other way to safely navigate the waves, winds, and floods in the ocean of earthly life. Only through Him. Jeffrey R. Holland said "He knows the way because He is the way." He also said: "I know of no other way for us to succeed or to be safe amid life's many pitfalls and problems."
Example: A couple of weeks ago I realized that my best friend for forever and the rest of my life is going to leaving in less than a year. Granted, he will be turning his life over to the Lord for two years, a more-than-worthy cause, but the plain truth is that he is still leaving. "Best friends" are hard for me to come by, for whatever reason, I've seen many of them come and go. And each time I believed that surely this would be the one to actually stick around. Well he is one of the ones that actually HAS stuck around. For seven years, he's been around. There are times when we're close and times when we're not. Sometimes we didn't talk for months. Other times we talked every day. Sometimes we're more than friends, sometimes we're definitely just friends. But the thing that matters is that he's always been "around." Whether standing in the background, or the center of the brilliant foreground, he's been there. For that reason alone, he means a lot to me. So it hit me pretty hard when I was up late daydreaming about my future one night, and I thought "Hmm.. I might be engaged or even married before Alex gets home from his mission." Actually, it hit me real hard. And then the alternative crossed my mind. If he chose NOT to serve a mission, it would be ten MILLION times worse. That should have made me feel better, right? It didn't. At that point, it felt like a lose-lose situation. I sat down on my bedroom floor and cried out to my Father in Heaven.. "This sucks!"
And then that underlying theme of faith hit me AGAIN. Why am I so AFRAID of him leaving? I know that the Lord is in control and will take care of me. I know The Lord needs him more than I do. I know that the people wherever he's serving need him more than I do. And it's building my faith and testimony of those simple concepts that will make it okay for me to not have him "around." And the Lord has blessed me, by giving me a year's notice. He's given me LOTS of time to prepare so that when the time comes to say goodbye, my faith in His plan will kick my fear of losing a best friend right out to no man's land.
Believe me, I'm a weakling, and I need all the time I can get.
It's not by chance that I thought of the situation now, and not in a year when it actually happens. The Lord knows I need time to build myself up, to prepare. He has always helped me in this way. He knew I would be weak in high school when it comes to dating and boys. So in junior high, He had me thinking about dating standards that I needed to set for myself so that I would be prepared when the time came to face those temptations. Lately He has been preparing me for mommyhood by placing in me an almost fanatic desire that I never dreamed of for myself. This is how He makes weaknesses strong. He knew I would be weak in dating, so He prepared me with words of prophets full of suggestions on how to avoid temptation. And now, I can truly say that my dating standards are one of my biggest strengths.
Also, because I tried to have faith in this simple doctrine, I was blessed immeasurably in ways that I cannot put into words. Without a doubt, I can testify that what Moroni says in Ether 12:6 is TRUE. "Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." You must first be faithful, and then you will see blessings without end permeate your life.
[To read more of Jeffrey R. Hollands talk, go to: www.lds.org and search for "Broken Things to Mend" by Jeffrey R. Holland]
Saturday, January 16, 2010
"It is true, He did know all that was going to happen. It was all part of the plan. He loved us enough to go through such pain and agony. I know because I have felt His love and I know it is true."
"You should never say you aren't good at something when someone gives you a compliment, you should thank them and then give thanks to the Lord for blessing you."
"Humility is the full realization of your complete dependence on God."
"I don't know why the rules are so important, they just are. Following the simple, menial ones takes the most faith, and often makes the biggest difference in the end. Not steady dating in highschool is a pretty small rule for most people. The prophets have said it, but people look at it as more of a suggestion. But look at the difference it has made in our lives. Reading the scriptures every day is a pretty small thing, but I can testify of the power that it brings me. Alma 37:6 Follow the rules, Trev. Even the silly ones."
"It's just incredibly comforting to know that Heavenly Father is in control and taking care of me."
"I was thinking more about our phrase "being an instrument in the hands of the Lord." I like to think of the analogy as a musical instrument. Anyone can make sound out of it, talented musicians can make beautiful music. But imagine the limitless "talent" our Father in Heaven has, and how much the CREATOR knows the tiny intracacies of the instrument. He truly makes us more beautiful and perfect than we could ever be by ourselves."
"In our Large Group Meeting the teacher taught about how the Gospel is using all the keys of a piano it is the fulness and we should use all of those keys to preach the Gospel because if you play one note continously that note begins to be annoying. So if we become the piano God can use us to play all the notes."
"Don't ever worry about your image that you portray to other people. Be confident in what you do as long as you trust in the Lord and show it He will bless you."
" 'People who don't know Jesus Christ but know you will want to know Jesus Christ because they know you.' So we should live in such a way that people will want to come unto Christ because they know you."
"Focusing on serving others and being an example of the light of Christ is an easy way to dispel self-pity."
"I thought of the lists I make in my prayers morning and evening for my Heavenly Father. I make daily lists of things I want and need and I can see Him going down my lists and checking off everything that He possibly can..."
"I don't want to get 'drunk' on pride or entitlement. Gratitude is so important. It is a large part of humility."
" 'Do not be negligent in the ability to feel the condescension of God (the Spirit), this ability has to be earned, we never deserve it but we must work to earn it. And the blessings of the Lord are regular not once in a lifetime.' (Neil L. Anderson)"
"Being and feeling loved is probably the best gift I could ask for."
"Change is constantly challenging faith. I need to hit the ground running with faith in my Savior, always progressing. Sometimes it feels like I'm running in the dark, which can be scary. But... 'Perfect love casteth out fear.' (1 John 4:18) And 2 Timothy 1:7, God gives us a spirit of power and love. Love is all around me, hitting me from all directions and exploding out of me at the same time. So... I have no need to fear."
"Faith is a principle of ACTION and power. Heavenly Father gives you the power to do what you need to do, but you have to be doing something! He's not going to do it for you."
"It is just incredible to me how the gospel applies to even the tiniest, silliest intracacies of life. And it seems like my testimony is strengthened by the tiny things as much as the big things, if not more."
Friday, January 15, 2010
It's been rough lately. It kinda makes me sick to think about it. To think about how miserable and selfish and dependent I've been.
That's all I choose to say about it. Most people know why. I'm pretty good at being a whiny crybaby.
January's been okay. 2010 isn't completely failing me yet. I got my grades up to a 3.8. Which is a miracle I do NOT deserve. My teachers really believe in me and want me to succeed.. Even when I don't.
Anyway, today was interesting. I spent the day being.. a normal teenager. And at the end of the day I realized.. I'm NOT normal. And acting that way makes me.. miserable.
"Grant me twenty thousand wishes, cover me with lavish things, but I believe in loaves and fishes, miracles and mustard seeds. People have told me how to be happy, but I find their remedies empty. These are my pearls, God's treasures unfurled mean more to this girl, more than the world to me."
These are my pearls:
Purple skies, hazel eyes..
Fireflies, blue horizons
In the spring, grey turns green
Hope once dead is brought to life
-Especially one in particular
Shady tree, shoes in hand
With my bare feet in the sand
The dusty road that takes me home
Photographs from the past
-Evangelho de Jesus Cristo
Summer naptime in the grass
Constellations in the sky
Northern Lights will make you cry
-But mostly amor e evangelho de Jesus Cristo
I can't live without the Holy Spirit's comfort and guidance in my life. I need the strength I receive from my Savior through my faith. I desire His joy, His love, and His will more than anything and all else. People have told me how to be happy, but I believe in miracles and mustard seeds. They are muito importante para meu salvacao.
"Just like a fish needs water, you need the gospel and the companionship of the Holy Ghost to be truly, deeply happy." -Ensign November 2009, Marcus B. Nash