Jul 27, 2010

On a Religious Note..

I'm reading The Infinite Atonement by Tad R. Callister.

If you aren't in the process of reading a book right now, you NEED to read this book.

Today, this is the paragraph that struck me.

"If there had been no Atonement, the rising of every sun would be a reminder that for us it would one day rise no more, that for each of us death would claim its victory, and the grave would have its sting. Every death would be a tragedy, and every birth but a tragedy in embryo. The culmination of love between husbands and wives, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters would perish in the grave, to rise no more. Without the Atonement, futility would replace purpose, hopelessness would be exchanged for hope, and misery would be traded for happiness. If there were no Atonement, Elder Marion G. Romney declared, 'The whole purpose for the creation of earth and our living upon it would fail.' President David O. McKay quotes James L. Gordon in this regard: 'A cathedral without windows, a face without eyes, a field without flowers, an alphabet without vowels, a continent without rivers, a night without stars, and a sky without sun-- these would not be so sad as a ... soul without Christ.' The contemplation of such a world as this would be the most despairing thought that could ever darken the mind or sadden the heart of man. But fortunately, there is a Christ, and there was an Atonement, and it is infinite for all mankind."

I've never looked at what life would be like without the Atonement. I've always focused on the possibilities that come about because of it. It's heartbreaking to consider the awfulness of what life would have been like had the Atonement never occured. In contrast, how beautiful it is that we don't HAVE to worry about what that would have been like.

Slight change in subject!
I have to admit that I've been struggling a little with.. life in general. I know that it's expected of people my age to have a hard time deciding what to do with their lives, and I think I'm the epitome of that situation. It's like my brain is in a pinball machine bouncing in a never-ending triangle of "school, career, mission". For the past couple of months, I've been working on the path that leads to a mission. I can turn in my papers in January.
If I'm being completely honest, I'm terrified for my life to move forward. At the same time, I'm bored of my situation. I feel like my progression since high school has been very limited. To be blunt, I've felt pretty pathetic.
Today, I plan to change my mindset. As scared as I am, I plan to make a decision by the end of the day (with a little divine guidance).
Wish me luck!

Jul 22, 2010


Am I the only one who's noticed a dramatic increase in bug population recently?! Ew.
At work yesterday there were at LEAST 10 grasshoppers RIGHT outside the door. Some were even on the door and I had to brush them away from the handle to lock it when I left.

Today I was mowing the lawn and was attacked viciously by fire-bugs and moths.

At Lake Powell there were so many spiders I wanted to vomit when I looked at the docks and I was afraid to sit anywhere until I checked for the 8-legged demons.

Come on seagulls, let's see you do something useful.

This is the ceiling of the houseboat slips. Seriously, this made me cringe. I know it's hard to see.. but they were EVERYWHERE!


Jul 6, 2010

Life is Work

A few weeks ago, I was talking with my dad and brother after work and my dad asked me to do something in the house. I think it was probably just cleaning a room or mowing the lawn or something, but being stubborn and ornery I said something to the effect of, "I've been working all day!" My dad got a little frustrated and said, "Life is work." At the time, I didn't think much about it. This was my workaholic father speaking-- the same man that wakes the entire family at 6 in the morning with his vacuuming-- so naturally that's something he would say.
A few days later I was, once again, chatting with my bro, Eric. He said, "I keep thinking about when dad said 'Life is work'." We kind of left the conversation at that, but Eric's reminder made me think more about it.
My perspective on life has always been a little bit.. frivolous, I suppose. I usually scoff when I hear everyone talk about how hard life is and how stressful it can be. I get annoyed when people complain because, in my eyes, life is simple as long as you keep an eternal perspective (except for the occasional trial that heads your way). That's just the way I figured I would get through life, until I started thinking about why, in my dad's opinion at least, life was work.
The first reason I thought of was because if you don't work, you aren't going to get very far in life. You have to work for what you want. There are NO shortcuts. If you want a college degree, you have to go to school. If you want a fantastic career, you have to take the steps to get yourself there. No matter what tv shows or books may tell you, you can't make a life for yourself in a week. It comes with dedication, patience, and most of all, work.
After my initial realization, I started to explore other areas of life where work might be considered an essential. My mind went to religion. The type of work required in religion is sometimes hard for me to consider as "work". These tasks, to me, include scripture study, prayer, temple attendence, service.. all the sunday school answers. Scripture study isn't "work" to me, because I love to read. It still takes dedication and an active, ready-to-learn mind. Prayer is something I've had to work hard at. I used to always do "thinking" prayers, never speaking out-loud. I would frequently lose focus and find myself wondering if I had actually ended my prayer. As pathetic as it sounds, I had to work at kneeling, praying outloud, and saying the things that truly needed to be said instead of reciting the usual "prayer-lines". Temple attendence is definitely something I struggle with. Mostly because I hate to go alone and it's tough to find someone that can always go at the same time as me. I miss the Jr. High days when we went every Tuesday morning. Those were good times. It's the same principle as my initial realization. If you don't work hard (in your religion), you aren't going to get very far.
My mind moved to other aspects of life (and continues to do so), and recently it's become difficult for me to think of something that doesn't and will never require work. It was a little disheartening to me. I love to have a light heart and believe that everything will work out in the end. Ironically, I never realized that for things to work out, you had to work at them. I wanted everying to be natural and beautiful without my having to put a lot of effort into it. I imagined that kind of life, and at first I LOVED it. Everything seemed to be perfect. No worries, no struggles, just beauty and comfort. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the things I enjoy most right now are the things I've worked the hardest for. I love to play piano. Has it always been that way? Absolutely not. There were phases when I never wanted to touch those 88 dreadful keys ever again. Thank goodness my mom knew better and kept me going. As vain as this sounds, I love Brody (my car). To know how much time and effort has gone into my little buddy makes it impossible for me to be indifferent about him. I love my family. We work together on building relationships. So basically, what I'm saying is that I don't want ANYTHING unless I have to work for it. I find myself agreeing with my wise dad.

(and that's not a bad thing)