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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Missionary 'Migos!

Horrible alliteration! I am SO SORRY...but not really.  I really wanted to use Spanish...but Amigos starts with an 'A' and..yeah.  Moving on.  So I have this addiction to blogs written by girls on their missions/about to go on their missions.  I read one today that made me want to write...so I am playing copycat!  (see said inspiring post here)

So likely all of you have heard my story about how I decided to serve a mission when I was four.  So we are going to have a brief recap of this story (one from my 4 year old journal and then from my current journal.)

4 year old me (adjusted for my best guess at spelling and grammar):
"I went to the Mesa Temple Easter [pageant?  I spelled it pag ent.  Two words].  I got lost.  A scary man yelled at me with a Ms Frizzle voice. (Magic Schoolbus reference to Ms Frizzle's terrifying megaphone.)  He told me bad things.  A nice man said 'Be Nice' and he stopped yelling."

After that point I guess my hand was tired of writing.

19 year old me:
19 May 2013
"When I was four years old (or so I assume because Mom had yet to have Will), I went to the Mesa Easter Pageant with my family.  Somehow I got separated from them.  A protester saw me and got off the chair he had been standing on and got all up in my grill with his megaphone yelling at me for being LDS, telling me I was going to hell, junk like that.  I tried to protest reciting the Articles of Faith I could choke out past my terror, Bible and Book of Mormon verses my Mom had taught me--ANYTHING to get him to stop being so mean.  It only made him angrier.  (In retrospect reciting Proverbs 1:10 when he was telling me I should not be LDS was a bad idea.)

"I was in tears when I heard a young man behind me demanding to know exactly what the protester thought he was doing, screaming at a little girl.  The young man put his arm around my shoulders and confronted my attacker, calmly asking what his objections were to our faith.  He then proceeded to politely but firmly counter the protester's incoherent and erroneous declamations with scriptures from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

"The protester, humbled, put down his bullhorn and walked away.  The young man, who I found out had been home from his mission for about a month, helped me find my Mom.

"I remember how terrified and helpless I felt with my limited knowledge of the Restored Gospel of Christ.  I remember how much safer I felt later.  I knew then that there were people that feel like that to some degree or another all the time.  How can I not go forth and serve?  I owe it to them as my brothers and sisters.  I owe it to my God.  I owe it to my Savior.  I owe it to my wonderful parents who taught me all that I know.  I owe it to my spouse and children.  I owe it to that righteous RM who saved me, but most of all I owe it to myself.  And THAT is why I am going on a mission."

Yes, that is actually how I write in my journal.  But after reading that particular blog post I realized there is another group of people who have influenced me and strengthened my desire to serve a mission: my friends

Of the five of us in this picture, I am the only one without a mission call!

Same goes for this one
And this one

Elder Forsgren- Sao Paulo Brazil
Aaaah Elder Forsgren (no, he hasn't left yet, but I figure this way is a bit more annonymous.  This kid is AWESOME.  He's secretly hilarious...meaning you don't realize he's going to be funny until he anihilates you with a well placed quip.  He's the kid to call when you realize that your ENTIRE Elders Quorum is moving out and can't help you move.  Poor kid has had his hands full keeping this disaster-prone girl from dying (thanks for the blessings, Elder!)  Aren't I lucky that he's not gone yet?

Also: I actually AM in this photo.  I'm the one in back trying not to fall over.

Sister Hull- Sao Paulo Brazil
This girlie and I were not terribly close until the end of Winter Semester.  But Spring term we more than made up for lost time.  Between Pizza therapy, inadvertently dressing as polygamists, funny hat days, mission nicknames, hikes, laughing until neither of us can breathe, Mexican food, MTC, and being a terrible influence on each other when it comes to restraint while shopping for mission gear, I think I can proudly call this pint sized Texan (born and raised!) one of my best friends!
Elder McCullough--CA Irvine 
And speaking of born and raised Texans...Elder McCullough is NOT one.  (And has absolutely HILARIOUS reactions when you remind him of the fact.)  I've been friends with him from literally day one of Fall Semester and would be lying if I said I don't miss him bunches.  If for no other reason than it's kind of nice to not be the only overly enthusiastic one all the time.  Hopefully his companion knows how to cook without burning down the kitchen.
Sister Welch -- TX McAllen Spanish Speaking
This pint sized Utah girl is perhaps one of the cutest girlies I know!  She was my FHE daughter before she got her mission call, and she is STILL one of the best friends I have.  Because of her I will never be able to watch the fox and the hound without giggling maniacally and because of me she can no longer go to Wendy's and look the cashier in the eye.  (Oh and did I mention she is an AMAZING missionary?  She is.)
Sister Winters-- Alpine German Speaking
SO.  I met this lovely girl at EFY when I was 16.  We became best friends.  Later we discovered that our mothers were roommates in college.  So no, we are NOT kidding when we say that the Mormon world is a small world.  This girl consistently astounds me with the depth of her love, her perception and her faith.  That and she is already fluent in German.  Yes, she is in fact, perfect.
Sister Moulton -- CA Roseville
And speaking of perfect women, hot DANG.  Men better look out because once this babe gets off her mission she will be the most amazing wife in the world!  As is, she is already the best friend anyone could ask for: considerate, nurturing, loving, sarcastic (only in the nicest way possible), and not afraid to get down and dirty with any madcap adventures you can devise!  Yes, I sound like a matchmaker.  No I don't care.
Elder Andersen -- Novisibersk Russia
Okay guys.  I know it's a different last name, but this kid is as close to a brother as I could find up at college.  Who else would completely ignore me when I tell him to leave me alone and DO NOT GIVE ME A HUG DO NOT TOUCH ME.  But then ends up being there when I need to talk....generally to give me a smack upside the head with a metaphorical 2x4.  Oh, and I very definitely called where he is going on his mission.  The boy will return from Siberia a Russian speaking Smurf.  (Blond and blue from the cold)
Hermana Hardy - CA Ventura Spanish Speaking
This was basically what every day of our friendship was like in college.  A singing, dancing, gluten free party where we take selfies and lesser mortals look on in resignation.  Hermana Hardy is NOT one I would have ever pegged for missionary service, but she is killing it in Ventura!  I can't wait till she returns...we have a sushi date to meet!

There are more people that I REALLY need to add (which I just typed 'Dad' six times...so yes, DAD is one of the bigger reasons I chose to serve) but blogspot won't let me right now.  So look forward to part two later...maybe.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thoughts while High as a Kite

I have been outside for a total of 30 seconds today.  Since it is ALSO packing and cleaning day, this means that I am high as a kite off of the fumes of cleaning projects.  (Not really, but it could easily explain my new obsession with the song Cotton Eyed Joe.)

As per my habit I think I shall make a list of the more memorable portions of Spring Term:


  • Chis: I only speak Californian!
    Me: So...when God says "I'll strengthen thee, help thee and cause thee to stand..."
    Chris: He's saying "Dude, chill.  I got this."
  • Catie: Get your ELBOW out of my FACE
    Macall: Get your FACE out of my ELBOW!
    Ashlyn:  I guess I don't really need you to pass the vegetables...
  • Ashlyn: Why does everyone applaud when I tell them I broke up with my boyfriend?!
  • Ashlyn: AZYA. I have to get up in TWO HOURS.
    Me: Sorry, sorry!
    --Later--
    Me: Sorry for waking you up...
    Ashlyn: I don't remember...
    Me: REALLY?  I was convinced you were plotting a horrible death for me!
  • Friend: Hey Jerimiah, what does THIS mean? (pointing to a native american looking drum/basket thing)
    Jerimiah: I dunno...WAIT WAIT!  THE SPIRITS OF MY ANCESTORS ARE SPEAKING TO ME!!!
    Friend: Dude you could have just said it means "I hate white people."
  • Aannaliisa: So when are you getting married?
    Me: WHAT.  (looking at Ben and Shannon in the front seat)
    Ben and Shannon: WHAT?!?!
    Aannaliisa: I was talking to Jerimiah...
  • Me: IS THAT A GALLON BAG OF CHEERIOS?
    Jill: STOP JUDGING ME I am living on campus today and am CHEAP.
  • Harrison: Yeah, my zone still lectures me about flirting.
    Shannon and I: Why is this not surprising?
  • Me: So what you're saying is that I SHOULDN'T camp out outside the Mission Office HQ until they give me my call?
  • Shannon and I: We are SUCH a bad influence on each other!
  • ELDER FREAKING RESPOND
  • (singing) MI CHICA ES LA RAZOOOOOOOON!
  • To Kyle:  HOW are you this cheerful in the morning?
  • Dr Livingstone: The Lord's plan is a ROMANTIC one! Marry a ___________ (females in the class responding with a bored sounding "boy")
  • Dr Livingstone: There's three cries a baby has: Hungry, Not in sight of Mom and that heartbroken wail they get when you scare them...I LOVE doing that one! ....I'm going to hell.
  • Emma getting her mission call to Honduras, Aannaliisa getting her call to California
  • Seeing Elder McCullough in the Provo Temple
  • Chris: "WHO ATE MY ____"
  • Making Pao de queijo with Jamie (after going to Spanish TRC...where they were all native speakers.  BRILLIANT.)
  • Shannon: WE LOOK LIKE POLYGAMISTS.
  • Ben: give me some credit, I have SOME manners.
    Me: You DO?!?!
    Shannon: (spittake) AZYA.  Stop making me laugh!!
YOU SEE???? IT IS ADDICTING!

Love always
me

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

So I am not any less broke today than I was on Mothers Day.  So I couldn't do the traditional Fathers' Day thing of sacrificing a goat and using it's skin to make my dad a tie....oh wait.  Never did that.  But it DID get your attention, didn't it.

My dad is really REALLY good with babies.  I'm not kidding.  Something about that bass voice of his will put them right to sleep.  Or it could be the fact that he is REALLY warm.  A trait that Greg seems to have inherited, while William and I have inherited Mom's ability to have ice-pack hands in 100+ degree weather.  But anyways, back to Dad.  Whatever it is about him, he can be handed a baby that looks like this:
And magically make it do this
All I can say is that there will likely be a LOT of visits to Grandpa John's house when I have kids if my husband lacks this talent.

Dad also has a case of "White Horse Syndrome" simply put, you have a problem, he has a metaphorical white horse kicking down the stable walls for him to ride to conquer said problem.  "I have a broken arm!" Yep.  Riding that white horse all the way to the ER.  "I managed to completely destroy _________ (fill in the blank with some part of the house)"  Next thing you know, you and my Dad are at Home Depot and Dad is fixing your house.  In special cases, my dad's white horse stages a jailbreak for mere "I think this would be nice" type situations.  And by special cases, I mean when Mom says something.
Growing up we had a few (a lot) of rules.  Every one of them had various exceptions except one: If you disrespect your mother, say your prayers because when Dad gets home he will kill you.  (Disclaimer: we all broke this rule at least once.  None of us are dead.  Dad never abused us, he just used his army voice to terrify us into NEVER doing that again.)  Dad loves my mom SO much and it's easy to see: one of my first recollections from being a toddler at our current house is telling my brother Greg "Don't you yell at Daddy's wife!" (I was learning how relationships worked in the family so had a habit of referring to people as what they were in relation to each other instead of myself.)  Another time, YEARS later, we went to a Fourth of July party with some of Dad's buddies.  People started getting drunk and eventually Mom left with us kids while Dad stayed.  After we left, one of Dad's buddies was being as obnoxious as he could to everyone in sight.  Someone finally asked "Why are you bothering me?" He said: "I bother everyone.  Except for Paige (my mom) because John (my dad) asked me not to."
Our unofficial official family motto 
Dad also knows me really well.  He knows I think anyone who can sing low is REALLY REALLY cool.  Because as a first soprano, I can hit everything BUT the low notes.  So when we are sitting together in church he will sing as low as he can.  It's REALLY COOL.

Also: Dad can cook and cooks WELL.  I'm talking "becomes designated cook within fifteen minutes of arriving anywhere" well.  Mom lucked out marrying this guy because about a quarter of the time HE is the one cooking, not her.  I think she likes that.

Dad, you have set an amazing example to me of the kind of love and devotion I need to look for when considering who I am going to marry.  Like you, he will need to be a worthy priesthood holder.  Like you, he will love his mother.  Like you he will learn to love his mother-in-law (MY mother.)  Like you he will be worthy to take me to the temple the way you took Mom to the temple.  Like you he will be a hard worker.  Like you, he will be incredibly intelligent.  Like you he will know not to give up.  Like you, he will have served an honorable full time mission.  And like you, he will love me.

Thanks for setting the bar so high Dad.  I love you!  Happy Father's Day!

Yeah....my daddy has the priesthood.  BAM.  HE WINS.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

In the Language of His Children

So my roommate Chris is SUPER awesome, righteous, and gorgeous.  She wants more than anything else to serve a mission.  Thing is she has health problems with her joints that make my Celiac issues look like wimpy little babies.

She was talking to me today about how the Lord speaks to his children in their own language.  In church today we sang How Firm a Foundation (LDS hymnbook #85) and she was talking about the last verse:
Fear not! I am with thee, oh be not dismayed! For I am thy God and will still give thee aid!  I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand! Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand!
 She said that for a while now, she has been unable to sing that verse without crying.  This somehow got us onto the subject of if she should go ahead and put in her papers, and if that song was Heavenly Father's way of telling her "Dude, chill.  I got this."

Flashback a few weeks.  I had just met Chris and she was telling me about this girl from her eighth grade math class who fulfilled all the stereotypes for a valleygirl.  One day, the math teacher asked her how her weekend was.  The conversation went something like this:
So [girl], how was your weekend?

Whaaaa?

...Your weekend.  How was it?

What?

Like, ohmigosh!  Like, how was your weekend?!?!? (In a valleygirl accent)

Omigosh it was SOOOOOO good!!

 Apparently this girl never understood why everyone was laughing.  This led to a discussion about how the Lord will always speak to us in a way we understand.  Chris is from California.  What she understands best is teenage slang.  So quite possibly what has been going on in her conversation with the Lord is something like this:


 I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand! Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand!
 
Whaaa?
  I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand! Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand!
What?
Dude, chill.  I got this.
OH! Cool, thanks!

Something like that.  So in conclusion:  God lives and he loves you!  And if you could pray for Chris, that would be awesome!

Love always,

Me.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

до свидания to Catie!

So I have an amazing roommate.  She is tall, redheaded, has a gorgeous smile and is basically the perfect person that I will NEVER be.

She is also going on a mission to the Russia Yekaterinburg mission and is set apart today.

I will miss her being so patient with my not-as-funny-as-I-think-they-are jokes, her enthusiasm for everything in life, and her sarcasm.

Catie, you will be an amazing missionary.  I love you!

The church is true, the book is blue...see ya in 2 (minus a few months)!
Art credit to my OTHER roommate Chris.  To see more of her artwork, go to Deviantart.com and look up tenlongfingers.
SHE IS SO TALENTED!
Also: we haven't actually figured this out yet, but she DOES have a companion in this picture....either said companion is the Polar Bear...or is about 10 meters away clinging to a rabid wolverine and wondering why the greenie got the polar bear.  (It's because Catie is AWESOME.  That's why.)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Heavenly Father is so COOL!

So I have had a completely crazy weekend!

I spent all of MAYBE three hours at my house from Friday Evening on.

FIRST, I was at my friends Clarissa and Sarah and Maddy's house having a birthday party. (Oh yeah, I had my birthday, y'all.  Just fun fact.) We had jello and whipped cream, watched Nacho Libre, and had a sleepover.
Did NOT look like this, but same concept

Saturday I had a long meeting with a person for mission paper stuff.  (That is ALL you are getting out of me about that one.)  Then my friend Ben called Shannon and I both.  He had a family member getting married and relatives that needed a couple of babysitters.  As he promised us (and I quote): "Ice cream or something."  Of course we said yes.

We babysat four ADORABLE children.  But even adorable children need to go to the bathroom.  So since the Provo Temple does not have a visitors center, Shannon ran inside to ask about using a bathroom.  Turns out there is a waiting room with a bathroom.  So while I chaperoned the girls to the bathroom, I found a kind gentleman who agreed to chaperone the boys.  Shannon waited outside to make sure that no one wandered off.

Missionaries were walking up from the MTC to visit the temple and who should Shannon see but my best friend!! ELDER McCULLOUGH!  She got me out of the bathroom, but I am pretty sure I was in shock because he asked me five or six times if I was okay (all the blood had drained from my face.)  But guys.  I GOT TO SEE MY BEST FRIEND.  WHO IS IN THE MTC.  THIS IS ENORMOUS AND I AM STILL NOT SURE HOW TO PROCESS THIS.

Anyways, I was in luck and the sealing finished fairly quickly, because in my state of utter disbelief I am afraid I left Shannon to fend for herself so to speak.  The kids' moms paid us and we went to Costa Vita for lunch (where I introduced Shannon to the joys of horchata.)  Then we went mission shopping.  (Yes, I now have EVEN MORE skirts.)

We took a break from shopping to volunteer in the TRC (for those of you who don't know: the TRC is where LDS missionaries practice teaching the gospel to investigators who are generally people who are pretending in order to give practice.  Also: it is HARD to pretend to be anything but a Molly Mormon.)  We were five minutes late and had to wait an hour.  But because of that hour wait, Shannon got to see HER best friend: Elder Pincock.  That time it was HER turn to be in shock.

As we were leaving the MTC I saw my FHE husband from Fall Semester, Elder Sierra.  So yes.  If it had just left off at that, yesterday would have been a GREAT day.  But it doesn't end there!  I got to hang out with my friends and cousins Eliza and Mariah.  We saw my old EFY counselor who feels ancient for having one of his EFY kids about to serve a mission.

Then I went to my Grandma's house and got to chill with Eliza and Mariah, have a sleepover and today this culminated in me meeting my newest cousins (twins) and going to church with my family.

I had to leave church early to go work in the MTC.  While I was there I met a Sister Ladd who is going to Helsinki Finland.

Okay, so first off: I was convinced that my Dad and my Aunt Katrina were the only ones on that side of the family who were LDS and active.  Turns out I have a distant cousin who is not only active but serving a mission to the very place that I had a nightmare about going to a few weeks ago.

So yes, there IS a Sister Ladd going to Helsinki Finland, but it is NOT this Sister Ladd.

Goodness, Heavenly Father is AWESOME.

Love Always,

Me