Saturday, April 28, 2012

Journal Entry 38: Josh

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 38

All of these journal posts probably make it seem like my faith was very rarely tested. Well sometimes it was. And it was tested really harshly. But, it is amazing to see how sometimes it's the most heart-tearing moment that bring you closest to Christ. 

"Journal,
Today is June 19, 2009. Before today, the closest person to me to have died were great grandparents and even as a child, I knew it was their time, but I never thought my saragote little brother's time would be today. The ward family has always been close to ours, my mom has always been best friends with his mom. Josh was like a little brother to me in Washington, today was his last day of school- he was driving home and got t-boned. He didn't make it. It's hard to know we prayed so hard for him and my mom even called in to put his name on the prayer role and he still didn't make it. Now we have to pray for his family. At least by knowing he was such a good kid, we know he's in a good place. All I know is we loved him very much. We love you Josh.
<3/ MichelleDCurtin"
Items left in memory of Josh where his car crashed

"Hi Journal,
Today is June 21, 2009. I'm fasting today for the Wards and all of Josh's friends. I have to admit since it's Father's day, it's hard with the smell of bacon, but I know it's important. Everyone misses Josh. I thought about everything I'd done with him- all  the memories- of him singing Feir Jacques, on the bus, walking home from the bus, him playing his trumpet, babysitting his siblings with him, swigging on his tire swing and riding his zipline, church activities and firesides, his first stake dances, him showing us the 'move it move it' music video over and over again, and talking to him just a few days ago. He told me to take a quiz to see how well I knew him- I only got 15% and I joked and said it was really sad. Now it's not so much a joke. I had talked to him about his plans for the summer and he had said if I saw the Paxman's then I'd probably see him this summer... then he left to watch home improvment. It's been hard. We're hoping to go up in a week when it's a little less overwhelming. I want to be there for my friends- especially Jordan and Andrew who were good friends with Josh. I pray for them. Well I have to finish getting ready for Church.
Love always,
MichelleDcurtin"
My mom with Josh (on the left) and his siblings

"Hey Journal,
Today is July 15, 2009. Lots has happened.... And now I'm here at the Ward's, sitting on Josh's bed... it's actually more peaceful than eery really. It's sad, but the family is doing pretty good and I think it was good for me to come. Josh's room is interesting. It of course has spider-man stuff on the walls, but he also has tons of his drawings on the wall. Several of them are of sunrises/sunsets. I think it's interesting- he's just a teenage boy, not necessarily a good artist, but he chose to draw things (even just in pencil or crayon) of sunrises... Some of them are very interesting... one that says 'sometimes we are like the birds. We are so close to the sun that we fly deeper and into the storm until we can't get out. If we could only forever keep our eyes on the setting sun, far of and in the horizon, then we would never find ourselves lost in the cast sun and ocean of the world'. On the same page is another trace of his hand, on the inside it says 'this is my body's hand. It's size and strength and capabilities are determined without my input, consent or knowledge' around the outside of the fingers it says 'and this is my soul's hand. I can be as big and bold as I chose to be, for my mind has no limits and neither does me soul'...
He was very reflective. It's almost like he knew. I wish I could talk to him now and ask what was on his mind. It's like he was gone before he was really gone... He is very missed, but I think we're all pretty much at peace. It's a hard thing to explain. Well my mom is at the temple with Laure, but I should probably go do something.
Love Always,
MichelleDCurtin"
After that entry, Josh's mom showed us that on the back of many of his drawings were also quotes. I wrote all of them down in my journal the next day, but it takes up several pages so I won't write them all in here. One that I did love though, I've already written about: "Make every decision with thought, you don't know what tangent path it'll throw you on. The butterfly (will) effect your world"
"...The one of the cross above his bed says 'Your not dead until you're forgotten. Do something worth remembering'. There are so many deep quotes, it's like he knew his time was limited, whether he knew he knew or not. I wish I knew what he was thinking and feeling and what he knew, but like Josh pointed out in one of his quotes- 'the only thing you can prove is that you can't prove anything'. We'll never be able to prove that he knew or why he thought so indeptly, so we just have to be thankful we know where he is now- in good hands. And of course-
Love Always.
MichelleDCurtin"
Josh's Mom

Something about that trip to be with Josh's family really brought new perspective for me. I didn't notice until now, that this was the point in my life that I started signing my journal entries "love always" constantly. I wish it hadn't had to be because of the death of such a great person, but I learned so much from Josh and through the trails that everyone who knew him faced. I really could feel the spirit when I was with his friends and family on that trip. It was like they were in a protective, heavenly bubble. Christ was upholding us. I'm grateful to know the blessings of the temple that will allow Josh to be with his family forever and that Christ has suffered all so that we can always be close to him. Heaven is not so far away.

Love Always!
Michelle

Friday, April 27, 2012

Journal Entry 37: A Child's Testimony

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 37

This next one will be short and sweet after I take out the day-to-day details, but I think that's fitting.
"Hey Journal,
Today is May 9, 2009. Lots to talk about.... Sunday was fast sunday and I just had to talk about one testimony. Little Michael Ebert's. He is Elder Anderson's grandkid. He's 8 I think. He got up and bore his testimony and cried. You expect emotional testimonies from adults, but to see little Michael cry was toughing. It also testified to Bro. Anderson because he obviously has raised some good families. It was good....
Much Love,
MichelleDCurtin"
This is obviously not Michael,
but he was another little boy in my ward who was a great example.
I babysat him a couple of times, he said I was his "favorite friend" :)
Children in themselves, in their innocence and example, are some of the greatest testimonies of something more to life. Christ loved the little children and you can see that the little children really love Christ.
Love Always.
Michelle

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Journal Entry 36: A Talk

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 36

One thing that I love about this church is that we aren't preached to by someone who has gone through some sort of religious school to get a worldly degree of sorts in religion. Instead, we are taught by each other. We all offer up our simple knowledge in regards to the church, in hopes that it will bless the lives of ourselves and others. The next entry is from a talk I gave in church. I was always intimidated to speak in church, because what did I have to say? But if you let God guide your words, he does.

"Hey Journal,

Today is April 26, 2009. My mom and I gave a talk in church today. It was on loving thy neighbor. I focused on how we need to love (not just tolerate) and I even used the triangle (The closer we get to God, the closer we are to each other) and I quoted a lot from President Hinckley's talk 'and the greatest of these is love'. It went well.

One Lady told my mom she cried and had to get up. I guess she's one of the only member in her family and has had a hard time loving her daughter. I'm glad it touched someone in some way because I prayed they would get something out of it.

Well anyway, now I'm outside laying in the grass. It's a beautiful (and very warm) day. Later today though, we are going to the Browning memorial concert because my little brother is playing the saxophone in it. Even though we didn't know them personally, we figure it is a good Sunday activity to go to a memorial.
My little brother playing at the Browning memorial concert
(A family that was murdered by their brother/son in our community)
 Well now I'm going to listen to music and maybe fall asleep (I have 'inspirational' songs on my ipod) I guess I'll write later.

Much Love,
MichelleDCurtin


(I'm listening to brighter days by Leeland now)"
The world is so full of both amazing good and terrible wickedness. It's a crazy blend to have to deal with every day, but knowing the God is a part of our lives, makes all of the different.

Love Always,
Michelle

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Journal Entry 35: None Were WIth Him

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 35

This next entry is about a talk from conference which obviously impacted me a lot, considering I've already written about it on this blog here (before I started the Evolution of a Testimony project). But, here are the thought from the first time I heard it:

"Hey Journal,

Today is April 12, 2009- HAPPY EASTER! So I haven't written since General Conference, but today would be a good day to talk about one of my favorite talks (it was quoted a lot today in church too) It was by Jeffery R. Holland. It was about Christ's last week. The thing that hit me the most is when he explained how Christ- being perfect- was forsaken by Heavenly Father. He had to be. To know how everyone 'the rest of us' feel. Like when we sin and the spirit is withdrawn from us 'My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?' He pointed out that Christ walked alone, forsaken and betrayed so that we do not have to. It was an incredibly moving talk.
This is a painting that I did as a Young Women's project that year
 Another good talk was by Steven E Snow. It was about change. It was a good one for me with the up coming move and the transition to college. He talked about how we need to move along. He quoted a 5 year old who had said 'I love you too, but I need to get on with my life' children are wise. He gave us 4 points to help us with change. 1) Follow the prophets 2) keep eternal perspective 3) Have faith- move forward in faith (faith and doubt cannot coexist) 4) Be of good cheer....

And an extra note- Neil L. Anderson was called to be an apostle. He is our neighbors- the Hadlocks and my old YW leader sister Ebert's father. He has come to our ward and spoken before and he went to the little Ebert boy's baptism that I babysat the Hales at (I'm not sure if I wrote about it, but it was a great baptism- him and other little cousins sang an AMAZING version of I am a Child of God- it was beautiful!) So it's a neat thing for our ward to be able to know of the apostle. He is definitely a great person. Well I better get going so I'll write soon hopefully.
Love ya.
<3/ MichelleDCurtin"
 I am so grateful to know that my Christ knows what I've gone though and that I am never alone because of him. The words spoken in conference are true.

Love Always.
Michelle

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Journal Entry 34: Dorian and A White Rose

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 34

One of the aspects of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that is the strongest testimony to me is it's encouragement to serve others. Nothing has brought in more spirit into my life than service. I'm grateful for all of the different opportunities I've had to serve, and some that continue to impact my life.
"Hey Journal,
Today is March 29, 2009. Yesterday we went to DC because the Valleys are up from Washington . Do you remember Dorian- I used to go to Hawk Ridge (a Theraputic Riding Center) with her. She's 11 now. She has Down Syndrome... she's way cute though. She held onto my arm most of the time. It reminded me of all the Special Needs service I've done. It brought back that good feeling. Service, acceptance... they just make you feel good. It was fun....
Dorian and I by the Washington Monument. Love that girl.
 Then we went home and my mom and I watched the YW broadcast at home because she was sick. It was good though. It was focused on the new value- Virtue. It was cool though because they talked about sister Anderson who is sister Hadlock and sister Ebert's mom (they're in our ward- the Hadlocks are our neighbors) and they showed a picture of the girls. One of the things that stood out to me was when the YW general president told about how she had chosen a white rose as a symbol for her when she was in YW because it represented purity and then years later when she was called to be a general YW president, before she walked out of President Monson's office, he handed her a white rose. it just shows how aware he is. He also spoke. He talked about that the one word we need to remember is Courage. Courage to not judge, courage to be chaste and virtuous and courage to stand up for our standards. It was a good talk. I love the prophet. Conference will be good...

Love Ya,
<3/ MichelleDCurtin"
I honestly don't remember the talks from that YW broadcast, but I'm glad I wrote about them. President Monson is such a great example of deep concern and inspirational care and service.

Love Always,
Michelle

Monday, April 23, 2012

Journal Entry 33: Everyday Missionary


As I've been reading back through my journal in preparation for a mission, I've found that I've had so many more missionary opportunities than I ever had remembered. Some of them are so very little and so very natural, but important none-the-less.
"Hey Journal,
Today is March 21 (?), 2009. 8:24 am- I FINALLY got to sleep in. It's been probably over a month since I've gotten the 'right' amount of sleep or since I haven't woken up to my alarm (because of school, seminary, church and my Eng Class on Sat. that I finished last week). I did however, wake up to a text, but that's okay- it was from Stephen- it just said 'Jacob 2:19'. Earlier this week I talked to Stephen... that eventually led to reading the Book of Mormon- doing something for himself- finding out for himself, so he asked Wendy for a Book of Mormon- she was very happy to give one to him. Now he's slowly reading. He told me Jacob was his favorite so far & I told him in my scriptures I highlighted it and wrote faith by hope and I told him to look at Alma 32:21."
Job 2:19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to ado good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. 

Alma 32:21 And now as I said concerning faith—afaith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye bhope for things which are cnot seen, which are true.
"...The missionary experiences have been good this week. I even talked to Edwardo (my boss) a little more about the church. He told me he grew up Roman Catholic... but him and his wife got married in an Episcopalian church. He asked me if Mormon was a type of Christian, I said yes. He said he doesn't consider himself part of a certain church but considers himself Christian. Then later he said he doesn't believe certain things, but he believes in Jesus Christ. I told him I did too. The thing I loved was the tone of his voice- the surety in it. It was cool to hear someone more or less bear their testimony who only knows some truth. I wish I could have talked to him more, but someone needed him in the back and I had to leave. It was still a cool experience though. It just feels great to have experiences like that that refocus your attention on Christ. Well my mom is calling me to breakfast so I better go. I'll try to write tomorrow though.
Much Love,
MichelleDCurtin"
I don't have a picture of Stephan or Edwardo unfortunately.
This picture is one of my senior pictures from this time.

I'm grateful for those who were willing to discuss religion in such civil, friendly ways. Their testimonies of life paired with the testimony I had, really brought new insight.

Love Always,
Michelle

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Journal Entry 32: The Mail Lady


The next entry is finally not about me. It's about some times that my family stood up for what's right or shared the gospel:

"Hey Journal,
Today is Feb 22, 2009. So for once I'm going to try to talk about something other than just myself. I'll start with my little brother (Andrew). I hope tomorrow will go okay for him. Apparently he found that certain boys were sending naked pictures of a girl to other people and Andy told his teacher about it. His teacher told the office about it and I guess they called Andy down so the kids found out that he told. The kids got in trouble so they were mad at him and even threatened him. My parents talked to the assistant principal and they ended up letting him skip school on friday. I'm not sure that'll really help, but either way I hope it's okay for him. At least last year (when I had to witness for drugs being transferred on our bus) they didn't find out who told, plus I'm a girl and older so I think I would have been able to handle it anyway. I'm sure Andy will be okay, but I'm proud of him for doing what's right. It's rough- especially around here where high standard are definitely a minority. 
My little brother's school
 Well now let's end on a better note (obviously I wasn't there for these stories, so I'm not sure how accurate they are, but oh well...)  Anyway- so my mom has met our 'mail(lady)' a couple times. First when she noticed we moved from Carnation, WA she wanted to know if we had known the mail lady in Carnation who had gotten killed, then she asked my mom if I was going on a service mission because she noticed all the letter to me that said fiji AYS expedition on them, then I guess the other day she had to come to the door to drop off a package and she noted that the Hadlocks (they're in our ward and live down the street) and we were the only Mormons she had ever 'known' (she's a little nosy, but nice none-the-less). She said she admired us and told my mom how she'd gone with her grandmother to Utah and seen how beautiful and peaceful temple square is and then she said that (even though she said she could get fired for saying this), but that she would read the back of our church magazines (the Ensign and New Era, etc). I thought that was interesting. We actually get two subscriptions for some reason so my mom is going to try to catch her tomorrow and give her our extra one. I don't know, but I think it's cool that just as a mail carrier she notices the difference in our lives. Well I better get to bed. It's only 9:24 pm (way earlier than normal), but I should take advantage of that since I hardly ever get the 'right' amount of sleep. So I guess I'll write later.
Love Always,
Michelle D Curtin"
It's nice to have my family as examples of what's right too.
Love Always.
Michelle