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)

Image source
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


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 :)

Image source

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!


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.

Image source
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 ;).

Image source
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:

Image source

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