Old habits (and may I say opinions) DON'T die hard.
Related to all of these things, the gifts and principles of CHOICE and LOVE walk hand in hand together to make us who we are meant to become.
My life has taken an unexpected and therefore beautiful turn in the form of a man with thick rimmed glasses. He is a constant reminder of God's goodness and love for me.
He is also a reminder that God has a sense of humor.
I always said I would never marry someone younger than me. I also said that I would never get married. I would CONSTANTLY make fun of Mormons who met and got married in less than a year. I guess I am being "compelled to be humble" and both I and the Lord are laughing. What I am really saying is...
I have chosen to marry my best friend.
I have chosen: to cast out fears, doubts and social stigmas, to change my mind and my heart, to love said best friend more purely, deeply and differently than I have loved before, to trust the Lord and his infinite love and wisdom, and to give, to the best of my ability, everything I have to God and to a man who helps me understand the nature and love of God.
Like for many people, these choices have been difficult to make. "It's like life is a test or something."
With 23.75 years under my belt, I must say I don't know very much. I DO KNOW, however, that through faith in Christ, our experiences bad or good, will be for our benefit.
I see that now as I look at a 21 year old tender mercy who plays along with my stupid games and laughs (hysterically) at my stupid jokes. A man who is patient with me, who loves me for me while still expecting me to be better. Someone who inspires me daily to love better and more sincerely God's children.
I often envy Peter. To personalize his reality and forget the fable that has impressed my mind since infancy is the dream. The life of a lost boy--or lost girl--seems romantic enough. Makes my mind process his concept of time.
Is that what makes him fearless? No accountability to be accountable for. Just everyday and every moment: the next great adventure. ANYTHING. Except growing up, because life is what we live and death, it doesn't matter.
and expectations; well, they can't be dashed if you aren't conscious of them.
NEVERLAND NEVER SOUNDED BETTER.
and then, when pixies rest and fireflies extinguish their lights, those problems that don't fill a little boy's head, but a grown ups, would have no effect. Just the hushed night sounds of a land that makes you forget--even Wendy, sort of. Not completely, but periodically.
Silly girl. Where is your sense of adventure? and love--where else could you find a Peter Pan?
But then again...you aren't capable of forgetting the second star to the left and straight on til morning. or a shadow. or the smell of a thousand endless summers.
We sit around a table with seven other people, sipping coffee at 630 am. The seven are recovering alcoholics and I am reminded that life leaves no one unscathed. You could feel that sentiment in their tones and even see it in their weathered faces. I see a painting on a wall, an orange devil with a snake tail trailing behind him. He is in an uncorked liqour bottle with a pitchfork in one hand and in the other a chain that leads through the neck and out of the bottle, finally wrapping around the neck of the shirtless, wide-eyed man outside of it. Behind the demon are large bottles tightly capped and filled to the brim with cachaça. Inside the different bottles are: a beautiful curly haired woman, a disturbing dark creature that slightly resembles a man and in another, a beetle. When they ask me to speak I say, "My name is JP and I am not an alcoholic."
In my first AA meeting, I saw a few of God's beautiful children and I felt how much he wanted them healed. One man talked about how 11 years away from the bottle meant he was capable of feeding his mother with failing health. Another referred to current challenges between family members--life is still hard, with or without addiction, but he could see the difference in a sober and an inebriated response. I once heard that God doesn't care so much about your mistakes. He cares about how you react to them.
Thinking about it, that is why the 12 step program is so inspired. I left, not feeling pity or superior to these people, but grateful for the opportunities that I have been given me. I don't understand why some people are faced with addiction and other's not. I do not understand why I was so protected in my life. I do however know that I have a loving Heavenly Father who knows my weaknesses and my strengths. A Father who loves those seven beautiful people individually and unconditionally and supports them daily to overcome the enticing of the thing that can lead them to a fate worse than death--an endless prison.
God, grant me the Serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change, Courage to change the
things I can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference.
The second first, I AM IN LOVE:
With this beautiful child:
Before, and when I say before I am almost always referring to before my mission (before life really began), newborns intimidated me. I have always loved kids-playing with them, getting them hyper and then sending them home with their parents. You can't really do that with newborns and I always felt like I was going to break them. Maybe my mommy instincts finally kicked in after 23 years or maybe it was just love at first sight with Cylus Winn Peterson, but I could hold this sleeping baby all day. The slightest twitch in facial muscles resembling a smile or the way his eyes track my movement is enough to keep me occupied for hours. Another first.
It amazes me how perfect this child is, truly we are God's finest creation.
The Last FIRST,
I finally made my I'm a Mormon Profile. Click here:
I used to be a writer. It didn't stop all at once, or maybe it didn't really "stop" at all. The flow just changed. Subject matter. Purpose. Me. It all changed. Then português confused the wiring and once again the entire process changed.
Most of the ideas didn't even get past the fatty part of my upper arm. The really good ones at least "intended" to get past my elbow. Losing my voice was the equivalent to losing my pen.
My very first district all grown up and ready to serve the Lord with todo o coracao poder mente e forca! What a blessing it has been for me to learn from these great servants of the Lord. BOA SORTE ELDERES! PARABENS! Brasil is lucky to have them!
Did I tell you that I love my job?
beautiful, inspired and more than anything else JUST WHAT I NEED.
"It's always better to look up."-Thomas S. Monson
"You cannot make eternal decisions without eternal consequences." Randall K. Bennet
"[Christ] is in my Gethsemane and also in yours."
"We may not receive an answer all at once. Here a little and their a little. Perhaps because that is all we can handle or because it is ALL WE ARE WILLING TO DO." -Robert D. Hales
"Most of what we worry about is not of eternal significance, but if it is we can be certain that the Lord will help us."-Carl B. Cook
"A call to repentance, when guided by the spirit is an act of genuine charity." L. Todd Christofferson
Mostly what I got out of conference was a desire to be better and to try harder to study my scriptures with more thought and to fulfill my covenants better. I LOVE CONFERENCE.
Although President Monson has left us with these words before, I still continue to love them. "Each of us has a part to play. Let us be diligent and faithful in playing it well."
Being with my family was probably one of the best things ever. Connor showed off his wicked dance moves at The Pie Pizzaria and Kalena got over her stage fright to sing, "Hey Soul Sister", of course I had to hold her and sing with her but it was so dang cute. Why don't they live in Utah again???
A thought that I have had as I reflect on my blessings in life is that amidst the intense pain and sorrow that I experience, just as Alma stated, my joy is as exquisite as my pain. The Lord compensates us and if he hasn't yet, he will.
Two years and 4 days ago I set off on my adventure. Sao Paulo then Maceio and Sergipe. My life changed. My brain changed. MOST OF ALL my heart changed.
I fell in love. I fell in love with people who couldn't have been more different-and as always I took my environment and internalized it. Bono said it well: "Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief." I am okay with being a thief if it means I can take a bit of that culture with me.
I'm Brasicana. More than that I fell in love with the gospel of Jesus Christ and I see how it determines EVERYTHING I do. In 23 years of life--I've never been happier. I get it. FINALLY. I'm so glad the Lord was patient with me even through my "rebel without a cause" stage of life that lasted...well most of my life. What a blessing it was for me to serve a mission, I needed it. I am excited to keep "getting" more and more of the big picture.
On top of all that I met some of the best people I know and some of the dearest friends and came to know the Savior personally.
So I should probably be sure to write on my blog and on our family website more often. Life is hectic, full of challenges, but I am happy and blessed.
I have the best job in the world at the MTC.
I am studying hard and I am pretty sure I get growing pains in my brain from it. I am running a lot because it feels good and I love it.
I am the mission prep teacher in my ward right now. If I could even get away from missionary work I wouldn't want to.
And yeah that is pretty much what I have been doing with my life. Work school running and THE GOSPEL.
I just want to reiterate a few things I have stated before on hear:
"Not forgiving retards spiritual growth"
2 Nephi 28:32 aWo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and bcome unto me; for mine carm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.
3 Nephi 9:14 Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, minearm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.
It is amazing the mercy of the Lord. His arm is always extended to us, sometimes in anger, sometimes in mercy BUT ALWAYS IN LOVE. Repentance is such a blessing, we can all become whole through it. It is almost hard to believe such a great deal. All the Lord asks is for us to change our hearts and to TRY just TRY to do better. I truly hope that one day I can be so forgiving and loving. My mortal emotions are not so well tuned. It is hard, but man what a blessing that I can be forgiven and that I have Christ's example to remind me. Any one want to go to Brasil with me?