Thursday, March 21, 2013

Reasons I love AMANDA

This is a birthday tribute to my cuz Amanda!!  Here are some reasons I love her.

     1. We've been cousin/friends for a long time. Our parents used to call us "Amandaline" --combo of Amanda and Madeleine.  

2.  We can definitely be crazy around each other and we're ok with it. 

3.  She's good at everything she tries, sometime you should really hear her play the Brahms Violin Concerto, or any song for that matter. 

4.  Amanda makes me laugh harder than anyone I know to this day!

5. People sometimes say we look like cousins, I consider it a compliment cause she's pretttyy!!!

6. This one's good with kids..haha 

7.  Just some more "Selfies" back in '09.

{before Amanda went to sell books back East this summer.}

8.  Participating in the "crazy crooo"  This consisted of Amanda, Rachel and I being great cousin friends.  When it first started out, we would have like weird group cheers and make up dances and secrets like we all had a crush on Daniel Radcliffe.  Haha what wondrous times!
And look, we still love each other.

9.  Sadly I don't have any proof, but our favorite things used to be to make up dances and perform them for family members, and to make crazy weird videos.  I wiissshh I had some proof cause they were GREAT.

10.  Creeping on Our facebook relationship... too good.

  Manda, you're a champ! Sure love ya!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Getting Excited

I can't believe I'm on the road to becoming a missionary at age 19.  A year ago, I would have never imagined...well no one my age would've!  
I remember when President Monson made the announcement last September. He began with the age change for young men.  I was on the tip of my seat as he spoke, crossing my fingers, that his next sentence would bring some word for us girls.  
And then it happened.  From age 21 to age 19! I lept and jumped up and down.  
Not necessarily cause I KNEW I was going to serve, I had no clue whether I would or not at that time.  But the one thing that I knew was that this was a legendary announcement and moment in the history of the church, one that would affect my friends & family for generations to come, and I was at an amazing age to witness it.  
Back-tracking to a week prior from that conference, Amy and I were walking the streets of Rexburg.  It had been long enough into our first semester that we were loving it, but also long enough to be missing our friends spread out at Utah State, BYU, the U and elsewhere. So we planned a girl's luncheon BETWEEN sessions on Saturday cause we knew most would be going home for Conference weekend.  
Can you imagine... Sixteen 18-year-old Mormon girls in the same restaurant right after that announcement!??  It was like so much energy crammed into one room.  Not to mention we were all SO excited to be reunited.  Out of the 16 girls in the picture, 11 of us are for-sure serving, and 6 already have their calls. 
Point being, we would've NEVER expected this a couple months ago and yet look at us now.  

I am so beyond excited. 

"I'll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord..
I'll say what you want me to say, Dear Lord, I'll be what you want me to be."

                       (the pic I used for my papers.  It was last-minute)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Churchy Thought

    Besides working the other thing I'm mainly doing right now is preparing to serve a mission.  As I do so, I get progressively more and more excited every day.   On another note, I have a lot of cousins - to be precise 58 on one side and 46 on the other.  Aaaannnd a lot of them have served missions.  So I don't always exactly keep tabs on their weekly emails.
However, I have a cousin, Isaac, serving in the Ontario Canada mission, currently an assistant to the President. His email this week got me SO excited - it seems so applicable to me in this stage of progressing on my papers.  I am so excited to get out there and share the message of the gospel. I want to share some awesome parts of what he said.

Dear All,
 The tsunami of the Missionary Surge hit us this last week. It was awing. I have never had a time as busy and exciting in my life as the last 9 days have been. We welcomed in 36 new missionaries (with 3 more coming mid-transfer), opened up 16 new areas (which puts us at 23 new areas so far this year)... and prepared a Zone Leader Council.
 This transfer may fully do justice to the word "epic." ..... It was particularly amazing to be a part of the trainers/new missionary meeting. There were 75 of us packed together in one room, including 57 Sister missionaries (2 Sister trainers are having to train 2 new Sisters at once, and 5 of the Sisters that have been out for 5 weeks are training, because there is no one else to have train!) In that room alone, we had a small mission. Not to mention that in the last few transfers we have seen some of the most spiritually prepared incoming missionaries we've ever seen. The ranks grow stronger day by day!
 ... This mission is doing very well, and there is a wonderful fire about the work at this time. With all the new missionaries and great successes as a mission, there is a lot to be enjoyed. What a great time to be a missionary!
 However enjoyable the last few days were, the chaos and number of details we were called upon to remember gave me deja vu of what life was like before my mission and a bit of foreshadow of time to come. Mission experiences are hard, if not impossible to describe. Life here is so simple: you have one purpose which can be summed up in one sentence. From the moment you get up in the morning till the second you fall asleep, you do one thing: You invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I've heard some say that missions are "the highest of highs and the lowest of lows." I would like to kindly disagree. For me, it has never been the lowest of lows. I honestly cannot recall a time when I have truly felt sad, angry, or discouraged in all my time in Ontario. I don't really know how you could feel that way. Set apart with a mantle and a charge from a prophet and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost, you have what you need to avoid those feelings while on a mission..... Sometimes it seems like President...trying to help missionaries understand that this is the greatest time of their life. There is never a time or opportunity that is easier to be this obedient,  this happy, and to learn this much. It is a unique experience that cannot be gained any other way. I have a testimony of missionary work and service. If you are at home, don't wait for circumstances to share the Gospel, create circumstances to share the Gospel. Open up some of the opportunities for growth that the Lord has placed around you.
 Make it a great week,
 Elder Isaac M.