Natalie graduated from Tesoro last spring as a Valedictorian. She takes ridiculously hard classes and waffles between majoring in Diet and Nutrition and English Lit at BYU.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Monday, May 6, 2013
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another;
as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (John 13:34)
Friday, May 3, 2013
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Sunday, April 8, 2012
In Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, the villagers of a small town mid-western town gather together in the square on a beautiful summer’s day. Village children, who have just finished school for the summer, run around collecting stones. They put the stones in their pockets and make a pile in the square. Men gather next, followed by the women. Parents call their children over, and families stand together. Tessie Hutchinson joins her husband and children at the front of the crowd. She’s excited about the lottery—until she draws the slip of paper with the black dot. As the unfortunate lottery winner, she’s marked for death and ultimately stoned by her family, friends and villagers.
There’s horror in Shirley Jackson’s story. In our day and age, we know that the sacrifice of one individual cannot appease the gods or secure a bountiful harvest. Human life is valued, held sacred and protected and we, as a people, in general, as a nation—abhor violence and the shedding of innocent blood. Love, serve and bless—protect not only yourself, but those around you from harm and evil. These are the values I’ve been taught—this is what I have tried to teach my children.
So, in this mortal, earthly frame of mind—I will admit that I cannot understand the atonement of Christ. How can one person suffer and die for the salvation of all humanity? From an intellectual distance—it’s unfathomable to me. But I also accept that I can’t understand everything, that there are many things I have to accept on faith. There are just so many things that I don’t understand how they work—satellites, cell phones, kidneys and hormones—but just because I don’t understand how something works, doesn’t mean that I can’t make use of them--appreciate them and express gratitude for them.
Today I’d like to share with you what I have learned of the atonement of Christ. Please forgive me for sharing a very personal experience. My understanding of the atonement is, if nothing else, personal—as I think it must be for each of us. President Monson said, Every Cinderella has her midnight. Let me tell you about one of mine.
After the doctors told my mother that there was nothing more that they could do, my parents traveled to Mexico for experimental cancer treatments that were illegal in the United States and left me with my twenty-four year old brother, who decided to go to Canada. We lived in rural Washington on a large piece of property. I was fourteen years old and for the first time, went to bed in an empty house. I woke up around two in the morning—the stereo was turned up and blasting in the next room. Let me describe the 1970’s stereo system. It had a turnstile and a receiver and because our system happened to be broken, the receiver had to be manually lifted and placed on the record. This was not a matter of flipping a switch and pressing a button for instantaneous music. No—someone would have had to go into the music chest, select an album, place it on the turnstile, turn on the stereo, lift and place the receiver on the spinning record and then crank up the volume as loud as it could go. In the nearly forty years since, I’ve had many terrifying experiences, but this remains one of the most frightening.
In my midnight, I turned to the only one I knew who could hear me. My Heavenly Father. And for the first time in my life, I came to know the very real, calm and reassurance that only He can give. I felt an outpouring of his love and I held onto that comfort and peace—not only on that dark night, but through the long days of my mother’s illness and subsequent death. Because of that midnight—I know where to turn when things look bleak, chaotic or hopeless and for this—I’m profoundly grateful. How I wish my mom hadn’t suffered. I wish I could have been raised in a happy home free of sickness and suffering—but I’m grateful that at a very young age, I learned where to turn for peace, because when I’m sometimes plagued with doubts and fears—I remember that night when the Lord heard and answered my prayer. I’ve had many midnights since then—times when my faith has been weak, times when I’ve been lonely and scared and each time I’ve recalled the feelings of peace and comfort of that long ago night.
Elder Holland tells us in his beautiful sermon, Broken Things to Mend,
“If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended.”
In Nazareth, the narrow road,
That tires the feet and steals the breath,
Passes the place where once abode
The Carpenter of Nazareth.
And up and down the dusty way
The village folk would often wend;
And on the bench, beside Him, lay
Their broken things for Him to mend.
The maiden with the doll she broke,
The woman with the broken chair,
The man with broken plough, or yoke,
Said, “Can you mend it, Carpenter?”
And each received the thing he sought,
In yoke, or plough, or chair, or doll;
The broken thing which each had brought
Returned again a perfect whole.
So, up the hill the long years through,
With heavy step and wistful eye,
The burdened souls their way pursue,
Uttering each the plaintive cry:
“O Carpenter of Nazareth,
This heart, that’s broken past repair,
This life, that’s shattered nigh to death,
Oh, can You mend them, Carpenter?”
And by His kind and ready hand,
His own sweet life is woven through
Our broken lives, until they stand
A New Creation—“all things new.”
“The shattered [substance] of [the] heart,
Desire, ambition, hope, and faith,
Mould Thou into the perfect part,
O, Carpenter of Nazareth!”
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
First responding to everyones comments:
Of course I'm having fun! Everything out here in Taiwan is just amazing. Its like you know how life supposedly goes through phases? Like you have the honeymoon phase, then the hate everything phase, then the okay grin and bear it phase, then the endure to the end and make the best. Ever heard that? (We heard it about 3 times in the Missionary Training Center) Well I'm not really sure what happened to my mission experience because I either just skipped the bad parts and went straight to the endure to the end, or I'm just stuck in Honeymoon phase. Either way I love it!
You all are getting a beach condo?! That's so fun. Gongxi fazai :) (congratulations)
Haha Natalie asked me what my goals for my mission are, and well Natalie I have about a million goals... I have a goal for every aspect of my life divided into daily weekly monthly and Mission goals. I can tell you that my ultimate goal is to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ through Faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, BAPTISM, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." (Missionary purpose) I strive to have everything I do help with that purpose.
I had a cookie a couple months ago. (Taiwanese) and 4 months ago (chocolate chip)
Congratulations on getting the blue car Natalie!
Every morning during personal study I always spend some time reading the Book of Mormon, most times I also read other scriptures, often study for the benefit of our investigators.
How is Nathan affording all these cool adventures? And can I go on some with him later?
Well things here in Taiwan Huwei are amazing. We're seeing a lot of miracles. One thing I learned recently is how weak man is. We as humans are weak. Almost everyone is captivated by something, that we personally cannot break from. We are weak. We need our Father in Heaven, you need your Heavenly Father. Fall to your knees and plead with him. Plead to have strength, plead to have power, plead for forgiveness. You are weak, but He is strong. Put an end to your pride and plead with your Father in Heaven with full purpose of heart, and it will be given you.
I love you.