Sunday, November 16, 2014

This Sunday has been the best!

Today has been great for a couple different reasons.
1) I felt like my hair looked good *score*
2) I made apple pie for ward lunch, and I was afraid that it turned out bad (the juices in the pie were less syruppy than I wanted), but instead was given many a compliment that it looked like a very handsome pie, that it was delicious, and then THE John Major, cooking extraordinaire, told me that it was good. Now, Bro.Major is a most excellent chef himself, and not one to sugar-coat things, so the fact that he complimented my pie in all sincerity just made me feel like winner of the day.

Not quite unlike this:


3) While at the MTC, before they headed out to their missions, Hna.Harris, Hna.Squires and I were able to receive blessings from our MTC teacher. It was a very spiritual experience for all four of us. It was truly a testimony of priesthood power, and a testimony that the Lord was very mindful of us. In that blessing I was told many wonderful things, including that through the extremely difficult things I was going through at the time, I would be able to serve as a beacon to the downcast and abused, even for those who I would not know were going through similar difficult challenges. I was told that I would be able to help people. The blessing given to me that day has meant so much to me, I am so glad I wrote it down afterwards, because I regard it as very sacred revelation given directly to me through a humble and faithful servant of the Lord.

That's why I decided to get my degree in social work, because helping others is all I want to do. That's it! That's the end! That's really all I want to do! But lately I haven't felt very helpful, and instead have felt very needing of help and support. Magnified with that is the frustrating fact that I cannot find a job in my chosen field. I want to help!!

Today I was blessed with the opportunity to give a talk. Normally I don't like giving talks because normally I feel uninspired and like I'm blathering. As I was preparing for the talk this past week, I felt inspired to talk about the less-obvious. I was asked to speak about going forward with faith, and instead of talking about the obvious moving-forward-after-randomly-choosing-South-Carolina-I-ain't-got-no-job-what-am-I-doing-here stuff, I felt inspired to share my life's constant challenge of "Going Forward With Faith," even when my flame of faith has been barely more than a spark. I felt like I needed to be honest about my experiences and talk about how dark things got, and how I had given up on keeping commandments and covenants after a while, and how doing that made me a miserable person, angry, bitter and depressed. But then, how I've come to realize that through actively keeping commandments and covenants, the Lord would place us where we need to be, and where we want to be.

I was just trying to be as honest as possible. And I was hoping that people wouldn't feel awkward or uncomfortable or less of me. That was my biggest concern. I didn't feel like I blathered and I felt like I did well, but I was hoping that it was okay with everyone else. I was grateful that the Lord blessed me with inspiration. It's been a long time since I felt inspired in such a way.

And to my delight and humble appreciation, I've had several people tell me that what I said hit home, was exactly what they needed to hear, and that it resonated with them. My friend Amy expressed to me how much that message was needed, because there were so many people in the ward that you wouldn't even know who were going through hard times, and needed to hear such an open honest shpeal. So many people told me that today, and it made me feel so good. I can still help people. I can strengthen people's testimonies, I can help them feel like they're not alone in feeling how they feel.

On top of that, tonight I was able to help out a friend, give a listening ear, and give counsel. Man I used to do that all the time and it was my favorite thing, but I haven't felt spiritually apt enough to do that in a loooooong time. It feels so good to get back to who I really am.

So Sunday- today- was AWESOME.

I hope your Sabbath was awesome too! I have to go to bed to wake up early to work for Amazon. Please pray for me that I might find another job hahaha

But really, please do it.

Goodnight y'all

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hard Work Makes All the Difference

I'm going to school in Hawaii, and I love the aloha spirit, broken English, pigeon local style brah.
I was tagged in a post with this Youtube video, and I gotta say that it was one of the best commencement speeches I've ever heard. He highlights the importance of working hard, despite what test results and GPAs have told you in the past. Don't buy it. Nothing creates such a great difference in your life than pushing yourself and sacrificing to make your dreams come true. 
Hey, it worked for me. 
 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

For the Beauty of the Earth

(courtesy of GOOGLE 2014)


“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” — Rachel L. Carson

What an interesting woman she was. I've never heard of her before, but I like her already. She seems like a great pioneer for nature conservation, and as a byproduct, for women as well. If you click on the picture it takes you to a Washington Post article (as well as here) about her.

Enjoy the nature around you, and I hope you have a great day.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Culture is Prevention

Tonight I went to my friend's senior vocal recital. I've been to other senior recitals, but this one was different. Whereas the others exhibited vocals in the style of opera, jazz and Broadway, my friend did his in the style of his people- the Hawaiians. He opened with a Hawaiian chant (a very important form of song), next with a chant of hula kahiko.
His songs ranged from ones composed by the Ali'i to more modern songs of the WWII era, many of which were accompanied by hula dancers. Some were fast and fun, some were slow and nostalgic. All in all it was a great performance, and it carried me away to another time, another place. It made me feel, and it made me think.
As I was watching and listening, I was reminded of this video:
 

That theme: culture is prevention. That's the model of intervention for many Native American tribes. It's the idea that connecting with your past, your ancestors and your culture act as a type of preventative measure against behavioral dysfunction such as alcoholism, abuse, etc..

I believe in this model. A connection with culture, family and ancestors acts as a type of anchor that steers individuals away from seeking other vices to fill a void: the absence of human associations. A sense of belonging to something bigger than self.

I loved my friend's performance because I have grown to love the Hawaiian culture and feel a profound respect for it. I almost envy Hawaiians for having such strong ties to their culture. It makes me want to create stronger ties with that of my own.
I wonder what the Danish do?

Even if the culture you are confronted with is one of dysfunction, go further back. Go back to before dysfunction was introduced to your family. There is such a time. If you feel lost and floating, not knowing where you fit in, find a culture you can tie yourself to, for that will act as your anchor. You don't have to feel lost anymore.

The Hawaiians serve as an example to all of us to connect with our ancestors, our families, our cultures and to one another.

And if I can so interject, the apostles and prophets have been saying it for years: do family history work. God apparently has seen the positive affects of connecting with culture and has been telling us to do so for decades.
Oh heavens, now I get it.

I encourage you to connect to your culture. Do family history work. Connect with others. Go see a cultural display and then learn about it. As you engage in forming your anchor, you don't have to worry about being lost anymore.



If you would like to learn more about how to start learning about your family, please visit https://www.lds.org/topics/family-history

https://www.lds.org/topics/family-history

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Rape: When is it Permissable?

I want to talk about this Facebook conversation I got involved in this week.
It's about this woman, Shelley.



She hunted a giraffe and the Facebook group Political Loudmouth reposted the pic of her with her prize and said this:

"In this photo, a female trophy hunter sits smirking on top of the giraffe she blasted to death with a rifle as it ate from a tree.

With these kinds of "hunts," wealthy individuals are usually driven to the spot by guides who know where the animals are. The clients then shoot and kill the animals, often while sitting in the Land Rover that brought them....


Even more unconscionable, some safaris are "canned hunts," in which captive animals raised this purpose, are placed inside a fenced-in enclosure for the "hunter" to shoot."


Giraffes are one of my most favorite animals, they're tied for the number one spot with elephants. The screen saver of my tablet is a smoochy giraffe.
 
I have giraffe statues at home (couldn't take them to college with me). Despite all this, the point I wanted to make about this Facebook post was not about hunting giraffes. It's about some of the comments I've seen in response to this picture.
 

 
 


And I think it's pretty grotesque to say the least. I was taught that the word cunt is the most crude of words to call a woman. It's shameful that some think murder is justifiable. It's even more disgusting when rape becomes permissible punishment under certain circumstances.

RAPE IS NOT JUSTIFIABLE. IT IS NOT PERMISSABLE. No matter how much you might disagree with or HATE the person, rape is no retribution. People's varying opinions are sick, twisted, grotesque, vulgar and the list goes on and on. It was really eye opening to read others' reactions, not only to the picture but also to my defensive comment:



Do I agree with her over the fact that she killed a giraffe? No, and I would NEVER wish for her to be raped and murdered because of it.

I'm not going to follow the story anymore since I made my point and any other comments would just be like casting pearls before swine. I said my piece and now I'll keep my peace. Just remember rape and other forms of sexual exploitation are never an answer. And that's not opinion. That's fact.




******

If you are ever a victim of rape, find help. You are not alone and there are those that are wanting to help you heal. Please visit https://www.rainn.org/ for more information on how to deal or what you can do for your loved ones.

For another interesting read please check out "The 'Divergent' Rape Scene: Here’s Why It Matters-
Rewriting the script on sexual assault — and giving power back to girls" written by Beth Lalonde.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

"Walmart educations?"

http://news.msn.com/in-depth/we-are-creating-walmarts-of-higher-education
The previous link is tied to an online news story that begins thus:

"Universities in South Dakota, Nebraska, and other states have cut the number of credits students need to graduate. A proposal in Florida would let online courses forgo the usual higher-education accreditation process. A California legislator introduced a measure that would have substituted online courses for some of the brick-and-mortar kind at public universities.

"Some campuses of the University of North Carolina system are mulling getting rid of history, political science, and various others of more than 20 “low productive” programs. The University of Southern Maine may drop physics. And governors in Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin have questioned whether taxpayers should continue subsidizing public universities for teaching the humanities.

"Under pressure to turn out more students, more quickly and for less money, and to tie graduates’ skills to workforce needs, higher-education institutions and policy makers have been busy reducing the number of required credits, giving credit for life experience, and cutting some courses, while putting others online."

I don't get why educational institutions, and governments for that matter, decide it's a good idea to cut programs that provide students with a diverse foundation, such as sciences or humanities. Especially humanities. Society decides it's okay to forego the things that enrich our lives and expand our minds in the pursuit of getting more more more and becoming more more more. Our society puts the wrong emphasis on what determines success. As for me, I am thoroughly opposed to these kinds of "improvements," and agree with this quote:
So lawmakers, think about what you are really doing.

Sincerely, Emily

A renaissance woman (and better off for it)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Why I love Easter

I love Easter.
It's my most favorite holiday.
I even like it more than Christmas.
Now, while I've caught you in your gasps of horror at my yuletide blasphemy, hear me out.
I love what it means.
It means the Son of God came to Earth. It means He lived a perfect life. It means He overcame sin. It means He took our sins upon Himself. It means He suffered our sins, our afflictions and the burdens of our illnesses. It means He gave up His life for us. It means that He kept his promises. It means He will intercede for us. It means we have a chance at life eternal and exaltation. It means I can live again. It means that He lives. It means that He loves us. It means that He listens to us. It means that He desires to bless us. That's why I love Easter.

"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 "And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
"Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."
Alma 7:11-13

For me this message is one of the utmost importance. A few years ago something traumatic happened to me, and it hit me hard. To say that hit me hard would be an understatement. It took me and yanked me down under the bus of hell. I tried so hard to do good, but I was living in a nightmare. I felt like I had lost myself. I felt alone and confused. But worst of all, out of everything, it was the fact that I did not feel that God was near. Whenever I had struggled in my life, I had always felt that God was near, that He listened to me and loved me. I was very close to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. But when I needed them most at that moment-
I felt like they had left me.
I felt like they left me alone. I felt nothing. I felt like I was talking to the wall. I was thrown into the deepest, darkest pits of despair.
Only to wander and wallow in it alone.
Before I was 110% that God was there. That He loved me. That He would always be there for me. And now- now I doubt. Where was He? I feel hurt that He left me. Does He really love me? I wonder about these things all the time.
When I slip into the deep crevices of my mind, lost in the ravines of such dark doubt, I remember. I remember those many times where He did answer my prayers. When He has blessed me. When he has shown me in ways big and small that He is aware of me.
One day I will once again come to know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live. That They love me and stand to bless me.
That's why I love Easter.
I feel like this was all done with a purpose. Heavenly Father tore my metaphorical house down with a giant wrecking ball, He reduced to pebbles my foundation, only to maybe have me build a foundation and a mansion more sturdy, more beautiful and more sure than ever before.
That's why I love Easter.
Because Jesus Christ has made that possible.
I was promised that I will one day come to know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live, and that They love me and stand to bless me throughout my life. That's only possible through the atonement.

That's why I love Easter.