Sunday, December 9, 2018

I can #LightTheWorld by serving.

I am so grateful for the people in my life!! It's been a little bit of a crazy week but I have been able to get the support I've needed and it has been a blessing.

God is so good, you guys. I have been very much stressed about this upcoming week because I've got a lot of projects due but I was able to get a blessing at the start of last week and I have been feeling good about all my projects. Still stressed, but I have been feeling like I really can do this! I am still nervous but I know that as long as I set my mind to it, I can focus and finish in the time that I need to!
Finals are coming up and I am nervous about them but I have faith in myself and I know that as I take the time to study for them, I will be blessed for my efforts. I cannot wait to be able to go home and spend the holidays with my family! I am so excited!

I had a sacrament hymn stuck in my head the other day, and I figured out that it was "O God, the Eternal Father", and as I was reading the lyrics, I remembered how much God loves us. How much He desires for us to be able to return to live with Him. Heavenly Father sent His Son to Earth–to be born as mortals are born, and to live as we live. He lived a perfect life, and was the perfect example for us to follow, and emulate. He died for us on the cross, after having suffered for our sins, pains, temptations, afflictions, and anything else we have gone through–physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. He has felt and experienced it all. You are not alone. God made sure that we are able to receive all the love and help that we need in our lives.

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This week for Light the World, the focus is Light Your Community. Service doesn't just happen on a grand, global scale. Your own community is full of opportunities to get involved, make a difference, and give as Jesus gave. How can you #LightTheWorld in your community? Get involved! Here are a few examples:

1. Last Monday, there was a terrible accident on BYU's campus in the Tanner building that involved a student, who passed away from their injuries. The following days, there was a place in the Tanner building where people could go and write little positive notes, and I think people could even take flowers to give to people. This was a devastating experience for our campus, but people were able to help spread the love, and that is what is most important. Our community was able to get together and help lift each other up. 

2. Last night, I needed a priesthood blessing, so I asked my friend if he could come over and give me a blessing. He was able to come and give me a short–but very sweet–blessing from my Father in Heaven. I am so thankful for the men in my ward who are always willing to give blessings!! And I am so thankful that I have the faith to ask them for blessings! Priesthood blessings are a two-way street–they are a blessing for me, and they are an opportunity for the men to access and use their priesthood to bless those around them. 

3. Last Tuesday was National Cookie Day, and my Relief Society president passed out cookies to each of our apartments! It was so sweet and thoughtful! I am so grateful for her love and service!!
4. Last Sunday, my roommates and I watched as several of the men from our ward cleared snow off of the cars in the parking lot. I was so amazed at their dedication and love! It was such a blessing for those who might not have had the tools necessary to clear the snow off their cars, or for those who were running late. 

5. My friend had her junior recital Friday night for her major and I was able to go! It was an amazing recital and I am so proud of her! I am so grateful that I was able to go support her! She has worked so hard and is such an amazing musician! I am so proud of her!

These are all just a bunch of examples that I have seen in this past week and I am sure that there will be more in this upcoming week! I am going to pray for more opportunities to serve this week, and also for the ability to recognize those opportunities and attend to the needs of those around me! It doesn't even have to be something big! It can be as small as asking someone how their day went, and then listening as they rant about the worst part of their day. 

I am so thankful for the opportunities that I have to serve in my life. I know that it blesses the lives of those around me as I make time to bless their lives and ease any burdens that they may have. I know that it blesses me, because as I listen to the Spirit, I am able to hear Him more often in my life, and I am able to bless and serve those around me more and more. I am looking forward to serving people throughout the rest of my life!

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I am so, so thankful! For everything! This year has been crazy...and this semester has been insane...but I wouldn't change it for the world!! I have learned so much, and grown so much, and I am so thankful for the love and support that I have felt from my Father in Heaven! I am grateful that I am in such a great place right now and I am grateful that I have so many amazing things going for me. I am so excited for next month! Not only is my birthday at the end of the month, but exactly 15 days before my birthday I am going to be interviewing with my Bishop and then a member of the Stake Presidency to get my temple recommend so that I can go through the temple for the first time!! I am hoping to be able to go through soon after that! I cannot wait! I am very excited to be able to covenant with my Father in Heaven and to be able to then have the opportunity to bless those on the other side of the veil!! I am grateful that I am able to prepare myself to go through the temple, and I am grateful that I have had the prompting to do so. I am grateful that I have been feeling so much love and support from my family and friends about it!! 

I know that God listens to our prayers. I know that He loves us very much, and that He wants what is best for us! I know that the people that He places in our lives are there for a reason, and that we have something to not only give to them, but that we have something to learn from them. I know that I have a Savior who lived and died for me, and who loves me so much. I know that I have a Father and Mother in Heaven who love me so much, and who want me to be the best that I can be, just like my earthly parents. I am so thankful for the love that I have felt from Them through the Spirit, and I am grateful that I can have that connection with Them through the Holy Ghost. 

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, December 2, 2018

I can #LightTheWorld by donating.

Not only is it now December, but it snowed last night!!!! I am so excited!!! I love Christmastime!! 🌨🌨🌨❄️❄️❄️

I can't believe that there are two weeks left of classes!! This semester has flown by! I only have 4 finals, and 3 of them are scheduled for the last two days, so I'm going to have a lot of time to study and get ready for the break!

I have a lot of projects due this week and next, so I hope that I can get them all done! I am so nervous! I have been struggling to focus because I know that I need to get them all done, but I just can't focus on one and so it's been really stressful. I am hoping to be able to make a list of the things I need to get done and their due dates so I can just work on them in order of the closest due dates.

I can't believe that 2018 is almost over!!!! What???!!! Where has the time gone?? It seems like just yesterday I was being surprised by my roommates and friends for my 21st birthday! Man, what a time that was!! I was so surprised and I felt so, so, so, so loved!!! And now, here I am, 11 months later, and I'm now in my last year of college, I've applied for graduation, I'm in a new apartment complex and ward, I've bought (and totaled...) my first car, I've been on many crazy and fun adventures, I've met so many new people, I started taking medication for my anxiety and depression, I've been able to see its impact in my life, and I'm preparing to go through the temple for the first time in a few months. I have come so far this year! I am honestly so proud of myself!! I've been through some tough things this year, but I have been able to get through it!! I am so excited to see where not only the rest of the semester will go, but where this next year will take me!!

Today was Fast Sunday, and I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting. I am so grateful for all that my Father in Heaven has done for me this year. It has been a difficult year at times, but I have learned and grown a lot, and I have been able to depend on Him.

He has blessed me with the best people in my life this year! I have felt SO MUCH LOVE this year!! And even when I have felt so depressed, lonely, stressed, anxious, upset, etc., I have been able to look back...I have been able to look back on my surprise party, and the notes that my friends wrote me...I have been able to look back on the times when I knew I could trust my friends...I have been able to look back on my adventures...I have been able to look back on the little moments...and I have been able to remember that I am loved!

Despite what my broken brain tells me, and despite what Satan tries to tell me, I am loved, and I am a daughter of the Most High God!! I have so many friends and family members who love me and are proud of me! Even when I don't feel like they love me or are proud of me, they keep loving me anyway.

The fact that they keep loving me anyway is a blessing. Because it means that they believe in me. They believe that I can overcome and rise above my mental disorders–but even when I can't, they are still there for me. That means so much to me!! I am so thankful that I have people in my life that I can count on to love me, have faith in me, are proud of me, and know that I can do it–because sometimes, I don't love myself...don't have faith in myself...am not proud of myself...don't think I can do it...and sometimes I don't think anyone else loves me, has faith in me, or is proud of me, either.

But I do! And they do! I do love myself, and I do have people who love me. I am grateful for the blessings that I have received this year, and this past semester. I am grateful that I am surrounded by so much goodness! I am grateful for the growth that I have seen in myself this year. I am grateful for the progress that I have ultimately made this year.

I am grateful for my Father in Heaven, and for His faith in me. He has given me so many chances to start over again...and I am so thankful that He loves me that much.

I am grateful for my Savior, and for His sacrifice for me. He bled and died for me, and He is always with me...I know that He loves me, and I know that He wants me to be able to live with my Father in Heaven again, and I am so thankful that He loves me enough to help me to be able to do so.

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This year, for Christmas, the Church is doing #LightTheWorld again, but they are doing a weekly setup instead of the daily opportunities. The theme is Give as He Gave. On the Church's Light the World website, the top of the page says, "Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, spent much of His ministry caring for individuals, one by one. Join us this Christmas as we follow His example and find ways to share our time, love, and resources with those in need." I love this! I am so excited to be able to Light the World this year!!

The first week is Light the World. Jesus Christ taught, “Ye are the light of the world.” We can share that light to all of God’s children when we give as He gave to people near and far. How do you want to #LightTheWorld? You can do so many things! Here are a few examples:

1. Yesterday, I was coming home from spending some time with my grandparents, and there was a group of people who were hanging out around the front of my apartment complex. These two guys asked if they could help me carry some stuff...I literally had my purse and my leftover sandwich...but I said, "Sure." I was really confused, obviously, until one of the guys said that they were going around doing service for #LightTheWorld. I thought it was super sweet and was thankful that they wanted to help–even if I didn't really need it! 

2. This week, my stake is doing a blood drive, and I was able to sign up!!! Every time I've ever tried to sign up when my last stake was doing blood drives, I was unable to make it. I am so excited!! I know that giving blood is important! I am also excited because I received my new driver's license this weekend, and I am now a donor! 

3. The BYU Design Department is holding a clothing drive on campus for homeless youth in Salt Lake City, and I think I might be able to drop some stuff off at one of the donation boxes on campus this week.

I know that these are little things that might not really matter right now, but they mean so much to me. I have recently been watching a lot of medical dramas haha which–I know they're not entirely accurate haha, but it has really burned into me the importance of donors. Especially at this time of the year, when it's really cold, and snowy, and icy–people get hurt a lot. I want to be able to help, if I can, and being a donor is important to me because if I have what somebody needs, then I should share it! 

I am grateful for the opportunities I have to serve those around me, and to bless them. I know that it is important for everyone to feel loved and to have what they need to survive, and to have love and support from those around them. And it is important for everyone to have people that they can count on. I want to be someone that my friends and family can count on.

I am so grateful for this Christmas season, and for the chance I have to think about my Savior, and about His birth, and His life, and the reason that He did all that He did. He did it all for us. He did it all for you, and He did it all for me. I am so blessed that He loves me enough to have atoned for me, and died for me. 

I love Him so much! He is my best friend and I can always count on Him! He and Heavenly Father are always there, and always listening. When I am having a bad day, and all I want to do is cry, I know that I can turn to Them. I can always ask God all of my questions...I can always tell Him all of my fears...all of my hopes and dreams...and I can always tell Him how I feel, no matter what. Sometimes I am upset because I don't understand why my life is going the way that it is going. He understands that. Sometimes I am frustrated because I can't figure out what He wants me to do. He understands that. Sometimes I am mad because I want something in my life that I can't have right now. He understands that. He understands it all. And He is there for me every step of the way. And if we need to stop climbing the mountain to let me breathe a little...we do.

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, November 25, 2018

beauty is.

what is beauty?

I've heard it said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. while I believe this is true to an extent, I also believe that beauty can be found in everyone and everything.

"beauty is found in the quiet of a brisk winter night.
beauty is found in the flower-scented wind in spring.
beauty is found in the tenderness of children.
beauty is found in the wildness of children.
beauty is found in the love for a pet.
beauty is found in the love for art.
beauty is found in the way that someone tries to make a difference.
beauty is found in the way that someone decides to express emotion.
beauty is found in the way that someone's head tilts back when they laugh.
beauty is found in the way that someone looks at someone they love.
beauty is found in the way that someone finds their passion in life.
beauty is found in the way that someone finally understands who they are.
beauty is found in the way that we look at the world through God's eyes."
~"beauty is found" by Mattie Radke
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you know, no one is perfect. yep, even people you believe are perfect are, in fact, not so.

actually, there is one thing that people can be perfect at (however, just because they can be doesn't mean that they will be).

that thing that people can be perfect at? trying.

I don't know about you, but sometimes, I try so. hard. to be good at something, or to do something right, or to focus on something. sometimes it doesn't work at all. but if I really tried, I can't honestly be mad at myself, can I? I did my best. that's all that anyone can ask, right? right.

except, sometimes–I don't know about you, but sometimes I beat myself up about stupid stuff. does that happen to anyone else? yeah? okay, good. well, you're not alone, and I'm not alone, and we don't have to beat ourselves up about stupid stuff.

in fact, we shouldn't beat ourselves up about stupid stuff. we should learn from our mistakes and just try again. I know that's easier said than done, and sometimes life is hard. I'm not going to lie to you. sometimes it is really, really difficult. and oftentimes what is difficult for someone else isn't as difficult for me, or vice versa. but that doesn't mean that it's not difficult for you.

our world is so wrapped up in a lot of things...which, I am not going to discuss at the present time...however! one thing that troubles me is the fact that no one can feel like their experiences are hard. or, even worse–no one wants to feel like their experiences are difficult.

a common phrase I've not only heard people say to others (or even to themselves), but I myself have also said before (I am trying to work on not saying it), is, "other people have it worse." or other variations of that phrase. how sad is that????? that we can't even feel our own experiences because "someone else has it worse" than we do? that is something that I think is absolutely NOT okay!!!

YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO FEEL YOUR EMOTIONS. WITHOUT QUESTION.

there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for someone to tell you that "you should be thankful that you don't have it worse." NONE. YOUR EMOTIONS ARE REAL, AND THAT IS THE END OF THE STORY.

I'm sorry to shout, but I have strong feelings about this. no one is perfect, and we all make mistakes, but we also all have feelings, and each and every one of our feelings deserves to be heard, felt, expressed, and understood. just because you live a different life than someone else does not mean that your emotions don't matter. I will say that there are some times where the emotions are a little over-the-top, but even then, they deserve to at least be felt or expressed in some way.

one thing that I think is so amazing is that Jesus Christ knows exactly how we fell in all the situations that we find ourselves in.

He knows exactly how it felt to find out that your dad had cancer.
He knows exactly how it felt the first time someone broke your heart. and the second time, and the third time.
He knows exactly how it felt the first time you fell in love. or the first time you saw the stars from the countryside.
He knows exactly how it felt when you first touched a violin, and heard its sweet notes sing as you pulled the bow across the strings (actually, that experience wouldn't be that exact time...more like the first time you competently pulled the bow across the strings).
He knows exactly how you feel each time you see other people moving along in their lives in ways that you want to, but just haven't encountered yet.
He knows exactly how hard it is to watch your closest friend fall away from the church.
He knows exactly how hard it is to watch your loved ones in pain–even for a moment.
He knows exactly how it felt to realize that you were the last person to see someone before they died, and you didn't know it then.
He knows exactly how a new mom feels when she's tired, sore, exhausted, and her baby is struggling to sleep, or eat, or breathe.

He knows how all of these things feel, and more.

and each time you experience something, your feelings are valid. it is valid to feel vulnerable, lost, and sad. it is valid to feel excited, blessed, and loved. it is valid to feel sad, unmotivated, and distraught. I just want you to know that no matter what you are going through, it is okay to feel whatever you feel. sometimes you will be feeling sad or mad and that is okay. sometimes you will feel disappointed and upset and that is okay. as long as you don't let your feelings control you, it is okay to experience any type of emotion. no one should have to shut their feelings off because someone says they shouldn't feel bad, or be controlled by their feelings because they don't have any experience with them.

can I tell you something important? God loves you with every fiber of His being, and you are beautiful to Him. in all your imperfections, He loves you with a love that cannot end. in all of your emotions, He understands you in ways that no one else can. He wants you to remember that you are still learning. you are human, and you will make mistakes. but He still loves you. He wants you to keep trying, keep learning. He wants you to keep loving Him, and to keep serving Him, and to keep blessing those around you.

I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving. I hope that you guys have a wonderful week, and that you remember whose you are.

xoxo
Mattie 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

In my brokenness, I am His.

It's been a pretty odd week. No, wait, that's not what I meant. I meant "off". It's been a pretty off week. Well, I guess technically it's been both. Let me explain. (But first let me say that this is a vulnerable post that might seem scary to you, but really, I'm okay. :) )

Sometimes life seems like it's going pretty well but you just can't. feel. anything. Or you just feel so. dang. empty. And you can't really understand why. Everything seems to be fine. Classes are going well. Work is going well. But you just can't find the energy to do anything, or you just don't want to be productive.

Or you're sitting in a room full of people and you're not really part of any one conversation because you don't really have any desire to be, and you just pipe in to everyone else's conversations randomly when you hear something that interests you, but nobody seems to notice.

Or you just sit there, not saying anything, listening to everyone talk, and you're just there, and nobody seems to notice.

Or you're in the back room for awhile and when you come back out, you hear, "Oh, you're still here! I thought you'd left." And you know that you should be amused, or hurt, but you just feel empty. And yet, somehow you're all of the above.

This–all of what I have just explained–is my depression. But this is just a part of it. Some weeks it hits me really, really hard. Some weeks, my depression and anxiety are both extremely prevalent, and it's a really bad week. Sometimes, the week is fairly okay, but there is just one day that my depression hits, and I just can't do anything. I can't feel anything. I just exist. The scary part is that sometimes, I don't want to exist. I often wonder what life would be like if I hadn't existed. If I just *poof* vanished from the world, and from everyone's minds and lives.

In these moments–in all of the moments like this–it's hard to rise above it. It feels like I'm sinking in a pool of water, and I've been struggling for so long–my arms and legs are so exhausted, and I just don't want to struggle anymore. I just want to relax, but I'm still in the pool. When I'm not struggling to stay afloat, I'm sinking. I'm drowning. Nobody's around to see me drown. It feels like nobody cares. And I go back to wondering what life would be like if I didn't exist anymore...

But suddenly there's this shadow above me in the water. There's a hand reaching down to me, down through the water. I grab the hand greedily, as if I'm thirsty and this hand is a glass of water, and steadily I'm pulled upward. I gasp as I break the surface and take deep breaths. I'm pulled over the edge of the water to the ground, and I look to my rescuer. And I start to cry because I know that face. He's kneeling down next to me, wiping away my tears, and all I can say is, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry". For my rescuer is my Savior. I keep repeating, "I'm sorry" while I'm crying, and He just holds me. I don't know why He picks particular moments to lift me up, but I do know that He is always close by, and that He will never let me drown.

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In moments of vulnerability, and brokenness, it's hard to see how anyone could love me, or want to save me. I don't often feel like I'm worth it. I'm just a regular, average girl. But in my moments of vulnerability and brokenness I forget the most important thing: I am a child of God. I am a daughter of a King. He loves me so much. I love this video because it shows that we are ALL children of God.

There is beauty in my vulnerability and brokenness. When I am broken and vulnerable enough to turn to God, I am allowing Him into the deepest parts of me, and I am letting Him see all of me, and I am letting Him in so that He can heal me.


"I am a broken soul, this is true.
But in my brokenness, I am freed.
In my brokenness, I am healed.
In my brokenness, I am found.
In my brokenness, I am His."
~In My Brokenness, by Mattie Radke

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I hope you all have a very wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends! I'm grateful for the holiday seasons that are approaching! It's a wonderful time to remember to look outwards, and to help those in need.

I am so grateful for the people that I have in my life. My ward is AMAZING, and I am so thankful for all of the kindness that I have felt in the ward, and all of the love.

I am grateful for the ward that I was in the last two years. I grew so much there, and I really felt the love of my Father in Heaven there. I really felt like I had a place, like I belonged.

I am so grateful for all of the women in my life who have shown me how to love, and serve, and how to rise above the challenges that I will inevitably face.

I am so grateful for the love and support of my family, and that I know I can always count on them.

I am grateful for the love of my Father in Heaven, and for His support. I am grateful that He sent His Son to save us. I am grateful that my Savior is always there for me, and that He is always waiting to lend a hand when I need it.

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Blessings come, even in the midst of awful accidents.

Wow! What a week it has been!! A lot has happened. 

My throat has been so sore this week I was unable to eat or drink anything. By Thursday/Friday, my throat was finally feeling better enough to be able to actually eat and drink, and now it is almost 100% back to normal. Yay for food!

Yesterday, I was driving my sister home, and we got into a car accident. Everyone is fine–no one was hurt. But my car did have to be towed. I hope he'll be all right. I am so thankful for so many things about this accident:
  1. No one got hurt. That is an amazing blessing, considering the nature of the accident.
  2. I was able to drive my car off the road. I think my radiator got hit and some antifreeze spilled onto it, so it was smoking really bad and looked awful, so I wasn't sure I'd be able to get it off the road but I did.
  3. I'm grateful that there was a police officer so close by! They came so fast and were so kind and helpful. 
  4. I'm grateful that my sister and I were both able to get rides home safely. Thank you to my Relief Society president for coming to get me! She is the absolute SWEETEST human being on the planet and I love her so much!!
  5. I'm so grateful that it wasn't worse. This could have been much, much worse.
It has been an emotional time, I am not going to lie. It was my first accident as a driver, and it was my fault, and I am trying not to be so upset with myself, but it's hard. Every time I close my eyes, I relive the accident again and again–wondering how the accident could have been avoided if I'd maybe only just waited a little longer, wondering if it would have been worse if I had gone earlier, or waited just a  little longer–it's difficult to avoid that sort of thinking, you know? Sometimes our minds just have....well, a mind of their own. Lol. 

I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for all of the blessings about this accident. I know that it could have been so. much. worse. but I am grateful that it wasn't. I am grateful that He was watching out for me, and the driver and passenger of the other car. I am so, so, so, so sad that this happened, and that I was at fault, but I am so, so grateful that it wasn't as bad as it could have been (there were only two cars involved in the accident, for starters). 

Sometimes we just need to take a step back, and remember what's most important. Yes, I am upset that my car is going to need a lot of work. Yes, I am upset that I even got into this accident. Yes, I am upset that it was my fault. But I am grateful that none of the people in the accident are going to need any work. I am grateful that it was just two cars involved in the accident. I am not happy that I was at fault, and I don't think I can ever be happy or grateful for that. But I am grateful that I know I was not distracted by anything in my car. I am grateful that my eyes were on the road, and that my focus was on the road. I just made a mistake in judgement, and it cost me a little. 

I am still sad that this accident happened, and I don't know how long it is going to take me to not be haunted by visions of it replaying in my head, but I am so, so, thankful to my Father in Heaven for all of His blessings surrounding this accident. 

Accidents happen. That's the truth. All we can do is move forward one moment at a time. 

I hope everyone has a restful Sabbath Day, and I hope you all remember to drive safely!! Please. Not all car accidents are this lucky. 

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, November 4, 2018

"Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured."


One of my favorite quotes from President Gordon B. Hinckley is: “In all of living, have much joy and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” I was thinking…how can we enjoy life, and not just endure it? Especially in this day and age, where all around us, things seem to be constantly going wrong, or there just seems to be so much to do that you can't enjoy your life? I don’t entirely have an answer…but I do have a solution (which, yes, I believe that those are two different things).

Take things one day at a time. One hour at a time. One moment at a time. Most of our life is just memories. There are but a few seconds/milliseconds of time where we are in the present. Most of our life is just memories. Enjoy your life where you are. Make plans that you look forward to. Make the most of your life. It's the only one you have. Sometimes you will have rough patches, but you just need to push on through. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, and things will get better in time.

Honestly, this week has been pretty difficult for me. I had a dentist appointment on Monday, in which they sterilized my gums and prepped my tooth for a permanent crown. In the mean time, they gave me a temporary crown. By Wednesday, I was like, "This pain is far more than just my gums" so I went back in on Thursday, and they fixed my temporary crown, which had had a crack in it, which was the source of the pain because I think it kept catching on my cheek. After that, I was feeling better but my gums were still sore. Friday was a pretty good day, but by the end of the day, I was having a hard time eating anything because my mouth was just super sore, and my throat was starting to hurt. Yesterday I woke up in the most extreme pain–swallowing hurt and I couldn't eat anything. I was so hungry. I took some medicine around noon and ended up taking about an hour and a half nap, which honestly helped so much. I went to stake conference even though I still wasn't feeling super great, and by the end of stake conference I was basically dead. I don't remember hardly anything that was said and I don't remember any of the notes that I took. I was in so much pain and I could hardly even stand afterwards–I was so terrified that I would faint. 

After conference, I was able to receive a blessing. I am so thankful for that blessing!! It was the sweetest and most comforting blessing. Alex gave me 'homework'; she wanted me to stay on my bed or the couch for the rest of the night, and then she brought me some homemade ice cream. I was able to get to sleep easily (something that Kyle blessed me with in my blessing) and when I woke up this morning, all that hurt was my throat again. I'm back to just having a hard time swallowing and chewing. Which isn't the greatest, especially because I am just so hungry, but I am grateful that I can stand, and walk, and be awake. 

I am grateful that I can turn to the men in my ward for blessings any time, and I am grateful that my Heavenly Father knows what I need to hear. I am grateful that my Savior understands my pain, and I am grateful that He can help me through it. 

Amidst this terrible week (in which I felt like I was just enduring it the whole time), however, there were moments of beauty and enjoyment. I was able to see Josh Groban and Idina Menzel in concert on Monday, and that was absolutely FANTASTIC!!! I loved it and was so happy the whole time!! I was able to go to institute on Tuesday and I learned so much and am excited for the rest of the semester. Halloween was exciting; I love seeing all the different costumes that people come up with. Thursday I was able to spend a little time with my mom and I'm grateful for that. I had a little dinner party with some friends Friday night that was fun; I had a great time. Each little moment of beauty this week was a blessing and snapshot of the love that my Father in Heaven has for me. 

I hope you all have a blessed Sabbath Day and a wonderful week! God is here for you, and I am here for you, too. There's always a moment of beauty to be enjoyed despite any troubling times you have in your life. You just have to find it. 

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, October 28, 2018

As we take time for Him, He makes time for us.

In thinking about all the things that I have had to do the last couple of weeks, and how low-key stressed it has made me, I am surprised I haven't had a meltdown yet. Haha I'm just kidding! But seriously, I am surprised that I have remained relatively as calm as I have. I have realized lately that I am often struggling to balance between all of the things on my to-do list. Trying to find the perfect balance is difficult, and takes a lot of time.

So what can we do? What can be done to help us balance between all of the good things in our lives?

Well, I am going to tell you some of the things that I do that help alleviate some of the stress, and help me balance my week.

First, I write everything down in my planner. I write down what, where, and when. If I need to take anything with me, I write that down, too. Any appointments, any meetings, all of my classes, all of my work shifts–all of it. Under my classes, I write down the homework due for that day, so I can know what I have to do. Sometimes there are specific times the homework is due, so I'll write that down, too.

Second, I determine what is most important. What can I absolutely not get away with skipping this week? What can I delay doing for a short time? Generally, I work on larger or more time-consuming school projects first, and then I work on the leftovers (which is usually just reading assignments). I make notes in my journal about what I am doing first–I actually haven't tried colors, but I just had an idea to try highlighting the most important things. That's a good idea. I'll have to try that.

Third, I have to put away all distractions. This is the hardest one, I feel like. Our world is full of distractions, and it's hard to put them away sometimes. But I have discovered a few cool tricks.
The first one is for my computer. I discovered that Safari has an extension that helps me. It's called "Waste No Time", and you can find more information here. You can either block specific websites forever, or you can block them for certain times of the day. I have done that. I have blocked social media sites from 8-12 and from 1-5 Monday thru Friday. Any time I forget and try to go on Facebook, or Instagram, it directs me back to the Google home page (because that is what I picked for it to go to. You can choose any other website). Honestly it has really blessed my life! I am able to focus more and get more done.
The second one is for my phone. I have an iPhone, and a new iOS update has this new feature, "Screen Time". You are able to choose many different options of monitoring your screen time, according to your needs. It resets every night at midnight. As far as I can tell, there is no actual option to completely block apps, but I have been able to get around that: I would set the specific apps that I wanted to block for the day, and I set the time for one minute. In addition to all of the apps that I really wanted to block for the day, I would pick a random one that I do not use all that often, and then I would mess around on that app for a minute, and afterwards, every other app that I wanted blocked–including the random one–would be blocked for the rest of the day. 
Fourth, I pick a few different fun things to do as part of my breaks/downtime that day. For example, on Mondays and Wednesdays, I have classes from 10:30a to 3p, with a short 45 minute break between two of my classes. During that time, I eat lunch and I usually watch an episode of a TV show I am watching. If I am not quite finished with my readings for my last class, I will instead read for class. On Thursdays, I am busy all day, from 7:45a to 8p. Usually during my morning work shift, I am finishing up my homework for my classes that day, so that when 12p comes around, and I'm off work, I can watch something, or read something for fun, before class at 1:35p. Sometimes, I just want to listen to music, though, so some days I'll listen to music all day instead of watch something.

Last but not least, I have personal study time. At some point during the day, I take time to study my scriptures for me, and pray to Heavenly Father. I prefer reading my scriptures in the afternoon/evening, but sometimes in the morning when I am on top of things, I will study while waiting for the bus. Each night, I take time to speak with my Father in Heaven, and ask Him for help with things I have going on the next day or two.

These are just some of the things that I have found to help me. They are not for everyone, and they are adapted each and every day, it seems like. Every day is new, and different, and so each day demands different things of me. Some days, I have a ton of free time, and so I work on my homework for the next couple of days. Some days, I am a little behind, and I don't have as much free time as I'd like, and so I have to really buckle down and make sure that I am getting things done. Even then, as I stated at the beginning of this post, I am still struggling to find a balance between everything I have to do.

But I know that, as I take the time to study my scriptures, and pray to Heavenly Father, He will bless me. As I take time to serve my friends, He will bless me. As I take time that I need to do important things for school or work, and instead use it to strengthen my relationship with Him, and with others, He will bless me, and lengthen my time. Somehow, He makes it so I have enough time for all that I have to do.

Elder Uchtdorf gave a talk eight years ago in the October 2010 General Conference in which he discusses the things that matter most. I highly suggest you read it. Or watch him give it. That's actually a better suggestion.

I know we are all busy, and some days don't go as planned. Some days, we are only able to read one or two scriptures before our eyes droop so bad that we can't read it any more. Some days we plan to actually make food for dinner but end up either grabbing a burger or just making a Nutella and jam sandwich.

I also know that God is with us, and that He helps us through the bad days. I know that He sees us trying. I know that He blesses our efforts. I know that if we try our best, and ask God for help, nothing can get in our way.

I hope everyone has a good week and a safe Halloween!! Please keep track of your littles and be aware of children with allergies.

God loves you very much and has great plans for you!!

Xoxo
Mattie