Elysha's World

Elysha's World

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Am I My Brother's Keeper?




I’ve had this question running through my head all week long. Am I my brother’s keeper? What does that even mean? While looking into this topic I found some really great talks. One of which is by Elder Dallin H. Oaks Brother's Keeper. I thought a lot about this topic as I watched Elder Richard G. Scott’s funeral. Whenever I go to a funeral, I always stop to ponder what people will say about me at my funeral. I’m always inspired by the kind words said about others, and hope to emulate those good qualities in myself. 

I’ve had a lot of opportunities in the last few months to indeed be my brother’s keeper. How did I handle it? I wanted nothing to do with it in the beginning. It was getting awkward and everyone kept asking me about my friend. Every time someone would ask me about her I’d say, “Why don’t you call her and ask her yourself.” I didn’t want to be bothered by this person. I’m ashamed to say that I wanted nothing to do with it. I knew my friend was struggling, and I watched it happen. Then one day, a close friend asked me about our mutual friend and I actually said out loud, “How should I know? I’m not my brother’s keeper.” What an awful response.

When I look back at my life I have walked through many hard trials and deep valleys. I felt I was alone in many of those hard hikes. However I always had my family to help me through the deep ravines. I know now that I never was alone, but when hard things happened, I didn’t have my friends there. People didn’t know how to help, so they did nothing at all. I guess that’s what I learned. That’s how I was taught to deal with hard circumstances. That is not how it should be. 

In the last few years I have seen countless acts of service with no recognition. I’ve been astounded and amazed as I’ve seen struggling college students give of their substance to anyone in need. They give people rides to the airport free of charge; they pay for someone else’s groceries when their friend (or a complete stranger) doesn’t have the money. They stay over for hours to offer a kind word, or a listening ear. They drop by gifts or notes to make people feel loved and appreciated. They are always willing to serve. 

I think I like the motto “Charity Never Faileth” because it really never does fail! Either the giver feels blessings from helping out the needy, or the one in need of help feels love from the giver. I don’t think I’ve ever fully understood that expression until tonight. 

So, are we our brother’s keeper? Do we look out for those around us? The Lord recognized “the one.” He would take time out of his day to help one person. There are many accounts of this including the woman at the well, Peter walking on the water, healing Lazarus, and so many more. What can we learn from this incredible one? As Elder Holland stated, “I may not be my brother’s keeper, but I am my brother’s brother.” Here is a link to that talk: Are We All Not Beggars?


In my case, I was my sister’s sister! I decided that I didn’t care how awkward it might be for me to offer my assistance to my struggling friend. I felt like I should give her a call, and I think that one decision changed both of our lives. I was able to take her to an activity with me where we both were able to learn and grow. After the activity we walked around and she told me about all the hard things that were happening in her life. I was caught off guard. Every trial that she was going through, I’d gone through as well, however I was ten years younger, and wondering why that hardship had befallen me. 

Suddenly I knew! I knew that God had given me those trials so that I could learn and grow. He gave me those trials because he knew I could handle it. He gave me those trials to give me patience and understanding. He gave me that trial for my friend. My sister. He gave me that very particular trial so that in 10 years’ time, I would be able to sit on a bench outside by his daughter, and tell her exactly how I had dealt with that experience. All of the sudden I realized a lot of this life isn’t about us or for us. It’s for us to work together with our experiences and talents to help those who are struggling around us. 

Let us try to think a little less about ourselves, and a little more about our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, our teachers, our co-workers, and the people that surround us. 





Thursday, September 24, 2015

Cardigans





I have a slight obsession: Cardigans! I’m cold all of the time, and I mean ALL of the time. I make sure to always have a cardigan at work and at church. If I'm going out at all I take a sweater. 

There are two brands that I like more than others those are Mossimo and Merona. Mossimo has pockets which I appreciate. I like Mossimo sweaters so much that I started buying them in all colors. It’s become a bit of an obsession. I’ve been looking for a red one for months, and I finally found one this week! Merona’s sweaters are softer.

 These sweaters went out style a little while ago, so I’ve found them all at second hand stores, because I can’t just go to the store and buy them.  Some of the Merona’s sweaters I’ve bought brand new, however I’ve never paid more than $5 for any of them. 










 Happy Shopping! 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Don't Be So Hard To Catch




I’ve been thinking a lot about what I usually think a lot about: Dating. I try not to think about it, but it seems like the more I try not to think about it, the more I end up thinking about it. People who are in a committed relationship or married have all sorts of free advice to give out about dating. People who once were married, and no longer are, have plenty to say about relationships as well. 

The one thing I’ve figured out is that it’s definitely an individual thing. I’ve been known for having high standards when it comes to dating. Others have noted that my “list” is too long, I don’t try hard enough, or I don’t give people a chance. My personal favorite however is the title of this blog post, “Don’t be so hard to catch.” 


I’ve been thinking about this phrase for weeks! What does that even mean?  It kind of makes me feel like a fish. Does that mean I should grab onto the first hook that I see in the water? Another favorite is, “Maybe you’re setting your sights too high.” I know that all these people mean well, and I know they want what’s best for me. They want me to be as happy as they are. Phrases like that however don’t really help. 

I remember when I was in high school I had a really good friend of mine tell me, “Elysha, you need to stop being so good! You make it impossible for people to follow your example. We all fall short.” That one was really interesting.  Is being good so bad? Also, why are they comparing their dating life and history to mine? While in high school I went on a grand total of 8 dates. 


I’ve reevaluated my “list” many times. Sometimes I think everyone is right, and I should throw all my thoughts away and start over. However there are some things that top the list no matter what I do.

1. Being a man.
2. Being religious.
3. Educated / Hard working.
4. Family is important

I don’t think that those are that crazy. If that makes my goal impossible, then I’m destined to be single forever. Of course there are a few more things that I want in my future husband, and of course there is a difference between “Needs” and “Wants.” 


I’ve always liked this quote by President Ezra Taft Benson: 

“Now, brethren, do not expect perfection in your choice of a mate. Do not be so particular that you overlook her most important qualities of having a strong testimony, living the principles of the gospel, loving home, wanting to be a mother in Zion, and supporting you in your priesthood responsibilities.

Of course, she should be attractive to you....

And one good yardstick as to whether a person might be the right one for you is this: in her presence, do you think your noblest thoughts, do you aspire to your finest deeds, do you wish you were better than you are?”

I’ve had a few friends tell me to write down a list of all the things I’d like in a future spouse. Then they told me that I shouldn’t be looking for any quality on that list that I didn’t already possess (minus the being a man one).  I took that to heart and have tried to become everything that I’m looking for. That’s part of the reason I decided to serve an LDS mission.

Also, I didn’t want to send my children out on a mission if I’d never served one. Almost everything I do or have ever done I’ve thought, “Could I tell my children about this experience?” It’s kind of guided my life. Granted, most people would say that I’ve probably lived a pretty boring life. That might very possibly be true; however, I wouldn’t change a thing. 
 
So, from now on when people tell me that I need to “slow down” or “not be so hard to catch,” I think I’ll turn around and say, “Tell the boys to run faster!” 





Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rolling Thunder

I was looking through some old note books today and found something I wrote five years ago. I used to write a lot more, and looking through them I'm finding I was a lot more boy crazy than I thought! I have no recollection of writing this piece, but it seems like just the right thing on a rainy day like today.

Out and about
And off on my way
It's nice to come home
At the end of the day

One day left to wonder
One day left to find
A life full of love
And a sound peace of mind

Looking and searching
for something new
Looking to start
And begin to go through

Once I search
I'm sure I'll see
A new and different
Side of me

Some greener grass
A patch of sun
To make the
Rolling thunder run

A brand new path
A bit of light
To help us win
Throughout the fight.

Elysha 11-13-10


What Do YOU Care What Other People Think?



There is a quote I recently rediscovered, and it may be my new favorite quote!

 

 “We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences – be they positive or negative – make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives. And, like a flowing river, those same experiences, and those yet to come, continue to influence and reshape the person we are, and the person we become. None of us are the same as we were yesterday, nor will be tomorrow.” - B. J. Neblett

 

Do you want to know what is really appreciated? When people are real and true to who they are. When people don’t pretend to be something they are not, but are fine with the little quirks of what makes them, them! That seems to be the theme of not only tonight, but also the last few weeks for me. 

 

I feel like recently I’ve become very focused on myself. In this crazy world where we live to find something create to say on Twitter, sometimes our priorities get a little rearranged. We spend so much time trying to make our lives look perfect online, that we stop noticing the people around us. I know that’s true for me sometimes.

 

I used to have a flip phone. In fact I had it until May of this year. I’d always get so annoyed when people around me were glued to their phones. I had a flip phone, so there were no games/apps to play on it.  In order to get my friends attention I’d have to text them from the across the room to “look up.” I was slightly embarrassed of my old phone and would try to keep it in my pocket as often as possible so people couldn’t see it. However, in May I got my new Iphone. I was finally like all of my friends. I could take pictures and take my Instagram account to a whole new level! However all of the sudden I didn’t want to look people in the eye any more. If I went to a restaurant and was getting take out, I’d go stand in the corner and look at my phone until my name was called, instead of striking up a conversation with the person next to me. Talking to people I don’t know can be awkward, and what if they don’t look up from their phone, I’d look like an idiot! 

 

I watched the movie “Beyond the Lights” tonight. I remember when my roommates and I saw the preview for it in theaters. It looked pretty cheesy. I don’t think it even made it to the cheap theater when I live. My roommate got it on Redbox a few months ago, but didn’t give it glowing reviews. When I saw it tonight at first I was wondering if it was going to be like all those other shows that have terrible sad endings like “Sparkle” and “Country Strong.” It didn’t. It was actually quite inspiring, plus the music and more over the lyrics were moving. It was definitely a chick flick. Both of the main actors in the movie were both trying to be something that they weren't, and were becoming something that they didn't want to be. The way they got through that? They were honest with each other and told each other "I see you." As in "I see you for who you are, not what is portrayed on TV."

It reminded me a lot of a few years ago when Demi Lovato was in the public’s eye for cutting and her bipolar disorder. It’s got to be hard to be in the lime light with everyone watching your every move. However she bounced back, and didn’t hide the fact that she was struggling and overcoming things. She decided to use it for good, and to try to be a role model for others who were struggling as well.

Another artist I’ve enjoyed listening to is Pink. She is about as real as they come. She’s never cared what anyone thought about her. She sings the truth. Sometimes that’s hard to hear, but she doesn’t back down.

Where does that leave us?  We are not perfect. My cousin who is serving an LDS mission right now sent me an email today. She said something very applicable to this and sent a link to a really great article in a magazine. This is what she said:

In my personal study this week I came across an article in the Ensign of November 2013. I would really encourage you to read it! it is called Upon the Top of the Waters. I loved it because It talks about how "Calm seas don't take us to the promise land, Stormy seas do." We go through hard times in life in order to grow. READ IT! It is only like a page long. I'll even help you out with a link. https://www.lds.org/ensign/2014/10/upon-the-top-of-the-waters?lang=eng 
You will love it. 
I know that we are not here to just live an easy perfect life. We are here to learn and grow and become Like God! We cannot become like him if we are not constantly growing, and we don't grow without experience. If you are going through a hard time, remember that.”

Also, there is a book that I had to read for a class my senior year of college. It’s called, “What Do You Care What Other People Think?” by Richard P. Feynman. Mr. Feynman is a Physicist and won the Nobel Peace Prize in Physics in 1965. The theme that flows through out this book is what he and his wife continually ask each other, “What do you care what other people think?” They remind each other of this question, and she even goes so far as to order a bunch of pencils and send them to Mr. Feynman at work, so that every day he is reminded of this question, and to remember to be who he truly is. 

So next time your boss asks you what you think of a new project, your friend asks for advice, a guy you’re not particularly fond of asks you out for the third or fourth time, tell them the truth. Tell them as kindly as possible what you really think. It’s amazing what a little honesty can do. We need a more truth and light in this world.