Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Climbing through Fear

Fear is an emotion that like many other emotions can be both helpful and detrimental. Much of that depends on the situation in which the fear exists and the control over out life we give it. I have often talked to people about fear and how we must not let it rule our lives. 
Saturday up here at Camp Bartlett Jake and I decided to go climbing on our new climbing wall. I have climbed multiple times before with no issues but almost always that was with a person belaying me. This 30 foot outdoor wall has an auto belay system. I hooked in and started climbing. When I got to the top the wind was blowing and then I froze. "How am I supposed to get down?" Jake yelled up to me, "let go of the wall and hold onto your cable." I couldn't do it. Every time I took one hand off the wall and grabbed the cable I felt the looseness of the cable. Again Jake yelled up and said it will fall for a second and then catch, you just have to hold on. This is when my internal dialogue switched to "counselor mode." I began to tell myself that I was feeling fear and that I cannot let it rule my life. I have a goal to never let irrational fear rule my life and prevent me from doing something. After a few minutes I finally took my hands off the wall and grabbed my cable. I fell for a second and just like Jake said it soon caught me and slowed my decent. I got to the ground and was shaking like a leaf. I sat down and let my nerves calm. After about five minutes I said, "okay, to prove that fear isn't running my life I need to do this again." I got up and got back on that wall. This time it was much easier because I knew for myself that the cable would catch. 

As is typical of my mind I made connections from this experience to life. There have been many times where I have begun to do something that I love to do or feel like I am supposed to do and then there comes an unexpected obstacle. I have to figure out a way to overcome that obstacle and accomplish the task. There are many times when overcoming those obstacles that I have to take a leap. I have to feel the falling sensation before the atonement or help from God or others catches me. I also thought about Jake and how he told me what I needed to do and then waited for me to do it on my own. I need to trust those people on my life who are there to help me and lean on them until I can do it on my own. Jake could not get off that wall for me, I had to do it. However, I was able to lean on Jake's knowledge and experience until I learned and experienced on my own. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lessons Learned From a Week With a 3 Year Old.

This week I have had the great privilege to be with my brother, his wife and his two beautiful little girls. One is 11 months old and the other is three years old. I have had a wonderful time, hiking, working in the yard, barbecuing and playing with the girls. Especially with the three year old, who loves to dance with me, crawl all over me, and hug me. It has been so great, my brother and sister-in-law are amazing, and the girls are so cute.

During this time my mind has been turning and I have been thinking a lot about life, parenting and kids, (what did you expect I am a psychology major). While thinking this week there are several lessons that came to mind that I want to share. (Note: not all of them directly came from things that happened this week, some where just things that being here made me think about.)

  1. Parenting is not for the faint of heart: I am exhausted! To all you moms and dads that are with your kids all day, everyday, day in and day out, kudos. I never realized how exhausting parenting can be, and I was just playing with the girls for Pete's sake. I had a little taste of not having any time to yourself. Anytime I was around the girls they wanted to play, it didn't matter if I was hot, or tired or just wanted to veg, they were there and ready to play. So way to go moms! I have definitely gained a greater appreciation for you and what you do.
  2. You need time: Time is what our world is run around. We all have the same amount of time in a day, and whether we like it or not, we get to choose how to spend it. I have learned more about making the most of where I am at the moment and making that time quality. I had times this week where the girls wanted to play and I just wanted to sit there. Then I thought, I am only here for a week, and they are going to bed in the half an hour, I need to play my heart out, then I can veg when they are sleeping. I also learned that parents need their time to be alone, or to be together as a couple without the kids. That time is precious, and it doesn't happen very much. 
  3. Be patient: I had times where I was not the happiest person with that little three year old, but I had to be patient with her. However, most of all, I had to be patient with myself. I am human and I make mistakes, and that's okay, I simply need to do my best (not someone else's best, mine) and move on.
  4. Parents are not super human: Parents are not perfect, I know for sure that I will not be the perfect father when that time comes. But that is okay. Nobody needs their parents to be super human. We will make mistakes, we will get mad and yell at our kids, we will probably want to just leave at moments and... that is OKAY!!! Parents, you might not be super human but you are super heroes, to your kids, and to me. I look up so much to my parents and to my brothers and their wives. They are all doing a fantastic job, and I hope some day I can be half as good a parent as they are. Your kids will most likely feel the same way about you as I do about my parents, but give it time, and just know, they might not ever tell you that.
  5. Love: Love, love love. I had no idea that I could love an ornery little three year old so much. Yes, she never listened to me, yes, she cried often, and yes, I LOVE her. Another note on love: she could be a stinker and cry and run off, then just a few minutes later she would run up to me and hug me, kiss me, or lean her head on me. No matter what I did, or what happened, afterwards she would always come back full of love. Oh what the world would be if we could all do that. 
I am not a perfect person, and I will not be a perfect parent, but I am so grateful for the life I live and the opportunities that I have to learn and grow. Go easy on yourself, do not get too upset at yourself when you make a mistake with your kids, just get up love them, ask God for strength and move on. You got this! I am so grateful to my amazing brother and sister-in-law for allowing me to come, and putting up with me all week. I sure love you, and of course I love those two little girls that I get to call my nieces.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

On The Path With No Destination

I woke up this morning to a beautiful day; it was about 45 degrees outside and the sun was shining. I decided to dust off the bike and go for a ride. I had about an hour and a half until my next plans so I thought I would ride out for 45 minutes on the Provo River and Murdock Canal Trails. As I was crossing over from one trail to the other I saw a group of scouts (I am assuming) taking a picture, so I stopped and offered to take the picture so that the leader could be in it as well. I asked them where they were headed, and then they asked me the same question. I told them I wasn't sure I was just riding the trail until my time was up.

As I continued riding I began to think to myself and process what I had just said. Then what to me was a profound thought came to my mind. We don't have to know the destination to know we are on the right path. It was a beautiful day and I was enjoying the relaxing ride with the amazing views around me. What more did I need? I didn't need to know where I would end up, just that I had a goal to keep going and to enjoy the ride. And enjoy the ride I did.

Then came the analogy to my life. Up until last week I had thought that I knew what I was supposed to do over the next 5 or 10 years in regards to school and a career. Since last week I have been questioning all of those plans and feel like maybe I am supposed to do something else, something quiet different from my plans. **Side note for those interested: I was planning on getting a master's in social work and being a therapist. Now I am thinking about getting a PhD in criminal psychology and working in law enforcement.** I have been really confused and am not sure what to do. Today it hit me that I do not need to know, all I need to know is that I am on right path, which I believe I am. As I continue on that path the destination will become more clear, eventually. 

Back to my ride, at one point the trail was under construction so there were signs for a detour. Although it was not the original path I had planned on, it got me to where I needed to go. I know that it is the same with our lives. Hang on, pedal your heart out, and enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

All Things Denote There is a God

This morning, being a little bit stressed, I had the feeling like I should go for a walk. So I did. I ended up walking by the chapel in town and decided to stop. I sat on the picnic bench in the back and just pondered. I looked at the beauties around me and couldn't help but think of God's love.
 Then as the feeling of stress entered my mind yet again, I began to pray out loud to God while sitting here on this picnic bench. I had the feeling to simply thank Him for my many blessings. The trees, the sun, the cool breeze.
I continued to thank him for my family, and for the opportunities to grow that he sends to me and trusts me with. Peace filled my mind and I knew that He was close by, listening to me and watching over me. I know that everything will work out because He is in the details of my life. Being filled with love, peace and gratitude; I got up to leave, took some pictures around the church and then as I began to walk away felt like I needed to write this post here and now. So I came back to the picnic bench, and thanks to the technology that I have with me today, I began to type.

I know God lives and loves each of us. I know He watches over us all. When we take the time to pause and "Be still and know that I am God" He will enlighten us and fill us with His love. (Psalms 46:10) We can then realize as Alma did that "all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it." (Alma 30:44) I challenge you to think about your blessings and how you have seen God in your life and then write it down!

He loves you!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Most Precious of Gifts

Christmas has come and past, what was the most precious gift you received?

Christmas time is a wonderful time of year to be remember the birth of Christ, be together as a family, share good times, good food, and good gifts. The world has commercialized the Christmas holiday, it seems to be, whoever gets the biggest gift is the best off and the most loved. People spend countless hours trying to think of and find the "best" gift to give. Giving gifts, especially at Christmas time is not a bad thing, we just must always remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Serving a mission has been a wonderful tool for me to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior, and not so much on receiving gifts. I am hundreds of miles away from home and away from my loved ones, but I am doing the best work that I could ever do, spreading the name of Christ, and His true gospel throughout all the world, or at least here in Tennessee. I had the opportunity to ponder on the birth, life and sacrifice of our Lord, and the impact it has had on me, thousands of years later. It has been such a blessing. However, I still did receive gifts from my family. I would like to share with you the most precious gift I received.

A few days before Christmas I got several letters, that on the back was written, "Do not open until Christmas." So I patiently waited. Christmas morning I went for them first. The first one that I opened was from Grandpa and Grandma Reed. Inside was a card, with 3 pieces of folded paper inside. As I pulled out the paper I saw a hand written note from my Grandpa, I started to read his shaky handwriting, and realized that it was his testimony. As I fought back the tears, I devoured every word, then quickly read Grandma's and energetically opened the other two letters. Which were the testimonies of some of my siblings. It was so great. Tuesday after Christmas, I got letters from the rest of my family, each containing their personal testimonies! Simple... Yes! The most precious gift they could have given... Yes! I know that my family loves me and that they have a firm testimony in and of our Savior!!

I loved this Christmas time to focus more on the humble birth of our Savior, but now that it is past and the new year has begun, we don't have to stop focusing on and thinking about the role that Christ plays in our lives! He is my Savior, I know that he loves me and that He gave all, even His life, so that I can return to live with Him again!! I know He lives!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dying For Happiness: Changing Lives

"You are surrounded by people. You pass them on the street, visit them in their homes, and travel among them. All of them are children of God, your brothers and sisters. God loves them just as He loves you. Many of these people are searching for purpose in life. They are concerned for their families. They need the sense of belonging that comes from the knowledge that they are children of God, members of His eternal family. They want to feel secure in a world of changing values. They want “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23), but they are “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (D&C 123:12). The gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith will bless their families, meet their spiritual needs, and help them fulfill their deepest desires." (Preach My Gospel, p. 1)

Missionary work is a work of changing lives. There are so many people who are searching for more in their lives, and this gospel is the place to find it. It is our duty as missionaries to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them recieve the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." (Preach My Gospel, p. 1) Many lives are changed when a person leaves the comfort of their home to help others come closer to Christ.

I would like to focus on the lives of three main groups that are changed through someone serving a mission. The missionary, the missionary's family, and those whom the missionary teaches.

The Missionary
One returned missionary had the following to say about his mission,
Serving a mission changed my life. I came to understand more clearly my relationship with Heavenly Father. My testimony grew, and the significance of the work, of bringing souls to Jesus Christ, became eternally impressed on my mind and heart.

What is most dear to me now that I have completed my mission is the promise I made to God that I would endure to the end. I remember my mission president’s words as a group of us were soon to be released. He said he wanted us to stay worthy so we could all be together again in heaven someday. I have thought of this challenge often, especially during times of trial.

My heart is filled with gratitude. I am grateful that God has protected me and provided me with learning experiences. Many of these experiences were surprising and unexpected, but they all have stretched me into becoming more like the servant of the Lord I so much want to be. (Wang Shu-chuan
The mission definitely has an effect on you. I have changed and learned a lot on my mission. I have learned how to love people, even people that I have never met before and never seen since, I have loved them. And those people that I have loved have made such a big difference in my life, and I have learned so much from them.

I have also learned a lot about myself, and how to handle myself and my many problems. I have gained more of a trust in God and allowing him to help me with even the simple trials and difficulties in life. And greatest of all, (which may seem the most simple) I have learned that God really LOVES me, and all of us, His children, here on this earth. And that He is always there. He is ALWAYS there for us. It is us who turns from Him! I have gained a greater love for my Father in Heaven, a love that I will strive to carry for the rest of my life!

The Family
My Brother Richard, said that having a sibling on a mission has effected him in the following way.
[It] makes you think more about being a better member missionary and to take the time to have missionaries over for dinner or to go out with them more often since that is what I would hope and expect of the families where [my brother is] serving. It is difficult to pray that [he] will have success without including the members as part of that success, thus we need to be involved in our own wards so that [he] can receive those blessings.
I have heard of many changes that have come to the lives of the families of those who serve missions. Ben Truman and Jason Deere say it well in their song "In a Letter Home."
I've made mistakes you know that left me broken and I've scarred the hearts of mom and dad, but this prodigal son is doing things he's never done as I pray for mercy with all I have. Down on my knees I 'm finding answers. How could I have known? In a letter home you'd save me how did you know that I just wasn't right. You gave me the strength to break free from thousands of miles, you saved my life in a letter home... I 'm finding courage in your faith in me, and you need to know I feel your prayers. Over and over I read your words as they soften this heart of stone...That love's the thing that always mattered most, that Jesus really died to save me. Two years in a foreign land, how'd you know that you would find the most desperate man in a letter home?
I know that when I was younger and my older brothers served their missions that it had an effect on me and the man and missionary that I am now.

The Investigator
The gospel heals wounds and changes lives. It has that effect on any one who allows it into their lives. Here is a great example from a woman that I have a great love for.
I want to tell you how I came from searching for the Truth since I was a teenager. I've been to almost every denomination you can think of. At 14, I knew I was in the wrong church. At 16, when I started driving, I would church hop. Sometimes I would enter a church building and the people were very friendly but that's as far as it went. I also felt like an outsider at some and even though I yearned to be part of their service, it was too clickish and I was ignored. I'd even begged members of these different churches to study with me, but to no avail. I felt like I was traveling in a foreign country where I didn't understand their language. I never would give up though and off I'd go to yet another church. Nothing changed after I was married. We both ended up church hopping. We had children and we drug them with us. That is until one day.... We had a yard sale 6 months ago and up rode two little Elder fellers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on their bicycles. They were so kind and they asked if we had any ties for sale. My husband actually went into his personal stash and let 'em pick through it. They offered to come back and help us clean up after the sale was over. We were dumbfounded but said it was okay but I didn't think they would show. We couldn't believe they actually showed back up! We had an amazing discussion and they invited us to their church service. Of course we said yes because remember we were church hoppers. We hadn't even gotten out of our car the first Sunday morning before somebody came rushing over to welcome us. Wow! I figured it was probably a fluke but no, it was a continuous stream of welcomes. I'll admit, the service was slightly different than any other church I'd been to. It was amazing! I was a sponge and soaked up every smile, handshake, and spiritual lesson. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I didn't want it to end! My heart melted when I went into this class called Relief Society and I was intoduced as a "Sister". Why is that such a big deal you ask? Well, at other churches, it was explained to me that since I wasn't a part of their church, I couldn't be called a sister. I have to tell you at this point, I knew in my heart that my search was over. How did I know this? Every time the Elders would come and teach me, I understood and believed every word. It has been so natural for me. I've been studying with little Elder fellers for almost six months. I have new Elders now that are studying with me and......... I am getting baptized this Sat! WooHoo!!!!! I am just "giddy" and I can't hardly contain myself. I can't wait to "bury" my old self and become new when I come up outa that water. Oh.....I cannot wait to receive the Holy Ghost after. Spiritually. I am the happiest I've ever been. So...... The moral of this story is: Don't lose hope and don't give up. Keep searching for the Truth and you will find it....at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Well, that's my Testimony and I'm sticking to it. I write these words in the name of Jesus the Christ, and amen.
Since Darla wrote this she, as well as her three children,  have been baptized and confirmed. They all have a glow about themselves. Oh how the true gospel can change someone's life.

Missions change the lives of all involved, the missionary, their family, and those they teach. My mission has changed my life and I will be forever grateful to God for the opportunity to serve and to grow and change.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dying for Happiness: The Mission Process

Going on a mission is a process, there is a lot of preparation involved, but every second of that preparation is worth it!

Of course the preparation for a mission begins from a young age, in primary, like with singing the songs, "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission," and "We'll Bring the World His Truth." Also, gaining a testimony of the gospel was a large part of the preparation for a mission. For the purposes of this post, I will talk about the preparation right before going on a mission. However, I do not want to minimize the importance of having the desire to serve, and having the knowledge and strength in order to do so. For anyone who is planning on going on a mission, or should be planning to go on a mission, start now. Start now to prepare, to learn how to study the scriptures and Preach My Gospel, how to get answers to your prayer, and how to follow the Spirit. All things that you will treasure on your mission. And start right now by gaining a testimony of this great gospel for yourself! The promise of Moroni is not exclusive to certain people. "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:4-5) We all can and all must receive a personal witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

On the Album, "The Work: A Nashville Tribute to the Missionaries" Brother Jason Deere wrote a wonderful song about gaining a personal witness of the truthfulness of the gospel before serving a mission. The song begins about how he knows that everyone expects him to serve, and that is great, "But I still need to ask, just for me, I'm down on my knees, asking my Father above to hear my plea. Can I have a witness just before I do this? Let my soul acquire its humble desire, let my heart burn like fire, once more before I leave."

God will answer your prayers, he has answered millions of people's prayers, he has answered mine, and he will answer yours. Ask Him!!

For me, the preparation leading up to submitting my papers started as I went to speech therapy, with Dr. Susca (See Trial of My Life Part 2.) I had to learn how to talk again, so that I would be able to serve a mission. Once I got to BYU I met with my Bishop there and than began the paper work process, which included much typing and filling out all of the information that the Church requested. And then of course all of the dentistry and medical work that needed to get done. Then finally after a few interviews those papers got sent in. And I waited...

And waited. Those two weeks were some of the longest two weeks ever. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving I went to Rexburg Idaho to spend Thanksgiving with my brother, his wife and our grandparents. And of course, it came while I was in Idaho. So it sat in my apartment until Saturday afternoon when I finally got back to my apartment. Not long after, that letter was ripped open, and read to a few friends that were there with me, and to my family over the phone. "Dear Elder Jordan Lyman Dye, you are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you are assigned to labor in the... Tennessee Nashville Mission."
So I had the call, now what? My first thought, was that is not in a foreign country, and then, where is that, and oh, I like country music. To be perfectly honest, Tennessee is not what I expected by any means, and I especially didn't expect to go English when all of my brothers went Spanish. I was a little disappointed. The next day was Sunday, and church was great. As I sit in Sacrament meeting while the priesthood passes the bread and water I read my patriarchal blessing, and that day, I had a special experience. As I got to the section that talks about me serving a full-time mission it felt as if the paper said that I was supposed to go to Nashville Tennessee. I knew at that moment that the calling to Nashville English speaking was of God, and that it was where I was supposed to be. Since then I have had many experience that have confirmed that I was called of God to be here!

Then, from that moment I needed to make sure that I stayed pure and strong so that I would be ready to represent the Lord in Nashville! After returning home from school, I was endowed in the temple. The nearest temple to us back home is an hour and a half away, a blessing, but I was worried that I would not be able to attend very often before I went on my mission. Thanks to a close friend, that worry was taken away. He owns his own business and he was able to leave work early once a week so that we could go to the temple together. That was such a special experience, that I cherish so much, even to this day. We had the opportunity to have good conversations about life and the gospel on our car rides and to be blessed and uplifted by our service in the temple! The temple is a special place and I am so grateful for the blessings and strength that I received there to stay strong and be prepared to serve my mission.

The Sunday before I left I gave a talk in church, then that night I was set apart as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Then off to the Missionary Training Center. Wednesday morning my parents took me to the airport in Modesto California where I then flew to Salt Lake City Utah, my roommates from BYU picked me up from the airport and took me to the MTC in Provo and the missionary experience began.