Spiritual Sunday: Origin

The First Vision, by Kenneth Riley

I stumbled upon this video on youtube last week, and I really liked it. It kind of was an answer to a prayer I’ve been holding onto.

I feel like I’ve always had a really good testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven. I know they both live and love me very much. I know that I am a Daughter of God and that I will return to live with him one day, as I follow in His footsteps.

Some days are a lot easier than others. It’s easy to just read the scriptures, and then give Brady a kiss and go to sleep; wake up the next morning and start my day without even thinking of reading in the morning and praying too. It’s so easy to just read to read, and not really get anything out of it. Now I know nobody is perfect, and I’m simply happy that Brady and I read the scriptures every single night together, and I really need to pick back up where I left on in D&C, in the mornings. But something that I’ve been pondering while we ready scriptures together, is what am I getting out of this? What is this teaching me? How can I apply this to my life? Am I feeling the Spirit? Should we start praying before we read? And all of these questions and emotions overcome me, but it’s just too much to ruin the moment of reading scriptures.

I always pray, to continually do my best to get the most I can out of the scriptures, to find my answers, comfort and any possible way to share it with others. But when I stumbled upon this video, it really hit me. It really made me recall and think back to the Prophet Joseph Smith and his trial time of knowing the truth, and where to find it.

Can I too find it? Can I continue to find it? Can I, Ashley, do as James directs, that is, ask of God? I bear witness to you that yes, I can. Anytime, anywhere, no matter what. I can always call upon my Father in Heaven with questions, seeking truth. I know He will answer me, in His time. Whether that be what I want in life or not, I know He has best interest in me. I will do as James directs and I will always ask of God. I will always seek to find the truth, every single day. I will fight for it. I will build my testimony, I will become strong, and I will become like my Father in Heaven. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

“8 During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was bright and who was wrong. 
9 My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others. 
10 In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be aright, which is it, and how shall I know it? 
11 While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 
12 Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible. 
13 At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.”

 

If you would like to continue reading, click here.

What did you learn this beautiful Sunday?

 

Dear Husband: Part 1

Dear Husband,

I’ll never forget the first time I really met you. We were in the 9th grade and you were friends with one of my best friends. I remember seeing you in the lunchroom and thinking to myself, “holy cow, he is so tall!” Or how I would randomly see you in the hallway and I would run over to you and ask you how tall you were and you never answered because you probably had no idea how to talk to a girl, what to say, or even who I was. But it’s okay, because I thought how tall you were, was very cool.

I’ll never forget how I went two and a half years without ever really “seeing” or talking to you. It’s weird how quickly we became best friends during Cross Country conditioning the summer before senior year, and how you happened to hangout with the same group of friends that I was friends with. We always joked and laughed at how tall you were. I’m glad we became friends, because looking back now, I can’t believe we weren’t friends sooner.

I’ll never forget how Cross Country went, and how you cheered me on. I’ll never forget when my AP Psychology teacher wheeled a vacuum to me one morning and said, “this was dropped off for you.” Someone was asking me to the homecoming dance and I was going to punch whomever it was. Until I opened up the compartment that collects the dirt, and there was a tiny piece of paper that had your name written on it. Your handwriting was so “boy-ish” I almost couldn’t read it, but it’s okay, because I remember getting tiny butterflies in my stomach. Like maybe this would turn into something. I’m really glad my 2nd period teacher let me take it to my car so I didn’t have to carry it around the school for the rest of the day (even though I still got weird looks).

I’ll never forget the day of the Homecoming dance. There happened to be a boy in our homecoming group who shattered my heart not too many months ago. Who played games and messed with my heart all summer. Who didn’t know if he wanted to be with me or the other girl and so he chose neither. You didn’t know that I cried after the day activity, right before you came to pick me up. I bawled. I was so upset that he was in our group for the rest of the night. I kept crying because I felt bad; I felt I wasn’t being fair to you by feeling this way.

I’ll never forget that my neighbor came over before you got there to help me tie up my dress. And when you got there, we didn’t take pictures because no one was home to take them. Your tie matched perfectly and you looked very handsome. I’ll never forget arriving to Olive Garden for dinner, (I still remember the exact Olive Garden location, and where inside the restaurant we sat) where you ate spaghetti and meatballs and I told you I’d be your cheapest date (and I was) because all I ordered was a salad. You had 10 frozen Raspberry Lemonades because they were having free refills that night. But what you won’t remember is how much torture and pain I was in, sitting right across the table from the boy who shattered my heart months earlier, sitting with his date, the new girl he loved. I’ll never forget how peaceful I felt in your presence that night; how hard I tried to pay attention to you and have fun with you as my date and not dwell on the fact that I ached to be with the boy sitting across the table from us.

I’ll also never forget the picture we took. How we  I put a flinstone character in it. How we jumped and your head was almost cut out of the picture because you’re so tall. I’ll never forget that even though I wore high heels, I barely made it past your shoulder. We danced the night away, and I had loads of fun with all of my girl friends and you sort of danced, but it wasn’t really your thing, so I grabbed your arms and swung them from side to side to help you start dancing but you weren’t having it.

I remember the night ending, you dropping me off at my doorstep, giving me an awkward hug (because you’re awkward) and I thanked you for a fun night, knowing I would see you the following Monday at school. I will never forget how I went inside and cried. I cried my heart out. Because I let that stupid boy get to me. I let my feelings rush to the front of my mind and I wasn’t focused on how grateful I was to have even been able to attend this dance; and attend it with you. I cried for hours, and for days… and you never knew… but I’ll never forget.

To be continued…

Spiritual Sunday: Come See the Light

Progression - Reflections of Christ

This is a religious post, but I invite all to read.

I’ve decided I want to dedicate Sundays to something spiritual. Whether it be something small, a big revelation or just a simple, I love my Heavenly Father.

Today I have been touched by the Spirit. Brady and I have unfortunately, been unable to attend our new ward yet, but our goal is next Sunday. I have had a really rough week, and have felt lost a little. I felt confused in my emotions, and unsure of my purpose here on earth. I’ve pondered those questions before, but never have I truly felt like I needed the answer.

I truly wondered if he was listening, and then I read a quote, “Whenever you are going through a trial, remember, the teacher is always quiet during a test.” And it really got me thinking; am I just going through a really big long test right now? Because that’s exactly how it feels. I am still learning, and earning my unshakable faith. It is something you work at everyday, something I strive for. Life has changed, and so have I. I’m not that high school girl that would carry her Book of Mormon around school with her anymore. I’m not that girl who read the entire Doctrine & Covenants section in English class her senior year, anymore. I’m not that girl.

I have pondered where is God? Why isn’t he answering his prayers? Why me? Am I ever going to get past this? Why am I not that girl anymore? Why don’t I carry my Book of Mormon close to my heart? But who hasn’t? Who hasn’t fallen to their knee’s just pleading for help; for strength. Because I definitely have.

Brady and I have talked about attending the Temple and how often we were planning on going. I guess we shouldn’t “plan” to go to the Temple. We should just go when we choose to; whether that’s spur of the moment or planned with the two of us, or others as well. We are going this Saturday and I’m so excited to go back. I’ve been dying to since I went through for my very own session. We’ve been really good at praying every day and reading our scriptures together, but I feel like the Temple is what we’re missing.

Anyway, my point to this post is about a song. A song that Brady and I listen to, to death. A song that brings me to tears; it brings the spirit in so strongly you can’t help but long to meet the Savior again. You can’t help but want a hug; need a hug. Just to see his face once, hear his voice once, would help me back up on my feet and conquer the rest of this earthly journey. It’s called Come See the Light performed by Clyde Bawden & Freddie Ashby in Reflections of Christ. It’s very powerful and I’m going to share that with you.

 

After the week I’ve had, listening to that song brings me strength. Gives me hope, and seeing the pictures just makes me long for that overdue hug so much more. But it also builds my testimony. I know that if I just hang on. If I just keep reading my scriptures, attending the Temple, attending my church meetings, keeping all of my covenants, and speaking with my Father in Heaven every day, that hug will come. It will come soon enough and it will be the sweetest hug I’ll have ever had.

This new Daughter of God that I’m becoming will be extraordinary. She will be great; I will be great. I can do this. I can become who He wants me to become now not who I used to be. I am a solider in his army, and I will stand by him for the rest of my life. I will not falter. I will not crumble. I will not fail because I am His Daughter, and He will not forsake me.

I’m grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ and for the sacrifice He made for not only me, but for you as well. I know the Book of Mormon to be true. I know that it is another testament of Jesus Christ. I know that if you read it, the comfort that it brings alone will answer some of your toughest questions. I know that if you kneel; if you actually kneel and bow your head and speak out loud to your Father in Heaven, (or in your mind, quietly, silently, sitting up, standing, without arms folded, or just quietly pleading inside) He will hear you. He does hear you; you do matter. I know that my Father in Heaven loves me, even when I’m struggling. Even when I’m struggling to believe that he hears me. He has sent so many wonderful reminders that he is listening, but I must trust in his timing; and that includes timing with his answers. I leave this testimony with you, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Honeymoooooon!

Our Honeymoon was really fun. I didn’t really take a whole lot of pictures, but I really wanted to enjoy my time being with my best friend and not worrying about snapping the right picture.

We started off at the Anniversary Inn!! Sooooo much fun and way cool. We stayed in the Swiss Family Robinson room and it was way cool. The bed was literally up in the tree, the tv was in the wall up high so we could watch it, the bathtub was basically a waterfall shower which was so cool, but water got everywhere when you turned it on!! Hahahaha, at some point I just wanted a regular shower. They delivered breakfast to us in the morning at whatever time we wanted. I had a cinnamon roll with milk and Brady had an omelet type thing with juice! We packed up and were ready to hit the road for 6 hours…. At least we thought we were…


The drive consisted of talking, silence, me taking a nap, no stops for snacks (Brady wanted to make it there fast) and then switching places in Cedar City because I begged him to let me get a snack and to take a turn driving! I was brave and drove through the canyon’s/rocky mountain’s/basically the scary part of the drive!! We made it to Vegas just in time and we were very excited!! We stayed at the Mirage and it was a lot of fun :)
 
 

 After we arrived we went to the store to buy some food (which we didn’t really eat) but it was nice to have water bottles, to be able to eat cereal in the morning. After we just went back, relaxed and watched some TV. The next day was filled with sight seeing. Which basically means dying in 120 degree weather, trying to have fun but sweating the second we stepped outside.


We had this picture drawn of us. The artist was hilarious. It was sort of awkward for me at first, and we sat there for probably a good 15-20 minutes. We started to gather a crowd of people who were watching him draw and staring at us so that was a little more awkward. We love it, and I laughed about it forever. Best part of the day!
 

The next day we decided we were going to take a trip to see the Las Vegas, Nevada Temple since it was Sunday and we wouldn’t be attending church. It is such a beautiful Temple. It was really hot so we didn’t stay long but enough to take pictures. Bless Brady’s heart with my obsession of taking photos.

I was kind of sad to leave, I really wished we could have stayed and done a session, but we can always come back. The Temples are beautiful places. The grounds are always taken care of, with beautiful flowers, tree’s and other things. The Temple is always gorgeous but it’s fun to finally see a Temple in real life that you’ve only seen pictures of your entire life. After the Temple we went back to the hotel and just spent some time on the internet, and relaxing.

In between these adventures we went to lots of malls, shopped a bit, went to a few places, stopped by the pool which was WAY too packed for my liking so we didn’t stay long.

I was spoiled and got a Coach purse and wallet! They were having a crazy amazing sell and Brady told me I could get an early birthday present. I really wanted a bike, but the sacrifice was worth it. Thanks babe!

On our last night there, we were able to use a gift card given to us by Brady’s mother and step-father, to a place called Morton’s Steakhouse and it was wonderful! Very formal setting, expensive but so fun. They took our picture for celebrating our wedding AND gave us free desert which I totally could have eaten myself because it was that small. But it was fun. Our steaks were borth 24oz and Brady ate every single speck of steak that he could. The boy can eat anything no matter the portion!!! I, of course, couldn’t finish but the night was fun and a great way to end our honeymoon before the long journey home!

We really had a great time and we were so sad that it came to an end. The drive home was so horrid I thought I was going to die. We were happy to be home, open our gifts (THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR ALL THE THOUGHTFUL GIFTS/CARDS), shower and just relax at home. Hopefully we can have another trip soon. We love spending time together :)

Bridal and Groomal Pictures

Our bridal & groomal pictures were amazing. They’re some of my very favorite. I really love them, and I look at them often. It was such a special and beautiful day. No weddings, or nearly any one on the temple grounds. It was so fun getting photos taken by Abbey Kyhl (www.akstudiodesign.com) and to be with Brady!