Monday, May 28, 2012

Happily Ever After...

Whether you're religious or not, I think everyone can appreciate this topic and this talk...

I was reading a talk by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf today (Your Happily Ever After) about trials and pushing through/enduring adversity.  He talked about how to achieve your real and genuine "happily ever after..."  He was spot on.  Here are a few quotes I feel in love with, followed by my thoughts on the subject.  Please let me know what you think too...

"Isn’t it remarkable to know that our eternal Heavenly Father knows you, hears you, watches over you, and loves you with an infinite love? In fact, His love for you is so great that He has granted you this earthly life as a precious gift of “once upon a time," complete with your own true story of adventure, trial, and opportunities for greatness, nobility, courage, and love."

"In each of these stories... [The main characters] experience sadness and trial before they can reach their “happily ever after.” Think about it. Has there ever been a person who did not have to go through his or her own dark valley of temptation, trial, and sorrow?"

"In stories, as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise. Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way. Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we, through opposition, can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy."

"It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop."

I LOVE this quote!  I think it's my favorite from the entire talk... It truly is our reaction to things in life that matter most.  We can not control everything around us, but we can control how we react to it and how we endure.  Do we endure with strength and perseverance or do we complain and muddle through?  Both allow us to eventually meet the end of circumstances and trails, but one attitude leaves us ultimately happier and more prepared to live "happily ever after," because we are already happy! 

I'm not trying to appear judgmental.  I'm not always happy about my trials, no matter how big or small - believe me.  Truthfully, it's not easy.  We can't be jolly all the time when there's adversity in front of us.  I truly believe that it is okay to NOT be okay in life sometimes.  However, we mustn't let that become who we are - victims and slaves to the unhappiness.  We mustn't let the negative outweigh the positive and bring us down emotionally, physically, spiritually.... We mustn't give in to being unhappy people because it's just too hard to press on.  Those are the moments when we will learn that it really IS too hard... if we do not lean on our Savior.

Lean on the one who knows everything that you're feeling and knows how to succor you in your trial.  Lean on the one who knows you better than you know yourself, and loves you even more so.  Lean on the one who would give up His time and energy to listen to you, and would give up His life to free you from these burdens.  He'll take them away.  It may take time, but He will indeed take away your pains and afflictions... That's what He died for, after all. 

Take the time to read it through (boy or girl alike) and think about it a bit... I know that Heavenly Father lives and He loves each of us.  I know that I have a Savior who lived and died for me, and lives again.  I know that with His help, I can overcome ALL things - all sins, trials, insecurities, depressions, confusion, and pains.  I know my Savior loves me.

"We all search for happiness, and we all try to find our own “happily ever after.” The truth is, God knows how to get there!  “Happily ever after” is not something found only in fairy tales. You can have it! It is available for you! But you must follow your Heavenly Father’s map."

Remember, to rest of your fairytale is still unwritten, and you have the power to write it with a happy ending.

Song of the Day: This song is not exactly the sentiment I'm going for - haha!  However, it's hilarious and fun... and you can think about what HER attitude is on this "Happily Ever After" subject... Here's Carol Burnett's version of "Happily Ever After" from Once Upon a Mattress. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Quote a Day....

I think it's that time again... Time for some fairly gnarly quotes from friends and the writer of this blog herself.... You should sit back, read, and enjoy.

"Well, you know what they say - A swear a day.... " - Nicole
"Um..." - Linze
".... keeps the spirit away?" - Nicole
(Keep in mind this was four days before her mission began - and it was REALLY funny!)

"I'm as fertile as a desert!" - Anonymous
*cricket chirps*
 "A Jungle!  A JUNGLE!" - Anonymous

"Babylon will take you DOWN!" - Amber... in church.  It was legitimately awesome.

"Go non-Mormon me!" - Mari (after remembering church terminology when I couldn't...)

"I like my crotches low." - Am (Pants.  Her pants.)

 "Planning a Mormon bachelorette party... with lesbians?  Bucket list!" - Mari

"Two BIG impressions for your one small one!" - Linze
(Think back to my previously awkward comments... that is all.)

"Elder Utchdorf encourages us to stop judging others.  For example... Those who steal her snacks." - The Moody boy... at church... in a sacrament meeting talk.

"Who is funnier?" - Spencer (about me and him)
*Me laughing*
"What?" - Spencer
"Nothing... just something I said." - Linze

"I wish I lived in your head... All I'm getting is attacked!" - Emily

"Fivne!!!!" - Emily

"I'll take your last name, Linze." - Spencer

"Should it be D. Spencer Minnick or David S. Minnick?" - Spencer about his GA name options


Song of the Day: I like this song, but LOVE this version... I don't know what it is, but this guy just makes it better for me in so many ways.  I dig his voice and style.  Here is Dan Talevski with "Pumped Up Kicks."  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Feelin' Fit and Fab!

I went to the mall today to buy some well-needed jeans... I'm down a size and a half!  I know... how do I know that it's a size AND a half... because of the fit in ones only a size down.  Haha!  PLUS, I'm down 8.5 pounds... I'd say the calorie counting paid off.  However, recently I've just been more mindful of my eating.  Truth be told, I stopped counting calories after a month and just watched what I ate and estimated here and there.  I feel so much better too!

ALSO, I went to the gym and last week for the first time ever, I ran for 6 minutes without slowing down to a walk.  6 minutes!  Now, some may scoff or internally judge me for a "minimal accomplishment," but it was huge for me.  I've always considered myself active, but recently it's to a whole new level of ability.  I'm a HAPPY girl! :)

I just feel like I was able to accomplish this because it was finally for me and for the right reasons.  All those other times I tried losing weight it was because I "wasn't pretty enough" and was comparing myself to other girls.  Or, it was because I wanted a boy to like me... Those days ended, and now I have finally been able to do things because they make me a happier, healthier, and over-all better person.  Now, I just have to keep it up and endure.... Endurance is hard.  Especially when losing this weight took a little over two months...

I'm in for a long journey that's bound to kick my butt!  Hopefully it kicks it right off, actually.

Song of the Day: So, Carrie Underwood has a new CD out (that I love!) and this is a song I think pertains to this entry slightly... Here is "Nobody Ever Told You."  Enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Picture's Worth: PART II

Here are pictures I also love right now, but these are people I actually know... :)

Lighting the lanterns at Nicole's setting apart!  It was our own Tangled moment...
The crew there for Nicole's setting apart celebration...
Jenny and I, stuck in the slides at Carl's JR.  Haha!
Me and my mama - my favorite lady/example in the world! :)
Me and E!  I adore this girl SO much and am so excited she just turned 4!
We like silly photos more than serious ones...
Some of the other students from my MAT program at Westminster!
 Me and Em before the Avengers premier - haha!  We're both not that hardcore about it and this was our FIRST time dressing up for a premier... but we had a blast with it! :)
 My mom and me at the Bee's Game last week - isn't she awesome?!
 My little niece, Zoey - Oh, how I miss that girl!
The Zoe-ster, smiling up a storm - she really is a gorgeous baby!

P.S.  I bought a GORGEOUS guitar on Friday, had my first lesson on Saturday, and have been practicing non-stop because I'm so excited about it.  Haha!  However, I had NO idea my fingers were gonna ache this bad!  Haha... They feel RAW.  It's the price to become a better musician and learn a new insturment, I suppose. Ouch...

Song of the Day:  This isn't so much the SONG as it is the artist(s).  This is a European group called 2Cellos and they're amazing - SO cool!  Check out their version of MJ's "Human Nature."  Love it!

A Picture's Worth: PART I

Pictures I currently enjoy are....

And lastly, this one was written and created by my friend, Nat.... Love it: 


Song of the Day: I love Sara Bareilles.  I love new music.  I love Sara B's newest music... Check out "Stay."  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Hiking!

I have recently become highly aware of the many hiking sites here in UT with incredible views... Not like the one above, but you can't beat a hike above Florence, Italy... Just sayin'.

 Now, in the past I have been no great hiker.  In fact, I'm pretty positive that this is still the case.  However, that doesn't mean I don't like hiking!  On the contrary, I really enjoy hiking... just not in front of other people.  Haha!  I wouldn't go alone because 1) it's dangerous and thus, dumb, and 2) I like having other people around.  However, I'm not a fast or great hiker and it's one of the few areas in my life where I lack a ton of self-confidence. 

For those who don't know this about me, I'm usually highly confident in myself... shocker, right?  Thus, when I'm doing something I like, but kinda suck at, I'm not very comfortable with it.  However, this summer I finally have an inhaler (nerd alert!) and I'm not ashamed to say I love that thing!  Haha... I just looked at some easy, basic to moderate hikes in the area and I'm planning to tackle a few of them over the course of the next few months and gear myself up to eventually hike Timp.  I KNOW that might not happen this year for me (pending on timing and my hectic life), but I have a goal to do it and I'm gonna do it.  Haha!

Ones to tackle soon:
Donut Falls
Cecret Lake
Cascade Springs
Bell Canyon

Now, I'm gonna go find myself some hiking buddies... :)  Any takers?

P.S.  I need to brag for 2.5 seconds about two things.  This first, my first year of Grad School left me with a 4.0!  Both semesters of straight A's!  Also, since March I have lost 8.5 pounds... with a few more to go.  Haha!  I'm a happy girl.

Song of the Day: I am currently loving this mix of dance mania combining with the indie sound of Sia.  This is a good one - Here's David Guetta (Feat. Sia) with "Titanium."  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Savior, Redeemer of My Soul...

The friend I was talking about yesterday, Nicole, arranged this amazing song and asked me and Liz to sing for her farewell!  I sincerely felt highly honored, and was excited to see what harmonies we could come up with and how to put it together.  Then, we added her cousins playing violins!!!  It just fell into place and sounded AMAZING!  Take a listen... You won't regret these five minutes of your life.

"Savior, Redeemer of My Soul/Called to Serve Medley"
Arranged by: Nicole Skousen
Vocals: Liz Gainer, Nicole Skousen, Linze Struiksma
Video: Kira B! 

I first heard this song when my friend, Megan, sang it on our ward for church and was in shock at how amazing it was - I think I talked about it for a whole week at home.  Haha!  Meg is an incredible singer, and this song is SUCH a powerful piece...  Now, a few months later, I'm grateful I had the chance to sing this song.  I know that my Savior lives and loves me... and that He will always be there for me.  This song is pretty much my musical testimony in a nutshell... so, go enjoy it again. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Trust in the Lord...

Today, I am grateful.  I am grateful for experiences and opportunities that the Lord sees fit for us to have when we have them.  I am grateful for the little joys in life... the things that just make you smile for virtually no reason - and the ones when there is a reason.  I am blessed and I am excited that I know why.  I am blessed because I have a Father in Heaven who loves me more than I think I love myself - haha!  He loves me and knows me better than I know myself.  It is becoming more and more apparent to me in the past few months, weeks, and even days of my life.

My friend, Nicole, was giving her farewell talk (she's leaving for a mission in Virginia this week!) and stated, "We can't be discouraged when asked to wait on the Lord."  That is possibly the smartest advice I've ever received and the most difficult advice to follow.  It's stressful waiting on someone else's time-table - even when that person is God.  Haha... It's tough to trust and have faith sometimes in the unknown, but it is worth it.  I know that's true.

I just feel really grateful today and I can't fully explain it... I feel like Heavenly Father is highly aware of me.  Nicole also said, "He knows what you're capable of becoming." She's right.  He knows.  He knows what I was before, what I am now, and what I will become.  That's pretty legit... :)

Now, just one more thought I really wanna get out there... 

Today, when I was a church meeting we sang the song "How Firm a Foundation."  Something in the lyrics struck me.  The words in the first verse say, "How firm a foundation... is laid for your faith in His excellent word."  The foundation is set and is laid for us, through our faith, not for Him.  He cares about us, and we are his main priority.  The second verse says, "Fear not, I am with thee."  He is ALWAYS there for us... he will always be there for us. The final verse reads, "The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose, I will not, I will not, desert to his foes."  I am completely a soul that leans on Christ for temporary rest and peace... and because He has always been there for me and always will be there for me to lean on, I will not and I can not falter and desert the path to those who fight against Him. 

I will trust in the Lord, and I know that He is listening and helping me out when it's needed... I know that He loves me, and I'm excited to become what he already knows I will become.

Song of the Day: This isn't a church song, but I think it's uplifting... I am currently obsessed with Imagine Dragons and want to post another of their songs.  Here is "It's Time."  Love it - a lot.  Enjoy!