Wednesday, August 3, 2011
I'm going to share some thoughts that have been on my mind since November and continue to be ever present.
In November my sister Kaylene and her husband Michael lost their sweet baby boy, McKeon James, at 7 weeks old. I am not a parent, but i am an aunt to 24 Fun, hilarous, and awesome nieces and nephews. It's amazing how even though i had never seen McKeon or held him, he was instantly one of mine, one of my kids that i am willing to fight for, laugh with (or at), and basically do anything for. When that sweet boy left us, our family was devastated to say the least. His funeral was very short but his spirit was ever present, and though i can't explain it, it felt right, whatever reason he wasn't to be with us, there was such an amazing spirit of calmness, comfort, and the knowledge that it was OK, we would see him again. My sister is probably the strongest person i know. She has been such an amazing example of faith and strength. She has 2 older boys that love and adore her, i know some days are harder than others but she illustrates everyday the importance of motherhood. I was able to go and visit them in March and the spirit was pouring out of their home. I could not believe how present and strong the love of our Heavenly Father radiated from every corner, what a blessing and comfort to know that even though tragedy struck, they are continuing to live their lives with such faith and hope, that the spirit of the Lord still resides in their home to help comfort them, calm them, and lift them in their moments of doubt and despair. How lucky we are to have the knowledge of eternal families. We all face tragedies, some are overwhelming and life altering, some helps us define who we are, others encourage us to have more faith in continuing with this journey. I think of McKeon daily. He encourages me everyday to live righteously, to fight against Satan, and help me become a better person. He's helped me have more faith, that i will one day be able to see him and hold him.
I'm so grateful for a sister and brother who are incredibly strong and have such trust in our in our Father In Heaven, especially in such a desolate time. . I'm ever grateful for there unwavering faith. I'm grateful for McKeon, 7 weeks is not long, but it was enough to help humble me and encourage me to evaluate my spirituality and get back on track. I'm grateful for the knowledge of the gospel.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I was asked to speak on "What have you done for someone today?" From the Nov. 2009 Ensign. Go read it! It's a great great talk!
Pres. Monson begins his talk by telling us about a man names Dr. Jack McConnell, He was one of 7 children of a Methodist minister and a stay-at-home-mom. Their circumstances were very humble. He recounted that during his childhood, every day as the family sat around the dinner table, his father would ask each on in turn, “And what did you do for someone today? The Children were determined to do a good turn every day so they could report their father that they had helped someone. Dr. McConnell called this exercise his father’s most valuable legacy, for THAT expectation and THOSE words inspired him and his siblings to help others throughout their lives. As they grew and matured, their motivations for providing service changed to an inner desire to help others.
Dr. McConnell went on to have a very distinguished medical career, where he helped in the development of the tuberculosis test, participated in the development of the polio vaccine, the development of Tylenol, and the MRI. He created an organization he calls Volunteers in Medicine, a free medical clinic for the uninsured and poor.
Of course we can’t all be Dr. McConnells with astounding medical careers, however, the needs of others are ever present and each of us can offer our help.
The Apostle Paul counsel’s “by love serve others.” King Benjamin reminds us, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God. “ The Savior taught His disciples, “For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it, but whosoever will lose his life for my sake the same will save it.
I believe Savior is telling us, that unless we lose ourselves in the service of other; there is little purpose to our lives.
President Monson states, “Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others, grow and flourish- and in effect save their lives.
Pres David O McKay said, “Man’s greatest happiness comes from losing himself for the good of others.”
At baptism we promise to “bear one another’s burden, that they may be light.” How many times has your heart been touch by a kind act of service or in witnessing the need of another being fulfilled? Unfortunately there is times when we get caught up in the “thick and thin of things” the busyness of everyday life. I believe if we were to step back and take a good look at what we’re doing we would find that we too often spend most of our time take care of things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things.
I was at work talking with a client the other day. He is a great man, very honest man and an incredible example of service. He has such an amazing outlook and attitude about life. I was complaining about not only getting a calling but also having to talk in sacrament meeting. He asked my topic and a smile appeared on his face I told him, “What have you done for someone today?” He said, I remember that that talk, It opened my mind and my heart.” I didn’t really believe him until he proceeded to tell him about his experience in Haiti. He said, “I was worried about going, I didn’t know what to expect. I was going to be sleeping on the ground, so I was worried that I wasn’t going to sleeping at all, I was worried that my neck was going to hurt and I wasn’t going to be much help. I just wasn’t sure how great of an experience I was really going to have.” I could see the happiness in his face as he continued, “We got there on a Saturday and the destruction was unbelievable, it left me speechless. I instantly became overwhelmed with the thought that we could not help these people. There was no way we could begin to make a dent in the damage that had been done. As we began to work building houses and teaching the natives how to build better and stronger buildings, I found so much joy. I slept fine, I wasn’t worn out and exhausted as I expected to be, my neck didn’t hurt, and it was a great experience. I learned that I didn’t need to fix all of Haiti; I needed to help those I could, and find joy in that! We can’t save everyone; we just save those we can.”
Again not all of us can fly to Haiti and reconstruct home and rebuild cities, but there are people who are suffering with illness, there are those who are suffering loss of family members or friends, and people who are struggling with loss of faith. We have the opportunity to touch the lives of others and help reconstruct and rebuild their faith in our Father in Heaven and our Savior.
Pres. Monson tell of when he was asked what would he consider the ideal gift that the members worldwide could give him, he replied, “ Find someone who is having a hard time, or is ill, or lonely and do something for him or her.” He later said, “I was overwhelmed when I received hundreds of cards and letters from members around the world telling me of how they fulfilled that birthday wish. The acts of service ranged from assembling humanitarian kits to yard work.” I’ll share a few with you, a small child wrote, “My grandpa had a stroke, and I held his hand.” From an 8 yr old girl: “My sister and I served my mom and family by cleaning the toy closets, my mom was so happy.” And 11 yr old girl” There was a family in my ward that didn’t have a lot of money, I watched their 3 little girls for free.” From a 4 yr old boy, “My dad is gone for army training for a few weeks. My special job is to give my mom hugs and kisses.” A 9 yr old girl, “I picked strawberries for my great grandma.” Another 9yr old, “I played with a lonely kid.” From an 11 year old boy: “ I went to a lady’s house and asked her questions and sang to her, it felt good to visit her, she was happy because she never get visitors.
Mother Teresa taught, “One thing will always secure heaven for us, the acts of charity and kindness with which we have filled our lives. We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
We are surround by those who are in need of great love, of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness, be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers, we are the Lord’s hand upon the with the mandate to serve and lift his children. He is dependent on each of us.
In closing I was to share with you a story, I’m sure you’ve heard it several times, but it’s a great tale of truth. It’s the starfish story.
Once upon a time, there was a wise man that used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
On day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day so he walked to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”
I bear witness to the power of service. Unfortunately, I have realized that I spend far too much time on things that are unimportant things and I need to put more of an effort in to the needs of others. Fortunately I have been on the receiving end of small, yet momentous acts of kindness. I have incredible people in my life serving me every day in way they are not even aware.
The Savior needs our help, he enlists us to his cause, he invites us to draw closer to him, if we follow in the footsteps our Savior and ask ourselves, What have I done for someone today, we will find joy beyond our comprehension.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Let’s take a moment and think about the movies we watch. I’m a believer that everything in life can be compared to FRIENDS (the TV show), Harry Potter, or the movies. I want you to think about the conflicts we see in the movies. Of course the first thing that comes to mind is a pair lovers who can’t keep their paws off each other, where if we watch long enough one of them admits something or insults the other and that unfortunately leads to a battle of stubbornness or a war of pride and ultimately …the breakup! They don’t want to be apart but neither one is willing to admit defeat, yet in the end they make up and live happily ever after.
We see it in every movie, whether the plot is entirely constructed around the “star crossed” lovers, or it’s a smaller event, wrapped up in a more complex theme, it’s there. Maybe it’s not a romantic relationship; it could be the immovable differences between siblings, a parent and a child, the arrogance between friends or coworkers, no matter the type of relationship the issues of stubbornness, pride, and conceit are there. I’m sure most of us experience them on a daily basis.
I don’t believe what we see in the movies is portrayed correctly, yet so many people think that the movies are REAL life. I think of Pride and Prejudice (The Kira Knightly one) and the scene where she so dramatically runs out of church and he follows her and they end up in a wicked argument, and before you know it they’re faces are inches away from one another and there is a moment where you think they might kiss and then… he walks away….that does not happen! Not in real life! When you are so angry at someone you don’t want to be near that person… and you defiantly don’t want to kiss them. There are several movies where a people are fighting and pleading their case as to why they screwed up or why they did what they did, and then again a moment, the moment of complete silence, the opportunity for apologies and forgiveness, and of course, they make up and live happily ever after.
How about the movie about guy and girl who are best friends, and have been for years? It is inevitable that one of these 2 people will fall for other and then endure pain and suffering of deciding whether or not to tell the other of their true feelings. When they finally can’t hold it in any longer things become awkward and uncomfortable, but in the end he/she see that only person they have ever truly loved is their best friend, and they live happily ever after.
THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE PEOPLE!!
There needs to be a happy medium here. In the real world, when people disagree they don’t say anything all to try and keep the peace or they windup saying too much and hurting people far deeper than intended... sometimes too deep for the wound to be healed.
What’s my point? Good question.
I guess I’m not surprised that the world is such a screwed up place. People watch movies, they read books and their expectations of what life should be is outrageous compared to what life really is. Those moments of silence in an argument, those moments where you should apologize or offer forgiveness, it doesn’t happen as often as it should, instead of yielding and admitting defeat, there is too much pride, too much hurt , and people walk way trying to hold on to their dignity. Not so happily ever after…
When you fall in love with your best friend and you finally tell them, it rarely turns out well. Both parties get hurt because it subsequently changes the entire dynamics of their relationship, everything is different. Not so happily ever after…
Why can’t people just say what they mean and leave it at that? When someone ticks you off, why can’t we just say in our nicest voice ever, “Hey you pissed me off… please don’t do it again.” Why instead do we say nothing at all, letting things fester, or yell every obscenity in the book at them? Is it really that difficult to say what you want or need?
Why instead of kissing someone in the kitchen and then running out the door can’t they just say, “Hey I’m in to you…?”
Why instead of playing 20 questions as to who is going to be there and what exactly is going to be going on, can’t they just say, “Ya know, that doesn’t sounds like fun” or “I really don’t want to go.”
Why can’t people just be honest…? It might sting a little for a bit, but I would prefer someone’s honesty, even if it’s going to hurt, than someone lying through their teeth save my feelings.
Life is not meant to be happily ever after, at least not the way the movies portray it. Be honest in what you say and what you do and your happily ever after will fall into place...
I’m just sayin…..
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
honest.. That rarely happens! =)
Anywho.. Recent events that have happened have made me take a step back and look at the
bigger picture.. The eternal perspective if you will!
A few weeks ago I was a dinner with a friend (Texas). We were laughing and arguing cuz
that’s what we do, when he paused and looked at me very seriously and said, “Amber, I have
started to feel really guilty about not going to church recently.” I laughed and said, “Yeah I
haven’t been the most dedicated either.. I don’t feel guilty though.” I smiled at him, he was truly
concerned. He asked me, “Why do you think that is? I’ve never felt guilty about this!” I sat back
and giggled a bit more and said “Ya know, if I were the one feeling guilty, I’d be a little
concerned. I would take it as a warning.”
“A warning?” He asked.
“Yeah...” I paused and looked around. “Maybe something is gonna happen. Something ‘faith-
shaking,’ and if you aren’t prepared spiritually, you might not be able to handle what is thrown
“Amber, don’t say that...” He almost yelled. We sat in silence for a few minutes mulling over our
thoughts. Sometimes... I need to take my own advice, I assessed the damage of my recent
activities. Not just my non activity at church, but my lack of studying my scriptures, lack of
praying, and the nonexistence of service. I need to do better I thought.
A few day later, over the weekend I was in Firth. I very unwillingly decided to go to church. I
planned on only going to sacrament meeting and then going home and taking a nap. It was the
first time I’d been to church in.. I have no idea how long.. quite a while.
As always I took my journal to church. The Australian Open (Tennis) had just finished and I was
writing all about it.. (It wasn’t very exciting!) I began writing about Roger Federer. He’s an
incredible tennis player. Arguably the greatest tennis player ever. I wonder if he enjoys smashing peoples hopes and dreams. No one plays like him. He's flawless and unstoppable. He's misleading and conniving, He pushes you to the baseline, makes you rush from one end of the court to the other, makes you miss shots, hit shots into the net, he is a true master of tennis. He makes you lose faith in your ability to play.
As I was writing all of this in my journal, I realized that Roger Federer is very much like Satan.
(Don't get me wrong, I love Federer.. This is just an analogy) That's how Satan is in our lives. He
pushes and pushes until we can't run anymore. He fakes us out, he hits things at us so hard we
don't even see them coming, he’s treacherous, and a master at masking sin. Satan pushes us to
lose faith in our abilities and in who we are.
Three weeks later my life fell apart (for lack of a better term). It hasn’t been as dramatic as it
sounds but it has still been a rough situation. My roommate asked me to move out 2 ½ weeks
earlier than we originally planned. The place I’m supposed to be moving doesn’t become available until April 1st. She asked me to be out March 1st.
I have a very terrible temper... Horrible.. At that time, the best thing for me to do was, walk out
of the situation until I could be in control and be an adult about things. So I walked out the door
and got into my car, and drove.. fast... I called a friend, (a.k.a. Carlos, or Jake, or Jacob) who was
already in bed (it was 10:30 what a wimp). I hung up on him and Jessie called me.. She demanded that I pull over or at least slow down. I yelled at her and considered hanging up on her, when Carlos called back. I informed Jessie that he was calling me and she told me to answer it and go over to his house for a while until I could calm down. I told her no and then answered Carlos’ phone call anyway. With a lot of persuasion I ended up at his house.
I was angry.. livid... murderous... So The next day, I called a close friend of mine and asked for a
priesthood blessing. What an amazing night that was! And what a paradigm shift I had. I was
given such great counsel and was blessed with comfort and calmness.
My favorite thing I was told was, “You have been blessed with great friends, they are here to be a resource for you, use them, and lean on them for support.” I think this is the purpose of my blog.
Texas was feeling guilty about not going to church.. I wasn’t, but he made me think. I wonder
what would have happened if he hadn’t been feeling guilty, or had he not brought it up. He made
me take a step back and look at the decisions I was making, which encouraged me to go to
church that week and that opened my eyes to see how Satan was faking me out, tricking me and
masking my bad decisions.
It’s funny to look over time and see the people who come in and out of your life. I am not a
believer in coincidence. daily I wonder, why(and sometimes how) “Carlos” and I became
friends... what is his role supposed to be in my life and what is mine in his. Karissa, my bestie in
Cali, I hardly function without her. She is a support even though we are a thousand miles apart.
Jessie, I know I can call anytime for any reason and she will give me honesty whether I like it or
not! The Cleverley Clan, Lyssa, Lipgloss, Ky... and SO many others.. They have and continue to
play a significant role in who I am.
I believe there is a purpose for everyone who waltzes into my life. It’s funny, the ones who you think are crazy, end up being some of your closest friends, and those you think are going to stay with you forever, you end up losing touch with or they betray you and turn their back on you. Things never end up the way we plan, they way we think, or they way we hope.. But I think it’s important to look back and remember that there is purpose in why people are apart of our lives, even if it’s just a few moments, a few months, or a millennium, they were put there for a reason, whether for your benefit or theirs...
So let me end with saying I am so grateful for the support system I have in my life.. Some have
come and gone, some are coming and other are going, but I am grateful for love and support that
they give me everyday. Whether I am at my lowest of lows, or my highest of highs they are there enduring and sharing those moments with me!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
MY BIRTHDAY!! I had actually 3 parties.. I know how spoiled am i? Zak, Joey, and I all have birthdays right close together so we decided to have a birthday party all together before Jana and Matt headed to Moscow.
A tennis racket for the tennis class I'm taking!!
I wish I actually got him and not just the bag!
He is now my candy dish..
I love my Friends!!