Saturday, March 31, 2012

Journal Entry 10: Black Ice

I truly feel that I have been protected by God throughout my life. Some close calls are more evident than others, but here is one time that I was very grateful for God's hand keeping my family and I safe...

"Dear Journal,
Today is December 10, 2005. Today I went to my friend, Savannah's birthday party, but since today is saturday- that means tomorrow is Sunday so I couldn't sleep over. So my mom & Daniel came to pick me up at 11pm. Daniel was driving and, being winter, there was black ice on the roads. We began to slip and turn, Daniel corrected it but we slipped again and although Daniel slowed the card down, we ended up going backwards in the ditch. I've never seen my brother like that, he flipped out- no he didn't get mad, he was startled and even cried a little. He's never been in an accident (when he was driving) before. He was okay after a second though. Nobody was hurt, not even a scratch. I think we're very blessed. Even though nobody was hurt and we didn't really need help (other than my mom called AAA to tow us out), we had another blessing. The farmers down the road came to check on us, because they had seen us. The only reason they even saw us spinning was because their lights happened to flicker, so they looked up and saw what was happening out their window. Well we're all safe, my Dad came and picked me up and brought me home (we were only a couple miles from home). My mom and Daniel are still down there with the car. They're waited to get it towed up. 2 police cars are there too (the farmers called just in case, when they were walking out). Mom and Daniel should be home soon. The car may be really muddy, a little scratched and bumped, but I think it'll actually be okay- we're all safe, it's all good. I think we were in God's hands tonight. Better get ready for bed, church in the morning.
Luv ya/Michelle"
 I am not afraid of death, because I know that I am in God's hands in all things. I am grateful for the safety that my family has been constantly blessed with thus far though.

Love Always,

Friday, March 30, 2012

Journal Entry 9: The Calm In the Storm

My first EFY. It was a big deal. So much so that it takes up 12 pages in my journal- plane ticket to Utah included. 12 pages is a bit too lengthy, so I'm not going to type up the whole thing, but I'll try to make sure I hit on the moments that influenced my testimony the most:

"Dear Journal,
A lot has happened in the past weeks. Both Good & Bad (mostly good). A lot of it has helped change my is August 7 (Sunday) 2005. I'm going to go out of order because I don't want to forget certain parts. I'll start with EFY. It started on Monday (Aug 1). I went with Darci S, Ashley F, Baylee D and Chanel W. Before I forget- the theme was "A more excellent way" and I went to the area program at Weaber State University in Ogden, Utah....The speakers were...really good. They taught me a lot of what I truely did need to know. They were really fun and funny. They really helped me open my eyes to sometihngs I really needed to hear. It really did help me to learn and grow a stronger testimony... well the most unique thing that happened was on tuesday after the dance. We were reading our scriptures after our counselor devotionals. We noticed how beautiful the clouds were. They were red and green and orange and all sorts of colors. Then it slowly began to rain so we started to head over to closing ceremony. By the time we got there it was raining really hard. As we all ran under cover we got word of a tornado warning. (we found out later that the tornado hit down on antalope island and went through the salt lake). Once we got the news, they sent us to the basement. At first it was all comotion, but later that was replaced by hyms. Hyms like 'There is sunshine in my soul today' and 'I am a child of God'. Finally we got word that we could leave...We ran down the stairs, which truely were waterfalls....and although as we drove, the car would slip and be pushed by the river of water I don't think any of us were scared. Everytime it lightninged, the sky would turn bright purple, but how could we be scared? The spirit down in the basement was so strong. And yes, we did make it home safetly. And all was well. In fact, the next day the water was gone and it was a beautiful, very clear day. It was amazing"

I wish I had a video of that experience, but it's a pretty vivid memory for me. It was crazy how fast the weather changed and also amazing how not scary it was.
That wasn't the only amazing spiritual moment at EFY though...
"Well anyway- we had 'Spiritual Day' (Thursday). It was an amazing day. While we were all together in the chapel, we sang the Young Women and Young men medley. It's the song that has the verse 'We are as the army of Heleman: We have been taught in our youth. And we will be the Lord's missionaries to bring the world his truth!' It was amazing! I was literally shaking with the spirit. I never wanted that moment to end. But when it did, we split up into our companies for Testimony meeting. Wow it was amazing. Even I finally got myself to go up in front of them to bare my testimony...Wow, the testimony meeting had a very, very strong spirit!!!" 
I know I had felt the spirit previous to this experience, but this is the first time I remember feeling it without any question as to what that feeling was. It moved through me like a chill, but a warm one.
That experience was an important one. If I wouldn't have been able to go, I think my life would have been very different. And I almost didn't get to go. I went when I was 13. The cut off date was that you had to be 14 by September 30, which is my birthday.
"...It was-wow-it was sooooooooo cool! I am SO glad I got to go. If I would have been born a couple hours later- I wouldn't have been able to. I am so lucky- I think I was meant to go and it really helped me. It was the greatest ever!"
It was one of those experiences that altered my perspective on life. I began to see life a little differently.
"Well anyway, on the plane, I got a windowseat so I got to see out the window. The earth is so beautiful from up there. As we flew above many clouds that were huge, white and beautiful, with a blue sky and the sun shining on them, over the intercom they said that those were storm clouds. It kind of amazed me that down below it was raining and thundering, but up above it was beautiful and sunny. The sun was always there. It reminded me about one of the EFY speakers who spoke about one of his expireiences on the plane. He was sitting next to a scientist who knew a lot about the earth and clouds and he said that clouds are such a simple, beautiful and amazing thing that how could there not be a creater? It also reminds me of how Eienstein said that the more he studied the universe, the more he became to believe in a higher power. I had an awesome time in Utah, especially at EFY. Well-my Utah trip has taken up 11 1/2 pages. It's definately the longest entry yet. And it's taken me a couple days to write about. But I guess I should end now. So TTYL. I'll write again soon.
<3 Love,
Shelley (Michelle)"
A lot of my life prior to this had taken me up the hill of faith, but this was that point where I was suddenly rock-climbing up. There was a sudden peak in my testimony that I am still very grateful for today.
Love Always,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Journal Entry 8: The Lost and Found

Prayers are a wonderful tool. We don't always get what we want, but with faith, our prayers are answered. This next entry is a bit longer than previous ones, so I'm going to leave out some, but here is most of it...
"Hey Journal,

Today is July 24th (Pioneer Day) and guess what!? I'M IN UTAH. I'm having sooo much fun. I love it here.... Okay, well this is a change of subject, but I just wanted to quickly write down how Heavenly Father helps in little, but great ways. Yesterday after my aunt's (krista's) bridle shower, we were going to go to the Drive-In movie with a bunch of our extended family. I was getting ready and I wanted my glasses, so that I could take my contacts out so they didn't dry up. I looked all over for them. I was tired and frustrated. I pretty much gave up. I really wanted them though. So I ended up praying that I could find them. A couple seconds after I was done, I lifted my suitcase slightly over and there they where. I don't know how I didn't find them earlier. It was simple, but amazing to me. My testimony has grown quite a bit lately, and I feel a lot happier. Well I'm sorry, but I have to get ready to go to My grandma & grandpa curtin's house to see everyone and have dinner. (oh and by they way- I got to see my great grandma there the other day. She was walking even though she just had surgery on her back) Well luv ya and tty soon.

<3 Shelly"

There you have it, the evolution of a testimony. I even specifically pointed out the growth happening in my spiritual life. I love that I pointed out that as my testimony grew, so did my happiness. I think knowledge of truth really does bring happiness.
Love Always,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Journal Entry 7: The Definition of Cute

I've had many opportunities to go to General Conference over the years. I'll be watching and listening again this weekend. You can watch/listen to conference almost anywhere you are, but there is something unique about being able to listen to the Prophet and his apostles in person and to directly feel the spirit that the choir brings. This entry is from the first time I was able to attend conference...

"Hey Journal,
Today is Sunday 3 (I think) 2004. I think I'm going to just write about things that I remember. Well here I go... -When I went to Utah this year for my B-day I got to go to confrence. You could really feel the spirit there. My favorite part was when cute old Pres. Hinckly came in swinging his cane. He is such a cute and funny old man. I really injoyed going! -About a year ago, we went to Utah for christmas. When we got home it was snowing * well when we got to our hill our car couldn't get up, so we left the luggage and the car and had to hike up @ night in the cold snow. We got our car the next day. -ummm... I can't think of another one. Well I better go get ready. We have young women's in excellence tonight and I'm going early to set up. so ttyl.
<3 Michelle"
A picture from my first time to conference. (I promise we were happier than we look: "The sun was in our eyes...")
And apparently I forgot that I had written this in there, because a few pages later, my ticket to Conference is taped in my journal with the following entry...
"Dear Journal,
Today is January 3, 2005. That ticket mostly explains it's self, but I'll tell you more. It's from when I went to Utah for my B-day. Chasy, my mom, my aunt Danelle (Chasey's mom) and I went to Saturday confrence. It was very fun! I loved getting to see and listen to pres. Hinkley. He is so cute, he came in swinging his cane! I loved getting to go! Well I g2g,
bye, Michelle"
It's too bad that I didn't write more about my first General Conference experience, but that image of President Hinkley is still something I can see today. A couple years later at one of my EFYs, the speaker asked the audience "Girls, when you think of President Hinckley, what do you think of?" Almost all the girls said "cute!". Then he said "Well boys, you want the girls to think you're cute? Guess you better start aspiring to be like President Hinckley!" My first conference made a lasting impression, because I could see him as Prophet of God, but I could also see him as a naturally fun, loving and humble man.
Love Always, Michelle

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Journal Entry 6: Angel Adam

Sometimes it's in our own heartache that we come closest to Christ. And sometimes it's through the heartache and trials of others. One of my leaders at church had a beautiful little boy born during the time I knew her. But, he wasn't on the earth for very long. If I remember right, he only lived a few days. Other than my great-grandparents, I think he was the first experience I had with death. It's interesting how some of the shortest and simplest of lives are the ones that make the biggest impacts...
"Dear Journal,  
Today is Aug 21, 04 I just got back from our ward camp and Adam's funeral. Adam is the Brimly's child. The Brimly's are in our ward. Adam was born with many problems and died on wens. Adam Scott Brimley was an amazing little boy 'I believe there are angels among us, sent down to us from somwhere up above, they come to you and me in our darkest hours. To show us how to live, to each us to give. To guide us with a light of love' that is the chorus of the song 'Angels Among Us'. Adam was truely an angel who touched many lives and hearts. Now he's home with our heavenly father. I never got to go see him, but I feel I knew him, I have to go unpack now so ttyl 
- Michelle"
I'm grateful to know that, because he was a child, he truly is with our Father in Heaven. In the scriptures in D&C 137:10 it says "And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven". The pain followed by comfort that the family and our ward went through, really taught me a lesson on the plan of happiness.

Love Always,

P.S. For anyone who wanted a link to that song, it's old, but here it is:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Journal Entry 5: Broken Records

Not all testimony-building experiences were miracles and glorious moments. Sometimes they were recognizing that God was humbling me. In middle school I was on the track team. And boy, was I good. I was a short little thing, but I could run, jump and throw like a champ. I broke a lot of school records in the shot-put, the high-jump, the 100m and the 4X1. Because of that, I knew I was hot stuff. And I started thinking I was better than other people and that everyone else should acknowledge my awesomeness. Until our very last Track Meet...

"Dear Journal,

Pride gets in the way of everything! I've been meaning to write this for a long time, but at my track meet a girl named Stephanie beat my shot put record, I only got 4.0ft on high jump and I got 4th in the 100 meter dash. This is what pride gets you, I had been bragging and being so very proud of myself and thinking that I was #1. This is Heavenly Father's way of teaching me... Not punishing me, but teaching. I thought I had learned my lesson, but our track team was going to have a pot luck and give out awards. I was so excited to go, because I was so sure that I would win something, but on Friday night I got stung by a bee (well actually a wasp) and my eye swelled up like a ballon! so I can't go to the school, knee therapy, softball OR the potluck. I really hope I've learned my lesson now. Well anyway, enough of the bad stuff let's talk about something better, well... I only have 9 more days of school left! I can't wait 4 SUMMER! Sorry, but I've got to go know.

-Wolf #K9 (wolf is my nickname and my softball # is K9) p.s. Today is June 6, 2004!"
My Akward Middle School Stage

God loved me, but He wasn't about to let me be a brat. It may seem like pretty trivial problems, but they were really important to me at the time. I'm actually grateful for that experience and the lesson it taught me of humility, kindness and love.

Love Always,

P.S. In the process of looking for a picture to use for this post, I found the Told Middle School track records. My last standing record (the 4x1 relay) was officially beat last year. And so life goes on.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Journal Entry 4: Bye Bye Buddy

mir-a-cle /'mirikel/
1. A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is considered to be divine.
2. A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment. 

The following is a story about something that I still consider to be a miracle to this day. Growing up, I had a conure parrot named Buddy.
That's all the set up I need, I think the Journal entries say  the rest...
"Dear Journal,

Buddy is gone. His cage was left open and so was the door, so we think he's gone. And there's practically no way he'll ever come back. It's too cold and it could rain, for all I know he could be dead or he could of gone and flew somewhere far away. an animal could have gotten him. He practically has no chance. I loved him so much! I way not have shown it lately, but I really love him. I'm so mad! I got him when I was bout 7 I think and now I'm 12. His birthday was only a couple days ago. (today is feb 19, 04) we've been looking outside for a long time, but it's too dark, and we left his cage outside just in case for some reason he comes back.-michelle curtin" 
 Then the following day, I wrote this...

"Dear Journal, Last night was freezing cold and it rained. My family and I prayed for buddy, but we figured he was gone. I must admit that I began to doubt that heavenly father was there. Well this mourning my dad found him! He was up in a tree, freezing, hungry  and wet. I will never doubt that Heavenly father is there again! He answered our prayers, it's a miricle that buddy is still alive and that we found him.

Love, Michelle Curtin.
P.S. Today is Feb. 20!" 
I don't think I'm the one who prayed that bird home. My faith was pretty shallow that night, the odds against Buddy just seemed to great. But my little brother saw how devastated I was and he sure prayed, as did my whole family.  And I prayed too, with a lot of fervency, but shaken faith.
We got rid of Buddy a few months later. He was loud and obnoxious and was causing family contention. But, he provided the opportunity to witness a miracle, and for that- I'm grateful for every squawk and every bit finger he also provided.
Love Always,