Sunday, February 28, 2016

Why I choose Freedom

I was reading a book the other day when I came across this passage:

“What’s the difference, being a pawn for the light or a pawn for the dark?”
“There is a great difference,” he said softly. “One difference is for the Dark, certainly, you are a pawn. For the light, you are a free human being, free to make mistakes, to do wrong, even. You are free to choose, whether or not you believe it.”
“Funny idea of freedom.”
“It is the difference between commitment and slavery.” He said. “Between working for what you hope for and believe in the depths of your heart, and what someone else forces you to do.”1

As soon as I finished reading it I just thought, wow! From this obscure fantasy novel, I had found a perfect summary of my recent thoughts, especially to why I choose to be an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Recently, I have been hearing and seeing a lot on social media or through friends that they don’t understand why anyone would go to church and do what “these old men” are telling us to do, claiming that we are being brainwashed or coerced, and I just want to say that that’s simply not true. By making my decision in the pre-mortal existence to come to this earth I had already fought the first battle of choosing freedom over slavery, and I am continuing to fight the battle against Satan every day here on earth.  Every choice we make is either leading us towards better things or worse things, and once Satan has control of you, he is never going to let go, at least not easily.

I like what Joseph B. Wirthlin says,

“You are not free to choose the consequences. With absolute certainty, choices of good and right lead to happiness and peace, while choices of sin and evil eventually lead to unhappiness, sorrow, and misery.”

By following the gospel I have seen the many ways my life is better. By following the word of wisdom and other such guidance from church leaders and the Holy Ghost, I have saved myself from falling into the pains of addiction, self-harm, disease, and who knows what else. And yes, choosing to follow what the lord has told me to do is not always easy, and it’s a lot of times harder than other choices; however, the end results of making these choices, I know through personal experience and others, leads to an easier and happier life. A life that I will try to make good choices for every day.

The question I now have to ask myself is- how often am I yielding to the spirit to help make me make those best decisions. I choose happiness, I choose eternal life, and I choose to follow my church leaders and the savior, because I choose freedom.

1. The Naming by Alison Croggon

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Zion, Kolob & Bryce Canyon Trip!

I had the amazing opportunity to go down to Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National this week. Also, thanks to Air BNB, my mom paying half, and my dad’s NP pass it was only $87!

Kolob Canyon was muddy so we ended up not hiking, but the drive up the canyon was still beautiful, and it was nice to have a place to get out of the car on the way to Hurricane.

For our only full day down there we went to Zion. Of course we had to do the infamous Angles Landing hike. Which at the final destination of the hike is AMAZING, but getting there? Not so awesome. The last half mile is this narrow spine with a chain to hold on to, and if you have any fear of heights like myself, you better be prepared to muster all of your courage and take some deep breaths. Although I had to fight back tears at one point, it was well worth the terror for the unforgettable view and sense of accomplishment.

After lunch we did the upper and lower emerald pools hike, but made it into a loop by adding on the Kayenta and Grotto trail, which I highly recommend starting at the Grotto going on the Kayenta trail to the upper pool (it makes the elevation climb easier). We were rewarded with more beautiful canyon views, pools, and waterfalls.

After that hike we opted to do viewpoints only. But I did stop at every single pullout and we walked to the giant waterfall at Sinawava trailhead. The views can’t be beat!

We stopped at Oscar’s in Springdale on our way back to our place, which after a long day of hiking tasted amazing, and it was even warm enough to eat outside. Take that February! We spent our evening soaking in the hot tub and watching a movie.

Thursday we went back to Zion. It had rained that night and there were a couple big new waterfalls, one by the Angel’s Landing hike, by the Court of the Patriarchs and the other where we were hiking today that fell over the Weeping Rock and fell into a pool below. Luckily since our bodies were sore, weeping rock was a simple and short paved hike.
 We left Zion on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway that offered beautiful canyon views. Since we went that way we got to drive through the 1.1-mile long tunnel. It’s unfortunate they don’t let you stop to take pictures through the windows though, because I really wanted to. On the other side of the tunnel you are dropped off in a completely different landscape. The landscape is all huge sandstone mounds that look like the rocks got trapped mid-ooze in some places. It was beautiful and unexpected.

We then went to Bryce Canyon NP. It was very rainy and windy, so we didn’t do any hikes but we stopped off at all of the viewpoints. My mom commented on our drive to the end of the canyon the he hoped a tree doesn’t fall on us. I thought she was joking and laughed it of with a “yeah right mom.” But on our way back two trees had fallen across the road. So yeah, it was windy. That being said, it was still amazing with the contrasting colors of the rock, the snow, and the green pines. Highly recommended. We then headed back to Layton and luckily only had an hour of winter driving. It was an incredible 3 days, and I recommend it to anyone who can fit it in! 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Eternal Love is in the Air!

I thought that this Valentines day would be hard this year since it is my first one in a while where I wasn't dating someone. And you know what, it really wasn't! Maybe it was because it was on a Sunday so I could easily treat it like other Sundays and focus on Christ, but I think it was more than that.

Valentines day doesn't have to be about a romantic evening with your bae. It's a holiday like any other, and I love holidays! So yes I did wear all pink and purple to church, I set a super cheesy valentines day phone background, I ate heart shaped treats, and it doesn't make me feel lonely. It makes me happy! I'm cerebrating all of the love that I have in my life!

Think of all the love we have! Just this weekend I was able to visit some incredible friends and celebrate our friendship and love for each other by spending quality time together. I have a wonderful dad who bought me beautiful flowers (took awesome V-Day pictures of me) and an amazing mom who let me join her in making delicious valentines day treats. And that's only a few of the hundreds of examples of love in my life. I know that so many people love me, even if lots of times it's not said out loud. I hope you know how many people love you, including me.

And being Sunday I have had time to reflect on the love of my Heavenly Father. Who I know loves me by my many blessings and by the comfort he gives me through my trials. I love this quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

 “Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely." 

All I can do is add an amen, it's true for all of us!

So today I will not be mourning my singleness. Instead, I will think of all the love I have in my life. The love from myself, friends, family, and my savior. And I might, okay I will, be doing this thinking while eating a lot of treats, relaxing and maybe even watching a romantic comedy.

 I love all of you! Happy Valentines Day!