Monday, October 31, 2011

“Faith in God includes faith in His timing.” Neal A. Maxwell

It is amazing to me how things are so interconnected, and so intertwined.  Over the last few days, I have been starting to see more clearly how connected everyone really is.  I have also been starting to see how the Lord wants me and others to learn about various things.  Case in point, the quote above.

For my Teachings of the Living Prophets class that I am taking this semester (for those of you who haven't taken it and still need a religious class for some semester, take it!  Seriously, one of the best religion classes I have ever taken), we are learning about Dallin H. Oaks for this week.  For every member of the Quorum of the 12 and the First Presidency, us students are asked to look up biographical information on them, and then read two talks given by them, one that the teacher assigns and one that we are able to choose.  So, we have done that now for President Monson, President Eyring, President Uchtdorf, Elder Packer, Elder Perry, Elder Nelson, and now Elder Oaks.  But, anyways, I digress.  The teacher talk that was given to us for Elder Dallin H. Oaks was a talk entitled "Timing."  This was a CES Fireside (or Church Educational System) back in January of 2002.  In the talk, he discussed the importance of allowing the Lord's will and timetable to take over in our lives, and not try to force our own will or timetable on the Lord.  Within the talk, he quoted Elder Neal A. Maxwell's quote which is the title of this blog.

"Faith in God includes faith in His timing."  Never before has this quote rang so true to me.  Growing up, I had a plan out for my life.  I would graduate high school in 2008, go to BYU, graduate by 2012, marry in 2012/2013 in the temple, begin having kids by 2014, and be happy.  Now, I am not saying that some of those things won't still happen, but they have shifted ever so slightly.

Even with all the twists and turns that have come, I can honestly say that I have never been this happy.  I have never felt the Lord's guidance in my life more than now.  And, I have an increased faith in the Lord's timing.  This is why I wrote this blog, to share with you all my testimony of that.  I went through a rough time, where I felt alone and insecure.  I seriously believed that my desires would not be met, because there wouldn't be a single person who would be able to accept my past and love me unconditionally still.  But, the things that have happened in my life were things that I was not planning on.  That proved to me that the Lord has a plan for each and every one of us, even though we may think that we will be left behind.  The Lord's plan is fulfilled on HIS timetable, not on mine.  Every joy, every happiness and strength that I have felt has come because I was ready for it.  It didn't come before, because I wasn't ready for it.  It didn't come after.  It came at the precise moment that it did because the Lord knew I was willing and ready for it.  I am so very happy to be in the place where I am now.  The Lord led to things occurring the way that He did because He had a plan for me, and wanted me to be worthy to be on the path.

Back to where this blog started.  "Faith in God includes faith in His timing."  There are many who are struggling because they don't understand why they haven't received various blessings, even when they are working so hard at it.  There are others who receive those blessings, but think that the timing is off, or don't feel necessarily that they deserve them.  I can say, without a doubt in my mind or heart, that the Lord isn't going to give you a blessing before you are ready for it.  He offers and gives them when He knows that you are worthy and willing to receive them.  Whether you are still waiting for a blessing to come, or are beginning to lose your faith, I ask you to remember that the Lord has a time and a place for everything.  He won't promise something and then take it away, especially if you are living the way that you are supposed to.  They may not come when you want them to come, or when you expect.  But the Lord knows exactly what He is doing, and we just need to place our faith and trust in Him.  As we do so, we will begin to see how the Lord has a plan, and will interconnect everything in order for you to learn what He is wanting to teach you.

I know that the Lord's timing is everything, and I just need to trust in His way.  Without this faith and knowledge, I would not be where I am today.  This has helped me and strengthened me in a way that nothing else ever could.  I am grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and am so glad that I am able to have a strong testimony of this Gospel.  Every life experience I have been able to face has led to me being where I am today, and I know that they will help me in my future life.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recipe book?

So, I am thinking about putting together a recipe book, full of delicious dishes that I would love to try.  But, I am having a hard time finding recipes.  So, here is my question to you, readers.  Do you think that you could send me a favorite recipe of yours?  I would so greatly appreciate it!  Thanks!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wanna know the best way to wake up on a Wednesday morning?

By realizing that in the middle of the night, your phone fell to the ground.  As you reach down to get it to shut the alarm off, you hit your head on the corner of your desk that you didn't realize was that close.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

My talk on Honesty.

Good afternoon, brothers and sisters.  My name is Symone Stout, for those of you that don’t know me.  Today I will be talking about something that most of us have been taught since we were little… the principle of honesty.

“Honesty is the best policy.”  We have all heard that saying, right?  But what exactly is honesty?  According to the dictionary, it is “the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness; truthfulness, sincerity, or frankness; freedom from deceit or fraud.”  President James E. Faust also added to this, saying, “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.”  Honesty is an important aspect of life.  Not only do we have to be honest with those who we associate with, including family, friends, ward members, and anyone else you may come in contact with during your life, but we have to be honest with ourselves and with the Lord.  Every action, every choice made is known by yourself and the Lord.  Whether you are honest about what occurred or not, you will know exactly what happened.

In the society that we live in today, it is easier to lie, to deceive, and to justify various actions.  Elder Marcos A. AIDUKAITIS said, “Scriptural teachings on honesty are clear, but unfortunately the world seems to be much more flexible. The world even classifies people according to different levels of honesty. Sometimes we hear of people who are ‘very’ honest, ‘mostly’ honest, or even ‘a little’ honest.” (Honesty in the Small Things)

 When it comes to being dishonest, it is easier to lie about little things than the big things.  Kinda like when you were late to a meeting… or late to anything, for that matter.  Why you don’t have an assignment.  Why you don’t want to go on a date.  Why you don’t want to see a friend.  I know that I have been dishonest in one, if not most, of the things mentioned.

While you may not think that you have been dishonest, chances are that, at one point, you weren’t being completely honest with yourself or those around you.  President Brigham Young said, “If we accept salvation on the terms it is offered to us, we have got to be honest in every thought, in our reflections, in our meditations, in our private circles, in our deals, in our declarations, and in every act of our lives.”
If it is so easy to lie, cheat, deceive, or justify now-a-days, then why should we be honest?  What is so important about being honest? 

In True to the Faith it says, “When we are honest in every way, we are able to enjoy peace of mind and maintain self-respect. We build strength of character, which allows us to be of service to God and others. We are trustworthy in the eyes of God and those around us.  On the other hand, if we are dishonest in our words or actions, we hurt ourselves and often hurt others as well. If we lie, steal, cheat, or neglect to give the full amount of work for our pay, we lose our self-respect. We lose the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We may find that we have damaged relationships with family members and friends and that people no longer trust us.  Being honest often requires courage and sacrifice, especially when others try to persuade us to justify dishonest behavior. If we find ourselves in such a situation, we can remember that the lasting peace that comes from being honest is more valuable than the momentary relief of following the crowd.”  Howard W. Hunter, before he was President, stated, “We often speak of that scriptural reference, ‘Man is that he might have joy.’ There is a joy that comes to one from being honest. Let me tell you how. By this means you can have the companionship of the Master and you can have the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. Violations of the code of honesty will deprive you of these two great blessings. Could you believe that one who would lie or cheat or violate the Word of Wisdom could have the companionship of the Master or have the Spirit of the Holy Ghost?”

That is why it is so important to be honest.  Being honest leads us to happiness, allows us to keep the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and have the Lord’s guidance with us at all times.  By being honest, we will be open to blessings and better willing to do the work of the Lord.  Being honest allows us and lets us feel good about ourselves and our life.  Being honest with those around us leads us to have better relationships.  The Lord wants us to be happy while going through this life. 

Doctrine and Covenants section 97 verse 8 says, “Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me.”

Now, if I can be completely honest (given my topic), there have been times where I made mistakes.  And, instead of fixing them right away or telling the truth about it, I found a round-about way to deal with them.  I chose to not talk about them, or to not tell the whole truth when I needed to.  Instead of making things better, it actually ended up making things worse.  I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t fun, and I wasn’t willing to listen to others because I really felt like I knew what I was talking about.  When I chose to be honest, when I chose to tell the truth, everything included, I felt relieved.  I felt better.  I felt like I could be happy again, and that I could live a life full of happiness.  I just needed to be honest with myself, with the Lord, and with those around me.

Brother and sisters, I know that, in this world, it is easier to lie.  It is easier to be dishonest, especially when bad decisions and mistakes are made.  It is easier.  But, being honest in all your doings, and with all those around you will not only lead to happiness here on Earth, but eternal happiness in the next life.  I can testify to the truth of this.  The Lord wouldn’t ask us to be honest is all our doings if He didn’t provide a way and if it wasn’t important to Him.

Elder Richard J. Maynes said, “Remember, the Lord expects us as members of His Church not only to appear to be good but also to actually be good.”

Please start today to be more honest, if you feel like you aren’t.  Allow the Spirit to guide and direct you.  Heavenly Father won’t lead you astray.  He wants you to be happy, and wants you to feel like you can have good relationships.  All you need to do is start being honest.

I know that this Church is true, and that the Lord is watching over us.  I know that the scriptures are true, and that they hold guidance to help us get through our everyday life.  I know that the Spirit is there to help us and guide us.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, and that he is leading us in the way the Lord desires us to be led.  I know that we can be happy while on Earth and that we can do right, even when it seems easier to do wrong.  Of this I testify in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, October 10, 2011

My view on families.

Today was a pretty rough day.  I don't know why, but today I felt off.  I felt super lonely, and that I couldn't really talk to anyone, which sucked.

Over the last few days, I have been having some impressions and feelings come into my life that have made me gain a better understanding of where my life will be taking me.  I am really so excited to see the direction my life will be taking me, and to see the joy and happiness that will come from following these promptings.

While at Church on Sunday, and in my religion class here at school, I can't help but notice that we have been talking about families, and how Satan is working extra hard to break up families.

For most people on Earth, families are a source of happiness and love.  Family leads you, guides you, allows you to feel loved and appreciated, and helps you when times get tough.  Your family is the one group of people that will always be there for you, no matter what.  At least, that is the case for me.

I have been thinking a lot about my future family over the last few days.  Who will be a part of it, when I will be blessed to be a mom, how I will raise my children, etc.  No, I am NOT saying that I will be starting a family anytime soon, but it has been something that has been on my mind.  Since I have started thinking about it, I have realized that I am having roadblocks placed in my path that would, in my teenage years, prevent me from pushing forward.  These feelings of loneliness, insecurity, and failure; all of these would have made me not want to progress, not want to keep moving forward.

But, I am different now.  Yes, I do feel this way at times, but that isn't going to prevent me from pushing forward.  I have a greater knowledge, and that includes knowing that even when I am feeling alone, I am not really alone.  I have an earthly family and friends who love and support me.  But, above all, I have a Heavenly Father who is there for me, no matter what.  Even when I have made the worst mistakes, or not been the best I can be, He is always there to offer a hand and pick me back up.  He is there to show me the way back.  Because I know that He is there, I know that I don't need to worry.

My Heavenly Father has made promises to me, to us, His children.  As we stay valiant to His commandments, and do as He asks, He will give us those promised blessings.  While I see those roadblocks in my path, I can still know that, eventually, they will pass.  I will keep pushing forward, and I will not allow ANYTHING to take away my goal of a temple marriage and an eternal family.  Even during my "rebellious" teen years, a temple marriage was always my goal, and it is more so now.  I want an eternal family, and I will do anything to get it.

Satan is trying his hardest to tear me down, and not reach my goal.  I can feel it.  What he doesn't know is that my secret weapon will never falter.  What is my secret weapon, you ask?  It is my testimony on the family.  I know that having a family is part of God's plan for His children while living in this earthly state.  I know that families can be together forever, and that God has included families in His Plan of Happiness because He knows the joy that can come from having a family.  I have a wonderful family as it is, and I know that my future family will bring me continual joy.  I just need to keep my head held high, and remember that what God has promised will come as long as I stay positive and work towards following the commandments.

Sorry if this is a really random post, it is just something that has been on my mind for the last few days and I needed to get it out.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Number 400 (it's kinda short... Forgive me)

You won't win, Satan.  No matter how badly you want to.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I want to write.  I need to write.  But every time I start to write...

I lose the words.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My life would suck without you.

I can already tell that, for the next few blogs, I am going to be all lovey-dovey gushy stuffs about a lot of different things.  I am warning you now for that all.  The first people I will talk about are these two lovely ladies.
Me, Chelsie, and Jillise. :]

I have known these two girls now for just about three years.  THREE years!  I cannot begin to express how much my life has changed in the last three years, yet alone the fact that these two have stuck by my side through it all.

Chelsie is my roommate, my twin.  She has been my room-roommate since our second semester out here, so there have only been two instances when we have both been in Rexburg where we haven't lived together, this semester being one of them.  Regardless of that fact, we still see each other daily.  She knows more about me than I do myself, and, at times, it is scary.  But, she has been such a blessing to me since I met her.  She has listened to me laugh about stupid things, cry about hard things, and has pulled me back up when I have fallen.  I know, without a doubt, that I would not have gotten through the last three years, but the last year and a half especially, without her by my side.

Jillise is my ginger.  We lived together our second semester, and every semester after that.  She has transfered out to BSU, and I can tell that she absolutely LOVES it and is thriving out there.  But I still miss her guts.  We still talk often, and I love her.  I know that I can call her about anything, stupid or not, and she will listen to me.  She will give me advice, even when I don't really want it, and will help me see the other side.  She is one of the greatest people that I have ever met, and I am SO grateful for her.

We are The Three Amigas, The Three Musketeers.  These girls have brought some of the best blessings I could ever ask for, and I am so glad that they have been with me.  My life would seriously suck without the two of them, and I just felt the need to express my love and appreciation for these two girls today.  I am thankful that I was able to go up to Boise with Chelsie in order to see Jillise this last weekend.  It was a much needed break.  I am glad that we were able to have fun, be with one another, and talk about things that we needed to talk about.  I am so happy about these last three years, and can't wait to see what lies ahead for us all.

Love you both SO much! <3