Putting the CHRIST back into Christmas

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This Christmas season it is one of my goals to make my Christmas more about Christ and less about the material things that Christmas has sadly become. As I sit her pondering on how I can put the CHRIST back into Christmas a few things came to my mind.
1) obviously read the scriptures. Reading the scriptures is always a way to feel the saviors love for you. You can always feel the spirit when your reading The Lords words and I saw a challenge on facebook (I think Melanie posted it) with scriptures to read during the Christmas season. I will post the picture at the end of the blog. I’m definitely gonna do it. Something that just came to my mind like three seconds ago was when I was teaching primary last year one of the SIX year old girls recited the scripture about the birth of Jesus Christ. I was sitting there shocked because wow six years old and she knew that. I can barely remember equations for math. That just amazed me so much. One of my goals is to also memorize those scriptures.
2) not getting caught up in material things. I love presents just as much as the next person but getting caught up in the newest iPhone or tablet isn’t what Christmas is about. It’s about the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. This year I had the hardest time ever deciding what I wanted for Christmas. I feel like I have everything I need in life. Family, friends, a semi cute (actually really cute) boyfriend, a roof over my head, food, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t need anything else in my life. What I need to do is serve others which brings me to my next point.
3) serving others. Service around the holidays is so important. Helping people that aren’t as fortunate to you is a great way to become more Christ like. You don’t have to go help at a soup kitchen to serve others. There’s always ways to serve. It sounds weird but praying for ways to serve others always helps. I remember one time I went to target and this older lady was having trouble getting out of her car. Something just made me stop and help her. After I did I felt so good.
There are so many ways to make your Christmas more about Christ and less about the materialness of Christmas. I hope everyone has an amazing Holiday season and remembers the true meaning of Christmas.

Oh one more thing: watch this video because its awesome and I know you want to 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=uzjFEMmM0Xs&app=desktop995257_533377140079987_983474195_n

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I guess since I’m a blogger it’s my “obligation” to talk about Robin Williams and my opinion on the whole thing.

As I was scrolling through twitter and facebook the days after his passing I saw a couple of different posts. Some were shocked that such a happy and funny man like Robin Williams would kill himself. Some said that it’s sad that he passed but people committed suicide everyday why is a celebrity getting all the attention. And others were saying this is a learning experience for everyone. I weirdly agree with all three of these posts. Its a huge learning experience for us all. Even the happiest people have some hidden struggles.

I think it was October 2013 Elder Holland gave a talk about depression. Non-member or member you should definitely read it. (I’ll put a link at the end of this) Elder Holland quoted President Monson and said “That love never changes. … It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there.” Oh how I love that. I know some people don’t have a religion or believe in God but He loves you no matter what and that’s what gets me through the day.

Depression is not something to take lightly. Hundreds of people deal with depression all over the world and some people feel that the only way to get through it is to end their life. I think the more that people are educated on it the better we can all learn how to deal with it for lack of better terms.

So I guess I have some words of advice for everyone…
1) be nice to everyone. You never know what happens behind closed doors. A smile can hide a lot of pain and suffering. I know for me I can hide my sadness with a smile and people think I’m fine.
2) Know that your Savior Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father love you so much. It’s so sad to me that some people don’t know or don’t care about the love their Heavenly Father has for them.
3) Know that you’re never alone. If you are depressed know that you have people who love you so much. Friends, family, church members, etc. I might not be the best advice giver but I have a dang good ear that’s always open if you need someone to talk to.

I hope that this blog post makes sense… I just needed to say something I guess.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/like-a-broken-vessel?lang=eng

For all da convert homies out there.

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Sometimes I look back on the past two years of being a member and wonder “how the heck did I make it!?” But then I remember three things: I have an awesome support system from friends and a wonderful ward family, all the missionaries I have are money, and I have the knowledge that this IS the true church and I have a wonderful and loving Heavenly Father looking down on me and being so pleased with the decision I made.

For recent converts to the church I know it’s difficult changing your lifestyles to church standards. I know you might lose some friends and family members might shun you. But honestly, it’s worth it in the end. For me losing like 4 friends wasn’t that big of a deal for me because I know I was doing the right thing and if they didn’t like it oh well. The hardest part was definitely having some family members not so happy. If I didn’t have an awesome second family (Stong Family:)) and the support of my ward family I wouldn’t have ever made it to a year.

Being the only member has made me so much stronger. I have to have my own scripture study, say prayers by myself, go to church by myself, and do my own family history. All those things has made me appreciate the church SO much more. At first it was difficult to get into the groove of things but once you get a habit going it just gets easier.

I think I’ve mentioned this talk before but if I haven’t here ya go. In October 2006 Elder Pieper gave a talk addressed to first generation converts. Probably my favorite talk in the history of the world times 900. In the talk Elder Pieper says “Being a first-generation member of the Church is not always easy. You will walk where no one in your family has walked before. Conditions around you may be challenging. You may have few, or no, friends or relatives to understand and support you. At times you may become discouraged, wondering if it is all worth it.” That’s probably my favorite quote from the talk and it’s SOOOO true. Every convert goes through a hard patch in the beginning. Some might be a bit more challenging than others but no matter what it still isn’t fun to go though. But it IS WORTH IT!!! NEVER EVER EVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT WHAT YOU HAVE DONE IS STUPID! You’ve made one of the best decisions in the world. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings soooo much joy to your life and I can testify that. I’ve never been happier. When you go through those tough times you just have to remember that you have a LOVING, CARING, and GRACIOUS Heavenly Father who loves you so much and he wouldn’t give you a trail you couldn’t handle.

I love this church. I love being a convert and being able to learn about the church. I love my Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. I’m thankful for Joseph Smith for restoring the true church and for all the prosecution he went through just so we could have this gospel. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen!

Prayers

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Most people get their ideas in the shower, I get mine at institute. So in institute we’re going over talks from the April 2014 General Conference. One of the talks I thought about was from Jean A. Stevens called “Fear not; I Am with Thee” and one of the notes I took when I was listening/watching it was prayers are always answered but some just take time. I have no clue why I wrote that but I think I know why now.

A few blogs ago I wrote about having faith in The Lords timing and how I need to work on that… I still do but that’s not the point. I think it’s safe to say that some point in all our lives we wonder why it takes Heavenly Father so long to answer our prayers. If you haven’t then claps for you for having patience. But for me sometimes I pray for something for months and months and never get an answer. It gets super frustrating for me! Especially if it’s something I’d like to know an answer to like asap. When I was first baptized I had this “expectation” that all my prayers would get answered the second I said Amen. That has happened once since I’ve been a member.

Since the two years I’ve been a member I’ve learned patience. I know that all my prayers WILL get answered I just have to be patience and have faith in The Lord. Before I was a member my patience level was literally at a -80, I had none whatsoever. But teaching primary was definitely how Heavenly Father wanted me to learn patience. That was one of the biggest blessings in my life. Instead of being discouraged and upset that my prayers haven’t been answered as fast as I wanted them to I try to remember that all my prayers will be answered in time and Heavenly Father knows whats best for me.

I know that Jesus lives and that Heavenly Father knows each and everyone of us. I’m grateful that I can talk to my Father in Heaven everyday and that he’s always there to listen to our pleads and just to hear how our day went. I’m so so thankful for the patience I was blessed with while teaching primary and by learning that not all prayers will be answered in our timing but in The Lords timing. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Aside

I have about 40 pet peeves. I can’t stand when people breathe too loud, chew with their mouths open, don’t use their blinker, interrupt me while I’m speaking, the list goes on. But my number one pet peeve in the entire world is when people give crap about someones religion. I hate hate hate hate hate that. This happened to me in class and I just wanted to scream. I was talking about how I’m having two weddings when I get married: one in the temple and a civil wedding type thing. This guy goes “how does that work?” I go “Well I’m LDS and we have weddings in temples. Since I’m the only member in my family they can’t go to the temple wedding because they aren’t members” He interrupts me and says “that’s why I think that religion is bullcrap (except he didn’t say that) Your own parents can’t go to your wedding” I tried to explain to him that the temple is a house of The Lord and in the temple we make very sacred covenants but he interrupted me again and said that it was stupid. I’m not the type of person that gets into heated arguments but when people say something bad about my religion I get mad. Unfortunately for me class was beginning and I didn’t have a chance to stand up for what I believe. 

It’s just super annoying to me that even though we live in a place where we have the freedom to worship however we want people STILL get crap for it. It’s not just people from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that get hated. It’s every religion. I’m just sitting here like WHAT THE HECK PEOPLE. People should be able to worship however they want and not have to feel like they’re getting judged every time they open their scriptures or post something about what they believe on social media or get crap when they’re talking about it public. For me that’s why it’s hard for me to talk about church in public or anything because I’m afraid I’ll get attacked by someone and start crying. People shouldn’t have to be afraid to talk about what they believe in public but sadly that’s kinda how it is nowadays. 

Maybe one of these days I’ll have the guts to stand up for what I believe and maybe I’ll make a difference in someones life. I don’t know. I’m gonna end with this: don’t ever give someone crap or diss someone because they believe in stuff different than you. It really hurts to hear. We all have the right to believe in what we want and saying what they believe is stupid is just rude. Let’s all be a little bit more kind to people and respect them. 

Be Grateful

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Lately I’ve been feeling pretty crummy. Not sick crummy just emotionally crummy. I’m not sure if it’s just the whole blood clots thing because that’s definitely took me by surprise or if there’s just something else wrong with me. I don’t know. Last week just was a horrible week for some reason. I’m blaming my blood clots for that one. Since I’m on coumadin I can’t really take anything for headaches, shin splints, cramps, knee pain, etc. Well I can take Tylenol but that doesn’t do squat for me. I used to take like 5 ibuprofen’s. So I was randomly crying because tylenol sucks and blood clots make my life miserable. Also, my mom thinks my thyroid is going crazy because no matter how much I sleep I’m always tired and I’ve been super antsy lately. So yay health! You’re probably like “why is Shea telling me her health problems… I don’t care” well there’s a point to this I promise. In the midst of all this stupid health crap of death I’ve become closer to my Heavenly Father. As much as I hate hate hate hate hate this trail, I’m weirdly grateful for it. In April 2014 President Uchtdorf talked about being grateful in any circumstance. I’ve learned that over that past month. I’m sure that all my lovely health problems are helping me in some way… like stretch when you go on long trips. In President Uchtdorf’s talk he says “Being grateful in our circumstances is an act of faith in God. It requires that we trust God and hope for things we may not see but which are true.” This trail has been a hugeeeee test of my faith in God. Someday’s it’s super easy to remember that Heavenly Father has a plan for me and this is just trail I have to overcome. Other day’s I sit in my room crying, watching House, and wondering why I have to go through this. 

I’m thankful that I’m able to talk to my Heavenly Father every night when I say my prayers. It has definitely has helped me overcome all my trails and whenever I pray I can feel the love my Heavenly Father has for me. The peace and comfort I feel just reminds me that I will be okay. I know that every trial we have makes us stronger in our faith. Sometimes it’s tough to go through it but be GRATEFUL for your circumstances. It’s tough sometimes, but I know in the long run being grateful will make everything a lot better. I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so much. I love knowing that Jesus Christ has atoned for all my sins, pains, and afflictions in life. That brings me so much comfort and peace to my heart. I love this gospel so much. It’s been a wonderful 2 years and I know they’ll be many, many more years. I’m grateful for missionaries because without them this blog wouldn’t exist. Oh, and I wouldn’t have gotten baptized… that’s a huge reason too.  I’m grateful for my amazing friends they keep me on a good path so I’ll be able to return to my Heavenly Father. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Hello. Goodbye.

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I’ve been in the Southgate Ward for two years. Two years of meeting wonderful, wonderful, wonderful families. Two years of holding babies, babysitting kids, teaching primary, hearing the testimonies of people who helped me build my testimony, seeing families move in and out of the ward, having AMAZING visiting teachers, and having one of the best ward families in the world. I love love love every single person in the Southgate Ward. They’ve helped me grow as a person. They were there for me when my family wasn’t. They helped me when I was in the hospital. They filled up the primary room during my baptism. They let me babysit their kids. They let me teach their kids in primary even though I had no clue what I was doing 95% of the time. They were my support system. I’ve never loved a group of people more. I can’t even begin to thank every single person for what they all did for me. I’m going to miss the Southgate Ward so so so so much. I’m thankful that they supported me when I decided  to go to the branch. It’s kind of weird being in sacrament with no crying babies, people all my age, and not being in my original spot at church. Hopefully I’ll get married soon so I can go back to the Southgate Ward 😉 I’m so grateful for the friendships I made and the knowledge that I gained from everyone. Everyone was such a huge blessing in my life. I LOVE YOU ALL! ((((:

 

ps sorry this was sappy.