Wednesday, September 30, 2009

As I Have Loved You.

So Sunday was a great church day. The talks were awesome. The people had good comments. The Spirit was there. But I just felt so much love and appreciation for my life and all the good that it has in it. Sometimes I can only think about the things that I struggle with or wish I had, but on Sunday I got to take a step back and look at the things I do have and the things I am so blessed to enjoy. Here are some of the things I got to think about and appreciate for having in my life:

My Amazing Parents.
My Beautiful Sisters & Studly Brother-in-Law.
My Island Home.
My Friends.
My legs so that I can dance.
My voice so that I can sing.
My hands so that I can play piano.
My 2 Jobs.
The college education I am getting at BYU.
My 4Runner, Neil. [even if he gets a temper from time to time.]
My Wardrobe.
My Bed.

Just those few things I listed a lot of people do not have...even here at BYU. Not everyone has parents that are still in love. Not everyone has siblings they are best friends with. Not everyone can go home to an island for Christmas vacation. Not everyone has the incredible friends I do. Not everyone can dance, sing, or play the piano. Not everyone has one job, let alone 2. Not everyone has a car or more clothes than they know what to do with. As I sat in Sacrament Meeting literally thinking all of these thoughts I became so grateful to my Heavenly Father. Yeah the last year was a struggle and there were definitely times where I would've traded the list above to make it all go away, but it didn't. Heavenly Father knew that I could handle those trials in my life. I am flattered that he knew I could take it. I am awed that he gave me that responsibility to shape me as a person. I could not have gone through it without the love I felt from Him though! I felt more love as a divine daughter of God last year than I have in my entire life combined.

I also became a lot more grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and just how universal it is. I think sometimes we think of the power of that sacrifice only extending to us when we've done wrong in the eyes of God. But I didn't need the Atonement for that purpose. Not that I'm perfect and never have a need for repentance, but I needed it for something different. I needed it for comfort. I needed it for direction. I needed it for peace. I needed it for purpose. I needed it to draw closer to my Savior. The closing song in Sacrament Meeting was "Love One Another." The words read: "As I have loved you, love one another. This new commandment, love one another. By this shall men know ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." That's it...the song is so short and I've heard it countless times in my life. But it really hit me on Sunday. The Savior loves us so much and I am grateful for the experiences in my life that helped me feel that love ten fold.

...Love One Another.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Club Style saved my life.

My friend, Tyrone, really provoked a huge thought process in my mind last week. So because of that is the corresponding blog. [if you get to the end of this blog you will hear what Tyrone had to say to me. sorry this is long.] Club Style is the hip hop dance club on campus that I have been a part of since I was a freshman. I auditioned in January of 2006 and made it on the performing team. From then on my life would never be the same. Friendships were made, bonds were formed, and memories were created that semester that changed my BYU experience. The President that year was Laurel Matsuda. She is an amazing person and you can see that through her dancing and her personality. I was terrified of her at first because let's face it...I was a little freshman and she was a cool, older senior. She would never want to talk to me or be my friend because I just wasn't at her level. Boy, was I wrong. She welcomed me every week and bit by bit I became less and less "scared" of her and then I treasured every time we had together and we became great friends. I still love hearing about her life and I wish I could see her more. Other people were responsible for making that first year incredible for me like Shellie, Char, Austin, Claudy, Tyrone, Brian, & Steph. These were the people I looked up to, the people I laughed with, the people I called my "best friends."

Sophomore year [06-07] was drastically different than freshman year. Laurel graduated and passed the torch on to Lindsay Egbert. Lindsay made Claudy & me the VP's and Club Style took a whole new turn for me. From then on I would no longer just go to practice and dance. Now I had responsibility and now I had a lot more to do than just learn choreography. I loved it though. I loved contributing to the mechanics of the club and getting to know people in a different light. Lindsay offered some great new choreography and the club continuted to grow in number. We gained great talent that year like Ashley and Danielle. I felt like Club Style was really beginning to gain campus recognition and it felt good to be a part of that.Junior year [07-08] was drastically different once again, but in a good way. Lindsay could no longer be the Prez due to intense nursing school studying. So the mantel got transferred to yours truly. I was terrified slash honored slash excited slash terrified once more. I suddenly realized that the fate of the club now rested in my hands. It was my job to make sure the club continued every week. It was my job to make sure we were out there among the student body. It was my job to make sure people were happy and taken care of and having fun at practice every week. It was my job to create choreography and it was my job to make 07-08 the best year of Club Style yet. That's a lot to worry about...especially when it's all volunteer hours. :) Thankfully, I had Austin, Shellie, Char and others who were so willing to help with the needs of the club so that it didn't all fall on my shoulders. It was a fun year, at least in my opinion. We had fun choreography and we once again gained new talent. Char headed up club activities like the tumbling gym, Thanksgiving dinner, and pizza nights. Our end of the year showcase was the biggest it ever was. We had it in the Varsity Theater and had 400 people in attendance. We had an opening act, an intermission act, and lots of dances full of choreography by all the talented people in the club. We had club track suits for the first time and our performing group got really tight. I would say it was a successful year. I didn't even scratch the surface of all I wanted to do, but I figured I would have the next year.
Then it came to Senior year [08-09]. Usually you're only the President for one year, but I decided I wanted to take what I had learned from the previous year and apply it to the next year to seriously make the club awesome! However, some unexpected life events happened the summer before my senior year. I was engaged. I was seriously engaged and I was seriously in love. More than I've ever been in my entire life and have still yet to experience again. However, the Lord had other plans in mind, which I'm ok with. I wasn't for a long time and I fought it, but I'm ok with it now. Anyway, I'll spare you the details, but basically my fiance didn't want to live up to the Priesthood responsibilities, get married in the temple, or raise a family in an LDS home or lifestyle. Those of you that know me well, know that that ain't gonna happen. From that day on he and I wanted total opposite families. He still loved me and wanted to marry me, but didn't want my religion. But what he didn't get was he loved me so much because of my faith. My faith has made me who I am. So I had to make a choice: the man I was head over heels in love with or Heavenly Father's plan of happiness. I chose happiness. It was the hardest, yet easiest, decision of my life. Funny how those two can be so closely related. That all came down right before the school year started. So on top of school, jobs, running a club, and church callings...I had to put the pieces of my life back together at the same time. There were a few things that helped in that process including my family [support system to the max], the scriptures [got way close to them], President Hinckley [yes I know...he'd passed through the veil many months previous], friends, my new roommate, Leah, [angel sent from heaven, that one], and honest to goodness...Club Style. Club Style gave me drive. Club Style gave my life meaning. Club Style made me feel needed. Club Style boosted my self esteem when I felt like it had dropped below bottom. Club Style made me feel loved and appreciated. Club Style helped me feel closer to God. Those people in the club will never know how much of an impact they had coming every week, smiling, saying thank you, telling me they loved my choreography, etc...Now I will say that my personal life did get in the way sometimes. There were weeks I wasn't all there or focused. I was literally fighting the biggest internal battle of my life. There wasn't a night that went by from August 08-April 09 that I didn't cry into my pillow wondering why I had to go through that. Wondering when I was going to fall out of love. Wondering why Heavenly Father had chosen me to have this trial. Why? Why? Why? Because of those preoccupations I wasn't always in the game as far as the club went, so to those in the club last year...I do apologize! However, much good came from last year. Thankfully I had Ashley & Shellie to help me as well as Austin, Char, Tyrone, & McKell. Those people will never know what a blessing from heaven they were. The club as a whole did really well. Our showcase was a success, we got another slew of tracksuits, and many fun, laughing moments were I've passed on the President torch. Tyrone Hatch is now the President. Four years ago I could've put money on it that at some point he would be. I must say, I shed many tears knowing I wouldn't be the President anymore. It had become my life for 2 years. I put a lot of time and energy into the club, but at the same time I felt like I didn't accomplish everything I had wanted to. However, if there was any person I would want to pass it on to, it would be Tyrone. Tyrone is an incredible person. He is creative, fun, easy going, friendly, a leader, energetic, and he'll be able to take this club to a whole 'nother level that I could only dream about. Tyrone sent me a text the other day that said, "Club Style saved my life." I was confused at first, so I asked him to explain his statement. The next day we chatted on the phone for a few minutes and he told me what he meant by that. Basically he said after our first practice for the school year he was overwhelmed with the amount of people that came and he realized he was part of something bigger than himself. This club is about more than just dancing. It is about narrowing the student body. It is about helping people feel a part of something. It is about making someone's BYU experience a greater one. He said Club Style has made his time at BYU. Then he so graciously thanked me for keeping up the club while he was on his mission and that he's grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it again. I had to give the thanks back though. Without Tyrone I probably wouldn't have stuck with it my freshman year. The first few weeks Tyrone was really the only one to say hi to me or smile at me when I walked in. Tyrone kept me coming back and he didn't even know. There are many people I owe, including him. I can only hope that I have done the same for someone else.So I know this post is super long and if you've made it this're awesome. I'm getting off my soap box now, but I just wanted y'all to know that Club Style saved my life. It literally did. Maybe not in a physical sense, but definitely in an emotional sense. Not many people know the deep deep chambers of my heart and just how much of a struggle it was to get out of bed every day last year to face the world. But here I am. I made it out on top and I couldn't be happier now! I can't imagine my life without that trial...I really can't. I'm so grateful and I never thought I'd say that, but I am. And I can't imagine my life without Club Style. My life was never the same after January 10th, 2006...
Club Style changed my life.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

EFY Book of Mormon Challenge

so we all know that EFY rocks my world.
that's no secret. it's quite out there.
well, because i love EFY so much i, in turn, love my fellow EFY counselor friends.
before i came back to school i had a bunch of EFY friends over at my house.
some of us were discussing the scriptures and decided to create a project.
we were going to read the Book of Mormon together as a group.
now obviously we all can't be together physically cause we range from Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Idaho, Utah, that's kind of impossible.
we decided to create a group of Facebook and we would all read the same material every day.
then if we felt so inclined we could write some things we felt impressed by on the group's page.
i set it up and we started on September 1 and if we read 5 pages every day, we can be done by 2010.
what a great way to end 2009. [which by the way can't believe ends in 3.5 months.]
anyways, as i have been reading I've come to love Nephi even more.
i think this time through i was really trying to apply his life to mine.
and it's awesome how much we can take from the scriptures and put them into modern day use.
but seriously...Nephi is a stud.
I have learned a lot from him while reading 1 Nephi, but I would like to share two things that have stuck out in my mind while reading.

The first one is in 1 Nephi 2:20. It says, "And inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise: yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands."
As I was thinking about that it made me think about how Heavenly Father has already prepared a land of promise for us. He knows our course of life, He knows where we're headed, He knows the people we are going to meet in our lives and the experiences we're going to have. He already knows. But the thing that hit me the most was that He has prepared the land of promise for us and it is a land that is choice above all others. He has a huge reward waiting for us if we can just keep the commandments and choose the right path. How cool is that? Oh i loved it.

The second one that got me was 1 Nephi 7:17-18 and that reads, "...I prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound. And it came to pass that when I had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood before my brethren..."
Now hopefully today our siblings aren't binding us with ropes and wanting to cause death upon our heads...I hope.
BUT...there are things in this life that bind us.
It is different for everyone. Everyone has a different struggle, or "rope," that's holding us down.
For a good long while it was a relationship for me.
But I love how Nephi asked for the Lord to release the cords according to his faith and strength.
How many times do we have things in our lives that could be lifted up, but we're too busy trying to do it on our own?
We just need to ask in faith and be believing and all things will work together for our good.
That's the promise.
And I know that promise is real.

I am so grateful for Nephi and the lessons he has been teaching me.
I love reading the scriptures and I know they are true.
They were written for us to draw strength from and I can't wait to thank those who came before me someday.

Go read the'll have a better day today. i promise.