Painted by the amazing, beautiful, and talented Mckenna Kirby. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Power to Redeem Cover

With a little free time on my hands, I decided to make a cover to this Lauren Dangle original "Power to Redeem". I heard it for the first time a few weeks before coming home from my mission. One of the missionary's had it on their CD and I fell in love with it. My favorite line is "with breath that brings the dead to life, with words that pierce the dark with light." The Savior's life truly did make it so we can live again and that I know with all my heart. And His words have pierced my own spiritual darkness bringing further light and understanding about who He is, who I am, and what the purpose of this life is. I am so grateful for that because its changed my perspective on EVERYTHING! I especially cherish the beautiful stories of the Savior's ministry unfold in the New Testament as well as the amazing doctrine about His power to redeem in the Book of Mormon. Upon returning home, I think I have re-fallen in love with music and I love sharing my testimony through it. I hope you enjoy!





Monday, July 10, 2017

Sacred Ground to Me - Kyndal Cowper (Original Song)



Why Serving A Mission Wasn't the Best 18 Months of My Life

I have recently returned home from my 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Texas Dallas Mission. It has been a whirlwind of emotions and feelings the past six weeks since returning home and naturally I have found myself pondering back upon my mission a lot. It is an incredibly exciting time as I have watched my amazing friends return home from their missions and to reunite after a long 18-36 month time. It has been fun to catch up, compare our mission experiences, and share our testimonies of the principles that will make a life long impact upon all of us. But something that keeps pressing on my mind is a common phrase I have heard over and over, "My mission was the best eighteen/twenty-four months of my life. I would give anything to go back." The more I have thought about it, the more I have realized that my mission WASNT the best eighteen months of my life.

Before you stop reading here, click the little red "x" at the top and assume that I've gone apostate and hate my mission, I would like to explain myself here a little people. Yes I absolutely loved loved loved my mission. It was so sacred. I loved serving God, becoming best friends with His Son Jesus Christ, teaching the liberating principle of repentance, bringing others unto Christ by helping them receive the ordinances and covenants of the gospel, and everything else that a mission entails. I grew in ways I never expected. I truly came to KNOW my Savior Jesus Christ. I grew to love so many amazing and awe-inspiring people. Don't get me wrong, my mission was THE SINGLE MOST sacred experience of my life..............up to this point. That last part is crucial for me. UP TO THIS POINT.

In the last few weeks of my mission, I had few too many nights in my little apartment in Plano, TX crying myself to sleep because the thought of going home felt like a knife in my stomach. Sure the mission wasn't easy, but the thought of not being around my mission president and his wife all the time, leaving my new life-long friends I had made in the missionaries around me, and not being able to focus on solely teaching repentance 24/7 made me want to curl up under a rock and never come out. I felt like I was drowning in fear of the "real world" and felt hopeless as I wondered how I could ever be this happy again. I had lacked faith in the idea that the Savior could provide just as much (if not more) strength/grace off the mission as He did while I was on the mission. I was in denial about leaving and felt anxious anytime someone would bring up the fact that I was going home soon.

During our last day as we said goodbye to the Taylors and headed to the airport to leave Dallas, I remember feeling so broken hearted. As one of my companions and I were contacting people in the airport while we were waiting for our flight, I think I might have turned to her and said something along the lines of "This sucks", or "I hate this", or "My heart feels like it is shattering into a thousand pieces", 869,003 times. I was so full of gratitude and love for my mission, and yet so full of frustration that it was all ending right then and there. I remember praying on the airplane and saying something to the affect of, "Heavenly Father, I hate how I feel right now. I know this is supposed to be a triumphant and happy time of my life coming home from a mission and all, but I don't feel that way. I am supposed to go home and be happy and feel at peace that I am done, but right now I don't feel that way. I don't want my mom to see me like this. I don't want my family to think I'm not happy to see them or to be home. This is supposed to be a good thing. So please, Heavenly Father, help me feel like this is a good thing."

With that simple prayer, I continued to watch the skyline of Dallas fall behind us through the airplane window. I remember a clear thought come into my mind saying, "if I provided so many miracles on the mission, why don't you believe I can still do the same while you're home. Why do you believe my grace is going to end now?" To be honest, I was kind of taken back by that thought. For a short moment, it popped me out of my own little bubble of doubt and faithlessness. It surprised me to come to the realization that with all the faith in my Savior my mission led me to acquire, I wasn't having faith in Him now.

As we came down the escalators at the SLC airport to see our family and friends, I felt so excited and so happy to be with them again. The sadness and feelings of being broken hearted slowly began to leave and I felt an incredible feeling of excitement for what lied ahead. As we drove up to our hometown to be released by my stake president, I had anticipated a tragic thirty minute meeting where I would inevitably feel empty, purposeless, horribly devastated, and every other negative feeling you could possibly feel.(dramatic, I know) But the Lord didn't stop answering my simple airplane prayer. As we sat there and I recounted all the things I had learned and all the things I had felt, I felt so peaceful. I felt so strong, empowered, happy, excited, and faith filled. My stake president is a very inspired man and I remember chills just rushing over my body as he said the words, "You are being released as a full time missionary, but not as a missionary. You are being released from full time service but not from full time discipleship. You are being released from the bounds of the little white handbook, but not from the sacred bounds of your covenants. When the black tag comes off, your REAL mission begins. This is the real mission. This is where you can truly prove yourself as a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ."

To any and all return missionaries who may be reading this and who may have struggled with the same feelings of, fear, doubt, confusion, purposelessness, etc, I would love to share with you a saying my mission president would always say to me, "Your mission is simply the launchpad of your life. You can't stay forever, or else you'll never fly." So don't feel hopeless. Take faith in yourself and more importantly in the Savior. Continue actively and energetically living as a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ. Keep your mission habits. Keep studying your scriptures every single day, praying sincerely every morning and night, fasting regularly, go to the temple every week, take the sacrament every single Sunday, and focus on turning outwards and serving others at all times, and you WILL BE OK. Trust that the Savior will put you in the right places at the right times just like He did on your mission. As I have focused on these things that past six weeks, I have felt an amazing sense of perspective and joy and Spirit permeate my return-missionary life, even though I have no idea what I am doing with it. Don't let doubt weigh you down. Keep living by the same principles and habits you learned on the mission, and let your mission launch you into life FLYING. My mission was amazing but it wasn't the best eighteen months of my whole life. I know and trust the best are yet to come as I continue living as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.













Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Vietnamese Sister

Happy Monday!

This week was had days of utter miracles and days that were blah and
uneventful. But hey, that's life right?! First of all, on Monday we
set a baptismal date with two of our investigators. David and Kristy.
They are from Vietnam and they are SUPER cool. He speaks little
English so his wife translates for him but they truly love their
Savior and they just want to follow Him the best they can. The concept
of the priesthood really stayed with them and motivated them to
continue forward. We originally set their date for this coming
Saturday the 5th but have to push it back because we felt like we were
rushing them a little. Because of scheduling conflicts, the current
date isn't until April 9th but I'm so excited for them. They have
already brought their friends to lessons with us and they brought one
of their friends to church on Sunday and they want us to come over on
Wednesday night to their little worship get-together to meet more of
their friends. We keep joking about how just from the Phams, we are
going to get a whole flock of their Vietnamese friends to be baptized
and start the first Vietnamese branch in Dallas. Haha! We call
ourselves the Vietnamese sisters because we joke about how we were
going to get called to learn Vietnamese to be the sisters for the
branch. Haha!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

End of First Transfer

So this week marks the end of my first transfer. (That's something new
to me in the mission. Time is measured by transfers which are every 6
weeks). Sister Byers and I were convinced that she was staying in
Allen one more transfer but lo and behold, we get a call this morning
and she is being TRANSFERRED! She is going out east to Tyler and I am
staying in Allen and getting Sister Jones as my back up trainer. I've
heard awesome things about her and how hard working she is. But I'm
sad I don't get another transfer with Sister Byers. I know President
Taylor is inspired of the Lord and I know the Lord has His own plan
for this area.

This week was hard but good nonetheless. My body reached a whole new
level of exhaustion. I think the biking everyday all day thing along
with such a new vigorous schedule has just left me wiped after my
first transfer. My body felt so weak this week and I felt so mentally
exhausted. But it really helped me to humble myself and realize that
"as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself,
but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things."
(Alma 26:12). The work here in Allen is really picking up and I trust
that the Lord has many prepared hearts that are ready to receive the
restored gospel into their life. I just want all y'all to know of my
testimony of this gospel. I know Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father
really live and that they know each of us personally. And that's not
just me being naive or hopeful. I have had evidences all throughout my
life to backup my faith. So many prayers have been answered in ways
unexplainable by human logic and after that happens time and time
again, I can not blame it on coincidence or chance. I feel my Saviors
love and my Heavenly Fathers love. I feel of His reality in a very
true sense. I know there is a plan to our life and a reason for us
being here on Earth. I know we can return to our Heavenly Father as we
ACT on faith and become better and better every single day of our
lives and as we become more like the Savior and emulate the way He
lived His life. His life of love, service, diligence, obedience,
humility, and hope. It's real. And as we live according to the gospel,
EACH of us will be blessed. This isn't just a religion or a faith but
it's a way of life that will give us the most fulfilled sense of joy
and satisfaction. A sense of satisfaction and joy that nothing else in
this life can bring with such magnitude. And it's not just a gospel
for some, it is for EVERYONE to benefit from. That's the Lords hope is
that everyone will follow and be blessed by His truth. I'm not on my
mission because it's a social norm in my church, or because it was
expected of me in anyway. I'm here because I know our Heavenly Fathers
plan of happiness is REAL and what we teach everyday about Joseph
Smith restoring Christs church in its fullness to the earth is REAL.
The promises and blesses we make and receive at baptism is REAL. Trust
me when I say that I would not be here doing this, serving with every
ounce of energy I have, if I wasn't sure this gospel is a good thing.
It will bless. I know it. It has blessed my life beyond explanation.
It is something that is not worth being lax about. I think you can
understand why I might say, if it's true, (and it is), then it's a big
deal and each of us ought to investigate it for ourselves and find out
for ourselves. As we bring in the New Year, I urge you to push forward
in hope and build your faith in these things. I promise you it will
change your life eternally for the better.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Pictures from 12.14.15 Email





A Savior is Born

Lately, as we knock doors and talk to people, we have been using the
new Christmas video "A Savior is Born" on our iPads to contact. It's
been the nicest tool! It's a great way to just catch their attention
and start a conversation about the Savior and their beliefs. It's such
an inspiring video people usually love it and it really breaks the
ice. It's interesting because sometimes when people answer the door
and we ask if we can share the video with them, they immediately get
freaked out and tell us they already have their religion and they
already found Christ and shut the door. I just think it's funny
because we are just asking if we can share an inspiring 2:00 clip
about the Savior with them for Christmas. I mean of course we'd love
to share more of our message specifically, but if they don't want to
listen to our message, then at least we'd love to show an inspiring
video about Christ. But I get it at the same time. People have their
preconceived idea of missionaries so it's understandable from their
viewpoint. (Still kind of ironic to me though. Haha) My favorite was
this cute lady who was outside with her teenage son yesterday and we
asked if we could share the video. She told us she was a devout
Catholic but she would still watch the Christmas video. Her sister
came out and they all watched it. When it ended she was like, "Awww,
that wasn't long enough! That what so beautiful I loved it! Thank you
for what you do and going around sharing this message." She was so
cute and so nice!
I love moments like that. When people make it clear they don't want
to hear us in a polite way but still "rejoice in Christ" with us and
find common ground that we all feel good about.

A flat tire, a sweaty face, and a few miracles

¡Hola mi familia!
I may not be a Spanish sister but I can pretend. :D This week has been
quite the adventure to say the least. It's been very trying and a
growing experience. Remember how last Monday I wrote that I had a sore
throat. Well, I woke up on Tuesday and it was a lot worse! I could
hardly talk and I felt really exhausted. My companion taught me the
importance of taking care of ourselves so we can fully do the Lords
work so we stayed in all day so I could rest. I didn't realize
how tired I was until I would pass out into a deep sleep for 2 hours
at a time. But my companion is the sweetest and just made me soup and
made me feel better about staying in because I was pretty stressed
about not being out. The next day I didn't feel that much better but I
didn't want to stay in. It was so cute, so we were at a Zone
Conference on Wed. and my throat was still pretty sore and my voice
was so hoarse. Half way through the meeting, Sister Pickup catches my
attention from the door and waved around a bag of cough drops. I asked
if she had any that morning and when she said she didn't, she dropped
us off at church for our meeting and went to the store to get me
some!!! She is so sweet!! It's been a pretty slow week and we haven't
had a ton to do. We got lost on Thursday trying to find our dinner
appointment and had a crazy time racing across time. Then Friday, Oh
Friday! That was a rough day. We were so excited to meet with our new
investigator Monts and had scheduled for Friday morning. I was already
in kind of a bad mood that morning because we hardly had ANYTHING
planned to do on Friday and that was frustrating me, and then on our
way to our discussion, my light on my helmet fell off when we were
crossing the intersection and my batteries flew everywhere, then my
jacket got caught in my tire and got it all black and dirty. Then
Monts wasn't home! :( don't worry, the story gets better. We go home
for lunch and planned on trying Monts afterwards. So on the way back,
drum roll please...my tire on my bike popped!! So we walked the rest
of the way to her apartment only for no answer, and had walked all the
way back to our house. There were some tender mercies along the way
though. It just so happened the ward mission leader of the 7th ward
(not a ward we cover) was driving through the parking lot next to us
when my bike tire popped so he offered his assistance. We didn't need
any at the time but it was a tender mercy just to know he was there.
Then a sister from the 3rd ward came over to give us a tube so we
could fix our tire. We fixed and THOUGHT it was all set so we started
heading off to our dinner appointment across town. As we started
going, my tire was getting flat again!! It was so hard to ride and we
were already running late for our appointment so Sister Byers was a
beast and "Tour de Franced" it to the members home for me (clearly
she's buffer than me). Dinner was fine and the members were kind
enough to take our bikes to the gas station to fill them up with air.
We continued on our night to our next appointment across town again
just to pull into the apartment complex parking lot and get a text
from the person saying we would have to reschedule. We hung out heads
and laughed. By the time we had biked from one end of the area to the
other three times during the day, we finally went home and ended the
day. It was crazy but it was a great learning experience just to
practice (notice how I say practice because I'm not good at it yet)
being positive in frustrating times. Saturday was pretty crazy too but
okay. We taught Seth and Lilian, our other new investigator, the
restoration. He is so awesome! He is very open minded and willing to
pray about what we have taught. He has a lot of great questions that
are so valid and really make me think and dig deep. It's great! I love
it!

I realized in church yesterday that I felt so weak and EXHAUSTED this
week because I really wasn't relying on the Lord. I was trying to rely
on my own strength and just make it to the end of the day. I was
praying for help or strength. I wasn't focusing on Christ and my
purpose as a missionary. I realized I need to pray for strength every
day. At first it might just be enough to get out of bed and start my
day, but over time as I have more faith, I will feel the strength to
get through my whole day and be able to teach with power. Small by
small. Line upon line. Precept upon precept.

D&C 64:33 has become a go to scripture for me. It's gooood! Go look it up. <3

Well know God is good and trying times are for our benefit.

Two quotes that I love (thanks Staci Castle):

"All crosses are easier to carry when we keep moving." -Elder Neil A. Maxwell

"There is divine purpose in the adversities we encounter every day.
They PREPARE, they PURGE, they PURIFY, and thus they bless." -Elder
James E. Faust

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

There is Always an Adventure Awaiting You

Over the past year in my life, I feel like my ambition for life has grown so much. I just want to become someone with an amazing life story by the way I live, learn, and understand the world. Traveling is so important to me. Ever since I was little, the strong desire to travel has always been within me. I've seen that desire come to life in the past year as I just realize how capable I am of doing that. I've always loved photography and I've always loved capturing and seeing Gods beautiful Earth. I think about the day Christ created the Earth, and how He made every part of it so different, so varying, so beautiful and I can't help but want to see it all. The world is like a book, and if you don't travel, you are just staying on the same page. I simply don't think you can get the whole story that way. I love knowing that there is a world (literally) of possibilities of adventures I can have and lessons this world can teach me. I am in control of the way I live my life and if I choose to follow my dreams. My dream is to travel, learn, and embrace this beautiful Earth and this beautiful life. 



CLICK HERE FOR MY VIDEO OF THIS SUMMERS ADVENTURE 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Having a Piece of Heaven on Earth


 A few weeks ago, I went through the temple for the very first time to receive my endowments. It was truly a beautiful day and it was an experience I'll remember forever. The temple is a very different place of worship than I was used to, I'll be honest, but I have always had a testimony of temples and their purpose so I am eager to learn more. The first time through was just taking a lot in. When you prepare to go for the first time, you may or may not have 1,455,657,888 people tell you that. But I will never forget how I felt. First, I felt privileged to be there. Second, I felt so loved by Heavenly Father and everyone around me. As the words of the temple workers were uttered to me the first time, I may not have understood everything, but I felt God's love. I knew He knew me, and I knew He was proud that I made it to His house. Third, I felt in awe. I felt in awe of how much I DO NOT know. Once I had gone to the temple, I felt like a whole other door of the gospel was opened to me as if showing me that there is SOOO much to this gospel and to the Plan of Salvation that I do not understand and may not til I have passed from this world. Overall, it was just a great day filled so full with the Spirit. As I have gone back, I have already gained a love of the temple and I want to go ALL the time. I wrote about this already in my last post, but the feeling of being able and worthy to enter into the Lord's house is so so good. Please oh please, never forget that you are NO EXCEPTION to the blessings awaiting you in the temple. Each person is meant to receive those blessings at some time or another and no matter where you are in your journey of life, you CAN come to the temple, if you choose to make it a priority. I promise you the blessings are worth facing whatever opposition you are dealt and I hope you will seek to find a testimony of the temple, so that no matter what storms blow against you, you will know there is a lighthouse worth pressing forward for. You are important to Heavenly Father and He wants to bless you with the promises of a joyful eternity. This Earth was created for such a divine purpose and I got such a strong glimpse of that, that day there in the temple. We are all daughters and sons of our Father in Heaven, and we can always count on Him to lead us through our lives. The temple is Heaven on Earth and the best place to get perspective on our lives. I can not wait to keep going back and can already see how it might bless my life forever.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

"I'll Go Inside Someday..."

If you think of the Mormons, most likely a beautiful, tall building comes to mind...the temple. This post is about the temple, but I don't want to waste a lot of space explaining the importance or purpose of the temple (as wonderful as they are and as much as I would like to). If you would like to know more information about the "Mormon Temples", click here

So last night I wrote in my journal about a powerful experience I had on Sunday. I had my temple interview with my bishop and at the end of the interview, he asked the all encompassing question, "do you find yourself worthy to enter into the house of the Lord?" I always feel hesitant to answer this question because even though I know I haven't done any major things wrong, really what I'm being asked is if I feel worthy enough to be in the presence of the Lord. I know that I am far too flawed and imperfect to be in the glorious presence of my Heavenly Father so I always feel conflicted when I answer. But in the moment when he asked me that, the Spirit completely washed over me and I began to feel this complete peace in my heart and I felt so whole and complete. The Spirit was telling me that, "Yes! You are worthy!" Now that doesn't mean I'm perfect. I'm far from it. But to me, that moment of complete peace and comfort meant that my constant efforts of choosing the right in all situations and striving to be virtuous in all things was not going unrecognized by my Father in Heaven. My friends, that feeling was AMAZINGLY to feel. I started to cry as my bishop had asked this question because I looked up at a painting he had of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in his office, and I felt like my conscience was completely clean before them.  I had nothing to hide or be ashamed of. Sure I have messed up, sure I have sinned in ways I am not proud of, and no you don't have to be "perfect" to be pure and worthy. The important part is repentance and coming to a point where you completely turn your heart to the Lord. I can promise you now, that ANY SACRIFICE is worth that feeling of peace and comfort knowing you are worthy to be in the presence of the Lord. Any path of repentance, no matter how hard it may seem, is worth being able to say that. Keep trying. Keep seeking after knowledge of our Lord and His house. Keep living the standards, though they are (trust me, I know) difficult at times. Make the temple your goal and you too will feel this joy that I describe. I want you to feel this way but more importantly, Heavenly Father wants YOU to feel this way because He loves you with an eternal, perfect, forgiving kind of love. Keep your eyes on the temple my friends, and do not give up on yourself. ❤️ 



Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Little Poem for Missionaries Everywhere

Written by yours truly <3

When you embrace the light 
It's a glorious feeling to know
The life you live is better 
And immediately begins to show 

You want to do the best you can
You want to live the truth 
In this you find your happiness 
And live it in your youth 

The day is nigh, when you shall hear
The whisper of His call
An invitation to do His work
Be strong, choose right, walk tall. 

With cheerfulness you'll answer,
Exclaim "Of course I'll come!
I will work to serve your children
Until my body's numb!"

In this He will delight 
And bless you oh so great
Especially because He knows
The struggling that awaits

Once you decide to go 
And you decide to make the climb
Expect the Devils company
In record breaking time

he will test your goodness
he might even break your heart
And with everything he has and knows, 
Start taring you apart

That serpent that would take your life
If was given the choice 
Finds joy in your discouragement 
In your sorrow, he'll rejoice

Soon you'll feel not good enough
You might even feel alone
Your testimony might shake a little 
You may be guilty prone 

Why is it right when you begin to feel
The surety of this trip,
Does all this opposition come
And make you lose your grip?

To answer this question simply
The bad is always there
As surely as the good moves forward
The devil sets his snares

But on the other side
Lies the Winner of it all
Trust the One who's victory
Will always catch your fall

Know that He is always there
Have faith to move ahead
As surely as you take each step 
Each one is divinely led

Press onward missionary
Especially when times get rough
Don't ever let the devil tell you 
You are not good enough 

Monday, June 29, 2015

You are Assigned to Labor in the...


Texas Dallas Mission
English Speaking
Provo MTC
November 11th, 2015


          Well Yee-haw Skip-a-dee-doo daw! I'm serving a mission in Dallas Texas! For me, a mission call has been a LONG time comin. I have wanted to for sure go on a mission since I was 14 years old and ever since, I dreamed of reading my mission call and the words it would say. I have had countless dreams of places I was called whether it was Italy, Michigan, Iowa, or the middle east to teach Al-Qaeda. None of those dreams came true as it turned out (I'm especially grateful about the Al-Qaeda one). Since I officially turned in my papers, the three week wait to receive my call was near painful. I JUST WANTED TO KNOW! So when I was at work and received a text from my mom with a picture of a pretty white envelope that had come in the mail, you can imagine my excitement. I told all my friends and had to wait till 8 that night to open it. My emotions were ALL over the place in the minutes leading up to my call opening. The moment I slid my finger through the top of the envelope to slit it open, my heart began to beat out of my chest. Naturally I couldn't hold it together when I read the words, "Dear Sister Cowper." I lost it... I'm surprised anyone understood what I said considering I was bawling the rest of the time. When I read the words, "Texas Dallas Mission," shock overcame me for two reasons. One, I totally thought I was going to some foreign, Spanish speaking country because I have taken six years of Spanish class. The second reason is because I am VERY familiar with the Dallas area considering that is where my siblings have lived for ten years and we have made several visits. I know Dallas well. But this made it all the more special. If you were there or watched the video, you heard me let out an obnoxious cry as I put my hand over my heart when I read exactly where it was I was going. In that moment, I knew Heavenly Father knows me. Whatever apostle it was that assigned my call doesn't know me personally. He had no idea that my siblings live in Dallas. He had no idea that I have been there and driven through my mission several, several times. But the Lord knew. Out of the 409 missions all across the world, I was called to the one I need to go to. You know, I was always afraid that if I was called state-side, that I would be bummed. But I don't think in those few minutes or hours after I opened my call, I ever felt disappointed. I just felt and knew that Dallas, Texas is where I am supposed to be. I know the Lord has prepared me for people there, and has prepared people there for me. It feels right. There is a feeling of possessiveness when I get to call the Texas Dallas mission MY mission. I am so excited to serve the people of Texas and do my very best to bring them to the truth of their loving Father in Heaven and their wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ. 



On the left is a picture of me and my other half Shelby. She has been my rock and my very best friend and I'm so excited to be a sister missionary with her. She has been called to serve in the Washington D.C. South mission.

On the right is a picture of my friend Daryl and I. Him and I are going to the exact same mission and let's just say when he showed up late and found out I was going to Dallas, he ran and picked me up off my feet and carried me across the lawn screaming, "YOU'RE GOING TO DALLAS!!!" Ha ha. I can't believe I'm going to the exact same mission as my stake mission prep buddy. Can't wait to give ya a solid handshake when I see ya in the field. ;)


My cute mums and I.


"TEXAS!"


Maddy's face = priceless

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I am in Love with my Body

 That's probably not the most common thing you hear, huh? Well, its true! I wake up every day more and more in love with my body. But you see, here's the thing. I am not in love with it because of the way it looks. Nope. Nu-uh! I love my body for all that it is and all that it does for me! I wake up every day so thankful that my heart is still beating strong, my bones are in tact, and that I don't have any significant complications with my health. Not everyone can say that last part, so with that I feel especially thankful. I am pretty sure somewhere in every prayer I say, I make room to thank Heavenly Father for my body, because I have this weird theory that maybe if I thank Him enough, He will see how grateful I am and shield me from any complications. Okay, so maybe thats not completely how He works and if it be His will that I go through physical trials in my life, then I trust Him and will push through it. But for now, I am just enjoying my healthy body. I just love all the things that it does and can do.

I recently got back from our team's cross country camp where we ran and ran and ran some more for three days in the mountains while we all camped together. It's such an enjoyable experience and I always come back from it loving my body even more. We do this 6 mile run up the mountain on the second day of camp known as the "guts run". Coach calls it that because he says its for us to see how long we can run on pure guts and determination when every other fiber of our being wants to stop running. By the end of the run, despite the ache and fatigue, I always just look down at my legs and think, "Wow! They can really do that?!" And there are so many other amazing experiences that I can have with this complex little machine. Run to the waterfall, bike the canal, swim in the ocean, zip-line through trees, hug those I love, play instruments, taste chocolate and so so much more.

Everything our bodies can do and experience for us is purely amazing. The more I think about it, the more I start to understand Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness. Yesterday, I listened to David A. Bednar's talk called, "Things as They Really Are" (I suggest reading it if you want a moment of "oh my heck, life makes sense now!") and it really gave me such a new perspective on my body and my purpose here. It was a part of God's plan for us to come to Earth and gain bodies because He knew there was a depth and intensity of experience that we need and of which we could only experience in this state of being. Our state of existence in the pre-mortal life could not have provided us the means to experience and feel in the way our body lets us feel now. This physical vessel that carries our spirit is the instrument that helps make up the foundation of our character and mind. Our bodies are literally physical instruments given to us in order to amplify our ability to experience. With it, we are able to more fully comprehend what it really means to obey and live the principles of the gospel. With it also, we experience feelings such as joy, excitement, love, disappointment, sorrow, fear, etc. We could not have done these things had we not accepted our Father's plan to leave His presence and receive a body. (The faith we must have had in Him and His plan!) The more you begin to understand these truths of our body and its purposes, the more we honor it as the vessel and instrument to carry us to salvation and exaltation. And the more we honor it, the more we want to take care of it, feed it nutritiously, and exercise. The more we take care of it, the more we will protect it by not engaging in dangerous activity. The more we protect it physically, the more we want to protect it symbolically as we strive to dress modestly to keep it covered and sacred to us.  Our bodies are truly a sacred and beautiful instrument. Treat it well. And love it too! Don't beat yourself up because your body isn't the "ideal" image of what you think it should be. In fact, to come up with one "ideal" image of what our bodies should be is probably offensive to the One who created them, each beautifully and uniquely for each of us. Fall in love with your body and everything about it because like I said before, it is the vessel that will carry you to your salvation and exaltation!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Satan is a Bumwipe

Last night I really got a glimpse of Satan's work in action. I witnessed the destruction he has caused in a loved one's life. It made me mad. Not at my loved one. At Satan. I had never felt the true reality of Satan and his mission to destroy the way I did in that moment last night. Before my eyes, it was like I could see Satan's joy in every frown line on the face staring back at me. To spare you from any unnecessary details, lets just say, I ended the night feeling pretty stinkin' helpless despite my best efforts to help and enlighten the situation. I realized the helplessness of my situation, but I also realized the fact that I did not feel hopeless. The Spirit really just gave me the biggest confirmation of the power of Jesus Christ. Words not of my own thoughts entered my mind and just comforted me saying, "Satan has a strong hold on 'said loved one' but Christ is so much more powerful. Satan is a no good, wimpy little spirit who has never had a body and who has never accomplished anything worthwhile. But you see, Jesus Christ, He is someone truly powerful. He is not only a being of flesh and bone, He is a being of resurrected flesh and bone. Jesus Christ Himself has overcome death and broken the bonds of sin. He is real power because He has real power! Satan has nothing on Christ. So fear not, because Satan can not win. Just pray for a miracle and pray for the atonement to heal and redeem 'said loved one'." Last night, I truly just gained such a strong conviction in my heart that Christ is so much more powerful than Satan. When we look around our world today, it may seem like Satan is winning sometimes, but we must have faith in Heavenly Father's plan and in the eternally powerful atonement that Jesus Christ performed. However, you might wonder why so much bad and heartbreaking things happen if Christ can beat Satan. Well, Satan only has "power" over us as we let him and because this life is supposed to be a test to prove if we can choose the right, we often find ourselves in a war against Satan. But because Christ loves us so much, He is constantly working for our happiness and in the end, we can trust everything will be okay through Him who has All Power. We must remember that no matter how strong of chains Satan has on someone's heart, Christ can break those chains. He can overcome anything Satan throws His way. Whenever you feel like Satan is winning in your life, or in the life of someone you love, I plead with you to stay strong in the faith of our Savior Jesus Christ and to always remember the infinite power of His mighty atonement. It may not feel like Christ has won yet, but I promise HE WILL. Not one fiber of my being doubts that Christ will win and not one morsel of my soul doubts that everything will be okay in the end. Just have faith in our Savior and know He is forever more powerful than that little bum wipe named Satan.

"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who created the heavens and the earth, a light which CANNOT BE HID IN DARKNESS;" D&C 14:9

Take that Satan...take that.