Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Can is Better than the Can't

Do you remember those "I can't...I'm Mormon" t-shirts that came out a while back? For some reason one came up on my Pinterest feed a while ago, and it, along with this post from Whitney at The Life of a Mormon Teen got me thinking.

Yes, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there are many things we choose not to participate in because they are not in harmony with our beliefs. Even though the commitments we make to stay morally clean, keep the word of wisdom, use clean language, not date until 16, etc. can seem binding to some, I see them as liberating.

Because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, there are so many things I can do.

I can have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.

I can pray to a Heavenly Father who knows me and loves me.

I can live worthy to make sacred covenants in the Temple.

I can find joy in ever day, even when difficulties arise.

I can have peace in the midst of conflict.

I can serve others and be an instrument in the hands of God.

I can be a better person.

I can repent when I make a mistake.

I can walk tall, knowing I am a daughter of God and that He has a plan for me.

Most of all, through the grace of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I can do hard things. Through His atoning sacrifice, all of my weaknesses, large and small, can be made strong.

In my opinion, the eternal blessings gained through living the gospel far out weigh the momentary pleasure any unrighteous thing has to offer.

I can...I'm Mormon.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Helping Others = Helping Me

Don't worry. Though I have been oddly absent from this corner of the universe lately, I was not mysteriously eaten by alligators or monsters of any kind. [Unless homework counts as a monster, and well, then I've been chewed and spit out a thousand times over. :p]

The topic of discussion I picked for today will probably make me sound like a broken record. I talk about this all the time, but it's because it's true, so bear with me.

Honestly, the last few weeks I've been attending a not-so-fun-super-lame pity party for myself. [When I say lame, I mean lame. There wasn't even cake.]

This was pretty much my mental dialogue. [Warning! Don't try this at home!]

"Woe is me! I've had so much homework lately. Math equations coming out of my ears. Laundry to fold. Nobody to eat lunch with. No clean socks. Fog in the morning....whine, whine, whine." [And get this: we were out of ice cream. Pure blasphemy, right there.]

Thankfully, Heavenly Father found a way to break through my self-inflicted cloud of drudgery. One night while I was getting ready for bed, I felt a soft, sweet prompting from the Holy Ghost. I needed to stop thinking so much about myself, and start thinking about others.

Let me tell you, folks it has made all the difference. Just little things like holding open a door for somebody with an armload of nachos at school [those nachos looked too good to drop], sharing a granola bar with someone who forgot their lunch, doing the dishes, talking to a new girl at church, and giving a girl a ride home from a meeting were some things that ended up totally brightening my life. I know they sound really small, but the reason they worked wasn't because of their magnitude or importance. The difference was I stopped thinking about my own problems and started actively searching for opportunities to serve.

Don't get me wrong. I am not trying to toot my own horn or glorify myself in any way. I am not perfect by any means. This lesson just made such a difference in my life that I couldn't help but share it.

If the going gets tough, the sun isn't shining, and you're caught with the homework-laden <insert applicable trial to your life here> blues, I challenge you to look beyond your own insecurities and reach out to those around you. Start small. Truly, little acts make all the difference.

Blog to you soon!


Monday, January 13, 2014

5 Songs

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Monday again, already? Well, at least it's a Music Monday! I don't know about you, but listening to my favorite songs always makes me feel better. So, on that note [haha pun intended :D], here are five songs I'm loving right now.

1. Facebook Friends Song by Studio C.

How could I do a fave post without referencing Studio C? Love this song!

2. Still that Girl  by Britt Nicole

I love how this song reminds us that we can still reach the dreams we had when we were kids. Just because we get older and have to face reality doesn't mean we have to give up.

3. Say  by John Mayer

An oldie, but a goodie.

4. Hurricane by Natalie Grant

This song came on my David Archuleta Pandora station the other day. At first I was like, "who is this person and why is she messing with my jam", but then after the first few measures I was totally hooked. Love this song!

5. Nothing Else Better to Do by David Archuleta

I bought David's album, "No Matter How Far", a few months ago and this song became one of my immediate favorites. Well, that is until I set it as my alarm clock ringtone and started associating it with waking up at 5:40 a.m., but that's besides the point. ;)

What songs are you loving right now?

Happy Monday!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Let it Go

I've been a little <cough, cough> obsessed with Disney's Frozen lately. Princess movies have always been some of my favorites, but the music in this one was phenomenal! In fact, I loved "Let it Go" so much, I can hardly get it out of my head. [Not that that's a bad thing...wait, can you use two "that's" in one sentence? I am so grammatically confused...]

Anyway, while I was watching Frozen, I couldn't get over how much I identified with Elsa. Her fears were holding her back. She was shutting people out and keeping to herself because she felt she had to. At first, I was like, "hey, I could build an ice castle and never go to school again". That's a great coping strategy, right? Yeah, probably not the best long term plan. [Plus, I don't have magical freezing powers. Bummer.]

After I got over my odd ice castle cravings, I started thinking about the fears I needed to let go in my life. Is it time to let go of my insecurities? To start living up to my potential? To be the best version of me?

Then I got super overwhelmed. There was so much I needed to let go in order to be the best person that I could, I had no idea where to start. Know the feeling?

Last night I saw this quote on Pinterest and it got me thinking about the song on a whole new level.

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As members of the church, we are blessed with some knowledge that Elsa didn't have. We don't have to let go of things all by ourselves. Our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ stand by with open arms ready to help us reach our full potentials and  make it back to our heavenly home in safety.

I think it's interesting that at the end of the movie, what ends up taming Elsa's powers and saving Anna from being frozen forever is an act of true love. There is no act of love more true than that of the atoning sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Because of Him, we can let all of our fears, doubts, pains, and heartaches go.

Let go, and Let God.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Quotes to Inspire: Being You

Maybe it's because Frozen just came out. Maybe it's because all of the snow in my neck of the woods just melted. Or maybe it's because I love ice cream and snow is kind of like ice cream. I don't know, but for some reason snow has been on my mind a lot lately. [Weird, right?]

Maybe it's because of this quote:

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With school starting up again, it's easy to get lost in the sea of fellow students and forget to be yourself. Society has a funny way of making it appear that the best way to be happy and successful is to be like everybody else, but that is a lie. True joy lies in discovering our divine nature and our mission here on earth and then cultivating our talents and gifts in ways that help us carry that out.

So, on that note here is one of my favorite quotes on being yourself:

Just like a snowflake, you were created by a loving Heavenly Father. He gave you special gifts and talents for a reason. Use them. Don't be afraid to shine.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Of Boys and Birthday Parties: Sarah's Dating Doctrine

Ever been in the right place at the wrong time? Unfortunately, I have done exactly that so many times it's hard to count.

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For example, I can testify that 5 minutes before the craft store closes is not a good time to frantically run in and dash to the back of the store, even if you are in desperate need of hot glue sticks. There is a good chance that the store clerks [bless their hearts having to work the closing shift] will glare at you funny and wish you death with their eyes. After that, the quest for craft supplies only gets more tense.

Here's another time bound lesson I've learned the hard way. 4 o'clock in the morning is not a good time to have to wake up. Unless you like zombies and want to impersonate one rather accurately. Then by all means go ahead and awake at that heathenish hour. [And for those of you that do, I commend you. Well done. I wish I was a morning person.]

Recently, I went to another right place at the wrong time-- a right place that didn't involve shopping for craft supplies or waking up early. In fact, this time I had the time so wrong I was 24 hours late. No, I wasn't going to school and it wasn't the Black Friday sale at Forever 21. It was my friend's Birthday party.

I remember the day I received the invitation. I was busy cleaning my room browsing Pinterest and searching the house for ice cream when a tiny scroll sealed with purple wax was delivered to my doorstep. I opened it up and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was not just a birthday party invitation. It was a full-costume masquerade birthday party invitation. With dinner.

Count. Me. In.

I glanced over the date and time and noticed that the event would take place on a Friday night. After making sure I was free I hung the invite on my fridge. Still having two weeks before the big day, I returned to my summer activities and soon forgot about the party altogether.

A week later I noticed the invitation once more.

"Oh yeah," I thought to myself, "That will be fun. I can't wait until Saturday." [Warning: Brain Glitch! Yo, Sarah. It's Friday! Read the invite!]

One week later, I carefully straightened my hair, styled it into a half-up do, tediously applied my make-up, and dawned my ballgown. Feeling all dolled up and ready to go, I asked my Mom and Grandma to take a picture of this momentous occasion.

"Did you check the invitation to make sure you have the right day and time?" My Grandma wisely counseled.

"No," I replied, "I don't need to do that. I'm positive it's today."

"Are you sure?" My Mom asked.

"Yes!" I exclaimed. "I am positive! I read the invitation just last week. The party is today! What more proof do you need that my skilled logic and razor sharp memory?" [Okay, so I didn't actually say that, but you get the jist of the not-so-Christlike attitude I was displaying.]

After a nice drive through the country we came to the house the party would be held at. I grabbed my things and walked up the driveway feeling as regal as a queen. But something was odd.

No balloons.

No other cars.

No kids.

What was happening?

I knocked on the door and a very confused Dad answered it. His face had "who is the kid and why is she wearing a prom dress" written all over it.

"Hi. I'm here for the birthday party!" I hopefully said.

<Insert crickets chirping here while the poor Father looked at me with distress in his eyes.>

"I'm sorry, but the party was yesterday." He sympathetically stated.

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After an exchange of awkward glances, I mumbled an embarrassed apology and walked my beet-red self back to the car while mentally preparing myself for the awaiting fifteen minute drive of shame I would face going back to my home.

The end.

So what does this have to do with anything? I'm pleased to inform you that you get to hear an opinion that has never been stated before. Are you ready? Introducing: Sarah's Dating Doctrine!

I think that sometimes people do the right thing at the wrong time.

It's funny to me how everybody in High School is in such a rush to get a boyfriend and date exclusively. Where I go to school, single people are definitely in the minority. But I'm a proud single young lady. You want to know why? I think pairing off into couples at this age is like showing up to a birthday party at the wrong time.

Dating is good. We are supposed to get married someday. It's part of the plan. It's supposed to happen. However, High School isn't the time for completely pairing off.

For the Strength of Youth says:
When you begin dating, go with one or more additional couples. Avoid going on frequent dates with the same person. Developing serious relationships too early in life can limit the number of other people you meet and can perhaps lead to immorality.
Did you hear that? Those words are not mere suggestions. The For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet contains commandments from living prophets that were inspired specifically for our generation. It's like tailored scripture. So why don't we listen?

Because birthday parties are fun! PiƱatas are cool! Cake tastes delicious!

But in the end none of those things are fun if you show up to the party at the wrong time. A lot of embarrassment and awkwardness could have been prevented if I had just double checked my invitation and made sure I had the day right. In the same way, a lot of heartache and sorrow will be prevented if we listen to the counsel of our prophet and wait until we are older to split into pairs.

So once you're 16 go to prom, go on dates, and have fun, but do it in groups for now. High School isn't the time to weigh yourself down with the burden of premature relationships. It's the time to enjoy developing your own talents and for getting to know lots of different people so that some day you'll be ready for that special person.

Don't show up to the Birthday party at the wrong time, no matter how tempting that cake and ice cream is. Trust me, it's worth the wait.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

14th Year, 14 Resolutions

Happy New Year!

Can you believe it's 2014 already! Cue writing the wrong year on all  my school papers for the next six weeks while I get that in my brain. :D

Since it is the 14th year in the second millennium, I thought it would be fitting to make 14 New Years resolutions. They say that you're a lot more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down and tell somebody about them. How 'bout we kill two birds with one stone eat two cartons of ice cream with one spoon [there, much better] and I write about my goals here?

1. Enter 3 Photography Contests

They have photo contests for teens all over the place, but I'm always too chicken to enter. This year, I'm going to change that. I don't care if I win the contests or not. In fact, I most likely will not win. But entering will be a great way to face my fears. What do I have to lose?

2. Quite Procrastinating on my Homework

I've gotten better in this area of academics lately, but I could still benefit from a lot of improvement. FYI, saving your eight page science lab report until the day before it is due is not a good study method. [Not like I know that from experience or anything....cough...]

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3. Finish the Book of Mormon

We are studying the Book of Mormon in Seminary this year, and I really want to finish with my Seminary class. The blessings studying this powerful book has brought into my life are amazing. I don't know how I made it without that extra measure of the Holy Ghost before.

4. Start Running Again

I wish I was one of those consistent runners that exercises day or night, rain or shine, but I'm not. <blushes>
I'm more like the run consistently for two weeks and then get bogged down with homework, miss one day, and not start up again for another month type of runner. I'm thinking that should probably change.

5. Finish Personal Progress

I'm so close! The finish line is in sight! I'm really grateful for all the lessons this inspired program has taught me. I am truly a stronger, better person for it.

6. Eat More Vegetables

I'm really bad at eating my veggies. Especially salad. Now that I've been alive for almost 20 years, I should probably mature and stop complaining about eating my broccoli. ;)

7. Go to the Temple More

I live thirty minutes away from one, so I have no excuse for not going more often.  I love the sense of peace I feel whenever I am there. I know it's a small goal compared to the people who go every week, but I'd like to go at least once a month this year.

8. Be a Better Leader

I am head officer for a club in my school district. I've never been in leadership at school before, so this is all new to me. Having committee meetings without prayer and refreshments feels odd...I'm used to planning mutual activities and Young Women in Excellence, not fundraiser dinners. It's a new adventure, but I'm excited to learn all I can about being a good leader. Go team!

9. Get Better at the Organ

I played in Sacrament Meeting for the first time a few weeks ago, and did okay even though it scared the living daylights out of me. I would love to get better at playing with a congregation. It's a good thing practice makes perfect, because I play again next week. Pray for me! :)

10. Worry Less

I am pretty much the worst-case-scenario-Queen and I've got to stop assuming the worst of everything. There is too much in life to be happy about to waste any time worrying. I need to start enjoying the journey more.

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11. Cook More

I don't want to starve when I go to college, which means I'd better learn how to cook better. If I don't, I'll probably have to eat Ramen and frozen burritos for the rest of my life, and that would be depressing.

12. Speak

I know it sounds weird, but I stink at talking. It's like my un-talent. I'm one of those people that sits in the background and thinks things over while other people do the talking. This year I want to start actually raising my hand at school and church and participating in discussions more. It will be scary and new, but nothing good ever happened in comfort zones, right?

13. Get my Drivers License

I've been driving for about 18 months now. As scary as it is, it's time for me to get my behind down to the DMV and take that drivers test.

14. Trust

I've always had faith that Heavenly Father can help me, but trusting that He will has been a much harder lesson for me to learn. I want to get better at trusting God. After all, He's the most trust worthy being in the entire universe.

What are your goals? Here's to a lot of growth, happiness, ice cream, and blogging in 2014!


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