Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sabbath Thoughts

Today was such a great day. I absolutely love Sundays!!! I look forward to the day every week. It gives me a chance to recharge for the week and start over.
Anyway, the reason today was so great is because it was exactly what I needed today. You know those Sundays when you are sitting in church and you feel like everything that is said is specifically meant for you? That was me today. To start off we had an incredible Sacrament Meeting. I am still new to my ward so today I had my 5 seconds of whatever it is, either fame or embarrassment to stand and be recognized that I'm a new member in sacrament meeting. That wasn't the good part though. We had two cute sisters who happen to be twins speak that recently both returned home from missions this past November. They did such an incredible job. They invited an incredible spirit to the meeting and made my desire to serve a mission grow even more. They talked about how they both had desired to serve a mission since they were in primary and they were both so happy they did. They talked about a few different experiences but what really got me is when they both talked about how the mission changed their lives and some of the lessons they learned. I felt like the whole time the spirit was telling me, "This is what you want... BELIEVE ME!!" After sacrament meeting I wanted to run up and hug them both and tell them good job and thank you but so many people were talking to them so I thought I would try and catch them after Relief Society. During the Sunday School hour I attended my first Temple Prep. Class. I couldn't believe I was actually sitting in a temple prep class. It made me so excited!!! Today the lesson was about how to prepare to enter into the temple. We talked about pretty generic things: Staying morally clean, being a full tithe payer, keeping the word of wisdom, and Sabbath observance; you know stuff like that. It was a comforting feeling to feel like I have a pretty good grip on those things and that I really am trying to live my life in a way that I can worthily enter the temple in the next couple of months. After that lesson we had Relief Society. Relief Society is and has always been my favorite meeting... well I love Sacrament Meeting too but I love the discussion in Relief Society and just the amazing sisters that are constantly surrounding me. Today our lesson was on 'Love thy neighbor as you love thy self.' It was a great lesson to reflect on how I can be better about loving and showing compassion for others. AHH I love church!!! As soon as Relief Society was over I literally run up to those two sisters that spoke in Sacrament and hugged them and thanked them for their talks. The words that they spoke and the spirit they invited stuck with me and kept resonating in my head throughout my meetings. They were so kind and loving. What amazing sisters!!! I told them how I am working on my mission papers and they were so excited for me. They were giving me all these tips and telling me about how much it really will change my life. I talked to them about the opposition I have been facing and such and asked some questions and it was like the spirit was telling me not to fear and reconfirming to me how bad I really do want to do this. 'There is no reason to fear' were the words running through my mind all day today. Also, little do these sisters know.. they were literally an answer to my prayers. The past couple of weeks I have been struggling with making friends and they were just so sweet and kind. I feel like I made two lifetime friends today and I am grateful for that. I know that my father in heaven does hear my prayers and he really is so aware of me and my life. I am so grateful for that.
With that said I am ready! I'm starting my mission prep class this week and I'm hoping to be able to start working on my papers again so I can get them in. I am seriously so excited!!! The gospel is true and I love it so much!! I can't wait to share it with the world, but as for right now I will do my best to share it with those I can reach.

Sister Goates
(doesn't that just sound good?)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Grandma

Yesterday was my grandmother's 90th birthday party. I'm currently living in California so today I am missing her birthday celebration and I'm sad to missing out on that. I just wanted to write a brief tribute to the wonderful grandmother that I have.

Grandma Peggy (Ruth Brazier Hewlett Weight):
*90 years old.
*Amazing woman.
*Incredible and very strong testimony.
*A Million Dollar Smile.
*The biggest heart and one of the kindest people I know.
*Eager to serve.
*Daughter, sister, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, {great}-grandmother, friend, mentor.
*Beautiful countenance, inside and out.
*A world traveler.
*Always up for an adventure.
*Fashionista Grandma
*Has lived the greatest 90 years of anyone I have ever known.

Happy Birthday Grandma! Love you lots and wish I could be with you to celebrate. May you have many more wonderful moments in your life.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


These past couple of weeks I have been doing a lot of reflecting and a lot of thinking about my life and the blessings I enjoy. I came out here to California plainly on faith. I knew that my heavenly father is aware of me and that he would take care of me. But holy cow. Everything in my life has orchestrated so perfectly since I got here. I'm not going to say it has been an easy trial of faith but really he has made everything fall into place so quickly in order for me to be able to fulfill my righteous desires. Right now in my life my number one desire and goal is to serve a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have always thought that it would be cool to serve a mission but never really felt like I would actually serve one. There have been many miracles leading up to this decision so I would like to share a few.

Miracle #1: Summer 2010.
I know that I have talked a lot about my summer of 2010 a lot but it has been such a huge part of my life and a huge part of the reason I am who I am today. Summer of 2010 was the best summer yet. I was in love, had a job I loved and was good at, I loved my ward, life was good.
It was in the Summer of 2010 that I had developed my own testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints for the first time. I was raised the the church and always had faith it was true I had just never really established my own testimony of it I guess. Well after my freshman year of college that faith was put to the test. I had to opportunity to move out to California for the summer and work and live with my sister. For the first time in my life I was put in the situation where I was the only member of the church at my workplace. I had to figure out what my testimony was and I realized I was representing the church, the lord, and my family all day everyday. I can't tell you how incredible it was. I was able to bare my testimony every single day of that summer to someone whether it was through word or by example. I realized that I can do that everyday of my life. I was able to introduce the church to a friend and be a missionary for really the first time in my life. It felt good. I could talk about that summer forever but I can't even put into words everything I learned that summer and how much a grew that summer. I will forever be grateful for that summer and for the chance I had to figure who I am and what my testimony really is.

Miracle #2: Last Semester @ SUU.
Spring semester 2011 was a rough one. I was lost. I had recently gone through some personal heartbreak and lost sight of that person I had become Summer 2010. I wasn't myself anymore and I knew that something needed to change. Through much prayer, priesthood blessings, fasting, counsel with my bishop, counsel with my parents, and support from my friends, I realized and decided that it was going to be my last semester at SUU.
It was such a hard chapter to close of my life... harder than I had ever imagined but I knew it was what needed to happen.
However, with it being such a rough start it was one of the best semesters ever at the same time and in that semester I learned so much. I was able to watch one of my closest friends embrace the gospel and join the church. What an incredible event that was. I felt so blessed to be a small part of it and it strengthened my testimony so much. I was able to be myself again through this experience. There were many good times in this semester and I feel blessed for the people I met and who were and continue to be so important to me.

Miracle #3: OAKCREST(summer 2011).
The reality struck me this summer working at Oakcrest. Oakcrest is an LDS Girls Camp I was blessed enough to be a part of this past summer. I worked as a counselor where I was assigned 8-13 girls, ages 12-14 every week. There were 10 weeks of summer, with many lessons to be taught, and learned. It was during this special summer and chapter of my life that I had really felt like a mission was right for me. I was blessed to work with an incredible staff.
These women are the best of the best, truly precious and valued daughters of god. Few were returned missionaries, many had the desire to serve in the future. As I have watched in the past 6 months many of them have fulfilled that desire and while this was all going on a had developed my own desire to serve a mission. Oakcrest was hard. It was the hardest job I have ever had emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It was also the best, most rewarding job I have ever had. It was at Oakcrest that I was taught how powerful prayer really is and that miracles really do happen. I also was able to make 50+ new best friends that I knew would be lasting friendships forever. As I have been contemplating when to put my availability on my mission papers because I have considered going back to Oakcrest for a summer because it has been such a huge part of who I have become. Through much fasting and praying I have decided to leave Oakcrest behind for this year. It has been another hard chapter to close, but I know that my desire to serve a mission is my number one desire. I know it has been recognized by the lord and I know that he will provide a way for me to be able to go.

Miracle #4: Utah State Fall Semester 2011
This semester started off really rough as well. It was a really hard adjustment at first. I wasn't happy there. I missed my life in Cedar City.
I missed my friends and I wanted so badly to be back there. With my job, my roommates, my life. I missed it... a lot. I quickly learned that I couldn't live this way forever. I realized that I needed to "Come what may and love it." I needed to enjoy this semester and this new chapter of my life.
I was so blessed to be able to have such good friends that I had made at Oakcrest. Those girls literally saved my life. If it weren't for them I would still be that miserable girl I was moving up there. I learned so much this last semester and I was blessed enough to have such an incredible bishop and ward. I had that singles ward that everyone wishes they were in... you all know what I'm talking about. Seriously the 46th Ward was where it was at. Bishop Weaver was where it was at. I was able to meet with my bishop and counsel with him. It was happening... I was really going on a mission.

For the first time in my life I felt like someone knew what was going on in my life, someone that trusted me that I am living by the spirit and doing my best to do what I felt the lord would want me to do. I will forever be grateful for Bishop Weaver and for his loving, kind personality. Counseling with him I truly felt that he was an inspired man of God and it strengthened my testimony of inspired church callings. It was in that semester that I knew I needed to be somewhere else the next semester. But all that I had learned and enjoyed... how to country swing, that it's completely fine if you have no idea what to study, to have fun again, to love again, to put myself out there again and meet new people. It was a hard reality to come to but again through fasting, prayer and counsel with my bishop I knew that I was supposed to be in California. My sister had offered to have me come out and live with her to help her with her new baby and to earn and save money for my mission. It was what was right. So closing another incredible chapter in my life was hard to do but I knew the lord would take care of me.

Miracle #5: California round 2.
So here I am. Due to being a poor college student I have a long way to go to be able to afford to serve a mission. Hence, why I am here in California saving the money I need to go. It has been a hard road getting here as you have read (if anyone is still reading.) There has been a lot of criticism in the past year of my life of the way I have gone about chapter to chapter but all I know is that it doesn't matter what others think.
I am doing my best to live close to the spirit so it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is what he thinks and I know that the lord loves me and has a plan for me. I know that this season of my life is exciting, scary, and challenging, but I'm ready. I know that with the lords help all things are possible. Moving here was hard. I enjoyed my new life in Logan going to Utah State but I know that this is where the lord needs and wants me right now. It has taken a lot for me to be able to admit those words with the last couple of weeks I've had. From the moment I arrived here everything has seemed to magically fall into place. The day after I got here I got a part-time job. Within the week I got here I had pretty much filled up the rest of my time with a couple different nannying jobs. I was amazed how quickly everything worked out. I was able to witness the miracle of life through the birth of the newest member of our family, baby Clara Grace Sharp. What an incredible experience that was. I have already been able to learn so much and know I have so much more to learn while I'm here preparing for my mission. I am grateful for the life I have and for the family I have. I have witnessed some pretty tough family situations through my work and it makes me feel so blessed for what I have. I know that I am in the right place. Even though up until a couple of days ago I wasn't willing or happy to admit that, I am now.

I am grateful for this knowledge and I love my savior and my father in heaven. I am grateful for the experiences I have had leading up to this point in my life and this decision in my life. I cannot wait to be a full-time missionary and to serve 18 months focusing solely on being a servant of the lord and my relationship with him. I know that even though I have faced a lot of opposition and that I'm scared and feel completely inadequate, I know the the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and I feel so incredibly blessed to have it in my life and that I have the chance to share that knowledge with the world. Our beloved prophet Thomas S. Monson once said, "For whom God calls, God qualifies."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Tonight I am having a hard time getting my thoughts down on paper,or even articulating the way I feel in any way really, so hopefully this makes sense. It has been one of those days today... you know the ones where you just can't seem to win. The funny thing is I haven't done much today, or gone anywhere, but I think it's in those days where this seems to happen, at least to me that is. It's those days where you have time to sit down and think about all of the things you don't like about yourself and all the things you wish were different in your life...
hopefully I have painted the picture clear enough so you know what I mean. Anyway, I'm not here to complain about how hard my life is or how hard this past week has been, even though those may have been my intentions when I sat down tonight to write this blog post. I'm here to let you in on a little insight I had tonight as I {literally} made lemonade. I was making lemonade tonight and was thinking about the old saying, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade." I guess you could say I haven't been making lemonade lately in my life. Instead I have spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. I've been thinking about how I feel about the way I look, and all the hard decisions I have to make in the coming months, and how I can't seem to accomplish all the things I want to in my timetable. I will say I have some pretty tough decisions to make in the next couple of months and I have made some pretty hard decisions in the past couple of months, but I know with no doubt, I will be fine.
I know the lord is on my side. I know he has a plan for me, it's just remembering that in the moments lemons get thrown at me. Remembering there is a reason for everything in our lives even though it may seem so insignificant at the time. I love this quote by Dr. Seuss that talks about choices. It really is my choice which way I go in life and I know with the lords help I will be able to go in the right direction. I won't give up, I WILL get back up and try again. Tomorrow is a new day and famous words of my witty, eloquent best friend, "Life always seems to be better with a good nights sleep."
So my parting words tonight are, be happy. Life is too short to get caught up in the negative things. It's hard sometimes, but so much better to remember the good things in life. Focus on the blessings we enjoy, not the things we lack.
Remember the words of Elder Holland, "Don't give up. Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is happiness ahead... You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come."