Month: August 2008

Thoughts on a mission part II

So tonight I went and saw the new movie Errand of Angels with a bunch of my girlfriends from my mission.  It was a fun night full of reminiscing.  To my surprise I actually enjoyed the movie a lot.  I think it was pretty accurate of what a sister missionary goes through.  It’s not quite as intense and the companionship problems get bundled up too neatly but overall I liked it.

As I drove home I started thinking about people I met in Indiana- particularly my companions who taught me so much (and were infinity patient with me).  People like Sister Servito from the Philippines who worked me so hard one day my feet almost got frostbite.  (I’m not exaggerating.  I had to soak my feat in warm water for an hour after one long day of tracting in the snow in below O weather!) I can remember walking behind her in the bitter lake effect cold and thinking- maybe if I beg someone will take mercy on me and let me in to get warm! I remember thinking that they don’t show this in the MTC!  After I left Sister Servito I gained a heightened appreciation for the lessons in hard work she had taught me and what real commitment means.  She expanded my vision for what I could accomplish both spiritually and physically and that is a tremendous gift, which I will always be grateful for.

Another person I thought of was Sister Walker.  I had just had a companion who I call my “purifying companion”.  Let me just say that when I got Sister Walker I was in need of love and comfort.  I felt like a failure and my energy to serve was drained.  Despite my weakness we pushed on and contacted a lot of people.  By the end of our first transfer we had a number of investigators, which began to energize me for the work.  Then just as we were getting excited in one week all of them dropped us.  One of them was particularly sad for Sister Walker as she had seen more potential in her than I had.  It’s a long story but she was living with a man that used to be her boyfriend (who she was still intimate with on occasion) and was unwilling to change because she didn’t want to hurt his feelings.  We felt we were making progress with her and then boom she told us that she couldn’t ask him to leave, it was just too hard.  We told her that we could not teach her any more without this change.  I remember going home and seeing Sister Walker feeling less cheery than usual (I am sure I could have been more comforting to her.  It was a bit of selfish time for me- a time I have since apologized for).  Anyway, over the next few weeks we continued to work and the bad luck started to change.  To begin with we started teaching a golden contact- the niece of a recently reactivated member named Amanda.  Then two days before I left we got a call from the woman we had dropped weeks earlier.  It was a message saying “Sisters, he’s gone.  I’m ready to get baptized.”  Sadly, I had to leave the area before she or Amanda got baptized but the experience taught me a great lesson- or should I say I relearned a great lesson.  For all intensive purposes I had been at my weakest.  I was tired, frustrated, even depressed but still I took what steps I could and the Lord used me.  He allowed me to be part of changing others lives and He did it when I was doubting His love and when I felt totally alone.  He gave me Sister Walker and reminded me that my sacrifice mattered because of the way that He would use it for building His kingdom.  After this realization I knew that the Lord loved me in a way I hadn’t known before.  I had understood before that my Heavenly Father loved me when I was righteous but after this experience I knew that He loved me when I was weak too and that He would still use me in profound ways.  It was one of the profound lessons of my life.

During this purifying time I also learned a great lesson from my mission president.  After the purifying companion I felt confused and even a little angry.  I felt she had ruined my mission and made my life miserable for no reason.  My intentions were right or so I believed at the time.  After she left I hung on to this feeling of resentment and anger.  One evening I had called the mission president for something and somehow we got on the topic of my feelings.  He told me an amazing story.  He said one time he had been in a stake presidency and had offended a librarian over something that had not been his fault.  For a while he justified his feelings and she was increasingly annoyed with him.  Finally one day he spoke with the stake president about the situation and to his surprise the stake president said “You need to go down there and ask her for forgiveness”.  “But I haven’t done anything wrong” He said in response.  “Does she think you have done something wrong?  Go to her, ask forgiveness, and then you will have done all you can do- any further offense will be on her shoulders then”.  President Quist told me this story and I knew right away what he was saying to me.  I may have believed I had been injured but the truth is I wasn’t perfect either.  I could walk away from this situation saying ” I did everything I could have done to remedy the situation”.  So, I wrote a letter asking my purifying companion to forgive me and that I hope she had every success as a missionary.  I don’t know what she thought of the letter or if she cared but it was a powerful moment in my life.  I balled like a baby writing that letter.  It was maybe the most humbling experience of my life and it helped me to understand the atonement’s ability to heal wounds and repair broken hearts in a new way.

Lastly, I will never forget Sister Graves one of my longest companions.  After the purifying time I needed some joy and that’s why the Lord gave me Sister Graves.  We were in threesomes the entire time we were together but we worked hard, had fun and experienced harvest.  I am not saying that every minute went great or that we never squabbled- you spend 24 hours a day with a doormat and I think you would squabble. However, Sister Graves and I shared a special bond.  You see, throughout my mission I struggled to walk with my companions.  I have a foot condition that causes deep muscular pain.  Some days I wanted to saw off my feet they hurt so bad and for almost my whole mission I walked behind my companions (despite many of their attempts to slow down).  With Sister Graves things were different.  She is a little person, which makes her feet small; therefore, making her steps also smaller than average.  We were the dynamic duo of slow walking and I loved it!  We had many great memories together including teaching Kim- a golden daughter of a less active member, Kim’s brother, a high school girl named Ashley,  and a wonderful woman named Kris.  Sister Graves reminded me that there will be people in my life who will always be there for me- walking beside me.  She made me feel loveable again and we laughed a lot together.  When I look for a spouse I hope that he and I share a similar feeling.  That we can walk together and enjoy life while working hard.  Yes we will have differences but the love, respect and comradary is never in doubt. I thank Sister Graves for teaching me that.

So, I am sure such reminiscences are far more interesting to me than for you my friends; however, a blog is meant for sharing such thoughts so take what you will from them.  As many of my companions will read this blog let me add that each of them taught me great lessons and I could add paragraphs from each but here’s some lessons I learned from each of the one’s I didn’t mention above-

Sister Noyes- to never take pity on ourselves and listen to people

Sister Hamill- to find the common interests with others, even are enemies.  She also has a gift for nurturing and loving others.

Sister Chatterton- to not care what others think.  She famously said “Your Mission is between you and the Lord and nobody else.

Sister Millett- That missions could be fun. That telling as many jokes as possible was a good thing.

Sister Livingston- That sometimes the greatest thing we can do is serve the people under our nose.

Sister Hathaway- That knowledge is a gift from the Lord, which He will give if we are humble. She was one of the most teachable human beings I have ever met.

So, that’s my mission.  It taught me so much but most importantly it helped me understand the depths of Christ’s love and the meaning of His sacrifice. It helped me understand my purpose and made me a little bit more like Him- a tiny bit more pure.  It is a holy time of my life- a pilgrimage of understanding and growth.

My favorite mission picture
My favorite mission picture
Sister Walker went through a real tornado with me! Spiritually and literally!
Sister Walker went through a real tornado with me! Spiritually and literally!
Me with Sister Servito in the blue and another favorite Sister Meyer in the red
Me with Sister Servito in the blue and another favorite Sister Meyer in the red
This is me in the first snow working with Sister Servito
This is me in the first snow working with Sister Servito
This is me and my special Sister Graves
This is me and my special Sister Graves

A little poetry

Hi friends,

As you all know I have been undergoing change.  It’s kind of overwhelming when I think about it.  I have been so busy experiencing that it has kind of happened without my realization.  It’s like it has almost occurred in someone else’s life- not mine.  I’m just taking things day by day and trying to enjoy my life. Still, something with all of this change makes me feel poetic. I wish I had the talent to write my own poetry (working on that at the moment…) but for the moment I will share some of my favorites with all of you. Here goes…

Beginning by James Wright

The moon drops one or two feathers into the fields

The dark wheat listens.

Be still.


There they are, the moon’s young, trying

Their wings.

Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow

Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone

Wholly, into the air.

I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe

Or move.

I listen.

The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,

And I lean toward mine.

(What do you think this poem means? I think it is saying that to begin anything in life (just like beginning to fly for the bird) we must all step a little bit into the darkness- it is a poem about faith and the power of stopping, observing and listening).

Rain Towards Morning by Elizabeth Bishop

The great light cage has broken up in the air,

freeing, I think, about a million birds

whose wild ascending shadows will not be back,

and all the wires come falling down.

No cage, no frightening birds; the rain

is brightening now.  The face is pale

that tried the puzzle of their prison

and solved it with an unexpected kiss,

whose freckled unsuspected hands alit.

(Elizabeth Bishop has many poems about nature that move me- and I’m not even an outdoors girl- but I like this poem because it clarifies the unexpected gifts of life, if we look for them).

There is another sky by Emily Dickinson

There is another sky,

Ever serene and fair.

And there is another sunshine

Though it be darkness there:

Never mind faded forests, Austin,

Never mind silent fields-

Here is a little forest,

Whose leaf is ever green;

Here is a brighter garden,

Where not a frost has been;

In its unfading flowers

I hear the bright bee hum;

Prithee, my brother,

Into my garden come!

( I love this poem for many reasons.  Don’t we all have moments where we need to know that there is another sky, a brighter garden, a more beautiful future ahead?  Isn’t it usually your family that opens those new arenas for you, that gives you the courage to to be happy? I feel that it is often the belief of others and the inner-confidence gained from finding beauty and meaning in life that saves each of us from the darkness).

I hope you enjoy three of my favorite poems.  I have always loved the power of words to capture moments.  These poems do that for me.  🙂

So much happening

Dear friends it has been a week since I have written but it feels like an eternity- it has been that busy of a week.  It’s kind of hard to know what to mention first.  To give you some idea, I have been working on 3 jobs- not including my volunteer work, family, friends, church, voice lessons, and other responsibilities.

Job 1 Managing properties

Last week I checked 3 groups in and 3 out of all 3 properties and made sure all the cleaning, paperwork and payments were done.  Plus, I had to take care of the continual marketing of the properties, including beginning advertising for the holiday’s and making future appointments. In addition, I scheduled 4 new tenants for the homes over the next 6 months which required discussions, emails, deposits and more. There are also 3 people in limbo without a firm commitment at the moment.

I also worked with my dad on designing fliers for the homes, business cards and still had to make purchases of dvds, XBOX 360 (so out of my element on that one!), cleaning supplies, towels and a few other items. I even purchased and monogrammed towels that are specially designed for female guests to use with their make-up (classy hah!).

Job 2 Grabber warmer van

Last week I picked up the new Grabber warmer van which I will use this Winter to set up events to market the warmers.  You know how you sometimes see vehicles outside of stores pushing products like cell phones?  That’s the kind of thing I will be doing.  So, not only did I pick up the van, but I went to the outdoor retailers show on Friday to get training on how to set up and run events.  It sounds like it is going to be a lot of work- more than I bargained for.  Stephanie from GPG said that it could be a full time job if I wanted it to be.

After the show I spent the whole next day getting things ready for a GPG party I catered and planned for warmer employees and reps.

Job 3 Event planning

Last week things came full circle for my company Catalyst Events and Marketing.  I went through the process of registering my company name and filling out the application for a business license (I actually turned in the papers today).  I also worked feverishly on my website . I am finding I have to relearn a lot of what I knew at Linguatronics before my mission (frustrating!).  At the same time I had to plan the menu and do all of the shopping and prep for the party on Saturday.  It was almost 2 full days of preparation to be ready for the party- and ready I was.

There are few moments that are perfect in life but the party was one of them for me.  Everything looked great, tasted great and I felt like such a professional.  I have always wanted to be a classy woman who could pull everything together and make people happy.  At the party I was that woman.  It was amazing.  When I get pictures from my dad I will post them.  He took pictures of the party for my website which should be up soon.  I’m working hard on it. I am not joking when I say it was one of the best days of my life.  It is one thing to say I can plan great events and it is another to go out and do it. I even used mostly my own recipes. The rest were from the barefoot contessa! Yum!

So, that’s the 3 jobs! It’s crazy how I can go from 0 jobs at the end of May to 3 in August! The hard part is I am actually excited about all of them.  The key to keeping me sane is that everyone involved knows of my limits especially me.  Plus, it is all stuff I enjoy.  I continue to feel that if I am going to have problems these are the kinds I want.  I enjoyed my time of waiting and now I am loving my time of being hyper-used.

In the end, I keep coming back to the feeling I have had from the day I quit my job.  I knew then and I know now that everything will be Ok.  I know that the Lord is watching out for me and that He loves me.  I have said it a million times but never have I felt more prompted to make a decision than I did when I left my old job.  It is this sense of inner-peace and direction that makes me,  even with all the craziness of 3 jobs (plus family, friends, church, healthy living, and a social life) , feel a calm.  It’s hard to explain but nonetheless true.

I will keep you’all updated on everthing that happens with my life (including moving somewhere in the next month or so- that’s a whole different ball of wax I have to figure out.  For another blog entry!).

Oh- and I have also tried to squeeze in a little of my favorite TV time- the Olympic games.  Go USA!!!!!!

Going to the Movies Alone

Today dear friends I had a breakthrough.  Do you ever put up barriers around yourself for no good reason?  You say to yourself- “I can’t do that…, I would be embarrassed if I did…, If I do that everyone will think…”.  One of my continuous goals in life is to knock down those barriers and live my life to its utmost.  One silly example is I have never been to a movie by myself.  It’s not that I was scared of going by myself or that I thought I wouldn’t have a good time.  I do all kinds of things by myself including dining, driving, flying, and even vacationing alone.  I am a fiercly independent person and I don’t know why going to a movie alone seemed out of the question.  Part of the reason was no doubt that a movie is something often associated with a date; therefore, going to one by yourself feels fairly lame.  It is like going dancing alone or to a wedding without a date (lame!).  In truth, it is lame of me to feel I need someone at such events.  I want to be comfortable in my own skin.  I don’t want to miss out on life because I don’t have a date, so today I decided to do something I have never done before- I went to a movie alone.

It was actually a wonderful day.  Nothing out of the ordinary- checked a few people into the houses, did errands, ect.  What made it great was I got to go swimming (one of my favorite activities) and then I went to see Mamma Mia (finally I know I mentioned it long ago).  I went alone because pretty much all of my friends are in seclusion today reading a certain vampire novel….

I have been wanting to see Mamma Mia for weeks now and it was hilarious.  Webster’s dictionary defines entertainment as “something that amuses, pleases, or diverts, especially a performance or show’.  On that level Mamma Mia is enormously entertaining and oh the music is so great!  I loved every performance; although, Pierce Brosnan could have used a little more work in the vocal department.  Meryl Streep can do no wrong and Amanda Seyfried is wonderful (they actually look like mother and daughter).  Is it thought provoking- no.  Is it awe inspiring- no.  Will it change your life?- Probably not.  Will it make you smile and want to sing along?- It did for me!

You know what was so funny there I was doing something I had never done before- going to a movie alone- and once it was over I realized that it felt just like any other movie.  While it would have been nice to have had one of my girlfriends or sibblings there, I had a good time all by my lonesome.  In fact, being alone forced me to start chatting with several of the girls next to me who were hilarious.

All in all I learned something about myself- I learned that the only person keeping me from experiencing adventures in life is me.  It would have been easy to blame my not seeing Mamma Mia in the theaters on friends but in reality it would have been my fault if I had missed it.  There is almost nothing I cannot enjoy or experience in my life.  Most of the time I just have to stop with the excuses of why I cannot do it- and just go and do it!

While I am not saying that I wish to experience life alone.  Believe me, I prefer anything with a friend; however, I now also see that I can have a good time with just me.  This realization makes me feel strong and truly independent.  It feels good! Yeah for movies alone!

Here is an interesting article from a lady who gives 5 reasons for going to the movies alone: