Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Guest Post: Letter to a new convert



Happy New Year's Eve! Tonight I have a snazzy guest post for you guys :) WhitneySue over at Feel My Sunlight has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints her whole life and I super love her blog.

Recently, she had this brilliant guest post idea that we write letters to each other. Her letter is titled "Letter to a New Convert," and mine is "Letter From a New Convert," posted over at her blog (see it here!). When she emailed me to tell me about her idea, she said it would be awesome to see different perspectives on being part of the LDS church. She's been a member her whole life, but admits that sometimes life-long members can take the church for granted - talking to new converts helps remind her of why she "first fell in love with the gospel" :)

On the other hand, life-long members can have valuable insights to share with new converts, plus reading her testimony is pretty amazing. Enjoy, and be sure to check out her blog with my post! :D

<3 Marie-Rose

Monday, December 22, 2014

How to make cool canvas quotes

I'm home for Chrsitmas!! :D

A couple days before leaving campus to come home, I took a study break to make this beauty: 


It's kind of hard to read, but you can probably figure out that it says "I will go and do the things with the Lord hath commanded." I'm quite excited that I had the opportunity to do this :) 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How do you "Christmas season"?

Have you ever been on LDS SMILE? It's pretty snazzy. Sometimes it's spiritual, sometimes it's funny, and occasionally it's weird but that's okay.

Anywho, so one of their posts came up on my Facebook newsfeed this morning, and it's awesome, so I feel the need to write my own post about it. Disclaimer: I borrow liberally from their content and ideas here. All credit for this post pretty much goes to LDS SMILE. And some to my Relief Society president.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Insert "What am I doing with my life" rant here

Guys, remember that thing about how I like fashion design but I'm also majoring in chemistry but taking fashion classes and maybe minoring in it and I wanna run a dress shop but chemistry will definitely pay better? (If you've read my About Me page, you know what I'm talking about)

Yeah, about that.

Friday, November 21, 2014

How to make fun floral centerpieces

I know I'm not a DIY blogger, but I have some readers who will be planning grad parties sometime in the next few years, and I thought I'd share with you guys how I made some cute centerpieces. This post has been in my drafts for a while, and I thought I'd finally get around to posting it.... hehe :) (feel free to pin all the things to Pinterest! :D )

So here's what my finished product looked like:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

I am now a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

EXCITING NEWS! I WAS BAPTIZED ON NOVEMBER 15! I no longer have to say "convert to the church" when identifying my religion- I can say MEMBER! :D

A post about everything is coming, but I spent all of today (Nov 16) in bed sick, and I have a LOT to do before Thanksgiving break. Patience, and I'll get to it :)

Thank you guys for being awesome readers! Your support has been awesome! I'm so excited to share events of yesterday with you!

<3 Marie-Rose

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Happy Dance :D

Soo yesterday I had my baptismal interview. It still doesn't feel quite real that things are finally happening, but November 15 is a week from today!!! :D

My dad came to visit last weekend, as I mentioned he might do in this post. He brought the lefse things, and also we sat and talked for a long time. We started out discussing school, and then what everyone at home is up to, and work, and what I've been up to... And finally we got into talking about church.

Friday, October 24, 2014

!!!!!!! THERE IS NOW A BAPTISM DATE !!!!!!!!

Tonight, I had the opportunity to meet with the sister missionaries. They're pretty much the best. We've been meeting weekly since I've been here at college. And tonight was one of the most amazing spiritual experiences I've ever had.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Guest Post by Mikayla: A Conversion Story

Hey guys, so I don't remember if I mentioned this, but a while back I had a reader contact me wanting to talk about the church. She had been attending church for like 6 months, but due to the lack of a ride and her job she had to quit going. She had questions about some things, like the Word of Wisdom, but she was pretty sure the church was mostly true. We sent emails back and forth a lot, and eventually added each other on Facebook and exchanged phone numbers. She just got baptized last Saturday the 13th, and I am SO happy for her. I asked her to write a guest post, and here it is :)
<3 Marie-Rose

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Making progress

Guess what! I'm at college now! Three weeks of classes under my belt, and I'm really liking it here. Especially the whole I-can-go-to-church-whenever-I-want part :D I'm attending YSA activities, I did (almost) a full fast for the first time on Fast Sunday (still had water, but I get dehydrated easily and that leads to massive headaches. Also, fasting in general used to lead to massive headaches. Last Sunday, though, I was fine!!), and testimony meeting was awesome.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

#collegebound, and History Trek

This whole being an adult thing isn't working out for me, guys. If we could go back in time one year so I could have my senior year back, that would be great! :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I have a testimony: Beauty in familiarity

Sometimes, it's fun to do the new and exciting. Sometimes, you want to rearrange your room or cut and dye your hair or buy a new outfit that's totally different from your usual style. Sometimes, you can't wait to move on to the next stage in your life and have new experiences with new friends.

And sometimes.....you don't. (Well no duh, Marie-Rose, we knew that)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Don't judge a book by its cover

I had the opportunity to attend sacrament meeting today :)

This morning, I went to mass, as usual, except today it was just my mom and me. My dad and sisters went to a later mass. I wanted to go early cuz I had plans for right after 9am mass, and going to 10:30 mass wasn't gonna work for me. Anywho, since my sisters weren't there, I didn't have to take communion to keep up appearances :)

I totally had a Catholic Thoughts post idea, but it sounded like I was attacking the Catholic church for their beliefs, and I don't want to do that. I can't expect people to respect my faith if I don't respect other faiths.

SO here's a post that was triggered by one of the songs from sacrament meeting :)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Pinterest button

Note: I will be posting some tutorial and DIY stuff over the next couple of weeks. I like sharing cool stuff that I've learned how to do with you guys, so you can make use of it too. Please comment with whether you like these types of posts or not. I could just stick to spiritual stuff, but it's hard to post those things on a regular basis cuz it's hard to come up with ideas :)

If you view my posts on a laptop or desk computer (in other words, not a mobile device), you may notice a big Pinterest logo pop up whenever you mouse over an image in my posts. This is new, as of like a half hour ago, you're not imagining things :)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pioneers

D'you know how, in the scriptures, they're always like "remember how the Lord brought our fathers out of captivity," "remember the captivity of our fathers," etc?

I was reading Alma 29 the other night, and came across these verses:
11 Yea, and I also remember the captivity of my fathers; for I surely do know that the Lord did deliver them out of bondage, and by this did establish his church; yea, the Lord God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, did deliver them out of bondage.
12 Yea, I have always remembered the captivity of my fathers; and that same God who delivered them out of the hands of the Egyptians did deliver them out of bondage.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

An update and much busyness

Hey internet friends! Is busyness even a word?

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Turns out graduating high school doesn't mean you suddenly have free time. I have a job. Grad parties take a lot of work. I didn't realize I would have to take college placement tests. There is much cleaning of my room to be done in prep for moving out. There are many thank-you cards to be written for grad party gifts. Orientation is coming up fast, and so are all the things I have to do before going. And I'm not even close to moving in yet!

So I would like to apologize for being absent from the blogging world. Not only have I not been posting, I probably haven't read any posts by my fellow bloggers. I'll try to get to that soon, but my life is kinda hectic at the moment :) It's like life just keeps getting busier. I should probably get used to it and kick my procrastination habit.....

Update on me taking the missionary discussions:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Patience, grasshopper

Today was my first missionary discussion :D

I'm 18 now, I've finished my senior year of high school (no more homework!!!) and I'm super excited to be taking steps towards finally getting baptized!!!

The discussion was amazing. The Elders told me a little about themselves, and I shared my conversion story (well, the events thus far, anyway, as I obviously haven't been baptized so it isn't quite official). We talked about my parents' thoughts on me joining the church (more on that later). One of them said he felt impressed that we would receive revelation as to how to help my parents feel more comfortable with my conversion. They asked me how I think of God; I said as a loving, Fatherly figure who cares about us. We read some scriptures and talked about the Restoration. My goodness, the Spirit was strong. And also, I learned that I need to have patience.

So maybe I can't get baptized June 14 because my dad needs time to ask questions and come to terms with what this all means. A couple of my friends might miss my baptism, but it's more important that my dad is happy and comfortable with my choice. I really don't want to wait, but I've known for two years that Heavenly Father is trying to teach me patience. Maybe I haven't quite learned enough yet :)

Know this: right now, I am just as serious about getting baptized as I was June 12, 2012, when I was prompted to make my choice. I know that this is the right path for me to follow. I'm not doing this because my friends are members. I'm not getting baptized to make people happy.

I want to get baptized because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's true Church. I want to get baptized because we are to follow Christ's example. I want to get baptized because I know with all my heart that Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost prompted me to choose this path. Baptism symbolizes beginning a new life, but that doesn't change my personality. It barely changes my standards, because I've been trying to live LDS standards for two years now, maybe even a little more. It might change how I spend my Sundays, but that's certainly a good change. "By their fruits ye shall know them," and attending church will certainly bring forth good fruit in my life.

LDS readers, I want you to think back to your baptism. Why did you want to get baptized then? If you were a convert preparing for baptism right now, what reason would you give for wanting to get baptized? How has your testimony grown by attending church since you were baptized? Please share in the comments, I would love to hear your experiences :)

<3 Marie-Rose

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tutoring at midnight

I am exhausted and I really need to get up on time tomorrow, so this is gonna be short, but on Twitter this morning I promised you guys a post. So here it is :)

I'm up super late tonight cuz I was helping my sister with her math homework. Her class is learning the same concept as my Calc II class, but she's seeing it for the first time, whereas we're expanding on things we've seen before. My sister is struggling with the concept. I feel like I finally understand it at the level her class requires, but I'm drowning in the new material I'm supposed to learn. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

I have a testimony of the Atonement and Resurrection

The other day in mass, the priest told a joke to open his homily (this is a common way to begin, actually). It went something like this:

So on the 3rd day, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and found it empty.

John 20:11-17
11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

(at this point, no one suspects a joke, because it was the Sunday after Easter and it makes total sense to discuss this subject)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Guest Post: Katie's Talk

As promised, Katie's talk from Stake Conference :)

Good evening; I am Katie from the (location withheld) 5th ward. I am 18, the middle of five children, and my parents were converted into the church after having my two older siblings. This gave me the great blessing of growing up in the church, though we haven't always gone to church consistently. My younger sister is disabled and has to have one of our parents home with her almost all the time. Furthermore, she doesn't have a working immune system, so we can't bring her to church with us. Because of this, only one of my parents can attend church every week with us kids. But, my mom is also a nurse, so when she worked Sundays, us kids would have to be dropped off by ourselves at church. Because I wasn't comfortable being at church without my parents, I often didn't go. Because I wasn't at church often, I didn't know a whole lot about the doctrines. I knew the basics and believed what I had heard, but I felt like I was missing a lot of the knowledge that my friends had.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I have a testimony of fasting and prayer

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend Stake Conference for the first time ever. Yesterday was my mom's birthday, so I didn't think my parents would let me come. BUT my neighbor, seminary class, and various leaders prayed and fasted that I would be able to go.

Friday night, my dad told me I wasn't allowed to go. I was majorly disappointed, especially cuz Katie would be speaking. More specifically, she had been asked to speak about her work as a member missionary, being involved in both my conversion and the conversion of another friend (whom I call BatMoose on the internet). (PS I've asked Katie to email me her talk so I can put it up as a guest post for you guys!)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ye are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)

I realize I've posted on this topic a million times before (see I wanna be baptized, 212 Days, and Eternal Awesomeness) (okay, so maybe not quite a million, but close enough!), but today is the 14th of the month. Three guesses what that means!!

Two months left, guys! I get baptized in two months!! Well, actually that date might be slightly subject to change, as I have a friend leaving for a summer semester at BYU and another friend going on vacation right around that date, but I am determined to not push it back any farther. If anything, I'll move the date *up* :D 

"Excited" does not even begin to describe it. 

OH! Also guess what :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kintsukuroi: a method of repairing pottery and people

The other day, I was listening to a conference talk from October 2013, cuz I have some old talks saved on my iPod and I hadn't yet had a chance to download the new ones (PS I've since downloaded them, just haven't had time to listen to  any of them).

Called of Him to Declare His Word, Elder Randy D. Funk

This talk is all about missionary service, but that's not really the point that hit me.

We are broken so that Heavenly Father can heal us to be stronger than we were before.

Monday, March 31, 2014

CTR rings are my favorite

I love my CTR rings. I wrote another blog post about them here.

Soo I wanted to learn a little bit about their history :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Productivity, patience, and also a mini spaz attack.

I was reading the April issue of  New Era trying to find a good topic for a new blog post, and listening to the EFY 2013 CD on YouTube, when this song came on. It's called The Girl I Am and it's exactly what I needed to hear today.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I have a testimony of putting God first

Today, the topic is putting Heavenly Father first in all that we do.

I'm involved in this fundraiser. It's a fashion show, and the entry fee for a design is $250. It's due April 24. I just started planning fundraisers this past week, which was my spring break. I didn't think we could possibly raise that amount in such a short amount of time.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I found a cool website!

I have no idea how I found this website. It may have been while I was procrastinating and hanging out on Twitter, or it coulda been from a blog I was reading. But I really like this website.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to make a maxi skirt with pockets

So I finally started on my Integrity project today :D

I used this tutorial: Chevron and Lace: MAXI SKIRT TUTORIAL

It seems really weird when you first read it, but it works really well! I do have a couple pieces of advice, though:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Prayers and Heaven

Today, I had the opportunity to go to the third hour of church: Young Women's :) We talked about the resurrection. It was confusing to all of us, cuz we tried to draw a timeline and everything, but it was especially confusing to me as a convert. Most of the stuff, I felt like I was hearing it for the first time. In reality, it was probably only the second or third time I'd heard it.

Anywho, I didn't understand enough of it to try to summarize our lesson for you guys, but I would like to tell you about a few things that happened right at the end of class :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

New series: I have a testimony of (insert here)

​As I mentioned in this post, I'm starting a new series. It's called "I have a testimony of (insert here)" and I will be posting whenever I think of a new topic to post on. I know I would fail at doing a once-a-week type series, so I'm not gonna even try. And I might repeat topics every once in a while; bear with me :)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to Create Your Own LDS Blog: Church News

A while back, I went to LDS.org and one of the "latest features" articles caught my eye.

How to Create Your Own LDS Blog

Holy smokes! The church has an entire article about why I should be blogging?? Sweet!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why church shouldn't be boring

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typical Catholic stained glass window - Sacrament of Communion imagery
When I was little, mass was the worst thing ever. Every week was a struggle for my parents to get us to go to mass. We tried every excuse we could think of, tried "oversleeping," just sitting on the floor and refusing to get ready, but-she's-staying-home-sick-why-can't-we-stay-too.

Mass was boring. And I only had to sit through one hour. It felt like the longest hour of the entire week.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I love springtime!

Today, I had the opportunity to attend one hour of church. Due to the timing of various other things that happened today, the only hour I could go to was Sunday School. Typically, if I can only go for an hour, I choose sacrament meeting or Young Women's, but this time I didn't really have a choice.

When I arrived at the church, sacrament meeting was still in progress, so I awkwardly stood out in the lobby. I didn't want to walk into the chapel (please tell me that's what it's called...) cuz then my friends would see me and my being there would no longer be a surprise. So I stood there waiting.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Testimony

Image source
First of all, credit goes to WhitneySue from Feel my Sunlight for this post idea. I kinda copycat-ed her post :)

Secondly, click "Image source" for the Facebook post about the picture/Temple. This picture is gorgeous. I love it.

Thirdly, my thoughts :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

13 of my favoritest blog posts ever

These are in no particular order, but here is a list of 13 of the awesomest blog posts I have ever read!

How to Overcome Trials by Whitney at The Life of a Mormon Teen
I had had a super-nasty-gross-no-fun day.  I felt like I couldn't confide in either of my closest friends because one was always busy and the other's parents won't let her talk to me (cuz I'm Mormon). And then I read this post. And it totally made my day.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

We need our Heavenly Father

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 I super like this image. I found it on the blog Pocketful of Sunshine, by a missionary named Kelsie. She's not posting while on her mission, but she has a ton of old posts I plan to go back and read :)

I find "Sinday," "Tearsday," and "Shatterday" especially applicable. Wait, applicable isn't the right word. They resonate with my conscience? Now that sounds all English-class-analysis-with-some-Zen-like-qualities. 

Anywho.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Olympic Thoughts. Again.

Remember this post where I talked about the awesomeness of Olympic spirit that brings the whole world together to celebrate athletes? I'm not going to deny the awesomeness. But watching the Ladies' free skate the other night, I had a slightly different perspective of the Olympic Games.

I found myself wishing that I was an athlete. I was almost an athlete, once. I was a gymnast for approximately 13 years. I never competed, and by most standards I wasn't even very good. But I could do more push-ups than any guy in my 6th grade class, and that was what mattered to me :)

Image source
 Watching the ice skaters, and also bits of the ladies' skiing half pipe (it has a snazzier, more official name, but I don't know what it is), I wanted to be good at something. I wanted to be the BEST at something. Preferably something like gymnastics or ice skating. I wanted to be the only one who was able to do a certain trick, my "trademark." I regretted quitting gymnastics. I regretted that I never competed in gymnastics. I wished I had taken skating lessons. Why is it that I've only performed in front of a crowd once ever? (And that was when I was tricked into being in the chorus for the 8th grade play)

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It shocked me that it was bothering me so much. Right now, I'm more outgoing than I've ever been in my life, and that's not saying much. It shouldn't bother me that I never did those things. Even if I had the talents and skills to compete at the Olympic level, I don't think I would want to. So what up? Why did I suddenly covet want to have the skills to be in the Olympic spotlight?

Short answer: Satan's influence.

See, every person who has ever or will ever live(d) is special. Sometimes it feels like people just say that to make each other feel good, but it's true. Heavenly Father knows each and every one of us personally, and He loves us, too. Given that Heavenly Father is so important and well-known - there's even books about Him! And some "BY" Him, too! - I feel pretty special that He knows me personally. That's like having Katy Perry on speed dial, texting Taylor Swift constantly, and having lunch with the President on a regular basis. *Only a million times better*

And guess what? Satan wants us to be miserable. And a good way to do that is to get us to believe that we aren't special or important. So in that moment, watching the Olympics, comparing myself to Olympians was a pretty good way to make me "feel like a failure" (as my sister said while watching the 15-year-old Polina Edmunds skate waay better than we will ever be able to).

The world measures people's worth according to their athletic talent during the Olympics. But sports don't make the world go round. Kindness and common sense and education and service, that's what makes the world go round. And hard work, like at a legit job. (And lots of other things, but those are all I can think of at the moment)

You don't have to be an athlete to be a beloved child of Heavenly Father. You don't have to be the best in your field to be important. You are you, and you are a pretty awesome person to be.

<3 Marie-Rose

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Knowledge Project: YW Theme Printables

As promised in the post Personal Progress is Awesome, here are the printables I made for my Knowledge project!! You don't need a dropbox to access them, I promise, even though I used dropbox to share them :)

Click here for free printables

This is one of my favorites :)


Since this was for the knowledge project, I figured I'd make this too :)


Aaaannnnd you know I had to have some French ones :)


Enjoy! :D

<3 Marie-Rose

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Youth groups and non-member friends (and also Valentine's Day)

One of my friends at school (we'll call her Magdalene) is very involved in her church. They have these tournaments that involve memorizing entire chapters from the Bible (and you thought scripture mastery was bad....). She's really good at it, too :)

Anywho, Magdalene invited me to her youth group's Valentine's Day activity (it actually was on Valentine's Day, I just didn't get around to writing about it till now...) . It was really fun :) we had pizza and cookies and watched Princess Bride. I met some new people and got to hang out with some awesome religiously-minded youth. Oh, and Magdalene plays a pretty intense game of foosball. From seeing her in class every day, I had thought she was quiet. That assumption was very very false; she just doesn't talk much in class! 

My point is, sometimes we forget that people of other faiths make good friends, too. I'm guilty of this. Since deciding to convert, I haven't made an enormous effort to hang out with my non-member friends. I do still see them, talk to them, etc, but not as often as I should. I need to work on that. 

Anyone with similar standards had awesome friend-potential. And those of you who don't live in an area densely populated with Mormons, you're awesome at this. I don't live in Utah, but there's plenty of members for me to hang out with. And they're all super amazing. But when they all go to BYU and I go to not-BYU, I need to know how to make non-member friends. I need to be comfortable making non-member friends. 

And also, youth nights are generally pretty fun (in my experience), I don't care who's running them. Why must they all be on Wednesday nights (except the Valentine's one I went to)?? That makes it difficult to visit your friends' church events!! And if you don't visit theirs, can you expect them to visit yours? Once, I made a deal with a friend- if I went to her activity, she would come to seminary. Unfortunately, I had to work and couldn't go with her :( the point is, make an effort :) it just might work :)

That post was totally not what I thought it would be when I started writing. Please excuse my random ramblings :)

<3 Marie-Rose

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What's in my nightstand: where do my scriptures live?

Shout-out to Sometimes Sweet for the post idea! (Again!)

My nightstand is where I keep all most of my church stuff. And some other random things. So today I thought I'd give you a tour :)

On top
On top:

Alarm clock: self-explanatory, I think :) except I bought mine for $20 from a coworker, and now I can hook my iPod up to it cuz my old one I couldn't do that :D

Water bottle: I would die if I didn't have water with me at all times.

Lotion: also self explanatory, I think :) especially cuz it's winter!

Lamp: very useful for late at night when I'm reading scriptures and don't wanna get up to turn the light off when I'm done.

Bandana: my hair drives me crazy when it's down, but at night I don't wanna leave a ponytail in it cuz that's bad for my hair, plus I lose the ponytail. So I use a bandana :)

Picture frame: a picture of me with Keesha, Gramsie's dog. I loved that dog so much. She was born literally four days after me, and even tho I only saw her twice a year, she was my favorite. Unfortunately she was put down a couple years ago due to painful medical problems.

Top Drawer:

Top drawer
Scriptures: at the moment, I've got a Livre De Mormon in French and a Book of Mormon in English in the top drawer. I read em both at the same time so I can practice my French but still know what's going on :) (thanks to Whitney from The Life of a Mormon Teen for the idea!)

Scripture journal: my notes for all things BOM (and LDM, my French abbreviation) live in this journal.

Gratitude journal: it's been years since I've used it, but it's there just in case I feel the need to pick up the habit again!

Twist-up colored pencils and a mechanical normal pencil: gotta have some way to mark verses and take notes :) (also, in the picture, that is a regular pencil with zebra print duct tape on the eraser)

Diary: it's also been forever since I've used this. A few years back, I would only write in it when I had a bad day, which caused me to think even more negatively. So I quit writing in it. For some people, writing about the bad days helps, but not for me. I could probably pick it up again now, tho, cuz I've worked out some issues since then :)

Lots of random notes to myself: for example, one is a list of songs I need to go buy. A couple have people's phone numbers. Another is from back before I decided maybe Catholicism wasn't right for me, and I had plans to define for myself the difference between knowing and believing. Mormons often say "I know this Church is true," while the Creed said during Catholic mass says "I believe in one God...."

MagnaBloc thinger: a headband with magnets in it that's supposed to help get rid of headaches. I don't know if it works, but I get headaches waay too much, so it's worth a try sometimes.

Fake drawer space but it's really just a shelf underneath
Fake drawer space but it's really just a shelf underneath:

Magazines: lots and lots of church magazines. Abby gave me a subscription to New Era for my birthday last year, plus Francesca was giving me all of her family's old Ensigns for a while there :)

New Testament scripture mastery cards: I'm not sure why this is where they live, but there they are. I never finished scripture mastery last year... Nor have I started this year...

Scripture journals: some of them are from doing New Testament home study last year. One hasn't been used yet but it's waiting for when I finally find something to do with it (or finish another journal).

Individual worth project: yup, my little quote-a-day calendar lives here :)

So there you have it, folks. A little tour of one of the best parts of my room: where all most of my church stuff lives :)

< 3 Marie-Rose

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Fear

This post is a little different. In this post, I am vulnerable. I don't have anything to teach you. I don't have anything that I'm persuading you to do.

I'm just scared. 

Ether 12:27
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
I have this weakness. I am deathly afraid of shots or immunizations or whatever you want to call them. I'm terribly needlephobic (unless I'm sewing, in which case I'm perfectly fine). 

A couple years ago, my mom took me in to get the flu mist. My sisters also got the mist. My mom got the flu shot. I passed out. 

You're probably thinking, Wait. What? 

Yes. Yes I did. I was wearing my heavy winter coat, I may not have had enough food in me, there was a terrible antiseptic-hospital-smell, I was terrified that someone might change their mind and give me the shot instead of the mist, and the mist itself for some reason made me slightly nauseous. And then they gave my mom the shot. I don't remember if I watched that or not. All I remember is trying to breathe more deeply, saying "I don't feel so good," trying to sit down....and then waking up on the floor. Laughing hysterically because I couldn't believe I had actually passed out. 

Since then, they always make me lay down for shots. Apparently it's impossible to pass out that way.

In health class two years ago, they showed us first aid videos. Really cheesy, poor quality actors, vey fake-looking.... But I couldn't handle it. There was a woman who was supposed to have a piece of glass in her arm, and they walked us through what to do in that situation (leading up to this clip, there had been several other, similar clips). I couldn't watch the screen. I tried to breathe deeper. I felt nauseous. My friends tell me I looked absolutely awful. I went up to the teacher and told him I needed to sit out in the hall. I laid on the floor with my knees up for quite a while. Got a drink. Etc. 

When I went in for an appointment with the oral surgeon, the pre-wisdom-teeth-removal-appointment when they go through all the legal stuff, the guy explained what dry socket is and how it can happen, and what happens in your mouth. I wouldn't let him finish, instead laying on the floor and, nearly hysterically, rambling in my head about the tree outside the window. 

My point is, I don't do medical-y things. There's more stories, about hospitals and clinics and that one time when I was approximately 4 and tensed my muscles right before they gave me a shot in the leg and I still get phantom pains to this day even though I can't remember which leg it was. 

So guess what. I have the last round of two different immunizations tomorrow. Thank goodness they're the last ones of these two series. BUT. I'm pretty much going to be FREAKING OUT until tomorrow afternoon. The previous round of these particular shots, I prayed. At least, I think I did. I asked for comfort and for Him to help me to calm down and things like that. I know that most of my fear is probably just the mental part. How I focus on it and freak out and make myself even more terrified just by thinking about it so much. If He could just help me to not worry so much, to just deal with the actual physical pain (or sometimes the lack thereof...?) when I get to that point, and not worry myself sick in the hours and minutes beforehand. 

Guys, I am probably never going to reread this post. 

I know I'm majorly overreacting. I wish I wouldn't do that. But I don't know how to prevent it. Cuz while I could find ways to distract myself tonight, or tomorrow morning before we leave, and pretend it won't happen....I don't have that ability anymore as soon as we sit down in the waiting room. Even sitting in the car is a struggle. 

How can this weak thing become strong? I know He could do it somehow. He could "cure" me of my fear right this instant. I'm not asking for that. I just want to be a little less nervous, to be a little less tense, to be a lot less stressed out, and preferably not cry at the clinic.

<3 Marie-Rose

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Christmas is awesome, and the Olympics are cool too

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is how everyone comes together and people are just a little bit kinder and willing to help one another out. It's a season of giving and making an extra effort to make someone's day.

What does "getting in the Christmas Spirit" mean to you? To me, it means all of those "people being kind" things I described above. But it also means something else. I hadn't thought of this before this Christmas, but "Christmas Spirit" and "Holy Spirit" both have "Spirit" in them for a reason. Christmas Spirit means feeling the Holy Spirit. Being worthy to have the Spirit with you. Remembering Christ. Because that's what Christmas really is all about.

Now, if you're anything like me, you might be sick of reading Christmas blog posts by now, cuz whenever I find a new blog to follow I go back and read all their recent posts. Since it's currently early February, there's *always* a Christmas post and *always* a New Year's post among their most recent posts. So, moving on from Christmas...

January and February and sometimes March are kinda depressing months. People have gone back to normal, there's no more drive to be nice to everyone, and very few holidays to look forward to. Plus it's super cold and gross and I try not to go outside and I have to scrape ice off my car before going anywhere which usually makes me late... You get the picture. It's like the emotional crash after the happiness of Christmas.

But guess what! The Winter Olympics are this year! :D

The Olympics are like a version of "Christmas" for the whole world. Not the gift-giving or Christ-remembering parts, but the "people coming together" part. Watching the opening ceremony Friday night was super awesome. All these nations coming together for some athletic competition. Granted, it's not always as friendly as I would like to believe, and politics get involved more often than they should, but it's better than nothing :)

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I doubt you've ever read the Warriors series, but I was obsessed with them in middle school. They're about these cats that live in the forest. They're split into four "Clans" (kinda like countries), and they're very competitive and hostile towards each other (most of the time). Once a month, however, on the night of the full moon, there's a truce, and they all gather together in the center of the forest to exchange news and get to know each other.

The Olympics reminds me of that. A bunch of countries that don't always get along coming together to celebrate sports.

And even though it's not quite as awesome as Christmas Spirit, Olympic Spirit is pretty cool too :)

<3 Marie-Rose

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Guest Post by Eliza: Dare to Stand Alone

Have you ever read Eliza's blog? She writes over at Mark This Day and she is super awesome. (PS isn't her blog name the greatest?? It's a line taken from one of my favorite-est songs ever, "I Will"!) Anywho, if you haven't read her blog, today we're doing a blog swap :) This means that she wrote the following post, and if you go visit her blog, you can see my guest post!

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Hey readers of Hope Always and Pray Constantly! My name is Eliza, and I'm going to be your host for tonight's show. Coming up will be some action you do not want to miss! First, we will visit today's Prophet, Thomas S Monson for some advice about standing up for what you believe. Then, we will take a stroll down Arithmetic Avenue and find out exactly how many people there are as you stand alone. Finally, we'll follow up with some statistics on who you've got surrounding you.

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When Tommy was a boy, he loved his family and was devoted to God. He grew up with a testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and loved the free country he lived in. That patriotism led him to join the army.

The week was filled with gruesome drills and backbreaking activities. Tommy was looking forward to the rest and relief that the Sabbath would bring. On Sunday morning, the sergeant told all the respective groups to meet. "You Catholics, go to the camp and don't come back until three." A large group left. "Jews, meet over there and do your business, and don't come back until three." The numbers were trickling down. "The rest of you Protestants, go to the quarters and don't come back until three."

Confused, Tommy stood watching the rest of the group file into the forest. "Tommy, you're not a Catholic, or a Jew, or a Protestant. You're a Mormon!" Prepared to face the wrath of his superior (for the army is a gruff thing ;) he stood there and watched. He felt the way we all sometimes feel-- alone, with judging eyes scouring us and our hearts beating. (In my case, I would get all nervous and flustered 'oh no, I have to explain myself in front of HIM?!') People may sometimes judge us for not being mainstream or taking the easy road. But we need to stand up for our beliefs, even in the face of our worst fears (big burly men and peers who could make our lives miserable: that basically sums it up ;).

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The sergeant looked over at the lines and yelled "Just what do you men call yourself?!" Tommy answered loud and clear and unashamed "Mormon, sir!" And his voice echoed. He looked around amazed and found that, though he had thought he was alone, there were about a dozen other stripling warriors who were left behind. "Well, go find someplace to meet, and don't come back til three!"

Like President Monson, we may have to face the different opinions of our peers and risk being alone in the process. But, just as Tommy found, no matter how alone we feel as we stand for what's right, we are never alone.

Math time! From this story, we can see that one=one. But...

One+God= enough

Even: One+God=Majority

Even when we feel alone in standing for the truth, even when it feels like no one is with us, God is. Christ said many times in the scriptures:

Be Still, and know I AM.

With Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ on our side, we can do anything. We are never alone.

One last thing though. God has promised us that angels will surround us and minister unto us. Think of how many angels are behind the veil hoping and praying that we will make the right choices! In fact, I am almost positive that if the veil was taken right now, you would see how many are surrounding YOU.

You are never alone when you are on God's side. Remember that there are more beings for God than against them. (Remember the war in heaven? Two thirds chose God's plan ;)

To quote Tommy again:

May we ever be courageous and prepared to stand for what we believe, and if we must stand alone in the process, may we do so courageously, strengthened by the knowledge that in reality we are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven. 

Well thanks for tuning in folks! This has been Eliza--signing out. 

How to read scriptures daily

First off, a shout out to Sometimes Sweet for the post idea. I'm not a DIY blogger, and this isn't technically a DIY post, but I decided to mix things up a little :)

Have you ever felt like it's super difficult to be consistent with reading your scriptures daily? Sometimes you forget, or you just don't have time.

Well. I've read my scriptures 140 days in a row, as of last night :) I have some friends who have done much more than that, too. How is that even possible?

First off, I have a daily reading calendar. My seminary teacher handed them out at the beginning of the year; I don't know if they're standard issue or if she went out and found them herself. It looks like this:

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I've used this thing daily since I got it. It's my scriptures bookmark, so I never forget to mark a day when I read. I like to use abbreviations for the book of scripture I'm reading (D&C, BOM, OT, NT) instead of just X's, so I know when the last time I read the Bible or BOM was. It's kind of rewarding to mark a day after you read, and to see the calendar fill up with all the days you've read :)

I started out accidentally skipping days here and there (we were on vacation, I was sick, stayed up too late doing homework, etc). And it's totally okay to miss days sometimes. But as you make a commitment to read EVERY day, and you do everything you can to read EVERY day, it gets easier.

If you take notes and date your notes, that's also a good way to track days. Having a scripture journal is awesome. I record questions, verses I absolutely love, new ways to think about a verse that I never thought of before, etc. Also, personal revelation can come through reading the scriptures. If you're already taking notes, it'll be easy to record personal revelation, too :)

Sometimes, you really don't wanna read scriptures. So pull out a church magazine or a conference talk. Those count too, so long as they're not the only "scriptures" you ever read!

My second bit of advice is maybe less of a good idea. I don't let myself go to bed until I've read at least a verse or two. Even if it's midnight, I gotta read scriptures before I can sleep. I really don't get enough sleep as it is, so maybe this isn't the best idea - I really should make more time for scriptures during the day - but this way, even if I have a jam-packed day, I still read before I go to sleep.

A note about what I consider to be "a day"- does reading after midnight count for the "previous" day, since you technically switch over to the next day? Yup. Anytime from when I wake up in the morning to when I wake up the next morning is fair game. If I fall asleep doing something and wake up at 3am and remember I haven't read scriptures yet, I quick read a few verses and go back to sleep. See, it's okay, cuz I went back to sleep :)

People say it takes 21 days to form a habit. It took me much longer than that. Now, I simply remember scriptures every night. I don't have to leave myself notes or set alarms on my phone anymore. But it took quite a while to get to that point. So don't feel bad if you're not there yet :) you'll get there :)

<3 Marie-Rose

Monday, February 3, 2014

Personal Progress is Awesome

I love working on Personal Progress (PP). I don't always have the motivation to work on it, but once I start, it makes me super happy :)

I even have two projects done already! (I'm gonna focus on the projects in this post) For the Faith project, I read all of D&C, focusing on faith scriptures. And I also finished the Virtue project, reading the Book of Mormon. Both projects increased my testimony that this church is awesome and true :)

And, because I'm apparently not good at doing things in order, I haven't done any Faith or Virtue experiences.... Oh yeah, but I'm talking about the projects :)

My projects in progress include: (feel free to borrow ideas!)

Divine Nature- a prom dress. Actually, the dress is finished, I just have to write about it now.

It looks better in real life. But you get the idea :)
Individual Worth- a quote-of-the-day calendar. I have a quote for every day through July 28. If you have any good quotes that I probably haven't seen already (trust me, I've seen lots), then please let me know! 

Yes, I do quote my fellow bloggers in this project :)

Knowledge- first I memorized the YW theme in English. Now I'm working on memorizing it in French (cuz I'm taking French at school). And then I had planned to make something using the theme (in French) to hang on my wall, but then one of my leaders suggested I make a printable. So I made like ten printables. I shall share some of them with you in a future post :) I promise some are in English!

Choice & Accountability- I'm cleaning my room. Hardcore cleaning my room. It's a disaster. I've always been the stereotypical teen-with-the-messy-room. And also, I was the child-with-the-messy-room. So I figure it's time to fix that :)

Good Works- I'm making jewelry-making kits to send to Ecuador. A lady from my ward has visited there a few times, she's helping me figure out what age range will be using the kits (do I use plastic beads or snazzy glass beads?) and how to get them to Ecuador. Also, I want to send a note with them. Any advice on what to say? :) 

Lots and lots of beads!

Integrity- my awesome neighbor is gonna help me make a bunch of maxi skirts! Also, my family has had this super gross dress in our "dress-up clothes" for years. It's like three sizes too big for me. Did I mention how much I don't like it? BUT we found a tutorial online for how to convert a dress into a maxi skirt! I think it'll look much better as a skirt :) and I'm probably gonna make skirts for my sisters for Easter. It shall be awesome :) and one for myself, of course! And maybe a shrug or two, to wear over not-so-modest shirts :)

The gross dress I don't like

Shrug patterns! :D
What kinds of fun things have you done for your projects? I would love to hear about them! I love how much of a difference a Personal Progress project can make in a young woman's life, and how much difference it can make in the lives of those around her :) and making stuff is fun! :D

<3 Marie-Rose

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Light, Joy, and Distractions

We got to light candles in mass today!!! It was super exciting. I felt like a little kid again. I think I've been to a mass where we lit candles like twice before ever, and it was forever ago. One may have even been an entire candlelit mass... Anywho. I was super excited. My sister looked at me like I was crazy cuz I had this stupid grin on my face :)

I didn't take a picture during mass, so I took a picture of a random candle and drew a flame on it for you :)
First, a lesson I wanna take away from that particular experience. Finding joy in the little things. It doesn't make sense that lighting a candle would make me so happy, but it happened :) partially cuz it was out of the ordinary.

Another example of finding joy in the little things happened last night. I was working (I'm a cashier), and this family came through buying birthday party supplies. I started talking to the older girl, who's turning 9 in a week or two. And then the younger sister, turning 5 in March, started telling me her life's story :) the older sister was obviously feeling like her younger sister was embarrassing her, but she was just so cute!! The younger one said she was gonna have cake at her party, so I acted all excited and asked if I could come. She's like yeah, go ask your mom!!! Right as they were leaving, she gave me some feathers she had found on the floor. I put them next to my register to "keep them safe" :) oh my goodness, she made my day. Little kids are just the greatest.

Anywho. Back to mass :)

In the homily, the priest talked about "worldviews." Now, I didn't really follow most of what he said, but it made me think of "being in the world, but not of the world." On the way to mass, I had been thinking of all the things I need to go buy for this or that or the other thing, what clothing sales might be going on, is there anything I need to run into work to buy, etc. But then I reminded myself, it's Sunday. I'm not going shopping today. I have next Saturday off, I can go then.

A post I read recently on All Our Lemmony Things talked about how we are a distracted people. You just gotta go check what that Facebook notification is about, or watch that TV in the corner of the waiting room even though it's muted. There's so many things flying around, and it makes it hard to focus on Christ. It makes it hard to pray (I have that problem). It's hard to be "in the world, but not of the world." But, especially on Sundays, we need to make a special effort to remove ourselves from those distractions. Don't pull up Facebook. Turn your back to the TV. Shut off the radio. Turn off your phone, if you need to. Focus first on Christ, and second on the very real people around you. They're more important than your Facebook friends.

<3 Marie-Rose

Friday, January 24, 2014

Self-Adornment

We are counseled to treat our bodies as temples. We are advised to refrain from getting tattoos, getting multiple piercings, or dressing immodestly.

But this isn't a modesty post.

D'you know what it means to me that my body is a temple? It means that I am Heavenly Father's daughter, and no Earthly force is allowed to control my life.

So you could say that dressing immodestly is one way the world tries to control us. But I'm gonna focus on something else.

I have three pieces of jewelry that I wear almost 24/7. Two are CTR rings, and the third is an anklet I made recently. They're my way of claiming myself as my own. I don't wear them to draw attention. I don't wear them as a replacement for tattoos etc because I "can't" have those things. I make the choice not to have those things and my jewelry is totally unrelated.

Sidenote: For the record, even if I had never become a Mormon, I would NEVER have gotten a tattoo simply because I'm scared it would hurt. I don't do needles and I don't do pain. And multiple piercings, same reason (I do have a single set of earrings, but those are fine. By multiple piercings I mean having more than the normal standard one in each ear). Now I just have even more reasons to stay away from those things.

I wear my rings and my anklet because they have great meaning to me. I could go all English class on you and interpret each one as a symbol, but I always hated English class and these symbols aren't something you can assign a fixed meaning to. No, they represent something difficult to put into words. They're my testimony, my conversion, my struggles, my triumphs, my life. And with these inconspicuous pieces of jewelry, I claim myself before the world can claim me. 

Sorry, my iPod camera is terrible quality :P but these are my rings!
I belong to my Heavenly Father, and He has given me this life on Earth to learn and grow and be "in the world but not of the world." That's what my jewelry means to me :)

<3 Marie-Rose

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Puzzle Pieces

Have you ever heard someone compare life to a puzzle?

Each person is like a puzzle piece. We all run around trying to figure out where we fit. But we, as tiny human beings, can't see or comprehend the big picture. It's like trying to understand the entire universe - we're just not big enough; we don't have that kind of mental capacity.

So if we can't see the big picture, how on Earth are we supposed to find where we fit?? If we can only see a couple of pieces at a time, how would we know if we fit in that place or if we need to move to a different part of the puzzle? What if we are in the right place and we can't tell because there aren't enough pieces around us?

Think of putting a puzzle together. If you get all the edge pieces connected, can you guess where that one middle piece goes? Maybe. Now zoom in to where you can't see any of the edge pieces. Pretty much impossible to get that one little piece in the right spot when you have no reference points.

Oh, if only we had the picture on the box to look at....! But didn't we just establish that we're too small to understand that picture?

Guess what? Life is like a puzzle, and only God can see the picture on the box. Oh thank goodness. If He can see the box, His perfect master plan, then we can rely on His guidance to get us to the right place in the puzzle of life.

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<3 Marie-Rose

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Prayer

So today has been all about prayer for me. I went to both mass and church, and prayer came up a lot.

In mass, I don't remember the topic of the priest's homily, but I do remember one specific thing he said. When he was in priest school (actually called seminary, but it's more like legit college than it is like early morning seminary), he felt like he was really bad at praying. So he told one of the instructor-type people; he felt like he couldn't keep doing the whole priest thing. Okay, maybe it wasn't that extreme (I forget, cuz this was before 10am and it's been a long time since then), but he was pretty discouraged. And d'you know what he was told? "Just keep showing up." The quality doesn't matter, just what's in your heart. That really hit me. Cuz I feel like I'm absolutely terrible at praying.

So like a fake-it-till-you-make-it approach? Not faking feelings or thoughts or whatever, but the act of praying. Just do it. Just pray however you know how. We'll come back to that.

Then I got to go to church! For the second week in a row! That never happens. I went literally once in 2013. My friend Sarah gave an amazing talk on how we are children of God. Then a lady that I don't know gave a talk on following Christ's example. And then a guy I don't know gave a talk on that feeling where you just can't keep your head above water, and used a real-life story about a kayaking accident where a guy did actually get stuck underwater and his friends had to pull him out. He compared that to how we are saved. No matter how much we think we will always make good choices, we will all sin sometimes. And we need the Atonement to save us.

The second hour of church, which I think is called Sunday school but someone please tell me if I'm right, we talked about knowing who God is. We as Mormons know that He has a body. He's not just some random cloud. He's a Being. We look like Him. We know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are all one in purpose but separate in being. We know that They know each of us personally. The guy teaching us had us go find scriptures that tell us something about God. I was worried I wouldn't be able to find anything, but I did! 3 Nephi 9:21 "Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin." He is our Savior.

We also discussed beliefs about God that other Christian churches have that are different from ours. One of the guys sitting behind me brought up the Trinity. I was proud of him cuz he correctly identified it as a belief of the Catholic church and defined it as the belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one in being, not just in purpose. Then the guy teaching us pointed us to some scriptures that seem to support the Trinity. So we talked about how being "one" can mean one in purpose, not being, and how Heavenly Father trusts Christ so much that He lets Him act for Him.

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Then in YW we talked about how we can know Heavenly Father better. Prayer was a big part of it. See, there it is again! And also Sarah gave me the option to say the closing prayer for the second week in a row, but I chickened out. Next time, I think I'll probably do it :)

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Anywho. So the lesson. The lady teaching us (what is the proper term for these people?? Are they teachers, or leaders, or what??) had three things: a flashlight, a map, as a cell phone. Object lessons. The flashlight represents the Spirit, the map represents the scriptures, and the phone represents prayer.


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One thing Abby, another one of my awesome friends, said when we were discussing prayer was the fake-it-till-you-make-it approach! I told you we would come back to that! We can't suddenly magically have a perfect relationship with Heavenly Father. It takes some work and some praying and some scripture reading and some missionary moments and some service and some faith. But you'll get there. And I'll get there. And it shall be awesome :)

<3 Marie-Rose

PS oh and I almost forgot!! Abby also said that we often see prayer as a chore, something we have to do before we can eat or go to bed. But really, it's a gift from God. The gift of being able to directly communicate with Him! And isn't it considered polite to use gifts you have been given, to show your appreciation? Even that ugly sweater you got for Christmas, you gotta wear it once, just so the person who gave it to you feels like you appreciated it. Now, on a scale of ugly sweater to iPhone, how often should you use the gift of prayer? I would answer "constantly" :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Virtue

Did you know it wasn't added to the theme until 2008? If you've been a member of the Church for any length of time, you probably did know. But I didn't decide to convert until 2012, and I had just barely started learning about the Church in 2008. Or maybe it was a little after, my mental math skills are fried today :)

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Anywho! The Personal Progress booklet defines virtue as "a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards."

Usually, when discussing virtue,  people tend to focus on the "chastity and purity" aspects. Those are important things that need to be discussed, but I'm not going to discuss them here in much detail. I see virtue, and integrity as well, as a summary of all the other standards and values. If you have integrity and are virtuous, that means you're probably following the standards :)

In a December 2008 article, Sister Elaine S. Dalton compares virtue to training for a marathon, saying:
Virtue isn't something you have instantly. It is strict training. It is the daily, deliberate practice of small things.
Time and time again, virtue is compared to having strength, being strong, powerful. Purity. Pure gold awesomeness :)

Virtue to me, like integrity, means standing up for what you believe in. To me, it means refusing to compromise when it comes to your standards. To me, it means being in the world but not of the world.

So today, I echo the call to "return to virtue." The world is sometimes a scary place, but if we face it with virtue and integrity, knowing our divine nature and individual worth, doing good works and making good choices, and above all having faith, the Spirit will be with us always. And with His guidance, the world no longer looks quite so scary :)

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

<3 Marie-Rose

Monday, January 13, 2014

Guess what guys!!!

I finally figured out how to do a blog button, guys! You should check it out on my new snazzy tab bar on top, the new page I just created :) I'm super excited!!!! Thanks to Francesca for the idea to use a kitty cat praying :) 

<3 Marie-Rose

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sacraments and Covenants

In mass today, the priest talked a lot about baptism.

There are three readings in a Catholic mass. The First Reading is from the Old Testament and the Second Reading is from the New Testament, and the Gospel is from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Today's Gospel was about when Jesus was baptized.

So, in the homily, the priest talked about the "sacrament of baptism."

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary app defines sacrament as "a Christian rite (as baptism or the Eucharist) that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality"

I'm not sure if that's the Catholic definition, but it's close. There are 7 Catholic sacraments: baptism, confession, communion, confirmation, marriage, holy orders (when a guy becomes a priest), and anointing of the sick. One cannot receive all 7, because a priest can't be married. Some just happen once (baptism, confirmation, holy orders), some technically just happen once but special circumstances could lead to multiple times (marriage, anointing of the sick), and some you're supposed to do on a regular basis (confession, communion).

Anywho, so now that you know what I mean when I say "sacrament," let's get to the main point of the post.

In his homily, the priest said "we are a sacramental people." He said other Christian faiths consider baptism, etc, to be blessings, not sacraments. There's a difference, but I'm not sure I can explain it. To use an example, the Catholic church believes the bread and wine literally change into the Body and Blood of Christ when the priest blesses them for communion. That's a sacrament. Most churches believe the bread and wine/juice/water are just a symbol. That's a blessing of sorts.

As soon as he said "sacramental people," I thought of covenants. I'm not entirely clear on what kinds of covenants one makes as a Mormon, but I think baptism is one of them.

Remember how I said a Catholic is only baptized once? And a Mormon is only baptized once. But the difference between my Catholic baptism as an infant and my upcoming baptism as a young woman is the authority by which it is performed. A Catholic baptism requires two things. One, the water. One must either be immersed or have water poured over them (usually just over their head, like for an infant). Two, the words "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," invoking the idea of the Trinity. I'm 99% sure the baptism has to be performed by a priest or pastor, too. But it doesn't have to be a Catholic priest. I know the Catholic church accepts Lutheran baptisms, and probably a few others too.

But being baptized by a priesthood holder into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints... There's the priesthood. Which I don't completely understand, and I'm not clear on what all happens at a Mormon baptism, but I know the Spirit is present. And that's enough for me. A Mormon baptism is not just a simple blessing. It has great meaning.

I wish I knew more about Mormon baptisms and covenants so I felt qualified to talk about this topic.

I'm not sure where I thought I was going with this post. Oh yeah, I was gonna contrast sacraments and covenants. It would help if I knew more about covenants. Mostly, I think they're just different ways of saying very similar things.

<3 Marie-Rose

Ps I got to go to Mormon church today and it made me super happy :D

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Integrity

So I've been procrastinating on this post. Why? I'm not sure how to define "integrity," much less talk about it. So I shall begin by taking a look at what the Personal Progress booklet has to say about integrity.

"I will have the moral courage to make my actions consistent with my knowledge of right and wrong"

In the first value experience, it says "Integrity is the willingness and desire to live by our beliefs and standards." Those standards can be found in For the Strength of Youth. 

So as far as I can tell, integrity is sticking to the values and standards you have been taught, even in the face of worldly pressures. Even when personal desire and temptations get in the way.

Image source
 Integrity means choosing not to drink coffee even when your friends and/or family are pressuring you. It means walking out of the movie theatre when the movie isn't as clean as you thought it would be. It means working towards that "A" when your peers think it's cool to not care about school. It means taking time out of your Saturday free time to volunteer. It means getting up at waay-too-early-am to go to seminary. It means reading your scriptures and saying your prayers. It means choosing clean books and music. It means dressing modestly. It means making all those little everyday choices and knowing that you're accountable for every single one. 

Today I will leave you with a challenge. Tis a challenge to myself, as well. Pick a standard that you know you should work on. And work on it :) 

I'm not condemning you for needing to work on something. I'm right there with you; I have plenty of flaws. No one is perfect, and having the strength to make the right choice doesn't just suddenly happen. It takes some effort. 

But isn't it well worth the effort? Think of the promised blessings! 

Remember that scripture, John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments." 

<3 Marie-Rose

Ps I hate sounding preachy, but I couldn't think of a better way to present this one... How'd I do? 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Good Works

We usually associate good works with big service projects. But that's not the only thing you can do to be doing good works.

Big service projects are awesome, but they take planning and coordination and I'm better at participating than I am at organizing. That's not to say I refuse to plan a big service project, just that I'd rather not. 

So how can we do good works in between the big service projects our leaders come up with? I say we be nice to people. 

Say hi to people in the halls, not just your friends. Be friendly to everyone. Lift someone's spirits when they're having a rough day. Do little things to make someone's day. 

Last year at school, Beth's locker was right next to mine. I didn't know her very well, but we'd been in the same PE class a few years back and had been partners for a lot of the activities like tennis and pickleball. Anywho, one day she put a sign on her locker that said "Need a smile? Take one" and had smiley faces along the bottom. D'you know how people do that on signs with like phone numbers and stuff, so you can rip it off easily and not have to write the information down to remember it? She did the same thing with the smiley faces. It totally made my day. And based on how long it took for all the smiley faces to be taken (not long at all!), she made a lot of people's days.
I had not taken a smiley face, but seeing the sign was good enough :) I wrote her a thank-you note. Thanking her for being awesome and making people smile. I wish more people would do little things like what Beth did to make people smile :) 

By all means, please get involved in big projects every chance you get. They can be great fun, and a wonderful way to serve. But big projects aren't the only way to make a world of difference in someone's life. We're all human, we all want to feel loved and cared for. Let someone know that you're cheering for them. Because that emotional support is important. 

<3 Marie-Rose

(You probably already know that I change all names when I mention people I know in real life, but her real name isn't Beth)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Choice and Accountability

I was reading The Work and the Glory today, specifically the 7th book.
 
It covers events in church history from when Joseph Smith was martyred (well, like 2 weeks-ish after) to when the Saints start leaving Nauvoo for the West. The fictional family that the book is centered on, the Steeds, have to make a choice. Do they stay in Nauvoo, or do they follow the Lord's command to go West? For most of the family, the choice is simple. But for a few family members, who are not members of the church, the choice is not so easy. They can stay behind, but they'll probably never see the rest of the family again. But why would they go, if they don't believe it is the Lord's will? 


One family I would like to focus on is Will and Alice. 

Some background, for those of you who haven't read the books (and possible spoilers if you're not to book 7!)

Will is the adopted son of Joshua Steed. Joshua is not a member of the church. Will, after much soul-searching and arguing with his father, is a member. 

Alice is the daughter of Joshua's business partner, Walter Samuelson. Samuelson isn't exactly a fan of the Mormons. So when his daughter decides to be baptized, there's problems. Samuelson is glad Alice and Will are engaged (he and Joshua tried matchmaking a couple years prior), but that doesn't make it okay for her to get baptized. Eventually a compromise is reached, involving when and where Alice shall be baptized and married, and Will is to work for Samuelson for 6 months or so. He thinks he can convince Will to stay in St. Louis instead of going West in the spring.

But then Will is called to go to New York, and Alice with him, and accepting the call means Alice's parents will likely never ever speak to her again. Especially because going to New York means getting on a boat and sailing to California. Because they have to leave right now and there isn't time for Will to work for Samuelson for six months. 

Can you say #convertproblems? Oh my goodness.

Will and Alice have a choice to make. Do they follow the will of Heavenly Father? Or do they follow the will of Alice's parents?

Consider the consequences. If they go to New York, there exists an immediate, painful consequence: Alice loses her family. But if they don't go to New York, there exists some less-immediate and mostly vague consequence, eternally. 

The question is, which is worse? Well, as an outsider viewing the situation, going against God is worse. But what if it were your family? That would be exceedingly difficult. 

For as many posts that I tag "#convertproblems," I have it easy compared to many. As weird as it will be to tell my sisters that I'm getting baptized, as much as my parents think maybe I'll forget about it and it won't happen, as much as I freak out about my extended family finding out... no one is going to disown me because I want to join the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Things might get a little tense, but they'll work out in time. 

I know I'm straying from my topic a little bit, but I think I can find a way to bring it back. Bear with me :) 

Not every convert can make the transition easily. I've read many difficult conversion stories, and one of my best friends is struggling through one right now. I can't imagine what that must be like. 

I admire them. Very muchly. 

To be able to make that choice, between family and faith.... I don't know if I could do that. It's an almost unimaginable sacrifice. But we are all called to make difficult choices. Everyone has their own trials. They may be different trials than yours. But they're still difficult. 

D'you know what? We all still need to make those choices. Making those choices, enduring those trials... That's how we grow. That's how we mature. That's why we're here on Earth. 

Every choice you make, you're accountable for it. You have free will, agency, but there's a catch: consequences. That's why they call it "Choice and Accountability." Because you can choose to do whatever you want, but you're accountable for those choices. And now that I'm repeating myself, I will leave you with a single question. 

If you were in Will and Alice's situation, what would your choice be? 

<3 Marie-Rose