Friday, November 29, 2013

Back To Brazil

To spare you the expense of having to read a travel log, I will leave it up to you to read the title of the blog today.  Suffice it to say, I had the amazing opportunity to visit some of the people that I learned to love so much while serving a mission in Brazil.

As I reflect on the moments I had while teaching, praying, and working for Amanda to understand more about the gospel, I know that it was all made worth it in the moment that I saw her be sealed to her sweetheart for time and all eternity in the Recife Temple. For the first time, I understood what it meant to sacrifice for someone that you love. All of the hard work I was blessed to be able to partake of while in Teresina is a lot to comprehend. 18 months away from my family and loved ones in the hot sun while speaking a foreign language was not always easy. In fact, it was most often very hard. Very, very hard. But this week as I saw the happiness that comes with comprehending eternity, I knew that I would do it all again to give someone a moment to be closer to God in His holy house.

Amanda's Baptism - 11/3/12
Amanda's Sealing Day - 11/26/13
In reality, I didn't do much when teaching Amanda about the gospel. I was in the right place at the right time as a servant of the Lord. What she did for me this week was much more significant. She gave me a part of my mission back. She once again made me treasure the sacrifices that have made me so blindingly happy for the past few years of my life. I would spend 18 months of my life in 105 degree weather while having dozens of people turn me down for another moment of pure joy like this one.
Thank you Amanda.

Thank you to all of my friends who made this week one of the most rewarding of my life. I got to spend a marathon amount of time in the temple, at least for me. In three days, I spent more than 24 hours in one of the most sacred places we have here on earth, and I did so with some of my very best friends. Carmem, thank you querida for helping me to understand that we are all capable of greatness. I cannot thank you enough for reminding me that I too, "presta." I met these two women at a time when I was not enjoying my missionary service to the Lord as I should have been. They raised me up and helped me as I tried to help them. Once again this week, I went to show my love to them by coming from very far away to see an important moment. Yet again, my best friends lifted me up and reminded me of what I am worth.

I know that God lives and He loves us because He is kind enough to remind us of His love again and again. He loves us enough to give us good friends and family to support us in moments of doubt. He loves us enough to give us temples where we can be sealed to our beloved families forever and ever. I am thankful to He who gives us all the chance to redeem ourselves from past hurts to become better than ever before. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for giving me a reason to really smile for the first time in a while.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Love is all there is

A few years ago, I found a tidbit of wisdom that has stuck with me:
"Love is all there is. Everything else is just something you do after breakfast."
As I look around, I am so thankful for people that love me. Recently, I have found the support of my family and my friends astounding in the face of life changing plans. In losing one kind of love, I have found a thousand other kinds of love that I have in my life. If I focus on love, I learn.

1) It is important to love others, when I choose to be happy for other's successes and joys, I am happier myself. 
2) I need to love myself -- and say thank you when people tell me nice things. Learning to accept compliments has never come easy to me. but I have learned that God sends angels to me just as He sends me to be an angel to them. I have many that love me, and they help me to love myself.
3) When I remember to love God, I remember how much He loves me.

I have learned these tidbits in the midst of life that isn't what I planned, but I am so thankful that I am willing to listen a little bit more.
While listening, I heard a prophet's voice:
"Your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there." President Thomas S. Monson

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Elder Beckstead

Today was Xane's last Sunday at home before he leaves for the Salt Lake City Mission. We are so proud of Xane!

I made him lemon bars from scratch, as requested. (This is the before picture)
3 dozen lemon bars later... look who got the last bite :)
Xane, we love you so much and we are so proud of you! Being a missionary is the best and the hardest thing  you can do. I know that nothing bad has come as a result of me serving a mission. I learned a lot about myself and my Heavenly Father. I know that He loves all of His children, and He loves me too. I am not ever perfect, but He works with me anyways. He does not need the best and the brightest, (although you are the best and the brightest) He needs the ones that are willing to try. If you can remember to keep trying, He will keeping sending miracles your way. I know that the Lord loves His broken children, and He wants to help fix them.
Xane, always remember that God loves His children. Even the ones that say 'no'. You may soften some hearts along the way, and you won't see their full conversion during your time in their lives. But, they will stay in your life and change it forever. Your mission experience will change you, and it will change the lives of people who won't recognize it immediately.
I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored and that His words are on the Earth in full force.
I know that we have prophets and priesthood and forever families. Thanks for letting me be in your family :) 
Put your best self forward, knowing that Christ makes your best perfect. You can do this. I love you and I am so excited to hear about your experiences. God Speed Elder.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

February 26, 2013

Mornings are not our best family moments—although we try to break the cycle everyday anyways. 6:00 am every morning, my grandfather opens my door, pokes his head in, and yells, “Tara? It’s daylight in the Ozarks!” We then climb the stairs, sitting in our designated spots while opening up to where we left Alma yesterday.
“And it came to pass…” My uncle always starts out way too cheerful for this time of day. I have a love for the scriptures, but my enthusiasm doesn’t come out in my daily performance.  My cousins don’t keep their eyes open, they have to be woken up when their turn comes around. Korin, the 15 year-old, reads her five verses incredibly fast; she can read an entire verse in one yawn. It sounds high pitched, with little annunciation. (Now it is your turn, try to say Nephi while yawning.)  It is very impressive. I keep my eyes open, up until now, I have yet to be shaken awake to read.
This morning, Sam, the youngest, was not wearing his retainer; a fact his mother picked up on when he started reading without a lisp. Ever since Siri on his mother’s iPhone couldn’t understand him, he has been self-conscious. His mother made him go get it from his room in the middle of scripture study, while Grandpa was reading about the iniquities of the Gadianton robbers (adding in that not obeying your mother is also very iniquitous). Sam walked to his bedroom on his knees, there and back, with a sleepy/annoyed expression on his 10 year-old face. Finally returning, he crawled under the grand piano avoiding his turn to read in Helaman chapter 6.  My aunt looked at my uncle and said, “that’s your son.”
Mornings are not our best family moments, but the Lord knows we try anyways.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Everyday, I park my car at the Marriot Center or by the Smith Field House around 9 am. Come 5 pm, I never remember where the heck I parked. Luckily, I haven't forgotten which parking lot it was... yet.

Here is my face everyday around 5 o'clock in the afternoon.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A life in review.

I used to love to blog, and I have failed to write for a really long time. I know that blogging is kind of a thing of the past, and in the end, not a lot of people have interest in a single twenty-something's life. That is okay, I blog for me. I am currently in some classes at BYU that have gotten me to write in new ways. Sure, I have to analyze Jane Austen and write lesson plans for teenagers, but I have also gotten to write to heal.

 I wrote a poem recently for someone I love very much who is in need of healing. Here it is:
 "Stay Inside"

 Baby girl, they didn't lie.
 It is cold outside.
Stay in, don't let the frost
fool you. That sparkle will blind you,
it won't bring Frosty back.
Spring will come, you'll feel
something soon. January only comes
so we'll notice how good
April feels.
Stay here. Stay warm.
Work on the inside. God can
take care of the outside.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mission memories!

Today I got to see some of my favorite people from Brazil! Hooray for obligatory training for President Dias!

Monday, January 7, 2013

We may not finish today, but we can begin

First day of school! I am just really excited. I have learned a lot about change in the last while, and I am so thankful that change is part of Heavenly Father's plan. I loved President Monson's talk in October -- read it and it will change you too! -- If everyday, I look at people for who the CAN be, I will be a much more effective instrument. If I look at myself for who I can become, I will just be happier and more optimistic. So, here is to a new year! and a new beginning.