Elysha's World

Elysha's World

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Who is God? Why Does it Matter? 神是誰?為什麼這很重要?

While at church today I started thinking about who God really is. There are a lot of different theories. A lot of people believe that he is an all-powerful person. Someone who controls the universe. Some see him as a mean God full of wrath and hate. Some people think God is like Zeus or other God’s like him. While I lived in Taiwan I was able to see a lot of different perspectives on what other people believed God to be. Some believe Buddha is their God. Some pay homage to their God or ancestors by lighting incense. I think of God as the powerful creator of the universe, but also so much more. I like to think of Him as my father. Like the song at the beginning of this blog states, I am His daughter. I think growing up believing this has shaped who I am in a way. 

I love meeting new people! I love hearing their stories, and I love learning what they believe. I like to see what people are really made of. I like to hear about their trials, and how they overcame them. I love looking up how songs came to be. I like to know why lyricists write the words they do, and what events triggered them to write and convey such powerful and emotional creations.

Today, I’d like to convey a little of who I am and what I believe. I believe that God created this world for us to enjoy. As I type this I’m sitting in my front yard on my laptop. My computer dies if it isn’t plugged in, so I’m facing a huge shrub so I can still be out in the sun, while my computer is plugged in. There are crazy squawking birds talking to each other. I used to get easily upset by them, but they just kind of add to my surroundings and belong here now. I have an amazing view of the mountains and trees. I love seeing the leaves change colors.

I believe that God is a kind and caring God. I believe that he looks a lot like you and I. I have no doubt in my mind that He is aware of my every move. He directs me and leads my path in every aspect of my life. There have been many times when I have been invited to go to a party or asked out on a date, and I just don't feel quite right about it. I feel like that is the Lord telling me to stay home or find something else to do with my time. I've never been disappointed when I follow what many people would call their "instinct." I call it personal direction from a loving Father in Heaven.   
When I feel like I should visit a friend, call a friend, or send a text message, I think that’s Him giving us the opportunity to bless one of His other children. I’ve had numerous experiences with this. In fact a few years ago I was sitting in church when I felt the need to call my friend. I hadn’t talked to her in a few years, and we weren’t that good of friends. I pushed the thought aside and went about my business. I had this same thought and feeling over and over throughout the day. Finally I figured I’d just do it, because it wasn’t going to hurt me either way. 

I called her as I walked home. I was anxious to get it over with, but nervous as to what I should say. “Hey, remember me? I know we haven’t talked in a while, and this is a little weird, but I was just thinking about you all day long, and I thought I should give you a call.” The beginning of our conversation went something like that. A few minutes into it, she asked me if I knew what day it was. I thought about it for a second and then said, “Sunday?” She then proceeded to tell me that it was her birthday, and that no one had called her or said anything about it to her all day, and she had started to feel a little forgotten. Then I called her and it lifted her spirits and made her day. 

I didn’t know it was her birthday. I hadn’t thought about her in over a year, but I believe that God knew where she was, and that she needed a friend. I also think that if I hadn’t have listened to that small prompting, that He would have found someone else to let His daughter know that she was cared about. 

I grew up in a single parent home. Sometimes there were things that I wanted to ask my dad about, or I needed some advice, but he wasn’t there. We didn’t talk and I never felt I could trust him to answer questions to the things I needed answers to. In high school I had a friend who was in a similar situation, and she suggested that I did indeed have a father that I could talk to anytime night or day. She said sometimes she’d pray unconventional prayers that she’d start off by saying, “Dad, I know you’re up there, and I know you’re my Father in Heaven, but right now I just need a dad to listen to what I have to say and just let me know I’m making the right decision.”

After that experience, I decided to try it. I went into my room, knelt down, and I told the Lord how it was. I had a hard time focusing in my prayers so I decided to picture my favorite place and then imagine that He was there as well, just the two of us. This place has changed as I’ve gotten older. Now, whenever I have a deep meaningful prayer, I picture myself standing in the huge stadium next to my house. There’s no one there but the Lord and I. Usually I walk around the stadium and tell Him in detail what I’m thinking about. Sometimes I’m yelling at Him from across the stadium because I’m so upset at Him, other times I’m crying sitting right next to Him with His arms wrapped around me. I always feel like I get a better connection and am able to focus my prayers better when I do this. I don’t do it all the time, but maybe I should. 

I had a friend who was going through a really hard time, and so I told her about the way I prayed, and told her to try it and see if she got a different answer/ feeling than her short to the point prayers. She wrote me a letter back and this is what it said:

Elysha, I'm a horrible friend, I sit and think about myself and my problems and ignore everyone else. I play games on my kindle ALL day. My prayers go like this “Heavenly Father, Please bless me that I'll have good dreams and not have any more nightmares, In the name of Jesus Christ Amen. My scripture reading is a verse a day in a random spot that I open my scriptures too, well it has been for this last month. I tried out your prayer. I imagined I was at my farm by my horses sitting on my hood with Heavenly Father. I called him Dad. I told him everything I felt, how afraid I am, and especially talked to him about how you told me he was watching everything that happened to me, that he knows what truly happened. I felt understood, loved, and like I knew that he was going to take care of me. I don't know if Lance is the one, I have postponed the wedding, you are the only one besides family and a couple other people that know. I am putting my trust in the Lord, whoever he wants me to marry, whatever he wants me to do. I really don't know what I'm supposed to do or where I'm going, but I know it's going to be alright if I do what’s right.”

I believe that prayer is a way to communicate with God. Most parents would like to hear from their children every once in a while. I talk to my mom almost every day. When was the last time you talked to God and let him know how you truly felt about the things that are going on in your life? I know that God hears and answers every prayer. Not one word, thought, or tear goes unnoticed.

If you have any questions or comments about things I’ve mentioned in this post feel free to 
comment below or visit http://www.mormon.org/





Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Sky Is Falling! Bring Him Home.

The last few weeks have been pretty interesting. I got a little overwhelmed with everything and everyone and so I drove home last weekend to spend the weekend with my mom and sister. I hadn’t been home since May. It’s about a 2 hour drive from where I am now. I never like to make the drive alone, but I usually do. It was surprisingly relaxing this time. I wasn’t stressed out and I loved looking at all the scenery. I think a lot of people would say that mountains and weeds are ugly, but I’ve learned to love and appreciate it. It just kind of feels like home. What did I do this weekend? I relaxed, I watched a few movies, I spent 5 hours weeding our backyard, and I was sore all over my body for 4 days because of it. Those weeds were so deep! They were strong. It gave a whole new meaning to all of the church analogies I’ve heard of “digging your roots in deep.” I don’t know if it was being home, giving service, or having unconditional love from my family, but this weekend was just what I needed. 

The funniest part? While driving home I pass a lot of fields and cows. At one point I was driving down a lonely stretch of road, and I noticed an animal running next to the road. I didn’t think much of it until I got closer. I slowed down hoping I wouldn’t have to swerve if it ran into the road. As I passed it I looked out my window and this Turkey was running down the road next to my car. He must have taken a wrong turn somewhere to be on this particular road with me, but it did make me laugh. It reminded me of this quote that I heard recently, which I really appreciate. 

“God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe.
Drawing upon my vast background of children’s bedtime stories, I say you can pick your poultry. You can either be like Chicken Little and run about shouting “The sky is falling; the sky is falling” or you can be like the Little Red Hen and forge ahead with the productive tasks of living, regardless of who does or doesn’t help you or who does or doesn’t believe just the way you believe.”- Jeffrey R. Holland, BYU Devo Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast
September 12, 2004

I feel like most of the time I’m that little lost Turkey or Chicken Little. I just kind of run around without a purpose and forget what’s important. I’m trying a lot harder to be more like the Little Red Hen. Although that can be a lonelier path, it shows one’s strength.  One way I’ve been working on this is I’m trying to listen to more BYU devotionals. I love talk tapes, speeches, books on CD and BYU devotionals. If I’m ever bored at work, these are what get me through the day. I listened to an amazing BYU Devo today about spiritual destinies and sharing your talents.  It’s called “What is Your Calling in Life?” It was given June 1, 2010 by Jeffery A. Thompson. I was so impressed by this talk! If you get the chance listen or read it, here's a link to it: http://speeches.byu.edu/index.php?act=viewitem&id=1900

Besides all that I have been obsessed with the music from the musical Les Miserable recently. One song in particular has caught my attention. There aren’t very many versions of this song I like. The video at the top of this blog post sung by Alfie Boe and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is by far my favorite right now. I listen to it at least 20 times a day. I like that it’s so real and full of raw emotion. I think we’ve all bargained with God like this at one point or another. I’ve found two other versions I like as well. 

I’m also obsessed with Thai food at the moment. I eat it at least twice a week. It’s just so GOOD! Spicy Thai is my favorite place to eat it. If you haven’t tried it, you need to change your life. It’s a little piece of heaven. 

Oh yes, I also cut like 6 to 7 inches off my hair last week, and I love it! It’s a little shorter than I wanted it to be, however, my hair will probably all be back in about 10 months. I’m kind of cool like that. My own personal Wolverine if you’re into X-men. Yay for change! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

If I Only Had Today

I like to know what's going on all of the time. I probably check my favorite news station at least 10 times a day. Most of the time I don't know anyone who's involved in the news, but there have been a few times where the people in the news, are people who I've grown close to. That's always hard, but I've always felt that it's easier if I find out and then break bad news to those around me.

I was thinking this weekend about a time that I could have been the one on the news. I was living in my Great Uncle and his family for my senior year. I had been accepted into a charter school for the performing arts. They had a beautiful mansion of a house, complete with a movie theater room that I took full advantage of. I didn’t have a lot of friends at this time. There weren’t a lot of people in my high school that believed what I believed, and besides that there were only about 200 of us in the school. My graduating class was about 32 people. 

I’m also not a huge nature person. I think it’s pretty but I’d much rather drive up to a beautiful lookout point than hike to the top of a mountain. My uncle thought it would be a great idea to go up to their cabin and go 4-wheeling. I told him that I’d never been on one before, but he told me that it was easy and that I’d have fun. He put me on this huge machine that was by far much larger and heavier than I was. We started driving, and while I was nervous, I thought I’d be okay. I’ve gone to funerals for friends who have passed away from injuries from flipping a 4-wheeler. I had all of these different thoughts running through my mind, but I just tried not to think about them and keep running. 

At one point a truck started coming up the road we were going down, so we drove on the side and I felt I was going too fast. I tried to hit the brakes, but I couldn’t remember where they were. Instead I hit the gas and I started going faster. I didn’t want to run into the truck so I swerved and hit a tree stump that was all of the sudden in front of me. I flew off of my ride and hit the ground. Luckily I was wearing a helmet. I opened my eyes just in time to see the 4-wheeler flying over my body. Then I closed my eyes again and laid very still. I tried wiggling my toes, and luckily they moved. I wasn’t really hurt, just a little road rash and a lot of shock. My aunt came running over to me, and helped me take off my helmet. I sat up slowly and took in everything around me.
My knees were scraped up and I had a whole in my favorite sweatshirt. The man who was driving in the truck saw what had happened and kindly stopped his truck. They loaded me into the car and he drove me back to the cabin, while my family drove a different truck back to pick up the slightly broken 4-wheeler.  

I felt awful. I couldn’t stop shaking or crying. I tried to call my mom, but she didn’t pick up the phone. I had so many thoughts and emotions I couldn’t keep them all inside, so I decided to grab a pen and paper and see what I could put down to clear my head. I'd done this many times before, but it had never seemed so dire, so important, that if I didn't let something out my head might explode.  I started thinking about my life, how lucky I was to be alive. I wanted to explain who I was, what made me happy, and try to find out what made me so special and worth saving. This is what came out:
I’m the lightning after thunder
I’m the color in the scene
I’m the instrument in music
I’m the princess not quite queen
I’m the spot in the carpet
I’m the smell from a rose
I’m the author of the book
And the climax in a prose
I’m the tingle in the lip gloss
I’m the star of the show
I’ve got the door knob to happiness
And from the lamp I’m the glow
I’m the one who stands up
As I stand out
I speak for my standards
With pride, there’s no doubt
I’m the patch on old pants
I’m the ring on the phone
I’m the warmth from the sun
And I’m hope when alone
I’m the silence in secrets
I’m the sound in the wind
I’m the love in a heart
And I’ve been where you’ve been

 If anything had gone differently, if the 4 wheeler had been one inch slower in turning it could have landed on top of me and squished me. When I talked to my aunt later, I asked her what she saw, and what had happened. She said that she heard a scream and saw me flying through the air. I hit the ground and the 4 wheeler was right behind me. She said she thinks the only reason it didn’t land on top of me, is because the 4 wheeler I was riding on had a foam/plastic back rest for the person sitting in the back, for when two people want to ride together. She thought that it had landed on that, and that is why it flew over me instead of landing on top of me. 

This is just one of the many experiences that had taught me just how fragile life is. I was thinking just last night about what I would do if I only had five minutes to grab those things that were important to me, and then get out of the house? It kind of surprised me what I thought of. I would want to grab my purse, my laptop, and my binders with all of my writings in them. I’d only grab my laptop because I type my journal, but then I realized I could just grab my jump drive instead because I also save my journal online.  Of all the things I own, the things I’ve created, that I don’t have saved anywhere else, those matter more to me than a closet full of clothes, or all of the cute shoes and DVD’s I have. 

President Uchdtorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has spoken about how important it is to create. 

I may not be the most talented or creative person out there, but I’m glad I’ve found something that I enjoy doing. It’s a way to express myself and sometimes even connect with deity. It’s not just the putting pen to paper that I enjoy. It’s seeing how it blesses the lives around me. We’re all God’s children, and we’ve been given gifts to help those around us. We’ve all been given different experiences that help us grow and be able to connect with different people around us. What are your talents? What makes you happy? Try to get back to that place. Find out what and where they are. It’s amazing what a force you can be for good. 

I love this song by Hilary Weeks called "If I Only Had Today." I don't really care for the video, but I've listened to this song over and over again.  I own her CD and I just feel good every time I listen to it. It show's once again what's really important. What would you do if you only had today?