Sunday, July 29, 2012

I guess it's good for me

Trial and error.  That is exactly how I would describe the last couple of months for me.

Pitty Parties piss me off.  And that's why I try not to throw them.  When people ask me, "how is it to just be on your own?  Without parents? Taking care of a house?"  Wanna know?

I could say, "It freaking sucks" cause, sometimes it does.  But I hope for what has been said, that when God closes one door, he opens another. So, I respond... "it's actually not too bad."

I wonder, a lot, why I had to face what I have faced at such a young age, and so fast.  But, I can see, although it is a cloudy and foggy road, that God has some pretty awesome things in store for me.

Losing my Dad for example brought me to live with my amazing Grandma in Springville.  Exposed me to a whole new group of people, and I got involved in something that I would not have been involved in in West Jordan. The National FFA Organization.  When I joined, it was for fun. I had no clue the impact that it would have on my life. The people that I would meet and grow to love.  That's just one example...

I am no stranger to responsibility.  I have had a lot on my shoulders from the get go.  Taking care of, and practically raising my little sisters, learning to do laundry (if you wash everything in cold water, you don't have to sort :) learning to cook, clean. The list goes on and on... I look at some of my friends that have hardly any responsibility and I want to be like them. Sometimes.  But then I remember that God taught me these things for a reason.  Ya, it makes my roommate mad that I am almost anal about having a clean house. But, I was taught by a loving Grandmother, that cleanliness is next to Godliness. It's absolutely true. It is a lot easier to feel the spirit in a clean environment. I'm not talking spotless... but clean. Orderly.

When I look back and forward on my life,  I am thankful for what I have. As crappy as it sometimes is, it is making me into a better person that can sympathize with others and understand them.  Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Retiring Address

Thought I would share the manuscript for my Retiring Address that I gave as the 2011-2012 Utah FFA Secretary. Enjoy. 

Life will be alright, that’s my motto!
                If there is one thing that I have learned in my travels this year, from chapters deep in the heart of the Salt Lake Valley, all the way to the end, and I mean the end of the state, like Monument Valley, we all have many differences, but we all seem to have one thing in common besides proudly representing the old blue and gold. We have all faced challenges in one way or another. It may be losing a CDE that you worked so hard at, or failing a really important test. Maybe you have a disability that makes life really difficult for you. Whatever it is, one thing is for sure. We all have trials.
                Having said that, I am no different than the rest of you! My life has been very difficult at times and very awesome at other times! But you need to know, no matter what life throws your way, everything will be alright.
                At 17, all my buddy Gavin lived for was extreme mountain biking, you know, like flying off of cliffs, and getting some wicked air. He loved the feeling of the adrenaline pumping through his veins as he soared off huge drops to pound that perfect landing. If he wasn’t working, or at school, he was on his bike.
                For years Gavin had been seeing doctors because he knew something was wrong with his back. Doctors diagnosed him with Kyphosis which is a bowing or curving of the spine that causes a severe hunchback, and it was complicated by his Scoliosis. When Gavin turned sideways, his back kind of looked like a question mark.  Together, it was a horrible combination. If he didn’t have his back fixed, it would put pressure on his heart and lungs render him crippled or dead.
                So, in July, he underwent major surgery and doctors installed 2 metal rods, and 20 screws in his back to reinforce his spine and make it straight.
I remember the first time I went to see him at the hospital following his surgery. To my surprise, he was up and walking! (With a little help, of course)
Recovery has been slow, and at times, I know he thought he would never get to ride again. But, because he is stubbornly determined, he deals with the pain, and hikes his bike and those metal rods up the hill for an exhilarating downhill explosion. 
A valuable lesson I learned from Gavin is best said by Lucius Seneca. He said, “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials” Gavin was handed a trial to test him, and through that trial, he has let it shape him into a better person.
Trials Happen, to make us better.
A success story was once told by Congressman Wes Watkins, a seven-term congressman from Oklahoma about himself, once a member of the F.F.A.  As a young Greenhand, he was very quiet, shy, and didn’t have much to say because of a speech impediment.  After attending his first State Convention, he set the goal of becoming a state officer. He began to work towards that goal. He participated in the Creed Speaking Contest, and read many, many magazines and newspapers.  He overcame his speech impediment, and went on to become the Oklahoma State President. He stated, “I can honestly say that if it weren’t for the F.F.A, I wouldn’t be standing here today as Congressman Watkins.”  It took years for Congressman Watkins to achieve his goal, and he eventually overcame his challenge. He was patient and persistent.
To overcome your trials, be patient.
Two frogs fell into a deep cream bowl.
One was an optimistic soul.
But the other took the gloomy view.
"We'll drown," he lamented without much ado,
and with a last despairing cry,
he flung up his legs and said "Goodbye."
Quote the other frog with a steadfast grin,
"I can't get out but I won't give in,
I'll just swim around till my strength is spent,
then I'll die the more content."
Bravely he swam to work his scheme,
and his struggles began to churn the cream.
The more he swam, his legs a flutter,
the more the cream turned into butter.
On top of the butter at last he stopped,
and out of the bowl he gaily hopped.
What is the moral? It's easily found...
If you can't hop out, keep swimming around!
Trials take hard work. You might spend a lot of time “swimming around”. Don’t ever give up. Eventually everything will work out alright.
                Overcoming your trials will require hard work, and when you can’t do it alone, let others lift you up.
                Think back on your own life. Has there ever been a time in your life where you needed to be lifted up? When you felt like all you needed was someone there, to support you? I felt that way.
                On January 7, 2011, I needed to be lifted up. I was in my room packing for my last winter campout as a scout when I heard a knock on the door. My Grandma came in a proceeded to tell me that my mother was found dead in her apartment earlier that day.
                To be honest with you, this news was not shocking. My Mom did not live the best lifestyle, and I had not seen her in at least 5 months, but it did not change the fact that she was my mom, and losing her left me and my younger sisters completely parentless.
                I decided to go on the campout anyway, knowing that I would have to face some hard decisions when I got back.
                I chose to handle things that no 17 year old should ever have to face. I took the responsibility of cleaning out my mother’s apartment in Salt Lake, and it seemed as though it would be a daunting task.  As the day neared to take care of these things, I was lifted by many. I received phone calls and texts from several friends and family asking if they could help in any way. A daunting task now, seemed manageable. With the help and support of my family and friends, I was able to go through what was left of my mother’s life and find closure.
                I cannot even imagine how it would have been to face that alone. The support of my friends and family was really important to me.  They made a difference in how I overcame that trial.
                You might be the difference in someone’s life. Do not be afraid to offer your help to someone in need. It could be something really small, or really big.
                Look for opportunities to serve people every day.
                On the flip-side, let other people help you. It makes the hard things in life a lot easier when you have friends and family to cheer you on. Life is not a race. We are here to endure, and help others endure.
                As I have served you this year, I have grown to love you. I am thankful for every last minute I spent with you. You have served me, and made my life better.
You have taught me that you are strong. You can do hard things. Remember trials in life are not easy. Take the time to learn from them, and let them make you stronger. Keep on swimming, the hard work is worth it. Help others along their way.  FFA members, always know, that whatever life throws at you… it’s alright.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Learning to Do, Doing to Learn

We just completed our BLAST Off training this week.  We had the most amazing facilitator.  His name is Riley Branch, a past National officer.

I am thankful that I was able to better my leadership skills by the knowledge of this man.  I can say that I am a better person after attending that conference.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Rhetro, a.k.a Rhett Laubach, is simply... amazing.  I was slapped with leadership knowledge so hard these last couple days that my face... hurts. 

I gained a better appriciation for the FFA and how we do what we do.  I am thankful for all of the leaders that have pushed me to become more than I could be alone.

Leadership is... Believing in someone so much that they could never fail.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I need a break...

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like you just need to get away? I did today. I need to get out of here, out of Utah Valley. I need a break.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Today, I felt like a kid...

We made a movie as FFA officers today, and as part of shooting it, we went to a park, and I got to swing. I have not swung in a long time... and it felt good.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Just a grain of sand...

"Sometimes, those mountains you've been climbing, are just a grain of sand."

A song, not sure who it is by, but it's been going through my head lately.

You see, I came home from school January 7, 2011, to get ready for the Klondike, one of my favorite camp outs. I was in my room, packing, when there was a knock at the door. It was my Aunt, and my Grandma. They proceeded to come into my room, and notify me that the Salt Lake City police had found my mother, Leslie Jones, 48 years old, dead.

It hit me hard. Like a grand piano falling off of a tall building. She was dead. My last parent was dead.

I asked God, "why did this have to happen so early in my life? Why do I have to deal with the crap that I am having to deal with?" My answer came later that night, while at the Klondike.

As I was looking up at the stars, I felt a calming feeling come over me. I knew that it was going to be okay. God has a plan for me, and yes, it is rockier than others. I have a path that I am required to take, and this is the path that is for me.

I told God that I would accept this plan before I came to earth. I know that God will never give me more than I can handle. There are times I wonder what life would be like if my Mom and Dad were still alive and together, but I don't let that bug me. I know it is not so, but it gives me a drive to be the best that I can be.

My friend, Brian Shelley, left on a mission in December. It took a week or so to adjust to the change. He is like a brother to me, and so I decided to write him weekly. This is one of the best things I have ever done. Every letter I get from him assures me that life is good. The Church is true. God lives. I know that if I am ever having a bad day, I can go to my room, and pull out his letters and read them. I cherish them. He is living so close to God right now. It's amazing to see what he has done.

It's little things like letters from friends that make life worth it. The smile of a little kid while I am at work, the complement from a customer. The encouragement. It keeps me going. I don't know what I would do without it. If you are reading this, know, that one complement to a person could make their life seem worth it. If you are thinking of giving a complement, or helping someone with their groceries, do it! You never know how you might change their life.

God lives. I testify of it. I know, that if it weren't for Christ's atoning sacrifice, I would not have made it through this last month. These mountains I've been climbing, are just a grain of sand with the help of the Savoir. I know that I will have to rely on him more and more. And you know what? I'm okay with that.