Saturday, April 30, 2011

D&C 122:7

Today...well did not turn out how I planned, but maybe that was the point. I'm not exactly in control, God is.

Tonight I was trying to temporarily "cure" myself from some current "affliction" and did what a lot of girls do in our hard times. I took an emergency grocery store trip. I honestly drove right past the grocery store and kept driving until I started to feel like I was either going to run out of gas or get lost if I didn't turn around. On my way back home I actually went into the grocery store. I bought the "necessities": my favorite Aggie ice cream, peanut and pretzel M&Ms (they were on sale), Cheez-Its (also on sale), chocolate syrup, yogurt, and bread. Once I got home I climbed into my sweats, wrapped myself in my grandmother's quilt, and popped Princess Diaries (this movie can cure any of my ailments) into my laptop. It was a lonely hour and a half, but I needed it very much.

Sweet Carrie came to the rescue a little later on and sincerely listened to what was going on and did her best to comfort me and encourage me.

I honestly DON'T regret ANYTHING that I did over the past week and a half. Nothing. All of it was intentional, all of it meant something to me, and I learned so much from it all.

Alright, I'll get to the point. So driving in my car this evening I just let my mind do its job and think about everything. A line from D&C 122:7 continued to come to mind as I drove through unfamiliar cities, "...all these things shall give thee experience..." What a powerful line. If you read the whole scripture it says, "And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my [Alex], that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy GOOD."

I didn't fall in a pit, I wasn't stabbed, I was no where near death, there is no body of water nearby to drown in, it was windy today but not THAT windy, the heavens should still have "pearly gates", and hell is very far from me (I hope). In fact my experience was a wonderful one. Something that I needed to see as an example of what life SHOULD be like and how I SHOULD feel. The ending of the pure happiness, unfailing smiles, constant giggles, and glowing eyes only lasted...oh a few hours. What good would it do to let it last any longer? I knew from the beginning nothing of what I wanted could really work out, but that's what time is for. Maybe it will work out longer than 10 days 4 months from now. Maybe not. As long as I stay on Christ's side I can't go wrong and I thank Him for that everyday.

So let us all keep climbing. If you stop you'll get tired and give up. If you keep going and push through all the steep and difficult times you'll reach the peak by sunset and it will all be worth the effort.

-Miss Jackson

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Life is good, not easy, but good.

I would just like to testify to all of the world my testimony on prayer. Life is good, not easy, but good. As you all know, I had to do something and it was EXTREMELY hard. Once I did it I thought that life would get hard and I'd go back to what I had been doing in the past (I'm sorry this is so vague, but it has to be). I prayed long and hard that I would stay strong and that I would know I had made the right decision; so I took the leap of faith in following the directions of the Spirit. I haven't been happier since then.

Its interesting to look back at all that has happened in the past couple weeks. So much has changed! It turns out that the Lord had something absolutely incredible He wanted to show me, but until I was obedient He couldn't share it with me.

Prayer has literally helped me make it through every single day of my life. Time and time again I have answers given to questions and concerns I didn't even realize that I was asking and to ones I had been intentionally asking.

I guess an example I can share is this: A couple months ago I realized I had no money and I wouldn't be able to pay for school. Logically, I thought the answer was to move back home to Salt Lake for a year and go to Salt Lake Community College until I could afford to come back to Logan. When making this decision I wasn't happy. I could feel myself distancing myself from loved ones and getting discouraged really easily. After talking with a wise institute teacher I came to the conclusion that this wasn't a good idea. I prayed and I got my answer. Now deciding not to move home wasn't hard, but the school year is pretty much over. At the time apartments were filling up, I needed to change my major, and I still didn't understand how I was going to pay for it all. BUT because I followed the Spirit I have found  a way. I found an apartment, I'm learning about budgeting, and I'm in the process of changing majors. I still don't know how it will all work out, but when I'm on Christ's side anything is possible. Life is great, but not easy.

Also...I am currently completely 'twitterpated' (name that movie) over a very wonderful young man (Taylor if you're reading this I say hi, haha) and I'm pretty sure he has a little thing for me. There, I said it. Things aren't going to be easy for us, in fact we won't see each other for 4 months, but its going to be good. As long as I follow Christ's example life will always be good.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Check, Check, Check

Thanks to my friends I have been able to do a lot of things on my 101 list.

#15 Yesterday I went on a date with my friend, Taylor, and we had lunch at a sushi restaurant. I had never tried sushi so I was pretty nervous, but it turns out that is REALLY yummy! I tried the crunch, mexican something, and a couple other things. I loved that there was so much art and culture behind it. Taylor taught me sushi etiquette and the chop sticks weren't as hard as I thought they would be.

#36 Taylor is an amazing pianist. Pretty much every song he plays is dedicated to me and the other day you could say I was serenaded. So thanks Taylor. :)

#57 After going to a 90's party that Jeff and his friends put together I went with Keira, another roommate of mine, and some boys we met, up the canyon. They had rock climbing equipment and head lamps (it was like 10:30 at night). I got to go night rock climbing, but it was on real rocks so I got to check that off my list!

The fun part of this 101 list is that I don't intend on doing things on my list just once. I would love to do all of these things more frequently.

6 down 95 more to go! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Where Do You Want To Go?"

I don't know how its been for all of you, but it has been really tough for me these past few weeks. Don't worry, it's bearable, it always will be just as long as I have the Lord with me.

So I came home tonight and was completely alone. Usually that's not a bad thing, but because of recent events it was a bad thing. Being alone gave my mind a chance to wander and I quickly became sad and the world suddenly became a very cold and dreary place. Somehow I got myself to think about what has been helping me pull through and an experience I had the other day came to mind. The week just before conference my Relief Society President gave our Relief Society the challenge to do a week with Christ activity. Each day you opened a "letter" that included stories and scriptures to do read that day as well as a challenge to grow closer to Christ. At the time I didn't think anything was wrong or there was anything big that needed to change in my life, but I was completely wrong. On one of the last days I had to make a decision I should have made a long time ago. Of course after I corrected my wrong I felt so much better, but it hurt. It hurt deeper and still hurts deeper than I could have ever imagined. Listening to church music, some lyrics stood out to me that never had before: "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven..." and "Through thorny ways lead to a joyful end..." More recently, I was sitting in institute and was lost in grief and I wasn't really paying attention to the lesson. I turned to Ether 12 and some parts of that chapter that really stood out to me: "[I] hope for a better world...a place at the right hand of God", " is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith", "...if there be no faith...God can do no miracle...he showed not himself until after their faith", " was the faith...that wrought the change...",and "...because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared..."

Now sharing these personal experiences and difficulties was NOT intended to get you worried about me! The purpose was that maybe someone would read this and receive strength or at least comfort knowing that they aren't the only one struggling and that there IS hope! Life is hard, but nothing that is easy is worth fighting for. I had a friend that used to always tell me, "keep your chin up" and now I'm telling you.

One last thing. I was talking to a dear friend of mine and he asked a question that has helped me make some very hard decisions. Such as, I finally got asked on a date today! BUT this young man wasn't what I am looking for at all. I love, love attention and sometimes that gets me into trouble. I've never said no to a date before so this was really hard. How did I do it? I heard my friend's words of wisdom, "where do you want to go?" This wasn't asked literally, but figuratively. He asked this when I was confused as what to do about a different situation and I was coming from all angles (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but then I couldn't decide what to do) and he asked me, "where do you want to go?" The first thing that came to my mind in that moment was that I wanted to go towards the Lord. So using that in today's situation with the date, I knew that agreeing to go on the date with this particular young man would not put me on the path I wanted to take.

Well good night and good luck. Just remember, you're never alone.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Elevating Epiphanies

I struggle sometimes with decisions about a wonderful young man that I have become very, very close to over the past year and a half. Over the past week or so I have been struggling to sort through my thoughts and feelings about whether or not it was the right thing to take the next step. Luckily I have wonderful friends and family members that are close to the Spirit and always seem to say something that I need to hear.

What I have to do next is not going to be fun, but I feel so much better. I have learned so much from this experience and continue to learn and grow from it.

Love isn't everything. What and who you are committed to is important and when your commitments and goals align then you can create a wonderful relationship.

One wise friend of mine noted that the fact that I was seeing all the different directions of the situation was good, but then asked, "where do you want to go?" "Where are you headed?" That's when the light bulb switched (thank heavens).

So here I am at the beginning, but moving back home will be a good refresher.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hairy Debates

Dramatic A-line, asymmetrical, lots of layers, and bangs. That has been my haircut for the past 4 years or so. I'm not complaining, the cut has served me well, but its been 4 years! I have been in need of a bit of a change. Friends often ask if I plan on ever growing my hair out again and I have thought about it, but I really think short is the style for me. My hair is really fine and has no body in it and I just remember that I was never really satisfied with my hair then. But for kicks and giggles I thought it would be fun to post some old and some new and let you see the difference since most of you have never seen me with long hair. And if you happen to have any advice as to what I should do to spice things up let me know! (And I already said no to spiking the back)

P.S. I don't know the exact dates of all of these pictures, but I do know the stories behind them :)

This is on one of my birthdays and I'm going to guess I was 12 or 13...

This is on another birthday, probably before the previous picture, and I'm assuming 12 or so. Obviously it was a good summer because look how dark my arm is!
I want to say that this is when my family and I went to Bryce Canyon on a family vacation or it could just be on a hiking adventure. I am about 14.

So now you've seen some long. Here's the short.

I am sitting with my brother and cousin in this photo at a family reunion summer 2010.
Again this photo is older than the previous and is part of a collection of senior pictures my dance instructor took during my senior year of high school (2010).
Last, but not least, this was taken over Christmas 2010. I am sitting on the couch with my darling niece. Isn't she adorable? :)

So take your pick. Short? Long? Neither? ;) Its been a hairy debate.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Beginnings of Spring

So the first day of spring was a couple weeks ago... What happened!? Snow...really? Lame... Anyways other than the snow life has been quite a party...literally.

I went up to Idaho Falls for conference. It was so good to see some of my family, especially my grandma. Conference was absolutely amazing! It always seems to come at just the time that I  need it. My grandma has a beautiful stainglass decoration that I had a little fun with too.

Well yesterday wasn't so much. Have you given blood before? Well if you have you know how uncomfortable and painful it is. I absolutely hate giving blood, but for some odd reason I do it anyways; that was adventure yesterday. Tonight Carrie and I helped out with a real party.

Yesterday was my dear friend, Sharlee's, birthday so today we threw her a surprise party and I went absolutely crazy with my camera! Here's some of the highlights...

Carrie starting to decorate the cake and little did we all know that she is TOTALLY gifted in that area!
It was so hard not to eat a cupcake even when they weren't frosted...yum
Krystal in her lovely apron. She was the mastermind behind all of this.
 Dearest Dora making an authentic Thai dish :)
 Decorations! I got distracted and didn't take a picture of when we were all done...just imagine a lot more streamers and people.
 Don't those look absolutely delicious?! They were so good and I loved the homemade frosting we made too.
 Carrie decorated this. I personally think she should start a business or something. I might be crazy, but I would totally pay money for her to make an adorable cake like that for me!
 Self explanatory...
 Oh! Sharlee is going on a mission soon so we decorated the other cake like the Cambodian flag... I provided the blue stripes.
 Sharlee's so happy, I love it!

These pictures I cannot take credit for, however. Provided by Jeff :)
 Sweet Josh..
 And adorable Mike...
Handsome Jeff and...uh....I don't know who the weirdo on the right is.