Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Tribute to Jenna H.


I once had a tradition of writing Jenna poems when she would go on dates. (I'm not going to link them to this post because who knows who would find that old blog and YIKES).

This one's for you, GP:

There once was a girl named Jenna H.
Quite the friend to have, was she.
She traveled all over the Eastern states,
And many a site she did see.

With a degree under her belt and a resume to boot,
She landed herself the dream job.
Great roommates galore, and her ward was a hoot,
There was nothing about which she could sob!

Until one day, God whispered in her ear,
And she realized where she should be.
It was quite hard, and she shed a tear,
But back to Utah she did flee.

Confused and alone and physiological...
She dreamt of her DC days.
Her return to Utah did not seem logical,
And she missed her job that pays!

Slowly but surely her life turned around,
And many great friends she did make.
Her pre-reqs went well, her spirit was sound,
Many leaps of faiths she did take.

With blessings poured down, and love in her heart,
She wondered what would be next.
Would she get into school, would this be her new start?
Or would it just be another test!

But with all of these things only time would tell,
So she decided to just do her best.
Then one wintry day, that was going quite swell,
She received a nice little text.

"What splendor, Jenna H. I've got news for you!
My wonderful friend is here.
He is quite attractive, with eyes so blue,
And for years he's been a great peer."

"But what could this mean?" Jenna thought in her mind,
"A date with a stranger again?
Well I guess I'll go, he could be a good find,
After all, he's a friend of a friend."

The fateful day came, David knocked on her door.
She wondered, "How will it be?"
But when their eyes did meet, their hearts did soar,
And all her worries did cease.

She saw then and there how her life would pan out,
How things past had led her to this.
Eleven months later, with joy they would shout,
For as husband and wife they would kiss.

But it didn't stop there, for that's never the end,
There is life after the wedding day!
They traveled to Syria, Greece and Japan,
Much good did they do and say.

Seven children they had, all with character and brains,
And desires for the good of the earth.
David and Jenna and their kids relieved many pains,
And helped everyone see their great worth.

Life can be hard, you might say, "Poor me,"
But don't you forget one thing:
From their example it is clear to see,
What good two people can bring.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I am breathing, so I must be living. Physics. Chemistry? Both. Always both.

Hi.

You may recall that moment about 2.5 years ago when I created this blog?  And then it died?

Welcome to the resurrection (a.k.a. never to die again!!)!! Get excited. Although I do not 100% guarantee that last statement.

So let's get right down to it.

I am fascinated with my ancestors and church history these days.  A few weeks back, I read an autobiography written by my ancestor, Elizabeth Haven Barlow.  She lived in the 1800s and shared many experiences she had with the early church. I was totally enthralled with her account of Joseph Smith's death.  Had I seriously never read an account of someone who was there??  It was quite captivating, to say the least.  Testimony = more solid.

On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, I attend an institute class called, "Women in the Scriptures." The majority of the class is obviously focused on women in the Old Testament (today we discussed Sarah, Abraham's wife).  However, my teacher spent the first few weeks discussing Lucy Mack Smith and Emma Hale Smith.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Mind blown.  Gratitude skyrocketing.  Humility punch to the face.  Those women were amazing and inspiring. Testimony = more solid.

But perhaps most importantly, my grandmother and her sister recently published a book called Seventeen Sisters Tell Their Story.  It's a legit book.  On Amazon and everything. (Click here for evidence).

Anyway, in case you don't know, my grandmother was raised in a polygamist home.  She was the 16th of her father's 34 children, and the 3rd of her mother's.  If you need a refresher, polygamy was discontinued in the church in 1890.  My grandma was born in 1940.  You see? She was raised outside the LDS church.

The book is a compilation of the stories of the seventeen remaining daughters in that family (remaining, as in, still living).  It is incredible.  Each of them is so unique.  Several of them describe the same event, but from their own perspective.  They all incorporate their perception of how they were reared; particularly on their relationship with their father (my own great grandfather, and their shared parent), and their view on the things he valued, taught, and did.

Testimony = more solid.

I have many questions from the reading. For example, many of these women did choose to live polygamy as adults, and continue to do so to this day.  Each of them describe the spiritual journey that led them to this decision, testifying of God, His power and knowledge, and care to answer prayers.  Powerful stories.  But how could this be?  Why did they feel so strongly that the Spirit had guided them into this polygamist marriage? They can't be members of the church and receive the blessings of the temple in this kind of a marriage!!

I know there are many strong opinions on this topic, and that is not really what I want to bring out.  I don't care if you think polygamy is horrendous, or if you are embarrassed that we ever did it as a church, or if you think it is the greatest thing ever.

Here is what I got from the book:

1.  Heavenly Father seriously loves us soooo much.  I was reminded over and over again about the power of prayer.  And the power of the Priesthood. Isn't it amazing that God has given us these gifts?  My mind is blown basically on the daily about this awesomeness.  Along with that, I do believe that He sees a picture that is much bigger than the picture that you and I see.  I don't understand conflicting promptings slash doctrine.  I don't even understand all the straight forward stuff.  But I do understand that every time I have listened to Him, I have been okay.  In fact, I have been happy.

I think that is something significant. Worth noting.

2.  We are hugely impacted by our families. This is not a new thought process for me.  I'm in my last semester of this Family Studies degree for crying out loud.  Four years of studying families secularly, 1.5 years of bringing them to the gospel, and 23 years of living in one...I've thought a lot about them.  I love families.

In fact, one of the biggest things I learned on my mission was about the family.

Our family is what brings us into this mortality!  Our family is what teaches us about living.  Our family is the cause of most of our childhood memories, our traumas, our joys, our desires, our hopes, our hurts, our values, our understandings of the world.  It starts with the family.

With the completion of this book, I gained a new gratitude for the family I was given. Especially for my grandma.  I remember a couple years ago (back in my Utah State days, wooooooot) I had an epiphany one day. I was like, "What the crap.  I was THIS close to being a polygamist.  My grandma! She has shaped my whole life!! What if she didn't join the church?  WHERE would I be??"

My grandma has been a great example to me.  I remember one time she babysat us for a few days while my mother was away (perhaps on her honeymoon? I don't remember).  Anyway, I felt sad one night because I missed my mom.  I remember going in to my grandma, and instead of shooing me back to my bed, she sat me down and opened up the Book of Mormon.  She said, "Sometimes I just like to read the chapter headings to get the quick version of the stories." And that is what we did.  I felt better.

I have heard her speak countless times of the miracles she has seen at God's hand in her life.

I visited her when she served a mission with her husband in Australia. (They also served one in Texas!)

She's the one that always said to me, "You're not lucky; you're blessed."

One time, she was the veil worker that helped me through at the Salt Lake Temple.

Her life was definitely not perfect, and she made her fair share of mistakes.  But, after reading this book, I have even more appreciation for her. She did not have it easy -- none of them did.  But because of the things she has done and the person she has become, I am a better person today.

Testimony = more solid.

The church is true.






Monday, August 5, 2013

The Last Thing

Dearest Blog Reader.

I regret to inform you that I cannot have a blog as a member of the TLM. I was unaware. But today I was made aware. And I must be obedient, right?

Right!

So this will be the last thing that my beautiful amiga posts on this blog for me. I don't know what to do about it. I am thinking that maybs you can just email me a line that says you want me to email you and then I will just write a blog post and send it to you in email form.  What do you think?  

I don't know.

But! For the last legitimate post, let me tell you something I have learned this week.

I started the Book of Mormon over with the beginning of this new transfer, and my oh my. All throughout 1 Nephi, it is just evidence after evidence and testimony after testimony and story after story of the Lord directing His people! So I have been thinking a lot about that. Then I was reading 1 Nephi 18 and it talks about the Lord giving them direction in every single verse for like 6 verses straight.

And then I was studying PMG. There is principle titled, "Heavenly Father Reveals His Gospel in Every Dispensation."  And it was like it was the first time I had read that. I said to myself, "Whoa! He REVEALS it!"  We would not have this church here today if it were not for revelation.  The Prophet is seriously called of God to receive revelation to direct the church and the world. I'm pretty sure I wrote that line basically word for word on this very blog before, but it has just been hitting me hard this week.

We are so blessed to know that there is revelation in this very day.

And not only that, but we can receive personal revelation on the daily.  I have read soooo many scriptures that say, "Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you." And I would be like, "Wow, great, knock, receive." This is great. 

But this week I have been reading scriptures like that, and actually, legitimately believing it. Because guess what. It. is. true.

When we pray, God hears us. And then He answers us. And He guides us.  Personal revelation is a real thing.

Jacob 4:8.... Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.

And then I was reading all these scriptures about opening our ears and humbling ourselves so that we can receive revelation. And True to the Faith! Best book ever! Read that thing!

Okay, I must end this.

This is what I know:  Personal revelation is such an important, and very real gift from God.  I have experienced it, and I am excited to learn more about it, and to learn how to receive and act on it more effectively.  And I know that each of you can, too. If you want to. So. Want to.

It is such a blessing to be a missionary at this time.  This is the Lord's work! His purposes will roll on. So let's get crackin.

Love, Sister Brittan E Plante

Monday, July 29, 2013

Obedience

Remember obedience?

I love it.

I don't have much time today, but this is what I would suggest:  Read Elder L. Tom Perry's talk from last conference called Obedience to Law is Liberty. And then the very next talk by President Monson called Obedience Brings Blessings.  Both are amazing and enlightening and will change your life if you allow them to. So. Please, do allow them to.

Obedience literally brings us freedom. In every way. EVERY way!  Additionally, it brings us knowledge and truth that we cannot even imagine. Freedom, knowledge, and truth. Would you want anything else?

There is so much more, but I will just leave you with this, until next time...

Recipe for a successful missionary:

1. Obedience.
2. Hard work.
3. Testimony.

In that order.  Because even if you don't have the second two, you WILL get them, if all you have is the first. So be obedient.

The church is true, my friends.

Love, Sister Brittan E Plante

Monday, July 22, 2013

Whenever I was fixin a go on a mission


I love being a missionary!

So, now that I have been here in Lubbock for almost a whole transfer, would you like to know what it is like?

1. The sky here is absolutely amazing.  We get these cloud shows that just do not happen in Utah, I am assuming because of the mountains. But seriously. It's like Toy Story, but 17 times better.
2. People say things like, "Have a blessed day!" on a daily basis. So great.
3. They also say things like, "We're fixin' a eat."  Like going to eat, but fixin a eat.  A girl named Amy told us that her new niece is fixin a be born. And her grandpa is fixin a die. Haaaaa.
4. They use the word "whenever" when it's supposed to be just "when." Like, "Whenever I was 7 we went to Disneyland."  What?
5. So Sister O and I say to each other, "Whenever I was fixin a go on a mission..." We are too funny.
6. Everybody AND THEIR DOG has a dog! Or 7!
7.  There are a million chicken places. And like 2 hamburger places. It's quite funny. And they always serve some sort of bread (usually a roll) with their chicken. 
8. There are 2 million Sonics, DQs, and donut places.
9. There are as many churches as there are in Utah, only they are waaaay bigger, and a LOT more variety. Lot's of Baptists, Catholics, Church of Christ, Trinity, and THE abominable of all abominable churches....Experience Life! And of course on campus we meet a crazy number of Hindus and Muslims. And Chinese people who do not believe anything. That was hard for me.

It's so fun! I love it here. It's weird that this is the biggest city in the mission because it's tiny. But there are like 4 walmarts. So I guess it's big.

On to the spiritual.

Obedience.

It is the first law of Heaven.

Sister O and I are studying/working on/applying the Christlike attribute of obedience this week and I am so so excited.

We watched a little bit of the video "Special Witnesses of Christ" on Saturday, and Robert D. Hales said something like this:

Everything Christ said and everything He did was out of obedience to the Father.  He had no personal agenda.  He said I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me.

Isn't that amazing?  Literally everything He did was out of obedience!  He never did anything for Himself or for His own recognition.

John 5:30
 30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is ajust; because I seek not mine own bwill, but the cwill of the Father which hath sent me.
(Thank you LDS.org)

So. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm excited.

I love every one of you!

Love, Sister Brittan E Plante

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ready

One month of my time here in Lubbock is gone. Forever. And I will never get it back.

Before the mission, I had these expectations of my missionary self that I was not aware I even had.  I expected perfection.

And then I got to the MTC and I was like, "Whoa. This is hard. I don't know anything."

And then I got to Lubbock and I was like, "Yikes. I have zero faith. I don't know what I am doing here. What am I doing."  I doubted. A lot.

And then I prayed.

And I repented.

And I repeated. repeated. repeated. repeated. every. single. day. over and over and over and over.

And I studied. And I worked.

I literally had to start from rock bottom.

But guess what.  I can now tell you, for flippin sure, that I KNOW God knows and loves me personally and He has a plan fo rme and for every person on this earth.  I know He has called a Prophet and established His church through the Priesthood on the earth today.  I know the Book of Mormon is His word, and He has given it to us that we may learn of Him and His plan, and grow closer to Him as we discover and apply the power of the Atonement.  I know that the Holy Ghost is real, and is a gift from God to give us strength, comfort, guidance, and protection.  As I read from the Book of Mormon, pray, and listen to the promptings and impressions of the spirit, I receive direction and power to do God's will for me and to serve His children.  God is real. This is His church.  He loves us.  And He has provided a way for each of us to return to Him and enjoy all the blessings He has. I know these things to be true.

I also know that I have been called by a Prophet of God to share what I know with the people of Lubbock.  He has sent me here for a reason.  I will do everything I can to be obedient, focused, and diligent in doing the Lord's work.  I know that as I do, the Lord will work miracles. He is ready. He has just been waiting for ME to be ready.  I will give my life to Him from now on.  And He will give me so much more. He expects EVERYTHING. But, He will be there on my right and on my left, before me and behind me; He will give me strength, direction, and power, and He will use to as an instrument to bring forth His purposes.

So yes, my first month was not the most effective. And yes, I have been here A WHOLE MONTH and I am still not the best missionary on the planet, or even in College Park.

But it doesn't even matter. Because I have changed in that month. I have become more converted to the Lord than I have ever been in my life. He couldn't use me before, because I wouldn't let Him!  So he (thankfully!) took me to rock bottom, and then He built me up again, in His way.

A month is gone.  But I am ready. 

He who loses his life for the Lord's sake shall find it.  That's the truth.

Love, Sister Brittan E Plante

Monday, July 8, 2013

Two Things

Hello Friends! Two things:

1.  The sooner you learn to focus your mind and all your thoughts on Jesus Christ and His gospel, the sooner you will be able to testify with power.  One of the Sunday night devotional speakers at the MTC said that and I wrote it down because it is brilliant, and I am here to testify that it is the truth.

I have honestly had a hard time being 100% committed to the work. Weird, right? I was definitely not expecting that little challenge. But one day I realized that I was being distracted by something. I still don't even know what that thing was, but there was just something in my subconscious or something that was holding me back.  So I decided to recite my purpose a million times a day. Instead of thinking about whatevskis as I shower, I recite my purpose, and I internalize it. Sister Olsen and I decided to memorize a scripture every week, and this week is Alma 26:12. So as I sit there in the car, I recite it in my head. Or out loud.

Don't worry, I still have normal thought processes, like a normal human, and Sister O and I have normal, non-churchy conversations daily. But let me tell you, taking control of your mind and choosing to think about what you want to think about?! Smartest thing I have ever done!  Wow!  I am definitely not a pro at it yet, but this week has just been so so so much better. When we get out of the car, I say, "What is the goal?  What am I supposed to be focusing on right now?" and then Sister Olsen pours words of wisdom into my soul and I say, "Excellent. Let's do this." And then we find people. Sometimes rude people. Sometimes indifferent people. Sometimes amazingly prepared people. Amazing.

It's amazing.

2.  Prayer. And agency. Those are my new struggles as of late.  I have a hard time with people having their agency. I don't want to get my hopes up that someone will change their life and join in the blessings of this beautiful gospel, because guess what! They have agency. There is this weird balance between working so hard and loving the people and wanting them to know the truth and be baptized -- and not getting discouraged when they don't, you know?  

It's hard to explain.

As a missionary, I am expected to do everything I can do to help others receive the restored gospel.  I really do have to truly care about them!  But then, when I truly do care and I truly do love and work and pray for them and they don't accept? And they just drop us?  Then it hurts!  But then I can't get discouraged because guess what. Discouragement lowers expectations and weakens faith.  They have agency. And so do I. And I need to use that agency to move on, and still truly love and still truly work and be diligent because someone is going to use their agency to accept the gospel. And that one person will be worth it.

I had a hard time praying for peoples' hearts to be softened because I would think to myself, "Well, God will prepare whom he will, and they can choose to accept if they want to."  But very recently I have come to learn that that is not true. God has told me to pray for the people. He has told me to ask in faith that their minds will be opened and that they will accept the message. "The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking them."  Well said Bible Dictionary. We have to ask. With faith.

Does that make sense?! Ah! It does to me and I can certainly say that my prayers are different now. 

What a beautiful thing this mission is, wouldn't you say?  Until next time, my friends.

Love, Sister Brittan E Plante