Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thankful Christmas season

So I started this post on Thanksgiving and just now realized I have neglected to post it. Whops. So here is a late Thanksgiving post along with a few updates.

First, I'd like to acknowledge the fact that on thanksgiving the status bar on Facebook said "what are you thankful for?" instead of "what's on you mind" like it does today. I think it's awesome.

Second, I must say I'm sorry for not posting regularly like In normally do. I should have no excuse since I've been out of school with nothing but time, but the reality is I'm half way done with my 4th book this week. I think that well explains why there has been a drought when it comes to posts.

So I guess it would be fair to start with catching up on the 5 days of 30 days of Thanksgiving I have missed. haha I have really struggled with this.

day 25
I am thankful for books. Like, a lot.

day 26
I'm thankful for my progression as a writer. I'm by no means a great writer, but looking back at some of my earliest posts I just wonder why anyone ever read my blog back then. Improvement feels good.

day 27
I'm thankful for my little athletes. My kids are the naughtiest stinkers at times but the hugs and smiles always make up for it. There is nothing like one of your students telling you they want to be a tumbling teacher when they grow up; that they want to be "just like you". It's the most fulfilling job and sometimes I wonder how I was so lucky to have it placed in my lap. I love it.

day 28
I'm thankful for missionaries. I love all the emails and Facebook posts I read about my friends that are serving around the world. It makes me so happy to watch the gospel spread. I'm so thankful for all the missionaries in my life who have set such a good example to me in my life.

day 29
I'm thankful for music. I'm thankful for EFY music, I'm thankful for Christmas music, I'm thankful for country music, I'm thankful for movie soundtracks, and most of all I am thankful for the music that can still be called "clean". Clean music is a good thing.

day 30
I'm thankful for EFY counselors. In the words of Peeta "you have no idea the affect you can have." You have no idea how much you have affected my life. Weather it be helping me gain a testimony, helping me strengthen my testimony, or simply being a friend that I can look up to. You have strengthened me and I will always be grateful.

Now, with Thanksgiving over there is a tendency to immediately forget everything you just said you were thankful for and explode into the "I WANT I WANT I WANT" Christmas frenzy.

I find it funny that hours after we say a prayer thanking the Lord for what we have, too many of us find ourselves at stores pushing people over for what we want.

The end of Thanksgiving does not merely mark the start of the Christmas season. It should be a continuation of thanks. Thanksgiving and Christmas should not be two separate holidays, but should be two Holidays that are one in the same. They are both holidays where we thank the Lord for what we have and we give to those around us. They are both holidays to help us become more like Christ.


Try to remember that this Christmas season.

On a totally unrelated note, watch this video. I can't even deal.

Feel my Sunlight

p.s. I am very extremely tremendously grateful for my readers of this humble blog. Basically if you have ever read even a single post I love you. For those of you who read and comment regularly I like to refer to you as "the coolest people on this planet." You are seriously the greatest.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

May the odds be ever in your favor

{free printable!}

I know I've been absent since "day 17" but I promise I haven't been placed in the witness protection program. The past few days I've been in a book/movie induced comatose state. Thanks to the Hunger Games. Before that I don't know what happened. It's been 8 days since I last blogged, so I guess it would be fair for me to start with a catch up on the 8 days of my 30 days of Thanksgiving that I have missed.

day 18
I am thankful for extended family.

day 19
I am thankful for photoshop

day 20
I am thankful for large fancy cameras and clear photographs

day 21
I am thankful for the prodigious Hunger Games Trillogy

day 22
I am thankful for deep sleep

day 23
I am thankful for thick books with beautiful stories

day 24
I am thankful for missionary work

There. I'm caught up.

During the time my mind has been preoccupied with Hunger Games musing I have managed to pull some gospel related annalogies out of my thoughts. It started with the snare analogy I gave for my devotional in Seminary. (Which, by the way turned out awesome due to the fact that my teacher conveniently had a snare in his office. Also, I had a scripture about shares. Mosiah 23:9 people. I'm like Seminary Katniss) And it has led up to my most reticent installment of a spiritual thought that I gave during BYC today.

The Arena

Today's topic in Young Womens was about "finding solutions to your challenges and problems"

We got into a discussion about how the Lord knows more about what's happening in our lives thank we do and BOOM! Hunger Games sparks of knowledge started to flow thorough me.

We are sent to this earth just as the tributes were sent to the arena. We volunteered. Not for the same reasons, but still, we volunteered even though we knew the trials and hardships we would encounter during our stay.

When we are moving through live in this world all we can see is what's going on now right around us, while in the games the situation is the same; you only know what's going on right around you. You never know what's coming. However, in the games you have an earpiece. This earpiece connects you to the one person that has an areal view of the situation. This is your Mentor. He can see what's coming up around the corner and what the best path for you to take is (this is in reference with the third book when the "games" aren't official "games" and Katniss does actually have an earpiece".) As inhabitants of this world we don't know what's coming around the corner. We sometimes wonder why things happen in our lives and we question things we don't understand, but we have someone that can help.

We have a Lord and Savior that serves as our "mentor" in this game of life. Our "ear piece" is prayer and scripture study. This is how we communicate with our mentor. This is how he communicates with us. However,  there is a choice we have to make. In the situation Katniss is in she has the choice to listen to her mentor, or to rip the ear piece out of her ear. She chooses the later, but we must be aware that choosing the later leads to being confused and lost. So I advise you to "use your ear piece".

Our mentor and our earpiece are what protect you from the one thing that is trying to destroy you. Satan, "The Game Maker". He designed all chaos in the games. He sets stares as traps to catch us when we least expect it. He sends fires to burn and water to flood. His stares spring on us and encircle us in sin in such a way that we can't be freed without the help of our "Mentor". He sends trials and tribulation that leads us to heartache. It also leads us to fight with one another.

This is my last point. In the games the tributes are forced to fight each other. Isn't this what we are doing on the earth right now? There is a statement said to Katniss several times throught the series to "remember who the real enemy is"

Our real enemy isn't each other. It is Satan.

We shouldn't be spending our time dressing up like capitol people trying to be better than one another. We should be spending our time trying to help those around us win our war with Satan.

See, this is the difference between life and the games. In the games there can only be one victor. In life, however, anyone who succeeds in triumph with their fight with Satan may live. The quality of living we will receive after we defeat our own "Hunger Games" far exceeds anything that could be written about in this story. The "Victors Village" we will stay in stands much much taller. We will stay in the "mansion's of our father" {Enos 27} which sound pretty dang fantastic to me. The reward we will receive will far exceed the winnings of food given to the victors, but will extend to receiving "all that the father hath" {D&C 84:38}.

I know that as we fight our games, and as we listen to our Mentor we will be able to overcome the Game Maker. I know that we will be able to one day stand before our God and he will be pleased with what we have done if only we do our very best to be our best now. I know that Christ can help us with whatever we may need help with and I know that through him we can all make it back home.

Feel my sunlight

p.s. My bishop even mentioned something about missionary work "catching fire" today. It's not just me.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

never be the same

HEYYY! Sorry about the lack of posts over the last few days. Do you know that feeling where you feel empty. Like someone has just grabbed your squeeze bottle of motivation and emptied it to the point where there is only that miniscule amount of stuff left that is so small that it is never coming out of the bottle? That's how I've felt the last couple of days. There has been enough for me to open blogger several times, but never enough for me to get anything out of my head; therefore, here is my blog post 4 days late.

First I must catch up on the four days of 30 days of Thanksgiving I missed because I was lazy.

day 14
I am thankful for Sunday mornings. Every Sunday I race the sun to see who can get up first. After that I get ready and take a hurried drive over to the seminary building where I pretend to be a missionary and I teach fake investigators about the real gospel. The spirit is always so strong and I just love everything about mission prep. The drive home is always the prettiest drive of my week. I don't know why but this same drive that I take on the way home from school everyday is so much prettier on Sunday mornings. I'm pretty sure it is 50% the spirit felt at mission prep and 40% the lovely church music playing in the car and 10% the weather.

 Sunday morning drive song of the day.

day 15
I am thankful for service. I had this brilliant idea for a service project that my friends and I are going to do instead of buying each other Christmas presents this year. I am super excited about it and I am so glad my friends are just as excited about it as I am. I will share more about the details of our project when we get closer to Christmas.

day 16
I am thankful for my readers! Today I hit 12,000 page views! My readers are incredible. I don't know where this blog would be without you. I promise that I will always keep writing as long as you keep reading! Thank you all so much!

day 17
I am thankful for an incredible ward. I love my Young Women's group, I love our leaders, I love our bishop, and I love everything about going to church with my ward. There is so much love and joy that everyone brings that makes it an enjoyable experience for everyone. In our Young Women's group everybody fits and It is so nice to have a place to know that even though in the world I'm different, I believe different things, I am not popular, and I get mocked for my decisions, I know that there is always a place where I fit and where I have friends, and where I don't have to worry about being the weird one who follows the rules because I am surrounded by great friends that also follow the rules. We have a good time.

feel my sunlight

p.s. I have no Idea what I want for Christmas. Any ideas?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

book covers

image source
"Don't judge a book by it's cover, but make sure your cover is clean and tidy shows who you truly are."

Just lettin that phrase soak in a little.

I'm in my CE Digital Media class with nothing to do. I submited my work on Monday so that makes today a blog day!

The blinds are open {and by "blinds are open" I mean the floor to celing glass wall of windows is not covered.} and it's fall outside. I'm totally lovin it.

"Don't judge a book by it's cover, but make sure your cover is clean and tidy and shows who you truly are."

This is my key to associating myself with people.

I'm by no means "popular", I mean, I eat lunch in a low traffic hallway with my two friends for crying out loud, but nevertheless, I get along with people really well.

I have found that everyone has gems inside of them and that everyone has something for you even if they appear to be ordinary rocks. I have found that if you look hard enough you can find connections and ties with anyone and that everyone, no matter who you are, has the same goal: to be loved.

If we realize this our associations with our fellow humans can be so much sweeter. Reach out to others, smile a little more, remember names, ask questions, give hugs, send texts for no reason, remember birthdays, compliment ugly socks, make inside jokes with people you aren't super close to, and those same acts will be ricipricated back to you.

I heard a quote in Seminary yesterday that said

"Being humble is not thinking less of yourself, but less about yourself."

I think we as a society need to spend less time saying to ourselves "I'm not good enough" and more time saying to others "you are good enough." Because lifting others up is the greatest way to get yourself lifted.

This is only the first part. "Don't judge a book by it's cover." Focus on others, celebrate the strengths and happiness of others. Look for the good in people that might go unnoticed. 

The second part is "make sure your cover is clean and tidy and shows who you truly are."
"Making your cover clean and tidy" doesn't come from being the head of the cheer squad, a 4.0, or a spot on the football team. It comes from inside. It comes from how you treat others. It comes from the way you make others feel. It's not about your accomplishments, but your actions.

And how do we do this? By focusing on others.

This is going to be my goal for the rest of the week. What about you?

So I need to catch up on my 30 days of Thanksgiving because I'm a slacker with a busy life.

day 12
I am thankful for the chance I had to hear Hank Smith speak at our morningside on Tuesday. It was incredible and an awesome message. I will share more about it later, but I love how he said "The palest ink is brighter than the brightest memory." I'm kind of a journal writer and I adore this quote. I am also thankful for journal writing.

day 13
I'm thankful for all things EFY. In case you have just joined us, I'm an EFY lover. I am thankful for the people I have met, the experiences I have had, and the things I have felt because of this program. It's really the greatest.

feel my sunlight

p.s. Shout out to Hannah who gave me lotion today just because she knows I like it. I love you girl! You are seriously the coolest greatest most awesomest person ever. Also, I love that we are basically the same person.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My heart is full. Buckets full. {day 10 & 11}

This is going to be short because it's late and I have buckets of homework still to do, but I just couldn't miss today. My heart is so full and I can't even express the joy I feel in my soul right now.

Day 10
My heart is so full of love for those incredible people in my life who have ultimately changed my life. Some of these people have faced the greatest of difficulties, yet never cease to amaze me with their incredible strength. I am so thankful for those amazing people who wrap me in their arms and who make my days brighter. These people include, but are not limited to, those I spend time with at the gym, and those I spend time with in the Laurel class. These two groups that I spend a fair amount of time with have changed me more than they will ever know and I am so so so thankful for the great love and humor they have shown me. I love you guys!

Day 11
Today I am thankful for this news release. I am brought to tears knowing that the Lord is watching out for his people. As stated by the LDS newsroom "The Philippines emergency management agency reports more than 1,700 people are confirmed dead with that number expected to rise. Thousands are missing as search and rescue efforts continue. Nearly 9.7 million people in 41 provinces were affected by the typhoon. More than 23,000 houses were damaged or destroyed. Tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes." And out of all that it is stated that ALL of the missionaries have been confirmed safe and alive.
I am so thankful for the knowledge that I have that the Lord will protect his people. I am thankful for this news and how it has strengthened my testimony that God lives and God is good.

feel my sunlight

p.s. My heart is so full. Buckets full. Also, I get to hear Hank Smith speak tomorrow and I'm just a little bit excited about that. Okay, a lot excited.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

day 7, 8, and 9, because I'm a slacker

Currently I am happy. I am liking the place I'm at and I'm excited for the places I am going. I am thankful for the choices I have made to get me where I am now.

Here is day 7, 8, and 9, because I'm a slacker.

Day 7
I'm thankful for my sport. I'm thankful for the lessons it has taught me and the opportunities I have been given through being a part of this power tumbling community. I have been able to go to some incredible places and meet some incredible people. I may not {lets get real. I will never} make it to the elite level, but I sure have learned some elite lessons. Power tumbling has taught me lessons on work, lessons on failure, lessons on success, lessons about the gospel {didn't see that one coming did you?!}, lessons about pain, lessons about joy, lessons about sportsmanship, lessons about friendship, lessons about being an example, and ultimately, lessons about life. I love my sport and hope to always keep at least one foot in the gym even though my competitive career will eventually  come to an end even though it is coming much sooner than I'd like it. It has been a vast part of my life and I am so grateful for the chance I have had to have this rare opportunity.

Day 8
I'm thankful for sunshine. So much that I included it in the title of my blog. I also love citrus fruit and I fully believe that sunshine and citrus fruit go together. They bring me joy,

Day 9
I'm thankful for the word "PREP" even though "prep" always equals no sleeping in. Ever. Saturday mornings bring the great and wonderful thing called "ACT Prep". No, I don't enjoy waking up early to spend 4 hours doing school on my Saturday, but am sure going to be thankful when the ACT comes around in a month. Sundays on the other hand, bring a much more enjoyable "prep" called "Mission Prep". It is the greatest thing ever. I love my companion {she just got home from Moscow and I think she is the coolest ever} and I love the feelings felt there. The days that I go to Mission Prep are always filled with so much joy. Mission Prep is right up there with Temple Tuesday. It's so good.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

thankful month day 6. Also, free printables just for fun!

Today I am thankful for heroes.

When I say heroes I don't mean those ones drawn up by Marvel that wear capes and tights.

I mean those heroes who risk their lives to protect mine.

I'm thankful for policemen. I'm thankful for those fighting for our country. I'm thankful for fire fighters. I'm thankful for security guards. I'm thankful for random citizens who go out of their way to do good.

I'm thankful that I can go to school every morning and not worry about making it home safely.

Now, on a totally unrelated note. Here are a few free random printables just because. Feel free use them!

feel my sunlight

p.s. Should the printables continue? I think yes.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

thankful for today {30 days of thanksgiving day 5}

Today I am "thankful for this day"

This is something we hear often on our prayers

"dear Heavenly Father, I'm thankful for this day. I'm thankful that...."

But do we ever actually think about what part of "this day" we are thankful for?

Today I am thankful...

*That it was temple Tuesday!

*That I got to help a lady in my ward get the baptisms for her family names done.

*That I was able to make it to the temple and back without running out of gas. {I almost didn't}

*That I didn't die on the freeway in the snow.

*That my awesome chauffeur Lauren bought me hot chocolate because again, she is awesome.

*That I didn't have to run outside during gym because of the snow.

*That when I got back to the locker room my hot chocolate was still warm {and still hidden in the locker}.

*That during history I convinced "boy" to give me my seat back.

*That during history I discovered that we had an extra day to do our homework which I didn't do.

*That during ASL we didn't have to do our presentation.

*That during ASL we raised $130 on the first day of our Christmas fundraiser.

*That because we raised $130 we don't have to do our presentations at all!

*That it was a Photoshopping day in CE Digital Media.

*That my children that I teach {who are usually naughty} were angels today. ANGELS! Also, they were adorable today and that's always fun.

*That work was fun.

*That I am home now.

Ahhh it was a very good day.

feel my sunlight

p.s. Everyone should watch this talk HERE. It my be old, but it is oh so good. The world needs this reminder right now

Monday, November 4, 2013

30 days of Thanksgiving day 3 & 4

I only have 9 minutes to write this blog post so its going to be short. Sorry about that.

So I skipped day 3 of 30 days of Thanksgiving yesterday so this post is going to be day 3 AND day 4. I know, your world just got crazy.

Day 3: I'm so thankful for my FAMILY!!! My family is the best in the west. (and in the east, and in the north, and in the south. We pretty much trump all.) My family is so fun and I couldn't ask for a better one. (I'm a poet and I didn't even know it!) Anyways, I love my family and the fun times we share together. I love Sunday nights with the extended family more than anything. I am thankful that I was born into a family that lives and loves the gospel and that wants the best for me. I love you family!

Day 4: For day 4 am an thankful for my 2nd family. My 2nd family consists of those I call "teammate" or "coach", "co-worker", or "boss". My gym family consists of my very best friends, and my very best teachers. I am thankful for all that my team has taught me and for all they have supported me in. I am thankful for the examples that many of them have set for me in the actions they have taken in their lives. I am thankful for all those who have been on my team in the past, or who are on it now. You are all still family in my eyes and I couldn't thank you enough for being "family" to me. I am thankful that I am able to say I love going to work every day. I love my gym family!

feel my sunlight

p.s. Mission Prep is the greatest. Don't you agree?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

pretending I'm a DIY blogger

Today I'm going to do something crazy (sorta) I'm going to pretend to be a DIY blogger for a day.

See, I've been wanting a scripture cover for months due to the fact that my scriptures are looking just a little too loved, and by too loved I mean the binding is being held on by bobby pins, they don't close all the way, and my pages look like a package of highlighters exploded. But that's exactly how I like it. They just needed a little more protection.

The only problem is the ones on etsy are just too dang expensive for my mission saving self so we went the alternative option. Pinterest.

I was thinking "Oh! I'll make an awesome scripture cover and do a tutorial on my blog! And then I found this tutorial by delia cretes... and it's really good. I ended up using her tutorial almost exactly so I am just going to link to her blog and skip the whole tutorial thing.
delia creates tutorial

Aaaaand.... my creation.

As a few of you know I am doing 30 days of Thanksgiving with my friend Hannah from The Perks of Being Happy. My day one just so happens to be a guest post on and you can read that post HERE.

So this is day two and I'm thankful for... can you guess it?... THE SCRIPTURES!

We as the Mormon Church "believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. {Article of Faith 8}

The Book of Mormon is not meant to replace the Bible, but it stands as "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" It tells of Christ's dealings with the people in the Americas. It contains the fullness of the gospel and it tells men what they must do in order to gain eternal live and achieve eternal life.

I have a personal testimony of the Book of Mormon. I know know of its truthfulness and I have felt it's power in my life. I encourage everyone to see what it's all about.

Read more about the Book of Mormon HERE.
Request a FREE copy of the Book of Mormon HERE.

feel my sunlight

p.s. My family just told me I have blogosaurus. Whatever that means. I think it is supposed to be some kind of disease, but it sounds like some kind of dinosaur to me. Either way, I like it.
p.s.s. Notice how my scripture case matches my blog. coincidence? You decide.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Blogswap! Work is sweet

Hey guys! Today I'm going to something awesome and let the Lovely Sarah from take over my blog! She is a FANTASTIC writer and I love her blog. Today I am also taking over her blog as well so as soon as you read this post hop on over to her blog and read my guest post. {This post marks day one of 30 days of thanksgiving so check it out!}


Hey guys! Whitney and I are doing a blog swap today! My name is Sarah. I am a Mormon teen, lover of ice cream, blogger, avid photographer, and really slow runner. [I included running in this list so I would sound cool and buff, but I wouldn't be being honest unless I also added that I run slower than a gold fish. And yes, I'm aware gold fish don't run. This goes to further illustrate my point. ;) ]
Image Source

But I have an even greater love than reading, photoshopping, playing the piano, and eating ice cream out of the carton with a spoon. The gospel of Jesus Christ is my rock and my strength. Speaking of which, let's stop talking about me and talk about Him instead, shall we? ;)

Have you ever heard the song, Sweet is the Work? Since my website is "a blog about the sweet things in life", I like to think that I'm a pretty good judge of things that are sweet [especially ice cream. Delicious!]. But do you want to know a secret? Whenever I hear the word "work", I don't usually think about sweet things. In fact, my first instinct is usually to cringe and make a face like this:
Image Source
Do you feel my pain? 

I think that all too often we associate work with bitter brussel sprouts instead of the wonderful, luscious, decadent candy that it truly is.

The other day, my seminary class was reading from 2 Nephi 5. In this chapter, Nephi explains how he has just separated the righteous part of his family from the Lamanites. I'm sure you remember how different the Nephites and Lamanites are from each other at the beginning of the Book of Mormon. The Nephites were righteous followers of Christ while the Lamanites, well....weren't. 

Eventually, it became imperative that Nephi separate his family from them so that his children would be able to grow up in a righteous environment. 

I'm sure you remember how many times the Lamanites were reminded that they should repent or they would be punished. [I wonder if Heavenly Father kind of felt like my Mom when she asks me to clean my room. "Sarah, I've told you a million times...get your laundry off the floor!" Does that sound familiar to you, too?]

So, after the Nephites left, it was time for Heavenly Father to fulfill His prophecy that the Lamanites would be "cut off from His presence" if they didn't shape up. They never shaped up, so they got cut off like my hair at the beauty parlor. [I know that might not sound very dramatic, but you should have seen my last haircut. I asked for 1/4 inch off and came back with 2 inches less hair. It was pretty intense.]

I find it really interesting that one of the first things Nephi notes in this account is the difference between the Nephites and Lamanite's work ethics.

In verse 24, Nephi says this of the Lamanites:

And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people....
Now, here's what the Nephites were up to while the Lamanites twiddled their thumbs:

We did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses. (Verse 10)
 And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. 
And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind (Verse 11)
And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. (Verse 15)
And I, Nephi, did build a temple. (Verse 16)
 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands. (Verse 17)
How many times did Nephi mention forms of work in there? I'm no math expert, but I counted ten different examples in just these four versesThat is a lot of labor! 

Now, here is the killer point I've been getting at. [Sorry it took so long!]

Which group do you think was the most happy? The TV-vegging Lamanites [just kidding!] or the industrious Nephites?

Upon first impression, it might seem like the Lamanites were the most joyful. I mean after all, who likes doing chores, anyway? But guess again, my friends.

The Nephites are actually the ones who got the better end of the deal. While the Lamanites became a "loathsome" people (verse 22), it is said that the Nephites "lived after the manner of happiness" (verse 27)

I don't know about you, but living after the manner of happiness sounds pretty awesome to me. 

It might seem like a catch-22, but even though work is hard and unenjoyable at times, it truly does open the doors to a whole flood of wonderful blessings. Says Elder D. Todd Christofferson:

I have found these words to be so true in my life. Work truly is a grand blessing-- not a horrible curse. Just like the people of Nephi, we can "live in the manner of happiness" as we are diligent in our labors. 

As the beloved hymn says, work truly is Sweet. [Sweeter than sugar and ice cream, I might add!]

May we all willingly partake of it's deliciousness,