Sacrament meeting talk given by KellieAnn Halvorsen, October 19, 2013.
Happiness in life is something semi-elusive that we all are searching for. No matter our life situation or current blessings we already have, we reach for this “Happiness Goal” for ourselves, our family, our friends. We in the church are blessed with the knowledge of having a loving Heavenly Father, who we learn wants only our Happiness in life and has established a plan and path that is to lead “Men that they may have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25) During this past General Conference, this is the idea that seemed to permeate my thoughts as I listened to the apostles and leaders of the church. That even amide the trials and tribulations of my life, God wants me to be happy. I would like to bear my testimony to you today brothers and sisters, that God wants you to be happy too.
We are taught this concept many times from the time we are small children. I can look back with fondness to when we were asked in primary to sing the song, “Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam.” (Children’s Songbook, pg. 60) I remember even as a little three-year-old how excited I was to participate in this my first ever memorized Sunday hymn. I loved waiting to spring out of my chair and become that spastic ray of sunlight “shining for Him each day” with my arms extended out and falling back down only to spring back up once more.
At that time I didn’t quite understand what the point of the song actually was, I remember graduating from my Sunbeam class and being confused that we would still be asked to sing the song even as we were no longer in the 3-year-old Sunbeam’s age bracket. I admit that it wasn’t for years that I understood that, besides using up the build up energy from attempting to sit quietly during primary, that the song was asking me to be a happy person. To find and shine the excitement and joy that comes from learning and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
While writing this talk I couldn’t help but smile as I imagined using this song as a regular hymn during our sacrament services. In my mind’s eye, I could see the entire congregation, adults and children, bursting forth with the same energy that I witness during singingtime as a primary teacher. The congregation singing with hand and body movements proclaiming proudly how “Jesus wants me for a sunbeam to shine for Him each day.”
In the sessions of this past General Conference some of my favorite apostles talked on this matter of happiness, and conversely, matters dealing with sadness and depression. Pres. Eyring spoke of finding happiness in the gospel, in the keeping of commandments and creating it within the walls of our homes. He gave these wise words, “Heavenly Father has made each of us unique. No two of us will have exactly the same experiences. No two families are alike… Yet a loving heavenly father has set the same path of happiness for all of His children. Whatever our personal characteristics or whatever will be our experiences, there is but one plan of happiness. That plan is to follow the commandments of God.” close quote. (Eyring, October 2013)
This plan Goes hand-in-hand with the knowledge of the plan of salvation. God is our loving Heavenly Father. He sent us to earth to become more like him. To be more like Him we needed to make our own choices and grow in our own understanding. Along the path of this understanding, we come across harsh trials and powerful blessings. We all stumble and become unworthy to return to Him. So in God’s wisdom, he incorporated into the plan, the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Wherein we can be forgiven of these sins, learn to live a righteous life, and return home to Him. This is the path of Happiness that the God wants us to live. To have faith, repent, and strive to keep the commandments, this will leave to long and lasting happiness. Not the fleeting and often hollow happiness of this temporal mortal life, but an eternal joy in the kingdom of God.
I know from personal experience, that happiness can be hard to find, even while striving to live a Christ-centered life. Sometimes the weight of our trials and sins, whether active transgression or sins of omission, can weigh on our lives and cause us great sorrow and depression. Blocking our vision of happiness and even our desire to reach out for it. When in this state of mind it can be extremely difficult to hear the encouragement or reprimand of others. It is in these times of darkness that we must turn from comforting ourselves by wallowing in our own misery, and actively seek for the light. The light that emanates from the life and atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. To find and exude that ray of “Sunbeam” in our lives.
During conference Elder Holland in his amazing talk “Like a Broken Vessel,” spoke about the reality of depression, mental illnesses and sadness, adding through observation and experience his own advice on how to work through these times of doubt and darkness saying “Faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the Spirit of the Lord into your life. Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well-being. Ask for and cherish priesthood blessings. Take the sacrament every week, and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.” close quote. (Holland, October 2013)
It can be hard to keep moving ahead, to keep the fires of hope stoked when our righteous desires seem to be coming to us to slowly or not at all. I must admit that I struggle daily with this, but I am still a happy person. When in doubt I often think of a marvelous talk giving by President Eyring to the students at BYU thirty years ago called “ A Law of Increasing Returns.” (Eyring, March 1982) I listen or read this talk often, on what feels like a weekly basis having downloaded it even to my every handy kindle.
It speaks of working hard at your goals, even if the rewards are not coming to you a quickly or as often as you like. Eyring speaks of keeping a vision of the blessings and happiness you would like to achieve. Of working towards the “Late harvests” in life. Near the conclusion of his talk he states that “There are some things you should work for and expect results now. But along with getting early harvests, I hope you’ll work and wait for the late ones. That will take seeing the law of increasing returns as an opportunity, not just a test. Delayed blessings will build your faith in God to work, and wait, for him. The scriptures aren’t demeaning when they command, “Wait upon the Lord.” That means both service and patience. And that will build your faith.
It may help you to watch both for the chance to smile and the blessings around you on the way. And it may help to picture both the future of the people whom you serve for God and his promise of peace in this life.” Close quote.
Brothers and Sisters, I ask of you today to watch for these opportunities to smile while working on finding your happiness in life. To remember that excitement of a youngster springing from a chair to declare that merits of “shining for Him each day.” Let us strive to live by the simple lyrics of this children’s Hymn.
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam,
To shine for him each day;
In every way try to please him,
At home, at school, at play.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
I’ll be a sunbeam for him.
I bear my testimony that happiness comes from continually striving to live the commandments of God, the little and the big. I also would like to bear my testimony that we all struggle with sadness along this path. That we all struggle with our own pet sins and vices. But that through the atonement of Christ and the power of repentance these weaknesses can become our strengths. Again I would like to bear my witness that God truly wants you to be happy and that true and lasting happiness can only come through following the promptings of the spirit and keeping the commandments of God.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.
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I love building things. dreaming, designing, welding, building, carving, you name it I love it. My father raised me to enjoy building things and I have my own set of tools and a purple leather tool belt to prove it.
Some of my earliest memories with my dad are curling up in his lap on a Saturday morning watching PBS’s “New Yankee Workshop,” and standing out in the garage handing him different tools as he built tables and furniture for the house. From my early teenage years on, summer has meant building season. We drag out the saw horses and extension cords and build various light-yet-strong set pieces for our local community theater. Alongside my father we have welded, built, and carved a mini-trailer home, spiral staircases, undersea grottos, clock towers, bathtubs, dozens of platforms and flats, currently a Lost Boys hideout and much more.
When you build for a theatrical production you have one unique luxury, the “thirty-foot rule.” Meaning that the set pieces only have to look good from the audience’s point of view, 30-feet away. Sometimes dad would forget this, and he’d incorporate intricate details into the work. I’d remind him over and over, “We are not building a piano!”
The pieces didn’t need to be perfect, or even functional, they just needed to be good. Then one show we ended up building two pianos. Dad was allowed to go a little overboard with the project designing two beautiful and unique pianos, complete with individually cut and placed keys. To this day, this has been one of my favorite projects to build with my dad.
My ancestors came from the cold Scandinavian country of Norway, but it wasn’t until a family visit to Walt Disney World’s Epcot, some 4515 miles away from the actual country, that we really started to discover our Norwegian roots. Because of the Norway pavilion at Epcot, some of my first impressions of what is important to Norway were vikings, trolls, the land and the sea. But over the years our family has taken a special interest in trolls.
Trolls are mythical creatures of varying sizes and ugliness that live in the mountains, fjords, forests and the land. Their temperament can be mean, mischievous, or even benevolent. There are dozens of types of trolls and dozens of troll legends. From waterfall trolls, Fossegrimen, to Huldra (a lady troll who seduced men), and common farm trolls, the Norwegian landscape seems to be dotted with trolls.
According to the mythology, every farm has a Nisse troll. These trolls view the land as their own and sometimes can give farmers a hard time. But Nisse can be a good creature to have if a farmer keeps the Nisse happy by being kind to his own farm animals and offering gifts to the Nisse. Nisse enjoys porridge with butter, and as such a Christmas ritual developed where a farmer left a bowl of porridge and butter out for the Nisse to eat on Christmas. In the morning, the bowl is checked to make sure that the Nisse has eaten it and thus is pleased with the offering.
Around my house trolls have become the blame of problems such as spoiled milk and lost items. We imagine these creatures from our cultures’-past have followed us across the ocean to live with us in our mountain home. It might be all myth, but it is also all fun.
Do you remember when you were sick as a child and your mother would rub your back to help you feel better? Did you know that was not just a placebo effect, that there was a real physiological process happening to help sooth your misery? This process is called the Gateway Theory of Pain.
In order to understand this phenomenon, we need to understand the basics of the body’s Nervous System. The Nervous System is the most complex organ system in the body, not only is it our main internal communication system, but it monitors conditions inside and outside the body, integrates that sensory information, and coordinates voluntary and involuntary responses and movement.
The Nervous System
The Central Nervous System portion of the Nervous system consists of the Brain and Spinal Cord, which receive the incoming information, processes and integrates that information, decides what to do about it, and sends out a signal to the body to give a response.
Now back to our example of your mother’s healing touch. When you are feeling that upset stomach or fighting a fever, the pain receptors in your nervous system are sending signals up your nerves and into your spinal cord to be interpreted by the brain. When your mother rubs your back, the sensation is picked up by your nerve receptors which convey a pleasant signal to the brain, thus interrupting and modifying the pain signal on a spinal level. This is the Gateway Theory of Pain.
The Gateway Theory of pain is one of the ways Massage Therapy can make you feel better instantly. Even when a client is in pain, the pleasant sensation of touch can help the client feel better and relax, thus allowing the Massage Therapist to do their job.
Be Creative • Be Bold • Be Inspiring
PDF Resume (4/19/18)
|The University of Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah
Bachelors of Science: Strategic Communications
(A blend of marketing, writing, and media creation skills for the modern-multiplatform world)
|Salt Lake Community College – Salt Lake City, Utah
Associate of Science: Mass Communications Technology
|Mills Publishing Inc. – Salt Lake City, Utah
Publishing, Sales, and Administrative Assistant
|Riverton Arts Council – Riverton, Utah
Communications and Public Relations Volunteer/Intern
Sept. 2011-March 2017
|Strategic Communications Specialist – Riverton, Utah
|HalvoMassage – Riverton, Utah
Private Practice Massage Therapist
|ACHIEVEMENTS AND VOLUNTEERING|
Written for my final paper for my UofU “Intro to News Writing” Course.
Facing Infertility: Ashley and Luke’s Story
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah. – Ashley Erekson, a 28-year-old employee of Discover Card and former Certified Nurse’s Assistant, knew from the age of 14 that something was wrong with her.
For years, Erekson suffered from irregular or absent menstrual cycles, weight gain, acne, and even embarrassing facial hair. As a teenager, her family didn’t have the medical insurance necessary to pursue a reason for her symptoms. Finally, in 2012 after a series of test and blood work Erekson had the reason for her symptoms, she was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
PCOS, also known as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome, is estimated to affect 10% of American women of childbearing age according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1. This endocrine system disorder affects a woman’s hormones, weight, insulin levels, menstruation, and ovaries. The syndrome is linked to conditions like anxiety, depression, sleep apnea, skin problems, diabetes, heart problems and something that is often heartbreaking for PCOS sufferers, infertility.
For Erekson, and husband Luke, 31, the diagnoses offered a bittersweet sense of relief; relief that they now knew what was wrong, and fear about what this meant for their future family plans. “It affects every aspect of my life.” said Ashley Erekson, “Actually I feel like the last two years of my life have been complexly consumed by all this.”
It is extremely difficult to conceive a child with PCOS, due to fluid filled cysts that form on the sufferer’s ovaries. For the past two years the Erekson’s have been going through the expensive and long process of fertility treatments, including hormone injections and two failed Intrauterine Inseminations (IUI). With the advice from their doctor, the couple is now moving forward to try In Vitro fertilization (IFV), but the cost is proving to be overwhelming.
The Erekson’s have been amazed by the amount of support they have received from friends and family members and are now reaching out to the general public to raise $3000 toward IVF. They are holding a yard sale fundraiser at their home in West Valley City at 3349 S. 4400 W., on Saturday, Aug. 15, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is also an online fundraiser that people can donate to at http://www.gofundme.com/BabyE2016. They are asking for donations of quality second-hand items for the event to be dropped off at their home between now and then.
Tylynn Peterson, a friend of Ashley Erekson and stay at home mom and photographer, will be holding an opportunity drawing in conjunction with the fundraiser. Individuals can purchase an entry ticket for $2 and two lucky people will win an hour photo session, complete with digital photos and edits. Peterson is happy to support the Erikson’s after befriending Ashley Erekson on a mommy blog over the past year.
The issue is important to Peterson as it hits close to home, her sister also suffers from fertility issues. Seeing the Erekson’s and her own sister’s struggle with fertility, Peterson has a unique outlook on the issue and has noticed that some people are uncomfortable with talking about fertility. “It’s hard when people are going through infertility issues like this and it seems kind of taboo to talk about, and it shouldn’t be like that.” Peterson said going on to express her desire that issues like fertility would be spoken of more openly. She wishes that the facts and statistics of PCOS and fertility issues would be better known in order for people to understand how to help those struggling with it.
“Communication and patience have been key,” said both Erekson’s’ to riding out the ups and downs of the last two years. Ashley Erekson spoke of learning to have patience with her own body and herself when things didn’t go like she had dreamed. Through it all they both have benefited as a couple by learning to communicate through the trials. “The lesson for us has largely been on communication,” Luke Erekson said, “On what the dream of our lives in the future is, on what we want to be like.”
The couple is timidly optimistic about the future outcome of the IVF treatment, but success is not guaranteed and relies on many factors. Ashley Erekson has hope in the fact that the IVF success rate for women with PCOS is 60%, versus the 30% success rates for women without the disorder2. But due to limitations set out by her insurance provider as well as the financial cost, she feels that they will only be able to try IVF once. “I am really hopeful it will work, I am really concerned that if it fails we are kind of out of options.” She stated. In the case that the IVF doesn’t take the couple is planning on exploring other options such as adoption and foster care.
Above all else, Ashley Erekson is grateful for the doctors who have provided her with answers to her medical issues and the support of her family, friends, husband and even strangers along the way. She says about the people who have helped her, “There has been a lot of love and it’s been awesome.”
Spring 2015 -Introduction to Visual Communication
Assignment: Media Campaign Media
As a culmination of the skills learned within this course, we were asked to create 5 different pieces of media as a group for a non-profit organization that would benefit SLCC students. We choose to do the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Tour De Cure, a bike ride that raises funds for the ADA’s programs. I choose to do the Poster and was able to create a fun, bright, inviting piece that asks SLCC students to join the fictional SLCC Tour De Cure team. Because it is to be posted on SLCC campuses I used SLCC style guide and incorporated ADA’s logos. I was able to challenge myself artistically with the use of my photo shop skills and am proud of the out come.
Spring 2015 -Introduction to Visual Communication
Assignment: Magazine Layout
Click here to view the final Assignment PDF.
This by far was my favorite assignment in my Introduction to Visual Communication class. Not only did I learn a new computer program, InDesign, but I was able to stretch my creative self a bit further as I wrote the magazine article as the fictional journalist Lois Lane. I wanted to reflect Lane’s serious level of reporting, incorporating maps and ancient art into the piece instead of fluffy entertainment. To show the fictional character Wonder Woman as a person of power and mystery. I choose some stellar work of a favorite artist of mine, Jarsic, including some fun easter eggs for DC comics fans including photography by James Olsen and a side story by Cat Grant.
RIVERTON, Ut — The Riverton Arts Council opens “Footloose: the Musical” this Friday at the Riverton Civic Center as part of the towns 150th Anniversary celebration.
“Our cast and crew have worked hard to put together a show the whole family can enjoy.” Says co-director Kim Ostler, “We have picked an energetic show, filled with catchy music, fun choreography and a heartwarming message that we believe the community will love.”
The Riverton Arts Council is putting on this production at the Sandra N. Lloyd auditorium in the Riverton Civic Center, 12830 S. Redwood Road, Riverton UT, 84065. The show runs Friday, Saturday, and Mondays May 29 – June 15, 2015 at 7 p.m., with a matinee Saturday June 13, at 2 p.m. Reserved seating tickets are $8 to $10, and are available at the door and online at www.rivertonartscouncil.org.
The production is part of Riverton cities’ yearlong celebration marking 150 years of peace, progress and tradition since the cities settlement in 1865. The celebration includes festivals, historical events, and the grand opening of the newly remodeled city park.
“We are happy to support something that will draw our community closer together, promoting pride in our small town.” Ostler continued. She hopes now that the community will support the production of “Footloose: The Musical.”