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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

autumn is my favorite holiday

Happy October!

On Sunday all the Laurels in my ward were piled in a car on our way to visit a one of our wonderful girls who wasn't at church. While riding in the car we were discussing how much we liked autumn when one of the girls said "fall is my favorite holiday" meaning to say "fall is my favorite season." We laughed hard and later decided that fall was defiantly a holiday. Therefore it should be celebrated.

I love fall. Not in the stereotypical pumpkin-spice-everything-loving-white-girl kinda way, but more in the I've-been-living-on-this-earth-for-18-years-and-have-never-noticed-how-pretty-changing-leaves-are-until-now kinda way, which is why I've reticently created a Pinterest board titled "Autumn is my favorite holiday" which makes me so darn happy and boy am I itching for some fall photo sessions! And I'm also lovin' fall in the man-all-these-bloggers-are-going-on-cool-fall-adventures-I-want-an-adventure-kinda-way. And to satisfy that need I am going zip lining this weekend and I can't even stand how excited I am!

And oh how exciting this moment in time is for so many reasons. I love how the change in seasons always brings so much excitement. Here is my list of excitings for the foreseeable future. (yes, I did just decide to turn 'exciting' into a noun... deal with it.)

1. Homecoming Football Game this Friday!! Always an exciting thing about fall.
2. Zip lining on Saturday. Happy birthday to me!
3. General Conference. What?! That is this week?! You bet it is! Conference is my very most favorite thing ever. (It is equivalent to Christmas.) Y'all had better watch it!
4. Meet the Mormons. That cool new movie that is coming out on October 10th about those people called the Mormons (hint hint I'm a "Mormon"). I can't wait to see this movie and for the world to see just what the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints (aka the Mormons) is all about! Check out this awesome movie trailer!



5.Witch Fest at Gardner Village. Seriously the best part of Halloween.
6. Food. The food is always better when it's cold outside.
7. Family and friends. Because I'm really enjoying the people around me right now. People are really great.


So I'm excited for fall and life is awesome. What else is new?



feel my sunlight



p.s. If you haven't checked out this yet... you should. It's going to be awesome. I'll share more about it later.
P.s.s. Even though it's fall I'm wearing flip flops today... Because a little piece of my heart still wants summer.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Prophet's speak still


     

I am loving studying the Doctrine and Covenants and History of the church so much this year in seminary. We reticently had a lesson that sparked great interest in me to study more about the man by the name of Oliver Cowdery.
What I discovered was one of the most powerful piece of scripture I have ever read.

Oliver Cowdery was a school teacher. And at the time school teachers would live with you at your house (can you imagine waking up every morning and walking into your kitchen to find your teacher waiting to have breakfast with you? haha)

While Joseph Smith was in Harmony Pennsylvania working on the translation of the Book of Mormon, Oliver was residing at Joseph Smith's family's home in Palmyra, New York. The two had never met, but because Oliver was living with Joseph's family he began to hear about Joseph and the work he was doing in Pennsylvania. He became very interested in this work and began to feel a desire to go to Pennsylvania.

Little did Oliver know that Joseph had been praying to the Lord to send him help.

A few days after Joseph prayed, Oliver knocked on his door. Oliver had walked all the way from Palmyra to Harmony and had become an answer to Joseph's prayer.

Oliver was called to become a scribe for Joseph. And since I will never be able to dictate his experience as well as he did I am going to post his own words. (This can be found at the very end of Joseph Smith--History) These are Oliver's words, with my highlights in different colors and annotations in {brackets}.

    {I love this!}
  • Oliver Cowdery describes these events thus: “These were days never to be forgotten—to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom!Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, ‘Interpreters,’ the history or record called ‘The Book of Mormon.’
  • “To notice, in even few words, the interesting account given by Mormon and his faithful son, Moroni, of a people once beloved and favored of heaven, would supersede my present design; I shall therefore defer this to a future period, and, as I said in the introduction, pass more directly to some few incidents immediately connected with the rise of this Church, which may be entertaining to some thousands who have stepped forward, amid the frowns of bigots and the calumny of hypocrites, and embraced the Gospel of Christ.
      • {Oh how I want to be counted among these incredible Saints}
  • “No men, in their sober senses, could translate and write the directions given to the Nephites from the mouth of the Savior, of the precise manner in which men should build up His Church, and especially when corruption had spread an uncertainty over all forms and systems practiced among men, without desiring a privilege of showing the willingness of the heart by being buried in the liquid grave, to answer a ‘good conscience by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.’
  • “After writing the account given of the Savior’s ministry to the remnant of the seed of Jacob, upon this continent, it was easy to be seen, as the prophet said it would be, that darkness covered the earth and gross darkness the minds of the people.   
      • {And it is getting darker}
  •  On reflecting further it was as easy to be seen that amid the great strife and noise concerning religion, none had authority from God to administer the ordinances of the Gospel. For the question might be asked, have men authority to administer in the name of Christ, who deny revelations, when His testimony is no less than the spirit of prophecy, and His religion based, built, and sustained by immediate revelations, in all ages of the world when He has had a people on earth? If these facts were buried, and carefully concealed by men whose craft would have been in danger if once permitted to shine in the faces of men, they were no longer to us; and we only waited for the commandment to be given ‘Arise and be baptized.’
  • “This was not long desired before it was realized. The Lord, who is rich in mercy, and ever willing to answer the consistent prayer of the humble, after we had called upon Him in a fervent manner, aside from the abodes of men, condescended to manifest to us His will. On a sudden, as from the midst of eternity, the voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us, while the veil was parted and the angel of God came down clothed with glory, and delivered the anxiously looked for message, and the keys of the Gospel of repentance. What joy! what wonder! what amazement! While the world was racked and distracted—while millions were groping as the blind for the wall, and while all men were resting upon uncertainty, as a general mass, our eyes beheld, our ears heard, as in the ‘blaze of day’; yes, more—above the glitter of the May sunbeam, which then shed its brilliancy over the face of nature! Then his voice, though mild, pierced to the center, and his words, ‘I am thy fellow-servant,’ dispelled every fear. We listened, we gazed, we admired! ’Twas the voice of an angel from glory, ’twas a message from the Most High! And as we heard we rejoiced, while His love enkindled upon our souls, and we were wrapped in the vision of the Almighty! Where was room for doubt? Nowhere; uncertainty had fled, doubt had sunk no more to rise, while fiction and deception had fled forever!
    • {Wow. Just wow.}
  • “But, dear brother, think, further think for a moment, what joy filled our hearts, and with what surprise we must have bowed, (for who would not have bowed the knee for such a blessing?) when we received under his hand the Holy Priesthood as he said, ‘Upon you my fellow-servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer this Priesthood and this authority, which shall remain upon earth, that the Sons of Levi may yet offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness!’
  • “I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit! Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind. The assurance that we were in the presence of an angel, the certainty that we heard the voice of Jesus, and the truth unsullied as it flowed from a pure personage, dictated by the will of God, is to me past description, and I shall ever look upon this expression of the Savior’s goodness with wonder and thanksgiving while I am permitted to tarry; and in those mansions where perfection dwells and sin never comes, I hope to adore in that day which shall never cease.”Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1 (October 1834), pp. 14–16.
      • {He is the only way to true happiness}


Never in my life have I read a testimony with as much enthusiasm as this testimony written by Oliver Cowdery.

I was enchanted by the words "These were days never to be forgotten" because these are truly magnificent times. We live in a time on earth where miracles are happening around us. We live in a time that is paving the way for the Lord to come again. Last week I participated in the dedication of a temple of the Lord. This is just one example of the incredible things that are happening around us that we will remember for eternities.

I was also impressed by the description of his experience. I love the words he uses; "What joy!" "What wonder!" "What amazement!" "above the glitter of the May sunbeam." "pierced to the center"
I love these phrases because they accurately describe my feelings of the gospel. too often church is just something we do, and not enough something we feel. Oliver's testimony is a reminder of the great joy the gospel can bring us. This gospel is the only way to the truest happiness.


I just want to add my testimony to Oliver Cowdery's that I am enthralled with the greatness of this gospel. It brings me so much joy and It is this joy that I want to share with the world.

Now I never sat with the prophet one on one and heard him tell me what the Lord wants me to know, but I have sat with the Prophet one on millions and heard him tell me what the Lord wants me to know. And I get to experience this every six months.

Every six months we have the opportunity to listen to the prophet speak at General Conference. Every six months we get to hear prophet's speak just like Oliver did back in 1834.



I can't wait for conference next week. And for all the lovely females that are reading I want to let you know about the General Women's meeting. The General Women's meeting is an extension of conference where the prophet's speak directly to the women of the church. This will be broadcasted TONIGHT! I can't wait! You can watch it right on my blog below, or CLICK HERE to see other ways you can view live.


Be prepared for many more conference posts. For me Conference is about the equivalent to Christmas, so you can imagine I'm just a little excited. I love you all lots and lots!


feel my sunlight



p.s. Did I just write two blog posts in one day?! What is life? 

18th birthday, Ogden Temple, exciting stuff

It's Saturday, it's raining, music is turned up, and it's beautiful. It's defiantly a blog day.

The last 10 days have been exquisite.

Remember when I wrote this post? Well this post was actually a paper I wrote for AP English. I got that paper back a few days ago with a splendid comment written at the end of it. I can't tell you how happy I was to read this note from my fantastic teacher!



Since reading that I've begun to notice just how much impact a few words can have on a person. I failed the AP test last year. As you can imagine I began to doubt my writing abilities. I wrote blog posts less frequently and left too many blog posts as drafts. But this single comment has restored my confidence as a writer. I may not ever have millions of readers, but one person appreciated my writing and took the time to tell me so.

Don't ever stop doing something you love just because someone told you you weren't good at it, and don't ever hold back a compliment. It could change someones life.

And on another exciting note...

I TURNED 18!! I got a lovely little 55mm 1.8 lens and I couldn't be more excited about it.  Thanks to everybody who made my birthday special! I spent my lunch with some of my very favorite people at an awesome seminary activity taking stalker pictures of students (I'm the historian for seminary council).






After school I went to the gym for an hour to coach some of my favorite kids on the planet. They never cease to make me laugh. I love my job. And after work I went to Robintino's with the family and ate some splendid food. And the best part of my birthday is the most exciting part hasn't even happened yet.... COUGH ZIP LINING COUGH...

17 did me good, but I am so excited for what 18 will bring!

A few days after my birthday I got the opportunity of a lifetime to participate in the Ogden Temple Cultural Celebration. It was an INCREDIBLE experience and I'm so glad I got to participate!





The day after the celebration I was able to attend a broadcast of the temple dedication at my local stake center. It was such an awesome meeting and I can't wait to attend the Ogden temple!


Life is splendid and I can't wait to see what the future will bring.

Here's to senior year







feel my sunlight




p.s. Since I'm 18 I can now open my Etsy shop!!! Stay tuned for more info

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I accept the challenge

Isn't life beautiful?

I worked on something awesome today. It may or may not have involved angel wings, climbing on a tall person's shoulder, almost dying, and laughing so hard my stomach hurts. Stay tuned to see the finished project in the near future.

You know all those Facebook challenges in which one gets challenged to complete some task, and then completes the task, and then tells other people to complete the task? Maybe you've heard of the ALS #IceBucketChallenge where a person dumps a bucket of ice on their head to head to help raise awareness for ALS.

I was nominated by Steve Celestin to complete this challenge.







Or the #BeautifulFaceChallenge where you must post 5 pictures of your beautiful face.

I was nominated by Michelle Harris to complete this challenge.





Or the #LiteracyChallenge where you make a list of 10 books that have stuck with you over your life.

I was nominated by Amanda Davis to complete this challenge.

1. The Book of Mormon by some awesome prophets of God (obviously)
2. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
3. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
4. The Little Gymnast (I used to read this before every tumbling competition)
5. Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix (I emailed the author telling her how much I loved her writing and I received an awesome email back from her that made me love her even more.)
6. Landing on My Feet: A Diary of Dreams by Kerri Strug
7. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan (my friends and I decided to write the 6th book together when I was 12. It didn't turn out well.)
8. Any of John Bytheway's books
9. The Giver by Lois Lowry (The beginning of my obsession for Dystopian Societies)
10. The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth



And last but not least, the #YouthTempleChallenge!

I have taken family names to the temple before, but I am going to do it again RIGHT NOW!

This challenge is to find and take a family name to the temple.

I was nominated by Niel L. Andersen to complete this challenge.

STEP 1: Accept the challenge
CLICK HERE to visit the challenge website. When you get there type your name in the box to accept the challenge.



Step 2: Find a name

I found 11! And I will print them as soon as I can get my not so awesome computer to print them. For instructions on how to do this CLICK HERE

Step 3: Take them to the temple to have their work done!

I will do this in the near future!

Step 4: Share with others

Share your experience with others. I will defiantly share this as soon as it has been completed! I do have to say that It is so powerful to take your own family names to the temple. I have done the work for over 60 of my ancestors and I must say that every time I take another family name to the temple the veil becomes thinner, and my testimony becomes stronger. I know that they are waiting on the other side for you to accept this challenge, and that they will be cheering for you every step of the way. I was once told that I could change the world, but with family history work I had the ability to change other worlds. I promise you that you can do the same!

I now would like to nominate he following people...

Marie-Rose over at Hope Always and Pray Constantly
Shelby over at This Little Light of Mine
Golda over at Le mie parole... (My Words)
Sarah K. over at The Sprinkles on my Ice Cream
Eliza over at Mark This Day
Whitney over at The Life of a Mormon Teen

aaaaannnnnddd.....

YOU! Yes, I would like to nominate ALL my readers. Accept the challenge, Find a name. Take it to the temple if you can. If you can't go to the temple now, go soon. I promise you that if you do this you will receive blessings and your testimony will be strengthened. Let me know how it goes!



feel my sunlight



p.s. I turn 18 in TWO HOURS! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Exciting happenings

New pictures from Multnomah Falls in Oregon up on the Portfolio Site!

Happy Sunday my friends!!!

I'm in this really bad habit of starting blog posts and then not finishing them. Which explains my lack of posts. haha ops.

I was writing the other day when my mom said to me "how do you have so much to write about?" haha well to answer your question mom, I guess the more you write, the more you have to write!


And oh my GOOD-NESSSSS there are so many things to be excited about.


Exciting happenings:

1) I have been invited to coach competition team. This is a great opportunity and is proof that things really do work themselves out and that God really is involved in the details of our lives. God cares.

2) I turn 18 on Thursday! That's 4 days away!!! WHOOO!

3) The Ogden temple celebration is this Saturday! After many long practices I am so excited to be able to join together with so many other youth in celebration of this awesome gift the Lord has given us.




4) The Ogden Temple will be dedicated next Sunday! The Ogden temple has been under renovation since I was a 12 year old. It is so exciting to finally have my temple back. By far the greatest 18th birthday present I could ask for!

 5) Conference is coming up soon! For us Mormons the Conference excitement is about the equivalent of Christmas. Conference is an opportunity for everyone to listen to living prophets speak. For me it means the tradition of watching church on TV in my pajamas, It means the tradition of making food with my family, and most importantly it means hearing the things the prophets of God have to say. Every time I watch I receive something that seems to be directed specifically to me. It will be broadcasted on TV, the radio, and online in several places and to learn more about where you can watch or listen to conference CLICK HERE! I encourage everyone, Mormon or not, to tune in to this incredible experience on October 4th and 5th. I promise you won't regret watching!!!



So many fun things. Things are happening and life is swell. In the words of C.S. Lewis:




I love this so much because it speaks truth about the reality of life. Too often we find ourselves reminiscing on the past and wishing we were still there. I feel that sometimes we forget that God has a plan for our future, and not just for our past.  We can't see the big picture so we just assume that there isn't one. God has exciting plans for us, but in order to accomplish those things we must sometimes give up things we desire, suffer trial, and often ride into battle.

After all, you cannot be crowned Kings and Queens of Narnia, until after the battle is won.




The question is not; "who will win" for we already know the outcome of the battle, the question is rather; "what side will we be on?" Because while we already know that God's army will win, it is up to us to decide if we will be fighting for him or against him. And if we decide to fight for him we will find that he has great reward for us. We will find that we become heirs to the kingdom of God, a gift in which I will gladly ride into battle for.

feel my sunlight



p.s. I wrote an ENTIRE blog post. Snaps and claps for me!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I'm walking away from power tumbling

 

I have been staring at this blank page for several minutes now. I don't know how to write this post. My heart feels like it is being ripped out of my chest and I think the only thing harder than writing this post will be pushing "publish". But this post needs to be written. So here it is:

I'm walking away from the sport of power tumbling.

This has been a long thought out decision involving lots and lots of tears and even more prayers. And even though I don't want to, I know it is the right decision.

I had planned to tumble one more year before I retire from the sport to go on a mission. But I feel that it is time to let go now. There are countless reasons as to why I've made this decision, but what it really boils down to is that this is what my heart, and what God, is telling me to do.

I think I've know that It was my time to retire for a long time, but I wasn't ready to accept it myself until now.

Tumbling has been my life for the past 11 years. It has been what I eat, sleep, and breath and the thought of not having it scares me, but it also excites me about what the future is going to bring.

Last year I competed at my final tumbling competition. The last 11 years have been long and wonderful, but winning is not something I'm used to. I usually found my self on the lower end of the podium, but at State Championships last year I finished with a silver medal, and in the words of my coach, I "finally pulled through when it mattered most". When that medal was put around my neck somehow I knew it would be my last.

And then Thursday night at the gym was when it hit me. I had my ankle taped and my wrist brace on and I was ready to tumble when the last 11 years began to flash through my mind. I received spiritual confirmation to my many prayers that it was time to be done. Tears began to form in my eyes as I sat there trying not to imagine my life without tumbling. I hadn't said anything to anyone about what I was thinking, when Teri turned to me and said something along the lines of "you know you're done don't you?" It was in that moment that I knew that was it.

I cried on and off for the next hour and a half. I talked with Teri and my coach Steph and I knew that I was making the right decision, even though it was the hard one.

Steph posted on my facebook page something that hit me really hard. She said,

"As I have experienced life I have learned that occasional Heavenly Father gives us clear direction on what to do with our life and THEN the majority of the time He leaves it to us to use our agency. Unfortunately, We can not be given all the answers... Seriously, no fair! Nonetheless, We are here to learn from experience and you have this wonderful opportunity to grow by using the beautiful gift of choice given to you. God will love you always and He will support you. Remember We are your family at Flipside and we love and support you too!
Love you,
Steph"

So, I am walking away from the sport of power tumbling. The only way I can describe how it feels is to describe the ending of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, when Peter and Susan have to say goodbye to Narnia knowing they are never going back. 


 

The greatest things in life happen because you have great people around you. So I have some people I need to say thank you to.


-----------------------------------------------------------

Jill,
You have been a significant part of my life since I was a little 11 year old. You've always been one to make sure everything was right in the gym and I appreciate that so much. Anyone who can get there eye scratched by a 12 year old, and then still love them deserves an award. Haha you always had my best interest in mind and you are a very big reason as to why I am where I am today. Thank you for inviting me to join your first competition team. I remember my first state championship when we only had 11 kids competing and to think about how much we have grown since then makes me so happy. I wouldn't have been able to stick with this sport for all these years if it wasn't for you. I also need to thank you for supplying me with a job for almost 5 years. I love my job so much and am so thankful for the opportunity to work with such incredible people and to have a blast doing it. You are amazing.

Steph,
Oh Stephanie... You have no idea the impact you have had on my life. You have always been the best at knowing exactly what I need, and exactly how to give it to me. Your part in my life has far exceeded the role of "coach". You have become my "Sensei" which includes everything from mentor, to physical therapist, to motivator, to roll model, to best friend. I have always looked up to you. You have gotten me through some of the roughest parts of my tumbling life and I would not have been able to become the tumbler I am today if I didn't have you. I still carry my lucky turtle you gave me whenever I have something hard or tricky I need to do, and the rose you gave me at your last competition is still in my room as a reminder of how much you have done for me. I also still have your autograph because you will always be famous to me. Thank you for all your pep talks, your jokes, and your hugs. I couldn't have done it without you.

Lance,
It's been a while since you've been my coach, but I still need to say thanks. You got me to my first national championships which was one of the most exciting times as a tumbler. I remember the moment when you told me I had qualified as one of the best moments of my life. You believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself. I remember the long nights at the gym with you, Shawn, and my dad as I learned my full, and learned how to get over my fear of the foam pit. There were times when you would stay at the gym until 11:00 at night coaching me. There have been very few times in my life where I have had someone so dedicated to my success as you were. You also inspired me to learn to play guitar. I always loved the way you would bring your guitar to tumbling meets and play to us while we competed. And even though I won't be tumbling forever, I do know that I will be strumming my guitar for a very long time.

Shawn,
You were my first real team mate and have always been one of my best friends. You have been one of my best supporters. When I was a little 14 year old tumbling with the high school and college kids you were always the very best at making sure I was included. I always loved tumbling with you because tumbling with you made me feel like I was somebody. You were one of the very best motivators and you got me through so much. The times we stayed late at the gym were some of the fondest memories I have of tumbling. I will always remember the time we had a funeral for a fire truck and then laughed until we cried. I love that even though we haven't tumbled together for a long time I still consider you my team mate. I can't wait until I get to sit on the other side of the judging table with you!

Teri,
My best friend. I love you so stinking much. You are the best to talk to. I love our long talks that last until after everyone else has left the gym. I always feel like I can tell you things and that you will understand them, including things things inside the gym, as well as outside. I'm so happy that you joined us for nationals in Texas, and that you decided to stick around after that. I love that we share the same childhood heroes and I will always remember the day that we saw them in person and how we both cried. You will always be one of my best friends.

B,
We weren't team mates for a super long time, but you taught me something that I will never forget. You taught me that there is more to life than tumbling. You showed me the kind of life I want to live. You are one of the greatest examples in my life of someone who loves the gospel. You made me love it even more. You are one of the happiest and most fun people to be around and even though you don't know this, you helped show me the kind of person I want to be. I admire the way you can talk to anyone about the gospel and how you can't help but be friends with everyone. Thank you for your example.

Britt,
You are going to do incredible things. You have been such an incredible teammate and you are always so much fun to be around. You are always the person I go to if I want to be crazy because you don't care about what people think. Our game of twister with sponges sums up our friendship in a nutshell. haha Keep being incredible.

Nicole,
You are one of the funnest people I have ever gotten to know. You have brought so much fun to the gym and I am so glad to have been able to know you. I will always remember the  the DI run to get ugly costumes, the all nighter Christmas party, and the team hike. You have made this gym feel like a party. Thank you for your friendship and for being such a great coach.

Kalon,
You have already read how incredible I think you are here, but I need to say it again. You were my biggest roll model when it came to tumbling. You were the person I dreamed of being. But what I admire more than the world records is the way you handle trial, and the way you treat people. You have been through so much, but you are still so strong. I want to be like that. And you are always so kind to everyone you meet and so humble. I still wear a green Kalon Nation bracelet every day as a reminder to live my life like the incredible people I look up to. I will never forget when you told me I made you cry with that blog post. You will forever be the world champion in my eyes. Thank you for being the great person you are.

Justen,
You only coached me a few times, but I always looked up to you in this sport. You have almost 2,500 friends on facebook, but you took the time to learn my name. In the few times you have coached me you have taught me a lot. And I will forever remember the tumbling competition when I finished my pass better than I ever had before and you gave me a congratulatory hug. And aside from tumbling I admire the way you are able to combat trial. You are an incredible person and I am lucky to have been able to know you. And I laugh every time I think about the time we asked you for your autograph and you responded with "no that's weird I know you!"

Miki,
My darling little sister. I love you so stinkin much and I have loved tumbling with you this last year. I know you won't tumble forever, but I want you to know that I love watching you tumble. You make the rides to and from the gym so much fun and you remind me so much of myself when I was a little tumbler. Keep being amazing.

Mom and Dad,
Thank you for allowing me to have this opportunity to tumble. Thank you for the checks that allowed me to do this sport. Thank you for driving me to the gym several thousand times and for spending forty something Fridays and Saturdays at tumbling competitions. There is no way I would have been able to do it without you. I love you!

And to every other teammate and coach I have had over the last 11 years,
You have all had a great impact on my life. I am so thankful for each and every one of you and for the excitement you have brought to this journey. Thank you for the laughter, than you for the friendship. Thank you for everything you have taught me. Thank you to all my coaches for pushing me, and thank you to all my teammates for cheering for me. I love you all so much. Don't every stop being awesome.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

For those of you who are still wondering "Why?" there are several reasons. I won't share everything with you, but I will share the big ones.
1-I need to focus on my school. With tumbling I have almost no time for homework and now that I have 4 college classes I have to be able to do homework at a descent hour during the day.
2-I need to focus on preparing for a mission. It is my biggest goal right now and even though it is still a year away I want to be able to focus on that and not have other things weighing on my mind. This will allow me to spend more time in my scriptures like I would like to.
3-I want to have more time for my callings. I am on Seminary Council, a Family History Consultant, and Laurel Class President and I want to be able to serve to the best of my ability. Lately I haven't been able to do that because I have been preoccupied with tumbling. Thursday night at the gym the song "All Of Me" by John Legend came on the radio and even though it is a different context than what the writer intended the song to mean, I realized that I need to give my all to God, and in return he will give me everything. I once herd a quote that said to "give up something you love for the God I love even more." This never had so much meaning as it does now.
4-Lack of progress. I have been at almost the same level for the last 4 years and it doesn't feel worth it to me to continue in the same place for a 5th when I could be doing other great things.
5-Injury. I have been injured several times with tumbling and with this sport there is no way you can avoid pain. Even though I'm not currently injured enough to unable me from tumbling, I am often in pain. I am tired of the pain. I also fear that future injuries could interfere with being healthy on my mission.
6-I suck at change. I know that this doesn't make sense, but if I were to tumble until I left on a mission I would have to give up everything to do with the sport all at once. I would have to say goodbye to friends and coaches, give up training and competition, leaving my amazing job, and say goodbye to my second home all in one day. I don't think I would be able to do that. So letting go of competition and keeping the rest feels like the better option. I know that the rest will eventually come, but easing into it slowly might be an easier transition.
7-It feels right. Even though everything in my head is telling me it's not, my heart is telling me it's time. I've prayed about it. I've studied my scriptures and this is what I'm supposed to do. This is right for me.

So that is why I'm moving on to the next chapter

And even though I won't be competing anymore, I still do plan to work with the team at least until I leave on my mission in a year. And I will still be in the gym almost every day to coach classes to the little ones just beginning their journey.

I don't know exactly what's next for me. I know that in a year I will serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints and until then I will continue coaching, serving on Seminary Council, serving as a Family History Consultant, and serving as Laurel Class President. I'll keep blogging and growing my skills as a photographer and graphic designer. I will finishing my last year of high school, apply to colleges, and preparing for a mission. I plan on opening up an Etsy shop, taking judging courses so that I can be a tumbling judge when I get back from where ever I go on a mission, and maybe learning to ride horses better.

I can't see exactly what the road ahead of me looks like, but I now that it's good. In the words of C.S. Lewis,


 for the front of the program-- oh I really like this idea... Maybe to frame it as well in our future home :)
C.S. Lewis usually knows the deal...

I can't wait to see what's ahead.




feel my sunlight





p.s. Shout out to the football team for their win last night! It was an awesome game!

 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Which wolf will you feed?

Read Al's blog post HERE!
I just read this blog post over on Al Fox Caraway's blog and oh boy! It's one I want every single person to read. Find it HERE

In this blog post she talks about "the secret to have your best life" and I couldn't have needed this more at any other time.


 She starts off her blog post with a quote by Wayne Dyer that says:

“I have two wolves barking inside of me. The first wolf is filled with anger, hatred, bitterness, and mostly revenge. The second wolf inside of me is filled with love, kindness, compassion, and mostly forgiveness.‘Which wolf do you think will win?’ the young boy inquired. The grandfather responded, ‘Whichever one I feed.’”  
                                                    (—Wayne Dyer)

I love so much that she shared this quote. And I feel like that even though we possess both wolves inside of us and we have the option to feed both animals, the first wolf is more aggressive. It demands to be fed in a way that is unavoidable. It fights hard for our attention and doesn't leave us alone until we feed it. And while the first wolf is demanding to be fed, the second wolf sits quietly watching. The second wolf doesn't fight as hard and doesn't threaten to hurt us. The second wolf is more like a guide dog (or maybe like a mini guide horse like Sugarfoot on Heartland! haha) It is patient and wants to help us. The second wolf is the wolf that deserves to be fed, but by the time the first wolf is satisfied, there is nothing left for the second.

As is our war with our self worth. Satan wants us to feel bad about ourselves and he spends so much energy trying to convince us that we are worth nothing. He has nothing good to offer us, but still we let him convince us we don't measure up. And after you've spent so much energy looking in the mirror telling yourself you aren't good enough, there is no energy left inside you to remind you of your magnificent self worth.

Al goes on in her blog post to talk about comparison. Right before I read her post I was sitting there thinking about how much farther some of my tumbling teammates had progressed over the last couple of years, and how much I have been stuck in a stationary point. Four years ago I competed level 8 against one of my best friends, and this coming year I am pushing for 9. But even level 9 is a maybe. While this teammate is working towards becoming a senior elite (the highest level in tumbling). 

This green envy monster likes to pick on me when it comes to tumbling. I love all my teammates so much and they are truly some of my best friends, but I sometimes wonder why they have been able to go so far and why I have been stuck in the same place for so long. I put in just as much effort and sometimes more. I attend the exact same practices, I have the same coaches, and I follow the same work progression. But still, I fall behind.

So I was sitting here reading Al's blog post and pondering all the ways I have fallen behind when one line she wrote stuck out to me:

"God does not define you by your faults or shortcomings, but by your heart and potential."

 

It was then that I realized I had been approaching my self worth all wrong. It isn't about how cute your clothes are, because clothes are just things you wear to be modest; it isn't about good you are at tumbling, because tumbling is just a form of exercise; It is about what you have inside you. It's about how you treat others. It's about how you combat adversity and about your relationship with God. It is about your potential.

When God looks at two people he doesn't think "oh... Sara is so much better than Emily because she drew a better line on her eyelid today." In fact, God doesn't compare us at all. So why should we? Why is it that to the world, the outgoing girl in the cheer uniform with the perfect makeup is worth more than the quiet girl with the book that has only put on makeup twice in her life? Because it isn't true.

We are all worth the world in God's eyes.

I love this statement by Al that says;


"the secret to having your best life is seeing you the way God sees you and knowing it. When you look in the mirror next, look longer and deeper.
Learn to not be so self critical because you are so beautiful in the eyes of God. His thoughts toward you are more numerous then you could even begin to imagine."

I love this so much because I have found it to be true in my own life. When I forget about comparing myself and I am focused on the more important things like serving others, I begin to feed the wolf that deserves to be fed. I begin to realize how God sees me, and how God sees those around me.

You are a child of great worth.



feel my sunlight



p.s. It's the second week of school already? Yay for senior year!!! 

 

Monday, September 1, 2014

subsequent



Imagine the feeling of a car slamming into a cement wall. The immediate devastation that comes from the destruction is intensive, but the events that follow the crash are what really define the situation. The cuts and scrapes show where you got hurt, but even though your face is numb and bleeding and your neck is sore, you are suddenly aware of each breath you take. And with each breath you take you find more and more joy. It is a joyous thing to be alive, but sometimes we need impacts to remind us what really matters.
There are a series of impacts that happen inside us, to us, and around us, but what follows those impacts is what we call life. The word subsequent tells the story of what comes after the impact. The word subsequent is my word. It is the world that matches every single part of me. Whether it be an unintended repercussion, or a welcomed reward, everything in my life is a subsequent result.
I have been working as a tumbling coach for almost five years. This incredible opportunity subsequently followed the fact that I was a hard worker during practice and my coach took notice of my effort. This effort has brought me countless other things in addition to the best job in the world, including lifelong friendships, and opportunities to travel and compete all over the U.S. at local competitions, state championships, National championships, and international invitational. But while much good has come from tumbling, it has also resulted in my fair share of last place finishes, and injuries. My life greatly revolves around tumbling, and that is all subsequent to my dreams as a young girl, and my effort that followed it.
While tumbling is a big part of my life, it is only small potatoes compared to all the other parts that make up me. I am a series of results. I play guitar because I was inspired by a tumbling coach that used to sit on the side of the floor and play to us during competitions. I love Narnia because it reminds me of my childhood best friend. I hate driving on the freeway because I’ve been in several car accidents. I love grapefruit juice because my dad used to always buy it for us when we went on vacation. I am a proud church girl because I have received so much good from God that I want to give something back to him, which is the same reason I serve on seminary council. My lack of vertical altitude is a result of my genetics. And I write this blog because I want to share the impacts of my life with the world.
Everything I love is subsequent to an experience I’ve had, everything I hate is subsequent to something that made me oppose it, everything I desire is subsequent to a dream, everything I’ve achieved is subsequent to effort, everything I’ve lost is subsequent to lack of effort, every experience that I live is subsequent to a decision, every piece of my life is subsequent to a piece of the universe. My life is a series of impacts, and what subsequently follows.