Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What Are You Waiting For?

Waiting at the airport. 
Waiting on the train. 
Waiting in line at McDonald’s. 
Waiting in your car. 
Waiting for the pizza guy to show up. 
Waiting for school to end. 
Waiting for a traumatic event to end. 
Waiting for a family. 
Waiting for a promotion. 
Waiting for…etc., etc., etc. 

How much do we spend waiting in this life? 
We are constantly waiting for the next thing to happen, the next to come, the next movie to come out... 
W h a t  i s  t h i s  w a i t i n g  f o r ? 

I think the real question is not what the waiting is for, but what are we doing during these "waiting" periods? 
Are we just sitting around saying:
"When will the next happy moment in my life happen?" 
"Why did this happen to me and when will it stop?" 
"Why do things keep happening to me?" 
"Why do I have to WAIT...AGAIN?"

As I was traveling last year (yes, I have been thinking about this since then) coming home from California (or leaving home, my HB friends might say), I was waiting for my bags at the airport and saw this sign (you could say I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes):

I realized, we, as a society, are always wanting to do SOMETHING while we wait, we even advertise for people to do something in their waiting moments. Even just 5 minutes at the airport. At first, I thought this was a bad thing and wondered why do I need to constantly have my brain working? Can I not just take a breather and wait for my luggage?

But when I pondered on it more, I realized that in life in general, it is not only helpful, 
but v i t a l, 
that we are doing things while we "wait". 

I think the first assumption I had to get rid of was that this life is a constant waiting game...
Waiting for this, waiting for that. 
It does not have to be like that!
I can live life and not feel like 
I am waiting for things to happen to me, for me, etc. 
What I do while I "wait" will really decide my happiness.

Here is my main point: 
Am I constantly waiting for the "next phase" or the "next happy thing" to happen while I am perhaps going through a hard time? 
Do I complain in the midst of this hard time? What is with all the waiting to be happy? Why can I not just be happy now?

Good news! 

We all can be happy now.

Here is an example (a really sub-par one):

If you order a pizza from Pizza Planet and they say it will be delivered in 20 minutes and then it takes 2 hours, what would you do during that time?

Would you... 
complain for that whole 2 hours until the pizza arrives?
cuss the pizza place out for not arriving right on time? 

I assume most of us would call after about 35 minutes and say 
"um hi, where is my damn pizza?"
(okay, maybe most of us would say it in a nicer tone)
We might complain for a second 
and then call to see what the hold up is. 
I doubt most of us would wait and 
complain for a whole 2 hours, that seems excessive, or cuss someone out for just being late...

But do we do this in life? (guilty)
There have been a few times when something 
not my favorite happens to me where 
I will just complain...
and wonder why it is happening... 
and wallow in my bed for weeks or months... 
instead of complaining for a second and then realizing I CAN call the pizza guy to see what the hold up is. 
(In case you did not get that reference, I am talking about God)

As I have come to realize that sitting back and waiting for things to happen does not necessarily work, 
I have had to change my 'tude and 
start to be happy with what I have now...
(thanks, mere)
then maybe I will not feel like I am waiting...
but instead... 
just living life
(a strange concept, I know)

If you clicked on my amazing Ace of Base link above, 
you may have heard these lyrics: 
"No one's gonna drag you up to get into the light where you belong"

I have realized in just this past week that I cannot just sit idly by and WAIT for things to happen to me so I can be truly happy.
I have to just move forward, taking one day at a time. No one else is going to do it for me. Sure, I have my support system: God, family, friends, etc., but they can only give me advice and strength, not the internal courage to wait no more.

Lemony Snicket wisely said, “If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.”

To me, this phrase is two-fold:

One: I know that if I am not ready to give someone or something up, but would prefer to wait it out...then I am miserable, but if I move forward even if I am not quite ready...often I find myself much happier in my day-to-day life and notice that my murmuring and complaining attitude diminishes immensely. We should not have to wait the rest of our lives...that sounds quite painful, agonizing, awful, and blah.

Two: I think some of us feel like there are certain phases in life...I have to WAIT until I do this...before I can do that (I have to wait to be happy until I have a family...I have to wait to date someone until I feel completely happy)...but, as good ole Lemony so smartly says...we are never really ready or prepared for all of the good or bad things that happen in life. We would be waiting forever for a great thing to happen to us if we wait until we are READY to have it happen. Life does not always work like that. 
Although, I will admit, it is appropriate to WAIT to pee UNTIL you get to a bathroom.

So, if you struggle with the same thing (waiting in life, not waiting to pee), here are just 5 of the things I am doing to live life while I am "waiting":

1) I am listening to my wise friends and family and counting my blessings and CHOOSING to be happy.

      -NEWSFLASH: Being happy is a choice. When I count the good things in my life, they far outweigh the bad. Even if you have a huge bad event happening, take a second and seriously count the GOOD things, I bet you will find that you become happier and the hard thing seems a little less hard with each good thing counted.

2) I am murmuring not. (doing my best anyway...)

My dear friend sent me an old talk by Elder Maxwell and he said,

"Murmuring can...be noisy enough that it drowns out the various spiritual signals to us, signals which tell us in some cases to quit soaking ourselves indulgently in the hot tubs of self-pity! Murmuring over the weight of our crosses not only takes energy otherwise needed to carry them but might cause another to put down his cross altogether...if we were not carrying so much else, our crosses would be much lighter. The heaviest load we feel is often from the weight of our unkept promises and our unresolved sins, which press down relentlessly upon us. In any genuine surrendering to God, one says, 'I will give away all my sins to know thee.'"

I realized that complaining about my issues does not do any good. When I let go of the pain, the hurt, the anger, like the quote says, my cross feels a lot lighter to bear. Humility really takes hold. 

3) I am trusting in the Lord and letting him lift and support me.

That same friend sent me Elder Uchtdort's BYU speech entitled 

"The Wind Beneath Your Wings"...he says:

"To stay one more time within the metaphor of flying an aircraft, many things are required to make an airplane fly and fly safely, but the most important thing, as I used to call it, is the 'wind beneath your wings.' Without it, there is no lift, no climb, no flight into the wild blue yonder or to faraway, beautiful destinations.
The Holy Ghost will be the wind beneath your wings, placing in your hearts the firm conviction of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ and His place in the eternal plan of God, your Eternal Father. Through the Holy Ghost you will know your place in this plan and your divine eternal destination."

I think that is pretty self-explanatory, but I just love it. If you need a visual, watch this (quite possibly one of the weirdest videos...):

4) Taking it day by day

If I keep focus on the waiting part of life, the day to day kinda sucks. When we take it day by day and strive to be happy that day,
the "waiting" in turn becomes something great. 

5) Finding activities that make me happy

There are so many things to do in this life that do not involve waiting or complaining all the time! 
(my friend Mere pointed this out to me...)
I started to...
ride my bike to work, 
read before bed (Harry Potter does it again),
read my scriptures every morning
read my Patriarchal blessing every morning,
and clean and organize, which doesn't hurt my stress level either :)
When we find things that make us happy...
 instead of waiting for things to make us happy...

Life can be pretty great.

"...it is in the rooms, not the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in."
-C.S. Lewis

So...What are you waiting forrrrrr?
-Ellie Goulding

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

So here it is, plain and simple...

So here it is, plain and simple...
having anxiety and an over-thinking brain is not fun. 
Constantly wondering what other people are thinking or how you are perceived by others is a heavy load. 

One might think there would be an "off" switch or a least an "all of  our representatives are currently busy, please hold and we will be with you shortly" type of situation.
As it is, there is no "hold" button or "off" switch.

But for the past couple of months I have learned more about what can be done to put the anxiety and over-thinking at bay.

As we get older, we all have different
worries, fears, struggles, etc.

One of my biggest fears is that of people not liking me or thinking I'm quite strange. (which I am, so big deal...) 

...Enter anxiety and over-thinking mode... 

...Enter God, friends, and family...

My wise best friend said to me just the other day,
"You are not as disposable or forgettable as you have been made to feel in the past, or as you may feel about yourself. You are a caring, loving person who shared your incredible personality, humor, and love..."

W o r d s  o f  w i s d o m, r i g h t?

The best way for me to suppress those feelings of anxiety is
 through prayer, scriptures, family, and friends.

This week I was reading through the talk by 
Elder David A. Bednar entitled, 
"Therefore They Hushed Their Fears."
Talk. About. Timing.

He says this:

"In the land of Helam, Alma's people were frightened by an advancing Lamanite army. 'But Alma went forth and stood among them, and exhorted them that they should not be frightened, but...should remember the Lord their God and he would deliver them. 
Therefore they hushed their fears."

He goes on to say this:

"Notice Alma did not hush the people's fears. 
Rather, Alma counseled the believers to remember the Lord 
and the deliverance only He could bestow. 
And knowledge of the Savior's protecting watchcare enabled the people to hush their own fears."

Finding peace in the Atonement has never done anything
 but calm any fear I may have. 
Fear of the future. Fear of people not liking me. 
Fear of not becoming the best I can be.
All of this is fixed (or at least lightened) 
through faith in the Savior and His Atonement.

Elder Bednar says that 
Christ focuses us on our 
heavenly destination.
He says, 
"Thus, we can be bless to hush our fears because His doctrine provides purpose and direction in all aspects of our lives. His ordinances and covenants fortify and comfort in both good and bad. And His priesthood authority gives assurance that the things that matter most can endure both in time and in eternity."


I'm not sure if I am just now learning this
 or if it just means more at the moment.

When my foundation is cemented in Christ, 
my fears are less pronounced.

Elder Bednar says,
"Unlike worldly fear that creates alarm and anxiety, godly fear is a source of peace, assurance, and confidence...
godly fear dispels mortal fears. It even subdues the haunting concern that we never can be good enough spiritually and never will measure up to the Lord's requirements and expectations. In truth, we cannot be good enough or measure up relying solely upon our own capacity and performance...we are made whole only through the mercy and grace available through the Savior's infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice."

Loving Christ perfectly casts out my fears. 
Completely? Not Always.
In a comforting way? Always.
Although I know I cannot be perfect in this life, 
I can still do my best to love God perfectly and let my worldly fears be wrapped up in godly fear.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that my anxiety, fears, etc are a blessing because they allow me to recognize that I literally have to rely on the Lord.

So here it is, plain and simple...
having anxiety and an over-thinking brain is not fun. 
But as it is, they humble me. 
They help me have compassion for others and their difficulties.
They help me apply the Atonement in my life.
In the end, they help me become a better person.

"I promise the bright light of godly fear will chase away the dark shadows of mortal fears as we look to the Savior, build upon Him as our foundation, and press forward on His covenant path with consecrated commitment."

In simpler terms...


will turn to...


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Semana 2-I think I got spider bites.

And so my mission blog continues (10 years later...)

Hello Family & Friends!!

   So happy to be able to write to you right now! I can't believe it's been 2 weeks...but I also can't believe it's been two weeks. It feels like forever...but really I have a long time to go. This week was even better than the last. I've learned even more about charity towards my companions. We are all three so different. I was pretty much having an anxiety attack because I felt like I'd be missing so much by not being able to go to class. But I had to learn that it was about my companion being sick and needing to rest. In reality, it gave me more time to study and learn the language. They always tell us to study the scriptures and Preach My Gospel during personal study and learn the principles we are teaching first in English, then learn certain phrases and words for that particular lesson. It has worked out so much better that way. I think we had our best lesson with our "investigator" (she's actually our teacher...). But playing a 53 year old woman who is catholic with older kids and an atheist husband. We definitely taught more by the Spirit and I can actually teach and know what they are saying in Spanish. YES!!!
   I got the package!! Thank you so much!! It's seriously the best to get packages and mail while here. It's good to know there are still people outside of this MTC bubble. My eyes were starting to get sore from using toilet paper to wipe my makeup off...so thank you for the cotton balls, they are muuuch smoother on my eyes! 

   My time management has gotten immensely better. (weird, I know). I get stressed every time we are late to something. I'm changing already. Don't worry though, I've already voiced my opinion and we are all working together on being on time to everything. Thank goodness. I know this will help me in the future instead of being lazy and never planning anything. haha.

   So something funny, last week I told you that some of the missionaries in my zone like saying my age to me all the time. (as a joke, obviously). But last week I was playing the piano for a district because they were singing in sacrament meeting on Sunday and one of them goes "hey, let me know if your arthritis acts up while you are playing for us." hahaha. I seriously love these Elders. They are the best. Our zone leaders are so great also. Sunday was our first real Sunday here. I played the piano for sacrament meeting. It was good to get back on the keys. It was cool to have sacrament with just our zone. My branch president is President Nelson. He is awesome. The counselors and their wives are so great and so welcoming. OHHH. I talked to President Brown! (MTC President). I told him I was from Frankfort and he said the next time I write you to have me tell you to say "Hi!" to Doug Fredin. He was speaking very highly of him. So just wanted to let you know. I have two bites on my arm. I might be either allergic to my watch or I got spider bites. Either way, they look disgusting. That is all.

   This week was great in the visiting speakers department. We had Jean A. Stevens, 1st counselor in the Primary General Presidency, come to Relief Society. So awesome! She talked about every soul mattering to God and we are doing a great work. We also had Julie B. Beck come to the fireside on Tuesday night. She and her husband spoke. So great. Her husband went to Italy on his mission. (whoo Christine & Matt...you'll love this!) He said there were only 10 members of the church in Rome 40 years ago. Crazy! And now they are building a temple. Way to go Italy! Julie Beck told us 3 things: 1) Love your companion; 2) Love the people; 3) Love your president. I hope I can do all of these things. Praying for charity is really helping!

   Mom, to answer your question, I do get to work out everyday! (except P-day). And by workout, I mean I play four-square. But it gets intense and I'm pretty sure I get a work out because I'm really sore every day from it. This might not be a good thing, but gym is like one of my favorite times. Mostly because if I'm stressed throughout the day, it's definitely a good stress reliever. I did get a little sick last week, but I took tons of airborne and vitamin C. It didn't hinder me at all. I still have kind of a cough...but I feel juuust fine. I put hand sanitizer on my hands like every second. It's gross to think about how many hands touch the doors I am going in and out of every day. 

   Let's just say I am so grateful for you, family. In talking to one of my companions a couple of nights ago, I realized I have such a good family life. I am so grateful for your support of me and love in the things I choose to do. She hasn't heard from her family the whole time she's been in here, so it's definitely an interesting situation. I'm just so grateful for you guys!

   My two room mates (not in my zone or district) left this morning! So sad! We got along so well and they were the best girls! They got their visas so they headed off to the Peru MTC. So we will probably get new roommates next Wednesday when the missionaries come in. It's so funny to see the new missionaries come in, I'm like they have no idea what is about to happen. haha. Even though we've only been here two weeks, we still look upon the new missionaries as being SO NEW. It's crazy how much you learn in just two weeks! Mel B-I wrote you a letter but I forgot your address so I sent it to 521 21st St. If this is not right, I'd go to their house and see if they got a letter from an M. Erickson. haha. sorry about that!

   I love hearing from everyone! Thanks for the letters and I will write real letters this afternoon! The picture thing was broken yesterday so I haven't been able to print pictures yet...I will when I get a chance. 

Love you all so much!!

Hermana Erickson aka Marth

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mission, Mission, What a Decision

Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission

The time has come to document my mission electronically.  I want the pictures and the letters together in one spot so that I can reminisce as much as I would like. 

I would not be who I am today without my mission, so my blog might as well have everything on it. I also have not read these since I have been home, so I am preparing for a roller coaster of emotions.

For the most part I am going to write the letters word for word, but these were to my family, so some editing might occur.


It's been so hard not to be able to write you back! We didn't get a P-day in our first week, but it was still great. I hope everyone is doing well. I think about you all the time. BUT the MTC is so wonderful. Christine and Craig dropped me off last Wednesday. Missionaries were crowding the sidewalks to greet all the incoming ones. It was a bit intense, but they were all nice and helped me with my bags. We went to my room, dropped off my stuff and then headed straight to get my books and other necessities. I went straightaway to class and met my companion there. Her name is Hermana Alvey. She is from Las Vegas. She just turned 21 and has never lived away from home. So we are a bit different on that front. She is really nice, and I am learning a lot from her. She knows way more about the Scriptures and has really been helping me with my Spanish. We had 2 other sisters in our district, but one moved up to intermediate, so we got another companion and now I'm in a three some. 
(I'm going to interject here as me in the present and say why would I phrase it like that?)
The other sister is Hermana Renteria. She is from Ventura, CA and is great. She is 22. I am mostly used to being by myself, so it's interesting having to bring two people with you every time you want to get up to get a kleenex or walk to the bathroom.  But I love them both and we are for sure learning a lot from each other. 

The Spanish is going better than I expected. I know how to pray (mostly). I'm like a 5-year old saying the most simple prayers. Sometimes I speak spanglish. We have already taught 3 lessons to our "first investigator" and today will be our fourth. We are teaching in Spanish...but we mostly committed her to reading the Book of Mormon.  This time we are talking about the Atonement.  This is my favorite topic, so it'll be easier to talk about and give some experience.  Our teacher is Hermano Jimenez. He is wayyyy intense.  He wants us to mostly know everything in 3 weeks so that we can practice, practice, practice in the last 6 weeks. Eeek. But it's good to have someone motivate us to learn quickly. 

I haven't become huge yet. It's weird not eating snacks at night and such. Three meals a day, that's it. And you all know how picky I am so sometimes I just eat a PB&J sandwich. But it's a good one. I get to eat white bread. We eat dinner at 4:30 so it's definitely earlier than normal, somehow I'm not hungry at night. 

The schedule hasn't been as hard to adjust to as I thought. It's nice having it mapped out and knowing what I'm doing with my day the night before. We get up at 6:30 and go to bed by 10:30. I'm normally in bed by 10:20 because, well, frankly, I'm tired. But I know I have outside help here. Never before would I have been able to keep this schedule without being completely wiped out. It's been amazing having that extra strength. I pray all the time here. We pray before and after everything and we do companion and personal prayer always. I love it. It's bringing me so much closer to God. I thought I knew what having God help me out is like...but let me tell you, I didn't. 

Conference was amazing. It's hard to see the sisters among all the elders when we are all crowded into the big gym, so it's so spiritual to see all those young men in their suits ready to hear the words of the Lord. How many times did they mention missionary work? I loved it! It took on a whole new meaning when I am wearing the name badge with Jesucristo. I loved Elder Eyring's talk. His emotions always get the best of him, but I can feel the Spirit so strong when he talks. I heard Elder Holland gave an amazing talk at Priesthood session. I'll need to get a copy of that once the ensign comes to the bookstore here. 

Oh, we also had to clean the showers for a first service time and it was sicko. I think I almost barfed. There was so much hair in the drains. (Christine, you warned me of this...the warning did not do it justice...haha) Anyway, it was good to be able to help clean our floor and bathrooms!

It's hard to think what else to say when I only have half an hour. I'm sad I missed Grandpa's graveside service. I'm glad it went well though. I know he is having a grand old time with his friends Chuck and Chuck right now! I don't have much time left. eek. I'm writing letters later this afternoon so I can try and write more then. 

Dad and Mom-Thanks for all the dear elders, I love them!! I have a smile on my face every time I get a letter. I love you so much. Thanks for all of your support and love. If you have any questions, let me know and I'll answer them! Week one has definitely felt like year one. I feel like I've been here so long already, and I definitely don't feel like I am anywhere near Provo. I went to the temple this morning. It was amazing. I'm loving it and I'm doing great. I can't wait to hear back from you guys! I'll write again in a week! Hopefully this letter wasn't too dull. I'm still funny, don't worry. I'm the class clown of our district. hahaha. Just kidding. Did I mention I love my district? They are the best Elders here!! so wonderful! We all have different stories and I love them already! I only have 28 seconds. I love you so much!! I pray for you every night.

Love you,
Hermana Erickson

The lovely Hermana Alvey. 

District, big heart. 

first week official.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Spiritual Sunday: Generational Gap

Is it me, or am I getting old?

Every Sunday when I meet with the Young Women, I see more and more how much has changed even since I was in high school. 
(which was really not THAT long ago...)

I have seen the changes technology has 
had on the lives of the youth. 
Both good and not so good.

I was thinking today how innocent most of us were 
when we were 12, 13, 14...
(maybe that was just me?)
And today the young women are not that innocent. 

They look more grown up.
They act more grown up.

It's scary how much is out there, how much they are in the know.

I remember one of my wise institute teachers taught us that the way to protect children is by 
reading the scriptures and praying daily.  

I really feel like I want to make sure my young women are doing so.
I feel so responsible for them and want them to know how much their decisions now will affect their later lives. 

First things first, I have to do the things that I teach them. 
I made a goal a few months back to 
read my scriptures for at least a 1/2 hour a day.
Things got shaky for awhile there, 
but I'm back on track 
and have been doing that for at least the past 2 weeks. 
I've felt so much happier.
It's crazy how much I can forget that 
those are the things that make me happy 
and help me be that example for these girls.

I've also been reading my favorite spiritual-guide book 
(and most recommended)
by Ardeth G. Kapp
This book can bring anybody out of a stupor. 

As I realize that I have to teach 
these girls things that I've learned and 
help them feel the Spirit and 
help them become converted...
it can become a bit overwhelming.

But I know that as I try and live the things that I teach, that the Spirit will help them understand in their own way.
I need to be in tune so that they can be.

I can tell how much they look up to me 
(not in a braggy sort of way)
and it makes me want to be a better person
and better example for them.
What a blessing it is to serve them right now.

Speaking of becoming a better person...
Tonight at the SED 
(in the old days this was just a plain old fireside)
we watched this video:

What a wonderful kid.
Such an example of friendship and service.

"There is no spirit but what was pure and holy when it came here from the celestial world...
H e   i s   t h e   f a t h e r   o f   o u r   s p i r i t s; 
and if we could know, understand, and do his will, 
every soul would be prepared to return back into his presence 
and when they get there 
they will see that they had formerly lived there for ages
that they had previously been acquainted with every nook and corner, with the palaces, walks and gardens; 
and they would embrace their father, 
and he would embrace them and say, 
'My son, my daughter, I have you home again.' 
And the child would say, 
'Oh my father, my father, I am here again.'"

If only every person could know where they came from.
Maybe we'd be more willing to help others... 
and sacrifice our "1st place" to help them get their "82nd"

For now, I'm trying my best to at least help 
my young women understand this.
I'm learning each day to trust more and more in the Lord and hopefully am helping them to do the same.
(even if I am just a tad bit older than them...)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday


We all think every day, right? 
Sometimes it's about trivial things, 
sometimes it's about life's most important moments or decisions.
Sometimes I just think about what 
outfit I might wear the next day...
or perhaps if I need to buy some more cheez-its.
Maybe I sometimes think about reading Harry Potter yet again.
Or what will happen on my favorite dramatic shows this week.

But most importantly...
I've been thinking about my life and the way it has gone so far.
I've had probably the hardest year of my life.
I constantly analyze and wonder if I had done just one or two things differently...
maybe that would have changed the outcome?
Maybe I'd be happier now?

I've learned that analyzing doesn't help anything 
(even though I still do it on daily basis...oops).
I have had to put more trust in God than ever before. 
I served in Argentina for a year and half 
and yet in the year and a half I've been home...
my faith has had its fair share of tests.

I honestly do not know what God's plan is for me 
with regards to many things. 
I've had to learn that that is okay for now. 
I just have to keep on going each day. 
Being happy. Trying new things.
Making schedules and goals.
Spending time with family.
Trusting that there is a great plan, 
even if I don't quite see it.

I like to know how things end. 
I look up movie endings.  
I look up TV series endings.  
I look up book endings.  
I want to to know how they all end.
If there is an ending to something, 
you can count on me to look it up.
The one ending I can't look up is my own. 

So, I can either sit around and wait and wonder when things will happen...
or live life and trust that it will end happily, 
just as many things do.

The latter sounds like the better option.

I may not know my ending, but I can know and control what happens until then.

So on this Thoughtful Thursday, 
I will worry a little less 
and think about adjusting my sails a little more.