Thursday, December 19, 2013

Prayer and Miracles

A unique thing has happened to me over the past couple of weeks. First, I decided to officially drop my musical theater class. At first I was hesitant, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I really just didn't want to take the class. I love the people, but being around them for so long exhausts me, and I didn't feel up to a super busy schedule again. Before I actually dropped the class, though I prayed about it. At first I just wanted to know if I should drop the class, but then I prayed about the class I would replace it with, and I felt peaceful. I knew that I was making the right choice.

But I didn't realize why it was so right.

Not two days later, I was talking to a friend of mine at school. A mutual friend of ours had become inactive, and we had an opportunity to read the Book of Mormon with them. I was so excited! And as soon as I heard that, I knew. I knew God was planning that for me. It was another feeling of peace that just made me think, "Ok. God knows what's going on, and He knows me."

Before that happened I had been praying for a missionary experience, but it just didn't seem to be happening. I tried to put faith into my prayers, but every night I would think about the people I knew and wondered who on earth I could help. I didn't see an opportunity, but I kept on praying. I know God heard my prayers, because He gave me a missionary experience that I never would have anticipated. I was not expecting it to come from where it did, but because I was praying for it and looking for it, I recognized the opportunity when came.

Only about a week before my missionary experience I had been thinking to myself, "What can I do? I don't know how to go about this, and I honestly don't know anyone that I could talk to about the gospel." I just kept on trying my best, and striving to be an example. It wasn't always easy, and sometimes being an example just didn't happen. But I did try, and I kept on praying.

I know prayer is powerful. I think that, though I am looking forward to starting the Book of Mormon with this friend of mine, this will not be a missionary experience meant for only them. This will be a missionary experience for me as well. My testimony has already been strengthened by this, and nothing has even really happened yet.

God amazes me daily. The things that He puts into my life are truly wonderful. The way that events fit together perfectly, making room for the things I feel are important. If I had kept with my musical theater class, I would never have had the time to spend with my friend studying the scriptures. The things people call coincidences, I call miracles. Nothing is unintentional when we are in the hands of God.

Miracles don't have to be big. They just have to be meaningful. If we pray for the right things, then the right things will happen. I know that God has a plan for me. I know that he cares about what happens to me, and is there with me through every choice I ever make. He is not distant and only there for the big things, he is there making sure that every single miniscule detail in my life happens the way it needs to for me to reach my full potential. I know that as long as I have faith, He will guide me and bless me.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Truly Wonderful Day

Today was wonderful! Really, truly, it was so happy and fantastic. And the best part is, I can't really decide why it was so great! I mean, logically thinking, it should have technically been more stressful than it was. But it wasn't.

I started out the day feeling great. I got to school and turned in a form to get a class change made (which I am really excited about!), then headed off to first period. In first period, I learned that I had a test in second period that I had completely forgotten about. I was able to find time to study for it and took the test with the same attitude I would have had during a test I'd really studied for.

In third period I had a surprise quiz on completely new material we had taken twenty minutes to learn. In my third period class there is also a person that sits right next to me who teases me mercilessly. It's lighthearted teasing, but it still gets annoying after a while. Anyway, I kept my attitude up pretty well during that class period.

In fourth period, we learned about the French Revolution (history is my favorite!!!) and got to work with friends on an assignment most of the class period, then watched a documentary about Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

It was a really good day. It was very ordinary, and there were a few surprises in my day that could have easily turned my mood to be negative. But I didn't let those surprises and annoyances get to me. That is, really, why my day was so wonderful. Nothing extraordinary and magnificent happened to me, but I kept my attitude bright and just smiled through it all.

I'm not saying my day was perfect. We all have disappointments from day to day; things that don't go as planned, or expectations that aren't fulfilled. I had a few of those disappointments today, but I didn't let it get me down. That is the key! That is the secret, and that is the answer.

Once you let something bother you, it's really hard to decide it's actually not important. I learned that today during my third period class. The student who sits next to me was in a teasing mood, as usual, and was out to make me frustrated. I frustrated easily today, because I couldn't see the board and they kept putting their binder in the way of my vision. They also kept teasing me about something I'd said earlier that really didn't matter at all, but was annoying nonetheless. I finally took a deep breath and told them that I didn't care anymore. That was easier said than done. I let it bother me throughout the rest of the class period, but then I later realized that it wasn't even important. I had been upset by something that shouldn't have even bothered me. I should have just let it go. It was hard for me to see that in the moment, but once I was looking back, I saw how easy it would have been.

Don't let the little things that bother you get you down. It's not worth it! I learned last week that when I dwell on a negative emotion, it gets harder to set aside those negative feelings and just move on with a positive day. By the end of the day, I can look back and see how stupid it was that I got so worked up over something so small. If you allow it to ruin your day, then it will. But if you smile and keep a positive attitude, then it won't. You get to decide how you feel. That is the wonderful thing about agency. We think and act for ourselves. When we think and act on negative things, our days are crummy and we get grumpy. When we think and act to do good with our day, our days are wonderful.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rely on Christ

Today was one of those days that frustrates you like none other. Nothing seemed to be going right, and I was ultimately grumpy. But not at first. Oh no, I actually started out the day pretty happy. I got up early and read my scriptures and went to the temple and then headed off to school. My first period class was seminary, a church-related class that requires early-morning attendance, or in some places release time, to attend. I really love seminary, and that put me in a really good mood. Then I went to choir, where I played the song I was accompanying for the choir concert. I was feeling really good.

Then I went to math. Math is one of those classes that I actually, surprisingly, love. Yes, I admittedly do like school, depending on the day. You can find me saying that I hate school and wish I were home in bed, but the only true part about that is the "I wish I were home in bed" bit. In all reality, school isn't a bad thing. It's just these crummy days that make me declare that I "hate" it.

Math has always been a decent class for me, because I really just get the subject. It connects in my mind really well, and I can understand it quickly. And my math teacher can be very entertaining, which makes the class that much better. Today, however, was not a fun time in class. A phone went off in class accidentally, and the teacher wanted the person to turn in their phone. However, my teacher didn't know who's phone it was, and nobody came forward with it. So my teacher said that until the person would surrender their phone, he wouldn't teach us anything. Long story short, we sat there for the majority of the class period doing nothing, until he gave in on behalf of a student who came forward and offered to give him her phone, even though it wasn't the one that went off.

But by that point, I was really ticked off. I had just wasted all but the last ten minutes of the class period, having done nothing at all but attempt to decipher the notes our teacher had handed out to us. I've never learned well just by reading instructions, especially when they are written with the proper mathematical vocabulary. I am a person who learns very well when I can hear what they instructions are, and see them being shown at the same time. To not have my teacher explain them to us was highly frustrating. I will say that I wasn't quite sure who to be mad at: the teacher, or the student who wouldn't turn in their phone. But whoever I was mad at, I was mad.

I remember thinking that I shouldn't be upset. I should calm down and just move on, and I should do something about the situation. The problem was, I didn't know what to do. And the more I just sat there, the more I started to push aside those optimistic thoughts and focus on the pessimistic ones.
When the girl went up to my teacher and offered to turn in her own phone for the sake of learning the material we would be quizzed on next class period, my teacher gave in and decided he would teach us the math because she was willing to take the blame for something she hadn't done.

I didn't have my phone with me, so I didn't think I could go up and do that. But as for that, she hadn't had her phone with her, either. She had offered to walk to her locker, get her phone, and bring it back so that we could continue on with the lesson. I was bugged, because I had thought to do the same thing, only I hadn't.
After that, I was in a decidedly bad mood. And because of that, my day seemed to just fall apart. I was moody. I got pushed down in the hall and landed on a girl with a wheelchair. Normally, I would have just brushed that aside after a bit, but today it stuck with me. I couldn't carry a conversation with my friends. I was letting the resent I'd felt in math class boil up inside of me, and that was turning me into an irritable person.

I feel really bad about that. There was so much more I could have done today, what with it being a Friday. I could have been kinder and spent time with my friends doing homework. I could have smiled and laughed with them at lunch. I could have been a force for good. But instead, I made the wrong choice an allowed my bitter thoughts to eat at me. I regret that a lot. Because of that, I spent my after-school hours curled up on a beanbag, watching a movie, being anti-social. Now I've thought about my day and the choices I've made, and there is one thing I can say for certain:

Tomorrow I will be better.

What that girl in my math class did today was a lot like what the Savior, Jesus Christ, did for all of us. She offered to take the blame for what someone else had done so that we could continue on and learn. Christ atoned for our sins, our shortcomings, our every mistake. He was perfect, and he took upon himself every sin that he had never committed for our sakes so that we could repent and return to live with God again. That atonement is a gift. And gifts are meant to be used.

I am so thankful for the atonement. I know I've said it before, but I am! I am, because it is the greatest gift that could ever be given. It is the way that we can all be forgiven and eventually be made perfect. We are all human, and we all make mistakes, but because of Christ's love and willingness to atone for us, we can overcome our pasts and enter into an ever-brighter future. I am now not frustrated at my math class for what happened, or for the rest of my day not going the way I wanted it to, but I'm frustrated at myself for not doing anything about it. However, I know that I can take away that frustration and start afresh through the atonement of Christ.

I love God with all my heart, and I love Jesus Christ, and I love this gospel. I am so thankful for it, and I use it every day in my life. Without it, I would be impossibly lost. It is the rock that keeps me standing. I know that the gospel is true, and that God has a plan for all of us. I know that I am loved more than I can know. And I know that by the power of the atonement our burdens can be made light, and we can repent.

"Try a little harder, to be a little better." ~Gordon B. Hinkley

Monday, December 2, 2013

Be Better Than Before

"The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday." -Unknown

These past few years I have come to understand just what this quote is trying to say. Some people would see this quote and think, "It's not a competition between us and our acquaintances," and they would be right. But the way I see it that it is a competition... against yourself. It doesn't matter how other people see you, but the way that you see yourself is important. The only way that we can really and truly look at ourselves with confidence and admiration is to strive to become a better person each and every day.

When I say admiration, I do not mean vainly preening in the mirror every day before school, trying too hard to look stunning. It's not about the artificial glamor that we tend to think is necessary. It's good to look well-groomed, but the admiration that I talk about is admiration of your own attitude.

Only recently have I really been able to look at myself as a confident person. And even then, there are times where I feel shy. The most outgoing, social person has days like this, I am certain. Because we are all human, and we all make mistakes, and we feel like other people are constantly judging us for them. Some people do judge, and that is unavoidable. However, the people that really care accept you for who you are and help you to become better.

The more that I accept myself and acknowledge my flaws, the more easily I can try to fix them. The more that I willingly recognize my mistakes and admit them, the happier I am. Because then other people aren't telling me what to do and pointing them out to me. I already know about them, and I've faced them, and I'm working on them. There are always going to be people that judge and try to belittle us. Just don't let yourself become that person, because it is never worth it. Ever. People make different mistakes in life. Don't trick yourself into believing that you are better than someone because they did something you would never do. You, in turn, make mistakes that they don't make.

It's hard, because we are all human. But God gave us the power to overcome hard things. He gave us His son, who atoned for our sins so that we can repent and start over. I know that God doesn't want us to pretend to be something that we are not. He wants us to see our full potential. I firmly believe that we can not see our full potential unless we are striving to come nearer to God. Pray! Heavenly Father wants to hear from you. The confidence that God gives to his children as they come unto Him is true beauty. And when we have that, we can understand that it really doesn't matter what other people think. We just need to lift up others, and surround ourselves with those who will do the same for us.

God doesn't want this earth life to become a competition between us and our acquaintances. We aren't competitors, we are brothers and sisters working to return to our Heavenly Father some day. I know that this is true! I love the gospel. I say that a lot, but I don't think I could ever say it enough. And I know without a doubt in my mind that God is there for me and for anyone else who seeks Him. He loves me as He loves all of His children. He wants me to become the best that I can be, and that is all.

In short, just be yourself! Because as Dr. Seuss has said, "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Eleven Reasons to Give Thanks

One is my family. I would be so helplessly lost without my family in my life. We all take turns making each other laugh. We comfort each other, we tease other, and we love each other. My family is the greatest influence in my life, and will be for ever and ever. I am so glad that my family is as wonderful as they are, because they have no possible idea of how much of an impact they have on me.

Two is my friends. The peanut butter to my jelly, the ginger to my bread, they just understand me and make my life complete. It's so great to have people to turn to when you feel like nobody else really gets it. And what is more, usually they get you laughing and you turn a fail of a day into a completely marvelous time. They know just what to say to make me happy and pick me up when times get rough.

Three is school. Yes, school. It doesn't matter how much I say I hate it, I really love it. Because at school is where I experience society and meet new people. At school is where I learn more about the things I love to learn. And most importantly, school is where all of my great experiences with other people take place. If it weren't for school, my testimony would never be as strong as it is now.

Four is my home. I don't mean just the actual, physical house that I live in, but also my neighborhood and city. Of course I am immensely thankful for the warm and comfortable house I have, but my house would be sad indeed without the influence of the people around it. My neighbors add so much to my life, and my city influences everything that happens. So, in short, where I live is wonderful. Simply wonderful.

Five is technology. I am to an age where many of my friends have moved away, and I have family living out of state. I am so thankful that modern technology makes it possible for me to talk to them. While facebook and twitter and things like that are awesome, and I definitely don't complain about them, I am especially thankful for email and phones. I like them better, because they allow me to have more private and meaningful conversations with my friends that can take longer and get better than they ever would on any other social media site.

Six is my voice. Have you ever noticed how expressive someone's voice is? It tells their entire story! The way they talk to you says volumes about them. I am thankful that I am able to talk and sing and laugh with those around me. I am so blessed to live in a community where people live close enough to talk to one another and take the time to understand each-other.

Seven is the missionaries for my church. I am not directly influenced by them, but they influence me greatly just the same. They are such examples in my life, and whenever I get letters or emails from them, it just amazes me how strong and true they are. Their courage is astounding, and their diligence is magnificent.

Eight is General Conference, a semi-annual church-wide event for Mormons. We gather to either hear a broadcast of our modern-day prophets, or else we are blessed to hear them live at Temple Square. General Conference is a wonderful time to hear the word of God and come nearer to Him through the words of the prophets.

Nine is Jesus Christ, and His infinite atonement. Because He atoned for the sins of every single person to ever live, we can all repent! I rely on the atonement daily. Not only can I ask for forgiveness and be forgiven, but Christ also understands perfectly the way that I feel when I face a trial in my life. He knows me, and through the atonement I can rely on Him to help me through the hard times in my life.

Ten is God and the wonderful gospel through which He so abundantly blesses me. I know that God loves me more than I would ever be able to comprehend. He sees me for who I am, not how other people see me. He knows my infinite worth and wants me to do my very best. He gives me all that I have. He wants me to succeed. He puts the things in my life that I need most and knows what is best for me in all things.

Eleven is the Plan of Salvation, the Great Plan of Happiness. Because of the Plan of Salvation, the LDS faith believes in a life after death. I am SO thankful for this truth because it means that I will be able to see my loved ones who have passed on again. I know that I will get to see them again without a doubt! Heavenly Father has made it known to me. I have felt His undoubted assurance during the hard times in my life that I will some day be able to see the family members I have loved so dearly again. Last February my grandma passed away. I had a hard time getting over her passing for months and I still miss her tremendously! But I would still be having a really hard time if I didn't know that I would be able to see her again some day. That has been such a comfort in my life, and it lifts my spirits every time I feel sad that I can't turn and talk to her like I used to. God's plan for us is so amazing and perfect! I am so thankful for it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Think Twice, Act Once

A few nights ago as I was getting ready for bed, my friend texted me and asked if I was going to help out with a service babysitting opportunity. Without a second thought, I replied that I wasn't planning on it. I'd helped out in this sort of service experience before, and I didn't want to do it again. But somehow she ended up talking me into helping her, and so I reluctantly agreed.

She reminded me the day of, and so when it was time I headed over to where we were supposed to be and got ready to help out. I started off with the wrong attitude. At first all that I would do was finish eating my dinner and sing along to the songs we were playing. Then the two kids we were watching started playing tag. They were so cute and fun, it was hard not to get involved in the game. Within moments, we were all laughing and chasing each other, running around, and having a great time.

As we wound the energy down, we all settled in a circle to tell stories. It was fun with a lot of input from the listeners, and that made the story take funny twists and turns. Soon we were all laughing really hard. I was surprised to find myself disappointed when the whole thing was over.

If I hadn't thought about how uninvolved I was being and decided to change my attitude, I would have been a huge negative for those little kids we were watching. Life is this way a lot. If we start thinking about something in a certain way, it's hard to change perspective. But if we don't think about it first, nothing good is ever going to come of our bad attitude. It just doesn't work that way. I know from experience that once your mind is set on things being one way instead of another, it is very difficult to realize things are really different. That night, I learned that it is important to assess our thoughts so that when we finally act on them, we can do positive things.

God knows that we make mistakes, but He gave us the opportunity to think about our actions and make changes. I am so thankful for that! He sent His son to atone for our mistakes, so that we can turn our bad choices around and repent. This I know for certain. I love my Heavenly Father will all my heart.

Hard Work Pays Off

I spent the weekend with a close friend of mine. We were goofing off, having a great time together when we decided to move her bed. (We didn't just decide randomly that she should have a new bed, it had been a topic of discussion throughout the night with her parents.) We went down to the basement to where her new bed was and took it apart so we could move it. Then we went back to her room and took apart her old bed. We moved her old bed out of her room and down the hall to where it needed to be, then we went back down to the basement. It was hard work, but somehow we got the headboard of her new bed up two split-level flights of stairs. Then we moved the metal frame, followed by the box spring, and then the mattress. Two teenage girls pushing beds up steep staircases is no easy feat. But afterwards, we felt really good. We had done something that benefited not only her, but the rest of her family. And on top of it all, we now had a bigger bed to sit and laugh on in her room.

Hard work pays off! Have you ever noticed how wonderful you feel after you finish a huge homework assignment? Or when you finally clean your room and you can find things? How about when you compete in a sports event and finish strong? The rush of accomplishment and pride is refreshing. Plus, the positive consequences always make it worth it in the end. I know that God made hard work have those positive consequences because we were meant to do hard things. That doesn't make it easy, but it sure makes it worth it every time.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Smile! It's a Wednesday

Today was just another day. It's smack dab in the middle of the week, so nothing important ever seems to happen on Wednesdays. Wednesdays are just the basic humdrum of life. Now, let's face one very important fact: I would have been driven mad by all the Wednesdays in the world if it weren't for friends.
No matter what day it is, there's always someone who needs a little pick-me-up. Sometimes it's you, sometimes it's me, and sometimes it's that kid you see in the hall on your way to math. But no matter who it is, we are all here to help each other. If people weren't important, God would have probably given us all our own planets. But that's not the way life works. People are very important, so God put us on this earth with lots of people who would help us learn and grow.

I'll admit that I'm not the most social person. In fact, some days I feel like reading all day instead of talking to people. However, I know the importance of friends. Not too long ago, I was having a really down day. It was just a day where nothing was going right. And then, when school was over, I had to stay after school for a few hours. When I was waiting for my mom to come and get me, I got a text from a friend telling me that I had something waiting for me at home. I got home and saw what my friend had taken the time to make for me, and it just made me feel so much better. It was seriously exactly what I needed at that moment.
I would be insane without other people in my life! That goes without saying, of course, but it's true. Friends are truly a huge link to sanity, and I am so thankful for that.

No matter whose bad day it is, there is always something that you can do. Smiling is the most wonderful thing to give someone down in the dumps. We are surrounded by so many people daily, moods and attitudes tend to rub off. Smiling is simple, but highly contagious. It doesn't matter where you are or who you're with, just smile and brighten someone's day.

Wednesdays or Mondays or Fridays we are all here to smile at each other and give each other little pick-me-ups. We are the links to sanity in some other person's life, so live up to that standard.
I know Heavenly Father gives us friends for a reason. We meet the people that we meet because God intends for us to. He sees the bigger picture while we only see glimpses at a time. I know that as we trust in God, all things will be made possible.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Giving Thanksgiving

Tonight as a group, the youth in my neighborhood all gathered Thanksgiving food for other people who might be in need of it. We never think much of it. It's a neat thing to do for others, but we never know who gets the food we gather, so we just do it and don't think twice.

After this youth activity, I was complimented by a few people for things I had done in the past that I had, quite frankly, forgotten all about. It made me feel really good and happy. It's always wonderful to know that someone recognizes you, and cares about you enough to reach out to you.

I was thinking about that and connected that to the activity tonight. The same sort of feeling I had when I got those compliments will be what is felt by the families we reached out to. When you give to others, that is giving them reason to be thankful. You're giving thanksgiving! I didn't really understand that until tonight.
I still don't know who I've been able to help with the Thanksgiving food drive, but I now know what their reaction will be. It will be my reaction to the compliments times ten. Thanksgiving time isn't just a time for you yourself to be thankful for everything you have, it is also a time to give others a reason to be thankful as well. God has given us all so much. We can thank Him for it all, but we can also do more. We can ultimately give someone else a reason for thanksgiving. The way to serve God is by serving others.

Tonight, that just hit me strong and true. I'd never made the connection. But now I understand, and I want to do more. I love the gospel, and how everything just connects together so perfectly! I know God understands each one of us, and that He is there for us. I feel His love daily. I am so thankful for that love, and the knowledge that God will be beside me to the end.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Tonight was the closing night of a musical I was in. This was fun, because it was the first musical I actually got a lead role. I was so excited, and the whole experience helped me grow a lot. But now, I've decided to stop pursuing theater. I love acting, but it's not for me.

It was really hard for me to decide not to do theater. I feel like it is a talent that God gave to me. However, I also realized that the other things I wanted and needed to do didn't fit into my life when I was going to rehearsals and performances. Homework and friends got pushed to the back of my mind once school was out, and all I did all day was run around trying to get ready for the play.

This wore me out, and I soon found that I wasn't just forgetting homework and friends, but also God. I would stay up really late doing homework, and then sleep in with barely enough time to get out the door for school. I was forgetting to read my scriptures and say my prayers, and then I would decide I was "too tired" when I remembered.

Heavenly Father helped me out. When I first decided not to do theater, I was worried about what other people would think. Theater was something I'd put a lot of time into, and now I was suddenly just deciding that I wasn't going to do it anymore. While I never felt that I really truly fit right into the acting world, I didn't feel like I could just leave it. I'd been away from other people for so long, I didn't know if I could go back and be completely accepted. But as I made the decision to leave theater behind me, I saw God helping me and assuring me that I was making the right choice through the little things daily. It's usually through the little things that God shows his love and care to us.

I know that God has a plan for me and that He will help me make the choices I need to so that I can achieve that plan. He cares about me and knows me and loves me, and I've really been able to see that love this last week.

Just because you have a talent doesn't mean that you should pursue it as a career. Of course, God gives us our talents for a reason, and they are meant to be used! But you can still use your talents, even if you don't decide to dedicate the rest of your life some of them. I learned that this week, and I am very thankful that I was able to learn that. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hello, I'm Beth

Hello, I'm Beth, and I'm an LDS teen. My life is really typical. I like music, I like acting, I like reading, but most of all I really love the gospel. In everything I do, I can see the hand that the gospel has in my life. This blog is about my ordinary, every-day dealings with life and how the gospel ties into them. Some things might be very spiritual, but mostly I'm just posting about the regular things that happen to me. Happy, sad, funny, or serious, this is about my life as a daughter of God.