Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Body is Rejecting Leaving the States

First off,

I leave the USA in 6. days. six. days. siiiixxxxxxx dayyysssss. 

That is nothing, literally. It's so weird thinking back to the age change and how honestly, that feels like just yesterday! AND NOW I'M HERE. I'm going. No mas en los Estados Unidos. ADIOS. It's crazy that time has just flown by.... I hope it goes slower when I am actually on my mission.

Okay now to the point. 

As a lot of 'almost' missionaries can relate to, it seems that right before you leave there is a lot of adversity to going. I feel like i've been really lucky with very minor roadblocks (knocking on wood) but yesterday my body seemed to be rejecting the idea of leaving the states.  

I woke up early to go to the hospital and take pictures of my new baby niece, Olivia. As you can see she is adorable: 

but before doing that, I had a low blood sugar attack. My head started getting really hot and suddenly I blacked out. When I get these attacks, I normally just black out for a couple of seconds here and there, which is what happened. You feel like you need to vomit but your body just won't do it. It honestly feels like every system shuts down. Then I get toast with butter + sugar and every time it seems to get me back to normal really quickly, which is what happened yesterday. 

I felt better while being at the hospital to see my niece, but I kept feeling like I probably shouldn't hold her just in case I really was sick or something. Thankfully I followed that prompting because as soon as I got home, every sick feeling I had, had earlier suddenly came back more ferociously. I felt like I needed food, but if I had any I wouldn't be able to keep it down. It. Was. The. Worst. All day I was going through nausea, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and some cold symptoms randomly. By the end of the day, I was going through a lot of flu AND cold symptoms. Thankfully my wise mother got me some airborne and I've been feeling a little better today. 

But I woke up with pink eye. So I'm finally getting my weird fluish cold symptoms under control and my eye is straight up red after looking in the mirror. Another small tender mercy was that we had pink eye medicine on hand with Calli's prescription, so we got that in really quick. But no contact in my right eye today which means I'm half blind. 

I'm not telling you all about my sicknesses because I'm angry and upset- in fact it was perfect timing. I went to institute on Tuesday night and we talked about President Uchtdorf's talk, "Grateful in any circumstance" and about how it is important to be grateful in every condition (including sickness). And boy am I grateful for that lesson. I believe it was to prepare me for the days following class- which clearly I needed to remember that! 

I'm also grateful that it's minor, and that we have medication on hand!! It's kind of scary leaving the USA because I feel like this is my safety net- if I'm sick the option to get better is really close and really convenient; whereas, who knows what will be close and convenient in the DR? 

Honestly, times like these I just laugh. Of course I would get pink eye right after feeling better! Of course I would get sick right after a lesson about being grateful! Oh the irony. Heavenly Father does have a sense of humor in the lessons He teaches us, because I needed this one. 

As Uchtdorf said, how much of life do we miss waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?

I'm grateful for a body. When I took New Testament earlier this year, my teacher offered a possible explanation for the story of the legion of devils telling Christ to put them into swine (before the devils actually made the swine drown, which is a whole different discussion). My teacher offered this insight:  

The dark spirits wanted a body SO badly they were willing to go into a pig's body, known as one of the filthiest animals at the time. Do we treat our body as such a blessing? Such a privilege? 

So that's what I've been thinking about since yesterday. It's okay that I have to go through these problems because having a body is worth it. 

So maybe my body is crushing under stress of all that I have left to do and prepare- but right now I'm working on being more grateful and making gratitude my disposition rather than my circumstantial mood. Am I even close to being that? Not even. But I've found so much peace as I have been working on it. And I believe there is a reason for every sickness and pain I go through that is beyond my control, I really do. 

6 days people. Bring it on. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

20 Days

Obedience by George MacDonald

I said: "Let me walk in the fields."
    He said: "No, walk in the town."
I said: "There are no flowers there."
    He said: "No flowers, but a crown."

I said: "But the skies are black;
there is nothing but noise and din."
    And He wept as He sent me back---
    "There is more," He said, "there is sin."

I said: "But the air is thick,
and fogs are veiling the sun."
    He answered: "Yet souls are sick,
    And souls in the dark are undone!"

I said: "I shall miss the light,
and friends will miss me, they say."
     He answered: "Choose tonight, 
     If I am to miss you or they."

I pleaded for time to be given.

    He said: "Is it hard to decide?
    It will not seem so hard in heaven
    To have followed the steps of your Guide."

I cast one look at the fields,
then set my face to the town;
    He said, "My child, do you yield?
    Will you leave the flowers for the crown?"

Then into His hand went mine;
And into my heart came He;
And I walk in a light divine,
The path I feared to see.


Today I went to the temple with 2 sisters who will be in the MTC with me!

As I pondered in the temple, I thought of The Fall. The only way Adam and Eve could know joy, was to leave behind their comfort zone or the Garden of Eden- and enter into the unknown while trusting God to lead their way. They had to go through the hard, to feel true joy. 

Now that i'm only 20 days away i'm getting a lot more sentimental, (and emotional), and sometimes I wonder how in the world I will be able to leave behind the comforts of my home and family. I mean, i'm really fortunate that life here is easy. I don't have to go to bed at 10:30 and wake up at 6:30, devoting all my time and even skipping meals sometimes to preach my religion to others, all while trying to learn to speak a language I don't know. Right now I can watch movies, go to chick-fil-a, go shopping, hang out with friends. Right now I don't have to walk everywhere and don't need a constant companion. I can go out in sweats without brushing my hair with no one knowing what family name I need to honor. 

On my mission, I will have a strict schedule with strict rules. I will have a constant companion, and I will constantly bear the name of the person I need to bring honor to in front of others- Jesus Christ. Which means my actions, my appearance, and my willingness to serve matters. I will be going out of my comfort zone 24/7 to give others the gospel of Jesus Christ, while trying to manage whatever spanish I know so they understand. I will face rejection and most likely some sickness- not to mention loads of insects that i'm terrified of. 

In my mind, I am definitely leaving behind a beautiful garden for a lone and dreary world. 

However, as Adam and Eve learned, and what I see my future journey as, just because you live in a lone and dreary world doesn't mean your world needs to be lone and dreary. We can trust in God and trust in His ability to lead and direct us, and be filled with light and love from Him. We can find pure joy in the hardships of life- especially the hardships of life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I know that missions are hard, but I know that I will come to know real joy by doing the hard things the Lord asks me to do. 

The poem above talks about flowers and crowns. I like to think flowers are simple- and a simple life surely is beautiful. But a crown means glorious. The crown to me is perfect: I don't think we serve the Lord with the intention of receiving a ton of tangible blessings-or rich jewelry. I believe that as we dedicate our lives to follow the Lord, we will recognize our divine nature as children of God or our "crowns"- Heirs to His kingdom - and others' divine nature as well. 

We aren't guaranteed a perfect life if we do the hard things the Lord needs us to do, but we will experience a life that is so much richer and sweeter and WONDERFUL- even in the midst of hard times. 

Here's to the last 20 days of my time in my garden. :) 

Monday, September 1, 2014

My Immensely Pinterest-y 19th Birthday/Farewell

caution: long post.

Before I dive into my birthday/farewell yesterday (which went great!) I will start with a couple of highlights from the days following up.

I went up to SLC for a "sister missionary meet-up". 40 people were supposed to come but last minute the date and time were changed so a ton of the expected guests weren't able to make it. It was a lot of fun! The weather was perfect for the whole thing- very sunny and not too hot. 

 Our missions were spanning the world: New Hampshire, Canada, The DR, Hong Kong, and Norway! 

My favorite part was when two temple square sister missionaries came up and talked with us. They had such a unique light about them that I really think i've only seen missionaries have. They were bubbly and excited for us to go on missions- and all I could think was Can I be one of you yet? Just seeing their glow and hearing their testimony made me SO excited to be a missionary. I am getting really close to my departure date! 

This is a picture from my last night as a coach. These goodbyes were possibly some of the hardest! This year has been my best year yet coaching, and I have grown to 100% love each and every one of these girls. I'll really miss them that's for sure! 

I tried some braided up-do's because let's be honest- i'm going to need to know how to do these in the DR humidity! #1: You can't see this well but it's an inside out braid leading down to a side messy bun. #2: A braided crown. I got the ideas from pinterest- which I can't seem to stay away from lately- and for once my attempts actually weren't terrible. However, they did take me WAY too long to do, so I need to get the hang of it or I won't have time to do it out in the mission. 

This is my mom and I watching Jessi's tryouts for the volleyball freshman league. My sister is AMAZING at volleyball, it's so fun to watch her! Other people kept telling my mom she was good enough to be on the MVHS sophomore team (but she can't be because she's too young) so she will try out for that next year. I'm really grateful for moments like this when I get to cheer on my siblings because i'll really miss that. Jessi made the top team and we are so proud of her! One of the great things about Jessi is that she is never cocky about being a good player, she reaches out to others and helps them but never in a "i'm way better than you" kind of way. I really admire that about her. What a natural born leader!

On Saturday night the Davis's took me to the Latino Festival in Provo! It was so cool! We went to a Bolivian stand because that's were Tanner is on his mission and tried some Saltenas (idk if I spelled that right) which I liked! They were a little too sweet with no spice, but they were pretty good. We then saw a Dominican stand!! So in my picture I am holding Morir Sonando y Empenada- my computer struggles with accent marks haha. Anyway the drink means " to die dreaming " and I can see why- it was amazing! It tasted a lot like Orange Julius. The empenada was SOOO GOOD. I was dying. The dominican people at the stand were super nice and excited for me to go there on my mission. Thank you Davis family for a great time! 

Also on Saturday night, I decided to do a last minute session at the Timp. temple. It was a great session, and it really brought so much peace into my night before the crazy day that lied ahead. My car was jerking all the way there and back, so i'm pretty sure it's on it's last lap of it's race. Good timing though, am I right? 


I woke up on Sunday super excited- I was finally 19! Finally the same age as all of my friends, except in about a month when they all turn 20. My family started with presents. They got me a lot of cute cards to give to people on the mission, and a couple of more clothes. It was absolutely perfect. They also got me a cute watch and a Spanish CTR (HLJ) ring. I got all ready for church, while watching mormon messages, and I always cry when I watch those so I cried my eyes out. I was trying to get all my tears out before my talk because no one can understand me if I cry. Fortunately it worked, and I didn't end up crying during my talk. I think it was because I was sobbing during the sacrament meeting hymn- I don't know why but the words just hit me so hard yesterday- so my tears were gone for a while after that. The highlight of that whole meeting was seeing one of my best friends, Leda, in the congregation. She got baptized in San Diego on my 18th birthday so it was her year anniversary of being a member, and she moved to Utah and she could be there for my farewell! I talked about her in my talk so it was really special to have her there. 

After I spoke we had a family luncheon for all of my family members. I was really happy that quite a few members of my family came so I could say goodbye to them in case I don't see them before I leave. It was  a nice couple of hours with the family. I'm also really grateful I separated my family and friend open houses because that would have been so chaotic together! I would suggest that to anyone going on a mission and planning your farewell/open house.

We had 5 hours of break but barely any of that time was wasted. We were saving all the pinteresty decorations for that night with the friends, so we were getting that all ready. The cupcakes, fruits, veggies, candy, water bottles... you'll see by the pictures. It is what happens when you don't have work anymore, most of your friends are in school or on missions, and your mom/sister-in-law love pinterest too. So we decided to have fun and go all out. My sister-in-law Marissa is a ninja at all things pinterest so it was great to hear her ideas.

The open house was so great!!! I just felt like crying the whole time because I was so happy to see all of these people that I loved. It was almost overwhelming having all of these people I cared about in the same house because I just wanted to talk to EVERYONE. So I was all over the place, but it was so awesome. Seriously, if you are one of the people who made it I want you to know it meant SO much to me. It was my greatest birthday present to see all of you. I'm grateful for the good conversations and funny moments I had with so many of you. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. 

So now i'm home for 3 weeks, (my farewell got pushed back because of fast sunday, stake conference, and a temple dedication), so I should be hearing a ton of, "I thought you left" for the rest of my time home. I'm really happy for my 3 weeks still here because it gives me an opportunity to visit a lot of people before checking out of the USA. I am just so excited to go!! 

So here is a plethora of pictures from a great day! 

(cupcake toppings: Called to Serve, Hermana Schmidt, My mission call shrunken down, The Santo Domingo Temple, the DR FLAG, and my mission scripture- 3 Nephi 5:13.)

(cute water bottles I made from the idea my mom and Marissa gave me- 200 in all)

The finished product on the table. Back right- fruit cups, front right-veggies, Middle back-cupcakes, front middle-muddie buddies and no pic but eventually PB bars Rachel and Megan Davis brought over (thank you!!), Front left- blue and red candy (for the blue and red DR flag). It looked amazing thanks to the help of my siblings: Calli, Jessi, Luc, and Danni. My sister in law Marissa and my mom. 

Everything ended up looking great!! I'm so blessed with such amazing people in my family! 

I'm sad I didn't have more pictures with people on my camera or phone- but I love all of you and am so blessed to have all of you in my life. It was a perfect birthday and a wonderful farewell.