Thursday, October 30, 2008


It's kind of an interesting word, don't you think? Behold- the way they say "look" in the scriptures. The dictionary definition goes like so:

behold |biˈhōld|
verb ( past and past part. -held |-ˈheld|) [ trans. ] [often in imperative ] archaic or poetic/literary
see or observe (a thing or person, esp. a remarkable or impressive one)

Nothing too remarkable about that. But here's where it gets cool:

ORIGIN Old English bihaldan, from bi- [thoroughly] + haldan [to hold.]

Now that's something to think about. It is if you're a word nerd like me, anyway. A lot of times we use "behold" as a very passive verb (I could get technical here, but I'll spare you the transitive/intransitive blah blah blah), but I don't think it is.



But more than just that, really see something, look beyond the paint, see past the brushstrokes, and grasp on to the meaning of the painting. Emotion is what reaches off the wall and grabs your attention. Feel what the subject is feeling. One of the most popular scenes in religious art is the Annunciation. Usually I'm not much of a fan of these scenes, with their pious blue-clad Mary, lilies in a vase, and bowing angels with gaudy wings.
I imagine it a little differently. In my mind, the scene looks a little more like this:I imagine a timid Mary, startled by the presence of a heavenly messenger. I imagine she felt stunned as Gabriel told her that she had been chose to carry the Child who would someday save us all. I think she must have been a little afraid to take such a responsibility on her young shoulders. But Mary accepted this amazing calling. I say accepted because I believe she did have a choice. She could have turned away, she could have given in to her fears, she could have said NO.

She didn't. The master painters always portray Mary with that same gentle smile. She glows with patience, love, and most of all, an inner strength. She held Christ in her arms. He, the Savior of the World, was dependent on her for His every need. She accepted that incredible responsibility with a grace that I can only begin to imagine.


Look a little closer. Think a little deeper. Put yourself there, breathe the air, see the sky, be a part of it. Behold the pure white glow of the lilies. Behold the tenderness of Mary. Behold the hesitance of Gabriel.

Behold how much He loves you. Behold how much He wants you to come unto Him.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Going Under?

Sometimes I feel like I'm barely staying on top of all the things I have to do, barely making the cut, barely staying a float. And I'm pretty good at floating. But this college business... it's hard! I think I need about 8 more hours in a day! But my clock doesn't usually agree. Cue the sinking feeling...

After realizing what a crazy busy week was awaiting me, I was ready my scriptures last night. I was reading through Matthew yet again and came upon some scriptures in Matthew 14: 27-32:

" 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased."

Sometimes when I get super busy like now, I feel like I'm sinking just like Peter. I get so busy watching my feet and trying to make all my deadlines that I forget the important stuff, like my family or my goal to be more kind. Everything gets out of whack and I begin to focus solely on my own safety, just like Peter. But when I remember where my focus really should be, it helps put everything into perspective. And I know that Christ loves me and will keep me above water when I feel like I'm going under. Jesus will stretch out His hand and lift me up to where I belong.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's Official

I would like to hereby
announce publicly
that I have

After teetering on the edge for over a year, trying to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life, I have made a major step forward. At least now I know what my major is.

No longer shall I be a Pre-Humanities Major. I didn't like that. It sounds too much like preschool. From today forward I shall officially be known as a Humanities Major w/ English Literature Emphasis and a Minor in Editing.

I would also like to hereby publicly announce that I'm pretty sure this is the most amazing major/minor combination ever. It is incredibly interesting. I love it. Everything comes together in the coolest ways. I find myself using principles of linguistics that I've learned in my editing classes in my humanities essays all the time and learning the etymology of the the English Language has really helped in my study of Spanish, my foreign language of choice, which is part of the Humanities Major. Sweet, huh?

"I'm Majoring in Humanities with an emphasis in English. I'm also working toward a Minor in Editing."

It sounds official. It IS official. I like this official business.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Caught In Suspension

Have you ever felt like your falling, but not really going anywhere at all?

It seems like the past few weeks have been like that. Not that anything is going wrong, or that I have a terrible life, or anything even remotely depressing like that. I'm actually quite content with my life. Not only am I happy right now, but I have a lot of things to look forward to: going home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, going to India next summer, some of my best friends get home from their missions in February, March, and June, two of my best friends are awaiting their mission calls, and I get to sleep in tomorrow. The future has the potential to be amazing. It's up to me to look at it that way. Life is good.

But still... I've just felt a bit unsettled of late, like I'm falling, but still managing to stay in the air. I'm not sure how exactly that works. I really do feel like I'm "caught in suspension" (Oh how I love the lyrical genius of Mae). Something is holding me, keeping me from crashing, but I'm not sure exactly what that something is. Maybe I'm feeling all of this because I don't really know where I'm headed. A lot of my friends have these amazing "Five Year Plans" or know exactly what they want to do for a career. I don't. I have goals, and I have dreams, and I have a lot of ideas, but I'm kind of taking things one step at a time right now. And I think I'm okay with that.

I can deal with this unsurity (which is not a word, but it should be) because I'm not the only one who has ever felt this way. I believe that even our Savior, Jesus Christ felt unsure at times. We've been studying the differences in the word choice between the Gospels in my New Testament class and I found one example particularly intriguing. In Luke's account of Christ's baptism, the wording is slightly different than in the other Gospels. Rather than the voice of God speaking to the multitude saying, "This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17) the Father says, "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased" (Luke 3:22). This slight difference in wording totally changed my perspective on the story. In Luke's account, it sounds like before this moment, Jesus may not have known that He was the literal Son of God. We know Jesus was a very spiritual child, but this could have been the first time that He truly realized what His mission on this earth would be.

Talk about unsurity.

How jarring would it be to go from living your life as a carpenter in the quiet village of Nazareth to being the Savior of the World? To go from living the Jewish Law to having a power that goes above and beyond that law? To learn that your life would end in agony on a cross in order to save the world, even those who crucified you?

He had a choice. This life is all about choices. He chose to give up His life for the sake of us all.

My unsurity doesn't seem like such a big thing anymore. I can deal with it. I can learn from my mistakes and try something different. And if nothing else, I have a loving brother who has suffered all things so He can better understand my trials. He cares about my problems, no matter how small, and He loves me no matter what.

And I am totally sure about that.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

He Was Just a Nobody

We just finished studying the Gospel of Mark in my New Testament class here at Brigham Young University. I love the Bible, I love the language of the King James Version, and I love the stories about our Savior. But I must admit, I probably don't know as much about the Bible as I should. Going through the list of books in the Bible, I always just thought Mark was one of the Twelve Disciples. But he wasn't.

That may not seem like a significant fact, but it meant something to me. And it is significant, because it shows that Mark was the true author of that particular Gospel - there's no reason to attribute those writings to him because he isn't a significant character in the story of Christ. But his story is significant. Mark also wrote his Gospel with very little skill in Greek, keeping a lot of the words that Jesus spoke in Aramaic, His native tongue. Mark wasn't extremely well educated. He wasn't one of the chosen twelve. He was just a man who followed the teachings of Jesus and made a record of Jesus' story. And just look at what a difference he made! The Gospel of Mark is the most detailed narrative of the Atonement, Crucifixion, and Resurrection that we have.

Mark was nothing more than a humble follower of Jesus Christ. He wrote the words of his friend, Peter, and the result is an amazing book of scripture.

That idea makes me look at this blog a little differently. I know that the things I write will never become canonized scripture or anything even remotely like unto it, but I can share my testimony of the Savior, just like Mark.

I'm feeling very grateful today. I'm at a wonderful university with wonderful friends who truly care about me. I have wonderful parents who set a great example for me. I have a testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ. I believe that He lives. I know He loves me, personally. I know that He cares about each one of us here on the earth and that He truly does know our pains and sufferings. The Atonement allowed Jesus to redeem us from our sins as well as feel our pains, 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." (Alma 7:12) This is one of my favorite, favorite scriptures. I love it. Succor means "run to." What an amazing statement. Christ suffered so He could better understand our sufferings and run to our aid at the times we need Him most. Even if we're like Mark, simple a believer who is willing to share their testimony with the world.