"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato

The other day I was at the gym coaching one of my little competitive tumbling teams. This team likes to give me grief every now and then and on this particular night they were having an especially difficult time.

They were having a really hard time listening to and following directions. Their attitudes were out the window and every few minutes I had another kid in tears for menial reasons. And as every minute passed I felt my blood boil more as I started to slip into what I call “strict coach mode.” Pretty soon everything they did made me mad and I stopped being their friend and started being their dictator.

I had about had it.

It was at this point that one of my seven year old students flopped on the ground wailing about how he couldn’t do a back handspring the way he wanted to as tears streamed down his face. This was probably the fifth tear episode from the class and the second one from him in about 20 minutes.

I swallowed everything inside of me that wanted to yell at him and say “get up. you’re fine. stop crying.” and I pulled him aside and sat him down on the edge of the tumbling floor. I knelt down on his level and put my hands on his knees and said “buddy… how come everything is making us so upset today?”

I expected to him wail back at me something about me and my coaching. I expected him to complain about how he didn’t like what I was making him do or something along those lines.

His response shocked me.

He looked up at me with tears pooling from his eyes and said “I got in a fight with my mom on the before tumbling today. She was yelling at me and it hurt my feelings. I just can’t stop thinking about it.”

It had nothing to do with back handsprings, or tumbling, or my coaching. It had everything to do with what this little boy was experiencing in his life.

So I asked him to tell me more. I just sat and listened and didn’t say anything. I just let him talk. After a few minutes of him telling me this story he wiped away the tears and I asked him if he felt better. He nodded and I said “should we get up and try our back handsprings again?” and sure enough he popped right up and did his back handsprings perfectly.

So often in our lives we interact with people without really taking the time to know what’s really going on behind the curtain. We judge them for the things they say or do and we don’t take into consideration the fact that there might be more to it than meets the eye. And even worse, we interpret their actions to have something to do with us. As if they don’t like us or they have a problem with us, when in reality, most of the time it has nothing to do with us.

There is a quote that keeps coming to my head every time I think about this experience that says

“Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Plato.

Isn’t this just the truest statement?

So since then I’ve made an effort to take this philosophy into the other classes I teach. I’ve made an effort to take the time to talk to each child during class to ask them about school and their families and different parts of their lives. I’ve been amazed at how much just a little kindness makes in someones life. I’ve been so surprised by how the children have responded to this small gesture of listening. During one of my classes this week one of my small quiet girls ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug and whispered “we are going to be best friends, okay?” I know she never would have done that had I not taken the time to show her I wanted to be her friend first.

And I’ve also noticed how much of a difference the little kind acts of others have made in my own life. I’ve noticed myself become physically happier when I walk into work and my boss takes the time to say hi to me, or when I walk into one of my school classes and the girl sitting next to me takes the time to ask me how my weekend was, or when the random friend snapchats me to ask me how I’m doing because he hasn’t heard from me in a while. All of these things have made such an impact on my life and sometimes I don’t even notice it.

Kindness is real. You might not be able to change the world, but you have the power to change someones world with just one small act of kindness.

So there’s some food for thought for your day today. Take the a minute to consider the people in your life and your current relationship you have with them. Are you taking the time to listen to their stories? Are you talking the time to be kind to them? Because I promise you, it will make a world of difference.

My friends, don’t forget to be kind today.

-Whit

The answers that hurt

God’s timing. It’s always right isn’t it? But it hurts sometimes.

In my short twenty years of living I’ve come to learn this a few times.

I grew up a competitive power tumbler. It was my everything. I carried a little notebook to school with me and wrote my tumbling goals in it. When I was at the gym I was happy. And when my head would hit the pillow at the end of the day I’d dream of leotards and back flips.

Maybe you’ve heard this story if you know me very well. But as I was finishing my junior year I competed at the Power Tumbling Utah State Championships. I did the best I’d ever done and found myself with a silver medal and a score that qualified me for what would have been my fourth national championships.

I had it made. Or so I thought. But at the time I truly believed I was on my way to achieving the one thing that would make me happy.

Fortunately for me God knows what would really make me happy. And He knew that tumbling wasn’t it. Long story short I received one of the most distinct promptings that I needed to quit tumbling. Many questioned this decision because it didn’t really make much sense. And while I couldn’t see what would come from this decision I decided to act anyways. I did the hardest thing I had ever done. I quit tumbling.

Over three years later I look back on my life and see how much God has directed me to where I need to be. I see the blessings I received from following that one little prompting. But at the time I knew I just had to act in faith that everything would work out for my good. Even if it hurt.

But while I see the blessings from that experience, I still sometimes have a hard time believing that the trials I face now really will work out.

When I came home from my mission a couple months ago I met a boy. A cute boy I might add. I liked this boy a lot and we started dating. I felt like the protagonist in a Disney Channel Original movie. Again, I felt like I had it made. I felt like I was on my way to achieving the one thing that would make me happy.

But I guess I still had something to learn about God’s timing, and His plan because this cute boy recently told me he had been praying about our relationship and received an answer to his prayers. As he told me about the answer he had received my throat felt like it was choking as I fought the tears that were flooding to my eyes.

This answer hurt.

And doesn’t it often feel like this? Haven’t we all looked towards the heavens and questioned why things aren’t working out the way we want them to?

I went for a drive tonight as the sun was setting just to think.

I watched the sun set with beautiful pink colors as I talked to my Heavenly Father. I asked Him about His plan. I asked Him why things have worked out the way they have. I asked Him what I needed to learn from this.

A familiar song from my phone played through my speakers.
While I can’t say I know how things will turn out for me and the trials I face in my life, I can say that I have faith in God’s timing. I know that His plan is to make our lives beautiful. Sometimes God’s creative process includes a little heartbreak here and there. But I know it’s those strokes of heartbreak on the canvas of our lives that creates the contrast that allows us to see the beautiful and bright parts of our lives. Our lives just wouldn’t look quite as beautiful without them.

“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.”
-Mosiah 4:9

So now I’ll trust in that. I’ll trust that He knows what He’s doing with my life even if I can’t see the outcome yet. Because just as it says in Romans…


“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” 
-Romans 8:28

So to all my friends out there in similar situations… have faith. Trust that things will work together for your good as you trust Him. Because I know without a doubt that His plan is always and forever will be the best plan.

-Whit

Studio C Extra!

Raise your hand if you’re a fan of Studio C! Good. Now that you are raising your hand stupidly while staring at your little LCD screen I want to tell you about a super awesome experience I had.

Have you seen Studio C yet? It's hilarious! And completely family-friendly! Giving away a ROKU on the blog this week so your family can enjoy too! #StudioC #roku:
For those of you who aren’t raising your hand, Studio C is an awesome and hilarious family-friendly comedy show that plays on BYUtv every Monday at 10pm ET/8pm MT and is always available on YouTube. I highly recommend you all go watch some of their videos.  (Also read this blog post about the time I went to a fireside by Mallory Everton.)
The other day I had the crazy opportunity to be an extra on the set of a Studio C sketch! We filmed all night long in a dark creepy (probably haunted) abandoned warehouse in Provo. Filming began at 11:00 pm and I was on set until 6:00 am the next day and I must say that I have gained so much more respect for the filming process that takes place to make these clips. Talking to the cast members we learned that it can easily take 14 hours to make one 4 minute video and sometimes that means filming in the middle of the night. These guys are rock stars and pretty much the nicest people ever. Many of the cast members took time to talk to us and take pictures with us in between takes and it was so much fun to be able to get a little bit of the behind the scenes process. 
We were asked not to post pictures that we took while filming until after the skit airs, but here are a few pictures we got with a few of the cast members before filming started as well as a picture of the abandoned warehouse. 

Everybody watch Studio C season 6 which airs this Monday and watch out for my very average dance moves later on in the season!
Aside from occasionally hanging out on TV sets in the middle of the night, I’m quickly getting closer to Orlando! I report to the MTC in a whopping 17 days and I am definitely in crazy mode. There are so many thoughts and emotions going through my mind at a million miles an hour and it seems every other minute I feel different about leaving. Currently I’d say I’m excited to go, but not quite ready to leave.
Next week is my last week of coaching tumbling which I have been doing since I was a little thirteen year old and the kids I coach mean the world to me. I’m so grateful that I have been able to have this job for the last 6 years and leaving the gym is going to be one of the hardest parts about leaving. But that being said, I know it’s my time to accept my call to serve so I want my tumbling kids to know that I love them to pieces. Tumble hard for me okay?
My farewell is next Sunday on the 13th and I am very excited to see everyone! If you want information about that check out my previous blog post. 
So I will see you all soon! And in the mean time here are a few of my favorite Studio C sketches for you to watch. 

I love you all!

-Whit

Someone else’s trial

I walked into a room full of people from every walk of life. I was unknowing as to what kind of a meeting this would be I was surprised to notice that the chairs were laid out in a large circle all facing the center. My aunt with her young children running around in circles was seated a few seats to my right. My neighbor who had reticently set out on his mission on the other side of the globe was sitting across the room. As I sat there I noticed a lady who’s husband had died of cancer only a week before sitting next to her daughter who was now left fatherless. Seated next to me was the girl from my math class that did’t have anyone to eat lunch with and on the other side of her was the girl with bright curly hair who reticently stared in a movie. As I sat and observed the dynamics of the situation I watched as all the people I had met through my life as they began to file into the room. Each with their own unique trials and concerns.
But I didn’t notice those concerns on the outside. I began to think about how cool it would be if I could have that curly hair and star in a movie, I looked at the girl who ate lunch by herself and thought “well if she wanted friends to eat with she would come over and ask if she can sit with us.” I looked around each person in the circle and looked at how magnificent their lives were. I was jealous of the girl was sitting by her mom because she had the nicest car and the widow because she had a nice house. 
As I sat their noticing everything that these people had I began to want what each of them had. I wanted their cool houses and their nice shoes. I wanted to travel like they did and I wanted a job that paid better. I wanted to have their money and their home lives.
While sitting in my covetous state as each person settled into their seats a man stood up and welcomed us and thanked us all for coming. I, still not knowing what this meeting was for, assumed it would be like any other church meeting where we would sing a song, say a prayer, and then listen to a teacher for a few minutes before going home.
The man in charge said that we would be singing hymn number 241 Count Your Blessing and then we would have an opening prayer by sister Parkin. I opened up my hymn book and muttered through the versus and then closed my eyes for the prayer. Sister Parkin stood up and prayed that during this meeting we would all be able to pick new trials that would be easier for us. She also prayed that we might be able to have a good rest of our Sabbath day and that we might be able to drive home in safety when the time came. 
After she said amen the man that was conducting stood up again. He said that today we were all going to pick new trials. He asked us to take out ours and place them in the center of the circle. I was more excited than I had ever been. I thought for sure I had the hardest trials in the group and felt relieved that I would be able to get somebody elses. I quickly opened up my purse and pulled out my trials and tossed them in the center. After everybody had put theirs in the middle he said that one by one we would take turns picking new trials. As I waited for my turn I sat in anticipation about what new trials I would get. I watched as each person would get off their chairs and begin to dig through the large pile of trials and pick out the ones they wanted.
When it came to my turn I got off my cold metal chair and knelt on the hard blue carpet. I began to sort through the pile. While on my knees I read about a trial of having your husband die of cancer and how hard it would be. Because this is a more public trial I knew exactly who had thrown it in the circle. I decided I didn’t really want that one so I threw it back in the pile. I pulled one out that said that their family was in pieces and that they couldn’t remember the last time they did something as a family without someone getting into a fight. I for sure didn’t want that one so I threw it back. I read about the teenager who struggles with a pornography addiction but doesn’t want to tell anybody. I read about a trial of a first grader who got picked on at school for his lisp and a fourth grader that was reticently diagnosed with epilepsy. I read about the lady with lots of kids and not enough money to buy them Christmas presents and the sixth grader who had recently found out she was adopted. I read about the lady who desperately wanted another child but wasn’t able to have one. 
As I dug through this pile I began to think about how none of these trials fit me. I quickly found my original trials and stuffed them back in my pocket and sat down.
After all of the trials had been taken from the center the man conducting stood up and read a quote by Regina Brett that said;

“If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.


We all sat in shock as we realized that that was exactly what each of us had done. I stuck my hand in my purse and felt my trials between my fingers.
He went on saying that while on the outside we all think we want what everybody else has and that we must surely have the hardest trials when we begin to look at the bigger picture we realize that these trials we’ve been given were designed specifically for us so that we might be able to become stronger and have joy.
I raised my hand and asked “how in the world do trials bring us joy?”
He smiled as he opened up his scriptures to 2 Nephi 2:25 which reads “Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy.” 
He then pointed out that under the footnote for the word “joy” it said that joy is the potential to become like our Heavenly Father.
It was then I realized that joy is not found in a big house or in becoming a famous YouTuber. It was then that I realized joy meant becoming like our Father in Heaven. 
Then another man walked into the room. He was wearing red and had a beard and He looked at each of us with kind eyes. The man conducting the meeting introduced him to us as our brother. Our brother went around the room and collected each of our trials from us and told us that he would go through each of them before we had to. 
He did this so that we might be able to have somebody to ask when we have questions about our trials, so that we might be able to have a shoulder to cry on when it feels like it’s too hard to move on, or a hand to squeeze when the pain gets too bad. He told us that he would carry us every step of the way and that he would always be with us silently waiting for us to ask him for help. He then promised that if we endured our trials well that we would be exalted on high. 
I realized that to be exalted on high meant that we would become like our Heavenly Father and we would return to meet with Him in heaven. I realized that this was the ultimate joy that everybody was speaking of. I discovered that we needed these trials to become perfected and that while this man they said was my brother couldn’t take them away, he would help me.
He then told us that his name was Jesus Christ. I remembered learning about Him in my primary class. He showed us his scars from where they nailed him to the cross so that we might all be able to live again. He also told us about how he suffered for each of our sins so that we could be made clean and how we can be cleaned by that atonement through repenting and being baptized.
At the close of the meeting after Brother Wall said the closing prayer the Savior hugged each of us and told us that He loved us.

An image of Christ comforting a woman, with a text overlay quoting Elder D. Todd Christofferson: “The Savior makes all things right.”
When I left that room I knew that even though on the outside we all feel like others have better circumstances, that each of us were given trials that would make us strong. I also knew that the Savior was indeed our brother and that he loves us each so much that he was willing to suffer for all of our trials and afflictions so that we might be made whole. I also know that He died for us so that each of us would be able to live again.

Portrait of Christ smiling
Our Savior loves us. He is our brother and He wants us to return with Him to live with our Father in Heaven and that He will do anything to help us get back. While the story of throwing our trials in a circle was just a story, I know that the fact that we have a brother that did these things for us is with out a doubt true. I know this because I felt it. I learned this through reading the Book of Mormon and praying for my own testimony of these things. I know He is there and that He loves us more than we will ever comprehend. My testimony of Jesus Christ has brought me more joy and happiness than I have ever felt from anything else in my life. This is why I write this blog, It’s why I have chosen to serve a mission in Orlando Florida in 38 days, because I want everybody to hear about how great their brother is and how much they are loved. I hope that I can follow in His footsteps and be his disciple. I hope that you come unto Him.
feel my sunlight
p.s. I went through the temple on August 1st! It was amazing and I loved every second of it! It is defiantly the Lord’s house and his spirit dwells there.
p.s.s. Shout out to all my friends starting college next week! I love you all to pieces and will miss you bunches. Goodbyes are hard, but it will all be worth it in the end. The best is yet to come.

The Book of Mormon Projects

This rain. I love it.

It’s past midnight and I’ve been sitting here emailing all my favorite missionaries. It’s been fun watching all my friends ship off all over the world to join the ranks in God’s sin-kicking army, but it’s hard watching my favorites leave. I’ve got 76 days until I get to join them. Heaven help me.

The past few years I’ve been working on a few “Book of Mormon Projects.” These projects have just been fun ways that I’ve been able to dive deeper into the scriptures and gain more understanding and a stronger testimony of their truthfulness, while always keeping things exciting and fresh. I’ve learned that for me just reading isn’t enough; I need to invest in it. So here are a few things that have made scripture study an adventure.

1. Page Titles

This one was something I found on Pinterest. It was originally posted over at Confessions of a Slacker Mom and I found it on a blog called The Red Headed Hostes.
It is a PDF file that has a compiled list of titles for every page in The Book of Mormon. As one of my young womens projects I wrote every single title at the top of each page. It is SO incredibly helpful when reading scriptures because it is so easy to find the context of each page. It’s also great when you’re sitting in Sunday School and the teacher asks you to read a verse and tell what you think about it and you recount the story is behind the verse because you have cheats on the top of each page. You will end up looking really smart and well studied which is mighty fun I must say. I love them so much!

2. Character Flow Chart

This is a project I did last time I read The Book of Mormon. Since The Book of Mormon is a bunch of records that were handed down from generation to generation I decided to make a flow chart of all the people and how the book got passed around. It started in one of my sketch journals (aha!) and eventually came up with this. This flow chart is in hopes of making the “so-and-so begat so-and-so” chapters a little more comprehensible.

3. Sketchbook Journals

For the last few years I have been obsessed with scripture journals and note-taking at things like firesides and when I’m in Sacrament meeting or other church meetings. Reticently I’ve decided to switch over from regular journals to sketchbooks. They aren’t any more expensive and I just get mine from Walmart. I love using sketchbooks because they allow me to turn my notes into art. I am known for my sketchbook notes by everybody that I know. They are the best for personal study, listening to General Conference, Church classes, and Sacrament meetings. It is also a sneaky way to make yourself stay awake and pay attention in church, you know, because coloring books aren’t appropriate when you’re an adult. 
Here are a few pages from my sketchbooks.

4. Clean Reading

This was an idea I got from my favorite blogger Al Fox Carraway. When she reads The Book of Mormon she always starts with a brand new book that hasn’t been marked. I’ve been using the same scriptures since I was eight and let’s just say I got a little highlighter happy when I was a beehive. This time around I decided to give Al’s method a try. 
I got a brand new cheap copy of The Book of Mormon and started reading. I found that with a clean copy I was more open to see how things apply to my life in this very moment, instead of focusing on what I thought about the versus when I was 12. Right now all of my markings have to do with missions and how to be a good missionary. I love it so much!
(from Al’s blog because she’s the bomb digity and I want to be her when I grow up.
I tried taking pictures of some of my pages but it’s 1am and my lamp lighting just isn’t cutting it.)

These projects have been a blast and a half and have made my scripture study a thousand times more meaningful. I’d love to hear some of your study methods so please comment!
I’m obsessed with The Book of Mormon and I know that it is true without a doubt in my heart. I have a testimony of the teachings written in it. I know that it is indeed another testament of Jesus Christ and I have felt the peace that it can bring to ones life. It is the whole reason I am planning on serving a mission; because I want everyone to have this same joy that comes from this book in their own lives. I also have a testimony that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that he really did translate The Book of Mormon. I love this book and I love this gospel. 
My friend Briana gave me the cutest ceramic pineapple this week with the words “life is good” written on the inside because it reminded her of me. I think this just about sums up how I feel about The Book of Mormon.
Life is good.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
feel my sunlight
p.s. If you don’t already have a copy, you can request a FREE one HERE

#knowHElives

Portrait of Christ smiling

ahhh I can taste spring in the air. It’s wonderful.

I mean… It’s spring break and both Easter and Conference are next week. I don’t think life could get any sweeter.

I started working on mission papers and it feels fabulous! I had an interview with my bishop last Sunday and I am so excited about this new gospel adventure that I am about to embark on. (see what I did there?!) I also need to say thanks to my incredible young womens leaders who dropped off a cute “congrats on starting your papers” present earlier this week. It made my day. I have the very best leaders. I love you guys! 
One countdown finished and onto the next one! 55 days until I can submit my papers!
This month my school’s seminary council extended a challenge that everyone spread their testimonies about Christ by posting pictures, quotes, and testimonies on social media with the hashtag

#knowHElives
You should all go look up that hashtag on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. It is all kinds of awesome!

And to wrap up this fantastic challenge we asked students (and teachers) to finish the sentence

“Because I know HE lives….”

This was what they said…
As you might have noticed I have a picture in there that said that I would “share my testimony on my blog” so here it is.

I have a testimony of Jesus Christ. I know He once walked the earth with the saints and he taught the truest doctrine of love. I know that He Atoned for all of my sins, and that He also Atoned for all of my pains and afflictions. I know that He died so that we might all be able to return to live with Him and our Father in Heaven again. I also believe that if I had been the only person that needed this pure act of love that He would still have done it because He loves me that much. I also know that He would have done the same for each of you. I know he was resurrected and that because of Him death has no sting. I know that He loves me so much more than I can even comprehend and that He wants what’s very best for me. I know that He will direct my path as long as I’m willing to follow Him. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is in fact, HIS church and that He is the head of it which is why it is the only church with His complete gospel on the earth today. I know that He lives. Because I know that He lives I will prepare to dedicate 18 months of my life to His service by serving a mission. I will also dedicate every second after that to loving Him and building his kingdom. I will do this by not being afraid to share my testimony, by loving everyone around me, and by letting His light shine through me (hence the blog name….”feel my sunlight.”) I promise to do my very best, and because I know that alone I will never be enough, I also promise to rely on Him everyday. Because He is almighty, and all-knowing. He is ever loving and everlasting. He is Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father. He is my Savior, And He is my Redeemer.

And I love Him.

What parts of your are changed…
#BecauseHeLives?

What are you going to do…
#BecauseOfHim?

How are you going to help others…
#KnowHelives?


In addition to my testimony I also thought I’d add a “what I’m listening to right now” section because I know that you guys like them. I’ve been on a Christian music kick lately. {I’ve had my radio set to play K love for over a month.} So here is the music that have been playing through my headphones lately…

feel my sunlight
p.s. Who’s excited for #LDSconf tomorrow and next week?!? I AM!

p.s.s. Shout out to all my seniors out there… ONLY ONE MORE TERM OF HIGH SCHOOL!

p.s.s.s. Sorry this is such a long post, but I just have to share this picture I found on Pinterest… It’s the single cutest thing I have ever seen.

I am a child of God