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Sunday, November 10, 2013

My Deep Dark Secret

I wanted to see if a somewhat intriguing title
would make people want to 
read this post.
Ha! You just got tricked into reading a love post!

Somewhere along the road 
I got confused
And the real definition of Love
got tossed by the wayside.

I have continued to confuse love
For other things.
Love is hugs and kisses.
Love is appraisal.
Love is flowers.
(In the classic words of a favorite teacher-I've "operationalized" love)
Love is....fill in the blank with whatever chick movies define love as.

Nay nay. 
Love is not all of those things,
BECAUSE you can have love 
and not have any of those things at all.

What love IS:
Being loved is being loving. 
And it turns out that being 
loving is incredibly, incredibly 
tough for me.

I don't know really how to do it yet,
 this loving thing.
And I'm really sad, and kind 
of upset that I want so badly to 
be different.

But I'm also acutely aware of
a truth. 
(Here comes the "God stuff")

Heavenly Father IS love
Christ IS the way and the truth.
So even though I've fed myself a lot of lies,
I'm connected to this man who literally 
IS love.
He doesn't show me the way to love,
he literally

And so I have faith.
And I hope,
and I'm upset sometimes,
but still happy.

Because I believe that
the better I know Christ
the more instantaneous Love
I feel 
and Give.

So as I struggle to feel loved,
I'm going to try to know Christ better.
As I struggle to feel loved I'm going
to try and treat others with more love.

Sounds simple. We'll see.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Not-So-Golden Rule

Can we just call it "The Silver Rule" instead?
Just hear me out on this one.

I've been fed a lie my whole life.

And some light was shed on the matter
  at preschool.
I work with a little boy who, if he got his way,
would look at his stuffed animal Mario and Luigi ALL DAY.

And at preschool he assumes that every child wants to 
do the same at playtime. 
He thinks of their needs in terms of his needs.

I find myself asking him, "What do you think THEY want to play with"?
I don't say, "What do you want to play with? They probably want that too!"
Because that's unrealistic. 

As is the "Golden Rule"-
 "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you",
or some rendition like unto it.

So, I grew up thinking that everyone feels loved the same 
way that I do.

I thought, "Give them kisses and gifts and they'll feel loved." 
Oops. We have a problem people,
and it's the fact that we're all DIFFERENT.

And how I might want to be treated could possibly, 
and most likely is,
different than how you would prefer to be treated.

The "Golden Rule" might instead be: 
"Do unto others as God would do unto them".

We should treat people the way that an all knowing God
treats them.

And that seems kind of hard, but I think it can be done
when we see others as loving, kind, PEOPLE.

When it comes down to it, we might not even know
what the other person needs,
and there's the beauty of it all--God does know!

He knows what everyone needs and he'll help us love
each other.

Yup, that was a little sugary, but you get my point. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Big Brother Finally Taught Me Something

At the end of a long day
when my life feels murky,
and I can't really see what's ahead
I sometimes slip, and embrace despair.

When I feel hopeless and helpless
and sometimes unloved or unwanted,
well there's a word that I try to imagine in my mind.
It's a tiny word, with so much meaning.


The wise Neal A Maxwell wrote,

"Significantly, those who look forward
 to a next and better world
 are usually “anxiously engaged”
 in improving this one,
 for they “always abound in good works". 

Thus, real hope is much more than wishful musing.
 It stiffens, not slackens, the spiritual spine. 
It is composed, 
not giddy,
 eager without being naive,
 and pleasantly steady without being smug.

 Hope is realistic anticipation taking the form of determination—a determination not merely to survive but to “endure … well” to the end." -Neil A Maxwell "Brightness of Hope"

There's a man 
that I know who is the epitome
of Hope. 
In fact, he wrote the following words and sent them to me.
They're filled with the "steady", "composed" hope
that Neil A. Maxwell described,

"In this the darkest hour of her life, 
when her hopes and dreams had burnt to the ground,
 a fiery Phoenix rose from the ashes. 
The phoenix was not hope
 but that is what others saw,
 it was not charity,
 but that is what other people saw, 
it was not joy but that's what others saw,
 she was not our savior 
but that is what other people saw."

I wept when I read this
because in our darkest hours,
we can still be hope to someone,
we can still be charity, we can still save 
and we can still have Joy.

The thing that we have to remember
is that we get to decide on these feelings.

When I awake in the morning,
wishing I could skip ahead
to calmer water,
I say to myself,

I will.
"Embrace this day with an enthusiastic matter how it looks."

Because that. Is Hope.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Being Mormon: It's My Choice

I would like to be one of those people
who just knows,
Believing in Christ is actually
a choice for me.

Some do know that He exists.
I've read accounts of people who have seen His eyes
or touched the prints of His hands.

And, obviously
That's just not my story.

I was blessed enough to be born
into a family that did introduce me
to the Savior.

And over the past couple of years
as I've lived and learned
I've come to really, truly, 

The number ONE reason 
that I believe in Christ though,
is not really "proof" at all to some.
It's not tangible, I did not see Christ, I haven't 
even heard his voice,
or felt his touch on my arm.


I believe in following a feeling.

I know how I feel
when I am choosing as 
I believe Christ would have chosen.
 That's enough for me to say I believe.

When I'm kind, and patient,
Loving and helpful, 
thoughtful, faithful, full of hope.
That's when I'm happy,
and I believe that Christ is my perfect example.

The number TWO reason, is similar.

Through my use of the 
Atonement of Christ,
I FEEL as if my guilt has
been washed away,
and that the wrong that I
have done is wiped clean.

With that being said.

It's not difficult to be "Mormon"
because I don't get to drink coffee, 
sleep around, watch rated R movies or 
go to Applebee's on Sunday.

It's difficult because each day I have
to choose to believe
in Christ because of a feeling that I have.

And sometimes I'm sure that 
it would be easier for me to not believe.
It might be easier, and possibly
make more sense if
I only believed in what "my retina fell upon".

But for me, 
believing is worth it
because I am happy when I'm 
leading a faith-filled life.

Disclaimer: I am not saying that people
who don't believe in Christ are not patient
kind, loving, etc.

I'm only saying this.

Choosing to following the example of Christ
has invited more true happiness
into my life than any other person,
or object.

And I love being Happy. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Start Here

When I'm trying to 
improve, become better,
I don't know where to start.

I feel overwhelmed with what's
 in front of me. Bleh.

I think the best advice 
 that I've ever been given  
on what to do with 
this dilemma
is ...

"Start where you are."

You're thinking,"well that sure sounds simple.
Where else could I possibly start ?"
And maybe it's just a problem for me.

But for some reason,
I've always thought that 
I had to be better
before I could really
start becoming better.

Or that I needed to be 
perfect before I could repent.
But it's just not true.
We do not have to be better
to start becoming better.

We get to start where we are.
As Elder Holland said,

"The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge
 is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate
 toward the faith you do have
 and the truth you already know."

In other words,
it doesn't matter how lacking we are,
what's important is whether
or not we are true to what we do possess.

So. What if we're not true to the faith
we do have. 
Sounds like a big problem?
Well let me tell you something that I know.

We're allowed do-overs.
We're allowed to make mistakes,
we're allowed to not live up to our potential.
As long as we realize
 that no matter where we end up after those mistakes
we're going to have to start where we are.

There we have it.
I don't know why this gives
me so much comfort,
but the fact that
I can always start in the 
very exact place that I am, 
well that just gives me hope.

Worry not everyone. WE DON'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT!
We just have to keep on trying, from this very spot.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our Guide

It turns out that learning
how to teach, has really helped
me learn about Teachers.

Recently I've been struggling to figure
out how to guide children
to explore.

Steven E. Gutstein Ph.D. said,

"Guides act as a catalyst, 
leading Apprentices to the 'edge' of their competence
 and inviting them to take one step beyond,
 but not forcing or demanding that they do so. 
They view themselves as a 'potentiating' 
and not a 'directing' force. "

Therapy then is getting the student 
to the "edge", and it is there
on the edge where the student
will grow the most.

However, the instructor should have
enough foresight to not give the
child a challenge that 
he or she cannot handle.

The teacher's role then is to:
Provide Opportunity
Support and
Give Suggestions

And the student's role is to:
Push themselves
Take suggestions
and to rely on their Guide.

This type of guidance works
well with autism in a therapy session
but, let's be honest, there's a bigger message
here as well.

It's only as we allow 
ourselves to be pushed to the "edge"
that we will truly reach
our potential.

We have to learn to rely on our Guide,
to remember that he will never give us 
a task that we cannot handle.

We HAVE to take his suggestions,
no matter how contrary to our
simple minds they seem.

When we're pushed is
when we can truly learn and grow.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

All About The Process

I've recently been introduced 
to a little boy
who has started to change my life.

Not only does he show me how to love
but his family, his mother with her patience
and his siblings with their
persistance, they all teach me
to journey on.

The specific type of therapy that I'm
doing with him is called RDI,
(Relationship Development Intervention)
and it has taught me one
very important concept...

"It's not about the outcome,
It's about the journey."

Yes, we all want to end up happy.
We all want to be better, and do better,
we want nice houses and 
wonderful companions,
but the most important part
is how we change on our way.

 I've found that the most important part
of Becoming Better 
is just that
The Becoming.

President Hinckley said this, 

"None of us will become perfect in a day or a month or a year. 
We will not accomplish it in a lifetime, 
but we can begin now, 
starting with our more obvious weaknesses
 and gradually converting them to strengths 
as we go forward with our lives. 
This quest may be a long one;
 in fact, it will be lifelong. 
It may be fraught with many mistakes, 
with falling down and getting back up again. 
And it will take much effort. But we must not sell ourselves short. 
We must make a little extra effort. 
We would be wise to kneel before our God in supplication.
 He will help us.
 He will bless us.
 He will comfort and sustain us. 
He will help us to do more, and be more, than we can ever accomplish or be on our own."

-Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes,

(Thank You Zach Oates)

After watching this video,
and reading President Hinckley's words,
after thinking a lot about
"the process"
I really know that this life can be as 
good as we let it.

When we focus on others,
when we meet each day with optimism.
When we sincerely rely
on the grace of the savior
as we strive to over come our own weakness.

When we listen to Christ, when we
believe in the atonement and our
ability to change
an amazing thing happens.

We change.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gary Indiana

Once Upon a Nightmare...
I was flying in a plane for the first time.

And on this plane there were many
"Plane People."
You know those people, the ones who 
tell you their whole life story?
Or try to convert you to their religion
or offer to buy you a drink?

Well I met one of these people.
He was sitting next to me
 in the back left corner
of the plane and his name was Gary.
Gary the diamond salesman from Florida.

I had just watched The Music Man
so I sang the "Gary Indiana" song to 
him until his name was forever imprinted in my brain.
(The lyrics are quite repetitive, so it didn't take very long)

But, Gary's name and occupation
weren't the only things I learned on that trip.
I also learned that people, no matter
how they act, or how they
talk, or who they've fallen in or out of love with,
or what they wear,
People ARE People.

And Gary understood this.
I know because as I sat on that plane
he treated me, not like a motion sick 19
year old, but like a person.

He was kind and he looked me in the eye
when he spoke to me.
He remembered my name
 and used it.
He offered to switch places so I could 
look out the window so I wouldn't
puke on him.

In essence he applied some
of the concepts in my favorite book,
 "Bonds That Make Us Free."

 The author C. Terry Warner
brilliantly explains how we should treat others.
He explains,

"By seeing others suspiciously, accusingly, or fearfully,
we become suspicious, accusing, or fearful ourselves. 
By no longer seeing them with care, delight, and generosity,
we ourselves cease to be caring, delighted, and generous.

The kind of people we are
 cannot be separated from how we interpret
the world around us.
'Adam is Adam's world,' 
wrote the philosopher Gottfirend Wilhelm Leibniz.
Who we are is how we are in relation to others."

And there we have it.
Gary was kind because he saw
the world in a kind way.
He was delightful because he saw the world
with delight.

I want to be more like Gary.

Monday, April 22, 2013

We've All Thought It, Life Isn't Fair

My third grade teacher
Mr. Wright always use to say
(usually after I had complained about a grade)
Well Tilly, "Life isn't fair."

And as I have experienced a little more of life
I've found 
that he's right. 

Life is so unfair

Well. Kind of.

There's something that he left out,
and I learned this valuable lesson my freshman year at BYU.
I was in my mission prep class and on page 52 of "Preach my Gospel"
I read,
"All that is unfair about life
can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

Over the past couple of years
I've thought about this truth multiple times.
When someone questions
God's Love, or Power,
the age old question,
 "Why do bad things happen to good people?"
Or, "How could God let this happen?"

It's because he has already put a plan in place
to take care of all of that.
A perfect plan.
A beautiful endless plan
that saves all of us from the "unfair."

So sometimes when life is hard,
when it seems like everyone is happier
or better off,
when it seems like life just isn't worth it,
and that waking up is the worst part of the day.

Just remember,
The Atonement of Jesus Christ covers and erases
everything that is unfair.
Heavenly Father knows our circumstances
and loves us.
He wants what's best for us,
and in the end that's what we'll get.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Mountains to Climb

When I'm in emotional turmoil
I try to climb mountains.

(Mt. Shasta, which I've never actually climbed)

I choose a mountain, I look up to the top
and I show that mountain 
who's boss.

There's something about being scared,
being alone, 
and doing something all on my own.

One time I chose a Mountain that was almost too much for me.
I climbed to the top, and after about an hour of sitting there
I decided that I wanted to go back down.

But on the way down
I found myself in a sticky situation.
I needed help.
It was getting dark and the cliffs were really steep.

So, you know what I did?

Yup. I called my mommy.

She was kind of mad at me for getting her all freaked out.
She thought I was going to fall off and I would never see her again.
(What a drama queen!)

Of course I made it down.
(After a couple of whispered prayers)
and it felt Grrrreat!

I've since learned that doing scary things is so important
for my growth.

Climbing mountains is hard, 
and that's why I think I like it so much.

Because when I look back up from the bottom and see what I just endured
a feeling of accomplishment comes to me.

I can say to myself, I can do this.
Whatever it is I must do
I can do it. 

And this morning was no different.
I went up Rock Canyon,
I found a Mountain, and I climbed it.

And, although the mountain wasn't that tall
I still felt so great when I was at the top looking down.

And I know that's just how our trials are
sometimes we need to call on the help of our Heavenly Father.
Sometimes we need to look back up at what we did and we can
say to ourselves: I did that.

I know that climbing mountains makes me stronger
and best of all it helps me become better.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My View on Power Lines

After a long day I decided to rest and watch some college basketball.
The curtains were pushed to the side so when I laid on the couch
 I got a view of the Wasatch Mountains.

However, the first thing that I thought of was,
"Dang, I wish those power lines weren't in the way...
I would have a much better view."

As soon as this sneaky thought entered my mind
I thought of Kim (Now Sister Bennett.)

One evening as the sun was setting
I walked into our apartment
to find her at her easel.
Sitting in the same living room, 
looking at those same mountains.
With paintbrush in hand, and a smile on her face
the first thing she said to me as she turned around, 
"Tilly! I love POWER LINES!"

She looked at those mountains
and instead of wishing the power lines away
she embraced their edges and dark lines.
She loved those power lines because
she looked at them in a positive way.
 To her, they were beautiful.

And last night is when I FINALLY REALIZED that

Being positive has little to do with your View, and everything to do with your Perspective.

This fact was solidified in my mind last week.
I was working on being positive and FAILING miserably
 I then read this,
"A man's a fool who takes an insult that isn't intended."
An insult? Or a compliment? It all depends on your PERSPECTIVE.

So, this week I decided that I trusted everyone.
I decided that my friends love me,
that the people I work with love me.
That my teachers want me to get A's.
I decided I loved my job, my major, my LIFE.

I can either take what people say as
a compliment
an insult. 
Either way I get to choose how I feel.

I can take my life for granted, 
or I can embrace my imperfections.

And I decided. I love power lines.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Most Amazing Thing

The Most Amazing Thing happened to me this morning...
And I would like to sincerely share my testimony about it. 

I awoke feeling anxious and fearful.
 Of what? 
I'm not quite sure.
But I know that my heart was beating faster than it normally does
 and my mind seemed to be skipping from one uneasy thought to the next. 
My stomach felt sick. 

I got in the shower, hoping that would relax me.
It didn't.

I decided to start reading a book called "Coping with Anxiety"
(Thank you Kimberly Bennet)
Hoping that would help.
Although the relaxation breathing and meditating did calm me down a bit
it didn't seem to get at the root of my discomfort.

And then my roommate Heather came in, turned on byutv and Elder Uchtdorf was speaking.

The talk was titled "The Love of God".

We listened intently and soon, tears came to my eyes. 
I don't remember what he was talking about exactly, but he said the words, 
"...try, and keep on trying."

That was just what I needed to hear.
 I needed to hear that my Heavenly Father will continue to love me.
He wants me to try, and keep trying...and he'll always help me.

I went into my room, and listened to my "self-talk".
It was completely different from before.
I was ACKNOWLEDGING POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES of others instead of their shortcomings.
I wanted to be around others, instead of by myself. 

I asked myself, what changed? 
How did this happen? 
Why did I feel so bad, and then feel so different?
I know why, and I want you to know that I know.

It's because:
I have a loving Father in Heaven. 
Who helps me day to day, and moment to moment. 
He knows my fears and trials. 
He knows the intents of my heart.
He knows that I want to know Him and follow Him.

The Love of the Savior transforms our hearts when we cannot do it ourselves. 
His love is infinite and penetrating. 

I began to realize that all of the attributes I've been blogging about,
I only have those when I have the Love of the Savior in my heart.
He helps me grow and learn.

HE helps me Become Better.