happy holy week!

i remember in middle school overhearing a girl talking about me behind my back (didn't we all have an experience like that in middle school?). she said, "charity is really churchy" obviously meant as an insult. i remember thinking to myself - "that's right, i'm churchy! you better believe it!", considering it a compliment.

i am very much an independent thinker, relish considering different ideas about faith and religion, really really value openness, tend to have some (relatively, in the mormon world) liberal beliefs, and believe that truth is everywhere. but yes yes yes, i am churchy! i love god a lot and would absolutely be willing to die defending my faith around his character and his plan for his children on earth.

so, that said, it's going to get pretty churchy up in here on this blog during this week (following that last post about the temple!). if you're not into that, come back after easter :) because this is holy week -- commemorating the single most important event in human history: the atonement of the saviour jesus christ. and i'm going to celebrate and share my celebration.

because through my brain and in my veins and my bones and with all of my heart, i believe this:

happy holy week!


at the temple

ten reasons why volunteering at the oakland temple as an ordinance worker is the best:

1. when i am in the temple, i feel peace. my life feels so chaotic and stressful right now, and being in that quiet, sacred place is so soothing and calming and re-energizing and beautiful.

2. four and a half hours completely unplugged resets my perspective and clears the frenzy of constantly being connected. (also, it's fun to have new messages after not looking at my phone all morning :) )

3. i get to interact with people older than me, and learn from them. i spend every weekday with thirty eight thirteen year olds, and every weekend with people my same age - and it's just nice to spend time with people in a different stage of life than me. there is one sister on my shift that is so fabulously eccentric and excited about life who has become a dear friend. yesterday i was able to chat with an elderly woman who is originally from the netherlands, but grew up on the island of sumatra in indonesia and lived in a japanese internment camp on that island for four years during world war two. she told me her story of conversion to the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints, and of how she came to the states, and about how much she loves her children and how much she loves the gospel. in the temple i meet ordinance workers and volunteers from all over northern california, who volunteer their time to serve god and others. 

4. i love seeing friends coming to the temple. it makes my heart happy to see people i love coming to find peace and perspective and service and strength. i also get to see friends of my siblings and parents - because i wear a nametag with both my first and last name, i have been approached nearly every shift i've worked by someone who knows my brother or sister or mom and dad. that's really fun for me.

5. in the past i've been so diligent about filling up my saturdays with fun adventures. working in the temple every other saturday has forced me to have a slower and relaxing saturday at least twice a month, which i think has been good for my soul. 

6. that said, when i am already in the east bay, it's an excuse to see friends in the city or in berkeley after my shift. 

7. the view from temple hill is incredible and inspiring. 

8. it's a really beautiful thing to witness brides and grooms in the temple. i've seen brides surrounded by their mom and sisters preparing in the brides room, couples waiting in the celestial room to go up to a sealing room to be married for all eternity, couples meeting in the hallway after their sealing and before leaving the temple together as husband and wife. they just exude heaps of light and happiness and love that feels so fresh and real to me, just a bystanding observer. one of my favourite things has been watching couples walk toward the temple doors - as they turn the corner to leave the temple i can't see them anymore, but i can hear the joyous roar of cheers from their loved ones who had been outside ready to take pictures and offer congratulations. i believe in marriage, and in temple marriage specifically too, so passionately. 

9. learning about the operations of the house of the lord is enlightening and faith promoting. i get to do something different just about every shift, and it's fun!

10. whenever i leave the temple, i feel like this scripture is being fulfilled in me (from the dedicatory prayer of the first temple built in modern times in kirtland, ohio):
and we ask thee, holy father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them;
and from this place they may bear exceedingly great and glorious tidings, in truth, unto the ends of the earth, that they may know that this is thy work, and that thou hast put forth thy hand, to fulfill that which thou hast spoken by the mouths of the prophets, concerning the last days.
yes, i feel powerful, and glorious, and watched over by angels. 

i really believe this stuff is real. i love the temple, and i am so grateful for the opportunity to serve there. it has been just what i have needed in my life right now. 


a happy day

so apparently today is national sibling day (thanks for the heads up, instagram). since i clearly win at that (i have the best siblings, truly), i feel pretty celebratory. also because:

-today was an awesome day in my classroom. i feel like i am - just a little bit - getting my feet under me. today i didn't cry, and i didn't feel dizzy with stress in the midst of chaos (i have almost fainted a few times in days passed), and i didn't feel like i'd been a jerk disciplining kids. my class was happy, and we really learned some good stuff! 
-i left school before 9pm! and was pretty much prepared for tomorrow by 5pm! 
-i have been planning for our next history unit, and i am really excited about it. it includes the mormon migration west (obviously hits home for me) and the mexican american war (hits home for most of my students). i really enjoy teaching history.
-tomorrow our principal is going to be a guest teacher in my classroom. which means i get a mid-day break, and i get to observe a stellar teacher in action. he's teaching about poetry, something he is passionate about. 
-sometimes, and this happened in several moments today, i look at my students as they are lined up or otherwise grouped together and i just get major warm fuzzies. i love these kids. 
-the teacher i replaced had her baby! and it was so fun to show a picture to my students, and make a little video clip of them yelling "congratulations mrs. oh and happy birthday olivia!" to send to her.
-after selling my car last saturday, i have a great option to buy from a friend.
-i think i found the best store-bought muesli in the world.
-i read a talk about god's care this morning that was just what i needed and set me off for a happy day.
-tomorrow is friday!!!!!

hey! back to siblings! i am so so so so grateful for mine, all eight of them and their seven spouses. they are the most interesting, adventurous, deliberate, good-hearted people on earth. i'm so lucky to be their baby sister.

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