Saturday, November 29, 2008


Because of thanksgiving and other experiences, I have recently been thinking about all the things I'm grateful for.  I can truly tell that my Heavenly Father loves me because of all the miracles I see around me everyday.  I am grateful for the world which he has given us to live in.  I am grateful that it has diversity in its landscape, in its people, and in its experiences.  In my geology class we have been learning about the way in which the earth works and it is incredible to realize that even something which seems as steady and solid as a mountain has been and still is being shaped and molded.  This world has so many intricate parts that must all come together in the right way for us to be able to live on it.  When I also consider the chemistry class, I've been taking, it gets even more complicated, not only are the rocks in the mountains moving but the molecules and atoms in the rocks are in constant motion.  Without the rules that hold everything together, it would never work to say that solid objects are made up of atoms that are mostly empty space.  So our physical earth is an amazing gift from God.
Add to that the amazing differences in people that we have.  Everyone has different talents that make our world amazing.  My roommates are all artists, and I think just how amazing it is that they all have that gift so that they can help beautiful our world.  I also think it is amazing how we have so many different cultures in this world and I'm really grateful for the opportunities to learn about them. 
I am also really grateful for the experiences we can have on this earth.  I am grateful for the opportunity to come to BYU and to be able to study all sorts of different subjects.  I'm so grateful that I was put in my family to be raised.  I'm so grateful for my parents and siblings who have always been so good at letting me know they loved me.  I am grateful for the opportunity to travel that we have in this modern age.  It is really amazing how fast we can get from one side of the globe to the other.  
This is just a short list of the things I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Recently, I was reading in John and I came across a metaphor that really stuck me because it seemed really applicable to things I've been dealing with recently.  In John 16 Christ says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned to joy.  A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for the joy that a man is born into the world.  And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." (John 16:20-22).  I really was stuck by the idea of trial of the woman in travail.  I think our trials often work that way that we have to work through hard times to have the blessings that are awaiting us that will bring us infinite joy.  
I have been planning for a while to go to Eastern Europe to teach English.  My plan was to go next winter but recently I got the impression that I needed to go in January.  This kind of impulsive thing is so uncharacteristic of me that it has been really hard for me.  I really have to do a lot of things that are contrary to my nature to make it work.  Added to this some obstacles to going seem just impossible to overcome.  But everytime I conquer one of these obstacles, I feel really happy and proud of myself and I know that if I can get everything in order, this trip will bring me a lot of joy. 
I am glad that our Father in Heaven gives us trials that bring us joy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why do we seek him?

"Ye seek me not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled" --John 6:26
I was reading the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand and after he feeds them they all hunt him down and follow him.  But Jesus says they follow him only because he fed them and they are expecting more food.  He teaches them "I am the bread of life" and they all look at him like "Okay. when are you going to give us more food?"    Then he tries to teach them about Moses giving their ancestors mana but he will give them "living bread" and they start whispering to each other "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"  When they realize he isn't passing out free food they all disperse.  
I know we totally do that today, in two ways.  First of all, we relate to these people in a very literal sense.  Often (especially as college students we go to things because there is free food.  So we ned to think of other lesson this teaches us.  To question our motives for following Christ.  Are we going for the food?  For the social experience?  To look like a good person?  Our works aren't going to do us any good unless we are following Christ for the right reasons.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Master the Tempest is Raging

Last Sunday, my roommates and I went to a musical meeting where a pianist and violinist played a beautiful arrangement of one of my favorite hymns, Master the Tempest is Raging.  This hymn is one my favorites because it really seems to describe my life sometimes.    The words describe being tossed around by life.  Around now with all the midterms and projects, I sometimes really feel that I am completely on for the ride and completely out of control of my life.  But as the scriptures remind us, Christ is Lord over all the things in this world and he can bring peace.  I have faith that if he can bring peace to the elements and calm the waves.  He can calm the waves in my life and calm my troubled soul.  This brings me great comfort to know that if I don't feel in control, there is still one who I can count on to help pilot me through the turbulent storms of life.   Here is a website with the words and tune of this awesome hymn  


How does being an artist fit in with the gospel?  That is a question that I think a lot of the students in the art department here at BYU ask themselves.  We know that we have been given these talents by our Father in Heaven and so we need to use them to help build his kingdom.
One way I think we can see art's relation to the gospel is by visiting religious exhibits and just looking at religious art like we did on Thursday.  By studying the religious art of the past we can learn the rich heritage of symbols that artists before us have used that we can employ in our own works.  
One of my favorite pieces in the show we saw was the picture of Christ Subject to his parents which was full of so much symbolism with the cross, the water jug, the wheat basket, etc.  I was also very intrigued to learn why Joseph is always shown as older.  I had never even considered Jesus' siblings as being Joseph's children from a previous marriage.  That was a very interesting idea which helped to understand the traditional representation of Joseph. 
I think it is really important for artists to know as much as they possibly can.  Great art is not created when artists have mastered just art but when they apply their mastery of disciplines outside of art so create something truly amazing.  This certainly applies to the religious artworks which we saw.  The artists had mastered symbolism and scriptural knowledge to create such amazing pieces.