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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Mountains to Climb"

In April 2012 General Conference, President Henry B. Eyring gave a talk called "Mountains to Climb".  It is phenomenal, and if you want to read it, you can find it here.  For those of you who don't know, General Conference is a huge LDS meeting that is held twice a year, in April and October.  It goes for six hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday of one weekend.  The Prophet, the Twelve Apostles, and other leaders of the LDS church speak.  

This conference was at the end of my freshman year of college.  During the following summer, I decided to study the talks from General Conference to see what I could learn from them to help me have the Spirit more.  Towards the middle of the summer, I started studying this talk.  I would listen to at least once a day, and by the end of the week, I felt like I knew it pretty well.  In the talk, President Eyring talks about a time when he prayed for mountains to climb.  He says,

"Within a day or two my prayer was answered. The hardest trial of my life surprised and humbled me. It provided me a twofold lesson. First, I had clear proof that God heard and answered my prayer of faith. But second, I began a tutorial that still goes on to learn about why I felt with such confidence that night that a great blessing could come from adversity to more than compensate for any cost."

Later on in his talk, he says that it was unwise for him to ask for trials when he wasn't quite ready for them.  As I thought about this, I decided to pray for strength, that when my "mountains" came, I would be ready.  When I started to pray, I felt like something was wrong.  I thought about it for a while, and then tried again.  I realized that my prayer was what was wrong, and that I needed to pray for something else.  God wanted me to pray for mountains.  

This was terrifying for me!  I had just read the words of an Apostle of God saying that he shouldn't have prayed for mountains at such a young age, and now I felt prompted to ask for my own.  So, I kept praying.  The longer I prayed, the more I felt peace about it.  So I said a prayer asking for mountains to climb.  I felt excitement and peace as I did so. 

Expecting to have my trials show up as quickly as President Eyring's had, I was surprised when nothing huge happened for a whole week, and then a month.  Hard things that I had already been struggling with kept happening, but nothing new pounced on my life.  I kept praying that I would be able to learn what God needed me to learn, though.  

Yesterday I was watching my little sisters as they were sledding.  At one point, I turned around to check for strange cars (since my parents live in the middle of no-where, that happens sometimes) and I paused when I saw the mountains behind my parent's house.  I remembered my prayer from over a year ago, and thought about what my mountains have been.  In the past year alone, I have had some of the most beautiful experiences, and some of the hardest experiences of my life.  The past three years have been a whirlwind of terribly hard times and wonderful, unforgettable moments.  

One of the biggest thing I have learned is that "mountains" aren't bad.  They are hard, and they push us to our breaking point.  But if we let them, they can bring us closer to God.  And if we come closer to God, our breaking point becomes a mere stepping stone as our capacity to endure increases.  The biggest thing that I have learned is that we don't ever have to be alone.  God is just a prayer away. 
 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Why Thanksgiving is the Hardest Holiday for Me

On Monday, Jordan and I went to our institute class.  Institute is an LDS school of religion.  We can choose classes about things like certain books of scriptures, church history, or parables of Christ.  Our class that we've been taking is about the history of our church, and it has been really good.  The teacher is an amazing historian and has so many great stories and insights that make the class absolutely fantastic.  The lesson on Monday was about some of the struggles and hard things that the early LDS people had to go through, which was a little odd to teach right before a holiday where we are thankful for our blessings.  He challenged us to spend some time this weekend to be alone and say a prayer of gratitude.

Today, I was trying to do just that.  This time of year is probably my least favorite part.  Three years ago, my friend died in a car accident.  Two years ago, my wonderful grandma was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.  Both things happened just days after Thanksgiving.  So on this holiday when I am encouraged to be happy and grateful for what I have, I am reminded of loved ones I have lost.  Those memories come back with full force, and though I try to think about other things, I can't avoid wishing that they could be here.  

I know I already posted about being grateful for hard things, but I really felt like I needed to say this today.  Though Thanksgiving is hard for me, it is also beautiful because for a couple days I remember and think about all the people I have loved who have passed away.  I remember who they were, and what made them unique.  I remember the ways they shaped me into who I am today.  And I remember that although there is heartache, it will not last.  Because of Christ, they will live again.  I have felt His love and their love too many times to doubt that fact.

So, I choose to be happy, despite the pain.  I choose to have faith in my Heavenly Father's plan, even if I can't see the end right now.  I choose to cherish the memories that I have, because they encourage me to be a better person.  I want to be like the early pioneers of my faith, and hold strong no matter how hard it may seem.  This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for love, and family, and Christ.  I am grateful for the people who have loved me and helped me grow.  If you have ever made me smile or laugh, you are on that list.  I am grateful for for my health. I am grateful for my wonderful, amazing husband and for his example to me.  And I am grateful for my angels. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Illinois

When I was in 5th through the first part of 7th grade, I lived in Illinois.  It's been eight years this week since I moved back to Utah, and Illinois has been on my mind a lot lately.  This post is for my friends in Illinois.  I want you to know who I am now, and I want to know where you are now.  I've been thinking a lot about what I would have done differently if I could have another shot at living in Illinois, and the only thing that I can think of is that I wish I had talked about my church more.  Let me explain.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  A nickname for members of my church is Mormons, which is easier to remember and more commonly used.  And now I have a confession for you.  Part of our church history is that after the church was organized, the members moved to Nauvoo, Illinois to avoid mobs that were trying to kill them all.  They eventually had to leave Illinois because of the threats from the mobs, and came to Utah where they settled down.  When I first moved to Illinois, I was afraid that I would be treated much the same way, so I didn't talk about my religion very much.  I shouldn't have been afraid, but in my child's mind, I decided to just not talk about it much.  My biggest regret is that I didn't talk about it.  Remember how I avoided boys and boyfriends like the plague?  The prophets have taught that we should avoid steady dating or boyfriend/girlfriend relationships until we are old enough to start looking for a spouse.  This is why I never told you who I had a crush on.  And believe me, I had plenty of crushes while I was out there.  Ha!  I should have just told you, but I was afraid of mobs.  Kinda silly, huh?

I am deeply religious.  Next to my family, my religion is the most important part of my life.  If I didn't have my church, I would not be the person that I am today.  Some of the key doctrines that I believe is that God is our Heavenly Father, His Son is Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost testifies of them.  I believe that God speaks through prophets and apostles, and that His church has been restored on the Earth today through Joseph Smith.  God's prophet today is Thomas S. Monson.

I believe that families can be sealed together forever in temples.  Families are why we come to earth, and God has devised a way for us to be with the ones we love for eternity.

I believe that God hears prayers, and that He answers them.  We are His children, and He wants us to talk to Him.  I promise that if you pray and ask Him how He feels about you, He will answer your prayer.  I can guarantee that you will be surprised at how deeply He loves you.  I know that I am always surprised when I ask.

I believe that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.  It is one of the most powerful books I have ever read, and I know that it is true.

After family and religion, learning is a big part of my life.  I'm studying horticulture in college right now.  I'm not sure where I'm going to go from here, but I love learning.  When I am done with college, I'm gonna keep learning as much as I can.

I love music!!! While I was in high school, I played violin and saxophone.  That's another story in and of itself.

I love my husband.  He's kind of amazing, and I am definitely the most lucky girl in the world.  We've been married for four months, but some days it feels like it's been years, and other days it feels like it can't have been more than a week or two.  Some day, I hope that you can meet him.  I've told him all about you guys, so it's only fair, right?

This is just a brief list of the things that are important to me.  So much has happened since I moved back to Utah, and I want to tell you everything.  That'd take a while, though.  Could you do me a favor?  Send me a message with a question, and I'll answer it here.  And please, tell me about your life!  Are you working, are you going to school, are you married?  Dating?  What is your religion?  I'm sorry that I haven't kept in contact with you as much as I wanted to, but I hope that maybe this will make it up to you some how.

Before I say goodbye for now, I want you to know just how much I love you.  When I first moved to Illinois, I was afraid of not fitting in.  But you loved me and accepted me in a way that I had never been accepted before, and only a handful of times since.  Your friendship changed my life in a very real way.  Thank you for loving me, and for being you.  I love you all!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Gratitude

I read a scripture in the Book of Mormon that says, “… being commanded of God to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things.” (Mosiah 26:39). 
God wants us to pray.  I've been thinking a lot about that for a while, and will post something about it soon.  Right now, I kind of wanted to talk about the second part of that line. 
I’ve always understood that it’s important to show gratitude for blessings and to say thank you when someone does something kind.  But this scripture says to “give thanks in all things.”  Not “give thanks in things that make you happy” or “give thanks for beautiful, lovely, wonderful, hmm-that-smells-good things”.  Give thanks in ALL things.  That does include good, wonderful, hmm-that-smells-good things, but it also includes the bad, hard, cold, lonely times, too. This has made me think a lot about my attitude towards trials.  We all have things that push us to our limits, but I’ve never thought about giving thanks for those times.  I just want them to end.  However, I believe that there is something important in this concept, of being grateful for everything.  I’ve been trying to implement this in my life, and it’s not a natural reaction, let me tell you! It takes a LOT of effort to be grateful for something that hurts, more than I would have ever guessed.  But I think that this is worth a shot, because this process can change us to become people more like our God.  That’s why He gives us commandments.  They are His path to become like Him.  I challenge you to resist the urge to complain when something unpleasant comes up, and instead say a prayer of gratitude that God has a plan for each of us and He lets things happen that help us grow. 




Friday, August 30, 2013

Grandma

I like metaphors.  I like to see the parallels in the metaphor that connect with me in my personal life.  And I like creating metaphors that help me explain things, cause I feel like I make more sense that way. So my little thing for right now is actually not very little at all. It is pretty simple, though, and can explain what I have learned recently.

My little thing is a tree. Well, technically, a couple of trees. This picture is of the Quad on USU’s  Campus, and those trees have been there for years! I’m not entirely sure how long, but I know it’s close to 80 years, if not more. They are huge Norway Maples, and are perfect specimens of that species. And they are going to die.
I had a class where we discussed trees and managing them in landscapes. We talked a lot about these very trees, because a plan is in progress to tear them down. I was pretty confused until we learned that the trees are already dying. They have reached the peak in their life span, and are declining – fast. A large number of the trees have had large limbs removed because they were a safety hazard to the people on campus.

Every species of tree has a different lifespan. Some live for ten, twenty years, whereas others can live for thousands of years. God designed them all differently, and had a specific plan for each.

So, if God spent such care in his design of trees, don’t you think He would have a very specific plan for each of His children here on earth? Over the past several years, I have come to learn that He does.

My amazing Grandma Mary passed away a little over a year ago, the week before classes started.  She died from a cancer that the doctors could only remove once. When it came back, which they knew it would, they couldn't do anything. For a long time, as my Grandma struggled with this, I was so angry at the doctors who treated her. I was angry that they didn't do more for her. I was angry that they gave up so easily. I was angry that something so small could do so much damage.

Time doesn't always erase pain. For me, though, it did bring understanding. Mostly, I knew that I couldn't stay mad. I needed to have faith in God, and His plan for my Grandma’s life as well as my own. I know that doctors are doing all that they can to learn how to treat cancer and other illnesses, and some things are really truly out of their grasp.

This past week, a young man died at USU. I didn't know him, but I did mourn for his family and friends because memories of my own pain were so close at the time. I wondered about this man, and what God’s plan was for him. As I did, the Holy Ghost whispered to my heart that this was the young man’s time to die. God does care about us, and even though death is tragic and heart breaking, it is another step in the path to return to Him.

Another thing that I have learned in the past year is that it is okay to cry. After my Grandma passed away, I realized that I was also mad at myself, because I kept crying. I had had family and friends pass away before, and felt the Holy Ghost comfort me and let me know that they were okay. So why didn't I have more faith now? Why couldn't  I toughen up and stop being a wimp? I had faith that she was in Heaven, that now she was at peace and her pain was finally gone. So what was wrong with me? As I thought about this, a sweet, peaceful feeling filled my heart, and the thought came to mind, “It’s not a bad thing to cry because you love someone.”

How grateful I am for the tender mercies of our Heavenly Father! And how grateful I am for love, and the joy that comes from it. I love my Grandma. She is one of my heroes, and I miss her so much. But I know where she is. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of us, and some day, we will be resurrected. This life is not the end, and it is not what eternity will be like. If we follow God’s commandments, we can be with Him again.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Little Thing #1

My name is Kylie Lawson. I'm not entirely sure how this whole blog thing is supposed to work. Do I just write down my thoughts and hope that that someone will read it? I have no idea. Ha! This is going to be a journey for me, that's for sure.

I've been thinking about writing a blog for a while now. Actually, it was a prompting from the Holy Ghost that this would be a good thing for me to do. I have felt over and over again that I need to share what I know about God and His church, to share how I feel, and to share the gospel of Christ in any way that I can. A couple months ago, Al Fox spoke at my singles stake conference thing. (That was when I was single.) Her story was amazing! If you don't know about her, look up her blog, cause holy cow! She is kind of my hero. As she was speaking, I kept thinking, "She's a blogger. Maybe that's what I could do, too." And ever since then, I've been trying to learn about blogs as much as I could. And now I've made one! Let's see how it goes.

The hardest part in making this blog was deciding on a name. I'm not good at creative stuff like that, but I wanted it to be my idea. So, it took a while. I decided on the name/title "Little Things" because it's the little things in life that are the real treasures. And to start, I'd like to talk about one of my favorite little things.

On July 6, 2013, I was married to probably the bestest guy ever. His name is Jordan, and yes, you can be jealous. And my favorite little thing right now is the ring that he gave me on our wedding day. It's small, but symbolizes so much. It says to all the single guys, "Walk away, this lady is taken!" It's from the love of my life, and when I look at it, I think of him. It's also a reminder that we are married for time and all eternity. You have no idea how happy that makes me! We will be married to each other FOR EVER!

And the biggest reason that I love this ring is because it reminds me of that. Cause sometimes, I want to be selfish. But I've noticed that when I think about what I want, I am unhappy. Like, a lot. But I've also noticed that when I think about ways to make Jordan happy, I end up feeling so happy that I want to burst! And I don't even care about what I wanted before, because I have everything I need. I'm learning that our marriage is happier when I am selfless, and do all I can to serve him. My ring is a constant reminder of that fact, and will undoubtedly be a reminder of many other things to come.