Thoughts on some New Testament stories

So this was a simple weekly assignment we have for our Pearl of Great Price class where we are asked to write a 600 word paper about our feelings about what we read during the week. I liked it so I thought I'd put it up here. (Note: I am not nor ever will be an English major so don't judge my writing skills :) 

Thought Paper            September 22, 2015             Eliza Shumway   Word Count: 664
                In my studying of the scriptures over this last week I’ve been reading in a few different places throughout the standard works. I’ve studied out of the book of Luke in the New Testament, Jacob through Mosiah in the Book of Mormon and the book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. In this paper I will discuss my feelings about my readings in the New Testament.
Reading and studying the scriptures daily has become something necessary for me to do first thing in the morning – along with sincere prayer - and throughout the day so that I am able to do happily everything else I need to do in my busy life. I have found that without proper scripture study and prayer in the morning, I am less motivated and excited about doing school work and anything else. My productive day doesn’t start until my scripture reading and prayer have been done properly.  
                Luke shares of many of Christ’s miracles He performed, the parables He told, and the lessons He taught. Among many favorite scriptures during this week’s reading of chapters 7 through 9, 21 and 22 are the parable of the sower and healing the woman with the issue of blood in chapter 8.
                The Parable of the Sower has always been of special interest and importance to me. On my mission (to Portugal!) I would think about this parable a lot while evaluating the progress of my investigators and recent converts. I would pray that they would be ‘falling on good earth’ and that their testimonies would grow and develop over time; that they wouldn’t be offended and leave the church quickly or not put God first (the seed falling on stony ground or among thorns). This week in church however, the speaker in Sacrament Meeting talked about this parable. He helped me realize that not only does this parable apply to recent converts but of course applies to me, and those of us who have been in the church for a long time, there are no time limits on when those seeds are being planted- or when we are receiving the words of God. I always need to be on my look out to make sure that as I am receiving the word of God that it is being planted on good ground, taking care that I am not offended or putting anything in more importance than Heavenly Father and Christ.
                Christ’s healing of the woman with the ‘issue of blood’ is always a tear-jerker for me because of what He said to her (in verse 46) – “Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” The word ‘virtue’ comes from the word virtus, meaning power. Normally associated in the church with a young man or usually a young woman’s righteous moral character, Christ using this word as a synonym for power is very meaningful to me. Even though Christ probably meant it to mostly exclusively mean “power”, the view of virtue meaning chastity to me all becomes the same thing: virtue is power and is chastity.  

                I truly love reading about what the Savior did in his daily life during his earthly ministry. Reading the New Testament, especially the passages before his Crucifixion and Resurrection, where we get to know Him almost personally is where I like to go to read and ponder when I feel like I miss Him. In the Portuguese language there is a word that better fits this emotion I feel when I miss Him: that word is saudade. Even though most of us have never met Him personally in this life, me included, saudade is what I feel which to me is the longing for the feeling of comfort that His physical presence surely brings. So, for me, reading in the four gospels in the New Testament helps me feel closer to Him when I’m feeling that saudade.


Learning Lessons

I've been learning how to be in better control over my money. I'm using a cool budgeting site made by Dave Ramsey (I'm also reading his Total Money Makeover book which is awesome) called everydollar.com. I'm more content in my life right now, and it's making a difference with my spending. I also leave my debit card at home which helps most :) I hardly eat out anymore, I have plenty of clothes (I've spent hundreds of dollars at American Eagle Outfitter's -clearance- since being home from my mission...) and I'm suddenly super excited about saving the most money possible. I wish I had had this change of heart many months ago! One day I got on my bank account and added up the amount of money I'd spent at each store that was listed on there... and I wasn't happy with what I'd done with it all.. So many little purchases (mostly food and AEO silly me) added up to SO much and I had saved hardly any of it compared to what I had earned.  So needless to say I'm being a lot more careful, saving 50%, usually more, of my paycheck and being happy with what I already have. And I've sold a lot of my too-many clothes to Plato's Closet.

I've loved serving at the Timpanogos Temple as an ordinance worker! I went through the training process really slowly (I started working in March and even though all of May it was closed I just barely finished my training) but now I'm fully trained on everything and I can substitute for people on other days (mostly just Saturdays) I've been feeling the peace from the Holy Ghost so much more in my life. I also have been listening to the scriptures on my gospel library app on and off all day as work lets me. I finished the last few chapters of Alma and then through til the end of the Book of Mormon in two days from listening and reading along when I could. I'm starting a Pearl of Great Price class once I get up to BYU-Idaho (less than a month away!! SO EXCITED) so I started listening to and reading along to that today and I'm already in the middle of the book of Abraham. I love how much of the temple video comes from the Pearl of Great Price! So wonderful. :) I love feeling the Spirit this much in my life! I have tried to get rid of things that waste my time or that are light-minded (the app called Vine was a bad time consumer for me so I got rid of that). I also haven't spent so much time listening to the news... which I do feel is important to do occasionally but I've become better (and happier) already by shifting my focus to the scriptures.


Tuning into God

This is such a wonderful video. I guess I haven't seen it before because it is a little bit older.
I know that the Spirit is real. He has been with me every day of my life, even though many times I could not or would not hear Him. He comforts me when I make the choice to slow down, calm down, and listen to Him. Believing that all of this is real is a choice. I've learned that it's all so easy. We choose to either believe in God, or we can choose to not believe in God. Whichever choice we make won't change the fact that He is there. It only changes us.


Being Home

Hey friends!
Well this is my first post on here since being back from my mission, about nine months or so. Haven't even really visited this blog except briefly a few times. Turns out I had like 21 page views from people in Russia last week though... haha what.
It's been great to live at home with my awesome family for these few months. I did one online class through BYU-Idaho and finished my associates degree in science. I'm heading back up there to do two more years of school then I should be done with my degree in Microbiology. I'm super excited!!
I've learned a lot in the last few months since being back from Portugal. I have loved living with my family constantly laughing with them. I'm learning how hard it is to keep up the missionary habits of sincere and dedicated scripture study and prayer and exercise, but I'm working on bringing those habits back and having the Spirit of the Lord be more present and powerful in my life. That's my number one goal right now.
I've learned a lot about relationships with others. I've met a lot of wonderful people and have grown to love and appreciate them. Even though none of my relationships with any one young man have worked out yet, (because I'm not married or engaged obviously) I've learned a lot from each one and am thankful for them. The thing that's been the hardest for me, I think, is growing to really like someone and becoming best friends with them, but knowing it's not going to progress to marriage and having to end the relationship.. uuug. It's frustrating but hopefully someday something will work out to where we won't have to break up forever :)
I love listening to amazing people on the radio like Glenn Beck and his co-hosts, Rush Limbaugh and Dave Ramsey. I admire their bravery in standing up for what's right even though it's not easy.
The world is literally going insane. I get downhearted and sad a lot when I see what's going on in the media and what's happening to us as Americans and people all over the world.  So far the only thing that makes me feel better is making sure I make time for scripture study in the morning and night and prayer and listening to uplifting music... I like to stay informed with what's happening in the world but it can get pretty depressing, but a balance of God's word with the 'worldly' words helps me stay happy and hopeful. I'm so thankful that I have the gospel to guide, strengthen and comfort me now and throughout my life. It's just up to me to live and share it.

anyway here are some pictures to update this blog a little:

Noah's doing well in Mozambique, he gets home in October!!

My three very best friends got married, one while I was on my mission and the other two in the last month or week:

and her sister McCall :)

and Summer!  

Thanks for reading, hope to be better at updating this :)