“We must pay a price for everything we get, whether of a temporal or spiritual nature, and we generally get about what we pay for. If, for instance, I should purchase a suit of clothes, in order to get the best material, the best style, and the proper fit, I must pay a higher price than if I am satisfied with a suit made of shoddy material and poor workmanship. Likewise if I desire to purchase a home, an automobile, or whatever it may be. If I seek intellectual values, I must pay the price by study, research, by devoted effort and ofttimes sacrifice. The same is true of spiritual values. One cannot expect to inherit eternal life if he is not willing to pay the price and to do the things required for such salvation and exaltation.” -Joseph Anderson
To say that my dad is a major baseball fan would be putting it lightly. And it took until kiddo #6, but my dad finally got himself a serious baseball player. Even though he’s only 8, Owen is quite the little slugger. I went to a few of his games this year and it was so fun to see him get into “game mode.”
Owen is really good at listening to his coach (who happened to be my dad this year) and making necessary adjustments. And like any other player, he dreams of hitting home runs. There was one game in particular when he was especially determined to hit the ball all the way into the outfield. My mom and I were sitting in the bleachers keeping score, and Owen ran to us from the dugout exclaiming, “This is it! I’m going to hit a home run this time!”
His age group plays with a machine pitcher and it had been having some problems that night. The pitches were unpredictable and the kiddos were having a hard time hitting the ball at all. Some balls came high over the batter’s head, others rolled across the plate. Some came at a wicked speed and others seemed suspended in air.
But Owen was determined and he went right up to home plate and began his pre-batting ritual. He was even wearing his batting glove so he was ready to go. He got into the correct position and then came that first pitch. He had a great swing, but the machine sent him a crazy pitch and he missed.
Immediately he looked to my dad.
“It’s okay. Scoot back a little bit.” My dad helped him get into the correct position and then sent the next ball.
Another swing, and another miss.
And again, Owen’s eyes went straight to my dad.
“It’s okay, get ready for the next one.”
Owen did that little hop he always does to get his feet in the right spots and got ready for the next ball.
And he missed for a third time.
Owen’s age group is allowed 5 pitches, but I could tell he was getting nervous. He looked again to my dad, who helped him get his hands on the right spot on the bat.
The 4th pitch came and went. The pitches were all over the place and though he was close, Owen just couldn’t hit the ball.
“Last pitch, buddy. Make it count!”
Owen did everything he could. He made sure he was standing correctly and that his grip on the bat was right. He looked at my dad one last time and then locked his eyes on the pitching machine.
The ball came and he swung.
But he still missed.
He walked back to the dugout and it was easy to see that he felt defeated. He had walked to that plate with such high hopes of hitting that home run. And not only did he not score a run, he didn’t even hit the ball.
Sometimes I go into a situation ready to hit a home run. But I swing, and I miss. And so many times, I don’t even hit the ball.
But the important thing is to do exactly what Owen did and immediately look to my Father.
Just like my dad did, Heavenly Father can tell us what adjustments we need to make in order to be prepared to hit the next ball. And even if we miss, He cares that we’re trying.
He doesn’t expect us to hit a home run every time. He doesn’t even expect us to hit the ball every time. As long as we keep looking to Him, and make the adjustments He instructs us to, someday we’re going to hit that home run.
“Each of us has a part to play in the plan, and each of us is equally valued in the eyes of the Lord. We should remember that a loving Heavenly Father is aware of our righteous desires and will honor His promises that nothing will be withheld from those who faithfully keep their covenants. Heavenly Father has a mission and plan for each of us, but He also has His own timetable. One of the hardest challenges in this life is to have faith in the Lord’s timing.” -Bonnie L. Oscarson
“The answers to our prayers come in the Lord’s due time. Sometimes we may become frustrated that the Lord has delayed answering our prayers. In such times we need to understand that He knows what we do not know. He sees what we do not see. Trust in Him. He knows what is best for His child, and being a perfect God, He will answer our prayers perfectly and in the perfect time.” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I believe in a loving Heavenly Father. And I believe that He finds little ways (and not so little ways) every single day to show that love for us. I like to call those individualized evidences “love notes from God.” The things we care about are important to Him, simply because they matter to us, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they may be. I promise that if you will just look, you will find examples of God’s love for you. Sometimes those love notes are small. Like when I got to sit by and hold the cutest baby on a flight this summer. Just that day I had been talking about how much I love babies and how long it had been since I held one. Yeah, I could call it a coincidence, but I choose to call it a love note from God. So many times this summer, in classes, meetings, and activities that were planned for hundreds of people, there was a message that was meant just for me. Love note from God every time.
“I would charge you to say again and again to yourselves, as the Primary organization has taught the children to sing “I am a [son or a daughter] of God” and by so doing, begin today to live closer to those ideals which will make your life happier and more fruitful because of an awakened realization of who you are.” -Harold B. Lee
9 weeks!?! This summer has been crazy awesome and this was a good way to end it. This week was another stay-at-home session so it was fun to be able to hang out with the other counselors at night. I was one of the counselors in charge of the musical program, so I was worried that I wouldn’t see them much, but we bonded in a unique way this week. Basically all of my kiddos ganged up on me and tried to make me pass out as many times as possible. Even my co-counselor was in on the planning. I’m pretty much the human version of a fainting goat, so they thought scaring me was pretty funny. This was another one of those weeks where I would get talking to the kids and forget that they’re not my age. Maybe it’s because I’m still a 15-year-old at heart.
I wasn’t supposed to work this week, but I got called in just a couple of days before this session started. Provo usually isn’t my favorite place to work just because there are so many people, but it was fun to see so many counselors again, as well as a few of my EFY kiddos from last year. My girls this week were a hoot and I’m glad I got to be with them. They would pray about the cutest things (like clouds during games night–which totally happened). It was a pretty chill week, compared to the rest of the summer. One of the craziest parts of a session in Provo are the classes because there are so many to choose from and they are in different buildings all over campus. This week was especially insane because Brad Wilcox and Hank Smith were both teachers and all of the kids wanted to go to their classes. Kids were sprinting to get to classes and a lot of people were frustrated that it got kind of out of control, but come on, how cool is it that these kids were running to a class to learn more about the gospel?!?! Definitely a “problem” I’m willing to deal with.
This was my first “stay-at-home” session, meaning the kids go home at 9pm every night at come back at 9am. My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t get to know the kids as well because I feel like that hour before lights out is when I get to have the most one-on-one time with them. But I ended up bonding with these kids so much. From cinnamon roll hugs every night to learning how to catch whipped cream in our mouths, I couldn’t love them more. We laughed and cried together so many times this week. I felt so strongly of the love that Heavenly Father has for each one of them. I don’t know everything that these kids were struggling with, but He does, and I felt guided at every moment to know what to do or say. I know that God si aware of us personally and uses other people to answer our prayers. I know that He finds little ways every day to show us that He cares.
What a week! It was insane, but still one of my favorites. I went to the hospital 4 times and found out I have a blood clot in my foot. It’s not a big deal, but those few days of not knowing were scary. Luckily I had the world’s best co-counselor this week and knew that our kiddos were always in the best hands 🙂
The dorms were sketchy and the heat was nearly unbearable, but there were so many good moments this week that made it all worth it. I loved our session director, who happened to be my seminary teacher my sophomore year. I made sure everyone asked him about his proposal story because it is easily the best I have ever heard.
One night, I got in the elevator to go down to dinner and a bunch of my boys were already inside. “Don’t get in!” they yelled, but I didn’t listen. I figured out that one of them was shirtless and the others were hiding them in the corner. Right after I figured this out, the elevator door opens and the first thing my co sees is me videoing the situation. Ir doesn’t sound as funny when I write it, but trust me, it was dang funny.