Saturday, April 21, 2012

Journal Entry 31: A Slow Day at Work


My first real job was at a small, family-owned Itallian restaurant called Strapasta. I loved that job. I had a great boss and co workers and I loved the small, community feel that it had. The next entry is about an awkward, yet touching conversation we had at work...

"Hey Journal,
Today is Feb 18, 2009....Work was good yesterday. It wasn't very busy so we talked a lot... Orozio was really nice yesterday- I kind of feel bad for Leah though, because he said that if there were only two types of girls in the world, me or Leah, he would want his daughter to be like me and he was dead serious, but it's because he knows Leah's drama with boyfriends and she 'hates' her parents. It still made me happy to know that he could see the difference the gospel makes in my life (whether or not he knows thats mostly why I am who I am). 
Another thing he said was when "Grumpy" came in (a funny old guy that comes in and says that's his name)- after he left Leah said she liked when he comes in and she asked Orozio if he actually liked him, or just pretended to when he came in and he said he pretended & I jokingly said "so do you pretend to like me too?" ... and he looked at me and said no, he said I was a good girl. I think he can tell that I'm different. It's cool. He's a nice guy and a good boss. They make work good. Well it's getting pretty late so I better go and ready my scriptures and go to bed. I'm driving to seminary again tomorrow...
much love/ MichelleDCurtin" 
I can't find a single picture of me at work, but this is from the same time period

The gospel really does make a difference in my life. Orozio wasn't the first one to notice that there was something a little different about how I lived (luckily, they noticed the good stuff).
Love Always,
Michelle

Friday, April 20, 2012

Journal Entry 30: Temple Trip


I love to see the temple. And this is one time that we almost didn't get to, but we had a mini-miracle and gained an awesome memory...
"Hey Journal,
Today is Nov 1, 2008... First, is Thursday night (oct. 30) we had our youth temple trip that day. We drove clear down to DC and then got a call that the Temple didn't have power and we wouldn't be able to go. I was sad, but it felt like if we really wanted to go, it would work out, because it is a good thing to do.
We went and ate at Wendy's and then got a call that they had  a generator going, so we could go. We got in the car and headed for the temple, but because the temple wasn't lit up like it normally is, brother Cheung got lost. It seemed Satan really wanted to keep us from the temple. He asked for directions though and we finally got to the temple. 
The DC Temple (during the day though)

It was pretty even though it wasn't completely lit up. The stained glass running down the side was very pretty. We went in and changed into white suits. We did one conformation (by flashlight) and then 2 baptisms. The baptism room was really pretty, especially because there was light in there. It shown very bright.
We then changed back and I read the bible until we were done. The temple worker thanked us each personally for coming and then we left. The sky was really pretty. Even though it was cold and I was wet (the haidryers didn't work since there was no electricity), I was walked slowly. I like to look at things and take them in. It was a beautiful night and a beautiful experience....
<3/ MichelleDCurtin" 

I love experiences where beauty comes from trails. I loved seeing how the temple was illuminated with "light" even when there was no electricity. I'm glad everything worked out. And because I slowed down to take in that night, I have pretty vivid memories of it. I can see how the stain glass shimmered and hear how the night was unusually silent. What a great memory.

Love Always.
Michelle

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Journal Entry 29: Reflection in a Wave


Like I said, after EFY I was on my own. Luckily that didn't stop me from growing in faith. This next entry was shortly after EFY...
My cousin Wesley (on the right) and us before EFY
"Hey Journal,
Today is July 6, 2008 (Sunday). I'm home now- back in the crazy real world. It's nice to be back with the family and all, but it's still hard to come back to reality...well anyway- I just got back from taking Wesley to the airport. We drove him to see the DC temple first though. I love that temple- it towers out of nowhere above the trees and the freeway. It's very beautiful. We stopped and went in the visiter's center for a min. too. 
They had a neat display there of a bunch of photographs of president Hinckley. It was cool. I loved how in almost all the pictures he had his cane, but was using it to wave rather than walk. They had a cute picture of Sis. Hinckley waving from the car right before she passed away too. 
When I was walking around, I caught my reflection is one of the pictures and when I looked at the picture, it was President Hinckley waving. He was looking straight on and smiling wide. I couldn't help but feel like he was waving to me. My reflection also seemed to chine brighter. I only say that because lately I've been having a little bit of a hard time with self confidence, but when I looked at my reflection, I felt like maybe I saw myself from Pres. Hinckley, or even Christ's, point of view. It's hard to explain, but it was a nice experience.
Picture of me from around that time
 Well I have to get ready for the fireside (or the 'Bishop Youth Discussion') Patriarch Halsy is going to be our speaker so that should be good because he is the one who gave me my Patriarchal Blessing. Well yeah, so I better get going.
<3 you. <3/ MichelleDeltaCurtin" 
I actually didn't remember this experience until I just read it today. It's simple, but interesting. I wish everyone could see how Christ sees us. Things would be much different then.
Love Always.
Michelle

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Journal Entry 28: The Last Medly


Okay, I promise this is the last EFY post. The 4th and final one. It's becoming cliche even in my book, but doesn't make it any less valuable.

Wendy, Solomon and I at EFY
 "Hey Journal,
Thursday. Naturally one of the best days. We've really bonded more as a group. Today was good. The variety show was fun- lots of singing, some jumproping, jigging, dances (with sign language) it was fun... The best part started with the musical program though. It was great. It focused on Christ and that's what we need to focus on... It was really spiritual. At the end of the fireside we sang the 'EFY Medly'- which of course was a killer. I have never not felt the spirit in that song. Especially when the young men sing their part. The strength felt when the boys sing is amazing. I could hear Solomon sing and I just thought about how amazing it is to come here and meet so many worthy men who honor their priesthood. It's amazing. We separated for testimony meetings after. And this time I wasn't able to bare mine- not because I didn't want to, but because there wasn't a second wasted. There was litterally a line to bare their testimonies. Which was a testimony in itself for me. It was just a great thing to see. It was a great day- Wendy's really loving it here and we all are. I'm so grateful to be here. I'm sorry I haven't written more detail this year, but it has been amazing like always. 
Love you! <3/ MichelleDCurtin" 
There you have it. The last EFY entry that I will be posting. After that, I was on my own. No more pre-prepped spiritual weeks. I'm grateful for each one of those EFYs, no matter how cliche it sounds. There is so much spiritual strength in youth that I wish I could harness. I still have several friends from those EFYs and definitely many great memories.
Love Always,
Michelle

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Journal Entry 27: Passing of the Mantle


If you've seen some of my previous entries, you'd notice that the Prophet- Gordon B Hinckley was very dear to me. This entry was after his passing...
"Hey Journal,
Today is Jan 29, 2008. I wish I had more time to write and I wish I would have written this early, but 2 days ago- january 27, 2008 at 7:00pm (Utah time) our beloved prophet Gordon B. Hinckley passed away. Strangely  there hasn't been a ton of mourning. It's been more of a rejoicing in his life and a happy reunion with his dear wife whom he missed very much. We will miss him very much, but we are happy to know he has returned home. The one thing that sticks out in my mind when I think of him was at EFY (at the U of U) the night we sing the EFY mdely, they played a clip of President Hinckley at the end he spoke of how much he loved us youth, and he cried. Many of us cried too. You could tell how very sincere he was. He is such a great man! At that same EFY one of the speakers asked the girls to describe Pres. Hinckley in one word. The most common was 'cute'- he then said 'boys, you want the girls to think you're cute? Aspire to be like President Hinckley'. Although we just laughed, it's true. President Hinckley is a great man with amazing qualities and amazing faith. I hope someday my husband, and me for that matter, can have faith as unshakable as President Hinckley. He is the prophet I've known for the majority of my life (since I can remember). He's been a teacher my whole life. What a humble, loving, amazing man! We will miss him very much, but I'm happy to know he's home. Thank you President Hinckley for everything you've done for me, for the church, for the world and most of all- for God. We love and miss you.
<3/ Michelle Curtin" 
I'm grateful to know, that even though President Hinckley passed on, life still continues. This is what I was doing during that time period...

I was hosting a wonderful Chinese Exchange student- "June"



And with the prophet's passing, the mantle was passed to a new prophet- Thomas S. Monson. He is a true prophet of God today. 

Love Always.
Michelle

Monday, April 16, 2012

Journal Entry 26: Notes on Napkins


So for Christmas that year, my parents flew me back to Washington to spend time with my friends. It was wonderful. My next entry is several pages long and mostly just talks about my day-to-day adventures while there (like my first date with my best friend), but the more prevalent part to this project actually comes on my flight back to Maryland. So, I'll actually be starting this next part on the last page of that entry...
"...Then I went in, exchanged my ticket, checked my bags and eventually got on the plane to go home. The plane ride home was interesting. I sat next to a man who I later found out was deaf. On a napkin he wrote 'Hi. My name is Phyron' so I wrote back and we passed notes on napkins and eventually in my note book. He was 28, from Cambodia, but lived in Canada and was going to teach English and the Bible at a school in MD. We actually ended up having a religious discussion, because he was trying to 'save me', but I explained my religion more and he eventually gave up and we 'talked' about other things and he taught me a little sign language. I think he really needed to talk to someone because when we got off the plane he gave me a hug. I don't know what happened to him after that and prob never will, but I hope he takes my testimony to heart. 
I'm amazed at the people God brings into your lives. I actually bore my testimony about it in YW that sunday. I also prayed, because I wanted to know if what I told that man was true and to know if my testimony was true. I didn't get any unique answer, but it just feels right. I'll staple some of the notes from my notebook in here, but they are hard to follow because it is somewhat out of order and we also jestured to answer (like I nodded my head when he asked me questions) but I'll put them in anyway... Hopefully I'll write again soon. 
<3 ya/ MichelleCurtin"
This picture probably seems irrelevant. And it kind of is, but it's the best I could find. It's from when I was in Washington (which is the reason I was flying back to Maryland)

I did staple in those notes to my journal. I won't type up all of it, but maybe some key parts. On the front is a scripture that he had me read: Romans 10:9.  I don't remember what he was trying to explain and I don't know what version of the bible he had, but in my version it says:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heard that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved"


And now here is some of the notes we passed. Blue will be me, Orange will be him:
"Thank you. I believe that too. I'm impressed how much you know about the bible. I study it too, but I still have a lot to learn.
No problem. More than you welcome! I just message to you. That's all. I speak about Jesus Christ.
That's good. My brother went on a mission to do the same thing. The full name of my church is 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints'
...
Not too well, they are difficult sometimes. I like to study the Bible and the Book of Mormon too, but I don't do that at school.
Your education is very important in the future. You can read the Bible for a few minutes. It is good enough for you. It is up to you.
Thank you. I have one too. I read it and the book of mormon every day if I can. And before school I take a class called seminary that is kind of like a bible study class.
If you don't know what to do, you ask Jesus will do for. Psalms 25:4-5. I see the word is ugly today, but good news regeneration! Jesus will create the heaven and the Earth in the future!
You are good at teaching about the bible. You must know it well. I might go on a mission someday to teach people about the bible and the Book of Mormon.
I read the bible when I was 15 years old, I aware of it. I didn't understand Old English, now I understand it. I'm not mormon. I know the history of mormon. Verily, it is not real.
The history is confussing to many and there are many lies about it, so many do not understand it well. I do, and I know it to be true.
All right. I don't blame you.
...
I'm sorry. I hardly describe to you. 
It is fine. I like to discuss religion, because I believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a true church. May I ask I ask if you believe in modern day revelation from God? Like a prophet to deliver messages from god like in the old testiment and bible times?
No, I can't be a prophet to deliver messages from God. I can follow the prophet Bible. I can't guess to deliver messages from God.
...
Yes. I believe most of that too... But I believe that that time was ended when Joseph Smith was appointed Prophet and now we have a living prophet. I agree with the verse you showed me. there are many lies in the world today and many false prophets, but there is one true prophet of God for this new dispensation... The story of Joseph Smith does seem strange to many who don't know it well, but I know it to be true. God said that he would give the world a prophet again and he did. It is now Gordon B. Hinckley who is the prophet. I've prayed about it and I know it is true. 
I don't think. Neither Joseph Smtih and the prophets of story. I don't believe them. I simply believe the Bible is only.
I respect your beliefs, but it is because I believe the bible that I believe the modern day prophets to be true.
...
Jesus values our lives as expensive as diamonds are! Why don't you ask Jesus will answer you will find the truth? You can't guess to think when you feel you have from God.
Yes I know. Jesus died for me and everyone because he values us. And I have asked him. That's why I blelieve what I do. He has answered me and that is why I believe what I do.
I ask you. Why does the mormon of book add in the bible?
It is written in the bible that we will be given another witness of Christ. The book of mormon is that additional witness of Christ. It gives us more information and teachings. The book of mormon and the bible go together to teach us truth....
You are nice to me. I am nice to you. I think we are enough to discuss. We can speak other title. Is that okay with you?"
And then we went on to talk about our favorite things and places we'd been and our family and such. I was impressed with his strong beliefs and his knowledge of verses in the Bible. It taught me a lot and really put me on the spot to make sure I knew my religion.
I could see, because of this experience, why it is so important that we have modern day revelation to help direct us in our scripture study. I could also see that many religions had a lot of truth and a lot of similar beliefs, but my testimony grew that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was the only church that had a fullness of the gospel.

I am grateful for that experience and that we could have a discussion, with different views, in such a civil way. I wish I knew how he was doing and how he was. The last thing he wrote was "we are enjoyable to chat with you!"

It was an enjoyable conversation and it is cool to see how lives can cross paths in such simple and profound ways.

Love Always.
Michelle 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Journal Entry 25: The Christmas Spirit

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTMONY: Day 25

Okay so that last journal entry only lasted 2 days instead of the many, because it was chalk full of stories but mostly about cool adventures, dates and vacations. The next entry is similar, so I'm going to jump to the middle of it...
"...One thing we did before though, was the thing that really got me in the 'true Christmas spirit'. For one of our activities- we delivered the 'giving tree' presents. I went with sis. newman and Eve D. We first delivered some treats to an older couple. Of course they invited us in. We talked for a  while. The thing that I loved was when sis. Newman said we should go and 'Is there anything we can do for you?' The only thing the elderly lady asked for was a prayer before we left. It put things into perspective of what really matters. When we left, she shook our hands. She was a really nice lady. 
And the girls I used to Nanny for showing some Christmas spirit
...Finally, we went to the care institute to visit bro. Howard Davis. I don't know the full story of what happened, but bro. Davis was in a car accident and is now in a wheelchair and has a hard time communicating. He is a really nice man though. I don't know how to explain it, but he just has a sweet spirit. My dad picked him up to go to church and we had a hard time getting him in the car, but he was very thankful that we took him. He remembered me too and asked me how I was. He also sang a long to the Christmas music on the way there. It was another thing that put me in the real Christmas spirit. 
Another of those Christmas spirit things was when I went with my mom, Emily C and her mom to help at the clothing exchange that is at our bishop store house in downtown Baltimore. I had fun organizing actually, but it was also a humbling expirence. I am VERY fortunate for what I have.
Anyway, I guess that's it for now. I have lots to tell you about my trip to Washington, but I'm really tired so goodnight for now.
mucho <3/ MichelleCurtin" 
Service shouldn't happen just one time a year, but I'm grateful for that special spirit that is often associated with Christmas that brings in a new light and, a new and refined perspective.
Love Always.
Michelle