Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Dying for Happiness" the Series

Welcome to "Dying For Happiness," the new series featured on the blog "Dying" For Happiness!
It will feature the process of growing up, searching for happiness, finding it, and sharing it!

The series will include the following posts, which will be posted periodically between now and August!

The Younger Days
The Priesthood
The Blessings of Service
The Trial of My Faith
We can Find Happiness
The Mission Process
Changing Lives
Trials That Never End
Miracles Never Cease

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Dad!

My Dad is the greatest! As I think about the things that he does and the amazing example he is, there is no other way to describe him then amazing! Well, I guess incredible, wonderful, great, outstanding, fantastic, marvelous... I think you get the point! I love my dad!!!

He loves people more than almost anyone else I know. Growing up my mom and I would sing in the choir, which practiced before church every Sunday, my Dad did not sing, because we wanted to have the time to go and talk to everyone that was at church that day, to hug them and tell them that he loved them! And he was ALWAYS sincere! With that love, he would do anything for anyone. I still remember going with him and my brothers to help people move. I am sure that my Dad has helped hundreds of people move, he was busy, but there was always time to serve! What an example of service he is. I am so grateful for the opportunities that I have had to serve, and the lessons of service I have learned from my Dad.

My brother Richard says this about my Father, "I have a lot of great memories of Dad, especially on camp-outs and family outings. One thing I really always loved though was that he would always be willing to shoot hoops, kick a soccer ball or catch a baseball after a long day of work and sore wrists. It meant a lot to me that he'd do that for us and spend time with us whenever possible."

We always did things together as a family, and it was almost always outside. My Dad taught me how to shoot a basketball, swing a bat, hike, load a backpack, repel, start a fire, and so many other things that have to do with nature and being out in it. He taught me to have a great appreciation for God's creations and find joy in them!

My dad taught me how to change the oil, brakes, alternators, fuel pumps and water pumps on our cars, since it seemed like they would always go out!

My dad taught me lots of things, but most of all he taught me the things that matter most. How to love others, the Lord and the Gospel. When my brothers and I were younger he would sing us to sleep. He would always sing the primary song, "I Wonder When He Comes Again." I love this song so much, and get emotional almost every time I hear it now!

My Dad just had such a sweet way to share the gospel even with us! He taught us how to share the gospel with others, and the importance of missionary work. My Dad was always involved in missionary work, serving his own mission then constantly supporting the missionaries and sharing the gospel with those around him. He also taught us consistency and the importance of reading the scriptures. Here is Richard again, "I would have to say though there is one memory of Dad that always stands out, that is of Dad's Book of Mormon that he takes to work to read for lunch each day. I've heard him tell stories about being mocked and ridiculed and having to eat alone. I still feel a great sense of pride and love for Dad when I picture the dirty, worn pages of his Book of Mormon by his lunch pale when he comes home. I think of his dedication to the Church, his love of God and our family.... priceless memories of someone standing up for what is right and good. Love you DAD!"

My Dad has taught me everything I need to know and do to help me return to my Heavenly Father.

I love you Dad!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Only A Father

I love my father! I remember hearing stories from my mother, that when I was younger and Dad had to fix the car or something,
I would always be right next to him with my little plastic tools, because I wanted to help, and I wanted to be near my father. It was always a great experience and we grew together. I remember doing things with my dad and having a pretty good relationship with him. But, when I was a teenager, things began to change. In my eyes the words to one of my favorite songs at the time fit me perfectly. It was "Perfect" by Simple Plan:

"Hey dad look at me
Think back and talk to me
Did I grow up according to plan?
And do you think I'm wasting my time doing things I wanna do?
But it hurts when you disapprove all along

And now I try hard to make it
I just want to make you proud
I'm never gonna be good enough for you

I'm sorry
I can't be perfect"

That was how I felt, like no matter what I did it wasn't good enough for my father. It seemed as though we disagreed on almost everything!

Looking back, it wasn't as bad as I imagined it to be, but it wasn't the best it could be. After high school I went to School in Utah at BYU, 700 miles away from my father. I attended Priesthood Session of General Conference and listened to the talk "Father's and Sons: A Remarkable Relationship" by Elder M. Russell Ballard. As he talked, the guilt and remorse came into my heart. I knew that I had not been the son I should have been, and this whole time I had blamed it on my dad! As soon as I got back to my apartment I called my dad. Come to find out we both had thought the same things during that talk. We talked and cried on the phone that night and I committed myself to improve my relationship with my father. It is true "I can't be perfect," I messed up and still do, but our relationship grew. I love my dad so much, and still think about the things that I missed out on in my teenage years. I have realized how much I took that special bond between a father and a son for granted. But I truly know that my dad loves me, and I love him so much! I do have great childhood memories with my father. You can read some of them in my post tomorrow!

I know that I am not the only youth who took my relationship with my father for granted. If you are one of those youth, or know one, plead with them to strengthen their relationship with their father, it will be one of the best things they will do. Here is a video about a young man, striving to strengthen his relationship with his father in response to Elder Ballard's same talk that touched me!

I think often this same type of thing happens between us and our Heavenly Father. We disagree, grow anger and begin to turn away. Sometimes we feel like he doesn't love us anymore or that we can never live up to who he wants us to be. We take that deep relationship we can and should have with him for granted. But I testify with every fiber of my being that we can live up to who he wants us to be, we can please him, and we can have a deep rooted relationship with him. Just as I repaired my relationship with my father, so can all of us repair our relationship with our Eternal Father. Our elder brother suffered for us that we can repair relationships, both here and in the eternities! Access the atonement and heal wounds!

There is no time like the present to build and strength relationships with our fathers, both the one here and the one above!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Look Through Heaven's Eyes

Continued from "Trash to Masterpiece"

Although we may be a piece of trash, we have to look at ourselves through heaven's eyes, and not the eyes of the world. For the world will tell us we are a worthless piece of garbage, but heaven will tell us that we are a lovely piece of trash, that with some work we will soon be a beautiful masterpiece.

Here is an example of looking through heaven's eyes at trash.

These are examples of how men, looked at a pile of trash and did not see the worthlessness and uselessness of it as the world does, but they looked at that trash through  heaven's eyes, and saw the great potential it had. Yes, I am sure that it was a lot of work, that these men needed a lot of help and that there were many hard times. But look at it now, homes made of trash!

So it is with our lives, if we look through heaven's eyes we will see the great potential we have and with some hard work, and a lot of help from Christ and good friends, we can turn our lives into a masterpiece that is worthy to enter into God's kingdom.

I love the song, "Through Heaven's Eyes." Here are some lines from it:
"So how can you see what your life is worth
or where your value lies
ohhhh, you can never see through the eyes of man
you must look at your life
look at your life through heaven's eyes

"Should a man lose everything he owns
has he truly lost his worth
or is it the beginning
of a new and brighter birth
So how do you measure the worth of a man
in wealth or strength or size
in how much he gained or how much he gave
the answer will come to ya
to look at his life through heaven's eyes"

In the last several months I have had a lot of feelings of weakness and inadequacy. I got down on my self pretty bad, to the point where I was often depressed and discouraged. As I was in this state, everything seemed to be crumbling around me. My stutter was the worst it had been my entire mission, I didn't recognize the promptings from the Holy Ghost as much, and I began to think that I was failing! With the quite bold help of my mission president and a great companion, I was challenged to look at my life through heaven's eyes, and quit listening to the voice of the great deceiver. For I am of great worth, and although I make mistakes everyday, and slip and fall often, I am not and will never be worthless in the site of God, I will always have great potential in his eyes, if I but make the decision to change, and put some work into it. For Christ said, "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth" (Luke 15:10) As we try our best to continue to improve, but realize that we are not perfect and it will take time, we will be blessed! Don't ever give up on yourself!

Here are the words that my sister wrote to me, when I was in the midst of my discouragement, "Do not get hard on yourself. I have been kind of doing the same thing to myself. I know that I always need to try harder, and it is very important that I do so, but I need to also look at all the good things that I am doing. This last week was one of those weeks for me where I had to turn around how I was thinking, and then move on and continue to try harder while maintaining a positive outlook."

I know the blessings that come from doing that, trying to improve while still having a positive outlook. I have been trying really hard to do just that the last two weeks or so, and oh how much better I feel. I am happy, my stutter is almost unnoticeable now, I have peace in my life, and I feel the spirit much stronger than before. I know that God loves me. I know without a doubt that he answers my prayers. It does take hard work, but it IS WORTH IT!! Keep trying, never give up, and when it seems to get too hard, turn for help. Turn to God, and priesthood leaders. Beware, of the negative thoughts that come into your mind, for they are not of God. "Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually." (Moroni 7:12) Continue striving to do your best, and access the atonement the best you can, by going to church, reading the scriptures and praying. If you do these things you can become a masterpiece in the kingdom of God!!

Here are some resources that could be of help to you:
"Do Not Despair" - Ezra Taft Benson
"From the Valley of Despair to the Mountain Peaks of Hope" - Harold B. Lee
"'Awake My Soul!': Dealing Firmly with Depression" - Steve Gilliland
"Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy" - David S. Baxter
"Notwithstanding My Weakness" - Neal A. Maxwell
"LDS Family Services: Depression"

I love the Gospel, and I love happiness! I know that the gospel will bring us happiness. If there is anything that I can do to help you overcome depression, discouragement, or just a hard time, please let me know! 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Siter's Sunday: Be Ye Therefore Perfect

Here is a post by Gayle Dye, Thanks Gayle!

“Be ye therefore perfect even as your father which is in Heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Recently Brandon and I were asked to speak in sacrament meeting. We were asked to speak on Matthew 5; The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus Christ is the perfect example we have of perfection. His entire life was focused on teaching, serving, healing, loving and sacrificing all he had for His Father’s will. The whole point of The Book of Mormon is to bring men unto Christ. The scriptures are full of his teachings and experiences he had here on this Earth. I have three favorite moments from his life.
  1. In his early childhood when he was lost for three days. He was found by the temple teaching doctors or teachers about the gospel. The important thing in this story is that he was teaching them and they were asking Jesus questions. This young boy was closely in Heavenly Father’s hands as he began to learn and share the gospel with all those around him.
  2. When men brought an adulterous woman before Christ and said that she should be stoned for sinning in adultery because that was the law. Christ looked at each of them and said then he who is without sin, be the first to cast a stone. Each man left. This moment shows how merciful Jesus Christ is. He was able to tell the woman to “go and sin no more.” Christ loves each of us so perfectly he was able to look past the grievous sin of the woman, and give her a second chance.
  3. As he hung on the cross he had to give up his own life in order for each of us to live with the Father again. No other man could have done this. It was his job, but how selfless this was of him to give up his own life that we may live again.

As humans we know we are imperfect. We sin, we struggle, and most of all, each of us goes through trials. We are however, never alone in these trials. Heavenly Father sent his only begotten son for us; so that we could be happy and return to him again one day. Heavenly Father knows us so perfectly that anything we struggle with we can look to Him and Christ. He challenges us with new trials all the time. They are hard and they are trying. I know and am learning firsthand that life is not easy. I recently graduated with my degree in elementary education. I have been praying and searching endlessly for the right teaching job. It has not come. I’m learning patience and prayer are my two best friends. Every once in a while I can feel Heavenly Father’s arms around me telling me that everything will work out. As I prepared my talk on the atonement I came to realize that the reason the Lord gave us The Sermon on the Mount is to help us become perfect like him through Christ. What beauty is in those words. I have a testimony of the gospel. I know that the Savior lives and loves us. Heavenly Father gave us the Savior that we will be able to live with him again one day.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Trash To Master Piece

Usually when you see pictures such as these you think, well that's a bunch of junk! It's just worthless trash! But, is that true? Or is there hidden value in this piles?

How often do you feel like worthless trash? For Americans it must be pretty often. According to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention,  over 34,000 people die each year due to suicide. That's about 90 people a day that take there own life. People do such things because they have thoughts like they are worthless, no one loves them, they are gone beyond repair, or there is no other way out. These are all tools that Satan uses to weaken us and try to overcome us. We MUST NOT let Satan win!!! All of those thoughts are lies from Satan, for we are children of God! And Christ has said, "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." (D&C 18:10) Our souls are of great worth, we have been sent here to this earth to do a great work. One of the purposes of the church is to "invite ALL to come unto Christ!" (D&C 20:59) not just a few, not just the ones that are rich, or educated or of high social status, but ALL! God wants all of his children to return to him, we are all worth it to him! We must not let the lies of Satan distract us from our goal to return to our Father in Heaven, we must maintain self-esteem, a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself.

So how do we maintain a healthy self-esteem? Well, President James. E Faust said, "A key to an adequate self-esteem is humility. I do not mean the breast-beating, sackcloth-and-ashes kind of humility. I mean the humility that comes with inner strength and peace. It is the humility that allows us to accept and live with our own warts, without cosmetics to hide them.” Being humble is something that God wants us to be, it is very important in our lives. But being humble does not mean that we are supposed to tear ourselves down. I love what President Uchtdorf says about humility. "Some suppose that humility is about beating ourselves up. Humility does not mean convincing ourselves that we are worthless, meaningless, or of little value. Nor does it mean denying or withholding the talents God has given us. We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves. It comes as we go about our work with an attitude of serving God and our fellowman." (Pride and the Priesthood.)

So to me being humble is realizing that we are a piece of trash, but have great potential. Meaning that there is not much we can do alone, and that we mess up and make mistakes everyday, but that we are happy with who we are, because we know that God loves us and we are trying! We know that through the atonement of Christ we can be made whole!

Stay tuned for "Look Through Heaven's Eyes," 
for the rest of the story.
Debuting June 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Disaster Seems to Come!

There seems to be disaster at every turn. As I am sure you know, yet another tornado has caused much devastation, this time in Joplin Missouri. The devastation is just bewildering. The 198mph tornado tore a path a mile wide and six miles long straight through Joplin, Missouri devastating all in its wake.

Here are some of the before and after shots of the town!

No more Walmart!

As you can see, the destruction is severe! I know that many prays have been offered in behalf of the families effected. And much help has been offered. A member form the ward here who has ties to Missouri went there a few days after the tornado with much needed clothing, diapers, baby food and other necessities. It was a great sight, and a relief for the residents to see her pull up with her loaded car to help those in need. It was a relatively small act, but I know that it was received through deep gratitude and much love.

Natural disasters and destruction is imminent in this world, but there are some things that we can do to prevent spiritual disasters. I think the main things would to be obedient to God's commandments and when we do mess up, slip, or fall, we need to quickly access the atonement through repentance and much prayer, doing the things that we are then inspired to do. I know that as we are obedient to God's commandments... all of them, no picking and choosing, we will be blessed and be able to fight off any possible disaster! I know that the atonement is real, and as we access it, we can receive the spiritual relief needed!

Here is a talk about Spiritual Preparedness: