February 2, 2013

the icing on the cake

First, I updated my blog layout. I like it and hope you do too.
Second, I updated my Mormon.org profile. Check it out!
Third, life is pretty swell. Mind if I share?

This past week has been EYE OPENING. I've been learning about the atonement, house buying, dating, scholarships, teaching and everything in between. So, this post might seem like throw up ... I'm sorry.

Last weekend, I went on a date-ish thing with Heath. It was a kind of spontaneous "I'll be in your area in a few weeks" thing, but it was lovely. We planned nothing, but did everything -- complete with: ice-skating on the pond behind his house, baking, movie watching, decision making, Frosty buying, driving, grocery shopping, cleaning, talking. It was pretty stellar. Heath is really one of my best friends, despite the distance and the general lack of being together, and I love spending time with him. He is leaving in a measly 25 days on his mission, and I was glad that I got to spend some time with him before he left.

I have also been able to become more confident in the course of this week. I have started the process of buying my very first house and I am so EXCITED! It is such a good investment to make, and I feel like it is going to give me a huge head start economically when compared with my peers. It's been on my list of five year goals for a long time, but now it is finally coming true! Missionary preparation has also helped me to become more confident in my ability to teach and grow in the gospel. I went out with the sister missionaries (Sister Stanworth and Sister Magness) and I left with the biggest grin on my face. I am SO excited to go on a mission! It is one month closer!! I also was able to feel the spirit during our weekly preparation class. With a little bit of practice, I am already getting better at sharing the gospel. It's incredible.

Senioritis, something I thought only happened to other people, has happened to me. I don't have a lot of motivation to do anything. Actually, I have a ton of motivation to do the things I don't need to. I've been writing letters and baking and cleaning out the wazoo. Unfortunately, I've not been extra diligent about applying for scholarships or applying myself in school. Luckily, my senioritis is still not bad. I do my homework, just a couple of days before it's due instead of a couple of weeks.

On Sunday, I was able to learn an important lesson about the Atonement. I've had a hard time grasping what it means to have godly sorrow, and I prayed while driving home from Indiana that I would be able to more fully comprehend it. I talked to the Bishop about it after church and I understand so much more about Heavenly Father and his love for me. Knowing this has been so lovely to remember during the week, simply because I know that I can repent of everything and start anew. Learning this has helped me to continue preparing to go to the temple and go on my mission this year.

I'm doing a three month challenge for Seminary that includes reading the Book of Mormon and praying everyday and keeping the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. I have been working extra diligently on my spiritual health and I feel so HAPPY. Honestly, for a few months there, I was in a true rut. Now, not only am I out of that rut, I am thriving. I am always smiling sincerely and I feel much more kind and much more in tune with the spirit. I love it! 

I have been able to experience the spirit that Ezra Taft Benson promised came with a sincere study of the Book of Mormon: "There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance." 

It makes so much sense to do the things that I know Heavenly Father wants me to do. I read a talk recently called The Fourth Missionary, and it said that the Lord's way is the ONLY intelligent way to go. When I look back on times when I've kind of forgotten the world and have relied on my own wisdom, I remember times of difficulty and sadness. When I look back on times in my life when I've been doing what the Lord wants me to do, I don't remember how hard it was to keep the commandments. Instead, I remember happiness and peace and I come to understand that "wickedness never was happiness." I am in love with my life right now, and I have been so blessed! Heavenly Father is really looking out for me. He always has been.

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