29 January 2007

Scripture University

In our Relief Society this year we have been challenged to read all 4 Standard Works (Bible, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Coventants). This challenge initially came from our San Diego Temple Matron to other wards, but our Relief Society President wanted to challenge our ward.

I'm taking on that challenge and have kept up so far. It's easier for me to listen to 5 pages of the New Testament and 3 pages of the Book of Mormon a day at lds.org than to read them. So that's what I've been doing.

Our President also has encouraged us to share our thoughts and impressions that we've had while participating in this challenge. I sent her something last week and thought I'd share it here as well. I probably will be doing this in the future as well. Here is what I wrote to her:

I just had some thoughts tonight while reading that I thought I should share with you. First of all, it’s really hard for me to read the New Testament and the Book of Mormon so I’ve been listening and following along with them from the lds.org site. I really want to get the Masters Degree so I’m doing everything I can! Listening makes reading SO much easier and I find I don’t fall asleep as quick.

Anyway so I was reading in 2 Nephi Chapter 4 tonight and some things really stuck out to me. I hope I can portray my feelings well enough.

I love how Nephi bears his testimony about the Savior in the middle of the chapter. I just felt the love and personal relationship that Nephi has with Jesus Christ while Nephi bears his testimony of all the wonderful things Christ has done for him in his life. I especially liked where he said “He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.” It really makes me want to strive to strengthen my relationship with the Savior so that I can feel that love so strong.

But my favorite parts of the chapter start with verse 26. I think the reason I like this so much is because we see the humanness of Nephi. Despite all these wonderful things that have happened in his life, he still has struggles. He still “weeps” with his “soul in the valley of sorrow.” He “yields to sin” and “gives way to temptations.” I feel like I can really connect to Nephi unlike any other prophet because we all go through these things every day. I have had wonderful testimony building experiences, but I still fail on a daily basis. I still make mistakes but somehow it makes me feel better because even Nephi did the same. Not to excuse my behavior because of someone else, but I can just relate his experiences to mine better. One part of this chapter has special meaning to me because the same words are found in my Patriarchal blessing. In verse 27 he says, “Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul.” My blessing says do not let the “evil one have place in your heart, to destroy your peace and afflict your soul.” That phrase has been such a strength to me. It has helped me understand how Satan works with us versus how Heavenly Father works through the Spirit. It helps me connect my experiences to those in the Book of Mormon and really liken the scriptures to myself.

I feel a connection to Nephi because he is human, but the last part of the chapter is what is really important. In 33 he says “O Lord, with thou encircle me around in the robe of they righteousness! Oh Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! 34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever.” What sticks out for me is that despite the fact that he is tempted by Satan and sometimes he yields, he still knows where to turn. He still realizes that salvation and peace can come only from the cleansing power of the Savior. He gives me hope that if I pray and put all my trust in the Lord, whatever is going on in my life that I may be struggling with will be taken care of. I love the imagery of being encircled about in the robe of righteousness. Christ has promised us that through our faithfulness we can always stay close to the Savior and be protected by him.

Thanks for this reading challenge. It has definitely been a blessing for me.

28 January 2007

My Blogroll

Thanks to my brother-in-law Russ over at Zeptoblog I now have a Blogroll to stay on top of all my favorite blogs. So if you like the same ones I do head on over to The Johnster and check them out. Thanks Russ!!

On another note: This is my 100th post! Hooray me, I made it to 100!

25 January 2007

I'm Crazy

I know the song has been out a while but I'm just getting to see the video. It is sweet! I could watch it all day. Maybe I'm crazy???

24 January 2007

In the mail today

So today I go and get the mail and instead of a stack of envelopes and junk mail, I see a plastic bag with this in it:

Behold the mangled remains of a beautiful card my sister-in-law made for me.
Here is inside of it showing how much of a chunk was ripped off:

The Post Office was nice enough to apologize for the damaged mail, but I had to call my sister-in-law to find out what the card actually said.

18 January 2007

You mock my pain!

So today Rachel and I were in Costco getting this year's copy of Turbo Tax so we can get our sweet refund, Yay! and I was browsing through the clothes section. Now it's winter, I understand that, but I also live in San Diego where winter doesn't really happen. This year it is happening. It is dang cold here! Now granted it's no where near as cold as other places--we don't have snow or major ice storms knocking out our power--but it's cold for me!

So I bundled up as I can be in my jeans and t-shirt since I don't own a coat and headed out the door. In Costco I have the shivers as I'm walking by the clothes. I was browsing for maybe a nice warm hoodie or another cute long sleeve shirt, but they don't have those. No, instead of nice winter clothes, they have already brought out the bathing suits, t-shirts and shorts! Why do you mock my pain! I am freezing and do not want to be reminded that it should be warm! I should be able to wear my capris and an long sleeve shirt without getting goosebumps all over my body.

Okay, I know I can't complain because other people are buried under inches of snow, but I don't want to be mocked openly by warm weather clothes. For heaven's sake people, it's only January! I am tired of having to buy summer stuff in January because by the time May comes around all the fall and winter stuff is on sale. Can we get our seasons right? (I had to buy my beach umbrella last week at Costco because last year in May they had none left...no one had any left).

My point to this rant is it's winter. Can we get some semblance of winter in the stores instead of making us all depressed that summer isn't here yet?

02 January 2007

Year In Review

Here's my year in review. Looking forward to another exciting year! Happy New Year everyone!

January: I haven't been posting much lately. I've been going to bed at 9 pm and getting up at 5:30 to work, so I'm a little tired. Plus all the time that Rachel is asleep I am working instead of doing things on the computer like I used to. Anyway, a funny thing happened today that I wanted to write down. Here it goes...

February: I just realized that it's been 11 days since my last post. I guess I just haven't had anything important to say. I have this neighbor downstairs who is going through some rough times. I want to give her a Book of Mormon so a week ago I sat down and started to write my testimony to her and was going to post it here, but I just couldn't finish it. She is Russian and the Book of Mormon is in Russian so I have to give it to her. So that's why there hasn't been a post. I keep thinking I'll finish what I want to say, but never make the time.

March: Below is a letter that I attached inside a Book of Mormon that I will give to my neighbors down stairs tomorrow. They speak Russian and are from Azerbaijan so I gave them a Book of Mormon in Russian. I'll let you know how it goes...

April: Conference this morning (Saturday session) was one of the best sessions I think I have ever watched. Spencer and I watched it on BYU-TV on our computer--I love the internet!--and thankfully Rachel was sleeping so I really could listen! I loved what Elder Hales said about choosing. Our choices are truly the only things we have. "Choose to act in faith in obedience. Choose to accept that you are a child of God, that he loves you and has the power to help you. Chose to use your agency to do his will."

May: Life is interesting how it plays out. The last couple years has been a whirlwind of action for my family. In 2002 me and my sister graduated from single life and got married. My brother was in a terrible accident but thankfully recovered. He left on his mission early in 2003. He has since returned and found his eternal companion. In 2004 two grandchildren were been born and last year had their first birthdays.

June: I found the greatest thing on the internet the other night. Hours and hours of endless viewing enjoyment of the hit 80's TV show the "Wonder Years." Yes you heard me right. The "Wonder Years."

July: I love this country. When we sang all three verses of the Star Spangled Banner in church on Sunday I was in full tears by the end. This country has not risen to what it is without sacrifice, without honor and without God. I cannot help but think of all the men and women who sacrificed everything they had--even their lives in some cases--to bring about the freedom we take for granted. This country would not be what it is today without their courage. So I thank them. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

August: In a shipyard in New Orleans, survivors of one disaster are building a monument to another.
In a city still emerging from the floods of Hurricane Katrina, a ship has begun to rise from the ashes of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Bringing together America’s two great calamities of the 21st century, the USS New York is being built in New Orleans with 24 tons of steel taken from the collapsed World Trade Centre.

September: Labor day has come and gone and with it marks a change. Kids go back to school, the summer is over and the weather starts to change. Life is different for everyone....including me. A lot has been happening in the "J" household recently. Because of all the busy-ness around here I have not been blogging as much as my 6 daily visitors demand. For that I apologize, but I have good reasons for neglecting the blog. Here's my short list:

October: Yesterday I woke up early in the morning. I don't know why I couldn't sleep, I was up super late the night before. Spencer got out of bed at 6 to take a shower and I just laid there thinking. I started thinking about sleeping and how I was always so tired in High School. Between sports, homework and Seminary how is an LDS kid ever supposed to sleep during the week? Thinking about sports brought me to the time when I was a sophomore.

November: Life is interesting. As soon as I think I've got my life figured out I get thrown a curve ball. I can't say that things are bad right now, just a little frustrating. Also I hesitate to complain because life really has been happy for me for a long time. Rachel is turning two next month and so a few months ago Spencer and I decided it was time to try to start making another baby.

December: Happy Birthday Rachel! I can't believe it's been 2 years since you joined our family. We are looking forward to many more birthdays with you. We love you very much!