I honestly was going to title this blog, "So Blessed," but then I remembered TAMN and started laughing at myself. So I thought I'd just go with it completely.
Really though, I woke up so happy today for some reason. I felt completely rested, which is an odd thing. I got to eat dinner with my good friend Brianne last night, which I felt like I hadn't done in a while. I love to talk to someone and feel like they understand you and get what you're saying and like you don't have to worry about being misunderstood. The food was surprisingly good--my past experiences at Applebee's haven't been so fun. But I got this delicious Club House Grill sandwich and fries which totally hit the spot after a 903-calorie burning workout.
Institute was AMAZING. We had a substitute, Brother Gibbons. He reminded me of Rhino the hamster from Bolt, with all of his crazy energy. He was so out there, but his style was totally what I needed to be excited about institute. He was loud and outgoing. And he broke the scriptures down into a way that works with my brain--numbers and lists and phrases. He talked about the three things Nephi (in 2 Nephi 31-33) suggests we do when we need help with something: read scriptures, rely on/listen to the Holy Ghost, and pray. He also discussed the three problems and solutions which Jacob addresses in chapters 1-3: wealth/riches, immorality, and responsibilities of parents. He spent time emphasizing that if Jacob had to give the most precious of the best most important truths of the gospel, we needed to pay attention to the things he focused on. It really hit home to me.
What I really wanted to talk about was a particular word in 2 Nephi 31:20: "feast." He had us come up with an eating verb we could use to describe how we read the scriptures. I came up with the word "sample," since I always end up picking out a verse or two which stand out to me during my reading, and skim over the rest. He pointed out how interesting it was that Nephi should choose the word, "feast," out of all the other "eating" verbs. It was really profound and gave me a new perspective on how I should be studying.
I went visiting teaching on Sunday night, and the message this month is about sincere prayer. I loved the simplicity of the message. The girls in the apartment we visited were so, so great. They had a lot of insights and experiences to share, and were very conversational with us, instead of just silently waiting for us to be done. I received a cute note (we do "love notes" at ward prayer) from one of the girls, telling me how she appreciated my coming over and that the spirit was so strong. It was indeed, and I was glad that she shared that sentiment. I was almost brought to tears in our visit because of how strong the spirit was. It was so awesome! I am so glad to have had that experience to get me excited to make sure I do my visiting teaching. What wonderful girls they are! And what a great opportunity to serve and make new friends.
This morning my dad reported to me about how his mother is doing. My Mimi. She had lung cancer which they successfully removed in a surgery. But shortly after she had a blood clot come loose and go through her heart. Come to find out, only 20% of her heart had been working because of three prior unknown heart attacks. She has been comatose for about a week. She has been generally incoherent, and the doctor suggested yesterday that they pull the plug. This morning when I spoke to my dad, I heard his voice break as he told me that his brother Marty called to tell him that Mimi responded to the doctor this morning! She also squeezed my grandpa's hand when he said that my parents were coming out there. My dad has a new found hope about my Mimi, and it was so tender to hear him get emotional. I have been praying for her morning and night and all throughout the day. I bore my testimony to dad about priesthood blessings and suggested that she get one because a blessing and some faith can only do good!
So what I mean to get at right now is how grateful I am for the gospel, for the church and its organization, and for technology. I was able to get online and find a ward near the hospital my grandmother is staying at in Burlington, Vermont. I called the missionaries and gave them the information so that tomorrow they can come and give her a blessing when my parents are there. I'm getting tears in my eyes thinking of how grateful I am for the priesthood, and how I know that this blessing will make a difference. I have the faith that it will! Miracles are worked through the priesthood of the Lord. I'm so grateful for missionaries. I felt like the one I was talking to was so much older than me. But I know that he was between 19 and 21. I know he's out there serving the Lord. And I know by hearing so many mission stories that he is so excited for the opportunity to give a blessing to someone, especially a non-member. I can't believe these boys go out at 19 and dedicate their lives to the gospel and to serving others. I'm so grateful for them, especially now that I know my grandma and family will be blessed by their efforts tomorrow.
I was recently able to go through and edit the "project critique" portion of my coworker's dissertation. Her writing has improved greatly over the last few years that I've known her (Spanish is her first language). I didn't have to do a whole lot. We fixed a part of her paper together today, and she told me how she felt so proud of herself that she didn't have so many things wrong with her critique. It's always scary waiting to see what someone finds wrong with something you write! How brave she is, and I'm glad she was so proud of herself. She also told me with a huge smile on her face that the positive comments that I left throughout her paper like, "cool," made her feel really encouraged. I was glad to have been able to help her, and I'm so glad she has improved so much. Thank heaven I put those positive comments in there, but I really was impressed by her.
There's a girl who was in my ward for a little while. I had a grand total of one conversation with her. But every time she comes in to Blockbuster, she says hi to me with a big smile, and she says my name. This always makes my night at work because she is so cute and cheery, and she knows me and remembers my name and goes out of her way to make sure she says hi. It's funny how just saying hi--or just leaving positive comments on a written paper--can make such a difference to someone.
I also had a pleasant surprise on Facebook this morning from an acquaintance of mine. She left a comment on my wall which was completely random but probably one of the coolest compliments I have ever received. So that totally made my day, on top of being able to schedule the missionaries to bless my grandma tomorrow. It's really weird how being intentionally active in the gospel, doing all we can do--reading, praying, attending ward activities, visiting teaching, attending institute--brings about so much positive energy. It's awesome to feel so loved and to feel so much love for others. All of us like to feel special! I hope I can bring those same feelings to others.
I think that's all I wanted to discuss, really. Friends, being well-rested, having a great institute experience, my coworker, Facebook comments, and priesthood blessings and my grandma. I can't tell you how overwhelmed I am with positive energy and how overly and undeservedly blessed I feel right now. I'm even teary-eyed over all of it. I need to announce to the world that I love my Lord and Savior. I love missionary work. I believe in miracles. I believe in love and service. And I'm so grateful for the knowledge that I have of the Lord's plan and for all of the blessings that have been poured out on me recently.
Life is so good. :)