Monday, December 2, 2013

Where has the time gone?

Dang. Tomorrow I will be 19. How psycho is that?!
I love reminiscing on the memories, looking back at how I've grown, seeing what I've accomplished, what has changed, who I've gotten closer to, and how my testimony has developed. Every year is a gift!
Special thanks to the ones I love, there's too many to name! Each person in my life, I believe, has been divinely placed for my benefit. I've learned so much from those around me, and I only hope that I can be an example to the ones I love just as they have been to me. 
This month is a good one. School gets over, Christmas comes, my farewell in church, Christmas lights, cold weather, family, food, fun, and the start of a New Year! 
There is only 43 days left till I leave to Rancho Cucamonga, and I'm thankful for each day. I have learned to cherish each moment, something I wish I had realized back when I got my call in September! 

Something I have learned form these short 19 years is to not be afraid. "Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord they God is with thee withersoever thou goest." Joshua 1:9
Knowing that Christ is always there for me, to make my burdens light, to cry with my, to laugh with me, to have joy with me makes all the difference. I'm not afraid of heartache, death, suffering, sorrow, and all manner of trials, because I know Christ died so I can live again. I know that this life is but a small moment compared to eternity. We will live again, with our families, and with God and Christ forever!
So here's to life- whatever it will throw at me for the next 19 years, and the next 19 after that- I am not afraid, and I am so grateful to be able to stand and boldly say that although life will be hard, I know I can find joy in the journey, but that joy comes from Christ. I know he lives, and I know he is our Savior! He atoned and died for all of mankind. 

"we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." Hebrews 13:6

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

the future.

"The future is waiting to be seized, and if we do not grasp it firmly, then other hands, more determined and bloody than our own, will wrench it from us and follow a different course."

The future.. such an interesting concept. Sometimes it's easy to get frustrated, not knowing Heavenly Father's complete plan for each of our individual lives. But you know what, I have learned that it just doesn't matter. If we press forward each and every day, and consistently are turning to Him in prayer to align our will with His, then what have we to fear? If we pray morning and night--prayer is a conversation with God, not a recitation to God--, read and study our scriptures diligently, and do all the small and simple things, then we have no need to fear. None whatsoever. I promise. (am I allowed to promise that you? I did anyways.) Heavenly Father will take care of us. always. Does that mean it will be easy? Heck no. Does it mean we won't want to give up? Heck no. Does it mean that our faith won't be tested? Heck no. But it does mean that Christ and the Enabling Power of his Atonement will guide our lives, comfort us, bring us joy, and create a means for us to accomplish anything. Anything. On the Lord's time of course.

Grace. Grace is real. And understanding it seems so complicated. But we can know Christ. I mean really and truly know him, and if we know him, we can understand Grace. So. why the intense quote about the future at the top? Because I still have two months left until I leave. 4 months to wait is painful--- Life seems to be moving slowly, but in retrospect it really is quite fast. I continually ask myself, and quite possibly Heavenly Father too, why I have to wait so long to leave? Why am I still here? Why am I going to school? And the answer comes slowly, but surely. Sometimes I recognize the tender mercy of the time I have to cherish with my family. Sometimes I see opportunities to serve and I know Heavenly Father has set those opportunities in my path for a reason. But today I realized it goes deeper than that.

Heavenly Father expects so much from me. Honestly he expects a lot from us all. But as I ponder on the things in my Patriarchal Blessing, I realize that Heavenly Father has given me this time to prepare so I can do his will. His will. Sometimes his will is scary. Sometimes I am afraid of failure. But when we press forward in faith, we will never be counted as failures. 

 I need four months to prepare, because the work he has for me to do, is harder than anything I have ever done in my whole life. Hard. Gut wrenching hard. And it's not for my benefit. It's for the benefit of God's children of whom I will teach. He expects me to be ready, to not waste any time while I'm in the field learning material I could have learned before I left. He will make my weak things become strong as I push forward. But I need to work harder now. Not work harder tomorrow. Not work harder when school gets out. Not work harder when I enter the MTC. 

I can imagine Him standing 3 inches from my face, getting close, speaking in a firm tone, almost spitting, telling me "Tori, this is the time. This is the time to prepare for you to dedicate 18 months to me and my work."  

That my friends is powerful to me. That is the future. But what I have taken so long to realize, is that the future is now. The future is today. Don't waste time. Ever. Be productive. Serve Continually. Fast. Pray. Learn of Christ. Be a Disciple. But most importantly--don't be afraid. Fear drives out all faith. 

After all, the future is as bright as your faith. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A week of remarkable experiences

Lots of feelings from this week I want to write down. 

I had the privilege to go to General Conference for the first time, IN MY LIFE. Yes it was amazing. My ma had never been either.  

We rode the lightrail into Temple Square for the Saturday morning session. I love love love love seeing so many members of the church in one place at one time. Some peeps hate that. I sure don't! I love seeing all the smiling faces of men and women who know who they are and where they came from. I LOVE seeing so many worthy priesthood holders in place.  
The messages that came from the prophets and leaders of our church were powerful and pure. Messages straight from God, for our day. I loved the themes of missionary work, covenants, commandments, love, charity, Christ, and so so so much more. What a strength and blessing it is to be able to listen to them, to see them, to feel of their power and spirit. President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of the Lord, he is the Lord's mouthpiece. Christ stands at the head of this church. 

This is my dear friend--Brooke Bryson. She's pretty great.
We ran into her and her bf, Jack, at conference. 

Every time I go to mission prep, especially today, I'm reminded how important it is that I learn how to teach by the spirit. Sometimes I get discouraged and wonder how I can, or get worried that my studies are not enough. But I know that as I study diligently and prepare for a mission, as well as live worthily to have the spirit with me, Heavenly Father will send his spirit to help me testify. In conference David M. McConkie said--before we seek to share it, we must learn it, know it, and study it. We must have the word in our lives to be able to teach it.I have to remember that the lesson's I teach are not my lessons, but my Savior's. The people I will be teaching are God's children, and I should see them as that--capable of greatness. 

In conference many spoke about covenants, which was absolutely perfect since I would be entering into the Lord's house to make covenants just a few days later. 
What a special experience it was to be surrounded by my friends and family as I received my own endowment. I sure do have a testimony of the temple. I know it is the House of the Lord, I know of it's importance. We need the temple. We need the temple to return to live with our Father in Heaven again. The power, knowledge and guidance we receive from going is remarkable. Get to the temple. Sacrifice whatever you need to to get there. As I've gone back twice since my first time, I've felt the powers of the adversary try to keep me away. Little things always come up or seem to get in the way, but I know that as we decide to attend the temple and follow through with our commitments, we will be blessed. 

So I went through Tuesday. Then I went back Thursday, and on my way home I ran over a cat. Dude that was not okay. LOL. Then on Saturday when I was at a session I got hit on by a major creepazoid. I'm talking--staring at me hard core, not checking me out, I MEAN STARINGGGGG.... Then sitting next to me while my eyes were closed and I was pondering--and talking to me. That would have been chill in itself, because hey I'm a nice person I like meeting new people. BUT THEN when I left, he didn't follow and I'm like phewwww I got out of that one. two seconds later in the corner of my eye I see someone running. YEAH it was him. HE RAN DOWN THE STAIRS AFTER ME. ran. not walked fast. ran. He was like 30. And I'm not trying to judge, but you just can't do that to a girl. I think next time I go I'll wear a ring on my finger... I'm not kidding on that one. I avoided him thankfully, but he was hot on my trail. I was scared he would follow me to my car. So when I left, I pretended like I knew this tall, attractive guy, and walked outside with him. Then BOOOKED it to my car. It's chill, I over reacted.. But I mean really. He ran after me. Ran. And wouldn't stop staring. That's not the way to my heart. Also I'm leaving on a mission, not trying to find my one true love or marriage. I do hope and pray for this guy, that he will find his wife, hopefully in the temple, that's a cool place to meet people. I guess. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trains aren't just for transportation

This past weekend I had the lovely privilege to go to Provo to visit my friend Emily!

we went to the BYU vs. Utah game (BYU lost...)

 Walked around the provo temple 

And the beautiful SLC temple
Special thanks to these wonderful ladies for letting me crash their weekend!
      I flew into Salt Lake City Airport on Friday night, and to save Emily the trip and the gas, I took a light rail from the airport to downtown Salt Lake. There I sat and waited for the train that would take me from SLC to Provo. and waited. and waited. And then a train came, and it was retiring for the night so I waited even more again. And then waited some more. Anyways, I sit down on this bench (yes it's downtown at night, but there was plenty of good people there, so I was safe. no worries), and start writing a letter to a friend and this guy comes and sits down next to me. I'm thinking, okayyyyy either he is a creep and will start hitting on me in 2 microseconds or he is just really tired and needs to sit down. I keep writing.When people start asking me about my life, especially people I don't know, I like to put up a wall and give them as little information about myself as possible. But he kept asking questions. And I would give him more and more information slowly. Somehow we start chatting and I find out he is Russian, studying at UVU for his LSAT, and I share that I am going to ASU and leaving on a mission in January. My guess is that he is 24 ish.
      Soon enough I found out that he "has never heard of Latter-Day Saints or Mormons". Literally out loud I say, "There is noooooo way you live here in Utah, and go to UVU and have never heard of Mormons." He just laughs. So my inner missionary is screaming, MISSIONARY OPPORTUNITY. But this guy is 7 thousand steps ahead of me and starts asking questions about my church and what I believe/why I'm going on a mission. WOW. Special thanks to my mission prep teacher for stressing the importance of studying Preach My Gospel, because there is no way I would know answers if I hadn't made a regular habit of studying. The train finally comes. And I'm like-- okayyyyy is he going to kill me and bury me.. or does he really want to know about the church?
     When we get on the train he asks if he can sit by me and ask more questions. So we sit down.. and he drillllllssss me. Hard core. I mean he asks every single question in the book. The 2 questions he keeps coming back to is how I know God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost are real if I have never seen them and why I'm serving a mission when there's 10,000 other things I could be doing. I answered them, I taught about the spirit--the Holy Ghost-- I told him that I wanted other people to know Christ lived and that eternal happiness can be found through his church. The list goes on and on. This was an hour long train ride, keep in mind.
I testified over and over again of the principles he was asking. He asked me about chastity and other standards, the scriptures, prophets, and a billion other things I can't remember. At one point, I start with the restoration, mostly focused on Joseph Smith and the First Vision and I quote the "I saw a pillar of light..." reference from heart. There's no way he hasn't felt the spirit right? I was bearing my testimony with everything I had in me. I almost was emotional at one point (hard to believe from miss dry eyes over here). Pretty soon a return missionary sitting across from us is chiming in too. But my Russian friend didn't really like how complex this guy was putting everything. He wanted short and simple answers. I was slightly discouraged as I felt that I wasn't making a difference, wasn't helping him feel the spirit, wasn't answering his questions. He seemed close minded and unable to comprehend what I was saying to the fullest.
     Long story... That I attempted to make short.... He is getting ready to get off at the train stop right before mine, and as we slow to a stop and he stands up he holds up his hand, and turns a ring around that was hidden. GUESS WHAT THE RING SAID. yeah. "CTR". This dude was already a Mormon. I mean endowed, served a mission, active, temple attending Mormon. He was hard to understand completely because of a slight language barrier, but he explained that he was curious to see if I was going on a mission for the right reasons, so he decided to test me and faked it the whole time. He asked for my number and invited me to the temple with him and his roommate the next morning. I gave it to him, and gave me his... Then he got off the train and I haven't heard from him! And for the life of me I cannot remember his name.

Okay. So if you read all that. PROPS TO YOU. But the point of me writing it all down is because I learned a couple valuable lessons. 
Lesson #1: Prepare. Prepare to be asked questions. Prepare if you are going on a mission. Prepare if you aren't going to serve a mission. Because we will be tested, and we will be asked questions. The spirit cannot draw water from an empty well.
Lesson #2: Don't be afraid. If you have the desire, the spirit will accompany you when you teach. The spirit does the testifying!
Lesson #3: We teach people. Not lessons. If we see people as who they are, who they can become then the power of our testimonies will be so much stronger. 

Lesson #4: If this man wasn't LDS and we had just parted with his mind and heart still closed, my confidence level would have been at an all time low. But a couple days later as I was studying PMG, I read:
"You can know you have been a successful missionary when you: 
1) feel the spirit testify to people through you, 2) Love people and desire their salvation,
 3) Obey with exactness, and 4) Live so that you can receive and know how to follow the Spirit, who will show you where to go, what to do, and what to say."

So yeah, maybe he didn't commit to baptism (hypothetically speaking), but I did what Heavenly Father asked me to do. I testified of Him and His son. And that's nothing to be confidence shot about!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

a moment of darkness

In my Religions of the World class we have been studying Buddhism for the past week and a half ishh. Today my teacher brought it to our attention that although they believe in multiple gods, Buddhists don't believe in a creator. And I just sat there. Dumbfounded... Literally I almost cried.
What the heck would I do if I didn't believe in a Creator? I think Heavenly Father taught me a valuable lesson as I sat there and began to imagine myself as just that. Here were my thoughts (and they seemed very real) as I imagined myself not knowing there was a God who created everything I know and love:
I began to feel completely and utterly alone. I pictured the entire world, all it's people, and wondered where they came from. How did I end up on earth? I sunk deeper and deeper into this feeling of loneliness and despair. Would I become dust after I was dead? What is the point of doing good or bad if it didn't carry on with us to another life? Again I felt lost. And again, deeper and deeper. Darker and darker. It was a feeling that is literally indescribable. It was like the world was suddenly moving at high speed, while I was in slow motion. The room expanded and the students sitting next to me looked a mile away. I saw everything from a different perspective. I then brought myself back to reality...

And I became so grateful for the knowledge and testimony I have right now. I know I'm not alone. I know where I came from. I know I was created in God's image. I know I am his daughter and that he loves me. I know his Son was sent to redeem the world. I know that there is a reason we are on Earth, to get a body, to be tested, to learn, to grow, and to help others grow as well. I know that I can be with my family forever. I know I'm loved. I know that this life is but a small pinpoint on a line that goes on forever. I know where I came from. I know who I am. I know where I'm going.

I know who I am. 

It amazes me. Amazes me that I'm here on Earth, here with my family, here with these people in my life--- all for a reason. Maybe a reason I don't yet comprehend all the way. But I know there's meaning to everything that happens. For this is his Plan, this is Heavenly Father's plan. And we are all a part of it!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Joy Joy Joy. Joy all around.

So. When I started this blog, I had no idea why I chose the scripture Mosiah 15:30-31 and "Breaking Forth Into Joy" as the title of my blog. Let me back up a little as I explain how these past couple weeks I've recognized why.

I have Stake Conference tomorrow, and I was asked to speak in it (uhhh scary yeah I know) on missionary work and preparation. That is one stinking BROAD subject. I have thought about it every day for a couple weeks, trying to find some sort of inspiration on what direction to go. I sat at the computer countless times, praying and pleading with Heavenly Father for help and guidance. But then I had a solid chat with my dear friend Courtney (shout out to you!) after attending a lecture at school. We talked about our recognition of the sadness and pain of those around us. College is the age of rebellion. No longer living at home, they try new things, searching for happiness in the wrong places. But all they get is short term satisfaction.
They don't know that they are children of a loving Heavenly Father, or that Christ died for them. They don't feel the holy ghost every day, they don't receive comfort from the scriptures, they don't know that Christ's true church is on the earth! The gospel brings me pure happiness. Pure joy. I know that Christ lives. I know we have a prophet today. I know that there is a life after death, that peace will be given to those that suffer, and that we can be with the ones we love forever. I want other people to be happy.

And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me! 
D&C 18:16

I'm going to take that one step further. Why do we do missionary work? yes, it's a commandment, yes we are following Christ's example, yes it gives us brownie points. But ultimately we do it because of love. Because we love our brothers and sisters. We want them to be happy. For how great will be their joy in the kingdom of their father. Their joy. not mine.
That's what this gospel is. It is joy! Missionary work is joy! Joy for those we love, joy for those who are lost, joy for those in need of comfort, and most importantly joy in the presence of our Heavenly Father, surrounded by our brothers and sisters. I want them to be happy. That is why I am going on a mission. For how great will be their joy. 

This is why I chose that scripture as my title so long ago. And it took me this long to realize that. And so this is what I finally realized I would write my talk on!

Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

One last quote for you from Jeffery R Holland
“An invitation that is born of our love for others and for the lord Jesus Christ and our desire for the happiness of these friends and family members will never be seen as offensive or judgmental. The resurrected Lord’s final commission to his disciples was to teach and to baptize. Baptisms is the essential first ordinance on the journey to salvation the scriptures tell us of the lords joy when we baptize repentant qualified persons. We ought to be eager to do so and bring them that joy. The wonderful thing about it is this is filled with joy for ourselves as well.” 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I got my mission call! Click here to watch!!

It legitimately took minutes to get our mailbox open (as you will see in the video) because it's rusty or something! Talk about the longest 3 minutes of my life. After ages of screaming and kicking I finally got it open!

Jumping for JOY!!!!

 I had the gang of family and friends over and BAM--California Rancho Cucamonga Mission, reporting January 15th to the Provo MTC. What an amazing feeling it was--after the initial shock of the randomness of the word Cucamonga-- to know that this is where Heavenly Father is sending me to serve! I have no doubt that it's where I'm supposed to be. There is no other way to describe how I felt, other than PURE JOY and COMPLETE HAPPINESS.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

go and do, hopefully in a new light

I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the The Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. 
1 Nephi 3:7

This scripture is quoted a lot, and I think what happens, (at least for me) when scriptures are repeated over and over, is that we forget how awesome they actually are because they become part of the "norm". But today as we were talking about this scripture in institute, we were asked the question "When have you been less than going and doing?" In other words, how often do we say "oh yeah I go and do whatever the Lord commands" but then we don't pay attention in church, or we dress immodestly, or we cheat on a test, yell at our parents, or skip reading our scriptures and praying a few times. We get in this habit of just plowing through things instead of actually stopping to listen to the still small voice and those precious promptings, and wow am I guilty of that! I like being independent.. doing things on my own. But then after failed attempts on my own I'm reminded that not everything is all on my shoulders, Christ helps to take the load. I just have to change my attitude and say "I will go and do!" Taking a step in the dark can be so hard, but we are promised that the path will be lit for us. Nephi says:

"I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.
Nevertheless I went forth.."
1 Nephi 4:6-7

Nephi is such a good example to us! He had no idea what was coming, he has no idea that Laban is about to be delivered into his hands, and he has no idea that he is about to be commanded to do something that he never imagined he'd have to do, but nevertheless he went forth, he went and did. The spirit led him, and he had faith. Faith instead of fear. And I hope that I can do the same.

The hymn Tender Mercies of the Lord also brought some new light to my day:
Sometimes when I'm feeling scared, 
I kneel down and say a prayer
and ask Him to help me through the day
Sometimes when I'm feeling sad
for hard times that I have had, 
I ask Him to help me find my way.
Then a message will come from my Father up above 
in a song or in a dream
or the beauty that surrounds me.
If I try to obey and remember to pray
I'll see the tender mercies of the Lord. 

If you want to hear the song click here and scroll down to the song titled "Tender Mercies of the Lord". It's in ABC order so it shouldn't be that hard to find :) 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

here's the quote

So in my second (I think) post on this blog I mentioned a quote about writing things down, and I couldn't remember it completely. WELLLL here it is:

"Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need. Spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. That practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light."
-Richard G. Scott, "Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge," Ensign, Nov. 1993, 88.

All is Well

Never before have I felt the adversary push against me as much as I have in the past few months. Every day I get pounded with temptations and feelings of inadequacy. Satan tries to lead me to believe that I'm not good enough, or smart enough for school, or prepared enough for a mission just to name a few. But I consistently remind myself that I am a Daughter of God who loves me and I love him! I will never give into temptation, I will never let others control me, I will never let myself be influenced in a bad way, and  will let my light so shine so all others can see it and say "she truly is a daughter of God." I'm so glad that I've been taught to stand tall and courageously, and I know that I as continue to make the right choices, Heavenly Father will bless me with strength to overcome the power of Satan. I know he sends angels to be on my right and on my left to bear me up. And I know I can rely on the atonement of Jesus Christ as well as the Holy Ghost to lead and guide me! I know that satan is real, and although terrifying it may sound--he plays a major role in the Plan of Salvation.

“Wherefore, he maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasseth them round about.” (D&C 76:29.)

And he does just that-- he makes was on us saints. So if we are feelings his temptations, then we must be doing something right? I mean, why would he waste his time on someone who wasn't messing up his plan. Whenever we are preparing to do something good-- such as going on a mission, entering the temple, or even just going to church or doing baptisms for the dead, or something simpler like doing a service project or going visiting teaching--he does everything in his power to stop us! Joseph Smith said: " It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?" (JSH 1:20) 

"President Spencer W. Kimball has assured us that the youth of these latter days are chosen and uniquely called to come to earth at this time. They can find happiness and can achieve spectacular success through living the gospel of Jesus and do more mighty and wonderful deeds for God than any previous generation. “An awareness of the existence, the power, and the plans of Satan, together with a compelling and vibrant testimony of God, of the gospel, and of the plans of our Father, given through Jesus Christ, his Son, and living prophets, can help them achieve unprecedented accomplishments, which will affect their lives eternally.” Yielding to Satan’s influence always results in unhappiness and eventually in failure to achieve our purpose on earth, while obedience to God’s laws gives assurance of peace, comfort, and ultimate success." (

(Also I tried to upload a picture from my ipad and it didn't work.. So here's the link instead)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

patience is a virtue

Today I decided that Heavenly Father uses the US postal service as a way to teach us patience. My mission assignment was made on Thursday, so now I just sit and wait... right next to the mail box until the mailman comes. How cool is it that one of the prophets of The Lord looked at my picture on a screen and said "Hello Sister Johnson, you're going to ____"?!?! It's definitely a pretty amazing feeling. I'm so excited to know where I'm going to spend a year and a half of my life serving The Lord!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

an outline for my day

College is hard. Juggling college, work, homework, sleep, eating, church, gospel study, family time, visiting teaching and preparing for a mission is even harder.  That's not even including hang out time with friends, although I've gotten used to the idea of living at my desk with books in my hands. I'll admit, I'm a busy body through and through, but it can get a little draining sometimes. So... I decided to make some goals (No, don't worry, it's not the New Year) to help me balance life, while keeping my priorities straight. I guess you could also say this is an experiment as well...?
This is going in chronological order ishh
Goal 1) Write everything down (so far so good)
2) After my alarm goes off, step straight from my bed into a kneeling prayer.
3) Before leaving for school in the morning, read my scriptures for as much time as possible-minimum 10 minutes
Both of these goals aren't hard for me to keep at other times of the day, but I think I should start my day with my focus on the right place, and that is with the Lord.
4) Listen to conference talks on my way to school via the Mormon Channel App, or the occasional MoTab and cheesy EFY music. (I am a die hard advocate for EFY music. Listen to it instead of the normal mainstream radio and your life will be changed for the better, I promise)
5) Share the gospel and my testimony with those around me at school.
6) Don't look down or at my phone when I walk through campus. Look people in the eye and smile, take in the beauty of the chaos around me and learn from what I see.
7) Talk to people
8) Say a prayer to myself before every class
9) Be positive at work
10) Don't get road rage
11) Make time for my family even if it appears there isn't time
12) If there wasn't enough time in my morning scripture study for Preach My Gospel reading, then fit that in with whatever other gospel study I need for a total of 30 minutes including the morning study.
13) Go to the temple once a week
14) Read my patriarchal blessing every day with the scripture study
15) Prayer before sleep

Wow that's 15 goals. Well maybe it's more like guidelines for my day because those are things that I already do. I just want to do them better and at the right time.

I know that as we shift our focus to what is most important, our crazy chaotic lives will be easier to balance and organize. Not to mention our testimonies will increase as we keep Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the center of our thoughts and actions. The spirit will be with us, and we will be guided by it! Wish me luck, I'm hoping you all hold me accountable to what I've written.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

One of those days

Today was just one of those days. I was in the middle of a pity party when I looked up and read a quote on the bulletin board above my bed that reminded me of something I did not realiz I was forgetting:

"God has not forgotten you, nor will he ever forget you. You are His Daughter and He loves you more than you will ever know. He will not give you something that is beyond your strength. Sometimes we have to partake of the bitter to know and appreciate the delicious taste of the sweet and savory... Always remember, you are being refined to shine," 

What a tender mercy that answer was to my pleas for comfort! Heavenly Father doesn't leave us alone in our trials. We only need pray and peace will be sent our way.

"Heavenly Father has promised angels on our left and on our right to bear us up and he always keeps his word". 

Friday, August 23, 2013

an outing with the Elders

Yesterday I was privileged to go out to visit three families with the Elder missionaries! Knocking on doors and bearing testimony to complete strangers made the mission fire inside me practically explode. Teaching people about Christ and his gospel is what I want to do!! But let me tell you, you have to be ready to teach and ready to listen to the spirit to be a missionary. I have read through and taught the first lesson twenty thousand times in mission prep, but it still freaked me out when the missionaries looked at me and nodded that it was my turn to do the talking and bearing testimony. We have to do all we can do, then Heavenly Father will make up the rest with the guidance of the spirit--but, as my mish prep teacher always says, "the spirit can't draw water from an empty well!"

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

finding strength

It's kind of an emotional week of ups and downs. One of my best friends is moving to Utah, another just left for his mission, my mission papers are getting turned in, I'm starting school in a completely new environment.. I feel like the list goes on and on. I am indeed a lover of change, but when a lot of it happens in less than a week it can be a little overwhelming. Fortunately for me, I don't have to go at it alone! John 14:18 says "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you". This scripture has crept into my top favorites since a little over a year ago when I relied on it for strength when a best friend of mine was sick. Since that experience, my testimony of the Savior and his atonement has grown exponentially. Not only is the atonement used for it's cleansing power, but also for grace! Grace is the enabling power, the comforting power, strengthening power. Truly all things are possible through Christ which strengthens us (Philippians 4:12).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Feels like I'm flying.

It's probably the most unexplainably amazing feeling ever walking out of the stake president's office having completed the worthiness interview and having all paperwork done and submitted! I'm grateful that I'm the cookie-cutter follow-the-rules type, (although I'm not perfect) I've followed the commandments and kept myself spiritually, physically, emotionally and morally worthy to serve a mission. It's the best feeling and gave me an idea of what it would feel like to stand in front of the Savior confidently.
By no means am I sharing this to brag about myself. I'm sharing it because it's proof that if we try our best to do what we're taught, what the prophet commands us, what our parents counsel us, then it pays off. Man it pays off big time, and the blessings are endless, the happiness is endless. Reaching the goal I've had for my whole life--to enter the temple-- is just around the corner. Conversion is a continuing process though, we always have to be studying, praying, serving, and getting to know our Savior better every day. True conversion and discipleship is beautifully mapped out in this scripture by Mormon "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life" (3 Nephi 5:13). We can take our conversion one step further: "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" (Luke 22:32).
Ultimately, I want to live my life as the Savior would have me live it! I hope to draw closer to him, especially as I'm preparing for a mission.
Andddddd hopefully I can follow his example of patience as I'm waiting for my call to come....

it's late, my brain is fried.

It's always at the time of night when I should be sleeping that I get motivation to write in my journal or blog.. Things that aren't as appealing when you have a million and twelve other things to do during the day seem to become top priority at 1:30am.
Sometimes I wonder why I'm so privileged to belong to such an awesome family and have such a blessed life. Why am I fortunate enough to have been born into the covenant and raised a member of this church? I have parents that work hard to provide for the family, they love me, and most importantly they love each other. They have testimonies of the gospel and have taught me how to find my own! I know where I came from, where I belong, and where I'm going. I don't ever doubt the truthfulness of the gospel. I have so much to be grateful to my Heavenly Father for! the list goes on and on.
I'm so incredibly happy all the time, and I want other people to be happy too! Am I a repetitive person by saying that again? Mmmmm probably.
goodnight. or good morning I guess? either way, I'm sacking out.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Search Ponder and Pray

Hey guess what! I got 50 page views on my first blog post. 2 were from different countries, and although I feel completely creeped out by that, I'm also feeling like one kool kat!
---> T-Minus 6 days until I turn in my mission papers <---
Here's a little random thought that's been going through my mind... My number one advice to everyone when preparing for a mission, or maybe just preparing for life in general, is to study. I'm not talking about the opening your scriptures right before you fall asleep and reading 2 verses type of thing (yes I'm guilty of that). I mean setting aside time in your day, everyday, for the Lord. How hard can it be? He has given us everything, so can't we sit down and show a little dedication?
     Here's the average 3 step program.... 1) Starting with prayer, then 2) searching scriptures and 3) pondering. I hope the primary song "Search Ponder and Pray" just popped into your head.
     I'd like to propose a fourth step. That is to carefully write down what we learn, our thoughts, our impressions in a journal. On the front of the seminary journals they give us every year is a quote that I will attempt to recall from my mind. It's by an apostle I believe and goes something like: "knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need." How cool is that? It's practically a promise that if we take the time to write down the knowledge Heavenly Father blesses us with, we will be able to refer back to it when we need it most. Something I've always said (and probably told many people a thousand times) is that your pen is an antennae to the spirit. Writing things down shows Heavenly Father that you care about what his spirit is revealing to you, which in turn blesses you with more knowledge to write and more and more and more and more. Get the picture?
     Something I like to involve in my daily study is "Preach My Gospel." It's a must have for all missionaries and all members. But I'm 98% sure you already knew that. If we want to be successful tools in the Lord's hands as missionaries (full time or member missionaries), we have to utilize the tools he has already given us. Yes, you could argue that the MTC (Missionary Training Center) is where you can learn what you need to teach as a missionary. But, how much time could you save if you already knew? You could get straight to work instead of having to waste time. Think of how many more people would be blessed by that! Just a thought. hopefully a little motivation.
The First Presidency wrote in the front of PMG "We challenge you to rise to a new sense of commitment to assist our Father in Heaven in His glorious work. Every missionary has an important role in helping "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him. More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children."
I'm definitely not perfect. But I know that through Christ all things are possible (Philippians 4:13)!

Monday, August 12, 2013

This is just the beginning.

So I guess I just started a blog... Which wasn't as easy to make as it looks. What a blessing technology is, why not take advantage and use it as a tool to share what we believe?
Here's a little bit about me.. My name is Tori, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, "Mormons". I just graduated high school (go jackrabbits!). Apparently I'm starting college next week....? Who know summer could go by so fast? I'm attending ASU with a beautiful scholarship, studying business law. Oh! and I guess I could let the secret (not so secret) out that I'm turning in my mission papers on the 20th of this month. WOW so extremely excited. But hey, I guess that's kinda the norm now with Mormon girls? Preparing for a mission has blessed my life incredibly. I really would suggest it for everyone. And when I say everyone I MEAN EVERYONE. Even if you don't think you'll go on one. When the mission age changed (girls could go out at 19 instead of 21) I said heck to the no way am I going on a mission. But as I prayed and studied my scriptures, I felt like I should prepare as if I was going on a mission and began to really dedicate myself to my personal gospel study. My testimony increased and look at me now! Some time went by and I guess I changed my mind, because by this time next month I'll have my call. It just goes to show that no matter what direction we think we want to go, Heavenly Father always has something five-thousand times better for us in mind. He knows us better than we know ourselves! I know without a doubt that going on a mission is what I am supposed to do. I know that Heavenly Father has prepared me throughout my whole life to go. I know that Christ died for us and lives again! I know that through him, happiness can be found.  I see so much pain and suffering in the world, people searching and not finding the truth that they need. I want them to know what I know, especially that they can feel peace, love, comfort, and happiness through Jesus Christ! The gospel of Jesus Christ continuously blesses my life and it's because of that that I want to share it with others. That is why I am going on a mission, to be the hands of the Lord here on the earth, to join the ranks and help teach the world the Plan of Salvation, and to testify of this gospel.
So enjoy my blogging! Or not!