Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Choose One, Baby, Your Head or Your Heart?"

I really should be writing an 8 page paper on the digestive system that is due tomorrow... But my mind simply will not quit with all of its thinking.

Today has been an incredibly stressful day, let me tell you. One of those days where all I want to do is get in my car, drive home, and lose myself in a massive bear hug from my parents. I find it funny that as a little kid, mommy or daddy hugs cured everything, then as a teenager you think you can handle it all on your own. Now, even though I am an adult, I feel like mommy and daddy hugs will once again cure whatever ails me.

Mat Kearney is on my playlist today. THIS song, for which my blog is titled, is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I could delve into the whole "choosing" thing pretty far right now, but I will save that for another day.

I listened to a talk today from the April 2003 General Conference by Richard G. Scott titled "The Sustaining Power of Faith in Times of Uncertainty and Testing" (click HERE for the full talk). Last year, I was having a difficult time, and I came across this talk. I saved it in an obscure file, hoping I would remember the comfort I had felt in the words of such a wonderful man. Well, I didn't exactly remember that I had it, but I was cruising around my computer and stumbled upon it today. I felt the comfort of Heavenly Father as I read the words spoken so many years ago. Like the scriptures, the words of prophets and apostles always apply to us in modern day, no matter how long ago the words were delivered. 

In this talk, Richard G. Scott addresses many powerful topics. I would like to touch on just a few of them that really helped me as I read. The first I would like to talk about is the presence of God. Elder Scott relays a story that goes: 

"Years ago, I participated in the measurement of the nuclear characteristics of different materials. The process used an experimental nuclear reactor designed so that high energy particles streamed from a hole in the center of the reactor. These particles were directed into an experimental chamber where measurements were made. The high energy particles could not be seen, but they had to be carefully controlled to avoid harm to others. One day a janitor entered while we were experimenting. In a spirit of disgust he said, 'You are all liars, pretending that you are doing something important, but you can’t fool me. I know that if you can’t see, hear, taste, smell, or touch it, it doesn’t exist.' That attitude ruled out the possibility of his learning that there is much of worth that can’t be identified by the five senses. Had that man been willing to open his mind to understand how the presence of nuclear particles is detected, he would have confirmed their existence. In like manner, never doubt the reality of faith."

Though I have never seen God or Jesus Christ with my own eyes, I have felt their existence and love through the influence of the Holy Ghost. "Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12:6) Which leads me to my next thought...

"God uses your faith to mold your character. Character is the manifestation of what you are becoming. Strong moral character results from consistent correct choices in the trials and testing of life. Your faith can guide you to those correct choices. Clearly, it is what you do and what you think about that determine what you are and what you will become."

During times of trial, we are being molded by our experiences. It is like that quote from The Vow that I posted the other day: "We are the sum total of all of our experiences". True character shines through during those trying times. How we handle each situation is a direct reflection of the faith that we have. Elder Scott also gives us some basic principles to follow during times of trial.

1) Trust in God and in His willingness to provide help when needed, no matter how challenging the circumstance.
2) Obey His commandments and live to demonstrate that He can trust you.
3) Be sensitive to the quiet promptings of the Spirit.
4) Act courageously on those prompting.
5) Be patient and understanding when God lets you struggle to grow and answers come a piece at a time over an extended period.

"Faith will forge strength of character available to you in times of urgent need. Such character is not developed in moments of great challenge or temptation. That is when it is used. Character is woven patiently from threads of principle, doctrine, and obedience." 

We must prepare now for the things we have to face in the future.

"Why worry about future calamities or uncertainties over which you have no control? Your righteous character magnifies the probability that you will never have to suffer them. When challenges and testing do come, your faith will lead you to solutions. Your peace of mind, your assurance of answers to vexing problems, your ultimate joy depend upon your trust in Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Right will ultimately prevail. It will yield blessings now as you in faith obey the commandments of God. Remember an unfailing, continual, ever-present source of peace and comfort is available to you. It is the certainty that your Father in Heaven loves you no matter what your circumstance, no matter what winds of trial, turmoil, or tribulation whirl about you. That certainty will never change. Your ability to access that support depends on the strength of your faith in Him and in His certain willingness to bless you."

I am so grateful to have such comforting and guiding words available to me whenever I need them. Even now, after writing all of this, I feel so much better. 

Sometimes, all you need is a reminder that Heavenly Father loves you to help you through the day. :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I Am A Convert.

Happy Sunday, everyone :)

I was asked today by one of the missionaries that taught me to share with him about how it felt to be a convert and how it affected my life. Almost 2 years ago, I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am grateful for the opportunity now to reflect on how much my life has changed.

As you can imagine, every single aspect of my life changed from the moment I committed to being baptized. The things I did, who I associated with, what I watched, how I dressed, what I consumed, how I thought, how I spent my Sundays… Not a single thing in my life escaped the change. I don’t ever remember any of it being difficult though. It all felt so natural. I knew that I had made the right decision to join the church, so the decisions I made to change my lifestyle just felt natural.

However great my lifestyle changes were, two major changes had the biggest impact on my life then and now, and they continue to effect how I see the world around me today.

The first major change that my conversion brought about was HAPPINESS. The person I was before was not capable of feeling the joy that I now feel on a daily basis. I attribute this happiness to many things, but I think that the gift of the Holy Ghost was the glue that pieced all of my joy together. I am often told that my countenance has changed completely, and I know it to be true. I never used to look at myself and see beauty, but I see myself now as a daughter of God with the light of Christ burning bright in my reflection. Therein lies true beauty. My knowledge of my Heavenly Father and His love for me brings about a peace I never knew existed. The fact that I know my Savior lives, loves me, and knows everything that I am experiencing helps me through the difficult times I have faced and will face. I am happy no matter what situation I am placed in because of the things I know to be true. 

The second greatest change I have experienced was the change in my FAMILY. My love for them has blossomed, and my realization of their importance in my life continues to grow on a daily basis. Life has not always been easy in my family, but the relationship I have with them now has made every single tear, every single moment of struggle and unhappiness completely worth it. Though my parents did not join the church with me, over these past two years, they have developed incredible faith. I never knew that my conversion would shake my family to the core, allowing us to essentially pick up and rebuild our relationships. I see my parents through new eyes. My mom has always been my best friend, but I have gained a greater respect for her as a strong, committed woman who would do anything for those she loves. Her love of God and her beautiful, kind, radiant countenance is something I hope to emulate with my own children. My relationship with my dad was on the rocks for many years, but I think I can safely say that we have weathered the worst of the storms and are now sailing on smooth seas. My dad has become an incredible man, and my respect and love for him is always increasing. His faith has grown so much, and often he says things to me that bring me to tears because I never thought I would hear him utter such words. As a family, we have all grown closer to Heavenly Father. Because of that growth together, the bonds of love and respect have increased immensely. I am so blessed that my conversion strengthened not only my family as a unit, but my parents as individuals.

I am so grateful for all of the blessings I have in my life. I am so blessed to be a member of this church. I know that Heavenly Father loves all of us. I know that my savior lives and sacrificed Himself for us so that we can someday return to live with Heavenly Father. I know that families can be forever. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God who leads our world today. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on the earth, established by God through Joseph Smith. I know that the temple is the house of the Lord. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that the words contained within are true and applicable to all of us today. I love this gospel so much, and I am eternally grateful to know what I know. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Moments of Impact.

Life’s all about moments of impact and how they change our lives forever.

Many of you may recognize this quote. For those of you who don’t, it is just one of the many profound quotes from the movie The Vow. If you back track a little bit to somewhere around February 17th, 2012, you may find a blog all about how I had gone to see this movie, how much it had upset me, yada yada. Well, tonight, I was able to watch it again. I can honestly say that I felt as though I was watching it through new eyes. I have seen it a handful of times since my blog rant, but something about this time was… different.
Today, I experienced a “moment of impact”.

In the movie, these moments are described as one’s that change your life, that turn your world “upside down”. At the time, I think the phrase was being used in such a way that the audience may think that all of these moments are some sort of bad. However, when I heard these words tonight, something inside me clicked. In a good way.

I knew that today, I had experienced one of those moments that would most likely change me forever.

Not anything big and earth shattering like a car-crash-that-steals-my-memory-and-the-one-I-love-must-fight-to-get-me-back moment. Just a simple moment where the whisperings of the Spirit and of my heart where loud and clear.

Lately, it seems as though these moments of impact have really shaped who I am and who I hope to be. It is amazing how these things really can change us in ways we didn’t imagine we could be changed.

I think today was the best moment yet, though.

Now, I hope by this point, you are DYING to know what in the world my moment consisted of… But that would spoil the fun J. So, to your disappointment, I must leave you hanging by the threads that are my words. Maybe (hopefully) in the near future, I will be able to share just exactly what it was that impacted me so greatly. Until then, you are left to your own devices.

The thing is each one of us is the sum total of every moment that we ever experience, with all the people we've ever known. And it's these moments that become our history. Like our own personal of greatest hits of memories that we play and replay in our minds, over and over again.”

Goodnight, world.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day.

Today is a day that we put aside to celebrate all of the fathers in the world. Yes, they may be silly consumer holidays, but it gives me an excuse to reflect upon my dad. Even though I do this often enough, I am grateful to be able to have an excuse to share this with the world.

My dad has taught me some of the greatest lessons on what being a man really means. Even as I type this, I can't help but to cry... Because my dad will never know just how grateful I am that he was placed in my life. It has been a long and often difficult road to where we are now, but I thank Heavenly Father every day that life turned out the way it did and that I am able to have one of the most incredible human beings I have ever met to call my own.

Dad has instilled in me traits that I am eternally grateful for. He showed me how to love this incredible earth we have been given, how to enjoy it and treat it with care. He showed me how to fix my car, how to love getting grease under my fingernails,. He showed me how to embrace the less-girly side of me, how to endure through situations that at times fell like they would never end, how to have faith even in hard times. He showed me how to love someone unconditionally by the way he loves my mom. He showed me that it is possible to come into someone's life and eventually change them for the better. He showed me how to be strong and overcome adversity. He showed me that being a father means being there for your child, always pushing them to be the best they can be. No, Dad is not a perfect human being (which none of us are), but he is the perfect dad for me.

As I write this, I am reminded of the Backstreet Boys song "The Perfect Fan". It was written about moms, but I am going to tweak the lyrics a little bit...

"It takes a lot to know what is love. It's not the big things but the little things that can mean enough. A lot of prayers to get me through, and there is never a day that passes by I don't think of you. You were always there for me, pushing me and guiding me always to succeed. 

You showed me when I was young just how to grow. You showed me everything that I should know. You showed me just how to walk without your hands. 'Cause, Mom and Dad, you always were the perfect fans.

God has been so good blessing me with the family who did all they could. And I've had many years of Grace, and it flatters me when I see a smile on your face. I wanna thank you for what you've done in hopes I can give back to you and be the perfect daughter. 

You showed me how to love, you showed me how to care, and showed me that you would always be there. I wanna thank you for the time, and I'm proud to say you're mine.

I have so many stories I could tell, so many things I could say, but I feel that words do not do any justice to how I truly feel on this Father's day. My dad is incredible, and because of his presence in my life, I am who I am today.

Dad, I love you sooooo very much. Times haven't always been easy, but the relationship we have now is worth all of the struggles. I am proud of you and who you have become. I look forward to the fact that I get to celebrate you being my dad for the rest of eternity :) I am so excited to come home and be able to spend time with you and Mom. You are the best parents I ever could have asked for.

Click HERE for another one of my favorite songs.

Happy Father's Day, everybody.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


My name is Alicia.

I love myself.

I never want to be anyone other than myself.

...Except, maybe an improved version of myself. But that version must come with time and experience.

Who I am now is not who I was a year ago, a month ago, a week ago, a day ago, an hour ago, even a minute ago.

Who I am is constantly changing.

So how can I ever know my true identity? Aren't we all in a state of constant flux? Each moment we live, each breath we take, brings change.

The experiences I have had today will aid in the building of who I am tomorrow.

My only hope is that tomorrow, I can become more of who I am. More of who I am supposed to be. More of who I want to be. More of who the Lord knows I can be.

I want to be the best me I can possibly be.

But who is she?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I Will Find Sanctuary.

I find that often times, I have emotions bottled up inside of myself that I refuse to face and feel. But then a certain song comes along, and I am overwhelmed by the emotions I tried so hard to ignore... For some reason, THIS song did it for me. Even now, as I listen to it, my eyes fill with tears. Music has the ability to touch the deepest parts of the soul; parts that sometimes I never even knew existed. Life would be so incomplete without music.

Blogging is like taking a bath: you think about it, and in concept, it seems like a wonderful idea. However, the moment you turn on the water (or pull up the page, in the case of blogging), you realize that maybe it isn't as wonderful as you imagined it would be. I hate to be Negative Nancy, but disappointment seems to be overwhelming my days as of late. Even now, I am being followed by a dark cloud that teases me with the idea of dumping the most horrible storm on me. It is all I can do to keep this cloud at bay. The worst part is that I can not get it to go away. I know exactly what I need to do to rid my life of this "cloud", but every time I try, I fail, and slide back into its path.

I read an article today called "The Other 'F' Word". It talked all about failure and how we can protect our kids from the devastating effects of feeling like they had failed at something. Can we ever really be protected from failure though?? I made a comment to someone the other day that, "If I really want something, I know how to get it." False. Maybe I say that because I want the security of thinking I can get anything I want. Maybe it is because lately, I have gotten everything that I have wanted. Maybe that is why Heavenly Father is allowing me to experience a situation in which, no matter what I seem to do, I in fact cannot get what I want. Being humbled is a wonderful and crushing experience.

I really haven't been myself lately. As I thought about the past few weeks today, I was able to pinpoint WAY too many situations in which I was being someone else. I like to imagine that I am really comfortable being who I am, but obviously, I am not. When someone comes into your life and you feel like you have to change to please them, something is wrong. So, my goal from here on out is to REALLY be myself, no matter what. I love who I am and how I got here, and I am proud of myself for completing the part of my journey that I have. So, Alicia, you are going to be yourself, NO MATTER WHAT, because I don't like the person you have been lately.

I find that my times of deepest reflection come when I am cleaning. The solace that I find in making something clean is incredible. It is like as I clean the house, I am also cleaning out my brain. Just me, my thoughts, and some elbow grease. I spent a handful of hours cleaning yesterday, and by the time I was done, I was exhausted. Not because I was physically tired, but because my brain was in overdrive. I have a lot of really serious decisions weighing on my brain, and after trying to sort them all out, it was as if my mind threw its hands in the air and said, "Alright, I am sooo done for the day." The same thing happens with a good cry, which I feel will be happening for me in the very near future...

Maybe it is the rain clouds that are bringing me down. Or the fact that the majority of the music I have been listening to lately has done nothing but remind me of how lonely I feel. "Should I give up, or should I just keep chasing pavements? Even if it leads nowhere." Unfulfilled expectations. I know exactly what I want, but I have NO IDEA how to obtain that.

Well, I think I have whined enough for one day... But it always feels better to get things off of your chest. Even if no one reads this or cares one iota about it, I feel better because of it.


Friday, May 4, 2012

I Miss You.

I need to stop looking at all of the lovey-dovey things on Pinterest. They make me cry.

I feel like I have a tendency to talk too much about myself. Now, I know that a blog is one of the few areas it is okay to be self centered, especially since this is pretty much my "journal"... But I have really been bothering myself lately. It is an odd sensation to not really want to hear yourself talk. 

Buuuuut, here I go!

I have noticed when I am stressed out that I hold my breath a lot, then take really big, deep sighs periodically. That is how I tell I am really stressed. Sometimes, I don't even realize it, then I catch myself sighing. Weeeeellll, today, I was sighing. A LOT. It may have to do with the Calculus test I had today, or the Anatomy & Physiology test I have next week, or the fact that I am exhausted, or... My best guess is that my heart has been so heavy lately.

Have you ever missed someone so much that you can almost FEEL it weighing you down? Everywhere I turn, I am reminded of how much I miss this person. Today it really hit me to the point of tears just how much I miss them. 

So, it may be a really long time until this person knows how much I miss them... But oh well.

I miss you. So very much.

"I dream I could go and say all the things that I never said to you."