Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christ and Christmas :)

I love Christmas! I love everything about it - the lights, the music, the smell, the food and all the excitement on Christmas morning. I think most of all, however, I love that it reminds us again of our Savior, Jesus Christ and as we celebrate his birth it helps us to remember the many things that he has done for us.

We watched the video called Mr. Krueger's Christmas today (with Jimmy Stewart from It's a Wonderful Life - I love him!) and this is my favorite scene.

I love it. It depicts the love that our Savior has for us. It shows just how much he loves us and stands by us ALWAYS, not just when we need him most. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I am forever grateful to him for well... everything.

A poem by Leona B. Gates entitled "In His Steps" that describes this:

"The road is rough," I said.
"Dear Lord, there are stones that hurt me so."
And he said, "Dear child, I understand,
I walked it long ago."

"But there is a cool green path," I said.
"Let me walk there for a time."
"No child," he gently answered me,
"The green road does not climb."

"My burden," I said, "is far too great,
How can I bear it so?"
"My child," said he, "I remember its weight,
I carried my cross, you know."

"But," I said, "I wish there were friends with me
Who would make my way their own."
"Ah, yes," he said, "Gethsemane
Was hard to face alone."

And so I climbed the stony path,
Content at last to know
That where my Master had not gone,
I would not need to go.

And strangely then I found new friends,
The burden grew less sore,
As I remembered long ago,
That he had walked that way before.

I sometimes feel like the person in this poem. Sometimes life is too hard or too stressful or too uphill and I just want all of my problems to be solved right now, but I love the Savior's reply in this poem. It shows that the trials we face in life have a rhyme and a reason to them, that they will somehow all work together and be for our good and that we will not have to go where Christ has not gone. He will always be there for us and understand our trials and afflictions because he has been there before. He has been to Gethsemane. He lives and He loves us tremendously, so much so that he chose to suffer for us and die for our sins so that we can have hope in this life and so that we can live with Him and our Father in Heaven again. He has done so much for us!
I love this picture! This statue serves as a two way reminder. First of all, I love how Christ's arms are spread out as if He is still on the cross. To me this indicates the price that he paid for us so that we can live with Him again. His outstretched arms are also welcoming. They invite all to come unto Christ, to "believe in Him, believe that He is." The two of these combined show the love Christ has for us and make me realize just how much I want to live with Him again. Sure it will be hard, to take 'the road that climbs', but who said it wouldn't be worth it? As we keep His commandments and accept the gift that Christ has given us - the atonement - and as we repent of our sins and come unto Christ, we can live with Him again, for "neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

I am grateful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:
I love Him and I am forever grateful that he loved us enough to die for us for "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) I am also grateful for the opportunity that I will have to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicating my life in service for a year and a half to be able to bring this message of our Savior and Redeemer to those who are seeking for the truth, for it is true. I can't think of a better way to spend the next year and a half, starting March 28th. :)

Something that you might enjoy - One of my favorite things to watch on Christmas (or any time of year) are these videos that just came out with stories of Christ's life. They do a good job of depicting His life and the events preceding it. See them here

Saturday, December 17, 2011

and this one time, I turned twenty-one....

Well... I turned twenty-one yesterday! Exciting.

So earlier this year I decided to start doing this 21 new experiences before I turned 21. Well. I only got about halfway through, so instead I decided to use experiences from my entire life and maybe a few from that list.... in no particular order..

1. I was born! A pretty big step, don't you think?
2. I went bungee jumping! Destiny and I did this for our sixteenth birthdays. My dad did it with us! (My mom was not too happy about that!)
3. I got accepted to BYU! and went there for a couple years. I love that place!
4. I was a bridesmaid in one of my best friends weddings :) love you Annette!
5. Went on a road trip in white out conditions, literally. The most you could see in front were the headlights of the car we were following. scary!
6. I went snowboarding! David and I went up in Idaho last semester and it was soo much fun! My favorite part of this trip was when we went on the main slope at the very end of the day. By that time it had already started snowing, so we really couldn't see anything. If you got close enough, you could make out a tree or a sign for a black diamond course, which we definitely did steer clear of. Well it was a pretty steep mountain and at one point, we both fell and just slid on our bums halfway down it. It was so much fun! :)
7. I lived through at least three 'apocalypses'.
8. I survived swimming.
9. I graduated high school. Woo.
10. I ran a half marathon! Lisa and I ran the Provo Halloween Half last year. It was GREAT! We trained half the summer up until the race. It was hard work, but totally worth it! The best part of the race - Lisa and I were talking about how awesome it was that we were finally doing one of our life goals and this guy comes running up beside us and congratulates us and it wasn't until he passes us that we notice that he only had one leg! I wish I could go back and congratulate him!
11. Got a speeding ticket :/
12. I joined the Phage Hunters program freshman year in college and was able to isolate a bacteriophage. The next year I was able to become a TA for this program and travel to Washington D.C./ Virginia for training. It was pretty sweet.
13. Went fishing. Didn't catch anything though :/
14. I went from January 1st this year until today without eating desserts. Now how you classify desserts is the only question...... :)
15. SKYDIVING! Well... I haven't actually been yet, but I will in about a week or so.
16. Learned to ride a bike. and then a car.
17. I got a passport! I got this for a trip that I never went on, but the best part about it is that I have the ability to go :)
18. I got my ears pierced :) I say this because it is rather recent - I went with Annette and Evan winter semester.
19. I went on a road trip! (without my family) Annette and I rode to Saint George for a weekend to visit her grandparents and to get away from the Provo cold. I am absolutely in love with that city.
20. I got hit by a car. It was hilarious! :)
21. I decided to become a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was called to serve in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil and will hopefully be flying out on March 27th! 101 more days! As a missionary I will be able to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I can't wait to go!

Thursday, November 24, 2011



So. I have thought about creating a blog for some time now, but never really got around to it, but here goes:

First of all, if you're reading this, you probably already know who I am... but just a refresher for you in case you've forgotten:

My name is Mary Ann and I live in the great state of Texas.

I love country music and big green tractors. My favorite thing in life is to experience new things. Thunderstorms are the greatest thing since peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My talents consist of doing a leprechaun jump and unwrapping a starburst in my mouth. I love running (sometimes) and have ran a half marathon and will hopefully stop being lazy and run some more. I am in college. My favorite color is red. The types of dances I want to learn are the waltz, country dancing, how to gangsta dance, and bollywood dancing. I have a nine siblings and I love them to death. Ben Franklin is the love of my life. Seriously. I really want to do an internship in Africa and go on a study abroad to Jerusalem. I also want to go to China and do an art history tour in Europe. Moral of the story is, I just want to travel. And help people. You know, all of the above.

And most importantly, I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I just received my mission call to serve in the Brazil, Rio de Janeiro Mission!!!!! I will be serving in the Portuguese language and report to the Brazil MTC March 28th. I am really excited to be able to serve the Lord for a year and a half! If only March would come sooner!!

Well. Since it is Thanksgiving, I am grateful for:

1. not having to work today... AT ALL! That is exciting.
2. MY FAMILY! I love them so much.

3. Brazil! I can't wait to go!

4. My Church! I am so thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ and for his gospel. It is true! and it has helped me so much in my life!
See Here.
5. The Temple! I'll be a princess and this: will be my castle.
6.CHRISTMAS!!!!! I love Christmas and everything about it! I love the lights, the music, the feeling of Christmas. What is there not to love? And yes, I did start listening to Christmas music in October. but hey, when the weather feels like Christmas, so do I. :) I love Christmas! I love the lights and all the people who put them up before Thanksgiving. I love Christmas morning and waking up before everyone else and just sitting there and looking at the Christmas tree. For some reason, that it is probably my favorite part about Christmas. Oh. and if you ever get the chance, go see the lights on temple square during Christmas time - like in the temple picture above. They are absolutely beautiful! Christmas is just magical. :)

7. Country Singers!

8. The beautiful weather we have been having :)
9. BYU! I miss going to school there :/
10. YOU!