Here’s to the #LastWeekOfSummer

School starts on Monday.

Please enjoy this lovely picture of me, taken by my friend Hannah, that accurately displays my feelings about the above statement.

School approached me way too fast. It was like I was so caught up in very exciting things of summer and was then startled with the harsh reality that those very exciting things get scared away when the mean and ugly back to school sneaks up behind you. I guess I’m coping. 
But on a happier note, this summer has been nothing but non-stop fun! And this week has been A-MAZ-ING.
My week started off in St. George, Utah with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Monday. Please enjoy this video of the lovely Amanda dumping a pot of ice water on my head.

And to follow that my week brought two different trips to the movie theater. Once to see The Giver, which was incredible and I highly recommend it, and If I Stay, which was good, but consisted of too many swear words and sketchy scenes for my liking. If you are choosing between the two then I’d say go with The Giver. It will save you the effort of having to cover your little sisters eyes.

Thursday brought the opportunity to go see the ever fantastic Thompson Square with my best friend Hannah thanks to my awesome grandparents who got us free tickets. Thanks again grandma and grandpa for the tickets!!! Thompson Square was so good and so much fun!

Yesterday I got to see one of my favorite team mates for the first time since he’s been home from his mission in Rome. Teriyaki, Sterfry and I (WhiteRice) went to the Ogden temple open house and then to IHOP and then finished off our day with a trip to get Teri’s car window chip fixed. Because that’s what normal people do when they hang out right?!?! It was so much fun to see Sterling and we are so happy to have him back in the country!

Today brought an exciting tumbling camp complete with potato sack races and cookies the size of my face. And this afternoon I had a wonderful time riding horses with Raegan and Rachel, as well as taking photographs of Rachel and her beautiful horses for her horse riding lessons. To see more about Rachel’s riding lessons check out her Facebook page HERE! Thanks so much for inviting us to come play Rachel!!

Aaaaand…. the funniest part of the day was when I ripped my pants getting off the horse. Life is awesome!

So I’d say it was a pretty successful summer. Bring on Sr. Year.

feel my sunlight

p.s. My inner cowgirl is in bliss right now. Also, I finished the first 7 seasons of Heartland (Yes, I do realize you can only get 1-5 in the U.S. Don’t ask me how I’ve seen 6 & 7. It’s a secret) and I can’t wait for season 8 to come out this fall!!! I’m so excited I can’t even stand it!

Guest Post by Shelby from This Little Light of Mine

Hello my lovelies!

I just had the realization that school starts in exactly two weeks from today. That means my last summer before I become an adult ends in two weeks. I don’t know how I feel about this…

Today I have something special for you! The amazing Shelby from This Little Light of Mine  is guest posting for me today! I did a post for her a few weeks back so she was nice enough to do one for me. She is amazing and I can’t wait for you to get to know her! So here you have it… The incredible Shelby!

————————————————————————————————————-
Hi Guys!

My name is Shelby and I am so excited to be guest posting on Whitney’s blog!! A few weeks back she did an amazing job over on my blog- you should really go read it!
Hmmmmm….the dreaded introduction. I never know what to say. When asked to talk about myself I forget everything and say something dumb. Maybe when I write it will be different.
My name is Shelby (whoops already said that) I’m Mormon. I love being a member of this great gospel! It brings me SO much joy.  I love photography, blogging (duh), and graphic design.
A few other random facts about me:
  1. I have been to 4 different countries (lived in 2)
  2. I love music (I play the flute and guitar)
  3. I live in the south. No I do not have a huge southern hillbilly accent. Yes I do say y’all.
But enough about me……..
Today I want to talk about YOU…. Yes you.
You are beautiful.
You are special.
You are never alone.
You’re worth more than gold. (extra credit points if you get the song reference)
You can change the world!
Here are 2 song references because I’m awesome like that.




     
Except here’s the tricky part- the world is going to tell you you’re worthless.
Satan knows your amazing potential. He knows you can change the world for the better. And Satan hates when things are made better
So he is going to do everything in his power to stop you.
I love this flash mob so much (please watch and listen to the lyrics)
And we are as the Army of Helaman we have been taught in our youth.

For those of you who don’t know the story of the army of Helaman here’s a quick recap. The people were being attacked, but they had covenanted with their Father in Heaven that they would never kill others again. The Lamanites were really tearing up the Nephites, but the Nephites were determined to keep their covenant. Their young men were valiant and courageous and had great amounts of faith. They soon realized  that only their parents had made the covenant. So they decided to fight to defend their parents. Imagine a group of thousands of young men walking out to defend their faith with unfailing courage and the spirit of The Lord surrounding them. The miracle of it was that none were killed- a few were injured- but none died. One of my very favorite scriptures from this story is:
45 And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.
 46 For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.(Alma 56)
So why did I just tell you this whole story?
Because we are as the Army of Helaman.
We have to go forward with faith. Never fearing, trusting that the Lord will protect us and always be by our side.
We have to share the gospel with all our hearts. Knowing if it’s true. If you don’t know for sure, that’s ok.
Pray about it. Read the Book of Mormon. Trust in the Lord with all thy might mind and strength.
And he will make it known unto you. I promise. It may take time, but through hard work you will come to know the truth.
“I know this work is God’s very truth, and I know that only at our peril would we allow doubt or devils to sway us from its path. Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe.” (Lord, I Believe by Jeffery R Holland- look it up on lds.org to read the full talk)
So back to my original topic.
You’re beautiful.
You’re gorgeous.
You shine like the sun.
But most importantly…
You are a witness of Christ.
Most of us grew up singing the classic childhood song:
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottheffernan/5349351385/

The words still ring true, whatever age you are:
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam to shine for him each day!
Another personal favorite:
Source: http://crazy3rdward.blogspot.com/2012/12/mandys-mission.html

Called to serve him Heavenly King of Glory
Chosen e’er  to witness for his name.
Far and wide we tell the Father’s story far and wide his love proclaim!
Onward, ever onward as we glory in his name! (x2)
Forward, pressing forward as a triumph song we sing!
God our strength will be, press forward ever called to serve our king!
So, never forget to shine. No matter what the world says. No matter what Satan tries to make you think. I know you’re beautiful, Heavenly Father knows you’re beautiful. You know you’re beautiful. Our God is with us and he will not suffer that we should fall.  So shine on sister (or brother, whatever works)

Have a wonderful amazing day!
-Shelby
PS: I saw this quote the other day and it really struck me. It really emphasizes how important it is to truly let our light shine and not hide it under a bushel!

New York and a sweet reunion

Todays post has three pieces and they all happen to relate to the State of New York. How that happened, I don’t know, but I think it’s kinda fun.

NY #1
Remember when I said I had a big decision to make regarding this summer? (aka the P.S.S. of THiS POST.) Well, I made a decision, and I made it official. I am officially registered to attend EFY in Palmyra New York this summer!!! I am SO excited about this and it feels so right. This does; however, mean I probably won’t be able to compete at the US Power Tumbling National Championships this year in Louisville, KY due to the fact that bank accounts aren’t bottomless. I am super bummed about this, but I have prayed about this and NY is where the Lord wants me to be. I can’t wait for this adventure!

NY #2
The second piece of this blog post is simply a link to something awesome. I don’t know about you but I get sick of listening to stuff that is on the radio at times and I just need something else to fill the sound waves in the air around me. CLICK HERE to listen to some awesome recorded blog posts by the incredible Al Caraway {aka Al Fox}! I have been listening to them today and they are probably my favorite thing. How is this related to New York you ask? Al lived in New York before she moved to Utah. It’s a big part of her awesome story. Go check it out!

NY #3
Number 3 is the main bulk of what I wanted this post to be about and it is related to New York due to the fact that my current scripture/seminary journal looks like this…

This thought originated from my seminary teacher but I thought it was so powerful that it needed to be shared.
This comes from Alma 17
This is the part in the book of Mormon where Alma is reunited with the sons of Mosiah.
It had been 14 years since he had last seen these friends (Alma 17:4). And these sons of Mosiah had not only been his friends, but they had shared a conversion story. They were there when Alma was first visited by an angel.
Now, Alma hadn’t seen them for 14 years. And not had he not seen them, he hadn’t heard any word from them. After 14 years of no word it could have easily been thought that they had perished in the land and that they would never return. Imagine how sweet this reunion would have been.
Alma 17:2 says “Therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still is brethren in the Lord.”
Think of the longest time you have been away from someone you love. How sweet was the moment when you were finally reunited?
Now, imagine what the reunion will the reunion be like when we go back to our heavenly home? What will it be like to go to heaven and see those you haven’t seen in years, to see those who you thought wouldn’t make it.
How will it be to see your Heavenly Father again?
I ask you, is this not motivation to live your life in such a way that this sweet reunion will be made possible in your life?
Have hope in this reunion.
Feel my sunlight
p.s. Seminary is a very good thing. Go to seminary.
p.s.s. Here is an awesome Mormon Message about being Strengthened in the Lord. Can you guess were the youth are from in this video? That’s right! New York!!!

blogtember day 2 (because starting with 1 is overrated.)

One word. Redundant. That’s what I feel about my day today.

So remember that whole Blogtember thing I was supposed to start yesterday? Ya I promise I didn’t forget about it. I simply had this fantastic idea that since the prompt was “where are you from” I would upload all these photos of me from my childhood. I spent a long long time going through old pictures, even longer trying to take good pictures of them (with my iPod, so you can all imagine how great they turned out, and even longer trying to figure out how to get them all from my iPod to my blog. (My blog app wouldn’t let me upload that many, and apparantly you can’t copy and paste from the “synched with phone” feature on facebook.) I tried and tried and eventually got so frustrated I turned off the computer and went to bed, therefor, no blog post.

But the rules did say there are no rules, so I am now making up the rule that I get to miss the first day. (Atleast it’s not something too important like the first day of school right?) So here is day 2.

Wednesday, September 4: If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do?

If I could take three months off from my current life (I am going to add here that money is limitless in this situation, and also that it is summer. Because EFY happens in the summer.) I would probably spend a portion of it attending sessions of EFY and the other portion of it in other countries volunteering at orphanages around the world. That’s about it.

 Now, because this isn’t actually true, I now have to go get ready for work. I promise to give you a better post tomorrow. I feel like this one is slacking a little, but I’m out of time. I love you all! Go read your scriptures!

Feel my Sunlight

p.s. I really enjoy sign language. #ASLlife
 

Sunday Thoughts

I love Sundays.

Today I got to go to a farewell of a friend I met at EFY and I just want her to know England is so lucky to have her. You will be a fantastic missionary Kayli! Love you lots!!

After Kayli’s farewell I hurried over to my own ward where a return sister missionary spoke. I think the theme of the day was sister missionaries and it just got me to thinking about my mission.

I am planning on serving a mission when I turn 19 in a few years. I am so excited for this part of my life, and I am reminded that while I’m still two years away, preparation must begin now.

For me missionary prep extends beyond reading my scriptures and going to church every Sunday. It extends to attending the temple regularly, to participating in and seeking out spiritual experiences, to sharing my testimony with those around me through words as well as actions. It extends to studying the gospel and coming to know of its realness for myself. I believe a great sister missionary is one that lives and follows the young women’s theme…

We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:

Faith • Divine Nature • Individual Worth • Knowledge • Choice and Accountability • Good Works • Integrity • and Virtue

 We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.

In the Young Women’s theme I love the part where it says to “stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” Because It shows that we don’t have to wear a name tag to be a missionary. We can be a missionary everywhere we stand and we must always be a representative of the followers of Christ.

I am reminded of an experience I had a few years ago while I was in San Antonio, Texas with my team for the US Power Tumbling National Championships. Some families from my team had decided to go to church Sunday morning since we didn’t have to be at the arena until later in the day.

We got to the church a few minutes early to find that the doors were locked. We sat there until church was supposed to start when finally a man walked up and unlocked the door. I believe it was the bishop of the ward.

Our group after Church that Sunday in Texas

We were the only ones there at first and we were the only ones there until a few minutes after the meeting was supposed to start when a few people started walking into the chapel. Our little group just about doubled the size of the ward.

While we sat there we noticed a young man with a walker sitting up with a few other young men preparing to pass the sacrament. We watched him, with the assistance of another young man, help pass the sacrament to that ward. After the sacrament we watched him push his walker up to the stand. He was the first speaker.

I don’t remember what was said, but I do remember the spirit felt in that little ward that day. This young man was a true follower of Christ. He did his duties and he did them to the best of his abilities. And there was no question as to weather or not he had a missionary name tag written on his heart.

I think that this is a fantastic example of someone who “Stands as a witness of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.”

Another thing with standing as a witness of God is always heeding to the promptings of the Spirit.

President Thomas S. Monson said,
“the Lord’s purposes are often accomplished as we pay heed to the guidance of the spirit. I believe that the more we act upon the inspiration and impressions which come to us the more the Lord will entrust us to his errands.”

I believe that as we heed to the promptings of the spirit, and we strive to live with our missionary nametags written on our hearts, we will be better prepared to serve when the time comes. I love this church and I love all the joy it brings me in my life. I hope all of my readers can find this same joy in their lives. I write this things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Feel my Sunlight

p.s. It’s been decided. We are skipping the whole go-back-to-school-thing and we are going back to EFY instead.

do his work

 My heart is full. I think that’s how I always feel when starting blog posts. Today it is more than true.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to a tumbling camp with Teri. While there, I got to catch up with some people that I had been missing dearly. Shawn, B, and Ashlie all used to be part of the Flipside team, but the Lord called them to other places. They have always been there for me and I love them all a whole lot. It was so much fun to be able to spend the day with them.

Camp was good for the most part. I hit a skill I haven’t been able to connect in over a year on trampoline (tuck barani back tuck) and I also did double fronts (front flip with two flips) off double mini onto a large crash mat for the first time in EVER. That was great fun. I didn’t accomplish the things I wanted to on floor because not long into the second session my back started to hurt and I had to stop. Have no fear, it’s nothing serious, today it’s just super tight muscles and a need for ice and stretching. The usual.

After camp and swimming and dinner we (Me, Teri, and B) headed to the Logan temple to do baptisms for the dead. The temple is so great and I have such a deep love for the temple and the peace I have received in attending the temple. 

Salt Lake LDS Temple
I mean, isn’t it the most gorgeous place you have ever seen? picture via Pinterest.

I was flipping through my journal. (Because I have an obsession with my scripture journals) And I noticed something I wrote on August 7th…

“God often does his work through other people. Make sure he can count on you to get it done.”
At the time I had been writing about doing service for those around us in this life, but looking back on it I can see that by going to do baptisms for the dead we are also doing service for those who have passed on to the next life. Baptisms for the dead can only be done on this earth and the Lord needs us to do that work so that all his children might be able to have the opportunity to live with him again. This gives me even more motivation to attend the temple and to make sure he can count on me to do his work and to get it done.
Again, my heat is full. It is full with gratitude towards my cute little brother who made me eggs this morning. It is filled with love towards those around me who have been so great to me these last few years. It is filled with joy from knowing that I have taken part in helping God get his work done. It is filled with a love for my sport and gratitude that I have been given so many wonderful opportunities to go new places, and to meet such great people through tumbling. My heart is full of prayer for our friend Kalon that he might recover. It is full from knowing that I am loved. My heart is full.
And now, on an unrelated note, yet sorta related since I have been talking about temples, and marriages happen temples, here is a picture that my aunt Stefani just posted from her wedding 8 years ago that I just adore.
My sister Miki in her blessing dress, me in my baptism dress, and my Aunt Stefani in her wedding dress. Aren’t we cute?

And before I sign off I just wanted to share with you this video about sister missionaries that I watched this morning. I myself am planning on serving a mission when I’m 19 and videos like this make me even more excited to do this work.

 

Life is so great.

Feel my Sunlight

p.s. We rearranged our front room and I can now look out the window while I blog. I kinda love it.