Monday, December 7, 2015

How do we change?

We are temples, and as such, are trying to perfect ourselves. 
It has been a while since I've posted anything, and maybe you came here because you wanted to know what is happening to me in the United Kingdom right now. Well, I felt prompted to write about something else today so I'm only partially sorry to disappoint. I want to start off by saying I'm not writing this with the idea of "I'm so righteous," but rather with the idea that how I've passed through things that can help someone else. This is written for anyone who wants to draw nearer to Heavenly Father.

So often we know the things we should do. We know we need to read our scriptures, go to church, follow the commandments, etc, but what is holding us back from making that one major change (maybe multiple)? We could chalk it up to laziness, or even lack of desire, but I have come to understand that the reason we disobey is a lack of understanding. We can come up with a million excuses not to do something, but at the basic heart of the matter we don't understand why we need to do it. Maybe we understand it on an intellectual level, but the understanding I'm talking about is quite different. We may understand a commandment with our head, but still lack the understanding in our heart. 

It may seem like the next part of what I will talk about is a complete subject change, but ultimately changing our behavior deals with both understanding and desires.

I have dedicated a lot of my personal studies to learn about desires, which make us who we are. If we evaluate our desires, we will recognize there are different levels. We can have desires that are our ultimate ones: to have an eternal family, to be good people, etc, but these desires are very often overruled with out immediate ones: to yield to temptation (whatever our own temptation may be). So how do we change our desires? How do we figure out how to overcome those immediate desires? Now, what I'm about to say may seem pretty easy, but it does take constant and continual effort in the application. We may stumble and fall multiple times, but during those times it is important to remember we are like children learning to walk. Every time we fall, we learn, and the only determining factor is whether we get back up. The faster we get back up, the faster we overcome whatever we struggle with. 

We change our desires, and eventually the understanding is written upon our hearts, as we study and come to understand doctrine.
Now it is important that we understand what DOCTRINE is. In the church, we focus a lot on APPLICATION, and that will not really help anyone to change. For example, the law of chastity is greatly misunderstood. Between the following statements which is the doctrine of the law of chastity?

a) we need to be clean and pure in thought, deed, and action so that we can return worthy to the presence of our Father
b) not having sex before marriage, not viewing, reading, or listening to anything inappropriate (porn, graphic novels, etc)
c) using our desires, appetites, and passions within the bounds the Lord has set

Choose your answer!

Just kidding, it doesn't bother me whether or not you chose. 

If you said "A" you would be correct! The doctrine of the law of chastity is the "why" we do something. Until recently I thought that the doctrine was "C" but that is a principle of the law and "B" is an application. I hadn't read Teach Them to Understand in a while by Elder Bednar, and doing so helping me to switch the principle and doctrinal understanding. 

Now, regarding the desire to be obedient and change the understanding we have about the why (or the doctrine) I would suggest the talk The Will of the Father in All Things by Elder Holland. After that talk, I would suggest Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments by Elder Holland if your temptation regards the law of chastity. Even if you have read the talks before, I would invite you to do so again and focus on understanding both the principle and the doctrine. 

I can't imagine the struggle you must be going through, whether big or small, but I know that we were created to have joy. We are not meant to suffer, but we are meant to go through trials. We will come to experience joy in our trials if those trials do not come through our disobedience. My heart goes out to all those who feel like they are trapped in a hole and can't get out. The Lord extends his hands, but we must put forth the effort to grab those hands and wrench ourselves from misery. Wickedness never was happiness. I promise as you ponder and study with real intent to change, you will find joy in and see clearly your progression and comprehension. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I know we all need to progress, but there is no reason we can't do it together!

Happy Holidays!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Desires and Contentment

Do you like that I abruptly filled your screen with my "roar face" ? You're welcome. :D

So I felt like I should write some things that I have been reminded of lately. I love sharing what I learn, and I love seeing that others care enough to read it! I understand that I will never know the actual influence I have in other's lives, but I hope that somehow, someone else can draw closer to Christ through this (that just reaffirms that Heavenly Father is using me without me knowing). First of all: some talks you should read! :

(I went on an Elder Maxwell binge and it was FANTASTIC)
1. The Pathway of Discipleship (to readto listen) by Neal A. Maxwell
2. Grounded, Rooted, Established, and Settled (to readto listen) by Neal A. Maxwell
3. Spiritual Ecology (to listen) by Neal A. Maxwell

There are a ton more that are super great, so click here for some more devotionals
NOW, I want to move on to some specific things that I learned. Recently, I received some revelation/answer to a prayer that was something I did NOT want to hear. It broke my heart. Seriously, I cried for days feeling so frustrated that I didn't want to turn to Heavenly Father for comfort. I really didn't know how to respond, because I never thought that my answer would be something that comes from Him. I lost hope. I could feel Heavenly Father trying to comfort me, but my pride reared its ugly head and for a while I refused to let go of my pain. Just so you know, I've gone through many experiences where Heavenly Father denied me something I wanted desperately, or that He put me down a path I deliberately did not want to go down, and with all of those things I accepted that He knew best, but this was my GREATEST desire. The only thing that I have ever wanted with all of who I am and it is not something I will soon receive (I'm not trying to tease you all, it is just a very personal desire that I would rather not reveal publicly). First of all, General Conference was exactly what I needed, as well as some other personal answers, understandings, and comfort given by my Savior. All of this led me to learn what I want to share with all of you.

I learned that I need to be happy with who I am and figure out where I want to go without focusing on my outward circumstance. We can make anything happen in our lives, but we so often focus on things that bind us. Money can be something very binding, especially if we have debt, but we do not need to let those outward circumstances dictate who we are. If you want to be someone who travels, then do it. There are TONS of bloggers who make it their life's goal to travel for super cheap. People who travel do not necessarily have tons of money! There are a billion different binders (some can be other people who refuse to love us, or who outwardly hate us), but we do not need to attach our happiness to outward circumstances. We make sacrifices and plan for what we want to do and who we want to be. Some people chose being alone to be their binder. We do not need another to do things. You can travel on your own (let your faith replace your fear). This talk is PHENOMENAL!!!!!! 

It is a talk called Desire by Elder Oaks (I decided to post a picture of when he was younger for your benefit), and it is the NUMBER ONE talk that I would suggest you read/listen to this week. This talk helped me to realize that without my bindings I had no excuses for my behavior. I needed to reexamine my desires and the direction I was headed. Are my actions congruent with where I want to go?

Which leads me to my next part: being content. Before my mission, I didn't see the word content as a very strong word. For me, it was a lesser version of being happy, as in you were somewhat satisfied with how your life was panning out. In spanish, however, being content is a word used for being overjoyed. They use it in terms of you REALLY enjoying and loving your life. I have come to accept that understanding of the word and it helps me to determine how I feel about my life. I think so often, with Facebook and other forms of social media that we can catch ourselves wishing we were somewhere else. I am in Ireland (a dream I never thought to imagine would happen), and I catch myself doing it. But we need to be content with our lives and situations if our actions are congruent with where we want to go. If we are doing what we need to, to get where we want to, then be happy! If you aren't, then change, and if you still want something else that you aren't working for, then examine that desire to see if it is worthy of a change/sacrifice in your life.

So, I may have gained 5 lbs since coming to Europe because of the food, but I have taken up yoga to be a part of one of my physical goals on who I want to be. I absolutely LOVE it! That is just a side note on how awesome yoga is. I also really love the kids that I nanny:

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Holiness of the Phrase "My God: Mon Dieu"

This post is going to explain why I think the words "my God: mon Dieu" are sacred, and I'm also going to talk about just how much I love Europe a little, then I have lots of blessings to talk about! So continue reading at your own risk:

The phrase "My God: Mon Dieu" is a very very very common phrase in France and every time someone uses it, my soul hurts a little. You could say that the reason for this is because I'm sheltered or that I have surrounded myself with people who do not take the Lord's name in vain (before this point in my life), but while those assumptions are facts about my life, they do not explain why I cringe at these repetitious words. I had never before considered the doctrine behind the commandment to not take the Lord's name in vain, but hearing it so often has me using the old practice of thinking. I have started to ponder the importance of the words "my God" and what immediately comes to my mind is the hymn "How Great Thou Art". This hymn is all about the grandeur of God and it holds a special place in my heart. In my mind, I use the phrase "my God" to express adoration and gratitude. It is not a phrase to be thrown around. I was thinking about respect and reverence for Heavenly Father, which this phrase does not convey. If someone started to throw around a parent's name in place of God (for example saying "my Coleen" #mymom'sname), I think many people would be outraged at the lack of respect shown for someone they love. I'm not saying that the people who take the Lords name in vain do not love God or respect him, but I am saying that Satan has found another way into everyday life that hurts us without knowing. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has blessed me so so so so so so much. Seriously, His mercy is more than I deserve, and I feel so humbled at how many blessings He has given me.


1) Always being surrounded by great people

2) Being able to see the BEAUTY of His creations

I get to go to the beach everyday! (5 min walk)

3) Being able to try new things 

4) Being able to always have FUN and GROW

There are so many other blessings that I have, but those are the ones that I've been noticing a LOT lately. Thanks for reading! By the way, learning a third language is a lot easier than learning a second. I'm still struggling, but I can see progress! French is great, France is great, EUROPE IS MY HOME!

Friday, March 13, 2015

My Mission Started 2 Years Ago Today

Two years ago today I started the most amazing journey I have ever been on. 

I didn't think it was possible to learn and change so much. 

I learned how to

use the Atonement everyday.

laugh during the hard times

 trust 100% in my Heavenly Father.

find answers

communicate (even if I still fail sometimes at doing so).

           study the gospel

                    not focus on my progress by days, but by months


                     learn the truth.

                                                    speak Spanish.

                           be obedient

                       have an eternal perspective



 see the blessings of the Lord 

 have a relationship with my Lord and Savior

have a grateful heart

have confidence 

focus on what truly matters



                                be converted

be an example

serve others

 share what I love and know to be true

enjoy change and trials 

 answer the questions that most of the world want answered


My whole life has changed (these are just some of the main ways) from the amazing year and a half of serving Heavenly Father. I met so many people that influenced me that I will never forget. I have received more blessings than I can possibly count or rename. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be the true church of God that has been restored upon the earth by a prophet that was called of God. I know that families can be together forever, and that the authority of God has made that possible. I love learning more every day about the plan Heavenly Father has for us. Thank you for reading! (sorry if you were not included in this post. I can guarantee you had an influence in my life. I love you all!)