Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Real World- Inside my Newest Original Song

Click here to view video and listen to the song                                                                                       The song I'm sharing with you today is one that i was really inspired by the Spirit to write and I lately I have really felt impressed to share it hoping that maybe others can relate and find inspiration in it. This song is called "Real World" and it was inspired by a few different concepts. It's been really interesting to come home from my mission and review my pre-mission life and kind of everything I used to do before the mission. The social media presence in our time is huge, I feel like especially for my generation. I remember before my mission getting so caught up in comparing my news feed to the next girl or guy and constantly trying to live up to this portrayal of that "pretty girl" on Instagram who has lots of followers, lots of likes, lots of self validating comments, and whatever else. Everyone's life seems so fun, adventurous, flawless, blah blah blah. But then I shut down my phone and shipped off for eighteen months on a mission for my church with no Instagram or Facebook or any social media of that nature. There we use iPads for the missionary work and I was blessed to learn really inspiring principles from a pamphlet called "Safeguards for Using Technology" and it taught me amazing safeguards and principles I can govern myself by when it comes to technology use. It talks about things such as the purpose of our technology use and if we're using it for good, our discipline in our technology use and how much time we're using on it, how often we open it up, and things like that. I became so good at these habits of proper technology use but I was scared to come back to the real world of Instagram and Facebook and everything else. I just wanted to keep these safeguards somehow. It has been really interesting to come back after eighteen months of serving the Lord and serving His children (which is something that brings a far greater sense of fulfillment and satisfaction) and realize that all of that self validating social media use isn't as attractive anymore. I really don't care that much about it to be honest. I haven't gone all anti-social media. I still think it is an amazing tool that was inspired and it can be used for such good purposes, but I have found such greater joy and entertainment and satisfaction in living life in the REAL WORLD detached from checking my newsfeed and notifications every two minutes. Enjoying vacation time without feeling like I have to capture everything in a cool photo to post, or enjoying time with my family without feeling like I have to be connected with some social virtual reality all day every day. I think social media has its good purposes and I love staying in touch with people, seeing what they're up to, and I really do enjoy a pretty picture every once in a while, don't get me wrong. But I think it's more of the perfect portrayal of our life mentality that is affecting so many people of my generation. The dirty comparison game that is the thief of joy! We all just need to be happy for each other and NOT feel like if our life isn't the same, or our wardrobe isn't the same, or our body isn't the same, or  our whatever isn't the same as the "pretty girl" we are following on Instagram that somehow, our life doesn't have as much worth. I hope this can help someone somewhere who may feel a little lost and undervalued because of this sneaky mentality the adversary tries to manipulate us with. Heavenly Father knows you, loves you, and sees you. Greater joy than ANYTHING ELSE is found when we are following Him, serving Him, and serving His children. That's where true self worth comes from. And that's where the best kind of self validation comes from, I promise!

Im staring at the photos 
Of who I am supposed to be
What I'm supposed to see in 
The mirror will tell you many lies
Like you're not good enough
So you gotta keep trying
Oh in my head, I can feel at peace
I'm never satisfied, cause it's all just a lie to myself

Please tell me what is it worth?
To be "that pretty girl"
The bill came and it's quite the cost
As we're feeling worthless and lost
But there is so much more to me
Than what they're seeing on the screen
The Lord gave me a greater cause
And since then, I can see this isn't the real world after all. 

We're all so trapped in this game
Of my world verses yours
Our feed decides our worth
What if we turned off everything?
Captured what's around with only sight and song
We're all made for far greater things than what this world provides while we're trapped in all its lies of who we are 


The real world doesn't look this perfect every single day
We all feel some pain too
Photos might hide everything on the other side 
So we all must realize
We can't live our lives through a screen, no

(Finishing Chorus)
I promise it's not your worth
To be "that pretty girl"
The bill came and it's quite the cost
We're better off, seeking the One Who knows where we're lost
There is so much more to me
Than what they're seeing on the screen
The Lord gave me a greater cause,
And since then I can see this isn't the real world after all

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.