Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why does God Let Bad Things Happen To Good People

Why did God let me suffer? Why?

This is a question I've asked myself often. When my parents have at different times suffered from illness; when I have been ill and all that caused it was stress; when I can't control my anxiety. Hard things that happen that are not the result of my own mistakes often send me into a cycle of asking, sometimes the results of my choices make me ask as well. I feel like the answer is as complex as the situations that cause us to ask.

I'd like to take a moment and share the answer that I'm developing in hopes that it will help others as I think this is not a question that only I've asked. I'll answer it in pieces as that's how I've had it answered in my life, line upon line and precept on precept.

The first piece is that the trials are the price I pay to become acquainted with God. It's through these hardships that I learn who God is. This is exemplified in a story of a man who traveled on foot across the country to live in Utah with other early members of my church in the 1800's.

"A man who crossed the plains in the Martin handcart company lived in Utah for many years. One day he was in a group of people who began sharply criticizing the Church leaders for ever allowing the Saints to cross the plains with no more supplies or protection than a handcart company provided. The old man listened until he could stand no more; then he arose and said with great emotion:

“I was in that company and my wife was in it. … We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? … [We] came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.

“I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it. … I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.

“Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.” (Our Heritage)

Building on that concept we begin to not only become acquainted with God in our sufferings but we also come to understand Christ in the same moment. Peter talks about this. He says:

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (2 Peter 4:12-13).

The first time I read that scripture I remember being surprise at the perspective. He invites us to not focus on the trial and how weighed down we feel under its weight but to focus on Christ and using out suffering to understand him. In another scripture in the Book of Mormon states the juxtaposition of this statement. Just as we go through trials to better understand Christ, Christ suffered to better understand us. “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:11-12)

The word succor means to help or aid in times of distress. I love this scripture for how it frames the atonement, or Christ’s suffering. He knows us and he came to know us through pain. He understands our pain. The reverse of the statement can be true as well, when we approach our trials focusing on coming to know Christ we come to know him in the same way that he came to know us, through the sorrows of the flesh. (see also Galatians2:20) We know him because we have become like him.

This train of thought isn’t an answer all, truly it’s not even half of the answer to this question but for me it gives my sorrows propose, and points me to what is most important, my relationship with God. I’ve gone through hard things in my life and I believe I will continue to experience hard things. But I also believe that what is important is not how hard it is but how I use it.

I hope I’ve not come off preachy here. My prayer is that this strengthens someone else as it has strengthened me.

~Katie Jean~

Monday, August 11, 2014

I am - Anthology Piece

This is my anthology piece I wrote for one of my classes. I felt like it was good enough to share. It's ment be a journey I have walked.


I am

I am content

I am alone

I am happy

I am nervous

I am friendly

I am shy

I am reached for

I am retreating

I am alone again

I am longing to be loved

I am missing you

I am aching to be held

I am missed

I am reaching back

I am held

I am kissed

I am loved

I am content

I am planning

I am unsure

I am discontented

I am resistant of change

I am hurting you

I am hurting

I am broken

I am alone

I am healing

I am happy

I am content

I am

~Katie Jean~

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What Teachers Make by Talyor Mali

This speaks for itself for the most part. I've had good teachers and bad ones as I've gone to school, I think every child who's ever attended a school can say the same. I enjoy Taylor Mali's perspective of teaching. I share it in many ways, he describes the kind of passion I want to incorporate into my work with students. So please enjoy:

For more of his poetry visit www.taylormali.com

~ Katie Jean ~

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Your Attention Please

What has your attention? What do you focus on? Attention is a powerful thing.

Do you pay attention to the world around you, technology, your favorite book (often my favorite choice), your favorite TV show?

In a recent conference for my church a leader said something I found profound about attention. "When you are with your friends, give them the gift of your attention. Your brain cannot concentrate on two things at once. Multitasking amounts to quickly shifting your focus from one thing to another. An old proverb days, "If you chase two rabbits, you won't catch either one."" (The Choice Generationation, Randell L. Ridd)

What do we miss? What do we gain from what attention we give? 

I do want to make a disclaimer, I am not advocating the elimination of Technology in our lives. In many ways I feel like it makes us more productive and gives us the opportunity to give more attention to others both virtually and physically. I think it can enrich relationships when it's used right. Both of the above video's (available on youtube) have made me think about my use of technology in my life and less specifically about what I focus on in my life.

The human brain can only focus on one thing at a time, we have the ability to choose what has our attention, my invitation to myself and the world is to look at what has your attention and what the end result of that attention will be. Be it a boyfriend, work, a video game, facebook, religion, a good book, a blog, or a hobby. Be actively participating in the choice of where your attention is focused, if you let it happen other sources will decide it for you.

Food for thought.

~Katie Jean~

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Needing and Being Needed By Others

So I've been thinking about an idea for a few days. In a book I'm reading it has been talking about how what people want out of life is to be needed. To be wanted by those around them. This is also stated on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as well. It's the third tier, the need for "Love and Belonging."

So what I've been really pondering is greif. When someone dies you feel a great loss. It is deep and it is very real. And the more you need someone the greater the loss you feel. I also personally feel a bit of selfishness is involved, at least for me. I feel like the loss is greater when I consider how much they needed or would have needed me. I feel the loss most acutely at times when I feel I would need or would have been needed by the person I've lost. It's the absence of that feeling that I am morning.

I was once asked by a good friend if the pain of losing someone fades, if it stops hurting. I have thought a lot about this question. I think I can say from my own experience that it never fades completely, though perhaps it changes as my perspective changes. I still cry in grief at my loss to this day though it was over 15 years ago, though I cry more rarely. But I think what still hurts is the longing and the loss. You never regain or replace what you lost, not in this lifetime. Your needs that that person met, the way they met them, cannot be replaced. Your feelings of being wanted and needed by someone else cannot be met by someone else the way they were by the one you lost. However those unmet needs can be met by someone else. It just won't be in the same way.

So I think the answer is no, not in this life, it never fully fades, or stops "hurting" because the hole never is filled. It can't be until you are reunited in the next life with the one lost and once again your need for them and their need for you is met.

My life continues after I lose someone because others need me, and I need them. Life continues, though the grief or loss is never truly over. And truly, I wouldn't ever want it to end. I want to continue to need those I've lost till we meet again and I want (or perhaps it's that I need) them to need me in return.

~Katie Jean~

Friday, May 30, 2014

Of Endings and Beginnings

I resist change. I dislike leaving parts of myself behind. I think this is almost universally true. Some of us are better at accepting change and moving smoothly through it but even those who adjust well need to adjust in some way to change. I think it's the adjustment that is hard.

Why is this? Why is it that we grieve so violently at someones death? or after a breakup? or feel so homesick when we move away? In all of these situations we feel that we have lost something, and truly we have. For me these moments effect my soul, they pull at the very fabric of who and what I am.

In a recent conference held by my church one of the speakers helped me answer this question in a profound way.

"In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.
Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.
The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.
How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, April 2013)

On some level I need the endings. I need to experience these moments. I need the loss. I need the change. It is these things that create opposition, it's from these experiences that I come to know who I am. I am able to recognize my character and more fully define it.

I have experienced the ending of good health a chronic illness of a parent brings; the death of a loved one; the ending moving far from home with little contact with family for over a year is; breakups, heartaches and sorrows life brings. Some of these things I am experiencing now. All of these things have forced me to change, grow and grieve at the endings they create. Yet I am forced to admit that I wouldn't give them up. Not for anything. I would not trade the refining fire they have been and what I am now for all the riches of the world.

I was once talking with one of my dear friends who has had family trouble for most of her life. We were discussing how her family has suffered due to their own poor choices and how I have watched my family suffer due to health problems. We paused for a moment and considered if we would trade struggles straight across. It surprised me to realize that she didn't want mine and I didn't want hers. I'd rather have the ones I've been given.

Paul, in the scriptures, said, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Christ suffered to better "succor his people" (Alma 7:11). He suffered to better understand us and our needs. Is it any wonder then that we must suffer as well, partake in some small way of his sorrow in Gethsemane to better know Him?

So as I face the endings in my life, as I change and the world changes around me, I will seek an eternal perspective. Cuz lifes not over yet. 

~Katie Jean~

Monday, May 12, 2014

Let It Be

Be Still and know that I am God. (Psalms 46:10)

I never really thought about these word in connection to worrying about the future. I am a bit of a worry wart. I have a tendency to be anxious about life and what will happen as things progress forward. I feel the best advice (that I often freely give and forget to take myself) is to let it be. To just allow life to move forward.

Now I know if you're anything like me you are thinking sure, easier said then done. I agree, relinquishing control (or what we feel is control) of our lives is hard. Weather you believe in a God above or not, recognizing that you don't have control over the path you walk is scary and hard. But it's the payout at the end that makes it worth it. You are suddenly free. Free to be you and just allow life to take it's course.

A leader in my church once said "the submission of one's will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God's altar. It is a hard doctrine, but it is true. The many other things we give to God, however nice that may be of us, are actually things He has already given us, and He has loaned them to us. But when we begin to submit ourselves by letting our wills be swallowed up in God's will, then we are really giving something to Him" ("Insights from My Life," Ensign, Aug. 2000, 9).

I was once dealing with my fears and anxieties while serving as a missionary for my church. As I was struggling I was speaking with one of my leaders and he shared with me a scripture that taught me a very important concept. It read's " you know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much my a very small helm in the time of a storm. by being kept workways with the wind and the waves." (D&C 123:16)

Example of a Helm
At the time I knew very little about sailing so the analogy was a little lost on me. I still know very little about sailing but I was taught a little to help me understand by my mission leader. He explained that ships move quickly and easily by being guided with a small helm or rudder, it guides the ship through the waves and helps them chart a course. The phrase workways refers to a head on course, keeping the ship in a direction that makes it possible for the ship to remain afloat and not be capsized by on coming waves. This is not accomplished by turning the ship about. In a true storm a ship has to crest the waves and flow with the waves to keep from being overturned. Ride the swells.

The correlation drawn for me at the time was to keep moving in a forward direction no matter how big the wave appears to be that is coming toward me. I related it to the wave of emotion and anxiety that I was feeling. It applies to almost anything that we feel may be too overwhelming and that could capsize us. The current application for me is my worries. I am borrowing tomorrow's worries to dwell and fixate on today. Thus I am capsizing my ship by running away from the waves rather then facing them in faith. It's a good correlation.

So to wrap this up in the words of the Beatles:
"when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be"

~Katie Jean~

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Don't Give Up What You Want Most For What You Want Now

There are so many dreams I have, so many plans for the future and so many ideas and plans I have right now. Sometimes I have to take things back to the drawing board to remind myself what is most important. I've heard this most often expresses in the phrase eternal perspective.

There was a point in which I was dating someone who I didn't feel was the right fit for me. We fit together better emotionally and mentally than anyone I'd ever met yet spiritually there was a disconnect. I really cared about him but the longer things went on the more I struggled. I wanted so badly to just ignore the consequences and just date him. In the end the words from my mother, "don't give up what you want most for what you want now", were able to bring the perspective I needed. I was able to let go for both of our sakes. I will be grateful for that decision because of the eternal principle it taught. It taught me what I want most, and in the end what I want most is what God wants for me.

I am all about what your viewpoint is, what perspective you're looking at life from, as I hope is evident from my past post's here on this blog. It truly follow's in my heart that God's perspective is really the perspective I am striving to find and see in my own life.

In the LDS bible dictionary it says under the heading Prayer:
 "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings." (italics added by me)

If I truly understand who God is then I want to have a true relationship with him. I, like Christ, seek to do his will and not my own. and thus I will be able to have an eternal perspective.

~Katie Jean~

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Man Of La Mancha

I am performing in the Man of La Mancha at Center Point Theater in Centerville, Utah!

It's a dream come true, I have loved every moment. I play 3rd prisoner on the left (translation, I'm in the ensemble) and I'm loving every minute of it.

Please come and see if your able! Click the picture below to get tickets!
 Click here to get tickets!
I am in the Tues/Thurs/Sat Cast.

Here's the story and my take on it:

A mad man, tilting at windmills. I was skeptical when I was first told the story. The most famous song, "The Impossible Dream" seemed a little too Idealistic. He wanted to overcome all the evil in life and like those surrounding Don Quixote, I was skeptical. We can not overcome some obstacles I thought, he aimed to high, I thought, but what I didn't understand was the true message of the song and the whole story. Though the battle is lost, it doesn't matter, what matters is that it was fought. That someone stood and tried even with the unbeatable odds against him.

I sound like an idealist myself, my head lost in the music and production of The Man of La Mancha. Perhaps that is true, but better to believe in the Impossible dream and hold the dream of success then to live in the world as it is. I get so depressed some times thinking of all the sorrow of life, the pain we all have to go though just by living. The loss, pain, hurt, and truly that is what created Don Quixote. He could not bear the pain of living so he changed what he saw around him. He changed his view. He became "mad" and others fell into his madness, and were better for it, the world around him grew better for it.

Now that is the beauty of the story. The story within the story within the story. The Play is layered so beautifully. The story it begins with the writer Miguel de Cervantes who tell his story to those imprisoned with him as he awaits the Spanish Inquisition. He tell the tale oDon Quixote de La Mancha, whom he becomes in a "entertainment" or play he puts on to tell his tale.

He tells the tale of the mad man. How Don Quixote tilts at windmills and fights evil in his mad mind. It is fascinating to watch as those who listen to his madness, really listen, begin to prefer his view of life rather then the reality around them. I found myself joining his madness, wishing it to be true. He changed the world around him, and by persistence, helped others to change themselves. He changed a poor farmer into a Squire, a serving girl who has seen the worst of humanity into a pure Lady, worthy of every attention. That becomes the third layer of story.

I feel like I could write a book on all the fascinating meanings and ideas that this story explores. I realize that I have gotten on my sop box. I apologize, I just really like this whole thing and agree with so many of the points it gives. If you've borne with me this long, I commend you, I can get a little long winded sometimes.

The main point I wanted to make with this post was just to look at life as it should be, not as it is, because if we look at life as it should be then, like Aldonza the serving girl becoming Dulcinea the high born lady, life will become as it should be.

~Katie Jean~

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Negotiating Relationships

I recently discussed how relationships with those around us are negotiations with others. We are constantly negotiating and defining the terms of our relationships with those around us. We define how close we are, what we share with each other emotionally and physically. Usually as we grow older these things increasingly are discussed  and decided with more then just words.

I've been frustrated with this idea in my life because so much is communicated with those around us through our body language, what our tone of voice is, and so much more. All growing up I heard young adults despair about the dating. I think dating is the perfect example of a negotiated relationship. From the very first iteration you are negotiating the give and take that will define the future of the relationship. You negotiate how much physical intimacy you will have, how quickly you progress. What the action of holding hands or kissing means. Many of these things are defined by our individual preferences and comfort level. This concept of course applies much more than just dating, it applies to family relationships, work relationships and really all aspects of life. It is a give and take between two people.

However, one relationship that I find of greatest importance is less of a negotiation as it is a personal refining. I'm talking about our relationship with God.  We, through prayer and our own actions, negotiate the terms of our lives with God. When you think about the idea that God is consistent (Hebrews 13:8, 2 Nephi 27:23) , that He does not change then you realize that the only thing that is changing, or being negotiated, is you. It's as if you are coming in to negotiate the terms of your surrender with the opposite side of war and realize that the only resistance was yourself. That half of the contract is already drawn up and was always there, the only choices to be made are yours as God has already made his.

In the LDS Bible dictionary under Prayer it says "...Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings...." if it is only our will that changes then truly the purpose of prayer is to refine us. It is to change us, not God.

Prayer and others ways of communication (such as the scriptures and revelation are ways that we communicate with God and define our relationship with Him. What a blessing it is to be have a loving Heavenly Father who helps us understand and better navigate relationships with everyone we meet.

I feel like this new perspective on relationships changes how I view my role in the negotiation. I will be kinder to the requests of others and act in a way that strengthens relationships.

~Katie Jean~

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Love = Worth

What do you love most? What is of greatest worth to you?

This I love, my family.
With Valentines just past I thought it might be a good time to look at love. I recently returned home from serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint's for 18 months. I was away from home and living a schedule that didn't stop or change for holiday's or weekends. I came to notice that holiday's only mattered if I made them matter, event's only had worth for me if I gave them worth.

I submit that worth comes from love. Value and the emotional connection (love) we place on an event or person are almost synonymous with each other.

There is a difference in the kind of love I'm talking about. I need to make that distinction. The love I am talking about is true love. The kind movies and fairy-tails talk about hero's fighting for. It's Charity, as the scriptures define it the "pure love of Christ" (Moroni 7:47). It's the love that provides meaning to our lives and gives worth.

For a moment I'd like to discus charity or the "pure love of Christ" in more detail. A perspective that I recently observed is that Jesus Christ loves on an individual basis. I believe that he know's me, on an individual basis. He loves me best because he knows me best. "We love him because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). I believe also that to love is to truly understand something. The main character in one of my favorite books says it well. He said "I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves" (Enders Game by Orson Scott Card). It is my feeling that Christ loves each individual with that love, Charity, the kind that understands, that suffers long, the kind that means something. It also follows logically that if we are each loved with this love that gives worth then we are each of worth, because of that love.

Yet so many in the world don't feel that kind of love. We don't believe we are of worth. There is a lot of talk about self worth. I think if we focused more on Charity, understanding others, we would find worth because of our love for each other. In this world where understanding is valued so little is it any wonder that we struggle to see worth?

~Katie Jean~

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Look around you, what do you see?

I am beginning a journey and I'd invite anyone and everyone to come along. I want to understand. That is my quest, to understand more of the world around me and then to act on what I learn. From here on out I plan to post my thought's and ideas. I want to share what I begin to understand, what I already understand and what I'm doing about it.

Where do you begin such a quest? What road do you take? Someone once told be the best place to start is right where you are.

So what do you see? I invite you to stop and look at your surroundings. I am sitting in a room full of things that mean something too me. All of these things belong to me and have meaning. I see my two bookshelves and I love them dearly. They have everything raped up in the pages of those books from religion to science fiction to romance and back. Each book has taught me to look at things from a new perspective. I think that's why I love them so much. :) In another corner of the room there is a small group of porcline dolls, each was given to me and each has a story and a name I have given them as I've grown up. I almost feel that they grew up with me. In yet another corner there are two pictures of two women who have played a huge role in who I am and what I want to become. Each of these objects mean something too me. Perhaps the room you sit in is not a full as memories and objects that are personal to you but I'm sure that there is something you see that is important to you.

So the question to ask is why do these things have worth? Why do they mean something? I think it is the way we view them, it is who we are, our view point, our perspective of the object that gives the object meaning and worth. In essence it is how we feel about it and why we feel that way.

I choose for the things in my life to have meaning. I will continue to see the why, to hold onto the why. I will seek to understand the perspectives of the world around us, especially my own.

~Katie Jean~