Monday, December 23, 2013

A Birthday Card for Joseph Smith

I found this article this morning, and I decided to read it. As a convert to the church, I know just what Joseph sacrificed. I know the trials he went through, and I've heard the stories, yet I can't begin to comprehend them. I used to think that it was weird that people celebrated Joseph Smith's birthday.. but now that I think about it from a different point of view, I don't think it weird at all. It's no different than us celebrating any other "president's" birthday, right? Well, kind of. The only difference is that our President's have governed our nation in the past. Joseph "governed" an entire people group, not affected by geography...


Happy Birthday Joseph. Click the link below to read the article! :)

Meridian Magazine - A Birthday Card for Joseph Smith - Meridian Magazine - LDS, Mormon and Latter-day Saint News and Views

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why Santa isn't Invited to my Christmas Party

**DISCLAIMER: This post shares my own personal opinions and views. That is all.**

This year, I had an epiphany. I’ve had many epiphany’s really, but this one was..EPIC. A few years ago I began to celebrate Hanukkah (keep reading for an explanation of what Hanukkah is!) in addition to all of my normal Christmas festivities. It began with a simple gift exchange with my closest friends--me giving them typical “Christmas” gifts, and them giving me super awesome Hanukkah gifts. One of those gifts was this super cute homemade pillow one of them hand sewed! I still use it every night. It then progressed with me actually purchasing a little golden Menorah which I still have (somewhere in my room). Now, at that time, I wasn't celebrating Hanukkah for any specific reason. I was simply celebrating it because I loved the tradition of it! I went through a phase in my life when I was obsessed with Old Testament (Jewish) traditions. I wasn't seeking Judaism, I was simply embracing it. I love Jesus Christ and could never give Him up. Of course I believe that Jesus died for our sins, and fulfilled the law, but I also believe that He did not come to make the Old Testament or all the miracles that were performed by God before Him irrelevant. I LOVE some of the Jewish traditions. What can I say? I just love traditions!

via pinterest


Which leads me back to my epic epiphany: If I should ever have children, we will never celebrate Santa Claus. He won’t be apart of our Christmas season, and our household will not receive gifts from a “jolly man in a red coat”. Instead, we will celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. The reasoning behind this are endless. I began thinking about this issue a few months ago, when friends and I were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 'Most Wonderful Time of the Year'.  When people are asked what their favorite part about Christmas is, you will hear a variety of answers. Some say it’s the Holidazzle parade, or maybe the fancy seasonal drinks from Starbucks (one of my personal favorites), or Black Friday sales.

via pinterest

However only about 3 times out of 10 will people mention the birth of the Saviour among their favorite part of the season.(that statistic is totally made up BTW but you get the point, right??) Every year, Christ is removed from Christmas more and more.
via pinterest



Now, before you label me as a Christmas Grinch and tell me that I will be depriving my children of years of happiness, hear me out.  

Why would we celebrate Hanukkah? Why not just exchange gifts?

1. Christmas should be about the love of Christ. About being surrounded by family and doing good for others. It should be more about giving than receiving. Hanukkah is all about family. The tradition behind it is one that is customized with every family that celebrates the holiday. I suppose you could say that we could still celebrate Hanukkah and be greedy. After all, gifts are still given to the children, but the story behind the gifts is far more fitting for Christmas in my opinion.
2. I find it funny that as Christians we have adopted so many pagan traditions. Not only Halloween, but Christmas as well. Did you know that Santa Claus is really a Pagan character? And also German, Turkish and Nordic? I didn’t think so! I mean, I’m not one of those people that doesn't believe in celebrating Halloween. Because… I’m all about free. Free candy included. Oh. And you’re never too old to trick or treat! Getting back to the point, what we know to be “Holy Days” are mostly Pagan Holidays (that’s never going to change, so arguing that we stop celebrating them all together as some do is simply futile).

via pinterest



3. Another reason why we will celebrate Hanukkah: Santa Claus is a fictional character. He isn’t real. To say that he exists would be a lie. Why would I want to lie to my children???  Lying to them once (about Santa) would mean I would have to lie to them about all of the other fictional creatures that we have made up over the years (the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, jack frost etc.). Is it really worth one day of happiness per year in exchange of years of lies? I don’t think so. As for me, while we were growing up Santa always brought us gifts. As I got older and realized that Santa wasn’t real I honestly can’t say it really mattered to me. I still got the gifts that I wanted, they were just from ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. Furthermore, to tell my children that something that we can’t see is real when it really isn’t, is setting them up for unbelief in God. We can’t see him, but He’s real. We can’t see Santa but he isn’t. Children just don’t have the capacity to understand that at an age that young. Try to explain to a child that God is there and hears our prayers after a child has told them at school that Santa Claus isn’t real! Good luck on THAT one!

What is Hanukkah?
Chanukkah/Hanukkah means ‘dedication’ and it is an 8 day celebration that celebrates faith in God as well as the dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem after the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks. As described in A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays:

“When the Jews cleaned out the temple idols, they found only one small cruse of oil with only enough oil for one day to light their holy lamps.  They decided to light the menorah (the temple candelabra) even with the small amount of oil.  To everyone’s amazement, the menorah miraculously burned for eight days until new oil was available!”

via pinterest


How would we celebrate Hanukkah?

We would start out our nights with the traditional Hanukkah prayer, and light the first candle. We would then play games and sing songs, and pass out gifts. Traditionally, chocolate coins are given to kids on hanukkah, but now most people give their children gifts, like most kids get on Christmas. Some parents go big, some don’t. Just like Christmas. It really all depends. There's also yummy food like doughnuts, and Latkes and bread and such! And who doesn't like food...YUM.

via pinterest

So there you have it! This is why I will be celebrating Hanukkah instead of Santa. What about you? What are your opinions on whether not we should celebrate Hanukkah? Would you celebrate Hanukkah as well as Christmas? What do you think about Christians and Hanukkah?

I look forward to hearing some responses! So P
LEASE COMMENT BELOW!! :

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I'm back!!!

Well that was a great little break from reality. Of course, I thought that reality WAS me moving to Arizona, working and then eventually going to school. That's not how it happened. I have moved back to Minnesota!! The job market is kind of crummy down in Arizona, so I decided to stop wasting time and money (since I wasn't making any) and move back home!

God has definitely tested my faith. But isn't that what this life is about? Something great would happen, and I'd think: AWESOME! THANKS, GOD! And then things would start to go down hill again. I'd say I was surprised, but I'm not. Because that's how life works! So life (God, really) threw me a curve ball that I took and turned into a new opportunity. So, I'm back at my old job, refreshed from my "Long Vacation" as my friend's are calling it. It's great to be back in my ward, to see my friends and just continue with life. I may be a little bit bummed about having to return home, but I know it's only for the best!

An update on my scripture study: I am ALMOST DONE with the Book of Mormon! It only took me about 9 months.. :0 I could have been finished by now, definitely, if I had been consistent with my scripture study. But of course, things come up or I forget and every now and then I would miss a few weeks. They were always my worst, I can tell you that much! I plan on continuing with Doctrines and Covenants (which I've already started!) and the Pearl of Great Price. Then I will start from the BEGINNING of my Quad (Old Testament) and move on from there for round 2! I'm thinking WAY ahead...so I better slow down. That's just my plan.

Happy Thanksgiving!! (Except not in Canada) :)


Later, 


Nat


I'm a Northern Belle again!

Well, old news is still news!! As of November 18th, I have moved back to chilly Minnesota! I was in Arizona for a WHOLE 2 months. I moved back for a slew of reasons, but the main one being that I couldn't find a job. Like AT all. I applied to about 175 jobs while I was there and got 3 interviews. I know right? Their unemployment rate is so high, which made it next to impossible to find a job. I loved it down there though! I was so involved with activities that I was never bored. There was so much to do, especially since I was living really close to the ASU Campus. The Institute was huge and I loved the classes that I attended there, as well as the teachers. My ward was AMAZING, and my bishopric was SO COOL. Since my Dad is still there and he really wants me to move back, I will definitely be visiting soon. Plus the fact that I pretty much decided last minute not to return to Arizona, as in, I had my ticket and would have left on the plane that morning but decided not to at the last minute..

I made some great friends and had some great times! But I know that I need to "put my shoulder to the wheel" and get serious about enrolling in classes. Enough about the serious stuff though. I will be working at the job I had before I left (thank goodness that they took me back!), and will hopefully find another little gig somewhere too.

I've been slowly re-immersing myself into the Minnesotan way of life, busting out my boots, parka, and hats and starting to crave those wintry drinks from Starbucks, like my personal favorite: Caramel Apple Spice. It's pretty much glorified apple juice, but it's SO GOOD.

Here's what's been happening as of late:

Look what I accomplised with raking/mowing my lawn! (That's not even 1/3 of my lawn. I gave up at this point and took a picture to make myself feel better..) 

Reunited with some of the greatest missionaries! 

Getting into some late night shenanigans at Walmart with Arianne!

I'm also throwing a Lia Sophia Party soon with Danielle, so that should be a hit! :) I'm super excited about that! 

What an excellent Thanksgiving it was; I ate SO much food I will never be hungry again. I'm thankful for so much, it's ridiculous. For instance I'm thankful that I finally received a copy of the ensign in the mail this month and it wasn't "lost" in the mail or never sent. I'm thankful for all of this wonderful weather even though it's cold! I'm just thankful. 


I found these at Byerly's... Needless to say I don't think many have been sold! 

That's all for now though. It's life back to normal for me :)


Happy Thanksgiving! Christmas is right around the corner!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Updates!!

Wow it's been a minute since I posted.


Well I have been so busy down here with living life! I finally got a job, fingers crossed it works out! Then there's the possibility of a second job opportunity for me as well! 

For more exciting news: Elizabeth was baptized last week and DANA IS GETTING BAPTIZED NEXT WEEK!!!! Guys it makes me so happy to share this news. Out of all the people in my ward, if say almost half are converts. We have about 90 in our ward so we are probably one of the smallest in our stake. I just love hearing the conversion stories and learning about people's lives. I have made some incredible new friends here and I'm so glad that I stuck it out. Both of these girls I am actually good friends with so we were pretty excited. I think I get a text from Dana at least once a day with her telling me how excited she is. And I welcome those texts because I'm so excited TOO! Dana is from Fairbanks, Alaska (Shout out to my northern belles!)  and Elizabeth is from the UK, and she's super awesome and HILARIOUS. They both are that's why we get along! :)

We have some new sister missionaries!! When I got here it was so incredibly weird. I hadn't seen any sister missionaries anywhere. Not at the institute or at the church buildings. Just on the street. But we finally got some in our wards at the institute now!! Sister Westfall of Boise, ID, and Hermana Jacobson of Salt Lake City, UT!



Funny story: Hermana Jacobson (on the left there) was friends with one of the missionaries who baptized me in MN before she came on her mission! They went to high school together. Super awesome story. Oh. And both of them were trained by Hermana Marquez whom I received a letter from last week! She's great. 

The institute here is HUMONGOUS, and I have been keeping busy attending insitute classes. I LOVE all of the instructors here. They are truly inspired men of God and I learn so much in their classes. I've had plenty of time to take them too having been unemployed and all!!

Softball update: our team (team C) was creamed in the first round of the tournament by our own ward... So we are out! 

Scripture Study update: I'm in Mormon! So that's pretty neat :)

Yesterday we had an AMAZING devotional with Brad Wilcox at the institute. It was pretty amazing and I got some great quotes. The theme was: don't go bungee jumping without the cord. Think about that one.. Haha 

Overall, life is good! I will definitely post pictures from Dana's baptism and you can expect to hear from her soon!! 

Peace and Love,



Nat







Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Guest Blog Post!

Guys! Something AMAZING HAPPENED. Brittany wrote a blog post on a blog called Mormons in Minnesota, and I had to share it with you because it is AMAZING!! :) I am posting it below, and you should follow the link and check it out. It's great!

Brittany's Blog Post!


Laters!


Nat

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fall is here but it doesn't feel like it!

Right about now I would be going to apple orchards with friends, carving pumpkins and drinking caramel apple spice's from Starbucks. Here in AZ though, it's just another day but just a little cooler. I was able however to carve some pumpkins at FHE which was neat:




Mine is an owl! I like owls.. ;)

Moving out here has proven to be difficult, and it wasn't at all what I expected it to be, which happens sometimes. The upside is things are looking up! :) I attended some costume parties (and will probably attend even more this week) and the first one I went to I dressed up as a Hershey bar with my group of friends who were also dressed up as a marshmallow and a graham cracker. You guessed it! We were s'mores. :)



That's us roasting marshmallows as s'mores. Ironic right?? :) 

On a vintage sidenote, Sunday at church I was matching with my Bishop's wife, so naturally I had to take a picture! 






Happy Halloween!! :)


Nat

Happy Halloween!! Parties and Happy News and Missionary work :)

First of all, I'm going to start out by saying I am so happy!! Two of my new friends here in Arizona are getting baptized in the coming weeks. I am so happy for them and the decision that they have made. Last week, a woman in my singles ward got baptized and it was so amazing.

Alright so besides the fact that it's been a while since I have made a blog post, a lot has been happening. I haven't been able to find work here which STINKS, so I am going to be needing to make some decisions. On a happier note, our stake is participating in Invite-Out October, which is almost over, yes. But our ward and our stake has been doing great with missionary work and inviting others to participate in fun activities even if it isn't actually going to church. I hung out with a mutual friend who just moved here from MN, and Arianne introduced us. Since he didn't know anyone out here we went hiking and it was great. He had just been baptized a few years ago so I think it's good for him (like all new converts) to be surrounded by other members. So I invited him to softball last week and he loved it he said, and will probably come tomorrow as well.

It was hard for me to do. I normally don't like inviting people to church because I feel as if they will judge me or my beliefs. I tend to just not bother. But this was a little different because he was already a member. Even still, I don't know him and that's something I just don't do. 

Friday night though, I went to hastening the work seminar at the Institute where Elder Perkins of The Seventy was presiding and it was all about Missionary Work. We were talking about agency and one of the speakers there shared an amazing quote that I will remember forever "Don't be the person to take away someone's agency to make the choice to come to accept an invitation from you to go to a church sponsored activity."

That quote was a huge slap in the face for me. I know that that's something I need to be working on--humbling myself enough to stop being prideful and invite others to activities. It's so simple yet we make it so difficult. That was my humbling experience for the week! 

On an even happier note all of the many Halloween parties I went to this weekend. Here's pics from the first party I went to with some friends, sponsored by our stake. We went as s'mores: 


Ignore my face.. I'm just ridiculous.

The second party was a blast and I actually danced which I don't normally do. I went as a grease girl and Elizabeth went as a nurse: 


The second one wasn't church sponsored but these were the first dances I've been to since High School and it was super fun. Maybe because I totally let loose and went crazy with my friends (which I never do haha).

I will say this much about life in AZ: there's always something going on.. It's always a party!

Tonight for FHE we are pumpkin carving and I'm super excited for that, I'm ready to get my craft on! More pics to come. 

Also!!! I believe I have found a new blogger! This one is looking promising people. :) 

Laters,

Nat








Saturday, October 12, 2013

{Places}: Thrive Acaí Bowls! Weird but tasty..

So today in Tempe, I had a relaxing day that included having some Acaí bowls with Xazmin one of my AZ/MN friends. The day started out preeeeeety late. Why you may ask? Because Elizabeth and I had a solo karaoke night (as in just us...) during which we sang various 90's songs and danced like maniacs until about 1:45 AM. 

We literally sat on the couch singing/dancing from 11:00 till 1:45 am. It was EPIC. Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, NSYNC, the backstreet boys and MANY MORE made appearances last night.... Ahh... It was hilarious. That's what happens when Marilyn is in Utah for the week. :) just kidding. We so do that every night!


Anyways. I went to be laaaaate so I got up lateeeee. Plus it was Saturday. So I got up all excited to see Xazmin. We made plans to meet at Thrive! Acaí bowls and smoothies. I had never heard of an Acaí bowl.

 It's weird because the people here for the most part are super overweight and obese. But then you get around ASU and there's a whole bunch of healthy stuff and people EVERYWHERE. I mean, I actually had a SALAD for dinner and liked it. And if you know me you know that's like... Not even.. Just no. People here are weird though indeed. 

It was pretty good. What it is is Acaí sorbet blended with protein powder, nut butters, chocolate and/or fruit (so it's a little soupy) and then piled high with a WHOLE LOT of granola and the freshest fruit ever. Like guys I haven't eaten a banana in almost 15 years and I LOVED IT. The banana was so fresh it was white.



I got the chocolate walnut (blended with chocolate and pecan butter) Except I made them turn it into chocolate pecan because I'm difficult and I despise walnuts with a passion. Xazmin got the regular Acaí bowl, which had Acaí sorbet blended with fruit topped with granola and more fruit. She liked mine better and I liked hers better... Mine was too grainy and not fruity enough. 

They are definitely healthier than going and getting frozen yogurt. Even with fruit toppings. They are packed with protein and antioxidants and are super filling!

They run pretty cheap considering how much you get. I got a small and the bowl was HUGE. So big I couldn't finish it. The smalls run about $4.50-$5.25 but I mean they are huge so I would say that's cheap. I could have easily shared it. **CHEAP DATE ALERT!** ;)

Note: they also sell smoothies, I just haven't tried them. Based on how fresh the fruit was though, I would definitely order one up. Here's a menu, hopefully it's big enough that you can read it! If not, it's on their website.



Location: 

NW Corner of Southern and McClintock
1726 E. Southern Ave
Tempe, AZ 85228

Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-9pm

Saturday:9am-5pm

Sunday: CLOSED


NW Corner of Southern and McClintock
1726 E. Southern Ave
Tempe, AZ 85228

(480) 730-3557

Hours

Monday - Friday 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Closed Sundays

thrivecornerb1

NW Corner of Southern and McClintock
1726 E. Southern Ave
Tempe, AZ 85228

(480) 730-3557

Hours

Monday - Friday 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Closed Sundays

thrivecornerb1
Price: $
Website with menu:
http://www.thriveacaibowls.com 
(just copy/paste the URL)

I will definitely be making another appearance there. It was quite tasty!

Have a good Sunday everyone!!



Nat

Look who I found!! AND good news!!

Well today was interesting!! We woke up to the door bell ringing at 10:30 AM. It was the neighbors letting us know that the puppy had gotten out of the yard and dug under the wooden fence. :0

So they had her and brought her back over. We felt so bad.. It isn't even ours! So we hung out for a little and I tried I contain my excitement because I knew that my dear, dear friend Xazmin was coming up from Tuscon to visit! 


We had fun, ate some acai bowls (?), and we caught up on life and all of it's many issues and joys. That's how I spent my Saturday and it was great :) I also just got a call from another family looking to hire me as a nanny. That makes three jobs now. :) I know that Heavenly Father knows what we need when we need it. I was worried but I knew that he would see me through! So that's my good news for the day :)


I've got a lot to testify of tomorrow during Fast and Testimony meeting :)


Goodnight!


Nat

PS! I will post more details about the Acaí bowls on my other blog: 

http://ramblingsofanorthernbelle.blogspot.com

Yeah, just go ahead and copy/paste that URL because you can't create links from blogger mobile sorry! :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Conference

How was everyone's first session? Mine was AMAZING obviously. Twitter and Instagram are BLOWING up with #ldsconf and #twitterstake related posts. I found this pic on Instagram so I had to share!  


 am so thankful for the Church and the restored Gospel, for our Prophet and for the Apostles who are on the Earth today. I'm loving the fact that for a while #ldsconf was the top twitter hashtag. WINNING. Anywho. I'm super excited. 

Laters,


Nat

Friday, October 4, 2013

busy bees: temple workers and how they serve

You walk into the temple and hand the kind man your temple recommend. Normally you go get your clothing and head into the changing room to change. Today I handed the kind old man my temple recommend, and with a smile he added: "from Minnesota? Just visiting?"

I replied, "nope I just moved here a few weeks ago." As sad as I have to admit, I hate feeling like the odd one out. As the temple workers began explaining the process to me (not knowing I have been to this particular temple about 5 times in the last 3 weeks) I smiled sweetly realizing they probably thought it was my first time. "Have you done baptisms before?" 

"Yep, last week. Here." I casually replied. I see how this is going to go. Sometimes (and I'm being completely honest here) as nice as they all are I used to feel as though some of the temple workers assume it's my first time to the temple because I'm Black. Every time. I know I shouldn't feel that way because they really do have good intentions! It is also difficult when you go on a different day then normal, and a different temple worker is there to help. When you see the ones you know it's always great :)

 Moving on, I want to touch on the sweet spirit that each and every one of the temple workers possess. They buzz around through the rooms with smiles on their faces always ready to help you or direct you. I can't wait for the day that I can become a temple worker. 

So I ended a sort of crummy week (turned sweet) with my friend and new roommate, Elizabeth at the temple.



 I also got a chance to catch up with a sister missionary I had met the past week. We had a wonderful time and took some great pictures, the light was perfect. 



I can't wait to listen to conference this weekend and get even more wisdom from Heavenly Father about things I need to do in my life. 

Have a great night everyone. I'm off to a soccer game :)


Nat



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

soul searching

I've been doing a lot of soul searching this past week. The slight changes that I have seen within myself are important- I knew that moving out here to Arizona was going to be so beneficial for me, but I didn't really know in what ways until recently. First of all, my relationship with my family has significantly improved- I must not be easy to live with. Because my family and I always butted heads growing up. Now, I will note that my parents are divorced which means there were four women living in one house. Even still, we have had our fair share of disagreements. I can now have a civil conversation with them, any of them, without wanting to rip my hair out.

The value that I place on friendships has increased greatly- I love my friends. When I was gearing up to leave I was nervous about NOTHING except one thing: I'm not going to have any friends. I had a pretty deep discussion with my friend Talise, and she pretty much told me to "get a grip" and I would be fine. Nevertheless I was still so worried about it. When I got here, I began making friends left and right. Some people can just go new places and be okay, and I say this as humbly as I can, but I'm one of those people. I have realized that I am much more of an observer. I like to "people watch". I used to feel out of place when others were enjoying an activity that I just didn't want to be apart of. Now, I have realized that it's because I genuinely love watching people do fun stuff just as much as I enjoy actually doing it. An example? Softball. Our ward softball team is legit. While I love playing softball, I like winning more. I would rather watch our team win than to have to play and accidentally strike out one too many times. Watching is just as exciting for me! I sat in the bleachers Tuesday night and made some new friends just watching my ward dominate on the field.

I like my own sense of style, and I don't care what others think about it- My cousin (who is soon to be 30) and I had a very in depth conversation about my clothing. Don't ask me why. She has a very distinct hippie style. She's a yogi, and lives in yoga pants and halter tanks. Here in AZ, clothin worn is slim to none. I'm from MN, where people like to express themselves in the way they dress regardless of the weather. My dresses are vintage, my sportswear is comfy and my casual wear is classy. She says I dress like an old woman. I was slightly offended when she went through her Mother's closet and was asking if I wanted anything. There's a difference between vintage couture and vintage "thrift". I like my clothes and they like me. That brings me to my next realization. There's nothing wrong with being a little different- Everyone chooses how they want to live their life. It is in no way my place or right to judge them for how they live. The same goes for me. Everyone should be able to be treated with respect and dignity. No matter what. That's all we can do.

My faith in God has tripled- and it was pretty strong before. He continues to bless me even when I don't deserve it! I'm beginning to recognize all of the little blessings that I've encountered here in life and it is so satisfying to be able to say that no, it wasn't "by chance", it was God.

I am incredibly content with my life- I know what I want to do, how I want to do it, and when it should happen. My timeline is insignificant when placed next to Heavenly Father's, but my future is looking very reasonable.

I am recognizing my flaws- we've all got them, but some (me) more than
others. I am extremely stubborn, for one. I like things done my way especially if someone is doing it wrong and I know the right way to do it. I'm a little sassy. I always have been! Jordan says they could make a BBQ sauce out of me.. Let's not try that. I give out what I receive. If I'm getting an attitude from someone I dish it right back. I complain about family stuff too much. Now. These things I am working on as we speak. Obviously, I can't complain about my parents ever again. Ever. After living with my cousin, I would rather live with my mom who I never got along with for 20 more years. Now of course I could do that no problem, because our relationship is changing. I can feel it. I actually talked to her on the phone for an hour yesterday. Baby steps. The act of me continuing to try to become more like Christ is really the only way all of my little flaws wil disappear. I'm not trying to be perfect, I'm trying to be better. 

It's important to take a self inventory every now and then and really find out what you could work on. You aren't hurting anyone but yourself by staying where you are in life and fighting the change that needs to happen for your own personal growth. I am realizing that now and can only imagine what great thinga lie just beyond the corner. Well. that's my spiel for the day. I miss my Minnesota Fall: leaves burning and crunching, trees changing colors, cinnamon hot cider in a mug, pumpkin patch's, cute cardigans. Ahh. I miss home. The upside: general conference is this weekend!!!! I'm so excited. 


Happy Thursday everyone!! 


Nat

21 by 21

I came up with this post courtesy of baby making machine, and I thought it was excellent. It is a list that is comprised of the things that I want to accomplish by the time I am 21. Considering the fact that I am 19 right now, I have 2 years to git er' done. What is on your list? I'd say 2 years is a pretty good amount of time to accomplish a goal! Make your own and link up in the comments below! :)

-Go skinny dipping
-Hit 2,000 blog views (on both blogs)
-Travel to Temple Square, Nauvoo and other church history locations
-Go to a Temple Dedication (I think the Gilbert Temple is going to be dedicated soon!)
-Find a good gluten free bread recipe that actually works
-Get my drivers' license and buy a moped or a...car... :0
-Find the perfect vintage dress
-Get my LMT degree!
-Share my testimony with a stranger*
-Watch a live BYU Vocal Point Preformance
-Become fluent in Spanish and ASL. (and french, and German, and Portuguese and like every other language)
-Reach my goal size.
-Go Canyoneering :0
-Hike a Mountain in Arizona and Utah (not in the same day of course)
-Get a puppy
-See General Conference in the conference center in Salt Lake
-Run a 5k
-Become more like Christ
-Strengthen my relationship with my family
-Get out of the "friend zone" with guys. Not so cool at my age.
-Go backpacking for a week (or longer) and "rough it."

*Something that I do on a pretty regular basis but It's something I want to continue.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

As I am: Turn to Him

I found this epic blog post from Jaclyn S. and it was just what I needed. As we all know, the Relief Society broadcast was last night, and it was amazing. It was just what I needed to hear. I especially loved the talk given by our beloved Prophet. As he talked about prayer, and staying faithful I truly felt the Spirit. Jaclyn's post is an echo of those words he spoke, even though this post was written before then, and she didn't even hear the broadcast.

Take a look if you have the time, you won't be sorry :)

As I am: Turn to Him: Sometimes, I just feel weak. I don't feel like waking up and reading the bible or sometimes even a short little devotional like Jesus Ca...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Virtue Makes you Beautiful! (video below!!)

Guys I found this EPIC video on Youtube! It is called "virtue makes you beautiful" and it is a song sung by a bunch of LDS guys from Utah to the tune of "What makes you beautiful" by One Direction. Not to mention Alex Boye is in it! He's great. But the message is even greater. See for yourself!!

So here's the song!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The little things

A lot has happened this past week. Job interviews, getting a bike and settling into my new city, school meetings etc. let me tell ya: life ain't easy when you move to a new city alone. Don't get me wrong I regret nothing. But it's starting to get a smidge stressful. I did however find one small comfort from home: my Kombucha.

It was something me and my "sisters" were fanatic about. For what reason I don't know why. But I did the unthinkable. I went on Craigslist and found a Scoby for sale ($5). Now before you all go Dr. Phil on me, please know that I use Craigslist a lot. I mean A LOT A LOT. A lot as in I just bought a used bike on Craigslist the other day for $25 and it runs better than mine did at home. TADA! Meet Maxine II.



 Maxine the first went to bike heaven (a used bike store) back in MN. The only sucky think is that there are like NO bike trails in close proximity to me here in the valley, the drivers around here have no respect for bikers and the streets are NOT bike friendly (unless you're on campus). 

Anyways back to my Kombucha Scoby. I missed the stuff. So I found one online and met the kind lady in the parking lot of a convenient store. She was really nice and the Scoby's were healthy! I'm brewing a batch now. We shall see how it turns out.
 My cousin was jealous when I told her I knew how to make it.. I know she was. I'm trying to decide if I'm going to be nice and give her my Scoby when I'm done or not.. Probably not. Anyways, that's what's been up.


Hopefully I will have some exciting news soon...

Until later!

Nat

"I love to see the Temple, I went there yesterday.."

So before you start hollering at me for changing the words to this hymn, just.. please don't. Ok so yesterday, I got up superdeeduper early! Not so much. I woke up at 8:00 AM, and decided that I was going to the Temple. I had this strong urge to go for some reason, and I have been having some majorrrral stressors, so I knew it's what I needed to do. Back home in Minnesota, I had only been to the Temple once. That's because I lived a long ways away by bus, and didn't drive. Plus I was always working when I was able to go and had a ride. So yesterday morning I got up and got dressed. I wore a cardigan because I thought it was going to be cool out.

Luckily, the place I'm staying at is in Tempe, but a block away from Mesa and 7 miles from the Temple. SCORE. I started biking, and on my way to the Temple stopped at Deseret Industries (DI), which is like the thrift store to end all thrift stores. It's awesome. Better prices than Goodwill or Savers and the money goes to the Church and people in the community. Hello. No Brainer there.

So I stopped in, got a wicked awesome black skirt and some softball cleats for $10 combined, and was on my merry little way with my goodies in the back of my basket on my bike. I kept on biking and finally got to the Temple. I contemplated changing to possibly do baptisms but then decided I could always go back for my stuff. Call me Naive but I actually felt comfortable leaving my skirt and cleats on the back of my bike for the two and a half hours I was there. I went in to the visitors center, and finally got to see the Humanitarian Exhibit. It was AMAZING. I love this church and everything that the members do for each other and for those in the communities that they live in. If anything it was just a very humbling experience for me, realizing that I can be of more help to my community.





I also got a chance to view the exhibit "God's Plan for His Family". That one brought me to tears. The Spirit was there while I was going through the stations, and I was definitely crying tears of joy. There is a reason why I go through what I'm going through and HAVE gone through. Our troubles are great but the final destination is so much greater. I met some AWESOME Sister Missionaries while I was in the visitors center. There's just something about Missionaries that I love. I love em' I tell ya. We really hit it off, and I chatted with them for the better half of a half an hour. THEN they told me that across the street was the second largest family history center other than in Salt Lake. Naturally I scurried my buns over there and got some names added and printed off for the Temple. I also found out that one of my ancestors was baptized in the Paraguay Temple on August 7th!!! THAT WAS SO COOL to find out. 

I went back after the kind sister who helped me printed out my cards, and watched the new Joseph Smith video. It was awesome. I loved every minute. It ran about an hour and 20-ish minutes I'd say.

So I started biking home, only to realize the temperature had spiked majorly. It went from 80 to like 97* and I was roasting in my cardigan and un breathable tank top blouse. Of course I couldn't take the cardigan off without being immodest. I started getting a headache about halfway home. Did I mention I forgot to eat breakfast and lunch? Yeah.... 

I got back and got a HUGE Powerade, I was so dehydrated. Then I laid in my bed for like 40 mins just sitting there with Netflix in the background when my cousin invited herself in.. I was so not trying to have a conversation with her. She left and I prepared myself for softball. I planned on going and just watching, since I had a pounding headache and was still feeling sluggish. But then Bishop was like: you gotta play or we're gonna forfeit. So I went in and it was a JOKE. Worst part? I cost the game with a strike out on the last play. So that's how THAT game went... haha..

In an hour I'm going to head out to the Temple again to do my baptisms. I have an all day bus card and I wont be biking again. Ever. Afterwards I might go try and find some more names at the Family History Center. 

Until Later folks! 


Nat






Thursday, September 19, 2013

Paper or Plastic?? new town and new faces!

PHEW. What can I possibly say to begin my wonderful explanation of what's been going on here in sunny Arizona. Tempe is BEAUTIFUL. The people are so friendly, and the church is AMAZING. My first night I got here I went straight home and chatted with my cousin before going to bed. I woke up early the next morning (5:00 AM to be precise) with nothing to do besides wait for church. So I cleaned! There was a lot to do.. My cousin isn't used to having roommates. Then I got all spiffed up for my very first Sunday here in Arizona. I was so nervous, I can't tell a lie. Luckily for me I came at the right time. The weather is cooling down (for them at least) and at 108* I honestly was welcoming the heat. Anything beats the humidity in Minnesota. I have absolutely NO complaints about the weather here so far! It's simply wonderful.

They have these neat little buses here in Tempe that are absolutely FREE.





I take it to the Institute building for church, which happens to be only 3 miles from my house. Folks It's HUGE. I'm talking 3 level Parking Garage, 3 level building HUGE. And that's just the ASU Campus Institute. The one in Mesa is a little smaller, but it's still pretty big too! I waltzed in with confidence, knowing that's the only way to go anywhere. It's church, how bad can it be?? I know that the church is the place to be so I was feeling better with each step I took. I saw two young women in their early twenties near a little table, and they had me fill out a new member sheet. CHECK.

I walked into the sanctuary where I was greeted by the Second Counselor's wife, Sister Shumway. She was SO sweet. I sat next to her during sacrament, and then made my first official new friend in the Ward, Elizabeth, after Sacrament Meeting in the bathroom. Wonderful place that is! :)
She sat next to me in Gospel Essentials, and then in Relief Society after that. I was surprised at how many of the people in the ward were so young! I don't think I met anyone over 25. They seemed like they were all students! My new RS President is Amazing. I'm going to miss Talise terribly. But Megan is pretty darn cool. We had a potluck afterwards where I met even MORE people: Another Elizabeth, Oliver, , and Breaunna. They were all great. I even took the Mars bus back to my house with Elizabeth who rode halfway with me before getting off at her stop! It was great.



Then Monday came: FHE. Now, since I knew some people I was super excited. I arrived at the Institue, where I found Sister Morris, Bishop Morris' wife. Along with them was Breaunna, Elizabeth, and two boys I hadn't met before. They were both pretty nice, from Utah (shocker!) and Maine.
We had a wonderful fit of laughter trying to convince Sister Morris to allow us to use plastic sacrament cups! When we brought it up to Bishop, he pointed to Sister Morris and said: "That's all her!". I think I spilled 3/4 of my water out of the sacrament cup when I was taking it. I thought I was alone in this embarrassment when others began to chime in from the back seat and next to me! I wasn't alone after all!! We all began a discussion of the pros and cons of using plastic sacrament cups (it was a hoot) and we finally convinced Sister Morris to let us go "back" to using plastic! Bishop got a kick out of that one. He is so great. The entire Bishopric is so amazing in this ward.

 When we all got to the building in Gilbert (After going to the wrong but same address on the East side of town instead of West which was still an LDS church building surprisingly!) that we were meeting for FHE, we found a huge group of people. It was our ward (McClintock) mixed with the other ward (Pioneer). The theme of the night was: "Dinner and a Shrink." We had a fanciful Salad bar, thanks to Bethany, as well as some "dirt and worms" for desert. The Shrink part was about... that's right. MARRIAGE. We had two LDS marriage and family therapy counselors come in and give us the ins and the outs of dating today. In all honesty it was some really good advice that we were given. How to be ready for marriage, realizing that waiting means hindering yourself from blessings and so much more. It was great. I felt bad for the Missionaries who were sitting at our table awkwardly. I was so surprised to see them there! I didn't know that they were even allowed to go to FHE! I don't think they were in Dinkytown.. I will talk more about them in a later post.

My interview with my previous employer (in MN) went well, and I'm just waiting to hear back from them. We pretty much dominated in Softball on Tuesday night, team McClintock won like every game. Just saying.


 First Temple trip in Mesa was AMAZING.





It was a tri-stake YSA temple trip, and there were so many of us there that it took us about 30 mins to even get in to begin the baptisms. The lines to get into the temple were out the door. After we got done, and others got out of their sessions we had a great get together. Us girls slaved away over prepared some great food, and we had some great laughs. I keep seeing people I know in people I have only just met. Today I found "Xazmin."

I found a great Chinese restaurant to aid my Chinese food addiction: Pong pong. What a cute name right??
we even have a Chinese gospel doctrine class during Sunday school! There's a lot of Asians here, just like in MN. I love it. Over all, I'm loving it here. Stay tuned for more fun!

Coming up: My trip to DI (Deseret Industries, i.e. the thrift store that puts others to shame.)



have a good one, everyone.


Nat










Monday, September 16, 2013

Substitute Blog Post!! Hey, Mormon Girl!: facing adversity within your own family

Check out my latest blog post, written on my other Blog.


Hey, Mormon Girl!: facing adversity within your own family: Well that was an interesting experience. I just got out of an almost 30 minute long discussion about the LDS Church with my cousin that I&#...

facing adversity within your own family

Well that was an interesting experience. I just got out of an almost 30 minute long discussion about the LDS Church with my cousin that I'm living with. She's "Buddhist and happy with it" and when I mentioned that I am heading to FHE in a few hours at my new ward (which I LOVE!) she mentioned casually, "so you're really going to church?" 

Ummmm.. Yes. I absolutely love it! When I told her this, it must have triggered some sort of release in her brain, because she sat down (in my room might I add) and started chatting it up. First thing out of her mouth was questions (more like arguments in my humble opinion) about equal rights. I calmly told her that No, I don't think that we are created equal. In fact I believe, like the church teaches, that men and women both have very different yet equally important roles here on earth.

Obviously for men obtaining and remaining worthy of the Priesthood and women, giving life. She was shell shocked. Then the Gay rights part came up, and I told her that I believe that marriage is between a Man and a Woman, like I always have believed. She for personal reasons is very pro-gay rights, so much so that I believe that she resents me for being a member of the Church. She couldn't grasp that God wouldn't love and accept a gay person. Do I even have to address that? Every Christian knows that Heavenly Father loves us ALL and is accepting of us ALL even if we aren't following His plan. She obviously doesn't know that. (On a personal note, I don't have any tolerance for hate towards the LGBT population at all. I won't be apart of it, and I won't allow it in my future home. Now, I want you to know that this isn't something my parents instilled at all. In fact, both of my parents are for gay marriage. I don't have any problem with that at all. I can't choose what other people believe. I can only offer them what I believe and hope that someone will listen! :)

In a nutshell, we talked about Joseph Smith, The Word of Wisdom, God's existence, Prophets and Blacks and the Priesthood. Every "argument" she had, I had an answer and a testimony of. Now, I say this because had she asked why we believe in Prophets, yet I didn't actually believe in our beloved Prophet, the discussion wouldn't have turned out the way that it did. I have a personal testimony of each and every one of the revelations that has been given to us in these latter days, whether the rest of the world agrees with them or not.

She simply could not grasp believing in something that she could not see. I made the immature move to point out: "you can't see air, but you can still breathe..." Yeah, I know. Immature. Now, honestly for someone who claimed that they were Catholic their whole life until a few years ago I can't understand how you don't believe in God. If you are a Christian, you either have a Testimony of God and Jesus Christ, or you don't. If you don't, then..well.... are you really a Christian? Or are you following blindly. I believe that's the difference between her and I. Even when I wasn't in church, I knew that Heavenly Father was real and that He loved me. I knew that the Savior lives today, and I knew that the Holy Spirit was still present in our lives. I wouldn't call my experience following "blindly". I would call it following by faith. I can't count the blessings that I've received since learning about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. But I know that they are only the beginning, and that this life isn't the end of those blessings.

Now, I was told on several occasions during this talk that God doesn't exist, He doesn't love me, and He isn't there for me and that I shouldn't rely on Him for my own personal happiness. My response every time?
I Believe. Even though we can't see, can't hear God, we weren't there with Joseph and Brigham, we believe that they were doing what the Lord had commanded them to do. Most people don't realize that this Church is all about believing. We can't see any of it. But we know it's there. I mentioned this to her as well, but for those who just can't wrap their minds around it, If you don't want it to be true it won't be revealed unto you. If you don't want to believe, why would God allow you to have those experiences? That's something to think about I guess.

Sitting here blogging, I remembered the talk, honestly probably my favorite talk so far, given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland during April 2013 conference titled "Lord, I Believe." I will leave you this conference talk, and hopefully you get as much out of it as I have.



Remember that God just asks for a tiny bit of faith, and he gives us the rest. This life is not the end, there are so many blessings waiting for us on the other side of the veil. I know that this Church is the True Church of Jesus Christ more and more every day, and I know that our beloved Prophet has been called of God. I know with a surety that the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on this Earth, and I leave this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

look for my UPDATE about Arizona in a few days!! :)