Monday, February 9, 2015

Olympic Dream/Tree of Life

    Does anyone remember when this happened during the 2000 Sydney Olympics? ( You may have to click on the link to watch it in Youtube to actually get it to play).  I've always admired Eric Moussambani’s example of perseverance. Moussambani gained entry to the Olympics without meeting the minimum qualification requirements via a wildcard draw designed to encourage developing countries to participate. Before the Olympics, he had never seen an Olympic-size swimming pool.  Infact, he had also only taken up swimming eight months previous and had practiced in a lake. 
    His story reminds me of the prophet Lehi's vision of The Tree of Life in the Book of Mormon.  The vision was received in a dream by the prophet Lehi, and later in vision by his son Nephi, who then wrote about it. The vision includes a path leading to a tree symbolizing eternal life, with an iron rod along the path whereby followers of Jesus may hold to the rod and avoid wandering off the path into pits or waters symbolizing sin. The vision also includes a large building where the wicked look down at the righteous and mock them.  I had found several connections between Eric Mossambani and The Tree of Life.  First, Eric had a goal.  He wanted to make it to the finish line.  He knew when he started it would not be easy.  He knew he would not be perfect and that he would make mistakes. It was tremendously difficult for him to finish.  He was tired but he still gave his best effort and did not give up.  Although it was very challenging, he eventually made it to the end.  Just like Eric, we have come to earth with one goal.  That goal is to go back and live with our loving Heavenly Father.  We also knew it wouldn’t be an easy task.  We knew we would make mistakes.  But with the right perspective, keeping our eye on the finish line (or the Tree of Life), we can do it.  I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to take upon Him our sins and sacrifice His life so that we could be forgiven.  Second, in order to succeed, Mossambani and the other competitors had to follow the rules of the sport. Sadly, two of the competitors did not follow the rules.  They had a false start and were disqualified from the race.  We also have rules we must follow in this sport called Life.  God has given us commandments. They are found in the scriptures and taught to us through living prophets.  When we obey, we are blessed and when we disobey, just like the disqualified swimmers, there are consequences.  Another similarity between Mossambani and Lehi's vision are the mockers.  When Mossambani first jumps into the pool, you can hear laughter from the audience.  The crowd doesn’t believe he can do it.  In Lehi’s vision, there is a crowd of onlookers who watch the righteous and mock and laugh.  Mossambani did not let those who laughed at him influence his determination and just like him we must also not let those around us influence our determination to be obedient.   At the end of the race a reporter asked Mossambani how he felt and  he simply answered, “I feel good.  I feel happy.”  Being obedient to God brings happiness.  It allows us to live with no regrets.  Eventually it brings the greatest blessing of all.  To live with our families with God forever.  And isn’t that what we all want?  

I know I do. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tender Mercies


          The Sunday before last I was driving home from church and I told my roommate about a situation in my life I had been slightly concerned about.  I’m not going to write it down here because it would seem small and silly to most people.   I am not even going to have to face the situation for a while.  My roommate Alison listened and looked at me and said, “Why don’t you use this as an opportunity to pray for a small miracle in your life?”  So that night I started to pray.  The next day I was asked by my Family Home Evening group leader to give a thought on Tender Mercies the following week.  Interesting timing, right?
         Several years ago, my roommate came home worried because she had lost her wallet and had no clue where it could be.  The next day I was at the grocery store shopping for food and while I was getting rung up, a girl came into the store, walked up to the cashier and told her she had found a lost wallet outside the grocery store.  I remember it had been snowing so it was impressive she had even seen it on the ground.   I watched as she opened up the wallet and pulled out the identification and said my roommate’s name.  I quickly said that I knew that owner of the wallet and that I would let them know right away to come pick it up.  I was shocked.  I couldn’t believe it.  What were the chances of me being at the exact right place and at the exact right moment when the wallet had been found? Many people would call this a coincidence.  I believe it is something more.  Elder Bednar taught “tender mercies are very personal and individualized blessings that we receive from the Lord. They come in a very timely manner, and provide us [with the] help and support we need – just when we need it most.”  Experiences like mine are frequently incomprehensible, but that doesn’t make them any less real. 
          As I studied about tender mercies in preparation for my lesson, I learned there are two rules we can apply to a situation to see if it might be a tender mercy.  The first rule is found in D&C 46:15, “And again, to some it is given…according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.”(emphasis added)  From this scripture we learn that the Lord is able to suit his tender mercies according to the condition we are currently in.  The second rule is found in Alma 25:17, “the Lord had granted unto them according to their prayers, and …he had also verified his word unto them in every particular.” (emphasis added)  From this scripture we learn that the Lord is also aware of the particular needs that fill our life. These two scriptures lead us to believe that if a coincidence is suited to condition we are in, and fills a particular need, it might not be a coincidence after all.  Instead, we should view it as a tender mercy from the Lord (  Elder Bednar taught “I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord’s timing of his tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them.”

How can we recieve tender mercies in our lives?
       1.    Faith
“But behold I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, (And why are they chosen?)  because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance” (1 Nephi 1:20). 

       2.    Obedience
“It is our hearts and our aspirations and our obedience which definitively determine whether we are counted as one of God’s chosen.” Elder Bednar

       3.    Gratitude
"We should be grateful for all the tender mercies that come into our lives.  We are unaware of hosts of blessings that we receive from day to day. It is extremely important that we have a spirit of gratitude in our hearts." Elder Cook

          I cannot imagine living a life where I did not have a knowledge of the Gospel.  I believe all things denote that there is a God and if we are mindful, we will see indications of His love and power in our lives and in the world around us. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

I've been biking a ton lately.  I don't go long distances but love to spend an hour hiding around town or down the Provo River Trail to Utah Lake.  Last week, I rode to the Utah State Hospital and took a break to practice my death defying handstands on the wall of the castle at the amphitheater.  I can't wait to find more trails around Provo to explore.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Best birthday party ever!

A couple months ago my Aunt and Uncle sent me an invitation to my cousin Mark's Beach Birthday Bash.  I have been so excited and last Th I flew to Houston for it.  My family drove down to Gavelston, TX and enjoyed a long weekend at a Beach house.  We went to the beach everyday, ate amazing food, rode rides at Pleasure Pier Boardwalk, ate gourmet snow cones, celebrated Mark's birthday, and just relaxed.  I wish it could have lasted longer because I enjoyed every second of it.  My whole family on my Mom's side was there (which is really small-only 13 of us) but it was great to be together since that hardly ever happens.  Today is Mark's actual birthday.  Happy Birthday Mark!  Thanks for inviting me to your party!!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

I finally got to see Wicked!  It was amazing.  I've loved the music for a long time (obviously since my blog title is a Wicked reference) and have always wanted to go.  I was suppose to go with my roommate Lisa, but through a strange twist of events, I ended up going with my other friend whose name is also Lisa.  We made a fun night out of it and went to one of my favorite restaurants in SLC- Spitz.  If you've never been, I highly recommend it.  Anyway, it was amazing to be able to hear the music live.   I loved every single second of it.  I didn't realize Galinda was so funny! 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Still got it

I had a friend invite me to stunt with him a few nights ago.   He cheered at Dixie State.  It's been quite a while since I have stunted so I was a little nervous but it was fun!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fun weekend

          I have been meaning to post some of my pictures from my Georgia trip but my cord to transfer my pictures is temporarily missing so that will have to be on hold for a bit.  
          My old roommate and really good friend, Crystal invited me to go fourwheeling with her family this weekend.  Her family had also borrowed a rzr from their neighbor.  There was a group of eight of us and we started at Hobble Creek canyon and rode to Daniels Summit Lodge  in Heber to eat at the lodge restaurant and then rode back again.  The lodge was super yummy and the ride was beautiful.  We even saw a few deer along the way.  Thanks Crystal for the invite!