Mountaintop Covenants

Mountaintop Covenants

Covenants, most often made
on mountains high and grand
are tested in the valleys
full of rocks and mud and sand.

Promises we make so easily
with eternity in view
seem to fade to unimportance
when we only see forward a step or two.

Vows to climb ever onward,
ever upward to the sky
may be forgotten when we face the cliffs
and see their daunting height.

But words are worth too much
to leave behind when times get tough.
They are the lifeline to hold on to
when present sight is not enough.

For who would climb the heights
of cliffs and mountains standing high
if they had not promised to climb them
however many times it took to try?

Who would take another step
into the darkest night
who had not once seen the joys of day
and gave their word to seek the light?

Who would climb the mountains high
and face the valley’s troubles
who had not covenanted to go on
through all life’s rugged struggles?

And who would reach the highest height
and travel through the lowest low?
Those who covenanted to seek the Best,
and follow Him back home.

Excellence in the little things

Written Apr 07, 2018

The title and idea of this poem is one I thought about often on my mission, as I noticed that the missionaries that were the greatest were those who strove to do even the small things as well as they could. This is something I have thought about a lot recently, and it rings true to me. One of my favorite quotes is “Most often it is the sacrifices we make to keep our covenants that sanctify us and make us holy,” by Sister Carol F. McConkie in her conference talk The Beauty of Holiness, and I think that fits perfectly with this poem.

Excellence in the little things

We who seek excellence
In eternity and in forever
Truly seek for excellence
In the little things.

Excellence comes after growing
From grace to grace.
If we never perfect our little virtues,
Perfect excellence will never be our virtue

Each of us, and this whole world
Changes all at once.
The question of excellence, then,
Is a question of how to grow in a storm.

Excellence is acting,
Not reacting.
Excellence is choosing,
Not living others’ choices.

Never shrinking from the fight,
However hard, however small,
Is more important than surviving.
That’s not why we’re here.

We’re here to become excellent,
Little by little, piece by piece,
The small battles, well fought
Truly lead us to our Captain, our Lord.

So fight the good fight,
Never give up,
And always seek for
Excellence in the little things.

Life Lessons Learned on an Ice Skating Rink

I went ice skating this week, and it occurred to me that there are a lot of life lessons that can be learned from some time on the rink:

Life Lessons Learned on an Ice Skating Rink

If you aren’t falling down or coming pretty close, you aren’t trying new things.

When you do fall down, just laugh at yourself and get back up.

When you focus on what other people are thinking of you, you mess up what you try to do.

Rarely, if ever, will you be the best skater in the arena, and that’s okay. There’s room in the arena for amazing people and people still learning how not to fall down.

Don’t forget to have a fun time.

You can look at the amazing skaters and think, “dang, why am I not like that?” Or, you can look at them and think, “what are they doing that I can copy, to be like that, too?”

Sometimes, you try something and it turns into a flailing 720° spin. Some people may look at you and think about how bad a skater you are. Just laugh at yourself and keep on skating.

Nobody in the arena is happy to see you falling down.

There are a couple of different really great moments. The moment you master a trick. The first time you do something hard right. Just feeling the wind in your face. Teaching somebody else how to do something.

You don’t have to be doing the same thing as everybody else to have a really fun time.

When a song comes on that you don’t like, remember that it’s just a couple minutes. When a song comes on that you do like, figure out how to dance with ice skates on.

Don’t forget to laugh at yourself.

He Lived for Us

This poem stuck me as a great one to go along with Alma 34, which I read this week for Come Follow Me. is one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. I especially think about verse 10, where Amulek describes the Atonement as an “infinite and eternal” sacrificed. This has always struck me as odd, because although I certainly see that the effects of Christ’s sacrifice are infinite and eternal, the sacrifice itself seems to have been limited in time and scope. Christ gave up his life, but he was resurrected. He suffered, but He is not suffering now. If any of you have any insight into this, I would love to hear your thoughts. 

One thought I’ve had is that part of the sacrifice that Christ made was sacrificing His life as He lived it to be an example and to be worthy to perform the Atonement. He sacrificed His will entirely and for all eternity, not just in the Garden of Gethsemane when pleading if the cup could pass from Him. 

He Lived for Us

Written on my mission, May 6, 2018

On a mission one spends a lot of time studying and pondering the Atonement. One thing I have been struck with was that Christ didn’t just come down to earth, suffer, die, and resurrect. First, He lived a life. A perfect life. That means that every single choice, every single temptation faced, would have to be faced and overcome perfectly. I can’t imagine the sort of pressure this was on Him, but I am fortunate that because of His perfect life, our lives, though far from perfect now, can become better.

His first steps were not on the road to the hill called Calvary.
His first breath was not taken in the Garden Gethsemane.
His hands were first a carpenter’s hands, before nailed to the cross.
Before He died, our Savior and Redeemer lived for us.
 
Christ was born in Bethlehem, a baby in a manger.
He grew from grace to grace, though to temptation was no stranger.
He always chose the harder right, never the easier wrong.
The Mighty God Jehovah served the weak He was among. 

He taught us how to live our lives, He said, “Come, follow Me.”
He did good long before he died for us on Calvary.
He fulfilled His father’s will in all things from the start,
Until the end, upon the cross, when sin’s pain broke his heart.

He is a man of sorrows, well acquainted with our grief,
But He knew the way to give true healing and relief
Was to be perfect—to bear the weight of the world in every deed.
And when we make His soul an offering for sin, he’ll see His seed.

It’s as if He walked a tightrope over a pit to save a friend—
One misstep and down He’d fall, a poor and unhappy end.
But Christ was perfect! Every step was straight and strong and true
So He could qualify as sacrifice and die for me and you.

He’ll look back, and He can see the travail on His great soul.
But if just one man, through His sacrifice, can be made pure and whole,
He shall be satisfied, His joy in heaven how sublime.
How great a man, my Jesus Christ, how perfect and divine.

God versus the world

God versus the world

The world says: “You need to keep in touch
with your phone as the world keeps turning.”
I say: “I prefer to stay in touch
with God, and His infinite learning.”

The world says: “Seek for wealth and prestige.
Money is what life’s all about.”
I say: “The joy that God gives, you can’t buy,
not for any amount”

The world says: “Power is what you should want,
seek for control and success.”
I say: “God is worth much more to me,
and in Him I’ll find what is best.”

The world says: “Don’t look for more out of life.
Right here and right now is all you need.”
I say: “Happiness and joy in my life
come as God becomes closer to me.”

The world says: “Always put yourself first,
your focus in life should be you.”
I say: “My God told me to go forth and serve
others who need my help, too.”

The world says: “Go, and be true to yourself,
and your dreams of who you want to be.”
I say: “I’d rather be true to Truth,
and God’s greater plans for me.”