Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ready for the Change

Here I am, the semester is almost over! I didn't think I could make it through, but I'm almost finished with my freshman year here in college. I still have 5 more years of schooling to endure, but it's still exciting to be able to take a break until September. Of course I end school in two weeks, but that's still a pretty big deal!

I'm so thankful for the opportunity I've been given to attend school here at BYU-Idaho. It really is wonderful here, but I have to say that the culture is a little scary at first. Just like in high school, you'll meet a ton of hypocrites. Over the past couple semesters I've learned that not everybody bows their head for the prayer and that some students are late to every single class. Respect for the rules is definitely an issue even at religious schools. Overall, I'm most excited to get out of the regular student housing.

Jared and I bought an apartment a couple weeks ago located above the Craze here in Rexburg. We're really excited to move in together. Move in day is just a month away! I can't wait to live with my best friend and not have to wonder about whether or not me and my next roommate will "get along." Marriage is bound to be hard, but I'm ready to go through it all with Jared. He is my strength and I couldn't imagine being married to anybody else. I'm so ready to be with this man for the rest of my life and on through eternity.

Change has always been the scariest thing, but I feel so prepared. I probably feel more prepared for this than anything else in my life. This change is going to be big, but I know that I'll be with the most important person, and that's what matters most. I get a lot of people asking me if I'm scared. I used to be... but I'm over that! I've done my wallowing and I've prayed for help and I've gotten it. Changing can still be for the better. Change never has to be a bad thing. In fact, we should always be striving for change. It helps us to become who we're meant to be.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

You're Engaged?!

It's about time I posted this on the blog. My boyfriend proposed to the 25th, and now we're engaged! It's a very very long story, but I know that this is the right thing for us. We've been waiting 2 months to come to this point!

Story Time!

One December night, I got on my knees to say my night prayers. I had nothing specific in mind that I was praying for, but I was given words that weren’t mine while I had prayed. Though I had no intention of asking, I asked for Heavenly Father to let me know what I should do if Jared were to propose before or instead of a mission. As soon as I said amen, I had an overwhelming and immediate answer: Yes. Thinking that this prayer was something hypothetical and didn’t come from God, I kept trying to put it in the back of my mind.

During the first weekend of the semester, and of January, I hung out with Jared. We had a great day, but the prayer kept popping into my head until finally I felt like I couldn’t resist the prompting to tell him what had happened. He was pretty shocked, especially considering this totally went against everything we had planned. We started to make connections between what had happened and the other things that were happening in our lives. I’m taking a class called The Family and another class called the Eternal Family. I had scheduled my Family class for this semester only because I couldn’t get into another class that was in my Graduation Plan. Jared and I both have the Eternal Family as an Institute class in Rigby, which was also unplanned.

Along with connections to my patriarchal blessing and things everywhere that I needed to hear, everything seemed to fall into place. We continued to think and pray as we went through everything. It was all very scary. I remember telling my mom the day after I told Jared and she felt that it was correct because of the past experiences she’s had with my spiritual gifts. She had complete trust in the Lord and support for us through this difficult transition and decision making time. At first, we were very confused as to what everything meant, but as we were led by the Spirit we felt more and more inspired to keep asking and praying for guidance. I was so scared and stressed by the situation that when I was hanging out with my mom, I started crying in the Dollar Tree and puking by the time we got back to my apartment. The entire situation was new, scary, and I didn’t feel ready. But as my Heavenly Father, my mom, and everyone else around me, comforted me and reassured me (regardless of whether or not they knew), I felt like I was given strength.

The hardest part about all of this for me was that I had spent my entire life judging people who got

married so young and people who got married instead of or right after a mission. I even judged people who went to BYU-Idaho because I thought they were only going there to get married. Prayer led me to study at BYU-Idaho and even though I didn’t understand why I had to come to this university, I’ve been able to receive the blessings that were waiting for me here. I feel like this entire experience has been a spiritual slap. I feel terrible for judging people who hadn’t gone on a mission. Though I have a strong testimony that every worthy young priesthood holder should serve a mission, I have an even stronger testimony of personal revelation.

Missionary work is incredibly important and it’s something that everyone can do, regardless of whether or not they’re actually out on a mission. I have had so many missionary opportunities, and had always been told that I would make a great missionary one day. A year or two ago, I prayed about whether or not a mission was right for me and the answer was no. I was confused because I thought that the Lord wanted everyone to serve. But later and through my personal experiences, I found that I am needed here with my friends and family to serve as an example. I have a testimony that anybody can be a missionary, despite not being in the mission field.

I strongly encouraged Jared to pray about a mission after recounting how powerful that experience was for me. He already had felt that a mission was the right thing to do, but I wanted him to solidify that before he rushed into anything. After all, there had to be a reason why he hadn’t left on his mission yet. He has been working so hard, and my family has even given him money so that he could leave. To my knowledge, he prayed and felt that a mission was right and an eternal marriage with me instead of a mission right now was also right. However, the latter was more right in his heart. I found myself hoping, the same day that he had received his answer that his answer would be to stay. The closer I got to the spirit, the more pathetic Satan looked, and the easier I could notice his presence. I continued to get voices in my head telling me that Jared wouldn’t be good enough and physical pressure trying to prevent me from even getting to class. The opposition in the situation helped me to realize that I was in the right and that I was getting stronger.

After a couple of weeks knowing our answer, we approached my father. My father had instilled in me at a very young age that I should marry a return missionary, nothing less. He had also instilled a lot of negative beliefs towards people who got married at a young age and people who got married instead of a mission. Scared out of our wits, we asked for a priesthood blessing from my stepdad before we told him. In that blessing, we were given the words to say and the comfort to know that everything would work out the way it should. In Jared’s, he was told that the Lord was pleased with him. Though my dad had disapproved of my older siblings’ fianc├ęs and straight up told them that they couldn’t get married, he was able to understand and accept Jared and I’s situation. He even said “absolutely!” He still felt that going on a mission would be best for us, but that personal revelation was more important.

My brother, on the other hand, was absolutely against it all. He had returned from mission about three
years ago, and it had helped him to mature and gain an even bigger testimony. He had married his wife just a year ago. It felt that no matter what I would say to him, he just wouldn’t listen and would bring it back to the prophets in saying that every young worthy priesthood holder should serve a mission. Although I agreed with him, personal revelation told us that God had a different plan in mind. Trying to get to the bottom of my decisions, he claimed that I didn’t have any spiritual gifts or a real testimony and that this was a call for attention. After speaking with me, he asked to talk with my mother to try and get her to pull Jared and I out of this situation. My mom told him that she was thoroughly disappointed in him for not believing that I can receive my own personal revelation. He later received a priesthood blessing from his best friend and was able to have a change of heart and perspective. In the end, it just felt like he had to get out of the mindset that I was his little sister that didn’t know anything and get into the mindset that I was still his sister who has still has spiritual experiences, but not the same ones he’s had. 

We’ve set a date (April 29th) and we’ve even started planning the wedding now, and I feel more ready than I’ve ever felt about anything. Though it was scary at first, I was able to become more in tune with the Spirit and what God’s plan is for me. I am 100% confident that he is leading us in the right direction. He knows us and loves us individually and uniquely. My testimony of his love for me is so strong and I know that Satan is after us. As I know that many of our loved ones may not agree with our decisions, I am able to see this situation as an opportunity to bear my testimony.

God’s plan of happiness is real. He knows me, he knows Jared, and he knows all of us and what we need to be happy. God uses his prophets to speak to his people and uses each one of us as a mouthpiece when necessary. Opposition is in all things and helps us to realize and build our strength, both mentally and spiritually. I love my Heavenly Father and he loves me. The Lord’s timing is everything and he knows when we need to hear or experience something. My testimony has been strengthened through this entire experience and I know, even more than I did before, that he has a plan even if it might not be so clear.

Here we are now, engaged. A lot has happened between us from the time that I originally wrote this story-telling, but he has been so strong and I would be selfish and unappreciative to ask for anybody else to call my future husband.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Always My Superman

Life has certainly thrown me into a blender. Not to say that smoothies aren't wonderful, but I've undergone a lot of changes. I feel that I've matured into who God needs me to be right now. I've had a lot of things to figure out over 2017 so far. I'm sure that a lot of people have been saying that, but I know that I'm headed into a brand new direction.

Usually, I try not to do these, but this post is a dedicatory post to my best friend. I fell for him around 2 and a half years ago. I fell for him before I was ever into "Superman." I fell for him when I was at my lowest point and was trying to improve myself to be worthy for such a man to come into my life. Finally, a girl's choice dance popped up. I wasn't going to ask anybody, but then I felt the urge to ask him out. "Will You Be My Superman?" Turns out he liked Batman, but I got a date out of it anyways!

I kept lying to myself then. I kept saying that I liked Superman before I liked Jared and that I only liked Superman because of Smallville on the CW. No. The secret's out. I like Superman because he, to me, is the embodiment of my real-life superhero, Jared. I didn't really know him then. I'm still finding out about his kryptonite, but as time has passed, he becomes more and more like Superman.

After a life time of everyone telling him he was just Clark Kent, I came into his life and saw more. I saw him as he could become, and as he was to me. I saw him as a hero. He would later revive my testimony and my faithfulness in Christ. He would help me at my lowest, and later become my best friend. Time after time, I never thought I could ever measure up to Jared. Finding out that we've been saving each other this entire time is astounding.

Jared was truly the man I prayed for in my life. In each other and in Christ, we are made perfect and whole. Satan will continue to give us reasons to leave each other, but I know in my heart that his soul's worth is great in the sight of our Heavenly Father. For someone, so full of weakness, to be seen as superman, is staggering. But he's been there all along.

We were so lost and then when we found each other, we also found Christ. We didn't realize it at first, and then we looked behind us.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Ja-NEW-ary

I've been trying to do a lot of self-improvement lately. There's been a lot going on that I haven't been able to talk about here on the blog, but I'll just say that I'm going through a lot of transitions. I've had to rely on the Lord pretty heavily lately, but I wouldn't say that's a bad thing. I've come to know and understand God's plan to me a lot better than I did last year. This month has been overwhelmingly hard. The stress of getting things done in this college atmosphere is still prevalent, but not as relevant as the emotions that I've been overcome by.

I have felt the Spirit so strongly this month as I've gone about my studies and my personal life. Through discussions with other church members, my parents, and even my roommates, I've began to see the bigger picture a lot clearer than before. Reality is hitting me, and I'm actually not scared of it. I feel prepared for whatever is to come and I'm hopeful that it's really what I need to come closer to God and become a better person overall.

God has provided me with a few wonderful roommates to help me manage this life transition and rant if needed. I've got people in every class that I can sit and talk to about anything. I've been blessed with the ability to understand how things apply to my life.

I've been seeing connections to things everywhere. There's been things that would appear as coincidences, but I know they're just not. It's like I have been set on this path for a long time and am just now getting to an intersection where I have a big decision to make. I have already decided and confirmed with my Heavenly Father which path would be right for me out of the paths he has laid before me. Time will just be a matter of whether or not I actually go through with those paths.

College is a stressful time in life; especially when you have outside factors affecting your schooling. Life right now is literally eat, study, and sleep. For outside factors to play a role in college it makes grades and understanding suffer because there is so many other things that you could be doing rather than reading a chapter in one of your psychology text books or learning about aspects of photography and science.

Just remember the things that are important. Spend most of your time there.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: Now In My Memories

2016 was actually a really great year for me. So many things happened and I feel like I accomplished a lot, despite the drama and the friends that I lost this year.

To start, in February I was involved with the 2016 All-State High school Mixed Choir. I made so many memories and grew overall as a singer because of my experiences there. Using what I had learned from Mr. Rasmussen and Mr. Burrows, I was able to better those around me and learn from others. I met so many new people and added those perceptions to my overall view of our extremely diverse world.

I got accepted to BYU-Idaho and Idaho State University and made a really big decision by turning down Idaho State University, despite it's amazing Psychology program. I had to follow my heart and Heavenly Father and go to BYU-Idaho. I really was looking forward to going to Idaho State, but I'll have to wait 3 and half years to start my Master's degree there. In hindsight I'm incredibly grateful that I chose to come to BYU-Idaho. I know that I was meant to meet the people here in Rexburg, Idaho and that I am being led in the best direction for my future. I didn't think that I'd do that great in higher education, but I ended my first semester (16 credits) with a 3.8 GPA.

I got my driver's license. After overcoming fear after fear about car crashes and becoming an adult, I finally conquered my fear and got my driver's license with a nearly perfect driving score and a 100% on the written test. A month or two after getting my license, I got my first car. It wasn't a new car. "Debra" has been in the family since I was super little. She's had a taste of a few car accidents, too. She's a Honda Civic EX 2000. She's had a lot of work done on her this year, but she fulfills my needs most of the time. 

I graduated high school. I never thought that I'd leave with a high honors (3.9 GPA overall); especially after nearly failing the 7th grade because online schooling was not my forte back then. High school felt like it would never end, and yet it was done and over with in the blink of an eye. So many people were set in my path to both make my life harder and make my life a lot easier. I was able to really connect with so many people. I definitely made lifetime friends in high school. I don't think that very many people can genuinely say that.

I got to see my heroes perform live and go to Comic Con. Coldplay is honestly my favorite band of all time and to see them was a dream come true. I can honestly say that watching them perform at their A Head Full of Dreams tour was the best night of my life. Comic Con was pretty interesting, too. I didn't expect that many shops to be set up, but I loved it. Looking at everything was my favorite part. We only attended two panels, but that's just because we didn't know anybody else who was going to be there that well. I was satisfied.

I moved out even though I didn't expect to move out at all this year. My initial plan was to live in my parent's basement and commute by bus ride to Idaho State University. Of course, I could've driven to BYU-Idaho, but I made an agreement with my mom that I'd try living outside of the house for at least 2 semesters to see how I like it and get the whole college experience. Living with 5 other girls was a big challenge. I didn't like my roommate. I didn't have a problem with anyone else in our apartment though. I think I'll miss living with them. Some of us even went to a rock opera together: "Deep Love." We'd had movie nights, a couple parties, and even just laughed and hung out in our living room. Moving out was quite the experience and I'm excited to see what journeys me and my next roommates will go on.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Progressive Challenges

I'm home for Thanksgiving this weekend, and I must say that I am very glad to have some much needed alone time. You never really appreciate having your own room until you move into an apartment filled with nothing but estrogen. No offense to my roommates, but I like being by myself. A lot. Even though I have this love to be alone, I also love to hang out with my family.

Since I've been home, I've noticed a lot more family problems than I initially thought we had. There's jealousy, accusation, and even mistrust. It starts to worry me a ton and I think it's something that all of us should address while we have the chance to grow closer as a family. Though none of those areas affect my personal life, it's my job as a peacemaker to make sure nothing goes unresolved. Hopefully we can get these family issues taken care of by the end of the year.

2016 has been a pretty eventful year. My brother got married, another step-brother left on a mission, I graduated, and now my step-sister is getting married next weekend. With everything happening, I think it's easy to take little ways to say "I love you" for granted. As a family, we've gotten so caught up in the events themselves that it's hard to concentrate on supporting and loving each other throughout them.

Despite small little family issues popping up, our family has still continued to want to do good for others. Recently, my mom and I gave Jared $1000 for his mission, and Reino paid for two veterans' Thanksgiving Dinners at Chuck-a-Rama that he had just met. My uncle offered to take me, my dad, my brother, and my sister-in-law to Shilo Inn's Buffet for Thanksgiving. These are the events that just happened recently.

Kind efforts are definitely being made, so the fact that issues pop up despite the good we do is a little scary. Believe it or not, karma isn't the driving force of what happens to us. Although it's good to do nice things, doing nice things doesn't prevent the bad things to happen. I feel like the bad things come when we need a challenge to help us progress.

My family is definitely progressing right now. We're all progressing and moving onto our own lives and the challenges that will help us grow into them. It may be hard, but with each other's love and support we can help each other get through it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Lil Miss Epic's 4th Anniversary: Life Changes and That's OK!

Back in high school (never thought I'd be able to say that,) I thought for sure that I would struggle a ton here. I thought that I wouldn't be able to adjust at all. However, that's quite the opposite of what's happened during my nine weeks here in college. Throughout this week I've been thinking about what I should write about for my blog's fourth anniversary post. I think the most special thing I could write about this year would be the blessings that come with change.

I relied so much on my parents, and I still do but not as much. When I came up here, I was scared that I wouldn't have as close of a relationship with my family back home, but I find that the time away from them has brought me to appreciate them more fully and acknowledge the things they taught me growing up. Some people don't know how to do their own laundry, wash their own dishes, or even sweep the floor. Since I grew up under my parent's instruction, the transition of learning what to do wasn't really that big.

At first I just pretended that I was home alone, but that didn't actually work out well considering I have all of these roommates that are all around me. I was super scared to socialize with them at first because I didn't know if we would get along or hate each other or something. Then, I started pretending that I was on some weird school field trip like the Seattle Music Tour back in early 2015. That didn't exactly work either considering we didn't do any sight-seeing, and I didn't really have any friends up here. I've learned a lot since coming here. I've learned that I need to learn patience and love others just the way they are, regardless of whether or not they have some big issues in their lives that they need to fix. I've learned that change is okay and that it's inevitable. I've also learned that I'd rather have friendship in quality rather than quantity.

I can't imagine my life being any different than it is now. I actually like it here now. I'm used to it, and my apartment feels like home. Sure, my "home life" may not be the best here at college, but it's better than living in a box or living reliant in everything on my parents. College is interesting. You meet new people with the intention of actually being friends, not just because you sit by them. Professors actually treat you like adults. Anyone that's way older than you doesn't treat you any different because we're all in different categories when it comes to our degree. We're different but equal in the sight of others. There's no extreme judgment here, at least none that really comes to mind.

Things have changed for me and that's okay. I'm still the same person. I'm on my way to bigger and better things. I have a plan now and I'm determined to do something with it. Whether or not that plan leads to success or failure depends on my future and where life takes me. All I can do now is be prepared and take a step with faith hoping and praying that I am going in the right direction. Life is different now, but different isn't bad.