Bathsheba Was Not on the Roof: And Here’s Why That Is Important

via Bathsheba Was Not on the Roof: And Here’s Why That Is Important

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Dreaming

Dreams suck.

Some of them are cool, like when I exist in Harry Potter’s world and I save the day.  Those dreams aren’t worth it.

Some dreams are neutral but annoying.  In high school I had the constant dream that I would wake up and get ready for school, only to discover that I was still in bed and I still had to go through the hassle of putting on clothes, tossing on makeup, and eating breakfast.  Devastating in my sixteen year old mind, but tolerable.

The worst dreams make dreaming in general not worth it.  I have a reoccurring dream where (long story short) my best friend from second grade gets stabbed in the eye.  I have dreams where my close friends betray me and leave me for deeply personal reasons.  I have dreams where close friends assault me.  I have dreams where I get kidnapped or tapped and hurt.  I have dreams where I’m stuck back in the worst year of my life.

I don’t know if I can call them nightmares.  I don’t wake up sweating.  I don’t scream out in the night (or my roommates don’t tell me so).  These are simply bad dreams and I don’t have them every night, so who am I to complain?

But when I wake up in the morning after having these dreams and I’m disturbed.  My days drag and anxiety plagues me.  I get nervous about seeing people who don’t even live in my state.  Feeling my heart race when I exercise terrifies me.

Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

What I’ve Learned From Not Buying Anything For the Past 6 Months — Becoming Minimalist

Note: This is a guest post by Britt from Tiny Ambitions. It’s weird to think I’m already six months into my year-long shopping ban, which means I’ve spent the last six months not buying anything other than the essentials: rent, food, and toiletries. Is that radical? Some people might say yes, but I don’t think…

via What I’ve Learned From Not Buying Anything For the Past 6 Months — Becoming Minimalist

 

love the idea of a shopping ban! This is such a great article and I love that this person has been able to learn so much and resist shopping in our world! So awesome and inspirational!

A Boring Blog Post

I have nothing to say.

Life is boring, I’m boring, I have nothing to share.  It’s not that I haven’t been doing things, because I have.  I threw my best friend a surprise party for his birthday.  I’ve had some pretty exciting health problems.  I spent a weekend with some of my closest friends having buckets of fun.  I’ve been working out more than I have in the past three years.  I’m in my last semester of school and I’ve had experiences in my classes.  Nothing I have done and nothing I have thought has been something to write about, it hasn’t been something to share.

It’s actually been really frustrating.  Nothing has been interesting.  All of these exciting things are happening, but none of it is interesting.

I can’t help but wonder what part my depression is playing in this.  I never want to do anything, I would rather just sit around and do nothing.  I want to sleep for 10 hours every night.  My hobbies strike me as boring.  I am having a hard time caring about my classes, it took a D on an exam to shake me into trying in academia.  I haven’t looked for a single job even though I desperately need a job in the Fall.  I cry a great deal, usually at least once a day.  I’ve called my doctor and my medications have been increased.  So far no avail.  I have no motivation and I go to bed feeling defeated and lost every night.

Life is boring and I am boring.

A Minimalist Wedding

Well folks, I’m getting married.

I got engaged on March 24th, 2018.  I did not see it coming.  My fiancé and I decided to get married back on February 18th, but I didn’t expect him to propose until late April or early May.  He definitely caught me by surprise which is a huge feat.  It was adorable, romantic, and joyful.  We celebrated directly after with a bottle of sparkling cider and calling all of the important people in our lives to let them know that it’s finally official.

I’m beyond excited to marry my best friend and to be sealed to him for eternity, but I dread having a wedding.

The wedding industry breeds on consumerism.  Cost of Wedding says that “the average wedding cost in the United States is $25,764. Couples, on average, spend between $19,323 and $32,205 but, most couples spend less than $10,000. This does not include cost for a honeymoon.”  Think of all the things you have to buy for a wedding.  Dress, tux, engagement and wedding rings, venues, decorations, food, chair covers, flowers, and a million other things.

Why not get eloped?

Both of us wanted to get eloped in the beginning.  At times we look back and wish we had taken the opportunity to do so.  Eloping is cheap and fights against the consumerism and commercialism of marriage which is supposed to be about the love between two individuals.  I wanted my wedding to be about two people: my best friend and me.

We decided against eloping.  We wanted our family to be involved.  I wanted my mom to be there and my mom also really wanted to be there.  He wants his folks to be there.  We want our closest friends to celebrate with us.  We want our families to be the focus of the day.  My family, his family, our family.

The ban on receptions.

While we are inviting our family and closest friends to an after-temple-wedding party, we are refusing to have receptions of any sort. We refuse to put on the show that we are expected to put on.  Not only is it unnecessary, but it is way to much for our thin college-student wallets.  Open houses are an option for us.  In-house small parties give us a small opportunity to receive gifts and have fun with people we haven’t seen in a while.

Why I don’t want to go with the flow.

There is a reason that we want to keep the wedding simple and cheap, beyond it merely saving us money.  It is partially because I personally don’t believe in consumerism nor do I believe in the commercialization of love between two people.  I find it unnecessary and uncomfortable for me personally.  Neither of us care about the show.  But, we also want to travel.  My fiancé and I love travelling and experiencing new cultures.  We like learning, adventuring, and enjoying different styles of life.  We’re choosing to prioritize quality time and novel experiences over a traditional wedding.

My final thoughts on weddings.

Traditional weddings are fun and memorable, but I am so happy with the decisions we are making.  The small celebrations we are having put me (and my bank account) at great ease.

I will always recommend a small wedding or eloping if you’re down for it.  If you ever need someone on your side or you need someone to answer questions when you want a tiny wedding, I will always be available for you to contact and talk to.

Putting it All Together-Four

To open, please allow me to be real with the world and with myself:  Life sucks.  Life is hard.  Life is awful and sometimes I can barely take it.  My life can seem so chaotic and hellish and painful that I wonder why I’m still breathing.  I know I’m not alone in those thoughts.  There are many of you out there who are barely getting by with very little energy and very little faith, hope, or happiness.  Life is sometimes nothing more than a huge pile of crap that we have to wade through with nothing on but basketball shorts, a T-shirt, and flip flops.

Happiness can seem very far away and unattainable.  Joy?  Hardly seems to exist let alone be felt in each human soul.  In the Book of Mormon, 2nd Nephi chapter 2 verse 25, that “Adam fell that man might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”  In modern words, this verse says that the fall of Adam occurred to allow for more humans to come to Earth.  Men are created so that they may feel joy.  God has created humans and sent us to Earth in order to feel true joy.  Well why is that a good idea?  Because to me, it doesn’t seem like the brightest idea.  Earth is not my favorite place to be.

Here’s the rational, bear with me:  In the pre-mortal life, we lived with God.  He created us, we lived with Him, it was awesome.  Alas, we could not feel joy.  We weren’t sad in Heaven, no way.  But we couldn’t experience joy either.

It’s like if you eat literally only cream of wheat every day of your life (I know it doesn’t give you all the nutrients you need, just work with me here).  If you only had cream of wheat, you’d be like “Yup this is food and this is food that I eat and it’s normal and fine.”  You wouldn’t have any strong opinions of it and you couldn’t! Because you had no reason to think that any food is any different?  Then let’s say you moved out of your sheltered little cabin where you only ate cream of wheat and suddenly you were in downtown Portland, Oregon.  Food shops everywhere.  You try a kale smoothie, and it’s bitter and it leaves an awful taste in your mouth.  Gross, bad, negative.  You now know that cream of wheat makes you feel happier than kale does.  Cool things, comparisons.  Then you eat a deep fried peanut butter jelly sandwich.  Wow, it tastes so sweet!  There is so much flavor! This food makes you even happier.  Then you see a little ice cream shop and you decide to try a strawberry-raspberry slushie.  It’s the sweetest thing that has ever been in your mouth.  You now have a knowledge of sweet, average, and bitter flavors.  Because you’ve had something as bitter as kale, the strawberry-raspberry slushie seems exceedingly sweet in comparison.

Okay cool, kinda maybe makes sense.  Now, why couldn’t we feel joy in Heaven?

We read about Adam and Eve.  They knew nothing of good and evil and they did not feel joy or sorrow.  I’m sure they were plenty content, but they weren’t feeling joy.  It’d be a bummer, I mean, if they knew how to feel bummed.  When they ate the forbidden fruit, they gained wisdom of good and of evil, they suddenly had a sense of morality, essentially.  In the pre-mortal life, we were much like Adam and Eve before they ate the forbidden fruit.  We did not know good from evil and therefor could never know happiness or sadness.

Why?  What about knowing good and evil helps us feel joy and sorrow?

Alma 41 teaches us that “wickedness never was happiness” (verse 10).  Then, in Mosiah 2 verse 41, we learn about how righteousness brings us joy.

And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

We cannot feel happiness if we are not being righteous and if we do not know good from evil.  And if evil can’t bring us happiness, then only righteousness and obedience to the commandments of the Lord can.

Now, please believe me when I tell you all that being obedient to the Lord’s commandments will indeed bless you and bring you comfort.  Please also believe me when I say that being obedient and righteous will not and cannot solve all of your adversities.  You can be the most righteous ever and still feel immense amounts of sorrow.

There are many reasons as to why we feel pain and adversity.  In a talk called “Come What May, and Love it,” Joseph B. Wirthlin discusses adversity, its purpose, and how we can achieve happiness in it.

Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others.

Because Jesus Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He understands our grief. We experience hard things so that we too may have increased compassion and understanding for others.

Wirthlin speaks of a saying that his mother told him after one particularly awful day in his youth.  “Come what may, and love it,” she said to him.  Those words stuck with him for all of his life.  Something that he said struck me as particularly important.

How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment. I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness. But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.

If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness.

Adversity can be so challenging and so impossible to endure. I know that life can be just the worst, so exhausting and terrifying.  But as Wirthlin says, adversity can lead us to the greatest paths of happiness if we work to make it so.

Wirthlin ended his talk by giving wonderful advice, saying that “As we look for humor, seek for the eternal perspective, understand the principle of compensation, and draw near to our Heavenly Father, we can endure hardship and trial. We can say . . . ‘Come what may, and love it.'”

Life is awful, terrible, horrifying, scary, painful, torturous, and every single other negative adjective that you can think of.  But, friends, there are indeed ways to find happiness in this life.  There are ways to find joy, and every adversity you face is helping you to do so.

I want to bear my testimony to the world, internet, to my Savior, and to myself that I know that there is happiness that can be part of every life.  Look to your Savior for guidance and assistance and joy will be found.

I love you all,

-Lena Holiday

Answers to Prayers

Recently I have had a difficult time feeling the Spirit, or rather, I have been having a difficult time understanding how I feel the Spirit.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I believe that Heavenly Father speaks to each individual through the power of the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Ghost.  Everyone feels the Holy Ghost in their lives in different ways.  The most common way we hear about it is perhaps not the most common way that it is felt.  We hear stories about how someone struggled with a question and they prayed about it long and hard.  Then their answer came to them in the form of a physical voice being heard and a “burning in their bosom” being felt.  Some people flip open their scriptures right to a verse that answers their question perfectly.  Others might meet someone who talks to them and gives them the comfort that they need.  There are so many different ways to feel the Spirit.  This article is as much for the audience as it is for me exploring how I personally feel the Spirit.

Heavenly Father and I know how our relationship works, though I sometimes forget.  He doesn’t often give me answers that I want until I decide on an answer for myself.  When I picked my college, when I chose to serve a mission, when I chose who I wanted to marry.  If I’m making a choice and I want guidance, I don’t get my answer until after I have made a decision.  My Father in Heaven expects me to use my agency to make a decision to the best of my ability after counseling with those I trust and studying on the topic.  After a decision has been reached, the Spirit will either confirm or deny my idea by giving me a feeling of discomfort and restlessness or it will give me a feeling of peace and calm.  When I experience the unease of a wrong choice, I know that it’s time for me to move past that choice and consider my other options.

This isn’t to say that I let my fear stop me from choosing a choice.  I don’t always choose the easiest choice available to me.  In fact, I often feel the most peace when I choose a very difficult and uncomfortable choice.  When I chose to serve a mission, I felt a great deal of peace, despite a proselyting mission being a close replication of hell designed specifically for me.

Feeling at peace in contrast to feeling uneasy is not the only way I feel the Spirit.  I often hear the Spirit in form of my own thoughts.  When I remind myself out of the blue to pay my tithing, I know that the thought came from the Spirit reminding me to be obedient to the commandments of the Lord.  When I think to myself, “maybe I need a priesthood blessing” or “Oh ye of little faith” I know that the Holy Ghost is with me reminding me to be the person Christ knows I can be.  If I ever think something and subsequently wonder if that thought was from the Holy Ghost, I can usually count on that thought being from the Holy Ghost.

Sometimes when I feel the Spirit, I cry but other times I feel like my heart is full of love.  Sometimes I find a scripture that perfectly helps my situation and other times I meet and talk to someone who answers my prayers without knowing.  I receive answers to prayers in so many different ways and I sometimes forget that my Father knows exactly how I need to hear the answers He has for me.  I’m learning to love the way He works and I’m learning to appreciate and notice the way He answers my prayers.

I’m blessed to have a relationship with my Father in Heaven and I’m blessed that He loves me enough to communicate with me on a regular and daily basis.

-Lena