Sunday, August 2, 2009

now, before you read this question, just remember who is asking and go with it. what do you love about you?? and i want the shallow, physical features answer. not the good, soulful answers.
the reason i ask, is because i am looking at my nails as i type, and shallowly, i really like them. vain i know. pathetic i know. but true.
that is not a tattoo just below my thumb, it is simply the note i wrote to myself in relief society. i know there is paper for such a moment, but trust me, the hand works so much more effectively for me. AND, i'm all about saving the trees.

at some young women activity when i was a laurel, some lady came and must have been talking about makeup, etc. she talked about nails and said i have lovely nail beds. who knows what those are, but i have noticed my nails since. not psychotically, but when they can grow out and i have moments that i actually sit down and do nothing for a bit, i like to do all the coats of paint. =) okay. enough random.

i have been called as a generic sunday school instructor for my ward. i'm the official floater and get to sub any of the sunday school classes as needed - talk about the coolest job ever!! one friend in the ward is here for the summer with her husband and cutest little girl. her ward where she lives isn't exactly a powerhouse of spirituality. she has been very generous with her compliments about lessons i get to share. last week we didn't get through as much as i had hoped and she knew from how i had the chalkboard organized that i didn't finish what i had planned. so i promised her that from now on i'll update my blog with my notes. these may be rather unclear since they are in note form, but em - i'll make them better from here on out!

“Life isn’t how I expected, anticipated . . .”
  • What are some ways that life hasn’t turned out the way you have anticipated?
  • What have been some of the hard things or speed bumps in your journey?
Timeline – Doc. and Cov. 121:1-6

Elder Marion G. Romney of the Quorum of the Twelve said: “I have seen the remorse and despair in the lives of men who, in the hour of trial, have cursed God and died spiritually. And I have seen people rise to great heights from what seemed to be unbearable burdens.
  • Why are some people embittered by trials while others grow and are strengthened? What can we do to face our trials and adversities better? (See Alma 62:49–51.)
  • What accounts in the scriptures and thoughts from the Apostles have helped or inspired you during times of adversity?
  • While serving in the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Harold B. Lee said that “living the gospel of Jesus Christ is no guarantee that adversity will not come into our lives; but living the gospel does give us the strength and faith and power to rise above that adversity and look beyond the present trouble to the brighter day” (quoted by A. Theodore Tuttle, in Conference Report, Oct. 1967, 15; or Improvement Era, Dec. 1967, 47).
  • “Help thou, my unbelief”
  • Elder Pino, April 2009 “’This was the time to show loyalty to God and to acknowledge that we depend on Him, that His will must be obeyed, and that we are subject to Him.’”
  • Doc. & Cov. 121:45
Refiner’s Fire
  • While serving in the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder James E. Faust said: “In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner’s fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong. … It is part of the purging toll exacted of some to become acquainted with God. In the agonies of life, we seem to listen better to the faint, godly whisperings of the Divine Shepherd” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1979, 77; or Ensign, May 1979, 53).
  • Ask the assigned class members to tell briefly what they have learned and how they have grown from adversity.
  • Elder Romney: “Finally, I have sought the Lord in my own extremities and learned for myself that my soul has made its greatest growth as I have been driven to my knees by adversity and affliction” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1969, 60; or Improvement Era, Dec. 1969, 69).
  • Point out that these revelations “made Liberty jail, for a time, a center of instruction. The eyes of the saints were turned to it as the place whence would come encouragement, counsel—the word of the Lord. It was more temple than prison, so long as the Prophet was there. It was a place of meditation and prayer. … Joseph Smith sought God in this rude prison, and found him” (B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:526).
  • Elder Holland, CES talk AND But Elder Brigham H. Roberts, in recording the history of the Church, spoke of the facility as a temple, or, more accurately, a “prison-temple.”8 Certainly it lacked the purity, the beauty, the comfort, and the cleanliness of our true temples, our dedicated temples. The speech and behavior of the guards and criminals who came there was anything but temple like. In fact, the restricting brutality and injustice of this experience at Liberty would make it seem the very antithesis of the . . . .
  • How can we prepare now to be strong in future times when we may experience greater adversity?
  • What can we do to more fully partake of the comfort and strength that Jesus offers through His Atonement? (See Hebrews 4:16; 1 Peter 5:6–11.)
  • Elder Holland, “None Were With Him”: For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone. . . But Jesus held on. He pressed on. The goodness in Him allowed faith to triumph even in a state of complete anguish. The trust He lived by told Him in spite of His feelings that divine compassion is never absent, that God is always faithful, that He never flees nor fails us. . . . My other plea . . . is that these scenes of Christ’s lonely sacrifice, laced with moments of denial and abandonment and, at least once, outright betrayal, must never be reenacted by us. He has walked alone once. Now, may I ask that never again will He have to confront sin without our aid and assistance, that never again will He find only unresponsive onlookers when He sees you and me along His Via Dolorosa in our present day. . . may we declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in word only and not only in the flush of comfortable times but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely and when our cross is difficult to bear (Elder Holland, “None Were With Him”, Ensign May 2009).

and on another note. today is my 31st b-day. it's been a roller coaster of thoughts and feelings - as my parents can patiently attest. :) but last week at lake powell, with a lot of quiet thinking moments, i had a number of powerful ah-ha's. for some reason, 31 has felt like a major threshold. probably because in a single, mormon's world, you are no longer legal in the single's wards. i'm obviously very okay with that seeing as i have been in the family ward for almost a year. but i think the emotional reality of this has set in. and i had lots of moments with the Lord and with myself in some searching and seeking moments. maybe one day i'll share. but most likely i'll just sum up that knowing myself and being at home with myself has been the greatest gift i have received this birthday (well, i've yet to open presents, so maybe i shouldn't be so hasty in my thoughts!!).


Amanda said...

Welcome to 31.
I need a substitute for the end of August ... just your standard gospel doctrine. Old people, lots of random questions, you'd love it! Oh, how I wish our ward had someone like you. Good luck!

Rebecca Snyder said...

Happy birthday! May your strawberry shortcake dreams come true... only a couple more hours!

meg said...

Happy Birthday! It's crazy we're hitting the 31 mark...seems like yesterday we were going on walks and wishing we were finally 16! If only we had known how fast the time would go--we would have enjoyed those walks a little longer! Hope you have a fabulous day!

Kirsti said...

Happy Birthday Emily! Have a fantastic day!

Jill said...

Happy Birthday, friend! You have lovely nails. xoxo

melimba said...

you are a nut, and I love you.
I love your VANA WHITE photo with your nails. hA! I have to admit, I never have my toe nails painted...ever, and now that Lizzy has done them twice in TWO months, I have to say, it's kind of fun to look down and have a little surprise. :)

Happy birthday. You are the and I love you.

I'm a lucky sister.

Emily said...

You are INSPIRING as always! LOVE YOU!

Today I wish for you a great book, crunchy leaves to step on, carmel apple cider, oh wait is it still summer...? Well one can wish. I DO want to go to lunch with you though!

Logan and Emily said...

Bless you! I'm so excited for more! You are absolutely amazing Em!