Sunday, August 31, 2014

They're gonna call me on a mission!

Exactly one year ago I was spending my first week in the BYU dorms. I was living in a new state with a girl I had only met over webchat a couple times. I was officially a student at my dream university with a plan to double major in inter-disciplinary humanities and choral music education with a minor in history {I laugh about it now, too. Don't worry}. I was applying to spend a semester studying abroad in London for the fall of my sophomore year and I was going to graduate with my bachelors in 2017. If you would have told me that I was going to be turning in mission papers right now, I would have laughed and told you that there was absolutely no way I was going on a mission. I just didn't have the desire to go and I had prayed about it but it didn't feel right for me. It wasn't that I didn't want to share what I know, simply that 18 months is a lot of time in the life of a 19 year old girl with as many plans as me... plus I didn't know if I could handle eating weird food or never being allowed to sleep past 6:30 or biking all day in any kind of weather or having only a couple hours of free time for an entire year and a half. Missions are really hard work, you know?

Wow. A year changes things, doesn't it?

Today I'm packing up my life to move to London in less than 4 days {actually that's a lie... I haven't even started packing. but I should}. I'm hoping to major in Finance. Some of my favorite activities now include reading Preach my Gospel, reading Elder Holland's talk about "The Miracle of a Mission" {if you haven't heard it, GO READ IT}, continually adding to my "mission" Pinterest board, and reading weekly emails from the majority of my close friends who are scattered across the world as missionaries. It'll be two years until I'm at BYU again but I know, without a doubt, that I am supposed to serve a mission. I made this decision the very last Sunday at BYU and I've spent all summer going to doctors and dentists and oral surgeons and interviews with the bishop and stake president and now I can officially say that MY MISSION PAPERS ARE IN! In a few months I will be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.


The missionary age change occurred the fall of my senior year. I was in Washington DC visiting Ryan and Tiffany so I hadn't watched the session of conference yet but I heard about it because every LDS person with a Facebook seemed to be live-posting the announcement. I thought "well that's cool... I still don't want to go on a mission and at least 50% of male BYU freshmen are now turning in their papers. great." And that was the end of that.

Once I got to BYU every single date I went on {this is not an exaggeration}, every person I met, and almost every conversation I had involved the question "are you going on a mission?" and the answer was no. I had absolutely no intentions of going on a mission and I didn't feel like that was Heavenly Father's plan for me. {If you're ever bored I'll explain my theory on why I didn't feel the need to go on a mission until after my freshmen year.}

Near the end of winter semester my Book of Mormon teacher said something that made me take a step back and decide to ask, one more time, if a mission was right for me. {backstory- my teacher was a mission president in Spain a few years ago} He told our class that, although he had lots of really awesome young men who served in his mission and were there for the right reasons, the young women were his favorite because they were on a mission ENTIRELY by choice. It wasn't a duty for them and it wasn't expected of them. They were there because they loved the Lord so much that they were 100% willing to give up thousands of dollars and 18 months of their lives just to serve Him. I said a quick prayer that night asking if I should go on a mission. Then finals came and I was stressed and tired and trying to live up my last week as a freshmen. I completely forgot about it.

The very last Sunday at BYU was Easter. We got ready for church like usual and showed up 30 seconds before it started {like usual} and out of breath {like usual}. The first speaker was Sam, a boy that I was pretty good friends with {thank you freshmen english, ha}. I can't remember what he said, but during his talk I got a very clear answer to my question. I spent the rest of Sacrament meeting crying because 1) I didn't like my plans being turned upside down 2) I, by no means, felt even semi-prepared to serve a mission 3) I had never felt such a strong prompting in my life.

Serving a mission is actually the hardest decision I've made. I'm a goal-oriented person who likes to have every aspect of my life planned out and by the middle of my freshmen year, I had everything perfectly figured out. I was going to London this fall then I would take 17 credits of finance prerequisites winter semester {I may have died in the HBLL studying for all those classes... oh goodness would that have been awful}. I'd apply for the program in June and start my junior core the following fall. I had toured housing with Cady and we'd found the perfect place for us. And life was going to be fantastic.

Well, none of that plan is happening. I'm deciding to live the motto "it feels good to be lost in the right direction". It really does. I'm not sure when I'll leave on my mission so I don't know when I'll get home. I don't know where or who I'll live with my sophomore year. I may change my mind about what I want to study. I may be in Africa or Idaho in a year, for all I know. But one thing is for sure: I can not wait to see what God has in store for me over the next couple years. Heavenly Father knows more about me than I do. I've realized that my life is still going to work out how it should, even if it's not how I've planned it. Just because I'm putting my life on hold for a year and a half doesn't mean I won't get into the finance program or meet an amazing priesthood holder or enjoy my last couple of years at BYU. All of that is going to happen {I sure hope...} it's just happening a little bit later. I'm grateful for the chance I'll have to be a representative of Jesus Christ and teach the gospel for a year and a half. I'm so thankful for my family and friends who have been so supportive {and also laughed a little since I was super against a mission not too long ago... I'm talking to you Lori!! ;) }

The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is on the Earth today. I know that He loves me more than I can possibly imagine & that God's timing is more perfect than my own, and I know that this is what I am supposed to be doing in my life.

My mission papers are in & a call is coming my way soon.

Life is good!

Next stop: London.


interesting links:

- Along with the Holy Bible, I will be teaching about The Book of Mormon. Get a free copy here!
- what is an LDS missionary?
- all the different missions I could be called to!
- this is a cool perspective of being a missionary from an elder in the field
- Mormon Newsroom video about what a missionary does


Sunday, August 24, 2014

it's august 24th already?

well, hi there. once again, I am alive and my attempt to keep up this blog over this summer failed horribly. Not to fear though... I am ELEVEN days away from blogging in L O N D O N, so that's cool. And by cool I actually mean: I've created a very thorough packing list but haven't actually made a single move to further the whole "moving across the world" thing. It just doesn't really feel real yet. Hopefully it will by this weekend since I should probably pack or something. But here... have some very random tidbits from the last few months:

***anyone who knows me even semi-well knows of my love for diet coke. If I'm being honest, I actually can't stand other soda. Root beer now makes me want to throw up. Sprite is far too sweet. Regular coke. ew. don't even get me started. But diet coke? Well... everyone has to have one thing, right? I found this gem just the other day {not sure how I missed it when she first posted}. Believe you me, when I hit up provo again in 2016, you can bet your bottom dollar I will be trying all of these.

***remember how I hiked Mount Sneffels? My friend Erica {yes. the two Ericas} took some wonderful pictures of it! You should look at her website {}

***this summer I was able to teach with the Sister Missionaries a lot. It was such an awesome learning experience and opened my eyes to how hard I'm going to have to work for 18 months on my mission. Sister Jones has been here all summer and I have loved getting to know her! Her testimony and love of the gospel and Jesus Christ is so apparent in everything she does. She goes home this week and so obviously we had to take a picture! Her companion is Sister Patera, who, just like Sister Jones, is amazing! I was so blessed to get to know these sisters. They got me so excited for my mission. I LOVED spending part of this summer with them!
{also, we asked a nine year old to take our picture. don't do that if quality is a priority. also, he knew how to work my camera because it was an iphone. but. he didn't know how to work a real camera. what has this world come to??}

This blog has just turned into a lot of awkward, low quality photos. oh well.

***This Wednesday is my last day of work. Let me tell you, I am so excited. I'll miss the theater like crazy, but this summer has been all work and I'm ready to be done with it. and to finish paying my dad back for london. but that's beside the point.

full time job + part time job + violin students + office cleaning = no fun

actually I take that back. I've really enjoyed my jobs this summer. They've just given me a really, really good reason to graduate college. I'm not going to consider myself successful until I no longer have to work weekend night shifts. Once those stop, I'll know I've arrived.

Can we talk about how much I LOVED teaching my five year old student? I wanted to cry after I finished her lesson last week. Plus she drew me the cutest picture and they gave me some Euros.
My violin student  > yours

***I spent thursday night hanging out with Kym, her friend Kenzie, and Kelsey! It was the first time I had seen Kym in a year... crazy. We went to Coffee Trader {duh. where else?} then decided to head to the Drive In! So I raced home, asked if I could use my mom's car, and grabbed some blankets. For whatever reason we ended up taking my dad's truck. well ya'll, that is a very large truck. But I decided I quite love driving it and listening to country music and everything else that comes with this beautiful home town of mine. The drive-in ended up being closed so we headed up to sunset mesa and spent the evening watching the sunset, eating dove chocolate and raisenets, and catching up. These girls are the greatest and it was fun getting to see Kym again!

***Today was a special Stake Conference. Our stake had the wonderful opportunity of hosting Bishop Gerald Gausse from the presiding bishopric! It was amazing {also, there was a special meeting yesterday in Grand Junction for the missionaries... Elder Oaks was there! Yes, I really am jealous I didn't get to go. Nonetheless, today was great}
He and his wife both gave the best talks. In fact, his wife's talk was my favorite out of all the people that spoke! {his was great too, don't worry} She talked about accepting changes and having the faith to follow what our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ ask of us. I loved the talk so much because it's a subject I've been thinking about a lot lately. The last year or so has come with a lot of change and the next couple years will bring even more. I went off to college without truly realizing how much BYU would impact me. As I came home and started being around people I was around during high school, I noticed that just one year at BYU had changed me a great deal more than I had anticipated it would. Because I had changed, a lot around me had too. My priorities have become really different than a lot of people around me. {also... shock of hearing a cuss word for the first time in 8 months? it was real.} In a few months I'll be a missionary and it'll be even more apparent then. I'll give up a lot of things for those 18 months. With all this change in my life, I've realized that I'm not as close to some of people I was before and I've made completely new friends who share the same standards and beliefs and goals in life as me. Sister Gausse talked about when her husband was called to be a General Authority. It meant leaving France and moving to Utah. She left a couple of her daughters home while they attended college and her other children all had to be enrolled in english-speaking education in Utah. She left friends and her home and everything else to follow what had been asked of her and her husband. I also can't help but think about my ancestors who were in the Martin Handcart Company. They left Denmark and traveled to a new country to follow the saints to Utah. They literally gave up most of their possessions to walk thousands of miles across an unknown country and ended up being stranded in an early winter with no food. When I think of what other people give up to follow Jesus Christ, I can't help but think that maybe having to become a little bit of a different person, even if that means not being as close to some of my old friends or not spending as much time on pinterest so I can study my scriptures a little more, isn't that bad at all.
Haha, all right, that was a long schpeal, but I had to get it out there.

***My mom and I watched Anne of Green Gables. not sure it that's actually blog worthy, but I'm just sayin that it's not a summer with the Deckers if you don't watch Anne of Green Gables. and yes, I can still quote every single line. #talent

***Most importantly: Ryan and Tiffany are going to have their baby any time! {did I even mention that Tiffany was pregnant?} Anyways, I'm so dang excited for that little guy to get there! And they are going to be the greatest parents.

I can't believe that the summer is coming to an end so quickly! It's been a great summer filled with lots of adventures and new learning experiences {most of which haven't been documented in any way, shape, or form, which makes me really sad}. But it's been a good way to end living at home in Montrose {never again though. I love my parents and I love Colorado but I am over living at home. except the food. you can't get over my mom's wonderful cooking} Peace out.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mount Sneffels: 14,157 ft.

I've always wanted to climb a fourteener, and considering the fact that I live in a state with 53 of them, it was high time for me to do it. Yesterday our YSA group drove up Yankee Boy Basin in a couple jeeps, parked at the end of the trail and started hiking. {I mean, the drive itself was entertaining- not enough seats, four-wheel drive road, loud latin music ...thank you RMs... and lots of laughing} Let me tell you one thing, "hiking" is not a good term for it. Let's try "climbing over loose rocks then huge rocks and almost dying on the slippery mud-snow". It was the scariest//most-difficult thing I have ever done in my life, but soo great! {although I complained on the way up... do you know how hard it was to breathe??}The entire morning I kept looking around and thinking "is this real? do I really live in a place this beautiful?"  Once we got to the top, I was amazed. I have never seen anything that gorgeous in my life... and I've seen a lot of pretty places. Oh, I love mountains so much. I feel bad for people that don't live near any. Beaches have nothing on the Rocky Mountains.  n o t h i n g . We were literally in the clouds at the top, it was amazing. I'd say that eating lunch on the top of Mount Sneffels is something every person should do in their lifetime.

Say hello to some not-so-high-quality photographs of one of my favorite days...

^^^pre-climb selfie^^^

^^^Nathaniel taking a nap at the top^^^

^^^have a picture of the random strangers we met... look at that view^^^

^^^The Group! *picture stolen from Andy*^^^

Go climb a mountain, you guys. Your life will get better. My Colorado Pride just increased a crazy amount. I LOVE COLORADO.


P.S. the last couple days have been great. Paddle boarding & hiking with Nathan, working at the theater, hiking a 14er with YSA, and KATIE GOT ENGAGED!!!! I am so happy for her! Alex is such a great guy and they are an awesome couple. I really am heartbroken that I'll be in London during her wedding and that I won't be able to throw a bridal shower for her, but dang am I excited. Life doesn't turn out how you plan it, that's for sure. But goodness is she getting ready for some awesome adventures in her life. I love you Katie and I'm so glad to call you one of my best friends. I knew the instant I saw your incoming call yesterday afternoon. I knew it. I couldn't be happier for someone.