Monday, October 29, 2012

"Kindness is our religion"

This past weekend I had to opportunity to go to Salt Lake City, Utah with my singles ward for a weekend trip, and I'm so grateful that I decided to go on this trip. Not only was it a BLAST it was exactly the spiritual uplift I needed in my life! We left from the church at 3:00 in the morning on Friday. Sleeping on the bus was a joke so the drive felt 10x longer then it really was. As soon as we got into the Salt Lake valley area we stopped to get into church clothes then headed up to the temple! We got to hear the temple president talk, and we got to do temple work in one of the most historic temples. It was so amazing seeing some of the insides of this magnificent building. I'm in awe at the work and details that the pioneers put into this temple. They truly built this house for the Lord. Following temple work and lunch we went to watch the Joseph Smith movie as a ward. My love and gratitude for these first saints is over whelming.  I know that God truly knows each of us individually and sends us here to Earth at a specific time. I don't think I could of done all the things those first saints had to do. They believed so fully in this Gospel, they put their trust in the Lord and kept pushing on, even after seeing their dear prophet Joseph and his brother murdered. 

That night we stayed in a cabin up in Sundance. I had the chance to get to know and hang out with people in the ward I wouldn't normally, and I got to know members of the bishopric and their families better! We had such a fun time. Because of a storm that had just pulled through the SLC area the roads in Sundance were very icy and our bus had a really hard time getting up the mountain, and it ended up getting stuck. After dinner we  got together as a ward and prayed for the safety of our bus driver and success in getting it off the mountain. The feeling in that room was amazing. 

The next morning we went back to Temple Square and got to whatever we wanted. Our bus driver had a long night so we got to spend extra time in Salt Lake while he slept, which was fine by all of us! I spent the day with some really awesome friends, and we seemed to run into Brother Smith and his daughter everywhere! It was so awesome being able to go to the museums and visitors centers. The museum has all kinds of artifacts and original documents from early prophets and pioneers!! It's so cool. Of course the funnest part is the kids part of the museum. 

I'm so grateful for my ward and my kind generous bishopric. I love this sweet gospel! After this trip my love for Joseph Smith is unexplainable. In the Joseph Smith movie a lady came up to Joseph and told him that she didn't believe in his church, but is grateful they've been so kind to the people of their town. Joseph looked at the old lady and said, "Ma'am kindness is our religion" that saying has been in my mind since Friday. No matter how difficult life got for Joseph and his family he was always able to find the joy and purpose in life. I could go on forever about this amazing trip & the pioneers but I'll spare you, and end with a few of the pictures I took over this amazingly fun weekend!

Goofin around in Sun Dance with some of the best people I know!

One of the my most favorite and one of the most
 beautiful buildings: the Salt Lake Temple

The view from the cabin in Sun Dance!

The beautiful Christus in the temple visitors center.

Some of the original prints of the Book of Mormon,
and writings from Joseph Smith!

Learning to dance in the children's part of the museum with Gabi!

I had such an amazing time hanging out with these cool kids (:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Special Education

I had the sweetest conversation with one of my professors in class this afternoon. We were working in groups & she came to talk to our group. After helping us with the assignment she asked what my port was. I told her what it was & she asked what my condition was, if I didn't mind sharing. When I told her I had CF, the sweetest expression crossed her face & she goes oh really? So that's why you had that cough a couple weeks ago? I explained to her I had a bad cold that settled in my lungs which is why I was hooked up to IV's right now. We talked about how often I do IV's and why, and the basics of CF. She told me about a lady her husband use to be good friends with that had CF, raised 2 boys & had lived to be 40! She asked if I was married or dating someone & when I told her no she goes "Well I sure hope you get to experience that in your life, hopefully they find a cure real soon! You'll be in my prayers dear" then went off to help other groups, before bringing the class back together to share our work... This semester all my classes are special education courses, and all my professors in them are special education teachers or people who have worked with special ed kids within the school system. I've come to realize that special education teachers are some of the sweetest people on this earth. I'm so grateful I chose this field of work to go into!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Decisions Determine Destiny"

While I was in Reno over the summer the singles ward had a high council speaker who talked on the topic of “Decisions Determine Destiny” from President Monson. When I got back to vegas I looked more into the things he said that had really stuck with me. I came to find out that this has been a theme of President Monson’s for several years now; there were MANY conference talks that touched on this topic, and all of them equally wonderful!

In the scriptures we learn that we have that choice to choose life and liberty through Christ or captivity through Lucifer. We've been given the right to choose, we have our agency. It’s the only thing in this life that is truly ours to either give to God, or to use for bad.

President Monson said, “No choice is insignificant, for we become what we think about. Our choices determine our destiny. In Lewis Carroll’s delightful classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice finds herself coming to a crossroads with two paths before her, each stretching onward but in opposite directions. She is confronted by the Cheshire cat, of whom Alice asks, “Which path should I take?” The cat answers, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn't really matter which path you take.” Unlike Alice, each of you knows where you want to go. It does matter which way we go, for the path we follow in this life surely leads to the path we shall follow in the next. Choose carefully.”

The first time I read that quote I thought of a conversation Bishop and I had last week. He asked me when I knew I had a testimony of the gospel, when I knew it was true. I couldn't think of just one big defining moment to tell him. A flood of things came to my mind instead: moments I had in the temple with the ward, the process of reading my scriptures every morning until I finally finished the Book of Mormon for the first time earlier this year, learning new things in institute, the over whelming feeling of joy I felt when I bore my testimony a couple months ago on fast Sunday. My decision to move back to vegas, which was ultimately for health reasons, but brought me to my amazing ward and back into the church. Praying for help and being able to see the Lord’s hand work in my life. All these decisions were little in the grand scheme of things but all added up together have built my faith and testimony. No choice is insignificant. 

 So what are some of the choices or decisions from the scriptures big or small that had a large effect in the end that we could relate to our own lives?

1. An example from the Bible of a wrong choice with a large consequence would be David and Bath-sheba.
2    2. A BoM reference would be Lamen and Lamuel vs Nephi in getting the Golden Plates. 
3    3. The biggest one I can think of is the decision a teenager made to kneel down and prayer about which church to attend. That teenager being Joseph Smith. From that small and simple prayer began the restoration of this Gospel.

President Monson said, "Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed—the courage to say no, the courage to say yes. Decisions do determine destiny. I plead with you to make a determination right here, right now, not to deviate from the path which will lead to our goal: eternal life with our Father in Heaven. There are countless worthy goals to reach as we travel through life. Needed is our commitment to reach them. No temptation, no pressure, no enticing can overcome us unless we allow it such. If we make the wrong choice, we have no one to blame but ourselves.”

I know that even the littlest of decisions can make all the difference. I've seen it in my own life whether for good or bad. I can see how much easier it is to live righteously when I make the choice to spend time with friends that share the same values as I do vs. those who don’t. I can see the difference in my day when I start it with scripture reading or maybe I play a general conference talk instead of music while I get ready for school. Like President Monson said we've been given the tools to make the righteous choices that lead us to our righteous destinies. The rest is left up to us!

Good ole rivalry football...

As many of you know I'm a HUGE college football fan, particularly for the Nevada WolfPack. Every year Nevada plays UNLV (the university in southern Nevada) for a canon that is either painted blue or red depending on who has it. For 7 years in a row it's been Nevada's, painted blue up north. This years game was in Las Vegas, and my two best friends were coming down for it!! I couldn't have been more excited. I'd missed the girls, and I'd missed going to football games SO MUCH. Tickets were bought, plans were made, and we were totally ready to kick UNLV's butt for the 8th year in a row. 

It was hot, crowded and ridiculously stressful but of course, Nevada came out with the win! The canon is staying blue for it's 8th year!! I really couldn't of asked for a better weekend. My best friends in town, rivalry football, and the WolfPack kicking butt. It was the perfect Saturday, and totally worth the sun burn and lack of sleep!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

You know you have CF when....

you not only know what you're culturing in your lungs, but can pronounce all three of them correctly without thinking twice!! I had a meeting with my Bishop last night, who's a surgeon so he knows the basics of CF and what not from school. We were talking about my port cause it's the first time he's seen it accessed, and he was asking why I was on antibiotics, was it pneumonia, steroids, ect? My response was pretty much, "well my lung function dropped after a bad cold, and my Staph, Stenotrophomonas and Aspergillus pretty much always grow in my lungs as permanent residence so that's what we're treating!" All with a smile on my face of course. He just looked at me and laughed. He thought it was so funny that I knew what I was growing, and could pronounce all three correctly. It made my night! I love my Bishop, he's pretty much the coolest person I know (:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Awe Inspiring Moments.... on my drive to school.

Since school is 20 mins away, and all my doctors are that far from home or further I find myself in the car a TON! Some days as I sit at a stop light, and see the people walking on the street or the people in cars around me, I'm in awe at how large and grand this world really is. We're all just humans here on this earth living our lives, trying to get through the day, with our problems and things going on, yet everything we do, good or bad, has some sort of effect on the world around us! We all live on this giant planet, that when we're here feels so large and we feel so spread apart from others, but when you truly start to think about it's not all that big after all. There's so much we can do not only for our neighbor or local community but maybe for that African village that needs clean water, or the earthquake victims in South America....

Do you ever catch yourself in these awe inspiring moments where you realize just how small the world is? How we're humans here on this plant living these lives that are all some how intertwined with each other? Maybe I'm just not getting enough sleep before school, but it really makes me want to get out there in my community and really strive to be a better person, and to help those around me that need it. Whether it's smiling and saying hi to someone on campus, giving my spare change to the man at the convenience store, making plans to help in the "low income" and forgotten schools after graduation, or maybe donating things to charity. We need to look out for each other, and with the technology and medical advance of this day, helping someone across the world is so easy to do! We might live on a giant earth, but when you really sit back and take a look at the world around you, it's really not that big at all! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

What would my life be like....?

Sometimes I catch myself thinking about what my life would be like if I didn't have CF. If I was just a normal care free 21 year old. My current dilemma that has got me thinking is health insurance. I find myself planning my entire life around it! My job I'm going to school for I know will get my great insurance, but what happens if I get really sick and can't work? If I get married and lose my Dad's amazing insurance while this guy have a good job that will have insurance and pay to help support me and my medical needs? Should I go out tonight or should I rest cause my bodies recovering from a cold that a normal 21 year old would of bounced back from 4 days ago, and my bodies completely worn out from all the coughing I've been doing. Tomorrow afternoon I have to make sure I'm home for my Tobra levels to be drawn to make sure my dosage is right, do I have the money to pay those bills that some how slipped through the cracks and made it to collections on top of my new antibiotics.... These are things that I've had on my mind the last few days, and many times throughout my life. I want to know what a normal 21 year old thinks about? What would my life be like without CF?

But then I remind myself that everyone has their own problems, just because someones life looks care free and fun I don't know what's happening behind closed doors or what their worries in life are. I remind myself of all the amazing people CF has brought into my life, and best friends that live all over the country that CF has brought me. I look at myself and see a strong positive young lady, and see how all my trials that have come with CF have shaped me into who I am today. CF brought me back to Las Vegas for school, which brought me back to my church. 

So what would my life be like without CF? I don't know.... but even though some days I may be overwhelmed and wish I wasn't a 21 year old with a chronic illness, I remind myself of all the blessings I have in my life and all that having CF has given me and I smile.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The me everyone else sees... IV time again!

Have you ever noticed how one of our hardest critiques is ourselves? It really hit me on Sunday while I was talking to a member of the bishopric in our singles ward that I see more faults in myself then others see in me. So often I get caught up in my own thoughts or over analyzing everything in life that I don't see the person everyone around me sees. I have friends and family tell me how wonderful I am in different things all the time, but it took someone outside of that close group to really open my eyes to my true potential. Both my bishop and one of his counselors have mentioned to me how they've noticed how great I am at making friends, including others and my great outlook on life. My new goal is to become the me I want to be, the me that everyone else sees. I need to let things go and not over think things. I need to be myself, and put myself out there to make friends and make sure everyone is included in activities. I feel like I have so much more in life to learn and so much more room to grow! I'm really excited to work on this!! I feel like my calling as a teacher every Monday has already helped me in being more outgoing. Getting up in front of everyone to teach church topics, when I feel others would be so much more qualified, was such a challenge, but each week I teach it gets easier and easier. So who do you see in the mirror? Do you see the great qualities in yourself that those who love you see?!

On another note I went to the doctors today for a sick visit. My PFT's (which for those that don't know is my lung function) dropped 14% so I'm starting a month of IV's and some orals to kick whatever this is in the butt. I'm soooo ready to stop feeling like poo and get back to my normal self and back into school business. I'm all hooked up and ready to kick some CF butt!!