Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Eternally Grateful

I really have been wanting to blog lately but I have no idea what  to blog about. I wanted something awe-inspiring for my one year mark of being home but I couldn't think of anything that could possibly inspire you or say anything that you haven't heard before. However, I had to post something.

Before I left on my mission I was absolutely terrified to leave my comfort zone of Cedar City, to leave those I love behind... you know the usual anticipated missionary fears. I remember having a thought that brought comfort; no matter what I was going to go through or no matter where I was going to be, at least I had someone by my side at all times. Now that I am home I reflect back on those people who were by my side at all times; my best friends, my other halves, my sisters, my companions. I have so many things to say about them but to sum things up let's just say that I am eternally grateful for what they taught me and for their examples of women I hope to surround myself around for the rest of my life. They emulate the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I sometimes wonder what I did in the pre-earth life to be given the privilege to serve with these amazing women. 

Anyway, so what I want to do is share what I love about them most. I will go from first to last companion. Ready, go. 

Sister Nielson: We were companions in the MTC (Missionary Training Center). If you have ever experienced the MTC you know the emotional toll it takes on you, however, you see the progress you make for the little time you are there. I doubted so much on my ability to teach the Gospel. I doubted whether or not I should even be in the mission field. I was difficult to work with. To this day I am grateful for Sister Nielson's patience. Not only with me but with herself. By her example of patience, she taught me to never give up and to never doubt my ability. 

Sister Lovato: Oh, Sister. This is my trainer! My Oregon Mama. Getting out into the mission field is something I never imagined. I was tired. I was sick. I was homesick. Again, I was tired. Sister Lovato taught me to have fun while doing missionary work. "Oh.. uh.. hi, is there a house up there?" *inside joke* On the other hand, she taught me by being exactly obedient will bring forth miracles. She would have me get out of the car and back her up if it was only a foot. I'm glad I learned obedience from day one. 
Sister Singer: When I think of charity I think of Sister Singer. My follow-up trainer. We were definitely companions to cross paths in this life. I have learned so many things from her that it would take pages to fill. I have never seen someone accept another as she has. She taught with love. She served with love. She is the prime example of Charity and love and I'm grateful I was able to learn what true charity was by being her companion and working next to her. I wish to emulate a fraction of what she is one day. 

Sister McDonald: Working in a YSA ward during the Holiday's is a tough task. We tracted more in that transfer than I did my entire mission. However, Sister McDonald was always hopeful in finding new people to teach and without a doubt we always had at least one amazing lesson a week. She taught me how to be hopeful in all things and not just mission work. My grandfather passed away the day we were put as a companionship and she reminded me of the Plan of Salvation and how it brought hope. 

Sister Hollingshead: Oh my sweet Sister Hollingshead. I knew about her before I was even her companion because her Aunt is in my home ward. I was so excited to finally meet her and yet alone be her companion. We opened Eola Hills together therefore we met a lot of new people that we were teaching. I have never seen someone have such compassion for someone so quickly than Sister Hollingshead. She accepted people for their trials, addictions, and struggles and loved them in an instant. 
Sister Clove: Before Sister Clove I was the junior companion. Asking for tips, learning the ropes, learning their teaching skills is what I did as a junior companion. I was blessed to be Sister Cloves trainer. I remember driving home from the New Missionary Meeting and I was so afraid to be her trainer, I was now the one she had to rely on for tips, learning the ropes, the missionary lingo. After my first companionship study with Sister Clove I was floored with her knowledge of the scriptures. I was so excited to learn from her and boy did I. I have multiple notes scratched into the margin of my scriptures because of her. After that day I wasn't afraid anymore to be her trainer. I will be grateful for the experiences I had with working besides her.

Sister West: When President Young paired us up he said that there was no doubt in his mind that we were meant to be companions. This was my second trainee! Sister West had one heck of an upraising and let's say she came out one heck of a woman because of it. Whenever something wasn't going as planned Sister West never hesitated to ask Heavenly Father for help. She knew that if this was Heavenly Father's work then He would help us know what to do. She is one of the most humble people I will ever know and I'm grateful for her example of humility. 

Sister Hadfield: Sister Hadfield was my international trainee! AKA she was waiting for her visa to Australia and was reassigned to the Oregon Eugene Mission. I was happy she didn't get that visa when it was supposed to get here. She taught me heaps (see what I did there?) about confidence. As she proclaimed the Gospel, you could tell that she walked with confidence knowing she is a daughter of God. When she taught, she taught with confidence because she knew that what she was teaching was nothing but true. We had a short 6 weeks together but I will cherish those 6 weeks for the rest of my life. 
Sister Savage: Sweet Sister Savage. She had some trials that she had to overcome but each day, she got out of bed, got on her knees and prayed to Heavenly Father. She would get out and talk to people about the Gospel. She would testify. She would forget herself and get to work. When I think of Sister Savage, I think of endurance. She had her own things to worry about but there were days where she would sacrifice her own trials so she could help others come closer to Christ.

Sister Prologo: The transfer we were together was one of the shortest because the mission split. However, one thing that I noticed was how often she prayed. That is one thing I know Heavenly Father wants for his missionaries to do. Missionary work is nearly impossible without prayer. She was more sensitive to the Spirit because how often she prayed. Let me tell you how grateful I am for that. We had an interesting area that had a lot of run down parts that were pretty scary, therefore, there were times where I thought it was safe to go in but she didn't. I trusted her and it was always best. 

Sister Francom: Sister Francom and I were the two Sister Trainer Leaders to go from the Eugene Mission over to the Salem Misson. I would say that my time with her was the time I grew the most on my mission when it comes to diligence. I was also the most tired with her. I was so grateful for her hard work as a missionary. We had so much success and I know it's because we were diligent and obedient. Let me add that I laughed with her all the time. Remember Robyn? 

Sister Palmer: She was my last companion of my mission and I was ready to learn from her. My time with Sister Palmer was too short. We only spent three weeks together because my mother passed away and I came home. Sister Palmer was called to be a Sister Trainer Leader with me and I was excited to see how she would contribute. Each week would we get on our knees and pray about which sisters we needed to go on exchanges with and she would always ask Heavenly Father what they needed help with. Each time we would go on exchanges, it is exactly what the Spirit whispered to her. She genuinely cared for those sisters and prayerfully asked Heavenly Father what she could do for them.  

Now that they are all home, I hope they read this and know how much I love them and how incredibly grateful I am to have been able to work with them and learn from their example.

*super long post but if you are wondering what missionaries do, click here

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers Day Post

I have been working on a blog post for a couple of days but realized I want to blog about something different. Today is a bittersweet day for me. It's my first Mothers Day without a mom here in this mortal life. I know my mom is here with me and she is my biggest fan cheering me on from the other side of the veil. It's simply just not the same though.

My mother and I never had the strongest mother-daughter bond that I have been seeing others have all over Facebook and Instagram. Trust me, I envy those relationships they have with their mothers. Today in Church we were asked to ponder on the example of our mother. Quite honestly, my mother made terrible choices in her life. She let the worldly attractions of all sorts get the best of her. As a daughter you long for that ideal relationship and would do anything for it. One thing I have become aware of is that famous quote we hear, "you never realize what you have until it's gone." My mom tried. She tried being there for me at any time of need. She tried making good choices. She tried supporting her family with what little she had. Satan had a grasp on my mom that was hard for her to break from. Many people in her life could see that and would agree. My mom showed me to try no matter what. To reach those dreams I dreamed of since I was young.

I have wonderful mother figures in my life and know that I can look up to those examples and live by those. However, there is a part of my heart that will never be filled. In the last six months I have had many times I wanted to call her. I have found that when I am sick I just want to hear her voice. When I am stressed I just want to hear her tell me that all will be well. When I am heartbroken and feel used I want to call someone who will just listen and not tell me what a fool I am for what happened. When I get a 3.7 I want to call her and make her proud. There are those things only a mother can help with.

How grateful I am that this separation is only temporary and that I will see her again. The loss of my mother has solidified my testimony of the Plan of Salvation and I know without a doubt that it is real. Even though I never spoke highly of her and never had that relationship each daughter and mother should have, I still love her. I can't wait to see her again and hear all about what she knows.

Now a shout out to those who have been mother figures in my life. You know who you are. Thank you for your examples of love and kindness. I wouldn't be the woman I am today without your examples. One day I will have my own family and will take things that I have learned from each of you and apply them in rearing my children and show them that unconditional love that I want to give to my future family. So, thank you. Seriously for everything you have done for me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

His Plan

I had the opportunity to share my conversion story tonight. I secretly wish it would happen more. Each time I share it I realize the love my Heavenly Father has for me. What I realized tonight was how aware He was of me. The Gospel is what I needed at that exact moment. Not six months before or two weeks later. It was no happenstance, coincidence, or luck. It was all part of His plan. Besides the unfortunate set of circumstances I was in, Heavenly Father knew what I needed in that time and blessed me with this wonderful Gospel. A couple years ago I took the opportunity to share my conversion on my blog as well. I broke it up into the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It was a fun way to share my story. Go check it out if you want to.

I was going to blog yesterday but I was still brainstorming. I guess I needed to add that tidbit along with what I learned in Church. Without question, I know that we receive revelation for ourselves as we attend our meetings each Sunday. Sacrament meeting was accompanied by two Elders from the area who rekindled the most joyous times on my mission. It caused me to reflect on the many relationships I have made by serving a mission. From as short as 12 days to 18 months; making friendships with ward members, fellow missionaries and the great people of Oregon. I am grateful for those eternal friendships. Some stronger than others (I wish some of them were finer) but nonetheless, friendships that I will always be grateful for. We stood and sang Called To Serve and it felt like I was right back in Zone Conference. Which evidently made me happy.

On a completely different subject now but one I take to heart. One funny thing about Provo is that your family, superiors, and peers expect you to be dating someone. Which honestly slightly annoys me. My ward offers a dating class. Yes, you can laugh. I did when I heard that this was an actual thing. Did I attend yesterday? I did. Yes, I give you permission to laugh again. Let's first discuss that I was terrified to go in there. I wasn't going in there to snatch up a date or to figure out what I was doing wrong but rather, I went in there to see what the Spirit had to say about "dating." I'm happy I chose to go. The pressure that creates the image that we need to be married and have three kids by the age of 25 is not for all people and quite frankly starts at a young age. Praise to those who were and are given that opportunity. Again, Heavenly Father has a plan for all of us. I have encountered so many young women in my life that think something is wrong with them, or that they aren't attractive enough, or simply not good enough. I would like to say that that those reasons are completely unrelated to why you haven't been given the "chance." What I learned from the spirit in this class is of course everyone wants to feel loved, wanted and appreciated. When you don't experience such things you feel the complete opposite and you get discouraged. Both are completely logical. One thing I have learned is that we are among the noble and great. We deserve only the best. Heavenly Father is only going to give us the best. No less than. We shouldn't be looking for the worlds approval. Heavenly Father has set an expectation for each one of us. He sends us down wrong roads so we have confidence in the right ones. Sometimes we are tempted with the idea to think the wrong road was the right road. Sometimes we are tempted with the idea that it wasn't the wrong road. Send those temptations back to where they came from. Heavenly Father knows best. Like I said, this image is being created at a very young age. Girls think that they need to have the best of the best. Since they don't look like the popular pretty girls, they aren't worth it. That if they haven't been asked on a date they will never get married. Sometimes they are given a taste of what others are experiencing but unfortunately it doesn't last. Don't think you have to explain yourself. You learned, now move on. Now, will I go back to this so called dating class? Probably not. I think I'll stick to Gospel Doctrine. However, the Spirit whispered things to me that I needed to hear. I'm not the dating expert but I know the reasons for everything that I had to experience and it's okay that way. I know that we are all worth it and to trust in Heavenly Father and be content with the love He has given us. His love is perfect and will never fail us.

I hope that this all makes sense. What this blog goes into are two things I am very passionate about. The relationships I have made on my mission are some of the most important friendships to me. The self-worth of a women is a delicate thing to tamper with (especially in this corrupt world) and I believe women have a powerful role in the world and when that self-worth is messed with it's shattering. So if I could sum this up and give young women one piece of advice it would be to not seek for the worlds expectation, but for the Lord's. I could go for days on this topic but for your sake, I will end here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Few Thoughts

After seeking suggestions of what book I could read that was spiritual, I have laid my hands on a good one. My mission presidents wife from the Oregon Eugene Mission called me and told me to get Women and the Priesthood. I'm glad she suggested this one because it has taught me a lot about who I am and my divine errand. As I read this book I don't feel like the heart of the message is only aimed towards women. I think men could also learn  and benefit from this book. Check it out.

I was particularly drawn toward two things as I was reading yesterday that I thought I would share.

  • In Sheri Dew's book there's a section that discusses  the impact of our premortal life. She explains that we can't remember what we had promised, how our Heavenly home was before we came to this mortal life, or where we were at regarding our spiritual maturity. However, there are things we do know. I love that saying that what we do know, outweighs what we don't know. We know that we were there. We know that we were there when Heavenly Father presented to us His son, our Redeemer. In the pre-earth life, we were given agency (right to choose good or evil), just like we are given agency now. One thing we chose in our premortal lives is when we chose to fight for truth. "We stood loyally by God and by Jesus, and did not flinch." We did not flinch. Just picture that would you? Standing side by side with our Father in Heaven and by our Savior, Jesus Christ, fighting for what we know to be true. We knew without a doubt in our minds, we were grounded to what was true, we were built upon a firm foundation. We had such a strong conviction that we did not flinch. 
  • I love our prophet and apostles and the council they give us. From the day I first watched conference, I was gravitated towards Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. His boldness floored me and still does today. His love behind each message is inspiring. I believe the reason he is so bold is because he knows our potential and wants us to understand that potential without sugar coating. I can't say it better than him so I'll just quote directly what he has said in this book: "If you lack confidence... or feel you have inferiority complex, get over it. We all start humbly.... we all think the fellow seated on our right and the woman seated on our left are more talented, are more gifted,... and are going to do better in life than we ever will. Well, they aren't, and they don't, and they won't! They are just like you. We all have our fears and insecurities." Bold but loving. 
What I learned from both of these statements is that this life isn't just for us. It's not only about us. It's about who we are, what we know, and what we're striving to do each day to become more like our Heavenly Father and Savior. The second one struck a cord for me. If you truly know me, I'm not the one to put up a fight. I'm not the one to compete with someone. I always, like Elder Holland has pointed out, compare myself with people in my life-- especially people I look up to. Why? I'm not sure. I'm working on it though. I tend to let people treat me in ways that I shouldn't be treated. I don't put up the fight and I back down. It happens a lot more than I even expect. I have learned a very important thing though that has helped me discern why things happened the way they do. I know I have a divine errand and purpose in this life. There has to be opposition in all things but we need to "get over it" and continue doing what we know we need to do. 

Friday, January 31, 2014


I have some explaining to do. Maybe it's a vent. Eh, just stick with me. This might not make sense but let's take a shot at it. I have missed my mom in so many ways in the last few days that I'm not even sure what has happened in my life to have this happen. I know I recently posted a blog about the strength and power that we are given as children of God but boy is it hard to access that strength and power sometimes. 

Let's start by saying what wonderful women I have in my life. I have countless of mother figures who I'm so grateful for and I have many friends who stand by me and tell me what I need to hear. I have beautiful sisters who have encouraged me to do better in life and have protected me. Tonight I was able to talk to a few close friends and they gave me advice that I've been needing to hear longer than I thought. Sometimes you feel like climbing into that hole and crying but it's so much better when you have someone in there with you. 

This last week has been interesting to say the least. I have felt many emotions that I haven't had to deal with for the last couple years. Okay that's exaggerating. Maybe feeling them all at once is what I'm not used to. There were moments when I felt like something great was going to happen, I felt that one of my desires of heart was going to come true, but then it just walked away and opportunities faded. There were moments where I was proud of myself. Moments where I couldn't stop laughing. Times where all I wanted was to call my mom and have her tell me, "Baby, everything's going to be okay." My mom understood heartache the most. I know how terrible that sounds but it's true. I have come to learn more about my mom and I'm so grateful for that. She would always tell me to not settle for anything less than what I deserve. After serving a mission, truly finding my identity, knowing who I am, I now know what I deserve. I know that I have to work for what I deserve. There's a difference between knowing and believing though. And I need to believe it. 

I don't want pity by any means but I can say that at points in my life, I am tempted to ask why me? I have been given a fair share of trials. Each time I'm thrown another one the response I hear is how strong I am. Each time I hear that it makes me feel weak. I sometimes wonder what Heavenly Father is doing when I'm crying over missing my mom or when I'm frustrated with someone for putting me through something or even as simple as academic frustrations. Oh get over it. You signed up for this. Or, Eh, everything's going to be fine. Just get up and dust yourself off. What? Of course He isn't doing that. Like I mentioned last time, He had to hide Himself in some part of His universe so He didn't have to watch the dying struggles of His Son. I am a child of God. He doesn't want to watch me go through any of this. However, He knows that what I'm going through is going to make me such a better person. A friend I met this semester who I have come to love dearly reminded me of His way and His timetable. We see timing differently than He does; we see timing in a linear perspective as Heavenly Father sees it as a panorama perspective. What we see (or what we don't see) is daunting. What He sees is inspiriting. I can't look back. In every aspect I have to learn from stupid mistakes that I unfortunately make (even when I do feel like a fool). Then when I have the chance to have the panorama perspective, I will see that it all had to to happen. Someone had to take this spot. Whether I "signed" up for it or not, I'm grateful for what I learn in each trial. And ultimately, I do access that strength and gain experience. Which is all this life is about after all.

My heart has ached over many things this week which I choose not to go into detail about. What I have come to find out though, is that my Father in Heaven's heart is aching with mine. He rejoices when I'm happy. How many times have I taught that in Oregon and it's now just really making sense to me? I not only have to have faith in Heavenly Father and that timetable of His but I have to have faith in what He has promised me. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Be obedient. Be prayerful. Be constant.

Lately I have been thinking what I can blog about. I don't want to blog about random things that are happening in my life (what I did over the weekend, what happened at the stop light today, etc). I want to blog about things that I'm passionate about. Things that have changed me for the better. I want my blog to encourage others.

That being said, I'm very passionate about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Obviously. Today I was able to attend a farewell of Tamsyn who will be serving in the Indiana Indianapolis Mission. Let's start of by saying what a beautiful job she did. That testimony of hers is going to take her far. Tamsyn is part of the family that introduced me to the Gospel. The Lowe Family (not just Ron's family-- the entire family) is an amazing family who has set the example of  what a righteous family should be. People who keep their covenants (promises) and strive each day to become a better person than they were yesterday. I could go for days about what this family has done for me.

Today in sacrament meeting, I knew it was going to be an emotional day when the opening hymn was "called to serve." Of course it was going to be about missionary work but I thought I could keep it together. Wrong.  I am well pleased at where Heavenly Father has taken me since I've been home. I know Provo is where I need to be. There are people who need me here and I know there are people here that I need. However, there are days when I miss being a missionary. To put that badge on and go and share the Restored gospel. I'm so jealous that Tamsyn has 18 months ahead of her to go and do exactly that. Again, her sweet testimony is going to get her into doors that no one has ever been able to get into.

I think what stood out the most today was the love my Heavenly Father has for me and for all His children. I mean, everything depicts that love. I really like what Tamsyn said today in her talk; "Heavenly Father has sent us His perfect son." It made me think about how hard it must have been for our Father in Heaven to watch the dying struggles of His son. What a selfless act of love. In the sacrament hymn "Reverently and Meekly Now" verse four stood out to me.

"At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as they friend,
With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore, 
Prayerful, watchful evermore, 
And be constant unto me, 
That thy Savior I may be."

My advice to Tamsyn would be just that. Be obedient. Be prayerful. Be constant. I love that. We can't just choose what we want to do and when we want to. It's not our timetable. It's His. Or in this aspect; it's His work. He knows my needs (and trust me, I have a lot of them). I have been promised that if I do what He wants me to do-- not what the world wants me to do-- I will be given those things.

3 Nephi 13:32-34 "For Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things... But seek ye first the kingdom of God... Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself..." 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Power and Strength

I got the best compliment today. It made my entire day. I'm still flattered and that was nine hours ago. I got into my math class a little early and sat down. Minding my own business, looking over some math problems before class started and I heard, "are you a returned missionary?" I replied, "Umm.. yes?" Then a guy piped in and says, "Oh! It's a compliment. You radiate that light." Now you see how that was the best compliment? After math I met up with some mission friends and we went to the Temple to do a session. It was just what I needed. I love how much I learn each time. Then it all got me thinking. Dang, I have so many weaknesses. I constantly bother Heavenly Father with them-- as everyone does. Yet, He listens. What a beautiful concept. Prayer is real. Prayer is powerful. We are powerful.

One of my favorite responses to Satan is when Moses is being tempted by him. Moses asks Satan, "Who are you? I am a Son of God." As children of Heavenly Father, we have power! When we continue to put the armor of God on we don't have to be bothered by the dark of the world. We receive not only power, but strength to push temptation, sin, darkness, out of our lives. Temptation of fear.One gem I learned on the mission from President Samuelian is Christ simply can't help us when we are afraid. It's not that he doesn't want to help us. He just can't. When we have fear, we are lacking faith. Faith and fear are never near.

We are all faced with that temptation, sin, and darkness in our lives. That's part of this mortal progression after all. In the Oregon Salem Mission, we were given the opportunity to take a strengths assessment. Result of this assessment, you are given your top five strengths. One morning I was studying the story of David and Goliath. In essence, Heavenly Father provided David five stones to slay Goliath. What I'm trying to say is that we all have a Goliath (temptation, sin, darkness) in our lives but Heavenly Father has provided stones (strengths) for us to overcome them. We have been prepared to overcome the things of the world.

I know what I believe in, I know who I am, I know who He is. I need to remember what I do know. What I know, makes up for what I don't know. I need to trust in Heavenly Father. I have that power and strength like David did when he slayed Goliath. Of course I'm imperfect but Elder Holland reminded us that that's all Heavenly Father works with. And it's true! We have to take it to Him. Remember? He listens. He's waiting for us to take it to Him.

Doctrine and Covenants 6:34 "...for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail."