Thursday, June 30, 2011

Two Years Ago...

Two years ago today I was freaking out because I entered the MTC the next day. Two years ago today I was busily packing my suitcases that would contain my life for the next 18.5 months. Two years ago today I was spending all the time I could with my family. Two years ago today I played out on the lawn with my puppy because I knew that the next time I'd see him he'd be huge. Two years ago today I was set apart as a missionary. Two years ago today I turned 21.

If I weren't a member of the Church, I would have been of legal age to drink (haha...like I would. YUCK!) But because I am a member of the Church, I was finally old enough to go out and preach the Gospel as a missionary. And boy was I excited and ready to leave. I was excited for all of the people I'd meet, and the new things I would get to experience.

Now, two very short years later, it all seems like a dream. Was it really just two years ago that I left on my mission? Was it really just two years? It all seems so hard to believe. The experiences I have had over the past two years have been incredible. They have changed me...definitely for the better. They have truly shaped me into the woman who I want to be. They have helped me to learn things that I need to know to be stronger. I have learned how much I really can withstand in terms of the storms of life, and how I can overcome the trials that are put in my path. Really, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Mormon Piano Girl

Okay, okay. So I know that this is like the 20 millionth post I've done about my sister, but I just think that she is so stinking AWESOME!!! Really though...She is so talented. I wish I had just a fraction of her talent with music. (Yes, I do play the piano, and yes, I do sing. But her talent far supersedes mine!) Check out this link to her youtube page to get to the songs that she's sung while playing...not to mention she's written one of them!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Small, Simple Acts of Service

Tonight my roommates and I (or should I say I made for my roommates and I) tacos for dinner. Just as we were sitting down, one of the girls in my Relief Society walked past our door and commented that it smelled good. We invited her to sit down and eat with us. As we talked, we discovered that she'd had a bit of a rough day. Being invited to eat with us totally made her day...and hearing that totally made mine. I am so grateful for the quiet whisperings of the Spirit that direct me to do certain things throughout my day to touch and bless the lives of others.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sprinklers

My break between classes today started as a perfectly normal break would for me. I went down to the end of the campus where my next class would be and parked myself on the lawn outside of the library. I pulled out my computer and went about checking my e-mail because our internet here was out all weekend. I was enjoying the sunshine...when all of a sudden the unthinkable happened...the sprinklers came on, only on the section of grass where I was seated. I leaped up and ran my computer over to a bench out of reach of the sprinklers. Then I ran back for my backpack and shoes. I settled down on a bench outside of the library to dry off. About 5 minutes later, I realized that I didn't have my phone. And then I remembered. It had been on my lap when I leaped up to get my computer away from the sprinklers. I ran down the steps...and sure enough, lying there in the grass, was my cell phone. Perfect. Just my luck. When I got to my next class, I was telling some of my classmates about my adventure, and one of them just so happens to work for Verizon. He asked to see my phone, and immediately took the back off and popped out the battery. There was a lovely puddle of water inside my phone. Just my luck. So I'm going back to the days of no cell phone while my phone is sitting in a container full of rice to make sure it is fully dried out before I put the battery back in and attempt to turn it on again. Fantastic. I know that just because I don't have my phone I'm going to have 10 million messages and missed calls when I finally turn it back on again.

Praise to the Man

Today, June 27, 2011, marks a poignant day in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was on this day, in 1844—167 years ago—that our Prophet, the man who restored the fullness of the Gospel to the earth in this dispensation, and his older brother Hyrum, were shot and killed in Carthage Jail. I came to that realization this morning as I woke up, and, instead of opening my scriptures to the place where I have been studying, opened to the 135th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants where Elder John Taylor (who later became the third prophet of the Church) wrote his witness of the events that unfolded that day when our Prophet willingly gave his life for the benefit of the Church and all those who would follow after him.

I am forever grateful for the sacrifices Joseph Smith went through during the eighteen years from the time he first saw the Angel Moroni appear to him in his bedroom late one night until he was martyred at Carthage. Many times in the MTC, Hermana Waldrop y yo watched the video, “Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration.” (If you click that link, you can watch it as well!) And every time I watched it, I was filled with the Spirit telling me that it was true. Joseph Smith went through many horrible things in his life. But he did so willingly, because he knew without a doubt that the things he had seen and the things which he was teaching were true.

In D&C 135:3, there is a brief summary of all of the many wonderful things the Prophet Joseph did during his life. “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has between the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fullness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and a name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!”

Over the past 167 years, the number of people who have heard and accepted the wonderful message of the Gospel has grown exponentially. When the Church was started in the upper room of the Red Brick Store in April 1830, there were 6 members. There were a few thousand at the Prophet’s death 14 years later. Today, or at least at the end of 2010, there were 14,131,467 members of the Church living on the earth! 272,814 new converts were baptized in 2010 alone! I don’t know if the Prophet Joseph ever imagined that there would be such exponential growth! Several men had served missions throughout the United States and Canada, and some to England. But at the end of 2010, there were 52,225 missionaries serving in 340 missions throughout the world! There were also 28,660 wards and branches. I am so honored to have been a part of that. Last year, I witnessed dozens of baptisms. I trained new missionaries as they went out into the field to start their missionary service. I witnessed the joy of the members in Rio Rancho, New Mexico as a new branch—a Spanish Branch—was created. I even witnessed the creation of a new mission as the boundaries of my mission were changed to accommodate a new mission.

If this Gospel weren’t true, none of that would be possible. None of it! Our loving Heavenly Father wouldn’t allow such exponential growth among believers in something that is not true.

I know without a doubt that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is restored on the earth today. I know that the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith as a young boy and led him to the brass plates. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to the 14 year old young man in a grove of trees in upstate New York and answered his prayer as to which church he should join by telling him that, at the time, there was no true church on the face of the earth so he must not join any of them. And I have been in that grove of trees, the Sacred Grove, and felt the special Spirit that I have otherwise only felt in the Temple, telling me that Heavenly Father and our Savior truly were there. I know that the Book of Mormon, which Joseph Smith translated by the gift and power of God, is true. I know that it contains the words which our Heavenly Father wanted us to learn. I know that it brings great strength to those who read it, and that it can change lives. I witnessed many lives change because they too were able to come to a knowledge of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful for the blessing that I have to be a member of the true Church on the earth today. And it is my prayer that all those who have not had the opportunity to hear or accept the Gospel will be able to do so and recognize the great blessing it can become in their lives!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A night at the dunes

So...I didn't take any pictures. I had my camera, and should have pulled it out. But I just sat around and enjoyed the company and re-lived what I used to do every summer. It's been a few years since I've been able to make a trip to the dunes with my friends. But we headed out tonight. We jumped off the sand-cliff. Come to think of it...that's probably why I'm stiff. We made a fire. We roasted marshmallows, and starbursts. I hadn't had either of those treats in like 2 years, so that was pretty exciting. Overall, I got to spend time with good friends and relive the good times. Next time I'll have to take pictures.

Unstoppable: Written and Composed by LaKesha Good

video

Kesha finally finished her song, so I went up and recorded it for her. My baby sister is pretty much amazing!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer has come!

The past few days have been so wonderfully beautiful! I can't get over the nice weather that we've been having here in Rexburg. Though I must say...it's about time! I have been soaking up the sun and enjoying it. Because I know that it won't last long. It's kind of annoying that we can't wear capris or shorts on campus, but I'm perfectly comfortable in a skirt and have lots of cute skirts, so I can get along just fine.

The one thing about summer in Rexburg though...is that I'm in school. I don't know how I feel about that. I've never been in school during the summer before. One nice thing is the fact that I can spend lots of time outside doing homework. There are several places on campus when I can get my wireless internet outside (some better than others). So I am able to soak up the Vitamin D that I was lacking after months of crummy weather. That is definitely nice.

Regardless...Summer is here and I'm enjoying it. Totally and completely. Although...I am super excited to be out of school and bust out of Idaho for a trip to my long-lost Disneyland and the place where I left my heart over 5 months ago :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cinco Meses Ya...

It has been five months since I left the mission field. It has been five months since I boarded the plane in Albuquerque to head for home. And I was super excited to see my family again. Yes, it was hard to leave the mission, but it was good to know that I would be reunited with the people I most love soon. But now, five months later, I am counting down the days until I will be able to go back and visit the family I left behind in the NMAM. A lot has happened these past 5 months. I've learned a lot. I've grown a lot. And I've thought about those experiences each and every day. For five months. It's been a good experience though. Here's to the place I left my heart :)

Happy Father's Day!

Today is Father's Day. I was able to go home after church and spend it with my daddy, for the first time in a while. I was gone last year...in Cortez. Just getting ready to leave and head down to Santa Fe. I am so grateful for my dad and for everything that he has done for me over the years! What a wonderful example he has been to me, and given me something to look up to so I know what to look for in a potential husband. I am so grateful for my dad and for what he has given me. It has been a wonderful 23 (almost) years.





I also have two amazing grandpas. We said "See ya later" to one of them over 10 years ago. I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation. It is that wonderful Plan established my a loving Heavenly Father that will allow me to see him again someday, that allows families to be together forever. The other has been a great example to me. He's now 92 years old, and it has been so fun to live close to him growing up to be able to learn from him and grow close to him. I am so grateful for my grandpas!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!


Today is my mom's birthday, so I just thought I'd give her a shout-out to thank her for all of the wonderful times we have had together! (But I'm not gonna squeal how old she is...I value my life more than that ;) ) Anyway, my mom is one of my best friend! I am so grateful for the nearly 23 years I have had with her! Sure, we've had our ups and downs just as any mother/daughter relationship would have, but gratefully we've had far more ups than downs. The mother-daughter bond is something very special. I am so grateful for my mom and for everything she does for me! I am so lucky to have a mother like her! Happy birthday, Mom!

Reunited at last!

Goodbye at the MTC

What a good mommy I have, zipping my coat up for me!

Monday, June 6, 2011

What Will You Do With the Time that's Left?

So this morning I registered for my last semester of classes in Rexburg. My LAST semester. Where has the time gone? But then again, I have been here for what seems like FOREVER. All of my friends are graduated and gone. At least all of my friends who I had every class every semester with. And 95% of my old roommates. And most of my old ward members. I do still know a few people here in Rexburg, and I've been making new friends. But it's hard to believe the time that is just flying by! We just passed midterm of my 7th semester here at BYU-Idaho. That means 6 more weeks, then a 7-week break, then 12 weeks and I'll be done with my time in Rexburg. I guess that's kind of a bitter-sweet time. I have loved it here. I've had a lot of great experiences and made a lot of great memories here. But my time here is not done yet. Which reminds me of a song that one of my companions on the mission had, one that made me do a lot of reflecting. It's called "Time That's Left."

What will you do with the time that's left
Will you live it all with no regret?
Will they say that you loved till your final breath?
What will you do with the time that's left?

Oh, Hallelujah!
Oh, Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Amen

What will you do with the time that's past?
Oh and all the pain that seems to last?
Can you give it to Jesus and not look back?
What will you do with the time that's past?

Oh, Hallelujah!
Oh, Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Amen

What will He say when your time has come?
When He takes you into His arms of love?
With tears in His eyes will He say well done?
What will He say when your time has come?

Oh, Hallelujah!
Oh, Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Amen

What will you do with the time that's left?
Will you live it all with no regret
Will they say that you loved till your final breath?
What will you do with the time?

Really, the song is talking about the time that we have left in our mortal lives, but when I was on the mission I applied it to the time I had left on the mission. And now I can apply it to my time as a student at BYU-Idaho. What will I do with the time that's left? Will I allow myself to go out and have some fun? Will I get to know more people and make more new friends? Will I build new memories? Will I value my classes and what I'm learning (well duh...I love what I'm learning!) Will I leave Rexburg with regrets of things I always wished I'd have done but didn't? Will I build on the experiences that I've had so far, and learn all I can from said experiences? I think I will. And even better, I get to do it with one of my best friends:
It has been such a blast living with my sister. A lot of people, when they hear that we're sisters and living together, and what's more sharing a room, say something along the lines of "Oh my gosh. How do you do it? I could never live with my sister/brother." But we love it. It's given us a time to catch up on all of the times that we missed while I was gone. And it's giving me the opportunity to be able to strengthen the relationship that I have with my sister, one that will carry me through eternity. I love it, and am so grateful for every minute that we have together. And boy have we had some good ones...

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Sleep-Deprived, Brain-Fried Sugar High

Yes...that's how our night was last night. There were 3 of us home. We were all in the living room doing homework. Or attempting to...we weren't being very successful at it. We are all feeling a little sleep-deprived. It's mid-terms so we've been up late doing homework at are sleep deprived. And our brains are fried. Or re-fried as one of my friends said. AND last night we were all on a sugar high. We were rolling on the floor laughing with tears streaming down our faces...for no apparent reason. We just had a bad, and I mean BAD, case of the giggles. It was quite entertaining. And this went on from about 7:30 until midnight. My abs still hurt from the bad case of the giggles that we had last night. And I've actually been on one again this evening. My poor roommates. Just wait until we hit finals week...then they'll be in for a REAL treat. I think that my insanity can be partially attributed to the fact that this is my first semester back in school and it's been a readjustment for me. Or maybe I'm just making up for the laughter I missed with friends, because I was a little more serious than normal on the mission. Or maybe I really am just crazy and need to go to the psych ward...whatever it is, apartment 301 is quite the entertaining place to be right now because I have absolutely lost my marbles!