Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hodge-Podge of 2010

I've been reading a lot of Christmas cards/blogs related to the season and I wanted to put in my little shpeel (spelt phonetically of course...) concerning my thoughts of the Christmas season.

(Deep inhale)  I love the smell of the Christmas Season.  Everything smells like cinnamon - cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mmm!  It's amazing how powerful and calming a smell can be.  Maybe that's why everyone is getting into those Scentsy things now... and I digress.

Christmas has always been amongst my favorite times of the year.  I love the positive attitudes that most people possess and even the stressfulness of shopping.  I love the priceless look on the faces of family and loved ones as gifts are open and their face lights up with surprise as they open the 'perfect gift.'  

Holiday food is nothing short of delightful.  Even though in the I regret all the fantastic calories I eat all between November and January, in the moment of indulgence I cherish ever delicious bite.  (Just for your gee whiz file my favorites include home-made toffee, soft ginger cookies and hot apple cider. Mmmm!)

Despite all of the lovely things I've listed above, I think one of my favorite things about the Christmas season is the miracles that I'm more prone to see around me.  Everything from the not-so-cheerful men and women ringing bells at Walmart entrances for the Salvation Army to the anonymous acts of service and charity bestowed and humbly accepted.  What other time of year would it be totally acceptable to take hordes of treats to family, friends and really strangers in the spirit of giving.

Christmas' in the past have all been memorable for one thing or another, but this Christmas will be one I'm sure I'll cherish for years.  Not so much because of the gifts (although just for the record I did gets some sweet stuff!) but because of everything that happened.  You see, this year it dawned on me... my family is changing - I know you'd think I'd have thought of that 8+ years ago when my oldest sisters got married, but apparently I'm a little slow.  So now that we've added three in-laws and a plethora of grandchildren later, and my just-younger brother is shortly leaving on a mission I've come to see that Christmas really isn't what is purchased, given and or received; it's all about family and our Savior Jesus Christ.  What a glorious thing to remember.  I hope this year to be better able to  remember that it's because of Him that all things are possible. :)

2010 has been a year for me to, figuratively speaking, grow up.  It's been a year of personal and family trials, however I wouldn't change a one of them for the world.  It is because of those trials I've had some AMAZING learning and growing experiences.  This year has been an opportunity for me to step back from what everyone else whats and expects of me and come to see what it is that I want and what I want to achieve but more importantly it's been a blessing for me to begin to realize what my Heavenly Father wants for me.  It's been awe-inspiring to say the least.  I am truly blessed.

Well, I guess since I don't send out a Christmas card I'll provide you a short synopsis of my year.

Spring semester was pretty intense.  I had some difficult classes as I progressed in my program (Elementary Education) at Utah Valley University, but I'm pleased to say that with they help of good friends, an amazing family, and a grundle of hours spent at the BYU library I was able to come out on top and got nearly all As. (Yeah me!)

My summer was full of nothing short of amazing experiences!!  In June I spent two awe inspiring weeks in Chiapas, Mexico serving with a humanitarian group.  (See posts 1, 2, & 3) I'm confident in saying that everything that accumulated prior to and within those two weeks has forever changed my life.

In July Shaun and I had the super cool chance to go to Seoul, South Korea where our Grandfather served our country nearly 50 years ago.  (See posts 1 & 2) I've developed a new love and respect for the men and women over the years who have jeopardized their safety to protect and defend that of others.  When I now hear our National Anthem I think of my Grandfathers who gave so much so others could have what we do.

The whole family was finally together again at the end of July and beginning of August.  We went up Ogden canyon and spent a few days enjoying each others company, swimming and attending our Church meetings.  It was delightful to be with everyone once again.

Since starting my program I've found that the semesters more quickly fly by.  Fall semester was no different.  I've made so many amazing friends as I've moved through my program and hope to keep in touch with them as we part our was after graduation this coming spring.  I spent three weeks in the most lovely first grade class.  They are angels and I thoroughly enjoy working with them.  I'm so lucky to get to go back to them come January when I'll begin my student teaching.

I'm always surprised to see how quickly December comes around.  It must be the hustle and bustle of the season; finals, attempting to get more work hours, and wrapping up Christmas shopping, etc.  I'm amazed to reflect back and see all I've been blessed with.  I'm convinced it's no coincidence and that my Savior has had a hand in my life.  I'm grateful for this time and season to take special note of all He's done in my behalf. 

I'm sure this upcoming year will behold many more unexpected turns (as new years typically do), and I'm looking forward to the adventures that I'll behold; graduation, hopefully a little more traveling, more good and awful dates, letters to and from my favorite missionaries and about 80 gazillion hours spent teaching or prepping for my classes to be taught.  I hope that this year finishes strong and that that New Year brings all the happiness and joy your heart desires.

With Love,
Brittish Knees

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tis the Season to be stressed out! Fa-la-la-la-la la-la-la-la!

I often find myself blogging to post to you (whoever 'you' are) and find myself pouring my heart, soul and guts into a post.  I'll spare you the yuck and simply give you the solution I came up with:  life is hard.  I know... News Flash!  Haha.  No but really.  I think everyone... or at least I get wrapped up in all of these fears and insecurities about the future or whatever.  Insecurities that in reality I have no control over.  It's totally backwards, I know.  

However despite my insecurities and fears I know I can find solace in one consistent place: my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I read a friends blog the other day who is currently serving a mission for our Church and she shared something that I think was just for me.  (The following is a cut and paste job from her post.  Thanks Merrit!)

The Physician

"Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. THE WHOLE NEED NO PHYSICIAN, BUT THEY THAT ARE SICK." Moroni 8:(can’t remember the verse at the moment)

Christ didn't come for the righteous. He came to heal the sick. He is the ultimate physician, healing us from our broken hearts, guilt, depression, stress, anxiety, fear, frustration, past mistakes, and every other illness we might have. Like a physician, he has all the tools to make us better - stethoscopes, thermometer, prescriptions, heart monitors, etc. He has it all and he knows how to use it without flaw. 

Perhaps doctors here make mistakes. They give incorrect diagnosis or the wrong prescription but Christ never messes up. He is perfect and heals us perfectly. But like doctors here, The Physician cannot heal us unless we go to him. Doctors don´t go door to door each day making people better. You must go to their office. Sometimes we are stubborn and don’t want to go to the doctor because we don´t believe they can say anything to help us feel better. We try to solve it on our own. But then we finally realize that perhaps we don´t actually know everything and maybe, just maybe, we could use a little help. So we go to the doctor and he checks and few things, discovers the problem, and sends us on our way with the tools to fix it. We miraculously feel better in no time. And then we wonder why we didn't go to him in the first place. 

And thus it is with the Savior. His job is to heal us. That is why he came to earth. He knows what we need to be whole again. How does he know? He went through all the agony of medical school just like any other doctor. Except his schooling was a bit unconventional. His classroom was in the Garden of Gethsemane and his final exam on the Cross of Calvary. He graduated medical school as the valedictorian. He did everything in order to know how to help us and heal us. 

Sometimes I get frustrated when I go to the doctor and he tells me things I already know - drink lots of water and get lots of sleep. I want the magic solution to all of my ailments. The same happens with the Savior. I finally decide to quit pretending like I have all the answers so I go to him for help. And he tells me all the things I already know - read my scriptures, pray, go to church, keep the commandments. I get mad because I want him to give me a magic pill so I will be healed. I want him to tell me something like "Go to the corner where there is a gas station. Wait for 5 minutes and a man in a purple suit will approach you and give you a box. Inside of the box you will find a new heart to replace your broken one. Bring the box to me and I will operate next Tuesday. You will be as good as new on Friday."

But that´s not how he works. I tell him my heart is broken and he tells me to pray harder and read more of his words. And even though I am a little frustrated or disappoints, I know he is right. 

But no matter what his diagnosis or prescription or method of healing, he always holds my hand and tells me it´s going to be alright. He tells me that he knows that it hurts and that he knows how I feel. He lets me cry, and sometimes he cries with me. Sometimes the healing is instant and sometimes it is a long process of lots of doctor visits and treatments and support from family and friends. But I am always healed. 

We are counseled to go to the doctor frequently for check-ups, just in case there are problems we can´t detect ourselves. Without frequent check-ups problems could get bigger and bigger and eventually dominate our lives. But if we catch the issue early it can be taken care of. So we should also go to the Master Healer regularly as well. He will help us detect problems and fix them for us before they kill us inside. 

And the key with getting help from the doctor is that we have to follow through with treatment. If we don´t do our part we can´t be healed. I remember when I had my ACL surgery and I had to do so much on my own to make my knee better. The doctor did the surgery, but afterward I had to follow through with hours and hours and physical therapy. It hurt like crazy some days, but I did it and now my knee is back to normal. If I hadn't done my part the surgery would have been useless. 

When we turn to the Savior for help, he will help us. But we must be willing to do our part and follow through with the treatment he prescribes, even if it seems dumb or pointless. We must have enough faith and hope that he is smarter than us and knows how to make us better.

I know that Christ is the ultimate and perfect healer. I know that he is genuinely concerned about my well being and wants to make me whole. And more than that, I know that he can. I know that he knows how I feel when I hurt so badly that I can´t even breathe. I know that as I turn to him regularly with a willingness to complete my part of the treatment he will take away my pain and make me healthy again. I am eternally grateful for a Savior who suffered through the most rigorous medical school of all time - the atonement - so that he could solve any measure of pain or illness in our lives.

I find it no coincide that I needed a reminder  that I don't have to handle all of these insecurities and fears on my own.  In fact, I don't have to be burdened by them at all!  My Savior, Jesus Christ already took care of them.  He paid the price and is willing to figuratively 'hold my hand' through the hardest of hard times - mind you so long as I let Him He'll be there all the other times too.  

I would hope that none of 'you' would need this reminder too, but just in case.   I wish you well in the rest of final, work or whatever you're doing at this time.  Don't forget that you've got The Ultimate Physician on your side. :)

Until next time,
Brittish Knees 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Laugh Out Loud

These last few weeks have been lovely (minus this last week - staying up late and getting up early is never a good way to do things).  Field was a dream come true and I find myself anticipating January to see my little darling students again. But sometimes I forget to stop and smell the roses. Today wasn't one of those days.

I got up and in my haste to quickly get ready and out the door I jumped into the show, got ready, threw on clothes, grabbed some breakfast and zipped out the door.  The day progressed fairly normally and near the end of my work day I found myself adjusting my undershirt (which is fairly normal) and ... realize it's been on backwards all day.  Haha!  I love finding out goofy errors I've made during the day. :)  Ahh the tender mercies.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Life is a Funny Thing

Life is a funny thing.  I think this is my new favorite phrase.  I feel as though it encompasses just about everything; the good, bad and ugly all in one little phrase... "Life is a funny thing."

Recently I've been very busy; busy with school mostly but also with family, friends and the pile of homework that feels as though it isn't getting smaller even though I know it is.  I find myself busy with church and the stresses (some good, some ... well not) it entails and wondering about how I'm going to survive these next few months.

Today in Institute we talked about what I needed - exactly.  We were discussing D&C 38.  In versus 1-10 it describes the Lord's resume - if you will; and all of His qualifications (which have been highlighted in red) for us being able to put our trust in Him: 

1. Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great aI Am, Alpha and Omega, the bbeginning and the end, the csame which looked upon the dwide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic ehosts of heaven, fbefore the world was gmade;
2. The same which aknoweth all things, for ball things are cpresent before mine eyes;
3. I am the same which aspake, and the world was made, and all things came by me.
4. I am the same which have taken the aZion of bEnoch into mine own bosom; and verily, I say, even as many as have cbelieved in my name, for I am Christ, and in mine own name, by the virtue of the dblood which I have spilt, have I pleaded before the Father for them.
5. But behold, the residue of the awicked have I kept in bchains of darkness until the cjudgment of the great day, which shall come at the end of the earth;
6. And even so will I cause the wicked to be kept, that will not hear my voice but aharden their hearts, and wo, wo, wo, is their doom. 
7. But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine aeyes are upon you. I am in your bmidst and ye cannot csee me; 
8. But the day soon cometh that ye shall asee me, and know that I am; for the bveil of darkness shall soon be rent, and he that is not cpurified shall not dabide the day.
9. Wherefore, gird up your loins and be prepared. Behold, the akingdom is yours, and the enemy shall not overcome. 
 10Verily I say unto you, ye are aclean, but not all; and there is none else with whom I am well bpleased;

As our discussion progressed we talked about faith and how the natural man within each of us struggles with the concept of faith - particularly in something or someone that can't be seen with the natural eye.  Logically it seems so backwards to not put your full trust in God, after all He is the creator of the Universe; but something within each of us is reserved.  Despite his consistency in providing all we've every and will ever need.  

While pondering some of my personal struggles I find myself recommitting to putting my faith in Him who knows best.  I still don't understand why things happen, and I could allow myself to justify my unsettled feelings that still seem to slip back into my thinking.  However from this time forward I am going to try harder to see what my Eternal Father sees; to know what He knows.  Until then I am going to do my best to not put my trust and faith in the arm of the flesh, but rather in the hand of my God.  The older I get the clearer it becomes to me that He knows me best and knows how to best succor me.

There is a song by Janice Kapp Perry called Song of Testimony.  The chorus of the song always strikes me as special.  This this I add my testimony, "I know God lives.  I know He loves me.  I know He hears and answers my prayers.  I know His Son is my redeemer and that He died for me that  I might live eternally one day."  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Blow and Throw

Don't you hate it when life just seems to blow?  I'm not talking about runny noses, or tires, finals or anything like that... it just seems to - pardon my French, but suck.  Please, don't read this wrong.  I'm not looking for sympathy, empathy, or any other kind of -pathy.  I just wanted to write about something that was rather obvious to me today. 

On a completely related topic that has started rather negative (sorry), but will change I promise; I read a friend of mines blog who is serving a mission.  She talked about something completely perfect related to this issue of blow-age.  (Thank you Merrit!  Talk about inspiration!)  

She shared that Ether 6 talks about the Jaredites who were a people who left the land they were living in to find a land of promise that would be provided to them by God. After they embarked on this tremendous voyage they began to encountered some pretty nasty waters.  The winds blew constantly and I'm sure none of them did enjoyed the cramped, stuffy, dark boat ride here.  (The phrase "tight, like unto a dish" comes to mind.)  However this friend of mine brought up a very good point; the winds blew so they could arrive in their promised land.  She related how the winds that blow (sometimes blow us down) hurt and are anything but pleasant, but that how they always will help us get to the place we need to be.  As I contemplated the yucky state of life I sometimes find myself in, this knowledge (call it a testimony if you like) brought great comfort to me tonight.  Seriously my blogger stalking friends, I encourage anyone who needs to find some extra strength to read Ether 6 with a similar outlook.  I know that I'll never look at this story the same way again. 
The Church is true my friends.  It provides the path for us to achieve our "Promised Land", but I also know that we can't really get there with out the yucky, not fun, even sucky times.  They are a part of the grand design - I just know it.  God's in control, so it'll all be alright!

Much love,
Brittish Knees