Taking a Break from Social Media

On October 6th, 2018, President Nelson ask the Women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to take a break from social media by doing a 10 day social media fast. This meant taking 10 days from checking Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and any of those other social media sites that we use all the time.

This wasn’t as big of a deal for me as it probably was for others. But, it did make a HUGE change in my life.

I noticed that I had more time to spend reading Gods word. I had more time to be productive and get my college classes completed and had time to grade papers. I found myself getting more sleep and spending more time with my family.

I think I mainly noticed the difference in how I felt. It is easy for me to spend time on social media and compare myself to those around me. I think about how I wish I looked like them, was successful like them, had the relationships and experiences that these people had.

Doing this social media fast helped me to stop comparing myself to others. I started to feel more peace and feel more productive because I didn’t have any sort of social media influencing me to forget my divine identity.

Since doing the social media fast, I have deleted the social media apps off of my phone, except for Pinterest (cause I use that SOO much as a teacher). I now only check them on Sundays to check in on family, friends, and I try and find ways to rejoice with them instead of be envious of them.

I love the tools of social media. I love that they can bring us together when we are living far away from each other. But, I love the feeling, the productivity, and the experiences I have when I am not using social media. When I decide to live in the moment instead of document the moment.

I am grateful for the Prophet President Nelson. His inspired challenge for me to take a social media fast has changed my life for the better.

I challenge you, if you haven’t already, to give a 10 day social media fast a try.

I promise it will be very rewarding and you will find yourself feeling more connected with God.

Taking a Break Blog post

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Learning about God from that “One” Student

Since school has started, I have had this one student in my 7th Grade Math class that has been so tough. Every teacher has sent this student to the office at least once. My first two weeks I sent him twice.

This kid has had a rough life and has seen everything. I feel so bad for him and what he has had to go through at such a young age. Because of this, this student has struggled with his behavior and being compliant towards the teacher. He knows math. He is actually really smart, but he refuses to put any effort in and takes away from the learning of the students around him.

The other day, he was so distracting that I sent him out into the hall. I had the students doing some practice and extension work and I went out to confront him. I had so many things going on in my mind and I was full of frustration for this student.

“WHY DOESN’T HE JUST SIT THERE AND DO HIS WORK? IS IT REALLY THAT HARD??”

I walked into the hall and observed him kicking at the brick outside of my room. There were so many things that I just wanted to yell at him for but for some reason I couldn’t.

I looked at this student, and asked him to look at me. I told him “You know what? I know that you know how to do this. I know you are smarter than you are trying to make everyone believe you are. I know that there are teachers at this school that send you to the office when you misbehave and I know that I even sent you away at the beginning. I know that is what you are used to is getting sent away. But that is not how it is going to work in my class. I want you here. I want you to learn. I like having you in my class. You have friends here and I know they want you here. But, I can’t have you not doing your work. I can’t have you disrespecting your classmates. But, I promise, I do want you here.”

I watched this student look at me, in silence, with this weird look on his face. I could tell what he was thinking, “Wow, she really does want me here”.

The bell was getting close to ringing so I had this student wait until everyone had left. Then I asked him “So, are you going to be better for me tomorrow?” He didn’t make eye contact, but shook his head yes and then left.

The next day he came to school, got a pencil and a paper for the first time without me asking, and sat down to begin his bell ringer. I was SHOCKED. That day he completed a worksheet, and did his ALEKS topics and I rewarded him by letting him sit by his friends for the end of class.

This student sometimes needs some tough love still, but he is doing tremendously better.

I have learned so much about Heavenly Father through this teaching process. I think that I am a lot like this student. I disobey his commandments and I struggle to be like he wants me to be all the time. Sometimes he has to chasten me, but there is one thing that always stays the same.

His love for me. His love for us.

He wants us to be able to return to live with Him. He wants us to find the JOY in our lives that come because he LOVES us.

When we sin, struggle, doubt, he forgives us and instead asks us “So, are you going to be better for me tomorrow?”

As we start a new week this week, think about this. As we get to start over, are we going to be better for HIM?

God really does love us despite our weaknesses and shortcomings. He loves us through our good days and our bad days.

He will always be there for us. I am so grateful that I have such a loving Heavenly Father.

Learning about God post

The Small and Simple

Recently, I realized that I used to feel so close to God, but now, all of the sudden, I feel like I am so far away from him.

As I have been reflecting I have realized that I have been forgetting the small and simple things.

What are the small and simple things?

Honestly, I think they are different for each person. But for me, the small and simple things are those little things that can build my testimony or take away from my testimony.

My small and simple things are sincere scripture study, deep and honest repentance, sincere prayer, and obedience to the commandments.

These things lately have felt like a checklist for me. I wake up and say my prayers. CHECK. I read a chapter of the Book of Mormon. CHECK. I pray before I go to bed. CHECK.

But, because they have been more like a checklist, I have gotten lost. I have not received as much from them as I could.

I have a picture of what I wished my life looked like, for example:

One day a young woman woke up. She was grateful for the new day and was full of so much energy and excitement for the events that would happen. She couldn’t wait but to thank her Father in Heaven for letting her live another day and for blessing her with the opportunities that were planned for the day. While kneeling in prayer, she prays to have her Father help her keep the commandments and notice the ways that she is falling short. She prays for the Father to place people in her path that need encouragement and love. She prays for an opportunity to share with others the Gospel and the Love that He has for them. She prays full of love and gratitude.

Then, she crosses her room and opens up her scriptures. Instead of quickly browsing through the chapter, she writes down a question. Today her question is “What is God wanting me to learn from my trial?” She reads the scriptures, pondering each verse. She thinks about how that verse applies to her. While reading, she is overcome with the spirit as she receives the answer to her question.

This young woman continues on throughout her day. She notices a little boy who is sitting by himself. She asks him how he is doing. She can tell he is glum and feeling down. She notices that he has drawn a beautiful drawing in his notebook. She tells him what an amazing job he has done. His face lights up and he offers her the drawing and walks away.

She realizes, here was the person God needed me to touch today. She sends a silent prayer in gratitude for being able to help someone smile.

Later, she is talking with a co-worker who has recently been wondering about religion. The co-worker asks the young woman what she believes. She responds with love and simply states that she believes that “God loves all of his children”. This leads to a conversation about God.

The young woman realizes that this is the missionary experience that she had prayed for.

At the end of the day, the young woman returns home. She is exhausted. She watches some Netflix, and instead of praying while laying in bed, she gets out and kneels down. Here she repents for the wrongs that she had done for the day. She repents of the judgments she made, the gossip she spoke, the hardness of her heart. She then thanks Him for the Atonement and how she has a Savior that helps her to repent. She prays to thank God for the opportunity that she had to obey the commandments with strict obedience. She is filled with so much love. She knows her Heavenly Father loves her. She falls asleep with plans to do it all again.

As I think about this young woman, I think about what I can do to change. First, my prayers need to be more sincere. This is a small and simple thing that if I just go through the motions, I could lose my testimony. However, if I pray more sincerely, it can be something that helps me come that much closer to God. Second, my scripture study needs to be more of a study versus a read. Through studying, I can gain a stronger testimony of the different gospel topics that I don’t know or understand well. Lastly, I need to focus on obedience and repentance. These are small and simple. They can be done easily in a day, but if we don’t do them, it could lead to us leaving and abandoning our faith.

I encourage you to find those small and simple things that you can do in your life to improve your relationship with God. I know that he wants us to come and find him. I know that he wants us to seek him and understand him. I know that he wants us to feel of his love. I know we can do that by following his word and continuing to do those small and simple things.

Our small and simple things

The Gardener and the Currant Bush

In Church today, a young woman got up and spoke about our trials and how God uses them to help us grow and become better. She shared with us a talk from Elder D. Todd Christofferson, who quoted President Hugh B. Brown. The story goes like this:

“President Hugh B. Brown told of purchasing a rundown farm in Canada many years ago. As he went about cleaning up and repairing his property, he came across a currant bush that had grown over six feet (1.8 m) high and was yielding no berries, so he pruned it back drastically, leaving only small stumps. Then he saw a drop like a tear on the top of each of these little stumps, as if the currant bush were crying, and thought he heard it say:
“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me. … How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”

President Brown replied, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’”

This story hit home with me. I have been reflecting on my life the past few weeks. There are things going on that I have considered a trial. I have been thinking about the WHY. Why would God cut me down? Why would he place a trial in my life? Why won’t he take away this pain and suffering from me? Why won’t he just give me what I want?

It wasn’t till today when I realized that he has “cut me down” because he KNOWS what he wants me to be.

I have thought about my latest big trial of coming home early from my mission. Now that it has been over a year, I can see that God had to cut me down so that I could grow. If I wouldn’t have come home when I did, I wouldn’t have finished the schooling that I have and I would not be teaching this year. I wouldn’t be able to touch his other children if I was still in Canada.

I think about when I had my first surgery, on my knee, and I was told that I shouldn’t pursue college sports because of the condition of my knee. My doctor was worried that with all the wear and tear that I would have to have a knee replacement. I realize now that if it wasn’t for that trial if I would’ve pursued college sports, I would be on a very different path than I am now. Now, instead of playing sports, I get to coach kids and watch them compete. That has been such a blessing in my life.

God loves each of his Children. Sometimes the things that we find hard in our lives is just him cutting us down, like a gardener, so that we can grow into something more beautiful and amazing than we are now.

If you are going through something right now, if you feel like you have been cut down, that you can go no further, I promise you that if you kneel down, and ask God that he will help you understand the why. He will help you see the person you are meant to be after all of this. He loves us. He wants us to be better than we are now.

I know that to be true with all of my heart.

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If you would like to read the full talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, here is the link: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/as-many-as-i-love-i-rebuke-and-chasten?lang=eng

P.S. If you have been missing reading blog posts, don’t worry. I have been working on some content to be released in October! 🙂

 

The People God Sends

It’s been a few weeks since my last post. There have been so many changes lately. My family moved to a different house, and that is always a project. I started and completed my first 2 weeks teaching 7th Grade Math, and I coached my wonderful 7th grade volleyball team in their first game. It was a lot of firsts for me these last couple of weeks, and even though I have been overwhelmed at time, I have been so blessed.

I have been blessed these last couple of weeks by the people that God has sent me.

The night before August 20th, I could hardly sleep. Here I was, the night before I would start my career. Something that I have been dreaming about for years, and something that I have been working so hard to achieve. I was so excited and so grateful, but I was also extremely nervous. I had no idea what kids I would have in my class, what their personalities would be like, and if I would even be a good middle school teacher. All of these worries and questions went through my head.

That night, I got many messages on Facebook and several text messages wishing me good luck for the upcoming day. I was so shocked, and so grateful for these amazing people who were thinking of me.

The first day of school, I continued to get messages from people who knew I would need to know that there are people who love me and are cheering for me. I also didn’t even have a Prep period my first day of school because I had so many teachers popping their head in to check in on me.

I don’t know if they understood how much that meant to me.

Then, flash forward to the first volleyball game that I coached. Our down ref got our rotation wrong, and I wanted to change it back to the way it was supposed to be, but I had no idea what the rules were. We lost that game, and I was pretty upset. Luckily, I have a great administrator, who happened to be a volleyball coach. He was there when I needed him to help me feel more comfortable coaching, and he even taught me a few rules, that I had no idea existed. Turns out that even though I played volleyball, there is a lot more to coaching than I thought there would be.

Now, I continue to get people asking me how I am doing. I have people that are supporting me and cheering for me.

I have been thinking about this a lot because it meant so much to me. I realized, that God had sent those people. He inspired those people to reach out to me, to pray for me, because he knew that was what I needed.

I have been so blessed, and I am grateful for those angels that God sent me when he knew I would need them the most.

So that led me to start thinking. I have over 120 students on a daily basis that I interact with. Could I possibly be the person that God is sending to them?

I thought about it this week, as I learned from my students. Some have really hard lives, and some have disabilities that will follow them for the rest of their life. Some struggle in math, others get bored when the class is going to slow for them. Each of them are very unique. I have readers, artists, athletes, gamers, introverts, extroverts, geniuses, class clowns, and many others. How can I be an angel to them.

I think it all goes back to realizing that everyone has their own story. If Christ were teaching my class, he would love each one of those students. He would love them on his good days and on his bad. He would make sure that each one of them knew that they had the ability to be whoever and whatever they wanted to be.

Sometimes its hard to bring God into work professions. I can’t teach a lesson about how much God loves them, but I can show them through the love that I can give to them. I can be there person who will be there for them, listen to them, and help them see themselves as God would see them.

There are people in our lives that will be there right when we need them. What a great blessing that God gives to us. But, there are also people in our lives that God needs us to be there for.

I am grateful for the people that touch my life. I know that there will be people who God will need me to touch. I hope that we can all stay in tune with the Spirit so that when he needs us, we can be there.

The Gospel is so good. God is so good. He has blessed us with a wonderful Savior who I am indebted too. I know that one day, I will get to meet my God and Savior, and I hope that I would’ve done all that they needed me too.

I hope you have a great Sunday, and hope that you will find someone this week that you can reach out too, and uplift. 🙂

God Sends Real

My Two Words

The other day, my family and I were asked “If you could describe Christ’s gospel in 2 words what would they be?” I don’t know why, but this question was so hard for me to answer. There are so many words to describe Christ’s gospel. My family each took turns responding to the question and my mind was still blank. It is hard to put into two words something that is so important to you.

I responded to the question by saying “a path”, but as I think about it more, I wish I would’ve responded with the two words “My life.”

My life is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I live the gospel. Even during the times that I am struggling with commandments, or doubting God, I am still living the gospel because I am exercising the gift to choose and am applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ into my life.

We each have our downfalls, our struggles, our desires, our weaknesses, but He helps us understand that we can find strength. That we can find hope. That we can find true JOY.

I wish I could’ve answered differently because “a path” is just too simple of an answer. It doesn’t describe really how much this gospel means to me. But, I think that describing the gospel as “My Life” adds so much more understanding of what the gospel means to me.

I am beginning to study more about my Savior. I am really trying to understand him better. There have been times in my life where I felt like I knew him very well, but lately I have so many questions about Him that I am trying to figure out for myself.

I am so grateful for the knowledge that I do have about Christ. Every time I learn about him, I realize how great of a person he is. How perfect, loving, caring, and selfless he is. When I think about Christ I think about how he has changed “my life” and how he has helped me want to make “my life” better.

I truly wish that I could’ve changed the two words that I chose. I wish I could’ve expressed to those missionaries what the Gospel of Jesus Christ means to me. Because, the gospel truly is my life and I am eternally grateful for it.

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Discovering a Part of Me

So there I was, in Barnes and Noble, staring at all of the titles in the Psychology section. I wanted to purchase every one and just sit and read them. I have always loved to read. When I was younger, if you asked my family where I was, they would say that I was downstairs in my room, reading. In fact, one of my favorite memories was when I would come home from school, and the next book in my favorite series would be laying on my bed with a cute note from my mom in it. This has happened on multiple occasions and it meant so much to me. I have always loved to read, and it wasn’t till this particular book that I realized something. I am an introvert.

I have always thought that I was an introvert, but I never truly believed it. Until recently, I thought that introverts were people who hated being around other people. And, I don’t hate being around people. I love each persons story and energy that they bring to the world.  I thought that introverts are like all of the really weird cat ladies, but it turns out I was totally wrong. I got the book “The Secret Lives of Introverts” by Jenn Granneman from Barnes and Noble and I learned so much.

First, I learned that I am an introvert and that introverts like people. Introverts just get overstimulated when they are around major groups of people for long periods of time. When I read about that, I felt the fireworks go off in my head. I realized that I am not the only one who experiences this.

I have always felt so guilty for not really wanting to go out and socialize with people that I do not know. I have such a hard time in big groups of people, even if its family. I think it is all the energy in the room or maybe its the small talk that I absolutely hate, but I just would rather be at home. Often I would come home after spending time with lots of people and just feel exhausted. My mom always says that she has more energy after being with people, but I have never had that happen to me with large groups of people.

My parents have been worried about me and my social life since we have moved. Even throughout High School I never really did anything with any of my friends because I had just seen them all day at school and spent 2 hours with them at practice. I never really had energy to do anything after that. Now, I am finishing college, getting ready to start my first year of teaching, balancing a long distance relationship, family and trying to keep myself sane. I am already exhausted, I can’t imagine what would happen if I tried to attend a social event every night… But, I learned that I am okay the way that I am. This is normal for people who are introverts like me.

I have always thought I was a home body, and I am, but I also realized that I am at home so much in the evenings, because I get overstimulated after spending a whole day working with big groups of people in school and I need to recover so I can make it through the next day. And guess what? It is totally okay that I am that way. I don’t need to feel the guilt anymore.

After reading this book, I have figured out so many WHY’s behind why I do the things I do. I loved learning that other introverts have the same problem I do. I learned why people often have a different idea of who I am when they first meet me. Often when people that I have known for a while tell me about what they thought of me when they first met me, they all same the same thing “I was intimidated by you” or “I thought you hated me” or “I thought you were going to be really mean, but you aren’t”. Turns out, many introverts have this same problem.

I promise that even though I am 6 feet tall, I like to think that I am not too scary. I don’t hate anyone really, and I am not usually mean. But, I have my moments. But, when you first see me, or even if you have seen me multiple times, I probably have the same look on my face. It’s my concentrating look, but often people view it as a really mean looking face. I promise, when I am mad, you really will know, but most of the time I really am just constantly in thought. I am always thinking and concentrating on something. Whether it is about what I need to do that day, or what I could do to be a better person, or even how the moon became shaped to look like a face. Really, I am always thinking about something and trying to make it make sense. Maybe that is why I like Psychology so much.

Anyways, I just wanted to share this book and the things that I learned from it, because I think there is someone else out there, like me, who has been trying to figure out the bits and pieces of who they are. Maybe they haven’t been able to figure it out and need a little bit of inspiration.

I am just starting to discover the parts that make up who I am, and why I am the way that I am, but it all leads back to one thing.

I am a child of God. He loves me. He created me as an introvert and my many other qualities because he knew that was what the world needed. I have always loved the saying that, God made this world. Everything beautiful, and everything with a purpose. How great is it that he looked at the world and thought that we needed one of you?

There is so much truth in that. Each of us have those things that we are learning about ourselves. Maybe we are even frustrated with ourselves because we aren’t like the other people that we know. But, God didn’t intend for us to be like that. Instead, he wants us to use our gifts, or personality, our genetics, our thoughts, our ideas, our words, to make a difference in the lives of others.

What is a way that you can turn OUTWARD this week and use yourself, ALL OF YOU to help someone else?

Introvert Post