Apr 28, 2011


One of my favorite things about Tennessee is the rain. In Utah, when the weather calls for storms that usually means about 15 minutes of sprinkling rain every 4-5 hours; and even that only comes every few weeks or months. I did not even own a rain coat or an umbrella before I came to Tennessee! Here, a stormy weather forecast is a whole different story. Water pours down from the sky in a constant stream for days at a time, and it is usually accompanied by thunder and lightning. Making a mad dash from your car to the grocery store will leave you utterly drenched from head to toe. Every time we think it's about to cease, it starts right back up again! I absolutely love it.

Sometimes, however, it can be a little frightening. More than once I thought our car was going to flood because the puddles on the road were so deep. The worst place to be during these kinds of storms is our third story apartment. Often we are awaken in the middle of the night by the wind and rain beating against our windows (as you may remember me writing about here). The rooftop outside our window becomes a solid river of water, and the thunder will shake our entire building. It's exciting but terrifying at the same time.

During several of these storms, I have taught little children the primary song about the wide man and follish man Christ refers to in Matthew 7. "The rains came down and the floods came up; the rains came down and the floods came up" yet the wise man's house stood still because he was built upon a solid foundation. The foolish man who built upon a sandy foundation was not as fortunate.

What is our foundation built upon? Do we spend the majority of our time and effort worrying about money, clothes, furniture, music, movies, and the way we look? Or do we focus on the things that matter most, like our relationships with God, our families, and our friends? These are the things I am constantly asking myself to make sure my priorities are in line and my foundation is solid. I know that if my foundation is stable, these Tennessee storms (or the spiritual storms we face daily) cannot hurt me. Bring in on...I can handle it!
"Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the guilf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." -Helaman 5:12

Apr 26, 2011

good things

I've been thinking of something to write that would sum up the way I'm feeling after this wonderful Easter weekend, but I'm a little stumped. I have always loved Easter. Easter means life, Christ, sunshine, good food with the fam and my little nieces and nephews and Easter baskets. Even though it was hard for me to be away from home on this special holiday, however, there are so many special people and things happening here in Tennessee that I would never wish to be away from. My mission companions and I are experiencing so many daily miracles that show how much God cares about us and the work we are a part of.

Rather than write about all of them, however, I am going to refer you to Sister Warwood's blog, and Sister Jasper's blog. My awesome companions have put into words the way I feel better than I can. Please read them!

Apr 17, 2011

a little taste of home (Cafe Rio)

Anyone who has ever lived in Utah or who visits Utah has probably heard of a little restaurant called Cafe Rio. Why has everyone heard of this place? Because it's outstanding. It is my favorite place to eat out, and I don't even like most Mexican food! Sadly, I have been deprived of this deliciousness for the past 10 months. Besides my family, friends, and mountains, it is probably the thing I miss the most about home.

I have racked my brain trying to think of a way to get one of my favorite Cafe Rio salads here in Tennessee. I thought about having someone fly here with a meal to go on their lap on the airplane, or about having one of my sisters pack some ice packs around the salad in a cooler to UPS overnight it, but nothing seems very practical or cost efficient. Thanks to the wonderful Sister Whitaker (a member of our congregation) here in Tennessee, however, my problem was finally solved last Friday!

Sister Whitaker happens to have the recipe to the amazing Cafe Rio pork salad, and she slaved away all day to re-create this perfect meal for us. From the savory pork to the hint of lime rice, pico de gallo, homemade tortillas and creamy tomatillo dressing, she matched each taste to perfection..right from her own beautiful kitchen! It was everything I'd hoped for and more; a little taste of home here in Tennessee!

I am always so thankful for experiences such as this; experiences that make home seem just a little closer. Just like my Cafe Rio salad experience on Friday, I think God often gives us experiences in life that make our Heavenly home seem not very far away. He gives us loving fathers who help us understand our relationship with Him(Heavenly Father), families with whom we can experience some of the love and joy we can feel for eternity, and temples where we can go to feel the peace and safety that Heaven will provide. These experiences give me the motivation to do everything I need to do to return home to my Heavenly Father and my Savior's presence someday, so I can then experience the fulness of this peace, joy, love, and safety.

(I also think there will be a Cafe Rio in Heaven...just sayin)

Apr 14, 2011

I'd like to introduce you...

...to my fam. I couldn't find one picture of all of us together (I left them all at home) but here are bits and pieces of us:

Boyfriends usually come and go, friends sometimes change, but family always stays the same!
The Cosper clan consists of my 3 sisters, 2 brothers, myself, 3 brother-in-laws, 1 sister-in-law, 4 nephews, 5 nieces, and the best parents of all time. Alice and Steve (ma and pa) have been married for 35 years, and the rest of us have joined the family one by one since then. I love my family so much. They are my best friends and they mean everything to me. No one could have convinced me to say goodbye to them for 18 months other than God himself; and I know He did this so I could help bring to other families the happiness that my family has. I know that the key to lasting marriages and siblings who would do anything for each other is having a home centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. My family is not perfect, but the reason we are so happy is because Mom and Dad did everything they could to keep our home focused on the Savior. I also know that because of Jesus Christ, I can be with my family forever; even after this life ends. I am so thankful to know this.

How has God strengthened your family?

Apr 10, 2011


Just in case you didn't get a chance to watch this, or even if you did, I want to share some of my favorite quotations from our inspired leaders. (Click their names to read the full text)

"In the fourth chapter of Paul’s writings to Timothy, we read: “These things command and teach. … Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”  I can think of no better way for us to begin or continue to be an example of the believers than in our observance of the Sabbath day." -L. Tom Perry

"It is here in our families, in an atmosphere of love, where we see and appreciate in a more personal way the divine attributes of His spirit children. It is here in our families where our hearts can be softened and in humility we desire to change, to become more childlike. It is a process by which we can become more Christlike." -Jean A. Stevens

“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.” -Kent F. Richards

"The names and the details of operation are changed to fit the needs and conditions of people. But always the Lord’s way to help those in temporal need requires people who out of love have consecrated themselves and what they have to God and to His work." -Henry B. Eyring

"We live in a time of turmoil. Earthquakes and tsunamis wreak devastation, governments collapse, economic stresses are severe, the family is under attack, and divorce rates are rising. We have great cause for concern. But we do not need to let our fears displace our faith. We can combat those fears by strengthening our faith." -Russell M. Nelson

"Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming." -Dallin H. Oaks

"Brothers and sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, no matter how much we try to make it complicated. We should strive to keep our lives similarly simple, unencumbered by extraneous influences, focused on those things that matter most." -M. Russell Ballard

"Brothers and sisters, with the blessings of modern technology, we can express gratitude and joy about God’s great plan for His children in a way that can be heard not only around our workplace but around the world. Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someone’s life for eternity." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"The Crimson Trail in Logan Canyon is one of my favorite hikes. The main part of the trail creeps along the top of tall limestone cliffs and offers beautiful vistas of the canyon and valley below. Getting to the top of the cliffs isn’t easy, however. The trail there is a constant climb; and just before reaching the top, the climber encounters the steepest part of the trail; and views of the canyon are hidden by the cliffs themselves. The final exertion is more than worth the effort because once the climber is on top, the views are breathtaking. The only way to see the views is to make the climb.  A pattern in the scriptures and in life shows that many times the darkest, most dangerous tests immediately precede remarkable events and tremendous growth. 'After much tribulation come the blessings.'" -Paul V. Johnson

"As we increase our own level of self-reliance, we increase our ability to help and serve others the way the Savior did. We follow the Savior’s example when we minister to the needy, the sick, and the suffering. When love becomes the guiding principle in our care for others, our service to them becomes the gospel in action. It is the gospel in its finest moment. It is pure religion." -Sylvia H. Allred

"As you appropriately seek for and apply unto the spirit of revelation, I promise you will “walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:5; 2 Nephi 12:5). Sometimes the spirit of revelation will operate immediately and intensely, other times subtly and gradually, and often so delicately you may not even consciously recognize it." -David A. Bednar

"The world can be a challenging and difficult place in which to live. We are often surrounded by that which would drag us down. As you and I go to the holy houses of God, as we remember the covenants we make within, we will be more able to bear every trial and to overcome each temptation." -Thomas S. Monson 

"Pure love is an incomparable, potent power for good. Righteous love is the foundation of a successful marriage. It is the primary cause of contented, well-developed children. Marriage is wonderful. In time you begin to think alike and have the same ideas and impressions. You have times when you are extremely happy, times of testing, and times of trial, but the Lord guides you through all of those growth experiences together." -Richard G. Scott

"Sadly, much of modern Christianity does not acknowledge that God makes any real demands on those who believe in Him, seeing Him rather as a butler “who meets their needs when summoned” or a therapist whose role is to help people “feel good about themselves.” " -D. Todd Christofferson

"We are all indebted to the Lord. Let us not be accused of robbing God." -Carl B. Pratt

"Many of us create to do lists to remind us of things we want to accomplish. But people rarely have to be lists. Why? To do’s are activities or events that can be checked off the list when done. To be, however, is never done. You can’t earn checkmarks with to be’s. I can take my wife out for a lovely evening this Friday, which is a to do. But being a good husband is not an event; it needs to be part of my nature—my character, or who I am." -Lynn G. Robbins

"Through His Atonement, He heals not only the transgressor, but He also heals the innocent who suffer because of those transgressions. As the innocent exercise faith in the Savior and in His Atonement and forgive the transgressor, they too can be healed." -C. Scott Grow

'We testify to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people that God not only lives but also that He speaks, that for our time and in our day the counsel you have heard is, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, “the will of the Lord, … the word of the Lord, … the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.” -President Thomas S. Monson

I sure do love the words of our prophets.  If you missed General Conference and would like to watch it, click here!

Apr 5, 2011


I have a slight obsession with waterfalls. As missionaries, we have one day each week that is available to us for preparation and recreation. Lucky for me, there are so many cool places to explore around these parts. So what do I want to do every time this preparation day rolls around? Waterfalls! Each time I visit a new fall, I can't help but stare in wonder as the magnificently powerful rivers force their way through canyons and forests until they cascade over the towering boulders. Sometimes the river from which the fall descends is not even visible, because the water just seeps through the bedrock and emerges directly from the rocky face of the cliffs. No obstacle can stop the mighty waters from pressing forward. The power of it all amazes me.. and causes me to reflect upon my life.

Do I press forward when mighty obstacles stand in my way? Do I continue onward even when the path is not perfectly clear or certain? I like to think I do, but I know I am not always as persistant or determined as the mighty rivers God has created. Obstacles and trials are an unavoidable part of life, but I can't say that they never frustrate me. Sometimes I wish that the path would be more clear and simple. Sometimes I wish life was more easy.

But then I think of the life of the Savior, my perfect example, and the trials he faced every day of his life. His life was not easy, and it will not be easy for any disciple of His either. However, turning to Christ is what offers hope and allows us to continue on each day. As we press foward despite the obstacles in our paths and do our best to follow the Master, I know that God will lead us through those rocky paths to cascade triumphantly over the mountains ahead.

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." -2 Nephi 31:20
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